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Graeme and Sophia R (USA) - “Vivek, I wanted to write and thank you and the Elegant Journeys team for taking such good care of us during our wonderful vacation in India. The tour through the Golden Triangle and Rajasthan truly was a vacation of a lifetime with our stays at the Oberoi hotels making us feel like royalty. From Delhi to Agra, Jaipur to Udaipur, nothing was too much trouble. If only we could live like this every day! While our visits to the Taj Mahal, elephant ride up to the Amber Fort, and walking in the foot steps of James Bond and Octopussy will live long in the memory, it was the people that made all the difference with the superb hotel staff, excellent guides in each city and our wonderful driver, Vishak, really making our visit truly memorable. Like many, we admit to being a little concerned and skeptical prior to our arrival in Delhi - in part due to finding nothing but glowing reviews about Elegant Journeys on the internet - but we needn't have worried. From the moment we saw our names on the driver's board at the airport arrivals hall to saying goodbye as we passed back through security on the final day, every detail was taken care of. We didn't have to worry about a thing - just relax and enjoy everything India has to offer. I know people scanning the internet for background information on tour companies in India will read this and think (frankly as we did) that it's all just too good to be true, but it's not. You took care of every detail and provided us with the experience of a lifetime that will forever live in our memories. Please pass on our sincere thanks to the team and we look forward to seeing you again one day for another Indian adventure!” Read More

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  •  North India Varanasi Tours

14 Day North India Tour + Kerala (NV-76)

Private Travel | Tour Code: NV-76 | 13 Nights

(Click above tabs to see Hotels list, Prices & Inclusions)


PRIVATE TRAVEL: Delhi 2 Nights → Varanasi 1 Night → Khajuraho 1 Night
→ Agra 2 Nights → Jaipur 2 Nights → Mumbai 1 Night → Cochin 2 Nights
→ Backwaters cruise 1 Night → Kumarakom 1 Night.

Unique experiences on this tour:
♦ Traditional cycle rickshaw ride in the back streets and bazaars of old Delhi
♦ Attend a sacred oil lamp aarti (prayer) performed on the River Ganges
♦ Boat Cruise on River Ganges at sunrise to see locals worship at the ghats
♦ View the amazing erotic temples of Khajuraho
♦ View the Taj Mahal at sunrise and sunset to see change in color of the marble
♦ Horse drawn carriage ride to the Taj Mahal in Agra
♦ Visit to the majestic fort of Jaipur
♦ Enjoy an Elephant ride at the Amber Fort in Jaipur
♦ Witness Kathakali dance performance in Cochin
♦ Cruise Kerala’s tranquil backwater canals on a traditional houseboat (barge)
♦ View the incredible birdlife of Vembanad Lake in the early morning hours
♦ Experience train journey on the Indian Railways
♦ Visit India’s most significant UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as Jantar Mantar Observatory in Jaipur; Agra Fort & Fatehpur Sikri in Agra; Humayun’s Tomb, Red Fort Complex & Qutab Minar in Delhi, Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and .... many other interesting sights listed in the detailed itinerary.


Day 1 - Delhi

Arrive Delhi in the afternoon or evening/night, depending on flight schedules (Standard check-in time is at 2 pm). You're greeted at the airport and transferred to your hotel.


Day 2 - Delhi

Start your journey of Incredible India with a visit to the Old walled city in the morning. Drive pass the 17th century imposing Red Fort, take a traditional cycle rickshaw ride in the back streets of Chandni Chowk selling an extraordinary variety of items like., dress material, spices, jewellery & perfumes and mouth-watering food delicacies (parts of the bazaar is closed on Sundays). From here you visit the India’s largest mosque, Jama Masjid. In complete contrast to the noise and crowds of Old Delhi, is Raj Ghat, a simple and stunning memorial to Mahatma Gandhi.

Afternoon: Explore New Delhi, which is a blend of ancient & pre-independence India. Visit the beautiful Humayun’s Tomb, built in 1570 is of particular cultural significance as it was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent. Sightseeing will also include driving past the Lodhi Garden, Safdarjung's tomb, the elegant government buildings designed in a blend of Indian and European styles - the India Gate and Rashtrapati Bhawan, the Presidential Palace.


Day 3 - Delhi / Varanasi

Check out from your hotel after breakfast and transfer to the airport to board your flight.


Arrive Varanasi in the early afternoon and transfer to your hotel.

Afternoon: Explore India’s most sacred city for Hindu’s, which is the oldest living city in the world. During the visit to the Old city you will share space with Cows, Scooters etc. and walk through the narrow alleys where every street corner has roadside shrine or temple and vendors selling garlands, incense sticks and other items used in worship.

