George Negus's India aboad the Maharajas’ Express

12
Nights
2020
Mar 26
From
$12,850
Maharaja
Express
Including accommodation, guided sightseeing,
tours, meals,

Its landscape, culture and society are an eclectic mix of diverse dynasties which have ruled over the country, some for a short duration and others for centuries. There is so much to soak in – the various styles of architecture in its many royal palaces and forts, rich natural bounty, wildlife, folklore, arts and crafts and much more. Maharajas’ Express invites you on a sojourn through this fabled land and experience the mystique called India. On this journey, visit the world’s greatest monument of love – Taj Mahal; spot the elusive tiger in Ranthambore National Park; soak up in the spectacular regal heritage of Rajasthan in its magnificent forts, vibrant bazaars and royal cuisine. The journey will leave you with everlasting memories of a unique mix of culture, history and folklore.

Visiting Mumbai, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Jaipur, Ranthambore, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra & Delhi

Highlights Include

  • Sightseeing tours of Mumbai, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Jaipur, Ranthambore, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, Delhi
  • Mani Bhawan, headquarters of Mahatma Gandhi
  • Welcome Drinks
  • Dharavi, Mumbai’s massive slum, considered a ‘city within a city’
  • Luxury travel onboard Maharajas Express
  • George will host a conversation about one of our two fascinating and engrossing destinations, India and Bhutan
  • The grandiose City Palace of Udaipur - 11 separate palaces and courtyards
  • The imposing Mehrangarh Fort
  • Junagarth Fort, built in 1588
  • The City Palace - Jaipur
  • Ranthambore National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary including Bengal Tigers
  • Taj Mahal - the amazing white marble building that took 17 years for 22,000 labourers, painters, stonecutters, embroidery artists et al to complete: “truly a sight to behold;”
  • George will host a conversation about immensely complex, perpetusally fascinating India – officially a democracy with its 1.33 billion Indians.
  • Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in the country
  • Humayun’s Tomb, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
George Negus's India aboad the Maharajas’ Express

Includes

  • Leadership of George Negus
  • Travel on the Maharaja Express in the selected cabin category
  • All meals and service charges on Maharaja Express
  • Return flights from/to Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney to Mumbai, India and return from Delhi, India
  • 3 nights’ accommodation in a five-star hotel in Mumbai including breakfast
  • 2 nights’ accommodation in a five-star hotel in Delhi including breakfast
  • Tour leadership by George Negus
  • Sightseeing tours of Mumbai, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Jaipur, Ranthambore, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, Delhi
  • Tour management by a professional Travelrite International Tour Manager
  • Taxes & handling charges
  • Air taxes
  • Gratuities
Extension tour to Bhutan with George Negus
George Negus

George Negus

George Negus AM is one of Australia’s best-known media professionals. He has a passion for international affairs that’s given him a perspective typical of someone with his enormous global experience as both a journalist and almost unstoppable traveller. George grew up in Queensland; was a secondary school teacher; studied Arts and became a political journalist after gaining a Diploma in Journalism. Football - the round ball - is his game. Home is the Bellinger Valley in northern NSW. George has written, produced, directed and presented both Australian commercial and public television current affairs from 1975 through 2012. Over the years, he’s worked as presenter, interviewer and correspondent for the ABC’s “This Day Tonight,” “Foreign Correspondent,” “Australia Talks,” “George Negus Tonight,” “Australia Talks,” “SBS Dateline,” Ten’s “The Project” and, of course, was the inaugural national and international correspondent for Channel 9’s highly successful, soil-breaking “60 Minutes.” He looks forward to meeting you

Day 1: Thursday, 26 March, 2020 Departure
Today, we depart Australia for Mumbai Airport. After clearing customs, we’ll be met by our representative and transferred to our hotel.

