Holi – Kama Sutra – Ganges Experience 15 Days – March 2017 Itinerary
Holi Kama Sutra Ganges Experience –
Holi – The Festival of Color, Food & Drinks. Toss that in with bonfires, good defeating evil & welcoming spring! ‘If you practically wish to witness happiness, jovial exuberance, unconditional human spirit & an entire country drenched in fun-smashing colors, accompanied with scrumptious food & drink you must visit India during the festival of Holi.’ All people irrespective of their color, sex, caste, creed, or religion get together for this enchanting festival in India.
Exhilarating lasting memories……We are off to visit Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh & Uttrakhan criss crossing over India’s religions – Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism & the Muslim faith, over the sacred river Ganga & Yamuna, onto golden sands of the Thar Desert in the glowing shimmering rays of sunset & sunrises.
On arrival to India your cultural immersion begins in New Delhi, a city of stark contrasts & once my home for 4 years. Out of New Delhi we travel west to Jaipur the Pink City to experience Rajasthan’s royal Amber Fort via elephants & Hawa Mahal. Over 4 days in Jaipur you have options to enjoy; cooking class followed by feasting, relax & pamper with a ayuverda massage at our beautiful boutique abode or be out & about in Jaipur visiting Palaces, Forts, getting lost in old Jaipur & shopping…textiles jewels or both! Morning visit to a village school, later we get a hands on textiles experience in block printing, vegetable dying & the unique dabu print technique in Bagru outside Jaipur. All that with the celebration of Holi too! Festival of Color, Food & Drinks. Returning by air to New Delhi to enjoy an evening feast as my guest of north west frontier Peshawari cuisine at, in my opinion & Bill Clintons, one of New Delhi’s best restaurants.
We travel on the infamous Indian Railway, this institution moves nearly 20 million people every day through out all India. Traveling on Indian Rail will add a fascinating dimension to your experience of being amongst the locals. Our return day train trip will take us south to Agra visiting Agra Fort & to experience the mystery of the beautiful Taj Mahal built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in loving memory of his favourite wife, Mumtaz in 1653. Taj Mahal ‘ the epitome of love ‘ has charismatic energy & imposing beauty. It is the immense love behind this outstanding monument that has given life to this masterpiece, nothing short of an architectural marvel, no wonder it stands proud as being one of the ‘ Seven Wonders of the World ‘.
We journey to The Life Source of India, Varanasi also known as Benaras. Mark Twain was enthralled by the legend & sanctity of Benaras, he wrote : “Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together”. Take time, sit on one of the many ghats, become aware amongst soul stirring hymns & mantras along with the fragrance of incense filling the air & holy waters gently splashing the Ghats.
Kama Sutra – we move onto the small town with a big history, Khajuraho. A UNESCO World Heritage site known for its ornate temples that are spectacular examples of human imagination, artistic creativity & magnificent architectural work deriving spiritual peace through eroticism & daily activities. Viewing a Sound & Light show is an evening option here. We have another option, exploring the wilderness of the Panna National Park http://www.pannanationalpark.com with a guide, seeing the tigers & many others animals in their natural habitat while enjoying the forests beauty. The Tiger Reserve is situated inside Panna National Park in the Vindhya Hills in a tropical forest along the tranquil Ken River. The forest has cascading waterfalls & it is one the country´s largest tiger reserves. The park contains more than 200 species of wildlife, including a host of migratory birds, its big cats like tigers, leopards, wolves, chinkara, chital & sambar (deer species) & sloths inside this extremely rich bio-diversity area.
