Pan India Holiday: 33 Days

A leisurely rickshaw ride through the walled city of Old Delhi transports you 400 years back. Witness the architectural marvels like the Jama Masjid, the Redstone wonder Red Fort, the multicolored facades, beautifully decorated shops, ethnically dressed men and women and savor the delicacies from the potpourri of eateries that line these historical alleys. Drive through the beautifully landscaped boulevards in New Delhi to see the highlights-India Gate, Presidents House, Qutub Minar and many more impressive edifices.

Varanasi, also known as Kashi and Benares is situated at the bank of river Ganges is considered as one of the most holy cities and pilgrimage destination of India. Few cities in India can claim the vivid mélange of colors, charisma, culture and spirituality as does this holiest of Hindu city mentioned as the center of Hindu Universe. Be sure to witness the most iconic rituals associated with Ghats of Varanasi, the evening Aarti at the Ghats by Holy Ganges.

Your next destination Khajaraho is an historian’s delight. The temples and structures at Khajuraho are architectural marvels and the erotic carvings on the exteriors of the temples are paean to love, life and a gamut of human emotions.

No tour of India is complete without a visit to the architectural marvel Taj Mahal. An actual visit is a sublime experience as one beholds the impeccable harmony, symmetry and the flawless carvings and calligraphy.

En-route to Jaipur, visit the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, situated on the foothills of Aravali with ancient ruins that speak of the past splendor of the bygone era.

Your next stop Jaipur also known as the Pink City is redolent with a vivacious blend of the modern energy and traditional charm weaving a distinctive contrast. The city is dotted with landmarks of historical and cultural significance. In the periphery of city lies the most resplendent of fortresses of Jaipur – the Amber Fort – which is one of the most popular attractions of Jaipur.

Continue to savor the vibrant colors of life amidst stark desert of Rajasthan, at the Blue City -Jodhpur and the fairy-tale city of palatial palaces, lakes and gardens –Udaipur.

Heading Southwards, after a stop at the bustling metropolis Mumbai, your introduction to the beautiful Southern region of India begins with the ancient port city of Cochin in Kerala. Capture the mesmerizing beauty of its harbor, the cantilevered Chinese fishing nets, a Jewish synagogue and the palace built by the Portuguese.

Unwind and enjoy the picture perfect coconut-fringed backwaters on a houseboat meandering through the canals while enjoying Kerala cuisine cooked on-board & relaxing with traditional Ayurvedic therapies & yogic treatments.

Kerala will inspire the photographer in you, with its breathtaking landscapes, lush green plantations, mangroves and serene backwaters.

Travel further to ancient city of Madurai and visit the famous Meenakshi temple, the finest example of Dravidian art and architecture filled with multicolored carvings of Indian deities. Drive to Tanjore, home to the distinctive Tanjore style of painting, visiting the Rock-fort temple at Trichy.

Continue onwards to Chennai stopping en-route at the French speaking Pondicherry, UNESCO heritage site –Mahaballipuram, and Kanchipuram which is famous for its gorgeous hand-woven silk.

A train ride from Chennai to Mysore, “the City of Palaces” is an authentic experience in itself and perhaps the best way to acquaint you with the people, traditions and varied cultural patterns that are so deeply embedded in the Indian society.

Visit the splendorous, opulent and sprawling Mysore palace of the Indo-Saracenic school with its gilded carvings and intricate artwork.

The last destination on this enthrlling Pan India tour is Bangalore, buzzing hi tech metropolis and the cradle of India’s information technology boom.

Relax at the luxurious The Leela Palace hotel before heading out for some sightseeing and shopping or just chilling at the numerous pubs in the city.

This tour is purely a suggested itinerary. It can be booked as is or alternatively used as a starting point for creating your own perfect tailor-made holiday to India.

Day 01 : Arrival at Delhi :

A Compass India Holiday representative will receive you at the airport and help you transfer to the hotel.

Delhi, India's capital has seen great empires rise and fall around it for millennia, with each new batch of rulers building over the works of their predecessors. As a result, the city abounds in monuments and ruins of stunning diversity. The seat of the world's largest democracy, it also boasts of magnificent symbols of government that pay architectural tribute to the ideals of self-rule and democracy. These co-exist side by side with wide multi-lane motorways, shopping malls, fast cars and ultramodern steel-glass office complexes that characterize any large 21st century metropolis.

Overnight will be at Delhi.

Day 02 : Sightseeing in Delhi :

After breakfast at the hotel, proceed for a guided tour of Old Delhi.

Raj Ghat is the famous memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. The shrine bears testimony to the simplicity of the man who changed the world with the power of ideas. A simple black stone structure with an eternal flame burning at one end.

The majestic Red Fort was commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1639, and remained seat of the empire for the next two centuries. Today, the Prime Minister of the India delivers his Independence Day speech to the nation from the ramparts of this red sandstone structure.

To truly experience the buzz of the old markets and narrow, winding medieval alleys of old Delhi, we recommend a rickshaw ride through the city. Your guide will be happy to arrange one for you.

Jama Masjid is one of Asia's largest mosques. We shall view this magnificent structure from outside, its lofty and highly ornate domes and minarets reminiscent of a scene from the Arabian Nights.

A short distance away lie the bustling markets of Chandni Chowk, "Moonlit Square," the celebrated 17th century market complex, where sweetshops from the 1790s still do roaring business.

After lunch proceed for a sightseeing tour of New Delhi. New Delhi was built by the British in the 1930s as their imperial capital. Majestic government and administrative buildings line the wide, tree-lined avenues of what is also known as Lutyen's Delhi after Sir Edwin Lutyen's who was commissioned to design the city in 1911.

Imperial Delhi will include the Qutub Minar, the tallest stone tower in India. Qutb-Minar in red and buff standstone is the highest tower in India. It has a diameter of 14.32 m at the base and about 2.75 m on the top with a height of 72.5 m. Qutbu'd-Din Aibak laid the foundation of Minar in AD 1199 for the use of the mu'azzin (crier) to give calls for prayer and raised the first floor, to which were added three more floors by his successor and son-in-law, Shamsu'd-Din Iltutmish (AD 1211-36). All the storeys are surrounded by a projected balcony encircling the minar and supported by stone brackets, which are decorated with honeycomb design, more conspicuously in the first floor.

