India – This Ultimate 20 Day India Holiday has it all – Luxury River Cruise, 5 Star Private Tour, Wildlife Safaris, Taj Mahal and much more

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Duration

20 days 19 nights

Region

India

Tour Type

Cultural Tour, Historical Tour, Boat Cruise, Wildlife Tour

Travel Style

Group & Private

Group Size

01 Pax onwards

About this tour

This very special luxury tour is the ultimate Indian experience – it includes an 8 day Luxury River Cruise, amazing wildlife safaris, tiger spotting, the Taj Mahal, Delhi, Kolkata and Jaipur. Enjoy big cities, the banks of the Ganges, rural villages, bustling bazars, a rickshaw ride and train journey… this tour has it all and more. This is a PRIVATE TOUR with your own vehicle, driver and English speaking guide for all parts other than the Luxury Cruise days where you will be with other guests on board. The river cruise is classed as Super Deluxe and the hotels can be included as per your choice though we recommend using 4 or 5 star hotels to maintain the same standard of service.

*PRICES AND OTHER DETAILS OF THIS TOUR ARE AVAILABLE ON REQUEST. PLEASE RAISE A REQUEST FOR QUOTE

This tour includes a luxury river cruise which has fixed departures on certain dates of the month, please check with us and we will be happy to share the available dates in various months and then you can choose a suitable travel date.

 

Itinerary

Your journey begins in Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta). On arrival you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel for check in.

If your arrival is during the day, a representative will hand over all your documents including hotel vouchers, flight and train tickets, discuss the whole tour with you, answer any questions you may have and arrange the meeting time for the next day. If your arrival is late we give you a chance to rest first and go through the handover the next day.

Meals included: none

Spend the morning at leisure in Kolkata. Later in the day you will be collected and taken to the train station for your train to Farakka (this is a shared group transfer).

You will have assistance with boarding the train as well as with your luggage. On arrival in Farakka you will be met at the train station and taken to board your River Cruise

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

This morning take an overland excursion to Gour (also known as Gauda and Gaur). Now quiet and deserted, it was once a great city, first under the Hindus in the 12th century, then as the Muslim capital of Eastern India from the 14th to the 16th century. Discover the remains of ancient mosques, palaces and gateways.Continue by transport through the town of Malda to Pandua.

Visit the great 14th century Adina Mosque before returning to Farakka and your ship. Your ship will have passed through the lock at the barrage and set sail down the Hooghly River. Enjoy the scenery of the banks lined with mustard fields and mango orchards.More at Baranagar for the night.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

This morning take an excursion to the sleepy village of Baranagar. Walk through the fields to the three miniature terracotta temples - this is rural India at its most idyllic.

Continue through Azimganj and its riverside mansions to Murshidabad. Visit the great Hazarduari Palace that dominates the waterfront. Built by an English architect in 1837, it is home to an extensive collection of pictures, china, weapons and other objects.

Carry on to visit the great Katra Mosque followed by the Kathgola Palace an example from the Mughal period. Moor overnight on the riverbank across from town.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Sail downstream a short distance before taking a walk to Khushbagh. A peaceful Mughul-style garden, it is home to the tombs of Siraj-udDaulah, the last independent Nawab of Bengal and his family.

Head back to the ship and continue downstream to the old British military camp of Berhampur.

Moor close to the battlefield of Plassey where in 1757 Robert Clive, the Commander-in-Chief of British India, defeated Siraj-ud-Daulah - a marked moment in Indian history. Here you can walk through the fields to the commemorative obelisk.Continue cruising to a mooring near Katwa, a market town with narrow bustling bazaars.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

This morning visit the brass working village of Matiari. Observe the process of beating out brass water pots and other vessels.

Continue on through the countryside to Mayapur to visit the vast new ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) temple.

As the headquarters of the Hare Krishna movement, the temple receives over a million singing and dancing devotees a year from around the world.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Continue downstream to the country town of Kalna. Travel by rickshaw to see the Kalna temples made from terracotta, known as some of Bengal's most attractive temples.

Sail on and arrive at the outskirts of Kolkata.Moor near Bandel to visit the Imambara at Hooghly.

An ancient Muslim congregation hall built in the 1800's, it has verses of the Koran written on the walls and is quite a sight.

Continue sailing downstream past fine waterfront buildings and the old Dutch settlement at Chinsura to moor at Chandannagar.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

This morning visit Chandannagar, which was under French possession until 1950. See the sights here including an 18th century church, the former Governor General of French India's house before continuing on by boat to Barrackpore.

