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INDIA / NEPAL

Mystical Lands: The People and Culture of India and Nepal

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Road Scholar
Program #18546RJ
17 Days | 16 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Active
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Elevation Note
Kathmandu's elevation is 4,368 ft.

Itinerary for Nov 6 — Nov 22, 2015

Expand all
Day One: Friday, November 06 - Departure from U.S., Overnight Flight to India
Depart From: Depart from the U.S. on an overnight flight to Delhi, India.

Type: Five-Star Hotel

Description: The Suryaa New Delhi is 5 Star Deluxe Hotel located in the heart of New Delhi, a mere 35 minute drive from the International Airport & adjacent to Delhi's business districts - Nehru Place, Pragati Maidan-International Trade Fair venue, Okhla & Noida Export Promotion Zone. Shopping malls, recreation facilities, and historical monuments are all in the close vicinity of the hotel.

Contact info:
New Friends Colony
New Delhi, 110 025 India
phone: +91 11 268 350 70
web: www.thesuryaa.com

Room amenities: A/C, Hairdryer, In Room Safe, Cable/Satellite TV, Direct Dial Phone, Coffee Making Facilites, High Speed Internet Access, Iron/Ironing Board, 24 Hour Room Service

Facility amenities: Health & fitness center, Spa facilities, Dry cleaning/laundry service, Outdoor Pool, Business Center, Wi Fi wireless broadband internet access, 4 restaurants

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Yes
Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services for more information.


Day Two: Saturday, November 07 - Arrive Delhi, Transfer to Hotel, Check-In, Dinner
Afternoon: Upon your arrival at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, the Group Leader will meet you at the arrival gate. After the group is assembled, you will be transferred to the hotel via motorcoach followed by check in. You will also be informed of the time and place for dinner this evening and our Orientation session, when you will learn more details of what is to come.

Dinner: Get your first taste of India as you enjoy dinner featuring Indian and Continental cuisine.

Evening: It has been a long travel day. Get a good night’s sleep to be ready for the excitement ahead as we get to know the land and people of India.

Lodging: The Suryaa New Delhi

Meals Included: Dinner
Type: Five-Star Hotel

Description: The Suryaa New Delhi is 5 Star Deluxe Hotel located in the heart of New Delhi, a mere 35 minute drive from the International Airport & adjacent to Delhi's business districts - Nehru Place, Pragati Maidan-International Trade Fair venue, Okhla & Noida Export Promotion Zone. Shopping malls, recreation facilities, and historical monuments are all in the close vicinity of the hotel.

Contact info:
New Friends Colony
New Delhi, 110 025 India
phone: +91 11 268 350 70
web: www.thesuryaa.com

Room amenities: A/C, Hairdryer, In Room Safe, Cable/Satellite TV, Direct Dial Phone, Coffee Making Facilites, High Speed Internet Access, Iron/Ironing Board, 24 Hour Room Service

Facility amenities: Health & fitness center, Spa facilities, Dry cleaning/laundry service, Outdoor Pool, Business Center, Wi Fi wireless broadband internet access, 4 restaurants

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Yes
Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services for more information.


Day Three: Sunday, November 08 - Orientation, New Delhi Field Trip, Official Welco...
Note: Shoes and socks are not allowed in the Sikh temples & it is obligatory for men and women to cover their heads. Scarves are provided free by the Temple, your own full-size scarves are also allowed.

Breakfast: Our breakfast buffet at the hotel includes Indian, Continental, and American breakfast options.

Morning: ORIENTATION: Immediately after breakfast, the program gets underway with our Orientation session. We will gather for a warm welcome and introductions, followed by an overview of the program. We will review the schedule and any changes; discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures and contact numbers for key staff; currency, language, time-keeping, and answer any questions. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to weather or other local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. FIELD TRIP: Start off with an overview of modern India and learn about the more recent history of this ancient land as our local expert leads you past India Gate, reminiscent of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, that commemorates Indian soldiers who died during World War I; Parliament, the nation’s supreme legislative body; and President House (Rashtrapati Bhavan), a huge complex that serves as the official residence of the President of India. Then continue to Delhi’s most important Sikh Temple, Gurdwara Bangla Sahib. Dating from 1783, it is distinctive for its golden dome and dramatic setting on a pond whose waters are considered sacred by Sikhs.

