Inspiring itineraries… for an Indian adventure
So diverse and rich are India’s attractions that it’s not only possible but inevitable to discover something new each and every time you visit. Each imbued with a unique culture, every region and state has something different to offer.
Of course, the size and scope of India means that it's impossible to absorb it all in a single trip - and indeed this is an important part of the country's appeal. For the traveller, this means there is an exciting array of tours to choose from. Want to explore the glorious palaces of Rajasthan? Or the intriguing backwater region of Kerala? Or perhaps simply get an introduction to India's most celebrated sights and regions? There are inspiring itineraries for all. Today, we introduce you to some of the finest.
Ideal for first-time visitors to India, this introductory tour will whisk you to the country's most celebrated sights.
The Golden Triangle is the collective name given to India's three most compelling destinations: Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. A favourite choice for newcomers to the country, this circuit provides a wonderful overview of exactly what it is that makes India such an exciting place to visit. Beginning in Delhi, the nation's capital, this itinerary includes stops at Agra, Fatehpur Sikri and Jaipur, before returning to Delhi. Its highlights include:
- Jama Masjid (Delhi)
Among the most spectacular buildings in Old Delhi, Jama Masjid is India's largest mosque. This imposing building can host an astonishing 25,000 worshippers, and is a wonderful example of classic Mughal architecture, with its slim minarets and marble construction.
- The Taj Mahal (Agra)
India's most celebrated landmark hardly needs an introduction. Having retained its reputation as one of the world's most beautiful buildings for several centuries, it is understandably one of the country's ultimate must-sees. This mausoleum of white marble possess a rare beauty and elegance enhanced by its precise symmetry, and was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
- Fatehpur Sikri
Once a gleaming Mughal capital city, Fatehpur Sikri has long since been abandoned. In fact, its status as a capital only lasted a decade before its water shortages compelled residents to leave. However, today it still possesses a certain glory, now in the form of architectural wonder. Come here to stare in wonder at its vast complex of monuments and temples in the Mughal style.
- The City Palace Museum (Jaipur)
Also known as the Pink City, Jaipur is one of Rajasthan's most colourful destinations. Within it you will find the City Palace Museum, which is one of the best places to learn more about Rajasthani culture. Expect to encounter excellent examples of the region's traditional dress, as well as Mughal and Rajput armoury.
Find out more about our Classic India tour >
Providing the chance to discover Kerala's colourful traditions and beautiful landscape, this tour is perfect for anyone interested in the state's unique culture.
Kerala is one of India's most fascinating regions. Its sublime landscape, dedication to tradition, fascinating wildlife and abundant spice crops make it a joy to explore. This itinerary will begin in Cochin, where foreign traders arrived in the 1600s, before moving on to verdant Thekkady with its wildlife and spices, and finishing off in the beguiling backwater region. Among the highlights of this itinerary are:
Especially interesting for those intrigued by India's colonial history, Cochin is a port city made extraordinary by the sheer variety of architectural styles that reveal the European, Jewish and Arab influences that came to the fore in the 1600s. Strolling along the streets, you will spy Chinese fishing nets, Christian churches, Jewish synagogues - living remnants of the pivotal cultural shift in Indian history that began here.
One of the most appealing elements of Kerala is its traditions - particularly its traditional art forms. Kathakali ranks among the most exciting for travellers; a Hindu art form, it is a kind of dramatic performance that includes elements of drama, dances, music and impressive costumes to convey religious devotion.
- Produce of the land
Kerala's geographical landscape is as glorious as its cultural one. Rich in spices (which its foreign arrivals competed to trade in), the state offers the opportunity to learn about the cultivation and processing of some of India's aromatic spices - and to admire the beauty of the crops as they grow. Plus, areas such as Thekkady are also home to a host of fascinating wildlife (especially birds) and tropical plants.
- The backwater region
No visit to Kerala is truly complete without exploring the backwater region. It is best to do so by boat, which allows you to see local life unfolding on the banks, not to mention enjoy spotting the local flora and fauna.
Find out more about our Kerala Experience tour >
Ideal for anyone keen to discover the opulent architecture of Rajasthan.
