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{ India Tours } -- { Family Holiday Series } -- { India Highlights with Tiger & Elephants }

India Highlights with Tiger & Elephants


Duration of Trip -::- 14 Days
Key Places covered -::- Delhi, Agra, Ranthambhore, Jaipur, Mumbai, Cochin, Aleppey, Kumarakom, Thekkady, Cochin, Mumbai

Day 01: Delhi
Arrival at Delhi

Company representatives will receive you on arrival at the international airport in Delhi. Transfer to your hotel. Relax.

DELHI, the capital of kingdoms and empires is now a sprawling metropolis with a fascinating blend of the past and the present. It is a perfect introduction to the composite culture of an ancient land.  A window to the kaleidoscope - that is India.
Overnight will be at the hotel.
 
Birla Temple, Delhi Tour & TravelDay 02: Delhi
Breakfast will be at the hotel.

Start with the sightseeing of Old Delhi. The tour will begin with a visit to Raj Ghat, a simple memorial to Mahatma Gandhi; drive past the Red Fort continuing to the Jama Masjid by bicycle rickshaws, one of Asia’s largest mosques. The magnificent Red Fort, overlooking the river Jamuna was built during the years 1638 - 48 when the Moghul Empire was at its peak. The tour continues to Jama Masjid, one of Asia’s largest mosques and which is viewed from the outside.

People stream in and out of the mosque continuously and the presence of a nearby bazaar means that the area is rarely quiet.
Enjoy the rickshaw ride at Old Delhi.

After visiting Old Delhi, you will 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 division in the walled city and New Delhi also marks the division in the life-styles. The walled city is all tradition where one will be able to glean a past life-style in all its facets, colours and spells. New Delhi in contrast, is a city trying to live up to the best of 21st century standards.

Imperial Delhi will include the Qutub Minar, the tallest stone tower in India. The tour also includes a drive past the imposing India Gate, the Parliament building and the Rastrapathi Bhawan, the President’s residence.
Spend night at Delhi.
 
Day 03: Delhi – Agra
By road
201 km in 4 hr
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and proceed to Agra by your private car.

AGRA: Two great Mughal monarchs, Akbar and Shah Jahan, transformed the little village of Agra into a befitting second capital of the Mughal Empire  - giving it the name Dar-ul-Khilafat {seat of the Emperor}. Today a visitor to Agra is caught up in a world of contrasting edifices, of red sandstone and white marble, narrow galleys and quaint buggies, and that irresistible charm that this favorite city of the Mughals still retains. It is not surprising, that modern Agra still reflects its Mughal heritage most conspicuously.  A walk down the narrow bustling streets of the city will introduce the visitor to the wafting aroma of Mughlai cuisine.
Proceed for sightseeing.
Birla Temple, Delhi Tour & Travel
Visit the TAJ MAHAL – one of the Seven Wonders of the World was built by Shah Jahan in 1631 AD and was completed in 1651AD. Taj Mahal – The symbol of Love was built in the memory of Mumtaz Mahal (Shah Jahan’s second Wife).
AGRA FORT - Built by the famed Mughal emperor Akbar in 1565 AD, the fort is predominantly of red sandstone.  Ensconced within is the picture perfect Pearl Mosque, which is a major tourist attraction.

After Agra Fort we will visit BABY TAJ – The interiors of which are considered better than the Taj. Shopping or relax in the evening. Overnight will be at Agra.
 
Day 04: Agra – Ranthambhore
By road
250 km in 6 hr
Breakfast will be at hotel.
Drive to Fatehpur Sikri.

The deserted, red Sandstone City, Emperor Akbar built that as his capital and palace in the late 16th century is an exhilarating experience. It a veritable fairytale city and its  "ruins" are in pristine condition  ...  it's not hard to imagine what the court life must have been like in the days of its grandeur. Also visit the Bulund Darwaza, the largest gateway in the world.
Continue drive to Ranthambhore.

Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, at the junction of the Aravalis and the Vindhyas, is a unique example of natural and historical richness, standing out conspicuously in the vast, arid and denuded tract of eastern Rajasthan, barely 14 kilometers from Sawai Madhopur. Get in tune with nature for a luxury holiday in the heart of the jungle. Most of the resorts are close to the National Park Gate, Tiger Den being the closest.

It spreads over a highly undulating topography varying from gentle to steep slopes; from flat topped hills of the Vindhyas to the conical hillocks and sharp ridges of the Aravalis, from wide and flat valleys to narrow rocky gorges. An important geological feature the ‘Great Boundary Fault’ where the Vindhya plateaus meet the Aravali Hill range meanders through the Reserve. The National Park is bound by the rivers Chambal in the south and Banas in the north.

Tiger, at the apex of the food chain, lord over the kingdom in a subtle way. Solitary by nature, it operates in stealth. Therefore tiger sightings, frequent as they are, are always a matter of chance. However, even evidences of tiger's activities are very exciting.

Reach and relax at the beautiful resort.
Overnight will be at Ranthambhore.
 
Tiger Safari, Ranthambore National ParkDay 05: Ranthambhore
Wake up early morning and leave for your safari into the National Park. Track the tigers and other wildlife through the morning. Return to the resort / lodge by 1000 in the morning and have breakfast.

Freshen up and either spend time at the pool or visit the town. You could also go for a nice visit to the temple on top of the fort.
In the afternoon have lunch and then leave again for you afternoon safari. The safari will be till evening 1700 – 1800 hr and then return to the resort / lodge.
Dinner will be at the resort and retire early for the night. Overnight will be at Ranthambhore.
 
Day 06: Ranthambhore – Jaipur
By road
175 km in 4 hr
Enjoy the morning safari into the National park tracking tigers.
Breakfast will be at the resort.
Drive to Jaipur.

Jaipur is the capital of the state of Rajasthan a romantic realm of resplendent palaces, mighty fortresses and regal Maharajahs that lies in the western deserts and is an utterly unique part of India. Proudly belonging to the KSHATRIYA warrior caste and fiercely independent, the Rajput princes made fearsome foes. However, many of them realized that to maintain their wealth and authority locally, it was expedient to proclaim allegiance to the central power. Thus, many enjoyed a privileged position under the Mughal emperors and also the British Raj that followed.
Birla Temple, Jaipur
The bustling Rajasthan capital of Jaipur takes its name from its venerated founder Jai Singh II, who was given the title Sawai Maharaja by the Mughal. Literally translated this would mean ’one and a quarter’, suggesting that the Mughal thought this emperor to be more valuable than just ‘one’. Jaipur is known as the ’Pink City’ on account of the distinctive colour of its buildings. This did not, however, form part of the original plan, but dates back to 1856, when the city was given a wash of pink in honor of a State Visit from Prince Albert.

This evening, visit the Birla Temple to learn more about the fascinating religious life of Jaipur. The marble structure, built as recently as 1985, houses ornate statues including one of Lakshmi (goddess of Wealth and Beauty) and Narayan dressed in gaudy robes, representing a Hindu vision of heavenly luxury. Carvings in the temple and on pillars supporting the covered walkways include images of the Hindu pantheon, as well as Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Francis of Assisi. Your visit will coincide with the AARTI Ceremony, which involves oil lamps being lit and waved, in order to awake and invoke the deity. Enjoy the experience and spend night at Jaipur.
Overnight will be in Jaipur.
 
Day 07: Jaipur
Proceed for a morning excursion to Amber Fort after breakfast. Elephant ride ascent to the fort.
       
AMBER FORT PALACE – Amber is the classic romantic Rajasthani fort palace.  Its construction was started by Man Singh I in 1592, and completed by his descendent Jai Singh I.  Its forbidding exterior belies an inner paradise where a beautiful fusion of Mughal and Hindu styles finds its ultimate expression. At the foot of the hill you will mount your caparisoned elephant for the slow but steady climb up to the main gate, making your entrance in the time honoured fashion. The Fort, completed in the early 18th century, took over 100 years to build and now, although deserted, offers a fascinating insight into the lifestyle of the Moghul ruling families. Continue sightseeing.

