Discover the lofty peaks and breathtaking views of Shimla, India's largest hill station and the former summer capital of British India. Ride the narrow gauge railway aboard the Himalayan Queen Toy Train and explore Delhi, the Pink City of Jaipur and the legendary Taj Mahal in Agra.
Wednesday. Namaste! Welcome to Delhi. On arrival at the airport you’ll be transferred to our hotel. The rest of the day is then free for you to relax or explore the bustling capital at leisure. Perhaps visit the impressive Red Fort, which gets its distinctive colour from the sandstone used in its construction. Our Welcome Meeting takes place at 8pm.
Delhi - Kalka - Shimla. Rise early this morning as we board the Shatabdi Express train to Kalka. You then transfer independently to the Himalayan Queen Toy Train for a unique experience to Kandaghat. The 57km journey sees us travel along narrow twists and turns, through scenic countryside and numerous tunnels. Pass through forests, over bridges and stop at old, traditional stations. Arriving into Kandaghat we'll complete the journey to our hotel in Shimla by road, where the evening is at leisure.
Overnight: Shimla | Breakfast
Today we explore the city of Shimla, located 2,100m above sea level at the foot of the mighty Himalayas. Explore the famous main street - The Mall, which is lined with stately English homes and has a distinctly British feel. We also discover the Viceregal Lodge, the former residence of the British Viceroy of India. Stroll down narrow streets and explore colourful bazaars in this scenic city, surrounded by the beautiful valley and the towering mountains.
Overnight: Shimla | Breakfast
Shimla - Kalka - Delhi. This morning is free for you to relax or explore independently. Perhaps take a fairly easy trek to Shimla’s highest point, the summit of Jakhoo Hill. The reward is panoramic views of the snow-capped mountains and remember to keep an eye out for the local monkeys as you make your way to the summit - they will try and raid any food you bring with you. Later, we board the Kalka Shatabdi Express and return to Delhi.
Overnight: Delhi | Breakfast
Today we enjoy a full day of sightseeing, taking in the highlights of Old and New Delhi. In the older part of the city we visit Humayun’s Tomb and Jama Masjid - India’s oldest and largest mosque. Continue to the Raj Ghat memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, where an eternal flame now burns at the site of his cremation. There's also time for an exhilarating rickshaw ride. In New Delhi we discover the ceremonial Rajpath, formerly the ‘King’s Way’, and the India Gate monument.
Overnight: Delhi | Breakfast, Dinner
Delhi - Agra. Say goodbye to Delhi as we travel to Agra, the former capital of the Mughal Empire from 1556 to 1648. Explore behind the fortified walls of Agra Fort and continue to India’s most iconic attraction - the legendary Taj Mahal. Enjoy a guided tour of this famous white mausoleum, which was commissioned by Emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century to honour his wife, who tragically died in childbirth. The Taj Mahal remains the most extravagant monument to love ever built and has no peers.
Overnight: Agra | Breakfast
The princely state of Karauli
Agra - Karauli. This morning we travel to the well-preserved city of Fatehpur Sikri, which was abandoned more than 400 years ago due to a lack of water. Our day continues as we travel to the beautiful Palace Bhanwar Vilas in Karauli, our home for the evening. The Maharaja and Maharani still reside here but much of the site now operates as a heritage hotel. Explore the palace grounds at leisure and if we’re lucky, join a tour run by the princess herself - if the opportunity arises. Later, we visit the Karauli City Palace, which is being lovingly restored by the family. There is also an optional visit to attend the evening Aarti (prayer).
Overnight: Karauli | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Karauli - Jaipur. Today we visit a local school to meet the pupils and teachers (if open). We operate our Change for Children programme here and you may consider bringing some educational gifts with you from home to give out to the children - they’ll be much appreciated (see trip notes). After the visit, we continue to the famous UNESCO-listed, Pink City of Jaipur, where the rest of today is at leisure. You may wish to attend the showing of a Bollywood movie at the Raj Mandir cinema.
Overnight: Jaipur | Breakfast
There is an exciting optional opportunity this morning to sail over Jaipur and its surrounding palaces, forts and countryside in a hot air balloon, with the Pink City as your stunning backdrop. Later, we travel to Amber Fort for a guided tour of its well-preserved interior. Reach the site by jeep and gaze out over Maota Lake from one of the four levels of this impressive fortress. Our tour continues with a visit to the Jaipur City Palace and the UNESCO-listed Jantar Mantar space observatory, made up of 19 separate astrological instruments.
