Days
25
Price from
5570USD
Map of Wonders of India including India

From the bustle of Delhi to the beaches of Kovalam

Spend 25 days on an Indian odyssey that reveals the best of north and south, from the bustle of Delhi to the beaches of Kovalam. Discover the magic of the heritage-rich north with guided tours of iconic sites like Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal, as well as immersive cultural experiences like watching a Bollywood film at a local cinema in Jaipur and spending the evening in a rural castle. Experience the natural charms of the south while looking for elephants in Periyar National Park, walking through the tea plantations of Munnar and cruising the Kerala backwaters on a Kettuvallam. This all-encompassing tour is perfect for travellers who want to experience all that India has to offer.


Start
Delhi, India
Finish
Kovalam, India
Destination
India
Style
Peregrine
Code
PIWIC
Physical rating
Trip rating
1 review
Ages
Min 18
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Discover India’s diverse beauty, from architectural wonders like the Taj Mahal and the Hindu temples of Madurai to the natural splendour of East Coast Road and tropical Kerala.

  • Join expert local guides on safari in Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan and search for tigers in Periyar National Park in the Western Ghats

  • Be immersed in spiritual Varanasi with a tour of the Old City, an invitation to a candle ceremony and a sunrise boat ride along the Ganges.

  • Enjoy unique accommodation experiences with Feature Stays in a castle in rural Rajasthan and on a spacious houseboat floating on the Kerala backwaters.

  • Along with all the bucket-list topping sites across the country, this tour includes daily opportunities to get to know local life in chai houses, restaurants and even a Bollywood cinema.

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip is a combination of two of our most popular India itineraries, Essence of South India (PIES) and Golden Triangle and Varanasi (PIIG). This means your leader and group makeup will likely change on Day

  • This tour involves some long drives. Please consult the daily itinerary for details.

  • From December to February it is common for North India’s trains to experience delays due to fog.

  • The drive to Munnar on Day 20 is on winding mountain roads which causes some to experience motion sickness.

Itinerary

Welcome to India! On arrival at Delhi Airport, you will be met by a Peregrine representative and transferred to your hotel. This evening, there will be an important welcome meeting in the hotel at around 6 pm to meet your local leader and fellow group of travellers. Until then, you can use any free time before the meeting to explore this excitingly chaotic capital city. Filled with historical sites from different eras, museums, galleries and endless bazaars, there’s plenty to see in Delhi.
Accommodation
  • Jaypee Siddharth Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
The arrival transfer is only valid if arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-trip accommodation through us. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 14 days prior to travel, as we may not be able to confirm a request made within 14 days of travel.

It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance and emergency contact details at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.