Day 2: Friday, 27 March, 2020 Mumbai. India
This morning, we have our first encounter with India’s most populous city of 13-million. Its extended metropolitan region takes that figure up to more than 21-million, a mega-city that includes its wealthiest, but also its poorest. Until 1995 known as Bombay, Mumbai is not only India’s commercial, entertainment and fashion capital, it’s also headquarters of the world-renowned ‘Bollywood’ film industry. How could we leave that out of our itinerary? We begin at the waterfront Gateway of India monument, an impressive arch built by the British colonialists back in 1924 that served as a ceremonial entrance to the country. When India historically re-gained its independence in 1948, the last British battalion formally passed through the famous archway. Then, another early treat, we visit the modest two-story Mani Bhawan, headquarters of Mahatma Gandhi, the country’s most revered independence activist from 1917 to 1934.

GEORGE COMMENT: “My suggestion is that before leaving Oz remind yourselves of the amazing Mahatma Gandhi saga by getting hold a copy of the movie “Gandhi” played brilliantly by Ben Kingsley. It will remind you of how enormous one man’s “passive protest” against military power could have on a teeming colonial nation such as India! Gandhi – who described himself as a Muslim, a Christian, a Jew and a Hindu, by the way – was assassinated in 1948, shot in the chest by a fanatic Hindu nationalist. This afternoon we tour the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Museum, formerly Prince of Wales Museum during the so-called British ‘Raj’ era – the colonial period of India under British rule from 1858 until 1947. The CSMVS (above) displays rich collections of art, archaeology and natural history. We also plan a visit to the Dhobi Ghat, a 140-year-old “openair laundromat.” The local estimate is that nearly half-a-million pieces of clothing are washed there every day. In the evening, enjoy a Welcome Drink with George and his partner, Kirsty.

Day 3: Saturday, 28 March, 2020 Mumbai
This morning, an experience not to be missed, join George on an excursion to Dharavi, Mumbai’s massive slum, considered a ‘city within a city’ – close to one-million people crammed into an area less than a square mile! Despite this, cottage industries and small businesses thrive there. In fact, they account for Dharavi’s estimated annual economy of more than a billion US Dollars. On the other hand, we can’t help but learn about the rigors of daily life in the seriously contradictory slums, despite the gutsy “in-yourface,” resilience and clever resourcefulness of the residents who call this mostly squalid place home. This afternoon, having come away from Dharavi probably both impressed and depressed, we visit the Crawford Market, a huge Raj-era arcade prized for its architecture that somehow blends Gothic, Norman, and Flemish styles. Lockwood Kipling, father of journalist Rudyard Kipling and widely-read author of the “The Jungle Book,”also designed the Crawford Market friezes and stone fountains. Interestingly, in 1882, Crawford Market was the first Indian market to receive electricity.

GEORGE COMMENT: “If you didn’t get to see the highly-acclaimed Danny Boyle directed film, “Slumdog Millionaire” (shot mainly in the Mumbai slums) that took out eight separate Oscars in 2008, then promise yourself an evening on the couch at home and be fascinated by the “Slumdog” experience! Drinks on Yours Truly if you don’t find it engaging!”

Day 4: Sunday, 29 March, 2020 Embark Maharajah
After breakfast, we’ll board the Maharajas Express, acknowledged as the world’s “Leading Luxury Train,” taking out World Travel Awards five years in a row 2012-2016. The Express has redefined rail travel by offering opportunities for its passengers to explore destinations providing glimpses of the cultural heritage of India that will leave you with heaps of memories of a journey to be cherished. Our train departs for Udaipur, lunch and dinner served on-board. During the afternoon, George will host a conversation about one of our two fascinating and engrossing destinations, India and Bhutan!!

GEORGE COMMENT: “Reading up on our trip, I’ve found myself pondering that India and Bhutan are not just neighbouring destinations, they are intrinsically unique places unto themselves!”

