Tour Details at a glance
This tour is available on request for a minimum of 4 travellers
24 days / 23 nights
From USD TBA twin share
From USD TBA including Optional Single Supplement
Minimum 4, Maximum 10
22 nights Hotels / 1 night Overnight train
2 domestic flights
2 trains (1 day/1 overnight)
Private air-conditioned minibus
23 breakfasts; 7 lunches; 4 dinners
Arrival and departure transfers
Entrance fees to all sights as per the itinerary
Tips and gratuities
Essence of India – Women Only – 24 Days Mumbai to Delhi
From the sprawling commercial capital of Mumbai to Rajasthan, the 'land of the Kings' and from the banks of the holy Ganges to the magnificence of the Mughal cities, 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, a holy city, a camel safari and a search for the elusive Bollywood star all make for a trip full of highlights and contrasts.
This is a trip you don’t want to miss!
Experience Incredible India and Rajasthan on this Women-only Small Group Tour, fully escorted within India by a western female tour leader (who lives in India most of the year) with the additional services of local guides for various activities and sightseeing where needed.
* live it up in glitzy and glamorous Mumbai
* fall in love with the beautiful lake city of Udaipur
* learn to cook the perfect curry at a cooking class
* experience ethnic traditions and crafts in Rajasthan
* hike through the hills around Mount Abu - Rajasthan's only 'hill station'
* visit tribal villages near Bhenswara
* experience the Desert city of Jaisalmer
* ride a camel into the sunset in the Thar Desert
* be amazed at Jodhpur's majestic Mehrangarh Fort
* enjoy lunch in a friends' village home in the Bishnoi region
* explore the palaces and bazaars of Jaipur
* get a Henna tattoo and buy a Sari
* gaze in wonder at the remarkable Abhaneri Stepwell
* be left breathless by the unsurpassed Taj Mahal
* explore the peaceful Temple Village of Orchha
* witness sunrise over the Ganges in holy Varanasi
* get pampered with treatments and massages in Indian spas
* be part of the craziness and excitement of India's capital city Delhi
Day by Day Itinerary
Day 1 Mumbai
Arrival Day. Please arrive in time to meet with the group by Midday when we have a welcome meeting before we head out for lunch and an afternoon of sightseeing.
Hotel: Fariyas Hotel
Day 2 Mumbai
We have another full day to explore 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: Fariyas Hotel
Days 3-5 Udaipur
We take a morning flight to Udaipur. Often called the Romantic city and the Lake City, Udaipur lives up to its name with its white washed havelis 'private mansions' 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 cruise the lake. Udaipur has on offer plenty of places to try an Ayurvedic Massage, or a Yoga class. Udaipur is a friendly and charming city just made for exploring.
Hotel: Udaigarh or similar
Days 6-7 Mt Abu
A scenic drive brings us to Mount Abu. Rajasthan’s only ’Hill Station’ - a town in the mountains where the erstwhile rulers would escape the heat of the summer plains - is famous for the exquisite Dilwara Jain Temples.
We take time to marvel at the stunning marble carvings on the inside of the temple which were created over several centuries and also have time to wander around the lake, trek through the hills, hike to hill-top temples and enjoy the carnival-like atmosphere of the town which attracts a lot of Indian holidaymakers, although few international tourists make it here.
Hotel: Hotel Hillock or similar
Day 8 Bhenswara
A 4 hour drive today brings us to the small hamlet of Bhenswara where we get to spend the night like Maharanis (Queens) in a Heritage Ravla (Castle) 240 years old. We take a jeep safari to nearby villages and meet some of the local tribal people living in this remote part of South-Western Rajasthan.
Hotel: Ravla Bhenswara
Days 9-10 Jaisalmer
Like something out of 1001 Arabian nights, Jaisalmer, the Golden City 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.
Days 11-12 Jodphur
Travelling on to Jodhpur through the heart of the Thar Desert we wander the palaces of the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort before exploring the markets in the Blue city below. Famous throughout the country for its special Makhani (butter) lassi's (yoghurt drink), Jodhpur is also where the pants come from. On day 12 we take a jeep safari south to the Bishnoi villages where we will have lunch with a local family.
