India – A Wellness Journey

India is not geography or the history. It is not just a piece of land. It is something more: it is a metaphor, poetry, something invisible but very tangible. It is vibrating with certain energy fields which no other country can claim. For almost thousands of years, thousands of people have reached to the ultimate explosion of consciousness. Their vibration is still alive, their impact is in the air; you just need certain perceptivity, a certain capacity to receive the invisible that surrounds this strange land.

This is quite strange that a civilization which goes back to the thousands of years has not produced luminaries in the fields of philosophy, science, art…. No Beethoven, Mozart, Einstein… The whole country, in miraculous way, was not interested in any objective research. To know the other has not been a goal here, but to know oneself. It has renounced everything for the single search, the search for the truth.

This journey is to create a context where you are introduced to the intangible that has attracted many to India which cannot be captured in the camera but can be perceived with slight sensitivity. And in the process we are transformed as well. The true sense of wellness (in the dimension of body and mind) descends on us. At the end of the trip we ourselves will vouch for our ability to attain meditative space without any effort. The high sounding meditation will become child’s play.

  

ITINERARY

Day 1 – Arrive in Delhi

Arrive at Delhi. You will be met and assisted by a Secrets of India’s representative who shall transfer you to your hotel. The choice of hotel is guided by unique objective that we have from this India journey. Zorba the Buddha hosts many spiritual retreats and thus the right energy fields have been created around this place. We will spend 3 nights here to get the maximum from this place. Number 3 has deep significance in sphere of restfulness and wellness. It is said that first night in one place is getting to know and thus not the best sleep. Second night sleep is better and third night is the best.

This fascinating city has been in existence since the 6th century BC and has seen ups and downs from the rule of the Pandavas right up to the British Raj. Delhi is not only the metropolis of India but also the museum of its past.  Because of its location on the banks of the river Yamuna, many cities have risen and fallen here over the last five millennia; many dynasties ruled from there and the city is rich in the architecture of its monuments.

Old Delhi reflects the legacy and heritage of Mughal Delhi.  Pulsing with energy and colour, Old Delhi is laced with a maze of narrow lanes where you get tantalizing glimpses of its contrasting flavours, from wedding bazaars to expansive spice markets to graceful architecture.  In striking contrast to Old Delhi, New Delhi, which was created by the British, has fine colonial structures, magnificent buildings and wide boulevards which were laid according to the master plans of the great colonial architect Lutyens.

Overnight:   Zorba The Buddha, Delhi

Upgrade Option:   The Manor
Meals:   None

Day 2 – Delhi

Start your day with a yoga lesson in the gardens of the resort

After breakfast, we take a metro ride with our guide to the heart of Old Delhi as we begin our exploration of Delhi. First we will be discovering the fascinating and living legacy of the Indo-Islamic culture and lifestyle of Old Delhi.  We wander through the narrow and busy streets of the mile-long market Chandni Chowk, popularly known as Silver Street and filled with shops and bazaars.  We visit Jama Masjid with its tapering minarets and wonderful marble domes; this is the largest mosque in Old Delhi and can accommodate 20,000 people.  We also have the opportunity to experience a rickshaw ride here.

Later in the afternoon drive past the President Palace, India Gate and end the day’s tour at Qutab Minar – a Tower of Victory built in the 12th century.  Within its spacious courtyard stands the Iron Pillar, which dates back to the 4th century AD and bears a Sanskrit inscription in the Gupta style.   The pillar has long puzzled scientists and historians as its iron has not rusted in all these centuries.

In the evening, we will arrange an introductory lecture on the essential of healthy and healing foods over dinner including Ayurveda cooking workshop.

Overnight:     Zorba The Buddha, Delhi / The Manor

Meals:      Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 3 – Delhi

We have morning yoga session with an expert practitioner. Then we will do something special the rest of the day in an interactive workshop called- Thought Yoga. Despite the fact that there is no shape and image of the mind, this has assumed the super significance in the conduct of our life. How about learning to take control of this tool of our life so that we create results we want. This wisdom is quite original to India and will be imparted to us during the day so that wellness in real sense is experienced by us then and there. At the end of the day we will be aware of, connect with and create from that centre which is always well and perfect.

