Road Scholar : Home
Voyages to Antiquity: Delhi, Mumbai and Colombo

Program Number: 20568RJ
Start and End Dates:
11/12/2012 - 11/30/2012;
Duration: 18 nights
Location: India/Maldives/Sri Lanka
Price starting at: $6,792.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Ocean Cruises Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 47; 16 Breakfasts, 15 Lunches, 16 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Fat; Gluten Free; Low Salt    

The monuments of Delhi, the bustling city of Mumbai, and the beautiful island city of Colombo — experience them all in a journey that leads from India to Sri Lanka on board the MV Aegean Odyssey.




Activity Particulars

Walking over uneven terrain; standing for up to 90 minutes at a time; stairs without railings; hot and humid conditions.



Itinerary At-a-Glance

Delhi (India), 2 nights; Agra, 2 nights; Jaipur, 1 night; aboard MV Aegean Odyssey, 10 nights.



Day 1: Overnight flight from the U.S.A.


Days 2-3: Arrival Delhi (India):

Spend a day in New Delhi and see its grandest sites, from the Great Mosque to the Red Fort, as well as the Parliament and president’s house. Lodging: Centrally located hotel.



Days 4-5: Coach to Agra:

Watch the sun rise and set over the Taj Mahal, and delve into the fascinating history of this breathtaking monument. Lodging: Centrally located hotel.



Days 6-8: Coach to Jaipur / flight to Mumbai / embark Aegean Odyssey:

Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Fatehpur Sikri — once the capital of the Mughal Empire — and explore Jaipur, popularly known as the “Pink City.” Enjoy an elephant ride to the Amber Fort, and explore the city of Mumbai with a local expert.



Days 9-10: Goa / At Sea:

Join an expert for an exploration of the exquisite architecture, historic villas and scenic beaches of Goa.



Days 11-12: Cochin / At Sea:

Explore the native village of Cochin and learn about traditional cuisine at the home of a local resident.



Days 13-14: Maldives / At Sea:

Embark on a boat ride through the remote islands of the Maldives, and savor an evening barbeque on the uninhabited Kuda Bandos.



Days 15-17: Colombo (Sri Lanka) / disembark / departure:

Discover Dutch and British colonial-era architecture interspersed with Hindu temples; visit the neoclassical National Museum. Walk along the colorful Pettah Bazaar in Colombo before making your way to the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy.



Aegean Odyssey

The Aegean Odyssey is a premium-class ship especially rebuilt for sailing along shallow coastlines, among remote islands and into small, uncrowded harbors that larger ocean liners can’t reach. Public areas include several gourmet restaurants, library, Internet center, sweeping sun decks, outdoor pool, gym and spa.


Meals and Lodgings
   The Suryaa New Delhi
  Delhi, India 2 nights
   Trident Agra
  Agra, India 2 nights
   Trident Jaipur
  Jaipur, India 1 night
   MV Aegean Odyssey
  MV Aegean Odyssey - At Sea, At Sea 9 nights
   Hilton Colombo Hotel
  Colombo, Sri Lanka 2 nights
 The Suryaa New Delhi
Type: Five-Star Hotel
  Description: The Suryaa New Delhi is a luxurious five-star hotel that is located in the heart of New Delhi. Fully equipped with modern conference facilities and situated amidst historical monuments and shopping sites, this hotel is the ideal choice for business and leisure travelers alike.
  Contact info: New Friends Colony
New Delhi,  110 065 India
phone: +91 26835070
web: www.thesuryaanewdelhi.com
  Room amenities: Each room has tea and coffee making facilities, personal safe, iron and ironing board, television, telephone, mini bar, free morning paper delivered, individually controlled air conditioning, wireless Internet, and a hair dryer.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers three restaurants, a bar, pastry shop, night club, 24-hour room service, laundry services, air conditioning, gym, swimming pool, business center facilities, shopping arcade, and wireless Internet throughout the hotel.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: N/A Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. 1-800-241-1404.

