A Writer’s Journey to India
Including the Jaipur Literature Festival
With optional extension to Pushkar & Jodhpur

Join Indian resident and long term Indophile, Sharon Thrupp, as she explores northern India’s most famous sights and events. This tour takes in the majestic Taj Mahal, bustling Old Delhi and the world-renowned Jaipur Literature Festival. As an accomplished travel writer, blogger, writing teacher and budding novelist Sharon will lead daily writing sessions which will explore mindful writing, memoir and travel writing.

One of the many tour highlights will be the Jaipur Literature Festival – billed as the ‘greatest literary show on earth’. Every year this festival brings together an eclectic mix of the world’s greatest writers, thinkers, humanitarians, politicians and entertainers. To top it off the festival takes place at the beautiful Diggi Palace in the stunning Rajasthani capital. Rich with cultural heritage, colourful bazaars, mesmerising music and delicious food – this is a once in a lifetime experience.

There is also the optional tour extension which visits Pushkar and Jodphur. This extension will be led by our passionate Insider guide, Vikas Kumar. With over 20 years’ experience as a tour guide and a love of culture and history, Vikas will help you to discover the hidden gems of Rajasthan as he shares his beloved India with you.

As with all Ekno experiences, we select our hotels and locations with an eye on combining luxury and comfort into one fabulous experience. With Sharon and Vikas as your guides you will not only discover hidden experiences unique to India, but you can also relax safe in the knowledge that your security is foremost in our minds.

 

TOUR DATES

19-25 January 2020

25-30 January 2020 (extension)

TOUR COST

A$1900 per person, twin share

A$650 per person (single supplement)

Extension Cost:

A$1600 per person, twin share

A$450 per person (single supplement)

DURATION

7 Days, 6 Nights

6 days, 5 nights (extension)

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Attend daily writing workshops with Sharon Thrupp
  • Experience the famous Jaipur Literature Festival
  • Be inspired by the colourful chaos of Old Delhi
  • Marvel at the majestic Taj Mahal and Red Fort in Agra
  • Explore Jaipur, known as India’s ‘Pink City’

Extension:

  • Escorted by Ekno’s popular and knowledgeable insider guide, Vikas Kumar
  • Wander through the holy lakeside town of Pushkar and explore your inner hippy
  • Enjoy the stunning views from the Mehrangarh Fort in the blue city of Jodhpur
  • Bespoke Indian experiences such as elephant and camel rides, yoga lessons and Rajasthani cooking classes

TOUR ROUTE

Delhi-Agra-Jaipur-Delhi

Extension: Jaipur-Pushkar-Jodhpur-Delhi

 

Day 1

19 January 2020

Arrive Delhi

Welcome to incredible India and to the start of your writing journey. An Ekno representative will meet you at the airport and escort you to the hotel. After checking into the hotel, spend the rest of the day at your leisure exploring the local area and soaking up the vibrant atmosphere. Sharon will be on hand at the hotel if you need any assistance or recommendations.

Overnight: Hotel, Delhi

Day 2

20 January 2020

Delhi

Today you will step back in time with Sharon as she leads the group through the bustling and fascinating streets of Old Delhi. We’ll admire India’s largest mosque, the magnificent Jama Masjid; and enjoy a rickshaw ride through the ancient alley ways of Chandni Chowk bazaar. We’ll pass by the Red Fort before paying our respects at Raj Ghat, the cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi. As we continue to weave our way back to New Delhi, we will pass British era landmarks such as India Gate, Rajpath, the President’s House, Parliament House & the Government Secretariat Buildings.

In the afternoon Sharon will lead the first writing workshop of the tour. After some creative introductory activities the focus for today will be on sensory writing. You will be encouraged to take your inspiration from colourful Old Delhi as you explore writing about place.

In the evening Sharon will take the group to one of her favourite restaurants in Delhi, specialising in delicious North Indian cuisine.

Overnight: Hotel, Delhi

Day 3

21 January 2020

Delhi – Agra

After breakfast at the hotel we will drive to Agra, arriving by early afternoon. Agra is the former capital of the Mughal empire and home to a number of UNESCO World Heritage sites. This relatively small city is packed with history, which is testament to the power and wealth of the Mughal reign in India.

