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Yoga Journey to Rajasthan & Varanasi With Fran Gallo & Arvind Singh, Ph.D. February 2 to 19, 2015 !
This journey combines daily yoga, elegant accommodations, natural beauty, stunning architecture, and
the rich colorful culture of India. We begin with a fabulous tour to Rajasthan, visiting Jodhpur, Jaipur,
and Ranthambor Tiger Preserve. From there we journey to Agra, home of the Taj Mahal, continuing on to
Varanasi, the spiritual heart of India. This tour is filled with breathtaking views, wildlife, beautiful
palaces, and the vibrant scenes of daily life in India.
*Please note that trip itinerary is subject to change
Evening Location
2 Feb
Depart home city for Delhi Overnight Flight
3 Feb
Arrive in New Delhi, Driver will meet you at Indira Gandhi International Airport and take you to the hotel.
New Delhi 4 Feb
Morning: Yoga-­‐07.00-­‐8.30am. Breakfast between 9.00 and 10:00 a.m. Tour begins at 10:00 a.m. Start your tour with a pooja ceremony in Shree Lakshmi Narayan Temple, and also visit famous Bangla Sahib Gurudwara. Afternoon: After Bangla Sahib drive to Old Delhi through the Chandni Chowk Bazaar and then continue the tour. Visit Jama Masjid-­‐the largest mosque of Indian sub-­‐continent, Red Fort and Raj Ghat-­‐the memorial to Gandhi. Evening: Dinner at hotel. Free time to shop, rest or explore.
New Delhi Royal Plaza Hotel
5 Feb
Morning: Yoga. After breakfast drive to the airport to catch a Ylight to Jodhpur. Reach Jodhpur and check in at the hotel. Jodhpur is popularly known as the “blue city.” Today, its gentle atmosphere belies a stormy yet glorious past, with city walls, 7 gates, numerous 16
Mehrangarh Fort. Afternoon: Free to rest or Talk on Rajasthan. Evening: Dinner in the local restaurant and free time to explore.
Jodhpur Karani Bhawan Hotel 6 Feb
Morning: Yoga and breakfast. Start your guided tour and stop at Jaswant Thada, a Jodhpur cluster of white marble Royal cenotaphs built in 1899 by a queen in memory of her husband Maharaja Jaswant Singh. From there we will drive to the massive Mehrangarh Fort, set on a high hill overlooking Jodhpur’s rugged and rocky terrain. The enclosed palaces are intricately adorned with long carved panels and latticed windows exquisitely wrought from red sand stone. This fort has a got a huge museum inside, housing a marvelous collection of artifacts owned by the Royal family. Afternoon: After the tour, come back to the hotel around late afternoon, and rest. You may enjoy walking in the old part of the city, shopping, reading, or whatever you like. Evening: Dinner with a traditional Jain Family.
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7 Feb
Morning: Yoga and breakfast. After breakfast enjoy little free time before you Jodhpur
embark on a village safari by jeeps. In your jeep safari you will see wildlife and experience the village life around Jodhpur. We will visit the homes of potters, weavers, and farmers, including the village of Vishnois, a pastoral community known for their love and reverence for nature and animals. Even today, their life is lived compatibly with nature. Evening: Free
8 Feb
Morning: Yoga; After breakfast, drive to Pushkar, a small town sacred to the Pushkar
Hindus in Rajasthan and now a tourist attraction for its annual camel fair. Over the Jagat Palace centuries it grew into a temple town, and today there are as many as 400 temples in Pushkar. Pushkar is a maze of temples, ashrams and dharamsalas, and is never far from the sound of worship, from ascetics and devotees. The most important temple is dedicated to Brahma. In Pushkar there is a lake bounded by 52 ghats where devotees go for their holy dip. Afternoon: Reach Pushkar in the afternoon and after a little rest visit the ghats and Brahma temple. After a short visit to the main temple, people can shop for one hour (great little markets and fun to shop in Pushkar) and then go on a 2 hour sunset camel ride so we can do some asanas in the setting sun!! Evening: Free for your own activities. 9 Feb
Morning: Yoga and breakfast. After breakfast drive to Jaipur the vibrant capital of Jaipur Rajasthan, popularly known as the Pink City, because of the pink color given to the Alsisar Haveli
houses and shops in the old city. It sits on a dry lake bed in somewhat arid landscape surrounded by forts and palaces. Jaipur offers a combination of splendid sightseeing and shopping opportunities. When you arrive check into your hotel where you stay for the next two nights. Afternoon: Visit the famous City Palace, a large complex of palaces, gardens and courtyards that is now a museum. It houses the collection of Mughal and Rajput miniature paintings, rare manuscripts, traditional clothing and an armory. Also stop to see the amazing astronomical observatory built by the king of Jaipur in 1728. Evening: Free for shopping, resting, or whatever you wish. 10 Feb
