Road Scholar : Home
The Best of India: Treasures of the North and South

Program Number: 18716RJ
Start and End Dates:
2/12/2014 - 3/4/2014; 3/19/2016 - 4/8/2016; 9/18/2016 - 10/8/2016; 10/18/2016 - 11/7/2016; 10/30/2016 - 11/19/2016; 12/1/2016 - 12/21/2016; 1/16/2017 - 2/5/2017; 1/30/2017 - 2/19/2017; 2/5/2017 - 2/25/2017; 2/18/2017 - 3/10/2017; 3/19/2017 - 4/8/2017; 3/23/2017 - 4/12/2017; 4/14/2017 - 5/4/2017;
Duration: 20 nights
Location: India
Price starting at: $4,650.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 48; 17 Breakfasts, 15 Lunches, 16 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Traverse India on a comprehensive journey that takes you from the Golden Triangle capitals of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur in the north to the frescoed fortress of the “Tiger of Mysore” and the bayou-like Kerala backwaters in the south, learning customs and traditions from locals and absorbing India’s history from experts who know it best.


• Observe the pageantry of a traditional Hindu festival, with its costumed and bejeweled elephants.
• Watch as the sun rises and sets over the marble domes of the Taj Mahal.
• Explore and enjoy the tranquility of the Kerala backwaters on a houseboat.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles a day over sidewalks and roads that are often broken and uneven; some stairs are unavoidable.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Delhi , 3 nights; coach to Agra, 2 nights; coach to Kalakho, 2 nights; coach to Jaipur, 2 nights; flight to Bangalore, coach to Mysore, 3 nights; coach to Wayanad, 1 night; coach to Palakkad, 2 nights; coach to Kerala Backwaters, 2 nights; coach to Cochin, 1 night; departure.

Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival Delhi
3 nights

Begin by exploring Delhi, inhabited since the sixth century B.C, and share a meal in a local home. Visit Gandhi's house, now a museum, where the ‘Father of the Nation’ Mahatma Gandhi lived, received most of his famous visitors and was assassinated. Learn about the life and principles of Gandhi during a presentation by a local expert.

Coach to Agra
2 nights

Continue to Agra to learn about Mughal history in the shadow of the Taj Mahal. Set out pre-dawn to watch the rising sun bathe the pristine white marble domes in warm hues of gold, ochre and orange. Explore the exquisite grounds and view the highly decorated inside chamber.

Coach to Kalakho
2 nights

In colorful state of Rajasthan, ride a camel cart to a tribal village and learn to play cricket. Visit a remote village to interact with the residents and go inside their traditional mud huts.

Coach to Jaipur
2 nights

In the Golden Triangle capital of Jaipur, share dinner with a noble family in its palace home. Take in the blur of colors on a walk through the local market with your expert leader. Discover the 11th century Amber Fort.

Flight to Bangalore
Coach to Mysore
3 nights
Coach to Wayanad
1 night

Fly south to discover Mysore’s colorful market and tribal traditions and the frescoed fortress of the “Tiger of Mysore.” In the home of a local Kodava family, experience a taste of authentic Kodava cuisine and culture. Depart on a full-day drive to the Hill Station of Wayanad, known as one of the most picturesque drives in India, and delve into the history of English colonial rule.

Coach to Palakkad
2 nights

A local Ayurveda expert gives a presentation on Ayurveda then leads a walk through the herb garden to learn the medicinal properties of each plant. Witness the pageantry and events of a traditional temple festival as bejeweled elephants parade through the streets pulling colorfully decorated carts.

Coach to Kerala backwaters
2 nights
Coach to Cochin
1 night
Overnight flight to the U.S
1 night

Board privately chartered traditional houseboats to explore the quiet, tranquil waterways of Kerala for a view into rural life. Look for skiff-fishermen in their cockleshell boats, women neck deep in the water searching for fish with their feet and cattle grazing in lush pastures.


As a consequence of its size, the history of India is an amalgamation of its individual territories. The natural wealth of India’s territories lured a succession of traders and foreign influences to it, each leaving their imprint on the nation, however faint or localized. Thus, Chinese fishing nets in Kerala are a throwback to that country's ancient maritime trade, while in the north, ancient terracotta figurines bear distinctly Grecian traces.

New Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Mysore, Wayanad, Palakkad, Cochin: Centrally located hotels. Kalakho: Lodge with lake views. Kerala Backwaters: Traditional houseboat.
Meals and Lodgings
   Suryaa New Delhi
  Delhi, India 3 nights
   Wyndham Grand
  Agra, India 2 nights
   Umaid Lake Palace
  Kalakho, India 2 nights
   Trident Hotel Jaipur
  Jaipur, India 2 nights
   Hotel Regaalis Mysore
  Mysore, India 3 nights
   Windflower Spa & Resort
  Wyanand, India 1 night
   Kairali Ayurvedic Health Resort
  Palakkad, India 2 nights
   Privately Chartered Houseboats
  Kerala Backwaters, India 2 nights
   The Gateway Hotel Ernakulam
  Cochin, India 1 night
 Suryaa New Delhi
Type: Five-Star Hotel
  Description: The Suryaa New Delhi is a 5 Star Deluxe Hotel located in the heart of New Delhi, a mere 35 minute drive from the International Airport & adjacent to Delhi's business districts - Nehru Place, Pragati Maidan-International Trade Fair venue, Okhla & Noida Export Promotion Zone.
  Contact info: New Friends Colony
New Delhi,  110 025 India
phone: +911126835070
  Room amenities: Satellite TV, CD Player, DVD Player, In-Room Movies, Coffee Maker, Mini-Refrigerator, Mini Bar, Wi-Fi Internet, Phone with Voicemail, Bathrobe, Hairdryer, Bathtub, In-Room Safe, Air Conditioning & Iron/Ironing Board
  Facility amenities: Laundry/Dry Cleaning, Multi-lingual Staff, Administrative Services, Concierge Services, Barber/Hair Stylist, Business Center, Currency Exchange, Fax, Gift Shop, Room Service, Health Club, Indoor Pool, Health Spa/Massage, Outdoor Pool, Hot Tub, ATM & Safe Deposit Box
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: n/a Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services for more information.

 Wyndham Grand
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Wyndham Grand ( A Unit of Shekhar Resort Ltd) located in the city of Taj, has been built on 18 acres of land with a large frontage. A beautiful hotel property inspired by the intricacy of Mughal architecture with splendid display of terraced lawns, fountains and ancient interiors that take you back to an era of emperors and princes with the modern facilities. It is a masterpiece of architecture built on 'Mughal Theme' with world class modern hi-tech amenities.
  Contact info: Commercial Complex
Fatehabed Road
Agra, Uttar Pardesh,  282004 India
phone: +Phone915622237000Ext806
  Room amenities: LCD TV with remote • Music system • DVD Player • Cable channels • Bed side electronic control panels Office/telecom • Telephone/ cordless • International direct dialing telephones lines • Wired and wireless broadband internet access
  Facility amenities: Agra’s largest swimming pool with a submerged Pool Bar. • Spa, Jacuzzi, Gymnasium & Sauna • Discotheque • Kiddies Playground with slides • Lobby & Lounge • Conference & Banquet Halls • Banquet Lawns • Reception, Luggage Store, Concierge & Travel desk • Wireless internet connectivity • Tennis Court / Basketball court • Mughal Gardens • Special room for the Disabled
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Umaid Lake Palace
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Situated on picturesque Kalakho Lake about 13 kms from Dausa and just an hour's drive on the Jaipur - Agra national highway. Day trips to The Sariska Tiger reserve and Keoladeo National Park - The Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary are 2 hours away from the hotel. Umaid Lake Palace is one of the few hotels which organizes camel polo in its lawns followed by camel safari's along the lake. Nature walk to our organic farms in our hotel premises and guests are encouraged to engage in the local farming practices in the resort. Bird watching walks along with a trained guide around the lake are much cherished. Other activities include horse safari and day trekking trips along with pack lunch.
  Ship Information: x
  Contact info: Agra National Highway
303304,   India
phone: +91 -1427-203166
  Room amenities: Equipped with individually controlled air-conditioners, satellite TV, attached bathrooms & private balconies.
  Facility amenities: The lake view restaurant serves freshly grown organic vegetables, poultry products and fish from the lake produced within the hotel premises. Recreational facilities include an outdoor swimming pool.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Trident Hotel Jaipur
