Road Scholar : Home
Mystical Lands: The People and Culture of India and Nepal

Program Number: 18546RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/6/2013 - 10/22/2013; 1/16/2015 - 2/1/2015; 2/6/2015 - 2/22/2015; 2/27/2015 - 3/15/2015; 3/6/2015 - 3/22/2015; 9/11/2015 - 9/27/2015; 10/2/2015 - 10/18/2015; 10/16/2015 - 11/1/2015; 11/6/2015 - 11/22/2015; 12/4/2015 - 12/20/2015;
Duration: 16 nights
Location: India/Nepal
Price starting at: $3,877.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type:
Meals: 41; 14 Breakfasts, 13 Lunches, 14 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Colorful temples framed by skyscraping mountains. Ornate fortresses that stand as reminders of ancient kingdoms. Undisturbed countryside where a trip into town means a camelback ride through rolling emerald hills. Experience the timelessness of India and Nepal, where ever-present reminders of 9,000-year-old histories blend with the invigorating energy of today.




Highlights

• Watch the sun rise over the Taj Mahal, the ultimate symbol of India, illuminating its white marble domes and spires in morning light.
• In Nepal, discover sacred temples including the ancient hilltop stupa of Swayambhunath, known for the holy monkeys that inhabit it.
• Break bread with a noble Indian family at Sankotra Haveli, a palace home.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to three miles per day. Elevations up to 5,000 feet. Often hot and humid weather.



Due to the nature of this program, listening devices are not available.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Delhi (India), 3 nights; coach to Jaipur, 2 nights; coach to Kalakho, 1 night; coach to Agra, 2 nights; coach to Delhi; flight to Varanasi, 2 nights; flight to Kathmandu (Nepal), 4 nights; departure.



Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Arrival Delhi (India)
3 nights

Visit Raj Ghat, the eternal flame memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, and Gandhi Smriti, his last home. Learn about modern India as you venture to the Sansad Bhavan (Parliament House) and the Rashtrapati Bhavan (Presidential Palace). Share lunch in the home of a family that represents the country’s new middle class.



Coach to Jaipur
2 nights

Visit Amber Fort, an imposing palace blending Hindu and Muslim architecture, and step inside to see its royal halls decorated with intricate ivory, mirrors, glasswork and paintings. Examine the enormous, amazingly accurate astronomical instruments of Jantar Mantar.



Coach to Kalakho
1 night

Venture to serene Kalakho in the picturesque hills of Rajasthan. Embark on a camel safari to a rural village and interact with its residents. Enjoy an authentic folk dance and musical performance.



Coach to Agra
2 nights

Journey to Agra to stand in awe of the Taj Mahal, I'timâd-ud-Daulah's Tomb, often regarded as an architectural draft of the Taj, and Agra Fort, in reality a palatial city of ornately constructed and decorated structures. Learn the secret ingredients of Indian cuisine in an expert cooking demonstration.



Flight to Varanasi
2 nights

Witness the sacred religious Hindu rituals of “puja” and “arati” while taking a boat ride in the Ganges River in the holy city of Varanasi. Situated just outside of Varnasi, explore Sarnath, one of the four holy Buddhist sites sanctioned by the Buddha himself for pilgrimage.



Flight to Kathmandu (Nepal)
4 night
Overnight flight to the U.S.
1 night

Descend over snow-capped Himalayan peaks to arrive in Kathmandu, home to seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Meet the young students of Tribhuvan University, the oldest and largest university in Nepal. Step inside Pashupatinath temple, seat of Nepal’s national deity. Visit Patan’s Tibetan refugee camp, established by the International Red Cross. Venture to the ancient town of Bhaktapur in the Kathmandu Valley and see its 55-window palace, intricately carved Golden Gate and the elaborate statues and terraces of its temples.




Accommodations
Delhi: Five-star hotel in the heart of the city. Jaipur: Four-star hotel with beautiful fountains and gardens. Kalakho: Lodge retreat set among golden wheat and mustard fields. Agra: Four-star hotel near the Amber Fort. Varanasi: Four-star hotel. Kathmandu: Comfortable hotel.
Meals and Lodgings
   The Suryaa New Delhi
  Delhi, India 3 nights
   Trident Hotel Jaipur
  Jaipur, India 2 nights
   Umaid Lake Palace
  Kalakho, India 1 night
   Trident Hotel Agra
  Agra, India 2 nights
   Gateway Hotel Ganges instead of Radisson
  Varanasi, India 2 nights
   Crowne Plaza Hotel Kathmandu Soaltee
  Kathmandu, Nepal 4 nights
 The Suryaa New Delhi
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 allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Yes Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services for more information.

