Grand Tour of India

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Combining the best India has to offer - from the deserts of Rajasthan in the north, to the tranquil backwaters of Kerala in the south, the Bollywood city of Mumbai and the historic caves at Ajanta and Ellora. This tour will leave you with a strong sense of the history, culture, and geography of this diverse country.

Places Visited

Delhi (2N) - Varanasi (2N) - Khajuraho (2N) - Agra (2N) - Bharatpur (1N) - Jaipur (2N) - Alsisar (1N) - Bikanner (1N) - Jaisalmer (2N) - Jodhpur (2N) - Udaipur (2N) - Mumbai (1N) - Aurangbad (2N) - Kochi (2N) - Nedemudy (1N) - Kovalam (1N)

Days 1 Fly to Delhi
Fly overnight to Delhi, India's capital city.
Days 1 Fly to Delhi
Day 2-3 Explore Delhi
On arrival you will be met by your expert tour guide and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is yours to explore. The next day sightseeing begins with a visit to the Red Fort and a walk through Chandni Chowk Bazaar to Jama Masjid, India's largest mosque. There'll be a photo stop at India Gate and parliament House. You'll also visit Gandhi Smriti and Qutab Minar.
Day 2-3 Explore Delhi
Day 4-6 Discover Varanasi
Fly to Varanasi. The following day visit the 3rd Century Buddhist sites at Sarnath and the Ghats of the River Ganges to witness the puja ceremony of Ganga Aarti. Arise early the next morning for a boat ride along the Ganges to view the lively Ghats at sunrise, before taking a tour of the city and its famed temples. Later, fly to Khajuraho and in the evening watch a cultural dancing performance.
Day 4-6 Discover Varanasi
Day 7 Explore Khajuraho Temples
Tour the fascinating Western and Eastern temples of Khajuraho.
Day 8 Orchha & Train to Agra
Travel to Orchha, a city of medieval beauty. Continue by road to Jhansi and travel by Shatabdi express Train to Agra.
Day 8 Orchha & Train to Agra
Day 9 The Taj Mahal
Rise early to view the impressive Taj Mahal in all its glory at sunrise; this memory will stay with you forever. Later visit a marble inlay workshop where we learn about the this intricate skill, followed by Agra Fort, the redstone 16th century fort built by Emperor Akbar.
Day 9 The Taj Mahal
Day 10 Ranthambore or Bharatpur
Depending on the season, the next two days operate different itineraries as follows: Jan to May: Drive to Bharatpur, then travel by train to Ranthambore National Park for a canter safari. Ranthambore is home to many animals such as leopards, hyena, bears and most importantly, tigers. Sept to Dec: Drive to Bharatpur, then continue to the ghost city of Fatehpur Sikri and visit the Keoladeo National Park, home to many species of birdlife. Later return to Bharatpur.
Day 10 Ranthambore or Bharatpur
Day 11 Jaipur
Continue to Jaipur to visit the Maharajas City Palace and Jantar Mantar Observatory, the largest stone observatory in the world.
Day 11 Jaipur
Day 12 Hawa Mahal & Amber Fort
Begin with a photo stop at Hawa Mahal, the palace of the Winds. Continue to Amber Fort and the local bazaar in Choti Choper. Enjoy a traditional dinner and dance performance in the evening.
Day 12 Hawa Mahal & Amber Fort
Day 13-14 Alsisar Heritage Town
Travel to the heritage town of Alsisar. The next day continue to the desert town of Bikaner - visit Junagarh Fort, the medieval streets and Old City Bazaar.
Day 13-14 Alsisar Heritage Town
Day 15-16 Jaisalmer
Travel to Jaisalmer, also known as the Golden City and visit the local markets and Sunset point. The following day visit Jaisalmer Fort, the beautiful Jain temples, Badal Vilas palace and Sam Sand Dunes for a camel ride to view the sunset.
Day 15-16 Jaisalmer
Day 17-18 Discover Jodhpur
Travel to Jodhpur and visit Meherangarh Fort and Subji Mandi market. The next day visit a Bishnoi Tribe.
Day 17-18 Discover Jodhpur
Day 19-20 Discover Udaipur
Travel to Udaipur, a city of lakes, palaces and temples. En route you will stop at Ranakpur to visit the largest Jain Temple complex in India, built in the 15th Century. Continue to Udaipur for a relaxing cruise on Lake Pichola. The next day drive around Fateh Sagar Lake and then visit the Folk Museum, Mewar Art Gallery, the City Palace and Sahelion Ki Bari Garden.
Day 19-20 Discover Udaipur
Day 21-23 Ajanta & Ellora Caves
Fly to Aurangabad via Mumbai. The next day visit the UNESCO World Heritage listed Ajanta Caves, home to murals showing Buddhist life. The next day visit the Ellora Caves. Also a UNESCO World Heritage site, the caves are home to rock shrines representing Buddhist, Hindu and Jain art dating back as far as the 4th century. Return to Mumbai, spending an overnight there.
Day 21-23 Ajanta & Ellora Caves
Day 24 Explore Mumbai, fly to Kochi
Experience incredible Mumbai, drive past the Gateway of India and the Afghan Church along Marine Drive. Visit the Hanging Gardens, Chowpatty Beach, Kamala Nehru Park, Mani Bhavan, the Dhobi Ghats, Crawford Market and Flora Fountain. Later, fly to Kochi.
Day 24 Explore Mumbai, fly to Kochi
Day 25 Discover Kochi
Visit the Dutch Palace, St. Francis Church, Santa Cruz Basilica and Fort Kochi. We also see the cantilevered Chinese fishing nets and stroll through the nearby markets. Enjoy a Kathakali dance performance.
Day 25 Discover Kochi
Day 26 Kerala Backwater Cruise
Visit the Jewish Synagogue before travelling to Nedumudy where you will board your houseboat, a converted rice barge known as a Kettuvallam. Witness the village life on the backwaters of Kerala. Lunch and dinner will be served on board and you will overnight on the houseboat.
Day 26 Kerala Backwater Cruise
Day 27 Journey to Kovalam
Disembark and travel to Kovalam.
Day 27 Journey to Kovalam
Day 28 Visit Trivandrum
Travel to Trivandrum. Visit Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple, the Zoological Gardens and Museums, Sri Chitra Art Gallery and Reptile House. You'll also see the Observatory, Kanakakunnu Palace and Sree Shastri Purthi Memorial.
Day 28 Visit Trivandrum
Day 29 Fly Trivandrum to UK
Fly to the UK, arriving home later the same or following day.
Day 29 Fly Trivandrum to UK

