American breakfast daily, 7 lunches, 8 dinners including a welcome dinner in Delhi and home-hosted dinner in Jaipur
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.
Arrive in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Your hotel room is available for mid-afternoon check-in.
Dubai. This morning, enjoy a city tour that begins with a stop at the JUMEIRAH MOSQUE, one of Dubai’s great landmarks. Then, drive along Dubai Creek, the lifeline and pulse of the city. You will have time to stroll through the narrow lanes of Bastakiah, the city’s old district, and through the souks (markets). This includes the SPICE SOUK with its exotic aromas and the GOLD SOUK with 220 shop windows glittering with gold. The remainder of the day is at your leisure.
Dubai. A full day at your leisure. You may wish to take an excursion to Abu Dhabi, enjoy a dinner cruise on a traditional dhow, or simply explore the area on your own. Your host will have recommendations.
Dubai–Mumbai. Fly to Mumbai.Your hotel room is available for mid-afternoon check-in.
Mumbai. This morning, enjoy sightseeing in Mumbai, a multicultural metropolis with a colorful history. This vibrant city is now India’s premier seaport, center of culture and industry, and home to “Bollywood.” Start at the GATEWAY OF INDIA, Mumbai’s most famous monument commemorating the visit of Queen Mary. Then, drive along Marine Drive, a seafront promenade, and see a traditional Dhobi Ghat (open-air laundromat). You will also visit the HANGING GARDENS, MUMBAI MUSEUM, and MANI BHAVAN, the former residence of Mahatma Gandi. The remainder of the day is at your leisure. (B,L)
Mumbai–Cochin. Fly to Cochin, the “Gateway to Kerala.” Located on the Arabian Sea in Kerala, India’s southernmost state, Cochin is the perfect starting point to explore the region’s natural beauty.
Cochin. Start your sightseeing tour at the HILL PALACE MUSEUM, once the home of the Kochi royal family. Next, visit the DUTCH PALACE and take a WALKING TOUR through the Jewish quarter. After lunch, visit the the CHINESE FISHING NETS, the livelihood of many fishermen in the area and ST. FRANCIS CHURCH. Afterward, take an unforgettable CRUISE on the backwaters of Kerala. Explore and witness local life along these serene waterways surrounded by lush palm trees and paddy fields. (B,L)
Cochin–Delhi. Fly to Delhi India’s capital city! Hotel rooms are available for mid-afternoon check-in.
Delhi. Today’s sightseeing starts with an orientation to see the Red Fort, Jama Masjid, India Gate, and the Presidential Palace. Afterward, take a [LF] RICKSHAW RIDE through Chandni Chowk, a captivating local bazaar. Here, ancient alleyways are lined with quaint shops selling all sorts of goods and souvenirs—from silver and saris to spices and electronics. After lunch in a local restaurant, enjoy a bit of leisure time. Tonight, your Tour Director hosts a lavish welcome dinner that includes a COOKING DEMONSTRATION and talk on Indian cuisine with a local chef. (B,L,D)
Delhi–Agra. This morning, visit QUTAB MINAR, the world’s tallest brick minaret, dating back to the 11th century. Next, visit HUMAYAN’S TOMB and GURUDWARA BANGLA SAHIB, Delhi’s largest and most prominent Sikh gurudwara (house of worship). After lunch, drive to Agra and settle in for the evening. (B,L)
Agra. Start your day with a sunrise visit to the incomparable TAJ MAHAL, an extravagant marble monument to love. Moghul Emperor Shah Jahan built it as a memorial to his beloved wife, who died during childbirth. To add to this memorable experience, you’ll also travel by [LF] TONGAS (horse-drawn carriage) during your visit. Later, visit AGRA FORT, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, built by the Moghul Emperor Akbar. This impressive fortress of red sandstone conceals the imperial city of the Moghul rulers and its many palaces.
Agra–Fatehpur Sikri–Ranthambore National Park. Today, stop at FATEHPUR SIKRI (the City of Victory), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built by Emperor Akbar in the 16th century it was the capital of the Mughal Empire for only some 10 years before it was completely abandoned due to the lack of adequate water. After lunch in Bharatpur, board a train bound for RANTHAMBORE NATIONAL PARK, one of the best places in India to spot the elusive Bengal tiger! (B,L,D)
Ranthambore. Today, explore the park on MORNING & AFTERNOON GAME DRIVES in open-air, 4-wheel-drive safari vehicles. In addition to Bengal tigers, the park is home to leopard, sambar deer, sloth bears, marsh crocodiles, striped hyena, and more. Between game drives, enjoy free time to relax. (B,L,D)
Ranthambore–Jaipur. Rise early this morning for one last GAME DRIVE in this magical land. Then, travel to Jaipur. In 1876, the city was painted pink to welcome the Prince of Wales, and it has been known as the “Pink City” ever since. Tonight, enjoy a [LF] HOME-HOSTED DINNER with an Indian noble family, followed by a SARI- and TURBAN-TYING demonstration.
Jaipur. Today, visit the amazing AMBER FORT, built entirely of white marble and red sandstone. Tour the interior with its intricate mosaics, carvings, paintings, and mirror works. The afternoon is at your leisure to explore this bustling city. This evening, join your Tour Director for a festive farewell dinner to celebrate an unforgettable journey through India.
Jaipur–Delhi. This morning, visit the CITY PALACE and the adjoining MUSEUM, which houses a collection of rare manuscripts, and stop at the famous HAWA MAHAL (Palace of the Winds). You will have some free time prior to flying back to Delhi in the early evening. (B,L,D)
Delhi–Varanasi. Fly to Varanasi, the holiest of Hindu pilgrim cities, situated on the banks of the sacred Ganges River. Early this evening, witness the GANGA AARTI (spiritual worship) on the ghats (steps) leading down to the Ganges.
Varanasi. Around dawn, board a BOAT and watch a striking religious ritual—the Hindus’ devotional bathing in the Ganges. You’ll observe hundreds of pilgrims gathered at the river’s edge, some practicing yoga, others meditating, and still others bathing fully clothed. Return to your hotel for breakfast and some free time. This afternoon, an excursion takes you to nearby SARNATH, the “Cradle of Buddhism,” where Buddha first spoke of his philosophy.
Varanasi–Delhi. Enjoy the morning at leisure before flying back to Delhi.
Delhi. Your tour ends with breakfast this morning.