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Grand Tour of India, Nepal and the Himalayas

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20252024
18 days From £3,695 £3,495 per person
4.3 stars(31 reviews)
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Explore India and Nepal by train, travelling through the iconic Himalayas

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Save £200pp on selected Worldwide 2024 holidays, when you book by 27th August 2024.

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Mobility Rating 4

2024 Tour code: KTJ24

About the tour

Discover the highlights of India and Nepal as we experience some of the world's most beautiful temples, sights, and scenery. We witness colourful ceremonies, lush national parks, and golden cities before coming face-to-face with the breathtaking Himalayas.

Unforgettable experiences

Golden Temple of Amritsar
Golden Temple of Amritsar
Visit the Taj Mahal and the Golden Temple of Amritsar, two of India’s most visually striking monuments.
Delhi
Delhi
Enjoy guided tours of Delhi and Lucknow, exploring the sights with local guides.
Varanasi
Varanasi
Admire the sunrise over the holy Ganges with a river cruise that gives insight into local life.
Pokhara
Pokhara
Soak in the beauty of the Himalayas in Pokhara, watching the sunrise over the mountains before a city tour and cruise across Phewa Lake.
Chitwan National Park
Chitwan National Park
Experience a safari in Chitwan National Park spotting Asian elephants, Bengal tigers, and leopards.

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 – To Amritsar

We start our holiday by flying to Amritsar via Doha.

Day 2 - Amritsar

Arriving in Amritsar, we transfer to our hotel for the night. After time to freshen up, we visit the Wagah Border which separates Pakistan and India. Here, we witness the Changing of Guard Ceremony, a unique and unusual military concert and lowering of flags held every day at sunset.

Day 3 - Discovering Amritsar

We discover Amritsar on a guided tour today. Exploring with a local guide we see the Golden Temple, a resplendent building with a gilded façade and ornate carvings decking its inner walls. We also visit the poignant Jallianwala Bagh Gardens and memorial site, which commemorates the 1919 massacre of residents by British troops. Afterwards, we board the train to Delhi, arriving in the evening for a two-night stay.

Day 4 – Delhi

Today includes a full-day sightseeing tour of both the old and new parts of the Indian capital. We begin exploring the colourful and aromatic market streets of Old Delhi before taking a traditional rickshaw ride through the vibrant bazaar for a better insight into local life here. Continuing to New Delhi, we discover impressive colonial architecture, leafy avenues and government buildings - a distinct contrast to the traditional atmosphere of Old Delhi. Along the way, we visit the President's House, Parliament House, and India Gate, as well as visiting Qutab Minar and the tomb of Humayun.

Day 5 - Agra and the Taj Mahal

We join the Gatimaan Express bound for Agra this morning. On arrival, we visit 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 of the most 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 famous white marble building is a monument to undying love and is considered to be the world's finest example of Mughal and Persian architecture.

Day 6 - Lucknow

Boarding our coach, we drive to Lucknow for two nights, a historic city that played an important role during the Mughal and colonial periods. This sprawling yet exhilarating metropolis has long been regarded as the cultural and artistic heart of northern India. Lucknow and the state of Uttar Pradesh are the origins of elaborate Mughal cuisine, including varieties of tikkas, biriyanis and kebabs that are now popular across the world.

You could sample the original and best at Aminabad market in the old part of the city. This is also a good spot to find examples of the Chikan embroidery for which Lucknow is famous.

Day 7 - Exploring Lucknow

Today we visit the famous La Martiniere Boys' School, founded by an endowment from Major-General Claude Martin of the British Empire. We also see the magnificent Bada Imambara, home to both a mosque and a labyrinth said to have 1000 different passageways, as well as the British Residency.

Built in 1800 to house the British Resident General following the annexation of the former Indian state of Awadh by the British East India Company in 1857, it became the site of a bloody siege following an Indian rebellion. The Residency's buildings and gardens have been preserved as they were at the time of the siege, with the bullet holes, cannon damage and other battle scars remaining untouched.

