India is home to the oldest religion Hinduism and has also seen new philosophies taking birth and taken to different parts of the world. India is the originating country for Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. Besides, it is also known for a lot Sufi Saints who have spread their teachings across the world. This tour will get you to experience the spiritual tenets of different religions and the role of Yoga in attaining spirituality. This experience is an attempt to understand and experience a slice of India, its legends, stories and a glimpse of Hinduism, Sikhism, Sufism and Buddhism. The focus is on the Northern part of India in this capsule…
(Per person for a group of 10 people on a twin sharing basis)
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Arrival at New Delhi Airport
Get transferred to the hotel explore the city at leisure.
New Delhi Cultural Tour
Visit the key sights and monuments of old and New Delhi including Jama Masjid (country’s largest mosque), Red Fort (from the era of the Mughal Empire), Raj Ghat (Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial), India gate,Parliament House, the Presidential Palace, Gurudwara (Temple of Sikh community) and the light and sound show at the Akshardham temple. Enjoy a rickshaw ride at streets of Delhi.
Day 3, 4:
Delhi – Amritsar (2 nights in Amritsar)
Amritsar, one of the most sacred places for Sikhs, derives its name from the word Amrit (holy water) sarover (tank), the holy water surrounding the magnificent Golden Temple. The city of Amritsar was founded by Guru Ram Das in the 16th century AD. GoldenTempleis a holiest temple for Sikhs. Built in the fourteenth century by Guru Ramdas, the Golden Temple is also known as Sri Harmandir Sahib. The temple walls are gold plated and the upper dome of the temple is solid gold. Visit “Jallianwala Bagh” and get to know about its importance in the role of Indian Independence movement. Drive to the Wagah border between India and Pakistan, and witness the beating retreat ceremony – it is quite a sight to see the armies coming face-to-face and then marching back.
Day 5, 6, 7:
Amritsar to Haridwar- Rishikesh (3 Days in Rishikesh)
Arrival at Haridwar Railway station, enjoy sight-seeing by the Ganges, including Har Ki Pauriand get transferred to Rishikesh. Participate in the evening Ganga Aarti.This is the cradle of the Hindu religious sentiment – get an up-close view of the meeting of religion, philosophy and spirituality that Hinduism is famous for.
Start the day with a dose of spirituality early in the morning with a Yoga and Meditation session. The Yoga instructor will explain the role of Yoga in attaining spirituality. Visit the local markets and nearby temples during the day and get back to the Yoga session in the afternoon.Oh, and visit the famously significant (from a spiritual perspective) Prayags – these are the meeting points of the various rivers that ultimately form the lifeline of India – the famous River Ganges. Rafting is an optional activity here. On Day 7 take a train to Jaipur from Haridwar.
Day 8, 9, 10:
Arrival at Jaipur and 3Nights in Jaipur-Ajmer
Arrive in Jaipur in the morning and get transferred to the Hotel. In the afternoon, visit the Maharaja Palace (also known as City Palace); former royal residence turned museum, a small portion is still used by the royal family of Jaipur. Visit theJantar Mantar, which is the world’s largest observatory built in stone and marble by Jai Singh from 1728 to 1734. En route have a short stop for traditional photography at Hawa Mahal (Palace of the winds). The palace was built in 1799 and is one of the best examples of artistic talent of the Rajputs. Participate in the “Hare Krishna” AARTI at a Hindu temple in the evening. Drive to Ajmer and visit the shrine of the Sufi Saint Moinuddin Chishti. This is a very significant shrine in the development of Sufism (an ancient sect of Islam focussed on universal love that was made famous by the great poet Jalaluddin Rumi of Turkey). Visit the Amber Fort and then drive to Agra by road.
Day 11, 12:
Visit the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort on a Tonga (horse cart). Taj Mahal was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal who died in 1631. Taj Mahal, “the epitome of love”, is “a monument of immeasurable beauty” and the epitome of love and romance.
The Agra Fort, built by Emperor Akbar between 1565 and 1573, reveals the Mughal talent for combining defensive architecture with the beauty and design. This fort palace was begun by Akbar as a purely defensive citadel and was subsequently completed by two successive generations. Visit ashram Mother Teresa (NGO). Visit Itimad-ud-Daulah (Baby Taj Mahal) an exquisite tomb built in honour of Mirza GhiyasBeg, Prime Minister at Emperor Jahangir’s court and father of the queen Nur Jahan. Visit the beautifully preserved Fatehpur Sikri for a slice of history and a sense of life in the days of Emperor Akbar.
Mathura, New Delhi Railway Station – Varanasi
Drive to Mathura, the birthplace of Lord Krishna, and explore the town with its unique mix of religion, ritual and spirituality. Then head to the New Delhi Railway Station for a train to Varanasi.
Day 14, 15:
Arrive at Varanasi Railway station and get transferred to the hotel. Varanasi, which lies on the banks of the Ganges, is one of the most important pilgrimages of the Hindu religion, believed to be the
oldest living city in the world, which according to the legend is the abode of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. It is also an important centre of Jain Religion.
Visit Sarnath, where Buddha delivered his first sermon after he had attained enlightenment at Bodhgaya.It is this place where foundation of a new order of monks (Sangha) and a new order of religious doctrine (Dhamma) was laid. On the day before his death Buddha included Sarnath along with Lumbini, Bodh Gaya and Kushinagar as the four places he thought to be sacred to his followers. Sarnath museum has a rich collection of sculptures comprising numerous Buddha and Bodhisattva images including the Ashok Pillar with its four guardian lions that has beenused as independent India’s national emblem. In the evening attend Ganga Aarti at the banks of the river.
Take the evening train to New Delhi.
Delhi Tour plus Shopping and Culinary
Visit the Humayun’s Tomb, built by his first wife Baga Begum and mother of Emperor Akbar. It is believed that this mausoleum inspired Shah Jahan to build the TajMahal. Visit other monuments of historic significance like Qutab Minar and take time out for shopping and trying out the different culinary delicacies from Delhi. End the day with a visit to the Lotus temple dedicated Bahai religion. You could also participate in the prayer at the KRISHNA ISKCON Temple.
Get transferred to the airport for your flight back home after an immersive journey through the religions, philosophies and spirituality that have shaped the course of this country over many centuries and possibly millennia.