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Kolkata to Kolkata

Asia is the continent where overlanding all started, and Dragoman has been the leading operator there since our first trucks went through in the 1980s - take advantage of our years of experience and come with us as we include all the must-see attractions as well as heading into the wilds, well away from the usual tourist trail. For those who are lucky enough to take our most comprehensive trip, this truly epic trip takes you around all of India, Bhutan and Nepal! Starting in the bustling streets of Kolkata, we overland through the cool, tea-growing hills of Darjeeling and the foothills of the Himalayas to the extraordinary mountain kingdom of Bhutan. Here we will visit impressive monasteries, enjoy spectacular panoramic views, walk through lush green valleys and discover the unique Buddhist culture of this enchanting land, culminating in a trek to the world-famous Tigers' Nest Monastery near Paro. We then overland through the rarely-visited south of Nepal, visiting the forests of Chitwan and arriving in the magnificent city of Kathmandu. From the enchanting Nepalese capital of Kathmandu, we enter the beautiful chaos that is India! Our journey to Delhi will take us through the holy city of Varanasi, the stunning Erotic Temples of Khajuraho, the incredible Mughal cities of Fatehpur Sikri and Jaipur, and of course the most iconic building in all of India - the magnificent Taj Mahal in Agra! From Delhi we enter the magnificent land of Rajasthan, visiting the white lakeside city of Udaipur, the blue city of Jodhpur, and the golden city of Jaisalmer. We'll also head out on a camel safari in the Thar Desert and discover the awe-inspiring ancient caves of Ajanta and Ellora, before arriving at the bright lights of Mumbai. From cosmopolitan Mumbai and the relaxing beaches of Goa, we head south via the wonderful historic cities of Hampi and Mysore, the tea plantations of Wayanad and the lush backwaters of Kerala. Once we get the the southern tip of India at Kanyakumari, we journey north through the colourful temples of Madurai and the ancient Shore Temples of Mahabalipuram to arrive in the bustling city of Chennai. After leaving the hectic city of Chennai, we visit the holy Sri Venkatesvara Tirumala temple en route to the tribal areas of Odisha. This is a very special and rarely-visited region where you'll meet many different tribal people with their own distinct cultures and traditions. We then head to the historic town of Puri before arriving in the buzzing city of Kolkata. A phenomenal Indian experience sure to leave you with many wonderful memories!

  • Duration: 87 Days
  • Guaranteed Departure: Yes
  • For lovers of: Trekking, Hiking, Boating
  • Physical rating: Average
  • Accommodation standard:   Budget%
  • Traveller Tour Rating: 0%  
  • Your Guide: English speaking
  • Tour code: 158310
  • Starts: Kolkata, India
  • Finishes: Kolkata, India
You will Visit
  • Kolkata
  • Overnight train to Siliguri
  • Darjeeling
  • Siliguri
  • Phuntsholing
  • Thimphu
  • Punakha
  • Bumthang
  • Gangtey
  • Paro
  • Jaigaon
  • Barhara
  • Chitwan National Park
  • Kathmandu
  • Gorokphur
  • Varanasi
  • Khajuraho
  • Agra
  • Taj Mahal
  • Jaipur
  • Fatehpur Sikri
  • Delhi
  • Bikaner
  • Jaisalmer
  • Jodhpur
  • Sambhali Trust
  • Udaipur
  • Mandu
  • Ajanta
  • Ellora
  • Mumbai
  • Goa
  • Old Goa
  • Hampi
  • Mysore
  • Wayanad
  • Cochin
  • Alleppey
  • Varkala
  • Kanyakumari
  • Madurai
  • Pondicherry
  • Mahabalipuram
  • Chennai
  • Tirupati
  • Tirumala
  • Vijayawada
  • Visakhapatnam
  • Odisha Tribal Area
  • Puri

Itinerary

01

Day 1: Kolkata

Border Information: If you are joining in Kolkata, you will most likely enter India at Kolkata Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (IATA code: CCU).

Please note that you must have a Double-Entry India visa for this trip if leaving in Kathmandu, and a Multi-Entry India visa if continuing beyond Kathmandu - see details below.

There will be an important group meeting at the joining hotel at 10:00am. Please look out for a note from your tour leader at the hotel reception when you arrive for more details about this meeting. The afternoon is free to explore Kolkata.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Kolkata before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Kolkata.

We will meet in the evening to board an overnight sleeper train from Kolkata to Siliguri - accommodation will be aboard the train tonight, where there are bunk beds with sheets provided.

