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Escorted Tours

Grand Tour of North India


Route:
  • UK
  • Delhi
  • Varanasi
  • Agra
  • Jaipur
  • Shimla
  • Chandigarh
  • Amritsar
  • UK
Tour Pace:

17 DAYS from €1903pp

Tour Highlights
  • City tours of Delhi, Varanasi, Jaipur and Amritsar
  • Sunrise boat trip along the Ganges
  • Tour the magnificent Taj Mahal, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World
  • Traverse mountainous terrains on the UNESCO recognised Toy Train
  • Summer capital of British India - Shimla
  • Explore the Golden Temple, a highly revered site for Sikhs

or call us on 1800 804 006

Grand Tour of North India

Delve into the spiritual fabric of this intoxicating country on our 17 day itinerary which showcases the complex heart of North India, from intriguing Hindu rituals upon the Ganges, to the Sikh's golden symbol of brotherhood in Amritsar and the colonial inspired Christ Church which crowns Shimla's snow-capped Himalayan peaks. Along the way, sample wild culinary delights, marvel at a chaotic tapestry of lost empires and discover one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, The Taj Mahal.

Tour Itinerary

1
UK to Delhi

Depart London on your scheduled, overnight flight to Delhi.

2
Delhi

On arrival into India's capital, you will be met by a local guide and transferred to your hotel. In the evening, experience flavoursome local dishes at your welcome meal.

  • Lunch & Dinner
3
Delhi

Following breakfast, a full day city tour will commence and includes a visit to the Red Fort, where an imposing sandstone exterior conceals dramatic marble monuments of the Mughal Empire's past splendour. Travel through narrow streets and along naan scented markets on a rickshaw before stumbling upon the UNESCO recognised Humayun's Tomb, a captivating mausoleum that seemingly floats above landscaped gardens. Admire the transition en route from Old Delhi's historic charms to the intricate colonial town planning of New Delhi; view the minimalistic Mahatma Gandhi Memorial adorned in floral tributes before wandering through the Qutab Minar complex, a city awash with ancient ruins sculpted by the country's finest craftsmen.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
4
Delhi to Varanasi

This morning fly from Delhi to the sacred 'City of Life' - Varanasi. Check in to your hotel for the next three nights, before an afternoon at leisure exploring one of the world's oldest continually inhabited cities, regarded as one of Hinduism's seven holy cities. Your evening tour takes you to a ghat - steps that lead to the Ganges - to witness the humbling Ganga Aarti Ceremony, a spellbinding display of candles afloat along the river.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
5
Varanasi

Begin today with a sunrise boat trip along the Ganges for a unique perspective of this spiritual watercourse and its vivid embankment of pastel edifices pierced by temple stupas. Spend the rest of your day on a walking tour through this ancient city to observe other ghats, each with distinct floral decoration and uses including the intriguing 'burning ghats' used for funeral precessions. Continue your exploration of Varanasi at the Vishwanath Temple, a monument dedicated to Lord Shiva and famed for an illustrious gold-coated dome. Return to your hotel for an evening at leisure.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
6
Varanasi

Enjoy a half-day tour of Sarnath, a sacred site on which the Buddha gave his first sermon after finding enlightenment in 530BC. Your tour includes visits to ancient relics that document the area's spiritual significance including the Monastery Ruins, a tranquil park interrupted by a towering stupa engraved with delicate geometric carvings. Return for your final evening in Varanasi.
Optional excursion (payable locally): Visit 18th century Ramgarh Fort, built in red stone, with majestic balconies, courtyards, pavilions and temples.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
7
Varanasi to Agra

After breakfast, fly back to Delhi and drive across rolling hillsides cloaked in deciduous flora to the city of Agra, where a network of rickshaws, jalebis vendors filling the air with sweet aromas and ancient Mandir temples alluding to the Mughal Empire's past grandeur await.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
8
Agra