Start at India Gate, the red sandstone arch erected in memory of Indian and British soldiers who laid down their lives in World War I. Close by are the majestic Parliament House, the seat of the world's largest democracy and the Rastrapathi Bhawan, the Indian President's official residence. Inside are the famed Mughal Gardens with its ornate fountains and manicured lawns. Mughal Gardens are open to the public during spring.

The lotus-shaped Bahai temple south of Delhi is also of interest. An ideal place for meditation, this Bahai House of worship is open to people of all faiths.

In the evening return to the hotel and relax.

Overnight will be at Delhi.

Day 03 : Delhi - Varanasi: By Air :

Breakfast will be at the hotel.

Transfer in time to airport for flight to Varanasi. Upon arrival at Varanasi, you will be met and transferred to hotel.

Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

Later as per the flight timing a Compass India Holiday representative will transfer you to your Varanasi flight.

The ancient city of Varanasi on the west bank of the holy Ganga has been a spiritual center for Hinduism since the dawn of time.

Varanasi's high ghats (steps leading to and from the river) are crowded with priests, wrestlers, astrologers, devotees, bathers, morning walkers and saffron clad mendicants or sadhus. The ringing of temple bells and the heady, heavy smell of incense permeate everywhere. In Varanasi, even a short walk or a simple boat-ride is an unforgettable adventure.

The cinematic nature of daily life in Varanasi is not lost on filmmakers and over the years, many have made Varanasi their backdrop, among them maestros like Roberto Rossellini, James Ivory and Satyajit Ray. Fittingly, the first moving picture ever shot on Indian soil was filmed here in 1899.

Varanasi is one of the unforgettable highlights of your luxury holiday in the timeless Indian subcontinent.

Visit Sarnath. 5 miles out of Varanasi: The great Buddha enhanced the sanctity of Varanasi by choosing the environs of the city to preach his first sermon at Sarnath, (only 10 Kms away) after attaining enlightenment. Later, Ashoka, the great Mauryan Emperor erected magnificent stupas and other buildings along with his mighty stone pillar, Dharmarajika Stupa. The 110 ft. tall Dhamekh Stupa marks the place where Buddha preached first sermon. Sarnath has been a premier centre for Buddhism. It is a rich collection of ancient Buddhist relics and antiques comprising numerous Buddha and Bodhisattva images on display at the Archaeological Museum (1000 hrs to 1700 hrs. Open all days except Friday)

Proceed for a guided visit to the temple for evening Aaarti.

Overnight will be spent at Varanasi.

Day 04 : Sightseeing in Varanasi :

Go for an early morning boat ride along the middle of the river to watch the spiritual life of Hindu India unfold before you along the banks. Visit Dashashwamedh and Manikarnika, the holiest of the Varanasi ghats. A section of Manikarnika serves as a cremation ground and it is said the funeral pyre never dies here.

Kashi Vishwanath with its famous solid gold spire is one of the holiest of Hindu temples and devotees believe that praying here after a dip in the Ganges will grant them Moksha or liberation from the eternal cycle of life, death and rebirth.

Return for breakfast to the hotel.

Proceed for day-guided tour of Varanasi including the Bharat Mata Temple.

The 18th century Durga Temple. According to legend, the idol of the goddess simply appeared in the spot where the temple stands today.

The white marble Tulsi Manas Temple has scenes and stanzas from the Hindi epic Ram Charit Manas engraved upon its walls. The temple is in the traditional Shikhara style, its towers representing the great Himalayan summits or shikharas.

Up next, the 4000 acre Benaras Hindu University campus houses an art gallery and the Mosque of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.

Overnight will be in Varanasi.

Day 05 : Varanasi to Khajuraho by Air :

Breakfast will be at at the hotel.

Later as per the flight timing a Compass representative will transfer you to airport to board the flight for Khajuraho. Proceed for the sightseeing of Western Group of Temples.

Kandariya Mahadev is the largest temple in the complex and is dedicated to Lord Shiva, with over 800 exquisitely sculpted figures of gods and celestial maidens adorning its walls.

Chausat Yogini Temple is the oldest in the complex. The only granite temple among the cluster, it's a shrine to one of the aspects of the fearsome Hindu Mother Goddess Kali, or The Dark One.

The Lakshmana Temple stands at the southwest corner. Look out for a minor shrine where one of the ancient sculptors added his own likeness in a touching act of vanity.

Other temples include the Vishwanath Temple with exquisite stonework on its outer wall, the Matangeshwar Temple with its famed eight foot high phallic lingam, the Chitragupta Temple, inside which the radiant Sun God rides his seven-horse chariot, and the Varaha Temple that houses a 1.5 m high Varaha, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu as a giant boar, that attempts (and fails) to find the end of the universe.

In the evening watch sound and light show at Western Group of Temples.

Overnight will be at Khajuraho.

Day 06 : Sightseeing in Khajuraho, Khajuraho to Jhansi by road, visit Orchha, Jhansi to Agra by rail :

Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

Proceed to the Eastern and Southern Group of Temples.

The Brahma and the Hanuman temples are the most famous and best preserved among the Eastern Group of temples. Don't miss the Vamana temple that showcases in elaborate stone work all ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu.

Notable among the Southern Group is the Chaturbhuja Temple (Sanskrit Chatur=four, bhuja=arm) dedicated to a beautiful four armed Shiva figure. The Chaturbhuja Temple stands out in the complex for being the only one sans any erotic sculpture.

Later drive to Jhansi en route visiting Orchha.

ORCHHA – A medieval city founded by Bundela rulers with Palaces and temples of the 16th and 17th century which have remarkable withstood the onslaught of time. The River Betwa picturesquely flanks the city.

12 kms from Khajuraho, the medieval city of Orchha on was founded in 1501 by the Bundela rulers on the bank of the Betwa river. The town is famous for its cenotaphs, locally known as chhattris, built in the memory of long-dead kings.

Of interest, the Orchha Fort, the majestic high domes and spires of Chaturbhuj Temple and the Raj Mandir, both constructed in the later half of the 16th century.

