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The Ganges & the Himalaya

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(Tour code: INR18)

Explore authentic rural life in the villages along the Lower Ganges

Explore authentic rural life in the villages along the Lower Ganges on this spectacular all inclusive tour. Discover the bustle of Indian cities with tours of Delhi and Kolkata, taste Darjeeling tea in the Himalayas, and visit the iconic Taj Mahal, in addition to a stunning 7-night cruise along the 'reborn' Hooghly River on board the luxurious ABN Rajmahal.

  • Old and New Delhi
  • Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal
  • Gatimaan Express and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
  • Tiger Hill viewpoint
  • Darjeeling Mountaineering Institute
  • Darjeeling tea plantation
  • Explore the historic city of Gaur
  • Hazarduari Palace, the ‘house with a thousand doors’
  • Enjoy two guided tours of Kolkata
What’s Included
  • 7 Nights' Hotel Accommodation
  • Return Scheduled Flights
  • 7-night cruise on the ABN Rajmahal

The Ganges & the Himalaya 2018Tour Details

Print Itinerary
Days 1-2 Dehli

London to Delhi

Our tour begins with an overnight flight from London to Delhi, where we arrive on Day 2. After settling into our hotel, we begin our introduction to India with a guided sightseeing tour of Old and New Delhi, taking in the sights of this incredible city.

Days 3-4 Agra

Agra and Darjeeling

Today we board India's first semi-high speed train, for a journey to Agra on the Gatimaan Express. On arrival, we visit two of India's most stunning icons: the imposing Agra Fort, which dates back to the 15th century.

We also see the incredible Taj Mahal, built in the 17th century by Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for Mumtaz Mahal, his favourite wife. This beautiful white marble building is one of the seven wonders of the world and arguably India's most famous attraction. After time to explore, we return to Delhi by rail. On Day 4, we leave Delhi behind, taking an internal flight to Bagdogra. On arrival, we transfer by coach to Darjeeling.

Day 5 Tiger Hill
Tiger Hill

Tiger Hill & the Mountaineering Institute

Today we visit Tiger Hill viewpoint, where we watch the sunrise from behind Kanchenjunga, India's highest mountain. Later we travel on the steam-hauled Toy Train to Ghum (subject to operation), to visit the town's Buddhist monastery. Built in 1875, this colourfully decorated building is the largest temple in Ghum. In the afternoon we visit Darjeeling's Mountaineering Institute, which is the final resting place of Tenzing Norgay, a Sherpa, and one of the first people, along with Edmund Hillary, to successfully summit Mount Everest on the famous excursion led by John Hunt in 1953.

Days 6-7 Darjeeling Tea
Darjeeling Tea

Darjeeling tea and Siliguri

Today, we take the Red Panda toy train to Kurseong (subject to operation), before enjoying lunch at Cochrane Place. This afternoon, we visit the Makidari Tea Estate. For centuries Darjeeling has been famed as a tea-growing centre, and after our time at the estate, we return to Darjeeling, where we enjoy a tea tasting at a local market, and visit the Planter's Club.

On Day 7, we have time at leisure before taking the coach to Siliguri.

Days 8-9 Ganges

The Hooghly River and Gaur

Early this morning we board the Shatabdi Express to the Farakka Barrage, where we board our fabulous vessel - the ABN Rajmahal - for a seven-night cruise along the Lower Ganges. Known locally as the 'Hooghly River', this distributary of the Ganges is named for its 'rebirth', after the almost-extinguished river was revived by the building of the Farakka Barrage, which quenched the Hooghly with an increased water flow. After our first night on board, our ship pauses on Day 9 at Gaur, a historic former capital with roots dating back to 12th-century Hindu rule. During our excursion, we discover the remnants of centuries past, preserved in the ancient monuments and mosques of the city.

