Grand India

22 day Grand India tour with return flights, accommodation, coach transportation, sightseeing, tour guides and more!

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  • 22 Day Grand India Tour – Deposit now for 2017
  • 22 Day Grand India Tour – Deposit now for 2017
  • 22 Day Grand India Tour – Deposit now for 2017
  • 22 Day Grand India Tour – Deposit now for 2017
  • 22 Day Grand India Tour – Deposit now for 2017
  • 22 Day Grand India Tour – Deposit now for 2017
  • 22 Day Grand India Tour – Deposit now for 2017
  • 22 Day Grand India Tour – Deposit now for 2017
  • 22 Day Grand India Tour – Deposit now for 2017
  • Customer service and quality of holiday offered were excellent
  • Thanks for making my holiday one that I will remember for a long time
  • What can I say? I've waited years to visit The Taj Mahal, and on walking through the archway my breath was taken away, emotions ran high and tears flowed ,… JMCD47
  • The taj was going to be one of the main highlights of our 3 week trip to India and it didn't disappoint. Words just don't do it justice; you have… Grantsleeds
  • We were extremely happy with the tour and our visit to India
  • A wonderful experience that will be remembered for a long time. Yes we would book Webjet Exclusive again and looking forward to planning our next trip with you. Annette W
  • Our tour leader Indira did a fantastic job, coach driver & assistant were great, the deluxe hotels were nice. Tom V
  • The accommodation nwas unique, often providing excellent food and entertainment., The nprogram was perfect with inclusions beyond expectations. The bus was ncomfortable and the driver and assistant were excellent. We… Marion M
  • Our days were full but what wonderful sights, sounds and experiences. Our accommodation was the 3 star hotel option which were clean, tidy, comfortable and in the centre of the…
  • It was great. We saw everything we expected to see and more. The local guides were generally good to very good and our escort Mr Akshay was delightful. He was… Elizabeth J
  • I had an amazing trip which was made even more special by the excellent tour guide I had - Monty Bhatt. A real assesst & credit to your team Christine Mudde
  • The tour was fantastic and made even more special by our guide, Kuldeep Pujari, who went out of his way to help us and to show us as much (and… Anne O

Highlights

 

The beauty, diversity and vibrance of India really must be seen to be believed. Drenched in mesmerising colours, ancient traditions and intriguing culture, India is as fascinating as it is vast.

See the very best of this breath-taking country with a once-in-a-lifetime 22 day Grand India tour. Be awed as you walk inside the famous Taj Mahal, find enlightenment at the holy site of Daswamedha Ghat in Varanasi and explore buzzing Delhi.

View spectacular ancient temples, eat delicious local cuisine, wander the streets of charming Jaipur and so much more. This tour is without a doubt the trip of a lifetime.

See the full itinerary here

Enhance your journey by adding a 7 day Kerala Backwaters extension as your explore the south by houseboat.

See the extended itinerary here

Your package includes return international airfares, accommodation, dedicated tour guides, coach transportation, meals, sightseeing and more.

See the What You Get section for more.

 

 
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Day 1: Australia –  airplane-takeoff  – Delhi

Depart Australia today on your flight to Delhi (please note, some flight may depart 1 day before). You will arrive at New Delhi International Airport. Following customs, immigration formalities and baggage collection, a Webjet representative will meet you as you exit the arrivals hall. 

India’s capital and a major gateway to the country, contemporary Delhi is a bustling metropolis, which successfully combines in its folds – the ancient with the modern. Amidst the fast spiraling skyscrapers, the remnants of a bygone time, in the form of its many monuments, stand as silent reminders to the region’s ancient legacy. Delhi is a food-lovers haven and has something to please every palate. There is an unlimited variety available across cuisines, across price-brackets and across experiences – from street food of North India to International cuisine and from road-side dhabas to finedining – Delhi has it all. 

Day 2: Delhi (B,D)

Today we head out on a full day to explore Delhi. Begin your day with a guided tour of the Old City of ‘Shahjahanabad’. Your introduction to the city will start with a visit to Raj Ghat – the cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi, drive past the Red Fort—the magical monument in red sandstone built at the pinnacle of the Mughal Empire. From here proceed by bicycle rickshaws through the bustling streets to Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in Asia built by Shahjahan. 

Continue on a guided tour of New Delhi, which reflects the legacy the British left behind. You will visit Qutab Minar, the tallest stone tower in India built to establish the might of Islam and onset of Muslim rule in India and Humayun’s tomb, the first great example of a new distinctive style, which developed to become the hallmark of the Mughal Dynasty. We also drive past the imposing India Gate (War Memorial Arch), the Parliament buildings and the Rashtrapati Bhawan (the President’s residence) before returning to the hotel. Tonight, get to know your fellow travellers with a welcome dinner.

Day 3: Delhi – Mandawa (B)

After breakfast, we drive to Mandawa (245 km/ 7 hrs drive). In the heart of the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan is the beautiful small town of Mandawa, known throughout the state for its forts and havelis. The structures of this place are a reminder of the cultural and social hotspot this place used to be in the bygone era. This afternoon we explore the magnificent Frescoes Havelis. The beautiful havelis, painted predominantly in vibrant colours, have beautiful wall paintings that adorn their walls in this semi-desert region.

Day 4: Mandawa – Bikaner – Gajner (B)

After breakfast, you will be driven to Bikaner (245 km / 5 hrs drive). On arrival we head out for a sightseeing tour of Bikaner. Lying in the north of the desert state of Rajasthan, the city of Bikaner is dotted with many sand dunes. More popularly called the camel country, the city is renowned for the best riding camels in the world. Bikaner’s forts, palaces and temples are magnificent creations in red and yellow sandstone and are living manifestations of its rich historical and architectural legacy. We visit one of the most interesting forts in Rajasthan, with its sumptuously decorated interiors. Junagarh Fort built in 1588 by Raja Rai Singh it is unusual in the sense that it was one of the few major forts of Rajasthan that was not built on a hilltop. Instead, it was built on the desert plains; its rugged sandstone bastions and graceful pavilions and balconies are silhouetted against the sky. Following Junagarh Fort, we go for a walk around the local bazaars of Bikaner. Before continuing our drive to Gajner for our overnight. 

Day 5: Gajner – Jaisalmer (B)

After breakfast we begin our drive to Jaisalmer (297 km/ 6.5 hrs drive). Rising from the heart of the Thar Desert like a golden mirage is the city of Jaisalmer founded by Rao Jaisal. A commanding fort etched in yellow sandstone stands, with all its awesome splendour, dominating the amber-huedcity. The name Jaisalmer evokes a vivid picture of sheer magic and brilliance of the desert. Famous for the Jaisalmer Fort, sand dunes, and ideal for camel rides and safaris. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure.

Day 6: Jaisalmer (B)

After breakfast, proceed on a tour of Jaisalmer including a visit to Jaisalmer Fort – built in 1156 the fort stands proudly amidst the golden stretches of the great Thar Desert. Located on the top of the Trikuta Hill, the ramparts, bastions and the long-stretching walls of the fort dazzle gloriously during early morning and at sunset. Continue on to Gadsisar Lake, a rain water lake, adorned with an arched gateway. Many small shrines and temples are festooned all around the lake. 

Continue on a visit to some of the most exquisitely carved havelis of Jaisalmer. Built in the 19th Century by wealthy merchants, these havelis (or mansions) are intricately carved in yellow sandstone. The entrances of the havelis are raised high above the street to prevent sand from blowing into rooms; jharokhas (projecting balconies), jails (latticed stone screens) and the inner courtyards, which were protected places for the children to play and women to go about their chores, are some of the characteristic features of these mansions. 

Later in the afternoon, drive to the outskirts to view the sunset on the picturesque sand dunes. The ripples on the wind-caressed dunes creating an enchanting mirage are surely a delight. An exciting camel ride on the sandy terrain will allow you to get the real feel of the desert.

Day 7: Jaislamer – Jodhpur (B)

In the morning, you will be driven to the blue city of Jodhpur (303 Km/ 7 hours drive). Jodhpur, also called the ‘Blue City’ located on the edge of the Thar Desert was once the capital of the former princely state of Marwar state founded in 1459 by Rao Jodha and is now the second largest city of Rajasthan. Flanked on its western side by the Mehrangarh Fort, and on the eastern side by the stately sandstone Palace of Umaid Bhawan; the monuments temples and gardens of Jodhpur depict a multi-faceted grandeur.

