India's Golden Triangle & Shimla
11 nights. February 2019 - November 2020. From £1999.00.
A classic tour of northern India's greatest cities and the Himalayan foothills
Explore the teeming, colourful, spectacular cities of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, and step into a landscape said to have inspired Kipling in Ranthambhore. Spend We've two nights in the peerless Himalayan hill station of Shimla, former summer capital of the British Raj and a quintessential colonial haven. Enjoy five-star luxury in a famed hotel retreat as well as a scenic journey by 'toy train' up to Shimla.
Tour Highlights And InclusionsDiscover the sights of New Delhi, including the historic Red Fort and Jama Masjid Mosque, the India Gate war memorial and the ruins of the Quwwat‑ul-Islam mosque
Enjoy a rickshaw ride through Old Delhi
A guided tour of Agra, the 'City of Love'
Marvel at the incomparable Taj Mahal
See Chand Baori, Abhaneri's astonishing stepwell
Go in search of Ranthambhore's tigers on two included safaris
Ride up to Amber Fort for exceptional views
Visit Jaipur's exquisite 'Palace of the Winds' and enjoy dinner hosted by a local family
Stay in a beautiful tented resort in Vanaashrya
Enjoy an Indian cookery demonstration
'Toy-train' journey to or from Shimla
Stay in Shimla's famed Oberoi Cecil hotel, an institution since the days of the Raj
11 nights' carefully chosen dinner, bed and breakfast accommodation plus a night on the plane
Return scheduled flights to Delhi, plus domestic flights in India
Coach travel and transfers throughout
Fully escorted by a friendly, experienced Tour Manager Single rooms are available for a supplement
PLEASE NOTE: Price is per person and based on two people sharing a twin/double room. Single room supplements and upgrades are not included.
Days One and TwoFly overnight to Delhi for one night with lunch on arrival followed by a city tour.
Day ThreeDepart by air for the short flight to Chandigarh from where we travel to Shimla for two nights. Dependent on flight times (which vary seasonally) you will travel aboard Lord Curzon's famous 1903 'toy train', the narrow-gauge railway that winds its scenic way up to Shimla today or for the return journey down on Day Five.
Day FourEnjoy this morning's guided tour, which will include the Viceregal Lodge, former summer retreat of the British, and where the map of Indian Partition was drawn up. Other highlights will include the high, open space of the Ridge, dwarfed by the Gothic spires of the very English Christ Church and offering superb views of the distant peaks, and the shops of the Mall Road.
Return along the Ridge, past the colonial Gaiety Theatre, to join the throng at Scandal Point, traditional meeting place for an afternoon gossip.
Day FiveMake the scenic journey down to Chandigarh Airport and fly to Jaipur for three nights.
Day SixAfter breakfast, visit Amber, the ancient Rajput capital dominated by the 16th-century hill-top stronghold of Amber Fort. Ride up to the fort by Jeep to visit the Royal Halls and take in the magnificent views from the ramparts. After an included lunch, you'll be able to join an optional excursion to the Elefantastic sanctuary, which cares for the beasts and their handlers, and attempts through interaction with the intelligent creatures to break the harsh cycle of traditional tourism for both. Make friends with your elephant as you feed, walk and even bathe them.
Day SevenToday you'll tour Jaipur, including the City Palace complex with its museums and ancient astronomical observatory, and drive by the 18th-century 'Palace of the Winds', with its innumerable windows and screened balconies.
Dinner tonight is taken at the Nokha House, hosted by the Rathore family in traditional Rajasthani style.
Day EightThis morning we will depart for Agra, Agra, the fabled 'City of Love' and site of the exquisite Taj Mahal. After a visit to the royal pavilions, palaces and courtyards of majestic Agra Fort, pay a first visit to the spectacular 'Taj', built as a monument to undying love by grief-stricken Shah Jahan after the death of his beloved third wife, and seen in all its glory at sunset.
Day NineEarly this morning, pay a sun-rise visit to view the Taj from across the Yamuna River, and after breakfast, depart for the ancient village of Abhaneri, home to Chand Baori, an astonishing example of a stepwell, used to draw water from the ground, and as a refuge in intense heat, since at least the 6th Century.
