Himalayan Railway Adventure
From Kolkata To Siliguri, Kurseong, Darjeeling, Bagdogra, Chandigarh, Shimla, Delhi - 13 Nights
- Departing from:
- Siliguri, Kurseong, Darjeeling, Bagdogra, Chandigarh, Shimla, Delhi
- 13 Nights
- Optional 4 day extension to the Golden Triangle
- Travel Dates:
- 02/02/24 to 16/02/24
- Offer Expires:
- Tour Operator:
- Railway Adventures
- Reference Code:
Price per person
Come aboard this grand tour of one of the world’s oldest and most fascinating cultures on a collection of world heritage-listed railways that forge their way into the spectacular landscapes of the Himalayan Mountains. On this jaw-dropping tour, you will see some of the grand relics of its fascinating rail history and visit some of the most amazing destinations in India, along with World Heritage sites that will take your breath away.
The mountain railways of India are UNESCO World Heritage-listed in their own right, only the second railways in the world to be so acclaimed. Your journey will focus on how the British Raj escaped the heat of the plains with their mini– England Hill Stations accessed by quirky little mountain trains. The views are astounding, the culture is rich with history and colour and the trains you’ll ride are some of the most celebrated and unique in the world.
Day 1 • Friday:
Welcome to the vibrant city of Kolkata! Your adventure begins as you are greeted by our friendly staff at the airport. We provide you with assistance and transfer you to the luxurious 5-star Oberoi Grand Hotel, where you can spend the rest of your first day relaxing in style. This iconic 125-year-old hotel is a beautiful blend of classic Victorian and traditional Indian grandeur and has an esteemed reputation for taking care of its guests like no other.
As the former capital of colonial India, Kolkata is a thriving city famous for its culture, cuisine, and historical monuments. Often referred to as the City of Joy, Kolkata is also renowned for its unique ‘Adda,’ a freestyle exchange of socio-political ideas and intellectual debate that is enthusiastically engaged within public spaces over a cup of steaming chai.
Tonight, join us at 6pm for a celebratory welcome dinner with your tour leader, local guide, and fellow travellers. This is a great opportunity to get to know each other and kick off your adventure in style.
Please note: Many flights from Australia arrive in Kolkata late in the evening, and we can arrange pre-tour nights for your convenience.
Overnight: The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata (D)
Day 2 • Saturday:
Get ready to immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Kolkata as we begin our day with a fascinating walking tour. This tour will give you a unique insight into the confluence of cultures that the city has experienced, making it one of the most diverse cities in the world. We will explore the origins and remains of the varied communities that once called Kolkata home.
Next, we’ll board a privately chartered heritage tram and traverse the narrow streets, experiencing some of the most picturesque parts of the city. Did you know that the Kolkata trams were once slated to be closed down by the government? Fortunately, due to the efforts of Australian tram conductor Mr. Roberto D’Andrea, the trams were saved, and a strong bond between Australia and India was forged.
In the evening, we will indulge in a delicious dinner at a local restaurant, where you can savour the unique flavours of Kolkata’s cuisine.
Overnight: The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata (B, L, D)
Day 3 • Sunday:
Start your day with a delicious buffet breakfast at the hotel before we embark on a guided tour of Kolkata. We’ll visit St. Paul’s Cathedral, a magnificent showcase of Indo-Gothic architecture, and the iconic Victoria Memorial Museum, which details the history and culture of Kolkata.
Next, we’ll visit the Indian Museum, which houses an impressive collection of rare artifacts, including the world-famous Ashoka Pillar. We’ll then head to the famous Kalighat Temple, where followers of various faiths gather each day to pray to the Mother Goddess Kali. This is a spiritual experience you won’t forget.
Afterward, we’ll explore the Hooghly River, which is integral to the very identity of Bengal. We’ll immerse ourselves in the sights, sounds, and smells of this bustling river, from the wrestlers who exercise on its soft clay, to the boatmen who ferry people across. We’ll also meet flower sellers and boys who throw magnets and retrieve coin offerings from its bed, and we’ll marvel at the majestic Howrah Bridge and the cremation Ghats.
