Tour Route: Holi Tour: Mumbai – Jodhpur – Jaisalmer – Delhi
Add on tour: Delhi – Varanasi – Delhi
*Tour starts in Mumbai and ends in Delhi
FULLY BOOKED (Although if you are joining us on the Marigold Tour we will make room for you)
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.
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. We like to base our trips around the three F’s, yes! Fun, Food and Friendship 🙂 Tammie’s role is to ensure you feel well taken care of throughout your trip.
Vikas Kumar is a local guide who comes from Naddi – a small, picturesque village above Dharamsala. He is passionate about the area and the Himalayas and has worked as a trekking guide since leaving school. In that time he has introduced many international visitors to the wonders of the India and the Himalayas. Vikas now leads women’s and mixed groups around the Rajasthan areas as well to other locations.
♦ 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 🙂
Prior to the Colours of India Tour we are running our famous “Best Exotic Marigold Trip” 26 Feb – 5 March 2020, so you can pop on over the webpage HERE and add that trip too if it takes your fancy, or click on the image at the bottom of the page. If you add this trip your accommodation in-between the two trips and your flight from Delhi to Mumbai with be complimentary.
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
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.
Bottled water and other beverages not included with meals
This sightseeing tour has several walking tours and many steep stairs, you require a moderate level of fitness to attend. Sometimes we calk up to 5km a day, so please ensure you will not hold the group up. We also expect people to wear suitable walking sandals or joggers as the ground is uneven and often slippery.
Price $AUD: Twin pp – $2590 Single $3090
FULLY BOOKED (Although if you are joining us on the Marigold Tour we will make room for you)
Please arrive a day early, (if you are NOT joining us for The Marigold Tour beforehand. If you are joining the Marigold Trip, your airfare from Delhi to Mumbai and your accommodation on the night of the 5th are complimentary). 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 $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. *Please remember your arrival city is Mumbai, your departure city is Delhi for your flights.
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: 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. This afternoon sees us exploring the contrast between this mornings challenges and this afternoons consumerism at a Mega glitzy mall!
After lunch we head to the Dhobi Ghat the largest outdoor laundry in Mumbai. Then on our way back to our accommodation we hit the hanging gardens, terraced gardens perched at the top of Malabar Hill, on its western side, just opposite the Kamala Nehru Park. They provide sunset views over the Arabian Sea and feature numerous hedges carved into the shapes of animals. Lets finish our day with a stroll along Marine Parade to watch the sunset. The world is full of amazing contrasts and there is nowhere that highlights this more than India.
Overnight Mumbai – Grand Hotel Mumbai
Day 2: Mumbai
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 a 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.
Heading for lunch at Leopold’s a Colaba institution and cafe from the book “Shantaram” they have something for everyone. We then make our way though 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 onthe way down you get to shop).
On arriving back to Colaba we head to the famous Taj Hotel for an early dinner/High Tea *approx $50pp. then on the way back to our accommodation we walk off high tea at the local markets, famous for leather goods, bags, shoes, clothes and silver jewellery.
Overnight Mumbai – Grand Hotel Mumbai
Day 3: – 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: – 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 the at 4pm attend an optional cooking class with the famous Spice girls of Jodphur and sample your cooking with traditional Indian spices. $20pp. numbers must be confirmed 24 hour beforehand.
Overnight Jodhpur – Haveli Inn Pal
Day 5: – 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: – 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 – The Gulaal a boutique haveli has been built on the traditional jaisalmer haveli architecture . Hotel gulaal is all about peace, ethnicity, cleanliness and old age romance. Haveli is the combination of two words ” hawa” (air) and ” veli” (ventilation) with two open courtyards intricate jali work with moughal pillars, jain jali work and traditional paliwal “jharokha” style. A truly traditional way to live in the middle of Thar desert (the golden city) . Gulaal offers traditional haveli stay with cleanliness and all the comforts of modern life. A place where east meets the west.
Day 7: – 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 right next door to hotel for last minute bargains. Meet at the SLounge at 6pm for two for one happy hour drinks. 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 – Lemon Tree Hotel is a convenient modern hotel situation close to Indira Ghandi airport. Please note that rooms in this hotel are very compact but have everything you need for a comfortable nights sleep.
Day 8: Delhi
After breakfast, check out from hotel and leave to the airport. Tour ends or your add on tour commences.
Day 8: – Varanasi
This morning sees us flying to Varanasi, the most holy city in all of India. On arrival at Varanasi airport, meet your local guide and driver to hotel for check in. Spend the rest of the afternoon sightseeing in the main Ghat area before retruning to our accommodation to freshen up before the evening Artie ceremony on the banks of the Ganges and some great local pizza.
