A Grand Tour of India

Central India, Delhi & Around, Kerala & Karnataka, Mumbai & Western India

Duration: 24 nights

Price: From £5,400 per person in low season based on two adults travelling together and including all flights in economy class, accommodation, some meals, private transfers, experiences as stated and taxes

India, it’s often said, is more like a continent than a country, such is the diversity of its landscapes, cultures and peoples. While no one trip can hope to take them all in, this luxury holiday gives it a good shot. Beginning in the storied capital, Delhi, you’ll gawp at the world-famous Taj Mahal in Agra then delve into the mysterious land of Rajasthan, home to pink and blue cities, endless deserts, and romantic lakefront palaces. You’ll then stop over in the iconic city of Mumbai, spot tigers in Penchi, and finish up in the tropical state of Kerala, where you’ll ride on the serene backwaters and lounge on golden beaches.
Perfect forGetting a taste for India’s near-endless diversity of riches.
In the knowExtending your stay in northern India to include a visit to Amritsar, the holy city of Sikhism and home of the incredible Golden Temple.

Best for

  • History & Heritage
  • Couples
  • First-timers
  • Beach

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Itinerary details


2 nightsDELHI

A grand tour of India should only begin in one place: the ancient capital, Delhi. Delhi is endlessly fascinating, from the souks and bazaars of the old city to the colonial buildings and administrative hub of New Delhi, and is the perfect place to begin your adventure.

You’ll stay at The Claridge’s, a luxurious hotel dating from the 1950s with a fantastic location close to landmarks such as India Gate. Other attractions deserving of a visit during your time in Delhi include the Red Fort, a towering relic of the Mughal Empire dating from the mid-1600s, and Akshardham, an incredibly ornate and newly built Hindu temple complex.
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1 nightAGRA

After 2 nights settling in and exploring Delhi, you’ll take to the Indian Railways – themselves an icon of the country – to your next stop, Agra, home to the unforgettable Taj Mahal. Dating from the 17th century and built as a mausoleum for the wife of a Mughal emperor, it’s not hard to see why this eternal monument to love was described as ‘the teardrop on the cheek of time’ by the Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore.

While many visitors depart Agra as soon as they can tear themselves away from the Taj, it has other treasures worth exploring, including Agra Fort, which is one of the best-preserved examples of Mughal architecture in India. You’ll spend one night at the Oberoi Amarvilas, a beautiful hotel with an unrivalled location moments from the Taj, offering incredible views of the monument from every room.
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2 nightsJAIPUR

Departing Agra, you’ll be transferred in a 4-hour drive to the next stop on your journey, Jaipur: the Rajasthani capital and gateway to the Land of Kings. This flamboyant city was painted pink to welcome the Prince of Wales in the late 19th century, which combined with its abundant red sandstone has lent it the nickname of the Pink City. Like Delhi, it has a long history as the seat of warring empires in north India, and the reign of the Mughals looms large here centuries later.

Highlights include the Hawa Mahal, or Palace of Winds – an ornate pink façade constructed to allow the women of the court to gaze over the city unseen – and the Amber Fort, a towering sandstone fortress on the edge of the city. You’ll spend 2 nights at Samode Haveli, an extravagant mansion dating back 175 years and set in lush gardens.
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2 nightsJODHPUR

After 2 nights in Jaipur, you’ll swap the Pink City for the Blue City of Jodhpur, where you will spend two nights at RAAS Jodhpur. Another of Rajasthan’s most iconic cities, Jodhpur’s old town is a riot of royal blue, with endless winding alleyways to explore. A tuk-tuk tour, included in the price of your stay, is a great way to get to know the city in true Indian style.

Also included is a visit to the unmissable Mehrangarh Fort, which has stood watch over the city from its imposing perch on a huge cliff since the 1400s. The fort is incredibly well preserved and contains fascinating museums telling the colourful history of Jodhpur and Rajasthan, with exhibitions of armour, weaponry and other martial paraphernalia as well as exquisite paintings; there’s even a turban gallery.
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2 nightsUDAIPUR

The next stop on your grand tour of India is Udaipur, the unforgettable City of Lakes, accessible by a 4-hour private road transfer from Jodhpur. Udaipur is often hailed as the most romantic place in India, and it’s not hard to see why: grand whitewashed buildings sit around a series of serene artificial lakes, many of which date back hundreds of years.

