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  • Departing from?Dublin + 3
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  • When?March 2015
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Explore India & Celebrate the Holi Festival of Colours
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Explore India & Celebrate the Holi Festival of Colours

  • 12 Night Holiday
  • B&B / Half Board
View Dates & Prices

This 12 night small group tour is designed to give you a unique holiday experience that will take you off the beaten track, allowing you to unlock the authentic essence of Indian culture.

Mingle with the local people and witness their rituals and customs first-hand as you explore the backstreets and hidden corners of India by bicycle, tuk tuk, boat and by foot for an authentic slice of Indian life.

All the iconic sights are included, such as the Humayun’s Tomb, the Taj Mahal* and Amber Fort, but you will also cycle through the bustling market places in Delhi at sunrise, enjoy a Bollywood movie screening and hike between ancient forts in Jaipur, learn how to cook traditional cuisine with a local chef in Dausa, practice yoga in the land it originated from and partake in an Hindu aarti ceremony on the bank of the Ganga River in Varansi.  During this holiday you will also have the unique opportunity to celebrate Holi, the festival of colours, with a local Indian family while at a hometstay in Jaipur.

If you are ready for adventure, look no further than India.

 

Practical Information for this holiday

Currency
Rupee
Local Time
GMT + 5.5 hours. India does not observe daylight saving time (DST).
Passport
Irish and UK citizens require a visa to enter India. Passport must be valid for at least 6 months. Click here for information on visas for India. 
Dress Code
Compared with certain parts of Asia, India has a very relaxed dress code. However, care should be taken not to give offence by wearing clothing, which may be considered revealing, especially when visiting religious sites.
Climate

Varied continental climate. Spring occurs from March to April, summer from May to October, and winter from November to February. Tropical monsoon occurs from June to August, and post-monsoon or northeast monsoon season (Oct-Dec).

Food & Drink

There is a wide variety of food available in India but curry is of course a very popular dish! Vegetable, chicken or lamb dishes are common, but you will see little to no pork or beef in the north of India. Tandoori chicken, lamb rogan josh and other instantly recognisable dishes are widely available as well as European favourites.

Vaccinations
Vaccinations may be required before your departure - please consult with your GP or Tropical Medical Bureau.
Average Prices for Region
  • Coffee: 74.00Rs
  • Beer: 75.00Rs
  • Glass of wine: 100.00Rs
  • Meal: 200.00Rs
  • Soft Drink: 21.00Rs
  • Bottled Water: 22.00Rs
(80 Rupees - €1.00)
Packing List

We advise you to bring:

  • Your valid passport
  • A 220v plug adaptor
  • Sun cream and sun hat
  • Shawl – useful to cover shoulders when visiting religious sites
  • A small backpack
  • Camera
Recommended Reading

The White Tiger by Arivand Adiga

A Passage to India by E. M. Forester

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

Holiday highlights

Delhi

Delhi has experienced so many invasions and absorbed so many cultures that it captures the essence of India. Exploring New Delhi, you will see the Lutyens designed parliament building, drive past India Gate and along the tree lined boulevards of the diplomatic quarter. The Red Fort dominates Old Delhi, with walls and watchtowers towering over the nearby streets and alleys.

Fatehpur Sikri

A quiet town west of Agra, Fatehpur Sikri was used in the 16th century for twenty years as the court of the Emperor Akbar. The city was then abruptly abandoned and left to the elements. Highlights include the Royal Palace and Audience Hall, both of which give an insight into the courtly life of Mughal royalty.

Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is one of the most beautiful monuments in the world and was built by Shah Jehan as a memorial to his favourite wife. The brilliance and symmetry of this delicate marble structure, inlaid with semi-precious stones and reflected in cool, clear pools, cannot fail to take your breath away. 

Jaipur

Known as the Pink City because of its painted stone buildings, Jaipur is a lively and bustling place and is the capital of Rajasthan. Today, visitors can explore the lavish architectural projects sponsored by the royal family, including the Jantar Mantar observatory and the “Palace of Winds”. Outside the city the magnificent Amber Palace, decorated with marble, mirror work and mosaics, lies on top of a hill overlooking the city.