Begin today at a tour highlight and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal. This iconic ivory-white mausoleum was completed in 1640 for Emperor Shah Jajan's beloved third wife. Wander along ornamental gardens to witness the breath-taking spectacle of its minarets and distinctive bronze dome reflecting the illumination of daybreak. After lunch visit the UNESCO recognised Agra Fort, an enormous sandstone city of pavilions, palaces and splendid courtyards behind 20 metre-high walls.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
9
Agra to Jaipur

This morning drive to the capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur. En route stop at Fatehpur Sikri, an ancient city famed for its lavish structures including Rumi Sultana, an elegant palace decorated with intricate animal carvings throughout. Your evening is at leisure to explore a colourful web of chaotic roadways disturbed by meandering camels, bazaars dressed in vibrant textiles and the constant whirl of cycle rickshaws around Rajasthan's largest city.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
10
Jaipur

A full day tour of Jaipur begins at the Amber Fort, a former ancient capital centred on a distinctive pink-yellow marbled royal palace. You can travel to the fort by either jeep or elephant, allowing you to observe harems of the Maharajah, complex mosaic designs and snake charmers. Continue to the UNESCO recognised Jantar Mantar, a fascinating collection of archaic astronomical instruments including the world's largest stone sundial. Later this morning view the distinct Hawa Mahal, a pink honeycomb landmark, constructed to provide ladies of the royal household an observatory for city life.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
11
Jaipur to Shimla

Depart Jaipur on your flight to Chandigarh, from here drive along a winding track around rugged mountains and through luscious pine forests to the hill station of Shimla - the former summer capital of British India whose snow-dusted mountain position offers incredible views of the Himalayan mountains.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
12
Shimla

Depart Shimla this morning for a day in the neighbouring hill station of Kufri. Nestled at the Himalayan foothills, this charming town is surrounded by a picturesque forest reserve under the imposing gaze of Mahsu Peak. Having admired the wild beauty of Kufri, tour the magnificent Rashtrapati Niwas, a former home to the British Viceroy. Its opulent exterior invites visitors to explore a maze of corridors, opening into grand wood-panelled rooms.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
13
Shimla

Today is free for you to unwind or immerse yourself in Shimla's spiritual landmarks including Christ Church, which displays exquisite stained glass windows and moving Raj-era memorials.
Optional excursion (payable locally): Enjoy High Tea in the Terrace Restaurant of Wildflower Hill.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
14
Shimla to Chandigarh

This morning catch the UNESCO recognised Toy Train to Dharampur Station - built by colonial forces, it offers dramatic views along its winding course through untouched forests and across immense gorges. Arrive in the city of Chandigarh for an evening at leisure.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
15
Chandigarh to Amritsar

Following breakfast, take the train to the largest city in the Punjab state, Amritsar. Your afternoon will be at leisure to explore the Sikhs' holy city at your own pace.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
16
Amritsar

Enjoy a half-day city tour of Amritsar with a visit to the Golden Temple. Revered amongst Sikhs, this spectacular golden tank blends Islamic and Hindu architecture, surrounded by the Pool of Nectar. The ancient monument also contains a mesmerising display of floral motifs carved into marble alongside shimmering gold panels. After lunch enjoy an afternoon to explore at your own pace, alternatively undertake an optional excursion (at a fee) to the Indian-Pakistan border and witness the fascinating flag-lowering ceremony, a daily ritual of each side's soldiers competing to out-march, out-salute and out-shout one another.

  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
17
Amritsar to UK

After breakfast, transfer to the airport in Amritsar and fly via Delhi back to the UK.

  • Breakfast

Your Meals

Breakfast is always western style and served in the hotel each morning. Lunch and dinner will either be always taken at local restaurants or at your hotel. A variety of restaurants are visited giving you the chance to experience a range of dishes and flavours.

