An Inner and Outer Journey through Sacred India

An Inner and Outer Journey through Sacred India

Martin Aylward has taught meditation and led retreats worldwide since 1999. He is founder and guiding teacher at the Moulin de Chaves retreat centre in Southern France, and co-director of US-based The Mindfulness Institute.

Martin will offer meditation instruction and guidance, reflections and readings from Buddhist texts, dialogue exercises and inner reflective contemplations throughout the tour. His depth of experience with meditation practice and teaching, and his years of living in India make this tour completely unique. Having lived and practiced extensively in all the places visited (spending about a year or more in each of Bodh Gaya, Varanasi, Dharamsala) and speaking fluent Hindi,

Martin will introduce the participants to places, people and experiences they would otherwise never know. Martin’s long association with Bodh Gaya means that he has been invited to bring students to stay at the magnificent Royal Thai Monastery there – the only group of foreigners on pilgrimage ever invited to do so.
Our visit to Dharamsala will include both monastery visits, adventures in Tibetan culture, opportunity to walk in the forests and foothills of the Himalayas, and a visit to the hermitage where Martin spent 3 years living and studying with his first teacher.

You can find out more about Martin and his teachings through his various websites:

An Inner and Outer Journey through Sacred India

Delhi – Patna – Nalanda & Rajgir – Bodhgaya – Varanasi – Sarnath – Dharamsala – Delhi

Friday 14th October – Fly to Delhi

Departure from your home country for Delhi.

Saturday 15th October – Delhi

Meeting, assistance on arrival and transfer by private coach to Hotel Balaji Deluxe. Very few cities in the world offer such diversity in architectural styles as Delhi, and this afternoon we have an orientation tour including Old Delhi and a rickshaw ride to the magnificent mosque of Jama Masjid.

Overnight in Hotel Balaji Deluxe, Delhi.

Sunday 16th October – Delhi

Today we take in more of Delhi’s sights, including Humayun’s Tomb (the 16th Century sandstone precursor to the Taj Mahal) and the Qutub Minar. Relax in the afternoon or visit the shrine of Sufi saint Hazrat Nizamu-ud-din, who believed in growing closer to God through renunciation of the world and service to humanity.

Overnight in Hotel Balaji Deluxe, Delhi.

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Monday 17th October – Train to Patna

Morning at leisure to rest and relax. Afternoon transfer to New Delhi railway station to board Rajdhani Express overnight First Class sleeper train to Patna, departing Delhi at 17:15.

Overnight on train

Tuesday 18th October – Patna to Rajgir. Vulture’s Peak.

Arrive Patna at 05:40 and drive 2.5 hours to Rajgir to check into Hotel Indo Hokke. In the afternoon we visit Griddhkuta, “The Hill of Vultures”, where the Buddha delivered some of his most famous sermons.

Overnight in Hotel Indo Hokke, Rajgir

Wednesday 19th October – Bodhgaya (Nalanda en route)

After breakfast we drive to Nalanda and visit the archaeological museum which houses the ancient Buddhist Nalanda University. We then continue journey to Bodhgaya and check in for overnight stay at the Thai Monastery.

Thursday 20th October – Bodhgaya

Bodhgaya is the holiest pilgrimage site for Buddhists, and the place where the Buddha attained enlightenment under the Mahabodhi tree. The tree that stands there today is believed to have grown from the original tree under which the Buddha meditated. This morning we visit the Mahabodhi Temple with its tall stone lotuses, figures of the Buddha in different postures on the walls, his footprints on the stones and a colossal golden Buddha in the sanctum sanctorum. Afternoon at leisure for rest, relaxation and meditation.

Overnight at the Thai Monastery.

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Friday 21st October – Bodhgaya

Day at leisure in Bodhgaya for meditation and to enjoy the serenity of the place, with an optional visit to Barabar Caves with its ancient inscriptions form the time of the great Buddhist emperor Ashoka.

Overnight at the Thai Monastery.

Saturday 22nd October – Drive and boat to Varanasi

Leave Bodhgaya after breakfast for Ramnagar Varanasi where we board the boat for the Palace on Ganges hotel located on the banks of river Ganges. Varanasi is the holiest city in India.

Overnight in Palace on Ganges, Varanasi.

Sunday 23rd October – Varanasi

Get up early for a sunrise boat ride on the river Ganges, and see the faithful perform their morning devotions towards the rising sun, amongst hundreds of temples and shrines.

Overnight in Palace on Ganges, Varanasi.

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Monday 24th October – Varanasi (day visit to Sarnath

After breakfast we drive 8km out to Sarnath, the deer park with its ancient stupa, and the place where the Buddha gave his first sermon.

