India

India

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India is not only an incredible, unique country and civilisation, it’s also a mind-boggling potpourri of sights, sounds, colours and experiences, as well as a  culture-shock of astonishing contrasts. From the flawless grandeur of the Taj Mahal, to the mighty fortresses of Rajasthan and from the reminders of past glories of the Raj in Delhi to the teeming markets of Jaipur, our India tour encompasses the very best that Northern India has to offer and you will return home with some truly amazing memories.

Highlights

  • A wonderful tour of northern India’s ‘Golden Triangle’ with additional visits to see tigers at Ranthambore National Park and a stay at a heritage hotel in Rajasthan
  • Return direct scheduled flights from Heathrow, with Manchester connections available
  • Stay in hand-picked three, four and five-star hotels
  • Visit all the major sights of Old and New Delhi
  • See the magnificent Taj Mahal and gaze in awe at the simple purity of its white marble and the exquisite craftsmanship of its inlay work
  • Spend two nights in the pink city of Jaipur, with a guided tour of its City Palace, astronomical observatory and the Palace of the Winds
  • Marvel at the extraordinary location and beauty of Amber Fort
  • Stay in an original Rajasthani fort, beautifully converted into a stunning Heritage Hotel
  • Enjoy a guided tour of the 400-year old deserted Moghul city of Fatehpur Sikri
  • Daily breakfast and seven meals included
  • Escorted by an experienced Tour Manager

Inclusions

  • The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a twin room. Single rooms are subject to availability at the relevant supplement (date dependent) from £239 to£339per person.Nine nights accommodation in three,four or five-star hotels; daily breakfast, two lunches and five dinners; scheduled flights to/from Delhi; all transfers; guided tours of New and Old Delhi, Agra and the Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri, two game drives in Ranthambore, Jaipur city tour, visit to Amber Fort, walking tour of Havelis at Mandawa; all local transport by train or coach as described; porterage of one item of luggage per person; the services of an experiencedRiviera Tour Manager.
  • Not included: India visa.
  • ​All British passport holders require a visa for India. Please ensure that you have at least two empty pages in your passport and that your passport is valid for a minimum of 190 days from the time of submitting your visa application. At the time of departure you will be able to travel as long as both the passport and the visa are valid.
  • India visas: Single entry tourist visas cost £80 per person, plus a £10.20 service charge and a £2 consular fee and can be applied for in person or by post.
  • Personal applications: to apply for an Indian visa please visit http://in.vfsglobal.co.uk where you can apply, pay online and schedule an appointment to submityour application in person at your nearest centre, dependent on your home address.
  • Postal applications: you must either apply and pay online, print off the completed application form, payment confirmation and submit by post; or alternatively, you may apply online, print off the completed application and submit along with payment by postal order. Personal cheques are NOT accepted. In both cases you must submit your passport along with a self addressed stamped envelope and two, 2” passport photos to: Indian Visa application Centre (WEST LONDON), The Visa Centre, First Floor - Part A Block, 50 Salisbury Road, Hounslow, TW4 6JQ
  • Please note handwritten applications are no longer accepted. Full details of costs, application form and addresses can be found on http://in.vfsglobal.co.uk, email: [emailprotected]
  • /* */or tel: 0905 7570045 (calls cost 95p per minute). Visa fees are subject to change without notice and non-refundable.
  • Health Matters
  • Whilst the travelling schedule shall pose no problems for people of any age in normal physical health, we would point out that in visiting a number of historical sites, paths may be uneven and uphill and we often enjoy walking tours of the main sights. Therefore this holiday may not be suitable for clients of greatly impaired mobility. In the tropics temperatures and humidity levels will also be quite high for most of the year. Please consult your GP regarding the appropriate inoculations required for India at least a month before departure.
  • To make the most of your trip, we recommend you check the Foreign Office website at www.fco.gov.uk/travel

Itinerary

Day 1

Airport check-in for your overnight flight to Delhi.

Day 2

On arrival, we transfer to the five-star Taj Palace hotel for one night. All rooms are stylishly furnished and air-conditioned with flat-screen TVs, personal safe, mini-bar and complimentary tea/coffee. After a short rest we commence our guided tour of New Delhi. The city centre, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1911, is bisected by wide, tree-lined avenues, a hub which clearly reflects the Raj legacy and home to the former Viceroy’s Palace, now the Presidential Palace. Heading down the imposing Rajpath, we pass India Gate and the Parliament building. We’ll visit some of Delhi’s older monuments, including the Qutub Minaret, started in 1199, which is the tallest stone built tower in India. Nearby is Humayun’s tomb, an outstanding example of Mogul architecture and the first mausoleum of its type, pre-dating the more widely known Taj Mahal by nearly a century.

Day 3

This morning we continue our city tour, first visiting Old Delhi, starting with the Raj Ghat, a fittingly simple memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. We continue past the imposing walls and battlements of the great Red Fort before visiting the Jama Masjid, one of Asia’s largest mosques. We leave Delhi in the afternoon for our drive to Agra, arriving at the four-star Oberoi Trident hotel. A buffet dinner at your hotel is included tonight.

