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Namaste! Welcome to New Delhi, the capital city of India and the start of your eye-opening adventure! Our friendly team will be waiting in the arrivals hall to transfer you to your hotel where you can relax for the rest of the day.
Today, enjoy sightseeing of Delhi both new and old with visits to the battlemented Red Fort - built by Shah Jahan in the 16th century, Jama Masjid - India’s oldest and largest mosque, Raj Ghat - a marble memorial marking the spot where the great leader- Mahatma Gandhi was cremated after his assassination. We also visit Humayun’s Tomb and India's largest mosque, Qutab Minar.
Early morning transfer to the railway station to board the Shatabdi Express train to Amritsar (air-conditioned chair car). You will be met upon arrival and transferred to your hotel. This afternoon travel approximately 28km to Wagah, which is the only border crossing between India and Pakistan. Visiting Wagah is an interesting experience especially at sunset when the ‘Retreat’ ceremony takes place with the BSF on the Indian Side of the Border. The changing of the guards and the ceremonial lowering of the flags ceremony is carried out with great pomp.
This morning enjoy a sightseeing tour of the historic Amritsar, including the Golden Temple and Jallianwala Bagh. Amritsar’s main attraction - the beautiful Golden Temple, is made of white marble, bronze and gold leaf. To enter the temple, you must don a traditional headscarf, wade through a shallow pool (a purification ritual) and merge with the mass of bodies that circle the embankment around the holy structure. The Jallianwala Bagh is a particularly sacred place for all Indians today, as it is associated with a poignant episode in India’s freedom struggle.
This morning we have a wonderful journey ahead. Starting with catching the express train to Chandigarh. Here, our driver will collect you and take you to your hotel in Shimla.
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 you catch the Himalaya Queen toy train to Kalka. There are 102 tunnels to navigate and some 863 multi-arched galleries bridges (similar to ancient Roman aqueducts) to cross where spectacular landscapes of rolling hills, lush valleys and panoramic vistas can be seen. 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. Arriving into Kalka you will swap platform and board the Kalka Shatabdi Express at sunset and arriving into Delhi late this evening.
Departing Delhi, we journey 5hrs to Agra, once India’s Mughal capital. Arriving, we visit Agra fort, which boasts some of India’s finest Mughal buildings behind it’s fortified walls. During its history it has been a palace, a fort and a prison! We conclude our day with exploring the incredible Taj Mahal, which allows free time for you to enjoy a romantic sunset.
En route a stop is made at the fantastically well preserved former Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri. This magnificent fortified city was the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1571 until 1585, when it was abandoned dramatically due to a lack of water. Explore the various temples, places of worships, pavilions, public areas and examples of everyday living such as areas from where ablutions were performed, to an ancient aqua cooling system and marvel at how life must have been for the inhabitants of this old city.Continue to the Pink City of Jaipur, capital of Rajasthan, afternoon at leisure.
An exotic elephant ride transports us to the lofty 16th century Amber Fort on our morning tour. This afternoon explore the City Palace containing an interesting museum of regal attire. Just over the road is Jantar Mantar, an observatory of astronomy built by Jai Singh in 1728. At first glance, Jantar Mantar resembles a sculpture park, though in fact, each construction has a specific scientific purpose. Some measure the positions of stars, whilst others calculate eclipses, the lunar calendar and simply the time of day. Even today, most of the constructions remain accurate!
Today we head south by flight via Delhi or Mumbai to Chennai (will vary according to schedules) Arriving into Chennai transfer to the seaside town of Mahabalipuram. Situated on the Bay of Bengal, Mahabalipuram offers long white sand beaches and some of the best archeological sites to be found in the state of Tamil Nadu.
Touring the town’s sites to the rhythm of chisels chipping granite provides evidence of the strong stone carving traditions that have endured since the 8th century - Pallava dynasty. Visiting the beautiful ancient stone carved Shore Temple, presiding over the long, flat beach we discover high wall friezes, intricately carved bas reliefs and shrines dedicated to both Siva and Vishnu. It is also of interest to inspect the east facing alter designed to catch the rising sun and the large stone pillar with mountings to hold a beacon for sailors at night out at sea. Later we return to Chennai in time to board the Nilgari Express bound for Mettupalayam.
Upon arrival to Mettupalayam we board the narrow guage Blue Mountain Railway toy train destined for Ooty. Operating since 1899, the Blue Mountain Railway with its blue and cream steam livery has chugged from Mettupalayam to Otty via Coonoor, negotiating 16 tunnels, 31 major bridges and climbing to 2193 metres. The charming journey offers sweeping mountain views and breathtaking scenery. Upon arrival to Ooty, transfer to hotel and afternoon at leisure.
Today we drive to the nearby Mudumalai National Park for a 2 night stay. The 322 sq km predominantly deciduous forest is a sanctuary for Indian bison, Nilgiri langur, bonnet macaques (monkeys), peacock, jackel, hyena and a few tigers and leopards. Enjoy an afternoon Jeep Safari today to see the parks illusive wild residents.
Today and tomorrow enjoy morning and afternoon game drives in the Park and hopefully spot a tiger.
Sadly your journey has reached it's conclusion, we will transfer you early morning to Coimbatore Airport where you can catch a domestic flight to Chennai and connect with your flight home.
A flamboyant showcase of Rajasthani architecture and a firm favourite on tourist itineraries as the third corner of India’s ‘Golden ...