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India

INDIA: Festival of Colours - Holi Festival Luxury Tour
14th - 26th March 2019

Destinations: INDIA

Tour Grading Moderate level of fitness is required

Tour Commences In: Delhi

Number of Days: 13 days / 12 nights

Accommodation: Luxury

Leaders: Specialist local Guides

Tour Concludes In: Jodhpur

Tour Style: Luxury

Meals: Breakfasts - 12: Lunches - 5: Dinners - 3:

Transportation: Luxury cars and minivans

Tour Summary

The Festival of Colours, Holi Festival.

 

Holi is a Hindu spring festival, originating from India, celebrated predominantly in India but has also spread to Nepal and many other Western countries. It is also known as the "festival of colours" or the ‘festival of love’. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships. It is also celebrated as a thanksgiving for a good harvest. It lasts for a night and a day, starting on the evening of the Purnima (Full Moon day) falling in the Vikram Samvat Hindu Calendar month of Phalgun which falls somewhere between the end of February and the middle of March in the Gregorian calender. The first evening is known as Holika Dahan or Chhoti Holi and the following day as Holi, Rangwali HoliDhuletiDhulandi, or Phagwah.

Tour Highlights

  • Lunch at Lodhi restaurant, Delhi on Day 02.
  • Packed Lunch for Agra to Ranthambore trip.
  • 3 Game Drives in private Jeeps in Ranthambore.
  • Special celebration of Holi festival at Narain Niwas / Royal Noble Family.
  • Private Champagne tour of The City Palace, Jaipur.
  • Special curated Architecture tour of Old Pink walled city, Jaipur.
  • Elephant safari followed by dinner at Exclusive venue at Dera Amer, Jaipur.
  • Boat Cocktails & Dinner at Lake Palace, Lake Pichola.
  • Specially designed old city walk in Jodhpur.
  • Bhopa Bhopi performance at exclusive venue at Pal Haveli, Jodhpur.
  • Dinner at Haveli roof top restaurant, Jodhpur.
  • Lunch at Fatehbagh, Ranakpur.
  • Special restored art of “Jalsanjhi” and “Koftkari” at Udaipur.

Tour Inclusions

  • Private international & domestic airport arrival and departure transfers for all guests
  • 5 star luxury accommodation
  • Luxury private Chauffeur driven luxury air- conditioned vehicles for all transfers & sightseeing
  • Fully escorted by our experienced professional tour guide
  • Meals as indicated in Itinerary; B = Breakfast: L=Lunch: D=Dinner:
  • Admission fees to all monuments, activities, excursions and shows as per the itinerary
  • Hotel porterage  
  • Bottled water included whilst touring in vehicle
  • An exclusive information travel package

Brief Itinerary

Day 1:    14th March 2019:     Arrive Delhi:
Day 2:    15th March 2019:     Delhi:
Day 3:    16th March 2019:    Delhi – Agra:
Day 4:    17th March 2019:    Agra – Ranthambore National Park:     
Day 5:    18th March 2019:    Ranthambore National Park:
Day 6:    19th March 2019:    Ranthambore National Park – Jaipur:  
Day 7:    20th March 2019:    Jaipur:
Day 8:    21st March 2019:    (Holi Festival – Festival of Colours)    Jaipur:
Day 9:    22nd March 2019:    Jaipur – Udaipur:
Day 10:    23rd March 2019:    Udaipur:
Day 11:    24th March 2019:    Udaipur – Jodhpur:
Day 12:    25th March 2019:    Jodhpur:     
Day 13:    26th March 2019:     Jodhpur – Delhi / Mumbai:  

Country Information

Accommodation:
All our hotels are excellent 5 star luxury hotels. We highly recommend our hotels as they have excellent services and facilities. All rooms have modern facilities, private bathrooms with double & two twin beds.

