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Indian Odyssey by Rail
Witness the famous India-Pakistan border ceremony, see Delhi on a walking tour led by a former at-risk youth, Explore the Bundi Fort and stepwells, ride the toy trains of Shimla and Darjeeling, Indulge in the amazing food of seaside Goa, Experience a homestay in the Kerala Backwaters, Visit the ghats of Varanasi
Travel like a local on this 54-day trip, exploring India by train from the northeast to the southwest. Skip the backpacking and let the train — and the innumerable beautiful sights — move you, from the Taj Mahal to the colours of Rajasthan to the ruins of Karnataka. This trip will hit some of the country’s highlights, with loads of time to hop off and get to know your surroundings in a way only a Rail tour allows. The trip won’t last forever, but the memories definitely will.
Day 1 — Delhi
Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer included through the G Adventures-supported Women on Wheels project.
Day 2 — Delhi/Amritsar
Take the morning Shatabdi Express to Amritsar and enjoy breakfast on board. In the afternoon, drive to the India-Pakistan border and witness the border ceremony performed by both nations border guards. Later in the evening visit the grounds surrounding the Golden Temple and take an orientation walk of Amritsar.
Day 3 — Amritsar/Dharamshala
In the morning visit and explore the Golden Temple and learn about the community service principles of the Sikh Religion. Later, embark on a scenic drive to Dharamshala and take an orientation walk in the evening.
Day 4 — Dharamshala
Enjoy free time to explore Dharamsala. Visit the Main Temple and current residence of Dalai Lama or take a tour of the Norbulingka institute dedicated to preserving the Tibetan culture. Feeling more adventurous? Choose to embark on a short hike to Bhagsunag.
Day 5 — Dharamshala/Māndi
Explore the town of Mandi. Walk around Rewalsar Lake, a sacred spot for Hindus, Sikhs, and Buddhists. Renowned for its ancient stone temples with fine carvings, Mandi is also known as the "Varanasi of the Hills".
Day 6 — Mandi/Shimla
Embark onto the next destination, Shimla, the capital of Himachal province. This was once the British summer capital during the Raj Era. View the colonial era architecture still prominent throughout this city.
Day 7 — Shimla
Enjoy a CEO-led orientation walk on The Ridge and The Mall (local hangouts) and explore this summer capital of British India. Opt to visit the Viceregal Lodge or admire the neo-Gothic or Tudorbethan architecture of the heritage buildings.
Day 8 — Shimla/Delhi
Take the World Heritage-listed toy train from Shimla to Kalka. Switch to the Shatabdi Express for the rest of the journey back to Delhi, with dinner included on board.
Day 9 — Delhi
Enjoy a free day in Delhi.
Day 10 — Delhi/Āgra
Take the Shatabdi Express train to Agra, with breakfast served on board. Enjoy a guided tour of the impressive Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. Time permitting, opt to visit the Baby Taj.
Day 11 — Āgra/Jaipur
Hop on a Shatabdi Express train in the evening to Jaipur.
Day 12 — Jaipur
Take an orientation walk around town. Take a photo of the Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds) and visit the Amber Fort. Walk around the Old City and markets and opt to visit the City Palace. With free time, choose to visit local artisans in a nearby village, wander the Jantar Mantar, or check out a Bollywood film at the spectacular Art Deco film house, the Raj Mandir.
Day 13 — Jaipur/Udaipur
In the morning board a train and soak in the passing scenery en route to Udaipur. Arrive in the evening with free time to explore the city.
Day 14 — Udaipur
Enjoy an orientation walk, including a visit to the Jagdish Temple and the City Palace, one of the largest royal palaces in India. Attend a Rajasthani cultural show on Gangaur Ghat.
Day 15 — Udaipur/Būndi
Take a train to Bundi to explore the fort and stepwells.
Day 16 — Būndi/Mumbai
Explore Bundi with some free time before an overnight trip on the Mumbai Rajdhani Express train, with dinner on board.
Day 17 — Mumbai
Arrive in the morning in bustling Mumbai, home to 20 million people. Take a walking tour of the Colaba area and see the Gateway of India.
Day 18 — Mumbai/Goa
Catch a morning flight to beautiful Goa. Spend free time relaxing on the beach or exploring the city's monuments.
Day 19 — Goa
Enjoy a free day in Goa.
Day 20 — Goa
Enjoy a free day in Goa.
Day 21 — Goa
Spend a free day relaxing on the beach or opt to visit the many Portuguese-built monuments, wander around the churches of Old Goa (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), or discover Panjim, the capital. Don't forget to indulge in Goan cuisine.
Day 22 — Goa/Hampi
Travel by Visakhapatnam Howrah Express train and then by van to reach Hampi, in the heart of Karnataka.
Day 23 — Hampi/Mysore
Enjoy a walking tour and explore the spectacular ruins of Hampi Palaces, Vittala Temple complex, Virupaksh Temple, Hazararama Temple, and the boulders on the river. In the evening, take an overnight Hampi Express train to Mysore.
Day 24 — Mysore
Arrive to Mysore and explore the Mysore Palace and Chamundi Hill.
