Kumbh Mela
This visit to some of the holiest pilgrimage centers associated with Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism gives you a quick glimpse into India’s rich religious kaleidoscope, which adds so much to its culture. Visit the two major Buddhist pilgrimage spots—Bodhgaya and Sarnath—even as you participate in the once-in-a-lifetime experience of bathing in the Kumbh Mela at Allahabad. Visit the Sikh holy of holies in Amritsar after visiting Varanasi, one of India’s oldest cities, and the temples in Khajuraho. View the Retreat ceremony at Wagah, on the Indo-Pak border.

  • Code: Promotion (A concierge Small Group Experience)
  • Duration: 12 Nights
  • Destinations: Delhi (2), Bodhgaya (2), Varanasi (2), Allahabad (2), Khajuraho (1), Amritsar (2) & Delhi (1)
  • Theme: Spirituality & Religion
  • Experience Highlights:
    1. Take a rickshaw ride through Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi’s lively bazaar.
    2. Visit UNESCO World Heritage monuments in Delhi and other cities.
    3. Visit Bodhgaya, where the Buddha attained enlightenment, and Sarnath, where he preached his first sermon.
    4. Enjoy a boat ride on the Ganges in Varanasi, Arti on the Ganges and a bathe in the Triveni Sangam at Allahabad.
    5. Visit the Khajuraho temples built by the Chandela kings and enjoy the Kandaria Dance Show.
    6. Visit the Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple), Durgiana Temple and Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar.
  • Contact us for reservations & more details. All Experiences can be tailor-made to suit your interests and travel preferences…
Day 1: Jan 30, 2013, Arrive Delhi 
Arrive at Delhi International Airport.

Delhi, the administrative and political capital of India, is a major tourist attraction and a perfect start for a holiday in India, because of its rich heritage and cultural past, revealed in its monuments, parks, Government buildings and other places of interest. Delhi’s attractions range from forts and monuments dating back a thousand years to modern shopping malls, nightclubs and golf courses, as well as a wide range of cuisines to suit every taste.

Upon clearing Customs and Immigration, a pinkEscapes representative will meet you to extend a warm welcome. Drive through the Diplomatic Enclave to arrive at your hotel. The representative will provide assistance with check in and will present a welcome pack including all necessary documentation as well as the travel plan. Enjoy the rest of the day / night at leisure.

 
 
Day 2: Jan 31, 2013, Delhi 
After breakfast, go sightseeing in Old and New Delhi. Begin with Birla Mandir, a modern and colorful Hindu temple. Then visit Shajahanabad, the 17th-century city built by the fifth Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan. Admire the famous and opulent Red Fort as well as the Jama Masjid, India's largest mosque. Take a short rickshaw ride through the colorful bazaars of Chandni Chowk. Stop at Raj Ghat, where Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the Nation, was cremated. Enjoy lunch at one of the oldest restaurants in Delhi, which features interesting interiors and delectable cuisine.

A tour of New Delhi includes a drive down the spectacular Rajpath, a photo stop at the India Gate, and glimpses of Rashtrapati Bhavan and Parliament House. End the tour at Bangla Sahib, the largest Sikh Temple in Delhi, where you will get an introduction to Sikhism, the 15th-century amalgamation of Hinduism and Islam. Enjoy an enriching experience visiting the communal dining hall where hundreds are served free food and the kitchen facilities where the free meals are prepared.

In the evening, a well-groomed gay host takes you to a cocktail party at a Gay Home, to welcome you to the city, where you can meet like-minded people and witness Indian hospitality at its best. Return to your hotel after a memorable evening.

Meals :: B L D
 
 
Day 3: Feb 1, 2013, Delhi – Gaya (by flight) – Bodhgaya 
After breakfast, go for a quick guided tour of New Delhi. Visit the breathtaking Humayun's Tomb, considered a model for the Taj Mahal. Enjoy lunch / snacks on a short flight to Gaya.

Situated just 13 km (30 mins.) from Bodhgaya, Gaya is a very sacred place for Hindus. It is densely populated and noisy. Hindus come here to offer oblations for the salvation of the souls of their ancestors in the magnificent Vishnupad Temple. However, non Hindus are not allowed to enter the temple premises.

