An Odyssey of North India
Delhi: Old & New Delhi Sightseeing • Meerut: The Mutiny • Amritsar: Golden Temple • Dharamshala: Little Tibet • Shimla: The Mall & Viceroy Lodge • Delhi - Lucknow: The Residency and La Martiniere • Kanpur and Bithur: The Mutiny • Agra: Taj Mahal • Fatehpur Sikri : Akbar’s capital City • Jaipur: Amber Fort & City Palace complex
Day 1. To Delhi
Departure from London Heathrow or Manchester airport for Delhi by British Airways.
Day 2. Delhi - Arrive Delhi - Afternoon Talk and Welcome Dinner
Arrive Delhi, met and transferred to the hotel. Afternoon group meeting with talk by local Historian on Old and New Delhi. Followed by a Welcome dinner. Three nights at Claridges Hotel
Day 3. Delhi - Heritage Walk of Old Delhi - Afternoon New Delhi Tour
After breakfast Heritage Walk of Old Delhi with Sohail Hashmi - a ‘Dilliwaala’, as he proudly calls himself! Hashmi is a living encyclopedia on Delhi, and a mind of information on old monuments, dying structures and water Baolis. Start the walk at Turkman Gate, one of the 14 gates of the famous Mughal city of Shah Jehanabad - built in 1658. The grave of its builder Shah Turkman Bayabani is close to the gate. Also visit the Grave of Razia Sultan, the first Muslim women ruler of India. Continue walking through the bazaars of Dariba Kalan, Kinari bazaar and the main street of Chandani Chowk. Detour through the Parathewali Gali to a group of Havelis called Naughara, or ‘nine houses’ where you will see the intricate original planning of the city of Shahjehanabad. Next walk to see Red Fort, and Naubat Khana which now houses the Imperial War Museum. Return to the hotel for lunch. In the afternoon leave for the Kashmiri Gate Area. The tour starts with a visit to the Nicholson Cemetery and continue to the Anglican Skinners Church built in 1836 – the oldest church in the city. Then onto Kashmiri Gate to see the various places and sites connected with the siege of Delhi and memorials raised of the sacrifices made during the Mutiny. Return to hotel visiting Qutub Minar and Humayun’s Tomb, India Gate and drive past the President’s House. Evening at leisure.
Day 4. Delhi - Full Day Tour to Meerut
After breakfast leave for Meerut where the Indian Mutiny - or Uprising as called in India - started. Visits include the Battlefield of Badli-ki-Serai where on 8th June 1857 a battle was fought between Sepoys and the British. Explore St. John’s Church, the cemeteries, the Parade ground in cantonment area where some of the British Army offices Bungalows still exist, and drive by the residence of Lt. Col Carmichael Smyth. He is considered by many to be responsible for the mutiny of 10th May 1857 by forcing his troopers into accepting the controversial cartridges. Their refusal led to the courts martial of 85 Sepoys which subsequently triggered the Mutiny. Lunch at a local restaurant in Meerut. Return to Delhi.
Day 5. To Amritsar - By Train
Morning at leisure or an optional tour of National Rail Museum. In the afternoon transfer to New Delhi railway station for an exciting experience riding one of the leviathans of the Indian railways - in a 1st class A/C coach sit back and watch the ever changing panorama as the mighty train roars across the Indian landscape. Three nights Hotel Hyatt Amritsar.
Day 6. Amritsar - Full Day City Sightseeing
Morning visit The Golden Temple - the principal shrine of Sikhism: a symbol of brotherhood and of man’s equality with man. The Gurudwara was constructed with white marble overlaid with gold leaf and stands serenely - almost floating - in the centre of a clear pool of water fed by the River Ravi. Next visit the poignant Jallianwala Bagh Memorial commemorating the tragic death of 397 people and countless wounded, when in 1919 General Dyer ordered a deadly volley to quell gathered crowds. In the afternoon visit St. Pauls Church, one of the oldest churches of the Diocese of Amritsar - the foundation stone was laid on 24th May 1852. Also see Putlighar Cemetery - a sad reminder of how short life was in those far off days.
Day 7. Amritsar - Punjabi Village Visit with Vegetarian Lunch - Optional Volunteer Work in the Langar - afternoon visit to Wagha Boarder
After breakfast visit a typical Punjabi village and meet with local people to gain an understanding of their way of life, and to share a typical vegetarian meal. The Punjab is known as the bread basket of India …….and, quite naturally the locals claim their cuisine is the best in India! Later return to Amritsar and assist (optional) as a voluntary worker in the Langar (communal kitchen) at the Golden Temple working alongside devotees to cook for the Pilgrims – on a busy day over 100,000 meals can be served free to the pilgrims. The kitchen is open all year round. An afternoon visit to Wagha Boarder to see change of Guard between India and Pakistan Army.
