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India | Sri Lanka | Maldive Islands | Nepal | Bhutan | Tibetan Autonomous Region

India is larger than life. It is a hospitable country founded upon a breathtaking matrix of languages, customs and religions ~ a sea of humanity where a thousand behaviors breathe as a single nation. India’s appeal begins in the past and present of Rajasthan’s palaces and royalty, deserts and fortresses, lumbering camels and graceful dancers in colorful saris. For those who seek inner peace, the sacred waters of the Ganges beckon, and pilgrimage to the holy city of Varanasi becomes a quest and a must. Sultry southern India enchants with its swaying palm trees, mysterious temples, and the white-sand beaches of the Indian Ocean. In the midst of all this, the Bengal tiger remains elusive in Ranthambhore National Park. To the north at the foot of the majestic Himalaya, the magic of the “hidden” Dragon Kingdom of Bhutan lies in wait for those who seek her serenity. Next door in Nepal, the search goes on for the fabled Shangri-La, while the world’s tallest mountains never cease to entice and enthrall. Feast your eyes and hearts on the mysterious, charming, complex subcontinent of India. Whether it’s the smile of a child or the power of the Taj Mahal, a journey through India will render you a changed person.

Incredible, Immersive India


A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people ~ Mahatma Gandhi

 

  • Throughout the journey, stay in actual former palaces, including iconic royal residences such as the Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur and Rambagh Palace in Jaipur
  • Experience India by water in three destinations ~ from Mumbai Harbour to Elephanta Island, Udaipur's serene Lake Pichola and along the holy Ganges River
  • Explore the countryside of Jaipur during an elephant ride conducted by an expert mahout
  • Stay two nights in Panna National Park - home to leopards, sloth bears, wolves and the mysterious Bengal tiger
  • Explore some of the world's most impressive UNESCO World Heritage Sites: The Taj Mahal, Khajuraho, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra Fort and the temples of Elephanta Island 

Day 1: Arrive Mumbai  -  The Taj Mahal Palace
Arrive in Mumbai where our tour representative meets and transfers you to your iconic hotel.

Day 2: Mumbai The Taj Mahal Palace
Explore the city’s classic sights, including the Gateway of India, an 85-foot-high arch whose design reflects India’s Muslim and Hindu traditions. Visit the Prince of Wales Museum and Mani Bhawan, a small museum dedicated to the life and works of Mahatma Gandhi. See the Dhobi Ghat, the largest open-air laundry in the world and a sight to behold as hundreds of men and women hand-wash sheets and garments. B

Day 3: Mumbai/Udaipur Taj Lake Palace
This morning, privately cruise Mumbai Harbour to Elephanta Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the island’s world-renowned temples, which are carved directly out of the basalt rock and filled with ornamental statues, pillars and friezes dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Later this afternoon, fly to Udaipur and check in to your romantic hotel. After settling in, take in the magnificent views of the city and Jag Mandir palaces from the hotel’s many balconies, and stroll its interior courtyard gardens. B

Day 4: Udaipur  Taj Lake Palace
Visit the City Palace, a marble complex of palaces and galleries that offers unforgettable views of the lake and its surroundings. Take a private tour of the Crystal Gallery in Fateh Prakesh Palace, and stroll through Sahelion Ki Bari (Garden of the Maids of Honor). Following an afternoon at leisure, enjoy a private cruise to Jag Mandir, a palace of splendidly carved marble on an island in the middle of Lake Pichola. Later, attend a candlelit performance of Indian folk dancing. B

Day 5: Udaipur/Jaipur Rambagh Palace
After breakfast, travel overland to Jaipur, known as the “pink city” for the abundance of pink plastered stone used to build its massive forts, magnificent palaces and exquisite temples. Arrive at your hotel, the former residence of the Maharajah of Jaipur. B

Day 6: Jaipur Rambagh Palace
This morning, explore the Amber Fort; its Mughal-style façade seems to grow out of the rugged hills. Later, head to a village for a pleasant elephant ride through the countryside with the help of a mahout (trainer). Visit Jantar Mantar, an open-air array of astronomical instruments that includes the world’s largest sundial. View the nearby Palace of the Winds, with its ornately screened windows that allowed the women of the palace to gaze out onto the street unobserved. BL

Day 7: Jaipur/Agra  -  The Oberoi Amarvilas
Travel to Fatehpur Sikri. Built by Emperor Akbar as his palace in the 16th century and then later abandoned, “ruined” Fatehpur Sikri is a fairy-tale ghost city of delicately carved red sandstone. Continue to Agra and your luxury hotel, catching your first glimpse of the Taj Mahal from your window. BL

