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Festivals

India and the subcontinent is one region, where a range of festivals form the thrum of festivities almost through the year. For travellers it is a great way to immerse in the local-ness of a place and see life at close quarters. Whole towns, cities and villages are saturated in bright colours, spirituality or just plain boisterous merry making. Whatever the case might be, one can be assured of joyous times and a great insight into the local flavour of a place.

One can expect a long roster of festivals in India, largely tuned to spiritual, religious and seasonal changes. The span of the nation gives one a wide array to choose from – desert festivals, tribal festivals, harvest festivals, birthdays of Gods and much more. Whatever the theme might be, one can see profusion of dancing, singing and great food spreads and feasts.

The festivals reflect the most authentic vibe of the place, and almost all the festivals in the subcontinent are similar in nature. In Bhutan, a large part of the festivals are themed around monasteries and birthdays of Buddhist leaders, Nepal is a lot like India with zealous celebrations for Gods and the harvest season. Sri Lanka, Tibet and Bangladesh too, fill the festival days with exuberant dancing, singing and excellent food.

Itineraries

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Thimpu Tsechu

12 Nights & 13 days

Overview

The itinerary offers a glimpse into one of the most important festivals of Bhutan, the Thimphu Tsechu. Bhutan celebrates this to honour Saint Padmasambhava, also known as ‘Guru Rinpoche’. The journey starts from New Delhi, India and then take you to the mountain Kingdom of Bhutan, where brightly coloured masks are a highlight, as monks dressed in them, take to the monastery’s amphitheater for everyone to watch. This is truly one of the most hypnotic sights in Bhutan.

Top Places

Delhi | Paro and Thimphu | Thimphu | Thimphu and Punakha | Punakha, Gangtey and Trongsa | Trongsa and Bumthang | Bumthang | Bumthang and Wangduephodrang | Wangduephodrang and Paro | Paro | Delhi

Highlights

Lutyens Delhi | Thimphu Tsechu | Trongsa Dzong | Punakha Dzong | Ta Dzong | Kyichu Lhakhang | Simtokha Dzong | Taktsang Monastery



Delhi / Day 1 - 2

Flight to Delhi Spend a day in the capital of the country and prep for the flight to Bhutan. After arrival at the hotel and rest, step out for a short half-day tour of some of the important sites. Lotus Temple, a lotus-shaped temple is the youngest of the independent world religions and believes in […]
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Paro and Thimphu / Day 3

Flight to Paro. The journey offers fascinating views and an exciting descent into the Kingdom of Bhutan. The first gift to you as you disembark from the aircraft will be cool, clean fresh mountain air. Drive to Thimphu, the capital town of Bhutan with en-route stop at Chuzom, the confluence of Thimphu and Paro rivers. […]
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Thimphu / Day 4

The full day is spent at the Thimphu Tshechu (festival). Tshechus are the main religious festivals of Bhutan celebrated to honour Saint Padmasambhava, also known as ‘Guru Rinpoche’. During Tshechus, the dances are performed by monks as well as laymen. The dances are known as Cham, and feature Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and Pema Lingpa who […]
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Thimphu and Punakha / Day 5

Spend the first half at the Thimphu Tsechu and then leave for Punakha acrosss Dochu-la pass (3,088m/ 10,130 ft), stopping briefly here to take in the view and admire the chorten, main wall, and prayer flags which decorate the highest point on the road. If skies are clear, the following peaks can be seen from […]
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Punakha, Gangtey and Trongsa / Day 6

This day is reserved for driving to Gangtey, stopping to see the Gangtey Goempa. Perched on a small hill that rises from the valley floor, the Gangtey Monastery is the only Nyingmapa monastery on the western side of the Black Mountains and also the biggest Nyingmapa monastery in Bhutan. The Monastery is surrounded by a […]
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Trongsa and Bumthang / Day 7

After breakfast visit the striking Trongsa Dzong, ancestral abode of Bhutan’s royal family. Built in 1648 as the seat of power over central and eastern Bhutan. The Dzong is a massive structure with many levels, sloping down the contours of the ridge on which it is built. Also visit Ta Dzong, a cylindrical stone structure […]
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Bumthang / Day 8

After breakfast visit Kyichu Lhakhang, consisting of three temples. The one on the right was built in 1652 on the rack face where Guru meditated in the 8th century. Second temple is built on the site of a cave containing a rock with the imprint of Guru’s body and is therefore considered the most holy. […]
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Bumthang and Wangduephodrang / Day 9

