This journey across India brings you close to the
vibrant and colorful cultures of Rajasthan and the Ganges plains in
northern India, before taking you to the compelling sights of Calcutta.
Experience the living culture and rituals of Hinduism in the temples of
southern India, practiced today in much the same fervor as it was a
thousand years ago. Visit Kerala, where you can cruise in a slow boat
through palm fringed backwaters and spot herds of wild elephants in the
jungle. Flood your mind and senses with a potpourri of extraordinary
sights and sounds from this diverse sub-continent.
Trip Highlights include:
8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Rickshaw ride in Delhi
Romantic Taj Mahal
Fatehpur Sikri, abandoned 16th century town
Keoladeo National Park, bird sanctuary
Bazaars and palaces of Jaipur, Rajasthan
Varanasi, the Hindu holy city on the Ganges
Calcutta, so much more than what you thought
Mahabalipuram, ancient rock sculptures on the
Pondicherry, once a French colony in India
Medieval temples of Tanjore and Madurai
Periyar National Park, wildlife reserve in
Cochin, spice trading port since the 15th
2 train journeys in India
Stopover in Singapore
Day 1: USA to Singapore
Shortly after noon today, catch your Singapore
Airlines flight to Asia. Arrive in Singapore two days later after
crossing the International Dateline.
Day 3: Singapore
The day is free for you to enjoy Singapore, a
modern city and yet distinctly Oriental. A special visitors’ pass is
included for transportation and entrance fees to important sights
around the city.
Day 4: Singapore to Delhi
Leave Singapore this evening and fly to Delhi,
Day 5: Delhi
This morning, enjoy a brief tour of Old Delhi,
riding in a rickshaw just like the locals, through the narrow
streets and teeming bazaars. Visit the grand mosque before
continuing to New Delhi, for other sites such as Humayun’s Tomb and
some free time for shopping etc.
Day 6: Delhi to Jaipur
Leave Delhi this morning and visit the towering
Qutab Minar , before continuing onwards to Jaipur, Rajasthan’s
famous ‘pink city’, built in 1728 from local sandstone. Just before
entering Jaipur, stop at the Amber Palace – a hilltop fortress,
accessed in appropriately royal style on elephant back!
Day 7: Jaipur
Jaipur’s elegant buildings and palaces reflect
its past wealth and grandeur. Visit the elaborate ‘Palace of Winds’,
which is not a palace but merely a façade, behind which the ladies
of the royal household could watch processions and street festivals
without being seen themselves! Spend the afternoon walking through
Jaipur’s bazaars – famous for their silver jewelry and handicrafts.
Day 8: Jaipur to Agra
Visit Keoladeo National Park , once a Maharajah’s
private duck shooting grounds and now a haven for migratory birds
from Central Asia and the abandoned city of Fatehpur Sikri , on the
way to Agra. Another highlight of your trip awaits you this
afternoon, the Taj Mahal ! Twenty thousand master craftsmen labored
for twenty years to build this awesome memorial for one man to honor
the memory of his wife.
Day 9: Agra to Varanasi
Stop at the majestic Agra Fort this morning,
before enjoying some free time in the afternoon for shopping etc.
This evening, take an overnight train to Varanasi, the holy city of
the Hindus, on the river Ganges.
Day 10: Varanasi
After breakfast, take a walking tour through the
narrow lanes of this ancient town, reputed to be the world’s oldest
continually inhabited city! Later today visit Sarnath, on the other
side of the river Ganges, where the Buddha preached his first
Day 11: Varanasi to Calcutta
Early this morning, take a boat ride on the
Ganges – undoubtedly another highlight of your trip. Watch the old
buildings lining the river bank glow bright orange in the light of
the rising sun, while pilgrims come to pray and bathe in the river,
in a devout act of ritual cleansing. In the evening, board an
overnight train bound for Calcutta.
Day 12: Calcutta (Kolkata)
Arriving early this morning, you first encounter
Calcutta as you cross the busy Howrah Bridge, teeming with
pedestrians and all kinds of traffic – an amazing sight! Later, take
an orientation tour of the city, well known for its colonial era
buildings, museums and art galleries.
Day 15: Calcutta to Madras
The morning is free for shopping or optional
tours, before taking an afternoon flight from Calcutta to Madras.
Day 15: Madras (Chennai) to
Start exploring South India by visiting
Mahabalipuram , famous for its temples with ancient rock sculptures
just next to the beach. Although the sculptures have been eroded by
the winds and waves for more than a thousand years, they still
remain very impressive. Later, arrive in Pondicherry, the former
French colony with its distinctive streets, houses and ornamental
gardens as well as the Aurobindo Ashram, a center for international
Day 15: Pondicherry to Chidambaram
The Nataraja Temple at Chidambaram is
significant, for its architectural splendor, rich traditions of
worship and ceremony and its association with classical Indian music
and dance. Continue onwards to the ancient temple at Darasuram, well
known for its exquisite stone carving. Later arrive in Tanjore,
another major temple city in the South.
Day 16: Tanjore (Thanjavuram)
Famous for another spectacular, thousand year old
Shiva temple , Tanjore is a witness to the period’s brilliant
achievements in architecture, sculpture, painting, and bronze
Day 17: Tanjore to Trichy and
Leaving Tanjore head towards Trichy for a visit
to the famous Rock Fort Temple, a spectacular monument perched on a
rocky outcrop. Continue to Madurai, and its landmark Meenakshi
Temple with 985 pillars, each exquisitely carved. Many of these are
hewn from a single block of granite, and each produces a different
musical tone when tapped! The city is crammed with shops and street
markets, famous for its traditional handicrafts in bronze and brass.
Day 18: Madurai to Munnar
Leaving the plains and temples behind, travel
through the highlands to Kerala. Set at an altitude of 6000 ft,
Munnar was a favorite summer resort of the colonial British. With
its expanse of tea and spice plantations, pristine valleys and
forests, this was a haven of peace and quiet, then as now.
Day 19: Munnar to Periyar
Continue through the verdant countryside to the
wildlife reserve of Lake Periyar; here, during an afternoon cruise
on the lake you may see herds of wild elephants, exotic birds and
Day 20: Periyar to Kumarakom
After another boat ride through the National Park
early this morning, head for the coast. Drive past miles of rubber
and coconut plantations before arriving at Lake Vembanad, with its
meandering lagoons, mangroves and backwaters – a truly unique
landscape. A boat ride takes you to your lakeside hotel.
Day 21: Kumarakom to Cochin
Enjoy another cruise through the tranquil
backwaters today, before continuing to the port city of Cochin, one
of the oldest European settlements in India. History comes alive as
you visit a Jewish Synagogue originally built in 1544, a Catholic
church where Vasco da Gama was buried in 1524 and a Dutch palace
built by the Portuguese!
Day 22: Cochin to Singapore
The morning is free for you to enjoy Cochin,
before heading to the airport this evening for the overnight flight
Day 23: Singapore to USA
Land in Singapore early this morning for your
connecting flight to the US, arriving the same day.
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