Day 1: Mumbai (Bombay). Private transfer from airport to five-star hotel for a two-night stay.
Day 2: Mumbai (Bombay). Morning boat trip to Elephanta Island, a beautiful thickly wooded area. See the fascinating cave complex dating to the 3rd century and, if we’re lucky, spot some of the local monkeys. Return to Bombay for lunch at the Khyber restaurant for fantastic Indian cuisine. The afternoon is free to explore independently, perhaps visit one of the colorful markets. Get to know your fellow travelers over welcome drinks and dinner at the hotel.
Day 3: Mumbai (Bombay). The first stop on our city tour is the famous “Dhobi Ghats” outdoor laundry. The dhobi is a traditional laundryman who collects your dirty linen, washes it and returns it neatly pressed; the ghats are the laundries where they practice this tradition. Our tour continues to Fort Bombay and Gandhi’s House (now a museum). Lunch in a local restaurant. Afternoon transfer to a local station to board our train, the Deccan Odyssey. Settle into your private compartment and enjoy a drink the bar car before a fine dinner on board (choice of Indian or Western cuisine).
Day 4: Udaipur. Spend a leisurely morning with breakfast on board and a talk on Indian culture in the conference car. Afternoon arrival in Udaipur, “City of Lakes.” Admire the awe-inspiring Lake Palace, located on its own island in Pichola Lake, and explore the superbly decorated City Palace.
Day 5: Jaipur. This morning we arrive in the “Pink City” of Jaipur. Visit the Amber Fort (reach the top by elephant ride), with its magnificent Hall of Mirrors. We continue to Jantar Mantar observatory, the City Palace and Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds). This evening's dinner is a highlight, served at the elegant Rambagh Palace Hotel.
Day 6: Delhi. Arrive Delhi for city tour including the Raj Ghat memorial to Gandhi, and the World Heritage sites of Humayun's Tomb and Qutab Minar (tallest brick minaret in the world at 238 feet). Return to the train for dinner and overnight on board.
Day 7: Fatehpur Sikri. After breakfast visit haunting World Heritage Site of Fatehpur Sikri, called the “ghost city.” This red sandstone town was abandoned due to lack of water in 1585. Lunch en route to Agra and afternoon visit of Agra Fort, which contains many fairytale palaces and two beautifully preserved mosques.
Day 8: Agra/Taj Mahal. Today is devoted to visiting the incredibly stunning Taj Mahal, built in 1648 by Shah Jahan as a monument to his beloved wife. It took 22 years and 20,000 workers to construct.
Day 9: Varanasi. Early morning arrival into Varanasi on the banks of Ganges, one of India’s most sacred places. Hindus believe bathing in the Ganges washes away all sin. Private river cruise to view pilgrims’ bathing ritual and gain a better understanding of the Hindu religion. Explore Varanasi's ancient and bustling streets on a guided walk through the old city.
Day 10: Darjeeling. Morning arrival into Siliguri and bid farewell to Deccan Odyssey train. Embark on spectacular journey towards hill station of Darjeeling aboard the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) “Toy Train.” The trip takes 6-7 hours or more, en route the train passes breathtaking scenery and climbs to 7,400 feet at Ghum (highest station on Indian Railways), where snow-covered Mt. Kanchenchunga (28,000 feet and the world’s third highest mountain) dominates the skyline (weather permitting) before dropping 600 feet to Darjeeling. Ancient locomotives (oldest built in 1889) climb through zigzags and loops to gain height. A packed lunch is served on train before arriving Darjeeling. Alternatively, you may transfer by bus to Darjeeling (3-4 hours). Dinner is served in our Darjeeling hotel.
Day 11: Darjeeling. Awaken to beautiful scenery of Mt. Kanchenchunga. Ride DHR up to Batasia Loop and Ghum, a three-mile journey that climbs 600 feet. Train travels along a road with overloaded buses, trucks and cars and passes within inches of roadside shops and houses. Afternoon Darjeeling tour includes a Tibetan refugee center and the Himalayan Institute.
Day 12: Darjeeling. Optional early-morning trip (weather permitting) to Tiger Hill for sunrise over the Himalayas—a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch sun light up snow-capped peaks of Kanchenchunga and Everest, 200 miles away. This afternoon we visit a local tea plantation to sample the freshest cup of tea you will likely ever taste.
Day 13: Calcutta. Breakfast in Darjeeling. Transfer to Bagdogra airport for the short flight to Calcutta. Upon arrival, we transfer to the Hotel Taj Bengal for a two-night stay.
Day 14: Calcutta. Full day sightseeing in Calcutta, cultural capital of India, including Victoria Memorial, South Park Cemetery and Dalhousie’s Square. This evening reminisce with your traveling companions over a farewell dinner.
Day 15: Calcutta. Transfers to Calcutta airport included.
About the Deccan Odyssey: The Deccan Odyssey is the perfect fusion of luxury with the charm of train travel. An all inclusive luxury rail cruise with an opportunity to view India's unique landscapes and visit some of the world's outstanding attractions along the way. Carriages are extremely well appointed, spacious and comfortably furnished, making this an ideal setting to enjoy the many wonders that this varied country has to offer. Guests are accommodated in fully air conditioned deluxe carriages, which feature 4 twin bedded cabins, with modern en-suite facilities including a shower and toilet, plus an audio and CD player in each room. Presidential suites for those looking for extra comfort and style are available at a supplement.
Lounge/Bar Cars: A lounge/Bar Car provides an ideal setting for a leisurely drink after a day's sightseeing, or a comfortable place to relax and meet fellow passengers. There are telephones located in each carriage, plus a state of the art plasma TV screen in the lounge car. On board the guests can also take advantage of traditional Ayurvedic massage, in the "spa car", set aside for relaxation and rejuvenation.
Restaurants: The Deccan Odyssey features two restaurant cars, supplying an array of Indian, Continental and International cuisine as the train passes through Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar pradesh, Bihart and Western Bengal.
Note: While we cater for certain diets, we remind you that gluten-free and other such specialty diets are difficult to cater for, as products for these diets may not be available in India.
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