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Delhi to Kolkata
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Asia is the continent where overlanding all started, and Dragoman has been the leading operator there since our first trucks went through in the 1980s - take advantage of our years of experience and come with us as we include all the must-see attractions as well as heading into the wilds, well away from the usual tourist trail. Starting in the bustling Indian capital of Delhi we enter the magnificent land of Rajasthan, visiting the white lakeside city of Udaipur, the blue city of Jodhpur, and the golden city of Jaisalmer. We'll also head out on a camel safari in the Thar Desert and discover the awe-inspiring ancient caves of Ajanta and Ellora, before arriving at the bright lights of Mumbai. From cosmopolitan Mumbai and the relaxing beaches of Goa, we head south via the wonderful historic cities of Hampi and Mysore, the tea plantations of Wayanad and the lush backwaters of Kerala. Once we get the the southern tip of India at Kanyakumari, we journey north through the colourful temples of Madurai and the ancient Shore Temples of Mahabalipuram to arrive in the bustling city of Chennai. After leaving the hectic city of Chennai, we visit the holy Sri Venkatesvara Tirumala temple en route to the tribal areas of Odisha. This is a very special and rarely-visited region where you'll meet many different tribal people with their own distinct cultures and traditions. We then head to the historic town of Puri before arriving in the buzzing city of Kolkata. A phenomenal Indian experience sure to leave you with many wonderful memories!


Duration: 52 Days Guaranteed Departure: Yes
For lovers of: Boating Physical rating: Average
Accommodation standard:   Budget% Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
Your Guide: English speaking Tour code: 158131
Starts: Delhi, India Finishes: Kolkata, India
You will visit
  • Delhi
  • Bikaner
  • Jaisalmer
  • Jodhpur
  • Sambhali Trust
  • Udaipur
  • Mandu
  • Ajanta
  • Ellora
  • Mumbai
  • Goa
  • Old Goa
  • Hampi
  • Mysore
  • Wayanad
  • Cochin
  • Alleppey
  • Varkala
  • Kanyakumari
  • Madurai
  • Pondicherry
  • Mahabalipuram
  • Chennai
  • Tirupati
  • Tirumala
  • Vijayawada
  • Visakhapatnam
  • Odisha Tribal Area
  • Puri
  • Kolkata

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Delhi

Border Information: If joining the trip in Delhi, you will likely enter India at Delhi Indira Ghandi International Airport (IATA code: DEL).

Today is a free day to explore Delhi. There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm - please look for a note from your tour leader when you arrive at the hotel giving more details about this meeting.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Delhi before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Delhi.

In Delhi we will stay in a local hotel.

02

Day 2: Bikaner

Today we start our journey with a 400km drive to Bikaner. The drive will take us most of the day, stopping en route for lunch.

In Bikaner we will either stay in a local hotel or camp at an eco-lodge a short distance outside the city.

Estimated Drive Time - 10 hours (please note that all drive times given here are approximate estimates only and are given with the best intentions - however please be aware that the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, borders and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

03

Day 3: Jaisalmer

Today we continue our journey with a drive of 385kms to ancient Rajasthani city of Jaisalmer, stopping at the Karni Mata (Rat Temple) en-route. 

We base ourselves in Jaisalmer for the next 3 nights, staying in a comfortable local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-7 hours, depending on the length of the visit to Karmi Mata.

04

Day 4: Jaisalmer

This morning is free time to to explore more of Jaisalmer. In the late afternoon we wil head out on an included camel safari into the Thar Desert - exploring the desert with local Rajasthani camel drivers is the most authentic way to experience the area!

Tonight we camp out in the desert, sleeping under the stars.

05

Day 5: Jaisalmer

This morning we will return from the our camel safari. The rest of the day if free to relax or explore more of Jaisalmer and the surrounding area.

Tonight we return to our hotel in Jaisalmer.

