Palaces, Spirituality and the Taj
~ North India ~
Stay at 5-Star Hotels in
Jaipur, Delhi, Agra and Varanasi
April to 8 May, 2022
recorded history goes back to 4,000 years, with remarkable examples
of civilization well ahead of other countries. Throughout this period,
reverence was shown to the many Gods her people worshipped, and
the land was dominated by independent kingdoms. Reverence to the
Gods led to gold and jewels and the finest of architecture bestowed
onto them, and the independent kingdoms accumulated wealth not seen
elsewhere. Thus she was a prime target for marauders, attracted
by her wealth and attributes of her civilization. Forts for defense
and palaces for residence were de-rigor for the independent kingdoms,
and though many have not survived the ravages of time, those that
have, were either too beautiful not to have been maintained or too
well built and withstood the elements. Thus, there are some exquisite
examples of architecture that we will not only see, but also live
in – most perhaps only 200 to 400 years old, though some forts going
back to at least 1,000 years.
will also visit Agra, home of the Taj Mahal, and one of the oldest
cities in the world, Varanasi.
will see the finest examples of India’s temples and forts, religions,
jewelry and wealth - all that has made India famous.
tour will be led by Adrianna Castelazo.
Adrianna loves India and starting in the mid 1990s, has been all
over the country more than 50 times. Deepak
Singh will accompany her. We will have both Spanish
and English speaking guides with
Map of this area
(https://goo.gl/maps/L8t29auc3cCcfa4E6). Zoom in or out
to change details. (The shown route is by road. We will be flying
across the longer distances).
Apr (Thursday) Depart the Americas
Depart the Americas this afternoon. Overnight: On board your flight.
Apr (Friday): Arrive Delhi
We welcome you in the capital city of India, for a journey across
the fascinating history-markers of medieval north India. Wars were
fought and rulers changed in Delhi but ordinary lives were lived
in relative continuity. Glimpses of these can be seen even today
as the character of the city underwent massive changes in the last
decades. In the land to have been seven capital cities, signs of
the old are continuously jostling with the new, presenting an ever-fascinating
panorama. We welcome you to its chaos and stability, into its steadfastness
and its impatience and into a delightful rainbow of amalgamation,
producing a world completely its own. We will meet you as you exit
customs and immigration at Delhi airport and transfer you to your
airport hotel. Overnight: Delhi.
23 Apr (Saturday): Delhi - Udaipur
Get up at leisure, enjoy your hotel, and take a mid-morning flight
to Udaipur. Spend rest of the day on a light sightseeing tour across
the city of Udaipur. Udaipur is a centre of historic arts and crafts
of Mewar, like the Mewar School of Miniature Painting. There is
the modern face of Udaipur that one can look at if interested, but
given the other sights from a glorious past, modernity is no real
distraction. Udaipur will hold you in its thrall no matter who you
are or where you come from. During your tour you will visit the
City Palace built in 1725, a majestic architectural marvel towering
over the lake on a hill surrounded by crenellated walls, it is a
conglomeration of courtyards, pavilions, terraces, corridors, rooms
and hanging gardens. The main entrance is through the triple arched
gate, the "Tripolia" with eight marble porticos. The Maharanas
were weighed under the gate in gold, the equivalent amount of which
was distributed among the populace. There after visit Shri Jagmandir
Temple - built by Maharana Jagat Singh I in 1651 the temple enshrines
a black stone image of Lard Vishnu. There is a brass image of Garuda
the Lord bird carrier. The exterior and the plinth are covered with
base relief of alligators; elephants, horsemen and celestial musicians
rise in tiers. Chanting, bells and music can be heard throughout
the day. It is the largest and most splendid temple of Udaipur.
Later a boat cruise on Pichola Lake, 4-Km long and 3-Km wide, surrounded
by splendid hills, palaces, temples, bathing ghats and embankments.
Apr (Sunday): Udaipur
Visit the Palaces of this fabled city. Overnight: Udaipur.
