15 DAYS INCREDIBLE INDIA

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India Tours & Travel
Responsible, Sustainable EcoTourism

15 DAYS INCREDIBLE INDIA INCLUDING HOLI FESTIVAL

India is spectacular, it’s spiritual, it’s diverse and a crazy riot of colour. Architecturally rich, alluring and unpredictable. She will challenge you & possibly overwhelm you, right before she inspires you and warms your soul to its core!

Next small group departure: 7 Mar 2020

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Visit the Taj Mahal
  • Experience the explosion of colour, music and dance of Holi
  • Visit Humayun’s Tomb, Qutub Minar & the Lotus Temple
  • Chandi Chowk by rickshaw
  • Rural visits in Devta & Abheneri villages
  • Cooking classes in local home
  • SOS Elephant Conservation & Care Centre
  • The fabulous Pink City of Jaipur
  • Visit Baby Taj and Agra Fort
  • View the ancient 13 storey step well of Chand Baori
  • Experience the Hindu ceremony of Aarti
  • Varanasi – one of the most fascinating places on Earth
  • Watch the ceremonies & rituals on the Ganges
  • Upgrades – Sri Lanka or Mount Abode Nature Retreat
Local Indian
Hindu
Agra Fort, India
Local boys with Taj Mahal background
Hawa Mahal, India
Immersing in Holi Festival

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!

Day 1 5/3/20

WELCOME TO INCREDIBLE INDIA!

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.

Depending on arrival time we may visit Lakshminarayan Temple – a modern Hindu Temple.

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.  Our guide will give you a rundown of the adventures ahead.

Accommodation: Hotel Thikana. (Meals as per flight)

Day 2 6/3/20

DELHI - TIME TO ENTER THE URBAN JUNGLE

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 delicious aromas of fresh spices.  Your eyes won’t know where to look with a brisk business trade and thousands of people moving about their day, it really is an exciting ride.

Drive through impressive boulevards and buildings such as President’s Residence, India Gate and others in Lutyen’s Delhi (New Delhi).

Accommodation: Hotel Thikana. (Breakfast)

Day 3 7/3/20

TOMBS, MINARS & TEMPLES

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 and the Lotus Temple.

Visiting the unique structure of Humayans Tomb and Qutab Minar today will be a day to learn a little of the history of India.  The afternoon is well rounded out with the visit to the serene and ethereal Lotus Temple. Be mindful to remove your shoes and observe silence as you take some time to soak up the peace and serenity.

Accommodation: Hotel Thikana. (Breakfast)

Day 4 8/3/20

DELHI TO JAIPUR WITH TRADITIONAL VILLAGE VISIT

Today we depart Delhi for Jaipur but have a fabulous stop off at a rural village Devta. Enjoy a village walk and the opportunity of interacting with the locals.

Drive further to reach the magnificent pink city Jaipur, on arrival check in at your hotel for some rest and relaxation.

Accommodation: Traditional Haveli, Jaipur. (Breakfast, Light Lunch)

Day 5 9/3/20

LOCAL MARKETS & FAMILY DINNER

After breakfast, option to visit the Albert Hall, Birla Temple and Patrika Gate.  In the afternoon have lunch in the market restaurant.  If you’d prefer, have a relaxing morning at the hotel and meet up with the group later on.

Around 4 pm we will leave to enjoy a cooking class with traditional dinner and also see the Holi Ka Dahan. Holi Ka Dahan is an extremely popular tradition and is celebrated with fervour all across the country and is symbolic of the triumph of good over evil.

Accommodation: Traditional Haveli, Jaipur. (Breakfast)

Day 6 10/3/20

HAPPY HOLI - IT'S TIME TO GET YOUR COLOUR ON!

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.

Accommodation: Traditional Haveli, Jaipur. (Breakfast, lunch with soft drink or beer)

Day 7 11/3/20

JAIPUR – FULL DAY GUIDED TOUR OF THE PINK CITY

Up early for morning Aarti of Lord Krishna at Govind Dev Ji Temple.  We will also visit the local vegetable and flower market, an opportunity to see the daily market life of the growers and even have a chat with the sellers.  A beautiful morning not to be missed.  

Back to our hotel for breakfast and short relax before we head out on a guided sightseeing tour of stunning Jaipur.  We will visit the majestic hilltop fort of Amber housing the beautiful mirror palace and elaborate Ganesh Pole.

Have lunch in the local market restaurant before we visit the Gatore Ki Chhatriyan and City Palace and its vast treasure of rare manuscripts, paintings and other collections. Visit other monuments and palace (if time permits).

Accommodation: Traditional Haveli, Jaipur. (Breakfast)

Day 8 12/3/20

ABHANERI - FATEHPUR SIKRI - AGRA

And we’re off to Agra. En-route visit beautiful step-well ‘Chand Baori’ in Abhaneri village.

It’s then on to 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.

Continue drive to reach Agra. On arrival, check in at our hotel.

Early evening, if time permits, we will venture to the back side of Taj Mahal to watch the sunset. The rare sight of Taj from the fields with the river in the front is simply magical.

