An Indian Adventure with Style
Forget everything you've heard about India - we have wrapped our best experiences from our tours and thrown in a visit to India's holiest city.
Let’s break this tour down for you:
Food - hip restaurants, trendy bars, street food, food walks - we’re all about food and it’s all included in the price - yup, dinner too.
- The Taj Mahal - one of the most moving experiences on the trip. .
- City life - great shopping, funky arty neighbourhoods and cool cafés.
- Pilgrimage sites - where history and culture collide.
- Fantastic Food - we head to the foodie paradise of Lucknow - the heart of India's food culture
- Safety - forget the bad things you’ve heard about India, We will show you the fun, food and history in a safe, relaxed, hassle free adventure.
Not sure yet? Read on for our detailed Itinerary.
IDEA 2 - JAIPUR FiFo
$1,100 per person (+ $430 Single Supp)
This itinerary is cheaper than above but is more city based whereas the Samode is rural and you get the highligths of Jaipur - the two ladies may like to share at the Narain Niwas hotel but we will get a single supplement price for you too if you decide you would like to do this.
Day 1- You are already a stone’s throw from the airport so we are suggesting you fly to Jaipur for this option.
Leave around 10am and you will be in Jaipur by 11.
Our guide will meet you at the airport and take you to our very own Hotel Marigold style hotel. It’s a beautiful, quirky Haveli (basically a city mansion/palace the Maharajas use when they came into town for their business).
Our guide will take you in to town for a great food walk/lunch and the shopping is incredible.
While you are in the old city there is some great sight seeing - windy palace etc. and then return to the hotel mid/late afternoon.
Here’s the BEST bit - the hotel has arguably one of Asia’s best bars and it is simply stunning - there is also a great restaurant in the grounds and some boutique shops (homewares, fashion) all in the hotel grounds - so there’s no need to leave and enjoy your afternoon and evening with no stress. There’s a great pool and spa on site too.
Day 2 -
This morning we suggest a late breakfast and out to the dessert to Galta Ji - the monkey temple. It’s an interesting Hindu temple built around a natural spring with the temples carved in to the mountain side. Our guide will pick you up and take you there and then back in to town for lunch - or back to hotel for lunch and a rest.
Late afternoon - we have a doozy for you.
Our guide will take you to Amer fort (see details from itinerary above) but here’s the kicker - there is an amazing restaurant hidden on the rampart walls of the fort called 1135 AD - so, just as all the tourists are leaving to go home for the day, you walk up the ramparts (guide will show you) and enjoy a great dinner sitting in this unique location - they light the fort up at night - it’s just spectacular.
I forgot to mention our guide will show you the step well and enoki textile museum en route (see itinerary above).
Back to hotel for night caps in the Palladio Bar at the Narian Niwas hotel (forgot to mention the names earlier).
Day 3 -
This depends on you - if you take an afternoon flight you can head back in to the walled city and have another shop or do more sight seeing - then you can take a late afternoon flight back to Delhi and back to your aerocity hotel.
Don’t forget that Damien will give you plenty of options and you can discuss all about this when you are with him on tour.
Overnight hotel near Delhi airport.
Day 4 -
Pack Your Bags - You're Off To India Today
If you’ve always wanted to go to India but were a little scared, or thought “India is just not for me” then give us a few pages to change your mind. We have crafted a fully hosted tour for you that offers more of the things that have stunned and delighted our guests over the past 2.5 years
More Laughs - you travel with Damien or Acland from the Spirit House who have designed all the India tours from the ground up and keep it fun, relaxed and safe.
- More Time - India is overwhelming so we are spending an extra day in the places that amazed and astounded previous guests so you can soak it all in.
- More Shopping - it’s not all carpets and puppets, which takes many people by surprise. This tour is a shoppers dream with your host happy to help or join you on your shopping adventures.
- More Hidden Treats - it’s those unexpected side streets and hidden places we take you which makes our tour not just atour but a memorable adventure of ad hoc dining and impromptu visits to interesting places.
- More Food - funky restaurants and bars, cool street food and some simply beautiful dining experiences. We get out of the hotels and sample the best this area has to offer.
With just 10 people on this trip it’s more like travelling with a group of like-minded friends than a tour.
It’s the small group size that gives us the flexibility to show you a side of India most tourists will never see and you get a Spirit House chef/host to help you get the most out of YOUR trip to this fascinating country.
Day 3 - Cool Sights, Food & Drinks
f you think today would be all ruins, forts and statues, you’d be wrong.
Delhi is a very old city with a fascinating history that is best observed in her architecture and religion. But we’re going to mix it up and have some fun and a beer or two as well. Let’s get started . . .
We’ll kick start the morning with a visit toHumayun’s tomb. Predating the Taj, this tomb is the precursor for the design of the Taj Mahal and a beautiful monument in its own right.
Next stop - the Sikh Temple and in particular a behind-the-scenes look at the massive kitchens where they cook for 15,000 people a day.
Hungry? So are we so, it’s off to lunch with the office crowd at a local restaurant serving fabulous Thali lunches. Afterwards a sweet pan to cleanse the palate.
Now some history. After lunch we’ll go back in time at the Qutb Minar which has a rich architectural history dating all the way back through the various styles and religions of the rulers.
At this point some of you may want a beer while others may want more history and perhaps a few want to window shop some great boutiques. Thankfully you are on a Spirit House tour and we have you ALL covered.
We’ll have the van drop us off at the super trendy enclave of Hauz Khas that has some interesting ruins to explore, trendy cafés and restaurants, designer boutiques and homeware stores. We’ll book a table at a great restaurant with a view over the ruins and meet you there after your exploring and shopping for a beer/wine, some great food and to watch the sunset.
