- Capture sunrise and sunset over the Taj Mahal, and go on photo shoots at five other UNESCO World Heritage sites.
- Document the fairy-tale marble palaces of Udaipur's Lake Pichola during a scenic boat ride.
- Photograph camels at sunset among the sweeping dunes of the Thar Desert.
- Search for tigers in Ranthambhore National Park, and for rare birds and other wildlife in Keoladeo National Park.
In India, everyday life plays out in bright colors, a vivid juxtaposition of ancient and modern against a backdrop of intricate architecture. Traveling aboard the Palace on Wheelstrain, document this enchanting land on photo shoots in rural villages, at the Taj Mahal, and amid evocative dunes. Focus on birdlife at a wildlife sanctuary, and snap action shots of dancers at a private performance.
Each departure follows a similar itinerary to the one shown below but will include a different festival or celebration.
Arrive in Delhi at any time and check in to our hotel.
The Taj Palace hotel
Set out on a photo tour of New Delhi, the capital established by the British in 1911, and fill your viewfinder with architectural details of the India Gate and Parliament buildings. Then delve into Old Delhi, a patchwork of eight different cities built by a succession of rulers and a center of Muslim India between the 13th and 19th centuries. Take a bicycle rickshaw ride through the old city's busy, narrow lanes, and stop at a local spice market to capture the colorful bustle. Frame the golden spiked minarets of Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India and the final architectural achievement of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Visit the Lodi Gardens, one of Delhi’s loveliest green spaces and site of important Sayyid- and Lodi-era tombs. Muhammad Shah’s tomb was built in 1450 and is the precursor to the famous mogul tombs of Humayun and the Taj Mahal. This evening, gather for a welcome reception and dinner.
The Taj Palace hotel
Travel from Delhi to Jaipur in Rajasthan. Known as the "Pink City" for its rose-colored buildings, Jaipur is protected by high fortifications and multiple gates. The afternoon is free to explore the city on your own. If you wish, join a photo excursion to a traditional fruit and flower market, or relax and enjoy the beautiful gardens of the Jai Mahal Palace Hotel, a masterpiece of Indo-Saracenic architecture dating back to 1745.
Jai Mahal Palace
Begin the day with a morning photo shoot, capturing vibrant images of local men and women in traditional dress in the gardens of the Jai Mahal Palace. After breakfast visit Hawa Mahal, or Palace of Winds, a stunning five-story sandstone building designed to allow ladies of the court to watch life on the streets below. Zoom in on the delicate latticework and honeycombed windows. Continue to Amber Fort, a 16th- and 17th-century hilltop complex that offers a treasures trove of photographic inspiration. Document its exquisite and well-preserved palaces, temples, gardens, and pavilions. Later this afternoon, take a guided tour of the 18th-century royal observatory known as the Jantar Mantar, and examine a variety of precise astronomical tools. In the evening, settle into your cabin aboard the Palace on Wheels.
Palace on Wheels
With your camera in hand, set out on a morning game drive in Ranthambhore National Park in search of the elusive tiger, as well as hyenas, wild boar, spotted deer, and sambar. After lunch back on the train, arrive in the city of Chittaurgarh. Trace a turbulent history of siege, valor, and sacrifice at Chittaurgarh Fort, one of the largest forts in India, and enjoy a photo walk in the village with in the fort walls.
Palace on Wheels
Known as the City of Lakes, Udaipur is most celebrated for the fairy-tale marble palaces that appear to rise from the waters of Lake Pichola. This morning, a scenic boat ride on Lake Pichola provides an opportunity to capture the luminous white marble facade of Jag Niwas, now the Taj Lake Palace, and its shimmering reflection on the water. Venture into a spectacular labyrinth of courtyards within the City Palace, a soaring creation of marble and granite perched on the lake's edge. Incredible photographic opportunities abound at this palace complex, the largest in Rajasthan, which blends medieval, European, and Chinese architecture and is richly decorated with inlaid mirror-work, mosaics, and frescoes. Later, explore the narrow streets of the old city by rickshaw, and stop to photograph a local market before visiting the 17th-century Jagdish Temple, adorned with fantastic carvings.
