Tailor-made Tour 10 days from £6195 per person

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  Places Visited: Delhi, Ranthambore, Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur, Vadodara, Ellora Caves, Mumbai

The Indian Odyssey route takes you on a journey through Rajasthan to the unique landscapes of Maharashtra in regal style, travelling on one of the world’s most opulent rail journeys.

The tour begins with a night’s stay at a 5-star hotel in Delhi and ends with a night in Mumbai, thereafter, you’ll sleep and eat on a specially constructed luxury train, with your cabin and gourmet meals served by liveried staff in a restaurant car, as the rugged scenery slips past your window. En route to Mumbai you’ll also stop in Agra to visit the iconic Taj Mahal, have the chance to sight tigers in the wild, visit the forts and palace of Rajasthan and the great cave temples of Ellora.

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
Delhi

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
Delhi

Today will be spent 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
Ranthambore National Park

Arrive into 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
Agra

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'll 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 5
Jaipur

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 6
Udaipur

Today you’ll arrive into the Lake City of Udaipur. Visit the resplendent City Palace, housing the spectacular Crystal Gallery, followed by a walk through the Old City. A lavish lunch will be served off the train today, at a spectacular venue.

The Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, once spent a dreamy sojourn in one of the summer palaces in Udaipur, and it is said he was so taken with the beauty of the architecture that he used it as a blueprint for the Taj Mahal. Spread around the shores of shimmering Lake Pichola; the city remains an undeniably romantic spectacle, its ghats (sacred steps), whitewashed havelis and temple towers overlooked by the pale-ochre walls and domes of the exquisite City Palace.

Aside from the views over the water, the highlight for most is the palace interiors, where treasures from the royal collection are displayed amid a backdrop of ornate Rajput murals, mirrorwork and mosaics.

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Day 7
Vadodara

Today you arrive at the Royal city of the Gaekwads, Vadodara. Visit the famous Champaner – Pavagadh Archaeological Park, a World Heritage site, the magnificent Jama Masjid and the Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum. Witness a scintillating folk dance performance, as you savour a wide array of delicacies from the Royal kitchens at the Lukshmi Villas Palace.

Champaner succeeded Ahmedabad as the seat of the local sultans in the 16th century before Akbar swept through to annex Gujarat for the Mughals. Inscribed with exquisite calligraphy and elaborate, Hindu-inflected motifs, its ruined mosques, palaces, fortified gateways and tombs are scattered over 4 miles of scrubland – now classed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Much of the archaeological park, which welcomes only a handful of foreign tourists each year, remains unexcavated. Above it looms the sandstone escarpments of jungle-covered Pavagadh mountain, on whose summit a whitewashed Kali temple affords a stupendous view of the surrounding plains. A flight of stone steps winds to the top – a lung-stretching hour’s climb – or you could join the pilgrims and daytrippers on the popular cable car ride.

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Day 8
Ellora

This morning you will transfer by bus to the spectacular Ellora Caves, a World Heritage site. A unique artistic creation, with its sanctuaries devoted to Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism, it illustrates the spirit of tolerance that was characteristic of ancient India.

Chiselled from a long, steep-sided outcrop of basalt on the northern edge of the Deccan Plateau, the Ellora Caves date from a five-hundred-year period beginning midway through the sixth century AD, when Buddhism was being supplanted by Brahmanical Hinduism as the region’s principal religion. The majority served as temples and monasteries, and were richly painted in their heyday. You’ll get to see all of the highlights on your tour, which culminates with a visit to the magnificent Kailash Temple, Cave 16 – Ellora’s pièce de résistance. The edifice resembles a free-standing structure, but like all the other monuments here was in fact sculpted from solid rock – a process that took over a hundred years to complete. The result – best viewed from the cliff behind – will take your breath away.

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Day 9
Mumbai

Early this morning, after breakfast, you will disembark at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Railway Station, Mumbai. Bid farewell to the Deccan Odyssey as your royal passage through the grand vistas of India comes to an end. A TransIndus representative will receive you and transfer you to your hotel.

Mumbai has been India’s busiest port and industrial centre since the opening of the Suez Canal in 1969. As famous today for its traffic jams as its record-breaking movie industry, the Maharashtrian capital tends not to feature high up most visitors’ ‘must see’ list, but as a point of arrival has a lot to recommend it.

Before the last British troops garrisoned in the country slow-marched past it to board their ships back to Blighty in 1947, the Gateway of India – a huge triumphal arch in the colonial Indo-Saracenic style – was the first landmark most new arrivals from Britain set eyes on. The second was the famous Taj Mahal Hotel beside it. Both still stand tall on the waterfront, as emblematic of the city today as they were in Victorian times.

Still, more impressive monuments of the empire dominate the Kala Godha and Fort districts beyond the Gateway, among them Victoria Terminus, the world’s grandest railway station, and the white-domed Prince of Wales Museum (both nowadays renamed after the 17th century Maharashtrian warlord, Shivaji). Nearby, the vast High Court and University buildings line the palm-fringed Maidans, where cricketers in their whites play through the afternoons as commuters stream home through Churchgate Station.

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Day 10
Mumbai, UK

Transfer to the airport for your return flight home.

Accommodation Options

Tailor-made Tour 10 days from £6195 per person


What's included

✓  07 nights’ luxury accommodation aboard the Deccan Odyssey

✓  02 nights’ luxury accommodation in Delhi and Mumbai

✓  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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