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The Best of Northern India
A trip to northern India for first timers necessitates a visit to the Golden Triangle coupled with at least one holy city. Some trips consist of a river cruise down the sacred Ganges river, where you unpack once and see all the sights along the way.
Day 1-3, New Delhi: See New Delhi and Old Delhi. Visit Jama Masjid, India’s oldest Mosque, and see the Red Fort, where the last Moghul emperor was exiled.
Day 4-5 Agra: See the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, a palatial walled city of sandstone.
Day 6-7, Jaipur: Visit the Pink City of Jaipur, former residence of the royal family, and the capital of Rajasthan. See the Hawa Mahal, the “Palace of Winds”, and the most photographed building after the Taj Mahal. Optional: Watch a Bollywood film at the famous Raj Mandir Cinema.
Day 8-9, Varanasi, Kalna, or Sawarda: Visit Varanasi, one of the most holy cities in India, Kalna, the region’s densest concentration of temples, or Sawarda, a village of temples including one dedicated to the Sikh religion.
Day 10-13 (optional): Take a boat ride down the Ganges River, and see the various buddhist temples.
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Highlights of Southern India
Stark differences exist between subtropical landlocked Northern India and tropical Southern India, characterized by long coastlines. In Southern India, you’ll visit coastal cities, wildlife preserves, and enjoy unique Southern Indian cuisine.
Day 1-2, Kochi: Explore Kochi, a former trade center with a history of Portuguese, Dutch and British rule throughout different time periods. See Chinese fishing nets dotted along the coast of Fort Cochin.
Day 3-4, Coonoor or Kalpetta: Drive to Coonoor, most famous for its Nilgiri tea, or Kalpetta, famous for its dense coffee plantations.
Day 5-6, Mysore: Considered the cultural capital of the state, Mysore is home to the opulent Mysore Palace and the centuries-old Devaraja Market.
Day 7-8, Puducherry: Formerly the largest French colony in India and important trading town.
Day 9-10, Madurai: Madurai is known as the Tamil Culture’s most vital centers. See the famous Meenakshi Temple and the Gandhi Memorial Museum.
Day 11-13, National parks: Visit Periyar National Park, wildlife preserve, or Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary.
Day 14: Return to starting city