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Home » Destinations » Asia » India » Riviera Travel Grand Journey from India’s Golden Triangle to Shimla
Discover the wonders of India on a 15-day journey, starting in New Delhi, where you’ll explore the historic centre and iconic landmarks. Witness the Taj Mahal bathed in the soft morning light, embark on a nostalgic ride on the Shimla railway, and delve into the rich history of Old and New Delhi. Explore the enigmatic Fatehpur Sikri, experience thrilling safaris in Ranthambore National Park, and uncover the treasures of Jaipur, the ‘Pink City.’ Visit the majestic Amber Fort and stay in a transformed Rajasthani fort. In Shimla, explore the Viceregal Lodge and enjoy leisure days. Conclude your adventure with a scenic train journey back to Delhi.
Witness the Taj Mahal at dawn:
Experience the breathtaking beauty of the Taj Mahal illuminated by the soft morning light.
Iconic Shimla Railway Adventure:
Embark on a nostalgic journey aboard the famous Shimla railway.
Explore Old and New Delhi:
Immerse yourself in the rich history of both Old and New Delhi.
Discover the Enigmatic Fatehpur Sikri:
Take a guided tour of the 400-year-old deserted Moghul city of Fatehpur Sikri.
Thrilling Ranthambore National Park Safari:
Experience an exhilarating driving safari in Ranthambore National Park.
Jaipur, the ‘Pink City’ Exploration:
Enjoy a guided city tour to discover its cultural and historical treasures.
Amber Fort’s Spectacular Setting:
Explore the residence of one of India’s most powerful maharajas.
Stay in a Transformed Rajasthani Fort:
Experience the charm of staying in an original Rajasthani fort transformed into a stunning Heritage Hotel.
Shimla’s Historical Gems:
Delve into the past with a guided tour of the Viceregal Lodge in Shimla.
Day 1 – Departure
Take your overnight flight to Delhi.
Day 2 – Arrive in New Delhi
Upon arrival, transfer to the five-star Le Meridien Hotel for one night. After a brief rest, embark on a guided tour of New Delhi’s historic centre, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1911. Explore wide, tree-lined avenues that reflect the Raj legacy, including the former Viceroy’s Palace, now the Presidential Palace. Along the impressive Rajpath, then pass India Gate and the Parliament building.
The tour includes visits to Delhi’s older monuments, such as the Qutub Minaret, dating back to 1199 and standing as India’s tallest stone-built tower. Nearby, you’ll discover Humayun’s tomb, a remarkable example of Moghul architecture and the precursor to the Taj Mahal, predating it by nearly a century. Enjoy a buffet dinner tonight.
Day 3 – Old Delhi
This morning, the city tour begins in Old Delhi. Start at the Raj Ghat, a simple memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, and then proceed to the grand Red Fort with its impressive walls and battlements. The next stop is the Jama Masjid, one of Asia’s largest mosques. In the afternoon, you’ll depart from Delhi for a drive to Agra, reaching the four-star Oberoi Trident hotel in the late afternoon.
Day 4 – Taj Mahal
Rise early to witness the sunrise over the Taj Mahal, which, in the soft morning light and with the Yamuna River mist in the background, appears as a mirage-like beauty above the landscape. After ample time to explore this extraordinary wonder, our tour continues with a visit to the vast Agra Fort, completed in 1573. This impressive red sandstone structure, more akin to a walled palace than a fort, was once the Moghul Empire’s headquarters.
In the evening, you have the option to conclude your day with another visit to the Taj Mahal, this time to witness its beauty at sunset.
Day 5 – Fatehpur Sikri
Leaving Agra, head to the ancient city of Fatehpur Sikri, built in 1571 as Emperor Akbar’s capital and mysteriously abandoned 15 years later. It remains remarkably well-preserved, featuring numerous palaces, spacious courtyards, and intricate carvings.
Then enjoy a lunch stop at the Laxmi Vilas Palace in Bharat before proceeding to the railway station for our two-and-a-half-hour journey to Ranthambore National Park. Originally a private hunting ground of Maharajahs, this 400-square-kilometer area offers a unique ecosystem. Established in 1973, India’s Tiger Project aimed to protect the country’s tiger population, and the tigers of Ranthambore have endured and stabilized.
Our accommodation for the next two nights is the comfortable family-run three-star Ranthambore Regency, with full board included.
