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Incredible India

Duration : 30 Nights / 31 Days .
Places covered : Mumbai - Goa - Delhi - Jaipur - Fatehpur Sikri - Agra - Delhi - Goa - Cochin - Kumarakom - Mararikulam - Cochin - Mumbai Departure
Code : FVI-033

Day 1: Arrival / Mumbai
CST Terminal - MumbaiLate night arrival. Meeting and assistance upon arrival as our representatives welcome you and escort you to your van.

Whilst the room keys and check-in is organized, our representative would introduce the tour to you and hand over the documents to you.
Welcome to India, or as we say 'atithi devo bhava' (the guest is an incarnation of God). Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you!

Overnight : At Hotel Fariyas (Standard Room)

Day 2: Mumbai
Morning is at leisure to recover from your long flight.

Afternoon, we proceed on a guided tour of a cosmopolitan & tropical Bombay, with pockets of palm trees and a warm salty breeze wafting in off the Arabian Sea. Its weathered Victorian mansions, some still privately owned, and many grand public buildings beautifully lit at night, stand as a lingering reminder of the days of the British Raj. Bombay's culture is vibrant, often aggressive, reflecting the affluence and energy of a bustling city of 15 million people.

Our first stop is at Bombay's landmark the Gateway to India, an elegant 26 mtrs stone archway, hastily erected as a symbol of welcome to Queen Mary and King George V of England on their visit to India in 1911. In the years following, artisans added decorative carvings and lovely Jharokha work (window carvings), and completed it in 1923. We continue to the hanging gardens perched above Malabar Hill. These terraced gardens provide a beautiful panoramic view of the Arabian Sea were laid out in the early 188s covering Bombay's main reservoir.

Visit the Prince of Wales Museum, with its rich collection of antique miniature paintings, Nepalese and Tibetan art; and Jehangir Gallery, housing the works of contemporary Indian artists. Travel up Malabar Hill for magnificent vistas and a look at the fanciful Hanging Gardens and topiaries. Stop at Mani Bhavan, Mahatma Gandhi's home, now a museum dedicated to his life; and stroll through teeming bazaars crammed with antiques, jewelry, produce, flowers, and an array of handcrafted wares.

Evening is at leisure to enjoy the nightlife of Mumbai.
Mumbai is a city that never sleeps. This is the most ideal place for the people who want to feel fresh young and rejuvenated. Brimming with discotheques, Restaurants and nightclubs Mumbai in actual is the Las Vegas of India. Mumbai is a city where every night seems like a festival night.

Overnight : At Hotel Fariyas (Standard Room)

Vacation Review
StarStarStar
"India is magnetizing at once. A trip to the Goa beach and Cochin in South was like a trip en route to five different countries. My kids do giggle at my photo with the Kathakali dancer."
» Tim Andrews, Australia

Day 3: Mumbai
Following a leisurely breakfast, we proceed on an excursion to Elephanta Caves by boat. 1-km north east of Apollo Bunder, lies the island of Elephanta, the glorious abode of Lord Shiva. The island is famous for its great cave shrine, excavated in the sixth century, dating back to the period, when the island was known as Gharapuri, the Fortress City. With the arrival of the Portuguese, the island was renamed Elephanta, after the huge carved elephant, they found at the place where they landed.

The cave temple, which is the pride of Elephanta, sprawled over an area of approximately 5 square metres, is reached by climbing a flight of more than 1 steps, to the top of a hill. Inside the temple, is a large pillared hall with rows of columns that appear to hold up the roof of the cave? Crossbeams complete the illusion of a ceiling. One's attention is immediately drawn to the series of marvellous sculptured panels, nine in all, which are set like tableaux on the walls. Little is known about the architects and sculptors, who worked on this gem of ancient architecture. What is almost tangible is their intense faith, which seems to create an energy field in the cave premises. Each of the panel captures the volatility of Shiva's essentially paradoxic nature, and the magical interplay of light and shade, only intensifies the overall effect. The plan of the temple is symmetrical, with the important focal points worked out in a geometrical mandala - the mystic design that represents an energy field.

At the western end of the cave is the very centre of Elephanta, the resting-place of the 'linga', the simplest form, encompassing the essence of creative power, in which Shiva is worshipped as the Lord of fertility and procreation. The four entrances to the shrine are flanked by large guardian figures, 'dwarpalas.' As one enters the cave, on the right, is the panel depicting Nataraja, Shiva as the cosmic dancer. Though a little disfigured by the Portugeuse, the panel is still remarkable in its vivid portrayal of the Destroyer.

Evening is at leisure to explore the nightlife of Mumbai.

Overnight : At Hotel Fariyas (Standard Room)

Day 4: Mumbai / Goa (9W 471 - 123 / 133)
Mumbai Beach SideFollowing a leisurely breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Goa.