Holi the festival of Colours

Holi, the festival of colours, is an important date in the Hindu calendar. This ancient religious festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring and for many a day to forgive and make new beginnings. Locals usually kick start the celebrations with a Holika bonfire, followed by a carnival where water balloons and water guns spread colour and cheer to the beat of Indian drums. The spirit of India truly comes alive, and there is no better way to fully immerse yourself in the traditions and culture of local life than spending some time on the streets during this vibrant festival.

Practical Information for this holiday

Currency
Rupee
Local Time
GMT + 5.5 hours. India does not observe daylight saving time (DST).
Passport
Irish and UK citizens require a visa to enter India. Passport must be valid for at least 6 months. Click here for information on visas for India. 
Dress Code
Compared with certain parts of Asia, India has a very relaxed dress code. However, care should be taken not to give offence by wearing clothing, which may be considered revealing, especially when visiting religious sites.
Climate

Varied continental climate. Spring occurs from March to April, summer from May to October, and winter from November to February. Tropical monsoon occurs from June to August, and post-monsoon or northeast monsoon season (Oct-Dec).

Food & Drink

There is a wide variety of food available in India but curry is of course a very popular dish! Vegetable, chicken or lamb dishes are common, but you will see little to no pork or beef in the north of India. Tandoori chicken, lamb rogan josh and other instantly recognisable dishes are widely available as well as European favourites.

Vaccinations
Vaccinations may be required before your departure - please consult with your GP or Tropical Medical Bureau.
Average Prices for Region
  • Coffee: 74.00Rs
  • Beer: 75.00Rs
  • Glass of wine: 100.00Rs
  • Meal: 200.00Rs
  • Soft Drink: 21.00Rs
  • Bottled Water: 22.00Rs
(80 Rupees - €1.00)
Packing List

We advise you to bring:

  • Your valid passport
  • A 220v plug adaptor
  • Sun cream and sun hat
  • Shawl – useful to cover shoulders when visiting religious sites
  • A small backpack
  • Camera
Recommended Reading

The White Tiger by Arivand Adiga

A Passage to India by E. M. Forester

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

Trip Itinerary - Day by day

Day 1 – Depart Dublin

Morning

Depart Dublin

Begin your adventure to India as you depart Dublin on your overnight flight to Delhi.

Day 2 – Explore New Delhi

Morning

Arrive in Delhi

Upon your morning arrival in Delhi you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel. You will have the rest of the morning at leisure to settle in to your hotel.

Afternoon

Explore New Delhi

Embark on an orientation tour of Lutyen’s Delhi, an area of New Delhi named after the British architect Edwin Lutyen. During your panoramic tour you will see British era bungalows, government offices, the Presidential Palace and India Gate. Afterwards, enjoy a welcome dinner at your hotel with your group, before having the remainder of the evening at leisure to spend as you wish.

Overnight

Accommodation

3 star hotel in Delhi (2 nights)

Day 3 – Explore Old Delhi

Early morning

Old Delhi by bicycle

Depart your hotel in the early morning for a cultural adventure around Old Delhi by bicycle. On this guided tour with a difference you will explore the nooks & crannies of this walled city as it slowly wakes up! Ride your bicycle through bazars and narrow lanes, bypass temples & places of worship, gaze upon old colonial buildings before enjoying a late breakfast in a local restaurant.

Afternoon

Guided tour of Delhi

In the afternoon enjoy a guided tour of Delhi. Visit Raj Ghat, the memorial site of Mahatma Gandhi, where you can see an eternal flame burning at the spot of his cremation. From here you will move on to the Jama Masjid mosque which is home to the ancient Qur’an. You will also see Humayun’s Tomb, a beautiful 16th Century building and the tomb of the Emperor Humayun. You will finish the day at Bangla Sahib Sikh Temple, known for its community kitchen which offers food to thousands of people every day irrespective of their faith & religion.

Evening

At leisure

You will have a full evening at leisure to experience Delhi independently. Perhaps take a tuk tuk to try some authentic food at a local restaurant? Your guide will be happy to suggest somewhere to suit your taste!

