Tour 2: Kerala & Northern India
A truly authentic experience which takes you down the less trodden paths and into the real India!
We pride ourselves on taking our guests down the less trodden paths and into the real India, which is why our Kerala and Northern India tour is bursting with authentic cultural experiences, historic UNESCO World Heritage sites, close-up wildlife encounters, traditional homestays and so much more.
Weave your way between ancient spice markets and soaring skyscrapers in Delhi, marvel at centuries-old havelis adorned with colourful frescoes in Rajasthan and try your hand at traditional trades in Jaipur. Walk with elephants, stop off at the extraordinary abandoned step wells and see the majestic Taj Mahal with your own eyes.
Next, journey south into Kerala, where lush green landscapes and rolling tea plantations await. Pick fresh tea leaves, breathe revitalising mountain air and unwind at a tranquil beach resort. Watch elephants bathe themselves on the River Nila, enjoy traditional dance and music and dive deep into the culture of the Brahmin people during a unique homestay experience.
Witness ancient religious ceremonies, soak up the exotic blend of cultures in Kochi, then relax in Kerala’s famously beautiful backwaters. Ready to book? Prepare yourself for the adventure of a lifetime with Pure Kerala Tours.
Exploring Northern India (approx. 9 days)
- Start in Delhi. Welcome to Delhi, a lively metropolis with a population bigger than Australia! A tantalising blend of ancient and modern, Delhi has everything from skyscrapers and glitzy malls to spice markets and timeworn temples. We’ll explore this rich tapestry on a walking tour, visit a museum unknown even to many locals and enjoy a hearty dinner with a local family in the heart of New Delhi.
Accommodation: 1 night in a beautiful bungalow with a private garden
- We leave Delhi early the next morning and travel to Shekhawat, a town in the Thar Desert region of Rajasthan which holds a special significance in the history of India. We will see the grand, multi-storeyed townhouses and mansions (known as havelis) built between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, which are covered in striking frescoes and play an important role in Shekhawat’s colourful heritage. Let your jaw drop to the floor as you soak up the colours and the incredible detail of what is indisputably the best mural in town, before taking a leisurely stroll to one of India’s most unique temples. During our stay in Shekhawat we will also enjoy a Rajasthani lunch at a fort, washed down with liqueur distilled by the resident Prince!
Accommodation: 2 nights in a beautifully restored and lavishly decorated haveli called Malji Ka Kamra
- Next, we travel to historical Jaipur, where we will base ourselves for four days to explore the city and its surroundings. Known as the ‘pink city’ every building within the walled historic centre is painted a terracotta ‘pink’ colour. We’ll admire the city wall that’s been standing since 1720, weave our way through the lanes of the old city and observe local artisans at their trades, such as silversmith and bangle makers at the Johari bazaar.
- We’ll visit plenty of historical monuments, forts and palaces and even learn the ancient technique of Lehariya, a traditional style of tie dye practiced in Rajasthan. If this workshop leaves you wanting more, we can also arrange for you to participate in a traditional block printing workshop, where you’ll use rich natural colours to hand block prints onto textiles. We’ll also find time to catch the must-see light and sound show at Jaipur’s famous Amber Fort, enjoy another Rajastani feast and visit some Indian elephants! No trip to India is complete without elephants, and you’ll have the chance to feed and walk with these gentle giants.
- Day trip: Approximately two hours away from Jaipur is Pushkar, an ancient Hindu pilgrimage site nestled into the bustling city of Ajmer. Our day trip includes visits to historical temples and other magnificent structures from centuries gone by, including the famous Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti Dargah.
Accommodation: 4 nights in a beautiful ancient haveli in Jaipur
- After four whirlwind days in Jaipur, we head east to Agra, stopping to visit the red sandstone buildings in Fatehpur Sikri and a selection of ancient, abandoned step wells on our journey. True feats of architectural mastery, these impressive structures are guaranteed to be unlike anything you’ve seen before!
- 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. Of course, it’s also home to the illustrious Taj Mahal! Almost perfectly symmetrical in its shimmering ivory and marble splendour, the Taj Mahal is by far India’s most famous monument and one of the world’s greatest testaments to love. Its magical allure and architectural brilliance has seen it elevated to not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site but also one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. After soaking up the views of this majestic mausoleum, we will visit Agra Fort, an important historical building which was the main residence of emperors of the Mughal Dynasty until 1638.
