Ancient Roots, Living Branches: Discovering Buddhist India

ANCIENT ROOTS, LIVING BRANCHES
DISCOVERING BUDDHIST INDIA
A Small Group led by Lisa Ernst
Saturday 14th March – Saturday 28th March 2020
Lisa Ernst

The tour is guided by our expert local guides in India, with Lisa Ernst – founder of One Dharma Nashville and visiting teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Centre in Woodacre California – guiding meditation along the way in various locations, from hotel gardens to Tibetan monasteries.

We will be interacting with and learning from Buddhist communities and practitioners as we travel. It’s also a fun adventure off the beaten track, and this tour is open to everyone interested in Buddhism and meditation.

The Itinerary
DAY 1: SATURDAY 14TH MARCH 2020: INTERNATIONAL DEPARTURE

Departure from your home country for Delhi.

DAY 2: SUNDAY 15TH MARCH 2020: ARRIVE IN DELHI. OVERNIGHT IN DELHI

Late night arrival at Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi. After you have cleared immigration, customs and collected your baggage you will be met by our representative, who will be carrying a Soul of India placard at the indoor arrivals area. If any members of the group arriving on different flights at different times, then there will be an additional transfer with an extra cost for each arrival.
From here our representative will take you to the vehicle and drive you from the airport to check into The Suryaa New Delhi Hotel in central Delhi – a drive of about 45 minutes.
Afternoon proceed for orientation tour of old Delhi including an exhilarating cycle rickshaw ride to the Jama Masjid through the bustling Chandni Chowk and it’s back roads, which were the centre of the city Shah Jehanabad in the Mughal times. Finally continue onto the Raj Ghat- Mahatma Gandhi’s cremation site.

Overnight in The Suryaa New Delhi Hotel

Dinner included

India Gate, Delhi
DAY 3: MONDAY 16TH MARCH 2020: EXPLORE OLD DELHI- OVERNIGHT ON BOARD TRAIN

Morning enjoy half day combined sightseeing of New and Old Delhi including the visit to impressive Humayun’s Tomb, Qutab Minar and the India Gate. Also drive past the Parliament Buildings & President’s House. Later take an exhilarating cycle rickshaw ride to the Jama Masjid through the bustling Chandni Chowk and it’s back roads, which were the centre of the city Shah Jehanabad in the Mughal times. Finally continue onto the Raj Ghat- Mahatma Gandhi’s cremation site. Afternoon at leisure.Morning sightseeing of dynamic New Delhi including the visit to impressive Humayun’s Tomb, Qutab Minar and the India Gate. Also drive past the Parliament Buildings & President’s House.
Late afternoon transfer to the New Delhi railway station to board your overnight train Shiv Ganga Express (12560) to Varanasi, departing Delhi at 18:55.

Overnight in The Suryaa New Delhi Hotel

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included

DAY 4: TUESDAYDAY 17TH MARCH 2020: ARRIVE VARANASI & EVENING WITNESS THE AARTI CEREMONY AT SASUMED GHAT

Arrive Varanasi at 06:50 in the morning, meeting assistance on arrival and transfer to the Taj Ganges hotel (early check subject to availability, hotel check in time at 14:00). Afternoon at leisure. As the sun sets, we will drive to the Ghats (stone steps leading down to the Ganges river) and enjoy the spectacular riverside aarti prayer rituals.

Overnight in Taj Ganges Hotel, Varanasi

Breakfast , Lunch-Dinner included

Main Ghat Varanasi
DAY 5: WEDNESDAY 18TH MARCH 2020 – VARANASI SIGHTSEEING

Today is a very early start as we wake up before the sun and drive to the ghats and enjoy a magical sunrise boat ride on the holy river Ganges, witnessing the faithful perform their Morning Prayer rituals by the riverside. Later in the day we will drive a short distance to the holy site of Sarnath, the deer park where the Buddha taught his first sermon, the first turning of the wheel of dharma.

Overnight in Taj Ganges Hotel, Varanasi

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included

DAY 6: THURSDAY 19TH MARCH 2020 – FLY TO BODHGAYA

After our morning meditation relax in the hotel or wonder the lively narrow lanes and visit the many colourful temples, guest houses and stalls peddling local arts and crafts, spices and world-famous silks your own pace!
Early afternoon transfer to Varanasi airport to board your short flight Indigo 6E-7716 to Gaya, in an economy class, which leaves Varanasi at 14:15 and arrives Gaya at 15:00. Meeting, assistance on arrival and transfer to Maya Heritage Hotel.
Bodhgaya is the site on the banks of the Nairanjana river where the Buddha attained nirvana under a Bodhi tree. This small town is a major pilgrimage site for Buddhists from around the world, and for Hindus who revere the Buddha.
The Mahabodhi Temple is built on the supposed spot of the Buddha’s nirvana, and dotted around are temples and monasteries built by various Buddhist countries.
We will visit the temple in the evening.

Overnight in Maya Heritage Hotel

Breakfast- Dinner included

DAY 7: FRIDAY 20ST MARCH 2020 – DAY SIGHTSEEING

We will meet in the morning for group meditation in the hotel’s Prayer & Meditation Hall, before heading out to explore Bodhgaya with our guide, to visit the Mahabodhi Temple, the Bodhi Tree and the Great Buddha Statue amongst other sites. Afternoon at leisure for rest, relaxation and personal explorations.

Overnight in Maya Heritage Hotel

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included

Mahabodhi Temple, Bodh Gaya
DAY 8: SATURDAY 21ST MARCH 2020– DAY AT LEISURE OR OPTIONAL VISIT TO MAHAKALA CAVES.

