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Sacred India 13 Days 2017 & 2018

Visits: Delhi – Varanasi - Khajuraho – Orchha - Agra - Fatehpur Sikri – Jaipur - Delhi

Highlight Features: UNESCO

  Red Fort Jama Masjid
  SARNATH River Ganges
  Taj Mahal Fatehpur Sikri
  Agra Fort Amber Fort
  Jantar Mantar
* Highlight features are subject to change according to final itinerary.

*Please select the departure year :
 
2017 | 2018

The following meals are included: B = Breakfast   L = Lunch   D = Dinner

Day 1: Canada – stops
Depart from Canada by overnight international flight for destination to Delhi.

Day 2: stops - Delhi
Upon arrival, welcome by our representative along with your tour guide for the whole tour and transfer to your hotel and a warm welcome at the airport with Garlands.
Hotel: Vivanta By Taj Dwarka (5 stars) or similar

Day 3: Delhi (B D)
Breakfast at the hotel and have a good rest in the morning. In the afternoon, drive past Red Fort (Closed on Mondays). Opposite the Red Fort lies Jama Masjid (India's largest mosque) made of red sandstone and white marble, completed in 1656 at a cost of one million Rupees has perfect proportions. Then enjoy the Rickshaw Ride in the bazaars of Old Delhi. Return to hotel for dinner.

Day 4: Delhi – Varanasi (Flight) (B D)
After breakfast, transfer to airport for flight to Varanasi. Upon arrival, transfer and have dinner in the hotel.
Varanasi, also commonly known as Benaras, is the oldest living city in the world. It is situated on the banks of holy river Ganges. The culture of Varanasi is closely associated with the river Ganges and the river's religious importance. People often refer to Varanasi as "the city of temples," and "the holy city of India," As American writer Mark Twain wrote, "Benares is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together."
Hotel: Hotel Hindustan International (4 stars) or similar

Day 5: Varanasi (B L D)
Early morning transfer to the river Ghat for the boat ride on the sacred river Ganges to see the cremation ghats and witness the living traditions of one of the world’s oldest and most important religions. Board a boat with your guide and proceed to the middle of the river, where at sunrise the sight unfolds before you. While walking down visit Vishwanath Temple – Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple is the most sacred shrine in Varanasi. After the early tours, return back to the hotel for breakfast.
After lunch at the hotel, excursion to visit SARNATH, a Mecca of Buddhism.
Later, walk in the old town in the evening and stroll on the ghats where at sunset, you will attend the "Puja Ceremony". The Brahmin priests, oil lamps in hand, praying in front of the Ganges, and bless the pilgrims. Back to hotel for dinner.

Day 6: Varanasi - Khajuraho (Flight) (B L D)
After breakfast in the hotel, transfer to the airport for flight to Khajuraho. Upon arrival, transfer and have lunch at the hotel.
Khajuraho - The city was once the original capital of the Chandela Rajputs, a Hindu dynasty that ruled this part of India from the 10th to the 12th centuries. The Khajuraho temples were built over a span of a hundred years, from 950 to 1050.
Unlike other cultural centers of North India, the temples of Khajuraho never underwent massive destruction and a number of them have survived. They are fine examples of Indian architectural styles that have gained popularity due to their salacious depiction of the traditional way of life during medieval times.
Afternoon tour of Khajuraho temples - constructed with spiral superstructures, adhere to a northern Indian shikhara temple style and often to a Panchayatana plan or layout. Return to hotel for dinner.
Hotel: Radisson (5 stars) or similar

Day 7: Khajuraho – Orchha – Jhansi – Agra (Train) (B L D)
Morning after breakfast, transfer to Jhansi Railway Station (180 Kms/4 hrs) enroute visiting Orchha. Lunch at Orchha. Later transfer to the railway station for connect train to Agra. Depart by SHATABDI EXPRESS from JHANSI.
Arrive Agra Railway station at night. Upon arrival, transfer and have dinner at hotel.
Hotel: Ramada Plaza (5 stars) or similar

