Our carefully curated itinerary below includes sleeping in the desert, staying in Heritage Hotels (former palaces and grand homes), taking an Indian cooking class, attending musical and dance performances, exploring ancient sites and hiking in nature. And of course, we will visit the incredible Taj Mahal.
After our main trip, there will be an opportunity to extend your stay and join me in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, at an Ayurvedic Village Vaidyagrama. Here you can choose to stay for a week or more to experience the truly incredible healing treatments at an authentic Ayurvedic center. We will be fed vegetarian meals, receive treatments, join in yoga and meditation classes and learn more about this ancient science of health and healing.
(You can choose to do both the India Tour and the Ayurvedic Village, or you can just choose one or the other. If you decide to do the Ayurvedic Village without the tour, you will meet us in either Mumbai or Coimbatore. We will arrange the flights for you.)
Just a note about traveling in India – it’s not for everyone. While the country has “Westernized” by leaps and bounds, even since my first trip there in 2006, it can still be a challenge for those not used to this part of the world.
Travel times are “suggestions”. We never know when a bridge might be out, cows are blocking the road, a train stops for hours for no apparent reason, and obstacles I can’t even imagine. Roads are not always the best. The ride can be bumpy and slow, or fast and unnerving. The sites and scenes can be mesmerizing and alluring, colorful and heartbreaking.
At times you may be uncomfortable and irritable, at other times you will be awed and humbled. It’s such a crazy intense mix of sights, sounds, smells, humanity and even inhumanity – the emotions that arise in India can be extreme. The beauty, astounding. Getting there can be a chore, but arriving is a blessing so deep and profound.
Also, it’s hot. It’s exotic. It’s crowded. It’s huge. The insects and wildlife (think monkeys) are unusual. With nearly a billion and half people in India, some areas feel like they have all gathered together at once. The poverty is sometimes in the shadow of incredible wealth – the dichotomy is staggering.
Explore Elemental India
A Feast for the Senses
Upon arrival from our cities of departure, we will meet at the Delhi International airport to begin our journey. Flight information from your city can be arranged our tour company.
Tuesday, January 31: ARRIVE DELHI. Welcome to India! Meeting and assistance on arrival at the airport and transfer to the hotel. Our rooms will be ready for immediate occupancy so we can rest after the flight.
Today we will spend time sightseeing in Old & New Delhi. Among some of the most interesting highlights of your city tour of Old are the Red Fort the Jama Masjid, Chandni Chowk and Raj Ghat in the old city area including an adventurous cycle rickshaw ride through the narrow Heritage streets of Chandni Chowk. In New Delhi, visit the Humayuns Tomb, the Government Buildings, a drive through the majestic Rajpath to the India Gate and the tallest tower – Qutub Minar. Overnight at the hotel.
Wednesday, Feb. 1: DELHI-VARANASI (BY FLIGHT)
After early breakfast, depart to airport to board flight
AI 406 10:25 am-11:50 am to Varanasi. Afternoon free to relax or take a walk through the streets of Varanasi. Around 16:00 hrs proceed to visit a Divine Ashram situated on the banks of Holy River Ganges. Evening witness the Ganga Aarti with sunset boat cruise. Overnight at the hotel.
Thursday, February 2: IN VARANASI
Early morning at sunrise take a boat-ride on Holy River Ganges. In Varanasi life and various activities revolve around the river.
Life begins before dawn when thousands of pilgrims – and devotees – come down to the river to offer early morning prayers. Also visit the famous ghats and enjoy a spectacular view of sunrise from river Ganges. Later cruise across by boat to the beaches of Ganes to attend Yoga classes conducted by Yoga Guru Pandit R M Mishra from 8:00 am – 9:00 am
After breakfast, proceed for the sightseeing tour of Temples of Varanasi including Durga Temple: Dedicated to Goddess Durga, consort of Lord Shiva. Bharat Mata Temple. This temple was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi and houses one of the most perfect reliefs of India carved out of marble. Tulsi Manas
Temple: Built in white marble this unique temple has the whole of Ram Charit Manas (Ramayana) inscribed on its wall. We will also visit Banaras Hindu University.
Afternoon excursion to Sarnath, the fabled place bears testimony to its great past where Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon to his disciples expounding the principles of Buddhism. Also visit the museum which has treasures of Buddhist sculptures, inscriptions and pottery. Overnight at the hotel.
