A Compass India Holiday representative will receive you at the airport and help transfer you to the hotel.

Delhi, India’s capital has seen great empires rise and fall around it for millennia, with each new batch of rulers building over the works of their predecessors. As a result, the city abounds in monuments and ruins of stunning diversity. The seat of the world’s largest democracy, it also boasts of magnificent symbols of government that pay architectural tribute to the ideals of self-rule and democracy. These co-exist side by side with wide multi-lane motorways, shopping malls, fast cars and ultramodern steel-glass office complexes that characterise any large 21st century metropolis.

Overnight at Delhi

Breakfast will be served at the hotel. Later, proceed for a guided tour of Old Delhi.

Raj Ghat is the famous memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. The shrine bears testimony to the simplicity of the man who changed the world with the power of ideas. A simple black stone structure with an eternal flame burning at one end.

The majestic Red Fort was commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1639, and remained seat of the empire for the next two centuries. Today, the Prime Minister of the India delivers his Independence Day speech to the nation from the ramparts of this red sandstone structure.

Continue your tour to Jama Masjid cycle rickshaw. Jama Masjid is one of Asia’s largest mosques. We shall view this magnificent structure from outside, its lofty and highly ornate domes and minarets reminiscent of a scene from the Arabian Nights.

Proceed for sightseeing in New Delhi.

New Delhi was built by the British in the 1930s as their imperial capital. Majestic government and administrative buildings line the wide, tree-lined avenues of what is also known as Lutyen’s Delhi after Sir Edwin Lutyens who was commissioned to design the city in 1911.

Further south lies the Qutub Minar. Built by Qutubuddin Aibak, a slave general in 1193, it is India’s tallest stone tower and marks the site of the country’s first Muslim kingdom. The iron tower in a square opposite is unique in that it never rusts, although it has been exposed to the elements for centuries.

The stately Humayun’s Tomb is perhaps the first example of the Mughal style of architecture, inspired by Persian styles, more examples of which may be seen in Agra and Fatehpur Sikri.

The structure was erected in memory of Emperor Humayun, father of the illustrious Emperor Akbar, by his widow Hamida Banu Begum. An avid scholar who died an untimely death after falling down the steps of his library, Humayun himself was an architecture enthusiast and well-versed in the Persian style of building. It is said that he himself drew up the blueprint of his tomb in his lifetime, but there is no documented evidence to that effect.

Proceed for sightseeing in New Delhi.

Start at India Gate, the red sandstone arch erected in memory of Indian and British soldiers who laid down their lives in World War I. Close by are the majestic Parliament House, the seat of the world’s largest democracy and the Rastrapathi Bhawan, the Indian President’s official residence. Inside are the famed Mughal Gardens with its ornate fountains and manicured lawns. Mughal Gardens are open to the public during spring.

If time permits then visit the Lotus temple located in south of Delhi. The lotus-shaped Bahai temple south of Delhi is also of interest. An ideal place for meditation, this Bahai House of worship is open to people of all faiths.

We could even have time to see the Indira Gandhi Museum or else Lotus Temple can be replaced with the museum visit. The history of the Gandhi family is well documented in this old building which was the last residence of Mrs Gandhi.

Overnight at Delhi.

A Compass India Holiday representative will transfer you to the airport for your Amritsar flight.

Located on the ancient trade route that connected India to Central Asia, Amritsar is one South Asia’s oldest cities, steeped in history, with a rich tradition of culture and commerce. Amritsar is also the spiritual center of Sikhism and is home to numerous religious sites, most importantly the stupendous Golden Temple. The old part of the city is walled, with a system of narrow alleyways that lead into residential units called katras which , in the old days, provided the city with a line of defence against invaders.

Sri Harmandir Sahib or Shri Darbar Sahib, colloquially referred to as the Golden Temple, is Sikhism’s holiest shrine. Constructed in the 16th century, the dazzling gurdwara rests on a rectangular platform over the waters of Amrit Sarovar (lake of ambrosia) that gives Amritsar its name. The architecture of the temple is a blend of Hindu and Islamic styles and decorated with intricately carved wooden panels with elaborate gold and silver inlays. There are entrance gates in all four directions, symbolic of the Sikh faith’s openness, bidding welcome to followers of all faiths.

