God's Own Country & Golden Triangle
This exciting tour is a dual delight as it introduces you to some of the most splendid and grand cities of North and South India. Your amazing journey of discovery begins in North India when you arrive at Delhi, the cornerstone city of the “Golden Triangle”, the other two famous cities that complete this triangle being Agra and Jaipur. These three cities are located in the shape of a rough equilateral triangle and are golden for the extraordinary splendour, grand history and masterful architecture they have to offer. One of the tourist highlights will be the Taj Mahal – a must for all tourists visiting India. Your journey will move towards the southern part of India for a visit to Bombay now called Mumbai - the
commercial capital of India.
The last leg of your tour is in South India – where you will be introduced Kerala known as “Gods own Country”, here you’re your senses will be rewarded with the beautiful landscapes, culinary delights and a refreshing union with nature. You will visit Cochin, Tea estates in Munnar, spices plantation in Periyar and the backwaters of Kerala known as “The Venice of the East”.
Looking to rejuvenate your body with a relaxing and healing traditional Ayurvedic massage? Then extend your stay by a week and indulge yourself before you head back home.
You can either join us on one of the fixed departures of this tour or you can tailor make this tour with your required dates and with the required number of days to travel with your family or friends.
DAY 01 – ARRIVE AT NEW DELHI
Get ready to embark of a glorious discovery of some of the most interesting places in India as your flight touches down at the New Delhi airport. You will be met upon the arrival by our friendly staff and transferred by car to your hotel.
Since you will most probably arrive in the evening, you will have dinner at your hotel in New Delhi where you will enjoy a well-deserved night of rest after your long flight.
DAY 02 – NEW DELHI
Today starts with a refreshing breakfast at the hotel before we explore Delhi - the Capital of India.
Delhi - encapsulates two very different worlds, each reflecting deliciously different experiences – The Old and New Delhi. Old Delhi served as the capital of Islamic India and The New Delhi built as the imperial capital of India by the British; sprinkled with glittering gems like captivating ancient monuments, magnificent museums and imperial colonial building.
We drive out to Rajpath – which means the Kingsway, is a beauty of Lutyens New Delhi is flanked by two large Secretariat buildings with the President of India’s resident on the western end. The Rajpath hosts the Republic Day parade every 26 January. We will then visit India Gate which pays tribute to around 90,000 Indian army soldiers who died during World War I in the northwest Frontier operation in 1919, it is a 42 meter high stone memorial arch.
Our drive continues along the diplomatic enclave, along the narrow lanes of Old Delhi – Chandni Chowk which is called the back bone of Old Delhi with its temples and mosques and along Red Fort built by Shah Jahan which displays the pomp and power of the Mughal Empire.
You will also have the opportunity to visit Gurudwara Bangala Sahib – the place of worship for the Sikh community and spend some time in the community kitchen where huge quantity of food is prepared and served to everyone irrespective of caste and religionYour taste buds will be tickled with lunch at a local speciality restaurant in Khan Market.After lunch your discovery delight continues with a visit to the Humayun Tomb – A squat building with high arched entrances that let in light, topped by bulbous dome and surrounded by formal gardens is a brilliant example of early Mughal architecture.We end the day with a walk along Lodhi Gardens – a ninety acre park in the heart of Delhi displaying mosques and tombs built during the Lodhi dynasty.Dinner and overnight will be at your hotel in New Delhi.
DAY 03 – NEW DELHI / AGRA
Breakfast at the hotel in the morning will be followed by your departure to Agra - established by the Lodhi dynasty and later invaded by the Mughals, Agra reached its peak of its magnificence during the reigns of Akbar, Jehangir and Shah Jahan of Mughal Empire which had left a magnificent fort, the Taj Mahal and other fascinating tombs and mausoleums.
Once we arrive at Agra at noon you will check in at your hotel.