Lunch: Today we dine at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: This afternoon, we encounter Qutub Minar, a masterpiece of Mughal architecture and one of the finest monuments in all of India, soaring up 237 feet. Qutab-ud-din Aibak, the first Muslim ruler of Delhi, began construction in 1192. The conical tower is an exquisite example of Indo-Islamic Afghan architecture. Qutub Minar is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has survived the ravages of time impressively.

Dinner: Our official welcome dinner at the hotel provides more tastes of India with a menu of local cuisine and an optional, complimentary glass of wine/beer. (You may order more on your own.)

Evening: Take the rest of the evening to relax and make new Road Scholar friends.

Lodging: The Suryaa New Delhi

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Five-Star Hotel

Description: The Suryaa New Delhi is 5 Star Deluxe Hotel located in the heart of New Delhi, a mere 35 minute drive from the International Airport & adjacent to Delhi's business districts - Nehru Place, Pragati Maidan-International Trade Fair venue, Okhla & Noida Export Promotion Zone. Shopping malls, recreation facilities, and historical monuments are all in the close vicinity of the hotel.

Contact info:
New Friends Colony
New Delhi, 110 025 India
phone: +91 11 268 350 70
web: www.thesuryaa.com

Room amenities: A/C, Hairdryer, In Room Safe, Cable/Satellite TV, Direct Dial Phone, Coffee Making Facilites, High Speed Internet Access, Iron/Ironing Board, 24 Hour Room Service

Facility amenities: Health & fitness center, Spa facilities, Dry cleaning/laundry service, Outdoor Pool, Business Center, Wi Fi wireless broadband internet access, 4 restaurants

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Yes
Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services for more information.


Day Four: Monday, November 09 - Old Delhi Field Trip, Home Hosted Dinner
Note: Shoes and shorts are not allowed into the Mosque. Gown are provided by the mosque.

Breakfast: Our breakfast buffet at the hotel includes Indian, Continental, and American breakfast options.

Morning: PRESENTATION: Begin the day by attending a lecture on "Relevance of Gandhi in Today's World" by a local expert at the hotel. FIELD TRIP: Then by coach we move on to explore Old Delhi led by an expert guide. Then we drive past the massive sandstone walls of the Red Fort, symbol of Mughal power and pomp, and Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India. For a delightful change of pace, we will take rickshaw rides in Chandni Chowk, a centuries old market bazaar. The motorcoach will return to the hotel between approximately Noon-1:00pm.

Lunch: Lunch at Chor Bizarre.

Afternoon: FREE TIME: Take time to explore on your own, seeing and doing what is most interesting to you outside of our program schedule. Your group leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: CULTURAL IMMERSION: Home-hosted dinner. One of the special aspects of this program is the opportunity to meet and have dinner with local host families who are eager to share their hospitality and talk about their country. The group will be divided into smaller groups of 5-8 and will be transferred via a local travel service from and to the hotel. The families are part of India’s middle class and you can look forward to fascinating interactions that will tell you a great deal about the people. At the conclusion of the evening, we will return to the hotel.

Lodging: The Suryaa New Delhi

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Four-Star Hotel

Description: Situated near the renowned Amber Fort and overlooking the Mansagar Lake. The rose coloured facade of the hotel is reminiscent of traditional Rajasthani architecture.

Contact info:
Amber Fort Road
Opposite Jal Mahal
Jaipur, 302 002 India
phone: +91 141 267 0101
web: www.tridenthotels.com/jaipur/index.asp

Room amenities: Central A/C, Internet Access, Dual Line Telephones, Tea & Coffee Maker, 24 Hr. Room Service, Electronic Safe, Hairdryer, Voltage 110-220

Facility amenities: Bar, Restaurant, Fitness Center, Swimming Pool, Business Center, Currency Exchange, Laundry Service

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Five: Tuesday, November 10 - Transfer to Jaipur
Note: Drive from Jaipur to will take about six hours.

Breakfast: Our breakfast buffet at the hotel includes Indian, Continental, and American breakfast options.

Morning: Check out of the hotel and board the motorcoach by 8:30am as we depart for Jaipur. En route, learn about “Royalty Synonymous to Rajashtan." The Rajputs, descendants of the ancient Aryan fighting caste and invaders who settled down and intermingled with them, gave Rajasthan its name and character.

Lunch: We will have lunch at a resort en route.

Afternoon: We arrive in Jaipur, the “Pink City” late afternoon when we will check into the hotel.

Dinner: Enjoy dinner featuring Indian and Continental cuisine with choice of entrée and an assortment of side dishes to complete your meal.

