Interfaith Pilgrimage to India 2017

Interfaith Pilgrimage to India 2017

Interfaith pilgrimage soul of india

Join us on our Interfaith Pilgrimage to India, where all the great religions of the world have found a home – traditions which today live side by side in the world’s largest democracy. Our itinerary has been designed to engage with different religious communities in their own places of worship: In Delhi we will visit the Jama Masjid (Asia’s largest mosque) and the Sufi shrine at Nizamuddin, before going on to explore the capital’s Christian churches and the Baha’i House of Worship at the Lotus Temple. We then travel south to Krishna’s birthplace at Mathura and Vrindavan, and on to the Taj Mahal. At nearby Fatehpur Sikri we visit the deserted capital where debates took place between Jesuits, Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims in the 16th century under emperor Akbar the Great. From there we journey north to the holiest shrine of Sikhism at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, and up into the Himalayas to the Dalai Lama’s home-in-exile at Dharamshala.

This pilgrimage tour is open to people of all faiths (or none) from all around the world, and is a unique opportunity to explore, engage and communicate.

Our pilgrimage leader, Ian Jamison, has been in love with India for a long time! Here is a quick message from him:

I have been lucky enough to explore its traditions through both academic study and through direct experience. I was first introduced to Indian religious traditions as an undergraduate and was able to continue my studies of the dharmic traditions at master’s level. Additionally I’ve travelled extensively in India, and in addition to my own personal journeys, have led both school and adult group tours.

I spent the first 20 years of my career in UK classrooms, teaching Religious Studies and leading a number of successful departments, and was awarded the Guardian ‘Secondary Teacher of the Year’ in 2007. I’ve been able to build upon this experience in my current work on an international dialogue programme for young people.

I look forward to joining you as we journey together on an exciting exploration of the vibrant and fascinating religious traditions of India.

Ian 1

Interfaith Pilgrimage to India

London – Delhi – Mathura – Agra – Amritsar – Dharamshala – Delhi – London

Itinerary:
Day 1: Friday 15th September 2017: Fly UK to Delhi

Depart from London Heathrow on flight Jet Airways 9W 121 departing at 20:45 and arriving in Delhi the following morning at 09:45. Total duration: 8h 30m

(For people flying in from countries other than the UK, please get in touch with us for alternative flight options).

Day 2: Saturday 16th September 2017: Jama Masjid and Nizamuddin Dargah in Delhi

We meet you at the airport in Delhi and take you to the hotel Royal Plaza in central Delhi to freshen up. In the afternoon we go to explore the Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in Asia, and the Sufi shrine at Nizamuddin Dargah.

DELHI INDIA - NOV 8: A group of worshipers rest on the courtyard of Jama Masjid Mosque in Delhi on Nov 8 2011. Jama Masjid is the principal mosque of Old Delhi in India.

Overnight in Royal Plaza, Delhi

Day 3: Sunday 17th September 2017. Churches of Delhi

Today we have a full day exploring Delhi churches, legacies of India’s colonial past but also active places of worship: The Cathedral Church of the Redemption and The Sacred Heart Cathedral in the centre of New Delhi, and St James Church (also known as Skinner’s Church) and St Mary’s Church in the older part of the city.

Cathedral_Church_of_the_Redemption_-_New_Delhi

 Overnight in Royal Plaza, Delhi

Day 4: Monday 18th September 2017. Bahá’í Lotus Temple. Delhi to Mathura.

This morning we visit the magnificent Lotus Temple – the Bahá’í House of Worship which emphasizes the unity of religions.

New Delhi,India - April 8: The House of Worship popularly known as the Lotus Temple due to its Lotus like structureon 8th of April 2014 at New Delhi, India .

In the afternoon we get into our own private coach to drive southwards 100 miles to Vrindavan near the birthplace of the Hindu god Krishna, and an important pilgrimage destination for Hindus.

Overnight in MVT Guest House, Vrindavan

Day 5: Tuesday 19th September 2017. Tour of Mathura and Vrindavan

Today we will have a guided tour of Mathura, Vrindavan and Radha Kund, and the more active among us can do the popular walking pilgrimage “Govardana Parikrama”, a 13 mile walk around the area – you won’t need a guide for this, just follow the crowd.

Vishram ghat at mathura

Overnight in MVT Guest House, Vrindavan

Day 6: Wednesday 20th September 2017: Drive to Agra.

