Incredible India: Fall 2012

 

"Traveling to India with Amazing Yoga Travel was the journey of a lifetime! It's 'game on' for all of your senses from the moment you step off the plane. Amazing Yoga Travel provided an enriching experience, with a full itinerary and a warmly amicable in-country guide. The way AYT seamlessly handled all of the coordination and details allowed me to enjoy each moment along with the other travelers. If there is any way to do India- THIS is the way, and AYT is the company to take you there. Thank you for an incredible trip!" -Melanie McCaffery Nov 2010

 

"Thanks to the entire Amazing Yoga Travel team for an experience I shall remember for the rest of my life.  The guided tour through central and northern India was more than I could have hoped for.  India is indeed a magical land of contrasts from the majesty of the Taj Mahal to the mystical awe of Sarnath in Varanasi.  Practicing yoga among these spiritual places was the virtual icing on the cake.  Again, thank you Amazing Yoga Travel for a trip I shall cherish forever." -Jill Corr Nov 2010

 

 

Join Amazing Yoga Travel for 13 days and 12 incredible nights

Four Star Hotel accommodations

Delhi - Amritsar -  Dharamsala - Agra (Taj Mahal) - Khajuraho - Varanasi - Sarnath

 

 

Join the Amazing Yoga Travel Team for the trip of a lifetime to Incredible India, the birth place of yoga. We will journey through Central and Northern India visiting some of the holiest cities that exist amidst a country of extreme contrasts. We will spend time with both the Tibetan and Indian people, practice daily yoga and visit sights that will change the lens with which we view our lives, forever.

 

India, a vast, colorful country of extreme contrasts:  The enormous variations in wealth and poverty are evident throughout India.  The extent of exposure to other cultures has greatly influenced India's many regions.  The greatness of this country has been in accepting the best from all the invaders and intermingling the new customs and styles with the existing.  Come along with us, as your senses will be awakened like never before on this very special and exciting journey to some of India's most sacred cities.

 

 

 

 


 

Day 1: Departure from US for Delhi, India 

 

Days 2 & 3:  Arrival in Delhi (depending upon the length of your flight)

 

Fall of 2012 your journey will begin in Delhi, the capital city of India, where we will be part of India's largest annual celebration of the year, Diwali, the Festival of Lights.  We will explore both the "Old" and "New" city of Delhi. We will visit  a mosque, the Akshardhaam Temple complex, the massive Red Fort, Humayun's Tomb, and Raj Ghat, the cremation site and memorial of Mahatma Gandhi.

 

 

 

 

 

Day 4: From Delhi we will travel by Express Train to Amritsar, Punjab and visit the spectacular Golden Temple.  Of great sacred status by the Sikhs's, the Golden Temple is the most tangibly spiritual place in the country.  The water surrounding the temple is  known as the "Pool of Nectar".  Here in this active compound,  35,000 people are fed daily by temple volunteers. 

 

 

 

Day 5:  We will travel by private charter bus to Dharamsala, the home of His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama.  Here we will spend 4 nights and 3 days  breathing in some of the cleanest, purest air in this country, amidst  the backdrop of   spectacular snow peaked Himalayan Mountains.  We will  visit the Dalai Lama's temple, mingle  with the the Tibetan Monks, meditate, drink chai with the shop owners, shop, hike,  and wander the streets of this spiritual land to "be with" the locals.  In addition to a daily yoga practice, you will have the option of a practice with Yogi Sivadas at his studio here, (200 rupee or $4 per session).  Massage and personalized Ayurveda  sessions are also available for an additional fee.

 

Days 6/7/8:  Full immersion and exploration of Dharamsala. Choose from a wide variety of activities, including but not limited to: Exploration of the Dalai Lama's temple, Indian cooking classes, horseback riding, a waterfall tour, shopping (there is SO much shopping to be done here and here you will find the cheapest prices!), dining, hiking, yoga classes with Indian instructors, palm readings, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

Day 9: From Dharamsala we will fly  to Delhi where we will  take a chartered bus to Agra for 2 nights.  Here we will visit  the world famous monument to love,  the Taj Mahal, a rare piece of love and beauty created in an intricate design in pristine white marble.  From here we will visit the Agra Fort, a legacy of the highly artistic Mughal dynasty.  We will also visit the Tomb of Itmad-ud-daula.  We will enjoy time visiting the colorful and interesting local markets of Agra as well.

