Classic Rajasthan & India's Big Cats
- Duration: 18 days
- Board Basis: Bed & Breakfast
- Tour Ref: D2TNEW99583
- Travel Type: Coach
17 nights. May 2020 - November 2021. From £2799.00.
Book by 30th September and claim 12 free bottles of wine – Use Code: WINE12
The wonders of some of India’s great cities, some extraordinary sights, and three unforgettable wildlife-spotting opportunities.
This wonderful Small Group Tour begins in Mumbai and journeys via Gandhi’s home state of Gujarat to Rajasthan’s exquisite Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaipur and Agra – home to the glorious, beautiful Taj Mahal – before ending in India’s great capital, Delhi. Stay in wonderful hotels – some housed in former royal palaces – explore two national parks, and go in search of tigers, elusive leopards and even-rarer Asiatic lions in some of their remaining protected refuges.
What's Included16 nights’ half-board accommodation staying in Mumbai (1 night), Sasan Gir (2), Bhavnagar (1), Ahmedabad (1), Udaipur (2), Narlai (1), Jodhpur (1), Jaipur (2), Ranthambhore (2), Agra (1), and Delhi (2)
Guided tours of Mumbai, Udaipur, and Old and New Delhi
Return flights to Mumbai (returning from Delhi)
An internal flight from Mumbai to Rajkot
A train journey from Sawai Madophur to Bharatpur
Comfortable, air-conditioned coach travel throughout
Fully escorted by a friendly, experienced tour manager in India
Holiday HighlightsTwo nights in Sasan Gir National Park – home to Asia’s last lions
A stay in Ranthambhore National Park including two tiger safaris
Searching for leopards at Rawla Narlai
A visit to the Taj Mahal
A cruise on Lake Pichola in Udaipur
Visit Gandhi’s first Ashram in Ahmedabad
Stay in an historic heritage hotel in Bhavnagar
Meherengarh Fort in the Blue City, Jodhpur
Jaipur’s Amber Fort, famous Observatory and City Palace
PLEASE NOTE: Price is per person and based on two people sharing a twin/double room. Single room supplements and upgrades are not included.
Day 1Fly overnight from the UK, via Abu Dhabi, to Mumbai.
Day 2Upon arrival, meet your Tour Manager, transfer to your first five-star hotel. After the chance to rest and recover from your journey, enjoy a short, guided orientation tour of this vibrant, energetic city. See the monumental Gateway to India triumphal arch, the grand former Prince of Wales Museum, Mani Bhawan and vast, neo-Gothic Victoria Terminus railway station.
Day 3Early this morning, you’ll return to the airport for a short flight to Rajkot, the Gujarati city where Gandhi spent his schooldays. From here you’ll head to the renowned sanctuary of the Gir National Park - the last refuge of India’s 300 or so remaining Asiatic lions. En route, stop for tea at the sumptuous Orchard Palace Hotel, where interested car lovers can explore its stunning collection of vintage vehicles before you continue to your next delightful hotel, at the edge of the jungle.
Day 4With a park ranger as your guide, today you’ll enjoy two Jeep safaris through Gir National Park. Here you might be fortunate to spot Asia’s last lions, as well as elusive panthers and other native wildlife, in their fiercely protected natural habitat. Return to the hotel for lunch, and perhaps make use of the spa facilities before dinner.
Day 5Bidding farewell to Gir’s verdant surroundings, today you’ll drive east across Gujurat. See the extraordinary and very colourful sight of hundreds of thronging pilgrims making their way up, and down, the 3950 steps to the hilltop temple city of Palitana – a sacred place for followers of Jainism for over 900 years. You’ll then continue to the coastal city of Bhavnagar, where you’ll stay in splendour in the Nilambagh Palace heritage hotel. This former royal residence stands in 10 acres of glorious gardens, and is a perfect place in which to rest, relax and enjoy dinner.
Day 6This morning you’ll head north to Ahmedabad, for an overnight stay in this city of countless palaces, temples and mosques that was the site of the Sabarmati Ashram - Mahatma Gandhi’s home for 13 years.
Day 7Leaving Ahmedabad, today, you’ll visit the “green city” of Gandhinagar, where the vast, ornate Akshardham Temple is the holiest shrine for the Swaminarayan Hindu sect. Continue your journey northeast into Rajasthan (The Land of Kings) and, by afternoon, you will have arrived in the sublime City of Lakes, Udaipur. Here, against a background of rolling hills, the waters of Lake Pichola – provided the monsoon has brought them – are home to two exquisite marble palaces, both overlooked by the fairy-tale majesty of the City Palace.
Day 8Enjoy a guided tour of Udaipur in all its glory, including the majestic, turreted City Palace and the beautiful “gardens of the ladies” at Sahelion-ki-Bari, as well as a memorable boat journey across the lake.
