NORTH INDIA

Magical Kashmir 08 days, 07 nights

The valley of Kashmir offers woody abyss which surrounds the steep mountainous terrain. Known around the world for its unparalleled landscapes, the valley is located 300kms away from Jammu. Situated in the Himalayas, the clear blue skies reveal the snow-capped peaks that birth the streams and rivers. The valley delights you with multi hues of nature communicated through lush green slopes, tender meadows and prairie of vibrant flowers. The capital city of Kashmir- Srinagar is world renowned for its handloom that produces woollen garments and Pashmina shawls. Srinagar also acquaints you with the local handicrafts and hand carved wooden furniture made out of walnut tree.

Day 1 – Arrive Delhi

Arrive late evening at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International airport. You will be met by our representative outside the customs gate and escorted to your hotel.

Day 2 – DELHI

Enjoy a full day guided tour of Delhi.

The city consists of two parts – Old and New Delhi. Old Delhi was the capital of Muslim India between the 17th and 19th centuries and has many mosques, monuments and forts.

Begin your day with an exploration starting in Old Delhi. Visit Jama Masjid, the Royal Mosque which was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1656. Enjoy a cycle rickshaw ride through the narrow lanes followed by a short walk along the main street of Old Delhi – the colourful shopping bazaar known as Chandni Chowk. Drive past the Red Fort (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Continue to Raj Ghat, the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi.

In the afternoon visit New Delhi – the imperial city created by the British as the capital of India. In 1911, Edwin Lutyens, the most renowned English architect of the day, was chosen to design New Delhi. Drive through the majestic boulevards – the Rashtrapati Bhawan is where the Viceroy once lived and is now the official residence of the President of India. View India Gate, a war memorial arch built in honour of 90,000 Indian soldiers who lost their lives in World War I. Visit Humayun’s Tomb (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the first great example of Mughal architecture in India. The day’s tour ends at Qutab Minar (another UNESCO World Heritage Site) – a soaring tower of victory which is 72.5 metres high and has five distinct stories.

Overnight at Hotel in Delhi.

Day 3 – Delhi – Srinagar

This morning you will be transferred to the airport to board the flight to Srinagar.

Arrive in Srinagar – meet and assist on arrival. Transfer to the hotel in Srinagar.

Srinagar is the capital city of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The city of Srinagar is located at 5200 feet (1 mile or as high as Denver, Colorado) above sea level.

Rest of the day at leisure.

Overnight at the hotel in Srinagar.

Day 4 – Srinagar

After a leisurely breakfast begin the day visiting a famous Sufi Shrine located in the heart of the beautiful old city. Sufism and Kashmir go hand in hand whether it was Buddhism, Hinduism or Islam – the great saints came and lived here and preached the religion of humanity.

Visit the famous Grand Mosque called Jamia mosque.

Our next stop is the bridge located on the famous old wooden River Jhelum. On both sides of the river are some old traditional houses that were built by the rich and famous of the city who lived in them before the mode of transportations was shifted to the roads.

This Shah-Hamadhan mosque is a pure example of the mixture of architecture – including Pagoda, Persian, a local log house and a little bit of Central Asian.

This afternoon we visit a small museum dedicated to the crafts of the valley. Later visit a workshop where one can see men working on the chain stitch rugs and fabric materials.

Our next stop will be Walnut wood carving followed by a Papier-Mache workshop.

Overnight at the hotel in Srinagar.

Day 5 – Srinagar

After a leisurely breakfast visit some of the best kept gardens of the Mughal era – Shalimar Gardens.

Emperor Jahangir and his wife Noor-Jahan were so enamored by Kashmir that during the summer they moved to Srinagar with their full court entourage from Delhi.

Later visit the Parimahal Garden. Once the royal observatory, Pari Mahal has a charmingly laid out garden and is a five-minute drive from Cheshmashahi. A Buddhist monastery at one time, it was converted into a school of astrology by Dara Shikoh, Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan’s eldest son.

