The India holiday of a lifetime
14 November - 5 December, 2016
with Shanti & Peter

Our Trip to INDIA ~ 2016

24 nights / 25 days

• Kolkata • Sunderbans • Kolkata • Bhubaneswar • Varanasi * Delhi • Agra • Jaipur • Haridwar • Delhi 

Trivandrum - Kovalam

14 Nov - 5 Dec 2016. The Holiday of a Lifetime. 

I am writing to invite you to join me for a rare and exciting journey into the vibrant world of real India this November.

This will be the trip of a lifetime, touring both off-the-beaten-path and the ever popular tourist attractions with Peter and me as your hosts and dear friends. 
You will have opportunities to meditate and practice yoga with local teachers, be transformed at retreat centres that offer natural Ayurvedic treatments; visit the Bengal Tiger forests, Himalayan Mountains, witness the life on the Ganges river and get a taste of the spirituality and ritual in many ashrams and monasteries. You will be engulfed in the welcoming embrace of the land and her people…and did I mention shopping? Months and years later, you will still feel the love, generosity, adventure and powerful reverberations from this enriching experience.
I realise how special and unusual this opportunity really is and I am very enthusiastic about this trip. Whilst I am happy to make the world my home, and on a daily basis, I give thanks and am grateful to live in 'the lucky country', yet, being born and growing up in India, part of my heart is there. I have helped bring India to our community of local students and friends who practice yoga and meditate in Australia, and I am inviting you to come with a small band of travellers from Australia, for something sweet and rare, to connect and experience heart-opening contact with the “soul” of spirituality.
Long story short, I’m very excited that from November 15th to December 7th 2016, Peter and I will be taking a small group of travellers to experience India in our unique way. Travel to India with us offers an experience that you cannot get anywhere else in the world. We will be there with you to engage in reflections and discoveries while we explore the language, history, customs and incredible life and heart awakening lessons, with the help of our local guides and travel associates to help our group. 

Travelling to India can be a lifetime experience for anyone. You will stay in beautiful four and five star accommodation, visit ancient cities and temples, grand forts, royal palaces and exotic monuments, taste mouth-watering cuisine, rejuvenate within the heavenly feel of the Himalayan foothills, and sooth ourselves in the balmy, palm-swaying ambience of an Ayurvedic retreat in Kerala, the land of the gods.

Your colourful holiday in India with Shantiji and Peter in 2016 presents an all in one package of life changing experiences.It is the perfect introduction to India, with a compact journey from the fast paced bustling city of Kolkata in the West, to Jaipur in the East, and the foothills of the Himalayas in the north to Kerala, the southernmost tip of India. It presents a variety of leisure, mountains, rivers, spirituality, yoga, chanting, ayurveda, monuments, markets, food, entertainment, culture, temples, more food, more shopping, forts, palaces, museums, historic sites, rich culture, festivities. air-rail-road-elephant-boat travel.

Please contact me if you're interested and have questions. ( I love talking about our experiences, so don't hesitate to ask questions. Once you book, closer to the holiday, I will share a couple of emails with you about how to prepare and other helpful hints for our travel together. In the meanwhile, here are the highlights of the trip. 

MAIN PROGRAM Highlights include 

- Mother Theresa’s orphanage, Kolkata
- Headquarters of the Ramakrishna Ashram & Belur Math
- The Sunderbans Tiger Camp 
- Konark, Bhubaneshwar and Puri Temples
- Evening arthi (Indian spiritual rituals) on the Ghats at Varnasi
- Early morning sunrise on a boat on the River Ganges
- A short walking tour of Varanasi City
- Sarnath
- Visit old Delhi with its rich, cultural heritage, and New Delhi, the bustling capital of India
- The unrivalled beauty of the Taj Mahal in Agra
- Stay in a Palace in Jaipur, and visit back streets of the rose pink city by rickshaw
- Elephant ride to Amber Fort
- Stay in an idylli location on the banks of the River Ganga,
- Hardwar arthi (Indian spiritual rituals) on the banks of the River Ganges; 
- Rishikesh in the foothills of the Himalayas, 
Fly back to Delhi to end the Main Program here.
Twin share basis                    $8,630 per person
Single room Supplement      $3,835 per room   
Validity 14 November - 05 December 2016.
Fly from Delhi to Trivandrum, for a short extension to the main tour, and relax in a glorious beach property in Kerala, South India, renowned as 'God's own country', the home of Ayurveda. There are two options provided for the R&R ending to our trip. Peter and Shantiji will be staying at Niramaya Retreat. 
Tour Extension
Validity 03-06 December 2016.
@ Niramaya Retreat
Twin sharing basis                 $2,225 per person  
Single room supplement        $1,469 per room
or @ Somatheeram Ayurveda Resort  
Twin sharing basis                $1,624  per person
Single room supplement       $640.72 per room  
We hit the ground running, with two nights in Kolkata, visiting some incredible places and people such as the Missionaries of Charity’s Mother House, a holy place of pilgrimage and reverence for those who are searching for a more meaningful existence. It was established by the Blessed Mother Teresa in 1950 with the purpose of selfless service to humankind and to uplift the plagued humanity towards the path of salvation. Later we proceed to Belur Math, the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Mission founded by Swami Vivekananda, the chief disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahansa. It is located on the west bank of Hooghly River and is one of the significant institutions in Kolkata. This temple is the heart of the Ramakrishna Movement and is notable for its architecture that fuses Hindu, Christian and Islamic motifs as a symbol of unity of all religions.
A day or two later, we proceed to the Sunderbans (where we spend a couple of nights) cruising through the creeks and canals of the Tiger Reserve which houses 64 species of birdlife.
All good things must come to an end and we return to Kolkata for on onward adventure in Bhubaneswar. Amazing sightseeing here. Then onward to Varanasi to experience the heart and soul of India.  After a couple of nights here we combine India’s most iconic attractions in the most captivating tourist circuits of India. It encompasses Delhi, the capital of India, with its majestic history, witness the mesmorising, unrivalled beauty of the acclaimed Taj Mahal in Agra, the seventh wonder of the World - It will take your breath away and leave its impression on your psyche for the rest of your life and visit notable world heritage sites in Delhi, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri; colourful back streets of Jaipur ( the rose pink city of the land of the Rajputs, in colourful Rajasthan) by rickshaw, and the elephant ride to Amber Fort. Collectively, these three cities are known as the ‘Golden Triangle’. Every tourist of the world must visit the Taj Mahal at least once in their life. But there’s more: Agra Fort, Amber Fort Palace, a cycle rickshaw ride through the Bazaars (market) of Old Delhi and Jaipur.
We relax and catch our breath for four days in the sacred city of Hardwar, visiting Rishikesh, before a glorious beach resort property in Kerala, South India, renowned as “God's own country, and the perfect destination for adventure, culture and relaxation. With its laid back beach scenes, swaying palm trees, gentle crusies along tropical backwaters, and optional, holistic, Ayurvedic treatments with heaing extracts, essential oils and delicious food, you’ll soon see why Kerala is Paradise found.

