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India’s Golden Triangle, Tigers and Shimla

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14 days From £2,095 per person
4.7 stars(202 reviews)
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Historic temples, elusive tigers and beautiful palaces

Mobility Rating 3

2024 Tour code: LTC24

About the tour

Follow in the regal footsteps of maharajas and emperors to experience the dazzling wonders of India's majestic Golden Triangle with the experts in Indian rail travel.

On our best-selling tour, we view astounding palaces including the iconic Taj Mahal and the ethereal Amber Fort, as well as the former home of 'Father of the Nation' Mahatma Gandhi, as we get to know the dazzling cities of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.

Unwind in the former colonial summer capital of Shimla, perched on the ridges of the Himalayan foothills, and search for noble Bengal tigers in their natural habitat on game drives in the evocative wilderness of Ranthambore National Park.

Unforgettable experiences

Toy Train
Toy Train
Journey on the UNESCO-listed Toy train to Shimla through the Shivalik foothills of the Himalayas on a UNESCO-listed route
Shimla
Shimla
Enjoy a talk by expert guest speaker, about the history and culture of Shimla
Delhi
Delhi
Take a guided tour of Old and New Delhi, including a rickshaw ride through the bazaar and spice market.
Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal
Visit the Taj Mahal, an awe-inspiring wonder of the world.
Ranthambore National Park
Ranthambore National Park
Experience the wildlife of Ranthambore National Park with two game drives designed to enhance our chance of spotting Bengal tigers

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - London to Delhi

We depart London Heathrow on our overnight flight to Delhi.

Day 2 - Arrive in Delhi

We arrive in the Indian capital late this morning for a one-night stay. Delhi is one of India's most colourful and exciting metropolises, where the old and new exist harmoniously. Later, immerse yourself in this vibrant metropolis with some free time, or maybe relax at the hotel after your journey.

Day 3 - The Toy Train

We leave Delhi on the Shatabdi Express to Kalka. Here we board the UNESCO-listed, narrow-gauge 'Himalayan Queen', also affectionately referred to as the Toy Train. Covering a journey of 60 miles, we pass through lush green countryside in the Shivalik foothills of the Himalayas, crossing hundreds of bridges and powering through 102 tunnels on our way to Shimla. The train moves at a leisurely pace, so there's time to soak in the beautiful scenery. Alternatively, you may choose to make this journey by car. The mountain town of Shimla was once the summer capital of the British Raj and enjoys a cooler climate than India's bustling cities, and on arrival we check into our hotel for three nights.

Day 4 - Sightseeing in Shimla

Our day begins with an informative talk from expert guest speaker, author and historian Raaja Bhasin, whose spellbinding stories of his home town bring to life the history of Shimla. Our exploration of Shimla continues with a sightseeing tour that takes in much of its colonial heritage. We start at the Viceregal Lodge, the summer seat of the viceroys until the 1940s, and we also visit the Sankat Mochan temple. An afternoon stroll takes us past the town's Gaiety Theatre, the Victorian-Gothic Christ Church and Scandal Point, so named as it was once a popular place for people to gather and share gossip.

Day 5 - Free time in Shimla

Today is free for you to explore at your own pace. One option is to take a trip to Kufri for stunning views across the mountains, followed by a high tea lunch at Wildflower Hall. Alternatively, you might like to soak up some of your natural surroundings with a hike around the surrounding pine forests or up Summer Hill for fantastic views. Once the sun sets, perhaps make your way to Lakkar Bazaar, a long stretch of open-air stalls selling traditional woodwork and souvenirs.

Day 6 - Return to Delhi

We make the return trip on the Shatabdi Express to Delhi for two more nights, checking into our hotel on arrival.

