Cultural & Spiritual Journey To Ganga Plains

The amazing journey starts from Capital Delhi from where various emperors have ruled India, on to Sikhism (Amritsar), Buddhism (Dharamshala + Sarnath, Varanasi) and Islamism (Agra). The programme takes you first to the land of Golden Temple, Amritsar (Holy city of Turban clad Sikhs) to witness spectacular ceremony of changing guards and lowering of flag at Wagha Border and then proceeding on to the foot hills of Himachal Pradesh to see & experience village life in India. And see the Tibetan Kingdom in exile. Later visit one of the Seven Wonders of the World – The Taj Mahal at Agra followed by erotic temples of Khajuraho and at the end Varanasi the Holy city for Hindus and nearby Sarnath where Buddha delivered his first sermon and also attained nirvana.

Day 1

Arrive Delhi - Meeting and assistance on arrival at airport and transfer to Hotel Imperial / Taj Mahal. Delhi is two cities in one - the Old Delhi of the Mughals, a conglomerate of medieval palaces, forts, mosques and bazaars; and the New Delhi built by the British, an elegant metropolis of broad avenues, stately homes and landscaped gardens.

Day 2

Delhi / Amritsar - Transfer to New Delhi railway station / airport in time to board train to Amritsar. Meeting and assistance on arrival at railway station / airport and transfer to a guest house. Amritsar (Pool of the Nectar of Immortality) is named after the sacred pool in the Golden Temple, the holiest of the Sikh sites. The atmosphere is particularly powerful from before dawn to early light, when the surrounding glistening white marble pavement is still cold under the foot and the gold begins to shimmer on the lighting water. Afternoon visit The Golden Temple - the spiritual nerve centre of the Sikh faith and Jallianwala Bagh which noted for the most notorious massacre under British rule. Later visit Wagha Border to witness changing of the guards and the ceremonial lowering of the flags ceremony at sundown, which is carried out with great show and rivalry, is quite a spectacle. Stay at Mrs.Bhandari’s Guest House - A family run place with nine air conditioned rooms and a swimming pool.

Day 3

Amritsar / Paragpur - Morning drive ( 4 to 5 hrs) to Paragpur. Paragpur is a heritage village where the local community is trying to promote village tourism by preserving their heritage. The Paragpur village was founded about 3 centuries ago. It still retains the essence of an earlier era - unchanged shops, cobbled streets, ornamental village tank, mud plastered and slate roofed houses. On arrival stay at The Judges Court, a Country Manor located in the medieval hamlet of Pragpur, at an elevation of 2000 ft. in the Kangra Valley. Its ambience is reminiscent of the turn of the 20th Century. Afternoon explore the village and its surroundings - Visit the village tank, interact with the locals and visit their home and farm.

Day 4

Paragpur / Dharamshala - Morning excursion to Dada Siba (15 kms) to see Kangra wall paintings Afternoon drive to Dharamshala (2 hours) en route visiting Kangra Fort. It guarded the strategic route to the plains of upper India from the mountain of the North west. Dharamsala was originally built by the British as a hill station in 1840\'s. Its colonial monuments and public buildings include a church in the Victorian gothic style and a cemetery with carvings and funeral tributes. With the exodus of the Dalai Lama and many of his countrymen after the Chinese invaded Tibet in 1960 it has become the Tibetan capital-in-exile with a large community of lay people and monks. Dharamsala is also the home of the Dalai Lama, the spiritual head of the Tibetan Buddhists, who is now headquartered at McLeodganj. Also known as the ‘Little Lahsa’, McLeodganj is an enchanting world in itself where the spinning prayer wheels and fluttering prayer flags spread the message of peace and universal harmony. Stay at Cloud’s End Villa as special guest of the Raja and Rani of Lambagraon-Kangra

Day 5

Dharamshala - Morning visit Mcleodganj, the Tibetan town, with its library and Buddhist temples, markets. Afternoon excursion to Norbulingka Institute.The Norbulingka Institute is a major centre for Buddhist teaching and practical working for survival of Tibetan Buddhism’s cultural heritage.

