The Heart of India aboard the Deccan Odyssey

The Heart of India aboard the Deccan Odyssey


The Heart of India aboard the Deccan Odyssey

11 Days

Visiting: India

Tour operator:

Riviera Travel

Tour code:


This tour is no longer available

Tour Overview

Say 'Namaste' to India on a luxurious train journey from the back-alley markets of Old Delhi to the grandeur of the Taj Mahal, and the modern metropolis of Mumbai.

Uncover India's grand cultural heritage while exploring its many royal palaces and forts, as well as some of the oldest and most important sights in the country. We'll adventure through its rich natural landscape in search of untamed wildlife in Ranthambore and visit one of the seven wonders of the world at Agra's Taj Mahal. 

Travelling by train is an immersive way to experience this vast, surprising and intriguing country. The newly refurbished Deccan Odyssey is the best India has to offer with palatial decor and the atmosphere of a bygone golden age - it's a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience you'll carry with you forever. 

This holiday is ideal for travellers looking for a relaxing way to see the flawless grandeur and past glories of the Raj and delve deeper into the life of ordinary Indian's post-independence. 


  • Travel through the expansive Indian countryside in one of the country’s most luxurious private trains, the Deccan Odyssey. 

  • Go in search of tigers and other native wildlife in Ranthambore National Park and visit the surrounding villages for a taste of local daily life. 


  • Explore some of India's largest and most historic cities with visits and guided tours in Udaipur, Jaipur, Mumbai and New and Old Delhi, including a cycle rickshaw ride through a bustling marketplace. 

  • Discover India's abundant history with visits to UNESCO-listed sites of Ellora Caves and Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, the Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum in Vadodara and the Prince of Wales Museum in Mumbai. 

  • See the magnificent Taj Mahal with its pure white marble and exquisite craftsmanship, and visit the inspiration for its jewellery box design, the Baby Taj. 

  • Travel through the expansive Indian countryside in one of the country’s most luxurious private trains, the Deccan Odyssey.

  • Go in search of tigers and other native wildlife in Ranthambore National Park and visit the surrounding villages for a taste of local daily life.

  • Explore some of India's largest and most historic cities with visits and guided tours in Udaipur, Jaipur, Mumbai and New and Old Delhi, including a cycle rickshaw ride through a bustling marketplace.

  • Discover India's abundant history with visits to UNESCO-listed sites of Ellora Caves and Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, the Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum in Vadodara and the Prince of Wales Museum in Mumbai.

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Day 1

Fly to Delhi

Our exciting adventure begins with an overnight flight to Delhi.

Day 2

New Delhi 

On arrival, we'll transfer to New Delhi for a one-night stay in a five-star hotel. After a short rest, we'll begin exploring the city with a guided orientation tour of New Delhi. 

Designed on an imperial scale by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1911, New Delhi is a bustling hub that reflects the Raj legacy and is home to the former Viceroy's Palace, now the Presidential Palace.  It's divided by wide, tree-lined avenues and punctuated by many historical monuments which we'll see on our tour. 

On our orientation tour, we’ll follow the imposing Rajpath - or Kingsway - a vast parade, passing both the India Gate and the office of the Indian Government as well as some of Delhi's older monuments. Our tour includes Qutub Minar, known as Victory Tower - it's the tallest stone tower in India - and the nearby Humayun’s tomb, an outstanding example of Moghul architecture and the first mausoleum of its type, pre-dating the country's famous Taj Mahal by nearly a century. 

Included experience

An orientation guided tour of New Delhi.​​​​​​​

Day 3

Old Delhi 

This morning, we continue exploring the city, visiting Old Delhi with a guided walking tour from the Salaam Baalak Trust. We'll see the city through the eyes of the children who used to live and work on the streets of Delhi as you wander through narrow alleys and bustling bazaars. And we'll hear stories of the Mughal era and first-hand accounts of life today within the walled city as we uncover lesser-known attractions, known only to the locals, with this eye-opening experience.  

