17 Nights Itinerary Covering: Delhi - Jaipur – Ranthambore National Park (Sawai Madhopur) - Fatehpur Sikri – Agra - Delhi - Khajuraho - Varanasi - Kochi - Kumarakom - Alleppey (Alappuzha) - Kovalam – Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum)
If we say that one lifetime is not enough to explore the wonderful experiences that India has to offer, it is no exaggeration. Here we have tried to club the best sights and sounds of India through First Timer India Tour, an excellently planned itinerary for you if you are visiting India for the very first time. Explore some of the best destinations of North and South India during a span of 14 days including Delhi, Jaipur, Agra, Orchha, Ranthambore, Khajuraho, Varanasi, Kochi, Kovalam, Alleppey, Kumarakom, Thrivandrum and Kovalam. Some of the highlights of the tour include visit to World Heritage Sites, shopping at the popular bazaars, wildlife safari at Ranthambore, Ganga Aarti in Varanasi, visit to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Taj Mahal, houseboat cruise in Alleppey and visit to popular Kovalam beaches.
Note: This is just a suggested itinerary indicative of what could be possible. We tailor holidays for your specific needs. Contact us if you want modifications so that we could tailor a holiday to suit your need for an unforgettable India tour.
On arriving at the Delhi Airport/ Railway Station, meet our tour representative who would help you with an assisted transfer to your pre-booked hotel.
An amazing blend of ancient architectural wonders and new-age fashion world, Delhi is the proud capital of India, which is flocked by travelers from all around the world. A must-visit destination, this city allures visitors for both leisure and business. The melting point of the country's politics and a potpourri of varied cultures, Delhi has been under the ruler of several rulers from the time of inception. These rulers, be it Mughals or the British have adorned the city with innumerable man-made wonders.
Overnight stay in Delhi.
On this day of the tour, have your breakfast and prepare to explore Delhi. The popular tourist attractions of Delhi that you visit today are Red Fort- erected in 1648 by Mughal Emperor Shah Jana and also known as Laal Quila, this UNESCO World Heritage Site was the former residence of Mughal Emperor; Qutub Minar- another World Heritage Site, the second tallest minaret in India was built commissioned by Qutb-ud-din Aibak in 1193; Lotus Temple- also known as Bahaai temple, this architectural marvel promotes the idea of unity of humanity and religion, Humayun's Tomb- the tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun, its construction was ordered his first wife Bega Begum in the year 1569; India Gate- originally known as All India War memorial, it bears the names of Indian and British soldiers who died in Afgan war of 1919 and Raj Ghat- the cremation spot of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, it is placed on the banks of Yamuna River. The last day of the visit is to Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi where you can enjoy a rickshaw ride. This is a wholesale market for clothes, jewelry, spices, books and more. If time and energy permits, you can visit Dargah Hazrat Nizamuddin- dedicated to Nizammudin Auilya- one of the most popular Sufi saints in the world.
Stay overnight in hotel.
Today in the morning, you hit the road to the 'Pink City', Jaipur. After arrival, check-in at a luxury hotel. You are now free to explore the place on your own. The capital city of Rajasthan, Jaipur is a bustling city that was named after its founder Sawai Maharaja Jai Singh II. The largest city of Jaipur was founded during the 18th century. One of the most popular tourist destinations of India, Jaipur is flocked by tourists from all around the world in huge numbers. The rich history, the architectural wonders, the bustling markets and the friendly locals cats their magic on the visitors.
If time permits, in the evening you can visit the popular markets of Jaipur such as Bapu Bazaar, M I Road, Kishanpol Bazaar etc. the bazaars of Jaipur are a shopper's paradise where you can get some amazing stuff in the form of souvenirs including traditional attires, handicrafts, imitation jewellery, lac bangles, Rajasthani textiles, semi-precious stones, mojris and so on.
Stay overnight in Jaipur.
4th day of the tour is for visiting the attractions of Jaipur. Start your day by visiting Amer or Amber fort placed on the outskirts of the city. Counted amongst the list of 6 Hill forts of Rajasthan that are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, this fort is on a hilltop that was built in 1592 by Raja Man Singh I. fort complex is a blend of Rajput, Muslim and Hindu styles of architecture and comprises of a number of structures such as Ganesh Pol, Sila Devi temple, Sukh Mandir, Sheesh Mahal, Tripolia Gate, Man Sing palace etc.
