17 – 25 March 2021 (8 Nights/9 Days)
*This trip starts and finishes in Delhi
“Initially you’re overwhelmed. But gradually you realize it’s like a wave. Resist, and you’ll be knocked over. Dive into it and you’ll swim out the other side.” – Evelyn Greenslade
As Evelyn Greenslade says, ‘…dive in…!’
If you wake up everyday feeling kind of ‘beige’, then maybe it’s time to let fate whisk you away.
Immerse yourself in the glorious colour and excitement of Mother India, as you paint your next life chapter…
On this exotic odyssey, we follow in the footsteps of Dame Judi Dench and Bill Nighy—the irresistible stars of the movie—through some of the most romantic locations in India.
This is an opportunity to plunge in—to rediscover the vibrancy of life that India offers and to reinvigorate your senses. And with Ms Tammie leading this inspirational journey in style and comfort, you’ll gently recover your sense of adventure among India’s timeless rhythms…
Start packing—see you at the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in 2021!
Elderly and Beautiful
The enchanting northern province of Rajasthan is awash with all the colours of India. Consisting of the vast Thar Desert and one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world, the Aravallis. The Rajput heritage is apparent in the forts, temples and palaces established by the Rajput Kings. On our adventure we discover the history of these massive forts and the opulence and splendour of Maharajahs’ palaces. Rajasthan has been described as an open air museum. We will travel through the chaos of Delhi to the serenity of Udaipur, from the architectural wonder of Jaipur to the awe-inspiring Taj Mahal, with time to reflect on the light, colour and smiles of India with a stay at the ‘Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ itself. This is truly the essence of Rajasthan.
Tour Organiser & Local Leader
Tammie Day is the founder of Vibrant Women, a retreat and travel company. Tammie spends her days creating inspirational journeys so you can travel in the security of a small group, whilst enjoying another culture. Tammie’s role is to ensure you feel well taken care of throughout your trip.
Ashish Kumar is a local guide who comes from a small, picturesque village near Dharamsala. He is passionate about India and the Himalayas, and in his spare time enjoys camping and hiking. Ashish is a knowledgeable and caring guide and always makes us feel safe and informed.
Pre-Itinerary – 16 March 2021
Please arrive a day early so you are ready to depart for our Delhi day tour tomorrow at 10am. On arrival our driver will be waiting at the airport for you. Extra nights accommodation before or after the trip cost $200AUD. If you are staying longer than 1 night before or after the trip, or prefer to arrange your own accommodation please let us know your hotel details and we will collect you from your hotel the morning of the start day. If you are arriving before 2pm on arrival day or are leaving after 12pm on departure day please consider what you will do with this time. You might like to consider arranging an extra half day tour with Divya from www.thedelhiway.com please just check with us that you will not be visiting the same sites that we already visit.
Day 1: 17 March 2021
Meet for brekky in the hotels Cafe at 8.00am. 9am Introductions in the foyer then some sightseeing around Delhi. Today we will visit Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, a Sikh Temple that feeds over 10,000 people a day, followed by a visit to our local charity (see pic above) – Samadhan for children with disabilities and then a spot of higher end shopping at Haus Khas. We then head off to The Lotus Temple – a beautiful Baha’i Faith Temple reminiscent of the Sydney Opera House, Humayuns tomb – what some would say is the inspiration for the Taj Mahal. .
7pm – Opening night dinner at a local South Indian Restaurant, Sarvan House in Connaught Place, for Masala Dosa.
Meals – Dinner
Day 2: 18 March 2021
Transfer to the airport for an flight to Udaipur. On arrival, transfer to your hotel in the Old City, overlooking Lake Pichola. In the afternoon, explore the laneways of the Old City and perhaps have a palm reading or get a Kurta custom made by a local tailor.
Udaipur, also known as the City of Lakes, is one of India’s most picturesque cities. Palaces surround the city, the most famous being The Lake Palace, which covers an entire island and was featured in the James Bond film Octopussy. The city was founded in 1559 and was the capital of the Mewar kingdom. There’s no doubt you’ll enjoy this relaxing, seductive city.
Relax on your orientation walk of this beautiful city so you can get your bearings.
Depart from the hotel approximately 5.30pm for Bagore-ki-Haveli, near Gangaur Ghat in the heart of the old city to see a one hour local dance performance. After the dance performance enjoy dinner at a roof top restaurant overlooking the stunning Lake Pichola, the City Palace and enjoy the sweeping views and many treasures housed inside.
Meals – Breakfast
“Evelyn Greenslade: Nothing here has worked out quite as I expected. Muriel Donnelly: Most things don’t. But sometimes what happens instead is the good stuff.”
Day 3: 19 March 2021
This morning head to the rooftop for an optional morning meditation class and then indulge in a leisurely breakfast.
