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India is a fascinating country of colour, culture and spiritualism, which we have combined to offer you a true insight into this magical land. This tour will take you through cities and landscapes, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the colonial capital of Kolkata before heading south through the interior to finish your tour in lush Kerala.
Depart London on your scheduled overnight flight to Mumbai via Delhi.
On arrival you will be met by a local guide and transferred to your hotel. After checking in at your hotel the rest of the day is at leisure to start exploring this multi-faceted city.
An early morning start to commence your full day tour of Mumbai awaits you. Your first stop is the iconic stone arch landmark known as the Gateway of India, Next, board a motorboat to Elephanta Island and explore the ancient caves dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva which are UNESCO-listed (Please note there are 120 steps with a steep climb to access the ancient caves on Elephanta Island). Back in Mumbai you will delight in admiring such sites as the grand Jain Temple before meandering through the picturesque Hanging Gardens which offer beautiful views of the city and sea before arriving at the beach at Chowpatty. Continue to the museum of Mani Bhavan where Mahatama Gandhi stayed during his visits to Mumbai between 1917-1943.
Fly from Mumbai to Amritsar. On arrival you will be met by a local guide and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure to explore the Sikh's holy city and its network of historic bazaars.
Following breakfast, you'll enjoy a visit to the Golden Temple, one of the most awe-inspiring and memorable sights in India. Sikhism's holiest shrine, the spectacular golden temple blends Hindu and Islamic architecture, which is set off by its stunning location at the centre of a shimmering pool, known as the Pool of Nectar. After lunch, the afternoon is yours to explore at your own pace, alternatively you can take an optional excursion to the Wagah Border. Famousfor its fascinating flag-lowering ceremony, Indian and Pakistani guards decked in full uniform lower their respective flags and close the border gates with as much pomp and fervour as they can muster.
This morning you'll board the train to Chandigarh before taking a winding, scenic drive through lush pine forests to the former summer capital of British India. Beautifully situated on a hilltop in the snow-capped Shivalik Ranges and offering stunning views of the Himalayan mountains, the British Raj would annually transfer here to avoid the heat of Calcutta.
After breakfast this morning you'll depart Shimla for the neighbouring hill station of Kufri. Set in the foothills of the Himalayas, this charming town is surrounded by dense forest and snow-capped mountains, offering staggering viewpoints of the surrounding countryside and the vast mountains beyond. After admiring Kufri's natural wonders, tour the impressive Rashtrapati Niwas, former residence of the British Viceroy. Built in Jacobethan style, this fascinating glimpse into British colonial history allows you to explore the maze of corridors, grand teak-panelled rooms and sprawling lawns.
Today, you'll travel in style with a ride on the UNESCO recognised 'Toy Train' - built for the British Viceroy and his delegates, the train is hauled along by a tiny diesel locomotive which rattles at a leisurely pace through breath-taking scenery to its final destination of Dharampur Station where you will disembark for lunch. Following lunch, transfer by car to Kalka Station for your connecting train to Delhi where you will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel.
The symbol of old and new India, Delhi is simultaneously a buzzing, international metropolis and a city rich in history. Today you'll discover it in all its glory on a full day tour, traversing through Old Delhi's narrow, spice-scented streets by rickshaw, yoo'll feel like you've travelled back in time while taking in sights such as the Mughal Empire's imposing Red Fort and the UNESCO listed Humanyun's Tomb, whose Persian-style elegance and landscaped garden setting makes it one of Delhi's finest historic sites. Crossing to the intricately planned colonial centre of New Delhi, you'll visit the minimalistic Mahatma Gandhi Memorial adorned in floral tributes, before exploring the ruins of Quatub Minar complex. Before falling to ruin, this red-sandstone city was built in the 13th Century by the Delhi Sultanate and housed a number of mosques and tombs, as well the intricate tower centrepiece from which the complex gets its name.
After Breakfast, drive to Jaipur (known as the Pink city) by coach. After Check in at your hotel, the rest of the day is at leisure.
Begin your day with a visit to the impressive Amber Fort, built from pink sandstone and white marble this magnificent fort is largely made up of a royal palace, home to the royal family until 1728. Spread over four vast courtyards, you'll ascend to the fort either by Jeep and experience the grandeur of a Maharaja. The tour will continue to the famous open-air observatory of Jantar Mantar with a fascinating collection of archaic astronomical instruments including the world's largest stone sun dial. Finally you'll marvel at the numerous windows of the stunning Hawa Mahal, also known as the Palace of the Winds.
Today is at leisure to explore this beautiful city at your own pace. Explore the colourful bazaars, temples and museums the city has to offer or simply admire this flamboyant showcase of Rajasthani architecture. You may book an optional excursion (payable locally) to The Elephant Village. Have the opportunity to see, touch and feed the elephants the village was set up by the local Rajasthan Government in 2010.