Day 5: Monday, 30 March, 2020 Udaipur
This morning, we arrive in Udaipur, aptly known as ‘the City of lakes’ where we take a boat calming ride on the artificial fresh waters of Lake Pichola. Next we visit the grandiose City Palace of 11 separate palaces and courtyards. The Palace itself also has a vast collection of ancient miniature paintings and a Crystal Gallery. Your lunch today will be at a special venue. Later, you can either opt to return to the train for a relaxed afternoon or to explore more of the Lake City on your own. GEORGE COMMENT: “According to our itinerary, later in the afternoon, I’m to give a talk – which I hope will actually turn into both “serious and fun audience participation,” a free-flowing chat about my crazy journalistic life and adventures in the media. Or maybe put it this way, an unexpected opportunity for you guys to say to my face what you more than likely have often said behind my back during my 40 years of invading your living rooms with monotonous regularity via the likes of “60 Minutes,” “Foreign Correspondent,” “Dateline,” “TDT,” “The Project,” “George Negus Tonight” and other programs. Just joking! I will definitely go on about two major interviews I scored in India, one with former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Mother Teresa at her ‘Home for the Dying’ in what then was then Calcutta, since 2001, re-named Kolkatta – argue if you like over the present spelling of a famous Indian city!

Day 6: Tuesday, 31 March, 2020 Jodhpur
A relaxing morning at leisure following our arrival in Jodhpur, referred to as ‘Sun City’. After lunch on-board we visit the imposing Mehrangarh Fort on a perpendicular cliff, with breath-taking views 400 feet above the city sky-line. Its proportions are so colossal that Rudyard Kipling himself called it “the work of giants.” It’s acknowledged as one of the best-preserved forts in India. Then we take a walking tour of the popular Old Clock Tower Market and its thousands of shops, one of which, we’re told, is a famously sought-after Lassi shop! Tonight, Kirsty and George will host our group at what they are assured is “quite a venue!”

GEORGE COMMENT: “By the way, if you don’t know what a lassi shop sells, it sells lassis. And if you don’t know what a Lassi is, it’s an incredibly popular Indian yoghurt-ish natural drink – not to be missed!”

Day 7: Wednesday, 1 April, 2020 Bikaner
This afternoon we visit Junagarth Fort, built in 1588 and one of the most impressive fort complexes in the country not built on a hilltop. It’s elaborate walls are ornamented with carved stones, marbles, paintings and in-laid semiprecious stones. Each palace in the complex – with its courtyards, pavilions and balconies – was apparently built by a different ruler over the centuries. This evening, enjoy a barbeque on sand dunes, before our super-comfortable train leaves for Jaipur, appropriately called the ‘Pink City’.

Day 8: Thursday, 2 April, 2020 Jaipur
Today, we explore the magnificent Amer Fort. Interestingly, the Amer is located high on a hill 11 kilometres outside Jaipur City. It boasts an elaborate palace complex, built from pink sandstone, pale-yellow sandstone and white marble and is divided into four main sections, each with its own courtyard. Later, we visit the City Palace with not just courtyards, but also gardens and buildings and is right in the centre of the Old City. It’s a striking mix of Rajasthan and Mughal architectures. Our local guide will no doubt explain the blend in styles. Later, as we leave for our next destination, Ranthambore, we’re back on the Maharaja for a typically sumptuous dinner.

Day 9: Friday, 3 April, 2020 Ranyhambore and Fatebur
After breakfast, a treat – a jeep safari at the Ranthambore National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary including Bengal Tigers in their natural jungle habitat. Then we’ll lunch on-board the train heading to Fatehpur Sikri, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On arrival, we’ll take a tour that includes astounding examples of highly regarded Mughal architecture, including the loft gateway at Fatehpur Sikri built by the Mughal emperor, Akbar in 1601. At 54m high and 35m wide, it’s reckoned to be the highest gateway in the world. Meanwhile, the odd Panch Mahala is recognisable from quite a distance. Why? Its five storeys are placed one-on-top of the other – like a pack of cards. The main building must once have been enclosed by jalis, nets, that get caught in the breeze making the area an ideal spot for sleeping during India’s hot summer nights. However, you’ll be pleased to hear we’ll be returning to the Maharaja to sleep through the night journey to Agra – and yet another traveller’s treat!

