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India

Benjamin Disraeli famously called India the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the British Empire and this colonial history is clearly evident in the grand Victorian monuments and distinctly British architecture found throughout the former Raj. However, there is far more to India than its colonial past. From the cultural and historical splendour of the Golden Triangle of Agra, Jaipur and Delhi, the stunning natural beauty of the Malabar Coast, the monuments and museums of Chennai, in addition to the bustling markets of Mumbai and Goa, India offers a truly magnificent, unique and unforgettable experience.  

Porbandar by Tuk Tuk

Porbandar, India
Half day Respectful Dress
Visit the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi, India's "Great Soul" and gain insights into the simple lifestyle of this coastal heritage town, once a thriving Mughal port.

Visit the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi, India's "Great Soul" and gain insights into the simple lifestyle of this coastal heritage town, once a thriving Mughal port. Board your tuk ruk and ride through the heart of Porbandar to visit the only temple in India dedicated to Sudama, the childhood friend of Lord Krishna. Pilgrims walk the temple's giant maze to be absolved of all sins.

Next see the Kirti Mandir memorial, dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi. The temple stands 79 feet high, one foot for each year of Gandhi's life, and embraces six religions in its architecture. Tour the ancestral home where Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869 and lived with his wife. The adjoining building houses a prayer hall, a Gandhian library and an excellent museum.

After a visit to the lively local market, continue to Bharat Mandir Hall. Admire the lovely gardens, huge marble map of India and colourful pillars where bas reliefs tell the tales of Hindu heroes from this land of legends.

*Please note socks are recommended, as it is required to remove shoes at most sites. Comfortable footwear and hats are recommended. Please cover your shoulders and knees.

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Included
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UNESCO World Heritage Site

Jaipur's Amber Fort

Jaipur, India
Half Day
Combine spellbinding visits to the royal buildings in Jaipur, the rose-coloured capital of Rajasthan state, with a jeep ride to the hill-top Amber Fort, where days of blood and blade come to life.

Combine spellbinding visits to the royal buildings in Jaipur, the rose-coloured capital of Rajasthan state, with a jeep ride to the hill-top Amber Fort, where days of blood and blade come to life. After enjoying a photo stop at the Hawa Mahal or Palace of the Winds, where ladies watched the world from behind delicate honeycomb screens, continue to the Aravalli Hills, just seven miles north of Jaipur, for your jeep ride to the honey-coloured 17th-century fortress-palace, a place of startling beauty and grandeur. Its sombre exterior belies lavish royal apartments inside, which open out onto some staggering views of the gorge below. Wander the gardens and courtyards to view the glittering Chamber of Mirrors and the Hall of Victory, where panels of alabaster are inlaid with coloured glass. A true pleasure palace.

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UNESCO World Heritage Site

Agra & the Taj Mahal

Agra, India
Half Day Extensive Walking 1 to 2 miles within a period of 2-3 hoursArchaeological Site
While in Agra, enjoy guided tours of Agra Fort and the spectacular Taj Mahal, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites that bear testimony to an extraordinary civilization.

While in Agra, enjoy guided tours of Agra Fort and the spectacular Taj Mahal, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites that bear testimony to an extraordinary civilisation. The Taj Mahal stands tribute to a great love story. One of India's great architect-rulers, Shah Jahan, lost his beloved queen, Mumtaz Mahal, giving birth to their 15th child. Although he had already built her palaces, his ultimate triumph would be this great, white marble mausoleum which took 22 years and 20,000 workmen to complete. Take in the graphic purity of the elevation, the grandeur of the bulbous dome and the perspective of the pool and gardens as you reach a landmark in every traveler's life.

The Red Fort of Agra was founded by Emperor Akbar in 1565. Behind its forbidding red sandstone battlements are fairytale palaces that tell the tale of the Mughal Empire in the 16th century when Agra was one of India's most important cities.

Highlights of your visit include two sites built by the luxury-loving Shah Jahan: the many-pillared Diwan-e-Am (Hall of Public Audience), where the emperor sat on his throne to dispense justice and the profuselydecorated Diwan-e-Khas where important guests were received and suitably awed.

There is a strict security check at the entrance to the Taj Mahal and no bags are allowed inside. 

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Half day Delhi City Tour

Delhi, India
Half day Respectful Dress
Begin your sightseeing with a tour of the victory tower known as Qutub Minar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Standing over 236 feet tall, this masterpiece of Islamic architecture was built in the early 13th century after the defeat of Delhi's last Hindu kingdom.

