Delhi - Agra - Jaipur - Mumbai - Kolkata - Kochi 16 days/15 nights
Journey through India’s Jewish past and present on this fascinating private luxury tour, combining Jewish Indian communities and living synagogues with some of the subcontinent’s most spectacular sights. Start in India’s cosmopolitan capital, Delhi, exploring the spectacular landmarks of old and new as well as visiting the Judah Hyam Hall, a center for Jewish studies. Continue to Agra to be mesmerized by the Taj Mahal. Next is Jaipur, where colour jumps out from all directions, from the ladies’ vibrant saris to the city’s buildings. Afterwards, fly to Mumbai, an exhilarating city with enormous religious diversity, where you will spend time in several spectacular Jewish synagogues. Your next stop is Kolkata, where you will visit two Jewish schools and discover further beautiful synagogues. Finish in enchanting Kochi, with its treasured centerpiece, Paradesi Synagogue.
Your luxury private tour of India begins on arrival in Delhi, where you will be met by a member of our team at the airport and chauffeured to your luxury hotel, The Lodhi, set in seven verdant acres on the fringes of Lutyens’ Delhi. Spend the rest of the day at leisure. The verdant Lodi Gardens make for a lovely stroll or your driver can take you to Khan Market, lined with fabulous fashion boutiques and excellent restaurants.
Spend the day exploring Old and New Delhi including Humayun’s Tomb (thought to have inspired the Taj Mahal), the 17th-century Jama Masjid and the Afghan-style QutbMinar. Other highlights include: India Gate, Connaught Place and the President's Palace. Complete your privately-guided city tour with an exhilarating cycle-rickshaw ride through Chandni Chowk’s tiny bazaars, glittering with jewellery, decorations, spices, street food and much more.
Today, you’ll visit the Judah Hyam Hall, a symbol of Jewish existence in India, which is a centre for Jewish and interfaith studies, and the house of Mr Baruch B. Benjamin, the first President of the Jewish Welfare Association New Delhi. Every Friday evening, a small congregation, consisting of the few Jewish families in Delhi, diplomats from Israel and other countries and even non-Jewish people, gather together for weekly prayer.
Travel by road with your personal chauffeur to Agra. Upon arrival, check into the Oberoi Amarvilas, one of India’s finest luxury hotels with every room and suite boasting an uninterrupted view of the Taj Mahal. In the afternoon, visit the breath-taking Taj Mahal, one of the most beautiful buildings in the world, which was built as a monument to eternal love by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife.
Please note: you can start this journey on any day however the Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays.
Set off this morning for Jaipur, via the magnificent fortified ancient city of Fatehpur Sikri, the former capital of the Mughal empire, which includes a stunning mosque, still in use today, and three palaces, one for each of Akbar’s favourite wives. Upon arrival in Jaipur, check into SUJÁN Rajmahal Palace whose 14 rooms and suites are an explosion of colour. Spend the rest of the day at leisure – there’s a fabulous pool and a wealth of fantastic restaurants.
Today, led by a local expert, you’ll be discovering Jaipur’s many wonders. Start with the superb City Palace and a tour around its private rooms. Continue with a photo-stop at the extraordinary pink-painted Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) before visitingthe Jantar Mantar observatory. Later, make your way to the splendid 17th-century Amber Fort on elephant back, before dining at luxury camp Dera Amer where you can feed the resident elephants.
Spend the morning at leisure before boarding a direct flight to Mumbai, where you’ll check into the iconic Taj Mahal Palace. The flagship property of the Taj Group, this luxury hotel is filled with antiques, silk carpets, crystal chandeliers, paintings and contemporary art, accompanied by stunning views of the Indian Ocean. Spend the rest of the day at leisure – the seafront in front of the hotel makes for a fascinating wander.
