Indian Odyssey

India

Culture

Experience the best of North and South India

Dates & Prices

Intro

This comprehensive tour of India showcases its rich cultural and geographical diversity. Starting in Kolkata, admire some of India's most impressive colonial architecture on a walking tour of the clty. Fly down to the sacred city of Varanasi and take a sunrise boat ride on the River Ganges. In Delhi uncover relics from past empires and marvel at the majestic Taj Mahal in Agra. Track tigers and other wildlife in Ranthambore before heading on to Rajasthan. Discover ancient forts and palaces In Jaipur and enjoy the tranquility of Lake Pichola in Udaipur. Visit Gandhi's former home in Ahmedabad before heading down to the bustling city of Mumbai taking in the city's main sights. Fly east to Chennai and stare up at the towering temples in Tamil Nadu. Soak up French colonial charm in Pondicherry and travel through the Western Ghats to Kerala. Learn how spices are grown in Thekkady, take a cruise through the idyllic backwaters in Alleppey and finally end your Indian adventure in the charming colonial city of Cochin.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • The spectacular Ganga Aarti ceremony at sunset
  • Explore the historic sites of Old Delhi
  • Visit the magnificent Taj Mahal
  • Go tiger spotting in Ranthambore
  • Experience the colourful Diwali festival
  • Visit Mahatma Gandhi's home in Ahmedabad
  • Intricately carved cave temples in Mahabalipuram
  • Spice plantation tour in Thekkady
  • Cruise backwaters of Alleppey
  • Witness a traditional Kathakali performance

Places Visited

Kolkata - Varanasi - Delhi - Agra - Fatehpur Sikri - Jaipur - Udaipur - Ahmedabad - Mumbai - Chennai - Mahabalipuram - Pondicherry - Madurai - Thekkady - Alleppey - Cochin

What's Included

Arrival & departure transfers
Ground transport with driver
Domestic flights
Accommodation
Meals (refer to itinerary for meal plan)
English-speaking guides
Entrance fees to sites & parks
Itinerary & Map
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Day 1 : Arrive in Kolkata

Arrive in Kolkata where you will be met by a Travel The Unknown representative and transferred to the hotel. The rest of the day is free at your leisure. Overnight in Kolkata. 

Meal plan: n/a

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Day 2 : Kolkata

Enjoy a heritage tour of Kolkata. Explore the colourful flower market and 'Bara Bazaar', a large market divided into sections according to craft. Take in Kolkata's rich colonial past with visits to the impressive Victoria Memorial, St Paul's Cathedral, Dalhousie Square and the High Court. Stop off at the bizarre Marble Palace and cross the famous Hoogly River, the city's main trading post. Pay your respects and witness the fantastic work at Mother Teresa's Sisters of Charity, then head into one of Kolkata's most artistic areas - Kumartuli - famous for sculptures of Hindu deities which are used in elaborate Hindu ceremonies. Overnight in Kolkata. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

Often labelled the  "Cultural City of India", Kolkata is India's second biggest city and one of its major ports, located on the east bank  of the Hooghly River. Previously named 'Calcutta', it was the former capital of the British Indian Empire until 1911 and originally designed in the style of a grand European capital. As a result, Western influences can be seen throughout the city within its colonial-era architecture: Raj Bhavan, the state governor's residence, imitates Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire, the Indian Museum is built in the Italian style, while the Victoria Memorial Hall attempts to combine classical Western and Mughal architecture. Kolkata was also the centre of the Indian independence movement, and to this day still plays an important role in contemporary state politics.

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Day 3 : Kolkata - Varanasi

Transfer to the airport to catch your flight to Varanasi. On arrival, transfer to the hotel where the rest of the day is free. Overnight in Varanasi. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

Varanasi is regarded as the spiritual capital of India, signifying the crossing between the physical and spiritual worlds, and regularly attracts pilgrims to bathe in the sacred waters of the River Ganges. The Ghats leading into the river are colourful, full of character and a have an unrivaled spiritual atmosphere. Every evening at sunset, Varanasi stages the 'Aarti ceremony' where Pilgrims gather on the banks of the Ganges and offer fire to Lord Shiva & the river. 

