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India is a truly captivating country to visit, there is possibly no other country on earth that challenges the senses and is so totally addictive. Search for Bengal Tiger, stay in a historic fort in Rajasthan and visit the magnificent Taj Mahal at sunrise.
Explore Tour Leader
6 nights comfortable hotel
3 nights premium hotel
14 - 20
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Arrive in New Delhi, India's bustling capital which successfully combines the ancient with the modern. Amidst the tall and modern skyscrapers, there are still the remnants of a bygone time with numerous monuments and temples.
For those arriving on time today our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 1.30pm for the welcome meeting and to take us on our afternoon city tour which will visit the imposing India Gate (war memorial arch), the Parliament buildings and the Rashtrapati Bhawan, the President's residence as well as Qutab Minar, the tallest stone tower in India. Our Leader will be on hand in the evening to suggest evening dining options.
If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into New Delhi's Indira Gandhi International airport (airport code DEL), which is 18km, around 40 minutes from our hotel.
Please note that if you wish to join the city tour today, you must arrive at the hotel by 1.30pm. If you are booking your own flights, we recommend giving yourself at least one hour to clear the airport. From the airport to the hotel is around 40 minutes' drive, so therefore the latest your flight can arrive is 11am. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.
Rockland Hotel (or similar)
Compared to New Delhi the Old City is much closer to the image conjured up by Rudyard Kipling. We travel by cycle rickshaw to its hub at Chandni Chowk Bazaar, a jamboree of deafening barter and a wonderful introduction to the 'real' India. The major sights nearby are the Jami Masjid Mosque and we pass by the Red Fort on our way out of the city.
Mid-morning, head south from New Delhi to Agra, a bus journey of approximately three hours. In the afternoon we plan to visit Agra Fort, built by Akbar the Great, which contains the incomparable Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque). Before returning to the hotel we will get our first sight of the Taj Mahal in the evening light.
Hotel Amar (or similar)
This morning we aim to visit the Taj Mahal, the world's most perfect and poetic building, at sunrise. Over 300 years have elapsed since its construction, yet it stands today unscarred by age; its beauty and symmetry seemingly beyond man, time and space. Created by Shah Jahan as a funerary monument to his favourite wife, Mumtaz, it took 22 years to build (1630-52). The Great Moghul lies beside his beloved under the white marble dome. Inlaid with precious gems, the building cost a fortune. Later Shah Jahan moved his capital to Delhi before being overthrown by his son, Aurangzeb.
Later in the day, we drive to the entrance of Keoladeo Ghana National Park. Formerly a royal duck-shooting reserve and now an ornithologist's paradise, the 12 square miles of lakes and marshlands offer a safe habitat for large numbers of breeding waterbirds and migrants. More than 300 species have been sighted, among them herons, storks, geese and the huge and rare Siberian crane. We will be taken on a birdwatching tour by cycle rickshaw and we hope to see some of these magnificent birds.
After lunch we drive to Kalakho, a drive of around two hours. The small village of Kalakho is set to the backdrop of the rolling Aravalli Hills and is historically home to the Meena people.
The pace of the trip slows as we stay two nights at a family run heritage hotel, Umaid Palace. This former hunting lodge has been tastefully converted into a rural retreat and retains a small, family-run charm. After checking in, the rest of the day is free to relax in the gardens or take a walk around the nearby farmlands and village.
Umaid Palace (or similar)
This morning we head out exploring the village by camel cart, visiting the local temple and meeting the colourfully dressed villagers herding their goats and farming in the surrounding fields. We'll see and learn about turban weaving and saree tying, and we'll end in a local meena house where we are invited in for a cup of masala chai served in traditionally-made mud sakora cups.
This afternoon has been left free to relax around the pool before we receive a cookery demonstration this evening before dinner. Here we learn about how Indian flat breads are prepared and cooked in the tandoor, along with the secrets of blending the perfect spice mix. After the dinner there will be the chance to watch (and participate!) in a Bollywood dance session.
Today we take to the rural roads on our drive to Ranthambore National Park. The drive will take approximately four to five hours, and passes many rural villages along the way, giving us a taste of village life in this quieter part of India. Upon reaching our hotel, the rest of the afternoon has been left free to relax within the grounds of the hotel and perhaps take a swim in the pool.
Raj Palace Resort (or similar)
Ranthambore is one of the best examples of the country's tiger conservation projects. The best chance of sightings is between September and May. During this period water is scarce and the animals must stay close to the lakes and river. It is little wonder that this was once one of the best hunting areas of the Maharajahs.
