The Golden Triangle & Shimla
Experience a taste of India
11 Nights from £2,495pp
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• Explore Jaipur while staying in a family-run heritage hotel
• Watch the sun set over the Taj Mahal from Mehtab Bagh gardens
• Ride the ‘British Jewel of the Orient’, the toy train to Shimla
• Rural Rajasthan village walk & lunch
• All flights in economy class
• Stay in 4- & 5-star accommodation
• Half-board throughout
• Fully escorted by an English-speaking guide throughout
• Local Transfers in an air-conditioned vehicle
• Some entrance fees
Overnight flight from London (regional connections available) to Delhi with Virgin Atlantic.
Arrive in Delhi and transfer to the Taj Palace for 1 night. Leisurely afternoon tour visiting the Jama Masjid mosque and exploring the labyrinthine streets of Old Delhi by cycle rickshaw. In the early evening, dine at Haveli Dharampura and take in views of the Red Fort from its upper terrace.
This morning explore New Delhi which provides a fascinating contrast to Old Delhi. Begin your tour with a drive past India Gate and the former viceregal residence before continuing to the tomb of the Mughal emperor Humayun and the Qutb Minar tower. In the afternoon leave Delhi for Agra, where you will stay for 2 nights at the Trident Agra.
A trip to Rajasthan would not be complete without a visit to the Taj Mahal and sunrise is the perfect time to see it, as the marble transforms its colour in the changing dawn light. After breakfast, visit the tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah and the imposing Agra fort. One visit to the Taj Mahal is never enough so this evening gather at Mehtab Bagh, a 400-year old Mughal garden on the banks of the Yamuna, where you can watch the sun set over the Taj Mahal.
Continue to Jaipur via the deserted sandstone city of Fatehpur Sikri and Abhaneri stepwell. En route, enjoy lunch at the lavish Laxmi Vilas Palace. Stay 3 nights at Ramgarh Lodge; a maharajah’s former hunting lodge.
Morning visit to Amber Fort and the Anokhi Museum. Afternoon visit to the striking City Palace, home of the present maharajah and the curious Jantar Mantar observatory.
A day at leisure to relax or explore Jaipur’s many bazaars. Alternatively, take a sunrise balloon flight, enjoy a heritage walk or visit the artistic hub of Sanganer.
Travel to Shahpura, in the heart of the Shekhawati region, for lunch at Shahpura Haveli. Before lunch visit a local NGO to try your hand at the traditional art of block printing. Later enjoy a heritage walk through the local village stopping en route for a cup of masala chai and to marvel at the wares on display including wonderfully decorative bangles. Continue to Delhi for an overnight stay at the Taj Palace.
This morning head to Shimla, the former summer capital of the British Raj set amid evergreen forests and snow-capped peaks. To reach Shimla, take the morning express train to Kalka followed by the narrow gauge mountain railway, a journey that is said to be one of the most beautiful railway journeys in the world. On arrival in Shimla stay at the Oberoi Cecil for 3 nights.
For a Himalayan hill station, Shimla packs in its fair share of impressive historic landmarks. Take a morning tour to discover colonial buildings, timbered houses, colourful markets as well at the restored Gaiety theatre and the ornate Viceregal Lodge.
Day at leisure. Option to explore Shimla on a nature walk from the house where Rudyard Kipling wrote Plain Tales from the Hills to the gallery of a Shimla painter. Alternatively, enjoy afternoon tea at the Oberoi Wildflower Hall or visit the princely state of Dhami to spend the day with the noble family, birdwatching and enjoying their stories over lunch.
Drive to Chandigarh and connect with the train to Delhi. Stay overnight at the Taj Palace.
Fly to London with Virgin Atlantic.