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Day 4 : Varanasi

Wake up early for a boat ride on the Ganges at sunrise. Watch the river come to life with devout Hindus bathing in the holy water, listen to the sound of prayer bells and even laughing yoga. Return to your hotel for breakfast before setting off on an intriguing walking tour of Varanasi, visiting intricate Hindu temples. After lunch, depart for Bharat Mata Temple, the only temple dedicated to Mother India. Also visit the famous Banaras Hindu University, one of the oldest educational centres in India. Take an evening boat ride on the holy River Ganges to witness the amazing Aarti ceremony on the Ghats, where you can place a candle on a lotus flower and send it off down the river. Overnight in Varanasi.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Bharat Mata is the national personification of India as a Mother Goddess. Located on the campus of Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith university, the Bharat Mata Temple was built in 1936 and inaugurated by Gandhi. Instead of housing traditional gods and goddesses, it holds a marble relief map of India depicting the mountains, plains and oceans, symbolizing undivided India and denoting the Bharat Mata idol.

Built in 1917, the Banaras Hindu University is one of the oldest educational centres in India, as well as one of the largest residential universities in Asia, with over 20,000 students. It was founded by Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya as a centre for the study of Indian art, culture, music and Sanskrit. The university campus is spread over five square kilometers’ and houses the Bharat Kala Bhavan, an art and archeological museum.

Literally meaning "Prayer for Ganga", the Ganga Aarti is a spectacular religious ceremony in which offerings are made to the Lord Shiva and the River Ganges. At sunset, Pilgrims gather on the banks of the Ganges and offer plates of flowers and flaming ghee while temple bells ring and mantras are chanted. The aftermath of the ceremony is a wonderful sight, with hundreds of floating miniature lamps and flowers placed into the river.

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Day 5 : Varanasi - Delhi

Transfer to the airport for your flight to Delhi where the rest of the day is free. Overnight in Delhi. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

India’s capital and a major gateway to the country, contemporary Delhi is a bustling metropolis, which successfully combines the ancient with the modern. Amidst the vast spiraling skyscrapers, the remnants of a bygone era in the form of its many monuments, stand as silent reminders of the region’s ancient legacy. The first impression for any visitor travelling in from the airport is of a specious, garden city, tree-lined with a number of beautiful parks.

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Day 6 : Delhi

In the morning, enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of Delhi. Pass through Old Delhi and visit Raj Ghat, Gandhi's resting place, and Humayun's Tomb. Later, visit Qutub Minar. The rest of the evening is free to relax or explore. Overnight in Delhi.

Meal plan: Breakfast

The walled city of Old Delhi, which includes the Lal Qila or Red Fort of Delhi, was established in 1650 AD by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. The Spice Bazaar, or Khari Baoli, is a street in Old Delhi known for its wholesale grocery and is one of Asia’s largest wholesale spice markets selling all kinds of spices, nuts and herbs. Operating since the 17th century, the market is situated close to the historic Delhi Red Fort. Learn about the spices on sale and smell their aromas. One of Delhi's most interesting buildings is the Jama Masjid (mosque), which is surrounded by traditional businesses that showcase centuries’ old arts and crafts. There is also a marvellous old-fashioned shop where you can test Indian perfume from cut-glass bottles. You will saunter through the main bridal street of Old Delhi, Kinari Bazaar, with its dazzling display of embroidered silk wedding saris.
 


The Qutub Minar Complex has an array of monuments and buildings dating from the early Christian Era to the establishment of the Sultanate period and also boasts the majestic buildings of the mighty Mughal. The Iron Pillar is one of the world’s foremost metallurgical curiosities. Over 70 metres high and weighing more than 6 tonnes, it was erected by Chandragupta II Vikramaditya (375–414 CE). The complex also housed 27 ancient Jain temples which were destroyed and their material used in the construction of the Qutub complex by Qutb-ud-din Aibak. Added to over the following by subsequent rulers, including Iltutmish and Alaud-din Khilji, and even the British, the most famous monument in the complex is the Qutub Minar (World Heritage Site), which is regarded as one of the finest examples of Indo-Islamic architecture.

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Day 7 : Delhi - Agra

Drive to Agra. In the afternoon, visit Agra Fort and Itmad-Ud-Daula. Continue to Mehtab Bagh in the evening to watch the sunset over the Taj Mahal. Overnight in Agra.

