Indian Rail Adventure

16 Day – Private tour with rail travel plus air-conditioned car and driver
From £2695
ABTA and ATOL protected holidays

This India Rail Holiday is an excellent introduction into the iconic Indian rail system featuring many different modes of train travel. From a handful of old steam engines and ‘toy trains’ to modern diesel and electric locomotives, the Indian railway network offers a variety of services which you will get to experience.

The Indian rail network encompasses over 7500 stations connecting remote hamlets to major cities, stretching to every corner of this vast country against a backdrop of timeless landscapes. Although air travel has grown rapidly in recent years, travelling by train is still the only way to travel for any incurable romantic who desires an authentic window into Indian life.

As you travel through the rural heart of the country you will witness how people live from laid back village life to vibrant railway platforms with a throng of hawkers selling their wares. There will also be time to strike up conversations with fellow passengers and gain a deeper understanding into the ‘real life India today.

While you will be travelling in the best available class this tour does require some resilience and patience. But for anybody looking for an exhilarating unique experience you will be well rewarded with some of India’s more celebrated sights such as the River Ganges at Varanasi, the Taj Mahal at Agra, the old summer capital and celebrated hill station of Shimla and the inspiring Himalayan heights at Darjeeling.

As well as travelling by the best available train class the tour features comfortable first class hotels, including some charming period properties.

Please remember all our private tours are designed to meet your exact requirements, and this tour is just an example to help inspire you. If you would like we can also arrange your flights for a fully ATOL protected holiday. Contact the team for more information on 01792 315499 or email info@aitholidays.com

India Rail Holiday Highlights

Himalayan Railway, Darjeeling, West Bengal
  • Sightseeing of Kolkata and boat ride on the Hooghly River
  • Variety of train journeys – overnight sleeper trains, day trains, chair cars, narrow gauge mountain trains
  • Darjeeling Himalayan Railway – a World Heritage Site
  • Tea Gardens of Darjeeling
  • Holy city of Varanasi, on the banks of River Ganges
  • Taj Mahal – one of seven modern wonders of the world
  • Shimla – the erstwhile summer capital of British Raj
  • Sightseeing of Delhi including visit to National Railway Museum

India Rail Holiday Itinerary

On arrival at Kolkata airport you will be meet by your driver and taken to the iconic Oberoi Grand where you will stay for two nights. Your hotel is in Chowranghee , a very central Kolkata location. Most flights arrive in the morning and the rest of the day is at leisure to relax and enjoy the facilities of your first class hotel.

Accommodation: The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata

Today your full days excursion will introduce you to Kolkata, also known as ‘the City of Joy’. Located on the eastern bank of the Hooghly River, Kolkata (or Calcutta) is one of India’s largest cities and is the commercial and cultural centre of East India. Its teeming streets and constant hum of activity leaves visitors astonished and amazed.

Your day will start with an early morning boat ride on Hooghly River and a chance to witness the colourful flower market. This is followed by a visit to the Victoria Memorial which is an iconic symbol of Kolkata. This imposing marble edifice contains memorabilia of the British Empire. Then it’s a chance to see the Marble Palace, one of the well-preserved and most elegant houses in Kolkata.

The tour continues in the afternoon, with a visit to the Indian Museum which houses an excellent art gallery and treasures of ancient civilizations. Followed by the Asiatic Society, a research academy founded by Sir William Jones in 1784 concluding with the neo Gothic St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Accommodation: The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata
Meals included: Breakfast

This is a full day at leisure before boarding the train to Darjeeling. You can enjoy the hotel facilities which includes a swimming pool and wellness centre or maybe go for a leisurely walk on Park Street to visit the South Park Street Cemetery. The new market, the heart of shopping in Kolkata, is also only a short walk away offering bargains form one of its many stalls.

In the evening your Indian rail experience begins with a private transfer to the busy Sealdah Station to board the Darjeeling Mail.

