Unique Experience Intrepid | India Experience

Experience the real India on this comfortable introduction to the cultures of the north and the natural beauty of the south. Travelling from Delhi to Kovalam, see what that India has to offer on a 21-day enigmatic adventure. The country’s highlights and hidden jewels are revealed against a backdrop of green through the Western Ghats and in the vibrant towns of Rajasthan. Visit India's lively cities contrasted with the quiet repose of tiny fishing villages, along with tea gardens, tribal homes and colonial enclaves. This wonderful introduction to the magic of India includes lavish palaces, vibrant bazaars, Bollywood blockbusters and the incomparable Taj Mahal, so take time to discover its beating heart.

Theme

Explorer

  • Highlights

    • Cruise into the dreamy backwaters of Kerala and take a guided walk through a village to learn about life for the locals who live along these palm-lined canals.
    • Discover Northern India's man-made beauties – from Jaipur’s ‘Palace of the Winds’ and Royal City Palace to Agra’s Red Fort and iconic Taj Mahal.
    • See pilgrims praying and bathing along the ghats of the sacred Ganges River during an unforgettable sunrise cruise in Varanasi – one of India's holiest cities.
    • Take a nature walk in the acclaimed Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, looking out for tiger tracks with your local village guides.
    • The Taj Mahal may be one of the most recognisable buildings in the world, but do you know its poetic history? A local expert will fill you in.
  • What's Included

    Meals

    19 Breakfasts

    Transport

    Auto rickshaw , Boat , Cycle rickshaw , Metro , Plane , Private vehicle , Ferry , Train

    Accommodation

    Hotel (18 nights), Resort (3 nights)

    Included Activities

    • Agra - Agra Fort
    • Agra - Taj Mahal
    • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
    • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
    • Delhi - Jama Masjid
    • Delhi - Leader-led Old Delhi walking & rickshaw tour
    • Delhi - Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple)
    • Jaipur - Amber Fort
    • Jaipur - Bollywood Movie at Raj Mandir Cinema
    • Jaipur - Leader-led walking & market tour
    • Karaikudi - Havelis
    • Karaikudi - Leader-led village walk
    • Kochi - Dutch Palace
    • Kochi - Jewish Synagogue
    • Kochi - Kathakali performance
    • Kochi - Leader-led Fort Kochi walking tour
    • Kovalam - Leader-led walking tour
    • Kumarakom - Backwaters boating excursion
    • Kumarakom - Leader-led village walk
    • Madurai - Leader-led walking tour
    • Madurai - Sri Meenakshi Temple guided tour
    • Mamallapuram - Shore Temples guided tour
    • Periyar - Guided nature walk
    • Periyar - Spice plantation visit
    • Puducherry - Leader-led walking tour
    • Varanasi - Sunrise Ganges boat trip
    • Varanasi - Leader-led Old City walking tour
    • Varanasi - Sunset candle flower ceremony
  • Pricing

