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INDIA

The Best of India: Treasures of the North and South

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Road Scholar
Program #18716RJ
21 Days | 20 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderately Challenging
Road Scholar has thousands of educational adventures to choose from. A good way to narrow down our list is to browse our collection of "Most Popular" programs.
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Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
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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.

Itinerary for Sep 18 — Oct 8, 2014

Expand all
Day One: Thursday, September 18 - International Flights
Depart From: U.S. for flight to India.

Type: Five-Star Hotel

Description: The Suryaa New Delhi is a 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.

Contact info:
New Friends Colony
New Delhi, 110 025 India
phone: +911126835070
web: www.thesuryaanewdelhi.com/

Room amenities: Satellite TV, CD Player, DVD Player, In-Room Movies, Coffee Maker, Mini-Refrigerator, Mini Bar, Wi-Fi Internet, Phone with Voicemail, Bathrobe, Hairdryer, Bathtub, In-Room Safe, Air Conditioning & Iron/Ironing Board

Facility amenities: Laundry/Dry Cleaning, Multi-lingual Staff, Administrative Services, Concierge Services, Barber/Hair Stylist, Business Center, Currency Exchange, Fax, Gift Shop, Room Service, Health Club, Indoor Pool, Health Spa/Massage, Outdoor Pool, Hot Tub, ATM & Safe Deposit Box

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

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: n/a
Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services for more information.


Day Two: Friday, September 19 - Arrival in Delhi / Transfer to Hotel / Dinner / F...
Arrival in Delhi / Transfer to Hotel / Dinner / Free Evening to Rest and Relax

Arrive To: Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi

Afternoon: Late afternoon arrivals. After completing arrival procedures, you will meet the Group Leader at the arrival gate. Once the group is assembled, you will transfer to the hotel via motorcoach, followed by check in.

Dinner: At the hotel’s café, enjoy an authentic taste of India with a light buffet dinner featuring Indian as well as Continental cuisine with complimentary coffee, tea, and water.

Evening: At leisure. Settle in, rest and relax to be ready for an active day tomorrow.

Lodging: Suryaa New Delhi

Meals Included: Dinner
Type: Five-Star Hotel

Description: The Suryaa New Delhi is a 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.

Contact info:
New Friends Colony
New Delhi, 110 025 India
phone: +911126835070
web: www.thesuryaanewdelhi.com/

Room amenities: Satellite TV, CD Player, DVD Player, In-Room Movies, Coffee Maker, Mini-Refrigerator, Mini Bar, Wi-Fi Internet, Phone with Voicemail, Bathrobe, Hairdryer, Bathtub, In-Room Safe, Air Conditioning & Iron/Ironing Board

Facility amenities: Laundry/Dry Cleaning, Multi-lingual Staff, Administrative Services, Concierge Services, Barber/Hair Stylist, Business Center, Currency Exchange, Fax, Gift Shop, Room Service, Health Club, Indoor Pool, Health Spa/Massage, Outdoor Pool, Hot Tub, ATM & Safe Deposit Box

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

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: n/a
Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services for more information.


Day Three: Saturday, September 20 - Old Delhi / Red Fort / Jama Masjid Mosque / Chand...
Old Delhi / Red Fort / Jama Masjid Mosque / Chandni Chowk / Raj Ghat / Gandhi Smriti and Gandhi’s Legacy

Breakfast: Our buffet breakfast at the hotel includes Indian, Continental, and American breakfast options with complimentary juice, coffee, and tea.

Morning: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. In addition to the program theme and logistics, we will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have.

Please be aware that indicated times are approximate and that program activities and schedules could change due to local circumstances such as weather, traffic conditions, etc. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

During free time, the Group Leader will often be available for informal excursions, activities, or meals not included in the program. You are welcome to join if you wish, with any associated costs on your own, or may explore independently.

With the Group Leader, we then board our motorcoach to explore Old Delhi. We drive past the massive sandstone walls of the Red Fort, symbol of Mughal power and pomp and visit 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.

We next board our motorcoach to Raj Ghat: a simple square platform of black marble surrounded by a beautiful park that marks the spot where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated following his assassination in 1948.

Lunch: At Chor Bizarre, a popular local restaurant, enjoy authentic, traditional Indian cuisine in an unusual setting where the décor suggests a thieves market.