Also Available

Private Departures for this tour

If the dates we have available for this tour don't suit your needs, or you are not sure travelling as part of a group is for you, maybe a Private Departure would be more ideal. Based on exactly the same itinerary as the group tour, our Private Departures give you the freedom to choose your own departure date and simply enjoy your holiday with your family, your partner, or your friends. On most Private Departures your tour will be led by an English speaking driver and you will be met by local guides at each site.

Tailor Your Tour

If you like most of the itinerary which we have suggested but you'd like to change the route and the accommodation, speak to our specialist Tailormade team, who can build your perfect itinerary based around where you would like to go, what you would like to see and how much you'd like to spend. Just call us on 0800 9884 888 and we'll help plan your dream holiday.

Wendy Wu Tours, inspect all of our hotels to ensure they meet the high levels of service which we require for our guests. If the hotels details below for your tour are not available, hotels of a similar standard will be used.

The Royal Plaza
The Royal Plaza - New Delhi, India (2 Nights)
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Well-placed in the sightseeing, shopping, and culture area of New Delhi and NCR city, Hotel The Royal Plaza provides access to the city's biggest attractions including; The National Philatelic Museum, Parliament Building, and Jantar Mantar Astronomical Observatory. The hotel has luxurious en-suite rooms, and also features a fitness centre, sauna, outdoor pool, and spa where guests can relax and unwind after a busy day.



Hotel Ideal Tower
Hotel Ideal Tower - Varanasi, India (2 Nights)
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Located a short distance from the historical Amer Fort and Jaigarh Fort, 5* Hotel Mansingh comprises of elegantly decorated en-suite rooms, featuring a television, personal safe and mini bar. Wi-Fi, dry cleaning and an outdoor pool are other commendable features. The in-house restaurant serves a selection of excellent local and international dishes. Guests can also dine at Ripples Cafè – a coffee shop stocked with an assortment of snacks and beverages.



Clarks Khajuraho
Clarks Khajuraho - Khajuraho, India (2 Nights)
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Situated in the lush green grasslands on the banks of river Khuddar, Hotel Clarks Khajuraho is a 10 minute drive from the 9th century temples. With 104 tastefully decorated en-suite rooms, modern amenities include; air-conditioned rooms, television and a telephone. Dining in Khajuraho includes Darpan, the multi cuisine restaurant and The Coffee Shop, which serves refreshing snacks and coffee. Other features include a poolside barbeque and bar facility.



Mansingh Hotel
Mansingh Hotel - Agra, India (2 Nights)
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Overlooking the magnanimous “Taj Mahal”, The Mansingh Palace Hotel provides 100 well-furnished en-suite rooms all equipped with modern amenities including; LED TV, Electronic safe deposit, mini bar, hair dryer and electric kettle. The hotel also boasts a delicious multi-cuisine restaurant, health club and swimming pool.



The Pugmark
The Pugmark - Madhopur, India (1 Nights)
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Nestled at the edge of Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan and set over an area of 10 acres, The Pugmark is the true combination of sheer comfort and luxury. The hotel offers 33 well-appointed en-suite rooms, and also boasts a spa, garden, and poolside bar. The restaurant offers a delicious multi cuisine.



