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A Journey through Northern India

A Journey through Northern India A Journey through Northern India
£ 6680

This delightful tour offers a fascinating introduction to Northern India, capturing the very essence of the region. It combines culture and tradition with ancient temples, the ever-present colonial history and architecture, and magnificent scenery.

Our journey begins in Kolkata (Calcutta), built by the British some 300 years ago, we explore their widespread architectural legacy including Dalhousie Square, the Governor’s Residence, St. John’s Church, the Victoria Memorial, Botanical Gardens and Belvedere House. We travel on to the 300-year-old Rajbari Bawali which is set in a serene environment, away from the chaos of Kolkata, before moving on to explore the grand colonial monuments of Lucknow, Uttra Pradesh’s capital, with wide boulevards, green parks and acclaimed cuisine.

We continue to the vibrant old city of Hyderabad, famous for its quality pearls before finally exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hampi, set amidst the vastness of the Deccan Plateau, and one of India’s most spectacular archaeological treasures. Magnificent palaces, temples, watchtowers, and urban ruins, built in distinctive Dravidian style, line the banks of the Tungabhadra River and are a glorious legacy of the mighty 14th century Vijayanagar Empire. 

Optional extension to Goa for a relaxing 4-night stay at the charming Nilaya Resort on a full board basis from £2,180 per person, with single supplement priced at £895.

Please see detailed itinerary >>>

17 days from
per person
Single Supplement:
Tour Date:
4th February 2022 -
20th February 2022

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    Suggested flights (not included in the cost of the tour) Emirates EK2 departing London Heathrow at 13.40 hrs.

    Arrive in Dubai at 00.40 hrs and connect to EK570 departing Dubai at 02.00 hrs arriving Kolkata at 07.40 hrs. Transfer to the Oberoi Grand Hotel where three nights are spent. Centrally located in the commercial heart of Kolkata’s main shopping and business district, the Oberoi Grand was a classically designed residence and combines Victorian architecture and charm with state-of-the-art amenities and facilities. There are a variety of excellent restaurants to choose from and an exclusive spa, swimming pool and a fully equipped gym and fitness centre. Rooms will be available for immediate occupation.

    Lunch at the hotel. Remainder of the afternoon at leisure. Dinner at the hotel.

    Day 3 KOLKATA

    Early morning we visit the Babu Ghat, constructed during the British Raj, along the river bank of the Hooghly, to see the busy commuter ferries and hustle and bustle of daily life. Drive along Strand Road and admire the famed Eden Garden cricket stadium, before arriving at the iconic Dalhousie Square, the heart of British Kolkata, taking in the classical Post Office (1864-68), site of the notorious Black Hole, past the Writers’ Building built in 1780 and resurfaced in 1880 and St. John’s Church (1787) modelled on St. Martin’s in the Fields and designed by James Agg stuffed with fascinating tombs both within and without. Stop for coffee at the legendary Coffee House on College Street which has played an important part in Kolkata’s cultural history and known as the hub of intellectual debates. Continue to Kumartuli, a traditional potters’ quarter in Kolkata, to view the making of elaborate statues from clay and bamboo by expert artisans, always busy with the numerous religious festivals that fill the annual calendar. Finally visit the magical Marble Palace (1835) built to house an art collection brought from Europe in what can only be described as hypnotic chaos. Return to the hotel.

    Lunch at the hotel. Remainder of the afternoon at leisure. Dinner at the hotel.

    Day 4 KOLKATA

    We start the day travelling to central Kolkata to enjoy the busy Sir Stuart Hogg Market (1874), better known as New Market. We move on to view the exterior of Government House, seat of the Viceroys, a building based on Kedleston Hall (1799-1802). Next comes the Old Town Hall (1813) and the High Court (1872) by Walter Granville based on a Gothic building by George Gilbert Scott followed by a ramble in the surreal Park Street Cemetery, an amazing assembly of neo-classical funerary monuments. We also pass the Royal Asiastic Society, founded by civil servant Sir William Jones in 1784; the Convent of our Lady of Loreto, established in 1842, and is the oldest and first Loreto institution to be established in India, and; the Royal Calcutta Turf Club, founded in 1847, which became the premier horse racing organisation in India during the British Raj. It is still an exclusive private club and operates the Kolkata Racecourse.

