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India’s Holy Ganges River: Rituals, History and the Sacred City of Varanasi

Program Number: 21260RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/15/2014 - 10/1/2014; 1/11/2015 - 1/27/2015; 2/22/2015 - 3/10/2015;
Duration: 16 nights
Location: India
Price starting at: $3,996.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; River Boats
Meals: 38; 13 Breakfasts, 13 Lunches, 12 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Fed by the mighty Himalayas and emptying into the Bay of Bengal, the Ganges is one of the world’s great rivers. To Hindus, it is something yet greater: a goddess, the physical manifestation of the sacred. Delve into the spiritual meaning of this river on a voyage to the holiest places along the Ganges — not just for Hindus but for Buddhists, Sikhs and more — plus experience the river’s importance in day-to-day life.




Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles per day; uneven walkways and stairs.



Please note that the September 2014 date is a unique cruise which sails from Patna to Varanasi. The Rajmahal is the only ship on the Ganges that can sail into the holy city of Varanasi, and this is only possible at select times of year.



Itinerary At-a-Glance

Varanasi, 3 nights; Bodh Gaya, 1 night; aboard Rajamahal, 6 nights; Kolkata, 3 nights.



Days 1-2:
Overnight flight from the U.S.A.


Days 3-5:
Arrival Varanasi (India)

Experience Varanasi, the oldest city in India and the holiest in Hinduism. During boat excursions on the Ganges, observe people carrying out rituals at the ghats — 84 stepped embankments, each with its own significance. Take a field trip to Sarnath, where the Buddha gave his first teachings. Visit Banaras Hindu University and interact with students. Lodging: Four-star hotel.



Days 6-7:
Coach to Bodh Gaya / coach to Patna to embark Rajmahal

Journey to Bodh Gaya, where the Buddha obtained Enlightenment after three days and nights of meditating under the Bodhi Tree. Step inside the spectacular Mahabodhi Temple at this pilgrimage site. Lodging: Comfortable hotel.



Day 8:
Patna

Explore this city including its magnificent Gurdwara, one of the holiest places of worship for Sikhs. As you set sail, pass the East India Company’s old opium warehouses.



Day 9:
Barh

Go ashore for an excursion to Nalanda. This great center of learning, active from the 5th through 12th centuries, attracted scholars from as far away as China and Greece.



Day 10:
Monghyr

Discover Monghyr Fort, a majestic riverside fortress occupied by several different empires. Sail to the village of Sultanganj, an ancient Hindu pilgrimage site.



Day 11:
Bhagalpur

In this town renowned for its fine silk, visit a weaving village and the mansion of an East India Company magistrate. See the idyllic riverside temples of Bateshwar.



Day 12:
Rajmahal

Venture into the emerald hills of Rajmahal to find the ruins of ancient palaces, fortresses and mosques partially hidden by vegetation.



Days 13-17:
Farakka / disembark / train to Kolkata / departure on overnight flight to the U.S.A.

Leave the Ganges behind as you board a train to Kolkata (or Calcutta), the metropolis of East India. Discover the Belur Math temple, which fuses Hindu, Christian and Islamic architectural styles. Visit Mother Teresa’s mission and learn about her work. Visit the city’s great museums and learn about India’s favorite sport, cricket. Lodging: Historic five-star hotel.



Rajmahal

This brand new riverboat, purpose-built to navigate the shallow waters of the Ganges River, will sail its first voyages in 2014. At 167 feet long, it can accommodate up to 40 passengers in its spacious staterooms, all of which feature French balconies. Public areas include a dining room, bar, spa and large sundeck. Meals onboard combine delicious Indian and European-style cuisine.


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.



