Riff Experience 17 Days – September 2017 Itinerary
taking in Jodhpur RIFF Music Festival
Songlines, UK magazine, regarded RIFF Music Festival as one of the best 25 international festivals. In Jodhpur we attend this favourite festival of mine for the day & evening, taking away with us an unforgettable experience that cannot be repeated anywhere else in the world. Riff Music Festival created in 2007, by international standards this is a small festival of only 1200. The quality & depth of musicians from India & around the globe, the stunning intimate setting inside Merangarh Fort, fully catered by Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces makes this unimaginable experience a 5 star event. You party with peoples from all over India & the world with a passion for music, art & culture under the October full moon at Riff Music Festival. Always in attendance is the chief patron of the festival Maharaja Gaj Singh & when his schedule allows international patron Sir Mick Jagger.
On arrival to India your cultural immersion begins in New Delhi, a city of stark contrasts & once my home for 4 years. Over a period of 16 days we are travelling west to Jaipur the Pink City to experience Rajasthan’s royal Amber Fort via elephants & Hawa Mahal. After a morning visit at a village school we rest in the charming village of Samode, take a camel ride to Samode palace for sunset drinks, north west to Jodhpur “Blue City’ to take joy in the Riff Music Festival global music scene inside magnificent Mehrangarh Fort. Onto Udaipur soaking in cooling sunrise air from Neenach Mata Temple & beautiful sunsets over Lake Pichola. 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.
Following day 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 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. Walk along the pathway beside the reflecting pool with fountains up to the mausoleum crafted in soft & pure marble, jeweled with semi precious stones, where in the serenity of paradise rests Mumtaz Mahal, the Reason, in peace with Shah Jahan, the Maker her husband.
Morning flight north will deliver us onto Rishikesh into the state of Uttarakhand to view devotions & rituals on the Ganges, not just a sacred river, a goddess & the Life Source of India. Nestled cosily on the foothills of the Himalayas, Rishikesh abounds in natural beauty. 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 the town. Blend that with our heritage hotels Ayurvedic treatments that will leave your skin fresh, lightly scented & drenched with moisture. 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. Early afternoon flight returning to New Delhi.
Trip starts & ends in New Delhi. Full itinerary below.
7th October Saturday
Optional early morning yoga to suit all levels in our hotel if you wish. Hotel breakfast. Driving 6 hours south west, on our travels we view the holy Jain Temple, Ranakpur, a great example of the refined skills of Rajasthani craftsman of a bygone era. Arriving in time to soak up the beautiful sunset view, lakeside from our historic overnight Haveli, what is a Haveli? Haveli is the private mansion of rich merchants this one dating back to 1750’s. Overnight Udaipur 2 nights.
8th October Sunday
Optional early morning walk up to the vista point of Neenach Mata Temple, 850 meters up hill walk above Udaipur. On return to our haveli time for a relaxed breakfast. Free day, you choose; midday cooking lesson, walking in the old city great for photography, loose many hours in the flamboyant City Palace, palaces within the Palace & viewing the ‘forgotten’ amazing crystal gallery. Excellent textile shopping in this small vibrant city. Overnight Udaipur.
9th October Monday
Midday we depart our hotel to fly back to New Delhi. This evening I invite you as my guest to join me feasting at one of my favorite restaurants, savouring North West Frontier foods. Before India was partitioned in 1947, the Province of North West Frontier included parts of Afghanistan, Pakistan & Punjab. This restaurant is popular with former President of United States Bill Clinton. He is often in New Delhi working with NGO’s involved with the Clinton Foundation. Overnight New Delhi 2 nights
10th October Tuesday
Depart New Delhi on an incredible return day trip. With a picnic breakfast, we board 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 new dimension to your Indian experience. There is virtually no better way to make friends with the local people & see the diverse Indian countryside. Our train journey takes us south to the state of Uttar Pradesh, into the city of Agra to visit the world’s most grand monument to love, a “Wonder of the World”, built by Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz. After soaking in the beauty & mystic of the Taj we explore Agra Fort where in the final years of Shah Jahan’s life he was imprisoned by his son. We take the train back to New Delhi, reflecting on our day, the sense of grandeur, the story of Shah Jahan, his beloved wife Mumtaz & Taj Mahal! Arriving back in New Delhi early evening. Overnight New Delhi.
11th October Wednesday
Mid morning after hotel breakfast we fly north & drive an hour up the famous Ganges River to our heritage hotel situated where the Ganga/Ganges turns around & flows north towards its source. It is a magical natural spot with a sandy riverside. Set amongst a lychee & mango orchard of the Maharajas of Tehri Garhwal, with a garden of tropical plants, full of rare birds & butterflies. We are in Rishikesh where over the next 2 days we view sacred devotions & rituals on the Ganges, giving you an insight to the depth of belief Hindus have for the Ganges, not just a sacred river but also a goddess & the life source of India. Some Hindus believe that life is incomplete without bathing in the Ganges. This is a great area for walking & water rafting. We visit where The Beatles stayed with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1968. The banks of the Ganga/Ganges is where they learnt the sitar & composed over 40 songs during their time at the Maharishi’s ashram, many of which appear on the White Album. Overnight Rishikesh 2 nights.
12th October Thursday
Early morning option we partake in a priest lead Havan – worship thru a sacred fire. Yoga to suit all levels on the edge of the Ganges River. The very serene & peaceful environment is conducive to yoga & meditation. In house Ayurvedic treatments in The Spa offering fresh seasonal treatments specifically designed to your Ayurverdic Dosha with the purest ingredients. In the evening, breezes blow down the valley, setting temple bells ringing as sadhus (spiritual men), pilgrims & tourists prepare for the nightly Ganga Aarti. Overnight Rishikesh.
13th October Friday
In our hotel we partake for a final time a priest lead Havan- worship thru a sacred fire- & yoga on the edge of the Ganges if you wish. A relaxed hotel breakfast with time for a morning visit to The Spa. We fly away from the ‘Land of Gods’, this name refers to the many holy Hindu temples & pilgrimage ashrams found throughout Uttarakhand State. Arriving back into New Delhi late afternoon. Overnight New Delhi.
14th October Saturday
Final day of the tour is free to fill the hours before your departure.
View: Riff Itinerary (PDF Download)
View: Riff Map (PDF Download)
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 $4980 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, $4980 covers:
Ros to welcome you on arrival in New Delhi at Indira Ghandi International Airport
8 days bus &/ car driver
3 internal flights
1 day return train trip
16 nights accommodation. 1 night arrival + 15 nights twin share with breakfast
Jodhpur Riff Music Festival ticket
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 5th August. 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 14th October, I can assist
If you want to do more in India I suggest to add extra days after our trip finishes on 14th October. I am happy to pass on what I know of the places you may wish to visit.