Day 25 — Mysore/Madikeri
Drive to Bylakuppe and explore the Namdroling Monastery - home to nearly 5,000 Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns. Later drive to Madikeri for the evening.
Day 26 — Madikeri
Explore Madikeri (the coffee hub of India) and enjoy a tour of a coffee plantation. Later, enjoy an orientation walk around the town and then enjoy free time to explore in the afternoon.
Day 27 — Madikeri/Kochi
Take a morning drive to the coastal town of Kannur. Catch the Ernakulam Express to Kochi in the afternoon.
Day 28 — Kochi
Explore the Fort Kochi area and see the Chinese fishing nets at work. If time permits, visit the Jewish area and synagogue, the Dutch Palace, and Spice Market.
Day 29 — Kochi
Make the most of Kochi with free time to explore.
Day 30 — Kochi/Alleppey
Take the early train to Alleppey to explore the Kerala backwaters. Walk in the paddy fields and take a canoe ride through the canals the region is famous for.
Day 31 — Alleppey/Kanyakumari
Enjoy some more time in Kerala before an evening train to Kanyakumari for a full day exploring the area.
Day 32 — Kanyakumari/Madurai
Spend the day in Kanyakumari. Drive to the southernmost tip of India and take a ferry across to Vivekananda Rock and the Ramkrishna Ashram. Take an evening Kanyakumari Express train to Madurai.
Day 33 — Madurai
Explore the Meenakshi Temple and colourful markets of Madurai.
Day 34 — Madurai/Māmallapuram
Take the morning Vaigai Express to Chengalpattu before continue by van to Mamallapuram.
Day 35 — Māmallapuram
Cycle around and explore the rock-cut Shore Temple and Mamallapuram Beach.
Day 36 — Māmallapuram/Chennai
Drive to Chennai and explore Marina Beach and San Thome Basilica. Later, board an overnight train to Hyderabad.
Day 37 — Hyderabad
Learn more about the region's history with a visit to the iconic Charminar and historic Golconda Fort.
Day 38 — Hyderabad/Puri
Enjoy a free morning to continue exploring this state capital before catching an evening flight to Bhubaneshwar. Continue by van to reach Puri.
Day 39 — Puri
Explore Raghuraj Pur village and beautiful Puri beaches.
Day 40 — Puri/Kolkata
Take a morning Shatabdi Express train to Kolkata, with lunch provided on board. Arrive in the afternoon and take an orientation walk with the CEO.
Day 41 — Kolkata
Explore the vintage monuments and streets of this former capital of the British Era, also visit Missionaries' of Charity the noble peace prize winner, Mother Teresa’s house and final resting place.. Opt to take a ferry ride across the Hooghly River. Opt to join the group for dinner at one of the famed restaurants on Park Street for the final night out.
Day 42 — Kolkata
Spend some free time exploring this fascinating city.
Day 43 — Kolkata/Jalpāiguri
Visit the Victoria Memorial and explore Mother Teresa's House. Enjoy free time later and opt to explore the Indian Museum. In the evening, board an overnight New Jalpaiguri Kamrup Express train to New Jalpaiguri.
Day 44 — Jalpāiguri/Darjeeling
Arrive at New Jalpaiguri and continue onwards by van to Darjeeling. Take an orientation tour of the town before enjoying free time with the rest of the evening.
Day 45 — Darjeeling
Watch the sunrise at Tiger Hill, visit a tea estate and explore the Mahakal Temple. Later, travel the World Heritage-listed Darjeeling Himalayan Railway on a vintage steam engine train. Continue with a visit to the Peace Pagoda.
Day 46 — Darjeeling/Gangtok
Continue by private van to Gangtok and take an orientation tour of the town. Take in the stunning scenery of the Himalayas surrounding this quaint town.
Day 47 — Gangtok
Start the day with an orientation walk, then enjoy a free day to explore this scenic town.
Day 48 — Gangtok/Kalimpong
Continue by private vehicle to Kalimpong. Stop along the way at Rumtek Monastery. Embark on an orientation walk of the town of Kalimpong then enjoy the rest of the day to explore at leisure.
Day 49 — Kalimpong to New Jalpaiguri
Drive to New Jalpaiguri Station with a stop en route at Deolo Hills to take in views of the mountainous scenery. Catch the overnight train to Varanasi.
Day 50 — Mughal Sarāi/Varanasi
Arrive to Mughal Sarai in the morning and continue by van to Varanasi. Enjoy an evening visit to the ghats and watch the prayer sessions.
Day 51 — Varanasi
Take a sunrise boat trip on the Ganges. Enjoy a free afternoon to explore Sarnath and the city of Varanasi.
Day 52 — Varanasi/Lucknow
Take a morning Varanasi-Lucknow Intercity train. In the afternoon, visit the Bara Imambara.
Day 53 — Lucknow/Delhi
Spend most of the day exploring Lucknow. Opt to explore The Residency and be immersed in colonial era history. In the afternoon, board the Swarna Shatabdi Express train to Delhi, with dinner provided on board. Enjoy the night in the bustle of Delhi.