1 Arrive Delhi
Upon arrival at the airport, you’ll be transferred into the heart of India’s bustling capital, home to around 25 million people. Here, you will spend three incredible nights. Stay Three Nights: Delhi, Maidens Hotel
Enjoy a free day to settle in and explore Delhi at your own pace. Perhaps explore Chandni Chowk, one of the city’s oldest and busiest markets, filled with food carts, sweet shops and spice stalls. This evening, meet your Great Rail Journeys Tour Escort and fellow travellers at a Welcome Dinner. (B/D)
Today you will further explore Delhi, India’s vibrant, hectic, awe- inspiring capital city. Leave the enticing aromas of street food behind and move on to New Delhi, where you’ll see Humayun’s Tomb and Qutab Minar - India’s tallest stone tower. Other highlights include the triumphal India Gate, the Parliament Building and Rashtrapati Bhawan, the home of India’s president. (B/D)
Insider Experience: Take a fascinating rickshaw ride through the narrow streets of Delhi’s lively bazaar, winding through a sea of pedestrians going about their everyday lives.
4 Delhi, Agra
Today you will have your first taste of rail travel in India as you board the Gatimaan Express to Agra, home to the truly magical Taj Mahal. On arrival, head to the enormous Agra Fort, an impressive maze of buildings constructed in 1565 under Emperor Akbar. Afterwards, enjoy an Insider Experience before transferring to your hotel in Agra. Stay: Agra, The Trident Hotel (B/D)
Insider Experience: Journey to Agra on the Gatimaan Express train.
5 Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, Ranthambore
Your day begins with an excursion to Fatehpur Sikri. Built in the 16th century as the brand new capital city of India, Fatehpur Sikri was abandoned after only 14 years of rule when local water supplies ran dry. The deserted city has been preserved in almost the exact state it was left in 400 years ago, and provides a fascinating glimpse into life during the time of the Mughal Empire. After time to explore, continue to Bharatpur to have lunch together at a local restaurant. Later, travel by train to Sawai Madhopur, then transfer to the Taj Sawai Madhopur Lodge, once a hunting lodge for the Maharajas. Stay Two Nights: Ranthambore, Taj Sawai Madhopur Lodge (B/L/D)
6 Ranthambore National Park
Ranthambore National Park is home to many rare creatures including leopards, panthers, hyenas, marsh crocodiles and sloth bears. The park’s most popular resident and its star attraction is the elusive Bengal tiger. It is one of the only places in India where the incredible tiger can still be found in the wild. To increase your chances of seeing all of the magnificent animals at the park, you will embark on a second game drive in the afternoon. (B/L/D)
Insider Experience: Arise early and head into the Ranthambore National Park for an early morning game drive.
7 Ranthambore, Jaipur
Today, travel to Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, known as the ‘Pink City’. In 1876, the reigning Maharaja ordered the entire city to be painted pink, the colour of hospitality, to celebrate a visit by Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales. The tradition has been followed by the residents of the old town, who are now obliged by law to maintain the pink colour. On arrival, check in to the Hilton Hotel in Jaipur. Your home for the next three nights, this modern upscale hotel is the perfect base for an afternoon of exploration. Alternatively, spend your free time unwinding in the hotel’s spa or go for a dip in the outdoor pool. Stay Three Nights: Jaipur, Hilton Hotel (B/L/D)
First, head to the grand City Palace, which is home to the current Maharaja of Jaipur. The ornate building was completed in 1728, and is now surrounded by high walls and fine gardens. Visit the early 18th-century Astronomical Observatory, a splendid complex featuring a number of early geometric devices for tracking locations of planets. Next, it’s off to the spectacular Palace of the Winds, an opulent red and pink sandstone building created for royal ladies to overlook the city without being seen. The afternoon is yours to spend at your leisure. (B/D)
Insider Experience: Embark on an exciting sightseeing tour of Jaipur.
9 Jaipur, Amber Fort
After ascending to Amber Fort by Jeep, you are free to stroll through the sprawling complex of courtyards and halls. Bask in the incredible views of the fortifications on the surrounding mountains. The imposing exterior of the Amber Fort contrasts with its intricate and detailed interior. Many of the rooms have elaborately painted walls inlaid with decadent mirrors and precious stones. (B/D)
Insider Experience: Travel to the outskirts of Jaipur and enjoy a guided tour of Amber Fort. Travel by Jeep to the main entry and spend the morning touring through the fort, learning about its fascinating history.
10 Jaipur, Patan
Travel to the town of Patan after breakfast. Built around 1790, shortly after the battle of Badal-Mahal, the Patan Mahal Palace has been lovingly turned into a heritage hotel. As befitting visitors to a palace, you’ll receive a royal welcome when you reach the grounds and be decorated with flowers. This afternoon, enjoy a guided walking tour of Patan town, a wonderful opportunity to see life in an unspoilt rural Indian town. There is then the opportunity to continue to Badal Mahal, an 800-year old palace, where you can admire the stunning views of the town and the surrounding mountains. Stay: Patan Mahal Palace Hotel (B/D)
Insider Experience: Be indulged with a gala Farewell Dinner on the grounds of the palace hotel, a fitting end to our Indian odyssey.
11 Patan, Depart Delhi
This morning after breakfast, we bid farewell to Patan and drive to Delhi airport for your onward flight. (B)