19 Day First Timer India

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The world’s oldest living city. Khajuraho’s famed erotic sculptures. The Taj Mahal. Rajasthan’s desert kingdoms. The Kerala Backwaters. The ideal luxury holiday introduction to the Indian subcontinent.



HIGHLIGHTS

The world’s oldest living city. Khajuraho’s famed erotic sculptures. The Taj Mahal. Rajasthan’s desert kingdoms. The Kerala Backwaters. The ideal luxury holiday introduction to the Indian subcontinent.

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  • Day 1: Arrival at Delhi

    A Wild Voyager, India Holiday representative will receive you on arrival at Delhi airport and assist with your hotel transfer.

     

    Delhi, India’s capital has seen great empires rise and fall around it for millennia, with each new batch of rulers building over the works of their predecessors. As a result, the city abounds in monuments and ruins of stunning diversity. The seat of the world’s largest democracy, it also boasts of magnificent symbols of government that pay architectural tribute to the ideals of self-rule and democracy. These co-exist side by side with wide multi-lane motorways, shopping malls, fast cars and ultramodern steel-glass office complexes that characterize any large 21st-century metropolis.

     

    Overnight in Delhi.

  • Day 2: Sightseeing in Delhi

    Breakfast will be served at the hotel. Proceed for sightseeing.

     

    Raj Ghat is the famous memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. The shrine bears testimony to the simplicity of the man who changed the world with the power of 'Satyagraha'. A simple black stone structure with an eternal flame burning at one end.

     

    The majestic Red Fort was commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1639 and remained the seat of the empire for the next two centuries. Today, the Prime Minister of India delivers his Independence Day speech to the nation from the ramparts of this red sandstone structure.

     

    Jama Masjid is one of Asia’s largest mosques. We shall view this magnificent structure from outside, its lofty and highly ornate domes and minarets reminiscent of a scene from the Arabian Nights.

     

    Take a rickshaw through the bustling markets of Chandni Chowk, “Moonlit Square,” the celebrated 17th century market complex, where sweetshops from the 1790s still do roaring business.

     

    Proceed for sightseeing in New Delhi after lunch.

     

    New Delhi was built by the British in the 1930s as their imperial capital. Majestic government and administrative buildings line the wide, tree-lined avenues of what is also known as Lutyen’s Delhi after Sir Edwin Lutyens who was commissioned to design the city in 1911.

     

    Start at India Gate, the red sandstone arch erected in memory of Indian and British soldiers who laid down their lives in World War I. Close by are the majestic Parliament House, the seat of the world’s largest democracy and the Rastrapathi Bhawan, the Indian President’s official residence. Inside are the famed Mughal Gardens with its ornate fountains and manicured lawns. Mughal Gardens are open to the public during spring.

     

    Further south lies the Qutub Minar. Built by Qutubuddin Aibak, a slave general in 1193, it is India’s tallest stone tower and marks the site of the country’s first Muslim kingdom. The iron tower in a square opposite is unique in that it never rusts, although it has been exposed to the elements for centuries.

     

    The stately Humanyun’s Tomb is perhaps the first example of the Mughal style of architecture, inspired by Persian styles, more examples of which may be seen in Agra and Fatehpur Sikri. 

     

    The structure was erected in memory of Emperor Humayun, father of the illustrious Emperor Akbar, by his widow Hamida Banu Begum. An avid scholar who died an untimely death after falling down the steps of his library, Humayun himself was an architecture enthusiast and well-versed in the Persian style of building. It is said that he himself drew up the blueprint of his tomb in his lifetime, but there is no documented evidence to that effect.

     

    The lotus-shaped Bahai temple south of Delhi is also of interest. An ideal place for meditation, this Bahai House of worship is open to people of all faiths.

     

    We could even have time to see the Indira Gandhi Museum or else Lotus Temple can be replaced with the museum visit.

     

    Overnight will be at Delhi.

     

  • Day 3: Delhi to Varanasi by air

    Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

     

    Transfer to the airport to catch the flight to Varanasi. Reach and check into the hotel.

     

    The ancient city of Varanasi on the west bank of the holy Ganga has been a spiritual center for Hinduism since the dawn of time.

