Can words describe 3.2 million sq. kms of the Indian subcontinent? Can pictures capture a terrain as diverse as verdant forests, golden deserts and the majestic Himalayan range? Can stories tell you all you want to know about the complex cultures of the Indian people, their languages and dialects, their rituals and traditions? To feel her magic, be touched by her spirituality, experience her intensity or join in her celebrations, you have to be in India.
$7995 for Double Occupancy*
*due to the nature of this trip, single occupancy rates are unavailable
Sunday, March 26, 2017: Arrive in New Dehli
Welcome to India! Upon your arrival after clearing immigration and customs formalities you will be met by our representative in arrival lounge. A Mind Body Spirit Network representative will escort you to the hotel and will assist you with check-in.
Stay at the incomparable Imperial Palace
Monday, March 27, 2017: Explore New Delhi
Greet the day on your first day in what is the world largest and most vibrant democracy. As you embark on your journey through this land you will experience the sights and sounds of what is India.
Later proceed for tour of New Delhi which was designed and built by the British in the 1920’s – it’s a city of wide boulevards impressive Government buildings, green parks and gardens.
In 1911 King George V announced the transfer of the capital from Calcutta to Delhi. The King’s architects, Lutyens and Baker, set in motion the design and construction of Delhi’s eight city – New Delhi. Lutyens designed an “Imperial City” having palatial-sized buildings set amid broad tree-lined avenues punctuated by Mughal style gardens, complete with fountains and shallow pools. It took 20 years to complete this immense undertaking only to have the British pack up and relinquish the subcontinent in 1947.
Today you will visit two monuments from Delhi’s past – Qutub Minar (Historical construction of a landmark In 1199, Qutub-ud-Din raised the Qutub Minar either as a victory tower or as a minaret to the adjacent mosque. From a base of 14.32m it tapers to 2.75m at a height of 72.5m) & Humayun’s tomb (This tomb, which was built by emperor Humayun’s wife, took eight years to complete and is regarded as an example of the early Mughal architecture. The emperor’s wife, Begai Begum, was buried in the tomb and the structure is the first of its kind built in the centre of a well-planned garden. The combination of white marble and red sandstone was a great influence on later Mughal architecture. It is generally regarded as a prototype of the famed Taj Mahal of Agra).
Your driver will take you to Judah Hyam Synagogue, and meet with the caretaker to get an insider’s view of the congregation’s history. The presence of Jews in Delhi goes back many centuries, even before the British colonial era. When the capital of India shifted to Delhi, Jews were present in the vital railways, defense and central government services.
Stay at the Imperial Palace
Monday, March 27, 2017: Explore Old Delhi
Old Delhi was an ancient walled city. Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan in 1650 switched the Mughal capital from Agra to Delhi. Shah Jehan possessing an exquisite talent, especially in architecture, created the seventh city and in the process brought about Delhi’s glorious renaissance. Start the day with a cycle rickshaw ride through Old Delhi. Drive past the Red Fort, the most opulent Fort and Palace of the Mughal Empire. The fort is Shah Jehan’s symbol of power and elegance, built behind red sandstone walls. Its main gate (Lahore Gate) faces Chandni Chowk, the perpetually congested avenue heading west from the Red Fort is filled with twisting lanes, small streets and crowded bazaars. If you peer through a portico you may see a man getting shaved, silver being weighed, or any other conceivable form of intense commerce. Also visit Raj Ghat, the memorial site of the Mahatma Gandhi; Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India; and Chandni Chowk, the bustling and colourful market of the old city. Chandni Chowk was the commercial centre of Delhi in the old time and you will see it come alive in the morning as the trading day starts.
Visit the markets of Old Delhi. Sacks of spices and nuts, edible sheets of silver, and local pickles make for an aromatic day out. In the lanes of Khari Baoli you will be introduced to saffron, the most expensive spice in the world, by one of the oldest and largest distributors of this exotic spice in the world.