 Trident Agra
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The Trident Agra is built of red stone reminiscent of the Mughal era, set amidst beautiful gardens, fountains and courtyards, and is literally a stone's throw away from one of the new 7 Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal.
  Contact info: Fathehabad Road
Agra,  282001 India
phone: +91 0562-2235000
web: www.tridenthotels.com
  Room amenities: Each room has a television, telephone, mini bar, iron and ironing board, personal safe, air conditioning, tea and coffee making facilities, wireless Internet access, and a hair dryer.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers a restaurant, bar, air conditioning, fitness center, swimming pool, business center, currency exchange, laundry services, beauty salon, and both wired and wireless Internet access.
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 Trident Jaipur
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The Trident Jaipur is located just opposite the historic Jal Mahal and Mansagar Lake. The hotel itself is gracefully furnished and equipped with modern facilities, and its breathtaking views of the lake and striking Aravalli range welcome guests from all corners of the world.
  Contact info: Amber Fort Road
Jaipur,  302 002 India
phone: +91 141 267 0101
web: www.tridenthotels.com
  Room amenities: Each room has a television, telephone, air conditioning, mini bar, safe, coffee and tea making facilities, wireless Internet access and a hair dryer.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers restaurants, a bar, swimming pool, fitness room, air conditioning, business center, currency exchange, safety-box, laundry services, and wireless Internet access.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 MV Aegean Odyssey
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: The MV Aegean Odyssey offers boutique-style cruising at its best. In contrast to the massive vessels cruising to and from major ports, it is a midsized ship adapted for island and coastal cruising. The Aegean Odyssey can visit smaller, less crowded harbors and sail closer to the coast enabling you to really appreciate the magical views.
  Ship Information: Ship’s Tonnage: 11,563 Length: 461 feet Beam: 67 feet Draft: 20.5 feet Cruising Speed: 18 knots Passenger Decks: 7 Stabilizers: 2 Passenger Staterooms/Cabins: 198 Passengers – lower beds: 378 Classification: Lloyd’s Register Society London Ship’s Registration: Malta
  Contact info: Voyages to Antiquity
1800 SE 10th Avenue, Suite 230
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33316 USA
phone: 877-398-1460
web: www.voyagestoantiquity.com
  Room amenities: All cabins are equipped with a flat screen TV, air-conditioning, and personal safe. Particular importance is placed on the standard of bedding in cabins. Luxury bedding, including fine duvets, covers and sheets, ample soft pillows and quality towels can be expected. Also, shampoo, bath and shower gel, soap, and shower cap are provided. Your cabin steward is always available. Cabins and suites feature outlets with 220 voltage, using the “European” two round pin plug. Hair dryers are provided in your cabin and electric rollers, curling irons, electric shavers and other small appliances can be used in your cabin. For safety reasons, travel irons are not allowed.
  Facility amenities: Dining: MV Aegean Odyssey offers many dining facilities: The Marco Polo Restaurant is the ship's more formal restaurant, providing casual country-club elegance for lunch or dinner; The Terrace Cafe offers a combination of indoor and outdoor seating where you can indulge in breakfast, lunch and dinner from the grill or the sumptuous daily buffet. In the evenings, enjoy breathtaking views over dinner at Tapas on the Terrace. *There is a complimentary choice of wine, beer, or soft drinks with your evening meal. There will be a string trio, pianist and casual dancing before and after dinner. You may also wish to partake in afternoon tea, served in the Observation Lounge. Or perhaps an evening snack and cocktail, available in the Lido and Rendezvous bars. A limited room service menu is available. Special Diets: Please advise us at the time of booking of any special dietary requirements. The ship can usually meet most general requests such as those made with an air carrier; however, this cannot always be guaranteed. Services: Library; outdoor pool; spa and Jacuzzi; health center, saunas, massage and beauty treatment rooms and early morning yoga on the Lido Deck; elevators; Internet center (open 24 hours and a charge of $18 for 4 non-consecutive hours is applied, no wireless available); beauty salon; medical center; laundry and pressing services (order form and laundry bag is provided in cabin); lecture theater and cinema and on board shop.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Hilton Colombo Hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Located in the city center and overlooking the Indian Ocean, the Hilton Colombo Hotel is ideally located close to key Colombo destinations. Renowned for its dining, this Colombo hotel boasts ten restaurants and an extensive choice of event space. Sip award-winning cocktails at the Poolside Bar, relax to live music in Thorana Lounge, or savor a meal in the open-air Curry Leaf restaurant showcasing the best of Sri Lankan cuisine and seafood.
  Contact info: 2 Sir Chittampalam A Gardiner Mw
Colombo 2,  02 Sri Lanka
phone: +94112492492
web: www.hilton.com/srilanka
  Room amenities: Each room has a television, telephone, room service, laundry service and high-speed Internet access.
  Facility amenities: The hotel offers ten restaurants and bars, outdoor swimming pool, sauna, fitness room, business center with fax and printer, barber shop, foreign currency exchange, beauty salon, laundry services, safe and high-speed Internet access.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: N/A Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services if you would like assistance making hotel reservations for additional non-program nights. (800) 241-1404
  Check out time: 12:00 PM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Delhi, India. Program starts at 6:00 PM with an introduction to the program at the hotel. You will be staying at The Suryaa New Delhi that night.
  End of Program:
Colombo, Sri Lanka. After breakfast on the last day. You will be staying at Hilton Colombo Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. The Voyages to Antiquity Guest Registration Form is required.
  Parking availability:
n/a
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Buses/trains are available.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Delhi
  Transportation to site: We recommend that you book an arrival transfer from the airport to the hotel (approx. INR 2450). Call Road Scholar at 413-253-9736 to book a transfer.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Colombo
  Transportation from site: You may take a taxi from the hotel to the airport (approx. 20 miles, 40 minutes, $48).
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: In transit.
(Monday, November 12)
   
