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THIS IS NOT THE FULL BROCHURE

We invite you to call Sarah or Gwen at 1-800-762-4216 to request the full brochure. The brochure will include Important Traveler Information (and answers to most questions) and a Reservation Form. We can send the brochure through the Postal Service or as a PDF attachment. If you would like to receive a PDF, probably the best way to keep the message from going into a SPAM filter is to send a message to sarah@serioustraveler.com. If you are already on our mailing list, no need to complete the entire brochure request form.

February 20 - March 8, 2018 • 17 days

$5570 based on double occupancy beginning and ending in Delhi, India
plus $60 e-visa
Single Supplement $1990
Based on minimum of 2 participants

International airfare additional

 

 


February 20 ARRIVE DELHI
Tuesday

• Arrive Delhi by your international flight
• Meeting on arrival at the airport and transfer to the hotel

Delhi: The city has a great history of centuries that encompass the bravery and valor of the legendary Pandavas and the might and wisdom of the Mauryans Kings. A briefing of Delhi’s history would remain incomplete if there is no rendering about the great rule of Prithviraj Chauhan. As the last ruler of Hindu empire, this man helped mold Delhi to a vibrant and sprawling city. After him, his kingdom was the strong hold of various dynasties like the Slaves and the Tughlaques. Later the Mughals colored it with their great love and affection for art and literature. After the first war of Indian Independence, this historic city began to play a major role in the hands of the enduring British people. It was in 1911, Delhi had been officially recognized as the capital city of British India. This sprawling city has witnessed the rise and fall of so many strong holds of power. Starting from the days of the epic period to the 21st century, Delhi played a significant role in the entire history of the nation.

Overnight in Delhi at NOVOTEL*****
Standard Room

February 21 IN DELHI – FLIGHT TO JAIPUR
Wednesday

Meals: Breakfast
• Breakfast at the hotel
• Morning: Experience a metro ride from Aero city to old Delhi
• Embark on a sightseeing tour of Old Delhi visiting Raj Ghat, Chandni Chowk and Jama Masjid
• Take a cycle rickshaw ride in the narrow alleys of Chandni Chowk
• Afternoon: Sightseeing tour of New Delhi driving past India Gate, the Presidential Palace, Government Secretariat. Also visit Qutab Minar - a UNESCO World heritage Site
• Return to hotel to pick up the luggage
• Evening: Transfer to the airport to board your flight to Jaipur
• Meeting upon arrival in Jaipur and transfer to hotel

The Masjid-i-Jahan Numa, commonly known as Jama Masjid of Delhi, is the principal mosque of Old Delhi in India. Commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, builder of the Taj Mahal, and completed in the year 1656 AD, it is one of the largest and best-known mosques in India. It is also at the beginning of a very busy and popular street/center in Old Delhi.

Chandni Chowk is the largest trading area in North India which was once a quiet road, shaded by banyans, with a canal. Jahanara, Shah Jahan’s daughter, had a square built on this road and in its center a pool fed by the canal. On a clear night the water reflected the light of the moon; so it came to be known as Chandni Chowk, the moonlit square. The nobility built mansions here, shops sprang up along the street, and Chandni Chowk became the most fashionable place in the empire. Today, the streets and the markets of Chandni Chowk are always so lively with people busy earning a living, printing books on ancient presses, making brass-ware in tiny workshops, cooking food, plucking chickens, mixing spicy drinks, giving others a shave or massage, and selling, selling and selling.

Cycle Rickshaw ride: Cycle rickshaws are basically a three-wheeled bicycle with a seat for two passengers behind the driver. They will take you through the narrow streets of the Delhi showing the beauty of crowded Delhi life.

At the center of New Delhi stands the 137 foot high India Gate, an “Arc-de-Triomphe” like archway in the middle of a crossroad. Almost similar to its French counterpart, it commemorates the 70,000 Indian soldiers who lost their lives fighting for the British Army during the World War I. The memorial bears the names of more than 13,516 British and Indian soldiers killed in the Northwestern Frontier in the Afghan war of 1919.

Qutab Minar (Tower of Victory) is the world’s tallest minaret, which was built in the 12th century by Qutabuddin Aibak. Its famous Iron Pillar dates back to the 4th century AD—baffling scientists, as its iron has not rusted through in all these centuries.