Important Information

Visas

A visa is required for entry into India. British Citizen Passport Holders will need to obtain an e-Tourist Visa (eTV) for travel to India. We work closely with The Travel Visa Company who will be able to arrange your visa on your behalf. Please call them on 01270 250 590 and quote 'Mercury Holidays'. The cost of the visa is approximately £114 per person. The Travel Visa Company can only apply for this 30 days before your proposed travel date and takes around 10 working days to issue. It is only valid for a 30 day single entry stay from the date of arrival. When calling the Travel Visa Company they will advise you of any changes to the fees or the procedure, they will also advise you of all information they will require in order to apply for the visa. Alternatively you can visit The Indian Visa Application Centre in London: 142-148 Goswell Road, London, EC1B 7DU.

Insurance

We strongly recommend that you and all members of your party are suitably insured as soon as you book your holiday. It is a condition of booking that you must have suitable travel insurance. It is important that you purchase travel insurance that suitably covers your participation in whatever activities you may undertake at the time that you make your booking. To assist you with this, we have arranged travel insurance in partnership with Holiday Extras. To arrange your travel insurance with Holiday Extras, please call 0800 781 4237 and quote 'WK830' for preferential rates. Please ensure you provide us with the name of your insurer, policy number and their 24-hour emergency contact number as soon as possible. Mercury Holidays will not be liable for any costs incurred by you due to your failure to take out suitable travel insurance from the date of booking.

Payment

If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of €300pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.

Flight Information

Your flight to Delhi International Airport is with Jet Airways(9W), departing from London Heathrow Terminal 4. Please note that all flight times and numbers listed are provided for guidance only and are subject to change. Final flight details will be confirmed on your e-ticket and final documentation which will be sent to you approximately 10 days before departure.
Each passenger is entitled to 23kg of hold luggage, however weight restrictions will be finalised on your e-ticket receipt. Should you wish to take additional luggage you will need to pay extra at check-in. Check-in should be at least 3 hours before departure. Checked baggage allowance may vary. Please refer to the bottom right of your E-ticket receipt for the correct baggage allowance. For example, if it shows '20k' this means your allowance is 20kg; or '1PC' means one piece not exceeding 23Kg. For handling purposes the maximum weight of any single piece of baggage must not exceed 32 Kgs.
Hand Luggage: One piece of hand luggage with maximum total dimensions not exceeding a total of 115cm in size and 7kg in weight.
Your baggage allowance on all the internal flights will be 15kg, your additional allowance up to 23kg must be purchased at a cost of 350 INR (approx £3.50) per kilo and can only be done at the domestic ticket counter before your flight. Please refer to the Airline's website for further details and the most up-to-date information.

Health and Vaccinations

It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in good time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.

Physical Accessibility

This tour is accessible to most people with an average level of fitness and normal mobility. It involves full days of sightseeing, often on foot, and includes some climbing of stairs and getting on and off coaches. This tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.

Group Size

The minimum number of travellers in your group will be 8, and the maximum will be 35. If in the unlikely event there are less than 8 people booked on your tour date, we will endeavour to reduce any disruption to your holiday and try to operate your tour with lower passenger numbers. If we are not able to operate your departure date then you may be asked to change to a different date and a full refund will be made available to you should this alternative not be suitable.

Tour Guide

This is a fully escorted tour, meaning that you will be met on arrival by your national guide who will remain with you for the duration of your trip. You will also be joined by a local guide in each of the cities which you visit, ensuring that you have first-hand knowledge at all times.

Currency Information

The currency in India is the Rupee or Rs. The Rupee is a closed currency and officially you are not allowed to take any cash out of India. US Dollars and GBP are also widely accepted in India should you wish to keep an alternative currency on you.

Personal Expenses

You will need to take some extra money with you to cover any personal purchases, such as souvenirs, laundry and extra drinks and snacks. Approximately £400 per person will be sufficient for the duration of the tour.

