TAJ MAHAL EXPERIENCE
After disembarkation from the ship in Cochin, you will be transferred to the airport for your Indigo Airlines flight to Delhi.
Upon arrival at Cochin airport, you will receive boarding passes and proceed through security. Your bags will be transported to the airport in a separate truck for an advance check-in. Snacks will be served onboard the plane.
Upon arrival in Delhi, transfer to The Oberoi hotel. Your bags will be transported separately to the hotel. At the hotel, you may collect the keys at the hospitality desk.
Delhi, the Empress of Indian cities has a fascinating history and stimulating present. The capital of India, Delhi has been the seat of power of a number of dynasties - the Rajputs, the Afghans, the Turks and the Mughals who continued their imperial line until the British. Scattered over are surviving ruins, remnants of mighty edifices, tombs of warriors and saints, which, in an impressive sense of magnificence are memorials not of a single city but of supplanted nations.
After lunch, we around New Delhi with its majestic boulevards and grand government buildings. India Gate, Delhi's triumphal arch, stands at one end of the Rajpath. At the other end of the Rajpath stands the official residence of India's president, the Rashtrapati Bhavan, a complex of buildings that mix Mughal and Western architectural styles. Prior to independence, this was the home of India's last viceroy, Lord Mountbatten. Close by is Sansad Bhavan, the large, though less imposing, parliament building.
Another highlight is the earliest surviving Islamic monument, the Qutb mosque and minar created by the founder of the sometimes-called Slave Dynasty, Qutb-ud-din-Aybak. 73 meters high and consisting of 5 storeys, the Qutb Minar construction started in 1199 on what was intended to be the most glorious tower of victory in the world.
Like the nearly contemporary slave or Marmeluke rulers of Egypt, the Slave kings of Delhi were anything but servile. The term simply indicates that as one-time captives, they had once been slaves. In a court awash with intrigue and opportunity, India's Turkish conquistadors regarded a slave's loyalty as more dependable than that of their own kin. Purchased, rapidly promoted, eventually freed and still highly trusted, the erstwhile slave of a royal patron was ideally placed to act as either power broker or pretender. Their elevated status is equally proclaimed by their monuments. The Qutb mosque boasts a tower of victory, which doubles as India's and perhaps Islam's, most massive minaret.
We then visit the Tomb of Humayun. This Mughal Emperor's senior wife, Haji Begum, commissioned the Tomb in the 16th century making it an early example of Mughal architecture. The design elements of this tomb - a squat building lighted by high arched entrances topped by a protuberant dome and surrounded by formal gardens, were to be refined over the years to the magnificence of the Taj Mahal.
This evening, there will be a Tour Orientation followed by dinner.
Overnight at The Oberoi, Delhi.
After breakfast, we drive to Agra, the city of the Taj Mahal. Our drive through the countryside should around 3 hours with refreshment and facility stops along the way.
Upon arrival in Agra, check-in to the ITC Mughal hotel. At the hotel, you may collect the keys at the hospitality desk so you may freshen up in your room before you start your exploring.
Agra, the city of Taj Mahal was one of the grand cities of South Asia. With the arrival of the Mughals in 1526 led by Babur, Agra entered a completely new era during the reign of emperors Akbar, Jehangir and Shah Jahan. Akbar made it a great center for learning, art, commerce and culture. Its cosmopolitan bazaars and its strategic location on the river Jamuna, was altogether a worthier setting for the focus of an empire.
After lunch, visit the Agra Fort, a World Heritage Site credited to the aforementioned Emperor Akbar, India's great visionary. His sons and theirs added to this imposing structure situated by the banks of the Yamuna River. The astonishing palaces, mosques and audience halls contained within its massive walls of red sandstone became once more a monumental mission of the Mughal empire embellished by the artistic fusion of Islamic and Hindu tradition.
We then continue on to see the Taj Mahal, for a sunset experience.
The Taj Mahal, with its incredible lacy white grandeur, perhaps the most perfect architectural monument in the world. To the poet Tagore it was a `tear on the face of eternity'. In memory of his wife, the great Mughal emperor Shah Jehan planned this most extravagant and incomparable monument built for love. Amazingly graceful from any angle, it is the close up detail, which is really astounding. At sunset, the monument appears to change its hue, tinted by the glow of the setting sun.
This evening, enjoy a show of the classical dance form of Kathak - This Mughal Court dance arose from the fusion of Hindu and Muslim cultures during the Moghul era, characterized by rhythmic footwork, spectacular spins, mime and gestures that are a dramatic representation of themes from Persian poetry synthesized with Hindu mythology.
After the show, enjoy the dinner served at the hotel with wine, beers, soft drinks and mineral water included.
Overnight at the ITC Mughal in Agra or Similar.