In the afternoon visit Red Fort - with ear shaped fort’s colossal double walls rising over 20 metres in height and measuring 2.5 kms in circumference constructed with red stones, the fort which contains a maze of buildings, forms a city within a city – it is one of the finest Mughal forts in India. The main attractions of this fort are The Amar Singh Gate which is the sole entry point to the fort – the dogleg design was meant to confuse attackers, Diwan-i-Am – Hall of Public Audiences, Diwan –I-Khas - Hall of Private Audiences, the Gem Mosque – Nagina Masjid, the Ladies Bazaar, white marble octagonal tower, spectacular palaces and gardens.
Later we will visit Itimad –Ud – Daulah - also known as Baby Taj though it lacks the magic of the Taj, many of its design elements foreshadow the Taj.
Your entertainment for the evening will be a cultural show at a theatre on the Taj Mahal.Overnight stay is at your hotel in Agra.
DAY 04 – AGRA / JAIPUR
We will make an early morning start to this memorable day with a visit to the Taj Mahal – “Tear drop on the face of eternity” or “The embodiment of all things pure” – described as the most extravagant monument ever built for love, this architectural master piece constructed with a manpower of 20,000 people from India and Central Asia and with specialists brought in from as far as Europe to produce the exquisite marble screens and marble inlay works. Built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his second wife “Mumtaz”; the word goes that Shah Jahan intended to construct an identical Taj in black marble as a tomb for himself on the opposite bank of the Yamuna – creating a mirror image in negative which is too fanciful to be true, which was part of the reason that his sons jailed him - as the empire could not afford this grandiose plan.
We then return to the hotel and you can replenish yourself with a sumptuous breakfast after which we will leave for Jaipur, the third city to complete the Golden Triangle.On arriving at Jaipur you can check in at your hotel for your overnight stay.
DAY 05 – JAIPUR /MUMBAI
After breakfast at the hotel, we will venture into the grand architectural locations in Jaipur -the gateway to the desert state of Rajasthan termed as the ‘The city of victory’ and with its stunning hilltop forts and glorious palaces, bright turbans and fluttering saris it has a habit of tickling travellers pink.
Your first visit will be to the Amber fort – pronounced as ‘Amer’ meaning high, this Fort-Palace is a beautiful illustration of Rajput artistry. Situated on rugged hills – Amber fort was once the ancient capital of Jaipur. The main attractions you will have the pleasure to visit are - Hall of Public Audience, Hall of victory with inlaid panels, mirrored ceiling and carved marble relief panels around the hall, Hall of Pleasure with an ivory inlaid sandalwood door and The Zenana – where women were secluded.
You will get a taste of being treated as royalty as you ascend on a decorated elephant back to visit the fort.
You can sit back and relax with a satisfying lunch at a local specialty restaurant.
In the afternoon we will visit Hawa Mahal - another amazing example of Rajput artistry, this five storey building was constructed to enable the ladies of Royal house-hold to watch the life and procession of the city.
This will be followed by a visit to City Palace –a vast complex of courtyards, gardens and buildings – this Palace is a blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. Visit Mubarak Mahal – Welcome Palace which is a reception centre for visiting dignitaries, The Maharja Sawai Mansingh II museum which contains a collection of royal costumes and superb
shawls including Kashmiri pashmina, the armoury which displays many of the ceremonial engraved and inlaid weapons, other lethal weapons such as the two bladed daggers and all under mirrored and gold inlaid ceilings, The Diwan-I- Am – The Hall of audience and the gates of the courtyards.
Later we will visit the Jantar Mantar Observatory which consists of 19 astronomical instruments. They were built for naked-eye observations of the celestial bodies and precision was achieved through their monumental dimensions.
Your journey then moves towards the south of India as you are transferred to the airport in time to connect to your flight to Mumbai.
On arrival at Mumbai (earlier known as Bombay) you will be transferred to your hotel where you will enjoy a relaxing overnight stay in Mumbai.
DAY 06 – MUMBAI
Your day starts as you wake up in Mumbai - the seven islands which were to become the pace–setter for the whole of India showcases a wealth of art deco , grand colonial relics, cacophonic temples, warrens of bazaars and the odd spiritual bastion of tranquillity. Throwing the islands as a dowry for Catherine when she married Charles II of England by the Portuguese, later leased to East India company at an exorbitant annual rent of 10 pounds, Mumbai is now the commercial capital of India and one of the busiest sea ports in Asia. Mumbai is the epicentre of the Hindi film industry (Bollywood) producing more than 900 films per year to entertain one-sixth of the World’s population.