Apr (Monday): Udaipur - Shahpur (road)
Depart at leisure, drive to Shahpura (4.5 hrs). Rest of day to enjoy
this magnificent property. Overnight: Shahpur.
Our hotel of choice is an
oasis in this area. The property offers only 11 luxury suites set
in 45 acres of garden and pasture, surrounded by two lakes, the
working farm estate resplendent with trees of Neem, Ashoka, Peepal
and Mango, is a very special and ultimately serene oasis. Holstein
cows graze languidly in peaceful co-existence with peacocks, an
entire menagerie of birds fill the Bagh with birdsong and the occasional
blue bull and jackal flit silently amongst the woods.
There's a lot to do for the outdoor enthusiast. The Shahpura region
has a rich varied landscape dotted with many man-made lakes, rustic
original quaint villages and friendly innocent people un-spoilt
by modernity. Long warm days in the sun and fresh air alongside
lakes teeming with wild fowl remind you of earlier carefree days
of youth. Whether you are drifting away in a boat surrounded by
reeds, day dreaming on a comfortable charpoy at the farm, or just
taking in the rural scenery, staying here will bring you the joys
of "the simpler life of bygone ages".
is unhurried here. The days filled with sunshine, conversation &
picnics, with lazy sundowners to trap the blazing sunset. Spontaneous
excursions trace the history of the region through neighbouring
forts and legends, rambles transform into safaris in the flash of
a beckoning wing - the surrounding wetlands are a birdwatcher's
paradise, tempting even to the uninitiated!
sit back and let the world go by. Alternatively, there are several
activities to keep your mind and body active, many of these are
on direct payment to the hotel.
- Trails skirt the lakes, hammocks and charpoys are located at scenic
spots to relax, read, meditate or watch spectacular sunsets.
Dhikola Dinner - Private dinner at our 400 year old Dhikhola Fort.
Entire fort is reserved for the couple/family/group with a bottle
of wine or unlimited beer, IMFL, private guide/naturalist, mashals,
candles, lighting, fireworks and a set Indian menu.
Private Pool Dinner - Exclusive candle light al-fresco dinner at
the infinity pool
High Tea by the Pool - Enjoy an assortment of Indian and continental
snacks along with your choice of beverages which have been beautifully
set up beside the infinity pool.
Private Cycling Tour - A cycling tour visiting the rural hinterlands,
villages, lakes with a picnic hamper. Accompanied by our in house
guide and jeep, usually lasts 3-4 hours.
Birdwatching Tour - With over 250 small lakes, Shahpura Bagh is
a bird watcher’s paradise with over 180 species of birds. Activities
include, starting your morning with a walk around the property with
a trained naturalist, private excursions to other nearby lakes in
on of our vintage jeeps for a more evolved bird watcher, great photographic
Dhikola Fort Sundowners - Depart in the evening to visit our private
fort, Dhikhola, 12 km away. Accompanied by one of our naturalists
the drive involves stopping to visit the iconic Ramdwara temple,
driving through scenic rural roads and stopping to visit banjara/tribal
villages to interact with the locals. The 400 year old battle fort
is used as an eyrie and offers fantastic views of the countryside
and manmade lakes. Enjoy your sun downers while you witness village
Jeep Safari to Nahar Sagar - After breakfast, start your day with
a visit to the historic quarter of Shahpura and pay a visit to the
Arya Samaj School that is run by our family’s trust. Drive through
the countryside and explore the rich colour and life of village
and tribal settlements that are scattered around the area to get
a feel for authentic rural Rajasthan. Continue to the beautiful
environs of Nahar Sagar Lake and our 150 acre farm (if you’re there
during the right season, this is a super birding hotspot!)
Phad Painting Demonstration - Sit with the Joshis (priests) and
watch a traditional phad, a painting depicting mythology and history,
come to life.
Yoga, Massage and Acupressure - Shahpura Bagh is the perfect place
to slow down and unwind and what better way than with a guided yoga
session! Alternatively, take an acupressure session with our local
master to tone up the body and fix chronic ailments. Some marvelous
cures have been affected!
