Mumbai, Rajasthan, Agra, Varanasi: April 2019

Full Registration Form India 2019 Rajasthan

Breathe Deep Journey: India! Mumbai, Rajasthan, Taj Mahal, with optional Varanasi Extension April 2019

I am thrilled to announce our next trip to India! This marks my 9th trip to this most remarkable of countries. And I am so excited to revisit Rajasthan – this is one of my favorite destinations in India. When I think of Rajasthan I think of the richness India brings to our senses. The vibrant colors. The delicious food. The vast desert and dunes. The lyrical music. The India rajasthanmagical scenery. The enormity of Mogul fortresses. The local textiles. The stained glass. Oh my! An abundance of beauty in every way. 
 
This year for the first time I am adding in some unique opportunities for our travelers, including having specially prepared meals in peoples homes, volunteering at an animal sanctuary, and an insider’s view of Mumbai. 
 
We have carefully curated this trip to visit non-tourist destinations as well as the major highlights – including the Taj Mahal, and an optional excursion to Varanasi on the river Ganges. As this is a more intimate tour of India, I am keeping the group to 10 people. 
 
Our hotels are just as much an experience as the tour! We stay in magnificent Indian Heritage Hotels – incredible former palaces and forts,  known for their architecture and royal treatment, historical beauty and modern amenities. 
 
Additionally, as India is the center of the world for sacred sites and spirituality, we find time in the travel schedule for yoga and meditation. Just being present in India fills us with a sense of all that has passed before us. Centuries of rishis, yogis and yoginis have left their mark on every part of this country. You will feel it at every turn. 

 

India 2017
Please see the itinerary below and be in touch ASAP to sign up!
 
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, or obstacles I can’t even imagine. Roads are not always in the best condition. The ride can be bumpy and slow, or fast and harrowing! 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. 
 
It’s hot. It’s exotic. It’s foreign. The insects and wildlife (think monkeys and bugs I don’t have namesmonkeys indiafor) are unusual. If you want to travel to India, leave your expectations at home. Be open to all experiences and treat them as adventures, surprises, delights. Love everyone you meet. Only come to India if you are ready to find beauty in everything that awaits you! 
 
So if this interests you, take some time to read through the details below. Feel free to call or email anytime to talk about it.      
                 
Namaste,
 
Susan 
 
Jaiselmaer india footsteps
Bombay, Rajasthan, Agra, Varanasi
March 29 – April 13, 2019 + 2 day optional excursion to Varanasi
 
air indiaMARCH 29: We fly from the US to Mumbai.Most likely we will fly from Dulles International in Virginia, direct. I will advise the group on tickets. See note at the end of this itinerary about obtaining a Visa. 
 
APRIL 1 (MON): ARRIVE MUMBAI
Welcome to India! We will be greeted at the airport by our dedicated escort or the entire trip, Mr. Sanjeev Joseph, who has been leading our tours for several years. We go directly to the hotel to rest as our flight will arrive very early morning. 
 
APRIL 2 (TUE): IN MUMBAI
On this first day in India with will enjoy a very special day of touring with our own private Bombay guide, Ms. Rashida Anees. Rashida is a guide to celebrities, VIPs and those seeking an insiders view of this amazing city. I am honored to have Rashida leading us on our introduction to India. Rahsida is designing a tour specifically for our group which will include hidden gems, cultural highlights and a fabulous meal!
 
APRIL 3 (WED): We fly to Rajasthan via MUMBAI-UDAIPUR 
After breakfast, we depart to the airport to board Air India to Udaipur. Assistance on arrival at the airport and transfer to hotel. Tonight we will visit the home of local family for an authentic meal. Overnight at the hotel Oberoi Trident
 
APRIL 4, (THU): IN UDAIPUR
After breakfast we will visit Animal Aid Unlimited, a dog rescue and animal sanctuary founded by an American family. Here we will learn about animal rescue in India and have a chance to feed baby calves and see the extraordinary work that they do. After our visit to Animal Aid, we will take a leisurely-paced sightseeing tour of Udaipur city including the City Palace – a majestic architectural marvel towering  over the lake. With its courtyards, pavilions, terraces, corridors, splendid rooms and hanging gardens, this is a stunning site, built in 1651 by MaharanaJagat Singh. 
 
After time for shopping in the wonderful city market palce, we will take a sunset boat cruise on the beautiful placid Lake Pichola. The lake is surrounded by hills, palaces including the beautiful city palace,Lake Piccicolatemples, bathing Ghats and embankments. 
 Overnight at the hotel.
 
