Visit New Delhi’s Rashtrapati Bhavan, the President of India’s official home, to see the third largest residence of any Head of State in the world! Set across 320 acres, the estate houses a ‘mansion’ comprising 340 rooms, halls, guest rooms and offices, as well as beautiful gardens landscaped in Mughal style, staff residences and stables. The influence of Indian architecture is evident in this estate designed by the famed Edwin Landseer Lutyens, especially in the Buddhist railings, temple bells, jaalis and the replica of the Sanchi Stupa’s dome. Formerly named ‘Viceroy House’ after British Viceroys who lived here, the Rashtrapati Bhavan took 17 years to build!
Holi Festival in Delhi
Holi is the Festival of Color, a most colorful Hindu festival – a bouquet of various cultures and people coming together for undiluted joy and mirth, music and dance, fun and play, and undoubtedly, a kaleidoscope of bright colors!. It marks the end of winter and glorifies a good harvest and fertility of the land. Celebrate the spirit of Holi with a local family by sprinkling colored water and powder on each other. A traditional Holi festival lunch will follow.
NGO visit in Delhi
Embark on a visit to a Non-Government Organization (NGO) to learn about their operations in India. In some places volunteer work can also a learning experience.
Visit to Akshardham Temple
Visit Akshardham Temple, an engaging architectural masterpiece. This 90acre complex with lovely gardens, fountains and carved pavilions, displays centuries old traditional Indian and Hindu culture, spirituality and architecture. View the 20,000 statues, floral motifs and exquisitly carved stone pillars. The main temple monument is 141ft high with a beautiful statue of Lord Swaminarayan. Akshardham Temple holds the Guinness World Record for ‘The World’s Largest Comprehensive Hindu Temple’.
Delhi By Cycle-Yamuna Tour
Get ‘under the skin’ of Old Delhi’s interesting locales from a different perspective..astride your bicycle saddle! This 400yr-old Mughal city offers plenty..cycle via myriad alleys conjuring a curious mix of colors, smells, sounds and tastes, while several lovely palaces, mosques and historical landmarks offer insights into Shahjahanabad..Emperor Shah Jahan’s then capital. Bike to the holy Yamuna River and do a boat ride (seasonal), walk around its meditative quiet banks at Nigambodh Ghat; other sights en route cover Turkman Gate, Chawri Bazaar, Red Fort, St. James’ Church, Jama Masjid and a halt at Karim’s for a much needed breakfast before returning.
Delhi By Cycle-Nizamuddin Tour
A truly energizing, go-getting prelude to the many facets of this multidimensional metropolis, is to swiftly discover Delhi’s spirit on a bicycle tour. Cycle via the narrow labyrinthine alleyways of South Delhi, in the over 700yr-old settlement of Nizamuddin. Feel the atmosphere eho with the souls of Sufi Shrines..explore the enigmatic side of this city of mystics, saints, poets, rebels, forgotten kings, British influences, refugee colonies and nameless tombs. Ramble along the Nizamuddin Dargah, Hope Project NGO, Humayun´s Tomb, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kotla Mubarakpur, Khan Market and picnic at Lodi Garden before returning.
Delhi By Cycle-Heritage Haveli Tour
Unravel heritage, culture and tradition..soak up an atmosphere of colors, smells, sounds and tastes..experience the most of Old Delhi on a cycle tour. Visit the 150yr-old Heritage Haveli..old private Kashmiri Noblemen’s mansion..lavish, imposing and a reminder of all things ‘pleasurably decadent’. This lovely haveli weaves a story (as do all haveli’s) depicted by indigenous and traditional architecture, both in Mughal and British period designs, reverbrating haunting reminders of past grandeur and history. The cycle route also covers the Haveli area, Ballimaran, Temple Haveli, Chandni Chowk, Red Fort view point, Jama Masjid and Turkman Gate.
Visit to Seva Yatra social work at Delhi
Seva Yatra, meaning ‘Journey of Services’, offers Enchanting India travelers to work half/full day in a Mumbai associate, implementing best educational practices for under-privileged kids to overcome the digital and linguistic divide between poor and middle classes. This NGO creates a platform for children to learn Mathematics, Sciences, English and Computers in good classrooms. You can engage kids to learn PowerPoint or create a forum for them to practice conversational English.
Diwali Festival at Delhi
Celebrate the festival of lights! Diwali/Deepawali means an Array of rows of Diyas/Lamps. Of all the Indian festivals, Diwali is the most glamorous and eagerly enjoyed by people of all religions. Its magical aura radiates an atmosphere of joy and festivity, and is the highlight of the Hindu calendar. Experience this celebration with a local family, light oil lamps with them to illuminate their home and commemorate Rama’s return from exile. Light Firecrackers and exchange delectable sweets.