02

Day 2: Darjeeling

We will arrive into Siliguri at around 9:00am this morning, meeting our jeeps and drivers at the station for our onward journey through the narrow winding roads to Darjeeling. The town of Darjeeling is really more a collection of villages situated on a high ridge, linked by a series of steps and winding lanes and surrounded by rice and tea terraces.

Jeeps are used in this region rather than our overland truck as they are perfect for the narrow, steep and winding roads of the area. We will continue with the jeeps until the trip returns to Siliguri.

Estimated Drive Time (in jeeps) - 3-4 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

In Darjeeling we will stay in a local hotel.

03

Day 3: Darjeeling

Today is a free day in Darjeeling to relax, enjoy the surrounding area and take part in some optional activities.

04

Day 4: Siliguri

Today we will have another free morning in Darjeeling before retracing our steps in the jeeps to Siliguri.

Estimated Drive Time (in jeeps) - 3-4 hours.

In Siliguri we will stay in a basic local hotel.

05

Day 5: Phuntsholing

Border Information: Exit India at Jaigaon, enter Bhutan at Phuntsholing.

This morning we will drive in locally-chartered jeeps from Siliguri to the Bhutanese border at Phuntsholing, where our local Bhutanese guide will be waiting to receive us at the border gate. Your tour leader will collect all the group's passports to get the visa process underway in order to save time in the morning.

In Phuntsholing we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours (in jeeps and locally charted bus).

06

Day 6: Thimphu

This morning we will finalise our visas and then start our journey into Bhutan with a drive in a locally-chartered bus from the warmer climes of Phuntsholing up to the capital of Thimphu, nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas.

We will have time in the evening to take a stroll around Thimphu and start to take in the atmosphere and culture of this beautiful country and its gentle way of life.

In Thimphu we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-8 hours (in locally-chartered bus).

07

Day 7: Thimphu

Today we will have a day in Thimphu for sightseeing. We will have an included city tour from our local guides, including the Changangkha Temple, Memorial Chorten and the Takin Reserve, and there will also be plenty of time for free exploration and visiting the Thimphu markets.

08

Day 8: Punakha

In the morning we will drive to the old capital Punakha, via the Dochu La Pass at 3050m, where we will stop for a hot drink and to enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the Eastern Himalaya ranges. We will notice the change of climate and vegetation as we approach the low-lying Punakha at 1250m altitude. 

This afternoon we will visit the imposing Punakha Dzong (Palace of Great Happiness). Built in 1637 CE, it is strategically placed at the confluence of two rivers, the Po Chu and the Mo Chu. After this, we will take a pleasant walk for an hour or so across the terraced fields to Chimi Lhakhang (Temple of Fertility) built in the 15th century by the ‘Divine Madman’ (Lama Drukpa Kuenley).

In Punakha we will stay in a local farmhouse, where we will experience a genuine slice of Bhutanese life and hospitality. The facilities here will be rather basic, but the accommodation is exactly how a typical Bhutanse family live, and the food is in no way adapted for tourists. 

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours (in locally-chartered bus).

09

Day 9: Bumthang

Today we drive to Trongsa, the gateway to central Bhutan at 2180m. Set amidst spectacular scenery, Trongsa Dzong, the ancestral home of Bhutan’s royal family, commands the eye from miles away. We can also visit Ta Dzong - the newly opened museum in the watchtower is dedicated to the Wangchuk dynasty, tells the stories of the Dzong and the valley, and features personal belongings of the kings and queens of Bhutan.

We then continue through some of Bhutan’s most beautiful landscapes to Bumthang, an area of high valleys at 2580-3100m.

In Bumthang we will stay again in a local farmhouse with basic facilities.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours (in locally-chartered bus).

10

Day 10: Bumthang

We will spend today sightseeing in Bumthang, the spiritual heartland of Bhutan, with its many legendary monasteries, temples and palaces. Bumthang is the collective name for an area of 4 valleys - Chokhor, Tang, Ura and Chhume.

Our guide will take us on a fascinating walking and/or driving tour of a variety of sacred sites including Jamba Lhakhang, Kurjey Lhakhang and Tamshing Lhakhang. We can also visit Bhutan’s largest Dzong, Jakar, with its picturesque location overlooking the Chokhor valley.

11

Day 11: Gangtey

Today we drive to Gangtey at 2900m. On arrival we can enjoy the views of the immense and remote Phobjikha valley and the black mountain ranges. 

We will visit Gangtey Gompa (one of Bhutan’s oldest monasteries which has recently been extensively renovated) and explore the valley where the villagers continue to live a traditional Bhutanese rural lifestyle. This is the site where black-necked cranes visit in their hundreds in November each year after spending the summer in Tibet.

