Tours

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Colours of India

Tour departs: 02 October 2017
Tour length: 24 Days

Overview

Tour Departs – 02 October 2017.

Tour Length – 24 Days.

India is full of contradictions and idiosyncrasies where each day you can stand in awe and amazement at things you have never seen before. It is a country of extremes, where wealth and poverty sit side by side, where politicians consult astrologers before selecting election dates, where once godly maharajahs have become hotel managers and where bullock carts carry space age weapons in Republic Day parades. After all the spectacular scenery, monuments, temples and palaces, we always come back to the people, all 1.21 billion plus of them who inhabit India – from nomadic tribesmen in traditional dress to international businessmen in silk suits. Their openness, friendliness and hospitality as well as their curiosity will be etched in your mind as everlasting memories of a trip to India.

 

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

NORTHERN INDIA:

This is the land of the Maharajas, the beautiful palaces and forts and the Holy River – The Ganges. Highlights include:

  • Delhi, the nations capital, both Old and New Delhi
  • Agra and the Taj Mahal, the “monument to love”
  • Jaipur and the Amber Fort
  • Udaipur and Lake Pichola
  • Varanasi,The Holy City on the Ganges

 

ASSAM & 7 NIGHT BRAHMAPUTA RIVER CRUISE

Tucked away in the north eastern “finger” of India is the province of Assam, a land of rolling hills, dense forests, endless stretches of tea gardens and magnificent endangered wildlife. Bordered by Bhutan in the north and Bangladesh in the south, the province is split by the mighty Brahmaputra River one of the longest rivers in Asia with its source in the Tibetan Himalayas. There is no better way to experience Assam than via the river so join us on our 7-night cruise aboard the first class river ship MV Mahabaahu. Highlights include:

  • Superior ensuite accommodation for just 46 guests
  • All meals prepared by on-board chefs
  • On-board swimming pool, spa, sauna, lounge, sundeck
  • Full programme of shore excursions and visits
  • Lectures, cultural performances and cooking demonstrations

 

Itinerary

Monday 02 October

Home – Singapore

Early afternoon departures means plenty of time for same day connections from other parts of the country. Arrival time into Singapore is mid-evening, and we are met and transferred to our hotel for an overnight stay.


Tuesday 03 October

Singapore – Delhi (B)

After a leisurely breakfast we check out of the hotel and are met by our tour coach and guide.  This morning we visit the magnificent Gardens by the Bay followed by a ride on the Singapore Flyer.

 

Gardens by the Bay spans a total of 101 hectares of prime land at the heart of Singapore’s new downtown – Marina Bay. Comprising three waterfront gardens – Bay South, Bay East and Bay Central – Gardens by the Bay is a showcase of horticulture and garden artistry that brings the world of plants to Singapore. The Singapore Flyer is the world’s largest observation wheel.  Standing at a stunning 165m from the ground, the Flyer offers you breath taking, panoramic views of the Marina Bay, the city and beyond.

 

Later this afternoon we are transferred to the airport in time to check in for our late afternoon flight to Delhi. We arrive late evening into Delhi – the capital of India – a city of marvellous contrasts, its past and present meshing seamlessly. The major gateway into India, Delhi is the logical start for our exploration of northern India. We are welcomed by our local hosts and transferred to our hotel for a three night stay.



Wednesday 04 October

Delhi (B,D)

After a leisurely breakfast, we commence our sightseeing tour of Old Delhi which dates back to the time of the Mughals.   We begin the tour by paying homage to Mahatma Gandhi at Raj Ghat – a simple black marble slab where his last words “He Ram” are inscribed in brass.  We drive past the magnificent Red Fort or Lal Qila built by Emperor Shah Jahan.  Also see the largest and the most elegant mosque in India – the Jama Masjid, located just opposite the Fort with its black and white striped onion domes and minarets, ride a rickshaw through Chandni Chowk – the “shopping mall” of the Mughals with its little lanes and bylanes selling silks, jewellery, semi-precious stones or brassware, Indian sweets, meats, utensils etc.  Dinner at the hotel this evening.


Thursday 05 October

Delhi (B,D)

Today we discover the sights of New Delhi which Edwin Lutyens designed especially for the British in the 1930s.  The tour begins with the imposing Presidential Palace – Rashtrapati Bhawan, flanked by the splendid towers and cupolas of the Secretariat building and the elegant circular Parliament House.  Then visit India Gate, the 42-metre arch, a memorial dedicated to the Indian soldiers killed in war.  Visit the imposing and elegant Humayun’ Tomb.

