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Kolkata to Delhi | An Indian Odyssey 14 Days/13 Nights

Kolkata to Delhi | An Indian Odyssey 14 Days/13 Nights

Kolkata to Delhi | An Indian Odyssey 14 Days/13 Nights

Kolkata to Delhi | An Indian Odyssey 14 Days/13 Nights

Kolkata to Delhi | An Indian Odyssey 14 Days/13 Nights

Kolkata to Delhi | An Indian Odyssey 14 Days/13 Nights

Kolkata to Delhi | An Indian Odyssey 14 Days/13 Nights

Kolkata to Delhi | An Indian Odyssey 14 Days/13 Nights

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From Kolkata to Delhi | An Indian Odyssey

India is a spell binding destination. This exclusive 13-day journey will allow you to discover why.

From the colonial architecture of Kolkata and Delhi, to the religious rituals and mysticism of Varanasi and the awe-inspiring beauty of the Taj Mahal, this itinerary lets you experience an extraordinary range of India’s highlights, all with unparalleled expert insights.

You will be joined in Kolkata by your Expert, who will recount stories of romantic love and intrigue, Empires and power struggle, magic and spiritualism, bringing to life this most fascinating of destinations.

Many unforgettable experiences await you: you will be able to discover Britain’s colonial past, enjoy a luxury cruise, marvel at the spectacle of a traditional Aarti ceremony at the banks of the Ganges, explore Buddhist temples and Moghul architecture, take a ride in a rickshaw, encounter pilgrims as you travel, and hear the stories that have shaped India’s incredible past and continue to affect its future.

Join us on this once-in-a-lifetime journey, a true Indian Odyssey.

 

*Please advise your Grand Cultural Tours Representative at time of booking if you require transfers from the airport.

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Day 1 Kolkata

Morning | Arrive Kolkata*

Meeting upon arrival and transfer to the hotel. Check in at the hotel.

Kolkata. A city rich in art and culture, the former British capital of colonial India, the seat of struggles for freedom and revolutionary movements, the inspiration for poets and movie-makers, Kolkata is a fascinating destination.

Afternoon | Lunch at hotel, Afternoon at leisure

Evening | Welcome Dinner at the hotel with Tour Introduction by your Expert

Overnight | Oberoi Grand, Kolkata

Meals included: L,D

*Please click here to view Flight Options.

 

Day 2 Kolkata - Kalna

Morning | Breakfast at hotel followed by late morning transfer to the RV Bengal Ganaga River Ship

Afternoon | Welcome Lunch on board the RV Bengal Ganga, Kolkata City Tour

After lunch embark for an Orientation Tour of Kolkata, which will take you to the Dalhousie Square that houses several colonial/heritage monuments such as the Writer’s Building, the General Post Office, the High Court, Raj Bhawan (Governor’s Palace), Town Hall, Council House, Treasury Building and the Reserve Bank of India.

We then visit St. John’s Church and the Victoria Memorial for a photo stop and walk in the gardens. St. John’s Church, originally a cathedral, was among the first public buildings erected by the East India Company after Kolkata became the effective capital of British India. It was modeled according to the St Martin-in-the-Fields of London. The Victoria Memorial is a grand marble building built during 1906-1921 in the memory of Queen Victoria (1819–1901). The Memorial lies on the Maidan (grounds) by the bank of the Hooghly River.

Evening | River Cruise to Kalna, Dinner on board river ship RV Bengal Ganga

Return to the ship and cast off to Kalna. Our upstream journey towards Kalna sails through the areas where the different European settlers had established their respective East Indian Companies leaving back reminiscence of their settlements during the period of 17th to 19th century.

Overnight | RV Bengal Ganga

Meals included: L, D

 

Day 3 Kalna - Matiari

Morning | Rickshaw ride to Kalna’s 108 Shiva Temples

Morning you take a ride in a cycle Rickshaw to visit the enchanting Rajbari Temple Complex in Kalna. The temples of Kalna take elements from mosques and temple architecture to create a new congregational space of worship. On one side of the road lies the Nabakailas Temples. Built in 1809 by the Bardhaman Maharaja, it contains 108 'aat-chala' or “eight slope-roofed” Shiva temples arranged in two concentric circles. The outer circle consists of 74 temples of alternate black and white lingams; while the 34 temples of the inner circle have only white lingams. On the other side of the road lies a walled complex, containing the most diversified form of Bengal’s temple architecture: Pratapeshwar Temple, contains terra cotta plaques depicting themes of Hindu epics and mythical life of saints, gods & goddesses and various aspects of day-to-day life. The other notable temples here are the Lalji temple, Krishnachandra temple and the flat roofed temple of Giri Govardhan.

