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Escorted Tours

A Passage Through India


Route:
  • UK
  • Amritsar
  • Shimla
  • Delhi
  • Agra
  • Jaipur
  • Varanasi
  • Kolkata
  • Darjeeling
  • Mumbai
  • Cochin
  • Alleppey
  • Thekkady
  • Cochin
  • UK
Tour Pace:

28 DAYS from £2799pp

Tour Highlights
  • Admire the Holy city of Amristar
  • Ride on the UNESCO recognised 'Toy Train'
  • City tours of Delhi, Agra, the pink city of Jaipur, Varansei, Kolkata and Mumbai
  • Delight in the magnificent Taj Mahal
  • Visit Darjeeling with unforgettable views of the Himalayas
  • Explore fascinating Kerala and enjoy an overnight stay on a houseboat.

or call us on 0800 781 4893

A Passage Through India

India, a fascinating country of colour, culture and spiritualism which we have combined to offer you a true insight into this magical land. This tour will take you through cities and landscapes, UNESCO world heritage sites, the colonial capital of Kolkata and onto the vibrant tea plantations of Darjeeling before heading south through the interior to finish your tour in lush Kerala.

Tour Itinerary

1
UK to Amritsar

Depart London on your scheduled overnight flight to Amritsar via Delhi.

2
Amritsar

On arrival you will be met by a local guide and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure to explore the Sikh's holy city and its network of historic bazaars.

  • Dinner
3
Amritsar

Following breakfast, you'll enjoy a visit to the Golden Temple, one of the most awe-inspiring and memorable sights in India. Sikhism's holiest shrine, the spectacular golden temple blends Hindu and Islamic architecture, which is set off by its stunning location at the centre of a shimmering pool, known as the Pool of Nectar. After lunch, the afternoon is yours to explore at your own pace, alternatively you can take an optional excursion to the Wagah Border. Famous for its fascinating flag-lowering ceremony, Indian and Pakistani guards decked in full uniform lower their respective flags and close the border gates with as much pomp and fervour as they can muster.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
4
Amritsar to Shimla

This morning you'll board the train to Chandigarh before taking a winding, scenic drive through lush pine forests to the former summer capital of British India. Beautifully situated on a hilltop in the snow-capped Shivalik Ranges and offering stunning views of the Himalayan mountains, the British Raj would annually transfer here to avoid the heat of Calcutta.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
5
Shimla

After breakfast this morning you'll depart Shimla for the neighbouring hill station of Kufri. Set in the foothills of the Himalayas, this charming town is surrounded by dense forest and snow-capped mountains, offering staggering viewpoints of the surrounding countryside and the vast mountains beyond. After admiring Kufri's natural wonders, tour the impressive Rashtrapati Niwas, former residence of the British Viceroy. Built in Jacobethan style, this fascinating glimpse into British colonial history allows you to explore the maze of corridors, grand teak-panelled rooms and sprawling lawns.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
6
Shimla to Delhi

Today, you'll travel in style with a ride on the UNESCO recognised 'Toy Train' - built for the British Viceroy and his delegates, the train is hauled along by a tiny diesel locomotive which rattles at a leisurely pace through breath-taking scenery to its final destination of Kalka. From here you'll catch a connecting train to Delhi where you will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
7
Delhi

The symbol of old and new India, Delhi is simultaneously a buzzing, international metropolis and a city rich in history. Today you'll discover it in all its glory on a full day tour, traversing through Old Delhi's narrow, spice-scented streets by rickshaw, you'll feel like you've travelled back in time while taking in sights such as the Mughal Empire's imposing Red Fort and the UNESCO listed Humanyun's Tomb, whose Persian-style elegance and landscaped garden setting makes it one of Delhi's finest historic sites. Crossing to the intricately planned colonial centre of New Delhi, you'll visit the minimalistic Mahatma Gandhi Memorial adorned in floral tributes, before exploring the ruins of Quatub Minar complex. Before falling to ruin, this red-sandstone city was built in the 13th Century by the Delhi Sultanate and housed a number of mosques and tombs, as well the intricate tower centrepiece from which the complex gets its name.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
8
Delhi

