DARJEELING MAIL: LUXURY TRAIN FROM MUMBAI TO KOLKATA

Cultural tour of India

Rediscover the romance of rail as we travel from Mumbai to Darjeeling and beyond via luxurious private train. Our stunning journey will be taken aboard the Deccan Odyssey across Northern India, coast to coast, from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal. From the friendly locals to the spectacular scenery to the wonderful sights and sounds, this private rail journey is the adventure of a lifetime. Experience breathtaking views of the Himalayas from the hill plantations, explore the vibrant bazaars of Delhi, watch the sunrise on the sacred Ganges at Varanasi and visit the amazing sights of Agra, including, of course, the incomparable Taj Mahal.

TRAIN INFO
Tour Information
Tour Duration : 15 days
Min. Tour Size : 70 persons
Max. Tour Size : N/A
Tour Price (From) : US$ 14995
Includes international air
Day 01: Arrive Mumbai
Day 02: Mumbai
(B, L, D)
Day 03: Mumbai
(B, L, D)
Day 04: Mumbai/Udaipur (Train)
(B, L, D)
Day 05: Udaipur/Jaipur (Train)
(B, L, D)
Day 06: Jaipur/Delhi (Train)
(B, L, D)
Day 07: Delhi/Fatehpur Sikri (Train)
(B, L, D)
Day 08: Fatehpur Sikri/Agra (Train)
(B, L, D)
Day 09: Agra/Varanasi (Train)
(B, L, D)
Day 10: Varanasi/Darjeeling (Train)
 (B, L, D)
Day 11: Darjeeling
(B, L, D)
Day 12: Darjeeling
 (B, L, D)
Day 13: Darjeeling/Kolkata (Flight)
(B, L, D)
Day 14: Kolkata
 (B, L, D)
Day 15: Depart Kolkata
 (B)
B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

Day 01: Arrive Mumbai

Our voyage of discovery begins at Mumbai airport, where we will be met and transferred to the iconic five-star Taj Mahal Palace Hotel for a luxurious two-night stay. Check in time starts from 15:00 hrs. This flagship Taj hotel offers splendid views of the Arabian Sea and Gateway of India, alongside refined, century-old hospitality. This legendary luxury hotel has played host to kings, dignitaries and eminent personalities from across the globe. All meals today are at your own arrangements.

Overnight: Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai (2 nights)

Day 02: 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 atmospheric and fascinating cave complex, which dates back to the 3rd to 5th centuries, was designed to honour the life of Lord Shiva, one of the most auspicious Hindu gods. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

We return to the city for lunch at the famous seafood Trishna restaurant. In the afternoon, we are free to explore Mumbai independently or visit one of the colourful local markets.

In the evening, a welcome drinks reception is followed by dinner at our hotel, where we can get to know our fellow travellers who will share this remarkable Indian odyssey. (B, L, D)

Day 03: Mumbai

The compelling city of Mumbai is rich in culture and history.  Today we visit the ‘Dhobi Ghats’, an intriguing outdoor laundry. The dhobi is a traditional laundryman who collects dirty linen, washes it and returns it neatly pressed.  The Ghats are the laundries where they practice this historic tradition.  Our tour then takes in Fort Bombay and Gandhi’s House, now turned in to a fascinating museum depicting his inspirational life. Lunch is served in a local restaurant.

Mid-afternoon sees us boarding our private train, the Deccan Odyssey, a perfect way to experience the colour, character and amazing diversity of India.  Settle into our beautifully appointed private en-suite cabin and enjoy the hospitable atmosphere of the stylish Bar Lounge Car before experiencing fine Indian or western cuisine prepared by our on board chefs.

Overnight: On train (B, L, D)

Day 04: Mumbai/Udaipur (Train)

We spend a leisurely morning on board as the landscape and spirit of India unfolds before us.  We then have 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’. A beguiling tapestry of breathtaking lakes and opulently majestic palaces from the Rajput era await our discovery.

The afternoon is spent admiring the awe-inspiring beauty of the Lake Palace, constructed entirely of marble, which sits on its own island in the shimmering waters of Pichola Lake. We also visit the medieval grandeur of City Palace.

Overnight: On train (B, L, D)

Day 05: Udaipur/Jaipur (Train)

With a breakfast arrival into the capital of Rajasthan, the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur overwhelms the senses as we embrace its rich and colourful past. This morning, we visit the Amber Fort and explore its breathtaking and ornate majesty, including the magnificent Hall of Mirrors.

