Golden Triangle with Goa, Hampi & Kerala Backwater
Experience a taste of India on this outstanding tour of the country’s most fabled sights. Explore the Golden Triangle that combines the country capital city Delhi to the wondrous sites of the Mughal capital of Agra, the legendary Fatehpur Sikri, and the Pink City of Jaipur. Then fly to Goa & unwind yourself on the renowned endless beaches. Visit the intrinsically Hindu collection of temples at Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal & Hampi to see some of India’s most intricate historical stone carvings. Next, fly to Cochin & witness the unparalleled natural, historical, and heritage charm of Kerala while visiting Cochin, Munnar & Thekkady & cruising on backwaters in Alleppey.
Day 1: Arrive in Delhi
On arrival at Delhi airport assistance and transfer to hotel (check-in/out time 12 pm). Rest time for personal activities. Overnight at hotel.
Day 2: Delhi (B)
City tour of Delhi. In Old, Delhi visits the majestic Red Fort (closed on Monday) the residence of the Mughal emperor for nearly 200 years until 1857. Jama Masjid one of the largest mosques in the world built by Shah Jahan. Cycle Rickshaw ride in Chandni chowk & Khari Baoli Spice Market a busy shopping area with markets full of spices, dried fruit, silver jewelry, and vivid saris, while the narrow side streets are crowded with tiny shops selling essential oils, stationery, and traditional Indian sweets. Raj Gath the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi where he was cremated after his assassination.
In New Delhi visit Humayun Tomb the first garden-tomb in the Indian subcontinent and an early example of Mughal architecture commissioned by Humayun`s first wife Empress Bega Begum in 1569-70. Qutab Minar a 73-meter tall minaret that forms part of the Qutb complex fine examples of Afghan architecture. Lotus Temple a Bahai House of Worship notable for its flower-like shape. Also, drive and pass President House, Parliament & India Gate, etc. Overnight at hotel.
Day 3: Delhi – Agra (210km) (B)
Drive to Agra check-in at the hotel. Later visit Taj Mahal an ivory-white marble mausoleum commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal, it also houses the tomb of Shah Jahan himself. Agra Fort the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal Dynasty until 1638. And Itmad-ud-Daula Tomb commissioned by Nur Jahan for her father Mirza Ghiyas Beg. Overnight at hotel.
Day 4: Agra – Jaipur (245km) (B)
Drive to Jaipur via visiting Fatehpur Sikri an abandoned predominately red sandstone construction sprawling over a huge area. See the graceful buildings including Diwan-E-Khas hall, Jodha Bai Palace, Jama Masjid, Tomb of Salim Chisti, Panch Mahal & Buland Darwaza. Next visit Abhaneri a small village popular for India`s deepest, largest, and amazing stepwell & a Hindu Temple. Continue to drive to Jaipur check-in at the hotel. Evening explores the local market of Pink City. Overnight at hotel.
Day 5: Jaipur (B)
City tour of Jaipur the first planned city of India. Established in 1727 by Jai Singh II, the king of Amber when he shifted his capital from Amber to the new city because of the rapidly-growing population and increasing water scarcity. Noted architect Vidyadhar Bhattacharya used the established principles of Vastu Shastra to build the city. In 1876, the Prince of Wales visited Jaipur and the entire Jaipur city was painted in pink the symbolic colors of hospitality to welcome him. Jaipur rises up majestically against the backdrop of the forts Nahargarh, Jaigarh and Garh Ganesh Temple. In the morning visit, Amber Fort followed by Jaigarh Fort. Later visit City Palace, Observatory, Hawa Mahal, Sisodia Rani Garden & Birla temple. Explore the famous bazaars of Pink City with its rich history and heritage exudes an amazing mix of royalty and art. Overnight at hotel.
Day 6: Jaipur – Goa (B)
Transfer to airport to board flight for Goa. On arrival transfer to the resort. Rest time free to relax.
Day 7: Goa (B)
City tour of Goa. Visit the Old Goa monument the Basilica of Bom Jesus a 16th-century church dedicated to infant Jesus housing the tomb of St. Francis Xavier. The other Churches in the same area are St. Cathedral, Church of Our Lady of Miracles, Church of our Lady of Rosary, and Nunnery of St. Monica. The Aguada Fort built by the Portuguese on the mouth of the Mondovi River and a 4-story Portuguese lighthouse oldest of its kind in Asia. In South Goa visit Mangueshi Temple, Shanta Durga Temple & Margao the headquarters of South Goa. Drive Pass the charming beaches such as Calangute, Dona Paula, Miramar, and Baga Beach. Overnight at hotel.
Day 8: Goa – Badami (184km) (B)
Drive to Badami check-in at the hotel. Rest time free to relax. Overnight at hotel.
Day 9: Badami (B)
Excursion to visit Aihole a historical site & home to over 125 beautiful Chalukyan temples and monuments from the 6th to 12th century. Few important monuments in Aihole include the Durga Temple, Lad Khan Temple, Ravanaphadi Cave Temples, Huchimalli Temple, Meganagudi Group Temple, Gowda Temple, and the Huchappayyagudi Temple amongst numerous others. And Pattadakal a treasure trove of Hindu and Jain temples complex built in the 7th and 8th century CE. The various temples that one must visit are Virupaksha Temple, Jain temple, Papanatha temple, Galaganath temple, and Sangameshwara temple. Also visit Badami Cave consist of four separate temples, each holding intricate carvings & depictions. Badami Fort perched on the top of a cliff accompanied by two Shivalaya complexes dating back to the 5th century & a watchtower atop the hill. And Agastya Lake surrounded by red sandstone temples. Overnight at hotel.
