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Ancient, colonial & natural grandeur

Discover the glorious cities of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, Ranthambhore’s tigers and the Raj-era comforts of India’s most famous hill station.

Combine a tour of the classic sights of India’s capital and the wonders of Rajasthan with a journey back in time to Shimla, the quintessentially colonial haven high in the Himalayan foothills. Begin in Delhi, before journeying on to Shimla, the former summer capital of the Raj. The Pink City of Jaipur, with its extraordinary Fort and palaces, Agra’s majestic Fort and peerless Taj Mahal, and stays in famed Ranthambhore Park and a wonderful jungle resort complete this unforgettable journey.

Extend your holiday with a visit to Kerala. See Kochi’s famous Chinese fishing nets as well as enjoying a spice plantation visit and a houseboat cruise on the backwaters. You’ll also visit Periyar National Park for a chance to see the wildlife.

What does this price include?

  • 11 nights' dinner, bed and breakfast accommodation in a series of four-star and five-star standard hotels in Delhi (2 nights), Shimla (2), Jaipur (2), Agra (1), Ranthambhore (2) and Vanaashrya (2), plus one night on the aircraft
  • Five nights' half-board accommodation at hotels in Kochi (2 nights), Periyar (1) and Alleppey (2)
  • 12 lunches
  • Return flights to Delhi via Abu Dhabi returning from Kochi via Abu Dhabi
  • An internal flight from Delhi to Kochi
  • All rail travel in India
  • Comfortable, air-conditioned coach travel and transfers throughout
  • Fully escorted by a friendly, experienced tour manager

Your Itinerary

  • Fly overnight from the UK to Delhi via Abu Dhabi.

  • You'll arrive in Delhi, this morning, meet your tour manager and transfer to your first hotel. After lunch, enjoy a guided tour of some of the city’s major sights, including the historic Red Fort, Jama Masjid Mosque and Raj Ghat (Gandhi’s cremation site), as well as the Raj-era grandeur of New Delhi. Complete the day with an exhilarating rickshaw ride before dinner at the hotel.

  • This morning you'll catch the train to Chandigarh. From here, you'll journey up to Kandaghat to board the "toy train" to Shimla. Relax as the narrow-gauge route winds its scenic way into the foothills of the Himalayas, along the line opened by Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India, in 1903, to where the magnificent Oberoi Cecil Hotel waits to welcome you.

  • We’ll rejoin the "toy train", this morning, for a short journey through the mountains to Tara Devi’s Hindu Temple. Enjoy lunch at Clark’s hotel, the first hotel of the now world famous Oberoi chain, before heading out for an afternoon guided tour of Shimla. We'll visit the teak-panelled rooms of Viceregal Lodge - a former British summer retreat and where the map of Indian Partition was drawn up. Other highlights will include the high, open space of the Ridge, dwarfed by the Gothic spires of the very English Christ Church and offering superb views of the distant peaks, and the shops of Mall Road. We'll pass the colonial Gaiety Theatre, and join the throng at Scandal Point, Shimla's traditional meeting place.

  • Today we'll retrace our steps, heading back down to Chandigarh for the return rail journey to Delhi.

  • After a morning drive to Jaipur, and lunch when we arrive in the city, you'll have the afternoon free to relax or join our optional excursion to Elefantastic. This conservation sanctuary is home to some of the world’s most extraordinary animals, and you'll the chance to get up close to some of its rescued elephants.

  • After breakfast you'll visit the former Rajput capital, Amber, and its vast fort, climbing by jeep to visit the Royal Halls and take in the magnificent views from the ramparts.

    After lunch, you'll take a guided tour of Jaipur to see the City Palace museums and ancient astronomical observatory of the City Palace, and drive past the 18th-century Palace of the Winds with its ornate windows and screened balconies.

    This evening, enjoy a special dinner at historic Nokha House, hosted in traditional Rajasthani style by the Rathore family.

  • Bid farewell to Jaipur after breakfast, and journey to Agra, the fabled City of Love. After a visit to the royal pavilions, palaces and courtyards of majestic Agra Fort, you’ll make your first visit to the incomparable Taj Mahal, a monument to undying love, to see it in all its glory at sunset.

  • Awaken early to pay a second visit to the Taj Mahal, watching the sun rise over it from across the Yamuna River. We'll return to the hotel for breakfast, and then leave Agra behind as we head to Abhaneri. This ancient village is home to Chand Baori, one of the oldest and most intricate stepwells in India, its 13 storeys and 3500 steps offering access to water and much-needed refuge from the sun's heat.

    After lunch at the sumptuous Umaid Lake Palace heritage hotel, we'll continue to Ranthambhore National Park. This former royal hunting ground is now a key centre for Project Tiger, and its grasslands, streams and beautiful pools are home to striped hyenas, sambar deer, sloth bears and of course tigers.

    This evening, prior to tomorrow's adventures, enjoy a tiger talk from a local naturalist.

  • Today’s two canter (open-air vehicle) safaris in the Park are sure to be highlights of your entire holiday. Join a knowledgeable naturalist guide to search your surroundings for signs of tigers, leopards and other species in their natural environment.

  • Rest and relax this morning, or join our optional excursion to Ranthambhore Fort, climbing the gradual, 273-step path to take in the stupendous views.

    Later, journey into the Aravali Hills and head to the jungle resort of Vanaashyra, calling en route at the fascinating ruins of 17th-century Bhangarh fort.

  • Rest and relax at Vanaashyra, then enjoy an afternoon camel-cart ride and a cookery demonstration before a farewell dinner at the resort.

  • Begin your extended tour with a flight to the southern Indian jewel of Kochi, where you will be met by your tour guide and escorted to your first hotel - the four-star deluxe Trident. Check-in, rest and relax, or take a dip in the courtyard pool, prior to taking dinner in the hotel's restaurant.

  • Begin your exploration of Kerala, 'God's Own Country', today, with a tour of historic Kochi. Take in the Portuguese-built and peculiarly named Dutch Palace, the spectacular Paradesi Synagogue and the area's photogenic Chinese fishing nets. In the evening, enjoy a traditional Kathakali dance show.

  • This morning travel to Periyar, inland from Kochi, to spend one night in the Greenwoods Hotel. After checking into your hotel, enjoy an enlightening tour of a local spice plantation. In the evening, relax in your hotel, taking advantage of its spa, swimming pool and treehouse cafe.

  • Rise early on the fourth day of your extension to take to the waters of Lake Periyar for a wildlife boat tour, after which we transfer to our third and final stop, coastal Alleppey. Check in to your resort hotel set on the lush banks of the Punnamada Lake, and spend the rest of the day recharging your batteries.

  • Get to know Kerala's famous backwaters, today, as you take lunch on a traditional kettuvallam houseboat and relax as life plays out on the area's labyrinthine banks. Later, return to your hotel and enjoy a restful evening looking back on your journey through India.

  • On your final day in India, transfer from Alleppey to Kochi, and board your flight back to the UK via Abu Dhabi.

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Hotels

India - Tigers, the Taj Mahal, Shimla and Kerala Extension Hotels

You will be staying in a series of comfortable hotels that are conveniently located for your tour itinerary.

Further Information

  • The transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately one hour.
  • 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.
  • Dependent on flight times from Delhi, the 'toy train' journey may take place on Day Five, en route back down to Chandigarh.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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