Overnight in Palace on Ganges, Varanasi.

Tuesday 25th October – fly to Delhi

Morning at leisure. Later in the afternoon transfer to Varanasi airport to board Indigo airlines flight at 14:50, arriving at Delhi at 16:15. Transfer to Hotel Ibis (near the airport) for overnight stay.

Wednesday 26th October – fly to Dharamshala

In the morning we transfer to the airport to board Air India flight at 10:10, arriving at Dharamsala at 11:50. Dharamshala is in the Himalayan foothills, home to HH Dalai Lama and worldwide centre of Tibetan culture in exile. Today we have a day of monastery visits, opportunities to walk in the forests and foothills of the Himalayas, and a visit to the hermitage where Martin spent 3 years living and studying with his first teacher.

Overnight in Grace Hotel, Dharamshala.

Thursday 27th October – Dharamshala (day at leisure)

Spend a day at leisure and enjoy a stroll around McLeod Ganj, upper Dharamshala.

Overnight in Grace Hotel, Dharamshala.

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Friday 28th October – Dharamshala

Another day at leisure in Dharmshala. Possible visit to Tibetan Medicine and Astrological Institute and Norbulingka Tibetan Art and Craft Institute.

Overnight in Grace Hotel, Dharamshala

Saturday 29th October – Fly to Delhi

Morning at leisure. Afternoon transfer to airport to board Air India flight at 12:10 to arrive Delhi at 13:50. Transfer to Hotel Ibis near International airport for overnight stay and international departures that evening or the next day.

The cost per person sharing a twin or double room:
£1,795 / US$2,908
Single room supplement:
£362 / US$586
The cost includes:
  • Internal Flight from Varanasi to Delhi and Delhi to Dharamsala (return) in economy class
  • Meals on Half Board basis (Breakfast and dinner). Lunch in Rajgir
  • Accommodation in a sharing twin or double room or single room with en-suite facilities (Check-in is 1400 hrs and checkout 12 noon. Early check-in late checkouts are subject to availability). Accommodation at Thai Monastery will be on a dormitory basis separate for men and women following the principals of the monastery.
  • All arrival/departure transfers, long drives and sightseeing by a chauffeur driven private air-conditioned car or coach.
  • All arrival/departure transfers, long drives and sightseeing by a chauffeur driven private air-conditioned coach.
  • Services of a local English-speaking representative for all arrival and departure transfers to assist you at the airports and railway station.
  • Services of English speaking guide during sightseeing as specified in the itinerary.
  • Train reservations as shown in the itinerary.
  • Entrance fees to all monuments during sightseeing as specified in your itinerary.
  • Meditation & teaching by Mr Martin Aylward.
The cost does not include:
  • International flights
  • India visa fee. India is now offering visa on arrival to the citizens of 43 countries – please click on the link below to see if you can apply for visa on arrival.
  • Any expenses of a personal nature like laundry, telephone calls, beverages, gratuities etc.
  • Camera fees at monuments and other places of interest.
  • Travel Insurance: It is essential to have adequate travel insurance in place before your departure. This should be appropriate for your age, health and destination you are visiting.
Please ensure:
  • It includes comprehensive medical and repatriation cover
  • It provides cover for your whole trip
  • It covers you for all activities
  • It covers all your pre-existing medical conditions
  • Keep your Policy Number and Insurer’s 24-hour Emergency Number handy with you

A non-refundable deposit of £400.00 per person is needed at the time of booking. Balance payments will be due 8 weeks before departure. You can make the deposit payment by debit card or electronic transfers to our bank. Credit card payment will be charge at 2% extra. Our Bank details are on the booking form. Bookings are confirmed on first come first served basis. When the tour is full we will take about 5 additional names on the waiting list to replace their booking with any cancellations etc.


To enquire or make a booking on this tour, please call: 020 8901 7630 Monday – Friday 9.30am – 5.30pm, Saturday 11am – 4pm

“I cannot recommend this company enough. Safe to say India has got under our skin and into our hearts, and when we visit again we will definitely be booking with this company - if you are thinking of going I urge you to do the same.”- Gillian and Ashley Iredale
``The whole experience was great, the most relaxing day of the holiday was the cruise up the backwaters when the whole group experienced it together``- Margaret Fortune
``A whole variety of experiences- worship, culture, scenery, friendliness of the people & their hospitality``- Daphne Brindle
``Being in India and witnessing the faith that the people of India have, Hindus, Muslim or Christians, seeing with my own eyes the devotion the people have`` - Steve Breward