Tour Details at a glance

Tour Dates

This tour is available on request for a minimum of 4 travellers

Tour Length

24 days / 23 nights

Tour Cost

From USD TBA twin share
From USD TBA including Optional Single Supplement

Group Size

Minimum 4, Maximum 10

Starts in


Finishes in



23 nights 3-4 star and Heritage Hotels


3 domestic flights
Private Air-conditioned minibus
3 boat rides (2 in Varanasi and 1 in Udaipur)
Camel ride (Optional)
Jeeps for village safaris
Taxis and rickshaws for some sightseeing


23 breakfasts
9 lunches
5 dinners

Other Inclusions

Arrival and departure transfers; 
Entrance fees to all sights as per the itinerary; 
Guide fees; 
Tips and gratuities

Destinations - Tour > India > Essence of India Tour

Essence of India Tour

This is an exciting and classic trip, from the banks of the holy Ganges to the magnificence of the Mughal cities. We experience the land of the Kings – Rajasthan, and Mumbai, the sprawling, commercial capital of India. We will show you the well known and introduce you to some wonderful secrets. The massive forts of Rajasthan, the opulence and splendour of Maharajah’s palaces, markets and bazaars, holy cities, a town seemingly lost in time, a camel safari and a search for the elusive Bollywood star all make for a trip full of highlights and contrasts.

Experience Incredible India and Rajasthan on this Small Group India Tour, fully escorted within India by a western female tour leader with the service of local guides for various activities and sightseeing.

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  • be part of the craziness and excitement of India’s capital city Delhi
  • witness sunrise over the Ganges in holy Varanasi
  • be left breathless by the unsurpassed Taj Mahal
  • explore the palaces and bazaars of Jaipur
  • experience the Desert city of Jaisalmer
  • be amazed at Jodhpur’s majestic Mehrangarh Fort
  • discover India’s only Brahma temple in Pushkar
  • spend the night in heritage hotels in Khimsar and Bijaipur
  • enjoy the beautiful lake city of Udaipur
  • live it up in glitzy and glamorous Mumbai

Day by Day Itinerary

Day 1 Delhi

Arrival Day. After a group meeting at midday to discuss the trip, we spend the afternoon visiting New Delhi’s Rajpath and the stunning UNESCO World Heritage Humayans Tomb before finishing the afternoon at the Bangla Sahib Gurudwara, Delhi's largest Sikh temple.
Hotel: The Hans

Day 2 Delhi

This morning we travel to Old Delhi visiting the the Old Delhi spice market and Chandni Chowk, the busiest marketplace in Asia. There are many other options here in Delhi including the Craft Museum, Red Fort, Purana QilaQutab Minar and the Lotus Temple or you might like to spend time exploring some of Delhi's markets such as Dilli Haat, Hauz Khas and Khan Market.
Hotel: The Hans

Days 3-5 Varanasi

A morning flight takes us to Varanasi.

We take a walk along the ghats on the riverbank and explore the old city, enjoy an evening ceremonial “aarti” on the riverbanks and take a dawn boat ride on the Ganges. We visit Sarnath, the site of Buddha’s first sermon and still have plenty of free time to explore the ghats and alleyways of ancient Varanasi.
Hotel: Hotel Banaras Haveli

Days 6-7 Agra

We fly to Agra, arriving early afternoon with time to explore some of the remarkable sights of Agra ­ including the 'Baby Taj'.

On day 7, we make a dawn visit to the truly amazing Taj Mahal before returning to our hotel for breakfast. Later today, we head to the remarkable Agra Fort, Akbars mausoleum and there's time for some shopping, or relaxing by the pool or at the spa at our hotel.
Hotel: The Retreat

Days 8-10 Jaipur

Today we drive to Jaipur, the 'Pink City' and capital of Rajasthan. Amber Fort is a splendid example of Rajput/Mughal architecture and was the old capital of Rajasthan prior to 1727. We take a wander through the markets and colourful bazaars of Jaipur and have the chance to see the splendid City Palace Museum and the wondrous Jantar Mantar. There is free time to explore some of Jaipurs many sights, or markets. We also experience a Bollywood extravaganza at the Raj Mandir cinema.
Hotel: Diggi Palace

Day 11 Khimsar

We drive west into the Thar desert today, stopping near Nagaur for the night at the grand heritage hotel of Khimsar Fort.
Hotel: Khimsar Fort

Days 12-13 Jaisalmer

Like something out of 1001 Arabian nights, Jaisalmer is both exotic and mysterious with a unique fort, which unlike all others in India is still lived in, and accommodates a quarter of the towns population.

