India by Rail with the Hornbill Festival
Before You Go
On this expedition, you will be traveling on a scheduled Palace on Wheels departure. Zegrahm participants will enjoy the exclusive leadership of Shirley Campbell, as well as additional private arrangements while on board and during touring. Temperatures will range from 40°– 70°F.
Please pay close attention to the following sections: Passport and Visa Requirements, Health Information, and Baggage Allowance.
Activity Level & Accommodations
Participants should be aware that the infrastructure is poorly developed in some areas, and occasional delays and amendments to the program can occur. Some days will be long, with drives over bumpy roads that require sitting for long periods. Accommodations will range from five-star elegance to “bright, cheerful, and rustic” in the more remote areas. Should you have any physical limitations, please notify us in advance of your departure.
Arrivals & Departures
Departure / Airport Check-In Procedures
Please arrive at the airport for your flight to Delhi, India at least two hours prior to departure and have access to your passport and airline E-ticket confirmation. Do not pack your passport or other travel documents in your checked luggage. Be certain the check-in agent properly tags your bags through to the final destination allowed, and that you have all baggage and E-ticket receipts.
Airlines change flight times frequently and if you booked your tickets through our air department, Zegrahm Expeditions will send you any updates as they are received from the carrier. Still, we recommend reconfirming the departure time of your flights directly with the airline within 24 hours of departure. This can be done easily online and will ensure you arrive at the airport with plenty of time to board your flight.
Please contact Zegrahm at 1.800.628.8747, 206.285.4000, or 206.219.1641 should you encounter significant delays or problems en route. Proceed to your airline’s ticket counter or flight gate for immediate assistance. Advise Zegrahm of all changes to your arrival into Delhi, so that we may inform our Expedition Leader.
Arrival / Departure Transfers
Transfers and assistance between the airport and our group hotel are arranged for participants arriving and departing on group dates, or who have booked extra nights at our group hotel.
If you are handling your own travel arrangements, please forward a copy of your itinerary to Zegrahm Expeditions, as well as contact information where you can be reached prior to and after the program.
For your international flights to and from Delhi, please check for luggage weight restrictions with your airline provider or our air department if you are booking your international air arrangements through Zegrahm.
Most airlines strictly enforce their baggage regulations. Excess baggage charges, which can be substantial, are the personal responsibility of each participant.
We recommend the use of soft-sided luggage, as it is easier to store. Your carry-on bag should include anything you may need in transit. We recommend that you carry essential toiletries and prescription medications on board the plane, as well as a change of clothing appropriate for the initial activities of our itinerary so that you will be more comfortable in the unlikely event your baggage is delayed in transit.
PLEASE NOTE: Due to baggage restrictions on domestic flights within India, baggage on the internal flight to and from Dimapur is restricted to one piece of checked baggage, maximum weight 33 pounds (15 kilograms), plus one small carry-on not to exceed 15 pounds (7 kilograms).
Expect warm days and cool nights, with temperatures ranging from the high 70ºs to high 80ºs during the day, and dropping into the 50ºs at night.
The following are average high/low temperatures in November and December for selected locations on our itinerary:
As of June 2017, the exchange rate is as follows:
|$1 US dollar (USD)||66.45 Indian Rupee (INR)|
Credit cards are accepted at certain locations in India for purchases, although not as common as they are in North America. Most of your expenses have been paid for; therefore, we recommend that you carry most of your money in smaller denominations of hard currency, such as US dollars or British pounds. Cash can be exchanged for local currency at banks in the city during regular business hours.
You will receive your pre-departure information—including a complete packing list, reading list, and gift certificates—approximately five months prior to departure. Final documents—including a final itinerary, contact list, and staff biographies—will be sent approximately one month prior to your departure.
Electricity runs at 220-240 volts in India with round sockets taking either three-prong or two-prong standard, European plugs. An electrical converter will be necessary to run small, 110-volt, North American appliances unless they have a dual-voltage switch and a set of adapter plugs that will fit in these types of outlets.
PLEASE NOTE: Some appliances, such as video camera battery packs, require heavy-duty converters rather than the normal travel type. Please check your equipment to be sure you bring what is necessary for your personal needs.
You will need to purchase airfare from your home city/Delhi and Delhi/home city. For more detailed information, please contact our in-house Air Department for fare quotes, reservations, or other air-related questions.
A yellow fever vaccination is required if arriving from an area with risk of yellow fever transmission.
Yellow fever vaccinations, valid for life, must be given at official centers designated by your state’s health department. The International Certificate of Vaccination must be validated by the center that administers the vaccine and must be carried with you on your trip. Your local or state health department can provide information regarding the locations and hours of yellow fever vaccination centers.
Malaria risk exists through the year in the whole country at altitudes below 2000 m, with overall 40-50% of cases due to P. falciparum and the remainder due to P. vivax.
It is strongly suggested that you have an up-to-date flu shot, hepatitis A vaccination, tetanus, and diphtheria inoculations. People who travel frequently to international destinations should also consider vaccinations or boosters against meningitis, typhoid, measles, and polio. Please check with your doctor or local travel clinic to determine what is right for you. Obtain inoculations at least four to six weeks before departure for shots to take effect.
Be sure to bring a sufficient amount of your personal medications, as pharmacies are not found in the remote areas of this expedition.