Be safe and comfortable with a group of yogically inclined friends, and in the capable hands of Peter and Shantiji who was born and educated in India. The tour ends in Delhi or Tour Exgtension ends in Trivandrum. The Mian tour is $8630 per person Inclusive of twin-share four and five-star accommodation (where available), all breakfasts, all meals at The Sunderbans Tiger Camp, all land, rail, river and air transportation in India, sightseeing and entrance to monuments. Fully escorted. Tour extension is $2215 at Niramaya resort, or $1,624  at Somatheeram, per person.

We know you want to be safe, enjoy cleanliness, guard against illness and have amazing experiences whilst travelling. Prepare to be amazed. We know India.

• Luxury Accommodation
• Stunning Locations
• Fully Escorted
• Full Support Team
• Small Groups
• Personal Attention
• Rest days in awesome locations
• Journey to historical and sacred places
• Experience different cultures
• Travel that will change you forever.
MAIN TOUR $8630 Twin share accommodation
15 Nov’16 (Tue):                  Arrive Kolkata                                By: International Flight
16 Nov’16 (Wed):                 Kolkata 
17 Nov’16 (Thu):                  Kolkata - Godkhali                         By: Surface 
                                             Godkhali – Sunderbans                 By : Boat  
18 Nov’16 (Fri):                    Sunderbans 
19 Nov’16 (Sat):                   Sunderbans - Godkhali                  By: Boat
                                             Godkhali – Kolkata                        By:Surface  
20 Nov’16 (Sun):                  Kolkata - Bhubaneswar                 By: Flight   
21 Nov’16 (Mon):                 Bhubaneswar    
22 Nov’16 (Tue):                  Bhubaneswar - Varanasi               By: Flight   
23 Nov’16 (Wed):                 Varanasi
24 Nov’16 (Thu):                  Varanasi – Delhi                            By: Flight 
25 Nov’16 (Fri)                     Delhi     
26 Nov’16 (Sat):                   Delhi - Agra                                   By: Train  
27 Nov’16 (Sun):                  Agra – Jaipur                                 By: Surface    
28 Nov’16 (Mon):                 Jaipur 
29 Nov’16 (Tue):                  Jaipur – Dehradun (via Delhi)       By: Flight   
                                             Dehradun - Haridwar                    By: Surface     
30 Nov’16 (Wed):                 Haridwar    
02 Dec’16 (Thu):                  Haridwar
03 Dec’16 (Sat):                   Haridwar - Dehradun                    By: Surface  
                                             Dehradun - Delhi                          By: Flight
*** End of Main Tour ***
Depart Delhi    By: International Flight
TOUR EXTENSION $2225 Twin share accommodation at Niramaya Resort
*** Start Extension Tour•••
03 Dec’16 (Sat) :                 Haridwar  - Dehradun                   By : Surface  
                                            Dehradun – Delhi                         By : Flight  
                                            Delhi – Trivandrum                       By : Flight   
                                            Trivandrum – Kovalam                 By : Surface 
04 Dec’16 (Sun):                 Kovalam 
05 Dec’16 (Mon):                Kovalam  
06 Dec’16 (Tue):                 Kovalam – Trivandrum                 By: Surface   
                                            Depart Trivandrum                       By : Flight 
City                  Name of the Hotel        Room Category             Nights
Kolkata             The Park Hotel              Deluxe Room                     02
Sunderbans      Sunderban Tiger Camp 04 Executive Room / 
                                                                06 Executive Cottage / 
                                                                05 Ac Deluxe Cottage       02
Kolkata             The Park Hotel               Deluxe Room                    01
Bhubaneswar   Trident Hotel                  Deluxe Room                    02
Varanasi           Radisson Hotel              Superior Room                  02
Delhi                 The Claridges                Deluxe Room                    02
Agra                  ITC Mughal                   Mughal Chamber Room    01
Jaipur               Jai Mahal Palace           Luxury Room                     02
Haridwar           Aalia On The Ganges   Chila Suite                         04
Please note:  Standard Check-In time in 1400 Hrs and Check-Out time is 1200 hrs noon
Inclusions & Exclusions  
• 18 nights’ accommodation on a twin share basis in the afore mentioned hotels, or similar, in the Main Tour.
Single room is by choice or circumstance. So please book early.
Meals included:
Breakfast at all the places except at the Sunderbans Tiger Camp where Full board (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner) are included
Flights within India: Economy Class. 15 Kg Baggage allowance
Kolkata – Bhubaneswar – Varanasi – Delhi & Jaipur – Delhi – Dehradun - Delhi  
• Services of a representative from our local travel agent for all Airport Transfers.
Transportation using air-conditioned vehicle : 
Monument Entrance Fees (single entry only) as per the itinerary. 
English speaking local guides in all places 
Train ticket from Delhi to Agra in an Executive Chair Car. 
Sunderbans cruise with Oceanus, a luxury air-conditioned Cruise vessel. 
Evening Sandhya Aarti by boat in Varanasi.
Early morning boat rides on River Ganges, Varanasi.
Tonga ride to and from the Taj Mahal, in Agra. 
Elephant ride up or jeep to Amber Fort, in Jaipur.
Rickshaw ride in Jaipur and Old Delhi.
A bottle of mineral water per person per day during long distance travel.
All currently applicable taxes 
•    03 nights’ accommodation on a twin share basis at the hotels mentioned above or similar. Single room is by choice or circumstance. So please book early.
•    Meal Plan: Breakfast at all the places.  
•    Transportation using air-conditioned vehicle 
