Your flight arrives late at the airport tonight and so you will be transferred direct to your hotel for a good night's sleep. Stay: The Heritance Negombo
After breakfast travel to the small village of Kandalama, located within Sri Lanka's Central Province. Take a glimpse into Sri Lanka's majestic past with a tour of the World Heritage-listed Sigiriya Rock Fortress, an ancient rock fortress and ruins of a castle, once the home to King Kasyapa. Enter the fortress through the mouth of a giant stone lion. Stay Two Nights:
Kandalama, The Heritance (B/L/D)
- This evening, savour a unique Welcome Dinner where you will dine underground, getting a taste of local Sri Lankan dishes such as charcoal-grilled peppered prawns, grilled tournedos of beef on red wine sauce and black and white chocolate marquise by the light of flaming torches and candle lanterns in the Caves of Heritance.
After breakfast, enjoy a traditional cooking class within an intimate organic garden. Learn many closely guarded culinary secrets as you help the chef pick and prepare a variety of tasty herbs and vegetables. Tonight, dine like royalty on a seven-course feast. (B/L/D)
Freedom of Choice:
- Perhaps take a tour of the World Heritage-listed ancient city of Polonnaruwa, the historic capital of Sri Lanka dating back to 1070. Otherwise embark on an authentic village trek and get a glimpse of Sri Lankan village life.
Kandalama, Dambulla, Kandy
This morning, tour the isolated rock mass of the Dambulla Rock Cave Temple. Continue onwards to Kandy for a city tour and visit to The Temple of The Buddha's Tooth. Witness the colourful ''pooja ceremony'' as crowds gather to sing praise to Buddha and offer flowers to the sacred tooth kept in the temple's in the inner sanctum. This evening, choose from a wide range of dining options from a British favourite, fish and chips, to a spicy curry if you are in the mood. Stay Two Nights: Kandy, Earl's Regency (B/L/D)
Kandy, Perdeniya, Hatton
A journey through tea plantations and lushly blanketed steeply rising hills takes you to picturesque Nuwara Eliya after an early lunch at Ramboda Falls. A tour of Nuwara Eliya reveals a town awash with British nostalgia, while the higher altitude offers a mild climate, perfect for exploring this picturesque town on foot. Enjoy a very typically English high tea this evening, sampling 15 tea varieties, homemade strawberry jam, chocolate cake, and cucumber sandwiches. (B/D)
After breakfast you'll travel to Colombo, an ancient harbour city known to Indian, Greek, Persian, Roman, Arab, and Chinese sea traders for more than 2,000 years. More recently Colombo was an important strategic port for the Portuguese, Dutch and British colonial powers. Today Colombo is the capital of Sri Lanka, and you can relax and unwind in the epitome of luxury this afternoon at your iconic hotel, which overlooks the Indian Ocean. Stay:
Colombo, Galle Face Hotel (B/L/D)
Freedom of Choice:
- Tonight you can choose from a number of sumptuous dining options at your luxury hotel.
This morning, farewell Sri Lanka as you take the short flight to the southern Indian city of Kochi. On arrival, be met and transferred to your hotel. INRK15 passengers arrive in Kochi today. Known as the 'Queen of the Arabian Sea', Kochi has lured wanderers and traders for centuries. Stay Two Nights: Crowne Plaza Kochi (B/D)
Explore the quaint Fort Kochi area on a guided tour. Enjoy strolling along the promenade and seeing the cantilevered Chinese Fishing Nets brought to the region by Chinese fishermen in the 14th Century. Later stroll through the history-filled streets of Jewtown, before visiting the ornate Paradesi Synagogue. Head to St Francis Church, and learn about the fascinating colonial history. Next, enjoy lunch at the Brunton Boatyard Hotel. Later, delight in a traditional Kathakali dance performance. (B/L/D)
Freedom of Choice:
- Tonight, choose from a range of delicious dining options.
This morning travel to Kumarakom. Stay Two Nights:
Kumarakom Lake Resort (B/L/D)
Freedom of Choice:
- In Kumarakom you can choose to learn the secrets of preparing a traditional Keralan meal during a cooking demonstration. Alternatively, you may partake in a lecture on the Indian health practice of Ayurveda.
