Anybody can view the sights of India by foot or bus — but you’re not just anybody. Instead, get off the beaten path and see India in a very untypical way — by train. Over two weeks, you’ll head north into Sikkim and Darjeeling via vans and local trains (including the famous toy trains in Darjeeling), giving you an up close and personal experience with authentic India. There’ll be plenty of palaces and forts to spot both on the train and off, and you’ll still get all the social elements of travelling with a group. Add in local meals and a large helping of culture, and this is a trip that’ll stay with you for a long time.
Day 1 Calcutta
Arrive at any time.
Day 2 Calcutta/Jalpāiguri
Visit the Victoria Memorial, New Market and take a ferry on the Ganges. In the evening, board an overnight New Jalpaiguri Kamrup Express train to New Jalpaiguri.
Day 3 Jalpāiguri/Kalimpong
Arrive at New Jalpaiguri and continue by van to Kalimpong. Take in views of the mountainous scenery with a stop at Deolo Hill.
Day 4 Kalimpong/Gangtok
Continue by private van to Gangtok and take an orientation tour of the town.
Day 5 Gangtok
Enjoy a day trip to Rumtek Monastery.
Day 6 Gangtok/Darjeeling
Head to Darjeeling by private van and take an orientation tour of the town.
Day 7 Darjeeling (1L)
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 and a cooking demonstration at a local, family-run restaurant.
Day 8 Darjeeling to Varanasi
Drive to Siliguri to catch an overnight sleeper train to Mughal Sarai.
Day 9 Mughal Sarāi/Varanasi
Arrive to Mughal Sarai in the morning and continue by van to Varanasi. Enjoy an evening visit to the ghats.
Day 10 Varanasi
Take a sunrise boat trip on the Ganges. Enjoy a free afternoon to explore Sarnath and the city of Varanasi.
Day 11 Varanasi/Lucknow
Take a morning Varanasi-Lucknow Intercity train. In the afternoon, visit the Bara Imambara.
Day 12 Lucknow/Delhi (1D)
Spend most of the day exploring Lucknow. In the afternoon, board the Swarna Shatabdi Express train to Delhi, with dinner provided on board. Enjoy the night in the bustle of Delhi.
Day 13 Delhi
Depart at any time.
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