Day 10 Baranagar and Khushbagh Gardens
Baranagar and Khushbagh Gardens

Baranagar and Khushbagh Gardens

Having explored India's cities, today our holiday takes a different approach, as we cruise to the sleepy village of Baranagar. Here we experience rural India at its best, as we stroll through the fields to the town's terracotta temples, admiring delicate designs and intricate carvings of Shiva. Later we continue down river to Khushbagh Gardens, a name that means the 'Garden of Happiness', which is the resting place of the 18th century Nawal rulers of Bengal. Later, we visit the site of the Battle of Plassey, famous as the conflict which secured the East India Company's hold over Bengal, with Clive of India paving the way for British dominance in India.

Day 11 Hazarduari Palace
Hazarduari Palace

Hazarduari Palace and Plassey

Today's excursion takes us to Murshidabad, a small town dominated by a 19th-century mansion, named the Hazarduari Palace, or 'house with a thousand doors'. Built over the foundations of the fort of Kila Nizamat, this excellent example of Italian architecture now houses a fascinating museum. Later, we visit the site of the Battle of Plassey, famous as the conflict which secured the East India Company's hold over Bengal, with Clive of India paving the way for British dominance in India.

Days 12-13 Kalna Temples
Kalna Temples

Matiari and the Kalna Temples

Our tour of authentic rural Indian life continues today, as we stop along the Hooghly for a shore excursion to Matiari, a small village where brassworking has been the local trade for generations. Later, we visit Mayapur, watched over by its imposing ISKCON Hindu temple, a breathtaking blue-domed building.

After lunch on Day 13, we arrive in Kalna, where we disembark to visit the Kalna Terracotta Temples by rickshaw ride. Intricately decorated with numerous carvings, these exquisite 19th-century buildings are a delight to explore. Following our time here, we re-board the cruise ship to enjoy dinner on board.

Day 14 Rickshaws

Chandernagore and Barrackpore

Our first stop today takes us to Chandernagore, the 'City of Liberty', a famously beautiful city that was in French possession from the 17th century until the 1950s. Whilst here, we visit the former governor's residence, Dupleix House, and the Elglise du Sacré Coeur, or Sacred Heart Church. Later we continue to Barrackpore, a former British military centre, for a short walking tour of the city's main highlights, past the Semaphore Tower and the Temple of Fame.

Days 15-17 Flights

Kolkata and return to London

Our time on board the ABN Rajmahal comes to an end today. Disembarking in Kolkata, we check in for one night at the fabulous Oberoi Grand Hotel, ahead of a tour, taking in Victoria's Memorial and Tagore house. We then take a circular train to Prinsep Ghat, to see the James Prinsep Memorial and Garden.

On the morning of Day 16, we begin with a morning tour of Kolkata, seeing the flower market and the Jain temple. This evening, we transfer to the airport for our return overnight flight to the UK, where our holiday concludes on the morning of Day 17.

Departure Times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

What’s included

An escorted experience and all travel arrangements

  • The services of a professional UK Tour Manager from start to finish
  • Flights from London to Delhi, Delhi to Bagdogra, and Kolkata to London
  • All rail and air-conditioned deluxe coach travel throughout

Comfortable accommodation

  • 7-night cruise on the ABN Rajmahal
  • 8 nights' hotel accommodation

Delicious meals included

  • 38 meals, including 15 breakfasts, including 1 packed breakfast on board the Shatabdi Express, 8 lunches, including lunch at Cochrane Place, and 15 dinners


Exciting excursions and free time to explore

  • Sightseeing tour of Old and New Delhi
  • Excursion to the Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal
  • Visit to Tiger Hill viewpoint, the Darjeeling Mountaineering Institute and Darjeeling Zoo
  • Tour and tea tasting at a Darjeeling tea plantation
  • Explore the historic city of Gaur
  • Discover Hazarduari Palace
  • Explore beautiful Chandernagore
  • Enjoy two guided tours of Kolkata

Enhancing your tour

  • Upgrade to an Upper Deck cabin on the ABN Rajmahal from £215 per person (twin occupancy only)

This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.

Lynne Broadley
Julie Pacalon
Kathryn Cambridge
Helen Laverack
The Ganges & the Himalaya

Explore authentic rural life in the villages along the Lower Ganges


Worldwide Holidays by Rail 2018/19

Long haul rail holidays to North America, South America, Asia, Africa and Australasia.

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