Tailor-made Tour 17 days from £2874 per person

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  Places Visited: Kolkata, Darjeeling Mail, New Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, Varanasi, Agra, Kalka Mail, Shimla, Delhi

Indian Railways has one of the largest networks in the world and station and railway life is a microcosm unto itself. One of the most rewarding ways to see and experience authentic India is to travel by train.

Here we eschew the luxury wheeled “palaces” designed solely for tourists and embark on an adventure that gives a true taste of India. Using diesel and electric locomotives, with the slim possibility of the odd steam engine, we have a wonderful itinerary taking you from bustling Kolkata up to cosmopolitan Darjeeling, down to the holy city of Varanasi, across to Imperial Agra, up to Shimla and finally to Delhi.

With such contrasting stops we are able to include a wealth of sightseeing but this tour is as much about the thrill of the journey as the destinations. Most trains are for the local populace and standards do reflect this, even in the better classes we book, but you are sure to have some amusing and interesting meetings with fellow travellers on the way.

Holiday Types


Suggested itinerary

Day 1

Fly to Kolkata via Dubai with Emirates.

Day 2

Upon arrival transfer to the colonial and quirky Fairlawn Hotel (or you could stay at the deluxe Oberoi Grand for a supplement) for two nights.

Day 3

A relaxed morning boat ride on the Hooghly River allows for a different and intriguing perspective of the city this morning. Later on visit the Victoria Memorial, Indian Museum, St Paul's Church and Mother Theresa's centre.

Day 4
Darjeeling Mail

The day is free to explore the city. In the evening begin your Indian railway experience at the busy Sealdah Station, travelling north towards the Himalaya on the Darjeeling Mail, in an air-conditioned first class sleeper carriage. The night is spent on board the train.

Day 5
New Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling

Arriving in New Jalpaiguri in the morning you'll change to the narrow gauge toy train bound for Darjeeling. Transfer to The Elgin Hotel for two nights (or you could stay at the period Windamere Hotel for a supplement). If the toy train is not operating, as is sometimes the case, the transfer to Darjeeling will be provided by car.

Day 6

Wake early this morning for a spectacular sunrise vista over the Himalaya from Tiger Hill. Return to Darjeeling, stopping off at the quaint Ghoom Monastery. There is plenty of time to explore the bustling town and pay a visit to the famous Himalayan Mountaineering Institute.

Day 7
Darjeeling, Varanasi

Just after midday board the Rajdhani Express from New Jalpaiguri; an air-conditioned first class carriage awaits. The ride takes you across the alluvial plain of several 'Himalayan born rivers' including the Ganges. Rural life slowly passes by as you draw ever closer to the holy city of Varanasi. Stay three nights at the Ganges View Hotel (or you could upgrade to the Suryauday hotel for a supplement).

Day 8

The morning is spent relaxing after yesterday's long train journey. In the afternoon take an excursion to Sarnath, the site of The Buddha's first public discourse.

Day 9

One of India's classic experiences awaits this morning; an early morning boat ride to see devotees at prayer along the ghats. The rest of the day is at leisure to explore before witnessing the evening Ganga aarti (ceremonial worship). The perfect way to end the day.

Day 10
Varanasi, Agra

Take another exciting day train to Agra. Upon arrival transfer to either the Gateway or Trident Hotels for a two-night stay.

Day 11

Visit the Taj Mahal at sunrise; an unforgettable experience. Later on take in the Red Fort which is set on the banks of the Yamuna River, and the tomb of Itamud-ud-daula, an architectural precursor to the Taj Mahal. There is also the possibility of returning to the Taj at sunset this evening.

Day 12
Agra, Kalka Mail

This morning at leisure. This afternoon board the Kalka Mail, in an air-conditioned first class sleeper carriage, as it heads north towards India's Western Himalayan range. The night is spent on board the train.

Day 13
Kalka, Shimla

Arrive at Kalka early and change to the heritage Shivalik Express (toy) train for a four-hour ride up into the hills and the 'hill-station' of Shimla. On arrival transfer to the Clarks Hotel (or you could upgrade to The Oberoi Cecil, Shimla for a supplement) for two nights.

Day 14

Enjoy the day at leisure exploring the town; the mock Tudor Library, Christ Church, Gaiety Theatre and the Vice Regal Lodge are all within easy reach.

Day 15
Shimla, Delhi

Drive to Kalka and board the Shatabdi Express bound for Delhi. Stay two nights at the colonial Maidens Hotel (or deluxe Imperial hotel for a supplement).

Day 16

A sightseeing tour of Delhi is arranged this morning and takes in the Jama Masjid, Lutyens' buildings and the Railway Museum. The afternoon is free to relax back at the hotel or do some final shopping.

Day 17
Delhi, London

Fly back to the UK via Dubai.

Tailor-made Tour 17 days from £2874 per person

What's included

✓   International flights from London
✓   15 nights accommodation
✓   All internal transportation and transfers
✓   English-speaking guides
✓   Breakfast daily, full board in Darjeeling
✓   Entrance fees to sites and monuments listed in tour itinerary

Places and Experiences in this tour

What Our Clients Say About Us

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At TransIndus we are committed to quality and determined to ensure every one of our clients enjoys the best holiday possible. Having lived or worked, and travelled extensively in their specialist countries, our consultants are experts whose advice can be depended on. To make an enquiry, call us on 0208 566 3739

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