Meal plan: Breakfast

​The Taj Mahal is an immense mausoleum of white marble, built for Mumtaz Mahal, the wife of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. The construction of the tomb began in 1632 and employed more than 20,000 workers. Situated on the right bank of the Yamuna in a vast Mogul garden, this funerary monument, bounded by four isolated minarets, reigns with its octagonal structure capped by a bulbous dome through the criss-cross of open perspectives offered by alleys or basins of water. The materials were brought in from all over India and central Asia and white Makrana marble from Jodhpur. Precious stones for the inlay came from Baghdad, Punjab, Egypt, Russia, Golconda, China, Afghanistan, Ceylon, Indian Ocean and Persia. The unique Mughal style combines elements and styles of Persian, Central Asian and Islamic architecture.

Situated on the bank of the river Yamuna, the UNESCO World Heritage Agra Fort is an enormous, grand structure. The special feature of this fort is the 2.5km long and 21 metre-high circuitous wall of solid red sand stone in which each of the stones are closely bound by iron rings. The fort is surrounded by a deep moat. Some of the important buildings inside the fort are the Jahangiri Mahal, the Moti Masjid and Mena Bazaars.

Built in the early 16th century and formerly the capital of the mighty Mughals, Agra is famous for its beautiful medieval monuments. The city was pampered by the Mughals for more than two centuries, adorned with their beautiful artworks and striking architectural styles.The crowning jewel of Mughal architecture, the Taj Mahal (World Heritage Site) is one of the world’s most beautiful and beloved structures. 

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Day 8 : Agra - Bharatpur - Ranthambore National Park

Transfer to Bharatpur, stopping at Fatehpur Sikri on the way. On arrival in Bharatpur, catch a train to Ranthambore National Park and transfer to the lodge. The rest of the day is free at your leisure. Overnight in Ranthambore. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

Fatehpur Sikri was built by the great Mughal Emperor Akbar in the 16th century to serve as the capital of his vast empire. Although Akbar had many wives, he did not have an heir, which led him to many holy men and finally to the renowned Sufi Saint Sheikh Salim Chisti, who lived in an isolated cave near Sikri. The saint blessed Akbar and soon a son was born to him. The grateful emperor named his son Salim after the saint, erected the grand Jami Mosque near the saint's dwelling and vowed to build a great city in that place. Thus emerged the great city of Fatehpur Sikri, a citadel of grand courts, palaces, mosques and gardens that rivalled the splendours of Delhi and Agra. However, destiny had other things in store for the city. Shortage of water and unrest in the north-west made Akbar abandon the city only 13 years later. Today, even after the passage of 400 years, the magnificence of this royal city has not faded and remains immaculately preserved.
 


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Day 9 : Ranthambore National Park

Early morning game drive in the national park. Return to the lodge for breakfast. The rest of the morning is free to relax or explore on your own. After lunch, embark on a second game drive for the rest of the afternoon. Overnight in Ranthambore.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Ranthambore National Park is one of the biggest and most renowned national park in Northern India. The park is located in the Sawai Madhopur district of southeastern Rajasthan, which is about 130 km from Jaipur. Being considered as one of the famous and former hunting grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur, today the Ranthambore National Park terrain is major wildlife tourist attraction spot that has pulled the attention of many wildlife photographers and lovers in this destination. Ranthambore is spread over an area of 1,334 sq km along with its nearby sanctuaries like - the Mansingh Sanctuary and the Kaila Devi Sanctuary.The park is majorly famous for its tigers and is one of the best locations in India to see the majestic predators in its natural habitat. The tigers can be easily spotted even during the day time busy at their daily quest- hunting and taking proper care of their young ones.

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Day 10 : Ranthambore National Park - Jaipur

In the morning, drive to Jaipur. On arrival, the rest of the day is free to wander around the local bazaar. Overnight in Jaipur.

Meal plan: Breakfast

The capital and largest city in Rajasthan, Jaipur was planned and named by the Great warrior astronomer Maharaja Jai Singh II (1699–1744 AD). The buildings are constructed in pink sandstone after the whole city was painted pink to welcome the Prince of Wales and Queen Victoria in 1876 during their tour of India, with pink symbolising hospitality. Many of the avenues remain pink, giving Jaipur its popular name of the “Pink City”.