The Summer Palace of Ranjit Singh stands inside a garden behind high walls. The valiant king represented India’s last stand against the British, and today a museum to his memory stands in the palace compounds, displaying a comprehensive collection of paintings, manuscripts and weaponry.

On 13th April, 1919, a British military officer ordered his troops to open fire upon a peaceful gathering of Indian protestors in Jallianwala Bagh, injuring over a thousand people, and killing, according to official figures, 379. Today, a poignant flame-shaped monument marks the site of the killings, “hallowed by the mingled blood of two thousand innocent Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims,” according to the memorial plaque. Preserved on the site are walls with bullet holes and a well into which people dived to escape bullets and drowned.

In the evening visit the India-Pakistan border at Wagah. Large, vocal crowds from both countries gather in large numbers to watch soldiers bedecked in ceremonial uniform conduct elaborately choreographed “Beating the Retreat” and “Change of Guard” maneuvers within handshaking distance of each other, accompanied with many theatrical glares and hostile gestures. In spite of the apparent belligerence (which the crowds love) between the two parties, the maneuvers are more often than not co-choreographed by officers from both sides over an amiable cup of tea.

Overnight at Amritsar.

Today as per the flight timing we will transfer you to airport to board the flight for Delhi and take connecting flight to Udaipur.

Founded by Maharana Uday Singh, beautiful Udaipur on the banks of Lake Pichola is a fairyland with beautiful palaces in the middle of lakes, islands, opulent havelis and temples. Surrounded by the ancient Aravalli hills, Udaipur shimmers in dazzling white and is also called the City of Dawn.

Overnight at Udaipur

Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

Proceed for sightseeing tour of Udaipur, stopping first at City Palace.

The massive City Palace overlooking the Lake Pichola is a glittering example of Rajput architecture. A part of the city palace is now a museum. Behind the fortified walls of the palace, dark, steep and narrow staircases connect a maze of royal chambers and courtyards. Dazzling intricate miniatures, antiques and paintings are on display everywhere. Of note are gorgeous mosaics of peacocks in More Mahal and a courtyard full of shady trees on the terrace of Amar Vilas.

Maharana Sangram Singh built Saheliyon Ki Bari or “Garden of the Maidens” in the mid 18th century on the shores of Fateh Sagar Lake. The lush green lawns of the garden are replete with fountains whose spouts are placed inside the trunks of large stone elephants. The water flow is controlled solely by water pressure. No pumps are used. Of particular note is an interesting medieval experiment in sound design. In a secluded corner of the garden, carefully selected large leafed plants damp the sound of flowing water on stones to create the auditory effect of being in a large tropical forest in the pouring rain.

The magnificent 17th century Jagdish Temple is located in the center of the city and is a fine example of Indo-Aryan architecture. The main deity at the center is a giant black stone image of Lord Vishnu. The outer walls of the temple and the tower feature highly detailed carvings depicting Vishnu and scenes from the life of Krishna.

Proceed for high tea at the Monsoon Palace in a royal vintage car.

Overnight at Udaipur.

Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

The 15th century Ranakpur Temples are situated in the middle of dense woods and are an important pilgrimage for the Jain community. The temples’ exterior is majestic yet somber, while the interiors are richly embellished with highly intricate carvings covering every inch of the solid marble walls. This reflects the Jain belief in the importance of a rich inner life within a simple exterior. The huge domed marble central ceiling of the temple is so adorned with dazzling filigree work that it looks almost translucent. The hushed silence inside the temple and the subtle smell of incense will put even the most gregarious traveller in a contemplative mood.

Proceed to Jodhpur.

Rao Jodha, chief of the Rathore clan, founded the city of Jodhpur in 1459. Situated on the edge of Thar Desert, Jodhpur embodies the romance and feudal splendor of Rajasthan. Jodhpur is also called the ‘Blue City’ from the blue houses that surround its most famous landmark, the majestic Mehrangarh Fort that sits on the top of a hill 125 meters above the city. The city itself is surrounded by high walls 10 kilometers long.

