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India’s Golden Triangle, Tigers and Shimla

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Historic temples, elusive tigers and beautiful palaces

You are viewing the 2023 itinerary. Select your departure year
20222023
14 days From £1,995 £1,895 per person
Operated by our sister company Great Rail Journeys

2023 Tour code: LTC23

About the tour

Marvel at historic temples, spot elusive tigers and visit beautiful palaces and gardens as we explore kaleidoscopic India, taking in the tranquillity of Shimla, enigmatic Delhi, the 'Pink City' of Jaipur and Agra - home of the resplendent Taj Mahal.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - To Delhi

We depart London Heathrow on our flight to Delhi.

Day 2 - Arrive in Delhi

We arrive in the Indian capital late this morning for a one-night stay. Delhi is one of India's most colourful and exciting metropolises, where the old and new exist harmoniously. Start immersing yourself in this vibrant metropolis with some free time or relax at the hotel after your journey.

Day 3 - The Toy Train

We leave Delhi on the Shatabdi Express to Kalka. Here we board the UNESCO-listed, narrow-gauge 'Himalayan Queen', also affectionately referred to as the Toy Train. Covering a journey of 60 miles, we pass through the Shivalik foothills of the Himalayas, crossing 864 bridges and powering through 102 tunnels on our way to Shimla. The train moves at a leisurely pace, giving us time to soak in the incredible panoramas of the surrounding scenery. Alternatively, you may choose to make the journey by car. The mountain town of Shimla was once the summer capital of the British Raj and enjoys a cooler climate than India's bustling cities, and on arrival we check into our hotel for three nights.

Day 4 - Sightseeing in Shimla

Our day begins with an informative talk from guest speaker Raaja Bhasin, whose spellbinding stories of his home town bring to life the history of Shimla. We continue our explorations afterwards with a sightseeing tour that takes in much of the local colonial heritage. We start at the Viceregal Lodge, a striking 19th-century Elizabethan-style mansion that was the summer seat of the viceroys until the 1940s, and the Sankat Mochan temple. An afternoon stroll then takes us past the town's Gaiety Theatre, the Victorian-Gothic Christ Church and Scandal Point - so named because it was a popular meeting place for people to gather and share gossip.

Please Note: For departures LTC2313, LTC2314 and LTC2315 our guest speaker will be Raj Mehta

Day 5 - Free time in Shimla

Today is free for you to explore Shimla. You could join an optional tour to Kufri to admire the views over the Himalayas, followed by a high-tea lunch at Wildflower Hall. Alternatively, you might like to soak up some of your natural surroundings with a hike around the surrounding pine forests or up Summer Hill for fantastic views. Once the sun sets, perhaps make your way to Lakkar Bazaar, a long stretch of open-air stalls selling traditional woodwork and souvenirs.

Day 6 - Return to Delhi

We make the return trip to Delhi for two more nights, checking into our hotel on arrival.

Day 7 - Old and New Delhi

Visiting Old Delhi, we take a rickshaw ride through the narrow streets of the bazaar to Chandni Chowk, where the smell of Indian spices floats on the air. We also visit Jama Masjid, which boasts the title of India's largest mosque, Raj Ghat, a simple but moving memorial to Gandhi, and the city's iconic Red Fort. Later, we embark on a sightseeing tour of the wide, leafy avenues and impressive Mughal and Colonial architecture of New Delhi, exploring the India Gate war memorial, the grand Rashtrapati Bhavan, Mughal Emperor Humayun's Tomb and Qutab Minar - India's tallest stone tower.

Day 8 - Agra and the Taj Mahal

We join the Gatimaan Express bound for Agra this morning. On arrival, we visit the imposing Agra Fort, built by the Mughal emperor Akbar in the late 16th century. Built on a hill above Agra, its centrepiece is a tower with a marble balcony where Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan spent his last days imprisoned. Inside the fort are some of the most exquisite specimens of Mughal architecture, including the Moti Masjid. Later, we travel across the city to the spectacular Taj Mahal, one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Built by Shah Jahan in 1653 in memory of his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal, this famous white marble building is a true monument to undying love and is considered to be the world's finest example of Mughal and Persian architecture.

Day 9 - Fatehpur Sikri

Leaving Agra by coach, we stop at Fatehpur Sikri, a perfectly-preserved red sandstone city built in the 16th century as India's political capital, but abandoned after only 14 years due to a lack of water. Remarkably, the city remains almost exactly as it was over 400 years ago, giving us an excellent insight into the opulent lifestyle of the Mughal era. After a guided tour of the ancient streets and buildings, we continue to Ranthambore National Park, our base for the next two nights.

Day 10 - Ranthambore National Park

We experience a highlight of our holiday as we head into Ranthambore National Park, one of the best places in the world to spot a Bengal tiger in its natural habitat. Declared a Project Tiger Reserve in 1973, the park is a favourite among wildlife photographers and tourists alike, as its relatively large tiger population means it's possible to spy one of these majestic creatures basking in the sun or sauntering through the wilderness. We enjoy a talk by a naturalist at the hotel before our first game drive in open-topped safari vehicles called 'canters'.

Day 11 - Tiger spotting at Ranthambore

We're treated to another game drive today to increase our likelihood of seeing some other native wild-life, such as sloth bears, hyenas, macaques, wild boar and even leopards. Of course, we also hope to see another tiger or two and, being accompanied by local experts who know the animals' daily movements almost as well as their own, means we have a good chance of doing so. In the afternoon, we continue to Jaipur, attending an authentic Aarti Fire Ceremony at the Birla Temple on arrival before checking into our hotel for two nights.

Day 12 - Jaipur

Discovering the 'Pink City' of Jaipur on a full-day sightseeing tour, we travel by Jeep firstly to the Amber Fort, located high on a hillside overlooking Maota Lake. We have time here to explore the ornate rooms within the palace complex before our tour continues to the ornately decorated City Palace - home to the current Maharajah of Jaipur as well as an early 18th-century Astronomical Observatory. We also drive past the Palace of the Winds, a stunning façade built in 1799 whose intricately latticed windows were designed to allow the ladies of the royal household to look out over the streets below without being seen themselves.

Day 13 - Delhi

We returning to Delhi by coach for a final time, spending the night at the same hotel as before.

Day 14 - London

After breakfast, we transfer to the airport for our flight back to the UK.

Additional information

Guest Speaker - Raaja Bhasin

Selected departures feature a guest speaker on Day 4 at Oberoi Cecil Shimla. We enjoy a talk from Raaja Bhasin for a detailed insight into the town through its people, history and culture. Raaja Bhasin is an acclaimed writer and researcher; most recently he served as history consultant on the Channel 4 series 'Indian Summers'. Born in Shimla, he was written two books on the former British retreat.

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

ITC Mughal Agra, Agra

ITC Mughal Agra, Agra

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Taj Palace, New Delhi

Taj Palace, New Delhi

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ITC Sheraton Rajputana, Jaipur

ITC Sheraton Rajputana, Jaipur

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The Sawai Vilas, Ranthambore

The Sawai Vilas, Ranthambore

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The Oberoi Cecil Hotel, Shimla

The Oberoi Cecil Hotel, Shimla

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Trains

Gatimaan Express
Shatabdi Express
Toy Train

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India’s Golden Triangle, Tigers and Shimla

Historic temples, elusive tigers and beautiful palaces

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Lynne Broadley
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