A glimpse into our upcoming tour this October…

With just two weeks to go, we’re counting down to our next tour!

From 23rd October until 5th November, Mary is heading back to her roots, taking guests into the heart of northern India and guiding them through unique experiences in undiscovered regions just waiting to be explored…

Our journey begins and ends in Delhi, and visits Agra, Jaipur, Pushkar, Jodhpur, Nagaur, Churu, Mandawa and Patan during this two week cultural tour. Highlights include ancient forts, abandoned stepwells and the illustrious Taj Mahal – plus an International Folk Festival.

Here’s a brief look at what we’ll experience on this fast-approaching tour:


A lively metropolis with a population bigger than Australia, Delhi showcases a tantalising blend of ancient and modern, with skyscrapers and glitzy malls providing the backdrop to spice markets and timeworn temples. From historic monuments such as the Red Fort to palaces and places of worship, there’s plenty to see and do in Delhi. Guests will also explore the narrow labyrinthine lanes by rickshaw, discovering a 350-year-old spice market and architectural marvels. We’ll escape the crowds with visits to the serene Garden of Five Senses, the Sanskriti Museum and the Lodi Gardens. We’ll also stay in a peaceful boutique hotel, away from the bustle of the city.


Situated on the holy Yamuna River, Agra is peppered with remnants of the Mughal Empire, where splendid forts, tombs and mausoleums have stood since it was abandoned in 1585. It’s also home to the illustrious Taj Mahal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and arguably one of the world’s greatest testaments to love. We’ll visit the Agra Fort as well, stepping beyond the walls and through a maze of buildings that form a city within a city.


In addition to hosting a number of impressive forts and palaces, every building within the walled historic centre of Jaipur is painted a terracotta pink colour. This magnificent ‘pink city’ was the capital of the Mughal Empire, and is the perfect location to learn about India’s Golden Era of art, literature and architecture. Like Delhi, we’ll stay in peaceful accommodation with a lovely garden, to relax away from the crowds.

Jaipur extra!

The journey from Agra to Jaipur is a highlight in itself, as we stop to visit the red sandstone buildings in Fatehpur Sikri and the eye-opening abandoned step wells. True feats of architectural mastery, these mysterious stepwells are a real highlight of the trip. We’ll stop in Jaipur once again on our way back to Delhi to learn about the ancient craft of Lehariya.

Photo credit: Steven dosRemedios https://www.flickr.com/photos/sdosremedios/33843302786


From the pink city to the blue city! Many buildings in Jodhpur – the second largest metropolis in Rajasthan, which lies on the eastern fringe of the Great Thar Desert – are painted in the city’s iconic shade of blue. We’ll enjoy a bird’s eye view from the lofty 15th century Mehrangarh Fort (a former palace that’s now a museum), find fantastic photo opportunities and knick-knacks back on ground level and visit the Bishnoi village, where there will be a chance to interact with local women and witness carpet weaving, pottery making and block printing.

Jodhpur extra!

Our time in Jodhpur is particularly special this year, as we will be going to the Rajasthan International Folk Festival. Held in and around the majestic Mehrangarh Fort, the festival comprises of spectacular concerts with both local and international artists, and will give you the chance to get swept up in the excitement of an Indian festival. We’ll be staying in the stunning Raas Hotel during this time.

Photo credit: Public.Resource.Org https://www.flickr.com/photos/publicresourceorg/27299195732


We will explore the magnificent Nagaur Fort, a regal residence and heritage property which won the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Award for Cultural Heritage Conservation, and many other international awards for restoration work.

Churu and Mandawa

A stay in Churu provides a wonderful opportunity to soak up the sights of India’s famous havelis, huge multi-storeyed mansions painted with striking frescoes depicting the experiences, aspirations and interests of affluent and well-travelled individuals. We will also be staying in a haveli for a truly authentic experience. Feast your eyes on more astonishingly detailed havelis in Mandawa, before visiting one of India’s most unique temples, filled with unusual shrines to popular deities.