     

    Varanasi’s high ghats (steps leading to and from the river) are crowded with priests, wrestlers, astrologers, devotees, bathers, morning walkers and saffron clad mendicants or sadhus. The ringing of temple bells and the heady, heavy smell of incense permeate everywhere. In Varanasi, even a short walk or a simple boat-ride is an unforgettable adventure.

     

    The cinematic nature of daily life in Varanasi is not lost on filmmakers and over the years, many have made Varanasi their backdrop, among them maestros like Roberto Rossellini, James Ivory and Satyajit Ray. Fittingly, the first moving picture ever shot on Indian soil was filmed here in 1899.

     

    Varanasi is one of the unforgettable highlights of your luxury holiday in the timeless Indian subcontinent.

     

    Overnight will be at Varanasi.

     

  • Day 4: Sightseeing in Varanasi, visit Sarnath

    At dawn, board a boat that will row you to the middle of the river to watch the spiritual life of Hindu India unfold before you along the banks of the holy river. Visit Dashashwamedh and Manikarnika, the holiest of the Varanasi ghats. A section of Manikarnika serves as a cremation ground and it is said the funeral pyre never dies here.

     

    As the day progresses, devotees gather at the ghats and in the water, bathing, praying and taking “holy dips.”

     

    Return to hotel for breakfast.

     

    Proceed for a guided day tour of Varanasi.

     

    Visit the 18th century Durga Temple. According to legend, the idol of the goddess simply appeared in the spot where the temple stands today.

     

    The white marble Tulsi Manas Temple has scenes and stanzas from the Hindi epic Ram Charit Manas engraved upon its walls. The temple is in the traditional Shikhara style, its towers representing the great Himalayan summits or shikharas. 

     

    Up next, the 4000 acre Benaras Hindu University campus houses an art gallery and the Mosque of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.

     

    Leave for an excursion to Sarnath on a spacious, comfortable, Wild Voyager approved vehicle.

     

    A short drive from Varanasi, lies Sarnath where, millennia ago, the Buddha delivered his first ever sermon. Today, thousands of travellers from all over the world pour in every year to pay homage to what is one of the holiest places in Asia. The 1600 year old Dhamekh stupa marks the spot where the Buddha sat as he delivered his first teachings. Interestingly, this ancient stupa is a stand in for an even earlier structure erected by Emperor Asoka in 249 BC to commemorate the teaching. 

     

    The highly recommended Sarnath museum houses antiquities dating back to the 3rd century BC. Don’t miss the gigantic red sandstone standing Bodhisattvas and the magnificent Ashokan pillar that is India’s state symbol.

     

    Overnight at Varanasi.

     

  • Day 5: Varanasi to Khajuraho by air

    Breakfast will be served at the hotel. Proceed to the airport for your flight to Khajuraho. A Wild Voyager representative will meet you on arrival and assist with your hotel transfer.

     

    The Chandela dynasty of Central India is credited with the construction of the magnificent Khajuraho Complex between the 9th and 10th centuries AD. The name Khajuraho may be a corruption of the Sanskrit Kharjura Vahaka, the bearer of the scorpion and could be a reference to one of Khajuraho’s popular sculptures, depicting woman undressing to remove a scorpion from her body.

     

    The sandstone walls of the Khajuraho temples are crowded with countless sculptures of gods, goddesses, dancers and beasts but it’s the sections containing erotic sculptures that the temple is most famous for. Some interpret them as an indicator of the liberal and enlightened outlook of medieval Indian society but according to some scholars, the figures are merely metaphoric and conceal a deeper symbolism.

     

    Khajuraho is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most exotic high points of your luxury tour of the Indian subcontinent.

     

    Proceed for a tour of Khajuraho.

     

    The Western group of temples:

     

    Kandariya Mahadev is the largest temple in the complex and is dedicated to Lord Shiva, with over 800 exquisitely sculpted figures of God's and celestial maidens adorning its walls.

     

    Chausat Yogini Temple is the oldest in the complex. The only granite temple among the cluster, it’s a shrine to one of the aspects of the fearsome Hindu Mother Goddess Kali, or The Dark One.

     

    The Lakshmana Temple stands at the southwest corner. Look out for a minor shrine where one of the ancient sculptors added his own likeness in a touching act of vanity.

