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 Keralacultural4

Itinerary

Day 1Delhi

Arrive any time.

If you arrive early, wander through the heart of India’s capital city and explore Old and New Delhi. Travel by the new metro or auto rickshaws and visit the famous Jama Masjid (Great Mosque) where you could climb the minaret for a bird’s eye view of the old city. Explore Chandni Chowk, one of India’s oldest and busiest markets or head to the colourful spice market — a great photo opportunity.

Please note this tour departs Delhi early on Day 2, so book extra accommodation if you would like to explore the city. Day tours can be booked through the front desk of your hotel if you do arrive early.

 

Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
1h

The adventure begins tonight. Feel free to explore, but make sure you’re back in time to meet the group. After introductions, your CEO will review the details of your tour.

Accommodation

 

C Park Inn (or similar)
Hotel

Day 2Delhi/Āgra

Take a morning train to Agra, then a guided tour of the impressive Taj Mahal. Opt to visit Agra Fort and Baby Taj.

Agra is best known as the site of India’s most famous landmark, the Taj Mahal. Enjoy a guided visit to this icon of Mughal architecture either in the morning or late afternoon for the best light (this depends upon your arrival time). You also have the option to visit the Agra Fort, the Taj’s less famous—but no less impressive—sister monument.

 

Train
Delhi – Āgra3h

Climb aboard, take your seat, and enjoy the ride.

Each ticket corresponds to an assigned seat. If the group travels on the early morning train, a basic, local breakfast will be served.

 

Taj Mahal Guided Tour
Tāj Mahal1h-3h

We will aim to experience the Taj Mahal at either sunset or sunrise, depending upon our train tickets and travel schedule.

Optional Activities

 

Agra Fort Visit
Āgra1h-3h

Enjoy your visit to this impressive Mughal fort made of red sandstone and white marble.

 

Baby Taj Visit
Āgra

110INR per person

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

 

Amaryatri Niwas (or similar)
Hotel

Day 3Āgra/Jaipur

Take an orientation walk around town, then enjoy free time to explore other sites around town. Opt to see a Bollywood film.

Today we take a bus ride—always an adventure itself in India— to the capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur, the former capital of a princely state of the same name. Clothed in pink stucco (in imitation of sandstone), Jaipur is known as the “Pink City” and is one of the most important heritage cities in India. It is home to India’s second most visited site, the Hawa Mahal, or “Palace of the Winds”.

Take a cycle rickshaw to the markets and enjoy an orientation walk through the stalls. If you haven’t tasted one yet, this is a great place to try a delicious masala chai (Indian chai tea).

In your free time, opt to visit the City Palace, the observatory, or check out a song-and-dance Bollywood film in India’s largest movie theatre.

 

Orientation Walk
30m-1h

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.

 

Local bus
Āgra – Jaipur7h

There will be a stop around the half-way point for snacks and toilets.

Accommodation

 

Hotel Jaipur Inn (or similar)
Hotel

Day 4Jaipur

Enjoy a guided tour of the Amber Fort before having a free afternoon in Jaipur to explore the city.

 

Amber Fort Guided Tour
Amber Fort

Explore this magnificent fort overlooking an artificial lake, famous for its unique mixture of Hindu and Muslim architecture.

 

Free Time
JaipurAfternoon

Enjoy free time to relax, shop, visit landmarks like the Palace of the Winds or the Jaipur Observatory, or soak up some pop culture at a Bollywood movie.

Optional Activities

 

Raj Mandir Cinema and Movie
Jaipur

150INR per person

Visit this spectacular cinema and watch a song-and-dance Bollywood film.

 

City Palace Visit
Jaipur

300INR per person

Explore the courtyards, gardens, and buildings that make up the City Palace. Located in the heart of the Old City, it is a striking blend of Mughal and Rajasthani architecture. Visit the palace’s museum to look at ancient carriages and the former maharaja’s gold-embroidered wedding outfit.

 

The Jaipur Observatory Visit
Jaipur

100INR per person1000INR per group

Visit one of five astronomical observatories constructed in the early 18th century in India. There are 14 major devices that have been well-preserved that were built to predict eclipses, measure time, and track stars, among other functions. The largest device stands at 27m high.