Day 8. To Dharamshala
Fascinating drive through ever changing scenery to the cool hills to stay in Dharamshala. Three nights at Grace Cottage.
Day 9. Dharamshala Sightseeing including Namgyal Monastery
Dharamshala is often called ‘Little Lhasa’, as it’s the Headquarter of the Tibetan Government in exile. Early morning walk to the town of McLeodganj to see the devotees engrossed in their morning prayer. After breakfast visit the main Buddhist sites including the Namgyal Monastery, where the Dalai Lama has his residence and administrative offices. Rest of the day at leisure.
Day 10. Dharamshala Sightseeing
It’s worth rising early for an optional visit to the Dalai Lama Temple Complex where visitors can share early morning meditation with chanting monks. Today visit St. John’s Church on the Gandhi Chowk. Originally the Church, also known as St John’s in the Wilderness, was built in wood. The stone Church, built in Neo Gothic Style is dedicated to Lord Elgin, who died in Dharamshala in 1863. See the Kangra Art Museum with intriguing and beautiful artifacts from Tibetan and Buddhist cultures: it’s a treasure trove from the Kangra valley culture, with miniature paintings, temple carvings, fabrics, weapons and Royal palanquins. Also visit the War Memorial for the heroes who gave their lives in defence of their country.
Day 11. To Shimla
Leave Dharamshala after breakfast by road for driving through spectacular countryside scenery . Three nights stay at Hotel Cecil Oberoi.
Day 12. Shimla - Heritage Walk
After breakfast fascinating Heritage Walk of Shimla with our local Shimla expert Sumit Raj Vashisht. Start at Christ Church, located at the western shoulder of Jakhu Hill, then walk the town stopping off at many of the old buildings including the Gaiety Theatre, General Post Office, Bantony, Betink’s Castle, Imperial Bank, Railway Board Building, Gorton Castle and ending up at the imposing Viceregal Lodge.
Day 13. Shimla - Cemetery Walk
After breakfast walk in the Cemetery Lanes of Shimla, again with Sumit Raj Vashisht, who will bring ‘to life’ the tales surrounding the British buried here in the summer capital of India. The walk will take most of the morning and part of the afternoon. The first visit will be the Sanjauli Cemetery via Lakkar Bazaar and en route passing Snowdon Hospital. From there walk along the road to the Private graveyard of the Nuns of Chelsea at Nav Bahar who originally ran an orphanage for the children of deceased British soldiers and their wives. The walk ends at the Mall road but before that see a small - and the oldest cemetery - near Oakover. Lunch at a local restaurant.
Day 14. To Delhi - Toy Train and Himalayan Express
Experience the thrill of not one, but two completely different train rides today. The first, after breakfast, is the plucky little Toy Train leaving from Shimla railway station. The views are outstanding as the train slowly winds down the tortuous hillsides to Kalka to meet the second of the rides… the mighty Shatabadi Express to Delhi. Dinner on board train. Meeting and transfer to hotel. Overnight at Claridges Hotel.
Day 15. To Lucknow
Early morning transfer to New Delhi railway station to board Shatabadi Express Train in 1st class A/C compartment. Breakfast on board train. Transfer to Hotel. After lunch guided sightseeing tour of Lucknow. Visits include the lovely Bara Imambara, Shahi Bawli, Asif Masjid, Rumi Darwaza, Clock tower and Hussainabad Picture Gallery. Finally spend time exploring the poignant ‘Residency’, where the British, assisted by valiant Sepoys, clung on against tremendous odds. Three nights Vivanta by Taj.
Day 16. Lucknow - Heritage Walk of Lucknow – Tea and Talk at La Martiniere College
After breakfast Heritage Walk - with a Victorian air - of Lucknow city. With the great Indian Mutiny of 1857 the lives of British and Indians were changed forever. Feel and see the art, literature, culture and style of the period. Hazratganj is a place that has witnessed all of this. Return to hotel for lunch. Afternoon visit La Martinere College for Tea and visit of the college. Built in the 18th C. it is one of Lucknow’s most magnificent buildings - once the country house of Major-General Claude Martin. The school retains the unique honour of being the only school in the world to have received Battle Honours. A talk by a local historian and Victorian Tea Party at La Martiniere is an experience of a lifetime. It is an opportunity to see most elegant collection of China and silver ware and to engage in deightful conversation with the students and staff of the college.
Day 17. Lucknow - Day excursion to Kanpur and Bithur
After breakfast drive to Kanpur and Bihur. Kanpur was established as a trading centre on the banks of the River Ganges by the British, and reputed to have been the centre of the most tragic events of the Mutiny of 1857…..today the All Souls Garrison Church stands on the site…that was the Wheeler's entrenchment… and bears unhappy testimony to some of the most horrific events of that time. Also visit Sati Chaura Ghat - the Massacre Ghats on the banks of the Ganges. Later drive to Bithur upstream from Meerut, where according to Hindu mythology, Rishi Valmiki is supposed to have composed the Ramayana. Life on Earth is said to have begun from here by Lord Brahma. This is also the site where the Sepoys followed by the British crossed over the Ganges on their way to Lucknow in 1857. Return to Lucknow.