The Mughal capital of Agra on the banks of the Yamuna River is a bustling town teeming with narrow, winding alleyways that hark back to an era gone by. Dotted by magnificent monuments including UNESCO World Heritage Site Taj Mahal, the city is a dazzling contrast of red sandstone and white marble structures. Arrive at Agra and transfer to the hotel.

Overnight will be at Agra.

Day 07 : Sightseeing in Agra, see the Taj Mahal :

Proceed for sunrise sightseeing of TAJ MAHAL.

Built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial to his queen Mumtaz Mahal and designed by Persian architect Ustad, the magnificent Taj Mahal is one of the seven wonders of the world. A massive white marble structure so delicate that it appears to float in the air, the Taj is otherworldly in its beauty and is best viewed in moonlight or at dawn and dusk. The close-up view reveals breathtakingly intricate inlay work carved into the marble, and bears eloquent testimony to the triumph of Mughal art, culture and architecture at its peak. No holiday in India is complete without the Taj.

Return to hotel for breakfast and then start sightseeing tour of city.

A beautifully maintained tree-lined monument at Sikandra marks the grave of the illustrious Akbar the Great. A great believer in harmony and equality of all religions, this visionary Mughal Emperor created Din-i Ilahi, a unique religion that combines the fundamentals of Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity. His memorial imbibes architectural motifs of all the faiths that inspired him.

Standing across the river from the Taj, the majestic red sandstone structure of Agra Fort was erected in 1565 by Mughal Emperor Akbar the great. Little did he know that the same fort would later serve as prison for his grandson Emperor Shah Jahan in the end of his days. From his prison perch of Musamman Burj, an exquisite octagonal marble tower atop the fort, Shah Jahan would spend his last days looking out longingly at the Taj.

Itmad-ud-Daulah is perhaps the Mughal Empire's best kept secret. Empress Nur Jehan, wife of Jahangir, son of Akbar, commissioned the structure as a memorial to her father. Mistakenly called Baby Taj, Itmad-ud-Daulah in fact is decades older than the Taj, and may have served as its design blueprint.

Overnight will be at Agra.

Day 08 : Agra to Bharatpur by road Bharatpur to Sawai Madhopur by rail enroute visit Fatehpur Sikri :

Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

Fatehpur Sikri, or the "City of Victory", built by Emperor Akbar in 1569 in honour of sufi saint Salim Chishti was the capital of the Mughals for 14 years. The white marble Tomb of the Salim Chisti with its intricately carved marble screens occupies pride of place in the central courtyard of the structure.

Attractions include the colossal Buland Darwaza, a victory gate built to mark the conquest of Gujarat by Emperor Akbar, the Diwan-i-Aam where the emperor held his legendary hearings with the general public and the Diwan-i-Khas where he held private consultation with his nine ministers, or as he called them, his navaratna or nine gems.

Fatehpur Sikri also houses the palace of Jodhabai, Akbar's Hindu wife, and the house of the legendary Birbal - Akbar's Hindu minister and one of the navaratnas - the tales of whose extraordinary wit and wisdom are the stuff of popular culture in India, inspiring countless comic books and children's animation TV shows.

Post lunch a Compass representative will transfer you to Bharatpur station to board the train for Sawai Madhopur.

Overnight will be at Sawai Madhopur.

Day 09 : Wildlife Safaris in Sawai Madhopur :

Ranthambhore is the largest national park in North India and its dry deciduous forests are home to over 500 species of flowering plants and 270 species of birds in addition to leopards, nilgai, sloth bear and wild boar.

Ranthambhore of course is best known for its large tiger population. The chances of spotting a tiger is relatively high in Ranthambhore, with the elusive predator often seen basking in the sun or enjoying the shade of a tree.

Proceed for early morning game drive in Ranthambore National Park.

Proceed for early morning game drive in Ranthambore National Park.

Ranthambhore's most famous denizen is the aging T-16, better known as Machhli or "fish" after the curious markings on her face. Machhli has been the subject of numerous wildlife documentaries and is an "Internet phenomenon" - a video of her hunting a giant salt water crocodile generating over 2 million views on Youtube.

Other notable striped residents of Ranthambhore include Machhli's grown up cub T-17 or Sundari (the pretty one), her boyfriend the temperamental T-25 (better known as Dollar), the elusive T-19, the current dominant female of Ranthambhore, and the majestic T-28 or Sitara (Star), the park's dominant male.

Post breakfast visit the nearby village to see the local life.

Post lunch proceed for the afternoon game drive in National Park.

Overnight will be at Sawai Madhopur.

Day 10 : Sawai Madhopur to Jaipur by road :

Post breakfast drive to Jaipur.

Jaipur, also known as the 'Pink City' from the facelift it received in 1853 to celebrate a visit by Prince Albert, is dotted with havelis (traditional mansions), bazaars, opulent palaces and rugged majestic forts that showcase the glorious past of its rulers, the Rajputs.

The Rajput princes were fierce warriors some of whom declared loyalty to the invading Mughals and proved to be formidable allies of the empire. Among them was King Jai Singh II, whom the Mughals gave the title Sawai Maharaja, or "King and a quarter". Jaipur gets its name from this valiant king.

This evening, visit the Birla Temple. A stunning white marble structure, the three towers of the Birla Temple stand for three different approaches to religion. Carvings on the ornate pillars celebrate Hindu gods and goddesses along with Christ, Virgin Mary and St. Francis of Assisi. Don't miss the hypnotic evening Aarti, the ritual lighting of oil lamps.

Day 11 : Sightseeing in Jaipur :

Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

Proceed for a morning excursion will be taken to the Amber Fort. Enjoy the fort ascent on elephant back in a royal manner.

Situated on the top of a hill, the magnificent Amber Fort Palace offers a panoramic view of the old city. Established in 1592, its rugged exteriors believe the delicate architecture inside, a rare fusion of traditional Rajasthani and Islamic styles. Reach the fort the old fashioned way, atop a ceremonial elephant along a cobbled path up that opens into several havelis, step wells, courtyards and temples. Visit Sheesh Mahal or chamber of mirrors, Jas Mandir with its ornate ceilings and latticework and the stunning Shila Devi temple with its intricately carved silver door.

Afternoon sightseeing tour of Jaipur visiting.

