RHYTHM OF THE CLICKETY-CLACK

India by Train

Calcutta & Northeast India, Central India, Delhi & Around, The Himalaya

Duration: 14 nights

Price: From £4,500 per person in low season based on two adults travelling together and including all flights in economy class, accommodation, some meals, private transfers, train transportation, experiences as stated and taxes

Train travel in itself is an icon of India, with the country’s extensive network of railways essential to the country’s day-to-day life. While the stereotypical image is of trains pulling into stations covered with passengers clinging on to the roof and the sides, train travel in India is actually a remarkably well-oiled operation – and the superficial air of chaos only adds to the charm. Travelling by train is also a fantastic way to see the country as it whizzes past your window, and it can be a very comfortable way to travel too.

On this luxury holiday, you’ll visit some of India’s most iconic destinations and landmarks by train, including the capital, Delhi, the Taj Mahal, and the colonial tea station of Darjeeling.
Perfect forCulture vultures, history buffs and lovers of train travel.
In the knowAdding an excursion into the desert kingdom of Rajasthan.

Best for

  • Train Journey
  • Couples
  • Cultural Immersion
  • History & Heritage

All Exsus holidays are tailor-made

This itinerary is just a starting point. Tell us your budget/wishlist/preferred length of stay and we'll help you select the best hotels and experiences, so your holiday is totally personalised.

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Itinerary details

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1 nightDELHI

Your journey begins in India’s iconic capital, Delhi. A huge city which bustles with over 18 million people, Delhi has a long and colourful history, and its mixture of chaos and charm is the perfect way to begin any trip to India. Sights to check out during your time in Delhi include the serene Lodi Gardens, which are dotted with the tombs of numerous medieval sultans; the magnificent Humayun’s Tomb, a masterpiece of Mughal architecture; and the Jantar Mantar, a huge Islamic observatory. Also not to be missed is the Red Fort, an icon of India from which the Prime Minister addresses the nation each Independence Day.

You’ll spend one night at Claridges, an elegant hotel dating from the 1950s, with a great location for exploring the city’s attractions.
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1 nightAGRA

The next stop on your Indian train adventure is Agra, a journey from Delhi of around 4 hours. Agra is most famous as the home of the Taj Mahal, a magnificent marble mausoleum which really does justify its considerable hype. Built by the 17th-century Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his wife, the Taj is a symbol of love and one of the world’s most beautiful and iconic buildings.

While many visitors to Agra will make a beeline for the Taj then get out as quickly as possible, there are other things worth checking out here – Agra Fort is perhaps the best-preserved Mughal fort in all of India, and Fatehpur Sikri also has several archaeologically important and beautifully preserved buildings from the same era. You’ll stay at The Oberoi Amarvilas, an opulent hotel which boasts views of the Taj from each of its rooms and suites.
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2 nightsLUCKNOW

Departing Agra after 2 nights, you’ll board a train once more to Lucknow, a cultural capital of India and the largest city in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Long renowned as a centre of the arts, Lucknow was the seat of the Nawabs of Adah in the 18th and 19th centuries, a princely dynasty who were passionate in their patronage of the arts – rich, living traditions of music, poetry and dance are the result. The city was also a centre of power for the British Raj, and numerous colonial building survive, including the ruins of the Residency, the site of the bloody Siege of Lucknow, which was a huge milestone on the road to Indian independence.

A Victorian Walk will take you to some of the most important sites of this era, while a ride on a traditional horse-drawn tonga carriage is a great way to see the city. Your home for 2 nights in Lucknow is Vivanta by Taj Gomti Nagar, a grand luxury hotel surrounded by beautiful landscaped gardens.
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 2 nightsVARANASI

Boarding the train once again, a journey of 6-7 hours will take you to the next stop on your journey, Varanasi. The holiest city for India’s majority Hindu population, Varanasi is an intense and unforgettable place where the sacred and the profane meet at every turn. On the ghats – steep steps leading down to the holy River Ganges – every act of life is played out, from the daily bathing ritual of holy men and pilgrims to the cremation of bodies. The evening ritual of aarti is a very atmospheric experience, and a great way to see the rich religious life of Varanasi in full swing, as priests perform a riverside ritual involving oil lamps, music and incense.

You’ll spend your time in Varanasi at the Nadesar Palace, a palatial hotel overlooking the Ganges. On departing Varanasi after 2 nights, you’ll board an overnight train to your next stop, Calcutta.
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3 nightsCALCUTTA

Calcutta is one of India’s biggest and busiest cities, and is one of the country’s cultural capitals. Formerly India’s capital, it is the birthplace of many of the country’s most refined artistic traditions. The Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore was born and died here – his family home is now a museum which offers a fascinating insight into the man and his work. Calcutta was also the seat of power for the British during the days of the Raj, and relics of that era abide everywhere. While the colonial buildings are in varying states of decay, many of them are beautifully preserved and retain their original use, including the Calcutta High Court, the General Post Office, and the University of Calcutta.

A walking tour of the city is a great way to take in these landmarks, and you should also stop off at the vibrant Mullik Ghat Flower Market. Your hotel, the opulent Oberoi Grand, is itself a prime example of colonial architecture and a landmark of the city. Once again, you’ll spend 2 nights in Calcutta before boarding an overnight train to your next stop, Darjeeling.
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3 nightsDARJEELING

After an overnight train from Calcutta to Jalpaiguri, you’ll board the quaint ‘toy train’ for a scenic ride to the hill station of Darjeeling. For many non-Indians, Darjeeling is associated with one thing: tea. That’s not entirely unjustified, with the peaceful area having been handpicked by the British both as a suitable sanatorium for unwell soldiers and as the ideal place to satisfy the ever-increasing demand for tea.

Darjeeling’s cool climate up in the hills of West Bengal not only makes it perfect for growing tea, but for an escape from India’s hot, chaotic cities. Your home for 3 nights is the Glenburn Tea Estate, set on a colonial planter’s estate, where you’ll learn all about how your favourite cuppa comes to be on the immersive Tea Experience – this includes walks through the fields, a visit to the factory, and, of course, plenty of tasting opportunities.
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1 nightDELHI

The final stop on your Indian adventure will see you flying back to Delhi for one final night at Claridges. This is a great opportunity to pay a visit to anything you may have missed in the Indian capital the first time around. The Qutb Minar is the tallest brick minaret in the world, and the Jama Masjid one of India’s biggest and most important mosques, while the Hindu temple Akshardham – built in 2005 – is evidence that extravagant religious buildings are by no means only a thing of India’s past.

The 17th-century Chandni Chowk is a historic, bustling bazaar and the perfect place to pick up a last-gasp souvenir of your trip – jewellery and saris are particular specialities.
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Travel is not recommended

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