Colorful, outrageous, romantic and wild, India is a beautiful enigma, delivering spectacular natural beauty in every shape and form. Its vibrancy will astound you, as will the warmth of its people. On this luxury gay group journey, you’ll experience ancient and modern wonders, enchanting Rajasthan, and the magic of India’s colorful Holi Festival.
Begin in Delhi, the bustling capital of India. After touring the colorful bazaars and ancient UNESCO sights of Old Delhi, continue to Agra for sunset and sunrise visits of the timeless Taj Mahal, the world’s greatest monument to love. Best of all, you’ll be staying at the lavish Oberoi Amarvilas, with uninterrupted views of the Taj Mahal from your room.
This journey through Rajasthan is teaming with historical splendor and jewel-like palace. In the pink sandstone City of Jaipur, India gets even more colorful with it’s best known and most popular festival, Holi, marking the end of winter and welcoming in the New Year. This vibrant, joyous occasion is famously marked with the throwing of brilliant colors and is held on the last full moon of winter.
Explore the rich architectural legacy of Jaipur’s merchants and maharajas as well as it’s an architectural masterpiece, the Palace of the Winds. There are hill forts, palaces, gardens & temples. Visit medieval backstreets and browse bazaars with textiles, leatherwork, woodblock prints, and Jaipur’s traditional blue pottery.
Udaipur is one of India’s most picturesque and romantic cities. You’ll cruise on tranquil Lake Pichola while marveling at the white palaces dotting the shore and rising in the water.
Extend your journey to the seaside city of Mumbai (Bombay), India’s economic capital and home of the Bollywood film industry. Stay in the heart of the City near the Gates of India and tour the city’s cultural attractions, bazaars, and most interesting neighborhoods.
Throughout this private escorted journey of India, Source Events private guides and drivers will bring India’s ancient civilization and its many layers to life. You’ll be staying in some of India’s finest luxury hotels, including Oberoi, Taj, and Leela Palace.
Day 1 - Wednesday, March 09, 2022
Welcome to India!
Arrive Delhi International Airport (DEL) Terminal 3.
'Meet & Assist' on arrival and transfer to The Oberoi Hotel.
Rest of the day at leisure
Hotel: The Oberoi New Delhi Hotel, New Delhi
Day 2 - Thursday, March 10, 2022
Sightseeing tour of Old Delhi including a brief cycle rickshaw ride. Visit the Jama Masjid, built-in 1650; one of the largest mosques in India. Drive past the Red Fort, also built by Shah Jahan and finally, visit Raj Ghat where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated following his assassination in 1948. A special focus during the tour of Old Delhi is Khari Baoli, a street known for Asia’s largest wholesale spice market selling a fragrant variety of spices, nuts, herbs and food products, such as rice and tea. Visit Gurudwara Bangla Sahib where you can volunteer to make Chapatis (Indian flatbread) in one of the biggest kitchens in the city, which serves more than 10,000 meals every day. Gurudwara Bangla Sahib – Built in the memory of the 08th Sikh Guru Sri Harkishen Sahib, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib is one of the important historical Gurudwara in Delhi. The large main hall is un-elaborate except for the open central shrine, where a sculpted bronze cupola hangs over a smaller golden dome under which silk sheets are spread out and covered with flowers. This shrine is the scene of constant devotional music, whose ethereal tones are relayed throughout the entire complex. Get a chance to volunteer at a Gurudwara’s free kitchen and to be part of “Vand Chakko” the Sikh uplifting concept that translates to ‘share and consume together.’
Sightseeing tour of New Delhi. New Delhi – was planned and built by the British in the 1920s and is characterized by Sir Edwin Lutyens’ monumental architecture. Driving through the city, with its wide tree-lined avenues discover India Gate and the Diplomatic Enclave, the Central Secretariat and the President's House. Visit Humayun's Tomb, aptly called the predecessor of the Taj Mahal because of its ornate Mughal style of architecture, later perfected in the Taj Mahal. Finally, see the 12th century Qutab Minar, considered one of the most perfect towers in the world, measuring 72m high. Continue to Connaught Place, New Delhi's main shopping area and central hub.