CITY PALACE - A delightful blend of Mughal and traditional Rajasthani architecture, the City Palace sprawls over one-seventh of the area in the walled city.  It houses the Chandra Mahal, Shri Govind Dev Temple and the City Palace Museum.
       
JANTAR MANTAR - This is the largest and the best preserved of the five observatories built by Jai Singh II in different parts of the country.  This observatory consisting of outsized astronomical instruments is still in use.
       
HAWA MAHAL - The ornamental facade of this "Palace of Winds" is a prominent landmark in Jaipur.  It is a five-storey structure of sandstone plastered pink encrusted with fine trelliswork and elaborate balconies. The palace has 953 niches and windows. Built in 1799 by Pratap Singh, the Mahal was a royal grandstand for the palace women.

This afternoon is free for you to relax, shop or explore independently. Shopping is superb in Jaipur, particularly for gold and silver jewellery, pottery, tie-dye materials, silk, saris, wooden handicrafts and carpets.
Overnight will be at Jaipur.
 
Amber Fort, Jaipur Travel PackageDay 08: Jaipur – Mumbai
By Air
Mumbai – Cochin:
By Air

Have breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to airport for flight to Mumbai.
Reach and take connecting flight to Cochin. Arrive Cochin and transfer to Hotel.

The eventful history of this city began when a major flood in AD 1341 threw open the estuary at Kochi, till then a land locked region, turning it into one of the finest natural harbors in the world. Kochi thus became a haven for seafaring visitors from all over the world and became the first European town-ship in India when the Portuguese settled here in the 15th century.

The Dutch wrested Fort Kochi from the Portuguese in AD 1663 and later in the last phase of the colonial saga, the British took over, the town in 1795. During 1660's, Fort Kochi peaked in stature as a prime commercial centre and its fame spread far and wide - variously as a rich trade centre, a major military base, a vibrant cultural hub, a great ship building centre, a centre for Christianity and so on. Today, centuries later, the city is home to nearly thirteen communities.

Proceed in the evening for the HARBOUR CRUISE and watch the fishing island, dolphins and old town from the sea. Enjoy the sunset from here. Overnight will be in Cochin.
 
Day 09: Cochin
Proceed for a day sight seeing tour of Cochin. A few interesting sites included in the tour are the:

Chinese fishing nets: The Chinese fishing nets erected on teak wood and bamboo poles work on the principle of balance. Records say they were first set up here between AD 1350 and 1450. Vasco Da Gama Square, the narrow promenade that parallels the beach, is the best place to watch the nets being lowered and pulled out of the sea.
Jewish Synagogue Cochin
JEWISH SYNAGOGUE: The Jewish community traces its history to nearly 2000 years ago. In 1948 the community numbered 2500 and today there are fewer that 30 people. The community is still centered round JEWTOWN where you will visit its crown Jewel, the Paradesi Synagogue. Built in 1568 and reconstructed after a Portugese bombardment in 1662, the synagogue is distinguished by its tile roof and bell tower. The small synagogue is also known for its hand-painted, willow-patterned, blue and white Chinese floor tiles, and the many brass and crystal lamps that hang from the ceiling. Later visit the interesting International Pepper Exchange, also located in Jewtown.

The Vasco Da Gama Square, Santa Cruz Basilica, St. Francis Church, VOC Gate, Bastion Bungalow etc. are also nice for sightseeing.Take a boat ride and visit BOLGATTY PALACE and VYPPIN ISLAND.
In the evening proceed for KATHAKALI DANCE PRESENTATION. Over night stay at hotel.
 
Day 10: Cochin – Aleppey
Houseboat (rice boat) cruise:
Proceed to the Aleppey jetty after breakfast.

