Arrive in Delhi
Parallels and Meridians welcomes you to Delhi, the capital of India! Since it is your first day here you can relax and take advantage of the luxuries the hotel has to offer. Rest well today, as tomorrow brings the promise of venturing into the hustle and bustle of this vibrant city. Overnight in Delhi.
Brilliant Mughal and Raj architecture
Today we will be touring Old and New Delhi – poles apart in ambience and appearance, yet both retaining an immense sense of history. Old Delhi has a charming cornucopia of ancient monuments, narrow streets and vibrant markets, which you can experience for yourself as you cycle by rickshaw to the imposing Red Fort – a powerful reminder of the former glories of the legendary Mughal dynasty. After this, we remove ourselves from the chaos of the old city with a foray to Raj Ghat, which was the site of Mahatma Gandhi’s cremation in 1948 and has a memorial dedicated to him. We follow this by returning to Old Delhi with a visit to the Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India and finally the frantic Chandni Chowk – famous for spices, inexpensive jewellery, fabrics, electronics and several popular eating joints. Despite the crowded lanes and constant, yet friendly beckoning from shopkeepers, it is a captivating place.
After lunch we will start with the New Delhi tour by visiting the impressive Qutub Minar, standing 240 feet tall and giving us an insight on what life used to be like centuries ago. We then proceed to explore the fifteenth century Humayun’s Tomb, rightly famed for its intricate, sensitive design and serene atmosphere. A visit to the heart of New Delhi – built by the British at the start of the twentieth century – will take in the iconic India Gate, as well as the President’s House and the Parliament Street. Overnight in Delhi.
Delhi – Lucknow
Journey to the city of tehzeeb
Time for us to board the train – a rite of passage in India – and head to Lucknow, also known as the city of culture, or ‘tehzeeb’. In the evening we will visit La Martiniere college, a famous educational institution from colonial times and interact with the students. After this we will visit the markets of Lucknow like Hazratganj and Aminabad. Do try the mouthwatering kebabs and Mughlai dishes which have been made at Tunday Kebab restaurant in Aminabad for over a hundred years. Overnight in Lucknow.
City of Nawabs
Good Morning! Today we will embark on a sightseeing tour of Lucknow. We will start with the majestic Bara Imambara, built during Lucknow’s glory years in the reign of Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula. We will then head to see the Rumi Darwaza, which is a 60 feet tall door which was again built by Asaf-ud-Daula – testament to the artistic vision and ingenuity present in Lucknow during this age. We will also visit the Chota Imambara, popularly known as Hussainabad Imambara. Finally we will visit the Residency, made famous in 1857 when its garrison of East India Company soldiers and their families was besieged for nearly six months by Indian sepoys. Overnight in Lucknow.
Lucknow – Varanasi
Train ride to a holy city
We will take an early morning train to Varanasi after breakfast. Upon arrival at Varanasi, we check into our hotel and relax. Later in the evening we will take a rickshaw ride into the vibrant bazaars. After this, we can watch the spectacular Ganga aarti (a traditional Hindu ceremony) along the ghats, and get a chance to witness the numerous pilgrims who have made their way from across India to the banks of the sacred river Ganga, in this holiest of holy cities. Overnight in Varanasi.
Sacred Ganges and excursion to Sarnath
In the early morning we will take a boat ride along the Ganges. A visit to Varanasi’s Old City to see the mosque of Aurangzeb, one of the most important of the Great Mughals and notorious for his ruthlessness, will follow after that. After lunch we will take an excursion to Sarnath, where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon, and then visit the museum at Sarnath. After this we will drive back to Varanasi. Overnight in Varanasi.
Varanasi – Bodhgaya
Journey to the center of Buddhism
After an early morning breakfast we will drive to Bodhgaya in Bihar (255 kms/6 hrs). Most of the journey is along a recently-constructed highway, so you will enjoy a smooth drive. You can spend your time relaxing after reaching Bodhgaya. Overnight in Bodhgaya.
Birth of a religion
After breakfast we will visit the famous Mahabodhi temple, where we will see the Bodhi tree under which Lord Buddha attained enlightenment. We will then pay a visit to the various other monasteries around the complex. There are Thai, Burmese and Tibetan monasteries to be found here, each adorned with beautiful architecture. Overnight in Bodhgaya.
