A tour of India's historic highlights and heritage
Search for tigers and see the Taj Mahal on this enthralling holiday in Northern India. Discover Amritsar's sacred Golden Temple as you tour the Punjab, and the beautiful Himalayan hill state of Himachal Pradesh. See the border-closing ceremony at Wagah on the Indo-Pakistani border, and take a first-class train ride from Delhi to Jalandhar on the Shatabdi Express.
Extend your holiday and visit Goa, with white sand beaches backed by swaying palms, is a perfect ending to your holiday. It’s a charming blend of Portuguese and Indian cultures, laid back, green and generally untouched by mass tourism.
WHAT DOES THE PRICE INCLUDE?
Day One: Overnight flight to India
Fly overnight from the UK to Delhi.
Day Two: Included Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque excursion
Meet your Tour Manager and transfer to your hotel for lunch and the chance to freshen up. This afternoon, explore the ruins of the ancient Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque and the ornate Qutb Minar tower.
Day Three: Included Delhi city tour and travel to Agra
Today's explorations begin with a guided tour of the Old City, and an exciting rickshaw ride through the lanes of Chandni Chowk. Afterwards, you'll explore New Delhi, with its echoes of the British Raj, and visit the impressive Agrasen ki Baoli stepwell and the ruins of the ancient Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque. This afternoon, you'll travel to the 'Pink City' of Jaipur, where you will enjoy a two-night stay.
Day Four: Included Amber Fort and Jaipur excursion
Visit Amber's extraordinary hill-top fort, travelling by jeep to explore the Royal Halls and enjoy magnificent views. This afternoon, see the sights of Jaipur, including the stunning City Palace museum complex, the famous astronomical observatory and the 18th-century 'Palace of the Winds'. Dinner tonight is with a local Rajasthani family in the city.
Day Five: From Jaipur to Ranthambhore
Beautiful Ranthambhore National Park is one of the best examples of India's conservation programme Project Tiger, and the destination for your next two-night stay. Rest and relax in the park's surroundings, or join this afternoon's optional excursion to take in the views from Ranthambhore Fort
Day Six: Guided wildlife safaris in Ranthambhore National Park
Today's highlights will be two canter (open-air vehicle) safaris in the company of a knowledgeable naturalist guide. Search for signs of the legendary Tigers of Ranthambhore, as well as some of the park's other inhabitants: striped hyenas, sambar deer, sloth bears and perhaps even leopards. Lunch is included today.
Day Seven: From Ranthambhore to Dholpur
Travel to Dholpur today, and enjoy a visit to the local village during the afternoon. Spend the night here, enjoying an evening cookery demonstration before dinner.
Day Eight: Included excursions to Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal
An early morning cruise on the Chambal River offers the opportunity to spot crocodiles, turtles and an assortment of birds. Then, travel to Agra, the 'City of Love', whose crowning glory is the awe-inspiring Taj Mahal. Visit majestic Agra Fort before your first sight of the 'Taj' - a monument to undying love - viewed in all its glory at sunset.
Day Nine: Included Taj Mahal sunrise visit
Start your day with an early morning and a sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal from across the Yamuna River. Afterwards, bid farewell to Agra, and make your way back to Delhi for an overnight stay.
Day 10: Included Shatabdi Express train travel
This morning, we'll board the air-conditioned Shatabdi Express train heading north from Delhi to Jalandhar. You'll travel in first class, and breakfast will be provided en route. On arrival, enjoy lunch, and then transfer to Pragpur hill station, where you'll stay for the next two nights.
This former Royal settlement was declared India's first Heritage Village and has become a living museum radiating relaxed charm, history and culture. Highlights include the 19th-century artificial Taal pond - the centre of village life - the colourful temples and the traditional artisans' shops.
There will also be a cookery demonstration at the hotel during your stay.
Day 11: The Himalayan foothills
Spend a full day out in the foothills of the Himalayas, calling at Dharamsala, where lunch is included. This former British hill station still draws international visitors - as does its upper town, McLeod Ganj, not least because it's the Dalai Lama's home-in-exile. On our return, we'll stop to enjoy exceptional views and a late lunch at hilltop Kangra Fort.
This evening, enjoy dinner at your hotel.
Day 12: From the Himalayas to Amritsar
Today you'll take a scenic journey across the Punjabi plain to Amritsar. Freshen up at your hotel before the perfect introduction to this city.
At the breathtaking Golden Temple, Sikhism's holiest shrine, join the throng for the extraordinary Palki ceremony. Visitors are welcome to join the devotees who line the bridge over the sacred lake each evening for the procession of the Granth Sahib, Sikhism's Holy Book.
