Festival of Colour

Holi tour and the Gangaur Festival

Immerse yourself in India’s festive spirit with this tour to not one, but two of India’s colourful festivals – vibrant and colourful Holi & the Gangaur Festival. On this vibrant journey witness the illuminated cities, partake in joyful celebrations, and create lasting memories. From the bustling streets of Jaipur to the lake city of Udaipur, this trip offers a truly enchanting experience of India’s rich traditions and ancient heritage.

Witness the transformation of these cities into a riot of colors during the festive celebrations. Continue your voyage through diverse landscapes, encountering historical landmarks, wildlife sanctuaries, and charming villages along the way.

As part of your Holi tour, stay in former palaces that were once home to royalty and traditional haveli’s – India’s former mansions.


Holi tour and Gangaur Festival HIGHLIGHTS

  • Experience the chaos of Holi – India’s festival of colour, with an early morning visit to a temple to celebrate with the local people of Jaipur and later a more private celebration with your travel companions
  • Witness the spectacle of the Gangaur Festival – watch as Udaipur comes alive with women dressed in colourful traditional attire seeking blessings from Gauri for a prosperous and harmonious married life.
  • Savor traditional Rajasthani cuisine with an enchanting dinner in one of India’s stepwells and go on safari in the town of Narlai
  • Absorb the sights, sounds and vibrant colours of India’s villages, as well as meet the real local people of this amazing country with visits to Orccha & Khajuraho
  • Stay in stunning former palaces & traditional havelis, as well as experience these cities with enough free time to have your own adventure.

The Basics

Start: Jaipur

Finish: Delhi

Trip style: Special Interest

Max group size: 15

19 Days

JAIPUR – DELHI

$9511 AUD*

Departure date: 24 March 2024

OR CONTACT US for more information

Trip code: FCJD *from

ITINERARY

Arrive in Jaipur and make your own way to the trip hotel. Meet your trip leader and travel companions for a welcome meeting at 17.00 to discuss the next few days of your Holi tour. After the meeting, head out into bustling Jaipur to a local restaurant for a special dinner.

In the morning start your Holi tour as you immerse yourself in the vibrant festivities of Holi as you join the local residents in celebrating at the historic Govind Dev Ji Temple in Jaipur. Engage in the colorful tradition of throwing vibrant gulal (powdered colors) at one another and experience the joyous atmosphere of this Hindu festival.


Afterward, return to your hotel, where the spirit of Holi continues to flourish as you partake in festivities. As the celebration winds down, relish a delicious lunch to savor the flavors of Rajasthan.

After breakfast, embark on a full-day sightseeing journey in Jaipur, starting with a visit to the majestic Amer Fort. Explore the rich history and intricate architecture of this hilltop fortress, which stands as a testament to Jaipur’s royal heritage.


Next, embark on a scenic drive past the iconic Hawa Mahal, known as the “Palace of Winds,” and marvel at its intricate façade. Continue your exploration with a visit to the Jantar Mantar Observatory, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where you can admire the ancient astronomical instruments that were once used by scholars.

Your adventure continues with a stop at the historic City Palace, a splendid complex that houses museums, courtyards, and the royal residence. Immerse yourself in the grandeur of Rajasthan’s past as you wander through its regal halls.


Later, treat your taste buds to the flavors of Jaipur with a delicious lunch at a local restaurant.


Next visit the bustling Bapu Market, where you can shop for souvenirs, handicrafts, and vibrant textiles, making it the perfect ending to your immersive Jaipur experience.

After breakfast we will embark on a scenic drive to Agra, the next stop on our Holi tour.

En route, explore the historical marvel of Fatehpur Sikri, taking in its architectural grandeur and historical significance. After your visit to Fatehpur Sikri, relish a delectable lunch at the charming Laxmi Niwas Palace.

In the morning, embark on a magical journey to witness the Taj Mahal bathed in the soft hues of sunrise, an awe-inspiring spectacle that will surely leave you spellbound.

After this breathtaking experience, return to your hotel for a delightful breakfast.


Following breakfast, continue your exploration with visits to the Agra Fort and the exquisite Itmad-ud-Daula, both brimming with historical and architectural significance. Marvel at the intricate craftsmanship and stories that these monuments
hold.

Following an early breakfast, embark on a comfortable train journey to Orchha.


In the afternoon, delve into the rich cultural and architectural heritage of the region with a visit to the magnificent Orchha Temples. Explore these beautifully adorned temples, each telling a unique story through their intricate carvings and serene surroundings. Immerse yourself in the spiritual and historical significance of this charming town, where time seems to stand still.

After breakfast, begin your day by exploring the architectural marvel of Jahangir Mahal, a palace that stands as a testament to the grandeur of the past. Explore its ornate architecture and immerse yourself in the rich history it holds.


Afterward, embark on a scenic drive to Khajuraho.