City Highlights of Delhi
Whether you want a whirlwind tour or wish to enjoy an in-depth experience of Delhi’s numerous sights, the choice is yours on this full day tour! Discover the Old Town with its bustling markets, including Chandni Chowk, once the grandest Indian market. Head to the imposing Red Fort and onto India’s largest mosque, the Jama Masjid, beautifully decorated with paintings, inlaid stones, carvings and glazed tiles. Feast at the colorful, open-air food and craft bazaar of Dilli Haat. Visit Laxminarayan Temple, built in honor of the Hindu goddess of wealth, and its beautiful gardens. Discover the UNESCO World heritage site Humayun’s Tomb, a monumental landmark in Indo-Islamic architecture with its perfect synthesis of Persian architecture and Indian traditions. Enjoy the calm serenity of the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib. Visit this Sikh Gurudwara and witness the Langar (free kitchen), where everyone is welcomed and fed a vegetarian meal, irrespective of color, cast, creed, age or gender. (Full Day, Private Activity & Transfer; Fitness Level: Easy; Red Fort closed on Mondays)
Included activities at Palace On Wheels
(Only if staying at Palace on Wheel) Fancy Maharaja-style Royalty on a remarkable train journey, learning tales of valor and glory while visiting imposing forts and illustrious palaces? The Palace-On-wheel’s 7N trip unravels Rajasthan’s mystical treasures, combining the luxury of a hotel on-wheels with impeccable service. Depart Delhi’s Safdarjung station for Jaipur’s Pink City for a royal welcome by elephants; visit St. Albert Museum, City Palace, Jantar Mantar, Hawa Mahal, etc; take an elephant ride; shop. From Sawai Madhopur station, take a jungle safari to Ranthambore Tiger Reserve. In Chittorgarh, visit Hill Fort; see a Sound & Light show. In Udaipur’s Lake City, visit City Palace, Saheliyon Ki Bari, Crystal Gallery; take a boat ride on Lake Pichola. In Jaisalmer, the Thar’s oasis, visit the ‘living’ Golden Fort complex, Patwon ki Haveli, Jain Temples; enjoy a Camel ride on Sam Sand Dunes. In Jodhpur, visit Mehrangarh Fort, Jaswant Thada. In Bharatpur, visit the Bird Sanctuary; ride a cycle rickshaw into Keoladeo Ghana National Park. Be entranced by the white marbled legacy of love..the Taj Mahal in Agra; visit Agra Fort. Return to Delhi with lasting memories.
Local Wedding Ceremony at Delhi
Attend a Theme wedding ceremony performed and held in a hotel if possible during your stay. Alternatively, if your stay happens to be during wedding months, experience traditional Indian culture at a small wedding ceremony conducted in a Hindu temple like Chattarpur, if possible at the time . Watch in awe as all the Hindu rituals are performed by the Pujari (Hindu priest).
4h Tallis-Street Food
Street Food is the very soul of Delhi culture. For the hard-core foodie, don a pair of walking shoes and set out for the quintessential chaat, kulfi, biryani, kebabs sold in the labyrinth of Old Delhi’s Street Food. This experience also encompasses Old Delhi’s history, architecture and culture. Weave through hidden spagetti lanes for an up close encounter with fresh, fully cooked street food in a myriad of locally made stalls. Experience the culinary delights of age-old shops of Purani Dilli.
4h Tallis – Foods that Define Delhi
Get to appreciate Indian Hospitality and enjoy a remarkable culinary journey through cooking implements, techniques and ingredients…all used in typical Indian kitchens! Work alongside and learn from experienced culinary geniuses as to what Indians love to eat at home and out, as well as all the oodles of passion that goes into creating aromatic, artistic and tasty dishes to whet anyone’s appetite!! Take back home the experiences, sights, aromas and some purchased ingredients. Savor what you have learned and prepared for an evening meal thereafter.
Complimentary Activities of Leela (Only if staying at Leela Delhi)
Located in the affluent neighborhood and diplomatic enclave of Chanakyapuri in New Delhi, 14kms from Indira Gandhi Intl Airport, a stay at the Leela Palace presents an endearing experience. Guests keen on architecture can take an ‘Art Walk’..a 45-min guided tour through the palace’s public areas showcasing a collection of valuable ‘objet d’art’, followed by a glass of chilled ‘bubbly’ – champagne, at the Library Bar. To top the experience, be introduced to Indian Cuisine at ‘Jamawar’..the Leela’s signature Indian restaurant. Enjoy a display of Indian spices and herbs, thereafter observe a live cookery demonstration accompanied by food tasting that is paired with a glass of some of the best Indian wine.
