A Journey Through India - Palace & Fort Stays
14 nights. January 2019 - November 2020. From £2099.00.
SAVE £100 PER PERSON* - BOOK BY 31st AUGUST WITH PROMO CODE EARLYLH
Golden Age luxury
This extraordinary Small Group Tour offers the highest levels of comfort and hospitality in some of Northern India's finest heritage hotels. First Delhi, then Agra, then Rajasthan's glorious past and rich traditions, stupendous palaces, great forts and decorated havelis, are all brought thrillingly to life. With included safaris by boat and jeep, fine dining in some astonishing settings, and a host of tours and excursions, this is India at its finest.
Tour Highlights And InclusionsStay in some truly spectacular, luxurious heritage hotels
Discover the sights of Old Delhi by rickshaw
Visit Agra's Fort and peerless Taj Mahal
Enjoy a boat safari on the Chambal River
Explore Jaipur's Amber Fort, famous Observatory and City Palace
Enjoy two jeep safaris and village walks
Discover Udaipur on a guided tour and enjoy a cruise on Lake Pichola
Visit Ranakpur's astonishing Jain temples
See Jodhpur's stupendous Meherengarh Fort
Experience an 'Arabian Nights' adventure under Bikaner's desert sky
Discover Bhangarh's extraordinary ruins
Breakfast each day, three lunches and dinner each evening
14 nights' accommodation staying in historic heritage and five-star hotels in Delhi (1 night), Dholpur (2), Jaipur (2), Deogarh (1), Udaipur (2), Jodhpur (2), Bikaner (1), Alsisar (1), and Vanaashyra luxury tented resort (2)
Return scheduled flights to Delhi
Gatimaan Express train Delhi-Agra
Air-conditioned vehicle transfers and travel
The services of a Tour Manager in India Single rooms are available for a supplement
Day OneFly overnight from the UK to Delhi.
Day TwoUpon arrival, meet your Tour Manager and transfer to the first of your landmark homes-from-home, Delhi's iconic, historic Maidens Hotel, where you can look forward to enjoying old-world elegance, traditional service and every modern comfort, including a famously deep swimming pool. This afternoon, join your Tour Manager for a guided tour introducing the vibrant Old City, including the historic Red Fort, Jama Masjid Mosque and Raj Ghat, Gandhi's cremation site close to the Yamuna River. An exhilarating rickshaw ride through old Chandni Chowk brings a first opportunity to enjoy the scents and sounds of Indian street life, before a first delicious dinner is served in the hotel.
Day ThreeAn early start this morning sees you board India's fastest train, the Gatimaan Express, for the one-hour, 40-minute journey south to the glorious 'City of Love', Agra. Upon arrival, in the company of your guide, you'll visit the royal pavilions, palaces and courtyards of majestic Agra Fort, before taking in the peerless sight of the immortal Taj Mahal, the monument to undying love that is India's most potent symbol.
After an unforgettable few hours' of exploration and discovery, and perhaps an opportunity for lunch, board your private vehicle for the short journey south to Dholpur and the former Royal retreat, the Ras Niwas Palace, a glorious, red sandstone, Raj-era building set in 13 acres of manicured gardens and boasting extravagant decor and attentive service. Accommodation is in beautifully appointed rooms within the grounds. Perhaps enjoy a sundown gin and tonic overlooking the lawns, while resplendent peacocks stroll by, then be served dinner in sumptuous surroundings.
Day FourRest and relax in the hotel, taking in the opulence of the interior and the grounds. After lunch, perhaps served on the marbled terrace overlooking the formal gardens, board one of the palace's river cruise boats, and in the company of a boat escort enjoy a lazy hour's cruise on the adjacent Chambal River (subject to the water level in the river), enjoying the abundant birdlife and sightings of crocodiles and even rare, endangered, long-snouted gharials. At day's end, enjoy another splendid evening and dinner at the Dholpur Palace.