Arrive in Gaya after a short flight and drive to Bodhgaya (13 Km.) to check in at your hotel.

Bodhgaya is an important and sacred Buddhist pilgrimage center. Legend says that it was here; under a bodhi (banyan) tree that Gautama attained supreme knowledge to become Buddha, the Enlightened One. Gautama, a Sakya prince of Kapilavastu (now in Nepal) was born in the foothills of the Himalayas—the major events of his religious life, such as his enlightenment and last sermon, took place in Bihar. Buddhism evolved from the Buddha’s sermons, empathetic outlook and simple way of life. The state of Bihar might have got its name from the large number of viharas (monasteries) within its territory. Several centuries after Buddha, the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka (234-198 BC) contributed tremendously towards the revival, consolidation and spread of Buddhism.

Meals :: B L D
 
 
Day 4: Feb 2, 2013, Bodhgaya 
After breakfast go sightseeing in Bodhgaya. Visit the Mahabodhi Temple, which stands to the east of the Bodhi Tree. The basement of this temple is 48 square feet and it is shaped like a slender pyramid till the neck, which is cylindrical in shape. The temple is 170 ft high and its top is covered by chatras, which symbolize religious sovereignty, and four graceful towers located at its corners.

When Siddhartha Gautama gave up extreme ascetic practices, he was given food by a young woman, Sujata, who mistook him for a Yaksha or tree spirit, capable of granting her boon for a suitable husband. This incident took place at the village of Uruvella—it was from this village that Siddhartha crossed the Nairanjana (modern Phalgu), immediately to the west, and on to Bodh Gaya.

There are numerous modern monasteries put up by Buddhists from other countries around the big Mahabodhi Temple, all of which contribute to the atmosphere of peace and calm around the temple. The Thai Temple, with its splendid roof, is the most magnificent. There are several Tibetan monasteries in the area, which belong to various sects of Tibetan Buddhists, such as the Gelugpa, the Sakya and the Nyingma—the Kagyu monastery, known for its spacious main prayer hall, as well as its beautiful murals, Buddha images and large Dharma Chakra, is located further west. Hundreds of Tibetans come annually to Bodhgaya, from November to February, to set up markets, restaurants and cafes close to the monasteries. There are temples belonging to Nepal, Bhutan and China as well.

Meals :: B L D
 
 
Day 5: Feb 3, 2013, Bodhgaya – Varanasi 
After breakfast, drive to Varanasi (240 Km. / 6 Hr. approx.) and check in at your hotel on arrival.

The city’s name possibly derives from the names of the two rivers Varuna and Assi, for it lies at the confluence of these two rivers. It is believed that city was founded by Lord Shiva, around 5,000 years ago, thus making it one of the most important pilgrimage destinations in the country. It is one of the seven sacred cities of the Hindus. Many Hindu scriptures, including the Rig-Veda, Skanda Purana, the Ramayana, and the Mahabharata, mention the city. It is believed that a dip in the Ganges in Varanasi can wash your sins and a mere cremation here is enough for salvation. Thus, the dream of every Hindu is to be burnt to ashes in this holy city after death. Go to the Ghats in the evening, to enjoy the sight of the breathtaking Ganga Aarti, a truly enriching experience.

Meals :: B L D
 
 
Day 6: Feb 4, 2013, Varanasi – Sarnath – Varanasi 
Go to the Ganges early in the morning for a boat ride and a sightseeing tour of the city. Watch the city wake up to the holy chimes, a unique experience to savor forever. Go back to the hotel for breakfast and spend a leisurely morning.

In the afternoon, visit Sarnath where Lord Buddha preached his first sermon on the ’middle way’ to nirvana. A major Buddhist centre, Sarnath lies 10 kilometers north east of Varanasi. In 234 BC, Emperor Asoka, a follower of Buddhism, erected a stupa. Between the 3rd century BC and the 11th century AD, several Buddhist structures were built in Sarnath. Most of these monuments are set in large gardens, making it quite pleasant for a visitor to spend time here. Return to the hotel to spend the night.

Meals :: B L D
 
 
Day 7: Feb 5, 2013, Varanasi – Allahabad 
After breakfast, drive to Allahabad (130 Km. / 3.5 hr. approx) and check in at well laid tents on arrival.