Begin your sightseeing with a tour of the victory tower known as Qutub Minar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Standing over 236 feet tall, this masterpiece of Islamic architecture was built in the early 13th century after the defeat of Delhi's last Hindu kingdom. At the tower's foot is India's first mosque with an iron pillar in its courtyard that has not rusted in over 2,000 years, demonstrating the skill of ancient blacksmiths. En route, admire New Delhi's broad boulevards and monuments of Empire: the President's Palace, Parliament House and India Gate designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

Later, you will visit Raj Ghat or Royal Steps (a ghat means a flight of stairs leading to water). This tranquil site marked by a simple black marble slab is where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated following his 1948 assassination by a Hindu fanatic. The area is now a park and national shrine.

Please note that if you wish to go very close to the actual memorial stone at Raj Ghat, you will be required to remove your shoes.

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Included
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Mumbai City Highlights

Mumbai, India
Half Day Respectful Dress
Immerse yourself in the swirling contrasts of India's economic powerhouse, home to nearly 20 million people, global corporations and the Bollywood film industry. View its colonial heritage as you drive past Victorian Gothic Revival landmarks like the Rajabhai Clock Tower, Mumbai University, High Court, Crawford Market and the marvellous Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus.

Immerse yourself in the swirling contrasts of India's economic powerhouse, home to nearly 20 million people, global corporations and the Bollywood film industry. View its colonial heritage as you drive past Victorian Gothic Revival landmarks like the Rajabhai Clock Tower, Mumbai University, High Court, Crawford Market and the marvellous Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus. Stop at Dhobi Ghat to watch men flogging clothes in the stone tubs of an immense open-air manual laundry.

Glimpse political India when you visit the charming residence of Mahatma Gandhi, Mani Bhawan, which is now a museum dedicated to the leader’s life and work. The father of the nation lived here from 1917 to 1934, when the city was still called Bombay. Then ascend Malabar Hill to the Hanging Gardens, for panoramic views over the entire city. Returning to Aegean Odyssey, enjoy a photo stop at the 262-foot-high Gateway of India overlooking the Arabian Sea, built to mark the 1911 visit of King George V.

*Please note you must dress appropriately for visiting religious sites, with shoulders and knees covered as a general rule. Comfortable shoes and socks are advised, as you are required to remove shoes upon entering the temple.

Read more
Included
Cruises with this tour
UNESCO World Heritage Site

Agra & the Taj Mahal

Delhi, India
Half day Extensive Walking 1 to 2 miles within a period of 2-3 hours
While in Agra, enjoy guided tours of Agra Fort and the spectacular Taj Mahal, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites that bear testimony to an extraordinary civilization.

While in Agra, enjoy guided tours of Agra Fort and the spectacular Taj Mahal, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites that bear testimony to an extraordinary civilisation. The Taj Mahal stands tribute to a great love story. One of India's great architect-rulers, Shah Jahan, lost his beloved queen, Mumtaz Mahal, giving birth to their 15th child. Although he had already built her palaces, his ultimate triumph would be this great, white marble mausoleum which took 22 years and 20,000 workmen to complete. Take in the graphic purity of the elevation, the grandeur of the bulbous dome and the perspective of the pool and gardens as you reach a landmark in every traveler's life.

Continue to the Red Fort of Agra, founded by Emperor Akbar in 1565. Behind its forbidding red sandstone battlements are fairytale palaces that tell the tale of the Mughal Empire in the 16th century when Agra was one of India's most important cities.

Highlights of your visit include two sites built by the luxury-loving Shah Jahan: the many-pillared Diwan-e-Am (Hall of Public Audience), where the emperor sat on his throne to dispense justice and the profuselydecorated Diwan-e-Khas where important guests were received and suitably awed.

Please note that there is a strict security check at the entrance to the Taj Mahal and no bags are allowed inside. 

Read more
Included
Cruises with this tour

Half day Delhi sightseeing

Mumbai, India
Half day Respectful Dress
Begin your sightseeing with a tour of the victory tower known as Qutub Minar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Standing over 236 feet tall, this masterpiece of Islamic architecture was built in the early 13th century after the defeat of Delhi's last Hindu kingdom.

