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Ultimate Rajasthan and the Palace on Wheels

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4.3 stars(19 reviews)
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Discover the culture of Rajasthan as we explore India’s Golden Triangle and travel aboard the famous Palace on Wheels

You are viewing the 2023 itinerary. Select your departure year
20222023
14 days From £4,795 per person

2023 Tour code: INJ23

About the tour

Discover striking palaces and forts on this epic adventure aboard the Palace on Wheels. Experience the lifestyle of the Maharajahs as we visit walled cities, marvel at the Taj Mahal and enjoy tiger-spotting in Ranthambore National Park.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - To Delhi

We fly overnight to Delhi, arriving on Day 2 for two-night stay.

Day 2 - Delhi

We arrive in to Delhi today and transfer to our hotel.

Day 3 - Discovering Delhi

We begin exploring with our local guide today, setting out on a tour that starts with a rickshaw ride through the streets of Old Delhi. Passing by the historic bazaar, we catch the scent of fragrant spices and the sounds of locals haggling for a bargain before visiting Jama Masjid, also known as the 'World-reflecting Mosque'. We continue to New Delhi, a spacious area of the city with modern buildings and wide, tree-lined boulevards, passing by the President's House and Parliament House on our way to Gandhi Smriti, a museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi. We also discover Connaught Place on a walking tour.

Day 4 - The Toy Train to Shimla

We transfer to the train station to board the Shatabdi Express to Kalka. From here, we embark on a scenic journey aboard the UNESCO-listed, narrow-gauge Toy Train to Shimla, travelling from the Shivalik foothills through 102 tunnels, over 864 bridges and around 919 horse-shoe curves. During our ascent, we have time to soak up panoramic views of the Himalayas, making stops at stations such as Dharampur, Kandaghat and Summerhill on the way. Alternatively, you may choose to make the journey by road. 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 night.

Day 5 - Shimla

Today is free for you to explore Shimla. You could join an optional tour to Kufri to admire the views over the Himalayas, 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 - Sightseeing in Shimla

Our day begins with an informative talk from guest speaker Raaja Bhasin, whose spellbinding stories of his home town bring to life the history of Shimla. Later, we explore by car, seeing the Viceregal Lodge, a striking 19th-century Elizabethan-style mansion, and the Sankat Mochan temple. After lunch, we take a 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.

Please Note: For departure INJ2302 our guest speaker will be Raj Mehta

Day 7 - Jaipur

We leave Shimla in the morning, making the journey back down the mountains through stunning scenery to Chandigarh. Transferring to the airport, we fly to Jaipur for the night, the capital of Rajasthan. Founded in 1727 by Maharaja Jai Singh II, the city is often referred to as the 'Pink City' after the buildings were repainted in the 19th century to celebrate a visit from Prince Albert.

Day 8 - The Palace on Wheels

Taking a tour of the city, we see the incredible Amber Fort, the beautiful façade of the Palace of the Winds, which shielded courtly ladies from the streets below, and the ancient City Palace, before transferring to our hotel-train, the Palace on Wheels, and starting our five-night journey in carriages decorated in traditional Rajasthani style. After a vibrant welcome ceremony at the station, we settle into our comfortable cabins, enjoying dinner together in the restaurant car in the evening. The train's carpeted floors, intricately patterned walls and comfortable furniture is a fitting accompaniment to the regal architecture of Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur and Jaisalmer, and helps us immerse ourselves even further into the culture and traditions of this part of India.

Day 9 – Ranthambore National Park

During the night, our train sets off for Ranthambore, arriving at the renowned national park on early in the morning. One of the largest of its kind in India, this is perhaps the best place to see the Bengal Tiger in its natural habitat thanks to the conservation efforts of Project Tiger. We head out on a morning game drive in the hope of spotting this majestic creature, as well as a plethora of other native wildlife such as sloth bears, hyenas, macaques, wild boar and even leopards. Afterwards, we re-board the train and travel to Chittorgarh, where we see the majestic hilltop fort, the Tower of Victory, and the intricate Tower of Fame.