We include a game drive this morning into the Reserve, in search of the wildlife which, as well as tiger, includes sloth bear, langur, jackal and fox as well as crested hawk eagle, crested serpent eagle, jacana, parakeet and white-breasted kingfisher. The park itself is very picturesque with lakes, rivers and forests surrounded by steep cliffs and rocky outcrops.
In the afternoon there is another opportunity to do a game drive to get a chance to see more wildlife and views. The vehicles used for game drives are open top jeeps, with 6 seats and ideal for spotting wildlife. Due to regulations aimed at keeping traffic to a minimum in the parks we cannot guarantee exclusive use of the jeeps so you may be sharing with non-Explore customers. Please note that because the jeeps can only accommodate 6 people there is a chance we may have to split family groups up, this will depend entirely on the make up of your group and we will avoid this wherever possible.
Early this morning there will be the chance to take another game drive, and then after breakfast we drive to Jaipur. Taking about three hours, there is always something new or different to see along the roadside in rural India.
Sometimes called the Pink City, Jaipur was first painted terracotta pink by Maharajah Sawai Ram Singh to celebrate the visit of Prince Albert in 1853. This afternoon we will take a city tour with our Explore tour leader. We will visit the lavish and well preserved City Palace with its fine collection of textiles, costumes and armoury and the Palace of the Winds, a 5-storied façade (built about 1760) which has been the subject of countless Indian posters. Jai Singh, the great Maharaja astronomer, built his extraordinary (and very accurate) stargazing Observatory here. The Old City has several fine gates let into the pink walls, and there are many opportunities for photos and shopping.
There is an optional puppet show at the hotel this evening or you may wish to see a Bollywood movie at the local cinema.
Mandawa Haveli (or similar)
Today, we drive the short distance to the foot of Amber Palace and drive up to the gateway. This impressive hilltop fortress possesses what must be the world's finest Chamber of Mirrors and also affords glorious views of the surrounding plains. We will visit the palace after which we will return to Jaipur. Sometimes called the Pink City, Jaipur's palaces and fortified walls were first painted terracotta pink by Maharajah Swai Ram Singh to celebrate the visit of Prince Albert in 1853.
This afternoon has been left free to explore more of Jaipur in your own time. You may choose to visit one of the famous bazaars which are bursting with delights, from marble statues to antique textiles; traditional print blocks to local musical instruments.
After a leisurely breakfast bid farewell to Jaipur, driving back to Delhi. An hour north east of Jaipur we make a stop at Samode Palace in the Aravalli hills. Blending elements of Mughal traditional architecture, this 475 year old former royal residence is a treasure trove awaiting to be explored with twisting narrow stone staircases, lavish mosaics, fountains and hidden courtyards.
We have a tour of the grounds on a camel cart and have lunch (included) at the palace before continuing our journey by bus to the modern Gurugram district of New Delhi, next to the airport; arriving early evening.
The Muse Sarovar Portico Kapashera (or similar)
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in New Delhi.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from New Delhi at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from New Delhi's Indira Gandhi International airport (airport code DEL), which is 8km, around 20 minutes from the hotel.
There is considerable variation between the different regions of India but, in general, the climate is tropical. Summer temperatures on the plains are very hot, but cooled by the South-West Monsoon, which lasts from June- September. During these months it can be very wet and therefore very humid. At altitude, temperatures can become quite cool at night even in the summer and may drop below freezing between December and February so warm clothing is necessary. In the winter, northern and mid India can be very cool, with cold evenings, so warm clothing, including plenty of layers, are essential. The south of India remains warm and sunny during the winter months.
3 Pin Round
Catholicism, Hindu, Islam and Sikhism
Hindi and English.
A selection of optional activities are listed below to help you budget for your Family adventure. Whilst the basic tour price you pay before you travel includes a great selection of highlights, we have also built in free time to allow you the flexibility to choose from a carefully selected range of additional excursions and activities or take time to relax, the choice is yours. At certain destinations along the way there may be several options to choose from and it may not be possible to fit all the activities in; your Explore Leader will be able to give advice on which are the most suitable for your family. Day 1: Delhi Craft museum - Entrance fee is INR 200 per person plus transport to and from the museum (transport at additional cost) National rail museum - Weekday entrance fee is INR 50 per person, a reduce rate of INR 10 applies for children aged under 13. Entrance fees are double over weekends and government holidays. Transport to and from the museum will be at additional cost. Akshardham Temple - free entry. The temple is closed on Mondays and on national holidays. Transport costs to and from the temple will cost extra. Day 7 or 8: Jaipur Discover the old city with Pink City Rickshaw Tour: Embark on a journey to discover the city of Jaipur like never before. Today, vroom around the city on a pop pink coloured e-scooter with a woman driver at the helm. The Pink City Rickshaw Company identifies women from underprivileged backgrounds and trains them how to ride e-rickshaws and conduct tours of the Old City. Aged between 18 and 45, these women hail from diverse socio-economic scenarios and are fighting stereotypes to hit the road. Explore the city's iconic structures like Hawa Mahal and navigate your way through the famous bazaars - Johari Bazaar, Maniharon ka rasta as you browse through the block-printed accessories and handcrafted souvenirs. Approximate cost INR 1000 per person, transport to and from the old city will be at additional cost. During the winter months a puppet show is provided by the Mandawa Haveli hotel in Jaipur lasting approx 45 minutes. There is no charge however a tip at your discretion is appreciated. Bollywood movie between INR 350 and INR 450 per person plus transport costs.