Day 8: Agra (B L D)
After breakfast in hotel, visit Taj Mahal (Closed on Fridays) the most famous monument of India, classified by UNESCO in 1983. This graceful and moving mausoleum was built by Emperor Shah Jahan, "King of the World" in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died in 1631 at the birth of their 14th child. The best workers were recruited from all over India and Central Asia, the Bordeaux artist, Venice participated in its decoration.
After the visit, lunch at the local restaurant. Visit Agra Fort (1565-1573). This huge red sandstone fortress was begun by Emperor Akbar. Standing majestically on the banks of the Yamuna. Then transfer back to hotel for dinner.
OPTIONAL ACTIVITY: (CAD 60 p.p.)
Content: Witness the Indian heritage come alive –“Mohabbat-te-taj” show in Agra. The Sanskritik Natyashala presents ‘Mohabbat-the-Taj’ – a series of play depicting the saga of love. The true and immortal love of Shajahan for Mumtaj Mahal, represents the lavish lifestyle of mughal era; emaculate hardship of the artisans for 22 years that created the most precious specimen of craftsmanship... ‘Mohabbat-the-Taj’ at ‘Kalakriti is exceptionally inviting. The effort to hold up the cultural and historical legacy of India is worth a glance.

Day 9: Agra – Fatehpur Sikri – Jaipur (Coach) (B L D)
After breakfast in hotel, on Route towards Jaipur and en route visit Fatehpur Sikri and visit the magnificent fortified ghost town. It is a very interesting testimony, both historically and architecturally, a brilliant Mughal city. Lunch during the course of the route towards Jaipur. Upon arrival in Jaipur, transfer and have dinner at hotel.
Jaipur –It is a planned city built with ancient Hindu rules as the colonial capital of a richly colorful state. The whole city was painted pink to welcome the visit of Prince Albert in 1853. Evening, enjoy the Rickshaw Ride to have the first glimpses of Bustling.
Hotel: Radisson Blu (5 stars) or similar

Day 10: Jaipur (B L D)
After breakfast, visit Amber Fort with Elephant or Jeep ride. The Amber Fort was built in 1592 by Raja Man Singh, is one of the finest examples of Rajput architecture. Then take a photo stop at the palace of winds the Hawa Mahal.
Then visit the City Palace. Among the various forts and palaces of Jaipur, City Palace stands apart, with its outstanding art and architecture. Then continue to visit Jantar Mantar (1728-34) by king astrologer Jai Singh II. Lunch in an ancient haveli during the visit with a puppet Show. Afternoon, free time for Shopping and visit the Carpet and jewellery factories.
Transfer and have dinner at hotel.

Day 11: Jaipur – Delhi (Coach) (B L)
After breakfast at hotel, en route for coach to Delhi. Lunch during the course of the route towards Delhi. Upon arrival, free time to visit the bazaars Or Local markets.
Hotel: Vivanta By Taj Dwarka (5 stars) or similar

Day 12: Delhi – stops (B L D)
After breakfast in hotel, commence to visit the Raj Ghat on the banks of the river Yamuna, Mahatma Gandhi's Memorial, where he was cremated following his assassination in January 1948. Lunch in local restaurant. Later, the tour will drive past Rashtrapati Bhawan once the Viceroy's residence is now the official residence of the President of India. Stops at India Gate for photo, and visit the Humayun’s Tomb, An early example of Mughal architecture considered the predecessor of the Taj Mahal. Return to hotel for dinner. After dinner, transfer to airport for flights back home.

Day 13: stops – Canada
In transition back to your sweet home. End of trip.















*Please select the departure year :
2017 | 2018

* International round-trip business class flights are available with an additional fee of CAD4,500 p.p. (Not applicable for international flight ticket self-managed option);
* Guaranteed departure from at least 15 people in a group.
* Please note that infant (under age 2 at the return date of trip) does not have his/her own seat on the plane.
* Full payment required at booking to benefit from this tour (Final Sale, non refundable).
* The above prices are for Montreal / Vancouver / Toronto departures only. The prices will be $100/ $200 /$300 / $500 more for departures from other major North America cities.
* Please note that most travellers need a valid entry document such as visa to visit destination countries. Sinorama holds no liability for the customs delay or rejection.