Afternoon: Our field trip by motorcoach this afternoon takes us to Gandhi Smriti (recollection) in what was once the home of a prominent industrialist. This is where Mahatma Gandhi stayed from September 9, 1947 to January 30, 1948 and was assassinated. It has been preserved as a museum and memorial to the Father of the Nation. Displays include Gandhi’s few personal effects as well as paintings, pictures, sculptures, and other relics. The memorial perpetuates Gandhi’s legacy, highlights his values and ideals, and offers guidance for those who wish to follow his path.

After returning to the hotel via motorcoach, a local expert will discuss the relevance of Gandhiji {“ji” is a term of respect) in today’s world.

Dinner: Our official welcome dinner at the hotel is a plated meal providing different tastes of India with a menu of local cuisine. A glass of complimentary Indian wine/beer is also included along with coffee, tea, water.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Suryaa New Delhi

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

Description: The Suryaa New Delhi is a 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.

Contact info:
New Friends Colony
New Delhi, 110 025 India
phone: +911126835070
web: www.thesuryaanewdelhi.com/

Room amenities: Satellite TV, CD Player, DVD Player, In-Room Movies, Coffee Maker, Mini-Refrigerator, Mini Bar, Wi-Fi Internet, Phone with Voicemail, Bathrobe, Hairdryer, Bathtub, In-Room Safe, Air Conditioning & Iron/Ironing Board

Facility amenities: Laundry/Dry Cleaning, Multi-lingual Staff, Administrative Services, Concierge Services, Barber/Hair Stylist, Business Center, Currency Exchange, Fax, Gift Shop, Room Service, Health Club, Indoor Pool, Health Spa/Massage, Outdoor Pool, Hot Tub, ATM & Safe Deposit Box

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

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: n/a
Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services for more information.


Day Four: Sunday, September 21 - New Delhi / National Museum
Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: The Group Leader will provide an overview of India’s parliamentary system of government in the world's largest democracy.

We then depart by motorcoach for an orientation excursion to see key monuments of New Delhi including India Gate, reminiscent of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, that commemorates Indian soldiers who died during World War I; Parliament House, home of the nation’s supreme legislative body; President House (Rashtrapati Bhavan), a huge complex that serves as the official residence of the President of India and the Secretariat Building.

Having gained some perspectives on modern India, we ride to the National Museum for a talk by an art historian who will explain the essence of classical Indian art, followed by independent exploration with audio guide. The museum’s collections comprise some 200,000 objects representing more than 5,000 years of Indian cultural heritage.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy the cuisine of your choice. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Afternoon: Free Afternoon: Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. If you like, you may continue with the Group Leader to visit the Bahá’í House of Worship Constructed of white marble, the beautiful lotus dome coveys respect for all world religions.

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 in smaller vehicles from and to the hotel. The families are part of India’s middle class and you can look forward to a fascinating interaction that will tell you a great deal about the people. At the conclusion of the evening, approximately 9:00-9:30 p.m., you will return to the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Suryaa New Delhi

Meals Included: Breakfast, 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 Five: Monday, September 22 - Depart for Agra / Introduction to Mughal History ...
Depart for Agra / Introduction to Mughal History / Baby Taj / Taj Mahal at Sunset

Note: After an early breakfast, we check out of the hotel and transfer via motorcoach to Agra. The trip of approximately 127 miles (205 kilometers) takes about 4-1/2 hours.

Breakfast: Early in the hotel.

Morning: En route to Agra, our Group Leader will provide an introduction to the Pre-Mughal and Mughal (also spelled Mogul) period. Prior to the Mughals who invaded in the 16th century, the northern part of the subcontinent consisted of independent and highly developed Hindu and Muslim kingdoms.

Lunch: Upon arrival in Agra, we will have a buffet lunch at the hotel with complimentary coffee, tea, and water.

Afternoon: Rooms will be available for check-in at 2:00 p.m. You will have some time to freshen up and relax before our next field trip.

In the late afternoon, we board our motorcoach and depart to the mausoleum of Itmad-Ud-Daulah, popularly known as the Baby Taj. This was the first of its kind 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. The 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.

We continue to Mehtab Bagh, a garden complex aligned with the Taj Mahal on the opposite side of the Yamuna River. It was designed to be a “moon lit pleasure garden” and the ideal spot for viewing the Taj. Over generations, it deteriorated badly and is now being restored.