Day 6 – Ranthambore Tiger Safari
An early start this morning is rewarded as you embark on a safari in open-top four-wheel-drive “canters” with a 20-person capacity.
Ranthambore is the premier destination for tiger sightings in India, boasting over 300 bird species, including impressive eagles, painted storks, and wild peacocks. The park is also home to numerous sambars, marsh crocodiles, wild boars, sloth bears, leopards, and a playful troop of langur monkeys near the main entrance gate.
After our morning safari, return to the hotel for relaxation and lunch. In the afternoon, venture into the park again for another opportunity to spot elusive tigers. Dinner is included in the evening.
Day 7 – Jaipur
After breakfast, depart Ranthambore and head north to Jaipur, known as the ‘Pink City.’ In the afternoon, our tour explores key highlights, including the famous Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds). You’ll then visit the 1726 Astronomical Observatory and the City Palace, the current residence of the Maharajah of Jaipur, housing collections of costumes, carpets, paintings, and an impressive armoury.
Day 8 – Amber Fort
This morning, explore another highlight, the immense Amber Fort, a short drive from Jaipur. This guided tour includes the Maharajah’s wives and concubines’ quarters, as well as the remarkable hall of mirrors with delicate convex mirrors embedded in the walls and ceilings.
Day 9 – Rajasthan
After breakfast, leave Jaipur and journey north into rural Rajasthan, passing through villages and towns on our way to Alsisar village in the Sekhawati region. Once a hub on India’s Silk Road, this area is known for its opulent merchant-built mansions called ‘havelis,’ many of which have been abandoned. In the afternoon, we take a guided walk through the village to explore the havelis. Dinner is included.
After breakfast, head north into rural Rajasthan, stopping at the historic Bhangarth Fort. Arrive at your hotel in time for lunch, and the afternoon offers free time to enjoy nature or relax by the pool. In the evening, there will be a cooking demonstration, local music, and dancing, followed by an included dinner.
Day 10 – New Delhi
After breakfast, return to Delhi, staying at the Le Meridien Hotel. Dinner is provided tonight.
Day 11 – Train to Shimla
In the morning, board an express train from Delhi for a four-hour journey to Kalka. The ‘chair-class’ carriages offer comfortable seating, air-conditioning, and large windows.
At Kalka, transfer to the Shimla narrow-gauge ‘toy’ train for the remainder of the trip. While the carriages are smaller and lack air-conditioning, the compensation lies in the increasingly breathtaking scenery along the way. This remarkable railway, inaugurated by Viceroy Lord Curzon in 1903, passes through 800 bridges and 102 tunnels during its 96-kilometer journey to Shimla. A packed lunch is provided.
In the late afternoon, arrive at Shimla’s small station and are transferred to the luxurious five-star Oberoi Cecil Hotel, where you’ll stay for three nights with bed and breakfast
Day 12 – Shimla
Today, explore the British colonial legacy in Shimla. The highlight is the impressive Viceregal Lodge, built in Scottish baronial style to house the Viceroy and staff during their six-month stay. While some interior sections are closed, the open areas offer a glimpse into the past, including a touching collection of late Victorian and Raj-era photographs.
You’ll also stroll along the pedestrian-only Mall, passing Scandal Point, Christ Church, the mock-Tudor Post Office, Gaiety Theatre, and Town Hall. Shimla’s bustling shops and markets are known for high-quality locally made pashmina shawls.
Day 13 – Free day in Shimla
Spend a leisurely day in Shimla, relaxing by the hotel pool or at the spa, exploring the mall for bargains, or considering short local hill treks. End the day with a sumptuous buffet dinner.
Day 14 – Train to Delhi
Today, bid farewell to Shimla and the Oberoi Hotel, descending by car to Kalka. From there, take the train back to Delhi for your final night at the Le Meridien hotel.
Day 15 – Return home
Depart from Delhi on your flight back to the UK.
This Signature Tour includes everything from the Classic Tour as well as the following:
Explore the lively lanes and markets of Old Delhi with these inspiring youth from the Salaam Baalak Trust, hearing stories from the Mughal era and gaining a glimpse into modern life within the walled city. Wrap up the experience with a rickshaw ride through aromatic streets filled with the scent of local spices.
In the afternoon, visit the serene Mehtab Bagh, known as the Moonlight Garden, and capture exquisite alternative views of the Taj Mahal across the Yamuna River, a photographer’s paradise. Explore the stunning marble tomb of I’timād-ud-Daulah, often called the ‘Baby Taj.’ Finally, savour a dinner of traditional Mughal cuisine at a local restaurant, while reflecting on these architectural marvels.
