Tailor-made Tour 10 days from £5995 per person

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  Places Visited: Delhi, Ranthambore, Jaipur, Agra, Gwalior, Orchha, Khajuraho, Varanasi

The Cultural Odyssey route takes you on a journey through Northern India’s most culturally and historically significant sites, travelling on one of the world’s most opulent rail journeys.

The tour begins and ends with a night’s stay at a 5-star hotel in Delhi, thereafter, you’ll sleep and eat on a specially constructed luxury train, with gourmet meals served by liveried staff in a restaurant car, as the rugged scenery slips past your window.

The intention of this tour is to re-create the romantic feel of a royal ‘Shikhar’ expedition, as undertaken by the rulers of the region’s princely states in British times. Today’s rolling stock incorporates more mod cons and comforts, including air-conditioning, a gym and a spa. Each of the 11 accommodation coaches is styled to reflect a particular era of the Deccan milieu, the cabins are luxurious and spacious, and each coach has its own valet, ensuring your every need is taken care of.

The two restaurant cars serve gourmet meals prepared on board by celebrated chefs using the impressive onboard larders and fresh ingredients sourced daily en route, and meals are served by exquisitely dressed restaurant stewards, dressed in traditional attire. The bar is the ideal spot to sample the impressive selection of wine on board, and the lounge is well-equipped with books and games to enjoy.

Holiday Types

Cultural Holidays Wildlife Holidays River Cruising Holidays Luxury Train Holidays Family Holidays Honeymoons Beach Holidays Adventure Holidays


Suggested itinerary

Day 1

On arrival at New Delhi Airport, you will be met and escorted to your luxurious hotel in the heart of New Delhi. Depending on the international flight chosen, you may have the remainder of the day or night at leisure time to relax and adjust to your new time zone.

Delhi, India’s capital, is a compelling mix of the ancient and modern. It holds the vestiges of at least seven great centres, with crumbling Afghan mausolea adorning traffic roundabouts; millennia-old fort walls stand next to eight-lane expressways; and Sufi shrines the huddle beside concrete flyovers.

More impressive still is the fact that so many cultural transmissions from Delhi’s past eras endure. Five-star hotels host recitals by ghazal singers, sarod players and kathak dancers whose arts have been painstakingly preserved since the days of the Mughals. Echoes of the British Raj abound, too, from the 1930s elegance of the Imperial Hotel to the uniforms of the sentries strutting down Raj Path.

The most evocative place to get one’s bearings has to be the Jama Masjid, the magnificent sandstone and white-marble ‘Friday Mosque’ constructed by Emperor Shah Jahan in Old Delhi. Climb one of its minarets for a matchless view over the surrounding roofscape to the ramparts of the Red Fort, where the Mughals held court in a hidden world of cusp-arched pavilions and pillared audience halls. You may want to make the most of the city’s clean, efficient metro to travel across town to the National Museum, with its priceless collection of antiquities, or go onto Delhi’s southern fringes, where the exquisitely carved Qutub Minar has dominated the skyline since 1202 AD.

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Day 2

Today will be spend exploring the sights of Delhi before transferring to Delhi railway station in the evening to embark on your journey. As you settle in, the Deccan Odyssey shall depart Delhi for Sawai Madhopur.

You’ll be pampered by porters and the smiling staff of the Deccan Odyssey train from the moment of your arrival. Once checked in, guests are treated to a ‘Welcome Aboard’ drink in the restaurant car and shown to their luxury cabins. Settle in and enjoy dinner onboard as the train makes its way out of Delhi.

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Day 3

Arrive in to Sawai Madhopur this morning and transfer to Ranthambore National Park where you’ll spend the day. Enjoy a village safari in the morning, followed by a wildlife safari in the afternoon.

Ranthambore National Park was created in the 1970s to spearhead 'The Save the Tiger Project' and remains a shining example of conservation. As a result of this and several subsequent National Parks, India's Tiger population in the wild has grown from under 1000 in 1970 to over 4,500 today.   

The park lies on the margins of the Aravalli range of hills amid a tract of dry deciduous forests and grassland and offers the perfect terrain for these magnificent animals. Close to the park entrance sits a long flight of stone steps that winds up to the ramparts of a medieval fort, affording fine views over the reserve and its much-photographed lake. On your search for the Tiger, you will also get to see several other animals, including Sambar deer, Chital, Hyena and wild Boar and the elusive Nilgai, a blue-hued cow. Around eighty Tigers currently survive in reserve, and your chances of spotting one here are better than average.

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Day 4

Arrive at the historic capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur, often called the Pink City. Explore the forts and palaces with a walk through the colourful bazaars of this beautiful city.

