Road Scholar : Home
The Best of India: Treasures of the North and South

Program Number: 18716RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/18/2014 - 10/8/2014; 10/19/2014 - 11/8/2014; 12/1/2014 - 12/21/2014; 1/9/2015 - 1/29/2015; 1/30/2015 - 2/19/2015; 2/5/2015 - 2/25/2015; 2/20/2015 - 3/12/2015; 3/15/2015 - 4/4/2015; 3/19/2015 - 4/8/2015; 9/18/2015 - 10/8/2015; 10/13/2015 - 11/2/2015; 10/19/2015 - 11/8/2015; 12/1/2015 - 12/21/2015; 1/13/2016 - 2/2/2016;
Duration: 20 nights
Location: India
Price starting at: $3,998.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 49; 18 Breakfasts, 15 Lunches, 16 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Traverse India on a comprehensive journey that takes you from the Golden Triangle capitals of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur in the north to the frescoed fortress of the “Tiger of Mysore” and the bayou-like Kerala backwaters in the south, learning customs and traditions from locals and absorbing India’s history from experts who know it best.




Highlights

• Observe the pageantry of a traditional Hindu festival, with its costumed and bejeweled elephants.
• Watch as the sun rises and sets over the marble domes of the Taj Mahal.
• Explore and enjoy the tranquility of the Kerala backwaters on a houseboat.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles a day over sidewalks and roads that are often broken and uneven; some stairs are unavoidable.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Delhi , 3 nights; coach to Agra, 2 nights; coach to Kalakho, 2 nights; coach to Jaipur, 2 nights; flight to Bangalore, coach to Mysore, 3 nights; coach to Wyanand, 1 night; coach to Palakkad, 2 nights; coach to Kerala Backwaters, 2 nights; coach to Cochin, 1 night; departure.



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

Begin by exploring Delhi, inhabited since the sixth century B.C, and share a meal in a local home. Visit Gandhi's house, now a museum, where the ‘Father of the Nation’ Mahatma Gandhi lived, received most of his famous visitors and was assassinated. Learn about the life and principles of Gandhi during a presentation by a local expert.



Coach to Agra
2 nights

Continue to Agra to learn about Mughal history in the shadow of the Taj Mahal. Set out pre-dawn to watch the rising sun bathe the pristine white marble domes in warm hues of gold, ochre and orange. Explore the exquisite grounds and view the highly decorated inside chamber.



Coach to Kalakho
2 nights

In colorful state of Rajasthan, ride a camel to a tribal village and learn to play cricket. Visit a remote village to interact with the residents and go inside their traditional mud huts.



Coach to Jaipur
2 nights

In the Golden Triangle capital of Jaipur, share dinner with a noble family in its palace home. Take in the blur of colors on a walk through the local market with your expert leader. Discover the 11th century Amber Fort, which you approach on the back of an elephant.



Flight to Bangalore
Coach to Mysore
3 nights
Coach to Wyanand
1 night

Fly south to discover Mysore’s colorful market and tribal traditions and the frescoed fortress of the “Tiger of Mysore.” In the home of a local Kodava family, experience a taste of authentic Kodava cuisine and culture. Depart on a full-day drive to the Hill Station of Wyanand, known as one of the most picturesque drives in India, and delve into the history of English colonial rule.



Coach to Palakkad
2 nights

A local Ayurveda expert gives a presentation on Ayurveda then leads a walk through the herb garden to learn the medicinal properties of each plant. Witness the pageantry and events of a traditional temple festival as bejeweled elephants parade through the streets pulling colorfully decorated carts.



Coach to Kerala backwaters
2 nights
Coach to Cochin
1 night
Overnight flight to the U.S
1 night

Board privately chartered traditional houseboats to explore the quiet, tranquil waterways of Kerala for a view into rural life. Look for skiff-fishermen in their cockleshell boats, women neck deep in the water searching for fish with their feet and cattle grazing in lush pastures. Visit Cochin’s “Dutch Palace,” built in the 1550s by the Portuguese and taken over by the Dutch, who later presented it to the Rajas of Cochin.




India

As a consequence of its size, the history of India is an amalgamation of its individual territories. The natural wealth of India’s territories lured a succession of traders and foreign influences to it, each leaving their imprint on the nation, however faint or localized. Thus, Chinese fishing nets in Kerala are a throwback to that country's ancient maritime trade, while in the north, ancient terracotta figurines bear distinctly Grecian traces.



