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India Encompassed

India Encompassed


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Overview

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*Please Note: This vacation includes an internal air component which will not be discounted from the listed price below.
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Itinerary

Tour Itinerary

Discover ancient forts and temples, revel in the beauty of Agra's Taj Mahal, sail the Ganges in venerable Varanasi, stay with the locals in the Kerala backwaters, smell spices at a plantation in the Cardamom Hills

From the white marble of the Taj Mahal to the unforgettable backwaters of Kerala, your camera's shutter will be snapping nonstop throughout this comprehensive Indian journey. Sail along the sacred Ganges River in Varanasi and explore Abhaneri's carved stepwells in the North before flying south to search for tigers in the wild and exotic spices in relaxed hill stations. With an intriguing combination of included activities and free time, city streets, and rural spirit, you're sure to gain an understanding of the people and some insight into this fascinating land.

Day 1: Delhi
Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer is included through the G Adventures-supported Women With Wheels project.
Activity: Transfer by a G Adventures-supported project, Women With Wheels. This program provides safe and reliable transport for travellers, while providing a dignified livelihood for local women who once lacked financial opportunities.
Activity: Your opportunity to meet your CEO and fellow travellers, and learn more about your tour. Opt to join the group for a local meal afterwards. Don't forget to see the notice in the lobby (or ask reception) for the official time and place to meet up with the group.
Accommodation: Treebo Citi International (or similar)

Day 2: Delhi
Enjoy a youth-led morning walk through Delhi by G Adventures-supported City Walk project offering a unique perspective of Delhi while supporting at-risk youth. Later, visit Delhi's famous Jama Masjid (Great Mosque) and climb the minaret for a bird's eye view of Old City. Walk through Chandni Chowk, one of India's oldest and busiest markets, and learn the history of the Sikh religion at Gurdwara. Stop for photos at the colourful market before finishing at Connaught Place, one of the most prominent architectural remnants of British rule.
Activity: Explore the streets of Delhi with a youth-led tour guide from the G Adventures-supported City Walk project. As a former at-risk youth, your local guide will have a unique perspective on the city and can provide more information on the life of a child in India. The guided tour helps support the guide's college or university tuition. Please note that City Walk is closed on Sundays and holidays and this activity will not run on those days.
Activity: Travel through the winding roads of Old Delhi to visit the gorgeous Jama Masjid, the Great Mosque of Delhi. Commissioned by Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor who also commissioned the Taj Mahal, it is the best-known and largest mosque in India. Explore the stately structure, which was completed in 1656, and enjoy its massive courtyard, which can hold 25,000 worshippers.
Activity: Learn the history of the Sikh religion at this historically significant Gurdwara, which is a Sikh place of worship.
Activity: Explore the Victorian architecture of Connaught Place, which is a giant circle at the centre of any map of Delhi. Buy trinkets and textiles at the market on Janpath, which came into being when refugees from Pakistan began peddling their wares on this road after Partition in 1947. It remains one of Delhi's most colourful markets, and is very popular with tourist and locals alike.
Activity: Enjoy a stroll through Chandni Chowk, one of India's oldest and busiest markets. Be sure to stop and try one of the many types of paranthas (stuffed Indian bread) sold in stalls lining the streets.
Accommodation: Good Times Hotel (or similar)

Day 3: Delhi/Jaipur
Drive to Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, and start exploring the Pink City. Opt to visit the Jantar Mantar, or Royal Observatory. Don't miss the opportunity to see a Bollywood film at the famous Art Deco Raj Mandir cinema.
Transport: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.
Accommodation: Utsav Niwas (or similar)

Day 4: Jaipur
Stop and admire the intricate architecture of Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds) before venturing to the ruined city of Amber to explore the famous Fort.
Activity: Take in the Hindu and Muslim architecture of the beautiful Amber Fort. The Fort's sandstone walls are perched on a hill almost blending in with the terrain, besides perfectly reflecting in Maota Lake creating a mirage effect (and perfect photograph). Wander through the halls, courtyards, and palaces inside and admire the intricate details.
Accommodation: Utsav Niwas (or similar)

