The Heart of the Desert India Tour 2020
Including the annual Jaisalmer Desert Festival
When: 1st February - 18th February 2020 (18 days)
Where: Delhi and Rajasthan
Adored by tourists and Indians alike, Rajasthan is a must see, especially during the famous Jaisalmer Desert Festival.
India was once the wealthiest land in all the world and a visit to Rajasthan is a step back in time to the incredible palaces, forts and temples built by the richest of kings.
Steeped in history and culture; full of incredible colours, sounds, tastes and experiences, Rajasthan is to be enjoyed all on its own which is exactly what the 2020 tour will achieve: -
DAY 1 - DELHI - Arrive at Delhi airport and drive to hotel to rest and re - fuel for the exciting journey ahead. Dinner at the hotel and overnight stay.
DAY 2 - DELHI - UDAIPUR - The morning is ours to enjoy a sleep in and a long leisurely breakfast. Then we enjoy some city sightseeing before boarding an overnight sleeper- train to Udaipur (11 hour journey).
DAY 3 - UDAIPUR - The City of Lakes, also known as the Venice of the East - we check into our hotel and enjoy freshening up and breakfast. The rest of the day is free time to explore this beautiful town, or simply sip chai overlooking the lakes. Late afternoon Yoga and meditation classes will be offered at the hotel and then some evening boating on Lake Pichola.
DAY 4 - UDAIPUR - After Yoga and meditation, we visit the City Palace, considered the largest palace in Rajasthan. Situated on top of a hill, it offers views of the whole city. It is a mixture of Rajasthani and Mughal architectural style. We then have a guided walk through the old city’s narrow lanes, full of wonderful buildings, shops and restaurants.
DAY 5 - UDAIPUR -RANAKPUR - JODHPUR –The Blue City - Enroute to Jodhpur, approximately 6 hours, we stop at Ranakpur to visit the astonishing Chaumukha Jain temple, with its 1444 non-replicable marble pillars! Chaumukha temple is an amazing example of one man's vision to create exquisite beauty for all to enjoy. It took over 50 years to complete and is found within a peaceful jungle. Dinner at the hotel.
DAY 6 - JODHPUR - After morning yoga and breakfast we visit the imposing and grand Mehrangarh Fort, one of the largest forts in India, built in 1460. The museum in the fort is one of the most well stocked museums in Rajasthan. There is an incredible view of the "Blue City" from the fort. On offer is also a visit to Bhawan Palace, the clock tower and market-place.
DAY 7 - JODHPUR - OSIAN - JAISALMER - After yoga and breakfast we travel to Jaisalmer, approximately 6 hours. Along the way we can stop at Osian to visit its beautifully sculpted temples. Dinner at the hotel.
DAY 8 - JAISALMER - After our morning activities, the day is ours to explore this 12th century city, visiting Gadisar Lake and Vyas Chhatri, the resting place for Sage Vyas, who wrote the epic poem Mahabharata. Vyas Chhatri is a striking example of Rajasthani architecture, and situated on a hill, it offers superb views of the Golden Fort of Jaisalmer.
DAY 9 - JAISALMER - Today we partake in the famous Jaisalmer Desert Festival and stay overnight amongst the sand dunes (in comfortable tents, of course!). We'll enjoy folk tunes, sunset on camel back and lots of eating and dancing, hopefully not at the same time!
Before the desert festivities we plan to visit Jaisalmer Fort, and Patwa Haveli for a delicious lunch.
DAY 10 - JAISALMER - BIKANER- In the morning we'll enjoy Yoga and meditation amongst the sand dunes and then after breakfast we drive to Bikaner which takes around 7 hours. Dinner at the hotel.
DAY 11 - BIKANER - After a slow and relaxed morning, including yoga and meditation, for those who desire it, we visit Junagarh Fort and Karni Mata Temple, popularly known as the Rat Temple. (In Hindu philosophy every being is sacred, and here the humble rat is worshiped - a sight to be seen, or not...you can wait in the van!) In the evening, a visit to the camel breeding farm.
DAY 12 - BIKANER - PUSHKAR - After yoga and breakfast we leave for Pushkar, 6 hour drive. Dinner at the hotel.
