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    This is India; the land of dreams and romance, of fabulous wealth and fabulous poverty, of splendor and rags, of tigers and elephants, the cobra and the jungle, the country of a thousand nations and a hundred tongues, of a thousand religions and two million gods, cradle of the human race, birthplace of human speech, mother of history, grandmother of legend, great-grandmother of tradition — the one land that all men desire to see, and having seen once, by even a glimpse, would not give that glimpse for the shows of all the rest of the globe combined.

    Mark Twain
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North India -- Taj Mahal
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Welcome to North India

Glamorous and beguiling, North India crackles with energy and colour. Nothing compares to the splendour and romance of Rajasthan, spilling over with ancient temples and Mughal monuments. You have vibrant and exciting cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Calcutta, blissfully cool tea plantations, the soaring Himalayas and some of the world’s most outstanding luxury hotels – from historic havelis to Royal Palaces.

India is almost a collection of countries due to its vast size and dazzling regional array of languages, cuisines and religions. The topography of the northern states varies from colossal Himalayan peaks in the far north of the country to the forested tiger country of the centre; from the dramatic Ganges delta wetlands of the Sunderbands in the northeast, to the exotic deserts of Rajasthan. There are walled cities and citadels, desert villages and colonial hill stations, national parks and great rivers lined with temples and ghats. The north Indian cities are also unique: Delhi, the capital, is divided into the bustling, labyrinthine Old City and the majestic colonial avenues of New Delhi. Mumbai (Bombay) is famous for its massive population, thriving business culture and Bollywood film industry. Calcutta (Kolkata) sees itself as the capital of contemporary culture. Jaipur and Jodhpur are the great princely cities of the north-west, with thriving textiles industries and wonderful faded buildings. Few people visit the north without fitting in the luminously beautiful Taj Mahal and nearby red sandstone Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri. Many visitors come to Rajasthan to see the impossibly glamorous palaces and forts of the maharajas, many of which have become luxury hotels. The trick with India is probably to do less, rather than more, and plan to go back.

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Taj Palace Tour... The Ultimate Indian Indulgence

17 days from £6,730

Ampersand Travel Bestseller

A combination of what we do best, this 17 day tour blends opulent luxury with the best of Indian culture. Almost nowhere on earth has hotels as palatial and impressive as India, and the Taj Palace collection is as good as it gets. A selection of historical palaces that have been sensitively restored into one of a kind hotels, the Taj Palaces truly take the breath away and leave a lasting imprint on the soul.

The Art of Living to Eat... A Culinary Tour of India

14 days from £5860

Taking place in October 2014 and February 2015, this 14-day food tour is led by passionate Indian food historian and a dear friend of ours, Jonty Rajagopolan. Travel the full spectrum of Indian cuisine, from mouth-watering street food to the kitchens of the Kings, experiencing a way of life where every meal is a celebration of life itself. Jonty will reveal fresh insight into how food is closely influenced by both the country’s religion and culture, and how each region’s character comes into its own in the kitchen. 

Cultural Glamping with The Ultimate Travelling Camp, Ladakh, India

9 days from £3420

Experience Ladakh’s soul-stirring scenery and culture from the comfort of your nomadic home, ‘The Ultimate Travelling Camp’ – the first truly mobile luxury camp in India. Enjoy one of the most beautiful spots in the Himalayas and sleep under the luxury of canvas with 5-star service, delicious fusion cuisine and a tailor-made schedule of cultural and sporting activities. 

Colours of Rajasthan, North India

17 days from £2935

* Visit in November to experience the Pushkar Camel and Cattle Fair (6-17 Nov 2013) *    This is a wonderfully vibrant way to experience India: from bustling Delhi and the impressive Taj Mahal to the 'Pink City' of Jaipur, the 'Blue City' of Jodhpur and the holy white town of Pushkar. Experience the Thar Desert, kaleidoscopic spice & textile markets and a boat trip on shimmering Lake Picchola.