Old Delhi is all about its heritage, culture, traditions and culinary experience of home cooked food. Your senses will come alive as you will encounter the many captivating sights and sounds this amazing city has to offer. It will give you a taste of the city and make you sink in the frenzy of its colours, vivacity and irresistible charm. The Old Delhi Bazaar has colorful and interesting street food and is crowned with the oldest shops with many world originated delicacies. The area is also home to several small temples, shrines, old mosques and protected monument sights. Cows wander the streets, small dharamshalas (rest-houses) and pyaus (water-stations) attest to the pious contributions of local merchants.
The other amazing highlight is to be taken into a beautiful private home, which for a guest would be hard to achieve otherwise. You meet with owner of the Haveli, his delightful wife, mother and children. You finish with a visit to the roof where another Delhi becomes visible, and kite flying and other surprises appear. The best seat in the house is on the open terrace with the Jama Masjid soaring up on one side, an old couple watching TV in a little house on the other, the whole neighbourhood unfurling like a gleaming, glittering, wrinkled skirt. And it’s not just the sights: here you can hear azaan and a game of gulli cricket, Star Plus and a hawker selling hapus mangoes in a minute.
Stay at the Imperial Palace
Nestled in the foothills of the majestic Himalayas, close to the spiritual town of Rishikesh, lies India’s finest luxury destination spa, Ananda- In the Himalayas. Dedicated to today’s traveler, who is looking for innovative ways to restore and rejuvenate, the spa focuses on India’s ancient sciences of Yoga and Ayurveda.
Located 260 kilometers north of India’s capital, New Delhi and easily accessible by air, Ananda is built around the 100-acre palace estate of the erstwhile Maharaja of Tehri Garhwal.
Ananda Spa is dedicated to providing guests with a total immersion experience while discovering a well-being oriented lifestyle. The personalized therapy and activities programs are designed to meet individual needs and health goals along with giving guidance in the areas of: nutrition, exercise, stress management, detoxification, deep relaxation and anti-aging. The Spa features 20 luxurious therapy rooms with dramatic view of the Himalayan landscape, along with a state of the art Fitness Center, Olympic sized swimming pool, modern hydrotherapy facilities and boutique, each complementing the Spa’s philosophy of holistic wellness.
The cuisine at Ananda is a pleasurable and delectable mix of spa and gourmet culled from Ayurvedic, Asian, Indian and European cuisine’s which can be enjoyed in unique dining venues – The Tree Top Deck, The Hill Side Theatre, The Winter Garden, etc. The Show Kitchen is a place of discovery as one journey’s into macrobiotic, Ayurvedic and spa cuisine under the expert guidance of the Ananda Chef’s.
The 75 deluxe rooms and suites are subtle statements in style and luxury. The rooms infused with the warmth and serenity of the Himalayan light are designed to imbibe the feel of the mountains. Built on the mountain ridge, the rooms offer the guests breathtaking views of the valley and the city of Rishikesh or the Palace. The rooms have been designed in a minimalistic and holistic fashion with wooden floors offset by essential furniture, walk-in closet and well-lit marble bathrooms with separate shower & bathtub and bay windows with exquisite view. One of the main features of the rooms is the independent patio balcony with breath taking view of the Himalayas, where one can relax or even practice Yoga.
The Ananda experience envelops every sense – be it through the magic of the Himalayan landscape and forest; the salubrious climate throughout the year; the luxury spa oriented towards the personal goals of each guest; the elegantly well-appointed rooms with majestic view of the valley of Rishikesh and the holy river Ganges; the old Viceregal Palace exuding the charm of a bygone royal era; the mystical Hill Theatre for cultural evenings or the explorative adventure opportunities of river rafting in the Ganges, trekking & visit to Rajaji wildlife sanctuary.
Stay at Ananda
Haridwar is a sacred territory where pilgrims come from across the world. It is among the most revered pilgrimage centers of India which occupies a prized position in hearts of Hindus. The meaning of Haridwar is ‘Gateway to God’. It is set amidst calm and attractive surroundings at the foothills of the mesmerizing Himalayas. It is believed in the Hindu traditions that one must visit Haridwar at least once in a lifetime. It is a magnificent place where the holy river Ganga enters the Indo-Gangetic plain of North India. The scenic beauty of Haridwar is equally mesmerizing. The views of the holy river Ganga and majestic mountains are the sights to behold.
