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Footsteps of the British Raj in India

(Tour code: FRJ6)Step out of the history books and into India's colonial heritage

Follow in the footsteps of the British Raj in India on this 15 day fascinating tour, specially designed in conjunction with the University of York. Learn about the colonisation, and subsequent revolt, of this fabulous sub-continent through its art, architecture and distinct heritage. And with four expert lecturers, this is a unique opportunity to step out of the history books and live the past.

Tour Highlights
  • Mumbai
  • A guided tram tour of Kolkata
  • Lucknow
  • Delhi
  • Colonial Shimla including a talk from Raaja Bhasin
  • A journey on the Toy Train to Shimla
  • Talk on the colonial architecture of Mumbai
  • Talk on the architecture of Edward Lutyens in New Delhi
  • Talk on the British Era in Kolkata
What’s Included (Full details)
  • 5* Hotel Accommodation
    Breakfast Every Day
    Selected Evening Meals
    13 nights' accommodation
  • All Transfers Included
    Selected Porterage
  • Return Scheduled Flights
    Upgrades Available

Itinerary & Map

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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.

Gateway of India, Mumbai
Days 1-3

To Mumbai

Our journey into Colonial India begins at London's Heathrow Airport. Here you will meet your group and Tour Manager for the overnight flight to Mumbai, via Abu Dhabi landing
on the morning of Day 2. We transfer straight to our hotel where we have time to acclimatise to our new surroundings before dinner. Afterwards we are treated to the first of four informative talks that run throughout the next 15 days. We meet Vikas Dilawari, a conservation architect, to begin our education on the colonial structures of this region, which blend many different architectural styles. Vikas is an expert in this field, having worked on many difficult projects in the area and helping to restore some of Mumbai's grandest buildings.

We begin Day 3 with a guided tour of Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay. During our time in the 'City of Dreams', developed during the 18th century, we will visit many of the main attractions and colonial landmarks including, Hornimon Circle, known during the colonial era as 'Bombay Park', St Thomas Cathedral, Elphinstone College and Flora Fountain, an ornate heritage construction named after the Roman Goddess of Flowers. A highlight of our tour includes a visit to the site of the Battle of Chinsurah (also known as the Battle of Biderra), part of the Seven Years' War between a force of British troops and a force of the Dutch East India Company as each side tried to assert themselves as the leading commercial company in Bengal. Next is Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, a UNESCO World Heritage site located at the historic railway station of Mumbai Maharashtra, Crawford Market, Mani Bhawan, Gandhi's headquarters in Mumbai, and Gateway of India, built during the time of the British Raj to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary. We also enjoy included entrance to the Prince of Wales Museum.

Includes:
  • Scheduled flights
  • Excursions
  • Day 2 - Dinner
  • Day 3 - Breakfast, Dinner
Victoria Memorial, Kolkata
Days 4-6

The heritage of Kolkata

After a leisurely morning, we depart Mumbai on an internal flight to Kolkata. Once known as Calcutta, it was the capital of India under the regime of the British Raj, having been
originally founded as an East India Company trading post, but now regarded as the country's intellectual and cultural capital.

On Day 5 we embark on a tour of this welcoming city's most famous colonial buildings, which give us a better understanding of how the landscape here changed so dramatically over 128 years of Imperial rule. We begin at Dalhousie Square for a heritage walk around this area created as the centre of the British East India Company's trading post. It was just down the road from here, at Fort William, that in 1756 three independent activists launched an attack on this largely British populated area and threw any survivors into a formidable dungeon, known infamously as the 'Black Hole of Calcutta'.

We then take a guided tram tour of the city, still home to some of the old British clubs that were the grand showpieces of the time, take in the delights of St Paul's Cathedral, a very definitive slice of British Anglicanism, Fort William and The Victoria Memorial, one of Kolkata's best-loved landmarks and understandably so, being the largest marble building in the city. We end the day with an informative talk from Santimoy Bhattacharya on the British Era in Kolkata. He will discuss, among other things, Kolkata's journey from 17th century trading town, to its transformation into a 19th century symbol of the wealth and power of the British Empire.

On Day 6 we make an excursion to Barrackpore, the summer capital of Kolkata and historically a military and administrative centre under British rule that was the scene of several acts of Indian rebellion throughout the 19th century. During our time here we visit Semaphore Tower, Government House, the Temple of Fame and Flagstaff House. On our return to Kolkata we make a visit to the Indian Museum, the largest and oldest museum in India, founded in 1814, which houses rare collections of antiques, armour, ornaments, fossils, skeletons, mummies, and Mughal paintings.

Includes:
  • Breakfast, Dinner
  • Excursions
Lucknow
Days 7-8

Kolkata to Lucknow

Today we fly to Lucknow, which fell under the control of the British Raj in 1857. This evening, we enjoy a talk from Seema Srivastava, an expert on India's art and cultural scene ahead of a guided tour on Day 8. This includes a 'Victorian Walk' which immerses us into the rich history of the former British Market of Lucknow, which has been renovated to its former glory at the height of the British Empire in India. We continue to Council House, which perfectly characterises Colonial architecture, and the city's railway station for a closer look at this masterpiece which began life as an orchard before its ostentatious designs began taking shape in 1914. From above the building resembles an elaborate chess board and its distinctive red and white domes are a significant feature of the Lucknow skyline, often being described as 'one of most beautiful railway stations in the world'. We also visit the British Residency and Museum. Built in 1800 to house the British Resident General, it became the site of a bloody siege at the hands of an Indian rebellion. The Residency's buildings and gardens have been preserved as they were at the time of the conflict, with bullet holes, cannon damage and other battle scars still visible. La Martinière College is our last port of call. This British boys school recruited its pupils to help fight during the 1857 uprising, and they helped defend the Residency during the 86 day siege.

Includes:
  • Breakfast, Dinner
  • Excursions
Rashtrapati Bhavan
Days 9-10

Discovering Delhi

After a morning's sightseeing, we take the train to Delhi where we focus our explorations on the newer section of the city on Day 10. We specifically concentrate on the area known as Lutyen's Delhi - named after the leading British architect Edwin Lutyens who was responsible for much of the architectural design and building here when India was part of the British Empire during the 1920s and 30s. We also see Raj Ghat, a simple yet moving memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, visit Qutab Minar, India's tallest stone tower, and Humayun's Tomb - a memorial to the second Mughal Emperor.

Includes:
  • Excursions
  • Day 9 - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 10 - Breakfast, Dinner
Shimla
Days 11-13

The Toy Train to Shimla

We make our way to Kalka by rail this morning where we board the UNESCO-listed Toy Train for a wonderful journey into the mountains to the hill station in Shimla, which sits at over 7,000 ft above sea level. On Day 12 we explore how the town's colonial past is preserved in the regional architecture, visiting the Viceregal Lodge which was once the summer residence of the Indian Viceroy. We are joined here by Raaja Bhasin for an intimate talk about the local area, the heritage of Shimla and its significance during the British Colonial era. Day 13 is at leisure for you to explore Shimla further.

Includes:
  • Breakfast, Dinner
  • Excursions
Flights
Days 14-15

Return to Delhi and the journey home

We transfer by coach to Chandigarh, where we continue by train back to Delhi for the final night of our holiday. Tonight we enjoy a farewell dinner to round off our adventures before making our way to the airport for our flight back to London via Abu Dhabi on Day 15.

Includes:
  • Scheduled flights
  • Day 14 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 15 - Breakfast
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