In Gangtey we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours (in locally-chartered bus).

12

Day 12: Gangtey

Today we will head out for a day walk in the valley known as the Shasila Trail. The trail is used by the people of Sha Ngawang and Chitokha to migrate between their summer and winter homes in Gangtey. It was also an important trail used by the Gangtey Truelku and his followers in the past while migrating between his winter residence in Sha Chitokha and Gangtey Gompa.

The walk takes approximately 6 hours for casual trekkers to reach Kheylaykha from Phobjikha. This trail is especially recommended for bird lovers. Our transport will meet us at the road and take us back to Gangtey for the night.

13

Day 13: Paro

This morning we will take a trek up to the hill-top village of Rinchengang and learn about its interesting history. After this we will continue our drive to Paro, where we will have an included visit to the impressive Paro Dzong, one of the finest examples of Bhutanese architecture.

In Paro we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours (in locally-chartered bus).

14

Day 14: Paro

Today we take a day walk to the ‘Tiger's Nest’, the sacred Taktsang monastery which clings to the rock face 900m above the valley floor. Guru Rinpoche is said to have flown to the site riding on a tigress, and subsequently meditated here for 3 months. It is one of Bhutan’s most holy sites and draws pilgrims not only from Bhutan but also from neighbouring Buddhist countries. We can have lunch at the Taktshang cafeteria, from where we get a spectacular view of the monastery.  

In the afternoon we will visit the ruined Drukgyel Dzong (Fortress of Victory), constructed to commemorate the victory over Tibetan invaders in 1644 CE, and destroyed by a butter lamp fire in 1951. Nearby we will also visit the 7th-Century Kyichu Lhakhang, a temple of historical significance and one of the most sacred shrines in Bhutan.

15

Day 15: Siliguri

Border Information: Exit Bhutan at Phuntsholing, enter India at Jaigaon.

Today we will drive south from Paro back to the warmer climes of the southern district of Phuntsholing. We will then leave Bhutan behind us and re-enter India, boarding locally-chartered jeeps to return to the city of Siliguri.

In Siliguri we will stay in basic local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 10-11 hours (in locally-chartered bus and jeeps).

16

Day 16: Barhara

Border Information: Exit India at Kakarbhitta, enter Nepal at Kakarbhitta.

Today we will rejoin our overland truck and travel across into Nepal, continuing as far as we can towards Chitwan.

Tonight we will aim to wild camp in the Himalayan foothills, probably near to the town of Barhara.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-7 hours.

17

Day 17-18: Chitwan National Park

Today we will drive to Chitwan National Park, where we will stay for the next 2 nights.

If we arrive in good time we will make a visit to Bis Hajaar Tal, also known as 20,000 Lakes, which is a wetland area near the Royal Chitwan National Park. Here we will get the opportunity to see peacocks, wild boars, deer and there is also a slim chance of seeing tigers and rhinos. If we cannot visit 20,000 Lakes today we will make our visit tomorrow.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-8 hours.

On the following day we'll spend the day exploring the National Park by canoe and on foot, and there is the option to take a jeep safari! There will be an opportunity to see a traditional Nepali dance demonstration in the evening.

In Chitwan we will stay in a local guest lodge.

18

Day 19: Khatauti Khola

Today we will start our climb up into the Nepalese mountains and arrive at our excellent campsite near Khatauti Khola, where we will enjoy some time to take part in optional activities on the river.

In Khatauti Khola we will camp in a well-equipped camp site.

Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours.

19

Day 20: Kathmandu

Today we will drive through spectacular scenery on the route uphill to the evocative city of Kathmandu. Traffic in Nepal's bustling capital is notoriously unpredictable, but we should arrive into the city by lunchtime.

In Kathmandu we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

20

Day 21: Kathmandu

Border Information: Welcome to Kathmandu! If you are joining the trip in Kathmandu, you will most likely enter Nepal at Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport.

Wrapped around the Himalayan mountain range is the remarkable country of Nepal. It is the birthplace of the Buddha and is a land of legend and beauty. Within its narrow confines Nepal contains an utterly spectacular variety of culture and landscapes. Nepal has a stunning natural beauty and a simple charm.

There is an important group meeting at 6:00pm. Your leader will leave a note at reception telling you where and when this important meeting will take place.

In Kathmandu we stay in a good quality hotel.

21

Day 22: Chitwan National Park

Today we will leave Kathmandu after breakfast, driving 200kms through stunning scenery down to the Terai grasslands. Our destination is Chitwan National Park, where we will stay for the next 2 nights.