The sprawling City Palace has been home to the rulers of Jaipur since the 18th century. The architecture of the palace is a blend of traditional Rajasthani and Mughal styles. The City palace Museum is located here and houses various items from Jaipur's princely and warrior past.

The scientific-minded King Jai Singh II, an astronomy enthusiast, commissioned five observatories named Jantar Mantar around West Central India in the early 1700s. The one in Jaipur is the largest and the best preserved. The massive architectural instruments are constructed out of local stone and marble some of which are still in use. We shall walk through and explore this surreal maze of giant geometric objects.

The exquisite outer facade of Hawa Mahal, the "Palace of Winds," resembles a manmade honeycomb and is one of Jaipur's most iconic and oft photographed sights. Designed to facilitate maximum air circulation and cross ventilation, the five-storied Hawa Mahal is made of lime and mortar, and decorated with impossible intricate trelliswork. From the privacy of its ornate jharokhas (traditional Rajasthani windows), the ladies of the court could gaze out at life in the streets below.

This evening is free for you to relax shop or explore independently. Shopping is superb in Jaipur, particularly for gold and silver jewellery, pottery, tie-dye materials, silk, saris, wooden handicrafts and carpets.

Overnight will be at Jaipur.

Day 12 : Sightseeing in Jodhpur :

Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

Drive to Jodhpur, reach and check – in at hotel.
Rao Jodha, chief of the Rathore clan, founded the city of Jodhpur in 1459. Situated on the edge of Thar Desert, Jodhpur embodies the romance and feudal splendor of Rajasthan. Jodhpur is also called the 'Blue City' from the blue houses that surround its most famous landmark, the majestic Mehrangarh Fort that sits on the top of a hill 125 meters above the city. The city itself is surrounded by high walls 10 kilometers long.

In the evening visit Umaid Bhawan Palace.

Designed by the British Royal Institute of Architects, the Umaid Bhawan is one of world's largest private residences with over 300 rooms, lavish theaters, banquet halls and a ballroom. A part of the palace has been converted to a museum with an impressive collection of royal memorabilia and weaponry.

Walk through the old town experiencing the colourful culture of Rajasthan.

Overnight will be at Jodhpur.

Day 13 : Sightseeing in Jodhpur :

After breakfast proceed for the sightseeing of Jodhpur.

Hewn out of solid rock atop the red sandstone cliff overlooking Jodhpur 400 feet above the city, the awesome 15th Century Mehrangarh fort spreads out over 5 kilometers and in the words of Rudyard Kipling, is the "work of angels and giants". The fort's defenses are impressive, with seven highly fortified gates to reach the fort, and massive, ornate cannons perched on the bastion walls. The view of the Blue City from the ramparts of the fort is breathtaking. In spite of the forbidding exteriors, the fort's exquisitely latticed windows, carved panels, and ceiling with radiant glass tiles reveal another more artistic side to its warrior inhabitants. Batman fans might remember Mehrangarh Fort from an iconic scene in Chris Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises.

Jaswant Thada, the white marble memorial to Maharaja Jaswant Singh II is known for its highly intricate lattice-work. The marble used in the structure is translucent and in the day time, the interior walls glow from the sunshine outside. Jaswant Singh II was known for his innovative irrigation projects and to this day, locals throng to Jaswant Thada to pay their respects to the benevolent king whose touch once healed their arid land.

Drive to the BISHNOI VILLAGES for a short jeep safari.

Visit the BISHNOI VILLAGES and have a rare glimpse into the rich culture and true essence of India. This village is inhabited by the Bishnoi community. They are staunch believers in the sanctity of plant and animal life. Villages are marked by Khejri trees and deer which thrive. Memorable moments of the great desert landscape fascinates one while driving along the countryside.

Overnight will be at Jodhpur.

Day 14 : Jodhpur to Udaipur by road, enroute visit Ranakpur :

After breakfast drive to Udaipur visiting Ranakpur enroute.

The 15th century Ranakpur Temples are situated in the middle of dense woods and are an important pilgrimage for the Jain community. The temples' exterior is majestic yet somber, while the interiors are richly embellished with highly intricate carvings covering every inch of the solid marble walls. This reflects the Jain belief in the importance of a rich inner life within a simple exterior. The huge domed marble central ceiling of the temple is so adorned with dazzling filigree work that it looks almost translucent. The hushed silence inside the temple and the subtle smell of incense will put even the most gregarious traveller in a contemplative mood.

Reach Udaipur and check – in at hotel. Relax.

Founded by Maharana Uday Singh, beautiful Udaipur on the banks of Lake Pichola is a fairyland with beautiful palaces in the middle of lakes, islands, opulent havelis and temples. Surrounded by the ancient Aravalli hills, Udaipur shimmers in dazzling white and is also called the City of Dawn.

Overnight will be at Udaipur.

Day 15 : Sightseeing in Udaipur :

Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

Proceed for sightseeing tour of Udaipur, stopping first at City Palace.

The massive City Palace overlooking the Lake Pichola is a glittering example of Rajput architecture. A part of the city palace is now a museum. Behind the fortified walls of the palace, dark, steep and narrow staircases connect a maze of royal chambers and courtyards. Dazzling intricate miniatures, antiques and paintings are on display everywhere. Of note are gorgeous mosaics of peacocks in More Mahal and a courtyard full of shady trees on the terrace of Amar Vilas.

Maharana Sangram Singh built Saheliyon Ki Bari or "Garden of the Maidens" in the mid-18th century on the shores of Fateh Sagar Lake. The lush green lawns of the garden are replete with fountains whose spouts are placed inside the trunks of large stone elephants. The water flow is controlled solely by water pressure. No pumps are used. Of particular note is an interesting medieval experiment in sound design. In a secluded corner of the garden, carefully selected large leafed plants damp the sound of flowing water on stones to create the auditory effect of being in a large tropical forest in the pouring rain.

The magnificent 17th century Jagdish Temple is located in the center of the city and is a fine example of Indo-Aryan architecture. The main deity at the center is a giant black stone image of Lord Vishnu. The outer walls of the temple and the tower feature highly detailed carvings depicting Vishnu and scenes from the life of Krishna.

Proceed for Evening Motor launch cruise on the placid waters of Lake Pichola.

POvernight will be at Udaipur.

