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India's Palace on Wheels & Ultimate Rajasthan

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An adventure on one of India's famous hotel trains

You are viewing the 2020 itinerary. Select your departure year
20212020
15 daysFrom £5,695 per person

2020 Tour code: INJ20

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 1-2 - Fly to Delhi

We depart London Heathrow for our overnight flight to the Indian capital, Delhi. On arrival in the late-morning of Day 2, we transfer to the 4-Star Oberoi Maidens Hotel for a two-night stay, in the heart of New Delhi close to diplomatic missions, shops and historical landmarks.

Includes
  • Scheduled flights
Delhi
Day 3 - Sightseeing in Delhi

Today is devoted to a fascinating sightseeing tour. We start with an engaging rickshaw ride through the streets of Old Delhi, an explosion of sights, sounds, and activity, and visit the Jama Masjib Mosque. We then go on to New Delhi, passing by President House and Parliament House. We visit Gandhi's Smriti, a museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, before discovering Connaught Square on a walking tour. Finally, we rest and sample high tea at the Imperial Hotel.

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

After breakfast at our hotel, we transfer to the train station to board the Shatabdi Express to Kalka. On arrival, 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 'discovered' by the British in 1817, and was later used as a fashionable retreat from the summer heat thanks to its lovely temperate climate.

Toy Train
Days 5-6 - Shimla

Today, we explore Shimla by car and see sights such as the Viceregal Lodge, a striking 19th century Elizabethan-style mansion that was the summer seat of the viceroys of India until the 1940's. After lunch, we take a leisurely 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.

On Day 6 you are free to explore at leisure. This provides you with a great opportunity to travel further into the Himalayas for majestic views towards the higher, snowcapped mountain peaks of the world's tallest mountain range, followed by a High tea lunch at Wildflower Hall, with walk in gardens.  (please note, these experiences are payable locally).

Shimla
Day 7 - Return to Delhi

We leave Shimla in the morning and travel by road, for 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 - Delhi and the Palace on Wheels

Enjoy a free morning today, until this afternoon where we visit Delhi's National Rail Museum, which tells the history of India's railways. After, we transfer to our hotel train, the Palace on Wheels, for an enchanting journey through the bygone eras of the Maharajas. We have time to settle into our comfortable cabins before we enjoy dinner together in the restaurant car as the train heads into the night.

Humayuns Tomb
Day 9 - Jaipur

Our first stop is the capital of Rajasthan. Founded in 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Singh II, this lovely city is often referred to as 'the Pink City' after the buildings were painted pink in the 19th century to celebrate a visit by Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert. Sightseeing 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.' We also visit the magnificent Amber Fort, one of three hilltop forts that dominate the hills above Jaipur, and enjoy lunch at a local hotel. During the night the train continues east.

Amber Fort, Jaipur
Day 10 - Tigers and Chittorgarh

We leave the train to visit the Ranthambore National Park, one of the largest national parks in India, covering 151 square miles of land. It is here that we try and spot tigers, leopards and other native wildlife before we head to Chittorgarh to see the majestic hilltop fort that sprawls across an area of 692 acres, as well as the Tower of Victory and the intricate Tower of Fame.

Ranthambore National Park
Days 11-12 - Udaipur and Jaisalmer

The Palace on Wheels reaches Udaipur this morning. We leave the train for lunch at a local hotel before taking a cruise on the serene waters of Lake Pichola, an artificial lake created over 650 years ago. We sail around the small island and the Lake Palace Hotel, originally the Palace of the Maharani of Udaipur, a breathtaking white marble building that was originally built in 1746. On our return to Udaipur we rejoin the train.

On Day 12 we arrive in Jaisalmer, a fairytale walled town in the Thar Desert. We explore the narrow, twisting streets of the town centre, see beautiful merchants' houses with intricately carved sandstone façades and enjoy a camel ride into the surrounding desert. We dine together at a local hotel before the train departs for Jodhpur.

Udaipur
Day 13 - Jodhpur

Jodhpur is known as the 'Blue City' due to the hue of the houses within the old walls. During a morning tour we see the impenetrable walls of the 'Citadel of the Sun', the Mehrangarh Fort and Palace with fine sandstone carvings, soaking up the atmosphere and architecture of this excellent throwback to stately Indian court life. We enjoy lunch in the Palace Hotel and visit Jaswant Thada, a white marble cenotaph. We rejoin the train and journey towards Agra.

Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur
Day 14 - Agra and the Taj Mahal

This morning we arrive into the beautiful city of Agra, where we disembark the Palace on Wheels for the final time. After leaving the train, we visit Agra Fort, the majestic red sandstone citadel and the captivating Taj Mahal, the iconic masterpiece in white marble. Built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1653, for his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj Mahal is the world's finest example of Mughal and Persian architecture.

This afternoon, we take the Gatimaan Express train to the capital city of Delhi, where we check into our hotel, the 5* ITC Maurya Sheraton, and enjoy dinner.

The Taj Mahal
Day 15 - The journey home

We bid farewell to India today, as we transfer to the airport for our flight to London.

Includes
  • Scheduled flights
Flying home

Additional information

Guest Speaker - Raaja Bhasin

On some 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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Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi

Taj Mahal Hotel, New 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
Upgrade to a twin occupancy Valley View room at the Oberoi Cecil Hotel
London Hotels
UK rail connections

Extend your holiday

Amritsar by Rail
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

Worldwide Holidays by Rail 2020/21

Worldwide Holidays by Rail 2020/21

Long haul rail holidays to North America, South America, Asia, Africa and Australasia.

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India's Palace on Wheels & Ultimate Rajasthan

An adventure on one of India's famous hotel trains

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