Desert Festival
The color and life in the desert blooms in winters. Once a year in winter, the stark yellow sands of the great Thar Desert around Jaisalmer come alive with the brilliant color, music and laughter of the Desert Festival. The festival is organized by the tourist authorities as tourist entertainment around January-February. The very rich and colourful Rajasthani folk culture is on display here for a few days. Rajasthani men and tall beautiful women dressed in their brightly costumes dance and sing lingering ballads of valor, romance and tragedy. Traditional musicians attempt to outdo each other. Snake charmers, puppeteers, acrobats and folk performers are the high point of the festival. Camels, the lifeline of the desert, play a major role. Proud mustachioed villagers, dressed in their ethnic best come astride their picturesquely caparisoned camels to join in the camel dances and competitions of camel acrobatics, camel races and décor, camel polo, tug of war and the like. The tourist dances, turban tying competitions and tug of war are a big draw. The Mr Desert competitions, which are focused around the length of moustaches by and large, attract many hopefuls. Visit Delhi—home to several empires—Turkish, Mughal and British and Agra—seat of Mughal power well into the 17th century. This experience provides a vivid illustration of the culture that developed under Delhi’s Turkish sultans, Agra’s Mughal emperors and Rajput kings of Rajasthan, most of whom finally made peace with the Mughals.

  • Code: Promotion (A Concierge Small Group Experience)
  • Duration: 14 Nights
  • Destinations: Delhi, Shekhawati, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Ranakpur, Udaipur, Pushkar, Jaipur, Fatehpur Sikri & Agra
  • Theme: Heritage, Culture, Cuisine & Desert Festival
  • Experience Highlights:
    1. Visit UNESCO World Heritage sites—Red Fort, Qutab Minar & Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi, Taj Mahal & Agra Fort in Agra and Fatehpur Sikri.
    2. Enjoy a welcome cocktail dinner party at a Gay Home.
    3. Visit famous havelis in Jaisalmer and Shekhawati; the forts of Bikaner and Jaisalmer; the city palaces of Udaipur and Jaipur and the temple of Brahma in Pushkar.
    4. Go shopping and sightseeing in the colorful bazaars of Jaipur.
    5. Marvel at the Jain temples of Ranakpur.
    6. Visit the largest camel breeding farm in Asia in Bikaner.
    7. Enjoy an elephant ride to Amber Fort, a camel safari in the desert and a boat ride across Lake Pichola.
    8. Enjoy the various events at the Desert Festival, from the turban tying competition to the camel races, the Bollywood-style cricket match, the beauty pageants and more.
    9. Farewell dinner at an authentic Indian Cuisine Restaurant.
    10. Enjoy additional services from the pinkEscapes Bespoke Menu.
  • Contact us for reservations & more details. All Experiences can be tailor-made to suit your interests and travel preferences…
Day 1: Tuesday, 19 February 2013, Arrival Delhi 
Arrive at Mumbai International Airport.

Delhi, the administrative and political capital of India, is a major tourist attraction and a perfect start for a holiday in India, because of its rich heritage and cultural past, revealed in its monuments, parks, Government buildings and other places of interest. Delhi’s attractions range from forts and monuments dating back a thousand years to modern shopping malls, nightclubs and golf courses, as well as a wide range of cuisines to suit every taste.

Upon clearing Customs and Immigration, a pinkEscapes representative will meet you to extend a warm welcome. Drive through the Diplomatic Enclave to arrive at your hotel. The representative will provide assistance with check in and will present a welcome pack including all necessary documentation as well as the travel plan. Enjoy the rest of the day / night at leisure at Park Plaza, Harinagar.

 
 
Day 2: Wednesday, 20 February 2013, Delhi 
Begin the morning with a visit to Birla House, where Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation, lived before his assassination. Then view India Gate, the Houses of Parliament, Connaught Place and Humayun's Tomb, the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent, built in 1570.

Visit Qutb Minar and the monuments surrounding it. Built in the early 13th century the red sandstone tower is 72.5 m high. The surrounding archaeological area contains funerary buildings, notably the magnificent Alai-Darwaza, a masterpiece of Indo-Muslim art, and two mosques.