The overnight journey is in air-conditioned first class sleeper.

Accommodation: Air-conditioned first class sleeper, Darjeeling Mail

In the morning you will arrive at New Jalpaiguri where you will disembark and join the narrow gauge “Toy Train” which is operated by steam. This scenic ride will take you through the hills to Darjeeling. If the “Toy Train” is not operating up to the foothills, as is often the case, the transfer will be by car and a day ride on the train will be arranged on day 6 from Darjeeling to Ghoom or Kurseong.

On arrival you will be meet and transferred to the elegant Hotel Windamere or Mayfair for next three nights.

Accommodation: Hotel Windamere or Mayfair, Darjeeling
Meals included: Full Board

After leisurely breakfast, you will be taken to Darjeeling Railway station to board the Toy Train to Ghoom. You will be meet at Ghoom station and taken to visit Ghoom Monastery and before driving back to Darjeeling. In the afternoon a visit to the Tibetan market, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and a zoo has been arranged.

Accommodation: Hotel Windamere or Mayfair, Darjeeling
Meals included: Full Board

It’s an early morning start for an excursion to Tiger Hills to see the sunrise over the mighty Himalayan peaks of Mt Kanchenjunga and Mt Everest (subject to weather and visibility conditions).

Later in the day is a visit to the Puttabong Tea Estate, formerly known as Tuvkar Tea Estate which is an opportunity to appreciate one of the oldest and largest tea estates in the area (tea plucking season is from March to November).  The beautiful tea garden located in the northern most district of the Darjeeling hills produces some of the best quality Darjeeling tea. The famous, musky sweet flavoured Darjeeling tea is sometimes referred to as the ‘champagne of teas’.  It is situated in a prime location with the river Rangeet flowing through the land and contributing to the rich diversity to the estate.

We then continue with a trip to the Observatory Hill. As the name suggests, this vantage point is one of the best spots in Darjeeling to observe the panoramic views of the mountains and is also home to the Mahakal Temple.

Accommodation: Hotel Windamere or Mayfair, Darjeeling
Meals included: Full Board

After being taken to the train station, your rail adventure continues with the Rajdhani Express to Varanasi. The highly regarded Rajdhani Express, offers high quality amenities, complimentary meals and a punctual service. Simply sit back and enjoy the views of typical India life form the comfort of your first class air conditioned carriage.

Accommodation: Air-conditioned first-class sleeper, Rajdhani Express
Meals included: Breakfast

It’s a late, just past midnight, arrival into Mughal sarai station where you will be meet and transferred to your hotel, the Taj Ganges for 2 nights. The morning is at leisure.

Then in the afternoon you will be taken on a sightseeing tour of Sarnath, the site of Buddha’s first public sermon and now home to many magnificent stupas and monasteries.

In the evening, you will witness the spectacular Ganga Aarti, (the ceremonial worship with oil lamps), a ceremonial worship of River Ganges which encompasses a magical mix of sounds, sights and smells to engage all your senses.

Accommodation: Taj Ganges, Varanasi
Meals included: Breakfast

This morning it’s an early start for a peaceful boat ride on the Ganges where you will see devotees offering prayers at the water’s edge. There will also be time to visit some of the ancient temples by the river bank and explore some of the narrow alleys.

After a relaxed afternoon, you will be transferred to the station to board the Poorva Express for Agra. This is an overnight journey in air-conditioned first class sleeper.

Accommodation: Air-conditioned first class sleeper, Poorva Express

Upon a morning arrival at Tundla (for Agra) you will be meet and taken to the ITC Mughal for one night.

In the afternoon you can enjoy a guided tour of two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the impressive red sandstone battlements of Agra Fort followed by the white marble masterpiece of the Taj Mahal at sunset. When arranging your dates please be aware that the Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays.

Accommodation: ITC Mughal, Agra
Meals included: Breakfast

Included this morning is an excursion to the deserted mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri which dates back to the 16th century and is another world heritage site.

