Golden Triangle & Shimla12 days & 11 nights, Escorted Discovery Group
Escorted Discovery Group
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Delhi, Agra, Jaipur & Shimla
Experience a taste of India on this outstanding introductory tour of the country's most celebrated sights. Exploring the Golden Triangle, this journey combines imperial Delhi with the legendary Taj Mahal at Agra and a 3-night stay in the princely city of Jaipur, culminating in the beautiful hills of Shimla.
Day 1Arrive Delhi
You will be met and taken to your hotel.Eros Hotel - 1 Night (D)
Shah Jahan founded the city of Shahjahanabad, now referred to as Old Delhi, in 1648. The famous Red Fort in the heart of Old Delhi was once the most opulent fort of the Mughal empire and it boasts the Diwan-i-Am, Hall of Public Audience; and the Diwan-i-Khas, Hall of Private Audience. A short drive from the fort is the Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques in the world, built by Shah Jahan to dominate his city. The Raj Ghat is the location of Gandhi's cremation. Your tour will include visits to the Red Fort, the Jama Masjid mosque and Raj Ghat.
The Red Fort is closed on Mondays.
Day 2New Delhi - Agra
When the British chose Delhi as their capital in 1911, they appointed two architects, Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker, to plan and build a new city to rival the fabled cities of the Mughals. New Delhi was thus built in true colonial style with tree-lined avenues, colonial bungalows, the Parliament House, the War Memorial Arch and the Viceregal Palace, now the official residence of the President of India. Alongside these British architectural gems are several monuments commemorating other occupants of Delhi including the Emperor Humayun and the Muslim saint, Nizamuddin Auliya. Indigenous Indian monuments include Jantar Mantar, the observatory built by Raja Jai Singh of Jaipur, and the Birla Mandir, a modern marble Hindu temple. During your tour you will drive past India Gate and the President's Palace and visit the tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun, and the pre-Mughal monuments including Iltutmish's tomb, Qutb Minar and the tomb of Isa Khan.The Trident Agra - 2 Nights (B, D)
Drive from Delhi to Agra, a distance of 125 miles and journey time of approximately 4 hours.
Visit the Taj Mahal in the changing light of the rising sun, a truly magical time to gaze in wonder at this ode to eternal love, built by Shah Jahan on the death of his bride Mumtaz Mahal. Emperor Shah Jahan said on its creation that it made 'the sun and the moon shed tears from their eyes'. The Taj Mahal is widely recognized as the world's most beautiful monument. It was built over a period of 20 years, starting in 1632, by 20,000 laborers and craftsmen, and displays superb craftsmanship. The close up detail of the Taj Mahal is as exquisite as the overall architectural design, with semi-precious stones and beautiful patterns covering the marble surface. Not long after it was finished Shah Jahan was overthrown and imprisoned in Agra Fort where, for the rest of his days, he could only gaze out at the Taj Mahal through a window. Following his death in 1666, Shah Jahan was buried here alongside his treasured Mumtaz.The Trident Agra (B, D)
Akbar began Agra Fort in 1565, with additions to the citadel being made through to the time of Akbar's grandson, Shah Jahan. The citadel consists of marble palaces, ornate alcoves and terrace pavilions. Continue to the tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah. Often referred to as the 'baby Taj', the tomb was built by the Empress Noor Jahan in memory of her father, Itmad-ud-Daulah. An exquisite building, the 'baby Taj' is thought to be a forerunner of the Taj Mahal.
Watch the sun set over the Taj Mahal from Mehtab Bagh, the moonlit garden and an extension of the Taj Mahal which lies on the opposite bank of the Yamuna river. In 1652, Aurangzeb wrote to his father telling of a visit to 'the blessed tomb' and commenting that 'the Mehtab Garden was completely inundated and has lost its charm, but soon it will regain its verdancy. The octagonal pool and the pavilion around it are in splendid condition'. Re-excavated in the 1990s, the site features a huge octagonal tank with fountains, which suggests that the garden complex was used in the cool of the night as a place from which to view the Taj Mahal.
Day 4Fatehpur Sikri - Jaipur
Today you will drive from Agra to Jaipur, a distance of 145 miles and a journey time of approximately 8 hours including a stop for lunch and a visit to Fatehpur Sikri.The Gateway Hotel Ramgarh Lodge Jaipur - 3 Nights (B, L, D)
The magnificent deserted red sandstone city of Fatehpur Sikri with its forts, palaces and mosques is located 23 miles from Agra. The city, designed as a tribute to the Sufi saint, Sheikh Salim Chisti, who had predicted the birth of Akbar's son and heir, was begun in 1571 and was abandoned just 15 years later due to a shortage of water.