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Situated near the renowned Amber Fort and overlooking the Mansagar Lake. The rose coloured facade of the hotel is reminiscent of traditional Rajasthani architecture.
  Contact info: Amber Fort Road
Opposite Jal Mahal
Jaipur,  302 002 India
phone: +91 141 267 0101
  Room amenities: Central A/C, Internet Access, Dual Line Telephones, Tea & Coffee Maker, 24 Hr. Room Service, Electronic Safe, Hairdryer, Voltage 110-220
  Facility amenities: Bar, Restaurant, Fitness Center, Swimming Pool, Business Center, Currency Exchange, Laundry Service
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Hotel Regaalis Mysore
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The Hotel Regaalis is a modern hotel located in the heart of Mysore, and enjoys a tranquil setting within three acres of lush gardens.
  Contact info: 13-14 Vinobha Road
Mysore,  570005 India
phone: +91 821 242 6426
  Room amenities: 108 rooms with air-conditioning, Wi-Fi Internet access, cable television, direct-dial telephone, tea and coffee making facility, room service, in-room safe, mini-bar, private bathroom with shower and hairdryer.
  Facility amenities: Restaurant and bar; Wi-Fi Internet access, foreign currency exchange, laundry service, swimming pool and fitness center.
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 Windflower Spa & Resort
Type: Hotel
  Description: Windflower Spa & Resort, Wayanad, is a getaway that invites you to pamper your senses with a unique spa and resort set in 27 acres of coffee estate. In keeping with the Windflower spirit of evolving from the natural beauty of the surroundings, it brings you a very distinctive look and mood. Just a five hours drive from Bangalore, this very private retreat with all its contemporary luxuries, awaits you. Nestled in a hillock, amidst a sprawling coffee plantation, you will find the misty slopes, the aroma of coffee and spices welcoming you as you enter a world of gourmet cuisines, exciting adventure and leisure options and a choice of wellness therapies – a world of intimate experiences that will surely make you forget the mundane.
  Contact info: x
x,   India
phone: +x
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Kairali Ayurvedic Health Resort
Type: Lodge
  Description: Nestled amid 50 acres of peaceful, natural beauty in the hills surrounding Palakkad, the Kairali Ayurvedic Health Resort is a traditional Ayurvedic retreat. With its unique focus on healthful living, the resort is designed to rejuvenate the guest.
  Contact info: Palakkad District,  678551 India
phone: +91 4923 222 553
  Room amenities: 30 individual villas with air conditioning, satellite television, direct-dial telephone, bathrobe and slippers, private bathroom individual hote water heaters, bathtub with hand-held shower nozzle and hair dryer.
  Facility amenities: Ayurveda health spa with massage and beauty treatments, vegetarian restaurant, conference hall, outdoor swimming pool, herbal garden, yoga and meditation classes, recreation and business center, W-Fi Internet access. No alcohol is served on the premises.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Privately Chartered Houseboats
Type: Other
  Description: Originally called a "Kettuvallum" (meaning rice barge), the shallow and rounded hull of Keralan houseboats are constructed without using a single nail. Built in the same manner for centuries, the traditional use was to transport goods through the placid waterways of the lagoons and their tributaries. The two-deck boats feature hand carved pillars and traditional doors with intricate Keralan brass locks. One large houseboat accommodates 9 passengers, additional houseboats accommodate 4 passengers each in twin-bedded cabins.
  Contact info: Kerala Backwaters,   India
phone: +91 129 409 8000
  Room amenities: All cabins are located on the lower deck and have a large picture window, air-conditioning, and are simply-furnished with two twin beds, private bathroom with shower, sink and toilet, hot and cold water.
  Facility amenities: A single flight of stairs joins the lower and upper deck, where the air-conditioned dining area, sitting room and open-air sun deck are located.
  Smoking allowed: No