Meals and Lodgings
   Radisson Hotel Varanasi
  Varanasi, India 3 nights
   The Royal Residency
  Bodhgaya, India 1 night
   ABN Rajamahal
  Aboard the Rajamahal, India 6 nights
   The Oberoi Grand
  Kolkata, India 3 nights
 Radisson Hotel Varanasi
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Radisson has 116 hotel rooms in Varanasi, including 2 elegantly designed suites, 14 Business Class Rooms and 100 Superior Rooms. All of our guest rooms offer turndown service and a wide range of amenities.
  Contact info: The Mall Cantonment, Varanasi
U.P. 221002
221 002,   India
phone: +91 54 2250 1515
web: www.radisson.com/varanasi-u-p--hotel-in-221002/indvaran/rooms
  Room amenities: Newspaper delivered to the room - daily Digital safe in each room Broadband Internet access Mini-bar and tea/coffee maker Telephone with voicemail and direct dial Satellite television Hair dryer
  Facility amenities: Includes complimentary broadband Internet access, television with 48 channels and a bottle of mineral water provided daily. Relax in the oasis of comfort provided by our spacious rooms with the option of interconnecting, city view or pool view. Complimentary buffet breakfast and use of Health Club (gym, steam room, whirlpool).
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 The Royal Residency
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: A symbolic project elegantly erected on 3 acres of land in the best environment with 62 centrally air-conditioned Twin bed rooms and 5 Suites, caters to the diversified needs of tourists. The hotel has all modern facilities. All rooms are with attached bath rooms in it with shower, bath tubs, running hot and cold water, individual room temperature control, direct dial telephone facilities both domestic and international.
  Ship Information: NA
  Contact info: Domuhan Road, Bodhgaya,
Bihar,  824231 India
phone: +91 ) (0) 631-220-1156
web: www.theroyalresidency.net/bodhgaya/
  Room amenities: AC and attached bathroom
  Facility amenities: One Bar Money Exchange Shopping Arcade Room Service 24-hours room serviceLaundry / dry cleaning Doctor -on-call Meeting room facilities Japanese community bath separately for ladies and gents Multi-cuisine centrally air-conditioned restaurant 'Amarapali' & Bar Travel assistance Car hire service
  Smoking allowed: Yes

 ABN Rajamahal
Type: Riverboat
  Description: This brand new riverboat, purpose-built to navigate the shallow waters of the Ganges River, will sail its first voyages in 2014. At 167 feet long, it can accommodate up to 40 passengers in its spacious staterooms, all of which feature French balconies. Public areas include a dining room, bar, spa and large sundeck. Meals onboard combine delicious Indian and European-style cuisine.
  Ship Information: Built in 2013 with a shallow draft, it is 167 feet long, has 22 staterooms that can accommodate 40 passengers. It has a crew of 30 people. It has a total of three decks.
  Contact info: 3rd Floor, Dirang Arcade, GNB Road, Chandmari,
Guwahati,  781003 India
phone: +xxx
web: www.assambengalnavigation.com/
  Room amenities: Beds, bathrooms, sitting area and a wardrobe with a full length sliding door and a French Balcony.
  Facility amenities: Bar/Saloon dinner Hall Gift Shop Spa Sundeck Staircases connecting all three decks
  Smoking allowed: No
  Bathroom: Bathroom has toilet, sink and a shower only.

 The Oberoi Grand
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Oberoi Grand, fondly referred as the 'Grande Dame of Chowringhee' offers the ultimate classical residence in the City of Joy. This heritage hotel’s neo-classical facade and grand pillared entrance mark a successful fusion of classical Victorian and traditional Indian style and reflect the city’s colonial history. Standing stately for over 125 years, The Oberoi Grand combines classic architecture and charm with state of the art amenities and facilities, offering guests an oasis of tranquility amidst the bustling city. The hotel is located in the main business and shopping district of Kolkata (Park Street, BBD Bag, and Chowringhee) and is in walking distance from most corporate and government offices. It is also conveniently located close to major convention centers, legislative offices, banks, Consulates, Deputy High Commissions, Chambers of Commerce and clubs. This ideal location makes the hotel a perfect base for the business and the leisure traveler.
  Contact info: 15, Jawaharlal Nehru Road
Kolkata,  700013 India
phone: +91 .33.2249.2323
web: www.oberoihotels.com/oberoi_kolkata/index.asp
  Room amenities: 32" LCD TV, DVD Player, Satellite television, Wired & wireless broadband internet access, Electronic safe, Dual line telephones with voice mail, Personal bar, A well appointed bathroom with a basket of Ayurvedic toiletries.
  Facility amenities: Wireless Internet access in all rooms and public areas, State of the art 24-hour Business Centre, Full service Oberoi Spa, Fitness Centre, 24 hours in room dining, 24 hours personal butler service, 24 hours Concierge, 24 hours doctor on call, Meetings and Conference facilities, Shopping options, Outdoor swimming pool, Beauty parlour, 24 Hours laundry service, Currency exchange, Electronic safe deposit box in all rooms
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: TBA Please contact Road Scholar Travel Services for additional price.