You will take a morning excursion to the ancient Rajput capital of Amber, located on a hill 7 miles north of Jaipur. Amber was the capital of the Kachhawa Rajputs from 1037 until the Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh founded Jaipur in 1727, but the majestic fort-palace was not begun until about 1600. The building was added to by successive Rajput rulers, however, the architecture displays many Mughal influences in addition to the traditional Rajput designs. Whilst visiting the palace you will be able to explore the intricate chambers and hallways, the maze of passages and courtyards and witness the wonderful views of the Jal Mahal water palace below.The Gateway Hotel Ramgarh Lodge Jaipur (B, D)
Returning to Jaipur, you will visit the City Palace which is still inhabited by Jai Singh's descendants and is a superb fusion of Rajput and Mughal architecture. A city within a city, it includes the temple of Govindevji, the Jantar Mantar astronomical observatory and the Maharaja's museum with his personal collection of weaponry, miniature paintings, royal attire and jewellery. On the periphery of the Palace stands the Hawa Mahal, the Palace of Winds, an elaborate pink sandstone facade behind which the ladies of the court used to watch the daily goings on in the street below.
Day at leisure or optional activity as below.The Gateway Hotel Ramgarh Lodge Jaipur (B, D)
This morning, depart for the ruins of Bhangarh which lies to the north-west of Jaipur, approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes' drive away. The city of Bhangarh was founded around 1573 by the Mughal ruler Bhagwant Das as a residence for his son Madho Singh. With the decline of the empire, the city was attacked in 1720 by the army of Jai Singh II with many people fleeing the city. Coupled with this, a famine in 1783 struck, which eventually led to the abandonment of the city. Today, it is possible to see the original streets, featuring shops along the main road, havelis, a mosque and palace. The ruins are also believed to be the most haunted in India with admittance to the site banned before sunrise and after sunset. There is a signpost from the Architectural Survey of India to this affect. After your visit, return to Jaipur.
Day 7To Delhi
Drive from Jaipur to Delhi, a journey of 160 miles and approximately 6 hours.Eros Hotel - 1 Night (B, D)
Day 8To Shimla
Take the Kalka Shatabadi train from Delhi to Kalka. Your train tickets will be given to you on arrival in India.The Oberoi Cecil - 3 Nights (B, L, D)
Take the Himalayan Queen train from Kalka to Shimla. Your train tickets will be given to you on arrival in India.
The narrow gauge railway between Kalka and Shimla, completed in 1903, is considered one of the finest engineering feats in India. A journey along this track on the 'toy train' is one of the best ways to experience the beautiful Himalayan scenery which the Shimla area is famous for.
The tour includes Jakhu Temple, the Viceregal Lodge, botanical gardens, and the Mall. Dedicated to the monkey god Hanuman, Jakhu Temple is at an altitude of 8,055 feet, and is reached by either a 45 minute walk from Scandal Corner or by driving directly to the temple itself. From the temple, there are fine views over Shimla, the surrounding valleys, and the snow-capped peaks to the north. The Viceregal Lodge, finished in 1888, was formerly the residence of the British viceroy Lord Dufferin, and the summer seat of British government in India until the 1940s. Located here are magnificently kept lawns and botanical gardens. Finish off the tour with a stroll down the Mall, where you will find rows of colonial half-timbered buildings and curiosity shops.The Oberoi Cecil (B, D)
The Viceregal Lodge is closed to visitors every Monday and during other national holidays such as Diwali and Holi.
Day at leisure.The Oberoi Cecil (B, D)
Day 11To Delhi
Drive from Shimla to Chandigarh, a distance of 75 miles and journey time of approximately 3.5 hours.Eros Hotel - 1 Night (B, D)
Take the Kalka Shatabdi train from Chandigarh to New Delhi Railway Station:
You will be met and taken to your hotel.
Day 12Depart Delhi
You will be collected at your hotel and taken to the airport.(B)
In the Indian Subcontinent, there are completely different customs when it comes to road use and road craft, and all manner of vehicles, people and animals can be found moving about, even on the main roads. To most visitors, road journeys in the Indian Subcontinent can seem quite startling at first; however, all Cox & Kings drivers are very experienced and in tune with other road users, allowing you to relax and absorb the extraordinary sights and sounds en route.
For Escorted Groups, Cox & Kings uses air-conditioned buses of an appropriate size for the number of people traveling, while on Private Journeys, Cox & Kings uses mid-size cars with an option to upgrade to luxury segment vehicles, available on request. They all feature air-conditioning and our drivers are experienced. Please refer to page 51 for further details.
Important Note: Road conditions in the Indian Subcontinent change throughout the year, due to monsoon rains and extreme weather patterns and journey times can vary enormously at all times of the year which is beyond the control of Cox & Kings.
Air travel in the Indian Subcontinent is more affordable now. There are full service brands that operate domestic and international flights and then there are low cost airlines that have gained popularity due to low cost airfares being offered.
Flight Delays & Insurance: Due to increase in air traffic, government restrictions and changing weather conditions, flight delays have become more commonplace. Domestic flights in India can incur last minute schedule changes, delays, over flying, and / or cancellation without prior notice. November through January, fog can also create delays in Northern India airports, causing flight postponement or cancellation.