Then in the afternoon, you will be taken to Tundla, to board the Kalka Mail for Shimla

This is an overnight journey with accommodation in an airconditioned first class sleeper.

Accommodation: Air-conditioned first class sleeper, Kalka Mail

You will arrive early in the morning at Kalka where you catch the Shivalik Express – a charming mountain train to Shimla. The train journey takes about 4 hours giving you plenty of time to appreciate the dramatic views en route.

You’ll be met on arrival at Shimla Station and transferred to the impressive Clarkes Hotel for a two nights stay.

Accommodation: Clarkes Hotel, Shimla
Meals included: Breakfast

Until the British arrived, there was nothing at Shimla but a sleepy forest glade known as Shyamala (a local name for the Goddess Kali). By the mid-1860s, owing to the cooler climate and crisp, fresh air, Shimla had developed into the summer capital of the Raj. Every summer until 1939, the entire government of India fled here from the sweltering heat of the plains, with servants, families and all their clerks’ books and forms filled out in triplicate. When the Kalka to Shimla railway line was constructed in 1903, Shimla’s status as India’s premier hill station was assured.

This morning’s tour, includes a visit to the mock Tudor Library, the famous Gaiety Theatre, and the Viceregal Lodge. You will also have time to explore the Mall with its breath taking views.

The afternoon is free to explore the hill station at your leisure.

Accommodation: Clarkes Hotel, Shimla
Meals included: Breakfast

After a leisurely morning to soak in the charm of Shimla, it’s time to enjoy the scenic drive to Kalka Station for the Shatabdi Express train to Delhi. You will be traveling in an air conditioned chair car.

At Delhi Station, you’ll be met by your driver for a private car transfer to your hotel, the Claridges Hotel for next two nights

Accommodation: The Claridges Hotel, Delhi
Meals included: Breakfast

Today is an opportunity to explore the historical city of Delhi with a full day sightseeing tour. You will begin in the by discovering the bustling and vibrant streets of Old Delhi with a visit to the busy markets of Chandni Chowk as well the impressive Jama Masjid, one of India’s largest mosques and Raj Ghat the resting place (Samadhi) of Mahatma Gandhi.

In the afternoon it’s time for the wide avenues of New Delhi where you will see amongst other sites the Lutyen’s buildings and the India gate memorial.

A visit to the National Railway Museum is also included.

Accommodation: The Claridges Hotel, Delhi
Meals included: Breakfast

In the morning you will be collected by your driver and transferred to Delhi Airport in plenty of time for your flight back to London, where you will arrive in the evening.

Meals included: Breakfast

Indian Rail Adventure Images

Ancient Varanasi Architecture - Sunset View at River Ganges, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
Vidyasagar Setu Bridge, Kolkata, West Bengal
Victoria Memorial, Kolkata
Clay Idol of Goddess Durga, Kolkata, West Bengal
Hand Pulled Rickshaws, Kolkata, West Bengal
Flower Market, Kolkata, West Bengal
Heritage Tram, Kolkata, West Bengal
Dhakai Paratha Market Stall, Kolkata
Riverside from Howrah Bridge, Kolkata
The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata, West Bengal
Himalayan Railway, Darjeeling, West Bengal
Darjeeling, West Bengal
Himalayan Railway, Darjeeling, West Bengal
Tea Plantation, Darjeeling, West Bengal
Prayers at the Waters Edge, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
Sadhu at the Ghats in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
Ganga Aarti, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
Agra Fort, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
Taj Mahal Sunset View from Mehtab Bhag, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
Taj Mahal, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
Toy Train, Shimla
Viceregal Lodge, Shimla
Christ Church, Shimla
Humayuns Tomb, Delhi
India Gate, Delhi
Jama Masjid, Delhi
Qutub Minar, Delhi
Rajghat Resting Place of Mahatma Gandhi, Delhi
Street Market, Delhi
Streets of Old Delhi

