This 23 day tour takes you from Delhi to Kochi and visits the Taj Mahal, the lush backwaters of Kerala, World Heritage-listed sites and ancient temples.
- Internal flight
- Local beer, soft drink, water and tea with all dinners and select lunches
- Escorted by a professional Tour Director
- Knowledgeable English-speaking local guides
- Private vehicle for all sightseeing excursions
- Audio headsets throughout
- Return airport transfers
Exclusive once-in-a-lifetime experiences
- Receive a traditional welcome and a floral garland on arrival
- Witness a unique and wonderful elephant polo match before enjoying a barbeque lunch
- Learn how to wear a sari or tie a turban, which will be yours to keep before dining on a delicious thali
- Visit a family-owned spice plantation and learn about spices before a home-cooked lunch
- Take a camel carriage ride through the narrow streets of Mandawa watching the sunset whilst enjoying drinks and snacks
- Enjoy a private cruise around Kochi harbour witnessing the spectacular sunset
- Scenic Special Stays in Delhi, Jaipur, Ajabgarh (rural Rajasthan), Agra, Gurgaon (Delhi), Chennai, Puducherry, Periyar and Kochi
- Scenic FreeChoice inclusions in Delhi, Chennai, Periyar and Kochi
- Scenic FreeChoice Dining in Delhi, Jaipur, Agra and Chennai Dining Experiences
- 57 superb meals including 22 Breakfasts (B), 17 Lunches (L) and 18 Dinners (D)
- Explore Old Delhi with its grand Jama Masjid (mosque) and view the imposing Red Fort
- Soak in the sublime beauty of the Taj Mahal with visits at sunrise and sunset
- Visit Jaipur’s City Palace, Jantar Mantar Observatory and Hawa Mahal, the Palace of Winds
- Uncover the history behind the unique World Heritage-listed Shore Temples at Mamallapuram
- Explore the colourful former French territory of Puducherry
- Search for wild elephants and other wildlife in Periyar National Park
- Cruise along the famed palm-fringed backwaters
INCLUDES ALL TIPPING, PORTERAGE and GRATUITIES
MEALS: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Day 1: Arrive Delhi
Namaste and welcome to New Delhi, India’s capital! On arrival you will be personally met by a Scenic Tours Representative and transferred to your luxury hotel. (Please arrive by 12 noon).
ENRICH Throughout India, a guest is considered as equal to God, so welcoming a guest is no less than an event. Receive your very warm traditional welcome: a floral garland and a red ‘tikka’ applied on the forehead.
This afternoon following a welcome briefing head out to explore New Delhi. Drive past Parliament House, see India Gate and cherish your visit to the remarkable Humayun’s Tomb. This World Heritage-listed monument built in 1570, was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent.
Two Night Special Stay: The Imperial. Meals: D
Day 2: Delhi
Experience the bustling laneways and bazaars of Old Delhi as you drive through the old gateways, past the imposing Red Fort, before visiting the Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque. Ride through Chandni Chowk to Asia’s largest wholesale spice market on a cycle rickshaw.
FREECHOICE (1) explore the magnificent World Heritage-listed Qutub Minar, Lodi Gardens and Dilli Haat; or (2) learn about three religions with a visit to the Bahai House of Worship, a Hindu Temple and a Sikh Gurudwara; or (3) visit some of Delhi’s wonderful museums including the Craft Museum, National Museum and one dedicated to Gandhi; or (4) savour the exotic flavours of Indian teas during a tea tasting session.
FREECHOICE DINING (1) 1911, an all-day dining multi-cuisine restaurant; or (2) Spice Route, specialising in Thai and South East Asian cuisine; or (3) Lodi The Garden Restaurant, featuring Mediterranean cuisine; or (4) Zaff ran, an Indian speciality restaurant highlighting frontier and North Indian cuisine. Meals: B,L,D
Day 3: Delhi – Shekhawati
Journey to Rajasthan and onto the Shekhawati region. With well-preserved painted havelis (merchant houses), forts and temples, this intriguing region dates back to the late 18th to 20th century. Enjoy a traditional Rajasthani cultural performance featuring music and dance before dining on a meal of tandoori and other North Indian specialities. Two Night Stay: Castle Mandawa. Meals: B,L,D
Day 4 – Shekhawati
Travel to the small towns of Nawalgarh and Dunlod to discover some of the painted havelis with their exuberantly detailed frescoed walls. These were built by wealthy local merchants who had migrated to the port cities of India to seek their fortunes.