Overnight: Jaipur | Breakfast
Saturday. Our Indian adventure comes to an end today with an included departure transfer to the airport.
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 8.
Prices & Dates
Departure dates noted with a 'G' are guaranteed to operate. All other departure dates are guaranteed with a minimum of 2 persons. Prices shown are per person when there are 2 persons sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers who require their own room and needs to be added to the per person 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.
Hotel Willow Banks, Shimla
Established in 1871, the Willow Banks is a colonial-style hotel boasting fantastic views of the Shimla valley and surrounding mountains. Each inviting guestroom features elegant furniture and a private balcony, alongside free WiFi, tea and coffee making facilities and a TV. As well as the gym and pool, the hotel offers a steam room and sauna, jacuzzi and Ayurvedic massages, so guests can truly relax and rejuvenate amongst the stunning mountain scenery in comfort. To top it off, the hotel features two restaurants serving a range of cuisines and refreshing beverages.
East Bourne Hotel, Shimla
Situated on a forested hillside in the Himalayan mountains, the East Bourne is a smart and modern hotel. It was the former home of Colonel Auchenlock who later became the commander in chief of the imperial British Army. Heated guestrooms feature wooden floors and floor-to-ceiling windows, with modern amenities such as a minibar, tea and coffee making facilities and flat-screen TVs. Guests can take advantage of the fitness centre and games room or unwind in the heated indoor pool and spa. The Vertigo restaurant serves a selection of local, Thai and Mediterranean cuisine and you can enjoy a drink or two with your fellow travellers in the Zanee Bar.
Jaypee Siddharth Hotel, Delhi
The luxurious Jaypee Siddharth is a stunning property located just five kilometres from the New Delhi Railway Station. Guestrooms are exquisitely decorated with a blend of cream and brown tones and benefit from air conditioning and complimentary WiFi. If you have free time, guests can indulge in one of the rejuvenating treatments available at the spa, take a dip in the outdoor pool or work up an appetite in the gym. A range of cuisines are served in the various restaurants found within the hotel complex.
Vivanta by Taj Dwarka, Delhi
Vivanta by Taj Dwarka is a modern, luxury hotel located in Dwarka, on the outskirts of New Delhi, just a 15-minute drive from the airport. Spread over 7 acres, this striking hotel has a unique angular design and offers 250 luxurious rooms and suites. All tastes are catered for at the hotel's multi-cuisine restaurant, while the Indus Express restaurant serves mouth-watering Punjabi cuisine. Head to the popular Tipple bar for a delicious array of heady cocktails or relax by the poolside with a refreshing smoothie from the Celsuis Pool Bar. The nearby Sector 21 Metro station provides direct access to the heart of the city and after a day of sightseeing you can cool off with a refreshing dip in the outdoor pool or relax in the sauna and massage parlour.
Hotel Jivitesh, Delhi
The Jivitesh Hotel is centrally located in the heart of Karol Bagh, a popular neighbourhood of Delhi renowned for its excellent shops and vibrant street markets. The Jivitesh offers comfortable and spacious guest rooms, with modern amenities such as free WiFi, and you can be assured of a warm welcome and excellent customer service from the hotel staff. Enjoy authentic Indian vegetarian cuisine at the hotel's restaurant and take a refreshing dip in the outdoor swimming pool after a day of sightseeing in the capital.
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. The spacious guestrooms are elegantly decorated with neutral colours and fabrics covered with traditional patterns and all have excellent ensuite facilities. 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 al fresco dining area offers beautiul views of the Taj Mahal, perfect for enjoying 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 and the property offers a fantastic insight into the history and elegance of a bygone era. 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 specialties 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
Made of pink and red sandstone, the beautiful heritage-style Mandawa Haveli is a fine example of typical Rajasthani architecture. All rooms are well appointed with intricately carved wooden beds and king-size royal portraits, with modern amenities such as free WiFi and ensuite bathrooms. Spend an evening dining on continental, Indian or Rajasthani cuisine on the outdoor terrace or request a private, candlelit dinner on the rooftop under a star-studded sky. Well located in the heart of Jaipur city on Sansar Chandra Road, this hotel is just a few minute’s drive from the Palace of the Winds.
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OTG organisation throughout the trip was first class with no problems being experienced. Accommodation was varied and excellent in most cases.
As for our guide if you had a 7 star category he would get this. Jusuf is a fantastic asset to OTG.
The overall experience was amazing and will stay with us for years to come.”