Adventure Tours   >   Asia Adventure Tours   >  Iconic India

Iconic India Adventure Tour

Asia

  • India

India is an incredible country: from north to south, it brims with natural diversity and cultural riches. On this spectacular journey, discover iconic sights like Delhi's Jama Mosque, the glorious Taj Mahal, and Rajasthan's grand forts and palaces. Then head to the luxuriant Malabar coast to explore the fragrant spice plantations and jungle-fringed backwaters of Kerala. Meet with artisans, fishermen, and villagers along the way, and witness ancient crafts and traditions that continue to thrive.


Meals Included  

13 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners


Detailed Trip Notes  

In India English is widely spoken and transportation and infrastructure is good, but please remember that this is India- expect the unexpected! If you are able to bring with you a lot of patience, a great sense of humour and a willingness to try and interact with the local people, your travel experience wil be greatly enhanced.


Joining Hotel  

For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.


Emergency Contact  

Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.

AIRPORT TRANSFER 
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:

Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel. 

If your call is specifically concerning Airport Transfer complications please call our local G Adventures Transfer providers directly at:
New Delhi Airport:

Sakha Call Center
From outside India: +91 9278708888
From within Delhi: 9278708888
From outside Delhi: 09278708888

Airport Representative
From outside India: +919599193260 or +919599051397

From within Delhi: 9599193260 or 9599051397

From outside Delhi: 09599193260 or 09599051397


EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Local Office (Delhi)
G Adventures South Asia Manager, Sorab (Delhi, India)

>From outside of India: +91 88 5180 6614
>From within Delhi: 88 5180 6614
>From within India, but outside Delhi: 088 5180 6614

G Adventures Office Bangkok, Thailand
During Office hours (Weekdays, 9am-5pm Local Time): +66-02-3815574

If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below which will connect you directly with our Sales team who will happily assist you. Hours of operation by region can be found here.

Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999


Laundry  

Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.


Visas and Entry Requirements  

All travellers must have a valid Indian visa prior to the start of their tour. Please note that visas for India are the responsibility of the individual traveller.

To obtain a visa for India, you may either apply for an e-Visa using the link below, or alternately visit the Indian embassy or consulate nearest you to apply for a physical visa on your passport.

As of 2017, India is now offering e-Visas for most nationalities. Please visit this link for further information and to apply: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html

As there are many fake websites, please only use the link above to apply for your e-Visa and for any additional information.

Please use the start hotel of your tour as a reference for your visa application. Contact us or your travel agent if you need further information.

** Please note that the visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. For the most up to date information, please check your government's foreign ministry website or with your travel agent, as rules do change. It is important that you check for yourself. For most travellers, there will probably be an Indian embassy and consulate in the country that you live in.


Optional Activities  

Jaipur
- Raj Mandir Cinema and Movie (200-400INR per person)
- Jaipur Cooking Class with a local family

Periyar Lake
- Periyar National Park Nature Walk


Travel Insurance  

Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.


Safety and Security  

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.

Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.

Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).

Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.

We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit:


www.gadventures.com/travel-resources/safety/


Max Pax  

Max 16, avg 12


Group Leader  

Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides.


What to Take  

What you need to bring depends on the trip you have chosen and the countries or regions you are planning to visit. We suggest that you pack as lightly as possible as your are expected to carry your own luggage. As a rule we try not to have to walk more than 15-20 mintues with your bags which is why we recommend keeping the weight of your bags between 10-15kg/22-30lb. Hard suitcases are not recommended for G Adventures trips! Most travellers carry a backpack or rolling bag of small to medium size (no XXL ones please!) as they need to fit under the beds when travelling on sleeper trains. You will also need a day pack/bag to carry water, cameras and other electronics like ipods and mobile phones.

Standard luggage allowance for internal flights is 15kg (33lb) for checked luggage, and is 7kg (15lb) for carry-on luggage. Any charges for additional luggage or weight is the responsibility of the passenger.


Planeterra Foundation - the non-profit partner of G Adventures  

Planeterra International Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to turning travel into impact by helping local communities earn an income from tourism. Planeterra connects underserved local communities to the benefits of tourism by developing and supporting small community-owned businesses. These businesses support Indigenous people, empower women, grant youth access to employment opportunities, and protect the environment. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating their projects into G Adventures' itineraries globally.
G Adventures is Planeterra's largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs, so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need.