Day 4 – Delhi to Jaipur

Full day

Delhi to Jaipur

Today you will have the opportunity to witness the changing landscapes of Northern India as you transfer by coach with your local guide from Delhi to Jaipur. (Approximate distance: 271 km. Approximate duration: 6 hours). Upon arrival in Jaipur you will have a guided city tour of Jaipur, often referred to as the Pink City. You will visit City Palace Museum, to see the former seat of the Maharaja of Jaipur, experience the awe-inspiring Jantar Mantar sundial, and finally have an opportunity for a photo outside the famous ‘Palace of Winds.’ Your tour will end with a thrilling tuk tuk ride from the old bazaar back to your homestay.

Evening

Holi Holika bonfire

Kick off the Holi celebrations at a Holika bonfire and a welcome dinner at your homestay. At a Holika bonfire the locals gather for rituals and prayers, with the bonfire symbolising the burning of evil thoughts.

Overnight

Accommodation

Home stay in Jaipur (2 nights)

Day 5 – Celebrate the Holi Festival in Jaipur

Morning

Holi Carnival

Holi, the festival of colours, is an important date in the Hindu calendar. This ancient religious festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring and for many a day to forgive and make new beginnings. Watch the spirit of India come alive as you spend the morning at a carnival, where water balloons and water guns spread colour and cheer amongst the local people. There truly is no better way experience Indian culture than to spend time on the streets during this spectacular festival!

Afternoon

Holi celebrations at your homestay

Continue the Holi celebrations at your homestay where you will be hosted for lunch by a local Indian family. Dance to the rhythm of the music, indulge in a home cooked meal and experience first-hand the hospitality of the Indian people.

Evening

Bollywood movie screening

Jaipur is home to Rajmandir, which is the most regal Single Screen Cinema Hall in India, known for its rich interiors. This evening you will experience a Bollywood movie screening in this stunning location. So sit back and relax with some popcorn and enjoy the movie with the locals!

Day 6 – Jaipur to Dausa

Early morning

Guided hike

This morning after an early breakfast, depart on a 3km guided hike from Jaigarh Fort to Amber Fort & Palace. The hike takes you through the Aravalli hills towards the walls of Amber Fort & Palace. The hike is moderately paced across hilly terrain with a slightly steeper decline from Jaigarh Fort, from which you will have a stunning view of Jaipur city. This hike will last approximately 1 hour. Afterwards embark on a guided excursion of Amber Fort & Palace. Perched on a hill top, the rugged, time-ravaged walls of the Fort not only look beautiful from the outside, but the interior is also a visual paradise. Built in the early 1600s, Amber Fort & Palace is home to the stunning Hall of Mirrors. A beautiful collection of over one million pieces of glass mirror tiles as well as coloured glass adorn the walls and ceiling.

Afternoon

Explore Dausa

In the afternoon you will transfer by coach with your guide to Dausa. (Approximate distance: 195 km. Approximate duration: 4 hours). Your time in Dausa will give you the opportunity to escape the busy city life and immerse yourself in rural India. In the evening there will be a walk organised through the farmyard of your hotel with a local chef. During the walk the chef will talk you through the different types of homegrown produce and help you select vegetables for an interactive group culinary workshop. Dinner tonight will be the outcome of your cooking efforts!

Overnight

Accommodation

3 star hotel in Dausa (2 nights)

Day 7 – Explore Dausa

Early morning

Yoga class

Kick start your day with an early morning yoga class on the lawns of your hotel. Yoga, a group of physical, mental, and spiritual disciplines originated in ancient India over 5,000 years ago and has become a popular form of exercise for both the body and the mind in the rest of the world over the last century. Whether yoga is already part of your usual routine or you are a complete beginner, this morning yoga flow will leave you refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to take on a full day of exploration!

Morning

Local village visits

After breakfast embark on an exploration of the nearby local villages of Dausa by traditional jugaad, an open wooden carriage that is powered by a pump. A jugaad is still a very popular mode of transport in Northern India and is used to ferry not just people but often cattle and even furniture between villages. Today’s journey by jugaad will allow you a unique glimpse in to rural Indian lifestyle as you mingle with the locals along the way. A visit to a village primary school is included where you can meet some of the teachers and local school children.

Afternoon

Bollywood music

In the afternoon you will continue immersing yourself in local life. There will be the opportunity to learn how to tie a traditional Rajasthani turban and how to drape the colourful sarees. The day will finish with some Bollywood music. Dancing is optional but highly recommended! Dinner is included at your hotel.

