Best for: Historical, Repeat Visitors
The British arrived in India in the early 17th century, and their legacy very much remains to this day. There is a bond between India and British that you see on a daily basis, whether it is the countless games of cricket being played around every street corner, or just a love of formality and bureaucracy! The great cities in which the British established, such as Calcutta, Bombay, New Delhi, and Madras all reveal echoes of their colonial past. This tour visits three of them, but we can tailor-make any itinerary based on colonial themes. For instance, you might well want to trace an ancestors’ movements, and that could take you to way off-the-beaten-track. We can even give pointers on genealogical research.
This suggested itinerary begins in Bombay and staying at the best address in town, the Taj Mahal. It looks out over the Gateway to India, where many of the people who lived and worked in India, docked for the first time on their arrival to the subcontinent. You’ll have a private guide to explore the old city, seeing much of the architecture that remains to this day and imagining how the city was in times gone by.
Fly north to Chandigarh and move into the foothills of the Himalayas on the four-hour drive to Shimla, the summer capital of the Raj. You’ll stay up at Wildflower Hall, which was once the estate of Lord Kitchener. You’ll be able to take a walking tour through Shimla starting at Christ Church and making your way down the Mall, visiting colonial-era buildings like the Gaiety Theatre and concluding at the Viceregal Lodge.
Drive back to Kalka and take the train to Delhi to stay in the Imperial, Delhi’s ‘Grand Dame’. We have created a specialist colonial tour of Delhi, seeing the locations of the Delhi Durbar, Skinner’s Church and more of the old British legacy.
Take the train to Lucknow, famous for the long siege during the Rebellion, or Mutiny of 1857. The British Residency has very much been left alone, with its battered walls still showing where cannon and musket balls pummelled the thinly held British positions. Fly to Calcutta, founded by Job Charnock in 1690 with Fort William being constructed in 1712. The city fell to Siraj Ud-Daulah in 1756, placing many of the residents in what became known as the ‘Black Hole of Calcutta.’ Robert Clive led the relief effort and defeated Siraj Ud-Daulah at the battle of Plassey in 1757.
After the Battle of Buxar in 1764, much of Bengal came into the possession of the East India Company, and so began the eventual British control of the much of India. Calcutta’s remarkable colonial architecture remains, although not much is being done to properly preserve it. Each year, another colonial-era building is torn down to make way for a modern replacement. You will set out on a walking tour around the old British city with a private guide, seeing the churches and cemeteries, such as Park St, which contains memorials to many of those who didn’t make it back and most harrowingly, to the many children who never grew up.
Fly up to Bagdogra, and spend three nights in a colonial tea bungalow, close to Darjeeling. Explore this interesting hill-station with a private guide, and spend a few days just enjoying the Himalayan views. Live it up like a planter, enjoying cups of tea on your veranda.
Drive back to Bagdogra and fly to Delhi for a final night before returning home.
- Specialised colonial itinerary to India
- Perfect if you want to get a private group together with similar interests
- Have expert private guides throughout, each with a specialist knowledge in British colonial history
- Stay in colonial-era hotels of a superb standard