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Day 11 : Jaipur

Spend the day enjoying the celebrations of the Diwali festival. Overnight in Jaipur.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Diwali, also known as the "festival of lights", is a five-day Autumn festival celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains around the world. Its main theme is the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. It is marked by huge firework displays while traditional earthen diyas or candles are lit and houses are decorated with striking "rangoli" patterns on the floor (created using coloured rice or powder).

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Day 12 : Jaipur - Udaipur

Transfer to Udaipur. The rest of the day is free to relax or explore. Overnight in Udaipur. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

Udaipur is often called ‘Venice of the East’ or the ‘City of Lakes’, and was founded by Maharana Udai Singh in 1559 AD. According to legend, Udai Singh was guided to establish his capital on the very spot that a holy man was meditating on near Pichola Lake. Surrounded by Aravali Ranges, forests and lakes, this place was less vulnerable to external invasion than Chittaurgarh. Maharana Udai Singh died in 1572 and was succeeded by Maharana Pratap, who valiantly defended Udaipur from Mughal attacks. Maharana Pratap is the most revered Rajput icon who gallantly fought the Mughals in the battle of Haldighati in 1576. Mewar continuously defied foreign invaders and has a history of bloody battles, until the British intervention in the 19th century, when a treaty was signed to protect Udaipur. Upon gaining independence, Udaipur merged with the union of India.

The Lake Palace (Jag Niwas), located in the middle of Pichola Lake, is the finest example of an architectural and cultural marvel. The grand City Palace on the banks of the lake, along with the Monsoon Palace (Sajjan Garh) on the hill above, enhances the beauty of this magnificent city. This is one of the largest palace complexes in the world. Udaipur is also the centre for performing arts, crafts and its famed miniature paintings. The Shilpgram festival is a great crowd-puller during New Year celebrations.


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Day 13 : Udaipur

Enjoy a sightseeing tour of Udaipur, where you will see the City Palace complex, Jagdish Temple and Sahelion Ki Bari. The rest of the day is free at your leisure. Overnight in Udaipur. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

The Jagdish Temple was built in 1651 by Maharaja Jagat Singh, who ruled Udaipur 1628-1653. It is located within the City Palace complex in the centre of the old city. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the universe. Inside, there is a  black marble carving of Lord Vishnu with four arms. This is unusual for the northern part of the country, where statues of Gods are normally done in marble.The main shrine is surrounded by four smaller shrines dedicated to Lord Ganesha, Goddess Shakti and Lord Shiva. 

Sahelion Ki Bari, or the 'Garden of the Maidens', is a lush garden built by Maharana Sangram Singh II in 1710-1734 for his wife's 48 maids. Located on the banks of Fateh Sagar lake, the garden has been designed using a mixture of Indian and English architectural styles. There are many different typs of fountains, like the main white marble chhatri fountain, a pavillion of English cast iron rain fountains, elephant fountains and more. There is also a small museum featuring stuffed cobras. It is an interesting place to visit and relax in the northern part of Udaipur.

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Day 14 : Udaipur - Ahmedabad

Drive to Ahmedabad, en route visiting Sarkhej Roza, a mosque and tomb complex located in Markaba, close to Ahmedabad. After the visit, check in to your hotel and rest. Later visit the Gandhi Ashram and the Law Garden market. Evening free to spend at your leisure. Overnight in Ahmedabad.

Meal plan: Breakfast

The former capital of the state of Gujarat, Ahmedabad is one of the fastest growing cities of the last decade. It is located on the banks of the Sabarmati river and earned the nickname 'Manchester of the East' while under British rule for its developing textile industry. Ahmedabad is home to a fascinating mix of architecture, ranging from British colonial to early Indo-Saracenic.

Situated in Ahmedabad, the Sabarmati Ashram (also known as Gandhi Ashram) was home to Mahatma Gandhi from 1917 until 1930 and served as one of the main centres of the Indian freedom struggle. It was from his base here that Gandhi led the Dandi march (also known as the Salt Satyagraha) on 12 March 1930. In recognition of the significant influence that this march had on the Indian independence movement, the Indian government has established the ashram as a national monument. Thus, the Ashram became home to the ideology that set India free. The Ashram is named for the river on which it sits and was created with a dual mission: to serve as an institution that would carry on a search for truth and a platform to bring together a group of workers committed to non-violence who would help secure freedom for India.