    Lunch at the Bengal Club which dates from 1827. This afternoon we visit the city’s two greatest landmarks, St Paul’s Cathedral, which was completed in 1847 in Gothic Revival style to accommodate the ever growing European community in Bengal, and the Victoria Memorial (1921) by Sir William Emerson which, set in its own gardens, dominates the city centre. This has an excellent display on the history of the city and a gallery of pictures by British artists such as Zoffany who came to India. Continue to the suburb of Alipore to visit Belvedere House, once the private home of Warren Hastings, the first Governor-General of Bengal during East India Company rule and the scene of the famous duel in 1780 when Hastings shot and wounded his bitter critic Sir Philip Francis. Afterwards we visit the Agri-Horticultural Gardens (founded 1820) which adjoins Belvedere House to view the winter flowers which are stunning in February. We will also pass the famous racecourse, built in 1820 and is the largest horse race venue in India and the National Library, established in 1836 on the Belvedere Estate and is the largest library in India by volume. Dinner at the hotel.


    Morning transfer (with luggage) to the 300-year-old heritage hotel, Rajbari Bawali, which has been lovingly restored into a luxury boutique hotel. 

    Lunch at the hotel. After lunch enjoy a show round of the estate before enjoying the rest of the afternoon at leisure. Optional (and at a supplementary cost of £100 per person) early evening country boat ride on the Hooghly to watch the sunset before returning to the hotel for a Sandhya Aarti experience, a fusion of Sanskrit chants where light is offered and songs are sung to the Hindu deities. Dinner at the hotel.

    Day 6 BAWALI

    Morning at leisure or early morning optional (and at a supplementary cost of £25 per person) rustic rural village walk or bicycle ride to see the local daily life before returning to the hotel for an optional (and at a supplementary cost of £50 per person) cooking demonstration using the variety of fresh organic fruits, vegetables and aromatic spices from the local area. 

    Traditional kolapata bhoj lunch on a banana leaf. Afternoon at leisure to enjoy the swimming pool and highly acclaimed Mantra spa. This evening enjoy another Sandhya Aarti experience followed by musicians and Baul performers. There will also be an opportunity to learn the art of saree and dhoti tying before dinner at the hotel.


    Morning at leisure before departing (with luggage) to Kolkata airport for a domestic flight Lucknow.

    Packed lunch en route to the airport. On arrival in Lucknow transfer to the luxurious 5-star Taj Mahal hotel overlooking the scenic banks of the Gomti River, and where three nights are spent. Just a few kilometres from the city centre, the hotel’s architecture reflects the glories of the Nawabi era with graceful pillars, rich tapestries, and intricate decoration. There are two restaurants and a lovely swimming pool. Dinner at the hotel.

    Day 8 LUCKNOW

    Morning visit to the British Residency, a huge complex of impressive ruins preserved as a memorial of the famous Mutiny siege. Visit its gardens, remains of the Treasury, the Banqueting Hall, Dr Fayrer’s house, Begum Kothi, the museum and the cemetery at the nearby ruined church which has the graves of 2,000 men, women and children, including that of Sir Henry Montgomery Lawrence who died during the siege. Also visit La Martinière College which was founded in 1845 by the Will of Major General Claude Martin of Lyon, France.  It is the only school in the world to have been awarded royal battle honours for its role in the defence of Lucknow during the mutiny of 1857.

    Lunch at the hotel. Afternoon at leisure. Dinner at the hotel.

    Day 9 LUCKNOW

    Morning visit to Chota Imambara, also known as Imambara Hussainabad Mubarak, an imposing monument built as an imambara or a congregation hall for Shia Muslims, by Muhammad Ali Shah, the Nawab of Awadh in 1838. It was to serve as a mausoleum for himself and his mother, who is buried beside him.

    Lunch at the hotel. Afternoon at leisure. Dinner at the hotel.


    Morning departure (with luggage) for Lucknow airport for a domestic flight to Hyderabad. On arrival transfer to the Taj Falaknuma Palace Hotel where three nights are spent. Built in 1894, it is the former palace of the Nizam, rumoured to be the richest man in the world at one time. The hotel has distinctive charm, magnificent views of the city and excellent amenities including a variety of restaurants, a swimming pool and library, styled on the one in Windsor Castle.

    Lunch at the hotel. Remainder of the afternoon at leisure. Dinner at the hotel.

    Day 11 HYDERABAD

    Drive to Golcaonda, the capital of the Qutb Shahi dynasty from 1512, and visit the citadel of Bala Hissar, including the ruins of the royal palace, baths, royal mosque, housing for the Abyssinian guards, royal treasury and elephant stables.