On arrival, we’ll begin with an in depth tour of Jodhpur starting at the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort, one of Rajasthan’s finest forts, looks down protectively over the city, from the hilltop. Still run by the Maharaja of Jodhpur, this 5 km long majestic fort on a 125 metre high hill is one of the most impressive and formidable structures. There are seven gates that lead into the fort. Inside the fort is a series of courtyards and palaces. The palace apartments with marvellously carved panels, latticed windows have evocative names such as Sukh Mahal (Pleasure Palace), Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace), the Phool Mahal (Flower Palace) and the Sheesh Mahal (Palace of Mirrors). These palaces house a fabulous collection of trappings of Indian royalty including a superb collection of palanquins, elephant howdahs (used when the Maharajas rode their elephants in processions), miniature paintings, musical instruments, costumes and furniture. 

Optional Tour: Zipping At Mehrangarh Fort [Not Operational from May to July] During your visit to the Mehrangarh Fort, which has been described by Rudyard Kipling as “the creation of angels, fairies and giants”, enjoy a thrilling experience of zipping on 6 separate zip lines. Catch the breath-taking views of the forbidding ramparts of this fort as you indulge in this aerial adventure of rolling away and hooting in excitement! 

We continue to Jaswant Thada, located a short distance from the fort, just off the fort road, is a white marble memorial to Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. The cenotaph built in 1899, was followed by the royal crematorium and three other cenotaphs that stand nearby. There are some beautiful marble jali (lattice) work and fine views from the terrace in front of the cenotaphs. The rest of the evening is at leisure.

Day 8: Jodhpur—Udaipur (B)

This morning after breakfast, you will be driven to the ‘City of Lake’ Udaipur (280 Km/ 7 hrs drive) en route visit the beautiful Ranakpur Jain Temples. 

Deep in the forest, tucked away in a remote and quite valley of the Aravalli Range, some 90 km from Udaipur is Ranakpur. It boasts of some of the most exquisite Jain temples in the country famous for their intricate friezes and sculptures. The main shrine of Adinath, with its 1444 exquisitely carved columns is the largest and most complex Jain temple in the country. Two Jain temples dedicated to Neminath and Parsvanath and a Sun Temple a little distance away are also noteworthy.

Udaipur – the ‘City of Lakes’, is the capital of the erstwhile kingdom of Mewar, one of the oldest surviving dynasties in the world and was established around 1567 A.D. The chequered history of Mewar is showcased in the city of Udaipur, which is akin to an oasis in the desert state of Rajasthan. It is a rich and beguiling tapestry of lakeside palaces, forts, temples, havelis and gardens, reflecting the varied influences of the centuries. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure. 

Day 9: Udaipur (B)

This morning we visit Nagda & Eklinji Temples Nagda, located 23 km from Udaipur has temples dating back to the 6th century, including the famous 11th century Sas-Bahu (mother -in-law-daughter-in-law) twin temples with intricate architecture and carvings and the Adbhutji temple. Both temples are at the edge of a lake and submerged within the lake are several later structures. Following visit, continue to Eklinji, a complex of 108 temples enclosed by high walls dedicated to Lord Shiva – the deity of the Maharanas of Mewar. Located about 22km north of Udaipur, the Shiva temple here was originally built in 734 AD. The walled complex includes an elaborately pillared hall under a large pyramidal roof and features a four-faced Shiva image of black marble. 

Later this afternoon, we delve further into the ‘city of lakes’ with a visit to the City Palace which stands on a hill on the banks of Lake Pichola, surrounded by crenulated walls. Built in 1567, it is composed of 4 major palaces and several minor palaces that form a single facade. Its main entrance is through a triple arched gate, the Tripolia, built in 1725. The gate leads to a series of courtyards, corridors and gardens. 

Continue on to Saheliyon-ki-Bari (Garden of the maids of honour), a small ornamental garden which was a popular relaxing spot where royal ladies came for a stroll and hence the name. The garden has many fountains in its four delightful pools, chiselled kiosks and marble elephants. 

No trip is complete without a tour of the colourful Spice Market of the Old city. India – the land of spices plays a significant role in the global spices market. No country in the world produces as many kinds of spices as India. The climate of the country is suitable for almost all spices.

Optional Tour: Folk Music & Dance at Bagore Ki Haveli This evening, proceed for an interesting dance performance at the 18th-century haveli museum, on the water’s edge near Gangaur Ghat. Built by a former prime minister and has been carefully restored, the upper courtyard here makes an atmospheric setting for fabulous Rajasthani dance performances. 

Day 10: Udaipur – Jaipur (B)

In the morning, we drive to the pink city of Jaipur (415 Km/ 7 hrs drive).

Jaipur, one of the most enticing places in India, is nestled between mighty forts and the rugged Aravalli Hills. It is known as ‘the pink city’ as its prominent buildings are washed in this colour. Founded by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh in 1727, Jaipur is steeped in Rajput history and is characterised by sites such as the City Palace with its astronomical Observatory, Hawa Mahal and the beautiful Amber Fort. Jaipur is a bustling capital city and a business centre with all the trappings of a modern metropolis yet flavoured strongly with an age-old charm that never fails to surprise a traveller. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure.

Optional Tour: Interaction followed by Dinner with Indian Family Familiarise yourself with the climatic, cultural and historical influences that make India so diverse. Experience culinary delights, savour the tantalizing flavours and bask in a blend of aromas of Indian cuisine. Celebrate the love of food and listen to secrets from your hosts who are highly inspired from the rich traditions and exuberant hospitality that India is famous for! 

Day 11: Jaipur (B)

An exciting day awaits you as begin your sightseeing tour with a photo visit at the Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) – a five-storied wonder with a spectacular pyramidal facade and overhanging windows with latticed screens, domes and spires. Continue your tour as you drive to the ancient capital of Amer to see the fabulous Amber Fort, situated on a ridge just outside Jaipur city, surrounded by fortified battlements. Maharaja Mansingh, Mughal Emperor Akbar’s most successful General, started the construction of Amber Fort in the 17th century. Before the City Palace was constructed in Jaipur, Amber was the seat of power. The fort is surrounded by fortified battlements and overlooks the Moat Lake. Ruins and remains are spread over the Aravalli hills and sprawling crenellated walls lattice the surrounding area. 

At the foot of the hill you will be taken on the jeep up to the main gate. Tour the chambers and hallways of the palace, famous for the excellence of its design and decoration. Within the complex is Ganesh Pol, an imposing gateway painted with the images of the elephantheaded god, Ganesh. The merging of Rajput and Mughal architectural styles is captured in the Sukh Niwas and Jas Mandir apartments, and the Charbagh garden with its perfectly proportioned landscaping. Pierced screen windows offer views from different vantage points and shimmering mirrors encrust the walls of Sheesh Mahal. 

Optional Tour: Elephant Trek followed by Lunch Experience a unique and interesting insight into rural Rajasthan as you drive through the countryside to the starting point of your trek. Beautifully decorated elephants await the arrival of the guests and the safari commences as the elephant and his well-dressed mahout salute the guests. You will be taken through a series of farms and fields and a few quiet villages tucked away in the countryside. Following which, a sumptuous lunch awaits amidst the rustic environs. 

This afternoon, enjoy a tour of the Pink City, an “abode of rajahs”. The highlights of the tour include a visit to the City Palace Museum, which has a superb collection of Rajasthani costumes, and armory of Mughals and Rajputs including swords of different shapes and sizes with chiseled handles. Many antiques and artifacts belonging to the ruling family are housed here, including a collection of weaponry. It also has an art gallery with an excellent collection of miniature paintings, carpets, royal paraphernalia and rare astronomical works in Arabic, Persian, Latin and Sanskrit. Proceed to the aweinspiring Jantar Mantar Observatory.

Day 12: Jaipur—Agra (B)

After breakfast, we head to the Mughal city of Agra (237 Km / 7 hrs drive) en-route visiting Akbar’s abandoned capital, Fatehpur Sikri. Located 40 km from Agra, Fatehpur Sikri was built by Mughal emperor Akbar in 1571 in honour of the Sufi saint, Sheikh Salim Chisti. It was the Mughal capital for 14 years after which it was abandoned due to paucity of water. It is made of red sandstone and combines influences from both Hindu and Mughal architecture. Even to this day, the entrance to the fort is through the road that Akbar built which leads to the Buland Darwaza, a huge 54 metres gateway. Other inspiring monuments in Fatehpur Sikri are the Hiran Minar that Akbar built in memory of his favourite elephant, Tomb of Sheikh Salim Chishti, Birbal’s House and the Diwan-i-Khas. On arrival in to Agra, we check in to the hotel.

