North and South India Highlights
If you traveling to India first time, this trip is perhaps the best experience of India. Golden Triangle is the name given to the most famous trinity of Indian tourism – Delhi, Agra & Jaipur. This trip takes you through the Golden Triangle along with a wildlife treat (Ranthambore Tiger Reserve). While Delhi, Agra & Jaipur are laden with history, culture, and culinary delights; Ranthambore is a treat for nature & wildlife enthusiasts. From the vivid pink houses in Jaipur to the dreamy intricacy of the Taj Mahal, each architectural wonder you’ll encounter on this journey tells the story of a fascinating past, complemented by the culturally-rich modern society that surrounds it.
Day 1 – Arrival at Delhi
Welcome to the beautiful chaos of Delhi! After arriving on your morning flight, jump-in right into the hustle and bustle of the capital of India and its second-most populous city. Considered as one of the oldest existing cities in the world, Delhi’s importance lies not just in its past glory as of the seat of empires and magnificent monuments, but also in the rich and diverse cultures.
A private car with a driver will receive you at the airport and transfer you to the hotel for check-in. After refreshing head out for Delhi sightseeing. Start with a visit to the famous Lotus Temple. Notable for its flower-like shape, it has become a prominent attraction in the city. Like all Baháʼí Houses of Worship, the Lotus Temple is open to all, regardless of religion or any other qualification. Afterward, drive past Rashtrapati Bhavan (the residence of President of India), and visit India Gate (a memorial to 82,000 soldiers of the Indian Army who died in the period 1914–21 in the First World War). Overnight stay will be at the hotel in Delhi. (Hotel: Park Plaza Delhi CBD Shahdara or similar)
Day 2 – Delhi Day Tour (B, D)
Enjoy a scrumptious breakfast to start your day of sightseeing in Delhi. A mixture of history with a taste of everyday Delhi, today’s itinerary covers all aspects of this former capital of the Mughal Empire. Stop off at the UNESCO World Heritage site, Humayun’s Tomb. Built-in 1570, it is of particular cultural significance as it was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent. Then visit the magnificent Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan between 1644 and 1656. After that visit the bustling Chandni Chowk – one of the oldest and busiest markets in Old Delhi. Enjoy a rickshaw ride at Chandni Chowk. Later visit the towering Qutub Minar (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), a 73-meter (239.5 feet) tall tapering tower of five stories. Qutb Ud Din Aibak, the founder of the Delhi Sultanate, started construction of the Qutb Minar’s first story around 1192.
Afterward, visit Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, one of the most prominent Sikh temples, or Sikh house of worship in Delhi and known for its association with the eighth Sikh Guru, Guru Har Krishan. There is also a sacred pool inside its complex, known as the “Sarovar.”
Have dinner at a nice restaurant and then reach back to the hotel. Overnight stay will be at the hotel in Delhi. (Hotel: Park Plaza Delhi CBD Shahdara or similar)
Day 3 – Delhi – Agra (B, L)
After a nice breakfast, check out from the hotel and head towards Agra. Welcome to the Agra city of Wonderful Taj Mahal. Agra is blessed with one of the Seven Wonders of the World the “Taj Mahal”. A city with its rich culture, history, and architectural work stands at the top of the tourist destination in India.
Reach Agra by noon. Have lunch at a nice restaurant. Then check-in at the hotel. In the late afternoon head out to visit Agra Fort, a historical fort, which remained the main residence of the Mughal emperors till 1638. In the evening stroll in the local market area – the best place to see shades of India. Overnight stay will be at the hotel in Agra. (Hotel: Villa 21 Homestay or similar)
Day 4 – Agra – Bharatpur (B)
Early in the morning at sunrise, visit the spectacular Taj Mahal (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) built by Shah Jahan in 1560 in memory of his queen Mumtaz Mahal to enshrine her mortal remains. Return to the hotel for breakfast. After a filling breakfast check out from the hotel, and head towards Bharatpur. Formerly known as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, the Keoladeo National Park is recognized as one of the world’s most important bird breeding and feeding grounds. In 1982, Keoladeo was declared a national park and then later listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985.
Reach Bharatpur by noon. Check-in at the hotel on arrival. In the afternoon visit Keoladeo National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), also known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. It is home to over 360 bird species, including aquatic birds, visitors from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, China, and Siberia. Enjoy an eco-friendly rickshaw ride at the bird sanctuary. Reach back hotel by evening. Overnight stay will be at the hotel in Bharatpur. (Hotel: Chandra Mahal Haveli or similar)
Day 5 – Agra – Ranthambore (B, D)
Start your day with the early morning boat ride in the Ganges River. Rowing boat rides during the dawn are perhaps one of the best things to do in Varanasi. Witness the daily rituals. The best time to enjoy the boat ride of the Ganges River is from 5:30 AM to 8 AM. This is when the color and clamor of the place will enthrall you.
