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 Kolkata
Arrive at any time.
Day 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 Gangtok
Start the day with an orientation walk, then enjoy a free day to explore this scenic town.
Day 7 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 8 Darjeeling to Varanasi
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 9 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 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. 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.
Day 13 Delhi
Depart at any time.
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