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Fabric, Food & HOLI

Tours
Fabric, Food & HOLI
DATES

06 March 2020 - 17 March 2020 


RATES
from NZD$6570 per person
Single rate from NZD$8225

Hover over rates for other currencies.


 


*Rates are per person based on Twin Share or Single Supplement.
*Prices are subject to change until paid in full.
*A 'Willing to Share' may be possible on this tour. Please enquire.
*A Trip Kitty of R10,000 (approx NZ$230.00) is payable on Day 1 of the Tour.
*Domestic flight Jaipur to Mumbai in Economy Class with additional luggage allowance - NZ$305.00 (Subject to change)
*Early check in available at the Lalit. Please enquire re rate.
*This tour requires a minimum of 6 Guests to depart.


Fabric, Food & HOLI Fabric, Food & HOLI Fabric, Food & HOLI Fabric, Food & HOLI
Fabric, Food & HOLI

FABRIC, FOOD & HOLI!

 

Colour, Spice, Chaos, Spirituality, History, Beauty, Art & Architecture. India is a feast for the senses. Think of India and you think of colourful saris, delicious spicy food, sacred cows, chaotic markets and fantastic handmade treasures.

This is the perfect introduction for the first time traveller to India, or those who want to return to India for a more in-depth experience. This special journey of 11 nights visits India’s Golden Triangle and Mumbai.

From the sprawling commercial capital of Mumbai to the land of the Kings and from the banks of the Yamuna to the magnificence of the Mughal cities, you will see the well known and also be introduced to some wonderful secrets. Massive forts, the opulence and splendour of palaces, markets and bazaars, holy cities, towns seemingly lost in time, a Bollywood dancing all make for a trip full of highlights and contrasts.

At the heart of this journey is the food. India has a rich and diverse culinary history and on this tour you will get to sample a number of different cuisines; food from the Punjab, South India, Rajasthan, Nagaland, Konkan as well as Mughlai, Zoroastrian and Marathi fare.

*You can add a Varanasi extension after this tour. This is a 3 night extension departing Mumbai, with Local Guides. Can be booked as a Twin Share or Single. 

Tour Overview
Duration
11 DAYS
Start Point
Delhi
Finish Point
Mumbai
Tour Style
Hosted Tour
Accommodation
5 Star Hotels & Boutique Accommodation
Meals
As per itinerary
Transport
Private air-conditioned vehicle
Max Group Size
Min 6 guests, Max 10 guests
Tour Inclusions
  • Hosted by Natasha Sinclair
  • 11 Nights accommodation on a twin share basis or single room
  • All Breakfasts
  • Other Meals (Lunch x 3, Dinner x 8)
  • Non-alchoholic drinks at included lunches & dinners
  • Welcome Dinner in Delhi 
  • Home Hosted Marathi breakfast in Mumbai
  • Zoroastrian (Parsi) Dinner in Mumbai
  • Farewell dinner in Mumbai
  • Hands-on Workshops & Experiences
  • HOLI celebrations in Agra
  • White Kurtas to wear for the HOLI celebration
  • Make your own Block Print Fabric in Bagru
  • Rajasthani Cooking Class at dera Mandawa
  • Warli Art Workshop in Mumbai
  • Bollywood Dancing Workshop in Mumbai
  • Transport in an Air Conditioned Mini Coach. 
  • English speaking specialist Cultural interpreters who are experts in their fields
  • Special experiences as detailed in the itinerary
  • Monument Entrance Fees (one-time entry only) as per the detailed itinerary
  • Meet, greet and assistance for all airport transfers
  • Group tips for Guides, coach drivers & helpers, rickshaw drivers etc on main tour
  • Bottled Mineral Water on Mini-Coach
  • All current applicable taxes
Tour Highlights
  • Discover a side of Delhi that you probably didn’t know existed - neighbourhoods that are hotbeds for the creativity of a young India. Melting pots of quirky shops, galleries, gardens and street art.
  • Explore Old Delhi, the crowded streets and bazaars on foot and by rickshaw.
  • Stock up on delectable goodies at Asia’s largest spice market.
  • Celebrate Holi, the festival of colour in Agra hosted by a family in their garden.
  • See some of India’s most iconic architecture – Humayun’s Tomb, the deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri, Agra & Amber Fort and the mind-blowing beauty of the Taj Mahal.
  • Have a hands on experience creating your own block print fabric in the village of Bagru
  • Have a hands on experience cooking a Rajasthani meal in Jaipur.
  • Discover the soul of Mumbai - a whole world that disappears before 8am
  • Take part in an art workshop that directly helps with the preservation of Warli, an important yet threatened form of Indian tribal art.
  • Have some fun (and no doubt, laughs) at a Bollywood dancing lesson.
  • Indulge in some amazing retail therapy.

Tour Itinerary

Open all
Day 1 - Arrive Delhi
View

Arrive (any time) Delhi. There will be a warm welcome at the airport by your local airport representative and you will be transferred to your hotel. 

As your fellow travellers will be arriving throughout the day, this time is all about recovery from your international flight.   

You can enjoy the facilities of the hotel or join Natasha on an optional outing to Khan Market, leaving the hotel approx 1pm.  This is a great place to buy gorgeous cotton clothes both Indian and Western in style that will be super comfortable and stylish for the rest of your trip. Some favourites include:

Good Earth (homewares, gifts and their Sustain clothing line)
Ogaan (worth visiting here and again in Hauz Khas, the range and brand carried differ between stores)
FabIndia – basics plus their Fables brand for more Western designs
Anokhi (but the flagship store is much bigger and better in Jaipur)
Forest Essentials & Kama Ayurveda for beauty, hair and spa products

There are also fabulous shoes, jewellery and everything else to discover. Khan Market is a café and restaurant hotspot so finding somewhere to eat lunch is not a problem but choosing maybe!

Dinner at your leisure at the hotel tonight.  Baluchi, the Pan Indian restaurant at your hotel is highly recommended.