The most common health problem passengers may encounter is what is known as Traveler’s Diarrhea, which can vary from mild to extreme cases. Anti-diarrhea tablets (Imodium or Lomatil) should be carried as a precautionary measure against upset stomachs, but we strongly suggest that you also bring along an antibiotic that can help you quickly resolve the problem. Consult with your physician about what medications will be best for your use.
Drink plenty of fluids whenever you can, not just when you are thirsty. By preventing dehydration, you may prevent a range of medical problems associated with traveling. Take precautions to avoid overexposure to the sun. Bring a sun hat with a wide brim or scarf, polarized sunglasses, and a high-SPF sunscreen.
In case of serious injury or illness while traveling, it is important to understand that satisfactory medical facilities may not exist nearby. Should you require emergency medical care, it may be necessary to depart the country by international medical evacuation services. The cost of your expedition includes $100,000 in emergency evacuation and $25,000 in medical expense. Details of this policy are available online at www.travelguard.com/zegrahm/.
The information herein is a guideline and is subject to change without notice. Contact your physician or local health center for current and other information concerning health precautions, immunizations, and prescriptions based on your physical condition and medical history.
Internet & Phone
Your final documentation will include contact information for our hotels and the train.
Following are local times that apply to this expedition when it is 7:00am on the North American west coast:
|10:00am||New York, NY|
Should you have any dietary needs, please let us know on the Personal Information Form, and we will do our best to prepare for them. Unfortunately, kosher meals cannot be accommodated.
It is essential to maximize the versatility of your travel wardrobe by packing clothing that can be layered. Wash-and-wear, lightweight, natural fabrics are recommended. As you pack, consider your own internal thermostat and personal tastes and adjust accordingly. Some laundry service is available and by using it, you can limit yourself to just four or five outfits and not be inconvenienced by an overabundance of clothing.
It is always a good idea to bring a light raincoat in case you are caught in a shower or for misty mornings. Please note that the lodges are not heated, and dining is often outdoors.
In city hotels, it is recommended that you wear a smart, casual outfit. Men will want to wear a comfortable dress shirt and pants in the cities. Women may wear slacks and must have their arms and shoulders covered. On tours and in the park lodges, more relaxed clothing, including shorts, can be worn by all.
For game viewing, we recommend that your clothing is in muted colors such as tan, khaki, and green. Navy blue can attract insects and bright colors should be avoided, as there may be times when we are on foot safari. We ask that you not wear colors such as white or red, as it can disturb the animals and spoil your viewing experiences. Remember, your hat should be neutral colored as well. Bring light cotton or light synthetic materials (denim is discouraged).
Nonskid, sturdy hiking shoes are best for wildlife walks. Long-sleeved shirts and long pants will help protect you from insect bites as well as from the sun. Other sun-protective items you may want are a high-SPF sunblock, polarized sunglasses, and a visor, sun hat, or scarf.
Passport & Visa Requirements
A valid passport is required for participation in this program. It is recommended that your passport is valid for 6 months after you return home, through May 4, 2018. If you do not have a passport, or if it is not valid for the correct length of time, you should apply for one as soon as possible. You need to have a minimum of two pages available for entry/exit stamps in your passport. As of January 1, 2016, the US State Department has eliminated the application to insert additional pages into your passport. If you require additional pages, a new passport must be obtained. We suggest that you carry extra passport photos and a photocopy of your passport’s information page when you travel.
Visas are required of US and Canadian citizens for entry into India and can be obtained in a few ways:
- E-Visa: Go online to https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html and apply for an e-Tourist Visa. Applicants may apply online a minimum of 4 days in advance of the date of arrival with a window of 30 days. More detailed information will be provided with your final documentation packet.
- Pinnacle Travel Visa Kit: If you prefer to obtain your visa prior to arriving in India, please contact Zegrahm and request a Pinnacle Travel Document visa kit. You should plan to be without your passport for up to 8 weeks while your visa is being processed.
If you are traveling independently of the group or to any other countries prior to or after the program, check the entry and visa requirements with the local consulates of each country you plan on visiting.
PLEASE NOTE: Nationals of countries other than the US should check with the nearest consulates for specific visa and entry requirements for their entire itinerary, including both the group arrangements and any travel prior to or after the program.
Payments & Cancellations
A deposit totaling 25% of the expedition fare will reserve a place for you on this Zegrahm program. The balance of the expedition fare is due 120 days prior to departure. Airfare is due at the time tickets are issued. All prices are quoted in US dollars and must be paid in US dollars.
Cancellation & Refund Policy
Notification of cancellation must be received in writing by Zegrahm. At the time we receive your written cancellation, the following penalties will apply:
- 180 days or more prior to departure: $750 per person
- 120 through 179 days prior to departure: 25% of expedition fare
- 1 through 119 days prior to departure: 100% of expedition fare
Please note, fees associated with cancelled airline tickets are in addition to this and will be clearly outlined for you on your flight itinerary.
Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance
We strongly advise that all travelers purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance to protect themselves from an unforeseen emergency that may force you to cancel or leave an expedition while it is in progress. Information describing coverage will be sent to you upon receipt of your deposit for the expedition. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer insurance to guests residing outside the United States.
With Our Compliments
We are pleased to offer complimentary amenities to our explorers so they can be fully prepared before departing on one of our expeditions. Gift certificates to our Zegrahm Store and Longitude Books will offer you the opportunity to purchase gear from our store, along with books or maps suggested in the reading list. The certificates will be emailed with your pre-departure information approximately five months prior to departure. Please refer to the gift certificates for more details.