Day 1: Arrive Mumbai
On arrival at Mumbai airport assistance & transfer to hotel (check in/out time 12pm).
Mumbai is disciplined by no time frame neither day nor night. Dazzling shopping arcades, exciting sport activity, nightclubs & discotheques, theatre, music & gourmet restaurants offers visitors a heady mix of all this and more. Rest time free for personal activities. Overnight at hotel.
Day 2: Mumbai
Breakfast at hotel. City tour of Mumbai. Drive via Marine Drive one of the most beautifully laid boulevards in the city to reach Gateway of India. Board a ferry from here to reach Elephanta Caves (Monday closed). A flight of 100 steps takes you to the top of the hill where caves are located. Afterwards cruise back to Gateway of India and then city tour. Drive pass CST & Parliament House. Visit Dhobhi Ghat to see the city famous open air laundry in action. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalay, a grade I Heritage Building of the city counted amongst one of the most prominent museums of India. The complex exhibits a myriad collection of ancient artefacts, artwork and sculptors of the country which give a unique insight into our past. Overnight at hotel.
Day 3: Mumbai - Cochin (flight)
Breakfast at hotel. Transfer to airport to board flight for Cochin. On arrival assistance & transfer hotel check in. City tour of Cochin the lovely seaside city flanked by the Western Ghats on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west. You will find here a unique mix and match of traditional as well Western architecture and lifestyle. 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`s Palace. In the evening enjoy Kathakali, a traditional dance form of Kerala with lavish costumes, exotic makeup, masks etc.
Day 4: Cochin - Alleppey (60km)
Breakfast at hotel. Transfer to Alleppey boat jetty to board houseboat and sail through the tropical countryside enchanting backwaters. While sailing enjoy 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 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 motor boats, passenger boats, cargo boat, and houseboats. Evening enjoy 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. Lunch, dinner & overnight on board in houseboat.
Day 5: Alleppey - Cochin (60km)/ Chennai (flight)
After breakfast disembark from the houseboat and transfer to Cochin airport to board flight for Chennai. On arrival transfer hotel check in. Visit Fort St. George & St Mary`s Church inside the fort built by the British East India Company in 1640 AD. Kapaleeshwarar Temple a holy shrine of Lord Shiva originally built by the mighty Pallavas and rebuilt in 16th century by the Vijayanagar kings. Vadapalani Murugan Temple one of the most frequented places of worship for Hindus in Chennai. Government Museum built in the Indo-Sarcenic style it houses a rich collection of works of Raja Ravi Varma. Dakshinachitra Museum, one of the living-history museums. Santhome Cathedral a historical and ancient pilgrim centre, which was built during the 14th to the 15th century AD by the then reigning Portuguese. Drive Pass Marina Beach a 13kms long natural urban beach along the Bay of Bengal. Overnight at hotel.
Day 6: Chennai - Pondicherry (250km)
Breakfast at hotel. Drive to Pondicherry via Kanchipuram & Mahabalipuram. In Kanchipuam visit Kailasanathar temple 8th century temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Ekambareswarar temple an ancient temple dedicated to Siva, 2500 year old mango tree inside the temple has 4 branches each yields different varieties of mangoes. Varadharaja temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Vaikundhaperumal temple dedicated to lord Vishnu & Kamakshiamman temple the ultimate form of Goddess Parvati.
In Mahabalipuram visit Monolithic Temples Five Rathas an excellent examples of the evolution of Dravidian style architecture. Krishnas Butterball a gigantic granite boulder resting on a short incline. 7th century Cave Temples cut and decorated with panels in the Mamalla style. Shore Temple built with blocks of granite in 7th century during the rule of King Narsimha-Varman II Rajasimha the temple complex consisting of two Siva temples and a carving of Anantasayana Vishnu. The Arjuna`s Penance an enormous rock-cut relief, one of the largest in the whole world.
Continue drive to Pondichery check in & overnight at hotel.
Day 7: Pondicherry - Chennai (165km)/ Hyderabad (flight)
Breakfast at hotel. Visit Aurovil an experimental community founded in 1968 by the spiritual leader Mirra Alfassa as a town where people from all over the world could live in harmony. Its focal point is the Matrimandir, a futuristic, spherical temple covered in gold discs. Pondicherry Museum it houses a fantastic collection of bronze sculptures of god and goddess, a wide gathering of temple lamps, handicrafts and art. Drive pass or walk through stunning French Quarters, charming mustard streets, colonial villas and vibrant Tamil settlements. Besides a very picturesque view of the lovely alleys and narrow lanes, you can also marvel at the gorgeous architecture of the French colonial settlements which include French consulate, Raj Nivas, Government Square, Churches & French schools.
Drive to Chennai airport to board flight for Hyderabad. Arrival transfer and check in at hotel. Overnight at hotel.