2-3h-Visit to Neemrana Fort
En route Delhi to Jaipur, visit India’s oldest Heritage Fort cum Hotel – Neemrana Fort, built 1464 A.D. Experience the uniqueness of ‘seeing and living’ history. The Fort sits on a majestic hillock commanding scenic views, hidden in a horseshoe shape of the near billion year old Aravalli range. Getting its name from a valiant local chieftain – Nimola Meo, it is one of the few existing heritage hotels in Neemrana, famed for traditional hallmarks like rustic Rajputani hospitality and ethnic charm.
1h-Visit to Railway Museum
The National Rail Museum is a fascinating ‘window’ to India’s Rail Heritage, with its well maintained compilation of rare trains, steam locomotives, carriages, saloons, coaches and other railway artifacts. See both live exhibits, and working/non-working models in its indoor gallery, each marking a particular era of progress. Children can enjoy a toy train ride around its grounds. View antique signals, train toilet fixtures, model trains, train seats through the ages and a vintage fire truck.
1h-Shankar’s Doll Museum
Conceptualized by cartoonist K. Shankar Pillai, the Doll Museum has one of the world’s largest display of dolls – over 6,000 from over 85 countries – Bulgarian, Cuban, Indian, etc, dressed in exotic and rare costumes. View over 160 glass cases – see a Kabuki dancer of Kyoto, a Jazz trumpeter of Harlem, a Flamenco dancer of Barcelona, a Siberian hunter traveling on a sledge, a Portuguese girl carrying a chicken on her head, Little Mozart, a Norwegian witch riding a broom and a little astronaut.
1h-Hot Air Ballooning in Delhi (Sept-Apr)
Learn the art of and science behind Hot Air Ballooning from an expert pilot. Experience the sheer magic of weightlessly floating over castles and palaces or gliding past mountains, lakes and villages in Rajasthan. On landing, the giant balloon attracts hoards of villagers giving you a kaleidoscopic feel of rural Indian culture and colors. Witness the hot air balloon being deflated and packed into a bag by a team of enthusiastic and highly trained crew members.
1h-Bharat Thakur Yoga
Enjoy a relaxing Yoga session at Bharat Thakur Yoga. This is an artistic form of Yoga – a mixture of aerobics, stretching exercises, posture techniques, core training (working on a specific part of the body ie. Abs, etc). Have interactive and informative discussions on life, love, relationships, yoga, etc. If you are looking to experience yoga in its many forms in India, this is an ideal opportunity.
1-2h-Tallis Qawwali Eve at Nizamuddin
Set in a little ‘mohalla’ (neighborhood) of Delhi called Dargah Hazrat Nizamuddin (saints’ tomb), enjoy a private Qawwali performance featuring popular devotional songs inspired by a mystical strain of Islam – Sufism, teaching Ishq (love), Aql (intelligence) and Ilm (knowledge). The troupe comprises 8-9 men with a lead singer, side singers, harmoniums, and percussion instruments. The songs embody love, devotion and longing, and are performed with devout passion! Pilgrims come either dressed in yellow clothes/sporting a yellow scarf. Stroll ancient crowded alleys to explore monuments and sites linked to famous Sufi saints – Nizamuddin Aulia, Amir Khusrau and Mirza Ghalib.
1-2h-Islamic shrine, Nizzumuddin (Thurs)
On a Thursday, visit the Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliyaa Dargah or Hazrat Nizamuddin Tomb, near Humayun’s Tomb. Pay respects at this world famous Islamic dargah/shrine of the namesake revered Sufi saint. The area around the tomb is regarded as sacred, where many noted persons including some royalty lie buried eg. tomb of Amir Khusrau the famous poet and the saint’s beloved disciple. Each Thursday at around sunset, an extravagant performance of ‘qawwali’ singers takes place after evening prayers.
1-2 hr Cycle rickshaw ride
Explore Delhi in comfort with one of its famous cycle-rickshaw rides…if you love and want to know more of Old Delhi’s’s history, culture and cuisine. Weave through enchanting lanes amid swarming masses of humanity and technology. Sense and smell the aromas of the spice market. Undoubtedly one of the best and most thrilling ways to experience Delhi.
Cooking Demonstration at Colonel's Retreat
Explore India’s gastronomic heritage! At Colonel’s Retreat, prepare to dive into the intricacies of authentic Indian cuisine and learn more about creative cooking techniques that are used to prepare some of the most famous dishes. Having traveled all over the country, Mrs. Meena Khanna is familiar with regional cuisines and generously shares her love for cooking and food with her guests. Learn how to prepare authentic recipes with ingredients that are easily available in Europe and America. In a demonstration that lasts between three to four hours, Meena will cook two vegetarian and two non vegetarian dishes along with lentils and a relish. Discover the use of each spice and their benefits during your lesson and pick up tips and techniques that Meena has acquired over the years. End your evening with a delicious banquet that you have watched being prepared.
(Full Day, Evening, Private Activity & Transfer, Travel Time to Activity: 30 mins, Duration: 4 hrs, Fitness Level: Easy, Dinner Included)