INDIA

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November 09 – Dec. 1, 2021

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An ancient civilization that has continually attracted foreign peoples. Some came as friends, some as traders, some as invaders. Many of them made India their home. Nowhere on Earth does humanity present itself in such a dizzying, creative burst of cultures and religions, races and tongues.  Perhaps the only thing more difficult than to be indifferent to India would be to describe or understand India completely.

Mark Twain, from Following the Equator, 1897, has aptly described, “So far as I am able to judge, nothing has been left undone, either by man or nature, to make India the most extraordinary country that the sun visits on his rounds. Nothing seems to have been forgotten, nothing overlooked.” 

Come with us and let the people of India open their hearts to you!

WHAT’S INCLUDED?

  • tourInternational round-trip flights between Toronto and Delhi 
  • Departure taxes, fuel surcharges and airport improvement fees
  • Domestic flights per itinerary
  • Porterage of one regular sized piece of luggage at the airport and hotels
  • Return airport transfers
  • Traditional Indian Welcome
  • Services of an English-speaking  Tour Guide for the entire tour
  • Accommodation in double room, 5* hotels indicated based on twin beds.
  • Meals as indicated (B) buffet breakfast,  (D) dinner every day and some (L) Lunches
  • Transportation by air conditioned coach throughout 
  • All applicable taxes
  • Local taxes and standard service charges on accommodation and meals included in the tour price
  • Bottled water and snacks 

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED?

  • Any increase on domestic airfare which is beyond our control
  • Any fees introduced by airlines pertaining to overweight or oversize luggage on domestic flights within India
  • Insurance – premium non refundable
  • Passport or Visa fees if applicable
  • Transfers and assistance other than with the group on arrival and departure
  • Meals not mentioned
  • Beverages (soft and alcoholic) not mentioned
  • Early check in/late check out
  • Single Supplement quoted separately
  • Optional tours and activities
  • Items of a personal nature

ITINERARY DAY 01

10 November 2021 (WED) ARRIVE DELHI BY AC (YYZ-DEL)  

Welcome to Delhi, a city that bridges two worlds.  Following customs, immigration formalities and baggage collection, an Explore India representative will meet you as you EXIT the ARRIVALS TERMINAL building after which you would be transferred to your hotel.

India’s capital and a major gateway to the country, contemporary Delhi is a bustling metropolis, which successfully combines in its folds – the ancient with the modern. Amidst the fast spiraling skyscrapers the remnants of a bygone time in the form of its many monuments stand as silent reminders to the region’s ancient legacy. The first impressions for any visitor traveling in from the airport are of a specious, garden city, tree-lined with a number of beautiful parks.

Upon arrival at the hotel, proceed for check-in at the hotel.

Hotel:  ITC Sheraton, New Delhi

DAY 02

11 Nov,  2021 (Thursday) DELHI       (B / D)

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the hotel.  In the afternoon we will visit the National Gallery of Modern Art and the Lotus Temple.

After visiting Old Delhi, you will then be driven to New Delhi, which reflects the legacy the British left behind. The division between New and Old Delhi is the division between the capitals of the British and the Mughals respectively. 

The tour to Imperial Delhi will include a visit to the Qutub Minar, the tallest stone tower in India. Qutub-ud-din Aibak started it in 1199. Then a visit Humayun’s tomb, built by the widow of the second Mughal Emperor. The tour also includes a drive past the imposing India Gate, the Parliament building and the Rashtrapati Bhawan, the President’s residence. Later visit GURUDWARA SHRI BANGLA SAHIBbuilt in the sacred visit of SHRI GURU HARKARISHAN JI to Delhi. Devotees with faith and devotion come from far and near and get rid of suffering by taking a dip in the holy water.

Dinner at the hotel. Overnight at hotel in Delhi.

DAY 03

12 NOV 2021 (FRI) DELHI 

After visiting Old Delhi, you will then be driven to New Delhi, which reflects the legacy the British left behind. The division between New and Old Delhi is the division between the capitals of the British and the Mughals respectively. 

The tour to Imperial Delhi will include a visit to the Qutub Minar, the tallest stone tower in India. Qutub-ud-din Aibak started it in 1199. Then a visit Humayun’s tomb, built by the widow of the second Mughal Emperor. The tour also includes a drive past the imposing India Gate, the Parliament building and the Rashtrapati Bhawan, the President’s residence. Later visit GURUDWARA SHRI BANGLA SAHIBbuilt in the sacred visit of SHRI GURU HARKARISHAN JI to Delhi. Devotees with faith and devotion come from far and near and get rid of suffering by taking a dip in the holy water.

Dinner at a Delhi restaurant, return to Hotel.