Moor in Barrackpore and take a walk through the cantonment. See the Semaphore Tower, Government House, the Temple of Fame and Flagstaff House to get a better understanding of India's journey to independence. Subject to the river tide, cruise under the Howrah Bridge to reach central Kolkata.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Enjoy breakfast on board before disembarking in Kolkata at around 8:30 / 9am.

You will be taken to your hotel by shared transfer. At the hotel you will be met by your private guide and driver.

Please note: From this point onwards, your tour is a private tour where you will have your own personal guide with a private vehicle and driver. Check in may be available on arrival at the hotel but if your room is not yet ready (official check in time is 2pm) you can leave you luggage at the hotel and check in after your sightseeing tour.

Kolkata, the former capital of the British Raj, was once the most important trade centre in all of Asia. Colonialism left its mark on the city and here you can visit a mix of Raj and Indian attractions.

Visit the Victoria Memorial, a symbol of the British Raj. This palatial white marble monument was built in 1901 as a tribute to Her Majesty following her death and is also a museum with many artefacts from the British colonial period. Later in the afternoon visit the Indian Museum with its collection of classical Indian sculptures before being taken back to your hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast and dinner

This morning your guide will meet you at your hotel. Take a heritage walk of Benoy-BadalDinesh Bagh (formerly known as Dalhousie Square and named after the three revolutionary freedom fighters of Bengal).

At the heart of the former capital of British India, it is a colonial centre that gives you a feel of Kolkata's history.

Later visit the historic quarter of Kumartuli, a potters quarter with more than 400 artisans carrying out a centuries old tradition.

Continue on to South Park St Cemetery one of the earliest non-church cemeteries in the world. Opened in 1767 on what was previously a marshy area, the cemetery was in use until about 1830 and is now a heritage site.

Meals included: Breakfast

Late morning your driver will collect you for your flight to Jaipur in Rajasthan.

This bustling and fascinating city has some of the finest examples of Rajasthani architecture and whilst it is a growing city with a modern outlook, camels can be found wandering the streets and rickshaws blend in with the traffic.

On arrival at the airport your driver and guide will meet you and take you to your hotel.

Spend the afternoon at your leisure.In the evening you will be taken to a lovely but simple cafe located in Nahargarh Palace.

Perched on top of a hill, it offers a superb bird’s eye view of the city. Enjoy watching the sun going down over the city. Have dinner at a local restaurant before returning to your hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast and dinner

After breakfast visit the ancient palace of Amber Fort*, which is exquisite in many ways – size, scale, craftsmanship, history and sits on a hilltop with stunning views.One of the most spectacular buildings contained in the fort is the Sheesh Mahal (Hall of Mirrors), with its walls completely covered with tiny mirrors.

It has been designed so that even if a single ray of light enters the hall, this light is reflected in all the mirrors and the entire hall lights up. Later visit the key sights and wonders of the Pink City in the heart of Jaipur.

Visit the Observatory, the Maharaja's City Palace and Hawa Mahal (also known as Palace of the Winds and viewed from the outside only).

Built of red and pink sandstone it is said to resemble the honeycomb structure of a bee’s nest. It was called the Palace of Winds as in the original design it had a clever cooling system that allowed a gentle breeze to pass through the Palace – very welcome in the hot Rajasthani summers.

It is said to have been built as an observatory where the women of the Maharaja's City Palace could observe the outside world whilst remaining inside the palace.

The bustling bazaars of the old city are a great place to shop and explore and are some of the most vibrant in Asia – Rajasthan is known for its colour! *You have the option to take an elephant ride to Amber Fort. The cost of this is AUD15 per person (2 people on an elephant) or AUD30 (one person atop an elephant). There are strict regulations in place to limit the total number of journeys each elephant can do in a day, and they are only allowed to carry 2 passengers at a time to prevent any over-working of elephants.

Meals included: Breakfast and dinner

After breakfast you will be collected for the drive to Agra (around 5 hours). On the way stop at the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. Located in the Keoladeo National Park, a world heritage site and protected sanctuary, home to thousands of birds. Enjoy this wonder of India as you ride through the park on a rickshaw.

Visit a local school (subject to the school being open) and village before having lunch at a local restaurant.