Overnight in Jaipur at Trident*****
Deluxe Garden View Room

February 22 IN JAIPUR
Thursday

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
• Breakfast at the hotel
• Morning: Excursion to Amber Fort
• Ride a jeep to ascend the hill on which the fort is located
• Afternoon: Sightseeing tour of Jaipur visiting the City Palace and the Observatory
• Evening visit a local home to try some Rajasthani cuisine, this will be followed by a dinner with the family

Jaipur, the vibrant capital city of Rajasthan, is a city of contrasts and a feast for the eyes: camel carts, rickshaws, roadside stalls, and residents in traditional dress. This “Pink City” and Land of the Kings is marked by fairy tale palaces, broad avenues and rugged fortresses perched on barren hills, which make it quite picturesque.

The Amber Fort is situated on a hillside overlooking a lake that reflects its towers and terraces. We ascend to the fort by jeep. The halls of public and private audience, a Sheesh Mahal (Hall of Mirrors) and various marble palaces, all marvelous examples of medieval Rajput architecture, await us. We will visit the Temple of Amba (Mother Goddess), where the patron deity of the Royal family greets us at the entrance to the palace.

The City Palace, the former royal residence, displays a blend of Rajasthani and Mughal styles. It now houses a museum with a superb collection of costumes, an armory of the Mughals and Rajputs with weapons of arms, an art gallery with an excellent collection of miniature paintings, carpets, royal paraphernalia and rare astronomical works in Arabic, Persian, Latin and Sanskrit.

Ponder the Astrological Observatory, Jantar Mantar built by Maharaja Jai Singh in the 18th century, remarkable for its accuracy, even against modern standards. Drive past the Palace of Winds, known popularly as Hawa Mahal, built in the 19th century for the ladies of the royal family to observe the happenings on the street from the decorated windows of this façade.

Overnight in Jaipur at Trident*****
Deluxe Garden View Room

February 23 JAIPUR - TRAIN TO BHARATPUR
Friday DRIVE TO AGRA

Meals: Breakfast
• Breakfast at the hotel
• Morning: Transfer to railway station to board train to Bharatpur
• Arrive Bharatpur, and drive to Agra visiting the UNESCO site of Fatehpur Sikri enroute. Visit the mausoleum of Salim Chisti
• Afternoon: Visit Agra Fort and Mehtab Bagh

This exquisite city of Fatehpur Sikri was built by Akbar the Great in 1569, in red sandstone, with its forts, palaces and mosques. It was abandoned 14 years after its creation due to political reasons. The Diwaniam is a vast courtyard in which the emperor gave daily public audience; Diwanikhas a large quadrangle which contained all the major functions of the Palace, Pachisi court, the Emperors private living quarter, Jodha Bhai’s Palace, Mariam’s Palace, Birbal’s Palace, Hawa Mahal and Panch Mahal are some of the important buildings of this residential complex. The Friday Mosque and the exquisite tomb of Sheik Salim Chisti are in the religious grounds set aside in a separate enclosure adjacent to the secular buildings.

Built by three Mughal Emperors starting from Akbar the Great in 1565 AD, the Agra Fort is a masterpiece of design and construction. Within the fort are a number of exquisite buildings, including Jahangir’s Palace, Khaas Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, DiwaniAm, DiwaniKhas and Musamman Burj - the Octagonal Tower, where Emperor Shah Jahan, the builder of the Taj Mahal was imprisoned by his son Aurangazeb for seven long years and died a prisoner.

Agra is famous as the home to one of the Seven modern Wonders of the World the Taj Mahal. This city having been the capital of the Mughal dynasty for over hundred years until 1650 have many Mughal monuments of repute.

Overnight in Agra at Trident****1/2
Deluxe Garden View Room

February 24 AGRA - TRAIN TO KHAJURAHO
Saturday

Meals: Breakfast
• Early morning: Visit the Taj Mahal with sunrise view
• Breakfast at the hotel
• After breakfast, leave for railway station to board train to Khajuraho departing at 11:00 AM
• The train is expected to arrive in Khajuraho in the late afternoon
• Meeting on arrival and transfer to hotel

Taj Mahal: The inimitable poem in white marble was built over a period of 22 years (1631-1653), using a workforce of 22,000 people, by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan for his Queen Mumtaz Mahal to enshrine her mortal remains. The Taj Mahal presents a wondrous sight at different times of the day – at dawn, during the day, at sunset and even on a moonless night. Needless to say it is exquisite on a moonlit night.

