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Experience India’s north and south on one remarkable journey. Venture into Rajasthan’s forts and palaces, float through Kerala’s backwaters, and visit the village of Sāwarda. From the Taj Mahal and the “pink city” of Jaipur to Kochi’s markets, immerse yourself in incredible India.
Meet with a local historian in Jaipur.
Cruise the backwaters of Kerala
aboard a houseboat.
Meet with a local spice expert.
Itinerary - 14 Days
Day 1 — Delhi
Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer is included through Women on Wheels, a G Adventures–supported project that trains and employs local women.
Day 2 — Delhi/Agra
Explore the backstreets of Delhi with a young adult from the G Adventures–supported New Delhi Streetkids Project. Later, discover Old Delhi with our CEO, beginning with Jama Masjid, the "Great Mosque," which holds up to 25,000 worshippers. Peruse colorful textiles and handicrafts at Chandni Chowk, one of the oldest markets in Delhi, and visit the Sikh temple of Gurdwara Sis Ganj Sahib. Drive to Agra in the afternoon. (1B)
Day 3 — Agra
Spend the day exploring the highlights of the walled city of Agra including the famed Taj Mahal, built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife, and the “Baby Taj.” Later, venture into Agra Fort's courtyards, galleries, and private chambers, which illuminate the history of the Mughal Empire. (1B)
Day 4 — Agra/Jaipur
Drive to Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, visiting the deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri en route. This magnificent red sandstone fort city was once the capital of India's Mughal Empire and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visit the village of Abhāneri, which has one of India’s deepest and largest step wells (tank gardens). As we explore, learn about ancient Indian practices for harvesting rainwater. (1B)
Day 5 — Jaipur
Set out to explore the “pink city” of Jaipur, starting at the hilltop Amber Fort, a 16th- and 17th-century complex of palaces, temples, and gardens. Discover jewel-like mosaics, inlay, and sculptures throughout the fort. Then step inside the vast City Palace, which incorporates a striking blend of Mughal and Rajasthani architecture. View the Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds), and enjoy a talk with a local historian about India’s social fabric and customs. (1B)
Day 6 — Sāwarda
Drive to the village of Sāwarda for an overnight stay in a heritage home. Step back in time as we explore this timeless village, meeting with town elders, teachers, and local elected representatives to discuss daily life here. Walk amid traditional huts and beautiful temples dedicated to different religions, including a Sikh temple, and observe potters, silversmiths, and cobblers at work. (1B, 1D)
Days 7, 8, & 9 — Delhi/Kochi (Cochin)
Drive back to Delhi and fly to Kochi the next day. Embark on a walking tour of Fort Kochi, including the fish market; the Dutch Palace; and the Jewish Quarter, with its 400-year-old synagogue. Then meet with a local expert learning the medicinal and culinary uses of spices and their importance in the life of Kerala and all of India. This evening, experience a performance of kathakali, a classical dance form that combines literature, music, acting, and elaborate costumes. (3B)
Day 10 — Kochi/Kumarakom
Discover the impressive architecture and beautiful grounds of Tripunithura Hill Palace. Built in 1865, the palace houses the largest archaeological museum in Kerala, though it was originally the administrative office for local royalty. Continue to Vembanad Lake, Kerala’s largest lake. Paddle a canoe along narrow canals and take a walking tour through rice fields to the delightful village of Chempu. (1B, 1D)
Day 11 — Alleppey/Kerala Backwaters
Travel to Alleppey, a golden expanse of land surrounded by rivers, lakes, lagoons, and canals. Board a traditional houseboat and spend the day cruising the serene backwaters of Kerala. Sunbathe on the deck and enjoy the passing landscapes, spotting birds and floating plants and observing daily life along the water. Later, arrive at our homestay in Alleppey. Visit a fish market to choose fresh ingredients, then use them to cook some delicious southern Indian dishes. After dinner, relax with our local hosts and learn more about the culture of the backwaters. (1B, 1L, 1D)
Days 12 & 13 — Cherai Beach/Vypīn Island
On Vembanad Lake, meet with a representative of the Vembanad Wetlands Conservation Programme to learn about the ongoing work by local communities to conserve the lake and surrounding wetlands. This project was created by the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), an organization National Geographic has collaborated with on many conservation projects across India over the past decade. After learning about the program, travel by boat to a fish sanctuary established by traditional fishermen through the program. Meet with some of the fishermen and see firsthand how their traditional way of collecting and processing clams are models for the management of lake resources. Continue to Cherai Beach and enjoy free time to explore the village and experience the beaches and scenic backwaters of Vypīn Island. Opt to visit a spa or go for a bike ride. (2B)
Our newest line of trips, offered in partnership with G Adventures, blends fun, hands-on exploration, meaningful encounters with people and cultures, and more free time and choices—with the structure and security of traveling in a small group.
All trip prices are per person based on double occupancy. If you're traveling on your own, we'll pair you up with a roommate of the same gender so that you can pay the same rate as other travelers. Prices are subject to change without notice and do not include airfare. All prices and fares are quoted in U.S. dollars.
My Own Room
During your trip, sometimes it's just more convenient and comfortable to have your own room. That's why we offer the "My Own Room" option - a single room all to yourself.
My Own Room Option: From $1,319
Arrival transfer, internal flights, transport between destinations and to/from included activities, and activities as listed in the itinerary. Optional activities such as spa visits and bicycling are at an additional cost.
You can do whatever you wish during your free time on tour, but if you're in need of suggestions, we've got them. Details about any optional experiences for this trip will be available during the booking process. Please note, these are at an additional cost.