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  • India
  • Essence of North India

Essence of North India

10 Day Escorted Tour

India, Indian Subcontinent
Intermediate Pace

Travelling from Delhi to Agra, then Jaipur, this 10-day, 8-night tour of the Golden Triangle and the exotic Ranthambore National Park takes you through India's most famous sights. Ride a rickshaw around Old Delhi, marvel at the Taj Mahal and discover the Pink City. You'll also spend 2 nights in Ranthambore where you'll have the chance to spot the Royal Bengal Tigers.

2022 Dossier

2023 Dossier

Tour Highlights

  • City tour of Old and New Delhi
  • Spot Bengal Tigers in Ranthambore National Park
  • The UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Taj Mahal
  • See the City Palace in Jaipur
  • Visit the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial
  • Tour the courtyards of the Red, Agra & Amber Forts
  • Rickshaw ride through Old Delhi
Number of nights


Day 1
UK to Delhi

Depart London on your scheduled, overnight flight to Delhi International Airport.

Day 2

Lunch & Dinner

On arrival in Delhi, you will be met by your local guide and transferred to your hotel. After settling in, a short tour of the beautifully planned city of New Delhi will follow. Offering you a taste of its imperial glory, you'll drive past the India Gate, President's House, Parliament Building and visit the Birla Temple, made purely out of 2,000 tons of Rajasthani white marble.

Day 3

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

A full day tour of Delhi commences after breakfast, beginning with the historic Old Delhi in the morning. Lying side by side, Old Delhi dates back to the Mughal period, whilst New Delhi was built just over a hundred years ago. Travelling through the narrow and crowded streets on a rickshaw will transport you back in time, passing vibrant food markets of Old Delhi where bread makers bake delicious scented naan from the tandoor ovens and chai wallahs brew their sweet tea. A visit to the regal Red Fort gives you a sense of the lavish life once led by the former rulers before stopping for lunch in a local restaurant. Your tour will continue on to New Delhi to see the Mahatma Gandhi memorial and the 12th century Qutab Minar. Built on the foundations of Jain and Hindu temples, the complex was built in 1193 after the defeat of Delhi's last Hindu kingdom and displays fine examples of Indo-Islamic architecture as well as the tallest stone tower in India.

Day 4
Delhi to Agra

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

After breakfast, you will be driven to Agra arriving at your hotel in time for lunch. Despite being a small city, Agra was once the capital of the mighty Mughal dynasty whose strength manifested itself in the huge forts and buildings built to maintain its power. During the afternoon, you will visit the vast red sandstone Agra Fort. The colossal walled city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, built by the Mughals in 1573 and boasts gigantic pavilions, grand palaces and spectacular courtyards.

Day 5
Agra to Ranthambore

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

This magical day starts after breakfast with a tour of one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal. Words do not do this remarkable palace justice; it really must be seen to appreciate its stupendous beauty. Taking 17 years and 20,000 men to build, the heartbroken Mughal Emperor Shahjahan dedicated this stunning white marble monument of love to his deceased wife to enshrine her mortal remains. Following this, you will begin your journey to Ranthambore National Park where you will spend the night.

Day 6

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Spread over 1,344 square kilometers, Ranthambore National Park is one of the biggest and most renowned national parks in Northern India. Once a famous hunting ground for the gallant rulers of Jaipur, today it is home to a variety of species including tigers, leopards, striped hyenas, jackals, jungle cats and many more. Depart your hotel for an early morning jungle safari where you may even be able to spot the elusive tiger. You will return to your hotel for breakfast and lunch with some leisure time where you can take advantage of the hotel's outdoor swimming pool. A second safari trip will follow in the afternoon to visit further areas of the park.

Day 7
Ranthambore to Jaipur

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Today you will journey to the Pink City of Jaipur, which got its name from the distinctive earthy red-coloured buildings, painted to emulate the red sandstone architecture of the ancient Mughal cities. Lunch and dinner will be served at your hotel with the rest of the day as free time to relax or explore the largest city in Rajasthan.

Day 8

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Begin your first day in Jaipur with a visit to the spectacular Amber Fort, the ancient capital of the royal family until 1728, located just 11km from Jaipur. Spanning over four huge courtyards, you will travel to the centre of the fort by Jeep, passing snake charmers, harems of the Maharajah and the Palace of Mirrors along the way which all make for a truly unforgettable morning. An afternoon city tour of Jaipur takes in the major sights including the home of the royal family of Jaipur - The City Palace and the Jantar Mantar, an astronomical observatory. Lastly, marvel at the hundreds of tiny windows on the facade of the Hawa Mahal, known to many as the Palace of Winds, where it is said that the women of the royal family could once watch the streets below without being seen. There will also be a cultural dance show.