After breakfast, embark on a fascinating journey to explore the Eastern and Western Temples of Khajuraho. These intricately carved temples, known for their exquisite art and architecture, offer a glimpse into the rich cultural and historical heritage of the region. Admire the detailed sculptures that depict various aspects of life and spirituality.


After your temple exploration, you will be transferred to the Khajuraho airport to catch your flight to Varanasi.


Upon arrival at Varanasi and as the sun sets, head to the ghats along the sacred Ganges River to witness the mesmerizing Ganga Aarti ceremony. This spiritual ritual, performed by priests with fire lamps, incense, and devotional chants, creates a truly magical and spiritual atmosphere that is sure to leave a lasting impression on your journey through Varanasi.

Early this morning, embark on a serene boat ride along the sacred Ganges River, where you can witness the vibrant life and rituals unfolding along the ghats of Varanasi. As you cruise along, you’ll pass by the renowned Manikarnika Ghat, a cremation site that holds immense spiritual significance in Hinduism.


Return to the hotel for breakfast.


Later, pay a visit to the revered Kashivishwanath Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, to experience the profound spirituality and architectural beauty that define this ancient city.


In the afternoon, delve deeper into the mysticism and cultural heritage of Varanasi with a guided Death & Rebirth Tour. This unique tour offers insight into the complex rituals and beliefs surrounding death and rebirth in Hinduism. Explore the ghats and learn about the customs and ceremonies that take place here, providing a deep understanding of the spiritual journey of the soul.

This morning after breakfast, you will be driven to the airport, to board a flight to Delhi.


En route to the airport, make a significant stop at the ancient city of Sarnath. Sarnath is a revered pilgrimage site for Buddhists and holds historical significance as the place where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon after attaining enlightenment. Explore the tranquil gardens and visit the Dhamek Stupa and the Sarnath Museum to gain insights into Buddhism’s profound teachings and archaeological treasures.


After your enlightening visit to Sarnath, we will have lunch in a local restaurant before heading to the airport.


Upon arrival in Delhi, check in at your hotel.

This morning you will proceed to explore Delhi’s rich cultural history. Explore iconic landmarks such as the magnificent India Gate, a symbol of national pride, and the historic Humayun’s Tomb, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that transports you back in time with its Mughal architecture. Marvel at the towering Qutub Minar, an ancient minaret that stands as a testament to the city’s deep-rooted heritage. As you meander through the narrow streets, take in the vibrant atmosphere and the colorful tapestry of the city’s daily life, which encapsulates both its modernity and tradition.


As the sun begins to set, prepare for a mouthwatering culinary journey through the enchanting lanes of Old Delhi. Savor the tantalizing flavors of authentic street food like spicy chaat, delectable kebabs, and the iconic jalebi, a sweet spiral of crispy delight. Let the bustling bazaars and aromatic spices awaken your senses as you discover the hidden gems of Old Delhi’s gastronomic scene.

This morning we will return to the airport for our flight to Jodhpur.

On arrival in the Blue City we will check into our traditional haveli. Haveli’s are the mansions of India’s rich families and make for a amazing immersive experience for us to stay in.

On arrival you have some free time to explore the narrow streets of Jodhpur on your own.

After breakfast, explore the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort, a towering citadel perched atop a rocky hill. As you ascend its ancient ramparts, you’ll be treated to breathtaking panoramic views of the “Blue City” below. Explore the fort’s well-preserved palaces, museums, and courtyards, each narrating tales of Rajput valor and opulence.


Following your visit to Mehrangarh Fort, proceed to the serene Jaswant Thada, a stunning marble cenotaph. This peaceful oasis provides a tranquil setting for reflection and appreciation of its intricate architecture and the stories of love and devotion
it holds.

This morning we will depart Jodhpur and drive to Narlai. As you drive through the scenic landscapes of Rajasthan, you’ll have the opportunity to soak in the beauty of the countryside.


Upon reaching Narlai, complete your check-in at the hotel. Nestled amidst the rustic charm of the region, this accommodation promises a peaceful and authentic experience.


Prepare for a memorable evening with a “Step Well Dinner” experience. A truly an experience that would linger in the fringes of your mind. Taste the flavor of true Rajasthani royal hospitality at the 16th Century old Baori (Step-well) of Rawla Narlai. The journey that begins when you gather at the courtyard, sip a welcome drink with the resident royal who will regale you with stories & history of the locals while you get adorned with the turbans & scarf and transportation by bullock carts are arranged for you. Guided by a local into the dusk, swaying to the movement of the cart, watching the village slowly going to sleep and the starlit sky unfolding above you, passing the yogi who meditates by the blazing fire, you reach your destination that is lit by hundreds of lamps. Following this experience is the culinary journey that ignites your taste buds with elaborate fare offered over the next couple of hours while being entertained by the local jogi singing the devotional folk songs in his rich melodious voice. This culinary experience ends with the return to the hotel courtyard by our jeeps and a welcome cup of calming herbal tea.