Meal: B & D

DAY 04

03 March 2017 (FRI) VARANASI (B/D)

Early morning you will be taken on a visit to the Ghats witnessing the Hindu pilgrims perform the rituals and following the centuries old tradition and belief that by dying in Varanasi or by immersing the mortal remains in the holy Ganges, it clears one from the birth circle and you are incarnated to human life in the next birth. You would be taking a boat cruise on the river Ganges around all the Ghats and stopping at the important ones.

The riverfront, as seen from a boat, early in the morning, is a spiritually uplifting sight.  This religious city is crowded with temples, and its labyrinth of streets with their throngs of people is exciting and enticing.

After sunrise, you will visit Kashi-Vishwanath Temple, the most sacred of shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva, the patron deity of Varanasi.  Reconstructed in the 18th century, its gold plating on the ‘shikaras’ was a gift of the one-eyed Sikh king, Maharaja Ranjit Singh; Bharat Mata Mandir, inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi is a unique temple dedicated to Mother India.  It houses a relief map of India carved out of marble; and some other important temples.

Return to your hotel after the tour. Yoga at the hotel (Subject to permission and availability of hall). Breakfast at the hotel and rest of the day at leisure. Evening proceed for a boat ride and witness the Pooja Ceremony.

Return to the hotel after the tour. Dinner and Overnight at the hotel in Varanasi.

DAY 05

14 Nov. 2021 (Sun) DELHI – AGRA(BY GATIMAAN EXPRESS TRAIN:0810-0950 HRS.) iNDIAN RAILWAY EXPERIENCE 

Early morning transfer to Hazrat Nizammuddin Railway station to board India’s fastest train to Agra, the city of the famous Taj Mahal.  

 Continue to visit the Agra Fort – the seat and the stronghold of the Mughal Empire under successive generations. This was the seat of Mughal rule and administration and the present structure owes its origins to Akbar who erected the walls and gates and the first buildings on the eastern banks of Yamuna River. Shah Jahan added the impressive quarters and the mosque while Aurangzeb added the outer ramparts. Visit its Hall of Public Audience and its Royal Pavilions.

Enjoy 

Dinner and Overnight at the hotel

DAY 06

15 NOV. 2021 (MON) AGRA/SUNRISE VISIT TO MESMERIZING TAJ MAHAL (B/D)

Our sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal is everything that has been said about it and more. Taking 22 years and 20,000 men to build, the white marble was quarried 200 miles away and was transported to the site by a fleet of 1000 elephants. Built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as an expression of his love for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, in mid 17th century, the Taj Mahal is truly one of the wonders of the world. Though the Taj appears to be amazingly perfect from almost any angle, it is the close-up marble inlay work, which is really astounding.

Continue to visit the Agra Fort – the seat and the stronghold of the Mughal Empire under successive generations. This was the seat of Mughal rule and administration and the present structure owes its origins to Akbar who erected the walls and gates and the first buildings on the eastern banks of Yamuna River. Shah Jahan added the impressive quarters and the mosque while Aurangzeb added the outer ramparts. Visit its Hall of Public Audience and its Royal Pavilions.

Enjoy a cup of coffee at Sheroes Hangout.  This bright and welcoming cafe is run by survivors of acid attacks.  It is the story of how these strong women were brutally attacked, often by their own family members, but have overcome their scars and fears to speak out against this violence through working together and through their business, education the public about violence against women.

COURTYARD by MARRIOTT.  Dinner and Overnight at hotel.

Packed breakfast, dinner

DAY 07

06 NOV 2021 (Tues) AGRA (B/D)

After buffet breakfast you will proceed to visit the Taj Mahal(closed on Fridays) is everything that has been said about it and more. Taking 22 years and 20,000 men to build, the white marble was quarried 200 miles away and was transported to the site by a fleet of 1000 elephants. Built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as an expression of his love for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, in mid 17th century, the Taj Mahal is truly one of the wonders of the world. Though the Taj appears to be amazingly perfect from almost any angle, it is the close-up marble inlay work, which is really astounding.

 

Dinner and Overnight at the hotel in Tigress Spa & Resort, Ranthambore   

B,L,D

DAY 08

07 March 2017 (TUE)  AGRA – FATEHPUR SIKRI – JAIPUR (B/D)

After leisurely buffet breakfast at the hotel, you will be driven from Agra to Jaipur (240 KMS / 6 HRS) en-route visiting Fatehpur Sikri, the deserted red sandstone city, built by the Great Mughal Emperor Akbar as his capital and palace in the late 16th century. It was abandoned soon after it was built when the local wells went dry and it remains today in much the same condition that it was over 300 years ago. It is complete with palaces and mosques and used to be a town larger than London when it was originally constructed. Now it is an extraordinary place to wander around with its buildings in near perfect condition. Later you would be driven to Jaipur.

Upon arrival proceed for check in at your hotel.