Day 4

We rise early to catch the sun rising over the Taj Mahal. In the soft morning light, as the mist rises from the Yamuna river behind it, the Taj Mahal seems to float, mirage-like, above the surrounding landscape. A combination of extraordinary beauty, symmetry and history makes this wonder of the world one of the most amazing monuments on the planet and you will have plenty of time to admire it from all angles. Moving on, we continue our tour with a visit to the vast red sandstone Agra Fort. Completed in 1573, it was the headquarters of the Mogul Empire, boasting vast size and opulence, its buildings make it more of a walled palace than a fort. In the evening you have the option of completing a wonderful day with another visit to the Taj Mahal, to witness the shrine at sunset.

Day 5

Leaving Agra this morning we continue towards the ancient abandoned city of Fatehpur Sikri, built in 1571, as Emperor Akbar’s imperial capital. Although it was mysteriously abandoned just 15 years later it remains in a remarkable state of preservation, with numerous palaces, wide courtyards and beautiful carvings. Just 15kms away is the Laxmi Niwas Palace, a luxury Heritage hotel in Bharatpur where we stop for lunch before going on to the railway station to catch the Shatabdi express for our comfortable two and a half hour journey to  Ranthambore National Park. Originally the private hunting preserve of Maharajahs, its 400 square kilometres of forested rolling hills, valleys and lakes form a unique ecosystem. Started in 1973, India’s famous Tiger Project was created to protect the country’s tiger population. Despite many difficulties, the tigers of Ranthambore have survived and numbers have stabilised. Our hotel for the next two nights is the comfortable family-run three-star Ranthambore Regency on full board basis.

Day 6

An early start this morning is worth the sacrifice as we head out to the park for our safari using specially-built, 20-person, open-top, four-wheel drive vehicles known as canters. After many years of conservation, Ranthambore is now the best place to spot tigers in India, but the reserve is about more than tigers – over 300 bird species have been counted including impressive crested eagles, painted stork and wild peacocks. The park’s residents also include large numbers of sambars, the largest Asian antelope, as well as marsh crocodiles, wild boar and rare sloth bears and leopards. Look out for the playful troop of blackfaced langur monkeys near the main entrance gate. We return to our hotel in the late morning, with time to relax before and after lunch. In the afternoon we take our second trip into the park for another chance to spot the elusive tigers.

Day 7

Leaving Ranthambore after breakfast we head north to the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur. Our afternoon tour will cover all the major highlights of this ancient city. The famous Hawa Mahal, known as the Palace of the Winds, is one of our first stops before we continue to the Astronomical Observatory constructed in 1726 and on to the City Palace, still home to the present Maharajah of Jaipur, where we’ll view collections of costumes, carpets, paintings and the impressive armoury. Our hotel for the next two nights is the new four-star Royal Orchid Hotel on bed and breakfast basis.

Day 8

This morning another highlight, on a tour of highlights. You’ll visit the immense Amber Fort, located in the hills just a short drive out of Jaipur. Sampling all the most fascinating sights, our guided tour includes the sections reserved for the Maharajah’s wives and concubines as well as the remarkable hall of mirrors, with tiny delicate convex mirrors embedded like a mosaic in the walls and ceilings. Dinner tonight is included and will be taken at the Shapura House.

Day 9

After breakfast, we bid goodbye to Jaipur and head north, deeper into the interior of rural Rajasthan. We pass numerous small villages and towns on our way to the Sekhawati region of the state and the village of Mandawa. This was once part of India’s Silk Road and over the years the merchants here grew very rich, building a large number of luxurious mansions known as ‘havelis’, to display their wealth through the  magnificence of their frescoed walls. Although most of these have now been abandoned, the imposing and luxurious residence of the local kings has been lovingly restored into an amazing Heritage hotel, the Castle Mandawa, where we stay for the night. A maze of winding corridors, cool courtyards and arched colonnades, all the charming rooms are different, but most are very spacious and some have four-poster double beds. Rooms are air-conditioned, with bath and shower, but no TV. In the afternoon we take a guided walk through the village to explore the best examples of the havelis that lie just outside the walls of the Castle Mandawa.

Day 10

After a leisurely breakfast, we head back to Delhi and the last night of our tour, at the Taj Palace Hotel.

Accommodation

Taj Palace Hotel

New Delhi - the five-star deluxe Taj Palace Hotel (http://www.tajhotels.com/luxury) is located in the tree-lined, Diplomatic Enclave of New Delhi. As soon as you step into its cool white marble lobby,...

Oberoi Trident Hotel

Agra - the four-star Oberoi Trident Hotel (http://www.tridenthotels.com/agra/) is located in quiet surroundings, near to the Taj Mahal. Managed by the famed Oberoi group, this low-rise modern hotel is...

Ranthambore Regency Hotel

Ranthambore - the three-star Ranthambore Regency Hotel (http://www.ranthambhor.com) is a charming family-run, low-rise hotel located close to the entrance of the National Park. Built around lush,...

Hilton Jaipur

The brand-new four-star Hilton Jaipur is well located close to the centre of Jaipur. There is an outdoor pool, fitness room, lobby bar, as well as a buffet restaurant and speciality...

Alsisar Mahal

The heritage-class Alsisar Mahal is located by the village of Alsisar in the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan. You are really in the middle of rural India here and a stay at this charming...
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  Call:  01 905 6300