Later, visit City Palace- the seat of the Maharaja of Jaipur, the palace complex was built between 1729 and 1732 and is a mix of Mughal and Rajasthani architectural style; Hawa Mahal- a popular landmark of the city, this 5-strorey honeycomb-like structure was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh; Jantar Mantar- a UNESCO World heritage Center, India's largest and the best preserved astronomical observatory that was built by Jai Singh II and Jaigarh Fort- overlooking Maota Lake and Amer Fort, this fort complex was constructed in the year 1726 by Jai Singh II.
Overnight stay in Jaipur.
On the 5th day of the tour, get transferred to Ranthambore National Park (Sawai Madhopur), one of the biggest and oldest national parks in the country. Upon reaching, check-in at a wildlife resort. One of the most popular wildlife reserves of the region, it is known for housing a decent population of the big cats. Spread in an area of 392 sq km of land, this national park was the former hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur. The afternoon is free. You can relax in your room or can embark on nature walk. Evening is scheduled for wildlife safari inside the national park.
Start your day with morning safari inside Ranthambore. You may spot a vast variety of animal and bird species including tiger, leopard, nilgai, wild boar, sambar, hyena, sloth bear and chital. Around 272 avifauna species also call this national park their home. You can spot colorful birds such as Great Crested Grebe, Common Kingfishers, Cuckoo-Shrikes, Flycatchers, Bee Eaters, Cuckoos, Asian Palm Swift, Parakeets and more.
Later, get transferred to the 'Mughal City', Agra. On the halt at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Fatehpur Sikri. Built by Mughal Emperor Akbar in the honor of Khwaja -Muinuddin Chisti, a popular Sufi saints who had blessed him with 3 sons. The construction started in 1569 and it served as the Mughal capital between 1571 to 1585. The complex consists of a number of beautiful structures such as Diwan -I-Am, Tomb of Salim Chishti, Diwan-I-Khas, Jodhabai palace, Birbal's house, Marian's house, Buland darwaza, Jama Masjid and the Panchmahal.
Thereafter, continue to Agra. On arrival, complete the check-in formalities at a luxury hotel. If time and energy permit, you can explore the world heritage site and One of Seven Wonders of the World- Taj Mahal.
Overnight stay in Agra.
The day is scheduled to explore the attractions of Agra. Placed on the banks of Yamuna River, Agra is home to a number of Mughal architectural wonders that today are World Heritage Sites. The city has been able to keep the Mughal feel intact in its culture and is an alluring factor for tourists. Visiting the bustling bazaars of Agra like Sadar is a must. A walk down the street of Agra would be a memorable experience. Do not forget to get your hands popular local food specialties of Petha and Dalmoth.
The attractions that you visit today include Taj Mahal- Commissioned in 1632 by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, it is a blend of Islamic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish and Indian architectural styles; Agra Fort-this World Heritage Site on the right banks of River Yamuna, this beautiful red sandstone and white marble structure was constructed in the year 1565 by Emperor Akbar and later additions were made by Emperor Shah Jahan and Itmad Ud Daula Tomb- fondly known as the Baby Taj and Jewel Box', it is the first mausoleum in India which was completely made out of marble and it consists of the remains of Itmad-Ud-Daulah or Ghiyas Beg, a minister in the court of Emperor Akbar and Jahangir. In the evening, visit the local markets to collect souvenirs.
Begin the day early to board the train for Jhansi. Upon arrival meet our representative and get assistance with drive to Khajuraho. On the way, pay a visit to Orchha.
One of the fascinating places with roots in history, Orchha is a former princely state in Central India. The 16th century town by the Betwa River is home to magnificent palaces, forts, temples and charming architecture. After enjoying the sights proceed to Khajuraho.
Kharjjura-vahaka known in the ancient times and now Khajuraho is one of coveted UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India. The ancient Group of Temples in this serene town is the prized highlight. Known for the fascinating sculptures, mostly erotic figurines. Dating back to the 10th century, the town was built by the Chandela rulers. Besides the architectural gems the annual Khajuraho Dance Festival held for a week in the month of February is the major lure.
On arrival, complete check-in formalities at the hotel. There are no further plans, you are at your own leisure to explore surroundings.
Overnight stay in Khajuraho.
On day 8 in the morning, embark on the tour of the World Heritage Site- Khajuraho Group of Monuments- divided into Western and Eastern Temples of Khajuraho. Comprising of Hindu and Jain temples, they were constructed between 950 and 1050 CE by the rulers of the Chandela dynasty. Originally the Khajuraho temples were 85 in number while now only 22 are remaining. Pure architectural marvels, these temples are known for their carvings and sculptures of humans, animals and mythical creatures, promoting erotica. Kandariya Mahadeva, Vamana, Adinatha, Chausath-Yogini, Javari, Chaturbhuj, Duladeo,Visvanatha, Parsvanatha and Vaidyanatha are some of the temples that can be seen here today.