We will have an on site talk about the Taj Mahal to prepare for our sunset view. As the sun sets, you will have a unique experience of breathtaking beauty at this ultimate monument to romantic love. Dazzling white during the day, its marble exterior reflects rose and golden tints at sunrise and sunset. We then return to the hotel.

Dinner: At the hotel, enjoy a buffet dinner offering Indian and Continental cuisine with choice of entrée and an assortment of side dishes to complete your meal, plus complimentary coffee, tea, and water.

Evening: At leisure.

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 Six: Tuesday, September 23 - Taj Mahal / Agra Fort / Cooking Demonstration in ...
Taj Mahal / Agra Fort / Cooking Demonstration in Private Home / Free Afternoon and Evening

Breakfast: We will return to the hotel for breakfast after our early morning visit to the Taj Mahal. The buffet will include Indian, Continental, and American breakfast options.

Morning: We set out pre-dawn to be ready for the rising sun as it bathes the pristine white marble of the Taj Mahal in warm hues of gold, ochre, and orange. 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 incomparable due to its perfect proportions, distinct femininity, medium of construction, and ornamentation.

You will have some time to explore the exquisite grounds and view the highly decorated inside chamber before we return to the hotel for breakfast.

After breakfast, our next field trip takes us to Agra Fort. Originally built as an impregnable military structure by Akbar, the Red Fort of Agra, is made of red sandstone with 1.5 miles of enclosing walls. This 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: Observe a cooking demonstration in a private home, then feast on an Indian buffet prepared especially prepared for us.

Afternoon: Free Afternoon: Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy the cuisine of your choice. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions. You may also join the Group Leader for dinner at your own cost if you like.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Trident Hotel Agra

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
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: Wednesday, September 24 - Dera Village Retreat, Kalakho / Village Field Tri...
Dera Village Retreat, Kalakho / Village Field Trip by Camel / Rajasthani Folk Dances

Note: After checking out of the hotel, we board our motorcoach and depart for Kalakho. The transfer will take approximately 3 hours with rest stops.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: 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 cart.

Upon arrival at Dera Village Retreat in Kalakho, check in to your designated cottage facing a green garden oasis.

Lunch: Enjoy Indian cuisine prepared by chefs at the retreat.

Afternoon: We will set out in small carts pulled by camels to a nearby village of the Meena tribal group. Roughly 12% of Rajasthan’s population have tribal identifications. The two largest groups are Bhils and Meenas, the original inhabitants many centuries ago. The Meenas were once regional rulers but declined in power and influence with the rise of the Rajputs. After being defeated in wars and compelled to seek refuge in the vastness of Rajputana, they intermingled with local aboriginal people. We will visit some of their traditional mud huts decorated with floral and animal designs on the walls and floors, and interact with villagers as they follow daily activities in their homes.

After returning, enjoy an authentic folk dance and musical performance and try a few steps with the dancers. Rajasthan folk dances and accompanying music are lively and festive.

Dinner: At the Retreat, our meal is a simple Indian buffet with local flavor plus complimentary coffee, tea, and water.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Dera Village Retreat

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 Eight: Thursday, September 25 - Abhaneri Village Step Wells / Village School / Fr...
Abhaneri Village Step Wells / Village School / Free Afternoon / Rajasthan’s History, Culture and People

Breakfast: At the retreat.

Morning: Today we explore the rural village of Abhaneri, notable for one of Rajasthan’s least well known but most fascinating landmarks, Chand Baori, an ancient stepwell. Built by King Chandra during the 8th–9th centuries to provide a dependable water source in this dry land, it was also used for ritual cleansing. The huge square is lined on three sides with double flights of narrow, symmetrical steps -- 3,500 in all -- going down more than 65 feet (20 meters) to the bottom of the well. Though no longer in use, it attests to the achievements of an advanced society more than 1,000 years ago. Adjacent to Chand Baori and of the same era is the Hindu temple of Harshat Mata, severely damaged during the 10th century but still an active place of worship, notable for its beautiful carved figures.

We will also visit a village school where the teacher will take us around and tell you about the educational system. You will have an opportunity to meet and interact with the children.

Lunch: A the Retreat.

Afternoon: You have options this afternoon. You may choose free time to relax or learn how to play India’s most popular sport cricket. In the late afternoon, there will also be an optional nature hike led by one of the Retreat staff members.