Day 6

Dharamshala / Chakki Bank / Agra - Early morning drive to Chakki Bank (4 – 5 hours) in time to board train to Agra Malwa Express at 1035 hrs / 2215 hrs .It is a beautiful journey through the vast fertile plains of Punjab and Haryana. You will get to see life in rural India. Meeting and assistance on arrival at Agra railway station and transfer to Hotel. Agra is the home of the Taj Mahal - one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The city of Agra, the quintessence of the grand Mughal era, reigns to this day in the public mind as the embodiment of royal grace, imposing architecture and power. At an additional cost stay at Taj View.

Day 7

Agra / Khajuraho - Early morning visit to Taj Mahal at Sunrise (Option at additional cost to be paid directly). Morning visit Taj Mahal - A mausoleum for Empress Mumtaz Mahal, which was built by her beloved husband Shah Jehan, is often described as a ‘dream in marble’ & Red Fort, Akbar’s magnificent fort dominates the centre of the city. Later transfer to airport to board flight to Khajuraho. Alliance Air: CD 7407 at 1335 hrs / 1415 hrs Meeting and assistance on arrival and transfer to hotel Khajuraho is known for the erotic temple sculptures - The Temples at Khajuraho were built under later Chandela kings between 950 and 1050 AD in a truly inspired burst of creativity. Later visit Eastern and Western Group of Temples

Day 8

Khajuraho / Varanasi - Morning visit Southern Group of Temples. Afternoon transfer to airport in time to board flight to Varanasi. Meeting and assistance on arrival and transfer to hotel Best Western Kashika. Varanasi is situated in the plains of north India on the sacred river of Ganga, is the holiest of the Hindu cities, and is one of the oldest. It is probably the oldest living city in the world, a contemporary of Babylon, Themes and Nineveh. This is a city of colourful bazaars, exquisite and bright silks, festivals, temples, mosques and palaces - all centering around the teeming ghats of the Holy Ganges. Varanasi is also famed for woven silk with excellent gold and silver embroidery work, and many of its artisans can be seen at their looms.

Day 9

Varanasi - Early morning boat ride on River Ganges to see the Bathing ghats and cremation site. Watching people bathing and worshipping at the ghats is one of the most extraordinary experiences of a visit to India. After breakfast visit Sarnath, which has a history spanning 2500 years. It was here that Gautam Buddha delivered his first sermon and also attained nirvana. Afternoon take sightseeing tour of city. Visit the Bharat Mata Temple which has a big relief map of India in marble, Durga Temple, Tulsi Manas Mandir and the Mosque of Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb built on the site of an ancient Hindu Temple.

Day 10

Varanasi / Delhi - Afternoon transfer to airport in time to board flight to Delhi. Meeting and assistance on arrival and transfer to Hotel Ashok Country Resort - a three star. Convenient to stay here before international departure at odd hours as it is located just 4 Kms from the Indira Gandhi International Airport.

Day 11

Delhi Departure - Departure transfer to international airport in time to board onward flight.

PAYMENT & CANCELLATION TERMS
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To hold your booking made via this website, at least 30% of the total amount shall be paid as advance. The Management holds the right to alter the amount to be paid as advance, depending on the nature and/or time left for the commencement of the service. The balance amount has to be paid to the Company 60 Days prior to arrival. But it is recommended that in peak season Hotels/ Resorts request 100% deposit and the same will be advised to the clients and need to pay in advance.

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Companion Holidays
9/1447(8), F1, Future House
Temple Road, Sasthamangalam
Trivandrum, Kerala 695010 India
Tel: 91.471.2310548/ 4011548/ 4011550/ 4011551
Fax: 91.471.4011549
Email : companionholidays@airtelmail.in, daniel@companionholidays.in

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THINGS TO NOTE
Kerala also known as Keralam is a state located in the south-west region of India on the Malabar coast. It was formed on 1 November 1956 per the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam-speaking regions. Spread over 38,863 km2 (15,005 sq mi) with a population of 33,387,677, it is bordered by Karnataka to the north and north east, Tamil Nadu to the east and south, and the Laccadive Sea to the west. Thiruvananthapuram is the state capital among the 14 districts; other major cities include Thrissur,Kochi and Kozhikode..

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