​The Sarkhej Roza is a mosque and tomb complex located in Makarba village, about 10 kilometers southwest of Ahmedabad.  The mausoleum and mosque were ordered by Sultan Muhammad Shah, the son of Ahmed Shah, in 1446, and were completed in the reign of his successor Sultan Qutbuddin. Later, the Roza became a favourite resort and retreat for Sultan Mahmud Begda. Upon entry, you can see  a forecourt with the majestic mausoleum to the right and the royal tombs to the left. Beyond these is a spacious courtyard mosque, which is remarkable for its unassuming elegance and the linear purity of its multi-domed prayer hall and colonnades.

The Law Garden Market is an evening market packed with stalls selling glittering wares from Kachchh and Saurashtra. It’s full of fantastically decorated cholis (sari blouses) and chaniyas (long, wide traditional skirts), as well as embroidered wall hangings, costume jewelry and more.

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Day 15 : Ahmedabad

Enjoy a heritage walk of the Old City of Ahmedabad, with visits to the Sabarmati Ashram, Hutheesing Jain Temples, Jama Mosque and the Dada Hari step well. After the walk, explore the Calico Museum and see a type of art called Mata Ni Pachedi. Overnight in Ahmedabad.

Note: The Calico Museum is closed on Wednesdays and public holidays. Visit is subject to availability, as only 20 guests are allowed inside at once.

Meal plan: Breakfast

The Calico Museum was founded in 1949 by the industrialist Gautam Sarabhai and his sister, Gita Sarabhai. It is among the most celebrated institutions in the country and is renowned for its comprehensive collection of textiles and artifacts. You can see a remarkable collection of fabrics from varied and remote regions of India collected over five centuries. 

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Day 16 : Ahmedabad - Udaipur - Mumbai

Transfer to Udaipur to catch your flight to Mumbai. The rest of the day is free at your leisure. Overnight in Mumbai. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

Mumbai is the most populous city in India, the economical and commercial centre of the country and the home of Bollywood, the Hindi film industry. Mumbai's most famous site is the Gateway of India, a 26-metre-high arch built to commemorate the landing of King George V and Queen Mary in India in 1911. Other important landmarks include the Marine Drive boulevard, known as the 'Queen's Necklace' due to its resemblance to a pearl necklace when viewed at night from above; Dhobi Ghat, the world’s largest open air laundry; Crawford Market, the largest market in Mumbai,  named after  the first Municipal Commissioner of the city, Arthur Crawford; and the Victoria Terminus railway station, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The latter is famous for its blend of Gothic Revival and traditional Mughal architectural styles, and was built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee. In 1996 it was renamed to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, after the founder of the Maratha Empire.

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Day 17 : Mumbai

In the morning, take a half-day sightseeing tour of Mumbai, including visits to the Gateway of India and Crawford Market, Mumbai's oldest market, situated inside a former British building. Proceed to Dhobi Ghat (perhaps the world's largest open air laundry system) and the 'Dabbawallas' (the complex system of lunch box deliveries). Drive past many British heritage buildings, including the Prince of Wales Museum, Maharashtra Police Headquarters, Flora Fountain and Hutatma Chowk. The evening is free to rest or explore at your leisure. Overnight in Mumbai.

Meal plan: Breakfast

The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, formerly Prince of Wales Museum of Western India, is the main museum in Mumbai. It was founded in the early years of the 20th century by prominent citizens of Bombay, with the help of the government, to commemorate the visit of the then Prince of Wales. The Museum is built in the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture, incorporating elements of other styles such as Mughal, Maratha and Jain. The museum houses objects from foreign lands and ancient relics from India.

A Dabbawala literally meaning "box person", is a person in Mumbai, who is employed in a unique service industry, whose primary business is collecting freshly cooked food in lunch boxes from the residences of the office workers (mostly in the suburbs), delivering it to their respective workplaces and returning the empty boxes back to the customer's residence by using various modes of transport. We will get an insight into their working style, today.

