Day 1: Meet in Delhi
You will be met at the airport and transferred to the hotel.
Day 2-3: Delhi
Tour Old and New Delhi. Visit textiles bazaar. Hindu and Muslim sites; Sufi rituals. Optional yoga class.
Day 4-5: Haridwar & Rishikesh
We fly to Dehradun and a short drive to Haridwar. In Haridwar we visit various sites including the Neel Parvat Temple, dedicated to the Goddess Chandi Devi (Durga), which is on top of a hill overlooking the Ganges. We get up to the temple via a ropeway. Local Indian women are there performing devotionals to the goddess.
This evening we shall join hundreds of locals along the banks of the Ganges to attend an ancient prayer ritual, Har ki Pauri.
The next day, a walking tour of Rishikesh. Attend aarti (ceremony of lights) at the Ganges. Soar up the hill via a ropeway to Neel Parvat Temple, dedicated to Goddess Chandi Devi (Durga) and observe women performing devotionals.
Indian Himalayas Foothills
Day 6-7: Amritsar (Sikh Traditions)
More touring of Rishikesh in the morning. An afternoon express train to Amritsar.
Next day is a full and exhilarating day! Amritsar is in the state of Punjab, in the Himalayan foothills and one of the most ancient and fascinating cities in India. It is an important seat of Sikh history and culture. We will witness the religious traditions of the Sikhs at the Golden Temple during a guided tour by one of the Sikh priests as well as enjoy time to stroll independently and reflect/meditate.
An optional opportunity to volunteer in the kitchen with the locals.
In the late afternoon drive 32km (20 miles) to Wagah, the border town between India and Pakistan, to arrive just before sunset to witness the flag ceremony between these two countries that were once one.
Indian Himalayas: Himachal Pradesh
Day 8-9: Dharamsala /Mcleod Ganj (Buddhist Traditions)
A scenic drive through the mountains to the headquarters of Tibet in Exile, upper Dharamshala, known as McLeod Ganj. This is the heartland of Buddhism within India. We visit the Namgyal Monastery, which houses the Buddhist School of Dialectics, located opposite the Dalai Lama's residence.
Stroll the town seeing the prayer wheels, bazaars, nunnery. Early morning meditation walk around Namgyal Monastery with the locals.
We shall attend an early evening puja at Kalachakra Temple (pending occurrence).
Day 10-11: Taragarh (Buddhist & Hindu Traditions)
Visit the Norbulingka Institute, a major center for Buddhist teaching and practical work. Then drive to Taragrah, a spectacular location with the Dhauladhars towering behind with its peaks between 9500Ft – 16000 Ft which are clearly visible from here.
We visit Sherab Ling Monastery, one of the world's largest Buddhist teaching centers. Here the monks perform mesmerizing prayer ceremonies, as part of their daily lives. We shall attend the monks’ evening prayer and chanting session.
Day 12-13: Varanasi (Buddhist & Hindu Traditions)
A contemporary of Nineveh and Thebes, Varanasi today is the oldest living city in the world. Attend Dussehra festival, a celebration of victory of truth over evil.
Visit Sarnath, where Buddha gave his first sermon. Sunrise boat ride on the Sacred Ganges River. Attend Bharat Milap Festival, celebrated to commemorate Lord Ram's return to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile and his reunion with his brother, Bharat.
Day 14-15: Khajuraho & Gwailor (Hindu & Jain Traditions)
Visit the 9th-11th century temples of the Chandella period adorned with intricate carvings from the Karma Sutra. UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Continue to Orchha, the capital of the kingdom of the Bundella Rajputs from 1531 to 1783. Overnight at hotel Usha Kiran Palace in Gwailor.
Uttar Pradesh - Taj Mahal
Day 16-17: Agra-Mathura-Vrindavan (Mughal, Hindu & Hare Krishna)
Sunset and Sunrise visits to the Taj Mahal. Tour Agra Fort.
Excursion to Mathura, birthplace of Krishna, and Vrindavan, where Krishna spent his childhood. Vrindavan has an ancient past, associated with Hindu history, and is an important Hindu pilgrimage site. One of its oldest surviving temples is the Govinda Dev temple, built in 1590
Day 18: Jaipur
Enjoy the pink city of Jaipur with its marvelous palaces, temples, fantastic bazaars. Attend sunset puja at Sri Govinda Deva Temple.
Day 19: Pushkar
Enjoy the traditional holy town Pushkar situated around the holy Pushkar Lake. We'll have a pleasant walk through the small town and visit the Temple dedicated to Lord Brahma, the creator. At sunset we witness the evening drumming ritual coming from all around the lakes' 52 ghats as the sun is setting.
Day 20: Ajmer-Patan (Muslim & Hindu sites)
This morning we visit the huge fascinating Dargah Sharif Mosque,a venerated holy place for both Hindus and Muslims. The mosque houses the mausoleum of the Sufi saint, Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, whose blessings are eagerly sought by pilgrims to his dargah.
Day 21: Delhi-Depart
Return to Delhi. This evening we witness sufi rituals including Quawali music at the tomb of Hazarat Nizzamuddin. Transfer to airport for flight home.