India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives*

India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives*

18 or 21 days
DEPARTS 4 October 2015

Price from$7,795

A profusion of colour, chaos, sights, sounds and smells - India will delight your every sense. A rich cultural heritage spans several centuries with traditional beliefs, customs, music, dance, architecture and food combining. Few islands in the world offer the diversity that exists in Sri Lanka; from ancient cities to rich religious festivals, colonial memories to rolling tea plantations. Sri Lanka intoxicates its visitors with a potpourri of cultures, religions, races, customs and sheer natural beauty.

On this journey you will enjoy the following special experiences: •Visit the breathtakingly beautiful Taj Mahal at sunrise Standing in the shadows while the sun rises, the colours and shades of the Taj Mahal change every minute enabling you to capture the beauty of one of the most majestic monuments in the world.

•See the Tea Trails on an historic train ride Journey into the heart of tea country on one of the most charmingly rustic railway systems in the world. The scenery is spectacular as you travel through rolling green hills and tea plantations. Built by the British in 1864, it was used to transport tea and coffee from the Hill Country to Colombo for shipping internationally. We'll explore the Ceylon Tea Country where the rolling green hills annually produce over 300 million kilograms of the famous Ceylon Tea.

India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives* map

Day 1: Arrive Delhi Meet your tour host and other group members in your hotel bar or lounge this evening.

Day 2: Delhi (B,L) Today we discover the mystery, magic and mayhem of Delhi. We'll take a fascinating tour of Old Delhi and British-built New Delhi. We visit Raj Ghat, a black marble memorial to Mahatma Gandhi as well as the largest mosque in India, Jama Masjid. Visit India Gate, Humayun's Tomb and the enigmatic Qutab Minar, the tallest stone tower in India.

Day 3: Delhi > Agra (B,D) Travel via the Yamouna Expressway to Agra Fort which will delight you with impressive marble palaces and wonderful views back across the river towards the Taj Mahal. Enjoy a welcome dinner in Agra.

Day 4: Agra > Jaipur (B) We rise early to visit the breathtakingly beautiful Taj Mahal at sunrise. You will never forget the stunning design, perfect symmetry, elegant domes and intricately carved screens. After breakfast, we travel to Jaipur visiting the fascinating abandoned city of Fatehpur Sikri on the way.

Day 5: Jaipur (B,L) We ride on elephant back to beautiful Amber Fort, with its royal palace, built from pale yellow and pink sandstone and white marble, offering stunning views over shady courtyards. This afternoon visit the City Palace, the Palace of the Winds and Jai Singh's extraordinary Astronomical Observatory.

Day 6: Jaipur > Jodhpur (B) After breakfast we drive to Jodhpur, the Blue City which really is blue! The streets are a tangle of winding medieval streets scented by incense, roses and daily life. Navigate the shops and bazaars selling everything from trumpets and temple decorations to snuff and saris. On arrival, check in to our hotel to relax for an afternoon at leisure.

Day 7: Jodhpur (B) Today our guide takes us up to the stunning hilltop Mehrangarh Fortress, made of beautiful red sand stone. Perched high above the city, we'll enjoy stunning views from the fortress. Enjoy an evening at leisure.

Day 8: Jodhpur > Udaipur (B) We travel to Udaipur, with an essential stop to one of the most beautiful temples in India, Ranakpur Jain. Constructed between the 14th and 15th century this temple houses 1444 hand carved pillars, each with uniquely exquisite detail. On arrival in Udaipur enjoy some time at leisure, perhaps enjoy the tranquillity of boat rides on the lake, the bustle of its ancient bazaars or its lively arts scene.

Day 9: Udaipur (B) Visit the ornate City Palace that towers over Pichola Lake, and the Jagdish Temple. This afternoon, enjoy some tranquility in the Sajjan Niwas Gardens which sprawl over 40 hectares.

Day 10: Udaipur > Delhi > Colombo Fly to Delhi this morning and check into our hotel until it is time to transfer to the airport for the flight to Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Day 11: Colombo > Dambulla > Thirappane (B,D) Discover Colombo with our guide and enjoy its eclectic mix of colonial buildings and bustling modern life. We visit Dambulla Cave Temples which date back to the 1st Century BC before checking into the lovely accommodation in Thirappane where we stay three nights, deep in the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka.

Day 12: Sigiriya > Polonnaruwa > Thirappane (B,D) Visit Sigiriya, or Lion Rock, an ancient rock fortress and palace. Then see the monumental ruins of the fabulous garden-city of Polonnaruwa created by Parakramabahu I in the 12th century.

Day 13: Anuradhapura > Thirappane (B,D) Visit the first royal capital of Sri Lanka which flourished for 1300 years. Covered with palaces, monasteries and monuments, this sacred spot is thought to have been established around a cutting from the 'tree of enlightenment', the Buddha's fig tree, brought here in the 3rd century BC.

Day 14: Thirappane > Kandy (B) We see a spice garden on the way to Kandy, the capital of the venerated 16th century where Kandyan Kings vigorously defended their kingdom against Portuguese and Dutch invaders before it eventually fell to the British.

Day 15: Kandy (B) Today our guide will walk us through the spice market and Peradeniya Botanic Gardens. We'll see a fine collection of orchids, royal palms and century old giant Javan fig tree. We visit the Temple of the Tooth, a famous pilgrimage site which is said to house the sacred tooth of the Buddha.

Day 16: Kandy > Tea Trails (B,D) Take an historic train journey through the jungle into the cloud forest of the 'Hill Country'. Stunning mountainous regions are covered with lush tea plantations and National Parks and we'll enjoy the lovely cool climate.

Day 17: Tea Trails (B,D) Choose to visit a tea plantation where a resident planter will show you first hand, the tea making process, or instead choose to visit some of the villages close by to see homes, schools and a market.

Day 18: Tea Trails > Colombo This morning we transfer to Colombo airport where our journey ends.

OPTIONAL INDEPENDENT EXTENSION "“ MALDIVES

Day 18: Tea Trails > Colombo > Male (B) This morning you transfer to Colombo airport for a short flight to Malé. On arrival, your speedboat awaits to take you to the beautiful resort, Coco Bodu Hithi. Check in to your villa and spend three nights in unrivalled luxury.

Days 19 - 20: Bodu Hithi (B) Relax and enjoy the wonderful facilities of the beautiful resort blessed with white sand and crystal waters. The days are yours to spend relaxing on the beach, snorkelling in the coral reefs or indulging in the Coco Spa.

Day 21: Depart the Maldives This evening, you transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

• A World Journeys host • Accommodation in 4 and 5 star hotels • Transfers, sightseeing and entrance fees as per the itinerary • Economy class flights within the itinerary • Meals as indicated • Gratuities (excluding Maldives extension)

Pricing (per person) $AUD

Type TWIN SINGLE

Tour cost

Maldives Extension

Island Villa

Water Villa

$7,795

-

$3,595

$3,965

$9,630

-

$6,120

$6,875

Departs

04 October 2015

Booking conditions

A non-refundable deposit of $1,500 per person is required, with the balance due 90 days prior to departure. As cancellation fees apply, travel insurance is mandatory.

Please refer to World Journeys terms & conditions.

Not included

• Flights to the start and from the end of your tour • Items of a personal nature • Visa (if applicable) • Travel insurance (mandatory) • Optional activities

Gratuity

In the country we are visiting, tipping is customary. For a hassle free journey, tipping is included and will be handled by the World Journeys host.