Holi India 2024
Our journey commences in the capital Delhi before we travel to the sacred city of Varanasi to witness ancient rituals on the banks of the mighty Ganges River. Delving deep into Rajasthan we will travel from Jaipur to Udaipur visiting Jodhpur,l Pushkar and the quaint village of Narlai enroute. We will ride tuk tuks like locals, visit ancient forts and palaces, take serene boat rides on holy lakes and rise at dawn to the sound of the muezzin’s call to experience ‘real’ India as the cities wake. And we will, of course, visit the greatest monument to love – thee Taj Mahal!
The peak of our journey will be the Hindu Spring Festival of Holi, which we will celebrate in the ‘pink city’ of Jaipur. Across India, the streets will explode with colour in a dazzling celebration of life, love and joy and we will will be swept up in the mesmerising displays of dance and music on this hugely significant, joyous and unmissable day!
Throughout the itinerary we will stay in a collection of exquisite hotels ranging from royal hunting lodges to beautifully styled historic havelis and the dining experience will be sublime – expect ancient family recipes, modern fine dining and breathtaking settings. There will be plenty of opportunity for retail therapy (the shopping here is unreal!) and of course you will enjoy the companionship of a small group of like-minded female travellers
Join us on this magical journey through all the captivating contradictions, curiosity and colour of India!
You will love
- Holi Celebration in Jaipur
- Spectacular forts & monuments
- The holiest city of Varanasi
- Taj Mahal – greatest monument to love
- Pushkar & the Thar Desert
- Cruise on Udaipur’s Lake Pichola
- Rural Rajasthan tranquility
- Retail therapy at its finest
- Fabulous accommodation
- All in the company of a small group of fabulous women!
16 UNFORGETTABLE DAYS
DAY 1 | TUE 19 MARCH | DELHI | Claridges Hotel - 2nts
Arrive in the colourful and chaotic capital of Delhi this evening, where we will be met and privately transferred to our hotel, the Claridges Hotel, in New Delhi.
Most flights land late in the afternoon or early evening so we will simply relax in our hotel after our long flight and prepare for our first day exploring tomorrow.
Please note: it is possible to shorten your stay in India if you cannot escape for the entire length of this adventure! If you have always had your heart set on celebrating Holi in India, do get in touch to discuss the options available.
DAY 2 | WED 20 MARCH | DELHI | Claridges Hotel
Today is a gentle day of acclimatisation. We will visit Ghandi’s Memorial and wander the beautiful gardens surrounding his tombstone before visiting the largest Sikh Temple in all of Delhi – the Gurdwara Banghla Sahib. Hundreds of worshippers attend this Gurdwara every day, and lunch is available to all, at no cost. We will enter the kitchen to watch the preparation of thousands of chapatis and vast vats of dahl, as well as circumambulate the pool where ardent worshippers bathe before entering the temple itself. The afternoon is at leisure with the opportunity to enjoy a swim or, for those who are keen, a walk to a nearby market.
A Welcome Dinner will be hosted in our hotel this evening.
DAY 3 | THU 21 MARCH | VARANASI | Tree of Life Hotel - 2nts
This morning we fly to Varanasi, one of the holiest cities in all of India. On arrival we will transfer to our hotel and enjoy lunch before setting out on foot to explore the surrounding villages. A lovely, gentle introduction to rural India.
DAY 4 | FRI 22 MARCH | VARANASI
We begin and end our day on the Ganges River. Our dawn boat cruise showcases the morning ‘puja’ (prayers) practiced by the many people who line the ghats (steps) that lead to the holy river. They bathe, place offerings, and do their laundry in this sacred place. We will alight from our boat and enjoy a walking tour through the old city, enjoying chai and snacks and marvelling at the many hidden temples.
Returning to our hotel for brunch we will relax in the middle of the day before returning to the ghats in the late afternoon. We will board our boat and cruise upriver this evening to view the ‘burning ghat’ before mooring offshore to witness the evening Aarti Ceremony complete with flames, bells, and the blowing of conch shells. A spectacular event.