APRIL 5 (FRI): UDAIPUR-RANAKPUR-JODHPUR
After breakfast we will drive to approximately 6 hrs to Jodhpur, en-route visiting Ranakpur Jain Temples built in the 15th century, situated in the lovely valley of the Aravali. Ranakpur Jain Temple IndiaRanakpur 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 arrive to Jodhpur (the Blue city) in the afternoon, we will visit the majesticJodhpur IndiaMehrangarh Fort situated on a low sandstone hill, including Moti Mahal and Phool Mahal and and the winding streets filled with unique shops and small temples. Overnight at the hotel 
 
APRIL 6, 2019 (SAT): JODHPUR-JAISALMER 
This morning we will have yoga in the beautiful gardens by the pool at the hotel, then breakfast and depart by surface to Jaisalmer Sam Sand Dunes,situated 45 kms west of Jaisalmer. 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. In the evening we will enjoy the sunset with its changing colors and take a short Camel ride. A highlight is a Camp Fire Dinner with Rajasthani Folklore, dinner and drink! The dark sky of the desert also lends itself to incredible star gazing. Overnight in the luxury tents at the Camp. 
 
APRIL 7 (SUN): 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. Theabsolutely beautiful Golden Fort was a regular scheduled stop for the caravans on the ancient silk route. Built in 1156 AD, it is situated on 76 meter high triangular mound providing astounding views. Other sites include Jain Temples, Gadisar Lake, and the beautiful Havelis (A Haveli is a traditional townhouse or mansion with historical and  architectural significance. The word “haveli” is derived from Arabic hawali, meaning “partition” or “private space”). We will have time to visit the shops and marvel at the architectural beauty.  Overnight at one of my favorite hotels in India, the hotel Rawal Kot. (we will have two nights here so you can partake in all it has to offer!) 
 
APRIL 8 (MON): IN JAISALMER
Breakfast at the hotel. Day free at leisure to enjoy the pool, spa services, shop, rest and reflect on the journey so far. Overnight at the hotel. 
  
 
 
APRIL 9, (TUE): JAISALMER-BIKANER
Morning after breakfast departure by surface toBikaner,  east of the border with Pakistan, surrounded by the Thar Desert. Known for the 16th-century Junagarh Fort, a huge complex of ornate buildings and halls, with some of the finest collections of golden work and raised lacquer work with colorful glass inlay.The main bazaar in Bikaner is located at the back of Junagarh Fort and is filled with sweet shops and juice walas, along with numerous back roads and small alleys filled with jewelry shops and textile markets. Here we can purchase traditional Rajasthani scarves and beautiful cotton textiles for a quarter of the price when compared to Jaipur and Udaipur, while enjoying the colorful world surrounding you with vibrant red, yellow and blue textiles and saris hanging above each shop. Overnight at the hotel Lallgarh Palace.
APRIL 10 (WED): BIKANER-JAIPUR 
After breakfast, depart by surface to Jaipur. During our longer drives (this should be around 3-4 hours with a break for lunch) bring along some good reading material, que up your podcasts, or just rest and chat as we makeour way through the beautiful landscape. Overnight at the
Hotel Alsisar.  The rooms, nooks and crannies, hallways and corridors of this hotel are lined with stained glass, magical little courtyards, balconies and seating areas and beautiful doors. You will definitely want to wander around with your camera!
 
APRIL 11 (THU): IN JAIPUR
Morning after breakfast, excursion to Amber Fort, the ancient capital of the State until 1728. Visit the Jagmandir or the hall of victory glittering withIndiamirrors, Jai Mahal and Temple of Kali by Jeep.
Afternoon is a sightseeing tour of Jaipur city. Among the principal sights are the Jantar Mantar or the Observatory, The Palace of Winds or Hawa Mahal. Jaipur is also a major center of precious and semi-precious stones, jewelry, cotton textiles and the typical Blue Pottery. You can also
witness the special Rajasthani Block Printing on the textiles along with Carpet Weaving in one of the Factory Outlets. Overnight at the hotel.
 
APRIL 12 (FRI): JAIPUR-ABHANERI-FATEHPUR SIKRI-AGRA 
After breakfast, depart by surface to Agra en-route visiting Abhanri Stepwell & Fatehpur Sikri. 
Chand Baori (step well) in the Abhaneri village is one of the oldest and most popular attractions in Rajasthan. It was built in 9th century AD, it isone of the largest step-wells in the world.  This amazing structure was built to conserve water and provide a respite from the intense heat. It is an architectural wonder with 3,500 perfectly symmetrical, narrow steps. It is this exquisite geometry that draws local and international visitors to it every year. Tucked away in a small village, it is one of India’s hidden wonders. Next to the Stepwell is the Harshat Mata Temple. This magical little temple dates from the 9th-10th century, dedicated to Harshat Mata, who is considered to be the goddess of joy and happiness for the whole village. We will take some time here to meditate on joy and happiness. 
 