This morning we explore this beautiful city firstly with a visit to a local Hindu Temple where you can hear devotional songs being sung (at volume) and then have some free time for shopping among the emporiums and lane-ways. After lunch at a fun cafe with a secret curry recipe we head to the City Palace with its many splendorous rooms and glimpses into the era of this opulence. After this we take a leisurely stroll to board our boat for a cruise around Lake Pichola. We conclude today with a drink to watch the sunset behind the lake palace, just stunning. Today is Tammie’s birthday so we will be celebrating!
Meals – Breakfast
Day 4: 20 March 2021
After breakfast overlooking Lake Pichola, leave for your next destination – “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” in a small town called Khempur, where the film was shot. Check in and spend the late afternoon strolling through this small village, swimming in the pool and sampling some of local life, including *optional henna tattoos and sari dress ups before dinner (400Rp per person approx $8) and then the opportunity to watch the movie, (again I know how many times have you seen it!).
Meals – Breakfast and Dinner
Day 5: 21 March 2021
Early departure at 6am. Hopefully 😉 we will catch the train to Jaipur approximately 8 hours away. Please note the train is very rudimentary but fine for 7 hours. In the afternoon brave the crazy local Jaipur bazaar for some textiles, silver jewellery or copper pots, or sit in the courtyard at the Alsisar Haveli or book a massage at the spa and just relax.
Meals – Breakfast box provided for the train
“Douglas Ainslie: Would you like some of this? I believe it’s called aloo ka paratha. Muriel Donnelly: No, if I can’t pronounce it, I don’t want to eat it.”
Day 6: 22 March 2021
Early morning take an (*optional) elephant up to the magnificent Amber Fort as a group. Located high on a hill, Amber fort was built in 1592 and its’ name is said to derive from the many jewels that are used for decoration inside.
After visiting the fort, you’ll have an opportunity to visit a block printing and carpet factory, gemstone and jewellery store, as well as the Hawa Mahal and City Palace. Relax in the evening and enjoy some traditional Rajasthani cuisine.
Meals – Breakfast and Dinner
Day 7: 23 March 2022
Early morning yoga class for those who are interested and then after breakfast leave for Agra. Though Agra is obviously best known for the Taj Mahal, it’s also home to an impressive, 94-acre fort that’s often overshadowed but definitely worth a visit.
On the way have morning tea at the Viceroy Club so well known in both movies now the “The First and Second Best Marigold Hotel” (locally known as the Castle Kanota).
Meals – Breakfast and Morning Tea
Day 8: 24 March 2021
Sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal is India’s most-photographed monument, and today you’ll see why. Built between 1632 and 1653 in memory of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan’s third wife, the Taj Mahal is world-renowned. After the Taj Mahal visit the famous red fort before driving back to Delhi.
Last night out, market shopping along the Janpath and farewell dinner at local Punjabi Restaurant in Delhi!
Meals – Breakfast and Dinner
Day 9:2 5 March 2021
Finish your last day with a leisurely breakfast at the hotel before being taken to the airport or joining us on our “Colours of India Tour” Its a great idea to value add when you are travelling so far.
Meals – Breakfast
“Everything will be all right in the end and if it’s not all right, then it’s not yet the end!” – Sonny Kapoor
Inclusions and Exclusions
All transport by private vehicles (pickup and drop off at Delhi, Udaipur airports).
Domestic Flight – Delhi to Udaipur
8 nights’ accommodation
All Breakfast & 5 Dinners (meals are predominantly vegetarian)
Entrance fees to sights – e.g. Taj Mahal, Lake Palace, Amber Fort
Walking tour, boat ride and dance Performance Udaipur
Visit the Viceroy club from the movie which has wonderful small museum of local history and have Chai on the lawn
Visit to the Amber fort (*optional elephant ride), palace of the winds and the Jaipur Palace and markets for some intense shopping (warning tuk tuks may be involved!)
Take an early morning trip the amazing Taj Mahal and perhaps if time permits the red fort of Agra
Dine in some Delhi’s iconic restaurants and visit the Janpath markets at night
8 hour train ride from Kemphur (Marigold Hotel) to Jaipur
Services of an English speaking Indian guide throughout the tour, plus local guides at each site, (we like you to have the best local experience and knowledge) plus Tammie from Vibrant Women will also be present.
Airfares to and from India
Travel Insurance (compulsory)
Lunches and 3 dinners (Indian food can be heavy 2 meals a day is often enough) Please allow between $15 and $20 AUD for self-pay meals (does not include alcohol).