Lodging: Trident Hotel Jaipur

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Four-Star Hotel

Description: Situated near the renowned Amber Fort and overlooking the Mansagar Lake. The rose coloured facade of the hotel is reminiscent of traditional Rajasthani architecture.

Contact info:
Amber Fort Road
Opposite Jal Mahal
Jaipur, 302 002 India
phone: +91 141 267 0101
web: www.tridenthotels.com/jaipur/index.asp

Room amenities: Central A/C, Internet Access, Dual Line Telephones, Tea & Coffee Maker, 24 Hr. Room Service, Electronic Safe, Hairdryer, Voltage 110-220

Facility amenities: Bar, Restaurant, Fitness Center, Swimming Pool, Business Center, Currency Exchange, Laundry Service

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Six: Wednesday, November 11 - Field Trip to Amber Fort, City Palace, Jantar Man...
Field Trip to Amber Fort, City Palace, Jantar Mantar Astronomical Observatory, Home Hosted Dinner

Breakfast: Our breakfast buffet at the hotel includes Indian, Continental, and American breakfast options.

Morning: FIELD TRIP: We arrive at Amber (pronounced Amer) Fort, set in rugged hills about six miles from Jaipur. Construction of this ancient citadel of local rulers began in 1592. The formidable exterior of red sandstone and white marble with its terraces and ramparts is reflected in Maota Lake. The fabulous interiors are a blend of Hindu and Mughal art and architecture. These former royal halls are decorated with intricate ivory, mirror, and glass work complemented by exquisite wall paintings. Then we will have an opportunity to see and learn about Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds). You will have time for photographs as we disembark and walk around this five-storied wonder, constructed from pink and red sandstone. It was built to give royal ladies views of life outside the palace since they never appeared in public. Hawa Mahal has a spectacular pyramidal façade and overhanging windows with latticed screens, domes, and spires.

Lunch: At the café inside the City Palace, enjoy a buffet lunch featuring local cuisine with bottled water, coffee, and tea.

Afternoon: FIELD TRIP continues: We walk a short distance from the café to visit the City Palace. After City Palace, we will take a short walk to the Jantar Mantar Astronomical Observatory. During the early 1700s, the Maharajah of Jaipur ordered the construction of five astronomical observatories – known as Jantar Mantars (calculation instruments) in the region. The Jaipur observatory is the largest and best preserved. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, “It is an expression of the astronomical skills and cosmological concepts of the court of a scholarly prince at the end of the Mughal period.” Onsite, a local expert will discuss the Science of Astronomy: An Important Part of India's Living Traditions.

Dinner: CULTURAL IMMERSION: Tonight we have a special treat, dinner for the group in the home of a noble Indian family. We will return to the hotel together at the end of the evening.

Lodging: Trident Hotel Jaipur

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: Dera Lake View Retreat is a perfect hidden getaway, a picture of serene beauty set among the golden wheat and mustard fields at the end of a monsoon lake in the lap of Arravali hills. It is a village destination that lies just a few kilometres off the least explored stretch of the Golden Triangle that helps complete your journey and introduces you to the people and cultures of ‘Meena’ tribe.

Contact info:
Village Kalakho, Tehsil Sikrai
District Dausa
Rajastan, 303502 India
phone: +91 - 9950873466
Room amenities: The cabins also caled ("Deras") have A/C and heating, Clean towels, hairdryer.

Facility amenities: Restaurant serving Indian, Chinese, and Continental cuisines, Gardens, internet, laundry.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Bathroom: Each cabin has private bathrooms with showers and running hot and cold water.


Day Seven: Thursday, November 12 - Transfer to Kalakho, School Excursion, Visit to a...
Transfer to Kalakho, School Excursion, Visit to a Local Village, Cultural Performance

Note: It is a two-hour drive from Jaipur to Kalakho.

Breakfast: Our breakfast buffet at the hotel includes Indian, Continental, and American breakfast options.

Morning: Check out of the hotel and board the motorcoach by 8:30am as we depart for Kalakho. EXCURSION: En route, we stop at a local school for an opportunity to say hello to the children. Mahatma Gandhi wrote, "If you want to experience the soul of India, then you must go to her villages." Kalakho is one of those villages. Surrounded by forests in the Aravalli Hills, we are off the standard tourist path. This is a place where old customs and traditions are maintained with festivals throughout the year that celebrate events significant to communities such as Brahmins, Rajputs, Mahajans, Jains and Kayasthas. The preferred mode of exploration for visitors is via camel! Upon arrival check into the hotel.

