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The Golden Triangle is a great starting point for anyone visiting India for the first time. The journey is made up of three of the most visited cities in north India – Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, offering a fantastic combination of history and culture.
Only after stepping foot in India will you realise that Indian cuisine, as you know it, just doesn’t exist. To paint both the delicate and punchy flavours of India with the same broad brushstroke overlooks the smorgasbord of dishes on offer from north to south. Tried and tested recipes balance coriander, cumin and cardamom with almost scientific precision, guaranteeing a culinary experience you will never forget.
Enjoy a sneak peek into daily life in India by staying at a haveli or in a homestay. If only for a few nights, you will be shoehorned into a family, enjoying traditional Indian hospitality, sampling home cooked food and exploring the path less travelled. Staying at one of these unique lodgings will give you an incredible insight into real India, and you will be welcomed with open arms by hosts whose wealth of local knowledge knows no bounds. Coming in all shapes and sizes, from plantation bungalows to historic houses, majestic forts and charming cottages, a short stay in one of these unique properties allows you to immerse yourself in India rather than simply visit it.
India is a magical country which welcomes travellers with a chaotic and colourful assault on the senses. Never is this more prominent than during one of the many festivals. Below we have listed the dates for the major festivals in India. Speak to one of our specialists about incorporating one of these into a tailor-made itinerary.
With millions of passengers on the move every day, travelling on some 71,000 miles of track, India's intricate network of railways are the arteries of the country, connecting its bustling cities with its sleepy villages and everywhere in between. The sprawling rail network reaches the nooks and crannies of India which are otherwise impossible to find. Amongst the country's miles of train tracks are some of the most picturesque rail journeys in the world, most notable of which are its famed toy trains. Whilst perhaps not the most efficient way of getting from A to B, the experience is an absolute must to add to your India itinerary.
Highlights of North and South
Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Shahpura, Udaipur, Cochin, Munnar, Madurai, Thekkady and Periyar National Park, Backwaters, Marari
Best for: Highlights, Culture History, Luxury
Discover beguiling India and all it has to offer on this 19 night itinerary, taking you from the glittering palaces and mighty forts of the north to the rolling hills, vibrant temples, and enchanting backwaters of the south.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916
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This comprehensive three week itinerary is perfect for first-time visitors to India, particularly those who cannot choose between the ancient villages and royal cities in the north or the laid-back temple towns and scenic hill stations in the south. It includes well-known attractions such as the Taj Mahal, Jaipur’s Amber Fort and Kerala’s backwaters alongside some lesser-known treasures such as the rural village of Shahpura and a secluded plantation retreat on the outskirts of Periyar National Park. Properties have been carefully selected to enhance the experience of each destination, including heritage havelis and converted palaces in the north to tea estates and the iconic Keralan houseboat in the south.
Days 1 - 3 : Delhi
Stay at The Claridges for 2 nights
Your journey begins in India’s bustling capital city of Delhi. Upon arrival, you will be met by one of our representatives and transferred to The Claridges, a small elegant hotel fantastically located for exploring Delhi. The following day will be spent discovering the city’s cultural and historic highlights with a private guide. Begin the day by visiting the vibrant and bustling Bazaars of Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi, before spending an afternoon exploring New Delhi, including Humayun’s Tomb and the Qutb Minar minaret.
Day 3 - 4 : Agra, Himalaya and the North
Stay at Trident Agra for 1 night
On the morning of day three, you will be transferred to Delhi’s train station in time to catch a short two hour train to Agra where you will spend one night at the grand Taj Gateway Hotel. Spend that day exploring some highlights of Agra with a private guide including Agra Fort and Mehtab Bagh, a grand park that enjoys spectacular views of the Taj Mahal. Arise early the next morning to make your way to the Taj Mahal in time for sunrise. Not only is the sight of the Taj Mahal bathed in hues of orange and pink at dawn is an unforgettable sight, you also avoid the crowds that come later in the day.
Days 4 - 6 : Jaipur, Rajasthan
Stay at Dera Mandawa for 2 nights
From Agra, it is approximately a four hour drive to Jaipur, Rajasthan’s rose-tinted capital. Spend the next two nights at Dera Mandawa, a beautiful heritage hotel tucked away from the city’s hustle and bustle. Explore Jaipur the next day with a private specialist guide, including the Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds), the historic City Palace, the bazaars of the old city. You will also be taken the visit the Amber Fort, a spectacular ancient fort built on a hilltop on the outskirts of Jaipur. Explore the fort's mirror palace, wonder is cobbled streets, stroll along its enormous ramparts and transport yourself back to 16th century Jaipur.
