Grand Tour Of India - Pushkar Camel Festival Special Departure
This is the ultimate tour of India, taking you from the Golden Triangle in the north to Kerala's backwaters in the south. You'll tour Old Delhi in the company of former street children, who will introduce you to the India that few travellers get to see. You'll visit the stunning Taj Mahal and head off on two safaris in Ranthambore National Park in search of tigers. This special departure then takes you to Pushkar, a pilgrimage destination and the home of the famous camel festival. As well as the chance to experience this unique event, you'll also stay for two nights at the actual site in tented accommodation. In Jaipur you'll discover the Amber Fort and the city's magnificent City Palace, and in Karnataka, tour a coffee plantation and explore fascinating temple towns. The pace slows as you enjoy a cruise on Kerala's idyllic palm-fringed lakes and lagoons. And your tour ends with a relaxing stay at a spa hotel located on a beautiful stretch of beach in Kovalam.
Tick off India's most impressive sights including Old and New Delhi, the Taj Mahal, the 'Pink City' of Jaipur and Agra Fort. Search for tigers in Ranthambore and cruise the tranquil backwaters of Kerala. It's all on this grand tour.
PLEASE NOTE: Price is per person and based on two people sharing a twin/double room. Single room supplements and upgrades are not included.
- Return flights from Heathrow with Emirates and internal flights
- 16 nights half board in 4 and 5-star hotels and lodge plus 1 night in flight
- 36 meals: 16 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 16 dinners
- Travelsphere Tour Manager
- Overseas transfers and other transportation
- New Delhi
- Old Delhi and walk with former street children
- The world-famous Taj Mahal
- Agra Fort
- Fatehpur Sikri
- Search for tigers on morning and afternoon safaris in Ranthambore
- Abhaneri stepwells
- The 'Pink City' of Jaipur
- Amber Fort
- Pushkar Camel Festival
- Temple towns of Belur and Halebid
- Bylekuppe, home to the spectacular Golden Temple
- Tour a coffee plantation
- Spice plantations visit
- Srirangapatnam, the island fortress of the warrior King Tipu Sultan
- Kerala's beautiful port city of Cochin
- Cookery demonstration including lunch
- Kathakali dance (evening)
- Cruise amongst Kerala's tranquil backwaters
- Day 1 UK/Delhi
- Today you'll depart on your scheduled flight to Delhi via Dubai.
- Day 2 Delhi
- On arrival in Delhi this morning we'll transfer you to your hotel. After time to settle in, your sightseeing starts in the 17th century walled city of Old Delhi. Here you'll delve into a maze of crowded streets and vibrant markets, and stroll through the fabled street bazaar of Chandni Chowk. We'll stop to admire the marble domes of Jama Masjid Mosque before visiting the Gandhi Smriti Museum.
- Day 3 Agra
- Your day is filled with wonderful experiences, starting with a short tour of Paharganj, in central Delhi. You'll do this in the company of former street children, who now work with the Salaam Baalak Trust. This charity, supported by Travelsphere Cares, equips the youngsters with a range of skills and helps them to better their lives. They are also provided with a warm bed at night and a hot meal each day.
Next you'll tour New Delhi, where highlights include the India Gate, Parliament House and the Qutub Minar, a soaring sandstone tower.Our next base is going to be Agra, which we'll reach by road.
- Day 4 Agra
- Today is the day that you'll see one of India's most famous landmarks, the incredible Taj Mahal. This mausoleum on the banks of the Yamuna River was built by Emperor Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz, and it's a sight that will take your breath away no matter how many photographs you have seen of it. Close by is Mehtab Bagh, a centuries-old garden complex, which sits on the other side of the river and is exactly aligned with this iconic masterpiece. You'll get to see an alternative view of the Taj Mahal from here. Later, you're going to visit the red-sandstone Agra Fort. This is where Emperor Shah Jahan was imprisoned by his son during a battle for power. He remained here for eight years until his death, and from the balcony he could see the mausoleum to his beloved wife.
- Day 5 Ranthambore
- Today we'll drive to the deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri. Built by an emperor in 1569 to celebrate the birth of his son, take a stroll through its pavilions and palaces. We'll then travel by train to Modhopur, and transfer from here by road to Ranthambore.
- Day 6 Ranthambore
- An exciting day is on the cards, with morning and afternoon safaris in Ranthambore National Park, said to be the best game reserve in India. We'll make our way through thick forest interspersed with pretty waterfalls, which provides the perfect habitat for more than 300 species of birds. With the help of a Local Guide we'll look for wildlife including crocodile, hyena, jackal and more. If you're really lucky you may spot the elusive tiger or the even rarer leopard.
