Thursday, July 16, 2015

Incredible  India   2015

 From October 17 to October 30

We will embark on  a journey 

to explore the fascinating history and culture of India: from UNESCO  World Heritage sites  to stunning medieval villages  off the beaten path... 

Sleeping in castles, palaces and  charming historic hotels 


Exploring  exotic  markets and learning  the desert tribes' way of life

Visiting jewelry and textile  workshops,

Or  taking a cooking class with an Indian chef ... 


Our itinerary begins in Delhi, the heart of India, where the past and the future coexist, in the peaceful parks  of south Delhi and in  the chaotic street markets of the old city...

 We continue our journey  to the most famous iconic symbol of India, the Taj Mahal


    and then, we will visit several places in Rajasthan: from Jaipur, the Pink City, the capital of the state,  


to medieval towns in   Shekawati  and then, to Jodhpur,  for the International Folk Music Festival. 

This event features more than 200 renowned artists from all over India and neighboring countries in the magnificent Fort Mehranghar


Finally, we will travel to  Udaipur,  the seat of the Mewar dynasty since 1559. 

In this 17-day journey, we will explore and celebrate the India of the  Mughal Empire. Originating in  the 14th century with the Persian invasion  in northern India, the Mughal Empire extended its influence to Rajasthan through alliances with the sultanates of Rajputs in the early 1400s. We will  travel to the India of Mumtaz Mahal, for whom Shah Jahan created the monument of his eternal love, the Taj Mahal. Our tour of the Mughal Empire's lasting influence includes magnificent works of Islamic architecture, created by by eccentric maharajahs who encouraged the flourishing of the Mughal arts. We will see paintings, textiles and jewelry  which  are to this day, a symbol of the richness of Indian civilization. Parallel to the development of the courtly arts,  a “renaissance”  of desert music and folk dance was taking place in the villages, with festivals celebrating the arrival of the rains, harvest and family life. 


October 16 Arrival in Delhi in the evening
October  17 Delhi
October 18 Delhi
October 19 Agra
October 20 Jaipur
October 21 Jaipur
October 22 Jaipur
October 23 Shekawati
October 24 Shekawati
October 25 Nagaur
October 26 Jodhpur
October 27  Jodhpur
October 28 Udaipur
October 29  Udaipur
October 30 Delhi
October 31 Early Morning: Delhi USA

Detailed Itinerary

16 October arrival in Delhi

17 October arrival in Delhi, transfer to the Claridges Hotel and free morning to rest from the travel. Afternoon visit to  New  DelhiIndia Gate, Parliament and the Craft Museum.

18 October
In the morning we will visit the old city of Delhi: Chandni Chowk, Jama Masjid and the Red Fort Memorial Gandhi. Free time in the afternoon, with a choice of programs, ranging from a spa, shopping, yoga or a late afternoon walk in Lodhi Garden.

19 October
Departure  in the morning to Agra, where we visit the Taj Mahal. Stay at Hotel Oberoi Trident.

20 October
After breakfast, we travel to Jaipur, the Pink City, capital of Rajasthan. Stay at hotel Taj Jai Mahal Palace.

21 and 22 October
In Jaipur we will  explore the old City and the Hawa  Mahal  (palace of he winds)  and  visit workshops making wood block art  and jewelry. We will tour Amber Fort, the Textiles Museum  and the Haveli (ancestral home) from a French designer, who is responsible for the revival of the woodblock print in the west. During these  two days we will also have an opportunity to visit local markets and walk through the medieval quarters of the city.

23 October
We depart Jaipur  in the late morning and  our first stop  will be  Samod Palace, located in Samod village. We continue in the  afternoon  to Mandawa, one of the many medieval towns Shekawati Valley, a region that flourished  in the eighteenth century, when  Marwari merchants built their Havelis, (ancestral homes where sometimes  4 generations live together ). We will stay at  Hotel Castle Mandawa.

24 October
Morning visit to the ancient havelis and small villages of Shekawati, with its painted houses and its winding streets. In the afternoon we will go to the Hotel Ranvas in Nagaur.