We wander the ancient streets of the fort and the town, visiting the intricately carved sandstone havelis (merchant's mansions) and temples. Jaisalmer is famed for its handicrafts and there are many wonderful shops in the bazaar.

On the afternoon of day 13 we head out to the desert for a short camel safari followed by dinner in the desert.
Hotel: Mandir Palace

Days 14-15 Jodhpur

Travelling on to Jodhpur we explore the palaces of the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort and the colourful markets in the city below. Famous throughout the country for its special Makhani (butter) lassi's, Jodphur is also where the pants come from. We also take a jeep tour around some traditional Rajasthani villages and visit local handicraft makers.
Hotel: Haveli Inn Pal

Days 16-17 Pushkar

The mellow and friendly Pushkar is a firm favourite with travellers and modern-day hippies. Picturesquely situated around a holy lake lined with whitewashed temples and ghats, Pushkar comes alive for a week every November with the annual Camel Fair when tens of thousands of people and camels descend on the small town.
Hotel: Pushkar Palace

Days 18-19 Bijaipur

We head to the south-eastern corner of Rajasthan to Castle Bijaipur where we get to spend the night living like Maharajahs (and Maharanis). The Castle is still run by the local rulers, who take us out on a village safari to experience tribal village life Rajasthani style.
Hotel: Castle Bijaipur

Days 20-21 Udaipur

A short journey brings us to Udaipur. Often called the romantic city, Udaipur lives up to its name with its white washed havelis and palaces lining the banks of the charming lake Pichola. We visit the City Palace complex (one of the largest palace complexes in India) and take in a classic Rajasthani Dance show. We wander the local markets and learn how to make a sensational Indian curry. Why not try your hand at a spot of miniature painting or discover the lake on an afternoon cruise. Udaipur is a friendly and charming city just made for exploring. 
Hotel: Udaigarh

Days 22-23 Mumbai

After a leisurely morning in Udaipur, we take an afternoon flight to Mumbai.
We have a full day in Mumbai, the exciting and frantic commercial capital of India, where we visit some of the sights including the Gateway of India, Dhobi (laundry) washers and Chowpatty beach.
Hotel: Residency Hotel

Day 24 Departure Day

There are no organised activities today. You are free to depart at anytime.

Trip Notes

Group size
Minimum 4, Maximum 10

24 days / 23 nights

Starts in

Finishes in

Tour inclusions
Arrival and departure transfers
All accommodation as specified
All transportation between overnight stops and to and from included sightseeing
Entrance fees for all sites listed as part of the itinerary
Tips for hotel staff, porters, guides and drivers as applicable
Meals as specified

Tour exclusions
Visa costs
Meals other than those listed
Drinks, meal tips, laundry and other items of a personal nature
International flights

Hotels (23 nights)
This tour uses a variety of accommodation. From family run guesthouses to Grand Heritage hotels, we experience a wide range of accommodation styles. Hotel rooms are twin share with private bathrooms with western style toilets.

Optional Single Supplement
If you are a single traveller, you are not required to pay a single supplement as we will match you up with other travellers. If we are unable to match you up with another traveller of the same sex, we will pay your single supplement for you. Should you not wish to share accommodation at all, but would like to guarantee your own room throughout the tour a single supplement of from USD TBA will be payable.

3 Domestic flights, Private air-conditioned minibus, Boat rides on the Ganges in Varanasi, and Lake Pichola, Udaipur, Jeep for village safaris, Taxis and Rickshaws for some sightseeing.