Accommodation

 

Hotel Jaipur Inn (or similar)
Hotel

Day 5Jaipur/Tordi Sāgar

Dive into rural life by visiting potters, cobblers, and markets. Opt to take a jeep safari or camel cart ride to the dunes for sunset. Head for a hike in the hills or get a henna tattoo from local women.

Go on an included guided walk through the local village and opt to participate in a cricket match with some locals.

 

Tordi Sagar Local Village Tour
Tordi Sāgar1h

Take a tour of this tiny, tranquil village far from the maddening crowds and enjoy its pastoral settings and local hospitality. Also look at its magnificent red sand dunes.

 

4×4
Jaipur – Tordi Sāgar3h-4h

Roads? Where this rough-and-ready vehicle’s going, we don’t need roads.

Accommodation

 

Hotel Tordi Garh (or similar)
Hotel

Meals included: Dinner

Day 6Tordi Sāgar/Pushkar

Enjoy a local lunch prepared by traditional methods at a village hamlet. En route to Pushkar, visit a supported learning centre and the kids who benefit from it. Go on an orientation walk upon arrival to Pushkar.

Have a final taste of rural village life with a traditional lunch before stopping off at a supported learning centre on the way to Pushkar.

This morning, travel to Ajmer and over Snake Mountain to Pushkar. The site of the world’s only temple to the Hindu god of creation, Brahma, Pushkar is often called “Tirth Raj,” the Raj (king) of pilgrim centres.

After settling into our accommodation, we will take an orientation walk around Pushkar.

 

4×4
Tordi Sāgar – Pushkar4h

Roads? Where this rough-and-ready vehicle’s going, we don’t need roads.

 

Planeterra Supported Learning Centre Visit
Ajmer1h

Visit the Bal Prakash Learning Center, a food security program and boarding school for at risk children in the Thar Desert. This learning center is run to train children to be completely self-sufficient in the desert, a practice that is becoming more scarce with commercialized agriculture and global warming. Planeterra helped support this school by providing a water tank and irrigation system for the gardens. Fruits, vegetables, and herbs that aren’t used as part of the school’s meal program are sold in the markets and help fund the ongoing costs of the center.

 

Pushkar Orientation Walk
Pushkar1h3km

Explore key parts of this desert city, including beautiful lakes and ghats in this CEO-led walk.

Accommodation

 

Hotel New Park (or similar)
Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast | Lunch

Day 7Pushkar

In the morning, climb Savitri Temple, perched atop a hill, and catch the sunrise. Enjoy an included traditional dinner in the desert cooked by cameleers, with local entertainment. Enjoy some free time for shopping or yoga.

Before dawn today, we climb to the hilltop Savitri temple. After the morning walk, there is nothing better than spending time at one of the many cafés in town.

All rested, head into the desert and enjoy to a traditional meal prepared and served by local cameleers, with gypsy dancers and music.

 

Savitri Temple Climb
Pushkar1h-2h

Climb a hilltop to get to this temple honouring Savitri, the wife of the Hindu god, Brahma. Witness a gorgeous sunrise over this holy place while drinking a warm cup of chai.

 

Free Time
PushkarAfternoon

Enjoy free time to explore town after returning from the sunrise temple climb. Opt to take a yoga class, scour the markets, or relax with a massage.

 

Dinner in the desert
Pushkar2h30m-4hEvening10km

Try on traditional Indian clothes and head out to the desert for an evening you won’t soon forget. Enjoy a delicious traditional meal prepared and served by local cameleers. Get into the spirit with music, dancing, and entertainment presented by a group of Roma people before returning to Pushkar at night.

Optional Activities

 

Yoga Class

Stretch and hold poses in this gentle but effective form of exercise.

 

Massage

Revive sore muscles with a relaxing massage.

Accommodation

 

Hotel New Park (or similar)
Hotel

Meals included: Dinner

Day 8Pushkar/Udaipur

Take an orientation walk and an optional boat ride.

Continue south to lakeside Udaipur, famous worldwide for its plethora of breathtaking lakes and Raj-era palaces. It certainly lives up to its reputation as India’s most romantic city.

