Grand Travel Planner

Cultural Tours of North & South India

Duration: 23 Nights/ 24 Days
Destinations: Cochin-Munnar-Thekkady-Kumarakom-Cochin

Day 01 - Arrive Delhi 
Arrive Delhi International airport, you will be met and assisted by our representative to the hotel, check in at the hotel. Namaste & Welcome to India!!! . 
Rest of the at Leisure . 

Day 02 - Delhi-Agra by surface (204 Kms) 
After breakfast, drive to Agra & transfer to hotel.
Later, visit Itmad-Ud-Daulah’s Tomb, the monument that is most important in Agra is the Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah or "Baby Taj" as it is called sometimes. A highly ornate edifice, this mausoleum is considered as the imminent precursor of the Taj Mahal as far as elaborate carvings and inlay work are concerned. Though the structure does not have much to offer architecturally, it makes a clear departure from the earlier Mughal tombs built during the period and is more softer and with a lot of inlay carvings.

Tonga Ride Near Taj Mahal. (Royal Vehicle)!!!
Evening witness the magic of the ultimate symbol of Mughal achievement, The Taj Mahal at Sunset.  Taj Mahal, a dream etched in milky white pristine marble is the peerless monument portraying the beauty of eternal love.

Day 03 - Agra
After breakfast proceed for half day city tour Afternoon, visit Agra Fort - the seat and the stronghold of the Mughal Empire under successive generations. This was the seat of Mughal rule and administration and the present structure owes its origins to Akbar who erected the wall s and gates and the first buildings on the eastern banks of Yamuna River. Shah Jehan added the impressive quarters and the mosque while Aurangzeb added the outer ramparts. Visit its Hall of Public Audience and its Royal Pavilions.

Day 04 -Jaipur enroute visiting Fatehpur Sikri by surface (237 Kms)  
After breakfast depart by surface for Jaipur enroute visiting Fatehpur Sikri. Fatehpur Sikri Thirty-nine kilometres from Agra stands Fatehpur Sikri, the red sandstone city of yesteryears. The city was built by the Mughal Emperor Akbar in AD 1564 in honour of the Muslim saint Sheikh Salim Chisthi. Fatehpur Sikri was intended to be the capital city but the shortage of water and unrest in the north-west made Akbar abandon it after 14 years . One of the major attractions of this city is the marble tomb of Sheikh Salim Chisthi. Other places of interest include Diwan-i-Aam, Diwan-i-Khas, Buland Darwaza, Panch Mahal, Jodha Bai’s Palace and Birbal Bhavan. On arrival in Jaipur check-in at hotel.
In the evening, visit Chokhi Dhani - An ethnic village resort, the vitality of Rajasthani folk culture comes alive as children dance rhythmically to the loud tenor of folk songs sung by men and women, festooned in bright clothes. Gaily caparisoned camel, horses and bullock carts offer joy rides. A traditional Rajasthani dinner will be served.

Day 05 -Jaipur 
After breakfast, visit Amber Fort, the former capital of the royal Rajputs. Few fail to be moved by the dramatic Rajput grandeur of this hilltop fortress-palace 11-km north of Jaipur. Set on the dry wrinkled Aravali Hills, and surrounded by fortified battlements, the palace straddles two sepia-hued tundra hills overlooking Maota Lake, and its sprawling crenellated walls lattice the surrounding hills. We will ride up to this hilltop palace on a caparisoned, painted elephant, passing through the ancient main gate where Maharajas of Jaipur have entered for four hundred years. Our guide will elaborate on the history of this architectural masterpiece with its mirror-studded alcoves, dazzling mosaics and water-cooled swings that delight today’s visitors as they did their former royal residents. 
Elephant Ride at Amber Fort!!! 
Visit Jal Mahal- This palace is situated in the center of Man Sagar lake and has got a major tourist attraction. Hawa Mahal or Palace of the Winds- Jaipur is synonymous with Hawa Mahal. This beautiful monument of India was built by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh in the year 1799. Also known as the Palace of Winds, this beautiful monument is the landmark of Jaipur. The monument is five stories high and the front of the monument is delicately carved with beautiful motifs. We proceed for a guided tour of the City Palace & Observatory. The City Palace in the heart of the old city is a blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. The center of the palace is a seven storied building called Chandra Palace, with fine views over the gardens and the city. Next top the City Palace is the Solar Observatory - an astronomical treasure house, with solar device that gives accurate predictions till date. Drive past from Jantar Mantar- This wonderful astronomical observatory is famous throughout the world. It bears the hallmark of exceptional astronomical development of the medieval period. .