Goa displays colonial heritage that had been patronized by the Portuguese. India's most popular beach resort lures ardent tourists from all over the globe. Afternoon siesta and evening feista rule the way of life here. Goa is a traveller's ultimate destination for its scenic splendor, golden beaches, rocking nightlife and scrumptious food and of course the good old feni. A walk down the city promises to captivate your attention with the beautiful churches and the towering forts that take you back into the Portugese era. Goan culture is a confluence of many cultures. The vibrant life of Goa makes it an irresistable vacation destination.

Goa beaches have never failed to charm its tourists. The swaying palms and the cool waves splashing on your face is a unique experience that Goa promises you with its finest beaches. It boasts of some wonderful beaches like Calangute, Colva,Baga, Anjuna, Vagator, Sinquerim and still many more wait for you to explore them. Goa is a highlight on the shopper's map, the place is primarily famous for shells decoratives and cashew nuts. The other attractions include terracotta and brassware. The Anjuna Beach is famous for its Wednesday Flea market. One can also lay their hands on the famous feni and native jute items here.

Meeting and assistance upon arrival and transfer to Verca Palm Beach Resort

Overnight : At Verca Palm Beach Resort

Day 5- 10: Goa
Days are at leisure for to enjoy your stay in Goa.
Old Goa possesses some of the most opulent churches and cathedrals that trace their origin to the Portuguese period. The architecture of these churches exhibit pure Portuguese style. Some of the famous churches are Se Cathedral, Convent & Church of St. Francis of Assisi, Basilica of Bom Jesus, Church of St Augustine Ruins and others.

Overnight : At Verca Palm Beach Resort

Day 11: Goa / Delhi (Spice Jet 256 - 175 / 215)
Evening, transfer to the airport for your flight to Delhi
Meeting and assistance upon arrival and transfer to your Hotel The Connaught.

Overnight : At The Connaught - a 4* Downtown Hotel (Standard Room)

Day 12: Delhi
Following a leisurely breakfast, we proceed on a guided tour of New Delhi, Visiting such sights as Bahai Temple, Humayun's Tomb (1586) , the Qutab Minar 72 meters high and one of the most perfect towers in the Persian world. The Iron Pillar which has survived the vagaries of weather for over 15 years. Continue with a drive through Embassy area, the Government buildings (1921-193) and Connaught Place, the heart and main shopping district of the capital.

We cross the city and enter into the walled gates of the Old Delhi. The capital of Muslim India between the 17th and 19th centuries, Old Delhi seems somewhat anachronistic as compared to New Delhi. It draws one through congested roads and lanes, interesting mosques, monuments and forts relating to its chequered history. Our tour includes visits to the Jamma Mosque (165) and drive through the fabled area of Chandni Chowk (aptly translates to Moonlight Square) where the throngs of shoppers and vendors meet in the oldest area of Delhi, on to the Red Fort (1639-1648 built by Shah Jehan the builder of the Taj Mahal in Agra) to view the inlaid and carved Royal Chambers, on to Raj Ghat and nearby ghats where the founder of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi and thereafter Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were cremated.

The highlight of this tour would be a ride on cycle rickshaws. Now these are 3-wheel cycles with a sofa seat at the back. The Rickshawalla (Rickshaw driver) sits on a small cushion in the front and two passengers on the sofa seat behind. This is a remarkable way to explore and picture the hustle and bustle as well as the colour of the narrow winding streets bursting with people and pavement shops selling wares of all description - including a laughing set of dentures. The ride would be accompanied by peals of laughter both from the passengers as well as the onlookers.

Home Visit & A Welcome Dinner: This evening, we visit an Indian family for a taste of typical Indian hospitality and home cooked food. The idea of this evening is to give you a 'feel' of the destination you are visiting and not a superficial touristy overview.

Overnight : At The Connaught - a 4* Downtown Hotel (Standard Room)

Day 13: Delhi / Jaipur
Lotus Temple - DelhiAfter breakfast drive to Jaipur along one of India's finest freeways. We will have opportunities to stop on the way at well-appointed restaurants for refreshments as well as restroom services.

In a land steeped with heritage, picturesque with exquisite architecture, in a state vibrant with heroic memories and romance, lies the dream city of Jaipur. The people are dynamic, martial and, need we say it, colourful. Here every walk through the by lanes is a walk through history. Indeed, Jaipur could be compared to a vast open-air museum. Pink turbans jostle with saffron 'odhinis' (ladies scarves). Camel's buggies and elephants are as commonly found as motorcars and buses

Upon arrival, check in to Shahpura House, once residence of the erstwhile rulers of Shahpura and scion of the Shekhawat clan of Rajput, is now a hotel. Set in the elite Bani Park area of Jaipur, this hotel offers a green environment with lovely lawns. With its proximity to the business centres of Jaipur, Shahpura House is an ideal place to stay for the business travelers and holidays, alike.