After breakfast head out for the tour to Sarnath, one of the holiest Buddhist sites. See the Dhamekha Stupa where the voice of Buddhism was first heard and many Buddhist dignitaries visit to pay homage to Buddha. Originally built in 249 BCE during the reign of King Ashoka of the Maurya Dynasty, this massive and prominent structure has over time gone through several expansions and additions. It was later reconstructed in 500 CE along with the construction of various other structures in Sarnath. Later during the day return to Varanasi and visit the famous silk market of Varanasi. Varanasi silk is famous all over India and abroad.
Overnight stay will be at the hotel in Varanasi. (Hotel: Sultan Bagh Jungle Camps or similar)
Day 6 – Ranthambore – Jungle Safaries (B, L, D)
Enjoy the early morning tea and snacks and then head out for jungle safari at 6:00 am. Ranthambore National Park is one of the finest tiger reserves in India. It is in every sense a perfect place for wildlife photography. Later come back to the hotel, have breakfast, and relax.
Have lunch at the hotel. In the late afternoon head out for another jungle safari at 3:00 pm, this time on a different path. Maybe you get a good chance of sighting the Indian tigers. Spend some time watching the peacocks and other animals in their natural habitat. The forests around the Ranthambore Fort were once, the private hunting grounds of the Kings of Jaipur.
The evening is at your leisure. Dinner & overnight stay will be at the hotel in Ranthambore. (Hotel: Sultan Bagh Jungle Camps or similar)
Remarks: Shared-jeep safari included at Ranthambore National Park.
Day 7 – Ranthambore – Jaipur (B)
After breakfast check out from the hotel, and head towards the Pink City – Jaipur, famous for its broad avenues, massive forts, magnificent palaces, exquisite temples, and royal culture. It will be around 04 hours drive. You’ll drive through the countryside of Rajasthan, thus a good way of seeing the culture of the region. On the way you’ll be seeing many cows, the traffic will surprise you.
Reach Jaipur by afternoon. Check-in at the hotel on arrival. In the evening head out for a guided walk tour of the Pink City market. Jaipur is also known as the shopper’s paradise. Jaipur’s colorful markets offer a great break to stop and shop on your tour. Take in the glint and sparkle of the rows of shops selling hand-crafted bangles and other decoration items. While moving through the markets, you will come across the vivacious culture of this region.
Overnight stay will be at the hotel in Jaipur. (Hotel: Welcome Heritage Traditional Haveli or similar)
Day 8 – Jaipur Day Tour (B, D)
Have a sumptuous breakfast and then set out for exploring the best attractions of Jaipur. Visit Hawa Mahal (“Palace of Winds”), a high screen wall built so the women of the royal household could observe street festivals while unseen from the outside. Then visit Jantar Mantar (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). It is a collection of nineteen architectural astronomical instruments, built by the Rajput king Sawai Jai Singh, and completed in 1738 CE. Afterward, visit the City Palace. Built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh during the years 1729 to 1732, the vast complex of the palace occupied one-seventh of the walled city. The palace is divided into a series of courtyards, buildings, and gardens.
In the afternoon stop by Jal Mahal, a palace in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake in Jaipur city. It was built in the 17th century. Then visit the grand Amer Fort (or Amber Fort), also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the principal tourist attraction in Jaipur and the current structure was built during the late 16th century by Rajput Kings. This magnificent fort comprises an extensive palace complex, built from pale yellow and pink sandstone, and white marble, and is divided into four main sections, each with its own courtyard. In the evening visit Nahargarh Fort, which provides a beautiful bird’s eye view of the entire Jaipur city. Later in the evening enjoy dinner at a nice restaurant. The overnight stay will be at the hotel in Jaipur. (Hotel: Welcome Heritage Traditional Haveli or similar)
Day 9 – Jaipur – Kochi (B)
After breakfast check-out from the hotel and transfer to Jaipur Airport. Board the flight for Kochi. Arrive by flight at Kochi by noon. The serene Kochi (a.k.a. Cochin) has been drawing traders and explorers to its shores for over 600 years. Nowhere else in India could you find such an intriguing mix of giant fishing nets from China, a 400-year-old synagogue, ancient mosques, Portuguese houses, and the crumbling remains of the British Raj.
The private car will pick up from Kochi airport and transfer you to your hotel in Kochi. In the afternoon head out for a local sightseeing tour of Kochi. visit the Old Paradesi Synagogue, the oldest active synagogue in the Commonwealth of Nations, located in Kochi, Kerala, in South India. Constructed in 1567, it is one of seven synagogues of the Malabar Yehudan or Yehudan Mappila people or the Cochin Jewish community in the Kingdom of Cochin. Then visit Mattancherry Palace, a Portuguese palace popularly known as the Dutch Palace, in Mattancherry, which features Kerala murals depicting portraits and exhibits of the Rajas of Kochi. Afterward, visit Cochin Spice Market & Chinese fishing nets. Overnight stay will be at the hotel in Kochi. (Hotel: Hotel Airlink Castle or similar)
Remarks: Domestic flight from Jaipur to Kochi is included.