Day 7 - Old and New Delhi

Visiting Old Delhi, we take a rickshaw ride through the narrow streets of the bazaar to Chandni Chowk. We also visit Jama Masjid - India's largest mosque, Raj Ghat - a simple but moving memorial to Gandhi, and we pass Delhi's iconic Red Fort. Later, we take a sightseeing tour of the wide, leafy avenues and impressive Mughal and colo-nial architecture of New Delhi. On our tour we see the India Gate war memorial, the grand Rashtrapati Bhavan, Mughal Emperor Humayun's Tomb and Qutab Minar - India's tallest stone tower.

Day 8 - Agra and the Taj Mahal

We join the Gatimaan Express bound for Agra this morning. On arrival, we check into our hotel for the night before visiting the imposing Agra Fort, built by the Mughal emperor Akbar in the late 16th century. Built on a hill above Agra, its centrepiece is a tower with a marble balcony where Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan spent his last days imprisoned. Inside the fort are some exquisite specimens of Mughal architecture, including the Moti Masjid. Later we travel across the city to the spectacular Taj Mahal, one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Built by Shah Jahan in 1653 in memory of his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal, this iconic white marble building is a monument to undying love and is regarded as the world's finest example of Mughal and Persian architecture.

Day 9 - Fatehpur Sikri

Leaving Agra by coach, we stop at Fatehpur Sikri, a perfectly-preserved red sandstone city built in the 16th century as India's political capital, but abandoned after only 14 years due to lack of water. Remarkably, the city almost remains exactly as it was over 400 years ago, giving us an insight into the opulent lifestyle of the Mughal era. After a guided tour, we continue to Ranthambore National Park, our base for the next two nights.

For Christmas DepartureTiger spotting in Ranthambore - Leaving Agra by coach, we travel direct to Ranthambore National Park, enjoying a picnic lunch enroute. Covering an area four times the size of Malta, this is one of the best places in the world to spot a Bengal tiger in its natural habitat. Declared a Project Tiger Reserve in 1973, the park is a favourite among wildlife photographers and tourists, as it's possible to see one of these majestic creatures basking in the sun or sauntering through the wilderness. After checking in to our hotel for two nights, we experience a highlight of our holiday as we board open-topped safari vehicles - called 'canters' - to embark on a game drive through the park. Returning to our hotel, we are given a talk by a naturalist who explains about the wildlife that calls Ranthambore home, and the preservation efforts that are taking place. This evening we gather for a Christmas Eve dinner in our hotel.

Please Note - For selected departures that depart on a Sunday please see the Additional Information section below to see the running order of the itinerary.

Day 10 - Ranthambore National Park

We experience a highlight of our holiday as we head into Ranthambore National Park, one of the best places in the world to spot a Bengal tiger in its natural habitat. Declared a Project Tiger Reserve in 1973, the park is a favourite among wildlife photographers and tourists, as it's possible to see one of these majestic creatures basking in the sun or sauntering through the wilderness. We are given a talk by a naturalist at the hotel before our first game drive in open-topped safari vehicles - called 'canters'.

For Christmas DepartureChristmas Day in Ranthambore - Waking up in tropical Rajasthan on Christmas Day, we have a full day at leisure to spend as we wish. We can embrace the festive spirit as well as having the benefit of relaxing by the pool. Throughout the day we can join in with the festivities, and enjoy the breakfast, lunch and a celebratory dinner available at the hotel.

Please Note - For selected departures that depart on a Sunday please see the Additional Information section below to see the running order of the itinerary.

Day 11 - Tiger spotting at Ranthambore

Our day begins with an early morning safari, increasing our chances of seeing native wildlife, such as sloth bears, macaques, wild boars, and leopards. As we are guided by local experts who are well-versed in the animals' daily movements, we may have a chance to see a mighty Bengal tiger.

After breakfast in the hotel, there is time to relax before lunch. We then leave the gorgeous surroundings of Ranthambore National Park and journey to Jaipur aboard a comfortable coach, with beautiful views of rural Rajasthan passing our windows.

On arrival in Jaipur, dinner is served at our 5-Star hotel.