Estimated Drive Time - 7 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

If we arrive in good time we will make a visit to Bis Hajaar Tal, also known as 20,000 Lakes, which is a wetland area near the Royal Chitwan National Park. Here we will get the opportunity to see peacocks, wild boars, deer and there is also a slim chance of seeing tigers and rhinos. If we cannot visit 20,000 Lakes today we will make our visit tomorrow.

In Chitwan we will stay in a local guest lodge.

22

Day 23: Chitwan National Park

Today we'll spend the day exploring the national park by canoe and on foot, and there is the option to take a jeep safari! There will be an opportunity to see a traditional Nepali dance demonstration in the evening.

In Chitwan we will stay in a local guest lodge.

23

Day 24: Gorakhpur

Border Information: Exit Nepal at Belhiya, enter India at Sonauli.

Today we enter India. India has so much to offer: from the beautiful landscapes of the Himalayas, to the amazing temples and coastlines, rich culture, and of course the food!

This morning we have a fairly relaxed start to the day before packing up and driving to the border. We will cross the border to India and continue on a short drive to the town of Gorokphur.

We will stay in a local hotel in Gorokphur.

Estimated Drive Time - 10 hours (including the border crossing).

24

Day 25-26: Varanasi

Today we will continue driving and reach the holy city of Varanasi in the evening.

Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.

On the following day we will get up very early for a boat trip down the Ganges. This is a magical time of day to see the Ghats and watch the morning rituals of the thousands of people who come here to purify themselves in the holy river. We will have auto-rickshaws for the rest of he day to explore the rest of the city - we will have the opportunity to use them to visit a traditional silk workshop and the Mother India temple.

In Varanasi we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.

25

Day 27-29: Khajuraho

Today we will drive to the town of Khajuraho, having some free time to relax at our treehouse campsite when we arrive.

Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.

On the next day we will head out for an included guided visit to the Khajuraho Erotic Temples.

The next day is free to explore the area, relax on the banks of the river, or take an optional jeep safari to the nearby Panna National Park in search of wildlife.

In Khajuraho we will stay in a campsite with good facilities.

26

Day 30-31: Agra

After breakfast we leave our campsite and head 400kms to Agra. Most of today will be spent travelling and we will arrive in the evening.

Estimated Drive Time - 11-12 hours.

On the following day we will have an included day tour of the major sites of Agra, starting with sunrise at the world-famous iconic mausoleum of the Taj Mahal, followed by a visit to the Agra Fort.

In Agra we will stay in a local hotel.

27

Day 32-33: Jaipur

We leave Agra today and head 230kms overland to the pink city of Jaipur, stopping en route at Fatehpur Sikri (the old capital of the Mughal Empire).

Estimated Drive Time - 6-8 hours (depending on the time spent at Fatehpur Sikri).

On the following day we will have a full day exploring the sites of Jaipur on the truck with our local guide. Whilst in Jaipur there will also be the option for an early morning or late afternoon hot air balloon ride over the city.

In Jaipur we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.

28

Day 34-35: Delhi

Today we leave Jaipur and travel 245kms to arrive in Delhi in the afternoon.

Estimated Drive Time - 7 hours.

The following morning we will have an included guided tour of Old Delhi, heading to the Mughal Jama Masjid mosque, a local tea-maker, a Sikh temple, and the local spice markets. We will also have some free time to freely explore the sights of Delhi in the afternoon. 

In Delhi we will stay in a friendly local hotel.

29

Day 36: Delhi

Border Information: If joining the trip in Delhi, you will most likely enter India at Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport (IATA code: DEL).

Today is a free day to explore Delhi. There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm - please look for a note from your tour leader when you arrive at the hotel giving more details about this meeting.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Delhi before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Delhi.

In Delhi we will stay in a local hotel.

30

Day 37: Bikaner

Today we start our journey with a full day drive to the city of Bikaner.

In Bikaner we will either stay in a local hotel or camp at an eco-lodge a short distance outside the city.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-9 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

31

Day 38: Jaisalmer

Today we continue our journey with a drive to the ancient Rajasthani city of Jaisalmer, stopping at the Karni Mata (Rat Temple) for an included visit en route. 

In Jaisalmer we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-7 hours.

32

Day 39: Jaisalmer

Today we will have a free morning in order to freely explore the sights of Jaisalmer. In the late afternoon we will head out on an included camel safari into the Thar Desert - exploring the desert with local Rajasthani camel drivers is the most authentic way to experience the area!

Tonight we will camp out in the desert, sleeping under the stars.