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Day 3 in Varanasi in the early evening with orientation at the program hotel. You will be staying at Radisson Hotel Varanasi that night.
  End of Program:
Day 16 after lunch in Kolkata at the program hotel. You will be staying at The Oberoi Grand the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. None.
  Parking availability:
Driving in India is not recommended.
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 participants to make arrangements to get to the program site. Taxis are readily available at the airport, but you can also arrange a private transfer with Road Scholar Travel Services.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Kolkata
  Transportation from site: Program Only Participants are welcome to take the group transfers if their flights coincide with the group flights. There is one designated group transfer available to independent travelers at no additional cost. The designated group transfer time will be around 8:00 PM (subject to change until approximately 5 weeks prior to departure). Please note that the transfer from the hotel to the airport takes about 1.5 hours. Private arrival and departure transfers -at an additional cost- may be arranged in advance by the calling Road Scholar Travel Services.
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: Depart for India
(Sunday, February 22)
   
 Depart From: Depart for overnight flight to India.

Day 2: En route / Forced Overnight in Delhi
(Monday, February 23)

Note: This is a forced overnight for those who booked their international flight from the US with Road Scholar.



   
 In Transit: For those who booked their international air through Road Scholar, you will be provided with a hotel overnight in Delhi (if it is required). This is required if your flight does not allow you to make your connecting flight to Varanasi. There is no programming on this day nor are any meals included. Your program does not officially start until you reach Varanasi.

Day 3: Arrival Varanasi / Program Orientation
(Tuesday, February 24)

Note: Varanasi is a very intense place. Please be prepared for lots of crowds, smokes from cremations along the Ganges River and narrow winding streets in the old part of town.



   
 Arrive To: Arrival to Varanasi. Transfer to the program hotel. Then convene with your group leader and other participants for the program orientation. NOTE: Varanasi is an intense place for you. Please be prepared for this experience. Your group leader will go over this in the orientation.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Radisson Hotel Varanasi
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 4: Presentation / Sarnath / Varanasi University
(Wednesday, February 25)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Participate in a presentation on Spirituality in India. Then continue to Sarnath, where the Buddha gave his first Sermon after he obtained enlightenment. Discover the Sarnath Museum and Deer Park, the location where he gave his sermon.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Return to Varanasi and transfer to the University, the largest Hindu University in India. Explore the Archeological Museum at the University and engage with the university students there.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: Radisson Hotel Varanasi
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Varanasi / Morning Boat Ride / Old City Discovery / Aarti Ceremony
(Thursday, February 26)

Note: This day requires getting in and out of small boats, walking along cobblestones on narrow streets, and walking about .5 miles (one way) to get to the Gnats for the Aarti Ceremony in busy crowded streets. You will be taking a Rickshaw ride part of the way. It will be about a 30 minute ride.



   
 Breakfast: Before breakfast begin with an early morning boat ride on the Ganges River to see the early morning rituals on the ngats along the Ganges. Return to the hotel for breakfast.
 Morning: After Breakfast, continue to Bharat Mata temple, the Mother Temple, and take a heritage walk through Varanasi to visit the Ashrams, visit a local home and enjoy a cup of tea. Then participate in a presentation on, Varanasi a Cradle of culture.
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel or at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Time in the afternoon for you to relax. Then in the late afternoon, witness an "Aarti" ceremony while enjoying a boat ride on the Ganges. Aarti is a Hindu religious ritual of worship, a part of puja, in which light from wicks soaked in ghee (purified butter) or camphor is offered to one or more deities. Aartis also refer to the songs sung in praise of the deity, when lamps are being offered.
 Dinner: Dinner at or near the hotel.
 Evening: Reminder: Pack for tomorrow's trip.
   
Accommodations: Radisson Hotel Varanasi
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Coach to Bodhgaya
(Friday, February 27)

Note: Drive time is approximately 5-6 hours with stops along the way.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Check-out of your hotel and begin your journey to another holy site in India Bodhgaya, where Siddhartha Gautama obtained enlightenment. Presentation by your Study Leader on the Life of the Buddha.
 Lunch: Lunch en route.
 Afternoon: In the late afternoon, arrive in Bodhgaya and check into your hotel with some time to relax. Explore the Mahabodhi Temple, constructed with the main intention of making it a monument and not a receptacle for the relics of Buddha. Inside the temple there is a colossal image of the Buddha in the "touching the ground pose", bhumisparsha mudra. This image is said to be 1700 years old and is facing east exactly at the place where the Buddha in meditation with his back to the Bodhi tree was enlightened. Continue to the Bodhi Tree, the place where Gautama obtained enlightenment. Since 1953, Bodh Gaya has been developed as an international place of pilgrimage. Buddhists from Sri Lanka, Thailand, Burma, Tibet, Bhutan and Japan have established monasteries and temples within easy walking distance of the Mahabodhi compound. The site of the enlightenment now attracts Buddhists and visitors from all over the world.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: The Royal Residency
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Bodhgaya Discovery / Transfer to Rajgir/ Board ship
(Saturday, February 28)

