Would you like to see more of North India but don't feel like doing it all on your own? Would you like to visit different cities in the company of an experienced Indian traveller who knows local culture, language and the best places to visit? This Colourful Culture Retreat could be just right for you!
It is a fun two-week trip which gives you the opportunity to explore 11 cities in three different states, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. And that all in no hurry but relaxed, with time to spend at the Ashram in between. A trip for experiencing different facets of India, exploring the country and getting to know its people. Guided by Purnendu, who has extensively travelled along the road of this trip, you experience how culture can be fun and you will have lots of possibilities to explore ancient as well as modern India.
This is the travelling plan:
On the first day of your retreat, you get to arrive in the Ashram and just adjust to the climate and the time zone.
The travelling starts now - we are off to Gwalior where we will have time to see the Fort before we settle in for the evening. Gwalior is an important city of Indian history - because of its central location many kings decided to rule from there. You can see how the city changed by looking at its amazing architecture. Especially Gwalior Fort is worth the visit and you will get a panorama view onto the city.
We will spend the first part of the day visiting the town and of course another sight of Gwalior, the palace of the Scindia reign. When we had enough of the impressive historical city, we will start again towards Khajuraho.
This day will be dedicated completely to Khajuraho and its temples. You will get to visit the extensive temple area and see the Kamasutra statues in the decoration of the temples. Admire the detail and art of ancient builders! You can explore the temples and the shops around them and in the evening enjoy a light show telling of the Chandela dynasty who built the impressive temples with its sculptures.
On this day we will start early in the morning so that we have a chance to see some of the Indian wildlife of the Panna National Park. Hopefully we get some nice pictures on our safari before we move on to Panna Falls, a waterfall in beautiful scenery. Enjoy nature pure on this day of your retreat! In the evening we will reach Orchha and will take in the beautiful scenery of this town by the Betwa river.
We will use the morning to explore the ancient town of Orchha with its temple. On this day we will return to Vrindavan but not without a stop in Jhansi, another historical town with an impressive fort. Reaching the Ashram in the evening we may be tired from the travel but full of amazing impressions of our trip.
We will take this day to just enjoy relaxing at the Ashram, without having to go anywhere, sleeping long, sitting in the garden, reading, talking or just letting the mind travel to the places you have seen or anticipating the places you are still going to see.
We will spend this day in the surrounding of Vrindavan. We will go to Barsana, a pilgrimage town in which the Hindu Goddess Radha is said to have spent her childhood. It lies on a hill top and a visit of its beautiful temple will give you a nice view onto the surrounding. Goverdhan, too, is a popular pilgrimage town with its most important sight being the Goverdhan hill. Listen to an old mystic story of Hinduism while visiting this sight.
We will rise early again today to take the Parikrama, the pilgrimage way around Vrindavan. It will give you a good impression of the town from its four sides. You will walk by the more touristic places, guesthouses and temples as well as the huts and houses of the local inhabitants, seeing how Vrindavan wakes up. In sunset time we will go to sit by the Yamuna - at Kheshi Ghat where every evening a ceremony takes place. If you wish, you can buy a candle and let it float down the river together with your wishes.
This day is dedicated for our trip to the third state that you will visit during this retreat: Rajasthan. In this state which is famous for its many kings in the past, we will go to see the summer residence of one of them, the Deeg Jal Mahal. It is a palace with many fountains, water channels and basins surrounding it which were in summer filled with water so that it remained cool in the heat. We will take a trip back in time visiting this ancient palace.
After our day out we will again enjoy some local sightseeing. Vrindavan is called the town of 5000 temples - but we don't need to visit them all! The main ones are enough for you to see where Hindu pilgrims come to worship. You will get a tour through Nidhivan, the garden in which the Hindu God Krishna is said to dance with his beloved every night. And on this day you will have plenty of time to enjoy the colourful bazaars and do some shopping if you like.
The next biggest town to Vrindavan is Mathura where we will spend this day of the retreat. You get to visit the birth place of Krishna and see the old town of Mathura, reaching the river Yamuna again. Vishram Ghat is where we will go down to the river. In the archaeological museum of Mathura you get to see artifacts from the area.
And this day will just be the icing on the cake of our retreat. A day in Agra, visiting the Red Fort, an impressive building that makes you go back in history once more, living among the Mogul kings. In Fatehpur Sikri we will get to see a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a complex of a mosque and a palace next to each other that makes you wonder how this great architecture was made without any of today's modern methods. This seems to be a miracle when we reach the impressive world wonder of the Taj Mahal. A tribute to love, probably the most popular tomb in the world - let its breathtaking view give you memories for a lifetime!
It is your last day - relax a bit or get the last gifts for those at home, say goodbye to the other participants and the Ashram family and take off with your mind filled with fascinating impressions of this country and culture.
This journey is flexible in dates - cost will be published soon.
The retreat includes food, accommodation in double rooms and the travelling expenses.
Entry tickets at the sights and the ticket for the Panna Safari are not included in the price.
Of course you can feel free to stay longer at the Ashram or come before the retreat starts. For this option, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
In order to book for the holiday an advanced payment of 50% has to be made.
For only 100 Euro we can arrange your transport from and to the airport in Delhi. Simply let us know if you need this service.
Please do not forget to get a (tourist) visa for your stay. We recommend booking your flight early as the fees increase the later you will book.
Directly after this cultural retreat you have the possibility to take part in our Chakra Retreat - and get a discount! Let us know if you are interested.
Shree Bindu Sewa Sansthan is a registered charitable trust and all profit of this retreat will go to our Children Charity projects.