Welcome to Hidden Treasures of Gujarat, a spellbinding railroad journey aboard the iconic Deccan Odyssey, one of India’s most luxurious and opulent trains. On this exciting journey through Gujarat, India’s most western state, explore the medieval capital of Vadodara and the pilgrim town of Palitana. Discover the footprints of history at the only sanctuary of Asiatic Lions in the Subcontinent, marvel at the unique featureless landscape of the Little Rann, wander through the architectural wonders of Modhera, and visit the holy city of Nashik, before culminating your journey in the financial city of Mumbai.
Extend your journey in Mumbai with a stay at our fabulous Virtuoso partner hotel: Taj Mahal Palace.
Day 1: Mumbai to Vadodara
Board the Deccan Odyssey at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus station mid-afternoon and begin your enchanting journey from Mumbai to Vadodara. Savor a delicious dinner on board.
Day 2: Vadodara
As you enjoy breakfast this morning, the Deccan Odyssey arrives at Vadodara, the capital of the Gaekwads, located along the seasonal river Vishwamitri.
After breakfast, you will disembark and visit Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the only complete and unchanged pre-Mughal Islamic city in India. The park is famous for its historic and cultural heritage properties, which are dotted all over the lush, green landscape. Marvel at the Jami Masjid (Great Mosque), which was built in 1513 and represents a perfect blend of Hindu and Muslim architecture and served as a model for subsequent mosque architecture in India.
Later, drive back to Vadodara for a leisurely lunch on board the Deccan Odyssey.
After lunch, you will visit the Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum, originally constructed as a school for the Maharaja’s children. Art lovers can view a large number of works displayed in the museum, including a collection of paintings by Raja Ravi Varma and other renowned European Masters, as well as a collection of sculptures in marble and bronze.
Enjoy high tea at the resplendent Laxmi Vilas Palace, built in 1890, and the residence of the Royal family. Reputedly four times the size of Buckingham Palace, its overwhelming Durbar Hall boasts a Venetian mosaic floor, Belgian stained glass windows, and walls with intricate mosaic decorations. The palace also houses a remarkable collection of old armory and sculptures in bronze, marble, & terracotta by Fellici. Witness a folk performance typical of the region as you savor some of the special delicacies from the Royal kitchens.
Return to the Deccan Odyssey for dinner as it departs for Palitana.
Day 3: Palitana
After an early breakfast this morning, head out to explore Palitana, one of the world’s largest temple complexes and known for its spectacular cluster of Jain temples exquisitely carved in marble.
Spend the day exploring the most significant of the 900+ temples located on a hilltop of Palitana – considered to be the most sacred pilgrimage of the Jains.
After a full morning with the Jain Tirthankars, return to the Deccan Odyssey for a sumptuous lunch as the train makes its way to Sasan Gir, the sole home of the Asiatic Lion.
The afternoon is at leisure for you to relax and enjoy some of the activities available on board. Watch a movie, learn the rules of a popular Indian board game ‘carrom,’ or book yourself a relaxing massage in the on-board spa.
Relax and watch the tapestry of rural India unfold as you sip a sun downer before dinner.
Day 4: Sasan Gir
Wake up to a golden dawn and after an early breakfast, disembark for your drive to Sasan Gir – The Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary. A guide will accompany you for your morning game drive into the Gir forest. Keep your fingers crossed for a sighting of the majestic and extremely rare Asiatic lion! Experience the magic of the wild all around you as you venture deep into this natural habitat, with everything from tiny wild birds — not easily seen, but heard, singing in the forest canopy — to crocodiles sunning themselves in marshy waters.
After the excitement of the morning, enjoy a relaxed lunch, followed by a tribal dance at the Gateway hotel.
Return to the Deccan Odyssey and unwind with a drink before dinner on board, as you set off for the Little Rann of Kutch.
Day 5: Little Rann of Kutch
Enjoy an early breakfast today as the Deccan Odyssey pulls into the Viramgam station, where you will disembark and transfer to jeeps for a safari into the deceptively named Little Rann of Kutch.