Overnight The LaLit New Delhi. (Deluxe Room)

Day 2 - Delhi - Not So New Delhi
View

Today you will explore New Delhi and discover that it is actually not that new at all. The wide avenues of the capital are built on top of and around a graveyard of cities that have risen and fallen over time.

You will start your day visiting the 16th century Humayun Tomb.  One of India’s many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, it was the first garden tomb of Asia. Like the Taj Mahal it is a testament of love built by a Queen for her beloved husband Humayun, the 2nd Mughal Emperor of India.

After soaking up some beauty and history you will avoid Delhi’s traffic and take the Metro from Jor Bagh to Green Park then jump in a mode of transport synonymous with India – the tuk-tuk to your next destination - Hauz Khas Village. 

The 13th century Hauz Khas village is New Delhi’s own SoHo neighborhood with its quirky shops, art galleries and restaurants.

You will have a later enjoy a South Indian lunch.

After lunch, you drive through Lutyens Delhi and past the India Gate in the Rajpath returning to the hotel so you can change before dinner.

Your welcome dinner tonight is at Indian Accent where Chef Manish Mehrotra is raising a toast to Indian food of the 21st century by reviving old Indian recipes and giving them a contemporary twist.

Overnight The Lalit. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)

Day 3 - Old Delhi, Spices & Handmade India
View

Be prepared for an assault on your senses!  This morning you head to Old Delhi and explore by rickshaw and on foot. You visit the 16th century Grand Mosque, the colourful markets, the labyrinth of narrow lanes, and Asia’s largest spice market. For those who love to cook you will stop at a spice shop that offers their wares in commercial packaging so that you can bring them back to NZ. 

Leaving Old Delhi, lunch at a favourite local joint before carrying on the Bangla Sahib, one of Delhi’s most prominent Sikh gurudwaras. You will need to cover your heads for the visit. If you are keen you might be able to help a roll a few roti in the gurudwara kitchen. In gurudwaras the concept of langar is practiced, and all people, regardless of race, religion or prosperity may come and eat in the gurudwara kitchen (langar hall).

Leaving the gurudwara you visit one of Delhi’s famed craft markets. The decision on which one will depend on timing and what events are on at the time. At these markets you buy direct from the artisans and cash is essential.

After a full and busy day, you return to the hotel. Dinner at your leisure and your own account.

Overnight The Lalit. (Breakfast)

Day 4 - Agra Fort & The Taj Mahal
View

You leave Delhi behind this morning and zoom up the Yamuna Expressway to Agra, arriving around 1-1.30pm. You will have the chance to grab a bite to eat at your hotel’s café before your afternoon of sightseeing visiting Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal at sunset.

You start your visit at Agra Fort which was the seat of power for the Mughal Empire under successive generations. The present structure owes its origins to Akbar who erected the walls and gates and the first buildings on the eastern banks of Yamuna River. Shah Jehan added the impressive quarters and the mosque while Aurangzeb added the outer ramparts. Visit its Hall of Public Audience and its Royal Pavilions.

The Taj Mahal is everything that has been said about it and more. Taking 22 years and 20,000 men to build, the white marble was quarried 200 miles away and was transported to the site by a fleet of 1000 elephants. Built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as an expression of his love for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, in the mid-17th century. The Taj Mahal is truly one of the wonders of the world. 

Though the Taj appears to be amazingly perfect from almost any angle, it is the close-up marble inlay work, which is astounding. You will have ample time to view and be mesmerized by this outstanding piece of architecture. 

Dinner at your leisure at your hotel.

Overnight Gateway Hotel Fatehabad Road - Superior Taj facing room (Breakfast)  

Day 5 - HOLI; The Festival of Colours
View

This morning let your inner child loose and the colours will fly as you celebrate Holi. 

Holi is not India’s biggest festival, but it is probably the most well known outside of India. Holi celebrates the arrival of spring, the triumph of good over evil and a time of renewal. 

You will join a local family who welcomes visitors each year to join them in their garden for some fun and safe Holi celebrations. 

Everything is supplied – from the white kurtas (these are delivered to our hotel the night before) that will get drenched in a rainbow of colours to the music and the delicious Holi sweets and snacks.  

If you have light coloured hair you may want to bring an old hat with you. Applying some oil (such as almond) to you skin can also help minimise the staining. All the colours used are plant based and eco-friendly. 

The rest of the day is free to rest and relax at your hotel. We don’t recommend that you head out into the streets during Holi as celebrations can get too boisterous.

Overnight Gateway Hotel Fatehabad Road (Breakfast)  

Day 6 - Taj at Sunrise & Fatehpur Sikri
View

The choice is yours this morning, to get up early and see the sunrise at the Taj Mahal from across the river at Metab Bagh “The moonlight gardens” or you can enjoy a sleep in. For those getting up early you will be rewarded with a gorgeous view of the Taj, away from the crowds.

After checking out this morning you drive to Fatehpur Sikri which used to be a town larger than London when it was originally constructed in the late 16th century.

The red sandstone city complete with palaces and mosques was abandoned soon after it was built when the local wells went dry. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is an extraordinary place to wander around. Even after 300 years its buildings are in near perfect condition. 

You then carry on to Bharatpur for a relaxing lunch at The Bagh Hotel before continuing in your coach to Jaipur.

To relax after a long day, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

Overnight Dera Mandawa - Suite (Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner)

Day 7 - Jaipur - Forts, Fabrics & Cooking
View

After breakfast you head out in jeeps to the 16th century Amber Fort. 

The fort is a glorious deceit: intimidating, rough and ready from the outside, while inside it is a sensuous journey through colonnaded halls of grand paintings, mirrored ceilings and intricate carvings. 

Afterwards you get a fabric fix. From a huge variety of silks, cottons, cotton-silks and linens you can opt to have some clothes tailored to fit. 

Other shopping excursions in Jaipur are tailored to suit the group. A survey of options will be sent to travellers prior to departure and shopping experiences will be chosen based on common interests. There is no pressure to buy anything – window shopping is welcome.

