This 17-day tour invites you to experience the myths and magic of four of the most incredible and influential cities in India, before cruising the Hooghly (Lower Ganges) River from Kolkata to the Sundarbans―the only mangrove forest in the world inhabited by tigers.
You will see everything from ancient temples and religious rituals to historic colonial architecture, breath-taking natural scenery, and exotic wildlife—including, if you’re very lucky, a Royal Bengal tiger!
Explore India’s bustling capital, Delhi, a colorful and chaotic culmination of at least eight historical Delhis constructed over one another, leaving a jostling juxtaposition of modern mega-city and ancient monuments. Discover oft-overlooked Lucknow’s Islamic and British Raj–era architecture and delectable cuisine, the holy Hindu ‘City of Light’ Varanasi’s powerful life and death rituals, and Kolkata’s rich tapestry of history, art galleries, religion and culture.
For nature lovers, the draw of the serene Sundarbans National Park—the world’s largest delta mangrove forest—and its resident wildlife are the star attractions. The rich and unique mangrove ecosystem is home to abundant avifauna, as well as Gangetic dolphins, saltwater crocodiles, leopard and fishing cats, and the most famous residents, more than 400 ‘Royal Bengal tigers’.
On any given day, you might be taking an exciting rickshaw ride through labyrinthine lanes of Old Delhi’s Chandni Chowk Bazaar, cruising on a colonial-style luxury riverboat, or admiring an array of colonial-era, imperial or Mughal architecture. Or perhaps you’ll be relishing a guided food walk, marveling at ancient monuments and World Heritage Sites like Qutub Minar, or scaling watchtowers and canopy walkways in an attempt to spot elusive species in the Sundarbans.
A highlight has to be visiting one world’s oldest living cities in Varanasi, a near-mythical riverine realm of temples and ghats on the banks of the Ganges, rife with mysterious rites and legend. Here, take a dawn boat trip to witness the amazing spectacle of everyday life on the ghats of this sacred river and city. At dusk, lose yourself in the mystical Ganga Aarti ritual, a daily ceremony of immense splendor, chanting and lanterns.
All excursions are on a private basis, accompanied by an expert private guide and by private transportation means with the exception of the cruise which is on a small-group, shared basis.
A curated selection of exceptional accommodations are available to you, all providing welcoming home bases from which to explore each destination. For example, in New Delhi, you might choose the opulent heritage of The Imperial, interwoven with colonial grace, or the sleek glass glamor of Le Meridien, and in Kolkata, you may prefer the appeal of the discrete and elegant Glenburn Penthouse in the heart of the historic city, or the grandeur of The Oberoi Grand, which has been an icon on the landscape of Kolkata for more than a century.
Rivaling these fine hotels of India, the Ganges Voyager riverboat, with its choice of cabin categories, will accommodate you in old-fashioned luxury, taking you back in time with the grace and style of the British colonial era.
Combining authentic and iconic hotel stays with fascinating historical city tours and wildlife safaris, traveling by planes, trains and automobiles, rickshaws, rowboats and a luxury riverboat, you and your family or loved one can look forward to an unforgettable adventure across the Indian Subcontinent to some of India’s most magical destinations in style.
If you’re seeking a tour of contrasts, complete with startlingly different sceneries and activities, along with wide and varied forms of transportation, look no further than this spirited and spiritual Indian itinerary.