Day 16 : Udaipur to Mumbai by air, Sightseeing in Mumbai :

Today as per the flight timing a Compass representative will transfer you to airport to board the flight for Mumbai.

Originally an archipelago of seven islands on the Arabian Sea, Mumbai was named after Mumba Devi, patron goddess of the Koli fishermen indigenous to the area. In the 19th century, reclamation work joined up the islands in a long, narrow strip of land that is the Mumbai we know today. This bustling metropolis is India's commercial capital and home of Bollywood, the world's largest movie industry. A city of contrasts, Ferraris and Porsches stand shoulder to shoulder on Mumbai roads with strikingly retro Premier Padmini cabs, and glitzy malls stocking super luxury brands co-exist side by side with buzzing local markets.

Reach Mumbai and check – in at hotel. Later proceed for city tour of Mumbai:

The Prince of Wales Museum, (now the Chhatrapati Shivaji Vastu Sangrahalaya), designed by architect George Wittet, was completed in 1915 but served as a military hospital during the Great War, and used as a museum only subsequently from 1922. Built to commemorate the visit of the then Prince of Wales (who was later to become King George V) the museum is among India's finest and houses artefacts from every age of Indian history including the ancient Maurya and Gupta Empires, as well as the 5000 year old Bronze Age Indus Valley Civilzation.

The nearby Gandhi Museum is located in a house where Gandhi would live during his visits to Mumbai. On display are the great man's personal belongings and books.

The decidedly un-fortress-like business district to the North of Kolaba is popularly known as Fort and gets its name from a long-dismantled East India Company fort that, soon after the Maratha Wars, gave way to the grand colonial buildings which give this part of Mumbai its distinctive architectural flavour. Of note is St. John's Church, dedicated to British soldiers who laid down their lives in Afghanistan and Sind in the 19th century.

Flora Fountain/ Hutama Chowk: This fountain situated in the heart of the city was erected in 1869 in honour of a British Governor of Bombay Sir Bartle Frere. Flora Fountain marks a junction of five streets and known as the 'Piccadilly Circus 'of Mumbai, which is decorated at its four corners with mythological figures, the Fountain is a structure in dull stone with a figure the Roman Goddess of flowers, at the top.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Victoria Terminus is one of India's busiest railway stations and. a unique amalgamation of Indian and Gothic architectural styles. The centerpiece of the station is a 160 foot high dome and an ode to progress in the form of the statue of a woman carrying a torch. Movie buffs may be interested to know that Victoria Terminus featured prominently in the Academy Award winning "Slumdog Millionaire."

The English Gothic Mumbai High Court Building was designed by Col. J. A. Fuller, a British engineer, and dates back to 1878. On the western face of this majestic structure stand the statues of Justice and Mercy.

Made of local Kurla stone, the 280 foot tall Rajabai Clock Tower is an amalgam of Venetian and Gothic styles of architecture, and boasts of absolutely stunning stained glass windows. Presently, the tower houses the University of Mumbai library.

Built in 1880, the terraced Hanging Garden on Malabar Hill sits atop the three reservoirs which supply water to all of Mumbai and offers a spectacular view of the city.

To travellers flying into Mumbai, the city's most recognizable feature is perhaps the Marine Drive, a long sea-facing promenade that runs from Nariman Point to Malabar Hill in a shallow arc, curving along the lapping waters of the Arabian Sea. In the evening, the Marine Drive glitters in a stunning crescent of light and is appropriately named "Queen's Necklace."

Overnight will be at Mumbai.

Day 17 : Sightseeing in Mumbai, excursion to Elephanta Caves.

The Elephanta caves are situated on an island to the North-east of Apollo Bunder. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it gets its name from a giant elephant statue found on the site which now resides in the Jijamata Garden in Mumbai.

The Elephanta caves date back to the 6th and 7th centuries. Cut from solid basalt, they depict magnificent figures of Lord Shiva in his various forms. One of the caves features the Ardhanarishvara, a figure bearing both male and female features, representing the masculine and feminine energies that unite to keep the cosmos in balance, somewhat similar to the concept of Yin and Yang. The central cave has a colossal figure of Mahesha Murti, depicting the three faces of Shiva.

Overnight will be at Mumbai.

Day 18 : Mumbai to Cochin by Air :

Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

As per the flight timing a Compass representative will transfer you to airport to board the flight for Cochin.

The ancient port city of Cochin or Kochi comprises a cluster of islands and peninsulas in a serene saltwater lagoon. Ferries connect the islands to Ernakulam town on the mainland. Dotted with lakes and gently swaying palm groves, Kochi's otherworldly beauty, coupled with the lure of spices and seafood, draw scores of travellers every year to this natural harbor.

Breakfast will be at the hotel. Proceed for excursion to Elephanta Caves
Overnight will be at Cochin.

Day 19 : Sightseeing in Cochin :

Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

Proceed for a sight-seeing tour of Cochin

Kochi's famed Chinese fishing nets are perhaps one of the most iconic and oft photographed sights of Kerala. Mounted on teak and bamboo poles and supported by large stone counterweights, they hang gossamer-like all along the Fort Kochi seafront. Their origins are obscure with some claiming they were imported by the Portuguese from Macau while according to others, the credit goes to Chinese traders from the court of Kubla Khan himself.

The Old Cochin area is home to one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world, and the Paradesi Synagogue built in 1568 is a must-see treasure of this eclectic corner of South India. Known for its distinctive tiled roof and bell towers, the synagogue's interiors feature intricately hand-painted blue and white Chinese willow tiles of which no two are alike. Elegant Belgian chandeliers adorn its central area. An exquisite oriental rug and gold crowns received as gifts from visitors are also on display.

Also of interest is the intriguing International Pepper Exchange that deals in the global trade of black pepper. Nearby are Vasco Da Gama Square, the Santa Cruz Basilica that counts among India's oldest churches, St. Francis Church where Vasco Da Gama was originally interred, VOC Gate and Bastion Bungalow, all of which, according to local records, go back to between the mid fourteenth and early fifteenth century.

Enjoy the Kathakali dance presentation in the evening.

Overnight will be at Cochin.

Day 20 : Cochin to Alleppey by road, cruise to Kumarakom :

Cochin to Alleppey:
After a leisurely breakfast proceed to Alleppey.

