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Ampersand's Unusual Escorted Journey to Punjab & Kashmir, Holi

11 days from £4,450 per person

Hop on a magic carpet ride through India’s colourful festival of spring, Holi. Ampersand’s Unusual Escorted Journey to Punjab & Kashmir offers a privileged and bespoke glimpse into hidden treasures of the Subcontinent. The tour will be guided by author of Glorious Hotels of India, Cosmo Brockway, who has lived and worked in India for 20 years. You will meet some of India’s most interesting and charming personalities, from Maharajas to artisans, with extraordinary private access using Cosmo’s and Ampersand’s wide range of contacts, to ensure a truly memorable and unique journey.

From the modernist city of Chandigarh, with its Le Corbusier-designed architecture, to the flamboyant princely creations of Kapurthala, the spirituality of the Golden Temple, and the ceremonial spectacle of the Pakistan border ceremony, the highlights of Punjab are explored in an unforgettable away. The festival of Holi will be spent enveloped in a shroud of exuberant celebrations, with drums, flower petals and coloured powders galore!

The final stop is Srinagar, renowned for its natural beauty, gardens, placid waterfronts and colourful array houseboats. Here, at the fascinating summer capital of Kashmir, you will visit the floating flower and vegetable market on Dal Lake, the beautifully preserved Mughal gardens around the lake’s eastern shore, and the atmospheric old city with its intriguing wooden mosques and authentic bazaars.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:

* Lunch with the Maharaja of Kapurthala at his private residence
* Celebrate Holi, the festival of colours, like a local
* Private tour of Amritsar and the Partition Museum
* Night visit to the Golden Temple, the holiest site for the Sikh religion
* Exclusive visit to the rose-pink Jagatjit Palace, modelled on Versailles
* Take in a military ceremony at the India/Pakistan border
* Le Corbusier-designed Capitol Complex in Chandigarh
* Dine on a traditional Kashmiri feast, the Wazwan
* Meet local artisans working with the traditional crafts of Kashmir
* Experience Srinagar’s unique wooden mosques with their rich interiors
* Shop in the bazaars of the Old City of Srinagar, untouched by time
* Explore Dal Lake by shikara boat, the floating market and Mughal flower garden

The tour is subject to minor changes to ensure the smooth running of the tour, and due to the schedules of the private individuals hosting the group. Not included in the rate: Alcoholic beverages other than when provided, meals at leisure or those indicated as independent, personal expenses, trip insurance, Tourist Visas.


Itinerary details

11 days from £4,450 per person

  • Day 1 - In transit.
    Fly London Heathrow to Delhi.
  • Day 2 - Taj Chandigarh - Chandigarh
    Arrive at Delhi and catch connecting flight to Chandigarh. On arrival transfer to the hotel. Dinner at the hotel.
  • Day 3 - Taj Chandigarh - Chandigarh
    Morning visit to the Capitol Complex followed by lunch at the Cottage. Afternoon visit to the Rock Garden. Evening dinner at the hotel.
  • Day 4 - Taj Swarna - Amritsar
    Morning drive to Kapurthala (3 hours) with lunch at Villa Buona Vista, home of HH Maharaja of Kapurthala. Afternoon visit to the Sainak School followed by the Moorish Mosque and Durbar Hall. Later drive to Amritsar (2 hours) with dinner at your own leisure.
  • Day 5 - Taj Swarna - Amritsar
    Morning visit to the Golden Temple. Lunch at Bharawan da Dhaba followed by an afternoon visit to Wagah for the border ceremony display. Evening dinner at the hotel.
  • Day 6 - Taj Swarna - Amritsar
    **Holi Festival** - Morning Holi celebrations at Ranjit Svaasa, followed by lunch in the gardens. Afternoon visit the Partition Museum. Dinner own arrangements and an optional evening Palki ceremony at Golden Temple.
  • Day 7 - The Lalit Grand Palace - Srinagar
    Morning transfer to Amritsar airport & fly to Srinagar. Late afternoon Shikar ride on Dal Lake. Evening dinner at the hotel.
  • Day 8 - The Lalit Grand Palace - Srinagar
    Optional early morning sunrise tour of the Dal Lake for the floating market auction. After breakfast visit to Kashmir Look Studio. After a local lunch, visit Jalali Haveli. Spend the afternoon at leisure with dinner under your own arrangements.
  • Day 9 - The Lalit Grand Palace - Srinagar
    Morning visit the Mughal gardens followed by lunch on the houseboat, Sukoon. Afternoon visit the Shah Hamdan Mosque and have a walking tour of the old city. This evening enjoy a traditional Kashmiri feast, the Wazwan.
  • Day 10 - Taj Mahal Hotel - Delhi
    Morning transfer Srinagar airport for onward flight to Delhi. Spend this afternoon at leisure with an optional visit to Serendipity Haveli. Lunch and dinner at your own leisure.
  • Day 11 - In transit.
    Fly from Delhi to London Heathrow.
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I had a very lovely time and was looked after splendidly. My first visit to India could not have been better, save for being longer! But I shall return at some point and I shall look to you to make the arrangements.
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
Difficult to articulate just how good the service from you and your team really was. We know you will continue to do well and hope we have the chance to seek your assistance again before long.
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
Ampersand’s details preparation, attention to detail and interaction before and during our trip show exactly why good travel agents have a role in today’s internet/direct booking age. Shalmali was a delight to work with – before and during our trip.
- Mr David Wallace, North India
So many highlights to choose from! The hotels were amazing but Maya Villa was a highlight… I loved just hanging out in the hammock reading my book and watching the peacocks chase the cows!
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
I thought the Ampersand team was outstanding. We couldn’t have hoped for anything more.
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
Everything you did for us whilst we were away was hugely appreciated, and Ampersand has been exemplary in every way. I'll always recommend you!
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
We had a wonderful holiday - everything was perfect. Thank you for helping us to make a thoughtful plan to enjoy and make most out of our trip. The places we visited, the guides, the transportation and driver, the hotels selected... Everything was great!
- Jaime Benitez, South India
Without question, you put together the best trip I have ever taken. We were shown around like visiting dignitaries, the hotels were fantastic and the itinerary was just right. Everybody I know will hear about how amazing Ampersand is!
- Leslie Siben, India

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