Bodhgaya - Rajgir - Nalanda - Patna
The Buddhist circuit
Today we will be going on an expedition through the Buddhist circuit of Bihar. Following breakfast we will drive to Rajgir (70.5kms/1hr 50mins), where we will see the caves where the first Buddhist council took place in 404 BC, just after the death of the Buddha. We shall also visit the famous Saivite and Jain temples, followed by a visit to the famous Nalanda university, which is one of the oldest universities in the world. Later we shall drive to Patna (90.5kms/1hr 54mins), the state capital of Bihar. Overnight in Patna.
Patna – Kolkata
Capital of West Bengal
After breakfast we will pay a visit to the Patna museum. Later in the afternoon we will be flying to Kolkata. We can spend our evening here by exploring the markets, famous for their street food. West Bengal prides itself on its food, so you can sure of good eating here! Overnight in Kolkata.
City of Joy
Kolkata is one of the most beguiling metropolitan cities of India, combining a fine legacy of history, cuisine and culture with a delightfully warm people. So let’s have an early start to the day by visiting the colorful flower market early in the morning, followed by a boat ride on the Hoogli River.
After disembarking, we will go back to the time of the Raj and visit the iconic Victoria Memorial Hall, whose imposing marble edifice and statue of Queen Victoria reminds one of Kolkata’s colonial past. It also houses a fine collection of different artworks, weapons and musical instruments, offering insights into different periods of Indian history. After this, we move on to St Paul’s Cathedral, another fine example of colonial architecture from the mid-nineteenth century. We end our day by visiting the Indian Museum, which possesses a huge and varied collection of artefacts such as old coins, fossils, rocks and artwork. Overnight in Kolkata.
Kolkata – Bhubaneshwar
Land of temples
Time for an early morning flight south to Bhubaneshwar in the neighbouring state of Odisha. In the afternoon, we will visit the Jain caves of Khandagiri and Udaigri, and then proceed for a temple tour. Visit the Parasumeshwara temples, Mukteshwara and Rajarani temples, Bindu Sagar and Lingaraja temple. Overnight in Bhubaneshwar.
Bhubaneshwar – Puri
Coastal district of Odisha
After breakfast we will drive to Puri (70 kms/1 hr 20 mins). En-route we will stop at Raghurajpur village to see the famous murals there. Later, we will proceed to the famous Jagannath Temple, which is a sacred Hindu temple dedicated to lord Jagannath. Overnight in Puri.
Puri – Konark – Puri
Thirteenth-century Sun Temple
Today after breakfast we will take an excursion to Konark, to witness the thirteenth–century Sun Temple, a masterpiece created by King Narasimha and renowned for its sensuous sculptures. After this eventful excursion, it is time for some relaxation at Puri beach. Overnight in Puri.
Puri – Bhubaneshwar – Delhi
Back to the capital
After breakfast we shall drive to Bhubaneshwar Airport to board our flight to Delhi. In the evening, we can visit the famous Dilli Haat, where you can buy traditional handicrafts and sample food from every state of India. Overnight in Delhi.
Departure from Delhi
See you soon
This wonderful journey comes to an end today. We wish you a safe journey home and hope to see you again soon!
(From April 01, 2018 – September 30, 2018)
|01 pers||$ 4,032||$ 4,809|
|02 pers||$ 2,131||$ 2,588|
|03 pers||$ 1,764||$ 2,226|
|04 – 06 pers||$ 1,759||$ 2,058|
(From October 01, 2018 – March 31, 2019)
|01 pers||$ 4,301||$ 5,129|
|02 pers||$ 2,273||$ 2,760|
|03 pers||$ 1,881||$ 2,374|
|04 – 06 pers||$ 1,876||$ 2,195|
** These rate are not valid from December 21, 2018 – January 10, 2019
* price per person
THE PRICE INCLUDES
- Accommodation in hotels listed in a double room with breakfast.
- Ground transfers by Air-conditioned private car with an English speaking driver.
- Train from Delhi – Lucknow, Lucknow – Varanasi.
