Tour Route: Holi Tour: Mumbai – Jodhpur – Jaisalmer – Delhi
Add on tour: Delhi – Varanasi – Delhi
*Tour starts in Mumbai and ends in Delhi
Holi – India’s most dazzling festival. Join us, and millions of people across the country, in this joyous spring celebration of color and the victory of good over evil.
Celebrated by throwing magnificently colored powders on family, friends, and for the mischievous at heart, strangers; Holi, the festival of colours, is one of India’s most adored festivals. Our Colours of India Tour highlights the best of India’s inspirational places to visit including Mumbai – Jodhpur – Jaisalmer – Delhi and optional Varanasi with the opportunity to also add our Marigold Adventure featuring Delhi – Agra – Japiur – Udaipur – Kemphur making this into an Indian extravaganza!
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 Mumbai to the serenity of Jaisalmer, from the architectural wonder of Jodphur and the awe-inspiring Mehrangarh Fort, with time to enjoy the celebration of Holi with its colour and smiles. This is truly the essence of India.
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 our Tour Leader 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 Tour Leader and always makes us feel safe and informed. Ashish also assists us with our retreats to Dharmsala and our Marigold Tour. A Tour Leaders job is to organise the logistics of the tour, arrange flights, transport and accommodation, manage activities and any issues that arise during the tour. We also have local guides with specialist knowledge at each location.
♦ Mumbai – City of Dreams
♦ Jodhpur – The Blue City
♦ Jaisalmer – The Golden City
♦ Holi Festival a celebration of colour
♦ Magnificent Mehrangarh Fort
♦ Camel safari and party under the stars
When you see colored powder flying and people laughing hysterically as they are covered in vibrant blue, green, pink, and purple powder, then you know it’s Holi. Holi, the Hindu Festival of Colors is an auspicious occasion in the Hindu calendar. It is widely celebrated by millions of people as a harvest festival across India and around the world. It also ushers in the spring, a time for fertility, love, and a new season of prosperity.
The festivities can include people smearing colored powder called “gulal” or colored water on each other, and drenching one another with squirt pistols and water balloons. Everyone is considered fair game, old and young, friend and stranger, rich and poor alike. It is a raucous and joyful celebration.
Holi lasts for a night and a day and starts on the evening of the full moon (Purnima) in the month of Phalgun in the Hindu calendar. During the month of Phalgun, India ushers in spring when seeds sprout, flowers bloom, and the country rises from winter’s slumber.
The first evening is known as Holika Dahan or Chhoti Holi and the following day as Holi, Rangwali Holi, or Phagwah. On the evening of the first day, wood and dung pyres are burned to symbolize the triumph of good over evil. The second day is when people start throwing fistfuls of powder for the carnival of colors. We will celebrate with the family we are staying with are a gorgeous Haveli overlooking the magnificent fort before heading to the streets for some dancing and lots of laughing
You can read an article HERE on the Meaning Behind the Colours of Holi
*NB – We suggest bringing some white pants and top to celebrate the the festivities. Cover yourself in coconut oil and if you are blond, think about some hair protection, a shower cap and turban works well 🙂
Inclusions & Exclusions
2 Domestic Flights – Mumbai to Jodhpur – Jaisalmer to Delhi
7 nights’ accommodation with breakfast
Entrance fees to sites
Mumbai return ferry ride to Elephanta Caves
Camel ride, dinner and show in Thar desert
Local guides in Mumbai, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer
Services of an English speaking guide throughout the Tour
Airfares to and from India
Travel Insurance (compulsory)
Cooking class in Jodhpur
High Tea at the Taj Hotel
Lunch and Dinner, bottled water and other beverages not included with meals
Occasional optional items not identified in itinerary description
Tipping and personal expenses – Tipping we collect at the first breakfast $20 a day for all tipping and guides tips. $140AUD cash is fine or 7000Rp.
Pre-Itinerary – 25 March 2021
Please arrive a day early so you are ready to start tomorrow. On arrival our driver will be waiting at the airport for you to take you to our hotel the Mumbai Grand Hotel. Extra nights accommodation before or after the trip cost $250AUD. 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.
