21644
India
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 (4.88)
Program No. 21644RJ
Length
21 days
Starts at
5,345
Flights start at
1,000
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21 days
20 nights
52 meals
18 B 18 L 16 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Depart for India
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrival Delhi, Light Dinner
Delhi
D
The Suryaa Hotel New Delhi

Activity 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.

Afternoon: Group arrives to Delhi in the late afternoon. Group Leader meets and greets group arrival at the arrival lounge at Indira Gandhhi International airport.Transfer to hotel for check in.

Dinner: Light dinner at the hotel.

DAY
3
Old Delhi, Rickshaw Ride, New Delhi, Qutub Minar
Delhi
B,L,D
The Suryaa Hotel New Delhi

Activity note: Rickshaw ride is through an extremely crowded market. Jama Mosque and Sikh Temple have many steps. Shoes, socks and shorts are not allowed into the mosque and gowns are provided for the women. It is obligatory for men and women to cover their heads. Scarves are provided at the Jama Mosque.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Group Leader greets everyone and gives a program overview and answers questions. Coach departs 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: Experience the living culture of India as you explore Gurudwara Bangla Sahib (Sikh Temple), one of the most prominent Sikh houses of worship. Explore the interior courtyard with the pool inside its complex, known as the "Sarovar." Take a walk through the food kitchen and time permitting, join the men and woman who are preparing lunch to serve for anyone who wishes to eat there. Drive past India Gate, reminiscent of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, note that it commemorates Indian soldiers who died during World War I. You will also view the Parliament House (Sansad Bhawan), the nation's supreme legislative body and the President House (Rashtrapati Bhavan), a huge complex that serves as the official residence of the President of India. Explore Qutub Minar, a great masterpiece of Mughal architecture. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has survived the ravages of time impressively.

Dinner: Welcome dinner at the hotel.

DAY
4
Depart by coach to Agra, Sunset Over the Taj Mahal
Agra
B,L,D
Trident Hotel Agra

Activity note: This is a 4-5 hour drive with stops along the way. Watch sunset over the Taj Mahal.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Check-out of hotel and depart for Agra. En-route, engage in a presentation on “Introduction to Indian History: Pre-Mugul History” led by your group leader.

Lunch: Lunch at the hotel.

Afternoon: After lunch, check into the hotel. In the afternoon, visit the 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. Depart for Mehtab Bagh, the garden complex aligned with the Taj Mahal on the opposite side of the Yamuna River. View the sunset over the Taj Mahal and join a local expert to learn about Mughal history and architecture.

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.

DAY
5
Taj Mahal, Coach to Jaipur
Jaipur
B,L,D
Trident Hotel Jaipur

Activity note: Coach departs for Taj Mahal very early in the morning. The Taj Mahal involves a lot of walking and some uneven steps. The drive from Agra to Jaipur is approximately a 5-6 hours drive with stops.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Early morning excursion to the Taj Mahal. 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 unique due to its perfect proportions, distinct femininity and medium of construction and ornamentation. Return to hotel for breakfast, check out of hotel and board coach for departure 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 Group Leader. Upon arrival in Jaipur late afternoon, check into the hotel and relax until dinner.

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.

DAY
6
Jaipur: Amber Fort, City Palace, Janta Manar
Jaipur
B,L,D
Trident Hotel Jaipur

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

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: Explore Amber Fort, a 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. 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

Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: This afternoon make a photo stop at Hawa Mahal (Palace of the winds). This five storied wonder has a spectacular pyramidal facade and overhanging windows with latticed screens, domes and spires . Then continue by coach to the City Palace, still the Maharaja's residence but largely given over to a museum containing rare manuscripts, fine specimens of Rajput and Mughal paintings, royal apparel and an armory. Conclude the afternoon at Jantar Mantar (Astronomical Observatory), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built by city founder Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh, between 1727-1734, the Jantar Mantar is a collection of architectural astronomical instruments. The Jaipur observatory is the largest and best preserved in India. Continue to the city bazaar and take in the hustle and bustle of Jaipur city.

Dinner: Dinner at the hotel.

DAY
7
Castle Kalwar, Fly to Kolkata, Late Night Arrival
Kolkata
B,L
The Lalit Great Eastern Kolkata Hotel

Activity note: School Visit is subject to school holidays.

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. (Subject to holidays)

Lunch: Lunch at Castle Kalwar

Afternoon: Late afternoon, transfer to Jaipur Airport. Board late afternoon/early evening flight to Kolkata.

Dinner: Dinner on your own.

Evening: Check in to hotel.

DAY
8
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 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: Morning for program orientation for Road Scholar Group 21260, arriving for this portion of the journey. 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
9
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
10
Sail up to Chandernagore, and visit the 18th century church
Chandermagore
B,L
ABN Sukapha

Breakfast: On board the ship

Morning: Board a local 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
11
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
12
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 a small boat 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. Enjoy a presentiaton by your group leader on 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
13
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
14
Baranagar
Farakka
B,L,D
ABN Sukapha

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
15
Farakka Lock, Guar
Guar
B,L,D
ABN Sukapha

Activity note: Visit Guar, a quiet deserted place, once one of India's great cities. Drive to Guar is about 1.5 hours.

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
16
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
17
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
18
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
19
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
20
Varansi, Late afternoon departures home
In Flight
B,L

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.

DAY
21
Arrival Home
In Flight