Luxury For Less... The Golden Triangle and Udaipur, North India

10 days from £2850

If luxury is what you’re after and you only have a short time for your holiday then look no further than an Indian Odyssey, which takes you around the fabled Golden Triangle region of India whilst staying in hotels that a Maharaja would not only be proud of, but once called home! On arrival in Delhi stay at the 5* Taj Mahal Hotel, followed in Agra by the lavish Amar Vilas spa property. The Rambagh Palace of Jaipur, where you stay for two nights, was voted as the best hotel in the world not so long ago and the Lake Palace of Udaipur, perhaps the most iconic hotel in India, rounds the tour off in style.

India with Aman – A sophisticated journey for the senses

10 days from £4987

Ampersand Travel Bestseller

India is a divine destination for an Aman journey. The rich culture you'll discover here is a delightful sensory whirlwind. By contrast, the hotels on this trip – the Lodhi in Delhi, Aman-i-Khas in Ranthambore National Park and Amanbagh in Alwar – are all soothing havens of understated style and service. From her capital city to her tiger-rich jungles and rural heartlands, this itinerary will show you India at its most beautiful and romantic.

Rajasthani Nights - Dreamy Desert Luxury Tour of North India

13 days from £3515

Combine sparkling sand dunes, secluded tented camps, sunset camel rides, impressive forts and glittering palace hotels in this 13 day tour of the best of Rajasthan's desert landscapes. Covering Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Rohet and Osian, this itinerary is perfect for those who enjoy vast natural landscapes, wildlife, colourful Rajasthani villages and the romance of desert life.

Boutique Rajasthan... Romance, Culture & Stylish Hotels in North India

19 days from £3985

Ampersand Travel Bestseller

Here at Ampersand we like to do things differently, so on this itinerary you won’t find any one night stops and there are certainly no large modern hotels. It’s boutique and character properties all the way without the hassle of having to leave a destination before you feel you’ve arrived. Perfect if you want a mix of the main sights along with truly rural experiences in the beautifully romantic desert state of Rajasthan.

Grand Tour of North India... Our Favourite Luxury India Holiday

18 days from £4995

Ampersand Travel Bestseller

Named the Grand Tour for good reason! Experience Delhi, the majestic Taj Mahal, the sacred city of Varanasi and Khajuraho – famed for its extraordinary carvings – and the regal state of Rajasthan. Enjoy tracking tigers in Ranthambore National Park and end in the fairytale lake city of Udaipur.

Grand Colonial Tour of Asia: India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Vietnam & Singapore

15 days from £8,490

Experience Asia's diverse colonial heritage on this 15-day whirlwind tour designed for those with an interest in the history and architecture of times gone by. As you journey through India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Vietnam and Singapore, stay at the finest colonial hotels in each location and explore each city's historic quarters and monuments along the way.

Leh in Ladakh and Rajasthan's Golden Triangle... A Perfect North Indian Pairing from April to Sept

11 days from £2585

Ladakh and Rajasthan are a match made in heaven – the contrast makes for a wonderfully varied and well-paced trip. Unwind amongst cool mountains, awe-inspiring landscapes and impressive monasteries, and follow with the dazzling Taj Mahal and opulent hotels in the regal Rajput cities of Jaipur and Udaipur.

Taj, Temples and Tigers of North India – The Perfect Family Holiday to India

12 days from £3193

An exhilarating tour for keen wildlife spotters covering two of India’s most renowned national parks: Bandhavgarh and Kanha. But before the wildlife gets started we’ll take you to see the Taj Mahal and some of Indian’s most beautiful temple architecture in Khajuraho. Three nights are dedicated to each wildlife reserve where game drives allow ample chance to spy an abundance of wildlife and Bengal Tigers! Experience a taste of rural India with trips to remote villages and stays in smaller hotels with plenty of character.

Essential India... Our Comprehensive Tour of North & South India

17 days from £5345

Ampersand Travel Bestseller

This itinerary is one of our absolute favourites. It combines the fascinating historical and natural gems of the northern regions of Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh with the beautiful, serene southern state of Kerala. Highlights include the Taj Mahal, tracking wild tigers, Rajasthani forts and palaces, and tranquil backwater cruises.