Day 8 – Dausa to Agra

Morning

Chand Baori Step Well

Depart Dausa for Agra with visits to Chand Baori Step Well & Fatehpur Sikri en route. Chand Baori was built over a thousand years ago in the Abhaneri village of Rajasthan. It is one of the largest stepwells in the world and was constructed by local rulers to tackle the scarcity of water in the dry climate. It has 3,500 narrow steps arranged in perfect symmetry, which descend 20m over 13 floors to the bottom of the well.

Afternoon

Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur Sikri is located 40 Km before Agra. This red sandstone palace complex was built by Emperor Akbar in 1569, in honour of the great saint Sheikh Asalim Christi who prophesied the heirless Akbar with the birth of three sons. Fatehpur Sikri was occupied as capital of the Mughal Empire for 14 years but it eventually became deserted and is known today as a “Ghost City”. After your visit you will continue to your hotel in Agra. On arrival in Agra, enjoy dinner at your hotel before having the remainder of the evening at leisure. (Approximate distance from Dausa to Agra excluding sightseeing stops: 172 km. Approximate duration: 3 hours)

Overnight

Accommodation

3 star hotel in Agra (2 nights)

Day 9 – Explore Agra

Early morning

The Taj Mahal

Experience sunrise at the famous Taj Mahal, built in 1560 by Shah Jahan in memory of his Queen, Mumtaz Mahal, to enshrine her mortal remains. This architectural marvel is a visual masterpiece and is sure to be one of the highlights of your trip. Later in the morning explore Agra Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the finest Mughal forts in India. Built in the 11th century, an era marked by invasions and battles, this red stone-fortified castle was the site of the India Rebellion of 1857.

Late afternoon

Cycle the countryside

In the late afternoon embark on a cycling tour of the Agra countryside with your local expert guide. Cycle through the nearby villages observing the placid country lifestyle. The cycle will pass by agricultural fields and pottery workshops with stops made along the way for you to interact with the locals over some tea and light snacks. The cycle will end with a view of the Taj Mahal. (Distance covered by bicycle: 11km / Duration spent cycling: 2 hours)

Evening

Sheroes Hangout

This evening you will have the opportunity to spend time at Sheroes Hangout, a community hub located near the Taj Mahal. The women who work at Sheroes Hangout have lived through devastating acid assaults. Sheroes Hangout is designed to promote empowerment and to give these acid attack survivors the confidence to show their faces in public after being disfigured.

Day 10 – Agra to Varanasi

Early morning

Fly to Varanasi

Depart Agra by coach for Delhi airport to board your internal flight to Varanasi (Approximate distance: 230 km. Approximate duration: 5.5 hours). Varanasi is regarded as the spiritual capital of India. The city draws Hindu pilgrims who bathe in the Ganga River’s sacred waters and perform funeral rites.

Evening

At leisure

Upon arrival at your hotel in the evening you will have the remainder of the day at leisure to get your bearings in your new surroundings. Your local expert guide will be happy to suggest places to eat and drink during your free time.

Overnight

Accommodation

3 star hotel in Varanasi (2 nights)

Day 11 – Explore Varanasi

Early morning

Cruise on the Ganga River

Experience an early morning cruise on the Ganga River. This is the perfect time to visit the holy Ganga as you will see the city waking up. As you sail past the different ghats you will learn the essence of Hinduism. You may also see people taking their morning exercise, washing their clothes or taking a holy dip in the river. Following your cruise you will explore the narrow lanes of the surrounding areas where you will see people coming out of the temples after their morning prayers.

Morning

Sarnath

After breakfast at your hotel, drive to Sarnath which is the place where Gautama Buddha was enlightened below the Bodhi tree. The direct descendant of that tree is still rooted firmly at the same site. It is a very important pilgrimage site for Buddhists from all over the world. The excavation at Sarnath date back to pre-Christ era and the onsite museum has some very ancient & rare art crafts.

Evening

Aarti Ceremony

You will have the unique opportunity to witness an aarti ceremony from the ghats on the banks of Holy River Ganga. Aarti is a Hindu religious ritual of worship and every evening hundreds of people gather to participate in this daily ritual. The ceremony is performed by seven priests standing on platforms with large oil lamps in both their hands. The worshippers also hold small earthen lamps which are then floated in the river after culmination of the aarti ceremony. Your busy day will end with a group farewell meal at your hotel.