Day 10: Saturday, 4 April, 2020 Agra (Disembark Express in Delhi)
That treat we promised? As if you wouldn’t have known, this morning we visit THE one-off Taj Mahal – invariably right up there on any so-called global “bucket list”! Not going to go on! I reckon it’s fair to suggest that the mighty Taj will speak for itself, as it were! Breakfast will follow at an exclusive venue. We then re-board the train for Delhi. During our journey from Agra to Delhi, George will host a conversation about immensely complex, perpetusally fascinating India – officially a democracy with its 1.33 billion Indians. Throughout the country, nine religions – Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism and the Bahai faith – are all practiced. On arrival in Delhi we transfer to our city hotel and the remainder of the day is at your individual leisure or curiousity!

GEORGE COMMENT: “A few thoughts prompted by the Taj after reading about it – before actually seeing and touching it in its marble flesh! Here are just a few of the multitude of superlatives that have been used to describe the amazing white marble building that took 17 years for 22,000 labourers, painters, stonecutters, embroidery artists et al to complete: “truly a sight to behold;” “the most extravagant monument built for love;” “one of the most recognisable and iconic images in India and arguably in the world;” a building as rich in history as it is in opulent marble;” and on and on! After you’ve gazed on the real thing, maybe for the first time – maybe not!? What will be your superlative? By the way, amazingly, for a self-styled peripatetic traveller, it will go down as my first Taj experience…!”

Day 11: Sunday, 5 April, 2020 Delhi
After breakfast, a full-day tour of the city of Delhi, a city that offers plenty of magnificent landmarks and monuments that will help narrate the story of its past. Starting with the Old Delhi, we visit sprawling Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in the country, capable of holding 25,000 Islamic devotees. Later, we drive pass the well-known Red Fort, a red sandstone landmark, these days a complex of historical and other museums, before visiting Chandani Chowk, a vibrant bazaar filled with shoppers, food carts, sweet shops and spice stalls. There will also be an opportunity to ride on a cycle rickshaw. Don’t forget the “selfie” shot to prove you rode in one of these classic symbols of India! The main street of Old Delhi is teeming and tempting, as fine a monument to congestion, colour, cacophony and chaos as you’ll find anywhere in India. In the afternoon, we visit New Delhi and take in the India Gate, built in memory of Indian soldiers killed during the First World War. Later, we visit Humayun’s Tomb, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and also what previous visitors say was for them Delhi’s most striking monument, looming “majestically” across the wide plains of Delhi, also a UNESCO Site.

Day 12: Monday, 6 April, 2020 Depart Delhi
We transfer to Delhi airport to board our flight to Australia.

Day13: Tuesday, 7 April, 2020 Arrive Australia
This evening we arrive in Australia.

GEORGE COMMENT: “.... hopefully, back home, with not only plenty of impressive photos to show off, but heaps of experiences, new friends, memories and maybe a greater awareness of one of the world’s simultaneously most exciting, intriguing, occasionally even challenging nations! See you again, fellow travellers – who knows where!?

Cabin Twin Share Single Fare
Deluxe Cabin $ 12,850 $ 19,750
Junior Suite $ 17,650 $ 29,985
Suite $ 23,660 $ 43,000

INCLUDED IN TOUR PRICE

  • Leadership of George Negus
  • Travel on the Maharaja Express in the selected cabin category
  • All meals and service charges on Maharaja Express
  • Return flights from/to Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney to Mumbai, India and return from Delhi, India
  • 3 nights’ accommodation in a five-star hotel in Mumbai including breakfast
  • 2 nights’ accommodation in a five-star hotel in Delhi including breakfast
  • Tour leadership by George Negus
  • Sightseeing tours of Mumbai, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Jaipur, Ranthambore, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, Delhi
  • Tour management by a professional Travelrite International Tour Manager
  • Taxes & handling charges
  • Air taxes
  • Gratuities

NOT INCLUDED IN THE PRICE

  • Passport and visa fees
  • Travel insurance
  • Sightseeing and general expenses unless specified in the itinerary
  • Additional travel arrangements not in the detailed itinerary; these will be quoted for separately

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

TOUR OPERATOR:
Travelrite International Pty Ltd (ABN 64 005817 078) is the tour organiser. Maharaja Express is owned and operated by Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd and the Maharajas’ Express fly/train arrangements are subject to the terms and conditions and general information detailed in this brochure. All passengers must complete and sign a Travelrite International booking form or book online through the Travelrite Website.