Note: Drive from Bodhgaya to Rajgir is 1.5 hours. Drive from Rajgir to Patna is 1.5 hours.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to Rajgir, the first capital of the kingdom of Magadha, a state that would eventually evolve into the Mauryan Empire. Take a chairlift to a hilltop and visit Vishwa Shanti Stupa, one of 80 a peace pagoda built in 1969, to spread the message of peace and non-violence.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Transfer to Patna to board the vessel between 4-5pm.
 Dinner: Dinner on board the ship.
   
Accommodations: ABN Rajamahal
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Patna City Discovery / Cruise to Barh
(Sunday, March 1)

Note: Please takea scarf to cover your head at the Sikh Temple.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: This morning explore the town of Patna, visiting the extraordinary 18th century Gola Ghar granary, the great Sikh temple with an opportunity to visit the soup kitchen and the the rich collections of the State Museum. Return to the ship for lunch.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: This afternoon the ship cruises pass the Old East India Company Opium warehouses and moor for the evening at Barh. Presentation by SL on the Opium Trade in India.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
   
Accommodations: ABN Rajamahal
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Nalanda / Pawapuri Jain Temple
(Monday, March 2)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Today, explore the excavated great Buddhist monastery and stupa at Nalanda and the adjoining Archeological museum, which house the Nalanda University seal, sculptures and other remains found on the site. Nalanda was an ancient center of higher learning in Bihar, India from the fifth century CE to 1197 CE.
 Lunch: Picnic Lunch in Nalanda.
 Afternoon: Then continue to the picturesque Pawapuri Jain temple in the middle of a lake. Return to the ship in the evening and cruise down to the great bridge at Mokameh, where earlier the naturalist Jim Corbett spent his working life overseeing the ferry crossing. Presentation by SL on the Holy Ganges River.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
   
Accommodations: ABN Rajamahal
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Cruise to Monghyr / Pirpahar Hill / Cruise to Sultanganj
(Tuesday, March 3)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Today cruise down to Monghyr. Monghyr possesses a fine Mughal fort, as well as an East India Company Cemetery, now with villagers living amongst the tombs. Explore the Pirpahar Hill, crowned by a fine old mansion, Mughal Fort which house a number of religious and historic monuments and the Sitakund hot springs. Then reboard the ship.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: This afternoon, cruise downstream to anchor near Jahangira Island at Sultanganj, place of great antiquity. Explore Sultanjanj, a place of pilgrimage with early Hindu carvings in the rock.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
   
Accommodations: ABN Rajamahal
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Cruise to Bhagalpur / Silk Weaving Village / Cruise to Bateshwar / Anchor near the Kosi
(Wednesday, March 4)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: This morning cruise to Bhagalpur, along a stretch of the river where Gangetic Dolphin may be seen. Bhagalpur is a center of silk production. Here, discover the elegant 18th century mansion built by Augustus Cleveland as well as a silk-weaving village.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Continue cruising pass the island shrine at Colganj, where both Buddhist and Hindu cave temples are situated, and once a center of the murderous Thug sect. Close to here, visit idyllic Bateshwar with 6th century Hindu carvings and the nearby ruins of an 8th century Buddhist stupa and monastery at Vikramshila. Anchor for the night near the confluence of the Kosi river, coming down from Nepal. Then participate in a presentation by your SL on the Thug Sect
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
   
Accommodations: ABN Rajamahal
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Cruise to Rajmahal / Explore Rajmahal Palaces, Forts and Mosques / Cruise to Farakka Barrage
(Thursday, March 5)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: This morning, explore Rajmahal. Rajmahal is one of those places, so common in India, which is not featured in any guidebook and yet offers both interesting and atmospheric. Once known as Akbarnagar, the town was founded by the Mughal Emperor Akbar as his eastern capital. Shah Jehan, builder of the Taj Mahal, spent much of his youth here. There are remains of palaces, forts and mosques submerged in vegetation which you shall explore before continuing on down to the great Farakka Barrage.
 Lunch: Lunch on board.
 Afternoon: Cruise downstream this afternoon towards Farakka. Presentation by SL, topic TBA.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
   
Accommodations: ABN Rajamahal
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Farakka / Disembark / Transfer to Farakka Train Station / Train to Kolkata
(Friday, March 6)

