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13 days Religious Travel India is a combination of a cultural India tour and a religious India tour. It is a good combination of the traditional Indian holiday tour, Golden Triangle with the temples of Varanasi and Orissa. This classical Indian tour takes you through the Mughal Delhi, Jaipur in Rajasthan, Fatehpur Sikri, Tajmahal and Fort in the Mughal Agra, the temples and burning ghats of Benaras and the most religious temples of Puri and of-course the world famous Konark Sun Temple.
New Delhi International Airport
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On your arrival in Delhi, you will be met by our representative and transferred to hotel. Delhi was the capital of Indraprastha and capital of the Pandavas during the Mahabharata. This magnificent city has been inhabited from the 6th century BC and has been a capital of many kingdoms. It has been destroyed and rebuilt many times and is called the “city of cities”. Delhi’s culture has been influenced by its different rulers and the city is full of beautiful monuments. The Mughal rulers influenced the food habits of the residents and Mughlai cuisine originated here. Due to the proximity of different states, all festivals are celebrated here.
Old Delhi is a maze of small lanes and old buildings and New Delhi has large road with huge buildings. Delhi is the capital of India and is the hub for politics. Your morning tour starts with Old Delhi, built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in 1639 AD.
You will visit the Raj Ghat where father of our nation Mahatma Gandhi was cremated. You will be visiting the museum that was built to commemorate him.
You will be driven past the iconic Red Fort and Chandni Chowk, a very popular and a busy market in Old Delhi to the next stop – Jama Masjid, one of the iconic, historic and largest mosques in India – built by Shah Jahan.
A rickshaw ride in Chandni Chowk could be quite interesting as this part of the city is quite crowded as it is full of shops. These numerous shops sell delicious mouth-watering food, clothes, jewels, household, etc. and are virtually a shopper’s paradise. In the afternoon, you will visit Qutub Minar, touted as India’s largest Minaret. Qutub Minar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was built in 1192 by Turk ruler Qutub-Ud-Din Aibak. You will then move forward to Humayun’s tomb, yet another UNESCO world heritage site.
Your next stop is India Gate, built in memory of the Unknown Soldier. You will be driven past the Parliament House, President’s House and other Government Secretarial Buildings, to your final destination which will be Lakshminarayan Temple, a temple dedicated to Lakshmi and Lord Narayana. Overnight in Delhi.
This morning you will be transferred by road from Delhi to Haridwar. Haridwar meaning Gateway to God is one of holiest places for Hindus. It is said that during Samudra manthan, drops of Amrit, accidentally spilled in four cities Haridwar, Ujjain, Nasik and Allahabad.
Kumbha Mela takes place once every 3 years in one of the 4 places where millions of devotees participate to bathe on the banks of the river to wash away their sins and attain Moksha. Har ki Pauri meaning “the steps of God” is the place in Haridwar where the drops of Amrit fell. Haridwar is known for its Ashrams. It is said that after death, if the ashes of a person are immersed in the River Ganges, the dead attains Moksha. The rituals are normally done by the family priests.
This afternoon you will be visiting the different places of interest in Haridwar. A family genealogy of Hindus for the past generations is kept by Brahmin Pundits known as Pandas. Hand written registers are passed down over generations by the Panda ancestors classified according to the districts/villages or castes. It is easy to find details of up to seven past generations. The Hindu ancestors who visited Haridwar went to their priests to update the family’s genealogical family tree with details of marriages, births and deaths.
If you are a Hindu, on your arrival you will be asked by numerous people about your caste and the place of your ancestors. Once this information is revealed, the word spreads quite fast among the Pandas and immediately you are contacted by your family priest to trace your ancestors. Once your register is found, you could trace your family.
You are expected to sign the register after updating it for your future generations to see the authenticated entries. The transport is at your disposal with-in the city limits. Overnight is in Haridwar.
This day, you will be taking an excursion to Rishikesh which is an ancient pilgrimage center in the foothills of the Himalayas on the banks of river Ganges. Rishikesh meaning “lord of the senses” or Lord Vishnu is a town on the shores of River Ganges. Rishikesh known as the world capital of Yoga is full of yoga centers and it is believed that you have a possibility of attaining Moksha if you meditate in this place. There are numerous temples in Rishikesh.
The evening Ganga Arti at the Triveni Ghat is worth watching. Famous people like Swami Vivekananda, Swami Rama Tirtha and Swami Shivananda have studied at the Kailash Ashram Brahmavidyapeetham.