Jaipur is a swirl of life and colour, and its numerous monuments and markets provide the focus for the day. You’ll visit the famous City Palace complex, which includes the much photographed ‘Hawa Mahal’, or ‘Palace of Winds’, a five-storey façade of elaborately screened windows from where the women of the royal household used to watch processions in the streets below.

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Day 5

Today the Deccan Odyssey arrives at the Mughal citadel of Agra. Visit the iconic Taj Mahal, the Itmad-ud-Daulah and the impressive Agra Fort.

Arriving at Agra Station, you disembark for a tour of the city in the company of a local specialist guide. The tour will start with the Taj Mahal, the Jewel of India and one of the world's great architectural wonders.  Among the first to be awarded UNESCO World Heritage status, the mausoleum was built in memory of Mumtaz Mahal, the beloved wife of Emperor Shah Jahan, in 1632. Crafted entirely of white marble and decorated in elaborate geometric forms, screens cut out of solid marble and delicate pietre dure inlay work showcasing elaborate plants, flowers and fruit, so admired by the Empress, the Taj Mahal is so perfect in its geometry and artistically accomplished that it took 22 years and over 20,000 craftsmen to complete

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Day 6
Gwalior, Orchha

This morning the Deccan Odyssey arrives at Gwalior, for a visit to the Majestic Gwalior fort. Reboard the train and continue to Orchha to visit the deserted palaces and temples, and experience village life.

Ancient inscriptions on shrines carved from the long, narrow, sheer-sided escarpment soaring above the city of Gwalior, show that the hill has been of religious and strategic importance for many centuries. Huge round towers crowned by domed cupolas punctuate the façade of the mighty citadel, embellished with bands of blue-green tiles. Inside, the magnificent Man Mandir is the most remarkable of dozens of superbly well-preserved medieval buildings, ranging from temples to bathing tanks and tombs. 

Orchha often turns out to be the unexpected highlight of tours across India’s northern plains. Now little more than a sleepy village, the site on the banks of the rocky Betwa River served in the 16th century as the capital of the redoubtable Bundela Dynasty, arch foes of the Delhi Sultans. A superb collection of deserted palaces, temples, havelis and cenotaphs remain from this era, most of them in an advanced state of neglect, with weeds growing from their domed cupolas and spectacular sanctuary towers.

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Day 7

Crossing a remote tract of northern Madhya Pradesh, you’ll arrive at the UNESCO-World-Heritage site of Khajuraho, architectural masterpiece of the Chandella Dynasty and quite simply one of India’s greatest archaeological treasures.

The temples of Khajuraho owe their survival to their remote location, which ensured they escaped the attentions of the Muslim armies that ravaged the area in medieval times. Erected between the 10th and 12th centuries, they are famous above all for their sensuous stone decoration, much of which is uncompromisingly erotic! The intricacy of the carving, with figures sporting delicate jewellery and elaborate hairstyles, is astonishing, while the pretty pink hue of the sandstone they’re carved from looks especially gorgeous in the hour before sunset.

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Day 8

Arrive today in Varanasi, the holiest of Hinduism’s seven sacred cities. Explore the temples and ghats, enjoy the lively bazaar and take a boat ride on the Holy Ganges.

On the banks of the Ganges, Varanasi (‘Kashi’ or ‘Benares’ as it’s also known) is among the oldest continuously inhabited places on earth. Streams of Hindu worshippers still come here today to bathe in the sacred waters of the river, believed to wash away the sins of past lifetimes.

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Day 9

Your journey comes to an end today as you arrive back in Delhi. Disembark at Delhi Railway Station after breakfast, where a TransIndus representative will receive you and transfer you to your hotel.

Disembark at Delhi Safdarjung Railway Station, where a Transindus representative will receive you and transfer you to your hotel. The rest of your day will be at leisure, to relax, visit museums, or secure a last-minute bargain.

Accommodation Options

Day 10
Delhi, UK

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Accommodation Options

Tailor-made Tour 10 days from £5995 per person

What's included

✓  07 nights’ luxury accommodation aboard the Deccan Odyssey

✓  02 nights’ luxury accommodation in Delhi

✓  All internal transportation and transfers

✓  Expert English-speaking guides throughout

✓  Entrance fees to sites and monuments featured

✓  Meal Plan: Full board a la carte service on board the train. Bed & Breakfast in city hotels.

✓   International Flights: We will be happy to organise international flights departing Heathrow, in economy or business class at a supplementary cost. Flight duration 8 hours.

Places and Experiences in this tour

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