We regroup in the early evening for a presentation by our Group Leader on the history, culture, and people of Rajasthan.

Dinner: At the Retreat.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Dera Village Retreat

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 Nine: Friday, September 26 - Transfer to Jaipur / Caste System in Indian Socie...
Transfer to Jaipur / Caste System in Indian Society / Home-Hosted Evening with Dinner

Note: After checking out of the hotel, we board our motorcoach and transfer to Jaipur, about 3 hours.

Breakfast: At the Retreat.

Morning: En route to the colorful “Pink City” of Jaipur, our Group Leader will discuss India’s ancient caste system, connected to Hindu religious concepts that organized society into a hierarchy of hereditary groups with strict rules about associations and marriage.

Lunch: Arriving in Jaipur, we will have lunch at the hotel, a multi-cuisine buffet with complimentary coffee, tea, and water.

Afternoon: This afternoon the Group Leader will take us to explore the colorful bazaars of Old Jaipur. The old city is loosely divided into traditional artisans' quarters specializing in different arts and crafts -- a legacy from the days of royal and noble patronage. The variety of colorful sights and sounds is extraordinary.

Dinner: Tonight we have a special treat, a family-style dinner together in the home of a Rajasthani family in their traditional “haveli” (private mansion).

Evening: After our evening of interacting with the family, we will return to the hotel.

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 Ten: Saturday, September 27 - Amber Fort / Hawa Mahal / City Palace / Jantar Ma...
Breakfast: Our breakfast buffet at the hotel includes Indian, Continental, and American breakfast options with complimentary juice, coffee, and tea.

Morning: We transfer to the 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 a café inside the City Palace, enjoy a buffet lunch featuring Indian cuisine with complimentary coffee, tea, and bottled water.

Afternoon: We continue our exploration of Jaipur and its wonders at the City Palace, built from 1729-1732. The architecture is a fusion of Rajput, Mughal, and European styles. It is still the Maharaja's official residence but largely given over to a museum containing rare manuscripts, fine specimens of Rajput and Mughal paintings, royal apparel, and an armory.

Lastly today, we visit Jantar Mantar Astronomical Observatory, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 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, “an expression of the astronomical skills and cosmological concepts of the court of a scholarly prince at the end of the Mughal period.”

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy the cuisine of your choice. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Trident Hotel Jaipur

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

Description: The Hotel Regaalis is a modern hotel located in the heart of Mysore, and enjoys a tranquil setting within three acres of lush gardens.

Contact info:
13-14 Vinobha Road
Mysore, 570005 India
phone: +91 821 242 6426
web: www.reztrip.com/RezTripWeb/defaultSearchDisplay.do?propertyId=10719519

Room amenities: 108 rooms with air-conditioning, Wi-Fi Internet access, cable television, direct-dial telephone, tea and coffee making facility, room service, in-room safe, mini-bar, private bathroom with shower and hairdryer.

Facility amenities: Restaurant and bar; Wi-Fi Internet access, foreign currency exchange, laundry service, swimming pool and fitness center.

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


Day Eleven: Sunday, September 28 - Flight to Bangalore / Transfer to Mysore / Overvi...
Note: This will be a long day in transit, with an early morning transfer to the airport for a flight from Jaipur to Banglore, approximately 3 hours, followed by a motorcoach transfer to Mysore, approximately 5 hours.

Breakfast: Due to our early morning departure, you will have a boxed breakfast to eat en route.

Morning: We check out of the hotel early and transfer via motorcoach to the airport for our flight to Bangalore. Upon arrival and after collecting our luggage, we will board our motorcoach for the ride to Mysore.

Lunch: We will stop en route for lunch at a characteristic local restaurant.

Afternoon: As we ride, the Group Leader will provide an overview of South India, whose cultures, traditions, and architecture are markedly different from those of the North.

We will check in to the hotel late afternoon with some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel, Enjoy a buffet with Indian and Continental options plus complimentary coffee, tea, and water.

Evening: At leisure to get a good night's sleep.

Lodging: Hotel Regaalis Mysore

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

Description: The Hotel Regaalis is a modern hotel located in the heart of Mysore, and enjoys a tranquil setting within three acres of lush gardens.

