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Highlights of Holi Tour

Important Facts

Duration: 12 Days
Pace: Relaxed
Destinations: Old Delhi and New Delhi➜Mathura➜Agra➜Jaipur➜Pushkar ➜Deogarh➜Rankpur➜Udaipur➜New delhi

 

Highlights of Holi Tour

  • At some point every year in March, the people of northern India celebrate the colorful and charismatic Holi Festival. With all the varied types of people and ways of life represented in India, Holi gives people the opportunity to get out, meet each other as equals, and just have fun. As the colored powder flies through the air and splashes of water rained down on the happy faces, everyone ends up being a perfect jewel in the kaleidoscope of life.
  • The 12-day tour in northern India allows you to experience the Holi Festival for yourself. During the journey, you will be able to enjoy yourself at two separate celebrations. The first spans a spectacular 4 to 5 days near Mathura and Vrindavan villages. Next, the tour group will travel to Pushkar, the Sacred City in Rajasthan, for an additional Holi celebration.
  • Together we will step back through time to the birthplace of Lord Krishna, who is the main deity behind Holi. Believers state he was born in Mathura, grew up in Vrindavan, and the legend that tells of the start of this holiday all happened right there in the middle of the Braj region of India. The story tells of a sad Krishna who wanted to look more like Radha, his fair-skinned friend. Krishna’s mother suggested that he apply color to his friend’s face. Thus, Holi Festival began as a way to not only celebrate Krishna, but also to bring togetherness and continuity to loved ones and strangers alike. The whole celebration thrums with energy and excitement.
  • When the group visits Pushkar for the Holi celebrations, you will get to sink into the deep culture of color, liveliness, and love that everyone shows for each other during this special time of year. Everyone takes to the streets, music is played, and people dance to share their joy and Indian culture. You will never forget the wonder of what you see and experience.
  • The 12-day tour includes not only celebrations of Holi, but also visits to some of the most memorable cities in India: Delhi, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Agra, and Udaipur. An additional journey to Rajasthan’s rural areas will let you see a different side of the Indian experience. Experience a train ride that takes you into the arid landscape surrounding the mountains, ride a rickshaw through an exotic bazaar, and take a Jeep safari into the wilderness.
  • From an early morning start, the day begins with an exploration of how India really every day is. The city awakes and local people head to the market. Stroll down the cobblestone alleys in Deogarh and enjoy the sights and delicious smells of the flower markets and chai wallahs. Days will fill with visits to important historical sites, palaces, temples, and imposing stone forts. A trip to the region would not be complete without a stop at the massive stepwell built in the 900s or the renowned Taj Mahal. A leisurely boat trip on Lake Pichola would round out one of the amazing days. The festival of Holi encourages all to participate in the colorful celebration of spring.
Show Full Travel Program

As you arrive in India, prepare yourself to experience every aspect of its colorful culture, diverse people, spiritual beliefs, and rich history. You cannot find another place like it on earth. Every day will bring new sights, sounds, and smells to you as you take guided tours and wander on your own through a small part of its 3 million square kilometers. See a vast variety of landscapes, and view some of the most outstanding vistas as you explore the wilder areas of the country. Whether your tastes run towards the Goa beaches with their sparkling sand or the chaotic thrill of a busy city marketplace or the serene and sacred waters of the Ganges River, you will find something to stick in your memory for the rest of your life.

After a delicious breakfast, your experience and knowledgeable guide will take you on a tour of the old and new Delhi locations of interest. This includes a stop for photographs at the Red Fort, a quick visit to an extensive mosque called Jama Masjid, a stroll down the bazaar streets of Chandni Chowk, and even a ride on one of the local rickshaws through the twisting alleyways and streets near Ghandi Smriti and Birla Mandir. At last he will see the temple and India Gate at the edge of the city, a towering war memorial rises 42 meters into the air, the Rashtrapati Bhavan, which is the elegant house the president lives in, historical Humayun’s Tomb and the impressive Qutub Minar, a towering red stone lance that is 73 meters tall and was constructed to celebrate India’s victory. At the end of this very busy day, relax in a Delhi hotel to prepare for the rest of your journey.

After another delicious breakfast at the hotel, the group boards comfortable vehicles to take a road trip to Mathura. The goal is the town of Barsana, where you will experience your first Holi Festival celebration.