Later in the afternoon visit the Ghats (landing) on the Boulevard road where you will board Shikara (boat). Your boat trip takes you through by lanes and narrow canals of old parts of the lake to familiarize you with the lifestyles of people who lived on the banks of the lake. An amazing photo opportunity awaits you on this trip as you see how cultivation of vegetables and flowers is done on the floating and manmade islands.

Overnight at the hotel in Srinagar.

Day 6 – Srinagar – Gulmarg

This morning after breakfast you will be driven to Gulmarg (8700 feet above sea level) west from Srinagar almost an hour and a half away from the city centre.

The large and beautiful meadow of Gulmarg lies at a stunning altitude of 2730m and is around 50km southwest of Srinagar in the Jammu and Kashmir region of far northern India. Gulmarg means ‘meadow of flowers’ and it lives up to this description in spring, when there are flowers everywhere at this hill station. Check into the hotel.

Afternoon at leisure for activities like walking, playing golf, horse riding or just relaxing.

Overnight at the hotel in Gulmarg.

Day 7 – Gulmarg – Srinagar

After breakfast you will be driven back to Srinagar. Rest of the day at leisure for independent activities. Overnight at the hotel in Srinagar.

Day 8 – Srinagar – Delhi

If you are an early riser (even when it is dark outside) a unique trip to the vegetable floating market awaits you.

After breakfast,transfer to the Srinagar Airport to board the flight for Delhi. An A&K representative will escort you to airport.
On arrival in Delhi an A&K representative will transfer you to your hotel.
Overnight at Hotel in Delhi.

The Golden Triangle 4 days, 3 nights

The bustling modern city is one of the three corners of the golden triangle that includes Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. Come explore the wonders and sites that the tour has to offer.

Day 1 – Arrive Delhi

Arrive late evening at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International airport. You will be met by our representative outside the customs gate and escorted to your hotel.

Delhi In the morning, take a sightseeing tour of Old Delhi. Visit the Raj Ghat, the memorial at the site where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated, Jama Mosque, the largest mosque in India, and drive past the Red Fort, once the most opulent fort and palace of the Moghul Empire.

In the afternoon you’ll tour New Delhi, visiting Humayun’s Tomb and the Qutub Minar. As you drive along the ceremonial avenue, Rajpath, pass the imposing India Gate, Parliament House and the President’s Residence to end the tour with a drive through the Diplomatic Enclave.

DAY 2 – Delhi to Agra
After breakfast at the hotel, depart for Agra by coach. Agra was the capital of the great Mughal Empire. On arrival, you will check in at your hotel, and after lunch visit the Agra Fort, with its imposing gates, walls of red sandstone and moat that dominates the center of the city. In the evening, you’ll drive to the Taj Mahal to glimpse the monument graced by the light of the setting sun. This beautiful mausoleum in pure white marble was built by Emperor Shah Jehan as a mausoleum for his wife Mumtaz Mahal. The rays of the setting sun make the monument a wonder to behold. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

DAY 3 – Agra to Jaipur
Enjoy an early morning visit to the Taj Mahal to experience its splendour and beauty kissed by the light of the rising sun. Return to the hotel for a full American breakfast before you proceed by road to Jaipur. En route you will stop at Fatehpur Sikri, The City of Victory, to explore the site of the deserted city of Emperor Akbar, whose audience halls, palaces and mosques are perfectly preserved. The vast, imperial capital, with its 500 splendid buildings, was abandoned after only fourteen years due to lack of a water supply. Upon arrival in Jaipur, check in at the magnificent Rambagh Palace Hotel, or similar, where a Royal Welcome awaits you on the front lawns with a decorated elephant, camels with riders in traditional costumes and mounted lancers on horseback. Ladies in colorful costumes will perform the ceremony of aarti while you are garlanded with fresh flowers. Enjoy the shehnai while a welcome drink is served. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