Boating - Enjoy boating on the lakes surrounding the estate (monsoon
dependent), stop at one of our islands for a sundowner. The lakes
are filled with wild fowl, which swoop and circle in formation or
simply float away, soaking in the winter sun, pristine sky and water.
Bullock Cart Ride - A bullock cart ride on our private 1.6 km walking
trail around our property or to a near by village.
(Tuesday): Shahpura – Pushkar
Drive to Pushkar (3.5 hrs). Late afternoon visit explore Pushkar.
and cultural heritage makes it both important and significant through
history of India.
has it that the lake in Pushkar was created from the petals of a
lotus flower which fell from the hand of Lord Brahma. Brahma is
the residing deity in Pushkar and the Brahma Temple in Pushkar is
one of its kind in India. The legendary significance makes the lake
of Pushkar an immensely holy place for pilgrims.
is also associated with the times of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
Later Pushkar was an important place of rule during the reign of
the Mughal empire in India as it was a favored place of residence
of many important Mughal rulers. British annexed Pushkar, and it
became one of the very few states in Rajasthan to be ruled directly
by the British, the rest being princely states.
27 Apr (Wednesday): Pushkar - Jaipur
Drive to Jaipur (3.5 hrs) and rest of day to enjoy your hotel or
wandering the streets with us. Overnight: Jaipur.
28 Apr (Thursday): Jaipur
Compare the city of Old Delhi with the city of Jaipur, capital of
Rajasthan, a city unique amongst
its medieval contemporaries. The streets, palaces,
temples, residences, shopping place are all in accordance to the
ancient Hindu rules of Vastu Shastra. The pink wash was added in
1853 in honour of the visit of Prince Albert. Perched atop the hill
looking down majestically is the Amber fort. We ride up into the
palace astride elephants just like the Maharajas of yore. The plain
and time worn exteriors belie the exquisite detail with which the
interiors were crafted with a gentle breeze which cools the interiors.
In the famed Sheesh Mahal look up and be prepared to feel a surge
of color as the optical effect makes you a part of this royal past.
In the city, drive past Hawa Mahal, where again notice the jails.
The Maharaja's City Palace, much of which has been converted into
a museum covers almost one-seventh area of the city in a fortified
unit. Here the Armoury Museum housing an impressive array of weaponry-pistols,
blunderbusses, flintlocks, swords, rifles and daggers. Become one
with the planetary bodies at Jantar Mantar, the largest stone and
marble crafted observatory in the world. Jaipur is also an interesting
place for those interested in jewelry, clothes, carpets and other
handicrafts items. The city is a veritable paradise for those seeking
souvenirs of the craftsmanship of Rajasthan. Overnight: Jaipur.
29 Apr (Friday): Jaipur
Full day sightseeing in Jaipur. Overnight: Jaipur.
morning you will drive to the outskirts of the city to visit Amber
Fort. The weather-beaten façade of the nearly 420-year old
Amer Fort belies the elegant beauty of its majestic interiors. Some
of the most spectacular structures of the fort are ‘Diwan-i-Aam’
(hall of public audience), ‘Sheesh Mahal’ (glass palace), and ‘Sukh
Mahal’ (pleasure palace). After Amber Fort, spend an hour or so
with elephants. While one can go up
the Fort on elephant back, we do not promote this elephant joy ride
due to animal protection and cruelty.
30 Apr (Saturday): Jaipur - Agra
Wake up at leisure, then drive to Agra (6 hrs) stopping at Fatehpur
Sikri. In its imposing red sandstone structure lies the city
envisioned by Emperor Akbar only to be abandoned a mere fourteen
years later due to water scarcity. Overnight: Jaipur.