Tour Dates & Prices

Depart UKArrive UKPrice
2019 Dates
09 Jan 201925 Jan 2019€2317.00
23 Jan 201908 Feb 2019€2317.00
30 Jan 201915 Feb 2019€2351.00
06 Feb 201922 Feb 2019€2272.00
13 Feb 201901 Mar 2019€2351.00
20 Feb 201908 Mar 2019€2239.00
27 Feb 201915 Mar 2019€2317.00
06 Mar 201922 Mar 2019€2216.00
13 Mar 201929 Mar 2019€2295.00
20 Mar 201905 Apr 2019€2183.00
23 Mar 201908 Apr 2019€2205.00
27 Mar 201912 Apr 2019€2239.00
03 Apr 201919 Apr 2019€2183.00
10 Apr 201926 Apr 2019€2160.00
24 Apr 201910 May 2019€2127.00
08 May 201924 May 2019€1903.00
29 May 201914 Jun 2019€2127.00
12 Jun 201928 Jun 2019€2239.00
04 Sep 201920 Sep 2019€2272.00
18 Sep 201904 Oct 2019€2295.00
02 Oct 201918 Oct 2019€2429.00
16 Oct 201901 Nov 2019€2429.00
06 Nov 201922 Nov 2019€2407.00
20 Nov 201906 Dec 2019€2407.00
2020 Dates
Please note Shimla is not suitable for clients with walking difficulties, due to the nature of its mountainous location, there are many steep steps, inclines and declines around the town

31st October 2018 and 7th November 2018 departures:

21st November 2018 departure:

Please note, for this departure date, in Varanasi you will be staying at 4* Rivatas by Ideal. In Jaipur, you will be staying at 4* Zone by the Park and in Amritsar you will be staying at 4* Holiday Inn Amritsar. Please refer to your final ticketing documentation for further details.

23rd March 2019 Departure:

Please note that on this departure date, in Jaipur you will be staying at 4* Zone by the Park. Please refer to your final ticketing documentation for more information.

What to expect

Fact File
Min/Max temperature

20 °C / 41 °C

What to pack
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen and hat in summer
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Warm clothing and thermals in winter
  • Camera and charger/spare batteries
  • An electric plug converter
  • Loo paper for public WCs
  • Binoculars
  • Mosquito Repellent
  • Personal toiletries and first aid kit
  • Anti-bacterial hand gel
  • Long sleeve shirt and long trousers
  • Swimwear
Customer Rating:
10/10
Mary Cubitt
8th Dec 2018

Top quality hotels and staff.
No problems anywhere.
A very comprehensive tour great value for money and our guide went out of his way to give us some memorable experiences.
Thank you Mercury.

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
8.8/10
Cheri Dickerson
5th Dec 2018

The flight from Varanasi to Delhi, then the onward coach trip to Agra was much too late in the day. We arrived at Delhi after dark so saw none of the rolling hillside described in the itinerary and finally reached the hotel in Agra at about midnight.
We feel this flight should have been a morning flight, as a whole day was wasted seeing nothing.

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
10/10
S Walker
17th Oct 2018

No comments

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
10/10
Anne Robertson
17th Oct 2018

All the hotels were 1st class

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
8.8/10
Tina Hardwick
16th Jun 2018

Due to my loss of a passport that was not asked to be seen I would take some time before booking another tour. It was well organised but felt that due to my loss then I was not able to join the group and due to lack of organisation they sent me back to DELHI on an early train. Once arriving then they organised an appointment with the British High Commission unfortunately the earliest appointment was the next day at 11.00
It is a shame this was not done the night before as I wouldn't have then lost an extra day.

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
10/10
Len Goodes
26th May 2018

Holiday Inn Changigarh was an unexpected stay because of the airport closure. It was probably at its best in the 1960's. In fairness,a lot of staff working hard with very little to work with. I thought all the hotels were very good. I only heard one negative comment about the Park in Delhi. The lady in question did not take up the issue of a dirty room with the management at the time ! Enough said.