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      • Start Date:11 Feb 21
      • End Date:3 Mar 21
      • Price:$5,960
      • Availability:7+ Available
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      • Start Date:21 Mar 21
      • End Date:10 Apr 21
      • Price:$5,960
      • Availability:7+ Available
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      • Start Date:9 Sep 21
      • End Date:29 Sep 21
      • Price:$5,960
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      • Start Date:23 Sep 21
      • End Date:13 Oct 21
      • Price:$5,960
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      • Start Date:7 Oct 21
      • End Date:27 Oct 21
      • Price:$5,960
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      • Start Date:21 Oct 21
      • End Date:10 Nov 21
      • Price:$5,960
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      • Start Date:28 Oct 21
      • End Date:17 Nov 21
      • Price:$5,960
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      • Start Date:4 Nov 21
      • End Date:24 Nov 21
      • Price:$5,960
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      • Start Date:11 Nov 21
      • End Date:1 Dec 21
      • Price:$5,960
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      • Start Date:9 Dec 21
      • End Date:29 Dec 21
      • Price:$5,960
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      • Start Date:12 Dec 21
      • End Date:1 Jan 22
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      • Start Date:19 Dec 21
      • End Date:8 Jan 22
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      • Start Date:6 Jan 22
      • End Date:26 Jan 22
      • Price:$5,960
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      • Start Date:3 Feb 22
      • End Date:23 Feb 22
      • Price:$5,960
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      • Start Date:10 Mar 22
      • End Date:30 Mar 22
      • Price:$5,960
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      • Start Date:8 Sep 22
      • End Date:28 Sep 22
      • Price:$5,960
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      • Start Date:22 Sep 22
      • End Date:12 Oct 22
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      • Start Date:6 Oct 22
      • End Date:26 Oct 22
      • Price:$5,960
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      • Start Date:20 Oct 22
      • End Date:9 Nov 22
      • Price:$5,960
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      • Start Date:27 Oct 22
      • End Date:16 Nov 22
      • Price:$5,960
      • Availability:7+ Available
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      • Start Date:3 Nov 22
      • End Date:23 Nov 22
      • Price:$5,960
      • Availability:7+ Available
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      • Start Date:10 Nov 22
      • End Date:30 Nov 22
      • Price:$5,960
      • Availability:7+ Available
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      • Start Date:8 Dec 22
      • End Date:28 Dec 22
      • Price:$5,960
      • Availability:7+ Available
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      • Start Date:11 Dec 22
      • End Date:31 Dec 22
      • Price:$5,960
      • Availability:7+ Available
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      • Start Date:18 Dec 22
      • End Date:7 Jan 23
      • Price:$5,960
      • Availability:7+ Available
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    Please note: while prices are accurate at time of loading they are subject to change due to currency fluctuations and currency surcharges may apply. Please check price at time of booking
  • Itinerary

    Day - 1

    Location: Delhi - Welcome to India. Arrive in Delhi and take your complimentary airport transfer to the hotel. You adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm where you'll meet your tour leader and fellow travellers. If you arrive early, make sure to get out and explore this exciting capital. Filled with historical sites from different eras, museums and galleries, shops and endless bazaars, there’s much to see and do.

     

    Day - 2

    Location: Delhi - After breakfast, your tour leader will take you to the city’s historic heart with a guided walking tour of Old Delhi. Set off on the city's modern metro system, then get a taste of India's famed public transport with an optional cycle rickshaw ride through chaotic streets, such as the famous Chandni Chowk. Make a visit to the Jama Masjid, Delhi's oldest mosque and one of its most impressive buildings, then visit the Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple) to learn about the Sikh religion. The rest of the day is free for further exploration or maybe to join an Urban Adventure (booked locally). Perhaps visit the World Heritage-listed Mughal masterpiece of Humayun's Tomb, the first garden tomb in India, built in 1570. Wonder at the tall brick minaret of Qutub Minar, which was started all the way back in the 12th-century, or explore the mighty Red Fort of Delhi. Part palace and part fort, it played an integral part in the history of the city with former residents ranging from royal families to British soldiers.

     

    Day - 3

    Location: Agra - Farewell Delhi’s hypnotising chaos this morning and set off for Agra, home to one of the world’s most recognisable monuments. Get a taste of India’s rail system with an express train journey to Agra (approx 2 hours). The best way to uncover Agra is by cycle rickshaw, so after arriving you’ll be taken on a rickshaw tour of the city. You’ll visit the spectacular Taj Mahal. Best known as a monument to love and loss, the 17th-century Taj is a beautiful example of Mughal architecture, surrounded by trimmed English gardens. Agra is also home to one of the finest looking forts in India. Enter the dark red sandstone stronghold of Agra Fort – part fortress, part palace and part prison – and search through throne rooms and tiny but incredibly decorated mosques. The rest of the day is yours to spend as you please. A visit to Sheroes Cafe, which employs women who have been affected by acid attacks, is highly recommended.