Accommodations
New Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Mysore, Wyanand, Palakkad, Cochin: Centrally located hotels. Kalakho: Lodge with lake views. Kerala Backwaters: Traditional houseboat.
Meals and Lodgings
   Suryaa New Delhi
  Delhi, India 3 nights
   Trident Hotel Agra
  Agra, India 2 nights
   Dera Village Retreat
  Kalakho, India 2 nights
   Trident Hotel Jaipur
  Jaipur, India 2 nights
   Hotel Regaalis Mysore
  Mysore, India 3 nights
   Windflower Spa & Resort
  Wyanand, India 1 night
   Kairali Ayurvedic Health Resort
  Palakkad, India 2 nights
   Privately Chartered Houseboats
  Kerala Backwaters, India 2 nights
   The Gateway Hotel Ernakulam
  Cochin, India 1 night
 Suryaa New Delhi
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 allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: n/a Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services for more information.

 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

 Dera Village Retreat
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 allowed: No
  Bathroom: Each cabin has private bathrooms with showers and running hot and cold water.

 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

 Hotel Regaalis Mysore
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 allowed: Yes

 Windflower Spa & Resort
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 allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Kairali Ayurvedic Health Resort
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.
  Contact info: Palakkad District,  678551 India
phone: +91 4923 222 553
web: www.kairali.com/kairali_index.asp
  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 allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Privately Chartered Houseboats
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.
  Contact info: Kerala Backwaters,   India
phone: +91 129 409 8000
  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 allowed: No

 The Gateway Hotel Ernakulam
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 allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: TBD Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services for more detailed information.


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
8:00 PM at the program hotel on Day 2 at dinner. You will be staying at Suryaa New Delhi that night.
  End of Program:
After dinner on Day 20 at the airport in Cochin. You will be staying at The Gateway Hotel Ernakulam the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. On January 15th, 2010 India changed its laws regarding re-entry to India with a tourist visa. Currently tourists re-entering India within 2 months are required to get a re-entry visa. Due to the complexity of these laws, there is still some ambiguity on what documentation is required for tourists traveling with a group. We ask that you please carry a copy of your full flight itinerary with you when you enter India for the first time, and show this to the customs officials.
  Required innoculations:
Yes: There are no vaccinations required to enter India unless visitors are coming from a contaminated area. However, it is always a good idea to check with your personal physician before going abroad. Routine vaccines, as they are often called, such as for influenza, chickenpox (or varicella), polio, MMR, and DPT are given at all stages of life should be up to date. Malaria pills are a consideration.
  Parking availability:
N/A
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:  Cochin
  Transportation from site: You may also want to inquire with the concierge at the Abad Grande Residencia Hotel 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.


Required innoculations:

Yes: There are no vaccinations required to enter India unless visitors are coming from a contaminated area. However, it is always a good idea to check with your personal physician before going abroad. Routine vaccines, as they are often called, such as for influenza, chickenpox (or varicella), polio, MMR, and DPT are given at all stages of life should be up to date. Malaria pills are a consideration.

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: International Flights
(Thursday, September 18)
   
 Depart From: U.S. for flight to India.

Day 2: Arrival in Delhi / Transfer to Hotel / Dinner / Free Evening to Rest and Relax
(Friday, September 19)
   
 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.
   
Accommodations: Suryaa New Delhi
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Old Delhi / Red Fort / Jama Masjid Mosque / Chandni Chowk / Raj Ghat / Gandhi Smriti and Gandhi’s Legacy
(Saturday, September 20)
   
 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.
   
Accommodations: Suryaa New Delhi
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: New Delhi / National Museum
(Sunday, September 21)
   
 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.
   
Accommodations: Suryaa New Delhi
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5: Depart for Agra / Introduction to Mughal History / Baby Taj / Taj Mahal at Sunset
(Monday, September 22)

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

Day 6: Taj Mahal / Agra Fort / Cooking Demonstration in Private Home / Free Afternoon and Evening
(Tuesday, September 23)
   
 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.
   
Accommodations: Trident Hotel Agra
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7: Dera Village Retreat, Kalakho / Village Field Trip by Camel / Rajasthani Folk Dances
(Wednesday, September 24)

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.
   
Accommodations: Dera Village Retreat
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Abhaneri Village Step Wells / Village School / Free Afternoon / Rajasthan’s History, Culture and People
(Thursday, September 25)
   
 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.
   
Accommodations: Dera Village Retreat
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Transfer to Jaipur / Caste System in Indian Society / Home-Hosted Evening with Dinner
(Friday, September 26)

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.
   
Accommodations: Trident Hotel Jaipur
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Amber Fort / Hawa Mahal / City Palace / Jantar Mantar
(Saturday, September 27)
   
 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.
   
Accommodations: Trident Hotel Jaipur
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 11: Flight to Bangalore / Transfer to Mysore / Overview of South India
(Sunday, September 28)

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.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Regaalis Mysore
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Srirangapatnam / Palace of Tipu Sultan / Somnathpur / Introduction to Indian Mythology / Home-Hosted Dinner
(Monday, September 29)
   
 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.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Regaalis Mysore
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Chamundeshwari Temple / Mysore Palace / Free Afternoon and Evening
(Tuesday, September 30)
   
 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.
   