Overnight:     Zorba The Buddha, Delhi / The Manor

Meals:                        Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 4 – Delhi to Ranthambore

This morning assisted transfer in time to connect with your train to Sawai Madhopur.

Train:                                   12904, Golden Temple Mail

Depart Delhi:                        07:35hrs

Arrive Sawai Madhopur       12:55hrs

Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Again the choice of the hotel is unique in this location. We feel being belonging to the nature while staying at Khem Villas. They serve only vegetarian food.

In the afternoon, take a safari into Ranthambore National Park which is home to the proud but dwindling Tiger. Spotting the creature in the wild can test your patience but it’s a worth.

Originally a hunting ground of the Maharaja of Jaipur, Ranthambore National park is located at the junction of the Aravalli and Vindhya hill ranges. that is home to animals like the jackal, mongoose, sloth bear, leopard, and of course, the tiger. One of the most interesting features of the park is that it’s dotted with ancient ruins, including a fort where tigers and leopards are often spotted.

Evening is at leisure. We may try some stretches to relax our muscles after a long day or short meditative session will be organized.

Overnight:     Khem Villas, Ranthambore

Meals:           Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 5 – Ranthambore

Start your day with yoga and meditation session in the resort.

Morning is at leisure. You may like to indulge in spa (on direct payment) or relax by the pool. For those interested in culinary, we may arrange a cooking lesson (at an additional cost)

Alternatively, we can also arrange a visit to Dhonk – blend of ethnic and modernistic, it is a responsible enterprise making handicrafts in and around Ranthambore. It aims to provide a sustainable livelihood to people living near Ranthambhore.

In the afternoon enjoy another safari into the Park

Evening is at leisure.

Overnight:     Khem Villas, Ranthambore

Meals:           Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 6 – Ranthambore to Jaipur – by Surface

After breakfast, drive for 4 hours to Jaipur

As the Mughal Empire was falling in the early 18th century, Jaipur was founded by a Hindu soldier-king obsessed with architecture and astronomy. The city is one of India’s first examples of urban planning, built along a grid system with the massive City Palace and an extraordinary 18th-century observatory at its heart.  The opulent palaces, the pink sandstone structures, the imposing forts, the brilliant colours of the turbans, saris and the gems makes Jaipur a perfect destination.

Upon arrival check into the hotel. We stay in lovely boutique hotel in the heart of the city. The host at Dera Mandawa is someone who is in original and knowledgeable position to bring alive this city for you.

The afternoon is at leisure to indulge in massage which can be either Ayurvedic or Thai.

Later in the day we will take an introductory walk in the old town and then in the evening, enjoy a yoga session.

Overnight:     Dera Mandawa, Jaipur

Upgrade:        Royal Heritage Haveli

Meals:            Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 7 – Jaipur

After breakfast, visit Amber, the ancient capital that preceded Jaipur. Originally built in the 11th century AD and expanded in size and scope by succeeding dynasties and their rulers, Amber is a fortress town of visual awesomeness. Ride up to its imposing hilltop location in jeeps and explore the maze of passages, corridors, pavilions, ornamental gardens and ramparts. On the way back you may like to stop at Anokhi Museum, where you will see a collection of old costumes with hand blocked prints that are typical to Rajasthan (closed on Wednesdays).

Later in the afternoon you will be taken for a half -city sightseeing tour of Jaipur visiting the City Palace and Observatory (Jantar Mantar). Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan and its centerpiece is the City Palace, home even today of the royal family, and known for its clutch of excellent private museums that display royal memorabilia, particularly armaments, art, books, costumes and textiles. Lying adjacent to the City Palace is the medieval Jantar Mantar Observatory – built by Maharaja Jai Singh II, an inveterate astronomer who’s curiously shaped and oversized implements are astonishingly accurate till today

In the evening there is option to go for street shopping.