Friday, February 3, VARANASI-AGRA (BY TRAIN MARUDHAR EXPRESS OVERNIGHT)
Morning breakfast at the hotel. Day free for exploring the Varanasi & visit Silk factory and the local market. Evening departure to Varanasi railway station to board train Marudhar Express at 6:15 pm -6:10 am to Agra with packed Dinner. Overnight on board train. You haven’t really seen India until you see it by overnight train!
Saturday, February 4: ARRIVE AGRA
Arrive at 6:10 am hrs. After breakfast check-in at the hotel. We will enjoy a city tour of Agra, and visit Agra Fort built by Emperor Akbar over the years 1565 – 1573 with its maze of courtyards, mosques, and private chambers. Most of the buildings
originally built by Akbar were destroyed and were replaced by his grandson Shah Jehan. The only surviving structure from Akbar’s period apart from the solid sand
ramparts and the gateway is the Jahangir Mahal. It is the biggest private residence in the complex and its architecture indicates strong influences from Hindu over tones & Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah is a Mughal mausoleum in the city of Agra in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Often described as a “Jewel Box”, sometimes called the “Baby Taj”, the tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah is regarded as a draft of the Taj Mahal. Overnight at the hotel.
Sunday, February 5 : AGRA-FATEHPUR SIKRI- JAIPUR
Morning after breakfast, visit one of the seven wonders of the world – Taj Mahal, built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan, this beautiful mausoleum is built of pure white marble and is an architectural marvel. Built in the memory of his beloved queen Mumtaz Mahal. The building was conceived as a garden tomb with the mausoleum rising at the far end of the complex with the river Yamuna flowing below. Beneath the dome are the cenotaphs of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jehan.
Later depart by surface to Jaipur en-route visiting Fatehpur Sikri, one of my favorite places in the world, the mystical, deserted capital of Mughal India. We will enjoy time here to meditate in the secluded structures. Among the principal attractions of Fatehpur Sikri are the large audience halls, palaces, the Mosques, the tomb of Salim Chishti, the Panchmahal, and the Buland Darwaza, which is among the biggest gates in Asia. Upon arrival check-in at the hotel. Evening visit the Chokhi Dhani Rajasthani Village with optional dinner. Overnight at the hotel.
Monday, February 6: JAIPUR- JAISALMER (BY TRAIN EXPRESS OVERNIGHT)
Morning after breakfast, excursion to Amber Fort, the ancient capital of the State until 1728. Visit the Jagmandir or the hall of victory glittering with mirrors, Jai Mahal and Temple of Kali. You can chose to ride an elephant or take a jeep to the ramparts of the Fort. Due to animal welfare concerns, the Indian government has instated new rules to protect the elephants.
Afternoon, sightseeing tour of bustling Jaipur city and its incredible marketplace (get ready to shop for amazing Indian goods!). Among the principal sights are the Jantar Mantar or the Observatory, The Palace of Winds or Hawa Mahal, The City Palace & Museum. Jaipur is also a major center of precious and semi-precious stones, jewelry, cotton textiles and the typical blue pottery. Evening dinner at an Indian Specialty Restaurant with Traditional Dance program. Later transfer to railway station to board train DLI JSM Express 11:45 pm -11:30 am to Jaisalmer. Overnight on board train – another opportunity to see authentic India. I so loved these trips in the past, watching India wake-up as the rain moves slowly through the villages at sunrise, on our way to Jaisalmer.
Tuesday, February 7: ARRIVE JAISALMER (DESERT CAMP)
Arrive at 11:30 am. Depart by surface to Sam Sand Dunes,
situated 45 kms west of Jaisalmer, with cluster of Sand Dunes. These Dunes varying in size from 3 to 15 kms to a large extent are of shifting sands where wind heaps the sand into hills or deep hollow scopes. Upon arrival check in at camp, evening enjoy the sunset in the evening with its changing colors in desert and take a short camel ride. Camp Fire Dinner with Rajasthani Folklore. Overnight at the Camp.
Wednesday, February 8: IN JAISALMER
After breakfast, depart by surface to Jaisalmer. Upon arrive check-in at the hotel. Afternoon city tour of Jaisalmer- the last citadel in the desert. The Golden Fort of Jaisalmer used to be a regular scheduled stop for the caravans plying on the ancient silk route, and was a major trading center. Visit the Golden Fort, built in 1156 AD by Rawal Jaisal and situated on 76 m high Triangular mound. Jain Temples, Gadisar Lake, Folk Museum, Havelis, Bara Bagh-Cenotaphs built amidst gardens. Overnight at the hotel.