 

Later proceed to see the Qutab Minar, Delhi’s famous landmark, the imposing victory tower 73 meters high built in 1192, with elaborately and intricately tapering storeys; see the amazing Iron Pillar of the 4th century – the 7.2 metre pillar which has not rusted through the centuries. And also visit the Lotus Temple, Mother Temple to the Baha’i Faith on the Indian sub-continent. This evening, a tour highlight – welcome dinner at a private Indian home.


Thursday 05 October

Delhi (B,D)

Today we discover the sights of New Delhi which Edwin Lutyens designed especially for the British in the 1930s.  The tour begins with the imposing Presidential Palace – Rashtrapati Bhawan, flanked by the splendid towers and cupolas of the Secretariat building and the elegant circular Parliament House.  Then visit India Gate, the 42-metre arch, a memorial dedicated to the Indian soldiers killed in war.  Visit the imposing and elegant Humayun’ Tomb.

 

Later proceed to see the Qutab Minar, Delhi’s famous landmark, the imposing victory tower 73 meters high built in 1192, with elaborately and intricately tapering storeys; see the amazing Iron Pillar of the 4th century – the 7.2 metre pillar which has not rusted through the centuries. And also visit the Lotus Temple, Mother Temple to the Baha’i Faith on the Indian sub-continent.  Dinner at the hotel this evening.


Friday 06 October

Delhi – Varanasi (B,L,D)

After breakfast, we return to the airport for our flight to Varanasi.  On arrival, we are met and transferred to our hotel for an overnight stay. The Holy City of Benares (Varanasi) is the oldest living city in the world and also the holiest of Hindu pilgrimage sites.  This evening, we enjoy a rickshaw ride to the Ghats (steps to the river) and witness “Aarti” at the Holy River.


Saturday 07 October

Varanasi – Agra (B,L,D)

This morning we rise early for a boat ride on the Ganges River to see the various Ghats.  You may like to light a candle, make a wish and watch the light float down the Ganges. The Ganges is the living pulsating heart of the city and we watch the pilgrims pay homage to the Sun God.

Take in the sights and sounds of life in the city as we wend our way through the narrow lanes and streets of the city before we return to the hotel for breakfast.  We transfer to the airport for our early afternoon flight to Agra.



Sunday 08 October

Agra  (B,L,D)

We rise early this morning to visit the beautiful Taj Mahal at sunrise. This enduring monument to love has been described as a “tear on the face of eternity”, a perfect blend of design and grandeur. One of the wonders of the world, it took 22 years to complete the enchanting mausoleum. We return to the hotel for breakfast and later we visit Agra Fort built in red sandstone and commissioned by the great Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1565.


Monday 09 October

Agra – Jaipur (B,L,D)

After breakfast, we continue our journey by coach to Jaipur.  We travel via Fathepur Sikri, the Lost City, perfectly preserved and built by Emperor Akbar on the spot where Saint Salim Chishti blessed him with a son. We enjoy lunch at a Heritage Palace before arriving at Jaipur for a 2 night stay.  This evening we enjoy a special Rajasthani Gala dinner.


Tuesday 10 October

Jaipur (B,L,D)

After breakfast we visit the magnificent Amber Fort standing atop a hill, riding up to the Palace on the backs of elephants, just like the Maharajas did in former times.  We enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and then a sightseeing tour of Jaipur city.  During our tour we see Hawa Mahal “Palace of the Winds”, the five story building with unique overhanging latticed balconies designed to catch the cool breeze, the City Palace – former Royal residence and museum with its imposing Rajasthani architecture.  Dinner at the hotel, evening at leisure.


Wednesday 11 October

Jaipur – Udaipur (B,L,D)

After an early breakfast, we depart the pink city of Jaipur for the city of lakes – Udaipur.  We arrive for a 3 night stay at our stunning lakeside hotel.


Thursday 12 October

Udaipur (B,L,D)

This morning we visit the beautiful City Palace with its elaborate grey and red mirror walls and ceilings covered with frescos, Pratap Smarak and Sahelion Ki Bari – the Garden for the Maids of the Queen with four pools ornately and delicately chiselled with kiosks and elephants in marble.   Afternoon free for independent sightseeing or shopping.  In the evening we enjoy a cruise on Lake Pichola while sailing past picturesque Ghats and Palaces.


Friday 13 October

Udaipur (B)

Free day today to enjoy the facilities of our luxurious accommodation and relax or enjoy further independent exploration.



Saturday 14 October

Udaipur – Delhi (B,D)

This morning, transfer to the airport in time to join the flight to Delhi .  Overnight accommodation is booked near the airport as we fly out the following morning for the Eastern province of Assam and our next adventure – cruising and exploring the Brahmaputra river.