Day 6 - 7 : Shahpura, Rajasthan, India
Stay at Shahpura Bagh for 1 night
Leave the bustle of Jaipur behind for a taste of rural Rajasthan as you are driven five hours to Shahpura Bagh, a beautiful heritage property in the quiet town of Shahpura. Offering a tranquil respite from Rajasthan’s slightly hectic cities with its unspoilt idyllic setting, spend the time at Shahpura exploring local villages, lounging by the hotel’s large outdoor swimming pool and enjoying a delicious candlelit dinner in the gardens.
Days 7 - 9 : Udaipur, Rajasthan, India
Stay at Fateh Garh for 2 nights
From Shahpura, it is a four hour drive to the beautiful lakeside city of Udaipur. The next two nights will be spent at Fateh Garh, a wonderful boutique property perched on a hilltop overlooking the city. That afternoon and evening is at your leisure to settle into Fateh Garh, relaxing by the property’s glorious swimming pool, enjoying a classical music performance and sampling some delicious Indian cuisine. The following day begins with a cycle ride through Udaipur’s beautiful countryside before exploring the city’s main attractions with a private guide, including the City Palace, Saheliyon-ki-bari and Jagdish Temple.
Days 9 - 11 : Cochin, Kerala, India
Stay at Malabar House for 2 nights
It is time to say goodbye to India’s north on the morning of day nine as you are driven to Udaipur Airport in time to catch a flight to Cochin, via Mumbai. The gateway to the south, Cochin is known for its unique colonial history that has produced a lively cosmopolitan city brimming with Dutch, Portuguese, Chinese and British influences. After settling into the Malabar House, a boutique colonial-style hotel in the heart of the city, perhaps head to see a Kathakali performance, a classic Indian dance drama known for its elaborate costumes and characters. Spend the following day discovering Cochin’s many delights, including St Francis Church, the iconic Chinese fishing nets and the vibrant markets.
Days 11 - 13 : Munnar, Kerala and the South
Stay at Windermere Estate for 2 nights
From Cochin, you will be driven approximately four hours to Munnar, a beautiful hill station of nestled amongst the rolling hills of Kerala’s Western Ghats. The next two nights will be spent at Windermere, a glorious English-styled plantation retreat. Time in Munnar is free to spend as you choose, whether you wish to simply unwind amongst the spectacular valley scenery, or you may want to venture out and explore tea and spice plantations, enjoy guided treks or visit a local tea factory.
Days 13 - 15 : Madurai, Kerala and the South
Stay at Taj Gateway Pasumalai for 2 nights
On the morning of day 13, you will drive approximately four hours to the great temple town of Madurai. That evening, head to the famed Sri Meenakshi temple for a traditional ‘going to bed’ ceremony before retreating to the Taj Gateway, a colonial-style hotel offering panoramic views over the city. The next morning, explore the highlights of Madurai with a private guide including the magnificent 16th century Tirumalai Palace and take a cycle rickshaw through Madurai’s animated markets.
Days 15 - 17 : Thekkady and Periyar National Park Kerala
Stay at Paradisa Plantation Retreat for 2 nights
Back into rural Kerala, you will be driven approximately five hours to Paradisa Plantation Retreat, a peaceful hill retreat set along terraces carved into Kerala’s Cardamom Hills. Spend that afternoon and the following day at Paradisa how you wish, perhaps wondering through the spice plantations, spotting wildlife in Periyar Tiger Reserve or relaxing in the hotels outdoor swimming pool whilst you taking in the stunning mountain scenery.
Day 17 - 18 : Backwaters, India
Stay at Houseboat Lakes and Lagoons for 1 night
After two nights at Paradisa Plantation Retreat, it is time to discover Kerala’s famed backwaters, a vast network of waterways, lakes and lagoons. After a three hour drive to Alleppey, you will board your private houseboat. Sit back and watch life pass you by on the banks of the canal as the houseboat gently meanders along the water, passing tiny communities interspersed with lush paddy fields. The boat will dock in the evening as you enjoy a delicious meal on-board before retreating to your cabin for a night on the backwaters.
Days 18 - 20 : Mararikkulam, India
Stay at Marari Beach Resort for 2 nights
Your north and south India adventure draws to an end as you are driven the short distance to Marari Beach on the famed Spice Coast, the perfect place to relax at the end of a busy trip through India. Spend two nights at the Marari Beach Resort, a charming retreat built in the style of a local fishing village mere steps away from the Marari’s golden sands. After spending the days relaxing by the pool, strolling along the beach and trying your hand at some local Keralan cooking, you will be driven to Cochin’s airport in time to board a flight back home.
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This is just an idea to inspire you. Now let us make it yours. Call 020 3141 2850 and we will take your budget, favourites & timings and use our expertise to design the perfect holiday unique to you.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916
From $4225 per person
Meals and Experiences as per itinerary
Private vehicle with driver
Ask our specialists for prices excluding flights from the UK. This price is as a guide only. The actual price is influenced by fluctuations in exchange rate, time of year, travel class of flights and the use of private versus shared excursions. Single supplements are likely to apply.