Day 06 -  Jaipur – Bikaner enroute visiting Mandawa by surface (321 kms)

After breakfast depart by surface for Bikaner enroute visiting Mandawa. In the heart of the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan, 190 km off Jaipur, lies the beautiful small town Mandawa, known throughout the state for its forts and havelis. 
On arrival in Bikaner check-in at the hotel. Bikaner, the northern most point on the triangle of desert cities, was founded in 1488 AD. by Rao Bikaji, a descendant of the founder of Jodhpur, Rao Jodha. Like Jaisalmer, in the south, it was, once, an important trade centre. The old city is bolstered, by 7 km long imposing walls, with 5 entrance gates, built in the 18th century. 

Day 07 - Bikaner – Jaisalmer by surface (333 Kms) 
After breakfast proceed fo half day city tour. Bikaner offers several attractions to the tourists besides, of course, the exotic camel safaris. Some of the major attractions around the city are Junagarh Fort, sumptuously decorated with its ornately lacquered walls in red & gold and panels of dazzling coloured glass inlay set over the coronation throne, it has several Palaces. Among them are Karan Mahal, Anup Mahal, Badal Mahal are prominent. 
Afternoon depart by surface for Jaisalmer on arrival check-in at hotel. Jaisalmer, One of Rajasthan's most alluring cities, Jaisalmer, deep in the heart of Thar Desert, abounds in ancient palaces, temples and quaint settlements. As the sun sets, the sandstone buildings emit a lustrous glow, that make Jaisalmer the "Golden City". Founded by Rawal Jaisal in 1156 A.D., the remote location of Jaisalmer, kept it almost untouched by outside influences, even during the days of the British Raj .

Day 08 - Jaisalmer 

After breakfast a full day sightseeing tour to visit this city of giled magic. See the Citadel, the fort built by Rawal Jaisal and where a fourth of the population lives;Jaisalmer fort is the main attraction of this picturesque desert city of Rajasthan. Located on the top of the Trikuta Hill, it is visible from a distance of about 15 kilometres. The ramparts, bastions and the long-stretching walls of the fort dazzle gloriously during early morning and at sunset Jain Temple This group of fine jain temples were built in the 12th to 15th century within the Jaisalmer fort. They are beautiful carved and dedicated to Rikhabdevji and Sambhavnathji. there is also a Shiva and Ganesh Temple inside the fort. Gyan Bhandar or Library : Some of the oldest manuscripts of India are found in this library established as a part of Jain temples. Patwon ki Haveli The life within the citadel gives you a clear picture of the medieval majesty with its magnificent palace, havelis, temples and the skilled artisans and camels all around. Among the havelis made by Jaisalmer/’s wealthy merchants include the Patwon ki Haveli, Salim Singh ki Haveli and Nathmal ki Haveli. The Patwon ki haveli is the grandest mansion in Jaisalmer, having ceiling supported by exquisitely carved pillars. The delicately chiselled balconies and extensive corridors and chambers of this haveli also present an impressive sight. Half day excursion to Sand Sunes of the Thar desert near Jaisalmer on camel’s back .

Day 09 - Jaisalmer – Jodhpur by surface (298 Kms) 
After breakfast drive to Jodhpur and check-in at the hotel. Jodhpur, Nestling within the depths of the Thar Desert, is the stronghold of the Rathore clan - Jodhpur, once the capital of the former princely state of Marwar, the second largest city of Rajasthan, after Jaipur . The town was once known as Marwar, which means 'Land of Death', probably, referring to the harsh desert climate. It is an island of marble palaces, cordoned off from the desert by an immense wall, with eight gates facing different directions Rest of the day at leisure.

Day 10 - Jodhpur 
After breakfast half day sightseeing tour visiting the Mehrangarh Fort, situated on a low sandstone Hill, including Moti-Mahal and Phool Mahal. 
After lunch visit Jaswant Thada which is a white marble memorial built in memory of Maharaja Jaswant II in 1899 A story goes that Maharaja Jaswant succumbed to injuries in this place while fighting the Mughal king Jahangir.