Evening: Enjoy a boat ride on the river Ganges to witness Oil lamp Aarti (prayer) performed by the priest on the banks of the river.


Day 4 - Varanasi / Khajuraho

Early morning: The best way to experience the life in Varanasi is to tour the Ganges in a country boat at sunrise as early morning life in this city revolves around the Ghats (River front). You will see Pilgrims, yogis and mystics flock to the ghats, to take a cleansing dip in India's holiest river, practice yoga, meditate, or washing clothes and vessels. Return to your hotel after the tour to relax & pack.

Check out from your hotel after breakfast and transfer to the airport.


Arrive Khajuraho in the early afternoon and transfer to your hotel.

Afternoon: Explore Khajuraho, which captures world attention for its 22 amazing erotic temples built by the rulers of the Chandela dynasty. Each temple, built of stone, is distinguished by carved spires and walls, where the subjects range from aesthetic depictions of major and minor deities and celestial beings to a variety of erotic sculptures.


Day 5 - Khajuraho / Agra

After breakfast, proceed on drive to Jhansi enroute visit the medieval city of Orchha with exquisite palaces and cenotaphs. Built by an 11th century king of the Bundela dynasty, Orchha is now a ghost city containing the remains of what must have been once spectaculary lovely monuments, and which combine Hindu and Muslim architectural traditions.

After the tour, drive to Jhansi railway station to board the express train to Agra.


Arrive Agra in the late evening and transfer to your hotel.


Day 6 - Agra

Morning: Visit Agra Fort, it’s first red sandstone fort of North India was built by Mughal Emperor Akbar in the year 1565. Its royal audience halls, immense stone courtyards, marble mosque and the private royal chambers give us a glimpse of the grandeur and talent for combining defensive architecture with beauty and design of the Mughal Empire.

From here visit Emperor Akbar’s tomb at Sikandra. In the tradition of all Mughal emperors, the tomb was begun by Akbar but completed by his son Jehangir. Woven into the Mughal garden tomb format, are Akbar’s ideas of Din-I-Ilahi, a universal religion combining beliefs from Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. The stone was quarried from near Fatehpur Sikri and the great gateway has magnificently bold polychrome inlay in geometric and floral patterns. The four minarets crowning its corners are an innovation in tombs, later seen at the Taj Mahal. The calligraphy on the monument is exceptional.

Afternoon: Visit the fabled Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The Taj Mahal was built in the year 1652 AD by Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial to his beloved queen, Mumtaz Mahal. It took 22,000 skilled craftsmen 22 years to create this spectacular white marble mausoleum. You will stay at Taj Mahal until sunset to see the white marble reflect the nuances of the changing light from the sun.


Day 7 - Agra / Jaipur

Early Morning: You're at leisure at your hotel with option (no extra charge) to visit the Mughal garden of Mehtab Bagh, which is located across from the Taj Mahal on the other side of the Yamuna River. Enjoy a walk and view the Taj Mahal from across the river.

Check out from your hotel after breakfast and proceed on the drive to Jaipur (approximately 5-6 hours).

On the way, stop at Fathepur Sikri, the deserted city. This one of the world's most perfect ghost cities and a marvel of design and construction. It was conceived and bult by Emperor Akbar, one of the most enlightened rulers of his time. Built in 1571, it is a synthesis of the flourishing styles of the Persian courts and the prevailing Hindu Islamic trends. Today its pristine red sandstone buildings are as perfect as when they were first chiseled. The masterpiece of this remarkable monument is the Jewel House of the Diwan I Khas. Architecturally extraordinary, the four doorways lead into a single storey room where a huge central pillar carved to baroque richness, supports a seat reached by mid air walkways. After the tour, continue your journey to Jaipur.


Arrive Jaipur in the evening and check in to your hotel.


Day 8 - Jaipur

Morning: A visit to the Amber Fort. It's forbidding exterior belying a bejewelled interior whose richness reflects the sumptuous styles of the surrounding Mughal courts. An Elephant ride takes you up to the fort and Jeep/Car brings you down the fort (Both ways Jeep/Car ride option available).

From here visit the City Palace, a series of open courtyards, simple stables and buildings leading to the richly decorated royal rooms. The museum within the palace house a fabulous collection of textiles, carpets, manuscripts and costumes from the personal collection of the royal family; Hawa Mahal, also known as the ‘Palace of Winds’ and the fascinating Jantar Mantar Observatory is an astronomical observation site built in the early 18th century.