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Day 18 : Mumbai - Chennai

Transfer to the airport for your flight to Chennai. The rest of the day is free to relax. Overnight in Chennai. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

Chennai  is the capital of the Indian city state of Tamil Nadu, situated just off the coast of the Bay of Bengal. It has been dubbed the 'cultural capital of south India, boasting educational and economic success as well as a rich culture. With a complex history, Chennai has been part of successive kingdoms over the centuries, although the recorded history of the city began in Colonial times. Consequently, Chennai boasts a variety of architectural styles with the oldest buildings in the city dating back to the 7th and 8th centuries. Under the Mughals and the British, the architecture blended Gothic, Islamic and Hindu styles. Places of interest include the impressive San Thome Cathedral, and the blend of local music culture and art museums give Chennai a vibrant atmosphere.  

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Day 19 : Chennai

Today is free to explore Chennai at your leisure. Overnight in Chennai. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

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Day 20 : Chennai - Mahabalipuram - Pondicherry

Transfer to Pondicherry, stopping en route to explore the town of Mahabalipuram. On arrival in Pondicherry, transfer to the hotel. The rest of the day is free. Overnight in Pondicherry. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

Mahabalipuram/Mamallapuram, 50km south of Chennai, is a recognised beach destination on India’s east coast and is frequented by tourists throughout the year. The city is also famed for its stone sculpting industry. Thanks to the Pallava kingdom’s stonemasonry, Mahabalipuram holds some of the most outstanding examples of Dravidian art and architecture. One example is the rock-cut Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram (a complex of 7th and 8th century religious monuments). The UNESCO site has 400 ancient monuments and temples, including the Shore Temple, which overlooks the Bay of Bengal, and one of the largest open-air rock reliefs, Descent of the Ganges. Carved on two monolithic rock boulders, it illustrates the story of the sacred and supernatural river Ganges forming in earth from heaven, led by the king Bhagiratha.
 


Pondicherry, recently renamed 'Puducherry', is a former colonial French town tucked away in the Southeastern seaboard of India. Among its diverse attractions are a 32km-long coastline, palm-fringed beaches, backwaters, fishing villages, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, the international city of Auroville, and the French boulevard town centre with its unique heritage.

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Day 21 : Pondicherry

Today is free to explore the French-era settlement of Pondicherry at your leisure. Overnight in Pondicherry.

Meal plan: Breakfast

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Day 22 : Pondicherry - Villupuram - Madurai

Drive to Villupuram before boarding a train to Madurai. On arrival, transfer to the hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax. Overnight in Madurai. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

Madurai is one of South India’s great temple towns. It was an important cultural and commercial centre in 550 AD. Sitting on the banks of the river Vaigai, it is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.

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Day 23 : Madurai

Today is free to explore Madurai at your leisure. In the evening, proceed to Meenakshi temple to witness the evening ceremony. Overnight in Madurai.

Meal plan: Breakfast

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Day 24 : Madurai - Thekkady

In the morning, drive to Thekkady, the spice capital of India. On arrival, visit the beautiful Spice Village (subject to availability). This mini-village recreated in the lush tropical forest of Thekkady is a nature lover's paradise. The evening is free to explore the surroundings, do some bird-watching or take a nap. Overnight in Thekkady.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Centred around a large artificial lake, Thekkady is the location of the Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary -  one of India's largest wildlife sanctuaries, which spans across the entire district. Declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978, the sanctuary supports 62 species of mammals (many of which are rare and endangered) and 320 species of birds, as well as a host of reptiles, amphibians and fish. 

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Day 25 : Thekkady

In the early morning, enjoy a nature walk led by a team of poachers turned protectors of the forests. Return to the hotel for breakfast before visiting the spice plantation. Walk amidst the green, terraced farms of various spices and breathe in the fragrant air. You can also purchase a few packets of the tea and spices grown here. The rest of the day is free at your leisure. Overnight in Thekkady. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

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Day 26 : Thekkady - Alleppey

After breakfast depart for Alleppey. In the evening, witness a Kathakali performance under moonlight by the lake. Overnight in Alleppey.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Also known as the 'Venice of the East', Alleppey is a town with a large network of picturesque canals, backwaters, lagoons and beaches. In the past, Alleppey was one of the busiest trade centres along the Malabar coast.

Dating back to the 17th century, the Kathakali dance performance, literally meaning "story-play", is the classical dance form of Kerala in which a story is portrayed through a combination of dance and mime. Instead of dialect, characters 'speak' through dramatic body movement and facial expression, while mood is set through musical composition. Heavy and elaborate makeup and costumes are used to portray the different character types, while themes are primarily religious in nature and based on the universal struggle between good and evil. 