With its own famous style of painting and plenty of artisans, Udaipur is a great place to stroll through.

 

Train
Pushkar – Udaipur7h-8h

Climb aboard, take your seat, and enjoy the ride.

Be prepared for a hot ride today. Bring some snacks and beverages.

 

Orientation Walk
Udaipur

Go on a guided orientation walk and get to know local markets and key places.

Optional Activities

 

Lake Palace Tour
Udaipur

Board a boat and cruise around Lake Pichola, taking in views of Udaipur from the water and getting a closer view of the spectacular Lake Palace, which was voted the most romantic hotel in India.

Accommodation

 

Hotel Vishnu Priya (or similar)
Hotel

Days 9–10Udaipur

Free time to explore the “Venice of the East” with its lakes, palaces, and narrow lanes.

 

Free Time
UdaipurFull Day

Do as much or as little as you want today. Visit one of the local palaces or enjoy a cooking demonstration.

Optional Activities

 

Cooking Demonstration
Udaipur1h-2h

600INR per person

Learn how to cook several delectable Indian dishes from a talented chef, and get your hands dirty with washing with a dish or two. Enjoy a sumptuous meal after the demonstration to sample the fruits of your labour.

 

City Palace Visit
Udaipur1h-2h

250INR per person

Visit Rajasthan’s largest palace to get a sense of how royalty lived. Take in the view from one of its many intricately-decorated balconies, with one side facing the stunning Lake Palace.

 

Monsoon Palace Visit
Udaipur

80INR per person400INR per group

Hop in an auto rickshaw and head outside of Udaipur to the stunning Monsoon Palace, perched high above town. Enjoy sweeping views of the city and surrounding lakes and countryside. Consider visiting at sunset for an unforgettable view.

 

Jagdish Temple Visit
Udaipur

Visit the intricately-carved Jagdish Temple, which pays homage to Vishnu, the Hindu god of preservation. Make sure to take a peek at the black stoned image of Vishnu that’s housed inside the shrine.

 

Ranakpur Jain Temples Visit
Ranakpur1h-2h

200INR per person

Enjoy a visit to this magnificent white marble temple devoted to Adinath, a god in the Jain religion. Jains believe in “ahimsa,” non-violence to all living beings. Built in the 15th century, the temple has 1444 individually carved pillars.

 

Shopping

Scour the local shops and stalls for unique wares to remind you of your travels to the region.

 

Rajasthani Cultural Show
Udaipur

100INR per person

Enjoy an evening cultural show that includes traditional music and dancing from the state of Rajasthan.

Accommodation

 

Hotel Vishnu Priya (or similar)
Hotel

Day 11Udaipur/Mumbai

Take a local bus to Ahmedabad and explore the famous Gandhi Ashram at Sabarmati. Overnight train from Ahmedabad to Mumbai.

 

Local bus
Udaipur – Ahmedabad5h-6h

Climb aboard, grab a seat, and enjoy the ride.

 

Gandhi Ashram Visit
Ahmedabad

Explore the famous Gandhi Ashram at Sabarmati, once home to Mahatma Gandhi for nearly 12 years.

 

Overnight train (beds)
Ahmedabad – Mumbai7h-8h

Stretch out and get some well-earned rest en route to the next stop.

Accommodation

 

Hotel Fortune (or similar)
Hotel

Day 12Mumbai

Arrive to Mumbai and take an orientation walk of Colaba and Fort Area. Enjoy free time to explore the bustling metropolis of Mumbai.

Opt to shoot a picture of the Gateway to India, facing westward out to sea, and stop in for a cup of tea at the famous Taj Hotel next door. From here boats leave for Elephanta Island (also called Gharapuri Island or place of caves), famous for is cave temples carved straight from the rock.

People-watch on Chowpatty Beach or visit Crawford Market, one of South Mumbai’s most famous markets. Try some of the many local specialties at one of Mumbai’s many top-notch restaurants, or go out on the town and sample the city’s famed nightlife firsthand.

