Insight Vacations Offers New Classical India with Kolkata Luxury Gold Itinerary

Travelling to India with the "India Specialist" has never been easier thanks to the new e-Tourist Visa

North York, Ontario, CANADA


TORONTO, July 27, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Insight Vacations (www.insightvacations.com), the leader of premium and luxury escorted journeys, is excited to welcome more Canadians to India this coming season with the e-Tourist Visa (eTV) being made available to Canadian citizens. During his inaugural bilateral visit to Canada in April 2015, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that Canada would be added to a list of countries eligible for the visa on-arrival program. In the past, Canadians were required to apply in-person at one of the Indian consulates, enduring a labourous process that oftentimes deterred aspirational travellers from visiting. As of May 1st, clients visiting India for recreation and sightseeing can now simply apply online, upload their passport info, pay the US$62 fee, and travel to India with their printed eTV and have it stamped when they arrive at immigration. For more details on the program, go to https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html.

"With the Indian booking high season fast approaching, we are delighted with this new visa on-arrival program being made available to clients where we can provide them a seamless Luxury Gold all-inclusive journey," said Cris David, president, Insight Vacations Canada. "By allowing Canadian passport-holders to obtain visas when they arrive at airports in India, we look forward to welcoming more guests to this exotic and diverse country including Kolkata as our newest destination."

As the India Specialist, Insight Vacations offers one of the most in-depth ranges of itineraries to India, Kolkata and Bhutan in the market. Travellers on any of the 12 carefully curated itineraries and premium mini-stays will discover the cultural riches, spiritual harmony and fascinating history that make each of these destinations some of the most fascinating in the world.

VIDEO: Click on the above image to watch Insight Vacations Global Brand Ambassador, Lisa Ray, as she explores Insight Vacations Signature Hotels in India

This season, Insight Vacations highlights the following three outstanding all-inclusive itineraries that feature luxury Signature Experiences, Dining and Hotels, including the new Classical India with Kolkata itinerary:

Classical India with Kolkata

A new 14-day journey into the mysterious and enigmatic land of India, full of strange fascination from the erotic temples of Khajuraho and ethereal Taj Mahal, to the mesmerising rituals and funeral pyres that line the revered Ganges River. Starting in Delhi, an ancient melting pot with a population of over 16 million and continuously inhabited since the 6th century BC, guests are treated to Indian hospitality with a traditional floral garland upon arrival. After a restful night's sleep at the luxurious Le Méridien Delhi, a TripAdvisor 2015 Hall of Fame recipient, guests ride by rickshaw through the lanes of Chandni Chowk bazaar in Old Delhi.  Travellers will also explore the Red Fort, the former residence of the Mughal emperor of India for nearly 200 years. Constructed in 1648, the Red Fort is named for its massive enclosing walls of red sandstone and its architectural elements reflecting a fusion of Timurid, Persian and Hindu traditions. From Delhi, guests fly to Kolkata where they will visit the unique potters' quarter of Kumartuli, one of the seven wonders in city. In scenes unchanged for centuries, travellers will wander through the maze of narrow lanes teaming with skilled artisans sculpting clay images of Hindu Gods that are exported worldwide. Afterwards, guests will pay their respects to Mother Teresa and visit the small museum to see how she devoted her life to the destitute. After a busy day at the market, guests will stay at the elegant Oberoi Grand, which is fondly known as the Grand Dame of Kolkata. Dating back to the late 1880s, The Oberoi Grand was frequented by the country's leading figures during colonial times. This renowned Signature Hotel property features fine dining and an unforgettable spa located off a colonial-style hallway lit by spectacular chandeliers. In Khajuraho, travellers enjoy a tour of one of India's 'seven wonders' - the medieval Hindu and Jain temples, celebrated world wide for their intricate and erotic carvings. In Jaipur, the stunning capital of the Indian state of Rajasthan, travellers will stay at the Fairmont Jaipur - an Insight Vacations Signature Hotel. A piece of Canadiana in India, the five star Fairmont Jaipur is an ode to the "Pink City" through awe inspiring architecture and decor, inspired by the Mughal dynasty and Royal Rajputs of yore. The luxury Jaipur hotel is Fairmont's first and only hotel in India, and is perfectly nestled amongst the majestic Aravalli hills. All 199 rooms and suites are bespoke residences that exude classic heritage influences with four poster beds, camel bone inlaid furniture, walk-in bathrooms with the distinct pink city stone bath tubs, Mughal styled low seating day beds and discreet arched windows.

