Day 1: Arrive at Delhi
(most flights arrive either in the evening or at night). Our services begin here.
You are greeted at the airport by our Travel Facilitator or Tour Director, and then ushered to a chauffeur driven vehicle. You are then driven to your hotel where you are assisted with your check in. The next day’s plans are briefly reviewed and the travel facilitator or Tour Director hands over travel documents such as your air tickets and hotel vouchers to you.
Day 2: Delhi.
Start your exploration of India with a city tour of Old Delhi that includes visits to the Jama Masjid (1650 AD) which is the largest mosque in India, and the amazing Red Fort (1639-48) which was
the seat of the Moghul Empire for more than 250 years. Enjoy a rickshaw ride along the alleys of the ancient bazaar at Chandni Chowk. You also visit the cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi (Raj Ghat).
There is a break for lunch
enjoy a city tour of New Delhi that begins with a drive past Safdarjang’s Tomb (1753 AD) while driving to the Qutab Minar (1193 A.D.) which is a striking medieval tower of victory of Persian architectural style and is 239 ft high. Within the Qutab complex, amidst the ruins of Quwat-ul-Islam mosque, stands the famous Ashoka pillar. This large iron pillar has withstood the vagaries of Delhi’s weather and has not rusted in over 1500 years. Later, visit the tomb of the Moghul Emperor Humayun and then drive through Lutyens New Delhi which includes the Embassy area (Diplomatic enclave), Government buildings, India Gate, a golden domed Sikh Temple (Bangla Sahib Gurudwara), Birla Temple and Connaught Place, which is New Delhi’s main shopping area.
Day 3: Delhi - Varanasi.
Board the mid-morning flight to Varanasi. Check in to your hotel upon arrival.
city tour of Varanasi that includes visits to the numerous temples that dot the banks of the holy river. You will be able to walk through the narrow lanes and stop by the bazaars to have a look at, among other things, the world famous Banaras silks.
Sunset cruise on the Ganga
- cruise on the Ganga at sunset and have a grandstand view to witness to the ancient prayer and oil lamp ceremony, as hundreds of lamps are sent floating on the holy river as the sun sets.
Varanasi is famous
for silk weaving.
A Note about Hotels in Varanasi & Khajuraho: Whilst we believe these destinations are truly unique and rank among the most noteworthy in all of Asia, the Hotels in these cities do not offer the same world class luxury offered at most destinations in India. At Varanasi (with one notable and expensive exception that is seldom available as it only has 4 rooms & 6 suites) and Khajuraho the options are very few. Easy Tours routinely monitors these establishments for changes in service standards, and our preferred hotels represent the best options available in each destination. For guests that require luxury in all their lodging we recommend that you select one of our other tours that does not visit these destinations.
Day 4: Varanasi - Khajuraho.
Early morning boat cruise on the river Ganges - duration about two hours - The best time to visit the Ghats is dawn when pilgrims take their morning dip. The
most famous Ghat is the Dasadwamedh Ghat from where we begin this tour. Enjoy the boat ride while looking out for the people on the Ghats - the women bathing discreetly in their sarees, the young men displaying prowess in yogic postures & the Brahmin priests offering prayers. Return to the hotel to check out.
- fly to Khajuraho. Arrive at Khajuraho and transfer to your hotel. Start your tour of the temples. These magnificent examples of Hindu religious art were constructed over 1000 years ago. The detailed artistry of the sculptures and their incredible volume are both beyond explanation.
Day 5: Khajuraho - Agra.
You are assisted with your checkout from your hotel in the morning and then you are driven to Orcha. There is a break for lunch (included) on arrival, after which you will enjoy an exploration of the magnificent ruins. The archaeological treasures of Orcha were built between four and five centuries ago by the Hindu kings that ruled this area. After your exploration of the ruins you continue with your drive to Agra, arriving in the evening, where you are assisted with check-in to your hotel.