Activities included

The following is a list of included activities on this trip. Other activities are optional and will be at your own expense.
Old Delhi, Humayans Tomb, (Delhi)
Dawn Boat Cruise, Sarnath Visit, River and city walk (Varanasi)
Taj Mahal, Red Fort, Baby Taj (Agra)
Amber Palace, Jantar Mantar, city walk, Bollywood movie (Jaipur)
Camel safari, Old City Walk (Jaisalmer)
Mehrangarh Fort, Market walk, Bishnoi Village Tour (Jodhpur)
Village Safari (Bijaipur)
City Palace, Cooking class, Market walk, Traditional dance show, Lake cruise (Udaipur)
Gateway of India, Crawford Markets, Dhobi Ghats, Chowpatty Beach (Mumbai)

Meals included
23 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 5 Dinners
Traveling with Incredible Indian Tours we ensure that you will experience a vast array of the gustatory treats available in India. Generally, meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options. This allows you to choose where, and what to eat. More often than not however we eat together as a group. On road trips by day, we have included lunches that will usually be taken at a local road-side eatery, or Dhaba. For other meals, your leader will offer suggestions for favourite restaurants throughout the trip.

Money Matters
Exchange rates as at March 2021
AUD1 = 55 INR
CAD1 = 57 INR
EUR1 = 85 INR
GBP1 = 100 INR
NZD1 = 50 INR
USD1 = 72 INR
There are many ATM machines (which accept both Cirrus/Maestro debit cards and Visa and MasterCard) throughout India. This is a safe and convenient way to access money in India, however we suggest that you bring a small amount of money in cash (suggested $300) in case there are times that ATMs are not available. The major currencies, including AUD and CAD are no problem in general to exchange. Travellers cheques are no longer commonly accepted. Visa & MasterCard credit cards are accepted in major shops and restaurants in the bigger cities.

Spending money
Although entrance fees to specified sites are included in the tour price, there are additional sights that you may like to visit. Many sites levy camera fees.
Spending money requirements will differ from one person to the next. You will need to take into consideration your spending habits when allowing for drinks, shopping, and optional activities.

It is recommended you allow enough money for the following:
Meals ­ USD500 (or equivalent)
Optional Activities ­ USD100 (or equivalent)
Money for drinks, shopping and incidentals.

Tipping is an integral part of Indian life and is essential to a smooth trip. To make things easier we cover tips for hotel room boys, local guides and for drivers of private transport we use. We do NOT cover restaurant tips. You will need to allow approximately 10-15% on top of your restaurant bill.
Tips – allow USD50 (or equivalent)

Physical rating 3/5
There will be plenty of walking around towns or sites, which due to the warm to hot weather in India at this time of year will make general sightseeing a little more strenuous. You need to be able to walk for up to 2 hours on uneven ground and up and down stairs at some sights.

Culture shock rating 3/5
Conditions in India are not always as comfortable as in other countries. You may need to occasionally deal with a squat toilet, cold showers or power failure.

Travel insurance
Travel Insurance is highly recommended whilst travelling to India and is compulsory for any group tour with Incredible Indian Tours.

All foreign nationals require a visa to enter India. Most nationalities can apply for an e-Visa. Validities available are 30 days, 1 year and 5 years. You can apply up to 30 days before the date of travel for the 30 day e-Visa and 120 days before the date of travel for the 1 and 5 year e-Visas. The visa is issued online (you do not need to send your passport away) and takes up to 3 days. The 30 day e-Visas are double entry with validity commencing from the date of arrival. The 1 and 5 year e-Visas are multiple entry with validity running from the date of issue with stays of maximum 90 days at a time allowed with the exception of US, UK, Japanese and Canadian passport holders who can stay for up to 180 days at a time.
When applying for your e-Visa, be aware of a number of commercial websites offering e-Visas that do not belong to the Government of India and will charge you additional service fees to issue your visa. 
The official Government of India e-Visa website is

We recommend that you consult your doctor for current medical travel information about before departure. Your leader will be carrying a basic first aid kit, but we suggest you bring along your own as well as any personal medical requirements .
The following websites have up-to-date information about health requirements.
New Zealand

Most of our hotels have wifi as do many restaurants and cafes in India.
You can also purchase a local prepaid sim card (for unlocked cell phones) and data sticks (for mobile internet on your laptop) easily and inexpensively in India. Recommended are Vodafone, Airtel and Jio. You will need extra passport photos for this as well as photocopies of your photo and visa page from your passport.

