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.
We leave Delhi on the Shatabdi Express to Kalka. Here we board the UNESCO-listed narrow-gauge Toy Train to Shimla. From 2017, we travel in specially chartered carriages, which have an exclusive heritage feel, enjoying complimentary snacks and heightened comfort en-route. Alternatively, you may choose to make the journey by road.
On Day 4 we explore Shimla by jeep and see sights such as the Viceregal Lodge, a striking 19th century Elizabethan-style mansion. After lunch, we take a leisurely stroll along the Mall to the town's Gaiety Theatre, the Victorian-Gothic Christ Church and Scandal Point. A jeep is available if you would prefer not to walk during the afternoon. Day 5 is free for you to explore Shimla at your leisure.
We leave Shimla in the morning and travel by road, for the journey back down the mountains through stunning scenery to Kalka. 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, the Pink City of Jaipur. 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, and enjoy lunch in the Palace Hotel. During the night the train continues west.
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.
After a visit by rickshaw to the Bharatpur bird sanctuary, we rejoin the train and travel to Agra. This afternoon 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. We return to the train for our final night on board and a farewell dinner.
We arrive back in Delhi this morning. Having completed our magnificent journey on board the Palace on Wheels, you are free to depart at your leisure.
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 14 verified reviews
A well organised and managed tour, which took us to see all the relevant sights in India's Golden Triangle and Shimla regions. Also recommend the Goa coastal extension.
Exciting and fun with plenty of new discoveries each day
The itinerary was excellent. The description of the Palace in the booklet was “over the top”. That aside it was a memorable tour.
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
Although a fantastic experience their was not enough free time.
An amazing experience with spectular sights. The only slight disappointment was the train itself which was not a 'palace'. However the slightly 'tired' train could have been excused if it had been possible to sleep while it was moving! The continuous rocking made it impossible to get any sleep which did make the busy schedule during the day slightly harder work. Food was good but the arrangement for serving the Continental and Indian food at the same time was weird. The excursions were well organised and unforgettable including amazing palaces (the Taj Mahal was even grander than ever imagined), beautiful scenery (Shimla and the Himalayas), three tiger sightings, and taking part in the Holi festival. The hotels were very good and the Wildflower Hall in Shimla was one of the best we have ever stayed in. Overall a true 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