Agra’s artists are famous
for their inlaid marble creations.
Day 6: Agra.
Start your exploration of Agra with a half day city tour. The tour includes a visit to Itmad -Ud -Daulah’s tomb, built by the Mughal Emperor Jehangir’s queen
as a memorial to her father. It has beautiful ornamentation with ‘Pietra Dura’ inlay and lattice marble screens. The mausoleum rests in a walled garden with a view of the river Yamuna. Constructed in the year 1628, most historians believe that its design provided the inspiration for the Taj Mahal. You then visit the original red sandstone fort in North India, the Agra Fort. It was built in 1565 by Emperor Akbar, the greatest Mughal ruler of India. Its maze of courtyards, marble mosque, and private chambers all serve as reminders of the grandeur of the Mughal Empire.
There is a break for lunch.
- Visit one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the incomparable Taj Mahal. The world’s greatest monument dedicated to love, the Taj Mahal was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in 1653 AD as a memorial to his beloved queen, Mumtaz Mahal. This pure white marble mausoleum took 22 years and 22,000 craftsmen to build.
Tour the amazing monument and its surroundings till it is time to admire the sun’s rays setting on the Taj Mahal’s façade.
Day 7: Agra - Ranthambore.
You are assisted with your checkout from your hotel after breakfast and then you are driven to Fatehpur Sikri
- a packed lunch is provided by your hotel. Enjoy a guided exploration of this beautiful uninhabited city. It was built by Emperor Akbar between 1570 and 1585 A.D. and is constructed primarily out of red sandstone. The Emperor moved his capital from Agra to this city and then, a few years later, abandoned it, returning back to Agra. Visit the tallest gateway in the world, the towering Bulund Darwaza (The Gate of Victory). In the northern part of the courtyard is the superb white marble tomb of Shaik Salim Chishti, built in 1570.
Continue on with
your journey to Sawai Madhopur (Ranthambore National Park). The second half of this drive is through rural Rajasthan and there are multiple photo opportunities of the colorful villagers as they go about their daily activities. You will also encounter many camels and other livestock on this drive.
You are greeted on arrival at your jungle lodge and assisted with your check-in.
All three meals are at your boutique resort while at Ranthambore.
Since 2006, Easy Tours of India
has tracked the percentage of tiger sightings for our guests in Ranthambore National Park. More than 85% of our guests have had tiger sightings during this period, with many of them getting multiple sightings.
Day 8: Ranthambore.
Covering an area of 410 sq. km, Ranthambore
runs along the eastern spur of the Aravali mountain range until it meets with the Vindhya ranges. Ranthambore used to be the private hunting ground for the Royal family of Jaipur. In 1972 it was declared a Sanctuary and was brought under the Project Tiger Conservation platform.
Dry deciduous forest covers open valleys with lush vegetation around the lakes in this park, and there are open grasslands on the higher slopes. This varied flora supports a large number of animals including a variety of deer, the sloth bear, the shy caracal, leopards and of course, the tiger.
Enjoy wildlife safaris’
in to the park in the morning and evening.
In between safaris, you can visit the jungle fort at Ranthambore. This is one of the finest examples of the ancient Hindu concept of “vana-durg”,
or a fort protected by a jungle. The history of this Fort (first built in AD 944) is a chronicle full of tales of blood and valor. Occupied by the Muslims, Rajputs and Mughals, the insides of the fort today lie in ruins, but there are superb views of the park to be had from the ramparts.
Day 9: Ranthambore - Jaipur.
Enjoy your last safari into Ranthambore in the morning.
Check out of your hotel
and proceed on a drive to Jaipur. Arrive at Jaipur and check into your hotel.
There is a break for lunch.