For Christmas Depature - Morning Safari - This morning we set out on an early morning safari, increasing our chances of seeing other native wildlife, such as sloth bears, hyenas, macaques, wild boar and even leopards. As we are guided by local experts who know the animals' daily movements almost as well as their own, we have a good chance of seeing an elusive Bengal tiger. This afternoon, we continue to beautiful Jaipur. We check in to our 5-Star hotel in central Jaipur for two nights, where we also have dinner this evening.

Day 12 - Jaipur

Discovering the 'Pink City' of Jaipur on a full-day sightseeing tour, we travel by Jeep, first seeing the Amber Fort, located high on a hillside overlooking Maota Lake. We have the chance to explore the ornate rooms of the palace complex, before we experience the city in a unique way, travelling on pink tuk-tuks, run entirely by women, a wonderful way to explore Jaipur. Next, we continue our tour to the City Palace, home to the current Maharajah of Jaipur, and to an early 18th-century Astronomical Observatory. We also drive past the Palace of the Winds, a stunning façade built in 1799 whose intricately latticed windows were designed to allow the ladies of the royal household to look over the streets below without being seen.

Day 13 - Delhi

We returning to Delhi by coach for a final time, spending the night at the same hotel as before.

Day 14 - London

After breakfast, we transfer to the airport for our flight back to London Heathrow.

Additional information

Guest Speaker - Raaja Bhasin

We enjoy a talk from the author and historian Raaja Bhasin on Day 5, gaining an insight into the town of Shimla through its people, history and culture. Raa-ja Bhasin was born in Shimla and is a recognised authority on this former Brit-ish retreat in the foothills of the Himalayas. He has worked on assignments from the BBC and writes regular features for magazines and newspapers in India and abroad.

Raaja Bhasin
Please Note - Sunday Departures

Below is the running order for Days 9, 10 and 11 for departures that depart on a Sunday.

Day 9 - Fatehpur Sikri

Leaving Agra by coach, we stop at Fatehpur Sikri, a perfectly preserved red sandstone city built in the 16th century as India's political capital but abandoned after only 14 years due to lack of water. Remarkably, the city remains almost exactly as it was more than 400 years ago, giving us an insight into the opulent lifestyle of the Mughal era. After a guided tour, we enjoy lunch before continuing to Ranthambore National Park, our base for the next two nights. On arrival at our hotel, we are given a talk by a naturalist who explains about the wildlife that calls Ranthambore home, and the preservation efforts that are taking place.

Day 10 - Tiger spotting at Ranthambore National Park

We experience a highlight of our holiday as we head into Ranthambore National Park, one of the best places in the world to spot a Bengal tiger in its natural habitat. Declared a Project Tiger Reserve in 1973, the park is a favourite among wildlife photographers and tourists, as it's possible to see one of these majestic creatures basking in the sun or sauntering through the wilderness. Boarding our open-topped safari vehicles - called 'canters' - we embark on a game drive through the park. After lunch at the hotel, we set out again on our afternoon safari, increasing our chances of seeing other native wildlife, such as sloth bears, hyenas, macaques, wild boar and even leopards. As we are guided by local experts who know the animals' daily movements almost as well as their own, we have a good chance of seeing an elusive Bengal tiger.

Day 11 - Hindu fire ceremony in Jaipur

There is a free morning to relax by the hotel's delightful pool. This afternoon, we continue to beautiful Jaipur, attending an authentic Aarti Fire Ceremony at the white marble Birla Temple enroute. This mesmerising ritual uses fire and incense to offer devotion and blessings to Hindi deities and is accompanied by lively dances and songs. We check in to our 5-Star hotel in central Jaipur for two nights, where we also have dinner this evening.

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.

