Next small group departure: 7 Mar 2020
This is not your typical ‘run of the mill’ tour of India. Yes, you will tick off all the major ‘must sees’ but you will also be immersed in all aspects of the culture, history, people and have an experience unequalled to the bland, mass-produced offerings elsewhere!
Welcome to Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi where you will be received and welcomed in the traditional Indian way before being transferred to your hotel for early check-in (subject to availability).
Afternoon to rest and relax before our first meet up at 6pm in the accommodation lounge for your official welcome and meet and greet your fellow travellers. Your guide will give you a rundown of the adventures ahead.
Accommodation: Tree Of Life. (Meals as per flight)
After breakfast, we will be picked up and enjoy a guided tour of this historical city which includes a visit to the Humayun’s Tomb, Qutub Minar, Lotus Temple, Red Fort [Drive Pass], Raj Ghat, Chandni Chowk & Jama Masjid.
Get your local on and enjoy rickshaw ride in the busy bazaar of Chandni Chowk and the spice market – Khari Baoli which will engulf your senses with the spicy smells and brisk business where spices are not carried in mere quantities of grams or kilos but they are carried in big sacks weighing several hundred kilos.
Drive through impressive boulevards and buildings such as President’s Residence, India Gate and others in Lutyen’s Delhi (New Delhi).
In the evening we will take you the modern area of Delhi. Connaught Palace a shopping paradise, branded showrooms, multi-cuisine restaurants, South & North India restaurants.
Accommodation: Tree of Life (B)
Today we depart Delhi for Jaipur but have a fabulous stop off at a rural village name Devta en route. Enjoy a village walk and the opportunity of interacting with the locals. See how these locals live, visit the ancient step well and be part of their daily life. Try cooking as the locals do in their kitchen and taste the traditional village cuisine.
Drive further to reach the magnificent pink city Jaipur, on arrival check in at your hotel. After some rest, you will witness the Holi Ka Dahan ceremony and experience a cooking class with a traditional dinner in local family house.
Accommodation: Traditional Haveli, Jaipur. (B, Light Lunch)
Celebrate the spectacular festival of Holi with gulal (coloured powders), music and dance! We will supply your outfit/dress for the traditional celebrations. Expect an action-packed morning of fun and laughter when we get a tour the Pink City by tuk tuk to see the Dhulandi festival in all its glory via the old narrow city streets.
After Holi celebration and lunch we will transfer back to the hotel to wash and change. The afternoon is kept free.
During the evening you may visit Nahargarh Fort which offers a stunning view of the Pink city during sunset. This is a perfect spot for a sundowner 😉
Accommodation: Traditional Haveli, Jaipur. (B, L with soft drink or beer)
After breakfast, we have a full day guided sightseeing trip. We will visit the majestic hilltop Amber Fort housing the beautiful mirror palace and elaborate Ganesh Pole.
Afternoon visit City Palace and its vast treasure of rare manuscripts, paintings and other collections. Other attractions around the palace equally noticeable for their unique architecture are Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar observatory.
Early evening you may walk through many interesting lanes of old Jaipur city. Wander the local shops where artisans will be selling their wares, visit ancient temples and traditional houses.
Tonight you are in for a treat with a cooking class and traditional dinner with a local family.
Accommodation: Traditional Haveli, Jaipur. (B, D)
Take a morning walking tour of some interesting streets and squares of the Pink City to catch glimpses of the habitual patterns of its people which even include the option of attending heart-rending prayers at Sri Govind Devji temple. After the Hindu ceremony of Aarti, we visit the local flower and vegetable market.
We continue on and visit a family house for yoga and meditation class for 1 hour.
After yoga transfer back to your hotel for a late breakfast, check-out and make our way to Agra.
En-route visit the beautiful step-well ‘Chand Baori’ in Abhaneri village.
Drive further and visit Fatehpur Sikri, built by Emperor Akbar in 1569 and abandoned after 15 years due to scarcity of water. The Fatehpur Sikri complex houses tomb of Salim Chisti, Panch Mahal and other palaces, which surprisingly have withstood the ravages of time and are still in good condition.
Chand Baori in Abhaneri village in eastern Rajasthan, India, is one of the most overlooked landmarks in the country. It is one of the oldest stepwells in Rajasthan, and is considered to be among the biggest in the world.
This incredible square structure is 13 stories deep, and lined along the walls on three sides are a double flight of steps. 3,500 narrow steps arranged in perfect symmetry descends to the bottom of the well 20 meters deep to a murky green puddle of water.
Built during the 8th and 9th century by King Chanda of Nikumbha Dynasty, provided the surrounding areas with a dependable water source for centuries before modern water delivery systems were introduced.
Continue drive to reach Agra.
Early evening you will be taken to see the back side of Taj Mahal at the sunset. Often overlooked, this rare sight of Taj from the fields with the river in the front is simply magical.
