Marvel at the glimmering Golden Temple and witness the fascinating Wagah Border ceremony in Amritsar, then explore Chandigarh and its Rock Garden and ride the Toy Train ahead of reaching the former hill station of Shimla, all before taking in the highlights of India's Golden Triangle.
Monday. Delhi - Amritsar. Namaste! Welcome to India. On arrival at the airport you’ll meet your guide and group for a welcome meeting at 15:00 before you're transferred by train to Amritsar this afternoon. Alternatively, you may choose to start your tour in Amritsar if arriving via Amritsar Airport.
Location: Delhi to Amritsar
This morning we tour the highlights of Amritsar, including the Jallianwala Bagh memorial and the iconic Golden Temple. The temple is regarded as the holiest pilgrimage site in Sikhism and the dome is made of pure gold. Later we travel to the village of Wagah, on the India-Pakistan border. At sunset watch the colourful, dancelike changing of the guard ceremony and flag lowering, which signals the closing of the border for the day. We then return to Amritsar.
Location: Amritsar sightseeing & Wagah Border
Amritsar - Chandigarh. Say goodbye to Amritsar as we travel to the modern city of Chandigarh for a guided tour. See highlights of the city including the Rose Garden - Asia’s largest botanical garden and home to 1,500 species of rose. We also stroll along the shore of the man-made Sukhna Lake and visit the famous Rock Garden. A completely unique and innovative creation, the Rock Garden is a collection of over 2,000 sculptures created over 20 years from a collection of concrete, steel drums, old bicycle frames and broken sinks.
Chandigarh - Kalka - Shimla. Today we drive to Kalka and board the famous Himalayan Queen Toy Train to Kandaghat, a unique and exhilarating experience. During our 57km journey the train rumbles through numerous tunnels, passes scenic countryside and winds around narrow twists and turns. Arriving into Kandaghat we complete the journey to our hotel in Shimla by road, where the evening is at leisure.
Today we enjoy a guided tour of Shimla including its famous main street - The Mall. This colonial street has a British feel to it and is lined with cafes, shops and restaurants like any British high street. The difference here is the incredible snow-capped backdrop of the Himalayas. We also discover the Viceregal Lodge, former residence of the British Viceroy of India. Wander down narrow side streets, which fall away from The Ridge main road. Later, browse colourful bazaars whilst enjoying fine views of the mountains and surrounding valley.
Location: Shimla sightseeing
Shimla - Kalka - Delhi. This morning is free to relax or explore Shimla at leisure. December - February departures may wish to visit India’s only natural ice-skating rink, or you may choose to enjoy an easy hike to Jakhoo Hill - Shimla’s highest point. Here you can admire wonderful panoramic views before we return to Delhi this afternoon on the Kalka Shatabdi Express.
Today we explore India’s capital with a full day of sightseeing in Delhi. In the old city we visit Humayun’s Tomb and Jama Masjid, India’s oldest and largest mosque. We also explore Raj Ghat - the site of Gandhi’s cremation, where an eternal flame now burns in his honour. There's time for a thrilling rickshaw ride before we discover the highlights of New Delhi including the ceremonial Rajpath and the India Gate monument. This structure serves as a memorial to those Indian soldiers who lost their lives during the First World War
Delhi - Agra. Leaving Delhi, we travel to the city of Agra and visit the striking UNESCO-listed Agra Fort, a part of which is still used by the Indian military today. Later, discover the most famous attraction in India as we tour the legendary Taj Mahal. This iconic white mausoleum was constructed in the 17th century by 20,000 workers under the orders of Emperor Shah Jahan. The Taj Mahal was built to commemorate the Emperor’s beloved wife, who tragically passed away. It remains an enduring symbol of love and most magnificent in history.
Agra - Karauli. This morning we travel to the abandoned but well preserved Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri, which was deserted more than 400 years ago due to a lack of water. Continue to the beautiful Palace Bhanwar Vilas in Karauli, our home for the night. The royal Maharaja and Maharani of Karauli still reside in part of the palace, but some of the site has been transformed into a heritage hotel. Explore the palace grounds, or if we’re lucky we may be able to join a tour given by the Princess. Later, visit the Karauli City Palace, which is being lovingly restored by the family. There is also the option to attend the evening Aarti (prayer).
Karauli - Jaipur. Today we visit a local school to meet the pupils and teachers (if open). We operate our Change for Children programme here and you may wish to bring some educational gifts with you (see trip notes) to give to the pupils - they will be greatly appreciated. After our visit we continue to the famous UNESCO-listed Pink City of Jaipur for an afternoon at leisure. Perhaps watch a Bollywood film at the Raj Mandir cinema - the excitable atmosphere is unlike any cinema you’re used to.
This morning you may opt to join our Balloon Over Jaipur add-on and sail with the wind over hill-top forts, palaces and temples. We then travel to the impressive 16th century Amber Fort by jeep and enjoy a tour of the well-preserved grounds of this fortress. Amber Fort is laid out over four levels and sits beside the shimmering Maota Lake. Later, visit a cotton weaving house and tour highlights of Jaipur including the beautiful City Palace and the UNESCO-listed Jantar Mantar space observatory, home to the world’s largest stone sundial.
Jaipur - Delhi. Today we return to Delhi for an afternoon at leisure. You may wish to visit Red Fort and attend its famous Sound and Light show this evening.
Saturday. Our Indian adventure comes to an end today. We will provide you with an included departure transfer to the airport.
Fabulous trip, India by turns challenging humbling and thrilling and always teeming with people, a tad scary at places like Delhi station. Predictable highlights tajmahal, wonderful, lots of people there but didnt feel overcrowded: Amritsar, real feeling for the humble people and their inclusivenes allowing tourists to help make the chapattis; surprise gems chandigar and Kerauli, want to send a donation to their nationla trust to keep the work going there! Tour guide Sat brilliant. Inexhaustible fund of information, wonderful sense of humour ( he even managed to tune into mine) highly competent administrator with limitless patience.
There were only 4 people on the first leg from Delhi, via Amritsar, Chanigarh, Shimla and back to Delhi. We had a driver and guide in each place. The second leg was Delhi via Agra, Karauli to Jaipur with 18 others guided by Yusuf Khan The third leg was for two of us from Jaiput to Jodhput to Udaipur again with a driver and guide in each place. All was very efficient and good personnel. The Ref Fox in Chandigarh and the hotel in Karauli were below par but all others were good
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