Indian River Cruise Safari & Taj Mahal - Fly, River Cruise & Tour India - Apr19

This 12 night Indian extravaganza takes in the most popular monuments with Brahmaputra River cruising & wildlife...

Date: 08–22 Apr 2019

Ship: Mahabaahu

OutsideBalconySuite
AU $6,185AU $6,685AU $7,485

Twin Superior River View cabin (no balcony) from AUD $6,185*pp

Twin Superior cabin with balcony from AUD $6,685*pp

Twin Suite cabin from AUD $7,485*pp

Single Superior River View cabin (no balcony) from AUD $10,445*

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INDIAN RIVER CRUISE SAFARI & TAJ MAHAL Fly, River Cruise & Stay package includes:

  • Return economy class airfare from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide or Perth to Delhi and ex Kolkata on return including tax
  • One way arrival transfer from Delhi airport to hotel
  • 2 nights accommodation at the Shangri-La Hotel Delhi including breakfast
  • Touring to Old and New Delhi
  • Transfer via air conditioned transport from Delhi to Agra
  • 1 nights accommodation at the ITC Mughal Hotel Agra including breakfast
  • Sightseeing in Agra to the Agra Fort & sunset at the Taj Mahal
  • Air Conditioned transport from Agra to Jaipur (with visit to Fatehpur Sikri enroute)
  • 2 nights accommodation at the ITC Raiputana in Jaipur including breakfast
  • One dinner with a local family in their home in Jaipur
  • Sightseeing in Jaipur to the Amber Fort, City Palace and Jantar Mantar
  • Transfer from Jaipur hotel to airport
  • One way economy class airfare from Jaipur to Guwahati
  • Arrival transfer from Guwahati airport to port including packed lunch and sightseeing at the Kamakhya Temple enroute
  • 7 night Brahmaputra River cruise from Guwahati to Neamati Ghat aboard MV Mahabaahu
  • Buffet breakfast, buffet lunch and ala carte dinner onboard
  • 1 cocktail drink with each dinner onboard
  • Arrival welcome glass of Champagne for cruise
  • 2 glasses of domestic beer/wine during your welcome dinner on Mahabaahu
  • 1 cocktail and 2 glasses of domestic beer/wine with farewell dinner from Mahabaahu
  • Tea/coffee maker in all cabins plus complimentary cookies
  • Entrance fees/National Park permits
  • All excursions, performances & activities (see day to day itinerary below)
  • English-speaking guides | Complimentary towels and juice after each excursion
  • Complimentary shoe cleaning after each excursion
  • Services of English speaking Naturalist/ Destination Manager during sightseeing
  • Services of a tailor onboard (extra charge)
  • Assistance on all Arrival & Departure transfers
  • Departure transfer from Neamati Ghat - Jorhat including lunch at a tea estate
  • One way economy class airfare from Jorhat airport to Kolkata
  • Air/Port/govt taxes

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DAY TO DAY IN-DEPTH ITINERARY:

(subject to weather and tidal conditions)

Day 1 (Tuesday): Arrive Delhi

After clearing immigration and customs, our representative will meet you at the receiving area and escort you to your hotel. Thereafter, arrive at the hotel and check-in. Delhi is a dynamic city where the past coexists with the present. While historic evidence shows that the area around Delhi was first occupied around 2,500 years ago, Hindu mythology predates that by another 500 years. The British captured the city in 1803 and when they decided to make it the capital of India in 1911, they commissioned Sir Edwin Lutyens to draw up the plans. The result is slightly surprising with spacious tree-lined avenues punctuated with architecture which is among the most striking in the world.

Overnight at the hotel - Shangri La Hotel - Deluxe room

Day 2 (Wednesday): Delhi

After breakfast, experience the combined charm of Old and New Delhi.

On the tour of `Old Delhi,` you will head out to explore this exotic locale with its narrow dirt roads, myriads of people and inexpensive and colorful bazaars that keep alive the traditional workmanship for which Delhi has always been famous. Drive past the Red Fort, and visit the Jama Masjid, one of the largest Muslim mosques in India. A bicycle rickshaw will take you into the heart of Chandni Chowk (the silver square - so named because of the silver merchants). Drive past India Gate, a 42-metre archway built in memory of Indian soldiers killed during the First World War and Rashtrapati Bhawan, built in the early 20th century as the Imperial residence of the Viceroy. Today, it is the official residence of the President of India. From here, visit the capital`s most striking monument; the 70-meter high Qutab Minar.