Day 5: Jaipur/Dhula Village
Travel to Dhula Village and get a closer look at rural life in Rajasthan during a cycling excursion. Tonight, settle in to your cozy tent, relax by the fire, and take in the starry night sky.
Transport: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.
Activity: Set off to discover quaint Dhula on two wheels. Take in the peaceful rhythm of village life and Rajasthan's scenery as you cycle along.
Accommodation: Dhulabagh Camp (or similar)
Meal(s): Dinner

Day 6: Dhula Village/Āgra
Stop by the impressive Abhaneri stepwell en route to Agra, home of the Taj Mahal.
Transport: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.
Activity: Walk around the amazing Chand Baori, a tenth century water tank that's an impressive 6.1m (20 ft) deep. Learn about ancient Indian environmentalism—a "baori" is a unique Indian invention for harvesting rainwater.
Accommodation: Hotel The Agra Grande (or similar)
Meal(s): Breakfast

Day 7: Āgra
Visit the sparkling, iconic Taj Mahal for sunrise with time to explore the picturesque grounds. Afterward, jump on a cycle-rickshaw for a rustic ride to the walled city of Agra Fort and Baby Taj.
Activity: Cross one off your bucket list as you visit one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Explore the gorgeous white marble mausoleum, built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a testament of his love for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
Transport: Visit the Agra Fort by human-powered cycle-rickshaw.
Activity: Enjoy a visit to this impressive Mughal fort made of red sandstone and white marble.
Activity: Visit this mausoleum that looks like a jewel box, built before the Taj Mahal by Queen Nur Jahan for her father. Enjoy the intricate details of the structure; it was the first Mughal building faced with white marble and where "pietra dura" (precious stones inlaid into marble) was first used.
Accommodation: Hotel The Agra Grande (or similar)

Day 8: Āgra/Alīpura
Board a morning train then transfer to a private vehicle for a ride across rough Indian roads to Alipura. This friendly village will be our base for two days where you'll stay in a heritage property with time to wander the town and interact with local people.
Transport: Climb aboard, take a seat, and enjoy the ride.
Transport: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.
Free Time: Enjoy some free time to meet the locals and check out village life.
Accommodation: Alipura Palace (or similar)

Day 9: Alīpura
Enjoy a day trip to Khajuraho, where India's largest group of medieval temples reside, known for their Kama Sutra statues. Learn the history of these world-famous temples on a guided tour and enjoy a taste of a little erotica from the Middle Ages. After, opt to visit a nearby waterfall or watch an evening dance performance.
Transport: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.
Activity: Get ready to be impressed by the beautiful temples of Khajuraho during this guided tour. Not intended for the bashful, these erotic carvings are similar to style of the Kama Sutra. These Hindu temples were build over a span of a 100 years, and while originally there were more than 80 of them, only 22 currently remain.
Transport: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.
Accommodation: Alipura Palace (or similar)

Day 10: Alīpura/Orchha
En route to Orchha, visit a unique paper making plant, set up to assist tribal women from the area. All the paper is made from recycled clothing and wood pulp. Continue on to Orchha and embark on an orientation tour of this small town. Set on the banks of the Betwa River, it is the perfect antidote to the chaos of India's cities. Later, attend an evening puja ceremony at the Ram Raja Temple.
Transport: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.
Activity: Enjoy a visit to this unique paper-making plant, set up to assist tribal women from the area. All the paper is made from recycled clothing and wood pulp.
Activity: Experience a Hindu prayer ceremony presenting flowers, incense, and food to an image or idol representing a deity.
Accommodation: Hotel Orcha Resort (or similar)

Day 11: Orchha/Varanasi
Visit the Orchha Palace complex and enjoy free time before the overnight train to Varanasi.
Activity: Visit the three separate palaces, or "mahals," in this complex: the Raj Mahal, Jehangir Mahal, and Rai Parveen Mahal. Enjoy the medieval architecture and learn about its rich history.
Free Time: Enjoy free time to check out the local markets.
Transport: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.
Transport: Experience overnight travel like a local. Sit back and get some well-earned (and likely much-needed) rest en route to your next stop.

