Day 1 :
Departure from North America
- Departure from North America:
Relax and enjoy your scheduled flight from North America.
Day 2 :
Arrive in India
- Upon arrival:
Your 24-hour Tour Director will meet you at the airport and remain with your group throughout your cultural immersion and religion tour in India.
- New Delhi:
Referred to locally as Dilli and more widely by its official name, National Capital Territory of Delhi, Delhi is the second-largest city in India with a fascinating and detailed past—many different rulers have shaped the city’s growth. Now forming two major parts: Old Delhi, known as the capital of Islamic India, and New Delhi, built by the British as the Imperial Capital of India. Your accommodations for the next two nights will be in Delhi. While here, breakfast and dinner will be served at the hotel.
- Qutub Minar:
Spend the afternoon visiting Qutub Minar, the tallest minaret made of bricks in the world.
- City tour:
Drive past Gandhi Salt March, India Gate, and Sansad Bhavan (the Parliament House).
- Daily Reflection and Group Discussion::
"We do not learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience." - John Dewey
On every evening of the program, we’ll set time aside to update your Reflection Journal and share thoughts and impressions that have come up during the day.
Day 3 :
A Day in Old Delhi
- Old Delhi:
Drive past Red Fort, the former residence of the Mughal Dynasty’s emperors for nearly 200 years, until 1856. Visit Jama Mosque, the largest in India, featuring a courtyard that can accommodate more than 25,000 people.
- Rickshaw ride:
Enjoy a rickshaw ride through the narrow streets of Old Delhi. Visit Rajghat crematorium and Sikh Temple, where you can participate in making chapatti (bread). Every day anyone of any religion can come to enjoy food from the temple. Later, visit Humayun's Tomb, the tomb of Mughal Emperor Humayun. The tomb was commissioned by Humayun's first wife and chief consort, Empress Bega Begum, and designed by Mirak Mirza Ghiyas and his son, Sayyid Muhammad, Persian architects.
Day 4 :
Journey from Delhi to Jaipur
Jaipur was the first well-planned city of India, located in the desert lands and built around the Amber Fort. The city, which once had been the capital of royalty, is now the capital city of the Rajasthan state. The very structure of Jaipur represents the taste of the Rajputs and the royal families, Maharaja Ram Singh had the city painted pink in 1876 to welcome the Prince of Wales. Your accommodations for the next two nights will be in Jaipur. While here, breakfast and dinner will be served at the hotel.
- Free time:
You’ll have some free time to explore the area.
- Dance and puppet show:
This evening, your group will attend a cultural dance show with puppets.
Day 5 :
Amber Fort and Jaipur
- Amber Fort via elephant:
Take an elephant ride to the beautiful hillside landscape of Amber Fort (pronounced Amer), which was built by Maharaja Man Singh overlooking Maotha Lake. The architecture is a fascinating mix of Mughal and Hindu styles and the interiors are intricately designed. Inside the complex is the Shila Mata (or Kali) Temple, an intriguing temple dedicated to the goddess Kali, who was worshipped for victory during battles.
- City Palace:
Stop for photos at the Water and Wind Palaces en route to the City Palace. The City Palace was built between 1729 and 1732 by Sawai Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amber. You’ll also see the Observatory, a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring the world's largest stone sundial, then enjoy some shopping.
- Indian cooking school:
Stir up some fun by learning to create authentic Indian dishes, then enjoy your creations during the delicious meal.
Day 6 :
Journey from Jaipur to Bharatpur
Bharatpur is a city in the region of Rajasthan known as the "Eastern Gateway to Rajasthan."
Once considered an impregnable city, it served as the capital of the Jat kingdom and the home of the Royal House of Bharatpur, who traced their ancestry and history back in the area to the 11th century. Your base for the next night will be in the Bharatpur area, where breakfast and dinner will be
provided at the hotel.
- Bird sanctuary with a local guide:
Visit a bird sanctuary and enjoy a rickshaw tour of the facility with a local naturalist.
Day 7 :
Journey to Agra via Fatehpur
- Morning travel:
Today, your group will travel from the Bharatpur area to the Agra area. En route, you’ll visit the Fatehpur Sikri, the 16th-century deserted Mughal city.
Agra is mainly known now for the three UNESCO sites it boasts (the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, and Fatehpur Sikri), but it was established well before being conquered by the Mughal. The Mughal’s love of architecture translated into beautiful monuments such as the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. Agra reached the peak of its glory during the reign of Akbar, who made it a center for art, culture, commerce, and learning, back when it was known as Akbarabad. Your accommodations in the Agra area will be your base for the next two nights.
- Mughal mausoleum:
Visit Itmad-Ud-Daulah, a Mughal mausoleum in the city of Agra, often called the "Mini Taj."
Day 8 :
The Taj Mahal
- Taj Mahal:
A highlight of the tour will be our visit to the world-famous Taj Mahal, serving as a great monument to love and among the wonders of the modern world. Completed in 1652, skilled craftsmen from Persia, Turkey, France, and Italy as well as some 20,000 laborers worked for 17 years to build this immense mausoleum of white marble, constructed by order of Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial for his beloved, Queen Mumtaz Mahal.
- Agra Fort:
You’ll visit the red sandstone Agra Fort, more accurately described as a walled city enclosed by forbidding 20-meter-high walls. Three successive Mughal emperors, Akbar, Jehangir, and Shah Jahan, helped create this massive complex, which contains a number of fairy-like palaces and two beautiful white marble mosques. Unfortunately, of the 500 buildings originally thought to make up this complex, many were destroyed by the British between 1803 and 1862 while raising barracks. The Emperor Shah Jahan, who commissioned the Taj Mahal, was imprisoned in this fort where he had a view of the monument to his deceased wife. Upon his death, he was buried in the Taj Mahal.
Your physical and mental discipline will be tested as you discover the origins of several forms of yoga and their importance in Indian history and culture. Can you master the poses?
Day 9 :
Return to Delhi
- Morning travel:
Today, you’ll travel from the Agra area to the Delhi area.
- Dance show OR Temple visit:
This evening, your group will attend a Bollywood dance show at the Kingdom of Dreams OR visit Swaminarayan Akshardham and the Lotus Temple (subject to time and availability).
- Final Reflection and Discussion Session:
You’ll make the final entries in your Reflection Journal and share some of the most significant observations and perspectives that have taken shape during your cultural immersion in India tour. We’ll also discuss how these experiences may be most relevant for us all as we return home.
Your rewarding and enjoyable cultural immersion and faith-based tour in India comes to an end as your Tour Director accompanies your group to the airport on your final day.
Day 10 :
Arrival home in North America
- Arrival home in North America: