New Delhi-Agra-Jaipur-Cochin-Periyar National Park-Alleppey-Kumarakom-New Delhi
The diversity that India has to offer in geography, landscape, culture, food, religion, tourist attractions is surely not seen anywhere else. A single visit to India is not enough to explore and experience what a country like India. In this itinerary of 13 nights and 14 days, we have tried to bring together the best of North and South India. While you take the popular golden triangle tour in the north covering Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, in south india, you visit destinations like cohin, thekkady, alleppey and kumarakom. The well-planned itinerary includes sightseeing including forts, churches and monuments, bird watching, boat safari rides, cycle rickshaw ride, Houseboat cruise and more. Enjoy a comfortable stay in luxury accommodations.
After arriving in Delhi, meet our tour representative who would help you with an assisted transfer to a luxury hotel in a chauffeur driven car. Complete the check-in formalities and settle in your room. If you want you can relax for sometime.
Your first destination, Delhi is a cultural potpourri and the political melting point of India. Sprinkled with innumerable tourist attractions belonging to different centuries, the city has something for every kind of a traveler. Not only the attractions but the street food of Delhi is also a big hit. Delhi city rightly deserves to be the capital of India for being a toxic mix of the old and the new world.
The second day is scheduled to explore the prime tourist attractions of Delhi. Get all set to take the tour of Old and New Delhi. Some of the highlights of the day include Cycle Richshaw Ride in the bylanes of Chandni Chowk, Qutub Minar, Red Fort, Raj Ghat and Humayun Tomb.
The markets of Old Delhi are a mish-mash of food, products and entertainment. Just think of anything and you would be able to find it in the wholesale markets of Old Delhi. While Chandni Chowk is known for wedding garments, the spice market Khari Baoli here, is the largest wholesale market of Asia. And, if you talk of food, old Delhi offers lip-smacking orgasmic food items. Enjoy a rickshaw ride here.
A 100 meter high minaret constructed during the 12th century, Qutub Minar is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with Alai Darwaza and The Tomb of Iltutmish. The first floor of the Minar has the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque. Qutub Minar is made up of sandstone, marble and red sandstone and one can spot the verses of Quran carved on it. While the first 3 floors are in red sandstone, the 4th and 5th floor are in marble and sandstone.
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Delhi is Red Fort is also the venue of the Independence Day celebration of the country. Constructed in the year 1648, the fort was the residence of the Mughal Emperor of India till 1857. The face of heritage and architecture of Delhi, its top front contains the fluttering Indian Flag.
Overnight stays in hotel.
On day 3, get transferred to Agra and check-in at a luxury Hotel. Day 3 and 4 are scheduled for exploring the Mughal City of Agra, placed on the banks of River Yamuna. In spite of all the modernization, the city has been able to maintain its distinct Mughal charm. An important tourist destination of India, Agra houses The Taj Mahal one of the Seven Wonders of the World, along with a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The city is surely a storehouse of history and architecture. Do not miss trying two food specialties- Petha and Dal Moth.
After completing the check-in formalities, leave the hotel for visiting the prime tourist attractions of Agra including Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. Not only one of the Seven Wonders of the World but a UNESCO World Heritage Site too, the white marble mausoleum, Taj Mahal took 22 years to get completed. Placed on the Southern banks of River Yamuna, it was commissioned in 1632 by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz wife. This beautiful structure is a mix of Indian, Persian, Mughal, Ottoman and Islamic architectures. Another World Heritage Site, Agra Fort or Red Fort is a daunting structure, exuding a magical charm. This 16th century monument has 70 feet high walls and four huge doors. The fort complex consists of well-maintained lush gardens and the interiors boast of beautiful carvings, stone work and mirror work along with use gold and semi-precious stone work.
Next in line is Sikandara – the Tomb of Akbar, the great Mughal Emperor. Lying on the outskirts of the city, this mausoleum houses the remains of the Emperor. Akbar commissioned the construction of the monument during his lifetime and later, the top structure was added by Jahangir, his son.
Get an assisted transfer to the capital city of Rajasthan, the 'Pink City' – Jaipur. Also the largest city of the state, the vibrant Jaipur is home to several archeological attractions like forts and palaces, colorful bazaars and more. The bustling Jaipur is one of the most popular destinations of India, alluring national and international tourists in huge numbers. The city was founded in the year 1727. Gorging on lip-smacking Rajasthani food is a must. On arrival, check-in at a city's luxury hotel.
Day 5 and 6 are scheduled for exploring the popular attractions of Jaipur, including Jantar Mantar (an astronomical observatory), Hawa Mahal, City Palace and Museum and Amber fort. During free time, visit the bustling local markets of Jaipur to get your hands on some amazing stuff like handicrafts, ethnic clothes, semi-precious jewels, Lac bangles, imitation jewellery and more.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Amber Fort (Amer Fort) is around 11 km away from the city center, which is placed on a hilltop. A well-preserved monument, it was constructed in 1592 by Raja Man Singh I. This white-marbled and red sand stone beauty is decorated with mirrors, precious stones and paintings. Opt for en elephant ride up till the entrance of the fort.
Known for its honeycomb like structures because of the amazing placement of several mini windows (Jharokhas), Hawa Mahal is not only a popular attraction but a landmark too. The royal ladies used to view the views of the market from these windows while staying away from the public. Commissioned in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, it is in pink and red sandstone.
Commissioned by Sawai Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amber, the City Palace complex was built between 1729 and 1732. While a part of the Palace is still the residence of Jaipur's royalty, major part of it has been constructed into a museum. This museum houses a wonderful collection of royal clothes, paintings, photographs, musical instruments, textiles, costumes and more.
