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Welcome to India and the start of your holiday! Arriving to Delhi International Airport you will be met by our representative and included onward transfer to our hotel. The remainder of the day offers free time for you to relax or explore the city your own way. Our welcome meeting takes place at 8pm this evening.
Bright and early this morning we board the Shatabdi Express bound for Kalka. Here, travellers will transfer (independently) to the narrow gauge Himalayan Queen Toy Train travelling to Shimla. To the commotion of the steam train's arrival to Shimla, we meet our representative on the station platform and transfer to our hotel for an evening at leisure.
Former ‘summer capital’ of British India, Shimla sprawls along a crescent-shaped ridge at an altitude of over 2100m. The famous main street, ‘The Mall’, lined with stately English homes and the fortress-like former Viceregal Lodge, reinforces Shimla’s quintessential English look. Today we enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of the lofty settlement, venturing into the narrow streets, which fall steeply away from the ridge giving way to colourful bazaars and fine views of the surrounding valley and snow-capped peaks.
Today offers free time for you to independently explore Shimla. You can opt to stroll, drop by the colourful Lakkar Bazaar or hike to the summit of Jakhoo Hill, Shimla’s highest point. Here visitors are rewarded with panoramic views of the eternal snows set as a glorious backdrop to the sleepy township of Shimla beneath. Hotel check out is at 12 noon, opt for some lunch and pack an evening picnic meal before boarding the Kalka Shatabdi Express at sunset and arriving into Delhi late this evening.
Today we enjoy a full day sightseeing tour of Delhi, taking in the impressive Red Fort, Jama Masjid - India’s oldest and largest mosque, Raj Ghat - the site of Gandhi’s cremation and more. Tonight, we enjoy a group Namaste Dinner at a restaurant specialising in classic Indian cuisine.
Departing Delhi, we journey to Agra, once India’s Mughal capital. Here, we visit the impressive Agra Fort, which boasts some of India's finest Mughal buildings behind it's fortified walls. Later on we take a motorised buggy to the legendary Taj Mahal and witness a magical sunset. Built by Shah Jahan in the 16th century as an enduring memorial to his beloved wife Mumtaz. Built entirely of white marble, the Taj Mahal has no peers.
En route to Jaipur, we visit the ghostly former Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri, abandoned due to lack of water. As we get closer to Jaipur we stop for a tasty lunch and visit Chandra Haveli, a charming haveli (mansion house) with small courtyard, lawned gardens and rustic appeal carefully being restored to the splendour of better farming years (if open, currently under renovation till Dec 2012). Once in Jaipur, we visit a cotton trading/tailor shop where you can get clothing tailored for delivery to your hotel before we leave!
This morning, we drive just beyond Jaipur to the 16th century Amber Fort. An exotic elephant ride transports us to the lofty fortress, where we will enjoy a tour. Back in Jaipur, we visit the City Palace, which has an interesting museum of regal attire and Jantar Mantar, an ancient astronomical observatory.
Today, we drive to the semi-desert Shekhawati region. The small towns in this region became important trading posts, a lasting legacy of which are the beautiful painted havelis (mansions) constructed by wealthy merchants in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Returning to Delhi, the remainder of the afternoon and evening is free for you to further discover the city. Opt for a meal in the heart of the city or simply relax and chat with group members at the hotel
Our holiday concludes after breakfast, hotel check out and included onward departure transfer to airport.
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