Jaipur’s past is never too far from hand. The city of victory, Jaipur presides over the fascinating desert state and its people: surrounded by rugged hills, each crowned by a formidable fort; and beautiful palaces, mansions and gardens dotted throughout its precincts. The palaces and forts of yesteryear that were witness to royal processions and splendour are now living monuments, accepted quite naturally into the lifestyles of the people of the “pink city”. Except for the busy traffic of bicycles, cars and buses, little seems to have changed. There is a timeless quality to Jaipur’s bazaars and its people. With its historical past, Jaipur revives legends of the ancient Rajput‟s. The dresses of the women and the turbans of the men add colour to this fascinating city.

Evening is at leisure.

Dinner and Overnight at the hotel

DAY 09

08 March 2017 (WED) JAIPUR (B/D)

After buffet breakfast, you will proceed for city of Jaipur. Morning you will be driven just outside Jaipur to the ancient capital of Amber to see the fabulous Amber Fort. Maharaja Mansingh, Mughal Emperor Akbar’s most successful General, started the construction of Amber Fort in the 17th century. Before the City Palace was constructed in Jaipur, Amber was the seat of power. The fort is surrounded by fortified battlements and overlooks the Moat Lake. Ruins and remains are spread over the Aravalli hills and sprawling crenulated walls lattice the surrounding area.

An elephant will spare you the trouble of reaching up to the fortress. Once there, stroll through the sprawling complex of courtyards and halls. Many of the rooms have delightful wall paintings, with precious stones and mirrors inlaid in the walls. Most fascinating, perhaps, is the Sheesh Mahal (hall of mirrors) where a single lamplight is reflected in the many mirrors, lighting up the room. En-route to Amber you will stop and see the `Palace of Winds’, otherwise known as Hawa Mahal. It is really an elaborate facade behind which the ladies of the court used to watch the daily goings on in the street below. It is extremely intricate in its pink sandstone carving. The cool wind blows through its facade of windows and latticed screens through which the queens of the court once viewed the streets of the city.

Afternoon proceed to visit the City Palace, which is an overwhelming complex of exquisite palaces, gardens and courtyards, decorative art and carved doorways. The palace museum houses collections of rare manuscripts, armoury, costumes, carpets and miniature paintings.

Jaipur’s Jantar Mantar is the most famous of five observatories built by Sawai Jai Singh in India. Jai Singh was a great admirer of progresses and research made in the fields of science and technology, but he was passionate about astronomy. There is a very interesting story behind the construction of this observatory, considered as the largest stone observatory in the world. Sawai Jai Singh sent his emissaries to all parts of the world before commencing the construction of this observatory. The emissaries returned with many manuals on astronomy containing cutting-edge technological information. One of these manuals was a copy of La Hire’s “Tables”. The king ordered the observatory to be built according to the details contained in this manual. When the construction ended, for the astonishment of the king and others, the observatory was 20 seconds more accurate than the one mentioned in “Table.

Return to your hotel after the sightseeing tour. Evening proceed to visit Narain Niwas Palace or Diggi Palace or Spice Court Restaurant for Dinner where you will enjoy your dinner with some traditional Indian Dance performances. Return back to the hotel after the dinner. Overnight at the hotel

DAY 10

09 NOV 2021 (FRI) JAIPUR – MANDAWA (B/D)

After buffet breakfast, we will be driven from Jaipur to Mandawa (157 KMS / 4 Hours), a remote feudal principality in the centre of Shekhawati region. Upon arrival, proceed to check-in at your hotel.  

The Rajput ruler of Mandawa built a fort in 1755 to protect this trading outpost that fell in the ancient caravan routes from China and Middle East.  The township that grew around the fort attracted a large community of traders, who settled here. When the caravan traffic ceased in the late 18th century, the traders created business empires in other parts of the country, but returned to Mandawa build palatial mansions in their hometown.

This afternoon, you will explore this storybook town of Mandawa known for its colourful frescoes on a wide variety of subjects ranging from religious to the erotic; from copies of popular English prints to witty social satire rendered in the inimitable style of local artist. Every home here is adorned with gaily-painted murals that illuminate the arid landscape.

Dinner and Overnight at the hotel

DAY 11

10 MARCH 2017 (FRI) MANDAWA – NAGAUR   (B/D)

After buffet breakfast, you will be driven from Mandawa to Nagaur.  On arrival check in at the hotel.