Day 9 - Jaipur / Mumbai

Morning: Check out from your hotel and transfer to the airport to board your flight.


Arrive Mumbai in the late morning. You're greeted at the airport and transfer to your hotel. Start with half day guided tour of Mumbai. Visit Gateway of India, Mumbai's principle landmark. This arch of yellow basalt was erected on the waterfront in 1924 to commemorate King George V's visit to this colony in 1911. Drive past the Afghan Church. Secretariat of Maharashtra Government and along the Marine Drive which is fondly known as the 'Queen's Necklace'. Visit Jain temple and Hanging Gardens which offer a splendid view of the city, Chowpatty, Kamala Nehru Park and also Mani Bhavan where Mahatma Gandhi stayed during his visits to Mumbai. Drive past Haji Ali Mosque, a shrine in honour of a Muslim Saint on an island 500 m. out at sea and is linked by a causeway to the mainland. Stop at the 'Dhobi Ghat' where Mumbai's 'dirties' are scrubbed, bashed, dyed and hung out to dry. Watch the local train passing close by on which the city commuters 'hang out like laundry' - a nice photography stop. Continue to the colourful Crawford market and to the Flora fountain in the large bustling square, in the heart of the city.


Day 10 - Mumbai / Cochin

Morning: Take a motor ferry from the Gateway of India for an introduction to the Indo Saracenic architectural styles that influenced many of India's monuments. From here we board a ferry for an hour journey across Mumbai harbor to the cave temples on Elephanta Island. Excavated during the 9th century, the caves are dedicated to the trinity of Indian deities Bhrama, Vishnu and Shiva. Some of the sculptures were destroyed when the island was used as bivouac for the Portuguese who used the images for target practice.

Afternoon: You’re transferred to the Mumbai airport to board your flight.


Arrive Cochin in the evening and transfer to your hotel.


Day 11 - Cochin

Morning: An ancient harbor town, Cochin reflects the influence of the many foreign traders who visited the city. The Jewish synagogue (closed on Fridays and Saturdays), one of the oldest in India, is set in the heart of the area known as “Jew Town” surrounded by an aromatic spice market, and interesting shops selling antiques. The synagogue is decorated with blue ceramic Chinese tiles, each distinct in their design. The pictures on the tiles relate the tale of the romance between a wealthy mandarin. If synagogue is closed on this day, then your driver can be arranged (no extra charge) to take you there on one of the other days that you are in Cochin. You spend time in the surrounding markets and walk to the Mattancherry Palace, which was commissioned by the Portuguese for the raja of Kochi in exchange for trading rights. The palace is two storeys high and is built in the traditional Kerala style known as nalukattu (four buildings). The palace exhibits memorabilia from the raja of Kochi’ collection, but it is best known for its outstanding murals painted on the wooden walls. The royal bedroom has ceilings and walls covered with forty-five 16th century paintings illustrating the Ramayana. From here visit the St. Francis Church, established by the Portuguese Franciscan friars in 1503. Vasco Da Gama was buried in the courtyard of this European church, one of the first built in India. Also visit the Chinese fishing nets (they are a great part of this tour), which is a more than a century old traditional form of catching fish and still in use.

Late Afternoon: Witness Kathakali dance performance in a theatre. Kathakali is a classical dance form that has its origins in Theyyam a ritual tribal dance of north Kerala and Kalaripayyattu the martial arts which goes back 1000 years. The dancers use dramatic costumes and exaggerated facial make up, and to accompaniment of drums and cymbals, use stylized movements to relate episodes from the Mahabharat and Ramayan. You will arrive early at the theatre to watch the dancers prepare for their performance.


Day 12 - Cochin / Backwaters

Morning: Check out from your hotel after breakfast and drive to Alleppey to board your houseboat for an overnight cruise.


A visit to Kerala is incomplete without a visit to the backwaters. A series of canals, which thread their way through the state to the sea, it allows you a glimpse of life in Kerala impossible to get from road transport. Along the way you will pass rice fields, tiny villages, boats transporting children to school and farmers transporting their produce to the market, and women completing household tasks such as laundry and washing utensils. You will disembark from the boat to wander in the villages and talk to the people. At night the boat will anchor mid stream, and your meals will be specially prepared by the crew from freshly bought produce.


Day 13 - Backwaters / Kumarakom

After breakfast, disembark from your houseboat around 9 am at Alleppey and proceed on the drive to Kumarakom.

Standard check-in time at the hotel is 2 pm and early check-in is subject to availability on arrival. If room is not available then enjoy common areas/restaurant etc.