Day 12 - Return home

Full Day

Return home

Perhaps you would like to join an early morning Yoga session on the banks of the Ganga River? Or spend the morning at soaking up the atmosphere at a local market? Or maybe you would like to explore the narrow alley ways at your whim? The choice is yours! In the late afternoon transfer to the airport for your overnight flight home.

Day 13 - Arrive home

Morning

Arrive home

Arrive home following your once in a lifetime adventure in India.

* Please note that the order of your excursions on the itinerary above is provisional and subject to change

Customer reviews

Hotel & accommodation available for this trip

Virohaa Hotel New Delhi 3

Virohaa Hotel provides comfortable accommodation in the heart of New Delhi. This hotel is a great choice for those interested in immersing themselves in the hustle and bustle of the city.  ... read more read more read more

Virohaa Hotel provides comfortable accommodation in the heart of New Delhi. This hotel is a great choice for those interested in immersing themselves in the hustle and bustle of the city.  

Hotel address
Virohaa Hotel New Delhi
A-3 Pamposh Enclave,
Greater Kailash-1, Near, Nehru Place
New Delhi,
Delhi
View available dates for this hotel

Royale Residency Hotel 3

Hotel Royale Residency is situated in the city of Agra. Guests can enjoy an on-site restaurant and spa facilities. Nearby attractions include The Taj Mahal which is just a five minute drive away.... read more read more read more

Hotel Royale Residency is situated in the city of Agra. Guests can enjoy an on-site restaurant and spa facilities. Nearby attractions include The Taj Mahal which is just a five minute drive away.

Hotel address
Royale Residency Hotel
Fatehabad Road
Agra-282 001

Agra
View available dates for this hotel

Ikaki Niwas Homestay

Ikaki Niwas is a homestay in Jaipur city in Rajasthan, India. Guests can enjoy the small library, and the lounge areas on the patio and terrace as well as cooking demonstrations from the host family.  Room sizes may vary due to the authentic nature of the buildings.... read more read more read more

Ikaki Niwas is a homestay in Jaipur city in Rajasthan, India. Guests can enjoy the small library, and the lounge areas on the patio and terrace as well as cooking demonstrations from the host family.  Room sizes may vary due to the authentic nature of the buildings.

Hotel address
Ikaki Niwas
5, Chha 2, Sector 5
Jawahar Nagar
Jaipur
View available dates for this hotel

Umaid Lake Palace 3

Spread across 20 acres in the countryside near Dausa, Umaid Lake Palace is landscaped to capture the beauty of former Mughal palace gardens. Accommodation is simple but spacious, with traditional décor at the heart of the hotel. The large gardens and swimming pool offer the perfe... read more read more read more

Spread across 20 acres in the countryside near Dausa, Umaid Lake Palace is landscaped to capture the beauty of former Mughal palace gardens. Accommodation is simple but spacious, with traditional décor at the heart of the hotel. The large gardens and swimming pool offer the perfect opportunity to unwind.  Umaid Lake Palace allows guests to escape the hustle and bustle of life in larger Indian cities and experience a taste of rural life.  This quaint hotel also offers its guests the chance to sample some local foods from nearby farms at its onsite restaurant. As Umaid Lake Palace is a heritage property, room sizes may vary.

Hotel address
Umaid Lake Palace
Agra Natinal Highway
Village Kalakho,
NH21, Kandoli, District Dausa
View available dates for this hotel

The Amayaa 3 Star

The Amayaa Hotel is located in the city of Varanasi. It features 2 dining options, an outdoor swimming pool and air-conditioned rooms. Nearby landmarks include Manikarnika Ghat, Dasaswamedh Ghat and Harishchandra Ghat.... read more read more read more

The Amayaa Hotel is located in the city of Varanasi. It features 2 dining options, an outdoor swimming pool and air-conditioned rooms. Nearby landmarks include Manikarnika Ghat, Dasaswamedh Ghat and Harishchandra Ghat.

Hotel address
The Amayaa
The Mall Rd
Varanasi Cantt, Varanasi
Uttar Pradesh 221002
Varansi
View available dates for this hotel

* Some hotel facilities may be seasonally operated or under maintenance and therefore unavailable at the time of your stay. Charges may apply for certain facilities.

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