•    Economy Class airfare (Dehradun - Delhi – Trivandrum). 15 Kg Baggage allowance
•    Services of a local travel agent representative for all Airport Transfers.
•    A bottle of mineral water per person per day during long distance travel.
•    All currently applicable taxes
• Tipping. A tipping kitty is collected from each individual and appropriate tips are given when required.
• All beverages including water consumed in hotels/restaurants, 
• Any domestic airfares other than those nominated.
• Expense of a personal nature, such as meals other than mentioned above, tips, laundry, telephone/fax calls, alcoholic/non-alcoholic beverages, still and video camera fees at monuments, medical expenses, airfares, airport departure tax. 
• Any other services not mentioned in the inclusions.
• Any Insurance.
• Our rates are not valid for period other than that mentioned above.
15 Nov’16 (Tue): Arrive Kolkata       By: International Flight     
Upon arrival at Kolkata’s International Airport, we will be met at the airport by our local representative, and greeted the traditional way with a Mouli Ritual and then transferred to our hotel. (Mouli is a cotton red thread, considered to be very sacred and used in religious ceremonies in India. The Mouli can be modified to enhance its look for people who like to wear it for a longer period around their wrist.)  
Upon arrival, check-in to our hotel: The Park Hotel. Deluxe room..  Hotel check in time is 1200 Hrs.  
Kolkata, formally known as Calcutta, was once the British capital of India, until New Delhi ibecame the capital n 1912. Modern day Kolkata can trace its history back to 1690 when the villages Sutanuti, Godindapur and Kolikata were formally signed over to the British East India Company. Over the next 200 years, the British turned these villages, located on the Hooghly River, into a miniature version of London with large English gardens, boulevards and buildings. Since India's independence from British Raj, over 50 years ago, as well as renaming the city, the actual street names were also changed back from their old English names to their Indian ones, although the locals still refer to them by their original names. Today, Kolkata is experiencing massive growth in the number of new high-rise residential and office complexes being built, as the city strives to house its 14.7 million inhabitants and ease its poverty and overcrowding problems. It is also the only Indian city with an operating tram system.
Overnight: The Park Hotel. Deluxe room     
16 Nov’16 (Wed): Kolkata      
After a delicious buffet breakfast,  proceed for a full day's city tour of Kolkata. First off we will visit to the Victoria Memorial, an imposing and monumental dream in marble. It took 15 years to build and is treasure trove of relics from the time of the Raj. From here, we will proceed to St Paul’s Cathedral, an Anglican Cathedral of the Church of North India, a united church, which is part of the Anglican Communion in Kolkata and the seat of the Diocese of Calcutta. Visit the Missionaries of Charity’s Mother House, a holy place of pilgrimage and reverence for those who are searching for a more meaningful existence. It was established by the Blessed Mother Teresa in 1950, with the purpose of selfless service to humankind and to uplift the plagued humanity towards the path of salvation. After Mother Teresa left her mortal body in 1997, she was laid to rest in a tomb inside the house where she lived and served. The site of the tomb is very simple yet it exudes an enormous amount of benign and pure vibrations that fill the hearts of those who visit there with gratitude and peace. Situated amidst the noise and crowds of Kolkata, Mother's tomb is a true reflection of her life which contemplated the example of soulful and mindful meditation. We will also visit the Marble Palace, one of the best preserved and most elegant houses of ‘19th century Calcutta’. The mansion is famous for its marble walls and floors, from which its name derives. The house was built in 1835 by Raja Rajendra Mullick, a wealthy Bengali merchant, with a passion for collecting works of art. After stopping for a delicious Indian lunch, we will proceed to Belur Math, the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Mission, founded by Swami Vivekananda, the chief disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahansa. It is located on the west bank of the Hooghly River and is one of the significant institutions in Kolkata. This temple is the heart of the Ramakrishna Movement and is notable for its architecture that fuses Hindu, Christian and Islamic motifs as a symbol of unity of all religions. On our return, there are many options for dinner. Some choose to eat either a la carte, buffet dinner or have room service.
Meal: Breakfast 
Overnight: The Park Hotel. Deluxe room         
17 Nov’16 (Thu): Kolkata - Godkhali        By: Surface
Godkhali - Sunderbans   By: Boat          
After a delicious buffet breakfast, we drive to Godkhali Jetty (approx. 3 hrs drive) and then board our exclusive boat for a cruise through rivers Gomor, Durgadhwani to enter the river Pitchkhali, on the banks where Sunderban Tiger Camp lies (2 hours by boat).
Upon arrival, we will be greeted by the Tiger Camp team and checked into our cottages. 
The Sunderban Tiger Camp is the best property in the Sunderbans. Our booking has been done in this resort for a comfortable stay and is inclusive of good food.   
After an opportunity to settle in, we will go for lunch. In the afternoon we will cruise through the creeks and canals of the Sunderban Tiger Reserve forest to Sajnekhali Watchtower and Mangrove Interpretation Centre. Whilst on board, we will be served refreshments.
As the sun sets in the distant horizon, we return to the resort to freshen up, then head off for Hi-Tea sitting by the evening bonfire to view the Adibasi dance, performed by the tribal people of the Sunderbans. Their folklore depicts their centuries old culture in its true native form. They showcase the happiness and hardships they experience in their lives through their dance and recitals of their folklore.