Get ready! Tomorrow morning we head to the splendid Taj Mahal. 

Day 13: Agra – Orchha (B)

This morning we head out for the big one! The Taj Mahal, for a spectacle not to be missed— a sunrise visit to the legendary Taj Mahal. Witness the dramatic interplay of light as the sun rises and casts its golden rays over the pearl white tomb, recreating the magic of the Taj. 

Built by Emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century as a mausoleum for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, a masterpiece in marble and one of the world’s most famous landmarks. The monument was commissioned in 1631 and took 20,000 artisans, 22 years to complete. As the sun sets, a chaste and secretive image of the Taj starts to emerge, casting a very soft light illuminating the contours of this enchanting monument in marble. Referred to as one of the wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal in Agra is the epitome of tourism in India and is celebrated for its architectural magnificence and aesthetic beauty. 

There is plenty of time to explore the grounds of the Taj Mahal gardens before returning to the hotel for breakfast. Post breakfast we make our way to Orchha (202 Km/ 4 hrs drive).

This historic village on the banks of the Betwa River showcases a supreme display of Mughal architecture, some of which is similar to that of nearby Khajuraho with much grander palaces and cenotaphs dotting the pastoral landscape as well. The atmosphere in Orchha, though, is far more laid-back and hassle-free, which makes for a relaxing stay. 

Day 14: Orchha – Khajuraho (B)

This morning we explore Orchha village. Orchha’s fort complex, the entrance of which is a multi-arched bridge, has three impressive palaces placed in an open quadrangle. The first of these is the Jehangir Mahal, built by Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo in the 17th century, to mark the occasion of Emperor Jehangir’s visit to the city. Fragile chhatries and ornate trellis work heighten the effect of artistic richness. The Raj Mahal was built by Madhukar Shah, the religious predecessor of Bir Singh Ju Deo. The interiors boast of intricate murals, depicting various religious themes. The Rai Praveen Mahal was built for the famous musician-poetess paramour of King Indramani, Rai Praveen, as a mark of admiration by Emperor Akbar. There are 14 cenotaphs or chhatries to the rulers of Orchha, across the Kanchana Ghat of the Betwa River. 

We then continue our journey to Khajuraho (172 km/ 4 hrs drive). In the afternoon we explore Khajuraho’s Eastern Group of temples. This group comprises of two historic Jain temples – the Adinath Temple lavishly embellished with sculpted figures, and the Parsvanath Temple, the largest Jain temple, sculpted with charming detail. There are other shrines such as the Vamana Temple with apsaras in sensuous poses, and the Javari Temple that has a richlycarved doorway. Continue to the Western Group of temples which are entirely Hindu, and constitute some of the finest examples of Chandela art at its peak. The largest being the Kandhariya Mahadev dedicated to Lord Shiva, followed by a granite temple – Chaunsath Yogini. The Chitragupta Temple is dedicated to the Sun God, while the Vishwanath Temple sports a three-headed image of Brahma – the Creator of the Universe. The Lakshmana Temple is superbly decorated, while the Devi Jagdambi Temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali. Other temples in the Western Group include the Varaha Temple with a nine-foot high boar-incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the Matangeshwara Temple with an eight-foot high lingam, and the Brahma Temple.

Day 15: Khajuraho – Allahabad (B)

After breakfast we leave Khajuraho behind us and continue our journey east to Allahabad (276 km/ 7 hrs drive).

Allahabad is among the largest and holiest cities in Uttar Pradesh. It stands at the confluence of two of India’s holiest rivers, the Ganges and the Yamuna. Sangam, as the confluence is called, is the venue of many sacred fairs and rituals and attracts thousands of pilgrims throughout the year. This number swells to millions during the world famous Kumbha Mela. A third mythical river, the Saraswati, believed to flow underground towards the Sangam, gives the confluence its other name ‘Triveni’. On arrival, the rest of the afternoon is free to explore this holy city at your own pace. 

Day 16: Allahabad – Varanasi (B)

This morning enjoy a tour of Allahabad including a visit to the Fort, built from 1583 onwards by Akbar at the confluence of the two great Rivers Ganges and Jamuna. The largest of Akbar’s forts, although most of its original form has been impaired by poor early restoration work. The fort consists of a beautiful zenana palace with a fine baradari or pavilion with a central square hall, carved on 64 columns surrounded by a deep veranda of double columns with clusters of four in each corner. Continue to the Khusrau Bagh, once the pleasure garden of Jahangir, son of Akbar. It houses the tomb of Prince Khusrau, elder son of Shah Jahan, who died in 1615. His tomb was completed seven years later and is a large domed structure in Mughal style. Built in the garden enclosure, the actual burial chamber is underground with enriched decorative plasterwork. The complex has two other tombs, one of Khusrau’s sister and the other of his mother. 

We then continue on to one of India’s holiest meccas, Varanasi (121 kms/ 3 hrs drive). Located along the west bank of the holy River Ganges in the state of Uttar Pradesh, the city of Varanasi is a sacred Hindu pilgrimage site and is one of the oldest. It is a city, which enshrines the very essence of Hinduism—temples, shrines and devotees, sunrise boat rides, flower ceremonies with traditional music and walks on the ghats. A city of colourful bazaars exquisite and bright silks, festivals – all centring around the teeming ghats of the Holy Ganges. This evening we head to the Daswamedha Ghat along the River Ganges to witness the special Hindu Aarti ceremony performed. Every evening at 1730 hour (in Winter), a magical Aarti is performed at Dashwamedha Ghat. Halt your boat right at the steps for the best view. The presiding priests stand on a wooden chauki in the water. To the chant of Sanskrit mantras, and the clash of cymbals and drums, the river is worshipped with flowers, incense, sandalwood, milk and vermilion. First the blazing camphor lamp and then the many- flamed aarti lamps are raised high and then arched back to the water, the dark river reflecting the golden flames as Ganga accepts the worship. 

Day 17: Varanasi (B)

Varanasi’s principle attraction is the string of bathing ghats, which line the western ghats of River Ganges. The spectacular 4 Km sweep of the Ghats is a unique sight, best viewed at dawn. This morning we take a boat cruise on the Ganges to soak in the vibrant colour and life of Varanasi (subject to water levels). An early morning boat ride presents an incredible scene as the multitudes of devotees come to the river to pay homage to the Sun God. Pass the bathing ghats where thousands of pilgrims immerse themselves in the holy water of the Ganges River and the burning ghats where cremations are conducted. On our return we visit the bazaars (local market) and Kashi Vishwanath Temple – the most sacred of the shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva. We then return to the hotel for breakfast where to morning is at leisure.

This afternoon, we visit the site where Lord Buddha had preached his first sermon or in religious language, set in motion the Wheel of Law (Maha-Dharmachakra-Pravartan) enshrining the principles of his teaching into laws. 200 years later, in 3rd century BC, the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka who spread the Buddha’s message of love and compassion throughout his vast empire, built massive stupas, viharas and monasteries making it the centre of the Buddhist world. Several Buddhist structures were raised at Sarnath between 3rd century BC and 11th century AD and today it presents the most expansive ruins amongst places on the Buddhist trail.

Day 18: Varanasi – Lucknow (B)

This morning we leave Varanasi behind us and head to Lucknow (300 kms/ 7 hrs drive). For all its modernity, Lucknow remains true to its cultural past, impeccable manners, a courtly diction, and a love for the arts and all beautiful things. The capital city of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow, the erstwhile Awadh or Oudh still preserves the spirit of the past era. On arrival the afternoon is free to explore and enjoy this old World city.