Having found your bearings on yesterday's tour today is at leisure to explore the city at your own pace. Wander the broad avenues of New Delhi and discover fascinating museums, impressive colonial architecture or lose yourself in the teeming bazaars and monuments of Old Delhi.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
9
Delhi to Agra

Depart Delhi this morning for the wondrous city of Agra the former capital of the mighty Mughal dynasty, whose legacy can be seen in the colossal forts and opulent buildings. Your afternoon will be at leisure to explore the fascinating mausoleums and bustling marketplaces of this charming city.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
10
Agra

This unforgettable day begins with a sunrise tour of the truly magnificent Taj Mahal, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and widely considered to be the most beautiful building on the planet. Built on the orders of heartbroken Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan upon the death of his wife, this stunning white marble mausoleum took over 20,000 people and around 20 years to build and words simply don't do it justice. You'll return to your hotel for breakfast and a well-deserved rest before visiting the impressive, red sandstone Agra Fort. One of the finest Mughal forts in India, this colossal giant began construction in 1565 as a military structure, but was later transformed into an opulent palace for the emperor.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
11
Agra to Jaipur

After breakfast, drive to the Pink city of Jaipur, stopping en route at the ghost city of Fatehpur Sikri, the former imperial capital of Emperor Akbar. A world heritage site, the city includes three magnificent palaces, one for each of his favourite wives and a stunning mosque, however the reason for the city's abandonment still remains a mystery. After lunch, proceed to Jaipur before arriving in time for dinner.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
12
Jaipur

Begin your day with a visit to the impressive Amber Fort, built from pink sandstone and white marble this magnificent fort is largely made up of a royal palace, home to the royal family until 1728. Spread over four vast courtyards, you'll ascend to the fort either by jeep or by elephant, experience the grandeur of a Maharaja. The tour will continue to the City Palace, an impressive blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture before visiting the famous open-air observatory of Jantar Mantar. Finally you'll marvel at the numerous windows of the stunning Hawa Mahal, also known as the Palace of the Winds, before wandering through the city's colourful markets.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
13
Jaipur

Today is at leisure to explore this beautiful city at your own pace. Explore the colouful bazaars, temples and museums the city has to offer or simply admire this flamboyant showcase of Rajasthani architecture.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
14
Jaipur to Varanasi

Following breakfast, you'll fly to Varanasi where you'll be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel. One of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world; the great Hindu city of Varanasi stretches along the River Ganges, its waterfront lined with temples and pavilions, interspersed with vast stone steps or ghats used daily by thousand of pilgrims in their daily ritual ablutions. This evening you'll tour the ghats and witness a Ganga Aarti ceremony where a small lamp containing a candle and flowers representing an offering of fire is floated down the river.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
15
Varanasi

Awake early this morning for a sunrise boat trip on the Ganges where you can gain a different perspective of this colourful waterfront city and the spiritual importance of the river in the Hindu religion. Returning to your hotel for breakfast and a rest you'll then spend the afternoon exploring the ancient temples of Sarnath, a sacred Buddhist pilgrimage site on which the Buddha gave his first sermon after achieving enlightenment around 530BC. After exploring the many ruins you'll return to Varanasi where your evening is at leisure.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
16
Varanasi to Kolkata

Today is at free for you to explore Varanasi's temples and forts, before your evening flight to Kolkata.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
17
Kolkata

The showpiece capital of the British Raj, Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) was considered as the greatest colonial city of the Orient. You'll begin today's tour with a trip back to these times by visiting the grand imperial buildings around Dalhousie Square such as the majestic, white-domed General Post Office. Following lunch, enjoy a fascinating boat trip on the Hooghly river offering you a panoramic view of the city whilst sailing through the two spectacular Howrah and Vidyasagar bridges.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
18
Kolkata

Your day is at leisure offering you the opportunity to explore the delights of Kolkata. Walk the chaotic back alleys, visit the shopping malls or meander through the botanical gardens.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
19
Kolkata to Darjeeling

Following breakfast, embark on a short flight to Bagdogra. Continue your journey to stunning Darjeeling often referred to as the Queen of Hill stations. Surrounded by emerald green tea plantations, Darjeeling is the centre of India's most celebrated tea growing district whilst also affording you unforgettable views of the Himalayas.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
20
Darjeeling

