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.
Delhi - Kalka – Shimla. Bright and early this morning we board the Shatabdi Express bound for Kalka. Upon arrival travellers will transfer to the narrow gauge Himalayan Queen Toy Train to continue their journey on to 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 a 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
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 lofy hilltop forts and regal palaces of Jaipur in a hot air balloon, on our Balloon Over Jaipur Add-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 an 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 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 travelling. 'Twin/Double' prices per person apply when there are 2 people travelling, sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers who would like their own room 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.
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.
East Bourne Hotel, Shimla
The East Bourne is a smart and modern hotel, with spacious rooms. The hotel is set within oak and deodar trees. The hotel was the home of Col. Auchenlock who later became the commander in chief of the imperial British Army
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.
Vivanta by Taj Dwarka, Delhi
Vivanta by Taj Dwarka is a modern, luxury hotel located in Dwarka, on the outskirts of New Delhi, just 15 minutes 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 which is renowned for its excellent shops and vibrant street markets. The Jivitesh offers comfortable and spacious guest rooms, with all modern amenities 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 enjoy 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. 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.
Really enjoyed the trip, well organised and good value for the money spent.”
Yousef is thoroughly professional, very knowledgable and extremely warm and welcoming. We could not have asked for anything more from him. No problem was too much for him to sort out and he never lost his cool. His humour was a delight. I cannot praise him enough. He truly made the holiday for us.”
We had an absolutely amazing time! The best thing about our tour was the tour guide. Yusuf was informative, professional, friendly, helpful and always willing to answer questions. In addition to the many monuments we visited the real highlights of the trip were the walk through the streets, the rickshaw ride through the market and the group dinners where entertainment was provided. This was my first organized tour as I usually travel independently and I was pleasantly surprised that we were not rushed or herded around. ”
Amazing tour, Amazing guide.
Yusuf very informative and looked after us all very well. We had different guide for Shimla Gaurav also very good.
A wonderful experience with a great group of people. Hope to return one day.
Would be very happy to recommend On the Go tours. ”
Our guide was awesome. He took special careful of my sister who has food allergies and made sure she was ok. He was patient and organized and calm and polite as well as knowledgeable.
We arrived into Delhi at 2:30 am because of a flight delay and had to go to shimla at 5:30 am. Shimla is cool but getting there is brutal. 4 hour train and then the toy train which is a neat concept but 100% uncomfortable. And took 2 hours longer than expected. If there were a way to limit the toy train ride to an hour or two that would be a lot better. ”
Extremely well organised. All needs attended to. No delays or other problems. Guide was professional, helpful, courteous, respectful and always informative and entertaining. He made the tour. ”
Excellent tour guide, knowledgeable and informative. Yusuf looked after everyone and made sure the tour ran smoothly. We loved getting out of the bus and walking through a local village and meeting local people. Visiting the school was a humbling experience.”
Not a tour person normally as we like to do 'our own thing', however we felt exploring India for the first required local expertise and we were right! We had a fabulous tour group - and how lucky we were to hit the jackpot with our guide Sat. He was friendly, fun, caring to all in the group and shared his knowledge, passion and love of his homeland so well throughout the whole tour. He also showed flexibility as required to respond to the group requests. Couldn't chose a highlight as there were so many. Thanks On the Go - and especially Sat. Loved it all.”
I am pleased to give feedback as I feel we were very well looked after with consideration for everyone's needs and requirements being met. Nothing was ever too much trouble and Sat was always well organised and planned in what we did on the tour. He went above and beyond in managing everything to make our tour enjoyable, always making sure we had lunches planned and rest stops on our journeys. It was a wonderful holiday and Sat really helped make this experience special and memorable.
First time with On the Go. Caroline in the booking office was extremely efficient and helpful. We were very well looked after during our tour and with transfers. The tour was interesting although a couple of the local guides spoke very softly. Our guides in Shimla and the main guide of the rest of the tour were excellent. Hotels were very good.”
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Really enjoyed the trip, well organised and good value for the money spent.”