The Journey of a Lifetime

~ Everytime ~

Stay at some of the Worlds Best Hotels in

Rajasthan, Delhi, Agra and Varanasi

15 nights, 21 April to 8 May, 2022

India’s 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.

Ultimate in luxury. Stay in the best hotels available. Many of these are world class properties. There are no hotels better than these in India.

We will also visit Agra, home of the Taj Mahal, and one of the oldest cities in the world, Varanasi.

We will see the finest examples of India’s temples and forts, religions, jewelry and wealth - all that has made India famous.

This 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 us.



ITINERARY
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).

21 Apr (Thursday) Depart the Americas
Depart the Americas this afternoon. Overnight: On board your flight.

22 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 (air)
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. Overnight: Udaipur.

24 Apr (Sunday): Udaipur
Full day enjoying your magnificent hotel. Later visit the Palaces of this fabled city. Overnight: Udaipur.

25 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.

ACTIVITIES & ATTRACTIONS
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".

Life 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!

Just 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.

Walking - 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 opportunities.
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 life unwind.
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.

26 Apr (Tuesday): Shahpura – Pushkar (road)
Drive to Pushkar (3.5 hrs). Late afternoon visit explore Pushkar. Overnight: Pushkar.

Pushkar’s historical and cultural heritage makes it both important and significant through history of India.

Legend 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.

Pushkar 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 (road)
Drive to Jaipur (3.5 hrs) and rest of day to enjoy this world class property. 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.

This 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 (road)
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: Agra.

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.

3 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). Overnight: Varanasi.

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.

Evening 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. Overnight: Delhi.

7 May (Saturday): Delhi – Departure
Day of leisure, on your own. Check out is at 12 noon. Transfer to airport for return flight. Overnight: On flight.

8 May (Sunday): Arrival, the Americas
Arrive today into the Americas.

~ ~ End of services offered by Spiritual Journeys, LLC. ~ ~


Two classes of hotels are offered. Group will travel, sightsee, and have lunches together.

Hotels and breakfasts will be unique.

BEST HOTELS ENVISAGED:

City Hotel, Room Type
Awards
# of Nights
Review
Delhi The Oberoi, Luxury Room
3
Udaipur Lake Palace, Palace Room
2
Shahpura Shahpura Bagh, Luxury  
1
Pushkar Pratap Mahal, Deluxe  
1
Jaipur Rambagh Palace, Palace Room
3
Agra Amar Vilas, Premier Room
2
Khajuraho The Lalit Temple View, Temple View Room
1
Varanasi Brijrama Palace, Suite
2

COSTS (Best Hotels):
For group all arriving, traveling and departing together, 2-people sharing one twin share room, US$ 8,740.00, per person. Single supplement, an additional US$ 3,770.00 per person, minimum 15 people in the group. Non-returnable deposit needed by Friday 17 December 2021. with remaining payment to be made by Friday 8 April 2022..

 

5-Star HOTELS ENVISAGED:

City Hotel, Room Type
# of Nights
Review
Delhi Le Meridian, Executive
3
Udaipur Lalit Laxmi Vilas, Valley View
2
Shahpura Shahpura Bagh, Luxury
1
Pushkar Pratap Mahal, Deluxe
1
Jaipur Jaipur Marriott, Deluxe
3
Agra Courtyard by Marriott, Deluxe
2
Khajuraho The Lalit Temple View, Temple View Room
1
Varanasi Madin, Deluxe
2

COSTS (Five Star Hotels):
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 group.

 

PAYMENTS:
Full payment is to be made by Friday 8 April 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 8 April 2022. Contact Deepak Singh (e-mail, phone (+1-508-358-4267) or Whatsapp or Telegram (+1-857-389-0859)) for details.

COST INCLUDES:
• Hotel accommodation as above on double/twin-sharing room,
• Daily buffet breakfast at hotels, and lunches at local restaurants,
• Spanish & English speaking accompanying guides for sightseeing as per program,
• All transfers and sightseeing/excursion by an air-conditioned Volvo coach (except in Varanasi and Delhi where we will use deluxe coach),
• 1 vehicle ride at Amber Fort, Jaipur,
• Common Boat ride at Lake Pichola, Udaipur (subject to water level),
• All applicable taxes including mandatory government service tax,
• Air fares in economy class: Delhi / Udaipur, Khajuraho/Varanasi and Varanasi / Delhi, including presently applicable taxes (subject to change at time of booking / issuance),
• Entrances fee for entry into monuments as per the itinerary,
• All tips and gratuities to vehicle driver, vehicle assistant, servers for lunches, luggage porters,
• The services of a SJI representative at all airport and hotel transfers,
• Morning Boat Ride on River Ganges,
• Evening Aarti ceremony on Ganges Ghat, and,
• Rickshaw Ride in Varanasi.


COST DOES NOT INCLUDE:
• Beverages, mineral water, alcohol, laundry, telephone calls; or other items of personal nature,
• Increases in Airfares or Government imposed taxes or entrance fees,
• Tips and gratuities to hotel bell boys and guides,
• Still camera or video camera fees at the various monuments and museums,
• Services not specifically stated in the itinerary,
• Personal or travel insurance, departure Taxes or Visa Handling Fees,
• Any changes you may choose to make during your tour, and,
• International Air.

Registration:  Please use our Registration Form to register, and pay either the deposit or your payment by going to our secure system at Pay Now.

Additional Information: Please e-mail Deepak Singh (English) or Adrianna Castelazo (Spanish). Or telephone/WhatsApp/Telegram Deepak Singh at +1-508-358-4267.