Morning: Yoga. After breakfast take a guided tour of majestic Amber Fort, beginning with an elephant ride to the main gate. The ancient capital of Amber, just outside present day Jaipur, was once the seat of power before the City Palace of Jaipur was built. See elaborately decorated halls, some with delightful fresco paintings, glass or inlaid precious stones. One of the most outstanding rooms is the Mirror Palace where the light from a single lamp, reYlected in the many mirrors, illuminates the entire room. Afternoon: Lunch at Desert Bite and time to explore on your own or take it easy. Evening: Free
Jaipur Page 2! of !5
11 Feb
Morning: Yoga. After breakfast rest in the morning and then drive to the Ranthambore National Park-­‐112 miles from Jaipur. Ranthambore is an outstanding example of an Indian governmental conservation effort called Project Tiger. The forests around the 11
private grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur. It is possible, if you are lucky, to see tigers lolling around lazily in the sun or feverishly hunting down sambar, small deer, around the lakes. This park has a large variety of other animals as well. Check into the hotel where you will spend two nights. Evening: Enjoy the ambience. Ranthambore Tiger Den Resort http://
m/about.php Tel: +91 7462 252070 12 Feb
Morning: Early in the morning start for game drive with a naturalist. Come back around 10 AM, eat your breakfast and rest. Afternoon: Start again at 2.30 pm for your second game drive. Evening: Yoga and free time Ranthambore 13 Feb
Morning: Yoga; breakfast and then take the train to the Bharatpur Railway Station. After a short train journey we take a bus to the Keoladeo National Bird Park-­‐the best bird park in India, having over 400 species of birds, including rare Siberian cranes. Afternoon: After lunch at Udai Vilas Palace, drive to Agra and enroute visit Fatehpur Sikri (a World Heritage Monument), built by emperor Akbar the Great in 1571 and deserted 14 years later because its water supply failed. Evening: Arrive in Agra and check-­‐in to your hotel for next two nights.
Agra Hotel Man Singh Palace http://
om/agra.aspx !
Tel: +91562 2331771 14 Feb
Morning: Rise early for a sunrise tour of Taj Mahal to view this incredible and Agra
extravagant monument as the sun bathes it in an ethereal light. Built in 17
century by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial to his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, it took 22 years and the labor of 20,000 men. The white marble for this perfectly proportioned building with its amazing delicate inlay work was transported to the site by elephants from a quarry 200 miles away. Fran will lead our group in an optional 15-­‐20 minute meditation on the Heart Chakra (focus is on LOVE) Yes, Valentine's Day at the Taj Mahal! Breakfast back at the hotel. Afternoon: Lunch followed by a visit to an artisan shop where beautiful marble inlay work is done. From there we will attend a cultural show with music and dance, then on to the Oberoi Hotel for a cup of tea or a cocktail. Evening: Relax, go shopping, or take a swim in the hotel pool.
15 Feb
Morning: Yoga and breakfast. After breakfast we depart by train for Jhansi. We will take lunch in Orachha and then we have long drive to Khajuraho but it will be well worth it! This World Heritage site is home to the largest group of medieval Hindu and Jain temples, famous for their erotic sculptures. Evening: Free
Khajuraho TBD
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16 Feb
Morning: After yoga and breakfast we visit the beautiful Khajuraho temple Khajuraho to complex and then take an afternoon Ylight to Varanasi, the holiest city for Hindus, Varanasi situated on the bank of the most sacred river, the Ganges, between conYluences of Taj Hotel or Radisson
the Varuna and Assi Rivers. According to legend, it is the oldest living city on Earth and the spiritual capital of the world. For these reasons, it is the most important pilgrimage center in India. Here you stay for two nights. Afternoon: After lunch we will have a presentation on the Sacred Geography of Varanasi by Prof. Rana P.B. Singh (subject to conYirmation) and then visit a silk weaving center to see one of Varanasi’s oldest art forms in action. Evening: At 4:30 take a rickshaw ride into the heart of the bustling old city, enjoying the noisy, chaotic, and amazing life of the animals and people in this most fascinating area of town. Go to the main ghat to view the famous Arati ceremony and deep daan. Dinner in the hotel.