33

Day 40: Jaisalmer

This morning we will return to Jaisalmer from our camel safari. The rest of the day will be free to relax or explore more of Jaisalmer and the surrounding area.

Tonight we will return to our hotel in Jaisalmer.

34

Day 41-42: Jodhpur

This morning we will drive from Jaisalmer to another famous Rajasthani city, Jodhpur. En route to Jodhpur we will make an included visit to the Sambhali Trust project (a charitable project that works for the empowerment of women and girls in Rajasthan), where we will learn about the efforts of the project and make a group donation from the kitty.

After our visit we will make our way to our accommodation, rooms that have been set up by local families in their own homes for visitors. We will be splitting up into 2 or 3 small groups for our homestays.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-7 hours.

On the following day we will be in and around Jodhpur. In the morning we will have an included visit to the Mehrangarh Fort and Palace, and the afternoon is free to explore the city independently. 

35

Day 43: Udaipur

After breakfast we set off for our drive to Udaipur, visiting the Jain Temple at Ranakpur en route. We will have 3 nights in Udaipur, giving us plenty of time to discover this amazing, romantic Rajasthani city.

In Udaipur we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

36

Day 44-45: Udaipur

On these 2 days we will have free time to explore the sites in and around Udaipur, take part in some optional activities, and relax on one of the many roof-top terraces in the city.

37

Day 46: Mandu

Leaving Udaipur, we will be joined by a local cook who will accompany us during the next few days whilst we are wild camping.

Today will mostly be spent travelling to Mandu via the backroads of rural Rajasthan. We will be off the tourist trail here and tonight we will wild camp, perhaps on the edge of a local village.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

38

Day 47-49: Ajanta

Today we will visit Mandu, an extensive and largely abandoned hill-top fort from the Mughal era. We will then spend the afternoon driving to our wild camp spot near Kharwand Dam, en route towards Ajanta.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

The next day we complete the drive to Ajanta, arriving in the afternoon. We will visit the complex of 29 ancient Buddhist temples cut into the rock face. We will wild camp nearby.

The following day we will drive a short distance to Ellora where we will have an included visit to the ancient Buddhist, Hindu and Jain caves - a set of a small temples in the rock face dating from the 6th to 11th Centuries CE. We will camp in the same campsite tonight.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

39

Day 50: Mumbai

Setting off early today, we will say goodbye to our local cook and drive to the bustling city of Mumbai.

In Mumbai we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours.

40

Day 51: Mumbai

Border Information: If joining the trip in Mumbai, you will most likely enter India from Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (IATA code: BOM).

There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel in Mumbai - please look out at the reception for a note from you tour leader with further details about this meeting. Otherwise, today is free to explore the sights and sounds of Mumbai. 

In Mumbai we will stay in a good quality hotel.

41

Day 52: Mumbai

Today will be a free day to explore the city. This is also an opportunity to take a tour of the Dharavi slum areas of the city.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Mumbai before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Mumbai.

42

Day 53-54: Goa

We will start our journey by taking the train along the coast to Goa. We will stay for 2 nights at the relaxed beaches of Vagator in the northern part of Goa. Most travellers are drawn to Vagator for the stunning sunsets, the laid-back atmosphere and the proximity of some other quieter beaches in the area such as Arambol and Anjuna.

In northern Goa we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities close to the beach.

Estimated Journey Time (on train) - 11-12 hours.

43

Day 55-56: Old Goa

After our 2 nights on the northern beaches of Goa, we head off in the truck to the southern end of Goa. En route we will stop off at the site of Old Goa to spend some time independently exploring the area's colonial buildings.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

We will stay for 2 nights in beautiful beach huts on the stunning beach of Agonda, which is a perfect place to sit back and watch the fishing boats landing their catch, sample the delicious local cuisine, or visit the nearby beach of Palolem with its many bars and restaurants.

44

Day 57-58: Hampi

Leaving the beaches of Goa behind us, we set off on a full day drive into the state of Karnataka and to the village of Hampi. The village is located within the ruins of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the ancient Vijayanagara Empire. 

Estimated Drive Time - 9-11 hours.

On the following day we will have a guided tour of the historical sites around Hampi by rickshaw and on foot.

In Hampi we will stay in a comfortable local guesthouse.

45

Day 59-60: Mysore

From Hampi we will have another full day drive to the city of Mysore, one of India's most attractive towns.

Estimated Drive Time - 10-12 hours.

On the following day we will have free time in Mysore to independently explore the city's beautiful gardens, palaces, and the Shri Chamarajendra art gallery.