After breakfast drive to Wangduephodrang. It is the last town on the central highway before central Bhutan. The town is not more than an enlarged village with a few well-provided shops. Located in the south of Punakha, the higher reaches of the Wangduephodrang valley provide rich pastureland for cattle. This district is also famous for […]
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Wangduephodrang and Paro / Day 10

Journey towards Paro, en route visit Simtokha where we see the Simtokha Dzong, which was built in 1627 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. It stands on a low ridge 8 km down the valley from Thimphu. The most noteworthy artistic feature of this dzong is the series of over 300 finely worked slate carvings behind the […]
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Paro / Day 11

This day is reserved to visit Taktsang Monastery, perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro valley floor. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery and hence it is called ‘Tiger’s Nest’. This site has been recognized as a most […]
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Delhi / Day 12 - 13

Fly back to to Delhi. Overnight in Delhi. Flight back.
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Srilanka Perahera Festival

07 Nights & 08 days

Overview

This journey offers a comprehensive insight into the different dimensions of Sri Lanka’s natural bounty, spiritual serenity and a number of world heritage sites. One stops to wonder, how this small country can be packed with so many wonderous things.  While one day you might be immersed in Buddhist religious sites, the other could have only acres of lush tea plantation store. This is one of the most diverse nations, with plenty of surprises in store.

Top Places

Dambulla | Dambulla and Polonnaruwa | Dambulla, Matale and Kandy | Kandy and Peradeniya | Kandy and Nuwara Eliya | Nuwara Eliya and Kataragama | Kataragama, Yala and Galle | Colombo

Highlights

Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage | Sigiriya | Dambulla Rock Temple | Botanical Garden | Ruhuna National Park

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Dambulla / Day 1

Arrive at the Bandaranaike International Airport in Colomba and transfer immediately to Dambulla with the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage in between. The Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage, established in 1975, commenced with seven orphans. Today some of these orphans enjoy the fortune of seeing their grandchildren born in the same location. The original objective of establishing the orphanage […]
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Dambulla and Polonnaruwa / Day 2

Visit Polonnaruwa, which was the 2nd capital city of Sri Lanka built in the 11th and 12th centuries AD. Here you can see the ruins of the Royal Palace, the Gal Viharaya and Parakramabahu the great can be seen. There are also monuments of famous places of worship such as the Shiva Temple, the Lankathilake, […]
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Dambulla, Matale and Kandy / Day 3

The day starts with the Dambulla Rock Temple, which was built by king Walagambahu in the 1st century B.C. The complex of five caves with over 2000 sq. metres of painted walls and ceilings is the largest area of paintings found in the world. It contains over 150 images of the Buddha of which the […]
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Kandy and Peradeniya / Day 4

Visit the Peradeniya Royal Botanical Garden,which was first built as a pleasure garden by a Sinhala king and was expanded by the British. It is 147 acres in extent and provides an amazing variety of trees, plants and flowers. After this, visit Kandy, the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings which is a World […]
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Kandy and Nuwara Eliya / Day 5

After some time at a tea plantation, journey on to Nuwara Eliya. Nuwara Eliya, because of its invigorating mountain climate and scenery, is Sri Lanka’s most popular hill resort. Nuwara Eliya is also the heart of Sri Lanka s tea country producing a significant share of the world best tea. Sri Lanka s highest mountain […]
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Nuwara Eliya and Kataragama / Day 6

Breakfast at the hotel and transfer to Kataragama. En route visit Ravana Ella, a stunning waterfall. Continue journey to Kataragama. In the evening visit Kataragama and witness the Perahera. Kataragama is perhaps the most visited holy places in the country. Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims flock to the shrines located there. The deity most often associated […]
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Kataragama, Yala and Galle / Day 7

Leave for Yala (Ruhuna) National Park situated in the southern province. Yala National Park showcases a vast variety of indigenous animals and is best known for large herds of roaming elephants and the ever-elusive leopard. After a safari, transfer to Colombo. En route go for a city tour in Galle. Galle was once the chief […]
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Colombo / Day 8

Flight back.
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South India Temple Festival

15 Nights & 16 days

Overview

Almost two weeks in the heart of South India’s cultural centre, this south India temple festival tour is going to be an education into the ancient history and grand temples of the region. Be prepared to be stunned by the customs during festivals, the energy around them and the snatches of serenity when you explore the murals and paintings in the mammoth temples. Centuries of history awaits you on this trip.

