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  • India
  • Grand Tour of North India

Grand Tour of North India

17 Day Escorted Tour

India, Indian Subcontinent
All Meals Included
Challenging Pace

Delve into the spiritual fabric of this intoxicating country on our 17 day itinerary which showcases the complex heart of North India, from intriguing Hindu rituals upon the Ganges, to the Sikh's golden symbol of brotherhood in Amritsar and the colonial inspired Christ Church which crowns Shimla's snow-capped Himalayan peaks. Along the way, sample wild culinary delights, marvel at a chaotic tapestry of lost empires and discover one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, The Taj Mahal.

2022 Dossier

2023 Dossier

Tour Highlights

  • City tours of Delhi, Varanasi, Jaipur and Amritsar
  • Sunrise boat trip along the Ganges
  • Tour the magnificent Taj Mahal, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World
  • Traverse mountainous terrains on the UNESCO recognised Toy Train
  • Summer capital of British India - Shimla
  • Explore the Golden Temple, a highly revered site for Sikhs
Number of nights


Day 1
UK to Delhi

Depart London on your scheduled, overnight flight to Delhi.

Day 2

Lunch & Dinner

On arrival into India's capital, you will be met by a local guide and transferred to your hotel. In the evening, experience flavoursome local dishes at your welcome meal.

Day 3

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Following breakfast, a full day city tour will commence. Travel through narrow streets and along naan scented markets on a rickshaw and pass by the Red Fort before stumbling upon the UNESCO recognised Humanyun's Tomb, a captivating mausoleum that seemingly floats above landscaped gardens. Admire the transition en route from Old Delhi's historic charms to the intricate colonial town planning of New Delhi; view the minimalistic Mahatma Gandhi Memorial adorned in floral tributes before wandering through the Qutab Minar complex, a city awash with ancient ruins sculpted by the country's finest craftsmen.

Day 4
Delhi to Varanasi

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

This morning, take a train from Delhi to the sacred 'City of Life' - Varanasi. Check in to your hotel for the next two nights, before an afternoon at leisure exploring one of the world's oldest continually inhabited cities, regarded as one of Hinduism's seven holy cities. Your evening tour takes you to a ghat - steps that lead to the Ganges - to witness the humbling Ganga Aarti Ceremony, a spellbinding display of candles afloat along the river.

Day 5

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Begin today with a sunrise boat trip along the Ganges for a unique perspective of this spiritual watercourse and its vivid embankment of pastel edifices pierced by temple stupas. Spend the rest of your morning on a walking tour through this ancient city to observe other ghats, each with distinct floral decoration and uses including the intriguing 'burning ghats' used for funeral precessions. Continue your exploration of Varanasi at the Vishwanath Temple, a monument dedicated to Lord Shiva and famed for an illustrious gold-coated dome. Enjoy a half-day tour of Sarnath, a sacred site on which the Buddha gave his first sermon after finding enlightenment in 530BC. Your tour includes visits to ancient relics that document the area's spiritual significance including the Monastery Ruins, a tranquil park interrupted by a towering stupa engraved with delicate geometric carvings. Return for your final evening in Varanasi.

Day 6
Varanasi to Jaipur

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

This morning fly to the capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur and transfer to your hotel. Your evening is at leisure to explore a colourful web of chaotic roadways disturbed by meandering camels, bazaars dressed in vibrant textiles and the constant whirl of cycle rickshaws around Rajasthan's largest city.

Day 7

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

A full day tour of Jaipur begins at the Amber Fort, a former ancient capital centred on a distinctive pink-yellow marbled royal palace. You will travel to the fort by jeep, allowing you to observe harems of the Maharajah, complex mosaic designs and snake charmers. Continue to the UNESCO recognised Jantar Mantar, a fascinating collection of archaic astronomical instruments including the world's largest stone sundial. Later this morning, visit the distinct Hawa Mahal, a pink honeycomb landmark, constructed to provide ladies of the royal household an observatory for city life.

Day 8
Jaipur to Agra

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

After breakfast, take a scenic coach ride to Agra, where a network of rickshaws, jalebis vendors filling the air with sweet aromas and ancient Mandir temples alluding to the Mughal Empire's past grandeur await.

Day 9

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Begin today at a tour highlight and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal. This iconic ivory-white mausoleum was completed in 1640 for Emperor Shah Jajan's beloved third wife. Wander along ornamental gardens to witness the breath-taking spectacle of its minarets and distinctive bronze dome reflecting the illumination of daybreak. After lunch visit the UNESCO recognised Agra Fort, an enormous sandstone city of pavilions, palaces and splendid courtyards behind 20-metre-high walls.

Day 10
Agra to Delhi

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

After breakfast depart Agra on your coach to Delhi and on arrival check in at the hotel to rest.