Price valid until September 26 2017

 
Price includes:
* International and domestic flights;
* Domestic transportation (train, coach);
* 4-5 stars hotel accommodation (based on double occupancy);
* Meals mentioned in the itinerary and featuring regional specialties;
* All visits and admission fees including entertainment shows listed unless otherwise stated;
* Service charge for all guides, bus drivers and hotel porter fees;
* English speaking guide;
* Taxes and fuel surcharges;
Price does not include:
* India Visa Application fee;
* Optional tour in Agra Mohabbat-te-taj Show (CAD), CAD60 p.p. (any payment made after departure, the price will be CAD70 p.p.);
* Tips including Restaurant & Others (Rickshaw Ride/Restaurants/Camel/Elephant/Boat/Jeep/etc.) payable in local
* Postal fees;
* Travel insurance.
Arts and crafts in India:
Handcrafted marble products, Carpets and Jewellery

Vivanta by Taj - Dwarka New Delhi

Located in Dwarka, directly connected to the heart of the city. With easy access to the Sector 21 Metro station. As one of the most opulent business hotels in New Delhi, it aims to change the face of business, in a space where you can work and play seamlessly. Spanning 7 acres, Vivanta by Taj – Dwarka, New Delhi is one of the best 5-star hotels near New Delhi airport. It wraps you in luxury the minute you step in. The stylish space is home to a chic lobby, never-ending rooms and multiple outlets for the finest culinary experiences. You are never far from the city. A 20-minute drive eastward leads you to the heart and soul of the city – Lutyens' New Delhi! And the domestic and international airports are an easy 15-minute drive westward. Everything you need, and then some, around every corner. This hotel features 2 restaurants, a full-service spa, an outdoor pool, a fitness center, a bar/lounge, and a coffee shop/café are onsite.

 

Radisson Hotel Varanasi

Situated in what is considered the spiritual capital of India, Radisson Hotel Varanasi is ideally located for visiting nearby shrines and temples. The hotel lies less than four miles from the River Ganges and the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, also known as the “Golden Temple.” At the hotel, you can enjoy a restful sleep in comfortable rooms and then consult the 24-hour travel desk assistant to help you plan your day. The in-house spa provides a variety of facial and body treatments. Additional amenities include a casual restaurant, a cafe, a coffee shop and a cosy bar. There's also an outdoor pool, a hot tub, a gym and a spa with massages (fee).

 

Hotel Hindustan International

Ideal for fun and relaxation, Hotel Hindusthan International is located in the Cantonment area of Varanasi. The excitement of the city center is only 1.0 km away. A well-kempt environment and its proximity to Seasons by Surekha Arts, Muslim Silk Factory, IP Mall give to this hotel a special charm.

Hotel Hindusthan International offers impeccable service and all the essential amenities to invigorate travelers. The hotel offers access to a vast array of services, including 24-hour room service, facilities for disabled guests, Wi-Fi in public areas, valet parking, car park.

The ambiance of Hotel Hindusthan International is reflected in every guestroom. television LCD/plasma screen, non smoking rooms, air conditioning, desk, mini bar are just some of the facilities that can be found throughout the property. The hotel's recreational facilities, which include outdoor pool, spa are designed for escape and relaxation. Superb facilities and an excellent location make the Hotel Hindusthan International the perfect base from which to enjoy your stay in Varanasi.

 

Radisson Hotel Khajuraho (4.5 Stars)

Make your escape to the 5-star Radisson Hotel Khajuraho, a luxury property offering everything you need for an exceptional stay. The 86 guest rooms and 4 suites at our hotel are surrounded by lush gardens and beautiful scenery and provide unparalleled comfort and style. The Radisson Khajuraho hotel also features a multi-cuisine restaurant, a full bar and two conference halls. The airport, railway station, marketplace and world heritage temple complex are all just four kilometers away.