DAY 5 | SAT 23 MARCH | VARANASI to JAIPUR | Samode Haveli - 3n
A leisurely departure from Tree of Life leads us to Sarnath – the site where Buddha taught his first sermon after attaining enlightenment. After lunch in a local restaurant we will check in for our return flight to Delhi and onward connection to Jaipur arriving in the evening. We will check in to Samode Haveli a beautiful 300-year-old haveli-turned-boutique-hotel with beautiful interiors that reflect the soft pastel colours of the Pink City.
DAY 6 | SUN 24 MARCH | JAIPUR
We will spend the entire morning exploring the historic sights of Jaipur in the company of a local guide – from the famous facade of Hawa Mahal to the imposing Amber Fort.
Jaipur is famous for gemstones so we will be sure to intersperse our sightseeing with an opportunity to secure a gemstone of our own. We will also visit a fabulous enclave of décor and clothing stores with the remainder of the afternoon at leisure. You may wish to shop in boutiques or brave the treasure trove of markets and return to the Haveli by tuk-tuk. Alternatively, return to the Haveli for the remainder of the afternoon at leisure. We will enjoy a hosted dinner this evening.
DAY 7 | MON 25 MARCH | JAIPUR - Happy Holi!
A morning walk will allow us to see the city wake from its peaceful slumber and start to buzz as everyone prepares for the Holi celebrations today.
Next, kitted out in our white kurtas, we are bound for a nearby temple where we will kick off our Holi celebration. There is no better way to start the day than chanting with several hundred Hindus! Later we will depart for the highlight of the journey ‐ the Celebration of Holi in a nearby palace.
The festival of Holi is a hugely important date on the Hindu calendar and people celebrate joyously right across the country. It is the most boisterous of all Hindu festivals, symbolising the victory of good over evil, heralding the end of winter and the beginning of spring, rebirth and new life. Celebrated by young and old, crowds of people gather together to sing and dance and throw coloured powder (and often water) at each other in a huge, infectious outpouring of joy.
The occasion is enormous fun and your level of participation is completely up to you ‐ you can stay on the periphery and watch the merry makers, or thoroughly immerse yourself in the festivities. A transfer vehicle is on standby to return you to our Haveli whenever you wish. The remainder of your afternoon/evening is at leisure so depending on the time you return you may wish to indulge in the spa, relax by the pool, dine in the restaurant or in your room. HAPPY HOLI!
DAY 8 | TUE 26 MARCH | PUSHKAR | Pushkar Palace - 2n
Today we head to Pushkar and check in to the Pushkar Palace hotel, which is dramatically perched over the shimmering Pushkar Lake and affords stunning views.
Pushkar is a small but religiously significant town, believed to have been created by Brahma, the Hindu god of creation itself. Pilgrims come to pay their respects by the sacred lake, said to have been formed by a lotus thrown by Brahma, and visit the Brama temple – surprisingly the only one in India.
We’ll spend the afternoon relaxing by the water, soaking up the spiritual tranquility of the lake and its temples and enjoying the time to take a breath in our busy itinerary.
DAY 9 | WED 27 MARCH | PUSHKAR
A morning at leisure allows us to rest or to explore at our own pace.
Since Pushkar is historically known as a camel trading post, this afternoon we head into the desert for a camel safari and a stunning sunset.
DAY 10 | THU 28 MARCH | JODHPUR | RAAS Jodhpur - 2n
Today we are bound for the ‘Blue City’ of Jodhpur arriving at our stunning design hotel with plenty of time to settle into our rooms beneath the majestic Mehrangarh Fort. Early evening we will visit the ancient stepwell close to our hotel and enjoy dinner in an a-la-carte restaurant with magnificent views of the Fort.
DAY 11 | FRI 29 MARCH | JODHPUR
We’ll start the day with a privately guided tour of the impressive Meherangarh Fort and nearby Cenotaph before burrowing into the Old City’s labyrinth of gates and alleyways, passing vibrant blue buildings that are a photographer’s delight.
Later, we’ll take a guided walking tour through the Sardar market surrounding the landmark Clock Tower before shopping our way through some of India’s most fabulous boutique stores. We are within walking distance of our hotel so you can return at leisure.
