The ‘Darjeeling Mail’ tour covers everything from India’s most important cities to spectacular UNESCO-listed sights such as the Taj Mahal, the ‘ghost city’ of Fatehpur Sikri and of course, the unique Darjeeling Himalayan Railway.
Call 877-929-7245 for air add-ons from your city.
You visit India’s modern capital, Delhi, as well as Calcutta – considered its cultural capital – and Bombay, India’s commercial centre and home to the ‘Gateway of India’. Also on your itinerary are Jaipur’s incredible Amber Fort and the world-famous Taj Mahal, as well as Varanasi (formerly Benares), perched on the banks of the River Ganges and one of Hinduism’s holiest sites. Here you will take a private cruise, as well a walk along the city’s famous ‘ghats’.
However the highlight of this very special tour must be the time you spend in the Himalayas. You climb up into the mountains using the ‘Toy Train’ of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway – one of only two UNESCO-listed railways in the world.
Taking around eight hours to climb to 7,400ft at Ghum before dropping slightly into Darjeeling (passengers can take a private bus if they prefer, which is quicker), the little steam locomotives use loops and zig-zags to claw their way up the mountainsides on their journey from Siliguri, where you leave the ‘Deccan Odyssey’.
In Darjeeling you stay in the renowned Hotel Mayfair (or similar), your bases for exploring the local area with its tiger sanctuary, tranquil streets – and magnificent views of the world’s highest mountains. Snow-capped Kanchenjunga, the third-highest, is most prominent but on clear days from Tiger Hill you can even see the peak of Everest some 200 miles away. Your time in the Himalayas is – literally – an extraordinary highlight of a trip that will stay in the mind forever.
- Udaipur - Admire the awe-inspiring beauty of the magnificent Lake Palace - constructed entirely of marble and City Palace, one of the largest palaces in the world.
- Amber Fort - Explore the breathtaking and ornate beauty of the Amber Fort, including the magnificent Hall of Mirrors.
- Agra Fort - Discover fairytale palaces and two beautifully preserved mosques inside its red sandstone walls, viewing the Taj Mahal from the ramparts.
- Taj Mahal - Devote yourself to the unbelievable beauty of the Taj Mahal. Witness the architectural perfection of the mausoleum that Shah Jahan built in memory to his wife Mumtaz Mahal.
- Varanasi - Soak up the spiritual presence of India's most sacred city. Varanasi reveals its soul as you cruise along the Ganges at sunrise.
- Darjeeling - Hit the heights on the spectacular Darjeeling Himalayan Railway as you travel through breathtaking mountain scenery to the colonial grandeur of this world famous Hill Station nestling under Mount Kanchenunga, the world's third highest mountain.
- Calcutta - India's former capital city. Experience Calcutta's enthralling street life and rich cultural history, including the Victoria Memorial that reveals the fascinating history of this immense country.
- 2 nights in Bombay (Mumbai)
- 7 nights onboard the Deccan Odyssey
- 3 nights in Darjeeling
- 2 nights in Calcutta (Kolkata)
- Experienced tour managers
- Arrival and departure transfers
- Hotel and onboard accommodation
- Welcome and farewell dinners
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily
- Drinks with meals
- Guided off-train excursions
- Personal headsets
- On board doctor and medical facilities
- 24 hour service attendant
- New for 2011: Freedom of Choice Touring Options
Customise your journey and enjoy the opportunity to select from an array of Freedom of Choice Touring options that best suits your interests. Your off-train excursions will still take in all the major attractions of the places we are visiting but, in featured locations, you will be presented when you are onboard the train with a variety of activities from which to choose, and enjoy a tailor-made experience. In short, it means that your holiday is just that, your very own, and it’s all included in the tour price, with no more for you to pay. It is the ultimate in flexibility. Look at the individual itineraries where we are operating Freedom of Choice Touring. Freedom of Choice Touring options may be subject to variations dependent on finalised train timings and local charges. Touring options available will typically be advised in the evening prior to the day’s tour.