Spend the afternoon in Old Delhi, with a visit to the Red Fort. Named for its massive enclosing walls of red sandstone, it is adjacent to an older fort, Salimgarh, built by Islam Shah Suri in 1546. Next, visit the Jama Masjid, India's largest mosque. End the day with a walk down Chandni Chowk, the busiest bazaar in Old Delhi.

This evening attend a cocktail dinner party at a Gay Home.

Meals :: B L D
 
 
Day 3: Thursday, 21 February 2013, Delhi – Shekhawati 
After breakfast, drive from Delhi to Mandawa in the Shekhawati district of Rajasthan (260 km/ 6 Hrs), to view the painted havelis that are typical of this region. Mandawa was settled in the 18th century and boasts a fort dating from that period.

The architecture of the havelis focuses on the interior courtyard, to ensure the safety and security of the womenfolk, and to protect the wealthy merchants living there from the heat of the desert.

Meals :: B L D
 
 
Day 4: Friday, 22 February 2013, Shekhawati – Bikaner 
After breakfast, drive to Bikaner (250 km / 5 Hrs). Bikaner city has a 16th century fort that includes old palaces, temples and a mosque. Founded by Rao Bika, the fort features 37 pavilions, several balconies and windows of varying designs. An enormous arched doorway leads to the Jaramal Temple. Har Mandir is where royal weddings and births were once celebrated. Bikaner’s fort has some of the finest interiors in India, and the old walled city itself includes dark red sandstone havelis and exquisitely painted Jain temples. Bikaner is known for the intricate rich gold painting work by Muslim Usta artisans.

Check in to Lalgarh Palace on arrival in Bikaner. Lalgarh palace, built of red stone by Maharaja Ganga Singh (1881-1942) is a memorial to his father Maharaja Lal Singh. It is an imposing building, with overhanging balconies and delicate latticework. Then view the Junagadh fort, constructed between 1588 and 1593 by Raja Rai Singh, who was a general in Akbar’s army. Visit the largest breeding farm in Asia!!

Meals :: B L D
 
 
Day 5: Saturday, 23 February 2013, Bikaner - Jaisalmer 
Early morning take a rickshaw tour of Bikaner and visit some rare sites including the vegetable market and the spectacular Bhanwar Niwas Palace hotel. Return to hotel for breakfast and then drive to Jaisalmer (330 km / 7 Hrs) early in the morning. Check in at your hotel on arrival. In the afternoon, attend The Desert Festival, which is a three-day extravaganza of color, music and festivity, held in Jaisalmer. You will watch Gair and Fire dancers swaying to traditional tunes, a turban tying competition and a Mr. Desert Contest. The grand finale is a trip to the sand dunes where you can enjoy the pleasure of a camel ride and even watch the folk dancers and musicians perform.

1st Day Attractions:

1. Turban Tying Competition: The turban is an important item of Rajasthani dress, since it literally represents the honor and esteem with which society looks upon the wearer. Foreigners who want to participate can enter their names at the venue.

2. Mr. Desert Competition: Traditions and culture blend with the modern--day pageant when the inhabitants of the desert assess the contenders for this title, based on their attractive personalities, colorful costumes and pride in their heritage.

3. Miss. Moomal Competition: This pageant highlights the beauty of the women of the desert, in their colorful costumes and dazzling ornaments.

4. Mr. Mustache Competition: Mustaches are a part of the Rajasthani male’s personality, especially in rural Rajasthan, where men twirl their lovingly grown and groomed mustaches to make a point.

5. Moomal & Mahendra Competition: Moomal and Mahendra are the Rajasthani Romeo and Juliet.

6. Cultural Evening: Enjoy the vibrant and graceful folk dances of Rajasthan, as well as its haunting music.

Meals :: B L D
 
 
Day 6: Sunday, 24 February 2013, Jaisalmer 
In the morning, tour the city of Jaisalmer, visiting the fort built by Maharawal (Maharaja) Jaisal in 1156 AD. It is one of the oldest in Rajasthan. Go to Gadisar Tank, a scenic rainwater lake and view the 11th century Jain temples. Attend the Desert Festival.

2nd Day Attractions:

Camel Show: A tribute to the sturdy ship of the desert, when the residents of Jaisalmer dress up their camels in all their finery.

