India

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    Destinations: South and Southeast Asia, India
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Tour Description

India’s vibrant kaleidoscope of colors, cultures, sights and sounds may at first overwhelm visitors to this vast country. However, International Expeditions’ India tour allows you to peel back the layers of crowded cities, opulent temples and riotous jungle. As you begin to explore the cities and countryside, hidden delights begin to reveal themselves and India’s inviting combination of tradition and wildlife. For more than two decades, International Expeditions has offered a singular itinerary crafted to allow you to discover India. Travel from the coastal 1,200-year-old Elephanta Caves of Mumbai, through signature wildlife parks, and finally we cap-off our India expedition in the great cities of Delhi and Jaipur. Join International Expeditions’ India travel tour to find the most unique mix of exotic nature and culture.

Explore from Taj to Tigers

Only IE’s India expedition exposes you to India’s extraordinary mix of living traditions and surpassingly diverse wildlife. Our multifaceted itinerary combines exceptional wildlife viewing in two tiger reserves and a bird-watching paradise with a survey of India’s great cities, cultures and monuments. This allows you an in-depth and unparalleled experience on this vast subcontinent.

Incredible India Experiences

From watching the sunrise paint the Taj Mahal to sampling savory local cuisine, IE’s India tour was crafted to create unforgettable memories. Whether riding an elephant into the jungle to observe Bengal tiger or jaunting through Delhi on a rickshaw, you glimpse the colorful culture, wildlife and people that create India’s mosaic of life.

World-Class Accommodations

Just because this is a true expedition doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy world-class accommodations! Fine accommodations are an integral part of IE’s India travel experience. You’ll enjoy nights in former palaces – including the 18th-century Samode Palace and Laxmi Vilas, where the royal family still lives – along with family-run jungle lodges and superb hotels.

Itinerary

Day 1

U.S. / En Route

Fly independently to Mumbai, India. (Meals Aloft)

Day 2

Mumbai

We arrive in Mumbai (formerly called Bombay) in the late evening, meet our guide and transfer to the Vivanta by Taj President Hotel, our home for the first two nights of our India travel tour. (Meals Aloft)

Day 3

Mumbai

Following breakfast we visit our first UNESCO World Heritage site, 1,200-year-old Elephanta Caves, dedicated to Lord Shiva. We return to the Gateway of India for an introduction to Indian food at a local restaurant. The balance of the afternoon we’ll explore the great coastal city of Mumbai. The city tour will take in the downtown historic Fort area that includes Victoria Terminus (named UNESCO World Heritage site in 2004), Rajabai Clock Tower, High Court, Prince of Wales Museum and Crawford Market. We’ll continue along Marine Drive, known as the “Queens Necklace,” to the posh residential area of Malabar Hill for a panoramic view over Chowpatty beach and a short stroll through the Hanging Gardens. The Parsi Towers of Silence are also located in this area. We’ll tour the Jain temple and stop for a photograph at Dhobi Ghat, the city’s open-air laundry to name a few. This evening we’ll enjoy a welcome dinner at the hotel. (B,L,D)

Days 4-6

Mumbai / Raipur / Kanha National Park

We fly to Raipur early in the morning and then drive to Kanha National Park, arriving in the late afternoon, picnic lunch en-route. Kanha is one of India's signature wildlife areas and often described as a model of wildlife conservation. The Sal forests, grasslands, flat-topped hills and streams here are home to a rich variety of wildlife and nearly 300 species of birds. We explore the park in open 4X4 jeeps in search of barasingha deer, Indian gaur, sambar deer, chital, wild boar, gray jackal, wild dog and troops of langurs. We keep an eye out for the park’s greatest prize of the India tiger safari: the Bengal Tiger with the possibility to observe them from elephant back. With luck we may even see leopard and sloth bear. During our three nights at Kanha Jungle Lodge, we enjoy stargazing, cooking demonstrations and a dance performed by local villagers. (B,L,D Daily)