 

This village lies 42 kilometers away from the larger town and is known as being Radha’s birthplace. Holi difference here than in other places around India as the people engage in a unique play acting. Men from nearby Nandgaon, where Krishna came from, come to Barsana and attempt to put their flag atop the local temple. In order to stop them from taking over Shri Radhikaji’s sacred space, the women beat them around the head with large sticks. Although the traditional colors are involved in the celebration today, this difference in practice has given it a new name: Lathmar Holi.

 

Because this is just for fun and celebration, the men prepare by wearing heavily padded clothing and strong hats. They know they are not allowed to fight back against the women with the sticks, but they do run and scamper away playfully whenever one draws near. If a man is unlucky enough or too slow, the women Dracula way to the appointed spot and smack him. After that, to complete his shame, they rode him with women’s outfit and make them dance in the streets. This is all good fun and everyone has a riotous time.

 

All of the parts of this Lathmar Holi practice come from Indian poets like Nand-das, Surdas, and Kumbhan-das will tell the tale of Lord Krishna himself going through a similar actions. However, the entire Holi festival is not about women getting one up on the menfolk. A day later, the men returned with colors called palash and kesudo, which is a natural bright orange died. The women are still allowed to use sticks to beat off their “attackers” but most people end up getting drenched in color anyway.

Tourists are encouraged to stay in one of the safe observation spots that the Indian state officials have created for them. Most of the activities listed above occur outside of town in a special open spot. This gives you the opportunity to see and experience everything without risking a bop over the head or coverage with powder.

The day ends with a drive to the city of Agra and a comfortable stay in the hotel.

Another early start finds you traveling a short distance to the city to view the iconic Taj Mahal at sunrise. This timeless and much celebrated triumph of architecture is highly considered the most magnificent expression of love ever created. Constructed between 1631 and 1653 CE, the Emperor Shah Jahan ordered its construction to symbolize his love for Queen Mumtaz, who died during childbirth. It is considered among the seven modern wonders of the world.

After plenty of opportunities for photographs, the group moves on to Agra Fort, which is just one of the UNESCO world heritage sites found within the borders of India. Built from red limestone, the fort stretches over 94 acres. Over the years since its construction in 1080 CE, it has been damaged, repaired, and renovated multiple times, but has stood strong through the centuries. The group will tour through some of the most magnificent rooms and buildings including the Moti Masjid, or Pearl Fort, Diwan-i-Am, Public Audience Hall, Diwan-i-Khas, Private Audience Hall, and Sheesh Mahal, or Mirror Palace. Everywhere you look, you will see a unique and impressive combination of Islamic and Hindu architecture and art styles.

The afternoon includes a visit to what is sometimes called the “Baby Taj.” In fact, Itimad-ud-Daulah mimics the look of the larger monument in some ways. The tomb was built in the 17th century from marble, which was unheard of at the time. Inside are the resting places of Mirza Ghiyas Beg and certain members of his family. To honor them properly, the tomb contains beautiful examples of stone carving, latticework screens, architectural accents, and stone inlays. The tombs themselves have the appearance of wood, but they are really made from stunning yellow marble.

 

After enough time to explore the intricate details of this historical site, the group continues the day with a walk through the Kachpura village. Again, you can rest your eyes on the Taj Mahal across the river, but other monuments and sites of interest will draw your attention, too. Not only will you get to see important historical places like Humayun’s Mosque and Gyarah Sidi, you can enjoy being part of a community program that trains locals to be skilled tour guides. As they lead you through the streets and around properties that they see every day, they can share their inside information at every turn. You cannot get a more authentic experience than this. At last, the tour ends near Mehtab Bagh, which allows you to see the Taj Mahal at sunset for more unique photo opportunities.

Dinner comes with a Mohabbat the Taj show at the Kalakriti Cultural and Convention Center. It gives you an entertaining and educational look at the history of the Taj Mahal. The love story is played out in a comfortable theater by over 80 actors and culminates in a magnificent light show over a large replica of the monument. This is truly a world-class performance. After it is done, transportation is provided to a local restaurant and then back to the hotel for relaxation and a great night sleep before the next adventure happens

Today you will get to sleep after sunset, but you do not want to waste too much time in getting ready for this next exciting day in India. Start with a guided tour of Fatehpur Sikri, an ancient capital city ruled by the Mughal. During this tour, you will see many great examples of their historical architectural style including the Buland Darwaza, which was constructed in 1601. No tour of important Mughal spots would be complete without the Royal Diwan-E-Khas chamber once used by Akbar himself. Another stop includes a beautifully carved sandstone house where the Turkish Sultana once resided.