 In Transit: Depart on international flight.

Day 2: Arrival in Delhi, India.
(Tuesday, November 13)
   
 Afternoon: Arrive at the airport in Delhi and transfer to the hotel. Introduction to the program.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner in hotel dining room.
   
Accommodations: The Suryaa New Delhi
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Delhi, India.
(Wednesday, November 14)

Note: At the Great Mosque, shoes must be removed, shorts are not allowed, and women are required to wear a gown provided by the Jama Masjid authority. Camera fees apply.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel dining room.
 Morning: In 1639, the Mughal emperor Shahjahan built a new, walled city in Delhi that served as the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1649 to 1857. After the British East India Company had gained control of much of India during the 18th and 19th centuries, Calcutta became the capital both under Company rule and under the British Raj, until George V announced in 1911 that it was to move back to Delhi. A new capital city, New Delhi, was built to the south of the old city during the 1920s. Start your full day field trip with a rickshaw ride in Chandi Chowk, a visit to the immense Jama Masjid (Great Mosque), and drive past the Red Fort.
 Lunch: Enjoy lunch at Chor Bizarre
 Afternoon: Visit the Gandhi Smriti where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated. Here, take in a lecture by a guest professor entitled "The Relevance of Gandhi in Today's World." British-built New Delhi offers a fascinating contrast: here, the dusty alleys are replaced by broad, arrow-straight boulevards and the monuments of Empire. Drive past Government Buildings, Parliament, the President's House, and the mighty arch of India Gate, designed by Edwin Lutyens in the 1920s.
 Dinner: Dinner in hotel dining room.
   
