Your holiday summary

Holiday type Escorted tours
Country India
Travel type Fly
Price range From £1699
Travel partner Riviera Travel
Duration 14 nights
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0330 333 6751

India and Shimla extension

India is not only an incredible country and civilisation, it’s also a mind-boggling potpourri of sights, sounds, colours and experiences, as well as a culture-shock of contrasts. From the grandeur of the Taj Mahal, to the fortresses of Rajasthan and from the reminders of past glories of the Raj in Delhi to the teeming markets of Jaipur, and a five star stay in the hill station of Shimla, our India tour encompasses the best that northern India has to offer.

Included
The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a twin room. Single rooms are subject to availability at the relevant supplement (date dependant) from £429 to £519 per person. Thirteen nights accommodation in three, four or five star hotels; daily breakfast, two lunches and two dinners; scheduled flights to/from Delhi; all transfers; guided tours of New and Old Delhi, Agra and the Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri, two game drives in Ranthambore, Jaipur city tour, visit to Amber Fort, walking tour of Havelis at Mandawa, walking tour of Shimla; all local transport by train or coach as described; porterage of one item of luggage per person; the services of an experienced Riviera tour manager.

  • A tour of northern India’s ‘Golden Triangle’ with additional visits to see tigers at Ranthambore national park and a stay at a heritage hotel in Rajasthan
  • Return direct scheduled flights from Heathrow, with regional flights at a supplement
  • Stay in hand-picked three, four and five star hotels
  • Visit all the major sights of Old and New Delhi
  • See the Taj Mahal
  • Spend two nights in the pink city of Jaipur, with a guided tour of its City Palace, astronomical observatory and the Palace of the Winds
  • Visit Amber Fort
  • Stay in an original Rajasthani fort
  • Enjoy a guided tour of the 400-year old deserted Moghul city of Fatehpur Sikri
  • Visit Shimla, travelling on the mountain railway set high up in the foothills of the Himalayas and stay in the luxurious Oberoi Cecil Hotel
  • Daily breakfast and five meals included
  • Escorted by an experienced tour manager
Not included
India visa and Delhi Airport Development Fee, please see below.

Delhi Airport Development Fee: as from 01 Dec 2011, Delhi Airport have introduced an airport Development Fee of INR1434pp (approx. £17.85 at the December 2011 exchange rate). This will be collected by your tour manager on departure.

Health Matters

Whilst the travelling schedule shall pose no problems for people of any age in normal physical health, we would point out that in visiting a number of historical sites, paths may be uneven and uphill and we often enjoy walking tours of the main sights. Therefore this holiday may not be suitable for clients of greatly impaired mobility. In the tropics temperatures and humidity levels will also be quite high for most of the year. Please consult your GP regarding the appropriate inoculations required for India at least a month before departure.

To make the most of your trip, we recommend you check the Foreign Office website at www.fco.gov.uk/travel

Visa and Health

All British passport holders require a visa for India. Please ensure that you have at least two empty pages in your passport and that your passport is valid for a minimum of 190 days from the time of submitting your visa application. At the time of departure you will be able to travel as long as both the passport and the visa are valid.

India visas: Single entry tourist visas cost £30 per person, plus a £10.20 service charge and a £2 consular fee and can be applied for in person or by post. Personal applications: to apply for an Indian visa please visit http://in.vfsglobal.co.uk where you can apply, pay online and schedule an appointment to submityour application in person at your nearest centre, dependent on your home address. Postal applications: you must either apply and pay online, print off the completed application form, payment confirmation and submit by post; or alternatively, you may apply online, print off the completed application and submit along with payment by postal order. Personal cheques are NOT accepted. In both cases you must submit your passport along with a self addressed stamped envelope and two, 2” passport photos to: Indian Visa application Centre, 1-3 Canalside,Uxbridge Road, Hayes, Middlesex UB4 0JN.

Please note handwritten applications are no longer accepted. Full details of costs, application form and addresses can be found on http://in.vfsglobal.co.uk, email: info.in@vfshelpline.com or tel: 0905 7570045 (calls cost 95p per minute). Visa fees are subject to change without notice and non-refundable.

