- Essence of North India with Highlights of Kerala
Why not continue your trip in India and head south with a mini tour of the beautiful Indian state of Kerala.
This map is for the main tour only
Depart London on your scheduled, overnight flight to Delhi International Airport.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Depart Delhi in the morning for your flight to Cochin in India's beautiful southern state of Kerala, where you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Today you will board a traditional houseboat which will be both your transport and accommodation. This leisurely cruise takes you through the winding backwaters of Kerala, meandering through the beautiful lagoons, rivers and canals whilst enjoying the local food and stunning rural scenery of the surrounding villages.
Disembarking your houseboat after breakfast, your tour continues with a drive through the spectacular countryside. Journey on to Thekkady, a stunning area located high in the Cardamom hills containing tea gardens, rubber, coffee and pepper plantations. Following lunch, a visit to a plantation and spice market await you.
A highlight of Thekkady is the Periyar National Park, India's largest wildlife sanctuary. Board a boat at Periyar Lake where you can view various species of wildlife and enjoy picturesque scenery. Proceed to Cochin for a city tour to see the impressive Chinese fishing nets, before taking a ride through the village roads in a tuk-tuk. You will see the Mattanchery Duch Palace and St. Francis, the oldest European church in India.
Depart after breakfast for your return flight to the UK.
Linda Hennigan22 Mar 20
The Ranthambore Regency was a lovely setting, I could have stayed there a couple more days!
P Robinson18 Mar 20
Our tour guide Jenwant was excellent. Took care of everything and contributed to our enjoyment on our holiday.
Penelope Mabley17 Mar 20
All other hotels good
Joan Scobbie13 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-King22 Feb 20
All hotels were excellent. Our guide and driver were excellent. Also the assistant who kept us supplied with water.
Janett Gavrielides17 Feb 20
All hotels above expectations
Joan Scobbie16 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 May31 Jan 20
hotels were all very good
Peter Cadman19 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 Pearce15 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 Cove28 Sep 19
Excellent holiday ,our guide Giri was brilliant , very knowledgable and helpful
Aidan Dale27 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 Binding24 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 Spence16 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 Mortimer13 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 Timms10 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 Chubb17 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 Matthews01 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 Foyle10 May 19
Far exceeded all expectations in all disciplines.
Anne Watson22 Apr 19
All hotels were of a standard we have come to expect when travelling with you.
Stephen Hinton19 Apr 19
Hotel in Kerala was excellent.
Cheryll Wilkinson15 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 Shardlow30 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 Watson29 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 Rogers23 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 Emms18 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 Brackstone27 Feb 19
Our tour guide was fantastic 100%. The tour was also enjoyed by my 21 year old grandson.
J Whitley21 Feb 19
Our guide Daulat was excellent, Nothing was too much trouble for him to arrange.
Jenny Whitley18 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 Morris10 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 Green24 Jan 19
The rep, driver and helper all brilliant a great group of people.
Doreen Grieve21 Jan 19
All hotel were of a very high standard and staff always vert pleasant and helpful.
Robert Butcher07 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 Carr06 Dec 18
Essence of North India guides were excellent, very knowledgeable and accommodating to customer needs.
Gwendolyn Alker02 Dec 18
Food in The Park hotel Delhi was particularly good.
Patricia Hargreaves23 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 Emmons19 Nov 18
The tour guide was first class
Patricia Went18 Sep 18
Michael White30 May 18
all hotels on used on the tour where great no complaints
Patricia Brown26 May 18
Hotels were all of a high standard. Food was great and rooms were well equipped.
Mary Mcatamney27 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 Bordoli14 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 Tattersall29 Jan 17
EXCELLENT EXCEPT ON LAST DAY FORGOT TO LOAD MY LUGGAGE IN TOUR BUS
Janet Strickson16 Dec 16
All hotels were very good standard although Turtle on the Beach in Kerala was the best, breakfast was great
Alison Skedd22 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 Bearne07 Nov 16
Breath taking sights and scenery every day.
Allyson Lewis03 Nov 16
The guide was excellent. The overall tour was better than expected, much better than the tour company I previously used.
Jeanne Howe06 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 Spence08 Jun 16
Guide was excellent good knowledge and great sense of humour. Very helpful in all aspects.
Margaret Jones07 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 Pike05 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 Wort24 May 16
Excellent hotels great staff
David Shearer31 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 Thurlow08 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 Holt28 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 Hanson03 Nov 15
All hotels were first rate, especially theVivanta By Taj
A visa is required for entry into India. British Citizen Passport Holders will need to obtain an e-Tourist Visa (eTV) for travel to India. 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 cost of the visa is approximately £72 per person. The Travel Visa Company can only apply for this 30 days before your proposed travel date and takes around 10 working days to issue. It is only valid for a 30 day single entry stay from the date of arrival. 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.
You must obtain suitable travel insurance prior to departure. Mercury Direct is partnered with Holiday Extras which offer insurance at the following prices: <br /><br /> <table class="basic" cellspacing="0"><thead><tr><th><b>Age in Years</b></th><th><b>Up to 64</b></th><th><b>65 - 74</b></th><th><b>75 - 85</b></th></tr></thead><tbody><tr><td>Up to 17 days cover</td><td>£39</td><td>£75</td><td>£129</td></tr></tbody></table> For all persons 86 years and over, please contact us for insurance prices. 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 Direct 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.
Flights are operated with Emirates, departing London Heathrow via Dubai. Each passenger is entitled to 30KG of hold luggage plus 1 item of hand luggage not exceeding (Max 10kg - 55cm/38cm/ 20cm) in size. Weight restrictions will be finalized on E-ticket receipt. 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. IMORTANT 2020 DEPARTURES ONWARDS: Your group tour flights are operated Virgin Atlantic departing from London Heathrow Final flight details will be confirmed on your e-ticket and 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 or flying from one of the regionals all of your flights will be with Emirates, departing London Heathrow via Dubai. Each passenger is entitled to 30KG of hold luggage plus 1 item of hand luggage not exceeding (Max 10kg - 55cm/38cm/ 20cm) in size. Weight restrictions will be finalized on E-ticket receipt. Should you wish to take additional luggage you will need to pay extra at check- in. IMPORTANT: Please note that final flight details will be confirmed on your e-ticket and final documentation which will be sent to you approximately 10 days 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.
There is no minimum number of travellers for this extension however the main tour passenger numbers will apply for the main part of the tour. If in the unlikely event there are less than the required number of people booked on your main tour date then you may be asked to change to a different date. 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 are also widely accepted in India should you wish to keep an alternative currency on you.
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!