Begin your sightseeing with a tour of the victory tower known as Qutub Minar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Standing over 236 feet tall, this masterpiece of Islamic architecture was built in the early 13th century after the defeat of Delhi's last Hindu kingdom. At the tower's foot is India's first mosque with an iron pillar in its courtyard that has not rusted in over 2,000 years, demonstrating the skill of ancient blacksmiths. En route, admire New Delhi's broad boulevards and monuments of Empire: the President's Palace, Parliament House and India Gate designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

Later, you will visit Raj Ghat or Royal Steps (a ghat means a flight of stairs leading to water). This tranquil site marked by a simple black marble slab is where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated following his 1948 assassination by a Hindu fanatic. The area is now a park and national shrine.

Please note that if you wish to go very close to the actual memorial stone at Raj Ghat, you will be required to remove your shoes.

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Included
Cruises with this tour
UNESCO World Heritage Site

Old Goa & Latin Quarter Walk

Marmagao, India
Half day Extensive Walking 1 to 2 miles within a period of 2-3 hours
Some of India's most architecturally beautiful places can be found in Old Goa, your first sightseeing destination on this tour that includes two magnificent churches, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and a walking tour of the capital’s atmospheric Latin Quarter. This walled historic precinct contains an archaeological reserve that was influential in spreading Manueline, Mannerist and Baroque art to Asia in the 16th to 18th centuries.

Some of India's most architecturally beautiful places can be found in Old Goa, your first sightseeing destination on this tour that includes two magnificent churches, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and a walking tour of the capital’s atmospheric Latin Quarter. This walled historic precinct contains an archaeological reserve that was influential in spreading Manueline, Mannerist and Baroque art to Asia in the 16th to 18th centuries.

Designed to awe the locals into conversion, the magnificent churches of Old Goa testify to the wealth of the city when it was the capital of the Eastern Portuguese Empire. St Cajetan Church is modelled after St Peter's in Rome and has a hidden crypt where in 1992 the bodies of former Portuguese governors were found in lead coffins, waiting to be sent back to Lisbon. Next, visit the 16th century Basilica of Bom Jesus, where St Francis Xavier, Goa’s patron saint, is entombed in a marble mausoleum.

Your sightseeing will continue with a short drive through the relaxed state capital of Panjim, followed by a walking tour through one of the city's most charming neighbourhoods, the Fontainhas Latin Quarter, which was built by the Portuguese. Strolling along narrow streets past wonderful old villas, you will really be able to savour the tranquil essence of Goa.

Note: Please dress respectfully for religious sites by covering shoulders and knees. 

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Choice of Tours
Cultural Activity
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Temples & Spices

Marmagao, India
Half Day
The Goan port of Marmagoa was chosen to be the first capital of the Portuguese Empire in India and, in 1685, the construction of the fort started along with that of the main town. This tour takes you away from the city, through small towns and villages. Along the way you will see the large, elegant homes from the colonial period and pass numerous brilliant green rice paddies.

The Goan port of Marmagoa was chosen to be the first capital of the Portuguese Empire in India and, in 1685, the construction of the fort started along with that of the main town. This tour takes you away from the city, through small towns and villages. Along the way you will see the large, elegant homes from the colonial period and pass numerous brilliant green rice paddies. In the lush valleys and forests of Ponda are hidden a number of Hindu temples, built in the 17th and 18th centuries by those attempting to practice their traditional religion away from the prying eyes and persecution of the Portuguese.

The deities may be ancient, but the temples are fairly modern by Indian standards and are still used by the local population, as well as thousands of pilgrims who visit here from other parts of southern India. A particularly wonderful example is the Mangueshi Temple, set on a wooded hill surrounded by farmland and considered the most important Hindu temple in Goa. Here you will find a seven-story octagonal tower, full of niches where oil lamps are placed during festivals and important occasions. 

A visit to Sahakari Plantation will refresh both your body and soul. Here the fields centre on a large irrigation tank filled with lilies and watched over by bright kingfishers. The property’s varied terrain, which includes both flat wetlands and hillsides, allows for the cultivation of a wide variety of plants and trees. You will be provided with a guided walking tour by an expert through the spice world of black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, nutmeg, etc.

*Please note you must dress appropriately for visiting religious sites, with shoulders and knees covered as a general rule.

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Choice of Tours
Cultural Activity
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Cochin City Tour

Cochin, India
Half day Removal of Shoes
Centuries of invaders, traders and rulers have shaped the culture and architecture of Kerala’s premier city, where 15th and 16th century palaces, mosques, churches and even an active synagogue mark the myriad periods of Cochin's history.

Centuries of invaders, traders and rulers have shaped the culture and architecture of Kerala’s premier city, where 15th and 16th century palaces, mosques, churches and even an active synagogue mark the myriad periods of Cochin's history.