 Trident Hotel Jaipur
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 allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Umaid Lake Palace
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Situated on picturesque Kalakho Lake about 13 kms from Dausa and just an hour's drive on the Jaipur - Agra national highway. Day trips to The Sariska Tiger reserve and Keoladeo National Park - The Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary are 2 hours away from the hotel. Umaid Lake Palace is one of the few hotels which organizes camel polo in its lawns followed by camel safari's along the lake. Nature walk to our organic farms in our hotel premises and guests are encouraged to engage in the local farming practices in the resort. Bird watching walks along with a trained guide around the lake are much cherished. Other activities include horse safari and day trekking trips along with pack lunch.
  Ship Information: x
  Contact info: Agra National Highway
Dausa
303304,   India
phone: +91 -1427-203166
web: www.umaidlakepalace.com/
  Room amenities: Equipped with individually controlled air-conditioners, satellite TV, attached bathrooms & private balconies.
  Facility amenities: The lake view restaurant serves freshly grown organic vegetables, poultry products and fish from the lake produced within the hotel premises. Recreational facilities include an outdoor swimming pool.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Trident Hotel Agra
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 allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Gateway Hotel Ganges instead of Radisson
Type: Hotel
  Description: The hotel is set amidst 40 acres of lush green gardens, just 21 kms (45 mins drive) from the airport, The Gateway Hotel, Ganges is the veritable haven of peace and tranquility in this crowded and ancient temple city. The hotel is 6 kms away from the city Centre or the commercial hub of Varanasi also commonly known as The Chowk. The hotel is constructed in the holy Swastik shape (The Swastika is an ancient symbol which re-presents good fortune and blessing). The Gateway Hotel, Ganges offers recently renovated & refurbished world-class contemporary rooms & suites with choice of views ranging from the lush green gardens or the swimming pool. The hotel has 130 rooms divided in four categories - Standard Rooms, Executive Rooms, Executive Suites and Deluxe Suites.
  Contact info: x
Varanasi,   India
phone: +x
web: www.thegatewayhotels.com/gangesvaranasi/hotel-rooms.aspx
  Room amenities: Standard Rooms (1 bedroom) are recently refurbished, contemporary rooms with optional views of the landscaped gardens, the city or the swimming pool. Room Size: 229 sq ft, Bathroom: 48 sq ft. Flooring: Laminated wooden flooring. 36 Rooms are with Twin Beds and 36 are with Queen Beds. •Wi-Fi connectivity •International direct dialing facility •Television with satellite programmes •In-room safe •Tea/coffee maker •Minibar •DVD on request •24 hour room service •Additional amenities with every room level
  Facility amenities: •Business Centre •High-speed Internet with Wi-Fi option •Audiovisual equipment available •Workstations •Facsimile, photocopier facilities •Secretarial services •Mail services •Fitness Centre •Swimming pool
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 Crowne Plaza Hotel Kathmandu Soaltee
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 allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: yes Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services for more information.


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
The program begins officially with the Orientation session at our program hotel on Day 2. You will be staying at The Suryaa New Delhi that night.
  End of Program:
The program ends at the airport in Kathmandu on Day 16. You will be staying at Crowne Plaza Hotel Kathmandu Soaltee the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
We do not recommend driving in these countries.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Delhi
  Transportation to site: If independent flights do not coincide with the designated group transfer, it will be the responsibility of the participant/s to make arrangements to get to the program site. Taxi from New Delhi airport to hotel is available. Airports Authority of India in coordination with Delhi Traffic Police is now providing 'Prepaid Taxi Service' for arriving passengers at Domestic and International Terminals to ensure safe travel up to their destination. Approved rate of fare for various locations in the city are displayed inside the counter. Prepaid taxi counters are located outside customs hall in concessionaire area and outside Arrival Visitors Lounge (West Wing). Payment is made in advance at counters and coupons are issued. Pickup points are located just outside the terminals. No reliable public bus or subway transport available. Please note that the transfer from the airport takes about 40 to 50 minutes. Private arrival and departure transfers -at an additional cost- may be arranged in advance by the calling Road Scholar Travel Services.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Kathmandu
  Transportation from site: You may also want to inquire with the concierge at Hotel Crowne Plaza Soaltee about alternative transportation services from the hotel to the airport. Private arrival and departure transfers -at an additional cost- may be arranged in advance by the calling Road Scholar Travel Services.
Elevation Note: Kathmandu's elevation is 4,368 ft.

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: Departure from U.S., Overnight Flight to India
(Sunday, October 6)
   
 Depart From: Depart from the U.S. on an overnight flight to Delhi, India.

Day 2: Arrive Delhi, Transfer to Hotel, Check-In, Dinner
(Monday, October 7)
   
 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 a buffet 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.
   
Accommodations: The Suryaa New Delhi
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Orientation, New Delhi Field Trip, Official Welcome Dinner
(Tuesday, October 8)
   
 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 with a visit to Gandhi Smriti, where Mahatma Gandhi lived the last 144 days of his life and that is now a memorial to the father of the nation. Here you will learn about Gandhi's life and mission and a presentation on "The Relevance of Gandhi in Today's World."
 Lunch: Chinese food is popular all across India. Today we dine at a local restaurant to enjoy the adaptation of Chinese seasoning and cooking techniques to Indian tastes.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: This afternoon we encounter 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. Moving on, 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.
   