Later, head to the Khajuraho temple to board flight for Varanasi. As you reach Varanasi, get an assisted transfer to a hotel. The evening is at leisure. You can visit the local market or can attend the memorable Ganga Arti. Savor the magnificent sights and sounds.
The oldest continually inhabited cities of the world and one of the seven holy cities for the followers of Hinduism, Varanasi lies on the crescent shaped left bank of the holy River Ganga. Also known as Benaras or Kashi, this city lets you soak-in the spirituality and tranquility spread all around. From the ancient times, Varanasi has been known as a religious center for the Hindus and has been given several tags like 'the holy city of India', 'the religious capital of India', 'Shiva ki Nagri'and 'the city of learning'. A visit to Varanasi is an experience that mellows down your mind and soul. People take a dip in the holy waters of Ganges to wash away all their sins. A boat ride in its serene waters is one of the popular activities here. Varanasi has also been popular for its arts, music and education. Do not miss buying special Banarsi silk saris from here.
Start your day early (It is best to begin the day at 05:00 am). Get on-board a boat and set afloat on the holy Ganga waters to witness the river banks where cremation ceremony is done. Spot the people indulged in their daily religious activities during the morning hours as the city starts its day pretty early. The view of the rising sun looks mesmerizing and its reflection in the waters like golden colored ball looks even more enchanting. A huge number of religious locals and tourists visit the banks to take a bath and pray while the sun is rising.
Once you get down from the boat, enjoy a leisure walk on the cobblestone streets while the cool breeze brushes part your face. The shops would just be opening for their daily work. Back to the hotel for breakfast. Later, continue your sightseeing and visit the local markets to shop for fine-quality Banarsi silk saris. Do not miss enjoying a rickshaw ride, passing through the main markets and witnessing the hustle-bustle. Some of the markets that you visit include Kinari Bazaar (the wedding market), Kachori Galli (lane of kachoris- deep-fried snacks), Khoya Galli (known for milk products) and Vishwanath Galli (the city's most famous lane).
The next visit is to the campus of Benaras Hindu University, covering an area more than 4000 acres. Counted amongst Asia's biggest residential universities, it is not only an educational institution but a prime attraction of Varanasi. The University campus also comprises of an Art Gallery and the Mosque of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.
Post lunch, have a short trip to Sarnath (10 km from Varanasi), a popular and one of the most important Buddhist religious sites. Sarnath was the place where after enlightenment Lord Buddha gave his first sermon. Visit the famous deer park where Buddha offered his teaching for the very first time to his 5 disciples. This park is visited by the followers of Buddhism from all around the globe. The other attractions that you see here include monasteries commissioned by Great Emperor Asoka, several Stupas and an engraved pillar (only the base is remaining). Though these structures are in ruins after Muslim invasions but they still have their charm. Dhamekha Stupa here is a must-visit, a 110 feet tall stupa that was built on the spot here Buddha gave his sermon 'Wheel of Law'. The ritual is to circumambulate around the Stupa. It was built by Emperor Ashoka in 249 BCE.
Later, visit Sarnath Archeological Museum that houses an amazing collection of several artifacts, belonging to the 3 century BC that were found during the excavation. One of the most important structures here is the Lion Capital of Ashoka- the national emblem of India and a standing Bodhisatvas made of red sandstone. (Closed on Friday). The last visit of the day is to the textile village, where you can interact with the local artisans, their work- set up, their houses and their daily activities.
Back to Varanasi for overnight stay.
On day 10, get transferred to the Varanasi airport on-time to catch the flight for Kochi, your first destination in South India. After reaching the Cochin Airport, our tour representative helps you in taking a transfer to a luxury hotel. Check-in and relax for some time.
Also known with several names like Ernakulam, the 'Gateway to Kerala' and the 'Queen of the Arabian Sea', Kochi is a cosmopolitan city of Kerala that is flocked by tourists from all around. A popular port city of the olden times, today it boasts of housing some of the most amazing architectural wonders of the state. A visit to its tourist attraction is a must.
Stay overnight in Cochin.
