21260
India
India’s Holy Ganges River: Rituals, History and the Sacred City of Varanasi
Set sail on a voyage of discovery as you enjoy expert-led excursions to sacred sites, vibrant cities, traditional villages and architectural wonders along the holy Ganges River.
Rating (5)
Program No. 21260RJ
Length
16 days
Starts at
4,195
Flights start at
950
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16 days
15 nights
38 meals
13 B 13 L 12 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Late arrival Kolkata
Kolkata
The Lalit Great Eastern Kolkata Hotel

Activity note: Group flight arrival is usually late in the afternoon or late evening. If arriving this day, and your air is booked through Road Scholar a representative will meet you at the airport and transfer you to the hotel. If you booked your own flight, you can check in to the hotel at 2pm.

Evening: Group arrives to Kolkata in the late evening. Group Leader meets and greets group arrival at the arrival lounge the International airport.Transfer to hotel for check in. There is no program nor dinner on this day because the arrival is late at night.

DAY
3
Kolkata: Jain Temple, Potter's Colony, Colonial Kolkata
Kolkata
B,L,D
The Lalit Great Eastern Kolkata Hotel

Activity note: Today’s visit is by metro, rickshaw and coach. When visiting the Jain Temple, shoes will need to be removed, you may want to bring an extra pair of socks.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Group Leader greets everyone and gives a program overview and answers questions. Your group will be connecting with another Road Scholar Group 21644, coming from Jaipur. Experience Bengali Kolkata with a visit to the Shobhabazar (also spelled Sovabazar) and Jain Temple (NOTE: Shoes need to be removed in the Temple). Continue to explore Kumortuli, a Potter's colony where large Hindu Gods are created by the community there.

Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: This afternoon, coach departs for a drive past British Colonial Kolkata. Explore the Victoria Memorial and St. Paul's Cathedral.

Dinner: Welcome dinner at the hotel.

DAY
4
Mother Teresa's Project, Board Ship in Kolkata, Serampore
Barrakpore
B,L,D
ABN Sukapha

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Spend the morning 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. Return to hotel to check out.

Lunch: On board the ship.

Afternoon: Board ship, and embark midday, sailing up past the old Danish colony of Serampore to Barrackpore, land and take a walk. Barrakpore is known forthe Indian independence movement and the town itself might be named for the barracks during the British time. On land, explore the Government house, the Temple of Fame, a memorial to French and Dutch soldiers those who had died in the conquests of Mauritius and Java during the Napoleonic Wars and the Flagstaff House which houses many British statues removed from central Calcutta.

Dinner: Welcome drink and safety briefing in saloon. Dinner on board the ship

Evening: Post dinner tea and coffee served in the saloon

DAY
5
Sail up to Chandernagore, and visit the 18th century church
Chandermagore
B,L
ABN Sukapha

Activity note: For many of the shore excursions, you will be getting off and on small boats to get to shore.

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: Board the country boat for a short ride to visit Chandernagore. Explore the town, sacred heart church and Dupleix's Museum. (subject to holidays)

Lunch: Lunch on board the ship.

Afternoon: Afternoon sail to Chinsura. Once there board a local boat to the town. Once on shore, take a rickshaw ride to explore the Dutch cemetery at Chinsura and Imambara. Return to the ship and learn about the ISKCON religion from your group leader.

Dinner: Dinner on board.

Evening: Post dinner tea and coffee served in the saloon

DAY
6
Kalna exploration by rickshaws, Shiva Temple, Mayapur
Mayapur
B,L,D
ABN Sukapha

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: Take cycle rickshaws to see a group of some of Bengal's most attractive terracotta temples as well as the unique Shiva temple with concentric rings. Board the ship and sail further upstream towards Mayapur.

Lunch: On board the ship.

Afternoon: Sail further upstream towards Mayapur. Then disembark the ship to the village of Mayapur, where headquarters of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness is located. This sector of Hinduism a special significance to followers of Gaudiya Vaishnavism, regarded as a special incarnation of Krishna in the mood of Radha. Visit the new ISKCON temple and learn a little about the significant of this religion and its importance to Mayapur.

Dinner: On board ship.

Evening: Post dinner tea and coffee served in the saloon.

DAY
7
Brassworking village of Matiari, Battlefield of Plassey
Khushbagh
B,L,D
ABN Sukapha

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: This morning visit the brassworking village of Matiari where you can see the whole primitive process of beating out brass water pots and other vessels. Return to ship and cruise on to Plassey.

Lunch: On board.

Afternoon: Board the country boat (please carry life jacket) for about 10 minutes ride to the shore from where we board our waiting vehicles and drive 10 minutes to visit Plassey where in 1757 Robert Clive’s was victorious against Siraj-ud-Daulah. Board ship and cruise. Presentation: The Holy Ganges and its importance to India, by your group leader.

Dinner: On board the ship.

Evening: Post dinner tea and coffee served in the saloon.

DAY
8
Land and walk to the Khushbagh, Hazarduari Palace
Barangar
B,L,D
ABN Sukapha

Activity note: Before breakfast ship starts to cruise upstream.

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: This morning, take a local boat to the shore and then board a rickshaw for a 15 minute ride to Khushbagh a peaceful Moghul-style garden enclosing the tombs of Siraj-ud-Daulah and his family. Then return to the ship and continue upstream towards Hazarduari Palace. Take a short 10 minute walk to Nawab’s great Hazarduari Palace, built by an English architect in 1837, which dominates the waterfront. Inside are an extensive collection of pictures, china, weapons and other objects.