Accommodations: The Suryaa New Delhi
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Old Delhi Field Trip, Free Afternoon to Explore, Changing Frontiers of the Caste System, Home Hosted Dinner
(Wednesday, October 9)
   
 Breakfast: Our breakfast buffet at the hotel includes Indian, Continental, and American breakfast options.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: This morning we 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: To give you an opportunity to sample the foods of your choice, lunch is on own today. Your group leader will be happy to offer suggestions.
 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. LECTURE: Later in the afternoon, we will regroup for a talk at the hotel on “Changing Frontiers of the Caste System.” India’s ancient caste system, connected to Hindu religious concepts, organized society into a hierarchy of hereditary groups with strict rules about associations and marriage.
 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.
   
Accommodations: The Suryaa New Delhi
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: Transfer to Jaipur, Rajputs of Rajasthan, Rajasthani Village Excursion, Bazaars of Old Jaipur Walk
(Thursday, October 10)

Note: Drive from Jaipur to will take about five 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 “The Rajputs of Rajisthan." 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: EXCURSION: Along the way, we will stop to visit a typical small Rajasthani village for a glimpse of life that continues virtually unchanged as it has for many years. We arrive in Jaipur, the “Pink City” late afternoon when we will check into the hotel.
 Dinner: Enjoy a buffet dinner featuring Indian and Continental cuisine with choice of entrée and an assortment of side dishes to complete your meal.
   
Accommodations: Trident Hotel Jaipur
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Field Trip to Amber Fort, City Palace, Jantar Mantar Astronomical Observatory, Home Hosted Dinner
(Friday, October 11)
   
 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.
   
Accommodations: Trident Hotel Jaipur
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Transfer to Kalakho, School Excursion, Visit to a Local Village, Cultural Performance
(Saturday, October 12)

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 hotel.
 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 and watch a Camel Polo match. 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.
   
Accommodations: Umaid Lake Palace
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Transfer to Agra, Field Trip to Mehtab Bagh
(Sunday, October 13)

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 a buffet 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 buffet 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.
   
Accommodations: Trident Hotel Agra
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Sunrise at the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort Field Trip, Free Afternoon
(Monday, October 14)
   
 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 a dinner buffet featuring Indian and Continental cuisine with choice of entrée and an assortment of side dishes to complete your meal.
   
Accommodations: Trident Hotel Agra
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Transfer to Delhi Airport for Flight to Varanasi, Arrive Varanasi, The Ancient Science of Astrology,
(Tuesday, October 15)

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



   
 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 or out at a local restaurant) 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.
   
Accommodations: Gateway Hotel Ganges instead of Radisson
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Ganges River Field Trip, Sarnath UNESCO World Heritage Site, The Growth of Buddhism in India, Observe Sacred Rituals
(Wednesday, October 16)
   
 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 a buffet lunch at the hotel 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 or out at a local restaurant) 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.
   
Accommodations: Gateway Hotel Ganges instead of Radisson
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Early Check-out for Transfer to Airport and Flight to Kathmandu, Arrive Kathmandu, Check-in, Dinner
(Thursday, October 17)
   
 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 as we board our 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.
   
Accommodations: Crowne Plaza Hotel Kathmandu Soaltee
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Newari Art, Swayambhunath UNESCO World Heritage Site Field Trip, Hanuman Dhoka Walking Field Trip, Contemporary Nepal Issues
(Friday, October 18)
   
 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 are of 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. An expert local guide will accompany us throughout our days in Nepa.
 Lunch: We will have lunch at a local restaurant featuring Continental cuisine.
 Afternoon: 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.
 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.
 Evening: LECTURE: Learn about contemporary issues of Nepal from a local expert at the conference hall of the hotel.
 Evening: LECTURE: Learn about contemporary issues of Nepal from a local expert in the conference hall of the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Crowne Plaza Hotel Kathmandu Soaltee
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Bhaktapur Field Trip, Pashupatinath Field Trip, Boudhanath Stupa, Nepali Cultural Program
(Saturday, October 19)
   
 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: A few minutes walk from Bhaktapur Durbar Square, we will have lunch at a boutique hotel that successfully blends a traditional Nepali look and feel with modern amenities.
 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.
 Evening: CULTURAL PROGRAM: After dinner, experience aspects of Nepali culture.
   
Accommodations: Crowne Plaza Hotel Kathmandu Soaltee
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: History and Culture of Nepal, Patan City Field Trip, Tibetan Refugee Camp, Home Hosted Farewell Dinner
(Sunday, October 20)
   
 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: Tibetan Refugee Camp. This camp located in Patan was established in 1960 with the initiation of International Red Cross and Swiss development Corporation (SDC), in cooperation with His Majesty’s Government of Nepal. Its main objective is to help Tibetan refugees learn productive activities in order to support themselves. Our visit will be polite, respectful, and non-intrusive.
 Dinner: Enjoy the convivial atmosphere of cocktails and a farewell dinner in a private home hosted especially for Road Scholar guests.
   
Accommodations: Crowne Plaza Hotel Kathmandu Soaltee
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Free Morning to Explore Kathmandu, Program Concludes with Transfer to Airport for Flight Home
(Monday, October 21)
   
 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: We will have lunch in the airport lounge restaurant, which concludes the program. 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 17: Arrival home.
(Tuesday, October 22)
   
 Arrive To: Arrive to US.
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.


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