Alappuzha is famous for its boat races, houseboats, coir products, fish and lakes. Alappuzha remains prominent on the tourist trial of Kerala as one of the major centers for backwater boat trips. "Kuttanad" in Alappuzha is one of few places in the world where farming is done below sea level. Kuttanad is a land of lush paddy fields and is called the 'Rice Bowl' of Kerala. Kuttanad stretches for 75 Km sandwiched between the sea and the hills.

Check into a traditional houseboat of Kerala Style and go on a leisurely backwater cruise along the lake on a thatched houseboat.

The backwaters of Kerala are a unique product of Kerala and are found nowhere else in the world. Backwaters are a network of lakes, canals and estuaries and deltas of forty-four rivers that drain into the Arabian Sea. The backwaters of Kerala are a self-supporting Eco-system teeming with aquatic life. The canals connect the villages together and are still used for local transport. Over 900 km of this labyrinthine water world is navigable.

The houseboat with all modern comforts lets you discover the countryside at your own pace. You will have lunch, dinner and breakfast in the Houseboat. A ride on the houseboat is a fabulous way to explore the fascinating beauty of the backwaters.

Lunch will be served on the boat freshly prepared by the crew.

In the evening the boat will anchor by the lush paddy fields and enjoy the tranquility of the water around.

Dinner would be laid out in the boat. Spend night on houseboat.

Day 21 : Kumarakom to Thekkady by road :

Kumarakom - Thekkady
Have breakfast at the houseboat. Cruise through the backwaters watching the children going to school and the village markets opening.

Disembark the boat at Kumarakom.

Proceed to Periyar. Reach and check into the hotel.

Enjoy the scenic beauty & the marvelous waterfalls, high mountains with the low flying clouds passing by. Visit Tea Plantations and also see how tea is processed.

Four hour drive southwards over rolling hills and coffee plantations to the PERIYAR WILDLIFE SANCTUARY, one of the major wildlife reserves in India. Indian elephants, wild boars, lion-tailed monkeys, ibex, tigers, leopards and sloth bears are on the list. The park surrounds a large, many-fingered lake and a dawn or dusk foray on one of the boats will be a thrilling experience. It is from the lake rather than vehicles that the wildlife is viewed. The sanctuary is rich in bird life. Great hornbills, kites, darters, herons, egrets, owls and kingfishers are in abundance. Surrounding the reserve are many small spice plantations and we spend an absorbing afternoon searching for pepper, cardamom, turmeric, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon and betel.

Overnight will be at Thekkady.

Day 22 : Thekkady to Madurai by road :

Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

Today you will visit the rare species of plants and animals by taking a nature trek into the Park and then a short walk.

The ancient temple town of Madurai traces its history as far back as the 3rd century BC, and finds mention in the writings of Greek explorer Megasthenes.

The breathtaking Sri Meenakshi Amman temple, a mini-city in its own right, dominates the Madurai skyline. One of the finest living examples of Dravidian art and architecture, its towering gopurams loom over the city, every inch of its outer surface crowded with multicolored carvings of gods, goddesses and beasts of mythology. One of the highlights of your luxury holiday in exotic South India.

Overnight will be at Madurai.

Day 23 : Sightseeing in Madurai :

Today morning visit the flower market.

Return to the hotel for breakfast.

Later proceed for the sightseeing of Madurai:

According to local lore, the foundations of the Sri Meenakshi Amman temple date back to well over two thousand years. Successive generations of rulers built over and added to the work of their predecessors until the compound grew to its current sprawling size of the 65000 square meters. The square-shaped temple grounds are surrounded by high walls with twelve stupendous Gopurams (temple towers) bidding entry to visitors.

Built by King Thirumalai Nayak in 1636, the eponymous Thirumalai Nayak Palace fell to ruin after the king's demise and was restored only partially by the British. Still, the present day structure gives the visitor a good idea of its grandeur in its heydays. Look out for the intricate stucco work on its arches and pillars and the astonishing Sorgavasal or Celestial Pavilion, a 1300 square meter free-standing structure, unsupported by any pillar or girder.

The spacious Gandhi Memorial Museum chronicles in loving detail the history of India's independence movement. The museum organizes regular seminars on Gandhi and his principle of non-violence or ahimsa.

Also visit the Thiruparankundram Temple.

Overnight will be at Madurai.

Day 24 : Madurai to Tanjore by road, enroute visit Trichy :

Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

Drive to Tanjore en route visit Trichy for Rock Fort Temple and Srirangam.

Situated on the banks of river Kaveri, Tiruchirapalli or Trichy is one of the largest cities in the state of Tamil Nadu. In the course of its long and checkered history, Trichy has changed hands many a time, starting off as the capital of the Chola Kings, falling later to the Pallavas and eventually to the Nayaks of Madurai, the Marathas, the Sultanate and finally the British. Each successive ruling dynasty left their indelible mark on the city, and contributed towards its growth as the flourishing, eclectic urban center that it is today.

Rock Fort temple or Malaikottai is a temple carved out of an 80m high rock, the rock itself being of prehistoric vintage and older than the Himalayas.

The riverine island of Srirangam with its seven-walled Vishnu Temple is also worth a visit.

Post visit of Trichy proceed to Tanjore.

Tanjore or Thanjavur was the capital of the Chola empire from the 10th century to the 14th century A.D. and was for long periods the political and cultural nerve center of the region. The Great Living Chola Temples that form a UNESCO World Heritage Site are located around Thanjavur, also home to the distinctive Tanjore style of Painting.

Overnight will be at Tanjore.

Day 25 : Tanjore to Pondicherry by road :

Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

Proceed for sightseeing of Tanjore.

The magnificent Brihadisvara Temple is an architectural marvel and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Vimana atop the temple is a 60.95m high 13-storey pyramidal tower, in turn crowned by a 70 tonne stone domed monolith. The inner walls are adorned with murals of Shiva in the 108 mudras, or poses, of Bharatanatyam, the classical Indian dance form.

Saraswathi Mahal Library established in the early 18th century houses a wealth of manuscripts dating back to the Nayak Kings of Tanjore and its subsequent Maratha rulers. Also of interest are rare European manuscripts like Lavoisier's Traité Élémentaire de Chimie or Elements of Chemistry and Charles Le Brun's pictorial charts depicting the evolution of man.