 

Ramada Plaza Agra

With its ideal location, Ramada Plaza Agra offers you world-class hospitality in a traditional and exotic ambiance of the Mughal legacy. Spacious rooms, a delightful range of in-house dining venues, Swimming Pool, Spa, Club, Lounge, Fitness Center, a captive Retail Shopping area is modern conveniences offered for leisure & business travelers, that makes Ramada Plaza Agra undoubtedly the preferred choice to stay in the city. With the spectacular vistas that cover Agra's skyline, Ramada Plaza Agra is undoubtedly the preferred and convenient hotel in the city of Agra. The warmly decorated rooms feature free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, minifridges and wet bars, as well as tea and coffeemaking facilities.

 


Indian Cuisine
Indian cuisine encompasses a wide variety of regional cuisines native to India. Given the range of diversity in soil type, climate and occupations, these cuisines vary significantly from each other and use locally available spices, herbs, meat, vegetables, and fruits. Indian food is also heavily influenced by religious and cultural choices.

The development of these cuisines has been shaped by Hindu and Jain beliefs, and in particular by vegetarianism, which is a growing dietary trend in Indian society. There has also been Persian influence on North Indian cuisine from the years of Mughal and Delhi Sultanate rule. Indian cuisine has been and is still evolving, as a result of the nation's cultural interactions with other societies.

Historical incidents such as foreign invasions, trade relations and colonialism have also played a role in introducing certain foods to the country. For instance, potato, a staple of North Indian diet was brought to India by the Portuguese, who also introduced chilies and breadfruit. Indian cuisine has also shaped the history of international relations; the spice trade between India and Europe is often cited by historians as the primary catalyst for Europe's Age of Discovery. Spices were bought from India and traded around Europe and Asia. It has also influenced other cuisines across the world, especially those from Southeast Asia, the British Isles and the Caribbean.

 

Ingredients:
Staple foods of Indian cuisine include pearl millet (bajra), rice, whole-wheat flour (atta), and a variety of lentils, especially masoor (most often red lentils), toor (pigeon pea), urad (black gram), and moong (mung bean). Lentils may be used whole, dehusked—for example, dhuli moong or dhuli urad—or split. Split lentils, or dal, are used extensively. Some pulses, such as channa (chickpea), Rajma or kidney beans, lobiya are very common, especially in the northern regions. Channa and mung, are also processed into flour (besan).

Many Indian dishes are cooked in vegetable oil, but peanut oil is popular in northern and western India, mustard oil in eastern India, and coconut oil along the western coast, especially in Kerala. Gingelly (sesame) oil is common in the south since it imparts a fragrant nutty aroma. In recent decades, sunflower and soybean oils have become popular across India. Hydrogenated vegetable oil, known as Vanaspati ghee, is another popular cooking medium. Butter-based ghee, or desi ghee, is used frequently, though less than in the past.

 

Lentils are a staple ingredient in Indian cuisine
The most important and frequently used spices and flavourings in Indian cuisine are whole or powdered chilli pepper (mirch) (introduced by the Portuguese in the 16th century), black mustard seed (sarso), cardamom (elaichi), cumin (jeera), turmeric (haldi), asafoetida (hing), ginger (adrak), coriander (dhania), and garlic (lehsun).[19] One popular spice mix is garam masala, a powder that typically includes five or more dried spices, especially cardamom, cinnamon (dalchini), and clove.Each culinary region has a distinctive garam masala blend—individual chefs may also have their own. Goda masala is a comparable, though sweet, spice mix popular in Maharashtra. Some leaves commonly used for flavouring include bay (tejpat), coriander, fenugreek, and mint leaves. The use of curry leaves and roots for flavouring is typical of Gujarati and South Indian cuisine. Sweet dishes are often seasoned with cardamom, saffron, nutmeg, and rose petal essences.

