Experience a kaleidoscope of colour and culture
Travel to the far-flung corners of India on this epic adventure. In the north, ride camels through Jaisalmer's desert, lose yourself in the electric bazaars of Jodhpur, witness pilgrims performing ancient ceremonies on the ghats of Varanasi and marvel at the iconic Taj Mahal in Agra. Then bask in the tropical southern climate, cruise along the Kerala Backwaters, come face-to-face with local customs in small rural towns, and laze on the gorgeous beaches of Goa – India's idyllic holiday destination. Enjoy the freedom to be immersed in the diverse cultures of colourful, chaotic and enchanting India on this small-group adventure.
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Rajasthan is the India that many people imagine when they dream of travelling to this captivating country – ancient forts, palaces, rural villages and the colourful cities of Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Udaipur and Jaipur.
Pushkar and Varanasi are among the holiest cities in India. Climb to hilltop temples at sunrise, dodge cows in the street, and observe pilgrims praying along the ghats of the sacred Ganges River during a boat cruise.
Ride out into the Thar Desert on a camel safari. Feast on Rajasthani cuisine at sunset before bunking down to camp between the sand dunes.
Glide through the backwaters of Kerala on a pole boat, going ashore for a village homestay – a beautiful break and a perfect way to get close to local customs and culture.
The word ‘colourful’ gets thrown around a lot when people talk about India, but the gateway towers of Meenakshi Amman Temple truly are a technicolour dream.
This trip is made for travellers who value their independence but also want the benefit of a local leader and a group of like-minded travellers. The itinerary has a mix of included activities and free time when your leader will offer suggestions. Please budget spending money for optional activities you want to partake in.
Part of travelling with Intrepid means respecting local cultures and sensibilities. That way you get the most out of your interactions with local people and environments. We visit a number of temples on this trip, which requires a certain level of modesty. Please bring clothes that cover the arms and pants/skirts that go past the knees. A light scarf is also a good idea for covering shoulders and arms when it’s hot.
We are covering a lot of distance in a vast country, so this trip involves some very long bus and train rides. These can at times be a bit gruelling but offer a quintessential and authentic Indian experience. Read the itinerary carefully for travel time estimates.
Sleeper trains are a great way to travel long distances while still getting maximum time in each place. Beds are padded berths with sheets, pillow and blanket provided (although some people prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet). Please note that you may be sharing with locals of the same or opposite gender. More information can be found in the Transport section of the Essential Trip Information.
When camping in the Thar Desert, you’re truly in the middle of nature, so conditions are basic and there are no toilet facilities. Please bring water, face wipes, hand sanitizer and any other supplies you may need.
You will also be travelling by local bus on this trip. While conditions are basic, this is a great way to rub shoulders with the locals while enjoying the passing scenery.
This trip runs all year round, so it’s important to be aware of just how hot it can get in India in the summer months and choose the season that best suits you. Depending on the time of year, temperatures in northern India can get very hot and very cold. Please bring layers and a range of adequate clothing, including thermals and sun protection.
Trip departures are unavailable.
There are currently no scheduled departures on our Iconic India trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.
Itinerary change alert:
There's no overnight train from Delhi to Jaisalmer at the moment so you'll take an early Day train from Delhi at around 4:30am on Day 2 which will arrive in Jaisalmer around 10:30 pm. After arrival, you'll check into your hotel for the night. All the included activities on Day 2 in Delhi will be moved to the afternoon of Day 21 once you arrive back in Delhi.
We'll resume to the original itinerary with the overnight train on Day 2 once the original train schedule is reinstated.
1. This trip is a combination of two of our most popular departures. As such the makeup of your group and your tour leader may change on Day 22
2. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement excludes Days 2, 17, 20, 31, 33 and 35 (Overnight sleeper trains) and Day 3 (Camping) where you will be in shared accommodation, and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
3. The Pushkar Camel Fair is undoubtedly one of the most vibrant festivals in India, and can be a true highlight, but please note the fair is based on the lunar calendar, so the fair dates can vary and it can be hard to confirm the exact festival dates.
We will do all we can to ensure that travellers booked on departures that coincide with the fair will get an opportunity to see the best of the festival, but due to the uncertain and flexible nature of this festival we cannot take responsibility if the dates of the fair are changed resulting in your visit not coinciding with the fair.
Pushkar hotels typically raise their rates considerably during the fair so departures across this period will be subject to a surcharge. Unfortunately, although we make bookings months in advance, Pushkar accommodation tend to overbook at this time so we ask for a flexible approach from our travellers who choose to travel at this time.
4. Hot air balloon flights are operated by Sky Waltz in Jaipur. Flights operate from September 1st to April 31st and last approximately 60 mins. Return transfers, tea and coffee plus light refreshments, and a certificate of flight are included in the cost. You can register your interest and pay your tour leader at your joining meeting on day 1 of your trip. Payment must be made by cash in either INR/AUD/USD/GBP only and is USD$260pp (subject to change). Flights are subject to availability and weather conditions (tickets are fully refundable in case of bad weather).
5. Please note travelling during major festivals such as Holi and Diwali can, at times, cause disruption the the published itinerary. Please see the 'Safety' section for more details.
6. The trip begins with an important welcome meeting at 6pm.There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
7. Please provide your full name exactly as it appears on your passport at the time of booking (including any middle names listed on your passport) for flight tickets. Ticketing fees may apply for amendments to details within 45 days of departure, and in some cases you will be required to cover the cost of issuing a new ticket.
Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.View Essential Trip Information