From the beautiful symmetry of the Taj Mahal to the unforgettable backwaters of Kerala, this comprehensive Indian journey is a photographer's delight. Sail along the sacred Ganges River in Varanasi and explore Abhaneris carved stepwells in the North before flying south to search for tigers in the wild and exotic spices in relaxed hill stations. With an intriguing combination of included activities and free time, city streets and rural spirit, you're sure to gain an understanding of the people and some insight into this fascinating land.
Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer included through the G Adventures-supported Women on Wheels project.
Women on Wheels Transfer
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
In the morning enjoy a city tour by local streetkids, a G Adventures-supported project.
Later, visit Delhi's famous Jama Masjid (Great Mosque) and climb the minaret for a bird's eye view of the Old City. Walk through Chandni Chowk, one of India's oldest and busiest markets, and learn the history of the Sikh religion at the important Gurdwara, (Sikh place of worship) Gurdwara SisGanj. Stop for photos at the colourful spice market before finishing at the Victorian Connaught Place, one of the most prominent architectural remnants of British rule.
Guided Walking Tour with New Delhi Streetkids Project
Jama Masjid Visit
Gurdwara Sis Ganj Visit
Delhi Spice Market
Connaught Place Visit
Chandni Chowk Visit
Drive to Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan and start exploring. Opt to visit the Jantar Mantar, or Royal Observatory. Don't miss the opprtunity to see a Bollywood film at the famous Art Deco Raj Mandir cinema.
Private Vehicle (5.00-6.00 hours, 260km)
Head out to visit the ruined city of Amber, the former capital of Jaipur state. Stop and take a photo of the Hawa Mahal palace complex, elaborate formal gardens, and a small lake.
Amber Fort Visit
Tonight's accommodation is in spacious and comfortable tents outfitted with beds, lamps, and simple en suite bathrooms.
Village Cycling Excursion
Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s), 50km)
Opt for an early morning hike to a ruined fortress. Later, stop by the impressive Abhaneri stepwell en route to Agra, home of the Taj Mahal.
Abhaneri Stepwell Visit
Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s), 250km)
Visit the sparkling Taj Mahal for sunrise then stick around to explore (if the light is better around sunset, we may visit later in the day instead). Later, visit the walled city of Agra Fort by cycle-rickshaw and the I'timad-ud-Daulah, or the Baby Taj.
Taj Mahal Visit
Agra Fort Visit
Baby Taj Visit
Visit the Agra Fort by human-powered cycle-rickshaw.
Leave early and travel along typically rough Indian roads to Alipura, a friendly village which will be our base for two days.
Here, stay in a heritage property with time to wander the town and interact with locals.
Train (2.50 hour(s))
Private Vehicle (3.50 hour(s))
Travel 1.5 hrs to Khajuraho, one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. Learn the history of these world-famous temples on a guided tour and enjoy a taste of a little erotica from the Middle Ages.
After, opt to visit a nearby waterfall (seasonal) or watch an evening dance performance.
Khajuraho Temples Guided Tour
Private Vehicle (1.50-2.00 hours, 96km)
Private Vehicle (1.50-2.00 hours, 96km)
En route to Orchha, visit a unique paper making plant, set up to assist tribal women from the area. All the paper is made from recycled clothing and wood pulp. Continue on to Orchha and enjoy an orientation tour of this small town. Set on the banks of the Betwa River, it is the perfect antidote to the chaos of India's cities. Later, attend an evening puja ceremony at the Ram Raja Temple.
Private Vehicle (2.50-3.00 hours, 96km)
Visit the Orchha Palace complex and enjoy free time before the overnight train to Varanasi. Opt for a local cooking class with a family.
Orchha Palace Visit
Private Vehicle (1.00 hour(s), 20km)
Basic overnight train (beds) (13.00 hour(s))
Disembark the train in legendary Varanasi, the quintessential Indian holy city where millions of Hindus visit for pilgrimage, to worship, to mourn, or to die.
There is time here to shop, wander, and absorb the atmosphere of this unique city, while optional activities include the monasteries and ruins of nearby Sarnath, the site of the Buddha's first sermon.
Evening Ganges Boat Tour
Watch the sunrise from a boat along the Ganges. Enjoy free time in this holy city.
Morning Ganges Boat Tour
Cut out the travel time with an afternoon flight back to Delhi.
Transfer to the airport and fly to Kochi. 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.
Plane (3.00-3.50 hours)
Enjoy an early morning orientation tour of Fort Kochi. Enjoy free time to explore before an evening performance of kathakali, a form of traditional dancing from Kerala.
Take a morning train followed by a scenic drive to reach Kalpetta, in the Wayanad district.
Train (4.00 hour(s))
Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s))
Here, we go on nature trails in Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary and visit the Edakkal Caves, which are believed to have been a shelter of neolithic people.
Wayanad Nature Walk
We leave the hills for the plains, and stop for the night at the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary.
Spend part of the afternoon on a short safari and spot the variety of wildlife within the park.
