Palaces and Paradise: A Honeymoon Tour of India
This dazzling 18-day Indian honeymoon takes in the sights of romantic Rajasthan and Delhi, along with time in Agra and Kerala for good measure. Explore mind-blowing palaces, get up close with majestic elephants, watch the sun rise over the Taj Mahal and kick back on picture-perfect beaches.
Itinerary at a Glance:
- Encounter majestic elephants at a romantic private camp
- Watch the sun rise over the Taj Mahal
- Explore the wonders of Jaipur, the Pink City
- Learn from the experts in a Rajasthani cooking lesson
- Relax on unspoilt Keralan beaches
Why Book with Original Travel?
When To Travel
All of the holidays we create are completely tailor-made to you
Day 1: Leave London for India
Your direct overnight flight to Delhi leaves London this evening and takes about eight-and-a-half-hours.
Day 2: Arrive in Delhi
Your flight will land in Delhi in the early afternoon. Here, you'll be met by one of the team who will help transfer you to your internal flight to Udaipur.
After an hour-and-a-quarter flight, you'll arrive in Udaipur, where you'll be met by another member of the team and transferred to your hotel. Once you've checked in, the rest of the afternoon and evening is yours to relax in this, arguably the most romantic of all Indian cities.
Day 3: Exploring Udaipur
Spend a full day immersing yourself in the beautiful city of Udaipur.
Start at City Palace, a sprawling, majestic palace sat on the banks of Lake Pichola. Built across three centuries, it's a glorious mish-mash of architectural styles, with a suitably lavish interior. The fantastic collection of priceless Rajput miniature paintings is a particular highlight, and you'll find yourself wondering how on earth they managed to paint something quite so tiny.
Next up is Crystal Gallery, Maharana Sajjan Singh's extravagant crystal collection, including everything from perfume bottles to furniture, then on to Saheliyon Ki Bari - the 'Garden of Maids of Honour' - for relaxing. Wander among lush gardens, elegant lotus pools, fountains and heavenly bougainvillea, followed by a spot of sightseeing at the Jagdish Temple, still in use today.
In the afternoon you'll be welcomed into the home of some locals, both descended from royal lineage no less, to sample some authentic Udaipur hospitality. Get a taste of day to day life, with a walk around the local market, where your hosts will share their knowledge on the dazzling array of spices on offer. Head back to their kitchen for a Rajasthani cooking lesson like no other, before dining together.
As the sun sets, you'll be treated to a boat ride on Lake Pichola. As you cruise around the lake, you can take in the views of the magnificent mountains and the city's beautiful facade, while soaking up the quiet calm. The perfect end to a packed day.
Day 4: More Udaipur
After a hearty breakfast, head out with your guide for a trek to Rathasan Temple.
One of the locals' best kept secrets, Rathasan Mata Temple (as it's known to Udaipur residents), is situated on the top of a hill, but the climb is most definitely worth the effort - fear not, there are stairs all the way to the top to make it a little easier. All the effort is well worth it, when you reach the top and are rewarded with spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. With a view of Devigarh Palace on one side, you'll sit down to a delicious picnic lunch, prepared by the talented hotel chef.
After lunch, it's back to the hotel where you have the afternoon to relax or to visit Nagda and the beautiful remains of the 10th century Sas Bahu Temples. Despite being in partial ruins, the beauty and elaborate carvings are clear to see.
Once you're back at the hotel, there's time to freshen up before dinner. Our Concierge can suggest and book a restaurant.
Day 5: To Shahpura
Today, enjoy your last breakfast in Udaipur before checking out. It's time to hit the road as you head to Shahpura - the drive takes about four hours, so there's plenty of time to relax and take in the sights as you go.
Once you've arrived at your hotel, the rest of the afternoon and evening is yours to relax. Your hotel for the next two nights is something rather special. Once the summer residence of the Rajadhirai of Shahpura, it's now been beautifully restored to embrace a mix of antique and modern style. Here, you'll be treated as family by the wonderful hosts and dedicated staff, who've been serving them for generations.
Soak up the old-world charm, indulge in the outstanding cuisine (the kitchens are overseen by a number of family aunties, so only the very best will do) and prepare to be regaled with tales of old tiger hunts by the resident Rajadhirai and his sisters.
