Take a decadent tour of India's vibrant colours on this luxurious tour. From the Golden Temple of Amritsar to the ancient heritage of Mumbai, our Indian adventure takes in the very best of India's treasures, from its UNESCO World Heritage sites to its breathtaking wildlife, all the while staying in 5-Star comfort, with a range of carefully-picked hotels, and 7 nights on board the incomparable Deccan Odyssey.
Our tour begins today with a flight from London to Delhi, where we arrive on Day 2. We then board an internal flight to Amritsar, where we check in to the 5-Star Taj Swarna Hotel. After time to settle in and unwind following our journey, we enjoy dinner together in the hotel's restaurant, before heading out into Amritsar to watch the incredible Palki Ceremony at the city's famous Golden Temple, a Sikh holy shrine and one of India's most breathtaking sights. During this atmospheric tradition, the Guru Granth Sahib, or Sikh holy book, is paraded triumphantly through a crowd of worshippers and 'put to bed'.
We return to the Golden Temple after breakfast this morning, for a guided tour of this fascinating holy site. Set on a lake, at the end of an elegant causeway, the temple is an island of tranquillity, with architectural styles drawing from Hindu and Islamic traditions, and pietra dura artwork featuring delicate flower and animal motifs, not unlike the Taj Mahal. The gilded dome alone contains 118st of gold, though some estimates put the total amount for the complex at 236st. Despite its decadent appearance, the temple also serves humble purposes, earning this stunning monument the reputation as the world's largest soup kitchen, with an estimated 100,000 people fed here daily. After our tour, we continue to the Jallianwala Bagh Gardens, a serene memorial sight. Later, we visit the Wagah Border, which separates Pakistan and India, to witness the exuberant ceremony marking the lowering of both countries' flags.
This morning is free to spend as you wish; alternatively, you may choose to join an optional walking excursion (payable locally) to explore the ancient heritage of Amritsar. This afternoon, we transfer to the station to board the Shatabdi Express train, travelling in air-conditioned Chair Class to Delhi. We enjoy a packed dinner on board, before arriving into the bustling city late this evening. Following breakfast on Day 5, we venture out into Delhi for a fascinating guided sightseeing tour. We begin with Old Delhi, where we explore icons of the city, visiting the Jama Masjid - India's largest mosque - and Raj Ghat, a simple but moving memorial to Gandhi, as well as passing the iconic Red Fort. Absorb the atmosphere as we travel by rickshaw through Delhi's vibrant bazaar. After time for lunch, we then discover New Delhi, on sightseeing tour that takes in its wide, leafy avenues and impressive colonial architecture.
After breakfast today, your morning is free to relax. This afternoon we take a guided tour of some of New Delhi's intriguing sights, including Gandhi Smritri, a museum dedicated to the life and works of Mahatma Gandhi, the Indian Railway Museum, and Khan Market, the most prosperous market in the country. With a reputation for attracting diplomats and members of the Indian government as well as international customers, the market is a must-see for keen shoppers.
Early this evening we begin our adventure aboard the Deccan Odyssey, a rolling hotel that will carry us in style through India's eager cities and vast landscapes. Featuring spacious cabins, two restaurant cars, a bar car and a lounge car, the Deccan Odyssey off ers 24-hour service through on-board attendants, catering to your every need as we traverse India in the utmost comfort. We enjoy welcome drinks and dinner on board tonight, as the train begins on its journey across India.
Today we head into the Ranthambore National Park for an early morning game drive, hopefully spotting some of the rare creatures that reside here - from leopards and panthers to hyenas, marsh crocodiles and, of course, tigers. After lunch on board our train, we visit an authentic local tribal village this afternoon for a guided tour, followed by a delightful high tea at the Sawai Madhopur Lodge. Once a hunting lodge for the Maharaja of Jaipur, today the Sawai Madhopur is the only heritage hotel in Ranthambore. This evening, our train continues towards Agra, where we disembark for an excursion on Day 8. We explore the highlights of the city, including the historic Taj Mahal, a truly spectacular piece of Indian architecture and a cultural icon. Following lunch in a local restaurant, we continue our sightseeing, visiting the Itmad-Ud-Daulah, also known as the 'Baby Taj', a breathtaking, if less grand tomb, dedicated to the grandfather of Mumtaz Mahal - the empress for whom the Taj Mahal was built. We also visit the Agra Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
During breakfast on board today, the Deccan Odyssey pulls into the 'Pink City' of Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan and the next stop on our adventure. On a guided sightseeing tour, we discover the city's heritage, including the stunning Amber Fort, the sprawling City Palace, and Jantar Mantar, an adjacent astronomical complex designed to interpret the stars, which has received UNESCO World Heritage status for its extraordinary sculpture-like structures. After lunch in Jaipur, there is an optional visit to a local bazaar for a spot of shopping (payable locally), before we re-board our train.
On Day 10, we arrive into Udaipur, otherwise known as the 'City of Lakes', where we take a tour of the imposing City Palace, the largest of its kind in Rajasthan, and cruise across scenic Lake Pichola. We enjoy lunch at Jag Mandir, a palace on the lake that has since been converted to a hotel, followed by an afternoon walking tour of Udaipur's Old City.
Our train pulls in to Vadodara today, where we explore ancient Hindu architecture at the Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site that dates back to the 16th century. After a guided tour, we visit the Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum, which houses a collection of Indian artwork, before taking high tea at the Laxmi Vilas Palace. Following a morning at leisure to enjoy the Deccan Odyssey's luxurious facilities, we disembark for an excursion to the UNESCO-listed Ellora Caves on Day 12. The caves were painstakingly hand-carved by Buddhist, Hindu and Jain monks, each with its own shrines, temples and statues, the largest of which took 7,000 labourers 150 years to complete. We return to our train, where we enjoy a final dinner on board this evening.
After breakfast today, we leave the Deccan Odyssey behind, alighting in Mumbai. We enjoy a sightseeing tour of the city by coach, including the historic Gateway of India, Dhobi Ghat, and the Prince of Wales Museum. On Day 14 we transfer to the airport for our flight to London.
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.
An escorted experience and all travel arrangements
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Fantastic rail experiences
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
Take in the very best of India's treasures