Day 10 – Kochi – Munnar (B)
After breakfast check-out from the hotel and head straight to Munnar. The rolling hills around Munnar, South India’s largest tea-growing region, are carpeted in emerald-green tea plantations, contoured, clipped, and sculpted like ornamental hedges. One of the biggest tea-plantation regions of South India, Munnar is also one of the most beautiful and popular hill-stations of Kerala. Situated on the banks of three rivers- Madupetti, Nallathanni, and Periavaru, Munnar is also blessed with natural view-points apart from the tea-plantations.
After around 5 hours journey reach Munnar by afternoon. Check-in at the hotel on arrival. In the evening head out to see Kalaripayattu Show. Kalaripayattu is an ancient Indian martial art, which originated as a style in Kerala.
Overnight stay will be at the hotel in Munnar. (Hotel: Mistletoe Munnar or similar)
Day 11 – Munnar Day Tour (B)
After breakfast head out for sightseeing. Visit Munnar Tea Museum. The tea museum preserves the aspects of the genesis and growth of tea plantations in Kerala’s mountain region of the Western Ghats. Then go for a Jeep ride, enjoy the ride to Mankulam and Anakulam villages surrounded by tea gardens and dense forest. On this ride, you will get a chance to see high altitude tea gardens, waterfalls, tribal areas, organic villages, and possibly wild elephants. On the way back to Munnar visit spice plantations. The spice plantation in Munnar is one of the major spice plantations in Kerala. The spice plantations in Kerala are captivating farms to wander in since different spices are cultivated in different sections of each plantation. Later enjoy a tea plantation walk tour.
Reach back at the hotel by evening. Overnight stay will be at the hotel in Munnar. (Hotel: Mistletoe Munnar or similar)
Day 12 – Munnar – Periyar (B, D)
After breakfast check-out from the hotel & head towards Periyar. The very sound of the word Thekkady conjures up images of elephants, unending chains of hills, and spice scented plantations. The Periyar forests of Thekkady is one of the finest wildlife reserves in India. Spread across the entire district are picturesque plantations and hill towns that hold great opportunities for treks and mountain walks.
Reach Periyar by afternoon and check-in at the hotel on arrival. The evening is at your leisure.
Dinner & overnight stay will be at the hotel in Periyar. (Hotel: Peppervine Thekkady or similar)
Day 13 – Periyar Sightseeing (B, D)
Early in the morning, set out for a half-day guided jungle walk tour and Bamboo rafting at Periyar National Park. This activity takes close to 6 hrs. The wildlife sanctuary is also famous for its tiger reserve and elephant reserve. Visiting the sanctuary will be like exploring the nature around, enjoying the pristine and peaceful atmosphere around and getting relaxed from your busy schedules. There are bright chances to spot the elephant herd in the jungle while you are walking through the trails.
Reach back to the hotel by noon. The afternoon is at your leisure. In the evening head out to see Kathakali show (a very popular Indian classical dance form). Dinner & overnight stay will be at the hotel in Periyar. (Hotel: Peppervine Thekkady or similar)
Day 14 – Periyar – Kollam (B)
After breakfast check-out from the hotel and head towards Kollam, the southern approach to Kerala’s backwaters, surrounded by the calm waterways of Ashtamudi Lake, fringed with coconut palms, cashew plantations, and traditional villages – a great place to get a feel for the backwaters without the crowds. A treasure trove of natural wonders and historical edifices, Kollam is an enchanting town with backwaters and picturesque landscapes.
Reach Kollam by evening. Check-in at the hotel on arrival. The evening is at your leisure. Overnight stay will be at the hotel in Kollam. (Hotel: Fragrant Nature Kollam or similar)
Day 15 – Kollam – Varkala Beach Tour (B)
After breakfast head out for a sightseeing tour to Varkala Beach. Varkala is an amazing place where you see the sea coasts along with cliffs. There are numerous water spouts and spas on the sides of these cliffs. Varkala Beach is a haven for sun-bathing and swimming.
In the afternoon reach back to Kollam and enjoy a boat ride at the backwaters & mangroves of Paravur Lake. The evening is at your leisure. Overnight stay will be at the hotel in Kollam. (Hotel: Fragrant Nature Kollam or similar)
Day 16 – Kollam – Alleppey (B, L, D)
After breakfast check-out from the hotel & head towards Alleppey (a.k.a. Alappuzha). Welcome to the “Venice of the East” – Alleppey, world-famous for its vast mesmerizing backwaters. This charming place is the hub of Kerala’s backwaters and is home to a huge network of backwaters and more than a thousand houseboats.
Reach Alleppey by noon. Check-in at a private AC houseboat. Have lunch on the houseboat. Enjoy a boat cruise through the magnificent Vembanad lake for an unforgettable experience of backwater cruising. Dinner & overnight stay at the houseboat in Alleppey. (Hotel: Southern Panorama Cruises Alleppey or similar)
Day 17 – Alleppey – Departure from Kochi (B)
After breakfast check out from the houseboat, Private car will drop you at Kochi (Cochin) Airport. Bid farewell with the memories of this amazing fun-filled 17 days trip through the Golden Triangle & God’s Own Country – Kerala, worth remembering for a lifetime!
Specification: North and South India Highlights
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