 
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Handcrafted marble products

Marble has been one of the most popular choices of material for crafting statues since ancient times. Marble sculptures are not only sturdy and durable; they are elegant and sophisticated as well.

Marble is naturally occurring limestone. In India, marble has been quarried in various places. Marble deposits are most widespread in Rajasthan and Gujarat. They are also found in Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana and Maharashtra. Marble is sometimes stained. It is commonly held that the best quality marble has no or very few stains. A skilled artisan learns to incorporate naturally present stains in his marble sculptures.

In India, marble craftsmen do not restrict themselves to pure white marble. They make beautiful statues of green marble, red marble, black marble as well as gray marble.

Though it is perhaps true to a certain extent that marble statues in India are not as widely popular as those made of bronze and brass , wood and stones like soapstone, granite and sandstone, it is also true that when and where they are sculpted, they are a delight to behold. The most popular marble sculptures in India are those of Hindu gods and goddesses . These Hindu statues are placed in temples, as well as in religious shrines at home. They are also popular as decorative items. Statues of mythological figures and saints are also crafted in marble. Marble is also used to sculpt Buddhist statues and Christian figures.

Jewellery

The value of a gemstone lies in its beauty of cut, color and ability to refract light. Accordingly, they have been classified into precious (cardinal) and semi-precious gemstones. It is but natural that the cost of silver gemstone jewelry depends on the type and value of the gemstone used.

Traditionally, the diamond, ruby, sapphire, emerald and amethyst were considered precious gemstones. There are almost 130 minerals that have been cut into gems, and about 50 of these are commonly used in gemstone jewelry and for other purposes. Today, the term ‘gem' has become more fluid, and it includes certain organic materials like pearl, ivory, coral, bone, amber, ammolite and jet.

Gemstones are set in jewelry, and other artifacts as well for reasons apart from their attractiveness. Many gemstones are considered to possess religious and medicinal significance. It is also interesting that every calendar month is associated with a particular gemstone, and this is called the birthstone of the month. A lot of silver gemstone jewelry is fashioned and marketed keeping this in mind.

Textile Handicrafts

Heritage of textile in India. In India textile enjoys a rich heritage and the origin of textiles in India traces back to the Indus valley Civilization where people used homespun cotton for weaving their clothes. Rigveda, the earliest of the Veda contains the literary information about textiles and it refers to weaving. Ramayana and Mahabharata, the eminent Indian epics depict the existence of wide variety of fabrics in ancient India. These epics refer both to rich and stylized garment worn by the aristocrats and ordinary simple clothes worn by the common people. The contemporary Indian textile not only reflects the splendid past but also cater to the requirements of the modern times. The rich tradition of textile in India has been favored by a number of factors. The favorable factors leading to the extensive growth of textile tradition in India follows.

Each and every region of India contributes in creating a myriad of textile tradition. The hilly region of the country produces a rich variety of woolen textiles. The pashmina and shahtoosh shawls of Kashmir, shawls and woolen garments of Himachal Pradesh and other north eastern states provides excellent examples of world famous woolen Indian textiles. The barren and semi barren regions like Rajasthan and Gujarat usually prefers embroidered bright colored textiles. The coastal areas of the south eastern regions prefer light colored fabrics and particularly cotton and silk textiles are very popular over here. The home furnishing utilitarian textile products like bedspreads and sheets, pillows and cushions, linens and mats, curtains and napkins, carpets and rugs and many such other items are produced by all parts of the country.


Classical India Dance

Classical dance in India has developed a type of dance-drama that is a form of a total theater. The dancer acts out a story almost exclusively through gestures. Most of the classical dances enact stories from Hindu mythology. Each form represents the culture and ethos of a particular region or a group of people.