Accommodation: The Coral Tree. (B)
Up early to get the best view of the Taj Mahal during sunrise. Built by Shah Jahan in 1560 in memory of his queen Mumtaz Mahal to enshrine her mortal remains.
After you’ve explored the Taj Mahal, we return back to the hotel for breakfast. We then head out to visit Agra Fort and the Shah Burj. Shah Jahan spent years of confinement, at the hands of his son Aurangzeb, in Agra Fort looking wistfully at the Taj Mahal.
Next, we visit Itimad-Ud-Daula, the baby Taj. Itmad-ud-daula has a special place in the chronicles of both history as well as architecture because it is the very first tomb in India that is entirely made out of marble and the story of Itmad-ud-daula is an inspirational rag to riches saga.
The tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah is as interesting as the life of the person for whom it was built. You can hear the enthralling full story on site while viewing this marvel.
The evening is kept free to take a walking tour of old Agra bazaar.
Accommodation: The Coral Tree. (B)
Morning breakfast in the hotel and proceed for the excursion to visit Wildlife SOS – elephant conservation and care centre. SOS collaborate with the Uttar Pradesh Forest Department to rehabilitate severely abused captive elephants in distress.
Here, several elephants that used to spend their days doing hard work in often harsh conditions are living out their retirement years in peace and safety. No longer forced to bear heavy loads, or walk on hot pavement, these majestic creatures are finally able to spend their days happily, with frequent baths, a nutritious diet, and good veterinary care.
Early evening venture on our street walk tour to experience delicious Agra street food. Taste delightful local cuisine from some of the oldest and most reputed food joints in the city. The tour will start with 3 vegetarian starters, various snacks, a main course with naan and rice and will finish with a couple of local deserts
Finish in time to transfer to Agra railway station to board overnight train to Varanasi. (B, D)
Overnight in AC Sleeper coach of the train. Refer to our post here on train travel in India.
“Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together.” Mark Twain.
Varanasi (or Benaras), is one the most colourful and fascinating places on earth with surprises around every corner.
Most travellers agree that Varanasi is not for the faint hearted with its various rituals of life and death however it is a magical and challenging city that may turn into one of your favourites!
On arrival at Varanasi, transfer to your hotel (early check-in subject to availability). Rest of the day is kept free to walk to the Ghats or explore the narrow back-lanes of one of the oldest cities in the world on your own and at leisure.
It is a sensory overload with sounds, smells and touts but a really special time for you to explore and create memories of your own.
You will see pilgrims come to the ghats lining the Ganges to wash away sins in the sacred waters or to cremate their loved ones. It’s a particularly auspicious place to die since expiring here offers moksha (liberation from the cycle of rebirth).
In the evening we will take a boat ride tour to witness holy rituals on Ghats during Ganga Aarti ceremony – a very spiritual experience!
Accommodation: Ganpati Guest House.
Call it the land of Shiva or simply a historic city that has several mysteries concealed deep within, this holy city has a spiritual legacy that dates back to more than 3000 years. Varanasi has stayed an important pilgrimage centre in India and for those visiting from outside the country, it reflects authentic India.
Early morning enjoy boat ride on river Ganges to witness holy rituals on Ghats. Later take a guided sightseeing tour of major tourist attractions of Varanasi city including an excursion to Sarnath – where Budhha delivered his first sermon. The evening is kept free.
Accommodation: Ganpati Guest House or Similar. (B)
Morning is kept free to walk around the Ghats and explore the ancient alleyways of the old city. At a scheduled time we will meet back and transfer to Varanasi Airport to board the flight to Delhi (at own expense). On arrival at Delhi airport, we will be received and transferred to our hotel. Rest of the day is kept at leisure.
You may visit Gurudwara Bangla Sahib to attend the evening ceremony. You may also enjoy last minute shopping at the local market, Dilli Haat or Delhi.
Accommodation: Palace Heights. (B)
Morning breakfast and proceed to visit Gurudwara Bangla Sahib to attend the morning ceremony. The most amazing part is to watch the grand communal feast at the Temple, which runs 24 hours a day where
anyone can participate in cooking, washing, cleaning, feeding and other activities at the Langar (feast) Hall.
Enjoy the afternoon at leisure or to find that last minute bargain, your favourite meal or simply soak up all that has been.
Accommodation: Palace Heights (B)
** Optional Activity: The Palace Kingdom. (On direct payment basis to your guide)
Spread across almost 6 acres of land, the Kingdom of Dreams is a unique concept and promises a multi-dimensional experience of India’s art, cuisine, culture, heritage, crafts, and performing arts, integrated at one location and on a scale never quite envisaged before, while incorporating state-of-the-art technological wizardry comparable to the best in the world.
Nautanki Mahal – Palace styled & India’s first state-of- the-future 817 seat auditorium sporting cutting edge technology & visual effects is the Jewel in the Crown of the Kingdom, where an opulent, cinematic theatrical
experience of the world’s biggest Bollywood long-playing musical show.
