Enjoy Golden Age luxury and some unforgettable experiences as you discover the glories of Rajasthan. This extraordinary small-group tour includes stays in some of Northern India’s finest heritage hotels, and is crammed with memorable experiences. First Delhi, then Agra, then Rajasthan (the Land of Kings) reveal their glorious pasts and rich traditions, stupendous palaces, great forts and decorated hawelis. With included safaris by boat and jeep, fine dining in some astonishing settings, and a host of tours and excursions that will bring your surroundings thrillingly to life, this is India at its finest. Extend your holiday with a visit to Kerala. See Kochi’s famous Chinese fishing nets as well as enjoying a spice plantation visit and a houseboat cruise on the backwaters. You’ll also visit Periyar National Park for a chance to see the wildlife.
Stay in luxurious heritage hotels in spectacular surroundings
Discover the sights of Delhi by rickshaw
Visit Agra's Fort and peerless Taj Mahal
Jaipur's Amber Fort, Observatory and City Palace
Tour exquisite Udaipur and cruise on Lake Pichola
Seeing Ranakpur's astonishing Jain temples
Marvel at Jodhpur's stupendous Meherengarh Fort
Experiencing an 'Arabian Nights' adventure under Bikaner's desert sky
Stay in the luxury resort at Vanaashyra, in the foothills of the Aravali
Conclude your holiday with a five-night extension in colourful Kerala
Head to the airport and board your overnight flight to Delhi.
Arrive in Delhi, meet your Tour Manager and transfer to the elegant, historic Maidens Hotel, haven of old-world elegance and modern comforts. Settle in, then join your Tour Manager for a guided tour of Old Delhi, which reveals some of the city's most iconic sights: the Red Fort, Jama Masjid Mosque and Raj Ghat - Gandhi's cremation site. After the tour, immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of Indian street life on an exhilarating rickshaw ride through vibrant Chandni Chowk, one of the city's oldest markets, before heading back to the hotel for dinner.
Rise early this morning to board the Gatimaan Express, India's fastest train, to Agra, the glorious City of Love. Here you'll enjoy a guided tour of majestic Agra Fort, exploring its royal pavillions, palaces and pretty courtyards, and the Taj Mahal. After an unforgettable few hours to explore this dazzling monument to undying love, which has become India's most potent symbol, you'll make the short journey to Dholpur and the Ras Niwas Palace, where you'll stay in beautifully appointed rooms in the grounds. Why not enjoy a sundowner overlooking the lawns before dinner?
Enjoy a lazy morning relaxing at your hotel. After lunch, board one of the Palace's boats for a cruise along the Chambal River on the look out for the colourful birdlife, crocodiles and rare, endangered long-snouted gharials that call the waterway home. Later, round off the day with another splendid dinner at your hotel.
Today you'll travel across the Rajasthani plain to the pink city of Jaipur, where another beautiful heritage hotel is your home for the next two nights. Set in a former harveli - an Indian mansion - this beautiful hotel is a quiet oasis of calm close to the bustling old city. Enjoy a lazy evening settling into your surroundings, perhaps opting for a dip in the pool or a relaxing treatment at the spa, before dinner is served.
Discover the historic sights of Jaipur. Journey by jeep to towering Amber Fort, which perches on a hilltop and offers stupendous views from its red sandstone ramparts. After time to explore its Royal Halls, gardens, courtyards, you'll travel to the Hawa Mahal, or Palace of the Winds, to see the many windows and screened balconies of its famous red facade. After lunch in the ornate surroundings of the Samode Haveli, a historic former home of the maharajas that has been converted into a luxurious hotel, you'll visit the City Palace complex to see its temple, museums, courtyards and gardens, and then continue to Jantar Mantar, the city's ancient astronomical observatory. This evening, enjoy dinner in the hotel.
Cross Rajasthan's landscape dotted with historic palaces and havelis to Deogarh. In the afternoon you'll arrive at the Deogarh Mahal heritage hotel, a former home to Mewar rulers. After check-in, join a local guide for a thrilling jeep safari through the countryside, and a walk through a local village before returning to the hotel for dinner.
This morning's short journey takes you to Udaipur, the sublime City of Lakes, for a two-night stay overlooking Lake Pichola. Explore the "Venice of the East", with its exquisite marble lakeside palaces, and enjoy your hotel's surroundings before dinner.
See the sights of Udaipur this morning on a guided tour. Highlights include the majestic City Palace and the beautiful 'gardens of the royal ladies' at Sahelion-ki-Bari. This afternoon, explore under your own steam, then re-join your group for a leisurely evening cruise on Lake Pichola, and a dinner overlooking the stunning facade of City Palace.
