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Five-Star India's Golden Triangle, Tigers & Shimla

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Marvel at historic temples, spot an elusive tiger and visit beautiful palaces

You are viewing the 2021 itinerary. Select your departure year
20212022
13 days From $2,195 per person

2021 Tour code: GR-LTCA-21

About the tour

Spend 13 days exploring colorful India on this round-trip journey from Delhi. We explore the country's historic temples and palaces and visit the wild Ranthambore National Park. Our trip is enhanced by luxurious hotel accommodations and travel aboard some of the country's most impressive trains. Begin in Delhi, where you board the Shatabdi Express, which travels to Shimla. In Shimla, a guided tour introduces us to the colonial past of this city in Northern India. After a day to explore at leisure, we return to Delhi to explore both the Old and New parts of town, immersing ourselves in "real" India. From Delhi, we board Gatimaan Express and feel the excitement come to a pinnacle as we head toward the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri, a 16th-century city constructed of red sandstone. The tour wraps up as we try to spot wild Bengal Tigers in Ranthambore National Park and explore the "pink city" of Jaipur. The contrasts of India are displayed beautifully on this tour.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - Delhi

Meet your group and Tour Manager at the 5-Star Taj Palace hotel in New Delhi. Delhi is one of India's most colorful and exciting metropolises, where the old and new cities exist harmoniously together.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 - By train to Shimla

We leave Delhi on the Shatabdi Express to Kalka. Here we board the UNESCO listed narrow-gauge Himalayan Queen, which is also affectionately referred to as the 'Toy Train'. Covering a journey of 60 miles, the train gradually passes through the Shivalik foothills of the Himalayas, passing over 864 bridges and through 102 tunnels on its journey to Shimla. The train moves at a leisurely pace, giving us time to soak in the incredible panorama of the surrounding scenery. Alternatively, you may choose to make the journey by car.

Shimla was 'discovered' by the British in 1817, and was later used as a fashionable retreat from the summer heat thanks to its lovely temperate climate. In 1864, the Government of India declared Shimla as their official headquarters during the hot season. Because of this, many of the town's buildings are very British in style. We spend three nights at the heritage 5-Star Oberoi Cecil Hotel.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Days 3-4 - Shimla

We begin our day with an informative talk from our expert guest speaker, Raaja Bhasin, before our exploration of Shimla continues with a sightseeing tour that takes in much of the local colonial heritage. We begin at the Viceregal Lodge, the summer seat of the viceroys until the 1940s. This afternoon, a leisurely stroll takes us past the town's Gaiety Theater, the Victorian-Gothic Christ Church and Scandal Point, named thus due to it being a popular social meeting place where people would gather and share gossip. 

On Day 4 you are free to explore at leisure. Alternatively, embark on an optional excursion to the Kufri area of upper Shimla, where you can enjoy incredible views of the snow-capped mountain peaks of the Himalayas, followed by a visit to Wildflower Hall, the former residence of Lord Kitchener - a noted senior British army officer. Now a hotel, this beautiful building sits amidst a verdant forest with incredible views of the surrounding Himalayas. Here, you can enjoy a high tea lunch and a walk around the gardens (payable locally). 

Includes
  • Day 3 - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 4 - Breakfast, Dinner
Days 5-6 - Exploring Old and New Delhi

We leave Shimla and return back to Delhi, for two more nights. On Day 6 we visit Old Delhi, taking a rickshaw ride through the narrow streets of Delhi's bazaar for an incredible insight into the lives of the millions of people who live in the city. As you travel towards Chandni Chowk, you will be immersed in real India. We also visit the Jama Masjid which boasts the title of being India's largest mosque, Raj Ghat, a simple but moving memorial to Gandhi, 'the father of the Nation', and pass Delhi's Red Fort. Later we embark on a sightseeing tour exploring the wide, leafy avenues and impressive colonial architecture of New Delhi. Our tour includes India Gate war memorial, the grandiose Rashtrapati Bhavan, Humayun's Tomb and Qutab Minar, India's tallest stone tower, built in 1199. 

Includes
  • Day 5 - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day 6 - Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 - The Taj Mahal and Agra Fort

We join the southbound Gatimaan Express early this morning to Agra. On arrival, we visit Agra's imposing Red Fort, originating from the 15th century and considered India's most important fortification. Built on a hill above Agra, its centerpiece is a tower with a marble balcony where Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan spent his last days imprisoned.

Later we travel across the city to the spectacular Taj Mahal, one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1653 in memory of his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal, this iconic white marble building is a true monument to undying love and is the world's finest example of Mughal and Persian architecture.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 - Fatehpur Sikri

We depart Agra by coach, stopping at Fatehpur Sikri, a perfectly preserved ancient red sandstone city built in the 16th century as India's political capital, but abandoned after only 14 years due to lack of water. Remarkably, the city remains exactly as it was 400 years ago, giving us an excellent insight into how life was during the time of the Mughal Empire. After a guided tour of the empty, ghostly buildings, we continue to Ranthambore. Our hotel here is the brand-new, 5-Star Sawai Vilas, set within acres of stunning gardens, lakes, and fountains on the border of Ranthambore National Park and Tiger Reserve. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Days 9-10 - Ranthambore National Park

Ranthambore National Park is renowned as one of the best places in the world to spot wild Bengal tigers, and we head out on a game drive this afternoon to try to catch a glimpse of these majestic, elusive creatures, traveling in open-topped safari vehicles called 'Canters'. We are treated to a further morning game drive on Day 10,  increasing our chances of observing and photographing the activities of the tiger, as well as the myriad of other rare native wildlife that can be found here, including leopards, deer, and crocodiles. This afternoon, we continue to Jaipur, where we check into our hotel for two nights. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Fatehpur Sikri
Day 11 - Jaipur

We begin our stay in the 'Pink City' with full-day sightseeing tour, traveling by Jeep to the Amber Fort, located high on a hillside overlooking a lake. We have the chance to explore some of the ornate rooms within the palace complex before we continue our tour, seeing the ornately decorated City Palace, home to the current Maharajah of Jaipur, as well as the early 18th century UNESCO listed Astronomical Observatory. We also drive past the Palace of the Winds, a stunning red and pink facade built in 1799, whose intricately latticed windows were designed to allow the ladies of the royal household to look over the streets below without being seen.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Days 12-13 - Return to Delhi and home

This afternoon we drive back to Delhi, where we spend our final evening. On Day 13, you make your way to the airport for your flight back home. 

Includes
  • Day 12 - Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day 13 - Breakfast

Additional information

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

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 vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

ITC Mughal, Agra

ITC Mughal, Agra

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Taj Palace, New Delhi

Taj Palace, New Delhi

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ITC Rajputana Sheraton, Jaipur

ITC Rajputana Sheraton, Jaipur

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The Sawai Vilas

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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