Start in New Delhi and end in Kochi (Cochin)! With the sightseeing tour Discover Soul of India - 18 days , you have a 18 day tour package taking you through New Delhi, India and 7 other destinations in India. Discover Soul of India - 18 days includes accommodation in a hotel as well as an expert guide, meals, transport and more.
Your ?flight ?will land at Delhi?s international airport? In the arrival hall the airport representative will introduce you to our ?colleague who will escort you to your hotel and assist you to check-in. Delhi is one of the most historic capitals in the world. For the visitor, it serves as a perfect introduction to the cultural wealth, the complexities and the dynamism of India. Jawaharlal Nehru (India?s first Prime Minister after Independence) likened it to an ancient palimpsest on which layer upon layer of thought and reverie has been inscribed and yet no succeeding layer has completely hidden. Start point We pick up guests from New Delhi airport or any hotels of New Delhi, Indira Gandhi International Airport, Airport Rd., New Delhi, Delhi, India
After breakfast, proceed for Delhi sightseeing tour with first visit to the Jama Masjid - the largest Mosque in India. Visit Chandni Chowk the oldest, biggest bazaar of Old Delhi, explore the narrow alleys, colorful markets and local shoppers. Also get the opportunity to taste the local food in Delhi. On this tour, you will have the most amazing experience and learn about the city?s history through food. Paranthas: Head to the food-stall-lined lane off Chandni Chowk for delectable parathas (traditional flat bread) fresh off the tawa (hotplate). Choose from a spectacular array of stuffings. Natraj Dahi Bhalla - This place offers popular street-food dishes of India. It is famously known as being one of the best Chaat (street food) houses in town and serves undoubtedly the best Dahi Bhalle in Delhi! Kulfi Faluda: Kulfi is one of the most popular traditional dessert in India. It is made from thickened milk flavored with essence and fruits. Kulfi is said to have originated in Indian subcontinent during the Mughal Empire. Later, walk up to Fatehpuri Masjid and enjoy a rickshaw ride till Red Fort. Here our driver will meet you, drive past Red Fort (a 17th century historical fort in Delhi) and reach Rajghat, a memorial where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated. An eternal flame burns on one side of this memorial. Visit the Humayun Tomb, the first garden-style tomb of India. The main highlight of this tomb inspired by Persian architecture is the four garden squares with water passage channels surrounding the tomb. Drive past Rashtrapati Bhawan, residence of the President of India and India Gate, an archway built in honor of the soldiers who died in World War I. Visit Qutub Minar built by Qutab-ud-din Aibak in 1193 to mark the beginning of Muslim rule in India. Overnight stay at hotel in Delhi.
After breakfast, our company representative will drive you to Jaipur Airport to board your flight to Varanasi On arrival at Varanasi, our company representative will meet you and transfer you to the hotel. Day free at leisure. Varanasi: It is a city located on the banks of River Ganga that is the 2nd largest river of India. Formally known as Kashi and Benares, this city is around 3000 years old. It is one of the holiest pilgrimage sites of Hindus as it is considered to be the abode of Lord Shiva (God of Destruction). Every year, Hindu devotees visit this city to take a holy dip in the River Ganga that is said to wash away all the sins. Overnight stay at hotel in Varanasi.
Your Varanasi sightseeing tour begins with an early morning boat ride on the River Ganges. Enjoy soaking in the spectacular sunrise views and later, return to the hotel for breakfast. After breakfast, head to Sarnath. It is the place dotted with various Buddhist pilgrimage sites of great significance. If youre a devout follower of Buddha then you must visit this place. Later, visit the New Vishwanath Temple also known as the Birla Mandir. Settled within the Banaras Hindu University, it is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva (God of Destruction). It took around 35 years to build this temple. Head to the Tulsi Manas Temple built by the royal family of Banaras in 1964. It is believed to be the place where the legendary poet Tulsidas wrote the great Indian epic Ramcharitmanas. Close to this temple is the Durga Temple (Monkey Temple) dedicated to Goddess Durga (divine feminine energy). In the evening, witness the spectacular Ganga Aarti at the Dashashwamedh Ghat. It is daily evening ceremony that has been practiced since thousands of years on the banks of River Ganges. Overnight stay at hotel in Varanasi.