Allahabad (City of God in Persian), or Prayag, is a city in the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Allahabad is one of the fastest growing cities in India at present. It is located 238 kilometers south of the state capital Lucknow. It is believed to be the spot where Brahma offered his first sacrifice after creating the world. It is one of four sites where the Kumbh Mela, the mass Hindu pilgrimage, is celebrated. It is an important pilgrimage center for Hindus because it is situated at the Triveni Sangam, the confluence of the holy rivers Ganges and Yamuna, and the ancient Saraswati River.

The Prayag (Allahabad) Kumbh Mela is the largest and holiest and believed to be the most auspicious. The Purna (complete) Kumbh or Maha Kumbh, the biggest and the most auspicious fair, which falls once every 12 years, is always held in Allahabad. Ardha Kumbh Mela is held every 6th year and the Magh Mela is the annual version of the Kumbh. The main bathing days are known as Shahi Snans or Auspicious Bathing Days. Kumbh Mela will be held in 2013 from 27th January to 25th February in Allahabad after 12 years. The auspicious bathing dates are 27th Jan, 6th Feb, 10th Feb, 15th Feb, 17th Feb, 18th Feb and 25th Feb. On important bathing dates, lakhs of pilgrims bathe on the banks of the holy Sangam.

Meals :: B L D
 
 
Day 8: Feb 6, 2013, Allahabad 
Although the origins of the Kumbh Mela are shrouded in antiquity, it is a major event for the Hindus. The major activity at the fair—bathing on the banks of a river—is primitive at best; the reason why it is held can be traced back to the myth about the churning of the ocean by gods and demons, to produce nectar. The word Kumbh means pot or pitcher and Mela is a festival in Sanskrit. Thus, this is the festival of the pot. Again, the date when this festival is celebrated is not known, but foreign travelers in the ancient period were always fascinated by it. Hiuen Tsang mentioned it in his accounts of his travels in India. Adi Sankara, the great Indian saint, made it a popular celebration in the 8th century. Do take a dip in the holy Ganges and experience sublime bliss. Other activities include religious discussions, devotional singing, mass feeding of holy men and women and the poor, and religious assemblies where doctrines are debated and standardized. The sadhus are seen clad in saffron sheets with ashes and powder dabbed on their skin. Some, called naga sanyasis, may not wear any clothes even in severe winter.

Meals :: B L D
 
 
Day 9: Feb 7, 2013, Allahabad – Khajuraho 
After breakfast, drive to Khajuraho (300 Km. / 7.5 Hr. approx.) and enjoy a packed lunch en-route. Depending on the number. of people on board, there may be an astrologer to spend time with each individual, providing insight into what the future holds. On arrival, check in at the hotel and relax. In the evening enjoy the Kandaria Dance Show, a performance of Indian dance, showcasing the rich Indian Culture.

Meals :: B L D
 
 
Day 10: Feb 8, 2013, Khajuraho – Delhi – Amritsar 
After breakfast, spend half the day visiting the Eastern and Western groups of temples, built by the Chandela kings. These 10th to 12th century masterpieces are categorized intore are three groups of temples—eastern, western and southern—that are decorated with erotic sculptures. The temple carvings are a living testimonial of the life and culture in the days of the Chandela rule. The largest is the Kandaria Mahadev Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. Go to the airport for the flight to Delhi and enjoy a snack lunch during the flight. On arrival in Delhi; connect to board the flight for Amritsar. On arrival, drive to your hotel and check in.

Meals :: B L D
 
 
Day 11: Feb 9, 2013, Amritsar - Wagah Border (28 Km. / less than an hour one way) 
After breakfast; spend the day sightseeing in Amritsar. Visit the Golden Temple or Harmandir Saheb, the holiest shrine for the Sikhs, so called because the entire upper half was inlaid with copper covered by gold plate. The architecture of the Golden Temple is a blend of Hindu and Muslim styles.

The Durgiana Mandir, dedicated to the Hindu goddess Durga, and the Baba Atal Rai Tower are some of the main tourist attractions in Amritsar.

