Amritsar & the Golden Triangle - 13 Days
Marvel at the glimmering Golden Temple and witness the fascinating Wagah Border ceremony in Amritsar, then explore Chandigarh and its Rock Garden and ride the Toy Train to the former hill station of Shimla, all before taking in the highlights of India's Golden Triangle.
Delhi to Amritsar
Monday. Delhi - Amritsar. Upon arrival at Delhi Airport a transfer will take you to the railway station for your afternoon train to Amritsar. You can also choose to start your tour in Amritsar if arriving via Amritsar Airport.
City tour & Wagah Border
This morning we enjoy a sightseeing tour of 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. As sunset approaches we travel to Wagah, a village situated at the border crossing between Pakistan and India. Watch as the colourful and highly animated changing of guard and flag-lowering ceremony takes places at sunset at the Wagah Border signifying the closing of the border for the day.
Overnight: Amritsar | Breakfast
Amritsar - Chandigarh. Leaving Amritsar behind, we travel to Chandigarh arriving for an afternoon of guided sightseeing. Chandigarh is the definition of modern India, a well planned city designed by the French architect Le Corbusier. In the afternoon, we visit the Rose Garden, home to over 1,500 varieties of rose, walk along Sukhna Lake stopping in the nearby ornamental gardens, and explore the Rock Garden. A completely unique and innovative creation, the Rock Garden is a collection of over 2,000 sculptures created over 20 years from a collection of concrete, steel drums, old bicycle frames and broken sinks.
Overnight: Chandigarh | Breakfast
Chandigarh - Kalka - Shimla. Today we drive to Kalka station to board the narrow gauge Himalayan Queen Toy Train bound for Shimla.
The Guinness Records Book of 'Rail Facts and Feats' named the Kalka to Shimla railway as 'The greatest narrow gauge engineering feat in India’. The scenic 96 kilometre journey winds around 919 curves, passes through 20 railway stations and clatters across five level crossings, each to the cacophonous symphony of greetings, tooting horns and the hubbub of Indian life. There are also 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.
Upon arrival in Shimla, we meet our representative on the station platform and transfer to our hotel for check-in and an evening at leisure.
Overnight: Shimla | Breakfast
The most famous of the British hill stations and the former summer capital of the Raj, Shimla is set in the foothills of the Himalayas along a crescent-shaped ridge at an altitude of over 2100 metres. The famous main street, The Mall, is lined with stately English homes and retains a quintessentially British 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.
Overnight: Shimla | Breakfast
Shimla - Kalka - Delhi. Today offers free time for you to independently explore Shimla. You can opt for a stroll around the town, 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 snow-capped peaks set as a glorious backdrop to the sleepy township of Shimla below. Hotel check-out is at noon, opt for some lunch and pack an evening picnic meal before boarding the Kalka Shatabdi Express and arriving into Delhi late this evening.
Overnight: Delhi | Breakfast
Today we enjoy a full day sightseeing tour of Old and New Delhi, taking in Humayun's Tomb, Jama Masjid - India’s oldest and largest mosque and Raj Ghat - the site of Gandhi’s cremation in Old Delhi, and the Rajpath and India Gate in New Delhi. Tonight, we enjoy a group Namaste Dinner at our hotel.
Overnight: Delhi | Breakfast, Dinner
Delhi - Agra. Departing Delhi, we make our way to Agra, the erstwhile capital of the Mughal empire. Our first stop here is the impressive Agra Fort, which boasts some of India's finest Mughal buildings behind its fortified walls. Later we travel on to the legendary Taj Mahal. Built by the order of Emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century in affectionate memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz, the Taj Mahal is perhaps one of the most extravagant monuments to love ever built.
Overnight: Agra | Breakfast
The princely state of Karauli
Agra - Karauli. This morning we explore the Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri, which has been deserted for over four centuries after it was allegedly abandoned due to a lack of water. Thanks to the very durable red sandstone from which it was built, Fatehpur Sikri still remains well-preserved and is a fascinating place to explore.
The highlight of the day is Karauli, which was a princely state of India from 1348 until 1949. We spend the night here, at the beautiful Palace Bhanwar Vilas, where the current Maharaja and Maharani of Karauli reside. During our stay, we can explore the palace and grounds at leisure and we may even be treated to a guided tour by the princess. The family is also lovingly restoring the Karauli City Palace, which we visit later this afternoon. Tonight, opt to attend the evening Aaarti (prayer) taking place nearby.