Depart Jaipur this morning by coach for the wondrous city of Agra the former capital of the mighty Mughal dynasty, whose legacy can be seen in the colossal forts and opulent buildings. Your afternoon will be at leisure to explore the fascinating mausoleums and bustling marketplaces of this charming city.
This unforgettable day begins with a sunrise tour of the truly magnificent Taj Mahal, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and widely considered to be the most beautiful building on the planet. Built on the orders of heartbroken Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan upon the death of his wife, this stunning white marble mausoleum took over 20,000 people and around 20 years to build and words simply don't do it justice. You'll return to your hotel for breakfast and a well-deserved rest before visiting the impressive, red sandstone Agra Fort. One of the finest Mughal forts in India, this colossal giant began construction in 1565 as a military structure, but was later transformed into an opulent palace for the emperor.For any further enquiries or for more information
Today's coach ride takes you from Agra to Lucknow, India's former artistic and cultural hub. On arrival, check into your hotel, you are then free to relax or explore your new surroundings.
After breakfast, a full-day city tour of Lucknow visits the city's most impressive highlights. Wander through the recently restored Hazratganj Market and visit the 1857 Memorial Museum, where the collection of old photographs, documents and objects on display offers insight into the major historical events that have shaped Lucknow. Continue on to the historic the gilded dome and intricate inlays of Chota Imambara. Pass through the imposing 18th century gateway of Rumi Darwaza, travelling past the stark red walls of Taluqdar Hall, the towering peak of Husainabad Clock Tower. Return to your hotel after this comprehensive day of sightseeing.
Following breakfast, you'll board a coach to Varanasi where you'll be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel. One of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world; the great Hindu city of Varanasi stretches along the River Ganges, its waterfront lined with temples and pavilions, interspersed with vast stone steps or ghats used daily by thousand of pilgrims in their daily ritual ablutions. This evening you'll tour the ghats and witness a Ganga Aarti ceremony where a small lamp containing a candle and flowers representing an offering of fire is floated down the river.
Awake early this morning for a sunrise boat trip on the Ganges where you can gain a different perspective of this colourful waterfront city and the spiritual importance of the river in the Hindu religion. Returning to your hotel for breakfast and a rest you'll then spend the afternoon exploring the ancient temples of Sarnath, a sacred Buddhist pilgrimage site on which the Buddha gave his first sermon after achieving enlightenment around 530BC. After exploring the many ruins you'll return to Varanasi where your evening is at leisure.
The morning is free to relax in the hotel or if your guide can arrange for the coach to take you back into central Varanasi. Take an afternoon flight to Kolkata.
The showpiece capital of the British Raj, Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) was considered as the greatest colonial city of the Orient. You'll begin today's tour with a trip back to these times by visiting the grand imperial buildings around Dalhousie Square such as the majestic, white-domed General Post Office. Following lunch, enjoy a fascinating boat trip on the Hooghly river offering you a panoramic view of the city whilst sailing through the two spectacular Howrah and Vidyasagar bridges.
Following breakfast, you will fly to Kerala and arrive in Cochin known as the'Queen of the Arabian Sea'. On arrival you will be transferred to your hotel and the rest of the day is at leisure.
Today you will board a traditional House Boat at Alleppey for your tranquil journey through the scenic winding backwaters absorbing the stunning rural scenery and admiring the local villages. After an authentic meal served on board by your private chef spend the night on board, a once in a lifetime experience.
Today you will disembark from the houseboat and enjoy a drive through the spectacular countryside to arrive at the hill station of Thekkady which conjures up images of rolling lush hills and spice scented plantations. The Periyar forests of Thekkady are one of the finest wildlife reserves in India, and spread across the entire district are picturesque plantations and hill towns. In the afternoon, you can choose to relax at the hotel or visit spice market. This evening you will enjoy a traditional Kathakali and Kalaripayattu show.
A highlight of Thekkady is the Periyar National Park, India's largest wildlife sanctuary. Enjoy a morning boat ride at Periyar Lake where you will have the chance to spot some elephants, or one of the park's 25 Bengal tigers amongst other birds, reptiles and mammals. This aftrernoon relax at the hotel with a complimentary Ayurvedic massage of 45 minutes per person. Later enjoy dinner at your hotel with two bottles of Indian Beer and overnight at the hotel.
The tour will depart in the morning and travel by coach to Munnar. En route visit the spice plantation at spice garden and later proceed to Munnar, South India's largest tea growing region known for its expanse of tea plantations, rolling valleys and mountains . Today you will have a tour of Munnar, a nature lover's paradise. Listen to your own echo bouncing around the surrounding hills at Echo Point and Learn about the origins of your morning cuppa at one of the tea plantations owned by the mighty Tata corporation.
