Join owners Owen and Eleanor Hardy aboard this special journey to celebrate 35 years of The Society of International Railway Travelers! We will spend three days exploring Mumbai, India’s most cosmopolitan city, before embarking on our eight-day “Indian Sojourn” aboard the Deccan Odyssey, with stops in ancient Vadodara, Udaipur “City of Lakes,” Jodphur, Agra and the Taj Mahal, Ranthambore National Park and Jaipur before arriving in Delhi for two days of discovery.
Choose to add a wondrous pre-tour or post-tour extension to your journey! Click here for details of Pre-Tour of Kerala (November 2-7) and Post-tour of Darjeeling (November 19-22).
Wednesday, November 7: Arrive Mumbai
On arrival into Mumbai, you will be met at the airport and transferred to our hotel, the five-star Taj Mahal Palace.
Thursday, November 8: In Mumbai (B, L)
This morning we will set out on a tour of Mumbai’s distinct landmarks. First, enjoy a scenic drive past the Queen’s Necklace and Hanging Gardens. Then, visit Mani Bhawan, a museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation. Continue to Dhobi Ghat, an open-air laundry facility, to witness the large, colorful operation of washing clothing for the masses. We’ll also witness the dabbawalas delivering lunchboxes by bicycle.
Next, explore Crawford Market, one of Mumbai’s most famous, and Mangal Das market, well known for its textiles and clothing. After a welcome luncheon, we’ll board a boat at the Gateway of India for the one-hour trip to Elephanta Caves, located on an island off the eastern shore of Mumbai. The caves house some beautifully-carved sculptures, most of them dedicated to Lord Shiva and his various forms.
Friday, November 9: In Mumbai (B, D)
This morning’s touring is dedicated to visiting several unique religious sites: Haji Ali, a mosque and tomb located on an inlet and only accessible during low tide; Siddhivinayak Temple, a popular Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Ganesh; ISKCON Temple, a four-acre Hare Krishna compound featuring a monumental marble temple near Juhu Beach; and Jain Temple (drive past only, as foreign nationals are not allowed inside). The afternoon is at your leisure in Mumbai. Tonight we will enjoy a festive dinner together.
Saturday, November 10: Board the Deccan Odyssey (B, L, D)
This morning we will explore the Fort Mumbai area to view the city’s British heritage. See the Asiatic Library, Flora Fountain and impressive Cathedral of St. Thomas, as well as the Central Telegraph Office, the High Court, and Mumbai University. Continue on to Prince of Wales Museum, featuring art, archaeology and natural history sections.
Following lunch at a local restaurant, proceed to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaja Terminus (formerly known as Victoria Terminus), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This railroad station is undoubtedly the British Raj’s piece de resistance, complete with stone carved friezes, stained glass windows and flying buttresses. After a short tour of the station, we will check in for our 7-night Indian Sojourn journey aboard the Deccan Odyssey. As you settle in to your private cabin, the train will depart and dinner will be served on board.
Sunday, November 11: Vadodara (B, L, D)
Today, arrive in Vadodara, located along the seasonal river Vishwamitri. After breakfast, visit Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the only complete and unchanged pre-Mughal Islamic city in India. After lunch on board the Deccan Odyssey, visit the Maharaja Fateh Singh Art Museum.
Then enjoy high tea at the resplendent Laxmi Vilas Palace, built in 1890. It is the residence of the Royal family even today. Reputedly four times the size of Buckingham Palace, its overwhelming Durbar Hall boasts a Venetian mosaic floor and Belgian stained glass windows and walls with intricate mosaic decorations. Witness a folk performance typical of the region as you savor some of the special delicacies from the Royal kitchens.
Monday, November 12: Udaipur (B, L, D)
Set on the shores of the placid Lake Pichola, Udaipur, known as the City of Lakes, is easily one of the most romantic cities of India, surrounded by scenic hills. Disembark to visit the famous City Palace, the largest palace complex in Rajasthan, with its scalloped arches, fretted balconies, and cupolas, which also houses the spectacular Crystal Gallery. Our tour of this magnificent city includes a boat cruise on the tranquil waters of Lake Pichola. Later, return to the train or take a walking tour through the Old City of Udaipur. Enjoy dinner on board the train as we depart for Jodhpur.