Day 12: Varanasi
Disembark the train in legendary Varanasi - the quintessential Indian holy city where millions of Hindus visit for pilgrimage, to worship, to mourn, or to die. Take an orientation walk through the oldest continually inhabited city in the world. There is time here to shop, wander, and absorb the atmosphere of this unique city. Marvel at the ghats from the River Ganges as you enjoy an evening boat trip to witness a mesmerizing candle-lit flower ceremony.
Activity: Enjoy a boat ride on the sacred Ganges River, where Hindu pilgrims from all over the world come to wash away their sins and cremate their loved ones. Participate in a candle and flower ceremony while on the water.
Accommodation: Hotel City Inn (or similar)

Day 13: Varanasi
Watch the sunrise from a boat along the Ganges. Spend the rest of the day getting to know this holy city. Opt to visit the monasteries and ruins of nearby Sarnath, the site of the Buddha's first sermon.
Activity: Catch the sunrise from a boat cruising the sacred Ganges River, where Hindu pilgrims from all over the world come to wash away their sins and cremate their loved ones. Witness locals participating in dawn rituals of bathing and burning at the river.
Free Time: Explore all this famous city has to offer.
Accommodation: Hotel City Inn (or similar)

Day 14: Varanasi/Delhi
Soak up some free time this morning and continue exploring Varanasi. Later, cut out the travel time with a flight back to bustling Delhi.
Free Time: Do some last minute sightseeing with free time in the morning.
Transport: Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's... yup, it is a plane, actually.
Accommodation: Good Times Hotel (or similar)

Day 15: Delhi/Kochi
Fly to the port city of Kochi. Settle into your hotel and enjoy free time to relax the rest of the day. Opt to catch the sunset over the Arabian Sea, framed by hundreds of boats and fishing nets.
Transport: Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's... yup, it is a plane, actually.
Accommodation: Hotel White Rose (or similar)
Meal(s): Breakfast

Day 16: Kochi
Enjoy a morning orientation walk of Fort Kochi. After, take some free time to explore before an evening performance of kathakali, a form of traditional dancing from Kerala.
Activity: Get to know the delightful city of Cochin through this guided walk. Visit the Dutch Palace and Jewish Quarter, with its 400-year-old synagogue. Explore St Francis Church, the oldest church in India.
Activity: Considered one of the oldest dance forms in India, Kathakali is a combination of drama, dance, music, and ritual. Characters with vividly painted faces and elaborate costumes re-enact stories from the Hindu epics, Mahabharata and Ramayana. This dance drama is famous for amazing costumes, extensive makeup, and explosive body movements, and is performed exclusively by men.
Accommodation: Hotel White Rose (or similar)

Day 17: Kochi/Kalpetta
Take a morning train followed by a scenic drive to reach Kalpetta, in the Wayanad district.
Transport: Climb aboard, take a seat, and enjoy the ride.
Transport: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.
Accommodation: Villa Wayanad (or similar)

Day 18: Kalpetta
Walk the nature trails through the forested areas in Wayanad. Also take a wildlife drive in search of elephants and bison.
Activity: Enjoy a nature walk in beautiful Wayanad, which is home to many endangered species and has an amazing range of flora and fauna. The area boasts a long and influential history, with numerous ancient relics like the Edakkal Caves, which depict a Stone Age civilization. Get a taste of the region's culture as we visit a local tribal village.
Activity: Enjoy a wildlife drive in the Wayland sanctuary. Keep your eyes peeled: you can sometimes see herds of endangered Indian elephants, vulnerable gaur (Indian bison), and chital (spotted deer). if the weather is bad, the sanctuary might be closed to visitors.
Accommodation: Villa Wayanad (or similar)

Day 19: Kalpetta/Mysore
Settle in for the drive to the ancient city of Mysore.
Transport: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.
Accommodation: Akshaya Mahal (or similar)

Day 20: Mysore
Explore the vibrant city of Mysore including visits to Chamundi Temple and Mysore Palace. After enjoy free time and opt to visit the Devaraja market or join a yoga class.
Activity: Visit the gorgeous Chamundeshwari Temple, located on top of Chamundi Hills just outside Mysore. Enjoy its intricate architecture.
Activity: This stunning palace was the home of the Maharajas of Mysore, the former royal family, which ruled from 1399 to 1950. Learn about the rich history of Indian royalty and soak in the splendor of an era long gone.
Free Time: Explore on your own, opt to walk through the bustling markets.
Accommodation: Akshaya Mahal (or similar)