After breakfast, enjoy the last few highlights of Munnar before proceeding to Cochin. Arriving late evening at Cochin you will check in to your hotel and enjoy the evening at leisure.
Following breakfast, you will embark on a tour of the city. Marvel at Mattancherry Dutch palace, St. Francis church, the oldest European church in India and the impressive promenade lined with distinct Chinese fishing nets.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return flight to UK (Via Dubai) or continue on to your chosen extension.
A visa is required for entry into India. British Citizen Passport Holders will need to obtain a tourist visa. We work closely with The Travel Visa Company who will be able to arrange your visa on your behalf. Please call them on 01270 250 590 and quote 'Mercury Holidays'. The Travel Visa Company can only apply for this 120 days before your proposed travel date. When calling the Travel Visa Company they will advise you of any changes to the fees or the procedure, they will also advise you of all information they will require in order to apply for the visa. Alternatively you can visit The Indian Visa Application Centre in London: 142-148 Goswell Road, London, EC1B 7DU. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months before you enter India. Visa requirements are subject to change and obtaining a visa is the responsibility of the traveller and not Mercury Holidays. We recommend you check with your destinations' Tourist Board or Embassy prior to departure for the most up to date guidelines regarding visas and passport validity.
We strongly recommend that you and all members of your party are suitably insured as soon as you book your holiday. It is a condition of booking that you must have suitable travel insurance. It is important that you purchase travel insurance that suitably covers your participation in whatever activities you may undertake at the time that you make your booking. To assist you with this, we have arranged travel insurance in partnership with Holiday Extras. To arrange your travel insurance with Holiday Extras, please call 0800 781 4237 and quote 'WK830' for preferential rates. Please ensure you provide us with the name of your insurer, policy number and their 24-hour emergency contact number as soon as possible. Mercury Holidays will not be liable for any costs incurred by you due to your failure to take out suitable travel insurance from the date of booking.
If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of €300pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.
Flights are operated with Oman Air, departing London Heathrow. Each passenger is entitled to hold luggage plus 1 item of hand luggage. Weight restrictions will be finalized on E-ticket receipt. Should you wish to take additional luggage you will need to pay extra at check- in. Check-In should be at least 3 hours before departure.
IMPORTANT: Please note that final flight details will be confirmed on your final documentation which will be sent to you approximately 10 days before departure. Should you wish to take additional luggage you will need to pay extra at check - in. Check-In should be at least 3 hours before departure.
It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in good time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, www.travelhealthpro.org.uk/, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.
This tour is accessible to most people with an average level of fitness and normal mobility. It involves moderate days of walking on uneven paths and small hills, and getting on and off coaches and boats. This tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.
The minimum number of travellers in your group will be 10, and the maximum will be 35. If in the unlikely event there are less than 10 people booked on your tour date, we will endeavour to reduce any disruption to your holiday and try to operate your tour with lower passenger numbers. If we are not able to operate your departure date then you may be asked to change to a different date and a full refund will be made available to you should this alternative not be suitable
This is an escorted tour, meaning the you will have the services of an English speaking guide during each excursion ensuring that you have first-hand knowledge at all times. Also, local monument guides will be provided subject to the monuments rules.
The currency in India is the Rupee or Rs. The Rupee is a closed currency and officially you are not allowed to take any cash out of India. US Dollars and GBP are also widely accepted in India should you wish to keep an alternative currency on you. There are restrictions on taking Indian rupees into India. Visitors, including tourists, are not permitted to take any amount of Indian currency into the country. You can take cash or travellers' cheques (in pounds sterling or another foreign currency) and/or a bank card with you and exchange or withdraw rupees once in India.
You will need to take some extra money with you to cover any meals where these are not mentioned on your itinerary and personal purchases, such as souvenirs, drinks and snacks. Approximately (GBP 50-100) per person/ per day should be sufficient for the duration of your tour. Please also bear in mind that there will be several shopping opportunities throughout your tour. Tipping is at your discretion; However we would recommend approximately £2 per day. Tips are accepted in the local currency, however it is asked that if you do not tip in the local currency that you only pay with notes, as coins cannot be exchanged.