The Temples of Khajuraho were constructed by the Chandela kings from around 925 AD for about 150 years. These temples are known for their architectural and sculptural excellence, carved with the roughest of tools. 85 temples in all portrayed the civilization of those times’ zest for life. They portray spirituality, love, music, dance hunting and feasting. Today, 22 temples survive. Known the world over for the sensual appeal of the erotic sculptures, strangely these form only a very small part of the wealth of these unique temples that depicts the everyday life of the people and royalty of the 10th and 11th centuries.

Overnight in Khajuraho at Radisson Jass****
Deluxe Room

February 25 IN KHAJURAHO
Sunday DANCE FESTIVAL

Meals: Breakfast
• Breakfast at the hotel
• Morning : Visit Eastern & Western Group of temples. Visit the Chaturbhuj Temple
• In the evening attend the Cultural Dance Festival of Khajuraho - classical dancers from all across India perform in open air corridors of the Khajuraho group of temples

The Parsvanath temple of the Eastern Group is the group’s largest Jain temple. The themes depict in charming detail, the everyday activity of those times.

Visit the Chaturbhuj Temple dedicated to Vishnu, the preserver of the Universe, according to Hindu mythology, in the Southern group of temples.

The Laxmana Temple (in the Western Group), dedicated to Vishnu, the Preserver of the Universe with the four subsidiary shrines in the four corners of the platform with the main shrine in the center is the only Temple of the 10th century AD built by the Chandelas which is complete, intact and in good condition. The Kandariya Mahadeo temple of this group is the largest and is dedicated to Shiva. In both these temples, the main shrines are exquisitely carved and feature, in delicate detail, gods, goddesses, celestial maidens and lovers.

Overnight in Khajuraho at Radisson****
Deluxe Room

February 26 KHAJURAHO - VARANASI
Monday

Meals: Breakfast
• Breakfast at the hotel
• Morning: At leisure (Optional: participants can go on a cycling experience to the nearby village)
• Afternoon: Transfer to airport to board flight to Varanasi
• Arrive Varanasi, meeting upon arrival at the airport and transfer to hotel
• Evening: Attend the Aarti Ceremony at the ghats of the holy river Ganges

Varanasi is one of India’s most important pilgrimage sites and the holiest of holy cities for Hindus. Known also as Kashi and Benaras, Varanasi is one of the world’s oldest living cities, and has been a center of learning and culture for well over 2000 years.

The holy river Ganges is a truly tranquil and breath taking sight with pilgrims standing waist-deep in water, praying. An Aarti Ceremony is a Hindu religious ritual of worship, a part of puja, in which light from wicks soaked in ghee (purified butter) or camphor is offered to one or more deities. Past the bathing ghats, see the “burning ghats” where the Hindus cremate their dead. This is done with great religious fervor, which makes for a moving experience.

Overnight in Varanasi at Gateway Hotel Ganges*****
Standard Room

February 27 VARANASI - SARNATH
Tuesday KOLKATA

Meals: Breakfast
• Early morning, take a boat ride on the Ganges followed by a walking tour through the narrow alleys of Varanasi
• Breakfast at the hotel
• After breakfast, proceed for an excursion to Sarnath
• Evening: Transfer from the hotel to board flight to Kolkata
• Arrive Kolkata, meeting upon arrival and transfer to hotel

On our walk through Varanasi see the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, which is one of the most famous Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. Varanasi, the Holiest existing Place of Hindus, where at least once in life a Hindu is expected to visit.

Sarnath is located eight miles northeast of Varanasi near the confluence of the Ganges and the Gomati rivers. The deer park in Sarnath is where Gautama Buddha gave his first teaching after attaining enlightenment, in which he taught the four noble truths and the teachings associated with it.

Our excellent hotel is located just 100 yards from the Indian Museum. Kolkata is the largest metropolitan area in India and was the home of Rabindranath Tagore and Mother Teresa.

One cannot travel to this part of the world and not talk about the food. The people of Kolkata love their fish curry- ?macher jhol?. If you happen to be a vegetarian, you can always look forward to the beguni and the poshto. Our guide can make recommendations for dinner.

Overnight in Kolkata at Oberoi Grand Hotel*****
Deluxe Room

February 28 IN KOLKATA
Wednesday

Meals: Breakfast
• Breakfast at the hotel
• Morning: Take an excursion to Kumartuli to witness the making of idols
• From Kumartuli, drive to ‘book bazaar’ - there are more than 2000 bookstores along the side of the road and many students and educationalists purchase books from the street shops. Also taste a cup of coffee at the famous “ Indian Coffee House” which is known as the place for all intellectual discussion
• Experience a ride on a local tram which is still a prominent mode of transport prevailing in the City of Joy
• Evening: Visit Missionaries of Charity, established in 1950 by Mother Teresa

Visit our favorite place – the colony of sculptors at Kumartuli. Since you will be visiting Kolkata during the festive season, you will have the opportunity to see the artists work furiously on their clay idols of the Goddess.

