Journey to the heart of India on this intimate small group tour.
Journey to the heart of India on this intimate small group tour. Uncover the secrets of India's kaleidoscopic cities, watch the sun rise over the resplendent Taj Mahal, and discover centuries of history in unique heritage hotels, including an opulent lakeside palace.
We fly from London to Delhi today, arriving on Day 2. We transfer to the Maidens Hotel for two nights, a colonial heritage hotel surrounded by elegant gardens, which dates back to 1903.
On Day 3 we embark on a sightseeing tour. An international metropolis and one of the oldest existing cities in the world, Delhi perfectly illustrates the charms of both old and new India. Our first visit is to historic Old Delhi, where we enjoy a rickshaw ride through the vibrant, narrow streets to Chandi Chowk, one of the oldest and liveliest bazaars in Delhi. We continue to Jama Masjid, India's largest mosque, enjoy a drive past Delhi's impressive Red Fort, and visit the Raj Ghat Gandhi memorial before continuing to New Delhi this afternoon. Characterised by its modern, high-rise buildings and colonial-era architecture, here we see Rashtrapati Bhavan, Parliament House, Qutab Minar and the UNESCO-listed Humayun's Tomb.
This morning we join India's first semi-high speed train, the Gatimaan Express, for our journey to Agra. A former capital of the Mughal Empire, the city is famous for its incredible Mughal era architecture including the imposing UNESCO-listed Agra Fort, which we visit today. Considered India's most important fortification, the majestic red sandstone and marble complex originates from the 16th century, and we enjoy a guided tour around its ancient buildings and vast courtyards. This afternoon, we take a tour of colonial Agra, taking in a plethora of fascinating architecture from the days of the British Raj and finishing with a delightful high tea experience at a local house.
Early on Day 5, we take in one of the highlights of any trip to India with a sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal, one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Built in 1653 by the Mughal Emperor Shan Jahan as a mausoleum for his beloved wife, the white marble structure is lavishly decorated with precious stones and intricate calligraphy carvings of poems and scripture from the Qu'ran. We leave Agra after breakfast and visit the 9th century Chand Baori Stepwells. A unique ancient well reached by 3,500 geometrical stone steps, it is one of the oldest and most visually striking stepwells in the world. We continue to Jaipur for two nights at the Alsisar Haveli heritage hotel, pausing en route in Kalakho for lunch.
We explore India's 'Pink City' with a sightseeing tour today, travelling past the resplendent Jal Mahal water palace on our way to the Amber Fort. Situated high on a hillside overlooking the city, we travel by Jeep to reach the magnificent palace complex. After some time to explore, we continue our tour. We visit the ornate City Palace, home to the current Maharaja, as well as the 18th century Astronomical Observatory and the opulent Palace of the Winds, a red and pink sandstone facade built in 1799, whose intricately latticed windows allowed the ladies of the royal household to look over the streets below without being seen.
This morning we journey to the desert village of Khimsar where our base is Khimsar Fort, an incredible heritage hotel set in 11 acres of lush gardens amidst endlessly rolling sand dunes. We explore our remote surroundings with a guided tour of the traditional local village and a Jeep safari through the golden sands. This evening at the sand dunes, we are treated to a special dinner accompanied by a traditional Kalbelia dance performance; performed as a joyful celebration, this sensuous folk dance incorporates serpentine movements which evoke the fascinating snake charming history of the community.
On Day 8 we transfer to Rohet, where we enjoy a captivating encounter with nature on a birdwatching tour. The lakes and grasslands of the area attract a multitude of stunning bird species, including the Indian roller and baya weaver. Our hotel for the next two nights is Rohet Garh, a renowned heritage hotel which offers a glimpse into a lavish bygone era.
Our excursion on Day 9 takes us to Jodhpur, known as the 'Blue City' due to the hue of the houses within its old walls. We take in the splendour of Mehrangarh Fort, located high above the city on a dramatic cliff, and Jaswant Thada, an exquisite marble cenotaph. We return to Rohet for a Bishnoi village safari, during which we learn about the captivating culture and customs of the local Bishnoi community, a religious Hindu sect founded on the principle of conserving nature.
Today we travel to Deogarh where we take a guided village tour before we check into Deogarh Mahal, an impressive 17th century heritage palace which epitomises the decadence of Rajasthan. This evening before dinner, we visit the kitchens for a spectacular cooking demonstration, allowing us to see how authentic Indian food is prepared and cooked in a traditional tandoor oven.
After breakfast on Day 11, we transfer to Khamlighat station for a wonderful heritage rail journey, travelling on a metre-gauge line into our alluring rural surroundings, passing waterfalls and lush greenery. We disembark in Phulad and transfer to Udaipur, stopping en route to visit Ranakpur Jain Temple, known for its stunning architectural design and distinctive turrets. In Udaipur, we check into the final heritage hotel of our trip, the phenomenal Fateh Prakash Palace. Boasting timeless grandeur and elegant rooms, the hotel occupies a breathtaking location on the shores of Lake Pichola.
Today we transfer to the charming Ravla Khempur Hotel, best known as the filming location for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. After a guided tour of the hotel and surrounding village, we enjoy lunch here before returning to the Fateh Prakash Palace. This afternoon we take a boat ride across Lake Pichola to Jag Mandir, the Indian royal family's summer resort built on an island in the middle of the lake. This evening we head to the hotel rooftop where we enjoy an unforgettable farewell dinner against the backdrop of the beautiful lakeside city.
On the morning of Day 13 we discover Udaipur on a guided tour. We explore the majestic City Palace complex and spend time in Saheliyon-ki-Bari, a beautiful garden famous for its fountains, lotus pool and marble elephants. Our tour continues as we take in the expansive classic and vintage car collection of the Maharajas of Mewar, which includes rare Rolls Royces and Cadillacs. This afternoon we transfer to the airport for our flight to Mumbai where we overnight.
On Day 14 we make our way to the airport for our flight back to London, where your tour concludes on arrival.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.
An escorted experience and all travel arrangements
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
Please note: This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.
Journey to the heart of India on this intimate small group tour.