Faiths, Hope and Love
Faiths, Hope and Love
India is a country of colour, of spice, of exploration, and of diversity – especially in terms of languages and cultures, but most of all its faiths.
I first travelled to India at the beginning of the millennium, nervous with excitement about travelling into the unknown and unfamiliar. But many years and many trips later it has become a country which I now consider my second home and a place where I have experienced profound moments of faith as I have met with people from a wide range of different faiths, and have worshiped alongside other Christians.
And so following on from a successful pilgrimage to South India in 2015, I invite you to join me in 2017 as we will return to this land of diversity, this time to the North, as we visit the holy sites of the Sikh’s in Amritsar; the home of the Buddhist’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama in Dharamshala; to Varanasi and the River Ganges, sacred to Hindu’s and on to New Delhi where we will spend time at the iconic Lotus Temple home to the followers of the Bahaia Faith, before continuing to Old Delhi to visit Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India.
In addition to the faith sites, we will also take the opportunity to visit various UNESCO world heritage sites, including The Taj Mahal in Agra, the immense mausoleum of white marble, built by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife, and is considered the jewel of Muslim art in India; we will also visit the Jantar Mantar, in Jaipur an astronomical observation site built in the early 18th century it is the best preserved of India’s historic observatories. It is an expression of the astronomical skills and cosmological concepts of the court of a scholarly prince at the end of the Mughal period.
We will take the time to witness much of the beauty and splendour that North India has to offer, travelling up mountains to Shimla and through the desert region of Rajasthan, and everything in between – using, planes, trains, automobiles, and the ubiquitous auto rickshaws.
I look forward to journeying with you.
Revd. Mark Woodrow
Faiths, Hope and Love
Delhi – Amritsar – Dharamshala – Shimla – Delhi – Agra – Jaipur – Varanasi – Mumbai
We meet at London Heathrow Airport to catch Jet Airways flight 9W-121 departing Heathrow at 20:50 and arriving at Delhi the following morning at 10:40.
Connecting flight Jet Airways 9W-2791 departing Delhi at 12:40 and arriving at Amritsar at 13:50 (1h 10m journey time). Transfer from Amritsar airport to check into Hyatt Amritsar. Evening visit to Golden Temple. Overnight in Hyatt Amritsar
This morning we will help prepare the meal for some of the 35,000 daily pilgrims at the Golden Temple communal kitchen. We also pay our respects at the site of the Jalianwala Bagh massacre. After lunch we visit a local school, before witnessing the lowering of the flags ceremony at the Indian/Pakistan boarder at Wagah. Overnight in Hyatt Amritsar
After breakfast we make the 5 hour drive to Dharamshala, home of the Buddhist Spiritual leader, HH Dalai Lama. Check into Asia Health Resort for 2 nights. Overnight in Asia Health Resort, Dharamshala
In the morning our vehicles will drop us in the bus stand for a morning walk in the town of Mcleod Ganj to see the devotees engrossed in their morning prayers. Later we visit the Namgyal Monastery and the Norbulingka institute. Overnight in Asia Health Resort, Dharamshala
After breakfast we drive to Shimla, the summer capital of the British Raj (7 hours, 240km). We check into the heritage Oberoi Clarkes Hotel for 2 nights.
We join with local Christians to worship at Christ Church, Shimla, with its famous stained glass windows depicting the virtues Faith, Charity, Hope, Fortitude, Patience and Humility. After lunch we take a heritage walk with a local expert and visit the Vice regal Lodge. Overnight in Oberoi Clarkes, Shimla
Today we take the delightful Toy Train from Shimla to Kalka (Luggage will be transported separately from Shimla to Kalka Station in a van). At Kalka we board the Kalka Shatabdi (Train number 12012) to Delhi, departing Kalka at 17:45 and arriving at New Delhi Railway Station at 21:55. Transfer from New Delhi Railway Station to Royal Plaza hotel and check in for 2 nights.
A full day exploring the many sites of Delhi including visits to Gobind Sadan (interfaith community) guided by Baba Virsa Singh Ji. After lunch we visit the iconic Baha’i Lotus Temple, followed by visits to the shrine of the famous Sufi Saint, Hazrat Nizamuddin and the tomb of the legendry Indian poet Amir Khusro. Overnight in Royal Plaza, Delhi
After breakfast we board auto-rickshaws as we travel to the Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India; Humayun’s Tomb, Qutub Minar and Raj Ghat. In the afternoon we drive to Agra in our own private coach, and visit the Itima-du-Daula & Metab Bagh before checking into the Crystal Sarovar Premier for 2 nights.
Sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal, followed by a full day of sightseeing in Agra including Dara Shikoh’s Library, Mirza Ghalib’s birthplace, the headquarters of the Radhasoami faith, Manka Meshwar Temple and Agra Fort. Overnight in Crystal Sarovar Premier, Agra
Morning drive to Jaipur in our own private coach, stopping en route at Fatehpur Sikri. At Jaipur we check into the hotel Shahpura House, and there is a possibility of a service at St. Andrews CNI Church. Overnight in Shahpura House, Jaipur
Morning visit of Amber Fort in a jeep. In the afternoon we visit the Jaipur School of Hindi and Yoga, Palace of Winds, Jantar Mantar and the Palace and Museum. Overnight in Shahpura House, Jaipur
Transfer to Delhi airport for flight to Varanasi. Morning drive in private AC coach to Delhi to catch Jet Airways 9W-745 departing Delhi at 15:55 and arriving at Varanasi at 17:15. Transfer from Varanasi Airport to check into Grapevine Hotel for 2 nights. Overnight in Grapevine Hotel, Varanasi
Dawn boat ride on Ganges and in the evening witness the Angi Pooja on the banks of the river Ganges. Overnight in Grapevine Hotel, Varanasi
Transfer to Varanasi airport to fly to Mumbai: Air India flight AI-696 departing Varanasi at 13:40 and arriving at Mumbai at 15:45 BOM. Check into 2 nights at Taj Mahal Palace for 2 nights. 8pm evening guided walk around Colaba. Overnight in Taj Mahal Palace
Morning optional Dharavi slum tour. Afternoon free to return to enjoy the facilities of the Taj Mahal Palace or an afternoon guided sightseeing of Mumbai. Overnight in Taj Mahal Palace
After breakfast we transfer to Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport for onward flight to London: Jet Airways 9W 118, departing Mumbai at 13:20 and arriving at London Heathrow at 17:40
- International flights direct in economy class inclusive all taxes.
- Internal Flight In economy Class.
- Meals on Half Board i.e Breakfast & dinner at all the Hotels
- Accommodation in a 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).
- 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 in first class air-conditioned class as per itinerary except for Toy Train between Shimla and Kalka which will be in standard class
- Entrance fees to all monuments during sightseeing as specified in your itinerary.
- Services of Revd. Mark Woodrow as tour director.
- India visa. E-Tourist visa facility is now available for British Passport holders and citizens of most countries of the world. An online application for grant of visa is required. For details please see this link: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html
- 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.
- 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
If you wish to book this tour, please compete the booking form, sign and e-mail it to us. 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