Mansingh Hotel
Mansingh Hotel - Jaipur, India (2 Nights)
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Alsisar Mahal
Alsisar Mahal - Alsisar, India (1 Nights)
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The Alsisar Mahal is situated in village Alsisar, 23 Km from district head quarter 'JhunJhunu' in Rajasthan. Alsisar Mahal's en-suite rooms comprise of beautifully decorated interiors, antique furniture and intricately carved poster beds. Amenities include air-conditioning, cable television and tea/coffee making facilities. The hotel also features an onsite restaurant serving local Rajasthani, Chinese and international dishes at the open-air restaurant.



Laxmi Niwas Palace
Laxmi Niwas Palace - Bikaner, India (1 Nights)
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Housed in a majestic palace built in 1902, The Laxmi Niwa Palace hotel is a short distance away from Bikaner’s many sightseeing attractions, shops, and restaurants. Featuring ornate furnishings, en-suite rooms come with a desk, seating area and electric kettle. The hotels onsite restaurant serves delicious Chinese and local traditional dishes, as well as a daily breakfast.



Desert Tulip
Desert Tulip - Jaisalmer, India (2 Nights)
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Featuring traditional Rajasthan décor, Desert Tulip Hotel & Resort is located minutes away from the Jaisalmer Fort. All en-suite rooms feature modern amenities including, cable television, a personal safe and tea/coffee-making facilities. The hotel’s restaurant serves traditional Rajasthani Cuisine and a selection of buffet dishes. There is also a spa and games room.



The Fern Hotel
The Fern Hotel - Jodhpur, India (2 Nights)
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Located in Jodhpur, The Fern Residency is an upscale business hotel with 50 high-end en-suite rooms, all featuring a flat-screen TV, air conditioning and a seating area. Dining options include Ocean Restaurant serving delicious Indian and International cuisines. Other facilities include an outdoor terrace and sauna.



Hilltop Palace
Hilltop Palace - Udaipur, India (2 Nights)
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Hotel Hilltop Palace is situated atop Ambavgarh Hill, overlooking Lake Fatehsagar and the historic Udaipur Town. The hotel offers 62 tasteful rooms with modern amenities, including air-conditioning, a safety deposit box and television. The hotel boasts an on-site restaurant serving Northern Indian cuisine, as well as Rajasthani Folk dances arranged on request.



Ambassador Ajanta
Ambassador Ajanta - Aurangabad, India (2 Nights)
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Ambassador Ajanta is located in the heart of the city centre in a unique location with more than 13 acres of lush greenery right in the middle of the business district. The 92 en-suite rooms offer an intimate, full-service experience, with amenities including; access to Wi-Fi and a safety deposit box. The hotel’s onsite restaurant also offers delicious Indian, Chinese and European dishes.



The Ambassador
The Ambassador - Mumbai, India (1 Nights)
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Located along the seafront at Marine Drive, in the heart of South Mumbai's famous Queens Necklace, The Ambassador boasts 112 air-conditioned excellently appointed en-suite rooms, each equipped with CCTV, channel music, a refrigerator and other amenities. Other facilities include a restaurant, BBQ facilities and a shop.



Abad Atrium
Abad Atrium - Kochi, India (2 Nights)
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Uday Samudra Beach Resort
Uday Samudra Beach Resort - Kovalam, India (1 Nights)
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Located by the famed beaches of Kovalam, 15 metres from the sea, Uday Samudra Beach Resort is an exclusive 5 Star leisure beach hotel - a destination by itself. The hotel boasts luxurious air-conditioned en-suite rooms with modern amenities and the restaurant serves a variety of delicious Chinese, continental and local dishes. Live cultural programmes also can be enjoyed during dinner time.



A visa is required by all nationalities. A single entry visa should be arranged in advance of travel.
Unlike many other tour operators, we include your entry visas in the price of our tour. We handle the entire visa process – all you need to do is fill out the form and send your passport to us. We are always on hand to help you with any questions or queries you might have when completing the form. 

Phone Calls
International and domestic calls can be made from your hotel room. To call the UK the international access code is 00, followed by the country code 44, then the local area code (omitting the first 0), then the number. To call Wendy Wu Tours it is 00 44 207 403 7860. Emergency 24 hour telephone (out of office hours) is 00 44 7984 041 625.
 
Mobile Phones
Mobile phones are growing in popularity and you will find high quality coverage. There are active roaming agreements with all phone carriers; however SMS and call rates can be expensive. We recommend that you contact your mobile supplier if you intend to use international roaming during your holiday and ensure you investigate all associated costs before you leave the UK.
 
