I23 Essential India Tour

India from Top to Bottom


Magnificent Taj Mahal & Red Fort; Varanasi: 2000 temples and shrines; Amber Palace (Jaipur); Former Portuguese enclave of Goa; Overnight houseboat cruise on canals of Kerala


Dates & Prices

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Prices below are per person, twin-sharing costs in US Dollars (USD). Pricing does not include airfare to/from the tour and any applicable taxes. For single supplement rates and taxes (if any), please refer to the entries under the blue box below.

Start DateEnd DatePriceMore Info
Wed 09 Oct 2019Fri 25 Oct 2019 $4020 USD
Tue 14 Jan 2020Thu 30 Jan 2020 $4020 USD
Wed 07 Oct 2020Fri 23 Oct 2020 $4020 USD

The above prices are subject to an additional $243 for taxes/fees levied on flights that occur as part of the tour. The internal airfares ARE included (any exceptions are listed in red below), but we list the taxes separately on your invoice as they are beyond our control and can change at any time.

$1000 DEPOSIT REQUIRED due to the nature of the internal flights that need to be booked/paid for far in advance. Because these tickets are non-refundable once issued, contrary to our usual terms and conditions governing deposits, once the tour is 'guaranteed' all monies become 100% non-refundable, non-transferrable.

Optional Single Supplement: $1128 USD (number of singles limited).

Tour Overview

On our Essential India tour we make our way along the Ganges by boat, bearing witness to hundreds of glowing lamps in dusk reflecting off the water, each held by a local inhabitant standing waist-deep in the river to pray.

Many believe the Ganges brings purity to the living and salvation to the dead. This practice is only one of the impressive sights of Hinduism.

Places of worship have such immaculate detail and such architecture merit they are considered the real gems of the country.

The Taj Mahal is one of the most recognized Islamic structures and the efforts of the 20,000 workforce that was responsible for its construction is better appreciated when up-close.

The Qutub Minar was the first monument of Muslim rule in India and it was the threshold of the distinct Indo-Islamic architectural style.

Deer Park in the buried city of Sarnath contains monuments whose foundations lie in the very origins of Buddhism; this is where the fundamental lessons of Buddhism were first taught by Buddha on the sacred promenade.

Goa was once a Portuguese enclave and the Jungles of the Western Ghats once separated the Christian population from the rest of India.

With colonial rule a thing of the past, the Basilica of Bom Jesus built by the Jesuits still stands as the most important church in Goa.

Regions visited: South Asia
Countries visited: India


(Victoria. BC, CA)

Chris on his own initiative gave us an evening excursion in Varanasi, and everyone on the tour thought it was the highlight of the trip: The racing rickshaws with sweaty drivers angling for position amidst the traffic, the full moon on the Ganges, the fires burning at the Ghats, little flowered candle boats sending prayers out, the hypnotic chanting made it a very special outing. Jaipur was incredible and once again Chris gave us an extra add on adventure with a trip to a Bollywood movie; lots of fun.It was just about perfect in every way, and everything went more smoothly than I thought possible.

(San Marcos, US)

Chris is a "jewel". He is the best tour leader I have ever experienced and I have done a lot of small group travel. Having been to India on his own and with AA he prepared us for how things work there.

(San Diego, CA, US)

All guides were very good and spoke excellent English. The transportation on this tour was very good. Our tour leader was excellent, as were the hotels. Very Impressed.

Full Itinerary

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Day 1 Arrival in Delhi
Arrive in Delhi and transfer to our hotel.

Overnight in Delhi.

Included Meal(s): Dinner

Day 2 Delhi: City Tour
Today we have a full-day tour of Delhi. We start with a drive north into Old Delhi, passing along the Rajpath (King's Way) and stopping for photos at the India Gate. The 42m high India Gate, an "Arc de Triomphe"- like archway in the middle of a crossroad, commemorates the Indian soldiers who lost their lives fighting for the British Army during WWI. This landmark also bears the names of British and Indian soldiers killed in the Northwestern frontier in the Afghan War of 1919.

Next we will make a visit to the Jamma Mosque. Located in the heart of Old Delhi, the largest mosque in India can accommodate as many as twenty-thousand worshippers. This imposing architectural monument, with it's three gateways and two minarets, took fourteen years to complete (1644-58). Time permitting we will enter to have a brief look inside.