Lunch: Lunch at the Retreat.

Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Climb aboard a camel (or camel carts, subject to availability) for a safari into a rural tribal village for a glimpse of village life. We will have an opportunity to interact with the villagers as they follow daily activities in their homes. Come back to the hotel. PERFORMANCE: Enjoy an authentic folk dance and musical performance after the match. Rajastan folk dances and accompanying music are lively and festive.

Dinner: Dinner at the Hotel.

Evening: It has been another full day, filled with new sights, sounds, and experiences, so take the evening to relax and prepare for what tomorrow brings.

Lodging: Dera Village Retreat

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Four-Star Hotel

Description: The Trident, Agra, set amidst beautiful gardens, fountains, landscaped central courtyards, is built of red stone reminiscent of the Mughal era. The Hotel is literally, a stone's throw away from one of the new 7 Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal.

Contact info:
Fatehabad Rd.
Agra, 282 001 India
phone: +91 562 223 5000
web: www.tridenthotels.com/agra/index.asp

Room amenities: Central A/C, Internet Access, Direct Dial Telephone, Tea & Coffee Maker, 24 hr. Room Service, Satellite TV, Electronic Safe, Hairdryer, Voltage 110-220

Facility amenities: Bar, Restaurant, Coffee Shop, Fitness Center, Swimming Pool, Jogging Track, Business Center, Currency Exchange, Laundry Service

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Eight: Friday, November 13 - Transfer to Agra, Field Trip to Mehtab Bagh
Note: Drive from Kalakho to Agra will take about 3.5 hours.

Breakfast: Our breakfast buffet includes Indian, Continental, and American breakfast options.

Morning: Check out of the hotel and board vehicles by 8:30am as we depart for Agra. On our way to Agra, we will be stopping to see the Abahneri Stepwell. Explore the small village of Abhaneri and one of India's deepest and largest stepwells. These unique steps were built in the 12th century as a water supply, as cool places of resort and for ritual cleansing before a visiting the adjoining Harshita Mata temple.

Lunch: Upon arrival in Agra (approximately 1:00-2:00pm depending on traffic) we will have lunch at the hotel, followed by check-in.

Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Late afternoon, we board our motorcoach and head to Mehtab Bagh. This garden complex is aligned with the Taj Mahal on the opposite side of the Yamuna River. It was designed to be a “moon lit pleasure garden” (the translation of Mehtab Bagh) and the ideal spot for viewing the Taj. Over generations, it deteriorated badly and is now being restored. Recent excavations have uncovered a huge tank for 25 original fountains. Our field trip continues to the mausoleum of Itmad-ud-daula, the first in India made entirely of marble rather than red sandstone. Its fascinating history chronicles the “rag to riches” saga of a poor merchant who rose to become chief minister of the Mughal emperor. This elaborately carved tomb in the Islamic style — like a jewel box set in a tranquil garden on the banks of the Yamuna River — was an inspiration for the Taj Mahal years later. At the conclusion of the field trip, we return to the hotel via motorcoach.

Dinner: Enjoy a dinner featuring Indian and Continental cuisine with choice of entrée and an assortment of side dishes to complete your meal.

Evening: Enjoy a relaxing evening talking over the highlights of the day.

Lodging: Trident Hotel Agra

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Four-Star Hotel

Description: The Trident, Agra, set amidst beautiful gardens, fountains, landscaped central courtyards, is built of red stone reminiscent of the Mughal era. The Hotel is literally, a stone's throw away from one of the new 7 Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal.

Contact info:
Fatehabad Rd.
Agra, 282 001 India
phone: +91 562 223 5000
web: www.tridenthotels.com/agra/index.asp

Room amenities: Central A/C, Internet Access, Direct Dial Telephone, Tea & Coffee Maker, 24 hr. Room Service, Satellite TV, Electronic Safe, Hairdryer, Voltage 110-220

Facility amenities: Bar, Restaurant, Coffee Shop, Fitness Center, Swimming Pool, Jogging Track, Business Center, Currency Exchange, Laundry Service

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Nine: Saturday, November 14 - Sunrise at the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort Field Trip, F...
Breakfast: Breakfast will be after our field trip to the Taj Mahal as we return to the hotel for a buffet including Indian, Continental, and American breakfast options.

