India's Palace On Wheels Rail Tour with Shimla
From Delhi To Shimla, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Rathambore National Park, Chittorgarh, Udaipur, Jaisalmar, Jodhpur, Bharatpur, - 12 Nights
- Departing from:
- Shimla, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Rathambore National Park, Chittorgarh, Udaipur, Jaisalmar, Jodhpur, Bharatpur,
- 12 Nights
- Regular Tours September to April. Contact our office dates.
- Tour Operator:
- Vacations By Rail
- Reference Code:
Price per person
Magniﬁcent palaces and forts are waiting to be discovered on this Indian rail adventure aboard the Palace on Wheels train. Experience the lifestyle of the Maharajahs as we visit walled cities, marvel at the astonishing Taj Mahal and enjoy tiger spotting in Ranthambore National Park.
Arrive in Delhi and transfer to our hotel, well-located close to diplomatic missions, shops and historical landmarks. This evening, we get acquainted with our Tour Manager and fellow travelers during a welcome dinner at the hotel. Overnight Delhi.
Today is devoted to a fascinating sightseeing tour. We start with an engaging rickshaw ride through the streets of Old Delhi, an explosion of sights, sounds, and activity, and visit the Jama Masjib Mosque. We then go on to New Delhi, passing by President House and Parliament House. We visit Gandhi’s Smriti, a museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, before discovering Connaught Square on a walking tour. Overnight Delhi.
After breakfast at our hotel, we transfer to the train station to board the Shatabdi Express to Kalka. On arrival, we embark on a scenic journey on the UNESCO listed narrow-gauge Toy Train to Shimla. Our route travels through the Shivalik foothills and through more than 100 tunnels, across more than 800 bridges, and around more than 900 curves. Alternatively, guests may elect to make the journey by road. The mountain town of Shimla was ‘discovered’ by the British in 1817 and was later used as a fashionable retreat from the summer heat thanks to its lovely temperate climate. Overnight Shimla.
The day is free to enjoy Shimla as you like. You may wish to join an optional excursion to Kufri for majestic views over the Himalayas followed by a High Tea lunch at Wildflower Hall. Overnight Shimla.
The day begins with an exclusive talk from guest speaker Raaja Bhasin, a published author and historian. After, we explore Shimla by car. Highlights include the Viceregal Lodge, a 19th century Elizabethan-style mansion that was the summer seat of the viceroys of India until the 1940’s, and the Sankat Mochan temple. After lunch, we take a leisurely stroll along the Mall to the town’s Gaiety Theatre, the Victorian-Gothic Christ Church, and Scandal Point – so called because it was where townspeople would traditionally meet to gossip. Overnight Shimla.
We depart Shimla this morning and travel to Chandigarh by car. Here, we transfer to the airport for a flight to Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan. Founded in 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Singh II, this lovely city is often referred to as ‘the Pink City’ after the buildings were painted pink in the 19th century to celebrate a visit by Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert. Overnight Jaipur.
Today we embark on a guided tour of Jaipur. Highlights include the magnificent Amber Fort, one of three hilltop forts that dominate the hills above Jaipur, the imposing Palace of the Winds, whose ornate façade once enabled the ladies of the royal court to observe life in the street below while remaining in ‘purdah,’ and the ancient City Palace.
This afternoon, we transfer to the Jaipur railway station and board our hotel-train, the Palace on Wheels. The rail cars are decorated in traditional Rajasthani style. The train’s carpeted floors and patterned walls are a complement to the grand architecture that awaits us in cities along our route. We settle into our comfortable cabins ahead of dinner onboard the train this evening. Overnight train.
Our first stop today is Ranthambore National Park, where we embark on a morning game drive to spot the majestic Bengal Tiger, leopards, and other native wildlife. We re-board the train and head to Chittorgarh. Here, we see the majestic hilltop fort – the largest in India, the Tower of Victory, and the intricate Tower of Fame. We also enjoy an evening light and sound performance at Chittor Fort, which depicts the royal history of the fort. Overnight train.
We arrive in Udaipur this morning. On arrival, we embark on a city orientation tour, including Saheliyon- ki-Bari gardens and the City Palace. After lunch at a local hotel, we cruise across Lake Pichola, navigating its small islands and admiring the elegant buildings that line the shore. Back on land, we re-join the train for our continued journey. Overnight train.
We arrive in Jaisalmer, a fairy tale walled town in the Thar Desert, this morning. We explore the narrow, twisting streets of the town centre and see beautiful merchants’ houses with intricately carved sandstone façades during a coach tour of the city. This afternoon, we enjoy a traditional camel cart ride into the surrounding desert. We dine together onboard the train after departing for Jodhpur. Overnight train.