The Beatles had stayed at the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Ashram and had composed numerous songs. John Lennon also had recorded the song “The Happy Hrishikesh Song” and numerous artists, like Mike Love, The Beach Boys, etc. have come here to meditate. Later return to Haridwar. The transport is at your disposal with-in the city limits. Overnight is in Haridwar.
This morning you will drive from Haridwar to Shimla. You have the rest of the day at leisure. Shimla or Simla the summer capital of British India gets it name from the goddess Shyamala Devi, an incarnation of Goddess Kali.
During the British rule, Shimla was famous for its ball dances, parties and other festivities. Rudyard Kipling had in a letter noted that it had a reputation for “frivolity, gossip and intrigue”. The Kalka to Shimla railway line of 1906 with more than 806 bridges and 103 tunnels is known as the “British Jewel of the Orient”. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is said to be an engineering feat.
Shimla due to its terrain is home to the mountain biking race MTB Himalaya. The transport is at your disposal with-in the city limits. Overnight is in Shimla.
You will have a morning tour of Shimla visiting the top attractions of Shimla. Shimla known for its Tudorbethan and neo-Gothic architecture from the colonial era has a large number of temples and palaces. The many temples of Shimla draw a big number of devotees. The Kali Bari temple is dedicated to the goddess Kali. Jakhoo Temple dedicated to god Hanuman is located at the highest point.
Shimla is famous for its embroidered shawls/garments, leather made articles and wooden boxes, wooden fruit bowls and other image products. The Mall which is the main street of Shimla has shops, restaurants and bars. Afternoon is at leisure. The transport is at your disposal with-in the city limits. Overnight is in Shimla.
Manali is known as the Valley of the Gods and was on the ancient trade route to Ladakh. Manu the first ruler of the earth saved humanity from the great flood. As per legend, he was told by Matsya Avatar of Vishnu to build a giant boat and save humanity from these floods. As Manu was a very honest person, he was called as Satyavrata – “The one with the oath of truth”.
Manali is the changed name of “Manu-Alaya” which means “the abode of Manu”. There is an ancient temple dedicated to Manu. The British introduced apple trees here and even today apple along with plum and pear are exported all over from this region. The transport is at your disposal with-in the city limits. Overnight is in Manali.
This morning you will be visiting the top attractions in Manali. Hidimba Temple is an ancient cave temple of Hidimba Devi and is surrounded by a forest. Maa Sharvari Temple a form of Durga is the KULDEVI of the kings of Kullu. Kalath Hot Water Springs are natural sulfur water flows.
Vashist Hot Water Springs are natural sulfur springs. Vashista temple dedicated to a saint is adorned with elaborate woodcarvings. Old Manali is known for its orchards. Manaligarh is an old ruined fort and the Manu Maharishi Temple is dedicated to Manu. Afternoon is at leisure. The transport is at your disposal with-in the city limits. Overnight is in Manali.
This morning you will drive from Manali to Chandigarh. Chandigarh meaning “The Fort of Chandi” comes from an ancient temple Chandi Mandir which is near the city. Chandigarh is the first planned city of Independent India. The projects were designed by architects Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanerette, Jane Drew and Maxwell Fry and the city is globally known for its architecture and urban design.
You will be visiting the Secretariat, High Court, State Library, Rose Gardens, University and the Botanical Garden. The transport is at your disposal with-in the city limits. Overnight is in Chandigarh.
This morning you will drive from Chandigarh to Amritsar. Amritsar earlier known as Ramdaspur is the spiritual and cultural centre for the Sikh religion. The afternoon city tour of Amritsar takes you to the Golden Temple and other top attractions of Amritsar. The Golden Temple referred as Harmandir Sahib or Darbar Sahib was created in the 16th century by the fifth Sikh Guru.
You would find 4 doors leading you towards the threshold of the temple. These doors signifies the “all religion and culture” acceptance by the Sikh brethren the Guru Granth Sahib – The Holy Book of the Sikhs is placed reverently in the heart of the golden temple. Jallianwala Bagh is the place where General Dyer killed hundreds of innocent Indians. The transport is at your disposal with-in the city limits. Overnight is in Amritsar.
This day, you will be transferred to Amritsar rail-station in time to board train for Delhi. On your arrival in Delhi you will be transferred to your hotel. Overnight is in Delhi.
After breakfast, transfer to airport.