Tuesday, November 13: Jodhpur (B, L, D)
Breakfast on board before arriving in Jodhpur. Choose a morning at leisure, or enjoy one of four optional activities: visit a weavers’ village, potters’ village, Bishnoi village or spa visit. (Please Note: All optional activities are at additional cost and subject to train arrival into Jodphur.)
Enjoy an afternoon of exploration in Jodhpur, also known as the Blue City, after the vivid blue-painted houses that surround the Fort. Walk through the bustle of the Old Clock Tower market, and continue to the imposing Mehrangarh Fort, the pride of Jodhpur. Marvel at the intricate carvings and expansive courtyards of the several palaces inside, as well as the amazing display of palanquins, arms, paintings, costumes and the arts and crafts of a bygone era at the museum. In the evening, enjoy a wide array of sumptuous Marwar barbeque delights served in the royal courtyard of Mehrangarh Fort as you admire the cityscape from atop ~ a truly royal evening.
Wednesday, November 14: Agra (B, L, D)
After a leisurely morning and lunch on board, visit the Taj Mahal. This architectural masterpiece was Emperor Shah Jahan’s gift of love to his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, and is truly stunning. It took 22 years and 20,000 men to build this unrivalled mausoleum, and its exquisite white marble was brought from 200 miles away by caravans of elephants and camels.
We’ll continue to Agra Fort, another outstanding example of Mughal architecture, and the seat of Mughal power and administration for three generations. A visit to the Diwan-e-Am, ‘Hall of Public Audience’ and the Royal Pavilions is not to be missed. Later, you have the opportunity to visit the local markets to admire the exquisite Pietra Dura (marble inlay) artifacts and Mughal ornaments. Alternatively, you may choose to visit a nearby spa (at additional cost). Return to the Deccan Odyssey for dinner.
Thursday, November 15: Sawai Madhopur – Ranthambore National Park (B, L, D)
Arrive Sawai Madhopur and set out for your morning village safari. The people of Rajasthan’s villages are subsistence farmers and hunters. These friendly folk are warm and welcoming, happy to show guests around their villages, giving deep insights into their daily lives.
Return to the train for lunch, followed by an afternoon safari in Ranthambore National Park. In addition to the elusive tiger, the park is home to several other species: Chital and Sambhar deer as well as wild boar, Nilgai antelope and chinkara gazelles. Also look for sloth bear, leopards and crocodiles. Extensive bird life also abounds.
Proceed for high tea at the Sawai Madhopur Lodge, discussing your sightings of the day. This evening, relax with a drink before dinner on board.
Friday, November 16: Jaipur (B, L, D)
After breakfast, explore Jaipur, first stopping at the Palace of Winds, famous for its intricate pink sandstone carving and beautiful view of the city. Then it’s on to Maharaja Mansingh’s 17th-century masterpiece, the Amber Fort. The fort is a sprawling complex of courtyards, halls, and rooms adorned with beautiful paintings, precious stones, and mirrors. Behold the Sheesh Mahal, “Hall of Mirrors,” where a single lamplight reflects in many mirrors, and lights up the entire room, creating a dazzling effect.
Next we will visit the famous City Palace of Jaipur, with exquisite palaces, gardens and courtyards, decorative art and carved doorways. The palace museum houses collections of rare manuscripts, armory, costumes and carpets. Walk across to the adjacent Jantar Mantar, the astronomical observatory built in the 18th century by Sawai Jai Singh.
Lunch at a city hotel, followed by an excursion (for our group only) to Bagru, well known for its textiles and hand block printing. We will learn about this laborious and beautiful process during our special visit. Return to the train for dinner on board as we depart for Delhi.
Saturday, November 17: Disembark in Delhi (B, L)
After an early breakfast, disembark at Delhi Cantt Railway Station and set out to see the city. Visit Qutab Minar, the tallest stone tower in India. We will then experience the Delhi Metro, enjoying a circular metro ride for 15-20 minutes. Check into the fabulous Imperial Hotel for a two-night stay, and have lunch.
This afternoon’s excursion begins at Humayun’s Tomb, the second Mughal emperor’s mausoleum. It is one of the best Mughal buildings in India, built in the 16th century by the eldest widow of King Humayun. It is a UNESCO World Heritage monument with beautiful gardens and water features.
