Day 1-2: Meet in Delhi
Your tour of North and South India cultural travel experience begins with tours of Old and New Delhi including Jama Masjid (principal Mosque of Old Delhi), Qutab Minar (Tallest Minaret in India, UNESCO World Heritage Site), India Gate, House of Parliament, President's House and Gandhi memorial, the National Handicrafts and Handlooms Museum and other cultural activities.
Day 3-4: Varanasi (also known as Benaras)
An early morning start for a sunrise boat ride on the Ganges River to witness reverant Hindu rituals. In the evening, attend Aarti puja (fire ceremony) on the banks of the Ganges. We also visit Sarnath and Deer Park where Gautama Buddha first taught Dharma.
Day 5-6: Khajuraho - Orchha - Gwalior
The tour group will marvel at the 9th-11th century Chandella temples, illustrated with remarkable sculptures of the classic erotic literature, the Kama Sutra. En-route to Gwailor the Ultimate tour of India includes a guided visit to Orchha the capital of the kingdom of the Bundella Rajputs from 1531 to 1783. Upon arrival at Gwalior the group will stay overnight at the 120-year-old Usha Kiran Palace.
Day 7: Agra
Guided tours of Itimad-ud-Daula's Tomb (Mughal mausoleum), the tomb of Akbar the Great (Sikandra), and UNESCO World Heritage Site listed Agra Fort during the day. At sunset you will enjoy an awe inspiring viewing of the Taj Mahal.
Day 8-9: Fatephur Sikri - Jaipur
We start with a tour of the Fatehpur Sikri complex (built in 1571). Afterwards, our small group travels onward to Jaipur where we visit Amer Fort (also known as Amber Fort) the old capital of the Kachwaha Rajput Maharajas, as well as the City Palace, Crystal Gallery, Jantar Mantar (a fascinating complex of structures architecturally designed as astronomical instruments) and finally browse the colorful market dominated by the elegant facade of the Hawa Mahal.
Day 10-11: Pushkar-Jodhpur
We travel to Pushkar village by the holy lake. Enjoy an overnight in this small authentic town which breaks up the drive and provides some independent time to further explore or relax. Next day we depart for Jodphur where we visit the majestic fort, bustling bazaars and enjoy a sunset camel ride in the picturesque sand dunes of the Thar Desert.
Day 12: Narlai
A stop in Narlai, an enchanting village located amidst dramatic boulders and ancient temples. Overnight at the restored 15th century home of Marwar nobility.
Day 13-14: Udaipur
An en-route visit to the magnificent Ranakpur Jain Temples. In Udaipur, visit the City Palace complex, the crystal gallery of Fateh Prakash Palace, miniature painting studios and bazaars. Enjoy a boat ride on Lake Pichola at sunset.
Day 15: Mumbai
A short flight to Mumbai and tour this vibrant city.
Day 16-17: Cochin
Tour the vibrant harbor town of Cochin including St. Francis Church, the Dutch Palace, and the Chinese Fishing Nets along Vypeen Island. We will also enjoy a Kathakali dance performance.
Day 18: Kerala Backwaters
A short boat cruise to Philip Kutty's Farm, a small homestead of waterfront villas located on an island in the Kerala backwaters. Enjoy the serene atmosphere as we observe village life, enjoy organic home cooking and hospitality from a wonderful family. Your stay at Philip Kutty's Farm includes a day cruise on the Kerala backwaters in a traditional riceboat.
Day 19: Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary
Delight in the bountiful views of spice and tea plantations surrounding the Park and enjoy relaxed wildife viewing including wild elephants and exotic Indian wildlife.
Day 20: Madurai
Tour Meenakshi Amman Temple and attend evening puja where Lord Shiva is carried in a palanquin accompanied by musicians, temple singers and priests to the temple of his consort, Parvati. This is an authentic ritual, not produced as a tourist attraction. A really exciting and rewarding experience.
Day 21: Mahabalipuram >
En-route we stop at Dakshin Chitra, a unique Heritage Centre. Visit the beautiful Shore temples and the Five Rathas (UNESCO sites).
Day 22: Kanchipuram-Chennai-Depart -
Visit the most important temples of Kanchipuram, (UNESCO) one of the seven sacred Hindu cities of India. Also known for its particularly fine silk saris (embellished with stunning patterns) we will stop by a weaver's home to observe the weaving technique and interact with the artisan.