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India: Women's Expedition


Journey between the cities, villages and desert of Rajasthan and gain unique insight into the lives of Indian women. With an all-women group and local female leader, this 12-day Women’s Expedition will immerse you in the culture and history of the region, as seen through the eyes of the women who live here. Starting in energetic Delhi, travel in the female-only carriage on the metro, then head out to the Thar Desert to meet local women and enjoy a traditional Kalbeliya dance performance. In the village of Chandelao Garh, visit a project empowering female artisans, and join an inspiring rickshaw tour of Jaipur with a female guide from the Pink City Rickshaw Co. This is India like you’ve never seen it before.

12 days, from

$1,007

per person

GROUP SIZE

12 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

 
2
Trip code: HHSL
Style: Original
Theme: Women's Expedition
Print itinerary

Details

Countries Visited:  India
Accommodation: Hotel (3 nights), Overnight sleeper train (1 night), Camping with basic facilities (1 night), Heritage Property (6 nights)
Transportation: Auto rickshaw , Bus , Car , Cycle rickshaw , Jeep , Metro , Overnight sleeper train , Private vehicle , Shuttle bus
Meals: 5 dinners, 3 breakfasts
Group size: Minimum 1, Max 12

  • Get to know northern India through the lives of the women who live there as you explore with a female leader, ride in women-only carriages on the metro and meet inspiring local women throughout your journey.

  • Head to the rural desert village of Chandelao Garh, where a local project provides female artisans with employment and education while preserving traditional craft practices. Check out their handicrafts and hear their stories.

  • Take a jeep safari into the Thar Desert and enjoy an exclusive Kalbeliya dance performed by local women at a desert camp. Enjoy some quality one-on-one time with the dancers while the gentlemen prepare dinner.

  • Visit a local woman's home and select a saree and accessories to wear on your visit to the Taj Mahal, one of the most beautiful buildings in the world inspired by the extraordinary love of an exceptional woman.

  • See the highlights of Jaipur and get to know your female driver on a tour with the eco-friendly Pink City Rickshaw Company, a non-profit providing employment and economic independence to women from low-income households.

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Delhi

Namaste! Welcome to Delhi. Your India Women’s Expedition will begin with a welcome meeting held at the hotel at 6pm – please check with the hotel reception to find out where it will be. Meet your local leader and fellow female travellers and find out what to expect over the course of your adventure. After your meeting, get to know your group and enjoy your first taste of India’s famous cuisine over an included dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 2: Delhi - Overnight train

In the morning, navigate the city’s metro system to discover Old Delhi on a walking tour. For some parts of the tour, you may ride the metro in a women’s only carriage, which will give you a unique insight into the way local women travel around Delhi. Hitch a ride in a traditional cycle rickshaw through a typical Indian traffic jam in the streets around Chandni Chowk marketplace. Visit Delhi’s oldest mosque of Jama Masjid, which is also India’s largest. Duck into a Sikh temple for a quiet escape from the city and a chance to observe a spiritual side of this bustling metropolis. In the afternoon, board an overnight train to Jaisalmer. Make friends with entertaining chaiwalas (tea vendors), food vendors and enjoy conversations with the locals to pass the time and make this an unforgettable experience. You’ll have a sturdy bed to sleep in when you get tired and clean bedding will be provided (although some travellers prefer to BYO a sleeping sheet). There’s no food cart on the train, but your local leader will recommend the best snacks for you to buy before you board the train, so you won’t be left hungry. Check out the Essential Trip Information for details about what to pack for the overnight train.

Day 3: Thar Desert

Your overnight train pulls into Jaisalmer this morning. You’ll have a chance to grab some breakfast before heading out on a jeep safari in the Thar Desert. The Thar Desert covers 200,000 square kilometres, so while you won’t get to see it all, you will spend the day exploring the rolling sand hills before arriving at your desert camp. Here you’ll meet some local men and women – the men will head off to prepare a traditional Rajasthani dinner for you, giving you a chance to get to know the women. They will also put on a Kalbeliya dance performance for you, a traditionally female dance where women in long skirts replicate the movements of a serpent, as a representation of the snake charmer’s role in traditional Rajasthani society.

Day 4: Jaisalmer

After breakfast at the desert camp, you’ll make the one-hour drive in your jeep back to Jaisalmer. From here you’ll have a chance to check in to your hotel and freshen up before heading out on a walking tour with your leader to get to know this storied desert city. The citadel was built by Rawal Jaisal of the Bhati Rajput in 1156 AD, and with a history that’s been carefully recorded by the bards of Rajasthan since the 12th century, its not hard to imagine what life here once looked like. Strung between the former trade routes of the Great Thar Desert, your leader will share stories of Jaisalmer’s prosperous past. Today the city is alive with colourful shops and ornately decorated royal havelis contained within the ancient fort walls. After your tour of the city, enjoy a free afternoon for your own discoveries.