Thursday, February 9: JAISALMER-JODHPUR
After breakfast, depart by surface to the Blue City , Jodhpur. Upon arrive check in at the hotel. Afternoon, visit in Jodhpur city and the Mehrangarh Fort situated on a low sandstone hill, including Moti Mahal and Phool Mahal. Later visit Jaswant Thada, an imposing Marble Memoriam built in 1899. Overnight at the hotel.
Friday, February 10, JODHPUR RANAKPUR-UDAIPUR
After breakfast departure by surface to Udaipur (260 kms/6 hrs approx.) en-route visiting Ranakpur Jain Temples built in the 15th century, situated in the lovely valley of the Aravali. Its surrounding is quiet and picturesque. Ranakpur has grand structures and beautiful sculpture. There are 1444 pillars in the temple different from each other. The magic of light and shade is awe-inspiring. Upon arrival check-in at the hotel.
A highlight of our trip is a sunset boat cruise on the beautiful placid Lake Pichola. The lake is surrounded by hills, palaces including the beautiful city palace, temples, bathing ghats and embankments. There are two island palaces, The Jagmandir and Jagniwas and also the beautiful Lake Palace sits on an island in this lake. Boat rides, which originate from the City Palace jetty (known as Bansi Ghat), are a popular way of exploring the natural beauty of Udaipur. Boat ride is subject to water conditions. Overnight at the hotel.
Saturday, February 11, in Udiapur
Morning sightseeing tour of Udaipur city. Among the places visited is the City Palace – a majestic architectural marvel towering over the lake. A conglomeration of courtyards, pavilions, terraces, corridors, rooms and hanging gardens. The main entrance is through the Triple arched gate “Tripolia” with eight marble porticos; the Jagdish temple- built in 1651 by Maharana Jagat Singh, this Indo – Aryan temple is the largest and the most beautiful temple of Udaipur with noteworthy sculpted images; the Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandal, which houses an interesting collection of folk dresses, ornaments, puppets, masks, dolls, folk musical instruments, paintings etc; the Saheliyon ki Bari with its many fountains etc.
In the afternoon we will take a hike in nature around Lake Badi, situated in Udaipur city in Rajasthan, is an artificial fresh water lake. The lake was built in the village of Badi, about 12 km from the city of Udaipur, by Maharana Raj Singh I (1652-1680) to counteract the devastating effects of a famine. He named it Jiyan Sagar after his mother Jana Devi. The lake covers an area
115 km, and has an embankment 180 m. long and 18 m. wide, which is graced by three artistic chhatris (kiosks or pavilions). During the drought of 1973, the lake supplied water to the people of Udaipur. Devoid of any commercial activity, the Badi Lake gives a view of a never-ending expanse providing a serene and calm atmosphere to the visitors. The lake is amongst the major tourist attractions of the city. Evening Cooking Class followed by Dinner. Overnight at the hotel.
Sunday, February 12: UDAIPUR-MUMBAI (BY FLIGHT)
Early morning departure, transfer to airport to board flight Jet Airways 9W 2094, 7:00 am – 8:20 am to Mumbai. Those continuing to Vaidyagrama Village for Ayurveda will remain at the airport to board flight Air India 657 at 12:10 pm -2:15 pm to Coimbatore. City tour of Mumbai can be arranged for an extra fee for those wishing to stay.
LOGISTICS AND DETAILS
Trip Cost: $2985 for shared room; $3700, single supplement.
