India & Shimla Extension

From the flawless grandeur of the Taj Mahal, to the mighty fortresses of Rajasthan and from the reminders of past glories of the Raj in Delhi to the teeming markets of Jaipur, our India tour encompasses the very best of northern India, ensuring a lifetime of truly amazing memories. But India is not all history and architecture – genuine Indian cuisine is far more varied and interesting that what we are used to at home. From a simple hot chapatti fresh from the oven, to the delicate spices of Kheer, a sweet rice pudding, a trip to India will change your view of Indian cookery – and don’t worry, many of the curries are quite mild! On selected departures our tour continues on to the hill-station of Shimla, effectively the summer capital of India during the Raj. Surrounded by vast forests of teak and pine and located across a long ridge with steep mountainous terrain on all sides, Shimla was not the easiest place to get to. But Victorian engineers managed to build one of the marvels of Indian Railways, the 96-kilometre narrow-gauge line to Shimla, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Highlights

  • Wonderful tour of northern India’s ‘Golden Triangle’
  • See the breathtaking Taj Mahal
  • Travel on the famous Shimla railway on board a classic toy train for Kalka and stay for 3 nights in Shimla
  • City tours of both Old and New Delhi seeing all the major sights
  • Enjoy a guided tour of the 400-year-old deserted Moghul city of Fatehpur Sikri
  • Driving safari in Ranthambore National Park, the best place in India to spot the elusive tigers
  • Explore the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur
  • Marvel at the extraordinary location and beauty of Amber Fort
  • Stay in an original Rajasthani fort, converted into a stunning Heritage Hotel
  • Guided tour of the Viceregal Lodge in Shimla plus a walking tour of the city

What is Included

  • Return flights
  • 14 nights accommodation 3/4/5*– twin sharing
  • Bed & breakfast basis plus 8 meals
  • One checked in bag max 15 kg
  • Travel on the 'toy train' to Shimla
  • Transfers and coaching as per itinerary
  • Hotel porterage (1 item of luggage per person)
  • All entrances as per itinerary
  • Tour Manager throughout

What is Not Included

  • Single room supplement - €719.00 (available 25 March only)
  • Travel insurance €60.00 (+ 66 years – double premium)
  • Visa

Itinerary Details

Day 1 – Departure

Airport check-in for your overnight flight to Delhi.

Day 2 – Arrival in New Delhi

On arrival, we transfer to Taj Diplomatic Enclave Hotel (previously named the Taj Palace) for one night.

After a short rest we commence our guided tour of New Delhi. Dinner is included tonight.

Day 3 – Old Delhi

This morning we continue our city tour. Afernoon leave Delhi to drive to Agra. Overnight at 4* Oberoi Trident hotel.

Day 4 – Taj Mahal

We rise early to catch the sun rising over the Taj Mahal, one of the wonder of the world one! Then Agra Fort, headquarters of the Moghul Empire. In the evening you have the option of completing a wonderful day with another visit to the Taj Mahal, to witness the shrine at sunset.

Day 5 – Fatehpur Sikri

Leaving Agra this morning we continue towards the ancient abandoned city of Fatehpur Sikri.Just 15 kilometres away is the Bagh Bharatpur, a luxury Heritage Hotel in Bharatpur where we stop for lunch (included) before going on to the railway station to catch the Shatabdi Express for our comfortable two and a half hour journey to Ranthambore National Park. Despite many difficulties, the tigers of Ranthambore have survived and numbers have stabilised. Our hotel for the next two nights is the 3* Ranthambore Regency - full board basis.

Day 6 – Ranthambore Tiger Safari

An early start this morning is worth the sacrifice as we head out to the park for our safari to spot the tigers, birds including crested eagles, painted stork and wild peacocks, sambars, the largest Asian antelope, as well as marsh crocodiles, wild boar and rare sloth bears, leopards and the black-faced langur monkeys.

Day 7 – Jaipur

Leaving Ranthambore after breakfast we head north to the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur. Our afternoon tour will cover all the major highlights of this ancient city. Our hotel for the next two nights is the 4* Hilton, Jaipur.

Day 8 – Amber Fort

This morning another highlight, on a tour of highlights is Amber Fort, located in the hills just a short drive out of Jaipur.

Day 9 – Rajasthan

After breakfast, we bid goodbye to Jaipur and head north, deeper into the interior of rural Rajasthan. We pass numerous small villages and towns on our way to the Sekhawati region of the state and the village of Alsisar. This was once part of India’s Silk Road and over the years the merchants here grew very rich, building a large number of luxurious mansions known as ‘havelis’. Most of these have now been abandoned but the residence of the local kings has been lovingly restored into an amazing Heritage hotel, the Alsisar Mahal, where we stay for the night to include dinner.

Day 10 – New Delhi

After breakfast we head back to Delhi and spend one night at the Taj Diplomatic Enclave. Dinner is included this evening.