Dinner wll be served at the Mehrangarh Fort.

Overnight at Jodhpur.

Proceed for sightseeing of Jodhpur in the morning.

Hewn out of solid rock atop the red sandstone cliff overlooking Jodhpur 400 feet above the city, the awesome 15th Century Mehrangarh fort spreads out over 5 kilometers and in the words of Rudyard Kipling, is the “work of angels and giants”. The fort’s defenses are impressive, with seven highly fortified gates to reach the fort, and massive, ornate cannons perched on the bastion walls. The view of the Blue City from the ramparts of the fort is breathtaking. In spite of the forbidding exteriors, the fort’s exquisitely latticed windows, carved panels, and ceiling with radiant glass tiles reveal another more artistic side to its warrior inhabitants. Batman fans might remember Mehrangarh Fort from an iconic scene in Chris Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises.

Jaswant Thada, the white marble memorial to Maharaja Jaswant Singh II is known for its highly intricate lattice-work. The marble used in the structure is translucent and in the day time, the interior walls glow from the sunshine outside. Jaswant Singh II was known for his innovative irrigation projects and to this day, locals throng to Jaswant Thada to pay their respects to the benevolent king whose touch once healed their arid land.

Later, enjoy a walk through the old town. You could also drive to the Bal Samand Palace for a late but scenic lunch by the lake.

In the evening, visit the Umaid Bhawan Palace museum.

Designed by the British Royal Institute of Architects, the Umaid Bhawan is one of world’s largest private residences with over 300 rooms, lavish theaters, banquet halls and a ballroom. A part of the palace has been converted to a museum with an impressive collection of royal memorabilia and weaponry.

Overnight at Jodhpur.

After breakfast drive to Jaipur
Jaipur, also known as the ‘Pink City’ from the facelift it received in 1853 to celebrate a visit by Prince Albert, is dotted with havelis (traditional mansions), bazaars, opulent palaces and rugged majestic forts that showcase the glorious past of its rulers, the Rajputs.

The Rajput princes were fierce warriors some of whom declared loyalty to the invading Mughals and proved to be formidable allies of the empire. Among them was King Jai Singh II, whom the Mughals gave the title Sawai Maharaja, or “King and a quarter”. Jaipur gets its name from this valiant king.

This evening, visit the Birla Temple. A stunning white marble structure, the three towers of the Birla Temple stand for three different approaches to religion. Carvings on the ornate pillars celebrate Hindu gods and goddesses along with Christ, Virgin Mary and St. Francis of Assisi. Don’t miss the hypnotic evening Aarti, the ritual lighting of oil lamps.

Overnight at Jaipur.

Breakfast will be served at the hotel. Proceed for a morning excursion to Amber Fort.

Situated on the top of a hill, the magnificent Amber Fort Palace offers a panoramic view of the old city. Established in 1592, its rugged exteriors believe the delicate architecture inside, a rare fusion of traditional Rajasthani and Islamic styles. Reach the fort the old fashioned way, atop a ceremonial elephant along a cobbled path up that opens into several havelis, step wells, courtyards and temples. Visit Sheesh Mahal or chamber of mirrors, Jas Mandir with its ornate ceilings and latticework and the stunning Shila Devi temple with its intricately carved silver door.

Continue sightseeing.

The sprawling City Palace has been home to the rulers of Jaipur since the 18th century. The architecture of the palace is a blend of traditional Rajasthani and Mughal styles. The City palace Museum is located here and houses various items from Jaipur’s princely and warrior past.

The scientific-minded King Jai Singh II, an astronomy enthusiast, commissioned five observatories named Jantar Mantar around West Central India in the early 1700s. The one in Jaipur is the largest and the best preserved. The massive architectural instruments are constructed out of local stone and marble some of which are still in use. We shall walk through and explore this surreal maze of giant geometric objects.

The exquisite outer facade of Hawa Mahal, the "Palace of Winds," resembles a manmade honeycomb and is one of Jaipur’s most iconic and oft photographed sights. Designed to facilitate maximum air circulation and cross ventilation, the five-storied Hawa Mahal is made of lime and mortar, and decorated with impossible intricate trelliswork. From the privacy of its ornate jharokhas (traditional Rajasthani windows), the ladies of the court could gaze out at life in the streets below.