Morning meditation. Day at leisure or an optional visit of Mahakala Caves.
Mahakala (or Dungeshwari) Caves are about 12 kms northeast of Bodhgaya, where Buddha did the severe penance that led him to see the futility of extreme asceticism. Realizing that the key to enlightenment was a “middle path” between self-denial and self-indulgence, he walked down to Bodhgaya, where he achieved nirvana. A short climb from the base of the impressive cliff leads to a Tibetan monastery and the three caves.

Overnight in Maya Heritage Hotel

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included

DAY 9: SUNDAY 22ND MARCH 2020– FLY TO DELHI

Morning meditation with Lisa in the hotel’s Prayer & Meditation Hall. Early afternoon transfer to Gaya airport to catch “Air India” Flight number AI-433 via Varanasi (this flight has 35 minutes layover in Varanasi), flight departs Gaya at 14:15 and arrives New Delhi at 16:55. Transfer to Raddison Blue Plaza Hotel.

Overnight in Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Delhi

Breakfast-Dinner included

DAY 10: MONDAY 23RD MARCH 2020 – FLY TO DHARAMSHALA

Morning transfer to Delhi airport to board “Air India” Flight number AI-9713, departing Delhi at 10:55 and arriving at Dharamshala at 12:40. On arrival at Dharamsala we will be met and transferred to hotel Chonor House, and in the afternoon take the pilgrimage walk around the Dalai Lama’s residence.

Overnight in Chonor House, Dharamshala.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included

DAY 11:TUESDAY 24TH MARCH 2020 – DHARAMSHALA SIGHTSEEING

After morning meditation with Lisa, we will explore Dharamsala, a town in the Himalayan foothills which is home to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan community in exile. We will visit temples, monasteries and have a talk on Buddhism at the Tibetan Library.

Overnight in Chonor House, Dharamshala.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included

Dharamshala
DAY 12: WEDNESDAY 25TH MARCH 2020 – EXPLORE DHRAMSHALA

Morning meditation with Lisa, and the rest of the day at leisure to rest or explore Dharamsala at your own pace.

Overnight in Chonor House, Dharamshala.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included

DAY 13: THURSDAY 26TH MARCH 2020 – DRIVE TO AMRITSAR

A beautiful drive from Dharamshala takes you to Amritsar – the holy city of Sikhs intimately linked with the colourful history of this martial race, its agricultural prudence, woollens, spices and dry fruits. It is also the showpiece of prosperity and of the wealth of Punjab. Free afternoon at hotel Hyatt Amritsar. After dinner visit to Golden Temple to be part of Sukh Aasan Ceremony. This is when the Holy Book — Guru Granth — is put to rest for the night with prayers and a Prayer incanted to invoke Jot – the living light of the Guru to manifest in the Granth.

Overnight in Hyatt Hotel, Amritsar

Breakfast -Dinner included at hotel.
Packed lunch from Chonor House

DAY 14: FRIDAY 27TH MARCH 2020 – AMRITSAR SIGHTSEEING

Morning sightseeing tour of Amritsar, including Jallianwala Bagh and Durgiana temple. Come to Golden Temple to spend much of the day here taking in the peace and sanctuary in the place, you may wish to volunteer helping in the kitchen or help serve free meals for the pilgrims – in addition to being a good deed, it’s a good lesson in Indian cookery. The free kitchen at Golden Temple serves over 35000 people meals every day of the year. It is a soul fulfilling experience.

Overnight in Hyatt Hotel, Amritsar

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included

Golden Temple Amritsar
DAY 15: SATURDAY 28TH MARCH 2020 –FLY TO DELHI & INTERNATIONAL DEPARTURE

Morning at leisure. Early afternoon transfer to Amritsar airport to board “Air Vistara” Flight number UK-707, in an economy class, departing Amritsar at 15:25 and arriving at Delhi at 16:35. On arrival in Delhi. Time at leisure until your international departure. Depending on your International departure time from Delhi accommodation can be booked at Holiday Inn Express Hotel or smart Hotel at Delhi airport.

Overnight International flight

Breakfast included

Discovering Buddhist

Tour Cost

The cost per person sharing a twin or double room$3145
Single room supplement $945
Cost Includes:
  • Internal flights in economy class as per itinerary: from Varanasi to Gaya, Gaya to Delhi, Delhi to Dharamshala & Amritsar to Delhi.
  • Train tickets as per itinerary in AC 1st class carriage.
  • 13 night’s accommodation in hotels as per itinerary, sharing twin or double room with en-suite facilities (Check-in is 1400 hrs and checkout 12 noon. Early check-in late checkouts are subject to availability)
  • Daily breakfast and dinner at all hotels (except dinner on day 16). Lunches are included every day at local restaurants
  • 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 guides and local specialists during sightseeing as specified in the itinerary. Entrance fees to all monuments during sightseeing as specified in the itinerary.
  • Services of Lisa Ernst as trip leader
  • complementary Mineral water while travelling & sightseeing
Cost Does Not Include:
  • Dinner day 16
  • India visa fee. E-tourist visa is now available for citizens of most countries including USA. On confirmation of booking we will send you a step by step guide how to apply for the visa.
  • Any expenses of a personal nature like laundry, telephone calls, beverages etc.
  • Tips and gratuities
  • 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.
E :- enquiries@soulofindia.com          Call Us: 020 8901 7630
  • To book this tour , please compete the booking form, sign and e-mail it to us. A non-refundable deposit of £500.00 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. 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.
  • If you wish to join the tour and fly from any country other than United Kingdom please contact us for land only arrangements.
E :- enquiries@soulofindia.com          Call Us: 020 8901 7630
  • 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
  • To get a competitive quote for comprehensive travel insurance click here
Jallianwala Bagh Amritsar
Great Buddha Bodh Gaya