Climate & Clothing:
The climate in India is warm to hot all year around. The rainy season is June till October. The general rule is to bring comfortable clothing including lightweight cottons. Comfortable walking shoes are essential as is a light waterproof jacket. We provide a detailed packing list to all our guests prior to departure.

Currency & Money Matters:
The currency is the Indian Rupee (INR), which is divided into 100 paise (singular paisa). Major currencies can be changed at banks, and authorised bureaux de changes. It is advisable to refuse torn notes, as no one will accept them apart from the National Bank. It is best to change money into small denominations. Major credit cards are widely accepted, particularly in tourist orientated establishments. ATM’s are not always available.

Electricity:
The electrical current in India is 250 volts AC. 50Hz. A variety of power outlets are used in India, but most plugs have two or three round pins.

Insurance:
You must obtain Comprehensive Travel Insurance as a condition of travelling with Boutique Tours & Travel. We recommend that you purchase insurance at the time of Booking. Travel Insurance Form

Language:
Hindi is the official language.

Meals:
Our hotel offers a wonderful selection of dishes at their buffet breakfasts and with a wide variety of both menu and venue for lunches and evening meals.

Medical Services & Facilities:
Our hotels have access to a doctor if required. They can also assist guests with purchasing of medicine. The international hospitals in India are very good and have western trained medical and surgical specialists. Dental care is also available.

Passports & Visas:
To enter India you require a passport valid for at least six months beyond the date of entry and with at least two blank pages. A visa is required for most guests and will be organised prior to departure. Visa Application Form

Pre & Post Tour Accommodation:
Boutique Tours & Travel suggests that you may like to arrive a day before the start of your tour to allow time to relax and refresh. You are also very welcome to linger longer after the tour is completed. Boutique Tours & Travel has negotiated special overnight rates at many hotels for both pre and post tour accommodation. Please request when booking.

Time Zone:
Despite the size of the country, the standard time throughout India is GMT +5.30.

Tipping:
We know that some of our guests are not familiar with tipping customs, so any gratuities (eg to waiters, porters etc) are taken care of as part of your fee. You may like to tip the guides and drivers as you wish.

Tour Group:
Our small group tours provide you with a good balance of group activity and personal discovery.

Transport:
Most of our road journeys between major cities are longer than 3 hours so we include modern Luxury sedan cars and minibuses for this tour. They are spacious and comfortable so we can all enjoy the journey.

Water & Beverages:
Our hotels offer bottled water, and soft drinks and bottled water are provided when travelling in our transport. Most teas are available with most meals. Alcoholic beverages are not included in the cost of this tour.

Full Itinerary

Day 1:    14th March 2019:     Arrive Delhi

Arrive New Delhi. You will be met as you exit the aircraft and will be assisted with immigration and custom formalities. You will be transferred to your hotel and the rest of the day is at leisure.

The capital of India, Delhi is home to 16 million people, making it the third largest city in India. The strategic location of the city made it an attractive location for invading armies, and it served as the capital for many great empires that ruled India. Many of these Empires built significant monuments, and whilst the Mughal and the British are the most visible, while driving through the city you will see ruins from previous capitals, the earliest dating back to the 12th century.

 

Day 2:    15th March 2019:     Delhi:    (B/L)

Today explore the Old City and beyond. The walled city of Old Delhi the former Imperial capital is a maze of lanes crowded with shops, crumbling havelies (mansions), in the midst of which lies one of the country’s largest mosques. You will take rickshaw ride and walk through the narrow lanes of the 300 year old Chandni Chowk market, today it is a busy market selling an extraordinary variety of items – silver, jewellery, aromatic spices, leather, fruit and vegetables Apothecaries sell home grown medicinal items, and roadside dentists display their bizarre array of equipment and false teeth. This is an excellent introduction to the organized chaos which is quintessentially Indian. You will disembark at the Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India and which was Shah Jahan’s last architectural legacy.
Lunch today will be at renowned and beautiful Lodhi gardens.
Continue on to the Humayun’s Tomb. One of the earliest examples of a Mughal Garden Tomb, this mausoleum was designed by a Persian architect, and provided the prototype for future tombs, including the Taj Mahal. Recently taken over by the Agha Khan Trust, the gardens have been restored to their former glory, and the tomb and surrounding monuments restored.
From Humayun’s Tomb continue the tour driving along the tree lined avenues of the New City built by the British. The drive takes you past the houses of Parliaments, the India Gate and the jewel of this architectural collection – the Rashtrapati Bhavan, The Presidential Palace