A lunch stop is made at the fascinating Umaid Lake Palace, a Heritage Resort Hotel set in 20 verdant acres, laid out in the style of a Mughal residence, and serving as an organic retreat, producing foodstuffs for the hotel and its fine restaurant. Enjoy a memorable meal and tour the landscaped gardens. Later, continue to Ranthambhore National Park, part of India's conservation programme Project Tiger. Once the hunting ground of Indian princes, Ranthambhore, with its scrub and grasslands dotted with beautiful ponds and streams, is a perfect habitat for the famed, endangered 'Tigers of Ranthambhore' and other species. After an included lunch, relax at the hotel, and this evening, prior to tomorrow's adventures, enjoy a 'tiger talk' with a local naturalist.
Day 10An undoubted highlight of the tour will be today's two canter (open-air vehicle) safaris in the Park, taken in the company of a naturalist guide. With luck you may see the tigers and other species in their natural environment.
Day 11This morning, rest and relax, or join the optional excursion to ancient Ranthambhore Fort, which sits atop the 600-metre high hill range, and offers stupendous views of the park below. (There is a gradual climb to the Fort, which includes 273 steps.)
Afterwards, we'll head into the Aravali Hills to the jungle resort of Vanaashyra, calling at the fascinating ruins of 17th-century Bhangarh Fort, where you'll enjoy a welcome tea or coffee. Arriving in Vanaashyra we'll spend the night in an air-conditioned tent - a highlight of your visit to this wonderful corner of the world.
Day 12Spend the day relaxing in the resort after your time spent sightseeing. Lunch is included today and tonight. Enjoy a camel-cart ride and a cookery demonstration before dinner
Day 13Transfer to Delhi airport for the return flight, arriving back in the UK this evening at the end of a thoroughly enjoyable and absorbing tour. Back to top
AccommodationIndia and Shimla Touring Hotels
You will be staying in a series of well-located hotels, all of which will be of a four- and five-star standard. In all cases, rooms have private bathrooms and air conditioning.Back to top
Hotel transfer timesThe transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately one hour.
Taj Mahal restoration workThe white marble of the Taj Mahal is being gradually cleaned in a process that will take up to four years. Parts of the monument's surface may be covered during this process though your visit and access to the main dome is not likely to be restricted.
Train to ShimlaDependent on flight times from Delhi, the 'toy train' journey may take place on Day Five, en route back down to Chandigarh.
Passports and visasBritish citizens require machine-readable passports when travelling overseas. Your passport must contain two blank pages and be valid for 180 days after your return date from India. A visa is also required for entry to India. Full details of how and when to apply will be sent out about eight weeks before departure. British CITIZENS and some other European nationals satisfying certain conditions may use the online e-Tourist Visa application process at a cost of $100 (US) per person. Other British passport holders, who are not British CITIZENS, must apply for a full visa which costs GBP112. You may also, at extra cost, use the services of CIBT, our recommended visa handling partner, who will handle the whole process for you. Note that all travellers of Pakistani descent, regardless of citizenship, will generally be subject to more detailed processing by the Indian authorities, which can take up to four months from application.
Foreign Office Travel AdviceVisit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice to find out the latest Foreign And Commonwealth Office travel advice for your holiday destination, as well as information about passports and visas.
On your flightAll outbound flights leave in the evening and land at your destination the next day. All return flights leave in the morning and land in the UK on the same day. On-board meals will usually include dinner and breakfast on outbound flights, and lunch and a snack on the flight home. Drinks are complimentary.
Luggage allowanceYou are permitted to take one suitcase per person on the aircraft, which should not exceed 23kg.
Special requirementsIf you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.
Disabled accessThe majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made. In many developing countries access is sometimes not as easy as at home. Should you have walking difficulties, getting around monuments and attractions may be harder and, in some cases, impossible. Should you have any concerns whatsoever please do contact us prior to travel.
Travel vaccinationsRequirements and advice can vary over time, and from person to person, so please contact your GP about eight weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or any other preventive measures.
Itinerary changesOccasionally, for operational reasons, we may have to change the order of the excursions on your holiday. The final day-by-day itinerary will be confirmed on your Final Travel Documents, which you will receive approximately three weeks prior to your departure.
Changes to your hotelsShould circumstances require, we reserve the right to accommodate you in alternative hotels, of a similar standard, nearby. Full details of your hotels will be sent with your Final Travel Documents.
Road ConditionsIn developing countries road networks are continually being improved and expanded, which can mean that, from time to time, roadworks and rough road surfaces can extend journey times. Some journeys are made on winding mountain roads and passes, which may also make for slow travelling - although the scenery is usually worth it! Many roads do not have separate pavements or safety barriers, and great care should be taken when crossing or walking alongside roads. Back to top