Reach Aleppey which is famous for its boat races, houseboats, coir products, fish and lakes. This place remains prominent on the tourist trial of Kerala as one of the major centres for backwater boat trips. "Kuttanad" in Alappuzha is one of few places in the world where farming is done below sea level. Kuttanad is a land of lush paddy fields and is called the 'Rice Bowl' of Kerala. Kuttanad stretches for 75 Km sandwiched between the sea and the hills.

Board a traditional boat of Kerala and go on a leisurely backwater cruise along the lake. Discover the countryside at your own pace. You will have lunch in the boat.
A canal cruise is a fabulous way to explore the fascinating beauty of the backwaters. The backwaters of Kerala are a unique product of Kerala and are found nowhere else in the world. Backwaters are a network of lakes, canals and estuaries and deltas of forty-four rivers that drain into the Arabian Sea. The backwaters of Kerala are a self supporting Eco-system teeming with aquatic life. The canals connect the villages together and are still used for local transport. Over 900 km of this labyrinthine water world is navigable.

Dinner will be on boat. Overnight will be on the boat.
 
Houseboat, Kumarakom VacationDay 11: Kumarakom – Thekkady
By road
175 km in 4 hr
Breakfast will be on the boat.
Start cruise through the backwaters and arrive at Kumarakom enjoying the beauty of the lakes and lagoons.

The village of Kumarakom is a cluster of little islands on the Vembanad Lake, and this small water world is part of the Kuttanad region. The bird sanctuary here, which is spread across 14 acres, is a favorite haunt of migratory birds and an ornithologist's paradise. Egrets, darters, herons, teal, waterfowl, cuckoo, wild duck and migratory birds like the Siberian stork that live there in flocks are a fascination for visitors. This is an unbelievably beautiful paradise of mangrove forests, emerald green paddy fields and coconut groves interspersed with enchanting waterways and canals adorned with while lilies. Disembark from the boat and drive to Thekkady.

The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is spread across 777 sq km, of which 360 sq km is thick evergreen forest. The Periyar Wild Life Sanctuary was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978.  Noted for its geomorphology, diversity of wildlife and scenic beauty, the Reserve attracts visitors all over the world and is one of the world's most fascinating natural wildlife reserves.

The pride of Kerala and a testimony to nature's splendor and human innovation, the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is situated on the banks of the Periyar Lake - an artificial lake, at Thekkady.   Here the high ranges of the Western Ghats are clothed in dense evergreen, moist deciduous forests and savannah grass lands.   Below this thick green canopy roam herds of elephants, sambars, tigers, gaurs, lion tailed macaques and Nilgiri langurs.
Periyar National Park
In addition to elephant rides, cruises on the lake and treks to the ruined Mangala Devi temple - a beautiful old stone temple situated in the heart of the Thekkady forest, this sanctuary offers the unique opportunity to watch and photograph wild elephants at close quarters.

The splendid artificial lake formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam across the Periyar River adds to the charm of the park.  This is the only sanctuary in India where you can have the unique experience of viewing wildlife at close quarters from the safety of a boat on the lake.  The greatest attraction of Periyar, however are the herds of wild elephants that come down to the play in the lake.
Enjoy the lunch at the hotel.
 
Proceed for enjoying a boat cruise in Periyar Lake. The most enjoyable part of seeing the wildlife is going around the lake in a boat. From the safety of a boat you can witness herds of wild elephants coming down to water and swim. The other prominent fauna to be seen are Tiger, Sambar, Barking deer, Mouse deer, Nilgiri Tahr, Wild Pigs, Wild dogs, Porcupine, Lion-tailed macaque, Malabar Squirrel, Flying Squirrel, Sloth Bear, Gaur and Black Langur (Monkey). Tigers and Leopards seldom come to the lakeside by day. 
In the evening relax at the hotel and take a cooking class from the chef.
Overnight will be at Thekkady.
 
Day 12: Thekkady
Breakfast will be at the hotel.
Proceed for a nature trek in the forest with your personal guide and enjoy the park till lunch.
Lunch will be at the resort.
Thekkady
In the late afternoon proceed for a spice plantation visit to familiarize with the different spices.
Enjoy the spice market visit in the evening.
Overnight will be at the hotel in Thekkady.
 