06

Day 6-7: Jodhpur

This morning we will drive 285kms from Jaisalmer to another famous Rajasthani city, Jodhpur.  En route to Jodhpur we will make our visit to the Sambhali Trust project (a charitable project that works for the empowerment of women and girls in Rajasthan), where we will learn about the efforts of the project and make a group donation from the kitty.

After our visit we will make our way to our accommodation that has been set up by local families in their own homes for visitors. We will be splitting up into 2 or 3 small groups for our homestays.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-7 hours, depending on the length of the visit to the Sambhali Trust.

On the following day we will be in and around Jodhpur. In the morning we will visit the Meherangarh Fort and Palace and the afternoon is free to explore. 

07

Day 8: Udaipur

After breakfast we set off for a 260km drive to Udaipur, visiting the Jain Temple at Ranakpur en route. We will have 3 nights in Udaipur, giving us plenty of time to discover this amazing, romantic Rajasthani city.

In Udaipur we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours, depending on the length of the visit to Ranakpur Temple

08

Day 9-10: Udaipur

We will have 2 free days for exploration of the sites of Udaipur and relaxing on one of the many roof-top terraces in the city.

09

Day 11: Mandu

Leaving Udaipur, we will be joined by a local cook who will accompany us during the next few days whilst we are wild camping.

Today will mostly be spent travelling the 220kms to Mandu, via the backroads of rural Rajasthan. We are well off the tourist trail here and tonight we will wildcamp, perhaps on the edge of a local village.

Estimated Drive Time - 8 hours.

10

Day 12-14: Ajanta

Today we will visit Mandu, an extensive and largely abandoned hill-top fort from the Mughal era. We will then spend the afternoon driving to our wild camp spot near Kharwand Dam, en route towards Ajanta.

Estimated Drive Time - 5 hours.

The next day we complete the drive to Ajanta, arriving in the afternoon. We will visit the complex of 29 ancient Buddhist temples cut into the rock face. We will camp nearby.

The following day drive a short distance to Ellora where we will have an included visit to the ancient Buddhist, Hindu and Jain caves - a set of a small temples in the rock face dating from the 6th to 11th centuries. We will camp in the same campsite tonight.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

11

Day 15: Mumbai

Setting off early, we will say goodbye to our local cook and drive 400kms to Mumbai, arriving late afternoon.

Tonight we stay in a comfortable hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 9 hours.

12

Day 16-17: Mumbai

Border Information: If joining the trip in Mumbai, you will most likely enter India from Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (IATA code: BOM).

There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel in Mumbai - please look out at the reception for a note from you tour leader with further details about this meeting. Otherwise, today is free to explore the sights and sounds of Mumbai. 

The following day will be a free day to explore the city. This is also an opportunity to take a tour of the Dharavi slum areas of the city.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Mumbai before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Mumbai.

In Mumbai we stay in a good quality hotel.

13

Day 18-19: Goa

We will start our journey by taking the train along the coast to Goa. We will stay for two nights at the relaxed beaches of Vagator in the North. Most travellers are drawn to Vagator for the stunning sunsets, the laid-back atmosphere and the proximity of some other quieter beaches in the area such as Arambol and Anjuna.

We will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities close to the beach.

Journey time (on train) - 11 hours.

14

Day 20-21: Old Goa

After our 2 nights on the northern beaches of Goa, we head off in the truck to the southern beaches, visiting the site of Old Goa en route.

We will stay for 2 nights in beautiful beach huts on the stunning beach of Agonda, which is a perfect place to sit back and watch the fishing boats landing their catch, sample the delicious local cuisine, or visit the nearby beach of Palolem with its many bars and restaurants.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours, depending on the length of your visit to Old Goa (please note that all drive times given here are approximate estimates only and are given with the best intentions - however please be aware that the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, borders and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

15

Day 22-23: Hampi

Leaving the beaches of Goa behind us, we set off on a long 400km drive into the state of Karnataka to the village of Hampi. The village is located within the ruins of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire.

