LAND IN DELHI - the capital of kingdoms and empires, is now a sprawling metropolis with a fascinating blend of the past and the present. It is a perfect introduction to the composite culture of an ancient land:a window to the kaleidoscope that is India.
A company representatives will receive you on arrival at the International Airport and transfer you to our hotel. Relax.
Overnight in Delhi at Shanti Home.
Wake up to the buzz of a Delhi day. Have breakfast and head out into the intensity of Kathputli puppet colony - the home of India's famous puppeteers, folk dancers and magicians. (included).
Lunch is a Gujarati thali - it is an endless array of dishes - literally as much as you can eat. Sweet sour salty bitter pungent cross pollinate in an art palette of curry-colours - steaming rice and puffed breads combine in endless tastes. (included).
As if that's not enough of the wonderful stuff - afternoon guided shopping excursion in this fashion metropolis. (included).
This evening, meeting with the group to touch base and connect.
Overnight in Delhi.
After an early breakfast at your hotel, we journey by train through the Indian countryside to Agra - the Taj Mahal. Train rides are a rich cultural experience, and a relaxing way to watch India slide by. During the train ride, the creative process begins with reading one’s work and talking….
Our local guide will assist you to your seat on the train - enjoy travelling the Indian way.
Arrive in Agra - we will be collected and transferred to our hotel.
The Taj Mahal is one of the seven wonders of the world. Prepare to be moved to tears, by the beauty and heart of this great place. At moon rise.
But first - afternoon visit to the SOS Wildlife Rehabilitation Center just outside of Agra. Learn about animal welfare in India and how the "dancing bears" have been systematically saved and rehabilitated after 400 years of being forced to perform as part of a cruel tradition. (included).
Tonight! See the Taj Mahal in the light of the full moon. (included).
Built by Shah Jahan, the Taj is a white marble jewel, dedicated to his beautiful wife Mumtaz Mahal. This monument took 22 years to be constructed and decorated with semi-precious jewels.
Overnight in Agra.
After breakfast, when the group is satiated with the atmosphere of the Taj, proceed to Bharatpur bird sanctuary.
Famous for its wonderful UNESCO-listed Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur is a wetland and one of the finest waterbird sanctuaries in the world.
There are 230 species of birds resident in this exquisite mosaic of dry grasslands, woodlands and wetlands.
We will be taken into the park by a conservationist who specialises in birds of this area. (included).
Stay at Laxmi Vilas Hotel overnight. It is a royal palace, that still operates as such, with the royal family still in residence. The palace also functions as a heritage hotel. It has exceptionally beautiful grounds, swimming pool and the feel of ancient India.
Overnight will be in Bharatpur.
Early morning yoga and meditation. After breakfast, depart for Jaipur with our minibus and driver. It will take around three hours.
Jaipur lies in the western deserts and is in a very unique part of India. It is the capital of the state of Rajasthan a wildly colorful and busy city with some of India’s most famous palaces and fortresses. Jaipur is the gem capital of the world and the place to buy jewelry.
Arrive in Jaipur and eat channa bhatura at a local café: a chickpea curry with a bread that puffs up like a soccer ball. (included).
After lunch, check into our fabulous hotel in Jaipur. Spend time in the afternoon writing - everything that we have seen will need to be translated.
Tonight - watch the latest Bollywood movie at Jaipur's famous art deco movie house. (included).
Start the day with yoga, meditation and writing.
After breakfast, we'll take a jeep ride to the top of Amer Fort - explore in another era with our guide. (included).
Lunch will be at 1135AD - it is the themed restaurant at the top of Amer Fort (excluded). Later - we'll go shopping in Jaipur - the gem capital of the world, also known for its extraordinary silver jewellery.
Return to our hotel for drinks at the Palladio Bar (excluded). Rest of the evening at leisure in Jaipur.
Overnight in Jaipur.
Another day dawns in India. Do sun salutations in this semi-desert landscape. Surya namaskar makes sense here. Meditation and writing is before breakfast.
Later, jeep ride to Shahpura Village - feel like a villager, wander around, drink chai, watch how lac bangles are made, speak to locals and have a henna tattoo. (included).
We will stop for lunch at Shahpura Haveli - the sister hotel of our palace accommodation in Jaipur (excluded).
Continue on, back to Jaipur's colourful Bapu Bazar - the quintessential Rajasthani market. EVENING AT LEISURE.
Early morning departure to the airport in Jaipur - destination Rishikesh. We fly via Mumbai. Enjoy the airport bookshops, take it easy - we are moving forwards to the foothills of the Himalayas.
Arrive at Dehradun airport. We will be collected from the airport. Stop over in Dehradun for lunch (included) and continue to our hotel, on the banks of the Ganges River, outside of Rishikesh.
We will end our day with yoga, meditation and writing - on a platform with a view of the Ganges.
REST OF THE EVENING AT LEISURE.
Ever since the Beatles rocked up at the ashram of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the late ‘60s, Rishikesh has been a magnet for spiritual seekers. Today it styles itself as the ‘Yoga Capital of the World’, with masses of ashrams and all kinds of yoga and meditation classes.
Overnight in Rishikesh.
Yoga and meditation before breakfast - overlooking the Ganges - with the breeze of the Himalayan foothills to cool you down.
The workshops intensify, giving us extended time where we can process the colour, the action and the duality of the journey.
This morning, choose between white water river rafting on the Ganges or a zip-line that flies between the foothills and over the Ganges - it is an accredited, safe and secure experience if you like high flying! (optional and for your account).
After lunch, find ancient caves in the hills where sadhus have sat for thousands of years and meditate in an ancient reverberation (included).
In the evening - write.
Through the yoga and mediation, we go within to integrate and without to balance. The writing workshop will bring all these elements together.
Overnight in Rishikesh.
Today, there is a sunrise trek to the Kunjapuri Temple for a panoramic view of the Himalayas and the Ganges River below. Arrive at the temple and climb the 250 steps to the top – there is a small shop there for having a light breakfast and a cup of chai. See the Himalayas light up in gold at sunrise.
On the five mile trek, you will pass through local villages and farms as well as the Neer Gaddu waterfall, where you can have a swim (this experience is not included).. Our bus will fetch us for our return to the hotel.
Those who would like to have a lazy morning can opt out of this experience - rest and write at the hotel.
After lunch, drive into Rishikesh and spend the afternoon in this town made famous by The Beatles in the '60's.
Wander the charming markets of this vegetarian town or sit on the banks of the Ganges, watch holy men from the famous Ram Jula bridge.
In the evening, join spiritual seekers in the worship of the Ganges. Float your prayer candle in a leaf boat onto the holy river. This is how a sweet day ends in this sacred place. The sun sets.
EVENING AT LEISURE.
Overnight in Rishikesh.
Meditation and yoga before breakfast. Final writing workshop intensive follows.
Last swim in the Ganges from a private beach - purify yourself in this holy river before packing up and heading off to the station for our late train back to Delhi.
Overnight in Delhi.
In time, we will transfer you to the Delhi international airport to board the flight for your onward destination
Tour ends with sweet memories.
* INCLUDED: means included in the price of the itinerary.
* EXCLUDED: means optional and for your own account