Whilst the travelling schedule shall pose no problems for people of any age in normal physical health, we would point out that in visiting a number of historical sites, paths may be uneven and uphill and we often enjoy walking tours of the main sights. Therefore this holiday may not be suitable for clients of greatly impaired mobility. In the tropics temperatures and humidity levels will also be quite high for most of the year. Please consult your GP regarding the appropriate inoculations required for India at least a month before departure.

To make the most of your trip, we recommend you check the Foreign Office website at www.fco.gov.uk/travel
Day one

Airport check-in for your overnight direct flight to Delhi.

Day two

On arrival, we transfer to the five-star Taj Palace hotel, for one night. All rooms are stylishly furnished and air-conditioned with a flat-screen televisions, safe, mini-bar and complimentary tea/coffee. After a short rest we commence our guided tour of New Delhi. The city centre, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, in 1911, is bisected by wide, tree-lined, avenues, a hub which clearly reflects the Raj legacy and home to the former Viceroy’s Palace, now the Presidential Palace. Heading down the imposing Rajpath, we pass India Gate and the Parliament building. We’ll visit some of Delhi’s older monuments, including the Qutub Minaret, started in 1199, which is the tallest stone-built tower in India. Nearby is Humayun’s tomb, an outstanding example of Mogul architecture and the first mausoleum of its type, pre-dating the more widely known Taj Mahal by nearly a century.

Day three

This morning we continue our city tour, first visiting Old Delhi, starting with the Raj Ghat, a fittingly simple memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. We continue past the imposing walls and battlements of the great Red Fort before visiting the Jama Masjid, one of Asia’s largest mosques. We leave Delhi in the afternoon for our drive to Agra, arriving at the four-star Oberoi Trident hotel in the late afternoon, where we stay for two nights.

Day four

We rise early to catch the sun rising over the Taj Mahal. In the soft morning light, as the mist rises from the Yamuna river behind it, the Taj Mahal seems to float, mirage-like, above the surrounding landscape. A combination of extraordinary beauty, symmetry and history makes this wonder of the world one of the most amazing monuments on the planet and you will have plenty of time to admire it from all angles. Moving on, we continue our tour with a visit to the vast red sandstone Agra Fort. Completed in 1573, it was the headquarters of the Moghul Empire, boasting vast size and opulence, its buildings make it more of a walled palace than a fort. In the evening you have the option of completing the day with another visit to the Taj Mahal, to witness the shrine at sunset.

Day five

Leaving Agra this morning we continue towards the ancient abandoned city of Fatehpur Sikri, built in 1571, as Emperor Akbar’s imperial capital. Although it was abandoned just 15 years later it remains in a remarkable state of preservation, with numerous palaces, wide courtyards and carvings. Just 15kms away is the Bagh Bharatpur a luxury heritage hotel in Bharatpur where we stop for lunch 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. Originally the private hunting preserve of Maharajahs, its 400 square kilometres of forested rolling hills, valleys and lakes form a unique ecosystem. Started in 1973, India’s Tiger Project was created to protect the country’s tiger population. Despite many difficulties, the tigers of Ranthambore have survived and numbers have stabilised. Our hotel for the next two nights is the comfortable family run three star Ranthambore Regency on full board basis.

Day six

An early start this morning is worth the sacrifice as we head out to the park for our safari using specially-built, 20-person, open-top, four-wheel drive vehicles known as canters. After many years of conservation, Ranthambore is now the best place to spot tigers in India, but the reserve is about more than tigers – over 300 bird species have been counted including impressive crested eagles, painted stork and wild peacocks. The park’s residents also include large numbers of sambars, the largest Asian antelope, as well as marsh crocodiles, wild boar and rare sloth bears and leopards. Look out for the playful troop of blackfaced langur monkeys near the main entrance gate. We return to our hotel in the late morning, with time to relax before and after lunch. In the afternoon we take our second trip into the park for another chance to spot the elusive tigers.

Day seven

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. The Hawa Mahal, known as the Palace of the Winds, is one of our first stops before we continue to the Astronomical Observatory constructed in 1726 and on to the City Palace, still home to the present Maharajah of Jaipur, where we’ll view collections of costumes, carpets, paintings and impressive armoury. Our hotel for the next two nights is the new fourbstar Royal Orchid hotel on bed and breakfast.

Day eight

Visit the immense Amber Fort, located in the hills just a short drive out of Jaipur. Sampling all the sights, our guided tour includes the sections reserved for the Maharajah’s wives and concubines as well as the hall of mirrors, with tiny delicate convex mirrors embedded like a mosaic in the walls and ceilings.