Day 19: Lucknow (B)

This morning we make the most of Lucknow and head out to discover its treasures. We begin with Bara Imambara, built by Nawab Asafuddaula to provide relief to his subjects during the famine of 1784. The splendor of this edifice is a reminder of the past glory of Nawab of Oudh. The Imambara is unique for the absence of pillars or supports in the main hall, which stands 50 feet tall. Continue to the Shah Najaf Imambara, the tomb of Nawab Ghaziuddin Haider, and his family is housed in this majestic white domed building. The tombs are plated in silver and gold and the interiors are ornate with floral designs and chandeliers. Also visit the Jama Masjid, this grand mosque was built by Muhammad Ali Shah in typical Mughal style with tall minarets and onion-shaped domes; Lucknow Residency built during 1780-1800, it was once the political residence of the British officials and Husainabad Picture Gallery, located near the Husainabad Tank houses portraits of the rulers of Awadh. Following todays sightseeing, enjoy a shopping tour of The city of Nawab (Lucknow) where you can find that special memento of your time in India. The rest of the afternoon is then at leisure.  

Day 20: Lucknow – train-icon  – Delhi (B)

After breakfast we have a leisurely morning before making our way to the train station to board our train to Delhi. No trip the India is complete without experiencing a train journey! Without a shadow of a doubt, the best way to see India is not on a plane at 35,000 feet, but at ground level on the incredible Indian railway system. You can safely forget media images of overcrowded suburban trains with people sitting on the roof. On a long distance train in an air-conditioned carriage all seats are reserved and it’s a safe, civilised & comfortable way to get around India. Our train journey to Delhi takes around 7 hours giving you time to watch the world go by. On arrival you will be transferred to your hotel in Delhi.

Day 21: Delhi –  airplane-takeoff  – Australia (B)

After breakfast, the day is at leisure. Later, you will be met at your hotel by a Webjet representative and assisted with your transfer to the international airport for your onward flight home.

Day 22: Australia

Arrive home in Australia today. 

 
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Day 1: Australia – airplane-takeoff– Delhi

Depart Australia today on your flight to Delhi (please note, some flight may depart 1 day before). You will arrive at New Delhi International Airport. Following customs, immigration formalities and baggage collection, a Webjet representative will meet you as you exit the arrivals hall.

India’s capital and a major gateway to the country, contemporary Delhi is a bustling metropolis, which successfully combines in its folds – the ancient with the modern. Amidst the fast spiraling skyscrapers, the remnants of a bygone time, in the form of its many monuments, stand as silent reminders to the region’s ancient legacy. Delhi is a food-lovers haven and has something to please every palate. There is an unlimited variety available across cuisines, across price-brackets and across experiences – from street food of North India to International cuisine and from road-side dhabas to finedining – Delhi has it all.

Day 2: Delhi (B,D)

Today we head out on a full day to explore Delhi. Begin your day with a guided tour of the Old City of ‘Shahjahanabad’. Your introduction to the city will start with a visit to Raj Ghat – the cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi, drive past the Red Fort—the magical monument in red sandstone built at the pinnacle of the Mughal Empire. From here proceed by bicycle rickshaws through the bustling streets to Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in Asia built by Shahjahan.

Continue on a guided tour of New Delhi, which reflects the legacy the British left behind. You will visit Qutab Minar, the tallest stone tower in India built to establish the might of Islam and onset of Muslim rule in India and Humayun’s tomb, the first great example of a new distinctive style, which developed to become the hallmark of the Mughal Dynasty. We also drive past the imposing India Gate (War Memorial Arch), the Parliament buildings and the Rashtrapati Bhawan (the President’s residence) before returning to the hotel. Tonight, get to know your fellow travellers with a welcome dinner.

Day 3: Delhi – Mandawa (B)

After breakfast, we drive to Mandawa (245 km/ 7 hrs drive). In the heart of the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan is the beautiful small town of Mandawa, known throughout the state for its forts and havelis. The structures of this place are a reminder of the cultural and social hotspot this place used to be in the bygone era. This afternoon we explore the magnificent Frescoes Havelis. The beautiful havelis, painted predominantly in vibrant colours, have beautiful wall paintings that adorn their walls in this semi-desert region.

Day 4: Mandawa – Bikaner – Gajner (B)

After breakfast, you will be driven to Bikaner (245 km / 5 hrs drive). On arrival we head out for a sightseeing tour of Bikaner. Lying in the north of the desert state of Rajasthan, the city of Bikaner is dotted with many sand dunes. More popularly called the camel country, the city is renowned for the best riding camels in the world. Bikaner’s forts, palaces and temples are magnificent creations in red and yellow sandstone and are living manifestations of its rich historical and architectural legacy. We visit one of the most interesting forts in Rajasthan, with its sumptuously decorated interiors. Junagarh Fort built in 1588 by Raja Rai Singh it is unusual in the sense that it was one of the few major forts of Rajasthan that was not built on a hilltop. Instead, it was built on the desert plains; its rugged sandstone bastions and graceful pavilions and balconies are silhouetted against the sky. Following Junagarh Fort, we go for a walk around the local bazaars of Bikaner. Before continuing our drive to Gajner for our overnight.

Day 5: Gajner – Jaisalmer (B)

After breakfast we begin our drive to Jaisalmer (297 km/ 6.5 hrs drive).

Rising from the heart of the Thar Desert like a golden mirage is the city of Jaisalmer founded by Rao Jaisal. A commanding fort etched in yellow sandstone stands, with all its awesome splendour, dominating the amber-huedcity. The name Jaisalmer evokes a vivid picture of sheer magic and brilliance of the desert. Famous for the Jaisalmer Fort, sand dunes, and ideal for camel rides and safaris. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure.

Day 6: Jaisalmer (B)

After breakfast, proceed on a tour of Jaisalmer including a visit to Jaisalmer Fort – built in 1156 the fort stands proudly amidst the golden stretches of the great Thar Desert. Located on the top of the Trikuta Hill, the ramparts, bastions and the long-stretching walls of the fort dazzle gloriously during early morning and at sunset. Continue on to Gadsisar Lake, a rain water lake, adorned with an arched gateway. Many small shrines and temples are festooned all around the lake. Continue on a visit to some of the most exquisitely carved havelis of Jaisalmer. Built in the 19th Century by wealthy merchants, these havelis (or mansions) are intricately carved in yellow sandstone. The entrances of the havelis are raised high above the street to prevent sand from blowing into rooms; jharokhas (projecting balconies), jails (latticed stone screens) and the inner courtyards, which were protected places for the children to play and women to go about their chores, are some of the characteristic features of these mansions. Later in the afternoon, drive to the outskirts to view the sunset on the picturesque sand dunes. The ripples on the wind-caressed dunes creating an enchanting mirage are surely a delight. An exciting camel ride on the sandy terrain will allow you to get the real feel of the desert.

Day 7: Jaislamer – Jodhpur (B)

In the morning, you will be driven to the blue city of Jodhpur (303 Km/ 7 hours drive). Jodhpur, also called the ‘Blue City’ located on the edge of the Thar Desert was once the capital of the former princely state of Marwar state founded in 1459 by Rao Jodha and is now the second largest city of Rajasthan. Flanked on its western side by the Mehrangarh Fort, and on the eastern side by the stately sandstone Palace of Umaid Bhawan; the monuments temples and gardens of Jodhpur depict a multi-faceted grandeur.

On arrival, we’ll begin with an in depth tour of Jodhpur starting at the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort, one of Rajasthan’s finest forts, looks down protectively over the city, from the hilltop. Still run by the Maharaja of Jodhpur, this 5 km long majestic fort on a 125 metre high hill is one of the most impressive and formidable structures. There are seven gates that lead into the fort. Inside the fort is a series of courtyards and palaces. The palace apartments with marvellously carved panels, latticed windows have evocative names such as Sukh Mahal (Pleasure Palace), Moti Mahal (Pearl Palace), the Phool Mahal (Flower Palace) and the Sheesh Mahal (Palace of Mirrors). These palaces house a fabulous collection of trappings of Indian royalty including a superb collection of palanquins, elephant howdahs (used when the Maharajas rode their elephants in processions), miniature paintings, musical instruments, costumes and furniture.

Optional Tour: Zipping At Mehrangarh Fort [Not Operational from May to July] During your visit to the Mehrangarh Fort, which has been described by Rudyard Kipling as “the creation of angels, fairies and giants”, enjoy a thrilling experience of zipping on 6 separate zip lines. Catch the breath-taking views of the forbidding ramparts of this fort as you indulge in this aerial adventure of rolling away and hooting in excitement!