Afternoon | Lunch onboard

Return to the ship and cruise towards Matiari, arriving by the evening and moor for the night.

Evening | Dinner on board RV Bengal Ganga

Ovenight | RV Bengal Ganga

Meals included: B,L, D

 

Day 4 Matiari - Murshidabad

Morning | Visit Matiari

Early in the morning you will visit the village of Matiari, which is famous for its work in brass and copper. Here copper is still processed manually. As you walk towards the village, you can hear the sound of the beating of metal coming from all the houses. Stroll in the village and visit some homes to see and experience the different process of the brass making with a chance of buying artifacts and souvenirs.

Afternoon | Lunch on board, River Cruise To Murshidabad

Return to the ship, cast off and cruise towards Murshidabad sailing past Plassey, which is well known for the battle that took place in 1757, marking a turning point in the history of India. The battlefield of Plassey is where Robert Clive of British East India Company defeated the Mogul Nawab, the then ruler of Bengal and his French Allies; establishing the company rule in India which expanded over much of South Asia for the next 190 years.

Arrive at Murshidabad and moor for the night.

Evening | Dinner onboard RV Bengal Ganga

Overnight | RV Bengal Ganga

Meals included: B,L, D

 

Day 5 Murshidabad - Jangipur                  

Morning | Excursion to the historic Murshidabad, Katra Mosque and Hazarduari Palace Museums

Morning excursion of the historic town of Murshidabad. We ride the local Tonga (horse cart) to visit the oldest mosque of this town the Katra Mosque built by the first Nawab of Murshidabad, Nawab Murshid Quli Khan in the year 1724-25. From there we ride the Tonga to the Hazarduari Palace Museum. Built during the reign of Nawab Nazim Humayun Jah (1824-1838 AD) by an English architect, Duncan McLeod following the Greek “Doric” style. The palace has more than a thousand real and false doors in the vast corridors. Inside the palace museum one can observe a wide collection of antiquities including various kinds of weapons, oil paintings of Dutch, French and Italian artists, marble, porcelain & stucco statues, are manuscripts and palanquins mostly belonging to the 18th-19th centuries. Opposite to the Palace is the vast Imambara open only during the religious ceremony time.

Afternoon | Lunch on board. River cruise to Jangipur

Return to the ship and sail onwards to Jangipur and moor for the night.

Evening | Dinner onboard RV Bengal Ganga

Overnight | RV Bengal Ganga

Meals included: B,L, D

 

Day 6 Jangipur - Kolkata              

Morning | Jangipur to Kolkata by Train

Early this morning disembark the ship with packed snack boxes and transfer to Jangipur train station to board train to Kolkata.

Afternoon | Lunch at Local Kolkata Restaurant, Transfer to Hotel

On arrival in Kolkata, lunch at a local restaurant and transfer to hotel. Rest of the day at leisure.

Evening | Dinner at hotel

Overnight | Oberoi Grand, Kolkata

Meals included: B, L, D

 

Day 7 Kolkata - Varanasi       

Morning | Board flight for Varanasi

You will be transferred to Kolkata airport for internal flight to Varanasi.

Varanasi is one of the holiest as well as the most important pilgrimage cities in India. Situated on the banks of the sacred Ganges, it has been a centre of learning and civilization for more than 2,000 years.

Arrive at Varanasi airport and transfer to hotel en route visiting Sarnath.

Sarnath. Sarnath is one of Buddhism’s major centres in India. When he had gained enlightenment at Bodh Gaya, the Buddha came to the Deer Park at Sarnath and delivered his first sermon, usually referred to as Dharmachakra (The Wheel of Law).  The main attractions here are: The Dhamekh Stupa, The Dharmarajika Stupa and the main Shrine.

Afternoon | Check-in to hotel, Lunch at hotel

On arrival check in at hotel, followed by lunch at hotel.

Evening | Aarti Ceremony, followed by Dinner & Overnight at Hotel

In the evening, you will be taken to the ghats on river Ganges to see the Aarti ceremony. The riverfront is a spiritually uplifting sight. Hinduism, deep and mystical, is everywhere: in a decorated doorway; in a glimpse of a glittering temple; in the sound of a sacred bell; in the chant of the priests; and in the fragrance of flower oblations.