DAY 12 | SAT 30 MARCH | NARLAI | Rawla Narlai - 2n
Take your time to enjoy a tranquil Fort view breakfast before we hit the road for a scenic drive delving deeper into rural Rajasthan.
Our accommodation is in the charming Rawla Narlai Heritage Lodge. Still owned by members of the Jodhpur Royal family, Rawla Narlai is a former hunting lodge located in the sleepy village of Narlai in the heart of the Aravalli Hills. In the late afternoon we’ll set out on a safari in search of leopards. Sightings are frequent and hopefully we’ll be lucky! This evening enjoy a hosted dinner.
DAY 13 | SUN 31 MARCH | NARLAI
If you are feeling energetic, rise early to join a guided walk up Narlai Hill (700+ steps) to ‘Elephant Rock’ to watch the sunrise – the view is magnificent & well worth the climb!
After breakfast join an escorted meander through the village venturing into houses, meeting the locals and gaining a delightful insight into the close-knit Narlai community. The afternoon is at leisure to enjoy the pool, spa and beautiful gardens.
An incredible culinary experience awaits this evening in an utterly unique location – just wait and see!
DAY 14 | MON 1 APR | UDAIPUR | Amet Haveli - 2n
Another relatively short drive today delivers us to the Lake City of Udaipur with a brief stop in Ranakpur to view what is said to be the most spectacular Jain Temple in all of Rajasthan.
We’ll check in to Amet Haveli for the next two nights, a stunning heritage hotel, built in the 1700s, that sits right on the water.
This afternoon we will embark on a leisurely boat cruise around Lake Pichola, passing the stunning marble structure that is the Lake Palace Hotel and stopping for a stroll on Jagmandir Island.
We return to Amet Haveli for a hosted al‐la‐carte dinner.
DAY 15 | TUES 2 APR | UDAIPUR
Enjoy panoramic views of Udaipur over breakfast before embarking on a walking tour of the City Palace for a glimpse into Udaipur’s regal past. The largest palace complex in Rajasthan impresses with its sheer size and spectacular views out over Pichola Lake. Alongside the Palace are a number of fabulous boutiques so we will spend time at leisure wandering around before enjoying lunch.
Returning to Amet Haveli the remainder of the afternoon is at leisure. Avid shoppers may like to take a tuk tuk to any one of the many fabulous local boutiques or you may simply wish to relax by the pool or in any one of the comfortable chairs with views over the lake.
DAY 16 | WED 3 APR | NEW DELHI | Shangri La - 3n
Depart Udaipur by plane early this morning to return to Delhi, India’s capital and its third largest city, made up of two quite distinct characters. New Delhi is a slick, contemporary city, created in 1911 to be the modern capital of Britain’s imperial jewel. Old Delhi, by contrast, has a decidedly more eclectic personality, having originally been established as India’s Muslim capital in medieval times.
On arrival we will head first to New Delhi, notable for its wide avenues, manicured gardens and ﬁne Lutyen’s architecture, where we will check into a modern, luxury hotel.
Later in the afternoon we’ll visit Raj Ghat, the memorial that is dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi before wandering Khan Market and its eclectic stores – a chance for some final retail therapy now that we don’t have to worry about excess luggage on our internal flights.
DAY 17 | THU 4 APR | DELHI - AGRA - DELHI
Depart after breakfast on our rail journey to Agra today. Everyone must ride the Indian Railway when in India! Our First Class Aircon cabins are clean, comfortable and the most efficient way to reach the ‘City of Love’.
Alighting from the train we will be collected and transferred to view the Taj Mahal – the most famous monument to love. We will explore the gardens, pose for photos (on the chair made famous by Lady Di if you wish to) and will enter the mausoleum to view the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal. Before lunch we will meet with the ‘Taj Restorers’, the talented artisans who are responsible for the upkeep of the Taj and who have learnt the skills required from their ancestors. Lunch will be enjoyed in Sheroes Cafe before visiting Agra Fort for our final glimpse of the Taj Mahal before we board the train back to Delhi.