Jaipur is famous for its shopping, particularly gold and silver jewellery, blue pottery, tie-dye materials, silk, saris, wooden handicrafts and carpets.

Overnight at Jaipur.

Breakfast will be served at the hotel. Drive to Fatehpur Sikri in your spacious Compass rated vehicle.

Fatehpur Sikri, or the “City of Victory”, built by Emperor Akbar in 1569 in honour of sufi saint Salim Chishti was the capital of the Mughals for 14 years. The white marble Tomb of the Salim Chisti with its intricately carved marble screens occupies pride of place in the central courtyard of the structure.

Attractions include the colossal Buland Darwaza, a victory gate built to mark the conquest of by Emperor Akbar, the Diwan-i-Aam where the emperor held his legendary hearings with the general public and the Diwan-i-Khas where he held private consultation with his nine ministers, or as he called them, his navaratna or nine gems.

Fatehpur Sikri also houses the palace of Jodhabai, Akbar’s Hindu wife, and the house of the legendary Birbal - Akbar’s Hindu minister and one of the navaratnas - the tales of whose extraordinary wit and wisdom are the stuff of popular culture in India, inspiring countless comic books and children’s animation TV shows.

The Mughal capital of Agra on the banks of the Yamuna River is a bustling town teeming with narrow, winding alleyways that hark back to an era gone by. Dotted by magnificent monuments including UNESCO World Heritage Site Taj Mahal, the city is a dazzling contrast of red sandstone and white marble structures.

Proceed for a dance drama depicting the love story of Taj Mahal in the evening.

Overnight at Agra.

Proceed for a sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal.

Built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial to his queen Mumtaz Mahal and designed by Persian architect Ustad, the magnificent Taj Mahal is one of the seven wonders of the world. A massive white marble structure so delicate that it appears to float in the air, the Taj is otherworldly in its beauty and is best viewed in moonlight or at dawn and dusk. The close-up view reveals breathtakingly intricate inlay work carved into the marble, and bears eloquent testimony to the triumph of Mughal art, culture and architecture at its peak. No holiday in India is complete without the Taj.

A beautifully maintained tree-lined monument at Sikandra marks the grave of the illustrious Akbar the Great. A great believer in harmony and equality of all religions, this visionary Mughal Emperor created Din-i Ilahi, a unique religion that combines the fundamentals of Islam, Hindusim, Buddhism and Christianity. His memorial imbibes architectural motifs of all the faiths that inspired him.

Standing across the river from the Taj, the majestic red sandstone structure of Agra Fort was erected in 1565 by Mughal Emperor Akbar the great. Little did he know that the same fort would later serve as prison for his grandson Emperor Shah Jahan in the end of his days. From his prison perch of Musamman Burj, an exquisite octagonal marble tower atop the fort, Shah Jahan would spend his last days looking out longingly at the Taj.

Itmad-ud-Daulah is perhaps the Mughal Empire’s best kept secret. Empress Nur Jehan, wife of Jahangir, son of Akbar, commissioned the structure as a memorial to her father. Mistakenly called Baby Taj, Itmad-ud-Daulah in fact is decades older than the Taj, and may have served as its design blueprint.

Overnight at Agra.

Breakfast will be served at the resort.

Proceed to Khajuraho en route visit Orchha.

12 kms from Khajuraho, the medieval city of Orchha on was founded in 1501 by the Bundela rulers on the bank of the Betwa river. The town is famous for its cenotaphs, locally known as chhattris, built in the memory of long-dead kings.

Of interest, the Orchha Fort, the majestic high domes and spires of Chaturbhuj Temple and the Raj Mandir, both constructed in the later half of the 16th century.

The Chandela dynasty of Central India is credited with the construction of the magnificent Khajuraho Complex between the 9th and 10 centuries AD. The name Khajuraho may be a corruption of the Sanskrit Kharjura Vahaka, the bearer of the scorpion and could be a reference to one of Khajuraho’s popular sculptures, depicting woman undressing to remove a scorpion from her body.