Haridwar is also the place for the world well-known for Kumbh Mela which is celebrated in every 12 years. Kumbh Mela is the major religious gathering in the world which is celebrated for forty days.
Rishikesh is also known as gateway to the Char Dham. Char Dham is four popular holy temples on the hills (Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri) Thousands of people attracted every year to Rishikesh for spiritual relief, peace, learn yoga, adventure and to take a dip for salvation. The famous among them were Beatles, Kate Winslet
and many more others celebrities. It is believed that by meditation in Rishikesh one can get “Moksha” (liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth) as well as holy dip in the river Ganges.
Apart from spirituality now Rishikesh is also hub for the adventure activities such as rafting, camping, trekking and bungee jumping. Rishikesh is full of tourist every time. There are also big ashrams, centers for Yoga, Meditation, Ayurvedic Massage and astrology are here. Rishikesh is also known as the white water rafting capital of India.
Evening visit to Ghats to witness evening Aarti. Aarti is a Sanskrit word which stands for homage or devotion. The aarti or offering of the lamps is observed at prescribed hours of the day and night to invoke the gods. It is believed that the gods physically present themselves before devotees at this ceremony. The lamps are revolved before the idols in a clockwise manner along with the chanting of hymns. This recitation is accompanied by drums, blowing of the conch-shell and tolling of the temple bells. At the end of the `aarti’, the priest takes a handful of water which he revolves around the god’s idol. This is to pacify `agni’ (the Fire God), who is pressed into service in the form of the wick lamp. The lamps themselves are charged with this “Presence” and thus after the ceremony devotees collect the fumes and smear their faces with its aroma.
Stay at Ananda
With unique focuses on the traditional Indian sciences of Yoga and Ayurveda, Ananda Spa creates the skillful synthesis between age-old therapies and modern spa technology. The personalized therapy and activities programs is designed to meet individual needs and health goals – de-stress, detoxification and cleansing, deep relaxation, anti-aging, weight & inch loss, while also offering guidance in the areas of nutrition and exercise.
20 treatment rooms with specialised areas for Ayurveda, Oriental and European systems of holistic health, a team of qualified nutritionists, Western & Ayurvedic physicians, spa therapists with knowledge of ancient Indian sciences and modern western treatments – all gently guide you towards a better lifestyle.
Ananda Spa also houses the only Aveda Beauty Institute in India, an international beauty line now part of Estee Lauder. With extensive recreational facilities as the outdoor lap pool; the 16-station life-cycle gymnasium; Squash court; 6 hole golf course; opportunities for outdoor adventure activities like rafting, trekking, wildlife safari and the art and culture programs, the spa rests on the multiple pillars of physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
At Ananda In the Himalayas, the calming integration of lush greenery, fresh mountain air, Himalayan spring water, the luxurious therapy rooms overlooking the holy River Ganges and the mystifying Himalayas, provides the ideal environment for rejuvenation of the body, mind and soul.
Stay at Ananda
Stay at Trident Gurgaon
Saturday, April 1, 2017: Transfer to Varanasi
In the morning, we will take a flight to Varanasi, arriving in the later afternoon. After settling into our hotel, we will have a visit to Ghats to witness evening Aarti. Aarti is a Sanskrit word which stands for homage or devotion. The aarti or offering of the lamps is observed at prescribed hours of the day and night to invoke the gods. It is believed that the gods physically present themselves before devotees at this ceremony. The lamps are revolved before the idols in a clockwise manner along with the chanting of hymns. This recitation is accompanied by drums, blowing of the conch-shell and tolling of the temple bells. At the end of the `aarti’, the priest takes a handful of water which he revolves around the god’s idol. This is to pacify `agni’ (the Fire God), who is pressed into service in the form of the wick lamp. The lamps themselves are charged with this “Presence” and thus after the ceremony devotees collect the fumes and smear their faces with its aroma.