In Mysore we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

46

Day 61-62: Wayanad

Today we travel up into the cool highlands and head to the hill-station of Wayanad, a small settlement surrounded by tea and coffee plantations.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

Over the 2 days that we have in Wayanad we will have the chance to hike up Chembra Peak, visit local waterfalls and tea plantations, visit the petroglyphs at the Edakkal Caves, and to visit the nearby Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary.

Whilst in Wayanad we stay as guests of local families at a homestay, where they have set up rooms for visitors in their homes.

47

Day 63-64: Kochi

Today we will continue our journey with a full day drive to the coastal city of Kochi.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-10 hours.

On the following day we will take a local boat to Fort Cochin and have free time to explore and visit various sites including the Jewish Quarter, St Francis Church and the iconic Chinese fishing nets. In the evening we will be able to see a performance from the famous Kathakali dancers, India's most spectacular dance drama.

In Kochi we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

48

Day 65: Alleppey

Leaving the bustle of Kochi behind, today we embark on our included overnight houseboat cruise on the tranquil Keralan backwaters of Alleppey. We will often split into smaller groups to board our traditional 'Kettuvallom' boats which will take us around the scenic rivers and spend the night aboard. 

49

Day 66-68: Varkala

After our fantastic overnight cruise along the Keralan backwaters, we continue our journey with a short drive to the beach resort of Varkala.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.

We will have 3 nights here with free time to explore the surrounding areas and relax on the beautiful beaches. Varkala is well known for its beaches, and there are also lots of great local restaurants where you can sample the justifiably-famous Keralan cuisine.

In Varkala we will stay at a beach resort.

50

Day 69: Kanyakumari

Today we will have a morning drive to Kanyakumari (also known as Cape Comorin), the very southern point of India. Here we will have free time to independently explore the Vivekananda Rock and the surrounding sites.

In Kanyakumari we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

51

Day 70: Madurai

This morning we have the option to get up early to watch the sunrise from the southern tip of India with thousands of locals, what can be an incredible experience! From Kanyakumari we then start heading back north again, and drive to the holy city of Madurai. In the afternoon we will have an included visit to the Sri Meenakshi Temple in Madurai.

In Madurai we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

52

Day 71-72: Pondicherry

Today we head to the French-influenced town of Pondicherry, and will have a free time on arrival in the afternoon.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

We will have 2 nights here with plenty of time to relax and soak up the atmosphere and spend time exploring the town and its beautiful colonial architecture. 

In Pondicherry we will stay in a local guesthouse.

 

53

Day 73: Mahabalipuram

Today we have a short drive to the ancient city of Mahabalipuram, once the capital of the Pallava Dynasty in the 7th Century CE. On arrival we will have an included visit to the incredible Shore Temples and other monuments around the town ( time permitted ).

In the afternoon we will finish the short drive to the bustling coastal city of Chennai.

In Chennai we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 5 - 6 hours.

54

Day 74: Chennai

Border Information: If you are joining in Chennai, you will most likely enter India in Chennai International Airport (IATA code: MAA).

Today is a free day to explore the sights, sounds and flavours of Chennai. There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm - please look for a note from your tour leader when you arrive at the hotel giving more details about this meeting.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Chennai before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Chennai.

In Chennai we will stay in a comfortable modern hotel.

*Important note* - if you are joining the trip in Chennai, please make sure that you send us a scan of your Indian visa as soon as you have obtained it. If you plan to take the e-visa option, please make sure you arrange this well in advance and send us a copy of your receipt as soon as possible. If we do not receive this in advance, then we will not have enough time to get your permits for the Odisha Region and you will not be able to visit this area.

55

Day 75: Tirupati

Today we start our journey with a drive to the bustling town of Tirupati. In the afternoon we will have an included visit to the Sri Venkateswara holy temple in the nearby town of Tirumala.

In Tirupati we will stay in a friendly local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

56

Day 76: Vijayawada

Leaving Tirupati, we will spend the next few days overlanding through Andhra Pradesh, one of the least developed states in India. This is real off-the-beaten-track overlanding, and we will arrive in the small city of Vijayawada this evening.

In Vijayawada we will stay in a basic local hotel. 

Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours.

57

Day 77: Visakhapatnam

Today we continue our journey and drive through the back roads of Andra Pradesh. Our final destination tonight is the costal town of Visakhapatnam.

In Visakhapatnam we will stay in a local hotel on the sea front.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-9 hours.

