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JTE 2019 – India

15 March 2019 – 27 March 2019

INDIA is a dazzling swirl of colour… the aroma and passion for life will quite literally sweep you off your feet.  The sheer diversity of its people, flora and fauna is breathtaking.  Witness ancient rituals, experience immersive local interactions and sacred offerings first hand.  The jewels of India are yours to discover. Stretch your wings as you take in the best of what India has to offer, with Jayes Travel Experiences.

Apart from the great weather, we are travelling in February/March to experience one of the most important festivals on the Indian calendar – the HOLI FESTIVAL. Holi is a Hindu spring festival celebrated in India and Nepal, also known as the “festival of colours” or the “festival of love”. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships. It is also celebrated as a thanksgiving for a good harvest. With Jayes Travel Experience we will celebrate with a local group in Jaipur, where you can embrace the traditions and immerse yourself in the festival. Celebrate with buckets full of coloured water, an ever-ready water jet (popularly called a pichkari) and many packets of colour. Join the locals as they rub the ‘gulal’ and ‘abeer’ on each others’ faces… creating unforgettable moments!

But it doesn’t stop here! Other highlights of your Jayes Travel Experience include –
// Taj Mahal at sunrise
// Visit the imposing Meherangarh Fort
// Dinner with a local family in their historic haveli home
// Watch a Bollywood movie in one of India’s finest art deco cinema halls
// Take a boat ride on the holy Ganges in Varanasi

But of course, there are too many amazing experiences to list…Read on the day to day itinerary below.

Day One // 15th March 2019

Today you will be transferred from Newcastle to Sydney Airport, where you will board your flight to Delhi, India. International flights are with either Qantas or Singapore Airlines.

If trees and streets could talk, the stories that would pour out of Delhi would keep listeners mesmerised for years. There is no better insight into the diversity of India than from its capital—where the old and new, cultural and contemporary, rural and urban, all blend harmoniously. While Old Delhi is a maze of narrow serpentine lanes lined with shops, the new city is a bustling metropolis, replete with shopping malls, and wide-open spaces.

Meals Included: Inflight

Day Two // 16th March 2019

After breakfast start your day with a drive to Old Delhi and visit the 17th century Jama Masjid or Friday Mosque. This grand mosque with imposing marble domes and twin minarets was built in 1656.  A magnificent flight of sandstone steps leads to the great arched entrance. Take a walk along one of the area’s most famous food streets where traditional methods are used to prepare delicacies such as fresh-baked naan breads, samosas, chai and kebabs. Thereafter take an exhilarating rickshaw ride from Jama Masjid through the narrow lanes of the old city, Chandni Chowk, experiencing more of this chaotic and fascinating hub of Delhi trade and history and terminating at the ramparts of the Red Fort. In the afternoon drive through New Delhi with a stop at India Gate and Parliament buildings for photo opportunities. The 42 metre high, free-standing arch known as India Gate was designed by Edward Lutyen and built in 1931 in memory of the Indian soldiers who died in World War I.  Also visit Bangala Sahib Gurudwara, a Sikh Temple, its highlight being a visit to the community kitchen where volunteers work and feed thousands of devotees daily and the food is offered free to one and all. Continue your drive to Humayun’s Tomb, the 16th Century tomb of the 2nd Mughal Emperor Humayun. Tucked away in the heart of Delhi is this treasure trove of history spread over 100 acres of beautiful greens.  This was the first garden tomb on the Indian subcontinent and is said to have inspired the design of the Taj Mahal.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Welcome Dinner

Day Three // 17th March 2019

After a leisurely breakfast we will depart for Agra by road. The journey is approximately 4 hours, but in India things can take a little longer at times! But don’t worry, there is plenty of things to witness along the way.

Known worldwide as the home of the Taj Mahal, Agra was the seat of the Imperial Mughal court during the 16th and 17th centuries, before the capital was shifted to Delhi. Located on the banks of the Yamuna and along the Grand Trunk Road, Agra flourished under the patronage of the Mughal emperors as a centre of art, with each ruler creating a new school and form, and architecture – that borrowed inspiration from Persian, Islamic, Turkish, Byzantine and Indian styles.

After check in, this evening we will visit Mehtab Bagh, a 400-year-old Mughal garden on the banks of the Yamuna. Here is our first chance to see the sunset over the Taj Mahal. The magical allure of the Taj Mahal draws tourists to Agra like moths to a wondrous flame. And despite the hype, it’s every bit as good as you’ve heard!