Accommodation: 1 night in a hotel conveniently located close to the Taj Mahal
- From Agra we will return to Delhi, where we’ll see anything we might have missed on day one, and stay for one night. After nine unforgettable days in North India, we’ll venture into the serene green belt of Southern India.
Exploring Kerala (approx. 12 days)
- Famous in the traveller community for its lush green landscape, network of glistening backwaters and rolling spice and tea plantations, Kerala is a beautiful jewel in India’s crown. We head south from Delhi to begin our adventure in the Kannur district, where we’ll relax after our jam-packed cultural tour of the north. Immerse yourself in the local way of life, go for a swim in the ocean and enjoy some yoga in your downtime.
- We will visit a local market, a weaving mill and Bekal Fort, the largest fort in Kerala, which was originally constructed in 1650 AD. One of the highlights of our stay in Kerala will be the opportunity to participate in the colourful ritualistic performance of Theyyam at a local temple.
Accommodation: 3 nights in traditional Kerala style cottages at a beautiful beachside resort
- From our beach resort we head inland and slightly east to the rolling hills and lofty peaks of Wayanad. This lush green rural district is home to nature reserves, walking trails, wildlife sanctuaries, tea and coffee plantations and rice fields. We might even spot some monkeys as we’re driving through this beautiful landscape!
- We arrive at a scenic and unspoiled tea estate plantation that will be our home for the next three days. Right by the edge of a dense jungle, wake up to the sounds of birdsong every morning and truly immerse yourself in tropical Kerala. We’ll spend our days breathing the fresh mountain air, helping the tea workers on the plantations and taking a jeep ride to explore the local area.
Accommodation: 2 nights in a tea plantation at the edge of the jungle
- Next we head to our Brahmin homestay, where we will spend three nights on a traditional farm, immersing ourselves in local life and learning about the Brahmin people of Kerala (priests, teachers and protectors of sacred learning). Witness a unique and fascinating religious ritual, meet a traditional family and view their collection of Kathakali dress and ornaments, mingle with talented village artisans and delve into the art and culture of their religion.
Accommodation: 2 nights on a 300-year-old traditional farm (home stay)
- A stay on the spectacular River Nila is a real treat. During breakfast we may even be lucky enough to see elephants being bathed! We’ll spend one night here, where you will visit a popular local community centre which shines a spotlight on traditional art forms, music and dance. We’ll also enjoy authentic folk music performed on bamboo drums by a distinguished local music group.
Accommodation: 1 night in a comfortable hotel overlooking the River Nila
- Our next stop is historical Kochi or Cochin. A train journey is a must on any India trip, so we’ll make our way south as the locals do, on a passenger train! Steeped in the history and culture of local and foreign traders and communities who settled here throughout the ages, Kochi is widely known as the commercial or economic capital of Kerala. Having played host to travellers, explorers and traders over the past 600 years, Kochi presents an intriguing and exotic blend of ancient mosques, Portuguese style houses, remains from the British Raj, 400-year-old synagogues and enormous Chinese fishing nets. It’s certainly an eye opener! We’ll visit a number of heritage buildings, a Jewish synagogue and a selection of churches, and take a tour of the local Folk and Art Museum.
Accommodation: 1 night in a heritage hotel
- Our final two nights are spent in Alleppey, a serene and charming region of Kerala which is home to an intricate network of glistening waterways, quiet canals and tranquil lagoons. Often referred to as the Venice of India, these beautiful backwaters provide the perfect backdrop for the end of our tour. Relax in this mesmerising watery world, where you can enjoy a rejuvenating massage and fresh toddy (an alcoholic beverage made using the sap of a coconut tree) while watching the sun set. We’ll also visit a traditional fish auction and a local who makes boats the old fashioned way, by hand.
Accommodation: 2 nights at an island resort overlooking a peaceful lagoon
- On our final day, enjoy another Ayurveda massage before packing your bags and saying goodbye. After a snack and a cup of tea, it’s time to head to Kochi Airport for your flight back home. Bon voyage and we hope to see you again!
Click the map to enlarge
Upcoming Tour Dates
To be confirmed due to Covid-19
Cost of Tour
Cost per person
Twin share: $6,000 AUD (approx.) (minimum 6 people)
Single occupancy: $6,500 AUD (approx.) (minimum 6 people)
- Return flights – group departing from Melbourne
- All accommodation and transport.
- Airport transfers with group.
- Guides & entrance fees to historical sites.
- Meals as listed.
- *Slight variations may occur on tour
- Visa and passport fees.
- Travel insurance.