     

    Day - 4

    Location: Jaipur - Head to Jaipur, Rajasthan's capital, by private vehicle (approximately 6 hours). Get your first glimpse of the Pink City and its trademark building colour on a walking tour. Navigate crowded streets packed with cars, camel carts, rickshaws, trucks, and bicycles, past traditionally dressed Rajput men wearing colourful turbans and sporting magnificent moustaches, while observing the city’s intricate architecture. Visit a bazaar to browse handcrafted textiles, folk art, and the local specialty of semi-precious stones. Make a photo stop at India's most photographed building after the Taj Mahal, the Hawa Mahal or 'Palace of the Winds'. You have the option of also visiting Jantar Mantar, an observatory filled with instruments to track the stars, built by the founder of Jaipur, Maharaja Jai Singh. This evening, continue to indulge in the wonders of Indian culture by watching a Bollywood blockbuster Cinema – an elaborate combination of action romance, drama and music – at the spectacular Raj Mandir

     

    Day - 5

    Location: Jaipur - An optional early morning hot air balloon experience won’t disappoint – wake early for a breathtaking overhead view of the Pink City bathed in early morning light. (For additional information about this optional excursion, please see the important notes section of your trip notes). Later, climb the twisting roads of the Aravalli Hills and round the final bend to see the massive Amber Fort loom into view. The legacy of a fallen empire, the opulent palace is a superb example of Rajput architecture and is packed with elaborate rooms of lavish murals, frescoed arches and delicate jali work. Don’t miss the sparkling Mirror Palace, covered floor-to-ceiling in thousands of reflective tiles, the hall becomes a dazzling fantasy with the light of a single match. The rest of the day is free to explore more of Jaipur that you might have missed yesterday.

     

    Day - 6

    Location: Varanasi - Arrive in the holy centre of Varanasi in the morning after a short flight from Jaipur. Varanasi is awash with shrines and temples, and the ultimate destination for Hindu pilgrims who travel from far and wide to experience this spiritual city. Take a walking tour of the old city, through narrow laneways packed with stalls and shops, past the dhobi wallahs, and the endless temples that echo with bells and the pungent aroma of incense. This evening soak up the unique atmosphere of a candle flower ceremony.

     

    Day - 7

    Location: Varanasi - Today starts early with a sunrise boat ride on the Ganges, where you can watch the light gradually illuminate the many ghats and temples along the river as you pass. There is an option to take a trip to nearby Sarnath, one of the four main Buddhist pilgrimage destinations. The site is where Buddha preached his message of the path to enlightenment and features a number of stupas and museums to explore. Alternatively the day can be spent exploring the laneways and alleys behind the ghats, or picking up some examples of the excellent local silk industry. Perhaps witness pilgrims performing ancient bathing rituals and ceremonies as your time in this sacred city comes to an end.

     

    Day - 8

    Location: Varanasi – Delhi - Use a free morning to delve further into the spiritual atmosphere of Varanasi, wander through the ghats or perhaps haggle with vendors in colourful bazaars. Return to Delhi by plane (about 1.5 hours) for a last chance to explore India's capital. Perhaps head to the legendary Connaught Place for some last-minute shopping. This evening, why not share a meal with your group to reminisce about your travels of northern India.

     

    Day - 9

    Location: Chennai - Today, take a flight from Delhi to Chennai to meet the second stage of your trip. This flight is included in the cost of the trip, and your group leader will provide you all the details, plus where to meet a representative in Chennai to be transferred to your accommodation. Chennai – previously known as Madras – was the site of the first major settlement of the East India Company in 1639, and is now the fourth largest city in India. It's true that it is busy, noisy and often extremely hot, but in many ways, it is a surprisingly efficient and orderly place by Indian standards. The Government Museum is worth a visit if you're interested in the history of the city, and for motorcycle enthusiasts the Enfield Factory tour is a must – though it only runs on certain days of the week, so check days and times before you make the journey. You might prefer to just wander the streets and soak up the atmosphere, exploring the many temples and bustling local markets. Keep in mind that there’s another meeting scheduled at 6 pm, where you’ll meet your new and improved travel crew.

     

    Day - 10

    Location: Mamallapuram – Puducherry - From Chennai, drive along the scenic East Coast Road to the fishing village of Mamallapuram. Take a guided tour around the town’s laidback beaches and temples, keeping an eye out for the sculptures and carvings dotted around the place. Visit the incredible 8th-century Shore Temple and its mandapams (carved pillars) to pay your respects to the deity Shiva. Continue onto Puducherry (Pondicherry) in the late afternoon where your evening is then free. Today's drive should take around three hours in total.