Day 4 - Taj Mahal & BBQ
On this trip you’re going to see plenty of forts, palaces and Mughal architecture to last a lifetime so we won’t bore you with a visit to the Taj Mahal - just kidding, we’re going to blow your socks off with the Taj Mahal, but not today.
Let’s leave Delhi later in the day so you can have a sleep in and arrive in Agra for a light lunch. Chill out in our great hotel.
Later in the afternoon we have a nice excursion for you and while all the tourists are hitting the buffet in the hotel, you will be on the streets of Agra enjoying one of our most raved about food experiences on the trip.
Day 5 - Taj Mahal
Today is Taj Day. Having all this time in Agra means there is no rush to visit it. Sunrise and Sunset are great times when crowds are smaller and the light is just right for stunning photos. So let’s play it by ear.
But Agra is more than the Taj Mahal. The Red fort is spectacular and is entwined with the story of the Taj Mahal.
This afternoon we drive out to Fatephur Sikri - a ghost city lost to time in the desert.
Dinner tonight - let’s have dinner at home with a local family. Find out the life, dreams and aspirations of our hosts - help out in the kitchen and get some tips and tricks too.
Day 6 - The Road to Lucknow
Like to get up early? Great - we have a very special treat for you.
Today we drive 4.5 hours to the food-heaven of India: Lucknow. We have stops along the way and should be in the hotel around lunch time.
Afternoon - We go to Kotwara House which is home to Mr Muzaffa and Meerra Ali who is a legendary film maker, fashion designer and painter. His house is a living museum. A perfect intro to the culture of Lucknow in a historical old house.
Dinner is a surprise.
Day 7 - Lucknow Sight seeing
Lucknow is a famous city that has stunning architecture and an Australian connection that will surprise you.
This morning we hit the streets to take in all the highlights, including a clock tower that rivals Big Ben - the tallest clock tower in Asia (fantastic if you love clocks).
Lunch at the Royal Cafe - an institution that has been serving soldiers since the Raj days.
Put your feet up for an hour or so then we are off the visit the Nawab of Lucknow. The Nawabs are the decendants of the kings of Lucknow - basically the Maha Rajas of this area.
His house is like sitting in an antique store where you can actually buy relics of times past. A perfect place for an afternoon tea and a chance to learn more about the history and culture of the area.
Food & Alley Walk:
Dinner will be on the streets as we explore the myriad of secret laneways and hidden bazaars selling perfumes, utensils, handicrafts etc. A great way to mingle with the locals at a relaxed pace combined with some fantastic local delicacies.
Day 8 - Yet More Lucknow
We can't begin to describe how interesting this city is. So we have another day of activities for you.
Off to La Martiniere college which started out as a sprawling mansion but now is an elite boarding school where we can explore the grounds and the polo stables of this very interesting place. The building is a feat of engineering and off the tourist radar.
Then we're off to the historic ruins of the Lucknow Residency - a city within a city. Home to the British East India Company in 1857 and the site of the massacre and uprising against the British. Troops were sent from England to help defend this strategic site - such was the importance of India to the English. Remnants of cannons, bullet holes etc still show to this day.
A cool museum explains the whole episode but what is interesting is this uprising on this site helped unify Muslim and Hindu together and sowed the seed for a unified and Independant India.
When you see this place you get an understanding of how a small number of foreigners were able to take over the whole of India - divide and conquer. The Residency is historically and photographically amazing.
An interesting vegetarian food walk. Lucknow is famous for meat and thus kebabs but today we're going "Beyond Kebabs" - healthy and delicious food in another cool bazaar.
Back to hotel for a rest.
Chat Terrace is a beautiful old house where we are going to do a hands on cooking class with some great chefs.
Day 9 - Off to Varanasi
Good News - there is now a flight connecting Lucknow to Varanasi - now, this is India so that flight might not exist by the time we get there. Nonetheless, we either fly or drive to Varanasi with stops along the way - about 6 hours - don't worry, it will be fun.
Though we are only here for three days it’s going to be an incredible adventure in sight and sound.
After checking in to the hotel we head down to the river to our boat so we can witness the Aarti ceremony for the Hindu pilgrims who come to the holy river - the Ganges.
Day 10 - Pilgrims and Sacred Sites
It is every Hindu’s wish to visit the Ganges river and in the morning we rise early and make our way to the Ganges boarding our boat as our boatsman rows us down the ghats where we can see pilgrims performing their bathing rituals and funeral pyres being lit at the temples that dot the river bank.
Following our guide we venture to shore and take a fascinating walk through the old city of Varanasi taking in the street life, jostling with the pilgrims.
Relax at the hotel and in the afternoon we will take a trip to Sarnath - a pilgrimage site for Buddhists who come from around the world to visit the site where Buddha gave his first sermon
Day 11 -Back to Delhi
We have a few interesting sights to show you before flying back to Delhi in the afternoon.
Make no mistake, these two days in Varanasi are an absolute highlight and the icing on the cake for what is a very eclectic trip that shows you just a glimpse of the cultural diversity that makes up this fascinating country.
Arrive in Delhi and a short trip to Aerocity where we check back in to a great hotel right near the airport. The good news is this hotel is next to a flashy new shopping mall with great restaurants and shopping..
This hotel is a stone's throw from the airport and is the perfect place to stay for catching your flight home tomorrow.
Day 12 - Home
The show is over. We have organised transfers to take you to the airport. Depending on your flight time, the airport metro is just across the road so we can easily zap in to downtown Delhi to do some last minute shopping if your flight leaves later that night.