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Highlights of India Tour

Home Icon Highlights of India Tour

India is a country which is both enchanting and surprising. Bustling cities are entwined with ancient history and enthralling cultures. It’s a destination like no other.

Distant Journeys takes you around India’s Golden Triangle, a classic itinerary visiting the three iconic colourful cities of Delhi, Jaipur and Agra, with the bonus of visiting the beautiful Ranthambore National Park and the spectacular Golden Temple of Amritsar.

Your tour begins in the nation’s capital Delhi, full of astounding architecture and vibrant culture; you will experience both the old and the new in this contrasting city. We continue to the ‘Pink City’, Jaipur, Rajasthan’s capital. We journey onwards to Ranthambore National Park, a former royal hunting ground and home to the elusive tiger. Next, is the city of Agra – the setting for arguably the most beautiful building in the world, the Taj Mahal – and we finish our tour with the golden sights of Amritsar.

Enjoying quality hotels throughout, and conducted at a relaxed pace, this tour is the perfect way to explore and enjoy the Highlights of India.

SPECIAL LAUNCH OFFERS: To celebrate the launch of our new 2020/ 2021 season, any guests booking the Highlights of India tour (departing from September 2020) by 30 November 2019, will be entitled to either a two night homebound stopover, for an incredible price from only £29pp or a direct flight from London Heathrow with Virgin Atlantic for just £29pp.

15-day Highlights of India, from £2,995

If you would like more information about a particular hotel or destination, please click on the orange text.

Day 1: Depart UK

Depart with Emirates from the UK airport most convenient for you. Choose from London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London Stansted, Manchester, Birmingham or Glasgow. Alternatively, you can fly direct to Delhi with Virgin Atlantic from London Heathrow at a supplement of £125 per person. In-flight meals and drinks included.

 Shimla Extension

Why not extend your tour by travelling on the iconic Toy Train to Shimla, the eclectic capital of India’s Northern State, Himachal Pradesh? Lying at the foothills of the Himalayas, the once summer capital of the British Raj, Shimla, is famed for its bazaars, markets, and specialist wooden handicrafts – dream perusal for the artistic amongst you! Please see the end of this itinerary section for further details.

Day 2: Delhi, 3 nights

All flights with Emirates to Delhi travel via Dubai. On arrival into Delhi transfer to the five-star Hyatt Regency hotel, where you will enjoy an early evening welcome drink with your fellow travellers and Tour Manager, who will be there to explain more about the delights awaiting you on the tour ahead! In-flight meals and drinks included.

Day 3: Delhi

What a place to begin! Delhi is the perfect introduction to India for those already acquainted, as well as first time travellers to this remarkable country. Combining the very best of ancient and modern, today’s tour of the city will commence with a traditional rickshaw ride through Old Delhi via the historic Red Fort, palace of the Mughal Empire, at the heart of the city. Close by is India’s largest mosque, the stunning Jama Masjid, and Chandni Chowk (known as Moonlight Square) – the rich, colourful, bustling central market of the old city. We visit the triumphal India Gate and exquisite Parliament House in New Delhi, before enjoying classic Indian cuisine at the delightful Veda Restaurant. Further exploration of this incredible city will take us to visit Humayun’s Tomb, where the 16th century Mughal Emperor lies, and UNESCO World Heritage Site, Qutub Minar – India’s famed red sandstone and white marble minaret. Breakfast and lunch included.

 Day 4: Delhi Freedom Day

Everyone appreciates a little breathing space, and this is the first of our ‘Freedom Days’ where you are able to spend the day as you please, and make your holiday a more personal and independent experience. Our Distant Journeys Tour Manager will be on hand to provide help and suggestions; restaurants, activities, excursions and additional sight-seeing. Any help booking such ventures will be provided. Maybe the astonishing complex of Akshardham Hindu Temple and Lotus Temple would stimulate your curiosity? Perhaps you are more inclined to take a walking tour of Delhi’s schools and markets, guided by street children of the Salaam Baalak Trust? Or maybe one of several tours indulging you in India’s fascinating melting pot of cultures, languages and religions? The choice is yours. Breakfast included.