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day Four // 18th March 2019

Rise early to see the superb Taj Mahal at its dawn best. Agra has been immortalized by Taj Mahal – the magnificent mausoleum, which the emperor Shahjahan had built for his queen, Mumtaz and India’s own jewel in the list of 7 Wonders of the Modern World. Enter through the West gates with its arch framing and revealing the beauty of the Taj within. Take time to marvel at the Taj’s unique and stunning symmetry and the exquisite pearly marble bathed in the pink light dawn. Explore the many perspectives from the platforms, pavilions and around the main tomb. In the afternoon visit Agra Fort. On the right bank of the Yamuna river, is one of the most important and robustly built stronghold of the Mughals, embellished with number of richly decorated buildings. Let our guide tell you the rich, evocative Mughal history of Agra Fort, where emperors like Babar, Humayun, Akbar, among other historic characters take centre stage. Later, visit Itmad-ud-daula, a Mughal mausoleum. often described as a jewel box, sometimes called the Baby Tāj, the tomb of I’timād-udDaulah is often regarded as a draft of the Tāj Mahal.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day Five // 19th March 2019

Today we will depart by road to Jaipur. En route stop off at Fatehpur Sikri, a city capital built by Emperor Akbar to honour a Sufi saint, Salim Chisti, which is perhaps the best preserved vestige of the Mughal Empire.   The city complex includes palaces, pools, public audience halls, mosques and other places of worship, and (you guessed it) tombs! An excavation at Fatehpur Sikri in 2000 also unearthed an older Jain city that must have existed before the 11th Century.   Tonight, experience viewing a Bollywood movie in one of India’s finest art deco cinema halls.

Jaipur is Rajasthan’s capital and one of her most iconic and colourful cities. The city’s colourful, chaotic streets ebb and flow with a heady brew of old and new. In the midst of this mayhem, the splendours of Jaipur’s majestic past are islands of relative calm evoking a different pace and another world. It is the first planned city of North India, which today is a unique synthesis of the traditional and modern. Providing a stunning backdrop to the Pink City are the ancient forts and palaces, which paint a dramatic picture of a bygone era.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day Six // 20th March 2019

After breakfast stop at a famous local tea shop and learn more about India’s culture of chai, and sample one of the best in Jaipur if you wish. This is followed by a unique, insider experience in Jaipur; see a local milk market come to life, with turbaned farmers cycling their fresh milk in and haggling over prices and the day’s produce in ways little changed over the past century or more. Experience the city of Jaipur as the locals do! We will then drive to the sprawling hilltop to find the Amber Fort – the citadel of the Kachhawaha clan who later became the rulers of Jaipur. With its sprawling apartments, pleasure gardens, and temples, Amber is one of the most intricate and beautiful Rajput fortresses in all of India. In the afternoon, visit the City Palace, and the nearby ornate Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) – a delightfully idiosyncratic five-tier composition of arches and balconies. Later explore the colourful, chaotic bazaars of the city. Jaipur is a city of vibrant colours and the colourful bazaars offer great opportunity for shopping. It is known for its handicrafts, textiles, leather ware, antiques, gems and jewellery.  Jaipur is one of the largest ornament making centres in India and its ‘enamel’ and ‘inlay’ work with gems are the two traditional techniques for which it is most famous. Tonight, venture into the old walled city and enjoy dinner with a local family in their historic haveli home. Learn about their local life in Jaipur and also see how some typical Rajasthani dishes are prepared.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day Seven // 21st March 2019

Today you will celebrate the Holi Festival – the festival of colour. Embrace the traditions which celebrate the victory of one’s inner good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter and for many a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive and repair broken relationships in a wash of bright colours. Crowds will take to the streets for a colour fight that sees them rubbing bright powder on each other, as well as drenching each other with water guns and water balloons.

The main colours used throughout the festival are red, which represents love and fertility, yellow, the colour of turmeric, green, symbolising spring and blue which is the colour of Krishna.

You will celebrate with a small local group in Jaipur, at the garden of Shahpura Haveli, where you will have the opportunity to wear a pair of Kurta-Pyjama (Indian traditional dress) Play with herbal colours, be apart of the cultural events and folk dancing with “Chang” (beating of drums)! Embrace the traditions and immerse yourself in the festival. And create unforgettable moments!

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day Eight // 22nd March 2019

This morning you will be transferred to Jodhpur by road. Today’s travel will take up most of the day, but there is always something interesting to see along the way.