Head north through the beautiful scenery of the Aravali Hills, pausing in Ranakpur to visit the astonishing Jain temples - a quartet of intricate, marble edifices that nestle in a wooded valley. In the late afternoon you'll arrive on the outskirts of Jodhpur for a two-night stay at another beautiful, lakeside heritage hotel. Rest and relax before dinner, which might be served under the stars.
Explore the extraordinary, desert-fringed "blue city" of Jodhpur – so called because of the blue colour-washed houses that decorate its old city. Explore its monumental Mehrangarh Fort, which towers over the city on its sandstone butte protecting a complex of ornate palaces and courtyards with a fascinating museum, and visit the marbled Jaswant Thanda memorial and the vast Umaid Bhawan palace museum. Later, take an evening jeep safari to a village inhabited by the Bishnoi, who follow a 15th-century religious creed that includes a variety of instructions to preserve the environment – earning them the title of the world's first eco-warriors.
Drive into the sands of the Great Indian Desert to the remote city of Bikaner, where ornate Junagarh Fort dominates the labyrinthine old city. Tour the Fort's pavilions and palaces, then enjoy a fascinating visit to a camel-breeding farm. This evening, you'll travel further into the desert to a camp that sits among the towering sand dunes. Marvel at the dazzling sunset, take a camel-cart ride under the starlit sky and enjoy an unforgettable dinner.
Continue your journey through the desert, travelling along an ancient trading route into a region where small market towns are dwarfed by richly decorated havelis. You'll spend a night at the sumptuous Alsisar Mahal heritage hotel, which boasts decorated arcades, frescoes and tranquil courtyards. Settle in, then enjoy a glass of champagne while listening to a talk from a local historian, who will shed light on the story behind the area's opulent Shekhawati havelis.
On the last leg of this wonderful journey you'll travel back through Rajasthan's exotic landscape to the Aravali Hills, with an included lunch en route at the ornate Shahpura Haveli. You'll spend two nights at Vanaashrya Resort, which sits immersed in beautiful jungle scenery. Upon arrival, rest and relax, and settle into your comfortable, air-conditioned cottage.
Spend your day relaxing at Vanaashrya. Explore the ruins of Bhangarh Fort, which dates back to the 17th Century and is thought to be haunted, then take a camel-cart ride to a nearby village for a glimpse of local life. This evening, you'll be treated to a cookery demonstration before dinner.
Begin your extension with a flight to the southern Indian jewel of Kochi, where you will be met by your tour guide and escorted to your first hotel - the four-star deluxe Trident. Check-in, rest and relax, or take a dip in the courtyard pool, prior to taking dinner in the hotel's restaurant.
Begin your exploration of Kerala, 'God's Own Country', today, with a tour of historic Kochi. Take in the Portuguese-built and peculiarly named Dutch Palace, the spectacular Paradesi Synagogue and the area's photogenic Chinese fishing nets. In the evening, enjoy a traditional Kathakali dance show.
This morning travel to Periyar, inland from Kochi, to spend one night in the Greenwoods Hotel. After checking into your hotel, enjoy an enlightening tour of a local spice plantation. In the evening, relax in your hotel, taking advantage of its spa, swimming pool and treehouse cafe.
Rise early on the fourth day of your extension to take to the waters of Lake Periyar for a wildlife boat tour, after which we transfer to our third and final stop, coastal Alleppey. Check in to your resort hotel set on the lush banks of the Punnamada Lake, and spend the rest of the day recharging your batteries.
Get to know Kerala's famous backwaters, today, as you take lunch on a traditional kettuvallam houseboat and relax as life plays out on the area's labyrinthine banks. Later, return to your hotel and enjoy a restful evening looking back on your journey through India.
On your final day in India, transfer from Alleppey to Kochi, and board your flight back to the UK via Abu Dhabi.
19 nights' half-board accommodation in historic heritage and four and five-star hotels
A rickshaw ride through Old Delhi
A boat safari on the Chambal River and a cruise on Lake Pichola
Two jeep safaris
A guided tour of Udaipur
Return scheduled flights to Delhi, returning from Kochi, via Abu Dhabi
Gatimaan Express train journey from Delhi to Agra
Comfortable, air-conditioned vehicle transfers and travel
Fully escorted by a friendly, experienced tour manager
You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.
With more than 35 years’ tour-operating experience, Newmarket Holidays can provide escorted tours, river cruises, cruise holidays and resort-based stays that combine superb value for money and the highest standards of customer care. Having won Best Escorted Tours Holiday Company six years running at the British Travels Awards, the company has become one of the largest and most respected independently owned tour operators in the UK.
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