Day FiveBid farewell to your Dholpur hosts and re-board the coach early this morning for the journey across the Rajasthani plain to the famed 'Pink City' of Jaipur. Here you'll enjoy a two-night stay in a beautiful former private haveli, now converted into a warm and welcoming heritage hotel, close to bustle of the old city, but serving as a quiet oasis of calm. Rest and relax after the journey, and perhaps enjoy the hotel's facilities, which include a garden terrace, pool and spa, before dinner is served in stately surroundings.
Day SixAfter breakfast, journey by jeep to the towering 16th-century hilltop Amber Fort, with its richly decorated Royal Halls, gardens and courtyards, and stupendous views from its red sandstone ramparts. You'll also view the fabled 18th-century Hawa Mahal or 'Palace of the Winds', with its innumerable windows and screened balconies, behind which royal women might view the city and important processions while remaining hidden from the world in purdah.
Enjoy a sumptuous lunch in the gilded surroundings of the historic Samode Haveli, a 300-year-old former home of maharajas and now a desert-fringed luxury hotel on the outskirts of the city, before the day continues with visits to the City Palace complex, with its museum, gardens and temple, and to Jantar Mantar - the ancient astronomical observatory.
This evening, rest, relax and enjoy dinner in the hotel once again.
Day SevenToday you'll make the journey south west across Rajasthan, the land dotted with historic palaces and havelis, to arrive this afternoon at the sumptuous Deogarh Mahal heritage hotel, former home to Mewar rulers. Upon arrival, join a local guide for a fascinating jeep safari through the surrounding countryside and walk through the local village. Dinner will be served at the hotel.
Day EightThis morning you'll bid farewell to Deogarh and make the short journey to the sublime 'City of Lakes', Udaipur. Rest and relax at the hotel, and explore your surroundings, before enjoying a first dinner.
Day NineFollowing breakfast back at the hotel, enjoy a guided tour of Udaipur in all its glory, including the majestic, turreted City Palace and the beautiful 'gardens of the Royal ladies' at Sahelion-ki-Bari. After the free afternoon, a wonderful day is completed with an evening cruise on the lake and a dinner overlooking the majestic City Palace.
Day 10Leave Udaipur to head north through the glorious scenery of the Aravali Hills, pausing at the astonishing Jain temples at Ranakphur, a quartet of improbably intricate marble edifices, half-hidden in a wooded valley. By late afternoon you'll arrive for a two-night stay in yet another beautifully appointed heritage hotel, the restored Rohet Garh on the outskirts of Jodhpur. Rest and relax on arrival, perhaps indulging in the hotel's spa or outdoor pool, then perhaps enjoy dinner under the stars.
Day 11A memorable day awaits you, as you explore the extraordinary, desert-fringed 'Blue City' of Jodhpur - so called because of its ancient colour-washed dwellings - and its monumental Meherangarh Fort, Kipling's 'work of angels' that towers over the city from its sandstone butte. Beautifully restored and preserved, the fort features ornate palaces, lattice-walled courtyards and a museum chronicling the opulence and power of Rajasthan's maharajas. The day will also include visits to the marbled Jaswant Thanda memorial, the vast Umaid Bhawan palace museum and, perhaps most memorably, an evening jeep safari to a village inhabited by the Bishnoi tribe, perhaps the world's first eco-warriors.
Day 12Today's journey takes you into the sands of the Great Indian Desert to the remote city of Bikaner, with its labyrinthine old city and ornate Junagarh Fort, its pavilions and palaces enclosed within high walls. Enjoy a tour of the fort and of the fascinating, government-owned camel-breeding farm, then, in one of the tour's most memorable moments, journey into the desert landscape for an evening amongst the vast dunes, enjoying dinner in a desert camp and the opportunity to climb aboard a 'ship of the desert' to witness the spectacle of the starlit sky. You'll return to the hotel at the end of the remarkable evening.
Day 13Continue east through the desert landscape, journeying along an ancient trading route into the Shekhawati region, where small market towns are dwarfed by glorious, richly decorated havelis built by wealthy traders. As well as a night in the stunning surroundings of the Alsisar Mahal heritage hotel, with its frescos, courtyards and richly decorated arcades, you'll enjoy a talk from a local historian who will bring to life the grandeur and opulence of the Shekhawati havelis, accompanied by a glass of champagne.
