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Reshape your perspectives about space and time in magical and exotic India. Whether you are a dedicated yoga practitioner or you are simply looking for a unique voyage that moves your spirit to new depths, join Dr. Alanna Kaivalya for a journey to some of India’s most sacred and culturally significant settlements. This retreat will allow you to experience this magical country's culture, myths, past and present history.
During this holiday, you will stay either in a private or a shared room. You will stay two nights in Delhi, two nights in Jaipur, two nights in Varanasi, one night in Bodhgaya, one more night in Delhi, and three nights in Rishikesh.
Depart from your home city to join Dr. Alanna Kaivalya in India and begin a transformative journey. Please make sure that your flights arrive to Delhi on October 10, 2017.
After clearing customs, a Perillo's Learning Journeys representative will be waiting to warmly greet you in the arrival lounge to proceed with the transfer to your hotel. Contemporary Delhi is a bustling metropolis which successfully combines the ancient with the modern. Amidst the fast spiraling skyscrapers, the remains of a begone time in the form of its many monuments stand as silent as ever. You will spend the night in Delhi and no meals will be served during this day.
You will meet your program manager, Sandesh Singh, who will greet you with a warm smile. He will accompany you during this journey from the beginning to the end, managing all details of the program and sharing his vast knowledge of India from a spiritual, historical, and cultural view. After breakfast, you will proceed to a combined spiritual tour of Old and New Delhi.
You will visit Iskcon Krishna Temple and spend some time there. Afterwards, you will meet with a priest to discuss spirituality. You will have lunch at a local restaurant and then you will make a visit to Old Delhi's market with a cycle rickshaw ride, as well as you will stop in Raj Ghat and Gandhi Museum.
The visit will continue with a stop in Sikh Temple and Brila Temple to experience an Aarti ceremony around 18:00. You will have dinner at Veda Restaurant in Connaught place. Overnight will take place in Delhi and breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be served.
After breakfast, the staff will drive you to Jaipur for approximately six hours. Jaipur, also known as the City of Victory was founded in 1727. It is the only city in the world that symbolizes the nine divisions of the universe through nine rectangular sectors. The city was painted pink in 1853 in honor of Prince Albert's visit. Except for the busy traffic of bicycles, cars, and buses, the city seems to have changed only a little.
Lunch will take place en route or at the hotel in Jaipur. You will check-in at the hotel and you will walk in the evening through colorful buzzing local markets. You will have time for a shopping spree at Jaipur and you will spend the night there. Three meals will be served during this day.
After an early breakfast, you will take an excursion to a magnificent fort known as Amber Fort. This fort is 11 kilometers away from the main city and was constructed on a hill. You will return to the city by lunch hour. Later, you will visit some of the exciting sites of city such as Hawa Mahal, a façade with 953 windows; City Palace, which is Maharaja’s palace covering one seventh area of the city, and Janter-Manter, an astronomical observatory. Dinner will take place at a local restaurant and you will spend a second night in Jaipur. Three meals will be served during this day.
After breakfast, the morning will remain at leisure, which will give you time to explore the local markets. After lunch, you will transfer to Jaipur International Airport (JAI) for your flight to Varanasi. After your arrival in Varanasi, you will be transferred to your hotel. Varanasi, the city of Lord Shiva on the banks of the Ganges is one of Hinduism’s seven holiest cities. With its temples, over a 100 ghats, and labyrinth of streets, the city cannot be described, only experienced.
To visit the Ganga River at Varanasi is to truly touch the India's soul. Also called Benares or Kashi, Varanasi is the oldest living city in India, and one of the world’s most ancient settlements; contemporary to Babylon, Nineveh, and Thebes. Hindu devotional movements flourished here, and it is still the epicenter of Sanskrit learning in North India. You will have dinner at the hotel and you will spend the night in Varanasi. Three meals will be served during this day.
During the early morning, around 05:30, you will visit the Ganges, the most sacred river of the world. You will ride on a boat and witness the rituals and activities being performed by locals.
At sunrise, the Hindu faithful’s flock to the river to cleanse themselves of their sins. It is said that "to die in Varanasi is to end the Hindu cycle of re-birth". You will take a boat ride on the Ganges and, afterwards, you will return to the hotel for breakfast. Later on, you will visit the famous Shiva Temple and you will walk through its lanes. You will also have the opportunity to visit a non-governmental organization and spend some time there. In the evening, you will be taken to the Ghats to see the Ganga Aarti ceremony, a truly life experience.
The Ganga Aarti is a spectacular illuminated sight. Hundreds of people gather in the ghats to participate in this ceremony. Offerings of lamps and flowers are made to the river, following this ceremony. Afterwards, you will take a boat ride on the Ganges. You will have lunch and dinner at the hotel and will spend another night in Varanasi. Three meals will be served during this day.