     

    Other temples include the Vishwanath Temple with exquisite stonework on its outer wall, the Matangeshwar Temple with its famed eight foot high phallic lingam, the Chitragupta Temple, inside which the radiant Sun God rides his seven-horse chariot, and the Varaha Temple that houses a 1.5 m high Varaha, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu as a giant boar, that attempts (and fails) to find the end of the universe.

     

    The Brahma and the Hanuman temples are the most famous and best preserved among the Eastern Group of temples. Don’t miss the Vamana temple that showcases in elaborate stone-work all ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu.

     

    In the evening proceed for the sound and light show.

     

    Overnight will be at Khajuraho.

     

  • Day 6: Khajuraho to Orchha by road, to Agra by rail

    Leave for Orchha in the morning in your Wild Voyager approved vehicle.

     

    12 km from Khajuraho, the medieval city of Orchha on the banks of the Betwa river was founded in 1501 by the Bundela. The town is famous for its cenotaphs, locally known as chhattris, built in the memory of long-dead kings.

     

    Of interest, the Orchha Fort, the majestic high domes and spires of Chaturbhuj Temple and the Raj Mandir, both constructed in the latter half of the 16th century.

     

    Lunch will be served at Orchha. Proceed to the station for train to Agra.

     

    A Wild Voyager representative will meet you at Agra station and assist with your hotel transfer.

     

    The Mughal capital of Agra on the banks of the Yamuna River is a bustling town teeming with narrow, winding alleyways that hark back to an era gone by. Dotted by magnificent monuments including UNESCO World Heritage Site, Taj Mahal. The city is a dazzling contrast of red sandstone and white marble structures.

     

    Overnight will be at Agra.

     

  • Day 7: Sightseeing in Agra, visit Taj Mahal

    Proceed for a sunrise tour of Taj Mahal.

     

    Built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial to his queen Mumtaz Mahal and designed by Persian architect Ustad, the magnificent Taj Mahal is one of the seven wonders of the world. A massive white marble structure so delicate that it appears to float in the air, the Taj is otherworldly in its beauty and is best viewed in moonlight or at dawn and dusk. The close-up view reveals breathtakingly intricate inlay work carved into the marble and bears eloquent testimony to the triumph of Mughal art, culture and architecture at its peak. No holiday in India is complete without the Taj.

     

    Return to hotel for breakfast.

     

    Proceed for sightseeing around Agra.

     

    Standing across the river from the Taj, the majestic red sandstone structure of Agra Fort was erected in 1565 by Mughal Emperor Akbar the great. Little did he know that the same fort would later serve as a prison for his grandson Emperor Shah Jahan at the end of his days. From his prison perch of Musamman Burj, an exquisite octagonal marble tower atop the fort, Shah Jahan would spend his last days looking out longingly at the Taj.

     

    Itmad-Ud-Daulah is perhaps the Mughal Empire’s best-kept secret. Empress Nur Jehan, the wife of Jahangir, son of Akbar, commissioned the structure as a memorial to her father. Mistakenly called Baby Taj, Itmad-Ud-Daulah, in fact, is decades older than the Taj and may have served as its design blueprint.

     

    A beautifully maintained tree-lined monument at Sikandra marks the grave of the illustrious Akbar the Great. A great believer in harmony and equality of all religions,  this visionary Mughal Emperor created Din-i Ilahi, a unique religion that combines the fundamentals of Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity. His memorial imbibes architectural motifs of all the faiths that inspired him.

     

    Overnight will be at Agra.

     

     
     
  • Day 8: Agra to Jaipur by road, visit Fatehpur Sikri

    Proceed for Jaipur after breakfast.

     

    Stop at Fatehpur Sikri on your way of sightseeing.

     

    Fatehpur Sikri or the “City of Victory”, built by Emperor Akbar in 1569 in honour of Sufi saint Salim Chishti was the capital of the Mughals for 14 years. The white marble Tomb of the Salim Chisti with its intricately carved marble screens occupies pride of place in the central courtyard of the structure.

     

    Attractions include the colossal Buland Darwaza, a victory gate built to mark the conquest of Gujarat by Emperor Akbar, the Diwan-i-Aam where the emperor held his legendary hearings with the general public and the Diwan-i-Khas where he held private consultation with his nine ministers, or as he called them, his 'navaratna' or nine gems.

