Destination India 2020
Destination India: February 22nd to March 8th, 2020
Journey with Us:
YogaTalk invites you to join our group of yoga teachers, students and enthusiasts on an exciting 16-day journey to India including the 22nd International Yoga Festival in Rishikesh, the Yoga Capital of the World. You will experience this journey with a team of like-minded yoga teachers and practitioners. Visit The Taj Mahal, The Pink City of Jaipur, Northern India and much more. As you explore the wonders of India, you will strengthen your yoga practice and deepen your spiritual connection, a journey that will bring you Home.
|1-3||Delhi||Red Fort, Humayuns Tomb, Jama Masjid, Qutab Minar, India Gate, Rickshaw Ride, Jama Masjid Mosque Gandhi’s Cremation Site, Raj Ghat, President’s House, Parliament House, Akshardham Temple||Vasant Continental, 5 Star|
|4-5||Jaipur||Amber Fort, The Palace of Winds, Jantar Mantar, City Palace and the bazaars of Jaipur for some excellent shopping, Shop & explore||Radisson Blu, 5 Star|
|6||Agra||Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri, Sikandra Fort, Tonga Ride||Vasant Continental, 5 Star|
|7||Delhi||Driving to Delhi, Shopping||—-|
|8-13||Yoga Festival and Rishikesh||Attend International Yoga Festival and Rishikesh Excursions||Parmarth Niketan Ashram and 4 star hotel option|
|14-15||Haridwar||Haridwar Temples, Aarti Ceremony at Har-Ki-Pauri, Jeep Safaris, Wildlife, Nature Sightings, Visits Ashrams and schools||Radisson Blu, 5 Star|
|16||Delhi||Departure to International airport or transfer to your next destination||Vasant Continental, 5 Star|
Travel Itinerary: Duration: 15 Nights, 16 Days
Day 1, ARRIVE DELHI, WELCOME MEETING/ORIENTATION, DINNER
Arrive at Delhi International Airport (Code: DEL)
Welcome meeting, Orientation and Group Dinner
- Meditation class and relax in steam room/spa
- Optional sightseeing if you arrive early
- HOTEL VASANT CONTINENTAL
Delhi, the capital of India and one of its modern metropolitan areas, attracts a large number of visitors from across the world for its ancient history, architecture, sites, monuments and exotic markets.
Please plan to arrive any time before 4pm at Delhi International Airport, DEL on Feb 22nd. YogaTalk staff will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel, the Vasant Continental for a 2-night stay. There are no activities planned until orientation/welcome dinner at 7pm. We will available in the hotel throughout the day for any assistance or question you might have.
If you can’t arrange a flight that will arrive in time for dinner, we suggest you to arrive a day earlier so you are able to attend the orientation and welcome meeting. You may also opt to add extra time to adjust for jet lag. We will be happy to assist you with additional overnight booking.
Day 2, MORNING YOGA, DAY IN DELHI
Early morning yoga & meditation (optional)
- Visit Qutub Minaret and Emperor Humayun’s Tomb, The Red Fort,
- Old Delhi: Red Fort Photo Stop, Rickshaw Ride, Jama Masjid Mosque
- New Delhi: Gandhi’s Cremation Site, Raj Ghat
- Driving Tour past India’s Gate & President’s House, Parliament House
- Evening at Akshardham Temple
- HOTEL VASANT CONTINENTAL
Morning in Old Delhi
After breakfast, embark on a guided city tour of old Delhi covering RajGhat, the cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi Father of the Nation. Afterwards, drive towards the historical Red Fort for a photo stop. Explore old Delhi through the narrow long-winded lanes of Chandni Chowk. Be prepared for the ride of your life in a rickshaw from the Red Fort towards to Jama Masjid. Jama Masjid, the great mosque of Old Delhi, is the final architectural extravagance of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan with a courtyard capable of holding 25,000 devotees.
Evening at Temple Akshardham
The highlight for the evening is Temple Akshardham. This beautiful mandir (temple), consists of 234 ornately-carved pillars, 9 domes, 20 quadrangle shikhars, a spectacular Gajendra Peeth of stone elephants) and 20,000 murtis and statues of India’s great sadhus, devotees, acharyas and divine personalities.
As the sun sets at Temple Akshardahm, we will enjoy the famous sound & light show in their huge outdoor amphitheater. Sanskruti Darsdhan, a cultural boat ride through India’s ancient history, completes our visit.
Day 3, MORNING YOGA AND DRIVE TO JAIPUR
Morning Yoga (optional)
- Drive to Jaipur
- Afternoon visit to Chowki Dhani ethnic village resort for dinner & entertainment
- HOTEL RADISSON BLU
After breakfast, we will embark on a drive to Jaipur (6 hours) where we will check into our hotel for a two night stay. Jaipur is popularly known as the Pink City because of its pink colored buildings. It was founded in 1727 AD by one of the greatest rulers of the Kachhawaha clan, the astronomer King Sawai Jai Singh and was designed by the brilliant architect Vidyadhar Bhattacharya.