Optional Trip: If your tastes run toward the natural world instead of architecture, you may skip the above tour and head to Bharatpur’s Keoladeo National Park and Bird Sanctuary instead. More than 230 different varieties of birds have been seen here at various times of the year. No matter what time you come, the skies, ground, trees, and water will contain many birds that stop by on their migratory paths. Spring is an excellent time to head out with your binoculars and discover some of India’s natural wildlife. This Park is now a world heritage natural site.

Whichever morning excursion you choose, the group comes together again for a quick trip to Abhaneri in Rajasthan. This is a must-see location on any trip to India, as the famous Chand Baori step well was constructed here back around 800 CE. Marvel at the precise architecture, the 450 steps, unique carved stone decorations, and the knowledge that it was constructed so long ago to keep water for the villagers and still functions beautifully today.

The next leg of the journey takes you to Jaipur, which combines modern life in India with the rich history of the region. Some people call it the “Pink City” since the Prince of Wales visited. In order to show him how welcome he was, the local government decided to paint the old buildings in the welcoming shades of terra-cotta pink in 1876. The city itself began in 1727 when renaissance man Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II came to this location. During your tour, you will get to see multiple palaces, fortresses, many temples, and an observatory that was constructed during the medieval period.

The next day begins with a delicious breakfast at the comfortable hotel. Strap on your walking shoes to start a long tour of the city. The first stop is the Amber Fort, which represents a classic architectural style in Rajasthan. Although not intricately carved or decorated with inlaid stone or latticework, the walls of the yellow Fort are nevertheless impressive. Once you go inside, your impression may change. Walls are covered with miniature scenes that show famous battles and hunting parties. The plaster walls are decorated with reflective mirrors and semiprecious stones.

No trip to the Fort would be complete without a stop in the Hall of Victory, or Jag Mandir. A room inside, called the Sheesh Mahal, is famous for taking visitors’ breath away. Small pieces of mirror, which were brought all the way from Belgium when the fort was built, decorate the walls and ceiling of this room.

After lunch, the tour continues at the Maharaja’s City Palace where the royal family used to live. Some of them still use it when they are in Jaipur, but much of the property has become a museum. This sprawling property encompasses one seventh of the entire city, and was originally constructed as a fort-style complex to keep the royalty safe. Now, the museum attracts many visitors every month. One of the most popular exhibits focuses on the Armory and contains historical artifacts such as swords, daggers, rifles, flintlock pistols, and blunderbusses.

After perusing the displays and the building itself, the group both on to a medieval observatory that can still be used to track the movements of the sun today. It is called Jantar Mantar, and stands as the largest solar observatory made from marble anywhere on Earth. Inside its arched walls sit 17 massive instruments designed to measure the sun’s position and make other astronomical readings possible.

The day continues with a trip to Dera Amer, a place famous for its elephants. You will get the opportunity to feed some delicious bananas, give the tame elephants a bath at a nearby pond, and learn much about these gentle giants from their mahouts or trainers. They will guide visitors to demonstrate how they use natural paints and dyes to decorate the animal’s skin for special occasions. Afterward, you get the thrill of climbing high atop the elephant’s sturdy back for a leisurely trip into local forests. During the elephant Safari, you will get to see a Hindu temple built over 300 years ago that still stands today.

A quick 3 hours drive to Pushkar begins the seventh day of your Indian adventure. This historical region is considered blessed by Brahma himself when he made a sacrifice near the lake during a full moon. There is no question why the beautiful Brahma Temple was constructed here. Legends state that if you worship at this temple fervently and also immerse yourself in the holy waters of the lake, you are sure to reach salvation after your death. This leads thousands of believers to visit Pushkar on that full moon of Kartik month every year.

Our tour group will rest for a while in the hotel and prepare for the invigorating Holi celebration that will commence soon. In order to preserve your clothing from the colorful paint powders thrown about, we provide a set of traditional Kurta Pyjamas to wear instead. This helps you get into the spirit without concern over your own belongings while you play with colored powder dyed with herbs and watch the locals dance to the steady beat of drums. The feelings of joy and energy are felt in every corner of the town.

The Holi Festival is one of the most popular all across northern India. It has been celebrated for centuries and becomes more popular every year. People let their hair down, get a bit wild, and enjoy playing in the streets with each other. Besides all the colorful fun, upbeat Bollywood songs are played so everyone can dance and have a great time.

After a bit of rest and some time to wash the colorful powder from your skin, the group heads to a popular Brahma temple. The front entrance is decorated with his unique symbol of a hans or goose, a red stone spire towers overhead, and everywhere you look there is something of a historical or religious significance.