This evening your hostess will lead a hands-on lesson in Rajasthani cuisine. This wonderful experience will arm you with some delicious and simple recipes and some valuable nuggets of advice for cooking Indian food at home. After you sample each of the dishes you have learnt to cook, you sit down and enjoy dinner with the family.

Overnight Dera Mandawa (Breakfast / Dinner)

Day 8 - Jaipur - Block Printing Workshop
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Leaving Dera Mandawa at 8am, you drive to the village of Bagru known for its block printing tradition where they use natural and indigo dyes to create beautiful fabrics. Here you play with blocks and colours to create your own Bagru fabric to take home with you.

If you would like to have a quiet afternoon you can opt to be dropped off at Dera Mandawa after your morning at Bagru or alternatively join us exploring some more of Jaipur’s boutiques.

Dinner at Dera Mandawa is included tonight.

Overnight Dera Mandawa (Breakfast / Dinner)

Day 9 - Mumbai - A City with Soul
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You need to have an early breakfast today as you will be departing for the airport early.  Arriving in Mumbai late morning, you check into your hotel by lunchtime and have a couple of hours to rest.

Mumbai is a seething mass of humanity and unrelenting traffic. Ornate Victorian-Gothic buildings provide a backdrop for noisy street vendors and office wallahs rushing to work. Wide leafy boulevards are lined with monumental British constructions but not all the grand architecture was courtesy of the Raj – wealthy Jains and Parsis have also left their mark. 

Always at the centre of the action, Bombay was at the forefront of the independence movement and it was from Gandhi’s house here that he coordinated the struggle.  

This afternoon you will tick off all the main sights of Mumbai such as the Gateway of India, the Dhobi Ghat and Mani Bhavan. 

You will head straight to dinner at a local Zoroastrian Restaurant to sample its Lagan nu Bhonu – an assortment of various dishes that are served at Zoroastrian weddings. This is a casual local eatery so you don’t need get changed/dressed up and it will ensure that you are back at the hotel for an early night.

Zoroastrianism, the world's oldest monotheistic religion, was once followed by millions in ancient Persia. Today there are as few as 124,000 adherents worldwide with Mumbai now at its heart with around 70,000 followers.

Overnight Trident Nariman Point - Premier Room (Breakfast / Dinner)

Day 10 - Mumbai - Street Economics & Feisty Women
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Wake up at the crack of dawn to catch a glimpse of the street economics of Mumbai. From feisty Koli women at the fish markets, newspaper distribution, fruit & vegetable markets, this is another side of Mumbai that largely disappears by 8am each morning. 

Your breakfast will be a traditional Marathi one enjoyed with a local family in their home. 

The middle of the day is free to relax, and you can enjoy lunch in your own time at the hotel.

For those keen to explore some more there is an optional excursion this afternoon to discover some of Mumbai’s most unique nooks and crannies like Mutton Street which is a paradise for artists, designers, decorators and antique hunters.

Dinner tonight is at the very cool Bombay Canteen. 

Overnight Trident Nariman Point. (Breakfast / Dinner)

Day 11 - Mumbai - Warlil Art & Bollywood
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After breakfast, you get creative and do your bit to support one of India’s unique yet endangered tribal art forms. Warli dates back to 2500BC and uses a very basic vocabulary – a circle, triangle and a square - to depict human life, and indigenous customs and traditions. Under the watchful eyes of an expert you will create your own tribal artwork.

Later, you give another much more well-known Indian art form a go – Bollywood Dancing! There is no doubt there will be a few laughs as we learn of the latkas and jhatkas that Bollywood, the world’s biggest film industry, is famous for.   

This afternoon is free to explore or relax at the hotel.

This evening, at Trishna, you can sample a range of dishes from the Mumbai and the Konkani Coast. This is an old school joint in the narrow lanes of the Fort area but continues to be on the 'must eat here lists' of many local and international foodies.

Overnight Trident Nariman Point. (Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner)

Day 12 - Depart Mumbai
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Today you transfer to the international airport for your onward flight - or your Domestic flight if you are joining the extension to Varanasi. (Breakfast)

For those wanting to extend their time in India or one of her neighbours, please talk to us and we can help craft the perfect extension to your tour. 

About this tour

Your Host: Natasha fell in love with India as a child.  On her bookshelf was a beautiful copy of Rudyard Kipling’s 'Just So Stories', bound in royal blue leather, with the cover and spine embossed in gold and delicate pages filled. It is now over 100 years old and she is still enchanted by the exotic stories of India. Her travels in India are ongoing and to date she has journeyed across Northern India, been blessed in Varanasi and still thinks that there is nothing quite like enjoying freshly squeezed pineapple juice while relaxing on the backwaters of Kerala. Kuntil Baruwa hails from Assam but like many, career opportunities have taken him to Delhi where he lives with his wife and young son. Kuntil, along with a couple of his colleagues, spend weeks of each year exploring India and beyond – finding those unique nooks and crannies and authentic experiences that a special journey to India can be crafted around.

Shopping: There are a few opportunities to shop on this trip in Delhi, Jaipur, Udaipur and Mumbai. Malls do exist in India with all the international brands you find in malls all over the world. We won’t be visiting these but if you wish to do so you could either extend your time pre-tour in Delhi or post tour in Mumbai. India is often hailed as a cheap destination, but this can be misleading. There are some gorgeous things that cost very little but then there are luxury items that are handcrafted and command prices to match. So you can either spend up a storm like you would on a shopping trip to Melbourne or just enjoy the history, the colour and delectable food and spend very little.

Eat: Indian cuisine encompasses a wide variety of regional cuisines native to India. Given the range of diversity in soil type, climate, culture, ethnic group and occupations, these cuisines vary significantly from each other and use locally available spices, herbs, vegetables and fruits. Indian food is also heavily influenced by religious and cultural choices and traditions.The development of these cuisines has been shaped by religious beliefs, and in particular by exclusion of pork and vegetarianism, which continues to grow as a dietary trend in Indian society. There has also been Central Asian influence on North Indian cuisine from the years of Mughal rule. Indian cuisine has been and is still evolving, as a result of the nation's cultural interactions with other societies.