Elephant ride Amber Fort (approx $15 per person)
Tipping – We have a $20 a day tipping suggestion, works out to approx 8000 Rupees. 4000 of this we will give to our tour guide for tipping for our drivers, porters and local tour guides. The remaining 4,000 Rupees will be for Ashish’s service if you feel this is appropriate. All other tipping ie restaurants etc is at your own discretion. Please bring to the introductory session on the first morning. You can pay tips also in AUD $160 is fine. We can also add this to your invoice if you prefer, just let us know.
Spending money – we suggest bringing enough for $100 a day spending money and then using card to pay for thing where possible along the way. ATM’s can be used if you need top ups. You can only get Indian Rupee once you arrive as it is a closed currency.
Bottled water and other beverages not included with meals
You have two payment options for this trip. To pay a $750 deposit and the remainder 75 days prior to the start of the retreat or to organise a payment plan.
Deposits can be paid via Direct Bank Transfer or via PayPal.
If you pay via PayPal you can use your credit card.
Direct Bank Deposit
National Australia Bank
Acct No: 876225650
Swift Code: NATAAU3302S
Please write your name and retreat in the reference section.
$750 Deposit via PayPal (3% surcharge applied) Credit Card Option
For monthly repayments please use the buttons below, included is a $100 administration fee. Payments are programmed to complete 2 months before the start of the tour.
It is essential all guests take out their own travel insurance and to travel with a credit card in case of emergencies. We recommend taking travel Insurance within 14 days of travel. If you are looking for travel insurance please visit Travel with Jane
Up until 75 days before the start of the tour a $750 non-refundable deposit will be retained. For between 75 days and 45 days, 50% will be forfeited in addition to the non refundable deposit. For less than 45 days or for no shows the entire amount will be retained as we would have already had to pay for accommodation, transport, flights and activities, and this money will not be returned to us. Once the tour has commenced no monies will be returned to you. This is why travel insurance is compulsory.
Arrivals and Departures are from Indira Gandhi International Airport Delhi.
Check www.skyscanner.com for your options. We like Air India to Australia as it has direct flights from Delhi to Sydney and Melbourne. Around $1000AUD return.
Please arrive on the 16th of March 2021 so you are ready for the first day on the 17th of March start at 10am We can arrange extra nights accommodation and airport transfers for $250AUD per room. If you are not continuing on the Colours of India Tour, please arrange to depart on the 25th of March at anytime, just know that checkout from the hotel is at 12pm.
Airport Transfers on the 16th and 25th of March are included. Airport transfer before the 16th of March or after the 25th of March will be $60AUD each way per person and can be arranged for you however please note there will be no tour guides available before the 16th of March or after the 25th of March to assist you so please take this into consideration when booking your flights.
Kindly note that check in time to all hotels will be at 1400hrs and check out is at 1200 noon.
If you need assistance with FLIGHT BOOKINGS please contact Donna McHugh from Wauchope Travel on (+61) 02 65852288 or email email@example.com
Donna can arrange flights to and from anywhere in the world and she knows our itineraries.
All travellers are limited to two items of luggage each; a suitcase with a maximum weight of 15kg and one piece of hand luggage with a maximum weight of 7kg as well as your handbag.
It is essential that your luggage is lockable. Please note that Indian authorities will only allow bottles onto the aircraft if they have been checked in as main baggage. Bottles in hand luggage maybe confiscated.
Domestic airlines within India have recently reviewed their checked luggage limits, as such all airlines have now implemented a maximum checked luggage limit of 15kg. Please keep this in mind when packing for your upcoming trip. Any excess luggage charges incurred will be at the expense of the passenger.
NB* Please make sure when you pass through security that all of your hand luggage has a tag and security stamp including your handbag, otherwise when boarding the plane, you will be asked to return to the scanning section to have your tag stamped.
The most convenient and cheapest way to get your visa is online e-Visa – To complete online choose E-Visa Application. https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html a 30 day visa can only be applied for 30 days prior to travel unless you want a 12 month visa. Make sure you don’t apply too early so that your visa is expired by the time you want to depart, 30 days in advance is enough, previously it has taken 3 days to receive the E-Visa. This cost is between $10 and $50USD, prices change all the time sorry but just to give you a guideline. We will also provide you with an info sheet on how to compete your visa application, separate to your trip notes.
Some further details – India Mission is where your application will be lodged ie Canberra, Sydney etc the office closest to you. You can use these contact details for hotel and reference in India sections. Royal Plaza Hotel Delhi, Address: 19, Ashoka Rd, Janpath, Connaught Place, New Delhi, Delhi 110001, India Phone: +91 11 4355 5555 and Ekno Tours and Travels Pvt Ltd, Dickey Cottage Village Molhi, PO Sidhpur, HP 176057, Ph 0981685999. Your reference in Australia is your emergency contact. It seems there is no other option but to request a 6-month visa and for 60 days even though you may only be travelling for 9 days. “Double Entry” means you can depart and re-enter India twice on this visa, you will not to use this option. When you receive your visa application confirmation email you will see this comment under the dot points section – Please confirm that your ETA status is shown as GRANTED on our official website (https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html ) prior to commencement of your journey. If you go to this link you can print off your visa with a barcode and your photo attached, otherwise the email visa works fine too. Good Luck and welcome to Indian Bureaucracy!