DAY 4 – Jaipur to Mumbai
This morning, drive along the streets of Jaipur to Amber Fort, the capital of Jaipur State until 1728. See the Hall of Victory glittering with mirrors before continuing on to the Amber Fort. On the crest of a rugged hilltop and overlooking Lake Moata, the fort lends a majestic strength that evokes thoughts of legends and fairytales. A turban tying ceremony has been arranged for you to learn why the turban is of tremendous relevance in India, particularly to the Rajputs of Rajasthan as it symbolizes victory. Those who are ready for adventure will take an elephant ride to the gates of Amber Fort! (An alternative vehicle ride is available.) After lunch, you’ll continue with an afternoon of exploring. Your tour will bring you to the finest of these monuments, the City Palace—a dazzling showplace of Hindu and Mughal architecture. You will then visit the Jantar Mantar next door, better known as The Observatory. Built between 1728 and 1734, the instruments are amazingly accurate even today. Finally, you will transfer to the airport for a flight to Mumbai to meet your ship.

SHORT LENGTH TOUR DESCRIPTION
This 3-night overland excursion begins with the flight to the capital city of Delhi – your jumping off point to visit Agra and the spectacular Taj Mahal. An overnight stay in Agra affords the opportunity to see the Taj Mahal cast in the glow of both sunset and sunrise. Then it’s on to the “Pink City” of Jaipur to explore its wonders, including the Amber Fort, before flying to meet your ship in Mumbai.

OPERATIONAL NOTES

– The Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays
– The availability of elephants in Jaipur is limited and therefore subject to prior advance booking
– During winters in north India, usually around mid-December until the end of January, dense fog is experienced, which may affect flight schedules, train schedules and sightseeing, particularly the sunrise and sunset visits to the Taj Mahal
– The level of physical activity is Moderate

Highlights of Rajasthan 6 days, 5 nights

Visit Jaisalmer, Jodhpur & Udaipur

The land of royalties has written significant chapters in Indian history. Featuring varied landscapes of arid deserts, sylvan hilly terrain and vibrant green plains; Rajasthan has been a muse for artists across all fields. The land of Maharajas is renowned for its invincible forts built by the Marwar and Amer rulers. Rajasthan delights you with intricate architecture built by the Shekhavats and the Osian kings. From the grim, impregnable forts of the kingdoms of Marwar and Amber to the delicate frescoes and screen work of Shekhavati and the desert city of Jaisalmer, the jewels of India are diverse and dramatic in this region.

Day 1 – Arrive Delhi

Arrive late evening at Indira Gandhi International Airport. You will be met by our representative and guide outside the customs gate and transferred to your hotel.

Upon arrival at the hotel, a traditional Indian welcome awaits. Girls dressed in Indian costumes will shower rose petals and a red-powdered dot will be anointed on the forehead as a mark of respect. A welcome non-alcoholic cocktail will be served in a private section.

Day 2 – Delhi

Enjoy a full day guided tour of Delhi.

Begin your day with an exploration starting in Old Delhi which was the capital of Muslim India between the 17th and 19th centuries. Visit Jama Masjid, the Royal Mosque which was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1656.

Enjoy a cycle rickshaw ride through the narrow lanes followed by a short walk in the main street of Old Delhi – the colourful shopping bazaar known as Chandni Chowk.

Drive past the Red Fort (a UNESCO World Heritage site) built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Proceed for a brief visit to Raj Ghat, the Mahatma Gandhi memorial.

In the afternoon visit New Delhi – the imperial city created by the British as the capital of India. In 1911, Edwin Lutyens, the most renowned English architect of the day, was chosen to design New Delhi.

The Rashtrapati Bhawan is where the Viceroy once lived and now is the official residence of the President of India. View India Gate, a war memorial arch built in honour of 90,000 Indian soldiers who lost their lives in World War I. Visit Qutab Minar (a UNESCO World Heritage site), a soaring tower of victory which is 72.5 metres high and has five distinct stories.

Day 3 – Delhi – Jaisalmer

This morning leave for Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer

Morning enjoy a sightseeing tour of Jaisalmer.

