India - Marigold Hotel Experience
14 nights. January 2019 - November 2020. From £2199.00.
Inspired by the movies and TV shows that have unveiled the mysteries, the bustle and cacophony and the sheer delight of life in India to the fascinated world, this very special Small-Group Tour combines some of the great sights of Delhi, Rajasthan and Kerala with opportunities to step 'behind the curtain', meeting local families, shopping in colourful markets and experiencing different types of Indian cuisine, while staying in some delightful 'Heritage' and 'Home-Stay' hotels.
Tour Highlights And InclusionsEnjoy the company of like-minded travellers as you delve into the culture, cuisine, transport and lifestyle of the world's most fascinating country and enjoy market visits and cooking experiences
Meet local families in Jaipur and Kochi
Travel by 'tuk-tuk', cycle rickshaw and Jeep
Discover the sights of Old and New Delhi
Explore Jaipur's Amber Fort, City Palace and Observatory
Guided tour of exquisite Udaipur plus locations from the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel movies
Enjoy a cruise on Udaipur's Lake Pichola
See Cochin's famous Chinese fishing nets
Experience a Kathakali dance ritual in Fort Cochin
Enjoy dinner at the 'Le Colonial' in Kochi
Spend a day on a traditional kettuvallam houseboat
End your stay at a small and friendly beach resort
14 nights' carefully chosen bed and breakfast accommodation sharing a twin/double room, plus one night on the aircraft
Five lunches and 12 dinners
All scheduled flights as described in the itinerary
Fully escorted by a friendly, experienced Tour Manager Single rooms are available for a supplement
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 OneFly overnight from the UK to Delhi.
Day TwoUpon arrival this morning, meet your tour manager and transfer to your family-run hotel in the heart of New Delhi. After the chance to freshen up, join your fellow guests for lunch in a local restaurant and spend the afternoon and evening in rest and relaxation, in preparation for the exciting days to come. Dinner is served in the hotel this evening.
Day ThreeThe tour begins with a contrasting morning, first spent visiting the sacred Gandhi Smriti, the house in which Mahatma Gandhi spent his last days, and where he was assassinated in January 1948. The striking memorial and museum pays tribute to the 'Father of the Nation' and sets the scene for your stay. A visit is also made to the nearby
National Railway Museum, which celebrates the history of the subcontinent's most revered form of transport, and showcases several historic locomotives.
After an enjoyable included lunch at the colourful Chor Bazar restaurant, you'll enjoy further exploration of the vibrant Old City. Discover the historic Red Fort, Jama Masjid Mosque and Raj Ghat, Gandhi's cremation site close to the Yamuna River. We also take you on an exhilarating rickshaw ride through the narrow lanes of old Chandni Chowk.
To complete a fascinating day, you'll enjoy a pre-dinner walking tour in the company of a local guide, taking in the colour and bustle of the famous bazaar and food market, and learning the secrets of Old Delhi's famous cuisine, before you retire to the hotel.
Day FourThis morning, explore the grandeur of New Delhi, built by the British Raj to reflect the glories of the Empire. Highlights will include the historic India Gate war memorial and the vast boulevard of the Rajpath. After the tour, you'll leave Delhi, journeying in your comfortable vehicle to the 'Pink City' of Jaipur for a four night stay in the family run, 'home-stay' that will serve as your Jaipur base. Upon arrival, meet the family who will be your Jaipur hosts and enjoy your first dinner at the hotel.
Day FiveThis morning there's a chance to enjoy a traditional Yoga session, organised by your hosts. After breakfast, journey throughout the day by Jeep, first to Amber and its 16th-century hill-top fort, to be amazed at the decor in the various Royal Halls, and by the stupendous views from the fort's ramparts. After an included lunch at a typical restaurant frequented by local families, you'll continue to tour Jaipur, including the City Palace complex with its museums and Jantar Mantar - the ancient astronomical observatory. You'll see the 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.
An opportunity to learn about the colourful world of 'Bollywood' dancing is followed by a fascinating evening, during which as well as enjoying dinner in the hotel once again, you will be introduced by your hosts to the art of Masala tea, and to the secrets of the family's cookery book, through which recipes are handed down the generations.
Day SixToday brings the opportunity to join an optional excursion to Agra, site of the exquisite, incomparable Taj Mahal. Journey, by this morning's early Shatabdi Express, to the fabled 'City of Love', to be met upon arrival by a local guide for the visit to the immortal 'Taj'. After an included lunch visit the royal pavilions, palaces and courtyards of majestic Agra Fort and take a walk through some of the colonial parts of the city, with tea at a local family's colonial home, before returning by coach or car to Jaipur. For those staying in the city, enjoy an intimate tour of the heritage districts of the city - location for some 'Marigold Hotel' scenes - and take the opportunity this evening to witness a sacred Aarti ceremony at a local temple, before enjoying dinner at the hotel.
Day SevenOn a fascinating day, join members of the family at the local market, travelling by 'tuk-tuk' or cycle rickshaw, and getting to know more of local culture, foodstuffs and especially spices.