Accommodations: The Suryaa New Delhi
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Agra, India.
(Thursday, November 15)

Note: Shoes must be removed at Sikandra (Akbar's Tomb). Camera fees apply.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel dining room.
 Morning: Coach transfer to Agra. In 1506, Sultan Sikandar Lod moved his capital from Delhi to Agra but it was under the Mughal emperors from 1526 to 1658 that the city achieved fame and glory. Since Agra (known then as Akbarabad) was one of the most important cities in India under the Mughals, it witnessed a great deal of ambitious and splendid building activity. Babar, the founder of the Mughal dynasty, laid out the first formal Persian garden on the banks of the Yamuna river and his grandson Akbar raised the towering ramparts of the Great Red Fort. Shah Jahan, known for his keen interest in architecture, gave Agra its most prized monument, the Taj Mahal.
 Lunch: Enjoy lunch at the Country Inn in Kosi.
 Afternoon: En route, visit Sikandra (Akbar's Tomb). Arrive in Agra and check-in to the hotel. Join a local expert to learn about the Mughal history as you cross the Yamuna River to watch the sun set over the Taj Mahal from Mehtab Bagh.
 Dinner: Dinner in hotel dining room.
   
Accommodations: Trident Agra
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Agra, India.
(Friday, November 16)

Note: Shoe covers are provided at the Taj Mahal. Shoes must be removed at the Itmad-Ud-Daulah Tomb. Camera fees apply.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel dining room.
 Morning: Enjoy the breath taking views of the Taj Mahal at sunrise. Shah Jahan was the son of Jehangir, the fourth Mughal emperor of India and the grandson of Akbar the Great. In 1612 he married the Persian princess Mumtaz Mahal and on becoming Emperor in 1628 bestowed his beloved wife with the title of Mumtaz Mahal, "Jewel of the Palace." In 1631, Mumtaz Mahal died in childbirth and Shah Jahan promised her that he would never remarry and would build the richest mausoleum ever seen over her grave. He proved to be a man of his word and it took 22 years and the labor of 22,000 workers to construct the monument. When Shah Jahan died in 1666, his body was placed in a tomb next to the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal and this magnificent monument came to be known as "Taj Mahal."
 Lunch: Lunch in hotel dining room.
 Afternoon: Explore the Agra Fort and the Itmad-Ud-Daulah Tomb.
 Dinner: Dinner in hotel dining room.
   
Accommodations: Trident Agra
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Jaipur, India.
(Saturday, November 17)

Note: Photography is not allowed in some areas of the City Palace.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel dining room.
 Morning: Coach transfer to Jaipur. En route, visit Fatehpur Sikri, which served as the Mughal Empire's capital from 1571 until 1585. Though the court took 15 years to build, it was abandoned after only 14 years because the water supply was unable to sustain the growing population. Today, the complex of buildings, including the royal palaces and courts is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
 Lunch: Lunch in hotel dining room.
 Afternoon: Popularly known as the Pink City, Jaipur is the capital and largest city of the Indian state of Rajasthan. Founded in 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amber, Jaipur is a city of magnificent palaces built from rose colored stone. Visit the opulent Maharaja's City Palace, one of the most magnificent of these royal buildings.
 Dinner: Dinner in hotel dining room.
   
Accommodations: Trident Jaipur
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Fly to Mumbai, India / Embark.
(Sunday, November 18)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel dining room.
 Morning: Enjoy an elephant ride to the Amber Fort, with its lavish interiors and panoramic views of Jaipur, and make a photo stop at the Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds).
 Lunch: Lunch at The Palace Cafe.
 Afternoon: After lunch, explore Jantar Mantar, the Royal Observatory. Then transfer to the airport for a 5:30 PM flight to Mumbai (estimated arrival 7:15 PM) and embark the MV Aegean Odyssey.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Road Scholar orientation to the ship in the "Observation Lounge."
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Mumbai, India.
(Monday, November 19)