Day 1 - Bombay (Mumbai)
Your voyage of discovery begins at Bombay airport, where you will be met and transferred to the five-star Taj Lands End Hotel for a luxurious two night stay. (Meals today at your own arrangements)
Day 2 - Bombay - FREEDOM OF CHOICE TOURING
This morning we take a short cruise, weather permitting, to Elephanta Island, a lush island densely wooded with palm, mango and tamarind trees. The atmospheric and fascinating cave complex, which dates back to the 3rd – 5th century, was designed to honour the life of Lord Shiva, one of the most auspicious Hindu gods and is now a World Heritage Site. Marvel at the many statues and works of art dedicated to Lord Shiva. We return to Bombay for lunch at the Khyber restaurant and in the afternoon you are free to explore Bombay independently or visit one of the colourful local markets. Alternatively, with our Freedom of Choice programme, we offer a visit to the famous Jehangir Art Gallery and also the Prince of Wales Museum, housing 50,000 exhibits in a landmark building close to the Gateway of India. In the evening a welcome drinks reception is followed by dinner at your hotel where you can get to know your fellow travellers who will share this remarkable Indian odyssey.
Day 3 - Bombay
The compelling city of Bombay is rich in culture and history. Today you visit the ‘Dhobi Ghats’, an intriguing outdoor laundry. The dhobi is a traditional laundryman who collects your dirty linen, washes it and returns it neatly pressed. The Ghats are the laundries where they practice this historic tradition. Your tour then takes in Fort Bombay and Gandhi’s House, now turned in to a fascinating museum depicting his inspirational life. Lunch is served in a local restaurant. Mid-afternoon sees us boarding your private train, the Deccan Odyssey, a perfect way to experience the colour, character and amazing diversity of India. Settle into your beautifully appointed cabin and enjoy the hospitable atmosphere of the Bar Car before experiencing fine Indian or western cuisine.
Day 4 - Udaipur, The City of The Lakes
You spend a leisurely morning onboard as the landscape and spirit of India unfolds before us. You then have the opportunity to listen to a talk on Indian culture before arriving at Udaipur, known as the ‘City of Lakes’ or ‘Venice of the East’. A beguiling tapestry of breathtaking lakes and opulently majestic palaces from the Rajput era await your discovery. The afternoon is spent admiring the awe-inspiring beauty of the Lake Palace constructed entirely of marble, which sits on its own island in the Pichola Lake, and visiting the medieval grandeur of City Palace.
Day 5 - The Pink City of Jaipur
With a breakfast arrival into the capital of Rajasthan, the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur overwhelms the senses as you embrace its rich and colourful past. This morning you visit the Amber Fort and explore its breathtaking and ornate majesty, including the magnificent Hall of Mirrors. After lunch in a local restaurant, you continue your exploration with a tour of the Jantar Mantar Observatory, the imposing and vast City Palace and the beautiful Hawa Mahal, or Palace of Winds. This delicately stunning, yet enduring monument is constructed entirely of pink sandstone and was built in 1799 to allow royal ladies to discreetly observe everyday life. Finally, if time permits, you explore a famous fabric market before returning to your train to refresh ourselves. This evening you dine in the elegant Rambagh Palace Hotel.
Day 6 - Delhi
One of the oldest cities in the world, Delhi is a bustling and vibrant city. Your fascinating city tour takes in the Raj Ghat memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, the World Heritage Site of Humayun’s Tomb, the first example of Mughal architecture in India, and the towering Indo-Islamic Qutab Minar, the tallest brick minaret in the world at 238ft (73m) which dates from 1368. Tonight you enjoy dinner on board the train.
Day 7 - Ghost City of Fatehpur Sikri, Agra
After breakfast, you visit the World Heritage Site of Fatehpur Sikri. Known as a ‘ghost city’ this red sandstone town was abandoned due to lack of water in 1585. This afternoon your journey takes us to Agra Fort, a magnificent structure that dominates the skyline. Its red sandstone walls run for 2.5 km and contain many fairytale palaces and two beautifully preserved mosques.
Days 8 Agra - Taj Mahal
Today is devoted to exploring the impossibly beautiful Taj Mahal, indisputably the most famous building in the world. Built in 1648 by Shah Jahan as a monument to his beloved wife, it took 22 years and 20,000 workers to complete. Nowhere else on the planet will you experience such a poignant architectural statement dedicated to the enduring nature of human love and inspirational artistry.