Overnight:     Dera Mandawa, Jaipur / Royal Heritage Haveli

Meals:            Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

 

Day 8 – Jaipur to Agra – by Surface

Yoga in the morning; post breakfast drive for 6 hours to Agra – a place where various rulers contributed to its rich past but the heritage of Agra, in terms of ambiance, is still associated with its Mughal period. The Mughals, besides being great rulers, were also great builders who preserved their best architectural wonders for Agra.

Enroute visit Fatehpur Sikri, an enigmatic deserted Mughal city. This spacious, red sandstone city was built in the 16th century by the great Mughal Emperor, Akbar, one of India’s greatest rulers. The architecture of Fatehpur Sikri is a combination of Hindu and Muslim styles, expressing Akbar’s vision of synthesizing the two cultures. Akbar occupied Fatehpur Sikri for 14 years before the city was mysteriously abandoned. This hauntingly beautiful city has been painstakingly restored and is now a World Heritage

Upon arrival check into the hotel. Taj View was the only hotel at one point which had rooms with a view of Taj Mahal. Though this hotel is renamed as The Gateway hotel Fatehabad road, old timers still want to refer it as Taj View.

The evening visit Mehtab Bagh (Moonlight Garden) is a charbagh complex that lies north of the Taj Mahal complex and the Agra Fort and is perfectly aligned with the Taj Mahal on the opposite bank.

Overnight:                 Taj View, Agra

Upgrade Option:      ITC Mughal

Meals:                       Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 9 – Agra to Varanasi – by Flight

Start your day with your early morning visit to Taj Mahal. Experience the sublimity of the Taj Mahal at sunset (closed on Fridays) – a varying kaleidoscope of solitude, colour and mood. A tribute from a great emperor to the memory of his beloved wife, it was 22 years in the making (1631-1653) and is a cerebral experience that defies description. Widely regarded as the earthly replica of paradise, the Taj Mahal is likened to “a vision, a dream, a poem and a wonder.

After breakfast visit Agra Fort, strategically situated along a bend on the Yamuna River. Built in the 16th century AD by three generations of Mughal emperors, it is a superb synthesis of stern military fortifications with delicate interior details.

Later assisted transfer in time to connect with your flight to Varanasi.

Agra – Khajuraho                  Air India, AI406         1405-1445Hrs          Economy Class

Khajuraho- Varanasi                        Air India, AI405         1520-1610Hrs          Economy Class

(This flight operates thrice a week and is via Khajuraho – Monday, Wednesday and Saturday)

On arrival in Varanasi, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. We stay where it is best to soak in what this city is to offer. The city being the holiest to Hindus, all rich people in the old times wanted to have a house on the river bank so that they and their family could come and stay whenever they wanted. Of course only Kings or very rich family could own one. The Gateway Hotel, Ganges is the veritable haven of peace and tranquility in this crowded and ancient temple city that offers world-class contemporary rooms and suites with choice of views ranging from the lush green gardens or the swimming pool.
Varanasi, also known as Benares, is supposed to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. Situated on the banks of the sacred Ganges River, the city has been a centre of learning and civilization for over 2000 years.   As India’s sacred city, Varanasi offers a fascinating insight into Hinduism and the Indian way of life.  The narrow streets of the old city buzz with life as stray animals, pilgrims and Brahmin priests all make their way to the river.  A dawn boat ride on the Ganges can be a spiritual awakening.
Overnight:                 Gateway Ganges

Upgrade Option:      Suryauday Haveli   

Meals Included:       Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

 

Day 10 – Varanasi

Early this morning, enjoy yoga and meditation on the hotel terrace.

Post breakfast take a guided tour of Varanasi including the Benaras Hindu University and its famous Bharat Kala Bhavan Museum, which houses a very fine collection of Mughal miniature paintings and brocades.

In the afternoon, we travel 12 kms out of Varanasi to visit Sarnath (closed on Friday and Public Holidays), where Lord Buddha is believed to have preached his first sermon after enlightenment.  The Museum at Sarnath is a delight.