From here we board our cycle rickshaws for a tour of Chandni Chowk (Silver Street). Here we are given a glimpse into an old world lifestyle slowly fading from Delhi. The hustle and bustle of everyday life can be felt in the Chandi Chowk's narrow lanes. Our rickshaw ride takes us past the Red Fort (photo stop), and we disembark at the Raj Ghat, set within a beautiful park. This national monument is where the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, was cremated.

After a stop for lunch we will continue with our sightseeing this afternoon. We will visit Humayan's Tomb, an excellent example of Mughal architecture, predating the Taj Mahal by almost 100 years. Persian in style, this is a beautiful red sandstone building inlaid with black and white marble.

We will finish our day with a visit to the Qutub Minar. Few other monuments are as closely identified with Delhi as the Qutub Minar, this first monument of Muslim rule in India. It heralded the beginning of a new style of art and architecture which came to be know as the Indo-Islamic.

Overnight in Delhi.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 3 Delhi - Varanasi & Sarnath
This morning we fly to Varanasi. After a break at our hotel we embark on our afternoon sightseeing programme.

With more than 2,000 temples and shrines Varanasi has been the religious capital of the Hindu faith since its beginning. No one knows how old it really is -- when Buddha came here in 550 BC it was already a flourishing ancient settlement. The town is a maze of small streets and alleyways, hiding no fewer than 2,000 temples and shrines. Domes, pinnacles, towers and derelict 18th century palaces dominate the left bank of the Ganges River.

The antiquity of Varanasi can be traced back to at least the middle of first millennium BC. Since time immemorial, it has served not merely as holy center of pilgrimage, but also as a great seat of traditional Hindu learning and culture.

This afternoon we take a short journey to the buried city of Sarnath. After attaining enlightenment at Bodh Gaya the Buddha went to Sarnath; and it was here that he preached his first discourse in the deer park to set in motion the 'Wheel of the Dharma'. It is one of the most holy sites as it was from here that the stream of the Buddha's teaching first flowed. The Dhamekh Stupa, Dharmararjika Stupa (the Main shrine where the Buddha sat in meditation), the sacred promenade from where he preached, and the Ashoka Pillar are monuments that still stand today.

Overnight in Varanasi.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 4 Varanasi - Khajuraho
Early this morning we take a boat ride on the sacred Ganges. Hindus regard the Ganges as the elixir of life bringing purity to the living and salvation to the dead. At dawn, thousands stand waist-deep in water praying to the rising sun. At dusk, hymns and prayers are uttered by the faithful in the light of hundreds of lighted lamps. The bathing ghats, over three miles in length, lead down from a steep bank to the river. Manikarnika burning ghat is the chief cremation
centre of Varanasi.

We will have a walk through the narrow streets of Varanasi before returning to our hotel.

Later this morning, we fly to Khajuraho, renowned the world over for its fine temples. Built between AD 950 and 1050, these temples are among the most creative examples of Indian architecture, of which only 22 of the original 85
temples survive.

We visit the western group of temples, contained within a fenced enclosure and maintained as a park. The Lakshmana Temple is dedicated to Vishnu and is one of the earliest, dating from AD 930-950. It is also one of the best preserved, with a full five-part floor plan and four subsidiary shrines. We also visit the eastern group of temples. These can be subdivided into two groups: a complex of Jain temples in the walled enclosure, and a group of four temples scattered through the small village of Khajuraho. Parsvanath is the largest of the Jain temples and also the finest in Khajuraho, noted for the exceptional skill and precision of its construction and for the beauty of its sculptures. The Adinath Temple has fine carvings on its three bands of sculptures. The Shanti Nath Temple is a relatively modern one, built about a century ago, but it contains many components from older temples around Khajuraho.

Khajuraho has achieved fame for the sensual appeal of the erotic sculptures, but these form only a small part of the wealth of the site. Taken in totality, the sculptures of Khajuraho depict the everyday life of the people and the court in the 10th and 11th centuries.

Overnight in Khajuraho.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 5 Khajuraho - Orchha - Jhansi - Agra
We continue by road to Jhansi, visiting the palace at Orchha, the former capital of the Bundela Dynasty. From Jhansi we catch the 18:00 train to Agra, arriving at approximately 20:00.