Day nine

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 Mandawa. 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’, to display their wealth through the magnificence of their frescoed walls. Although most of these have now been abandoned, the imposing and luxurious residence of the local kings has been restored into a heritage hotel, the Castle Mandawa, where we stay for the night. A maze of winding corridors, cool courtyards and arched colonnades, all the rooms are different, but most are very spacious and some have four-poster double beds. Rooms are air-conditioned, with bath and shower, but no TV. In the afternoon we take a guided walk through the village to explore the best examples of the havelis that lie just outside the walls of the Castle Mandawa.

Day 10

After breakfast we head back to Delhi, where once more we stay at the Taj Palace hotel.

Day 11

We take the morning express train from Delhi for our four 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 increasingly spectacular scenery. Inaugurated by Viceroy Lord Curzon back in 1903, this railway encounters no less than 800 bridges and 102 tunnels on its 96-mile journey to Shimla. A packed lunch is included today.

We arrive in Shimla’s small station in the late afternoon from where we are transferred straight to the town’s haven of luxury, the Oberoi Cecil hotel, where we stay for three nights, bed and breakfast. With its Burmese teak floors, magnificent atrium lobby, its excellent restaurant, indoor pool and Asian Spa, this is one of India’s best-known hotels. All the spacious rooms are air-conditioned, furnished and have views of the surrounding teak forests.

Day 12

Today we explore the many reminders of British colonial life in Shimla. The most fascinating is the immense Viceregal Lodge and its botanical gardens, built in Scottish baronial style to house the Viceroy and his staff for the six months they were based in the town. Although some of interior of the building is closed to the public, the areas that are open give an incredible glimpse into the not-so-distant past. Particularly touching is the large collection of photographs from the late Victorian era and the last years of the Raj. We 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

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.

Day 14

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 Palace hotel.

Day 15

We depart Delhi just after midday for our flight home to the UK, arriving back later the same day.
New Delhi - five star deluxe Taj Palace hotel

Located in the tree-lined, Diplomatic Enclave of New Delhi. There are several dining options: the Kafe Fontana is open all day and offers continental, middle-eastern and Indian cuisine, whilst the Blue Ginger is the city’s best Vietnamese restaurant. The Masala Art specialises in contemporary Indian cuisine with a uniquely interactive show kitchen, and the Orient Express is a more formal dining experience in a replica carriage of the famous train, with an emphasis on French cuisine. There is also a stylish cocktail bar and a popular Tea Lounge serving a variety of teas and coffees with light snacks and desserts throughout the day and liqueurs in the evenings. The open-air pool is surrounded by a spacious sun terrace and a putting green, and there’s a fitness centre, a beauty salon and spa with an extensive range of treatments. All 402 rooms are air-conditioned, with luxury en-suite bathroom with bathrobes & hairdryer, flat-screen satellite TV and DVD, wireless internet (extra charge), writing desk, safe, minibar, tea/coffee-maker and city/pool views.

Agra - four star Oberoi Trident hotel

Located in quiet surroundings, near to the Taj Mahal. Managed by the Oberoi group, this low-rise modern hotel is surrounded by Mogul-style gardens with water features and a swimming pool. The hotel grows all its own vegetables and the contemporary-style restaurant offers both buffets and a la carte Indian and continental cuisine, as well as popular wood-fired pizza oven. There is also a small lobby bar and fitness room. All 137 comfortable rooms overlook the gardens or pool and are air-conditioned, with en-suite bathroom, hairdryer, minibar, satellite TV, safe, wireless internet (extra charge) and tea/coffee-maker.

Ranthambore - three star Ranthambore Regency hotel

A family-run, low-rise hotel located close to the entrance of the national park. Built around lush, well-tended gardens with a small pool and plenty of quiet shady spots to relax in, this is one of our clients’ favourite hotels for its low-key informal atmosphere and personal service. There is also a large lounge with bar and a small shop. All guests are on full board basis and the hotel’s buffet restaurant offers a wide selection of regional Indian dishes and western options. All 42 rooms are spacious and air-conditioned, with en-suite bathroom, hairdryer, cable TV, wireless internet (extra charge), mini-fridge, tea/coffee-maker and look out into the gardens.

