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Songlines music travel, in association with Imaginative Traveller, invites music lovers and travellers alike on this wonderful trip to the ‘Land of Kings’, Rajasthan, where you will get a chance to experience the majestic Rajasthan International Folk Festival (RIFF), as well as gain an insight into the culture and heritage of this enchanting region of India.
Accompanied by musicologist Georgie Pope and cultural anthropologist Gopal Singh, you will gain unique access to the artists and musicians of the region, and share intimate knowledge of the places you will visit.
12 x Breakfast, 1 x Lunch, 2 x Dinner
Private vehicle, Internal flight from Jodhpur to Delhi on Day 12
11 nights Hotel on a twin share basis
Services of an expert guide, Transfers for internal flights only, Entrance to monuments, Music
• Experience the very best music from local and international artists and enjoy the vibrancy and atmosphere of the Rajasthan International Folk Festival
• Meet the local communities and discover their lifestyles and music cultures
• Visit the majestic shrines, temples and forts
• The opportunity to get hands-on and learn some basic drumming, dancing and singing techniques from local musicians along the way
• Enjoy a camel safari and stay overnight in a desert camp
Welcome to India! Your adventure begins in Delhi. Upon arrival, head to your hotel where you can rest after your flight. That evening, meet your tour leader, Georgie Pope and the rest of the group over a welcome dinner and music. You will hear and have the opportunity to try out the tabla (a pair of classical Indian drums), and learn some basic ideas about rhythm, counting and bol, the spoken rhythmic system of Hindustani music.
After breakfast this morning, you will drive west to the beautiful town of Mandawa, stopping for lunch on the way at Piramal Haveli. You will spend two nights in Mandawa in the Jhunjhunu district of Rajasthan. This small 18th century town is famous for its beautifully painted havelis- traditional homes built around an open courtyard. Tonight, enjoy your first taste of Rajasthani music.
Today you will have ample opportunity to explore Mandawa. Located at the heart of the Shekhawati, this is the perfect destination to discover the nearby villages of this desert region. You will also be able to meet with the local communities to experience their devotional music and drumming. Participate in a joyous folk dance and to try out various folk drums.
This morning, make tracks for the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur, located 190km south of Mandawa. You will spend two days here getting to know Rajasthan’s capital city. Explore the bustling, colourful streets, where careering buses share the roads with swarms of motorbikes, rickshaws and the occasional camel! The history of the city and its majestic past are tangible amidst the mayhem. This is a destination that cannot fail to make an impression.
Embark on a guided tour of Jaipur today and discover the city’s most famous sights. Explore City Palace, the current home of the Royal Family, before encountering the fairytale grandeur of the Amber Fort, located just a short distance outside of the city. You will be introduced to the work of the Jaipur Virasat (Heritage) Foundation, the organisation behind the Rajasthan International Folk Festival (RIFF), and Anokhi, the company that revived hand block printing. You will meet local musicians who have lived for generations in the old city of Jaipur. There will be the option to learn how to sing and count a lehra-another basic building block of Indian music.
Having explored Jaipur, drive west for a couple of hours to Ajmer. Here you will visit Ajmer Sharif, an important shrine for Muslims throughout India and beyond. Here, the host for your visit is a direct descendent of Moinduddin Christi, the Sufi saint to whom the shrine is dedicated. In this awe-inspiring sacred site you will also be able to experience qawwali, a traditional form of Sufi devotional music. A short drive from here is the town of Pushkar, a site of pilgrimage for many Hindus and Sikhs due to it’s many temples. It is here that you will spend the night. Pushkar is a town unlike any other. Curling around a lake, with its 52 bathing ghats and 400 temples, the town reverberates with the soundtrack of chanting, drums, gongs and devotional songs.
Today you will immerse yourselves in the sights and sounds of Pushkar. Rise early to visit a hill-top temple at dawn, accompanied by your guide Mukesh who will share stories and cultural insights. That afternoon, you will be introduced to the nagara drum and participate in a percussion workshop by the edge of the lake. This experience will be hosted by the famous percussionist Nathu Lal Solanki. Following this, embark on a camel safari heading deep into the desert where you will find your camp for the night. You will spend a magical night under canvas in the desert camp, eating and watching musical performances by firelight.
After breakfast at camp, leave the wilderness behind you and drive west to Jodhpur, the Blue City. You will spend the next 4 nights staying at the Krishna Prakash Heritage Haveli, which stands at the foot of the architectural wonder of the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort. As well as exploring the medieval streets of the Blue City, the majority of the next few days will be spent enjoying all that the Rajasthan International Folk Festival has to offer.
Spend the whole day soaking up the atmosphere at RIFF, cramming in as much music and sightseeing as you can. Your guide Georgie Pope once worked for the festival for three years, so she will be able to offer an abundance of local and musical knowledge. The festival is timed to coincide with ‘Sharad Purnima’, the brightest full moon of the year in North India. Admire the festival’s stunning backdrop of Mehrangarh Fort, an imposing fortress built in 1460 stood in full splendour atop a cliff above the city.
Today will be another full day to immerse yourself in the festival, endorsed by UNESCO as a ‘People’s Platform for Creativity and Sustainable Development.’ The festival is such an event that Rolling Stones front man Sir Mick Jagger is an official International Patron! Discover the finest traditional folk music from Rajasthan and across the globe.
Today will be your last full day to enjoy the Rajasthan International Folk Festival at your leisure.
Rise at dawn for the stunning devotional performance that marks the final day of the festival, held at the Jaswant Tada, a milky-white cenotaph overlooking the lake. After this morning finale, you will return to Delhi. Having checked into your hotel, take a tour of the city and enjoy a final farewell dinner with the rest of the group.
Your tour will end at breakfast. Bid goodbye to your fellow travellers before leaving for your flight home or onward journey.