Estimated Drive Time - 10 hours.

On the following day we will have a guided tour of the historical sites around Hampi by rickshaw and on foot.

In Hampi we will stay in a comfortable local guesthouse.

16

Day 24-25: Mysore

From Hampi we have another long drive of 480kms to Mysore, where we will stay for 2 nights.

Estimated Drive Time - 11-12 hours.

On the following day we will have a free day in Mysore, one of India's most attractive towns, to explore the city's beautiful gardens, palaces, and the Shri Chamarajendra art gallery.

In Mysore we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

17

Day 26-27: Wayanad

Today we travel 150kms up into the hills, heading for the hillstation of Wayanad, a small settlement surrounded by tea and coffee plantations.

Estimated Drive Time - 4 hours.

Over the 2 days we have in Wayanad we will have the chance to hike up Chembra Peak, visit local waterfalls and tea plantations, visit the petroglyphs at the Edakkal Caves and to visit the nearby Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary.

Whilst in Wayanad we stay as guests of local families at a homestay, where they have set up accommodation for visitors in their homes.

18

Day 28-29: Cochin

Today we will continue our journey 260kms to Cochin.

Estimated Drive Time - 10 hours.

On the following day we will take a local boat to Fort Cochin and have free time to explore and visit various sites including the Jewish Quarter, St Francis Church and the Chinese fishing nets. In the evening we will watch the famous Kathakali dancers, India's most spectacular dance drama.

In Cochin we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

19

Day 30: Alleppey

Leaving the bustle of Cochin behind, today we embark on our overnight houseboat cruise on the tranquil Keralan backwaters of Allepey.

20

Day 31-33: Varkala

Leaving the backwaters behind us, we continue 120kms to the beach resort of Varkala.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

We will have 3 nights here with free time to explore the surrounding areas and relax on the beautiful beaches. Varkala is well known for its beaches, and there are also lots of great local restaurants where you can sample the justifiably famous Keralan cuisine.

In Varkala we will stay at a beach resort.

21

Day 34: Kanyakumari

Today we will have a 140km drive to Kanyakamuri (Cape Comorin), the very southern point of India, where we will have free time to explore the Vivekananda Rock and the surrounding sites.

In Kanyakamuri we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

22

Day 35: Madurai

This morning we can get up early to watch the sunrise from the southern tip with thousands of locals! From Kanyakamuri we start heading back north with a morning drive of 240kms to Madurai. In the afternoon we visit the Sri Meenakshi Temple in Madurai.

In Madurai we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

23

Day 36: Pondicherry

Today we head 320kms to the French-influenced Pondicherry, and will have a free afternoon to explore the town.

In Pondicherry we will stay in guest-house accommodation.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

24

Day 37: Mahabalipuram

Today we have a short drive of 100kms to Mahabalipuram. Here we will make a visit to the unusual shore temples and pagodas.

In Mahabalipuram we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours.

25

Day 38: Chennai

Today we have a short drive of 55kms to Chennai, the fourth largest city in India, stopping at a crocodile farm en-route.

In Chennai we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 2 hours.

26

Day 39: Chennai

Border Information: If you are joining in Chennai, you will most likely enter India in Chennai International Airport (IATA code: MAA).

Today is a free day to explore the sights, sounds and flavours of Chennai. There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm - please look for a note from your tour leader when you arrive at the hotel giving more details about this meeting.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Chennai before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Chennai.

In Chennai we will stay in a comfortable modern hotel.

*Important note* - if you are joining the trip in Chennai, please make sure that you send us a scan of your Indian visa as soon as you have obtained it. If you plan to take the e-visa option, please make sure you arrange this well in advance and send us a copy of your receipt as soon as possible. If we do not receive this in advance, then we will not have enough time to get your permits for the Odisha Region and you will not be able to visit this area.