In the afternoon, we will drive to the ethnic village resort Chowki Dhani located 20km from Jaipur. Here you will enjoy a very special traditional dinner including entertainment by folk dancers & musicians.
Day 4, MORNING YOGA, AMBER PALACE, EXPLORE JAIPUR
●Morning yoga & Meditation (optional)
- Amber Palace Visit
- City Palace Visit
- Jantar Mantar Observatory Visit
- Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds)
- City Palace and the bazaars of Jaipur for some excellent shopping
- Rest of day free to shop & explore
- HOTEL RADISSON BLU
Rise early to do yoga and meditation. After breakfast at the hotel, we will visit the Amber Palace where the Rajput Maharajas lived with their families. You will enjoy an elephant ride up the hill to the main entrance. The Amber Fort was built in the 16th century and is a fine amalgamation of Hindu and Muslim architecture and ornamentation.
Later, visit the City Palace with its various museums where you can see a beautiful collection of Royal Rajput, weapons and miniature paintings. Then visit the fascinating Jantar Mantar (Observatory), the ancient astronomical observatory built by the Maharaja of Jaipur, which is the largest stone observatory in the world. We will also visit Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds), a remarkable five-story building along the main street of the old city with semi octagonal and delicate honey-combed sandstone windows.
The rest of the day, you are free to explore the many facets of Jaipuri crafts such as: semi-precious jewels, pottery, colorfully-embroidered fabrics with mirror work, woven carpets, etc. Watch artisans at work and enjoy souvenir shopping in the magnificent city of Jaipur.
Day 5, MORNING YOGA, CHAND BAORI STEP WELL, DRIVE TO AGRA
Morning Yoga & Meditation (optional)
- Chand Baori Step Well/Harshat Mata Temple
- Drive to Agra
- Optional Live Theater Performance
- HOTEL JAYPEE PALACE
After an early breakfast, embark on your drive to Agra, the city of the world famous Taj Mahal. En-route to Agra, we will visit the amazing 1,200 year old Chand Baori Step Well in the village of Abhaneri; it’s the largest step well in the world. It was featured in films like The Dark Knight Rises (2008), The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011) and others. Steps away, we will also take in the ancient Harshat Mata Temple. According to a legend, the village is so called because the Goddess Harshat Mata, is portrayed in a joyous mood and is believed to spread brightness or abha all around. The village’s original name was Abha Nagri and its present name is Abhaneri. It is believed that the celebrated king Raja Chand established the village. Upon arrival in Agra, check into your hotel, the Jaypee Palace, for a one night stay.
Later in the evening you have the opportunity to enjoy an optional live theater performance of Mohabbat the Taj, the eternal love story of Emperor Shahjahan & his beloved wife Mumtaj Mahal who gave us one of the wonder of the world in the form of Taj Mahal (additional cost $50 USD). The romantic tale of Indian history is told in a dramatic manner through a live performance by more than 80 professional artists, the climax being the unexpected out of this world appearance of the most precious jewel, the Taj Mahal, on stage. The show will give you a deeper understanding of the history and culture behind the building of the Taj Mahal for our visit the following day.
Day 6, EARLY MORNING TAJ MAHAL, DRIVE TO DELHI
Early morning departure for Taj Mahal
- Visit Agra Fort
- Drive to Delhi
- HOTEL VASANT CONTINENTAL
Get ready for a early guided tour of Taj Mahal, the Symbol of Love, visiting one of the wonders of the world bathed in golden light at sunrise. The Taj Mahal was built by Shah Jehan in memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaj, after her death
Later we will visit the historic Agra Fort. Ever since Babur defeated and killed Ibrahin Lodi at Panipat in 1526, Agra has played an important center of the Mughal Empire. Akbar chose this city on the bank of River Yamuna as his capital and proceeded to build a strong citadel for that purpose. It is said that he destroyed the damaged old fort of Agra for the purpose and raised this grand group of monuments instead in red sandstone.
Finally, we will embark on our drive through newly built Yamuna Expressway to Delhi. Upon arrival, check into your hotel for a night stay.
Day 7, MORNING YOGA, DRIVE TO RISHIKESH
Morning Yoga and meditation
- Drive to Rishikesh (approx. 7 hours drive)
- ACCOMMODATION PARMARTH NIKETAN ASHRAM (HOTEL OPTION AVAILABLE)
After breakfast embark on your drive to Rishikesh enjoy the changing environment as we climb high up into the Himalayas to one of the most spiritual places in India and the birthplace of yoga.
Arrive to Parmarth Niketan Ashram for and begin your yoga journey at the 22nd International Yoga Festival.
Day 8 TO DAY 13, INTERNATIONAL YOGA FESTIVAL & RISHIKESH EXCURSIONS Attend the 2020 International Yoga Festival (IYF) in Rishikesh, grounded in the authentic origin of Yoga. During our stay, you will have the opportunity to participate in Yoga classes from traditional yoga lineages of India as well as Yoga masters from international schools offering diversified yoga styles. You will have an opportunity to meet like-minded yoga practitioners and teachers from all over the world.