     

    Fatehpur Sikri also houses the palace of Jodhabai, Akbar’s Hindu wife, and the house of the legendary Birbal - Akbar’s Hindu minister and one of the 'navaratnas' - the tales of whose extraordinary wit and wisdom are the stuff of popular culture in India, inspiring countless comic books and children’s animation TV shows.

     

    Proceed to Jaipur.

     

    Jaipur, also known as the ‘Pink City’ from the facelift it received in 1853 to celebrate a visit by Prince Albert, is dotted with havelis (traditional mansions), bazaars, opulent palaces and rugged majestic forts that showcase the glorious past of its rulers, the Rajputs.

     

    The Rajput princes were fierce warriors some of whom declared loyalty to the invading Mughals and proved to be formidable allies of the empire.  Among them was King Jai Singh II, whom the Mughals gave the title Sawai Maharaja, or “King and a quarter”. Jaipur gets its name from this valiant king.

     

    This evening, visit the Birla Temple to learn more about the fascinating religious life of Jaipur. A stunning white marble structure, the three towers of the Birla Temple stand for three different approaches to religion. Carvings on the ornate pillars celebrate Hindu gods and goddesses along with Christ, Virgin Mary and St. Francis of Assisi. Don’t miss the hypnotic evening Aarti, the ritual lighting of oil lamps.

     

    Overnight at Jaipur.

     

  • Day 9: Sightseeing in Jaipur

    Breakfast will be served at the hotel. Proceed for an elephant ride to Amber Fort.

     

    Situated on the top of a hill, the magnificent Amber Fort Palace offers a panoramic view of the old city. Established in 1592, its rugged exteriors believe the delicate architecture inside, a rare fusion of traditional Rajasthani and Islamic styles. Reach the fort the old fashioned way, atop a ceremonial elephant along a cobbled path up that opens into several 'havelis', step wells, courtyards and temples. Visit Sheesh Mahal or chamber of mirrors, Jas Mandir with its ornate ceilings and latticework and the stunning Shila Devi temple with its intricately carved silver door.

     

    Continue sightseeing.

     

    The sprawling City Palace has been home to the rulers of Jaipur since the 18th century. The architecture of the palace is a blend of traditional Rajasthani and Mughal styles. The City Palace Museum is located here and houses various items from Jaipur’s princely and warrior past.

     

    The scientific-minded King Jai Singh II, an astronomy enthusiast, commissioned five observatories named Jantar Mantar around West Central India in the early 1700s.  The one in Jaipur is the largest and the best preserved. The massive architectural instruments are constructed out of local stone and marble some of which are still in use. We shall walk through and explore this surreal maze of giant geometric objects.

     

    The exquisite outer facade of Hawa Mahal, the "Palace of Winds," resembles a manmade honeycomb and is one of Jaipur’s most iconic and oft-photographed sights. Designed to facilitate maximum air circulation and cross ventilation, the five-storied Hawa Mahal is made of lime and mortar and decorated with impossible intricate trelliswork. From the privacy of its ornate jharokhas (traditional Rajasthani windows), the ladies of the court could gaze out at life in the streets below.

     

    Overnight will be at Jaipur.

     

  • Day 10: Jaipur to Jodhpur by road

    Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

     

    Rao Jodha, chief of the Rathore clan, founded the city of Jodhpur in 1459. Situated on the edge of Thar Desert, Jodhpur embodies the romance and feudal splendor of Rajasthan. Jodhpur is also called the ‘Blue City’ from the blue houses that surround its most famous landmark, the majestic Mehrangarh Fort that sits on the top of a hill 125 meters above the city. The city itself is surrounded by high walls 10 kilometers long.

     

    Designed by the British Royal Institute of Architects, the Umaid Bhawan is one of world’s largest private residences with over 300 rooms, lavish theaters, banquet halls and a ballroom. A part of the palace has been converted to a museum with an impressive collection of royal memorabilia and weaponry.

     

    Overnight will be at Jodhpur.

     

  • Day 11: Sightseeing in Jodhpur

    Breakfast will be at the hotel.

     

    Proceed for sightseeing.

     

    Hewn out of solid rock atop the red sandstone cliff overlooking Jodhpur 400 feet above the city, the awesome 15th Century Mehrangarh fort spreads out over 5 kilometers and in the words of Rudyard Kipling, is the “work of angels and giants”. The fort’s defenses are impressive, with seven highly fortified gates to reach the fort, and massive, ornate cannons perched on the bastion walls. The view of the Blue City from the ramparts of the fort is breathtaking. In spite of the forbidding exteriors, the fort’s exquisitely latticed windows, carved panels, and ceiling with radiant glass tiles reveal another more artistic side to its warrior inhabitants. Batman fans might remember Mehrangarh Fort from an iconic scene in Chris Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises.

     

    Jaswant Thada, the white marble memorial to Maharaja Jaswant Singh II is known for its highly intricate lattice-work. The marble used in the structure is translucent and in the daytime, the interior walls glow from the sunshine outside. Jaswant Singh II was known for his innovative irrigation projects and to this day, locals throng to Jaswant Thada to pay their respects to the benevolent king whose touch once healed their arid land.

     

    The Bishnoi tribe have been steadfast conservationists centuries before conservation became fashionable. Much like the Native American people, the Bishnois have a deep understanding of the interconnectedness of all species and believe that the continued survival of mankind is only possible if mankind takes steps to nurture and preserve every species of plant and animal that populates our planet. So much so, that it is common to spot, completely unafraid herds of blackbuck grazing right inside the Bishnoi villages. A visit to the Bishnoi Village gives one a rare and intimate insight into the daily life of this ancient, enlightened tribe.

     

    Dinner on the terrace overlooking Mehrangarh Fort.

     

    Overnight will be at Jodhpur.

     

  • Day 12: Jodhpur to Udaipur by road, Ranakpur en route

    Breakfast would be at the palace.

     

    The 15th century Ranakpur Temples are situated in the middle of dense woods and are an important pilgrimage for the Jain community. The temples’ exterior is majestic yet somber, while the interiors are richly embellished with highly intricate carvings covering every inch of the solid marble walls. This reflects the Jain belief in the importance of a rich inner life within a simple exterior.  The huge domed marble central ceiling of the temple is so adorned with dazzling filigree work that it looks almost translucent. The hushed silence inside the temple and the subtle smell of incense will put even the most gregarious traveller in a contemplative mood.

     

    Overnight will be at Udaipur.

     

  • Day 13: Sightseeing at Udaipur

    Breakfast will be served at the hotel.
    Proceed for sightseeing tour of Udaipur

     

    The massive City Palace overlooking the Lake Pichola is a glittering example of Rajput architecture. A part of the city palace is now a museum. Behind the fortified walls of the palace, dark, steep and narrow staircases connect a maze of royal chambers and courtyards. Dazzling intricate miniatures, antiques and paintings are on display everywhere. Of note are gorgeous mosaics of peacocks in More Mahal and a courtyard full of shady trees on the terrace of Amar Vilas.

     

    Maharana Sangram Singh built Saheliyon Ki Bari or “Garden of the Maidens” in the mid 18th century on the shores of Fateh Sagar Lake. The lush green lawns of the garden are replete with fountains whose spouts are placed inside the trunks of large stone elephants. The water flow is controlled solely by water pressure. No pumps are used. Of particular note is an interesting medieval experiment in sound design. In a secluded corner of the garden, carefully selected large leafed plants damp the sound of flowing water on stones to create the auditory effect of being in a large tropical forest in the pouring rain. 

     

    Built in 1751, Bagore Ki Haveli on Gangaur Ghat of Lake Pichola has over a hundred rooms displaying interesting artifacts and paintings. Of note is the fascinating puppet museum. The officials in charge are happy to organize a short impromptu puppet show for interested visitors.

     

    The magnificent 17th century Jagdish Temple is located in the center of the city and is a fine example of Indo-Aryan architecture. The main deity at the center is a giant black stone image of Lord Vishnu. The outer walls of the temple and the tower feature highly detailed carvings depicting Vishnu and scenes from the life of Krishna. 

     

    Proceed for evening launch cruise on Lake Pichola.

     

    Overnight will be at Udaipur.

     

  • Day 14: Udaipur to Cochin by air

    Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

     

    Proceed to airport for your flight to Mumbai. From Mumbai, take the connecting flight to Cochin. A Wild Voyager representative shall meet you at Cochin airport and assist you with your hotel transfer.

     

    The ancient port city of Cochin or Kochi comprises a cluster of islands and peninsulas in a serene saltwater lagoon. Ferries connect the islands to Ernakulam town on the mainland. Dotted with lakes and gently swaying palm groves, Kochi’s otherworldly beauty, coupled with the lure of spices and seafood, draw scores of travellers every year to this natural harbour.