Umaid Bhawan Palace - This immense palace known as Chittar Palace because of the local chittar sandstone used. the only palace built in 20th century under the famine .It was built in a time of peace and is quite western in its design.

Government Musuem - This museum has a rich collection of weapons, textiles, miniature portraits, sculptures, antique weapons, local crafts and images of Jain Tirthankars. It is situated in the middle of the Umaid public gardens. 

Later excursion to Mandore –Toward the north of Jodhpur is Mandore, the ancient capital of Marwar of Pratihara Rajputs (8 kms from Jodhpur) was abandoned for strategic reasons. The main attractions of the place are the Hall of Heroes which has sixteen huge figures which have been carved out of a single rock, the shrine of 330 million Gods and the royal cenotaphs. The extensive gardens at Mandore contain the beautiful chatris (cenotaphs) of Rathore rulers like Maharaja Dhiraj Ajit 

Day 11 - Jodhpur - Udaipur by surface (259 kms) 
After breakfast drive to Udaipur enroute visiting the Ranakpur Jain Temple which was built during the reign of the liberal and gifted Rajput monarch Rana Kumbha in the 15th century. The total number of columns is 1,444 all of which are intricately carved with no two being alike.The main temple is a Chaumukh or a four-faced temple dedicated to Adinath. The three other Jain temples in the same complex, including a temple of the Sun God, are all well worth a visit. One kilometer away from the temple complex is the temple of Amba Mata.

On arrival in Udaipur check-in at the hotel. Udaipur, There is no place in India which appeals more to the imagination of poets and painters, travellers and writers, than Udaipur, the lovely lake side capital of Mewar. The city's inherent romance and beauty, and its remarkable past, bristling with episodes of heroism and splendour, continue to enthrall the visitor. Udaipur, the City of Dawn, looms up like a vision in white.Surrounded by hills and mountains, and set on the edge of three lakes, which give on to a fertile plain, it is bewitching in all its details - narrow streets lined by vivid coloured stalls, gardens, temples and palaces - every feature mirrored in the placid blue waters of lake Pichhola


Day 12 Udaipur
After breakfast day visit to the celebrated temple of Eklingji which was built for the tutelary deity of the Maharanas of Mewar, of sand stone and marble in 734 A.D. Its 108 temples are enclosed by high walls and has a pyramidical roof composed of hundreds of knobs. Later, visit Nagda, one of the ancient palaces of Mewar dating back to 6th century A.D. The Sas Bahu Temples are among the most exquisitely carved temples. 
Evening Boat Ride on Pichola Lake!!! 
Lake Pichola is 4 km long and 3 km broad., surrounded by splendid hills palaces, temples bathing ghats and embankments. Visit the island palace Jag Niwas which is beautifully set in the Lake .

Day 13 Udaipur
After breakfast proceed for half day sightseeing of Udaipur visiting the City Palace, Completely white and majestic, the City Palace stands on a hill surrounded by crenellated walls. Its main entrance is through the triple arched gate, the Tripolia, built in 1725. The Suraj Gokhada, the Balcony of the Sun, where the Suryavanshi Maharanas of Mewar, presented themselves in times of trouble to the people to restore their confidence, is another fascinating monument Jagdish Temple, Built in 1651 A.D., by Maharaja Jagat Singh I, it is the largest and most splendid temple in Udaipur. Drive around Fateh Sagar is a beautiful lake, overlooked by a number of hills on the three sides and the Pratap Memorial on the north was built by Maharana Fateh Singh. In the middle of the lake is Nehru Park-a lovely garden island with a boat shaped café accessible by an enjoyable boat ride. Saheliyon-ki-Bari (Queen resort for her friends) is a small ornamental garden was a popular relaxing spot where royal ladies came for a stroll and hence the name. The garden has many fountains in its four delightful pools, chiseled kiosks and marble elephants. Bharatiya Lok Kala Musuem has interesting collection exhibited by this Indian folk arts museum includes folk dresses, ornaments, puppets, masks, dolls, folk musical instruments, folk deities and paintings and the high point of the exhibits puppets..