 

Free Time
MumbaiFull Day

Opt to go on a taxi tour around town, visit Elephanta Island, or tour the are where ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ was filmed.

Optional Activities

 

Slums Tour
Mumbai3h-4h

1500INR per person

Visit Dharavi slum, where much of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ was filmed. See where people work and live on this walking tour.

 

City Tour
Mumbai4h-8h

800-4000INR per group

Visit the main highlights of Mumbai on either a half-day or full-day driving tour of this lively city. Tours will visit the Victoria Terminus Train Station (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Chowpatty Beach, Marine Drive, and Dhobi Ghat, the largest open-air laundry area in Mumbai, among other highlights.

Accommodation

 

Hotel Fortune (or similar)
Hotel

Day 13Mumbai/Goa

In the morning, hop on a short flight to Goa. Head to the beaches of North Goa, sample tasty treats at the night markets, and take in the nightlife of this coastal state.

Relax on a beach, visit the many Portuguese-built monuments, wander around the old churches of Old Goa (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and discover Panjim, the capital.

 

Plane
Mumbai – Goa1h

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… yup, it is a plane, actually.

 

Free Time
GoaFull Day

After transferring to the hotel, the day is free to explore the beaches the charming town.

Optional Activities

 

Goa Beach Visit
Goa

5INR per person

Relax on some soft, white sand — Goa’s beaches are famous the world over for good reason. Hydrate with a smoothie or fresh coconut water.

 

Old Goa Visit
Goa2h-3h

1600INR per group

Explore the rich history and impressive architecture of Old Goa, the former colonial capital of the state. The convents and churches are stunning, and the area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Be sure to visit the Basilica of Bom Jesus, which contains the relics of St Francis Xavier.

Accommodation

 

Alor Holiday Resort (or similar)
Hotel

Day 14Goa

Enjoy a free day to wind down in North Goa. Visit nearby beaches, scour the markets, and be sure to try to some delicious Goan cuisine and fresh seafood.

 

Free Time
GoaFull Day

Recover from the previous night’s festivities or further explore the beaches and markets of charming Goa.

Accommodation

 

Alor Holiday Resort (or similar)
Hotel

Day 15Goa/Kochi

Fly to southern India and explore this major port city.

Today, new travellers may join you for the rest of your adventure. You are welcome to join them at a group meeting this evening followed by an optional dinner.

 

Plane
Goa – Kochi3h15m

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… yup, it is a plane, actually.

The transfer to the Goa airport is approximately 45 minutes, and the CEO will inform you of the transfer time along with flight information. There will be a transfer waiting at the Kochi airport. This flight is not accompanied by a CEO.

Accommodation

 

Gama Heritage (or similar)
Hotel

Day 16Kochi/Alleppey

Take an orientation walk in Kochi to Fort Kochi, St Francis Church, and the Chinese fishing nets before continuing to Alleppey. Explore Alleppey with an orientation walk. Experience local life at a homestay, and enjoy a guided walk along the lagoon.

Leaving early to avoid the heat, we take an orientation tour of Kochi, visiting Fort Kochi, St Francis Church, the Dutch cemetery, and the Chinese fishing nets.

Travel afterwards to Alleppey, a golden streak of land woven with rivers, lakes, lagoons, and canals.

In the afternoon, we check out the island with a local English-speaking guide and learn about the way of life here. Afterwards, settle into a homestay and get to know your hosts.

 

Orientation Walk
30m-1h

We explore Kochi this morning, stopping by the historical St Francis Church and the Dutch cemetery before eventually ending up at the Chinese fishing nets where there is the possibility to assist the local fisherman raise their huge nets.

 

Private Vehicle
Kochi – Alleppey1h30m

Stretch out and scan the scenery from the comfort of a private vehicle.

 

Alleppey Guided Walk
Alleppey1h-2h

Explore the area, known as the “Venice of the East,” on foot with a local English-speaking guide and learn about the way of life here.

 

Alleppey Homestay
Alleppey

Enjoy a stay with a local family in Alleppey and get a real taste of the culture and what life on the islands is like. Learn how to cook some delicious Kerala dishes and dig in and enjoy the meal after your lesson.

