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Grand Tour of India

Home Icon 26-day Grand Tour of India from £3,495pp

Spend a little longer in India with Distant Journeys, and delve deeper into the heart of this mystical and mesmerising country, with our Grand Tour of India.
 
From the foothills of the Himalayas to the palm-fringed beaches of Kerala, our Grand Tour travels the length of this beautiful, complex country and explores in depth the places, people and cultures that define India. We visit shimmering temples and golden palaces, see snow-capped mountains and fragrant spice plantations, vibrant, colourful cities and silent, sleepy backwaters.
 
Our Grand Tour also includes some very special experiences; a ride on the UNESCO Toy Train to Shimla, safaris in Ranthambore National Park and a night onboard a traditional Keralan houseboat.
 
There will be a maximum of 24 people per departure on our India touring holidays. As a guest in a small group, you will find both the space and time to enjoy a number of included special experiences that wouldn’t be possible within the confines of a larger group. Journey beyond the best-known sights and enjoy exclusive activities with your travelling companions, who will soon become friends as you make memories that will last a lifetime.
 
Distant Journeys offer Private Touring on the Grand Tour of India, as with our other India tour itineraries. Surprisingly affordable, Private Touring includes the same wonderfully thought-out itinerary and carefully chosen hotels, with the added bonus of your own friendly and knowledgeable guides, your own private vehicle and your own choice of departure date. Whether you prefer to travel with a group of friends, as a family, or you are celebrating a special occasion as a couple, our private touring holidays provide exclusivity and convenience for groups of any size.

Grand Tour of India itinerary

For the ultimate experience of India, Distant Journeys’ 26-day Grand tour of India is a must. Including so many highlights from riding to Shimla on the UNESCO Toy Train, to iconic monuments like the Taj Mahal and the Golden Temple in Amritsar, to sailing the tranquil backwaters of Kerala.

26-day Grand Tour of India, from only £3,495pp

  • Day 1: Depart UK
  • Day 2: Delhi, 2 nights
  • Day 3: Delhi
  • Day 4: Shimla, 2 nights
  • Day 5: Shimla
  • Day 6: Amritsar, 2 nights
  • Day 7: Amritsar
  • Day 8: Agra, 2 nights
  • Day 9: Agra
  • Day 10: Ranthambore, 2 nights
  • Day 11: Ranthambore
  • Day 12: Jaipur, 2 nights
  • Day 13: Jaipur
  • Day 14: Udaipur, 3 nights
  • Day 15: Udaipur
  • Day 16: Udaipur
  • Day 17: Mumbai, 2 nights
  • Day 18: Mumbai
  • Day 19: Cochin, 2 nights
  • Day 20: Cochin
  • Day 21: Alleppey, Overnight
  • Day 22: Thekkady, 2 nights
  • Day 23: Thekkady
  • Day 24: Cochin, Overnight
  • Day 25: Depart India
  • Day 26: Arrive UK

Day 1: Depart UK

Depart with Etihad Airways from London Heathrow. Flights from Manchester may be possible, please call for details.

 

Included meals: In-flight meals and drinks

 

Day 2: Delhi, 2 nights

After transiting in Abu Dhabi, we arrive into Delhi and transfer to the delightful heritage-styled Maidens Hotel. This evening, we will enjoy a welcome drink with our Tour Manager and fellow travellers to become acquainted and learn more about our forthcoming adventures.

 

Included meals: In-flight meals and drinks and dinner

 

Day 3: Delhi

Enjoy a full day of sightseeing as we explore Old and New Delhi. Begin the day with a pleasant rickshaw ride through Old Delhi; travel via the lavish Red Fort – palace of the Mughal Empire. Visit Jama Masjid, India’s largest and most spectacular mosque, and experience Chandni Chowk, the bustling and colourful market of the old city. We continue to New Delhi to visit the iconic India Gate and celebrated Parliament House, and continue to Humayun’s Tomb. Our tour concludes at a UNESCO World Heritage Site and 13th century masterpiece, Qutub Minar – India’s famed red sandstone and white marble minaret. This evening we experience a culinary walk in Old Delhi, showcasing a range of authentic Dilli food bursting with all sorts of mouth-watering flavours.

 

Included meals: Breakfast and dinner

 

Day 4: Shimla, 2 nights

Tour Highlight

After breakfast, we transfer to New Delhi Railway Station to board our train to Kalka. From Kalka, we board the UNESCO recognised Toy Train on its meandering journey through the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains towards Shimla, famed for being the summer retreat of the British colonial government in the 19th century. This distinctive train offers incomparable views of the surrounding landscapes. We spend our next two nights at the iconic Oberoi Cecil Hotel. Originally built in 1884, this beautiful grand heritage hotel continues to maintain its colonial charm and classic elegance.