Day 13: Included Golden Temple tour
Today brings another opportunity to visit the Golden Temple. The jewel-encrusted, golden-domed main temple, the vast dining hall - where food is distributed free to some 35,000 people each day - and the Central Sikh Museum are all highlights of a fascinating day.
You'll also visit the poignant Jallianwala Bagh memorial park, which commemorates one of the bloodiest days in Indian history. You will also have the chance to visit the bustling bazaar in the heart of the Old Town. This evening, you'll make the short journey out to the Indo-Pakistani border crossing at Wagah, where the gates are closed and the flags lowered at sunset in a colourful, unforgettable ceremony.
Day 14: Fly to Goa
Fly to Goa, meet your guide at the airport and transfer south along the coast to your hotel, for a three-night stay. Spend the rest of the day relaxing by the expansive pool or enjoying an ayurvedic massage in the hotel's tranquil spa.
Day 15: Rest and relax
Choose to spend today soaking up the southern Indian sun, perhaps by the hotel's pool, or venture further afield to explore the wide-open beaches situated just a moment's walk from your hotel. Likewise, choose to dine in your hotel, or to visit one of a number of local eateries.
Day 16: Optional excursion to Aguada Fort and the Basilica of Bom Jesus
Once again, today you are free to simply let Goa's relaxed southern feeling wash over you, perhaps with a long, lazy walk on the beach. Alternatively, choose to join us on an optional excursion to Aguada Fort and the Basilica of Bom Jesus.
Day 17: Fly back to the UK
Bid a fond farewell to Portuguese influenced Goa, as you transfer from your hotel to the airport and board your flight home.
India - Tigers, the Taj Mahal, Amritsar & Goa Extension Hotels
Diwali - India's Festival of Lights
Passengers travelling on the 31st October 2018, 24th October 2019 and 12th November 2020 departures will have the chance to celebrate Diwali, a major Hindu festival marked by family gatherings, and by decorative displays of candles and lamps shining from rooftops and doorsteps, in windows, and all around temple buildings.
Holi - India's Festival of Colours and Love
Passengers travelling on the 14th March 2019 and 5th March 2020 departures will be able to join the joyful crowds throwing coloured powder into the air in celebration of Krishna and the beginning of spring.
Chambal River cruise
Cruise is dependent on water levels.
Taj Mahal restoration work
The white marble of the Taj Mahal is being gradually cleaned in a process that will take up to four years. Parts of the monument's surface may be covered during this process though your visit and access to the main dome is not likely to be restricted.
Hotel transfer times
The transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately one hour.
Passports and visas
British citizens require machine-readable passports when travelling overseas. Your passport must contain two blank pages and be valid for 180 days after your return date from India. A visa is also required for entry to India. Full details of how and when to apply will be sent out about eight weeks before departure. British CITIZENS and some other European nationals satisfying certain conditions may use the online e-Tourist Visa application process at a cost of $100 (US) per person. Other British passport holders, who are not British CITIZENS, must apply for a full visa which costs £112. You may also, at extra cost, use the services of CIBT, our recommended visa handling partner, who will handle the whole process for you. Note that all travellers of Pakistani descent, regardless of citizenship, will generally be subject to more detailed processing by the Indian authorities, which can take up to four months from application.
Foreign Office Travel Advice
Visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice to find out the latest Foreign And Commonwealth Office travel advice for your holiday destination, as well as information about passports and visas.
On your flight
All outbound flights leave in the evening and land at your destination the next day. All return flights leave in the morning and land in the UK on the same day. On-board meals will usually include dinner and breakfast on outbound flights, and lunch and a snack on the flight home. Drinks are complimentary.
You are permitted to take one suitcase per person on the aircraft, which should not exceed 23kg.
If you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.
The majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made. In many developing countries access is sometimes not as easy as at home. Should you have walking difficulties, getting around monuments and attractions may be harder and, in some cases, impossible. Should you have any concerns whatsoever please do contact us prior to travel.
Requirements and advice can vary over time, and from person to person, so please contact your GP about eight weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or any other preventive measures.
Occasionally, for operational reasons, we may have to change the order of the excursions on your holiday. The final day-by-day itinerary will be confirmed on your Final Travel Documents, which you will receive approximately three weeks prior to your departure.
Changes to your hotels
Should circumstances require, we reserve the right to accommodate you in alternative hotels, of a similar standard, nearby. Full details of your hotels will be sent with your Final Travel Documents.
In developing countries road networks are continually being improved and expanded, which can mean that, from time to time, roadworks and rough road surfaces can extend journey times. Some journeys are made on winding mountain roads and passes, which may also make for slow travelling - although the scenery is usually worth it! Many roads do not have separate pavements or safety barriers, and great care should be taken when crossing or walking alongside roads.