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Welcome to India and the start of your holiday! Arrive at Delhi airport where we will meet you and transfer you to the hotel. Rest of the day is free for you to relax after your long flight.
Early morning transfer to Delhi railway station, express train to Amritsar and hotel check in. This afternoon we’ll drive to the final frontier, Wagah to watch the sunset changing of the guards and ceremonial lowering of the flags
Today we embark on an amazing sightseeing tour of the city and the famous Golden Temple
Spend the day further exploring this exciting and colourful city before taking the evening train back to Delhi (arriving at approx 22:40) and onward transfer to the
Day at leisure in Delhi
Our full day guided sightseeing tour of Delhi today covers the colourful chaos of Old Delhi and the modern simplicity of New Delhi. This vibrant city is full of forts, monuments, temples, mosques and more. During the 16th and 17th centuries, Delhi was important centre of the Mughal dynasty and the British made it the capital city in 1911. We take in Red Fort, Jama Masjid and Chandni Chowk, the bustling bazaar, as well as the Raj Ghat and Shanti Vana – the cremation sites of Mahatama Gandhi and Jawahar Lal Nehru. In New Delhi we visit India Gate, Rasthrapati Bhawan, Parliament House and Humayun’s Tomb.
This morning we drive to Jaipur, affectionately known as the Pink City as Maharaja Ram Singh had all of the Old City painted a welcoming pink in 1876 to herald a visit by the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), it is also the bustling capital of the state of Rajasthan. We enjoy a tour of the City Palace and Jantar Mantar - an old yet cleverly designed space observatory.
This morning we visit the delicate pink, magnificent fort-palace of Amber - a wonderful example of Rajput architecture just north of Jaipur. Subject to Government regulations, we will arrive in style on an elephant! Rest of the day is free - why not do some shopping the market for colourful papîer mache puppets and traditional jootis - the Rajasthani shoe of choice.
Our first stop today is the stepwell at Chand Baori, dating back to the 9th century (without a guide) . We enjoy lunch at Hotel Udai Villas Palace at Bharatpur, and after hotel check in, we visit Keoladeo Ghana National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where we’ll enjoy a leisurely bicycle rickshaw ride through the park.
En route to Agra, we visit Fatehpur Sikri, former imperial capital of the great Mughal emperor Akbar. Built between 1569 and 1585, it has been deserted for more than four centuries, abandoned in 1600 due to a meagre supply of water. In Agra, we visit the impressive Agra Fort. Later we enjoy a horsecart ride to the legendary Taj Mahal, the most extravagant monument ever built for love.
Today, we travel by express train to Jhansi and drive onward to Orchha. Situated on the banks of the River Betwa, Orchha is set amongst a wonderful complex of well-preserved 16th century temples and palaces
Travelling south-east, we arrive in Khajuraho - home of the resplendent Hindu temples which were built during the Chandela dynasty over a 100 year burst of creative genius from 950-1050 AD. Famed above all for their delicate sensuality and forthright eroticism, how and why they were built still remains a mystery. The incredible skill of the artisans is evident throughout.
We have the option of a jeep safari in Panna NP this morning. In the afternoon we bid farewell to Khajuraho and fly east to Varanasi. Perhaps the holiest city in India, Varanasi, also known as the city of Shiva, is also one of the oldest cities on earth. Sitting on the banks of the holy River Ganges, it has been a centre of learning and civilisation for more than 2000 years and is a place of Hindu pilgrimage.
This morning, we enjoy a sunrise boat ride on the holy Ganges where we’ll view the ancient religious tradition of ritual cleansing that takes place on the many riverbank ghats (riverside steps). Later, we embark on a tour of the city. At sunset consider re-visiting the ghats for the evening pilgramage, remarkably different from the dawn ritual.
Today, take the opportunity to further explore this vibrant city or just relax. Early evening we return to Delhi by overnight train.
Breakfast upon arrival and hotel check in. Today is a chance to further explore the city at your leisure or a change to pick up those last minute souvenirs.
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. The Guinness Book of 'Rail Facts and Feats' records the Kalka to Shimla railway as 'the greatest narrow gauge engineering feat in India’. The scenic 96 kilometre journey built on a 2 feet six inches gauge has 919 curves, passes through 20 railway station and clatters across 5 level crossings, each to the cacophonous symphony of greetings, tooting horns and the hubbub of Indian life. To the commotion of the steam locomotion's arrival to Shimla, we meet our representative on the station platform and transfer to our hotel for an evening at leisure
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 offer free time for you to independently explore, opt to stroll, drop by the colourful Lakkar Bazaar or hike to the summit of Jakhoo Hill, Shimla’s highest point where visitor’s are rewarded with panoramic views of the eternal snows set as a 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 to Delhi at 21:55pm. Transfer to your hotel in Delhi
We will transfer you to the airport in time for your departure flight.
A flamboyant showcase of Rajasthani architecture and a firm favourite on tourist itineraries as the third corner of India’s ‘Golden ...