1 May (Sunday): Agra
Before dawn, visit the spectacular Taj Mahal - the most extravagant
monument ever built for love. On the death of his beloved wife Mumtaz
Mahal, Moghul Emperor Shah Jehan built
her this memorial over which 20,000 men laboured for 22 years to
create a masterpiece in white marble inlaid with semi precious stones;
the art is called pietra dura. Stroll down the ornamental gardens
laid out along the classical Mughal charbagh lines. This garden
is separated by a long watercourse, which reflects the monument
in perfect symmetry. Return to your hotel for breakfast. Spend rest
of day sightseeing and shopping in Agra, visiting Agra Fort where
Shah Jehan spent
the last years of his life, imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb. The
most impressive part of the Fort are the Dewan-eAm, Hall of Public
Audience where the Emperor met officials and listened to petitioners,
and the Dewan-e-Khas Hall of Private Audience where he received
foreign dignitaries. The Peacock throne (now in Iran) was in this
fort, before being moved to Delhi by Emperor Aurangzeb. Overnight:
2 May (Monday): Agra - Orcha
- Khajuraho (train and road)
Early morning depart for Khajuraho, first taking a train
to Jhansi, then driving to Orchha (1 hrs), and then driving to Khajuraho
(5 hrs). The city of Orchha is situated in the state of Madhya Pradesh
in central India. The meaning of Orchha is 'hidden' and the city
is located on the banks of River Betwa in Madhya Pradesh, 16 kilometers
away from Jhansi, and is encircled by fascinating hills and loads
of greenery. The small village of Orchha was once the capital of
Bundelkhand. The historical memorials of Orchha narrate the stories
of war and peace, love and devastation and still retain the unspoiled
charm. Visit Jehangir Mahal - Jehangir Mahal is exceedingly beautiful
and the most visited monument in Orchha. The palace was built by
Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo to commemorate the visit of Emperor Jehangir
to Orchha. The main attraction of the palace are the two statues
of bowed elephants right at the entrance of the gate that set the
mood for your exploration of this charming palace. You will notice
a strong resemblance in the structure of this palace and many other
monuments built in Islamic architectural style; Raj Parveen Mahal
- The palace was built King Indramani
in the 17th century. It is said that he built it for his love Raj
Parveen who was an exceptionally talented poetess and a musician.
The palace is only two floor high. It was built this way to match
with the height of trees in the area. You can get scintillating
views of nearby gardens of Anand Mahal and the octagonal flower
garden. Later, drive to Khajuraho. Overnight: Khajuraho.
May (Tuesday): Khajuraho – Varanasi (air)
Visit the Eastern & Western Group of Temples – the most important
temple being the Kandariya Mahadeo Temple-dedicated to Lord Shiva.
It is one of the largest and most typical of the Khajuraho temples.
Visit the Chaunsat Yogini Temple-dedicated to the 64 “Yoginis” or
attendants of Goddess Kali. This temple stands apart from the rest.
Also see the Chitragupta or Bharatji Temple with a lovely sculpture
of Lord Vishnu in his 11-headed form. The sculptures that adorn
the temples, carved in stone depicts gods, goddesses and amorous
couples. The Eastern Group of Temples includes the Ghantai Temple,
Vamana Temple dedicated to the "Vamana" or dwarf incarnation
of Lord Vishnu and the Javari Temple. There are also three Jain
Temples with beautiful carvings and non-erotic sculptures. Although
these are Jain temples, they also contain numerous Vaishnav deities.
Later take a flight to Varanasi, and proceed for sightseeing of
Sarnath. The main tourist attractions in Sarnath are the Stupas,
excavated ruins of monasteries, Ashoka Pillar, Deer Park, where
the Buddha delivered his first sermon, Dhamekh Stupa, Bodhi tree,
Moolgandha Kuti Vihara and Archaeology Museum (closed on Friday).