Epitomising the romance and feudal splendour of Rajasthan with the majestic Mehrangarh Fort towering over it, the city of Jodhpur was once a flourishing trade centre for opium, silk and copper. Painted a brilliant shade of blue, Jodhpur is the last bastion of fort ramparts, colourful bazaars, animated people with their storytelling traditions before the desert sands and dunes stretch away towards the horizon.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day Nine // 23rd March 2019

After breakfast, visit the Mehrangarh Fort, one of the most majestic of Rajasthan’s forts, described by the author Rudyard Kipling as “the creation of angels, fairies and giants”.  Its forbidding ramparts are in sharp contrast to the flamboyantly decorated palaces within. Founded in 1459, the sandstone fort was added to by later rulers between 17th and 19th centuries. Explore the massive fort complex and the exquisite museum collection. From coronation thrones to pleasure palaces and sunken gardens, the Meherangarh Fort houses a citadel of immense grandeur. Follow this with a visit to the famous Jaswant Thada, a white marble memorial in impossibly intricate stone sculpting – with its structure thin enough to emit a warm glow as the sun plays across its facade. Walk down from the fort to the city’s colourful bazaar, famed for its colourful bangles, copper pots and pans, plus of course the ‘jutis’ – the stylish leather slippers favoured by locals and visitors alike. The Sardar Bazaar is alive with Rajasthani colour and, has several beautiful havelis primarily made of red sandstone.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day Ten // 24th March 2019

This morning you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Varanasi, via Delhi.

Later this evening, drive through the increasingly crowded streets to the heart of old Benares. Explore the vibrant trading streets of Varanasi’s old town, where the lanes are so narrow vehicles are unable to gain access, before continuing to the city’s famous riverbanks ghats for the evening aarthi ceremony where Hindu priests stage a spectacular ceremony.

Steeped in myths, legend and Hindu mysticism, Varanasi is one of the oldest living cities in the world, and one of the most important pilgrimage sites in India. Its principal attraction is the long string of Ghats – steps, which lead down to the Ganges where devout pilgrims take a dip every morning. These Ghats also witness the fiery aartis during festivals.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day Eleven // 25th March 2019

This morning rise early and head to the river to board your small boat at dawn. You will be in the perfect spot to watch the colourful Ghat slowly come to life, as pilgrims begin to bathe themselves in the holy river.  Observe colourful sadhus meditating on the banks of the river and the elderly Hindu ladies bathing in their saris. This is an iconic experience of real India and a sight believed to have remained relatively unchanged for a millennia. This afternoon drive to Sarnath, located on the outskirts of the city where The Buddha is said to have delivered his first sermon after achieving enlightenment. It’s here that he preached his first five disciples on the four noble truths who then carried his message to the rest of the country.  We will also visit the Sarnath Museum – a treasure trove of Buddhist sculptures. Not only is Varanasi reputed to be one of the oldest cities in the world, it is also one of India’s holiest sites. For any Hintu to die in Varanasi represents a chance to attain liberation from the cycle of birth and death, and smoke from the cremation ghats can be seen rising all hours of the day and night. Stop and try local chais and freshly-fried samosa, in one of many typical riverside tea houses popular with pilgrims and other visitors rising before the sun of prayers and reflection of the Ganges.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day Twelve // 26th March 2019

After breakfast, you will be checked out of your hotel and transferred to the airport for your onward flight home. This flight operates via Delhi and Singapore, travelling overnight with either Qantas or Singapore Airlines.

Meals Included: Breakfast, In Flight

Day Thirteen // 27th March 2019

Arrive in Sydney, reflecting on the amazing cultural experiences you have had in India; before being transferred to Newcastle.

Meals Included: In Flight

Included on your JTE Tour: 

// Return Transfers from Newcastle (four central pick-up points between Lake Macquarie and Maitland
// All Flights, International and Domestic – Including Taxes
// All transport, as per the above itinerary in private air-conditioned vehicles
// 2 nights in Delhi, 2 nights in Agra, 3 nights in Jaipur, 2 nights in Jodhpur, 2 nights in Varanasi
// All meals as per the above itinerary
// Mineral water during touring and excursions, two 500 ml bottles per person per day
// Entrance fees to monuments
// Local English-speaking guide escort throughout and local guides for excursions
// Indian Tourist Visa
// Tipping for all Guides
// Tour Escort from Newcastle
// High quality edited images of your journey, documented by your tour leader

Contact Us for Pricing

Jayes Travel Experiences operates as part of Jayes Travel Services Pty Ltd – ABN 89 127 787 455 Travel insurance is not included in the above, however is compulsory for all JTE Escorted Tours. Pricing is available on request and is subject age and any pre-existing medical conditions.