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Grand Tour of India, Nepal and the Himalayas

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Explore India and Nepal by train, travelling through the iconic Himalayas

19 days From £3,595 per person
Operated by our sister company Great Rail Journeys

2022 Tour code: KTJ22

About the tour

Discover the highlights of India and Nepal as we experience some of the world's most beautiful temples, sights and scenery. We witness colourful ceremonies, lush national parks and golden cities before coming face-to-face with the breathtaking Himalayas.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 – London to Amritsar

Flying from London Heathrow to Amritsar via Doha.

Day 2 - Amritsar

We arrive on Day 2 and head to our hotel for the next two nights. After time to freshen up, we visit the Wagah Border, which separates Pakistan and India, to witness the Beating Retreat Ceremony, a military concert and lowering of flags held at sunset.

 

Day 3 - Amritsar

On the morning of Day 3 we enjoy a guided tour of Amritsar, seeing the Golden Temple, a resplendent building with a gilded façade and ornate carvings decking its inner walls. We also visit the poignant Jallianwala Bagh Gardens and memorial site. Afterwards, we board our train to Delhi, arriving later this evening for a two-night stay.

Day 4 – Delhi

Today includes a full-day sightseeing tour of both the old and new cities. We begin exploring the colourful and aromatic market streets of Old Delhi before taking a traditional rickshaw ride through the vibrant bazaar and getting a better insight into local life here. Continuing to New Delhi, the newer part of the city, where we discover impressive colonial architecture, leafy avenues and government buildings; a distinct contrast to the traditional atmosphere of Old Delhi. We make stops at the president's house and Parliament House and India Gate as well as visiting Qutab Minar and the tomb of Humayun.

Day 5 - Agra and the Taj Mahal

We board the early train to Agra today where, on arrival, we visit the vast Agra Fort before crossing the city for a sunset visit to the iconic Taj Mahal, one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.

 

Day 6 - Lucknow

On Day 6 we travel by coach to Lucknow for two nights, a historic city that played an important role both during the Mughal and colonial periods.

 

Day 7 - Bada Imambara

On Day 7, we visit the famous La Martiniere Boys' School, founded by an endowment from Major-General Claude Martin of the British Empire. We also see the magnificent Bada Imambara, home to both a mosque and a labyrinth said to have 1000 different passageways, as well as the British Residency, the site of a siege during the rebellion of 1857.

Day 8 - Varanasi

Our final long-distance train journey of the holiday takes us to Varanasi, a sacred city to the Hindus that attracts thousands of pilgrims every year. After checking into our hotel, this evening we watch a spectacular Aarti fire ceremony, an elaborate Hindu ritual. Priests carry tiered metal lamps, moving rhythmically to the sounds of sacred Hindu songs as the flames sway in unison creating an entrancing ambience.

 

Day 9 - Cruise on the River Ganges

Early on Day 9, we take to the water for a cruise along the holy River Ganges, admiring the sun as it spreads its first orange hues on the slate-coloured water. We then take an excursion to Sarnath, where Buddha is said to have given his first sermon and which now, understandably, holds great significance for Buddhists. This afternoon, we transfer to the airport for our flight to Kolkata, home for the next two nights.

Day 10 - Kolkata

We enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of Kolkata, exploring the vibrant and bustling flower market, Mother Teresa's house and the Victoria Memorial - a beautiful white marble structure boasting sprawling gardens. Later, we visit the railway museum - a huge open field in the heart of the city offering panoramic views of the Kolkata skyline - and the Potter's Colony, where generations of potters engage in the art of making Hindu deities for festive occasions. Travelling aboard the Circular Train, a local commuter service, we then make our way to the banks of Hooghly River to see the memorial of James Prinsep, an English scholar and numismatist.

 

Day 11 - Kathmandu

On Day 11, we transfer to the airport, we board our flight to Kathmandu in Nepal, checking into our hotel for two nights on arrival. 

Day 12 - Patan and Kathmandu

Visiting the neighbouring town Patan on Day 12, we listen to a master create music with singing bowls, an experience that has deep spiritual connotations in Buddhist culture. Later, we return to Kathmandu for a sightseeing tour, exploring its multiple city squares, where locals gather throughout the day, the erstwhile royal square and Boudhanath Stupa, one of the largest stupas in the world, before taking a rickshaw ride to Thamel, a lively part of the city. Tonight, we dine at the well-known Rum Doodle restaurant. Once a hangout for brave mountaineers, here we chat to a local Sherpa as they relive their experiences of climbing Mount Everest for us.

Day 13 - Chitwan National Park

This morning we visit the Swayambhunath Stupa ahead of our journey to Chitwan National Park. After checking into our hotel for two nights, we enjoy a talk from a local naturalist about the wildlife that we might see over the next couple of days. Next, we walk to a nearby village populated by the Tharu People. Here we learn about their unique way of life and culture.

Day 14 - Chitwan National Park

We visit a gharial, or Indian crocodile breeding centre, on Day 14. Here, this endangered species is bred and monitored to prevent extinction. After lunch, we take a wonderful Jeep safari through the jungles and grasslands of Chitwan National Park. Famous for its biodiversity, here we may spot the Indian Rhino stalking its way through the wetlands and grassy plains, Bengal tigers, leopards, hyenas and even a sloth bear or two.

Day 15 - Pokhora

We drive into the Himalayas today, passing glacial turquoise rapids and jungle-covered mountains on our way to Pokhara for three nights. With staggering views of Fishtail Peak, this is one of the world's most scenic destinations.

Day 16 - At leisure

Day 16 is free for you to marvel at the views and relax at our hotel.

 

Day 17 - Sarangkot

On Day 17, we drive up to Sarangkot, a mountain viewpoint that offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience - witnessing the sunrise over snow-clad Annapurna, one of the highest mountains in the world. After breakfast back at our hotel, we explore Pokhara, visiting the Gorkha Museum, the Old Bazaar and a Tibetan settlement where we experience some of the country's ancient cultures. In the afternoon, we enjoy a cruise across the tranquil waters of Lake Phewa, admiring the panoramic scenery and lofty mountains which border it.

Day 18 - Kathmandu and London

Returning to the Nepalese capital for a final night.

Day 19 - London

On Day 19 we transfer to the airport for our flight back to London Heathrow, via Doha.

Additional information

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We will write to you around 10 weeks before your departure date with the precise meeting times for your tour group.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

Hyatt Regency Hotel, Amritsar

Hyatt Regency Hotel, Amritsar

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Taj Palace, New Delhi

Taj Palace, New Delhi

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Vivanta Hotel, Kathmandu

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Taj Bengal Hotel, Kolkata

Taj Bengal Hotel, Kolkata

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Vivanta by Taj Hotel, Lucknow

Vivanta by Taj Hotel, Lucknow

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Fish Tail Lodge, Pokhara

Fish Tail Lodge, Pokhara

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Taj Ganges Hotel, Varanasi

Taj Ganges Hotel, Varanasi

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Train

Shatabdi Express

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Grand Tour of India, Nepal and the Himalayas

Explore India and Nepal by train, travelling through the iconic Himalayas

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Luke Simpson
Luke
Lynne Broadley
Lynne
Helen Laverack
Helen