Hotel: Haveli Inn Pal or similar
Days 13-15 Jaipur
We arrive today into Jaipur, the 'Pink City' and capital of Rajasthan. We stay in the charming Diggi Palace, which has been converted into a Heritage Hotel. Diggi Palace is home to one of Rajasthan's royal families who still live in and manage the hotel. Amber Fort is a splendid example of Rajput/Moghal architecture and was the old capital of Rajasthan prior to 1727. We take a wander through the markets and colourful bazaars of Jaipur and visit the wondrous Jantar Mantar. You have the chance to see the splendid City Palace Museum and the Palace of the Winds. There is free time to explore some of Jaipur's many sights, or markets. We also experience a Bollywood extravaganza here in Jaipur at the famous Raj Mandir cinema.
Hotel: Diggi Palace or similar
Days 16-17 Agra
Leaving Rajasthan, we head yet further east today to Agra.
The icon of India, probably the most famous and beautiful building in the world, the majestic Taj Mahal surpasses all expectations and it truly is a wonder of the world, if not the greatest ever testimony to love. There are opportunities to visit it at different times of the day to see how its colour changes with the light.
We also visit the remarkable Agra Fort, built by Emperor Akbar in the 16th Century and the Itimud-ud-Dualah, known locally as the ‘Baby Taj’, an exquisite marble tomb built by a Moghul Empress for her parents.
Whilst we are in Agra, we can also take an opportunity to see how handmade carpets and marble inlay work are produced.
Hotel: The Retreat or similar
Days 18-19 Orchha
We travel several hours south by train to Jhansi from where we transfer the 20km to the small village of Orchha, situated on the banks of the charming Betwa River.
Orchha has changed little over the centuries. Originally a hunting area, during the 16th and 17th centuries, it became the capital of the ‘Bundelas’ who built a fort palace on a small island on a bend in the river. Orchha has more temples and palaces than any town of this size deserves! Pillaged by the Mughal imperial army, the magnificent monuments have lain virtually deserted ever since.
We spend the afternoon exploring the palace and temples scattered across the peaceful countryside, walking in rural areas untouched by modern life and meeting the very friendly local people.
On the evening of day 19, we board our train for an overnight journey by 2-tier air-conditioned sleeper to Varanasi.
Hotel: Orchha Resort or similar
Days 20-21 Varanasi
Said to be the oldest living city in the world, Varanasi, also known as Benares or Kashi, seems to encapsulate all of India within its boundaries. The ultimate destination for all Hindu pilgrims, the city is full of temples, shrines and devotees.
Life in Varanasi revolves around the ghats along the Ganges where the bulk of the temples are located. We walk in the old city with its maze of narrow twisting alleys full of small shops and stalls and take boats out onto the river to see the sun rising over the holy town.
There’s time to visit the markets here as well as a chance to just hang out on the ghats and watch the pilgrims go about their rituals. We experience the magical atmosphere of a ceremonial 'aarti' as old as time itself as the sun sets over the Ganges to the beating of drums and the ringing of bells.
After receiving enlightenment at Bodhgaya, The Buddha traveled to Sarnath, just on the outskirts of modern-day Varanasi to preach his first sermon. Since then, Sarnath has remained a major Buddhist site. We take the opportunity to visit the monasteries, ruins and temples of Sarnath.
Hotel: Hotel Banaras Haveli or similar
Days 22-23 Delhi
Today we have a short flight to Delhi where we visit the spectacular Humayans Tomb, and also take a drive down Rajpath, the ceremonial avenue lined with impressive and imposing government buildings, India Gate and Rastrapati Bhavan, the Presidents residence.
On the morning of day 23 we head out to Old Delhi, the walled city once known as Shahjahanabad which was the creation of the Moghal Emperor Shah Jahan. We visit one of it’s most impressive buildings and Delhi’s oldest mosque, the Jama Masjid. We join the crowds to walk in the bazaars of Chandni Chowk, immersing ourselves in the noise and smells of the crowded narrow streets and alleys, where different areas specialise in festival paraphernalia, silk, copper, brass, jewellery and spices at the spice market before we find out all about the Sikh's at the Bangla Sahib Gurudwara.
Delhi is an exciting, busy and often chaotic city and one of the most interesting cities in India. With a past that stretches far back into the mists of time, it is rich with the splendour and vitality of an eternal city. Divided into an ancient and a modern part, 1000 years of history greet the visitor at every step. Mosques, monuments and forts from many different eras, museums and galleries, shops and endless bazaars lie scattered across Delhi’s sprawling expanse.