Day 9
Jaipur to Delhi

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

The morning is left free so that after breakfast you can visit some of the local bazaars and stalls for some last minute shopping. Try the M1 Road and Chaemeliwala market for jewellery, handicrafts, textile and more, or wander the streets and sample the delicious and unique Rajasthani street food that Jaipur has to offer. You will then commence your return journey to Delhi, stopping for lunch on the way. A final farewell dinner in Delhi will bring your tour to a close to round off this unforgettable trip.

Day 10
Delhi to the UK


After breakfast, you will have some free time before transferring to Delhi International airport in the afternoon for your return flight to the UK or to your chosen extension.

View Full Itinerary

Dates & Prices

Price (per person)
Dates available
January 2023
from £1,599
3 Dates
3rd Jan - 12th Jan
24th Jan - 2nd Feb
31st Jan - 9th Feb
February 2023
from £1,599
4 Dates
7th Feb - 16th Feb
14th Feb - 23rd Feb
21st Feb - 2nd Mar
28th Feb - 9th Mar
March 2023
from £1,599
4 Dates
7th Mar - 16th Mar
14th Mar - 23rd Mar
21st Mar - 30th Mar
28th Mar - 6th Apr
April 2023
from £1,399
2 Dates
4th Apr - 13th Apr
25th Apr - 4th May
May 2023
from £1,249
5 Dates
2nd May - 11th May
9th May - 18th May
16th May - 25th May
23rd May - 1st Jun
30th May - 8th Jun
June 2023
from £1,449
2 Dates
6th Jun - 15th Jun
13th Jun - 22nd Jun
July 2023
from £1,569
2 Dates
4th Jul - 13th Jul
18th Jul - 27th Jul
August 2023
from £1,599
1 Date
29th Aug - 7th Sep
September 2023
from £1,549
4 Dates
5th Sep - 14th Sep
12th Sep - 21st Sep
19th Sep - 28th Sep
26th Sep - 5th Oct
October 2023
from £1,679
5 Dates
3rd Oct - 12th Oct
10th Oct - 19th Oct
17th Oct - 26th Oct
24th Oct - 2nd Nov
31st Oct - 9th Nov
November 2023
from £1,639
3 Dates
14th Nov - 23rd Nov
21st Nov - 30th Nov
28th Nov - 7th Dec
December 2023
from £1,689
1 Date
5th Dec - 14th Dec


The hotels listed below are provided for guidance only and final confirmation of your accommodation will be sent to you approximately 90 days before you travel
Metropolitan Hotel and Spa
3 nights
Delhi, India
More details
Ramada Plaza
1 nights
Agra, India
More details
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Tour Reviews

Linda Hennigan

22 Mar 20

The Ranthambore Regency was a lovely setting, I could have stayed there a couple more days!

P Robinson

18 Mar 20

Our tour guide Jenwant was excellent. Took care of everything and contributed to our enjoyment on our holiday.

Penelope Mabley

17 Mar 20

Food good

All other hotels good

Joan Scobbie

13 Mar 20

During our stay we stayed in three hotels, all of them were of a high standa d ,both of accommodation and assistance of the staff, the food was also fantastic, lots of choice,both local and English -European . All the staff were very attentive and helpful .the rooms were clean and well equipped.

Andrew Wells-King

22 Feb 20

All hotels were excellent. Our guide and driver were excellent. Also the assistant who kept us supplied with water.

Janett Gavrielides

17 Feb 20

All hotels above expectations

Joan Scobbie

16 Feb 20

We stayed in four hotels during our stay ,returning to the hotel in Delhi for the last night before our return. Every one of the hotels were of the standard expected, the food was exceptional, and all the staff were friendly, and attentive without being pushy.

Shirley May

31 Jan 20

hotels were all very good

Peter Cadman

19 Nov 19

They were very well situated with extremely pleasant and helpful staff and all were of a very high standard. The food was excellent throughout, however when lunch and dinner were provided they were exactly the same choice and this became a little repetitive.

Jacqueline Pearce

15 Nov 19

All good hotels. I noticed that some of the hotels we used were also used by Saga, Riveria, and Travelsphere!! They are more expensive than Mercury! As a single traveller I was not placed in a cupboard round the back which was refreshing!!!