After lunch in a local restaurant, we continue our exploration with a tour of the Jantar Mantar Observatory, the imposing and vast City Palace and the beautiful Hawa Mahal, or Palace of Winds.  This delicately stunning, yet enduring monument is constructed entirely of pink sandstone and was built in 1799 to allow royal ladies to discreetly observe everyday life.  Finally, if time permits, we explore a famous fabric market before returning to our train to refresh ourselves.

This evening, we dine in the elegant Rambagh Palace Hotel, originally built in 1835 and once the residence of the Maharaja of Jaipur. The palace retains its elaborate splendour, extravagantly decorated with hand-carved marble ‘jalis’ or latticework, sandstone balustrades, cupolas and ‘chattris’ or cenotaphs, and elaborate Mughal Gardens. Ladies in Rajasthani costumes perform the traditional garlanding 'aarti' and 'tikka' ceremonies while the music of the “Shenai” welcomes us. A delightful display of fireworks is followed by a barbeque with the illuminated palace as a stunning backdrop. The dinner will be served outdoor on one of lawns of the palace. A truly memorable end to a fantastic day in the Pink City.

Overnight: On train (B, L, D)

Day 06: Jaipur/Delhi (Train)

One of the oldest cities in the world, Delhi is bustling and vibrant, famous for its traditional bazaars and street markets. Our fascinating city tour in this pulsating metropolis takes in the Raj Ghat memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, the World Heritage Site of Humayun’s Tomb, the first example of Moghul architecture in India, and the towering Indo-Islamic Qutub Minar, the tallest brick minaret in the world at 238 feet (73 meters), which dates from 1368. Tonight, we enjoy a sumptuous dinner on board our private train as we continue our journey across India.

Overnight: On train (B, L, D)

Day 07: Delhi/Fatehpur Sikri (Train)

After breakfast, we visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Fatehpur Sikri. Known as a ‘ghost city’, this red sandstone town was abandoned in 1585, only shortly after being built, due to lack of water. This afternoon, our journey takes us to Agra Fort, a magnificent structure that dominates the skyline and acted as the main residence for emperors of the Moghul Dynasty until 1638.  Its red sandstone walls contain many fairytale palaces and two beautifully preserved mosques.

Overnight: On train (B, L, D)

Day 08: Fatehpur Sikri/Agra (Train)

Today is devoted to visiting the impossibly beautiful Taj Mahal, built entirely of white marble on the south bank of the Yamuna river and indisputably the most famous building in the world. Completed in 1648 by Moghul Emperor, Shah Jahan, the Taj Mahal is a mausoleum for his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It took 22 years and 20,000 artisan workers to complete.

Overnight: On train (B, L, D)

Day 09: Agra/Varanasi (Train)

Varanasi, one of India’s most sacred and spiritual places, simply has to be experienced to be understood. Our early morning arrival offers us the opportunity to discover what is believed to be the oldest continually inhabited city in the world.  Situated on the banks of the River Ganges, this cultural and religious centre, known as the City of Light, was established between three and five thousand years ago. It is a focus for Hindu pilgrims, who bathe in the sacred waters of the Ganges and perform funeral rites.  We are privileged to witness these time-honoured ceremonies before departing for a private river cruise. Our exploration of Varanasi is completed with a guided walk through the winding ancient streets, home to some 2,000 temples.

Overnight: On train (B, L, D)

Day 10: Varanasi/Darjeeling (Train)

Today we leave the Deccan Odyssey and embark on a spectacular journey to the hill station of Darjeeling.  Choose to travel either by bus (3 to 4 hours) or embark on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR), listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which takes about 6 hours from Tindharia. Also known as the 'Toy Train', it is a 2 foot (610 mm) narrow-gauge railway.

Travelling through awe-inspiring scenery, our locomotive zigzags and loops, gaining height to reach the cooler air of India’s most famous hill station. We climb to Ghum, which, situated at 7,407 feet (2,258 metres), is the highest railway station in India. Here snow-covered Mount Kanchenchunga (third highest in the world) dominates the skyline. We then drop into Darjeeling itself, first crossing the graceful loop at Batasia. A packed lunch is served on board the train before our arrival into colonial Darjeeling.