Morning: FIELD TRIP: Sunrise at the Taj Mahal. We rise very early and board the motorcoach for a unique experience of breathtaking beauty at this ultimate monument to romantic love. As the UNESCO World Heritage Convention states, “An immense mausoleum of white marble, built in Agra between 1631 and 1648 by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife, the Taj Mahal is the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage.” The building is unique due to its perfect proportions, distinct femininity, and medium of construction and ornamentation. Its marble exterior reflects rose and golden tints at sunrise and sunset, while it is dazzling white during the day. At the end of the experience, we return to the hotel for breakfast then depart on our next adventure. At the end of the experience, we return to the hotel for breakfast. FIELD TRIP: Agra Fort. The Red Fort of Agra, once a powerful fortress of red sandstone with 1.5 miles of enclosing walls, was the imperial city of Mughal rulers. Founded in 1565, it holds a number of fairy-tale palaces as well as two beautiful mosques of white marble. It was here that Shah Jahan, builder of the Taj Mahal, was imprisoned after being overthrown by his son and where he died looking towards the Taj.

Lunch: Your lunch will be the tasty result of a cooking demonstration on regional cuisine.

Afternoon: FREE TIME: Enjoy some leisure time with new Road Scholar friends or set out to explore on your own. Your group leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: Enjoy dinner featuring Indian and Continental cuisine with choice of entrée and an assortment of side dishes to complete your meal.

Lodging: Trident Hotel Agra

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Four-Star Hotel

Description: Radisson has 116 hotel rooms in Varanasi, including 2 elegantly designed suites, 14 Business Class Rooms and 100 Superior Rooms. All of our guest rooms offer turndown service and a wide range of amenities.

Contact info:
The Mall Cantonment, Varanasi
U.P. 221002
221 002, India
phone: +91 54 2250 1515
web: www.radisson.com/varanasi-u-p--hotel-in-221002/indvaran/rooms

Room amenities: Newspaper delivered to the room - daily Digital safe in each room Broadband Internet access Mini-bar and tea/coffee maker Telephone with voicemail and direct dial Satellite television Hair dryer

Facility amenities: Includes complimentary broadband Internet access, television with 48 channels and a bottle of mineral water provided daily. Relax in the oasis of comfort provided by our spacious rooms with the option of interconnecting, city view or pool view. Complimentary buffet breakfast and use of Health Club (gym, steam room, whirlpool).

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Ten: Sunday, November 15 - Transfer to Delhi Airport for Flight to Varanasi,...
Transfer to Delhi Airport for Flight to Varanasi, Arrive Varanasi, The Ancient Science of Astrology,

Note: It is a four-hour drive from Agra to Delhi.

Breakfast: Early! Our breakfast buffet at the hotel includes Indian, Continental, and American breakfast options.

Morning: Check out of the hotel and board the motorcoach by 7:00am as we transfer to Delhi Airport for our flight to Varanasi.

Lunch: We will have lunch at Delhi Airport.

Afternoon: Upon arrival and transfer from the airport, check in to the hotel at Varanasi around mid-afternoon with some time to rest and relax. LECTURE: The Ancient Science of Astrology. In late afternoon, meet an astrologer and learn about this ancient science. For most of human history, astrology and astronomy were twins. Astrology is still a vital discipline in much of India as in other parts of the world, seeking to understand the meaning and effect of influences from planets, stars and other celestial phenomena.

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel will feature Indian and Continental cuisine with choice of entrée and an assortment of side dishes to complete your meal.

Evening: Recharge your batteries after a busy day of travel and discovery.

Lodging: Radisson Hotel Varanasi

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Four-Star Hotel

Description: Radisson has 116 hotel rooms in Varanasi, including 2 elegantly designed suites, 14 Business Class Rooms and 100 Superior Rooms. All of our guest rooms offer turndown service and a wide range of amenities.

Contact info:
The Mall Cantonment, Varanasi
U.P. 221002
221 002, India
phone: +91 54 2250 1515
web: www.radisson.com/varanasi-u-p--hotel-in-221002/indvaran/rooms

Room amenities: Newspaper delivered to the room - daily Digital safe in each room Broadband Internet access Mini-bar and tea/coffee maker Telephone with voicemail and direct dial Satellite television Hair dryer

Facility amenities: Includes complimentary broadband Internet access, television with 48 channels and a bottle of mineral water provided daily. Relax in the oasis of comfort provided by our spacious rooms with the option of interconnecting, city view or pool view. Complimentary buffet breakfast and use of Health Club (gym, steam room, whirlpool).