Colours of Rajasthan *now ending in Delhi

Beyond a pot pourri of palaces and far pavilions, pink cities and painted elephants, lies Rudyard Kipling's realm of the Bengal Tiger. On this 12-day journey that now ends in Delhi, guest will explore the exciting Moghul heritage and Raj history of the region, and enjoy the luxury of one of India's finest hotels set in the middle of Lake Pichola. In the ancient Mughul capital of Fatehpur Sikri, a deserted city full of architectural wonder, guests will imagine court life in the 16th century as they enter the Agra Gate into the huge rectangular courtyard where ambassadors were received. From there, travellers go in search of tigers at Ranthambore National Park, one of the best places in India to see them in their natural jungle habitat. Early in the morning, guests journey into the former private hunting grounds of the Maharajahs of Jaipur, in search of the elusive tiger - revered as the vehicle of, and sacred to, the Hindu goddess Durga, "India's Mother Nature". In Udaipur, travellers rest their weary heads at Taj Lake Palace, a five-star deluxe palace Signature Hotel that rises from the waters of Lake Pichola like a dream in white marble, set against the backdrop of the Aravalli Mountains. Inaugurated in 1746, the palace hotel is believed to have been built by Prince Maharana Jagat Singh II. Legend has it that the young prince indulged in moonlight picnics with the ladies of the Zenana on the lake island palace of Jag Mandir. A pleasurable pastime, until his father found out. Thus began the construction of his own pleasure palace on a different island in Lake Pichola. Each of the 66 rooms and 17 suites are distinctly designed to capture a different mood and period. Before bidding namaste to this magical country, guests will enjoy an evening cruise along the placid waters of Udaipur followed by a Signature Dining Celebration Dinner at one of the hotel's exquisite restaurants - a fitting finale to a fabulous journey.

Mystical South India

An unforgettable exploration of Southern India that takes in the spicy history and plantation covered hills of Kerala before heading into Tamil Nadu. On this 12-day itinerary, experience some of India's oldest and most celebrated Hindu temples and even a touch of Francophile charm. Starting in Kochi, the Spice Town on the Malabar Coast, guests journey to the small island of Kumbalangi for a glimpse into the daily lives of the villagers. Travellers walk through the village, joining the fishermen as they raise their Chinese nets or farmers working in the fields. Guests will see how the locals spin golden palm fibers into coir and tap the palms for sap to make a potent drink called 'toddy'. From there, guests drive to the sun-dappled highlands near the Tamil Nadu and Kerala border where the road winds through mountains, descending through a carpet of tea bushes, vast plantations of pepper, cardamom, coffee with spectacular views of mist-laden valleys. There, they will check in to the eco-friendly resort located on the fringes of the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Late afternoon, guests will join an expert naturalist for a cruise through the waterways in search of elephants, monkeys, deer, and maybe even a tiger. At Pondicherry, formerly the largest French colony in India, the influence can be felt in the Ville Blanche where tree lined boulevards are littered with salmon-pink-coloured mansions and lush gardens. While in Chennai, guests will stay at Insight's Signature Hotel, the Leela Palace, this city's first and only seafront five-star hotel.

For more information, please visit www.insightvacations.com, contact an Insight Specialist at 1-866-747-8120 or contact your local travel agent.

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TreadRight's past project partners include WWF, Conservation International and The National Trust in the UK. Current initiatives include sponsoring the National Geographic Society's inaugural "World Legacy Awards," and inspiring wildlife advocates like Terri Irwin.

To learn more about our past and current work at TreadRight, please visit us at treadright.org.

About Insight Vacations

For more than 35 years, Insight Vacations (www.insightvacations.com) has been designing the world's finest escorted travel itineraries. Insight offers 113 journeys to more countries across Europe than any other operator and provides the same legendary service across North America, India, Bhutan, Morocco, Egypt and Israel.

Insight guests enjoy The Art of Touring in Style with business-class legroom aboard customized luxury coaches, intimate groups of just 40 travellers and the services of an experienced Tour Director who acts as 'travelling concierge.' Each expertly planned itinerary includes a range of Signature Events for a unique and authentic look into the history and culture of each destination. Throughout their trip, guests will stay in handpicked hotels that are centrally or scenically located and have the perfect balance of guided and independent exploration.

For more information, visit us at http://www.insightvacations.com, on social media at http://www.facebook.com/InsightVacationshttp://twitter.com/InsightVacation, and join the conversation using the hashtag #InsightMoments.

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