 Day 5: Jaipur, 3 nights

Today begins with our journey to the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur. En route we visit the Heritage Transport Museum for an interesting self-guided tour through the evolution of India’s motor industry, where car enthusiasts amongst you can revel in such incredible advancements. Later, we continue to opulent Jaipur – stately capital of Rajasthan, where our home for the next three nights is the wonderful Trident Hotel, offering stunning views of Mansagar Lake and Jal Mahal – the eminent Water Palace. Breakfast and lunch included.

Day 6: Jaipur

Following breakfast we make the exciting ascent in private jeeps to the majestic Amber Fort – another UNESCO World Heritage Site set amongst the beautiful backdrop of pink hills, and overlooking Maoto Lake. Full of nostalgia, and displaying fine Rajput architecture, we first witness the striking façade of the Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds), decorated with intricate latticework. In the afternoon we continue to the City Palace Museum, the decorated ceremonial seat of the Maharaja of Jaipur and home to a breath taking display of Rajasthani and Murghal art, before visiting yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Jantar Mantar – an incredible observatory built in 1726, which still offers accurate astronomical readings today! This evening you will have the option of dining at 1135AD, a sublime restaurant set within the celebrated ramparts of Amber Fort. Breakfast included.

Day 7: Jaipur Freedom Day

Take your opportunity to continue exploring this wonderful city, or enjoy some well-earned relaxation. You may want to join a heritage walking tour through the heart of the old city, learning about the local trades and crafts, or discover the ancient art of hand block printing and how the region’s famous Blue Pottery is created. Alternatively, you could explore a local organic farm and enjoy the scintillating aromas of a live cooking demonstration from a skilled Rajasthani chef. Breakfast included.

 Day 8: Ranthambore, 2 nights

After departing Jaipur we will embark on our journey to Ranthambore National Park, once the private hunting ground of the Maharaja. The park is now celebrated for its wildlife conservation, and will offer you the unique opportunity to hopefully witness India’s majestic Bengal Tigers in their natural habitat. We are set to board our open canter vehicles after lunch for our first safari, hoping to capture glimpses of India’s elusive but graceful national animal. The safari will also offer the chance to see sambar deer, marsh crocodiles, sloth bears, monkeys and more than 250 species of bird life. Built in the distinctive style of a traditional Rajput hunting palace, your accommodation for the next two evenings will be the magnificent Nahargarh – set amidst tranquil grounds where dinner will be served. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

Day 9: Ranthambore Safari

Rising bright and early, we begin with our second captivating safari into Rathambore’s National Park, where, under the skilled supervision of local guides, you will explore different areas in your quest to see the varied and enchanting wildlife. After returning to the hotel for breakfast, you will be offered a further opportunity to do as you please, perhaps relaxing beside the hotel’s peaceful pool with a good book! This evening we enjoy a delicious barbecue within the hotel’s scenic grounds, giving you the chance to reflect and share your unique safari experience with your fellow travellers. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.

 Day 10: Agra, 2 nights

After breakfast we will make our way to the ‘Eastern City Gate of Rajasthan,’ Bharatpur, where we enjoy lunch in the serene setting that is Laxmi Niwas Palace. Our journey to Agra continues through the abandoned city of Fatehpur Sikri, yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site that is famed for once being an imperial city of the Mughal dynasty. Built in the 16th century by Emperor Akbar, Fatehpur Sikri was deserted after only 14 years of rule. This abandoned metropolis provides an intriguing insight into life in the time of the Mughal dynasty. Later, we continue to Agra and our wonderful hotel, the Trident Agra. Breakfast and lunch included.

Day 11: Agra’s Taj Mahal

Tour Highlight

There are few architectural masterpieces as iconic as India’s magnificent Taj Mahal, and our morning will begin with a visit to this incredible ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of Agra’s Yamuna River. Commissioned in 1632 by Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan, to house the tomb of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, this breath-taking complex is said to have been constructed by over 20,000 stone carvers, masons, and artists from across India, Turkey and Iraq. After plenty of photo opportunities, we continue to the imposing Agra Fort – built entirely of red sandstone, this was the imperial city of the Mughal rulers, and the place in which India was governed for many years. There is time in the afternoon to do your own exploration, or simply relax if the morning’s stunning sights have overwhelmed you. The evening will offer an opportunity to experience Mohabbat The Taj show, depicting the romance that inspired the Taj Mahal – the love story between Emperor Shah Jahan and his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. Breakfast included.