We end our tour today with a visit to such an interesting place – it is usually very quiet so we can soak up the history and beauty of this Sufi sacred site,Fatehpur Sikri,the deserted capital of Mughal India. Built by Mughal emperor Akbar in honor of Sufi saint Salim Chishti in 1571, this was a fascinating moment in India history, when the Akbar, married to 3 women of different religions, attempted to start his own inclusive religion called Din i Ilahi. Ultimately he had no takers for his worldly point of view, and the place and movement was abandoned.  We will take some time to meditate in one of the wives mini-palaces of your choice. Then onto Agra and the Taj Mahal! Upon arrival check-in at the Oberoi Trident Hotel
 
13 APRIL 2019 (SAT): AGRA-DELHI
This morning we visit the glorious Taj Mahal at sunrise. Built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan, this beautiful mausoleum is built of pure white marble and is an architectural marvel. Shah Jahan built the Taj for his wife, Queen Mumtaz Mahal, who in interred in the santcuary. 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. The smaller temples around the Taj are quite impressive as well. We will take our time to wander around this magnificent compound. 
 
We will return to the hotel for breakfast, and then visit Agra Fort built by Emperor Akbar over the years 1565 – 1573 with its maze of courtyards, mosques, and private chambers. While the architecture is Muslim, we will see Hindu influences as well. 
 
Those continuing to Varanasi will board an overnight train in the evening to make our way east (see details below). Those not going to Varanasi will depart by surface to Delhi. Upon arrival check-in at the hotel. Overnight at the Hotel Oberoi Maidens
 
14 APRIL 2019 (SUN): IN DELHI (for those not continuing to Varanasi)
After breakfast, enjoy a sightseeing tour of Old & New Delhi Among some of the most interesting highlights of your city tour of Old and New Delhi are the Red Fort (from outside only), the Jama Masjid, ChandniChowk and Raj Ghat in the old city area and the Government Buildings, a drive through the majestic Rajpath to the India Gate, the Humayun’s Tomb and the Qutab Minaretc. Late this evening you will depart for the US from Delhi Airport. 
 
Cost: $5200 for *shared room
*If you do not sign up with a roommate I will do everything I can to match you up with another single traveler. If there is not another person available you will be responsible for the single supplement. 
EARLY BIRD RATE: $4700. Pay in full by February 1, 2019 and save $500! 
Single supplement: $1000
 
RATE INCLUDES:
  • Accommodation on twin sharing bed and breakfast basis for total of 13 nights at the hotels foreseen below or similar.
  • Assistance on arrival/departure at airport/hotels by our representatives.
  • All transportation using one air-conditioned deluxe coach.
  • Gratuities for driver and helper.
  • Hotel gratuities.
  • All currently applicable entrance fees to the monuments covered in the itinerary.
  • Camera fees at the monuments.
  • Services of locally appointed English speaking guide for sightseeing tour.
  • Gratuities for local tour guides.
  • Dedicated Royal Indian Voyages Guide throughout the tour.
  • Amber Fort by Jeep/Jaipur.
  • Camel ride at Sam Sand Dunes with Camp Fire Dinner/Jaisalmer.
  • Cooking Class with Dinner/Udaipur
  • Airfare on domestic sectors Mumbai-Udaipur sector  
  • Farewell Dinner in Agra & Delhi.
  • 2 bottle mineral water every day per person during sightseeing tours and inter-city transfers.
  • All Currently Applicable Government Taxes.
 RATES DO NOT INCLUDE:
  • Airfare from the US.
  • Visa to India.
  • Meals other than breakfast or specified above.
  • Alcoholic drinks.
  • Gratuities for dedicated guide Mr. Sanjeev.
  • Medical & Travel Insurance.
  • Expenses of a personal nature such as laundry, beverages, telephone calls etc.
  • Any other services not listed above. 
 VARANASI OPTIONAL EXCURSION
APRIL 13 (SAT): AGRA-VARANASI
Remain in Agra whilst the rest of the group not taking Varanasi Extension leave for Delhi. Optional early diner at one of the restaurants or hotel. Evening departure transfer to Agra Railway station to board train Marudhar Express 8:25 pm-8:45 am, to Varanasi. You have not experienced life to its fullest until you travel by overnight train in India! Watch sleepy India pass by and witness sunrise over the fields as a people begin their day. This is also a unique opportunity to meet Indians and tourists alike as we travel together across the country. Overnight on board Train.
 