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes


Day Eleven: Monday, November 16 - Ganges River Field Trip, Sarnath UNESCO World Her...
Ganges River Field Trip, Sarnath UNESCO World Heritage Site, The Growth of Buddhism in India, Observe Sacred Rituals

Breakfast: Our breakfast buffet at the hotel includes Indian, Continental, and American breakfast options.

Morning: FIELD TRIP: We begin the day very early with a morning boat ride on the Ganges River to observe people performing daily rituals, then see temples and ghats (steps leading down to the water) for which the city is well known. Mid-morning, we explore Sarnath, part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site where tradition says Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon. Set in well-maintained gardens, Sarnath's ruins are a pleasant place to stroll or meditate. The highlights are Asoka's pillar, the ruins of the Mulagandhakuti and the huge Dharmek Stupa. Farther to the east is the modern Mulagandhakuti Vihara with its beautiful wall paintings and, behind it, the Deer Park. LECTURE: A local professor will discuss the growth of Buddhism in India.

Lunch: Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant featuring local cuisine.

Afternoon: CEREMONY: Later in the afternoon or early evening, during a boat cruise on the Ganges, you will be able to witness sacred Hindu religious rituals of “puja” and “aarti.” Puja refers to a variety of rites, one of which is aarti (also arti, arati), a ceremony in which light from little lamps with wicks soaked in ghee (purified butter) or camphor is offered to one or more deities. Aarti also refers to the songs sung in praise of the deity when lamps are being offered.

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel offers more of the distinctive flavors of India.

Evening: The remainder of the evening is free. Share your favorite highlights of the day with new Road Scholar friends.

Lodging: Radisson Hotel Varanasi

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Full Service Hotel

Contact info:
PO Box 97 Tahachal
Kathmandu, Nepal
phone: +977-1-4273999
web: www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/cp/1/en/hotel/KTMNP/welcome?start=1

Room amenities: Cable / Satellite TV, Coffee/Tea Maker, Mini Bar, High-speed Internet Access, Wireless Data Connection, Electrical Adapters Available,Phone, Bathtub, Hairdryer, Private Bathroom, In Room Safe, Individually Controlled Air Conditioning

Facility amenities: Health & Fitness Center (On-Site), Housekeeping & Laundry Services, Travel Services, Foreign Currency Exchange, Entertainment & Recreation, Sauna and Steam bath, Barbeque Grills, Outdoor Pool, Casino, Hotel Shops, Business Center

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights after: yes
Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services for more information.


Day Twelve: Tuesday, November 17 - Early Check-out for Transfer to Airport and Fligh...
Early Check-out for Transfer to Airport and Flight to Kathmandu, Arrive Kathmandu, Check-in, Dinner

Breakfast: Early! Our breakfast buffet at the hotel includes Indian, Continental, and American breakfast options.

Morning: Check out of the hotel 8:30 AM and board the motorcoach and transfer to the airport.

Lunch: We will have lunch on the plane during our flight.

Afternoon: FLIGHT: Afternoon flight to Kathmandu. It is a panoramic thrill flying into Kathmandu on a clear day with the views of snow-capped mountain peaks sprawling down below. Upon arrival at the airport, we transfer to hotel and check in.

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel will be in the Garden Terrace, with an exquisite contemporary interior, and featuring Continental and Indian cuisine.

Evening: By now you are used to the rhythm of travel and ready to turn in for a good night's sleep to preapre for tomorrow's new discoveries.

Lodging: Crowne Plaza Hotel Kathmandu Soaltee

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Full Service Hotel

Contact info:
PO Box 97 Tahachal
Kathmandu, Nepal
phone: +977-1-4273999
web: www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/cp/1/en/hotel/KTMNP/welcome?start=1

Room amenities: Cable / Satellite TV, Coffee/Tea Maker, Mini Bar, High-speed Internet Access, Wireless Data Connection, Electrical Adapters Available,Phone, Bathtub, Hairdryer, Private Bathroom, In Room Safe, Individually Controlled Air Conditioning

Facility amenities: Health & Fitness Center (On-Site), Housekeeping & Laundry Services, Travel Services, Foreign Currency Exchange, Entertainment & Recreation, Sauna and Steam bath, Barbeque Grills, Outdoor Pool, Casino, Hotel Shops, Business Center

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights after: yes
Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services for more information.


