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Escorted Tours

Delhi Agra and the Mighty Ganges including

See the Highlights of Kerala


Route:
  • UK
  • Kolkata
  • Ganges River Cruise
  • Farakka
  • Varanasi
  • Agra
  • Delhi
  • Kerala Tour
  • UK

4 NIGHTS from £389pp

Tour Highlights
  • Authentic Keralan Houseboat Trip
  • Thekkady Hill Station Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Periyar Lake
  • Cochin City Tour
  • Visit Kolkata, capital of the British Raj
  • See colonial towns along the River Ganges
  • Cruise on the Ganges, India's sacred river
  • Witness a Ganga Aarti prayer ritual
  • Explore the awe-inspiring Taj Mahal

Extension from £389pp

Tour + Extension from £2538pp

To book call us on 0800 781 4893

See the Highlights of Kerala

Why not continue your trip beyond Sri Lanka with a mini tour of the beautiful Indian state of Kerala from 389pp. This 4 night extension includes a tour of Cochin, one of India's major ports and trading centres and an overnight trip on an authentic Keralan Houseboat.

Tour Itinerary

1
UK to Kolkata

Depart London Heathrow on your scheduled overnight flight to Kolkata, via Mumbai.

2
Kolkata

On arrival in Kolkata, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. An afternoon tour of Kolkata, once considered the greatest colonial city of the Orient, takes you around the grand marble Victoria Memorial and St. Paul's Cathedral, often called the 'Taj' of the British Raj. Drive past some of Kolkata's most beautiful buildings, including St. John's Church, the High Court, Eden Gardens and BBD Bagh, a square in the commercial centre, before visiting Park Street Cemetery, a sprawling cemetery used from the mid 18th to 19th century.

  • Dinner
3
Ganges River cruise

Embark on your seven-night Ganges river cruise and experience the tranquil beauty of India's sacred river. Sail past the picturesque, old Danish colony of Serampore to Barrackpore, the military centre of British India. Disembark for a stroll through the cantonment past the Semaphore Tower, Government House, the Temple of Fame and the gardens of Flagstaff House, where many of the British statues removed from central Kolkata are housed. Enjoy the night-time sights and lights on the water's edge as you sail through the night.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
4
Ganges River cruise

Sail up to charming Chandernagore to explore the remnants of French colonial rule, seen in the splendid collection of French artefacts housed in Dupleix's House and the white-stone, French-inspired facade of The Sacred Heart Church. Visit the imposing Imambara mosque at Hooghly then board your ship and cruise upstream to moor for the night.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
5
Ganges River cruise

A rickshaw ride through today's port of call, Kalna, takes you through this verdant, countryside town to terracotta temples and the town's unique Shiva temple - 108 shrines arranged in concentric rings. Travel onward through the countryside to Mayapur, its skyline dominated by the towering domes of the impressive, new ISKCON temple. Sail on through the night to a mooring near Matiari.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
6
Ganges River cruise

In the brass working village of Matiari, locals smelt, shape, polish and engrave brass water pots and vessels using primitive brass working practices. Watch these skilled artisans at work before visiting the battlefield of Plassey, where the battle of 1757 changed the course of Indian history. The boat will moor on the banks of Murshidabad for the night.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
7
Ganges River cruise

Back on land, visit the Khushbagh, a peaceful Moghul-style garden enclosing the tombs of Siraj ud-Daulah, the last ruler of Bengal, and his family. Continue upstream to the grand Hazarduari Palace to explore its 1,000 doors, 114 rooms, and extensive collection of pictures, china and weapons. Journey to the crumbling ruins of the Katra Mosque and walk the hallways of the Nashipara and Katgola Palaces with their intriguing fusion of Indian and European architecture, characteristic of the 'White Moghul' period when English and Indian cultures began to intermingle.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
8
Ganges River cruise

Drop anchor at the delightfully sleepy village of Baranagar and walk through fields and farms to a terracotta temple complex, experiencing rural India at its most idyllic. Enjoy the journey up the Hooghly River, at this point a waterway meandering between banks lined with mustard fields and mango orchards. A long, scenic canal takes you to a mooring close to the Farakka Barrage.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
9
Ganges River cruise

Disembark at Farakka for a full-day excursion to Gaur, an ancient ruined city on the India-Bangladesh border. Wander the remains of the mosques, palaces and gateways that once made up this great city before returning to the ship for the evening.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
10
Farakka to Kolkata

Find your land legs as your cruise comes to an end. A train ride to Kolkata allows you to experience the fourth largest railway network in the world and gives you the chance to take in some of the beautiful landscapes racing by. After lunch at a local restaurant, visit Kumartuli, home to a community of over 400 potters who masterfully create thousands of clay idols of local gods, goddesses and demons, carrying on an age-old tradition of craftsmanship. Later, visit the lavishly decorated Jain Temple, adorned with mirrors, chandeliers and intricately paved marble floors, before continuing on to your Kolkata hotel for your overnight stay.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
11
Kolkata to Varanasi

This morning's flight takes you to Varanasi, India's spiritual centre and one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world. This evening's tour leads to the banks of the Ganges River, lined with temples, pavilions and vast stone steps, or 'ghats', used daily by thousand of pilgrims in their daily cleansing rituals. Witness the spellbinding Ganga Aarti ceremony where fire-lit offerings are floated down the river.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
12
Varanasi

Watch the sun rise over Varanasi with an early morning boat trip on the Ganges, allowing a different perspective of this vibrant and colourful waterfront city. After breakfast and a morning of relaxation, an afternoon trip takes you to the ancient temples of Sarnath, the sacred Buddhist pilgrimage site where Buddha gave his first sermon after achieving enlightenment. Wander these holy ruins before returning to Varanasi for an evening at leisure.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
13
Varanasi to Agra