Early this morning enjoy a safari ride for a chance to sight the beautiful and graceful leopard.


After breakfast, embark on a scenic journey to the enchanting city of Udaipur.


On the outskirts of Udaipur, witness Udaipur’s block printing with natural dyes. Get a deep understanding of how natural dyes are created and the process and skill that goes into creating the art work.

Today after breakfast, visit the majestic City Palace, the fascinating Vintage Car Museum, and the serene Jagdish Temple. These iconic landmarks offer insights into Udaipur’s history, culture, and artistic excellence.

In the evening, embrace the vibrant traditions of Rajasthan as you participate in the Gangaur Festival. This celebration marks the worship and homage paid to Gauri by the womenfolk in various parts of Central and Western India, particularly Rajasthan. It’s a cultural spectacle that offers a glimpse into the region’s deep-rooted customs and the festive spirit of Udaipur.

Gangaur Festival - Holi tour

Today continue to immerse yourself in the captivating beauty and cultural vibrancy of Udaipur as you witness the enchanting spectacle of the Gangaur festival. This vibrant celebration holds immense significance as it pays homage to Gauri, the Hindu goddess representing purity, marital bliss, and abundance.


During the Gangaur festival, the city of Udaipur comes alive with a burst of colors, music, and devotion. Women, adorned in traditional attire, gather to partake in the festivities, expressing their reverence for Gauri and seeking her blessings for a prosperous and harmonious married life. The atmosphere is alive with joyous celebrations, echoing with the sounds of traditional music and rhythmic beats.

After breakfast, you will be driven to the airport to board a flight to Delhi.


In the evening, prepare for a heartwarming and culturally enriching experience as you partake in a farewell dinner with an Indian family. This intimate gathering provides a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the warmth of Indian hospitality and cuisine.

Your Holi tour comes to an end after breakfast this morning.

Holi tour and the Gangaur Festival
Trip Map – Festival of Colour

Details – Holi tour and the Gangaur Festival

Duration: 19 Days

Trip style: Special Interest – Festival

Group size: Minimum 6 / Maximum 15

Trip code: FCJD

Cost: $9511.00 AUD twin share

Single supplement: $2454.00 AUD

Inclusions

  • 18-nights accommodation in heritage and traditional-inspired hotels, former palaces, forts, and havelis
  • Meals as specified in itinerary (B = Breakfast / L = Lunch / D = Dinner)
  • Flights from Khajuraho to Varanasi / Varanasi to Delhi / Delhi to Jodhpur / Udaipur to Delhi in economy class
  • Services of your Inverted Atlas trip leader and local guides      

Trip price does not include

  • International airfares
  • Airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • Visa for India
  • Meals not included as per trip itinerary including drinks and mini bar
  • Additional accommodation before or after the tour
  • Items of a personal nature including but not limited to laundry, souvenirs, porterage etc.
  • Travel insurance – please note comprehensive travel insurance is a condition of travel with Inverted Atlas

Journey Rating – Journey

This Holi tour travels through a relatively well traveled part of India, a country that is somewhat accustomed to tourists and travellers. On occasion, you will find that the local people are very curious about you and where you come from and at times you may even feel like a celebrity. This trip does involve a lot of walking during the sightseeing, to get the most out of this trip you should be able to walk confidently across uneven surfaces and climb stairs.

Women are strongly advised to either wear a floor length dress or pants with a long kaftan over the top. While not mandatory, this will avoid causing offense culturally and prevent a lot of unwanted attention. To be culturally sensitive, men should wear trousers.

Good quality hospitals, pharmacies and other public amenities will be limited to big cities but should never be too far away.

A note about fitness

This Holi tour requires a good level of physical fitness. You should be able to walk up to 4km at times and manage uneven surfaces during sightseeing, which will sometimes be at an incline. In addition, you should be able to climb up to 200 stairs unassisted and use an eastern style squat toilet (beware if you have knee issues).

You will need to be able to carry your own luggage to and from the coach. (Due to OH&S regulations our trip leaders are not able to assist with luggage.)

In addition, you should be in good health, with no major chronic conditions requiring frequent medical attention. This trip often travels through remote locations where the availability of a hospital or even phone reception to call an ambulance is limited. While all our trip leaders are required to have a valid first aid certificate, they are far from doctors and any assistance they are able to provide will be limited to basic first aid. For more information please see our booking conditions.

Single supplement

Traveling by yourself? No problem, we love single travellers and don’t believe in penalising them by charging half the trip price again for our single supplement. With us you are only paying the actual cost to have a room all to yourself. If you’re up for making a new friend, you can elect to share with another single traveller of the same sex and only pay the twin-share price. The choice is yours!