Day 21: Mysore/Māmallapuram
Enjoy a full day of train travel to Chennai before a short bus ride to Mamallapuram. Visit the Shore Temple.
Transport: Enjoy a scenic ride to the east coast aboard Indian's vast rail system. Play cards, meet your fellow passengers or let the landscapes soak in.
Transport: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.
Activity: Explore this impressive group of monuments that were sculpted during the 7th and 8th century, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Of these, the Shore Temple stands out for its a marvelous view of the Bay of Bengal's shore. Made of granite, it's actually a twin-temple dedicated both to the Hindu gods, Vishnu and Shiva.
Accommodation: Hotel Mamalla Inn (or similar)

Day 22: Māmallapuram
Free time to explore Mamallapuram.
Free Time: Use some free time to explore all this city has to offer. Opt for a swim in the ocean or a jog along the beach, explore the monuments by bicycle or on foot, and take this opportunity to suss out all the shopping Mamallapuram is known for.
Accommodation: Hotel Mamalla Inn (or similar)

Day 23: Māmallapuram/Puducherry
Continue to Pondicherry (now known as Puducherry) and learn about Sri Aurobindo Ghose at the ashram.
Transport: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.
Activity: Enjoy a brief walk with your CEO. He/she will give you some tips on finding things like supermarkets, main squares, and ATMs. For more specific or in-depth information, an official guided tour is recommended.
Accommodation: Abirami Residency (or similar)

Day 24: Puducherry/Madurai
Travel inland to Madurai, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.
Transport: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.
Accommodation: Rio Grande Hotel Madurai (or similar)

Day 25: Madurai
Hope on a cycle rickshaw for a tour of the city before visiting the famous Meenakshi Temple.
Activity: Sit back and relax during this eco-friendly tour -- you'll be pulled along by a bicyclist! See the sights at a slower pace and form street level. Check out the fruit and vegetable market, watch the pressing of oil by bullocks, and the famous Gandhi museum and palace.
Activity: Visit the gorgeous Meenakshi Temple, considered to be the finest in South Indian religious architecture. This enormous temple complex is dedicated to Shiva and his consort Parvati, or Meenakshi. Even before you pass through the massive stone walls of the temple, the nine striking gopurams (monumental gateways covered with stucco figures of deities, mythical animals, and monsters all painted in vivid colours) loom high above.
Accommodation: Rio Grande Hotel Madurai (or similar)

Day 26: Madurai/Periyār Sanctuary
Drive to Thekkady. Take a guided tour of spice plantations in the Cardamom Hills.
Transport: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.
Activity: Enjoy a guided tour of the plantation and tea factory and learn more about spice and tea production and of this region. You might even get to enjoy a sample or two!
Accommodation: Michael's Inn (or similar)
Meal(s): Dinner

Day 27: Periyār Sanctuary/Kerala Backwaters
Travel to Alleppey for a local homestay. Experience local life and a guided walk along the lagoon.
Transport: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.
Transport: Climb aboard and get your float on.
Activity: Enjoy strolling under the palm trees, weaving in between the rice fields that cover the island, and learn more about the lifestyles of the locals. Watch the sunset on the winding backwaters with locals in a small country boat. There may even be time to kick back and enjoy a local toddy (alcoholic drink made from coconut).
Accommodation: Alasr Heritage Home (or similar)
Meal(s): Lunch (Enjoy traditional Keralan homecooking at the homestay.) Dinner (Enjoy traditional Keralan homecooking at the homestay.)

