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

Discover some of the world’s most iconic landmarks with experts and sail a modern riverboat along the Ganges River to vibrant cities, religious sites, ancient palaces and the Taj Mahal.
Rating (5)
Program No. 21644RJ
22 days
Starts at

At a Glance

Experience the treasures of India's "Golden Triangle" — Delhi, Agra and Jaipur — with local experts. Then fly to Kolkata and board a modern riverboat to discover the Ganges River, which to Hindus is more than a waterway. Delve into the spiritual meaning of this river on a voyage to its hidden places, plus experience its vital importance in day-to-day life. Disembark and journey to Bodhgaya and Varanasi, some of the holiest sites in India.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Experience the energy of Old Delhi on a rickshaw ride, then explore the Sikh Temple, one of the most prominent Sikh houses of worship.
  • See the Taj Mahal at sunset and sunrise and explore its exquisitely decorated interior chambers.
  • Sail a modern riverboat along the Ganges River, visiting the ruins of long forgotten villages, temples and rural India.

General Notes

Most activities on this program will be held in conjunction with program "India’s Holy Ganges River: Rituals, History and the Sacred City of Varanasi" (#21260). Your Group Leader will be available for individualized attention during activities for both groups.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Indian Art
by Vidya Dehejia
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.
Eyewitness Guide Delhi, Agra and Jaipur
by Anuradha Chaturvedi (Editor)
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.
by Sony Pictures Movies & Shows
This acclaimed biographical drama movie presents major events in the life of Mohandas Gandhi (Ben Kingsley), the beloved Indian leader who stood against British rule over his country. Dedicated to the concept of nonviolent resistance, Gandhi is initially dismissed by English officials, including the influential Lord Irwin (John Gielgud), but eventually he and his cause become internationally renowned, and his gatherings of passive protest move India towards independence.
by Rabindranath Tagore
Gitanjali is a collection of poems by the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore. The original Bengali collection of 157 poems was published on August 14, 1910. Tagore became the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, largely for the English Gitanjali.
A Fine Balance
by Rohinton Mistry
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.
India Adventure Map
by National Geographic Society
The most detailed shaded relief map (at a scale of 1:2,100,000) of India available.
Lonely Planet India Phrasebook
by Omkar Koul
A handy, palm-sized guide to pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler.
Mughal India, Splendours of the Peacock Throne
by Valerie Berinstain, Paul Bahn (Translator)
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.
A Free Man
by Aman Sethi
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.
India, A Traveler's Literary Companion
by Chandrahas Choudhury (Editor)
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.
A Princess Remembers, The Memoirs of the Maharani of Jaipur
by Devi Gayatri
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.
The Heart of God: Prayers of Rabindranath Tagore
by Rabindranath Tagore
Awarded the Noble Prize for Literature in 1913, Rabindranath Tagore (1861— 1941) is considered the most important poet of modern-day India. He was also a distinguished author, educator, social reformer, and philosopher. Today, Tagore along with Mahatma Gandhi is prized as the foremost intellectual and spiritual advocates of India's liberation from imperial rule. This inspiring collection of Tagore's poetry represents his "simple prayers of common life.
Kaleidoscope City, A Year in Varanasi
by Piers Moore Ede
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.
India, A Sacred Geography
by Diana L. Eck
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.
Hindu Art and Architecture
by George Michell
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.
Culture Smart! India
by Becky Stephen
A concise, well-illustrated guide to both social and business customs in India.
Slowly Down the Ganges
by Eric Newby
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.
by Stanley Wolpert
Wolpert's reflections on India -- its religion and philosophy, its art, culture and politics -- make for a literate, succinct primer.
Inglorious Empire: what the British did to India
by Shashi Tharoor
In the eighteenth century, India’s share of the world economy was as large as Europe’s. By 1947, after two centuries of British rule, it had decreased six-fold. Beyond conquest and deception, the Empire blew rebels from cannon, massacred unarmed protesters, entrenched institutionalized racism, and caused millions to die from starvation
In Spite of the Gods
by Edward Luce
Luce tackles the challenges and reality of the world's largest democracy with insight and balance in this portrait of a nation in transition.
Nine Lives, In Search of the Sacred in Modern India
by William Dalrymple
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.
Midnight's Children
by Salman Rushdie
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.
City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi
by William Dalrymple
Dalrymple infectiously interweaves his own experiences over a year in Delhi with its art, architecture, history and literature.
by Satayjit Ray
Documentary on Tagore, available on VHS or DVD. The documentary was made by Satayjit Ray and Rituparno Gosh on Tagore in 1961. Also view on youtube if you type in: RABINDRANATH TAGORE (1961,Documentary) - by Satyajit Ray
Taj Mahal
by Giles Tillotson, Mary Beard (Editor)
An enlightening pocket guide to the myth, meaning and legends of the celebrated tomb, "the queen of architecture."
Birds of India
by Richard Grimmett, Carol Inskipp, Tim Inskipp
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.
Gandhi, An Autobiography, or the Story of My Experiments with Truth
by Mohandas K. Gandhi
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.

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