 Day 12: Amritsar, 2 nights

Tour Highlight

An early breakfast will be followed by transfers to Delhi Airport, where we board our flight to Amritsar, home to the legendary Golden Temple (Sikhism’s holiest shrine). Amritsar was founded in 1577 by the fourth Sikh guru, Guru Ram Das. When illuminated at night, the Golden Temple is a spectacularly radiant sight, and we witness this Indian masterpiece after freshening up at our hotel, the fabulous Hyatt Amritsar. During or visit we will also enjoy the Palki Ceremony, where the Sikh Holy Book is paraded through a crowd of worshippers with accompanying drums and hymns providing the soundtrack to an unforgettable experience at Sikhism’s most significant and most-visited landmark. Breakfast included.

 Day 13: Amritsar

This morning we explore Harmandir Sahib – the huge gurdwara complex surrounding the Golden Temple. There is chance to indulge further in mystical Indian history, including Akal Takhat, where a staggering collection of sacred Sikh weapons can be found, and the unbelievable community kitchens, which produces up to 20,000 meals per day. We also visit the museum before heading to Jallianwala Bagh, a public garden established in 1951 commemorating the massacre by British occupying forces. In the afternoon, we journey to the Wagah Border separating India and Pakistan to witness its daily ceremonial closing of the gates and flag lowering – yet another unique and memorable experience. Breakfast included.

 Day 14: Delhi, overnight

Following breakfast, we board our flight to Delhi, where we will be met by our local guide and transferred to the nearby Pride Plaza Hotel. The afternoon is free for you to take in any last minute sights, enjoy some souvenir shopping, and reflect on the many amazing experiences we have enjoyed over the past couple of weeks. Breakfast included.

 Day 15: Depart India – Arrive UK

We depart Delhi with Emirates and fly via Dubai to your chosen airport, bringing an end to our unforgettable Indian adventure. Alternatively, fly with Virgin Atlantic direct to London Heathrow. Breakfast and in-flight meals and drinks included.

SPECIAL LAUNCH OFFER: If you would like to break the journey home to the UK after your Highlights of India tour, then why not add on a stopover in Dubai? To celebrate the launch of our new 2020/ 2021 season, we are offering any guests travelling in our new season (departing from October 2020) a two night homebound stopover for only £29pp (£58 for single occupancy). The homebound stopover includes return airport transfers, two nights accommodation in a four star hotel and a full daily breakfast.

Shimla Extension

Why not extend your tour by travelling to Shimla, the eclectic capital of India’s Northern State, Himachal Pradesh?

Four nights from only £695 per person

Shimla was known as the ‘Queen of the Hills’ and was the summer capital during British rule in India (when it was known as Simla). In the 19th-century, the British colonial government retreated from the heat of the Indian summer and found this idyllic tiny hamlet with a temperate climate in the Himalayan foothills.

Strung out along a crescent-shaped ridge, surrounded by steep forested hills falling away on all sides, and with snow-covered mountains as a backdrop, it is little wonder Shimla exerted such a magnetic influence and blossomed into a thriving British hill station. Today, the town still exudes a colonial charm and it retains a certain romance for British visitors.

The Shimla Extension may be added to the beginning of any of our tours to India. Guests choosing to take the Shimla Extension will leave the UK four days earlier than the departure dates featured in the brochure.

