DANCE TOUR in RAJASTHAN
with LELI NEERAJA and ELIZABETH MEDINA:
from Delhi to Pushkar!
For those who love Indian art, Rajasthan is a bottomless source of surprises: first you are charmed by the vista of its magnificent forts, stern like the landscape in which they are embedded, later, when walking in its crowded lanes, you realize it’s a much more humane place: everywhere you see small shops, havelis and hidden courtyards, dingy rooms where people weave, paint and sing.
This is the legacy of the artisans who once built the temples and forts of Rajasthan, who designed the dresses of kings and queens, who sang and danced for them in their stately palaces. Fragments of this legacy are scattered all over Rajasthan, and we will show you some of them: in the bazaars of Jaipur, where you will try the ancient block-print technique; in the temple of Eklingji, a collection of myths carved in stone; in the old havelis of Udaipur, where you will see tribal women dance; finally in Pushkar, the holy town by the lake, where Leli and Elizabeth – professionals who have been studying Indian classical and folk dances for many years – will teach you a coreography of Indian fusion dance, where elements of Indian and other oriental dances are merged in a conscious and respectful way.
It will be a Samsara Roads’ tour: challenging and adventurous, close to the people of this strange, messy and poetical land, where beauty is sometimes hidden, sometimes in full display.
TRAVEL WITH US!
4th to 16th February 2024
13 days / 12 nights
MAX. NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS
MIN. NUMBER OF PARTECIPANTS
The price of this tour is 1960€.
To reserve your spot it is necessary to pay 40% of the total in advance. The remaining balance shall be paid before December the 4th, 2023, when the bookings will be closed.
The price of the tour includes: mid-range and budget hotels, three meals per day (except in Pushkar), all ground transportation within India (trains, taxis, buses, etc), entry fee for Udaipur’s City Palace and Jaipur’s Amer Fort, Giada and Stefano as tour leaders, 15h of dancing classes with Leli Neeraja and Elizabeth Medina + a video dance project in the Thar desert, folk dance evenings in Udaipur and Pushkar, block print workshop in Jaipur, travel insurance.
At the bottom of this page you will find a more detailed list of what is and what is not included in the package.
day by day program
Day 1 Arrival in Delhi
Sunday 4th February
- The tour will start from 12 noon of this day, so you are asked to be in Delhi by this time: you will be picked up in the airport by one of us.
- First we will have lunch all together. After a short briefing, where we will share some important information and tips about the tour, we will start to explore Paharganj, one the historical neighbourhoods of Delhi, and walking in its crowded lanes and markets we will reach the Qadam Sharif, one of the least known monuments of Delhi: here, in this ancient muslim shrine, deep in the old part of the city, a stone with the footprint of the prophet Mohammad is being kept since the 13th century.
- There will also be enough time to buy a sim card (if you need it) and to change/withdraw money.
- Dinner in a vegetarian restaurant.
Day 2 Delhi
Monday 5th February
- This one will be a pretty long and intense day. After breakfast (with fruits, juice, biscuits and chai from a street vendor) we will reach the hearth of Old Delhi by metro. Here we will visit: the oldest jain temple of Delhi, a charitable hospital for birds, a Sikh gurudwara, the largest spice market of India, and a 400 year old mosque.
- After lunch, which will be had in an historical Mughal restaurant of Old Delhi, we will guide you in the narrowest lanes of the muslim quarter, where the only female sultan of India lies buried since the 13th century. Nearby we will visit also the Sufi shrine of Turkman Shah Bayabani, and tell you of the many rituals (and even exorcisms) that take place in this secluded spot.
- We’ll be back in the hotel by 4PM. Before dinner, in your free time, you can do some shopping in Main Bazar Road.
Day 3 Delhi to Jaipur
Tuesday 6th February
- Early morning train to Jaipur: departure around 6AM, arrival around 11AM. We will travel in a coach with air conditioned (either 3AC or AC chair class). Breakfast will be served onboard.
- After lunch, visit of the Pink City, the commercial and artistic heart of Jaipur, where every block of this huge open-air bazaar is dedicated to a specific product: gems, jewellery, carpets, fabrics, etc. Some of the shops are housed inside beautiful, decorated havelis (the traditional mansions of northern India).
- Later, before dinner, you will have some free time that you can chose to spend however you like, for instance by visiting one of the most prominent monuments of Jaipur, such as the Hawa Mahal and the City Palace.