A leisurely breakfast gives you time to prepare for the energetic day to come. You have enjoyed a ride on an elephant, but now it is time to sit atop a camel for a Pushkar Safari adventure. A knowledgeable guide will lead you into a desert landscape and teach you about the people who live there and the ecosystem of plants and animals that make this region of the world their home. The far off mountains and Aravalli hills will bring pleasant vistas to your eyes. As you travel through small villages, you can experience how countryfolk in India live every day.

The next journey commences in a comfortable air-conditioned vehicle as the group makes its way to Jodhpur. Because many of the Brahmin homes built within the walls of the city, it is often called the Blue City. One of the most important locations here is the Mehrangarh Fort with its imposing walls. From atop the walls, you can look out and see much of the city’s landscape. It housed royalty from the 1400s on.

The Jaswant Thada constructed in luxurious marble is another must-see destination that fills the skyline. A closer look at the winding streets brings you to busy bazaars and marketplaces and crowds of local people working and shopping.

The afternoon brings a guided tour that takes you to these magnificent places. The fort features seven separate gates with unique names. The Fatehpol and Jayapol gates symbolize battles won by the Marwar rulers. The inside palace features many decorations suitable for a royal household such as carved wall panels, lattice work over windows, and expertly fitted red sandstone at every turn. The tour also includes the city’s famous clock tower and a stroll through Sardar marketplace.

Camel Ride Information: Do not wear expensive or high-quality clothing during the camel expedition. This occurs during the Holi festival, so you may be decorated with colored powder or water thrown by fun-loving village children. Loose, comfortable clothing is best for maximum comfort while sitting astride a camel.

A comfortable drive to Deogarh begins this day of your Indian tour. In the Aravalli Hills, this location features an intricate and historically significant palace with massive gates, towering turrets, battlements, and smooth stone domes. Although it fell into disrepair, the Chundawat family acquired the property and transformed it into a hotel. Many of the features are historically accurate, it boasts lovely gardens and waterways, but it also offers modern accomodations.

The nearby village used to be one of the feudal thikanas who owed fealty to the Maharana of this region. Now, many villagers live there amid the natural beauty of the location. Due to its position some 2100 feet above sea level, the weather is frequently cooler than in surrounding parts of the Rajasthani area of India. Check into the hotel and immediately discover its beauty and historical significance. The stone steps and archways are worn smooth by centuries of passing feet and touching hands.

Walk with the tour group through the Deogarh streets to experience life like a local lives. Women wearing saris stroll through the marketplaces while ox carts and sacred cows intermingle with the crowds. Every step along the way will bring you to a new shop or market stall selling food, spices, tobacco, fabric, clay pipes and pots, and other products.

The evening around without with a vintage jeep ride into the wild land surrounding the town. These rural areas give you a beautiful glimpse into the natural world that makes Deogarh so unique. You can see stretches of wild desert interspersed with neat farms nestled by small villages. On the shores of a picturesque lake, you and the host family will enjoy a delicious snacks and beverages before returning to the hotel for your main meal.

The exploration of every day local life continues the next day with a short journey on what locals call the Monkey Train. It journeys from Khambli Ghat to Phulad and has done so since the Jodhpur and Udaipur rulers had it built in 1930.

The ride on this serviceable train affords you the opportunity to gaze upon the Kamlighat region’s hills, mountains, and rolling plains. You will share the train with local people on their way to visit friends, get to work, or go shopping. Although the train has an official name, it gets the nickname from the crowds of monkeys that sit at the stations and wait for scraps of food. Sometimes, the monkeys even jump on the train directly.

At Phulad, we will board vehicles for a short drive to Ranakpur’s famous Jain Temple. In the 1400s, a businessman named Dharna Shah ordered construction of this Temple to celebrate Adinath, which factors strongly in the cosmological system the Jains use. This particular one ranks among the top five of all Jain temples across India. It is quite large with 29 separate halls, 20 domes, five tall spires, and 420 pillars surrounding it. The architecture has an amazing number of unique details and the stunning design ornaments everywhere you look.

Imagine 420 pillars with not one being the same as any other. Enjoys the exquisite stone carvings and other decorations that cover almost every inch of the temple walls. The designers understood how to introduce natural sunlight into the buildings by leaving open courtyards scattered about the grounds. One of the most spectacular planning feats makes it possible to see the representation of the god contained within the temple from anywhere you stand. No pillar obscures your view.

Transportation back to the hotel in Jaipur is provided.