 The Gateway Hotel Ernakulam
Type: Boutique Hotel
  Description: Conveniently located on downtown Marine Drive, Ernakulam’s busiest commercial hub, the hotel is 45 minutes from the airport. The hotel offers some of the best business amenities, restaurants and a view of the backwaters and the Cochin Harbour, making it just the place for business and pleasure.
  Contact info: The Gateway Hotel Marine Drive
Ernakulam,   India
phone: +914846673300
  Room amenities: •Wi-Fi internet connectivity •International direct dialling •Voicemail service •Mini-bar •Electronic safe
  Facility amenities: •24-hour conference assistance •Wi-Fi internet access throughout the hotel •Audio-visual equipment •Copier / Facsimile facilities •Secretarial services •Currency exchange •Active studio •Swimming Pool
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: TBD Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services for more detailed information.

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
8:00 PM at the program hotel on Day 2 starting with a light dinner. You will be staying at Suryaa New Delhi that night.
  End of Program:
After dinner on Day 20 at the airport in Cochin. You will be staying at The Gateway Hotel Ernakulam the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. On January 15th, 2010 India changed its laws regarding re-entry to India with a tourist visa. Currently tourists re-entering India within 2 months are required to get a re-entry visa. Due to the complexity of these laws, there is still some ambiguity on what documentation is required for tourists traveling with a group. We ask that you please carry a copy of your full flight itinerary with you when you enter India for the first time, and show this to the customs officials.
  Required innoculations:
Yes: There are no vaccinations required to enter India unless visitors are coming from a contaminated area. However, it is always a good idea to check with your personal physician before going abroad. Routine vaccines, as they are often called, such as for influenza, chickenpox (or varicella), polio, MMR, and DPT are given at all stages of life should be up to date. Malaria pills are a consideration.
  Parking availability:
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Delhi
  Transportation to site: If independent flights do not coincide with the designated group transfer, it will be the responsibility of the participant/s to make arrangements to get to the program site. Taxi from New Delhi airport to hotel is available. Airports Authority of India in coordination with Delhi Traffic Police is now providing 'Prepaid Taxi Service' for arriving passengers at Domestic and International Terminals to ensure safe travel up to their destination. Approved rate of fare for various locations in the city are displayed inside the counter. Prepaid taxi counters are located outside customs hall in concessionaire area and outside Arrival Visitors Lounge (West Wing). Payment is made in advance at counters and coupons are issued. Pickup points are located just outside the terminals. No reliable public bus or subway transport available. Please note that the transfer from the airport takes about 40 to 50 minutes. Private arrival and departure transfers -at an additional cost- may be arranged in advance by the calling Road Scholar Travel Services.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Cochin
  Transportation from site: You may also want to inquire with the concierge at the Gateway Hotel Ernakulam about alternative transportation services from the hotel to the airport. Private arrival and departure transfers -at an additional cost- may be arranged in advance by the calling Road Scholar Travel Services.

Required innoculations:

Yes: There are no vaccinations required to enter India unless visitors are coming from a contaminated area. However, it is always a good idea to check with your personal physician before going abroad. Routine vaccines, as they are often called, such as for influenza, chickenpox (or varicella), polio, MMR, and DPT are given at all stages of life should be up to date. Malaria pills are a consideration.

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Departure from the U.S.A.
(Wednesday, February 12)
 Depart From: Depart from US for flight to India.

Day 2: Welcome to Delhi
(Thursday, February 13)

Note: The group flight generally arrives in the late afternoon, so no activities have been planned on this day. PLEASE NOTE: Those arriving earlier check in begins at 2 PM. You may leave your luggage at the reception while you wait.

 Afternoon: Late afternoon arrivals in Delhi.
 Dinner: A light dinner will be served at the Le Cafe at the hotel.
Accommodations: Suryaa New Delhi
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Old Delhi and the Legacy of Gandhi
(Friday, February 14)
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast in the hotel.
 Morning: Begin the morning with program orientation. The Group Leader will greet you with a warm welcome and introduce everyone. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Then, depart for an excursion to Old Delhi. Drive past the Red Fort, and then go on a bicycle rickshaw ride around the heart of Chandini Chowk, - named for the silver merchants - navigating narrow alleyways, and a bustle of people, to end at Jama Masjid, the largest Muslim mosque in India. Continue on to the Raj Ghat - the cremation ground of Mahatma Gandhi.
 Lunch: In at Chor Bizarre.
 Afternoon: Visit Gandhi Smitri. Gandhi Smriti, is the sacred place where Mahatma Gandhi's epic Life ended on 30 January 1948. Mahatma Gandhi had lived in this house from 9 September 1947 to 30 January 1948.The museum in the building houses a number of articles associated with Gandhi's life and death. Learn about “Relevance of Gandhi in Today’s World” during a presentation by a local expert after returning to the hotel.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: Suryaa New Delhi
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: New Delhi/National Museum
(Saturday, February 15)
 Breakfast: Breakfast served in Le Cafe.
 Morning: Led by your Study Leader, attend a lecture on the Indian system of government - the world's largest parliamentary democracy.Then depart on a discovery of New Delhi's monuments: India Gate, the Parliament House, and the government secretariat buildings at Connaught Place. Continue to the National Museum for an expert-led visit with an art historian who explains the essence of classical Indian art.
 Lunch: Lunch on your own. Group Leader will give you options or suggestions in the surrounding area.
 Afternoon: The remainder of the afternoon is free to explore independently, or continue to the Bahai Temple with your Study Leader (this is an optional activity).
 Dinner: Dinner will be served at a private home so that you can experience what a local home feels like.
Accommodations: Suryaa New Delhi
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: Learn about the Mughal Empire
(Sunday, February 16)

Note: After early breakfast, transfer on the coach from Delhi to Agra. It will take about 4 1/2 hours.

 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: Depart to Agra. En route, your Study Leader presents an Introduction to Indian History: Pre Mogul Period.
 Lunch: Lunch will served at the hotel.
 Afternoon: Cross to the Yamuna River in the late afternoon, visit Itimad ud Daulah. Itmad-ud-Daulah, also known as the ‘Baby Taj’, is the first monument in India built entirely in marble. The tomb was built between 1622 and 1628 by the Queen of Jahangir, Nurjahan as a memorial to her father, Mirza Ghiyas Beg. Finally, watch the sun set over the Taj Mahal. This excusion will be accompanied by a talk on Moghul history by a local expert.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
Accommodations: Wyndham Grand
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Taj Mahal
(Monday, February 17)

Note: Transfer to Agra will take about 4 1/2 hours with rest stops.

