North East of India
Kolkata and a 7-night cruise on the Lower Ganga
8 to 25 March 2022
Temples in Orissa are perhaps the most powerful tantric temples in India, spend a few days in Kolkata, then spend seven nights onboard Assam Bengal Navigation’s “MV Rajmahal" plying the River Hooghly, or Lower Ganga.
This tour is ideal for those who have been to India on earlier opportunities. We will be going to parts of India which are less travelled, with few tourists and thus minimal tourism infrastructure.
ABN Rajmahal entered service in 2014. Her extra-shallow draught and a lower profile than conventional designs allow her to cruise further upstream than any of her competitors. All 22 air-conditioned cabins have French balconies. The colonial elegance décor is brought to life by traditional Indian-inspired designs. There is a comfortable saloon and bar, dining room and a vast canopied sundeck. A small spa onboard offers a wide range of treatments. All cabins and public rooms are air-conditioned. Food on board is a mixture of Assamese and Continental cuisines. Wines, beer and spirits are available.
The Spanish speaking 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 lead the English speaking tour. We will all be traveling together. Play the joyous and colourful festival of Holi while on board.
8. Departure from The Americas
There is much to see in Kolkata, but highlights include a visit to the Kalighat Temple. The name Calcutta is said to have been derived from the word Kalighat. This 350-year temple is dedicated to Goddess Kaali the presiding guardian deity of the city and one of the principal deities of Bengal. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, the second priest in-charge of this temple, was the guru of Swami Vivekananda. Kalighat is regarded as one of the 52 Shakti Peethams of India, where various parts of Shakti's body are said to have fallen, in the course of Shiva's (an important Hindu God) Rudra Tandava. The idol of Kali is made of black stone and it is decorated with gold and silver, and that of Lord Shiva is made in silver. Kalighat represents the site where the toes of the right foot fell. Kalighat Temple is located on the Kalighat by the side of Tolly’s Nullah on the banks of the river Hooghly (Bhagirathi).
Belur Math is
set attractively amid palms and manicured lawns, this religious
centre spread over 40 acres is the headquarters of the Ramakrishna
Mission, inspired by 19th-century Indian sage Ramakrishna Paramahansa
who preached the unity of all religions. A dual-level museum charts
Ramakrishna’s life and the travels of his great disciple Swami Vivekananda.
The structure incorporates the architectural motifs of a Hindu
temple, a Buddhist chaitya, a Christian
church and an Islamic mosque. The windows and balconies are Islamic
while the temple façade is Hindu. The significance of religious
fraternity in one homogenous structure cannot be missed by the devotee.
A visit to Kolkata would be incomplete without a visit to the Mother’s Home. This houses Mother St. Teresa’s Mission and Mother House, including her tomb. Here experience the serenity of the place and learn about her religious and philanthropic work. A small adjacent museum room has her worn sandals and battered enamel dinner bowl on display. Her starkly simple living quarters are also preserved at an upper floor.
Kali Temple is dedicated to Goddess Bhavatarini, a form of Goddess
Kali, this beautiful and vibrant riverside Hindu temple complex
was built by Rani Rasmoni, a pious lady from an aristocratic background.
She purchased a huge plot of land beside the Hoogly river and established
the Kali temple in 1855 in the traditional nava-ratna (9 spires)
style of Bengal architecture, at the heart of which is a cream-and-red
Kali Temple shaped like an Indian Sacré-Coeur. The site is
where Shri Ramakrishna started his remarkable spiritual journey
and where he was head priest, and his small room in the outer northwest
corner of the temple precinct is now a place of special meditative
reverence. Along with the main Kali temple, there are twelve temples
of lord Shiva in his twelve different names. The temple construction
follows the typical architectural pattern of Bengal. Lord Sri Ramakrishna
was the famous priest of this temple, after his elder brother. He
resided here with his wife Sri Ma Sarada Devi and it was a place
of gathering for his devotees. This place is not just a temple,
but a place where a great spiritual revolution took place during
the 19th Century.
Later visit the caves of Udaygiri: The hills of Udaygiri are an important place in the archaeological history of India. Of the 18 caves, Hathigumpha (the Elephant Cave) is the most important. The caves here are decorated with statues, tiles and picture series that represent love stories and war legends. The other caves provide Jain legends, myths and icons. Overnight: Bhubaneswar.
Later drive to Pipli, famous all over the world for its appliqué work. Pipili most well known for its handicraft is near Puri. The Craft involves embroidering and stitching small pieces of colored cloth with flowers, animals, village scene and traditional designs on to a larger base cloth. The cloth used for patch as well as base is cotton with different color combinations. This appliqué patchwork is commonly used to make garden umbrellas, wallets, wall hangings, lampshades, pouches & bags.
Continue onto Puri on the east coast of the country. Puri is an important city in Orissa, about an hour’s drive from Bhubaneswar. Beautiful wide beaches, fish farms and beautiful resorts are an attraction for tourists from all over the world. For the Hindus, Puri is an important temple town because of the famous temple of the deity Jagannath. Overnight: Puri.