Lunch: On board the ship.

Afternoon: Join your group leader for a presentation on the spirituality of India. Then board a motorcoach to explore the great Katra Mosque, Nashipara Palace and the Katgola Palace, built in the late 18th century. They were built in classical Georgian style by rich local merchants and represent the other side of the coin of the “White Moghul” period when English and Indian cultures came close to fusion.

Dinner: On board the ship.

Evening: Post dinner tea and coffee served in the saloon.

DAY
9
Baranagar, Hooghly
Farakka
B,L,D
ABN Sukapha

Activity note: Enjoy rural India at is most idyllic.

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: Moor at the delightful sleepy village of Baranagar with three gorgeous miniature terracotta temples to which you walk through the fields. This visit is approximately 90 minutes visiting the terracotta temples. This is rural India at its most idyllic.

Lunch: Lunch on board.

Afternoon: Continue up the Hughli, here a charming waterway twisting and turning between banks lined with mustard fields and mango orchards. Carry on up a long canal section to a mooring close to the Farakka Barrage. This town was a river port in the fifteenth century. Enjoy a presentation by the Study Leader.

Dinner: On board the ship.

Evening: Post dinner tea and coffee served in the saloon.

DAY
10
Farakka Lock, Guar
Guar
B,L,D
ABN Sukapha

Activity note: Visit Guar, a quiet deserted place, once one of India's great cities.

Breakfast: On board the ship.

Morning: During breakfast we cruise to a mooring by the Farakka lock. Disembark and take a full day excursion by road to Gaur, near the town of Malda, or English Bazar. This quiet, deserted place was once one of India’s great cities, first under the Hindus in 12th century.

Lunch: Picnic lunch for Guar.

Afternoon: Late afternoon, return from the excursion to Guar. Relax and rest up for dinner.

Dinner: On board the ship.

Evening: Post dinner tea and coffee served in the saloon.

DAY
11
Farakka, Disembark ship, Train to Kolkata
Kolkata
B,L,D
The Lalit Great Eastern Kolkata Hotel

Activity note: Train to Kolkata is around 6 hours.

Breakfast: Tea / Coffee & small sandwich will be served in the Saloon Or full breakfast will be served in the dining room.

Morning: Early morning, disembark ship and board our vehicles and drive for 10 miles to New Farakka railway station, to board your train to Kolkata. Train ride to Kolkata is approx. 6 hours, arrive Kolkata early afternoon.

Lunch: At hotel.

Afternoon: Then take a guided walk through one of the markets, located near the hotel

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.

DAY
12
Fly to Patna, coach to Bodhgaya
Bodhgaya
B,L,D
The Royal Residency, Bodh Gaya

Activity note: Drive from Patna to Bodhgaya is approximately 4-5 hours.

Breakfast: Pre-packed breakfast for trip to airport.

Morning: Coach departs for Kolkata airport for your morning flight to Patna. Arrive Patna, board coach to begin your journey to another holy site in India: Bodhgaya. Bodhgaya is where Siddhartha Gautama obtained enlightenment.

Lunch: Lunch en route.

Afternoon: Check in to your hotel. Time to relax and rest up from a long day of travel. Late afternoon, the Group Leader will give a presentation on the Life of the Buddha.

Dinner: At the hotel.

DAY
13
Bodhgaya City Discovery, Fly to Varanasi
Varanasi
B,L,D
Radisson Hotel Varanasi

Activity 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: In the morning, coach departs for Mahabodhi Temple. 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.

Lunch: Lunch at the hotel.

Afternoon: Check out of hotel. Coach departs for Gaya airport. Board flight to Varanasi, once arrived collect your luggage and board transfer to your hotel.

Dinner: At hotel.

DAY
14
Varanasi Discovery: Boat Ride, Saranth, Aarti Ceremony
Varanasi
B,L,D
Radisson Hotel Varanasi

Activity 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 ghats along the Ganges. Continue with a short walk along old Varanasi to explore some of the temples in this area. Return to the hotel for breakfast.

Morning: After breakfast, set out for an excursion to Sarnath, the holy site where Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon after attaining enlighten at Bodhgaya. Return to the hotel.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: Free in early afternoon Late afternoon take a rickshaw ride and then witness an Aarti Ceremony while enjoying the boat cruise on the Ganges River.(subject to weather conditions) You will be able to witness sacred Hindu religious of "puja" and "aarti". Puja refers to a variety of rites, one of which is aarti (also arti, arati), a ceremony in which light from little lamps with wicks soaked in ghee (purified butter) or camphor is offered to one or more deities. Aarti also refers to the songs sung in praise of the deity when lamps are being offered.

Dinner: Farewell dinner at hotel.

Evening: Pack for trip home tomorrow.

DAY
15
Varansi, Late afternoon departures home
In Flight
B,L,D

Activity note: For those on the group flight, the flight will go via Delhi with a layover for a few hours in Delhi.

Breakfast: At hotel.

Morning: Short Walk in the narrow lanes, with a short visit to an "Akhada" to learn to learn about traditional mud wrestling, followed by a Classic sitar and Kathak Dance recital

Lunch: At hotel.

Afternoon: Right after lunch, transfer to the airport for your return flight home. Please note that your program officially ends after lunch at the program hotel.

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.

DAY
16
Arrival Home
In Flight