 Breakfast: In the hotel upon return from the Taj Mahal.
 Morning: Set out pre-dawn to watch the rising sun bathe the pristine white marble of the Taj Mahal in warm hues of gold, ochre and orange. Take some time to explore the exquisite grounds and view the highly decorated inside chamber. Return to the hotel for breakfast. Next, visit Agra Fort. Originally planned as an impregnable military structure by Akbar, the Agra Fort, over a period of time, acquired all the elegance, lavishness and majesty of an imperial palace.
 Lunch: Observe a cooking demonstration in a private home, then feast on the meal specially prepared for you.
 Afternoon: Enjoy rest of the afternoon on your own.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own as you will have a choice to explore a local fare. The Group Leader will be available to give you suggestions.
Accommodations: Wyndham Grand
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7: Remote Villages of Rajasthan and Camel Ride
(Tuesday, February 18)

Note: Transfer to Kalako will take about 4 hours with rest stops.

 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: Depart to Kalakho. En route, explore Fatehpur Sikr, the deserted sandstone city built by the Mughal Emperor Akbar. A variety of architectural styles are found, since craftsmen representing many schools were employed. Originally planned as the capital, a shortage of water compelled Akbar to abandon his plans.
 Lunch: Upon arrival at the Dera Village Retreat.
 Afternoon: Set out on a camel trek, either riding a camel or in small carts pulled by camels, to a nearby village belonging to the colorful Meena tribal group. The Bhil (Tribal) Meena are a tribal group found in the state of Rajasthan in India. According to some traditions, they are said to be descended from those Meenas and Rajputs who, in the wars between their own tribes or with Muslims, were compelled to quit their native home and seek refuge in the vastness of Rajputana, where they formed alliances with the aboriginal families and established tribe. Visit their traditional mud huts, decorated with floral and animal designson the walls and floors and interact with the residents.
 Dinner: Dinner at the Retreat.
 Evening: Before dinner, enjoy traditional Rajasthani folk dances and try a few steps with the dancers.
Accommodations: Umaid Lake Palace
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: The Abhaneri Step Wells and Local Culture
(Wednesday, February 19)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the retreat.
 Morning: Explore the small village of Abhaneri and one of India's deepest and largest stepwells. These unique steps were built in the 12th century as a water supply, as cool places of resort and for ritual cleansing before a visiting the adjoining Harshita Mata temple. Interact with local children at a village school.
 Lunch: At the retreat/lodge.
 Afternoon: Choose free time to relax or learn how to play Cricket, the national sport of India. In the late afternoon, for those interested, an active (Level 6) nature hike explores the nearby mountains.
 Dinner: At the retreat/lodge.
 Evening: Early evening, before dinner, your Study Leader will present an overview of the history, culture and people of Rajasthan.
Accommodations: Umaid Lake Palace
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: The Pink City of Jaipur and Dinner in a Historic Home
(Thursday, February 20)

Note: Transfer to Jaipur will take about 3 hours.

 Breakfast: At the retreat/lodge.
 Morning: This morning, depart for the colorful city of Jaipur. En route, your Study Leader discusses the "caste system". Learn about the evolution of the caste system and it's deep roots in Indian society.
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel.
 Afternoon: This afternoon, experience the essence of Jaipur as you take in the riot of colors and activities on a walk through the city's local market.
 Dinner: Share an exclusive evening in the company of a Rajasthani Family in their private home.
Accommodations: Trident Hotel Jaipur
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Amber Fort/City Palace/Jantar Mantar
(Friday, February 21)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: We arrive at Amber (pronounced Amer) Fort, set in rugged hills about six miles from Jaipur. Construction of this ancient citadel of local rulers began in 1592. The formidable exterior of red sandstone and white marble with its terraces and ramparts is reflected in Maota Lake. The fabulous interiors are a blend of Hindu and Mughal art and architecture. These former royal halls are decorated with intricate ivory, mirror, and glass work complemented by exquisite wall paintings. Then we will have an opportunity to see and learn about Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds). You will have time for photographs as we disembark and walk around this five-storied wonder, constructed from pink and red sandstone. It was built to give royal ladies views of life outside the palace since they never appeared in public. Hawa Mahal has a spectacular pyramidal façade and overhanging windows with latticed screens, domes, and spires.
 Lunch: In a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Visit the City Palace, still the Maharaja's residence but largely given over to a museum containing rare manuscripts, fine specimens of Rajput and Mughal paintings, royal apparel and an armory. Last, visit Jantar Mantar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built by city founder Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh, between 1727 and 1734, the Jantar Mantar is a collection of architectural astronomical instruments. The Jaipur observatory is the largest and best preserved in India.
 Dinner: Dinner on own.
Accommodations: Trident Hotel Jaipur
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 11: Travel to Mysore via Bangalore
(Saturday, February 22)

Note: This will be a long day in transit. Participants must have the stamina to fly from Jaipur to Banglore then take a 5 hour coach transfer to Mysore.