After a short rest, you will be visiting the ghats or banks of the River Ganges.  This is a fascinating experience as you witness the cultural and spiritual ethos that guides the life of the faithful. Every evening a very special aarti or ‘prayer to Mother Ganga’ is performed by specially-chosen priests.  This is a passionate and divine journey as the music and the oil lamps create a trance-like experience and we float our own lighted lamps down the river.

Later over dinner we will have interaction with an expert who explains the balance in Meal, Sleep and Exercise for attaining physical wellness.

Overnight:                 Suryauday Haveli / Gateway Ganges

Meals Included:       Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

 

Day 11 – Varanasi to Delhi – by Flight

Early this morning, you will enjoy a boat ride on the Ganges at sunrise and witness pilgrims taking a dip in the holy Ganges and performing Hindu rituals; some of them practice yoga and meditation. We will organize yoga sessions on the boat only. From here our local expert takes us on a fascinating walk through the ghats, followed by a stroll in the back streets past old havelis and temples, a labyrinth of streets with thousands of pilgrims.

Post breakfast take a guided walking tour of the weaver’s colony.

Assisted transfer in time to connect with your flight to Delhi.

Varanasi – Delhi               Jet Airways, 9W2424              15:05 – 16:40hrs              Economy Class

Upon arrival in Delhi, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. In the evening we will visit very renowned Ayurvedic doctor who diagnoses just feeling the pulse and finds out the imbalances in three constituents of our health- Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Medicines are prepared in-house only. 

Overnight:                 Justa Residency / IBIS Aerocity

Meals Included:       Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

 

Day 12 – Depart Delhi

Assisted departure transfer in time to connect with your international flight back home at 09:10hrs

*** TOUR CONCLUDES***

 

Hotel Envisaged

CityHotel (Option 1)RoomHotel (Option 2)Room

DelhiZorba The BuddhaDeluxe RoomThe ManorJunior Suite

RanthamboreKhem VillasLuxury TentKhem VillasLuxury Tent

JaipurDera MandawaSuiteRoyal Heritage HaveliSuite

AgraThe Gateway FatehabadSuperior Taj RoomITC Mughal SheratonMughal Chambers

VaranasiGateway GangesExecutive RoomSuryauday HaveliRiver view Room

DelhiJusta The ResidenceLuxury RoomIBIS – AerocityDeluxe Room

  

PRICE INCLUSIONS:

  • Accommodation on twin-share basis for 11 nights / 12 days in the mentioned hotels /similar
  • Meals: Buffet Breakfast, lunches and dinners as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Transportation by an air conditioned Mini Coach (10-14 pax) and Large Coach (15-24 pax)
  • Full day guided tour of Old and New Delhi including rickshaw ride
  • Two shared game drives in an exclusive jeep
  • Full day guided tour of Jaipur including bazaar walk
  • Excursion to Fatehpur Sikri enroute Jaipur – Agra
  • Half day guided tour of Agra including Taj Mahal and Agra Fort
  • Guided tour of Varanasi including Sarnath ruins
  • Morning and Evening boat-ride in Varanasi
  • Entrances for monuments (single entry) as per itinerary
  • Bottled water; portage at airports and railway stations
  • 50% discount for Australian Tour Leader on twin share if the group strength is between 10-14 pax and FOC for Australian Tour Leader if group strength is 15 pax and above
  • All currently applicable taxes

 

PRICE EXCLUSIONS:

  • Domestic air-fare quoted as supplement
  • International airfare, visa fees, airport tax or any kind of insurance cover
  • Any pre/post dinner drinks or drinks of any nature along with the meals unless specified
  • Any vehicle arrangements on free days or days at leisure.
  • Tips and Gratuities
  • Items of personal nature like drinks, laundry, telephone calls Still Camera fees, Video camera fee at monuments etc
  • Any other meals than those mentioned in the itinerary
  • Liability for change in itinerary due to reasons beyond our control like change in flight and train schedule; cancellation of flights, political disturbances, natural phenomenon, etc
  • Any other item not specifically mentioned above as ‘INCLUDED’