After checking into our hotel we will spend the afternoon exploring Agra’s Red Fort, one of the most beautiful forts in Northern India. The Red Fort was the main residence for the emperors of the Mughal Dynasty until 1638, when the Mughal capital was shifted from Agra to Delhi.

In the evening Sharon will lead a writing workshop focusing on mindful writing. You will be encouraged to think about your personal history as you write about a significant event from your past.

Overnight: Hotel, Agra

Day 4

22 January 2020

Agra – Jaipur

Rise and shine early to witness the once in a lifetime event of a spectacular sunrise visit to the magnificent Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal is India’s most-photographed monument, and today you’ll see why. Built between 1632 and 1653 in memory of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan’s beloved third wife, the Taj Mahal is world-renowned and widely admired as a wonderful photo opportunity.

After visiting the Taj we will return to the hotel for breakfast before setting off for Jaipur, the capital city of the desert state of Rajasthan. Sit back and enjoy the changing desert scenery and be sure to look out for elephants and camels on the road!

After checking into the hotel Sharon will host a writing workshop dedicated to travel writing and journeys.

Overnight: Hotel, Jaipur

Day 5-6

23-24 January 2020

Jaipur Literature Festival

For the next two days we will attend the Literature Festival in Jaipur. This yearly festival has grown to become a celebrated event with over 200 speakers from 20 different countries. Acclaimed writers and festival Directors Namita Gokhale and William Dalrymple handpick a diverse and exciting line up of speakers and performers every year in what is a global celebration of debate, creative expression and thoughtful dialogue. You will find it all here – from Man Booker prize winners to local activists, Nobel laureates and writers from the vast Indian diaspora.

During our festival experience Sharon will lead two writing workshops, focusing on travel writing and memoir.

There will also be the opportunity to visit some of Sharon’s handpicked sights in Jaipur, known as the ‘Pink City’. We will visit the majestic City Palace, Hawa Mahal; and the ancient Jantar Mantar observatory. In the evenings you will be able to explore the sights and colours of the Jaipur Markets including the famous Johari Bazaar (Jeweller’s Market), where Sharon will take you to her favourite gem and silver shops. In the evening you can visit the most iconic cinema in Jaipur, Raj Mandir, for a taste of Bollywood’s magical brand of entertainment. On your last night in Jaipur, why not visit the exclusive and historical Taj Rambagh Palace for a drink in the exclusive Polo Bar?

Overnight: Hotel, Jaipur

Day 7

25 January 2020

Jaipur – Delhi

If you are not taking the option of extending your journey through Rajasthan, you will travel back to Delhi by train. We will transfer you to the airport in time for your return flight home.

Extension to Pushkar & Jodphur with Vikas Kumar

Day 1

25 January 2020

Jaipur – Pushkar

This morning you will meet our insider guide, Vikas Kumar, who will be taking you to some of his favourite sights in Rajasthan. We will start the day with a visit to the magnificent Amber Fort. You can choose to walk or take a jeepup to the fort’s entrance. The ascent to the fort, no matter your mode of transportation, offers unbeatable views. Once inside the fort’s walls we will explore the inner rooms of the palace along with the impressive gardens, temples, and opulent private apartments that were once home to Mughal rulers.

We will then drive to the lakeside town of Pushkar – a prominent Hindu pilgrimage town and home to the world-famous Camel Fair. Spend the afternoon wandering around the colourful streets that lead down to the lakeside ghats. According to legend, the Hindu God Brahma made Pushkar Lake appear out of thin air while searching for a place to perform a fire sacrifice. Roam around the hidden alley ways with Vikas and contemplate life in this laid back and picturesque town.

Overnight: Hotel, Pushkar

Day 2

26 January 2020

Pushkar

Today you will have the chance to really explore the hidden gems of Pushkar with Vikas. This holy town is centred around a sacred lake with over 400 temples including the only temple dedicated to the Lord Brahma in all of India. You can also visit a gurdwara (Sikh temple) and wander along the 52 bathing ghats, observing Indian daily life.