- Proceed for a half day city tour of the walled city of Jaipur, including the magnificent City Palace. Visit the unique Jantar Mantar magnificent stone observatory built by Raja Jai Singh in 1728. View the ‘Hawa Mahal’ (Palace of the Wind), the intriguing facade built in 1799 to allow royal ladies to view the city and bazaar from the windows. Continue the tour to visit the City Palace, the former royal residence (a part of it is still occupied by the Royal family and is not accessible to the public), built in a blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architectural styles. This immense complex also houses a number of museums that offer a large and impressive collection of miniature paintings, costumes, and armory.
Jaipur is famous
for its carpets, jewelry, & handicrafts.
Day 10: Jaipur.
day with an excursion to Amber Fort & Palace, located 12 kilometers from the center of the City. Arrive at the complex well before 9 a.m. so as to be able to partake in the elephant back ascent. The Fort was originally built by Raja Mansingh and is one of the finest examples of Rajput architecture. Enjoy the ascent to the palace on the back of a brightly caparisoned elephant. Visit the chambers and hallways of the Palace which are famous for their design and decorations.
There is a break for lunch
- you are at leisure with your guide and chauffeur, who are available to you till 5 pm. This is a good time to shop for Rajasthani specialties if you are so inclined. There are enough other options that your guide/chauffeur can offer you.
- Watch the show at your hotel and then drive to have dinner with a Traditional Rajasthani family at their home. Or drive to a cultural show and dinner.
Day 11: Jaipur - Udaipur.
You are assisted with your
check-out from your hotel in the morning and then you proceed on the drive to Udaipur, via Ranakpur. Arrive at Ranakpur around noon and enjoy a guided excursion to the awe-inspiring Jain Temple Complex. Tour the famous 15th Century marble temple that is still an active place of worship. The main temples 29 halls are supported by 1444 massive yet intricately carved marble pillars, and no two are of the same design. There is an abundance of exquisite sculptures and friezes and the enormous scale of the monument and the exquisite details of its design have to be experienced to be believed. Lunch is included at Ranakpur this afternoon.
Continue on the drive to Udaipur. This is a picturesque drive through the Aravali hills with multiple photo opportunities of village life and local livestock, including many camels. Arrive at Udaipur in the late afternoon and you are assisted with your check-in to your hotel.
Udaipur is famous
for its artists and paintings, including exquisite miniatures.
Day 12: Udaipur.
Proceed for a city tour, including a tour of the fabled City Palace. At this Palace complex, explore the beautifully decorated rooms with
thousands of exquisite, handcrafted mirrors that cover the walls, the ancient ivory doors that are a dark reminder of royalty’s passion for hunting, the brightly colored glass windows, expansive inlaid marble balconies and the unique peacock courtyard. Enjoy a private tour of the amazing Crystal Gallery which houses the world’s largest collection of priceless crystal. Marvel at pieces like the complete bedroom furniture set in crystal, discovered recently in a store room in the palace. There are amazing views to be had from this structure, especially of Lake Pichola, the Lake Palace hotel and Jag Mandir.
After your tour of the City Palace you have the option (no charge) of a visit to the lovely Sahelion-ki-bari gardens and the local Museum.
Late afternoon/Early evening
: Enjoy a cruise on Lake Pichola and visit the historical and beautiful monuments at Jag Mandir Island (if available - the royal family at Udaipur will occasionally rent out the island for large celebrations and on those occasions the island cannot be visited by tourists).
Day 13: Udaipur - Mumbai.
Board the morning flight to Mumbai. Arrive at Mumbai
and proceed for a half day city tour of Mumbai. The tour begins at the Prince of Wales Museum, built to commemorate King George V first visit to India in 1905. Designed in the Indo-Saracenic style, the museum has sections of art, paintings, archeological exhibits and natural history. Visit the famous ‘Dhobi Ghat’ & observe the age old tradition of the Dhobi’s doing Mumbai’s laundry!