After breakfast, you will be met by our Peirce & Leslie colleague in the lobby of your hotel and escorted to the airport to board your Air India flight to Agra.? In the arrival, you will be met by our colleague and escorted to your hotel. He will assist you to check-in.? Two great Mughal monarchs, Akbar and Shah Jahan, transformed the little village of Agra into a befitting second capital of the Mughal Empire. Today, a visitor to Agra is caught up in a world of contrasting edifices of red sandstone and white marble, narrow gullies and quaint buggies, and that irresistible charm that this favorite city of the Mughals still retains. At 16:00 hours, your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby, and together, you will visit the stunning Taj Mahal (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). The Taj Mahal is best seen at different times of the day when the white marble reflects the nuances of the changing light from the sun. Described by poet laureate, Rabindranath Tagore as a teardrop on the cheek of eternity, the Taj is a mausoleum and a symbol of the enduring love of Emperor Shah Jahan for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died during childbirth in 1631.Legend has it that she bound him with a deathbed promise to build her the most beautiful tomb ever known.? It is said that 20,000 stone carvers, masons, and artists from across India and as far as Turkey and Iraq were employed under a team of architects to build the Taj Mahal in the lush gardens on the banks of Agra?s Yamuna River. It took them from 1631 to 1648 AD to complete the epic task. Today, the mausoleum is an important place of pilgrimage since the empress died in childbirth, making her a martyr.? You will stay at the Taj through sunset before returning to your hot
This morning, you will re-visit the Taj Mahal at sunrise. Alternatively, you could choose to lie-in. After breakfast, you will visit one of ?the great monuments of the city, the Agra Fort (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). ?When the Mughal Emperor Akbar established his supremacy in northern India, he began his first architectural venture, rebuilding the Agra Fort as a beautiful fort-palace. The work was completed by his son and grandson, highlighting the Mughals? ability to blend defensive and decorative architecture. Richly decorated with marble and mosaic, it was in a part of this fort that Shah Jahan spent the last years of his life, imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb.? His ?private quarters? where he was confined has a magical view of the ?Taj Mahal? across the River Yamuna. Next, you will visit the Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah a mausoleum that overlooks the River Yamuna and which is the tomb of Mir Ghiyas Beg.? Itmad-ud-daulah has a special place in the chronicles of both history as well as architecture. This is because it is the first tomb in India that is made entirely out of marble. After Akbars death in 1605, his son Jahangir became the Mughal emperor and made Ghiyas Beg his chief minister or Wazir. Jahangir fell in love with Beg?s widowed daughter who possessed unspeakable beauty. She was later christened Noor Jahan and went down in history as one of the most beautiful and artistically gifted women in the world. Jahangir conferred the title of Itmad-ud-daulah or ?Pillar of the Empire? to his father-in-law. Noor Jahan ordered the tomb after the death of her father in 1622. We will then take you on a specially designed walking tour of the Old city. ? You will begin at the Fort station, which reflects the influence of colonial architecture at the time the British began converting Agra from an Imperial city to an industrial one. ?The walk will take you past the gigantic Jama Masjid, to the silver lingam of the Shiva temple. Following the narrow lanes you will pass shops selling items used in decorating the images of gods and goddesses. In the spice market of Rawat Para, you will see the ornamental and decorated facades of houses. At Namak Ki Mandi, you will see craftspeople beat metal to extract the gold and silver used in Ayurvedic medicines and the walk will end at the Akbari Mosque which leads to the 16th-century stone paved streets of Kinari Bazaar. You will also have the option of seeing the famous and complex Zardozi work, an art of embroidery that originated in Persia. In Persian Zar means gold and Dozi means embroidery. The craft is regarded as Imperial as it flourished under the patronage of the Mughal Emperor, Akbar. This intricate work is still continued in the narrow alleys of the old city, and you can choose to visit some of the workshops.? You will then return to your hotel and rest of the day will be at leisure.
After breakfast, drive to Ranthambore. En route, visit Fatehpur Sikri. It is a 16th century historic town built by Emperor Akbar (3rd Mughal ruler of India). It offers various attractions that depict the grandeur of Mughal architecture and the rich lifestyle of Mughal dynasty. Though it was a a short-lived capital of the Mughals, this town offers glimpses of stunning monuments built during the reign of Mughals in India. The gateway to this city - the Buland Darwaza - is one of the major attractions here as it is said to be the highest gateway in the world. Continue drive to Ranthambore. On reaching, check-in at the hotel. Day free at leisure. Overnight stay at hotel in Ranthambore.