 

Day 10: Immersion and exploration of Agra/Taj Mahal, local markets and more

 

 

 

 

Day 11: From Agra we will travel by train to Jhansi, then  by charter bus to Orcha in Madhaya Pradesh in Central India. It is during this part of our journey that we will see true, rural India.  Orcha served as the capital of the powerful kingdom of the Bundela. It still retains its original medieval charm, and  because it is away from the normal tourist route, it has retained its original character and essence. Orcha is noted for its scenic beauty and  crystal clear waters. We will see spectacular views of soaring temple spires and cenotaphs.  Raj Mahal is another landmark here.  We will visit and explore the Raja Ram Temple which was formerly a palace.

 

 

 

 

 

After our explorations in Orcha we will proceed to Khajuraho. Here there are quite a few remaining, perfectly sculpted stone temples, every inch of which are covered with carved figurines of gods and goddesses engaged in the business of being godly; posing, dancing and admiring themselves in mirrors, combing their hair, gossiping and making love. Khajuraho is perhaps one of the quietest tourist spots in the country housing some of the world's most celebrated and beautiful statues and carvings.  It seems that life here has virtually unchanged for over a thousand years.  This evening in Khajuraho we will go to a special Cultural Show and dinner. The next day we will visit some of the most magnificent temples which are considered among the most creative examples of Indian architecture, including the world renowned erotic temples of Khajuraho.  The carvings depict the most powerful of human emotions- love, passion, desire as well as fear, doubt and jealousy.  These sculptures are sublime and sensuous, the center of new imagery in art.

 

 

 

 

 

Day 12: From Khajuraho we will fly to Varanasi, the religious capital of Hinduism.   Shiva, under  manifestation of Vishvanath or the "Overlord of the World," is the presiding deity of Varanasi.  The city can only be experienced, not described. It is a maze of small streets and alleyways, hiding in disorderly array, over  2,000 temples and shrines.  The pulse of the streets is noise and color: gongs, bells, chants, weddings and funeral processions, lonely Brahma cows, garlands of flower necklaces and the smells of curried foods and incense.  Varanasi is also a city of fairs and festivals, celebrating about four hundred of them during the year.  Here we will explore this exciting city by rickshaw.  After our exploration we will proceed to the banks of the holy river Ganges to see the "Aarti" or the lighting of lamps on the river....an enchanting site.  The following morning we will get up early and depart for a boat ride on the Ganges River.  At sunrise we will see thousands of pilgrims perform traditional religious ceremonies.  The captivating scenes here are its long series of "Ghats" or stepped landings on the river front connected with the crowded streets at the back full of visitors, devotees and pilgrims.  According to  common Hindu belief, those who die here will be close to God in the other world and many orthodox Hindus come to Varanasi to pass their last days and die along the holy Ganges.  Here we will see many rest-houses where the near-dead are brought so that the can die along the river's edge.   Seen from our boat, these early morning scenes will be spiritually uplifting.  Later in the day our exploration will include visits to some of the important temples and palaces of the city.

 

 

Day 13: Explore Varanasi in the morning and then we will take an excursion to Sarnath.  It was here, in Deer Park, that Buddha delivered his first sermon after receiving his enlightenment.  Here  he preached his first discourse in  Deer Park to set in motion the "Wheel of the Dharma." Ever since, this has become one of the most holy sites, as this is the place the stream of the Buddha's teaching first flowed from.

 

 

 

 

Day 14: After breakfast we will fly as a group back to Delhi, and then transfer to the  international airport terminal for our departure back to the United States.

 

 

 

 

 

The above program includes

 

  • 12 nights 4 star hotel accommodations 
  • Daily full breakfasts in all places
  • 4 special lunches and 4 special dinners
  • All transfers upon arrival/departures with assistance and escort in all places, baggage handling, etc. (tips not included)
  • All tours, sightseeing, excursions and boat rides, etc. in all places as per above program (tips not included)
  • Long distance transportation within India from city to city by KingFisher Airlines, train and air-conditioned charter bus
  • All tours and activities in the above mentioned places with an English-speaking private guide (tips not included)
  • All current service charges and taxes
  • All entrance fees to places visited; Forts, Temples, and Palaces
  • All domestic air travel within India (three flights)
  • Domestic rail fare/ tickets
  • Daily yoga practice  

 

COST:

Check (personal accepted)  is the preferred form of payment.  Money  order, wire transfer or e-check are also accepted.  PayPal  IS NOT  accepted for final payment.

 

$4950.00 pp double occupancy

 

$5990.00 Single

 

**Please add 3% ($250. USD) gratuities for all bellboys, guides, luggage handlers and 2 included meals to assure that you will not have to be concerned with this.  To be paid with your final payment.

 

 

Not Included

 

International Airfare

Any items of personal nature such as  telephone, laundry, mini-bar charges, etc.

Visa costs (MUST have Visa PRIOR TO DEPARTURE)

Any other items not mentioned above or in the program

Yoga practice in Dharamsala with native yoga teacher (200 rupees or approx $4 USD per class)

Travel insurance (recommended) and can be purchased through Amazing Yoga Travel.  Please email for details    This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 

Flight Information

We encourage you to book your flights very early on.