Day 11
Delhi to Shimla

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

This morning board your train to Chandigarh, from here drive along a winding track around rugged mountains and through luscious pine forests to the hill station of Shimla - the former summer capital of British India whose snow-dusted mountain position offers incredible views of the Himalayan mountains.

Day 12

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Depart Shimla this morning for a day in the neighbouring hill station of Kufri. Nestled at the Himalayan foothills, this charming town is surrounded by a picturesque forest reserve under the imposing gaze of Mahsu Peak. Having admired the wild beauty of Kufri, tour the magnificent Rashtrapati Niwas, a former home to the British Viceroy. Its opulent exterior invites visitors to explore a maze of corridors, opening into grand wood-panelled rooms.

Day 13
Shimla to Chandigarh

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

This morning, catch the UNESCO recognised Toy Train to Dharampur Station, built by colonial forces, it offers dramatic views along its winding course through untouched forests and across immense gorges. Arrive in the city of Chandigarh for an evening at leisure.

Day 14
Chandigarh to Amritsar

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Following a packed breakfast, take the train to the largest city in the Punjab state, Amritsar. Your afternoon will be at leisure to explore the Sikhs' holy city at your own pace.

Day 15

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Enjoy a half-day city tour of Amritsar with a visit to the Golden Temple. Revered amongst Sikhs, this spectacular golden tank blends Islamic and Hindu architecture, surrounded by the Pool of Nectar. The ancient monument also contains a mesmerising display of floral motifs carved into marble alongside shimmering gold panels. After lunch enjoy an afternoon to explore at your own pace, alternatively undertake an optional excursion (at a fee) to the Indian-Pakistan border and witness the fascinating flag-lowering ceremony, a daily ritual of each side's soldiers competing to out-march, out-salute and out-shout one another.

Day 16
Amritsar to Delhi

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

This morning transfer to Amritsar airport for your flight to Delhi. On arrival at Delhi you will be transferred to your hotel for your overnight stay.

Day 17
Delhi to UK or extension


After breakfast transfer to the airport in Delhi for your flight back to the UK or continue to your chosen extension.

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Dates & Prices

Price (per person)
Dates available
January 2023
from £2,379
4 Dates
4th Jan - 20th Jan
11th Jan - 27th Jan
18th Jan - 3rd Feb
25th Jan - 10th Feb
February 2023
from £2,299
4 Dates
1st Feb - 17th Feb
8th Feb - 24th Feb
15th Feb - 3rd Mar
22nd Feb - 10th Mar
March 2023
from £2,299
4 Dates
1st Mar - 17th Mar
8th Mar - 24th Mar
15th Mar - 31st Mar
22nd Mar - 7th Apr
April 2023
from £2,159
3 Dates
12th Apr - 28th Apr
19th Apr - 5th May
26th Apr - 12th May
May 2023
from £1,969
2 Dates
17th May - 2nd Jun
24th May - 9th Jun
June 2023
from £2,349
1 Date
7th Jun - 23rd Jun
August 2023
from £2,179
2 Dates
2nd Aug - 18th Aug
30th Aug - 15th Sep
September 2023
from £2,179
4 Dates
6th Sep - 22nd Sep
13th Sep - 29th Sep
20th Sep - 6th Oct
27th Sep - 13th Oct
October 2023
from £2,279
3 Dates
4th Oct - 20th Oct
11th Oct - 27th Oct
18th Oct - 3rd Nov
November 2023
from £2,179
5 Dates
1st Nov - 17th Nov
8th Nov - 24th Nov
15th Nov - 1st Dec
22nd Nov - 8th Dec
29th Nov - 15th Dec
December 2023
from £2,399
1 Date
6th Dec - 22nd 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
4 nights
Delhi, India
More details
Radisson Hotel Varanasi
2 nights
Varanasi, India
More details
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Tour Reviews

Patricia Crossley

27 Mar 20

All hotels were excellent

James Darling

24 Mar 20

All the hotels were excellent

Christine Gibb

22 Mar 20


Sarah Clark

17 Mar 20

I valued that all hotels had a swimming pool. All hotel rooms were of a very good/excellent standard. Staff were cheerful and polite in all. Our guide (Moon) was superb. In fact, I checked with Mercury to ensure he was leading the tour I booked as I had enjoyed my first visit to India so much. He was unending in his energy and efforts to ensure we had a great tour. He gave the less sure and less mobile in the group special attention, and entertained us royally with his stories about his beloved country on the longer coach journeys.

Philip Gedge

04 Nov 19

Generally Very Good! Our favourite was probably the Ranthambore Regency. Drinks prices were very expensive, especially in the Park - Delhi

Zuri White Sands was very good although pretty noisy in the restaurant when there was a wedding on!