There is more to see and do than we can possibly fit in during our short time here. If you are staying on after the tour, take the opportunity to make more discoveries - the ruins of Qutb Minar and Purana Qila, the Lotus Temple, Indira Gandhi Museum and Rajghat are all recommended, as are the market areas of Dilli Haat, Khan Market and Haus Khas.
Hotel: The Hans or similar
Day 24 Departure Day
There are no organised activities today. You are free to depart at anytime.
Minimum 4, Maximum 10
24 days / 23 nights
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 and gratuities for hotel staff, porters, guides and drivers
Meals as specified
Meals other than those listed
Drinks, meal tips, laundry and other items of a personal nature
Guesthouses/hotels (22 nights)
This tour uses a variety of accommodation. From guesthouses to heritage hotels, we experience a wide range of accommodation styles. Hotel rooms are twin share with private bathrooms with western style toilets. Although most rooms will be air-conditioned, some may be fan-cooled.
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. However if you do not wish to share accommodation, but would like to guarantee your own room throughout the tour a single supplement of USD970 will be payable.
Three domestic flights, private minibus, jeep, auto rickshaws (tuktuks), taxis and cycle rickshaws for some sightseeing. Boat rides on the Ganges, Varanasi and Lake Pichola, Udaipur, Jeeps for village safaris.
The following is a list of included activities on this trip. Other activities are optional and will be at your own expense.
Gateway of India, Dhobi Ghats, Crawford Market, Chowpatty Beach, Gandhi Museum (Mumbai)
City Palace, Cooking class, Market walk, Traditional dance show, Lake cruise (Udaipur)
Jeep Village Safari (Bhenswara)
Camel ride, Market walk (Jaisalmer)
Mehrangarh Fort, Market walk, Bishnoi Village Safari (Jodhpur)
Amber Palace, Jantar Mantar, Market walk, Bollywood movie, Galta Temple (Jaipur)
Abhaneri Stepwell (Abhaneri)
Taj Mahal, Red Fort, Itimud-ud-Dualah, (Agra)
Palace Complex Tour (Orchha)
Dawn Boat Cruise, Sarnath Visit, River and city walk (Varanasi)
Old Delhi, Humayans Tomb, Bangla Sahib Gurudwara (Delhi)
23 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 4 Dinners
MealsTraveling 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
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. Visa & MasterCard credit cards are accepted in major shops and restaurants in the bigger cities. Make sure you inform your card issuer about your travel plans before you leave home so that your cards work ok while you are away.
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.
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. There are some long bus trips on bumpy roads.
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 is highly recommended whilst traveling 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 http://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/healthy-living/travelling
Communications / Keeping in touch
Most of our hotels have Wifi, as do many restaurants and cafes. 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 Reliance. 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 manager 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.
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
25, Off Arthur Bunder Road,
Colaba, Mumbai 400025
Ph: +91 22 6141 6141
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.
Situated in South Mumbai, our joining hotel is just minutes away from the city's bustling center. Close to the financial and business district, Colaba is the tourist, shopping and entertainment centre of Mumbai. The Hotel is just minutes away from historical sites like the Gateway of India and the Taj Mahal Hotel, as well as the Jehangir Art Gallery and Prince of Wales Museum.
Early arrival information
If you are arriving earlier than day 1, extra accommodation in Mumbai 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 Mumbai tend to be booked up well in advance.
15 Barakhamba Road, Connaught Place
New Delhi 110001
Ph: +91 11 6615 0000
If you are staying on in Delhi after the tour, extra accommodation at Hans is available at USD TBA Single/Double (or equivalent) per night per room. Again, if you will require extra accommodation in Delhi, 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 some 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 and are generally available wherever we have a two night stop.
The weather during our journey should be great. Daytime temperatures will be warm to hot, in the range 25-35oc. 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. Blankets are provided on the overnight train journey.
Travel documents: passport, visa, travel insurance (don't forget your emergency insurance contact details), air tickets.
Photocopy of above documents
First aid kit
Money: ATM card (widely available and easy to access); credit cards (widely accepted in big cities); cash (for emergencies)
Alarm clock and torch/flashlight
Ear plugs can be very useful if you are a light sleeper
Lock for your bag or suitcase
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.