After breakfast, head for an early morning Ranthambore Wildlife safari where you will soak in the natural beauty and rich wildlife including Leopards, Jackals, Gazelle, Boars etc. - especially Tigers. As per 2014 census, there are about 62 tigers present here. Also, watch animals moving around freely around the lake in this national park. After a thrilling safari ride, return to the hotel. Settle in for breakfast. Day free at leisure.Later in afternoon, proceed with another safari in the evening to Ranthambore National Park and continue exploring this natural habitat of various wild animals.Overnight stay at hotel in Ranthambore.
After breakfast, you will drive to Jaipur. rest of the day at the leisure.
After breakfast, head to Amer Fort. It is a massive hill fort built in the 16th century by Raja Man Singh. This fort displays various prominent monuments like private halls, pavilions, private chambers for the King and the Rajput women. It stands as a testimony to the golden era of Rajput rule in Jaipur. The reflection of this fort falling on the Maota Lake, is truly captivating. Enjoy an Elephant ride here to and fro the fort. Next visit the City Palace. It is the royal Palace of Jaipur located on the banks of Pichola Lake. It boasts former private and public meeting chambers of the Kings, giant silver vessels, courtyards, beautifully-designed gateways, intricately-carved private chambers of the King and much more. Visit the Jantar Mantar - an astronomical observatory that features the Worlds largest Sundial - Samrat Yantra. End the day with visit to Hawa Mahal - the Palace of the Winds. This is a five-storey palace built in the year 1799 during Rajput era in Jaipur. The main highlight of this palace is the intricately-designed 953 windows adorned with beautiful latticework.Overnight stay at hotel in Jaipur.
After a leisurely breakfast, you will drive to Jodhpur (approximately 5.5 hours, excluding stops). On the way you will stop at Nimaj Palace for lunch. You may like to explore the charming village before continuing to Jodhpur where you will arrive in the early evening.? Upon arrival, you will be check-into th hotel. The rest of the day will be at leisure.? Jodhpur is a beautiful trading town situated in Rajasthan province, close to the Great Thar Desert. The city is also called the Blue City because most houses are painted blue, the color of the Brahmins. Jodhpur is said to have a particularly ?sweet? hospitality; sweet shops are found at every corner and it is a tradition to start a meal with something sweet.
You will start your day at the historic Mehrangarh Fort. of the many forts in Rajasthan, very few compare to the majesty of the Mehrangarh Fort. Almost impregnable, the fort is entered through seven fortified gateways. The fort is divided into three sections ? the public areas, the Maharaja?s palaces, and the zenana, or queens? palaces. The zenana is decorated with exquisite sandstone filigree work. Within the fort is a museum, which among its varied exhibits, has an excellent collection of royal palanquins and a howdah section, which has perhaps the finest collection of old ornate elephant howdahs in the world. Walking down from the fort, you will stop at Jaswant Thada. This is the graceful marble cenotaph of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II (1873-95) and the Maharajas of Jodhpur who died after him. The cenotaphs of the other maharajas and maharanis are at Mandore. You will then return to your hotel and remainder of the afternoon will be at leisure. In the evening, you will go on a specially designed Blue City Walk, including a Tuk-Tuk ride. The walk will take you through the bustling bazaars of the old walled city. Along the way, you will see various artisans such as the sword makers, the leather workmen, the Itrwallas or perfume makers, and the Rangarajas or cloth dyers, to name a few. You will also visit the Kishanji temple dedicated to Lord Krishna, and which is famous for its garland makers and sweet shops. You will then return to your hotel.
After breakfast, you will bid goodbye to the city of Jodhpur and set off for Udaipur (approximately 5.5 hours, excluding stops).? En route, you will visit the stunning Ranakpur Jain temple complex (opens to visitors at 12-noon). Considered one of the architectural gems of the area, this intricately carved temple belongs to the Jain religion.? Although Jainism is an austere religion, the temple belies the dictates of simplicity promoted by the founder. The temple was built in 1439 and is dedicated to the first Jain Thirthankara or saint.? The temple complex, including the extraordinary collection of 1,144 uniquely carved pillars, the richly decorated ceilings, and the friezes depicting the lives of the 24 Jain Thirthankaras is fascinating and well worth the time! You will then stop at the Fateh Bagh Palace for lunch before continuing your drive to Udaipur.