*Please remember your arrival city is Mumbai, your departure city is Delhi for your flights.
**Airport transfers are included on the 25, 26 March and 2 April 2021. Airport transfer before the 25th of March or after the 2nd of April 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 25th of March or after the 2 April 2021 to assist you so please take this into consideration when booking your flights.
Tonight for dinner we walk the 2kms to Leopold’s Cafe a Colaba institution and restaurant from the book “Shantaram” they have something for everyone (beware there are still bullet holes in the decor!) Famous especially for sweet treats. We then make our way back through the teeming Colaba Causeway markets, famous for leather goods, bags, shoes, clothes and silver jewellery.
Overnight Mumbai – Grand Hotel Mumbai. Grand Hotel offers various amenities like room service, quick check-outs and a central location. Ringed by the port and naval establishments on one side, the land fans out from here to encompass the city’s major government and civic centers. Railways, post & telegraphs, art galleries, the museum and other important establishments lie within close proximity of an arc of a mere kilometer of Ballard Estate. Grand Hotel is centrally located in the heart of Ballard Estate which is one of the commercial hubs of Mumbai. The rooms are slightly 70’s but the location is number 1. Also next door is a great coffee shop 🙂 The hotel also has a small gymnasium.
Day 1: 26 March 2021 Mumbai
Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay), is famous for its chaotic streets. For bargains and people-watching, outdoor bazaars top the list of attractions. Popular waterfront destinations are Marine Drive, where visitors go to watch the sun set over the Arabian Sea, and the carnival-like Juhu Beach.
9am- depart for Dharavi the largest slum in Asia and see the way people have turned their difficulties into enterprises. We will then lunch at “The Wine Rack” restaurant owned by Australian Masterchef contestant Sarah Todd and located in a large shopping mall style complex. This restaurant has amazing food at affordable prices and provides you the opportunity to try some India street food which Sarah has adapted, in a safe environment.
After lunch we head to the Dhobi Ghat the largest outdoor laundry in Mumbai.
For dinner lets just take it easy and head to the coffee shop next door to the hotel where you can get a great variety of cafe food. Yes, just in case you need hot chips or pasta 😉
Overnight Mumbai – Grand Hotel Mumbai
Day 2: 27 March 2021 Mumbai
8.30am After breakfast, you will start your tour in Colaba. Colaba is an area of contrasts, the energy and liveliness here is undeniable. There’s plenty to discover in this metropolis, be it the rich colonial history, glamorous Bollywood, or the daily life of the incredibly diverse millions who call Mumbai home. We start today with by walking 2kms to the very famous Gateway of India to catch a 1 hour boat ride to Elephanta Caves. This has hiking up a lot of stairs to see this UNESCO wonder (don’t worry on the way down you get to shop).
On arriving back to Colaba we head to the famous Taj Hotel for a late lunch/early dinner/High Tea *approx $65pp.
Then if time permits we will visit the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Museum, a heritage structure in its own right. The museum showcases several collections of ancient artworks, sculptures and artifacts.
Overnight Mumbai – Grand Hotel Mumbai
Day 3: – 28 March 2021 Jodhpur
Fly from Mumbai to Jodhpur. First stop mighty Mehrangarh Fort, the muscular fort that towers over the Blue City of Jodhpur, is a magnificent spectacle and an architectural masterpiece. Around Mehrangarh’s base, the old city, a jumble of Brahmin-blue cubes, stretches out to the 10km-long, 16th-century city wall. The Blue City really is blue! Inside is a tangle of winding, glittering, medieval streets, which never seem to lead where you expect them to, scented by incense, roses and sewers, with shops and bazaars selling everything from trumpets and temple decorations to snuff and saris.
After the tour of the Fort we head to the old part of the city and our lovely old Haveli with its spectacular rooftop view. The afternoon you can free time to explore the local bell-tower and Sadar Bazaar, one of the oldest markets in India, for handicrafts and antiques. The diversity of what’s on offer is impressive.
Dine in our rooftop restaurant, get ready and extincted for tomorrow festivities.