Your tour manager
Your tour escort is there to organise and streamline your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Whilst they are not a guide per se, they will share their local knowledge, give you suggestions for your free time and manage the day to day running of the tour. They will introduce you to their local friends and recommend great local restaurants and experiences. They will have a broad general knowledge of India, so do feel free to tap into their wisdom. At some sites, local guides may be hired where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting.

Responsible travel
We believe strongly in responsible travel. This includes being respectful to the local culture (ie dressing appropriately, and learning a few basic cultural do's and don'ts), being mindful of the environment, and leaving a positive image behind. Remember we are ambassadors for our country. Bringing a few photos of your family and home with you is a great way to interact with the locals by giving them a glimpse of your world whilst you visit theirs.

Joining hotel and arrival information
Hans Plaza
15 Barakhamba Road, Connaught Place
New Delhi 110001
Ph: +91 11 6615 0000
Transfer/joining instructions
Your airport transfer pickup will await you holding a sign with your name when you exit the baggage claim area of the arrivals hall. There may be large crowds here so please look carefully for your transfer.

Arriving early
Our hotel in Delhi is located in the main business/shopping district of Delhi, the Connaught Place market area and is surrounded by a mix of local and western shops and restaurants, The hotel has a restaurant and a cafe, and all rooms have in-room safes, minibar, coffee & tea making facilities, air conditioning, 24 hour room service, wifi connectivity and cable TV.

Early arrival information
If you are arriving earlier than day 1, extra accommodation in Delhi is available from USD TBA Single/Double (or equivalent) per night per room. Please notify us as early as possible if you require extra accommodation as hotels in Delhi tend to be heavily booked up well in advance. Flights from Mumbai or other cities can be arranged conveniently and inexpensively over the internet using one of India's regular or budget airlines:
For online bookings visit:

Finishing hotel
Residency Hotel
26 Gunbow Street & D.N. Road
Fort, Mumbai 400001
Ph: +91 22 2262 5525-9

Staying on
If you are staying on in Mumbai after the tour, extra accommodation is available from USD TBA Single/Double (or equivalent) per night per room. Again, if you will require extra accommodation in Mumbai, please advise us as early as possible as rooms tend to get booked out quickly at peak season times.

What to take
We will be on the move a lot, so try to pack as lightly as possible. The smaller your bag in India the better, as the various modes of transport we use tend to have limited storage space. In addition, you will find that your bag probably needs space to expand for all that shopping!

India is very conservative and we ask that you dress accordingly. As a guideline, shoulders and knees should always be covered. The wearing of shorts is looked upon by locals as akin to wearing your underwear and will limit your entry into mosques, temples and other places of worship. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool. Singlets, tank tops and short shorts are not suitable attire for India.

Note that most Indian domestic airlines have recently reduced their check-in baggage allowance to 15kg. If you have heavier luggage, you may need to pay the excess at the airport for your internal flights. Excess luggage charges are around Rs400 (USD 6) per kilo.

Upon booking, you will receive a full tour info pack including a suggested packing list an other helpful information on preparing for your trip to India.

Inexpensive laundry facilities are offered by most hotels we use where we have a two-night stop.

The weather during our journey should be great. Daytime temperatures will be warm to hot, in the range 25-35deg C. Night time temperatures will be comfortable. Rain is not very likely at this time of year, but sun is, so sunblock and a hat are essentials.

Travel documents: passport, visa, travel insurance (don't forget your emergency insurance contact details), air tickets.
Photocopy of above documents
Day pack
Health vaccinations/medication
First aid kit
Money: ATM card (widely available and easy to access); credit cards (widely accepted in big cities); cash (for emergencies)
Money pouch
Alarm clock and torch/flashlight
Mosquito repellent
Ear plugs can be very useful if you are a light sleeper
Lock for your back pack or bag
We recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt to store your passport, air tickets, credit cards and cash. Avoid bringing valuable jewellery with you. Some hotels we use have safety deposit boxes. 


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