 

Day 3:    16th March 2019:    Delhi – Agra:    (B)

This morning after breakfast, you are transferred to Train station to board your Train# 12050 Gatimaan Express – 08:10 / 09:50.

Agra was the seat of the mighty Mughal Empire before it shifted its capital to Delhi, and it is home to some of their most inspired architectural creations including the Taj Mahal. In the 16th and 17th century, the Mughal Courts were at their most powerful, and were great patron of the arts, and Agra attracted artisans, poets and musicians from across India as well as Persia and Central Asia, transforming Agra into a cultural and architectural paradise.
Our tour starts with a visit to Red Fort. When the Mughal emperor established his supremacy in Northern India, he began his first architectural venture, rebuilding the fort as a beautiful fort palace. The work was completed by his son and grandson, highlighting the Mughal’s ability to blend defensive and decorative architecture. Richly decorated with marble and mosaic, it was in a part of this fort that Shah Jahan spent the last years of his life.
Post your visit to Red Fort, drive to your Hotel and Check in.
Two great Mughal monarchs, Akbar and Shah Jahan, transformed the little village of Agra into a befitting second capital of the Mughal Empire – giving it the name of Dar – ul – Khilafat (seat of the emperor). Today, a visitor to Agra is caught up in a world of contrasting edifices of red sandstone and white marble, narrow gullies and quaint buggies and that irresistible charm that this favourite city of Mughals still preserves, so delicately.
After lunch you shall visit the wonder of wonders, The Taj Mahal.
Built as the mausoleum of Empress Mumtaz Mahal, the beloved spouse of Shah Jahan, who died in 1630 AD; by Indian artisans and artisans from neighbouring Islamic countries who worked for over 22 years(1631 AD – 1653AD), the Taj Mahal is aptly described by poet laureate Tagore as “ tearon the face of eternity”. Decorated with mosaic of semi-precious stones and Persian calligraphy recreating verses from Koran, the mausoleum is an ‘Urs’, an important pilgrimage since the empress died in child birth, making her a martyr, as per the religious beliefs.

 

Day 4:    17th March 2019:    Agra – Ranthambore National Park:    (B/L/D)

This morning you again visit the Taj Mahal at Sun Rise, an Islamic garden of paradise. It’s perfect proportions and exquisite craftsmanship was the work of artisans from both India and overseas. The Taj Mahal represents the wealth and luxury of Mughal art as seen in architecture.After breakfast you will drive to Ranthambore National Park.

Today you have;

OPTION 1:
Visiting Fatehpur Sikri, considered by many to be one of the finest architectural creations of the Taj Mahal. This deserted city is built entirely of red sandstone and incorporates architectural features form Hindu, Persian and Islamic styles. He built three palaces for each of his three wives – one a Hindu, one a Christian and one a Christian – and each palace incorporated elements of their religion. You will continue to Ranthambore National Park

OPTION 2:
Drive a further one hour to Bharatpur and board the Jan Shatabdi Express (3:30 PM/6:05 PM) to Ranthambore. The train does not have a first class. It operates only one class – air condition chair car and the seating is three seats on either side of a central aisle.

Covering 410 sq. km, Ranthambore runs along the easternmost spur of the Aravalli to the Vindhya ranges. At one time, Ranthambore was the private hunting ground for the royal family of Jaipur, before it was declared a sanctuary and finally in 1972 as brought under the Project Tiger scheme. The dry deciduous forest covers open valleys with lush vegetation around the lakes, and open grasslands in the higher slopes. This varied flora supports a large number of animals including a variety of deer, the sloth bear, the shy caracal, leopards and of course, the tiger.