18. On board MV Rajmahal
19. On board MV Rajmahal
20. On board MV Rajmahal
21. On board MV Rajmahal
22. On board MV Rajmahal
23. On board MV Rajmahal
24. Disembark MV Rajmahal, drive to Kolkata, and departure
25. Arrival Home
End of services offered by Spiritual Journeys, LLC.
PAYING IN INSTALLMENTS: You can pay by installments. The first payment needs to be $ 1,000.00 (as your deposit) and last and final payment needs to be on or before Thursday 6 January 2022. Contact Deepak Singh (e-mail, phone (+1-508-358-4267) or Whatsapp (+1-857-389-0859)) for details.
PRICE WOULD INCLUDE:
PRICE WOULD EXCLUDE:
In addition to the main tour, an optional tour to visit the Magnificient Palaces and Forts in the Glorious Cities of Rajasthan, and Agra (home of the Taj Mahal)
We will have both Spanish and English speaking guides throughout the tour
The Spanish speaking 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 lead the English speaking tour. We will all be traveling together.
22: Depart the Americas
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
We will visit Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques in India with a capacity of 20,000 people, situated a quarter of a mile from the Red Fort, designed as Emperor Shahjahan's principal mosque. Construction lasted six years, ending in 1644. The structure was placed on a high platform so that it's magnificent facade would be visible from all the adjoining areas. It's an austere yet beautiful building in red sandstone with white marble being used extensively. The pulpit is one of its best features, being carved out of a single block of marble. The Emperor used to arrive here every Friday and on Id. Spend a little time at Rajghat where Gandhi was cremated. While there are many noteworthy Gurudwaras (places of worship for the Sikhs), we will visit the lovely Gurudwara Bangla Sahib where Guru Har Krishan, the eighth Sikh Guru went to Delhi and stayed as the honored guest of Raja Jai Singh.
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.
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.
26: Delhi - 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.
Ranakpur is famous for its Jain temples built in the 15th century are situated in the lovely Aravali valley. The town is named after Rana Khumba the legendary warrior king of Udaipur. Its surroundings are peaceful and picturesque. The temple has a grand structure and beautiful sculptures. There are 1444 pillars in the main temple and no two of them are similar. Thereafter commence drive to Jodhpur.
Visit Mehrangarh Fort - Situated at an altitude of about 125 meters, the Mehrangarh Fort of Jodhpur is spread over an area of 5 sq km in the heart of the city of Jodhpur. Besides being a landmark in Jodhpur, Mehrangarh Fort is a must visit for all the tourists. The fort has seven gates of which the noted ones are the Jayapol, built by Maharaja Man Singh in 1806; Fatehpol or the Victory Gate built by Maharaja Ajit Singh; and the Lohapol or the Iron Gate. Jaswant Thada - is a white marble memorial built in memory of Maharaja Jaswant II in 1899 A story goes that Maharaja Jaswant succumbed to injuries in this place while fighting the Mughal king Jahangir. This place is a must visit in Jodhpur. Umaid Bhawan - Made of marble and pink sandstone, the construction of the Umaid Bhawan of Jodhpur started in 1929 and it took 16 years to complete it. It is believed that the palace was constructed to give employment to the famine-struck population of Jodhpur. This majestic building is presently the residence of the former rulers with a part of it running as hotel and remaining part as a museum. In time transfer to Jodhpur railway station to board train for Jaipur departing this evening and arriving 5 hours later.
Compare the city of Old Delhi with the city of Jaipur, 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 jewellery, clothes, carpets and other handicrafts items. The city is a veritable paradise for those seeking souvenirs of the craftsmanship of Rajasthan.
From the romance of the deserts we move towards the monument of a man’s love for his beloved, the city which treasures a lover’s dream, Agra (6 hrs). On our way we stop 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.
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. A short drive away is the 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: Agra.
6: Agra - Orchha - Khajuraho
Early morning transfer to Agra train station Agra to board your train for Jhansi (0802-1045 hrs). On arrival drive to Khajuraho (5 1/2 hrs) en route visiting Orchha - 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. Thereafter commence drive to Khajuraho. On arrival and check in at your hotel, spend rest of the day sightseeing (if time permits). 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.
of four most important places in the life of Buddha: Where he was
born (Lumbini, Nepal), where he gained enlightenment (Bodh Gaya,
India), where he gave his first sermon (Sarnath, India) and where
he left his mortal body (Kushinager, India).
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. Return to your hotel for breakfast and then spend rest of the day sightseeing this ancient city.
COSTS: US $ 5,095.00 per person with all arriving, traveling and departing together, 2-people sharing one twin share room, with a minimum tour size of fifteen paying guests. Single Supplement US$ 1,220.00 per person.
HOTELS ENVISAGED, or Similar:
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