25 October
Ranvas, a moment of relaxation in the desert that prepares us for the Folk Music Festival in Jodhpur in the evening. Hotel Taj Hari Mahal

26 October
The day is dedicated to city tours and concerts which take place throughout the day.

27 October
Departing  in the morning to Udaipur with a stop on the way to visit  Ranakpur, a  Jain temple with 1440 intricately carved pillars built in the XIV century. Afternoon arrival in Udaipur. Hotel Oberoi Trident

28 October
Udaipur, with its majestic palace in the middle of a lake in the desert, the birthplace of Mewar dynasty. During the day we will visit  the  palaces and havelis of the city.

29 October
Flight to Delhi after breakfast. Transfer to Claridges Hotel. Free day for last minute shopping in  Khan Market and Hauz Khas in New Delhi.

30 October
Departure from Delhi Airport to USA

All the  hotels on this itinerary are 5 star with the exception of Castle Mandawa which is a 4 star hotel, but the maharajah who owns it certainly compensates for the missing star!  Please open the links below and check them out!

New Delhi


A tourist visa can be obtained online, through the link:

Recommended Bibliography and Movies

The princess remembers - The Memoirs of the Maharani of Jaipur
Delhi a city of Djinns - William Dalrymple

Jodha and Akbar
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Monsoon Wedding

Price per Person

Cost of land portion of the tour per person:  USD $ 4,000.

(Average cost for Coach Airfare USD $1,400. Business Airfare starting at 
USD $3,800.)

• What is included:
• Hotel in double rooms with breakfast.
(For single occupancy there is a supplement, please inquire)
• Transport in  10 seat Volvo Mini bus.
• Two Guides with extensive knowledge of culture religion and history
• Entries for all monuments and excursions
• Jeep or elephant to the Amber Fort in Jaipur
• Cooking Class and Dinner in Jaipur
• Boat Ride on Lake Udaipur
• Country safari to a Bishnoi village around Jodhpur
• Flights from Udaipur to Delhi
• Fees and taxes

• Not included:
• All services not mentioned above
• International Ticket, Airport taxes, drinks, telephone, gratuities, laundry      services or  meals not mentioned above   
 Any other expense or changes due to extraordinary circumstances during the stay.

    My name is Gaia Dyczko and in 1976, while  I lived in London, a cold  winter rushed in, and I decided to go on a journey to India.

    My adventure had a very unusual start: after a scheduled layover inKuwait, there was a technical problem with the plane and we  had to make an emergency landing inQatar. The journey, which should last only five hours, became 14 hours longer. However,  it  gave me a unique opportunity to meet my  fellow Indian travelers and to  observe the way they see the world, their way of "being in the moment" and accept the inevitable with humor and wisdom. After all, everything is  ‘Leela’, the cosmic theater that is to Hinduism what I used to call “reality”: the young man coming  from Dubai who was going to arrive late for  his  wedding,  the grandparents who were on their way  to see family in Gujarat, the boy who was studying in London and had only a week to travel  to the Himalayas to see his family ... All these scripts in an era without telephones,  in a world of distant lands ... Those 14 hours gave me a chance to make some new and wonderful friendships. And when the plane was  finally landing in Bombay, as I saw  the coconut trees and the late afternoon sun shining over  the city, I realized that  it sort of looked like the northeast part of Brazil and it gave me  a strong feeling of “coming home”. It was the beginning a 40-year love affair with India.
    Since then, I have  created 'ways of being' in India. I was first hired as a production assistant for an Italian  textile company  based in Delhi. Gradually, I moved from contemporary crafts to antiques and  through research and exposure to traditional techniques of weaving, dying and jewelry crafting, I found myself on a path  that enabled me to work with ethnic antique fabrics, tribal jewelry and antique jewelry from the Mughal period.

    During these forty years, my India  of the ‘70s, has changed so much: as I grew older,  my India has become more youthful and dynamic, (and also more Westernized!): from a highly stratified  social system, filled with ancient traditions, a young and  vibrant   India is taking charge of its destiny: a land full of contrasts, where the latest in technology  embraces  its  5000 year cultural roots seamlessly, without missing a beat.
    And despite all the changes that have taken place, India remains as surprising and exciting as on  the first day I saw  it from that  plane, with that almost familiar  feeling  which  spoke to my heart.
    I would like to invite you  to explore India with me  and discover not only its exotic geography, but also its  fascinating culture which presents itself  through a kaleidoscope of colors, shapes and perfumes.
    In the words of one of Brazil's  greatest writers,  GuimarĂ£es Rosa, " reality is found neither at the onset nor  at the end of the journey: where it makes itself available to us,  is right there,  in the middle of  the crossing”