Your home for two nights is Raas Devigarh, an ornate Rajput palace which rises from the Aravalli hills around 45 minutes outside of Udaipur. A cycle tour is a fantastic way to get to know the City of Lakes. En route, stop off at the Lake Palace, an opulent hotel on an island in Lake Pichola which was immortalised in the James Bond film Octopussy, and the towering City Palace, the largest of its kind in Rajasthan.
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2 nightsMUMBAI

No grand tour of India would be complete without a visit to Mumbai, which you’ll reach via a short (1hr 20min) flight from Udaipur. The home of Bollywood and the biggest Indian city by population, Mumbai is where the dreams and fortunes of millions of Indians are made. Head to the Sassoon Docks to visit the huge, chaotic fish market, or check out Crawford Market to browse everything from fruit and vegetables to exotic birds.

At Churchgate Station, you can observe some of Mumbai’s unsung heroes going about their work: the army of tiffin wallahs, who deliver home-cooked lunches to the city’s workforce via train and bicycle. The same goes for Dhobi Ghat, a vast open-air laundromat, where workers do the city’s washing en masse. Your home for two nights in Mumbai is the Oberoi, one of Mumbai's finest hotels, which is located on the shores of Back Bay.
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After two nights in the urban chaos of Mumbai, you’ll escape – via a flight (1hr 20min) to Nagpur and private car transfer (2.5hrs) – to Pench National Park, a wildlife-rich area of untouched wilderness and an important tiger reserve.

You’ll stay at Jamtara, a luxurious wilderness camp set in ancient banyan and arjuna trees and surrounded by all manner of wildlife. Creatures you can hope to spot during your stay here include hornbills, Indian palm civets, gaur, macaques, jackals, flying squirrels and tigers. Pench was one of the inspirations for Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, and it remains largely unspoilt over one hundred years later.
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2 nightsCOCHIN

Departing Pench after 3 nights in the wilderness at Jamtara, you’ll be transferred back to Nagpur for a flight to your next stop, the Keralan city of Cochin. One of India’s most characterful and distinctive cities, Cochin has existed as a port to the Arabian Sea since the 1300s and has served as a meeting point for travellers, cultures and ideas from far and wide throughout that time.

Its history as a melting pot is evident in the huge Chinese fishing nets which line the harbour, rising hypnotically to bring in the day’s catch, and in the Pardesi Synagogue, built, destroyed and rebuilt by Dutch and Portuguese settlers in turn, and dating from the 16th century. You will spend two nights in Cochin at the Brunton Boatyard, a historic hotel set on the site of a Victorian shipbuilding yard.
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2 nightsMUNNAR

The next top on your grand tour is Munnar, around 4 hours by private road transfer from Cochin. A historic hill station 1,600 metres above sea level, Munnar is rich with the history of the British Raj and is famous for its exotic flora, including the Neelakurinji: a blue flower which blossoms all over the hills just once every 12 years.

The nearby Eravikulam National Park is home to the Nilgiri tahr, an endangered species of ibex, as well as rare butterflies and a recently discovered type of colourful frog. After a day in the refreshing mountain air, you’ll pay a visit to a tea factory, where you can observe the entire process from picking to processing and pouring, then put your feet up with a well-deserved cuppa. You’ll spend two nights at Windermere, a luxurious boutique hotel in a former plantation house.
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Descending from the hills after 2 nights, you’ll head towards the Keralan coast and your penultimate destination, the beautiful Vembanad Lake. The longest lake in India, Vembanad is a favourite holiday spot for Indians and foreigners alike, and the gateway to Kerala’s famed backwaters.

You’ll spend your first two nights here at Kumarakom, a luxurious lake resort where Prince Charles chose to celebrate his 65th birthday. You’ll then board the resort’s own houseboat, which combines a traditional Keralan design with luxurious comfort, where you’ll spend another night.
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3 nightsMARARI

Your Indian adventure ends with some well-deserved beach relaxation, on the serene golden sands of Marari Beach – under an hour by private road transfer from Kumarakom. You’ll stay at A Beach Symphony, a collection of beautiful Keralan cottages overlooking the ocean.

Your time here is free for you to do as much or as little as you choose: you may wish to simply unwind after your journey and enjoy the sun, sea and sand, or if you’re feeling energetic you can take a bike or tuk-tuk tour to nearby temples and churches, or visit the bustling market at nearby Cherthala, where you can pick up a souvenir made from local coir coconut fibres. 
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