National Rail Museum 

Later, we'll head back to New Delhi to the National Rail Museum to see their collection of rare trains. The collection is spread over 11 acres (and 160 years of rail history in the Indian sub-continent) with 88 decommissioned locomotives, saloons, carriages, cranes and special coaches - it's a trainspotter's paradise. 

Board the Deccan Odyssey 

Then, it'll be time to transfer to Safdarjung Railway Station, board our luxury train and embark on a voyage across the magnificent landscapes of India. 

The rest of the afternoon and evening is spent settling into your cabin and enjoying the train's state-of-the-art facilities, including our first dinner - a selection of Indian, oriental and continental delicacies - in the restaurants on board.

Included experience

A guided tour of Old Delhi and visit to the National Rail Museum.


Signature Experience

After our tour of Old Delhi, we hop aboard a bicycle-driven rickshaw through Chandni Chowk, a densely populated neighbourhood in Old Delhi, home to one of the oldest and busiest markets in Old Delhi. Then, we'll stop for lunch at a beautifully restored Haveli, a recipient of UNESCO's Asia-Pacific Award for Cultural Heritage Conservation. Here we'll step into a time capsule from the Mughal era with all its architectural beauty and grandeur. Lunch will include delicious delights created by experimental chefs who combine artful presentation with tasteful Indian ‘tadakkas’. It's a mouthwatering mix of Old Delhi delicacies and rich Mughlai cuisine.

Day 4

Ranthambore National Park 

After a peaceful night's sleep lulled by the steady rhythm of our luxury locomotive, we'll arrive at Sawai Madhopur. 

We'll enjoy a delicious breakfast on board before setting out for a game drive through Ranthambore National Park, one of North India's biggest and most popular national parks.

Through years of conservation, Ranthambore has become the best place to go to spot tigers in India. If that isn't exciting enough, you may see large numbers of sambars, the largest Asian antelope, as well as marsh crocodiles, wild boar and rare sloth bears and leopards. Travelling in groups of six through the park with a local guide and driver, we'll go in search of these magnificent creatures. As we explore their natural habitat your local guide will tell you all about the animals you're seeing and the park itself. Keep your binoculars at the ready - over 300 bird species call the park home, including crested eagles, painted storks and wild peacocks. Look out for the playful troop of black-faced langur monkeys near the main entrance gate.

It'll be back to the train for lunch before we tour the local villages around Ranthambore National Park. Surrounded by the rolling hills of Arvallis and Vindhayas, the villages of Sawai Madhopur offer insight into the daily lives of the farmers and typical Indian village life. (If you like art, don't miss the folksy sketches - or Mandana – that decorate the walls of their mud houses.)

Included experience

Game drive through Ranthambore National Park and tour of local villages in Sawai Madhopur.


Signature Experience

Our way back to the train this afternoon, we'll stop for high tea at the intimate Sawai Madhopur Lodge, a former hunting post of the royals. We'll bask in the charm of yesteryear on its shady colonnaded veranda with views of the gardens and the forest beyond. 

Day 5

The Taj Mahal 

Arriving in Agra this morning, we'll visit one of the world's most iconic monuments - the Taj Mahal. It's a true highlight of the trip. The early morning light, as the mist rises from the Yamuna River behind it, captures its ethereal beauty at its best - it's not hard to see why this stunning marble palace is known as the 'Crown Jewel of India'. Built to house the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal - Emperor Johan's wife - it combines extraordinary craftsmanship, meticulous symmetry and abundant history (no wonder it took 20,000 men 22 years to finish). We think it's one of the most amazing monuments on the planet, but you'll have plenty of time to marvel at it from all angles to decide for yourself if you agree. 

The Baby Taj 

If one Taj Mahal isn't enough for you, try two! After lunch at a local hotel this afternoon, we’ll make our way to the tomb of  Itmad-ud-Daulah, known locally as ‘The Baby Taj’. Built by Shah Jahan's wife for her father, it was the inspiration for the Taj Mahal. It's a chance to see the marble inlay workmanship Agra is famous for and explore the structure's jewel box design.