In general only lightweight clothing is needed during the day. Local people may be offended by western styles of dress and brief shorts, tight fitting clothing etc, should be avoided by both men and women.
Comfortable shoes for walking, and sandals.
One main piece of baggage and daypack. Remember you are expected to carry your own luggage so don't overload yourself.
Binoculars are useful for bird viewing. Also a 2 litre water bottle, a torch, insect repellent, sunhat and high factor suncream.
Bus, 4WD, Rickshaw, Train
Accommodation in India is as varied as the country itself. On this trip we stay in a mix of standard hotels, premium hotels and a comfortable heritage property. Standards do not equate to standards in the UK and it's best to approach each type of accommodation with an open mind. Service can be slow in places especially when travelling with a group. For the most part hotels do not have heating so in the winter months it can be chilly and if you feel the cold you may wish to ask for extra blankets. Hot water is not always available 24 hours a day in some of the smaller properties, and with a group staying you might find if you are showering last you may miss out on the hottest water. Please also note that a number of hotels in India do not serve alcohol due to the complicated licencing laws or for religious reasons. In Delhi we use a hotel located in the affluent South Delhi area. This property is right next to the metro station, making it an easy and sustainable way to access Old Delhi, as well as providing great access to New Delhi and to Agra without having to get stuck in the city-centre traffic. Rooms vary in design but all are en-suite with air-conditioning, and the hotel has a restaurant and a roof-top swimming pool. In Pechewar we stay in a family-run heritage property that allows us an insight into the history of the days of the Maharajas. Rooms are spacious with period-furnishings, en-suite facilities and air-conditioning, and the property has a swimming pool and a large beautiful gardens to walk within. With India's ever-growing middle-class, domestic travel within India is booming and as such securing accommodation is becoming increasingly challenging. Whilst we will always try to stay at the accommodations we list, there may be occasions where accommodation is changed, sometimes at late notice.
All the hotels have swimming pools
Can you drink the water?
The water quality is poor and therefore it is recommended to avoid drinking tap water during your trip.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
India: Holders of passports endorsed British citizen, as well as Australian, New Zealand and US passport holders may be eligible for the e-Tourist Visa to enter India. The visa can be applied for through the official Indian government visa website only - https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html . Please check all eligibility criteria that can be found on the website but important points are listed below - You must be arriving into one of 29 selected entry points which can be found via the official Indian Government website link above. However, you can exit from any of the authorised immigration check posts in India. Passports must have at least 6 months validity from the date of arrival in India and at least two blank pages for stamping. Visa applications will take approximately 4 days to process. There are different validity visas and the costs are as follows: 30-day validity (travelling between April and June) - $10 30-day validity (travelling between July and March) - $25 1-year validity - $40 5-year validity- $80 Those applying for a 30 day electronic visa can only apply within 30 days of arrival for your visa to be valid. Furthermore double entry is permitted and you can only obtain two 30-day visas in a calendar year. Please note these costs are subject to frequent change so you should check on the official Indian government visa website mentioned above. Biometric data will be collected on arrival in India. If you are not eligible for the e-Tourist Visa, please refer to VFS Global to apply for your Indian visa - https://www.vfsglobal.com/india/uk/how_to_apply.html Whilst the online form offers a relatively quick way to apply for a visa, some applicants have reported difficulty in completing the form. If you do require assistance, then you may consider applying through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. They can complete the online visa on your behalf for a service fee + the visa cost. See www.travcour.com
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
Whether in swimming pools, rivers, lakes, the sea or the ocean, participation requires that you are able to swim unaided for your safe enjoyment
Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against Tetanus, Infectious Hepatitis, Typhoid and Polio. Please consult your travel clinic for the latest advice on Malaria, Dengue and Zika Virus. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.