Day 8: Agra  -  The Oberoi Amarvilas
Today, visit two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Agra Fort and the immortal Taj Mahal. Flawless in its proportions and breath-taking in its beauty, the Taj Mahal looks as though it were painted onto the sky itself — a vision of unrivaled magnificence. Pay your first visit to the masterpiece this morning, when the rising sun lends a warm pink tint to its marble face. Continue to the impressive Agra Fort. Built of red sandstone and marble, Agra Fort presents a formidable exterior and a graceful interior. Return to the Taj Mahal in the late afternoon, as the setting sun bathes the monument in soft orange, for another view of this iconic site. B

Day 9: Agra/Jhansi/Panna National Park  -  Pashan Garh
Today you depart from Agra, taking an early morning express train to Jhansi, and then continue overland by road to Orchha, visiting its 17th-century abandoned palace. After lunch, continue to remote Panna National Park, checking in to your wilderness lodge. BL

Day 10: Panna/Khajuraho/Panna Pashan Garh
Head overland to the medieval temples of Khajuraho. Here, life in all its aspects — joy, love, divinity, war — is depicted in exquisite detail on every inch of the 85 sandstone Hindu and Jain temples. After lunch, continue exploring and then return to Panna for an evening at leisure. You may choose to relax at the lodge or take a dip in the infinity swimming pool overlooking a tranquil stream. BL

Day 11: Panna/Varanasi  -  Nadesar Palace
Take an early morning game drive on a four-wheel-drive vehicle over rocky terrain and through lush teak forests, perhaps spotting crocodiles along the Ken River or even the elusive Bengal tiger. After breakfast, fly to Varanasi, a city of more than a thousand Hindu and Buddhist temples and shrines, sacred to Hindus and Buddhists alike. At dusk, head to the banks of the sacred Ganges River to witness the Aarti ceremony. Take in the sounds of chanted prayers and rhythmic drumming as you watch the Hindu priests — holding lanterns to keep the darkness at bay — bid the gods and goddesses a restful slumber. B

Day 12: Varanasi  -  Nadesar Palace
Today, you visit Varanasi’s highlights, including Banaras Hindu University; the 18th-century Durga Temple, devoted to the Hindu deity, Durga; and Bharat Mata Temple, dedicated by Mahatma Gandhi to Mother India. In the afternoon, explore nearby Sarnath, a park where Gautama Buddha is said to have given his first sermon 25 centuries ago. B

Day 13: Varanasi/Delhi  -  The Leela Palace
Today you rise early for a private sunrise cruise on the Ganges River for a view of the activity along the ghats, the embank- ments of stone steps leading down to the river and where the locals and pilgrims alike cleanse themselves, literally and spiritually. In the afternoon, fly to Delhi, India’s capital. B

Day 14: Delhi The Leela Palace
Wind down your journey by discovering the best of Old and New Delhi. Visit the great Jama Masjid, the most important mosque in India. Then set off on an exciting rickshaw ride through Chandni Chowk, the bustling main street of Old Delhi, inching your way through a maze of ox carts filled with fresh produce, cars and the occasional wandering cow. Pause for lunch, and then visit New Delhi, including Humayun’s Tomb, a Mughal complex whose symmetrical designs prefigured the Taj Mahal. BL

Day 15: Depart Delhi 
Board your flight homeward bound. B

 

KERALA Extension ~ Immerse yourself in the peace and tranquility of India’s southern backwaters on a five-day extension to Kerala, cruising by leisurely rice barge and visiting a working spice plantation.

Day 1  Arrive in Kochi and drive to Kumarakom.
Zuri Kumarakom Kerala Resort & Spa

Day 2  Venture to Vembanad Lake to spot its birdlife. Later, travel through backwaters by boat to a spice plantation for lunch with the owner. BL
Zuri Kumarakom Kerala Resort & Spa

Day 3   Travel by private boat to Alleppey for a glimpse of Kerala’s village lifestyle; then travel back to Kochi. This evening, enjoy a traditional Kathakali dance performance. B
Brunton's Boatyard

Day 4  Tour Kochi’s Dutch Palace, Jewish Synagogue, Fort Kochi and St. Francis Church. B
Brunton's Boatyard

Day 5  Transfer to Kochi’s airport and board your flight. B

in association/Abercrombie & Kent 

 


Condé Nast Traveler Award
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"World's Top Travel Specialists"
SALLIE MASSIE for Destination MONACO
Four-Time Award Recipient - Condé Nast Traveler

Condé Nast Traveler Award
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