Jallianwala Bagh is a public garden in Amritsar that houses a memorial of national importance, to commemorate the murder of peaceful celebrators on the occasion of the Punjabi New Year on April 13, 1919 in the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre. The official British sources placed the fatalities at 379, with 1100 wounded.

Enjoy lunch at the hotel followed by a short rest.

Wagah is the only border crossing between India and Pakistan. Observe the Retreat ceremony, carried out with great pomp and circumstance on both sides of the border. This is when the guards are changed and the flags are ceremonially lowered.

Meals :: B L D
 
 
Day 12: Feb 10, 2013, Amritsar – Delhi (by flight) 
After breakfast; go to the Amritsar airport to board the flight for Delhi. When you arrive in Delhi, go to your hotel for lunch. Later visit the Qutub Minar, the world's tallest brick tower at 72.5 meters (237.8 ft). It was constructed by the earliest Sultans of Delhi and is a prominent example of Indo-Islamic architecture. It is surrounded by several other ancient and medieval structures and ruins, collectively known as the Qutub complex. End with an introduction to Yoga at an Ashram or at the hotel by a spiritual master. Enjoy the evening, relax at leisure in the hotel.

End the night at a Gay Party with a small selection of people in a night club.

Meals :: B L
 
 
Day 13: Feb 11, 2013, Leave Delhi 
After breakfast, enjoy the morning at leisure. In the late afternoon, drive across the Yamuna River to visit the newly built, lavish Akshardham Temple, designed in the north Indian style. The intricately hand-carved stone temple was built by 11,000 artisans over five years. Enjoy an escorted heritage walk in the historic Lodhi Gardens- a real haven of tranquility and peace from the hustle and bustle of Delhi. Spread over 90 acres, it contains architectural works associated with the 15th century Sayyids and Lodhis.

In the evening, go to a hotel close to the airport, where you can wash and change. You are given a farewell dinner by a pinkEscapes executive at an upscale authentic Indian restaurant before proceeding to the airport in time to board your flight. Enjoy the flight back home reminiscing about your Vibrant India Experience, longing to return again soon!

Meals :: B L D
 
 
Contact us for reservations & more details. All Experiences can be tailor-made to suit your interests and travel preferences…
Day City Hotels
1DelhiRadisson Blu / Hyatt Regency
2DelhiRadisson Blu / Hyatt Regency
3BodhgayaLotus Nikko / Royal Residency
4BodhgayaLotus Nikko / Royal Residency
5VaranasiRadisson / Ramada Plaza
6VaranasiRadisson / Ramada Plaza
7AllahabadTent
8AllahabadTent
9KhajurahoRadisson
10AmritsarRadisson / Ista
11AmritsarRadisson / Ista
12DelhiRadisson Blu / Hyatt Regency
13DelhiRadisson Blu for wash & change
Contact us for reservations & more details. All Experiences can be tailor-made to suit your interests and travel preferences…
:: Glimpse of Nepal

Home to eight of the ten highest mountains in the world, this landlocked country offers picturesque mountain scenery and many opportunities for trekking and climbing enthusiasts, as well as a rich blend of Buddhism and Hinduism, masked folk dances and colorful festivals for those with a cultural inclination.

Duration: 4 Nights

Destinations: 1 Night Delhi, 3 Nights Kathmandu

Theme: Heritage & Adventure

:: Experience the Wonder, Taj Mahal

This symbol of an emperor’s love for his wife is well worth a visit. Wonder of India, wonder of the world—a living evidence of Love!!

Duration: 1 Night

Destinations: Delhi-Agra-Delhi (Day Trip)

Theme: Heritage (World Wonder)

:: Mesmerizing Triangle

Delhi—home to several empires—Turkish, Mughal and British; Agra—seat of Mughal power well into the 17th century and Jaipur—the Pink City, built by Maharajah Jai Singh, designer of several observatories. These three cities provide a vivid illustration of the culture that developed under Delhi’s Turkish sultans, Agra’s Mughal emperors and Jaipur’s Rajput kings, who finally made peace with the Mughals.

Duration: 3 Nights

Destinations: 1 Night Agra, 2 Nights Jaipur

Theme: Heritage, Culture & Cuisine

Contact us for reservations & more details. All Experiences can be tailor-made to suit your interests and travel preferences…
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