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Botanica

Extravagant Gardens & Architecture of India by Luxury Rail

Mumbai to Kolkata

Trip Code: BTIND15
15 Days
13 February 2025

Trip Highlights

Mughal Architecture and Gardens

Learn about Mughal architecture and gardens with your Botanical Guide.

See India’s Tea Plantations

Stay in the tea plantation region of Darjeeling. Learn about tea production before a backdrop of stunning landscapes.

Visit Rashtrapati Bhavan

See the imposing façade and gardens of the presidential home, once occupied by Louis Mountbatten, the last viceroy.

  • Trip Inclusions
  • Map & Itinerary
  • Similar Trips

Trip Inclusions

  • Travel with a small group of up to 20 guests, escorted by an expert Botanical Guide and local guides
  • Includes a seven-night train journey aboard the Deccan Odyssey, and seven nights’ accommodation in centrally located five-star hotels
  • Return private transfers from door to door, tipping and porterage, port taxes, plus 41 meals and select beverages
  • All sightseeing, shore excursions and entrance fees as per the itinerary
  • Admire the architecture of Udaipur’s Taj Lake Palace and City Palace
  • Visit Jaipur’s Amber Fort and Rambagh Palace, enhanced by its exquisite Mughal Gardens
  • Explore the Taj Mahal gardens with your Botanical Guide, as well as the Presidents Garden in Delhi
  • Stay in the hill station of Darjeeling, steeped in the history of India’s tea plantations

Map & Itinerary

Trip Notes

  • Medium Fitness Level - involves walking on uneven surfaces and stairs, and being able to stand for up to one hour, while keeping up with the pace of the group
  • Group Size: Up to 20 Botanica guests aboard the Deccan Odyssey train. Train is in partnership with Golden Eagle. To view deck plans, visit www.botanica.travel/cruise-fleet
  • Itinerary and inclusions are subject to change
Journey Map
Mumbai to Kolkata

Your journey of discovery begins as you are met at Mumbai airport. From here, you will be transferred to the iconic five-star Taj Mahal Palace Hotel for a luxurious two-night stay. This flagship Taj hotel exudes a refined century-old hospitality. Over the years, the hotel has played host to kings, dignitaries and eminent personalities from across the globe. Enjoy splendid views of the Arabian Sea during your stay.

Stay: Two Nights: Mumbai, Taj Mahal Hotel (Tower Wing) or similar

This morning, we take a short cruise, weather permitting, to Elephanta Island, a lush island densely wooded with palm, mango and tamarind trees. This atmospheric cave complex and World Heritage site was designed to honour Lord Shiva, one of the most auspicious Hindu gods. We return to the city for lunch at the famous seafood restaurant, Trishna. In the afternoon, enjoy free time to explore Mumbai independently or perhaps visit one of its colourful local markets. A drinks reception is followed by a Welcome Dinner this evening at our hotel. Get to know your fellow travellers, who will share this remarkable journey with you.

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Rich in culture and history, Mumbai invites us to explore today. At the Dhobi Ghats, we see the time-honoured tradition of its vast outdoor laundry in action. Our tour then takes in George Fort and Gandhi’s House, which has been turned into a museum depicting his inspirational life. We adjourn to a local restaurant for lunch before boarding our private train, the Deccan Odyssey. What better way to experience the character, colour and diversity of India. Settle into your beautifully appointed private ensuite cabin and enjoy the hospitality of the stylish Bar Lounge Car. This evening, savour the fine Indian or western cuisine prepared by our onboard chefs.

Stay: Seven Nights: The Deccan Odyssey, Luxury Private Train

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

We spend a leisurely morning on board the train as India’s landscapes unfold before us. We have the opportunity to hear a talk on Indian culture before we arrive at Udaipur, also known as the ‘City of Lakes’. Here we discover the city’s numerous lakes and opulent palaces. Take in the awe-inspiring beauty of the Taj Lake Palace this afternoon. Constructed entirely of marble, the structure sits upon its own island, amid the shimmering waters of Lake Pichola. We also pay a visit to the grand City Palace, which further illustrates the majestic architecture India is renowned for. At Saheliyon-ki-Bari, we see its fountains and lotus pond situated amid flourishing gardens. Designed to be a peaceful retreat, the garden is an example of the Victorian Mixed Style, placing elements of English and Indian gardens side by side. 

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Arrive in Rajasthan’s capital this morning, 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 elaborate Kesar Kyari saffron garden, planted with star-patterned terraces. After lunch in a local restaurant, we explore further with a tour of the Jantar Mantar Observatory, the imposing City Palace and the astonishing Hawa Mahal, also known as the ‘Palace of the Winds’. This intricately designed monument, built of pink sandstone, was created to enable the royal ladies to discreetly observe everyday life passing by the many windows of its facade. This evening, following a fireworks display, dinner will be enjoyed upon the lawns of the elegant Rambagh Palace Hotel - a truly memorable end to a fantastic day in the Pink City.

