Holi: The World's Most Colorful Celebration

Friendly Planet Travel •

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Escape Kit

  • An Eight-Day Trip to Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur for Holi ($1,999 to $2,149 per Person), Including:
  • Round-Trip Flights from New York City or Chicago to India on Air India
  • Ground Transportation via Air-Conditioned Bus/Minibus
  • Double Occupancy Accommodations for Two Nights at The Park in Delhi, One Night at Jaypee Palace Hotel and Convention Centre in Agra, and Two Nights at Hotel Royal Orchid in Jaipur
  • Five Breakfasts; Holi Festival Drink, Snacks, and Lunch; and One Farewell Dinner
  • Holi Festival Package with Kurta or Indian Dress for Men and Women; Herbal Colors; and Water Guns and Water Balloons
  • Tour of Old Delhi and New Delhi; Sunrise Tour of the Taj Mahal in Agra and Visit to Agra Fort; and Visit to Amber Fort by Jeep or Elephant When Available
  • English-Speaking Tour Director
  • Airline Taxes, Fuel Surcharges, Hotel Fees, and Entrance Fees Included
  • Priced per Person Based on Double Occupancy (See Fine Print)

The Destination
From the salmon-pink houses of 18th-century Jaipur to the piles of orange papaya in Delhi's bustling bazaar, India has always been known as a country saturated with color. This is never truer than during Holi, the vibrant Hindu festival that envelops northern India in puffs of Technicolor powder.

Don a white kurta and join in the controlled chaos in magnificent Jaipur, where traditional music mingles with soaring water balloons and the scent of herbal powders. A commemoration of the Hindu prince Prahlada's devotion to Lord Vishnu, this annual festival also celebrates the coming of spring with bonfires, dancing, and colorful powders resembling springtime's vibrant hues. After seeing the skyscrapers of New Delhi and the stone-white solemnity of the Taj Mahal in Agra, this raucous recognition of life is sure to be the capstone of your trip—not to mention your photo album.

Artist Henri Matisse once wrote, "I am as curious about color as one would be visiting a new country." With this eight-day trip, courtesy of Friendly Planet Travel, there's no better time to be immersed in both.

The Itinerary
day 1: Board your evening flight from New York or Chicago.

day 2: Arrive in Delhi and meet your tour director before traveling by bus or coach to The Park hotel in New Delhi. These 4.5-star luxury accommodations blend traditional Indian décor with contemporary touches for a sophisticated experience, complete with modern amenities like high-speed Internet access and an LCD TV.
Overnight at The Park in New Delhi. Breakfast provided.

day 3: After a buffet breakfast at the hotel, board your bus for your included tours of both Old and New Delhi. Civilizations have thrived here on the banks of the river Yamuna for thousands of years. Today, this bustling city is full of fascinating contrasts—by day, temples are packed with the devout, and by night, hotel discos are rocking.

You'll begin at the modern Laxmi Narayan Temple, popularly known as the Birla Temple for the noted industrialist family that built it. Continue to Raj Ghat, the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, built at the site of his cremation on the banks of the Yamuna River. Drive past the magnificent Red Fort, built in 1648 as a symbol of Mughal's power.

Then, continue by bicycle rickshaw to Jama Masjid, India's largest mosque—ascend one of the minarets for sweeping views over old Delhi. Next, you'll marvel at the Qutab Minar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the world's tallest freestanding minaret at 238 feet. At its foot lies the Quwwat-ul-Islam Masjid, the first mosque in India.

Sightseeing continues in New Delhi, which reflects the legacy the British left behind. You'll see the India Gate, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and reminiscent of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Proceed to the Parliament building and the Rastrapathi Bhawan, the President's residence.
Overnight at The Park in New Delhi. Breakfast provided.

day 4: After breakfast, hop on your bus and travel to Agra, an ancient city that came into prominence in Medieval times under Mughal rulers and was once the capital of a sprawling Mughal kingdom covering much of southeast Asia. Check in at the five-star Jaypee Palace Hotel and Convention Centre, a 25-acre property built with red sandstone and marble architecture for a truly exquisite effect.
Overnight at Jaypee Palace Hotel and Convention Centre in Agra. Breakfast provided.

day 5: Wake up early for your sunrise tour of the Taj Mahal. One of the seven wonders of the world, this iconic structure was built in the 17th century and took 22 years and 20,000 men to complete. Its white marble was quarried 200 miles away and transported to the site by a fleet of 1,000 elephants. You'll have ample time to explore this outstanding piece of architecture and to wander the pristine gardens that surround it.