Later, we'll return to the Deccan Odyssey for another sumptuous dinner as we travel on towards Jaipur.

Included experience

Visits to the Taj Mahal and the Baby Taj.

Day 6

Tour of Jaipur 

We'll wake up in the last city of India's famous Golden Triangle, Jaipur, where we'll hop off our luxury train to tour the Pink City. Starting with the Hawa Mahal, the famous Palace of the Winds. Constructed with red and pink sandstone common to the area (hence the nickname the Pink City), it's over 200 years old. But it's not just a historical relic but a living testament to the artistic and architectural brilliance of its era. It's beautifully decorated with paintings, intricate carvings and many windows. The lattice detail was originally designed to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life and festivals celebrated in the street below without being seen.

Next, we'll visit the home of the current Maharaja (who's only in his 20s!), The City Palace. In the heart of the Old City, the palace is made up of a complex of courtyards, gardens and buildings constructed over the ages to create a map of Jaipur's architectural history. It is a striking blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. Housed inside are a collection of costumes, carpets, paintings and an impressive armoury.

Amber Fort 

Then it’s on to the immense Amber Fort located in the hills just a short drive from the city. Sampling all the most fascinating sights, the guided tour includes sections reserved for the Maharajah's wives and concubines as well as a remarkable hall of mirrors, with tiny delicate convex mirrors embedded like mosaics in the walls and ceilings. Look out for the Belgium crystal chandeliers hanging above exquisite marble floors, cut from the very quarries that supplied the builders of the Taj Mahal in this wonderfully opulent setting.

Jantar Mantar 

Another highlight of the day is a stop at the Jantar Mantar, an astronomical observatory built in 1726, known to be one of the best preserved of India's historic observatories. At first glance, the oversized instruments may look like geometric modernist sculptures, but each has a specific function and is remarkably accurate. It has been described as ‘cosmic architecture’ and our expert guide will explain their religious and scientific significance.

Free time in Jaipur 

Free time after lunch is a chance to wander through Jaipur’s fascinating markets and test your bartering skills.

Included experience

Guided tour of Jaipur, including visits to the Palace of Winds, the Amber Fort, the City Palace and the Jantar Mantar observatory.

Day 7

Udaipur City Palace 

This morning, we'll arrive in Rajasthan's most beautiful city, Udaipur. The city is set against the backdrop of the Aravalli Hills around a series of man-made lakes, giving it its nickname: the City of Lakes. It was dubbed "the most romantic spot on the continent of India" by British administrator James Tod who wrote the Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, a history of Rajasthan.

The massive City Palace on Lake Pichola's east bank is one of the most imposing in the city. Since the 16th century, this palace remained an architectural beauty. On our tour of the complex, we’ll enter through the famous triple-arched gate, the tripolia, where the Maharajas were famously weighed with the equivalent in gold and silver which was then distributed amongst their subjects. Behind the walls are a myriad of pavilions, terraces, courtyards and gardens to appreciate, as well as rooms extravagantly decorated with mirrors, tiles and paintings that house a large collection of artefacts that make up the City Palace Museum. You’ll really get a sense of the overwhelming opulence of the royal court. 

Tour of Udaipur 

In the afternoon, we'll take a walking tour through Udaipur's markets, known for beautiful handicrafts and artwork like the traditional Rajasthani Pichwai and Phad paintings done by the local artists, camel leather bags, footwear, silver and camel bone jewellery, famous Rajasthani Bandhani and Batik sarees.

As you sit down to dinner on board our luxury train tonight, we'll continue our journey southwards through the endlessly fascinating Indian countryside.

Included experience

Visit Udaipur's City Palace and a walking tour though Udaipur markets.


Signature Experience

After our visit to Udaipur's City Palace, we'll take a boat trip across Pichola, seeing the palace from a unique perspective. In the middle of the glass-like lake is the shimmering 17th-century Jagmandir Palace, known as the Lake Garden Palace, floating like a white marble ship at its centre. Here, we'll stop for lunch while enjoying wonderful views of the city. 