Continue the tour with a drive up to Malabar Hill, where the hanging gardens give a panoramic view of the city and the "Queens Necklace" (Marine Drive). The tour then takes a drive through the Flora Fountain and Fort area, where you can view the Gothic and Victorian style buildings. Visit the Victoria Terminus (now known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus) India’s finest Gothic building and a bustling Railway Station. Continue drive around Horniman Circle and visit the Town Hall, right besides the docks of Mumbai. Visit “The Gateway of India”, Mumbai’s foremost landmark overlooking the harbor. This structure was conceived following the visit of King George V in 1911 and officially opened in 1924.
Check in to your hotel
after the tour.
Day 14: Mumbai - Aurangabad.
You are assisted with your check-out
by an ETI Travel Facilitator and then driven to the airport. Board the early morning flight to Aurangabad. Upon your arrival at Aurangabad you are greeted at the airport by an ETI Travel Facilitator and ushered to a waiting vehicle and your chauffeur. You now proceed for a half day guided excursion to Ellora. Explore the magnificently sculptured caves of Ellora. These caves illustrate a resurgence of Hinduism, reflected by the creation of these 17 caves with Hindu themes, sculpture, and art; including Cave 16, the awe-inspiring "Kailash Temple". Like all of the other Cave temples, this one was created out of one rock. However, the significance of that fact changes when you put it in perspective of this enormous structure.
Check in to your Hotel
after the tour.
Day 15: Aurangabad
. Enjoy a full day guided excursion to Ajanta. Buddhist monks and other craftsmen began excavating, sculpting, and painting at Ajanta in the 2nd century BC. The incredible variety of paintings and sculpture were created in hard rock by using elaborate and ingenious lighting, tools, and materials. These 28 caves are a testimony to the devotion of the Buddhists, as well as the talents of their skilled craftsmen. Ajanta's incredible paintings are even more amazing considering that the color and texture you're admiring today was created by artists about two thousand years ago.
Day 16: Aurangabad - Trivandrum.
You are assisted with your check-out by an ETI Travel Facilitator and then driven to the airport. Board the morning flight to Mumbai. Connect with the flight to Trivandrum. Arrive at Trivandrum and you are greeted at the airport and ushered to a waiting vehicle and your chauffeur. You are driven to nearby Kovalam and assisted with your check-in at your ocean front hotel.
You are at leisure for the balance of the afternoon.
Day 17: Kovalam (Trivandrum) - Cochin.
You are assisted with your check-out by an
ETI Travel Facilitator in the mid-morning and you proceed to nearby Trivandrum. Enjoy a city tour of the ancient city of Trivandrum. Explore the temples, monuments and statues, all of which are great examples of pure Dravidian Temple architecture.
at a local restaurant (included) and then proceed on the picturesque journey to Cochin. There are a plethora of opportunities for photography and Keralan rural cultural experiences on this drive.
Arrive at Cochin
and you are assisted with your check-in at your hotel.
Day 18: Cochin.
Start your exploration of the fascinating port city of Cochin. The tour begins from the Jewish
Synagogue (closed on Fridays and Saturdays) built in 1568, and next to the synagogue is Cochin’s fascinating Jew Street with its antique stores. Also visit the St. Francis Church, established by the Portuguese Franciscan friars in 1503. Vasco Da Gama was buried in the courtyard of this European church, of the first, built in India. Visit the Chinese fishing nets. More than a century old and still in use, they are a great part of this tour. Walk through Fort Kochi and experience the culture and unique local architecture that was influenced by various European settlers over the last millennium.
- You are driven to a local theatre to watch a Kathakali dance (the art of storytelling through dance) performance. Cap off your evening by having a delicious dinner at the home of a famous Keralan Chef. Cooking lessons are included.
Day 19: Cochin - Backwaters cruise.
You are assisted with your check-out by an ETI Travel Facilitator, and then driven to the backwaters. If day 8 was a Saturday, you can visit the Jewish Synagogue (closed on Fridays & Saturdays) this morning. Proceed on the drive to Alleppey in the morning & board your houseboat.