Tonight is yours to enjoy at your leisure.
Overnight: The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata (B, L)
Day 4 • Monday:
KOLKATA – SILIGURI
This morning, enjoy some free time at your leisure before we head to Kolkata airport for our midday flight to Bagdogra. Upon arrival, we’ll be transferred to our hotel in Siliguri, a town located at the foothills of the majestic Himalayan Mountains. Take some time to relax and soak in the beautiful surroundings as we prepare to embark on the next leg of our adventure.
In the evening, we’ll gather together to enjoy a delicious dinner at the hotel.
Overnight: Courtyard by Marriott, Siliguri (B, D)
Day 5 • Tuesday:
SILIGURI – KURSEONG
After breakfast, get ready for an unforgettable journey as we board our private chartered train on the World Heritage-listed Himalayan Mountain Railway, parts of which are planned to be steam-hauled. At Tindharia, we’ll have the chance to visit the loco shed and explore the fascinating histories of this region and its amazing railway.
We’ll then take a short coach ride from Tindharia to Kurseong, which is known as the Land of the White Orchids for its picturesque countryside. In the afternoon, we’ll arrive at Cochrane Place, a charming boutique hotel that was once a restored colonial home and is dripping with the essence of the Raj. The rooms have been inspired by the railways and named after famous railway sectors and spices native to the Indian subcontinent.
Spend the rest of the day at your leisure, either exploring the luxurious surroundings of Cochrane Place or venturing out into Kurseong to take in the spectacular views and wafting aromas of the region’s most famous product: tea. Later, indulge in a delicious dinner at the hotel and soak in the luxurious surroundings.
Overnight: Cochrane Place, Kurseong (B, L, D)
Day 6 • Wednesday:
KURSEONG – DARJEELING
Get ready for a thrilling ride as we embark on our chartered train after breakfast, travelling from Kurseong to Darjeeling and employing steam locomotives again, where possible. This incredible railway rightly deserves its UNESCO listing. Zigzagging, looping and even starting its journey travelling backwards, this amazing little train moves straight through a crowded bazaar and past many hill stations on its climb to world-famous Darjeeling.
Upon arrival in Darjeeling, we’ll transfer to the tranquil and sedate colonial opulence of the Windamere Hotel, where you can spend the rest of the day relaxing in your new surroundings. Established in the 19th century as a cosy boarding house for English and Scottish tea planters, the Windamere Hotel is now well known to sophisticated travellers the world over for its unique ambiance and charm. Enjoy a cup of tea as you take in the breathtaking vista and catch sight of Kanchenjunga, the third-highest mountain in the world.
Overnight: The Windamere Hotel, Darjeeling (B, D)
Day 7 • Thursday:
Rise and shine for an early start to witness the magnificent sunrise over the majestic mountains at Tiger Hill, where the dawn light hits the peak of Kangchenjunga, India’s highest peak. This awe-inspiring view is unforgettable, and well worth the early wake up.
In the afternoon, we’ll visit the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Zoological Park, and the Tibetan Refugee Centre, where beautiful Tibetan handicrafts are made. You can also learn about the story of the Dalai Lama and other refugees who have taken shelter in this beautiful sanctuary. Later, we’ll visit Happy Valley Tea Estate for a tea tasting session and then take a walk through Observatory Hill or do some shopping in the famous Mall Road.
Overnight: Windamere Hotel, Darjeeling (B, D)
Day 8 • Friday:
DARJEELING – DELHI
Today, we’ll bid farewell to the majestic mountains and head back down to the foothills. We’ll make our way to the city of Bagdogra, where we’ll board our flight to Delhi arriving in the early evening. Delhi is a treasure trove of ancient culture and history with remnants of lost empires and the impressive monuments of New Delhi remind us that this city is India’s political and cultural capital. We check into the luxurious Imperial Hotel built in 1931 by F.B. Bromfield, an associate of Sir Edwin Lutyens, and inaugurated in 1936 by Lord Willingdon. The Imperial is the perfect blend of Victorian décor and Art Deco, allowing guests to travel back in time to the days of the British Raj.
