Selected departures in November 2019 & March to November 2020
India is a vast country of contrasts waiting to be explored, from world-famous landmarks to wondrous hidden treasures. Your visit will be a real feast for the senses as the vibrant colours, delicious flavours and heady scents combine to make a truly unforgettable holiday. Specially tailored for people travelling alone, our tour starts in rural Rajasthan, where a potpourri of the ancient and the modern is so clearly exhibited. The ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur is popular for to its wealth of palaces, fine examples of jaw-dropping architecture.
The natural world is also a major attraction and there will be the opportunity to spot tigers in their natural habitat in Ranthambore. Of course, the highlight for many is the sublime Taj Mahal, a mausoleum so often seen in films and photographs, but there is simply no substitute for the feeling of seeing it first-hand. We conclude our wonderful journey with a breathtaking train journey into the Himalayas and the hill station of Shimla. A microcosm of Victorian English society during its colonial past, Shimla is the perfect way to conclude a visit to this amazing country.
You will be greeted at the airport before your overnight flight to Delhi.
We will transfer to the five-star Taj Palace Hotel (selected 2019 departures will stay at the five-star Hyatt Regency Hotel) for an overnight stay. After time to freshen up, we begin our solo tour with a visit to New Delhi, where we see the Parliament building and the India Gate, as well as some of the more ancient sites of Qutub and the tomb of Humayun.
This evening we enjoy a pleasant and informal welcome dinner, where you’ll have the opportunity to get to know your tour manager and other like-minded travellers exploring the world on their own.
After breakfast, we continue our exploration of the city to Old Delhi, where we visit Mahatma Gandhi’s modest memorial, as well as the imposing Red Fort and one of Asia’s largest mosques, Jama Masjid. We continue to Agra where we stay at either four-star hotel – the Oberoi Trident or Marriott Courtyard.
An early start this morning will be worth the while when we witness the glorious sun rising over the stunning Taj Mahal. As the mist rises above the adjoining Yamuna River, the constantly changing colours of the marble domes further highlight the symmetrical beauty of one of the modern wonders of the world. Our tour continues to the huge terracotta-coloured Agra Fort, the headquarters of the Moghul Empire for many years. Later this evening, you’ll have the option to return to the Taj Mahal to enjoy the sunset.
Leaving Agra this morning we continue towards the ancient abandoned city of Fatehpur Sikri, built in 1571, as Emperor Akbar’s imperial capital. Although it was mysteriously abandoned just 15 years later, it remains in a remarkable state of preservation, with numerus palaces, wide courtyards and beautiful carvings.
We stop for lunch (included) at the the Laxmi Vilas Palace in Bharat before going on to the railway station to catch the Shatabdi Express for our comfortable two and a half hour journey to Ranthambore National Park. Originally the private hunting preserve of Maharajahs, its 400 square kilometres of forested rolling hills, valleys and lakes form a unique ecosystem. Started in 1973, India’s famous Tiger Project was created to protect the country’s tiger population. Despite many difficulties, the tigers of Ranthambore have survived and numbers have stabilised.
Our hotel for the next two nights is the comfortable family-run three-star Ranthambore Regency on full board basis.
This morning, we rise early in the hopes of catching a glimpse of Ranthambore’s famous tigers on safari. Specially adapted four-wheel-drive vehicles manned by expert drivers will take us around the vast national park to spot the many different wildlife species that call it home, including antelopes, monkeys, crocodiles, wild boar, and rare sloth bears. We return to our hotel later this morning with plenty of time to relax and have a bite before our second safari drive to spot yet more fantastic wild creatures. Dinner is included this evening.
The ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur is our destination today, as we leave the natural playground of Ranthambore behind. One of Jaipur’s highlights is the Astronomical Observatory, home to a multitude of huge sundials. We will also visit the City Palace where the Maharajah of Jaipur still resides. Later we check into our hotel, the new four-star Hilton Jaipur for two nights.
Another icon of India is the colossal Amber Fort, located in the hills above Jaipur. We are treated to a local guide’s expert insights, so we can truly appreciate the fine details of this most magnificent of structures.
This morning we head deeper into rural Rajasthan. Passing small towns and villages, we continue to the village of Alsisar in the Sekhawati region. Once part of the Silk Road, the area became increasingly affluent and luxury mansions began to be built here. One such mansion has been preserved and converted into a luxurious Heritage Hotel, the Alsisar Mahal, where we stay tonight. This afternoon, a local guide will take us through the village to see the remaining mansions or ‘havelis’. Dinner is included this evening.
After breakfast we leave Rajasthan behind and return to the nation’s capital, New Delhi, for a one-night stay before our journey into the Himalayas.
Tonight we stay at the five-star Taj Palace Hotel (selected 2019 departures will stay at the five-star Hyatt Regency Hotel). Dinner is included this evening.