 

Included meals: Breakfast, packed lunch and dinner

 

Day 5: Shimla

Our day begins with a visit to Kufri, a tiny hill station located near Shimla, renowned for its wonderful views and walking trails. Later we enjoy a leisurely walking tour around Shimla, witnessing heritage buildings including the Gaiety Theatre, a restored Gothic construction extraordinarily adorned with papier-mâché! Our tour also visits the General Post Office, and Viceregal Lodge, the most historically significant colonial building of the region, displaying incredible architecture. Later, we have the option to join the Sleeping Beauty Trail, where more of Shimla’s history will be revealed.

 

Included meals: Breakfast and dinner

 

Day 6: Amritsar, 2 nights

Bidding farewell to magical Shimla we journey to Chandigarh in a series of smaller vehicles, which are best suited to the mountainous terrain. Following lunch in Chandigarh, we continue in the afternoon to the heritage city of Amritsar, where its magnificent Golden Temple and beautiful blend of culture, history and tradition await. Our hotel for the next two nights is the Radisson Blu hotel.

 

Included meals: Breakfast and dinner

 

Day 7: Amritsar

Tour Highlight

Undoubtedly our highlight today is a visit to the magnificent Golden Temple, one of the most spiritual places in India. We explore the complex, including the incredible community kitchens which produce up to 20,000 meals per day, all prepared by local volunteers. We continue to Jallianwala Bagh, a historic garden and memorial of great national importance. We also experience the Partition Museum – the world’s first museum dedicated to the Partition of 1947, telling stories through oral histories, personal artefacts, letters, photographs, and original documents of the millions affected during the Partition. This afternoon we drive out to the India – Pakistan border. Here we shall enjoy a musical spectacular known as the beating retreat ceremony, featuring horses, canons, and the Massed Bands of the Household Division, who put on a mesmerising show that is bound to thrill!

 

Included meals: Breakfast and dinner

 

Day 8: Agra, 2 nights

After breakfast, we travel to the airport and board our flight to Delhi. On arrival, we drive to Agra, home to the magnificent Taj Mahal. Our home for two nights is the conveniently located, first class Agra Trident Hotel.

 

Included meals: Breakfast and dinner

 

Day 9: Agra

Tour Highlight

We start our day with a sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal, India’s most iconic monument. The Taj Mahal is carved from stunning ivory-white marble and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Mughals were at the peak of their power and wealth during Shah Jahan’s reign and it is believed that over 20,000 stone carvers, masons and artists were employed to build this monument to love and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Later, we continue to Agra Fort, a commanding 16th-century red sandstone fortress. The remainder of the day is at leisure, to relax or explore Agra’s many other delights.

 

Included meals: Breakfast and dinner

 

Day 10: Ranthambore, 2 nights

We depart Agra this morning bound for Ranthambore National Park. En route, we visit the famous Chand Baori Step Well, built over a thousand years ago. Enjoy lunch in the lush, rustic countryside setting of Umaid Lake Palace. Spread over 20 acres of leafy land, this organic retreat is a relaxing indulgence far from the bustle of the city, where we try our hand at cooking in its interactive kitchen. We continue to Ranthambore, and our home for the next two nights, the Ranthambore Kothi Hotel. This evening, we prepare for the exciting day ahead with a fascinating tiger talk by an expert local naturalist.

 

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

 

Day 11: Ranthambore

We begin the day with an early safari in Ranthambore National Park by shared canter vehicles. Ranthambore is one of the largest national parks in northern India, and renowned for its majestic Bengal tigers. We hope to witness these magnificent and elusive predators roaming in their natural habitat. Later this afternoon, join another safari in a different area of the park. Keep a look out for some of Ranthambore’s other wildlife including crocodiles, sloth bears, monkeys, sambar deer, and over 250 species of bird, whilst taking in the stunning scenery.

 

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

 

Day 12: Jaipur, 2 nights

Enjoy a morning at leisure to spend as you please. After lunch we continue our journey to Jaipur, and the deluxe Trident Hotel. This evening enjoy a cooking demonstration and dinner at a local family home, providing a unique opportunity to experience traditional local life.

 

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

 

Day 13: Jaipur

Our day begins as we travel by jeep to Amber Fort, one of the most celebrated forts in India, with astonishing beauty and charm. Whilst in Jaipur, we embark on further sightseeing, visiting the stunning City Palace, the famed astronomical architecture dating back to 1734, Jantar Mantar, and a drive past the distinctive Hawa Mahal, an extraordinary pink and red sandstone palace, widely known as the ‘Palace of Winds.’ This afternoon we shall visit the Bollywood Theatre, Raj Mandir Palace, considered the finest cinema hall in Jaipur, and famed for its opulent interiors.