 

Day 5:    18th March 2019:    Ranthambore National Park:    (B/L/D)

Once the hunting ground for the Maharaja of Jaipur, who led huge hunting parties into these forests, today the park is a protected forest area and is under the aegis of Project Tiger, a venture set up to protect the tiger from extinction. The park with its Sal forest, grasslands and water bodies is home to large variety of wildlife and birds, and with the ramparts of the fort looming over the park, and the Vindhya and Aravalli hills bordering it, the park has a very attractive setting.
You will visit the park early morning and later in the  afternoon and will be accompanied by a naturalist.

 

Day 6:    19th March 2019:    Ranthambore National Park – Jaipur:    (B/D)

You have the option of visiting the Park again this the morning. After brunch drive to Jaipur, the drive taking about four hours.
Jaipur has a labyrinth of fascinating bazaars, opulent palaces and a futuristic observatory, Jaipur was the inspiration of the ruler Sawai Jai Singh, who moved the capital from Amber in 1727. Jaipur was designed by a young architect from Bengal and together they planned a city along the ancient Hindu treatise of “Shilpa Shastra”, a science similar to the better known Feng Shui. Jaipur is laid out in a geometric grid of streets and squares making it one of the earliest planned cities in India. In honour of the visit of the Prince Edward, then the Prince of Wales, the City was painted in rich terracotta, a tradition which has continued through the years. This is the reason why Jaipur is often called the “pink city”. Today it serves as the State Capital of Rajasthan. 
On arrival you will check in to your Hotel Rambagh Palace.
Later In the evening you will be driven to Dera Amer. Take an elephant ride through the surrounding countryside in the company of a skilled mahout. Later enjoy Dinner at the Elephant farm.

 

Day 7:    20th March 2019:    Jaipur:    (B)

The sprawling City Palace which you visit today is a superb marriage of the Rajput and Mughal styles of architecture. Within the palace complex are several museums including an interesting textile gallery exhibiting a fine selection of textiles and costumes from the royal collection. You will have a private Champagne tour of the residential area of the palace.
From the City Palace you enter the extraordinary “Jantar Mantar”, the astronomical observatory built by Raja Sawai Jai Singh II in 1727. Roughly translated the name means “The Formula of Instruments”. This is one of five observatories he built in northern India. The instruments resembling massive futuristic structures are actually highly sophisticated instruments which are accurate even today.
This afternoon you will be taken for a specially designed architectural tour of the old building / havelis in the Old pink walled City. Your guide for the tour would be an expert who has been actively involved in the restoration of the old city. You will stop at small shrines and temples to understand the many nuances of Hinduism and will also stop to see craftspeople at work and watch local professions being practiced on the roadside ranging from cobblers to barbers, shamans and tea shops. You will have a chance to conversations during this walk, learning about people and their daily lives.
You also have an option of going on a food tour lead by a female chef. You will visit a variety of famous food stalls in the old city, with an option of sampling some of these mouth-watering delicacies. Hygiene will be taken care of.
Later proceed to visit the Amber Fort. Hill forts were always important to the Rajput rulers. Belonging to the Hindu “Kshatriya” or warrior class, they believed in the line from the sacred holy book, the Purana that “a fort is the strength of a king”. They built a number of such forts all over the state of Rajasthan; some made for purely defensive purposes, but most built as fort palaces. Amber is one of the finest examples of a fort palace, built similar in style to the surrounding richly decorated Mughal courts.
In the evening you have an option of going out to a local family to witness Holi burning celebrations or can witness the celebrations in Rambagh Palace itself.

 

Day 8:    21st March 2019:    (Holi Festival – Festival of Colours)    Jaipur:    (B/L)

Today, you will enjoy Holi – The Festival of Colours.