Take a stroll along Kolkata?s famous College Street book market and stop for a cup of coffee at the Indian Coffee House and some chit chat.

Overnight in Kolkata at Oberoi Grand*****
Deluxe Room

March 1 IN KOLKATA
Thursday

Meals: Breakfast
• Early morning visit the colorful flower market, see the buying and selling of flowers under the famous Howrah bridge
• Breakfast at the hotel
• Morning: Embark on a heritage walk through British Kolkata to explore some of the old buildings. Also visit Victoria Memorial
• Later, proceed to Dakshineshwar Temple - a temple to worship Goddess Kali on the ghat of river Ganges
• In the late afternoon visit Marble Palace & Parasnath Jain Temple on the way back to hotel

Embrace the evanescence of the morning mist during our Heritage Walk of the sleepy ghats of the British Kolkata. Explore some of the old buildings.

Drive to Victoria Memorial, built as a tribute to the late Queen Victoria by Lord Curzon—a grandiose structure of marble that houses British memorabilia.

Visit the Marble Palace that was built by one of Bengal’s richest landlords, Raja Rajendra Mullick Bahadur in 1830. A lot of thought and planning was involved as far as the architectural features of this strange but palatial edifice is concerned. Although the Gothic style of architecture is predominant, on careful observation, you will find that there is a harmonious blend of Roman, Greek and Oriental style of architecture, which are also prevalent in this palace of outstanding beauty and grandeur. Visit the Jain Temple on the way back to the hotel.

Overnight in Kolkata at Oberoi Grand*****
Deluxe Room

March 2 KOLKATA - BOLPUR - KOLKATA
Friday CELEBRATE BASANT PANCHAMI

Meals: Breakfast
• Breakfast at the hotel
• Today we will board a train from Kolkata to Bolpur. Upon arrival take a cycle rickshaw ride to reach Shantiniketan - famous for the university created by the Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore
• Celebrate Basant Panchami
• In the evening board your train back to Kolkata

It is a special day on the calendar called Basant Panchami. The words literally mean Basant (spring) and Panchami (5th day of the fortnight in the Hindu lunar calendar). See students of Shantiniketan attired in pale yellow clothing and ornaments made out of flowers. The celebration is marked with the music of Rabindranath Tagore, dance, drama and smearing of vibrant dry colors on each other.

Overnight in Kolkata at Oberoi Grand*****
Deluxe Room

March 3 KOLKATA - BAGDOGRA - KALIMPONG
Saturday

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
• Breakfast at the hotel
• Transfer to airport to board our morning flight to Bagdogra
• Meeting on arrival at the airport and drive to Kalimpong (3 hrs)
• Arrival in the afternoon
• After a visit to a handmade paper-making factory, return to the hotel
• Dinner at the hotel

Enjoy the spectacular monasteries, temples, and landscapes of West Bengal, a land of hill stations with exotic natural beauty, cheerful people and a rich cultural legacy. Situated at an altitude of 4,101 feet, Kalimpong is a bustling scenic bazaar town set among the rolling foothills and valleys of the Himalayas. It was a part of a stronghold of Paro Penelope of Bhutan until 1835, when the ruler of Sikkim surrendered it to the British.

Visit a handmade paper-making factory. See the process of making paper in an environmentally friendly manner where the shrubs and plants are cleaned, boiled and then cooked. Finally the paper is turned out in colorful batik print, tie and dye prints and block prints.

Overnight in Kalimpong at The Elgin****
Deluxe Room

March 4 IN KALIMPONG
Sunday

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
• Breakfast at the hotel
• Start your day with a guided tour of Kalimpong visiting Tharpa Choling and Thongsa Gompa Monasteries
• Close to Thongsa Gompa also visit Mangal Dham, a temple dedicated to Guruji Shri Mangal Dasji Maharaj who dedicated his life serving the poor and needy people of Kalimpong
• Afternoon visit: Zang Dog Palri Monastery, also known as Durpin Monastery, located at the Durpin Dara Hill. This monastery exhibits wall paintings and offers great views of the town
• In the evening visit pine view nursery which has a great collection of cactus and ornamental plants
• Lunch and Dinner at the hotel

The Tharpa Choling Monastery is situated on a hill-top in Kalimpong. In 1912 Domo Geshe Rinpoche Ngawang Kalsang founded the monastery. According to history, Domo Geshe Rinpoche lived in Kalimpong in 1906 when he came to India for pilgrimage and to collect medicinal plants from India, Nepal and Bhutan. Rinpoche instituted this monastery there by request of the Tibetan merchants and some Bhutanese leaders living in Kalimpong.