We continue to Jaswant Thada, located a short distance from the fort, just off the fort road, is a white marble memorial to Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. The cenotaph built in 1899, was followed by the royal crematorium and three other cenotaphs that stand nearby. There are some beautiful marble jali (lattice) work and fine views from the terrace in front of the cenotaphs. The rest of the evening is at leisure.

Day 8: Jodhpur—Udaipur (B)

This morning after breakfast, you will be driven to the ‘City of Lake’ Udaipur (280 Km/ 7 hrs drive) en route visit the beautiful Ranakpur Jain Temples.

Deep in the forest, tucked away in a remote and quite valley of the Aravalli Range, some 90 km from Udaipur is Ranakpur. It boasts of some of the most exquisite Jain temples in the country famous for their intricate friezes and sculptures. The main shrine of Adinath, with its 1444 exquisitely carved columns is the largest and most complex Jain temple in the country. Two Jain temples dedicated to Neminath and Parsvanath and a Sun Temple a little distance away are also noteworthy.

Udaipur – the ‘City of Lakes’, is the capital of the erstwhile kingdom of Mewar, one of the oldest surviving dynasties in the world and was established around 1567 A.D. The chequered history of Mewar is showcased in the city of Udaipur, which is akin to an oasis in the desert state of Rajasthan. It is a rich and beguiling tapestry of lakeside palaces, forts, temples, havelis and gardens, reflecting the varied influences of the centuries. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure.

Day 9: Udaipur (B)

This morning we visit Nagda & Eklinji Temples Nagda, located 23 km from Udaipur has temples dating back to the 6th century, including the famous 11th century Sas-Bahu (mother-in-law-daughter-in-law) twin temples with intricate architecture and carvings and the Adbhutji temple. Both temples are at the edge of a lake and submerged within the lake are several later structures. Following visit, continue to Eklinji, a complex of 108 temples enclosed by high walls dedicated to Lord Shiva – the deity of the Maharanas of Mewar. Located about 22km north of Udaipur, the Shiva temple here was originally built in 734 AD. The walled complex includes an elaborately pillared hall under a large pyramidal roof and features a four-faced Shiva image of black marble.

Later this afternoon, we delve further into the ‘city of lakes’ with a visit to the City Palace which stands on a hill on the banks of Lake Pichola, surrounded by crenulated walls. Built in 1567, it is composed of 4 major palaces and several minor palaces that form a single facade. Its main entrance is through a triple arched gate, the Tripolia, built in 1725. The gate leads to a series of courtyards, corridors and gardens. Continue on to Saheliyon-ki-Bari (Garden of the maids of honour), a small ornamental garden which was a popular relaxing spot where royal ladies came for a stroll and hence the name. The garden has many fountains in its four delightful pools, chiselled kiosks and marble elephants.

No trip is complete without a tour of the colourful Spice Market of the Old city. India – the land of spices plays a significant role in the global spices market. No country in the world produces as many kinds of spices as India. The climate of the country is suitable for almost all spices.

Optional Tour: Folk Music & Dance at Bagore Ki Haveli This evening, proceed for an interesting dance performance at the 18th-century haveli museum, on the water’s edge near Gangaur Ghat. Built by a former prime minister and has been carefully restored, the upper courtyard here makes an atmospheric setting for fabulous Rajasthani dance performances.

Day 10: Udaipur – Jaipur (B)

In the morning, we drive to the pink city of Jaipur (415 Km/ 7 hrs drive). Jaipur, one of the most enticing places in India, is nestled between mighty forts and the rugged Aravalli Hills. It is known as ‘the pink city’ as its prominent buildings are washed in this colour. Founded by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh in 1727, Jaipur is steeped in Rajput history and is characterised by sites such as the City Palace with its astronomical Observatory, Hawa Mahal and the beautiful Amber Fort. Jaipur is a bustling capital city and a business centre with all the trappings of a modern metropolis yet flavoured strongly with an age-old charm that never fails to surprise a traveller. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure.

Optional Tour: Interaction followed by Dinner with Indian Family Familiarise yourself with the climatic, cultural and historical influences that make India so diverse. Experience culinary delights, savour the tantalizing flavours and bask in a blend of aromas of Indian cuisine. Celebrate the love of food and listen to secrets from your hosts who are highly inspired from the rich traditions and exuberant hospitality that India is famous for!

Day 11: Jaipur (B)

An exciting day awaits you as begin your sightseeing tour with a photo visit at the Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) – a five-storied wonder with a spectacular pyramidal facade and overhanging windows with latticed screens, domes and spires. Continue your tour as you drive to the ancient capital of Amer to see the fabulous Amber Fort, situated on a ridge just outside Jaipur city, surrounded by fortified battlements. Maharaja Mansingh, Mughal Emperor Akbar’s most successful General, started the construction of Amber Fort in the 17th century. Before the City Palace was constructed in Jaipur, Amber was the seat of power. The fort is surrounded by fortified battlements and overlooks the Moat Lake. Ruins and remains are spread over the Aravalli hills and sprawling crenellated walls lattice the surrounding area.

At the foot of the hill you will be taken on the jeep up to the main gate. Tour the chambers and hallways of the palace, famous for the excellence of its design and decoration. Within the complex is Ganesh Pol, an imposing gateway painted with the images of the elephantheaded god, Ganesh. The merging of Rajput and Mughal architectural styles is captured in the Sukh Niwas and Jas Mandir apartments, and the Charbagh garden with its perfectly proportioned landscaping. Pierced screen windows offer views from different vantage points and shimmering mirrors encrust the walls of Sheesh Mahal.

Optional Tour: Elephant Trek followed by Lunch Experience a unique and interesting insight into rural Rajasthan as you drive through the countryside to the starting point of your trek. Beautifully decorated elephants await the arrival of the guests and the safari commences as the elephant and his well-dressed mahout salute the guests. You will be taken through a series of farms and fields and a few quiet villages tucked away in the countryside. Following which, a sumptuous lunch awaits amidst the rustic environs.

This afternoon, enjoy a tour of the Pink City, an “abode of rajahs”. The highlights of the tour include a visit to the City Palace Museum, which has a superb collection of Rajasthani costumes, and armory of Mughals and Rajputs including swords of different shapes and sizes with chiseled handles. Many antiques and artifacts belonging to the ruling family are housed here, including a collection of weaponry. It also has an art gallery with an excellent collection of miniature paintings, carpets, royal paraphernalia and rare astronomical works in Arabic, Persian, Latin and Sanskrit. Proceed to the aweinspiring Jantar Mantar Observatory, a stone astrological and astronomical Observatory built by Maharaja Jai Singh in the 18th century. Located adjacent to the City Palace, Jantar Mantar is an impressive UNESCO World Heritage-listed architectural-astronomical observatory. It consists of some 20 major geometric devices for measuring time, tracking stars in their orbits, ascertaining the declination of planets, accurately determining the celestial altitudes and predicting the occurrence of eclipses.

Day 12: Jaipur—Agra (B) 

After breakfast, we head to the Mughal city of Agra (237 Km / 7 hrs drive) en-route visiting Akbar’s abandoned capital, Fatehpur Sikri. Located 40 km from Agra, Fatehpur Sikri was built by Mughal emperor Akbar in 1571 in honour of the Sufi saint, Sheikh Salim Chisti. It was the Mughal capital for 14 years after which it was abandoned due to paucity of water. It is made of red sandstone and combines influences from both Hindu and Mughal architecture. Even to this day, the entrance to the fort is through the road that Akbar built which leads to the Buland Darwaza, a huge 54 metres gateway. Other inspiring monuments in Fatehpur Sikri are the Hiran Minar that Akbar built in memory of his favourite elephant, Tomb of Sheikh Salim Chishti, Birbal’s House and the Diwan-i-Khas. On arrival in to Agra, we check in to the hotel.

Get ready! Tomorrow morning we head to the splendid Taj Mahal.

Day 13: Agra – Orchha (B)

This morning we head out for the big one! The Taj Mahal, for a spectacle not to be missed— a sunrise visit to the legendary Taj Mahal. Witness the dramatic interplay of light as the sun rises and casts its golden rays over the pearl white tomb, recreating the magic of the Taj.

Built by Emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century as a mausoleum for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, a masterpiece in marble and one of the world’s most famous landmarks. The monument was commissioned in 1631 and took 20,000 artisans, 22 years to complete. As the sun sets, a chaste and secretive image of the Taj starts to emerge, casting a very soft light illuminating the contours of this enchanting monument in marble. Referred to as one of the wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal in Agra is the epitome of tourism in India and is celebrated for its architectural magnificence and aesthetic beauty. There is plenty of time to explore the grounds of the Taj Mahal gardens before returning to the hotel for breakfast. Post breakfast we make our way to Orchha (202 Km/ 4 hrs drive). 