Top Places

Chennai | Chennai and Kanchipuram | Chennai and Kanchipuram | Madurai | Madurai and Chettinadu | Madurai | Madurai and Periyar | Periyar and Alleppey | Alleppey and Cochin | Cochin and Mararikulam | Cochin

Highlights

Kamakshi Amman Temple | Kailasnatha Temples | Sri Ekambarnath Temple | Kapaliswar Temple | Meenakshi Temple | Tirumalai Nayak Mahal | Periyar National Park | Spice Plantation | Jewish Synagogue | St. Francis Church | Dutch Palace or Mattancherry Palace | Chinese Fishing Nets | Kathakali Dance Drama



Chennai / Day 1

Arrive in Chennai, asn erstwhile trading port at Fort St. George, near the village of Madraspatnam, from where the city got its first name, Madras. Now, it is one of the leading metros of India.
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Chennai and Kanchipuram / Day 2

Drive to the outskirts to a small temple town called Kanchipuram, for the Ekambaranathar temple Brahmotsavam, a 14 day festival. Scores of devotees throng the streets to pull the vadam or the temple chariot. The 63 feet high chariot has four iron framed wheels worth Rs.1.35 crore. Visit the following temples in the town; Kamakshi […]
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Chennai and Kanchipuram / Day 3 - 4

Drive again to Kanchipuram for another day of the festival. Take your time to take photographs and interact with the locals. Overnight in Chennai. Spend the morning in the Mylapore area of the city, where the famous Arupathimoovar festival is conducted. The term Arubathimoovar refers to the 63 saints of Lord Shiva who surrendered their […]
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Madurai / Day 5 - 7

Spend some time at the festival again before taking a flight to the city of Madurai. Overnight in Madurai. Another festival awaits on this day. Enjoy the Palani Car Festival, where thousands of devotees from various places in and around the district come together. Amid chanting of holy hymns and singing of Thevaram songs, hundreds […]
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Madurai and Chettinadu / Day 8

Drive to Chettinadu, a region which includes Karaikudi and 74 other villages in southern Tamil Nadu state. Karaikudi is known as the capital of Chettinadu. Chettinadu is the homeland of the Nattukottai Chettiars, a prosperous banking and business community, many of whose members migrated to South and Southeast Asia in the 19th centuary. Chettinadu is […]
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Madurai / Day 9

This day is reserved for another temple immersion. Thiruparankundram Temple ranks next to Meenakshi Temple in sanctity and religious significance. While the Meenakshi Amman Temple is at the heart of Madurai, Thirupparankundram Temple is located 8 kms from the city center. One of the six abodes of Lord Subramanya, also known as Lord Muruga (son […]
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Madurai and Periyar / Day 10

This day is used to drive to the adjoining state of Kerala, to a place called Periyar, famous for the namesake national park. Periyar National Park is situated in the hills of the Western Ghats. The centre piece of Periyar National park is the 5,500-hectare Periyar lake formed by the construction of a dam on […]
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Periyar and Alleppey / Day 11

Enjoy a boat ride in the Periyar National Park in the morning and then drive to the backwater haven of Alleppey. Here board a house-boat (Kettuvallom) for a day and night of cruising through the network of canals. The boats played a major role in the economic development of ancient Kerala, moving cargo and men […]
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Alleppey and Cochin / Day 12

After breakfast on board the jetty, drive to Cochin and transfer to the hotel. Cochin or Kochi, as it is called now, is till date influenced by medieval Portugal, Holland and England. The city displays a blend of different people and architecture and it is one place where you can see a Jewish synagogue, Portuguese […]
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Cochin and Mararikulam / Day 13 - 15

For the next three days relax in the beachside village of Mararikualm, enjoying village walks, local cuisine and Ayurvedic massages.
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Cochin / Day 16

Flight back.
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Saga Dawa Festival

12 Nights & 13 Days

Overview

The spiritual mountains of Nepal and Tibet are nothing less than mesmerizing. The intensely pure life and a simple thrum is addictive. The sight of the Himalayan ranges are sure to never leave your memory. Add to this the Saga Dawa festival, and it is a trip of a lifetime. The region of Tibet is hardly treaded and this makes it a fascinating journey. The time in Nepal amounts to a plethora of colours, local insights, temples and a walk down Hinduism.