The 11th day of the tour is for exploring the prime attractions of Kochi. The list of attractions that you may visit today include Santa Cruz Basilica-one of eight basilicas in this country, this church has impressive Gothic style architecture; Dutch Palace or Mattancherry Palace- this 2-storied structure was constructed around 1555, it is now a museum that houses a fine collection of impressive murals, weapons, paintings and more, St. Francis Church- constructed in the year 1503, this church is the oldest European church in India and Paradesi Synagogue- around 100 years old, this synagogue, the oldest one in the Commonwealth, houses some rare antiques. In the evening, you can visit the popular Cherai beach with a coastline of 15 km. take a leisure walk, enjoy the tourist going all around you, indulge in fun activities or simply lay down sunbathing.
In the morning, leave for the serene Kumarakom town, by road. After arriving, check into a luxury backwater resort. The lovely town stands on the banks of Lake Vembanad, the largest lake in Kerala and the longest one in the country. Its tranquil backwaters and colorful chirpy bird allure a huge number of tourists from all across the globe. If you are looking for a destination offering 'me-time' and 'seclusion', Kumarakom is the place to be. The lush green surroundings are a treat for the eyes.
After completing the check-in formalities, get all set to the place. Visit the world-renowned Kumarakom Bird sanctuary, also known as Vembanad bird sanctuary because it is placed on the Lake's banks. Spread in around 14 acres of verdant land, this sanctuary is flocked by bird watching enthusiasts as well as ornithologists. During your bird watching tour, you spot both resident and migratory birds including Siberian Stork, Cuckoo, Waterfowls, Teals, Egrets, Herons, Darters, Wild Ducks, Brahminy Kites, Owls and more. The sanctuary is open from six in the morning to six in the evening. For adventure enthusiasts, there are opportunities for water skiing and wind-sailing.
Stay overnight in Kumarakom.
On day 13, in the morning, check-in on board a houseboat that is going to sail towards Alleppey (Alappuzha), which is the backwater hub of Kerala, fondly known as the 'Venice of the East'. Houseboats are traditionally known as Kettuvallam, and since you are going to be aboard overnight, your houseboat is well-equipped with all the modern comforts, consists of various number of rooms. You are assisted by a rower and a trained chef who would be preparing sumptuous delicacies for you. While the boat is cruising on the tranquil backwaters, soak-in the serenity and admire the lovely views of the surrounding verdant palm coconut grooves and paddy fields. You can spot colorful chirpy birds, visit the coir making industry and the other attractions on the way, spot the villagers indulged in their daily activities. This experience is going to be a memorable one.
An overnight backwater cruise.
Morning arrival in Alleppey. Complete the check-out formalities and disembark. Later, get transferred to Kovalam. Upon reaching, check-in at a luxury hotel/ Ayurveda resort. A quaint fishing village, Kovalam today is a tranquil beach town along the Arabian Sea. The serenity of Kovalam allures travelers from all across the globe. The very well-known crescent-shaped Kovalam beach consists of lovely beaches- Lighthouse beach, Samudra beach and Hawa beach or Eve's beach. The peaceful ambiance, verdant surroundings and pleasant weather of this beautiful town compliment the affects of an Ayurvedic massage and therapy. Kovalam's landscape has several Ayurveda resorts and Ayurveda centers.
After the check-in formalities, you are free to spend the day as per your liking. Visit the beaches of Kovalam. Take a leisure walk on these sandy beaches and soak-in the peace. Just laze around and treat yourself to the free time. All these three are adjacent beaches, whose borders are dotted with coconut palm grooves and have abundant scenic beauty as well as serenity. Catamaran sailing, swimming and sunbathing are the activities that you can indulge in. Both national and international tourists flock these beaches for a peaceful escape.
Overnight in Kovalam.
Day 16 and 17 are for savoring the sights and sounds of Kovalam. You have a lot to indulge in. do not forget to attend peaceful Yoga and meditation sessions under expert guidance. These morning sessions would be relaxing for all your senses. Ayurveda therapy and massage is the other highlight of your stay at Kovalam. The natural ingredients, herbs and oils used in these therapies are going to have a calming effect on your mind, body and soul. Spend some hours enjoy the facilities at the resort.
Do plan a visit to Cape Comorin, which is now named as Kanyakumari. Placed on the southernmost tip of the Indian subcontinent, the place is equally popular amidst leisure lovers and religious visitors. Visit an ancient temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva and treat your eyes to the unforgettable sunset views here.
You can also go on-board a houseboat cruise on the popular Thiruvallam backwaters. A famous backwater destination of Thiruvallam offers unforgettable Kettuvallam (houseboat) cruise that offers views of lush surroundings, aquatic flowers, chirpy birds, villagers indulged in their work and so on.
On the last day of the tour, get transferred to Trivandum airport to catch flight for your onward destination.