Jan Cove

28 Sep 19

Excellent holiday ,our guide Giri was brilliant , very knowledgable and helpful

Aidan Dale

27 Sep 19

All the hotels were excellent. The staff were fantastic, especially at the regency. The Park hotel in Delhi was extremely expensive for drinks, costing twice as much as all the other hotels.

Linda Binding

24 Sep 19

The smaller chains were the most friendly and nothing was too much trouble. The bigger hotels we're still beautiful, but there was less personal interaction. They were very comfortable, food excellent. Would highly recommend. I was alone for my add on travel to Kerala, but I received everything and more. I felt thoroughly spoilt. My driver and guide, Sandeep ( can't spell driver's name!) We're very friendly, courteous and made my time very enjoyable. I felt safe and secure. Bliss.

Robert Spence

16 Sep 19

We had very good rooms very clean , hotel staff always very helpful .Ranthambore stay was the best one. We have been very impressed with the very professional way the Tour manager the bus driver and his assistant made our holiday very special. Thank you.

Colin Mortimer

13 Sep 19

the service in Lemon tree in Jaipur was lacking. All others exceeded expectation. The organisation of this tour from initial enquiry to drop off at departure gate was incredible. the tour guide fantastic.

M Timms

10 Jul 19

Excellent well organised trip. The tour guide was excellent knowledgeable, looked after us well during the tour and assisted well with any questions. The transport could have been more comfortable as a lot of time travelling. The Ramada hotel food choice wasn't as good. Would have liked more time in Taj Mahal as that was the main event for us. The staff very helpful and welcoming and thanks to our tour guide Pankash. I enjoyed the trip immensely most memorable.

Malcolm Chubb

17 Jun 19

All hotels were of a really good standard with comfortable accommodation and good dining facilities. Staff on the whole were polite and attentive except for The Lemon Tree in Jaipur which was just a little disappointing when set against the standard of the other three. This is our third foray with Mercury and definitely not the last. The quality of the overall package and the attention to detail is simply the Best. Thank you to all the staff responsible for ensuring that you make a holiday so very professional.

Elizabeth Matthews

01 Jun 19

All hotels were good. Particularly liked the one at Ranthambore (regency). The one least liked The Lemon Tree but no complaints about any of them

David Foyle

10 May 19

Far exceeded all expectations in all disciplines.

Anne Watson

22 Apr 19

All hotels were of a standard we have come to expect when travelling with you.

Stephen Hinton

19 Apr 19

Hotel in Kerala was excellent.

Cheryll Wilkinson

15 Apr 19

The hotels were all of a good quality, service was great, food was varied and of a high standard, staff were extremely helpful, all had swimming pools which I used with the exception of The Lemon Tree where maintenance was being carried out during my stay.

Lynn Shardlow

30 Mar 19

All hotels were excellent, as was the food, although we did feel that The Lemon Tree wasn't quite up to standard of the others, but the staff were very polite, food was average, the other hotels were excellent.

I Watson

29 Mar 19

Wonderful service excellent guide, bus driver and (co) pilot Arun who was very attentive to our needs. Helping with water and keeping the bus clean, we felt very safe throughout and all our needs were met over and above.

Stephen Rogers

23 Mar 19

The hotels were all of a high standard with a large selection of food. The only adverse comment would be that we didn't like the frosted glass partition to the bathroom at the Park Hotel in Delhi.

Barbara Emms

18 Mar 19

Park Hotel, Delhi - Room wasn't brilliant, food 1st class. Hotel Good. Ramada Hotel, Agra - Excellent room, food very good, hotel 1st class Ranthambore Regency - Room good, food Very Good, Hotel Very Good Lemon Tree - Jaipur - Excellent throughout

P Brackstone

27 Feb 19

Our tour guide was fantastic 100%. The tour was also enjoyed by my 21 year old grandson.

J Whitley

21 Feb 19

Our guide Daulat was excellent, Nothing was too much trouble for him to arrange.

Jenny Whitley

18 Feb 19

All came up to a very high standard. The trip was well organised and India is a fabulous place to visit.I look forward to returning one day. Jet Airways is comfortable with ample leg room.

Alison Morris

10 Feb 19

All the hotels were excellent. The food was varied and good quality. It was great that we could drink the water and not have to rely on bottled water. Bedrooms all excellent and staff very friendly and helpful. Suitcase organisation was amazing! Our guide Girrij was fantastic and really made the holiday for us. He was a fountain of information, was friendly and entertaining. He made us feel very safe and this helped us to relax and enjoy the holiday. We cannot praise him too highly! We also felt that the holiday was great value for money.