If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Get a taste of Indian rail travel with an express train into Rajasthan and onto the region’s capital of Jaipur (approximately 5 hours). On arrival, take a walking tour through the crowded streets packed with cars, camel carts, rickshaws, trucks and bicycles, past traditionally dressed Rajput men wearing colourful turbans and sporting magnificent moustaches. Walk the city's crowded bazaars filled with handcrafted textiles, folk art, and the local speciality of semi-precious stones. Afterwards, stop at one of India's most photographed buildings – the Hawa Mahal or 'Palace of the Winds'. There’s also the option to visit one of India’s finest palaces – Jaipur's Royal City Palace – or the astronomical instrument sculptures of the Observatory. This evening, continue to indulge in the wonders of Indian culture by watching a Bollywood blockbuster at Raj Mandir cinema.
Accommodation
  • Lemon Tree Premier or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Jaipur - Walking & market tour
  • Jaipur - Bollywood Movie at Raj Mandir Cinema
Optional Activities
  • Jaipur - Jantar Mantar Observatory - INR200
  • Jaipur - City Palace - INR700
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Visit the opulent Amber Fort – the jewel of Jaipur. It is quite a sight, with its soft shades of red, sandstone and white marble with elaborate Hindu-style flourishes. Explore the legacy of a fallen empire in its ornate rooms, lavish murals, frescoed arches and delicate jali work. After spending some time here, the remainder of the day is free for you to explore parts of Jaipur that you may have missed yesterday, or simply to relax at your accommodation.
Accommodation
  • Lemon Tree Premier or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Jaipur - Amber Fort
Optional Activities
  • Jaipur - Balloon Safari - USD260
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Drifting high over the Pink City while it’s bathed in the early morning sunlight is a highlight for many visitors to Jaipur, so consider booking yourself into a hot air balloon experience this morning. This can be done between September and April – for additional information see the 'Important Notes' section of the Essential Trip Information. During the day you’ll also drive to Kanota (approximately 1 hour). Your accommodation here is the elegant Castle Kanota – a Feature Stay of this itinerary. Built in 1972 and set on eight acres of manicured gardens, this heritage hotel is one of Rajasthan's finest.
Accommodation
  • Castle Kanota 'feature stay' or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Drive from Castle Kanota to Ranthambhore National Park (approximately 5 hours). In the evening, embark on a safari through the park. Ranthambore National Park is one of the original Project Tiger reserves – a place where nature has reclaimed ancient fortresses and temples and is teeming with wildlife. In 4WD safari vehicles, take game drives to search for animals, including the majestic tiger which stalks through the jungle. You may also have the chance to explore the 1000-year-old Ranthambore Fort, where two pavilions that have survived the ravages of war and time – Badal Mahal and Hammirs Court – give an idea of its old grandeur.
Accommodation
  • Pugmarks Resort or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ranthambhore National Park - Evening wildlife safari
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
Please note that Ranthambhore National Park is closed between 1 July and 30 September each year. On those trips affected, we'll visit nearby Sawai Mansingh Sanctuary. Sawai Mansingh Sanctuary is located approximately 16 kilometres from Ranthambhore and, due to its hilly terrain, isn't as affected by the monsoon. Tigers inhabit this area also and sightings are more favourable at this time of year as they move away from flooded areas of Ranthambore.