Overnight Jodhpur – Hotel Haveli Inn Pal is an old haveli built in 18 century now converted into a heritage hotel by its owners Chamund Singh Pal and son Narpat Singh Pal . The hotel is in close vicinity of major tourists attractions of the city. The hotel offers friendly hospitality and courteous staff to make your stay a comfortable one. The hotel has a traditional Rajasthani décor coupled with all modern necessities of modern life, (including hopefully hot water but not guaranteed and also the mirror in the bathroom was too high for me to actually see in, sorry shorties!).
Day 4: – 29 March 2021 Jodhpur Holi Festival
Today get ready for playing Holi with our fellow travelers, local family and people in our immediate vicinity. Don your white gear and take a before photo before heading out at 10am to take some of the most colorful pictures ever (please protect expensive cameras). How you participate is up to you, just enjoy the fun and festivities this may also be an opportunity to usher in a new you. Heading back to the Haveli for a 1pm lunch in the afternoon for the shoppers we head to some furniture stores that has amazing timber and inlaid furniture which can be shipped right to your door and then at 4pm attend an optional spice demonstration with the famous Spice girls of Jodphur.
Overnight Jodhpur – Haveli Inn Pal
Day 5: – 30 March 2021 Jaisalmer
Early this morning we take a bone jolting pre dawn tuk tuk ride to the edge of town to climb to a hilltop temple to watch the sunrise and see the blue city come to life. Some great photo opportunities will present themselves. Back to the hotel for breakfast before driving to Jaisalmer (approx. 4.5 Hours) Passing through many desert villages of the Thar Desert. Upon your arrival to your Dessert Camp located near Kanoi Village, you can experience the nomadic spirit, albeit with some style (showers and flushing toilets) *Please note this dessert is not perhaps what you imagine, like the Sahara Dessert with rolling sand dunes, it has a more cracked earth and clay appearance, although there are some sand dunes, it is not a desert full of soft sand. The Thar Dessert is also famous for its wind farms.
During your stay you can opt for a camel ride to witness a sunset over the dunes. Once you are rested and refreshed after the camel safari, the late evenings bring an even more exotic experience of Rajasthani folk arts. A traditional musical and dance performance regales your senses before you are ready for the sumptuous dinner of Rajasthani cuisine.
Overnight Dessert Springs Camp – Our tented accommodation will give you the perfect night’s rest after a day of exploration in the dessert. Our tents offer all the amenities a modern traveller expects including Air Conditioning, Wi-Fi Internet Access, Refrigerator, Shower (hot water not guaranteed), Tea & Coffee Maker.
Day 6: – 31 March 2021 Jaisalmer
After breakfast we head back to Jaisalmer 40 minute drive and explore Jaisalmer Fort, the Jain Temple and Patwa Haveli. In the evening we visit Gadisar Lake and Vyas Chhatri.
Jaisalmer, nicknamed “The Golden city”, is a city in the Indian state of Rajasthan, located 575 kilometres west of Jaipur. Once known as Jaisalmer state it is a World Heritage Site. The town stands on a ridge of yellowish sandstone, and is crowned by the ancient Jaisalmer Fort. This fort contains a royal palace and several ornate Jain temples. Many of the houses and temples of both the fort, and of the town below, are built of finely sculptured sandstone. The town lies in the heart of the Thar Desert (the Great Indian Desert). Famous for jewellery and textiles in particular mirrored and bead-work bedspreads and wall hangings.
Overnight Jaisalmer – Jasmin Home is a newly built boutique hotel which offers all comforts and luxury, with clean and spacious rooms Eastern tradition style with Western standards. With all 8 ensuite double deluxe bedrooms furnished with soft wooden furniture, air conditioned, mounted 32 inch LCD televisions, free wifi and thick, soft mattresses and pillows, our guests can relax indoors surrounded by Mugal carvings on Jaislamer sandstone or take advantage and spend time on our large, newly decorated rooftop terrace and air conditioned dinning. This offers panoramic views overlooking the spectacular 1000 year old Golden Fort where you can relax with a range of drinks, snacks and a fresh, tasty vegetarian a la carte menu where at night candle light dinners or family meals provide a unique setting.
