Road Scholar : Home
A Spiritual and Cultural Journey: India’s Golden Triangle and Holy Ganges River

Program Number: 21644RJ
Start and End Dates:
2/17/2015 - 3/10/2015; 9/11/2016 - 10/2/2016; 1/9/2017 - 1/30/2017; 2/6/2017 - 2/27/2017; 3/6/2017 - 3/27/2017;
Duration: 21 nights
Location: India
Price starting at: $3,995.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; River Boats; History & Culture
Meals: 55; 19 Breakfasts, 19 Lunches, 17 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free; Low Fat; Low Salt    

Experience the treasures of India’s “Golden Triangle” — Delhi, Agra and Jaipur — with outstanding local experts. Then board a modern riverboat to discover the Ganges River. To Hindus, the Ganges is more than a waterway — it is a goddess, the physical manifestation of the sacred. Delve into the spiritual meaning of this river on a voyage to its holiest places plus experience its vital importance in day-to-day life.

Activity Particulars

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

Some dates sail on the riverboat "Rajmahal" while others sail on the "Sukapha". Please see the day-by-day itinerary for details.

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

Itinerary At-a-Glance

Delhi, 2 nights; Agra, 1 night; Jaipur, 2 nights; Delhi, 1 night; Varanasi, 3 nights; Bodh Gaya, 1 night; aboard vessel, 6 nights; Kolkata, 3 nights; departure.

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

Days 2-3: Arrival Delhi (India):

Take a rickshaw ride through Old Delhi, the walled section of the city that was established in 1639. Continue to New Delhi to visit Gandhi Smriti, the home where Gandhi spent the last days of his life, which has today been transformed into a museum. Lodging: Five-star New Delhi hotel.

Day 4: Coach to Agra:

View the sun set over the Taj Mahal then, early the next morning, return to the Taj for a closer look, exploring the exquisite grounds and entering the highly decorated inside chamber. Discover another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the lavish Agra Fort. Lodging: Four-star hotel surrounded by gardens.

Examine the fascinating astronomical devices of Jantar Mantar, built at the behest of an 18th-century maharaja. Interact with students at a local secondary school supported by Road Scholar. Lodging: Four-star hotel overlooking Man Sagar Lake.

Days 7-10: Coach to Delhi / flight to Varanasi:

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. Lodging: Four-star hotel.

Days 11-12: 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. Lodging: Comfortable hotel

Day 13: 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 14: 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 15: 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 16: 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 17: Rajmahal:

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

Days 18-22: 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). Discover the Belur Math temple, which fuses Hindu, Christian and Islamic architectural styles. Visit Mother Teresa’s mission and learn about her work. Lodging: Historic five-star hotel.


This brand new riverboat, purpose-built to navigate the shallow waters of the Ganges River, sailed 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.


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.

Air conditioned double or single cabin on upper deck with ensuite bathroom and shower facilities. Cabins are approximately 185-227 sq. ft in size, with picture window. Cabins include a hair dryer and in-room safe.
Meals and Lodgings
   Suryaa New Delhi
  Delhi, India 2 nights
   Trident Hotel Agra
  Agra, India 1 night
   Trident Hotel Jaipur
  Jaipur, India 2 nights
   Holiday Inn, Aerocity
  Delhi, India 1 night
   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
 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
  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
  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

 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
  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

 Holiday Inn, Aerocity
Type: Hotel
  Description: You'll receive a warm welcome as you step into the cool Lobby of Holiday Inn, Aerocity. The hotel is 10 minutes drive from the international airport
  Contact info: Asset Area 12 Hospitality District Aero City
New Delhi,  110037 India
phone: +91 11 42222000
  Room amenities: Bathrobe, Hairdryer, Mini Bar, Coffee Maker, Standard Internet service is free for all guests
  Facility amenities: Safety Deposit Box available at the front desk. Dry cleaning and Pickup/Laundry. Outdoor Pool. Paid wireless data connection. Health/Fitness Center. Business Center.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 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
  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
  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
  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
  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 2 in Delhi in the evening at the program hotel. You will be staying at Suryaa New Delhi that night.
  End of Program:
Day 21 after lunch in Kolkata at the program hotel. You will be staying at The Oberoi Grand the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information 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. 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
(Tuesday, February 17)
 Depart From: Depart for overnight flight to India.

Day 2: Arrival Delhi / Light Dinner
(Wednesday, February 18)

Note: Group flight arrival is usally in the late afternoon. But the time you go through immigration and transfer to your program hotel, it could be between 6-7pm at the earliest.

 Arrive To: Group arrives to Delhi in the evening. Transfer to hotel for check in.
 Dinner: Light dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: Suryaa New Delhi
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 3: Old Delhi / Rickshaw ride / New Delhi / Gandhi Smitri
(Thursday, February 19)

Note: Rickshaw ride is through an extremely crowded market. Jama Mosque has a lot of steps.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Begin with a program orienation. Then continue to Discover Old Delhi. Drive by the Red Fort and then take a rickshaw ride through Chandni Chowk that ends in Jama Masjid with a visit to the Mosque.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: This afternoon, discover New Delhi. Drive past India Gate and Government buildings. Continue to Gandhi Smriti and learn about Gandhi and his philosophy.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel with a welcome drink.
Accommodations: Suryaa New Delhi
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Delhi / Coach to Agra / Sunset with a view of the Taj Mahal
(Friday, February 20)

Note: This is a 4-5 hour drive with stops along the way.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Explore Qutub Minar, a great masterpiece of Mughal architecture. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has survived the ravages of time impressively. Then, check-out of hotel and depart for Agra. En-route, engage in a presentation on “Mughal History” by your group leader.
 Lunch: Lunch at the hotel.
 Afternoon: Continue to hotel for check in. Then in the late afternoon, view the Taj Mahal from Metab Bagh.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: Trident Hotel Agra
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Taj Mahal / Agra Fort / Coach to Jaipur
(Saturday, February 21)