Day 8 - Varanasi

Our final long-distance train journey takes us to Varanasi, a sacred city to the Hindus that attracts thousands of pilgrims every year. After checking into our hotel, this evening we watch a spectacular Aarti fire ceremony, an elaborate Hindu ritual. Priests carry tiered metal lamps, moving rhythmically to the sounds of sacred Hindu songs as the flames sway in unison creating an entrancing ambience.

Day 9 - Ganges cruise and Delhi

Early this morning, we cruise along the holy River Ganges, admiring the sun as it spreads its first orange hues on the slate-coloured water. We then enjoy an excursion to Sarnath, where Buddha is said to have given his first sermon and now consequently holds great significance for Buddhists. This afternoon, we transfer to the airport for our flight to Delhi where we spend the night.

Day 10 - Kathmandu

Returning to the airport, we board our flight to Kathmandu in Nepal, checking into our hotel for two nights on arrival.

Day 11 - Patan

Visiting the neighbouring town of Patan, we listen to a master create music with singing bowls, an experience that has deep spiritual connotations in Buddhist culture. Later, we return to Kathmandu for a sightseeing tour, exploring its multiple city squares where locals gather throughout the day, the erstwhile royal square, and Boudhanath Stupa - one of the largest stupas in the world. Afterwards, we experience a rickshaw ride to Thamel, a lively part of the city. Tonight, we dine at the well-known Rum Doodle restaurant. Once a hangout for brave mountaineers, here we chat with a local Sherpa as they relive their experiences of climbing Mount Everest.

Day 12 - Chitwan National Park

This morning we visit the Swayambhunath Stupa ahead of our journey to Chitwan National Park. After checking into our hotel for two nights, we enjoy a local naturalist's talk about the wildlife we might see over the next couple of days. Next, we walk to a nearby village populated by the Tharu People. Here, we learn about their unique way of life and culture. Most Tharu practice agriculture, raise cattle, hunt, fish and collect forest products. Interestingly, the five higher-status clans also claim to be of royal descent. Although they are Hindu, the Tharu practice their own unique rituals, with each village being governed by a council and a headman.

Day 13 - Safari in Chitwan National Park

We visit a gharial, an Indian crocodile breeding centre where this endangered species is bred and monitored to prevent extinction. After lunch, we take a wonderful Jeep safari through the jungles and grasslands of Chitwan National Park. Famous for its biodiversity, we hope to spot the Indian Rhino stalking its way through the wetlands and grassy plains, Bengal tigers, leopards, hyenas and maybe even a sloth bear or two. Asian elephants and golden jackals also call this savanna home, and our expert guide will be able to follow animal trails and use their local knowledge to give us the best possible chances of a sighting.

Day 14 - Pokhora and the Himalayas

We drive into the Himalayas today, passing glacial rapids and jungle-covered mountains on our way to Pokhara for three nights. With staggering views of Fishtail Peak, also known as Machapuchare, this is one of the world's most scenic and sacred destinations.

Day 15 - Free time in Pokhara

With a free day, you could experience what this region is famous for - mountain hiking in one of the many advanced treks the area has to offer. For something a little more easy-going, you could visit the World Peace Pagoda at the top of Anadu Hill. Begin by taking a local boat across Phewa Lake, where you can pick up the trail to the summit and enjoy a walk through beautiful woodland which takes around one hour to complete. Alternatively, you can take a taxi from Pokhara straight to the top. Built in 1973 by Japanese Buddhist monks, once you reach the World Peace Pagoda, you can drink in views across the Annapurna Massif, Pokhara, and Phewa Lake.