Day 7

Bandhavgarh National Park

After breakfast we drive to the renowned Bandhavgarh National Park. En-route we’ll visit a local home and stop in the sleepy town of Mandla (sacred city for Gond tribals) where the Narmada river, second holiest to the Ganges, is the center of activity. Temples and ghats line the banks of the river, and it may be possible to observe the Gonds performing their funeral rites. The main bazaar is interesting to explore with its shops selling tribal silver and bell metal (time permitting). Bandhavgarh National Park is one of India’s most important Tiger Reserves. The park is made up of rocky hills, lush deciduous forests, marshes and stretches of meadows. It is considered the best place in the world to observe wild tiger and is home to 250 species of birds, including India’s national bird, the peacock. Other residents include various deer and antelope species, jungle cats and Indian wild dog (dhole). Tonight we enjoy an outdoor barbeque dinner cooked over an open flame. Spend three nights at Bandhavgarh Jungle Lodge. (B,L,D)

Days 8 & 9

Bandhavgarh National Park

We enjoy morning and afternoon wildlife excursions daily. Wildlife viewing is by open four-wheel drive vehicle and possibly from the back of an elephant. Since most animals, including tigers, have little fear of elephants or the people mounted on them, this is ideal for wildlife viewing. (B,L,D Daily)

Day 10

Bandhavgarh / Khajuraho

We take a morning drive to Khajuraho, passing through the villages and countryside of Madhya Pradesh. In the afternoon we’ll visit the amazing temples adorned with vivid erotic stone carvings dedicated to Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma. Tonight dinner is at the Jass Radisson, where we spend the night. (B,L,D)

Day 11

Khajuraho / Orchha / Jhansi / Agra

This morning we drive to the medieval city of Orchha set amidst rolling hills and teak forest on the banks of the Betwa River. Orchha’s grandeur has been captured in stone. Palaces and temples built by its Bundela rulers in the 16th and 17th centuries retain their pristine glory. We enjoy lunch at a hotel in town built in the traditional Bundelkhand architectural style. Late afternoon we depart for Jhansi Railway Station and board the Shatabdi Express to Agra. We’ll take a box dinner for the ride complimented by the service on the train. We overnight at Agra's ITC Mughal. (B,L,Box D)

Day 12

Agra / Fatehpur Sikri / Bharatpur

This morning we visit the spectacular Taj Mahal, a touchstone site that fully lives up to its reputation as one of the most glorious monuments in the world. Built by moghul Shah Jahan for his beloved wife the project took 22 years to complete. We also explore the famous Agra Fort with its imposing red sandstone, then continue to Bharatpur, stopping en route at Fatehpur Sikri (Victory City). Once the Mughal capital for 14 years, this walled city is a blend of Hindu and Islamic styles of architecture. On arrival in Bharatpur we check into our beautiful palace hotel, the Laxmi Vilas Palace, our home for two nights. (B,L,D)

Day 13

Bharatpur / Keoladeo Ghana National Park

We have morning and afternoon excursions (walks and rickshaw) in Keoladeo Ghana National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is considered one of the world’s most important bird sanctuaries. The park spreads over 11 square miles of wetlands, and attracts a wide variety of migrant and water birds who arrive each winter from places as distant as Siberia. More than 400 species of birds have been recorded in the reserve, including endangered Siberian cranes. Keoladeo’s dry area has mixed vegetation and is home to many animals including the famed Nilgai (Blue Bull), the largest of all Asiatic antelopes. (B,L,D)

Day 14

Bharatpur / Jaipur

Today we drive to Jaipur, capital of the state of Rajasthan. It is known as the “Pink City” because of the reddish color applied to the old city walls and palace as a symbol of welcome to a visiting Prince. A labyrinth of fascinating bazaars, opulent palaces and historic sights, tradition and modernity exist side by side. Built by Maharaja Jai Singh, the notable astronomer, this city is 260 years old. Explore the Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds), Maharaja's City Palace and the Observatory. We spend tonight at the Sheraton Rajputana. (B,L,D)

Day 15

Jaipur / Samode

A morning elephant ride takes us to Amber Fort, Rajasthan's ancient capital. We continue to Sheesh Mahal or the Hall of Victory, glittering with mirrors. Drive to Samode, spending tonight at the 18th century Samode Palace. The afternoon is free to explore the village. (B,L,D)