This morning, you may choose to participate in a yoga class. Later, enjoy a cruise on the backwaters of Kerala which offer an unhurried, laid back travel experience along picturesque lagoons and canals. This was once the most important and economical means of transport and trade in Kerala, used to ferry rice and spices. This is an endless string of interconnected waterways stretching along the Malabar Coast. Calmly glide through the beautiful Vembanad Lake, on board a majestic house boat, past a cluster of islands rich with vigour and beauty. Enjoy a seafood dinner this evening. (B/L/D)
Kumarakom, Kochi to Mumbai
In the afternoon transfer to the airport for your flight to Mumbai. On arrival you'll be met and transferred to your hotel, located in the heart of the city that's considered to be the most modern in India. Stay: Oberoi Mumbai Hotel (B/D)
Mumbai, Embark Deccan Odyssey
This morning set out on a tour of Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay and discover why this is the financial, commercial and entertainment capital of India. Visit the India Gate, a monument overlooking the Arabian Sea that was erected to commemorate the landing of King George V and Queen Mary in 1911. Later transfer to the World Heritage- listed Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, a railway station that is a sightseeing highlight in itself and board the Deccan Odyssey for Welcome Drinks. Enjoy free time to explore the train and dinner on board before an overnight journey waking in Vadodara. Stay Seven Nights: Deccan Odyssey (B/D)
After breakfast explore the World-Heritage listed Champaner Pavagadh Archaeological Park, the only Islamic pre-Mughal city in India that remains unchanged. The site is endowed with rich architecture that show influences from Hindu, Muslim and Jain religions. After lunch back aboard the Deccan Odyssey visit the Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum and enjoy a high tea at the royal Laxmi Vilas Palace. Enjoy a special folk performance before reboarding your train where your odyssey continues tonight. (B/L/D)
Wake up to breakfast overlooking the Aravali Ranges as your roll into Udaipur, India's 'City of the Lake' also known as the 'Venice of the East'. Udaipur was famously referred to as 'the most romantic spot on the continent of India' in 1829 by Colonel James Tod, of the East India Company. Nowadays Udaipur is known as the centre for performing arts and crafts. Today join a guided tour including the elaborate City Palace, situated on the east bank of Lake Pichola. This palatial complex was constructed over some 400 years, with contributions from several rulers and shows architectural influences from Rajasthani, Mughal, Medieval, European and Chinese cultures. Enjoy a boat ride on the lake affording spectacular views of the Palace and other significant buildings surrounding the lake, before lunch back aboard your train. This afternoon explore the Old Town by foot, a perfect opportunity to purchase unique handicrafts from the market including puppets, clothe lanterns, jewellery, wooden boxes, among others. (B/L/D)
This morning you are spoilt for choice in Jodhpur, the Sun City of Rajasthan. The former capital of the Marwar kingdom, is a beautiful city with the Thar Desert as an epic backdrop. Jodhpur houses some amazing temples, forts and palaces which you will be given the opportunity to see. Visit the Bishnoi tribal village to see traditional potters and weavers at work. After lunch prepare to explore the mighty Mehrangarh Fort set on a rocky hill that rises 400 feet above the surrounding plain. Explore one of India's largest forts, including the fascinating museum that houses royal palanquins, armoury, paintings, costumes, and personal belongings of the family of Rao Jodha who built this impressive fort in 1459. Your walking tour takes you to the Turban Gallery and past the Old Clock Tower market and striking havelis. Dinner tonight is a royal affair, a Marwar barbecue held in the maharajah courtyard at the fort. (B/L/D)
Agra, Taj Mahal
Arrive today in Agra, home to some of the most magnificent architectural gems that were built by Mughal emperors during their reign. After a relaxed breakfast, get set to visit the iconic Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Built by Shah Jahan in the memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, this white marble mausoleum is festooned with precious and semi-precious stones. Reboard the Deccan Odyssey for dinner as tonight you roll towards Ranthambore National Park. (B/L/D)
- Enjoy a private and exclusive lunch at Taj Khema with sublime views of the Taj Mahal. After lunch pay a visit to a local market, popular for Mughal-style ornaments with intricate marble-inlay work and carvings.
Sawai Madhopur, Ranthambore National Park
Following breakfast embark on a morning village walking tour in Sawai Madhopur where you will see the town's many interesting temples. Lunch back on board brims with anticipation as you prepare for a safari to one of India's best tiger reserves, Ranthambore National Park. Along with the popular resident tigers, you might be lucky enough to also see leopards, hyenas, jackals, sloth bears, Indian wild boar, Indian porcupines, long-eared hedgehogs and mongoose. The park is also home to a large diversity of birdlife and many fascinating reptiles including crocodiles, tortoise, and Indian chameleon among others. Later, enjoy high tea at a royal wilderness lodge set deep within the park. Travel back to your train and enjoy dinner aboard as you roll towards the Rajasthani capital Jaipur. (B/L/D)
Today explore Jaipur, the capital city of Rajasthan, including a visit to the Amber Fort, City Palace and the 18th-century World Heritage-listed observatory, Jantar Mantar, home to a collection of architectural astronomical instruments. After lunch visit the bustling local market to get your hands on some colourful handicrafts. (B/L/D)
Disembark Deccan Odyssey, New Delhi
A tour of Old Delhi begins at the highly decorative Jama Masjid, India's largest mosque. Later, explore the labyrinth of tiny lanes of Shahjahanabad in a cycle-rickshaw. Later drive past Rashtrapati Bhawan, the official residence of the President of India, and visit India Gate. After lunch, transfer to your centrally located hotel and enjoy the afternoon at leisure, perhaps visiting the nearby Central Park or the interesting Jantar Mantar, consisting of 13 architectural astronomy instruments. Stay Two Nights:
Delhi, Taj Palace Hotel (B/D)
Freedom of Choice:
- This evening, choose from a range of dining options at your hotel.
After a morning at leisure, visit the home of a local family to enjoy a cooking demonstration followed by lunch. After lunch, drive to the iconic Humayun's Tomb, one of the most experimental and innovative monuments of its time. It inspired a major architectural revolution in India, influenced by Persian designs and built by Persian and Indian craftsmen, this architectural movement would culminate in the construction of the Taj Mahal. Tonight, enjoy a dinner fit for a Maharajah at Bukhara Restaurant. (B/L/D)
Depart New Delhi
After a morning at leisure, transfer to the airport for your onward flight. (B)