Day 10 - Udaipur

The Palace on Wheels reaches Udaipur, set on the shores of pristine Lake Pichola and encircled by the Aravalli Ranges of Rajasthan. Often referred to as the City of Lakes, Udaipur was founded by Maharana Udai Singh of Mewar after the Sisodia dynasty was driven away by the Mughals. We enjoy a coach tour here, seeing the famous City Palace, a majestic white monument created entirely of granite and marble that dates back to 1550, ahead of lunch at a nearby hotel. Afterwards, we take to the waters for a cruise across the lake itself, enjoying outstanding views of forested islands and elegant shoreside buildings.

Day 11 - Jaisalmer

We arrive in Jaisalmer, a historic walled town in the Thar Desert whose splendid sandstone architecture has earned it the moniker of the 'Golden City'. Embarking on a guided tour on arrival, we explore the main chowk, or square, which is dominated by the Palace of the Maharawal. Here, a five-storey façade of balconies and windows display some of the finest masonry in Jaisalmer, giving us time to marvel at the skill of the local stone carvers. In the afternoon, we enjoy 4x4 Jeep ride, traversing the sandy desert before stopping to admire the setting sun over the sand dunes. Dinner tonight is accompanied by a cultural performance at a local hotel before we re-board the Palace on Wheels.

Day 12 - Jodhpur

Pulling into the 'Blue City' of Jodhpur, ringed by a high stone wall of seven gates and several bastions, we enjoy an immersive tour that includes the grand Mehrangarh Fort, Jaswant Thada - an ornate group of royal cenotaphs made of white marble to honour Rajput king - and the Umaid Bhawan Palace Museum. Jodhpur is also well known for its creative crafts and you may like to pick up any number of handmade gifts, fabrics or printed materials. After soaking up the atmosphere and architecture reminiscent of stately Indian court life, we enjoy lunch at a local hotel before re-boarding the train to make the journey to Agra.

Day 13 - Agra and the Taj Mahal

The Palace on Wheels stops at Bharatpur, where you have the option to visit the famous bird sanctuary. Continuing to Agra, we disembark for the final time. After leaving the Palace on Wheels, we visit Agra Fort, a majestic red sandstone citadel, and the captivating Taj Mahal, an iconic white marble masterpiece. Commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1632 for his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj Mahal is considered to be the world's finest example of Mughal and Persian architecture and is considered the jewel of Muslim art in India, as well as being one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. We return to Delhi by coach for the night.

Day 14 - Home

Transferring to the airport, we fly back to the UK where our holiday draws to a close.

Additional information

Guest Speaker - Raaja Bhasin

We enjoy a talk from Raaja Bhasin on Day 5, gaining detailed insight into the town of Shimla through its people, history and culture. Raaja Bhasin is an acclaimed writer and researcher born in Shimla and has written two books on this former British retreat in the foothills of the Himalayas.

Raaja Bhasin
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 Maurya Hotel, New Delhi

ITC Maurya Hotel, New Delhi

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Maidens Hotel, Delhi

Maidens Hotel, Delhi

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The Oberoi Cecil Hotel, Shimla

The Oberoi Cecil Hotel, Shimla

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Trains

Palace on Wheels
Shatabdi Express
Toy Train

Enhance your holiday

Upgrades

UK rail connections
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Extend your holiday

Amritsar
Goa
Mumbai
Varanasi

Reviews

4.3 stars4.3 / 5 · 19 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (9)
  2. 4 stars
    (7)
  3. 3 stars
    (2)
  4. 2 stars
    (1)
  5. 1 star
    (0)

Mrs A Liggett

5 stars

Submitted 21 Dec 2018

The tour was absolutely excellent. The accommodation, the restaurants chosen, the itinerary, were all superb as were the guides everywhere.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr J Walls

4 stars

Submitted 30 Nov 2018

Not as good as my previous 13 holidays with GRJ. However, it was a most interesting holiday but perhaps too much crammed into the Palace oin Wheels part

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr D Alcock

5 stars

Submitted 23 Nov 2018

Hotels and itinery first class.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr M Mitchell

4 stars

Submitted 17 Nov 2018

The average age of our group was about 60 years of age. Every single day we were full on with no down time to speak of and we came back to the UK exhausted.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr K Wills

5 stars

Submitted 16 Nov 2018

Fascinating destinations, well planned, well conducted.,

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

Mr . Taylor

5 stars

Submitted 16 Nov 2018

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.

Collected by Great Rail Journeys

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Ultimate Rajasthan and the Palace on Wheels

Discover the culture of Rajasthan as we explore India’s Golden Triangle and travel aboard the famous Palace on Wheels

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