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Day 27 : Alleppey - Cochin

After breakfast, drive from Alleppey to Cochin. Proceed on a walking tour of Cochin, which will provide you with a glimpse of the city's rich history and heritage. Witness the mix of Dutch, English, Portuguese and Jewish influences that make the city such a unique place. In the evening enjoy a motor boat cruise at Cochin harbour. Overnight in Cochin.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Cochin, the 'Queen on the Arabian Sea', is a major port city that was once a much-prized pawn for the English, Portuguese and Dutch due to its strategic location and prominence in the lucrative spice trade. This history of foreign colonies has resulted in a diverse culture, with European influences visible in much of Cochin's architecture and overall development, aiding it to become the commercial and industrial capital of Kerala. 

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Day 28 : Cochin

Today is free to explore Cochin at your leisure. Overnight in Cochin. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

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Day 29 : Departure

Transfer to Cochin airport to connect to your onward flight.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Extensions

The Golden Triangle (5 days)

Marvel at India's most incredible forts and palaces

Kolkata & Sunderbans (6 days)

Discover colonial Kolkata and the Sunderbans Tiger Reserve

Indian Odyssey (29 days)

Experience the best of North and South India

Wildlife of Madagascar, India & Borneo (29 days)

Spot lemurs, tigers & orangutans

Highlights of the Subcontinent (22 days)

Discover iconic sights of India, Nepal & Bhutan

Wildlife of India & Borneo (21 days)

Get under the skin of Asia's two best wildlife spots.

Hill stations to the Himalayas (20 days)

Travel through the Himalayan foothills to Ladakh

Monks, Tribes & Rhinos (20 days)

Himalayan mountains, unseen tribes & amazing wildlife

Classic Bhutan & Assam Cruise (18 days)

Experience Bhutan's rich culture, colonial Kolkata and rural life in Assam

Essential India & China (17 days)

Visit the two most populous countries on Earth.

Textiles & Artisans of Gujarat & Rajasthan (16 days)

Nomadic tribes, traditional textiles, crafts & Mewar Festival

Essential India & Sri Lanka (16 days)

India's Golden Triangle & the best of Sri Lanka.

Glimpse of India & Nepal (16 days)

Golden Triangle and the Himalayas

Rajasthan Explorer (15 days)

Fort cities, rural villages & camel fair

Nagaland: Festival of the Headhunters (15 days)

Aoling Festival, wildlife in Assam & natural beauty of Manipur

Kerala Calling (15 days)

Tropical mountains, tea & spice plantations, and backwaters

Big Six of India (15 days)

Spot tigers, lions, leopards, buffalo, rhino & elephants

Assam & Nagaland Hornbill Festival (15 days)

Wildlife, tribes & rural life in Assam, Nagaland and Manipur

Taste of South India (15 days)

Experience the flavours and exotic spices of South India

Spirit of South India (14 days)

Temple towns of Tamil Nadu to backwaters of Kerala

Wildlife of North East India (14 days)

Diverse wildlife in Assam and the Sunderbans

Taj, Tigers & Temples (14 days)

An intoxicating immersion into India's diversity

Karnataka Odyssey (14 days)

Coffee farms, wildlife and stone temples

Tribes of North East India (14 days)

Remote tribal cultures in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam & Nagaland

Sacred India (14 days)

Uncover the religious diversity of India

Delicacies of North India (14 days)

Discover the huge diversity of North India's cuisine

Big Cats of India (14 days)

Experience the thrill of the Indian jungle ...