Internet & Email
Internet cafes can be found in all major cities and even in some small towns. This is often the easiest and cheapest way to stay in touch. Most hotels have a business centre with internet access, but at a slightly higher rate. Some hotels may have Wi-Fi which usually comes at an additional cost and may only be available in hotel lobbies. 

Tipping is an expected element in the tourism industry today and India is no exception. Many passengers are often uncertain of how much to tip so we have established a tipping system whereby every passenger gives a set amount to the National Escort who will distribute the amount appropriately. On multi-country tips, this amount will be paid in stages on arrival in each country. If there is no National Escort, you will need to give your money to your Local Guides and tipping amounts for each city will be shown in your final itinerary. The amount for the kitty is calculated for each tour depending on the length, group size, and services used during the trip.
 
We will indicate the tipping amounts in your final documents for guidance.

Shopping can be fun and entertaining, especially in local markets all over India where souvenirs can be purchased for next to nothing. However all passengers must realise that the authenticity and value of goods is always questionable.
If the price seems too good to be true, then it probably is! Some shopping is made up of copied brand items and reproduced antiques.
 
In keeping with most people’s interest whilst on holiday, your tour will include a reasonable number of opportunities in local shops and government factories. This may vary depending on local conditions, and should never interfere with your itinerary’s included sightseeing.
 
Each region has its own specialty; a traditional handicraft perfected by the locals over centuries, a climate that encourages rich spices to grow, or a type of wood, stone or precious jewel in abundance nearby. Textiles are a popular souvenir, including silk brocades from Varanasi in the north or Kanchipuram in the south, tie-dyed cottons from all over Rajasthan, saris, hand woven Tibetan carpets from Darjeeling or Dharamshala, or the woollen shawls pashminas of Kashmir and Ladakh.
 
There is also the heavy and elaborate silverwork of Rajasthan, “spring picked” tea from the hill stations, and the spices, wooden carvings or facemasks of Kerala.
 
If you prefer set prices, head to the government-run shops, usually called “cottage industries” or “emporium” which sells quality but reasonably priced goods. The more up market tourist shops will also have fixed prices. Markets, street stalls, and local shops can be noisy, crowded, and confronting, but this remains one of the most rewarding experiences of travelling in India. If your itinerary includes some free time and you would like to go shopping, ask either your National Escort/Guide or the hotel staff for advice on how to best get there. They should be able to tell you if you need a taxi or a rickshaw, how much you should pay for the journey and provide you verbal or written directions to give to the driver. Remember to take a hotel business card with you to find your way back!

The cost of all meals is included in your group tour cost. Breakfast is served in the hotel and includes a combination of western and local dishes. As traditional in this region, lunch and dinner are served in a banquet style, so you can try the variety of specialty dishes. The amount of food served is more than ample for the whole group.
 
We aim to cater to the tastes of the majority of people so dishes are not too spicy or unusual in their taste. One of the great myths about India is that the food is of poor quality and always hot and spicy. This is definitely not the case! In fact, North Indian dishes whilst often very rich and indeed spicy don’t contain as much chilli as South Indian dishes. Indian cuisine is predominately vegetarian; however more meat (chicken and lamb) dishes are available in the North. On our group tours, we use a variety of local and hotel restaurants, which provide variety in both the dishes and methods of cooking. If you like Indian food from home, you will have no problems with the real Indian food as it is similar, only more flavoursome. You’ll love it; though don’t expect to lose weight on your holiday, Indians love to eat and eat big. In tourist centres, some restaurants and hotels may also serve western dishes to provide variety. You may also prefer to bring comforts like cereal, biscuits, muesli bars and tea/coffee from home.
 
Drinks will be at each tour member’s own expense. Beer is widely available and cheap. Wine lovers should remember that western style wine is very expensive to import into India, so is not stocked except by upmarket restaurants. Bottled drinking water, soft drinks, and fruit juices are also widely available – remember that you should only have ice, fruit juices, or lassies (yoghurt based sweet or salty drinks) from a trusted restaurant; where they will use boiled or bottled water to prepare ice and drinks.
 
Tea is very popular and Indians simply love visiting the many street stalls which brew chai (also known as masala), a sweet, spiced tea brewed with boiling milk. Hotels will usually serve tea and instant coffee at breakfast or other meals – you can usually request the chai or masala style tea as well.
Packed meals: On some days, your National Escort/Guide may arrange for a simple, packed meal for your group. It may be a matter of schedule (on long driving days), hygiene (on train journeys), or your location (in remote areas) and we ask you to bear this in mind. Although this is not a full meal, most of our passengers seem to enjoy this change from the large portions and more elaborate banquets enjoyed most days.

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Why Book This Tour?

This tour is suited for customers who have an extensive amount of time to explore India and wish to take in the most famous and iconic sights in depth. This tour also incorporates a train journey and a 1 night cruise in the Kerala Backwaters.

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