- Entrance fees at sites, museums and shows mentioned in the program
- English Speaking Guide
- All applicable taxes
THE PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE
- International Flight & Airport taxes (International)
- Flights Patna – Kolkata, Kolkata – Bhubaneshwar, Bhubaneshwar – Delhi
- Insurance and visa costs
- Expenses of Personal nature
- Camera and Video charges
- Tips to guides and drivers (allow about 5 $ / day / person)
- Any other Expenses that are not mentioned above
YOUR HOTELS (or similar):
Each destination has a unique character, a story. So we choose the most beautiful destinations, we also choose the most charming hotels for you. In addition, we will offer you options to choose from depending on the style of travel that suits you. You will stay in comfortable, deluxe, luxury or ultra luxury hotels depending on your budget.
- Visa and Travel Formalities
- Accommodation and transportation
- Flights & Land Package
- Our guides
- Insurance and Unforeseen Circumstances
There are about 1.237 billion people in India, individuals who are witnesses to the deep and rich culture of this country. A dream destination, as it has been called, offering myriad sensations; the bustling city of Delhi, the serenity of the That desert, the Golden Temple, the majestic Jama Masjid, the colourful fabric souks and huge exotic spice markets, and the quiet back water of Kerela. A trip to India will surely awaken your senses.
The pious celebrations reflect the culture and diversity of India. There are major festivals to consider from, while choosing your travel to India.
Pongal: It is a Tamil festival celebrating the harvest season. It is celebrated in Tamil Nadu in the month of January.
The desert festival: Jaisalmer – It is a colorful festival involving cultural events, musical performances, and various other happenings. It is celebrated in Jaisalmer in February.
Holi: The Festival of Colors is celebrated in and around India. Generally celebrated in the month of February or March.
Teej Festival: Jaipur: The festival is more geared towards women. It is a commitment to fast and pray to the gods to bless their marriages, which is celebrated in Rajasthan in the month of August.
Onam: The harvest festival of Kerela — annual in nature, it is celebrated to thank the gods for the wonderful harvest of rice. It is celebrated in the month of September.
Dussehra festival: Dussehra is a Hindu festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil. This day falls in the month of September or October. People visit the Pooja Pandals wearing new clothes, prepare traditional food at home and celebrate the festival with their friends and families.
Diwali: The Festival of Lights is much more popular in northern India and is celebrated with great zeal, excitement and fire-crackers, usually on October or November.
Pushkar Fair: It is the largest 5- day camel fair where prized camels are exchanged. It is celebrated in Pushkar, Rajasthan in the month of October – November.
For most trips, your passport will be enough. It must be valid for up to six months after your return trip. Passports can be easily obtained from your municipality, although there may be delays during holiday periods and holidays. Note that the passport is also required for children. For some destinations, it will be mandatory to send us a copy of your passport immediately after booking a trip.
Any nationality Australian, Belgian, Swiss, or Canadian will need a visa to visit India. For more information, please visit this site: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa
We recommend you to get your visa 4 to 6 weeks before your arrival in India.
Minors traveling with an adult: Parents
When a minor is traveling with a parent, the officials at the airport might ask for proof of documents to confirm your relationship. Some countries require certificates such as a birth certificate. Check with the embassy or consulate of the country of destination regarding the requirements.
Minors traveling with an adult: Others
When a minor is traveling with someone other than the parents or a family member, some countries require a declaration by the relatives to give permission for this trip. Check with the embassy or consulate of the country of destination regarding the requirements.
Each destination has a unique character, a story. So we chose the most beautiful destinations, we also handpicked the most suitable hotels for your comfort. In addition, we offer options to choose according to your budget and travel style that suits you.
We offer three options in MOST of our programs:
Simple and comfortable – These are clean and comfortable hotels. They can also be old heritage havelis converted into hotels. As per P&M standard, they fall into a 2-3 star categorization.
Deluxe – In this option, we offer a mix of charming and deluxe hotels. Some of them are heritage palaces, which are now famous contemporary hotels. As per P&M standard, they fall into a 4-5 star categorization.