S Green

24 Jan 19

Fabulous trip

The rep, driver and helper all brilliant a great group of people.

Doreen Grieve

21 Jan 19

All hotel were of a very high standard and staff always vert pleasant and helpful.

Robert Butcher

07 Dec 18

All of the hotels used were of good standard. Food was good and varied. The guide, Amit Sharma, was extremely knowledgeable and of great assistance being of constant service throughout

W Carr

06 Dec 18

Essence of North India guides were excellent, very knowledgeable and accommodating to customer needs.

Gwendolyn Alker

02 Dec 18

Food in The Park hotel Delhi was particularly good.

Patricia Hargreaves

23 Nov 18

My add on at Abad Turtle Beach, Margarita was just as good as on my previous visit, the staff are charming and so welcoming.

G Emmons

19 Nov 18

The tour guide was first class

Patricia Went

18 Sep 18

wonderful..First class.!!!

Michael White

30 May 18

all hotels on used on the tour where great no complaints

Patricia Brown

26 May 18

Hotels were all of a high standard. Food was great and rooms were well equipped.

Mary Mcatamney

27 Sep 17

All the Hotels were excellent! Staff were amazing especially in Park Hotel.

Variety of food was very good.

Cleanliness of rooms and bathrooms could not have been better.

Lesley Bordoli

14 Mar 17

All hotels were of good value for money. The staff in all were excellent, friendly & obliging. Ample food at all buffets with good variety

Emma Tattersall

29 Jan 17


Janet Strickson

16 Dec 16

All hotels were very good standard although Turtle on the Beach in Kerala was the best, breakfast was great

Alison Skedd

22 Nov 16

Overall the tour hotels were very good - the Park hotel, Delhi, was excellent on both visits. Ranthambore Regency had the best ambience of all hotels, it was a delightful oasis. The Casino Hotel was very clean, small and intimate. Alanya Nivas was in a wonderful location

Julia Bearne

07 Nov 16

Breath taking sights and scenery every day.

Allyson Lewis

03 Nov 16

The guide was excellent. The overall tour was better than expected, much better than the tour company I previously used.

Jeanne Howe

06 Oct 16

I am a 70 year old widow and last year I got bored with my grown up children nagging me to go on holiday. To teach them a lesson I told them that I had booked a holiday ‘oh well done Mum, where to?’ ‘India’ I replied. ‘What!!! Who are you going with?’ ‘On my own’ I replied. ‘Mum, you can’t!’ I didn’t tell them I was going with Mercury Holidays or that I was a little bit nervous. After booking I rang you a couple of times and your representatives were incredibly helpful, charming, intelligent comforting and so supportive, encouraging me to ring them If I needed anything before I left. Everything was so well arranged from the flight, throughout my holiday. The hotels, internal travel, the drivers, tour guides were excellent, helpful interesting and knowledgeable. Now I am telling everyone I meet to travel to India with Mercury Holidays. My thanks to everyone and best wishes, I will let you know how I get on in New Orleans in October!

Josephine Spence

08 Jun 16

Guide was excellent good knowledge and great sense of humour. Very helpful in all aspects.

Margaret Jones

07 Jun 16

The hotel at Ranthambore with its lovely setting immediately outside the 'motel style' rooms, and the food was best at the Dehli hotel. The other hotels had more character than the Dehli (Park?) hotel, but all were excellent in their own ways.

Maureen & Roger Pike

05 Jun 16

Our tour guide Abbei was just wonderful, so knowledgeable, caring & funny. He is just a great fellow who could not do enough for all of us. The only downside to our entire holiday was the food. I stated at the time of booking that both my husband & I do not eat curry. Our tour guide Ammie got this problem sorted out halfway through our trip.

Lisa Wort

24 May 16

Excellent hotels great staff

David Shearer

31 Mar 16

Better than expected. Buffet meal choices not great but food okay. Had stated when booking required non feather bedding but spent a while at first hotel sorting this out.

Jacqueline Thurlow

08 Mar 16

All Hotels were excellent, with food served being plentiful and varied. Maids and housekeepers all good, Receptions at all hotels excellent. WIFI provision was varied and sometimes poor but we were on holiday and usually escape from all of that anyway! Customer Service team at the Uday Samudra were very attentive. Pool attendants very helpful as sunbeds were extremely solid and heavy to move.