- Accommodation in shared room, two twin beds (or single room, occupancy rate quoted above) and breakfast basis for total of 13 nights at the hotels foreseen below or similar including 2 overnights on board train Varanasi-Agra + Jaipur-Jaisalmer sectors
- Assistance on arrival/departure at airport/hotels by our representatives
- All ground transportation using one air-conditioned deluxe coach
- All currently applicable entrance fees to the monuments covered in the itinerary
- Services of locally appointed English speaking guide for sightseeing tours
- An accompanying Royal India Voyage Escort throughout the trip
- Cycle rickshaw ride through Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi
- One Hour Yoga Class in Varanasi
- Boat ride at Holy River Ganges/Varanasi
- Evening Aarti at Holy Ganges/Varanasi
- Packed Dinner on board train Varanasi-Agra Sector
- One Additional breakfast in Agra on Day 6
- Elephant or jeep ride at Amber Fort/Jaipur
- One visit to Chokhi Dhani Village in Jaipur
- Traditional Indian Dance with Dinner/ Jaipur on Day 7
- Short Camel ride at Sam Sand Dunes with Camp Fire Dinner/Jaisalmer
- Cooking Class at Krishna Niwas Palace/ Udaipur
- 2nd Class air-conditioned sleeper class train tickets Varanasi-Agra & Jaipur-Jaisalmer sectors
- Two bottle mineral water every day per person during sightseeing tours and inter-city transfers
- All Currently Applicable Government Taxes
Cost does not include:
- Meals other than breakfast or as specified above
- *Flights from Delhi to Varanasi, Udiapur to Mumbai, Mumbai to Coimbatore, flights from the US to India and return
- Visa to India (see www.travisa.com or https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/index.html)
- Camera fees at the monuments
- Tips and gratuities
- Medical & Travel Insurance
- Expenses of a personal nature such as laundry, beverages, telephone calls etc
- Any other services not listed above
The cost of international and domestic flights fluctuates. We will book your domestic tickets and can advise on your international flights. In order to secure the lowest prices, book with us as soon as possible. Our flight coordinator is Mona Bhatt in Boston. She can be reached at: email@example.com . Mona will also be traveling with us!
HOTELS FORESEEN: subject to change
Continuing to Vaidyagrama, Ayurvedic Village, for a week or two of specialized, individual Ayurvedic treatments…
AYURVEDA IN TAMIL NADU, INDIA
Part 2 of our Breathe India exploration 2017
Ayurvedic Treatments, Deep Rest, Relaxation, Detoxification and Rejuvenation at Vaidyagrama Ayurvedic Healing Village, Coimbatore
Sign Me Up!
The wonderful doctors, teachers and healers at this authentic Ayurvedic Center offer treatments in a traditional setting, designed to allow you to let go, relax deeply, have you needs tended to – body, mind and spirit.
Your program will be individualized for your needs, including cleansing, detoxifying, strengthening, learning and ultimately, rejuvenation.
Possible treatments, which will be assigned by your on-site physician, may include: abhyanga – full-body synchronized oil massage; shirobhyanga – intense Indian head massage; kati basti – direct oleation; nadi sweda – heat therapy to specific areas; shirodhara – oil flow to the head mind-clearing; netra basti - ghee eye therapy; basti – herbalized/oil enema therapy; pinda sweda – message/sweat therapy; and virechana - laxative therapy. Other therapies may be indicated as needed.
Your healing day at Vaidyagrama
- Morning chants/meditation
- Daily consultations
- Herbal tea/coconut water
- External body treatments
- Relaxation – yoganidra
- Herbal tea/coconut water
- Discus with your physicians
- Evening talks/chants/meditation
- Dinner (occasional community dinner)
What to do at Vaidyagrama:
- Short relaxing reading
- Very light walking
- Listen to healing / devotional music / motivational talks
- Engage in stress-free conversations
Preserve your energy by:
- Going to bed early
- Chewing food thoroughly
- Sipping water slowly
- Being gentle and caring to everyone
- Keeping a gratitude diary
- Discussing your concern with your physicians
- Letting go / surrendering to the healing and enjoy the benefit
- Turning your mind inwards to stay in tune with the healing process
What to avoid at Vaidyagrama:
- Avoid losing energy by exposing yourself to stress factors such as sex, strain,conflicts, internet, telephone (or minimize it) or excess of any kind
- Avoid shaving of hair, cutting of hair and nails
- Avoid taking baths on your own at any time of the day
- Avoid day sleep
- Avoid walking barefoot
- Avoid drinking cold water
- Avoid excessive talking, laughing
1 week: $1515 single room;
$1225 sharing room.
2 weeks: $2600 single room;
$2310 sharing room.
Price includes: Transfer to Vaidyagrama from airport; medical consultations; daily treatments; all meals; snacks; teas/water; supplements during treatment; all ceremonial sessions and cultural events; meditation class; Ayurvedic lectures with Susan and others; one-on-one consult and follow-up with Susan during treatment and for one month after treatment.
Additional costs: Flight from Udipur to Coimbator, approximately $200. Return flight additional and depends on airport of departure.
Not included in the cost: personal toiletries; herbs and supplements to take home; additional food and drink; travel outside of the village; medical and travel insurance; tips; donations; laundry.
If you would like to stay for a full 29-day Panchakarma treatment, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and will advise you on the opportunities.