Welcome to wonderful India! Simmering spices perfume bustling street markets while history plays out across the ancient temples and colonial architecture of Delhi, India’s vibrant capital.
Your journey begins at the airport as you’re transferred to your magnificent New Delhi stay. One of India’s most renowned luxury hotels, situated close by the grand India Gate, The Claridges is a historical landmark boasting sophisticated design and the finest amenities.
Spend your day at leisure by the pool or make use of the hotel’s extensive spa services. This evening, perhaps you’ll choose to dine in one of several opulent onsite restaurants – from fresh Punjabi dishes at rustic Dhaba to aromatic Chinese-Cantonese cuisines at elegant Jade, a world of flavourful food awaits.
Dine at the decadent Pickwick at The Claridges for a refreshing breakfast, pack your bags, check out of your hotel room and embark on a guided tour of Old Delhi.
Marvel at stunning Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques in India and known for its extravagant architecture. With a vast courtyard capable of holding 25,000 people, this colossal structure served as an Imperial mosque for the Mughal emperors. Make your way past the red sandstone walls of Lal Qila, known as the ‘Red Fort’, before a scenic rickshaw ride to the colourful shopping bazaar of Chandni Chowk and a stop at Raj Ghat memorial, dedicated to the memory of Mahatma Gandhi.
In the afternoon, set your sights on New Delhi. Visit the grand site of Humayun’s Tomb, a 16th-century Mughal tomb and the first of its kind in India, known for its formal gardens and construction of sandstone and marble. Make your way past the India Gate – a 42-metre-high stone arch at the eastern end of the Rajpath bearing the names of 85,000 Indian Army soldiers who died in World War I. Journey down the broad ceremonial boulevard known as the Rajpath, framed by ornamental ponds. At the far end lies Rashtrapati Bhavan, official residence of the President of India. This palatial building blends Mughal and Western architectural styles, with a regal copper dome and manicured Mughal gardens.
After a full day of exploration, it’s time to transfer to Delhi Safdarjung railway station and climb aboard the majestic Deccan Odyssey. This renowned locomotive hosts luxurious cabins along with dedicated spa, gym and bar cars. Your journey begins in full as you settle in for a hearty dinner, watching the city fall away on your overnight path to Ranthambore.
Arrive early at Sawai Madhopur, portal to the magnificent Ranthambore National Park.
Embark on a morning visit to the village, then venture into the reserve this afternoon for a closer look at the Rajasthan's renowned wildlife. Originally the private hunting ground of maharajas, this enormous park is home to tigers, sloths and leopards.
Enjoy your evening in absolute comfort, perhaps joining your fellow travellers in the Mumbai Hi bar car for a nightcap, watching the scenery fade into night as it rolls past your window.
Wake with a filling breakfast before pulling into glorious Agra. Step out to experience the unparalleled wonder of the Taj Mahal, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage-listed masterpiece of architecture.
This mausoleum's unmistakeable ivory-white dome and freestanding minarets have become recognisable the world over. Cast your eyes upwards and contemplate this architectural marvel, then look down to witness its perfect mirror in the still waters of the famous reflecting pool.
Explore this magnificent structure, built by Shah Jahan as a testament to his love for his favourite queen, Mumtaz Mahal. Constructed entirely out of white marble, this monument took an incredible 20,000 craftsmen to build.
Peel your eyes away from this mesmerising sight and turn your attention next to the intricate patterns of the Itimad-ud-Daulah and the elaborate Mughal citadel of Agra Fort.
This evening, savour a decadent dinner on board and settle in for a restful sleep in your picture-perfect cabin.
Today, your odyssey brings you to the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur, so-named for the numerous pink buildings that populate its busy streets. From the eye-watering detail of the Hawa Mahal to the royal residence of the City Palace, the scale of Jaipur’s architectural history is dizzying whether viewed up close or from afar.
Spend your day exploring the numerous forts, pristine palaces and colourful bazaars that bring this historic capital to life. In the evening, hop back aboard your hotel on rails and set off for an overnight journey to Udaipur, the 'Venice of the East.'
Awaken to the verdant landscapes of the Aravali Hills as you slow to a halt in Udaipur. Known as the 'City of Lakes' for its tranquil waterways, Udaipur is home to some of India’s most picturesque palaces, telling of this romantic city’s rich history.
After an energising breakfast, head to the City Palace for a tour of its flamboyant complex, admiring its fretted balconies and scalloped arches. Constructed in the 16th century, this gargantuan fortress exhibits varied architectural styles and houses a showstopping collection of sculpture, photography and painting from the Mewar School within its museum. Its crown jewel is undoubtedly the jaw-dropping Crystal Gallery – displaying one of the world’s largest private collections of crystal, from chandeliers to chairs to beds.
Take a guided walk through the idyllic streets of the Old City and visit the bustling local markets, perusing the trinkets of Bapu Bazaar and rainbow textiles of Bada Bazaar. Later, sit down for a lavish feast at an exquisite local restaurant.
Spend your afternoon at leisure, then jump back on the Deccan Odyssey for another evening of riding the railway in style.
mRise and shine, ready to greet the royal city of Vadodara. Historic seat of the Gaekwad dynasty, Vadodara is known for its verdant gardens, regal palaces and vibrant textiles.
Start your exploration with a guided visit to the Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park and uncover six centuries of history amongst the expansive ruins, including the Islamic and Hindu design of the central citadel and the 16th-century construction of the Jama Masjid or ‘Friday Mosque’. Enter the awe-inspiring Lakshmi Vilas Palace and discover the extensive artworks of Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum, many of which were commissioned by the maharaja.
Later, experience a folk dance performance as you sample an array of sumptuous local delicacies prepared by the royal kitchens.
As you rejoin your train journey for the night, consider a trip to the spa for a memorable Ayurvedic treatment.
Your day begins with a pilgrimage to the enchanting Ellora Caves, a phenomenal UNESCO World Heritage-listed collection of 34 caves housing monasteries, temples and numerous other religious constructions. Carved from the rock over five centuries, this sacred site is a testament to the region’s historic coexistence of Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism.
Take your time contemplating the painstaking efforts behind the sculpted statues and layered facades.
Reflect on the breadth of India’s cultural history as you spend your evening relaxing, and perhaps strike up conversation with your companions in the Sitting Lounge.
Arrive this morning in bustling Mumbai, ‘City of Dreams’ and home of the thriving Bollywood film industry. Overflowing with culinary hotspots and awe-inspiring architecture, this mammoth metropolis is sure to captivate you.
Disembark from your spectacular railway adventure, then transfer to the opulent Trident, Nariman Point. Once you’ve dropped your bags at the hotel, it’s time to set out on a guided tour of magnificent Mumbai. Pass through the Gateway of India, see the city’s heritage captured in its architectural grandeur, including the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. Visit the Prince of Wales Museum and study its extensive collection of 18th- and 19th-century miniature paintings, then travel the sweeping ‘Queen’s Necklace’ avenue on your way to Malabar Hill, where you’ll find the imposing Walkeshwar Temple. Step into Mani Bhavan – a museum dedicated to the life and works of Mahatma Gandhi – then take a photo stop at Dhobi Ghat, the historic and colourful open-air laundry.
Return to your comfortable accommodation any time after 2pm to check in for an evening at leisure, making the most of the hotel’s fine dining and wellness facilities as you desire.
Savour one last breakfast and bid farewell to enchanting India as you transfer to the airport (BOM). While you may have reached the end of the line for your Indian odyssey, this is one adventure you’re sure to remember long after the train has left the station.