27

Day 40: Tirupati

Today we start our journey with a 145kms drive to the bustling town of Tirupati. In the afternoon we will visit the Sri Venkateswara holy temple in the nearby town of Tirumala.

In Tirupati we will stay in a friendly local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 5 hours (please note that all drive times given here are approximate estimates only and are given with the best intentions - however please be aware that the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, borders and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

28

Day 41: Vijayawada

Leaving Tirupati, we will spend the next few days overlanding through Andhra Pradesh, one of the least developed states in India. This is real off-the-beaten-track overlanding and we will aim to cover 420kms today to reach the small city of Vijayawada.

In Vijayawada we will stay in a basic local hotel. 

Estimated Drive Time - 10 hours.

29

Day 42: Visakhapatnam

Today we continue our journey and drive 370kms through the back roads of Andra Pradesh. Our final destination tonight is the costal town on Visakhapatnam.

In Visakhapatnam we will stay in a local hotel on the sea front.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-9 hours.

30

Day 43-47: Odisha Tribal Area

Today we begin our guided tour through the rarely-visited Odisha Tribal Regions, which we will comprehensively visit over the next 6 days. In these regions the itinerary has to be kept fairly flexible, allowing us the freedom to alter things slightly if we hear of any special events or market days in particular villages. However, we will generally follow the plan below:

On the first day we will have an early start from Visakhapatnam to arrive in a small village called Goudaguda in time to visit the Monday markets. Beautiful earthen pottery is skillfully produced in this area and you may even get the chance to try this for yourself. In Goudaguda we will stay in a local guesthouse which has been styled on local tribal houses. Estimated Drive Time - 6 hours.

On the following day we will have a full-day guided walk through the countryside around Goudaguda, visiting the neighbouring Mahali and Kondh tribal villages. We will return to our guesthouse in Goudaguda for the night.

On the next day we will drive to the lively Chatikona Market, a weekly highlight for the Dongria Kondh tribe. We then roll through the hills to Muniguda, our destination for tonight. On arrival we will be welcomed by the New Hope Charitable Trust (a local NGO helping to uplift the poor and disadvantaged); in the afternoon we will have a cooking demonstration and spend some time with the children and the elderly people of the New Hope Trust. We will stay in basic rooms in the grounds of the charitable trust tonight. Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours depending on the length of the visit to the Chatikona Market.

On the following day we will drive to a small village called Taptapani, where on arrival we will visit the temple hot springs. We will stay in a basic local hotel for the night. Estimated Drive Time - 8 hours.

On the next day we will drive to the fascinating fishing town of Gopalpur, a once major port for the East India Company which has an interesting decaying charm. We will have a free afternoon to explore the town. In Gopalpur we will stay in a local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

31

Day 48-50: Puri

Today our tour of the tribal areas comes to an end and we drive on to the small town of Puri. Puri is one of the holiest pilgrimage places in India, and has a wonderful long sandy beach. On arrival we will explore the old pilgrim route by cycle-rickshaw, taking in ashrams, Hindu monasteries, a palm leaf manuscript library and the awesome Jagannath temple.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

We will spend 3 nights in Puri. On the first full day here, we will take a short drive back to visit Chilika Lake and explore the lake on bamboo-pole-driven canoes. There may also be the opportunity to visit the Usthi Children's Foundation in the town.

On the second full day, we will begin with a cycle ride through rice paddies and rural hamlets, meeting local craftsmen and women and watching them demonstrate their unique crafts. In the afternoon we will have a guided tour of the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Konark Sun Temple.

In Puri we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.

32

Day 51: Kolkata

Today we will travel by train to Kolkata, the largest city in India. We will have time today and tomorrow to explore this remarkable city and to take an incredible photographic tour.

In Kolkata we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

Journey time (by train) - 7 hours.

33

Day 52: Kolkata

Border Information: If finishing your trip in Kolkata, you will most likely exit India at Kolkata Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (IATA code: CCU).