DAY 13 - PUSHKAR - After yoga and breakfast we explore the spiritual facets of this relaxed and holy town, including one of the very few Brahma temples in India. We also visit Pushkar Lake, a sacred water area for the Hindus. (India is the land of temples, hundreds in each city, dedicated to its many Gods and Goddesses, but Lord Brahma - the God of creation, only has 6 in all of India with Pushka housing one of the most famous. The meaning for this is very interesting and will be reserved for one of our classes on this retreat ;)
DAY 14 - PUSHKAR - JAIPUR - After yoga, meditation and breakfast we drive to Jaipur, 3-4 hours. After checking into the hotel we visit Birla Mandir - Hindu temple and then to a Rajasthani culinary experience for lunch at Choki Dhani - an ethnic village offering folk music and dance.
DAY 15 - JAIPUR - Start the day with yoga and meditation and then a hearty breakfast. The rest of the day will be spent visiting the bazaars, forts and monuments in the Pink City. The day will end with a guided walking tour through the colourful markets at Badi Chauper bazaar. Jaipur is famous for its beautiful handicrafts, vibrant textiles and jewellery.
DAY 16 - JAIPUR - After yoga, meditation and breakfast the day is free for you to explore Jaipur independently or come along with me to enjoy some retail therapy and souvenir buying! First on the list will be a visit to Anokhi, guaranteed to please! This very popular clothing and homewares store was born in Jaipur and so it is the largest showroom in India with a lovely Anokhi restaurant attached.
DAY 17 - JAIPUR - DELHI - After our morning activities, we journey back to Delhi which takes around 6 hours. After checking into the hotel feel free to come and visit the Delhi Iskon temple (Hari Krishna temple), or rest until our special farewell dinner.
DAY 18 - DELHI AIRPORT - Return to the airport to journey home or to continue your own holiday in India.
OPTIONAL ADD ON TOUR:
DAY 17 - JAIPUR - RANTHAMBORE - After our morning activities journey to Ranthambore which will take approximately 7 hours. Dinner at the hotel.
DAY 18 - RANTHAMBORE – Ranthambore is a wildlife reserve, spread over an area of 392 sq.km of thick forest. The Ranthambore Fort is situated within the forest reserve. Enjoy two jungle rides at different times of the day to look out for some of its inhabitants, such as: the tiger, chinkara, sambhar, cheetah and over 300 species of birds.
DAY 19 - RANTHAMBORE – DELHI - Return to Delhi which will take approximately 7 hours. Dinner at the hotel.
DAY 20 - DELHI AIRPORT - Return to the airport to journey home or to continue your own holiday in India.
N.B - The itinerary is always open to change depending on the groups wishes.
We will do our best to organise hotels that offer space for yoga classes. When this is available, there will be regular yoga, meditation and Vedanta classes. Please note that the nature of this tour which includes sightseeing and travel will not permit daily yoga classes.
About your facilitators: From 2002 - 2005 Kym Oliver spent 3 years studying Vedanta, Meditation and Yoga in India. Kym went on to establish Wellsprings Retreat, a centre focused on the principles she learnt in India. Kym has returned to India 10 more times since 2005, 5 of which Kym conducted yoga retreats in Mumbai, Pune, Kerala, Gangotri, Rishikesh, Delhi, Varanasi, Pondicherry and Tiruvannamali. Each retreat has been created with a focus on the three most important aspects of yoga: Vedanta philosophy, meditation and asana, with lots of sightseeing, eating, and enjoying all that India has to offer.
Total cost of $3975.00 includes:
Twin share accommodation*
3 vegetarian meals a day
All road and train transportation while in India
Pick-up and drop off to the airport in Delhi at the commencement and conclusion of the tour
*Single accommodation for the entire tour is an extra $1,350.00
Total cost for two nights in Ranthambore
(optional add on tour):
Twin share - $635.00
Single accommodation - $1,195.00
Indian Tourist Visa
All expenses of a personal nature
International travel insurance
It is the responsibility of each participant to purchase your own airline ticket, to have an Indian Tourist Visa, comprehensive travel insurance and to consult your GP regarding vaccinations. Once you have booked, more information will be provided to help guide you with the above.
You must have a valid passport with at least 6 months validity after the return date.
We recommend Singapore Airlines and base our pick up and drop off on their most popular flight times. So, the bus will be at Delhi airport to collect everyone at 07:00 on the 1st February. If you are arriving at another time, it is your responsibility to meet us at the first hotel in Delhi on the 1st February. The bus will return to the airport on the 18th and 20th February at 07.00. If your departure flight is another time we will help organise alternative transport for you.
Please feel free to contact us to discuss how this retreat can become a reality for you.
0447 778 884
To book: An initial deposit of $1,500.00 is required to secure your place. This deposit is non-refundable but if you are unable to attend it can be carried onto a tour in the future. The remaining balance due by the 3rd January 2020. Please contact Kym who will provide you with more information on how to invest.