Continue on to the National Rail Museum, a train-lovers delight. On display are steam, diesel and electrical locomotives, royal saloons, interactive displays and other artifacts. Drive through the Rajpath (King’s way)-the road which connects India Gate with the Viceregal Lodge (now President Palace) and other government buildings. Return to our hotel. Dinner is on your own this evening.
Sunday, November 18: Delhi (B, L, D)
This morning we head to Old Delhi. First we’ll stop at Raj Ghat, cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi, then drive past the Red Fort – the magical monument in red sandstone. From here proceed through the bustling streets to Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in Asia built by Shah Jahan. Take a cycle rickshaw ride to the Spice market, Asia’s largest, and interact with one of the Spice Merchants. Continue to the Sitaram Bazaar, with traditional roadside eateries, and enjoy Indian Masala Tea with a specialty Chai Wallah.
Following lunch at a local restaurant, proceed on a tour of two of the famous temples of Delhi. First is Laxmi Narayan Temple, popularly known as the Birla Mandir, a modern Hindu temple built in 1938 and dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Continue on to the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib; located near Connaught Place, this was the royal palace of Raja Jai Singh. As in all Sikh places of worship, visitors of all religions are welcome, irrespective of their cast, color or creed. Enjoy a farewell dinner together this evening.
Monday, November 19: Depart Delhi (B)
Transfer to airport to meet your departure flight – either returning home or extending to Darjeeling.
2018 Dates:November 7-19, 2018
Pretour: Exotic Kerala - November 2-7
Post-tour: The Hills of Darjeeling - November 19-22
Indulgent India Pricing:
$ 9,850 per person, double occupancy (Deluxe Cabin on the Deccan Odyssey)
$13,290 single occupancy (Deluxe Cabin on the Deccan Odyssey)
Supplement for Presidential Suite on the Deccan Odyssey: $2,550 per person, double occupancy
Included in the tour cost:
• Hotel accommodations as outlined, including tax and breakfast
• Accommodation on board the Deccan Odyssey for 7 nights (full board)
• Other meals as outlined in the itinerary
• Arrival/departure airport transfers
• All group transfers, excursions and sightseeing as outlined in the itinerary
• Entrances to all monuments listed (one visit per monument)
• Services of English speaking local guides
• Gratuities for included meals and to guides and drivers throughout
• All currently applicable taxes, including Indian Goods & service tax (local taxes subject to change and could affect tour pricing)
Not included in the tour cost:
• Expenses of personal nature, such as laundry, telephone calls, alcoholic beverages, camera/video camera fee at monuments, airport departure tax, etc.
• International / Domestic airfares (domestic flights quoted separately)
• Visa fees
• Any other meals/ services not specified above
• Transport during days at leisure
• Travel insurance – it is a requirement of this tour that you have international medical/evacuation coverage. We highly recommend full trip cancellation/interruption insurance.
Pre-tour “Exotic Kerala” Pricing:
$2,285 per person, double occupancy
$3,190 single occupancy
Flight, Cochin to Mumbai $440 per person*
Nov. 7: Jet Airways #825 departing Cochin 12:10 p.m. / Arriving Mumbai 2:05 p.m.
Post-tour “Hills of Darjeeling” Pricing:
$1,190 per person, double occupancy
$1,545 single occupancy
Flights, Delhi to Bagdogra & Bagdogra to Delhi: $840 per person*
Nov. 19: Jet Airways #7156 departing Delhi 10:20 a.m. / Arriving Bagdogra 12:15 p.m.
Nov. 22: Jet Airways #7157 departing Bagdogra 4:20 p.m. / Arriving Delhi 6:40 p.m.
*Flight costs are estimated and subject to change until booked.
25% deposit required to book.
A deposit of 25% of total is due upon booking by check or credit card. We will send you a link to our secure payment portal when you are ready to deposit. Final payment is due 120 days prior to departure by check, credit card or wire transfer. All payments are nonrefundable. Medical/evacuation insurance is required for this journey. We highly recommend full tour cancellation/interruption insurance to protect your travel investment.
An Indian visa is required for U.S. citizens.
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