Continue on to the deserted Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri. Walk through the city with your guide hearing the intriguing story behind the abandoning of the city and learn about its great architecture.On arrival in Agra you will be taken to your hotel. If you wish to visit the Taj Mahal at sunset your driver will be available to take you there.

Please note this is optional and you will need to pay your entrance fees directly (entrance fees are included on Day 14 for your sunrise visit).

Meals included: Breakfast and dinner

Visiting the Taj Mahal in the early morning is something special. Watch as the marble changes colour as the sun rises and wander the grounds of the Taj Mahal with your guide marvelling at its wonder.

You will then be taken back to your hotel for breakfast.

Later in the morning, visit the majestic Agra Fort. Step back to an era of great palaces and grand forts.

The fort itself is magnificent and has wonderful views of the Taj Mahal in the distance.

Later visit a Marble factory where you see the fascinating inlay work of local artisans whose forefathers built the Taj Mahal. In the afternoon you will be driven back to Delhi.

Meals included: Breakfast and dinner

A special opportunity to soak in the sounds and aromas of Delhi and discover why it is known as the heart of India... In the morning enjoy a guided tour of Delhi. Explore Old Delhi's heritage walking through the narrow lanes and experience a rickshaw ride.

Visit key places such as: Jama Masjid – one of the largest mosques in India, Raj Ghat – Mahatma Gandhi's monument, Sikh Gurdwara – an important Sikh temple and quiet refuge in the busy city and the iconic Lotus Temple.

Later drive to India Gate, the President's House and Lutyen's buildings and have the opportunity to shop at some local markets.

Meals included: Breakfast and dinner

This morning you will be taken to the airport for your flight to Jabalpur. Upon arrival in Jabalpur at around midday, you will be met at the station and driven to Kanha National Park (around 4 hours drive).

This famous Park of Central India is home to the Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book’s - Sher Khan the tiger, Bagheera the panther and Baloo the bear.

The lush bamboo, sal forest and wide meadows are also home to the wild Bengal Tiger which can be frequently seen roaming the park - a spectacular sight.

The Park has brought the Swap Deer back from the verge of extinction and with luck and patience it is possible to see leopards, sloth bears and dhole (Indian wild dogs) hunting in packs. More common animals are gaur, or Indian bison, blue cows, swamp mouse, spotted deer, and many birds. This is jungle life at its best.

In the afternoon, take a leisurely nature walk with a local naturalist at the lodge or you may simply like to relax and enjoy the surroundings.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Enjoy morning and afternoon game drives in the park spotting more wildlife and taking photos.

Please remember to take warm clothes with you for the early morning start. Between your wildlife safaris you can spend your time at leisure.

There are also some lovely bird and nature walks in the area.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Enjoy more wildlife safaris in Kanha National Park - a morning and afternoon safari are included.

Spend the rest of the day at your leisure.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Take a final wildlife safari in the morning. Later in the day you will be driven to Jabalpur airport (around 4 hours drive).

From here you will take your flight to Delhi. On arrival in Delhi you will be met at the airport and taken to your hotel for check in.

Meals included: Breakfast and lunch

Today the tour ends. You will be taken to the airport in time for your flight home or onto your next adventure.

Meals included: Breakfast

Hotel Information

Included/Excluded

  • 19 nights' accommodation including a 7 night River Cruise with Assam Bengal Navigation on the ABN Rajmahal.
  • Check-in & check-out time: generally, check in is after 2 pm and check out before 12 pm. Early check-in and late check-out are subject to room availability and may generate additional full day room rate.
  • 47 meals as per itinerary - 19 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 17 dinners.
  • All airport transfers. When you arrive in Kolkata you will be met by a representative and driver at the airport. When taken to the airport for departure, you will be with your driver only (no guide).
  • All transportation throughout the tour is in an air-conditioned vehicle. From day 9 onwards you will have a private vehicle and driver. The vehicle used will depend on the size of your group and will range from an air-conditioned car for groups of 2, a Toyota Innova for groups of 3, a minivan for groups of 4-10 people and for groups over 10 a coach will be used.
  • Train journey from Kolkata to Farakka.
  • 7 night river cruise from Farakka to Kolkata.
  • 3 x domestic flights: Kolkata to Jaipur; Delhi to Jabalpur; and Jabalpur to Delhi.
  • 20kg checked in baggage, 7kg carry on. If your luggage exceeds the allowed rate then you are responsible for paying any excess charges. Again these vary, but start at around AUD5 per kg and are sometimes more for longer flights.
  • English speaking guides (in each location you will have a different guide).
  • Entrance and sightseeing fees as stated in the itinerary.
  • Free wifi available at the hotel lobby.
  • Mineral water on tour days.
  • Taxes and service fees

