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Landscapes & Mughal Gardens of India by Luxury Train with Darjeeling

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Botanical journey of Northern India

Visit the spectacular Taj Mahal on your garden tour of India with Botanica World Discoveries.

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15 Days including 7-nights aboard the luxurious Deccan Odyssey Train. Discover the architecture, history and design of Mughal Gardens with a Botanical Guide, visit the tea plantations of Darjeeling, and embrace the wonderful sights and sounds from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal. View complete itinerary

Trip code: BTIND15
Duration: 15 days
Accommodation: Luxurious Train
Journey: Mumbai to Kolkata
Meals included: 40

Itinerary

Day 1. Mumbai

Arrive at Mumbai airport, and be transferred to the iconic five-star Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. This flagship Taj hotel is known for its refined century-old hospitality and has played host to kings, dignitaries and eminent personalities from across the globe. Enjoy views of the Arabian Sea from your elegantly appointed room.
Stay: Two Nights, Mumbai, Taj Mahal Palace Hotel Tower Wing

    Day 2. Mumbai

    This morning we take a short cruise, weather permitting, to Elephanta Island, a lush island densely wooded with palm, mango and tamarind trees. The fascinating cave complex, which dates back from the third century, was designed to honour the Hindu god, Lord Shiva, and is now a World Heritage-listed site. Return to the city for lunch at the famous seafood restaurant, Trishna, and in the afternoon you are free to explore Mumbai independently or visit one of the colourful local markets. This evening enjoy a welcome drinks reception followed by dinner at your hotel.
    • Daily Meals Included:
    • • Breakfast
    • • Lunch
    • • Dinner

    Day 3. Mumbai, Board the Deccan Odyssey

    The city of Mumbai is rich in culture and history. Today visit the ‘Dhobi Ghats’, an intriguing, traditional outdoor laundry before exploring Fort Bombay and Gandhi’s House, now a fascinating museum. After lunch in a local restaurant, board your private train, the Deccan Odyssey.
    Stay: Seven Nights, Luxurious Deccan Odyssey Private Train
    • Daily Meals Included:
    • • Breakfast
    • • Lunch
    • • Dinner

    Day 4. Udaipur – Landscapes and Architecture

    Spend a leisurely morning on board as the landscape and spirit of India unfolds before you. Take the opportunity to listen to a talk on Indian culture before arriving at Udaipur, known as the ‘City of Lakes’ or ‘Venice of the East’. This afternoon admire the beauty of the Lake Palace constructed entirely of marble and built on its own island in the shimmering waters of Pichola Lake, then visit the grand, medieval City Palace.
    • Daily Meals Included:
    • • Breakfast
    • • Lunch
    • • Dinner

    Day 5. Jaipur – Architecture and Mughal Gardens

    This morning arrive in the capital of Rajasthan, the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur. Visit the Amber Fort and explore its Hall of Mirrors and the Chahar Bagh paradise garden. Enjoy the view over the Kesar Kyari saffron garden planted with star patterned terraces. After lunch in a local restaurant, continue your explorations with a tour of the Jantar Mantar Observatory, the City Palace and the beautiful Hawa Mahal, or Palace of Winds. Later explore a fabric market before returning to the train to refresh before dinner at the Rambagh Palace Hotel. Once the residence of the Maharaja, and set in 47 acres of elaborate gardens, you will be treated to a ceremonial welcome including a display of fireworks with the illuminated palace as a backdrop. The dinner will be served outdoors on one of the lawns of the palace. A truly memorable end to a fantastic day in the Pink City.
    • Daily Meals Included:
    • • Breakfast
    • • Lunch
    • • Dinner

    Day 6. Delhi – Architecture and Mughal Gardens

    One of the oldest cities in the world, Delhi is famous for its traditional bazaars and street markets. Our tour takes in the Raj Ghat memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, the World Heritage-listed site of Humayun’s Tomb set in 100 acres of Mughal gardens, and the towering Indo-Islamic Qutab Minar, the tallest brick minaret in the world. A visit to the President’s House, Rashtrapati Bhavan showcases the exotic gardens created in 1939 and resplendent with water rills, ponds, fountains and flower beds full of colourful displays.
    • Daily Meals Included:
    • • Breakfast
    • • Lunch
    • • Dinner

    Day 7. Fatehpur Sikri

    After breakfast, visit the World Heritage-listed site of Fatehpur Sikri. Known as a ‘ghost city’ this red sandstone town was abandoned shortly after being built due to lack of water in 1585. This afternoon visit Agra Fort, which was the main residence for emperors of the Mughal Dynasty. Its sandstone walls run for 2.5 kilometres and contain many palaces and two preserved mosques.
    • Daily Meals Included:
    • • Breakfast
    • • Lunch
    • • Dinner

    Day 8. Taj Mahal Agra

    Today is devoted to visiting the Taj Mahal, the most famous building in the world. Completed in 1648 by Shah Jahan, the Taj Mahal is a mausoleum for his beloved wife and took 22 years and 20,000 artisan workers to complete. Nowhere else on the planet will you see such an architectural statement to the enduring nature of human love. Enjoy time to explore the Taj Mahal’s wonderful garden with your Botanical Guide.
    • Daily Meals Included:
    • • Breakfast
    • • Lunch
    • • Dinner

    Day 9. Varanasi

    Our early arrival into one of India’s most spiritual places, offers us the opportunity to witness the time-honoured ceremonies of Hindu pilgrims who bathe in the sacred waters of the Ganges. See more snapshots of life along Varanasi’s river banks during a private cruise. Later, take a guided walk through the winding streets, home to some 2,000 temples, in what is believed to be the oldest continually inhabited city in the world.
    • Daily Meals Included:
    • • Breakfast
    • • Lunch
    • • Dinner

