India: Golden Triangle & Shimla

Resort: India: Golden Triangle & Shimla
Operator: Cox and Kings
Destination: India
Price From: £2265.00

Overview

Experience a taste of India on this
outstanding introductory tour of the
countrys most celebrated sights. Exploring
the Golden Triangle, this journey combines
imperial Delhi with the legendary Taj Mahal
at Agra and a 3-night stay in the princely city
of Jaipur, culminating in the beautiful hill
station of Shimla.

Itinerary

Day 1: Fly to Delhi

Overnight flight from London (regional connections available) to Delhi with Virgin Atlantic. (N)

Day 2: Delhi

Arrive in Delhi this morning and transfer to the Taj Palace where you will spend the night. After freshening up, take an afternoon tour of Old Delhi, where you will find the mighty Mughal-built Red Fort, the vast Jama Masjid Mosque and, between the two, the bustling lanes of Chandni Chowk where a bewildering array of wares are traded. This evening enjoy a welcome dinner with your group. (D)

Day 3: New Delhi Agra

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. (B, D)

Day 4: 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. (B, D)

Day 5: Fatehpur Sikri Jaipur

Continue to the pink city of Jaipur via the deserted sandstone city of Fatehpur Sikri, known for its array of forts, palaces and mosques. The city was built as a tribute to the Sufi saint, Sheikh Salim Chisti, but was abandoned just 15 years after it was built due to a shortage of water. You will also stop at the exquisite Abhaneri Stepwell, a geometric wonder with 11 visible levels. Stay 3 nights at Shahpura House. (B, L, D)

Day 6: Jaipur

Spend the morning just outside Jaipur in Amber, the ancient capital of the Kachwaha Rajputs. Here you will find a majestic fort-palace displaying both Mughal and Rajput designs. After a morning exploring the fort, head back to Jaipur and explore the Pink City including visits to the sprawling City Palace, which is still the home of the Maharaja of Jaipur and showcases an extensive collection of art, carpets, textiles and weapons, all beautifully preserved. Your tour will also include a visit to the curious astronomical observatory of Jantar Mantar, home to a fine collection of 18th century astronomical instruments that can still be used with astonishing accuracy. Later, view the exterior of the iconic Hawa Mahal, or ‘Palace of the Winds’. The five-storey structure with over 900 latticed windows was designed to allow royal women to observe street festivals without having to reveal themselves to the public. (B, D)

Day 7: Jaipur

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*. (B, D)

Day 8: Shahpura Delhi

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. (B, L, D)

Day 9: Shimla

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. Upgrade to a Premier Valley View room from £160pp for 3 nights. (B, L, D)

Day 10: Shimla

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. (B, D)

Day 11: Shimla

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*. (B, D)

Day 12: Delhi

Drive to Chandigarh and connect with the train to Delhi. Stay overnight at the Taj Palace. (B, D)

Day 13: Fly to London

Fly to London with Virgin Atlantic. (B)

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