Note: Order of sights visited may vary. Please wear a hat, comfortable shoes and socks, as it is required to remove shoes at the temple. There are from 4 to 20 steps at most sites visited.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Immerse yourself in the swirling contrasts of India's economic powerhouse, home to nearly 20 million people, global corporations and the Bollywood film industry. View the colonial heritage as you drive from the pier past such Victorian Gothic Revival landmarks as Rajabhai Clock Tower, Mumbai University, High Court, Crawford Market and the marvelous Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus. Stop at Dhobi Ghat to watch men flogging clothes in the stone tubs of an immense open-air manual laundry. Glimpse political India when you visit the charming residence of Mahatma Gandhi, Mani Bhawan, a museum to the leader's life and work. The father of the nation lived here from 1917 to 1934, when the city was still called Bombay. Capture the flavor of spiritual India at the ISKON Krishna Temple. Then ascend Malabar Hill to the Hanging Gardens for panoramas of the entire city. Continue to the award-winning Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum. On the return, enjoy a photo stop before the 262-foot-high Gateway of India, overlooking the Arabian Sea, built to mark the 1911 visit of King George V.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Free time to relax on board or for independent exploration in Mumbai.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Marmagao, India.
(Tuesday, November 20)

Note: Socks are recommended, as footwear must be removed at the temple. Please dress respectfully for religious sites by covering shoulders and knees.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: We sail toward the port of Marmagao, from which we will discover Goa. Attend a talk by your Road Scholar Group Leader.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Marvel at two magnificent churches of Old Goa, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites, then take a walking excursion of the capital's atmospheric Latin Quarter. Some of India's most architecturally beautiful places can be found in Old Goa, your first sightseeing destination. This walled historic precinct contains an archaeological reserve of churches that were influential in spreading Manueline, Mannerist and Baroque art to Asia in the 16th to 18th centuries. Designed to awe the locals into conversion, these magnificent churches testify to the wealth of Goa when it was the capital of the Eastern Portuguese Empire. Visit St. Cajetan Church, modeled on St Peter's in Rome, with its hidden crypt where in 1992 the bodies of former Portuguese governors were found in lead coffins waiting to be sent back to Lisbon. Next, visit the 16th-century Basilica of Bom Jesus, where St. Francis Xavier, Goa's patron saint, is entombed in a marble mausoleum. Continue your excursion with a short orientation drive through Panjim, the relaxed state capital. Enjoy a guided walk through one of the city's most charming neighborhoods, the Fontainhas Latin Quarter built by the Portuguese. Stroll along the narrow streets past wonderful old villas and savor the tranquil essence of Goa.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: At sea.
(Wednesday, November 21)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: At sea. A chance to relax on deck and enjoy the shipboard guest lectures.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: At sea. Take advantage of the ship's well stocked library that has a wide selection of volumes covering classical history, literature, art, architecture, and philosophy. The frequently updated collection also includes an extensive reference section as well as modern and classic novels.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Cochin, India.
(Thursday, November 22)