- Day 7 Jaipur
- Your journey continues by road to the famous 'Pink City' of Jaipur, brightly painted by maharaja's decree. En route we'll stop at the ruins of Abhaneri, a small village known for its unique carved step wells, an ancient system of drains, wells and tanks constructed to provide a water supply during dry periods. Sandstone buildings tinged with pink and ochre will greet you as you arrive in the capital of Rajasthan.
- Days 8 & 9 Pushkar
- On the morning of day 8 join your Tour Manager for a tour of Jaipur, which gives you the opportunity to see the City Palace, a complex of monuments, gardens and small palaces, and linger at the elaborate facade of the Palace of the Winds. Your tour then continues to Pushkar, a pilgrimage destination for many Hindus. The town is also famed for its sacred lake and its annual camel fair, which you will attend today and tomorrow. Here you will see camel races and watch as livestock and handicrafts are bought and sold by traders who come from all over Rajasthan. You'll even have the chance to take a camel cart ride as you experience the riot of colour at this lively and unique festival. You will stay in Pushkar for two nights in tented accommodation at the site of the fair itself - a fantastic experience. Your meals here are made up of regional vegetarian specialities for a truly authentic taste of this part of India.
- Day 10 Jaipur
- After breakfast, we'll leave Pushkar and journey by road back to Jaipur, arriving in the afternoon. After time to relax at your hotel, we'll head out to visit the City Palace Museum. Here you can see an imposing blend of traditional Rajasthani and Mughal Art.
- Day 11 Bangalore
- This morning you'll visit the Amber Fort, a 17th century battle-scarred stronghold set on a hill high above the parched desert. Step inside the eerie Temple of Kali, the jewel-like Palace of Mirrors and the Hall of Pleasures. In the afternoon, you'll fly to Bangalore, for an overnight stay. The state capital of Karnataka, Bangalore represents the modern face of India, and as you explore at leisure you'll find many western-style bars and restaurants although traces of a former British colonial past are still evident.
- Day 12 Hassan
- We're heading west by road to Hassan today. This is the oldest town in Karnataka, one of India's main coffee-growing regions, where Arabica and Robusta beans are grown. This afternoon you'll visit the temple towns of Belur and Halebid on an included excursion. The stone temples here were commissioned by the Hoysala Kings, who ruled most of Karnataka from the 10th to the 14th century, and are astounding works of art. The carvings you will see are so ornate and intricate that the architecture looks more like sandalwood than stone.
- Day 13 Coorg
- En route to Coorg this morning, we'll drive into the heart of coffee country, so expect to see an exceptional landscape. Misty green hills, endless mountain ranges and acres of coffee plantations, pepper and cardamom gardens make this one of the most beautiful hill stations in India. We're going to spend the afternoon at the Tibetan settlement of Bylakuppe, which is home to monasteries and temples including the spectacular Golden Temple. This huge complex displays gilded images standing 40 feet high and walls adorned with colourful paintings depicting gods and demons from Tibetan Buddhist mythology.
- Day 14 Coorg
- A day of discovery starts with a visit to the majestic Madikeri Fort, founded in the 17th century. The British constructed a Gothic-style Anglican Church here, which is now a museum, and look out for the two life-size stone elephants standing at the fort's entrance. Next you'll see the Omkareshwara Temple, which displays both Islamic and Gothic architecture and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Your tour concludes at the lovely Abbey Falls, which cascade 70 feet and are located amongst the area's verdant coffee plantations and cardamom gardens. Later, you'll find out much more about the production of coffee in India on a plantation tour.
- Day 15 Mysore
- According to legend, the city of Mysore was ruled by Mahishasura, a buffalo-headed demon who was slayed by the goddess Chamundeshwari on top of Chamundi Hill, where devotees still worship her to this day. This is your next destination and a tour this afternoon will uncover its highlights. The opulent City Palace is the star of the show - it's one of the largest monuments in India and is surrounded by a large garden.
- Day 16 Cochin
- We'll spend this morning travelling by road back to Bangalore, a journey which offers fantastic images of life in this intriguing part of India. En route we'll stop to visit Srirangapatnam, the island fortress of the warrior king Tipu Sultan. The 18th century ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore was renowned for his bravery in the wars against the British East India Company, and he is buried here. From Bangalore we'll fly to Cochin in Kerala.
- Day 17 Cochin
- We'll get to know Cochin on a morning tour, with highlights including the Jewish Quarter, the Dutch Palace and St Francis Church. This is where Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama was originally buried. A wonderful treat today is a cookery demonstration, with lunch included, and we'll also see a display of Kathakali classical dancing.