 Morning: Early morning departure to the aiport to fly to Bangalore. Boxed Breakfast, as you will have to wake up very early in the morning to take the flight. Once you land in Bangalore, you will take a coach for Mysore.
 Lunch: Lunch en route.
 Afternoon: Your Study Leader presents an overview of South India, whose cultures and traditions and architecture are markedly different from those of the North.
 Dinner: Dinner in the hotel after arrival and check-in.
Accommodations: Hotel Regaalis Mysore
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: The Palace of Tipu Sultan and Dinner in a Private Home
(Sunday, February 23)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: Explore Srirangapatnam and the Somnath Temple. Srirangapatnam, the island fortress of Tipu Sultan, is the legendary "Tiger of Mysore" who put up a valiant fight against British domination. The high stone walls and moats enclose the palaces, temples and a great mosque. Tipu's summer palace, with its beautiful frescoes, the tombs of Tipu and Hyder Ali at Gumbaz, Royal Mosque, Wellesley Bridge and the celebrated Sri Ranganatha Temple are other monuments from its glorious past.
 Lunch: In the hotel.
 Afternoon: Presentation by your Study Leader on the "Introduction to Indian Mythology". Explore the lively local market with its colorful flower, fruits and vegetables.
 Dinner: In the home of a local Kodava family, experience a taste of authentic Kodava cuisine and culture. The Kodava, also known as Coorg tribal people are a 'martial race' with a tradition of ancestor worship.
Accommodations: Hotel Regaalis Mysore
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Chamundeshwari Temple and Mysore Palace
(Monday, February 24)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: Set out for the nearby Chamundi Hills, Chamundeshwari temple is situated on the top of Chamundi hill. The temple is dedicated to Sri Chamundeshwari, the titular deity of the Mysore Royal Family also described as "Mahishasura Mardini" for having killed the buffalo headed demon Mahishasura. Then visit Mysore Palace, the official residence of the Wodeyars - the erstwhile royal family of Mysore. Built in 1912 in the Indo Saracenic style, the architectural style of the palace is commonly described as Indo-Saracenic, and blends together Hindu, Muslim, Rajput, and Gothic styles of architecture. Then visit a silk factory.
 Lunch: In the hotel.
 Afternoon: Choose to explore independently or join your Study Leader for a free-time activity.
 Dinner: Your choice to explore local fare. Group Leader can give you suitable suggestions.
Accommodations: Hotel Regaalis Mysore
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 14: The Hill Station of Wyanand
(Tuesday, February 25)

Note: Must be comfortable sitting on a bus for 6 to 7 hour drive with stops.

 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: Depart on a full-day drive to the Hill Station of Wyanand. En route, travel what has been described as one of the most picturesque drives in India. As the road winds through Bandipur National Park, look out for monkeys playing along the road side and possibly a rare glimpse of the elephants who sometimes inhabit these forests. Cross from Karnataka into the state of Kerala.
 Lunch: Lunch at a resort in Wynberg. After lunch, take a walk with the owner to learn about the spice crops grown in this area.
 Afternoon: Continue to Wyanand. Briefly stop at a tea garden and and have a photo session. En route, presentation by Group Leader on “How the Spices of Kerala influenced History.”
 Dinner: In the resort.
Accommodations: Windflower Spa & Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Drive to Palakkad/Kerala Kalamandalam
(Wednesday, February 26)

Note: Drive to Palakkad will take about 7 hours with rest stops. The morning route will take about a 2 hour drive. The drive after lunch will take about 5 hours.

 Breakfast: In the resort.
 Morning: Early morning call: Depart to Palakkad, winding through the scenic hills. Enjoy an en route presention given by your SL on the "How the spices of Kerela Influenced History."
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant en route to Palakkad.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon, before we get to Palakkad, we will stop at Kerala Kalamandalam, an old school that has imparted training to several artists who have received national and international recognition
 Dinner: Dinner at the resort.
Accommodations: Kairali Ayurvedic Health Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Take Part in a Local Festival
(Thursday, February 27)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the Ayurvedic Resort.
 Morning: Join a special presentation on Ayurvedic Medicine led by a local expert from the resort specializing in Ayurvedic treatment. This afternoon, you will stop at Kerala Kalamandalam. Depart for Kalamandalam. Founded in 1930 by renowned poet Padmabhooshan Vallathol Narayana Menon, Kalamandalam is a residential center of learning for art and culture. On a special visit of the classes, observe how students learn about the traditional dance and theater form of Kathakali.
 Lunch: Lunch at the resort.
 Afternoon: Witness the activities and events of a local festival. Relish and participate in the traditional local festival where the human spirit is celebrated with much fanfare. This is a vibrantly colorful and rich experience.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
Accommodations: Kairali Ayurvedic Health Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 17: Kerala Backwaters
(Friday, February 28)

Note: Must be able to sit for a long time. The drive from Palakkad to the Kerala Backwaters will take 7 hours with rest stops along the way.