Fiona Larden

20 Oct 19

All the hotels were first class and the hotel in Shimla was outstanding.

Maura Preston

27 Jul 19

All hotels were very good, good locations, great service & excellent food

John Davie

12 Jun 19

all hotels on this tour were excellent.

Leslie Perrin

27 May 19

All Hotels were excellent and welcome at the end of the day.

M Frith

17 Apr 19

The guides were excellent and very knowledgeable. The pace of the tour was good but a bit too much in the heat. The hotels good and lovely service.

A Wyle

01 Apr 19

The representative to the whole tour was excellent. The rep was very knowledgeable.

Rosalind Chamberlin

25 Mar 19

Hotel's all clean and the food available was very good.

Kay Kirk

21 Mar 19

The guide, Mr Jaswant Singh was very polite and professional. He had many challenges, a death, time travel changes and some very difficult people to support. He made the holiday special with his consideration to all and very helpful when showing the group the true sights of north India. A credit to the company.

Sian Pugh

09 Mar 19

All hotels were of a high standard, food was excellent. Had an excellent experience touring India, our guide was excellent and very knowledgeable regarding the history of India. All the hotels were excellent and all transport was very good. Overall had a marvellous time and would highly recommend Mercury Holidays.

W Hollister

21 Feb 19

Excellent guide Amit Sharma, Superb grasp of history and good at telling the history. Our driver for the three days in Shimla was outstanding.

Stephen Baker

10 Feb 19

Hotels good, food good,

David Clear

09 Feb 19

The hotels in Delhi, Agra, Amritsar, Chandigarh and Shimla were particularly good.

Patricia Garner

01 Jan 19

All Hotel's selected for us on the tour were excellent

Marianne Harper

14 Dec 18

Radisson at Shimla was particularly nice. I should particularly like to commend our guide for his knowledge, charm & efficiency which made for a wonderful & hassle-free holiday.

Mary Cubitt

08 Dec 18

Top quality hotels and staff. No problems anywhere. A very comprehensive tour great value for money and our guide went out of his way to give us some memorable experiences. Thank you Mercury.

Anne Robertson

17 Oct 18

All the hotels were 1st class

Len Goodes

26 May 18

Holiday Inn Changigarh was an unexpected stay because of the airport closure. It was probably at its best in the 1960's. In fairness,a lot of staff working hard with very little to work with. I thought all the hotels were very good. I only heard one negative comment about the Park in Delhi. The lady in question did not take up the issue of a dirty room with the management at the time ! Enough said.

Maureen Tizick

26 May 18

All very good, clean, helpful staff members, good facilities

Petula Southern

13 May 18

The hotels used where of exceptional quality and especially the Radisson Hotel in Shimla and the Leela Riz in Kovalam. The food and cleanliness where fabulous and staff amazing

William Robins

12 Mar 18

Excellent service and and value for money.

Michael Rose

24 Feb 18

Excellent hotels. The location of the Restaurant in Shimla was unfortunate, but beyond Mercury Holiday control.

Brenda Heron

08 Dec 17

Good tour guide very clear diction and his knowledge of India was very good. Nice hotels good food very clean with large rooms. Some early starts but needed to get to some monuments before the rush. We were apprehensive about the trip but our fears were unfounded and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The bicycle rickshaw ride in old Delhi, elephant ride, Taj Mahal and sighting a tiger on the safari was great fun

Louise Riley

07 Nov 17

Hotels were very good indeed.

Susan Hunt

18 Oct 17

It is the first time we have used Mercury Holidays and I was very impressed with how smoothly the holiday went. The hotels were fantastic, the transport efficient and our guide Hemant was very knowledgeable and helpful. We would have no hesitation in using your company again and have already spread the word to friends and family.

David Buckley

31 May 17

All hotels excellent, staff very attentive, and food although very good could have been improved with a few more western meals for the faint hearted ?

Ann Sherwin

20 Jan 17

Rooms not great of the Park Hotel but the food made up for it.

Kenneth Harrow

03 Nov 16

All hotels to a good standard.

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Extend Your Tour

Grand Tour of North India with Tigers of Ranthambore Extension

4 Day Extension



Grand Tour of North India with Goa Beach Stay

5 Day Extension



Grand Tour of North India with Delhi City Stay

3 Day Extension



Important Information

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 £114 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. Alternatively you can visit The Indian Visa Application Centre in London: 142-148 Goswell Road, London, EC1B 7DU.

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. 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. This tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.

The minimum number of travellers in your group will be 8, and the maximum will be 40. If in the unlikely event there are less than 8 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 £400 per person will be sufficient for the duration of the tour.