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Kolkata. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • Witness the incredible spectacle of the 20,000 sacred rats in the Karni Mata Temple in Deshnok, near Bikaner
    • Trek into the Thar Desert on a magical overnight camel safari with local Rajasthani camel drivers
    • Freely explore the blue city of Jodhpur and visit the mighty Mehrangarh Fort, the largest fort in Rajasthan
    • Stay overnight in a guestrooms of a local family's home, and experience a slice of true Indian hospitality
    • Visit and support the Dragoman-supported Sambhali Trust near Jodhpur, and see the excellent work they do to provide local women and girls with education and vocational skills
    • Visit the incredible Jain Temple of Ranakpur and its forest of 1440 pillars whilst en route to Udaipur
    • Visit the tomb of Hoshang Shah, the first Muslim leader of Mandu - the tomb itself is India's first marble building and one of the most refined examples of Afghan-syle architecture in the country
    • Visit the stunning courtyards and grand entrances of the Jama Masjid Mosque, modelled on the Great Mosque of Damascus
    • Explore the deserted medieval hilltop city of Mandu and its incredible Royal Enclave, including the famous Jahaz Mahal (Ship Palace)
    • Take a guided visit around the incredible Buddhist rock caves and paintings of Ajanta, some dating back as far as the 2nd century BCE
    • Explore the stunning Buddhist, Hindu and Jain rock-cut temples and monasteries of Ellora, the finest examples of Indian rock-cut architecture
    • Discover the lost kingdom of Vijayanagar in the magnificent ruined city of Hampi
    • Freely explore the amazing and elaborate Mysore Palace
    • See the 7000-year-old Neolithic petroglyphs at the Edakkal caves en route
    • Enjoy genuine Indian hospitality at a community homestay guesthouse amongst the hills of Wayanad
    • See an evening performance of the classical Indian dance-drama of Kathakali, a signature tradition of Kerala
    • Travel through the serene Kerala Backwaters on an overnight trip aboard a beautiful traditional 'kettuvallam' house-boat
    • Visit the historical Meenakshi Amman Temple, one of the most impressive and colourful Hindu temples in all of India
    • Visit the incredible 8th-century Shore Temples and Pagodas of Mahabalipuram, built from huge granite blocks on a promontory in the Bay of Bengal
    • Freely explore the beaches of Chennai, including the 12km-long Marina Beach, the longest urban beach in the world
    • Visit the chaotic Sri Venkateswara Temple in Tirumala along with 10,000 devoted pilgrims, one of the holiest temples dedicated to the Hindu deity Vishnu
    • Visit the Monday market in the indigenous melting pot of Goudaguda, soaking up the incredible atmosphere as the locals barter and trade their produce
    • Head out for a full day hike around the Goudaguda region, visiting nearby villages of the Kondha, Mahali and Paroja tribal people
    • Explore the rarely-visited Wednesday Market in Chakitona, the main weekly market for the Desia and Dongria villagers from the area
    • See a fascinating local cooking demonstration and learn about the incredible work of the New Hope Community Centre in the rural village of Muniguda
    • Bathe in the natural hot springs with the local villagers at the small temple of Taptapani
    • Take a day trip out to the beautiful Chilika Lake, Asia's largest lagoon and home to an incredible abundance of birdlife
    • Explore the religious sites of Puri by cycle-rickshaw, including the Jagannath Temple, one of the four most sacred Hindu pilgrimage sites in India
    • Explore the ruins of the 13th-century Sun Temple of Konark near to Puri, shaped like a colossal chariot with elaborately carved stone wheels
    • Take a cycle ride through the stunning back-roads and villages near Puri, to visit the artisan village of Raghurajpur and see the fantastic array of handicrafts traditionally manufactured there
    • Experience a local train ride from Puri to Kolkata
    Tour Staff
    • 2 crew members and local guides where necessary
    Accomodation
    • 15% Camping - 85% Hotels
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