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Contrasts of India: Northern Cities and Kerala Backwaters

From £2,849.00
Duration 18 Days
Departures from: Oct 2024 - Nov 2025
Book now
From £2,849.00
Duration 18 Days
Departures from: Oct 2024 - Nov 2025
Tour Overview

This is the ultimate tour of India, taking you from the Golden Triangle in the north to Kerala's backwaters in the south. You'll tour Old Delhi in the company of former street children, who will introduce you to the India that few travellers get to see. You'll visit the stunning Taj Mahal and head off on two safaris in Ranthambore National Park in search of tigers. In Jaipur you'll discover the Amber Fort and the magnificent City Palace, and in Karnataka, tour a plantation and explore fascinating temple towns. The pace slows as you enjoy a cruise on Kerala's idyllic palm-fringed lakes and lagoons. And your tour ends with a relaxing stay at a spa hotel located on a beautiful stretch of beach in Marari.

  • Classic Touring Icon Classic Touring
  • meals icon All Breakfasts

Your Holiday Includes

  • Return flights from London
  • 16 nights in 4 and 5-star hotels and a lodge plus 2 night in flight
  • 37 meals: 16 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 16 dinners and welcome drink
  • Travelsphere Holiday Director
  • Overseas transfers, internal flights, other transportation and porterage

Included Holiday Highlights

  • Old Delhi and walk with former street children
  • New Delhi tour
  • The world-famous Taj Mahal
  • Agra Fort visit
  • Search for tigers on two safaris in Ranthambore
  • Abhaneri stepwells
  • The 'Pink City' of Jaipur
  • Discover the Amber Fort
  • Bandipur National Park drive
  • Ooty tour and botanical gardens
  • Tea plantation and Sims Park
  • Cochin tour with Mattancherry Palace and Fort Cochin
  • Srirangapatnam, the island fortress of the warrior King Tipu Sultan
  • Kerala's beautiful port city of Cochin
  • Cookery demonstration including dinner
  • Kathakali dance performance
  • Stay on a houseboat amongst Kerala's tranquil backwaters


Day 1 UK - Delhi

Depart for your flight to Delhi today.

Day 2 Delhi

On arrival in Delhi we'll transfer you to your hotel. Your sightseeing starts in the 17th century walled city of Old Delhi. Here you'll delve into a maze of crowded streets and vibrant markets, and stroll through the fabled street bazaar of Chandni Chowk. We'll stop to admire the marble domes of Jama Masjid Mosque before visiting the Gandhi Smriti Museum and Humayun's Tomb.

Meals included: D

Day 3 Delhi - Ranthambore

Your day is filled with wonderful experiences, starting with a short tour of Paharganj, in central Delhi. You'll do this in the company of former street children, who now work with the Salaam Baalak Trust. This charity, supported by Travelsphere Cares, equips the youngsters with a range of skills and helps them to better their lives. They are also provided with a warm bed at night and a hot meal each day.

Next we travel onto Ranthambore National Park where we stay for two nights.

Meals included: B,D

Day 4 Ranthambore

An exciting day is on the cards, with morning and afternoon safaris in Ranthambore National Park, said to be the best game reserve in India. We'll make our way through thick forest interspersed with pretty waterfalls, which provides the perfect habitat for more than 300 species of birds. With the help of a Local Guide we'll look for wildlife including crocodile, hyena, jackal and more. If you're lucky you may spot the elusive tiger or the even rarer leopard.

Meals included: B,L,D

Day 5 Ranthambore - Agra

Today we'll drive to Agra. If you want to this evening you could join our sunset excursion to Mehtab Bagh, a centuries-old garden complex, which sits on the other side of the river to the Taj Mahal and is exactly aligned with this iconic masterpiece. You'll get to see an alternative view of the Taj Mahal from here before our sunrise visit in the morning.

Meals included: B,D

Day 6 Agra - Jaipur

Today is the day that you'll see one of India's most famous landmarks, the incredible Taj Mahal. This mausoleum on the banks of the Yamuna River was built by Emperor Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz, and it's a sight that will take your breath away. You're also going to visit the red-sandstone Agra Fort.

Later we travel onto Jaipur, en-route we stop at the incredible sight - Abhaneri stepwell and we have an included lunch stop. Meals included: B,L,D

Day 7 Jaipur

Your grand tour continues this morning in the 'Pink City' of Jaipur. A morning of discovery takes you to the Amber Fort, a 17th century stronghold set high on a hill above the parched desert. Step inside to see the Temple of Kali, the Palace of Mirrors and the Hall of Pleasures. You'll also visit Jaipur's City Palace this morning, with the elaborate façade of the Palace of the Winds just one highlight.

