The Maharaja Experience


Take an unforgettable journey through India on board the Maharajas’ Express - a train almost half a mile long, with 14 guest carriages. Experience India’s Golden Triangle by rail. Visit the world’s greatest monument of love - the Taj Mahal, search for tigers in Ranthambore National Park and soak up the spectacular royal heritage of Rajasthan in Jaipur.

Places Visited

Delhi (1N) - Agra (2N) - Ranthambore National Park - Jaipur (1N) - Delhi - Varanasi (2N)

Day 1: Arrive Delhi
Upon arrival at Delhi airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel for an overnight stay. Delhi is split into two main sections; Old Delhi and New Delhi. Old Delhi is the area defined by the old city wall and is a maze of small alleyways and bazaars. New Delhi is characterised by the city’s growth under the British colonial rule with the grandeur of 19th century buildings and wide, tree-lined boulevards.
Day 2: Delhi to Agra (private touring)
After breakfast, embark on a full-day tour of New and Old Delhi. in the evening, you will be transferred to Delhi Safdurjung Railway Station to board the Maharajas’ Express train for a three night journey. Following a late dinner on board, the train will depart for Agra. (B,D)
Day 3: Agra (join-in-basis touring)
Arrive into Agra early this morning, where you will visit the majestic Taj Mahal followed by a delightful champagne breakfast at Taj Khema. The Taj Mahal was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in 1631. Later this morning, you may choose to return to the Maharajas’ Express or participate in an optional activity (at your own expense). All travellers will reconvene on board the Maharajas’ Express for lunch. in the afternoon there will be another opportunity (at your own expense) to take one of the above optional activities or visit Agra Fort. Dinner will be served on board the train before it continues on to Sawai Madhopur, nearby to Ranthambore National Park. (B,L,D)
Day 4: Ranthambore to Jaipur (join-in-basis touring)
Rise early for an exciting game drive at Ranthambore National Park. Ranthambore was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1955 and became part of Project Tiger in 1973. The forests around the Ranthambore were once the private hunting grounds of the Maharajahs of Jaipur. The desire to preserve the game in these forests for sport was ultimately responsible for their conservation and subsequent rescue by ‘Project Tiger’. Enjoy breakfast at the heritage hotel, Vivanta by Taj, which was originally a hunting lodge frequented by the royal family. Return to the Maharajas’ Express and continue your journey to Jaipur, arriving early in the afternoon. Jaipur is known as the ‘Pink City’ because of the pink paint on all the buildings in the old city area. This was apparently done to imitate the magnificent, red sandstone buildings of the Mughals This evening, view an elephant polo match (subject to availability) followed by a champagne dinner. You will then return to the Maharajas’ Express to return to Delhi. (B,L,D).
Day 5: Delhi to Varanasi (private touring)
Enjoy breakfast on board, disembark and bid farewell to the Maharajas’ Express. Transfer to Delhi airport and fl y to Varanasi. As the religious capital of Hinduism, Varanasi is the oldest living city in india as well as one of the world’s most ancient cities. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel. This afternoon you will visit the ancient Buddhist sites at Sarnath, the fabled place where Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon to his disciples expounding the principles of Buddhism. Later this evening, take a rickshaw ride through the streets of Varanasi to the ghats of the River Ganges to witness the Puja ceremony of Ganga Aarti (a prayer ceremony). (B)
Day 6: Varanasi (private touring)
Rise early this morning for your cruise on the River Ganges to view the ghats at sunrise when they are abuzz with activity. Return to your hotel for breakfast before a brief city tour of Varanasi. After, see the largest residential university of Asia, Banaras Hindu University. (B)
Day 7: Depart Varanasi
After check-out this morning you will be transferred to Varanasi airport where your arrangements end. (B)

Also Available

Tailor Your Tour

If you like most of the itinerary which we have suggested but you'd like to change the route and the accommodation, speak to our specialist Tailormade team, who can build your perfect itinerary based around where you would like to go, what you would like to see and how much you'd like to spend. Just call us on 0800 936 3998 and we'll help plan your dream holiday.

Tour prices are per person, twin share departing Auckland. Regional departures available on request. Additional charges: Tipping is payable on arrival in destination (see Additional Price Information below).