This historic village on the banks of the Betwa River showcases a supreme display of Mughal architecture, some of which is similar to that of nearby Khajuraho with much grander palaces and cenotaphs dotting the pastoral landscape as well. The atmosphere in Orchha, though, is far more laid-back and hassle-free, which makes for a relaxing stay.

Day 14: Orchha – Khajuraho (B)

This morning we explore Orchha village. Orchha’s fort complex, the entrance of which is a multi-arched bridge, has three impressive palaces placed in an open quadrangle. The first of these is the Jehangir Mahal, built by Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo in the 17th century, to mark the occasion of Emperor Jehangir’s visit to the city. Fragile chhatries and ornate trellis work heighten the effect of artistic richness. The Raj Mahal was built by Madhukar Shah, the religious predecessor of Bir Singh Ju Deo. The interiors boast of intricate murals, depicting various religious themes. The Rai Praveen Mahal was built for the famous musician-poetess paramour of King Indramani, Rai Praveen, as a mark of admiration by Emperor Akbar. There are 14 cenotaphs or chhatries to the rulers of Orchha, across the Kanchana Ghat of the Betwa River.

We then continue our journey to Khajuraho (172 km/ 4 hrs drive). In the afternoon we explore Khajuraho’s Eastern Group of temples. This group comprises of two historic Jain temples – the Adinath Temple lavishly embellished with sculpted figures, and the Parsvanath Temple, the largest Jain temple, sculpted with charming detail. There are other shrines such as the Vamana Temple with apsaras in sensuous poses, and the Javari Temple that has a richlycarved doorway. Continue to the Western Group of temples which are entirely Hindu, and constitute some of the finest examples of Chandela art at its peak. The largest being the Kandhariya Mahadev dedicated to Lord Shiva, followed by a granite temple – Chaunsath Yogini. The Chitragupta Temple is dedicated to the Sun God, while the Vishwanath Temple sports a three-headed image of Brahma – the Creator of the Universe. The Lakshmana Temple is superbly decorated, while the Devi Jagdambi Temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali. Other temples in the Western Group include the Varaha Temple with a nine-foot high boar-incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the Matangeshwara Temple with an eight-foot high lingam, and the Brahma Temple.

Day 15: Khajuraho – Allahabad (B)

After breakfast we leave Khajuraho behind us and continue our journey east to Allahabad (276 km/ 7 hrs drive).

Allahabad is among the largest and holiest cities in Uttar Pradesh. It stands at the confluence of two of India’s holiest rivers, the Ganges and the Yamuna. Sangam, as the confluence is called, is the venue of many sacred fairs and rituals and attracts thousands of pilgrims throughout the year. This number swells to millions during the world famous Kumbha Mela. A third mythical river, the Saraswati, believed to flow underground towards the Sangam, gives the confluence its other name ‘Triveni’. On arrival, the rest of the afternoon is free to explore this holy city at your own pace.

Day 16: Allahabad – Varanasi (B)

This morning enjoy a tour of Allahabad including a visit to the Fort, built from 1583 onwards by Akbar at the confluence of the two great Rivers Ganges and Jamuna. The largest of Akbar’s forts, although most of its original form has been impaired by poor early restoration work. The fort consists of a beautiful zenana palace with a fine baradari or pavilion with a central square hall, carved on 64 columns surrounded by a deep veranda of double columns with clusters of four in each corner. Continue to the Khusrau Bagh, once the pleasure garden of Jahangir, son of Akbar. It houses the tomb of Prince Khusrau, elder son of Shah Jahan, who died in 1615. His tomb was completed seven years later and is a large domed structure in Mughal style. Built in the garden enclosure, the actual burial chamber is underground with enriched decorative plasterwork. The complex has two other tombs, one of Khusrau’s sister and the other of his mother.

We then continue on to one of India’s holiest meccas, Varanasi (121 kms/ 3 hrs drive). Located along the west bank of the holy River Ganges in the state of Uttar Pradesh, the city of Varanasi is a sacred Hindu pilgrimage site and is one of the oldest. It is a city, which enshrines the very essence of Hinduism—temples, shrines and devotees, sunrise boat rides, flower ceremonies with traditional music and walks on the ghats. A city of colourful bazaars exquisite and bright silks, festivals – all centring around the teeming ghats of the Holy Ganges. This evening we head to the Daswamedha Ghat along the River Ganges to witness the special Hindu Aarti ceremony performed. Every evening at 1730 hour (in Winter), a magical Aarti is performed at Dashwamedha Ghat. Halt your boat right at the steps for the best view. The presiding priests stand on a wooden chauki in the water. To the chant of Sanskrit mantras, and the clash of cymbals and drums, the river is worshipped with flowers, incense, sandalwood, milk and vermilion. First the blazing camphor lamp and then the many- flamed aarti lamps are raised high and then arched back to the water, the dark river reflecting the golden flames as Ganga accepts the worship.

Day 17: Varanasi (B)

Varanasi’s principle attraction is the string of bathing ghats, which line the western ghats of River Ganges. The spectacular 4 Km sweep of the Ghats is a unique sight, best viewed at dawn. This morning we take a boat cruise on the Ganges to soak in the vibrant colour and life of Varanasi (subject to water levels). An early morning boat ride presents an incredible scene as the multitudes of devotees come to the river to pay homage to the Sun God. Pass the bathing ghats where thousands of pilgrims immerse themselves in the holy water of the Ganges River and the burning ghats where cremations are conducted. On our return we visit the bazaars (local market) and Kashi Vishwanath Temple – the most sacred of the shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva. We then return to the hotel for breakfast where to morning is at leisure.

This afternoon, we visit the site where Lord Buddha had preached his first sermon or in religious language, set in motion the Wheel of Law (Maha-Dharmachakra-Pravartan) enshrining the principles of his teaching into laws. 200 years later, in 3rd century BC, the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka who spread the Buddha’s message of love and compassion throughout his vast empire, built massive stupas, viharas and monasteries making it the centre of the Buddhist world. Several Buddhist structures were raised at Sarnath between 3rd century BC and 11th century AD and today it presents the most expansive ruins amongst places on the Buddhist trail.

Day 18: Varanasi – Lucknow (B)

This morning we leave Varanasi behind us and head to Lucknow (300 kms/ 7 hrs drive). For all its modernity, Lucknow remains true to its cultural past, impeccable manners, a courtly diction, and a love for the arts and all beautiful things. The capital city of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow, the erstwhile Awadh or Oudh still preserves the spirit of the past era. On arrival the afternoon is free to explore and enjoy this old World city.

Day 19: Lucknow (B)

This morning we make the most of Lucknow and head out to discover its treasures. We begin with Bara Imambara, built by Nawab Asafuddaula to provide relief to his subjects during the famine of 1784. The splendor of this edifice is a reminder of the past glory of Nawab of Oudh. The Imambara is unique for the absence of pillars or supports in the main hall, which stands 50 feet tall. Continue to the Shah Najaf Imambara, the tomb of Nawab Ghaziuddin Haider, and his family is housed in this majestic white domed building. The tombs are plated in silver and gold and the interiors are ornate with floral designs and chandeliers. Also visit the Jama Masjid, this grand mosque was built by Muhammad Ali Shah in typical Mughal style with tall minarets and onion-shaped domes; Lucknow Residency built during 1780-1800, it was once the political residence of the British officials and Husainabad Picture Gallery, located near the Husainabad Tank houses portraits of the rulers of Awadh. Following todays sightseeing, enjoy a shopping tour of The city of Nawab (Lucknow) where you can find that special memento of your time in India. The rest of the afternoon is then at leisure.

Day 20: Lucknow – train-icon – Delhi (B)

After breakfast we have a leisurely morning before making our way to the train station to board our train to Delhi. No trip the India is complete without experiencing a train journey! Without a shadow of a doubt, the best way to see India is not on a plane at 35,000 feet, but at ground level on the incredible Indian railway system. You can safely forget media images of overcrowded suburban trains with people sitting on the roof. On a long distance train in an air-conditioned carriage all seats are reserved and it’s a safe, civilised & comfortable way to get around India. Our train journey to Delhi takes around 7 hours giving you time to watch the world go by. On arrival you will be transferred to your hotel in Delhi.