The Lalit, Delhi - Standing tall in the heart of of Connaught Place, The Lalit New Delhii is one of the finest luxury hotels in the city. The hotel is surrounded by upscale shopping centres, heritage monuments and neighbourhoods buzzing with cafés and bazaars. The refined rooms have flat-screen TVs, DVD players, mini-bars and desks. Room service is available.There are 5 eateries, a bar and nightclub. Other amenities include a spa, a yoga studio, a fitness centre and an outdoor pool. The award-winning Rejuve – The Spa ensures that every expectation is surpassed. Amidst the urban bustle of India’s capital, The Lalit New Delhi is the destination to relax, unwind and discover the city at your own pace.

Dera Mandawa, Jaipur - As you step through the pole(entrance doorway) at Dera Mandawa, time slows its pace to usher you into the leisurely luxuries of an era gone by. Leaving behind the hullabaloo of the streets of Jaipur, you get transported into the tranquility and hospitality of traditional Rajasthani charm. Dera Mandawa is a confluence of influences, adorned with Rajasthani jharokhas (awnings) and arches mixed with British inspired doorframes. Highlighting the calm mood are the colourful local motifs, quiet nooks and corners with only chirping of birds and scurry of squirrels breaking the silence, and natural light in abundance.

Trident Udaipur: Trident, Udaipur is situated on the banks of the tranquil and charming Pichola Lake and sprawls across forty three acres of verdant landscaping. Exquisite architecture, reminiscent of the royal Rajasthani culture, laced with a host of upscale contemporary amenities and gratifying hospitality attracts visitors from across the world. The hotel features an outdoor swimming pool, beauty salons and spas that offer a perfect ambience for you to relax and unwind in. ‘Aravalli’ is the hotel's multi-cuisine restaurant offering a range of cuisines such as Western, Asian, Indian and Rajasthani delicacies. 'The Terraces’ offers splendid views of the Aravalli mountain range. 'Amrit Mahal’ offers the perfect setting to enjoy a wide range of spirits and wines. The architecture and decor mirror the ancient heritage of Udaipur. All rooms are appointed with a host of amenities such as Wireless Internet access, personal bar, interactive satellite television, electronic safe & hair dryer. 

Trident Nariman Point, Mumbai: Nestled in the heart of vibrant and bustling Mumbai lies Trident, Nariman Point. Soaring 35 storeys tall, it offers panoramic views of the Marine Drive or the Queen's necklace, as the beautiful promenade is lovingly called. An iconic Mumbai landmark, featuring one of the finest accommodations in the city. In a city that never sleeps, there is always much to discover and Trident, Nariman Point is perfectly located to do so. Art galleries, museums, fashion boutiques, clubs and dining hot spots, all lie within a short distance of the hotel. 

Practicalities

Weather: It is going to warm when you arrive in India.  The average temperature in Delhi will be 25 degrees, but the temperature may peak at around the 30 degree Celsius mark and only drop to the late teens overnight.  Expect it to be a couple of degrees warmer in Jaipur, and Mumbai will be something in between! The heat will be dry in Delhi and especially Jaipur. It will be more humid in Mumbai and we may have a coastal shower of rain or two while we are here.

Meals: Breakfast is included every day except on the day you arrive in India. The selections for breakfast are substantial and in Jaipur your hosts prepare many homemade delights that set you up well for the day ahead. You are also very well fed at your home hosted breakfast in Mumbai. Lunch is usually an on-the-go affair or on some days at your leisure at your hotel. Lunches can be as inexpensive as R50 (approx. NZ$1) Lassi (a filling yogurt like smoothie) or the equivalent of NZ$20-30 at a hotel café. Other than one lunch that is included in Mumbai, all other lunches are on your own account. Eight dinners are included. On tour you will sample a wide variety of regional cuisines. Dinners are on your own account during your bazaar walk in Jaipur (very inexpensive items are usually NZ$1-2 each) and for two nights in Udaipur, where you slow down a wee bit, you can enjoy dinner at your pleasure at the hotel. For a hotel dinner including drinks and tips, budget anywhere from NZ$30 -$50 depending on what you have and alcohol.

Food: India has a rich and diverse culinary history and on this tour we will get to sample a number of different cuisines.  Delhi and Mumbai are real foodie hotspots and you can find excellent examples of regional cuisines as well as those that are more local. On this journey you will sample food from the Punjab, the Eastern Himalayas, Rajasthan, Bihar, Konkan as well as Mughlai, Zoroastrian and Marathi fare.

Dietray Requirements: All dietary requirements need to be advised at the time of booking so that we can advise our hosts.Vegetarians are certainly in for a treat and are very well catered for in India.Likewise, for those who are coeliac or have a gluten intolerance. Many foods in India are naturally gluten free and we have had ladies who are coeliac or significant gluten allergies travel with us without incident.India is a little more challenging for those with dairy or nut allergies.

Currency & Tipping: You will need to tip the person who meets you and assists you at the airport and porters who take your bags to your room.  We will give you an exact guide of what to pay to whom and when but allow around NZ$30 all up for this. We cover all the other tipping out of the trip kitty. 

Credit Cards: Credit Cards are widely used and accepted by local establishments (even in small towns). The most widely used card types are Visa and MasterCard, with Amex to a lesser extent. It would be a convenient option to use your Credit Card (valid for international use) whenever possible.

ATM's: ATM's are available in most main cities. You can take cash against Visa / Mastercard in most ATM'S. However, as different banks accept different cards, we advice you ensure that your card is valid for use in Italy by contacting your bank. Watch out for the Maestro or Cirrus logo.

The facts

Hotels: The hotels stated are the properties we have based our tour costing on.  Hotel names will not be confirmed until the tour is confirmed to depart (once the minimum number of 6 travellers is reached).  All accommodation is of 4+ & 5 star standard and has been selected based on its location and also its suitability for those who are perhaps travelling to India for the first time. If for any reason, we need to change the hotel stated, we will substitute them with properties that are similar and of the same standard.  Due to the smaller number of rooms at our selected Jaipur property there are only a limited number of single rooms available.