Overnight: The Imperial Hotel, Delhi (B, D)
Day 9 • Saturday:
DELHI – CHANDIGARH
This morning it’s another early start as we transfer to the New Delhi railway terminal to board our express train to Chandigarh, arriving in the late morning. Take in the open plains of the rich farming country from the window of your train and enjoy some tea and a snack on board as you prepare for the next leg of our adventure.
This afternoon, we have plenty of time to explore the beautiful city of Chandigarh, one of India’s first planned cities internationally known for its architecture and urban design laid out by the Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier. You can visit the famous Rock Garden, the beautiful Rose Garden, and explore the bustling local markets. Alternatively you can relax at our opulent accommodation before enjoying a delicious dinner in the hotel’s restaurant.
Overnight: Taj, Chandigarh (B, D)
Day 10 • Sunday:
CHANDIGARH – SHIMLA
After breakfast at the hotel, we transfer to Kalka for the iconic train journey on the Himalayan Queen in our own private carriages attached to the main train. This scenic journey features all the character of a local train, calling at stations along the way and taking goods and passengers on their journeys over the five hours of the steady climb up the mountains. It’s a journey acclaimed by UNESCO in its World Heritage Status, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to marvel at spectacular scenery on a line that winds its way up the mountains, crossing more than 800 bridges and diving through over 100 tunnels.
Upon arrival, we’ll transfer to our hotel to settle in for the next three nights. Dinner will be hosted at the hotel.
Overnight: Oberoi Cecil, Shimla (B, L, D)
Day 11 • Monday:
A century ago, the British selected Shimla as their summer capital, using it as a retreat from
the blistering heat of the plains. Immerse yourself in the rich history of the city, situated at over 2,000m named ‘the abode of the high and mighty’. With picturesque promenades, elegant colonial buildings, lush, wooded ravines, evergreen forests, and the majestic snow-capped Himalayas as a backdrop, this city exudes charm and tranquillity.
Embark on a fascinating walking tour that delves into the British heritage of the city. Begin with a visit to the Viceregal Lodge, the former official summer residence of the British viceroys. Completed in 1888, the entire Indian subcontinent was ruled from this magnificent building for just over half of every year right up until WWII.
Next, explore the Gaiety Theatre, a splendidly restored Victorian theatre that has been a social hub in Shimla since its opening in 1877. Walk the Burmese teak boards that once carried the footsteps of renowned figures like Rudyard Kipling and viceroys of the British Empire.
In the evening, you have leisure time to explore the charming surroundings at your own pace and soak up the atmosphere.
Overnight: Oberoi Cecil, Shimla (B, L)
Day 12 • Tuesday:
Today, you have the option to enjoy a day at leisure to head out on your own adventure or join us on a guided tour to the Shimla Water Catchment Sanctuary for birdwatching. You may be lucky enough to spot partridges, peacocks, orioles, or jungle fowl. We’ll also visit the famous Jakhoo Temple, where a 108ft statue of the monkey-god Hanuman can be seen above the treetops on Shimla’s highest hilltop. Hundreds of rhesus macaques loiter around here hoping for gifts of food from visitors. You’ll have time to wander the streets or cap off the day with some fine mountain tea at the Indian Coffee House.