A visa is required by all nationalities. A single entry visa should be arranged in advance of travel. Visa fees are not included in your tour cost and it is your responsibility to arrange all necessary visas. Wendy Wu Tours can organise your visa's at an additional cost, please contact our Reservation Department for more details.

Phone Calls
International and domestic calls can be made from your hotel room. It’s a good idea to check call costs with hotel staff or your local guide before making calls, as this can be expensive. A service charge may also be involved. To call New Zealand – the international access code is 00, followed by the country code 64, then the local area code (omitting the first 0), then the number.
 
Mobile Phones
Mobile phones are quite popular in India and you will find high quality coverage. India has active roaming agreements with most of the service providers. Please make sure you are aware of associated costs and have activated your international roaming prior to departure.
 
Internet & Email
Internet cafes can be found in all major cities and even in some small towns. This is often the easiest and cheapest way to stay in touch. Most hotels have a business centre with internet access, but at a slightly higher rate. Some hotels may have wifi which usually comes at an additional cost and may only be available in hotel lobbies. 

Tipping for Short Stays and Independent itineraries is not compulsory however is appreciated and normal for guides & drivers to receive them from tourists. In your final documents, Wendy Wu Tours will advise a guideline for tipping to be given to your local guides & driver. Tipping is at the discretion of each individual.

Shopping can be fun and entertaining, especially in local markets all over India where souvenirs can be purchased for next to nothing. However all passengers must realise that the authenticity and value of goods is always questionable.
If the price seems too good to be true, then it probably is! Some shopping is made up of copied brand items and reproduced antiques.
 
In keeping with most people’s interest whilst on holiday, your tour will include a reasonable number of opportunities in local shops and government factories. This may vary depending on local conditions, and should never interfere with your itinerary’s included sightseeing.
 
Each region has its own specialty; a traditional handicraft perfected by the locals over centuries, a climate that encourages rich spices to grow, or a type of wood, stone or precious jewel in abundance nearby. Textiles are a popular souvenir, including silk brocades from Varanasi in the north or Kanchipuram in the south, tie-dyed cottons from all over Rajasthan, saris, hand woven Tibetan carpets from Darjeeling or Dharamshala, or the woollen shawls pashminas of Kashmir and Ladakh.
 
There is also the heavy and elaborate silverwork of Rajasthan, “spring picked” tea from the hill stations, and the spices, wooden carvings or facemasks of Kerala.
 
If you prefer set prices, head to the government-run shops, usually called “cottage industries” or “emporium” which sells quality but reasonably priced goods. The more up market tourist shops will also have fixed prices. Markets, street stalls, and local shops can be noisy, crowded, and confronting, but this remains one of the most rewarding experiences of travelling in India. If your itinerary includes some free time and you would like to go shopping, ask either your National Escort/Guide or the hotel staff for advice on how to best get there. They should be able to tell you if you need a taxi or a rickshaw, how much you should pay for the journey and provide you verbal or written directions to give to the driver. Remember to take a hotel business card with you to find your way back!

Breakfast is served in the hotels and includes a combination of western and local dishes.

If lunch or dinner is included in your short stay package we aim to cater to the tastes of the majority of people so dishes are not too spicy or unusual in their taste. One of the great myths about India is that the food is of poor quality and always hot and spicy. This is definitely not the case! In fact, North Indian dishes whilst often very rich and indeed spicy don’t contain as much chilli as South Indian dishes. Indian cuisine is predominately vegetarian; however more meat (chicken and lamb) dishes are available in the North. We use a variety of local and hotel restaurants, which provide variety in both the dishes and methods of cooking. If you like Indian food from home, you will have no problems with the real Indian food as it is similar, only more flavoursome. You’ll love it; though don’t expect to lose weight on your holiday, Indians love to eat and eat big.

Drinks will be at your own expense. Beer is widely available and cheap. Wine lovers should remember that western style wine is very expensive to import into India, so is not stocked except by upmarket restaurants. Bottled drinking water, soft drinks, and fruit juices are also widely available – remember that you should only have ice, fruit juices, or lassies (yoghurt based sweet or salty drinks) from a trusted restaurant; where they will use boiled or bottled water to prepare ice and drinks.


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