The sandstone walls of the Khajuraho temples are crowded with countless sculptures of gods, goddesses, dancers and beasts but it’s the sections containing erotic sculptures that the temple is most famous for. Some interpret them as an indicator of the liberal and enlightened outlook of medieval Indian society but according to some scholars, the figures are merely metaphoric and conceal a deeper symbolism.

In the evening proceed for a sound and light show.

Overnight at Khajuraho.

Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

Proceed for the sightseeing of Western Group of temples.

Kandariya Mahadev is the largest temple in the complex and is dedicated to Lord Shiva, with over 800 exquisitely sculpted figures of gods and celestial maidens adorning its walls.

Chausat Yogini Temple is the oldest in the complex. The only granite temple among the cluster, it’s a shrine to one of the aspects of the fearsome Hindu Mother Goddess Kali, or The Dark One.

The Lakshmana Temple stands at the southwest corner. Look out for a minor shrine where one of the ancient sculptors added his own likeness in a touching act of vanity.

Other temples include the Vishwanath Temple with exquisite stonework on its outer wall, the Matangeshwar Temple with its famed eight foot high phallic lingam, the Chitragupta Temple, inside which the radiant Sun God rides his seven-horse chariot, and the Varaha Temple that houses a 1.5 m high Varaha, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu as a giant boar, that attempts (and fails) to find the end of the universe.

After sightseeing we will transfer you to airport to board the flight for Varanasi.

The ancient city of Varanasi on the west bank of the holy Ganga has been a spiritual center for Hinduism since the dawn of time.

Varanasi’s high ghats (steps leading to and from the river) are crowded with priests, wrestlers, astrologers, devotees, bathers, morning walkers and saffron clad mendicants or sadhus. The ringing of temple bells and the heady, heavy smell of incense permeate everywhere. In Varanasi, even a short walk or a simple boat-ride is an unforgettable adventure.

The cinematic nature of daily life in Varanasi is not lost on filmmakers and over the years, many have made Varanasi their backdrop, among them maestros like Roberto Rossellini, James Ivory and Satyajit Ray. Fittingly, the first moving picture ever shot on Indian soil was filmed here in 1899.
Varanasi is one of the unforgettable highlights of your luxury holiday in the timeless Indian subcontinent.

Proceed for a buggy ride in the evening exploring Varanasi.

Overnight will be at Varanasi.

Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

Proceed for day-guided tour of Varanasi starting with the Bharat Mata Temple, where the principle deity is a big relief map of India engraved in marble.

Later, visit the 18th century Durga Temple. According to legend, the idol of the goddess simply appeared in the spot where the temple stands today.

The white marble Tulsi Manas Temple has scenes and stanzas from the Hindi epic Ram Charit Manas engraved upon its walls. The temple is in the traditional Shikhara style, its towers representing the great Himalayan summits or shikharas.

Kashi Vishwanath with its famous solid gold spire is one of the holiest of Hindu temples and devotees believe that praying here after a dip in the Ganges will grant them Moksha or liberation from the eternal cycle of life, death and rebirth.

Up next, the 4000 acre Benaras Hindu University campus houses an art gallery and the Mosque of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.

A short drive from Varanasi, lies Sarnath where, millennia ago, the Buddha delivered his first ever sermon. Today, thousands of travellers from all over the world pour in every year to pay homage to what is one of the holiest places in Asia. The 1600 year old Dhamekh stupa marks the spot where the Buddha sat as he delivered his first teachings. Interestingly, this ancient stupa is a stand in for an even earlier structure erected by Emperor Asoka in 249 BC to commemorate the teaching.

The highly recommended Sarnath museum houses antiquities dating back to the 3rd century BC. Don’t miss the gigantic red sandstone standing Bodhisattvas and the magnificent Ashokan pillar that is India’s state symbol.

Enjoy the evening Aarti at the Ghats. The guide will be giving a commentary to you on the proceedings and meanings of the chants during the Aarti of the river.

Overnight at Varanasi.