Afterwards, you'll visit the splendid Agra Fort, built by and inhabited by six successive generations of Mughal emperors. Though often eclipsed by the Taj Mahal, this sprawling fortress, more accurately described as a massive walled palatial city, is magnificent in its own right.

In the evening, travel to Jaipur and check in at the four-star Hotel Royal Orchid. This luxury spot boasts elegant furnishings, a lively lounge bar, and a rooftop swimming pool. Be sure to look out your window—the night before the third day of Holi, huge bonfires are lit at major crossroads in towns and cities.
Overnight at Hotel Royal Orchid in Jaipur. Breakfast provided.

day 6: Today's the day—head outside and experience the music, dancing, and breathtaking colors of the third and final day of Holi. Join a thrilling party at the Narain Niwas Hotel, where you will receive your very own kurta to wear. Munch on authentic snacks and foods, as you dance to traditional live music, and of course, fling water balloons and herbal colored powders at each other for a once-in-a-lifetime party you'll remember forever.

After lunch, change back into your regular clothing for an orientation tour of Jaipur. Known as the Pink City, Jaipur is India's first and perhaps best planned city, full of beauty and color. You'll see magnificent palaces and gardens, serene lakes, and wide tree-lined streets.
Overnight at Hotel Royal Orchid in Jaipur. Breakfast and lunch provided.

day 7: After an early morning breakfast at the hotel, you'll visit Amber Fort, the impressive and ancient capital of Rajasthan. Ascend to the fortress by jeep—or elephant, if available—to view the sprawling complex of courtyards and halls, many of them hung with magnificent paintings and inlaid with precious stones. In the Sheesh Mahal—Hall of Mirrors—a single lamp is reflected in a mosaic of thousands of mirror tiles, lighting the entire room.

Later, you'll ride back to Delhi, where you'll be treated to a farewell dinner at the Radisson Blu Hotel New Delhi Dwarka. After the meal, wave farewell to India as you ride to the airport for your return flight to the US.
Breakfast and dinner provided.

day 8: Your journey ends when you arrive back in New York City or Chicago—and while your clothes can be washed, the fantastic photos from this vibrant trip are sure to keep your memories vivid.

The Dates
New York City (JFK) departure: March 12, 2014 ($1,999)
Chicago (ORD) departure: March 12, 2014 ($2,149)
*Priced per person based on double occupancy (see fine print)

  • "It’s sanctioned anarchy and, as a visitor, you’ll be a particular target so expect to finish the day looking like gulab jamun (a red, sticky Indian sweet)... you could be a mobile colour chart for days or weeks after."

    -- Lonely Planet

escapes 30-day promise

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the fine print

  • Vouchers cannot be combined to extend stay
  • Reservations required and subject to availability; must be booked by November 26, 2013
  • Must be 21 or older to make booking and anyone under 18 must be traveling with another person that is 21 or older; travelers on the tour must be 8 years of age or older
  • Not valid toward existing reservations
  • Merchants cancellation policy applies. For more information, please see www.friendlyplanet.com/terms/packages.html?tourId=522
  • Rates are per person based on double occupancy (two people sharing a room). Each of two guests must purchase an Escape and arrange to stay together at the hotel. Single occupancy requires an additional fee of $399
  • Rate for extra nights is available upon request; subject to availability and must be confirmed at booking
  • All other major US airports available for a surcharge and will be collected at time of booking
  • Includes Double Occupancy Accommodations for Two Nights at The Park in Delhi, One Night at Jaypee Palace Hotel and Convention Centre in Agra, and Two Nights at Hotel Royal Orchid in Jaipur, Five Breakfasts; Holi Festival Drink, Snacks, and Lunch; and One Farewell Dinner, Holi Festival Package with Kurta or Indian Dress for Men and Women; Herbal Colors; and Water Guns and Water Balloons, Tour of Old Delhi and New Delhi; Sunrise Tour of the Taj Mahal in Agra and Visit to Agra Fort; and Visit to Amber Fort by Jeep or Elephant When Available, English-Speaking Tour Director, Airline Taxes, Fuel Surcharges, Hotel Fees, and Entrance Fees
  • Does not include gratuities to drivers, local guides, etc., meals and beverages other than specified, personal and baggage insurance, items of a personal nature, Delhi International Departure Tax ($28), Delhi Airport UDF ($15), and India Visa Fee ($76)
  • Passport required
  • Review the State Department's website for passport/visa requirements and important announcements before traveling to your destination
  • Nights must be spent consecutively; all inclusions must be redeemed during one stay
  • The promotional value is valid only for date range purchased and may not be exchanged or redeemed for any other dates
  • Other conditions apply • PROMOTIONAL VALUE EXPIRES ON March 12, 2014 • Enjoy By March 12, 2014
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