Flight delays can cause problems with onward connections, hotel and holiday arrangements. Although the airline will sometimes make arrangements to get you to your next destination at no extra cost, costs may be involved for you, in the form of additional accommodation, transfers and onward tickets. Unfortunately, since most services are paid for in advance, any services missed due to delays are non-refundable. Please note many international flight tickets are restricted and nonrefundable. Therefore, Cox & Kings requires that you are insured against such eventualities, and recommends traveling with a comprehensive Travel Insurance Policy from your point of origin.
Early Starts: A number of flights within the Indian Subcontinent arrive / depart early in the morning and, while we will endeavor to schedule your tour with a flight which arrives / departs at a reasonable time, sometimes there is little or no alternative and early check-in / check-out times may be required.
Special Requests: Cox & Kings will endeavor to request any specific meals or services, on the condition that we are told at the time of booking. Specific seat requests with most major airlines can now only be requested if traveling in one of the premium classes. We are able to request general seating preferences for Economy Class passengers. However, all special requests are at the discretion of the airline and cannot be guaranteed.
Travel within the Indian Subcontinent is an adventure at every moment. We will endeavor to keep all clients apprised of any changes and or alterations to the program due to flight arrival or departure re-scheduling or other situations that may occur throughout your travel.
Important Note: Airlines and train schedules and fares are subject to last minute change. In the event that any amendment or cancellation arises or increase in fare, Cox & Kings cannot be held liable for the same.
The Indian Subcontinent has made an indelible mark in the area of hospitality. The distinctive features of these hotels are high standard and quality accommodation and service along with contemporary facilities at par with world standards. The availability of hotels in the Subcontinent ranges from Deluxe, Luxury, First Class and Budget to Heritage and Boutique.
Accommodation standards vary dramatically throughout the Subcontinent and in general cannot be compared to the West. In larger cities such as Delhi and Mumbai, the hotels we use are fully modernized with excellent facilities, while in other cities and towns the hotels are smaller but still offer good facilities. In the desert cities of Rajasthan, areas of Southern India and small hill towns, many hotels we use are small, privately owned properties or converted palaces, retaining much of their original ambience, but the room size, shape and design can vary enormously (even in the same price bracket). On certain circuits in Rajasthan, enjoy the experience of staying at one of the marvelous Heritage hotels – once the residence of Maharajas. Although palace hotels often have simple facilities and service can be slow, we ask for your patience as this is more than compensated for by their atmosphere and charm.
Check-in & Check-out Times: Most hotels work on a check-in of 1400 hours and check-out of 1200 hours. If a flight arrives in the morning, you may be taken for breakfast or sightseeing before check-in. We will endeavor to get your room as early as possible in these instances.
Game Parks & Remote Areas: Even when you travel off the beaten track with Cox & Kings,you can be sure that your accommodation in game lodges, smaller hotels and tented camps is the best available. Sometimes the best hotel may be the only hotel, which may be very modest. In these cases we feel that the simplicity of such accommodation is outweighed by the experience. Game park accommodation cannot be compared to that available in parts of Africa and is often reached down narrow and makeshift roads.
Meals: Meals included in the tour program are indicated in the itineraries at the end of each day with codes: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L) and Dinner (D).
Maps: Type of travel is indicated in the maps at the beginning of each itinerary with symbols:
Road Travel (), Train Travel (),Air Travel (), Day Excursion ( ).
Cox & Kings is happy to arrange for you to extend your stay in the Indian Subcontinent. We have suggested possible extension options for the tours in this brochure, however we would also be delighted to design a custom extension, either pre or post tour, to fit in with your particular interests. Please note that tour extensions are operated on the same basis as Private Journeys.
Many of the sites in the Indian Subcontinent necessitate a reasonable amount of walking, either to the site or around it. Whilst the walking is normally easy going, a full-day’s sightseeing can be quite tiring and sometimes strenuous. In addition, at ancient monuments there are many steep sections and uneven surfaces. A reasonable amount of fitness is required.
Capital: New Delhi
Population: 1.21 billion
Currency: Indian Rupee
Official Language(s): Hindi
The kaleidoscope that is India must be seen to be believed. From the opulence of the palaces of the Maharajas and the Mughal monuments like the Taj Mahal to the stunning natural beauty of its forests, mountains and seas, India entices the traveler with a blend of the ancient and the modern.
What To See
Watch the changing light on the white marble mausoleum of the Taj Mahal. Experience the romance of Rajasthan in the royal city of Jaipur and the Blue City of Jodhpur, perched on the edge of the Thar Desert. Track the elusive tiger in Ranthambore National Park. Visit the verdant hill stations and tea plantations of the foothills of the Himalayas and the Western Ghats. Marvel at the sacred Ganges in Varanasi. Kick back on the meandering backwaters of Kerala. And don’t forget to leave some time for browsing the bustling markets and bazaars, visiting the holy Hindu, Buddhist and Jain temples, relaxing at the golden beaches and sampling a variety of India’s sumptuous cuisine.