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Delhi is a bustling, vibrant city, famous for its traditional bazaars. Our tour of this enthralling metropolis takes in the World Heritage Site of Humayun’s Tomb, the first example of Mughal architecture in India, which is set within 100 acres of Mughal gardens. At Sunder nursery, we take in the symmetry and grandeur of the 16th-century heritage park complex. We then visit Rashtrapati Bhavan, the official residence of India’s president. The building was designed by Edwin Lutyens and was also home to the former viceroy, Lord Mountbatten, during the last days of the Raj. The gardens were created in 1939 and are designed in the Mughal style, with water rills, ponds, fountains and flower beds full of colourful displays. Tonight, we enjoy a sumptuous dinner on board our private train as we continue our rail journey across India. 

Note: Our visit to the president’s house cannot be confirmed until closer to our departure. In the event we are unable to visit, we will arrange alternative touring.

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

After breakfast, we visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Fatehpur Sikri. Known as a ‘ghost city’, this red sandstone town was abandoned only shortly after being built, due to a scarcity of water. Our travels then take us to Agra Fort, a magnificent structure dominating the skyline which served as the principal residence for emperors of the Mughal Dynasty until 1638. Its red sandstone walls run for 2.5 km and contain many palaces, as well as two well-preserved mosques.

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Today is devoted to visiting the impossibly beautiful Taj Mahal. Built entirely of white marble upon the south bank of the Yamuna River, it is arguably the most famous building in the world. Completed in 1648 by Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan, the Taj Mahal was designed as a mausoleum for his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, taking 20,000 artisan workers 22 years to complete. After admiring the exquisite structure of the Taj Mahal, we also take time to discover its wonderful garden with our Botanical Guide.

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Our early morning arrival in Varanasi allows us time to fully experience one of India’s most sacred and spiritual places. Situated on the banks of the River Ganges, this cultural and religious centre, known as the ‘City of Light’, is a focal point for Hindu pilgrims. These devotees come here to bathe in the Ganges and perform funeral rites in its waters, which are considered sacred. We are privileged to be present to witness these long-standing ceremonies before our departure for a private river cruise. Our exploration of Varanasi concludes with a guided walk through its ancient and winding streets, which are home to some 2000 temples. 

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Today we leave the Deccan Odyssey and embark on a spectacular journey to the hill station of Darjeeling. You may choose to travel by bus, taking between three and four hours to reach your destination, or else embark on the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, for an approximate six-hour journey from Tindharia. Reach Ghum, which at an altitude of 2258 metres, is the highest railway station in India. From here, snow-covered Mount Kangchenjunga, the world’s third-highest mountain, dominates the skyline. Enjoy a packed lunch aboard the train before your arrival in Darjeeling. We enjoy dinner at the Hotel Mayfair, where we stay for three nights. Perched on a hill with beautiful views of the valley, the Mayfair is a heritage hotel which exudes old-world charm and a quiet elegance. 

Stay: Three Nights: Darjeeling, Hotel Mayfair or similar

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Awaken to the breathtaking scenery of Mount Kangchenjunga this morning. Ride the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway to Batasia Loop and Ghum, climbing over 600 feet during your short journey. Our afternoon tour of Darjeeling also provides us with the opportunity to experience a Tibetan refugee centre, as well as an absorbing visit to the Himalayan Institute, where we learn about some of the region’s most famous mountaineering expeditions.

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

This morning, weather permitting, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch the sun rising over the snow-capped Himalayas. Your early morning trip to Tiger Hill for this experience stands as one of our planet’s most overwhelming sights. This afternoon, visit a local tea plantation and sample the freshest cup of tea most of us are ever likely to taste. 

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

After an English breakfast, we depart this tranquil place to embark on a private transfer from Darjeeling to Bagdogra airport for a short commercial flight to Kolkata. Along the way, we enjoy panoramic views of the extensive tea plantations unfurling before us. On arrival, we transfer to the five-star Taj Bengal hotel for a two-night stay. Prominent landmarks abound in India’s cultural capital, including Victoria Memorial, the Royal Calcutta Race Course, the Horticultural Gardens, the National Library, Eden Gardens cricket ground, and the Alipore Zoological Gardens. All are within walking distance of our hotel.

Stay: Two Nights: Kolkata, Taj Bengal Hotel or similar

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Kolkata is a sensory delight that is constantly evolving. An early morning visit to the Mallick Ghat Flower Market stimulates the senses as we browse hundreds of stalls brimming with floral blooms. Our tour of the former capital includes a visit to the Victoria Memorial, one of the city’s finest and most prominent buildings, housing a museum dedicated to the history of India. We then move on to Dalhousie Square, the bustling hub of English colonialism and trade during its period of British rule. Our final stop is South Park Street Cemetery, an atmospheric space within the otherwise hectic climate of modern-day Kolkata. Having shared this remarkable journey, we say goodbye to our fellow travellers at this evening’s Farewell Dinner. 

Daily :
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

You will be transferred to Kolkata airport today as our journey concludes.

Daily :
  • Breakfast
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Everything was wonderful. There were great sightseeing trips and the guides were very knowledgeable.

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