Go for an early morning boat ride along the middle of the river to watch the spiritual life of Hindu India unfold before you along the banks. Visit Dashashwamedh and Manikarnika, the holiest of the Varanasi ghats. A section of Manikarnika serves as a cremation ground and it is said the funeral pyre never dies here.

ity as the faithful are coming and going.

Kashi Vishwanath with its famous solid gold spire is one of the holiest of Hindu temples and devotees believe that praying here after a dip in the Ganges will grant them Moksha or liberation from the eternal cycle of life, death and rebirth.

Later as per the flight timing we will transfer you to airport to board the flight for Kolkata.

In 1690, three villages in the southern Bengal were combined and turned into a port and trading post by the British East India Company under license from the Nawab of Bengal. Urbanization continued for half a century until Nawab Siraj Ud Daula invaded and occupied the fledgeling city. The British won the resulting battle, paving the way for two centuries of colonial rule in India. The city of Calcutta was won back and remained the capital of the British Raj for over 150 years. During this period, the British administration built grand colonial buildings, wide tree-laned avenues, lush green parade grounds and bandstands, earning Calcutta the sobriquet “The City of palaces.” Egged on by a rapidly emerging progressive Indian middle class, the British undertook widespread social reform and built world class schools, colleges and universities. But with education, came ideas of nationalism and independence, and Calcutta became a hotbed of rebellion and unrest leading to the shifting of the commercial capital to Delhi in 1911.

After independence in 1947, Calcutta’s (now Kolkata) fortunes waned and decades of economic stagnation followed. Still, the city has remained a highly potent cultural force and continues to produce pioneers in the arts and sciences alike. Among the city’s famous denizens are philosopher-poet-novelist Rabindranath Tagore, Asia’s first Nobel Laureate, Academy Award winning filmmaker Satyajit Ray in whose work, according to Martin Scorcese, “the line between poetry and cinema dissolved,” Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen and the modern day saint Mother Teresa among others.

Overnight at Kolkata.

Breakfast will be served at the hotel. Proceed for sightseeing.

Designed in Indo-Saracenic style in the early 20th Century, the white dome of Victoria Memorial bears a suspicious resemblance to that of the much larger grander Taj Mahal and is a tribute to the memory of Queen Victoria. The building houses a museum with oil paintings depicting scenes from the empress’s life as well as a rich and diverse visual and documentary record of the British in India as well as the history of Kolkata. The outside lawns are 64 acres of lush manicured greens that look out into the maidan, the expansive rolling green tree-lined British-era parade ground that serve as the lungs of Kolkata.

In the Northern part of the city, lies the famed Thakur Bari, the ancestral home of Rabindranath Tagore. The mansion houses the Rabindrabharati Museum. On display is a wealth of photographs, writings and original paintings by Tagore and his artist nephew Abanindranath, one of the pioneers of the Bengal School of Art. The area was also home to Kaliprasanna Singha whose adaptation of the Indian epic Mahabharat and biting satirical writings that he wrote under the pseudonym of Hutom Pyancha or Barn Owl are among the finest examples of 19th century Bengali writing. The area served as incubator for the Bengal Rennaissance, a unique cultural experiment that married Western progressive thought with the ideals of nationalism and self-rule, eventually laying the foundation of the Indian Nationalist movement.

The Indian Museum on Chowringhee is an imposing Roman structure erected in 1875. The largest museum in the country, it houses a fine collection straddling art, archeology, anthropology, zoology and geology. Hundreds of local visitors throng the museum every day to visit the museum’s famed Egyptian mummy and marvel at the gigantic blue whale jawbone that greets visitors at the entrance of the zoology section.

Not to be missed is the Mother Teresa Mission, where this modern day saint lived an extraordinary dedicated life alleviating the suffering of thousands of India’s underprivileged.

The magnificent Eden Gardens is among India’s premier sports stadia and can house over 100,000 screaming fans on match day. Tha adjacent garden has a beautiful Burmese pagoda and a lake.

Overnight at Kolkata.

Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

As per the flight timing we will transfer you to airport for the flight to Bagdogra where our representative shall meet you and escort you to a Compass approved vehicle for your drive to Darjeeling.

