HOME





OFFERS
TRAVEL BLOG
ABOUT US
ENQUIRE
BROCHURE
CONTACT US
PRIVACY & COOKIES
Kerala Holidays Houseboats Backwaters India Tour Cochin Periyar Munnar

Best of India: Golden Triangle + Kerala


IPG14D
13 NIGHTS
FROM £2,295
Per person sharing
International flights quoted separately
This top-selling holiday combines the cultural treasures of Jaipur in Rajasthan & ancient Delhi, with relaxation in beautiful Kerala. Visit the magnificent Taj Mahal in Agra & Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, then fly to Kerala. Stay overnight on a traditional Rice Houseboat, before relaxing on Mararikulam Beach. English driver & city guides, tiger safari & all specified sightseeing included.
Kerala Houseboat India Taj Mahal Rajasthan Golden Triangle
• 
Delhi
• 
Agra Fort
• 
Taj Mahal
• 
Fatehpur Sikri
• 
Ranthambore Tiger Reserve
• 
Jaipur
• 
Cochin
• 
Kathikali Dance Show
• 
Kumarakom Backwaters
• 
Mararikulam Beach
• 
Delhi
• 
Agra Fort
• 
Taj Mahal
• 
Fatehpur Sikri
• 
Ranthambore Tiger Reserve
• 
Jaipur
• 
Cochin
• 
Kathikali Dance Show
• 
Kumarakom Backwaters
• 
Mararikulam Beach
Day 1
You will be met at Delhi Airport by your driver and transferred to your hotel in this ancient capital of kingdoms and empires that is now a sprawling metropolis.
 
Delhi's strategic location was one of the main reasons why successive dynasties chose it as their seat of power and today it is a conglomerate of seven cities. The division between the old walled city and New Delhi marks a division in lifestyles, with the old city retaining its past traditions whilst New Delhi strives to match the pace of the 21st century.
Day 2
Today enjoy a full day tour of modern New Delhi and the 17th century walled city of Old Delhi, which came to prominence when Shah Jahan moved his capital here from Agra.
 
In Old Delhi enjoy a cycle rickshaw ride through 300-year old Chandni Chowk market, a maze of lanes crowded with noisy shops selling an extraordinary variety of items and foods, and past the Jamia Masjid (or Friday Mosque), the largest in India, and drive past the imposing walls & battlements of the Red Fort, once the most opulent palace in the Mughal Empire. We continue to the Raj Ghat - the simple but moving memorial on the site where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated.
 
In the afternoon our tour of New Delhi starts with a visit the Qutub Minar, an ancient victory tower built of red sandstone and marble in 1199 and still the tallest minaret in India. With its imposing cylindrical towers and surrounding ruins, it is today a World Heritage site. Our next stop is Humayuns Tomb, the beautiful mausoleum of the Mughul emperor Akbar, that inspired the Taj Mahal.
 
We drive along the Rajpath - the capital's broadest avenue - where you will see the imposing arch of the India Gate war memorial, Parliament House, the Rashtrapati Bhavan presidential residence built for the Viceroy of India, and the government buildings on Raisina Hill.
Day 3
This morning your guide will take you across the river to view the Taj Mahal at sunrise.
 
After returning to your hotel for breakfast, we visit the much quieter Itmad-ud-Daulah - fondly known as the "Baby Taj" as this mausoleum, built to honour the grandfather of Mumtaz, was the forerunner of the Taj Mahal.
 
Afterwards we travel 1-hour to the magnificent red sandstone royal city of Fatehpur Sikri, built by the emperor Mohammad Akbar as the capital of the Mughal Empire. The city was abandoned due to water shortage, when the capital was moved north to Delhi, and in more recent years the fort has provided a dramatic backdrop to several famous films.
 
We then drive 15-minutes to Bharatpur Station to board the express train (air-conditioned chair car) travelling for 2.15-hours to Sawai Madhopur in southeast Rajasthan.
 
You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel situated near Ranthambore National Park. This world famous tiger sanctuary was originally the hunting grounds of the Maharaja of Jaipur. Today it is the largest wildlife reserve in northern India, covering an area of over 250 sq miles (400 sq km).
Day 4
This morning enjoy a private jeep safari in Ranthambore National Park.
 
Early morning is the best time to see tigers, but be aware that it is extremely difficult to find them in the jungle and sightings are never guaranteed. Best viewings are generally at the end of the dry season (March to May, although it is extremely hot from April onwards), when the tigers search out the waterholes - but you need to take at least 4 game drives for a good chance of a sighting.
 
Other animals you can hope to see include leopard, hyena, jackal, jungle cat, caracal, civet, desert cat, mongoose, ratel, sloth bear, langur & macaque monkeys, wild boar, palm squirrel, flying fox, porcupine, long-eared hedgehog, marsh crocodile, tortoise and soft shelled turtle. Also antelope such as sambar deer, chital, nilgai, chinkara and black buck.
 
In the afternoon return to the park for another game drive. In addition to the many mammals and reptiles, there are over 270 bird species - including eagles, falcons, owls, graylag geese, flamingos, parakeets, fly catchers, bee eaters, grebe, terns, woodpeckers, hornbills and kingfishers.
 
Note: Please note we always try to book private jeep safaris, but these can only be reserved 90 days in advance and cannot be guaranteed - in which case your game drive will be in a shared jeep or a 20-seater canter. You will have a different driver on each jeep safari, as drivers are allocated according to a roster over which we have no control. Whilst some drivers are very good, unfortunately there are some who drive too fast. Speak sternly to your driver if this happens. In the winter months, morning safaris require warm clothes including woolly hats and gloves to protect you from the wind chill in your open vehicle.
 