 

Included meals: Breakfast and dinner

 

Day 14: Udaipur, 3 nights

This morning’s flight is bound for Udaipur, the crown jewel in the state of Rajasthan, and commonly known as the ‘City of Lakes’. Our home for the next three nights is the delightful Trident Hotel. Our afternoon and evening are left completely at leisure. Enjoy!

 

Included meals: Breakfast and dinner

 

Day 15: Udaipur

Sightseeing today includes the City Palace, Rajasthan’s largest citadel; Jagdish Temple, a Hindu shrine dating back to 1651, and a drive around Fateh Sagar Lake and Sahelion-ki-Bari (the Queen’s resort for her friends). Enjoy a vegetarian lunch of authentic local Mewari cuisine at the delightful Garden Restaurant. This evening enjoy a boat ride on Lake Pichola, whilst visiting Jag Mandir, the Lake Garden Palace.

 

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

 

Day 16: Udaipur Freedom Day

A full day at leisure to spend as we please. Our Distant Journeys Tour Manager will be on hand to provide advice on things to do, and to help book any excursions you may wish to experience. Perhaps join a guide on a visit to the home of a rare traditional artisan to understand and experience the vibrant and diverse world of textiles. Alternatively, you may prefer to meet the women of Sadna, in the village temple of Delwara, to learn first-hand how this extraordinary community of women have transformed the well-being of their society.

 

Included meals: Breakfast and dinner

 

Day 17: Mumbai, 2 nights

This morning, we board our flight to Mumbai. On arrival we transfer to the five-star Trident Hotel, Nariman Point. This afternoon, we’ll take a short tour of Mumbai, visiting Mani Bhawan, a museum dedicated to Ghandi, the Prince of Wales Museum, Victoria Terminus, over-air Laundromat, Dhobi Ghat and the iconic Gateway of India.

 

Included meals: Breakfast and dinner

 

Day 18: Mumbai

Early risers may wish to take an optional pre-breakfast tour of Mumbai by Dawn, where we take a special peek into the underbelly of working Mumbai – an insight into what makes this magnificent city tick – in the company of an expert guide. Following breakfast, our included tour begins with a pleasant boat ride across the Bay of Mumbai to visit the Elephanta Caves, an intriguing UNESCO World Heritage Site dedicated to the Hindu God, Shiva. This afternoon offers opportunities for further exploration of Mumbai. Perhaps take an optional tour to the six-hundred-year-old Worli fishing village, a quintessential settlement of the original inhabitants of Mumbai. The highlight is venturing into Worli Fort, the stunning British watchtower overlooking the beautiful Arabian Sea.

 

Included meals: Breakfast and dinner

 

Day 19: Cochin, 2 nights

After a leisurely morning, we transfer to the airport and board our flight to Cochin. Cochin is the Malabar Coast’s most historic port, and traditionally the place from where India’s invaluable spices were shipped to Europe. On arrival we transfer to the charming Trident Cochin Hotel.

 

Included meals: Breakfast and dinner

 

Day 20: Cochin

Our tour of Cochin begins with a visit to see Mattancherry Palace’s exquisite murals. We also experience the entrancing Fort Cochin, where Chinese fishing nets – vast cantilevered contraptions that still work to this day – line the shore. This evening we experience a show with a 2,000 year old history, during a traditional Kathakali dance performance. Later enjoy an Anglo-Indian cookery lesson and dinner at a local family house.
Included meals: Breakfast and dinner

 

Day 21: Alleppey, Overnight

Tour Highlight

Our travels today take us to Alleppey for one of the true highlights of our tour – an overnight experience on a traditional, thatch-roofed ‘kettuvallam’ houseboat. Journey through the Keralan backwaters with their labyrinth of canals, waterways, coconut groves, rice fields, hidden temples and tiny islands. This incredible adventure is one you will savour for many years to come!

 

Included meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

 

Day 22: Thekkady, 2 nights

We bid farewell to our houseboat and begin our scenic journey to Thekkady. As we traverse through the mountainous countryside of thick jungle and vast carpets of tea bushes, the aroma of spices fill the air. Later we arrive at our hotel, the wonderful Spice Village, located in a spice garden within the cool highlands of Periyar. This evening experience a traditional, ancient Indian martial arts performance, prior to dinner.