The intriguing Mattancherry area is where the old merchant houses were once home to a flourishing Jewish community and it’s here that you will visit the charming Dutch Palace, built by the Portuguese in 1555, renovated by the Dutch in 1663, and today flanked by shrines to Krishna and Shiva.

The city’s synagogue was built in 1568 and features hand-painted blue-and-white tiles from China as well as a sparkling oil-burning chandelier from Belgium. Strolling along the historic Jew Street, admire the spice and antique shops where the first wave of Jewish migration to Cochin arrived in the 1st century BC, long before it is said the ships of King Solomon traded here.

On this tour you will also visit Fort Cochin, located in the centre of the city, followed by the oldest European church in India, St Francis, where the explorer Vasco da Gama was once buried. Just outside the church are the bamboo and teak poles of the city’s often photographed Chinese fishing nets; then catch the lively action at the local Fish Market.

Please dress appropriately for visiting religious sites, with shoulders and knees covered as a general rule. Shoes must be removed to enter the synagogue and no items (incuding cameras) can be taken inside but must be left on the excursion coach. There is no wheelchair access in the Dutch Palace.

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Alleppey Backwater Cruise

Cochin, India
Full day Lunch Included
Glide past sleepy backwater villages through a labyrinth of tropical waterways called kayals, in one of India’s most beautiful regions, Kerala. Alappuzha is your gateway to this idyllic world as you relax in shaded comfort and drift down narrow, foliage-choked canals that suddenly and thrillingly open up into expansive green paddy fields.

Glide past sleepy backwater villages through a labyrinth of tropical waterways called kayals, in one of India’s most beautiful regions, Kerala. Alappuzha is your gateway to this idyllic world as you relax in shaded comfort and drift down narrow, foliage-choked canals that suddenly and thrillingly open up into expansive green paddy fields.

See tropical life as you never would from the road, catching glimpses of villagers washing their clothes in the river, workers harvesting coconuts, or children playing beneath papaya, mango and jackfruit laden trees. For centuries this extensive network of rivers, lakes and lagoons has been a means of transporting goods and people from the heartland to the coast aboard traditional house boats known as Kettuvallam. These locally built crafts are still made from eco-friendly materials in much the same way as they have for centuries.

Following your backwater trip, transfer to Punnamada Resort for a buffet lunch. A brief orientation of Cochin concludes this delightful excursion.

Please note that the drive from the ship to Allapuzha is approximately 1.5 hours. Life jackets will be provided on the boat during this excursion. Sun protection is highly recommended.

This optional excursion can be booked using the signup sheet and paid for on-board the ship (all prices for purchases on-board Aegean Odyssey are listed in US dollars).

*Includes subsidy for unused excursion.

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Optional $ 65*
Cruises with this tour

Kumbalanghi Village Tour

Cochin, India
Half day
Rub shoulders with the real India on an adventure combining a backwater boat trip with a taste of traditional Cochin life in the island-village of Kumbalanghi, which is ringed by Chinese fishing nets. Board an authentic local fishing boat for a short cruise through the region’s most serene backwaters, during which you will have a chance to try your hand at the local fishing techniques of veeshu vala (fishing with conical nets) and padalu (trapping fish in coconut palm cages).

Rub shoulders with the real India on an adventure combining a backwater boat trip with a taste of traditional Cochin life in the island-village of Kumbalanghi, which is ringed by Chinese fishing nets. Board an authentic local fishing boat for a short cruise through the region’s most serene backwaters, during which you will have a chance to try your hand at the local fishing techniques of veeshu vala (fishing with conical nets) and padalu (trapping fish in coconut palm cages).

Following your scenic boat trip, enjoy a walk through the village for a chance to see some of the locals demonstrating traditional skills ranging from crab catching to fish-flipping, clam-meat processing, coir-making, mat-making and net-making.

After some refreshments to the beautiful backdrop of scenic paddy fields and mangroves, a final experience awaits: a fabulous rickshaw ride in a local tuk-tuk through the village’s picturesque narrow lanes.

Please note that various modes of transport are used in this excursion. Life jackets will be provided on the boat ride during this excursion.

This optional excursion can be booked using the signup sheet and paid for on-board the ship (all prices for purchases on-board Aegean Odyssey are listed in US dollars).

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Optional $ 75
Cruises with this tour

Fatehpur Sikri

Agra, India
Full Day Significant Steps
Enter the City of Victory, built in 1569 by Akbar the Great in gratitude for receiving a male heir, then abandoned 14 years later when the water supply failed. The emperor personally supervised details of the construction and the result is an epic poem in red sandstone, briefly the capital of the Mughal Empire.