The criteria for being considered as classical is the style's adherence to the guidelines laid down in Natyashastra, which explains the Indian art of acting. The Sangeet Natak Akademi currently confers classical status on eight Indian classical dance styles: Bharatanatyam (Tamil Nadu), Kathak (North India), Kathakali (Kerala), Kuchipudi (Andhra Pradesh), Manipuri (Manipur), Mohiniyattam (Kerala), Odissi (Odisha), and Sattriya (Assam).

The tradition of dance has been codified in the Natyashastra and a performance is considered accomplished if it manages to evoke a rasa by invoking a particular bhava (emotion). Classical dance is distinguished from folk dance because it has been regulated by the rules of the Natyashastra and all classical dances are performed only in accordance with them.

Bharatanatyam

Dating back to 1000 BCE, Bharatanatyam is a classical dance form the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, practiced predominantly in modern times by women. The dance is usually accompanied by classical Carnatic music. Its inspirations come from the sculptures of the ancient temple of Chidambaram. It was codified and documented as a performing art in the 19th century by four brothers known as the Thanjavur Quartet whose musical compositions for dance form the bulk of the Bharatanatya repertoire even today.

Kathakali

Kathakali (katha, “story”; kali, “performance”) is a highly stylized classical dance-drama form which originated from Kerala in the 17th century. This classical dance form is particularly noticed for dancer's elaborate costume, towering head gear, billowing skirts, and long silver nails. Recent developments in Kathakali over the years include improved looks, refined gestures and added themes besides more ornate singing and precise drumming. Kathakali is performed regularly at festivals in temples, at cultural shows for connoisseurs and also at international events, occasionally in fusion dance experiments.

Kathak
Originating from north Indian states, in ancient Indian temples brahmin priests (pandits) used to narrate the stories of gods and goddesses through dance, they were known as ((kathakar)) and the dance came to be known as "kathak". Kathak traces its origins to the nomadic bards of ancient northern India, known as Kathaks, or storytellers. Its form today contains traces of temple and ritual dances, and the influence of the bhakti movement.[24] From the 16th century onwards it absorbed certain features of Persian dance and Central Asian dance which were imported by the royal courts of the Mughal era. There are three major schools or gharanas of Kathak from which performers today generally draw their lineage: the gharanas of Benares, Jaipur and kathak.

Odissi
Odissi, also known as Orissi, is one of the eight classical dance forms of India. It originates from the state of Odisha, in eastern India. It is the oldest surviving dance form of India on the basis of archaeological evidences. There are mainly three books of Odissi. The classic treatise of Indian dance, Natya Shastra, refers to it as Odra-Magadhi. 1st century BCE bas-reliefs in the hills of Udaygiri (near Bhubaneshwar) testify to its antiquity. It was suppressed under the British Raj, but has been reconstructed since India gained independence. It is particularly distinguished from other classical Indian dance forms by the importance it places upon the Tribhangi (literally: three parts break), the independent movement of head, chest and pelvis and upon the basic square stance known as Chauka or Chouka that symbolizes Lord Jagannath. This dance is characterized by various Bhangas (Stance), which involves stamping of the foot and striking various postures as seen in Indian sculptures. The common Bhangas are Bhanga, Abhanga, Atibhanga and Tribhanga.

Sattriya
Sattriya, or Sattriya Nritya, is one among eight principal classical Indian dance traditions. Whereas some of the other traditions have been revived in the recent past, Sattriya has remained a living tradition since its creation by the founder of Vaishnavism in Assam, the great saint Srimanta Sankardeva, in 15th century Assam. Satriya dance performance at Guwahati Rabindra Bhawan.Sankardeva created Sattriya Nritya as an accompaniment to the Ankia Naat (a form of Assamese one-act plays devised by him), which were usually performed in the sattras, as Assam's monasteries are called. As the tradition developed and grew within the sattras, the dance form came to be called Sattriya Nritya. Today, although Sattriya Nritya has emerged from within the confines of the sattras to a much wider recognition, the sattras continue to use the dance form for ritualistic and other purposes for which it was originally created circa 500 years ago. It also has recently become one of the Indian Classical Dances.


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