After breakfast, visit the wondrous City Palace - a white marble palace complex built during the Rajput rule. It is a blend of Rajasthani, Mughal, European and Chinese architecture. The main highlights of this palace are the Monsoon Palace, Lake Palace, Amar Vilas, Zenana Mahal (private quarters of the royal Rajput women), Jagdish Temple and Neemach Mata temple etc. Head to the Sahelion Ki Bari - a beautiful garden meant for the Rajput Kings and Queens leisure time. Visit the Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandal, a cultural place showcasing the traditions and culture of Rajasthan, traditional ornaments, folk traditional outfits, puppets, masks, dolls, classical paintings and folk musical instruments. Later, enjoy boat ride at the Lake Pichola - an artificial fresh water lake founded in 1362 AD. It is the oldest and one of the largest lakes of Udaipur.Overnight stay at hotel in Udaipur.
After breakfast, you will be met by our colleague in the lobby of your hotel and escorted to the domestic airport to board your flight to Cochin. In the arrival hall at Cochin, you will be met by our ?who will be carrying a paging board with your name on it. He will escort you to your hotel and assist you to check-in. The remainder of the day will be at leisure.? Kochi (formerly known as Cochin) is the commercial capital of Kerala. The city is one of the principal seaports of the country and is located in the district of Ernakulam. In 1102 CE, Kochi became the seat of the Kingdom of Cochin, a princely state that traces its lineage to the Kulasekhara Empire. Heralded as the Queen of the Arabian Sea, Kochi was an important spice-trading centre on the Arabian Sea coast from the 14th century onwards. At various times, the city has been occupied by the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British.
This morning, you will visit the Jewish Synagogue. One of the oldest in India, it is set in the Jewish Quarter, commonly known as Jew Town. ?The area is famous for its aromatic spice market and its antique shops. ?The interior of the Synagogue is decorated with 18th century blue ceramic Cantonese tiles, hand painted and each one different! From here, you will walk to the Dutch Palace or Mattancherry Palace, which was commissioned by the Portuguese for the Raja of Kochi in exchange for trading rights. The palace is two-storied and is built in the traditional Kerala style known as nalukattu (four buildings around a central courtyard). Made of wood and richly carved, the palace exhibits memorabilia from the Raja of Kochi?s collection, but it is best known for its outstanding murals painted on the walls. Next, you will explore the Heritage Zone. ?Walking through the narrow cobbled lanes you will see various architectural styles reflecting the many cultures that existed here. ? Dutch houses stand next to spacious porticoed British plantation style homes. ?Further along, are two churches built by the Portuguese, while standing guard over the harbor are the Chinese Fishing nets. ?In the narrow alleys of the old city you will come across interesting art galleries exhibiting local talent, small cafes, book-shops and boutiques. ?It is a wonderful area to wander and browse. You will end your morning tour at the Chinese Fishing Nets, which were first erected between 1350 and 1450 indicating trading ties with China.? You will then return to your hotel. In the evening, you will watch a Kathakali dance performance at a local theater. An Indian dance-drama, Kathakali is usually performed in front of a Kalivilakku (kali= dance; vilakku= lamp). A distinguishing characteristic of this art form is that the actors never speak, but instead use hand gestures, expressions and rhythmic dancing in place of dialogue. Another standout feature is the wonderful makeup worn by all performers.
In the morning, you will drive to Alappuzha boat jetty (approximately 1.5 hours, excluding stops) and board a deluxe houseboat. You will board the houseboat by 12 noon, and spend the rest of the day sailing on the backwaters. A visit to Kerala is incomplete without touring the backwaters. These are a series of canals that cross the State eventually emptying into the open seas. Traveling the canals and wide-open lakes in a houseboat, you will see sights impossible to see from a car. ?Houses along the canals depend on the waters for their livelihood and transport, and you will see villages, rice paddy fields, boats transporting produce to the market and children to school, as well as fishing boats and people fishing for clams.? You will be traveling in a houseboat known as a Kettuvallom. Originally, these were rice boats but went out of service when road transport became a more economical way to move produce. Today, these have been refurbished into comfortable houseboats with bedrooms and attached showers and are made completely of natural, environmental-friendly material. Snacks, lunch and dinner will be served on board.
After breakfast, you will disembark from the houseboat and drive to Cochin airport for flight to home (approximately 1.5 hours, excluding stops). End point We drop off guests at Cochin airport or any hotels of Cochin, Indira Gandhi International Airport, Airport Rd., New Delhi, Delhi, India