India's Grand Tour – Golden Triangle & Kerala
- Duration: 15 days
- Board Basis: Mixed Board
- Tour Ref: D2TNEW99499
- Travel Type: Air
14 nights. September 2021 - November 2022. From £2499.00.
India its most most alluring
Explore the verdant ‘Beautiful South’ of India. Discover great cities, go in search of tigers, and experience the real India. Join us for a fascinating, perfect introduction to an extraordinary, intoxicating country. Begin in Kochi, the ‘old Cochin’ that is gateway to an idyllic, land of labyrinthine waterways where traditional houseboats drift along, and to forested uplands dotted with tea and spice plantations. Fly north to mesmerising Delhi, and explore the City of Love, Agra, and the Pink City of Jaipur. Ranthambhore’s tigers, colourful traditional dance shows and cooking demonstrations from your welcoming hosts all add to the pleasure of a wonderful Indian tour.
What's Included13 nights’ half-board accommodation staying in Cochin (2 nights), Periyar (2), aboard a traditional houseboat (1), Delhi (2), Agra (1), Ranthambhore (2) and Jaipur (3), plus one night on the aircraft
Return flights to Kochi, via Muscat (returning from Jaipur via Muscat)
An internal flight from Kochi to Delhi
A ride on the Gatimaan Express from Delhi to Agra
Comfortable, air-conditioned coach travel throughout
The services of a friendly, experienced tour manager
Holiday HighlightsSee Agra’s glorious Fort and the immortal Taj Mahal
Go in search of Ranthambhore’s tigers on two included safaris
Spend a night on a traditional Kettuvallam houseboat
A morning food tour in Delhi, sightseeing and a rickshaw ride through Old Delhi
Riding the Gatimaan Express – India’s fastest train – from Delhi to Agra
Explore Kochi, and discover its famous Chinese fishing nets
A visit to Jaipur's City Palace and the Amber Fort
Discover the deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri
Idyllic Periyar's spice plantation and wildlife sactuary
Enjoy cookery demonstrations, and traditional dance and martial arts performances
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 to Kochi, via Muscat.
Day 2Arrive at Kochi Airport, meet your tour manager and transfer to your hotel in this one of India's most cosmopolitan cities, a trading port for centuries, and with a distinctly European feel, especially in the Fort Cochin area. Rest and relax after your journey, and enjoy a first dinner this evening.
Day 3Enjoy an introduction to Kochi, where highlights include "Dutch" Mattancherry Palace, Fort Cochin’s much-photographed Chinese fishing nets and historic St Francis Church. This evening, watch a colourful, traditional Kathakali dance performance, and join a local family to learn the secrets of cooking Railway Mutton Curry – a recipe invented by the local Anglo-Indian community.
Day 4Today you'll journey up into the lush, misty-mountains landscape, heading to renowned hill-station Periyar, famed for its Wildlife Sanctuary and surrounded by tea- and spice-plantations. Check into your hotel and, after the chance to enjoy the verdant surroundings, join fellow guests for a traditional Kalaripayattu martial arts display. Afterwards, the hotel chef will share yet more of the region’s culinary delights before dinner is served.
Day 5Enjoy a morning’s guided introduction to a fragrant spice plantation, and learn about the history of the Keralan spice and tea industries – which remain a vital part of India’s export trade. This afternoon, complete your visit to Periyar with a cruise through its famous wildlife sanctuary, which is home to several species of endangered mammal and to over 250 bird species. There are regular sightings of elephants and colourful birds here, though glimpses of the region's elusive tigers and leopards are the preserve of a very fortunate few.
Day 6Journey back down to Alleppey, gateway to the Keralan backwaters, to board a traditional, thatch-roofed Kettuvallam houseboat. Lunch and dinner will be served on board as you cruise lazily through the region's labyrinth of canals and waterways lined with coconut groves, rice fields and dotted with temples, and stay overnight in these tranquil surroundings.
Day 7After breakfast on board, you'll return to dry land and transfer to Kochi Airport for your afternoon flight north to Delhi. Once there, you'll transfer to your welcoming hotel and enjoy a first dinner in the Indian capital.
Day 8Make an early start this morning, and take a walk through Old Delhi’s quiet streets in the company of your guide (before the throng turns them into one of the most chaotic quarters on Earth later in the day). See the pop-up khopcha shops, and sample some delicious morning street food. Later, you'll head out for a tour of the sights, including the historic Red Fort, the Jama Masjid Mosque and Raj Ghat (Gandhi’s cremation site) as well as old Chandni Chowk. See the historic India Gate War Memorial and the vast boulevard of the Rajpath – New Delhi’s most famous Raj-era landmarks – before enjoying a second dinner at the hotel.
Day 9You'll have an early start, this morning, as you board India’s fastest train, the Gatimaan Express, for the journey south to the glorious City of Love, Agra. Once here, you’ll visit the royal pavilions, palaces and courtyards of majestic Agra Fort in the company of your guide, before heading to the peerless sight of the iconic Taj Mahal – the monument to undying love that is one of India’s most potent symbols.
Day 10Today you’ll cross from Uttar Pradesh into Rajasthan. En route, you'll visit the extraordinary deserted Moghul city of Fatehpur Sikri, and enjoy lunch at a luxurious heritage hotel set in wonderful grounds just outside the walled town of Bharatpur, before continuing to Ranthambhore National Park where you'll spend the next two nights. Once the hunting ground of Indian princes, the park is home to the Tigers of Ranthambhore and other fascinating species. This evening, enjoy a tiger talk from a local naturalist before dinner.
Day 11Today’s highlights are two canter (open-air vehicle) safaris in Ranthambhore Park, taken in the company of a knowledgeable naturalist guide. With luck you may see the Park's tigers and other species in their natural environment. Lunch is included, today.
Day 12Rest and relax this morning, or join our optional excursion to Ranthambhore Fort, which boasts stupendous views of the park below once you make the gradual, 273-step climb to its gates. After lunch, you'll board the coach once more, and journey to the Pink City of Jaipur. You'll spend three nights here in an elegant, historic heritage hotel, and this evening dinner will be served in its sumptuous surroundings.
Day 13After breakfast, visit Amber and its 16th-century hilltop fort, riding up by jeep to enjoy the stupendous views from its ramparts. This afternoon, tour Jaipur’s City Palace complex with its museums and ancient astronomical observatory, and drive past the 18th-century Palace of the Winds. And, later, enjoy a second dinner at your hotel.
Day 14Make the most of the hotel's sumptuous amenities on your last full day in India, or take the chance to see some of the world’s most extraordinary animals up close on an optional visit to Elefantastic. Walk, interact with and bathe some of the rescued elephants that call the site home. This evening, enjoy a Farewell Dinner at your hotel.
Day 15After breakfast, we'll head to the airport to check in for your flight home via Muscat. You'll arrive back in the UK late this evening. Back to top
Diwali – India's Festival of LightsPassengers travelling on the 10th November 2020 and 26th October 2021 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.
Hotel transfer timesThe transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately 30 minutes.
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.
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 $10 (US) per person for entry to India for arrivals in the months of April, May and June or $25 (US) per person for arrivals in other months. 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.
On your flightFlights from London 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.
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. Back to top