Ancient Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

Vidyasagar Setu Bridge at Sunset, Kolkata

Victoria Memorial, Kolkata

Clay Idol of Goddess Durga, Kolkata, West Bengal

Hand Pulled Rickshaws, Kolkata, West Bengal

Flower Market, Kolkata, West Bengal

Heritage Tram, Kolkata, West Bengal

Ambassador Taxi, Kolkata

Dhakai Paratha Market Stall, Kolkata

Riverside from Howrah Bridge, Kolkata

The Oberoi Grand, Kolkata, West Bengal

Himalayan Railway, Darjeeling, West Bengal

Darjeeling, West Bengal

Himalayan Railway, Darjeeling, West Bengal

Tea Plantation, Darjeeling, West Bengal

Prayers at the Waters Edge, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

Sadhu at the Ghats, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

Ganga Aarti, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

Agra Fort, Agra, Uttar Pradesh

Taj Mahal Sunset View from Mehtab Bhag, Agra, Uttar Pradesh

Taj Mahal, Agra, Uttar Pradesh

Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, Uttar Pradesh

Foothills of Himalayas, Shimla

Toy Train, Shimla

Skyline of Shimla

The Queen of Hills, Shimla

Viceregal Lodge, Shimla

Jakhoo Temple, Shimla

Christ Church, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh

Clarkes Hotel, Shimla

Humayuns Tomb, Delhi

India Gate, Delhi

Jama Masjid, Delhi

Qutub Minar, Delhi

Rajghat Resting Place of Mahatma Gandhi, Delhi

Street Market, Delhi

Streets of Old Delhi

Places on the Indian Rail Adventure

Pricing and Inclusions

Price guide for this 16 day Indian Rail Adventure is:

  • From £2,695 per person

Authentic India Tours is a member of ABTA and ATOL. All the holidays on this website are ABTA protected. If you would like us to arrange your holiday including flights we will be happy to provide a quote and your holiday will also be ATOL protected.

This is a private tour and can be tailor-made to meet your exact requirements. Prices will vary depending on the number of people, length of tour, accommodation & season. Reductions are normally available for groups of three or more. Some hotels operate an additional peak pricing rate during busy times which is normally from mid December to mid January.

Please get in touch with your dates and we will be pleased to provide you with your personal itinerary and accurate quote.

Included with this tour are the following:

  • Authentic India Tours Meet & Greet assistance at all airports and railway stations
  • All sightseeing and transfers using an air-conditioned car with a private chauffeur
  • Accommodation for 12 nights on twin-sharing basis
  • Meal Plan: Full board in Darjeeling; Bed & breakfast elsewhere (Meals on trains are not included but are available from the kitchen car).
  • Three nights on board the sleeper carriage trains
  • English speaking private guide for all sightseeing
  • All train tickets in the best available classes
  • Entrance fees at the all monuments and museums
  • Mineral water on all journeys and sightseeing

Cost does not include:

  • Travel Insurance and Visa
  • Meals not included in meal plan
  • Expenses of personal nature like laundry, tips, room service, drinks etc
  • Camera fees at the monuments

Prices mentioned above are per person based on two people sharing a twin room. The prices which were valid at the time of publication may be subject to change, based on your date of travel and local market fluctuations. You will be informed of any price differences prior to booking.

For a quote based on your dates of travel, any alternative accommodation or changes to this itinerary, please call us on 01792 315499 or email us at info@aitholidays.com

Please remember all our private tours are designed to meet your exact requirements, and this Rail Adventure tour is just an example to help inspire you.

For more information please email info@aitholidays.com or call our India specialists on 01792 315499.

ABTA and ATOL Protected Tour Package

Authentic India Tours is a member of ABTA and ATOL. All the holidays on this website are ABTA protected. If you would like us to arrange your holiday including flights we will be happy to provide a quote and your holiday will also be ATOL protected.