Day 11 – Train to Shimla

We take the morning express train from Delhi for our 4 hour journey north to Kalka. Our train reservations are in ‘chair-class’ carriages, with comfortable seating, air-conditioning and large windows. At Kalka we change trains onto the Shimla narrow-gauge ‘toy’ train for the last part of our journey. Although the carriages are smaller and not air-conditioned, the compensation is the increasingly spectacular scenery en-route. Inaugurated by Viceroy Lord Curzon back in 1903, this amazing railway encounters no less than 800 bridges and 102 tunnels on its 96 kilometre journey to Shimla. A packed lunch is included today. On arrival in Shimlastay at Oberoi Cecil Hotel for 3 nights.

Day 12 – Shimla

Today we explore the many reminders of British colonial life in Shimla. The most fascinating by far is the immense Viceregal Lodge and its beautiful botanical gardensWe also take a walk along the pedestrian-only Mall, from Scandal Point and Christ Church past the mock- Tudor Post Office, the Gaiety Theatre and the Town Hall. There are a huge number of shops and markets and Shimla is particularly known for the quality of its locally made pashmina shawls.

Day 13 – Free day in Shimla

Enjoy a day at leisure in Shimla, relax at the hotel pool or spa, or maybe take another stroll along the mall and do some last minute bargain hunting in the markets. Alternatively, there are a number of short local ‘treks’ that can be arranged in the surrounding hills. A sumptuous buffet dinner is included this evening.

Day 14 – Train to Delhi

Today we say goodbye to Shimla and the Oberoi Hotel as we start our return journey to Delhi. This time we descend by car to Kalka from where we catch the train back to Delhi for our last night at the Taj Diplomatic Enclave Hotel (previously named the Taj Palace).

Day 15 – Return flight

We depart Delhi in the early afternoon for our flight home to Dublin.

Accommodation

5* Oberoi Cecil Hotel - Shimla (3 nights)

The five-star Oberoi Cecil Hotel is well located in a commanding position overlooking Shimla, within walking distance from the centre. All its 75 rooms are tastefully furnished with marble bathrooms, hairdryer, minibar, TV & DVD, safe and tea/coffee-maker. Please note most rooms have king-size beds; a few twin-bedded rooms are available on request but cannot be pre-booked or guaranteed.

4* Hilton Jaipur – Jaipur (2 nights)

This hotel is semi centrally located.All room flat-screen satellite TV, minibar and a safety deposit box with hairdryer.

4* Oberoi Trident Hotel - Agra (2 nights)

This hotel is located near to the Taj Mahal, surrounded by gardens. All its 137rooms overlook the Mogul-style gardens or pool and have hairdryer, minibar, satellite TV, safe and tea/coffee-maker.

3* Ranthambore Regency - Sawai Madhopur (2 nights)

The three-star Ranthambore Regency Hotel is a charming family-run, low-rise hotel located close to the entrance of the National Park. All guests are on full board basis.All its 42 rooms are spacious and have hairdryer, mini-fridge, tea/coffee-maker and look out into the gardens.

Heritage Alsisar Mahal - Alsisar (1 night)

The heritage-class hotel is located by the village of Alsisar in the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan. All its 51 air-conditioned rooms are different in style and size, many with antiques and extra-large marble bathrooms. In keeping with the style of the property there are no TVs.

5* Taj Diplomatic Enclave - New Delhi (2 nights)

This hotel (previously named the Taj Palace Hotel) is located in the tree-lined, Diplomatic Enclave of New Delhi. All its 402 rooms are tastefully appointed and have with bathrobes & hairdryer, flat-screen satellite TV & DVD, safe, minibar, tea/coffee-maker and city/pool views.

Proposed Flights

Carrier

From / To

Departure Time

Arrival Time

Aer Lingus

Dublin/London

16.20 hrs.

17.50 hrs.

Virgin Atlantic

London/Delhi

21.50 hrs.

*11.45 hrs.

Virgin Atlantic

Delhi/London

12.55 hrs.

17.35 hrs.

Aer Lingus

London/Dublin

20.45 hrs.

22.00 hrs.

(*Next day arrival)

Dates & Prices

Start Date

End Date

Price PPS

Thur 14 Mar 2019

Thur 28 March 2019

€2,689.00

Mon 25 Mar

Mon 08 Apr

€2,629.00

Mon 15 Apr

Mon 29 Apr

€2,429.00

Thur 26 Sep

Thur 10 Oct

€2,669.00

Important Information

  • Climate: the best time to visit India is from October to March. Himalayas stop cold winds from reaching most of India so winters remain warm and summers can get very hot
  • Accommodation: there are no twin rooms available at the Oberoi Cecil Hotel - all guest rooms contain one queen-size bed only
  • Passport: please ensure that you have at least two empty pages in your passport and that your passport is valid for a minimum of 180 days from the time of submitting your visa application
  • Visa: All holders of Irish Passports require a visa to travel to India and can apply for an e-visa online.

How to reserve a place(s): a completed booking form with deposit of €250.00 (+ cost of insurance if required) per person - payment by cash/cheque/debit or credit card - should be sent directly to MAP Travel. The balance will be due 10 weeks prior to departure - payment by cash/cheque or debit card only.

In conjunction with Riviera Travel