DEPOSIT AND PAYMENT:
A deposit of $1200 should be sent for the India tour and a deposit of $750 for the Bhutan extension with a completed Travelrite International booking form that lists your requested cabin category. As soon as the booking is confirmed, a confirm-ation advice will be posted to the client. The confirmation advice will contain all details. Final payments are due to be paid to Travelrite International 90 days prior to the commencement of the Maharajas’ Express tour. A 1.5% administration fee will be added to payments by Visa, Mastercard and AMEX cards.

CANCELLATION CHARGES:

Days prior to Departure Cancellation Fee
Over 90 days Loss of deposit
90 - 61 days 75% of full fare
60 days or less 100% of full fare
Non appearance/no written notice 100% of full fare

REFUNDS:
The train journey is based on arrangements which do not allow for any refunds in respect to sightseeing, accommodation, meals or other services not utilised after the tour has commenced.

TRAVEL DOCUMENTS:
All passengers will require a valid passport and a visa for India. If not an Australian passport holder check with Travelrite International for visa requirements.

TRAVEL INSURANCE:
Adequate travel insurance is highly recommended to cover tour members for the consequences of unforeseen events during the tour and for cancellation fees which could result from events such as illness, accident, death etc.

BAGGAGE:
Passengers qualify for a 23kg free baggage allowance on flights to join the train journey.

MINIMUM TOUR NUMBERS & CONDITIONS:
The fly/train arrangements have been made on the basis of a minimum number of passengers travelling. In the event that less than the required number of passengers have confirmed their booking 90 days from the date of departure, Travelrite International reserves the right to cancel the tour, giving a full refund of monies paid, or offer arrangements to proceed with the tour at a modified fare.

RESPONSIBILITIES:
Travelrite International Pty Ltd (ATAS No A10538) is the tour organiser. Travelrite International Pty Ltd, its agents, officers, affiliates, and/or suppliers of services pursuant to, or in connection with these fly/trains arrangements, shall act only as agents in making arrangements for hotels, transportation, including transportation by train, restaurants, or any other service and do not assume any liability whatsoever for any injury, damage, death, loss, accident or delay to person or property due to an act of negligence or a default of any hotel, carrier restaurant company or person rendering any services included in fly/trains, or by act of God. Further, no responsibilities are accepted for any damage or delay due to sickness, pilferage, labour disputes, machinery breakdown, quarantine, government restraints, weather, terrorism or other causes beyond their control. No responsibility is accepted for any additional expense, omission, delays, rerouting or acts of any government authority. Baggage is at owners’ risk throughout the fly/train tour. The passage contract between the carriers concerned, when issued, shall constitute the sole contract between the carriers and the purchasers of this fly/train and/or the passengers. The right is reserved to withdraw any fly/train and/or make such changes in the fly/train as found desirable or necessary for the convenience of the parties and the proper carrying out of the fly/train. This contract shall be construed in accordance of the laws of the State of Victoria, Australia and any legal action must be undertaken in the State of Victoria. Attention is also directed to the terms and conditions of the Maharajas’ Express fly/train passage contract with Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation Ltd.

HOW TO BOOK:
Bookings can be made by sending full names and addresses of intending tour members with a deposit of $1200 for George Negus’s India or $750 for George Negus’s Bhutan per person.

TRAVELRITE INTERNATIONAL PTY LTD
423 Whitehorse Road Balwyn, Victoria 3103

Telephone: (03) 8803 6868
Fax: (03) 9836 8068

Further information can be obtained by telephoning
Toll Free: 1800 630 343
Email balwyn@travelrite.com.au

ABOUT TRAVELRITE INTERNATIONAL:
Travelrite International Pty Ltd (ABN 64 005 817 078) is a well-established travel company which has been marketing throughout Australia for over 30 years. It has two fully licensed (ATAS accredited No. A10538) offices at Balwyn and Heathmont which are also accredited with IATA. As such they directly represent the major airlines of the world and all major domestic and international hotel, tour and transport operators. Travelrite International Pty Ltd is a full member of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents – AFTA.

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Travelrite International