Luxury – For the ultimate luxury holiday, we have a collection of rustic, chic and stylish hotels combined with laid back indulgence and unmatched amenities. These international favorites are the best in the destinations.
Typically, Indian roads are in good condition. The presence of highways allows communication to all parts of India without many problems. However, we must recognize that some roads are in poor condition; it must account, on an average, 4 hours to cover a distance of 250 km.
Transport is a very significant part of your trip to India. We ensure the quality of the vehicles and the drivers are trained to show you the best landscapes, rural life, by the side of highways, and be attentive to all your requirements. The local traffic is chaotic, but you will certainly enjoy the journeys with our expert d hospitable drivers. All our trips are inclusive of transfers and sightseeing as per the itinerary contracted and we will not surprise you by asking any additional fees for your small wishes.
The airline and the flight schedules are subject to change. P&M will keep you informed about the latest changes in the schedule, if any.
The price in the website are indicative and may change as per the latest amendment given by the hotels or suppliers. However, P&M will honor the rates once they are offered to you and you have made the payment for the package, even partially. In the case of international or domestic flights, the additional airport taxes that are imposed by local authorities shall be passed to you.
It is also possible to book international flights with P&M. Since we have good connections with several airlines, we will be happy to assist you for your requirements.
These people are our most amazing assets, taking you on beautiful trips with P&M. Who can explain a city or town better than the locals? This is why we always work with the locals carrying a passion for their culture. Their knowledge of destinations is immaculate; eagerly indulging you to experience the journey of the moment. All destinations, most of the cities and towns have English-speaking local guides. These guides are employed by our local agents and get regular training’s pertaining to our requirements. We evaluate their performance after each trip based on your feedback’s.
The services of local guides are included in the program (if opted by you in the package). They not only show you around the city but also purchase the tickets at the monuments. They are available to answer any of your travel related queries.
Although P&M pays them with the standard rates of travel-based companies, they expect a tip at the end of the trip. We recommend a tip of 5 €/ day/ person.
Although our travels are organized with detailed planning, the climate and other factors may change due to some unforeseen events. These however, should not spoil your travel or ruin your fun. In case such circumstances arise, be assured that you have 24/7 P&M support staff ready to offer the most suited solutions to your problems. We do our best to provide the quickest resolutions; nevertheless, we are not responsible for any factor beyond our control.
Weather conditions in India differ from one region to another and they depend entirely on the province you plan to visit. In North India, the best time is between mid-September and the end of March; for southern and central India, it is between October and March; in the western part — Darjeeling district, the summer is the best time; in the eastern part, Sikkim and Manipur, it is between October to March. If you plan to go to Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh, summer is the best time to visit.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the following vaccinations for travellers going to India (as well as being up to date with measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations):
- Viral hepatitis A and B
- Typhoid fever
It’s a good idea to consult your government’s travel-health website before departure.
Credit cards & ATMs
In all cities and you can withdraw cash with a bank card with Master or VISA. Cash can be exchanged at a bank or the hotel where you are staying. Credit cards are accepted in most of the hotels, restaurants and shopping places except the very remote village areas. The banks at the international airports are open day and night.
Mobile in India
You have coverage with your cell phone in most parts of India. If you have international roaming on your phone, you can connect to an Indian service as soon you land at any Delhi airport.
Do I need to be a vegetarian in India?
No, contrary to popular belief that all Hindus are vegetarians, strict vegetarianism is limited to the southern area of Gujarat and some holy cities. However, do not dream of a beefsteak; the cow is sacred, however, some restaurants serve buffalo. The culinary differences between North and South are considerable because of the climate and historical influences. In the North, meat, bread and cereals are most common, as well as Mughlai cuisine, akin to those in the Middle East and Central Asia, where spices play a more important role than chilli. In the South, the staple meal is rice and a vegetarian dish — Dal, a kind of lentil soup or as a side dish or as a basic meal; the Thali is the ubiquitous dish, originally from South India, it is used throughout the country. You can also taste meat or fish curries and succulent tandoori (less strong than the curry).
To respect the Indian culture, the dress code is something that the traveler should know. In religious places, people are expected to wear clothes that go beyond the knees. In Jain temples, do not carry leather goods like belts or sandals. Women are expected to cover their heads in some religious sites.