58

Day 78-82: Odisha Tribal Area

Today we will begin our guided tour through the rarely-visited Odisha Tribal Regions, which we will comprehensively visit over the next 6 days. In these regions the itinerary has to be kept fairly flexible, allowing us the freedom to alter things slightly if we hear of any special events or market days in particular villages. However, we will generally follow the plan below:

On the first day we will have an early start from Visakhapatnam to arrive in a small village called Goudaguda in time to visit the Monday markets. Beautiful earthen pottery is skillfully produced in this area and you may even get the chance to try this for yourself.

In Goudaguda we will stay in a local guesthouse which has been styled on local tribal houses.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

On the following day we will have a full-day guided walk through the countryside around Goudaguda, visiting the neighbouring Mahali and Kondh tribal villages. We will return to our guesthouse in Goudaguda for the night. 

On the next day we will drive to the lively Chatikona Market, a weekly highlight for the Dongria Kondh tribe. We will then travel through the hills to the village of Muniguda, our destination for tonight. On arrival we will be welcomed by the New Hope Charitable Trust (a local NGO helping to uplift the poor and disadvantaged), and in the afternoon we will have a cooking demonstration and spend some time with the children and the elderly people of the New Hope Trust.

In Muniguda we will stay in basic rooms in the grounds of the charitable trust.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

On the following day we will drive to a small village called Taptapani, where on arrival we will visit the temple hot springs.

In Taptapani we will stay in a basic local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-8 hours.

On the next day we will drive to the fascinating fishing town of Gopalpur, a once major port for the East India Company which has an interesting decaying charm. We will have a free afternoon to independently explore the town on arrival.

In Gopalpur we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 hours.

59

Day 83-85: Puri

Today our tour of the Odisha tribal areas comes to an end and we drive on to the small town of Puri.

Puri is one of the holiest pilgrimage places in India, and has a wonderful long sandy beach. On arrival we will explore the old pilgrim route by cycle-rickshaw, taking in ashrams, Hindu monasteries, a palm leaf manuscript library and the awesome Jagannath temple.

Estimated Drive Time - 6-8 hours.

We will spend 3 nights in Puri. On the first full day here, we will take a short drive back to visit Chilika Lake and explore the lake on bamboo-pole-driven canoes. There may also be the opportunity to visit the Usthi Children's Foundation in the town.

On the second full day, we will begin with a cycle ride through rice paddies and rural hamlets, meeting local craftsmen and women and watching them demonstrate their unique crafts. In the afternoon we will have a guided tour of the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Konark Sun Temple.

In Puri we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.

60

Day 86: Kolkata

Today we will travel by train to Kolkata, the largest city in India. We will have free time today and tomorrow to independently explore this remarkable city, or take an optional photographic tour.

In Kolkata we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

Estimated Journey Time (by train) - 7-8 hours.

61

Day 87: Kolkata

Border Information: If finishing your trip in Kolkata, you will most likely exit India at Kolkata Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (IATA code: CCU).

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Kolkata. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.

