India: Rajasthan & Kerala

Itinerary

This honeymoon tour will bring you to experience all the most famous attractions in India: Rajasthan and Kerala. The two states are most probably the most known tourist destinations of the Country: Rajasthan for its royal cultural, majestic monuments and sand dune desert, and Kerala for its uncontaminated forest, its cultural heritage and Ayurveda, its famous and traditional health system… This trip gives you an opportunity to explore the most famous cities of Rajasthan and simultaneously discover the real Rajasthan through visit of rural villages and off- beaten destinations on spirited journeys set to open your eyes, heart and soul. The tour starts in the Indian capital of Delhi, where you will have the opportunity to discover the old enchanting streets of the inner city of Paharganj thanks to the help of young guides trained by a local NGO working in favour of street children. On the way to Rajasthan you will visit the famous building of Taj Mahal, an UNESCO world heritage site, which was originally built by Mughal Emperor Shahjahan, in the loving memory of his wife. The tour will bring you to discover some of the most beautiful Rajasthani cities such as the pink city of Jaipur, the blue city of Jodhpur and finally the desert forteress of Jaisalmer. Here you will have a chance to experience an adventurous camel safari, observing native wild life and villages as you ride your camel through the isolated sand dunes. You will also assist at a magical sunset in a campsite in the desert, where you will have a delicious dinner by a camp fire and sleep under the clear starry sky. From the desert of Rajasthan this tour will continue to South India. Wedged between the Western Ghats on the East and the Arabian Sea on the West, the narrow strip of land known as Kerala is a destination of a lifetime. The timeless beauty of the palm fringed beaches of Varkala, the majesty of the undulating hills of Wayanad, the serenity of the pristine backwaters of Kumarakom and Alleppey, the rich cultural historical heritage of Fort Cochin. That such a small terrain can hold diverse geographical features and cultures is a wonder in itself. Kerala tourist places are the most popular destinations in India. Kerala is well known for its backwaters, beaches, wild life sanctuaries, Hill stations and Ayurvedic treatments. Kerala Beaches are spread along the 900 km Arabian Sea coastline and it became one of the main attraction in Kerala Tourism. The Kerala backwaters are a network of interconnected brackish lagoons and lakes lying parallel to the Arabian Sea coast. This journey will start from the ancient town of Kochi, also known as the “Queen of Arabian Sea”, the most important commercial place of this beautiful State of Kerala. The Chinese fishing nets, Dutch buildings, Portuguese artistic, British monuments, etc. add the beauty of Kochi. From Cochin the journey continues to one of the most idyllic tropical paradise of south India, Kumarakom. On the banks of Vembanad Lake is interspersed with enchanting waterways and canals. In the area will experience a full day (and night) cruise on the romantic charm of Kettuvaloms (traditional houseboats) towards the city of Alleppey, having an authentic experience of village life of the backwaters. From here you will reach your final destination: the beach of Varkala, where to unwind before returning back home…

  • Taj Mahal
  • Jaipur
  • Jaisalmer
  • Kochi
  • Backwater
  • Varkala

journey overview and program details

DAY 1: Delhi

Arrive into Delhi airport. Meet our representative outside the terminal and transfer to the Hotel. In the afternoon go on a guided tour of the Lutyens New Delhi, drive past the Parliament House, Presidents House and India gate. Visit the famous Humayun’s Tomb, an architectural marvel. Terminate your Delhi city tour at the Qutb Complex -visit the five story Qutb Minar, marvel at the Iron Pillar and return back to Hotel.
Overnight in Delhi.

DAY 2: Delhi – Agra

In the morning (10 am) you will visit the slums of Paraghanj (old Delhi) with the help of young guides trained by the NGO Salaam Balaak Trust. City Walk aims to make the story of the children of the street heard and to give us a view of their world through their eyes. Participants of City Walk get to go on a journey through the enchanting streets of the inner city of Paharganj and the area around New Delhi railway station, led by a child who was once living and working on the streets. This walk takes you on a journey through the backstreets of Delhi with a child who has been fully trained as a local guide. It’s a unique way of providing an insight into the lives of these children and an opportunity for them to improve their communication and speaking skills. Afternoon drive to Agra (approx. 4 hrs. drive) via the expressway. Arrive into Agra and visit the Taj Mahal (closed on Fridays), one of the most famous and visited monument of all over India, a real epitome of love and romance… The Taj Mahal, is a UNESCO world heritage site, which was originally built by Mughal Emperor Shahjahan, in the loving memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is built in white marble as a mausoleum for his queen Mumtaz Mahal. It is now a universal symbol of love, and is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Taj Mahal was built in the year 1653, which is symbolized by the fact that there are 16 gardens and 53 fountains. It took 16 years for this symbol of love to be completed, and thousands of artisans contributed in the making this monument. (we will visit the Taj Mahal in case next day is Friday).
Overnight in Agra. (B)

DAY 3: Agra-Jaipur

Morning visit the Taj Mahal. After the visit transfer to Jaipur (4 hrs drive), the largest city of Rajasthan and an epitome of magnificence and vibrancy. This city was established in 1727 by Jai Singh II, and is India’s first planned city. Jaipur was the capital of former Kachwaha rulers and it so presents itself as a versatile tourist destination. Overnight in Jaipur.(B)