Day 21: Delhi – airplane-takeoff– Cochin (B)

After breakfast, you will be met at your hotel by a Webjet representative and assisted with your transfer to the airport for your onward flight to Cochin. Upon arrival you will be transferred to your hotel where the rest of the afternoon if free to explore this southern city at your own pace.

Day 22: Cochin (B)

Today, explore the ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’, Cochin. Unravel the ancient treasures of this quaint harbor port town visiting the fascinating sights partly by boat and partly on foot. Visit the Chinese Fishing Nets, the St. Francis Church, Mattancherry Palace – built by the Portuguese for the Raja (King) of Kochi in exchange of trading rights; walk through the narrow cobbled streets, lined with antique & handicraft shops of the Jew Town to the Jewish Synagogue, the oldest living synagogue in the world. This evening, watch a mesmerising Kathakali performance. Kathakali represents a synthesis of all that is best in dance, drama and music and has been recognized by connoisseurs of art, the world over as a `total art form of immense sophistication and power’. It is the impression created by make-up and the costumes that make Kathakali a visual par excellence. Let the magic of this unique art form envelope you as you watch the emotions displayed by the performing artists.

Optional Tour: Dinner at Fort Cochin Seafood Specialty Restaurant Considered one of the state’s best seafood restaurants, this casual catch-of-the-day semi-alfresco pad is something of a Kerala institution. The atmosphere is charmingly rustic. The excellent food is prepared at an open grill adjacent to a large waist-level fish tank filled with Chinese carp. Tables are set around a huge banyan tree and under light shades made from Chinese fishing baskets. Rather than a daily menu, a trolley contains the catch of the day, straight off Cochin’s fishing nets.

Day 23: Cochin – Thekkady (B)

After breakfast, we head for Thekkady. Visit a local Spice Plantation and discover crops such as cardamom, nutmeg, pepper, coffee and tamarind in their native environment and learn about their varied uses. For centuries Kerala has grown and exported spices around the world and a walking tour of a plantation will allow you to gain a first-hand experience of the cultivation, growth and processing of spices.

Day 24: Thekkady – Alleppey (B,L,D)

This morning, we head for Alleppey. Upon arrival, board a traditional houseboat, sail through and explore Kerala’s backwaters. Embark on an enchanting journey across sundappled backwaters on a kettuvallom – fully furnished traditional rice boats. Rightly called the ‘Venice of the East’, this verdant area surrounded by coconut plantations is famous for its narrow maze of canals and backwaters. Float through the placid waters passing palm fringed canals, lakes and villages. Treat yourself to a sumptuous lunch and dinner of local delicacies.

Day 25: Alleppey – Kumarakom (B)

This morning we disembark from the houseboat. Upon arrival at the hotel in Kumarakom, the rest of the day is at leisure. Optional tour : Island Farm visit with Traditional Lunch Proceed by boat to an Island Farm, situated in the backwaters. Enjoy a traditional lunch, following which your host will escort you on a tour of the 50-acre farm, as you witness the various farm activities of coconut harvesting or toddy making, the variety of spices cultivated on the farm.

Day 26: Kumarakom – Cochi – airplane-takeoff – Delhi

This morning after breakfast we head back to Cochin to board a flight to Delhi. On arrival into Delhi, be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel where the rest of the afternoon is at leisure.

Day 27: Delhi –  airplane-takeoff – Australia

Today you’ll have free time to either get in some last minute shopping or re-visit the sights which you missed. Later you will be met at your hotel by a Webjet representative and assisted for a transfer to airport for your flight home.

Day 28: Australia

Arrive home today.

 
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What You Get

 

Your package includes return international airfares, accommodation, dedicated tour guides, coach transportation, meals, sightseeing and more…

  • Return international airfares with a full service airline, including 23kgs checked luggage
  • Return airport transfers
  • 20 nights’ accommodation on a twin share basis in the hotel standard of your choice!
  • Breakfast daily
  • Welcome dinner to get to know your group
  • Dedicated air-conditioned coach transportation
  • The services of a professional English speaking Webjet tour guide throughout
  • Air-conditioned reserved seat train from Lucknow – Delhi
  • All monument entrance fees as per the itinerary

See the full itinerary here

Enhance your Journey

  • Receive all of the above, plus;
  • 7 day Kerala Backwaters extension
  • Internal airfares
  • An overnight traditional houseboat on the Backwaters
  • All meals while on your houseboat
  • Additional sightseeing and accommodation

See the extended itinerary here

Highlights:

  • Explore in and around the grounds of the Taj Mahal
  • View the Red Fort, Qutab Minar and sacred Raj Ghat of Delhi
  • Visit Rajasthan’s best known ancient forts in Mandawa, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur & Udaipur.
  • Marvel at the beauty of this region’s diverse landscapes, as you travel across deserts, lakes and national parks.
  • Gaze at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Khajuraho’s Eastern and Western group of temples
  • Be enlightened by the sacred Daswamedha Ghat in Varanasi, one of India’s holiest locations
  • Experience a day on India’s world famous rail network between Lucknow and Delhi
 
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Fine Print

 

To book your Tour:

  • Bookings essential
  • Once you have purchased your voucher, please complete the following request form: https://exclusives.webjet.com.au/bookings
  • Voucher valid for 1 person (must purchase 2 vouchers)
  • Must book minimum 65 days prior to departure, whichever is earlier 
  • Book early to secure your desired date and time

 Tour Excludes: Travel insurance, Visas, Anything which is not mentioned in the itinerary.

Airline:

  • Return economy airfare with China Southern Airlines (Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines or similar if unavailable)
  • We are unable to guarantee which airline you will travel with as flights will be booked subject to promotional fare availability for your travel dates.
  • Customers wishing to choose their preferred airline – please purchase your voucher first and request your preferred airline in the ‘special requests’ field when submitting your booking form. Webjet Exclusives will then advise if any surcharges are payable. Should you be unhappy with the additional surcharge amount, you will be provided with a full refund of your voucher.
  • Including minimum 23kg of checked baggage per passenger (actual limit is subject to airline).
  • One return airfare is supplied per voucher
  • Names cannot be changed once flights have been booked. Once we receive your form and your dates are available, your booking will be completed – no further changes will be possible.
  • The airfare remains non-refundable at all times.

Flights:

  • Some flights may depart a day before/after, involve up to 2 transits, stopovers or a substitute airline. Such changes are beyond our control, as availability on flights can vary. 
  • Once your flights are confirmed and ticketed, flights are non-refundable and non-changeable. Full names (First, Middle & Surname) as per passport must be provided for ticketing.
  • Please Note, flight itineraries will not be provided until 30 days prior to departure. If your travel dates are within 30 days of purchase you will be provided with your itinerary within 7 days.

Documentation: 
Documentation will be provided after final payment is complete and before 30 days of travel, including E-Ticket instructions, hotel confirmation, itinerary extension & optional tour confirmation (where applicable) and destination travel tips

Single Supplement:

22 day tour Superior Accommodation – $1299 per person in addition to the twin share price
22 day tour Deluxe Accommodation – $1599 per person in addition to the twin share price

28 day tour Superior Accommodation – $1899 per person in addition to the twin share price
28 day tour Deluxe Accommodation – $2199 per person in addition to the twin share price

You can purchase you single supplement by clicking here.

Group Size: 10 – 30 people

Triple Share: Not available

Coach Transportation: Where group sizes are not sufficient to use a full-sized coach, we reserve the right to use a smaller coach on the same level of comfort.