Take our word for this, your backwaters cruise will become one of your most treasured memories and you will cherish forever. Relax and have a great time till the next morning as you cruise the amazing backwaters. The cook and other staff make sure that all your needs are taken care of, while serving you with delicious Kerala cuisine.
Day 20: Backwaters - Periyar National Park.
Disembark from your houseboat in the morning and then you begin your drive to Thekkady (Periyar National Park).
Arrive at Thekkady and you are assisted with your check-in
at your hotel. This is the heart of spice country and the pleasant mild aroma from the surrounding plantations will fascinate you on arrival.
Periyar is located around a picturesque artificial lake that was formed in 1895 by building a dam on the Periyar River. The terrain is hilly and the elevation of the park ranges from a few hundred feet to about 6000 feet above sea level. The lake occupies the valleys of the thickly forested hills, serving as a permanent source of water for wildlife in the Park. Although it falls under “Project Tiger”, the main attractions of the park are definitely elephants. Periyar is home to just under a thousand elephants and also over 60 other mammal species including tigers, bison, deer, wild boar, and wild dog. There are over 300 species of birds, and even 160 species of butterflies. Prominent among the birds are Cormorants, Kingfishers, Darters, the great Malabar Hornbill, and the racket-tailed Drongoes.
- Drive up to Lake Periyar and embark on a boat ride around the lake. View the wildlife as you cruise around the spectacularly scenic lake -elephants, wild boar and deer are the most commonly sighted wildlife.
Day 21: Periyar - Madurai.
Start your morning with a visit to a neighboring spice plantation - you will be guided by a naturalist.
Freshen up on your return to your hotel and then you are assisted with your check-out. After eating lunch you will proceed on the picturesque drive to Madurai.
Arrive at Madurai
where you are assisted with your check in to your Hotel.
Over 2500 years old, Madurai is the second largest city of Tamil Nadu. It is an important cultural and commercial centre. It was once the seat of Tamil learning and still the place where the Tamil language is spoken in its purest form. The city is planned in the shape of a lotus. Modern Madurai is a burgeoning industrial centre, even though the vast stretches of paddy fields, dusty roads and crowded bazaars make it seems like an overgrown village.
- attend the ancient & impressive evening “Palli Arai” ceremony at Sree Meenakshi Temple with your guide.
Day 22: Madurai.
Proceed for a half day city tour of Madurai.
The primary attraction is the great Meenakshi Temple, where Dravidian temple architecture may be considered to be at its best. Its Hall of a thousand Pillars is fabulous and is filled with worshippers at all hours of the day. You will witness various ceremonies as you explore this huge structure, possibly including parts of traditional weddings. The great Meenakshi temple is dedicated to the consort of Lord Shiva.
The tour of Madurai also includes a visit to the Thirumalai Nayak Palace & Thiruparangundram temple.
you are at leisure.
Day 23: Madurai - Trichy - Tanjore.
You are assisted with your check-out and then you proceed on the drive to Trichy. Arrive at Trichy & visit the famous Rock Fort perched on a boulder that is 84 meter (256 feet) high. At its summit, reached by climbing 437 steps that are cut into the rock, is the Vinayak temple dedicated to Lord Ganesh. There is also a Shiva temple and several cave temples with beautifully carved pillars and panels.
While you are in Trichy you will also tour the temple complex of Srirangam, which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is surrounded by 7 concentric walled courtyards with 21 magnificent gateways. Within the walls are several shrines and bazaars.
- drive to Tanjore where you are assisted with your check in to your Hotel.
Day 24: Tanjore - Pondicherry.
Start your day with a visit to the most spectacular
of Tanjore temples, the Brihadishwara. This ancient temple has, as a crown, a monolithic cupola made of a single granite rock weighing 80 tons. The temple itself is decorated with carved panels depicting mythological events. An immense Nandi (the Bull) - 6 meters long - carved out of a single piece of granite stands in front of the shrine. Also visit Saraswati Mahal Library and Art Gallery. There is a large collection of ancient Chola bronzes on display, and the building itself is a unique example of Hindu architecture.