Overnight | Taj Gateway, Varanasi

Meals included: B, L, D

 

Day 8 Varanasi

Morning | Boat excursion on Ganges, Breakfast at Hotel

Early morning boat ride on Ganges. Return to hotel for breakfast. 

Later city tour of Varanasi, visiting various temples* and Benaras Hindu University, one of the largest campus universities in India.

Afternoon | Lunch and afternoon at leisure

Rest of the day at leisure. Lunch at the hotel.

Evening | Dinner at Hotel

Overnight | Taj Gateway, Varanasi

Meals included: B, L, D

*(please note that in Kashi Vishwanath temple- foreigners are not allowed to enter the temple, they can see it from outside only)

 

Day 9 Varanasi               

Morning | Walking Tour of Varanasi

Breakfast at the hotel followed by walking tour of Varanasi. Return to hotel.

Afternoon | Lunch at Hotel followed by Time at Leisure

Evening | Dinner at Hotel

Overnight | Taj Gateway, Varanasi

Meals included: B, L, D

 

Day 10 Varanasi - Lucknow               

Morning | Transfer by Train to Lucknow

Breakfast at the hotel followed by transfer to Lucknow by train.

Afternoon | Check in at Hotel, Lunch and Rest of Afternoon at Leisure (in hotel)

Lucknow. The hallmark of cultural extravaganza, known all over the world for its many splendours. A city that has a magical charm, a charm that’s forever and a charm that’s apart. Be it the cultural charm or the monumental one, all are well conserved here to make Lucknow ” The city of many splendours”.

Arrive and private transfer to the hotel.

Evening | Dinner at Hotel

Overnight | Lenua Lucknow, Lucknow

Meals included: B, D

 

Day 11 Lucknow                 

Morning | Visit La Martiniere, Residency and Dilkusha

Morning explore the British Lucknow visiting La Martiniere, Residency, Dilkusha.

La Martiniere. Standing on the banks of the river Gomti, this magnificent structure was constructed in 1794 by a French soldier – Claude Martin. The architecture of this building is a complete mixture of Indo-European schools. Italian, French, English and Gothic with a touch of Mughlai is how you can best describe this building. 

Residency. Though the air is silent but travelling down the lanes of memories, one can still hear the resounding war cries from all directions, the canon balls shelling the walls and the snipers firing with perfect aim at the high flying Union Jack. The piece-de-resistance this is The Lucknow Residency – ready for the siege.

Dilkusha. Dilkusha built by Sadat Ali Khan is a romantic setting for the lovers of the city. This palace was built by a European architect for the Nawab – Sadat Ali Khan. The Nawab only saw this building on its completion and the first words that came to his lips were “Dil Khush Hua” meaning “My Heart is Pleased”, thus it was aptly named “Dilkusha”.

Afternoon | Lunch at local restaurant, visit Bada Imambara and Chota Imambara

Asafi Imambara. Also known as Bada Imambara, it was built during a severe drought in Lucknow when people were not accepting mercy of the king hence Nawab began the construction of Imambara which would provide employment to the masses and they could work for a living.

Husainabad Imambara. Also known as the Chota Imambara, it stands to the west of the Bara Imambara. Built by Nawab Mohd. Ali Shah around 1837-1840, it is more ornate in design with exquisite chandeliers, gilt-edged mirrors, silver Mimbar and colourful stucco work which adorns the interiors. A golden dome and fine calligraphy on the exteriors of the building makes it a truly exceptional monument of Mughal architecture.

Later enjoy a walking tour of the city. 

Evening | Dinner at Kotwara House Qaiser Bagh

Overnight | Lenua Lucknow, Lucknow

Meals included: B, L, D

 

Day 12 Lucknow - Agra              

Morning | Visit the Massacre Ghat near Kanpur, Bah

Drive to Bah (290 kms – 5 hrs) en route visiting the Massacre Ghat near Kanpur.

Arrive Bah and check in at the hotel.

Afternoon | Lunch at hotel followed by time at leisure

Evening | Dinner at Lodge

Overnight |  Quila Pratap or Chambal Safari Lodge

Meals included: B, L, D

 

Day 13 Agra - Delhi            

Morning | Visit Etawah Colonial trail and Mutiny trail, Transfer to Agra

Agra. The city that created the most extravagant monument ever built for love. Agra city is a virtual gateway to a world of discovery. It has witnessed the rise of the pomp and pageantry of three great Mughal monarchs - Akbar, Jehangir and Shah Jehan, all of whom lavished on this fabled city, their love and riches to transform the land into one of the greatest centers of art, culture, learning and commerce.