Note: Men and women need to cover shoulders and knees. Shoes must be removed to enter Synagogue and no bags, cameras or goods of any kind can be taken inside, but can be left on the motorcoach. Comfortable shoes, socks and a hat are recommended. There is no wheelchair access in the Dutch Palace. Order of sights visited may vary.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: With an overnight stay there's plenty of time to explore Cochin. Centuries of invaders, traders and rulers have shaped the culture and architecture of the Indian state of Kerala's premier city. 15th and 16th century palaces, mosques, churches, and even an active synagogue mark the myriad periods in Cochin's history. Begin your guided excursion with a drive to Fort Cochin, located in the historic center, and visit the oldest European church in India, St. Francis Church, where the explorer Vasco da Gama was once buried. Just outside the church, see the bamboo and teak poles of the city's often photographed Chinese fishing nets and then catch the lively action at the local Fish Market. Head next to the Mattancherry area where the old merchant houses were once home to a flourishing Jewish community. Visit the charming Dutch Palace, built by the Portuguese in 1555, renovated by the Dutch in 1663 and today flanked by shrines to Krishna and Shiva. Explore the Synagogue, built in 1568, with its hand-painted blue-and-white tiles from China and sparkling, oil-burning chandelier from Belgium. Afterward, stroll along historic Jew Street, lined with spice and antique shops. The first wave of Jewish migration to Cochin dates to the 1st century BC, but long before it is said the ships of King Solomon traded here.
 Lunch: Enjoy a home hosted lunch and a cooking demonstration on traditional Kerala cooking techniques.
 Afternoon: Enjoy free time to discover the history of Cochin. There will be an optional excursion to Kumbalangi Village (additional cost, bookable on board).
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
 Evening: Enjoy a performance of Kathakali, the classical dance-drama of Kerala. This art form dates back to the 17th century and has its roots in Hindu mythology. Elaborately made up and costumed performers tell stories using stylized hand gestures. Since facial expression is such an integral part of the performance, you won't want to miss the demonstration of make-up application, called Chutty, that is part of the presentation. Working with materials like sulphur, indigo, rice paste, lime and coconut oil, the artist creates an enthralling spectrum of visages. The dazzling costumes are the result of hours of painstaking labor and the headgear is carved wood, an ancient specialty of this region. Much of the script is sung by vocalists, accompanied only by percussion instruments, most notably the Chenda, a drum played with sticks. Other instruments include the Maddalam (a drum played with fingers), Chegila (a gong) and Ilathalam, (cymbals). This evening's performance combines five art forms: literature, music, painting, acting and dance into one not-to-be-forgotten experience.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Cochin, India.
(Friday, November 23)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Enjoy a morning drive to the Thottappalley and the "backwaters" of Cochin. Board a house boat and cruise through the beautiful backwaters, stopping for a visit at local school and church.
 Lunch: Enjoy a traditional lunch served on board while passing picturesque paddy fields and villages.
 Afternoon: Continue your cruise with occasional stops to explore some of the small villages, farmlands, old temples, and churches along the way. Enjoy an afternoon tea on board before heading back to Cochin.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: At sea.
(Saturday, November 24)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: At sea. Enjoy the Observation Deck if the weather is nice. Attend a talk by your Road Scholar Group Leader.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: At sea. Cool off by taking a dip in the outdoor swimming pool and take in the refreshing ocean air.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Male, Maldives / Kuda Bandos, Maldives.
(Sunday, November 25)

Note: In Male: Limited walking over uneven surfaces and possibly steps. Please respect Muslim traditions and dress modestly by covering shoulders and knees. In Kuda Bandos: Bring towels. Kuda Bandos is private, so local restrictions on alcohol and beachwear are not applicable.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: As well as being rightly famous for its tropical islands, the Maldives has one of the world's most charming - and smallest - capital cities, Male. Take a morning walking excursion to the market, mosque and museum of one of the world's smallest capitals. Located on the largest island in the Maldives archipelago, Male is the center for government and commerce, as well as home to much of the population. Start quayside, where a local guide takes you to the city's highlights and, in between, provides personal insights to the local history, culture and unique language. First, you head to the bustling old market, where fish, vegetables and fruit are sold morning to night. The narrow lanes are always packed with shoppers, and a stroll here immediately immerses you in the unique flavor of life on Male. Afterwards visit the Friday Mosque, named after the Muslim day of communal prayer. Built in 1656, this magnificent building of carved coral was built by Sultan Ibrahim and is set on the foundations of an even earlier temple. You'll have a short time to admire this fine example of Maldivian workmanship before continuing to Sultan Park. This estate is home to the National Museum, housed in a former sultan's palace. Wander through a glorious collection of royal regalia, including ceremonial robes, headgear and umbrellas used by Maldives potentates, some dating back to the 11th century.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: No visit to this atoll nation would be complete, however, without the desert-island paradise experience and so your trip also includes a cruise through the remote islands for a leisurely afternoon and a beach barbecue on uninhabited Kuda Bandos. Imagine yourself as Robinson Crusoe on this visit to an uninhabited private island with sugar-white sands, crystal-clear waters and brilliant coral reefs. Tiny Kuda Bandos is one islet out of thousands in the Maldive archipelago. Tranquil scenery belies the violence that reigned here millennia ago, when volcanoes heaved before sinking beneath the sea. Today's islands lie just a few feet above the surrounding Indian Ocean, the mere tips of those sunken volcanoes. Tender ashore to relax, swim, explore and enjoy a beach party. At just about 15 acres in size, this private island has gorgeous palm-fringed beaches for relaxing and swimming, while the coral reefs just offshore offer some of the area's best snorkeling. Whether you're scanning the sea for dolphins, the skies for sea birds or the waters for colorful fish, enjoy a great natural experience. You'll soon see why Maldivians believe the original settlers were a tribe of sun worshippers.
 Dinner: Enjoy an island barbecue at Kuda Bandos.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: At sea.
(Monday, November 26)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: At sea. A relaxing day to enjoy the sunshine and the shipboard guest lectures as the ship makes its way to Sri Lanka.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: At sea. Enjoy the Observation Deck if the weather is nice, or dive into a good book from the ship's library. Attend a late afternoon Road Scholar cocktail party.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
   