  • International airfares to and from India.
  • Meals not outlined in the itinerary.
  • Drinks for all meals.
  • Elephant ride at Amber Fort - The cost of this is approximately AUD15 per person (based on 2 people sharing) or AUD30 per person (single person on elephant).
  • Travel insurance. Please contact us if you would like a quote.
  • Indian visa.
  • Early check-in and late check-out at hotels.
  • Tips and gratuities.
  • Personal expenses such as telephone, laundry etc.
  • Any additional taxes levied by the Government of India on the tourism sector in future will be payable by the guest.
  • Any sudden increase in the entrance fee. The price is based on the presently applicable fee.
  • Cost incidental to any change in the itinerary/ stay on account of flight cancellation due to bad weather, ill health, roadblocks and/or any factors beyond control.
  • Others not indicated in the inclusions

Booking Process & Information

Upon raising request for quote of your tour online, Travelbay will go through your request and will contact you with details regarding price, availability or any other details that you have requested. Our response is typically with-in 24 hrs . Once you give us a go ahead, we will request you to send us a booking advance and start holding accommodation and transportation for your tour.

As soon as we have confirmed the dates (usually within 48 hours sometimes a little longer at weekends) we will email you your booking confirmation. 

We will request further information from you to ensure that all your personal preferences are taken care of. This will include details such as  dietary requests, allergies, health issues, emergency contact and any special requirements. We will also request a copy of each traveller’s passport and the arrival and departure details.

India Facts

Capital City: New Delhi

Population: 1.366 billion

Languages: There is no national language in India. Hindi and English are both official languages. India has over 1,000 spoken languages. The languages with the most number of speakers are Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi and Tamil.

Currency: Indian Rupee (INR)

Time Zone: (GMT+05:30) Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi

Dialling code: +91

Religion: Hinduism is the predominant followed by Islam, Christianity, Sikh, Buddhism and Jainism

India weather

The best time to visit India is from October through to March. At this time, the weather across India is mostly warm and dry.

India is a large country with a huge range of varying climates. Most of the country is sub tropical with hot, humid summers and mild winters. Below is a very general overview to give you some idea of what to expect.

North India

  • Winter (October to March): The weather in the winter time in North India makes it a pleasant time to travel. It is not too hot nor is it too cold – although in some of the more alpine places it can get chilly – take some warm layers.
  • Summer (April to July): Summers can be hot in North India, particularly in May, June and July. The highs can reach 40°C and the lows drop to around 27°C.
  • Monsoon (July to September): This is when the North sees the most rain.

South India:

  • Winter (October to February): The temperatures are cooler at this time of year on the coastal regions (23°C to 32°C). The areas in the hills can be much cooler (15°C to 21°C).
  • Summer (March to May): Summers can be hot and humid in the South but sea breezes bring down the temperature and it’s a great time to visit the hill stations and tea plantation areas.
  • Monsoon (June to September): The rains start in June and bring the temperatures down. The areas in the hills become misty and lush. The beaches in the South can get choppy.

How to get there

This tour starts and ends in Delhi.

Flights from Australia to India are approximately $900 – $1,200 per person return. The actual price varies depending on departure city, time of year and luck of the draw!

Travelbay works together with an excellent corporate flight booking company and we would be happy to provide you with a free quote.

If you choose to book your flights with Travelbay, we charge a $50 booking fee for this service.

Interesting facts on India

  • India, Pakistan and Bangladesh used to be one country. After British rule ended in 1947 these countries eventually became independent.
  • Delhi is the capital of India but Mumbai is the most populated with a population of over 20 million.
  • India prides itself on being the world’s largest democracy. In the 2009 election there were over 417 million voters.

Visa information

Most nationalities require a visa when travelling to India. You need to apply for and receive your visa before you depart.

You can apply for an e-visa online or you can apply for your visa via VSF Global who works in conjunction with the Indian embassy. For more information you can visit our visa information page.

To find out the visa requirements for India, you can also check here with Visalink.

Please note: We attempt to provide you with the latest information and links. However, please be aware that it is each traveller’s responsibility (and not Travelbay’s) to ensure that you have a valid visa if required for any country you visit.

 

Durations

Multi Day

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