 

Included meals: Breakfast and dinner

 

Day 23: Thekkady

This morning, we explore a spice plantation to discover the mysteries of the Indian tea and spice industry. After lunch we enjoy a tranquil lake cruise (subject to water levels) to take in the sights and sounds of the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. We keep our eyes peeled for elephants as well as sambars, nilgiri langur monkeys, and the 260 recorded species of birdlife.

 

Included meals: Breakfast and dinner

 

Day 24: Cochin, Overnight

We return to the Trident Cochin, for our final night in India. Enjoy dinner as we bid farewell to our travelling companions of the last three and a half weeks.

 

Included meals: Breakfast and dinner

 

Day 25: Depart India

A day of relaxation or a final opportunity for further exploration before we depart Cochin, as we make our way to the airport to begin our journey back to the UK. Our flights are with Etihad Airways, and travel via Abu Dhabi.

 

Included meals: Breakfast and in-flight meals and drinks

 

Day 26: Arrive UK

We arrive home, bringing to an end our incredible adventure.

 

Included meals: In-flight meals and drinks

 

Departure dates & prices

To allow you to obtain a greater appreciation for the fascinating sights that you will see, we limit the group size on this tour to a maximum of 24 guests. For a really intimate touring feeling, you could travel with your own party as a private touring group. Supplements to the main tour price for private tours are available below.

Grand Tour of India departures

 Departure date Price (pp) Availability
 2021
 25 October £3,495 JUST LAUNCHED
 2022
 14 February £3,495 JUST LAUNCHED
 7 March £3,495 JUST LAUNCHED
 24 October £3,695 JUST LAUNCHED
 2023
 13 February £3,695 ONLY 6 ROOMS LEFT
 6 March £3,695 JUST LAUNCHED

 

Private Touring Supplements

 Number of Guests Tour Supplement (pp)
 All Dates
 2 guests £795
 3-4 guests £495
 5-9 guests £295
 10-14 guests £95
 15+ guests No extra charge

 

Prices: Prices are per person based on two people sharing a twin or double room.

Single occupancy supplement:
01 September 2021 – 31 August 2022 £995.
01 September 2022 – 31 August 2023 £1,095.

Deposit: £500 per person if travelling in economy class, £1,500 per person if travelling in business class.

Flight upgrades: Etihad Airways upgrade to Business Class flights from £2,195 per person return.

Private touring: Guests choosing a private tour may select their own departure date. Please note, alternative airlines may be considered or further supplements may apply in certain periods when international flight prices are higher.

Visa information: An e-Tourist visa is required for travel to India. For more information on applying for your visa and the associated costs, please refer to our FAQ’s page.

Important information: Prices are subject to availability but the correct price will always be confirmed before you book. For full terms and conditions see our terms and conditions page.

So much included

From start to finish, each Distant Journeys tour of India is meticulously planned and offers exceptional value. We include return international flights from the UK, overseas transport in modern air-conditioned coaches, hotel porterage for your luggage, all pre-payable airport and resort taxes, the services of a knowledgeable Tour Manager and all the entrance fees to the many incredible places and monuments you will visit. Great food is a highlight of any tour of India, and we make sure you have plenty of opportunity to taste the country’s finest cuisine by including dinner every day, as well as daily breakfast and several lunches too.

Flights with leading scheduled airlines

  • Return economy class flights with Etihad Airways from London Heathrow. Flights from Manchester Airport may be possible, please call for details
  • All airport charges, security charges and any applicable fuel surcharges
  • UK Air Passenger Duty

Carefully selected hotels

  • First class and deluxe hotels in great locations
  • All hotel porterage
  • Applicable hotel taxes

Many meals worth £813 per person

  • 23 breakfasts
  • 7 lunches
  • 23 dinners

Unforgettable experiences

  • Sightseeing tours in Delhi, Shimla, Amritsar, Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur, Mumbai and Cochin
  • Travel to Shimla onboard the UNESCO Toy Train
  • The Golden Temple of Amritsar
  • Wagah-Attari border ceremony
  • Visit the iconic Taj Mahal
  • Naturalist tiger talk and safaris in Ranthambore National Park
  • Experience dinner at a local family home in Jaipur
  • Jeep ride and tour of Amber Fort, Jaipur
  • Boat ride on Lake Pichola, Udaipur
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site of Elephanta Caves, Mumbai
  • Ango-Indian cookery lesson, Cochin
  • Explore the Keralan backwaters on board a kettuvallam houseboat

On the ground

  • Services of an experienced local Tour Manager
  • All overseas transfers
  • Modern, air-conditioned coaches throughout

100% confidence

  • Your holiday is covered by our Price Promise
  • Your holiday is fully ATOL protected
  • Your holiday is covered by our Covid Guarantee