Agra continues to be medieval in structure: narrow, crowded streets and lanes, full of colourful shops sell that all kind of goods, especially local handicrafts, including gold and silver embroidery, imitation Mughal inlay on marble, and fine leather goods. Agra Fort lies on the bend of the River Yamuna, almost in the heart of the town. It was built by Akbar as his citadel over the years 1565 to 1573 in the finest architectural style. It has imposing gates and walls of red sandstone and a moat. The fort was successively occupied by three great Mughals--Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jehan, each of whom made significant structural contributions to this complex.

Overnight in Agra.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 6 Agra: the Taj Mahal & Agra Fort
Today we tour the city and visit its main attraction: The Taj Mahal, one of the world's most beautiful buildings. Called "A dream in marble," the Taj Mahal was built by Shah Jehan as a memorial to his queen Mumtaz Mahal. Shah Jehan built the Taj to enshrine the body of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal (elect of the palace), who died shortly after giving birth to their 14th child in 1631.

Construction by a work force of 20,000 men from all over Asia commenced in1632 and the tomb was completed in 1653. Marble was brought from Makrana, near Jodhpur, and precious stones of onyx, amethyst, malachite, lapis lazuli, turquoise, jade, crystal and mother of pearl were carried to Agra from Persia, Russia, Afghanistan, Tibet, China and the Indian Ocean.

The Taj is remarkable for its perfect proportions and rich pietra dura, with minute details executed with great skill. The building marks the most developed stage of Mughal architecture. The designer of this grand sepulchre is believed to be Ustad Ahmad Lahori, a master architect of the age. The calligraphic ornamentation on the Taj was authored by Amanat Khan Shirazi, a great writer of the 17th century.

The balance of our day will be spent visiting some of Agra's other remarkable monuments such as the Agra Fort, as rugged as the Taj Mahal is ethereal where we will have a chance to view the perfectly-proportioned Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque) and have a visit to the Itimad-ud-daulah Mausoleum on the other side of the Yamuna River.

Overnight in Agra.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 7 Agra - Fatehpur Sikri - Jaipur
Before leaving Agra we will visit Fatehpur Sikri, an ancient capital of the Moghul Empire built by Emperor Akbar the Great between 1569 and 1585. It was later abandoned due to the lack of a dependable water supply, but remains one of the most perfectly preserved examples of a Moghul city. Now deserted, it is almost perfectly preserved, a masterpiece in sandstone glowing in subtly changing shades of pink and red as the day progresses and the light fades. The very embodiment of Akbar's unorthodox court, the city fuses Hindu and Muslim artistic traditions.

Jaipur has been dubbed the "Pink City" because of the many buildings inside the old city walls that are painted pink. Scattered throughout the northeast section of the town are palaces and temples designed in a variety of styles; the city lies snugly on a bed of a long-dry lake.

Overnight in Jaipur.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 8 Jaipur - Amer Fort - Jaipur
Today our tour takes us to the Amer Fort (aka Amber Palace), once the ancient state capital but now deserted. Located on the crest of a rocky hill behind Maota Lake, 11 km (7 miles) north of Jaipur, the Rajput stronghold was the capital of the Kuchhawa Rajputs from 1037 until 1728. Rising on the slopes of a steep hill is the Amer Fortress with its imposing facade. The interior presents a galaxy of art including the world's best Chamber of Mirrors.

In the afternoon we have a tour of Jaipur, one of the best-planned cities in India, built of rose-pink sandstone by the great astronomer-king Jai Singh II in 1727. Wer stop at the City Palace in the centre of the city, part of which is still the Maharaja's residence. The complex has been developed into a museum containing rare manuscripts, fine specimens of Rajput and Mughal paintings, royal apparel, and an armoury. We pass by the Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds), the landmark of Jaipur, a curious building, elaborate and fanciful, built of pink sandstone with a delicate honeycomb design. Rising five storeys high, it is composed of semi-octagonal overhanging windows, each with its perforated screen, which allowed the ladies of the court to look onto the main street without being seen.

While in Japur, we'll have a guided walk through the local market -- a busy, noisy, colourful place with a lot going on, and an intriguing look into local life.

Overnight in Jaipur.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 9 Jaipur - Udaipur: City Tour
Today we travel to Udaipur. On arrival we have a city tour of Udaipur.