Accommodations: MV Aegean Odyssey
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Colombo, Sri Lanka / Disembark.
(Tuesday, November 27)

Note: Shoes must be removed at the temple, and modest dress required. Camera fees apply at the museum.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: A jewel of an island, Sri Lanka offers a unique combination of scenery, culture and history. Arrive in Colombo, disembark, and depart for a morning field trip. Experience the astonishing blend of modern and exotic in Sri Lanka’s commercial capital, a city quite unlike any other. On this field trip you will drive past Dutch and British colonial-era architecture, including the Wolvendhal Church and the old Town Hall, interspersed with Hindu temples, the neoclassical National Museum and the colorful Pettah Bazaar. Make a visit to Independence Square where this former British colony of Ceylon was given self rule in 1948. Wind past the cricket stadium through such neighborhoods as affluent Horton Place and Kotte, the legislative capital. Admire the colorful murals and statues of the Lord Buddha at the Asokaramaya Temple, built over a century ago. A refreshment break will be made during the field trip, and one further stop included: either at the National Museum, or at the Janakala Kendraya handicrafts village to see local artisans at work.
 Lunch: Lunch in hotel dining room.
 Afternoon: Free time to explore Colombo.
 Dinner: Dinner in hotel dining room.
   
Accommodations: Hilton Colombo Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 17: Kandy, Sri Lanka.
(Wednesday, November 28)

Note: Both men and women must cover their knees and shoulders, and shoes must be removed to visit the temple. A camera fee applies at the museum, where video cameras are not permitted.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel dining room.
 Morning: Journey to the sacred city of Kandy, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of unusual beauty and the location of the temple containing a tooth of Buddha. The scenic three-hour drive takes us out of Colombo, through small towns growing all kinds of exotic fruit, past pineapple plantations and paddy fields and up into Sri Lanka’s stunning hill country. One of the day’s highlights is a stop at Peradeniya to walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens. A visit to the Orchid House should not be missed! Continue on to Kandy, founded in the 14th Century and the last capital of Sri Lanka’s kings.
 Lunch: Lunch will be served in a colonial hotel overlooking the Kandy Lake. On the opposite side of the picturesque valley, make a guided visit of the monumental Temple of the Tooth where the sacred relic is enshrined.
 Afternoon: A visit will be made to either the Kandy Museum or to the fascinating Garrison Cemetery. During the return drive from this ancient kingdom, make a stop at a Spice Garden and learn about Sri Lanka’s ayurvedic tradition.
 Dinner: Farewell Dinner in hotel dining room.
   
Accommodations: Hilton Colombo Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 18: In transit.
(Thursday, November 29)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel dining room.
 Morning: Transfer to the airport for your return flight home.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 19: Arrival home.
(Friday, November 30)
   
 Arrive To: North America.