Mudumalai Jeep Safari
Private Vehicle (3.00-4.00 hours)
Imagine life as a Maharaja on a guided tour of the Mysore Palace. Later, join the throngs of pilgrims at Chamundi Hills, with its temple on top, and Nandi the Bull (ridden by the Hindu god Shiva) a short walk below.
In your free time, visit the Devaraja fruit and vegetable market or join a yoga class at one of the many local institutes.
Opt to drive to Somnathpur, home to one of the most famous Hoysala Temples in India.
Chamundi Temple Visit
Mysore Palace Visit
Private Vehicle (2.00-4.00 hours)
Arrive by train to Chennai before continuing south for a short ride to the small village of Mamallapuram. Visit the 7th century Shore Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Shore Temple Visit
Enjoy a scenic ride to the east coast aboard Indian's vast rail system. Play cards, meet your fellow passengers or let the landscapes soak in.
Train (8.00 hour(s))
Private Vehicle (1.00-1.50 hours)
Free time to explore Mamallapuram.
In the morning, drive to Pondicherry (now known as Puducherry), formerly the the largest French Colony in India and an important trading town. There is a strong French influence in the city's layout, with wide boulevards and French-style houses, but the city is undoubtedly Indian.
Private Vehicle (2.00-2.50 hours)
Travel inland to Madurai, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.
Private Vehicle (6.00-7.00 hours)
After visiting the temple complex, opt to visit the handicraft shops or duck into the cool shade of the covered, stone tailor's market where, for a few rupees, rows of expert tailors will whip you up a custom shirt in minutes, all done on antique foot-pump sewing machines. In the late evening, opt to visit the Meenakshi Temple again for a glimpse of the nighttime rituals.
Meenakshi Temple Visit
Thekkady, adjacent to Periyar National Park, is the spice capital of India. On arrival, enjoy a guided tour of the spice plantations and a tea factory.
Opt for a boat ride on the Periyar Lake.
Cardamom Hills Spice Plantation Tour
Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s))
Travel down to the backwaters from Thekkady to catch a private boat for the short journey to the village homestay.
In the afternoon, explore the island with a local person to observe the different facets of local life — it's a great opportunity to meet and talk with the people who live in this unique location.
Just before sunset, hop on a small country boat and journey along with the locals to enjoy sunset on the winding backwaters.
For this homestay, you will only need to take a small overnight bag. Your main bags will be transferred directly to the hotel in Kochi.
Kerala Backwaters Homestay
Private Vehicle (4.00-5.50 hours, 145km)
Boat (0.25 hour(s))
The morning is spent enjoying the last of our host family's hospitality. Learn to cook some of the wonderful food, watch the toddy tappers at work, or wander around the village and explore more of the life on the backwaters.
Depart the homestay and travel back to Kochi. The trip ends on arrival to Kochi in the early afternoon.
Departure Day (Activities)
Boat (1.50 hour(s))
Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s))
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An intense trip with a lot of travelling but very well worth it. If you are restricted for time its the best way to see India without breaking the bank.Overall Rating
The combination of the northern loop and the southern loop gave me all I could have hoped for in a month -- and the order of the two was great. The frenetic pace of the north followed by the laid back feeling in the south left me feeling I could easily return to IndiaOverall Rating
I truly enjoyed the variety of locations & activities. I really felt I left India with a mind full of amazing memories and it was wonderful to have a small glance into the rich history and culture that is India.Overall Rating
To me India was something special. I had a tight schedule and not too much time to prepare my trip. I like adventure and in the past I traveled mainly by myself. I was kind of prejudiced against organized trips. But G Adventures changed my whole perception about the thing. I really enjoyed myself. For once I didn't have to worry about means of transportation or finding a place to sleep or to eat. The days were filled with discoveries and joy. Above all I made many new friends and really enjoyed sharing such an experience with other people.Overall Rating
India Encompassed really did include everything that I wanted on my first adventure to India. The combination of the north and south truly allowed an excellent opportunity to experience different aspects of India. The north was hectic, intense but stunningly beautiful. The south was the perfect antidote to the north. A much needed change of pace. What an experience. Thank you!Overall Rating
I was very pleased by the diversity of experiences offered by the tour and the well thought out itinerary. The tour leaders were excellent and the transportation and hotels exceeded my expectations.Overall Rating
We've been backpacking in a lot of countries and I was not prepared for the luxury we had in this trip. I totally loved it. My own towel, some places had swimming pools and even the rooms where very nice. I think I couldn't have made this trip any better myself. I enjoyed the group and it was nice to have some free time once in a while, you could be cultural or just relax.Overall Rating
Both the tour leaders on this trip were very knowledgeable and efficient. The tour was well organised with plenty of activities to do every day.Overall Rating
The trip was beyond fantastic and if I could I would do it all over again. The trip was great mostly due to very knowledgeable and friendly tour leader Jai (Jaivardhan) Singh. Thumbs up for Jai, he made this trip an experience to remember not just another vacation.Overall Rating
Awe inspiring! I fell in love with India and can't wait to go back!Overall Rating
Trip Name: India Encompassed
Duration: 28 Days
From Price: 2464
Trip Code: 126379
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