Travelling through awe-inspiring scenery, our locomotive zigzags and loops, gaining height to reach the cooler air of India’s most famous hill station. We climb to Ghum, which, situated at 7,407 feet (2,258 metres), is the highest railway station in India. Here snow-covered Mount Kanchenchunga (third highest in the world) dominates the skyline. We then drop into Darjeeling itself, first crossing the graceful loop at Batasia. A packed lunch is served on board the train before our arrival into colonial Darjeeling.

Overnight: Hotel Mayfair, Darjeeling (3 nights) (B, L, D)

Day 11: Darjeeling

We awaken to the breathtaking scenery of Mount Kanchenchunga. This morning, we can ride the DHR up to Batasia Loop and Ghum, climbing over 600 feet during the 8-kilometer journey. The senses reel as we experience the chaotic nature of roadside life, passing within inches of colourful shops, houses and enthralling monasteries. Our afternoon tour of Darjeeling provides a wonderful opportunity to experience the elegant grandeur of colonial life, as well as the contrasting culture of a Tibetan refugee centre and an absorbing visit to the Himalayan Institute, where we learn about some of the famous mountaineering expeditions. (B, L, D)

Day 12: Darjeeling

This morning, weather permitting, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch the sun rising over the snow-capped Himalayas, with Mount Everest rising majestically 200 miles away on the horizon. Our early morning trip to Tiger Hill is a quintessential experience that captures the very character of one of our planet’s most overwhelming natural sights. This afternoon, we visit a local tea plantation and sample the freshest cup of tea most of us are ever likely to taste! (B, L, D)

Day 13: Darjeeling/Kolkata (Flight)

After an English breakfast, we leave this tranquil haven to embark on a private transfer from Darjeeling to Bagdogra airport for a short commercial flight to Kolkata.  On the way, we will enjoy panoramic views of the extensive tea plantations that unfurl around us.

On arrival, we transfer to the Taj Bengal hotel, a landmark five-star hotel in downtown Kolkata, for a two-night stay. Prominent landmarks, including Victoria Memorial, Royal Calcutta Race Course, Horticultural Gardens, National Library, Eden Gardens and the Alipore Zoological Gardens, are all within walking distance.

Overnight: Taj Bengal Hotel, Kolkata (2 nights) (B, L, D)

Day 14: Kolkata

Kolkata is a sensory delight and cultural extravaganza that is constantly evolving.  After breakfast, we spend the day exploring and absorbing the many sights that comprise this enthralling city that was once India’s capital. Our tour includes a visit to the Victoria Memorial, one of the finest and most prominent buildings in Kolkata, which houses a museum dedicated to the history of India. We then move on to Dalhousie Square, the bustling hub of English colonial power and trade during the two centuries of British rule.  Our final stop is South Park Cemetery, an atmospheric and still space within the clamour of modern day Kolkata. In the evening, we say goodbye to our fellow travelling companions who have shared this remarkable journey with us at our Farewell Dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 15: Depart Kolkata

We will be transferred to Kolkata airport to begin our journey home.  Check out time is by 1100 hrs. (B)

B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

Departure Dates & Prices

We accept payments in US$, CA$ as well as in other convertible currencies like EUR, AUD and GBP. Tour prices have been costed in US$. CA$ price shown below is an indicative amount reached at by using the conversion rate at the time of web posting and will be applicable if there is no change in the conversion rate. Should the currency conversion rate change, the US$ pricing will prevail. Bestway Tours & Safaris offers a conversion rate protection. Once full payment has been received and no modification has been made to the tour itinerary, we will honour that rate. For complete payment procedures, please click here

2019 Per Person on
Twin Sharing
Single Room
Supplement
Estimated Airfare (FROM)+
Departure(s) East Coast West Coast
Deluxe Class
Dec 14
US$ 14995 Available upon request
2020 Per Person on
Twin Sharing
Single Room
Supplement
Estimated Airfare (FROM)+
Departure(s) East Coast West Coast
Deluxe Class
Feb 06
US$ 15295 Available upon request
2019 Per Person on
Twin Sharing
Single Room
Supplement
Estimated Airfare (FROM)+
Departure(s) East Coast West Coast
Deluxe Class
Dec 14
CA$ 20244 Available upon request
2020 Per Person on
Twin Sharing
Single Room
Supplement
Estimated Airfare (FROM)+
Departure(s) East Coast West Coast
Deluxe Class
Feb 06
CA$ 20649 Available upon request


Notes

As far as possible, this tour is all-inclusive with no hidden extras. What follows are those elements, which are included in the tour price. The only extra items you will need to budget for include personal expenses such as international and internal flights (unless part of the itinerary), visa costs, travel insurance, drinks from the Bar Lounge Car and laundry.