Jaipur - four star Royal Orchid hotel

Located on the way into the centre of Jaipur. This new hotel features a roof-top swimming pool and sun deck, an all-day dining restaurant with Indian and continental buffets and a la carte menus, an Indian restaurant and a cocktail bar. All 139 rooms are tastefully decorated and offer air-conditioning, with en-suite bathroom, hairdryer, flat-screen TV and DVD, wireless internet (extra charge), writing desk, minibar, safe and tea/coffee-maker.

Mandawa - the Castle Mandawa

A heritage hotel converted from the original Mandawa fort. As soon as you pass through its stout wooden gates, still studded with sharp metal spikes to deter attackers, you’ll realise that this is a very different sort of hotel. Dating back to 1755, the village grew up around the fort and the original buildings have been considerably added to over the centuries creating a maze of turrets, battlements, winding corridors, cool courtyards and arched colonnades. There is an open-air pool and ayurvedic spa and meals are taken either inside or outside in one of the courtyards. Take a seat in the drawing room hung with portraits and photographs from a bygone era, relax in the high-ceilinged verandah bar or play a game of pool in the billiard room. The 70 rooms are all very different, but most are spacious and are simply decorated with locally-made furniture – some even have four-poster beds. They are air-conditioned with en-suite bath or shower, but in keeping with the ambience of the hotel, there are no TVs.

Shimla - five star Oberoi Cecil hotel

Located overlooking Shimla, within walking distance from the centre. With its Burmese teak floors and magnificent atrium, this is one of India’s best-known and best-loved hotels. The hotel has maintained a warm colonial feel, with a charming tea lounge and lobby bar, a heated indoor pool and excellent Asian Spa. The high-ceilinged, wood-panelled restaurant with its white linen-covered tables and views across the foothills of the Himalayas. All 75 rooms are beautifully furnished in classically elegant style with a small seating area and writing desk, wooden floors, luxurious marble bathrooms, hairdryer, minibar, TV and DVD, internet access (extra charge), 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.

Swimming pools in India: most outside pools are not heated and may not be usable in the winter months.
17 results
Departure date Departing point Departure UK Arrive at Destination Nights Price  
26-Feb-2015 Heathrow Airport 21:50 11:55 14 1999.00 book
05-Mar-2015 Heathrow Airport 21:50 11:55 14 1999.00 book
16-Mar-2015 Heathrow Airport 21:50 11:55 14 1999.00 please call
30-Mar-2015 Heathrow Airport 22:00 10:40 14 1899.00 book
30-Mar-2015 Heathrow Airport 22:00 10:40 14 2290.00 book
13-Apr-2015 Heathrow Airport 22:00 10:40 14 1799.00 please call
13-Apr-2015 Heathrow Airport 22:00 10:40 14 2190.00 please call
16-Apr-2015 Heathrow Airport 22:00 10:40 14 1699.00 please call
01-Oct-2015 Heathrow Airport 22:00 10:40 14 1999.00 book
01-Oct-2015 Heathrow Airport 22:00 10:40 14 2420.00 book
12-Oct-2015 Heathrow Airport 22:00 10:40 14 1999.00 please call
12-Oct-2015 Heathrow Airport 22:00 10:40 14 2325.00 please call
22-Oct-2015 Heathrow Airport 22:00 11:00 14 1999.00 book
22-Oct-2015 Heathrow Airport 22:00 11:00 14 2465.00 book
31-Oct-2015 Heathrow Airport 21:50 11:55 14 1999.00 book
09-Nov-2015 Heathrow Airport 21:50 11:55 14 1999.00 book
19-Nov-2015 Heathrow Airport 21:50 11:55 14 1999.00 please call
17 results
2 results


While the pace of the tour was pretty hectic, we enjoyed ourselves immensely and this was largely due to the excellent, well planned and thoughtful arrangements made by your company. In particular we would like to single out our tour manager, Susan, whose experience, good organisational skills, local knowledge, caring persona and general good humour made the tour something special. We would also mention our local guide, Mayank Dixit, whose wide knowledge of all things Indian - culture, history, religions, geography etc. added greatly to our general enjoyment. We feel we know India rather better than we might have done with other organisations.
Oct 2011
Mr Francombe


Just returned from India + Shimla Excellent tour, excellent tour guide (Steve), lovely hotels. We remain very satisfied customers.
Apr 2011
Rob Porter
2 results