Peregrine requires a scanned copy of your passport bio page at the time of booking to secure a permit for your Ranthambore National Park visit. Authorities at Ranthambhore follow a strict booking process whereby permits are issued on a first come first serve basis. If we do not receive correct passport details in time, we cannot guarantee you a place on the tiger safari.
Rise early for a morning safari – your second chance to spot some of this region’s resident tiger population. Even if they are too stealthy to see, the park is filled with other animals like gazelle, hyenas, sloth bears, crocodiles, jackals, three types of antelope (nilgai, sambar and chital) and leopards to watch out for. Afterwards, enjoy some time at leisure at the resort. You may like to take a stroll around town with your free afternoon or continue your relaxation beside the pool, perhaps enjoying a meal at the onsite restaurant, with most of the produce grown at the resort’s organic farm.
Accommodation
  • Pugmarks Resort or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ranthambhore National Park - Morning Safari
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Today, drive to Agra (approximately 5 hours). Once arrived, visit India's most iconic structure – the spectacular Taj Mahal. Best known as a monument to love and loss, the 17th-century Taj was built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a tomb for his second wife and is a beautiful example of Mughal architecture surrounded by trimmed English gardens. Agra is also home to one of the finest looking forts in India. Stop at the nearby Agra Fort – a fortress, palace and prison built of red sandstone by Akbar in 1565 and partially converted into a palace during the time of Shah Jahan.
Accommodation
  • Jaypee Palace or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Agra - Taj Mahal
  • Agra - Agra Fort
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel from Agra to Delhi and explore the bustling city streets on a walking tour. You’ll also get the chance to travel in the local style, by cycle rickshaw, gaining another perspective on this chaotic metropolis. Visit the Sisganj Gurudwara – one of the nine historic gurdwaras (Sikh temples) in Delhi, first constructed in 1783. Stop in at the awe-inspiring Red Fort, which is considered to be the peak of Mughal creativity. Also, pay a visit to the 73-metre-high Qutab Minar and about learn some of its history.
Accommodation
  • Jaypee Siddharth or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Delhi - Jama Masjid
  • Delhi - Old Delhi tour
  • Delhi - Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple)
Optional Activities
  • Delhi - Red Fort - INR500
  • Delhi - Qutub Minar - INR500
  • Delhi - Humayun's Tomb - INR500
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Fly from Delhi to Varanasi. Awash with shrines and temples, it is the ultimate destination for Hindu pilgrims who travel from far and wide to experience this spiritual city. Varanasi may not be known for its cleanliness, but it is recognised as one of India’s most inspiring cities. Take a walking tour of the Old City, through narrow laneways packed with stalls and shops, past the dhobi wallahs, burning ghats, and the endless temples that echo with bells and the pungent aroma of incense. Witness pilgrims performing ancient bathing rituals and ceremonies as the sun sets over this sacred city.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Hindustan International or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Varanasi - Old City tour
  • Varanasi - Sunset candle ceremony
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
.
Today starts early with a sunrise boat ride on the Ganges, where you can watch the light gradually illuminate the many ghats and temples along the river as you pass. There is an option today to take a trip to nearby Sarnath – one of the four main Buddhist pilgrimage destinations. The site is where Buddha preached his message of the path to enlightenment and features a number of stupas and museums to explore. Alternatively, the day can be spent exploring the laneways and alleys behind the ghats or picking up some quality pieces from a local silk merchant. Perhaps finish the day with an optional Ganges river cruise at sunset.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Hindustan International or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Varanasi - Sunrise boat trip
Optional Activities
  • Varanasi - Sarnath (entry) - INR250
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning will be free for you to soak up the atmosphere of Varanasi. Perhaps hit the streets to do some last-minute shopping in the incredible bazaars or simply wander through the ghats. Later today, return to Delhi by plane (approximately 1.5 hours), arriving early afternoon. This evening, consider dining with your group with an optional dinner organised by your leader – a perfect occasion to celebrate the many memories made during your India adventure.
Accommodation
  • Jaypee Siddharth Hotel or similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Delhi - Delhi Food Walk Urban Adventure - INR3500
  • Delhi - Home-Cooked Delhi Urban Adventure - INR4000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Transfer to the airport and board your included flight to Chennai for the second half of your trip. On arrival in Chennai, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Chennai, formerly Madras, is the fourth-largest city in India and the first major settlement of the East India Company in 1639. There is nothing planned for today except a welcome meeting at your accommodation at 6 pm.
Accommodation
  • Lemon Tree Hotel Guindy or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group will likely change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary. It’s important that you attend as your new group leader will be collecting insurance and emergency contact information at this time. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
This morning you will leave the city behind and drive along the scenic East Coast Road (approximately 2 hours) to the fishing town of Mamallapuram, home to sprawling, relaxed beaches. Visit the 8th-century Shore Temple and its mandapams (carved pillars) and watch locals pay their respects to the deity Shiva. Later in the afternoon continue the drive to Pondicherry (approximately 3 hours). On arrival the rest of your evening is free.
Accommodation
  • The Wildflower Resort & Spa or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mamallapuram - Shore Temple
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you will visit Auroville, which sits just outside Pondicherry and is an experimental township dedicated to the concept of human unity. With more than 80 rural settlements and home to over 1500 residents, half of the town’s population are foreign nationals. Auroville is also home to the world’s largest solid crystal, which you can examine. Return to Pondicherry for a walking tour to see local temples, the French Quarter and the spiritual community of Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Evidence of the French colonial period is everywhere – the architecture, sprawling town squares and even in the police uniforms. 