You'll be booking your flights to arrive in New Delhi's Indira Ghandi International Airport (code DEL) for Fall of 2012.  Exact dates to be announced soon. Flights from the US will take  +1 or +2 days. Expect to pay between $1200-$1600 USD round trip 

 

Obtaining your VISA

 

The first step in processing your visa application is to ensure your passport is active and does not fall within 6 months of November 1, 2012.  Your VISA can be obtained through:

 

https://indiavisa.travisaoutsourcing.com/select-application

 

All US travelers need to apply for a VISA.  Please note that it is important that you apply for a TOURIST  VISA. Tourist Visas are generally valid for 6 months from the date of issue, so you should not apply for the visa any earlier then  this. 

Be certain to fill in EVERYTHING PROPERLY and CLEARLY using BLOCK CAPITAL LETTERS as any mistakes can cause a delay of months or rejection.

 

Please provide the following documentation for your visa application:

 

Passport (should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months)

 

Two passport size photographs

 

VISA FEE ($60) in cash, cashier check or money order.  Checks should be made payable to the Embassy of India, Washington DC or to the appropriate Indian Consulate for your area. Personal checks are not accepted.

 

There are three ways to have your application processed: In Person, by overnight mail or by regular mail.  Be sure to include appropriate fees for whichever method you choose.

 

If you are mailing a Visa application:  The processing time is 7-14 working days after the receipt of the visa application.  It is recommended a self addressed stamped return envelope be sent with visa application in lieu of mailing charge.  By using priority mail (or Fed-Ex) you will have the tracking numbers of your passport traveling both directions, thus minimizing the chances of it getting lost in the mail and you won't have to provide return mail charges either.

 

Return mail charges:  The following mail charges should be sent for return of serviced passports in addition to the prescribed visa fee.  The Embassy/Consulate are not responsible for documents lost in mail.

 

Certified Mail:  US $5-per passport

 

Registered Mail: US $8- per passport 

 

Overnight Mail:US $15- per passport

 

Priority Mail: US $7- per passport

 

In case of emergency you can get the visa back the same day if you go to your nearest Indian Embassy or Consulate and pay an extra fee of $35.

 

Shots and Vaccinations

 

Keep in mind that it is important to be up to date on your childhood immunizations prior to travel.  

See your doctor or local Travel Clinic at least 4-6 weeks before travel to allow time for shots to take effect. 

 

For travel to India the Center for Disease Control recommends the following vaccines:

 

Malaria pills

 

Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG)

 

Typhoid

 

Hepatitis B

 

As needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria and measles, and a one-time dose of polio for adults.  

 

Center for Disease Control and Preventions's webisite: www.cdc.gov.

 

Department of Health's (UK) website: www.doh.gov.uk/traveladvice

 

Health Canada, Travel Medicine Program: www.TravelHealth.gc.ca

 

Temperatures: Average temps  in October and November are the mid to high 70's/low 80's during the day and about 15-20 degrees cooler at night.  Expect the temperatures in Dharamasala to be 10-15 degrees cooler.

 

Bringing Cash: It is generally advisable to bring a combination of money forms to offer you the best flexibility while in India.  US Dollars are generally easier to cash than Canadian Dollars, Sterling or Euros.

 

ATM Cards: Accessible in Delhi, Agra and one in Dharamsala... which isn't always reliable.  An ATM debit card is good to have as a back up although you should not count on being able to use it in all locations.  If you choose to bring one make sure it's a major credit card symbol on it (Visa or MC) and be sure to tell your bank of your plans before departing.

 

Credit Cards: Most widely accepted credit cards in India are Visa, American Express and MasterCard. Be sure to tell you CC company of your travel to India prior to departure.

 

INDIA PAYMENT

 

USD $500.00 non-refundable deposit required in order to book/reserve your space

 

Final payment is due at least 90 days prior to departure date

 

Once final payment has been received, the following cancellations will apply:

90 days OR more prior to departure:  Refund minus deposit of $500.00

60-89 days prior to departure date: 50% of the total cost of the tour program

Less then 60 days: 100% of the total cost of the tour program

Trip cancellation insurance is recommended. Travel Guard is the leading trip insurance

company.  www.TravelGuard.com

 

Book Resources to help you prepare:

Lonely Planet: India, by Sarina Singh

Culture Shock: India, by Gitanjal Kolanad

The Art of Crossing Cultures, by Craig Storti

No Full Stops in Indiaa, by Mark Tully

Great India Middle Class, by Pavan K. Varma

Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure, by Sarah Macdonald

 

Videos of Delhi