Day 8: Hyderabad
Breakfast at hotel. City tour of Hyderabad, explore 400-year-old metropolitan city teeming with bustling bazaars & Muslim monuments. Visit Golconda Fort renowned for its diamond mines that have given the world famous Kohinoor and Darya-i-noor diamonds. The ancient fort complex of Golconda will charm you with its history, tinged with legends and anecdotes. Qutub Shahi Tombs a group of small and big mosques and tombs built by the rulers of the Qutub Shah dynasty on a raised platform and have a dome-shaped structure. Charminar built in 1591 by Quli Qutub Shah is an identifying landmark of Hyderabad. It is also famous for the market that sprawls around it called Laad Bazaar. Salar Jung Museum (Friday closed) a treat for tourists famous for being the third largest museum in the country, having the largest antiques collection dating back to the first century. Chowmahalla Palace (Friday closed) the seat of the Asaf Jahi dynasty where the Nizams entertained their official guests and royal visitors. Birla Mandir made of pure white Rajasthani marble the temple beauty leaves you awestruck. Also drive pass Hussain Sagar Lake one of the largest man made lake renowned for its monolith of Lord Buddha placed right at the center of the lake. Overnight at hotel.
Day 9: Hyderabad - Kolkata (flight)
Breakfast at hotel. As per flight schedule transfer to airport to board flight for Kolkata. On arrival assistance & transfer to hotel check in. Rest time free and easy to relax. Overnight at hotel.
Day 10: Kolkata
Breakfast at hotel. City tour of Kolkata. Visit Fort William one of most enduring Raj-era edifices built during the early years of the Bengal Presidency of British India, on the eastern banks of the River Hooghly. Victoria Memorial the immaculate white memorial bounded by verdant greenery and broad roads dedicated to Queen Victoria. Inside the memorial there is a museum where you can see the dresses of the queen as well as different kinds of weapons used during that era. Netaji Bhawan a building maintained as a memorial and research center to the life of the Indian nationalist Netaji`s Subhas Chandra Bose. The house, built by Bose`s father in 1909, is owned and managed by the Netaji Research Bureau and includes a museum, archives and library. Howrah Bridge one of the most popular bridges of India, built on the river Hooghly. It is one of the major Kolkata attractions and people from different part of the country come here especially to witness this amazingly structured bridge. Dakshineswar Kali Temple one of the major pilgrimage center dedicated to Goddess Kali. Located on the bank of River Hoogly, the temple compound maintains a large courtyard with rooms along the boundary walls, twelve shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva, a bathing ghat on the river and a shrine dedicated to Rani Rashmoni. Overnight at hotel.
Day 11: Kolkata - Varanasi (flight)
Breakfast at hotel. As per flight schedule transfer to airport to board flight for Varanasi. On arrival assistance & transfer to hotel check in.
Evening attend Holy Ganga Aarti, a magical ritual held every evening at sunset on the banks of the Holy Ganges. The entire Ghat gets illuminated with a divine light that can be felt strongly. The magnificent ritual involves huge brass lamps lit with oil and the priests chant the holy mantras that reverberate in the entire location. The entire Ghat gets illuminated with a divine light that can be felt strongly. The magnificent ritual involves huge brass lamps lit with oil and the priests chant the holy mantras that reverberate in the entire location. Overnight at hotel.
Day 12: Varanasi
Breakfast at hotel. Early morning boat ride & Ghat visit along the Ganges and catch the scene of devotees bathing and praying in the sacred water.
Later city tour visit Banaras Hindu University. With 5.3 sq kms campus and 30,000 residing students it is the largest residential university in the continent. Bharat Mata Temple built in 1936 houses a relief map of undivided India, carved out of marble. Tulsi Manas Mandir one of the most famous temples in Varanasi. The temple has beautiful images of Lord Rama, Mother Sita, Lakshman and Lord Hanuman. The walls of temple are adorned with verses from Ramcharitmanas, the Hindi version of the epic Ramayana. Continue to Sarnath, it was here Lord Buddha preached his first sermon after attaining the Enlightenment at Bodh Gaya. The great Dhamekh Stupa and glistening pillar established by Emperor Ashoka in 273-232 B.C. stand testimony to the importance the place enjoyed at that time.
If time permit visit Ram Nagar Fort located on the eastern bank of River Ganga. The Fort includes an eccentric museum boasting a royal collection of vintage cars, swords, palanquins, ivory works, an old weaponry section and an extremely unusual astrological clock. Overnight at hotel.
Day 13: Varanasi - Delhi (flight)
Breakfast at hotel. As per flight schedule transfer to airport to board flight for Delhi. On arrival assistance & transfer to hotel check in. Rest time free and easy to relax. Overnight at hotel.
Day 14: Delhi
Breakfast at hotel. City tour of Delhi. In Old Delhi visit 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 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-metres tall minaret that forms part of the Qutb complex a fine examples of Afghan architecture. Lotus Temple a Bahai House of Worship notable for its flowerlike shape. Also drive pass President House, Parliament & India Gate etc. Overnight at hotel.
Day 15: Delhi - Agra (204km)
Breakfast at hotel. Drive to Agra check in at 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 favourite 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 16: Agra - Jaipur (245km)
Breakfast at hotel. Drive to Jaipur via visiting Fatehpur Sikri an abandoned predominately a 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 step well & a Hindu Temple. Drive to Jaipur check in at hotel. Evening explore the local market of Pink City. Overnight at hotel.
Day 17: Jaipur
Breakfast at hotel. 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 an 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 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 18: Jaipur - Mumbai (flight)
Breakfast at hotel. As per flight schedule transfer to airport to board flight for Mumbai. Alternatively drive to Delhi Airport to board flight for onward destination.