Day 4 Jaipur
Wednesday 7th February
- In the morning there will be a block-print workshop in a factory outside of Jaipur. Block-printing is one of the traditional printing techniques of Rajasthan, nearly extint only a few decades ago, where hand-carved blocks (usually made of wood) are dipped in color and pressed on to the fabric. First you will be showed how to use this technique, later you will have to do it yourself! Each participant will be given a white shopper bag to print with the colors and patterns he/she prefers.
- After lunch, when the workshop is over, we will move to a nearby showroom of block-printed fabrics: here you can chose the fabric you want and get a customized dress made by a tailor.
Day 5 Jaipur to Udaipur
Thursday 8th February
- Early morning visit to the Amer Fort, once seat of the mighty Kachwaha Rajput: this 400 year old citadel host a “palace of mirrors”, a parade ground and audience hall, many different chambers for the wives of the king (twelve at a time!) and an ancient cooling system with water channels and nets of aromatic grass hanging from the doors.
- After the visit we will catch the train to Udaipur. It will depart around 2PM and reach our destination around 9:30PM. We will travel in AC class. Dinner will be served onboard.
Day 6 Udaipur
Friday 9th February
- After five days in Delhi and Jaipur, we’ll enjoy a more peaceful and relaxed atmosphere in Udaipur, one of the most beautiful cities of Rajasthan, set around two main artificial lakes, and full of traditional havelis, royal palaces and temples from the 16th century onwards.
- In the morning we will visit the City Palace complex, on the bank of Lake Pichola, once the main seat of the Mewar Kingdom: it is comprised of eleven different palaces, all of them beatifully carved in marble and granite.
- After that, darshan in the hindu temple of Jagdish.
- Free time in the afternoon.
- In the evening we will attend a folk dance show in an old haveli near the lake: different kind of dances, from different rajasthani tribes, will be displayed.
Day 7 Udaipur
Saturday 10th February
- This morning, by public bus, we will reach the nearby town of Eklingji, only some 20kms from Udaipur, where one of the most beautiful temples of India stands, visited everyday by hundreds of hindu pilgrims. Eklingji (a form of Shiva) is the tutelar deity of the Mewar kings of Udaipur. Many more ruined temples, both hindu and jains, stand in the vicinity.
- Back in Udaipur, the afternoon will be free. At sunset, if you want, you can go on a boat ride on the Pichola Lake, or watch it from one of the many rooftop bars of Udaipur.
- We’ll meet again for dinner.
Day 8 Udaipur to Pushkar
Sunday 11th February
- Early morning train to Ajmer: the train will leave at 6AM and reach by 11:10AM. From Ajmer transfer to Pushkar by rickshaw or taxi (another 30-40 minutes). We will travel in Sleeper Class, without air conditioned.
- Pushkar is a holy town, especially revered by the followers of Brahma, set around an artificial lake that is believed (in hindu mythology) to have been formed by the teardrops of Shiva after the death of his first wife, Sati. Many temples, havelis and shops surround the holy lake, which is also used to deposite the ashes of the dead after cremation, together with some crushed bones.
- Here in Pushkar you will take dancing classes with Leli and Elizabeth, everyday from 9AM to either 12 or 13PM. Only today, because of the late morning arrival, the class will be held in the afternoon, from 3PM to 4:30PM.
- Leli and Elizabeth, both professional dancers who studied Indian classical and folk dances for many years, will teach you a coreography of Indian fusion dance. In their words: “in this experience we’ll explore, through the disciplines of yoga, conscious breathing and Indian fusion dance, the empowerment of movement in a beautiful and holy place. In Indian fusion dance we have an integrated and respectful point of view about the fusion of Indian “mother dances” and their connection with belly dance and tribal dance. That is how we develop the specific contents and nuances that are part of our movement code”. They will offer you 15 hours of training + a final dance video project filmed in the Thar desert.
- Unlike the rest of the tour, in Pushkar only breakfast will be included in the package. For all other meals, from the lunch of day 8 to the dinner of day 12, you can decide where and when to consume them. The only exception will be the dinner at the Kalbelia camp, of day 9, which will be included in the tour package.
Day 9 Pushkar
Monday 12th February
- Dancing class from 9AM to 12PM.
- Free time in the afternoon.
- Around sunset we will go to the camp of the Kalbelia, a snake-charming tribe of the Thar desert, just outside the city. Moira, a woman of the tribe, will teach us her traditional form of dancing, and after dinner, which will be served in the camp, she will give an exhibition for us. This dance, accompanied by few drums and flutes (the poongi, used by snake charmers), is meant to evoke the movements of a snake. The dancers wear silver jewellery and garments embroidered with tiny mirrors and silver threads.
Day 10 Pushkar
Tuesday 13th February
- Dancing class from 9AM to 12PM.