We see the lakeside City Palace, made up of eleven constituent mahals (palaces) constructed by successive Maharajahs over 300 years. Together they comprise the largest royal complex in Rajasthan. The palace, iridescent with tile and mirror inlays, includes the impressively carved Jagdish Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

Overnight in Udaipur.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 10 Udaipur - Ranakpur - Udaipur
Today's day trip takes us to the Jain temples at Ranakpur, tucked away in a remote and quiet valley of the Aravalli Range, 90 km / 56 mi from Udaipur.

This is one of the most important pilgrim sites among the five of Jainism. It is perhaps the most massive of Jain temples in India, about 40,000 square feet. The most dazzling highlight of this temple is the countless, forty feet high pillars, every one of which is individually carved with its own design. The complex also contains several smaller temples, also fantastically carved. All of these temples are in daily operation as religious buildings, so you'll need to leave shoes and leather objects outside.

Return to Udaipur.

Overnight in Udaipur.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 11 Udaipur - Kochi (Cochin)
Today we fly to Kochi (probably via Mumbai).

The history of European involvement in Kochi, from the early sixteenth century onwards, is dominated by the aggression of, successively, the Portuguese, Dutch and British, competing in their desire to control the port and its lucrative spice trade. From 1800, the state of Cochin was part of the British Madras Presidency; from 1812 until Independence in 1947, its administration was made the responsibility of a series of diwans, or financial ministers. In the 1920s, the British expanded the port to make it suitable for modern ocean-going ships; extensive dredging created Willingdon Island, between Ernakulam and Fort Cochin.

On arrival we have a tour of Kochi,* including: Chinese fishing Nets -- a legacy of one of the earliest visitor to the Malabar coast, these nets are unmistakable as one enters the harbour. Records show that they were first erected between AD 1350 and 1450. Constructed out of teak wood and bamboo poles, they work on the principle of balance. The best place to watch is from Vasco Da Gama square, a narrow promenade that parallels the beach with little stalls that serve fresh seafood, tender coconuts and so on.

Santa Cruz Basilica: Built by the Portuguese, the church was elevated to a Cathedral by the Pope Paul IV in 1558. Spared by the Dutch conqueror of Cochin who destroyed many Catholic buildings in 1663, it later fell into the hands of the British who demolished it when they took over Cochin in 1795. For almost a 100 years there was no church on the site, until the Bishop Dom Gomez Vereira commissioned a new building in 1887.

* Depending on the timing of today's flight, we may achieve Kochi sightseeing upon return from our houseboating excursion.

Overnight in Kochi.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 12 Kochi - Allaphuza: Houseboat
We continue by road to Alappuzha (Alleppey), known as the "Venice of the East", situated on Vembanad Lake, the longest in India. A maze of canals and a network of bridges give this busy commercial town its descriptive sobriquet. Alleppey is known for its coir, the retted fibre of the coconut husk and for black pepper.

Today we board our houseboat for a very special Kerala delight -- a slow boat through its forests and palm-shaded canals. We take a leisurely cruise on the beautiful backwaters, enjoying the magnificent scenery along the waterways and stopping to admire what history and religion have left along the way.

THE HOUSEBOAT will be approx 60 feet long and 13 feet wide in the middle. There are comfortable beds, and traditional lanterns, and air-conditioning. There will be a sundeck for daytime relaxation. The boats are made of local natural fibres that truly echo the villagers harmony with the natural surroundings. As your oarsman slowly and silently propels us along the backwaters, we will enjoy the magnificent scenery along the waterways. We will stop to view working villages and witness locals fishing, swimming, crafting, and bathing (most boats will have oarsman though some will be motorized with a silencer on the motor).

NOTE: Single cabins are NOT available on the houseboat. Single supplements reflect sharing for this one night.

Overnight houseboat cruise.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 13 Allaphuza - Kochi
We return to Kochi and have the balance of the day at leisure.

Overnight in Kochi.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 14 Kochi - Goa
Today we fly to the former Portuguese enclave of Goa.

Goa achieved fame when Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama sailed down the Malabar Coast in 1498 in search of "Christians and spices." Although he found neither, Goa became a Portuguese colony separated from the rest of India by the jungle covered hills of the Western Ghats. Goa's heartland and population is located in the alluvial strip inland from the beaches, a lush patchwork of paddy fields, coconut plantations, whitewashed churches and gently meandering rivers.