The Rann is a seasonal salt marsh, the largest in the world at over 2,900 sq. miles (approximately 7,500 sq. km), a saline desert where the dry air whips your face, mirages abound, and parched earth unfolds as far as the eye can see. During the monsoons, these arid flatlands fill with water, creating a still, salty sea.
During your jeep safari, you will visit the Wild Ass Sanctuary, one of the few places to spot the ghudkar, or Indian wild ass. Other species here include the desert fox, jungle cat, jackal, and several birds. Since there is virtually no vegetation for animals to hide behind, they are easy to spot while driving around.
After your visit to the sanctuary, lunch will be at the Rann Riders Resort, with time to relax and refresh yourselves. Enjoy the regional specialties of the Maliks of Rann and sample delicious Gujarati fare in this charming resort surrounded by the desert.
Spend some time walking around and meeting the other species of the lodge, including the Marwari and Kathiawari horses, which are unique to the region.
Later, drive out to a local village and meet the varied communities that call the Rann their home. You will find the Agarias, salt-panners, hard at work drying out the salt. Visit the homes of the Rabari tribe and experience their way of life. Another interesting aspect is the beaded bangles made by the Mirs of Dasada. Continue to a local school where you will be greeted by enthusiastic children, eager to share information about themselves and learn about your part of the world.
Having taken in your share of this great white vastness, return to the Deccan Odyssey for dinner and head for Patan.
Day 6: Patan
This morning, the Deccan Odyssey rolls into Patan, the 8th century fortified town and capital of Gujarat in medieval times.
After breakfast, disembark and drive to the sun temple at Modhera. This grand, awe-inspiring 11th century sandstone monument was built by the Solanki dynasty and is dedicated to the sun god. The complex is full of elaborate carvings and the resident priest enjoys explaining the legends they depict. A step tank in front of the temple has 108 shrines that lead down to the water.
After visiting the sun temple, drive to Patan to visit the lovely 11th century step well called Rani ki Vav, a fine example of subterranean well architecture. Walk down into the depths of this extravagant step well, one of the biggest in Gujarat, and pass hundreds of delicate carvings and statues of Parvati, Shiva, Vishnu, and other gods etched into its side walls. It is evident that this well was constructed not just to store water but was also a site for worship and community gatherings.
Later, visit Patola house, the center of the Salvi family’s traditional craft: creating exquisite silk Patola saris. Weavers since the 12th century, the Salvi family has enjoyed the patronage of the royalty of Gujarat, as the saris created by them have gained a reputation as works of art.
Having visited Patola house, drive back to the Deccan Odyssey for lunch on board. The afternoon is at leisure as you proceed towards Nashik.
In the evening, watch the tapestry of rural India unfold as you sip a sun downer before dinner.
Day 7: Nashik
Today you arrive in the holy city of Nashik, which is quickly gaining status as the wine capital of India.
Enjoy a sumptuous breakfast, followed by leisure time on board.
After lunch, disembark the Deccan Odyssey and drive to the Grover Zampa vineyards for an exclusive tour of one of India’s finest wine producing facilities. Walk through vines laden with Chenin, Chardonnay, and Shiraz grapes. Learn more about the age-old “méthode traditionnelle,” used to make one of the best-known brands of sparkling wine in India. Allow the sommelier to acquaint your taste buds with the finest creations of white, red, rosé, and sparkling wines before you pair them with your meal at the vineyards.
In the evening, stroll along the Godavari Ghats and observe the various Hindu rituals related to birth, death and initiation being performed here.
Return to the Deccan Odyssey for dinner as it rolls toward its final destination – Mumbai.
Day 8: Mumbai
After an early breakfast, disembark in Mumbai and bid farewell to the Deccan Odyssey as your royal passage through the grand vistas of India comes to an end.
2019 Dates:March 23
2020 Dates:March 21
Twin / Double
Pricing is per person and does not include 5% service tax. Government tax rate subject to change without notice.
Note: prices are increasing as follows for all departures beginning fall 2019:
Deluxe Cabin: for Double Occupancy, $4,830 per person; for Single Occupancy, $6,734 per person
Presidential Suite: for Double Occupancy, $7,292 per person; for Single Occupancy, $14,584 per person
25% deposit required to book.
Medical & evacuation insurance is required for this journey.
An Indian visa is required for U.S. citizens.
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