In 1968, the Beatles came to Rishikesh to learn transcendental meditation from Swami Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. You can visit the now abandoned ashram. If you’d like to take a holy dip in the Ganges River, Rishikesh is a good location to take part in this tradition (or in Haridwar, our next stop).
The general daily program of IYF includes (at Ashram for IYF Ticket Holders)
|4.00am||Daily yoga classes start|
|6.30am||A simple breakfast.|
|8.30am||Join one of several two-hour hour yoga sessions.|
|11:00am||Inspiring lectures on a variety of uplifting and inspiring subjects.|
|12.30pm to 1.30pm||a traditional Indian lunch is served.|
|3.30pm to 5pm||Option of three Yogasana classes.|
|6.00pm to 7.00pm||Attend the special light ceremony, Aarti, on the banks of the river Ganga.|
|7.00pm||Dinner is served followed by a special evening programs of satsang with spiritual leaders and famous teachers, cultural song and dance events, campfires and more, finishing by 9.30pm.|
Please note that all accommodation in the Parmarth Niketan Ashram is basic and shared (double). No single room occupancy is available at Ashram
Day 14, MORNING YOGA, DRIVE TO HARIDWAR, TEMPLE VISIT, AARTI AT HAR-KI-PAURI
Morning Yoga & Meditation
- Drive to Haridwar
- Haridwar Temple
- Aarti Ceremony at Har-Ki-Pauri
- HOTEL RADISSON BLU
After breakfast embark on your drive to Haridwar, one of the seven holiest places Sapta Puri to Hindus. According to the Samudra Manthan, Haridwar is one of four sites where drops of nectar, the elixir of immortality, accidentally spilled over from the pitcher while being carried by the celestial bird Garuda. Hindu pilgrims gather at these four holy sites for Kumbh Mela (on UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity). Kumbh Mela rotates among these sites and is a mass Hindu pilgrimage considered the largest religious congregation in the world with well over 100 million pilgrims.
Upon arrival in Haridwar, visit one of the many famous temple in Hardiwar. Afterward, our group will be treated to a special aarti ceremony at Har Ki Pauri, the most important ghat on the river Ganga.
Har-Ki-Pauri is the sacred ghat constructed by King Vikramaditya in memory of his brother Bhartrihari. It is believed that Bhartihari eventually came to Haridwar to meditate by the banks of the holy Ganga. When he died, his brother constructed the ghat in his name which later came to be known as Har-Ki-Pauri. This sacred bathing ghat, also known as Brahmakund where the reflection of golden hues of floral diyas in the river Ganga is the most enchanting sight in the twilight and a holy dip is a must.
DAY 15, DRIVE TO DELHI
Drive to Delhi (6 Hours) ● HOTEL VASANT CONTINENTAL
You will be picked up from the hotel and embark on a leisurely drive towards Delhi. Upon arrival in Delhi, check into the Vasant Continental Hotel for one final night stay in India. Enjoy some free time to get some last minute shopping in or a trip to the spa.
Day 16, DEPART TO DELHI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
- Departure to Delhi International airport or transfer to your next destination if you like to spend some more time in India.
- Extended tour package or guidance available
You will be picked up from the hotel for your final transfer to the airport. (Please confirm your departure transfer.)
Trip highlights and Inclusions :
- Daily yoga practice
- Five-star accommodation in hotels at Delhi, Jaipur and Agra
- Four-star accommodation in Hardiwar
- Three meals per day: breakfast, lunch and dinner
- Trip to the Taj Mahal, Old Delhi, Agra fort, and Amber fort
- Accommodation at Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh (Hotel option available)
- Visit to the fascinating, colorful bazaars of Jaipur city in Rajasthan, Delhi and Agra
- Attendance at the Annual International Yoga Festival including all classes, workshops, lectures and ceremonies. The full IYF is from March 1st to March 7th, 2020.
- Assistance on arrival and departure by our team and staff
- Accompanying English-speaking, expert guide for sightseeing as per the itinerary
- Monument and museum entrance tickets as per the itinerary
- Rickshaw ride in Old Delhi
- Elephant ride at Amber fort Jaipur
- All applicable taxes for included activities.
- Round-trip international airfare to and from India
- Expenses of a personal nature such as: laundry, telephone, internet, beverages, video camera fee at monuments, medical expenses and/or ground transportation for individual trips not part of the group
- Travel visa fee
- Travel insurance fee
- Any other services not mentioned in price inclusions above
- Small change for tipping ($2-$5 US a day)
- Tipping for guide(s) and drivers
- Soft Drinks, Alcoholic Drinks and Special Drinks
- Any additional expenses caused by reasons beyond our control such as natural disasters, flight delays, rescheduling or cancellations, accidents, medical evacuations, riots or strikes etc.
- Anything which is not mentioned is not included
- You will need a tourist visa to visit India. Please check FAQs page for more details.
We will make our best efforts to follow this outlined itinerary, however, we appreciate your patience and flexibility, should we need to make adjustments on location.
Any changes to the stated itinerary are carefully considered and are meant to maximize your travel experience and to take advantage of opportunities through interaction with local people, traditions, behind-the-scenes and off-the-beaten path experiences.