Begin your day with a ride on the UNESCO World Heritage Toy train, a unique 2-hour experience absorbing the magnificent beauty of the mountains which covers a total distance of 14kms. The train journeys to Batasia Loop, travelling around a wonderful manicured garden providing unparalleled views of Darjeeling town and the serene snow peaks of Kanchenjunga. The rest of your day is at leisure.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
21
Darjeeling to Mumbai

Following breakfast, you will transfer to Bagdogra Airport for your flight Mumbai. After checking in at your hotel the rest if the day is at leisure to start exploring this multi-faceted city.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
22
Mumbai

An early morning start to commence your full day tour of Mumbai awaits you. Your first stop is the iconic stone arch landmark known as the Gateway of India to board a motorboat to Elephanta Island, explore the ancient caves dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva which are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Back in Mumbai you will delight in admiring such sites as the grand Jain Temple before meandering through the picturesque Hanging Gardens which offer beautiful views of the city and sea before arriving at the beach at Chowpatty. Continue to the museum of Mani Bhavan where Mahatama Gandhi stayed during his visits to Mumbai between 1917-1943 and finally explore the beautiful Kamala Nehru Park.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
23
Mumbai to Cochin

Following breakfast, you will fly to Kerala and arrive in Cochin known as the 'Queen of the Arabian Sea' for your afternoon tour of the city. Marvel at Mattancherry Dutch palace, and St. Francis church, the oldest European church in India and the impressive promenade lined with distinct Chinese fishing nets.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
24
Cochin to Alleppey

Today you will board a traditional House Boat at Alleppey for your tranquil journey through the scenic winding backwaters absorbing the stunning rural scenery and admiring the local villages. After an authentic meal served on board by your private chef spend the night on board, a once in a lifetime experience.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
25
Alleppey to Thekkady

Today you will disembark from the houseboat and enjoy a drive through the spectacular countryside to arrive at the hill station of Thekkady (Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary) which conjures up images of rolling lush hills and spice scented plantations. The Periyar forests of Thekkady are one of the finest wildlife reserves in India, and spread across the entire district are picturesque plantations and hill towns. In the evening, you can choose to relax at the hotel or visit spice market.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
26
Thekkady to Cochin

This morning you will enjoy a charming boat trip on the Periyar Lake to admire the stunning scenery and view various species of wildlife including wild elephants, water buffalo and you may even catch a glimpse of a tiger. Once you disembark you will proceed to Cochin.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
27
Cochin

Your last full day is at leisure; we have included a complimentary Ayurvedic massage of 45 minutes per person as a final treat to end this unforgettable tour.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
28
Cochin to UK

After breakfast, transfer to Airport for return flight to UK via Mumbai.

  • Breakfast

Important Information

Visas

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 £96 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.

Insurance

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.

Payment

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.

Flight Information

Your initial flight is to Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport with Jet Airways, departing from London Heathrow Terminal 4. Each passenger is entitled to 23kg of hold luggage, however the restriction on your domestic flights is only 15kg, so you may want to pack less or make heavy items such as cameras easily transferable to your hand luggage to avoid any issues. 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. Checked baggage allowance may vary. Please refer to the bottom right of your E-ticket receipt for the correct baggage allowance. For example, if it shows 20k this means your allowance is 20kg; or 1PC means One Piece not exceeding 23kg.

Health and Vaccinations

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, www.travelhealthpro.org.uk/, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.

Physical Accessibility

This tour is accessible to most people with an average level of fitness and normal mobility. It involves moderate days of walking on uneven paths and small hills, and getting on and off coaches and boats. This tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.

Group Size

The minimum number of travellers in your group will be 10, and the maximum will be 35. 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

Tour Guide

This is an escorted tour, meaning the you will have the services of an English speaking guide during each excursion ensuring that you have first-hand knowledge at all times. Also, local monument guides will be provided subject to the monuments rules.

Currency Information

The currency in India is the Indian Rupee (RS). We recommend that you exchange your currency before you leave the UK.

Personal Expenses

You will need to take some extra money with you to cover any meals where these are not mentioned on your itinerary and personal purchases, such as souvenirs, drinks and snacks. Approximately (GBP 50-100) per person/ per day should be sufficient for the duration of your tour. Please also bear in mind that there will be several shopping opportunities throughout your tour. Tipping is at your discretion; However we would recommend approximately £2 per day. Tips are accepted in the local currency, however it is asked that if you do not tip in the local currency that you only pay with notes, as coins cannot be exchanged.