There is no reason for you not to take your electrical items due to electrical outlets, the Indian market has most adapters.
Wireless Internet is now available in most hotels however; some hotels have an additional charge for it. Wireless network is not available in regions such as Ladakh, Kargil and Alichi. In these areas, to access the Internet, you will need to spend some time in an Internet café.
What makes Parallels and Meridians different?
We believe that holidays should be planned thoughtfully. Hence, we spend a good amount of time planning and offering you products considering your requirements. Amazing journeys begin the moment you contact us for a personalized trip. We design programs exactly as you wish; you will always remain a partner in making it a dream holiday.
What can I expect in a holiday with Parallels and Meridians?
Our trips bring you closer to the local community and culture as you will be taken to some of the places where no tourists have gone before. Our travel experts are always in search of something new, inspirational and entertaining. These ideas are intricately designed around your style of travel, creating a perfect trip for you.
How do you create a style of travel?
People are different, and so are their ways of traveling. We speak to several people from different walks of life, locals, travelers, families, and even bloggers, to get a better idea on the ways they prefer to travel. The styles of travel are created through their contributions and the expertise of our travel designers. It is our success formula in making exceptional trips for you.
Why do you make the trips participative?
In our small endeavor to support the local community, we found this as the most encouraging and heartfelt experience for both our guests and ourselves. We don’t indulge into activities with big charitable organizations, but quietly do our bit with the help of our guests. Our projects are humble and mostly recommended by our guests. For example, teaching basic French to the drivers (while traveling with him) actually came from one of our guest.
What are the different hotel combinations you offer?
Each destination has a unique character and history, so do their hotels. We have selected the best hotels as per your style and budget. We offer 3 options in most of our programs:
Simple and comfortable – These are clean and comfortable hotels. As per P&M standard, they fall into a 2-3 star categorization.
– In this option, we offer a mix of charming and deluxe hotels. Some of them are heritage palaces, which are now famous contemporary hotels. As per P&M standard, they fall into a 4-5 star categorization.
– For the ultimate luxury holiday, we have a collection of rustic, chic and stylish hotels combined with laid back indulgence and unmatched amenities. These international favorites are the best in the destinations.
How many beds can we have in a room?
A room will usually have a double bed. Most hotels will be able to add one extra bed.
If we’re traveling as a family, can we have interconnected rooms?
Some hotels offer interconnected rooms. If they don’t have, we ask them to provide two rooms next to each other or on the same floor.
Can I choose my own set of hotels?
Yes, you can. Just send us your wish list and we will do our best to fulfill your requirements.
What is the category of hotels included in the itinerary on the website?
You will have the option to choose the categories of the hotels you want to stay in. There are a few exceptions, however, some places like villages in Rajasthan or hiking tents in Bhutan will not offer you luxury. We will clearly advice you on this.
How does Parallels and Meridians choose the hotels?
We choose hotels based on our personal experiences. We will not recommend a hotel unless we have stayed there ourselves or have it recommended by our contributors.
What kind of vehicle do you provide?
Generally, this depends on the number of people. We provide cars for two people and micro van for three and more people. All our vehicles have air-conditioning.
Can we choose our own type of vehicle?
Yes, you can. Just let us know while sending us the information for your trip.
Are we sharing the car with someone else?
No. The car is for private use and you will share it only the people you are travelling with.
Does the car stay at my disposal every day?
Yes, it does. Our drivers are flexible and will remain at your disposal.
Do we have a guide in every city?
Yes, a guide will be provided to you in each city unless there is no visit scheduled.
How do you select your guides?
We select guides who understand your interests and requirements. They carry a flair for their culture and tradition, offering the best experiences to our clients. All our tour guides are locals, have professional licenses and are known for their passion and knowledge of the destination. We only hire highly rated guides with years of experience.
How do I plan my trip with you?
Once a program is picked from the website and the query form is filled, our travel experts will start working on the program. They will carefully prepare a tailor-made itinerary for you and will present it in details. Your itinerary will be refined and polished until you are satisfied and happy to book with us. As it is very important for us to understand your requirements, please do not hesitate to ask questions and voice your concerns or desires.