G Adventures Dollar-a-day Program - Make Every Day Count - Turn your travel into impact with Planeterra Foundation.

Did you know? Most communities around the world do not benefit from tourism. Give back to the places you visit on your travels by creating opportunities for local people to earn an income, and protect the environment.

Make every day count by donating $1/day for the length of your trip, and join us in empowering the communities you will visit when you travel. 100% of your donation goes directly to Planeterra projects.


Newsletter  

Our adventure travel e-newsletter is full of travel news, trip information, interesting stories and contests. To avoid missing out on special offers and updates from G Adventures, subscribe at www.gadventures.com/newsletters/

Stay current on how our company invests in our global community through our foundation - Planeterra. Sign up for Planeterra's monthly news to learn more about how to give back and support the people and places we love to visit.


Packing List  

Cold Weather:
• Long-sleeved shirts or sweater
• Scarf
• Warm gloves
• Warm hat
• Warm layers

Conservative Dress:
• Modest clothing that covers knees and shoulders (Long pants, long skirts, shirts that cover shoulders)
• Shawl or scarf (for temple visits)

Documents:
• Flight info (required) (Printouts of e-tickets may be required at the border)
• Insurance info (required) (With photocopies)
• Passport (required) (With photocopies)
• Required visas or vaccination certificates (required) (With photocopies)
• Vouchers and pre-departure information (required)

Essentials:
• Binoculars (optional)
• Camera (With extra memory cards and batteries)
• Cash, credit and debit cards
• Day pack (Used for daily excursions or short overnights)
• Ear plugs
• First-aid kit (should contain lip balm with sunscreen, sunscreen, whistle, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, bandaids/plasters, tape, anti-histamines, antibacterial gel/wipes, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, water purification tablets or drops, insect repellent, sewing kit, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
• Flashlight/torch (Headlamps are ideal)
• Fleece top/sweater
• Footwear
• Hat
• Locks for bags
• Long pants/jeans
• Moneybelt
• Outlet adapter
• Personal entertainment (Reading and writing materials, cards, music player, etc.)
• Reusable water bottle
• Shirts/t-shirts
• Sleepwear
• Small travel towel
• Sunglasses
• Toiletries (Preferably biodegradable)
• Watch and alarm clock
• Waterproof backpack cover
• Windproof rain jacket

Health & Safety:
• Face masks (required)
• Hand sanitizer (required)
• Pen (Please bring your own pen for filling out documents.)
• Rubber gloves

Smart Dress:
• Smart outfit (For evenings out)

Warm Weather:
• Sandals/flip-flops
• Shorts/skirts (Longer shorts/skirts are recommended)
• Sun hat/bandana
• Swimwear

Note: During the colder months (Oct-Apr) the mountains can be cold, so please make sure you pack warm clothes. During the months of Jul-Sep is the rainy season, so please make sure to pack waterproof clothes.


Health  

Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.

You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that sometimes we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our CEOs are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. In Asia pharmacies tend to stock the same western drugs as you get at home but they are usually produced locally so please bring the full drug name with you when trying to purchase a prescription drug. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings for trip specific information. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our CEO they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.


Trip Specific Safety  

We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.


Local Dress  

In Asia the dress standard is more conservative than it is back home. When packing try to pick loose, lightweight, long clothing that will keep you cool in the usually hot and humid climate of Asian summers. In predominately Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim countries we ask that you dress respectfully and avoid very short shorts/skirts and singlets/tanktops when visiting small rural communities or visiting temples or mosques or other holy sites as this may restrict your entry.

India is very conservative and you should dress accordingly. As a general guideline shoulders and knees should be covered at all times. The wearing of shorts is not allowed as it will restrict your entry into buildings of a religious nature and family homes. A light water and windproof jacket is useful and a hat essential.
NB: WE STRESS THAT IT CAN BE VERY COLD IN THE HILLS DURING THE MONTHS FROM DECEMBER TO FEBRUARY.

NB: During our trip there will be many opportunities for you to meet and "talk" with locals. One way to start any conversation is with pictures. We recommend that you bring some photos/postcards of your family, home, city or country where you live, animals peculiar to your country etc.


