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A delight for food lovers! A Journey through India’s rich historical past, lush natural landscapes, vibrant cultural traditions and multiple food excursions on the Imperial Garden Tour. An all-encompassing voyage into the heart of the country where you will embark on an excursion through the Golden Triangle – New Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur. Here, you will experience the refinement of northern India. Historic parliamentary architecture in the capital city, India’s wonder of the world – the Taj Mahal in Agra, and the Pink City – Jaipur, an urban desert oasis thriving in history, art, culture and royalty. Take a refreshing glacier dip in the revered Ganges River in India’s most sacred town, Rishikesh. Then, journey to the sumptuous south, where you will experience the lushness of the flora and fauna in Kerala. Slow your pace and take in the resplendent coastal towns, the relaxed vibe of the people of the Kerala backwaters. Let your senses be stimulated, your taste buds awoke, and your heart full of the enchantments that await you aboard the Imperial Garden of India Tour.
Your journey begins in the capital city, New Delhi, where you can look forward to spices, palaces, forts, and food. Upon arrival, you will be greeted by your representative who will escort you to your hotel. Keep an eye out for marvelous views of the famous Lotus Temple. Cleanse your palette of airplane food with the energizing basket of organic and wholesome goodies waiting for you when you deplane. Use this evening to rest up for your first day in India.
After a delicious breakfast, we begin our first full day. Wander through the grounds at Qutub Minar, a minaret at an impressive towering height, and Hauz Khas Village for some shopping. Lunch is hosted in Old Delhi’s bustling food court. Based on your palette, our guides take you to some of the best known kitchens for delicious savories. Find anything from BBQ Chicken to spicy Indian appetizers. The evening is reserved for the colonial areas of Delhi. Political enthusiasts will marvel at the symbolic representations of power visible around this region. The Parliament House, India Gate, and the presidential residence (Rashtrapati Bhwan) will be followed with a delectable Ayurvedic Dinner. Here, admire age old Indian traditions and eat according to your dosha.
Your third day begins in traditional Indian style – a nutritious breakfast and morning yoga. With the chaos of the city surrounding you, find your inner peace and fuel your body before heading out for the day. We begin with a tour of the regal Red Fort. An imposing structure constructed from red sandstone, the Red Fort ablaze with sunlight offers up a picturesque glow. Later, we stroll through the bustling lanes of Chandni Chowk bazaar. A true Indian experience, the aromatic scents and boundless energy will pull you into the atmospheric setting. Take a ride to lunch in an Open-Air Rickshaw. We will enjoy a Mughal-inspired meal followed by a visit to Akshardham. This spectacular temple complex has been built without the use of a single nail. Marvel at the carvings and architecture. After a day spent in the lively markets, the temple grounds will provide a well-deserved period of serenity.
Accommodation: Taj Mahal Hotel – “Lutyen Delhi’s Iconic Hotel”
Today we embark on a journey to India’s jewel – the Taj Mahal. Visit the marble tomb that was constructed out of undying love, a gift from a man to his beloved wife. The lush gardens, inky pools, and stunning carvings hold tales of an unimaginable time. After a breathtaking tour of the Taj, we will continue on towards Fatehpur Sikri, an ancient Mughal town that is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Containing one of the largest mosque’s in India, this city is a well-preserved piece of the region’s history. Next, we visit a quaint Indian town for a more authentic experience of rural life. Returning to Agra, you will have a chance to browse through the local artisanal markets for some keepsakes.
Accommodation: Tajview – “Rooms with a view of the Taj Mahal”
After a delicious breakfast, we begin our trip into Jaipur, lovingly entitled the Pink City. En route, we will stop at Abhaneri, an ancient village that boasts some of the greatest ancient architecture of this area. A primordial step well that also serves as an optical illusion, you will be enchanted and amazed. After a visit of the Harhat Mata temple, we will continue on to Jaipur. Lunch will be served, followed by a Heritage Walk, a tour on foot. This expedition will take us through the heart of the city where we will witness ancient building design and construction, culinary delights, and local bazaars. We will then carry on to the distinguished City Palace – a true sight to see. With the exquisite courtyards and royal Rajasthani architecture, you will be transported to the time of maharajas and maharanis. Our evening will conclude at the rustic and charming Harsoli Haveli. Run your shoulders with the chef and see how Indian delicacies are prepared.