Hotel: The Oberoi New Delhi Hotel, New Delhi
Day 3 - Friday, March 11, 2022
Transfer by road to Agra (approximately 04 hours and 30 minutes drive). On arrival, check-in at The Oberoi Amarvilas Hotel (Premier Room). Visit Agra Fort followed by a visit to Taj Mahal at sunset Agra Fort – massive and majestic, the red sandstone fort in Agra, built by Emperor Akbar, is perhaps the best-preserved fort in India. Construction of this crescent-shaped fort 2.5 km in circumference commenced in 1565. Contained within the huge double outer walls up to 20m high and broken by a series of huge gates, the fort is almost a city within a city. Initially, the fort was a military structure but under the rule of Shah Jahan, Akbar’s grandson, many additions were added. The fort houses the Dewan-i-Khas and Dewan-i-Aam (Halls of Private and Public Audience) as well as the Musammam Burj and Khas Mahal, where Shah Jahan was imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb. Today these palatial buildings are silent witness to the rise and fall of the Imperial Mughal Empire and are exemplars of Islamic architecture and decoration.
Taj Mahal – built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal who died giving birth to their fourteenth child in 1631, the Taj Mahal is described by the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore as ‘a teardrop on the face of eternity’. Heartbroken by her death, legend has it that Shah Jahan’s hair turned grey overnight and that he turned his back on running the empire, concentrating instead on the construction of this monument to love. Construction took 22 years and the Taj was completed in 1653 at a speculated cost of 3 million rupees, equivalent to around 70 million US Dollars today.
Hotel: The Oberoi Amarvilas Hotel, Agra
Day 4 - Saturday, March 12, 2022
05:30 hours: Another visit to Taj Mahal at sunrise Taj is at its most alluring in the relative quiet of the early morning, shrouded in mists and bathed with a soft red glow. As its vast marble surfaces fall into shadow or reflect the sun, its color changes, from soft grey and yellow to pearly cream and dazzling white; it's well worth visiting at different times. Return to the hotel for breakfast.
Transfer by road to Delhi Domestic Airport (approximately 05 hours drive) to board Air Vistara flight. On arrival, transfer to Taj Ganges Hotel
Hotel: Taj Ganges Hotel, Varanasi
Day 5 - Sunday, March 13, 2022
An exclusive early morning boat ride on River Ganges followed by a brief walk through the ghats. Observing the early morning riverside rituals from a boat on the Ganges is a special experience. In the blue light of dawn, travel through Varanasi’s misty, winding streets and board a private rowboat, watching from the water as the sun rises and the banks begin to crowd with worshippers. See people lost in prayer, washing themselves, doing the laundry. The cycle of life is laid bare in Varanasi and this is particularly evident on the cremation ghats. Return to the hotel for breakfast.
Proceed for sightseeing tour of Varanasi Varanasi – One of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world, Varanasi has a uniquely spiritual atmosphere and is one of the holiest places in India. Temples of note include the Bharat Mata Temple and the Durga Temple, also known as the Monkey Temple. Emperor Aurangzeb's Mosque, the Well of Knowledge and Vishwanath Temple, known as the “Golden Temple” are also worth visiting. Rest of the day at leisure.
An exclusive early evening boat ride on river Ganges followed by blessing ceremony, end the cruise with a ‘Diya Daan’ at sunset – to pay homage to your ancestors by immersion of oil lamps into the Ganges. Board a private rowboat and join the mass of worshippers as they pray near the water by the light of open flames with the scent of incense filling the air. An aarti is a devotional ritual that uses fire as an offering. The offering is made to the Goddess Ganga. The aarti takes place facing the river. The lamps are lit and circled around by the pandits (Hindu priests) in a clockwise manner, accompanied by chanting or songs in praise of Mother Ganga. After the ritual is complete, devotees will cup their hands over the flame and raise their palms to their forehead to get the Goddess's purification and blessing.