Day 9Bid farewell to Udaipur and travel to the ancient village of Narlai. Here, nestled among the Aravali Hills, the royal residence of Rawla Narlai stands in a former royal hunting ground that is still home to endangered leopards. Join a ranger for an afternoon jeep safari in search of these most graceful of all the world’s big cats, which still roam the site freely, before returning to the hotel for dinner.
Day 10A memorable day awaits, as you journey to the desert-fringed of Jodhpur – known as the Blue City because of its ancient, colour-washed dwellings. See monumental Meherangarh Fort, Kipling’s “work of angels”, that towers over the city on 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 Jaswant Thanda memorial and the vast Umaid Bhawan palace museum.
Day 11Drive across the Land of Kings, through scenery studded with richly decorated havelis, to the Pink City of Jaipur, your base for the next two nights. After your afternoon arrival you’ll have the rest of the day free to rest and relax.
Day 12Highlights of this wonderful day will include the ancient Rajput capital Amber, its palaces and temples dominated by monumental Amber Fort. Climb to the stronghold by jeep to see its exquisite Royal Halls and stupendous views. This afternoon, enjoy a sightseeing tour that includes the fabled Palace of the Winds’, the City Palace, and the astronomical observatory built by city founder Jai Singh. Later, crown your visit to Jaipur by joining this evening’s optional rickshaw ride to the city’s colourful night markets.
Day 13This morning you’ll journey to famous Ranthambhore National Park. Once the hunting ground of Indian princes, Ranthambhore is covered with thorn trees, scrub and grasslands, and dotted with beautiful ponds, streams and lakes. It’s the perfect habitat for the famed, endangered “tigers of Ranthambhore’ and for countless other species. After an included lunch, rest and relax at your hotel, or join our optional excursion to ancient Ranthambhore Fort, which sits atop the 600-metre-high hill range, and offers stupendous views of the park below.
Day 14An undoubted highlight of your entire holiday will be today’s two canter (open-air vehicle) safaris in Ranthambhore Park, taken in the company of a knowledgeable naturalist guide. With luck, you’ll see tigers and other species in their natural environment. Lunch is included today, and you’ll end your stay in the park with dinner at the hotel once more.
Day 15Leave your hotel early this morning, and transfer to the railway station at Sawai Madophur to board the Kota Janshatabdi Express for the two-and-a-half-hour journey to Bharatpur. From here you’ll continue to Agra, the fabled City of Love and site of the exquisite, incomparable Taj Mahal, by coach. Pay a visit to this astonishing monument to undying love, one of the planet’s most recognisable buildings, seen in all its glory at sunset, before enjoying dinner at your hotel.
Day 16Awaken early to pay another unforgettable optional visit to the Taj Mahal, this time as the sun rises, After breakfast at the hotel and a visit to the royal pavilions, palaces and courtyards of majestic Agra Fort, you’ll re-board the coach for the journey to Delhi, arriving in the Indian capital by late afternoon, in time for dinner.
Day 17Make the most of your last unforgettable day in India. Join your tour manager, this morning, for a guided tour that will introduce Delhi’s vibrant Old City. Drive by the historic Red Fort and visit Jama Masjid Mosque and Raj Ghat, Gandhi’s cremation site close to the Yamuna River. You’ll also take an exhilarating rickshaw ride through the narrow lanes of old Chandni Chowk.
This afternoon, explore the grandeur of New Delhi, built by the British Raj to reflect the glories of Empire. Highlights will include the historic India Gate war memorial, the vast boulevard of the Rajpath and, from an earlier time, the ruins of the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque and the ornate Qutub Minar tower that rises from them.
This evening, enjoy a Farewell Dinner at your hotel, no doubt reliving memories of the last two amazing weeks.
Day 18This morning you’ll head to the airport and check in for your flight home, arriving back in the UK late this afternoon at the end of an extraordinary Indian adventure. Back to top
Hotel transfer timesThe transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately one hour.
Combining hotel transfersWe sometimes need to combine transfers to and from your hotel. We always try to keep any wait to a minimum, but you may be asked to wait at the airport for up to an hour, while other incoming flights arrive, before the transfer to your hotel. Similarly, we may need to transfer you back to the airport up to three hours before your flight home departs.
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.
Itinerary changesOccasionally, for operational reasons, we may have to change the order of the excursions on your holiday. The final day-by-day itinerary will be confirmed on your Final Travel Documents, which you will receive approximately three weeks prior to your departure.
Changes to your hotelsShould circumstances require, we reserve the right to accommodate you in alternative hotels, of a similar standard, nearby. Full details of your hotels will be sent with your Final Travel Documents.
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.
Indirect flightsPlease note: Flights will operate via Abu Dhabi.
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 £112. 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.