Camel Polo: In Rajasthan, the game of polo is played using horses, elephants and even camels, especially in Jaisalmer.

Tug Of War: An exciting test of strength between locals and tourists.

Tattoo Show: A breathtaking show by BSF jawans on camel-back.

Fireworks: To add to the celebrations.

Meals :: B L D
 
 
Day 7: Monday, 25 February 2013, Jaisalmer 
In the morning, visit the Patwon ki Haveli, Salim Singh ki Haveli and Nathmalji ki Haveli. Attend the Desert Festival and spend a night in a tent at Sam Sand Dunes.

3rd Day Attractions:

Lagaan Match: Play cricket Lagaan-style—tourists vs. locals.

Para Dropping: Performed by paratroopers of the Indian Air Force, this is a display of courage, determination and perfection.

Camel Race: On the sands of the desert.

Desert Symphony (Cultural Evening): The music of Rajasthan, played on the sarangi, algoza and matka khartal, accompanied by vocals provided by the Langas and Manganiyars.

Meals :: B L D
 
 
Day 8: Tuesday, 26 February 2013, Jaisalmer - Jodhpur 
After breakfast, drive to Jodhpur (300 km/6 hr). Founded in 1459 by Rao Jodha of the Rathores, Jodhpur prospered from trade in opium, sandalwood, dates and copper.

Visit Mehrangarh fort, built in 1459 by Rao Jodha. It rises steeply from a rocky foundation and the path to the fort winds up to Jai Pole and Loha Pole, the gates to the fort, which are marked with the palm prints of satis. The fort consists of several palaces designed around courtyards, which are decorated with terracotta jalis. The fort houses a museum, with a splendid collection of elephant howdahs, miniature paintings and the inevitable Rajput armory and ephemera from ivory inlaid ladies dumbbells to camel bone carpet weights.

Visit Jaswant Thada, a memorial to Maharaja Jaswant Singh II, a peaceful array of domes, about 1 km from the fort. The royal crematorium and three other cenotaphs that stand nearby followed the Cenotaph, built in 1899. Finally, visit the museum at the Umaid Bhawan Palace, now a luxury hotel.

Meals :: B L D
 
 
Day 9: Wednesday, 27 Feb 2013, Jodhpur–Ranakpur–Udaipur (Breakfast) 
After breakfast, drive to Udaipur via Ranakpur (290 km / 6 Hrs). Ranakpur, known for its marvelously carved Jain temples in amber stone, is amongst the five holiest places of pilgrimage of the Jain community. These temples were constructed in 1439 and rise majestically from the slope of a hill. There is one main temple and four subsidiary shrines, twenty-four pillared halls and several domes supported by over four hundred columns. Over 1444 marble pillars, carved in exquisite detail, no two alike, support the temple. In the assembly hall, there are two big bells weighing 108 Kilograms whose sound echoes in the entire complex. After visiting Ranakpur, continue your journey to Udaipur. Spend rest of the day at leisure at your hotel.

Meals :: B L D
 
 
Day 10: Thursday, 28 February 2013, Udaipur 
Visit the City Palace, known for the Mor Chowk and its stunning peacock mosaic and the Bhim Vilas Palace with its lovely wall paintings. View the Lake Palace from the City Palace. Visit the Jagdish Temple, Fateh Sagar Lake and Saheliyon Ki Bari, the Garden of Maids. End the tour of Udaipur with a boat ride across Lake Pichola and a visit to Jag Mandir, a palace built on an island in 1551, which the royal family used as a summer resort and pleasure palace for holding parties.

Meals :: B L D
 
 
Day 11: Friday, 01 March 2013, Udaipur - Pushkar 
After breakfast, drive to Pushkar (280 km / 5 Hrs), a bewitching little town, with temples, bathing ghats, onion domes and chalk colored buildings clustering around its holy lake, which is said to have appeared when Brahma dropped a lotus flower. Since it is an important pilgrimage center, sadhus are ubiquitous, as are travelers experimenting with spirituality, bhang and facial hair. Pushkar has several temples, but not as ancient as you would expect at such an important center, although it is claimed that Aurangzeb destroyed several that were subsequently rebuilt. On arrival in Pushkar, check in at the hotel and spend the day at leisure. In the evening visit the temple of Brahma, perhaps the only one dedicated to this deity. It has a red spire as its roof and a swan symbol on the gateway.