After so many thrilling and energetic days touring the various parts of India, it might feel good to take a relaxing boat cruise on the picturesque Lake Pichola. This is just one of the three lakes that flow into one another at the base of the Aravalli Mountain foothills. Many people consider this city to be the most lovely and romantic of all in the Rajasthani region of India. As you cruise in a shaded boat across the blue water, you will see a variety of historical temples, intricate palaces, and converted hotels that have not lost their charm of yesteryear. Some particular points of interest include the Lake Palace on an island, the City Palace, and the Udaipur Observatory.

This lake was actually enlarged by Maharana Udai Singh when he began Udaipur city. The islands of Jag Niwas and Jag Mandir dot its surface.

The City Palace itself is worth a long look. On a rocky cape jutting out into Lake Pichola, the palace presents a majestic and beautiful image of historical architecture and royal splendor. The property actually holds 11 smaller palaces called mahals that feature towering spires, intricately carved balconies, and high cupolas gracing the rooftops.

Another nearby attraction is the beautiful Sahelion ki Bari Garden, which gave royal women a lovely place to relax and enjoy nature. Its construction completed in the 1700s. The tour also visits a Jagdish temple before the boat ride commences.

If you do not want to relax at the hotel after the boat ride and adventure of the day, you can choose to take in the Dharohar Folk Dance put on as a cultural presentation at the Bagore Ki Haveli Museum. This exhibition includes men playing Rajasthani music was various instruments, a traditional dance from the women, and an entertaining puppet show to round out the experience. Although the show starts at 7:00 PM, the ticket sellers start at 6:15 PM, so it is a good idea to get in line early if you want to get a good seat. There are not that many available. The tour guide will be happy to give you directions or assist you in navigating the narrow alley ways that lead to the museum.

Checkout time comes right after breakfast, and then the group begins the drive back to a New Delhi hotel. This is a perfect time to remember all the marvelous sites you have seen and share them with your new friends in the group. The evening in Delhi will include a nice dinner and the last overnight stay in a hotel.

Transportation to the airport is provided before the time of your flight schedule. We hope you leave India with a greater appreciation of everything this great country has to offer and plenty of wonderful memories to last your whole life through

India your way, your route, your style

Price based on two persons in a double room

Prices are in USD Excluding international flights

Do you prefer to travel alone or would you like to come to India with a group of friends? We will be happy to tailor-made your tour program that meets all your wishes and needs

 
Travel Period PRICE PER PERSON  
Apr 1, 2022 – Mar 31, 2023 from Price on Request (Deluxe) INQUIRE NOW
Apr 1, 2022– Mar 31, 2023 from Price on Request (Luxury) INQUIRE NOW

Would you like to have the trip tailored to your wishes?

Our itineraries are always an example and can be changed individually. For example, it can be shortened or extended with additional destinations or monuments, the hotels can be a mix of 4 and 5 star etc. (info@vacationindia.com or +1-1800-109-1468). Let us know your personal wishes so that we can adapt the trip to your wishes. Within 24 hours at the most you will receive your personal travel proposal without obligation. Together with the travel request we will send you the hotel list so that you can get a picture of the hotels selected on the internet. We always choose hotels that have a charming character, are centrally located and 100% safe for tourists!
info@vacationindia.com

Included With the Trip

  • 12 nights’ hotel stays based on double occupancy
  • Breakfast and dinner for 11 days
  • Welcoming ceremony with garlands at the airport
  • On-hand assistance for airport arrival and departure
  • Skilled and experienced tour guides throughout the entire trip
  • Transportation between locations in an air-conditioned mini-bus
  • Entry fees and permission to all locations listed in the itinerary
  • Holi celebration assistance at Mathura, Vrindavan, and Pushkar
  • Dera Amer Elephant Village ride
  • Battery-powered transport to the main entrance of the Taj Mahal property
  • Deogarh Jeep excursion in the rural area
  • Kamlighat to Phulad rural train ride tickets
  • Mohabet Taj show tickets in Agra
  • One bottle of fresh water each on travel between cities or towns
  • All Taxes, fees, fuel charges, tolls and other required expenses

Exclusions Not Included in the Tour Price

  • Cost or international or domestic airline travel
  • Travel insurance
  • India Visa
  • Tips for service providers
  • Optional excursion prices
  • $15 each for the Dharohar Folk Dance in Udaipur
  • $45 each for a bicycle tour with guide in Jaipur with breakfast
  • Personal expenses: phone charges, hard beverages, laundry fees, camera charges
  • All other services and fees not mentioned above

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To receive the list of Hotels selected for this tour, please email us at info@vacationindia.com

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