Diwali, Festival of Lights - 8 days

FROM USD $1,549

Every year on the dark nights of Diwali firecrackers announce the celebration of India’s favourite festival. Homes are decorated, gifts are given, sweets are shared and thousands of lamps are lit. Join us this year for Diwali – the Festival of Light on a tour of India’s famed Golden Triangle.

Day 1: Delhi
Saturday 18 October 2014. Welcome to India and the start of your holiday! Upon arrival in Delhi, a included transfer will take you to your hotel. Spend the rest of the afternoon and evening at leisure. Overnight - Delhi
This morning, our Welcome Meeting takes place. We’ll then enjoy a half day sightseeing tour of Old Delhi, taking in the impressive Red Fort, Jama Masjid - India’s oldest and largest mosque, Raj Ghat - the site of Gandhi’s cremation and more. Tonight, we enjoy a Namaste Dinner at a restaurant specialising in northern Indian cuisine. Overnight - Delhi (B, D)
Diwali, Festival of Lights - 8 days Go Guide : :Check out the go guide for details of the tour, info on visas, climate, money, what to bring and more!
The pink city - Jaipur
Delhi - Jaipur. Today, we spend the morning exploring New Delhi, including stops at the India Gate, Qutub Minar and Connaught Square, and later this afternoon drive to Jaipur. Affectionately known as the Pink City because Maharaja Ram Singh had the entire old city painted pink in 1876, Jaipur is also the bustling capital of the state of Rajasthan. Overnight - Jaipur (B)
An elephant entering the Amber Fort in Jaipur
Day 4: Jaipur
Very early this morning there is the opportunity to sail over the lofy hilltop forts and regal palaces of Jaipur in a hot air balloon, on our Balloon Over Jaipur Bolt-on. We then travel beyond Jaipur to the stunning 16th century Amber Fort where we enjoy a tour of the fort's well-preserved interior and grounds. Reaching the fort is an experience in itself, as we ride up the road in princely style abroad Indian elephants - subject to regulations and availability. Later we visit a cotton weaving house to see a demonstration of fabric dyeing and block printing before touring the City Palace and Jantar Mantar - an old yet cleverly designed space observatory. Overnight - Jaipur (B)
Smiling Indian ladies in bright and colourful saris
Day 5: Village Life
Jaipur - Abhaneri - Bharatpur. Departing Jaipur we stop in the village of Abhaneri to see Chand Baori, the largest and deepest step well in the world. This incredible well has a staggering 3500 steps and is 13 stories deep. Next, we discover local life and visit the village school (if open) where we operate our ‘Change for Children’ programme. After hotel check-in at Bharatpur and time to freshen up we visit Keoladeo Ghana National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where we enjoy a leisurely rickshaw ride through the park grounds. Overnight - Bharatpur (B, D)
The iconic Taj Mahal in Agra
Day 6: Diwali & the Taj Mahal
Bharatpur - Agra. Happy Diwali! En route to Agra we visit the ghostly former Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri, which has been deserted for over four centuries after it was allegedly abandoned due to a lack of water. Upon arrival in Agra we visit the impressive Agra Fort before touring the legendary Taj Mahal. Built by Emperor Shah Jahan in fond memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz, the Taj Mahal has been described as the most extravagant monument to love ever built and remains one of India’s most enduring symbols.

India is celebrating Diwali today and this evening we too join the festivities. Our first stop is at the Mahadev Temple, a modern complex where we have the chance to witness the prayers and aarti - Hindu rituals of worship, being performed by the local devotes. After learning a little more about the customs and rituals of Diwali we spend a moment in the temple grounds, which are colourfully decorated by strings of lights.

Of all the festivals celebrated in India, Diwali is by far the most glamorous and important. The five day celebration commemorates the return of Lord Rama, along with Sita and Lakshmana, from his fourteen years of exile and vanquishing the demon king Ravana. The people of Ayodhya, the Capital of Rama, overwhelmed with joy illuminated the kingdom with earthen oil lamps and set firecrackers ablaze to welcome the return of their king.

While the myths and legends that surround Diwali differ around the country, the basic principle remains the same – the celebration of light over darkness and triumph of good over evil. The festival ignites an overwhelming sense of goodwill and bonhomie across the nation, as families and friends come together to light oil lamps, exchange sweets, presents and to set off fireworks. Believing in good luck and good fortune associated with the event most Indian business communities also choose to start their financial year on the first day of Diwali.

Leaving the temple grounds we make our way to a lovely heritage property whose restaurant specialises in classic Indian cuisine for a special Diwali Dinner. As firecrackers light the balmy, autumn night sky we too continue to celebrate Diwali alongside the people of India. Overnight - Agra (B, D)
Smiling Indian people travelling by cart
Agra - Delhi. After breakfast we return to Delhi, the latter part of the afternoon is free for you to relax or independently explore more of Delhi. Overnight - Delhi (B)
Day 8: Delhi
Saturday 25th October 2014. Our tour concludes after breakfast. Goodbye India! Included departure transfer to the airport for your flight back home. (B)

Discover Amritsar

Discover beautiful Amritsar on our 4 day/ 3 night bolt-on. Marvel at the amazing Golden Temple, seat of the Sikh religion, witness the sunset ceremony of the changing of the guards and explore the old walled city.
Tour Details
  • Starts in: Delhi / Ends in: Delhi
  • Departs: Sat 18 Oct 2014
  • No local payment required
  • Breakfast:7, Lunch: 0, Dinner: 3
  • Hotel Rating: 3 - 4 star & heritage hotels
  • Tour Guide: Yes (for groups of 6 or more)
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