Day 8

Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park 

Travelling overnight, we'll arrive in Vadodara this morning. Known as the cultural capital of Gujarat, it's home to the Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park. This vast and largely unexcavated archaeological site is cradled within an impressive landscape. At the top of Pavagadh hill, which rises dramatically from the surrounding plains, is the sacred Kalika Mata Temple - to which thousands of Hindu pilgrims flock every year to worship the goddess Kali. Highlights from the rest of the site include prehistoric sites, a hill fortress of an early Hindu capital, and remains of the 16th-century capital of the state of Gujarat as well as other vestiges, fortifications, palaces, religious buildings, residential precincts, agricultural structures and water installations. 

Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum 

After lunch on board, we'll head to the dome-topped Maharaja's Palace in Vadodara to visit the Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum. Aptly located in what used to be a school for the Maharaja's children, it now houses educational exhibits, including paintings of Indian royalty, sculptures and an Oriental gallery. We'll end our visit with an elegant high tea at the Laxmi Vilas Palace before returning to our train.

Included experience

Visit to the Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park and the Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum and high tea at Laxmi Vilas Palace.

Day 9

There'll be plenty of time to relax this morning as we wind into the state of Maharashtra. Now could be the time to find out what's so special about an Indian massage (a skill they perfected over the last 5,000 years) in the onboard spa or simply watch the beautiful Indian countryside slip by as you chat with your fellow explorers in the lounge. We'll enjoy lunch on board before arriving at Aurangabad. Our destination is the Ellora Caves, one of India’s most unusual UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 

Spread across the Sahyadri hills, Ellora is one of the most important examples of ancient rock-cut architecture in India - and that's no mean feat as there are over 1,500 to choose from! The age, size and complexity of the carvings are unique in India and many of the temples are still in use today.

Surrounded by beautiful green forests, the caves (which date back to 600 AD) stand as a testament to the achievements of structural engineering and craftsmanship. The gentle slope of the hills allowed builders to cut down into the rock from above, much like the rock-carved temples of Petra in Jordan. With Hindu, Buddhist and Jain temples and monasteries - the caves served every purpose and they're embellished with remarkably detailed sculptures. It's amazing to think they were made using only simple tools and human hands.

After exploring the caves, we'll return to our luxury locomotive for our last night on board.

Day 10

This morning, the Deccan Odyssey pulls into Mumbai’s magnificent Victoria Terminus, a masterpiece of Victorian Gothic architecture and one of the world’s busiest railway stations.

After breakfast, it's time to bid farewell to our home for the past seven nights and enter the bustling metropolis of Mumbai, India's commercial capital. Known as Bombay until 1995, Mumbai was formed in the 18th and 19th centuries as part of an engineering project. Recognised as the cultural capital of India, it's synonymous with the Bollywood film industry and the birthplace of Bollywood Day. Some of India's most beloved landmarks can be found here, with architectural influences visible in the city's buildings from Art Deco to Indo-Saracenic. Listen as our guide points out the sights on a tour of Mumbai, including the iconic Gateway of India, where British viceroys and governors would land on arrival in the country.

We'll also visit the Prince of Wales Museum, founded in the early years of the 20th century by prominent citizens of Bombay to commemorate the visit of the then Prince of Wales - who later became King George V - and renamed after Shivaji - the founder of Maratha Empire - in 1998. Housed inside the Indo-Saracenic building are approximately 50,000 exhibits of ancient Indian history as well as objects from foreign lands, categorized primarily into three sections: Art, Archaeology and Natural History. The building is surrounded by a garden of palm trees and formal flower beds.

Our tour continues into the hillock and upmarket neighbourhood of Malabar Hill where the colonial bungalows that once peppered the hillside have now been replaced by apartment blocks. Here you'll spot Mumbai's famous Hanging Gardens, an oasis in a hectic city with colourful blooms of indigenous flowers, trees and hedges.