Safe Travel: Dress appropriately for the places you are visiting on any given day and on the whole a conservative approach is best – and decent covered in shoes when we are visiting areas like Old Delhi. While not strictly the oldest part of Delhi, it was founded in 1639 and has every infrastructure issue imaginable of a densely populated old city.

Respect Cultural Differences: Things are done differently in Asia, and India is no exception. Please make sure in your dealings with local people you accept these differences. As a traveller you should keep as calm, cheerful and friendly as humanly possible. Patience and courtesy are virtues that open many doors in India!  Demanding tourists do not get smiles, service or respect.

Environmental Responsibility: Pollution and waste management is a huge problem throughout the world. Unfortunately in many parts of India, disposal systems are inadequate and recycling of plastics is limited. We suggest avoiding plastic packaging where possible and take along your own bag when shopping. Plastic bags will be offered for everything. Collect and dispose in the next town. The law protects certain endangered species of flora & fauna. Export & in even possession of these species as well as of wild animals, birds, reptiles etc., is illegal. The production and sale of items made from wild animals and reptiles, e.g.: Leopard skins, crocodile skins, elephant tusks etc., is also illegal. 

Not Included:

  • International Airfares
  • Indian visa
  • Transfers unless stated in the itinerary
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Phone calls
  • Laundry unless specifically stated
  • Tips at meals and bars
  • Personal tips – porters taking bags to/from your room and the person who meets you at the airport.
  • Tips on the Varanasi extension. 
  • All beverages at hotels
  • Excess baggage
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Optional excursions or activities that may be offered.
Travel advice / FCO

We constantly monitor the advice posted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In particular we will always advise clients of any travel warnings. At the time of writing the FCO does not advise against travel to any of the places visited on this tour. Please feel free to contact us should you have any specific concerns. Furthermore, you should be aware that any travel warnings or advisories may affect the validity of your travel insurance. Therefore, at the time of booking your tour it is essential you check any restrictions on cover with your insurance provider.

DATES

06 March 2020 - 17 March 2020 


RATES
from NZD$6570 per person
Single rate from NZD$8225

Hover over rates for other currencies.


 


*Rates are per person based on Twin Share or Single Supplement.
*Prices are subject to change until paid in full.
*A 'Willing to Share' may be possible on this tour. Please enquire.
*A Trip Kitty of R10,000 (approx NZ$230.00) is payable on Day 1 of the Tour.
*Domestic flight Jaipur to Mumbai in Economy Class with additional luggage allowance - NZ$305.00 (Subject to change)
*Early check in available at the Lalit. Please enquire re rate.
*This tour requires a minimum of 6 Guests to depart.


Tour Itinerary
Day 1 - Arrive Delhi

Arrive (any time) Delhi. There will be a warm welcome at the airport by your local airport representative and you will be transferred to your hotel. 

As your fellow travellers will be arriving throughout the day, this time is all about recovery from your international flight.   

You can enjoy the facilities of the hotel or join Natasha on an optional outing to Khan Market, leaving the hotel approx 1pm.  This is a great place to buy gorgeous cotton clothes both Indian and Western in style that will be super comfortable and stylish for the rest of your trip. Some favourites include:

Good Earth (homewares, gifts and their Sustain clothing line)
Ogaan (worth visiting here and again in Hauz Khas, the range and brand carried differ between stores)
FabIndia – basics plus their Fables brand for more Western designs
Anokhi (but the flagship store is much bigger and better in Jaipur)
Forest Essentials & Kama Ayurveda for beauty, hair and spa products

There are also fabulous shoes, jewellery and everything else to discover. Khan Market is a café and restaurant hotspot so finding somewhere to eat lunch is not a problem but choosing maybe!

Dinner at your leisure at the hotel tonight.  Baluchi, the Pan Indian restaurant at your hotel is highly recommended.

Overnight The LaLit New Delhi. (Deluxe Room)

Day 2 - Delhi - Not So New Delhi

Today you will explore New Delhi and discover that it is actually not that new at all. The wide avenues of the capital are built on top of and around a graveyard of cities that have risen and fallen over time.

You will start your day visiting the 16th century Humayun Tomb.  One of India’s many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, it was the first garden tomb of Asia. Like the Taj Mahal it is a testament of love built by a Queen for her beloved husband Humayun, the 2nd Mughal Emperor of India.

After soaking up some beauty and history you will avoid Delhi’s traffic and take the Metro from Jor Bagh to Green Park then jump in a mode of transport synonymous with India – the tuk-tuk to your next destination - Hauz Khas Village. 

The 13th century Hauz Khas village is New Delhi’s own SoHo neighborhood with its quirky shops, art galleries and restaurants.

You will have a later enjoy a South Indian lunch.

After lunch, you drive through Lutyens Delhi and past the India Gate in the Rajpath returning to the hotel so you can change before dinner.

Your welcome dinner tonight is at Indian Accent where Chef Manish Mehrotra is raising a toast to Indian food of the 21st century by reviving old Indian recipes and giving them a contemporary twist.

Overnight The Lalit. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)

Day 3 - Old Delhi, Spices & Handmade India

Be prepared for an assault on your senses!  This morning you head to Old Delhi and explore by rickshaw and on foot. You visit the 16th century Grand Mosque, the colourful markets, the labyrinth of narrow lanes, and Asia’s largest spice market. For those who love to cook you will stop at a spice shop that offers their wares in commercial packaging so that you can bring them back to NZ. 

Leaving Old Delhi, lunch at a favourite local joint before carrying on the Bangla Sahib, one of Delhi’s most prominent Sikh gurudwaras. You will need to cover your heads for the visit. If you are keen you might be able to help a roll a few roti in the gurudwara kitchen. In gurudwaras the concept of langar is practiced, and all people, regardless of race, religion or prosperity may come and eat in the gurudwara kitchen (langar hall).