DAY 4: Jaipur

After breakfast visit the Hawa Mahal on way to Amber fort. Jeep ride to the ramparts of Fort. After lunch visit the Anokhi museum and understand how handicrafts plays such a big role in rural India’s economy. In the afternoon visit the Royal palace and the ancient city. This royal place is rich in heritage, culture and architecture. With splendid fortresses, majestic palaces, tranquil temples and beautiful havelis; Jaipur turns out to be an ideal tourist destination. It is not just the royal buildings and palaces that this city offers. Other than these captivating attractions, Jaipur displays exquisite handicrafts and spectacular jewelry. These intricate works of art add life and color to this Pink City’s uniqueness. Also, the serenity of lush gardens and floral array acts as the cherry on the cake of fabulous landscapes. All this make a picturesque view that tends to enthrall any visitor. Walk around the uniquely constructed city, observatory ,bazaar and understand the history of the place.
Overnight in Jaipur.(B)

DAY 5: Jaipur-Roopengarh

After breakfast leave for Roopengarh (approx. 1 hr. drive), a desolate Fort where once a Mughal King had spent a night. Roopangarh Fort is one of the favorite place for those who have some sense of history and want to enjoy Rajasthani culture and history both at the same time. Now converted to a heritage hotel, Maharaja Roop Singh constructed it in 1648 A.D. In the afternoon visit Roopengarh village where you will meet various artisans ,weavers, Gota maker, Durry maker, Potter. Understand how Rural India connects to commerce through handicrafts. Handicraft is the biggest occupation in India after agriculture.
Overnight in Roopengarh.(B)

DAY 6: Roopengarh-Guda Village-Roopengarh

After breakfast leave for Guda village near Makrana. Gandhi once had said that “Real India lives in Villages”. This is what our intention is… The 2 day stay will give you deep understanding on various issues which is faced by the real India.. women empowerment, social conditions, Health, Education ,livelihood issues … The day spent in the Gudda Village takes you to the “basti’s of these artists to do workshops on puppetry. The focus of workshops will be to explore how puppetry can be used in the modern days to convey the message of literacy, health, hygiene and primary education. The guests gets to make these puppet and learn from the masters who are traditional artists. Evening with the Bhopa community: the feudal stories of Papuji Rathore is sung by the members of Bhopa community in the evenings post sunset. As typical of our tours, the performances are not organised in hotels or resorts, instead we invite our travelers to our villages to meet and interact with the communities and understand more about their social backgrounds and enjoy the ritualistic traditions. You will also get opportunity to visit a local school and interact with children. In the evening house ladies will put Mehendi !! Return back to hotel.
Overnights in Roopengarh .(B,L)

DAY 7: Roopengarh – Jodhpur

Drive to Mandore near Jodhpur (270kms, approx. 5,5 hrs. drive). Arrive in Mandore and proceed to Mandore Guest House. Mandore guest house provides great opportunity to work with volunteers of the NGO supported by the family. If you could let us know about any particular skills you would want to make use of during your travel, we can connect you with the local partner who will match the skills, provided there is a need for such voluntary engagement. The volunteers are actively involved with and support projects that are secular and have an education-related component to them apart from health care, environment, socio-economic aspects and women’s issues i.e. Women in Difficult Circumstances. It also includes activities directed toward meeting the needs of the poor and needy – distribution of food, clothing or medicine; provision of housing for handicapped animals etc.
Overnight in Jodhpur.(B)

DAY 8: Jodhpur

In the morning visit the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort and the bazaar. Various activities are possible at Mandore ranging from Bird watching and cycling to nearby village to see the rural projects. Jeep Safari to Bishnoi village is also offered by the hosts at Mandore Guest House (on direct payment).
Overnight in Jodhpur(B)

DAY 9: Jodhpur- Jaisalmer

After breakfast drive to Jaisalmer (5.5 hrs drive), en route visit Pokaran and visit Shikarpura village in Luni tehsil, famous for its terracotta pottery. The most western desert town of India. The Golden City!! Check in hotel near the Fort. explore the city with a guided tour of the Golden Fort, Jain Temple, Gadisar tank and Havelis.
Overnight in Jaisalmer (B).

DAY 10: Jaisalmer- desert safari

The tour departure is early in the morning at 6:00 am by jeep to the campsite, 60 km outside of Jaisalmer, where breakfast is served in time to watch the stunning sunrise at the camp. The adventurous camel safari starts with a visit to Unda village (a traditional Rajput village) after which the ride continues, also paying a visit to Bheelo ki Dhani (a village of tribal people). Lunch and rest in the shade of some trees near the oasis as the sun is fierce at this time of the day. Later the camel trek sets out again from Koda village (Mixed caste village). You can watch native wild life and villages as you ride your camel through the isolated sand dunes (Khayala). You continue your trek across the desert, stopping on the way to watch the magical sunset before arriving at the campsite for your first night. After experiencing the desert you can start your evening by watching a delicious dinner being prepared for you over the camp fire and you can conclude your first day with the dreams of the desert while sleeping under the clear starry sky on your clean bed roll.
Overnight in the camp site (B, L, D).