Day 1: Depart UK

Depart with Emirates from the UK airport most convenient for you. Choose from London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London Stansted, Manchester, Birmingham or Glasgow. If you are travelling on the Highlights of India or Journey Through India itineraries, you also have the option to fly direct to Delhi with Virgin Atlantic from London Heathrow. No matter which airline or UK airport you choose, there will be no additional cost. In-flight meals and drinks included

Day 2: Delhi, overnight

All flights with Emirates to Delhi travel via Dubai. On arrival into Delhi, we meet our Tour Manager and transfer to the five-star Hyatt Regency Hotel.
In-flight meals and drinks included

Day 3: Shimla, 3 nights

Tour Highlight

An early start as we take the morning Shatabdi Express train for our wonderful journey north to Kalka. Our comfortable ‘chair-class’ seats are in air-conditioned carriages with large viewing windows. On arrival in Kalka, we board the Himalayan ‘Toy Train’. As you would expect from an historic rail journey on a narrow gauge railway, carriages are smaller and are not air-conditioned, but this is more than compensated by the increasingly spectacular views across the lower Himalayas. Our rail adventure ends in Dharampur, where we stop for lunch, and the remainder of the journey to Shimla is by road. Shimla was the summer capital of British India, and nicknamed the ‘Queen of Hill Stations’. Shimla sits in a stunning location at an altitude of 7,267 feet, sprawling across a crescent-shaped ridge deep in the Himalayan foothills. We spend our three fabulous nights in Shimla at the deluxe Radisson Jass Hotel.
Breakfast and lunch included

Day 4: Shimla

The best way to explore Shimla’s most important sights and landmarks is on foot, and this morning we discover the many reminders of British colonial life. During the 19th-century, a stream of British officials and their families travelled to Shimla and created a home away from home, which can be seen in the Georgian, Victorian, mock-Tudor and baronial-style architecture throughout the town. We begin at the buttermilk-yellow Christ Church, overlooking the town, and meander through the pedestrianised streets seeing Scandal Point, Gaiety Theatre and the half-timbered Town Hall.

Arguably the most impressive building is Viceregal Lodge and its beautiful botanical gardens. Built in Scottish baronial style, it was the summer residence of the Viceroy of India, and is now an institute of advanced studies, with some rooms open to the public. In the afternoon, we drive to Shimla’s highest hilltop to visit the vermillion-pink statue of monkey-god Hanuman, and enjoy incredible views of the surrounding area. On the walk back to Shimla, there is an opportunity to stop at the Book Café, a government-funded project to rehabilitate the prisoners of Shimla. Breakfast included

Day 5: Shimla Freedom Day

A Freedom Day in Shimla to relax or further explore this wonderful town at your leisure. Alternatively, you may wish to make the short journey to The Himalayan village of Dhami. Enjoy a walk through the village and its nearby forests, teeming with birdlife, in the company of Kunwar Dushyant Singh, a descendant of the last formal ruler of Dhami. Later, enjoy the wonderful flavours of local Dhami dishes, prepared by Kunwar Dushyant’s family. Please note, this experience is subject to the family’s availability during your visit.
Breakfast included

Day 6: Delhi, 3 nights

Following breakfast, we transfer by road to Chandigarh Airport, where we board our flight to Delhi. We return to the Hyatt Regency Hotel, for the next three nights. This evening, enjoy a welcome drink with your fellow travellers to become acquainted and learn more about our adventure ahead.
Breakfast included

From this point, please follow day 3 of your preferred itinerary

 

Departure dates & prices

Our escorted holidays to India are designed to include must-see sights and memorable experiences in your tour price. And the new Highlights of India tour is no exception as so much of what you will experience is already included in the price. That’s all your scheduled international flights, overseas transfers, expertly chosen hotels, daily breakfast and several other meals too, experienced local Tour Manager and several amazing excursions, already paid for.

SPECIAL LAUNCH OFFERS: To celebrate the launch of our new 2020/ 2021 season, any guests booking the Highlights of India tour (departing from September 2020) by 30 November 2019, will be entitled to either a two night homebound stopover, for an incredible price from only £29pp or a direct flight from London Heathrow with Virgin Atlantic for just £29pp. See the ‘Offers’ tab for more details.

2020 / 2021 Highlights of India departures

Departure datePrice (pp)AvailabilityOffer
2020
09 November*£2,995 NEW TOUR£29 stopover or direct flight
2021
18 January£2,995 NEW TOUR £29 stopover or direct flight
08 February£2,995 NEW TOUR £29 stopover or direct flight
08 March£2,995 NEW TOUR £29 stopover or direct flight

*This tour will stay at the Marriott Hotel In Jaipur, and the Courtyard by Marriott in Agra.