Enter the City of Victory, built in 1569 by Akbar the Great in gratitude for receiving a male heir, then abandoned 14 years later when the water supply failed. The emperor personally supervised details of the construction and the result is an epic poem in red sandstone, briefly the capital of the Mughal Empire. Because the city was deserted for most of its existence, the buildings are well preserved without modification by later rulers. Today, this majestic ghost town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a unified architectural ensemble blending Hindu, Persian and Indo-Muslim traditions, providing an insightful look at the synthesising aesthetic of one of India’s great emperor-architects.

Discover the glorious courtyards, audience halls, palaces and mosques that testify to 16th century Mughal civilisation at its zenith. Visit the Panch Mahal, reminiscent of a Buddhist temple. Stand in the Hall of Public Audience where Akbar metered out justice and women watched from the cloistered courtyard. Stand in the Pachisi Court paved with black and white to look like a giant chess board, on which Akbar once used slave girls as game pieces. When you leave you will understand why this capital without a future so awed the British when they visited in 1585.

Please note there is a lack of shade at this site.

 

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Agra Fort

Delhi, India
Enjoy a guide tour of the Agra Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Sites that bear testimony to an extraordinary civilisation. The Red Fort of Agra was founded by Emperor Akbar in 1565. Behind its forbidding red sandstone battlements are fairytale palaces that tell the tale of the Mughal Empire in the 16th century when Agra was one of India's most important cities.

Enjoy a guide tour of the Agra Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Sites that bear testimony to an extraordinary civilisation. The Red Fort of Agra was founded by Emperor Akbar in 1565. Behind its forbidding red sandstone battlements are fairytale palaces that tell the tale of the Mughal Empire in the 16th century when Agra was one of India's most important cities.

Read more
Included
Cruises with this tour

Taj Mahal

Agra, India
Half day
The UNESCO World Heritage Taj Mahal stands tribute to a great love story, dating from the 17th century. One of India's great architect-rulers, the Mugal Emperor Shah Jahan, lost his beloved queen, Mumtaz Mahal, giving birth to their fifthteenth child. Although he had already built her palaces, his ultimate triumph would be this great, white marble mausoleum which took 22 years and 20,000 workmen to complete.

The UNESCO World Heritage Taj Mahal stands tribute to a great love story, dating from the 17th century. One of India's great architect-rulers, the Mugal Emperor Shah Jahan, lost his beloved queen, Mumtaz Mahal, giving birth to their fifthteenth child. Although he had already built her palaces, his ultimate triumph would be this great, white marble mausoleum which took 22 years and 20,000 workmen to complete. The ornamental sarcophagi of the emperor and empress lying side by side inside the tomb are a moving testament to undying love. A walk through the lush gardens alongside the reflecting pool reveals the bench made famous by Princess Diana, for the perfect photo opportunity, as you take in the graphic purity of the elevation, the grandeur of the bulbous dome and the perspective of the pool; this is a real landmark in every traveler's life.

Note: There is a strict security check at the entrance to the Taj Mahal and no bags are allowed inside.

Read more
Included
Cruises with this tour

Mumbai City Highlights

Delhi, India
Half Day Respectful Dress
Immerse yourself in the swirling contrasts of India's economic powerhouse, home to nearly 20 million people, global corporations and the Bollywood film industry.

Immerse yourself in the swirling contrasts of India's economic powerhouse, home to nearly 20 million people, global corporations and the Bollywood film industry. View its colonial heritage as you drive past Victorian Gothic Revival landmarks like the Rajabhai Clock Tower, Mumbai University, High Court, Crawford Market and the marvellous Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus. Stop at Dhobi Ghat to watch men flogging clothes in the stone tubs of an immense open-air manual laundry.

Glimpse political India when you visit the charming residence of Mahatma Gandhi, Mani Bhawan, which is now a museum dedicated to the leader’s life and work. The father of the nation lived here from 1917 to 1934, when the city was still called Bombay. Then ascend Malabar Hill to the Hanging Gardens, for panoramic views over the entire city. Returning to Aegean Odyssey, enjoy a photo stop at the 262-foot-high Gateway of India overlooking the Arabian Sea, built to mark the 1911 visit of King George V.

*Please note you must dress appropriately for visiting religious sites, with shoulders and knees covered as a general rule. Comfortable shoes and socks are advised, as you are required to remove shoes upon entering the temple. 

Read more
Included
Cruises with this tour
Cruises with this tour