Upon arrival in Kolkata you'll be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to explore the city or relax at the hotel.
Cultural Kolkata is an amazing example of east meets west. Today we enjoy a sightseeing tour which includes a visit to the Victoria Memorial. Opened by the Prince of Wales in 1921, this imposing vision in marble is often called the “Taj” of the British Raj. It also overlooks the grassy Maidan, known as the Brigade Parade ground which forms part of the city’s green belt.
Overnight: Kolkata | Breakfast
Kolkata - New Jalpaiguri. Today is free to independently explore Kolkata. Early this evening, we board the Darjeeling Mail train (1st class A/C sleeper) and relax as the train heads north to New Jalpaiguri.
Overnight: Train | Breakfast
New Jalpaiguri - Darjeeling - Varanasi. Arriving into New Jalpaiguri early on day 4, we continue our journey to Darjeeling by car. Lofty Darjeeling sits at a altitude of 2124m with a backdrop consisting of mighty snow-clad Himalayan peaks and verdant tea plantations. Owing to Darjeeling's close proximity to Tibet, the town has a Tibetan Refugee Centre which cares for the young and old and has craft workshops that produce carpets, leather work and other Tibetan curios. If you have time, it’s worth a look.
Early on the morning of day 5, we drive to Tiger Hill to watch a spectacular sunrise over the snowy peak of Kanchenjunga - the world’s third highest mountain. We continue on to the Ghoom Gompa (monastery) before enjoying city sightseeing and visiting a tea estate where you can purchase some of Darjeeling’s most famous export (if travelling between Mar and Oct, we'll also see the tea being processed). Day 6, drive to New Jalpaiguri to catch the Varanasi North-East Express train (2nd class A/C sleeper) to Varanasi.
Overnight: (2) Darjeeling - (1) train | Breakfast x 3, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
Varanasi - Agra. Arriving into Mughalsarai early this morning, we drive to Varanasi. Varanasi or the city of Shiva, is the holiest Hindu pilgrimage destination in India and it has an abundance of temples. In the afternoon we explore the sites of Varanasi on a city tour. Early the following morning we take a boat ride on the holy Ganges River to watch the sunrise and the ancient religious tradition of ritual cleansing that takes place on the famous riverside ghats (steps) that line the banks. Late afternoon, we board the Marudhar Express train (2nd class A/C sleeper) to Agra.
Overnight: (1) Varanassi - (1) train | Breakfast x 1
Agra - Kalka. An early morning arrival into Agra allows us chance to relax. In the afternoon we visit the impressive Agra Fort and the legendary Taj Mahal. Built by Emperor Shah Jahan in loving memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz, who tragically died in childbirth in 1631, the Taj Mahal in Agra is described as the most extravagant monument ever built for love and remains one of India’s most enduring symbols.
Day 10 is a free morning or you can opt to re-visit the Taj Mahal. In the afternoon we travel to Delhi by road, arriving in time to board the Howrah Delhi Kalka Express train (1st class A/C sleeper) to Kalka.
Overnight: (1) Agra - (1) train | Breakfast x 1
Kalka - Shimla - (breakfast day 12 only). Very early today, we transfer to the Kalka-Shimla Express (1st class, no A/C), arriving ino Shimla late morning. Picturesque Shimla, the ‘old summer capital’ of British India sprawls along a crescent-shaped ridge at an altitude of 2100m. The famous ‘Mall’, lined with stately English houses, Christ Church, Gorton Castle and the fortress-like former Viceregal Lodge reinforces Shimla’s English flavour. Spend your time at leisure in Shimla and be sure to explore the narrow streets which fall steeply away from the ridge to the colourful local bazaars.
Overnight: Shimla | Breakfast x 1
Welcome to India's bustling capital! This morning we embark on a sightseeing tour of Old Delhi including the Red Fort, Jama Masjid mosque and the bazaars of Chandni Chowk. This afternoon, enjoy the sights of New Delhi including the majestic India Gate, Rajpath and Connaught Place. A visit is also made to Qutab Minar, a massive tower built to proclaim the arrival of Islam in India in the 11th century and a carpet emporium.
Overnight: Delhi | Breakfast
Today our tour comes to an end after breakfast and a transfer to Delhi airport for your onward flight.
Prices are based on 4 star hotels. If you fancy a little added comfort and luxury, you can upgrade your accommodation on this tour to 5 star hotels.
Please contact us for further details and prices.
For all our tours and tailor-made holidays we provide you with a clear categorisation of all hotels we use. The REGIONAL CATEGORY indicates the local rating of each hotel in each respective country. We have also rated each hotel using OUR CATEGORY, which will be in line with generally accepted western hotel grading standards.
Basic hotels and simple accommodation is a no frills option with an adventurous authentic feel.
Standard accommodation equates to a Western 3-star standard, always featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant.
Superior accommodation equates to a Western 4-star standard, featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant and often a swimming pool and/or a fitness centre.
Deluxe accommodation equates to a Western 5-star standard, usually featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, excellent service and customer care.
Lavish accommodation equates to a Western 5-star plus standard - the creme de la creme. Featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, this accommodation is a cut above the rest. Sheer opulence!
Bright and modern, the Pride Hotel is one of Kolkata's best hotels. Guest rooms are well appointed with huge beds and stylish wooden furnishings. The swanky onsite Cafe Treat is the perfect place to relax with a coffee or dine until dawn with late night snacks. Wi-fi is avalable throughout and the hotel staff are renowned for their excellent hospitality. A morning splash in the pool is a great way to start the day! Well located with good access to the airport.
The Elgin Hotel is a 125 year old well-preserved Victorian mansion, with tastefully furnished rooms. Once the summer residence of the Maharaja it is now a luxury hotel affording fantastic views of the surrounding tea plantations.
The Wyndham is inspired by the intricacy of Mughal architecture with splendid display of terraced lawns, fountains and ancient interiors that take you back to an era of emperors and princes but with modern facilities.
The Oberoi Clarkes is a charming hotel situated on the main promenade in Shimla. This heritage hotel is one of the oldest hotels in Shimla and is known for its architecture dating from the colonial era.
The stylish Hans Plaza hotel is one of the tallest buildings in Delhi with rooms on the upper floors giving fantastic views across the city. The rooms are spacious, clean and tastefully designed. The hotel has an excellent breakfast daily and offers guests fine Italian dining at the stylish and cool in house restaurant. The hotel is a home from home in the heart of the city with Connaught Square just a short walk away and the Barakhamba Road Metro Station around the corner.
Tipping is not a natural part of many Western cultures and many of us feel uncomfortable, or unsure, about when, or how much, to tip. However, in India, tipping makes up a significant part of many people's wages so it's important that we get it right. For this reason we've developed a very simple system to take all the hassle out of tipping. With our 'tipping made easy' policy, a nominal pre-determined amount is collected from all group tour participants to cover tips en route. This then saves you the hassle of when and how much to tip bellhops, luggage handlers, local guides and other support staff through the tour. Our 'tipping made easy' doesn't include a tip to your group tour leader. Naturally, though, the amount is up to you as tipping is an entirely personal gesture.