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

Single occupancy supplement: £895

Deposit: £1,000 per person if travelling in economy class, £1,950 per person if travelling in premium economy, and £3,750 per person for business class.

Stopovers: Extend your holiday with a stopover in Dubai from £345 per person return.

Visa: 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 Terms & Conditions page

Flight upgrades

Emirates upgrade to Business Class flights from £2,945 per person return.

Virgin Atlantic upgrade to Premium flights from £795 per person return, or Upper Class flights from £1,845 per person return.

Important information

Prices are subject to the availability of flights in the lowest available booking class and may change, however the correct price will always be confirmed before you book.

So much included

Flights with leading scheduled airlines

  • Return economy class flights
  • Choose to fly with Emirates via Dubai from London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London Stansted, Manchester, Birmingham
  • Alternatively, you can fly direct with Virgin Atlantic from London Heathrow. A supplement of £125 per person will apply
  • All domestic flights within India
  • 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

  • Daily breakfast, worth £197 per person
  • Five lunches
  • Two dinners

 

Unforgettable experiences

  • Sightseeing tours in Delhi, Jaipur, Agra and Amritsar
  • Visit the Heritage Transport Museum
  • Jeep ride and tour of Amber Fort, Jaipur
  • Two safaris in Ranthambore National Park
  • Tour of Fatehpur Sikri
  • Visit to the iconic Taj Mahal
  • Experience Amritsar’s Golden Temple

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

Hyatt Regency Hotel in New Delhi

Seriously stylish, the Hyatt Regency New Delhi located right in the heart of the city in Delhi’s central business district. Your stay As you’d expect from a five star hotel, each room at the Hyatt Regency New Delhi is tastefully… 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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Nahargarh Fort Hotel, Ranthambore

The Nahargarh Fort Hotel Ranthambore is a spectacular building within spectacular grounds, with the most spectacular backdrop. The beautifully landscaped formal gardens are surrounded by an impressive 16th century style fortress. And all this, is nestled between the magnificent Aravali… 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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Hyatt Regency, Amritsar

Located just 3 miles from the spectacular Golden Temple and a 30 minute drive from the airport, the Hyatt Regency is the perfect hotel for a relaxing stay in the heart of the sacred city of Amritsar. Your stay The… Find out more >
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Pride Plaza Aerocity Hotel New Delhi

A stone’s throw away from Delhi’s International Airport, the Pride Plaza Aerocity has a truly relaxing atmosphere. For example, in preparation for your flight home, you can unwind with a refreshing dip in the hotel’s swimming pool, or with a… Find out more >
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Radisson Jass, Shimla

Sitting at the foot of the Himalayas, the Radisson Hotel has a stunning, elevated location among scented cedar forests and enjoys wonderful views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.  It has a seasonal outdoor pool for guests to enjoy an… Find out more >
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Special Launch Offers

Book your place on our brand new Highlights of India tour before 30th November 2019 and you can take advantage of one of two special launch offers.

Option 1

Enjoy a two night stopover in Dubai on the homeward journey for the very special price of just £29 per person, based on 2 sharing.  Your offer includes two nights bed and breakfast accommodation in the Marriott al Jaddaf Hotel, Dubai and return airport – hotel transfers.  Single travellers will pay £58 for this offer.

Option 2

Fly direct from London Heathrow with Virgin Atlantic, for just £29 per person. The usual supplement is £125 per person.


Camel

Dubai Offer, Marriott al Jaddaf Hotel

Stay in style at the five star Marriott al Jaddaf when you visit the gateway to Arabia. The numerous malls and labyrinth-like souks are enchanting to explore. And you really can’t complain about the year round sunshine, which you can make…

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Customer reviews

The Highlights of India tour is a new itinerary with departures in late 2020 and early 2021. This page will be updated with reviews as soon as our returning customers are contacted by the independent reviews company Feefo. In the meantime, please feel free to look at the reviews for our other tours – we’re sure you will be impressed with the service our guests receive and the great reviews they kindly give us!

highlights-of-india-map-2020


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