Afternoon, we explore the unending shopping options of Jaipur.. An essential starting point for Rajasthan craftwork is block making and block printing and we will be exploring the process from start to finish in some of the popular stores here. The opportunity also exists here to tailor make outfits to your design and size.

We also explore one of the chief attractions of Jaipur - its jewelry, which offers a variety that ranges from chunky tribal jewelry to enameled gold to modern diamond jewelry. Kundan (art of stone setting) and enamel jewelry has been a specialty of Rajasthan, particularly that of Jaipur. The stones are embossed into decorative shapes & patterns and embellished with delicate enamel ornamentation in the champeve (raised field) technique. Jaipur is well known for its gold and silver enameling. Colorful bangles made of lac and set with semiprecious stones make an inexpensive buy. The craftsmen take great pains to embed the hundreds of stones into the lac. The skilled gem-cutters of Jaipur carve enchanting little animals and birds from rock, crystal, jade, smoky topaz and amethyst. Intaglio beads & buttons and crystal scent bottles are also available.

Evening is at leisure for your independent activities.

Overnight : At Shahpura House - A Heritage Property (Standard Room)

Day 14 : Jaipur
Following breakfast, we proceed on a guided tour of the Amber Fort. Set on the dry wrinkled Aravali Hills, the Fort is a superb example of Rajput (Medieval Hindu) style of architecture. A slow elephant taxi takes us to the top of the Fort, which houses several graceful buildings.

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.

We shall visit the Hawa Mahal or Palace of the Winds, a five-storied structure of pink sandstone with semi-octagonal and delicately honeycombed windows overlooking the main street of the old city. It was built in 1799 so that veiled royal women could peer down unseen by the world through its 593 stone screens.

Afternoon, 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. The Palace Of Winds, a five storied structure of pink sandstone has semi-octagonal and delicately honeycombed windows overlooking the main street of the old city.

Overnight : At Shahpura House - A Heritage Property (Standard Room)

Day 15: Jaipur / Fatehpur Sikri / Agra
Taj Mahal - Agra After breakfast, we ride to Agra stopping at Fatehpur Sikri (ghost capital) for a tour of these magnificent and world heritage buildings, which are still in a state of perfect reservation. The city is divided into religious and secular sections. The profusion of sculpture is breathtaking. Also, the white marble mosque in the secular section is incredible. It is a very sacred mosque and pilgrims from far and near arrives here to pay their respects. From here we continue our drive to Agra.

Upon arrival in Agra, check into hotel Howard Park Plaza. The hotel's cuisine is renowned for its taste and splendour. Rest of the day is at leisure for your independent activities.

Overnight : At Howard Park Plaza - A First Class Hotel (Standard Room)

Day 16: Agra / Delhi
We are about to witness one of the greatest sights of one's lifetime - the Taj Mahal at sunrise. Before departure for the monument we shall be served tea/coffee and cookies so that our eyes open real wide to behold this breathtaking sight. A dawn visit to the fabled Taj Mahal to witness the magical effects caused by the reflections of the changing colours of the rising Sun on this brilliant white marble building.

Later, we ride to the massive Agra Fort. The elegant buildings inside reflect an interesting synthesis of Hindu and Central Asian architectural styles. Built by Emperor Akbar, the maze of the courtyards, mosques & private chambers of the fort echo the story of the Mughal Empire. The Moti Masjid & other magnificent buildings reflect the skill of the ancient Indian architects.

Following the tour of massive Agra Fort, we drive to Delhi.
Upon arrival check into your Hotel The Connaught.

Overnight : At The Connaught - a 4* Downtown Hotel (Standard Room)

Day 17: Delhi / Goa (Spice Jet 255 - 16 / 1825)
Morning is at leisure for your independent activities.
Afternoon, transfer to the airport for your flight to Goa
Meeting and assistance upon arrival and transfer to Verca Palm Beach Resort

Overnight : At Verca Palm Beach Resort

Day 18 - 21: Goa
Days are at leisure to enjoy spectacular beaches of Goa.

Overnight : At Verca Palm Beach Resort

Day 22: Goa / Cochin (IC 576 - 82 / 93) (Operates only on Tue & Sat)
Morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Cochin
Meeting and assistance upon arrival and transfer to hotel Casino, a fascinating 4* hotel replete with character. The seafood restaurant here is a tremendous place in case you are fond of eating fish. The restaurant is open sided and the manager walks up to you with a cart of fish (dead, mercifully!). You make the pick and he cooks. The food here would be WOW stuff! Cooked in typical Kerala style and marinated with coconut and mild herbs, the food leaves a refreshing tingle on your taste buds!