Contact info:
13-14 Vinobha Road
Mysore, 570005 India
phone: +91 821 242 6426
web: www.reztrip.com/RezTripWeb/defaultSearchDisplay.do?propertyId=10719519

Room amenities: 108 rooms with air-conditioning, Wi-Fi Internet access, cable television, direct-dial telephone, tea and coffee making facility, room service, in-room safe, mini-bar, private bathroom with shower and hairdryer.

Facility amenities: Restaurant and bar; Wi-Fi Internet access, foreign currency exchange, laundry service, swimming pool and fitness center.

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


Day Twelve: Monday, September 29 - Srirangapatnam / Palace of Tipu Sultan / Somnathp...
Srirangapatnam / Palace of Tipu Sultan / Somnathpur / Introduction to Indian Mythology / Home-Hosted Dinner

Breakfast: Our breakfast buffet at the hotel includes Indian, Continental, and American breakfast options with complimentary juice, coffee, and tea.

Morning: A former kingdom, a princely state, and a center of art and culture, Mysore’s history is extraordinary even by the standards of India. We will explore one of the most remarkable sites -- Srirangapatna -- which developed on a rocky island in the Kaveri (“Cauvery” in English) River, considered sacred by Hindus. Its history traces back to the 9th century when the ruling dynasty built the magnificent Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple for which the town is named. It gained greater historical prominence as the capital of ruler Tipu Sultan, known as the Tiger of Mysore for his armed struggles against British dominance during the 18th century. The island town became a literal fortress with high stone walls and moats enclosing palaces, temples, and a great mosque. An important pilgrimage site for Hindus, the temple is dedicated to Ranganatha (a manifestation of Vishnu). It was dedicated in 984 and is one of India’s most revered monuments.

We will also take a field trip to Somnathpur, a small village renowned for its splendid Keshava temple built in the Hoyasala style. The temple is famous for its elaborate and intricate sculpturing. The names of the sculptors are inscribed on their works, a common practice during the reign of the Hoysalas. The temple is built on an elevated star shaped platform. The sides of the raised platform are decorated with richly carved friezes, portraying rows of cavalry, elephants and scenes from the epics.

Lunch: At the hotel, our lunch buffet features local flavors with complimentary coffee, tea, and water.

Afternoon: The Group Leader will present an introduction to Indian mythology. Then for a change of pace, we will explore the lively local market with its colorful flowers, fruits, and vegetables.

Dinner: In a local Kodava home, experience a taste of authentic local cuisine. The Kodava people, also known as Coorgs have their own language and a distinctive cultural and religious heritage, known from ancient times for military traditions and reverence for nature and their ancestors.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Hotel Regaalis Mysore

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

Description: The Hotel Regaalis is a modern hotel located in the heart of Mysore, and enjoys a tranquil setting within three acres of lush gardens.

Contact info:
13-14 Vinobha Road
Mysore, 570005 India
phone: +91 821 242 6426
web: www.reztrip.com/RezTripWeb/defaultSearchDisplay.do?propertyId=10719519

Room amenities: 108 rooms with air-conditioning, Wi-Fi Internet access, cable television, direct-dial telephone, tea and coffee making facility, room service, in-room safe, mini-bar, private bathroom with shower and hairdryer.

Facility amenities: Restaurant and bar; Wi-Fi Internet access, foreign currency exchange, laundry service, swimming pool and fitness center.

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


Day Thirteen: Tuesday, September 30 - Chamundeshwari Temple / Mysore Palace / Free Afte...
Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: We set out via motorcoach for the Chamundeshwari Temple atop nearby Chamundi Hill, named for a goddess. The temple itself is dedicated to a deity revered by the Mysore royal family, Sri Chamundeshwari. Devout pilgrims climb a flight of 1,000 stone steps from the foot of the hill to the temple that sits at a height of 3,000 feet (914 meters). The temple is an exceptionally fine example of Dravidian architecture with a silver-plated doorway and a gold idol of the goddess in the inner sanctum.

Next, we explore the royal city of Mysore, known as the City of Palaces. This was the home of the ruling Wodyer dynasty for more than 500 years, a succession of 25 kings that lasted until 1947. Royal patronage attracted artists and artisans of all kinds who enriched Mysore over the centuries. The current walled palace complex, representing the pinnacle of kingly grandeur, was constructed from 1897 to 1912 from a design by noted English architect Henry Irwin in Indo-Saracenic style. The palace treasures include a jewel encrusted golden throne as well as temples and shrines.