There are many lovely roof top restaurants in Pushkar that offer beautiful lakeside views and a quiet place for contemplation. In the afternoon Vikas can help to arrange a bespoke experience just for you – options include a camel safari, yoga class, music lesson or natural healing session.

Overnight: Hotel, Pushkar

Day 3

27 January 2020

Pushkar – Jodhpur

This morning we will drive to Jodhpur, known as the ‘Blue City’ owing to the many blue houses that dot the landscape. It also boasts the impressive backdrop of Mehrangarh Fort, one of the largest forts in India. We will pass through spectacular desert scenery before arriving and checking into our hotel in the afternoon. In the evening you can explore Sadar Bazaar, one of the oldest markets in India, famous for its handicrafts and antiques. The diversity of what’s on offer is impressive, as are the colourful surrounds. Be sure to let Vikas know what you are after and he will be able to find it for you.

Overnight: Hotel, Jodhpur

Day 4

28 January 2020

Jodhpur

Enjoy breakfast before heading up to Mehrangarh Fort, perched on a hill overlooking the city, to take in the sweeping views. You will then be able to explore the many hidden and intricately decorated palaces that lie within the fort’s walls.

You can either have the late afternoon free to relax or attend a Rajasthani cooking class at a local family’s home. Try cooking with traditional Indian spices and see if you can taste the difference!

Overnight: Hotel, Jodhpur

Day 5

29 January 2020

Jodhpur – Delhi

Spend the morning relaxing or shop for Rajasthani souvenirs in the bazaar. In the early afternoon we will take a flight back to Delhi. After checking into the hotel the afternoon is at your leisure.

Tonight we will enjoy our final meal together, at one of Vikas’ favourite local restaurants.

Overnight: Hotel, Delhi

Day 6

30 January 2020

Depart Delhi

Our tour concludes after breakfast. We will transfer you to the airport for your onward international or domestic flight.

Thank you for travelling with us and we look forward to seeing you on another Ekno Travels journey soon.


INCLUDES

Met at Delhi Airport by an Ekno representative

6 nights’ accommodation with breakfast

Welcome dinner in Delhi

All transfers and sightseeing by private car

Services of Sharon for the duration of the trip

Attend Jaipur Literature Festival for 2 days

Daily writing workshops with Sharon Thrupp

Entrance fees to all sights and monuments as per the itinerary

Local English-speaking guides in Delhi, Agra & Jaipur

EXCLUDES

Return airfares to India

Cost of Indian tourist visa (on arrival)

Lunches and dinners unless otherwise specified in the itinerary

Personal expenditure such as drinks (including bottled water), laundry service and souvenirs

Tipping

Camera and video entry charges at local sights and monuments

Occasional optional items not identified in itinerary description

Compulsory insurance of any kind

OPTIONAL EXTRAS

  • Elephant ride in Jaipur (Amber fort)
  • Visit to the cinema in Jaipur
  • Flight from Jaipur to Delhi

EXTENSION PUSHKAR & JODHPUR

INCLUDES

5 nights’ accommodation with breakfast

Farewell dinner in Jodhpur

Flight from Jodhpur to Delhi

All transfers and sightseeing by private car

Services of Vikas for the duration of the trip

Entrance fees to all sights and monuments as per the itinerary

Local English speaking guide at Jodhpur

EXCLUDES

Return airfares to India

Cost of Indian tourist visa (on arrival)

Lunches and dinners unless otherwise specified in the itinerary

Personal expenditure such as drinks (including bottled water), laundry service and souvenirs

Tipping

Camera and video entry charges at local sights and monuments

Occasional optional items not identified in itinerary description

Compulsory insurance of any kind

OPTIONAL EXTRAS

  • Rajasthani cooking class in Jodhpur
  • Extra activities in Pushkar (including music lessons, camel safari and yoga)
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Local Bangles Market in Jodhpur
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Jaipur Literature Festival 2017
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Step well near Jaipur
Blue City - Jodhpur
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