Later drive to Pondicherry.

A French colony until 1950, Pondicherry (now Puducherry) is markedly different from the rest of Tamil Nadu state in architecture and town planning. Modelled after towns in the French Mediterranean, Ville Blanche or White Town is dotted with colonial villas, while more Indian style buildings populate Ville Noir or Black Town. Today, unlike in the past, both halves of Pondicherry is open to all residents of the city. Use of French is still common in Pondicherry.

Enjoy the walk around the promenade in the evening and watch the colorful culture (lot of French influence).

Overnight will be at Pondicherry.

Day 26 : Sightseeing in Pondicherry

Founded by nationalist turned mystic Sri Aurobindo, Aurobindo Ashram is a commune housing followers from the world over. The ashram aims to disseminate the philosophy of Aurobindo's "integral yoga", a synthesis of ancient mystical thought and modern science.

Designed by architect Roger Anger, Auroville is a unique urban experiment in communal living where men and women of various races and nationality attempt to live together in peace and harmony. In the words of its founder Mirra Alfassa or The Mother, "The purpose of Auroville is to realize human unity."

Located in the former French Administration building, the Pondicherry Museum has an enviable collection of rare bronze and stone artifacts from the Chola and Pallava eras, as well as objects excavated from Arikamedu some of which are Roman in origin, indicating extensive trading links between the Rome and the ancient cultures of South India.

The 300 years old Manakula Vinayagar Temple is famed for its golden spire and forty beautiful likenesses of Lord Ganesh.

On Subbiah Salai, the white and brown neo-gothic Sacred Heart church is one of Pondicherry's finest Catholic churches. Beautiful stained glass panels depict incidents from Jesus Christ's life.

Breakfast will be served at the hotel. Proceed for the sightseeing of Pondicherry :

Overnight will be at Pondicherry.

Day 27 : Pondicherry to Mamallapuram by road :

After breakfast drive to Mamallapuram.

Mahabalipuram (Mamallapuram) was once the main seaport of the Pallava Empire and is famous for its medieval sculptures, in particular, a series of spectacular freestanding boulders on the beach, carved to resemble small temples and animals.

Mahabalipuram is a UNESCO designated world heritage site and one of the highlights of your luxury holiday in exotic South India.

Overnight will be at Mamallapuram.

Day 28 : Sightseeing in Mamallapuram :

After breakfast proceed for sightseeing of Mamallapuram.

The Mahabalipuram Caves are temples cut out of solid rock. The interior walls are adorned with sculpted scenes from mythological battles, Gods, demons and beasts both real and mythical. Don't miss the Mahishamardini Cave depicting the Goddess Durga's battle with Mahisasur, a Minotaur-like buffalo demon.

Krishna Mandapam is the largest rock-cut temple of the area with exquisite bas relief work depicting the life of Krishna, as well as scenes from the daily lives of ordinary people.

The magnificent giant bas relief work of Arjuna's Penance depicts a scene from the Hindu epic Mahabharata where the hero, Arjuna, performs penance on a river bank in order to win the devastating Pasupata weapon from Shiva. A cleft in the rock has been cleverly used to depict the river. It's possible to spend hours examining the extremely detailed figures of gods, men, birds and animals that populate the sculpture.

A group of five intricately carved monolithic temples, the Pancha Rathas or five chariots are named after their resemblance to ceremonial temple chariots (rathas). According to the Archeological Survey of India, the naming of this group of temples after the Pandavas, the five heroes of the Mahabharata, is a more recent phenomenon. The structures are probably Buddhist in origin. In spite of their huge size, each ratha is carved from a single rock.

One of the oldest temples in Mahabalipuram, the spectacular, brooding Shore Temple on the edge of the sea houses shrines to both Shiva and Vishnu and is one of the earliest examples of the pure Dravidian style of architecture.

Overnight will be at Mamallapuram.

Day 29 : Mamallapuram to Chennai by road, enroute visit Kanchipuram :

After breakfast at the resort, drive to Chennai visiting Kanchipuram enroute.

Once a capital of the Pallava Kings, the thousand year old city of Kanchipuram was famous in the ancient world as a seat of learning. Temples and shrines dating back to the 7th century dot the city, making it an important pilgrimage for both the Shaivaite and Vaishnav sects of Hindusim. Today, Kanchipuram is known the world over for its gorgeous hand woven silk. These exquisite silk saris, or Kanjivarams, are the toast of the cocktail circuit from Kashmir to the Kanyakumari.

Continue drive to Chennai. Reach and check into the hotel.

The city of Chennai, formerly Madras and originally Madraspatnam, has its roots in a warehouse built by the British on the beachfront in 1639. In 1654, the Fort St. George was established and eventually, village after neighboring village was added to the territory to form the modern city we know today. In the days of the British Raj, Madras served as the capital of all of South India.

Overnight will be at Chennai.

Day 30 : Sightseeing in Chennai :

Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

Proceed for the city sightseeing.

The Neo-Gothic San Thome Basilica is one of the only three basilicas in the world said to contain the relics of an apostle of Christ and is an important Christian pilgrimage. Built over the tomb of St. Thomas, the original building was said to have been established by the apostle himself.

Founded in 1644 by the British East India Company, Fort St George was the engine of trade and commerce that transformed a beachfront hamlet into a modern city. Fittingly, it is now the seat of the legislative assembly of the state of Tamil Nadu. The Fort Museum located in the oldest surviving building of the fortress is of particular interest to tourists and has an impressive collection of exhibits spread over ten galleries.

The buzzing Kapaleeswarar Temple with its proud 120 feet tall exquisitely engraved Gopuram is one of the finest examples of Dravidian architecture. Inscriptions from the 13th century and highly ornate stucco work adorn its walls. It's also the site for the spectacular annual Arubathimoovar festival, during which a gigantic wooden chariot carrying the main deity is pulled along the roads by hundreds and thousands of frenzied devotees, followed by a procession of gods involving sixty three idols on palanquins. Students of cinema may recall this festival from French master Louis Malle's Cinema Verite´ venture, Phantom India.

Overnight will be at Chennai.

Day 31 : Chennai to Mysore by rail, sightseeing in Mysore :

Early morning you will be transferred to the railway station to take train for Mysore. Reach and check into the hotel.