Hotel: Taj Ganges Hotel, Varanasi
Day 6 - Monday, March 14, 2022
Check out from the hotel and visit Sarnath. Sarnath – 08km from Varanasi is the holy Buddhist city of Sarnath. Lord Buddha gave his first sermon here after attaining enlightenment at Bodhgaya. The huge Dhamek Stupa marks the spot where Buddha first preached. The Sarnath Museum has a small but extremely impressive collection of Buddhist artifacts including the famous Lion Capital of Ashoka.
Transfer to Varanasi Airport to board SpiceJet Airlines flight for Varanasi - Jaipur (15:00 / 17:05) On arrival, transfer to Taj Rambagh Palace Hotel (Palace Room)
Hotel: Taj Rambagh Palace Hotel, Jaipur
Day 7 - Tuesday, March 15, 2022
Visit Amber Fort by jeep both ways followed by a visit to Anokhi Museum and Panna Meena step well Amber – Originally the ancient capital of the Kachawahas clan from 1037 the ancient town of Amber, 12km from Jaipur, is dotted with ancient temples, Havelis, and step wells. High above the town and surrounded with defensive fortification walls sits the impressive Amber Palace. Built by Raja Man Singh in the early 17th century it houses mighty gates, temples, huge ornate halls, palaces, pavilions, and gardens. Amber Palace is a perfect blend of Hindu and Muslim architecture and once at the top, the Palace affords excellent views of the surrounding countryside and town below. The 10-minute walk through a series of five defensive gates will bring you to the Suraj Pol (Sun Gate), the main entrance to the Palace. Anokhi Museum – Anokhi is a highly successful textile company which, from its beginnings almost 40 years ago, helped resurrect languishing Rajasthani block printing textile Industry. In this beautifully restored Haveli which won a UNESCO prize for restoration, you can admire textile traditions that the company has helped preserve. Panna Meena Step Well – The eight stories Stepwell was built in the sixteenth century as a sort of community gathering area. A place where people could come for water, a swim, a chat with a neighbor or relax. The criss-cross of stairs, the octagonal gazebos, and the recessed doorways--this baoli is fun to walk around and photograph. According to the residents of the place, it is impossible for a person to use the same stairs to get down and go upstairs. It is a big mystery of the place and all the tourists visiting here try to do this.
14:00 hours: Explore the ‘Pink City’, the bustling metropolis that is Rajasthan’s capital, seeing the Observatory and the City Palace The City Palace in the center of Jaipur took 04 years to complete. Tour the Palace by passing through the main entrance and begin by visiting the Mubarak Mahal, built-in 1890 it houses the Textile and Costume Museum. Visit the Armoury then proceed through the Rajendra Pol gate into the main complex. Here the Diwan-i-Khas is home to 02 giant silver urns used by Sawai Madho Singh to carry Ganges water to England when he attended Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. Later proceed to the Jantar Mantar Observatory. Built between 1728 and 1734 on a grand scale, the 17 astronomical instruments were built in stone and marble. The collection, built by Jai Singh includes the large Samrat, a 27.4m high sundial accurate to 02 seconds! The Central Museum, known as the Albert Hall is well worth a visit; founded in 1876, it houses a large collection of antiques and interesting artifacts. Finally, drive past the Hawa Mahal. This unique building also known as the “Palace of the Winds” is a Jaipur landmark and was once used by the ladies of the court to watch the daily goings-on in the street below.
Rest of the day escort, vehicle and driver available for shopping. Shopping in Jaipur is all about judging the artistic worth of an item. Excellent works of art, which were once made for the Kings and Queens, today are available to the common man. These artistic items are made by the traditional craftsmen of Jaipur, who have been in this profession for generations.