Day 14A last journey through Rajasthan's exotic landscape returns you to the Aravali Hills, for a two-night stay in the luxury 'tented resort' of Vanaashrya, where there's the opportunity to rest and relax, enjoying a host of amenities amongst the jungle surroundings, before retiring to spend the night in a well appointed, air-conditioned 'tent'.
Day 15A wonderful holiday is completed by a final relaxing day in Vanaashrya and its surroundings. Journey to explore the ruins of 17th-century Bhangarh Fort - said to be haunted - and enjoy a camel cart ride to the nearby village, before a last evening is spent enjoying a cookery demonstration and a final dinner in the company of new found friends, no doubt spent reliving the memories of the fascinating last two weeks.
Day 16Make an early start - a packed breakfast will be provided - and journey to Delhi Airport for the return flight to the UK, arriving this evening after a truly wonderful Indian holiday. Back to top
AccommodationIndia Palace and Fort Stay Hotels
You will be staying in a series of well-located hotels, all of which will be of a five-star standard. In all cases, rooms have private bathrooms and air conditioning.Back to top
Taj Mahal restoration workThe white marble of the Taj Mahal is being gradually cleaned in a process that will take up to four years. Parts of the monument's surface may be covered during this process though your visit and access to the main dome is not likely to be restricted.
Hotel transfer timesThe transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately one hour.
Passports and visasBritish citizens require machine-readable passports when travelling overseas. Your passport must contain two blank pages and be valid for 180 days after your return date from India. A visa is also required for entry to India. Full details of how and when to apply will be sent out about eight weeks before departure. British CITIZENS and some other European nationals satisfying certain conditions may use the online e-Tourist Visa application process at a cost of $100 (US) per person. Other British passport holders, who are not British CITIZENS, must apply for a full visa which costs GBP112. You may also, at extra cost, use the services of CIBT, our recommended visa handling partner, who will handle the whole process for you. Note that all travellers of Pakistani descent, regardless of citizenship, will generally be subject to more detailed processing by the Indian authorities, which can take up to four months from application.
Foreign Office Travel AdviceVisit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice to find out the latest Foreign And Commonwealth Office travel advice for your holiday destination, as well as information about passports and visas.
On your flightAll outbound flights leave in the evening and land at your destination the next day. All return flights leave in the morning and land in the UK on the same day. On-board meals will usually include dinner and breakfast on outbound flights, and lunch and a snack on the flight home. Drinks are complimentary.
Luggage allowanceYou are permitted to take one suitcase per person on the aircraft, which should not exceed 23kg.
Special requirementsIf you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.
Disabled accessThe majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made. In many developing countries access is sometimes not as easy as at home. Should you have walking difficulties, getting around monuments and attractions may be harder and, in some cases, impossible. Should you have any concerns whatsoever please do contact us prior to travel.
Travel vaccinationsRequirements and advice can vary over time, and from person to person, so please contact your GP about eight weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or any other preventive measures.
Road ConditionsIn developing countries road networks are continually being improved and expanded, which can mean that, from time to time, roadworks and rough road surfaces can extend journey times. Many roads do not have separate pavements or safety barriers, and great care should be taken when crossing or walking alongside roads.
Special Departure - Diwali - India's Festival of LightsPassengers travelling on the 9th November 2020 departures will have the chance to celebrate Diwali, a major Hindu festival marked by family gatherings, and by decorative displays of candles and lamps shining from rooftops and doorsteps, in windows, and all around temple buildings.
Special Departure - Holi - India's Festival of Colours and LovePassengers travelling on the 2nd March 2020 departures will be able to join the joyful crowds throwing coloured powder into the air in celebration of Krishna and the beginning of spring. *This offer applies to new bookings on selected air-inclusive holidays to destinations outside Europe, made between 10th and 31st August 2018 (inclusive), only. Prices shown when booking do not include the discount. The discount will be applied to your booking once the promo code (EARLYLH) has been entered and will be confirmed before purchase. This offer may not be used in conjunction with any other offer, is subject to availability and may be withdrawn at any time. Exclusions apply. Back to top