For those who choose, you can also go to the watchtower in the resort, after our return from our cruise, to observe the birdlife in the resort (The Sunderban Tiger Camp houses 64 species of birds).
A warm dinner cooked with farm fresh vegetables will be served at the Fishermans Wharf dining hall, which displays different tools used by the locals to catch fish. This will mark the end of our first day in the Sunderban Tiger Camp.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner 
Overnight: Sunderban Tiger Camp.        
18 Nov’16 (Fri): Sunderbans       
As you wake up to the chirping of birds and the morning wake up bell, a hot cup of tea will be served on your balcony. Refresh yourself, then board a thrilling cruise towards Dobanke Watch Tower as we move into the Sunderban Tiger Reserve Forest through creeks, dense forest and numerous rivers (breakfast will be served onboard). The canopy walk at Dobanke Watch Tower inside the forest will send chills down your spine (experience the life in which caged animals live in, while getting a 360˚ view of the forest). We will visit the spotted deer rehabilitation centre after which we cruise back through Matla – Sea Face (the point from where the Bay of Bengal can be seen) to the Sunderban Tiger Camp for lunch.
In the afternoon you will experience the true Sunderbans, as you walk through the native village of Dayapur. You will encounter many wonderful sights, as you learn about the lifestyle, local crafts, cuisine, and way of life of the local villagers. Observe their indigenous farming methods and how their houses are completely made out of mud and have small entrances. Our tour will pass through the village market and eventually end at the resort for refreshments, followed by a wildlife movie and dinner, to end another day in the reserve forest.  
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight: Sunderban Tiger Camp.  
19 Nov’16 (Sat): Sunderbans - Godkhali     By: Boat  
Godkhali – Kolkata      By: Surface  
As you wake up to the chirping of birds and the morning wake up bell, a hot cup of tea will be served on your balcony. View the array of birds in the fruit trees near our cottages. Refresh yourself before we head for the morning cruise to the Sunderban Tiger Reserve once again, through creeks and rivers heading to the Sudhayakhali Watchtower. After disembarking towards the watchtower, walk through the caged walkways, in search for the elusive tiger. Keep a look out at the sweet water pond, where you may spot a deer drinking, or a water monitor lizard basking in the sun, or see monkeys and wild boars nearby. Breakfast will be served on board, with refreshments, as we cruise back to the Sunderban Tiger Camp.
After an early lunch we will be transferred back to Godkhali.     
Upon our return to Godkhali our local representative will meet us and transfer us to our hotel. 
Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch 
Overnight: The Park Hotel. Deluxe room
20 Nov’16 (Sun): Kolkata - Bhubaneshwar       By: Flight                                           
After breakfast we will be transferred to the airport to board our flight to Bhubaneswar.                
Depart Kolkata At: 1135 hrs By: 6E 512 (Indigo Airlines)  
Arrive Bhubaneswar At: 1245 hrs  
Upon our arrival we will be met by our local agent and transferred to our hotel. 
Bhubaneswar, the capital of Orissa, is popularly known as the 'Temple City of India'. Being the seat of Tribhubaneswar or 'Lord Lingaraj', Bhubaneswar is an important place for Hindu pilgrimage. Hundreds of temples dot the landscape of the Old Town, which once boasted of more than 2,000 temples. Bhubaneswar is the place where the temple building activities of Orissa style of architecture flowered from its inception to its fullest culmination, extending over a period of over one thousand years. 
Meal included: Breakfast
Overnight: Trident Hotel. Deluxe room        
21 Nov’16 (Mon): Bhubaneshwar      By Surafce                                            
After a delicious buffet breakfast at the Trident Hotel, proceed for full day excursion to Konark & Puri.   
The Konark Sun Temple is a 13th century Sun Temple (also known as the Black Pagoda), in Konark, Orissa. It was constructed from oxidizing and weathered ferruginous sandstone by King Narasimhadeva I (1236-1264 CE) of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty. The temple is one of the most renowned temples in India and is a World Heritage Site. It is one of the Seven Wonders of India.
After the visit, to the Sun temple, we will drive to Puri to visit the Jagannath Temple.
Jagannath Temple is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to Jagannath (Krishna) and is located in the coastal town of Puri in the state of Orissa, India. The name Jagannath (Lord of the Universe) is a combination of the Sanskrit words Jagat (Universe) and Nath (Lord of). The temple is an important pilgrimage destination for many people of Hindu traditions, particularly worshippers of Krishna and Vishnu, and is part of the Char Dham pilgrimages, places that a Hindu has to visite at least once in their lifetime.
Note: Non Hindus are not allowed inside the Jagannath temple and can only be viewed from outside, from a private platform.
Meal: Breakfast 
Overnight: Trident Hotel. Deluxe room        
22 Nov’16 (Tue): Bhubaneshwar – Varanasi         By : Flight 
Breakfast in the hotel 
Later you will be transferred to the Airport to board your flight to Varanasi.  
Depart Bhubaneswar  At: 1445 hrs By: AI 420 (Air India)
Arrive Varanasi   At: 1615 hrs
On arrival at Varanasi airport we will be met and transferred to our hotel, and check in.   