4 May (Wednesday): Varanasi
Go to the Holy River Ganga before dawn. Experience Ganges cruise
& watch activities on Ghats – The long string of bathing ghats
are the principal attraction in Varanasi. Ghats are the steps which
lead down to the river and the best time to visit the ghats is at
dawn, when pilgrims take their morning dip. There are over 100 ghats
in all. The best way to see the activities on the ghats is to take
a boat ride along the ghats. One can see the women bathing discreetly
in their saris, the young men going through yoga exercises, the
priests offering blessings. Look for the burning ghats where bodies
are cremated. Manikarnika and Harishchandra are the main burning
ghats. The lingams mark each ghat, for Varanasi is the city of Lord
Shiva. Back to the hotel for breakfast and proceed for the sightseeing
of Sarnath. The main tourist attractions in Sarnath are the Stupas,
excavated ruins of monasteries, Ashoka Pillar, Deer Park, where
the Buddha delivered his first sermon,
Dhamekh Stupa, Bodhi tree, Moolgandha Kuti Vihara and Archaeology
Museum (closed on Friday). You can stroll through narrow lanes of
Varanasi bazaar & experience shopping. In the evening, experience
an evening aarti
on the banks of the Holy Ganges. Overnight: Varanasi.
5 May (Thursday): Varanasi – Delhi (air)
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Delhi.
On arrival check in and enjoy your hotel as the rest of the day
is at leisure. Overnight: Delhi.
6 May (Friday): Delhi
Spend the day on a sightseeing tour of Delhi. Visit Humayun’s Tomb
built by Haji Begum, the widow of the second Mughal Emperor, Humayun’s,
nine years after his death and took eight years to complete. It
is designed by the Persian architect Misak Mirza Ghiyaz. Octagonal
in shape, raised on a plinth, with double domes, high arches, laid
in the centre of a large walled enclosure, the monument is an imposing
structure, The Qutub Minar – Delhi’s landmark, 73 mtr. Tall victory
tower was started by Qutub-ud-din Aibak, the first Muslim ruler
in 1193 but could finish only the 1st storey of sand stones. Iltutmish
succeeding him added 2nd& 3rd floor in sand stone and later
in 1368 Firoz Shah Tughlak constructed 4th& 5th storey in both
sand stone and marble. Delhi’s most curious antique, the uncorroded
Iron Pillar, which dates back to the 4th century AD. Drive past
Rashtrapati Bhavan – The house that houses the President of India
and the house that boasts of having welcomed the most powerful men
in history. The Rashtrapati Bhavan was designed by Edwin Lutyens
and built in 1931, to be the central point of the British power
in Delhi, and the Secretariat Buildings – the centre of Government
activity, down the impressive Rajpath (the main avenue), to the
World War I memorial arch, India Gate, the High Court Building and
the Old Fort, India Gate – Sir Edwin Lutyens designed this war memorial
to 90,000 Indian soldiers who died on the North-west Frontiers during
World War I. The Duke of Connaught laid the foundation in 1921 and
was completed in 10 years. Visit Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, an important
Sikh place of worship.
you can visit Connaught Place – which was built in 1931. It comprises
of two concentric circles with colonial style buildings surrounded
by a park. These buildings can be reached through the inner, middle
and the outer circles. Gulmohur trees, a large fountain, ornate
fencing and the recently added light post grace the central park.
(Saturday): Delhi – Departure
Day of leisure, on your own. Check out is at 12 noon. Transfer to
airport for return flight. Overnight: On flight.
(Sunday): Arrival, the Americas
Arrive today into the Americas.
~ End of services offered by Spiritual Journeys, LLC. ~ ~
For group all arriving, traveling and departing together, 2-people
sharing one twin share room, US$ 4,480.00, per person. Single supplement,
an additional US$ 1,050.00 per person, minimum 15 people in the
Full payment is to be made by Friday 11 February 2022.
PAYING IN INSTALLMENTS:
You can pay by installments. The first payment needs to be $ 1,000.00
as your deposit (but NONRETURNABLE for the "Best" hotel
category tour) and final payment needs to be on or before Friday
11 February 2022. Contact Deepak Singh (e-mail, phone (+1-508-358-4267)
or Whatsapp or Telegram (+1-857-389-0859)) for details.