Accommodation

 

Green Palm Homes (or similar)
Homestay

Meals included: Lunch | Dinner

Day 17Alleppey/Kollam

Explore the backwaters and its unique ecosystem on a ferry cruise. Transfer to Kollam.

Travel to Kollam by bus after enjoying a morning ferry cruise.

 

Alleppey Ferry Cruise
Alleppey2h-3h

Enjoy a morning ferry ride through the backwaters, observing the unique ecosystem with blue-green stretches of water and coconut trees.

 

Local bus
Alleppey – Kollam2h

Climb aboard, grab a seat, and enjoy the ride.

 

Orientation Walk
30m-1h

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.

 

Free Time
KollamAfternoon

After the day’s travel, check out the town or relax with a massage.

Accommodation

 

Hotel Vaibhav (or similar)
Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast | Lunch

Day 18Kollam/Varkala

Enjoy lots of free time to explore the town, relax with an Ayurvedic massage, get treated by local healers, or visit the Varkala Temple.

 

Kollam Fishing Docks Visit
Kollam1h

See where all of the action happens in this busy port city and walk around Kollam’s bustling fishing docks.

 

Neendakara Fishing Harbour Visit
Kollam

Visit the largest wholesale fishing market and harbour on the Arabian Sea, dating back to the sixteenth century. Take in the sights and sound of a busy fish market at work, and check out the morning’s fishing haul.

 

Private Vehicle
Kollam – Varkala6h

Stretch out and scan the scenery from the comfort of a private ride.

Optional Activities

 

Ayurvedic Massage
Dharamshala1h-2h

Ayurvedic medicine is a system of Hindu traditional medicine, and Ayurvedic massage has been practiced in India for centuries and is viewed as a part of holistic medicine. These massage techniques provide relaxation, improve circulation, and eliminate of toxins. Lie back and enjoy!

 

Janardhana Swamy Temple Visit
Varkala

Enjoy a visit to this beautiful temple that gives homage to Janardana Swami, who is a form of Vishnu, the Hindu god of preservation. Pilgrims from the south of India make the trek to visit this 2000-year-old temple and pay their respects.

Accommodation

 

Black Beach Resort (or similar)
Resort

Day 19Varkala

Spend time wandering the peaceful gardens of an ashram devoted to Kerala’s most eminent spiritual and social reformer and the mystical Janardhana Swamy Temple, or just head to the beach to relax and watch the Arabian Sea.

 

Free Time
VarkalaFull Day

Lots of free time to explore the town, relax with an Ayurvedic massage, get treated by local healers, or visit the Varkala Temple.

Optional Activities

 

Janardhana Swamy Temple Visit
Varkala

Enjoy a visit to this beautiful temple that gives homage to Janardana Swami, who is a form of Vishnu, the Hindu god of preservation. Pilgrims from the south of India make the trek to visit this 2000-year-old temple and pay their respects.

 

Ayurvedic Massage
Dharamshala1h-2h

Ayurvedic medicine is a system of Hindu traditional medicine, and Ayurvedic massage has been practiced in India for centuries and is viewed as a part of holistic medicine. These massage techniques provide relaxation, improve circulation, and eliminate of toxins. Lie back and enjoy!

Accommodation

 

Black Beach Resort (or similar)
Resort

Day 20Varkala/Kochi

Return to Kochi. Check out the Jewish Quarter and the spice markets. Opt to take in a local Kathakali dance performance.

Travel to Kochi and enjoy the spice market, the Dutch Palace, and the Jewish Town with its old curio shops and the more than 400-year-old synagogue.

In the late afternoon/early evening, we also have the option to watch Kathakali dancing (a Kerala traditional dance form).

 

Train
Varkala – Kochi3h30m-4h

Climb aboard, take your seat, and enjoy the ride.

 

Free Time
KochiAfternoon

Visit any sites skipped on the first visit to Kochi.

Optional Activities

 

Kathakali Dance
Kochi

300INR per person

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

 

Gama Heritage (or similar)
Hotel

Day 21Kochi

Depart at any time.

 

Departure Day

Not ready to leave? Your CEO can help with travel arrangements to extend your adventure.