Part of the magnificent fort of Ahichhatragarh, Ranvas is literally a palace ‘fit for queens’. Built for the sixteen wives of Bakhat Singh, each haveli is a complete unit with living spaces, bedrooms, quarters for the maids in attendance, kitchens and courtyards. The havelis open out to a central large garden, beautifully landscaped with a pavilion in the center and surreptitious paths to the main fort. The entry to the havelis of Ranvas is through narrow alleys till you arrive at the bardari; the pool and the gardens around add to the sense of mystery. Each of the ten havelis offer three to four bedrooms and add up to 34 suites in total, each oneopening out to a garden or a terrace, fashioned as shaded sit outs or a quite lounge.  The rooms are categorized as Deluxe, Royal, King and Queen, every suite is unique in space and location with ensuite bathrooms and combine modern conveniences with the charm of the old architecture. The furniture andfurnishings in rich, warm tones and delicate prints take nothing away from the medieval palace feel and yet add a subtle charm.

Return to the hotel after your visit. Dinner and Overnight at the hotel.

DAY 12

11 March 2017 (SAT) NAGAUR – JAISALMER (B/D)

DAY 13

 

Meals.

 

 

22 NOV. 2021 (MON) DELHI  – VARANASI BATHING CEREMONY

 

In the early morning we leave for a boat ride on the Ganges to see the bathing Ghats(river bank) and cremation site.  We will watch the sunrise on the riverfront from a boat.   Return to the hotel for breakfast. 

 

The antiquity of Varanasi is veiled in immortal times and has been the centre of religion, learning and civilization since ages. It has an endearing universal mystique, which has to be experienced to be understood. The city gets its inherent charm from the location as it’s situated on west side of the Holy Ganges. The principal attraction being the bathing Ghats that are always bustling with life at any given time of the day.

 

There is no Indian attraction like Varanasi. There are no architectural splendors, no exquisitely carved palaces or impregnable forts, and yet the city has an inherent charm. It is a fascinating area to wander around.

 

In the afternoon, you will proceed for an excursion to Sarnath, a major Buddhist centre in the world. After achieving enlightenment at Bodhgaya, Buddha, the ‘Awakened One’, delivered his first sermon here. It was sixth century then, when he also set in motion the wheel of law, the Dharmachakra. This dwelling place of the rishis, it was also known as ‘Rishipatana’ (the place of the Rishis or sages). Buddha gave his first sermon in the Deer Park where he initiated his first five disciples into Buddhist monkshood. Buddhism found its roots in Sarnath, the birthplace of this way of life. Visit the museum at Sarnath and return back to Varanasi

 

In the early evening we will take a close look at the banks of the Ganges to witness the devotional ceremony of Aarti performed by thousands of devout Hindus, listen to the chanted prayers as the rhythmic drumming fills the air and bells ring from temples across the Holy Ganges. 

 

 

 

 Return to Taj Ganges after your tour. Overnight at the hotel

 

DAY 14

23, NOV 2021 (TUES) VARANASI – KOCHI 

After buffet breakfast at the hotel, we will be driven from Jaisalmer to Jodhpur 290 KMS / 5.30 Hours). Upon arrival, proceed for check-in at our hotel.

The old city of Jodhpur is surrounded by a wall 10km long, which was built about a century after the city was founded. From the fort you can clearly see where the old city ends and the new begins. 

After check in at the hotel, visit the Mehrangarh Fort (citadel of the Sun) that evokes the very spirit of the Rathores, the ruling local Rajput clan. Visit its various palaces with their delicate friezes and respective museums, displaying treasures of the royal family. Following visit of the fort, proceed on an exhilarating walk through the old city of Jodhpur. The walk will take you as far as the old market from which point you will be transported by Tongas, or horse-drawn carriages, back to the hotel. North of Meherangarh Fort, and connected to it by road, Jaswant Thanda is a pillared marble memorial to the popular ruler Jaswant Singh II (1878-95)

Dinner with Folk Dances or live performance will be arranged at Ranbanka Palace / On the Rocks Restaurant. Return to the hotel after your tour. Dinner and Overnight at the hotel

DAY 15

24 NOV 2021 (WED) KOCHI/ MUNNAR

After breakfast, drive to Munnar, breathtakingly beautiful.  A walk along the tea plantations will refresh your mind, body and soul.

 

Fragrant Nature Hotel,

B & D

DAY 16

25 NOV 2021 (THURS) MUNNAR

After breakfast, go on a sightseeing tour of Munnar.  Visit the Eravikulam National Park where you can see the rare mountain goats locally called the Nilgiri Tahr and visit the Tata Tea Museum.  

Proceed to Muttupetty Dam site and Kundala which offers many alluring sights to enjoy.  

 

Overnight at the Fragrant Nature Hotel

DAY 17

16 MARCH 2017 (WED) UDAIPUR – DELHI – DEPARTURE AC 71 (DEL-YYZ) – 2345 hrs (B/D)

Check out from the hotel and transfer to airport to board a flight for Delhi. On arrival in Delhi you will be transferred to your hotel for fresh and change.

Farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

Later transfer to airport to board AC 71 (DEL-YYZ) departing at 2345 hrs.

SEE THE FULL ITINERARY HERE