Leaving the gurudwara you visit one of Delhi’s famed craft markets. The decision on which one will depend on timing and what events are on at the time. At these markets you buy direct from the artisans and cash is essential.

After a full and busy day, you return to the hotel. Dinner at your leisure and your own account.

Overnight The Lalit. (Breakfast)

Day 4 - Agra Fort & The Taj Mahal

You leave Delhi behind this morning and zoom up the Yamuna Expressway to Agra, arriving around 1-1.30pm. You will have the chance to grab a bite to eat at your hotel’s café before your afternoon of sightseeing visiting Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal at sunset.

You start your visit at Agra Fort which was the seat of power for the Mughal Empire under successive generations. The present structure owes its origins to Akbar who erected the walls and gates and the first buildings on the eastern banks of Yamuna River. Shah Jehan added the impressive quarters and the mosque while Aurangzeb added the outer ramparts. Visit its Hall of Public Audience and its Royal Pavilions.

The Taj Mahal is everything that has been said about it and more. Taking 22 years and 20,000 men to build, the white marble was quarried 200 miles away and was transported to the site by a fleet of 1000 elephants. Built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as an expression of his love for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, in the mid-17th century. The Taj Mahal is truly one of the wonders of the world. 

Though the Taj appears to be amazingly perfect from almost any angle, it is the close-up marble inlay work, which is astounding. You will have ample time to view and be mesmerized by this outstanding piece of architecture. 

Dinner at your leisure at your hotel.

Overnight Gateway Hotel Fatehabad Road - Superior Taj facing room (Breakfast)  

Day 5 - HOLI; The Festival of Colours

This morning let your inner child loose and the colours will fly as you celebrate Holi. 

Holi is not India’s biggest festival, but it is probably the most well known outside of India. Holi celebrates the arrival of spring, the triumph of good over evil and a time of renewal. 

You will join a local family who welcomes visitors each year to join them in their garden for some fun and safe Holi celebrations. 

Everything is supplied – from the white kurtas (these are delivered to our hotel the night before) that will get drenched in a rainbow of colours to the music and the delicious Holi sweets and snacks.  

If you have light coloured hair you may want to bring an old hat with you. Applying some oil (such as almond) to you skin can also help minimise the staining. All the colours used are plant based and eco-friendly. 

The rest of the day is free to rest and relax at your hotel. We don’t recommend that you head out into the streets during Holi as celebrations can get too boisterous.

Overnight Gateway Hotel Fatehabad Road (Breakfast)  

Day 6 - Taj at Sunrise & Fatehpur Sikri

The choice is yours this morning, to get up early and see the sunrise at the Taj Mahal from across the river at Metab Bagh “The moonlight gardens” or you can enjoy a sleep in. For those getting up early you will be rewarded with a gorgeous view of the Taj, away from the crowds.

After checking out this morning you drive to Fatehpur Sikri which used to be a town larger than London when it was originally constructed in the late 16th century.

The red sandstone city complete with palaces and mosques was abandoned soon after it was built when the local wells went dry. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is an extraordinary place to wander around. Even after 300 years its buildings are in near perfect condition. 

You then carry on to Bharatpur for a relaxing lunch at The Bagh Hotel before continuing in your coach to Jaipur.

To relax after a long day, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

Overnight Dera Mandawa - Suite (Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner)

Day 7 - Jaipur - Forts, Fabrics & Cooking

After breakfast you head out in jeeps to the 16th century Amber Fort. 

The fort is a glorious deceit: intimidating, rough and ready from the outside, while inside it is a sensuous journey through colonnaded halls of grand paintings, mirrored ceilings and intricate carvings. 

Afterwards you get a fabric fix. From a huge variety of silks, cottons, cotton-silks and linens you can opt to have some clothes tailored to fit. 

Other shopping excursions in Jaipur are tailored to suit the group. A survey of options will be sent to travellers prior to departure and shopping experiences will be chosen based on common interests. There is no pressure to buy anything – window shopping is welcome.

This evening your hostess will lead a hands-on lesson in Rajasthani cuisine. This wonderful experience will arm you with some delicious and simple recipes and some valuable nuggets of advice for cooking Indian food at home. After you sample each of the dishes you have learnt to cook, you sit down and enjoy dinner with the family.

Overnight Dera Mandawa (Breakfast / Dinner)

Day 8 - Jaipur - Block Printing Workshop

Leaving Dera Mandawa at 8am, you drive to the village of Bagru known for its block printing tradition where they use natural and indigo dyes to create beautiful fabrics. Here you play with blocks and colours to create your own Bagru fabric to take home with you.

If you would like to have a quiet afternoon you can opt to be dropped off at Dera Mandawa after your morning at Bagru or alternatively join us exploring some more of Jaipur’s boutiques.

Dinner at Dera Mandawa is included tonight.

Overnight Dera Mandawa (Breakfast / Dinner)

Day 9 - Mumbai - A City with Soul

You need to have an early breakfast today as you will be departing for the airport early.  Arriving in Mumbai late morning, you check into your hotel by lunchtime and have a couple of hours to rest.

Mumbai is a seething mass of humanity and unrelenting traffic. Ornate Victorian-Gothic buildings provide a backdrop for noisy street vendors and office wallahs rushing to work. Wide leafy boulevards are lined with monumental British constructions but not all the grand architecture was courtesy of the Raj – wealthy Jains and Parsis have also left their mark. 

Always at the centre of the action, Bombay was at the forefront of the independence movement and it was from Gandhi’s house here that he coordinated the struggle.  

This afternoon you will tick off all the main sights of Mumbai such as the Gateway of India, the Dhobi Ghat and Mani Bhavan. 

You will head straight to dinner at a local Zoroastrian Restaurant to sample its Lagan nu Bhonu – an assortment of various dishes that are served at Zoroastrian weddings. This is a casual local eatery so you don’t need get changed/dressed up and it will ensure that you are back at the hotel for an early night.

Zoroastrianism, the world's oldest monotheistic religion, was once followed by millions in ancient Persia. Today there are as few as 124,000 adherents worldwide with Mumbai now at its heart with around 70,000 followers.