Experienced Tour Managers
Our experienced tour managers and their assistants are selected for their travel knowledge and their linguistic and organisational abilities, allowing you to relax and enjoy your rail cruise. We receive exceptional passenger comments about our Tour Managers and their aim is to ensure you enjoy every minute of your holiday.
Arrival and Departure Transfers
Arrival and departure transfers are included.
Hotel and On Board Accommodation
Although you will spend much of your time sightseeing or relaxing in the train’s public areas, you will find your hotel room or cabin a welcome retreat at the end of a rewarding day. All hotels are of 5-star standard or, in certain locations, the best available. Room upgrades are available on request and at extra cost.
Welcome and Farewell Dinners
Each tour begins with a Welcome Dinner, an ideal opportunity to get to know your fellow passengers. It’s also an opportunity for the Tour Manager to brief you on the trip, as well as introduce you to the Golden Eagle Luxury Trains team and the Tour Doctor. The Farewell Dinner is the perfect end to your adventure by private train where you can relive the journey and look ahead to future tours.
Route Guide, Itinerary and Information Pack
When you board the train, there will be a brochure in your cabin detailing more about your journey and the places en-route. Our Tour Manager will organise a programme of briefings on the cities or places we visit and, each evening, will issue a programme for the next day’s touring schedule.
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Daily
All departures feature one or two uniquely designed restaurant cars where you can enjoy the excellent waiter-served food and wine. Several times during the tour we will also sample authentic local cuisine off the train.
Drinks with Meals and from the Bar Lounge Car
A generous drinks allowance is included with lunch and dinner.
On Board Service
You can expect service, which is attentive, friendly and un-intrusive. Your car attendants provide housekeeping and bedding turndown services, with one attendant always on duty to assist you and to ensure you are comfortable in your cabin. Complimentary tea, coffee and bottled drinking water are available in your cabin.
Guided Off-Train Excursions
The history and culture of the places we visit on our rail cruise will come alive through our expert local guides. All our tours include a wide-ranging sightseeing schedule to make the most of the time you have off the train and bring you closer to the culture, people and history of your destinations. We believe it is the special little touches that help create magical memories.
Personal Headsets
On all the off–train excursions, to enhance your enjoyment and comprehension of the places you visit, you will be provided with a lightweight personal headset on which to listen to your tour guide as you take in the sights. So you do not need to worry about missing any of the interesting details on your excursions.
On Board Doctor and Medical Facilities
To give you peace of mind, our tours are typically accompanied by a doctor who travels with us for the entire journey. You can rest assured that medical assistance is always available. On call 24 hours a day, the doctor is on hand to give primary care as required. Normally, the doctor will be English speaking and be registered with the General Medical Council in the UK.
Porterage
As you only have to unpack once, your luggage and belongings will stay with you on the train throughout the journey but, wherever necessary, porterage is included between the hotel and stations.
All Gratuities
You will not have to worry about tipping on and off the train on your rail journey, as all gratuities are included in the tour price.



Inclusions


Tour Price Includes
  • Accommodation as mentioned or similar, including hotel taxes
  • Domestic airfare: Darjeeling/Kolkata (based on current application fares)
  • 40 Meals as mentioned (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • All sightseeing and transfers by private transporation
  • Services of local English speaking guides
  • Entrance fees to museums and sites included in the itinerary
  • Professional Tour Director
  • Personal headsets on all guided tours
  • Tips/gratuities
Not Included
  • International airfares
  • Insurance/visas

Participants

This tour operates on a minimum group size of 70 participants.
Please note that this tour is NOT part of our small group journeys.

Customised Itinerary

If you would like to have a tour on dates other than the above ones or with a customised itinerary, please contact us and we will be happy to work out an exclusive program for you.

Contact Info
You may e-mail us at bestway@bestway.com or call 1-604-264-7378. Residents of U.S.A./Canada may call us toll free at 1-800-663-0844.

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