Meals :: B L D
 
 
Day 12: Saturday, 02 March 2013, Pushkar - Jaipur 
In the morning, take a walk around the Pushkar Lake and watch the Morning Prayer rituals as the Sun goes up. After breakfast, Drive to Jaipur (145 km / 3 Hrs) and check in at you Hotel. Enjoy a glimpse the beautiful Hawa Mahal, where the ladies of the royal harem used to watch the city from behind an intricately carved facade. Spend rest of the day shopping in the bazaars, Jaipur is known for its Textiles and Craftsmen, skilled in brass inlay, lacquer work and stone setting. Spend the evening at leisure at your hotel.

Meals :: B L
 
 
Day 13: Sunday, 03 March 2013, Jaipur 
Enjoy an elephant ride to Amber Fort, located in a valley formed by a range of the Aravallis known as Kalikho hills. The palace and fort are located on top of the hill with the city on its slopes, and the valley is protected by the walls of the fort with four gates in the four cardinal directions. The construction of the fort began in 1592. It illustrates the evolution from the purely defensive fort settlements of the early medieval period to the palace fortress typical of the 16th century. This palace fortress, which was never invaded, features gardens, courtyards, and palatial spaces, many of which illustrate the influence of Mughal architecture.

Return to Jaipur to visit the majestic City Palace, which houses a rare collection of Indian art. Visit the Jantar Mantar, an astronomical observatory built in the early 18th century that includes a set of some 20 main fixed instruments designed for the observation of astronomical positions with the naked eye. Spend the evening shopping in the local bazaars. Jaipur is noted for its craftsmen, skilled in brass inlay, lacquer work and stone setting.

Meals :: B L D
 
 
Day 14: Monday, 04 March 2013, Jaipur – Fatehpur Sikri – Agra 
After an early breakfast, drive to Agra, visiting Fatehpur Sikri en route (235 km/ 5 Hrs). Built in the second half of the 16th century by the Emperor Akbar, Fatehpur Sikri was the capital of the Mughal Empire for ten years. The complex of buildings, all in a uniform architectural style, includes one of the largest mosques in India and the artistically designed mausoleum of the revered Sufi saint, Salim Chisti.

Continue your drive to Agra and check in at your hotel on arrival. After a short rest and lunch at the hotel, visit the Taj Mahal, known for its beauty, grace and exquisite workmanship, built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan as a memorial to his beloved queen Mumtaz Mahal. End the tour with a visit to some of the local factories famous for marble inlay work and witness the complex art of inlaying precious and semiprecious stones on the marble from the Makrana Mines. Enjoy the ‘Saga of the Taj’, a musical performance, before returning to the hotel.

Meals :: B L D
 
 
Day 15: Tuesday, 05 March 2013, Agra-Delhi 
After breakfast, drive to ‘Mehtab Bagh’ for a distant viewing of the Taj Mahal in the rising light of the Sun. Visit Agra Fort, where Shah Jehan was imprisoned by his son in the later years of his life. After lunch, drive to Delhi (220 km / 5 Hrs). On arrival in Delhi spend an hour in an upscale mall and enjoy a farewell cocktail dinner at an authentic Indian Restaurant, reminisce your memorable journey through incredible India. Go to the airport to catch your flight back home.

Meals :: B L D
 
 
Contact us for reservations & more details. All Experiences can be tailor-made to suit your interests and travel preferences…
Day City Hotels
1DelhiTaj Palace
2DelhiTaj Palace
3ShekhawatiCastle Mandawa
4BikanerLaxmi Niwas Palace
5JaisalmerSuryagarh
6JaisalmerSuryagarh
7SamDesert Camp - Swiss Tents
8JodhpurThe Gateway Hotel
9UdaipurFateh Prakash Palace
10UdaipurFateh Prakash Palace
11PushkarThe Green House Resort
12JaipurJai Mahal Palace
13JaipurJai Mahal Palace
14AgraRadisson Blu
15Departure
Contact us for reservations & more details. All Experiences can be tailor-made to suit your interests and travel preferences…
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Contact us for reservations & more details. All Experiences can be tailor-made to suit your interests and travel preferences…
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