Overnight Trident Nariman Point - Premier Room (Breakfast / Dinner)

Day 10 - Mumbai - Street Economics & Feisty Women

Wake up at the crack of dawn to catch a glimpse of the street economics of Mumbai. From feisty Koli women at the fish markets, newspaper distribution, fruit & vegetable markets, this is another side of Mumbai that largely disappears by 8am each morning. 

Your breakfast will be a traditional Marathi one enjoyed with a local family in their home. 

The middle of the day is free to relax, and you can enjoy lunch in your own time at the hotel.

For those keen to explore some more there is an optional excursion this afternoon to discover some of Mumbai’s most unique nooks and crannies like Mutton Street which is a paradise for artists, designers, decorators and antique hunters.

Dinner tonight is at the very cool Bombay Canteen. 

Overnight Trident Nariman Point. (Breakfast / Dinner)

Day 11 - Mumbai - Warlil Art & Bollywood

After breakfast, you get creative and do your bit to support one of India’s unique yet endangered tribal art forms. Warli dates back to 2500BC and uses a very basic vocabulary – a circle, triangle and a square - to depict human life, and indigenous customs and traditions. Under the watchful eyes of an expert you will create your own tribal artwork.

Later, you give another much more well-known Indian art form a go – Bollywood Dancing! There is no doubt there will be a few laughs as we learn of the latkas and jhatkas that Bollywood, the world’s biggest film industry, is famous for.   

This afternoon is free to explore or relax at the hotel.

This evening, at Trishna, you can sample a range of dishes from the Mumbai and the Konkani Coast. This is an old school joint in the narrow lanes of the Fort area but continues to be on the 'must eat here lists' of many local and international foodies.

Overnight Trident Nariman Point. (Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner)

Day 12 - Depart Mumbai

Today you transfer to the international airport for your onward flight - or your Domestic flight if you are joining the extension to Varanasi. (Breakfast)

For those wanting to extend their time in India or one of her neighbours, please talk to us and we can help craft the perfect extension to your tour. 

About this tour

Your Host: Natasha fell in love with India as a child.  On her bookshelf was a beautiful copy of Rudyard Kipling’s 'Just So Stories', bound in royal blue leather, with the cover and spine embossed in gold and delicate pages filled. It is now over 100 years old and she is still enchanted by the exotic stories of India. Her travels in India are ongoing and to date she has journeyed across Northern India, been blessed in Varanasi and still thinks that there is nothing quite like enjoying freshly squeezed pineapple juice while relaxing on the backwaters of Kerala. Kuntil Baruwa hails from Assam but like many, career opportunities have taken him to Delhi where he lives with his wife and young son. Kuntil, along with a couple of his colleagues, spend weeks of each year exploring India and beyond – finding those unique nooks and crannies and authentic experiences that a special journey to India can be crafted around.

Shopping: There are a few opportunities to shop on this trip in Delhi, Jaipur, Udaipur and Mumbai. Malls do exist in India with all the international brands you find in malls all over the world. We won’t be visiting these but if you wish to do so you could either extend your time pre-tour in Delhi or post tour in Mumbai. India is often hailed as a cheap destination, but this can be misleading. There are some gorgeous things that cost very little but then there are luxury items that are handcrafted and command prices to match. So you can either spend up a storm like you would on a shopping trip to Melbourne or just enjoy the history, the colour and delectable food and spend very little.

Eat: Indian cuisine encompasses a wide variety of regional cuisines native to India. Given the range of diversity in soil type, climate, culture, ethnic group and occupations, these cuisines vary significantly from each other and use locally available spices, herbs, vegetables and fruits. Indian food is also heavily influenced by religious and cultural choices and traditions.The development of these cuisines has been shaped by religious beliefs, and in particular by exclusion of pork and vegetarianism, which continues to grow as a dietary trend in Indian society. There has also been Central Asian influence on North Indian cuisine from the years of Mughal rule. Indian cuisine has been and is still evolving, as a result of the nation's cultural interactions with other societies.

The Lalit, Delhi - Standing tall in the heart of of Connaught Place, The Lalit New Delhii is one of the finest luxury hotels in the city. The hotel is surrounded by upscale shopping centres, heritage monuments and neighbourhoods buzzing with cafés and bazaars. The refined rooms have flat-screen TVs, DVD players, mini-bars and desks. Room service is available.There are 5 eateries, a bar and nightclub. Other amenities include a spa, a yoga studio, a fitness centre and an outdoor pool. The award-winning Rejuve – The Spa ensures that every expectation is surpassed. Amidst the urban bustle of India’s capital, The Lalit New Delhi is the destination to relax, unwind and discover the city at your own pace.

Dera Mandawa, Jaipur - As you step through the pole(entrance doorway) at Dera Mandawa, time slows its pace to usher you into the leisurely luxuries of an era gone by. Leaving behind the hullabaloo of the streets of Jaipur, you get transported into the tranquility and hospitality of traditional Rajasthani charm. Dera Mandawa is a confluence of influences, adorned with Rajasthani jharokhas (awnings) and arches mixed with British inspired doorframes. Highlighting the calm mood are the colourful local motifs, quiet nooks and corners with only chirping of birds and scurry of squirrels breaking the silence, and natural light in abundance.

Trident Udaipur: Trident, Udaipur is situated on the banks of the tranquil and charming Pichola Lake and sprawls across forty three acres of verdant landscaping. Exquisite architecture, reminiscent of the royal Rajasthani culture, laced with a host of upscale contemporary amenities and gratifying hospitality attracts visitors from across the world. The hotel features an outdoor swimming pool, beauty salons and spas that offer a perfect ambience for you to relax and unwind in. ‘Aravalli’ is the hotel's multi-cuisine restaurant offering a range of cuisines such as Western, Asian, Indian and Rajasthani delicacies. 'The Terraces’ offers splendid views of the Aravalli mountain range. 'Amrit Mahal’ offers the perfect setting to enjoy a wide range of spirits and wines. The architecture and decor mirror the ancient heritage of Udaipur. All rooms are appointed with a host of amenities such as Wireless Internet access, personal bar, interactive satellite television, electronic safe & hair dryer. 