Day 16 - Exploring Pokhara

We drive up to Sarangkot, a mountain viewpoint that offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience - witnessing the sunrise over snow-clad Annapurna, one of the highest mountain ranges in the world. After breakfast back at our hotel, we explore Pokhara on a guided tour, visiting the Gorkha Museum, the Old Bazaar, and a Tibetan settlement where we experience some of the country's ancient cultural traditions. In the afternoon, we cruise across the tranquil waters of Lake Phewa, admiring the panoramic scenery of lofty mountains and the forested slopes of Anadu Hill that surround us.

Day 17 - Kathmandu

We return to the Nepalese capital for a final night's stay.

Day 18 - London

We transfer to the airport for our flight back to the UK, travelling via Doha.

Additional information

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

Taj View Hotel, Agra

Taj View Hotel, Agra

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Hyatt Regency Hotel, Amritsar

Hyatt Regency Hotel, Amritsar

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Jungle Villa Resort

Jungle Villa Resort, Chitwan

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Taj Palace, New Delhi

Taj Palace, New Delhi

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Vivanta Hotel, Kathmandu

Vivanta Hotel, Kathmandu

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Vivanta by Taj Hotel, Lucknow

Vivanta by Taj Hotel, Lucknow

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Fish Tail Lodge, Pokhara

Fish Tail Lodge, Pokhara

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Taj Ganges Hotel, Varanasi

Taj Ganges Hotel, Varanasi

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Train

Shatabdi Express

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Upgrades

Flight upgrades
London Hotels
UK rail connections

Reviews

4.3 stars4.3 / 5 · 31 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (17)
  2. 4 stars
    (10)
  3. 3 stars
    (2)
  4. 2 stars
    (1)
  5. 1 star
    (1)

Pooniavadee Ungapen

5 stars

Submitted 3/Apr

we had a wonderful time . Just to remind the organiser the road to kathmandu was too hard and a lot of time wasted

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Neil Kennedy

5 stars

Submitted 30/Mar

Excellent tour - fast paced with a wonderful variety of places and experiences, from bustling cities to safari. Excellent hotels and tour guides. Do not expect to unpack your suitcases at each hotel - just enjoy the ride!

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D O'Connor

5 stars

Submitted 29/Mar

Fantastic Trip, with Iconic stops. Early starts as full itinerary. Great Local Guides. Great Leader in Alan Smith. A few very long coach journeys. Require reasonable level of fitness for the walking.

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Sawyer Family

5 stars

Submitted 08 Dec 2023

Wonderful exciting and full on trip - very interesting and John Gillian our tour leader was truly great.

from Great Rail Journeys
Dear Ms Sawyer, Thank you for your review. That is wonderful to hear! I will make sure to pass your praise across to our Tour Management team for Gillian! Kind regards, Sophie.
1 comment

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Richard Nowacki

2 stars

Submitted 08 Dec 2023

Too much travelling. Too many interpretations can be made on GRJs descriptions in their brochure and itinerary. A few bit of wrong information. Chitwan safari was poor, but some other sights were excellent. 10 hour coach journey on the day before our flight home over the worst roads that could be imaged. Not a holiday.

from Great Rail Journeys
Dear Mr Nowacki, Thank you for taking the time to leave a review. I can see that you have reached out to our Customer Relations team and that they are investigating your comments. They will be in touch with you shortly so we can get this resolved. Kind regards, Sophie.
1 comment

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Fiona

1 stars

Submitted 06 Dec 2023

I have already left a review! It was an amazing trip. The tour leader was brilliant.

from Great Rail Journeys
Dear Mrs George, Thank you for your review. I'm glad to hear everything went well and you had an amazing trip. I am sorry to see this is a 1 star review, feel free to get in touch with our Customer Service team on XXX@XXX if there are any issues. Kind regards, Sophie.
Sorry Sophie - I obviously pressed the wrong star rating - it should be the maximum.! It was a wonderful trip and I apologise for my error. The tour leader was brilliant and looked after everyone so well. He had problems with one guest who never stopped complaining throughout the whole trip. He deserves a medal! The trip was very full-on but we knew what we had signed up for and we saw and did a huge number of things in just 18 days. Fiona George
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