DAY 18 | FRI 5 APR | OLD DELHI
We’ll commence with a visit to the great Jama Masjid this morning ‐ India’s largest mosque with a courtyard capable of holding 25,000 devotees and stunning architecture in red sandstone and white marble.
Climbing aboard rickshaws we will ride through the streets of Chandni Chowk, winding through lanes selling everything from saris to spices and turbans to trinkets. Lunch will be hosted in stunning Haveli Dharampura in the old city before we have time to visit the silversmiths and jewellers, and wander at leisure.
Return to our hotel for a hosted Farewell Dinner this evening.
DAY 19 | SAT 6 APRIL | INFLIGHT
This morning we will check out after breakfast, all packed and prepared for our departure…and hopefully all our newfound treasures fit in our trunks!
Inflight to your onward destination, or home.
Namaste and safe travels!
WHERE YOU’LL STAY
A selection of the finest accommodation
The Claridges – New Delhi, Northern India
Claridges, New Delhi has been a landmark in Lutyen's Delhi since the 1950’s. Located amidst lush and tranquil surroundings in the heart of the city, this elegant property with colonial charm and plush lawns holds a prime location close to New Delhi's historical landmarks, galleries, museums, boutiques and markets. Read More
The Tree of Life Resort – Varanasi, Northern India
The Tree of Life Resort & Spa encompasses all that Varanasi is, – an oasis of peace and calm after the often over-whelming experience of the crowds, the noise and traffic of the city. Situated in rural surroundings the Tree of Life Resort is conveniently located equidistant from Varanasi airport, the city centre (Ghats) and Sarnath. Read More
Samode Haveli – Jaipur, India
Unexpected and charming, Samode Haveli is a 200‐year old intimate townhouse, belonging to the royal family of Samode, hidden deep in the folds of the busy streets of old Jaipur. With its mix of history, simple style and interesting features, Samode Haveli is the reigning hip heritage hotel in Jaipur. Read More
Pushkar Palace Hotel
Dramatically perched over the shimmering Pushkar Lake, Hotel Pushkar Palace is a unique heritage retreat. There is no better place to sit and enjoy breathtaking views than on the terrace here, listening to the bells and chants of the nearby temples and ghats carried gently on the breeze.Read More
RAAS Jodhpur – Jodhpur, Rajasthan
In the north-east quarter of Jodhpur’s old walled city lies Raas, a boutique luxury hotel with spectacular views of the fort. It is a combination of old and new, the only luxury boutique hotel within the walled-city and embodies the region‘s heritage with class and understated elegance. Read More
Rawla Narlai – Narlai Village, Rajasthan
Located between Udaipur and Jodhpur in the heart of the Aravalli Hills, Narlai is the ideal spot to break your journey and enjoy rural Rajasthan. This 17th century property was once a favourite hunting lodge of the Jodhpur royal family. Today, a real highlight at Rawla Narlai is the ‘Stepwell Dinner’, dining by candlelight. Read More
Amet Haveli – Udaipur, Rajasthan
Nestled on the shores of Udaipur's picturesque Lake Pichola the Amet Haveli boasts spectacular views of the Jagdish Temple, Lake Palace & Jag Mandir. Originally a 17th-century mansion this Haveli has been affectionately and attentively restored into an exclusive beauty that celebrates its centuries-old heritage Read More
Shangri-La‘s Eros Hotel, New Delhi
Shangri‐La’s Eros Hotel is ideally located in the city’s centre with spectacular skyline views and a luxurious spa. It is very near to the airport for easy logistics, plus shopping centres, commercial districts, and Delhi's plentiful and captivating ancient monuments. Read More
NEED TO KNOW
19 days | 19th March - 6th April 2024
19th March - 6th April 2024
A$9,300 PER PERSON TWIN SHARE
A$9,300 PER PERSON TWIN SHARE
START: Delhi | Finish: Delhi
We recommend flying with
Qantas via Bangalore (and/or Melbourne), Singapore Airlines via Singapore, or direct on Air India .