    Overnight will be in Cochin.

  • Day 15: Sightseeing in Cochin, Backwaters Cruise begins

    Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

    Proceed for sightseeing tour of Cochin.

     

    Kochi’s famed Chinese fishing nets are perhaps one of the most iconic and oft-photographed sights of Kerala. Mounted on teak and bamboo poles and supported by large stone counterweights, they hang gossamer-like all along the Fort Kochi seafront. Their origins are obscure with some claiming they were imported by the Portuguese from Macau while according to others,  the credit goes to Chinese traders from the court of Kubla Khan himself.

     

    The Old Cochin area is home to one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world, and the Paradesi Synagogue built in 1568 is a must-see treasure of this eclectic corner of South India. Known for its distinctive tiled roof and bell towers, the synagogue’s interiors feature intricately hand-painted blue and white Chinese willow tiles of which no two are alike. Elegant Belgian chandeliers adorn its central area. An exquisite oriental rug and gold crowns received as gifts from visitors are also on display.

     

    Also of interest is the intriguing International Pepper Exchange that deals in the global trade of black pepper.  Nearby are Vasco Da Gama Square, the Santa Cruz Basilica that counts among India’s oldest churches, St. Francis Church where Vasco Da Gama was originally interred, VOC Gate and Bastion Bungalow, all of which, according to local records, go back to between the mid-fourteenth and early fifteenth century.

     

    Later, board a traditional thatched houseboat equipped with modern amenities and embark on a luxury cruise through the backwaters.

     

    Running along the Malabar Coast of Kerala, the Backwaters are a massive 900 square kilometer network of lakes, rivers, streams, lagoons and canals that both connect and divide the land, giving rise to a unique amphibious culture and way of life that’s perhaps unique in the world.

     

    Here, the saline waters of the Arabian sea mix with fresh water from inland streams fed by the Western Ghats, resulting in a knife-edge ecosystem that’s as fragile as it is distinctive. Teeming with fish, mudskippers, crabs, turtles and otters, the lush vegetation on its banks is home to flocks of cormorants and terns.

     

    Human habitation in the region too is a gift of the backwaters, with the brackish channels snaking into the land often being the only means of transportation between villages and towns.

     

    Tranquil and mysterious, the backwaters feature prominently among the highlights of your luxury holiday in exotic South India.    

     

    Proceed for Alleppey.

     

    The city of Alleppey or Alappuzha is the headquarter of Alappuzha district and highly popular with travellers for its lush greenery, beaches, lagoons and the famous backwaters of Kerala. The name Alappuzha means “the land between the river and the sea” and its intricate network on inland canals earn it the title of “Venice of the East.” This watery network has long been Alleppey’s lifeline, from its days as one of the best-known ports on the Malabar coast up until modern times as the world’s gateway to the Backwaters. Alleppey too is an important venue for boat races, in particular, the Nehru Trophy Race on the Punnamada Lake on the second Sunday of August.

     

    Attractions in Alappuzha include the beautiful Alappuzha Beach, the Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple, the Edathua Church and the Krishnapuram Palace. Also not to be missed, the old lighthouse, the first ever built on the Arabian Sea.  Alleppey is also your entry point into the famed Backwaters.

     

    Reach Vembanad lake in Kumarakom.

     

    Barely 16 km from the city of Kottayam, Kumarakom is located by the Vembanad, Kerala’s largest freshwater lake, and is one of the important venues for Kerala’s famous boat races. During the festival of Onam, hundreds of traditional boats, some seating as many as fifty highly vocal rowers, steak down the lake amidst much fanfare, competing for top spot.

     

    Later, your boatman will take you on a village visit. Overnight will be on the houseboat.

     

  • Day 16: Cruise through Kumarokom

    Breakfast will be served on the boat. It will be mainly a vegetarian fare with “eggs to order”.

     

    Cruise along the narrow canals and disembark at the Kumarakom Lake Resort.

     

    The day will be free to explore and relax. Dinner will be served in the resort.

     

    Overnight will be at the resort.

     

  • Day 17: Spa at Kumarokom

    Enjoy the resort and take a hike to the nearby villages or experience an Ayurvedic Spa.