17 Feb
Morning-­Afternoon: Rise early to take a boat on the Ganges for sunrise, the most auspicious time for worship. We will begin at the main ghat and go up stream, then back to the main ghat. In this boat ride you will experience the morning life of the holy city and the relationship of the people with Mother Ganga (the Ganges). You will see city dwellers and streams of pilgrims going down to the Ganges and taking their holy dip, washing away all their sins and sorrows. Also you will see people performing rituals, yogis meditating, musicians practicing-­‐-­‐all in the lap of Mother Ganga. On two cremation ghats you will Yind Hindus cremating their dead with belief that liberation will come to one who is cremated in this city. After the boat trip, enjoy walking in the alleyways for a different experience where you will see the most sacred of all the Hindu temples-­‐-­‐the Temple of Shiva, Lord of the Universe-­‐-­‐the Golden Temple. Return back to the hotel for yoga and breakfast. After breakfast we will drive to Sarnath, the birthplace of Buddhism. Lord Buddha came to Varanasi after his enlightenment and at the outskirt of the city, in a deer park, he preached his Yirst sermon, calling the place the Capital of Righteousness. Sarnath is one of the four most sacred places of the Buddhist world. Here for about 1800 years Buddhism Ylourished before being wiped away by Mogul invaders. Over the centuries people built many stupas, monasteries, and temples. Now it is an important archaeological site of ruins but you can still see one of the most impressive stupas commemorating the spot where the ‘Wheel of Law’ was turned by Buddha. We will visit the archaeological museum housing beautiful images of Buddha and India's national emblem, the Lion Capital. You will have free time in Sarnath park for yoga/meditation. Afternoon-­Evening: Drive to Banaras Hindu University, what some claim to be the largest and most prestigious university in Asia. Visit the University temple before you go to the Benares Music Academy, to see an Indian classical music performance. (Both spellings of Banaras are used) Dinner at the hotel. Varanasi Fran will lead the group in an optional 15-­‐20 minute meditation at Sarnath.
18 Feb
Morning: Yoga and then free time before you go to the airport to catch the afternoon Ylight for Delhi. Afternoon: Fly to Delhi. Check in at hotel.
Delhi 19 Feb
Morning: Yoga and free time to visit the Gallery of Modern Art and do any last minute shopping at the Central Cottage Emporium. Evening: Dinner, then transfer to the International Airport to Yly back home.
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!Trip cost: $4500, includes: yoga, guide fees, all transportation within India, 4-­‐5 star hotels, breakfasts and dinners, hotel and driver tips, entrance fees, and guest experts on Indian culture. Cost does not include tip for guide, drinks, room service, non-­‐group activities, personal expenses, or international airfare. !A minimum of 10 people is required for the trip to occur and we have MET our minimum and still have space for a few more lucky participants!! You can go ahead and purchase your Ylight. Please send in your check (50%) with the registration form as soon as possible to guarantee your place and help us make all the train and hotel bookings in a timely way. You will Yind the registration and release forms at http:// Kelley McHenry, trip organizer, is a librarian at Seattle Central College and has recently completed a Master of Arts in South Asia Studies from the Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington. She has lived and worked in Kenya and the Netherlands and traveled widely in Asia and Europe, but India is her true love. In addition to academic studies, Kelley has been to India many times, lived with Indian families, studied Hindi, and been leading tour groups to India for the past ten years.
Dr. Arvind Singh, guide and trip organizer, holds an MA in Indian History & Culture, MA in Indian Philosophy & Religion, and a PhD in Indian Archaeology. He has published three books and 16 research articles on different aspects of Indian culture, ecology, numismatics and archaeology. He was a Senior Fellow of the Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi and taught for several years at Banaras Hindu University.
Fran Gallo has led several trips to India for Know India Travel and Spiritual India Journeys. She was formerly an English instructor at Green River Community College and now devotes herself to teaching hatha yoga to share its healing and empowering effects. She studied hatha yoga at Ananda Yoga Centre in Nepal and furthered her studies at Ved Niketan Yoga Ashram in Rishikesh, India. For Fran, yoga's magic is in discovering how to go beyond what we perceive as our limits and in the profound sense of wholeness, peace, and balance one obtains from cultivating a yoga practice. !
For more information, please contact Kelley McHenry
Phone: 206-546-2599
Email: [email protected]
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