Today, on day trip, take the ferry to the nearby coastal town of Alibaug, which is considered ‘The Hamptons of Mumbai’. Here, you’ll explore the Magen Aboth Synagogue. Constructed in 1848, the place was famous as the first town in Konkan where the Bene Israel, the largest Jewish community of Indian Jews, erected a synagogue. You’ll also have the opportunity to visit the Jewish Cemetery of the Bene Israelis at Navgaon.
This morning, your private guide will accompany you to Mumbai’s four important Jewish synagogues. In the afternoon, visit the Prince of Wales Museum, which displays India-wide exhibits, including exquisite miniature paintings. Finish at Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue for dinner and prayer. The city’s oldest Sephardis synagogue, the building dazzles with neoclassical splendour, Burmese teakwood furnishings and Victorian stained glass and has been recently restored and has an interesting story about its restoration displayed.
Take a direct flight from Mumbai to Kolkata, where the history of the Jews dates back to the 18th century with the population of Jews flourishing in their thousands. Upon arrival, you’ll be chauffeured to the Oberoi Grand, a gracious building characterised by its Victorian architecture with immaculate interiors reflecting its grand, colonial past. Spend the rest of your day at leisure – the swimming pool, surrounded by palm trees, is a true oasis.
Begin your private-guided tour today in the New Market area, an enormous warren of market halls dating back to 1874. One of the oldest shops is Nahoum’s, Kolkata’s last Jewish bakery, known for its cheese samosas, chocolate brownies and a Christmas-special plum cake. You’ll also visit three nearby synagogues. In the afternoon, continue to the magnificent Victoria Memorial and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Visit two Jewish schools for girls this morning, located at Park Street and Bowbazaar.
Later head to the Marble Palace, Kumartuli(a traditional potters' quarter where elaborate sculptures are produced), the book market and Indian coffee house, which used to host freedom fighters in India's pre-Independence era and bohemians during Kolkata's literary, cultural and artistic heydays of the ’60s and ’70s.
This morning, you’ll fly direct to Kochi, a serene city in the southern state of Kerala. Upon arrival, you’ll be chauffeured to Brunton Boatyard, a shipyard during British times, which has now been converted into acolonial-style boutique hotel, boasting distinguished décor, excellent restaurants and elegant bedrooms overlooking the sea. Spend the rest of the day at leisure – there’s a fantastic outdoor pool and traditional live music in the evenings.
Today, you’ll visit, on a private-guided tour, the North Paravur Synagogue, one of the largest and most complete Jewish synagogues in Kerala. Built in 1615, the Jewish community have all but faded away but both the synagogue and the surrounding market still exist. Then visit the Chendamangalam Synagogue, which was recently restored to its original glory, including the majestic altar, which stands out for its intricate artwork.
Start the morning at the Paradesi Synagogue, India’s oldest synagogue, which features a spectacular clock tower with inscriptions in Malayalam, Hebrew, Roman and Arabic script. Afterwards, explore the Dutch Palace in Mattancherry, the Chinese Fishing Nets and St. Francis Church, one of the oldest European churches in India. Finish the day, soaking up a traditional Kathakali performance, a form of classical Indian dance.
Today, your private luxury tour ends. Transfer to Kochi airport in time for your onward flight. All of our itineraries are bespoke so if you would like us to include a flight back to Delhi or Mumbai, with or without an overnight stay, please do let us know.
This tour is purely a suggested itinerary for what your trip to India could include. Treat our Jewish Heritage Tour of India as inspiration. Each trip designed by Rajasthan Tours is created uniquely for you, working to your budget and interests with an absolute commitment to quality.
The price shown includes hotels on double or twin sharing basis, breakfast, sightseeing, transfers, internal flights or trains, private guides, monument entrances, activities and excursions and chauffeur-driven car. On request, we can include international flights, too. In other words, we take the work off you to allow you to enjoy the most memorable holiday experience. The price is a guide and subject to change based on hotels, dates of travel and number of people travelling. During the low season (April to September), the costs are significantly less yet this season remains a great time to travel with smaller crowds and more affordable rates. During the high season, particularly over Christmas and New Year, prices are higher however there are lots of great festivals and the weather is excellent.