Holi heralds in spring and is celebrated in a burst of colours always in the form of coloured powder and water which is used with abandonment to colour friends and families or anyone passing by. These are all organic colours.
You will meet in the lobby and drive to Narain Niwas – Where scenes from Best Exotic Marigold Hotel were shot - 10 minutes from Rambagh Or Holi celebrations with Royal Noble family with cooking demonstration & Lunch.
Upon arrival, a traditional welcome followed by a welcome drink will be accorded to you by your host.
You will enjoy the special Rajasthani thali lunch taken out from Royal family archives. All these recipes had been collected by the family from various sources and put in 50 hand-written books. Most of these recipes will not be found anywhere else; and these are prepared in complete supervision of the family members.
Later, drive back to Hotel and rest of the day is at leisure.

 

Day 9:    22nd March 2019:    Jaipur – Udaipur:    (B)

You will depart for Udaipur today by SG 2623 (08:30 AM/09:25 AM). On your arrival you will transfer on a hotel boat across Lake Pichola to the Lake Palace Hotel.

It is said that the ghost of Udaipur looks towards Chittorgarh, for it was after the tragic fall of that fort, that Udaipur, a fairy tale city of marble palaces and lakes came into existence. The City was founded by Maharana Udai Singh in 1559 and became the capital of the region of Mewar. The rulers of Mewar, the Sisodia Rajputs trace their dynasty to AD 766 and believe they are the defenders of Rajput honour. Unlike other Rajput royal families, this was a fiercely independent clan who refused to enter into matrimonial alliances with the Mughals or military alliances with the British. The city is dominated by the massive City Palace which overlooks the lovely Lake Pichola with its romantic island palaces
The day is at your leisure to enjoy the Palatial Lake Palace and its beautiful surroundings.
In the evening you will be embarking on one of the finest fine dine experiences in the World, The Gangaur Boat Dinner (or Cocktails). The iconic Gangaur Boat was used in the bond movie Octopussy and now Taj offers its in house guests an opportunity to enjoy the Royal dining. The boat sails on the Lake Pichola for a couple of hours and you are served snacks and Cocktails. As it nears the bank of city palace, the traditional fire dancers appear, as if by magic and do a special performance as you enjoy it from your barge. There is live soft music on the boat to entertain you all through the evening. Later you enjoy sit out dinner on the boat as it continues sailing on the Lake. This is considered by many as one of the finest fine dine experiences.

 

Day 10:    23rd March 2019:    Udaipur    (B)

Today you visit the City Palace. The detailed art and workmanship is a tribute to the skills of local artisans and craftspeople. Built as a stepped palace encompassing a hill, the four places illustrate various architectural styles, reflecting prevailing influences, mostly Mughal and Rajput. In keeping with the claim of the royal family that they are “Surya vansh” – descendants of the Sun, the whole structure faces east, and a stunning bejewelled image of the sun greets you at the entrance. Also of interest here is the remarkable collection of Rajput miniature paintings and the Crystal Gallery with its rather eccentric collection of Object d’art, household items and furniture.
In the morning you take a walk in the old city with your escort. Sharing space with cows, elephants, people, and the walk through the winding lanes is an interesting insight into lifestyles in what is referred to as “small town India”. Shops selling a variety of items, unexpected folk art decorating the walls of houses and small architectural gems like a latticed work Haveli window.
Your path will lead you to the crafts people who specialize in the art of “Koftkari”. The inlay of gold and silver wire on iron objects was traditionally practiced by the Siklikar who crafted ornamented weaponry for Rajput warriors, The family you visit is one of the last few left who practice this craft making swords and daggers,
You will also see a rare skill – Jal Sanjhvi or the “art of drawing on water”. A popular religious ritual performed at temples dedicated to Krishna, this is the art of drawing iconic images on water using colored powder. This is a dying skill and at the small Krishna temple in the old city you will watch one the last few practitioners of this art create a picture. It takes five hours to complete a picture and you will arrive in time to see him completing a “canvas”.

