Watch as the rooftops of Jaipur light up in dazzling colour as the fireworks of the Diwali Festival unfold. Slip into a saree and experience the Diwali night dressed like a local. If you’re going to do it, you’ve got to do it right!. In Karauli, you’ll be more than impressed with your new digs – a gorgeous heritage property, with dinner included of course. The Taj Mahal may be one of the most visually striking buildings in the world, but its history is just as breathtaking. A local expert will tell you all about it.
India is a spectacle in itself, but with this festival of lights in the mix you’ve got a serious adventure on your hands. Explore the old city of Delhi, a delightful clash of new and old; gaze out the window of the train as the country rolls by; perhaps catch a Bollywood flick in India’s coolest cinema; and soak up the beauty of the Taj Mahal, that iconic paen to Mughal romance. If you think you’ve experienced India, think again. Time to turn up the volume on India with the Diwali festival and more.
Breakfast Included: 7 Lunches Included: Dinner Included: 2
Namaste! Welcome to Delhi. There are no planned activities today so if you're arriving early check out one of our Urban Adventures and take in this amazing city. Join the welcome meeting at 6 pm where you'll meet your tour guide and fellow travellers. After the meeting, why not continue the introductions over an optional group dinner.
Join your Leader into the sights and sounds of Old Delhi! Set off on the city's modern metro system, then get a taste of India's famed public transport with a cycle rickshaw ride through chaotic streets including the famous Chandni Chowk and Connaught Place. Visit Jama Masjid, Delhi's oldest mosque and one of its most impressive buildings, then explore Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple) and learn about the Sikh religion. Your Leader will be right there to guide you through this kaleidoscope of the wonderful, fascinating, and bizarre.
Diwali Festival in Jaipur
Get excited, tonight we celebrate! Travel by private vehicle into Rajasthan and onto its capital, Jaipur (approximately five hours). After arriving in the ‘Pink City’ you will join your leader to shop for fireworks where they will help you choose the right ones for the celebrations later. Take a detour to visit local sweet shops as during Diwali sweets are a traditional gift. Some of these shops have been making amazing sweets for generations. Your leader will point out which sweets to choose and their significance. Since Diwali is a victory celebration of good over evil, Indians typically dress in their finest clothes. As a gesture of good will it is appropriate for you to dress nicely for this evenings celebration. There may even be a saree surprise in store for you later! Tonight, dark lanes and alleys will be brightly lit, the sound of fireworks and happiness floating through the wind. The evening we will be spent with a local family on their rooftop, celebrating Diwali in their traditional style with you. Your leader will help you through the intricate customs of Diwali rituals, prayer sessions, gift exchanging, lighting of candles and oil lamps, eating snacks, and drinking. Take in the rooftop views with fireworks all around while sharing a home-cooked meal with the family and being entertained by local musicians singing traditional Diwali songs.
For those willing to wake up early after a night of celebrations and would like to see the Pink City a bit differently this morning there’s the option to drift high over Jaipur in a hot air balloon, a highlight for many visitors. Mid afternoon visit the Amber Fort. Set on a hilltop overlooking Maota Lake, the fort is an authentic example of Rajput architecture and the Sheesh Mahal (Hall of Mirrors) is one of its more spectacular buildings. As the walls are completely covered in little mirrors, the hall illuminates with the light of a single match. Tonight, you’ll can experience the cinema like never before with an extravagant Bollywood blockbuster at the memorable Raj Mandir Cinema – there’s usually romance, drama, and music all rolled into one.
Head to Suroth, an ancient walled town (approximately 3-4 hours). Take a guided walk around Suroth, interacting with friendly locals and learning about rural Indian life off the tourist trail. Tonight, stay in the Suroth Mahal, a stunning 800 year old Rajput palace where dinner is included.
Head east by public bus to Agra (approximately 6 hours). Agra might not be the prettiest city in the world, but the minute you check out its top-notch sites that won’t matter one bit. After arriving into the city you’ll head to the most iconic sight in India. It doesn’t matter who you are, the Taj Mahal will explode all your expectations with the morning light shimmering off its white marble surface. Maybe jump on a motorised rickshaw to pick out the rest of the city’s monuments – Akbar's Mausoleum is a beautiful sandstone and marble tomb built for the greatest of the Mughal emperors.
Perhaps return to the Taj Mahal at sunrise, then explore the awesome Red Fort on the banks of the Yamuna River – stroll the palatial gardens of this red sandstone stronghold with cheeky monkeys in tow. We will drive back to Delhi and the rest of the day is free for you to do as you like. Practice your bargaining skills in Chandni Chowk in the maze of shops and kiosks that sell everything imaginable, buy local crafts straight from the hands of the artisan in Janpath market, or gobble down street chaats – snacks like deep fried fritters and flatbread. Then maybe find time for a quiet drink in this teeming metropolis tonight.
End things on a sweet note, with a taste of our favourite treats – sandesh, rosogolla and chanar payesh. There are no activities on the last full day, so take a look around and maybe even stay on a couple of nights to keep up the exploration. Bid farewell to your new travel mates as the trip comes to an end after breakfast. Don't forget to check out an Urban Adventure or two if you've got some extra time in Delhi.