 Breakfast: In the Ayurvedic Restaurant (Morning Yoga for all those interested before breakfast.)
 Morning: Depart on a full-day drive to the Backwaters of Kerala. As you descend from the hills into Kerala's tropical coastal area, observe the changing landscapes.
 Lunch: In a local restaurant en route.
 Afternoon: Continue the drive, arriving at the riverside meeting point in the late afternoon to board privately-charted traditional Keralan houseboats and begin cruising. Enroute,Your Study Leader discusses how Kerala is a prosperous progressive state while remaining Communist.
 Dinner: Just before sunset, your houseboats tie up for the night and dinner is served on board.
Accommodations: Privately Chartered Houseboats
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 18: Kerala Backwaters Exploration
(Saturday, March 1)
 Breakfast: Aboard your houseboat.
 Morning: Enjoy a full day of cruising the Backwaters into the countryside along tranquil waterways for a view into rural life. Passing skiff-fishermen in their cockleshell boats; large flotillas of ducks waddling down to the water from thatched houses on the banks; women, neck-deep in water, with their waist-length hair heaped in a crown, searching for fish with their feet and the aimless cattle who graze in lush pasture-land. Stop in water-side villages along the way and walk the paths that front the small houses to observe daily life.
 Lunch: Aboard your houseboat.
 Afternoon: Continue cruising and observing life on the water. You are just as much of interest to the village residents, as they are to you, waving and calling out as the boats pass by. An abundance of birdlife is found in the area. The houseboats tie up at sunset, to overnight along the water’s edge.
 Dinner: Aboard your houseboat.
 Evening: Early evening, before dinner, attend a presentation: "Traditional Boat Building of Kerala."
Accommodations: Privately Chartered Houseboats
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 19: Discover Cochin
(Sunday, March 2)

Note: The drive to Cochin once you disembark the boat will be three hours.

 Breakfast: Aboard your houseboat.
 Morning: Disembark the houseboats and meet the motorcoach for the drive to Cochin. Arrive mid-day to Ernakulam.
 Lunch: Your choice to explore local fare.
 Afternoon: Led by your study leader, Explore Cochin on a guided walk. Visit The "Dutch Palace”, built in the 1550s by the Portuguese and taken over by the Dutch, who later presented it to the Rajas of Cochin. The palace contains excellent mythological murals and a rare example of traditional Keralite flooring - a subtle mix of burnt coconut shells, lime, plant juices and egg whites - which gives the effect of polished marble. Visit The Jewish Synagogue, built in 1568 and considerably embellished in the mid 18th century by Ezekiel Rahabi, who built a clock tower and paved the floor of the synagogue with hand- painted tiles brought all the way from Canton in China.
 Dinner: Farewell Dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: The Gateway Hotel Ernakulam
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 20: Discover Cochin & Departures.
(Monday, March 3)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: A coach will be available to take you to the historic Fort Cochin neighborhood. This charming area is easily walkable, with many small shops and market stalls interspersed with the Colonial architecture of this coastal city.
 Lunch: Your choice to explore local fare.
 Afternoon: Free time to contiue exploring the shops and streets in the historical center or relax before your you have to get ready to depart for the airport around 5:00 PM (subject to change depending on flight schedule).
 Dinner: Light dinner at a restaurant near the airport.
 Evening: Departures.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 21: Return to the U.S.A.
(Tuesday, March 4)

Note: We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please be in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network, where you can share memories, pictures, and comments. Best wishes for all your journeys.

 Arrive To: Arrival back home.
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

An Autobiography, Or the Story of My Experiments with Truth

Author: Mohandas K. Gandhi

Description: There is no substitute for reading Gandhi in his own simple, direct prose. A highly recommended glimpse into the personality and life of this remarkable figure.

Arrow of the Blue-Skinned God

Author: Jonah Blank

Description: Blank's entertaining portrait of contemporary India and Sri Lanka mixes reporting, anecdote and myth as he travels, sometimes in the footsteps of India's great hero Rama.