In the late afternoon, we’ll transfer back to the hotel and enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
Overnight: Oberoi Cecil, Shimla (B, L, D)
Day 13 • Wednesday:
SHIMLA – DELHI
This morning, we bid adieu to the hills and transfer to the station to board our private carriages on the train back down the mountain. As we wind our way through pine forests and charming Victorian-style railway stations, we’ll enjoy a different perspective of the landscape before arriving in Kalka and connecting to our early evening fast ‘Shatabdi’ train to Delhi. On the way in, we’ll stop at the exquisite Sikh Temple, called the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, where more than 10,000 people are fed each day. We’ll then check into The Imperial Hotel, the most iconic hotel in New Delhi, which provides a grand finish to our adventure
Overnight: The Imperial Hotel, Delhi (B, L, D)
Day 14 • Thursday:
Today you will explore the intricate, bustling streets of Old Delhi. We will start by exploring the lively and colourful streets of Old Delhi, with a visit to the magnificent Jama Masjid Mosque, one of the largest mosques in Asia. Experience the thrill of a rickshaw ride through the narrow alleys of this captivating city-within-a-city. We will drive past the Red Fort, a stunning example of Mughal architecture, and visit Gandhi Smriti a museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi’s life and his works.
Later, we will head to the National Rail Museum, which houses a fascinating collection of royal carriages, locomotives, and antique trains from a bygone era. You will have the opportunity to see the Vice Regal Dining Car, the luxurious Prince of Wales Saloon, the Maharaja of Baroda’s Saloon, and the Maharaja of Mysore’s Saloon.
Tonight, we will come together for a grand farewell dinner at the hotel, where we can reflect on our amazing journey through India and share memories with our fellow travellers and tour leader.
Overnight: The Imperial Hotel, Delhi (B, D)
Day 15 • Friday:
DELHI – DEPART
Today marks the final day of our memorable journey through India’s mountain railways. After breakfast at the hotel, we have arranged day use of our rooms to give you ample time to unwind and relax before your flight back home. You can also explore Delhi on your own, visiting any last-minute sights you might have missed.
Later in the evening, we will be transferred to Delhi International airport for our flight back home, bidding farewell to the incredible sights and sounds of India. Alternatively, you can join us for our optional extension to Jaipur and Agra.
We hope this journey has left you with unforgettable memories and a desire to return soon. (B)
OPTIONAL EXTENSION TO JAIPUR AND AGRA, INCLUDING THE TAJ MAHAL
Day 15 • Friday:
DELHI – JAIPUR
As we bid farewell to Delhi, we embark on a scenic coach journey to Jaipur, a city brimming with enchantment and charm, earning it the nickname “Pink City.” The vivid history of Jaipur is evident in its vibrant architecture and cultural heritage. In 1876, the entire city was painted pink as a grand gesture to welcome the Prince of Wales, and this tradition continues to captivate visitors to this day. The pink hues were later refreshed to commemorate the visits of Queen Elizabeth II and Diana, Princess of Wales.
Overnight: ITC Rajputana, Jaipur (B, D)
Day 16 • Saturday:
Within the pink walls of Jaipur, we will find lively bazaars, camel carts, cows and rickshaw drivers. There is much to see and do, including a visit to the Amber Fort, the City Palace and the Observatory. As well as the numerous historical sights.
Overnight: ITC Rajputana, Jaipur (B, L)
Day 17 • Sunday:
JAIPUR – AGRA
Our journey continues to Agra, a city renowned for housing one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the timeless Taj Mahal. Built in 1653 by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a testament to his love for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, this architectural marvel leaves visitors awestruck with its unparalleled beauty. We will also explore Agra Fort where Shah Jahan was imprisoned after being overthrown by his son.
Overnight: Courtyard by Marriott, Agra (B)
Day 18 • Monday:
AGRA – DELHI – DEPARTURES
We will be transferred to Delhi International Airport in the late afternoon for our flight home. (B)
- 14 nights’ accommodation in comfortable, centrally located hotels
- All excursions and entrance fees to attractions, as listed in the itinerary
- All transfers and tours by air-conditioned coach
- Bottled water throughout
- Daily breakfast and 1 lunch
- English speaking local guide
- Tipping and gratuities