An adventure on one of India's famous hotel trains
Magniﬁcent palaces and forts are waiting to be discovered on this Indian rail adventure aboard the Palace on Wheels train. Experience the lifestyle of the Maharajahs as we visit walled cities, marvel at the astonishing Taj Mahal and enjoy tiger spotting in Ranthambore National Park.
We meet at the 4-Star Oberoi Maidens Hotel for a two-night stay, in the heart of New Delhi close to diplomatic missions, shops and historical landmarks.
Today is devoted to a fascinating sightseeing tour covering the ancient streets, temples and colourful markets of Old Delhi as well as the leafy avenues and colonial architecture of New Delhi. Our tour includes India Gate, Raj Ghat, the Parliament House, Humayan's tomb and Qutub Minar. We also visit Jama Masjib, India's largest mosque, and pass the vast Red Fort, constructed by the Moghuls in the 17th century.
After breakfast at our hotel, we transfer to the train station to board the Shatabdi Express to Kalka. On arrival, we embark on a scenic journey on the UNESCO listed narrow-gauge Toy Train to Shimla. Alternatively, you may choose to make the journey by road. The mountain town of Shimla was 'discovered' by the British in 1817, and was later used as a fashionable retreat from the summer heat thanks to its lovely temperate climate.
Today, we explore Shimla by car and see sights such as the Viceregal Lodge, a striking 19th century Elizabethan-style mansion that was the summer seat of the viceroys of India until the 1940's. After lunch, we take a leisurely stroll along the Mall to the town's Gaiety Theatre, the Victorian-Gothic Christ Church and Scandal Point - so called because it was where people would traditionally meet to gossip. A car is available if you would prefer not to walk during the afternoon.
On Day 5 you are free to explore at leisure. This provides you with a great opportunity to travel further into the Himalayas for majestic views towards the higher, snowcapped mountain peaks of the world's tallest mountain range, followed by a High tea lunch at Wildflower Hall, with walk in gardens. (please note, these experiences are payable locally).
We leave Shimla in the morning and travel by road, for the journey back down the mountains through stunning scenery to Chandigarh. Here we join the Shatabdi Express to Delhi, for another night at the Oberoi Maidens Hotel.
Today you are free in Delhi until mid-afternoon, when we transfer to our hotel train, the Palace on Wheels, for an enchanting journey through the bygone eras of the Maharajas. We have time to settle into our cabins before we enjoy dinner together in the restaurant car as the train heads into the night.
Our first stop is the capital of Rajasthan. Founded in 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Singh II, this lovely city is often referred to as 'the Pink City' after the buildings were painted pink in the 19th century to celebrate a visit by Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert. Sightseeing includes the imposing Palace of the Winds, whose ornate façade once enabled the ladies of the royal court to observe life in the street below whilst remaining in 'purdah.' We also visit the magnificent Amber Fort, one of three hilltop forts that dominate the hills above Jaipur, and enjoy lunch at a local hotel. During the night the train continues east.
We leave the train to visit the Ranthambore National Park, to spot tigers, leopards and other native wildlife before we head to Chittorgarh to see the majestic hilltop fort, the Tower of Victory and the intricate Tower of Fame.
The Palace on Wheels reaches Udaipur this morning. We leave the train for lunch at a local hotel before taking a cruise on Lake Pichola, sailing around the small island and the Lake Palace Hotel, originally the Palace of the Maharani of Udaipur. On our return to Udaipur we rejoin the train.
On Day 11 we arrive in Jaisalmer, a fairytale walled town in the Thar Desert. We explore the narrow, twisting streets of the town centre, see beautiful merchants' houses with intricately carved sandstone façades and enjoy a camel ride into the surrounding desert. We dine together at a local hotel before the train departs for Jodhpur.
Jodhpur is known as the 'Blue City' due to the hue of the houses within the old walls. During a morning tour we see the impenetrable walls of the Mehrangarh Fort and Palace with fine sandstone carvings. We enjoy lunch in the Palace Hotel and visit Jaswant Thada, a white marble cenotaph. We rejoin the train and journey towards Agra.
This morning we arrive into the beautiful city of Agra, where we disembark the Palace on Wheels for the final time. After leaving the train, we visit Agra Fort, the majestic red sandstone citadel and the captivating Taj Mahal, the iconic masterpiece in white marble. Built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1653, for his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj Mahal is the world's finest example of Mughal and Persian architecture.
This afternoon, we take the Gatimaan Express train to the capital city of Delhi, where we check into our hotel, the Taj Mahal Hotel and enjoy a farewell dinner.
We bid farewell to India today, as you make your way to the airport for your flight home.
On some departures we enjoy a talk from Raaja Bhasin in Shimla, gaining a detailed insight into the town through its people, history and culture. Known for his unique insight into this region's fascinating heritage, Raaja Bhasin is an acclaimed writer and researcher; most recently serving as a historical consultant on Channel 4's 'Indian Summers' series. Born locally, he is considered an authority on Shimla and the wider area of Himachal Pradesh having written five critically acclaimed books, as well as many articles, stories and even a TedTalk relating to the subject. He has been actively involved in many heritage projects, including the Kalka Shimla Railway line which is the route you will be travelling along. Thanks to the efforts of Raaja and his team, this route was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 2008 something that, as we journey through the mountains learning about the distinctive and inspiring engineering that made the line possible, we will soon understand why.
For this tour, we recommend you arrive into Delhi Indira Ghandi Airport (airport code DEL), which is approximately 15 miles from your first hotel. Our recommended departure airport is Delhi Indira Ghandi Airport (airport code DEL), which is approximately 6 miles from the Safdarjung Railway Station, where your journey on board the Palace on Wheels concludes.
It is your responsibility to check and fulfil the passport, visa, health and immigration requirements applicable to your itinerary. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel, or incur any other loss because you have not complied with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities. You agree to reimburse us in relation to any fines or other losses which we incur as a result of your failure to comply with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.
You may check in at the first hotel on your itinerary anytime after 14:00; this is where you will meet your Tour Manager.
An escorted experience and travel during your tour
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
of travellers would recommend this tour
based on 6 verified reviews
The tour was absolutely excellent. The accommodation, the restaurants chosen, the itinerary, were all superb as were the guides everywhere.
Hotels and itinery first class.
Fascinating destinations, well planned, well conducted.,
Absolutely fantastic, the whole experience was great, the organisation was superb, the tour manager was so efficient, yet managed to keep a low profile to allow the group to have a wonderful experience, whilst being immediately on hand for any difficulties / questions. The local guides were exceptional, particularly in the First phase of the tour, he was a wonderful man who obviously enjoyed demonstrating his pride in his country, and explained all of the details perfectly, he along with the tour manager are a credit to your organisation.
A magical experience and a great way to journey around this part of India.
Exciting and fun with plenty of new discoveries each day
We enjoyed every day of our tour in India. Arriving at the station in the morning to be met by musicians, elephants and camels was a real surprise which started each day perfectly. The staff on the train were lovely and the organisation of the tour could not be faulted. My expectations were exceeded in every way. The Toy train to Shimla was slow, hot and not particularly comfortable but was worth it for the experience and the amazing views.
Wonderful experience from start to finish. Thoroughly enjoyed our adventure through India
such a memorable experience
The itinerary was excellent and offered a wide variety of experiences. The train is a bit dated but I felt it was all in keeping with the whole trip.
An adventure on one of India's famous hotel trains