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Ultimate Rajasthan and the Palace on Wheels

You are viewing the 2024 itinerary. Select your departure year
14 days From £5,495 £5,295 per person


Discover the culture of Rajasthan as we explore India’s Golden Triangle and travel aboard the famous Palace on Wheels

Operated by our sister company Great Rail Journeys
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Mobility Rating 4

2024 Tour code: INJ24

About the tour

Discover alluring palaces and forts on this epic Indian rail adventure aboard the Palace on Wheels. Experience the lifestyle of the Maharajahs as we visit walled cities, marvel at the Taj Mahal and enjoy tiger-spotting in Ranthambore National Park.


What’s included


Day 1 - To Delhi

We fly overnight from London Heathrow to Delhi, arriving on Day 2.

Day 2 - Delhi

We arrive in to Delhi today and transfer to our hotel.

Day 3 - Discovering Delhi

We begin exploring with our knowledgeable local guide, setting out on a tour that starts with a rickshaw ride through the streets of Old Delhi. Passing by the historic bazaar, we catch the scent of fragrant spices and the sounds of locals bartering before visiting Jama Masjid, also known as the 'World reflecting mosque'. We continue to New Delhi, passing by the President's House and Parliament House on our way to Gandhi Smriti, a museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi. We also discover Connaught Place on a walking tour.

Day 4 - The Toy Train to Shimla

We transfer to the train station to board the Shatabdi Express to Kalka. Here, we embark on a scenic journey aboard the UNESCO-listed, narrow-gauge Toy Train to Shimla, travelling from the Shivalik foothills through 102 tunnels, over 864 bridges and around 919 curves. During our ascent, we have time to soak up the awe-inspiring, panoramic views of the Himalayas, making stops at stations such as Dharampur, Kandaghat and Summerhill on the way. Alternatively, you may choose to make the journey by road. The mountain town of Shimla was once the summer capital of the British Raj and enjoys a cooler climate than India's bustling cities. On arrival we check into our hotel for three nights.

Day 5 - 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 hike around the surrounding pine forests or up Summer Hill for fantastic views. Once the sun sets maybe visit Lakkar Bazaar, a stretch of open-air stalls selling traditional crafts and souvenirs.

Day 6 - Sightseeing in Shimla

Our day begins with an informative talk from guest speaker Raaja Bhasin, an author and historian whose spell-binding stories bring to life the history of Shimla, his home town. Later, we explore by car, seeing the Viceregal Lodge, a striking 19th-century Elizabethan-style mansion, and the Sankat Mochan temple. After lunch, we stroll along the mall to the town's Gaiety Theatre, the Victorian-Gothic Christ Church and Scandal Point - named as it was a place where people would meet to gossip.

Day 7 - Jaipur

We leave Shimla in the morning, making the journey back down the mountains through stunning scenery to Chandigarh. Transferring to the airport, we fly to Jaipur for the night, the capital of Rajasthan. Founded in 1727 by Maharaja Jai Singh II, the city is often referred to as the 'Pink City' after the buildings were re-painted in the 19th century to celebrate a visit from Prince Albert.

Day 8 - The Palace on Wheels

Taking a tour of the city, we see the incredible Amber Fort, the beautiful façade of the Palace of the Winds, which shielded ladies of the royal court from the streets below, and the ancient City Palace. We transfer to our hotel-train, the Palace on Wheels, to start our enchanting five-night journey in carriages decorated in traditional Rajasthani style. After a vibrant welcome ceremony at the station, we settle into our comfortable cabins, enjoying dinner together in the restaurant car in the evening. The train's carpeted floors, intricately patterned walls and comfortable furniture is a fitting accompaniment to the regal architecture of Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, and Jaisalmer and helps us immerse ourselves even further into the culture and traditions of this area of India.

Day 9 – Ranthambore National Park

During the night, our train sets off for Ranthambore, arriving at the renowned national park early in the morning. This vast national park is one of the best places to see the Bengal Tiger thanks to the conservation efforts of Project Tiger. We head out on a morning game drive in the hope of spotting this majestic creature, while looking out for other native wildlife such as sloth bears, hyenas, macaques, wild boar and even leopards. Afterwards, we re-board the train and travel to Chittorgarh, where we see the majestic hilltop fort, the Tower of Victory, and the intricate Tower of Fame.

Day 10 - Udaipur

The Palace on Wheels reaches Udaipur, on the shores of pristine Lake Pichola and encircled by the Aravalli Ranges of Rajasthan. Also known as the City of Lakes, Udaipur was founded by Maharana Udai Singh of Mewar after the Sisodia dynasty was driven away by the Mughals. We enjoy a coach tour here, seeing the famous City Palace, a majestic white monument of granite and marble, ahead of lunch at a nearby hotel. After lunch, we take a cruise across the lake, enjoying outstanding views of forested islands and elegant shoreside buildings. On our return to Udaipur, we re-join the train.

Day 11 - Jaisalmer

We arrive in Jaisalmer, a historic walled town in the Thar Desert whose splendid sandstone architecture has earned it the moniker of the 'Golden City'. On arrival we take a guided tour and explore the main chowk, or square, in the shadow of the Palace of the Maharawal. Here, a five-storey façade of balconies and windows displays some of the finest masonry in Jaisalmer, giving us time to marvel at the skill of the local stone carvers. In the afternoon, we enjoy a 4x4 Jeep ride, crossing the sandy desert and stopping to admire the setting sun over the sand dunes en-route. Dinner tonight is accompanied by a cultural performance at a local hotel before we re-board the Palace on Wheels.

Day 12 - Jodhpur

We pull into the 'Blue City' of Jodhpur, ringed by a high stone wall of seven gates and several bastions, where we enjoy an immersive tour that includes the grand Mehrangarh Fort, Jaswant Thada - an ornate group of royal marble cenotaphs made to honour Rajput king - and the Umaid Bhawan Palace Museum. Jodhpur is also known for its creative crafts and you may like to pick up some unique handmade gifts, fabrics or printed materials. After soaking up the atmosphere and architecture reminiscent of stately Indian court life, we enjoy lunch at a local hotel before re-boarding the train for our journey to Agra.

Day 13 - Agra and the Taj Mahal

The Palace on Wheels stops at Bharatpur where you have the option to visit the famous bird sanctuary. Continuing to Agra, we disembark for the final time. After leaving the Palace on Wheels, we visit Agra Fort, a majestic red sandstone citadel, and the captivating Taj Mahal, an iconic white marble masterpiece. Commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1632 for his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj Mahal is probably the world's finest example of Mughal and Persian architecture and is considered the jewel of Muslim art in India, and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. We return to Delhi by coach for the night.

Day 14 - Home

Transferring to the airport, we fly back to the UK where our holiday draws to a close.

Additional information

Guest Speaker - Raaja Bhasin

We enjoy a talk from the author and historian Raaja Bhasin on Day 5, gaining an insight into the town of Shimla through its people, history and culture. Raa-ja Bhasin was born in Shimla and is a recognised authority on this former Brit-ish retreat in the foothills of the Himalayas. He has worked on assignments from the BBC and writes regular features for magazines and newspapers in India and abroad.

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.


ITC Maurya Hotel, New Delhi

ITC Maurya Hotel, New Delhi

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Maidens Hotel, Delhi

Maidens Hotel, Delhi

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ITC Sheraton Rajputana, Jaipur

ITC Sheraton Rajputana, Jaipur

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The Oberoi Cecil Hotel, Shimla

The Oberoi Cecil Hotel, Shimla

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Shatabdi Express
Toy Train
Palace on Wheels

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UK rail connections
London hotels