Visit Jaisalmer Fort, the main attraction of this picturesque desert city. Built in 1156, it is the second oldest fort in Rajasthan. Visit the intricately carved havelis or mansions Salim Singh ki Haveli and Patwon ki Haveli.

Late afternoon, drive to the sand dunes. The ripples on the wind-caressed dunes creating an enchanting mirage are surely a delight. Enjoy a camel ride on the dunes.

Day 4 – Jaisalmer – Jodhpur

This morning drive to Jodhpur, once the capital of the former princely state of Marwar. It was founded in 1459 by Rao Jodha and is now the second largest city of Rajasthan. The graceful palaces, forts and temples bring alive the historic grandeur, while the exquisite handicrafts, folk dances, music and the brightly attired people lend a romantic aura to the city.

Arrive in Jodhpur and check-in at your hotel.

Late afternoon, enjoy a short orientation tour of Jodhpur city. Visit magnificent Mehrangarh, one of Rajasthan’s finest forts. This 5,000 metre long fort is an impressive and formidable structure. There are seven gates that lead into the fort, inside a series of courtyards and palaces to be found. Make a brief stop at Jaswant Thada, located a short distance from the fort, which is a white marble memorial to Maharaja Jaswant Singh II.

Later, enjoy a walking tour through the ancient blue town where there will be opportunity to explore the narrow winding lanes, ending at the Old Clock Tower vegetable and spice market.

Day 5 Jodhpur – Udaipur

En route visit Ranakpur Temples. Ranakpur boasts some of the most exquisite Jain temples in the country, famous for their intricate friezes and sculptures, and is one of the holiest Jain sites in India.

Arrive Udaipur late afternoon and check-in at your hotel.

This evening you will be taken to City Palace to experience and enjoy the Holika Dahan Ceremony.

Holi (Holika Dahan) Festival, Udaipur: The regal festival of Holika Dahan perpetuates centuries-old time-honored traditions. The regal festival represents India’s eternal fascination with celebration of life through the many seasons. Holi, one of the most popular of Indian festivals, is celebrated when winter gives way to spring. Holika Dahan is the festival’s first day when the pious fire is lit on the full moon night of Phalguna (one of the 12 months of the Hindu calendar). According to Hindu mythology, it demonstrates the triumph of divine power over demonic strength.

At the Holika Dahan ceremony held at the city palace complex, Udaipur, witness a magnificent palace procession, observe royal etiquette and ritual as you look upon the royal parade in their traditional attire-finely liveried palace staff, elegantly bedecked horses and the impeccably turned out band that leads the cavalcade through the Palace from the Royal residence to Manek Chowk. After the religious ceremonies, as twilight descends, you can look forward to the lighting of a traditional sacred fire where an effigy of the fraudulent Holika is burnt. This is followed by local people performing the ”Gair”, a traditional folk dance performed specially on the occasion, which you will discover yourself, can be quite infectious!

UDAIPUR

This morning you will be invited to by the hotel to experience and share the holi celebrations with the family. The celebration and festival lasts till noon and after that time is free at the hotel.

In the evening enjoy a boat cruise on the placid waters of Lake Pichola. From the boat view the city of Udaipur rise majestically above the lake in the middle of the Rajasthan desert. Also visit the Jag Mandir Palace, an unforgettable sight on an island in Lake Pichola, built by Maharana Karan Singhji in 1622 as a pleasure palace for royal parties and functions.

Day 6 – Udaipur – Delhi

This morning free for independent activities.

In the afternoon you will be escorted to Udaipur airport for flight to Delhi.

Arrive Delhi and transfer to International Airport for your flight to onward destination.

Colors of Uttarakhand 7 days, 6 nights

Uttrakhand is crowned with Himalayan peaks, vibrant floral valleys, glaciers and verdant dense forests.Uttrakhand is a tourist magnet owing to its magnificent scenery. It is also famous for its temples and ashrams. Explore off the beaten tracks to enjoy many activities that Uttarakhand has on offer against the milieu of Himalayan ranges. You can participate in activities like of trekking, rafting, camping, bungee jumping, and mountaineering, wild life, jungle safari, bird watching, paragliding, skiing etc.