Overnight at the hotel (B) - Shangri La Hotel - Deluxe room

Day 3 (Thursday): Delhi / Agra (approx. 220km/4 hour drive)

After breakfast, depart for Agra. Though Agra`s history is largely recognized with Mughal Empire, the place was established much before it and has linkages since Mahabharata, the Mythological history. The golden age of the city began with the Mughals. Akbar made it the center of art, culture, commerce and learning. During the peaceful reign of Shah Jahan, his passion for architecture came to the fore and the world-famous architectural masterpieces were constructed including the Taj Mahal. Visit the imposing Red Fort of Agra (also known as Agra Fort). A creative, architectural, and strategic masterpiece, the Fort is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site. In a cruel twist, Emperor Shah Jahan, builder of the Taj Mahal and whose grandfather built the original Fort and who also assumed the throne himself, was imprisoned here at the end of his life by his own son – in a room looking out on the Taj Mahal across the river. This evening, savor a travel highlight as you embark on a tour of the Taj Mahal, the magnificent tomb of white marble built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz, who had implored her husband to build a monument symbolizing their undying love for each other. Some 20,000 laborers and artisans from around the world spent 22 years constructing what became Mumtaz‟s mausoleum, which was begun in 1632. Along with its exquisite symmetry, the Taj features striking examples of pietra dura, a decorative art in which craftsmen embed precisely cut semi-precious stones in marble to form dazzling patterns. Return to the hotel.

Overnight at the hotel (B) - ITC Mughal - Mughal Room

Day 4: (Friday): Agra/Jaipur via Fatehpur Sikri (approx. 260km/5 hour drive)

After breakfast, check-out and drive to Jaipur. En route visit Fatehpur Sikri, the sandstone city, was the glorious but short-lived imperial capital of Akbar, the greatest of Mughal emperors. Lying on a rocky ridge, it boasts of palaces, forts and mosques representing a variety of architectural styles. On arrival check in to the hotel. This evening a local family will host you for the dinner at their private home

Overnight at the hotel (B, D) - ITC Rajputana - Executive Club room

Day 5: (Saturday): Jaipur

This was the home of India`s legendary Hindu warriors, whose historic forts, palaces, and gardens lend a timeless quality to this storied region. Called the `pink city` for its buildings of rose-hued sandstone, Jaipur today retains the exquisite symmetry of its original construction, as well as the eight historic gates that protected the city centuries ago. Full day sightseeing of Jaipur including a visit to the Amber Fort and a photo stop at the Palace of the Winds, the Hawa Mahal in the morning. Visit Amber Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage site built by the Kachhawah Rajputs as their capital from 1037 to 1728 and considered the pinnacle of Rajput architecture. We tour the unoccupied citadel this morning, to admire the fresco-covered portal, the impressive room of mirrors, walls of jewel-encrusted marble, and the royal apartments offering beautiful panoramic views of the surrounding valleys. We continue on to Jantar Mantar, the incredible open-air Royal Observatory (ca. 1728) housing oversized astronomical instruments and a UNESCO World Heritage site; and City Palace, former residence of the Maharajas of Jaipur, built in the shape of the city itself and now converted to a museum that houses the rulers magnificent art collections. Explore the local markets or visit a jeweler`s workshop as Jaipur is most famous for its gems.

Overnight at the hotel (B) - ITC Rajputana - Executive Club room

Day 6: (Sunday): Jaipur /Guwahati / flight & board MV Mahabaahu (6E-207 at 0755/1150 hrs.)