After breakfast, fly to Delhi then travel onward to Agra. Although known primarily as the site of the Taj Mahal, which draws large crowds of international and local visitors annually, this seat of the Mughal Empire also brims with ancient Mandir temples, mausoleums, forts and jostling marketplaces, many of them UNESCO-recognised landmarks and structures.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
14
Agra

Begin the day with a visit to the jewel of Agra and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal. Witness the distinctive minarets and gleaming dome of this spectacular ivory-white mausoleum, commissioned by grief-stricken Emperor Shah Jajan to hold the remains of his beloved third wife. After lunch, explore the colossal complex of the Agra Fort, a vast red sandstone city of striking pavilions, palaces and courtyards enclosed behind 20-metre-high walls.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
15
Agra to Delhi

Travel to the sprawling metropolis of Delhi and enjoy a short tour of the colonial buildings of the planned city of New Delhi. Drive past the India Gate, President's House and Parliament Building and visit the Birla Temple, adorned in carvings and fresco paintings and made of 2,000 tonnes of white marble.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
16
Delhi

Old Delhi's labyrinth of streets and ancient temples lie alongside the wide avenues and colonial-era buildings of New Delhi, blending tradition and modernity. Take a rickshaw ride through the lively streets of Old Delhi, past the UNESCO-listed Humayun's Tomb and the imposing Red Fort, with its vast hallways, elaborately designed gardens and marble pavilions, typical of the grandeur of the Mughal Empire. Take in the bright colours, bustle and activity of the streets before crossing into New Delhi, stopping at the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial, wreathed in floral tributes, and the ancient mosques and tower of Qutab Minar.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
17
Delhi to the UK

After breakfast, you'll be transferred to the airport for your return flight to London.

  • Breakfast
18
Delhi to Kochi (Cochin)

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.

  • Breakfast
19
Cochin to Alleppey

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.

  • Breakfast
20
Alleppey to Thekkady

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.

  • Breakfast
21
Thekkady to Cochin

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.

  • Breakfast
22
Cochin to the UK

Depart after breakfast for your return flight to the UK.

  • 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

You must obtain suitable travel insurance prior to departure. Mercury Direct is partnered with Holiday Extras which offer insurance at the following prices:

Age in YearsUp to 6465 - 7475 - 85
Up to 17 days cover£39£75£129
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.

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

All flights are operated by Sri Lankan Airlines. Each passenger is entitled to 20kg of hold luggage & hand luggage of 5kg not exceeding 56cm x 36cm x 23cm in size. Flight times are for guidance only & subject to change. These timings are for the Jewels of Sri Lanka tour only and may vary. If you have booked an optional add on please contact our reservations department for more information.

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 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.

Group Size

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.

Tour Guide

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.

Currency Information

The currency in Sri Lanka is the Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR). The Rupee is a closed currency and officially you are not allowed to take any cash out of Sri Lanka. US Dollars and GBP are also widely accepted in these destinations, should you wish to keep an alternative currency on you. Therefore, it is very important that you budget carefully.

The currency in Kerala is the Indian Rupee (RS). The Rupee is a closed currency and officially you are not allowed to take any cash out of Kerala. US Dollars and GBP are also widely accepted in these destinations, should you wish to keep an alternative currency on you. Therefore, it is very important that you budget carefully.

Personal Expenses

Tipping is common practice and seen as a way of life in Sri Lanka. It is customary to tip both your driver and guide 200 rupees (approximately £1) per person per day.

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!

Tour Dates & Prices

Depart UKArrive UKExtension PriceTour PriceTotal PriceBook Now
2018 DATES
05 Dec 201825 Dec 2018£469£2829£3298SOLD OUT
2019 DATES
02 Jan 201922 Jan 2019£459£2779£3238SOLD OUT
27 Feb 201919 Mar 2019£459£3189£3648Book Now
03 Apr 201923 Apr 2019£389£2699£3088Book Now
16 Apr 201906 May 2019£429£2149£2578Book Now
30 Jul 201919 Aug 2019£519£2299£2818Book Now
17 Dec 201906 Jan 2020£499£2959£3458Book 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
Travelling Alone?

We have 2 rooms available on every tour date for single occupancy use, however a single supplement must be paid on the add-on part of the tour.

Hotel Change 2019 dates

Please note for ALL 2019 departure dates, your hotel in Cochin will be the 5* Hotel Casino. Please refer to your final ticketing documentation for more details.

What to expect

Fact File
Min/Max temperature

21 °C / 41 °C

When to go

Weather can vary quite considerably throughout the year, so please familiarise yourself with the climate charts below.

Kolkata

Varanasi

Agra

Delhi

Kerala

What to pack
  • Insect repellent
  • Suncream
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Waterproof lightweight jacket;
  • Sunglasses and Hat
  • Rucksack
  • Binoculars
  • Camera
  • Loo paper for public WCs
  • Long sleeve shirt and trousers
  • Swimwear
  • Personal toiletries
  • Anti-bacterial hand sanitiser
  • Multi plug travel adapter
  • First aid kit
Tour Dossiers
Other Extensions
  • Goa
    Goa Beach Stay

    4 nights from £359pp

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Hotels & Accommodation

Other Extensions

Goa Beach Stay
Tour Route
  • UK
  • Kolkata
  • Ganges River Cruise
  • Farakka
  • Varanasi
  • Agra
  • Delhi
  • Goa
  • UK

Extend your trip in with a 4 night stay on the beautiful beaches of Goa, India's most popular and laid back resort destination.

This add-on tour must be taken at the end of the main tour.

4 nights
from £359pp
View Extension
View Extension

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