Trident Nariman Point, Mumbai: Nestled in the heart of vibrant and bustling Mumbai lies Trident, Nariman Point. Soaring 35 storeys tall, it offers panoramic views of the Marine Drive or the Queen's necklace, as the beautiful promenade is lovingly called. An iconic Mumbai landmark, featuring one of the finest accommodations in the city. In a city that never sleeps, there is always much to discover and Trident, Nariman Point is perfectly located to do so. Art galleries, museums, fashion boutiques, clubs and dining hot spots, all lie within a short distance of the hotel. 

Practicalities

Weather: It is going to warm when you arrive in India.  The average temperature in Delhi will be 25 degrees, but the temperature may peak at around the 30 degree Celsius mark and only drop to the late teens overnight.  Expect it to be a couple of degrees warmer in Jaipur, and Mumbai will be something in between! The heat will be dry in Delhi and especially Jaipur. It will be more humid in Mumbai and we may have a coastal shower of rain or two while we are here.

Meals: Breakfast is included every day except on the day you arrive in India. The selections for breakfast are substantial and in Jaipur your hosts prepare many homemade delights that set you up well for the day ahead. You are also very well fed at your home hosted breakfast in Mumbai. Lunch is usually an on-the-go affair or on some days at your leisure at your hotel. Lunches can be as inexpensive as R50 (approx. NZ$1) Lassi (a filling yogurt like smoothie) or the equivalent of NZ$20-30 at a hotel café. Other than one lunch that is included in Mumbai, all other lunches are on your own account. Eight dinners are included. On tour you will sample a wide variety of regional cuisines. Dinners are on your own account during your bazaar walk in Jaipur (very inexpensive items are usually NZ$1-2 each) and for two nights in Udaipur, where you slow down a wee bit, you can enjoy dinner at your pleasure at the hotel. For a hotel dinner including drinks and tips, budget anywhere from NZ$30 -$50 depending on what you have and alcohol.

Food: India has a rich and diverse culinary history and on this tour we will get to sample a number of different cuisines.  Delhi and Mumbai are real foodie hotspots and you can find excellent examples of regional cuisines as well as those that are more local. On this journey you will sample food from the Punjab, the Eastern Himalayas, Rajasthan, Bihar, Konkan as well as Mughlai, Zoroastrian and Marathi fare.

Dietray Requirements: All dietary requirements need to be advised at the time of booking so that we can advise our hosts.Vegetarians are certainly in for a treat and are very well catered for in India.Likewise, for those who are coeliac or have a gluten intolerance. Many foods in India are naturally gluten free and we have had ladies who are coeliac or significant gluten allergies travel with us without incident.India is a little more challenging for those with dairy or nut allergies.

Currency & Tipping: You will need to tip the person who meets you and assists you at the airport and porters who take your bags to your room.  We will give you an exact guide of what to pay to whom and when but allow around NZ$30 all up for this. We cover all the other tipping out of the trip kitty. 

Credit Cards: Credit Cards are widely used and accepted by local establishments (even in small towns). The most widely used card types are Visa and MasterCard, with Amex to a lesser extent. It would be a convenient option to use your Credit Card (valid for international use) whenever possible.

ATM's: ATM's are available in most main cities. You can take cash against Visa / Mastercard in most ATM'S. However, as different banks accept different cards, we advice you ensure that your card is valid for use in Italy by contacting your bank. Watch out for the Maestro or Cirrus logo.

The facts

Hotels: The hotels stated are the properties we have based our tour costing on.  Hotel names will not be confirmed until the tour is confirmed to depart (once the minimum number of 6 travellers is reached).  All accommodation is of 4+ & 5 star standard and has been selected based on its location and also its suitability for those who are perhaps travelling to India for the first time. If for any reason, we need to change the hotel stated, we will substitute them with properties that are similar and of the same standard.  Due to the smaller number of rooms at our selected Jaipur property there are only a limited number of single rooms available.

Safe Travel: Dress appropriately for the places you are visiting on any given day and on the whole a conservative approach is best – and decent covered in shoes when we are visiting areas like Old Delhi. While not strictly the oldest part of Delhi, it was founded in 1639 and has every infrastructure issue imaginable of a densely populated old city.

Respect Cultural Differences: Things are done differently in Asia, and India is no exception. Please make sure in your dealings with local people you accept these differences. As a traveller you should keep as calm, cheerful and friendly as humanly possible. Patience and courtesy are virtues that open many doors in India!  Demanding tourists do not get smiles, service or respect.

Environmental Responsibility: Pollution and waste management is a huge problem throughout the world. Unfortunately in many parts of India, disposal systems are inadequate and recycling of plastics is limited. We suggest avoiding plastic packaging where possible and take along your own bag when shopping. Plastic bags will be offered for everything. Collect and dispose in the next town. The law protects certain endangered species of flora & fauna. Export & in even possession of these species as well as of wild animals, birds, reptiles etc., is illegal. The production and sale of items made from wild animals and reptiles, e.g.: Leopard skins, crocodile skins, elephant tusks etc., is also illegal. 

Not Included:

  • International Airfares
  • Indian visa
  • Transfers unless stated in the itinerary
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Phone calls
  • Laundry unless specifically stated
  • Tips at meals and bars
  • Personal tips – porters taking bags to/from your room and the person who meets you at the airport.
  • Tips on the Varanasi extension. 
  • All beverages at hotels
  • Excess baggage
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Optional excursions or activities that may be offered.
Travel advice / FCO

We constantly monitor the advice posted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In particular we will always advise clients of any travel warnings. At the time of writing the FCO does not advise against travel to any of the places visited on this tour. Please feel free to contact us should you have any specific concerns. Furthermore, you should be aware that any travel warnings or advisories may affect the validity of your travel insurance. Therefore, at the time of booking your tour it is essential you check any restrictions on cover with your insurance provider.