18:30 hours: Visit a local home to participate in Holika Dehan celebrations followed by dinner with the family Holika Dahan or the lighting of the bonfire takes place on the eve of Holi. The day is also popularly called 'Chhoti Holi' or the 'Small Holi'. The bigger event - play with the color takes place on the next 'big' day. Holika Dahan is an extremely popular tradition and is celebrated with fervor all across the country and is symbolic of the triumph of good over evil.
Hotel: Taj Rambagh Palace Hotel, Jaipur
Day 8 - Wednesday, March 16, 2022
Today is Holi – the festival of colors Transfer to Narain Niwas Palace to participate in Holi celebrations with live music followed by lunch. You will be welcomed with a garland and a special drink. Cocktails, sodas and soft drinks are available on purchase.
Holi – possibly the most colorful and joyous festival of the Hindu calendar is celebrated at the end of the winter season to welcome Spring. At this festival, distinctions of caste, class, age, and gender are forgotten as people have fun throwing paint and colored water at each other. As many of the colors derive from natural plants, and the festival takes place during a seasonal change, it was believed that the plants and their colors had a medical significance. The festival is due to a legend of King Hiranakashyapu who wanted to be worshipped as a god; most of his people did but not his son Prahlad whose devotion was to Lord Vishnu. The king’s sister led Prahald to a bonfire where she burnt and he didn’t. Bonfires are lit the night before the festival to highlight the triumph of good over evil.
Hotel: Taj Rambagh Palace Hotel, Jaipur
Day 9 - Thursday, March 17, 2022
Transfer to Jaipur Airport to board SpiceJet Airlines flight. On arrival, visit Nagda and Eklingji temples (approximately 45 minutes drive) Nagda – is one of the ancient palaces of Mewar, dating back to the 16th century AD. Visit the Sas-Bahu group of temples. Literally meaning, “Mother-in-law, daughter-in-law” temples, these are amongst the most exquisitely carved temples in India. Eklingji – is a complex of 108 temples, built-in 734 AD, it was chiseled out of sandstone and marble, and enclosed by high walls. The temple is dedicated to the family deity of the rulers of Mewar. Later transfer and check-in at The Leela Palace Hotel.
Visit Bagore Ki Haveli to witness a cultural dance performance This is a very congenial old building built right on the waterfront of Lake Pichola at Gangori Ghat. Amir Chand Badwa, the Prime Minister of Mewar built it in the eighteenth century. The palace has over a hundred rooms and some very interesting displays of costumes and modern art. The glass and mirror in the interiors of the Haveli delicate work and well preserved too. It also preserves a fine example of Mewar Painting on the walls of Queen's Chamber. The two peacocks made from small pieces of colored glasses are fine examples of glasswork. The haveli now stages delightful evening's entertainment; the pleasurable performance of Rajasthani traditional dance and music in the moody surroundings of the haveli. It is an ideal place for evening entertainment while enjoying the view of Lake Pichola.
Hotel: The Leela Palace Udaipur Hotel, Udaipur
Day 10 - Friday, March 18, 2022
Sightseeing tour of Udaipur city including a visit to Crystal Gallery. The City Palace over-looks Lake Pichola and houses an impressive museum that includes an outstanding collection of miniature paintings. Every evening in the beautiful Manek Chowk of the City Palace is a sound and light show, which brings the history of the palace alive. Housed in the Fateh Prakash Palace is the Crystal Gallery, the largest private collection of crystal in the world. Many of the items were custom made for the royal House of Mewar. See dazzling objects d’art, perfume bottles, dinner services, decanters, and furniture. The Jagdish Temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, was completed in 1651 and is covered with intricate carvings. At all times of the day, melodic chanting and singing can be heard, however, it is at the evening prayers that the temple really comes alive. Saheliyon Ki Bari gardens are famous for its lush green lawns, marble art, and fountains. English translation of Saheliyon Ki Bari means the Garden of maids of honor. This renowned garden is located on the banks of Fateh Sagar Lake, presenting a green retreat in the drylands of Rajasthan. This was built in the 18th century by Maharana Sangram Singh for the royal ladies. Visit Mewar School of Art and meet with the master artist including Jal Sanjhi Art experience A painting is equal to thousand words, which means a beautiful painting is equal to millions of words. Paintings are one of the oldest art forms – throughout history, artists have played an important role in documenting social movements, spiritual beliefs and general life and culture.