After a leisurely morning in Vrindavan, we drive 40 miles to Agra and check into the hotel for the night.

Overnight in Agra

Day 7: Thursday 21st September 2017. Agra tour. Overnight train to Amritsar

Get up early in the morning for a sunrise view of the Taj Mahal and a visit to the nearby Agra Fort. We then drive out to Fatehpur Sikri where the 16th century emperor Akbar held what might be called the world’s first interfaith dialogues – between Portuguese Jesuits, Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims.

Agra India - 2015 January 10 : A muslim girl performing wudhu or ritual cleansing in a basin on the western side of the Taj Mahal in Agra

In the afternoon we transfer to Agra Cantt Railway Station for our first experience of Indian rail travel, with an overnight journey to Amritsar in a First Class sleeper train: Chattisgarh Express (18237) departing Agra at 16:35 and arriving at Amritsar at 08:10.

Overnight on train

Day 8: Friday 22nd September 2017: Amritsar and the Golden Temple

In the morning we transfer from Amritsar railway station to the holiest site of Sikhism, the Golden Temple, and check into guest house pilgrim accommodation inside the temple complex. Today we also visit the poignant memorial of the Amritsar massacre at Jalianwala Bagh, and the Wagah border between India and Pakistan for the entertaining “Beating Retreat” ceremony and the lowering of the flags.

Praying at Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab, India.

Overnight in Golden Temple at Amritsar

Day 9: Saturday 23rd September 2017: Drive Amritsar to Dharamshala

Today we leave the Indian plains for the cooler climes of the hills with a 110 mile drive to Dharamshala in the foothills of the Himalayas. It is about a 6 hour journey in our own private coach with beautiful scenery and a chance to watch rural Indian life go by. Our destination Dharamshala is the home of the Tibetan exiled community in India, and their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama. The hill station town is dotted with Buddhist temples, monasteries and Tibetan shops. There is also an old British church at St. John’s in the Wilderness.

churches for Tibetans Kalaczakra temples in Dharamsala McLeod Ganj India

Overnight in Dharamshala

Day 10: Sunday 24th September 2017. Tour of Dharamshala

Today we have a guided tour of the temples and monasteries of Dharamshala, including the main temple near Namgyal Monastery where HH Dalai Lama lives and the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives.

Overnight in Dharamshala

Day 11: Monday 25th September 2017. Day at leisure in Dharamshala

After a busy traveling schedule we have a couple of days to wind down in the peace and mountain air at Dharamshala. Those interested can also do a trek and overnight  camp out at the stunning mountain viewpoint at Triund.

Cloudy_Triund,_above_Mcleod_Ganj,_Himachal_Pradesh

Overnight in Dharamshala

Day 12: Tuesday 26th September 2017. Day at leisure in Dharamshala

Final day at leisure in Dharamshala and a good time for some last minute shopping.

Overnight in Dharamshala

Day 13: Wednesday 27th September. Fly Dharamshala to Delhi.

Morning transfer to airport to board Air India flight at 12:10 to arrive Delhi at 13:50. Transfer to hotel Ibis near the airport.

Overnight in Delhi

Day 14: Thursday 28th September 2017. Return flight to the UK.

Transfer from hotel to catch return flight to London, Jet Airways 9W 122 departing Delhi at 13:35 and arriving at London Heathrow at 18:20. Flight duration: 9h 15m.

(Again, travelers outside the UK please get in touch)

End of services

The cost per person sharing a twin or double room:
£1,995
Single room supplement:
£355
The cost includes:
  • International return flight from London to Delhi in Jet Airways economy class
  • 11 nights’ 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)
  • Daily breakfast and dinner at hotels
  • One internal flight from Dharamshala to Delhi on 27thSeptember in economy class
  • All arrival/departure transfers, long drives and sightseeing by a chauffeur driven private air-conditioned car or coach
  • Train tickets and reservations in First Class sleeper train as per itinerary (Agra to Amritsar)
  • 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
  • English speaking escort guide for the whole tour
  • Mineral water while travelling
The cost does not include:
  • Lunch (We will be stopping at clean and reasonably priced restaurants for lunch, and you can pay as you go for what you have)
  • India visa fee. You can now apply for visa on arrival in India- please click here for more information. 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.
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

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.

CONTACT US

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

TESTIMONIALS:
“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
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