- Free time in the afternoon.
- At sunset we will climb one the hills surrounding Pushkar, where a temple of Gayatri (wife of Brahma) is found. From here, if the weather is clear, we can enjoy the best view in Pushkar!
- For dinner we will move to the Mela ground, where the world-famous camel fair, held every year in November, takes place: here we will have dinner in a dhaba (roadside eatery, typical of indian highways and villages).
Day 11 Pushkar
Wednesday 14th February
- Dancing class from 9AM to 13PM.
- Free time in the afternoon.
- At sunset, by the holy lake of Pushkar, while the sun goes down you will enjoy the power of drumming the Nagara, one of the oldest drums of India with the masters of Rajasthan, the Solanki family.
Day 12 Pushkar
Thursday 15th February
- Dancing classes from 9AM to 12PM.
- In the afternoon the coreography you studied with Leli and Elizabeth will be recorded by a professional video-maker. The location will be the Thar desert, just outside the town.
Day 13 Pushkar
Friday 16th February
- Early in the morning, after breakfast, we will say good bye. You will take a taxi back to Delhi, straight to the airport (if you are flying today) or to an hotel of your choice (if you wish to stay longer in Delhi or India). From Pushkar to Delhi airport it should take around 7/8 hours.
THE PRICE INCLUDES
- Double room accommodation in mid-range hotels. There’s a 230€ extra charge if you wish to stay in a single room or if there is no other traveller to pair you with. Otherwise, same-sex travellers will be paired in a double room.
- All ground transportation within India and mentioned by the program: trains, buses, taxis, rickshaws, etc.
- Airport pick-up and drop.
- Three meals per day, including water (other beverages are not included), in Delhi, Jaipur and Udaipur. In Pushkar only breakfast will be included, plus the dinner of day 9 in the Kalbelia camp.
- Monument fees for Udaipur’s City Palace and Jaipur’s Amer Fort.
- Giada and Stefano as tour leaders for the whole duration of the tour.
- 15 hours of dancing classes with Leli Neeraja and Elizabeth Medina + a video dance project in the Thar desert.
- Block print workshop in Jaipur.
- Folk dance exhibitions in Udaipur and Pushkar.
- Travel insurance (for health-related emergencies, luggage and cancellation).
THE PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE
- International flights to and from India (you can contact Sharewood if you need assistance with this).
- Tourist Visa (30 days e-visa, to be obtained online before departure).
- Tips: in India you are supposed to tip the waiter and other service personnel. For this we will gather money at the beggining of the trip in a common fund. It is usually less than 10 euros for each participant.
- Anything else which is not explicitly included in our offer.
WARNINGS AND DISCLAIMERS
Even if this tour was designed and programmed in great detail, the activities and the timings mentioned by the program might be affected by unexpected change, due to adverse weather conditions, train delays, situations of political unrest, and other unforeseeable events.
The organizers and tour leaders are not responsible for any damage, theft or injury that may occur during the tour.
To join this tour it is compulsory to subscribe to a travel insurance, which will be provided together with the package.
To enter India you MUST possess a valid visa. You can apply here for the tourist e-visa, valid for 30 days from the moment you enter the country: e-Visa (indianvisaonline.gov.in)
The passport must have at least 6 months of validity from the moment of the application.
Our tours are open to everyone who is 18 years old and older. As it is an adventure tour, we ask you to be in decent psychological and physical conditions. The best way to embark on this adventure is with an open-mind, some patience and a curious attitude.
Our tours are not comfortable and luxurious: there will be days of hot weather (in February not so much), long walks, delayed trains, crowded places, spicy meals. India is a noisy, chaotic place, with hygienic conditions below the european standards.
Hotels are not rated according to the same system used in the West. We have low-category, budget, mid-range, high-range and luxury. Our hotels are of the mid-range category: simple, unpretentious rooms, with private bathroom (with western toilet), shower, double bed, ceiling fan and sometimes AC (but in February it won’t be necessary).
For this tour we strongly recommend to use a backpack and not a trolley: it will be much easier to carry it on trains and buses.
The price of this tour is 1960€. To reserve your spot you will have to pay 40% of the total in advance at the moment of the booking (the travel insurance is included here). The remaining balance shall be paid before December the 4th, closing date for the bookings.
There will be an extra charge of 230€ if you wish to stay in a single room or if there is no other traveller (of the same sex) to pair you with.
YOU HAVE ANY QUESTION?
If you wish to ask something about this tour, or if you want to know if it’s the right fit for you, we would be glad to answer at: email@example.com. We can also arrange a video-call on Whattsapp or Google Meet.