Day 13: Thekkady – Cochin
By road
175 km in 4 hr
Cochin – Mumbai:
By Air

Breakfast will be at the hotel.
Drive straight to the Cochin airport through tea gardens and rubber plantations.
Take flight to Mumbai. Reach and check in at the hotel.

Its young, its lively and a confluence of varied cultural currents and cross currents have given Mumbai a unique position of the most multi-ethnic city of India. The capital city of Maharashtra State, formerly known as Bombay lies in the southwestern part of India and occupies a peninsular site originally composed of seven islets lying off the Konkan Coast of western India. Oozing with the self-confidence of a maverick moneymaker and "Bindass" (carefree) attitude, Mumbai is also country's financial and commercial hub and has a principal port on the Arabian Sea
.
Relax in the evening and visit the CHOWPATTY BEACH for local flavor.

Chowpatty Beach: Chowpatty beach situated at the end of Marine Drive has a moderate expanse of sand and is the only beach in the central part of Mumbai. One can witnesses many Hindu religious ceremonies taking place at Chowpatty like the Annual Thread-Tying Ceremony initiating young boys into the Brahmin caste, 'Nariel Purnima' towards the end of the monsoons and 'Ganesh Chaturthi' immersions.
Overnight will be in Mumbai.
 
Marine Drive, Mumbai TourDay 14: Mumbai – Home
Proceed for a city tour of Mumbai after breakfast.

Mumbai Fort: The area north of Colaba is known as Mumbai Fort, since the old British fort was once located here. There are a lot of impressive buildings from Mumbai's golden period here. St. John's church, dedicated to the soldiers, who laid down their lives in the Sindh campaign of 1838, and the first Afghan war of 1843, is also worth a visit.

Marine Drive in Mumbai: Marine Drive located in the central Mumbai, built in the 1920s and 30s on land reclaimed from the sea, is Mumbai's most famous thoroughfare. It is also referred to as the “Queen's Necklace” because of the dramatic line of street lamps lit up at night. 

Gateway of India: Mumbai's principal landmark, the Gateway of India is a huge archway on the water's edge at Apollo Bunder. It is the starting point for most tourists who want to explore the city. This famous monument was built to commemorate the visit of the first ever British Monarch, King George V and Queen Mary in 1911.

Flora Fountain/ Hutama Chowk: This fountain situated in the heart of the city was erected in 1869 in honour of a British Governor of Bombay. Sir Brtle Frere. Flora Fountain marks a junction of five streets and known as the 'Picadilly Circus 'of Mumbai, which is decorated at its four corners with mythological figures, the Fountain is a structure in dull stone with a figure the Roman Goddess of flowers, at the top.

Victoria Terminus/Western Railway Station: At the site of the Koli's original temple to Mumba Devi now stands Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus - one of Mumbai's most prominent buildings and architecturally one of the finest stations in the world. It is built in a style that combines Gothic and Indian influences. It was completed in 1885. Designed by F.W. Stevens the building commenced in 1878. This Italian gothic Building has a frontage of over 1500 feet. The administrative offices form three sides of a rectangle enclosing an ornamental garden, the entrance gate guarded by a massive stone Lion and Tiger.

Mumbai High court: An attractive building in early English Gothic style, situated next to the Oval Ground is well worth a visit for its impressive architecture. Statues representing Justice and Mercy surmount the Central structure.

Rajabai Clock tower: Rajabai Clock tower, situated at the gardens of the Bombay University building rises above the portion of the library section. Consisting of five elaborately decorated storeys the tower is 280ft.in height. The top of the cupola is ornamented with sixteen statues depicting various Indian castes.

Finish the tour and then in the afternoon and return to the hotel. Enjoy shopping during the evening. Late check out for flight to Delhi for connecting international flight or take international flight from Mumbai itself according to the itinerary.

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