Superior Accommodation:

Delhi – Treebo Singh Sons or similar
Mandawa – Desert Resort or similar
Gajner – Gajner Palace or similar
Jaisalmer – Gorbandh Palace or similar
Jodhpur – Park Plaza or similar
Udaipur – Hilltop or similar
Jaipur – Bissau Palace or similar
Agra – Amar or similar
Orchha – Hotel Amar Mahal or similar
Khajuraho – Hotel Usha Bundela or similar
Allahabad – Hotel Milan Palace or similar
Varanasi – Hotel Meraden Grand or similar
Lucknow – Hotel Sapna Clarks Inn or similar

Kerala
Cochin – Holiday Inn or similar 
Thekkady – Hotel Treetop or similar 
Cruise – 2-3 bedroom houseboat 
Kumarakom – Green Fields or similar


Deluxe Accommodation:

Delhi – Hans Plaza or similar
Mandawa – Castle Mandawa or similar
Gajner – Gajner Palace or similar
Jaisalmer – Gorbandh Palace or similar
Jodhpur – Indana or similar
Udaipur – Ramada or similar
Jaipur – Holiday Inn City Centre or similar
Agra – Clarks Shiraz or similar
Orchha – Hotel Amar Mahal or similar
Khajuraho – Hotel Clarks or similar
Allahabad – Hotel Milan Palace or similar
Varanasi – Hotel Hindustan International or similar
Lucknow – Hotel Sapna Clarks Inn or similar

Kerala
Cochin – Le Meridien or similar
Thekkady – Cardamom Country or similar
Cruise – 2-3 bedroom houseboat
Kumarakom – Backwaters Ripple or similar

The accommodation listed below may be subject to change, but will remain of a similar or higher standard. Any changes remain beyond our control and all efforts are made to communicate these as soon as possible. We endeavour to always book non-smoking rooms however these cannot be guaranteed.

Optional Activities: Please refer to the itinerary for a full list of optional activities. You can purchase the optional tours by clicking here 

Any Optional Tours purchased after your initial booking (and 60 days before departure) must be emailed to customerexperience@webjetexclusives.com.au to ensure your booking is correctly updated. Failure to do so may result in you not being accepted on this optional tour and your purchase will be refunded.

Note that while Optional Tours provide an excellent opportunity to further explore this wonderful country, it will also reduce the leisure time described in the itinerary.

Optional Tours requested within 60 days of travel cannot be accepted

Please note for Zip Lining at Mehrangarh Fort the below health restrictions apply:

  • The zip tour is physically demanding and requires a degree of agility, strength and stamina, including hiking up hills and standing outside for up to 2.5 hours in often hot and humid conditions.
  • If participants have medical concerns, including but not limited to heart disease, high or low blood pressure, diabetes, vertigo, epilepsy, asthma or any other medical or physical condition which might be aggravated by the activities, they are advised to consult their doctor in advance of taking part in the activities. 
  • Participants with an existing medical condition who wish to take part in the zip tour will be required to sign an Existing Medical Condition form to certify that they will not hold Flying Fox responsible for any medical condition triggered or aggravated by the activities. 
  • Due to the physical nature of the zip tour, unfortunately pregnant women cannot participate.
  • Flying Fox reserves the right to refuse entry if we have any concerns that a medical condition may be aggravated by the activity. Our site manager’s decision on this is final. 
  • Weight should be under 18 stone / 115 kg 

Stay behind surcharge: If you wish to extend your trip, a $250 per person breakaway charge will apply (subject to availability and applicable fare difference). Please purchase your voucher first and Webjet Exclusives will invoice the additional supplement charge when finalising your booking.

Extending your trip: If you wish to alter or extend your trip, please purchase your voucher first and submit a request on your booking form. Webjet Exclusives will then provide quotations for any alterations or extensions. Should you wish to proceed any additional charges will be collected. However if you are unhappy with the options a full refund of the voucher will be provided.

Flight Variations: 

 If you wish to modify the promotional airfare included in your Webjet Exclusives package, the following Flight Variations can be requested:

  • Early arrival
  • Late departure
  • Upgrade to Premium Economy or Business Class where available
  • Airline of your choice where available

 A $250 per person “breakaway” charge will apply per person plus any applicable fare and tax difference.

In order to obtain a quote for your requested variations, you must purchase your vouchers first and submit your request via the online booking form. On this form will be a section highlighted “Flight Quote Request”. You must complete the mandatory information in this section to be provided with an accurate quote.

 Should you be unsatisfied with the initial quote provided, you can opt to:

1. Travel with the group, as per the tour itinerary and promotional airfare; 

2. Take the package as Land Only and receive a refund of the Land Only discount, if available, or;

3. Cancel the vouchers purchased and receive a full refund. 

The quote will include instructions on how to make payment and failure to pay by the stipulated time will cause the quote to lapse.

Once flights have been confirmed and ticketed, any voluntary changes made thereafter will incur a change fee plus any fare and tax difference.

Should you choose to vary your arrival date, departure date or airline from the promotional airfare, we are unable to offer the group airport transfer and this will need to be arranged at your own expense.

 We are unable to provide additional accommodation for early arrivals or late departures and this will need to be arranged at your own expense.

Exchanging Money: When exchanging Australian dollars into Indian Rupees or withdrawing funds from an ATM while in India, always retain the transaction receipt. You may be required to present the receipt as proof of withdrawal if purchasing items with cash.

Visas: Visas are not included. It is the traveller’s responsibility to ensure they meet the visa requirements for the country they are visiting. Webjet Exclusives is unable to provide visa advice.

For Visa assistance, please visit Webjet’s Travel Visa Service page

For more information on how to book your Webjet Exclusives deal, please visit our Bookings FAQ Page

Deposit Information:

  • A deposit of $1,500 per person plus any applicable surcharges are due at the time of purchase in order to secure your 2017 date
  • Voucher valid for 1 person (must purchase 2 vouchers)
  • Once your travel dates are booked and confirmed, no cancellations or amendments are permitted and the deposit becomes strictly non-refundable
  • Book early to secure your desired date
  • Final Payment is due no later than 180 day prior to departure. A final invoice will be emailed to you prior to 180 days.

Tipping:

At the start of your tour:

Through our experience we have found that our travellers are often confused, frustrated or embarrassed about tipping, especially if they are unsure of the correct etiquette in the country they are visiting.  To overcome this, we have established an on-tour ‘Tipping Kitty’. Upon meeting your tour guide, they will discuss the idea of having a group pooled kitty, where everyone contributes an equal share. This is to cover small tips made along the way to local services such as porters, railway station assistants (if applicable), restaurants (included meals only), toilet stops,  tips to shoe keepers during temple and monument visit. Your guide will collect this amount at the start of your tour and tip the intended recipient’s on your behalf allowing you to enjoy your experience more freely.

The amount to budget for on this trip for the kitty is: INR 3280 per person

Please note that this doesn’t cover a tip for your tour leader & driver.

Towards the end of your tour:

If you have enjoyed the knowledge, service and expertise of your tour guide and driver a tip (while not compulsory) is appropriate towards the end of your tour. While it may not be customary in Australia, tipping is entrenched into many cultures especially within the tourism industry globally. It helps reward and inspire excellent service. The following is provided to assist our guests, but we leave the decision to provide a gratuity entirely at their discretion:

The group leader: Our past guests have left gratuities based on their overall service of INR 6570 per person for the full tour

The driver & assistant:  Our past guests have left gratuities based on their overall service of INR 2190 per person for the full tour

Gratuities aren’t compulsory on your trip, but they can make a big difference to locals employed in the tourism industry. Your guide will hand around two envelopes towards the end of the tour (1 Tour Guide and 1 Driver envelope) to make the process as easy as possible.

 Travel Insurance: Help cover yourself for the unexpected with great value Webjet Travel Insurance, we highly recommend it. Click here for a quote.

Note: If you have not yet selected your dates of travel or submitted your booking form, our 21 Day Money Back Guarantee allows you to claim a full refund within 21 days of your purchase. However, if you have selected your dates and submitted your booking form, your purchase becomes strictly non-refundable even within 21 days of purchase. See our Terms & Conditions for further details.

 
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Travel Dates

 

Departure Dates

2017

9 February 2017 
23 February 2017 
2 March 2017 
9 March 2017 
16 March 2017 
23 March 2017
30 March 2017
6 April 2017
13 April 2017
20 April 2017
27 April 2017
18 May 2017
15 June 2017
13 July 2017
27 July 2017
10 August 2017
24 August 2017
7 September 2017
14 September 2017
21 September 2017
28 September 2017
5 October 2017
12 October 2017
19 October 2017
26 October 2017
2 November 2017
9 November 2017
16 November 2017
23 November 2017
30 November 2017

Bookings not accepted when within 65 days of departure

Surcharges may apply to some dates, please see the availability calendar for more details

For travel in 2018 please click here

 
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Package Inclusions
  • Return international airfares
  • Return airport transfers
  • 20 nights’ accommodation
  • Breakfast daily
  • The services of a professional tour guide throughout
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