Enjoy a brief workshop at the Mewar School of Art. The workshop begins with a brief talk about the history of miniature painting followed by a painting class. You will also see a rare skill – Jal Sanjhi or the “art of drawing on water”. At a small Krishna temple the priest, one of the few practitioners of this art you watch the finishing touches of the process that takes 10 hours to complete and lasts for less than four hours.
An exclusive boat cruise on Lake Pichola In the evening enjoy a motor launch cruise (subject to water level) on the placid waters of Lake Pichola. From the boat, you will be able to view the city of Udaipur as it rises majestically above the lake in the middle of the Rajasthan desert. One can also wander along with the bathing and washing ghats by the lakeside.
Hotel: The Leela Palace Udaipur Hotel, Udaipur
Day 11 - Saturday, March 19, 2022
Morning at leisure.
Transfer to Udaipur Airport to board Air India flight. On arrival, transfer to The Oberoi Hotel, Gurgaon; located on the outskirts of Delhi. Overnight for your early morning flight.
Hotel: The Oberoi Gurgaon Hotel, Gurgaon
Day 12 - Sunday, March 20, 2022
Individual transfers to airport for International flights.
• 11 nights/12 Days in Luxury Hotel Accommodations
• Meet & Greet Airport Transfers
• Daily Breakfast
• Welcome Dinner
• 5 Lunches
• Farewell Dinner
• Rickshaw Ride in Old Delhi
• 2 Visits to Taj Mahal
• 2 Boat Rides in River Ganges in Varanasi
• Amber Fort visit by Jeep
• Exclusive Boat Ride in Lake Pichola in Jaipur
• Holi Celebration in Jaipur with live music followed by Lunch
• Air-Conditioned Motorcoach throughout the Journey
• Source Events escort and English speaking guide throughout the journey
• Entrance fees to all venues
• Water in the vehicles
• Portages at airports
• International and Domestic Airfares
• Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
• Travel Insurance (highly recommended)
• Personal Expenses
• India Visa (required for all travelers entering India)
• Optional Extension to Mumbai
• Optional Extension to Bhutan
The Oberoi New Delhi Hotel, New Delhi
Overlooking Delhi's Golf Club and situated in Central Delhi, newly renovated The Oberoi New Delhi is 16 km from the Indira Gandhi International Airport. The property features a heated indoor and outdoor pool and spa & wellness centre. The hotel is also equipped with a state of the art clean air technology which promises air quality on par with global standards.
Rooms are equipped with air conditioning and offer views of the Delhi Golf course on one side and the UNESCO World Heritage site of Humayun's Tomb on the other side.
Restaurants at The Oberoi, New Delhi include the completely redesigned main restaurant threesixty°, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Omya is the authentic specialty Indian restaurant, Baoshuan is the rooftop Chinese restaurant. There is also a new open-air rooftop bar, Cirrus9. Enoteca, the temperature controlled wine cellar at the lobby level offers a specially curated selection of fine wines and champagnes. The Club Bar serves a wide range of premium international alcoholic beverages and a new Cigar Lounge offers the finest selection of cigars.
Guests can exercise in the 24-hour fitness centre. The Oberoi Spa has five private treatment rooms and a couple's spa suite. Each has a private relaxation area and an en suite aromatic steam shower. Complimentary yoga classes are available in the morning.
The Oberoi Amarvilas Hotel, Agra
Just 600 m from the Taj Mahal, The Oberoi Amarvilas Agra boasts luxurious 5-star accommodation with a flat-screen TV. This property houses 4 dining options and provides free parking. Free WiFi is available in the rooms of the property.