Note: Train ride is approximately 6 hours.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast on board.
 Morning: Early train transfer to the train station at Farakka. Train ride is approximately 6 hours.
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel.
 Afternoon: Upon arrival in Kolkata, transfer to your program hotel for check in. Then take a guided walk through one of the oldest book market in India, located near the hotel.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
   
Accommodations: The Oberoi Grand
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: British Kolkata Discovery / Victoria Monument / Indian Museum / Eden's Garden (Botanical Garden)
(Saturday, March 7)

Note: There will be a lot of walking at Eden's Botanical Garden.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: This morning, explore the Victoria Memorial. Then continue to the Indian Museum, the earliest and the largest multipurpose Museum not only in the Indian subcontinent but also in the Asia-Pacific region of the world.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Continue your discovery of Kolkata with a visit to St. Paul's Cathedral, ending at at Eden's garden Eden the famous cricket ground.
 Dinner: Dinner is on your own.
   
Accommodations: The Oberoi Grand
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 15: Bengali Kolkata / Mother Teresa's Project
(Sunday, March 8)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Experience Bengali Koltata with a visit to the Jain Temple. Continue to explore Kumartuli, a Potters colony where large Hindu Gods are created by the community there. Then explore the Sova Bazar and Torjore Musem and Palace.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Spend the afternoon learning about Mother Teresa and her mission in India. Visit the Mission of Charity Foundation and gain a deeper understanding of this unique woman and her cause.
 Dinner: Farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
   
Accommodations: The Oberoi Grand
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Belur Math / Departure
(Monday, March 9)

Note: Program Ends after lunch. Group flight is in the early evening with a 4-5 hour layover in Delhi.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: This morning, discover Belur Math, a temple notable for its architecture that fuses Hindu, Christian and Islamic motifs as a symbol of unity of all religions. NOTE: You will need to remove your shoes at this temple.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Program ends after lunch. This afternoon is free until your departure flight from Kolkata which is usually in the early evening. For those taking the group flight, you will have a 4-5 hour layover in Delhi. (subject to change).
   
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 17: Arrival Home
(Tuesday, March 10)
   
 Arrive To: Arrival 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


Along the Ganges


Author: Ilija Trojanow


Description: In this colorful travelogue, Trojanow follows the Ganges from its source in the Himalayas to the cities that it feeds, using the holy river as a means to ponder Hinduism, culture, ecology and the tension between ancient and modern India.



An Introduction to Hinduism


Author: Gavin D. Flood


Description: A comprehensive overview of the Hinduism, from the basic principles and tenets of the religion to modern variations and controversies.



Banaras


Author: Diana L. Eck


Description: This history of the holiest and oldest of Indian cities (now known as Varanasi), the home of Shiva, encompasses many millennia of Buddhist and especially Hindu practices along the Ganges.



Buddha


Author: Karen Armstrong


Description: A concise, thought-provoking biography of the Buddha in the Penguin Lives series, written by one of the foremost experts on world religions.



Darsan, Seeing the Divine Image in India


Author: Diana L. Eck


Description: Tremendously useful for the traveler, this rigorous guide explains the significance and meaning of Hindu temples, festivals and ritual. Darsan, which translates as "seeing," reveals religious expression in India.



India


Author: Stanley Wolpert


Description: Wolpert's reflections on India -- its religion and philosophy, its art, culture and politics -- make for a wonderfully literate, succinct primer.



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, 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 Short History


Author: Andrew Robinson


Description: Robinson’s inviting introduction to India chronicles the rise and fall of the India’s kingdoms and its eventual economic decline, which led to the British subjugation of the Mughal Empire in the mid-19th century.



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.



Insight Guide India


Author: Insight Guides


Description: An illustrated overview of India, with essays on its attractions, history, nature and culture. Includes introductions to the major temples, forts and wildlife sites and plenty of color photos and maps.



Land of the Seven Rivers, A Brief History of India's Geography


Author: Sanjeev Sanyal


Description: A witty and surprising exploration of India’s geography. Sanyal explores the veracity of the Great Flood, Buddha’s first sermon at Sarnath and the lineages of the country’s inhabitants.



Meeting God, Elements of Hindu Devotion


Author: Thomas Moore (Introduction), Stephen Huyler


Description: A stunningly photographed introduction to the rituals and daily devotion of contemporary Hinduism in India. A companion to the traveling exhibition "Puja, Expressions of Hindu Devotion."



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.





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