Day 18. To Agra
Morning at leisure. Afternoon transfer to railway station for Intercity Express train. Packed dinner will be served on board train. Upon arrival in Agra transfer to Hotel. Two nights at Hotel Taj Gateway.
Day 19. Agra- Morning Tour - Afternoon Oriental Tour
Leisurely breakfast at the hotel. Leave for the sightseeing tour of Agra city around mid-morning. Visit the magnificent Fort built to show the splendour, might and impeccable taste of successive Mughal Emperors! Also see the Tomb of Itimadu Daula - often called the Mini Taj! In the afternoon leave for a tour of the city by Eco friendly Battery operated Rickshaws. The tour showcases…not just heritage monuments… but also the city’s culture, cuisine, craft and life of the local people. Sights include Dara Shikoh’s library, Mirza Ghalib’s, the famous Urdu poet of India’s birthplace, headquarters of the Radhasoami faith, the ancient Manka Meshwar Temple, the Jama Masjid, Churches of different Christian sects, and the food street of Seth Gali.
Day 20. To Jaipur - Sunrise visit of Taj Mahal Sightseeing of Fatehpur Sikri.
Leave for a sunrise visit of Taj Mahal- the world famous monument of love - a poem carved out of marble by the distraught Emperor Shah Jehan for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in child birth with their 14th offspring. In a vault below their tombs they are finally together for posterity. Return to the hotel for breakfast. Later leave for Jaipur visiting en route the still imposing, deserted red sandstone capital city of Fatehpur Sikri, built by the most famous of Mughal Emperors, Akbar. The planning was meticulous - there was even ‘air conditioning’…..however due to a water shortage the city had to be abandoned. Whilst there pause by the graceful marble Tomb (Mazar) of Salim Chisti in the middle of the Emperor’s courtyard, where generations of women have come to pray for a male heir. Three nights at Royal Heritage Haveli.
Day 21. Jaipur - Amber Fort Excursion
Morning excursion to Amber Fort slowly meandering up the winding road to the fort. . Inside the fort with its austere exterior, there’s a delight of murals, frescoes, paintings, wonderful intricate carvings and complex mirror work. In particular don’t miss the Hall of Mirrors – it’s said one small candle could light the whole room with its reflection dancing from mirror to mirror. Lunch at the historic 1135 AD restaurant. Afternoon at leisure.
Day 22. Jaipur- City Sightseeing – Farewell Dinner
Leave for the sightseeing tour of Jaipur city after breakfast. Jaipur is affectionately called the ‘Pink City’. In 1876, the Prince of Wales visited India and, as pink denotes the color of hospitality, so the story goes, Maharaja Ram Singh of Jaipur painted the whole city pink! Visit today the extraordinary Astronomical Observatory, Palace of Winds and City Palace Complex with its fascinating museum. After lunch leave for an optional escorted walk of the vibrant markets for essential souvenirs and mementoes. Evening Traditional Rajasthani Farewell dinner at Royal Heritage Haveli
Day 23. To London or to Bangalore
Departure from Jaipur via Mumbai for London by British Airways flight BA198 departing Mumbai at 13:05 to arrive Heathrow at 18:10. Participants joining The Southern Splender Tour will fly from Jaipur to Banglore.
- Travel Insurance
International Flights with British Airways in Economy Class.
Accommodation with private facilities on twin, double sharing and single room basis as per the itinerary.
Meal Plan- Daily breakfast and dinner throughout the tour. Welcome and farewell dinner, lunch in a local restaurant in Meerut and at 1135 AD restaurant in Jaipur. Vegetarian Village home cooked lunch in Amritsar.
All transfers and sightseeing by an air-conditioned coach.
Train reservations in air-conditioned class.
Sightseeing arrangements with our local experts as mentioned in the itinerary and local English speaking guides at other places.
Entry fee at monuments and places of interest.
Talks by local historians in Delhi and Lucknow.
Services of an accompanied Tour Leader.
Full ATOL & ABTA bonding.
Complimentary mineral water while on board for Coach Travel.
Cost does not include:
Visa fee for India
Any expense of a personal nature
It is essential to have adequate insurance in place before your departure. This should be appropriate for your age, health and destination you are visiting.
- It includes comprehensive medical and repatriation cover.
- It provides cover for your whole trip (whether one day or over a year).
- It covers you for all activities.
- Disclose pre-existing medical conditions.
- Take your policy number and the 24-hour emergency contact numbers with you.
- If you are making multiple trips we recommend that you take a yearly travel insurance policy.
If you have any question about your cover, please check with your insurer.
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