Visa requirements
Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

ITC Mughal Agra, Agra

ITC Mughal Agra, Agra

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Taj Palace, New Delhi

Taj Palace, New Delhi

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ITC Rajputana Sheraton, Jaipur

ITC Rajputana Sheraton, Jaipur

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Ranthambore Regency

Ranthambore Regency, Ranthambore

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The Oberoi Cecil Hotel, Shimla

The Oberoi Cecil Hotel, Shimla

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Trains

Gatimaan Express
Shatabdi Express
Toy Train

Enhance your holiday

Upgrades

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Extend your holiday

Classic Mumbai
Discover Amritsar
Relaxing Goa
Sacred Varanasi
Tropical Kerala

Reviews

4.7 stars4.7 / 5 · 202 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (159)
  2. 4 stars
    (34)
  3. 3 stars
    (5)
  4. 2 stars
    (2)
  5. 1 star
    (2)

Heather Dickinson

5 stars

Submitted 1/May

A well organised, wonderful trip to India. Enchanting!

from Great Rail Journeys
Dear Mrs Dickinson, Thank you for your 5 star review and sharing your beautiful pictures. That is brilliant to hear! Kindest regards, Sarah
1 comment

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Brian Shuker

5 stars

Submitted 1/May

Amazing experience, Margaret and our Indian guides were superb, the whole trip was mind blowing and the Tigers is an experience that I’ll never forget. Brian

from Great Rail Journeys
Dear Mr Shuker, Thank you for taking the time to leave your 5 star review and wonderful picture. That really is fantastic to hear! Kindest regards, Sarah
1 comment

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M Toan

5 stars

Submitted 25/Apr

It was a great experience with some amazing sights. The tiger safari was the best for me as we saw a mother tiger with 3 cubs. The only downside was the early starts but we were prepared for that and a couple of visits to carpet factories which we could have done without.

from Great Rail Journeys
Dear Mr Toan, Thank you for taking the time to leave your 5 star review and sharing the most beautiful picture! Its wonderful to hear that you had a great experience. We really appreciate all customer feedback. I will be sure to pass this across to our product team. Kindest regards, Sarah
1 comment

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Jackie Andrews

5 stars

Submitted 24/Apr

Brilliant experience. Thank you, Great Rail Journeys. Everything was perfect. Special mention goes to Rob, our tour manager.

from Great Rail Journeys
Dear Ms Andrews, Thank you for taking the time to leave your 5 star review and sharing your beautiful pictures with us. That is wonderful to hear and the photos are lovely to see! I will be sure to pass your feedback across to my tour management team. Kindest regards, Sarah
1 comment

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Chery Wilkins

5 stars

Submitted 24/Apr

GRJ have managed to create a unique and memorable holiday with this package! A fascinating insight into the Indian culture but we feel that we have only just scratched the surface of this wonderful country. The hotels (4* & 5*) were an excellent choice and we have recommended the holiday to everyone who has enquired about our experience. The photographs are of the Toy Train to Shimla, the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi going to his final prayer meeting and the Taj Mahal in the misty distance.

from Great Rail Journeys
Dear Mrs Wilkins, Thank you for your 5 star review and sharing your fantastic pictures with us. That is wonderful to hear! It sounds like you had an amazing time. I will be sure to pass your feedback across to my product team. Kindest regards, Sarah
1 comment

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Essem

5 stars

Submitted 22/Apr

A very enjoyable experience. Janet was a very attentive tour manager: always available when needed, but not too intrusive, and Dilip was equally helpful, entertaining and informative. This was our sixth trip with GRJ / Rail Discoveries, and it won't be our last. The holiday was fairly demanding, with early starts some days, in order to catch trains and meet the timings needed for the various site visits, such as the Taj Mahal, Red Fort etc. The whole trip was an eye-opener, being exposed to a different culture. The hotels were all very good, and the service was (in our experience) always faultless.

from Great Rail Journeys
Dear Mr Mcgivern, Thank you for taking the time to leave your 5 star review. We are delighted to hear that you enjoyed another one of our tours with us! Its wonderful to hear that Janet and Dilip were helpful and available when needed. We look forward to hopefully welcoming you on your 7th tour with us in the future :) Kindest regards, Sarah
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