Inclusions:
    Activities
    • Experience a local overnight train from Kolkata to Siliguri
    • Explore the outdoor market in Thimphu
    • See Thimphu's iconic National Memorial Chorten, a stupa built in 1974 to commemorate the 3rd King of Bhutan
    • Visit the Tashichho Dzong in the capital of Thimphu, a beautiful 17th-century Buddhist fortress that serves as the current seat of the Bhutanese government
    • See the incredible 52m-tall golden Buddha Dordenma statue in the hills above Thimphu, the largest sitting Buddha statue in the world
    • Explore the imposing Punakha Dzong, built in 1637 by Ngawang Namgyal, the first leader of a united Bhutan
    • Stay for 2 nights in a rural farmhouse near Bumthang to enjoy a slice of genuine Bhutanese life, food, and hospitality
    • Visit the incredible Trongsa Dzong, the largest Buddhist fortress in Bhutan set against the stunning backdrop of the Black Mountains
    • Take a beautiful 6-hour hike into the hills above Bumthang to visit the peaceful and remote Padtshaling Monastery
    • Explore the colourful, recently-restored Gangtey Gompa, a monastic college famous for its annual festival to welcome the migration of black-necked cranes
    • Trek up to the village of Rinchengang, picturesquely situated on a steep ridge near Wangdi
    • Visit the impressive Paro Rinpung Dzong, one of the finest examples of Bhutanese architecture
    • Trek up to the iconic 'Tiger's Nest', the sacred Taktsang monastery which clings to the rock face 900m above the valley floor - the most famous symbol of Bhutan
    • Explore the village of Chitwan on a tour by traditional ox and cart
    • Take a jeep safari around the stunning wetland area of 20,000 Lakes
    • Witness the fascinating and impressive local tradition of Tharu stick dancing
    • Elephant safari through the grasslands of Chitwan in search of Rhino & Tigers
    • Explore the village of Chitwan on a tour by traditional ox and cart
    • Elephant safari through the grasslands of Chitwan in search of Rhino & Tigers
    • Take a jeep safari around the stunning wetland area of 20,000 Lakes
    • Witness the fascinating and impressive local tradition of Tharu stick dancing
    • Explore the village of Chitwan on a tour by traditional ox and cart
    • Elephant safari through the grasslands of Chitwan in search of Rhino & Tigers
    • Take a jeep safari around the stunning wetland area of 20,000 Lakes
    • Witness the fascinating and impressive local tradition of Tharu stick dancing
    • At dawn drift down the holy River Ganges in Varanasi
    • Guided tour of the famous erotic temples at Khajuraho
    • See the stunning Taj Mahal and visit the Agra Fort at Agra
    • Community homestay to experience true Indian hospitality
    • 2 night stay and guided tour of Jaipur, the beautiful Pink City
    • Explore the fascinating 18th-century astronomical observatory of Jantar Mantar
    • Visit the ancient citadel of the Amber Palace, a fascinating blend of Hindu and Mughal architecture
    • Discover the perfectly-preserved 16th-century Mughal capital of Fatehpur Sikri, and its beautiful temples and monuments
    • Take a walking tour through some of the back streets and narrow alleyways of Old Delhi, discovering the hidden side of the city
    • Witness the holy rats in the Karni Mata rat temple near Bikaner
    • Trek into the Thar Desert on an overnight camel safari with Rajasthani camel drivers
    • Explore the blue city of Jodhpur and the mighty Meherangarh fort
    • Community homestay to experience true Indian hospitality
    • Visit and support the Dragoman-supported Sambhali Trust near Jodhpur, and see the excellent work they do to provide local women and girls with education and vocational skills
    • 2 nights to discover the stunning white city of Udaipur
    • Visit the tomb of Hoshang Shah, the first Muslim leader of Mandu - the tomb itself is India's first marble building and one of the most refined examples of Afghan-syle architecture in the country
    • Visit to the Jahaz Mahal (or the Ship Palace)the most famous building in Mandu
    • Visit the deserted hilltop ghost city of Mandu
    • Take a guided visit around the incredible Buddhist rock caves and paintings of Ajanta, some dating back as far as the 2nd century BCE
    •  Guided visit to the Buddhist, Hindu and Jain rock-cut temples and monasteries of Ellora
    • Discover the lost kingdom of Vijayanagar in the magnificent ruined city of Hampi
    • Explore the amazing Maharaja's Palace of Mysore
    • See the 7000-year-old Neolithic petroglyphs at the Edakkal caves en route
    • Relax at the community Homestay in the hills of Wayanad
    • Evening visit to watch the classical Indian dance drama of Kathakali
    • Travel overnight by local boat through the Backwaters and experience the villages of Kerala
    • Visit to the historical Hindu Meenakshi Amman Temple, dedicated to lord Shiva
    • Visit to the Shore Temples & Pagodas of Mahabalipuram
    • Overnight stay in Chennai
    • Visit the Sri Venkatesvara Tirumalai Temple
    • Visit the Monday market in the indigenous melting pot of Goudaguda, soaking up the incredible atmosphere as the locals barter and trade their produce
    • Head out for a full day hike around the Goudaguda region, visiting nearby villages of the Kondha, Mahali and Paroja tribal people
    • Explore the rarely-visited Wednesday Market in Chakitona, the main weekly market for the Desia and Dongria villagers from the area
    • See a fascinating local cooking demonstration and learn about the incredible work of the New Hope Community Centre in the rural village of Muniguda
    • Bathe in the natural hot springs with the local villagers at the small temple of Taptapani
    • 3 nights to relax in the lovely coastal town of Puri
    • Explore the religious sites of Puri by cycle-rickshaw, including the Jagannath Temple, one of the four most sacred Hindu pilgrimage sites in India
    • Explore the ruins of the 13th-century Sun Temple of Konark near to Puri, shaped like a colossal chariot with elaborately carved stone wheels
    • Take a cycle ride through the stunning back-roads and villages near Puri, to visit the artisan village of Raghurajpur and see the fantastic array of handicrafts traditionally manufactured there
    • Experience a local train ride from Puri to Kolkata
    Accomodation
    • 10% Camping - 90% Hotels
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Tour Highlights:
  • Adventure Activities
  • Boating
  • Hiking & Trekking