Please call to discuss your individual flight requirements.
Australia & New Zealand passport holders require a visa for India for a stay of up to 30 days. US$25 online prior to arrival. If you do not travel on an Australian or New Zealand passport please be sure to let us know and we will advise if there are any visa requirements.
- Escorted by Sarah Hoyland, Director of The Classic Safari Company & Founder of Journeys for Women
- 19 nights in stunning hotels as speciﬁed (or similar)
- Holi Celebrations in a Palace in Jaipur including lunch
- Dawn boat cruise on the Holy Ganges River in Varanasi
- Economy class domestic flight Delhi / Varanasi / Jaipur – Udaipur / Delhi
- Breakfast daily + 9 lunches* + 10 dinners*
- Bottled water whilst touring
- Airport arrival and departure transfers on dates specified to/from recommended group Qantas flights
- Land transportation in an air-conditioned deluxe vehicle throughout the itinerary
- All touring as specified with qualified, English-speaking guides & all entrance fees
- Walking tours of Varanasi, Jaipur, Pushkar, Jodhpur, Narlai, Udaipur & Old Delhi
- Boat cruise on Lake Pichola
- Leopard Safari in rural Rajasthan
- Rickshaw ride through Chandni Chowk
- Sunset Camel Safari in Pushkar
- Exceptional retail therapy opportunities
- All gratuities for porters, local guides & group restaurant meals whilst on tour
- Once in a lifetime, experiences throughout the journey
- Small group of like-minded ladies
*meals in India are often a grand affair so 3 meals per day is often unnecessary. Where lunch is included, dinner may not, but there will be plenty of snacks available.
- International air arrangements plus all applicable pre-paid departure taxes
- Travel Insurance and individual health requirements
- Additional meals & snacks + all drinks
- Room or ﬂight upgrades
- Transfers to any flight other than specified Air India flights
- Laundry, camera fees (minimal) and personal purchases
- India Tourist Visa
- Discretionary tip for Indian Guide (budget $250)
- Items of a personal nature & any item not speciﬁed
Minimum – 10 travellers
Maximum – 17 (plus host)
Flights & Insurance – on request
Recommended Routings to Delhi | Singapore Airlines via Singapore | QANTAS ex Sydney via Bangalore | Air India DIRECT Please call to discuss your individual requirements
Terms and conditions apply – please click here for full details.
This tour departs with a minimum of 10 people and a maximum of 17 people (plus host).
A single-room supplement of A$3,495 applies if you wish to secure your own room. If you are ‘willing to share’ we will do all possible to pair you with another participant. If unsuccessful the single supplement will apply.
The price is subject to change due to currency fluctuation and unforeseen changes beyond our control.
We reserve the right, due to situations beyond our control, to substitute any hotel or boat with another of comparable quality – this would be advised as soon as possible.
All quoted airfares & taxes are subject to change at any time prior to, or at the time of, ticketing.
Australian & New Zealand passport holders require a visa for India for a stay of up to 30 days. A visa must be obtained online prior to arrival. If you do not travel on an Australian or New Zealand passport please be sure to let us know.
By making any payment for this tour, and/or joining this tour, you acknowledge the potential health risks & you accept full responsibility for all potential quarantine and/or health requirements.
Sarah is the Founder of our Journeys for Women collection and co-Director of The Classic Safari Company. Over the years she's travelled to all seven continents, visited over 63 countries, forged global lifelong friendships and honed her haggling skills to perfection! In her own words 'I am happiest when I am lost in a souk, on safari in Africa, travelling with my daughters or when I have the privilege of viewing wild and wonderful places afresh through the eyes of the ladies I host on our womens-only soirees!'.
My daughter and I had a fabulous trip to Egypt. Loved every minute and might have to do it again in 2023!Amanda
A big thank you & a tick for the bucket list to Sarah for bringing together 17 women and taking us on a trip of a lifetime - friends for life!Mary
Egypt delivered on every level. So did The Classic Safari Company's Journeys for Women. Love my fellow travellers and especially Sarah!Wendy
Loved my journey - what a fab adventure with great women!Sharon