Originally a part of the former Himalayan kingdom of Sikkim, the area around Darjeeling was given to the British East India Company on lease to build a sanatorium in 1835. Soon after disagreements broke out with the Chogiyal King of Sikkim and after a minor war, Darjeeling was annexed permanently by the British by the 1860s. Commercial cultivation of tea had already begun by then, causing large numbers of British settlers to relocate to Darjeeling. Soon, it was the official summer capital of the Bengal Presidency and in no time, Darjeeling had transformed into the quaint colonial hill station we know today. Movie buffs may be interested to know that actress Vivien Leigh of Gone with the Wind fame was born in Darjeeling to British settler parents and spent much of her early childhood here.

Check in at Glenburn Tea Estate Plantation. Overnight at Darjeeling.

In Darjeeling, all roads lead to the Mall, or as it is called locally, Chowrasta (crossroads). Ascend along a hilly road until you arrive at a relatively flat area. Quaint benches are placed all around the edges looking out at the surrounding hills. Do remember though that some of the benches are reserved beforehand by families of macaques who sometimes drop by to admire the view, which on clear days extends all the way to the magnificent Khangchendzonga (alt: Kangchenjunga or Kanchanjunga) massif, the third highest mountain peak in the world.

The Padmaja Nehru Himalayan Zoological Park is famous for its Tibetan wolves, snow leopards, Red Pandas and Amur (Siberian) Tigers and is renowned worldwide as a highly successful snow leopard and Red Panda breeding centre.

Established in 1954, the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) is one of the premier training centres in the world for mountaineers, counting as faculty a highly experienced team of multiple Everest summiteers. The legendary Tenzing Norgay was associated with the institute till the end of his days. The institute runs excellent courses at both beginner and advanced levels for Indian citizens and foreign nationals alike at highly subsidized rates, as well as the only mountaineering programme in India designed especially for the visually impaired. Located on a ridge, the institute commands a great view of the Khangchendzonga. The HMI museum has a wonderful collection of books, documents, photographs, paintings, route maps and historical artifacts like a 1920 letter from His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama granting permission to the first British expedition in Tibet, original equipment used by the fateful 1924 Mallory-Irvine Everest Expedition as well as the successful summit attempt in 1953 by Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary.

Shrubbery Park on a hilltop overlooking the zoo is yet another viewpoint in Darjeeling, commanding views of Khangchendzonga and the Singla Valley alike.

Observatory Hill overlooking the Chowrasta is known for its Mahakal Temple and Buddhist shrine. Located side by side, the two places of worship are yet another example of the intertwined nature of the two faiths all over the Himalayas.

Overnight at Darjeeling.

The 4620 foot wide Darjeeling-Rangit Passenger Ropeway takes you from 7000 feet above sea level at Darjeeling’s North Point down to about 800 feet at Rangit Valley in a six-seater boxcar. Great views of the valley and surrounding plantations, but not for the faint of heart.

The tucked away Lover’s Road too has great views and is one of Darjeeling’s curiosities, as are the natural rock formations named after Tenzing Norgay and Nawang Gombu, the latter being the first mountaineer to summit Everest twice. The Tenzing and Gombu rocks are used by HMI trainees for climbing practice before they move on to more challenging stuff.

The charming 50 acre Lloyd’s Botanical Garden is home to alpine plants both indigenous and imported. Of particular interest are over 50 rare species of orchid, numbering over 2500 specimens.

The other highlights of your visit to Darjeeling is without doubt the dawn or dusk visit to Tiger Hill, an 8500 foot high viewpoint that offers the finest view of the Khangchendzonga massif from the region. As you wait in the bitter cold for the haze to lift, your breath will mist over, your teeth will chatter but you will never forget the sight of the mountain in the morning sun.

The UNESCO World Heritage Toy Train (the Darjeeling leg of Mountain Railways of India) negotiates the Batasia Loop near Ghoom to reduce its angle its descent. Designed in 1919, the loop offers a tremendous 360 degree view of the neighbouring hills. The best way to experience the loop is to take a ride on the Toy Train, a narrow gauge steam locomotive that provides an unbelievably scenic commute from Siliguri to Darjeeling, providing a close up view of the scenery, local flora and village life. On steep inclines the train goes slowly enough for locals to be able to hop off and on. You’ll often find regular commuters stretching their legs by walking alongside the train on picturesque mountain trails. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway came into being in the late 19th century and all these years later remains the preferred mode of travel for most visitors to Darjeeling. Batasia Loop is also known for its Gorkha Memorial in honour of soldiers who gave their lives for India.