This morning we take the express train from Delhi to Kalka in ‘chair-class’ carriages with air-conditioning and large windows. We transfer at Kalka to the narrow-gauge ‘toy train’, which although does not have the same creature comforts, offers increasingly stunning views as it crosses 800 bridges and goes through 100 tunnels along the 100km-route to the small station in Shimla. After a busy day of travelling, we will check into the luxurious Oberoi Cecil hotel for three nights.
Shimla’s colonial past is the main theme of our exploration today as we encounter the Viceregal Lodge and its stunning botanical gardens. Certain parts of the building are open to visitors and give a tantalising glimpse into the life of the Viceroy and his staff, who resided here for six months of the year.
Enjoy a day at leisure in Shimla, relax at the hotel pool or spa, or maybe take another stroll along the mall and do some last minute bargain hunting in the markets. Alternatively, there are a number of short local ‘treks’ that can be arranged in the surrounding hills. A sumptuous buffet dinner is included this evening.
This morning after breakfast, we drive to Kalka and then return by express train to New Delhi for our last night at the Taj Diplomatic Enclave (selected 2019 departures will stay at the five-star Hyatt Regency Hotel).
We leave Delhi in the early afternoon for our flight home, arriving back the in the UK on the same day after a truly wondrous holiday.
The price of this holiday is per person, based on one person in a twin/double room for sole occupancy. Price includes thirteen nights’ accommodation in three, four or five-star hotels, daily breakfast and eight meals, scheduled flights to/from Delhi, all transfers, all local accommodation taxes, all flight taxes, all touring as mentioned, all local transport by train or coach as described, hotel porterage of one item of luggage per person and the services of an experienced Riviera Travel tour manager.
Included excursions are guided tours of New and Old Delhi, Agra and the Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri, two game drives in Ranthambore, Jaipur city tour, visit to Amber Fort, walking tour of Havelis at Mandawa, walking tour of Shimla
Indian visa not included.
We want to ensure you make the correct choice before you book your holiday with us. If you have any concerns regarding the suitability of the holiday due to reduced mobility we would encourage you to call us to discuss these concerns. General information on mobility in connection with our tours can be found here.
Whilst the travelling schedule shall pose no problems for people of any age in normal physical health, we would point out that in visiting a number of historical sites, paths may be uneven and uphill and we often enjoy walking tours of the main sights. Therefore, this holiday may not be suitable for clients of greatly impaired mobility. In the tropics temperatures and humidity levels will also be quite high for most of the year. Please consult your GP regarding the appropriate inoculations required for India at least a month before departure.
All British passport holders require a visa for India. Please ensure that you have at least two empty pages in your passport and that your passport is valid for a minimum of 190 days from the time of submitting your visa application. At the time of departure you will be able to travel as long as both the passport and the visa are valid.
Personal applications: to apply for an Indian visa please visit www.vfsglobal.com/india/uk where you can apply, pay online and schedule an appointment to submit your application in person at your nearest centre, dependent on your home address.
Online applications: British passport holders are now eligible to apply for an e-visa online, you must ensure your passport is machine readable and has a biometric chip (without this you may be denied entry into India). The cost of a single entry 30-day tourist e-visa is US$25.00 and will be converted into pounds by your bank. The website to apply for the e-visa is: indianvisaonline.gov.in. Here you will find all the information to assist you with the completion of your application.
Postal applications: you must either apply and pay online, print off the completed application form, payment confirmation and submit by post; or alternatively, you must apply online, print off the completed application and submit along with payment by postal order. Personal cheques are NOT accepted. In both cases you must submit your passport along with a self-addressed stamped envelope and two, 2x2” passport photos to:
India Visa Application Centre (West London),
The Vista Centre,
First Floor – Part A
Full details of costs, application form and addresses can be found on www.vfsglobal.com/india/uk, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 0905 7570045 (calls cost 95p per minute).
Visa fees are subject to change without notice and non-refundable.
Whilst care has been taken to ensure that the information provided relating to visa requirements is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in requirements after this time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information. therefore, whilst we strive to provide the most up-to-date information, we strongly suggest that you re-confirm requirements with the relevant embassy prior to travel.
All transfer times listed here are approximate, and dependent on traffic. If you have a question regarding transfer times please don't hesitate to contact us.
En route to the first hotel in Delhi we will do some sightseeing, adding approximately 2 hours to the transfer time.
|Arrival airport||First hotel location||Transfer time||Final hotel location||Departure airport||Transfer time|
|Delhi - Indira Gandhi International Airport||Delhi||1 hr||Delhi||Delhi - Indira Gandhi International Airport||1 hr|
I agree with kleshna I was a fellow traveller with her on this trip - it was the experience of a life time - the organisation , the choice of hotels , the itinerary, the tour guide Sue and our wonderful Dilip, coach driver and our...
Anthony Martin Strange
This was a great holiday with loads packed in. Highlights included the Taj Mahal and seeing tigers in the wild at the Ranthambore Park. Amongst other historic sites we also visited the City Palace and observatory at Jaipur, the Ag...