You can view an example of a completed form on the link here, keep in mind this is a 2020 visa application so you will need to adjust dates and this is Tammie’s application so please complete your own person details.
Indian Rupees are only available in India as it is a closed currency. You can change some money perhaps $500AUD at the Delhi airport on arrival and then bring some other cash to exchange perhaps $USD, (no one is keen to exchange AUD anymore really as our dollar trades so low but they will exchange it at the airport, more regional areas will not) and then a credit card and an ATM card as well. Good to have a few options in case one doesn’t work.
EARLY BIRD TOUR – Chandni Chowk
It is a requirement that everyone be ready to start the tour at 10am on the 17th of March 2021. We will meet for breakfast at 8.30am in the hotel café. If you are arriving early TO India before 10am on the 16th of February and would like to join the optional early bird tour please let Tammie know. *You need to book this in advance. We will visit “Old Delhi”, for spices, incense, jewellery, chai and to see a lovely little Jain Temple. Chandni Chowk is the historical heart of Delhi and well worth a visit. The price is 4,500INR per person, (approx. $90AUD) and includes a tip for the guide and driver. Approx. 5 hours. You can provide Tammie with the money on the morning of the 17th at breakfast at 9am the tour departs at 10.30am, or we can invoice you in $AUD if you prefer to pay beforehand.
Most people have their own individual preferences for what they like to travel with, so our list won’t be comprehensive for everyone. It’s intended to be a handy reference point from which you can build.
Documents – Don’t leave home without them – THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS YOU’LL CARRY! nearly everything else can be bought en route if necessary
(Prescriptions, Doctors letters)
Emergency Information – (contacts, Embassy addresses, travel insurance card and contact numbers)
Indian Rupiah (small amount) and Credit / Debit Cards
Address / phone list
Photocopies of important documents (your passport)
Business Cards – good even for pleasure trips
Clothes – depends on what you will be doing. The key to travelling light is to set out what you want to take and then halve it! Layers are the way to go. Temperatures are expected to be between 10 and 35 degrees Celsius so it is really hard to know what to pack, but during the day it will be warm.
Trousers or dresses / skirts
Light long sleeve tops for sun and mosquito protection
Shorts and T-shirts
pj’s for overnight
One cardigan or long trousers flights which can be cool
A dress up outfit for a nice dinner
Rain gear (jacket or umbrella), walking shoes, can be sandals but must be worn in and sun hat, Swimmers
Toiletries – a lot of items can be purchased wherever you go so don’t take industrial-sized bottles unless you know it is not available or you can’t live without it
Comb and/or brush
Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss etc.
Shampoo & conditioner
Razor & shaving cream
Personal hygiene items (emergency adult diapers!)
Vitamins & Probiotics
Toilet Paper or tissues
Medicine Kit – these items often won’t be available or at least not easily found, so it’s best to take what you think you will need.
Insect bite cream
Upset stomach medication
Diarrhea medicine and laxatives
Sunburn relief / lip balm
Prescriptions – (malaria pills, altitude sickness pills, antibiotics, pain killers)
Regular medication, plus a letter from your doctor for anything unusual.
Reading books or kindle
Travel journal & pens cards
Sunglasses and case
Mini sewing / repair kit
Tea and coffee (if you require something other than Nescafe instant)
Small cartons of UHT milk if you need it (there is no fresh milk in the rooms for tea or coffee)
Electrical converter / adapter if you have AC appliances
Electrical plug adapters
Earplugs / eyeshades
Before you go
Stop deliveries and hold mail
Arrange for care of pets, lawn, house plants, garden, swimming pool
Arrange for home security if you’re worried
Empty refrigerator and garbage
Turn off hot water cylinder
Pre-pay bills (or ask close friend to collect mail and pay bills for you)
Lock all doors and windows
Triple check that you have Passport / Tickets / Money
These are just suggestions
I always try to arrange a visit to a local charity for children with disabilities whilst we are in Delhi on the first day. $25 of your booking fee goes directly to this charity, however if you would like to make a donation of art supplies, they are from infant to primary age children and I have a list of suitable items below. You can visit their website here – https://www.samadhanindia.org/
Here is the list below of things that the children would enjoy and find useful. Please note that we are going to drop off these supplies before we leave Delhi so they won’t interfere with your baggage limits
jumbo wax crayons for better grip
Colors fevicryl (this is fabric paint)
Fevicol (this is wood glue)
Sensory stimulation toys
Beads with large holes