|Depart UK||Arrive UK||Price|
|05 May 2023||01 Jun 2023||SOLD OUT|
|02 Jun 2023||29 Jun 2023||€3807.00|
|21 Jul 2023||17 Aug 2023||€3695.00|
|08 Sep 2023||05 Oct 2023||€3583.00|
|15 Sep 2023||12 Oct 2023||€3471.00|
|06 Oct 2023||02 Nov 2023||€4333.00|
|20 Oct 2023||16 Nov 2023||€4333.00|
|10 Nov 2023||07 Dec 2023||€4143.00|
|24 Nov 2023||21 Dec 2023||€4143.00|
|19 Jan 2024||15 Feb 2024||€4423.00|
|09 Feb 2024||07 Mar 2024||€4423.00|
|01 Mar 2024||28 Mar 2024||€4031.00|
|29 Mar 2024||25 Apr 2024||€3919.00|
|03 May 2024||30 May 2024||€3471.00|
|31 May 2024||27 Jun 2024||€3359.00|
|19 Jul 2024||15 Aug 2024||€4367.00|
|06 Sep 2024||03 Oct 2024||€3583.00|
|13 Sep 2024||10 Oct 2024||€3695.00|
|04 Oct 2024||31 Oct 2024||€4479.00|
|18 Oct 2024||14 Nov 2024||€4479.00|
|08 Nov 2024||05 Dec 2024||€4479.00|
|22 Nov 2024||19 Dec 2024||€4479.00|
Please note that Kerala has strict laws regarding the governance of the sale of alcohol in public places including hotels and restaurants. The sale and consumption of alcohol is therefore often restricted in hotels, varying from one establishment to another. However, you may bring your own alcohol with you for private consumption in your room.
Shimla is not suitable for clients with walking difficulties, due to the nature of its mountainous location, there are many steep steps, inclines and declines around the town.
Please note there are 120 steps with a steep climb to access the ancient caves on Elephanta Island.
Please note, for 2019 departures, within Kolkata you will be staying at 5* Taj Bengal Kolkata. Please refer to your final ticketing documentation for further details.
Please note, on 14th November you will stay at the 5-star Radisson Jass Hotel, in Shimla, and your hotel in Jaipur will be the 5-star Radisson Blu Hotel.
11 °C / 41 °C
Please familiarise yourself with the climate charts below.
The Clarks Hotel in Shimla, although was dated, the service was excellent & all the staff so polite.
We were in a group of 20 people which was an excellent size.
We were effected by the coronavirus & had to leave early. Getting us all flights home, within the government set time scale, was managed very well.
Omit Kerala in future tours, most of our group thought the houseboat was awful and the Tiger Reserve was cancelled. I know this was unavoidable but there are other reserves, in other parts of India, you should consider for the future. Other tea growing areas too so Kerala isnï¿½t vital. The hotels and food there were worse than all the others. Although Kerala was marginally cleaner... not clean, obviously, but cleaner than other places.
The guide, in Kerala, wasnï¿½t very good either. He was late meeting us at the airport and seemed to lack the personality a guide needed although he did try his best. The contrast with the first guide was stark, the first one was good.
Hotels were OK until we got to Kerala. (Taj Bengal was excellent) The Thekaddy Abad had no air conditioning and the balcony doors couldnï¿½t be opened, during the day, because of monkeys. They couldnï¿½t be opened at night because of insects.
The restaurant was open to flying bugs too.
There was no bar.
Our room was hot.
The Kerala houseboat was horrible, the food was disgusting, the boat was filthy and the bathroom stank.
Stayed in some really wonderful hotels.
All the selected hotels were of a good standard providing excellent service and facilities. The food throughout, and particularly in Cochin, was superb.
4 and 5 star hotels were excellent, particularly Clarkes Hotel in Shimla.
3 star Turtle Beach was OK and good value, but had a few rough edges.
some of the hotels were a little too far out of town but the standard of the hotels was very good.
Although the hotels were of various standards each one was excellent.
All hotels were of a very good standard and the hotel food was excellent.
Hotels were excellent with great food and service. Superb value for money. Any comment would be a couple were on the outskirts but it was relatively easy to get from them.
Everything was perfect
The hotels were all comfortable and all room facilities worked.
Other people on our group complained that swimming pools were not available in some hotels, but the brochure didn’t suggest that pools would be available and I didn’t expect them in North India!
Some hotels were better than others, but all were very good value for money.
Lovely hotels in a variety of styles and places. Food very good and staff very polite and friendly
The hotels were very good. It would have been nice to have stayed in more hotels within the towns/cities rather than the outskirts. Clarke's Hotel at Shimla was excellent and we could stroll around the town comfortably and equally the Cardamon Hotel at Thekkla enabled us to walk up the streets and barter for our shopping.
Our "northern" guide/tour manager Naveen was brilliant and soon joined in the banter. He went that extra mile and eg arranged a traditional celebration on Diwali for us.
3 nights from €223ppView
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Nestled beside the quaint fishing village of Mararikulam, discover the untouched sandy beaches of Marari on your three-night extension within a truly tropical retreat. Whether lounging by the beach soaking up the year-round sunshine, swimming within the Arabian Sea's glistening waters or enjoying a traditional Ayurvedic massage at your hotel, the Marari extension is the ideal way to conclude your tour.