Home to picturesque palaces, imposing forts and vast desert, Rajasthan is an endlessly alluring destination for travellers. This itinerary will begin in Delhi, giving you the chance to enjoy the nation's capital before moving on to Rajasthan, where you will visit Shekhawati, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Udaipur and Pushkar. Your experience will be rounded off with visits to Agra's wonder, the Taj Mahal. Among the finest sights on this itinerary are:
Known as the open-air art gallery of Rajasthan, the Shekhawati region is one of the state's lesser-known gems. It is home to a collection of havelis (traditional homes) that have been exquisitely painted. And these beautiful adornments are rendered even more interesting for their blend of traditional subjects such as religion and mythology with contemporary topics.
- Jaisalmer Fort
The vast Jaisalmer Fort ranks as one of the largest in the world; standing in the shadow of its yellow sandstone walls, it is impossible not to feel dwarfed by it. Unlike many of India's historic forts, this one is very much a living place - despite dating back to the 12th century - with several thousand people residing within its walls.
Often referred to as the Blue City thanks to the colour of its buildings, Jodhpur possesses an enchanting medley of attractions. Particular highlights include the wonderful Mehrangarh Fort, which dominates the city from its position on a 125 metre high hill, and the beautiful Jaswant Thada memorial.
- Hawa Mahal
Also known as the Palace of the Winds, Hawa Mahal is Jaipur's most beautiful and unusual building. Oddest among its architectural features are its hundreds of tiny windows dotted all over the facade. These give the building its famous honeycomb-like appearance, but they were installed to serve a much more practical purpose - allowing royal women to observe local life while remaining in Purdah. Find out more about our Classic Rajasthan tour >
Golden Triangle and Shimla
Another excellent choice for first-time visitors, this tour of the Golden Triangle offers the added intrigue of Shimla.
This itinerary will not only give you a chance to explore the wonderful array of sights in Delhi, Agra and Jaipur (including Jama Masjid, the Red Fort, the Taj Mahal and Hawa Mahal), but will also take you to the old British colonial capital, Shimla. Highlights of this exciting itinerary, which also includes a stop at Fatehpur Sikri, are:
- Humayun's Tomb (Delhi)
Among the architectural highlights of Delhi, Humayun's Tomb is a magnificent example of Mughal architecture - something that is enhanced by the grand Mughal garden that surrounds it. Built in 1570, the mausoleum possesses the elegance and fine balance that is characteristic of Mughal design.
- Agra Fort
Agra is so famous for the Taj Mahal that Agra Fort, one of the finest Mughal forts in the country, is often overlooked. A vast construction of red sandstone, it was built in the 16th century by Emperor Akbar, though further additions were made by his successors. With double walls rising more than 20 metres high and spanning 2.5 km, this fort is one of the most dramatic you will come across in your travels.
During the British Raj, Shimla was the chosen summer capital of British. Providing a refuge from the heat, the city is situated high in the Himalayas and today provides a charming mix of colonial buildings, stunning scenery and luxurious hotels.
Find out more about our Golden Triangle and Shimla tour >
Ideal for anyone keen to discover a wide variety of Indian sights and destinations, Indian Odyssey is particularly perfect for travellers who want to experience one of the nation's most luxurious trains.
Exploring the country by luxury train is an incredible - and quintessentially Indian - experience. Travelling aboard luxury train the Deccan Odyssey, you can journey from Delhi to Ranthambore - land of the tigers - before continuing on to Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur, Vadodara and Aurangabad. Highlights of this itinerary include:
- The Deccan Odyssey
Running across the north Indian plains, the Deccan Odyssey is far more than a way to get from A to B; it is an incredible experience in its own right. Providing exemplary service, luxurious surroundings and fabulous food, it encompasses India at its opulent finest. It even possesses its own onboard spa for the ultimate indulgence.
- Safari in Ranthambore
Renowned for its tiger popular, Ranthambore is a must-visit for wildlife lovers. This part of the itinerary allows you to get a feel for a totally different side of India - the nation's wild heart. Go on an early morning safari and look forward to potential encounters with some India's most exciting creatures.
A lake city in the heart of the desert, Udaipur truly is a wonder. A boat ride around Lake Pichola will give you the opportunity to enjoy some of its magnificent scenery and view a selection of its glorious architecture, which complements the location's natural beauty perfectly.
- Ellora cave temples
A Unesco World Heritage Site, the Ellora Caves offer an incredible insight into ancient India. Featuring more than 30 shrines cut directly into the rock, the caves are also home to hundreds of monuments that showcase Hindu, Buddhist and Jain art standing side by side.
Find out more about our Indian Odyssey tour >
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- Tags: Adventure, Art & Architecture, Cox & Kings Staff, Culture & History, India, Indian Subcontinent