Day 10: Badami – Hampi (180km) (B)
Drive to Hampi via visiting Gadag a place of historical importance, famous for its ancient Hindu & Jain temples and medieval architecture. Constructed between the 10th to 12th CE by the Kings of the Chalukyan Empire, the Trikuteshewara Temple is famous for its style of architecture and the temple has three Shivalingas carved out of a single rock. And Lakkundi heaven of ancient temples ruins and step wells. It is a place of antiquarian interest with more than 50 ancient temples scattered all over the village, 101 stepped wells built during the rule of the Chalukyas, Sauna, Kalachuris, and Hoysalas. These temples are most famous for their ornate and elaborate furnishing. Arrive Hampi check-in & overnight at the hotel.
Day 11: Hampi (B)
City tour of Hampi a UNESCO World Heritage site dotted with numerous ruined temple complexes from the Vijayanagara Empire on the bank of the River Tungabhadra. Although the city was destroyed by marauding Moghul invaders in the 16th century, much of it remains today. The vast site of monuments and ruins is a mute witness to an ear of glories, triumphs, and tragedies. The ruins of Hampi are so majestic and imposing that they leave the visitor totally dumbfounded, awestruck, and humbled. Visit Hazara Rama Temple, Kings Balance, Mahanavami Dibba, Royal enclosures, Statue of Ugra Narasimha Temple, Virupaksha Temple, Vithala Temple Complex, Lotus Mahal & ASI Museum. Overnight at hotel.
Day 12: Hampi – Hubli (170km)/ Cochin (B)
Transfer to Hubli airport to board flight for Cochin. On arrival transfer hotel check-in. Visit Fort Cochin a charming seaside area known for its Dutch, Portuguese & British colonial architecture and elaborate bamboo fishing nets at Fort Kochi Beach. St. Francis Church was the original burial site of explorer Vasco da Gama. Upscale eateries and chic cafes serve Keralan specialties, and quaint shops sell cotton clothing and handmade souvenirs. Heritage buildings house contemporary art galleries. Also, visit Jewish Synagogue & the Mattancherry Dutch Palace. In the evening enjoy Kathakali, a traditional dance form of Kerala with lavish costumes, exotic makeup, masks, etc. Overnight at hotel.
Day 13: Cochin – Munnar (130km) (B)
Drive to Munnar, check-in at the hotel. Later tea estate visit & tea testing. Overnight at hotel.
Day 14: Munnar (B)
Visit Pothamedu which offers an excellent view of the tea, coffee, and cardamom plantations in Munnar. Mattupetty dam and its reservoir, a concrete gravity dam built between the hill ranges for water storage for hydroelectric projects. Rajamala a hill station in Eravikulam National Park a natural habitat of the Niligiri tahr 2695 Mts above sea level. Half the world’s population of the rare mountain goat or tahr which is fast becoming extinct is now found here. Mattupedi Dairy Farm, famous for the Indo-Swiss Farm, a highly specialized dairy farm that comes under Indo-Swiss Livestock Project. Echo Point, go there and scream as loud as you can and wait for a minute to hear your echo back! Also, visit the Tea Museum to know more about the century-old culture a lively glimpse of how the tea culture flourished across South India. Overnight at hotel.
Day 15: Munnar – Thekkady (110km) (B)
Drive to Thekkady via Ramakkalmedu one of the windiest places in Asia and being so, one can find here a wind farm generating electricity. Visit Frog Rock, Turtle Rock, and the highest twin-statue in Kerala called Kuravan & Kurathi. Evening watch Martial Arts & Kathakali Dance show. Overnight at hotel.
Day 16: Thekkady (B)
Explore Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary on a boat. The tropical evergreen and deciduous forests teeming with elephants, bison, sambar deer, wild dogs, jungle cats, tiger, and wild boar along with various species of snake including cobras, vipers, kraits, and many non-poisonous snakes is a wildlife lover`s dream. A variety of birds such as grey jungle fowl, Malabar grey hornbill, woodpeckers, and bulbuls also have found a home in this sanctuary. Afterward take a spice plantation tour to see crops of cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, coffee, tea estates, etc. You could stop at the local market and pick some fragrant spices. Drive to Kumarakom check-in & overnight at the hotel.
Day 17: Thekkady – Alleppey (130km) (B, L, D)
Transfer to Alleppey boat jetty to board the houseboat and sail through the tropical countryside enchanting backwaters. While sailing enjoys palm fringed narrow canals winding through the vast expanse of paddy fields and the neat tiny hamlets lined up along either side of the canals, the panoramic sights one can never forget. Pass through one of the few areas in the world where farming is done below sea level. Alleppey is referred to as the Venice of the East, due to canals, backwaters, and lagoons. Boats are the main mode of transportation here, you can see Shikara boats, small motorboats, passenger boats, cargo boats, and houseboats. Evening enjoys the sunset from the sun-deck of the houseboats. The Houseboats have generated electricity, sitting cum dining area, separate bedroom with attached English toilets, sun deck and fully loaded kitchen with a chef & driver. Overnight in houseboat.
Day 18: Alleppey – Cochin (60km) (B)
Departure transfer to Cochin airport.
Specification: Golden Triangle with Goa, Hampi & Kerala Backwater
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