Varanasi. The antiquity of Varanasi is veiled in immortal times and has been the centre of religion, learning and civilisation since the ages. The city's inherent charm lies in its location, as it is situated on west side of the holy river, the Ganges. The principal attractions are the bathing ghats (the banks of the river), which are always bustling with life at any given time of day. There is no Indian attraction comparable to that of Varanasi. It does not boast any architectural splendours, exquisitely carved palaces, or impregnable forts, and yet it has its own inherent charm.  
Meals included: Breakfast  
Overnight: Radisson Hotel. Superior room        
23 Nov’16 (Wed): Varanasi            
Early morning, proceed for boat-ride on the holy river Ganges and see the various Ghats, where people ritually cleanse themselves in hope of attaining eternal salvation or Nirvana. This will be the backdrop for our early morning boat ride when the river is bathed in a magical light and pilgrims come to perform their pooja to the rising sun.  
We return to the hotel for breakfast after the boat-ride. 
In the afternoon we proceed for an excursion to Sarnath, one of the world's major Buddhist centers. After achieving enlightenment at Bodhgaya, Buddha, the 'Awakened One', delivered his first sermon here. It was the during the sixth century, when the Buddha also set into motion the 'wheel of law', the Dharma-chakra. This dwelling place of the rishis, it was also known as 'Rishipatana' (the place of the Rishis or sages). Buddha gave his first sermon in the Deer Park where he initiated his first five disciples into Buddhist monkhood. Buddhism found its roots in Sarnath, the birthplace of this way of life. 
In the evening, we visit Dashashwamedh Ghat to see the evening Aarti which is a musical ceremony performed to the Goddess Ganga (Ganges). It is a spectacular sight, where hundreds of devotees throng the ghats to participate in this ceremony to worship the holy river. Offerings of tiny oil lamps and flowers are made to the river at the end of this ceremony and it is a moving sight to watch hundreds of miniature lamps floating down the river.  
Meal: Breakfast
Overnight: Radisson Hotel. Superior room        
24 Nov’16 (Thu): Varanasi – Delhi       By: Flight          
After breakfast, we will proceed for a walking tour of Varanasi.The walk is through northern bazaars and hidden alleys. Few tourists ever wind their way through the bazaars of the Northern gallis in the old city, where you can find hidden alleys leading directly through the sacred zone of Varanasi, to some of the oldest buildings in the city.  As we enter the lanes in the Northern part of the city, we will get a glimpse of the shops, temples and lives of some people who have never not their street for years. Eventually, we will find ourselves in the least traversed part of the city and riverside, where the great mystic Kabir himself wrote poetry, and where the 8th century Krishna temple was demolished and a mosque perched on the top. This bazaar has so many twists and turns even locals get confused.
Early afternoon we will be transferred to the Airport to board our flight to Delhi. 
Depart Varanasi At: 1500 hrs By: 6E 481 (Indigo Airlines)   
Arrive Delhi At: 1625 hrs
Upon our arrival we will be met and transferred to our hotel, The Claridges. 
Delhi is India’s capital and a major gateway to the country. Contemporary Delhi is a bustling metropolis, which successfully combines the ancient with the modern in its folds. Amidst the fast spiraling skyscrapers, the remnants of a bygone time in the form of its many monuments, stand as silent reminders to the region’s ancient legacy. The first impression for visitors arriving into Delhi are a spacious, garden city, tree-lined with several beautiful parks.
Meal: Breakfast 
Overnight: The Claridges. Delux room        
25 Nov’16 (Fri): Delhi                    
Breakfast in the Hotel.
We begin our tour of Delhi with a unique yet fascinating experience of Old Delhi, the capital of Mughal India during 12th and 17th century.  We will drive past the opulent Red Fort towards the 17th century Jama Masjid, one of Asia’s largest mosques. People stream in and out of this mosque continuously and the presence of a nearby bazaar means that the area is rarely quiet. We will take a private tricycle ride through the lanes of Chandni Chowk, also known as Silver Street. This is perhaps one of Delhi's most populated areas and largest marketplace and an experience not to be missed as we ride down narrow lanes of shop after shop of colourful saris, shawls, bangles, jewellery, shoes…to name a few! The tour of Old Delhi will conclude with a visit to Raj Ghat, a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, father of the nation.  
The discovery of New Delhi starts with a visit to Humayun’s tomb, a magnificent structure in red sandstone and white marble, one of the finest examples of a garden tomb and a precursor to the Taj Mahal. Visit Qutab Minar which is Delhi's Eiffel Tower, its Statue of Liberty and Nelson's Column. We will then drive to one of the most colonial part of New Delhi, called Raisina Hill. Drive past Rastrapathi Bhawan, the former Viceroy's House, now residence to the President of India and Lutyen's magnum opus. The tour also includes a drive past the imposing India Gate, and Parliament building.
Meal: Breakfast  
Overnight: Claridges. Delux room   
26 Nov’16 (Sat): Delhi – Agra     By: Train  
After an early breakfast we will be transferred to Nizamuddin Railway station to board our train for Agra. This is a wonderful way to get another glimpse of India from the executive class comfort of our high speed journey.
Depart Hazrat Nizamuddin at 08:10 Hrs Train: Gatiman Express    
Arrive Agra at 09:50 Hrs Class: Executive Chair Car Class
Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Agra city is a virtual gateway to a world of discovery. It has witnessed the rise of the pomp and pageantry of three great Mughal monarchs, namely, Akbar, Jehangir and Shah Jehan, all of whom lavished their love and riches on this fabled city, transforming part of India into one of the greatest centres of art, culture, learning and commerce. Much of the city's impressive past lives on and is evident even today, and is evident with its haunting presence inside the monuments, and in the majesty of the buildings.   