- You are assisted with your check-out by an ETI Travel Facilitator and then you proceed on the drive to Pondicherry and check in to your hotel.
Day 25: Pondicherry - Mahabalipuram.
Proceed for a tour of Pondicherry. Pondicherry, a former French colony, presents an unusual combination of European culture and Indian traditions. Its history can be traced back to Agastya, the revered sage of South India who built his hermitage here in 1500 BC. It became a part of India in 1954, but traces of its history as a French colony still remain in its churches, cuisine, grid-pattern streets and colonial buildings.
You are assisted with your check-out by an ETI Travel Facilitator and then you
drive to the nearby town of Auroville, an oasis of peace and enlightenment. In the late afternoon, after exploring the Ashram at Auroville, you will drive to Mahabalipuram.
Arrive at your destination and you are assisted with your check-in at your hotel.
Day 26: Mahabalipuram.
Proceed for a tour of the ancient port of Mahabalipuram. This laid back coastal town south of Chennai is world famous for its 8th century shore temple & other historical marvels. Mahabalipuram was the second capital (and sea port) of the Pallava Kings of Kanchipuram, the first Tamil dynasty after the fall of the Gupta Empire. The massive rock sculptures carved into softly sloping hills, monolithic shrines, ancient manmade caverns with incredible sculptures, and the world’s largest bas relief in stone all combine to make much of Mahabalipuram a fabulous open-air museum. Vying with this splendor is a beach and the picturesque Bay of Bengal. The famous temples of the Rathas, the Penance of Bhagirath, the Shore Temple and the eight Mandapams (Shallow halls carved out of sheer rock) are located right at the edge of the waterfront. As a background to this you will observe the local fisherman ply their trade.
- you are at leisure to explore the surroundings or relax at your oceanfront resort.
Day 27: Mahabalipuram - Kanchipuram - Chennai - Mahabalipuram.
Explore the ancient holy city of Kanchipuram. Kanchipuram is known as the golden city of a thousand temples and is one of the seven sacred cities of India. Its many gopurams (temple domes) can be seen from a long ways away as you approach the city. Kanchipuram was successively the capital of many South Indian dynasties, including the Pallavas, the Cholas and the Rayas of Vijaynagar. Enjoy this ancient city and its culture that has not changed much over the last millennium.
After touring Kanchipuram you will drive to Chennai so as to tour India’s third largest city. The tour begins from the ‘St. Mary’s Church’, built in 1678 - 80, this was the first English Church in Chennai. Continue to visit the Saint Thomas Cathedral, built in 1504, then re-built in neo - gothic style in 1893, this Roman Catholic Church is said to house the remains of St. Thomas the Apostle. Visit the National Art Gallery & Museum and explore the beautiful temple friezes, the bronze gallery, and the Archaeological section. End the tour with a drive by the High Court, Fort St. George, and the Tamil film studios that come second only to Bollywood as they put out hundreds of movies a year.
Return to your ocean
front hotel at the end of the day.
Day 28: Mahabalipuram - International Flight (OR Mumbai/Delhi)
You are assisted with your check-out by an ETI Travel Facilitator and then driven to Chennai airport. Board your international flight or your flight to Mumbai/Delhi. Upon your arrival at Mumbai/Delhi you are greeted at the airport by an ETI Facilitator & your chauffeur. You are provided with a personal vehicle for yourself (if Single traveler), for both of you (If Couple or Two people) or for your family (if a family is traveling). Do any last minute shopping and sightseeing that you feel you may have left for the end.
Your vehicle and chauffeur
stay with you till your (usually late evening) assisted check in at the airport.
Our services end
at Chennai/Mumbai/Delhi airport.