Palace on Wheels
Today the train carries us into the heart of the Thar Desert to magical Jaisalmer, founded by Rawal Jaisal in A.D. 1156. Rising above the city, the imposing turrets and bastions of the golden sandstone fort conceal a lively town within. Photograph the magnificent fort and discover the havelis, once the mansions of wealthy merchants, decorated with elaborate facades. Cap off our day photographing camels at sunset in the desert dunes. Savor a traditional tea and learn about the lifestyle of people living in the desert. Enjoy an outdoor dinner and special photo shoot with folk dancers and music unique to the Thar Desert region.
Palace on Wheels
Jodhpur's blue-hued old city lies at the foot of the massive Mehrangarh Fort, perched on a rocky outcrop some 120 meters high. Visit the 15th-century fort and learn about its colorful history. Shoot sweeping panoramas of the city below, and explore the museum that houses a spectacular collection of miniature paintings, ivory artifacts, and weapons. Later, in the heart of the old city, hone your portraiture skills during a photo shoot with local Rajasthani men displaying traditional handlebar moustaches. Enjoy lunch at a royal palace hotel before returning to the Palace on Wheels for the final leg of our rail journey.
Palace on Wheels
Disembark the train in Bharatpur after an early breakfast and head into the wetlands of Keoladeo Ghana National Park, a renowned bird sanctuary. Keep your camera ready while searching for egrets, flamingos, and many other bird species and wildlife. Later, during a photo walk around Bharatpur village, meet with and photograph local residents engaged in daily life. En route to Agra, stop at Fatehpur Sikri, the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1569 to 1585, where elegant carved sandstone palaces remain incredibly well-preserved.
Rise early this morning to photograph the Taj Mahal as it sparkles in the dawn's light. Constructed by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife, the Taj Mahal is often described as the most extravagant monument ever built for love. Pay a visit to a marble inlay workshop to see how the intricate stonework on the Taj Mahal was created. This evening, return to the Taj for a sunset photo shoot before gathering for a festive farewell dinner with a traditional sitar musician.
Rise early and cross the Yamuna River to photograph the Taj Mahal at sunrise from the beautiful Mehtab Bagh gardens. At a specially arranged photo shoot, capture the Taj's reflection on the water with camels in the foreground. Then drive to Delhi and relax in day rooms at The Taj Palace hotel. Later, transfer to the airport for your flight home.
Day rooms at The Taj Palace hotel
- Khajuraho Extension5 days from $3,450
After traveling aboard the Palace on Wheels, explore the sacred sites of Khajuraho and Varanasi. Discover the magnificent carved temples of the Chandela Rajputs, designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. In the holy city of Vanarasi, situated on the banks of the Ganges river, witness intimate Hindu rituals that are part of everyday life. Cruise along the Ganges at sunrise and visit the ancient Buddhist monuments of Sarnath.
Drive from Agra to Delhi as scheduled in the main expedition. Relax at the hotel in Delhi this evening.
Fly this morning to Khajuraho. Visit the intricately carved temples of the Chandela Rajputs, who ruled the area from the 10th to 12th centuries.
Spend the morning exploring the eastern group of the Khajuraho temples before taking an early afternoon flight to Varanasi. Situated on the banks of the Ganges River, Varanasi is a pilgrimage site for Hindus and a center for learning. Transfer to the hotel and enjoy free time to relax before this evening’s dinner.
Begin the day with a sunrise boat cruise on the sacred Ganges River to observe morning rituals and prayers. Visit Sarnath, where Gautama Buddha achieved enlightenment and delivered his first sermon in Deer Park. Discover the old city by rickshaw and see the evening Aarti before one last dinner together.
This morning, visit one of India’s leading academic institutions, Banaras Hindu University, established in 1916 to promote the study of Sanskrit literature and preserve Hindu culture. Visit Bharat Kala Bhawan, a museum on the university campus with a fine collection of miniature paintings and sculptures from the 1st to 15th centuries. Transfer to the airport for an afternoon flight to Delhi. Relax in day rooms at the hotel before boarding your return flight home.