Diwali - India's Festival of Lights: November

14 days from £4595

At Ampersand, luxury and culture are what we do best and our “Festival of Lights” tour is the epitome of both. Be a part of one of India’s most famous festivals, Diwali, whilst staying in some of the country's very best hotels. Make your way through the Golden Triangle and feel like a modern day maharajah or maharani, staying in several former palaces along the way. 

Historic Hooghli River Journey... Calcutta Cruise, North India

16 days from £3295

This itinerary seamlessly blends the busy and historic city of Kolkata with rural India at its very best as you slowly cruise up the Hooghli River. With the introduction of the comfortable Sukapha cruise vessel the Hooghli (a distributary of the Ganges), and The Ganges, can now be experienced in an altogether relaxed and more comfortable fashion. Designed specifically for river cruising, The Sukapaha, takes guests into the heart of rural India and allows access to areas that have otherwise been well off the tourist map.  Finish the tour relaxing in a delightfully rustic and rural homestay in the orchid filled forests of South Sikkim.

Holy Cities & Sacred Rivers of North India

15 days from £3825

Explore India’s most sacred cities and rivers including Amritsar, Khajuraho, Varanasi and Calcutta. See Amritsar’s beautiful Golden Temple, the centre of the Sikh faith, visit the fascinating erotic Hindu temples of Khajuraho, sail down the Ganges through India’s holiest city, Varanasi, and end in India’s intellectual capital, Calcutta.

India's Pushkar Camel Fair: November 2013

14 days from £3450

Be a part of one of the largest camel and cattle fairs in the world and one of the most important events of the year for any Rajasthani villager. Join the hundreds of thousands of Indians as they migrate to the deserts of Pushkar for its annual Camel Fair. For a few weeks in November this humble little town turns into an oasis of colour in the middle of the Rajasthani desert. This trip promises to offer something new for everyone whether it is your first time in India or you are something of a local veteran.

Oberoi's 2014 North Indian Holiday Special

11 days from £2295

This tour visits the Golden Triangle region of Northern India whilst staying at the some of the finest hotels in the world. The Oberoi group, renowned for their service and impeccable attention to detail, have a reputation of the highest order and in this tour we use their hotels exclusively,  and in doing so have created a smooth and luxurious ride through this deservedly famous and spectacular region of India.

Gently Down The Ganges... A Slow & Spiritual Boat Journey in North India

17 days from £3795

The Ganges River has long been a draw to the Hindu faithful and foreign travellers alike. With the introduction of the comfortable Sukapha cruise vessel, the Ganges and its distributary river The Hooghli, can now be experienced in an altogether relaxed and more comfortable fashion. Designed specifically for river cruising, The Sukapaha takes guests into the heart of rural India and allows access to areas that have otherwise been well off the tourist map.  Finish the tour relaxing in a delightfully restored Tea Planters Bungalow in the hills surrounding Darjeeling.

Himalayan Odyssey... North India's Finest Monasteries, Temples & Spas

16 days from £2395

A delightful tour starting with the incredible Golden Temple in Amritsar, followed by travels through the scenic foothills of the Himalaya stopping at some of the most important sites, both spiritual and cultural. These include Dharamsala, the home of the Dalai Lama, Shimla, a former British Raj hill-station and Haridwar/Rishikesh (situated on the Ganges River), one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Hindus where a heritage Haveli is arranged for the first night followed by a luxury Spa hotel in the hills above the city to finish off in style.

Mowgli's India - The Perfect Tiger-lover's Tour

11 days from £2695

We love our wildlife at Ampersand and in this tour we've combined three of the top national parks in India. There's plenty of opportunity for spotting tigers, but this offering is much more than stripes! You'll get an overall wildlife experience with the chance of seeing leopards, gaur, wild dogs, hyenas, sloth bear, civet cats, crocodiles, several types of deer and myriad bird species....to name but afew. One for the wildlife purists.