Jane Holt

28 Feb 16

Hotels were advertised as 4/5 star but were more like 3 star. Although for the price of the tour couldn't have expected more.

Keith Hanson

03 Nov 15

All hotels were first rate, especially theVivanta By Taj

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Extend Your Tour

Essence of North India with Highlights of Kerala Extension

5 Day Extension



Essence of North India with Kerala Beach Stay

4 Day Extension



Essence of North India with Goa Beach Stay

5 Day Extension



Essence of North India with Delhi City Stay

3 Day Extension



Essence of North India with Shimla City Stay

5 Day Extension



Important Information

A visa is required for entry into India. British Citizen Passport Holders will need to obtain a tourist visa. We work closely with The Travel Visa Company who will be able to arrange your visa on your behalf. Please call them on 01270 250 590 and quote 'Mercury Holidays'. The Travel Visa Company can only apply for this 120 days before your proposed travel date. When calling the Travel Visa Company they will advise you of any changes to the fees or the procedure, they will also advise you of all information they will require in order to apply for the visa. Alternatively you can visit The Indian Visa Application Centre in London: 142-148 Goswell Road, London, EC1B 7DU. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months before you enter India. Visa requirements are subject to change and obtaining a visa is the responsibility of the traveller and not Mercury Holidays. We recommend you check with your destinations? Tourist Board or Embassy prior to departure for the most up to date guidelines regarding visas and passport validity

We strongly recommend that you and all members of your party are suitably insured as soon as you book your holiday. It is a condition of booking that you must have suitable travel insurance. It is important that you purchase travel insurance that suitably covers your participation in whatever activities you may undertake at the time that you make your booking. To assist you with this, we have arranged travel insurance in partnership with Holiday Extras. To arrange your travel insurance with Holiday Extras, please call 0800 781 4237 and quote 'WK830' for preferential rates. Please ensure you provide us with the name of your insurer, policy number and their 24-hour emergency contact number as soon as possible. Mercury Holidays will not be liable for any costs incurred by you due to your failure to take out suitable travel insurance from the date of booking.

If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of £250pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.

Your group tour flights are operated Virgin Atlantic departing from London Heathrow Final flight details will be confirmed on your final documentation which will be sent to you approximately 10 days before departure. Each passenger is entitled to 23kg of hold luggage and one piece of hand luggage not exceeding 10kg and with maximum total dimensions not exceeding 115cm (56cm x 36cm x 23cm). If you wish to take additional luggage you will need to pay extra at check-in. If you are taking an extension (excluding the Goa extension) then your flights will be with Emirates, departing London Heathrow via Dubai. Each passenger is entitled to 1X hold luggage plus 1 item of hand luggage not exceeding (Max 10kg - 55cm/38cm/ 20cm) in size. IMPORTANT: Please note that final flight details will be confirmed on your final documentation which will be sent to you approximately 10 days before departure. Should you wish to take additional luggage you will need to pay extra at check-in. Check-In should be at least 3 hours before departure. If you wish to arrange Airport car parking or accommodation at preferential rates, we recommend you book this in advance with Holiday Extras on 0871 360 2000, quoting HX313.

It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in good time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.

This tour is accessible to most people with an average level of fitness and normal mobility. It involves full days of sightseeing, often on foot, and includes some climbing of stairs and getting on and off coaches and boats. This tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.

The minimum number of travellers in your group will be 10, and the maximum will be 40. If in the unlikely event there are less than 10 people booked on your tour date, we will endeavour to reduce any disruption to your holiday and try to operate your tour with lower passenger numbers. If we are not able to operate your departure date then you may be asked to change to a different date and a full refund will be made available to you should this alternative not be suitable.

This is a fully escorted tour, meaning that you will be met on arrival by your national guide who will remain with you for the duration of your trip. You will also be joined by a local guide in each of the cities which you visit, ensuring that you have first-hand knowledge at all times.

The currency in India is the Rupee or Rs. The Rupee is a closed currency and officially you are not allowed to take any cash out of India. US Dollars and GBP are also widely accepted in India should you wish to keep an alternative currency on you. There are restrictions on taking Indian rupees into India. Visitors, including tourists, are not permitted to take any amount of Indian currency into the country. You can take cash or travellers' cheques (in pounds sterling or another foreign currency) and/or a bank card with you and exchange or withdraw rupees once in India.

You will need to take some extra money with you to cover any personal purchases, such as souvenirs, laundry and extra drinks and snacks. Approximately £100 - £200 will be sufficient for the duration of the tour, depending on how much of a bargain-hunter you are!