Day 6: Back to Nature in Shahpura
This morning, after a leisurely breakfast, you'll be taken on an exclusive, private bird watching tour by your expert guide.
Back at your hotel, enjoy another fantastic home cooked lunch before relaxing for the afternoon - or seeking out some more flamboyant tales from the Rajadhirai.
In the evening, you'll visit the iconic Ramdwara Temple, then on to Dikhola fort in time for sun set. With stunning views across the countryside and lakes, this is the perfect spot to enjoy some sun downers as you watch village life wind down from your hilltop perch.
Day 7: To Jaipur
It's back on the road as you move on to Jaipur, a drive of around three-and-a-half-hours.
Once you arrive at your hotel, check in and take your time to freshen up. With the rest of the day yours to do as you wish, you can start to explore the city at your leisure.
A mesmerising labyrinth of bustling bazaars and opulent palaces, Jaipur is a real change from laid-back Shahpura. As the largest and capital city of the state of Rajasthan, there is an unmistakable buzz to Jaipur.
Every building within the walled historic centre is painted a distinctive terracotta - something so significant to the heritage of Jaipur that it's actually enforced under the local law - which gives off a magical pink glow. No wonder Jaipur is known as the Pink City.
Our Concierge can help point you in the right direction and make dinner reservations, if you're looking for a top-notch local restaurant to while away the evening.
Day 8: Sightseeing in Jaipur
It's an early start this morning, as your guide takes you to visit the wholesale flower market. Here, you will witness hundreds of locals buying and selling flowers of all kinds.
It's a real taste of bustling Jaipur life. Then it's back to the hotel for a well-deserved breakfast. The rest of the day is packed with some incredible sightseeing. First your guide will take you to visit Hawa Mahal, or Palace of the Winds, in the City Palace. The Palace itself is a grand blend of Rajput and Mughal architectural styles, all in the distinctive Jaipur pink. After exploring the palace complex, you'll be treated to a tour of the costumes from the royal collection in the textile gallery, along with a welcome cup of Indian tea.
Next stop is the extraordinary Jantar Mantar, an impressive astronomical observatory built by a Rajput king in the 18th century. Although a lot of the equipment looks a bit bonkers, the instruments are actually very sophisticated and accurate even today. Raja Sawai Jai Singh II most certainly knew his stuff.
Take lunch at your leisure - your guide will be able to share their inside knowledge and suggest a great lunch spot - then take a walk in the markets of Jaipur. Lose yourself in the magical bazaars around the Badi Chaupad and Johari Bazaar areas, where you'll be lucky enough to see craftspeople at work on everything from Zardozi embroidery to precious stonework.
In the afternoon, there's the opportunity to visit Kripal Kumbh pottery studio to buy some authentic blue pottery - the perfect honeymoon souvenir - then the rest of the day is yours.
Day 9: Meeting the Elephants
With nothing planned until the afternoon, there's plenty of time to enjoy a relaxing morning and leisurely breakfast.
In the afternoon your guide will take you to Amber Fort, a magnificent palace complex that rises proudly from the contoured hillside. There's plenty to explore and a fascinating history, stretching back to the 12th century, to discover.
Afterwards, take a walk down through the lanes of Amer Town, before trying your hand at some traditional Jaipur block painting at Anokhi Museum. Once you've flexed your artistic muscles it's time for a little more history with a trip to see the 16th century Panna Meena Ka Kund stepwell. Once a place for locals to collect water, swim or just have a good gossip, it's now celebrated for its remakable architecture.
As the evening approaches, you'll visit the private estate of Dera Amer, where a local family has created a stunning sanctuary for elephants. Here you'll get to help as the elephants are given their evening bath and try your hand at painting these mighty creatures in the traditional Jaipuri style. Join the elephants for their evening walk, passing though forest and past temples, before arriving at a secluded venue for drinks around the fire, followed by a private dinner. An unforgettable evening.
Day 10: To Agra
After breakfast, your Indian tour continues as you're driven five-and-a-half-hours to your next destination -Agra.
The journey is broken up with a stop en route to see the UNESCO World Heritage-protected Fatephur Sikri - the deserted but perfectly preserved 16th century red sandstone city that served as the capital of the Mughal Empire for a mere 10 years before the local water source dried up.