Day 16

Samode / Delhi

Drive to Delhi and spend tonight at The Trident. (B,L,D)

Day 17

Delhi / En Route

We enjoy a full day of sightseeing round both Old and New Delhi. We begin this morning in Old Delhi including Raj Ghat and Shanti Vana - the cremation sites of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques in India and drive past Red Fort and Chandni Chowk. Following lunch we visit New Delhi, designed by Sir Lutyens, New Delhi became political capital of India in 1911. Our afternoon includes Qutub Minar, built by Qutub-ud-Din Aibek in 1199, Humayun's Tomb and India Gate (War Memorial Arch). We’ll drive past President's House, Parliament House, Government Secretariat Buildings and Connaught Place, New Delhi’s main shopping center. We return to the hotel before our farewell dinner at a local restaurant. We transfer to the airport for the international flight check-in. (B,L,D)

Day 18

En Route / U.S.

Meet our connecting flights home. (Meals Aloft)

Please Note: Travel to India necessarily involves some inconveniences. The subcontinent is large, and there are some long travel days on very bumpy roads. The itinerary is fast-paced and there are at times long distances to walk to reach a site. Traversing hills, uneven terrain and steep stairs will also be necessary. Good mobility and stamina are necessary to get the most from this adventure.

A key reason to visit India is to see places and cultures that are very different from our own, and you will certainly have a wealth of extraordinary experiences. Your accommodations will be outstanding. But please bring a sense of humor and be prepared if things don't always go 100% according to plan — you'll enjoy your visit all the more.

Departures

Pricing Information

All prices are in US dollars and do not include international airfare, unless otherwise noted.

Prices displayed are based on the lowest season base price and assume double occupancy. Prices are shown in U.S. dollars and may or may not include administrative fees, taxes, meals, airfare (where applicable) and Single Supplements. Cancellation penalties, blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.

Options and Extras

Tour Notes

What's included in the price of IE’s India travel packages?

  • Elephant-back tiger safaris
  • Sunrise visit to Taj Mahal
  • 10 UNESCO World Heritage sites
  • Local school visit
  • Air-conditioned chair car seat on Shatabdi Express
  • Private city tours, sightseeing & lectures
  • Private game drives & nature walks
  • Expert bird guide at Keoladeo Sanctuary
  • Naturalist guide throughout & local specialist guides
  • Folk dance & cooking demonstration
  • $100 per person contribution to Tiger Trust
  • All entrance fees
  • 45 meals
  • Tips to porters & to waiters for included meals
  • Deluxe accommodations including jungle lodges, hotels & former palaces
  • Transfers on group arrival & departure dates

Are visas required for India travel?

A visa is required for U.S. citizens to enter India and MUST be obtained prior to departing the U.S. In addition to the application, you will need to submit two passport photos, a copy of your driver’s license and a copy of your birth certificate. Married women must also provide a photocopy of their marriage certificate.

What vaccinations are required for India travel?

No immunizations are required for travel to India or Nepal. While there are no requirements for a yellow fever inoculation, the CDC does recommend immunization for travel to Delhi, India. India and Nepal may require proof of immunization against yellow fever if you have traveled in an area at risk for yellow fever in recent months. Please remember to consult with your personal physician.

What kind of climate can you expect during your India expedition?

India has a very wide range of climatic patterns. October to March brings the best weather over much of the country. India has hot tropical weather with variations occurring region to region. While the coolest months are from November to mid-March, the hottest are from April to June. From mid-July to September one can experience monsoon rains. Winters in India are pleasant, with plenty of sunny days but with cool mornings (low 40s) and warm afternoons (70s). Most of the North India remains dry and dusty during the summer months.

What kind of drives can you expect on IE’s India travel package?

Some of the drives between locations in India can be 4-8 hours. While most of the roads are paved, they are not the best, so prepare for some very long and bumpy rides. Bathroom breaks are few and far between so reduce your fluid intake before setting out. Be prepared for “bush stops” as an emergency bathroom situation. Carrying a small supply of bathroom tissue, wet wipes and/or hand sanitizer in your day pack is also advised. Many Eastern style bathrooms do not provide bathroom tissue.