Accommodation: Hotel Grand Imperial, Agra. (Breakfast)

Day 9 13/3/20

BABY TAJ & AGRA FORT

This morning begins with a visit to 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.

Then we are off to 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-Daulah is an inspirational rag to riches saga.

The tomb 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.

Accommodation: Hotel Grand Imperial, Agra. (Breakfast)

  • The Taj Mahal is closed Fridays and Public Holidays so these days in Agra may swap around to fit in all activities.
Day 10 14/3/20

THE GRAND TAJ MAHAL

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 and some time at leisure.

Ensure you stay hungry as around 2 pm we will leave for a street walk tour with an English speaking expert to experience the delicious Agra street food. Taste delightful local cuisine from some of the oldest and most reputed food joints in the city. All the food items have been personally tested and are as safe.

Accommodation: Hotel Grand Imperial, Agra. (Breakfast)

  • The Taj Mahal is closed Fridays and Public Holidays so these days in Agra may swap around to fit in all activities.

Day 11 15/3/20

WILDLIFE SOS ELEPHANT CONSERVATION & CARE CENTRE

Morning breakfast in the hotel and free time to relax or set out on your own adventure.

This afternoon around 2 pm we proceed to 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.

Back to our hotel to grab our bags and transfer to Agra railway station to board the overnight train to Varanasi. (Breakfast)

Overnight in AC Sleeper coach of the train. Refer to our post here on train travel in India.

Day 12 16/3/20

BANARAS, VARANASI – LIFE, DEATH & THE GANGES

“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: Hotel Ganges View, Varanasi.

Day 13 17/3/20

VARANASI - LAND OF SHIVA TO DELHI

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 Buddha delivered his first sermon.

In the afternoon we make our way to the airport for our quick flight back to Delhi.

Accommodation: Hotel Thikana, Delhi. (Breakfast)

  • Flight to book: Varanasi to Delhi – Air India Flight AI405.  Departs Varanasi 4.50pm and arrives in Delhi 6.25pm.  Approx. $90 AUD
Day 14 18/3/20

DELHI & THE SIKH TEMPLE

Morning breakfast then we visit Gurudwara Bangla Sahib to attend the morning ceremony and if you like, can participate as a server to the many thousands who partake in the grand communal feast at the Temple.

The feast runs 24 hours a day where anyone can participate in cooking, washing, cleaning, feeding and other activities at the Langar (feast) Hall.

After visit you will transfer back to your hotel for some leisure time.

Accommodation: Hotel Thikana, Delhi.  (Breakfast)

 

Day 15 19/3/20

IT'S A SAD FAREWELL

Morning is kept free to explore at your leisure.  You may also enjoy last minute shopping at the local market, Dilli Haat or Delhi depending on your departure time.

Ensure you’re back and ready for your transfer to the airport and onward journey.

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT + $1,050

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.

EXCLUSIONS

  • Entry to monuments or camera fees unless stated
  • Return airfares (domestic or international), unless specified as included
  • Visa fees and requirements
  • Meals/beverages not stated in the itinerary
  • Gratuities/tipping
  • Optional activities/tours
  • Personal porter
  • Any expenses arising from unforeseen circumstances/flight delay/cancellations/strike/any other natural calamity
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel insurance (Mandatory)
  • Varanasi – Delhi Flight airfare.

* Please Note: A comprehensive travel Insurance policy must be organised BEFORE all details can be finalised with Trailblazers Travel.

INCLUSIONS

  • 14 nights accommodation
  • Assistance on arrival and departure
  • Accommodation 4/5 star hotels, B&B’s & havelis
  • All breakfasts
  • Rickshaw ride in Delhi
  • Holi Celebration with locals
  • Wildlife SOS entrance fee
  • Yoga & Meditation class with Yoga specialist in Jaipur
  • Street Food Walk tour in Agra with Local English speaking expert
  • English Speaking escort service on tour
  • Escort food & lodging expenses
  • Agra – Varanasi sector train ticket
  • Evening Boat ride in Varanasi.
  • Morning Boat ride in
  • English speaking Government approved guide in Delhi, Agra Jaipur & Varanasi
  • All ground transfers through an air-conditioned chauffeur driven vehicle with professional driver
  • All Interstate Taxes, Permits, Parking, Road Tax, Toll Taxes and Fuel Charges
  • Driver’s food & lodge expense
  • Train ticket in Tier II overnight sleeper
  • No forced shopping stops
  • Supporting sustainable tourism
Prices & Options

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Colourful boats in harbour, Sri Lanka

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  • About Us

    Trailblazers Travel is an independent Tour & Travel Agency offering small group travel.  In addition, any itinerary can be taken independently, at any time of the year.

    Our tours are always responsible, sustainable, ethical and where possible, also incorporate ecotourism into our itineraries.

    When choosing our partners, we like to ensure we are helping in the following ways…

    Creating jobs and opportunity for locals;

    Ensuring the money you spend stays local;

    All interactions with people, communities, and animals are a positive experience and not an exploitation of resources;

    Showing respect to people who live in the places visited and engage with them in a dignified way.

    Our travelers arrive as new friends and often leave like family.  They are from all walks of life, uniting them is where they are going.

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