APRIL 14 (SUN): ARRIVE VARANASI
Arrive at 8:45 am in the spiritual capital of India - Varanasi - said to be the oldest city in the world, and founded by Lord Shiva.  We will settle into our hotel and venture out in the afternoon for an excursion to Sarnath, the fabled place bear testimony to its great past where Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon to his disciples expounding the principles of Buddhism.
In the evening we will have front row seats to the spectacular that is the closing of the Gats (the temples) in a fiery musical ceremony that has been going on for thousands of years.This is the Ganga Aarti at Holy River
Ganges. After this once-in-a-lifetime experience, we will have some dinner and visit the Pilgrim Bookstore (looks just like breathe books!) for a music performance. Earlier this year we had a serendipitous magical evening of music at The Pilgrim. This is not to be missed. You can see a snippet of it here. Overnight at the Hotel Maden.
 
APRIL 15 (MON): IN VARANASI
This morning we will head out in the dark, through the winding alleys of Varanasi, to take a sunrise boat ride on the river Ganges. This is a site you will never forget. We will see the holy ritual of Indians burning bodies of their loved ones who have passed on. See the Temples opening for the day of prayers. Witness the ritual bathing in the holy waters. And we will set lotus flowers and candles into the water with prayers and wishes.  
After our boat ride we will meet with a wonderful local teacher Smirti for a session of breath work and yoga.
Then back to the hotel for 
breakfast and a sightseeing tour of the holy Temples of Varanasi including Durga Temple and Bharat Mata Temple, inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi, which has one of the most perfect relief of India carved out of marble. At the Tulsi Manas white marble Temple, the whole Ramayana is inscribed on its wall. In the evening we will visit a private home for a cooking class and our farewell dinner. Overnight at hotel. 
 
APRIL 16 (TUE): VARANASI-DELHI
This morning after breakfast, we will fly to Delhi. Optional hotel room to rest before evening flight to the US. We can also go to an airport hotel for dinner and arrive back in time to fly home. 
 
Cost: $975 for sharing room. Add $150 for single. 
 
RATE INCLUDES:
  • Accommodation on twin sharing bed and breakfast basis for total of 3 nights at the hotels including one overnight on board train foreseen below or similar.
  • Additional breakfast in Varanasi on arrival on Apr 14.
  • Assistance on arrival/departure at airport/hotels by our representatives.
  • All transportation using one air-conditioned Medium Car or deluxe coach.
  • All currently applicable entrance fees to the monuments covered in the itinerary.
  • Services of locally appointed English speaking guide for sightseeing tour.
  • An accompanying RIV Escort.
  • Boat ride at Holy River Ganges/Varanasi.
  • Evening Aarti at Holy Ganges/Varanasi
  • Air-conditioned sleeper class train tickets Agra-Varanasi sectors.
  • 1 Cooking class with Dinner.
  • Music performance in Pilgrim Book store.
  • 1 Yoga Class.
  • 2 bottle mineral water every day per person during sightseeing tours and inter-city transfers.
  • All Currently Applicable Government Taxes.
RATES DO NOT INCLUDE:
  • Meals other than breakfast.
  • Alcoholic drinks.
  • Hotel room in Delhi before flight.
  • Camera fees at the monuments.
  • Tips and gratuities.
  • Airfare on domestic sectors Varanasi-Delhi sectors.
  • Medical & Travel Insurance.
  • Expenses of a personal nature such as laundry, beverages, telephone calls etc.
  • Any other services not listed above.
To reserve your place on the trip, please send an $800 deposit to Breathe Ayurveda, 20 Clarks Lane, Reisterstown, MD 21136. Once the initial deposit is made, the balance can be paid in increments, if desired. Final payment is due 45 days prior to departure, February 13, 2019. Early Bird payment is due by January 31. Checks or cash are preferred. Credit Card and PayPal payments are possible, with an additional 3% service fee. 
Cancellation Policy
Cancellation fees come into effect at time of deposit. I recommend that you consider purchasing cancellation insurance. This will cover you if you need to cancel unexpectedly. Please note that insurance companies may differ in what they consider a insurable risk. I recommend Insure My Trip . 
If you cancel your booking, it will result in the following charges:
More than 90 days prior to departure: $200
  • 61 – 89 days prior to departure: Full deposit
  • 60 – 30 days prior to departure: 50% of total price
  • Less than 30 days prior to departure: 100% of total price
You must have a Visa to travel to India. There are several agencies you can contact to get a Visa including Travisa.com and Indian Visa Online
 
 You can call me anytime at 410-979-2096 or email susan@breatheayurveda.com