Welcome to Mumbai – the Gateway of India. Your journey begins in this cosmopolitan city of towering skyscrapers, rich history and the world-famous Bollywood film industry. Upon arrival, you’ll be met at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (BOM) and transferred to your hotel.
Spend the day at your leisure and sample some of Mumbai’s famous street food, such as local favourite vada pav (spiced potato dumpling in a bread bun), or choose to take the ferry to Elephanta Island for a glimpse at the humbling temples of the Elephanta Caves.
Spend your evening relaxing at the hotel, maybe dining onsite or at a local restaurant.
Start your day with a guided tour of Mumbai’s must-see sites. Stand at the foot of the Gateway of India – a grand combination of Muslim and Hindu traditional design.
Chart the story of Mumbai from prehistoric times to the present at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya – formerly known as the Prince of Wales Museum – and delve into the life and times of Mahatma Gandhi at Mani Bhavan, his former residence. Visit the sprawling Dhobi Ghat, believed to be the world’s largest open-air laundry, then retire to your hotel to enjoy a delicious welcome dinner.
Enjoy a hearty breakfast at your hotel, then transfer to the airport for your onward flight to Udaipur. Set sail for your jaw-dropping hotel in the middle of scenic Lake Pichola. This fantastical palace puts you at the heart of the ‘Venice of the East’, with unparalleled views of the romantic landscape. Originally constructed for Maharana Jagat Singh II, this 18th-century royal residence is as breathtaking on approach as it is inside.
Take the time to recline and soak up the scenery before you embark on a private cruise with cocktails, passing the 17th-century marble palace of Jag Mandir – another grand residence appearing to float on Lake Pichola. Admire the glistening sunset from your island hotel and savour a delectable dinner before retiring for the night.
Prepare for the day with a refreshing breakfast, then head ashore to visit the marble complex of the City Palace. Constructed in the 16th century, this enormous fortress exhibits varied architectural styles, and houses a showstopping collection of sculpture, photography and painting from the Mewar School within its museum.
Step inside the sparkling Crystal Gallery of Fateh Prakash Palace – the largest private crystal collection in the world – then stroll through tranquil Saheliyon-ki-Bari, named the ‘Garden of the Maids of Honour.
Later, return to your hotel and listen to the gently lapping waters outside.
Drift back to shore and transfer to Maharana Pratap Airport (UDR), where you’ll board your flight to Jaipur. Upon arrival, check in at your opulent hotel – Rambagh Palace. Settle into your spacious accommodation and stroll the manicured lawns of the former residence of the Maharaja of Jaipur.
Later, explore the arresting sights of the City Palace, a unique complex of pavilions, gardens and temples that intricately blend Mughal and Rajput architecture. See the Mubarak Mahal or the ‘Auspicious Palace’, housing an array of royal textiles, from beautiful Kashmiri pashminas to delicate silk saris. Round out your day with a visit to the wonderfully unusual Jantar Mantar – an open-air collection of stone-built astronomical instruments dating back to the early 18th century.
Head back to your royal residence and lounge in luxury for the evening.
Your first stop for the day is Hawa Mawal, known as the ‘Palace of the Winds’. A complex construction with a dizzying design, the palace was built for the women of the royal house to observe the street life below without being seen.
Continue to the hilltop Amber Fort, strategically placed above the city. One of India’s most magnificent palaces, this grand Mughal-style complex is known for its unique fortifications that weave down the slopes in complex patterns of pale yellow and pink sandstone.
In the afternoon, enjoy a Design Your Day experience when you choose between a private yoga session in the incredible Rambagh Palace, a visit to the innovative Digantar Vidyalay school to interact with the local students or a discovery tour of Jaipur’s many bustling bazaars and colourful stalls.
Spend the evening at leisure in your historic hotel.
Hop aboard your private coach and drive to Agra, taking time to appreciate the colours of rural Rajasthan as they pass by. Upon arrival, glimpse the bright white of the Taj Mahal itself from your luxurious hotel.
Later this afternoon, set out for a closer look at one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. The Taj Mahal’s unmistakable ivory dome and freestanding minarets have become a globally recognised image, mirrored perfectly in the still waters of the famous reflecting pool.
Soak up the rays of the setting sun as it casts the magnificent dome in a soft orange glow, then return to your hotel for a restful evening.
Return to the Taj Mahal early this morning for a view of the warm pink light of the rising sun across the marble.
Continue to Agra Fort, a castle town built of striking red sandstone that contains the many fairytale palaces of former emperors. In the evening, return to the lavish grounds of your Agra accommodation.
Cast one last look at the Taj Mahal, then board a train for Jhansi and gather your energy over a filling lunch. Continue to remote Panna National Park and check into your wilderness lodge in this haven for Indian wildlife.
Meet a representative of the local Pardhi community to learn more about their efforts to protect the regal Bengal tiger.
Your day begins with adventure. Hop into your 4WD transport for a game drive through Panna National Park, searching the scenery for the patient crocodile and watchful tiger. Thanks to the conservation work of the local community, the Bengal tiger population is once again growing, making sightings all the more likely.
Return to your lodge for a flavourful Chef’s Table experience of aromatic Indian cuisine. Watch a mouthwatering cooking demonstration, then savour the sumptuous local dishes.
Return to the park for another game drive and the chance to encounter more animal activity, then circle back for a hearty dinner and a well-earned sleep.
Depart in your private coach for the ancient city of Khajuraho, named for the date palms said to have once surrounded the city. Dozens of Hindu and Jain temples scattered across Khajuraho tell dramatic stories across their walls, sculpted into each carefully carved tableau.
Transfer to Khajuraho Airport (HJR) and fly on to Varanasi, where over a thousand temples dot the busy streets. One of the most sacred cities for Hindus and Buddhists alike, Varanasi also plays host to the mesmerising Ganga Aarti ceremony. Each evening on the banks of the Ganges River, as dusk settles over the skyline, Hindu priests chant rhythmic mantras and light innumerable diyas (oil lamps) in honour of the holy river.
Later, return to your hotel renewed for a restorative evening.
Rise early for a private sunrise cruise along the sacred Ganges River and watch the humming life along the ghats (stone steps on the banks of the river). Observe locals and pilgrims alike as they cleanse themselves and their spirits.
Later, fly on to Delhi and check into your luxurious New Delhi hotel for a resplendent Indian feast.
Spend your day exploring the multitudinous delights of Delhi. Start at the regal Jama Masjid, completed in 1656 and regarded as India’s most important mosque. Ride by rickshaw through the narrow alleys and endless stalls of the Chandni Chowk markets and get a taste of local life.
After a well-deserved lunch, turn your eye to New Delhi and uncover Humayun’s Tomb. Learn how the final resting place of this 16th-century Mughal emperor incorporates innovative architectural elements that would go on to inspire the design of the Taj Mahal.
Spend your final evening as you desire, dipping into the spices and sounds of Delhi street life or enjoying the elegant peace of your hotel.
The time has come to bid farewell to your memorable Indian journey, as you take your private transfer to Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL), where your tour concludes.