Overnight: Karauli | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Karauli - Jaipur. This morning we stop briefly to meet the children and teachers at a local school (if open) where we operate our ‘Change for Children’ programme. If you have bought any educational items with you to hand out to children this would be the time to do so. Then we drive on to Jaipur, the vibrant capital of Rajasthan. The rest of the day is free to spend at leisure.
Overnight: Jaipur | Breakfast
Very early this morning there is the opportunity to sail over the lofty hilltop forts and regal palaces of Jaipur in a hot air balloon, on our Balloon Over Jaipur Bolt-on. We then travel beyond Jaipur to the stunning 16th century Amber Fort where we enjoy a tour of the fort's well-preserved interior and grounds. Later we visit a cotton weaving house to see a demonstration of fabric dyeing and block printing before touring the City Palace and Jantar Mantar - an old yet cleverly designed space observatory.
Overnight: Jaipur | Breakfast
Saturday. Our touring arrangements come to an end after breakfast. Following hotel check-out and included transfer will take you to the airport for your onward travel.
Balloon Over Jaipur!
Bolt-on an exhilarating hot air balloon ride over the majestic Pink City of Jaipur. Sail within a breath of lofty hilltop forts and fine regal palaces. Look down upon sleepy villages waking in the early morning sun. Drift past expansive waterside manors and intricately carved temples on a magical hot air balloon adventure! The balloon flight will take place in the early morning of day 11.
Prices & Dates
Departure dates noted with a 'G' are guaranteed to operate. All other departure dates can be guaranteed with a minimum of 2 persons. Prices shown are per person travelling. 'Twin/Double' prices per person apply when there are 2 people travelling, sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers and needs to be added to the 'Twin/Double' price.Read More
The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard when necessary.
Hyatt Hotel, Amritsar
The Hyatt is an elegant, tastefully furnished hotel with spacious rooms and beautiful landscaping. When it comes to dining, visitors are spoiled for choice. Thai, Chinese and Punjabi cuisines are just some of the types of gastronomy available and the hotel has its own outdoor pool and extensive spa where guests can further indulge themselves. The hotel is near to the Golden Temple, in the heart of the city so guests are well placed to take advantage of everything this region has to offer.
Hotel Willow Banks, Shimla
The Willow Banks is a colonial-style hotel established in 1871 with each room boasting its own private balcony. As well as the gym and pool, the hotel has a steam room and sauna, jacuzzi and Ayurvedic massage available so guests can relax and rejuvenate amongst the stunning mountain scenery in comfort. The inviting rooms are fully appointed with elegant furniture and rich upholstery with WiFi access and cable TV. The hotel is located on The Mall, within walking distance of great retail outlets and restaurants.
The Piccadily, Delhi
The grand lobby of the Piccadily is a perfect introduction to this elegant luxury property. Rooms are bright, airy and furnished in a sophisticated and contemporary fashion. Staff are helpful, attentive and go above and beyond to make sure your stay is a memorable and happy one. Dining at popular Zune and contemporary Twenty-9 is highly recommended. Located in the west of town, close to the airport. Access to the rest of the city is very simple with the Janakpuri West Metro station just next door.
Seven Hills Tower, Agra
The modern and stylish Seven Hills Tower hotel boasts a range of facilities and services designed to ensure the quality of each traveller's stay. Guests can enjoy a dip in the rooftop pool or laze on the sun loungers before heading to the equally lofty restaurant for some mouth-watering Mughlai cuisine. The spacious guestrooms are elegantly decorated with neutral colours and fabrics covered with traditional patterns and all have excellent ensuite facilities. Why not head to the rooftop pool and al fresco dining area for beautiul views of the Taj - perfect for a sunset drink.
Bhanwar Vilas Palace, Karauli
Built in 1938, this stunning property is the residence of the Maharaja (181st in the Royal Dynasty) and Maharani of Karauli. Both the architecture and furniture have been designed in fitting with colonial styles. Rooms are split between deluxe rooms and luxury suites, each including a range of modern amenities such as a mini bar, a well-appointed ensuite and a plush king-sized bed. In the evenings, guests can tuck into an array of regional specialities as well as cuisine from around the world in the hotel's restaurant. The hotel is just 7km from the nearest train station.
Mandawa Haveli, Jaipur
The beautiful heritage style Mandawa Haveli is a fine example of typical Rajasthan architecture - set in terraced gardens with pretty courtyards. All rooms are well appointed with intricately carved wooden beds and king-size royal portraits. An evening spent enjoying a lavish Rajasthani dinner in front of a traditional folk dance is highly recommended. Well located in the heart of Jaipur city on Sansar Chandra Road, just a few minute’s drive from the Palace of the Winds.
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