Arrive and visit Taj Mahal.

The Taj Mahal was built by the great Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan as an expression of his love for his wife Mumtaz Mahal. It is described as the most extravagant monument ever built for love; it stands on the banks of the Yamuna River and is a flawless architectural masterpiece.

Afternoon | Lunch in Agra, Board Train to Delhi

Arrive and transfer to the hotel.

Delhi. If trees and streets could talk, the stories that would pour out of Delhi would keep listeners mesmerized for years. You can get no better insight into the diversity of India than from its capital—where the old and new, cultural and contemporary, rural and urban, all blend harmoniously. While Old Delhi is a maze of narrow serpentine lanes lined with shops, the new city is a bustling metropolis, replete with shopping malls, and wide-open spaces.

Evening | Dinner at Claridges Hotel

Overnight | The Claridges, Delhi

Meals included: B, L, D

 

Day 14 Delhi             

Morning | “1857 Mutiny Walk”

Morning go for the “1857 Mutiny Walk” of Old Delhi - This walk in the old city takes us through the landmarks of the uprising of 1857. It also covers life and times of British living in the city before the revolt broke out. The trail includes Nicholson Cemetery, Kashmiri Gate, St James Church, old campuses of Hindu College and St. Stephens’, Dara Shukoh’s library, Telegraph Memorial and remains of the British magazine.

Afternoon | Lunch at Veda, Visit Humayun’s Tomb

Humayun's Tomb is the first Mughal garden tomb. Visitors are immediately struck by the tomb's resemblance to its more famous cousin - the Taj Mahal - with its four grand gateways, octagonal base-plan, soaring niche-shaped arches, lofty double domes and the symmetrical garden with its central canal. One of Delhi’s most striking monuments is the 70-meter high.

Evening | Farewell Dinner at Sevilla*

The tour concludes* with a Farewell dinner at restaurant a Kolkata restaurant.

Meals included: B, L, D

*Please advise at time of booking if you require transfers to the airport or wish to extend your stay at the hotel. For flight options please click here.

 

 

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  • Services of an Expert Tour Director, Tour Manager and English-speaking Local Guide throughout tour

  • 4 Nights on the RV Bengal Ganga River Ship (5 star level accommodation) including all meals with bottled water. 

  • 8 nights in 4 and 5 star hotel accommodation including all meals with bottled water

  • All transfers by coach and train as detailed in the Itinerary

  • Still camera fees

  • All transfers in high-quality air-conditioned coaches and trains with reserve seating as detailed in Itinerary

Not included

  • Drinks (apart from water). Drinks can be settled as per actual consumption.

  • Travel insurance

  • Visa*

 

*Please speak with a Grand Cultural Tours representative at time of booking if you would like to take advantage of our Visa processing service (at an additional fee).

Local Expert Guides

Local Expert Guides

Our Local Expert Guides are experienced licenced tour guides with special access to museums, art galleries and other cultural institutions. 

Professional and gifted communicators with unparalleled local knowledge, each one specialises in bringing the past to life. 

For more information about our Expert Guides, please contact us on 020 8877 2883 to speak with a Grand Cultural Tours representative.

Our Practicalities section includes the following travel information:

 

Hotels and River Ship Accommodation

Your accommodation for the Kolkata to Delhi | An Indian Odyssey tour includes a selection of luxury 4 and 5 star hotels and a luxury cruise ship:

 

Oberoi Grand, Kolkata

Room type: Luxury room

No. of Nights: 2

Location: Kolkata

Oberoi Grand, KolkataFondly known as the Grand Dame of Kolkata, The Oberoi Grand is a luxury hotel situated in a prime location, near the bustling markets and cultural landmarks of the city. Dating back to the late 1880s, it was frequented by the country's leading figures during colonial times and, even now, hosts grand functions for Heads of State in the city's Grand Ballroom.

 

 

 

Oberoi Grand, Kolkata

Your Luxury Room is furnished with a colonial style king, queen or twin bed, upholstered with traditional prints and carpeted with deep, wall to wall carpets. Plug points are secreted in the bedside drawers, a 32" LCD television sits atop a teak wood dresser and WiFi is available throughout (chargeable).

 

 

RV Bengal Ganga, Ganges

Room type: Cabin on main deck

No. of Nights: 4

Location: Ganges

Ganges River Cruise

Designed as a replica of the colonial style ‘Clyde’ steamers that, at the height of British Empire, trudged through swamps and far flung deltas, the ship's 28 shining teak and brass lined state rooms ensure an elite style of travelling. With a promenade and observation deck equipped with rattan sitting areas, a saloon bar, dining room, delicious cuisine and a fully trained crew and excellent housekeeping, a truly elegant style of travel is assured.