Morning at leisure, if time permits, before your transfer to the airport for check-in and onward journey.
These are the 10 stages of holiday grief you may to experience over the next week or so…
1. Intense zen: You’re still in holiday mode. Nothing can possibly spoil your mood. The world is a beautiful place.
2. Mild irritation: The airport is doing its best to strip you of those holiday vibes, but you’re resisting. It is not going to take away your zen.
3. Disappointment: Home doesn’t have the plush bed topper, crisp linen or that crystal clear pool to flop in.
4. Exhaustion: You’ve got a suitcase full of washing to do and dinner won’t cook itself. And yet all you want to do is collapse on the sofa and watch all the TV you missed while you were away.
5. Complete existential crisis: What’s the point of life anyway? You save all year for one great holiday then it’s all over in a week and you’re back in your boring life, only now you’re skint too? WHAT IS THE MEANING OF IT ALL?!?
6. Rage: Everything is terrible and why do you live here anyway? You don’t know where to direct your vague rage, so it gets unloaded on the next person to walk in the room. It’s probably their fault anyway.
7. Listlessness: You’re sure you used to be able to focus on work, but that’s all gone now. A whole day passes and you can’t think of anything you did except browse Facebook.
8. Longing: Time to upload your photos. You touch the screen fondly, wishing you were back there.You can almost still remember what the sun feels like on your skin.
9. Smugness: Your mood gets a much needed bump when you put your holiday snaps online and everyone loves them. Yes, it was an incredible holiday, thanks for asking.
10. Forgetfulness: “My holiday? Oh, yeah, that was a week ago. Yeah, it was good. Anyway, about that report that needs doing…” Forgetting what it feels like to be on holiday is the only way we can make it to our next holiday.
Pulled from metro.co.uk. 🙂
Situated along a leafy lane in a calm oasis in south Delhi, is our nest which we’ve lovingly named ‘Tree of Life’.
This offering is the love child of the hosts, Ashwani and Suruchi.
Suruchi, the creative free spirit of the partnership, is drawn towards the field of wellness. A much sought after teacher and practitioner of Yoga and Foot Reflexology, she’s a visiting master at the Ananda Spa in the Himalayas and travels worldwide to teach alternate healing / meditation.
It will be our honour to welcome you to our home, not as guests but as part of our family.
The Traditional Heritage Haveli Hotel, an elegant and renowned hotel known for it’s first class hospitality and courteous service to all who stay. Here at Traditional Heritage Haveli Hotel we make sure you experience the best of Jaipur’s heritage and have a memorable stay in the city. We offer nothing less that sincere and professional service which has allowed us to never let our guests down and helped us earn the confidence and trust of our guests.
Vandna & Gopal Singh take immense pleasure in having you at their newly opened bungalow style home stay The Coral Tree situated in lush green surroundings, hardly a 6 minutes walk from the Taj Mahal. The Coral Tree is conveniently located on Taj VIP road with easy access to restaurants, shopping malls, Taj nature walk etc. All rooms equipped with modern amenities and free Wifi access open to private leafy verandas overlooking a very well kept garden. A well stocked library on India is located in the lounge where you savour home cooked meals. Gopal, is a government approved tour guide and Vandna takes pleasure in volunteering on various social issues. Vandna who has an eye for detail painstakingly designed and decorated The Coral Tree .
The Coral Tree is Bird’s Haven with over 100 species of Birds recorded in its environs.Owners being passionate naturists would love to accompany you to The Taj Nature Walk with a view of The Taj Mahal in the back drop.
Ganpati Guest House is a small high quality establishment situated in the heart of Varanas. The hotel’s location is ideal for travelers wanting to visit the famous sights of The Holy Ganges.
Offering the highest consistency in quality, service and style we set new standards and take the unwanted surprises out of traveling. Our warm welcomes make our guests feel at home, we provide service that is effortless, simple, never overwhelming and always warm.
Hotel Palace Heights, is a plush hotel located amidst heritage Connaught Place and has been meticulously designed to offer modern, stylish and relaxed comfort. A strong design philosophy has driven this hotel to evolve in a distinctive style and well appointed rooms with all facilities.
Zaffran the Indian Restaurant serving Northern Frontier Cuisine, has a live Tandoor kitchen and offers a fine dining experience in a delightful ambiance – a glass roof and walls giving the place an outdoor feel.
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT + $640
A single supplement is a charge paid by a solo traveller to compensate a hotel for losses incurred because only one person is using a room. Most hotel rooms are built under the assumption that at least two people will occupy them. In fact, nearly all hotel and tour pricing is based on double or twin occupancy.
Prices may vary based on currency exchange rates.
Click here for more info on train travel in India.
* Please Note: A comprehensive travel Insurance policy must be organised BEFORE all details can be finalised with Trailblazers Travel.