Accommodation
  • The Windflower Resort & Spa or Similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Auroville - Experimental township
  • Puducherry - Walking tour & Sri Aurobindo Ashram
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today, continue by private vehicle to Madurai (6 hours), with plenty of bathroom and chai stops along the way. After arriving in the city in the late afternoon, head out on a short orientation walk of the local area to get your bearings. The rest of the day is free. 
Accommodation
  • Poppy's Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Continue your walking exploration of Madurai today. Take guided wanders through the Tailor's Market, the  local bazaars and the Sri Meenakshi Temple. Still in use today, this ancient temple is a maze of lamp-lit corridors leading to shrines where traditional rituals take place. Next is the National Gandhi Museum, dedicated to the life and achievements of the 'Father of the Nation' and the leader of India's fight for independence. This evening is free for you to use as you wish.
Accommodation
  • Poppy's Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Madurai - Sri Meenakshi 1000 Pillar Entrance
  • Madurai - Sri Meenakshi Temple
  • Madurai - Gandhi Museum
  • Madurai - Walking tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel to countryside Thekkady by private vehicle on a roughly 4-hour drive past rubber and pineapple plantations. Thekkady is the gateway to Periyar National Park and Tiger Reserve, perched high in the ranges of the Western Ghats. This afternoon, take a tour of a local spice plantation.
Accommodation
  • Rangerwood Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Periyar - Spice plantation visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning, take a guided nature walk in the acclaimed Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Look out for tiger tracks, spotted deer, Indian elephants or gaur – the world's largest species of buffalo. You are most likely to encounter Bonnet macaques and the Malabar giant squirrel, a species native to India. The rest of your day is free, but you might want to unwind with an optinoal ayurvedic massage or attend an exciting demonstration of Indian martial arts (kalaripayattu) at the Kadathanadan Kalari Centre.
Accommodation
  • Rangerwood Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Periyar - Guided nature walk
Optional Activities
  • Periyar NP - Ayurvedic Massage - INR700
  • Periyar - Kalaripayattu (Indian Martial Art) performance - INR200
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Please note the optional Ayurvedic massage price starts at INR 700. The range is INR 700–INR 4000.
This morning drive north to Munnar (approximately 4 hours), an old British Hill Station cradled in a picturesque valley. At 1525 metres above sea level, there’s likely to be dramatic drop in temperature here, so have your jacket ready! Take a tour of a nearby tea garden on arrival, where you can soak up the luscious green surrounds. There may be an opportunity to visit the tea museum, though opening hours are irregular so this cannot be guaranteed. This evening, relax at your mountain resort.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Eastend or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Munnar - Tea Garden visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning take a guided walk around the lush hills of Munnar, India’s largest tea-growing region and favourite summer retreat during the British Colonial era. In the afternoon, journey out to the scenic Mattupetty Dam where you can take an optional motorboat ride. Return to Munnar for a free evening.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Eastend or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Munnar - Mattupetty Dam
  • Munnar - Town Walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
In the morning, drive from the tea covered hills to Kochi (approximately 5 hours). Cochin, as it was formerly known, is spread over several islands and is a melting pot of Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese and British influences. On arrival, take some time to relax after a long drive. In the early evening you will enjoy a Kathakali dance performance. This classical dance style combines symbolic storytelling with physical technique. It is one of the most vibrant and extraordinary theatre forms in the world and proficiency requires incredible commitment and rigorous training.
Accommodation
  • The Grand Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kochi - Kathakali performance
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Please note that Kerala is officially a dry state, with alcohol sales and consumption limited to bars in 5 star hotels.
Today, you will explore the antique shops and spice bazaars, visit Fort Kochi and see the Chinese fishing nets that line the coast. You will also stop at the Dutch Palace (Mattancherry Palace), which was built in the 16th century by the Portuguese and later claimed by the Dutch in 1663. Continue to the Paradesi Synagogue, the oldest existing Jewish synagogue in India, built in 1568. The rest of your day is free.
Accommodation
  • The Grand Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kochi - Ferry to Mattancherry
  • Kochi - Jewish Synagogue
  • Kochi - Dutch Palace
  • Kochi - Fort Kochi walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Drive to the backwaters of Kerala this morning (approximately 3 hours) and discover Alleppey’s sleepy, palm-shaded waterways. Once a significant trading port, the town is now famed for the long ‘snake boat’ races that take place in August every year. Tonight, you'll sleep on a traditional Kettuvallam (houseboat). These floating cottages have western toilets, private bedrooms, a dining area and open deck where you can relax.
Accommodation
  • Pickadaley Houseboat (Feature Stay) or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Drive to Kovalam (approximately 4 hours). Kovalam was once a quiet coastal village known for its export of fresh fish and coconuts but is now one of India’s most popular beach resorts. On arrival, set out on a walking tour. The rest of your day is free, but you might want to make an optional excursion to the 16th-century Koyikkal Palace.
Accommodation
  • Uday Samudra Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kovalam - Walking tour
Optional Activities
  • Kovalam - Anchuthengu Fort - INR50
  • Kovalam - Koyikkal Palace - INR50
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
No activities are included today and your trip ends after breakfast. We can organise a departure transfer to the airport in Trivandrum if you organise it in advance. Otherwise your leader will assist you in booking a taxi.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

