I CAN’T BELIEVE I AM LEAVING FOR INDIA TOMORROW!!
Another adventure begins tomorrow, Saturday, February 5th! Rick and I are leaving for Rajasthan, India where I will be the yoga instructor/tour facilitator for two and a half weeks. I will teach yoga every morning to the tour group and Rick will guide the group in Spirit Journaling. We have a smallish group gathered for this tour which consists of 6 participants, plus Rick and me, and our outstanding guide from India, Arvind Singh. All participants have chosen to participate in the tour extension which will bring us to Varanasi at the end of the tour!
So the nine of us will make our way together to some of India’s most intriguing places: Delhi’s Red Fort, the massive Jama Masjid Mosque, the blue city of Jodhpur, the golden city of Jaisalmer, the pink city of Jaipur, the Mirror Palace, the intricately carved Jain temples, to the Thar Desert Sand Dunes where we will practice yoga at sunset, a visit to Ranthambore’s Tiger Reserve, Keoladeo National Bird Park, Taj Mahal, and to Varanasi where we will experience a sunrise boat tour on the great Ganges River! I will do my best to blog daily! Below is our itinerary! I can hardly wait!
Yoga Journey to Rajasthan
|5 Feb||Depart home city for Delhi||Overnight flight|
|6 Feb||Arrive in New Delhi, Driver will meet you at Indira Gandhi International Airport and take you to the hotel.||New Delhi .|
|7 Feb||Morning: Yoga. Breakfast between 7:30 and 9:00 a.m. Orientation to India. 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 eat your lunch in the famous Broadway Hotel 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.
|8 Feb||Morning: Yoga. After breakfast drive to the airport to catch a flight 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 and numerous 16th century’s bastions and towers and its majestic Mehrangarh Fort.
Afternoon: Start your guided tour and stop at Jaswant Thada, a 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 nice collection of artifacts owned by the royal family.
Evening: Dinner in the local restaurant and free time to explore.
|9 Feb||Morning: Yoga and breakfast. After breakfast enjoy little free time before you embark on a village safari by jeeps. In your jeep safari you will experience the village life around Jodhpur and wildlife as well. 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. Their life even today fully goes with nature.
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.
|10 Feb||Morning-Afternoon: Yoga and breakfast. After breakfast travel from Jodhpur to the golden city of Jaisalmer, a distance of 200 km. Enroute see the life in heart of the Thar Desert. Late afternoon transfer to your hotel.
|11 Feb||Morning: Yoga; After breakfast start your guided tour of Jaisalmer Fort and city. Jaisalmer was founded by Rawal Jaisal in 1156. It was once an important resting and trading point along traditional trade route traversed by the camel caravans of Indian and Asian merchants-linking Central Asia, Egypt, Persia, Africa and the West. The ‘Golden City,’ stands on a ridge of yellowish sandstone, crowned by a fort, which contains palaces and several ornate temples. The massive sand stone fort, once the scenes of many battles, is a tawny lion color during the day turning to magical honey gold as the Sun sets. Today, a quarter of the city’s population is living inside. Main attractions are its intricate temples and palace.
Also walk in the city to see Jaisalmer’s famous havelis, the palaces and mansions of the nobility and wealthy merchant class. Among these the most beautiful is Patawon ki Haveli built by Guman Chand Patawa, a merchant and banker from the powerful Oswal Jain community who had over 300 trading centers from Afghanistan to China. This ornate five storey complex took 50 years to complete.
Afternoon: Drive outside the city and visit famous Sam sand dunes, the most beautiful of the Thar Desert. Enjoy a camel safari in the desert and see the spectacular sun set and practice yoga with Fran.
Evening: After an early dinner take an overnight train to Jaipur.
|Jaisalmer—Overnight train to Jaipur|
|12 Feb||Morning: Arrive Jaipur early in the morning. Jaipur, the vibrant capital of Rajasthan is popularly known as the Pink City, because of pink color given to the houses and shops in the old city. It sits on a dry lake bed in somewhat arid landscape surrounded by forts and palaces. The walled old city is in the northeast of Jaipur, the new areas spread to the south and west. 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.
Yoga and breakfast, and then free morning to rest.
Afternoon- Visit Birla temple built out of pure white marble at the outskirt of the city. Also visit a Sanganeri block printing place where you see textiles being dyed and printed.
Evening: Free for shopping.
|13 Feb||Morning: Yoga. After breakfast take a guided tour of majestic Amber Fort, and enjoy the elephant ride. 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, reflected in the many mirrors, illuminates the entire room.
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 a king of Jaipur in 1728.
|14 Feb||Morning: Yoga. After breakfast 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 11th century Ranthambore Fort were once the private grounds of the Maharajas of Jaipur. It is possible 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 spend two nights.
Afternoon: Go with a naturalist for exploration into the Ranthambore Reserve by jeep/canter safari to look for animals. The naturalist will stop to point out the wildlife and provide time for photography.
Evening: Enjoy the calm atmosphere of the hotel and rest.
|Hotel Dev Vilas (Heritage)
http://www.ranth ambore national park.com/hotels-resorts-dev-vilas.html
|15 Feb||Morning: Early in the morning start for another game drive. Come back around 10 AM, and eat your breakfast and rest.
Afternoon: Start again at 2.30 PM for your third game drive.
Evening: Yoga and free time
|16 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 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 our hotel for next two nights.
|17 Feb||Morning: Rise early for a sunrise tour of Taj Mahal to view this incredible and extravagant monument as the sun bathes it in an ethereal light. Built in 17th 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. Return to the hotel for yoga and breakfast.
Afternoon: Visit Agra Fort.
Evening: Free for shopping.
|18 Feb||Morning: Yoga and breakfast. Take it leisurely before we depart for Delhi.
Afternoon: After lunch start for the Delhi Airport for the flight back home. Enroute visit Mathura, the birthplace of Krishna, (and Vrindavan, if time allows)
Evening: Transfer to the International Airport for onward flights to home cities (Those who want extension to visit Varanasi will take overnight train to Varanasi)
|Agra to Varanasi via overnight train.|
3-day extension to Varanasi. overnight train to Varanasi, guided tour of Sarnath, sunrise on the Ganges, evening aarti ceremony, yoga, breakfasts, dinners, 4-star hotel, return by air to Delhi.