Tour Dates & Prices

Depart UKArrive UKPriceBook Now
2018 Dates
04 Sep 201801 Oct 2018£2799SOLD OUT
02 Oct 201829 Oct 2018£3319Please call to book
0800 781 4893
06 Nov 201803 Dec 2018£3499Book Now
2019 Dates
08 Jan 201904 Feb 2019£3329Book Now
05 Feb 201904 Mar 2019£3349Book Now
02 Apr 201929 Apr 2019£3099Book Now
30 Apr 201927 May 2019£2999Book Now
29 May 201925 Jun 2019£2949Book Now
04 Jun 201901 Jul 2019£2949Book Now
03 Sep 201930 Sep 2019£2799Book Now
10 Sep 201907 Oct 2019£2999Book Now
01 Oct 201928 Oct 2019£3369Book Now
05 Nov 201901 Dec 2019£3539Book Now

Included in the Price

  • Fully Escorted Tour with local English Speaking Guides throughout
  • Scheduled Flights from the UK.
  • All internal travel including air-conditioned/heated transportation.
  • Accommodation, meals as specified and entry fees to all sights.
  • All airport taxes and security charges.

Additional Expenses

  • Visas
  • Insurance
  • Tips
  • Any meals not specified in your itinerary
Alcoholic drinks

Please note that Kerala has strict laws regarding the governance of the sale of alcohol in public places including hotels and restaurants. The sale and consumption of alcohol is therefore often restricted in hotels, varying from one establishment to another. However, you may bring your own alcohol with you for private consumption in your room.

What to expect

Fact File
Min/Max temperature

11 °C / 41 °C

What to pack
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat in summer
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Warm clothing and thermals in winter
  • Camera and charger/spare batteries
  • An electric plug converter
  • Loo paper for public WCs
  • Binoculars
  • Mosquito Repellent
  • Personal First Aid Kit
  • Anti-bacterial hand gel
  • Long sleeve shirt and long trousers
  • Swimwear
Customer Rating:
8.8/10
Clive Harris
20th Mar 2018

The hotels were all comfortable and all room facilities worked.
Other people on our group complained that swimming pools were not available in some hotels, but the brochure didn’t suggest that pools would be available and I didn’t expect them in North India!

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
8.8/10
Clifford Roy Bramwell
19th Feb 2018

Some hotels were better than others, but all were very good value for money.

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
7.5/10
Sheila Lillico
11th Dec 2017

Lovely hotels in a variety of styles and places. Food very good and staff very polite and friendly

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
10/10
Shelley Carson
11th Nov 2017

The hotels were very good. It would have been nice to have stayed in more hotels within the towns/cities rather than the outskirts. Clarke's Hotel at Shimla was excellent and we could stroll around the town comfortably and equally the Cardamon Hotel at Thekkla enabled us to walk up the streets and barter for our shopping.

Our "northern" guide/tour manager Naveen was brilliant and soon joined in the banter. He went that extra mile and eg arranged a traditional celebration on Diwali for us.

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Tour Map
A Passage Through India Route Map
Tour Dossiers
Extensions
  • India
    Marari Beach Stay

    3 nights from £269pp

    View
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Hotels & Accommodation

Extensions

Marari Beach Stay
Tour Route
  • UK
  • Amritsar
  • Shimla
  • Delhi
  • Agra
  • Jaipur
  • Varanasi
  • Kolkata
  • Darjeeling
  • Mumbai
  • Cochin
  • Alleppey
  • Thekkady
  • Cochin
  • B#Marari Beach
  • UK

Nestled beside the quaint fishing village of Mararikulam, discover the untouched sandy beaches of Marari on your three-night extension within a truly tropical retreat. Whether lounging by the beach soaking up the year-round sunshine, swimming within the Arabian Sea's glistening waters or enjoying a traditional Ayurvedic massage at your hotel, the Marari extension is the ideal way to conclude your tour.

3 nights
from £269pp
View Tour + Extension
View Tour + Extension

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