Accommodations: Hotel Regaalis Mysore
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 14: The Hill Station of Wayanad
(Wednesday, October 1)

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.
   
Accommodations: Windflower Spa & Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Drive to Palakkad / Kerala Kalamandalam
(Thursday, October 2)

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.
   
Accommodations: Kairali Ayurvedic Health Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Free Morning / Local Festival
(Friday, October 3)

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.
   
Accommodations: Kairali Ayurvedic Health Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 17: Transfer to Kerala Backwaters / Board Houseboats for Study Cruise
(Saturday, October 4)

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.
   
Accommodations: Privately Chartered Houseboats
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 18: Kerala Backwaters Exploration
(Sunday, October 5)
   
 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.
   
Accommodations: Privately Chartered Houseboats
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 19: Disembark Houseboats / Transfer to Ernakulam-Cochin / Dutch Palace / Jewish Synagogue / Farewell Dinner
(Monday, October 6)

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.
   
Accommodations: The Gateway Hotel Ernakulam
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 20: Free Morning to Explore / Program Concludes / Departures
(Tuesday, October 7)

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 21: Return to the U.S.A.
(Wednesday, October 8)
   
 Arrive To: Arrival back home.
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


An Autobiography, Or the Story of My Experiments with Truth


Author: Mohandas K. Gandhi


Description: There is no substitute for reading Gandhi in his own simple, direct prose. A highly recommended glimpse into the personality and life of this remarkable figure.



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.



Curry, A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors


Author: Lizzie Collingham


Description: This cultural history with recipes is appetizingly organized as a menu (biryani, vindaloo, chai, etc.). Curry explores the origins and spread of Indian food and the interplay between Muslim, Hindu, Portuguese and British traditions on the Subcontinent.



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.



Eyewitness Guide India


Author: Eyewitness Guides


Description: A handsome, beautifully illustrated guide to India. It features color photographs, history and plenty of background information.



Handmade in India


Author: M.P. Ranjan (Editor), Aditi Ranjan (Editor)


Description: Featuring 3500 color photos and organized by region, this sumptuous album covers the diverse crafts of India with style and authority.



Hindu Art and Architecture


Author: George Michell


Description: An excellent survey of Hindu art and architecture, explaining the meaning and construction of principal images and buildings, as well as the development of Hinduism and the corpus of myths that have influenced its artistic tradition.



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


Author: Edward Luce


Description: 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 American historians: beautifully written and provocative as well as evocative.



India Adventure Map


Author: National Geographic Society


Description: The most detailed shaded relief map (at a scale of 1:2,100,000) of India available.



India Becoming


Author: Akash Kapur


Description: Kapur returns to the country of his birth for this reveals the rich tapestry of contemporary India as told through the lives of ordinary people.



India, A Sacred Geography


Author: Diana L. Eck


Description: Professor of comparative religion and Indian studies at Harvard, Diana Eck turns her interest in temples and places of pilgrimage into a celebration of the diversity of popular religious traditions in India in this richly rewarding travelogue.



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.



Malgudi Days


Author: R. K. Narayan


Description: Wonderful tales from one of India's foremost writers about a fictional South Indian town, populated by quirky characters whose unique approaches to tradition and modernity are the stuff of great short stories.



May You Be the Mother of a Hundred Sons, A Journey Among the Women of India


Author: Elisabeth Bumiller


Description: A wonderfully written and fascinating portrayal of Indian women from Bollywood stars to Indira Gandhi to prostitutes. It's an insightful portrait of the country as seen through the eyes of its women.



Midnight's Children


Author: Salman Rushdie


Description: Crowned Best of the Booker in 2008, Rushdie's greatest novel is a madcap, comic take on the birth of modern India in all its splendid and unexpected manifestations.



Nine Lives, In Search of the Sacred in Modern India


Author: William Dalrymple


Description: From Sufi dervish and Buddhist monk to outcast and temple worshiper: nine people, nine lives, all captured by Dalrymple as he journeys throughout India in search of remarkable individuals transformed by religion. At turns bemusing, dazzling and heart-wrenching, this is his first travel book in 15 years.



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 God of Small Things


Author: Arundhati Roy


Description: This luminous, Booker-prize winning novel is part mystery, part family saga -- a tale of lost innocence set in Kerala during the tumult of the 1960s.



The White Tiger, A Novel


Author: Aravind Adiga


Description: Mordant, funny, angry, horrifying, this Booker Prize-winning tale of a village pauper turned success (and murderer) skewers the ambition, inequity and corruption of 21st-century India.



Travelers' Tales India


Author: James O'Reilly, Larry Habegger


Description: A collection of 45 descriptive and thought-provoking short excerpts on Indian life and culture, including contributions from Rushdie, Naipaul and Dalrymple, plus some valuable excerpts from books long out of print.





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