What's Included  

Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Meet a Local Historian, Jaipur
Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Local Village Immersion, Pachewar
Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Spice Experience, Thekkady
Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Family Cooking Demonstration, Thekkady
Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Visit Vembanad Wetlands Conservation Program, Kumarakom
Your G for Good Moment: Women With Wheels Transfer, Indira Gandhi International Airport
Your G for Good Moment: City Walk, Delhi
Your G for Good Moment: Lunch at Theuvoram Women Empowerment Project, Alleppey. Tour of Old Delhi. Tour the Taj Mahal, the Baby Taj, and Agra Fort. Visit Fatehpur Sikri and Abhaneri step wells. Explore Jaipur. Walking tour of old Kochi. Visit a tea factory. Wildlife viewing on Periyar Lake. Kalaripayatt performance. Walking and boat tour of rural villages. Houseboat trip on the Kerala backwaters. Kathakali cultural performance. Internal flights. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.


About our Transportation  

Road
Road travel in India is certainly not what people are used to in Western countries. Rules are not always followed, drivers appear to speed, do not stay in their lanes, overtake in seemingly dangerous situations, and rarely use their mirrors or driving lights at night. The horn however is used frequently and can range from the latest Bollywood tune to Britney Spears! Although the government is investing large sums of money to improve the road infrastructure, there is a lot more to be done. As a result some of the roads are poorly maintained, pot holed and uneven. This gets even more pronounced particularly during and after the monsoon. Travel time is very long in comparison to Western countries and short distances can take much longer than at home. You have the comfort of an air-conditioned Private vehicle, but be prepared to take an odd ride in a local transport for the experience.


Joining Instructions  

An arrival transfer is included when you arrive on Day 1, or if you arrive up to three days prior provided that you have booked your pre-accommodation through National Geographic Journeys in our joining hotel. Due to customer experience and quality considerations, all services related to the tour must be continuous.

Our driver will be waiting for you with a National Geographic Journeys sign with your name on it, and they will be waiting for you outside the luggage hall. There most likely will be many signs, so please check carefully for your name.

Please note that Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned, so you may arrive at any time. Similarly the last day is a departure day in which no activities are planned.

Your CEO will contact you at the hotel on Day 1 and make sure you are settled comfortably. If you arrive late, they will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning. Your CEO will organize a short meeting soon after arrival, during which you will meet other tour participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip.


Tipping  

It is customary in Asia to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is expected - though not compulsory - and shows an expression of satisfaction with the people who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. You may do this individually, or your CEO will offer to collect the money and tip as a group. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from USD1-2 per person per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture. Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline USD20-30 per person, per week can be used.


A Couple of Rules  

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.


Itinerary Disclaimer  

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.


Important Notes  

1. CULTURE
India is a country which is very different to anything you will have experienced before. Although this means it is not the easiest place to travel, this is also what makes it so special. Pollution, poverty and the crowds can result in initial culture shock but should be seen as an exciting new challenge. During our time here we have come to love this large and wonderfully different country but we know that we should always expect to encounter some difficulties along the way.

In India there are very different attitudes to time keeping, public cleanliness, privacy and service. Trains will sometimes be late, plumbing can sometimes be temperamental and power will often just vanish. Optimistic menus turn out to have only one dish available and everyone, just everyone, will want to know your name. If you are able to travel with a lot of patience and a healthy sense of humour, then we know that you - like all of us - will be captivated by what India has to offer.

2. COMBO TRIP
Please note that this tour combines with other G Adventures tours. As such, the staff and some travel companions on your tour may have previously been traveling together with G Adventures, prior to Day 1 of your tour. Likewise, some staff and travel companions may be continuing together on another G Adventures tour, after your trip concludes.

3. LUGGAGE
Please Note: Only 1 piece of luggage that weighs up to 15kgs will be permitted on our internal flights in India. For any extra weight the airline may charge an additional fee at the time of check-in.


Departure Tax  

All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.


Dossier Disclaimer  

The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.

VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.


Group Size Notes  

Max 16, Avg 12.


Emergency Fund  

Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an 'emergency' fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!


Local Flights  

All local flights are included in the cost of your tour unless otherwise noted. It is important that we have your passport information at the time of booking in order to process these tickets. Internal flight tickets are issued locally and will be given to you prior to the flight departure.

Please Note: Only 1 piece of luggage that weighs up to 15kgs will be permitted on our internal flights in India. For any extra weight the airline may charge an additional fee at the time of check-in.

Please note that a G Adventures staff may NOT be travelling with you on the flight between Delhi and Kochi.