Day 14 Feb’13 Udaipur – Cochin by By AI 472 & AI 465 (1300hrs/2030hrs) 
In time transfer to the airport to board your flight for Mumbai. Depart for Cochin at 1300hrs by AI 472 Arrive Cochin at 2030 hrs. Meet and assist at airport and transfer to the hotel.
Evening, Enjoy the Kathakali Dance Show!!!

Day 15 Cochin 
After breakfast proceed for half day city tour visiting Mattancherry Palace also known as Dutch Palace, built the Portuguese and presented to the Raja of Kochi in 1555 AD. It acquired the present name after 1663 when the Dutch carried out extensions and repairs in the palace. AT no time did the Portuguese or Dutch stay here. Its interiors are decorated with murals from the Ramayana and there are some lively displays of royal costumes and palanquins. Jewish Synagogue was built in 1568 AD. The Great Scrolls of the Old Testment, the copper plates in which the grants of privilege made by the Cochin rulers were recorded and the exquisite Chinese hand-painted tiles are of interest. ST. Francis Church: is at Fort Kochi The Protestant church was originally built by the Portuguese in 1510 AD and is believed to be the oldest church built by the Europeans in India. It is here the remains of the inveterate traveller, Vasco da Gamma were initially buried and 14 years later, his mortal remains were taken to Portugal. Chinese Fishing Nets: Fort Kochi The Chinese Fishing net that line the sea-front and exhibit a mechanical method of catching fish by local fishermen in Fort Kochi. Said to have been brought from China by traders of Kubalai Khan's Court, they are used at high tide .

Day 16 Cochin – Munnar by surface (130 kms)
After breakfast drive to Munnar and check-in at the hotel .
In the evening explore the tea gardens spread like a green carpet over hundreds of kilometers, lust green hills, a place so difficult to describe, very low population too far from pollution, most of the covered by Tata tea

Day 17 Munnar
After breakfast proceed for sightseeing of Munnar visiting Rajamalai, a top peak of Munnar where you will Neel Thar (Mountain Goats) Matuppetty dam, Indo Swiss project (subject to permission from the authorities). Rest of the day free to explore the city of Munnar .

Day 18 Munnar – Periyar by surface (124 kms) 
After breakfast drive to Periyar and check-in at the hotel. Periyar is South India’s most popular wildlife sanctuary spread across 777sq.km. in the picturesque rainforests of the Western Ghats. Evening boat ride on Lake Periyar to watch animals in their natural habitat. The earliest sanctuary, it was set up in 1934 and forms part of the mountain ranges, the Western Ghats. Cruising on Lake Periyar, you are likely to see animals like wild boars, sambars, wild dogs, langur monkeys and wild elephants.

Day 19 Periyar
After breakfast proceed for spice plantation visit. Periyar is the center of spice plantations such as Cardamom, Cloves & Pepper apart from Coffee and Tea. Periyar with cool climate, spice-perfumed air and endless trekking options is truly an exhilarating experience. Later relax in the Hotel or Ayurvedic Massages .

Day 20 Periyar – Kumarakom by surface (127 kms)
After breakfast drive to Kumarakom and check-in at the hotel.
Rest of the day at leisure at Kumarakom.

Day 21 Kumarakom – Alleppey by surface (51kms) 
Breakfast at the hotel. Afternoon, drive to Alleppey & transfer to the hotel.
Rest of the day at leisure .

Day 22 Alleppey – Kovalam by surface (180 kms) 
Early morning Embark on the Houseboat for a day cursing.(Breakfast on board)-16 Afternoon, drive to Kovalam. On arrival check-in at the hotel. Kovalam (16 Kms from Trivandrum city) this international beach has been the favourite haunt of tourist since 1930’s. 
Later have rejuvenating Ayurvedic message at the hotel . Evening enjoy beach sight.

Day 23 Kovalam
Breakfast at the hotel. Day free for Ayurvedic Massages.

Day 24 Kovalam – Trivandrum by surface (16 kms) 
                                    Trivandrum- Mumbai by Flight 9W 337 at 1330 hrs/1535 hrs.
After breakfast, drive to Trivandrum airport & transfer to airport to connect flight for Mumbai.Arrive Mumbai at 1535hrs.
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