As our check-in time at Claridges is around 2pm, we will leave our bags at the hotel and proceed on our tour of Agra 
We will visit Agra Fort, which has been the seat and stronghold of the Mughal Empire for successive generations. This was the seat of Mughal rule and administration and its present structure owes its origins to Akbar, who erected the walls and gates and the first buildings on the eastern banks of the Yamuna River. Shah Jehan added the impressive quarters and the mosque, while Aurangzeb added the outer ramparts. We will visit its Hall of Public Audience and Royal Pavilions. After the tour, we will return to our hotel to check-in.
Later in the afternoon, we will to the Taj Mahal for a sunset visit. The Taj Mahal is everything that has been said about it and more. Taking 22 years and 20,000 men to build, the white marble was quarried 200 miles away and transported with inlaid work, which is really astounding. You will have ample time to view and be mesmerised by this outstanding piece of architecture. There will also be a photo opportunity with a professional photographer, so if you'd like to dress up for this rare momento, make sure you have your outfit on and ready to go.
Meal: Breakfast
Overnight: ITC Mughal. Mughal Chamber room   
27 Nov’16 (Sun): Agra - Jaipur     By: Surface                  
After breakfast we will drive to Jaipur (253 Km / approx. 5 hours) and en-route visit Fatehpur Sikri. Water is always provided on the coaches. This is a wonderful opportuity to really get a good look at some of the Indian countryside. We will stop for comfort breaks, snacks and more souvenir shopping en route.
Fatehpur Sikri is a visual experience of an ancient city abandoned by its ruler and yet well preserved to this day. One can visualise the splendour and glory of a bygone era. Fatehpur Sikri radiates a true sense of faith and belief in oneself and in God. Even today, people visit a shrine within the complex and pray for a better life. 
Upon arrival to Jaipur, we will proceed to check in to our hotel.
Jaipur's past is never too far from hand. The city of victory, Jaipur presides over the fascinating desert state and its people: surrounded by rugged hills, each crowned by a formidable fort; and beautiful palaces, mansions and gardens dotted throughout its precincts. The palaces and forts of yesteryear that were witness to royal processions and splendour are now living monuments, accepted quite naturally into the lifestyle of the people of the 'pink city'.  Except for the busy traffic of bicycles, cars and buses, little seems to have changed.  There is a timeless quality to Jaipur's bazaars and its people.  
Meal: Breakfast 
Overnight: Jai Mahal Palace. Luxury room   
28 Nov’16 (Mon): Jaipur                     
After breakfast at the hotel, we will be driven just outside Jaipur, to the ancient capital of Amber, to see the fabulous Amber Fort. Its pink sandstone carvings are extremely intricate. The cool wind blows through its facade of windows and latticed screens through which the queens of the court once viewed the streets of the city. Maharaja Mansingh, Mughal Emperor Akbar’s most successful General, started construction of the Amber Fort in the 17th century. Before the City Palace was constructed in Jaipur, Amber was the seat of power. Once we ahve reached the top of the fort, we stroll through its sprawling complex of courtyards and halls. Many of the rooms have delightful wall paintings, with precious stones and mirrors inlaid in the walls. Most fascinating, perhaps, is the Sheesh Mahal (hall of mirrors) where a single lamplight is reflected in its many mirrors, lighting up the room. (Ascent to the Amber Fort by elephant is subject to availability, alternately ascent by jeep will be organised).
Later in the day, we will visit the city of Jaipur. Amongst the highlights to be seen whilst touring Jaipur is a visit to the City Palace, which is an overwhelming complex of exquisite palaces, gardens and courtyards, decorative art and carved doorways. The palace museum houses collections of rare manuscripts, armoury, costumes, carpets and miniature paintings. Walk to the adjacent Jantar Mantar or Astronomical Observatory commisioned by the Maharaja of Jaipur and built in 1726. This is one of five astronomical wonders built by Sawai Jai Singh and it makes accurate predictions, even to this day. We will also have an opportunity to take a private tricycle ride through the local markets.
Meal: Breakfast  
Overnight: Jai Mahal Palace. Luxury room                 
29 Nov’16 (Tue):               Jaipur – Delhi                          By: Flight            
                                           Delhi – Dehradun                    By: Flight 
                                           Dehradun – Haridwar             By: Surface    
Breakfast is at our Hotel.
Later we will be transferred to the Airport to board our flight to Dehradun (via Delhi).  
Depart Jaipur At: 1055 hrs By: 9W 2164 (Jet Airways)   
Arrive Delhi At: 1200 hrs
We will change our flight in Delhi for Dehradun (Layover of 01 Hrs 55 Mins in Delhi)   
Depart Delhi At: 1355 hrs By: 9W 2857 (Jet Airways)     
Arrive Dehradun At: 1500 hrs
Upon arrival at Dehradun airport we will be met and transferred to our hotel at Haridwar, for our check in.
Haridwar (Vishnu’s door) at the base of the Shiwalik hills, is a town of temples, ghats and ashrams. Its location is at the point where the Ganges leaves the Himalayas to begin its journey across the plains, which makes it a particularly holy place. Every 12 years, the Kumbh festival attracts millions of pilgrims, who come and bathe in the river. Various episodes from the Hindu epic Mahabharata are set in this ancient town. Har-ki-Pairi, the most popular ghat, has a footprint of Lord Vishnu set in stone.
Meal: Breakfast 
Overnight: Aalia on the Ganges                    
30 Nov-02 Dec: Haridwar                      