     

    Day - 11

    Location: Puducherry - Explore Puducherry, which was under French rule until 1954, and the European style of the town extends from beautiful colonial architecture right down to the uniforms of the police. Enjoy a walking tour to see local temples, the French Quarter and the spiritual community of Sri Aurobindo Ashram. The rest of the day and evening is free.

     

    Day - 12

    Location: Karaikudi - Drive to Karaikudi today (approximately 6 hours). Take a walk around the village after checking in and get a taste of village life. Visit some havelis (mansions), whose grandiose architecture will no doubt impress. Be sure to sample some spicy Chettinad cuisine while you're here.

     

    Day - 13

    Location: Madurai - Continue on to Madurai (approximately 2 hours). Here you will wander through the colourful markets and bazaars, then visit the Sri Meenakshi Temple in the city’s centre. Still in use today, this ancient temple is a maze of lamp-lit corridors leading to shrines where traditional rituals take place. You might also like to explore the National Gandhi Museum (optional), dedicated to the life and achievements of the 'Father of the Nation' and the leader of India's fight for independence. Your evening is then free to spend as you please.

     

    Day - 14

    Location: Madurai - Enjoy a day of free time in Madurai. Perhaps visit the Art Museum to see a superb collection of carvings, check out the Tirumalai Nayak Palace or simply relax over endless cups of chai. 

     

    Day - 15

    Location: Periyar - Drive through rubber and pineapple plantations to Thekkady and explore the Periyar National Park, perched lakeside in the ranges of the Western Ghats. The sanctuary surrounds a picturesque lake, which was formed as result of a dam that was built in 1895. It ambles through the contours of the wooded hills, and is a permanent source of water for local wildlife. This afternoon, take a tour of a local spice plantation. If you have time, perhaps attend a demonstration of Indian martial arts (kalaripayattu) at the Kadathanadan Kalari Centre.

     

    Day - 16

    Location: Periyar - In the morning, take a guided nature walk in the acclaimed Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary (approximately 3 hours). Encounters with animals in the wild are never guaranteed, and this is more of a jungle walk than an animal spotting tour, but look out for tiger tracks, spotted deer, or gaur – the world's largest species of buffalo. In the afternoon, unwind with an optional ayurvedic massage or just relax in this scenic setting.

     

    Day - 17

    Location: Kochi - In the morning, drive to Kochi, aka Cochin (approximately 7-8 hours). This place is a veritable melting pot of Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese and British influences. Use your free time to get out on the water by local ferry, or wander down the beach at sunset.

     

    Day - 18

    Location: Kochi - Visit the Dutch Palace (Mattancherry Palace), which was built in the 16th century by the Portuguese before the Dutch renovated it. Then check out the oldest functioning Jewish synagogue in India, the Paradesi Synagogue. In the evening witness a classic Kathakali performance, a dramatic dance that combines storytelling with physical technique.

     

    Day - 19

    Location: Kerala Backwaters – Kumarakom - Discover sleepy Kumarakom in the backwaters of Kerala. Drive from Kochi to Kumarkon to our resort along the riverside. Take a short backwaters cruise before heading out on a village walk. This is a great chance to meet and talk with the people who live in the backwaters, stroll under palm trees and weave in between the rice fields in this tranquil landscape.

     

    Day - 20

    Location: Kovalam - In the morning, drive to Kovalam (approximately 4 hours) via Kerala’s capital, Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram). Kovalam was once a quiet coastal village known for its export of fresh fish and coconuts, but is now one of India’s more popular beach resorts. Visit the ancient temple of Attukal Bhagavathy in the afternoon. If you have free time, explore the old signalling station of Anchuthengu Fort or the 16th-century Koyikkal Palace. Your evening is then free to do as you wish. Perhaps head out with the group for a farewell meal together tonight.

     

    Day - 21

    Location: Kovalam - Your trip comes to an end after breakfast and you’re free to leave the accommodation at any time.

     

    India Experience
*Terms and Conditions
Offer subject to availability at time of booking. Prices are per person share twin based on best available tour price, inclusive of all discounts unless otherwise stated. Prices are subject to currency fluctuations and are based on cash or cheque. Tour deposit, amendment and cancellation conditions may apply. Travel agent service fees may apply. Special conditions apply - please ask for full details at time of enquiry.
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