This evening we experience the mastery of the local cuisine by joining a local family for a delicious home cooked meal. Meals included: B,D

Day 8 Jaipur - Bangalore

In the morning we'll fly to Bangalore, the capital of the state of Karnataka. The city is an important centre for business and technology but despite its cosmopolitan feel, it still retains many traces of its British colonial past in its grand architecture.
If you head out to explore, look out for the grand Tudor-style Bangalore Palace and its beautiful gardens, or head to one of the many lovely parks - Bangalore is known as the 'Garden City'. You'll also find plenty of Western-style bars and restaurants if you want to stop for refreshments.

Meals included: B,D

Day 9 Bangalore - Mysore

Before we leave Bangalore we take a city sightseeing tour including the 16th century Bull Temple and the summer palace of British military adversary Tipu Sultan.
Next in our journey we will visit Sri Rangapatnam located on an Island in the Cauvery River. In Sri Rangapatnam you will visit Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Tipu’s Death Place, Daria Daultabad and Gumbaz.
Our final destination of the day is Mysore. According to legend, the city of Mysore was ruled by Mahishasura, a buffalo-headed demon who was slayed by the goddess Chamundeshwari on top of Chamundi Hill, where devotees still worship her to this day.

Meals included: B,D

Day 10 Mysore

Today we include a visit to Chamundi Hills and a city tour to uncover Mysore's highlights. The opulent City Palace is the star of the show - it's one of the largest monuments in India and is surrounded by a large garden. In the afternoon we take in the sights of the local vegetable and flower market. Meals included: B,D

Day 11 Mysore - Ooty

Today's journey includes incredible scenery, during the drive we will pass through Bandipur National Park, through lush green landscapes and with a bit of luck elephants, deer and peacocks by the roadside.

On arrival in Ooty we will visit the botanical gardens, church and the local market. Meals included: B,D

Day 12 Ooty

We make our way to the railway station to join the toy train from Ooty to Coonoor. Here we will tour a tea plantation and see the tea plucking in action, and visit Sims Park. Later in the day we will return to Ooty and have a little time this afternoon to relax. Meals included: B,D

Day 13 Ooty - Cochin

It is time to head to South India to Kerala, we drive to Coimbatore where we will join a train headed for Cochin.

Meals included: B,L,D

Day 14 Cochin

Our tour this morning will take us to the exquisite murals at Mattancherry Palace, the ancient Jewish synagogue and enchanting Fort Cochin, where Chinese fishing nets line the shore. This afternoon you could join our optional excursion - a spice trail walking tour which will take you through the story of the international spice trade since the 1400s. In the evening we will experience a traditional Kathakali dance performance - a colourful spectacle with elaborate costumes and references to literature, music, painting and dance. Meals included: B,D

Day 15 Cochin - Alleppey

Today is the day that we will experience the incredible backwaters of Kerala. We travel to Alleppey to board our traditional, thatch-roofed Kettuvallam houseboat for a lazy cruise through the labyrinthine canals past coconut groves, rice fields, hidden temples and tiny islands. We will stay on board overnight.

Meals included: B,L,D

Day 16 Alleppey - Marari

After breakfast aboard our houseboat we travel on to the beach resort of Marari. As with many hotels in India our hotel has a bring your own policy and doesn't serve alcohol on site so we stop along the way at the perfect place to pick up some drinks to enjoy whilst there.

Meals included: B,D

Day 17 Marari - at Leisure

You might choose to enjoy some 'me' time today on the beach, which is just steps away from your spa hotel. You can laze on its golden sands under the shade of a palm tree, or take a dip in the enticing waters of the Arabian Sea. Perhaps you'll have the chance to watch as the fishermen haul in their traditional nets.

Meals included: B,D

Day 18 Marari - UK

Today we'll transfer you to the airport for your flight back to the UK.

Meals included: B

Additional Information

  1. Travelsphere Cares

    We're proud to support the Salaam Baalak Trust, which does incredible work with former street children in Delhi.

Accommodation (as specified or similar)

Crowne Plaza Okhla

The 4-star Crowne Plaza Okhla is centrally located in Delhi.

Hotel facilities include two restuarants, bar, spa and fitness centre. Bedrooms have private facilities, mini-bar, hairdryer and tea/coffee-making facilities.