As our guided tour ends, we'll pass the magnificent statue of a Roman goddess at the top of Flora Fountain and the washers of Mumbai cleaning linens from hospitals and restaurants at Dhobi Ghat. We'll drive down the beautiful seaside promenade that is Marine Drive and see the crowds flocking to Crawford Market, the most well-known market in South Mumbai.

Day 11

It’s time to say phir milenge - or, rather, ‘see you later’ - to your fellow explorers and to reflect on all the sights, sounds and stories of our brilliant adventure through India as we transfer to the airport for our flight home.

What's Included

The price of this holiday is per person, based on two people sharing a room/cabin. Sole occupancy is available at the relevant supplement. The price includes:;

Scheduled flights to/from Delhi and Mumbai;
All transfers;
Two nights in five-star hotels with breakfast;
Seven nights in a deluxe cabin with en-suite facilities on the Deccan Odyssey train with daily breakfast, lunch and dinner including tea/coffee, bottled water and soft drinks at mealtimes;
Butler service on board;
All tours as mentioned including;
Porterage of one item of luggage per person;
The services of a Riviera Tour Manager;

Included excursions: entrances fees: Delhi and Mumbai city tours, Ranthambore safari, guided visits to Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur, Vadodara and Ellora Caves;

Visa not included.;

Check out our Q&As

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    For almost 40 years

  • I have reduced mobility; can I still travel?

    We want to ensure you make the correct choice before you book your holiday with us. If you have any concerns regarding the suitability of the holiday due to reduced mobility we would encourage you to contact us to discuss these concerns

  • Do I require travel insurance?

    It is a condition of booking that you carry suitable travel insurance.

  • What is my luggage allowance?

    You will receive details of your luggage allowance with your final travel documents, which are sent approximately 10 days prior to your date of departure.

Reviews of this operator

David Clarke (Google Reviewer)  

This review is for the...


This review is for the italian Lake Como trip Aug 1-8 Wow what a trip. Riviera from start to finish were excellent the booking and help line answering questions were very good and clear. The travel booklet you get is laid out that it is simple to read and follow with step by step info from booking in to flights to meeting the guides. Our guide Matt Purse was just the best guide and real credit to Riviera with his knowledge and straight forward approach to running the trips. Matt kept us informed and told us all the sort of info you want to know without going over the top....This chap should teach other reps ..thank you so much. The coaches they use are all clean and well equipped with usb chargers and have aircon. The places chosen to visit were well researched even down to where coaches park or drop you off. The Bernina Express was the highlight for our family and matts photo tip was welcomed. The only down point was the hotel,a little dated and evening meal in main restuarant was a bit of a let down. I think we were lucky with our room on level 7 and with balcony as the walls are very thin and noise travels. We would book again with riviera

Barbara Shillaker (Google Reviewer)  

I have been on three...


I have been on three trips with Riviera Travel so far, with two more booked during 2024. Highly recommended. Excellent tour guides. Great program of visits. Great hotels used.

Mrs Bodnarec (Google Reviewer)  

Thankyou Riviera and all the...


Thankyou Riviera and all the staff on the William Wordsworth Danube River cruise. My husband and i have just travelled on the Danube to celebrate my husbands 60th and we had such a lovely experience. We were younger than most of the travellers but we met so many lovely people so this wasnt a problem. The staff were so lovely and professional. The service we experienced was so high. The boat was beautiful, the food amazing and the excursions were informative and well managed. I would definately recommend riviera as a company. In fact we are now considering their Japan holiday.

Valerie Pascoe  

We would go again in a heartbeat


Oh my goodness, what a relief it was to actually get away! Full marks to all at Riviera for keeping us up to date before our trip and for the help so cheerfully and patiently given with the extra admin that Covid brought our way. We felt totally safe with the measures taken on board, thank you very much for this. Without exception, Staff were fantastic and our every need was attended to. The additional Covid testing ran smoothly, organised by our Riviera Reps. The guided tours were most interesting: the guides very knowledgeable and more importantly, interesting to listen to. We loved this trip and would do it again in a heartbeat. Thank you again Riviera, you were FAB!