23 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 4 dinners

Transport

Auto-rickshaw, Bicycle rickshaw, Boat, Plane, Private vehicle, Train

Accommodation

Comfortable Hotel (18 nights), Houseboat Feature Stay (1 night), Heritage Feature Stay (1 night), Resort (4 nights)

Included Activities

  • Jaipur - Walking & market tour
  • Jaipur - Bollywood Movie at Raj Mandir Cinema
  • Jaipur - Amber Fort
  • Ranthambhore National Park - Evening wildlife safari
  • Ranthambhore National Park - Morning Safari
  • Agra - Taj Mahal
  • Agra - Agra Fort
  • Delhi - Jama Masjid
  • Delhi - Old Delhi tour
  • Delhi - Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple)
  • Varanasi - Old City tour
  • Varanasi - Sunset candle ceremony
  • Varanasi - Sunrise boat trip
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
  • Mamallapuram - Shore Temple
  • Auroville - Experimental township
  • Puducherry - Walking tour & Sri Aurobindo Ashram
  • Madurai - Sri Meenakshi 1000 Pillar Entrance
  • Madurai - Sri Meenakshi Temple
  • Madurai - Gandhi Museum
  • Madurai - Walking tour
  • Periyar - Spice plantation visit
  • Periyar - Guided nature walk
  • Munnar - Tea Garden visit
  • Munnar - Mattupetty Dam
  • Munnar - Town Walk
  • Kochi - Kathakali performance
  • Kochi - Ferry to Mattancherry
  • Kochi - Jewish Synagogue
  • Kochi - Dutch Palace
  • Kochi - Fort Kochi walk
  • Kovalam - Walking tour

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Important notes

1. A single supplement is available on all nights of this trip for solo travellers who do not want to share a room.
2. Please note that this trip is a combination of two of our most popular India trips. As such the make up of your group and your leader may change on Day 12 when you fly to Chennai.
3. The flight from Delhi to Chennai is unaccompanied. Please provide your full name exactly as it appears on your passport at the time of booking (including any middle names listed on your passport) so we can secure your place on the flight. Ticketing fees may apply for amendments to passport details within 45 days of departure, and in some cases you will be required to cover the cost of issuing a new ticket.
4. Hot air balloon flights in Jaipur are operated by Sky Waltz. Flights operate from 1 September to 31 April  and last approximately 60 minutes. Return transfers, tea, coffee, light refreshments and a certificate of flight are included in the cost. You can register your interest and pay your tour leader at your welcome meeting on Day 1. Payment must be made by cash in either INR/AUD/USD/GBP only and is USD 260 (at time of writing). Flights are subject to availability and weather conditions (tickets are fully refundable in case of bad weather).
5. A complimentary airport arrival transfer is included; valid if you are arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-tour accommodation through us. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View Essential Trip Information

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