     

    Breakfast and dinner will be at the resort.

     

  • Day 18: Kumarokom to Cochin by road, to Mumbai by air

    Breakfast will be served at the resort.


    Transfer to the airport for flight to Mumbai. Reach and check into the hotel.

     

    Originally an archipelago of seven islands on the Arabian Sea, Mumbai was named after Mumba Devi, patron goddess of the Koli fishermen indigenous to the area. In the 19th century, reclamation work joined up the islands in a long, narrow strip of land that is the Mumbai we know today. This bustling metropolis is India’s commercial capital and home of Bollywood, the world’s largest movie industry. A city of contrasts, Ferraris and Porsches stand shoulder to shoulder on Mumbai roads with strikingly retro Premier Padmini cabs, and glitzy malls stocking super luxury brands co-exist side by side with buzzing local markets.

     

    Enjoy the beach in the evening.

     

    Chowpatty Beach is situated at the end of Marine Drive and while a far cry from what is understood to be a beach in Western countries, there is no denying the carnival atmosphere that descends here every evening. The thin stretch of sand is crowded with numerous street food vendors, happily squealing children, the pious taking a dip in the sea at sunset, couples and evening walkers. Your Mumbai experience is not complete unless you have tasted a tangy-spicy 'golgappa' at Chowpatty.

     

    Overnight will be at Mumbai.

     

  • Day 19: Sightseeing in Mumbai, Tour ends

    After breakfast, proceed for sightseeing.

     

    The decidedly un-fortress-like business district to the North of Kolaba is popularly known as Fort and gets its name from a long-dismantled East India Company for that, soon after the Maratha Wars, gave way to the grand colonial buildings which give this part of Mumbai its distinctive architectural flavour. Of note is St. John’s Church, dedicated to British soldiers who laid down their lives in Afghanistan and Sind in the 19th century.

     

    To travellers flying into Mumbai, the city’s most recognizable feature is perhaps the Marine Drive, a long sea-facing promenade that runs from Nariman Point to Malabar Hill in a shallow arc, curving along the lapping waters of the Arabian Sea. In the evening, the Marine Drive glitters in a stunning crescent of light and is appropriately named “Queen’s Necklace.”

     

    What the Queen’s Necklace is to air travellers today, the Gateway of India was to the seafaring visitors of the early 20th century. Built in 1911 to welcome King George V and Queen Mary to the land of their subjects, this magnificent arch was ironically also the point from where the last British ship departed India after the latter gained independence in 1947. A flight of steps leads down to the sea where motor launches bob in the water, offering short cruises to tourists. After sundown and weather permitting, the excursion is well worth the fare as the view from the sea towards the dramatically illuminated Gateway is nothing short of splendid. Towards the east lies Apollo Bunder, abuzz with street vendors, fortune-tellers, evening walkers and tourists.

     

    Flora Fountain/ Hutama Chowk: This fountain situated in the heart of the city was erected in 1869 in honour of a British Governor of Bombay Sir Bartle Frere. Flora Fountain marks a junction of five streets and known as the 'Piccadilly Circus 'of Mumbai, which is decorated at its four corners with mythological figures, the Fountain is a structure in dull stone with a figure the Roman Goddess of flowers, at the top.

     

    A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Victoria Terminus is one of India’s busiest railway stations and. a unique amalgamation of Indian and Gothic architectural styles. The centerpiece of the station is a 160-foot high dome and an ode to progress in the form of the statue of a woman carrying a torch. Movie buffs may be interested to know that Victoria Terminus featured prominently in the Academy Award-winning “Slumdog Millionaire.”

     

    The English Gothic Mumbai High Court Building was designed by Col. J. A. Fuller, a British engineer, and dates back to 1878. On the western face of this majestic structure stand the statues of Justice and Mercy.

     

    Made of local Kurla stone, the 280-foot tall Rajabai Clock Tower is an amalgam of Venetian and Gothic styles of architecture, and boasts of absolutely stunning stained glass windows. Presently, the tower houses the University of Mumbai library.

     

    Built in 1880, the terraced Hanging Garden on Malabar Hill sits atop the three reservoirs which supply water to all of Mumbai and offers a spectacular view of the city.

     

    Later, a Wild Voyager, India Holidays representative will escort you to the airport for your flight home.