Other sights of interest are the Rock Garden and the Happy Valley Tea Plantation.

Overnight at Darjeeling.

After breakfast, a Compass India Inc. representative will drop you to Baghdogra airport in time for your flight to Kolkata. From Kolkata airport catch the connector to Mumbai where a Compass official will assist you with your hotel transfer and check in.

Originally an archipelago of seven islands on the Arabian Sea, Mumbai was named after Mumba Devi, patron goddess of the Koli fishermen indigenous to the area. In the 19th century, reclamation work joined up the islands in a long, narrow strip of land that is the Mumbai we know today. This bustling metropolis is India’s commercial capital and home of Bollywood, the world’s largest movie industry. A city of contrasts, Ferraris and Porsches stand shoulder to shoulder on Mumbai roads with strikingly retro Premier Padmini cabs, and glitzy malls stocking super luxury brands co-exist side by side with buzzing local markets.

Overnight at Mumbai.

The Prince of Wales Museum, (now the Chhatrapati Shivaji Vastu Sangrahalaya), designed by architect George Wittet, was completed in 1915 but served as a military hospital during the Great War, and used as a museum only subsequently from 1922. Built to commemorate the visit of the then Prince of Wales (who was later to become King George V) the museum is among India;s finest and houses artefacts from every age of Indian history including the ancient Maurya and Gupta Empires, as well as the 5000 year old Bronze Age Indus Valley Civilzation.

The nearby Gandhi Museum is located in a house where Gandhi would live during his visits to Mumbai. On display are the great man’s personal belongings and books.

The decidedly un-fortress-like business district to the North of Kolaba is popularly known as Fort and gets its name from a long-dismantled East India Company fort that, soon after the Maratha Wars, gave way to the grand colonial buildings which give this part of Mumbai its distinctive architectural flavour. Of note is St. John’s Church, dedicated to British soldiers who laid down their lives in Afghanistan and Sind in the 19th century.

To travellers flying into Mumbai, the city’s most recognizable feature is perhaps the Marine Drive, a long sea-facing promenade that runs from Nariman Point to Malabar Hill in a shallow arc, curving along the lapping waters of the Arabian Sea. In the evening, the Marine Drive glitters in a stunning crescent of light and is appropriately named “Queen’s Necklace.”

Flora Fountain/ Hutama Chowk situated in the heart of the city was erected in 1869 in honour of a British Governor of Bombay. Sir Brtle Frere. Flora Fountain marks a junction of five streets and known as the 'Picadilly Circus 'of Mumbai, which is decorated at its four corners with mythological figures, the Fountain is a structure in dull stone with a figure the Roman Goddess of flowers, at the top.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Victoria Terminus is one of India’s busiest railway stations and. a unique amalgamation of Indian and Gothic architectural styles. The centerpiece of the station is a 160 foot high dome and an ode to progress in the form of the statue of a woman carrying a torch. Movie buffs may be interested to know that Victoria Terminus featured prominently in the Academy Award winning “Slumdog Millionaire.”

The English Gothic Mumbai High Court Building was designed by Col. J. A. Fuller, a British engineer, and dates back to 1878. On the western face of this majestic structure stand the statues of Justice and Mercy.

Made of local Kurla stone, the 280 foot tall Rajabai Clock Tower is an amalgam of Venetian and Gothic styles of architecture, and boasts of absolutely stunning stained glass windows. Presently, the tower houses the University of Mumbai library.

Built in 1880, the terraced Hanging Garden on Malabar Hill sits atop the three reservoirs which supply water to all of Mumbai and offers a spectacular view of the city.

Overnight at Mumbai.

Today you are free to spend the day at your own pace. Later, a Compass representative will drop you to the international airport in time for your flight home.

Request for Information


Signup newsletter