Photo credit: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra https://www.flickr.com/photos/dalbera/8430186228

Photo credit: Dhirad [CC BY-SA 2.5  https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5  ] from Wikimedia Commons


Patan is the site of one of the last great battles in Indian history. It’s also home to the Patan Mahal, a 13th century ancestral fort which we’ll have the chance to explore. After stepping back in time, we’ll explore a second palace, the Badal Mahal, which stands at 2,000ft above sea level.

With forts, palaces, museums, local handicrafts, authentic meals, havelis and of course the spectacular stepwells, it’s set to be a very special trip indeed. We’ll be keeping you updated with our whereabouts and what we’re up to throughout the trip, so don’t forget to check our blog from 23 October!

Book onto a 2019 tour

If you’re interested in booking onto a 2019 or 2020 tour with Mary, please browse through our three fantastic itineraries (under the ‘Our Tours’ tab) then click here to get in touch.

Choose from Kerala & Northern India, Kerala & Southern India and Kerala & Yoga Retreat. All tours last between 14 and 21 days, travel dates are usually the second Friday of each departure month (January, February and November) and we meet in Delhi or Chennai. All the details can be found on our website!

Back to the water



Kerala has forty-four rivers and carries in it eight percent of all waterways in India. Lined with natural and artificial canals, lakes and estuaries known as the Backwaters, water has always played a heavy role in the daily life of those who lived by Kerala’s many shores. Though brackish, the Backwaters are the lifeblood of the state’s booming tourism and agriculture industries.


When the monsoon rains came this year, the rivers of Kerala broke their banks and ravaged the farms and homes of its people. The water rose and washed along a trail of devastation that is still yet to be fully calculated. As observers we watched day after day as the story of suffering, strife and chaos was shared one image at a time. These images, in reality are only half of the story.


The photo I have shared above captures the second half of that story and the essence of the Keralite people. It is an image of Jai, my right hand man and overall problem solver for my tours in Kerala. He and his young daughter are pictured on a calm, still lake about three days ago. It was a very personal triumph for him to have his family back at the water’s edge, enjoying their day together. Life was not completely back to normal, but as long as there was a sense of normality to it, everything else would flow into place again.


Like the rivers, returning to their beds, so does life fall to its normal rhythms in this south Indian state of Kerala. Limping slightly perhaps, a little muddy, a little changed, nevertheless life is returning. That is a testimony to the resilience of its people.

Floodwaters start to recede in Kerala

Kerala and Southern India will be open for tourists in time for our November tour

Floodwaters in Kerala and Southern India have started to fall, after the region was hit by heavy monsoon rains that killed over 350 people and left thousands stranded on rooftops.

Red and amber alerts have been replaced with green weather warnings, and Cochin Airport is due to reopen in a matter of days.

With water levels receding and the threat of further landslides abating, the focus now lies on rescuing those marooned, and helping the hundreds of thousands of people who have been relocated to emergency relief camps.

What caused the floods?

Intense rainy seasons are an annual phenomenon in Kerala, which lies in the path of the south-west monsoon. During the monsoon season (June–September), India receives 70% of its annual rainfall in four months.

However, this year the region has experienced 37% more rain than usual, due to a lengthy spell of low pressure. The resulting floods are the worst southern India has seen in a century.

Over 350 people have lost their lives, landslides have destroyed entire villages and hundreds of thousands of people are living in emergency relief camps.

How will the floods affect Pure Kerala Tours?

Our ground support team in Kerala assure us that things will soon return to normal. However, with the deluge causing damage to infrastructure and tea, coffee and spice plantations, we may need to adjust our itineraries to fit around cleanup and restoration projects.

Our next trip is scheduled for November – two months after the monsoon season comes to an end – and we still have spaces left. While we may need to tweak routes and activities accordingly, please don’t let the recent floods put you off visiting this beautiful part of the country. Rest assured your safety remains our priority – and ensuring you have the trip of a lifetime, of course!

If you’re interested in booking onto one of our trips and have questions in light of recent events, click here to contact us.

If you’ve been moved by the floods and would like to donate to the cause, please click here.