In the morning, get transferred to the airport to board a flight for Cochin. On arriving in Cochin, check-in at a luxury hotel in Fort Kochi.
Day 7 and 8 are fixed for exploring Cochin and Fort Kochi, just 7 km away from each other. Also called Kochi or Ernakulam, the vibrant Cochin city is the state's financial capital. The cosmopolitan hub is often visited by tourists from all around. The city houses a number of tourist attractions. Close to Cochin is the historical town of Fort Kochi, an extremely popular tourist destination in the region. The prime attractions that you would be visiting here include Dutch monuments, Jewish Synagogue, churches and Chinese fishing nets etc.
Locally called Cheenavala, Chinese fishing nets are found only here in the country and make a popular attraction. An unusual method of fishing, these 10 m high nets are installations that are fixed in the land, which uses a unique technique. This method was introduced to the region by Zheng He, the popular Chinese explorer. Scattered all along the beach, this traditional method is still used by fishermen. These nets are made of teak wood. Each net is managed by 4 men.
Jewish Synagogue is the oldest synagogue in all the 53 member-countries of the Commonwealth of Nations. Also known as Paradesi Synagogue and Mattancherry Synagogue, this structure was constructed way back in the year 1568. A prime attraction of the region, it is located in the Jew Town.
St. Francis Church, constructed in the year 1503 by the Portuguese is a popular landmark as well as tourist attraction of the region. It was the site where body of legendary explorer Vasco da Gama was buried originally. When built, the structure was in wood but later after a few years, it was turned into stone. Though the structure is a simple one yet it is quite stunning.
Spend the evening, enjoying a wonderful Kathakali dance performance. Kathakali is the traditional dance of state of Kerala.
Cochin-Periyar National Park (156 km- 4 hours)
If you are a wildlife enthusiast, the following two days are going to be of your extreme interest. In the morning, travel to Thekkady, the location of very popular Periyar national park. The beautiful town of Thekkady is known for housing greenery of spice plantations and rich wildlife in abundance. As you reach, check-into your luxury wildlife resort.
Spread in an area of 777 sq km, Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park is thick semi-evergreen and most deciduous jungle, which is home to tigers, elephants, sambars, Nilgiri Langurs, Nilgiri Tahrs, Sloth bear, deer and lion-tailed Macaques. This wildlife reserve is also a paradise for bird watching enthusiast as over 265 species of birds call it a home. During bird watching, you can spot colorful resident and migratory birds such as Crimson-backed sunbird, Malabar grey hornbill, White-bellied blue flycatcher, Nilgiri wood pigeon, Nilgiri flycatcher, blue-winged parakeet, Nilgiri thrush and more. The artificial lake is one of the main highlights here.
Days 9 and 10 will be filled with thrill and action. Though there are several ways to explore the wildlife of the sanctuary including boating, trekking and jeep safari but the best way to discover is to go for boating, cruising on the waters of the Periyar Lake. You can spot herds of elephants quenching their thirst from the lake water.
The other options include taking a tour of the verdant green spice plantations of Thekkady. Enjoy long walks here while the aroma of cardamom, black pepper, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove fill your nostrils. As the safari is offered twice in the day, you can also relax at your wildlife resort and enjoy the facilities offered here. In the evening, you can also attend Kalariyapattu performance, a traditional marshal art show, organized here.
Periyar- Alleppey Houseboat (140 km- 3hrs 30 min)
On the 11th day of the tour, get transferred to Alleppey- probably the most popular backwater destination of Kerala. On reaching, go on-board luxury Kettuvallam, a well-equipped houseboat. These houseboats come with a kitchenette and an expert chef, a boat rower, number of room options and all the other modern comforts.
Once you settle in your houseboat, get all set for an amazing lifetime experience of cruising on the backwaters of Kerala. Also known as the Venice of the East, Alleppey or Alappuzha is encircled by several canals and other waterways. During your journey on the overnight house, you traverse through these enchanting water bodies. Visit the villages dotted all around the landscape, the toddy tappers indulged in their work, the surrounding coir industries, the lush coconut and paddy fields and the other attractions. Do spot colorful water birds and treat your eyes to the mesmerizing scenery. Enjoy every moment of this amazing experience.
Overnight aboard the houseboat.
On the 12th day, disembark from the houseboat in Kumarakom, a tourist paradise. Get transferred to your luxury backwater resort. You have two days to explore this beautiful serene village that is a group of islands on the Lake Vembanad (largest freshwater Lake of Kerala). This popular tourist destination is flocked by tourists from all around the globe and looks absolutely enchanting. The serene atmosphere of Kumarakom is a bonus of this backwater destination.
Do not miss visiting Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary (Vembanad Bird Sanctuarty), a paradise for bird watching enthusiast as well as ornithologists. Spread in an area of 14 acres of land, this bird sanctuary is home to a vast variety of resident as well as migratory birds. You can spot several avifauna species including teals, herons, darters, cuckoo, egrets, wild duck, waterfowls, Siberian Stork and more. Lying on the banks of Vembanad Lake, this wildlife reserve offers boat rides for a memorable bird watching experience.
As Kumarakom is blessed with lush greenery and a tranquil ambiance, you can also opt for a rejuvenating Ayurveda Treatment, relaxing your mind body and soul. Or you can simply relax in your luxury resort and indulge in the world-class facilities offered here. Another way to explore Kumarakom and its surroundings is to cruise on the serene Lake waters and enjoy the scenery while partaking in sightseeing.
Kumarakom—Departure from Cochin- New Delhi
On the last day of the tour, get transferred to Cochin Airport to board the flight to New Delhi.