- Day 18 Kovalam Beach area
- En route to Kovalam today we include a wonderful cruise on Kerala's tranquil backwaters on a kettuvallam. These charming wooden houseboats were historically used to transport rice and spices. In this vast area of canals, lakes and palm-fringed lagoons you'll see narrow strips of land where communities live and farm, and everyday tasks are conducted on the water. Keep a lookout for an array of wildlife too, including kingfishers, egrets and fish eagles.
- Day 19 Kovalam Beach area
- You might choose to enjoy some 'me' time today on the beach, which is just steps away from your spa hotel. You can laze on its golden sands under the shade of a palm tree, or take a dip in the enticing waters of the Arabian Sea. Perhaps you'll have the chance to watch as the fishermen haul in their traditional nets. Your hotel also boasts a swimming pool, an Ayurveda wellness centre, spa, gym and a boutique, so you don't have to venture too far.
- Day 20 Kovalam Beach area/UK
- Today we'll transfer you to the airport for your flight back to the UK.
- Radisson Blu Dwarka
- Guests of the 5 star Radisson Blu can really look forward to taking advantage of the brilliant facilities and service on offer. The hotel boasts an outdoor pool, a fitness centre, salon and spa. There are three onsite restaurants offering a varied selection of cuisines. The contemporarily styled rooms are furnished with a TV, minibar and tea/coffee making facilities. The private facilities come equipped with a hairdryer and complementary toiletries. The hotel also offers free Wi-Fi.
- Crystal Sarovar Premier
- The fantastic location of the Crystal Sarovar Premiere, offers a superb view of the Taj Mahal. Contemporarily styled, this property has some great facilities and services on offer. These include a health club/spa as well as a swimming pool and on site restaurant. The rooms are fitted with air-conditioning, a TV, safe and tea/coffee making facilities.
- Anuraga, A Treehouse Palace Hotel Ranthambore
- The Treehouse Anuraga Resort is located in the ancient city of Sawai Madhopur. Hotel amenities include a restaurant, bar and swimming pool. Bedrooms have private facilities, TV, mini-bar, hairdryer, safe and tea/coffee-making facilities.
- Royal Orchid - Jaipur
- Guests will really enjoy their stay here, as this hotel has an excellent range of facilities and services on offer. This contemporary accommodation boasts a fitness centre as well as a wonderful rooftop pool. There are three in-house dining options, with one which offers a global menu available all day. The rooms come furnished with a flat screen TV, coffee/tea making facilities and a minibar.
- Swiss Cottage Tent Pushkar
- Swiss Cottage Tents are set among the rustic surroundings of Pushkar. Clients will be given a traditional welcome to the peaceful resort.
- Castle Kanota
- Established in 1872 the 4-star hotel is one of the grand heritage resorts in Jaipur. Set within landscaped gardens all rooms have air-conditioning, kettle, TV with satellite channels and a private bathroom. The hotel has an outdoor swimming pool, fitness centre, evening entertainment and a 24-hour front desk.
- Fortune Select JP Cosmos
- Fortune Select JP cosmos is located in the centre of Banaglore, and boasts a range of fantastic facilities. Guests can enjoy the in-house restaurant, the outdoor pool, Gym or spa centre. The rooms come furnished with a TV, a safe and ironing facilities. Guests can also use the free Wi-Fi and take advantage of room service.
- Hoysala Village Resort
- Hoysala Village, is a botanical wonderland. Elegantly designed and tastefully decorated with a variety of artefacts, constructed with rosewood and traditional materials, while trees and flowers line pathways, Hoysala Village Resort keeps you astounded.
- The Windflower Resort & Spa Coorg
- The 5-star Windflower Resort & Spa is ideally located in Coorg, surrounded by three wildlife sanctuaries and a national park.
Hotel facilities include a restaurant, spa and a swimming pool. Bedrooms have private facilities, air-conditioning and a TV.
- Country Inn and Suites Mysore
- Guests can really enjoy their stay in this high-quality property as it combines excellent amenities with a great level of service. Rooms are air-conditioned and come furnished with a TV, private facilities, complimentary toiletries, a minibar as well as coffee/tea making equipment. Customers can make use of an outdoor swimming pool and fitness centre. There are 2 in house dining options, and the restaurants offer a range of both local and international dishes. The hotels also includes free WIFI, room service in addition to a 24 hour reception desk.
- Trident Cochin
- The 4-star Trident Hotel is situated in Cochin.
Hotel facilities include a restaurant, bar and a swimming pool. Bedrooms have private facilities, safe, hairdryer, tea/coffee-making facilities and a TV.
- Turtle on the Beach Resort
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