Vibrant cities, immaculate beaches, rich cultural heritage, peaceful backwaters, standing in contrast with rolling foothills and innumerable ancient monuments - all make India a fascinating travel destination.
Call 877-929-7245 for air add-ons from your city.
Carefully designed to take in the very best of Southern India, the Madras Mail, your new tour available from 2010, covers everything from India's most important cities to spectacular World Heritage Sites and stunning coastlines. The gateways of Bombay and Madras are key ports of call in the South. They open the door to a more tropical India, slower, tranquil and even more exotic.
A remarkable opportunity waits for you to discover the mysteries, diversity and traditions of Southern India in style on board the private train, the Deccan Odyssey.
- Visit the Taj Mahal and witness the architectural perfection of the mausoleum that Shah Jahan built in memory to his wife Mumtaz Mahal
- Short cruise to Elephanta Island, designed to honor the Hindu god Shiva
- Ride the world fameous 'Deccan Odyssey' and 'Nilgiri Mountain Railway' Trains
- See the rock cut temples and caves of Madras
- Visit Cochin Harbour and witness a Kathakali Dance performance
- Travel to Madurai and witness an Aarti Hindu Ceremony
- Two full days in Delhi featuring a number of fascinating tour opportunities
- 2 nights in Bombay (Mumbai)
- 7 nights onboard the Deccan Odyssey
- 3 nights in Madras (Chennai)
- Experienced tour managers
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily
- Drinkswith meals
- On board service
- Guided off-train excursions
- Personal headset
- On board doctor And medical facilities
- 24 hour service attendent
- 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 itís 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 dayís 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, conveniently located at 'The Gateway of India' for a luxurious two night stay. (Meals today at your own arrangements)
Day 2 - Bombay
This morning you take a short cruise 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. You return to Bombay for lunch at the Khyber restaurant (or similar) and in the afternoon you are free to explore Bombay independently or visit one of the colourful local markets. 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
This morning we 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. Our tour then takes in Fort Bombay and Gandhi's House, now turned into a fascinating museum depicting his inspirational life. Mid-afternoon sees us boarding our 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 in one of the restaurant cars. An all day option prior to boarding the Deccan Odyssey is to take the 100 year old line from Neral to the hill station of Matheran (at 2,500 feet or 800 metres), 2 hours drive south of Bombay. As the little train climbs up into the clear mountain air one can view the scenic vista of hills and plains below. The total lack of motorised traffic at Matheran makes it an unusual and peaceful retreat. (Guests will join the Deccan Odyssey, at Pavel Junction after descending from Matheran)
Day - 4 Goa
Goa, renowned for its beaches, temples and world heritage architecture, was the capital of the Portuguese Empire in the east and displays much of this heritage in its architecture today. You take a morning tour to view Basilica De Bom Jesus and Se Cathedral of Santa Catarina, a towering white structure with a grand baroque interior and the most imposing church in Old Goa.
Day 5 - Ooty - The Nilgiri Mountain Railway
The Nilgiri Mountain Railway, a World Heritage Site, starts from the town of Mettupalayam and takes you on a journey full of twists and turns as this narrow gauge steam train ascends 30kms on India's only Rack and Pinion Railway with gradients as steep as 1:12 to the town of Coonor, from where for the final 16kms the train picks up speed on its way to the hill resort at Ooty at 7,228 feet (2,225 metres) famous for its pretty cottages and beautiful Botanical Gardens. The 'Toy Train' treks heads through plantations and forest clad hills and with no less than 16 tunnels and tall bridges on the way along with the breathtaking view make this toy train journey to Ooty an extraordinary experience!
Day 6 - Cochin
Cochin's beautiful natural harbour and scenic backwaters has meant its history has been rich and varied. The British, Arabs, Portuguese, Dutch and Chinese have all left indelible marks on the architectural development of this city. You will visit the Dutch Palace and the Jewish Synagogue and then see the Giant Chinese fishing nets that billow from massive teak and bamboo poles which dot the entrance to the harbour and are still in use today. The day ends in a visit to the 500 year old Fort Cochin where you will walk through the historical Dutch and Portuguese buildings. In the evening there is the opportunity to witness a Kathakali Dance performance where the dancers are elaborately made up with paint and masks accompanied by drummers and musicians as they act out a dance drama.
Day 7 - Trivandrum & Kananyakumarli
The Deccan Odyssey arrives in Trivandrum in the early morning. After breakfast you visit the Napier Museum and the dominating Padmanabhaswamy Hindu Temple. Following lunch you head to Kanyakumari which is mainland India's southernmost point, where the three seas - Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea & Bay of Bengal - meet and where the shore temple to the Virgin Goddess Kanyakumari stands.
Days 8 - Madurai
The Temple City of Madurai was the capital of the Pandya Kingdom but it was during the reign of the Nayaks that the magnificent Meenakshi Temple was constructed. In the evening you will witness a Hindu ritual, an Aarti Ceremony in Madurai.
Day 9 - Pondicherry
Pondicherry is the former capital of the French territories in India. Landmarks include Raj Nivas, the residence of the Lt Governor of Pondicherry - a handsome 200 year old building which faces Government Park with its paths and lawns, fountains and sculptures. Tonight is your final night on board the Deccan Odyssey.
Day 10 - Madras (Chennai)
Madras, the capital of Tamil Nadu, is located on the legendary Coromandel Coast with a marvellous tradition of music and dance. This city of 4 million people has a pronounced colonial heritage dating back to the 17th Century. You arrive in Madras in the morning and transfer from the Deccan Odyssey to the luxurious Taj Coromandel hotel for a 2 night stay before your tour of the city where you will visit highlights such as Fort St. George and the National Art Gallery.
Day 11-12 - Madras
Situated south of Madras, you visit Mahabalipuram, a beautiful coastal resort classified as a World Heritage Site. The rock cut temples and caves situated here are amongst the finest in the world and originated between 7th and 9th century. The main attraction of Mahabalipuram is the Shore Temple, which is renowned for its intricate carvings and skilled craftsmanship.
Day 13 - Madras
Transfers to the airport are included for all guests.
All prices shown above are per person. Please see Booking Conditions for our full payment terms.
Call 877-929-7245 today to book your Madras 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 $16,495, and Maharaja Class is $25,295.
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.