Circle India Itinerary

This extended tour of India reveals this enigmatic country as a place of culture, spirit and magic. Visit the Taj Mahal in Agra, the Varanasi ghats and more.

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Local women in traditional Saris visiting the Taj Mahal

Happy local ladies in colourful Saris travelling by boat

Indian woman heavily clad in traditional jewellery

Camels trekking across desert dunes under blue skies

Markets and local sail boats spread along Goa beach

Assortment of local spices and ingredients at local market

Traditional wooden houseboat floating along river in Kerala

Range of bright colourful dyes available from street vendor

Locals congregating at bank of the Ganges in Varanasi

Indian locals descending the Ghat during ceremony

Day 1 Mumbai

Discover Mumbai's bustling markets and bazaars. Perhaps check out the Gateway of India or take a stroll along Chowpatty Beach at sunset, sampling delicacies from street stalls along the way.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Days 2-3 Aurangabad

India's nearby Ellora Caves are home to the magnificent Kailasa Temple. Carved out of a single rock, it is the largest monolithic structure in the world.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Day 4 Jalgaon

The caves at Ajanta, en route to Jalgaon, conceal exquisitely detailed rock-hewn chapels and monasteries.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Days 5-6 Omkareshwar

Take a jeep to Omkareshwar, a holy place of great importance to Hindus. See steep fort walls, ancient palaces and colourful bathing ghats.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Days 7-8 Mandu

Go on an optional bike ride out to the Jahaz Mahal. Built between two lakes, this phenomenal four-storey structure has a deep pool with an ingenious filtration system that looks like a coiled snake.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Day 9 Ujjain

Spend the night in an ashram located on the banks of a river. Hindus from all over the world makes pilgrimages to this sacred location.
ACCOM: Guesthouse - 1

Day 10 Sanchi

A melting pot of Buddhist architectural wonders, expect to see fine examples of creative art and sculpture along with temples, monasteries and stupas on an exploration of Sanchi.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Days 11-13 Orchha

Bursting with temples and palaces, Orchha is a lovely town in which to relax. In free time, take a stroll by the river, visit a local community project or perhaps watch a puja ceremony.
ACCOM: Guesthouse - 2, Overnight sleeper train - 1

Days 14-16 Delhi

The journey comes to a close in vibrant Delhi. There's plenty to see here. Haggle for a souvenir in the bazaars of Old Delhi, marvel at the Qutb Minar, explore India's largest mosque or escape the chaos at the Indira Gandhi Museum.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2, Overnight sleeper train - 1

Days 17-19 Jaisalmer/Thar Desert

From Jaisalmer, experience nomadic life on an overnight camel safari through the Thar Desert. Eat local specialties by the camp fire and sleep under a blanket of stars.
ACCOM: Camping (with basic facilities) - 1, Guesthouse - 2

Days 20-21 Jodhpur

Sip on a lassi and admire views of the colossal Mehrangarh Fort. Wander among colourful saris and sparkling bangles in the Sadar Bazaar, one of the oldest markets in India.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Days 22-24 Udaipur

India's most romantic city, Udaipur, is a centre for artists and musicians. Why not visit the dramatic Monsoon Palace or have dinner at a rooftop restaurant overlooking the lake?
ACCOM: Guesthouse - 3

Days 25-26 Pushkar

Mingle with holy men in spiritual Pushkar and seek out a bargain in side-street bazaars. Early risers can take a walk to Savitri Temple for an inspirational sunrise.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Days 27-28 Jaipur

See the intricate, pink sandstone latticework of the Hawa Mahal, the 'Palace of the Winds'. Have a unique cinema experience at an optional Bollywood movie screening.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Day 29 Bharatpur

Take an optional trip to the famous Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary, a welcome relief from the chaos of modern India.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Days 30-31 Agra

Discover spectacular views from the Red Fort and admire the elegant architecture of the Taj Mahal of Agra - sunrise over this iconic monument is worth rising early for.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1, Overnight sleeper train - 1

Days 32-34 Varanasi

The holiest place for Hindus, Varanasi is a city of ritual and ceremony. Walk the ghats for a heady experience or hire a boat and see the city from the water.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2, Overnight sleeper train - 1

Day 35 Kolkata

The former capital of British India boasts dramatic colonial architecture. The city also showcases poetry, art, music, film and theatre. Browse flower markets or sample the tangy Bengali cuisine.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Day 36 Chennai

Revel in an exciting mix of modern commercialism and tropical languor - hang out with the locals along Marina Beach or check out the museums, palaces and bazaars.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Day 37 Mamallapuram

Relax on the beaches or cycle around the village to see the worn and weathered Shore Temple. Indulge in a feast of freshly caught seafood by the beach.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1

Days 38-39 Madurai

Weave through chaotic streets filled with bazaars, pilgrims and rickshaws or explore the labyrinthine corridors of the Sri Meenakshi Temple.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1, Overnight sleeper train - 1

Days 40-41 Varkala

Take a dip in the Arabian Sea, sip chai at a cliff-top cafe, practise some yoga or visit the ancient Janardhana Temple.
ACCOM: Hotel - 2

Day 42 Kerala Backwaters Homestay

Cruise past palm trees, rice fields and coconut groves on a sunset boat trip through the winding backwaters of Kerala. Enjoy an island homestay, including a delicious home-cooked Keralan meal.
ACCOM: Homestay - 1

Days 43-44 Kochi

Explore the heart of Kerala on a local ferry. This fascinating city is an invigorating mix of Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and English influences. See spice bazaars, the beautiful Dutch Palace and perhaps a catch a Kathakali dance performance.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1, Overnight sleeper train - 1

Days 45-46 Mysore

Famous for its silk, incense and sandalwood, relaxed Mysore also boasts amazing temples. Take time to climb Chamundi Hill and be sure to visit the Maharaja's Palace.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1, Overnight sleeper train - 1

Days 47-48 Hampi

Wander through the ruins of the Vijayanagar Empire, nestled in an outlandish boulder-strewn landscape. Hampi also has plenty of temples, chilled cafes and great little markets to explore.
ACCOM: Guesthouse - 2

Days 49-50 Goa

This southern adventure concludes in Goa, famed for its palm-fringed beaches and relaxed pace. The Portuguese influence endures in the city's whitewashed churches.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1