From top to bottom, India is incredible. Explore both northern and southern regions on a 14-day journey to India’s most iconic sites. Explore Rajasthan’s grand forts and palaces, discover new depths of relaxation on a houseboat in Kerala’s backwaters, and learn about traditional culture in the small village of Sawarda. Round out the experience with pilgrimages to the glorious Taj Mahal, the “Pink City” of Jaipur, and Kochi's fishing markets.
Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer is included through Women on Wheels, a G Adventures–supported project that trains and employs local women.
Walk through Delhi on an insider tour with a young adult from the G Adventures–supported City Walk project. Later, discover Old Delhi with our CEO, beginning with Jama Masjid, the "Great Mosque," which holds up to 25,000 worshippers. Peruse colorful textiles and handicrafts at Chandni Chowk, one of the oldest markets in Delhi, and visit the Sikh temple of Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib. Drive to Agra in the afternoon. (1B)
Spend the day exploring the highlights of the walled city of Agra including the famed Taj Mahal, built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife, and the “Baby Taj.” Later, venture into Agra Fort's courtyards, galleries, and private chambers, which illuminate the history of the Mughal Empire. (1B)
Drive to Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, visiting the deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri en route. This magnificent red sandstone fort city was once the capital of India's Mughal Empire and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visit the village of Abhaneri, which has one of India’s deepest and largest step wells (tank gardens). As we explore, learn about ancient Indian practices for harvesting rainwater. (1B)
Set out to explore the “pink city” of Jaipur, starting at the hilltop Amber Fort, a 16th- and 17th-century complex of palaces, temples, and gardens. Discover jewel-like mosaics, inlay, and sculptures throughout the fort. Then step inside the vast City Palace, which incorporates a striking blend of Mughal and Rajasthani architecture. View the Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds), and enjoy a talk with a local historian about India’s social fabric and customs. (1B)
Drive to the village of Sawarda for an overnight stay in a heritage home. Step back in time as we explore this timeless village, meeting with town elders, teachers, and local elected representatives to discuss daily life here. Walk amid traditional huts and beautiful temples dedicated to different religions, including a Sikh temple, and observe potters, silversmiths, and cobblers at work. (1B, 1D)
Drive back to Delhi and fly to Kochi the next day. Embark on a walking tour of Fort Kochi, including the fish market; the Dutch Palace; and the Jewish Quarter, with its 400-year-old synagogue. Then meet with a local expert learning the medicinal and culinary uses of spices and their importance in the life of Kerala and all of India. This evening, experience a performance of kathakali, a classical dance form that combines literature, music, acting, and elaborate costumes. (3B)
Discover the impressive architecture and beautiful grounds of Tripunithura Hill Palace. Built in 1865, the palace houses the largest archaeological museum in Kerala, though it was originally the administrative office for local royalty. Continue to Vembanad Lake, Kerala’s largest lake. Paddle a canoe along narrow canals and take a walking tour through rice fields to the delightful village of Chempu. (1B, 1D)
Travel to Alleppey, a golden expanse of land surrounded by rivers, lakes, lagoons, and canals. Board a traditional houseboat and spend the day cruising the serene backwaters of Kerala. Sunbathe on the deck and enjoy the passing landscapes, spotting birds and floating plants and observing daily life along the water. (1B, 1L, 1D)
On Vembanad Lake, meet with a representative of the Vembanad Wetlands Conservation Programme to learn about the ongoing work by local communities to conserve the lake and surrounding wetlands. This project was created by the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), an organization National Geographic has collaborated with on many conservation projects across India over the past decade. After learning about the program, travel by boat to a fish sanctuary established by traditional fishermen through the program. Meet with some of the fishermen and see firsthand how their traditional way of collecting and processing clams are models for the management of lake resources. Continue to Cherai Beach and enjoy free time to explore the village and experience the beaches and scenic backwaters of Vypin Island. Opt to visit a spa or go for a bike ride. (2B)
Depart any time. (1B)
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