On arrival we have a tour of old Goa, where we visit the Basilica of Bom Jesus, built in 1605 by the Jesuit fathers and still the most important church in Goa. Enshrined in a silver casket in one of its chapels, is the body of Saint Francis Xavier. Across the street is the Se Cathedral with an imposing vaulted roof, massive pillars and fourteen magnificent altars. Later we visit the Convent of St. Francis D'Assisi and the Chapel of St. Catherine.

Our hotel is not located on the beach in Goa. We prefer to stay inland in order to concentrate on the cultural heritage of the area. We will, however, have free time on the beach during our time here.

Overnight in Goa.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 15 Goa: At Leisure
Today is free to enjoy the charms of this laid-back place.

Overnight in Goa.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 16 Goa - Mumbai
Today we fly to Mumbai (Bombay) and transfer to our hotel.

From humble obscure beginnings as a set of seven small islands, Mumbai has today risen to the eminence of India's most important commercial and industrial centre. Haji Ali's Tomb and mosque are devoted to a Muslim saint who drowned here. They are reached by a long causeway, usable only at low tide. The Mahalaxmi Temple is the oldest in Mumbai and dedicated to the three goddesses whose images are found in the sea.

Overnight in Mumbai.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Day 17 Mumbai: City Tour - Depart
This morning we tour Mumbai, the business capital of India.

Marine Drive is a long gracefully curving road along the buttressed seacoast. We visit the Bombay City Museum, one of the city's landmarks of cultural heritage. Visitors are struck by the life-like clay models on display, the artifact galleries with pottery, brass work, ivory, textiles and art miniatures. There is an exhaustive section on the city's historic growth and, the people who contributed to its development, including representations of the different communities who shaped the city.

The city has several fine examples of colonial architecture including the Afghan Memorial Church, established in 1847 which has Gothic arches and stained glass windows; the Clock Tower, the School of Art, built in the late 1800s, where Rudyard Kipling was born; Crawford Market which has bas-reliefs designed by Kipling's father; and the massive Victoria Terminus, built of yellow sandstone and granite. Also of interest are the Hanging Gardens on Malabar Hill, from where we get a magnificent panoramic view of the metropolis and the Arabian Sea.

Later we transfer to the airport for our flights homeward.

PLEASE NOTE: Many flights from Indian cities depart after midnight, ie just into TOMORROW. If this is the case re your departure, you may consider booking an extra hotel night so that you will have a place to rest and freshen up prior to your flight tonight.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner

Tour Map

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*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.

Hotel List

The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.

Hotel Crowne Plaza Okhla

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Delhi
Country: India

Crowne Plaza New Delhi Okhla is an ideal abode for a comfortable and affordable stay. Rated as five-star hotel, it
... an integral part of prestigious hotel group called Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts. The hotel is beautifully nestled at the capital city with amidst of commercial and entertainment hubs of South Delhi. As the travel vacationer, you won't have any difficulty in reaching out at this wonderful property as it is not so far from national and international airports. You will be welcomed here with typical Indian hospitality by the courteous staff.

Read More.

Click here to visit hotel website

Ramada Khajuraho

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Khajuraho
Country: India

Conveniently located in the centre of the historic town of Khajuraho, this heritage hotel in Khajuraho is hugely popular with
... visitors.

For good dining in Khajuraho, The Ramada Khajuraho Hotel houses an excellent restaurant that provides delicious food throughout the day and there is also a hotel bar and nightclub for this looking to unwind in the evenings.

Guests can make use of the outdoor swimming pool and there are also several things to see and do in the immediate vicinity including visiting the nearby National Park and tiger reserve. .

Read More.

Click here to visit hotel website

Hotel Clarks Shiraz

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Agra
Country: India

Clarks Shiraz, Agra, is a five-star luxury hotel which combines business with pleasure, style with substance, form with function. Located
... km. from the Taj Mahal, in the heart of Agra, and yet free from its din and bustle, The Clarks Shiraz is just 7 km. from the Airport and 3 km. from the Railway Station.
Read More.

Click here to visit hotel website

Dera Rawatsar

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Jaipur
Country: India

Dera Rawatsar - A family boutique hotel run by the House of Rawatsar, who traces their ancestry from Kandhlot Rathore
... of Rajputs, offers the traveller a quiet and relaxing experience amidst the freshness of a garden. Being located in the heart of the city, historical monuments, heritage walled city, shopping areas - are all easily accessible from here. The hotel, blending traditional Indian hospitality & Indian modernism, has impressive exterior and interiors with architecture typical of Jaipur. Your stay at this Jaipur hotel is sure to leave a lasting spell on your mind.
Read More.