Treasures of Gujarat (14 days)

Villages, temples, salt flats & the world's last Asiatic lions

Kerala & Karnataka Explorer (14 days)

Idyllic backwaters, tropical forests & ancient temple towns

Heart of India (14 days)

Lucknow, Varanasi & the wonders of Madhya Pradesh

Tribal Orissa & Chhattisgarh (14 days)

Distinct tribal cultures, unique temples & traditional textiles

Kashmir and Ladakh Explorer (14 days)

Houseboats, Himalayas & Hemis Festival

Best of Bengal & Sikkim (14 days)

Colonial Kolkata, Darjeeling toy train & Buddhism

Hidden Rajasthan (13 days)

Rural villages, grand forts & wildlife

Markha Valley Trek (12 days)

Set foot in Ladakh's hidden Himalayan valleys

Glimpse of India (11 days)

Golden Triangle, tigers & exotic Goa

Classic Kerala (10 days)

Tea, spices, backwaters & beaches

Essential Rajasthan (10 days)

Discover the forts, palaces, villages and desert of Rajasthan

Living Bridges of Meghalaya (7 days)

Waterfalls, hills and living bridges in North East India

Reviews

I thoroughly enjoyed my tailor made tour of northwestern and central India. Guides and accommodations were excellent and we saw as much of the area as could be packed into two weeks. I look forward to another tour with Travel the Unknown.

Mary Trubek (USA) , Tailormade India

What an excellent service! Rahul adapted, extended and improved our trip so many times without a qualm and we ended up with the trip of a lifetime. The destinations are unusual and interesting but everything has been checked out by the team and works brilliantly. I can`t wait to do another trip.

Penelope Smith , Assam & Nagaland Hornbill Festival, India

Another fantastic trip with this company. WE really managed to get off the beaten track and have seen some amazing sights. Well put together. We will travel again with Travel the Unknown

Hazel & James Frost , Tailormade India

This is our second fabulous trip with Travel The Unknown and we were not disappointed. Rajasthan's vibrant colours of turbans and saris, the noise, the spicy aromas, the silence in the hot air balloon over rural Jaipur, the majestic forts and palaces of ancient times, sighting leopards in the wild, all far exceeded our expectations and the heritage homes and hotels we stayed in, whilst being of high standard in every way, still had a friendly family touch. Thanks so much to Rahul and the team for such a memorable trip. Six weeks on and we still can't stop talking about it. I can't wait for the next one!

John & Christine Gregory , Tailormade India

Another great trip from Travel the Unknown. I would recommend this company to anyone who wants to move outside the boundaries of the usual tourist itinerary.

Catherine Crawford , Kashmir & Ladakh Explorer, India

Travel the Unknown put together an Itinerary in North East India - Living Root Bridges for me and a travelling companion. The accommodations, transportation, promptness of drivers, and knowledge of our guide was excellent. Easy booking from office and good pre trip information. Thanks TTU!

Christina Taft , Living Bridges of Meghalaya, India

Wow, India is incredible and Travel The Unknown put together a trip that really showed the diverse nature of the country and cultures, from the busy capital Delhi to the splendour of the Taj Mahal and then off the main tourist trek with an overnight sleeper train to Varanasi on the Ganges, the Hindu religious capital with bathing , washing and cremations alongside the river - an astonishing experience. We then moved to the forgotten North East corner where there is a tribal culture in an area seemingly cut off from the rest of India. Our destination was the Living Root Bridges which are unique and remote. Just want to go back to India for more...

Ken Sankey , Living Bridges of Meghalaya, India

Gotta say thanks to Travel The Unknown for organising my fascinating trip to a little-known area of the world. The scenery was fantastic, food was amazing, the guide was great and the living bridges were inspiring. An India not many get to see. Thanks again.

Stephen , Living Bridges of Meghalaya, India

I had been studying the Apatani Tribe for quite some time… I’m talking roughly 7 years! Travel The Unknown made my dreams come entirely true. They organized every aspect of my experience in the most minute detail. I have never felt such confidence in an agency nor worked with one more knowledgeable about their destination. Because of them and their kind efforts, I will continue to travel with Travel The Unknown for all future expeditions to this or similar regions. Thanks, Travel The Unknown, for everything!

Christian Noni , Tailormade North East India

As always Travel The Unknown were exceptional in organising my trip to India. The guides for Meghalaya and the Golden Triangle were friendly, extremely helpful and very informative. The tour was busy but never felt rushed; the combination of Meghalaya and Golden Triangle giving quite a varied perspective of India.

Terry Cooper , Living Bridges of Meghalaya

The Living Root Bridges trip was our first time with Travel the Unknown and we would have no hesitation from booking with them again.

Andria & John Palmer , Living Bridges of Meghalaya, India

This trip was my first time travelling with Travel The Unknown, but definitely not my last!

Lori Martin , Assam & Nagaland Hornbill Festival, India
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