You will then visit Thongsa Gompa which is a Bhutanese monastery and is known as the oldest monastery in Kalimpong. It was rebuilt in 1964. Locally it is simply called the Bhutanese Gompa.

Overnight in Kalimpong at The Elgin****
Deluxe Room

March 5 KALIMPONG - DARJEELING
Monday

Meals: Breakfast Lunch & Dinner
• Breakfast at the hotel
• Morning, leave for Darjeeling (3 hrs)
• En route stop at the tea estate, where you will see variety of tea grown in this area
• Lunch will be arranged in the tea estate
• Try some local tea before you continue your drive to the hotel
• Dinner at the hotel

Darjeeling is the most beautiful hill station in India. From Tiger Hill, with its breathtaking views of Kanchenjunga peak at dawn, to picturesque tea plantations, Darjeeling conjures visions of serenity and of vibrant green hills crowned by the majestic Himalayas. Darjeeling is at an elevation of 7,000 feet above sea level. During our drive, drink in the beautiful Himalayan mountain scenery of majestic pines. Notice the mountain slopes gently flowing in waves of green tea bushes.

Overnight in Darjeeling at The Elgin****
Deluxe Room

March 6 IN DARJEELING
Tuesday

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
• Early morning: Visit Tiger Hill to view the sunrise over Kanchenjunga.
• Return to hotel for breakfast.
• After breakfast take a ride on the Himalayan Toy Train
• Lunch at the hotel
• Afternoon: Visit the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and Tibetan Refugee center.
• Evening: Visit the Tibetan market, stroll around the mall road, which showcases different souvenirs and local goods

Early this morning we arrive at Tiger Hill via 4x4 vehicles. With an altitude of 8,770 feet, on a clear morning one can enjoy a panoramic view of the entire mountain range and witness the fascinating spectacle of sunrise over the Himalayas—one may be able to see both Mt. Khanchenjunga (28,166 ft) and Mt. Everest (29,127 ft).

On the Himalayan Toy Train from Ghoom station along the Batasia Loop we have a panoramic view of Darjeeling including that of Hill Town as well as the snow peaks of Kanchenjunga once more. We relish the fascinating journey, as our train winds its way along the mountainside, offering spectacular views. Built by the British more than 100 years ago, this locomotive negotiates the mountains using special traction.

The Mountaineering Institute gives a fascinating insight into the history of Himalayan exploration and mountaineering. Every summer mountaineers are trained at this location. Drive to the Tibetan Refugee (Self Help) Center, set up in 1951 when the Tibetans fled Tibet.

Overnight in Darjeeling at The Elgin****
Deluxe Room

March 7 DARJEELING - BAGDOGRA - DELHI
Wednesday

Meals: Breakfast
• Breakfast at the hotel
• After a leisurely breakfast transfer to Bagdogra airport (3 hrs) to board the flight to Delhi
• Meeting on arrival and transfer to an airport hotel
• Rest of the evening is free to relax before the international flight

Overnight in Delhi at airport hotel

March 8 DEPART DELHI
Thursday

• Transfer to airport to board your onward flight
• Leave Delhi by international flight

 

 

 

THIS IS NOT THE FULL BROCHURE

We invite you to call Sarah or Gwen at 1-800-762-4216 to request the full brochure. The brochure will include Important Traveler Information (and answers to most questions) and a Reservation Form. We can send the brochure through the Postal Service or as a PDF attachment. If you would like to receive a PDF, probably the best way to keep the message from going into a SPAM filter is to send a message to sarah@serioustraveler.com. If you are already on our mailing list, no need to complete the entire brochure request form.

© 2017 Travel Concepts International, Inc. CST 2005743-40

Travel Concepts International, Inc.
Cultural Tours to Better Understand the World and Its People

5500 Bucks Bar Road • Placerville, CA 95667 U.S.A. • Voicemail/Telephone/Fax 1-530-621-3007
Voicemail/Tollfree in U.S.A. 1-800-762-4216
G
wen@SeriousTraveler.com • Web site www.SeriousTraveler.com