Day 1 : ARRIVE DELHI* ON TO NAINITAL / BHIMTAL (320 KMS / APPROX. 9 HOUR DRIVE)

On arrival, check in to your hotel. The rest of the evening is at leisure.

Overnight in Nainital / Bhimtal

Day 2 : IN NAINITAL / BHIMTAL

This morning, enjoy a visit to Sat Tal, Bhimtal Lake and Naukuchiatal.

The Sattal (seven lakes) is a unique spot with an interconnected cluster of seven freshwater lakes, set amidst dense oak and pine woods. The area is a bird watchers paradise as it provides a habitat to more than 500 species of migratory and resident birds.

One of the chief tourist attractions in Bhimtal, the enormous Bhimtal Lake is the largest lake in the Nainital district. The lake has a small island in its centre with an aquarium, which can only be accessed by boat. The area attracts many Himalayan birds and offers excellent boating facilities, both paddle and row as well as fishing.

Naukuchiatal, is a lake with nine corners, rich in birdlife. It is located within the confines of an enchanting valley, offering an opportunity for angling, boating, fishing and bird watching.

The rest of the day is at leisure To relax or explore the local markets.

Day 3 : IN NAINITAL / BHIMTAL

Today, proceed on a visit to Naina Devi Temple and Hanuman Garhi.

The Naina Devi Temple is located on the northern end of the picturesque Naini Lake. The temple is devoted to the Hindu Goddess Naina Devi and along with her statue, the temple also enshrines the idols of Lord Ganesha and Goddess Kali.

Hanuman Garhi is a famous temple dedicated to the mighty Lord Hanuman, perched at a height of 6,401 ft., about 3.5 km from Nainital. Established by a local saint, Baba Neem Karauli in the year 1950, it is famous for a temple dedicated to the Hindu Lord Hanuman, the monkey god of the epic Ramayana. From this temple, one can enjoy the spectacular views of sunrise and sunset over the Himalayas.

The rest of the day is at leisure to explore the beautiful hill station of Nainital

Overnight in Nainital / Bhimtal

Day 4 : ON TO RANIKHET (60 KMS / APPROX. 2 HOUR DRIVE)

Today, proceed towards the popular hill station of Ranikhet. Located in the Kumaon hills, Ranikhet is a cool, quiet and serene hill station. Surrounded by picturesque views, Ranikhet offers the panorama of the great Himalayas, ancient temples, picnic spots and exciting trekking options.

On arrival, check in to your hotel.

This afternoon, explore the hilly town of Ranikhet. The town is named after the queen of Raja Sukherdev- Rani Padmini. Explore the temples and the wonderful sights in Ranikhet such as the Army Golf Course maintained by the Kumaon Regimen. Ranikhet is also popular for its fruit orchard of Chaubatia, a government fruit garden. The orchard grows over 200 varieties of alpine fruits and flowers.

The rest of the evening is at leisure.

Day 5 : ON TO CORBETT (190 KMS / APPROX. 5 HOUR DRIVE)

This morning, your journey continues to the wild tropical jungles of Corbett.

On arrival, check in to your hotel.

The rest of the day is at leisure.

Overnight in Corbett

Day 6 : IN CORBETT

The day is at leisure. One can enjoy a jungle safari at Corbett National Park (on direct payment basis). Corbett National Park is home to about 50 species of mammals, 25 species of reptiles and about 580 bird species. It was named after the British-Indian naturalist and hunter, Jim Corbett who played an important role in creating this national reserve.

Note: Corbett National Park remains open throughout the year for the visitors from Jhirna zone but the best time to visit Corbett is from 15th November to 15th June.

Overnight in Corbett

Day 7 : DEPART CORBETT

Today, bid farewell to your ‘Fascinating Uttarakhand – Premium’ tour, as you are transferred from hotel in Corbett to the airport / railway station in Delhi for your onward journey.