Abhyaran Hotel

Our hotel proudly presents the remarkable Superior Rooms and Abhyaran Suites. We have 30 smartly appointed luxury rooms which are well-lit, spacious, and furnished with comfortable beds to ensure maximum comfort to our occupants. Our hotel has a 24-hour reception to be able to serve our guests at all times.

Grand Mercure

The Grand Mercure Agra is a 5 star hotel inspired by the city's rich history, and overlooking the Taj Mahal. For our tours we feature rooms with Taj facing views for all of our guests! Features include a rooftop pool, a restaurant and bar.

Ramada Jaipur

The 4-star Ramada Hotel Jaipur is located in the heart of the 'Pink City'.

Hotel facilities include a choice of restaurants, bar, swimming pool, gym and spa. Bedrooms have private facilities, tea/coffee maker, TV and mini-bar.

Fortune Jaypee Celestial Bangalore

Situated in the heart of Bengaluru, Fortune Park JP Celestial complements the modern lifestyle of the city. The hotel is perfectly placed in close proximity to the lush green Bengaluru Race Course and Commercial Business District. With such a central location, this first class hotel in Bengaluru has been designed for traveller seeking a relaxing stay. Hotel facilities include restaurant, bar, fitness centre, seasonal pool. Guest rooms have private facilities, safe, air-conditioning and TV.

Fortune Jaypee Palace

The 5-star Fortune JP Palace is situated in the centre of Mysore.

Hotel facilities include a selection of restaurants, bar and a swimming pool. Bedrooms have private facilities, air-conditioning, mini-bar, hairdryer, safe, tea/coffee-making facilities and a TV.

Fortune Sullivan Court

Set on the gentle slopes of Ooty, amidst lush green lawns and a colourful garden, the Fortune Resort Sullivan Court is a modern-day tribute to John Sullivan, who founded the scenic town of Ooty in 1821. Hotel facilities include a restaurant, bar and fitness centre. Bedrooms have private facilities, air-conditioning, mini-bar, hairdryer, safe, tea/coffee-making facilities and a TV.

Trident Cochin

The 4-star Trident Hotel is situated in Cochin.

Hotel facilities include a restaurant, bar and a swimming pool. Bedrooms have private facilities, safe, hairdryer, tea/coffee-making facilities and a TV.


Enjoy an overnight stay with a difference on a Houseboat, modelled on the area’s traditional rice boats.

Abad Turtle Beach Resort

Spread across an area of 13 acres of land, Turtle Beach Resort is ideally located at Mararikulam and overlooks the white sandy Marari Beach. Hotel facilities include a restaurant and outdoor pool. Bedrooms have private facilities, air-conditioning, a safe, tea/coffee-making facilities and a TV.

Optional Excursions

Experience even more of your destination by adding one or more optional experiences to your holiday before you set off. Take a look below at the extra trips you can enjoy on this tour

India - Agra - the Taj Mahal at sunset from Mehtab Bagh

India - Agra - the Taj Mahal at sunset from Mehtab Bagh

If you just can't wait to catch sight of the beautiful Taj Mahal, why not choose to experience another view of it this evening from Mehtab Bagh. The Mehtab Bagh was the last of eleven Mughal-built gardens along the Yamuna River. Sited opposite the Taj Mahal, the gardens offer great views of this wonder of the world, as the sun sets.
If you just can't wait to catch sight of the beautiful Taj Mahal, why not choose to experience another view of it this evening from Mehtab Bagh. The Mehtab Bagh was the last of ele...

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Cochin - The Spice Trail

Cochin - The Spice Trail

Our walking tour in Fort Kochi begins from Vasco House, a 500-year-old structure. Along the way we will stop at the Parade Ground and, wandering down the shoreline, you'll see the iconic Chinese fishing nets and the local fish auction in action. Stopping by a café in what was originally a bustling pepper warehouse, you could try a glass of iced tea whilst hearing the history of this heritage building. Our walk next takes us to a local shrine and finally ends in Mattancherry.
Our walking tour in Fort Kochi begins from Vasco House, a 500-year-old structure. Along the way we will stop at the Parade Ground and, wandering down the shoreline, you'll see the ...

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Prices shown are based on twin occupancy of a double or twin bedded room with private facilities unless otherwise stated. Single occupancy supplements will apply. Travelsphere have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the hotel images provided on this website and images of room types displayed may vary to those offered on your tour. Therefore due to the possibility of inadvertent errors we do not guarantee their accuracy. Accommodation, airlines used and flight times are subject to change and will be confirmed in your final documents.

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