Accommodation: Taj Jai Mahal Palace – “Condé Nast Traveller Gold List 2012”
After a nutritious breakfast, we embark on a royal crusade to the famed Amer Fort. Here, you can experience life as nobility with a thrilling painted elephant ride. The fun continues with a tour of the magnificent palace, overlooking the desert hills. Lunch today is a hearty and mouth watering Rajasthani thali. Post lunch we take a visit to the opulent Palace of Winds, also known as Hawa Mahal, and Jantar Mantar which is home to the world’s largest stone sundial. With a legend of preeminent ancient astrological tools, the creators of this sundial are a true wonder. Jal Mahal, the famous water palace is next on the list, followed by Tea & Snacks at the Nahargarh Fort, a spot that offers stunning views of the city.
Today we experience a glimpse of true Indian culture, with a train ride into Haridwar, one of India’s most sacred towns. Upon disembarking, we continue to Rishikesh by road. Here, you will find yourself breathing in crisp mountain air, overlooking charming nuances of the town, and a field of alpine poppies that bank the Ganges River. Your stay at Glasshouse on the Ganges will be one to remember. Nestled in the lap of the Himalayas, your imperial garden awaits. Situated in a lychee and mango orchard of the Maharajas of Tehri Garwhal, your garden of tropical plants, rare birds and butterflies has a private sandy beach, unlike any else in Rishikesh. We will spend 2 nights here, where you can enjoy a mix of exhilaration and relaxation. Visit local temples, witness evening prayer on the banks of river Ganges and smell the fresh air emanating from the pristine Himalayas. Sign up for activities such as trekking, river rafting, cliff jumping and temple visits, or rest and rejuvenate at the hotel spa, where you can indulge in riverside massage rooms with therapeutic mountain views as your backdrop.
Accommodation: Glasshouse on the Ganges – “Beautiful View of Serene Waters and Mountains”
We bid farewell to our alpine resort with a drive to the charming village of Dehradoon. Here, we begin our southern sojourn with a flight to Cochin. A stark contrast to the north, but equally as beautiful, the South of India has delights sure to capture you. Kochi, or Cochin as it was previously called, boasts one of India’s oldest port cities, a thriving cultural cosmopolitan city, rich in tradition and history. Also known as “The Queen of the Arabian Sea”, Cochin is believed to be the finest natural harbour in the world. Our first evening in southern India begins with a sea voyage on the Sunset Cruise. With a drink in hand, toast your view of the golden sun over the Arabian Sea.
Accommodation: Brutton Boatyard – “Relive the Colonial Era”
After a stay in Brutton Boatyard, a colonial marvel, we begin our half-day tour of Cochin. We will visit the Mattancherry Dutch Palace, the Jewish Synagogue, St. Francis Church, and the famous Chinese Fishing Nets. Enjoy some delicious Fish fresh from the Arabian sea. Get some rest before starting your evening cooking adventure with a local chef. This interactive cookery session walks you through the intricacies of South Indian cooking. Have a sit-in dinner with the chef after you prepare your meal.
Today we cross into the enchanting backwaters of Kerala. En route, we will make a stop at a local farm for lunch. Philipkutty’s Farm is your chance to experience Kerala in all its glory. Situated by the stunning river, indulge in a cooking class of local fare. After our visit to the farm, we continue on to our resort, Coconut Lagoon in Kumarakom. You can take the rest of the day to relax by the soothing river, meditate in the butterfly garden, or meander over to the Ayurveda Centre. Here, you can speak to experienced physicians who are well versed in the benefits of natural Ayurvedic medicine, one of India’s ancient healing arts. Enjoy your free consultation, try out massages and treatments, and learn about natural wellness, stress-management and beauty.
Day 12 at Leisure! Absorb the local life and experience nature in its full glory here at Coconut Lagoon.
Accommodation: Coconut Lagoon – “Experience the Backwater Life”
After a revitalizing stay in Kumarakom, we begin our true Kerala experience – a sojourn on a traditional houseboat. Traditionally kettuvallams or rice boats, these vessels were originally used to ferry rice up and down the river. A truly enchanting experience that cannot be missed when in Kerala, we will begin our cruise down the palm-lined river where we will pass wildlife, lush greenery and native farmers. We will anchor down for lunch and a cookery session in a typical Kerala style – an array of local delicacies will be spread before you on a banana leaf and you will be shown how to eat with your fingers. Learn how to prepare a Kuttanad Duck with the chef on board. We’ll spend the rest of the day meandering through the narrow canals of flora and fauna, and a dinner al fresco. Tonight, you will sleep under a million stars, rocked to sleep by the undulating green waters.
Our tour concludes with a drive to the Kochi airport where you will board your flight for New Delhi. The fragrance, the beauty, and the sights of the imperial garden of India will forever stay with you, and we hope you join us again!
We were in awe of the beauty that lies in each part of India. Our trip was extremely well organized with plenty of time spent during planning stages. Well done team Trikon!
Our group was well taken care of on this long India journey. A great cultural experience.
Simply Amazing!!! Wish we could stay longer.