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India's Palace on Wheels and Ultimate Rajasthan

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An adventure on one of India's famous hotel trains

You are viewing the 2021 itinerary. Select your departure year
20212022
15 days From £5,895 per person
Flexible Booking

Book your 2021 holiday before 18th December and you can transfer your holiday for free - no questions asked. T&C's apply

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2021 Tour code: INJ21

About the tour

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.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Days 1-3 - London and Delhi

We fly from London Heathrow to Delhi, arriving on Day 2.

On Day 3 we embark on a sightseeing tour, starting with a rickshaw ride through the streets of Old Delhi before visiting the Jama Masjid. We continue to New Delhi, passing by the President's House and Parliament House on the way. We visit the kitchen of Bangla Sahib Gurudwara that serves free meals to hundreds of people every day. We see Gandhi Smriti, a museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, before discovering Connaught Place on a walking tour. Later, we sample high tea at the Imperial Hotel.

Jama Masjid Mosque, Delhi
Day 4 - The Toy Train to Shimla

We transfer to the train station to board the Shatabdi Express to Kalka. Here, we embark on a scenic journey on the UNESCO-listed narrow-gauge Toy Train to Shimla. Alternatively, you may choose to make the journey by road. The mountain town of Shimla was once the summer capital of the British Raj because of its cooler climate.

Toy Train
Days 5-6 - Shimla

Today begins with an informative talk from guest speaker Raaja Bhasin. Later, we explore Shimla by car and see 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.

Day 6 is free to explore Shimla at leisure. There's an optional tour to Kufri where we admire the views over the Himalayas followed by a high tea lunch at Wildflower Hall.

Shimla
Day 7 - Return to Delhi

We leave Shimla in the morning, making the journey back down the mountains through stunning scenery to Chandigarh. Here we join the Shatabdi Express to Delhi for another night at the Oberoi Maidens Hotel.

Dehli Red Fort
Day 8 - The Palace on Wheels

This afternoon, we visit Delhi's National Rail Museum, which tells the history of India's railways. Afterwards, we transfer to our hotel train, the Palace on Wheels, for an enchanting journey in carriages decked in traditional Rajasthani style. After a vibrant welcome ceremony at the station, we settle into our comfortable cabins. We enjoy dinner together in the restaurant car.

Palace On Wheels
Days 9-10 - Jaipur, Ranthambore, and Chittorgarh

Our first stop is the capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur, where we enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Founded in 1727 by Maharaja Jai Singh II, the city is often referred to as the 'Pink City' after the buildings were painted pink in the 19th century to celebrate a visit by Prince Albert. Our sightseeing here 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', a social practice in which women were hidden from public observation. We also explore the City Palace and the Astronomical Observatory. After a visit to the magnificent Amber Fort, one of 3 hilltop forts that dominate the hills above Jaipur.

During the night, our train continues to Ranthambore. We leave the train to visit Ranthambore National Park on Day 10. One of the largest national parks in India, this is one of the best places to see the Bengal tiger, largely thanks to the conservation efforts of Project Tiger. We head out on a morning game drive with hopes of spotting this majestic creature as well as a plethora of other native wildlife. Afterwards, we board the train to Chittorgarh where we see the majestic hilltop fort, the Tower of Victory, and the intricate Tower of Fame.

Amber Fort, Jaipur
Days 11-13 - Udaipur, Jaisalmer, and Jodhpur

The Palace on Wheels reaches Udaipur this morning where we take a city tour by coach. We have lunch at a local hotel before cruising on the serene waters of Lake Pichola, an artificial lake created in 1362 AD. On our return to Udaipur, we rejoin the train.

On Day 12, we arrive in Jaisalmer, a historic walled town in the Thar Desert. We take a city tour, exploring the beautiful merchants' houses with intricately-carved sandstone façades. This afternoon, we enjoy a drive on a camel cart, traversing the sandy desert. We stop to admire the sun setting beyond the sand dunes, while sipping our afternoon tea. Later, we enjoy dinner and a cultural performance at a local hotel before the train sets out for Jodhpur.

On Day 13, we arrive in the 'Blue City' itself, enjoying a tour that includes, the grand Mehrangarh Fort, Jaswant Thada, an ornate cenotaph of a Rajput king, and Umaid Bhawan Palace Museum. After soaking up the atmosphere and architecture reminiscent of stately Indian court life, we enjoy lunch in a local hotel. Later, we re-board the train for the journey to Agra.

Udaipur
Days 14-15 - Agra, the Taj Mahal, Delhi and London

The Palace on Wheels stops at Bharatpur and we have the option of visiting its famous bird sanctuary. Later, we arrive in Agra, where 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 the world's finest example of Mughal and Persian architecture. We transfer to Clarks Shiraz hotel for high tea, before boarding the coach to return to Delhi. On the afternoon of Day 15, we fly back to London Heathrow.

The Taj Mahal

Additional information

Guest Speaker - Raaja Bhasin

On all 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.

 

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

2 for 1 Flight Premium Economy Upgrade
UK rail connections

Extend your holiday

Amritsar by Rail
Goa
Mumbai
Varanasi

Reviews

79% of travellers would recommend this tour

Based on 24 verified reviews

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Mrs A Liggett

Submitted 21/12/2018

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

Mr D Alcock

Submitted 23/11/2018

Hotels and itinery first class.

Mr K Wills

Submitted 16/11/2018

Fascinating destinations, well planned, well conducted.,

Mr . Taylor

Submitted 16/11/2018

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.

Anonymous

Submitted 04/05/2018

A magical experience and a great way to journey around this part of India.

Mr S Graham

Submitted 10/12/2017

Exciting and fun with plenty of new discoveries each day

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Worldwide Holidays by Rail 2020/21

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India's Palace on Wheels and Ultimate Rajasthan

An adventure on one of India's famous hotel trains

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