    Lunch at local restaurant. Visit the Qutub Shahi Tombs, which were built on a square base surrounded by pointed arches incorporating distinctive styles of Pashtun, Persian and Hindu architecture, as well as the Salar Jung Museum, which encompasses the Nawab’s prized ancestral collections and Nizam’s Royal jewellery which are beautifully on display. Dinner at the hotel.

    Day 12 HYDERABAD

    Morning at leisure. 

    Lunch at a local restaurant. Afternoon visit to the Old City including the Charminar, a structure built on the spot of the ornamented granite mosque of Mecca Masjid and where Quli Qutb Shah prayed for an end to a plague epidemic. Roam the Lad Bazaar selling the famous Hyderabadi glass and stone studded bangles known as Sona Bai, bridalwear, pearls, and Attar (perfume). There will also be the opportunity to visit a pearl merchant. Visit the exotic Chowmahalla Palace, which was the Nizam’s palace, last lived in in 1911 but used for the last coronation in 1967, as well as the British Residency, a World Monument built in the classical style for James Kirkpatrick who married a Hyderabad princess. It was converted into Osmania University College for Women in 1949 after British independence. Dinner at the hotel.


    Morning departure (with luggage) to Hyderabad airport for a domestic flight to Vidyanagar. Transfer to the luxurious Evolve Back Resort, where three nights are spent. Set in the ancient city and UNESCO World Heritage site of Hampi, the hotel offers an infinity pool as well as a world class Ayurvedic spa.

    Lunch at the hotel. This afternoon visit Hemakunta Hill, once fortified with tall stone walls, which has a large number of temples and ruins that date back to the pre-Vijayanagara as well as Vijayanagara periods. Continue to visit the Virupaksha Temple, built by Lakkan Dandesha in about the 7th century and is dedicated to Lord Shiva, before stopping at Hampi Bazaar filled with jewellery, clothes and antiques. Dinner at the hotel.

    Day 14 HAMPI

    Morning walk along the river and take the coracle boat ride from Sree Kondandarama Temple to the Old Stone Bridge near the Vitthala Temple. Visit the ruins of the King’s Palace, believed to have been one of the most imposing structures in Hampi and served as the King’s Court. Continue to the 15th century Vitthala temple, built by King Devaraya II and expanded by Krishnadevaraya, which comprises many fascinating structures including the stone chariot, the Kalyana Mantapa (marriage hall) and the Ranga Mantapa with the musical pillars.

    Lunch at a local restaurant. Visit the Zenana Enclosure, a segregated area used by the royal women of the Vijayanagara dynasty, including the Lotus Mahal, one of the most famous architectural landmarks in Hampi with its central dome carved like a lotus bud; the 15th century Elephant Stables which provided shelter to the royal elephants and with its intricate design indicates their importance to the empire; as well as the three Watch Towers, built in the Indo-Islamic style, where it is believed the royal women could stand and watch royal processions and other ceremonies without being seen by the common people. Visit the remains of the Queen’s Palace and the 15th century Hazara Rama Temple, once the private temple of the kings of the royal family of Vijayanagara with intricate relics and panels depicting the story of the epic Ramayana. Continue to the Malyavanta Raghunatha Temple to enjoy the sunset. Dinner at the hotel.

    Day 15 HAMPI

    Morning visit to the Royal Enclosure, once home to the Vijayanagara King and his Queens, which includes halls, temples, aqueducts, underground chambers and stepped tanks, and offers a glimpse of what life was like under the Vijayanagara kings. Continue for a village walk.

    Lunch at a local restaurant. Rest of the afternoon at leisure. Dinner at the hotel.


    Morning transfer to Vidyanagar for a morning flight to Bangalore. On arrival in Bangalore transfer to the Taj Bangalore hotel for where day-use rooms will be available.

    Lunch at the hotel. Afternoon at leisure. Early evening transfer to Bangalore airport for suggested flights (not included) Emirates EK509 departing at 20.20 hrs arriving Dubai at 23.00 hrs.

    Connect to Emirates flight EK7 departing Dubai at 03.10 arriving London Heathrow at 07.10 hrs.

    • We have travelled with TUTC six times, the most recent was to New Zealand last year. The trip was very well organised as usual, with excellent accommodation and a wide variety of experiences. We had booked to go to Australia with them this year but due to Covid this was cancelled, Ultimate handled the situation very professionally and promptly refunded the whole of our deposit without any quibble.

      DN, August 2020