DAY 11: desert safari – Jaisalmer- Delhi

After sunrise and breakfast another camel ride, then transfer back to Jaisalmer by Jeep for 12 noon. You will again have the opportunity for a shower and some more sightseeing before your departure at 4.40 pm. Board on a overnight train to Delhi.
Overnight on train (B)

DAY 12: Delhi-Cochin

Arrival at the railway station and transfer to Delhi domestic airport for your flight to Cochin. Arrive and check into Hotel in Fort Cochin. Fort Cochin is a jewel in the crown of Kerala with its European heritage and true cosmopolitan temperament. A leisurely walk through its streets is one of the best ways to discover all that the city has to offer – its natural harbor and historical sites. Free for walks around…
Overnight in Cochin. (B)

DAY 13: Fort Cochin

After breakfast join our guide for a half day guided tour of Fort Cochin exploring the Jew town, Synagogue, Spice Markets, Dutch Palace, St Francis Church, Chinese Fishing nets (Jewish Synagogue is closed on Fridays and Saturdays; Dutch Palace is closed on Fridays).Return to the hotel by afternoon. Rest of the time free for shopping, cycling or just shopping. In the evening attend cultural and dance performance at Greenix village. The Village, Kerala’s only cultural art village is a pioneer establishment in the promotion of art & culture since 2006. The village covers an area of 45,000 sq. ft. and is dedicated to present various facets of Kerala’s rich culture. The evening cultural programme (starts at 5 pm and ends at 7,30 pm.) comprises of 7 different art forms: traditional Welcome dance of Kerala, Mohiniyattom, the classical dance of Kerala, Bharathanatayam, the south Indian classical dance; Martial arts of Kerala, Kalaripayattu; Demo as well as the episode of Kathakali; Theyyam, a temple ritual; final programme with a fusion of all the dance forms.
Overnight in Fort Cochin. (B)

DAY 14: Fort Cochin-Kumarakom – Alleppey

Early morning transfer to Kumarakom and proceed to Jetty to board the houseboat. Backwater Cruise. All meals on board. View the village life while on boat cruise. Day and sunset cruise on the houseboat exploring the paddy fields and villages life along the backwaters. Small stop over to explore the coconut plantations, toddy tapping etc will be provided on request. The boat will anchor after sunset cruise.
Overnight on the Houseboat. (B/L/D)

DAY 15: Alleppey –Varkala beach

Disembark the houseboat at Alleppey after a short morning cruise and transfer to beach resort in Varkala (3 hours’ drive). Varkala, a calm and quiet hamlet, lies on the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram district. It has several places of tourist interests like a beautiful beach, a 2000-year-old Vishnu Temple and the Ashramam – Sivagiri Mutt a little distance from the beach. Unwind on the beach, walk on the cliff Full or go for Ayurveda.
Overnight at the beach resort. (B)

DAY 16: Varkala

Visit Varkala village with the temple and the beach. In the afternoon go for swimming to Papanasam beach. Papanasam beach (also called as Varkala beach), which is ten kilometers away from Varkala, is renowned for the natural spring. It is considered to have medicinal and curative properties. A dip in the holy waters at this beach is believed to purge the body of impurities and the soul of all sins; hence the name ‘Papanasam beach’.
Overnight at the beach resort. (B)

DAY 17: Varkala – Trivandrum Airport-Roma

Checkout and transfer to Trivandrum airport airport for your international flight.

activities

  • explore the Indian capital Of New Delhi, through the eyes of young guides trained by Salaam Balak Trust,
  • visit one of the most famous buildings in the world, the Taj Mahal, the epitome of Mughal art,
  • discover the pink city of Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan,
  • spend two nights at the Roopangarh Fort, one of the favorite palace of Mughal kings,
  • meet traditional puppetry artists of Bhopa community at Guda village,
  • visit the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort and the bazaar of the Blue city of Jodhpur,
  • discover the Golden City Jaisalmer, the most western desert town of India,
  • experience the Khuri Sand dunes for camel ride and see the sun setting over the desert landscape,
  • experience the desert enoying a delicious dinner over the camp fire and sleep under the clear starry sky,
  • explore the ancient city of Fort Cochin,
  • experience a cultural programme, comprises of 7 different art forms, such as Kathakali Mohiniyattom, Bharathanatayam, Kalaripayattu, Kathakali and Theyyam,
  • experience responsible cruising in the Vembanad Lake, experiencing village life and spotting numerous migratory birds,
  • enjoy the charm of heritage houses in Trissur and Kumarakom,
  • experience a sunset cruise on a houseboat in the canals of Alleppey backwaters,
  • unwind or have a relaxing walk on the beach of Varkala.

India & Kerala When to go

Best time to do this tour is from October to March (summer). From June till September heavy rains (monsoons) are expected in Kerala, which howeverit is considered an ideal time for ayurvedic treatments.

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