Lunch: In the hotel.

Afternoon: Free Afternoon: Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Dinner: This dinner has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy the cuisine of your choice. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Hotel Regaalis Mysore

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Type: Hotel

Description: Windflower Spa & Resort, Wayanad, is a getaway that invites you to pamper your senses with a unique spa and resort set in 27 acres of coffee estate. In keeping with the Windflower spirit of evolving from the natural beauty of the surroundings, it brings you a very distinctive look and mood. Just a five hours drive from Bangalore, this very private retreat with all its contemporary luxuries, awaits you. Nestled in a hillock, amidst a sprawling coffee plantation, you will find the misty slopes, the aroma of coffee and spices welcoming you as you enter a world of gourmet cuisines, exciting adventure and leisure options and a choice of wellness therapies – a world of intimate experiences that will surely make you forget the mundane.

Contact info:
x
x, India
phone: +x
web: www.signatureholidays.co.in/wayanad-windflower_spa_resort.html

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

Elevator: Yes


Day Fourteen: Wednesday, October 01 - The Hill Station of Wayanad
Note: Intensive travel day of 6-7 hours via motorcoach with rest stops.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: This is a full travel day in which we move from Mysore in Karanatka to the Hill Station of Wayanad in Kerala. In India and some other lands that were once part of colonial empires, “hill stations” are towns at higher elevations (generally 3,500-7,500 feet / 1,000-2,500 meters) that serve as retreats from the summer heat.

En route, we will traverse one of the most picturesque drives in India through beautiful Bandipur National Park. This was once the private hunting reserve of the Maharaja of Mysore. The Park was created in 1974 in conjunction with Project Tiger, launched to preserve endangered Bengal tigers and ecosystem diversity. The park is also home to a great variety of animals including deer, antelope, wild dogs, wild boar, Asian elephants, many birds and, of course, monkeys. As the road winds higher, be on the look-out for monkeys playing along the road side and -- with luck -- a rare glimpse of elephants that sometimes inhabit these forests.

Lunch: We will stop en-route for lunch at a Wynberg resort and have a Kerala vegetarian meal.

Afternoon: After lunch, the owner will lead a walk through the resort and plantation to discuss spice crops grown in this area.

As we continue on our way, the Group Leader will discuss how the spices of Kerala influenced history.

We will also pause at a lovely garden before arriving at Wayanad and checking in to our overnight accommodations.

Dinner: In the resort, enjoy a multi-cuisine buffet with complimentary coffee, tea, and water.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Windflower Spa & Resort

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: Nestled amid 50 acres of peaceful, natural beauty in the hills surrounding Palakkad, the Kairali Ayurvedic Health Resort is a traditional Ayurvedic retreat. With its unique focus on healthful living, the resort is designed to rejuvenate the guest.

Room amenities: 30 individual villas with air conditioning, satellite television, direct-dial telephone, bathrobe and slippers, private bathroom individual hote water heaters, bathtub with hand-held shower nozzle and hair dryer.

Facility amenities: Ayurveda health spa with massage and beauty treatments, vegetarian restaurant, conference hall, outdoor swimming pool, herbal garden, yoga and meditation classes, recreation and business center, W-Fi Internet access. No alcohol is served on the premises.

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

Elevator: Yes


Day Fifteen: Thursday, October 02 - Drive to Palakkad / Kerala Kalamandalam
Note: After an early morning departure, this will be an intensive travel day of approximately 7 hours via motorcoach with rest stops. The morning route will take about 2 hours, the drive after lunch about 5 hours

Breakfast: Early in the resort, enjoy a multi-cuisine buffet with complimentary coffee, tea, and water.

Morning: As we wind through scenic hills to Palakkad, the Group Leader will give a presentation about the cultural and social importance of festivals in Indian society.

Lunch: We will stop at a local restaurant for a buffet of Indian cuisine.

Afternoon: En route, we will stop at Kerala Kalamandalam, founded in 1930 by renowned poet Padmabhooshan Vallathol Narayana Menon. Kalamandalam is a residential center of learning for art and culture. On a privileged visit to observe a class, you will see how students learn about the traditional dance and theater form of Kathakali, an old school that has imparted training to several artists who have received national and international recognition. Please note: In the event that the school is closed or classes rescheduled, we will have an alternative activity to break up the ride.

We arrive late afternoon at the Ayurvedic health resort and check in to our rooms.