Kathakali Dance
A special treat awaits us this evening as we proceed to witness the strength and vigor of Kathakali dance drama, as it enacts episodes from great Indian epics. The extremely stylized gestures, the elaborate make-up, the masks and the splendid costumes of these all-male dancers, recreate an incomparable sense of pageantry.

Overnight : At Hotel Casino (Standard Room)

Day 23: Cochin
Cochin Seaport This morning we proceed on a guided tour of the City. The true character of the city is to be found in the older parts of the Fort Cochin area. It more or less exists as it used to be a 1 years back, when it was first built. The roads have not been widened because the old haggard buildings, through patchwork repairs over the centuries, still stand on the edges.

This part of the city reflects an unusual blend of medieval Portugal, Dutch and English country life grafted on to the tropical Malabar Coast. The fishing community of Cochin is also very interesting. They ancient cantilevered fishing nets called Chinese Fishing Nets. The net is fixed to a pole on the shore. While fishing, the entire net is lowered by a primitive fulcrum mechanism using long bamboo poles. By the same mechanism the pole is lifted along with the catch. We will explore the sights of Photographic as well as cultural interest. We would also visit the 16th century Mattancherry Palace, also known as the Dutch Palace since the Dutch substantially renovated the palace in the 17th century. The double storied quadrangular building surrounds a courtyard containing a Hindu temple. The Central Hall on the first floor was the coronation hall of the Rajas of Cochin; on display are their dresses, turbans and palanquins. The most important feature of this palace, however, is the astonishing murals in the bedchambers and other rooms, which depict scenes from the Ramayana and other religious legends. These murals are undoubtedly some of the most beautiful and extensive anywhere to be seen in India. The unique feature here is the unexpected and isolated Jewish community, whose origins date back to AD 52. They are self-contained and have there own Synagogue.

The area around the Synagogue, known, as 'Jew Town' is one of the main centres of spice trade. Scores of small firms huddle together in old dilapidated buildings and the air is filled with the aroma of ginger, cardamom, cumin, turmeric and cloves. The area is very busy. The potters are loading gunny bags of spices on to carts, which keep running up and down the narrow lanes. We would visit Jew Town, in the Mattancherry section and a short walk from the ferry, is one street long. Jews used to occupy virtually all the houses on Jew Town Road, where they sold fruits, vegetables and spices or worked as oil pressers or carpenters. The spice markets are still located on the narrow street.

Overnight : Hotel Brunton Boatyard (Standard Sea Facing Room)

Day 24: Cochin / Kumarakom
Following a leisurely breakfast, drive to Kumarakom.
Upon arrival check into Coconut Lagoon, it has rightly carved its place among the top 1 heritage resorts of the world. The resort is on a small island and can be reached only by boat. The accommodation consists of individual cottages built in the traditional Kerala style, relying heavily on wood and some with private pools.

Overnight : At Coconut Lagoon (Mansion)

Day 25: Kumarakom
Day is at leisure for independent activities. You can also enjoy the optional ayurvedic body massage at the resort. You could also choose to explore the surrounding tribal villages, visit the nearby water bird sanctuary or ride through the narrow backwater channels through back of beyond Kerala.

Overnight : At Coconut Lagoon (Mansion)

Day 26: Kumarakom / Mararikulam
Backwater of KumarakomAfter breakfast, we ride to the exquisite Marari Beach Resort. A beach is just a beach, until you find its living heart. The search ends in the little village of Mararikulam.
(Visit http://www.casinogroup.com/marari_home.htm for more details).

Overnight : At Marari Beach Resort (Garden Villa)

Day 27 - 29 : Mararikulam
Days are at leisure to enjoy your exquisite beach resort and the amazing countryside and tribal villages that adjoin the place.

Overnight : At Marari Beach Resort (Garden Villa)

Day 30 : Mararikulam / Cochin
Cochin / Mumbai (9W 42 - 13 / 145)
Transfer to Cochin airport for your flight to Mumbai.
Meeting and assistance upon arrival and transfer to your Hotel Sun-n-Sand
Rest of the day is at leisure for your independent activities.

Overnight : At Hotel Sun-n-Sand (Standard Room)

Day 31: Mumbai / Departure
Transfer to the airport for your onward flight back home.

End of Services
Thank You for Giving Us an Opportunity to Serve You…
Indicative High Season Cost Based on 2 People Traveling Together: - USD 3028 Per Person

Cost Includes :
Accommodation on Twin Sharing basis; Daily American Breakfast; Home Dinner with an Indian family; Elephant ride at Amber Fort; Local guides for city tours as per the itinerary; All transport as per the itinerary in a fine air - conditioned car; Inner India Airfare as per the Itinerary.

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