Day 7: – 1 April 2021 Jaisalmer to Delhi
After breakfast, checkout from hotel and transfer to Jaisalmer airport. Arrive in Delhi in time for lunch and spend the afternoon wandering the aerocity mall close by to the hotel for last minute bargains. Meet for drinks at 6pm before dinner. Take this opportunity to repack and get ready for the next leg of your journey. Farewell dinner to take place for people not continuing on to Varanasi. If you are staying longer in Delhi we can recommend a local guide for you to do a day trip.
Overnight Delhi – Hotel TBA
Day 8: 2 April 2021 Delhi
After breakfast, check out from hotel and leave to the airport. *Tour ends or your add on Varanasi tour commences. **You can add the Varanasi extension on your registration form.
If you require extra nights’ accommodation in Delhi for the 2nd of April it is $250 and airport transfers after the 2nd of April are $60 each way if arranged by us. Please note no guides will be available to assist you after the 2nd of April so pleas take this into consideration when booking flights.
This morning sees us flying to Varanasi, the most holy city in all of India. On arrival at Varanasi airport, we will make our way to Sarnath a 1 hour drive from the airport and 10kms outside of Varanasi city. Sarnath has particular significance to Buddhists as this is where Buddha gave his first teaching on the “Four Noble Truths”. In addition we will visit the Sarnath Archaeological Museum; which exhibits the Buddhist Cultural wealth, recovered from the site of Lord Buddha’s first sermon at deer park Mrigadava in Sarnath.
We then make our way to our homestay in Varanasi the main Ghat area before heading to the evening Aarti ceremony on the banks of the Ganges. The Ganga Aarti is one of the most beautiful experiences in India. The spiritually uplifting ceremony is performed daily to honor the River Goddess Ganga. Every day, as dusk descends on the Earth, the ghats of the River Ganga witnesses a spectacular ceremony. Hundreds of diyas, mantras, aroma of incense, flowers, and musical instruments create an ambiance of divine bliss. The aarti ritual is of high religious significance. Fire is used as an offering to the river.
Varanasi is the India of your imagination. One of the most colourful and fascinating places on earth, surprises abound around every corner.
This is one of the world’s oldest continually inhabited cities, and one of the holiest in Hinduism. Pilgrims come to the ghats lining the Ganges to wash away sins in the sacred waters or to cremate their loved ones. It’s a particularly auspicious place to die, since expiring here offers moksha (liberation from the cycle of rebirth).
Most visitors agree Varanasi is magical – but not for the faint-hearted. Intimate rituals of life and death take place in public, and the sights, sounds and smells on the ghats – not to mention almost constant attention from touts – can be intense. Still, the so-called City of Light may turn out to be your favourite stop of all. Walking the ghats and alleyways or watching the evening Artie from a boat can be unforgettable. Varanasi is the ultimate culmination of India, of all experiences rolled into one.
Overnight Local Homestay – for the next two nights we stay in a basic family homestay in the heart of Varanasi. This accommodation has been chosen for its location, as you will see. There is no western style accommodation within the old part of Varanasi and you can only enter via rickshaw so we don’t want to go in and out all the time.
Day 9: – 3 April 2021 Varanasi
This morning we will visit Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the most famous Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Temple stands on the western bank of the holy river Ganga, and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, the holiest of Shiva Temples. Hindu pilgrims to Varanasi believe that after bathing int he ganges and then visiting this temple that they will reach Moksha and avoid Samsara, the eternal cycle of life, death and rebirth. For this reason you need to prepare yourself for a very busy time.
After visiting the Golden Temple we will make our way to lunch at the Holi Soul Charitable Trust which is a Thai based healing centre based in Varanasi. We will lunch with the founder Badi Maa and then participate in a healing ceremony. This afternoon allows for some free time to wander, explore the shops. You can join me at my favourite bookshop and essential oils store before making our way to Assi Ghat for dinner and a stroll along the ghat 3kms back to our accommodation.
Overnight Varanasi – Homestay
Day 10: – 4 April 2021 Tour ends
After breakfast check out from hotel and transfer to Varanasi airport. Arrive in Delhi and catch your next flight feeling blessed by India. Please make your international flight for the late evening. Those travelling on to Dharamshala after this tour for the “Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism Retreat” will fly out on the 5th of April 2021.