Stay at Gateway Ganges
Situated on the west bank of the Ganges, Varanasi extends back from the riverbank ghats to a winding maze of picturesque alleys overlooking tall houses alongside, dotted with temple It is a fascinating area to walk around. Varanasi today, is also a centre of education, art and craft. The city has given birth to many academicians, musicians and artists of world acclaim. As a centre of art and craft it has a vast repertoire, right from silver, brass, copper artefacts to perfumeries and trinkets. The magnificent Krishna Balarama Temple built in 1975 by ISKON has today become Vrindavan’s most popular temple and has one of the highest principles of Deity worship and cleanliness. Hare Krishna devotees from around the world can be seen here throughout the year. The Bharat Mata Temple, Alamgir Mosque, Durga Temple, Tulsi Manas Temple, Archaeological Museum and Ram Nagar Fort are just some of the places worth visiting in Varanasi.
Kashi (Varanasi ) older than the oldest: Varanasi lives inside the alleys which looks different than any other place found on our planet. Narrow and puzzled alleys, beautiful temples, old buildings, cultural diversity, all the major old markets, real Varanasi-food, people, cows and bulls…all is found inside the alleys which are not possible to visit by vehicle transportation. Varanasi people do all of their business inside the alleys on foot. This tour gives you an opportunity to experience the real Varanasi, talk with the locals, visit hidden and old alleys and temples, ponds, ashrams, and the old business district.
Yoga: Yoga is an eternal science representing the universal need to evolve and transcend all limitations. Yoga in Varanasi is experience of lifetime. Private Yoga session can be organized. Banaras Hindu University is a 15 minutes’ walk from the Ghat. Students from all over the world come to Varanasi to study yoga, Ayurveda Abhyanga (massage), Sanskrit, Indian religion and philosophy. Yoga requires private instructions and individual practice – you can start your Yoga lesson any time between 7 AM and 10 AM . Yoga is a commonly known generic term for physical, mental, and spiritual disciplines which originated in ancient India. Specifically, yoga is one of the six āstika (“orthodox”) schools of Hindu philosophy. One of the most detailed and thorough expositions on the subject are the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali.
Varanasi, the holy city of India, is also known by the name of Kashi and Benaras. Kashi, the city of Moksha for Hindus since centuries, is known for its fine-quality silks, ‘paan’ and Benares Hindu University and Avimukta of the ancient days. Varanasi is the most popular pilgrimage point for the Hindus. One of the seven holiest cities, Varanasi city is also one the Shakti Peethas and one of the twelve Jyotir Linga sites in India. In Hinduism it is believed that those who die and are cremated here get an instant gateway to liberation from the cycle of births and re-births. Sarnath symbolizes the birth of Buddhism. It was here that Buddha revealed his doctrine and founded his monastic community. The museum at Sarnath is amongst the most important in India and contains carvings representing a whole range of styles – archaic, the Mathura School, Gupta, past Gupta and Medieval – covering work of sculptors from the 3rd century B.C. to the 12th century A.D.
Stay at Gateway Ganges
Transferring back to Delhi April 3rd in the morning, we will then embark on a 2 day Indian Tiger Safari. on The Ranthambore National Park was once the hunting ground of Maharaja of Jaipur. In 1955, it was declared a game sanctuary. In 1980, it became a national park. But with the commissioning of Project Tiger in 1972, it was included in the project. With the addition of neighbouring Keladevi and Mansingh sanctuaries, the total area of the national park stands at 1,334 sq km. But the entire park – the core area is just 392 sq Kms – is not open to the public. The Ranthambore Park is set between the Aravalli and Vindhya ranges. Its deciduous forests were once a part of the magnificent jungles of Central India. The terrain is rugged and there are rocky ridges, hills and open valleys with lakes and pools.
Ranthambore Park is famous for tigers and due to conservation efforts, the tiger population has stabilized if not increased here. The tigers can be spotted quite often even during the day, at their normal pursuits– hunting and taking care of their young ones. Ranthambore is one of the best places to see these majestic predators.
Stay at Sherbagh (Luxury Tents)
Wednesday, April 5, 2017: Return Home
Early morning Game drive
Breakfast at hotel
Drive to Jaipur airport (approx. 4 hours) | Fly to Delhi | Upon arrival in Delhi connect to your flight for onward journey