Beautiful rooms come with stylish modern interiors and large windows. All the well-appointed units are equipped with a sofa, personal safe and private bathroom.
Guests can visit the Oberoi Spa for a body massage, swim, or exercise at the gym. Car rental and ticketing services are available at the tour desk.
Bellevue restaurant serves international dishes and local favourites, while Esphahan offers traditional Indian specialities. Overlooking the Taj Mahal, the bar offers fine wines and cigars.
Taj Ganges Hotel, Varanasi
Spread over 40 acres of tropical gardens, Taj Ganges, Varanasi is a peaceful getaway in the ancient temple city of Varanasi. Offering an outdoor pool and a spa, it also has 24-hour room service.
The modern air-conditioned rooms are all equipped with a flat-screen TV, minibar and tea/coffee making facilities. All enjoy views of the garden, pool or city. Bathrooms come with shower facilities.
Guests can exercise at the fitness centre, relax with a massage or buy souvenirs at the shopping arcade. There is a doctor on-call and a business centre.
Both buffet and à la carte dishes are available at Chowk coffee shop, which serves Indian, Pan-Asian and international delights. Varuna offers authentic Indian fine dining, while wines and cocktails can be enjoyed at Prinsep Bar.
Taj Rambagh Palace Hotel, Jaipur
Presenting manicured gardens and beautiful Indian architecture, the luxurious Rambagh Palace was the former residence of the Maharaja of Jaipur. Now a luxurious hotel, it features an indoor and outdoor pool, as well as full spa services.
Spacious air-conditioned rooms are decorated with rich textures, elegant carpets and hand-painted wall motifs. A flat-screen TV, personal safe and minibar are included in all rooms. Modern bathrooms have a walk-in shower and separate bathtub.
Relaxing massage can be enjoyed at Jiva Grande Spa. Guests can also practise yoga with experienced gurus or exercise at the gym. The palace butlers can help guests arrange vintage horse-drawn carriage rides every evening. Free on-site parking is provided.
Breakfast and light meals are served at The Rajput Room while Verandah features traditional afternoon tea, champagne and pre-dinner cocktails. Other dining options include Indian cuisine at Suvarna Mahal, outdoor casual dining at Steam and drinks at Polo Bar.
The Leela Palace Udaipur Hotel, Udaipur
Luxury awaits at The Leela Palace Udaipur with rooms that feature stunning views of the City Palace or Lake Pichola, situated within landscaped grounds. It has an exclusive spa and outdoor pool.
Decorated with warm shades of golds and reds, rooms feature local artwork and fine Indian carpets. They come with a flat-screen TV and iPod dock. Marble bathrooms have a bathtub and premium toiletries.
Surrounded by loungers, the large outdoor pool has an attached hot tub. Alternatively, enjoy quiet moments at the peaceful Library Bar or take a day trip organised by the tour desk.
Soft breezes and views of a starlit sky accompany fine Indian specialities at the Sheesh Mahal. For an international dining experience, guests can head to the Dining Room at The Leela Palace.
The Oberoi Gurgaon Hotel, Gurgaon
The Oberoi, Gurgaon is located 9.5 Km from Indira Gandhi International Airport. Spread over nine acres, The Oberoi, Gurgaon features an outdoor swimming pool and a 24-hour spa. Free WiFi is available in the rooms of the property.
All rooms and suites are equipped with an iPod docking station with FM receiver, flat-screen televisions in the living spaces, and a television in the bathrooms as well.
The Oberoi Gurgaon offers 24-hour butler service, complimentary high-speed WiFi for up to four devices, soundproof windows and cutting-edge technology throughout. Yoga sessions are offered twice a day.
Guests looking for a luxury dining experience can choose between a multi-cuisine restaurant: threesixtyone°, contemporary Indian fine dining space: Amaranta, Oberoi Patisserie, and Delicatessen, or relax and unwind with a nightcap in the Piano Bar and Cigar Lounge.