(M.V. Mahabaahu sets sail at 14:00 hours)

Early morning check-out with packed breakfast and transfer to Jaipur airport to connect with flight to Guwahati. Arrive at the Guwahati International Airport and with packed lunch, we drive through the busy streets to the Kamakhya Temple. This Temple is devoted to Kamakhya, the eternal Feminine - the goddess of desire. After the Temple visit, we drive towards Pandu Port and check into the Cruise and gather on the open deck to enjoy the first sail. A quick orientation and we deboard for a short visit of the picturesque Peacock Island, the smallest island on the Brahmaputra (flight time permitting) famous for the highly endangered Golden Langur. It would be a good idea to have one`s binoculars and cameras at hand. Proceed into the evening with a talk on `Kamakhya and the occult in Assam`.

Soon MV Mahabaahu drops anchor and the evening follows into the welcome dinner.

Overnight onboard MV Mahabaahu (B, Packed L, D)

Day 7 (Monday): Village visit/Full day Sail

MV Mahabaahu lifts anchor early. We enjoy Yoga on the deck for an hour and move on for breakfast. We enjoy a talk on `Assam, its geographical location in the national and international context and how it is acclaiming recognition`. MV Mahabaahu heads on towards an island that is occupied predominantly by a `Bangla` speaking Muslim community who are involved in extensive farming. After visiting this village, we return to the ship for lunch and sail towards the Orang Point. Evening sets in and over a cup of tea, we enjoy a talk on `The River Brahmaputra and the tribal life`. We anchor at a deserted island for the evening and enjoy a bonfire and a barbeque. NOTE: (Bonfire may be avoided if a suitable sandbank cannot be found or if we experience inclement weather conditions)

Overnight onboard MV Mahabaahu (B, L, D)

Day 8 (Tuesday): Sail to Silghat / Visit Tea Estate AND/OR Jute Mill

MV Mahabaahu sails early and we enjoy Yoga on the deck and move on for breakfast and for a talk on `Wild life in Kaziranga with an overview of the wild life in India`. We sail on for the next couple of hours and enjoy a relaxed lunch as we reach Silghat. After a talk on `Tea, Jute & Silk in Assam`, we take a short drive to Kaliabore Tea Estate which is a vast undulating expanse. We proceed to the tea factory to see the processing of the Assam Tea and getting an insight into all that goes into preparing a good brewed relishing cup-of-tea. (The tea factory is not operational from mid-December to mid-February as it is time for pruning the tea bushes). While returning to the ship, we visit a co-operative Jute Mill which is an interesting place to understand how the Jute fibre takes the form of very eco-friendly gunny bags. We enjoy a cultural evening on the ship followed by an early dinner.

Overnight onboard MV Mahabaahu (B, L, D)

Day 9 (Wednesday): Kaziranga National Park / Weaver`s Village at Bishwanath Ghat

An early wake- up call with Tea/coffee and we set out towards the Kaziranga National Park.

The most prized inhabitant of Kaziranga is the Greater One-Horned Indian Rhinoceros, but the Park is home to as many as 180 different mammals including wild elephant, tiger, deer, Asiatic wild buffalo and a rich variety of birds. We reach the Kohora Mihimukh range of the National Park and are ready to start our morning adventure. An elephant-back safari is an experience, to search for the elusive rhinoceros, tigers, swamp deer, hog deer and more besides a large number of very interesting birds. The park never ceases to surprise its visitors!!!

After breakfast at a resort in Kaziranga, we drive on to Bagori, the Western Range of Kaziranga and get into the open jeeps for some more wildlife adventure and an extensive coverage of this magnificent park. We return to MV Mahabaahu to enjoy a leisurely lunch and as we start sailing towards Bishwanath Ghat. We get into the excursion boats to reach the shores of Bishwanath Ghat. We walk through the village and are struck by the simplicity of life while the weaver women surround us with their silk and cotton weaves. We enjoy some happy interaction with them. We return to the ship to enjoy an evening on a deserted island and then proceed for dinner onboard. NOTE: (Bonfire may be avoided if a suitable sandbank cannot be found or if we experience inclement weather conditions)

Overnight onboard MV Mahabaahu (B, L, D)