 

Day 11:    24th March 2019:    Udaipur – Jodhpur:    (B/L)

You will drive to Jodhpur today. En route you will visit the fantastic Ranakpur temple which is one of the most important Jain temples in India. It lies in a remote and peaceful valley of the ancient Aravali hills range. The main temple is the Chamukha temple, or Four Faced temple, dedicated to Adinath. Built in 1439, this huge, beautifully crafted and well-kept marble temple is supported by 1444 pillars, no two of which are alike. Within the complex there are two other Jain temples, Neminath and Parasnath.
After visiting temples, you shall enjoy lunch at Fateh Bagh hotel, located at a short distance from the Jain temples. Later continue driving across the Aravalli hills with numerous photo stops. You will arrive late afternoon and you will be transferred to your Hotel. Later in the afternoon you will be transferred to your Hotel, The Umaid Bhawan Palace.
Jodhpur is the second largest city in the Indian state of Rajasthan, formerly the seat of princely state and the capital of kingdom, known as Marwar. The city is also known as the Sun city for the bright sunny weather. It is also referred to as Blue city due to vivid Blue painted houses around the Mehrangarh fort. It was founded in 1459 by Rao Jodha, a Rajput chief of the Rathore clan, he succeeded conquering the surrounding territories and thus founded a state known as Marwar.

 

Day 12:    25th March 2019:    Jodhpur:   (B/D)

Of all the many forts in Rajasthan, very few compare to majesty of the Meherangarh Fort. Almost impregnable, the fort is entered through seven fortified gateways. The fort is divided into three sections – the public areas, the Maharajas palaces, and the zenana, or queens’ palaces. The zenana is decorated with exquisite sandstone filigree work. Within the fort is the museum which among its varied exhibits has an excellent collection of royal palanquins and the howdah section which has perhaps the finest collection of old ornate elephant howdahs in the world.
Next visit Jaswant Thada, the graceful marble cenotaph of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II (1873-95) sitting above a small lake 1km northeast of Mehrangarh. It is an array of whimsical domes. It’s a welcome, peaceful spot after the hubbub of the city, and the views across to the fort and over the city are superb. Built in 1899, the cenotaph has some beautiful jalis (carved marble lattice screens) and is hung with portraits of Rathore rulers going back to the 13th century. Look out for the memorial to a peacock that flew into a funeral pyre.
Later, spend time wandering around the Sadar Bazaar with your guide. The Sadar Bazaar is a marvellous example of late 19th century town planning, blending modern and Rajput traditions. There are many fine old buildings including the hospital, High Court and the railway station. At the Bazaar you can shop for Jodhpur’s famous glass bangles, rugged leather mojri slippers made usually from camel leather, and the vivid tie and dye fabric.
In the evening you will be taken to a private and exclusive presentation of an ancient yet dying art form of Bhopa performance. This is a unique cultural performance that combines singing, dancing and painting all in one. You will have dinner at roof top restaurant at Pal Haveli in the old city.

 

Day 13:    26th March 2019:     Jodhpur – Delhi / Mumbai:    (B)

Morning is free to enjoy the hotel facilities. A relaxing Yoga session in the sprawling lawns of your palatial hotel could be just perfect before embarking on the long journey back home. In Afternoon you will be transferred to airport for your onward flight.

Tour Hotels

CITY LUXURY DELUXE BOUTIQUE
Delhi: Taj Diplomatic Enclave    
Agra: ITC Mughal     
Ranthambore: Taj Vivanta Sawai Madhopur    
Jaipur: Rambagh Palace    
Udaipur: Taj Lake Palace    
Jodhpur: Umaid Bhawan Palace    

 

Start Date End Date Luxury Deluxe Boutique Availability
14 Mar 2019 26 Mar 2019 $9,900.00 Space Available Book Now

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