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Every year on the dark nights of Diwali firecrackers announce the celebration of India’s favourite festival. Homes are decorated, gifts are given, sweets are shared and thousands of lamps are lit. Join us this year for Diwali – the Festival of Light on a tour of India’s famed Golden Triangle.
Saturday 29 October 2016. Upon arrival into Delhi, you'll be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is free to relax or explore this bustling capital city.
Day 2:Diwali - lights up Delhi
This morning, our Welcome Meeting takes place. We then enjoy a full day sightseeing tour of Old and New Delhi, taking in the Red Fort, Jama Masjid - India’s oldest and largest mosque and Raj Ghat - the site of Gandhi’s cremation in Old Delhi, and the Rajpath and India Gate in New Delhi.
Of all the festivals celebrated in India, Diwali is by far the most glamorous and important. While the myths and legends that surround the festival differ around the country, the basic principle remains the same – the celebration of light over darkness and triumph of good over evil. Diwali ignites an overwhelming sense of goodwill and bonhomie across the nation, as families and friends come together to light oil lamps, exchange sweets, presents and to set off fireworks. Believing in good luck and good fortune associated with the event most Indian business communities also choose to start their financial year on the first day of Diwali.
This evening we celebrate Diwali by first visiting a local temple in Janakpuri. Upon arrival you'll see the temple has been laced with colourful lights and decorated in garlands and flowers given as offering for the deities by locals who have and flocked to the temple today. Once inside we'll witness the evening Aarti performed by the temple priest. After we'll make our way to a lovely restaurant that specialises in classic Indian cuisine located in Rajouri Garden for dinner. Along the way we'll family homes decorated with pretty fairy light and tea light candles and often firecrackers lighting up the balmy, autumn night sky as the nation celebrate Diwali - the festival of light.
Overnight: Delhi | Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3:The Pink City of Jaipur
Delhi - Jaipur. Today we drive to Jaipur. Affectionately known as the Pink City because 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. This afternoon we enjoy a tour of the City Palace and Jantar Mantar - an ancient yet cleverly designed space observatory. Watch out for snake charmers along the way.
Overnight: Jaipur | Breakfast
Day 4:Hilltop forts and Regal Palaces
Early-risers can opt for a morning hot air balloon ride over Jaipur, and sail over hilltop forts, regal palaces, sleepy villages, and stone carved temples. Then we travel beyond Jaipur to the stunning 16th century Amber Fort - a sprawling Rajput construction, perched on a hillside overlooks the dusty plains below. We’ll travel up to the palace by jeep and upon arrival at the top we'll tour the fort’s well-preserved interior and grounds. Before returning to Jaipur we stop at a cotton weaving house to see a demonstration of fabric dyeing and block printing.
Overnight: Jaipur | Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5:Abhaneri Step Wells & Rural India
Jaipur - Abhaneri - Bharatpur. Departing Jaipur we stop in the village of Abhaneri to see Chand Baori, which is the largest and deepest step well in the world. This incredible well has a staggering 3500 steps and is 13 stories deep. Then we gain an insight into local village life, visiting Adarsh Vidya Mandir local school (if open) where we operate our ‘Change for Children’ programme. After hotel check in at Bharatpur and time to freshen up we visit Keoladeo Ghana National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where we’ll enjoy a leisurely bicycle rickshaw ride through the park.
Overnight: Bharatpur | Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6:Taj Mahal
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. Built by Emperor Shah Jahan in loving memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz, who tragically died in childbirth in 1631, the Taj Mahal is described as the most extravagant monuments to love ever built.
Overnight: Agra | Breakfast
Day 7:Agra to Delhi
Agra - Delhi. This morning we travel by road to Delhi. The remainder of the afternoon and evening is free for you to further explore the city. Opt for a meal in the heart of the city or simply relax and chat with group members at the hotel.
Overnight: Delhi | Breakfast
Saturday 05 November 2016. Touring arrangements come to an end after breakfast. Hotel check-out and included onward departure transfer to airport.