Dinner: Dinner at the Ayurvedic health resort is a vegetarian meal with soup and salad. Meals at the resort feature organic vegetables grown in Kairali's own garden.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Kairali Ayurvedic Health Resort

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: Nestled amid 50 acres of peaceful, natural beauty in the hills surrounding Palakkad, the Kairali Ayurvedic Health Resort is a traditional Ayurvedic retreat. With its unique focus on healthful living, the resort is designed to rejuvenate the guest.

Room amenities: 30 individual villas with air conditioning, satellite television, direct-dial telephone, bathrobe and slippers, private bathroom individual hote water heaters, bathtub with hand-held shower nozzle and hair dryer.

Facility amenities: Ayurveda health spa with massage and beauty treatments, vegetarian restaurant, conference hall, outdoor swimming pool, herbal garden, yoga and meditation classes, recreation and business center, W-Fi Internet access. No alcohol is served on the premises.

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

Elevator: Yes


Day Sixteen: Friday, October 03 - Free Morning / Local Festival
Note: Optional yoga before breakfast.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the resort is an Ayurvedic meal.

Morning: Free Morning. Explore the grounds of the resort on your own or just relax in this peaceful environment.

Lunch: Enjoy an Ayurvedic meal at the resort.

Afternoon: India is a land of many cultures, religions, and festivals. This afternoon, we will have an opportunity to observe the activities and events at one of those fascinating festivals. Relish the sights and sounds as you experience traditional festivities where the human spirit is celebrated with much fanfare -- a vibrantly colorful and rich experience

Dinner: At the resort.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Kairali Ayurvedic Health Resort

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Other

Description: Originally called a "Kettuvallum" (meaning rice barge), the shallow and rounded hull of Keralan houseboats are constructed without using a single nail. Built in the same manner for centuries, the traditional use was to transport goods through the placid waterways of the lagoons and their tributaries. The two-deck boats feature hand carved pillars and traditional doors with intricate Keralan brass locks. One large houseboat accommodates 9 passengers, additional houseboats accommodate 4 passengers each in twin-bedded cabins.

Room amenities: All cabins are located on the lower deck and have a large picture window, air-conditioning, and are simply-furnished with two twin beds, private bathroom with shower, sink and toilet, hot and cold water.

Facility amenities: A single flight of stairs joins the lower and upper deck, where the air-conditioned dining area, sitting room and open-air sun deck are located.

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


Day Seventeen: Saturday, October 04 - Transfer to Kerala Backwaters / Board Houseboats ...
Note: Optional yoga before breakfast. This is an intensive travel day of 7 hours via motorcoach with rest stops. Depending on the size of the group, we may be subdivided to stay on two or more houseboats.

Breakfast: At the resort.

Morning: Checking out of the resort, we depart on a full-day drive to the backwaters of Kerala. Observe the changing landscapes as we descend from the hills into Kerala's tropical coastal area.

Lunch: In a local restaurant en route.

Afternoon: As we continuing the drive, our Study Leader will discuss the prosperous, progressive state of Kerala that surprisingly has a Communist Marxist government.

We arrive late afternoon at the riverside embarkation point, board our privately-charted traditional Keralan houseboats, and begin cruising.

Dinner: Just before sunset, our houseboats tie up for the night and we have dinner on board, a buffet of South Indian and continental cuisine with complimentary coffee, tea, and water.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Privately Chartered Houseboats

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Other

Description: Originally called a "Kettuvallum" (meaning rice barge), the shallow and rounded hull of Keralan houseboats are constructed without using a single nail. Built in the same manner for centuries, the traditional use was to transport goods through the placid waterways of the lagoons and their tributaries. The two-deck boats feature hand carved pillars and traditional doors with intricate Keralan brass locks. One large houseboat accommodates 9 passengers, additional houseboats accommodate 4 passengers each in twin-bedded cabins.

Room amenities: All cabins are located on the lower deck and have a large picture window, air-conditioning, and are simply-furnished with two twin beds, private bathroom with shower, sink and toilet, hot and cold water.

Facility amenities: A single flight of stairs joins the lower and upper deck, where the air-conditioned dining area, sitting room and open-air sun deck are located.

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


Day Eighteen: Sunday, October 05 - Kerala Backwaters Exploration
Breakfast: Aboard your houseboat, choose from a buffet of South Indian and continental cuisine.