Click here to visit hotel website

Hotel Hilltop Palace

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Udaipur
Country: India

Good restaurants in Udaipur, Lake facing hotels in Udaipur, good restaurants in Udaipur, hotels near lake in Udaipur, best bars
... Udaipur.
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Click here to visit hotel website

Fort Heritage Hotel

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Kochi
Country: India

First propelled into prominence in the year 600BC,Kerala became the refuge of the Jews, a trading partner with the Egyptians
... Chinese in 300BC and a colony of the Dutch in the 15th century and the British in the 18th century. The hub of spice trade and the most convenient port of call in the southern peninsula, Kochi enjoys its sobriquet as the Queen of the Arabian Sea.
Read More.

Click here to visit hotel website

Cidade de Goa

Rating: 5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation5 Star Accommodation
Location: Goa
Country: India

Cidade de Goa has a full-service spa, a health club, an outdoor pool, a spa tub, and a steam room.
... North Goa property has a restaurant, a bar/lounge, and a poolside bar. Guests are served a complimentary breakfast each morning.

Read More.

Click here to visit hotel website

Hotel Mirador

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Mumbai
Country: India

The Mirador hotel houses the 100 elegantly styled rooms. The in-room facilities include herbal toiletries, bathrobes & shower cubicles, tea/
... makers, mini bars, individually controlled thermostats, air-conditioning.

Read More.

Click here to visit hotel website

Trip Information

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►


Breakfast and dinner are included daily, one lunch. Evening meals on tour will be taken mostly at hotels. In India, most restaurants of an international standard are associated with hotels. In some locales we endeavour to break up the buffet dinners with a meal at a local restaurant but, overall, the imperatives of hygiene and quality dictate hotel meals.

All transport, accommodation, sightseeing and entrance fees are included for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary. Gratuities for drivers, restaurant staff, porters, local guides. Airport transfers for land & air customers and for early arriving / late departing land & air customers who book their extra hotel nights through us.


International airfare to/from the tour. Tour Leader gratuities, lunches, drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), domestic and international (if applicable) air taxes, visa fees, and any excursions referenced as 'optional'. Airport transfers for Land Only customers. Optional trip cancellation insurance. Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on shopping, not included meals, visas.

Seasonality and Weather

For most of the country, October-March is (by far) the best time to visit. During those months, temperatures range from 40-70 F / 5-20 C in the north to 65-95 F/19-37 C in the south. While conditions can vary widely, you must be prepared for some heat.

Transport and Travel Conditions

Ground transport via private air-conditioned motor coach. Internal flights via scheduled carriers. The tour is not physically strenuous though it is busy; you must be prepared for some early starts, be steady on your feet, and be able to endure some heat and long days. We have numerous walking tours and visit several sites that are LARGE with steps and uneven surfaces. Porters are available at hotels but you must be able to manage with your baggage at airports.

Am I suitable for this tour? Please refer to our self-assessment form.


Accommodation in air-conditioned 3-4 star hotels. Hotel properties are mostly modern and Western style. Some are older, character properties with simpler rooms and perhaps no elevators. Our accommodation in Delhi and Mumbai cannot be considered "central" in a conventional sense. Delhi is a huge sprawling city with many districts and centres of interest / business; our hotel is well-located for what we want to accomplish on our city coach tour. Some properties have swimming pools. Laundry services at most hotels for a modest cost. Single rooms are limited and possibly smaller than twins. Porters are generally available (see 'Inclusions'). THE HOUSEBOAT will be approx 60 feet long and 13 feet wide in the middle. There are comfortable beds, and traditional lanterns, a sundeck for daytime relaxation. Some of the houseboats have the provision for air-conditioning, but most travellers do not care for the all-night gasoline engine noise required to run the units. Most people find that the peace and quiet, and comfort provided by a fan, are preferred. NOTE: Single cabins are NOT available on the houseboat. Single supplements reflect sharing for this night.

Staff and Support

Tour Leader throughout, local drivers, local guides at various locations.

Group Size

10-18 plus Tour Leader





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