Discover North India’s spiritual richness, diverse culture and breathtaking beauty on this wonderful 17-day Ashram and Spiritual tour to India. Experience life in an ashram on the banks of the holy river Ganges in picturesque Rishikesh. Marvel at the chaotic atmosphere of Varanasi where you will wander through the narrow alleyways of the old city and enjoy boat rides on the Ganges. Witness the sunset aarti on the banks of the Ganges at both Rishikesh and Varanasi. Other highlights include a guided tour of the amazingly jeweled Taj Mahal and the fascinating ghost city of Fatehpur Sikri and a cycle rickshaw ride around the peaceful, UNESCO-listed bird sanctuary at Bharatpur. The tour also takes you to fabulous historical and sacred sites in Mathura and Vrindavan, birth place of Lord Krishna. Along the way, you will enjoy authentic experiences and delicious cuisine.This wonderful tour takes you off the well-worn tourist path to discover the ancient sacred treasures of India as well as practical spiritual gems to apply to your life. It will inspire and delight you.
On arrival in Delhi, you will be welcomed and transferred to your hotel. Overnight Delhi.
Travel to Rishikesh and settle into the ashram. Experience a Shiva puja at the ashram temple followed by Bhajan chanting. Overnight Rishikesh
Enjoy a morning scenic walk along the sacred river Ganges in the ashram area. After lunch we take a short drive to Laxman Jhoola to commence a walking tour of beautiful Rishikesh. At sunset, witness a special prayer ceremony, called ‘aarti’ on the banks on the Ganges at Parmath Ghat. Overnight Rishikesh
Enjoy the ashram program which includes: yoga, pranayama (breathing techniques), meditation, meditative walks, mantra chanting, some silent time, talks and discussion on vedic philosophy and how to apply this to daily life. We will also visit Muni-ki-Reti or the “sands of the sages” and experience the aarti at Triveni Ghat. On the last day of the program, enjoy the wonderful closing ‘fire ceremony’ before we travel back to Delhi.
This Morning we have a short flight to Varanasi, one of the world’s oldest, continually-inhabited cities & described as the beating heart of the Hindu universe. Enjoy some free time in the afternoon to explore this amazing place. At sunset, enjoy a boat ride on the Ganges and experience the beautiful aarti ceremony, honouring ‘Mother Ganga.’ Overnight Varanasi
Witness the early morning Hindu Prayer rituals as you take a boat ride on the Ganges. Return to the hotel for breakfast and a rest. Gain insight into life in this ancient place as you take a walking tour of the winding alleyways of Varanasi’s old city. You will also visit some other interesting sites. There is some free time in the afternoon. At sunset, attend the aarti ceremony at the Ghats. Also called ‘Fire Puja’, the ceremony is a dedication to the River Ganges, the Sun, Lord Shiva, Fire and the whole universe. Overnight Varanasi.
After breakfast we drive to Sarnath, where Buddha gave his first sermon. Marvel at the ancient stupas, the Buddhist temple and archaeological museum before we fly back to Delhi for overnight.
Today we have an early drive to Agra for a guided tour of the world-famous Taj Mahal, described as the most extravagant monument ever built in the name of love. We also visit the colourfully decorated ‘Baby Taj’ and Fatehpur Sikri, a magnificent ghost city built in 1571 by the Moguls, before a short drive to Bharatpur for overnight.
Experience an early cycle rickshaw ride in the amazing Keoladeo Ghana National Park, host to approximately 380 bird species from across the globe. After a leisurely breakfast, we drive to Vrindavan, land of Lord Krishna, for the afternoon and overnight. We will explore some of the temples and sights of Vrindavan including the very interesting old city and a walk around the parikrama path. Overnight Vrindavan.
We spend the morning in Vrindavan before driving back to Delhi for a final group dinner and overnight.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for flights home or have the day at your leisure.
Your 17-day experience includes all land transport, all accommodation, ashram program, internal flight, all tours, entrance fees, local guides, guide tips, many meals.
Price $2990 per person, twin share.
Single supplement: $520 (ashram stay includes single rooms)
Your facilitator: Jay Weinstein
Jay Weinstein is a Mumbai-based, Hindi and English-speaking photographer of mainly Australian-American heritage. At the age of 3, he moved to India with his schoolteacher parents and spent the next 12 years living in Vrindavan, a historic town filled with temples and monkeys. At 15, his family moved back to Australia to facilitate his secondary education. Though Jay thought he was done with India, he ended up returning year after year, drawn by her overpowering, vibrant, chaotic cadence. His passion for photography was ignited on these trips. Later, his profession had him traveling from the lush, palm-dotted southern states to the breathtaking Himalayan mountains of Nepal; the ancient majestic forts of Rajasthan to the unending paddy fields of West Bengal. These gradually transformed into the photography travel trips he is now addicted to!
Jay brings to his work a unique charm and an eye for hidden beauty. Through the easy rapport he builds with his subjects, he creates unforgettable images that transport one to the heart of India and its people. See more of Jay’s work on this website – www.jaywphotography.com
Jay has been working on a wonderful photography project over the last couple of years called ‘So I asked them to smile’. To view photos, click this link – https://www.facebook.com/soIaskedthemtosmile/
Short theory sessions and focused practice time cover portraiture, basic composition, point of view and other topics. There will be regular ‘photo’ walks where participants focus on a specific photography element for a limited time and can then go freestyle. Participants are always encouraged to make the most of any magic moments. Our meditative approach to photography also leaves plenty of room for participants to wander ahead and explore their photography independently.
Other Topics covered include –
Respectful and culture-sensitive interactions
Breathe then see – meditative approach to photography
What makes an image interesting?
Portraits – etiquette, approach and composition etc
Point of View – finding the unique
Beauty in the big picture
Beauty in the detail
ISO and shutter speed
Aperture and lenses