Breakfast is at the hotel.
Early morning yoga ourdoors is optional. The rest of the day is free for independent activities (No transport services). For those who want to, we make shared, private arrangements to travel to Rishikesh, for evening arthi on the Ganges.
Meal: Breakfast 
Overnight: Aalia on the Ganges
03 Dec’16 (Sat):  Haridwar – Dehradun By: Surface   
                             Dehradun – Delhi   By: Flight 
                             Depart Delhi   By: International Flight                  
Breakfast is at Hotel. 
Later we will be transferred to Dehradun Airport to board our flight to Delhi.   
Depart Dehradun At: 1830 hrs   By: 9W 2826 (Jet Airways)        
Arrive Delhi          At: 1935 hrs 
Upon your arrival at Delhi airport, those who are leaving the Main Tour here, to return home, will claim their luggage and then proceed from the Domestic arrival area to International departures. Assistance will be provided for you at Delhi airport.  
Depart Delhi At: TBA Hrs   International Flight: TBA 
03 Dec’16 (Sat):          Haridwar– Dehradun      By: Surface 
                                     Dehradun – Delhi           By: Flight
                                     Delhi – Trivandrum        By: Flight       
After breakfast we will be transferred to Dehradun Airport to board our flight to Delhi.       
Depart Dehradun   At: 1240 hrs By: 6E 679 (Indigo Airlines)   
                              Arrive Delhi At: 1330 hrs
We will change our flight in Delhi for Trivandrum (Layover of 02 Hrs 55 Mins in Delhi)
Depart Delhi            At: 1555 hrs By: 6E 359 (Indigo Airlines)   
Arrive Trivandrum   At: 1920 hrs
Upon arrival at Trivandrum airport we will be met and transferred to our hotel, and proceed to check in.   
Kovalam - Looking inland from the blue waters of the Arabian Sea, the Kovalam shoreline appears as a gently curving beach fringed by tall, swaying palms. Kovalam is situated just outside Trivandrum and is so perfect a beach; it’s almost a picture postcard cliché: age old black rocks, towering palms, sand and gentle surf. On the long beach, are natural enclaves made by the rocks that rise from almost the sea line.
Overnight: Niramaya retreat or Somatheeeram Ayurveda Resort 
04 Dec’16 (Sun): Kovalam       
Breakfast is at the hotel.
Rest of the day is free for independent activities (without guide or transport services) 
Meal: Breakfast   
Overnight: Niramaya retreat or Somatheeeram Ayurveda Resort 
05 De’16 (Mon): Kovalam       
Breakfast is at the hotel. 
Rest of the day is free for independent activities (without guide or transport services)  
Meal: Breakfast 
Overnight: Niramaya retreat or Somatheeeram Ayurveda Resort 
06 De’16 (Tue):         Kovalam – Trivandrum By : Surface 
                                  Depart Trivandrum  By : Flight  
Breakfast is at Hotel.
[Standard Check out time from hotel is 1200 Hrs]
We will be transferred to Trivandrum airport to connect with our flight back to home.
Depart Trivandrum At: TBA Hrs Flight: TBA    
*** End of Tour extension***  
• Please note that some of the sights/itinerary may change due to the season, weather, national holidays, special events and acts of God etc.
• Check-In time is 1400 Hrs and Check-Out time is 1200 noon in India.
• Rates include only those items which are specifically mentioned in the detailed itinerary.
• Please note, the names of hotels mentioned above only indicate that our rates have been based on usage of these hotels. Accommodation is confirmed in these hotels upon receipt of your acceptance and full payment. However, in the event of any of the above mentioned hotels not becoming available at the time of initiating the reservations, we shall book alternate accommodation at a similar or next best available hotel and shall pass on the difference of rates (supplement / reduction whatever applicable) to you.
• In case of any currency fluctuations or amendment in local Government taxes, or any fuel increase, we reserve the right to adjust the tour price accordingly. The outstanding increase or decrease will be communicated accordingly.
• Air travel in India (included in your tour cost) is 15kg per person. Please travel light, consider post/shipping shopping, or expect to pay excess baggage.
Validity 15 November - 03 December 2016.
Twin share basis                    $8,630 per person
Single room Supplement      $3,835 per room   
Validity 03-06 December 2016.
Fly from Delhi to Trivandrum, for a short extension to the main tour, and relax in a glorious beach property in Kerala, South India, renowned as 'God's own country', the home of Ayurveda. There are two options provided for the R&R ending to our trip. Peter and Shantiji will be staying at Niramaya Retreat. 
@ Niramaya Retreat
Twin sharing basis                 $2,225 per person  
Single room supplement        $1,469 per room
or @ Somatheeram Ayurveda Resort  
Twin sharing basis                $1,624  per person
Single room supplement       $640.72 per room  
If you come for both tours:
Twin share:
$8,630 + $2,225 (at Niramaya) = $10,855
$8,630 + $1,624 (at Somatheeram) = $10,254
Single room accommodation
$8,630 + $3835 + $2,225 +$1469 (at Niramaya) = $16,159
Cancellation Fees per person
61 days and above: No Cancellation fee
Less than 60 days prior to tour: 25% cancellation charges
Less than 45 days prior to tour: 50% cancellation charges
35 days prior to tour & No Show: 100% cancellation charges
Option A - By Eftpos, cheque or cash
Name of Bank: Suncorp
Please contact us for details to process on-line.
Option B - By Credit Card
- Credit card payments will attract 2.50% bank’s service charges on each transaction
- We only accept VISA or Master Card    
International Flights are not included in the tour price. However, for your information these are our flight details. Currently we have people travelling from Sydney and Brisbane. We are able to meet up in Bangkok on the way and catch the same flight into India.
OUTGOING (Australia to India):
Mon, 14 Nov 2016