You are at leisure on this day to enjoy Ayurvedic Spa facilities at your lakefront resort or explore the nearby villages (on your own) on the picturesque island of Kumarakom.


Day 14 - Kumarakom / Cochin

Early Morning: You have option (no extra charges) to visit Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary to view the incredible birdlife of Vembanad Lake.

Check out from your hotel by noon. After early lunch, drive to the Cochin airport to board your return flight to Mumbai or Delhi (Airfare for last flight TBD depending on travel to Mumbai or Delhi).


Our services end at Cochin airport.


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STANDARD HOTELS (4 Star):

City
Hotel Names
Delhi
Vasant Continental | The Park | Royal Plaza
Varanasi
Rivatas | Ramada
Khajuraho
Ramada | Clarks
Agra
Four Points Sheraton | Ramada | Clarks Shiraz
Jaipur
Four Points Sheraton | Lemon Tree | Ramada | Regenta Central
Mumbai
Waterstones (Gordon House) | Kohinoor Continental Airport
Cochin
The Trident | Dream hotel
Backwaters
Standard Air-Conditioned Houseboat (AC in Night only)
Kumarakom
Backwater Ripples | Abad Whispering Palms

DELUXE HOTELS (5 Star):

City
Hotel Names
Delhi
Le Meridien | The Grand | Sheraton Saket
Varanasi
Taj Gateway Ganges | Radisson | Madin
Khajuraho
Taj Chandela | Radison Hotel
Agra
ITC Mughal | Trident by Oberoi | Courtyard Marriott | Jaypee
Jaipur
ITC Rajputana | Trident by Oberoi | Marriott | Hilton | Meridien
Mumbai
ITC Grand Central | The Palladium Parel | Hilton Intl Airport
Cochin
Vivanta by Taj Malabar | Le Meridien
Backwaters
Deluxe Air-Conditioned Houseboat (AC in Night only)
Kumarakom
The Zuri Resort | The Park Vembanad Lake Resort

LUXURY HOTELS (Best Available):

City
Hotel Names
Delhi
The Imperial | Leela Palace
Varanasi
Taj Nadesar Palace
Khajuraho
The Lalit (Temple View)
Agra
Oberoi Amarvilas (Taj Mahal View)
Jaipur
Taj Rambagh Palace | Oberoi Rajvilas
Mumbai
Taj Mahal Palace
Cochin
Brunton Boatyard | Trinity at Fort Cochin | Malabar House
Backwaters
Premium Air-Conditioned Houseboat (All day AC on demand)
Kumarakom
Kumarakom Lake Resort | Coconut Lagoon

Note: Hotel check-in is at 2 pm and check-out is at 12 noon for almost all the hotels in India.

TOUR INCLUSIONS:

Hotel accommodation in a Double/Twin Standard Guest room
Daily Full Breakfast at the hotel
All three meals (breakfast, lunch & dinner) on the Houseboat in Kerala
All transfers and tours by private Air-conditioned Sedan Car
All entrance/admission fees to monuments and sights
Exclusive: Cycle-rickshaw ride through the ancient bazaar of Old City
Boat cruises (Sunrise & Sunset) on Ganges River in Varanasi
Exclusive: Decorated Horse Cart Ride to the Taj Mahal in Agra
Exclusive: Elephant Ride failing Jeep Ride at Amber Fort Palace in Jaipur
Motor Launch (sharing) for excursion to Elephanta Island
Kathakali Dance performance in Cochin
Guided walk in the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
Personal English speaking guide for sightseeing excursions in each city
Train travel Jhansi to Agra by Air-conditioned Luxury Chair Car
Bottled water during sightseeing, day excursions and long drives
Representative for assistance at airport/railway station in each city
Road taxes, parking fee, fuel charges, interstate taxes
24/7 on-tour assistance in India

TOUR EXCLUSIONS:

International or Domestic Airfare (Internal flights average $100 each flight)
Personal Expenses (tips, porterage, phone, internet, beverages)
Video Camera charges or Professional Still camera with tripod
Travel insurance & Visa


LAND PRICE in US Dollar (USD) - Per Person on Double/Twin share

Web Booking Special 30% OFF

Season

Start Date

Season

End Date

STANDARD

(4 Star)

DELUXE

(5 Star)

LUXURY

(Opulent)

01-Oct-2017
31-Mar-2018
$2,752
$3,932
$3,738
$5,340
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PRICING REMARKS:
→ Peak travel period supplement may be applicable during 1-30 Nov (Pushkar Fair period), 20-Dec to 05-Jan (Christmas/New Year period) and 1-29 Feb..

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