I like one of your family programs. Can it be tailor-made for a couple?
Yes, it can. All our programs can be further tailored for your specific requirements. You will be amazed to see the countless possibilities in our programs as per your style.
Can I make my own itinerary?
Yes, you can. Simply fill the form or send us e-mail at email@example.com
How do you decide your pricing?
The itineraries in the website have indicative pricing which may change as per your personalized travel request. We choose the most important sightseeing, destinations, guides and hotels, which makes a great holiday experience for our guests. As we do not want to surprise you with hidden costs, we always include essential costs in the program. Although we are not necessarily the cheapest, we do aim to offer exceptional overall value for money and rely on our clients for repeat business and recommendations for your future dream holidays.
Can I adjust my budget?
Of course, our experts can share plenty ideas with you, fitting your budget. However, we make sure that quality is never compromised. We immediately inform you with our inability to offer you something that is below standard or of low quality. It is always better to say no than to regret a bad holiday experience.
What is included in the cost of your packages?
Our services start the moment you arrive at your destination, where a representative will be awaiting your arrival. All accommodations, transfers, local flights as well as arranged activities, unless otherwise specified will be included. Our trips are on breakfast-only basis except some special meals like welcome lunch or a special farewell dinner.
Why don’t you offer trips on full board?
We could; however, you will agree with us that everybody has different tastes. Moreover, the local cuisine is also an important aspect of your trip. Why should we charge you extra for some meals in hotels and expensive restaurants, when you can enjoy the spontaneity of discovering restaurants on your own? This is why we intentionally refuse to include all meals in our itineraries. If you are on a safari or a trekking trip, all meals are included as these are remote areas without restaurant alternatives. In lieu of this, you will receive a list of recommended restaurants, where you can have a taste of authentic cuisines.
How do I get the assurance of my travel safety?
Having our headquarter in France, P&M provides all necessary financial and legal guarantees to our travelers. You not only get the best travel programs from us but also experience a memorable and safe travel arranged by our local correspondents with 24/24 assistance. To ensure that all our local agents offer best services, quality travel and assurance, we have an office in India supervising all the activities in Asia. In addition, for your peace of mind, we support you with a range of insurances to meet your needs.
Who will be taking care of my trip when I am on the go?
You will have a dedicated travel expert from the first moment of contact. The travel expert will work with you before and during the trip.
What are the different modes of payment you accept?
The different modes of payment we accept are bank transfer and online payment by credit or debit card. You can pay either 30 or 50% at the time of the booking and the remaining, one month prior to your travel.
How secure is my credit card for online payment?
As your trusted partner P&M guarantees secure payment via secure payment platform enabling you to make transactions by credit card or debit card. The credit or debit card details are never reserved with us for your complete peace of mind.
Where can I see the reviews on P&M?
All reviews given by our travellers are regularly uploaded to our website. Furthermore, many of our guests have shared their experiences with P&M at the sites of Trip Advisor and Trust Pilot. We are proud to share with you that; – 98% of our travelers rated our services excellent or very good – 97% of our travelers recommend our agency to their friends – 98% of our travelers would be willing to repeat the experience with P&M.
Traveling with us is the best way to come closer to the daily life of the locals. Impart your knowledge, skills and art with them. If you are an artist, a photographer, a cook or whichever skills you have that can be shared with the local community, please feel free to tell us about them, and we will organize a special activity for you at a right place to support them. In our very first communication with you, we will ask your interest and if you are willing to participate in an activity for even just one hour.
In 2016, our participants have already taught over 400 hours, the equivalent of 17 days!
Our conscious tourism does not end there; we constantly propose new participatory activities:
There are many young kids who aspire to take the job of ‘guide’. We are helping them to speak better English, or teaching them skills and techniques of travel guiding.
Post the earthquake, life is still struggling in Nepal. We are helping some small shops and businesses to get into the mainstream; not by giving money, but improvising some ideas to run their business more effectively.
“In your route, though you choose to take part in any one of these options, your trip will be the same number of days and the price will not change under any circumstances.”
How much do you donate?
Nothing Actually. We just need little bit of your time and involvement.