Morning: Get a view of countryside life you can get no other way as we cruise along tranquil waterways. You will likely see passing skiff-fishermen in their cockleshell boats; large flotillas of ducks waddling down to the water from thatched houses on the banks; women neck-deep in water with their waist-length hair heaped in a crown, searching for fish with their feet; and cattle grazing in lush pastureland.

With our Group Leader, we will stop in a water-side village and walk the paths that front the small houses to observe daily life.

Lunch: Aboard your houseboat, the lunch buffet features South Indian cuisine with complimentary coffee, tea, and water.

Afternoon: Continue observing life on the water. You are of as much interest to the village residents as they are to you, waving and calling out as the boats pass by. An abundance of birdlife is found in the area. The houseboats tie up at sunset, to overnight along the water’s edge.

In the early evening, learn about traditional boat building in Kerala.

Dinner: Aboard your houseboat, enjoy a plated meal with complimentary coffee, tea, and water.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: Privately Chartered Houseboats

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Boutique Hotel

Description: Conveniently located on downtown Marine Drive, Ernakulam’s busiest commercial hub, the hotel is 45 minutes from the airport. The hotel offers some of the best business amenities, restaurants and a view of the backwaters and the Cochin Harbour, making it just the place for business and pleasure.

Contact info:
The Gateway Hotel Marine Drive
Ernakulam, India
phone: +914846673300
Room amenities: •Wi-Fi internet connectivity •International direct dialling •Voicemail service •Mini-bar •Electronic safe

Facility amenities: •24-hour conference assistance •Wi-Fi internet access throughout the hotel •Audio-visual equipment •Copier / Facsimile facilities •Secretarial services •Currency exchange •Active studio •Swimming Pool

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

Elevator: Yes

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


Day Nineteen: Monday, October 06 - Disembark Houseboats / Transfer to Ernakulam-Coch...
Disembark Houseboats / Transfer to Ernakulam-Cochin / Dutch Palace / Jewish Synagogue / Farewell Dinner

Note: The drive to Cochin is approximately 3 hours.

Breakfast: Aboard your houseboat.

Morning: We disembark the houseboats and hop aboard our motorcoach for the drive to Ernakulam, once capital of the kingdom of Cochin and now part of the Kochi urban complex.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy the cuisine of your choice. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Afternoon: After checking in to the hotel, you will have some time to freshen up before our next field trip.

We will explore Cochin with our Group Leader. Highlights include the "Dutch Palace” built in the 1550s by the Portuguese and taken over by the Dutch, who later presented it to the Rajas of Cochin. The palace contains excellent mythological murals and a rare example of traditional Keralite flooring -- a subtle mix of burnt coconut shells, lime, plant juices and egg whites -- that gives the effect of polished marble. We will also visit The Jewish Synagogue, built in 1568 and considerably embellished in the mid 18th century by Ezekiel Rahabi, who built a clock tower and paved the floor of the synagogue with hand-painted tiles brought from Canton in China.

Dinner: Our farewell Dinner at the hotel is a plated, 3-course meal with a complimentary glass of Indian wine or beer plus coffee, tea, and water.

Evening: At leisure. Continue enjoying the company of new Road Scholar friends in a relaxed atmosphere before the program concludes tomorrow afternoon.

Lodging: The Gateway Hotel Ernakulam

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Day Twenty: Tuesday, October 07 - Free Morning to Explore / Program Concludes / Dep...
Note: The day’s schedule is determined by flight times. Hotel check-out is by 12:00 Noon.

Breakfast: At the hotel, our multi-cuisine breakfast buffet includes Indian, South Indian, and Continental choices.

Morning: Free Morning. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy the cuisine of your choice. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Afternoon: Departure to the airport will be at approximately 3:00 p.m. (subject to change depending on flight schedules).

Dinner: A light dinner at a restaurant near the airport concludes our program.

We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please be in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network, where you can share memories, pictures, and comments. Best wishes for all your journeys!

Evening: Departures.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Day Twenty One: Wednesday, October 08 - Return to the U.S.A.
Arrive To: Arrival back home.


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 ...
18 nights of accommodations
49 meals: 18 breakfasts, 15 lunches, 16 dinners
12 Expert-led lectures
26 Field trips
7 Hands-on experiences
1 Performances

Ratings

4.8
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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