Sunday 15 October

Delhi – Guwahati (B,D)

Commence 7 Night Brahmaputra River Cruise

This morning, we return to Delhi Airport and join our flight to Guwahati, the largest city in the province of Assam. On arrival, we are met by our local hosts and drive through the busy streets to Kamakhya Temple devoted to the eternal feminine, the goddess of desire whose name is Kama Khya. The temple in Assam symbolizes the “fusion of faiths and practices” of Aryan and non-Aryan elements in Assam. Then, it’s time to board MV Mahabaahu, our floating home for the next 7 nights. After a ceremonial Assamese welcome, we gather on deck for the start of our river journey. Keep an eye out for the Gangetic dolphins. Time permitting, we stop at Peacock Island for a short visit. The island is the smallest on the river and home to the endangered Golden Langur monkey. Back aboard, we continue cruising until our ship drops anchor for the night and we enjoy our first dinner aboard with other guests.


Monday 16 October:

Sailing Upstream – Island Visit (B,L,D)

Our ship lifts anchor early. For the early risers, there is a chance to enjoy yoga on deck before breakfast while we continue cruising through the hills towards an island that is occupied predominantly by a Bangla speaking Muslim community who are involved in extensive farming. Before visiting the village this morning, we hear a talk on Assam and its unusual geographical location in relation to India and the bordering countries. After lunch, we continue sailing towards Orange Point and further extend our knowledge “over a cuppa” with a talk on the Brahmaputra River and local tribal life. This evening, we anchor at a deserted island and there is the opportunity to gather around the bonfire for barbeque snacks.


Tuesday 17 October

Silghat – Tea Estate (B,L,D)

After breakfast, enjoy a talk on the wildlife in Kaziranga National Park. The park which borders the river is a UNESCO World Heritage site and hosts two thirds of the world’s great one-horned rhinoceros as well as one of the world’s highest density protected tiger populations, although, because of the tall grasses, they can be difficult to spot.  The park is also home to large numbers of breeding elephants, buffalo and swamp deer.

 

After lunch, we reach Silghat and take a short drive to the vast undulating Kaliabore tea estate and enjoy a short walk through this striking tea-garden watching the tribal women picking tea leaves. We then visit the tea factory and see how Assam tea is produced. Prior to boarding the ship, there is the opportunity to visit a co-operative jute mill where you can learn how  jute fibre is transformed into eco friendly bags and sacks.  At sunset, we enjoy a cultural evening aboard followed by dinner.


Wednesday 18 October

Boat Safari

After breakfast, we board tenders for a boat safari in a picturesque area at the confluence of Diphlu and the Brahmaputra Rivers. Hopefully, we can spot some of the great wildlife from the boat. We are back on board in time for a leisurely lunch and a relaxed afternoon before again boarding the tenders to reach the shores of Bishwanath Ghat.  We visit the Shiva Dol, one of the most sacred and revered pilgrimage centres in India. Hone up your bargaining skills as the local women display their silks and cotton weaving. A walk through the village reveals a very simple lifestyle. We return to the ship to enjoy an evening on a deserted island followed by a sumptuous dinner.


Thursday 19 October

Dhansiri – Boat Safari (B,L,D)

We continue sailing this morning towards the eastern range of Kaziranga. We enjoy breakfast and a talk on the Brahmaputra River and life along the river before we get back in the tenders and explore the shore. Depending on weather conditions, keep your eyes open for roof turtles on protruding drift wood, water lizards, otters, elephants, wild buffaloes, rhinos, darters, herons, pied kingfishers, white throated kingfishers, serpent eagles and many more.

We are back on board for lunch and this evening we enjoy a cooking demonstration and sample the snacks. Maybe another bonfire on a deserted island before dinner.


Friday 20 October

Mishing Village (B,L,D)

After yoga and breakfast, we enjoy a talk on the island of Majuli, the centre of Assamese culture as we cruise towards a Mishing village.  The Mishings live on the banks of the river in ‘Chang ghars’, houses with raised platform.  All Mishing women are expert weavers.  We experience a Dhoti Tying and Mekhela Chaadar wearing demonstration at this village. Back on board, we learn about Sibsagar and the Ahom civilization before boarding tenders again for an excursion on the mainland to see a cultural performance by Satriya singers and dancers. Next, we drive to Kamlabari Satra  to witness the Vaishnavite priests chanting and dancing to the rhythm of cymbals and drums. We return to the ship and experience a traditional Assamese evening.


