Holi Festival and Elephant Parade Tour covers Delhi Agra and Jaipur – 8 Days
Combine a tour of the famous Golden Triangle with the exuberant festivities of Holi – India’s most dazzling celebration, and the Elephant Festival of Jaipur, when exquisitely decorated elephants from the Amber Fort parade through the showground and play the regal game of polo.
Dates: 9th and 10th March 2020
Day 1: Delhi
Welcome to India and the start of your holiday! Arrive Delhi, included transfer to hotel. Free afternoon and evening. Overnight – Delhi
Day 2: Old & New Delhi
This morning, our welcome meeting takes place. We’ll then enjoy a full day sightseeing tour of Delhi. Tonight, we enjoy a Namaste Dinner at an Indian restaurant. Overnight – Delhi
Day 3: Jaipur
Delhi – Jaipur. Today, we drive to Jaipur. Affectionately known as the Pink City as Maharaja Ram Singh had all of the Old City painted a welcoming pink in 1876 to herald a visit by the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), it is also the bustling capital of the state of Rajasthan. We enjoy a tour of the City Palace and Jantar Mantar – an old yet cleverly designed space observatory. Overnight – Jaipur
Day 4: The Elephant Festival of Jaipur
Early today, we travel beyond Jaipur to the stunning 16th century Amber Fort – a sprawling Rajput concoction which hugs the hill on which it was built and overlooks the hot plains below. We enjoy a stately elephant ride (Subject to Government regulations & availability) to the fort proper and tour the fort’s well-preserved interior and grounds.
This afternoon its festival time for the elephants of Jaipur and we will not be missing the parade! As we arrive to the showground at approx 4pm we’ll see camels and horses and lively folk dancers and musicians lead the carnival into Jaipur’s open air Rambagh Polo Ground. Groomed to perfection, glittering in gold, laden with silk tassels and intricately decorated with brightly coloured motifs, row upon row of elephants parade past the crowds.
Hoping to be ringside, we’ll witness the colourful celebrations which include the crowning of the Best Decorated Elephant, a regal match of polo played from elephant back and the comical bout of man verses elephant in a game of tug of war. The days activities come to a close at approx 7pm. Overnight – Jaipur (B)
Day 5: India celebrates Holi
Jaipur – Bharatpur via Peharsar. It’s an early start today as the Holi festivities bring thousands of devotees out onto the streets in dazzling colour and good cheer.
Celebrated all over India since ancient times, Holi is an annual festival which takes place on the day after the full moon in the Hindu month of Phalguna. Originally Holi was an agricultural festival celebrating the arrival of spring. In keeping with this tradition people now choose to celebrate the occasion by throwing brightly coloured spices or herbal powders into the air, symbolically they are ridding the gloom of winter and rejoicing in the colours and liveliness of spring.
Today the central ritual of Holi incorporates the applying and throwing of coloured water and powders on friends and family which gives the holiday its modern name ‘the Festival of Colour’. This ritual also believed to be based on events in Hindu mythology relating to Prahlad worshipping the god Vishnu and being set ablaze with his wicked aunt Holika. As the fire was lit Holika asked for forgiveness and Prahlad decreed that she would be remembered every year at Holi. Holi is also associated with Krishna’s playful splashing of the maids with water, but most of all it celebrates the coming of spring and the vibrancy of colour that the season brings.
Arriving at the small rural village of Perharsar, we tour a charming, rustic haveli (mansion house) with small courtyard and lawned gardens which has been carefully restored to its former glory. From here its a short drive to our hotel in Bharatpur.
After hotel check and time for lunch, you can pull up a chair and watch the Holi celebrations taking place out on the lawn. Later we will go to Keoladeo Ghana National Park for a late afternoon bicycle rickshaw ride and birdwatching. Overnight – Bharatpur
Day 6: The Taj Mahal – built for love
Bharatpur – Agra. En route to Agra, we visit Fatehpur Sikri, former imperial capital of the great Mughal emperor Akbar. Built between 1569 and 1585, it has been deserted for more than four centuries, by all accounts abandoned in 1600 due to a meagre supply of water. In Agra, we visit the impressive Agra Fort before touring the legendary Taj Mahal and witnessing a glorious golden sunset. Built by Emperor Shah Jahan in loving memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz, who tragically died in childbirth in 1631, the Taj Mahal in Agra is described as the most extravagant monument ever built for love and remains one of India’s most enduring symbols. Overnight – Agra
Day 7: Onward to Delhi
Agra – Delhi. After breakfast we return to Delhi, the latter part of the afternoon is free for you to relax or independently explore more of Delhi. Overnight – Delhi
Day 8: Delhi
Our tour concludes after breakfast. Goodbye India! We transfer you to the airport for your onward international flight.
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