Day 28: Kerala Backwaters/Kochi
Spend the morning enjoying last moments with your host family. Learn to cook some local food, watch the toddy tappers at work, or wander around the village exploring more of life on the backwaters. Travel to a Planeterra project for lunch before returning to Kochi in the early afternoon, where the trip ends.
Transport: Climb aboard and get your float on.
Transport: Settle in and scan the scenery from the convenience of a private vehicle.
Activity: Not ready to leave? Your CEO can help with any onward travel arrangements you require.
Activity: Enjoy a traditional Kerala lunch prepared by women of the Planeterra Theruvarom Empowerment Project, which provides women from rural areas an alternative source of income by honing their hospitality and culinary skills. Learn about the local cuisine and socio-economic fabric of the region as you get to know the women. All while taking in live entertainment!
Meal(s): Breakfast (Enjoy traditional Keralan homecooking.) Lunch (Local cuisine prepared by the Planeterra Theruvarom Women Empowerment Project.)

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Inclusions

Meals Included
3 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners

Transport
Train, local bus, private vehicle, auto-rickshaw, camel cart, boat, plane.

Inclusions
Your G for Good Moment: Women With Wheels Transfer, Indira Gandhi International Airport Your G for Good Moment: City Walk, Delhi Your G for Good Moment: Lunch at Theuvoram Women Empowerment Project, Alleppey Your Welcome Moment: Meet Your CEO and Group Your Local Living Moment: Kerala Backwaters Homestay, Alleppey. Old Delhi walk. Amber Fort tour. Rajasthani rural village stay. Dhula Village cycling excursion. Taj Mahal and I'timad-ud-Daulah (Baby Taj) entrance. Agra Fort tour. Orchha Palace complex visit. Western Temple complex visit. Ganges River boat trips at sunrise and sunset, including candle flower ceremony. Fort Kochi orientation walk. Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary walk and safari. Chaumundi Temple and Mysore Palace visit. Mamallapuram Shore Temple visit. Pondicherry orientation walk. Madurai cycle-rickshaw ride and Sri Meenakshi temple visit. Cardamom Hills spice plantation tour. Internal flights. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.

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Accommodations

Hotels/guesthouses (23 nts), comfortable tented camp (2 nts), sleeper train (1 nt), homestay (1 nt, multi-share).

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Questions & Answers

Question: How many suitcases can I take with me on my trip?

Each person is allowed one "check-in," and one "carry-on." Remember to take all valuables with you as "carry-on", because electronic equipment, cameras, laptops, jewelry, business documents and money are not covered by the airlines' liability, so always carry them aboard with you.

Question: Is Airfare Included in the Price?

Airfare from your point of origin to and from the trip is not included in the land price.

G Adventures Tours Customer Reviews

Overall Rating
4
Accommodations
3.6
Itinerary
4
Professional Staff
4.3
Repeat with Operator
4
Value for Money
3.9

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Ratings based off 447 reviews about G Adventures Tours - currently showing 15 reviews with comments only

This was my 8th tour with this operator and I have a 9th scheduled. Obviously I am happy with this operator.

It was a great tour and are guides were very knowledgeable.

A Gadventures tour is a great affordable way to see the country and get the opportunity to meet and interact with the local people

It was a dream vacation.Thank you.

The G-Adventures travel guides were excellent

All 100% perfect, nothing to be done better

The G Adventures tour was fantastic.

Very satisfied with tour, enjoyed it very much.

I liked the variety of activities and the chance to opt out without undue pressure. I met some really fun people on this tour.

Everyone connected with the tour went above and beyond. The tour was more than I ever dreamt!

Our CEO Solofo for this trip is fantastic. He is patient and very nice. He went extra ways to help me and other members. I really enjoy this trip because of him! He is an excellent CEO. I definitely will recommend to other friends about him. Pls let him know that we really enjoy his introduction. He is also very informative and knowledgeable. In a word, he is excellent!

Great trip at a reasonable price.

Awesome trip in a great country. Our CEO was professional and fun!!!

G adventures offers hands down some of the best tour packages out there!

The Japan vacation was better than I expected!!!! It was an active "moving" trip, which I truly enjoyed. I've done "coach tours" where you sit on the bus and they take you -- this experience was "hands on" riding the buses, trains and running through the streets -- it was amazing !!!!! We got the full feel of Japan and the people. This trip is not for the weak or slow pace crowd - you drag your luggage through the streets, up and down stairs --- it was truly exciting and exhilarating. G adventures has a fan for life. The instructions and assistance was outstanding -- Great job - Steve (AffordableTours.com) was outstanding !


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