Birds of India

Author: Richard Grimmett, Carol Inskipp, Tim Inskipp

Description: Thoroughly revised, with 73 new plates and many others updated or repainted, the second edition of the masterful Birds of India now features all maps and text opposite the plates for quicker and easier reference.

City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi

Author: William Dalrymple

Description: Dalrymple infectiously interweaves his own experiences over a year in Delhi with the art, architecture, history and literature of the city.

Curry, A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors

Author: Lizzie Collingham

Description: This cultural history with recipes is appetizingly organized as a menu (biryani, vindaloo, chai, etc.). Curry explores the origins and spread of Indian food and the interplay between Muslim, Hindu, Portuguese and British traditions on the Subcontinent.

Eyewitness Guide Delhi, Agra and Jaipur

Author: Anuradha Chaturvedi (Editor)

Description: With chapters on Taj Mahal, Amber Fort Palace, Keoladeo Ghana National Park, Red Fort and dozens of other highlights for the traveler, this compact, gorgeously illustrated guide to Delhi and its environs features 900 color photographs, maps and site plans.

Eyewitness Guide India

Author: Eyewitness Guides

Description: A handsome, beautifully illustrated guide to India. It features color photographs, history and plenty of background information.

Handmade in India

Author: M.P. Ranjan (Editor), Aditi Ranjan (Editor)

Description: Featuring 3500 color photos and organized by region, this sumptuous album covers the diverse crafts of India with style and authority.

Hindu Art and Architecture

Author: George Michell

Description: An excellent survey of Hindu art and architecture, explaining the meaning and construction of principal images and buildings, as well as the development of Hinduism and the corpus of myths that have influenced its artistic tradition.

In Spite of the Gods, The Strange Rise of Modern India

Author: Edward Luce

Description: Luce tackles the challenges and reality of the world's largest democracy with insight and balance in this portrait of a nation in transition.


Author: Stanley Wolpert

Description: Reflections on India - its religion and philosophy, its art, culture and politics - by the dean of the country’s American historians: beautifully written and provocative as well as evocative.

India Adventure Map

Author: National Geographic Society

Description: The most detailed shaded relief map (at a scale of 1:2,100,000) of India available.

India Becoming

Author: Akash Kapur

Description: Kapur returns to the country of his birth for this reveals the rich tapestry of contemporary India as told through the lives of ordinary people.

India, A Sacred Geography

Author: Diana L. Eck

Description: Professor of comparative religion and Indian studies at Harvard, Diana Eck turns her interest in temples and places of pilgrimage into a celebration of the diversity of popular religious traditions in India in this richly rewarding travelogue.

India, A Traveler's Literary Companion

Author: Chandrahas Choudhury (Editor)

Description: Each of these 14 stories evokes place and landscape, providing an excellent introduction both to contemporary writers and to India's diverse cultures and history.

Malgudi Days

Author: R. K. Narayan

Description: Wonderful tales from one of India's foremost writers about a fictional South Indian town, populated by quirky characters whose unique approaches to tradition and modernity are the stuff of great short stories.

May You Be the Mother of a Hundred Sons, A Journey Among the Women of India

Author: Elisabeth Bumiller

Description: A wonderfully written and fascinating portrayal of Indian women from Bollywood stars to Indira Gandhi to prostitutes. It's an insightful portrait of the country as seen through the eyes of its women.

Midnight's Children

Author: Salman Rushdie

Description: Crowned Best of the Booker in 2008, Rushdie's greatest novel is a madcap, comic take on the birth of modern India in all its splendid and unexpected manifestations.

Nine Lives, In Search of the Sacred in Modern India

Author: William Dalrymple

Description: From Sufi dervish and Buddhist monk to outcast and temple worshiper: nine people, nine lives, all captured by Dalrymple as he journeys throughout India in search of remarkable individuals transformed by religion. At turns bemusing, dazzling and heart-wrenching, this is his first travel book in 15 years.

Taj Mahal

Author: Giles Tillotson, Mary Beard (Editor)

Description: An enlightening pocket guide to the myth, meaning and legends of the celebrated tomb, "the queen of architecture."

The God of Small Things

Author: Arundhati Roy

Description: This luminous, Booker-prize winning novel is part mystery, part family saga -- a tale of lost innocence set in Kerala during the tumult of the 1960s.

The White Tiger, A Novel

Author: Aravind Adiga

Description: Mordant, funny, angry, horrifying, this Booker Prize-winning tale of a village pauper turned success (and murderer) skewers the ambition, inequity and corruption of 21st-century India.

Travelers' Tales India

Author: James O'Reilly, Larry Habegger

Description: A collection of 45 descriptive and thought-provoking short excerpts on Indian life and culture, including contributions from Rushdie, Naipaul and Dalrymple, plus some valuable excerpts from books long out of print.

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