Maidens Hotel, Delhi

Maidens Hotel is one of Delhi’s grandest and best-preserved buildings. Its sweeping driveway and grand façade give a clue to its illustrious heritage. Built in 1903 to host the attending dignitaries during the 1903 Durbar, held to celebrate the coronation… Find out more >
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The Oberoi Cecil Hotel, Shimla

Shimla’s heritage as the summer capital during the days of the British Raj is seen in its many fine examples of Victorian architecture, including the famous Vice Regal Lodge, the former summer residence of the Viceroy of India. A short… Find out more >
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Radisson Blu Hotel, Amritsar

The Radisson Blu Hotel is surrounded by lush, manicured grounds and is an oasis of calm among the bustling city of Amritsar. The hotel offers a complimentary shuttle service to the Golden Temple, and features include a choice of dining… Find out more >
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Trident Hotel, Agra

Your stay at the Trident Hotel Agra puts you ever so close to one of the modern Seven Wonders of the World, the enchanting Taj Mahal. Also close by and waiting to be explored are ancient buildings that showcase the… Find out more >
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Ranthambore Kothi Hotel, Ranthambore

Surrounded by lush green forests and with picturesque views over the surrounding scenery, the Ranthambhore Kothi offers an unforgettable experience, and the chance to spot the very rare and elusive white tiger in the wild. The Ranthambhore Kothi is situated… Find out more >
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Trident Hotel, Jaipur

During your tour to India, look forward to a truly relaxing stay at the Trident Hotel, Jaipur. Here you can unwind with a drink or a bite to eat after a day exploring with views of the Mansagar Lake as… Find out more >
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Trident Hotel Udaipur

Lake Pichola is one of the most beautiful lakes of Rajasthan, and the Trident Hotel sits in splendour on its shores, surrounded by 16 acres of landscaped gardens with the Aravalli mountain range as its backdrop. The Trident’s hotel rooms… Find out more >
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Trident Hotel, Nariman Point, Mumbai

Let your stresses slip away at the Trident Spa, a luxury spa offering a variety of Eastern and Western treatments, ranging from Swedish massage to Ayurvedic therapies. You can also relax or swim a few lengths in the stunning outdoor… Find out more >
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Trident Hotel, Cochin

Blending modern facilities with classic style, the Trident Hotel’s bedrooms are set around a picturesque central courtyard and landscaped gardens. Rooms are well-appointed with luxury, contemporary comforts and furnished with local artefacts, and the large picture windows ensure that natural… Find out more >
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Houseboat, Alleppey

A kettuvallam is a traditional houseboat widely used throughout Kerala. With their distinctive thatched roofs and wooden hulls, these houseboats are a familiar sight on the rustic Keralan backwaters, a network of tranquil canals and lagoons. While the houseboats are… Find out more >
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Spice Village Hotel, Thekkady

A truly unique place to stay, the Spice Village Periyar is a tribal village set in a real spice garden, in the town of Thekkady on the edge of the spectacular Periyar National Park. One of our stops on our… Find out more >
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Shimla: Sleeping Beauty Trail

One of the seven hills that surround Shimla, Elysium Hill is the highest point in Shimla and an amazing vantage point for splendid views of the city. Our walk on...

From INR ₹3830 / £41 Read More >

Udaipur: Meet the Women of Sadhna

Sadhna is a social enterprise established in 1988 to provide alternative means of livelihood for women in Udaipur’s rural and impoverished areas. Starting with just a small group of 15...

From INR ₹4350 / £47 Read More >

Udaipur: Meet Rare Textile Artists

For centuries, the traditional artisans of Udaipur have created beautiful woven, printed, dyed and embroidered silks and cottons. These crafts have been practiced and passed down through the generations in...

From INR ₹5400 / £58 Read More >

Mumbai: Worli Fishing Village

Nestled in a landscape dominated by state-of-the art architectural wonders and towering sky-scrapers, exists the quaint and picturesque Worli Fishing Village. One of of the seven villages that make up...

From INR ₹5400 / £58 Read More >

Mumbai: Mumbai By Dawn

It is a rare privilege to see the beginning of the day in a city as busy and crowded as Mumbai; to witness the underbelly of Mumbai as it greets...

From INR ₹4880 / £52 Read More >

Customer reviews  feefo logo

Our new India tours have yet to commence; the first eagerly-awaited departure will be in October 2021. This page will be updated with reviews as soon as our customers return from holiday and are contacted by the independent reviews company Feefo. In the meantime, please take a look at the many reviews for our other tours – we’re sure you will be encouraged and inspired by the great reviews we have received.

 

View more reviews

Grand Tour of India

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