Spending Money  

Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.


Money Exchange  

As currency exchange rates in Asia fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com As of Feb 2012 the exchange rate for INDIA was 1 USD = 49.00 INR (Indian Rupees). There are many ATM machines that accept both Visa and Mastercard but these are limited to major cities. Major credit cards are accepted in most shops but they may charge a 2-4% transaction fee.


Feedback  

After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at [email protected] and we will send it on to you.


International Flights  

Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.


My Own Room  

Please note that if you have booked the "My Own Room" option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops


Group Leader Description  

All G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the CEO is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting - we think it's the best of both worlds.

Please note that on this trip you may have different CEO's in the north and the south.


Minimum Age  

You must be 18 to travel unaccompanied on a G Adventures tour. For minors travelling with a guardian over 21 years old, the minimum age is 12.


Highlights  

Walk the backstreets of Delhi with a local guide, talk with a local historian and scholar of sociological studies, meet a local family, meet an expert and learn about the medicinal and culinary uses of local spices, enjoy a cooking demonstration and meal with a Kerala family


Meals  

Eating is a big part of travelling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. Vegetarians will be able to find a huge range of different foods - India is vegetarian heaven. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.


Transport  

Private van/bus, auto-rickshaw, cycle-rickshaw, walking, plane, boat.


Accommodation  

Hotels (12 nts), heritage hotel (1 nt).


Arrival Complications  

We don't expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your CEO (if you are not on a group tour please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier). If you are unable to get in touch with your CEO, please refer to our emergency contact details. If you have pre-booked an airport transfer and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.


Solo Travellers  

We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.


About Accommodation  

A variety of styles of hotels/guest houses are used in India. These can vary in terms of service, efficiency and cleanliness. In many instances they might not be like what you are used to back home. Power cuts can and are a regular occurrence in many places, especially throughout North and Central India. Although a number of hotels have generators there may be times when these won't work. It is also recommended when you are in your room to lock the door, as staff will sometime enter without reason.

Day 1 Delhi

Arrive at any time; your arrival transfer is included through Women With Wheels, a G Adventures-supported project.

There are no planned activities until an evening welcome meeting, so check into to the hotel and enjoy the city. We highly recommend booking a pre-night in Delhi to get over your jetlag and be ready for this very busy trip.

Day 2 DELHI/AGRA

Set out to discover Delhi, the capital of India, which consists of two cities: historic Delhi and New Delhi, built by the British in the early 20th century. Explore New Delhi's lively Paharganj district with a youth guide from the G Adventures-supported City Walk project, and hear about how the program provides opportunities to disadvantaged street youth. Then delve into the narrow, winding lanes of Old Delhi, visiting the 17th-century Jama Masjid-the largest mosque in India-and the Sikh temple Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib, located close to a busy shopping area. Drive to Agra this afternoon.

Day 3 AGRA

Spend the day in historic Agra, which served as the capital of the Delhi sultanate and later of the Mughal Empire. Discover the Taj Mahal, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World; widely considered the finest example of Mughal architecture, this breathtaking mausoleum was built by the emperor Shah Jahan for his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Afterward, visit the exquisite tomb of Mumtaz Mahal's grandfather, often referred to as the “baby Taj,” and explore Agra Fort, an impressive red sandstone citadel which conceals palaces of white marble within.

Day 4 AGRA/JAIPUR

Travel to Jaipur, the capital of the state of Rajasthan. On the way, stop at the magnificent Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri, a masterpiece of red sandstone, and hear about its fascinating history. The emperor Akbar built a short-lived capital here in the 16th century to honour a Muslim saint from the village of Sikri who had predicted the birth of his son, Jehangir. Then visit the Rajasthani village of Abhaneri for a walk around the Chand Baori-an ornately decorated stepwell or water tank constructed over a thousand years ago-learning about ancient Indian methods of water conservation.

Day 5 Jaipur

Explore Jaipur, known as the “Pink City” for its rose-coloured buildings. Take a tour of the sprawling Amber Fort, the former residence of Jaipur's Rajput rulers; and visit Hawa Mahal, or the Palace of Winds, a stunning five-story sandstone building with distinctive honeycombed windows. We'll also meet with a local historian to discuss India's complex social fabric, customs, and architecture. Tonight, consider going to the cinema to watch a Bollywood movie-a truly unique experience.