After breakfast, you will checkout from the hotel and will be taken to the Bodhgaya, the city of Buddha. The drive will take around five to six hours. The quiet village of Bodhgaya is one of the holiest Buddhist pilgrimage centers in the world. It was in this city that Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree, whose saplings can still be seen on the temple premises. Most countries with a large Buddhist population have a temple or monastery here. Upon arrival, you will check-in and have lunch at the hotel.
Later, you will visit the Mahabodhi Temple, with its 54 meters high of pyramidal spires and a large gilded image of the enlightened Buddha. You will see the Bodhi Tree at whose foot lies a Vajrasila sandstone slab, which marks the spot where Buddha sat in meditation. You will also see the monasteries, the archaeological museum, and the great 25 meter Buddha statue. You will have dinner at the hotel and spend the night in Bodhgaya. Three meals will be served during this day.
After breakfast, you will visit some monasteries and spend some time with a monk. You will return to hotel for lunch and afterwards, you will transfer in time to the airport for your flight to Delhi. Dinner will take place at the hotel in Delhi. Three meals will be served during this day.
After early breakfast, you will transfer to New Delhi's railway station in order to take the train to Hardiwar. The word Haridwar is the combination of two words: “Hari”, which means "God" and “dwar”, whose meaning is "the gate; which gives the name of Hardiwar city as "The gate of the Gods". The city is located at the point where the Ganges leaves the Himalayas to begin its journey across the plains, which is why it is 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. You will visit Matranchal Orphanage for Girls. Matranchal means “mother's lap”, which is very true with this organization. This foundation does not only give love and shelter to girls, but also provides them with quality education so these girls can live their life independently.
Today’s lunch will be with a local family. Your host will be a middle class family of India, with Nettu and Sandesh Singh. After an interactive lunch and cooking session with the family, your host lady would love to take you to the market. In the evening, you will attend Aarti on the bank of the holy river of Ganges at Har-ki-pauri ghats.
You will be taken to Rishikesh, which will take about a one hour drive. Rishikesh is 1360 feet above sea level and serves as the gateway to the Himalayas, as well as it is a major center of spirituality and pilgrimage.
Several temples dot the banks of the Ganges at Rishikesh. Since ages, yogis and sadhus lived and practiced religion here. This small hill town got an introduction to the western world in late 60’s when The Beatles stayed at an Ashram here. You will check-in at the hotel and reunite with the other guests for dinnerl. You will spend the night in Rishikesh and three meals will be served during this day.
After breakfast, you will take an excursion to Kunjapuri Temple, which is situated at 1645 meters above the sea level. This temple is dedicated to the goddess Shakti. You will need to trek 150 steep steps to reach the temple, but tiredness will be compensated by a breathtaking view to the Himalayas. On the way back, you will visit a village and meet some locals there. On this day, you will have a packed lunch which you will carry during the day.
You will have free time in the afternoon for an optional Ayurvedic treatment. You will have dinner at the hotel as well as you will spend the night in Rishikesh. Three meals will be served during this day.
On this day, you will make a site visit to Purukal Youth Development Society, a community organization that strives for excellence in rural children through free holistic education, day long nutrition, and complete health care. This organization focuses on developing the individual capacity of the undeserved as well as it builds the community's capacity.
This organization does not only run a school but also ensures the students' transition into a successful adulthood. In addition to education, this non-governmental organization has taken several community development initiatives like employment to the ladies of the rural community, health and sanitation, and social causes such as domestic violence against females, child abuse, dowry, alcoholism, female infanticide, foeticide, and aid during natural disasters.
You will enjoy your lunch with the staff and children here at Purukal. In the evening, you will get ready with your questions, since you will meet an astrologer. Astrology in India has deep roots and surprisingly most of the people have deep faith in it. You will spend the night Rishikesh and you will be served with three meals during this day.
After breakfast, you will be driven uphill to visit Vashistha Gufa (the cave) which is one of the places where sadhus and yogis used to stay in ancient times during their meditation period. You will start a thrilling rafting session downstream and will return to hotel to take a shower and checkout. You will have lunch before you are transferred to Delhi in a six to seven hour drive.
You will have dinner at the hotel, near the airport, and you will be transferred in time for your flight back home. Even though three meals a day will be served during this day, no accommodation will be provided. Please book return flights for late evening on October 21, 2017.
This retreat will take place at six different location in India. You will visit Delhi, Jaipur, Varanasi, Bodhgaya, Rishikesh, and Vashistha Gufa.
During this retreat, you will be served a total of 33 meals during all the journey; 11 breakfasts, 11 lunches, and 11 dinners as specified in the itinerary.
During your visit you will have free time to shop for local finds in some of the cities included in this journey.
Please book your flight to arrive at Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL). Transfer from and to the airport is included. Perillo's Learning Journeys will pick you up from the airport.