To close this fascinating trip we fly to the foothills of the Himalayas. Our internal flight takes us north to enjoy this experience, the peace & tranquility of Rishikesh. Nicknamed ‘The yoga capital of the World’ it is believed that meditation in Rishikesh brings one closer to attainment of moksha, as does a dip in the holy Ganges River that flows through this small town in an area abounding in natural beauty. Our stay here is in a magical natural spot river side of the Ganges with a sandy bank enabling you easy access to the holy waters, set amongst a lychee & mango orchard. Blend that with in house Ayurvedic treatments that will leave your skin fresh, lightly scented & drenched with moisture. You can have a lesson playing the sitar or tabla, try hasya yoga (laughter therapy), practice a humming or maybe gong meditation. In 1968, The Beatles visited the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram in Rishikesh, John Lennon recorded a song titled, ‘The Happy Rishikesh Song’, the group composed nearly 48 songs during their time at the Maharishi’s ashram, many of which appear on the White Album. A short internal flight returning to New Delhi.
Travel starts & finishes in New Delhi. Full itinerary below.
16th March Thursday
This morning we’re off flying south east to the Life Source of India, The Ganges, Varanasi, also known as Benaras. Our stay begins with a 15 minute boat ride upstream along the famous ghats of Benaras to reach our Haveli which is connected by small alleys & streets leading to the Famous Kashi Vishwanath Temple (15 minutes walk). The Haveli traces its history back to the early 20th century built by the Royal Family of Nepal as a retreat. It has now been painstakingly put together again to provide the best ghat stay experience in Benaras. Mark Twain was enthralled by the legend & sanctity of Benaras, once wrote : “Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together”. Varanasi offers a breathtaking experience. Overnight Varanasi 2 nights.
17th March Friday
Few more details . . .
The accommodation I have selected has a story to it, meaning places with long history’s & royal connections in Rajasthan. In Delhi a modern private guesthouse with an Indo Western ambience, Rishikesh on the Ganges a self contained heritage hotel. All places I have stayed at before & always found them clean & safe with air conditioning.
The cost of $5788 is per person in twin share accommodation. Costs would be higher for a single traveler, invite someone to join you & have fun together. For road travel our small bus is with a professional driver who I use regularly. Our driver is not a Tour Guide. During September October weather is hot during the day with beautiful warm evenings perfect for sitting outside, bring along your swimmers. Maximum of 8 people on tour plus myself, your companion.
Your trip cost, $5788 covers:
- Ros to welcome you on arrival in New Delhi at Indira Ghandi International Airport
- 8 days small bus &/or car & driver
- 6 internal flights
- 3 train trips
- 16 nights accommodation. 1 night arrival + 15 nights twin share with breakfast
- Celebrate India dinner as my guest in New Delhi
A deposit of $900 with the Booking Form is required to confirm your booking. Final payment due on or before 18th January. Receipts will be issued at all times. See Terms & Conditions for details.
Extras costs for you
- Taxi cost on your departure from Hotel to Indira Ghandi International Airport. Approx. $30 per car
- Meals [other than all breakfasts & the dinner as my guest in New Delhi] & drinks. Meals can vary from $8 to $35 ex alcohol
- Other than the delicious Indian Kingfisher Beer, alcohol is expensive
- If you wish to do morning yoga, to suit all levels, that is an extra cost of no more than $20 per session
- Tipping is expected in India, this will come from a daily kitty, amount to be decided on our first tour day together. Covering occasions such as but not restricted to, toilet stops, meal tipping [other than breakfast] & hotel tipping
- Tip for our driver at the end of 8 days approx. $25 per person.
- Entry & guides to/at all sites – approx. 6 sites -. Entry cost per person can range $5 up to $25 for the Taj Mahal. Guide at sites max $10 per person
- Shop around for special return flights Brisbane to New Delhi, approx. $1150 Economy
- You must have a Visa to visit India. Apply for a Tourist Visa online http://www.vfs-in-au.com/ or thru your Travel Agent. I can give direction with this. Allow 30 days for the process cost $110
- Travel Insurance is compulsory on this trip. I require you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. Your policy also is to cover personal liability, cancellation, curtailment & loss of luggage & personal effects. See Terms & Conditions for more on compulsory Insurance.
- Depending on your departure times out of New Delhi you may need a hotel on 23rd March, I can assist
- If you want to do more in India I suggest add extra days after our trip finishes on 23rd March. I am happy to pass on what I know of the places you may wish to visit.