based on 12 nights inc. flights & selected experiences
* Pricing is a guideline only and excludes special offers. Travel over peak periods (e.g. Christmas, New Year and other public holidays) can affect prices considerably, as can exchange rates, flight class and room type.
International economy flights and taxes from the UK
per person based on 2 people sharing.
A fantastic itinerary combining the buzz of northern India with the peaceful plains of the southern state of Kerala
Take in Delhi, the Taj Mahal and Jaipur before flying south to Cochin and the backwaters of Kerala
Perfect for those who want a holiday including both sightseeing and relaxation
Wander around the endless markets in Jaipur and enjoy some shopping
Float along the backwaters of Kerala in your own private houseboat
Rajasthan is known as the desert state. It is largely hot and dry throughout the year, making it a great destination to get away during cold winter months.Summer in Rajasthan extends from April to June. It’s the hottest season so not ideal for travel, although early April is a good time to get great value for money if you don’t mind the heat.
The monsoon season usually runs from July to September. During this period 90% of the rain Rajasthan occurs, although in reality Rajasthan never receives much rainfall. October to March is the best time to travel to Rajasthan. Expect warm and sunny weather, perfect for exploring and relaxing. December and January can have very cool mornings and evenings.
Isolated from much of India by the Western Ghats, the climate of Kerala & Karnataka is tropical and as a result of the mountain ranges the area isn’t as dry as much of India. The best time to visit is from January through to April. While there can be the occasional light showers these are just a prelude of the wet weather to come. The weather is generally hot and humid during this early summer. The monsoon season arrives in early June and thus can wash out July and August. September is much more humid as a result of the rainy season, and the fall can be dry but with the humidity this makes it feel quite the warm. There can be a little rain in the night in October and November. The temperatures cool down and the humidity lets up as winter comes in around December, with this season lasting until February when the dry spring returns. Winter can be a pleasant time to visit, especially if you’re looking to head off the beach and explore this Indian land of mystery.
This classic itinerary takes you from the Golden Triangle of Rajasthan to the golden beaches of Kerala providing a fantastic combination of culture and relaxation. The Golden Triangle is teeming with the sights, sounds and experiences that make India such a mesmerising place from the forts and palaces to the local markets and Kerala provides the ideal spot for some R&R with palm fringed beaches and boutique accommodation.
Start the holiday in Delhi, a unique patchwork of changing architectural delights from the Mughal heart of Old Delhi where the Red Fort dominated an area of medieval streets and markets. The British built their capital to the south, in ‘New Delhi’ and Lutyen’s grand plans offer an insight into imperialistic thinking and Rajesque grandeur. What strikes you about Delhi is how easily you can glimpse and embellish yourself in a particular segment of its colourful history, yet feel its modern dynamism at the same time. It is a truly mesmerising city. You will have two nights here to soak up the city before heading to one of India’s most iconic landmarks.
From Delhi, the best way to reach Agra is by train which will take you just under one and a half hours and you’ll have one night in the city to experience the immortal Taj Mahal. Built as a monument of love by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal in 1653, this building is truly spectacular. Seen at sunrise, this grand edifice of architectural radiance seeps its time old story that is always reminisced and enjoyed time and time again. Shah Jahan was overthrown by his son Aurangzeb and locked in the Agra Fort in 1658. Its red sandstone exterior is always worth a visit, as too the Itimad-Ud-Daulah or ‘Baby Taj’.
From Agra you will drive just under five hours to Jaipur, which is an experience in itself as you pass through the beautiful countryside. With three nights in Jaipur you will have plenty of time to uncover the historical gems of the capital of Rajasthan and so called the ‘Pink City’ due to the painting of the city to welcome the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) in 1876. There is plenty to see and do in Jaipur, from the stunning fort at Amber to the Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds), City Palace and Jantar Mahar (Royal Observatory). The endless shopping opportunities in Jaipur warrants an afternoon’s gander through the shops.
Next you will fly via Mumbai to Cochin, and you will feel like you have landed in a different country. Cochin, or Kochi as it is now called, was the former hub of the spice trade and has witnessed Portuguese, Dutch and British influences over its long and colourful history. You will have two nights on arrival here to relax and unwind on the beach by day and by night enjoy the harbour.
Drive south for about two hours, where you will reach Allepey and the gateway to your next adventure on board your own private houseboat in the backwaters. Spend the day passing local villages and smiling people as your chef prepares a raft of delicious meals whilst you are on board before you dock for the night in a quiet corner of the backwaters.
Your final three nights will be spent in Kumarakom on the banks of Lake Vembenad and a delight for those wanting a chance to sit back and enjoy for ebbing moments in the subcontinent.
Visit the small village of Kachpura, a rural settlement, with a stunning backdrop of the Taj Mahal.
The youth from the community, who have been trained up as tour guides, take you through the village allowing you to real get a feel of village life.
The Taj Mahal at sunrise is often on many people's ultimate wish lists and it never disappoints. Seeing the sun rise over this amazing monument makes you sit back in awe as Taj's colour slowly changes as the sun shimmers against it.
Kumarakom is a village based on the edge of Lake Vembanadu. The village is beautifully laid out over a number of different picturesque islands and is a wonderful example of how people live in the backwaters.
Delhi has some of the most amazing restaurants. We always keep our ear to the ground about the latest places to dine, and speak to all our guests about dinner reservations before they travel.
Situated 37 km (23 miles) south west of Agra, the ‘lost city’ of Fatehpur Sikri is the abandoned capital of the great Mughal emperor Akbar.
A train journey in India can be an exceptionally rewarding experience. You see the life and soul of India in its many stations, as well as fantastic views of India's countryside.
Amber Fort, the ancient Rajput capital is located on a hill 11km / 7 miles north of Jaipur. Amber was the capital of the Kachhwaha Rajputs from 1037 until the Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh founded Jaipur in 1727.
Jaipur is awash with craftsman and artisans which make an amazing wander through the streets unforgettable. You will enjoy the sights with a personal guide.
Take a full day exploring both Old and New Delhi taking a Rickshaw through Chandni Chowk and visiting the Jama Masjid Mosque, Rajpath & Humayun's Tomb.
Visit a spice plantation and discover where many of the spices you have in your kitchen at home are grown naturally. This is a lovely experience for couples or families of all ages to enjoy.
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Delhi, Delhi and the North, India
Agra, Delhi and the North, India
Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
Cochin, Kerala and Karnataka, India
Backwaters, Kerala and Karnataka, India
Destinations of the World, December 2015
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Rosie Millard writes in Days Like This
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