Discover the monumental Taj Mahal at sunrise. For guests wishing to rise with the sun an early bird Tea, Coffee, juices and rolls will be served in the lobby of the hotel prior to the coach departure to the Taj. Experience the Taj Mahal at sunrise! It's incredible changing of colors in front of your very eyes. This magical and monumental place is serenity at this time of the morning.
Return to the hotel for breakfast.
A) 9:00 - 12:30 p.m. :
Drive into the Indian countryside to visit Fatehpur Sikri, the red sandstone former capital of the Mughal empire. According to legend, Emperor Akbar, having no male heir made a pilgrimage to the town of Sikri to seek the blessings of the revered saint Shaikh Salim Chishti. The saint assured Akbar he would have three sons and when his prophecy was fulfilled the king was so overwhelmed that he built a city at Sikri. Politically astute and remarkably broadminded for his time, India's greatest emperor successfully addressed the Hindu-Moslem divide by marrying a Hindu princess whilst also combining their distinctive architectural styles which are finely exemplified at this World Heritage Site. The city existed between A.D. 1571 up to 1585 and then became a ghost town, abandoned, possibly due to complexities with the water systems.
B) 9:00 a.m. onwards : Shopping shuttle to the Marble inlay factory and local markets.
After lunch, check out of the hotel and board the transfer vehicle back to Delhi and check-in to The Oberoi.
Dinner is at the hotel.
Overnight in Delhi.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport.
Upon arrival, you will receive boarding passes and proceed through security for the Indigo Airlines flight to Mumbai. Lunch will be served `aloft'.
Upon arrival in Mumbai, enjoy a scenic tour of the City as you drive to your awaiting ship.
Overland Program Step by Step
Please note: The order of sites visited may vary to avoid congestion. The timings indicated are only approximate, and are given here for general reference purposes.
5:30 am Disembark and board the buses for the transfer to Cochin Airport.
6:30 am Arrive at the Airport. On arrival, receive boarding passes and proceed through security.
7:45 am The Indigo Airlines scheduled flight departs for Delhi. Snacks will be provided `aloft'.
10:50 am Arrive Delhi and transfer to the hotel.
11:30 am Arrive at The Oberoi and check-in.
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm Lunch at the hotel.
2:30 pm Sightseeing of New Delhi.
6:00 pm Return to the hotel.
7:00 pm Tour Orientation.
7:30 pm Dinner at the hotel. Overnight in Delhi.
6:30 am onwards Breakfast at the hotel.
9:00 am Buses depart for Agra with a midway stop.
12:00 noon Arrive Agra and check-in to the ITC Mughal Hotel.
12:30 - 2:00 pm Lunch at the hotel.
2:00 - 4:30 p.m. Proceed to visit the Agra Fort.
5:00 - 6:15 pm Visit the Taj Mahal at sunset.
6:30 pm Return to the hotel.
7:00 pm onwards Witness a Kathak Dance performance followed by dinner.
7:30 p.m. onwards Dinner is served at the hotel.
Overnight in Agra.
5.45 a.m. Tea/coffee/juices and rolls are served in the lobby.
6.00 - 8.00 a.m. Revisit the Taj Mahal at Sunrise (optional).
8.00 a.m. Return to the hotel.
6.30 a.m. onwards Breakfast is at the hotel.
Morning options :
9:00 - 12:30 noon a) Drive to visit Fatehpur Sikri.
9:00 am onwards b) Shopping shuttle to the Marble inlay factory and the local markets.
12:30 - 2:00 pm Lunch at the hotel.
2:30 pm Drive back to Delhi & check-in to The Oberoi hotel.
7:30 pm onwards Dinner at the hotel.
Overnight in Delhi.
7:00am onwards Breakfast at the hotel.
8:00 am Luggage is collected in advance from outside your Hotel room and transfer to the airport in a separate truck.
10:00 am Check out of the hotel and transfer to the airport.
10:45 am Arrive at the airport, receive boarding passes & proceed through security.
12:05 pm Depart Delhi for Mumbai (Bombay) on the Indigo Airlines Scheduled flight.
2:05 pm Arrive Bombay and Tour transfer to the pier.
4:00 p.m Arrive to the pier and board the MS Voyager.
High daytime temperatures expected at Agra are 30 - 35°C
What to Bring:
Pack light clothing. Also please bring sun protection and a hat and wear comfortable shoes for the journey.
The electric voltage in India is 220 - 240 volts.
Light luggage would be most suited for this 3 night trip.
Documents and Visa Requirements:
It is essential to have a valid Indian Visa for the trip.
Hotels are listed above but are subject to change. If and when a change is necessary guests will be notified.
Delhi - The Oberoi
Agra - ITC Mughal
Alcohol, mini-bar consumption in the rooms, Spa treatments, personal laundry, telecommunications and any other items of a personal nature.