Jodhpur is known as the ‘Blue City’ due to the hue of the houses within the old walls. During a morning tour we see the impenetrable walls of the Mehrangarh Fort and Palace with fine sandstone carvings and visit Jaswant Thada, a white marble cenotaph. We enjoy lunch at a local hotel before we re-join the train and journey towards Bharatpur. Overnight train.
The Palace on Wheels stops in Bharatpur this morning, where guests may take an optional excursion to visit the town’s famous bird sanctuary. The train continues to Agra, where we disembark and bid farewell to the train. Our journey continues by coach to Agra Fort, the majestic red sandstone citadel, and the captivating Taj Mahal, the iconic masterpiece in white marble. Built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1653, for his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj Mahal is the world’s finest example of Mughal and Persian architecture. We end the day with a farewell dinner at our hotel. Overnight train.
We bid farewell to India today, as you transfer to the airport for your return flight home.
The Palace on Wheels was introduced to promote tourism in Rajasthan. The carpeted floors, the intricately patterned walls, and the comfortable furniture remind us of traditional decor – a fitting accompaniment to the regal architecture of Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, and Jaisalmer.
This train contains 14 passenger coaches, each named after a famous place in Rajasthan to immerse us further in Indian culture. Each coach contains 3 cabins with their own colour scheme. In the cabins, there are twin beds, as well as a desk, and a lounge within the coach. All cabins on board the train are air-conditioned and mineral water is also available to passengers throughout the journey. There are a large selection of magazines and newspapers to peruse over breakfast – so you don’t have to miss out on a thing.
To further enhance the feeling of staying in a travelling hotel, there is a small spa as well as a gym on board, keeping you refreshed and exercised as the train travels on to its next breathtaking destination. The two restaurant cars, the Maharaja and the Maharani, contain both a bar with seating for 20, and a restaurant to seat 40, and offer both the local specialities of Rajasthan, as well as the wider range of Indian cuisine.
The Shatabdi Express trains are some of the fastest in India and are the pride of Indian Railways. Fully air conditioned and of a far superior standard to most Indian trains, the Shatabdi Express apparently always arrives at the best platform a station has!
The average speed on most lines is 68mph (110km/h) although the service between Agra and Delhi can reach speeds of 80mph (130km/h). During our journeys on the Shatabdi Express we travel in air conditioned Chair Class. Complimentary snacks, meals and beverages are generally provided during the journey.
The Shivalik Express, affectionately referred to as the ‘Toy Train‘ travels between the Indian town of Kalka and Shimla, capital city of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. The Toy Train’s ninety-six kilometre narrow-gauge track through the Shivalik foothills of the Himalayas is one of three Indian mountain railways which together constitute a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Built by British colonists, the Kalka-Shimla Railway opened in 1903. An extraordinary feat of railway engineering, the line negotiates 102 tunnels, more than 864 bridges and around 919 curves. The Toy Train’s passengers have plenty of time in which to admire and marvel these features as well as the spectacular mountain panorama that line the route, tackling the 1 in 33 gradient as the train makes its ascent to Shimla demands a leisurely pace.
Built in the early 1900s, the magnificent Maidens Hotel is one of Delhi’s oldest hotels. This elegant 4-Star hotel stands in eight acres of private gardens on the banks of the River Yamuna, just a short distance from Delhi’s famous Jama Masjid Mosque and many of the city’s other sights and attractions. Full of colonial charm and turn of the century architectural features, the Maidens Hotel has a restaurant serving European and Indian cuisine, the Garden Terrace coffee shop and the intimate Cavalry Bar. There is also an outdoor swimming pool and tennis courts. The comfortable rooms are all air conditioned and come with a telephone, satellite television, minibar, hairdryer and a safe. We enjoy comfortable accommodation in suite category rooms.
The wonderful 5-Star Oberoi Cecil Hotel in Shimla is reminiscent of a bygone era, a celebration of colonial elegance and grace. Restored to its original grandeur with wooden floors and period furniture, it boasts fabulous views of the mountains and valleys. A heated swimming pool, billiards rooms and many opportunities for nature walks, make this luxury resort an all season destination. Rooms include satellite television, air conditioning, telephone, minibar, hairdryer and a safe.
We offer a selection of upgrades and ‘add-ons’ designed to help you make the most of your holiday – and make it even easier!
Many of our guests choose to spend additional nights before or after their trip. Vacations By Rail would be happy to make hotel and sightseeing arrangements for you.