Day Thirteen: Wednesday, November 18 - Newari Art, Swayambhunath UNESCO World Heritage S...
Newari Art, Swayambhunath UNESCO World Heritage Site Field Trip, Hanuman Dhoka Walking Field Trip, Contemporary Nepal Issues

Breakfast: Our breakfast buffet at the hotel offers world cuisine with Indian, Continental, and American options.

Morning: LECTURE: In the fascinating setting of a combination restaurant-art gallery, learn about the Newars, one of Nepal's many ethnic groups. Predominantly Buddhist, Newari artists are renowned throughout Asia for the high quality of their work. A local expert will discuss the impact of Newari art on other countries and cultures in this lush garden and traditional Rana home. FIELD TRIP: We visit Swayambhunath, the oldest Buddhist “stupa” — a place of meditation — established more than 2,500 years ago and also known as the Monkey Temple. Perched high on a hilltop, it commands a superb view of the entire Kathmandu Valley. Swayambhunath is also known as Sengu and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. FIELD TRIP: We transfer by coach then leave the vehicle and walk along to the Hanuman Dhoka (Kathmandu Durbar Square). With its old temples and palaces, Durbar Square epitomizes the religious and cultural life of the people. It is here that the kings of Nepal are crowned and their coronations solemnized. Highlights include Taleju Temple, built by King MahendraMalla in A.D. 1549; the Temple of KalBhairav, the god of destruction; Nautalle Durbar; Coronation Nasal Chowk; the GaddiBaithak; the statue of king PratapMallal the Big Drum; and the Jagannath Temple.

Lunch: Lunch on your own. Your Group Leader will give you options you can explore.

Afternoon: The Coach will pick you up after lunch then will return you to the hotel. LECTURE: Learn about contemporary issues of Nepal from a local expert at the conference hall of the hotel.

Dinner: This evening enjoy a panoply of flavors at a newly reopened hotel restaurant featuring delectable dishes from across Asia including Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese and of course, Chinese food.

Lodging: Crowne Plaza Hotel Kathmandu Soaltee

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Type: Full Service Hotel

Contact info:
PO Box 97 Tahachal
Kathmandu, Nepal
phone: +977-1-4273999
web: www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/cp/1/en/hotel/KTMNP/welcome?start=1

Room amenities: Cable / Satellite TV, Coffee/Tea Maker, Mini Bar, High-speed Internet Access, Wireless Data Connection, Electrical Adapters Available,Phone, Bathtub, Hairdryer, Private Bathroom, In Room Safe, Individually Controlled Air Conditioning

Facility amenities: Health & Fitness Center (On-Site), Housekeeping & Laundry Services, Travel Services, Foreign Currency Exchange, Entertainment & Recreation, Sauna and Steam bath, Barbeque Grills, Outdoor Pool, Casino, Hotel Shops, Business Center

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights after: yes
Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services for more information.


Day Fourteen: Thursday, November 19 - Bhaktapur Field Trip, Pashupatinath Field Trip, B...
Bhaktapur Field Trip, Pashupatinath Field Trip, Boudhanath Stupa, Nepali Cultural Program

Breakfast: Our breakfast buffet at the hotel offers world cuisine with Indian, Continental, and American options.

Morning: FIELD TRIP: Bhaktapur. Approximately 45 minutes away by coach, Bhaktapur sits at an elevation of 4,596 feet (1,401 meters). Its name means “city of devotees” as will be apparent during our exploration. In Bhaktapur's Durbar Square, visit key sites beginning with the National Art Gallery containing ancient and medieval paintings belonging to Hindu and Buddhist schools depicting Tantrics of various periods. The Golden Gate, built by King RanjitMalla, is one of the most beautiful and richly carved specimens of its kind in the entire world, embellished with deities and monsters of marvelous intricacy. The Palace boasts 55 windows in a wood-carved balcony among the brick walls with their gracious settings and sculptural design. Nyatapola Temple stands on five terraced platforms with each terrace containing a pair of figures: two famous wrestlers, two elephants, two lions, two griffins, and the Baghini and Singini (tiger and the lion goddesses).

Lunch: Have lunch in Bhaktapur.

Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Pashupatinath is one of the most sacred Hindu temples in the world. During the annual Shivaratri pilgrimage, thousands of devotees of Lord Shiva from Hindu communities around the world pay homage here. We will explore led by our expert guide. We then proceed to Boudhanath, the largest Buddhist stupa in the world. Set in a Mandala design, it is built on a flat surface of various levels of terraces, painted in pastel colors and adorned with prayer flags. Altogether, 108 Buddha images and 147 insets of prayer wheels adorn the base of the huge circular edifice. The settlement of Boudhanath has the largest community of Tibetans — 12,000 in all.

Dinner: This evening we dine at a traditional Nepali restaurant with authentic local cuisine.

Lodging: Crowne Plaza Hotel Kathmandu Soaltee

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Full Service Hotel

Contact info:
PO Box 97 Tahachal
Kathmandu, Nepal
phone: +977-1-4273999
web: www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/cp/1/en/hotel/KTMNP/welcome?start=1

Room amenities: Cable / Satellite TV, Coffee/Tea Maker, Mini Bar, High-speed Internet Access, Wireless Data Connection, Electrical Adapters Available,Phone, Bathtub, Hairdryer, Private Bathroom, In Room Safe, Individually Controlled Air Conditioning

Facility amenities: Health & Fitness Center (On-Site), Housekeeping & Laundry Services, Travel Services, Foreign Currency Exchange, Entertainment & Recreation, Sauna and Steam bath, Barbeque Grills, Outdoor Pool, Casino, Hotel Shops, Business Center

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights after: yes
Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services for more information.


Day Fifteen: Friday, November 20 - History and Culture of Nepal, Patan City Field Tr...
History and Culture of Nepal, Patan City Field Trip, Tibetan Refugee Camp, Home Hosted Farewell Dinner

Breakfast: Our breakfast buffet at the hotel offers world cuisine with Indian, Continental, and American options.

Morning: LECTURE: History and Culture of Nepal. Learn more about this fascinating land and its people as the university visits us for a presentation and discussion in the hotel conference hall. Visiting students of Tribhuvan University will tell you about their goals, aspirations and lives. FIELD TRIP: We board our coach for the approximately half-hour ride to Patan City, renowned for its fine arts. We explore Patan Durbar Square which is full of ancient palaces, temples and shrines noted for their exquisite carvings. Krishna Mandir, the only temple in Nepal having 21 spires and completely made of stone. Mahabouddha, a Buddhist temple made of clay bricks in which thousands of images of Lord Buddha are engraved. Patan displays the sacred art of Nepal in an illustrious architectural setting. We will also visit a traditional Nepali Village of the Newar clan, to see first-hand traditional ways of life that has changed little for generations.

Lunch: Patan Museum Café has been crafted to complement the superb period ambience achieved by the architects and builders of the Museum itself. Located in the inner courtyard of the Keshav Narayan Chowk in Patan Durbar, the café offers a mix of traditional and Western delicacies and light meals in a setting unparalleled in the Kathmandu Valley.

Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: After lunch, continue to explore the museum. In late afternoon, return to hotel for some free time and prepare for a special dinner affair.

Dinner: Enjoy the convivial atmosphere of cocktails and a farewell dinner in a private home hosted especially for Road Scholar guests.

Lodging: Crowne Plaza Hotel Kathmandu Soaltee

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Sixteen: Saturday, November 21 - Free Morning to Explore Kathmandu, Program Conclu...
Free Morning to Explore Kathmandu, Program Concludes with Transfer to Airport for Flight Home

Breakfast: Our breakfast buffet at the hotel offers world cuisine with Indian, Continental, and American options.

Morning: FREE MORNING: Explore Kathmandu on your own, seeking out what is most interesting and appealing to you. Your group leader and local guide will be happy to offer suggestions. We then depart for the airport and return flight home.

Lunch: If you bought air from Road Scholar and your departure indicates a late afternoon flight from Kathmandu to Delhi - after 2:00 pm -then we will provide lunch in the airport lounge restaurant. If you bought your air from Road Scholar and your flight leaves Kathmandu before 12:00 pm, you will recieve a day room in Delhi, but lunch and dinner will be on your own. We hope you have enjoyed this exploration of mystical lands, learning about and experiencing the peoples and cultures of India and Nepal. Please join us again for other rewarding Road Scholar programs in the future. Best wishes for all your journeys!

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Day Seventeen: Sunday, November 22 - Arrival home.
Arrive To: Arrive to US.


Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
14 nights of accommodations
41 meals: 14 breakfasts, 13 lunches, 14 dinners
8 Expert-led lectures
20 Field trips
1 Performances
2 Flights during the program

Ratings

4.9
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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