Ganges River CruiseStaterooms are 145 sq.feet (13.5 sq metres) and feature plentiful use of local textiles, panelled teak walls and floors. All have twin beds with bathroom, shower and hairdryer, personal safe, plus plenty of storage and lead out on to the deck where you can enjoy the views across the river in comfortable rattan chairs.

 

 

The Taj Gateway, Varanasi

Room type: Executive room

No. of Nights: 3

Location: Varanasi

The Taj Gateway, Varanasi

Featured among the top 5 star hotels in the city, The Gateway Hotel Varanasi is nestled amidst 40 acres of lush  gardens. The spacious rooms, complemented by efficient service, makes it one of the best hotels in the city.

 

 

 

The Taj Gateway, Varanasi

The Executive Rooms have recently been renovated to heighten the comfort factor. Not only do they come with optional views of the tropical gardens and the swimming pool, they also feature a spacious bathroom, teak wood flooring and King size beds, Queen size beds or twin beds as per your requirement.

 

 

 

Lebua Lucknow Hotel, Lucknow

Room type: Deluxe room

No. of Nights: 2

Location: Lucknow

Lebua Lucknow Hotel, Lucknow

Lebua Lucknow is a Luxury Boutique Heritage property, located in central Lucknow and conceptualised as a sprawling traditional bungalow with a huge lush green lawn. It reflects and personifies the "Art Deco" architecture prevailing in the early 1900's.

 

 

 

Lebua Lucknow Hotel, Lucknow

All 41 rooms represent a stunning piece of art, reflecting a quintessential Lakhnavi heritage of living spaces opening onto courtyards & terraces that will transport you back to an era when Lucknow was synonymous with an extravaagant lifestyle.

 

 

 

 

Chambal Safari Lodge, Chambal Valley

Room type: Cottage

No. of Nights: 1

Location: Chambal Valley

An oasis of peace, tranquility and hospitality, the Chambal Lodge is set within acres of a natural conservation area in the Chambal Valley. 

 

 

 

The Accommodation combines the warmth of local homes with the comfort of modern amenities. Every effort has been made to make the lodge as eco-friendly and sympathetic to its surroundings as possible. The Lodge offers thirteen rooms/cottages.

 

 

 

The Claridges, New Delhi

Room type: Deluxe room

No. of Nights: 1

Location: New Delhi

The Claridges remains one of New Delhi’s most iconic hotels. A perfect amalgamation of elegance and contemporary luxury, it is located in close proximity to the Capital’s bustling commercial and cultural centers.

Long ago, the plush lawns of The Claridges Garden used to be India’s first Prime Minister Mr. Nehru’s favourite spot for an evening tea. Here, you will find yourself in the most stunning stretch of Lutyen’s Delhi, surrounded by a classic blend of colonial charm and modern amenities.

The hotel offers exquisitely appointed rooms and suites, an array of celebrated dining options, as well as dedicated leisure and business facilities. It is also equipped with a delightful temperature-controlled swimming pool, complete with sun decks, cabanas, loungers and a bar, where you can savour exotic cocktails, amidst uplifting music and ambient lighting.

Surrounded with expansive lawns, the hotel is designed to leave nothing wanting. With truly Indian warmth and service, it is the very best Delhi has to offer.

 

Passports and Visa Information

UK passport holders require a visa for entry to India. Click here to apply for a visa online via the official evisa website. Please click here for visa application processing requirements. 

Please refer to the Foreign Office website for general Visas information.

 

Foreign Office Travel Advice including Health & Safety Information

Click here for Foreign Office travel advice (for UK nationals). 

Click here for health information (National Travel Health Network and Centre) including vaccine recommendations.

 

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is a pre-requisite for participating on a Grand Cultural Tour. If you do not currently have travel insurance and would like to contact our partner travel insurance company, please click here for more details.

 

Currency

The currency of India is the Indian Rupee. 

 

Weather

Click here for the BBC's weather page.

 

Reading list

 

Flight Duration

13 hours 20 minutes (departing from London)

Dates & Prices

Start Date(s) Price excluding flights* Single supplement

27th October 2017

£7,350

£1,550

17th November 2017

£7,350

£1,550

19th January 2018

£7,350

£1,550

2nd March 2018

£7,350

£1,550

* Please click here for more information regarding flights for this tour.

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