Trip leader description

Accompanying you on your Holi tour will be your Inverted Atlas trip leader. Your trip leader is a logistics extraordinaire, keeps the trip running smoothly and ensures you have the best time possible on your trip. It is important to know that while your trip leader has the best job in the world, they aren’t actually on holidays, but rather they are there to make sure you have the best time while you are on your holiday! Your trip leader may at times need some time out so that they can complete back of house tasks that ensure everyone continues to enjoy the trip. It is also your trip leaders’ job to handle any issues (heaven forbid!) that come up while you’re on your trip like:

  • If you lose your passport or other travel documents
  • If there is a problem with your room at the booked accommodation – seriously please tell your trip leader don’t wait until you leave
  • If you become unwell and need to find a pharmacy
  • Assisting with restaurant recommendations or additional sightseeing during free time
  • Questions regarding the itinerary

Your trip leader will have some good local knowledge about the destination in which you are traveling, however they are not a ‘local guide’. You’re welcome to ask your trip leader anything about the trip and if they don’t know they will find out and get back to you. Other people you will meet along the way are ‘local guides’ who are generally available to the group in specific towns or at specific sites like national parks, temples or archaeological sites. These people are the local experts and will be able to answer any questions you may have about the history and culture of a specific site.

Itinerary disclaimer

This itinerary for this Holi tour and the Gangaur Festival, is correct at the time of upload to our website and we have composed it in good faith. From time to time we may elect to make changes before departure, if we are making a big change we will of course notify you, however if it is a small change this will be reflected in the final trip notes. So, make sure you download these prior to departure. Small changes prior to departure are usually made with the groups best interests in mind and come about due to liaising with our best resources – our past travelers and of course our trip leaders! The ability to change and evolve depending on what our travelers enjoy is what makes us such a great trip operator.

While we strive to operate our trips exactly to the letter of the itinerary, sometimes we may need to make changes on the ground while the group is on the road. This is all part of the adventure of traveling and we would ask that you come on your trip with an open mind and a good sense of humour because as much as we want it to, everything doesn’t always go to plan. In fact, these impromptu situations often make the best stories that you can have a laugh with your friends about later.

Age requirements

Minimum Age: 16 years

There is no shared accommodation on this Holi tour, and we will be traveling through a relatively well travelled part of the world, in this instance we would welcome everyone above the age of 16 years. Should you wish to bring younger children, please give us a call.

There is no upper age limit for this trip, but you should consider the above fitness requirements prior to booking. If you are 65 years or over, you will be asked to complete our Health Check Form and have your medical practitioner sign it to confirm you are in good health and able to participate safely on this trip.

If you’re interested in the festivals of India why not take a look at this helpful calendar?

Travel insurance

Please note that comprehensive travel insurance is a condition of travel with Inverted Atlas. Insurance must include provision for medical situations, emergency medical repatriation to your home country and personal liability at a minimum. Proof of valid travel insurance will be requested by your trip leader on arrival at the pre-departure meeting. Please have this paperwork available for them. If you are unable to provide proof of comprehensive travel insurance, you may not be allowed to join the trip and no refund will be payable.

What is the Gangaur Festival?

The Gangaur Festival is a traditional and vibrant celebration observed primarily in the northwestern Indian state of Rajasthan. This colourful festival is dedicated to Goddess Gauri, an incarnation of Goddess Parvati, and is celebrated by married and unmarried women with great enthusiasm. The festival typically spans 18 days in the Hindu month of Chaitra, usually falling in March or April. During Gangaur, women dress in their finest traditional attire, adorn their hands with intricate henna designs, and create beautiful clay idols of the goddess. These idols are then carried in grand processions through the streets of cities and towns, accompanied by singing, dancing, and the playing of traditional instruments. The festival is a celebration of marital bliss, fertility, and the hope for a prosperous and harmonious married life. It also provides a captivating glimpse into Rajasthan’s rich culture, as it combines devotion, artistry, and community engagement making this one of the most vibrant festivals of India.

What is the Holi Festival?

Holi, often referred to as the “Festival of Colours,” is one of the most exuberant and colourful festivals of India. Typically observed in March, this joyous occasion marks the arrival of spring and the victory of good over evil. Holi is characterized by the playful throwing of vibrant coloured powders and water at one another, creating a kaleidoscope of hues and an atmosphere of pure fun and revelry. Beyond the colourful revelry, Holi also carries deep cultural and religious significance. It’s a time for families and communities to come together, mend relationships, and celebrate with bonfires, music, and traditional sweets. The festival transcends social boundaries, uniting people of all ages and backgrounds in a shared spirit of joy and togetherness. Holi’s infectious enthusiasm and vibrant traditions make it an unforgettable cultural experience, drawing visitors from around the world to partake in the festivities and witness the riot of colours that envelops India during this special time of year.

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