Going to see a Bollywood film in India is much more than what we are accustomed to in the west. The atmosphere, energy, and pure fun (not to mention volume!) has to be experienced to be believed.

Day 6 Jaipur/Pachewar

Drive to the rural village of Pachewar, where we stay in a beautiful heritage home. Exploring this traditional community is like stepping back in time: walk and meet with local residents, observing potters, silversmiths, and cobblers at work; wander amid old temples and mud homes, perhaps witnessing a cooking demonstration; and note how urbanization and modernization have altered village life.

The village is about 85km (53 mi) from Jaipur and has beautiful temples dedicated to different religions. The residents of the village are still involved in traditional commercial activities. You'll see pottery wheels, silversmiths, cobblers, traditional huts, old temples, and a mud house where you can witness a cooking demonstration with local family.

Day 7 Pachewar/Delhi

Drive back to bustling Delhi. This evening, opt to join the group for a farewell dinner.

Day 8 Delhi/Kochi

Fly to the port city of Kochi. Settle into your hotel and enjoy free time to relax the rest of the day. Opt to catch the sunset over the Arabian Sea, framed by hundreds of boats and fishing nets.

In the evening, there will be a welcome meeting for new travellers joining the group.

You may have one CEO for the North and one for the South. In this case you will be transferred to the airport in Delhi and fly unescorted to Kochi -- either on your own or with any other travellers who are continuing on for the south portion of the tour. Upon arrival to Kochi, there is free time to relax until the welcome meeting in the evening.

Day 9 Kochi/Thekkady

Set out to explore Kochi, an enchanting port city on the Malabar Coast and the site of the first European settlement in India. Visit Mattancherry Palace-built in the mid-16th century by Portuguese colonists and expanded later on by the Dutch-and venture to the colourful streets of the Jewish Quarter, where antique shops and cafés abound. Then travel to Thekkady, the spice capital of India, and tour a spice and tea plantation with a local expert to understand the medicinal value of the region's signature spices-from cardamom and nutmeg to vanilla and turmeric-as well as the process of producing black tea, India's favorite drink.

Day 10 Thekkady

Thekkady is also home to Periyar National Park, one of India's most celebrated elephant reserves. This morning, enjoy a boat ride on the stunning Periyar Lake, looking out for elephants, deer, monkeys, and a variety of rare birds. Afterward, visit the home of a local family for a cooking demonstration and a delicious, spice-filled lunch. Relax this afternoon, or opt to take a nature walk before heading to a local theatre for a performance of a kalaripayattu, an ancient Kerala martial art.

Day 11 Thekkady/Kumarakom

Continue to the lush village of Kumarakom on Vembanad Lake, the largest freshwater lake in the state of Kerala. Explore the rural, palm-lined backwaters of this renowned bird sanctuary and hop on a boat to Manjira village, where we'll meet local villagers and learn about coconut farming and rural customs. Witness a fascinating toddy tapping demonstration and enjoy a refreshing swig of coconut water, straight from the tree.

Day 12 Kumarakom

This morning, meet with a representative of the Vembanad Wetlands Conservation Program to learn about the ongoing work by local communities to conserve the lake and surrounding wetlands. This project was created by the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), an organization that National Geographic has collaborated with in the past. Continue by boat to a fish sanctuary established by local fishermen with support from the program, and see firsthand how their traditional ways of collecting and processing clams have become models for the sustainable management of the lake's resources. Then venture on a private houseboat to enchanting Alleppey, a golden streak of land surrounded by rivers, lakes, lagoons, and canals. Relax on the deck and enjoy the scenery, watching daily life unfold along the water.

Day 13 Kumarakom/Kochi

Drive back to Kochi and take a walk in Fort Kochi, a delightful seaside district with vestiges of Portugese, Dutch, and British colonial architecture. Visit a local fish market and explore a maze of stalls selling fresh seafood. This evening, attend a performance of kathakali, the classical dance-drama of Kerala which combines storytelling with acting, dance, and martial arts.

Day 14 Kochi

Depart at any time.

Hotel checkout is at 12:00pm. It is very easy to arrange a transfer from the resort to the Cochin airport - your CEO will be happy to assist.

Details

Duration: 14 Days

Merchandising: Planeterra Project

Service Level: Upgraded

Physical Grading: 2 - Light

Travel Style: National Geographic Journeys

Trip Type: Small Group



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