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Cochin Paradesi Synagogue
The elaborate Paradesi Synagogue is a must-see in Cochin. It was originally built in 1568 and features interior details imported from all over the world. Be sure to take notice of the hand-painted floor tiles from China (which are all unique), chandeliers from Belgium, intricate gold pulpit, and colored glass lamps.
  Santa Cruz Basilica
Originally built in 1502, the Santa Cruz Basilica is one of the oldest churches in India. Marvel at the bold pastel interior and beautiful collection of Cochin artifacts revealing local history.
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Arrow of the Blue-Skinned God


Author: Jonah Blank


Description: Blank's entertaining portrait of contemporary India and Sri Lanka mixes reporting, anecdote and myth as he travels, sometimes in the footsteps of India's great hero Rama.



Birds of India


Author: Richard Grimmett, Carol Inskipp, Tim Inskipp


Description: Thoroughly revised, with 73 new plates and many others updated or repainted, the second edition of the masterful Birds of India now features all maps and text opposite the plates for quicker and easier reference.



City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi


Author: William Dalrymple


Description: Dalrymple infectiously interweaves his own experiences over a year in Delhi with the art, architecture, history and literature of the city.



Delhi, Jaipur, Agra Map


Author: Globetrotter


Description: Covering Northern India and the neighboring Himalayas, this double-sided map also features detailed city plans, site diagrams and an index.



Eyewitness Guide Delhi, Agra and Jaipur


Author: Anuradha Chaturvedi (Editor)


Description: With chapters on Taj Mahal, Amber Fort Palace, Keoladeo Ghana National Park, Red Fort and dozens of other highlights for the traveler, this compact, gorgeously illustrated guide to Delhi and its environs features 900 color photographs, maps and site plans.



In Spite of the Gods, The Strange Rise of Modern India


Author: Edward Luce


Description: As the world's largest democracy and a rising international economic power, India has long been heralded for its great strides in technology and trade. Yet it is also plagued by poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, and a vast array of other social and economic issues. Luce tackles the challenges and reality of the world's largest democracy with insight and balance in this portrait of a nation in transition.



India


Author: Stanley Wolpert


Description: Reflections on India - its religion and philosophy, its art, culture, and politics - by the dean of the country’s Ameri-can historians: beautifully written, and provocative as well as evocative.



India, A Traveler's Literary Companion


Author: Chandrahas Choudhury (Editor)


Description: Each of these 14 stories evokes place and landscape, providing an excellent introduction both to contemporary writers and to India's diverse cultures and history.



India, In Word and Image


Author: Eric Meola (Photographer)


Description: Meola deftly pairs colorful photographs of people, traditions, art and architecture with choice quotations by Salman Rushdie, R. K. Narayan, Jhumpa Lahiri and others in this dazzling visual celebration of the culture and pagaentry of India.



Mughal India, Splendours of the Peacock Throne


Author: Valerie Berinstain, Paul Bahn (Translator)


Description: This illustrated pocket guide presents the history, culture and splendor of the Mughal court and its celebrated architecture in hundreds of archival photographs and drawings.



Running in the Family


Author: Michael Ondaatje


Description: Award-winning author Ondaatje returns to his native Sri Lanka in this hypnotic travelogue. His lovingly traced family memoirs are interspersed with poetry and ruminations on the island's post-colonial history.



Sri Lankan Wildlife


Author: Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne


Description: A concise, illustrated field guide to the plants, animals and habitats of Sri Lanka in the popular British series.



Taj Mahal


Author: Giles Tillotson, Mary Beard (Editor)


Description: An enlightening pocket guide to the myth, meaning and legends of the celebrated tomb, "the queen of architecture."



The Artist of Disappearance


Author: Anita Desai


Description: In just three sharply drawn, interconnected stories Desai evokes a whole world, showing the contrast between old and new, urban and rural in contemporary India.



The Moor's Last Sigh


Author: Salman Rushdie


Description: A sweeping family epic that tackles many of the most complex aspects about Indian culture. In his characteristically rich prose, Rushdie tells the history of India, set among the spice traders of Cochin.





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