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 sunrise from a boat can be unforgettable. Varanasi is the ultimate culmination of India, of all experiences rolled into one.
Overnight Local Homestay – is a comfortable recently renovate family homestay in the heart of Varanasi, an escape for the bustling crowds.
Day 9: – Varanasi
Before breakfast we embark on a sunrise boat ride along the Ganges to see if from a different view and in the early morning light when the city is waking up, we then walk along a newly created path uncovering hidden temples by the government, just stunning. Today we have the option to visit an ayurvedic shop to stock up on oils, a silk factory, Varanasi is know for its silk, one of my favourite book stores, India’s books are very reasonably priced compared to Australia, and if you like music we can visit the musicians street and pop into a family home to hear some classical folk music *$20pp.
This afternoon for those who are interested we can arrange a local Hindu priest to perform a puja or prayer ritual on your behalf on the banks of Ganga Ji. This may be because you have a wish, yet unfulfilled, or a hope, dream or vision unrealised, or something you are grateful for, a loved one who has passed over. Your ceremony can be arranged to meet your specific needs. This is a very special opportunity for those who are interested approx. *$50pp.
Overnight Varanasi – Homestay
Day 10: – Tour ends
After breakfast check out from hotel and transfer to Varanasi airport. Arrive in Delhi and catch your international flight feeling blessed by India.
Varanasi Extension Inclusions
All transfers by private vehicles as follows: Pickup and drop off at Delhi airport
Pickup and drop off at Varanasi airport Sightseeing in Varanasi
2 Domestic Flights Delhi to Varanasi Varanasi to Delhi
2 nights’ accommodation with breakfast
Boat ride in Varanasi
Local guide in Varanasi for 2 days
Airfares to and from India
Travel Insurance (compulsory)
Lunch and Dinner
Occasional optional items not identified in itinerary description
Tipping and personal expenses at your discretion
Optional music performance and individual puja ceremony
Varanasi Extension Price $AUS Twin pp – $650 Single $850
Our charity in India is Samadhan Dwarka, a service that supports children with intellectual disabilities. During our trip we may get to visit the school, (if we are in Delhi during the weekdays). Vibrant Women will donate $25AUD per booking to Samadhan Dwarka on your behalf, we want you to know you are making a difference through your booking, so Thank You!
You have two payment options for this retreat. To pay a $500 deposit and the remainder two months prior to the start of the retreat or to organise a payment plan. Once you have completed your reservation form deposit details will be forwarded to you. Once you have paid your deposit trip notes will be sent to you with all the details you need to plan your great adventure.
Payment Plans are divided into even monthly payments and calculated in AUD. Payment plans are programmed to complete two months prior to the start of the retreat. Incurs a $100 admin fee calculated into the price.
Q. Where do I fly in and out of?
A. If only do the “Colours of India Tour” you fly into Mumbai and out of 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.
Q. What dates and times should I fly in/out of India?
A. Please arrive on the 5th of March 2020 if you are not continuing from the Marigold Tour so you are ready for the first day on the 6th of March. We can arrange extra nights accommodation and airport transfers for $200AUD. If you are not coming on from the Marigold Tour, please arrange to arrive into Mumbai International airport. Your departure flight should be from Delhi International airport on either the 13th of 15th of March depending if you are adding the Varansi extension or not. Check out time is 12pm. If you wish to stay longer than that at the hotel extra charges will apply.
Q. What sort of rooms are available?
A. We have both single and twinshare rooms available. The single room has the supplement included. If you choose twinshare and are not travelling with a friend we will do our best to find you a roommate however in the event noone else is seeking a twinshare roommate then the single room rate will apply. We hope you understand. *Please note that snorers, smokers or people who wear CPAP machines when sleeping must disclose this when booking as this could impact other peoples sleep and they need to be aware of this. **Also please note we cannot guarantee compatibility of roommates, for example you may be of different ages or nationalities, however mostly when we do match people up they get on well and its only for a short period of time. Some people have even made lifelong friendships.
Q. What is the maximum group size?
A. Our groups are usually between 12 and 18 participants. These are ideal numbers as they are small enough to be manageable and intimate but large enough for diversity and fun!
Q. What will the food be like?
A. The food is Indian haha and I think most people know what this is like. Yes its spicy but we can ask to tone it down. Keep in mind that when you ask, “Is this spicy ?” and the waiter says, “No Maam” his taste buds are not like yours and it will be spicy. India is heaven for vegetarians, all that delicious dahl, spinach and paneer, mushrooms with tomatoes and cauliflower and fresh green peas, potatoes with cumin seeds, koftas and the list goes on, India is my favourite food destination.