Day 10 (Thursday): Boat Safari

Enjoy a relaxed breakfast over a talk on `The River Brahmaputra and the life that exists alongside`. We proceed for the boat safari, viewing roof turtles on protruding drift wood, water lizards, otters, elephants, wild buffaloes, rhinos, darters, herons, pied kingfishers, white throated kingfishers, serpent eagles and many more. (The sightings are determined by the weather conditions). We return to the ship for hot lunch. This evening, we enjoy the Chef`s Cooking Demonstration and sample the snacks. The evening on a deserted island with bonfire is always exclusive! We enjoy dinner onboard. NOTE: (Bonfire may be avoided if a suitable sandbank cannot be found or if we experience inclement weather conditions)

Overnight onboard MV Mahabaahu (B, L, D)

Day 11 (Friday): Mishing Village Visit

After Yoga and breakfast, we enjoy the sail towards the Mishing Village. The Mishings live on the bank of river in `Chang Ghars` - houses with raised platforms. All Mishing women are expert weavers. We can buy the ethnic colorful cotton weaves and indulge in a dhoti tying and Mekhela Chaadar wearing demonstration. We return to the ship to enjoy a talk on `Sibsagar and the Ahom civilization` and proceed to get ready for a Traditional Assamese evening followed by a sumptuous dinner.

Overnight onboard MV Mahabaahu (B, L, D)

Day 12 (Saturday): Majuli Visit / Neamati Ghat / Sibsagar

After breakfast, we enjoy a talk on `Majuli the seat of Neo –Vaishnav Culture` and then proceed in our excursion boats to the mainland. Here on, a drive takes us to a scenic corner of a Satra (Monastery) for an interesting cultural performance by Satriya singers and dancers. Next, we proceed to Kamlabari Satra to witness the Vaishnavite priests dancing to the rhythm of cymbals, drums and chanting in the temple premise. The humble dwellings of the monks are a revelation of utmost simplicity. We enjoy lunch on MV Mahabaahu as we sail towards Neamati Ghat. Post lunch, we drive through the countryside to reach Sibsagar, the ancient city, built around a huge man made water tank ordered by the Ahom queen. A town that literally means `the ocean of Lord Shiva`. We notice the district is strewn with the tell-tale ruins of a powerful empire of the Ahoms. Sibsagar was the capital of the Tai-speaking Ahoms who came in the 13th Century AD to the area from the north-east and were essentially of Tibeto-Burman origin. The Shiva Dol, constructed in the year 1734 is believed to be one of the highest Shiva temple in India. We visit Talatal or Kareng Ghar which was the palace of the Ahom Kings and after a leisurely stroll in and around the monument, we go on to Rang Ghar which was a place for hosting wrestling bouts and buffalo fights and other entertainment or important meetings of the Royals and their guests.

We return to MV Mahabaahu by sunset for the farewell dinner.

Overnight onboard MV Mahabaahu (B, L, D)

Day 13 (Sunday): Disembark & flight to Kolkata and connect with International Flight from Kolkata

Morning is at leisure to enjoy, Yoga/ bird-watching or perhaps an early morning indulgence in the spa. A relaxed breakfast awaits all (Baggage down prior to breakfast is requested for easy de-boarding) We drive to the Jorhat airport en-route stopping at a tea Estate to enjoy a traditional Assamese early lunch. Drive on to the airport to board the flight to the Kolkata. On arrival at Kolkata, connect with flight to onward destination.

(B, L)

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*Conditions Apply: All prices shown here are per person share twin in AUD, based on best available cruise fare at time of publication (11Jan18). All prices based on cash/direct deposit payment - credit card fees may apply. Cruise deposit, amendment and cancellation conditions apply. Travel agent service fees may apply. Special conditions apply - please ask for full details at time of enquiry. All passports, vaccinations and visas are the responsibility of the travelling guest to secure prior to departure from Australia. All airfares/taxes are due in full 24 hours from booking and strict cancellation/change fees apply once issued. Airfares cannot be reserved until approx 10 months prior and are subject to change until booked and paid in full. Some parts of package include prices converted to AUD from current Indian Rupee rates and include current 5% government taxes (subject to change or increase without notice by the Indian Govt.). Offer ends 30Jan19 or until sold out/withdrawn and is subject to availability at time of booking. Travel insurance is not included but highly recommended. Cruise does not include gratuities, beverages or any other expenses not mentioned in the inclusions. A good level of fitness and mobility is required to participate in this cruise.

14 nights From AU $6,185 per person, twin share