Then it's back in the car to continue your journey to Agra. Once you arrive at your hotel, you can relax and lie by the pool for a bit.
We have then arranged for a short visit to the beautiful Mehtab Bagh - Moonlight Garden - for an uncrowded view of sunset over the Taj Mahal, from across the river. A memorable first glimpse of this iconic building.
Day 11: The Taj Mahal, and Delhi
Best seen at dawn, it's up early this morning to visit the Taj Mahal in time for 'the golden hour'. As the sun rises and the light plays on the marble of the building and the reflection in the still waters, you'll be thankful you set that alarm.
Early risers are treated to the beauty and splendour of this iconic place before the crowds arrive. Soak up the sights and reflect on the heart-breaking, romantic story behind the Taj Mahal, truly one of the wonders of the world.
Return to the hotel for a much-needed breakfast and rest. Later you can explore Agra Fort, a triumph in red sandstone and marble, and one of the finest Mughal forts in the whole country. Don't miss the magical view of the Taj Mahal across the River Yamuna, from Shah Jahan's private quarters.
There's just enough time to visit the tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah, often referred to locally as The Baby Taj, before you begin the journey to Delhi, approximately and three-and-a-half-hour drive. Once you arrive and check in at your hotel, it's time to relax.
Day 12: Discovering Delhi
This morning, you will be picked up by your guide and taken on a whirlwind sightseeing tour of Old and New Delhi.
Pulsing with energy and colour, Old Delhi is the place to see Indian city life up close. Take a rickshaw ride through the maze of narrow lanes which twist and turn between the tall, leaning buildings. Dive into the hustle and bustle of the bazaars, where you'll get the full sights, sounds and aromas of real India. It's fast-paced, colourful and thoroughly addictive. Here, you'll also have the chance to visit the famous Red Fort, Jama Masjid mosque and Chandni Chowk bazaar.
After a break for lunch you'll visit New Delhi, where you'll start your sightseeing with a visit to Qutub Minar, a 13th century UNESCO World Heritage Site, built by the first Muslim rulers of India as a victory tower. Standing at over 240ft tall, it's quite a sight to behold. This is followed by a visit to Humayun's Tomb, yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site and considered to be the architectural forerunner of the Taj Mahal.
Your guide and driver will take you for a drive through the government buildings area, with a glimpse at the grand Parliament Building, before visiting the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib
After a busy day exploring, make your way back to your hotel to freshen up before dinner. Our Concierge can suggest a great restaurant and make reservations for you.
Day 13: On the Move
After breakfast you will be escorted to the airport by one of our guides, to board your flight to Mangalore, which should take around one-and-a-half-hours.
Once you land, you'll be greeted be one of our drivers to continue your journey by road to board a charming houseboat decorated in old Keralan style but with everything you'd expect from a modern hotel.
Day 14: Welcome to Paradise
Enjoy an al fresco breakfast on the deck of the houseboat, before our driver transfers you to your next hotel.
Nestled in a secluded palm grove beside the Arabian Sea, this luxurious resort is the perfect place to switch off and unwind after a busy few days of sightseeing and travelling. From the signature coconut drink that greets you on arrival, right down to the unspoilt, sandy beaches and palm trees swaying in the breeze, Northern Kerala offers a chilled-out, tropical experience.
Day 15-17: On the Beach
Spend two days enjoying the Keralan coast and all it has to offer.
Relax by the infinity pool with a good book, indulge in an ayurvedic massage at the on-site spa, try a spot of morning yoga, explore the local area on bicycles, brush up your skills with a cooking lesson with one of the hotel's expert chefs or venture further afield - it's really up to you.
Day 18: Home Time
It's time to say goodbye to Kerala and your Indian adventure.
After a morning relaxing and enjoying breakfast in the sun, one of our drivers will take you to Mangalore airport, approximately a three-and-a-half-hour drive, to board your flight to Mumbai, which will take just under two hours. At Mumbai airport you'll be met by one of our guides, who will help you board your international flight home, which takes ten hours back to London, arriving in the afternoon.
Frances is our expert for this itinerary and, as a seasoned traveller, has the inside track on the most memorable adventures.