Day One: Fly to India
Begin your Indian holiday with an overnight flight from the UK to Delhi.
Day Two: Included Delhi city tour
A coach will be waiting for you when you arrive in Delhi this morning, and will carry you to your hotel. After an included lunch, join your Tour Manager for a guided tour of Delhi. In the Old City you'll see the Red Fort (former home of the Murghal emperor), Jama Masjid Mosque and Raj Ghat, Gandhi's cremation site at Raj Ghat, and enjoy a rickshaw ride through the narrow lanes of Chandni Chowk.
Crossing into New Delhi, you'll enter a colonial city filled with traces of the British Raj. Highlights here will include the historic India Gate war memorial, Parliament House and the broad monumental avenue of the Rajpath.
Day Three: Travel into the Himalayas
Head to Delhi airport to catch the short flight to Chandigarh. After lunch, we'll travel to Kandaghat in Himachal Pradesh where we'll board the train to Shimla. Relax as the 'toy train' winds its scenic way into the foothills of the Himalayas, along the narrow-gauge line opened by Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India, in 1903.
Shimla itself is a delightful city. Its mansions, lawns, and cricket pitches retain the colonial atmosphere you'd expect of a place that was once the summer capital of British India. And your two nights here, in the magnificent Oberoi Cecil Hotel, is sure to be a real highlight of your trip.
Day Four: Included Shimla hill-station tour
This morning we'll rejoin the 'toy train' for a short journey through the mountains to Tari Devi 's Hindu Temple. Enjoy lunch at Clark's Hotel, the first hotel of the now world famous Oberoi chain, before heading out for a guided tour of Shimla.
We'll visit the Viceregal Lodge, where the Partition of India was mapped out, stroll across the Ridge (the road-cum-square that's the centre of community activity in Shimla) and see the very English spires of Christ Church. You may like to visit the temple of the Hindu monkey god, Hanuman, on Jakhoo Hill before joining the crowds at Scandal Point, Shimla's traditional meeting place, for an afternoon gossip.
Day Five: From Shimla to Jaipur
Today we'll retrace our steps, with a packed lunch en route, as we make our way down from Shimla to Chandigarh airport. After a short flight to Jaipur, the 'pink' city, we'll head to our next hotel and spend the rest of the day relaxing.
Day Six: Included Amber Fort tour
Amber, the ancient Rajput capital, is dominated by the 16th-century hill-top stronghold of Amber Fort. Today, we'll take a jeep ride up to the fort to wander its royal halls and take in the views from the ramparts.
After an included lunch, you'll be free to spend the afternoon relaxing or join us for an optional tour to Elefantastic Sanctuary. Interact with the gentle elephants that live here, away from the throngs of mass tourism, as you feed, walk and even bathe your giant friend.
Day Seven: Included Jaipur city tour
Enjoy today's city tour of Jaipur will reveal the museums and ancient observatory of the City Palace complex, and view the ornate- many-windowed facade of the Palace of the Winds.
Return to the hotel for lunch and time to relax and perhaps take a refreshing dip in the pool.
Dinner tonight will be taken at the Nokha House, hosted by the Rathore family in traditional Rajasthani style.
Day Eight: Included Taj Mahal tour
This morning we will leave Jaipur for Agra, India's City of Love. After lunch we'll visit the Ta Mahal, the extraordinarily beautiful monument built by Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife, but our first stop will actually be the pavilions, palaces and courtyards of Agra Fort. And from there we'll head to the Taj Mahal with time to watch the sun set behind its delicate domes and spires.
Day Nine: Travel from Agra to Ranthambhore National Park
Today's early start will be rewarded by another unforgettable view of the Taj Mahal, from across the Yamuna River as the sun rises.
We'll return to the hotel for breakfast, and then leave Agra behind as we head to Abhaneri. This ancient village is home to Chand Baori, one of the oldest and most intricate stepwells in India, its 13 storeys and 3500 steps offering access to water and much-needed refuge from the sun's heat.
After lunch at Umaid Lake Palace, a Heritage resort hotel laid out in the style of a Mughal residence, and a tour of its 20-acre landscaped gardens, we'll continue to Ranthambhore National Park. This former royal hunting ground is now a key centre for Project Tiger, and its grasslands, streams and beautiful pools are home to striped hyenas, sambar deer, sloth bears and of course tigers.
This evening, prior to tomorrow's adventures, enjoy a 'tiger talk' with a local naturalist.
Day 10: Included Ranthambhore wildlife tour
Today revolves around two open-air vehicle safaris in Ranthambhore National Park, one in the morning and one after lunch. Join an expert naturalist guide to search your surroundings for signs of tigers, leopards and the many other species that make their home in the park.
Day 11: Optional Ranthambhore Fort tour
This morning, rest and relax, or join the optional excursion to ancient Ranthambhore Fort, which sits atop hills above the National Park, and rewards those prepared to climb its 273 steps with stupendous views.
In the afternoon we'll bid farewell to Ranthambhore, and make our way into the Aravali Hills, heading to the jungle resort of Vanaashyra. We'll stop en route at the fascinating ruins of Bhangarh Fort for a welcome tea or coffee, before continuing to Vanaashyra, where your private air-conditioned tent will be waiting. After a relaxing afternoon, why not ride a camel-drawn cart into the local village and enjoy a cookery demonstration before dinner?
Day 12: Day at leisure
Spend the day relaxing in the resort after your time spent sightseeing. Why not ride a camel-drawn cart into the local village and enjoy a cookery demonstration before dinner?
Day 13: Fly back to the UK
Today we'll return to Delhi airport to check in for our flight home, arriving back in the UK in the evening of the same day at the end of an unforgettable tour of India and the Himalayan foothills.