Chris Wilson (Google Reviewer)  

Second escorted tour with this...


Second escorted tour with this company. Did 5 days in Iceland tour. Everything went smoothly, excellent tour guide, Per. Extremely knowledgeable and interesting guy. Very friendly too. Highly recommend. Just let down by the room given at the hotel, but I guess the travel company doesn't have control over this.

Kathryn Jurin, GB  

Riviera South Africa tour - awesome


Riviera have amazing holidays and tours to choose from. The one we chose was South Africa and wow! It turned out to be our best trip ever - incredible memories we will never forget. We’ve been all over the world which was because of all our experiences, this one was awesome. The organisation of the holiday, the guide and the travel was e cells that. The choice of hotels, meals, restaurants, trips was absolutely fantastic - very good quality and character - nothing bland or boring! The Riviera guide was permanently with us along with a South Africa guide and they were both extremely friendly, professional, informative and you could ask any questions you want! I would massively recommend this holiday/trip and when you’ve experienced it, you realise how reasonable the price is. We reflect on this trip a lot and thank you Riviera for giving us such a wonderful experience.

Barry, GB  

Rhine Christmas markets cruise


Just completed a 5 day trip on the Rhine. Our first river cruise and a tester for future cruises. The boat was well appointed and the cabin and public areas were spotlessly clean. The staff were attentive and contributed to the very relaxed atmosphere on the boat. The quality of the food surpassed that which we have experiened on sea cruises in recent years. I have written little because it was a faultless experience. We have booked a further cruise (in France) on the basis of our experience.

Christine Hardy (Google Reviewer)  

Although most people seem to...


Although most people seem to book and pay for their holidays online, because we live close by we prefer to make a personal visit. In my opinion if they are offering this as an option they should be better equipped to accommodate visits in person. We have not been on our river cruise yet, so can't comment on that yet.

Rob Steele (Google Reviewer)  

My 3rd Riviera trip within...


My 3rd Riviera trip within a year and I wasn't disappointed 😁 This time it was This trip, although not cheap, it really offers exceptional value for money as you see a lot of Tamil Nadu and Kerela, stay in fantastic hotels, excellent breakfasts every day as well as some lunches and dinners also included. George Bareham, our "Tour Manager" was brilliant, very professional, but also friendly and diligent. Satheeshan, our local guide was helpful and picked me up antibiotics when I got ill, he was a nice chap, if (for my taste) went on a bit and used 20 words when 1 would suffice. Mr Sweeny, our coach driver was fantastic,really professional and an exceptionally good driver. His assistant, Murgon wad a delight, always smiling and attentive. This is a full on trip, early morning starts and quite a packed itinerary, but still leaving time to laze around some brilliant hotel swimming pools. Only a couple of suggestions to improve the holiday. More shopping time in Cochin and change carriers from Etihad who, unfortunately aren't the excellent airline they used to be. But, will I use Riviera Travel again - Yes 😁

Barbara Parkes (Google Reviewer)  

Presently in Croatia staying at...


Presently in Croatia staying at Arauana Hotel, supposedly a 4 star property, but wouldn't give it any star rating. Rooms are small and dirty. Wallpaper blistering. Meals served in a shed like lean-to. Food like warm, greasy and always self service. Second holiday with Riviera this year and neither at standard advertised. Have travelled with them previously and everything was fine, but standards have really dropped. Have booked a holiday with them next year and now dreading it. Certainly don't provide the standard advertised. We have never stayed in such a hovel and have visited youngsters in back packers accommodation which was far better than this supposedly 4 star accommodation. There are no indoor bars or lounges only a shed as a so called restaurant. Absolutely disgusting. Won't be boking with them again

Book with Confidence

  • Low Deposit

    Riviera Travel requires a minimum deposit of 500 GBP per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 75 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of riviera travel charges.

    Up to 75 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 74 days before tour starts: Forfeit 50% of booking price.

    At 60 days before tour starts: Forfeit 70% of booking price.

    At 30 days before tour starts: Forfeit 90% of booking price.

    At 14 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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