SUNDOWNER EXPERIENCE Take an exciting camel carriage ride through the narrow streets of Mandawa before watching the sun set, enjoying a drink and local snacks on the outskirts of town. Meals: B,L,D
Day 5: Shekhawati – Jaipur
Navigate along back roads and tiny villages to Jaipur, the ‘Pink City’ and capital of Rajasthan. Discover the magnificent Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) with its honeycombed sandstone windows where the ladies of the royal household would watch everyday life. Visit the City Palace, a superb blend of Rajput and Mughal architecture, which has been home to the rulers of Jaipur. Explore the magnificent Jantar Mantar, an observatory built in the 18th century.
Two Night Special Stay: Oberoi Rajvilas. Meals: B,L,D
Day 6: Jaipur
Revel in your visit to the striking 17th century hilltop Amber Fort. Explore the Maharajah’s apartments, the many palaces with interiors richly decorated with exquisite paintings and intricate carvings and soak in the views of the massive ramparts surrounding the complex. Visit the wonderful Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing, dedicated to the collection, preservation and interpretation of block printed cloth and even try your hand at this traditional art form.
ENRICH Enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime event as you witness a unique and wonderful elephant polo match. Take the opportunity to experience this exciting and exclusive game first hand before a barbeque lunch.
FREECHOICE DINING (1) Raj Mahal, an Indian fine dining speciality restaurant or (2) Surya Mahal, featuring the best of international and Indian cuisine. Meals: B,L,D
Day 7: Jaipur – Rural Village
Continue through rural India to the site of the former Maharajah of Alwar’s hunting lodge. Late in the aft ernoon join a walking tour to a nearby local village and witness local herders as they return home with their goats, cows and buff alos. Watch the children playing cricket and observe the village elders gathered around for an evening communal smoke and gossip, a truly wonderful experience to enjoy.
ENRICH In a private demonstration, learn how to wear a sari and tie a turban, which is yours to keep. With sweeping views over the surrounding landscape, dine on a delicious Indian thali, a traditional Indian meal.
Overnight Special Stay: Amanbagh. Meals: B, L, D
Day 8: Rural Village – Agra
Enjoy a leisurely morning before travelling to the deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri. Built by the great Mughal Emperor Akbar in the 16th century, this short lived capital of the Mughal Empire is a fine example of a Mughal walled city. Continue to Agra, the home of the majestic Taj Mahal and appreciate the location of your luxury hotel, only 600 metres from this incredible monument.
FREECHOICE DINING (1) Esphahan, presenting delicious Indian cuisine in a traditional way; or (2) Bellevue, featuring a buffet comprising both Indian and international specialities.
Two Night Special Stay: Oberoi Amar villas. Meals: B, L, D
Day 9: Agra
Savour your sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal with its shimmering marble domes and towers reflecting in the landscaped pools. Inlaid with black marble and semi-precious stones, this architectural marvel takes on diff erent colours throughout the day. Discover the World Heritage-listed Agra Fort and the tomb of I’timād-ud-Daula, known as the Baby Taj during your tour of some of Agra’s other architectural wonders. One visit is never enough, so absorb the changing hues during your sunset visit to the breathtakingly beautiful Taj Mahal. Meals: B,L
Day 10: Agra – Delhi
Journey back to the Delhi National Capital Region and the city of Gurgaon. This aft ernoon enjoy the magic of a unique Bollywood-style stage show, a vibrant spectacle of colour, music and dance. Return to the hotel and enjoy a true culinary experience of cuisine from the coastal regions of India.
Overnight Special Stay: The Oberoi Gurgaon. Meals: B, L, D
Day 11: Delhi – Chennai
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Chennai. Vanakkam and welcome to Chennai! Formerly known as Madras, the city is the gateway to the rich and varied culture of South India. This evening indulge in a wonderful meal of South Indian specialities.
Two Night Special Stay: Taj Coromandel. Meals: B, D
Day 12: Chennai
FREECHOICE (1) explore the heart of Georgetown and discover its markets and laneways during a walking tour; or (2) discover colonial Madras through the buildings the British left behind; or (3) visit a local Indian market and discover the stars of Indian cuisine, the spices, during a cooking lesson; or (4) uncover fascinating stories hidden behind some common beliefs and practices in Southern India. Discover the history of the Basilica of San Thome built by the Portuguese on your tour before wandering along India’s largest urban beach, The Marina.
FREECHOICE DINING (1) Anise, named after the tantalising spice this restaurant actually showcases international cuisine; or (2) Golden Dragon, featuring the flavours of China; or (3) Southern Spice, specialising in cuisine from the four southern states namely Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Meals: B, D
Day 13: Chennai – Puducherry
Travel to Mamallapuram and explore the spectacular World Heritage-listed Shore Temples, perched dramatically on a promontory by the sea. Continue to the pretty seaside town of Puducherry (Pondicherry), the former capital of the French territories in India. Steeped in history, this quaint town charms with its cathedrals, French style villas and tree lined boulevards.