Top Places

Kathmandu | Kathmandu, Gonggar and Lhasa | Lhasa | Lhasa and Gyangtse | Gyangtse and Shigatse | Shigatse, Sakya and Shegar | Shegar, Zhang Mu and Kathmandu | Kathmandu

Highlights

Pashupatinath | Patan | Bhaktapur | Saga Dawa Festival | Potala Palace | Norbulingka

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Kathmandu / Day 1 - 3

Flying over the Himalayas is a sight of a lifetime. Savour it till you land in Kathmandu, Nepal. Overnight in Kathmandu. A day in Kathmandu orients you to the simple and spiritual living of the Nepalese. To get oriented, here are some things that will be in store for you. Pashupatinath, UNESCO world cultural heritage […]
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Kathmandu, Gonggar and Lhasa / Day 4

Fly to Lhasa in Tibet on this day. This is one of most stunning flying experiences. Overnight in Lhasa.
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Lhasa / Day 5 - 8

Explore the Saga Dawa Festival. It is one of the most religious festivals in Buddhism. Since the Saga Dawa festival falls on the holiest month of the Tibetan calendar, it is believed that good deeds and prayers are multiplied thousand fold during this event. So, one can see everyone immersed in prayers and trying to […]
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Lhasa and Gyangtse / Day 9

After breakfast drive we drive towards the Khampa la pass (4730metres), on way to Gyangtse. We have a short break for stunning views of some major white peaks in the eastern regions of Himalayas to the south and the young Norjing Gang Sang spiritual snow mountain range to the west. Across this is the turquise […]
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Gyangtse and Shigatse / Day 10

After breakfast, we visit the local historical and the cultural centers, the Palkhor Chode monastery including the Kumbum stupa ( the only survival with such distinctive structure and the thousands of art works ) and the local ancient Gyangtse fort. At noon we drive to Shigatsethrough the rich agricultural Nying Chu valley of central Tibet. […]
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Shigatse, Sakya and Shegar / Day 11

After breakfast we visit Tashilhunpo, the seat of the Panchen Lama, second only in importance to the Dalai Lama. Its numerous halls contain a 21.6-meter wooden statue of Maitreya, the future Buddha and elaborate, jewel encrusted reliquary chorten. Then it is time for Sakya, the seat of political power in central Tibet from the 10th […]
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Shegar, Zhang Mu and Kathmandu / Day 12

Make sure you have some photos left for the panoramic views of the Himalayan range as you cross the Lalung La pass (5200m) from where we have a breathtaking view of Shisabangma, the highest peak in Tibet, Mt. Everest and Cho-Oyu. Then we leave the Tibetan plateau, descending to Zhang Mu – on the China […]
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Kathmandu / Day 13

Flight back.
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Durga Pooja Festival

08 Nights & 09 Days

Overview

The beautiful country of Bangladesh is hardly explored by the world traveller. Durga Puja is the perfect time to set foot in the country, when its brimming with festivities and celebration. This is also a great time, weather wise. Visit the traditional weaving and tribal villages, the dense forests and see the rich greens of the countryside as you meander along the length and  breadth of the country.

Top Places

Dhaka | Tangail | Srimongol | Srimongol and Comilla | Dhaka

Highlights

Shakharibazar & Dhakeshwaris | Dhamrai | Lawacherra Forest | Khasia Tribal villages | Comilla



Dhaka / Day 1 - 2

Arrive in Dhaka and check in at the hotel. The rest of the day is spent in some light sightseeing. Overnight in Dhaka. After breakfast at the hotel, visit the old part of the city to see the Durga Puja at the Shakharibazar & Dhakeshwaris, where it is celebrated with much zeal. We have lunch […]
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Tangail / Day 3 - 4

Breakfast at the hotel and the morning at leisure. After lunch, we visit Dhamrai metal craft village of the Hindu community that celebrates the colorful festival in a slightly different manner. We visit Ubinig, where weaving is the main stay and one can see all the processed like natural dyeing etc. Overnight at Tangail. Breakfast […]
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Srimongol / Day 5 - 6

After breakfast at the guesthouse, we spend more time in village and start journey towards Srimongol (200km / 5hours). Lunch in local highway inn restaurant is one of the highlights of the journey. You also get to see Bangladesh countryside at close quarters. Overnight at Srimongol. After breakfast, your guide will take you to visit […]
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Srimongol and Comilla / Day 7

This day is reserved for a drive to Comilla and sightseeing at the Buddhist ruins. There are about 50 sites in the area, of which Salban Vihara is the biggest. Along with the monastery there are other interesting sites like Kutila Mura, Itakhola Mura, Rupban Mura and the 2nd world war cemetery. Overnight at Comilla.
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Dhaka / Day 8 - 9

After breakfast, drive to Dhaka. On way visit Sonargaon, the old capital of Bengal and a traditional Jamdani weaving village. Lunch at the weaver’s house with local dishes and a feel of staying like the villagers. Continue the journey to Dhaka. Overnight at Dhaka. Flight back.
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