The word Mysore is a corruption of Mahishasura Ooru, or the City of the Buffalo Demon. According to Hindu mythology, the buffalo headed Mahishasura, an Indian Minotaur if you will, wreaked havoc on all of creation, defeating gods and humans alike, until he was finally slain in battle by the warrior goddess Chamunda. The magnificent Chamundeswari Temple dedicated to the goddess stands on a hilltop overlooking Mysore, and is the site of a stupendous elephant procession during the festival of Dussehra.

Initially part of the Vijayanagara Empire in the 16th Century, Mysore has since been ruled by the Wodeyar Kings more or less continually, barring the rule of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan in the 18th Century. After the fall of Tipu, the British East India Company reinstated the Wodeyars to the throne of Mysore, where they continued to be titular heads with the blessings of the British Empire until India's independence in 1947.

Mysore has the distinction of being one of the first cities in Asia to undertake urban planning following a rampaging bout of bubonic plague in 1897 that saw the establishment of the City Improvement Trust Board in 1903.

Today, Mysore is known for its silk, and its fragrant, intricately carved sandalwood work and contributes to 70% of India's incense export. Known as the City of Palaces, the city is dotted by splendid monuments and temples. Mysore's latest claim to fame is as a global center for Ashtanga Yoga.

Proceed for the sightseeing.

Standing proudly at the center of town, the breathtaking Mysore Palace takes the crown in this City of Palaces. A combination of Dravidian, Indo-Saracenic and Oriental Architecture, the palace provides the visitor with a lavish treat of carvings, paintings, majestic arched gateways and an exquisite doll's pavilion. Don't miss the diamond-studded solid gold Simhasana or the King's chair and the famed wooden howdah (elephant-saddle) covered with 80 kilos of gold.

At 1062m above sea level, Chamundi Hills tower over the city of Mysore and affords fresh air and magnificent views to whoever decides to undertake the short drive to the city outskirts. Halfway up the hill, one is rewarded with the sight of the 4.8m tall stone statue of Shiva's bull, Nandi

Also visit Brindavan Gardens.

Overnight will be at Mysore.

Day 32 : Mysore to Bangalore by road, enroute visit Srirangapattana :

Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

Located on an island on the River Cauvery some 16 kms from Mysore city, Srirangapatna was the capital of Mysore state and is also an important religious site.

The towering, intricately carved vista of the 9th Century Ranganathaswamy Temple and the 18th Century Jama Masjid commissioned by Tipu are not to be missed.

The Srirangapatna Fort is the site of Tipu Sultan's last stand against the mighty forces of the British East India Company. Today a memorial marks the spot where the warrior king fell.

Also of importance, the Colonel Bailey Dungeon in the fort, where British officers were imprisoned during Tipu's rule and the Sultan's summer palace in Dariya Daulat Bagh.

Dariya Daulat Bagh has a museum that with an excellent collection of murals, paintings, coins and weapons from Tipu Sultan's era. Also on display, Sir Robert Ker Porter's celebrated oil painting, "Storming of Srirangapatna."

Continue drive to Bangalore. Reach and check into the hotel.

According to legend, King Ballala of the Hoysala dynasty was once wondering in the woods, lost and hungry, when he came across an old woman. The woman's humble offering of a bowl of boiled beans satiated the king's hunger, and to commemorate her kindness, he named the region Benda Kalu Ooru, the Village of Boiled Beans.

Over time, as dynasties rose and fell, the area came under the rule of the Vijayanagara kings, the Bijapur Sultanate, the Marathas, and the Wodeyars of Mysore and finally the British under whom flourished the city of Bangalore or Bengaluru as we know it today.

Post-independence, Bengaluru metamorphosed rapidly from a sleepy colonial town favoured by retirees to a buzzing hi tech metropolis, the cradle of India's information technology boom. With its temperate climate, greenery, lush public parks, natural lakes, malls, bookshops, multiplexes, live music and cafes, Bengaluru is highly popular with India's burgeoning expat workforce and is your gateway to the wonders of South India.

Enjoy shopping or just sit in one of the numerous modern pubs in downtown area just enjoying the latest music and crowd. It will be a nice experience as the weather in this city is pleasant all through the year.

Overnight will be at Bangalore.

Day 33 : Sightseeing in Bangalore, tour ends :

Have breakfast at the hotel and later proceed for the sightseeing.

Vidhana Soubha: This splendid neo-Dravidian granite building that dominates the northern boundary of the Cubbon Park is the home of the State Legislature and the Secretariat. The massive sandalwood door of the Cabinet room is a spectacular feature of this imposing building. The Vidhana Soudha is bedecked in illuminated glory during special periods and is a sight worth viewing.

Lal Bagh: Hyder Ali laid out this famous botanical garden and his son added horticultural wealth to them by importing plants and trees from several countries. The garden today houses over 1000 species of flora which include rare and enchanting collection of tropical plants, trees and herbs. The Glass House, modeled along London’s CRYSTAL PALACE, is the center of attraction in this 2400 acre park. Bi-annual flower shows attracting participants from all over India is held in the Glass House. In July, 2003 it was decided that the Department of Horticulture and Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) would jointly take up the development of Lal Bagh Botanical Gardens.

Tipu’s Palace & Fort: The Bangalore Fort was built by Kempe Gowda and expanded by Tipu Sultan. Within its walls is the well preserved 16th century Ganapathi Temple. The Bangalore Palace was built by a Wodeyar king in 1887. Inspired by the Windsor castle, this palace was built in the Tudor style, complete with Gothic windows, the foiled windows, battlements and turrets resembling the Daria Daulat Palace in Srirangapatanam, this summer palace has been constructed largely of wood and is famous for its carving and paintings.

As per flight timings you will be transferred ti the airport to board flight back home with sweet memories of your India Tour.

















Tour Highlights


Compass Special:




Tour Price

Ask our travel expert for Tour price.

We would love to personalize a tour for you that fits your travel requirements and satisfies your vacation needs. Just let us know what you want and we will create the perfect vacation experience for you. We don't and will never charge you for any number of itinerary changes that you may wish to have. Do let us know you thoughts and we will ensure that you will see India just like you wanted to!

Get a Quote now! Customize now!