After b reakfast at the hotel, we make a morning visit to Mahalaximi dhobi-ghat – a 140 year huge old open air human-powered laundromat and then drive past Haji Ali Mosque.
After viewing the business of Dhaba walas (home-cooked food delivery service) we will partake of a sumptuous lunch at a specialty restaurant in the town.
Your after will be spent with a visit to the Prince of Wales museum and walk along the Fort.Overnight stay will be at your hotel in Mumbai.
DAY 07 – MUMBAI / ELEPHANTA / KOCHI
Breakfast at the hotel.
We will walk to Gateway of India to take the first boat to Elephanta to visit the caves.
Return to Mumbai.
After lunch transfer by car to the airport in time to connect your flight to Kochi.
Arrive Kochi and check in at the hotel.
Overnight at the hotel in Kochi.
DAY 08 – KOCHI
Breakfast at the hotel.
Kochi has been luring wanderers and traders for over 600 years and remains a living homage to its varied colonial past – giant fishing nets influenced by Chinese, a 16th century synagogue, ancient mosques, Portuguese houses built a millennia ago and the crumbling residuum of the British Raj. The result is an unlikely blend of medieval Portugal, Holland and the English country village grafted on to the coast of the Arabian Sea.
Visit Dutch Palace and spend time walking along Jew TownIn the evening we will visit Kathakali dance programme at the theatre.
Dinner – Gala Sea food dinner at a local restaurant in Fort Cochin.
Overnight at the hotel In Kochi.
DAY 09 – KOCHI / MUNNAR
After breakfast this morning at the hotel, you will leave for Munnar (Kerala) in South India – Munnar is known as the high range of the kingdom of Travancore is set with a backdrop of rolling mountain scenery, craggy peaks, manicured tea estates and crisp mountain air. It is the commercial centre of some of the worlds’ highest tea growing estates.
On arriving at Munnar and checking into your hotel, you can relax as the rest of the evening is free for your own leisure.
Your overnight is at the hotel in Munnar.
DAY 10 – MUNNAR
For all those tea-lovers out there – get ready for an amazing direct encounter with the history and processing of your favourite beverage, for in the morning we leave for full day trek exploring a tea garden. Your guide will enlighten you about the tea plantation, planting of tea trees, trimming, plucking of tea leaves and transporting them to the factories.
You will then have lunch at a heritage colonial manager’s Bungalow and later visit a tea factory to know more about the processing of tea leaves and participate in a tea tasting session.
Overnight stay will be at your hotel in Munnar.
DAY 11 – MUNNAR / PERIYAR
After breakfast at your hotel you will embark on another day of aromatic discovery as we leave for Periyar in the morning.
On arriving at Periyar you will check in at your hotel and have a little rest.
In the afternoon we will pay a visit to an elephant camp for close encounters of the animal-kind.
Later a guide will take you on a tour to the spices garden where you will learn about the spices grown in this region, the plants of the spices, its processing and some interesting history.
This evening’s entertainment is a visit to a demonstration of Kerala’s ancient art – Kalaripattu.
Kerala is known for its exotic cuisines and it is really an art cooking these dishes. You will get the chance to sharpen up on your culinary skills as you will participate in a cooking class with dinner prepared by an expert chef.
Overnight stay is at your hotel in Periyar.
DAY 12 – PERIYAR / ALLEPEY
Breakfast at the hotel this morning will be followed by an early departure to Allepey for an amazing scenic and relaxing experience on the backwaters.
On arrival you will check in on board the house boat after which we will cruise along the backwaters with while you are treated to a tantalising lunch on board.
In the evening check out and proceed to a hotel for an overnight stay.
DAY 13 – ALLEPEY / COCHIN -DEPARTURE
After breakfast at the hotel, you can enjoy a boat ride on the backwaters or try an authentic Ayurvedic massage or just relax and soak in the relaxing atmosphere of your scenic and calm surroundings.
Late in the evening you will transferred to the airport to connect to your return flight back home.