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
10/10
Maureen Tizick
26th May 2018

All very good, clean, helpful staff members, good facilities

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
10/10
Petula Southern
13th May 2018

The hotels used where of exceptional quality and especially the Radisson Hotel in Shimla and the Leela Riz in Kovalam. The food and cleanliness where fabulous and staff amazing

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
10/10
William Robins
12th Mar 2018

Excellent service and and value for money.

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
7.5/10
Karen Smith
25th Feb 2018

We loved every minute of the holiday.
Our guides Amit & Naveen where excellent, very knowledgable & helpful.
Our only criticism would be that our group of over 30 people was too large

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
10/10
Michael Rose
24th Feb 2018

Excellent hotels. The location of the Restaurant in Shimla was unfortunate, but beyond Mercury Holiday control.

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
8.8/10
Brenda Heron
8th Dec 2017

Good tour guide very clear diction and his knowledge of India was very good. Nice hotels good food very clean with large rooms. Some early starts but needed to get to some monuments before the rush.
We were apprehensive about the trip but our fears were unfounded and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The bicycle rickshaw ride in old Delhi, elephant ride, Taj Mahal and sighting a tiger on the safari was great fun

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
10/10
Louise Riley
7th Nov 2017

Hotels were very good indeed.

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
10/10
Susan Hunt
18th Oct 2017

It is the first time we have used Mercury Holidays and I was very impressed with how smoothly the holiday went. The hotels were fantastic, the transport efficient and our guide Hemant was very knowledgeable and helpful. We would have no hesitation in using your company again and have already spread the word to friends and family.

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
10/10
David Buckley
31st May 2017

All hotels excellent, staff very attentive, and food although very good could have been improved with a few more western meals for the faint hearted ?

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
8.8/10
Carole Troote
22nd May 2017

We enjoyed our holiday,the guides were helpful, extremely knowledgeable, kind and organised.
The only criticism was the change in the itinerary for day six.

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
7.5/10
Chris Sulliman
22nd May 2017

The organiser and tour guide was very helpful and made my holiday as it should be. The tour guide was very knowledgeable and explained everything in detail.

  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
8.8/10
David Bullock
22nd May 2017

Naveen and Hermant were very good guides who ensured that our tour was enjoyable and successful. It would be much better if one guide accompanied the group at all times including on all flights.

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
10/10
Eric Norman John Brass
22nd May 2017

Excellent service from both guides Hemant and Naveen as well as our rep Jasqsaree. Hemant proved to be a mine of information on both the culture and history of India, and Naveen was not only well organised but very helpful. A formidable duo

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
10/10
Ann Sherwin
20th Jan 2017

Rooms not great of the Park Hotel but the food made up for it.

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Customer Rating:
10/10
Kenneth Harrow
3rd Nov 2016

All hotels to a good standard.

  • Overall Satisfaction
  • Value for money
Tour Map
Grand Tour of North India Route Map
Extensions
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    Amritsar

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Hotels & Accommodation

Extensions

Amritsar
Tour Route
  • UK
  • Delhi
  • Varanasi
  • Agra
  • Jaipur
  • Shimla
  • Chandigarh
  • Amritsar
  • UK

Visit Amritsar, the cultural and spiritual centre of the Sikh religion, located in the heart of Punjab. Famous for its traditional handicraft and handloom products the city is also home to the magnificent Golden Temple, Sikhism's holiest shrine and one of India's most serene and humbling sights.

2 nights
from €256pp
View Tour + Extension
View Tour + Extension
Visit the Tigers of Ranthambore
Tour Route
  • UK
  • Delhi
  • Varanasi
  • Agra
  • Jaipur
  • Shimla
  • Chandigarh
  • Amritsar
  • Delhi
  • Ranthambore
  • Delhi
  • UK

Once a famous hunting ground for the gallant rulers of Jaipur, Ranthambore National Park is spread over 1,344km2 and is one of the biggest national parks in India. Choose this extension to experience a variety of wildlife including tigers, leopards, deer and much more.

4 nights
from €514pp
View Tour + Extension
View Tour + Extension

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