Day 5: Jodhpur

Rise early and catch a train to Jodhpur, taking around six hours. Use this time to connect with your fellow travellers and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Once you arrive in Jodhpur, you’ll head straight to the striking Mehrangarh Fort that towers over the city. Enjoy a guided tour as you explore some of the ornately decorated palaces and visit one of Rajasthan’s most interesting museums to learn about battles past. From here you’ll make your way to the Sadar Bazaar in the Old City for a guided tour of the market and the opportunity to taste some local delicacies like lassi and dal baati, both classics of Indian cuisine for a good reason – they’re delicious! You may like to spend the rest of the evening exploring the Old City and your local leader will be able to recommend great places for dinner.

Day 6: Chandelao Garh

Say goodbye to Jodhpur and make the drive out to the village of Chandelao Garh (approximately 1 hour). On arrival, get your bearings during a walk through the village, then pay a visit to Sunder Rang, a project that employs local artisans, mostly women, while keeping traditional craft practices alive. Meaning ‘beautiful colours’, the vibrant pieces crafted by the women at Sunder Rang stand in contrast to the surrounding desert landscapes. More than 30 women are currently employed by Sunder Rang, with an hour of their workdays dedicated to their education. Meet the ladies who work here, browse the beautiful pieces they’ve created and learn about the impact the project has had on their lives, as well as their families and the wider village. This evening, take some time to further explore Chandelao Garh, or relax at your heritage property accommodation.

Day 7: Nimaj

Limber up and start your day with a yoga session at your accommodation, then drive by private vehicle to Nimaj (approximately 1.5 hours), a small town in the Pali district of Rajasthan. After a traditional welcome by the local women, your leader will take you on a guided walk around the village where you’ll have an opportunity to have a chat to some of the locals and get a sense of small-town Indian life. This evening you’ll have the chance to take part in a very special women’s-only celebration. Join the local women for a night of festivities – learn about the art of rangoli, where colourful patterns are made with a range of materials, join your hosts for traditional henna painting, and watch a lively dance show.

Day 8: Jaipur

This morning, hop back in your private vehicle and make the five-hour journey to Jaipur, the capital of the Rajasthan region. On arrival, stretch your legs with an orientation walk around the city. Follow your leader down streets buzzing with camel carts, rickshaws, trucks and bicycles and explore bazaars bursting with colourful goods, including handcrafted textiles, folk art, and the local speciality of semi-precious stones. After your walk, discover a beloved part of Indian culture as you head out for a screening of a Bollywood film. Visit the Raj Mandir Cinema – this Art Deco style building is one of Jaipur’s most popular spots and has played host to many movie premiers.

Day 9: Jaipur

This morning, head into town for a memorable rickshaw ride with The Pink City Rickshaw Company, a not-for-profit organisation that aims to provide a new aspirational employment opportunity to 200 women from low-income households in Jaipur. See the highlights of the city and get to know your amazing female driver as you zip through the streets. In the afternoon, take a guided tour of the Amber Fort, one of Jaipur’s most recognisable landmarks. The red sandstone and marble palace is set high on a hill overlooking the Maota Lake, and there is plenty of history to learn about as well as picturesque sights to see. This evening, visit a local home in Jaipur where you’ll be welcomed in for an evening of fun and feasting. Chat to your hosts about their lives, learn about the meals they make at home then sit down to a truly tasty dinner.

Day 10: Agra

Today you’ll make the six-hour trip to Agra on board a public bus. On arrival, your first stop will be a visit to the home of a local woman who will help you choose the perfect saree and show you how it's worn. She’ll also help you dress up with an armful of glittering bangles and a matching bindi in the traditional style, ready for your sunset visit to India’s most iconic landmark – the Taj Mahal. Spend time wandering around the pristine grounds and watching the setting sun illuminate the stunning marble mausoleum built by Shah Jahan in his favourite wife’s honour.

Day 11: Delhi

Leave Agra behind and hop on a train bound for Delhi (approximately 4 hours). Back in the country’s capital, pay a visit to the Dilli Haat market, where artisans from across the country are invited to showcase their wares for 15 days at a time, ensuring prices are fair and not subject to the inflation common in big cities. Visitors are exposed to the culture and crafts of various corners of India, all on display in one place. The market is also home to a tempting array of food stalls, so you may like to take your tastebuds on a trip with some momos from Sikkim, spicy chicken from Nagaland or kebabs from Jammu. This evening, perhaps join your group for a final dinner in Delhi and take the chance to look back on all you have seen and done on your journey.

Day 12: Delhi

Today is the final day of your Women’s Expedition in India. There are no included activities planned, so you’re welcome to check out of the hotel any time before midday. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel until your flight. If you decide to stay an extra couple of days in Delhi, there are plenty of activities in and around the city to enjoy, as well as many Urban Adventures on offer.

12 days, from $1,007

to book call 1-844-205-6226


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