Day 9 - Sacred City of Vanarasi
Varanasi simply has to be experienced to be understood. Your early morning arrival at Varanasi, one of India’s most sacred places, offers us the opportunity to discover what is believed to be the oldest continually inhabited city in the world. Situated on the banks of the Ganges, this cultural and religious centre, established between 3-5,000 years ago, is a focus for pilgrims who bathe in the sacred waters of the Ganges. You are privileged to experience this ceremony before departing for a private river cruise. Your exploration of Varanasi is completed with a guided walk through the ancient streets of this remarkable city.
Day 10 - The Hill Station of Darjeeling
Today you leave the Deccan Odyssey and embark on a spectacular journey to the hill station of Darjeeling. You transfer either by bus (3-4 hours) or the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR), Toy Train, from Tindaria which takes about 6½ hours. Travelling through awe inspiring scenery you climb 7,400 feet to Ghum, the highest Indian railway station, where snow covered Kanchenchunga dominates the skyline, before dropping 600 feet into Darjeeling. The locomotive zigzags and loops, gaining height to reach the cooler air of India’s most famous hill station. A packed lunch is served on the Darjeeling Train before arrival into colonial Darjeeling. You have dinner in the Hotel Mayfair (or similar), where you will stay for three nights.
Day 11 - Darjeeling
You awaken to the breathtaking scenery of Mount Kanchenchunga and this morning you can ride the DHR up to Batasia Loop and Ghum, climbing 600 feet during its 7km journey. The senses reel as you experience the chaotic nature of roadside life passing within inches of colourful shops, houses and enthralling monasteries. The afternoon tour of Darjeeling provides a wonderful opportunity to experience the elegant grandeur of colonial life, as well as the contrasting culture of a Tibetan refugee centre and an absorbing visit to the Himalayan Institute where you learn about some of the famous mountaineering expeditions.
Day 12 - Darjeeling
This morning, weather permitting, you have a once in a lifetime opportunity to watch the sun rising over the snow capped Himalayas, with Mount Everest rising 200 miles away on the horizon. Your optional early morning trip to Tiger Hill is a quintessential experience that captures the very character of one of the planet’s most overwhelming natural sights. This afternoon you visit a tea plantation and sample the freshest cup of tea most of us are ever likely to taste.
Day 13 - Darjeeling to Calcutta(Kolkata)
After an English breakfast, you leave this tranquil haven to embark on a private transfer from Darjeeling to Bagdogra airport for a short flight to Calcutta (Kolkata). On the way you will enjoy panoramic views of the extensive tea plantations that unfurl below us. On arrival in Calcutta you transfer to the five-star Taj Bengal hotel for a two night stay.
Day 14 Calcutta - FREEDOM OF CHOICE TOURING
Calcutta is a sensory delight and cultural extravaganza that is constantly evolving. After breakfast, we spend the day exploring and absorbing the many sights that comprise this enthralling city that was once India’s capital. Our tour includes a visit to the Victoria Memorial, one of the finest and most prominent buildings in Calcutta which houses a museum dedicated to the history of India. We then move on to Dalhousie Square, the bustling hub of English colonial power and trade during the two centuries of British rule. Our final stop is South Park Cemetery, an atmospheric and still space within the clamour of modern day Calcutta. Alternatively, you may wish to join a tour to Balur Math, the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission and a place of pilgrimage, the Dakshineswar Kali Temple and the Botanical Gardens, which exhibit a wide variety of rare plants and a total collection of over 12,000 specimens including the Great Banyan tree. In the evening we say goodbye to our fellow travelling companions who have shared this remarkable journey with us at our Farewell Dinner.
Day 15 Calcutta
You will be transferred to Calcutta airport to begin your journey home.
- September 12 - September 26 (Eastbound)
All prices shown above are per person. Please see Booking Conditions for our full payment terms.
Call 877-929-7245 today to book your Darjeeling Mail Tour.
Prices are per person in $USD and include all taxes and fees. Prices are subject to change without notice. Please reconfirm at the time of booking.
Single prices for Viceroy Class is $19,995, and Maharaja Class is $27,995.
We strongly suggest adding trip insurance to any and all bookings.
A valid passport is required for this vacation. Visa requirements may also apply. Please inquire at time of booking.