Accompanied by an expert naturalist, delve into the world of tigers and their crucial role in maintaining ecosystem health and diversity. Learn about their pivotal position at the top of the food chain and how they help maintain balance in Ranthambore’s forests and grasslands. The experience includes an informative 40-minute documentary.
Plus, enjoy the more exclusive atmosphere of travelling in a small group of 25 or fewer guests.
For dates and prices, please enquire or call 0800 707 6229.
Le Meridien Hotel, New Delhi
Le Meridien, a five-star hotel in the heart of New Delhi, offers a range of amenities including a rooftop restaurant with panoramic views, specialty Indian and Chinese dining options, an all-day international restaurant, and a coffee bar. After a day of sightseeing, guests can unwind in the Nero Bar or Henri’s Bar, specializing in malts and whiskies. The hotel also features an outdoor pool, fitness centre, and the Three Graces by Amatrra Spa on the fourth floor. The 358 contemporary rooms offer en-suite facilities, air conditioning, and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Oberoi Trident Hotel, Agra
The modern Oberoi Trident Hotel offers a tranquil setting with gardens, water features, and a swimming pool. The hotel grows its own vegetables and features a contemporary-style restaurant serving Indian, continental cuisine, and wood-fired pizza. Additional amenities include a lobby bar, fitness room, and 137 comfortable rooms with en-suite bathrooms, air conditioning, minibars, satellite TV, safes, and tea/coffee makers. The hotel is conveniently located near the Taj Mahal.
Ranthambore Regency, Sawai Madhopur
Nestled amidst lush gardens and offering a tranquil atmosphere, the three-star Ranthambore Regency Hotel is a client-favourite known for its relaxed ambiance and personalized service. Guests enjoy full board, with the buffet restaurant serving a variety of regional Indian and western dishes. The hotel features a 24-hour front desk, a large lounge with a bar, a small shop, a snack bar, and a coffee shop. The 42 spacious, air-conditioned rooms overlook the gardens and come equipped with en-suite bathrooms, hairdryers, cable TV, wireless internet (extra charge), mini-fridges, and tea/coffee makers.
The brand-new four-star Hilton Jaipur offers a range of amenities, including an outdoor pool, fitness room, lobby bar, buffet restaurant, and specialty Indian restaurant with an open kitchen. The 114 beautifully furnished air-conditioned rooms feature bath, shower, hairdryer, minibar, safe, iron/board, cable TV, tea/coffeemaker, and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Heritage Alsisar Mahal, Rajasthan (2023 only)
The heritage-class Alsisar Mahal, reminiscent of a half-palace and half-castle, welcomes guests through ancient wooden doors into a courtyard adorned with domed roofs and overhanging balconies. This unique property offers an open-air pool, spa, traditional bar, billiard room, restaurant, and a gift shop. Its 51 air-conditioned rooms boast distinct styles and sizes, with many featuring antiques and spacious marble bathrooms.
Vanaashrya Resort, Rajasthan (2024 only)
Escape to nature at The Vanaashrya Resort, where you’ll find an outdoor swimming pool with gazebos, a spa offering various treatments, and a bar situated on an outdoor deck overlooking lush gardens for bird watching. The restaurant serves both international and local cuisine. Individual cottages with private patios provide garden views and come with ensuite facilities, air conditioning, tea/coffee amenities, a safe, and a hairdryer. Nestled in lush green surroundings, this hotel offers a tranquil retreat for relaxation.
Oberoi Cecil Hotel, Shimla
The Oberoi Cecil Hotel, a renowned five-star establishment, boasts Burmese teak floors and a splendid atrium, preserving a warm colonial ambiance. It offers a charming tea lounge, lobby bar, heated indoor pool, and an excellent Asian Spa. The 75 classically elegant rooms feature wooden floors, marble bathrooms, and various amenities, while the high-ceilinged, wood-panelled restaurant offers exceptional dining with Himalayan foothill views.
Along with a valid passport, UK citizens must have a visa to travel to India. Full details of how and when to apply will be sent with your booking confirmation.
*All transfer times listed here are approximate and dependent on traffic. Please note, en route to the first hotel in Delhi, you will do some sightseeing, which adds approximately 2 hours to the transfer time.
Please call us free on 0800 707 6229 for pricing and availability
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