Two Night Special Stay: Palais de Mahe. Meals: B, L, D
Day 14: Puducherry
Soak up the French flavours during a heritage walking tour, stroll past charming colonial architecture, street side cafés and visit the Aurobindo Ashram. Journey to Auroville (City of Dawn), and discover why this universal town was established. See the Matrimandir, a metallic sphere covered in gold, in the centre of town where silence is maintained. Meals: B
Day 15: Puducherry – Chettinad
An early journey takes you through the ‘rice bowl’ of Tamil Nadu to Tanjore. Discover the monumental Brihadishvara Temple during your visit to this World Heritage site. Continue further into the state of Tamil Nadu to your accommodation, a wonderfully restored mansion in the small village of Karaikudi. Two Night Stay: Visalam. Meals: B, L, D
Day 16: Chettinad
Experience a bullock cart ride through the narrow streets to witness the charm and faded elegance of colonial bungalows and merchant houses. Visit a pottery village and watch the unique and colourful tiles being made by hand and enjoy a demonstration of weaving at the small weaving centre in town. This evening appreciate a Bharattnatayam performance, a unique classical dance style performed by a solo female artist, before experiencing a traditional meal served on a banana leaf. Meals: B, L, D
Day 17: Chettinad – Madurai
Leaving the small village journey to Madurai, one of South India’s greatest temple towns and important pilgrim site. This evening take the opportunity to absorb the rituals and celebration during the evening puja ceremony inside the Meenakshi Temple. Overnight Stay: Taj Gateway. Meals: B, L, D
Day 18: Madurai – Periyar Tiger
Reserve Witness one of South India’s biggest pilgrimage sites, the Meenakshi Temple, during your visit. This Hindu temple, the heart of this 2,500 year old city, is estimated to house more than 30,000 sculptures inside. Later journey through the Western Ghats to Periyar Tiger Reserve in Kerala. Take a private boat cruise on Periyar Lake, observe the wildlife including wild elephants as they come to drink and appreciate why this state is called ‘God’s own country’.
Two Night Special Stay: Spice Village. Meals: B, L, D
Day 19: Periyar Tiger Reserve
Periyar is the best-known wildlife sanctuary in Southern India and one of India’s oldest.
FREECHOICE (1) join an early morning walk with your guide, a former poacher, as you search for macaque monkeys, rare hornbills and other wildlife; or (2) visit a tribal hamlet and explore a unique heritage museum providing an insight into the culture of the local people.
ENRICH Wander through a small family-owned spice plantation and learn how spices grow before enjoying a lunch prepared by the family with spices from their farm. Witness the ancient martial art form Kalaripayattu, which includes strikes, kicks and weaponry and is believed to be one of the oldest fighting systems in existence. Meals: B, L
Day 20: Periyar Tiger Reserve – Kerala Backwaters
After an early breakfast travel across the Western Ghats to Kumarakom, access point to the famed Kerala backwaters. Overnight Stay: Coconut Lagoon. Meals: B, L, D
Day 21: Kerala Backwaters – Kochi
Enjoy your morning cruise along the famed palm-fringed backwaters and navigate the network of waterways which weave through villages set amidst lush vegetation. Later, travel to Kochi, better known as Cochin, an important trading centre for spices. Watch a Kathakali performance, a highly evolved classical form of dance, drama and music that is more than 400 years old. Observe the process as the performers prepare for their performance.
Two Night Special Stay: Brunton Boatyard. Meals: B, L
Day 22: Kochi
This morning head to the harbour and watch the local fishermen manipulating the old Chinese fishing nets erected in the 14th century. Discover the influence of the Dutch, Portuguese, British, Arab and Chinese during your tour of Fort Kochi. Visit Jew Town and the Jewish synagogue, the oldest in India.
FREECHOICE (1) visit a local market before learning the secrets to South Indian cooking during a demonstration; or (2) indulge in a traditional Ayurveda massage; or (3) explore Vypeen Island, a small fishing village with a number of old churches established by the Portuguese.
SUNDOWNER EXPERIENCE Enjoy a private cruise around Kochi Harbour, witness spectacular sunsets and keep an eye out for the dolphins known to be in the waters. Return to the hotel and indulge in a sumptuous seafood farewell dinner. Meals: B, D
Day 23: Depart Kochi
Enjoy some time at leisure before your transfer to the airport for your onward or homebound flight (flight not included). Meals: B
|DEPARTURE DATE||PRICES FROM (AUD)|
|27 Jan 15||$13,495|
|24 Feb 15||$13,195|
|6 Oct 15||$13,995|
|27 Oct 15||$13,995|
|17 Nov 15||$13,995|
2016 dates are available upon request from your Sean Simmons Travel Expert.
This tour is operated by Scenic Tours and is subject to their terms and conditions.
Prices and information is correct as at 8 December 2014 and is subject to change without notice. Credit card and booking fees may apply.