Saturday 21 October

Majuli and Sibsagar (B,L,D)

After an early breakfast, we start our day excursion to Sibsagar, the ancient city and capital of the Tai-speaking Ahoms who came in the 13th Century AD to the area from the north-east and were essentially of Tibeto-Burman origin.  The region is strewn with the tell-tale ruins of a powerful empire of the Ahoms.  Sibsagar town is built around a huge man made water tank ordered by the Ahom queen. The Shiva Dol, constructed in the year 1734 is believed to be the highest Shiva temple in India.

We visit Talatal or Kareng Ghar which was the palace of the Ahom Kings and after a leisurely stroll in and around the monument, we go on to Rang Ghar which was a place for hosting wrestling bouts and buffalo fights and other entertainment or important meetings of the Royals and their guests.

We return to our ship by sunset and enjoy a farewell dinner.


Sunday 22 October

Jorhat – Calcutta – Singapore (B,L)

A last chance for yoga or bird-watching or maybe even an early morning massage at the spa. We enjoy a relaxed breakfast before disembarking and saying farewell to the crew that have taken good care of us over the past week.

Enroute to Jorhat airport, we visit a tea Estate. The host family has been involved with tea business for over a century and we get a glimpse into their life and enjoy a traditional Assamese early lunch. Afterwards, we continue on to the airport and join the flight to Calcutta where we say farewell to India as we join the flight to Singapore.


Monday 23 October

Singapore – Home

We arrive early morning into Singapore. We have hotel rooms reserved at Singapore Airport for the whole day to either relax or go exploring before continuing our homeward journey later this evening.


Tuesday 24 October

Home

Arrival time is mid-morning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Accommodation

The tour cost is based on using First Class / Deluxe hotels all the way. Many of the hotels will be as good as you will find anywhere. We have included most meals – full breakfast daily, most lunches and most dinners. As well, a very comprehensive sightseeing program is included but balanced by ample time for rest and relaxation.

Singapore – Grand Copthorne Waterfront

Delhi – Le Meridian

Agra – Oberoi Amarvilas

Jaipur – Taj Jai Mahal Palace Hotel

Udaipur – Oberoi Udaivilas Hotel

Varanasi – Taj Gateway Hotel

 

Prices

Tour Costs

Sharing twin or double accommodation: $16,750
Supplement for single accommodation: $6,750

The tour cost is based on using First Class / Deluxe hotels all the way. Many of the hotels will be as good as you will find anywhere. We have included most meals – full breakfast daily, most lunches and most dinners. As well, a very comprehensive sightseeing programme is included but balanced by ample time for rest and relaxation.

Costs Include
  • Economy Class airfares – cost to upgrade to Premium Economy or Business Class available on request
  • Prepaid government and airport taxes, security and fuel surcharges as at 1 September 2016
  • First class or Deluxe hotel accommodation
  • Superior River View Cabins on River Cruise
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • Sightseeing as indicated in the itinerary
  • Services of touring and local guides as appropriate
  • All tips and gratuities to coach drivers, guides and cruise staff
  • Baggage handling of one piece per person
  • Escorted by Maher Tours Leader

 

 

Costs Exclude
  • Meals other than those specified.
  • Visa fees.
  • Travel Insurance (advice and assistance offered)
  • Items of a personal nature e.g. telephone calls, laundry, gifts etc.

Testimonials

The accommodation is an absolute luxury, but one stills the feels the essence of the country!

 

The tour of India, was sensational, and for me personally far exceeded my expectations. I would do it all again, and intend to.

Also credit must go to both Sanjay and Satish, for their professional expertise. Nothing was too much trouble for either of them  and I think we all felt they gave more than 100%.

For one who hasn’t  travelled on an organised  group tour previously, I couldn’t fault it, well organised and a great overview of everything.

From,
NT

What a wonderful 3 weeks we had in India, and with our two wonderful guides – Sanjay & Satish.  They both gave us a wonderful insight into the history & culture of North & South India.  I loved being taken back in history to the time of the Indian Mughals in Rajasthan & hearing all about life in India, in today’s world.  I loved every minute of my time in India & the memories & things we saw & experienced, will be everlasting.  There were so many highlights, but right up there was of course, sunrise at the Taj Mahal & the Holy City of Benares, one of the main reasons I came on this trip, as not all tours from New Zealand include Varanasi. We were exposed to many delicious Indian lunches & dinners.  One of the most memorable lunches was the one we had with Vivek & Sanjay at the beautiful Villa Maya.

We felt very privileged to go to Ajay’s & Anu’s gorgeous home & garden on the outskirts of Delhi, for a delicious dinner.  Please thank everyone involved for their generous hospitality.  It was definitely another highlight of our wonderful time in India.

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Need Assistance?

By Phone: 0800 500 518 | By Email: info@mahertours.co.nz