    Day 10. Darjeeling – Landscapes

    Today we leave the Deccan Odyssey and venture on a spectacular journey to Darjeeling. Choose to travel by bus 3 to 4 hours or on the World Heritage-listed Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, which takes about six hours. Also known as the Toy Train, it is a narrow-gauge railway that travels through awe-inspiring scenery to the highest railway station in India. This evening, enjoy dinner in the Hotel Mayfair, your charming home for the next three nights.
    Stay: Three Nights, Darjeeling, Hotel Mayfair or similar.
    • Daily Meals Included:
    • • Breakfast
    • • Lunch
    • • Dinner

    Day 11. Darjeeling

    Awaken to the breathtaking scenery of Mount Kanchenchunga, the world’s third highest. Perhaps ride the Toy Train to Batasia Loop and Ghum, passing within inches of colourful shops, houses and enthralling monasteries. This afternoon’s tour of Darjeeling includes a visit to the Himalayan Institute where we learn about some of the famous mountaineering expeditions.
    • Daily Meals Included:
    • • Breakfast
    • • Lunch
    • • Dinner

    Day 12. Darjeeling – Tea Garden

    This morning, weather permitting, from nearby Tiger Hill, is the once in a lifetime opportunity to watch the sun rise over the Himalayas, with Mount Everest on the horizon. This afternoon visit a local tea garden and sample the freshest cup of tea you are ever likely to taste!
    • Daily Meals Included:
    • • Breakfast
    • • Lunch
    • • Dinner

    Day 13. Darjeeling to Kolkata

    This morning after breakfast transfer to Bagdogra airport for a short commercial flight to Kolkata. On the way you will enjoy views of the extensive tea plantations. On arrival transfer to the five-star Taj Bengal hotel for a two-night stay. Enjoy time to explore at leisure. The Royal Calcutta Turf Club, Horticultural Gardens, Eden Gardens and the Alipore Zoological Gardens are all within walking distance.
    Stay: Two Nights, Kolkata, Taj Bengal Hotel or similar
    • Daily Meals Included:
    • • Breakfast
    • • Lunch
    • • Dinner

    Day 14. Kolkata – Flower Market and Sights

    Enjoy an early morning visit to the Mallick Ghat Flower Market with 2,000 stalls packed with floral blooms. Later, on a tour of this enthralling city that was once India’s capital, you will visit the Victoria Memorial, which houses a museum dedicated to the history of India. Afterwards, move on to Dalhousie Square, the bustling hub of English colonial power and trade during the two centuries of British rule before visiting South Park Cemetery, an atmospheric and still space within modern day Kolkata. In the evening, say goodbye to your travelling companions who have shared this remarkable journey during a Farewell Dinner.
    • Daily Meals Included:
    • • Breakfast
    • • Lunch
    • • Dinner

    Day 15. Kolkata

    This morning after breakfast you will be transferred to Kolkata airport to begin your journey home.
    • Daily Meals Included:
    • • Breakfast

    Trip Highlights

    • Explore Mumbai’s culture and sights
    • Enjoy landscapes of India from your train
    • Admire the architecture of Lake and City Palaces in Udaipur
    • Visit Amber Fort and Rambagh Palace Hotel with Mughal Gardens in Jaipur
    • See President’s House and Rashtrapati Bhauan Complex
    • Absorb Delhi’s history and sights
    • View the Taj Mahal architecture and gardens
    • Experience Varanasi on the River Ganges
    • Stay in the hill station of Darjeeling steeped in tea garden history
    • Venture into the Mallick Ghat Flower Market
    • Learn about colonial history in Kolkata

    Map

    Included Experiences

    • Seven nights on the luxurious, private Deccan Odyssey Train
    • All sightseeing as mentioned
    • Services of a Train Manager and Botanical Guide
    • 40 meals – 14 Breakfasts, 13 Lunches L and 13 Dinners D
    • 2 nights in Mumbai
    • 3 nights Darjeeling
    • 2 nights Kolkata
    • Internal economy flight from Darjeeling to Kolkata

    Additional Information

    Darjeeling Tea Gardens

    • Darjeeling tea is considered the best in the world. It grows at a high elevation in the picturesque eastern Himalayas on just 87 tea estates. Producing only a fraction of the world’s tea, this limited crop is the indisputable jewel in India’s tea producing crown. It was first established under Imperial British rule and is still served in the very best afternoon tea establishments. 

    Deccan Odyssey Train

    • Experience the romance of rail travel as you embark on a journey across Northern India. The Deccan Odyssey’s royal interiors ensure a grand welcome as you traverse India in comfort.  All cabins are outfitted with cosy furniture and include a private ensuite. Complemented by the very best of personal service, relish in the convenience of a private butler and state-of-the-art amenities. There are two restaurant cars, serving western and Indian cuisine and enjoy house wine, local beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner on board. There is also an elegant bar car and a separate lounge car to relax as you graciously roll through the countryside.

    Fitness Level

    • Medium – Involves walking on uneven surfaces for more than one hour, multiple two-night stays in one location with potential for unexpected changes to itineraries. A good degree of mobility is required.

    Botanical Guide

    Botanical Guide / Garden Historian - Dr Toby Musgra

    • Dr Toby Musgrave has a passion for horticulture and garden history, which began at a very early age. Based in Denmark, Toby is an authority on garden history and design, and shares his enthusiasm and knowledge as an author of many garden history books and as a presenter on Monty Don’s Lost Gardens television series.

    Trip Notes

    • Itinerary and inclusions are subject to change
    • Prices are for land/cruise only. Flights not included.
    • Group Size - 15 to 24 guests as part of a larger group on the train

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