The ‘Darjeeling Mail’ tour covers everything from India’s most important cities to spectacular UNESCO-listed sights such as the Taj Mahal, the ‘ghost city’ of Fatehpur Sikri and of course, the unique Darjeeling Himalayan Railway.
You visit India’s modern capital, Delhi, as well as Calcutta – considered its cultural capital – and Bombay, India’s commercial centre and home to the ‘Gateway of India’. Also on your itinerary are Jaipur’s incredible Amber Fort and the world-famous Taj Mahal, as well as Varanasi (formerly Benares), perched on the banks of the River Ganges and one of Hinduism’s holiest sites. Here you will take a private cruise, as well a walk along the city’s famous ‘ghats’.
However the highlight of this very special tour must be the time you spend in the Himalayas. You climb up into the mountains using the ‘Toy Train’ of the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway – one of only two UNESCO-listed railways in the world.
Taking around eight hours to climb to 7,400ft at Ghum before dropping slightly into Darjeeling (passengers can take a private bus if they prefer, which is quicker), the little steam locomotives use loops and zig-zags to claw their way up the mountainsides on their journey from Siliguri, where you leave the ‘Deccan Odyssey’.
In Darjeeling you stay in the renowned Hotel Mayfair (or similar), your bases for exploring the local area with its tiger sanctuary, tranquil streets – and magnificent views of the world’s highest mountains. Snow-capped Kanchenjunga, the third-highest, is most prominent but on clear days from Tiger Hill you can even see the peak of Everest some 200 miles away. Your time in the Himalayas is – literally – an extraordinary highlight of a trip that will stay in the mind forever.
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