This is a very special journey of discovery – a spiritual holiday which takes you around some of the major religious sites of India, to interact with the faithful, gain an insight into the essence of Indian religions, and experience pilgrimage in its Indian context. Whether you are a religious studies student or just someone interested in discovering these rich traditions, this tour brings you close to some of the most important religious sites and communities in India – Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Buddhist.
Fly from your home country to Delhi.
We meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. Spend the day relaxing, or venture out to explore Delhi – a melting pot of diverse Indian religions and cultures, and the perfect starting point to any religious and spiritual tour of India. In the words of the mystical Sufi poet Mirza Ghalib, ”I asked my soul: What is Delhi? She replied: the world is the body, and Delhi its soul”. Overnight in hotel in Delhi.
In the morning our knowledgeable local guide will take you on a tour of Old Delhi with its many spiritual and religious sites – Jain and Hindu temples, Sikh gurudwaras, the largest mosque in India, and the interfaith community at Shri Gobind Sadan. Later continue your tour of Delhi’s spiritual life as we visit the Lotus Temple, the magnificent white marble house of worship of the Baha’i faith. Overnight in hotel in Delhi.
In the morning, we take you on a tour of the atmospheric shrine of the Sufi saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, in one of the oldest and most magical parts of Delhi. This mystical branch of Islam advocates a personal spiritual relationship with God through renunciation and service to humanity. Performances of religious devotional music with the faithful entering into trances are commonplace at the shrine, and it is one of the most fascinating religious sites in India. We also take you to the nearby Humayun’s Tomb, the magnificent sandstone forerunner of the Taj Mahal. In the late afternoon catch the Amritsar Shatabdi train to Amritsar in 1AC (16:30 – 22:35). Overnight in hotel, Amritsar.
Take off your shoes, cover your head, and step into the magnificent Golden Temple – the holiest shrine
of Sikhism, one of the most important religious pilgrimage sites in India. Later visit the poignant Jallianwala Bagh and the border of India and Pakistan at Wagah, for the fascinating lowering of the flags ceremony. Overnight in hotel, Amritsar
Train Amritsar to Mathura. In the morning our local guide takes you on a tour to nearby Tarn Taran Sahib, a town rich in spiritual traditions with its many historical gurudwaras and shrines, and Goindwal, the first ever Sikh pilgrimage site. In the evening catch the overnight train “Golden Temple Mail” in 2-tier air conditioned sleeper class to Mathura. Overnight on train.
Today visit the nearby village of Gokul, where Krishna spent his childhood, brought up in secret by his foster mother Yashoda. Later move on to Govardhan where (provided you have sufficient energy to spare) you can walk the 21km “parikrama” pilgrimage procession around Govardhan hill along with devotees from all over India. Overnight in hotel, Mathura
Drive to the Bharatpur bird sanctuary and cycle around the wooded park amongst over 300 species of birds. It’s a beautiful serene place for some peace, quiet and rejuvenation. Overnight in hotel.
On today’s drive to Agra we stop at the ghost town of Fatehpur Sikri, where the Mughal emperor Akbar held the world’s first interfaith debates between Portuguese Jesuits, Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims in the 16th century. Then on to the amazing Taj Mahal, the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the finest sights in the world. Our knowledgeable local guide will give you all the juicy history and stories about this remarkable building – a marble mausoleum which has practically become a pilgrimage site for visitors to India. Also visit the Agra Fort and the tomb of I’timād-ud-Daulah, the “Baby Taj”. Overnight in hotel.
Spend the day relaxing and exploring Agra, and in the evening catch the overnight train Magadh Express (23:25 – 07:25) to Varanasi. Overnight in hotel.
Arrive at Varanasi in the morning and explore the famous steps on the banks of the holy river Ganges. Afternoon visit Sarnath, the deer park where the Buddha preached his first sermon after attaining nirvana, with its the stupas, temples, and pillar of the ancient emperor Ashoka.
Morning boat ride at Ganges river. As the dawn mists rise on the Holy River Ganges, glide silently on a boat to see the devout come to bathe and pray. Afternoon city tour and Evening Rikshaw ride.
Drive to Bodhgaya. Overnight at hotel.
Bodh Gaya is the place where the Buddha attained nirvana sitting under a bodhi tree 2500 years ago. Despite being the most important Buddhist pilgrimage site in the world, it manages to retain a relatively peaceful atmosphere, perfect for reflection. There is a still the bodhi tree under which it is claimed the Buddha was sitting when he attained nirvana, and many surrounding temples built by all the Buddhist nations of the world.