An afternoon optional excursion is offered to Elefantastic, a conservation sanctuary for some of the world's most extraordinary animals, where you will enjoy the chance to get 'up close and personal' with some of the rescued creatures, whose intelligence and sensitivity never fail to amaze. The evening is spent with the family preparing a meal from the morning's purchases and learning about the various flavours of the famous yoghurt based lassi drink.
Day EightToday you'll journey across Rajasthan, former 'Land of the Kings' studded with exotic temples and lavishly decorated mansions - havelis - arriving this afternoon for a three-night stay in the '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.
Dinner is served in the hotel, and there is the opportunity to enjoy a tuk-tuk ride taking in the evening illuminations, followed by a 'night at the movies', joining your guide at a 'Bollywood' picture house.
Day NineEarly this morning, if you wish, join the guide for a cycle ride through Udaipur, pedalling through the awakening streets to see the 'real city' of market traders and local craftsmen at work. Following breakfast back at the hotel, enjoy a guided tour of the main sights - the majestic, turreted City Palace and the beautiful 'gardens of the Royal ladies' at Saheliyon-ki-Bari. An afternoon tour, once again by tuk-tuk, takes in colourful local markets and temples, before taking an evening cruise on the lake with dinner overlooking the majestic City Palace.
Day 10Today we head out of the city to enjoy the familiar surroundings of the Ravla Khempur hotel, setting for the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel movies and actually a castle hotel and home to a famous horse breeder!
Enjoy lunch in the celebrated location, then join a local resident for a walking tour of the surrounding village, where some scenes from the movie were shot, before returning to romantic Udaipur for a last night, which, after dinner (payable locally), can include an evening of traditional dance, music and puppetry in the splendid grounds of the Bagore-ki-Haveli on Lake Pichola.
Day 11Bidding farewell to your Udaipur hosts, journey to the airport for the early morning flight, via Mumbai, to Kochi, the ancient trading seaport of Cochin. Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel, in the heart of the historic Fort Cochin area. This evening, enjoy the experience of a traditional Kathakali dance performance, a colourful spectacle combining elaborate costumes with literature, music, painting and dance, before completing a memorable day with dinner at the historic Le Colonial, setting for The Real Marigold Hotel TV series.
Day 12Today, once again travelling by tuk-tuk, you'll enjoy an included guided tour of historic Cochin, including 'Dutch' Mattancherry Palace with its exquisite murals, the ancient Jewish synagogue and enchanting Fort Cochin, where the famous Chinese fishing nets are one of India's most photographed sights. Historic St Francis Church overlooks a village green, straight from a genteel English scene. The afternoon is spent exploring Fort Cochin's colourful fish market, joining a local family to purchase the fish and vegetables that will be prepared, cooked and served this evening.
Day 13Spend today getting to know the customs and culture of Keralan life, as early this morning you meet local fishermen as they land their catch, encounter coir (coconut fibre) yarn processors and mat weavers, and enjoy breakfast at a beautiful backwater farmhouse with your local family. Crisscross the beautiful countryside by tuk-tuk and canoe, and this afternoon, join your guide, getting around by local 'blue bus' and ferries as the locals do.
Day 14Travel the short distance to Alleppey to visit a local temple, and to spend more time with a local family, preparing and enjoying a traditional lunch, before boarding a traditional, thatch-roofed 'kettuvallam' houseboat, lazily cruising the labyrinth of canals and waterways, lined with coconut groves, rice fields and dotted with temples, and where tiny islands offer a subsistence to fishermen, buffalo farmers, coconut growers and coir processors. After a wonderful cruise, disembark to make the short journey to your final relaxing base, the beach resort at Marari, where you'll enjoy a two-night stay.
Day 15A wonderful holiday is completed by a relaxing day spent exploring the local village and school, or perhaps just lazing by pool or beach, or enjoying the rejuvenating benefits of an Ayurvedic massage (please book in advance) before a farewell dinner with your new found friends and travelling companions brings the opportunity to relive the many wonderful memories and unique experiences of the holiday.
Day 16Make an early start - a packed breakfast will be provided - and journey to Cochin Airport for the return flight, via Mumbai, to the UK, arriving this evening. Back to top
AccommodationIndia's Marigold Hotel Experience Touring Hotels
The properties we use for this programme are smaller, often family-run, hotels. Our aim is to really immerse you in life in India. In all cases we have seen the hotels and have carefully selected them for their warmth, charm and cleanliness. Most do not have a lift, although many will have ground floor rooms available. Dinner will usually be buffet style, and all bedrooms will be air-conditioned and have tea- and coffee-making facilities. Most will also have a safe and TV.Back to top
Hotel transfer timesThe transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately one hour.
Diwali - India's Festival of LightsPassengers travelling on the 2nd November 2018 and 1st November 2019 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.
Holi - India's Festival of Colours and LovePassengers travelling on the 15th March 2019 and 6th 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.
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.
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.
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.
Luggage allowanceYou are permitted to take one suitcase per person on the aircraft, which should not exceed 23kg.
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.
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.
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. Back to top