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Ultimate Rajasthan and the Palace on Wheels

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

14 days From £4,795 per person
Operated by our sister company Great Rail Journeys

2022 Tour code: INJ22

About the tour

Magnificent palaces and forts are waiting to be discovered on this Indian rail adventure aboard the Palace on Wheels. 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 overnight from London Heathrow to Delhi, arriving on Day 2.

We begin making discoveries on Day 3, setting out on a guided tour that starts with a rickshaw ride through the streets of Old Delhi before visiting Jama Masjid. We continue to New Delhi, 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

We transfer to the train station to board the Shatabdi Express to Kalka. 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 curves. During our ascent, we have time to soak up the awe-inspiring, 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.

Days 5-6 - 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.

Day 6 begins with an informative talk from guest speaker Raaja Bhasin. Later, we explore Shimla 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.

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 re-painted in the 19th century to celebrate a visit from Prince Albert. 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.

Day 8 - The Palace on Wheels

We transfer to our hotel-train, the Palace on Wheels today, starting our enchanting 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 this 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 our-selves even further into the culture and traditions of this area of India.

Day 9 – Ranthambore National Park

During the night, our train sets off for Ranthambore, arriving at the renowned national park on Day 9. One of the largest of its kind in India, this is one of the best places to see the Bengal Tiger 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, a city set within its own lake, where we take a tour by coach. We stop for lunch at a local hotel before a cruise across the serene waters of Lake Pichola, a vast artificial lake created in 1362 AD that's dotted with forested islands and elegant shoreside buildings. On our return to Udaipur, we re-join the train.

Days 11-12 - Jaisalmer and Jodhpur

We arrive in Jaisalmer, a historic walled town in the Thar Desert. We embark on a city tour, exploring the beautiful merchants' houses with their intricately-carved sandstone façades. This afternoon, we enjoy a traditional drive on a camel cart, traversing the sandy desert before stopping to admire the sun setting over the sand dunes. Dinner tonight is accompanied by a cultural performance at a local hotel before we re-board the Palace on Wheels, traveling to Jodhpur.

On Day 12, 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 the Umaid Bhawan Palace Museum. After soaking up the atmosphere and architecture reminiscent of stately Indian court life, we enjoy lunch at a local hotel. Later, we re-board the train for the journey to Agra.

Days 13-14 - Agra, the Taj Mahal and London

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. We return to Delhi for the night flying back to London Heathrow on Day 14.

Additional information

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We will write to you around 10 weeks before your departure date with the precise meeting times for your tour group.

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

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

Shatabdi Express
Toy Train
Palace on Wheels

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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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Luke Simpson
Luke
Lynne Broadley
Lynne
Helen Laverack
Helen