Indian Odyssey by Rail
54 days with G Adventures Rating:
Day 1 Delhi
Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer included through the G Adventures-supported Women on Wheels project.
There are no planned activities until an evening welcome meeting.
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.
Amritsar which literally translates as "his pool of nectar", is a flourishing city and religious centre in the state of Punjab. Important from a religious point of view to the Sikh religion, with many pilgrims coming to have a divine bath in the pool of nectar at the Golden Temple. Also an important political city where in 1947 the separation of India and Pakistan created a long white line known as the Wagah Border between the two neighbours. (B)
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.
Travel along Himalayan mountain roads to the famous seat of the home of the Dalai Lama. "Dharamshala" translates to "a spiritual dwelling" or loosely, shelter or rest house for pilgrims and travellers. It is a beautiful former British hill station situated in the snow-capped mountains of Himachal Pradesh, in the foothills of the Dhauladar ranges. The city is divided into lower and upper Dharamshala according to the altitude. A popular pilgrimage site, the town is filled with temples, markets, galleries and gathering places.
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.
There are lots of ways to spend free time in this charming place. Visit the Kangra Art Museum in the Kotwali bazaar, or take in a performance of the Tibetan folk opera 'Lhamo' at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts. Opt to visit Norbulingka. Set amidst beautiful gardens, surrounded by the green fields of the Kangra Valley, the Norbulingka Institute stands against a backdrop of the towering Dhauladhar mountains of the outer Himalayan range.
Day 5 Dharamshala/Mandi
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.
Take the World Heritage-listed toy train from Shimla to Kalka. Over the course of 3 hrs, the train winds through tunnels as you head out of the mountains of Shimla. (D)
Day 9 Delhi
Enjoy a free day in Delhi.
Day 10 Delhi/Agra
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. (B)
Day 11 Agra/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/Bundi
Take a train to Bundi to explore the fort and stepwells.
Opt for a sunrise bicycle tour of Udaipur before the train to Bundi this afternoon. There is no shortage of notable architecture in Bundi. From palaces to baoris, otherwise known as stepwell reservoirs, explore the many man-made marvels of Bundi.
Day 16 Bundi/Mumbai
Explore Bundi with some free time before an overnight trip on the Mumbai Rajdhani Express train, with dinner on board. (D)
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.
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 of the state. Don't forget to indulge in Goan cuisine.
Day 19 Goa
Enjoy a free day in Goa.
With free time in Goa, opt to explore the city and learn about it's ancient Portuguese colony, visit a market, or relax on the beach.
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.
This evening enjoy a taste of local life with a homestay. (D)
Day 31 Alleppey/Kanyakumari
Enjoy some more time in Kerala before an evening train to Kanyakumari for a full day exploring the area. (B)
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/Mamallapuram
Take the morning Vaigai Express to Chengalpattu before continue by van to Mamallapuram.
Day 35 Mamallapuram
Cycle around and explore the rock-cut Shore Temple and Mamallapuram Beach.
Day 36 Mamallapuram/Chennai
Drive to Chennai and explore Marina Beach and San Thome Basilica. Later, board an overnight train to Hyderabad.
Accommodation on the train tonight will be either in two tier or three tier bunks.
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.
Opt to visit the Salar Jung Museum or the scenic Qutb Shahi Tombs with free time.
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. (L)
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/Jalpaiguri
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 Jalpaiguri/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.
Famous for the black tea grown amongst the tea plantations, enjoy the scenic views of Darjeeling. Set upon the foothills of the Himalayas, expect the climate to be much different from the plains.
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 Sarai/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. (D)
Day 54 Delhi
Depart at any time.
With extra time, you can book our 'Agra Independent Adventure' including accommodation, transport, and a guided visit to India's most famous sight, the Taj Mahal.
All This Included
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.
Hotels/guesthouses (47 nts)
Jaipur, India: Bissau Palace (or similar)
Madurai, India: Rio Grande Hotel Madurai (or similar)
Hyderabad, India: Treebo Grand Plaza Hyderbad (or similar)
Delhi, India: Hotel Metro Heights (or similar)
Darjeeling, India: Krishna Residency (or similar)
Kochi, India: Hotel Fort Manor (or similar)
Kolkata, India: Dee Empresa Hotel (or similar)
Kanyakumari Wildlife Sanctuary, India: Hotel Singaar International (or similar)
Goa, India: Red Fox Hotel, Morjim (or similar)
Shimla, India: Harmony Purple Shimla (or similar)
Agra, India: Crystal Inn Agra (or similar)
Varanasi, India: Hotel Vaibhav (or similar)
Madikeri, India: Hotel Al Wesal International (or similar)
Hampi, India: Clarks Inn Hampie (or similar)
Kalimpong, India: Breathing Stone Hotel (or similar)
Udaipur, India: Hotel Treebo Jhalamaan (or similar)
Puri, India: Hotel Naren Palace (or similar)
Mumbai, India: Hotel Supreme (or similar)
Mysore, India: Akshaya Mahal (or similar)
Mandi, India: Hotel Valley View (or similar)
Amritsar, India: Hotel Dee Intercontinental (or similar)
Dharamshala, India: Harmony Blue Dharamshala (or similar)
Mamallapuram, India: Hotel Mamalla Inn (or similar)
Gangtok, India: Maple Wood Resort (or similar)
Bundi, India: Hotel Ishwari Niwas (or similar)
Sleeper trains (5 nts)
Homestay (1 nt)
Alleppey, India: Alasr Heritage Home (or similar)
Terms and Conditions
For G Adventures terms and conditions, please click here.
* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.