Note: Both the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort involve a lot of walking and some uneven steps. The drive from Agra to Jaipur is approximately a 5-6 hour drive with stops.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel
 Morning: Before breakfast, set out in the early morning to explore the Taj Mahal. Take some time to explore the exquisite grounds and view the highly decorated inside chamber. Return to the hotel for breakfast. Then continue to Agra Fort. Originally planned as an impregnable military structure by Akbar, the Agra Fort, over a period of time, acquired all the elegance, lavishness and majesty of an imperial palace. Then head off to Jaipur.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Continue to Jaipur. En route, participate in a presentation on the caste system, given by your Study Leader. Upon arrival check into your hotel and relax until dinner.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: Trident Hotel Jaipur
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Jaipur / Amber Fort / Janta Manar
(Sunday, February 22)

Note: Amber Fort will require walking on uneven stones and some steps.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: This morning, drive past Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds). This five- storied wonder has a spectacular pyramidal facade and overhanging windows with latticed screens, domes and spires. Continue on to Amber Fort, an example of Rajput architecture with its terraces and ramparts reflected in the Maota Lake below. The interiors of the Fort have various royal halls decorated with intricate ivory, mirror and glass work complemented by exquisite wall paintings.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Continue your exploration of Jaipur with City Place and Jantar Mantar Astronomical Observatory. Then continue to the city Bazaar and take in the hussle and busy of Jaipur city.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: Trident Hotel Jaipur
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: School visit / Transfer to Delhi
(Monday, February 23)

Note: Driving time from Jaipur to Delhi is approximately 6-7 hours depending on traffic.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Explore a local village of Jaipur and visit a secondary school supported by Road Scholar with opportunities to interact with the students there.
 Lunch: Early Family hosted lunch near the school.
 Afternoon: Transfer back to Delhi and check into an airport hotel. Note: flight to Varanasi departs around 10:30am therefore this overnight in Delhi is required.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own.
Accommodations: Holiday Inn, Aerocity
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8: Fly Delhi to Varanasi / Time to relax
(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.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Transfer to the airport for your flight to Varanasi.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant/hotel.
 Afternoon: Check into your hotel. Join your group leader for a walking discovery of the cantonment area and learn a little about Colonial times in Varanasi.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: Radisson Hotel Varanasi
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Presentation / Sarnath / Varanasi University
(Wednesday, February 25)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Participate in a presentation on Spirituality in India. Then continue to Banaras Hindu University, the largest Hindu University in India. Engage with the university students there and learn about their goals and aspirations.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: 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.
 Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.
Accommodations: Radisson Hotel Varanasi
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: 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 gats 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 11: 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 12: 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 13: Patna City Discovery / Cruise to Barh
(Sunday, March 1)

Note: Please take a 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.
 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 14: 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 the Group Leader on the Holy Ganges River.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
Accommodations: ABN Rajamahal
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: 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 16: 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 17: 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 sites. 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.
 Dinner: Dinner on board.
Accommodations: ABN Rajamahal
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 18: 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 19: British Kolkata Discovery / Victoria Monument / Indian Museum / Eden's Garden
(Saturday, March 7)

Note: There will be a lot of walking at Eden's Cricket Ground.

 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 20: Bengali Kolkata / Mother Teresa's Project
(Sunday, March 8)
 Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: Experience Bengali Kolkata 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 hotel.
Accommodations: The Oberoi Grand
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 21: 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 22: 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

A Fine Balance

Author: Rohinton Mistry

Description: Set in 1975 in an unnamed Indian "city by the sea," this tender novel follows the intermingled fortunes of a Parsi widow, her boarder and two tailors. A Booker Prize finalist.

A Free Man

Author: Aman Sethi

Description: Sethi conjures Mohammed Ashraf and his indelible group of day laborer friends in the Old Delhi Railway Station in this searing portrait of life -- and injustice -- in contemporary India.

A Princess Remembers, The Memoirs of the Maharani of Jaipur

Author: Devi Gayatri

Description: The memoirs of an extraordinary life. Widow of the Maharaja of Jaipur, member of parliament and a genuinely fascinating character, Gayatri recalls growing up in the palace compound, marrying the Maharaja, her political triumphs and work on behalf of education in India.

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 its art, architecture, history and literature.

Culture Smart! India

Author: Becky Stephen

Description: A concise, well-illustrated guide to both social and business customs in India.

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.

Gandhi, 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.

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

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.


Author: Stanley Wolpert

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

Indian Art

Author: Vidya Dehejia

Description: A beautifully illustrated, very readable history of Indian art and architecture. It considers the religious and intellectual contexts of three thousand years of Indian art, including the modern era.

Kaleidoscope City, A Year in Varanasi

Author: Piers Moore Ede

Description: Whether he is attending Ramalila -- the city's annual performance of the Ramayana, talking to members of the caste who man the cremation ghats along the Ganges or simply searching for the best mithai, or sweet, in town, Ede presents a vibrant, kaleidoscopic portrait of contemporary Varanasi.

Lonely Planet India Phrasebook

Author: Omkar Koul

Description: A handy, palm-sized guide to pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler.

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.

Mughal India, Splendours of the Peacock Throne

Author: Valerie Berinstain, Paul Bahn (Translator)

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

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.

Slowly Down the Ganges

Author: Eric Newby

Description: In 1963, the author and his wife set out an 1,200-mile voyage down the Ganges River. The title could apply as easily to the ruminative attitude Newby takes towards his journey as to the many mishaps which bedevil the quest.

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."

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