Zones 1 to 5 of this tiger reserve are closed during the monsoon season (July to early October), but Zones 6 to 10 remain open.
Day 5
After a final early morning jeep safari in Ranthambore National Park, return to your hotel for breakfast.
 
We then travel 4-hours to the chaotic and colourful "Pink City" of Jaipur - home to over 3 million people. On arrival check into your hotel in this capital city of Rajasthan.
Day 6
Today enjoy a full day tour of the city of Jaipur.
 
Our first stop is to view the magnificent Hawa Mahal (the "Palace of the Winds") designed in the form of the crown of the Hindu god Krishna. This five-storey frontage looks like a bee's honeycomb with 953 small windows, each decorated with intricate latticework so that the court ladies living in secluded purdah could watch royal processions, without being seen themselves. Built of red and pink sandstone, it is particularly striking early in the morning when lit by the sunrise.
 
We continue to the Amber Fort  This magnificent royal palace was built from pale yellow & pink sandstone and white marble and is divided into four main sections, each with its own courtyard. You will enter via the main courtyard (Jaleb Chowk) where returning armies would display their war booty and women could view them from the veiled windows of the palace. Once inside explore the amazing Palace of Mirrors and Hall of Public Audience.
 
Afterwards enjoy an Elephant Interaction, spending 2-hours up close and personal with an Asian elephant cared for by a mahout family. You can touch and feed him, and learn about elephant decoration, medicines and treatment. During the summer you can also see him being bathed.
 
After lunch (own account) we visit the City Palace, the former Royal Residence, part of which is now a museum. One of the major attractions here is the armoury with its impressive array of pistols, blunderbusses, flintlocks, swords, rifles and daggers used by the Maharajas of Jaipur. The Textile and Costume museum on the first floor is another fine display, with items from all over India.
 
We also visit the Jantar Mantar Observatory, the largest stone and marble crafted observatory in the world and a World Heritage site. It is the best preserved of five observatories built by Jai Singh, the founder of Jaipur. It has 17 large instruments, many of them still in working condition.
Day 7
Rise early this morning for a jeep safari in Jhalana Wildlife Sanctuary, a small 6.6 square mile (17 sq km) wildlife sanctuary situated in the Aravali foothills in the heart of the city. Home to over 20 leopards, sightings of these magnificent big cats are good in this protected forest. You can also hope to see jackal, sambar, spotted deer and gray langur monkeys. Birds you may see include the Spotted owlet, Bay backed shrike, White throated kingfisher, Red collared dove, sandpiper, dunlin and flamingo.
 
Afterwards we visit the town of Sanganer, a busy suburban hub of craft workshops where local artisans sell traditional Bagru textile prints and handmade paper. Here you can see textiles being produced using traditional 'Tie & Dye' techniques. You can also hear Rajasthani music and dance, with restaurants serving classic northern Indian cuisine.
 
In the evening enjoy the unique experience of dining with a local family, where you will taste spicy Rajasthan food and gain insight into their Hindu lifestyle, with different generations living under the same roof.
 
Note: You may wish to take a small token gift for your hosts, but this is not essential.
Day 8
Transfer to Jaipur Airport for your flight to Mumbai and onward connecting flight to Cochin in the beautiful southern state of Kerala - fondly called "God's own Country".
 
This Arabian seaport, now known as Kochi, was at the centre of the spice trade for many centuries.
 
In the evening a special treat awaits - a performance of the famous Kathakali classical dance.
Day 9
This morning your driver will collect you from your hotel in Cochin and introduce you to the beauty of rural Kerala, as you travel 2.5-hours to the small town of Kumarakom, situated on Vembanad Lake - the largest backwater in India.
 
Check into your hotel and relax surrounded by these tranquil waters.
Day 10
At leisure to relax and enjoy the leisurely lifestyle and wonderful food of Kumarakom on Vembanad Lake - an important habitat for many marine and freshwater fish species and shrimps.
 
Kerala is famous for yoga and ayurvedic spa treatments. Bird watching is also outstanding, with nearby Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary offering a safe refuge for many migratory birds. Sunset boat rides, pedal boats and fishing are available from some hotels (pay locally).
Day 11
This morning board your air-conditioned Rice Houseboat set on Vembanad Lake. This network of backwaters, lakes and rivers stretches over 930 miles (1,500 km) and provides a vital waterway for transporting people and their produce, once used to transport goods from isolated interior villages to the larger towns but now largely used for pleasure.
 
As the water is level with the land here, spend the afternoon relaxing and watching the agricultural lives of the people who live along the canals and work in the rice paddy fields, as you cruise through the Kerala Backwaters.
 
In the evening see the sun setting over the tranquil backwaters and enjoy dining on delicious local Kerala cuisine prepared by your chef.
Day 12
After breakfast disembark at the merchant town of Alleppey and drive 30-minutes to the beach village of Mararikulam.
 
Along the way we stop at a Local Village to gain an insight into how the people live and work in this region. We then continue to our beach hotel to relax on the shores of the sparkling Indian Ocean.
Day 13
At leisure to relax at Marari Beach in the fishing village of Mararikulam.
 
Enjoy holistic Ayurvedic treatments, for which this region is famous. You can participate in yoga classes, visit the Velorvattom Mahadeva temple and shop for local handcrafts in the market. You can also enjoy the tasty but spicy southern Indian cuisine, particularly their wonderful seafood, but because of strong currents swimming in the sea here is not recommended, as there are no life guards on duty.
 
There is also a butterfly garden, which can be explored with a in-house naturalist, along with the coastal birds of the region.
Day 14
Transfer 1.5-hours to Kochi Airport for your flight home.
Contact us
Order a brochure
Feedback