Q. Do I require a visa to enter India?
A. 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
The online application can only be completed between 4 and 120 days prior to travel. 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 1 week to receive the E-Visa. This cost is between $50 and $105USD, prices change all the time sorry but just to give you a guideline.
You will receive a document on how to complete your VISA application after we receive your booking and deposit. Its a step by step process with images.
Q. I have never travelled to a an exotic country like India before, will I experience culture shock?
A. Yes, but in the very best way. India is an incredibly friendly place and has a rich cultural and spiritual history. There may times when you can feel overwhelmed by the poverty or large number of people, noise and or pollution, and then there are just times when the stimuli is totally exhilarating and you see a small child smile amidst the chaos. India just has away of putting everything into perspective.
Q. What should I wear/bring with me?
A. Please wear culturally appropriate clothing ie cover shoulders and knees. You will also need a scarf for temples and religious ceremonies. In the Jain temples any leather products are prohibited but they do provide lockers for you to store your belongings. Please bring comfortable walking sandals or shoes. You will also receive a packing list prior to departure. *Please do not bring valuable items to India such as expensive jewellery.
Q. How much money will I need?
A. Well, that depends on your shopping habits! You will need to allocate around $15 per meal lunches and dinners and then add on extra for personal spending. Alcohol is always more expensive in countries where people don’t drink and is taxed highly. I tell people to bring around $500AUD to change on arrival to India. Then bring a credit card for the other larger spending.
Q. Can I add extra days or extra tours to this trip? *Note above we do not suggest you come early or stay longer unless you have something specific in mind or another person with you. We would not recommend women travelling on their own venture out in large Indian cities unaccompanied.
A. Yep, you sure can. We can arrange extra nights and airport transfers for $200AUD per night. If you wish to stay longer to see more sights please send us your desired itinerary and we can get our ground staff to price it for you with a guide. Please note this will be independent travel, ie a Vibrant Women representative will not be with you.
Q. I think I wanna come….but it is a big decision and I am not 100% sure, can I talk it over with you and see if it is right for me?
A. Yes, I think that is a great idea.
You don’t know me and I want you to! Please view previous testimonial here to get an idea of what our past guest have to say about us and also if you just flick me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org I will arrange a time to call you or just give me a call – (+61) 0459247122 this works for Whatsapp too.
Q. Ok, I SO wanna come, how do I book?! How much is the deposit?? What’s the process please???
A. Great! You can just complete the registration form on the webpage and from there we will send you a confirmation email outlining what is covered in the trip, answering any questions and provide you with payment options. Once you have paid the deposit or commenced a payment plan then we will send you the trip notes and any other documentation you need to prepare for your journey. We are available to help you every step of the way.
Q. I’m nervous about arranging my flights, can you help me?
A. We use Donna McHugh from Wauchope Travel to arrange all of our flights please contact her 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.
An initial $500 non-refundable deposit is applicable for this retreat up to 60 days out from the commencement of the retreat, then full payment less your deposit will be due. For bookings less than 60 days full payment will be due at the time of booking.
For cancellations between 60-30 days $1000 per person twin share, and $1350 per single (includes your deposit) will be retained.
For between 30 days and the commencement day and in the case of no shows $1950 for a twin share and $2600 per single room (includes your deposit) will be retained. If we are able to refill your spot on short notice less than 60 days only the $500 non-refundable deposit will be retained.
As this is peak season in India we need to book your domestic flights and accommodation well in advance. Cancellation penalties are high this time of year. This is also why travel insurance is compulsory to protect you against any loss in the event that you need to cancel your trip.
Inappropriate behavior by guests
If guests display any of the following behaviours Vibrant Women reserves the right to terminate the guests retreat or tour immediately. No reimbursement of fund will be given. Any loss of funds or expenses incurred as a result will be at the cost of the guest.
Irrational behaviour or mental health issues impacting negatively on the experience of other guests.
Mobility issues stopping the guest from participating in activities and also reducing opportunities for other guests to participate as they are waiting for them or having to change the program to accommodate them. This also includes wearing inappropriate footwear.
Excessive consumption of alcohol, and any consumption of illicit drugs will result in immediate termination of retreat or tour.
Rudeness or bullying behaviour either to other guests, the group leader or any staff, this will not be tolerated.
Not adhering to local customs or laws could result in placing the group at risk and will result in you leaving the group.