TG0474 Depart Brisbane  2:00pm (1400 hrs). Arrive Bangkok 8:10pm (2010 hrs)

TG0472 Depart Sydney 4:10pm (1610 hrs) Arrive Bangkok 9:35pm (2135 hrs)

TG 0313 Depart Bangkok 11:35pm (2335 hrs). Arrive Kolkata 15 Nov 12:40am (0040 hrs)


INCOMING (India to Australia):

Sun, 04 Dec, 2016

TG 0316 Depart Delhi 12:15am (0015hrs). Arrive Bangkok 5:40am 0540 hrs)

TG 0471 Depart Bangkok 7:25am. Arrive Sydney 8:45pm 


Sun, 04 Dec, 2016 

TG0332 Depart Delhi  03:30am (0330 hrs).  Arrive Bangkok  09:00am (0900  hrs)

Mon 5 Dec, 2016

TG0473 Depart Bangkok 12:01 am (0001 hrs). Arrive Brisbane 12:05pm (1205hrs)




About Shantiji

Shanti Gowans is the globally recognised author and founder of Shanti Yoga™, Meditation and Ayurveda for the self, family and community.

Shantiji has brought the concepts and practices of a healthy body and a still mind to thousands of Australians through her Yoga and Meditation programs on national television... Read more about Shantiji's biography

India-Nepal Tour

Travel with Shanti & Peter Gowans this November for a trip of a lifetime. 

india tour taj mahal