VEGNEWS GREAT ADVENTURE TO INDIA WITH VEGVOYAGES
13 – Day India Adventure
13 – Day India Adventure
VegNews invites you to take a journey of a lifetime on the VegNews Great Adventure to India with VegVoyages! On this exciting adventure, we’ll explore the rugged and magical state of Rajasthan, India. This ancient land of princely kingdoms has occupied the minds of mystics, romantics, conquerors, poets and authors for centuries. The mysteries of the That Desert—the fourth largest desert in the world—will come to life as we journey into the harsh and unforgiving landscapes of a region steeped in tales and legends. We’ll explore opulent palaces, ancient citadels, sacred temples, magnificent forts, and remote rural villages and experience the “real” Rajasthan as we take in all the must-see sights as well as spend plenty of time off-the-beaten-track.
The VegNews Great Adventure to India with VegVoyages will take us from India’s bustling and ever-growing capitol New Delhi to the stunning Taj Mahal— perhaps one of the world’s most famous monuments and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World—then we’re off deep into the hinterlands of the desert. From the urban hustle and bustle of Delhi to remote off-the-beaten-track villages, VegNews invites you to experience India as few have the opportunity to do … Feel like royalty as we stay in a private residential palace, learn the ancient ways of the environmentalist Bishnois, capture the spiritual essence of one of the world’s greatest and oldest religions—Hinduism—and feast on sumptuous local vegan delicacies all along the way. The adventure also includes yoga lessons, treks, language lessons, cultural programs, live local music and dance, a vegan Rajasthani cooking class, and much more.
VegNews Travel Editor and VegVoyages Adventure Leaders
12 nights accommodations (combinations of hotel, Maharajah’s palace, Desert Palace and Lakeside Mansion)
* Airport pick up is provided if you arrive a day or two earlier than the tour date. If you would be arriving three days or more early, please arrange for your own airport pick up.
International airfare, airport departure transfer, visa for India, personal travel insurance, gratuities and items of a personal nature.
|TOUR DATE||March 4 – 16|
|START TIME/END TIME||Starts at 4:30 PM|
Ends at 3:30 PM
Namaste! Welcome to India! Namaste! Your adventure starts at 4:30 PM. If you arrive early and feel like going out to see the city, just talk with your Adventure Leader who will be on hand to assist you and point you in the right direction. Make sure you get plenty of rest, as we’ll start early tomorrow. A teaming metropolis rolling into the modern age with new highways and skyscrapers, Delhi still manages to retain much of its historical charm with its lively bazaars, captivating temples, and winding streets lined with shops and roadside vendors. A fusion of the old and new, Delhi’s streets are filled with cows, goats, bicycles and rickshaws that all share space with taxis, trucks, cars and the largest eco-friendly CNG bus network in the world. In the evening, we’ll meet up for our orientation meeting and enjoy a dinner of tasty local treats while discussing the adventure ahead. (Dinner)
In the morning we set out for Bharatpur where we’ll explore the UNESCO World Heritage Keoladeo Ghana National Park. A haven of wetlands and forests, the sanctuary is home to over 400 species of birds including a selection of herons believed to be among the best in the world, along with a wide variety of other wildlife. We’ll traverse the back trails of the sanctuary by bicycle or rickshaw (your choice) with our naturalist before returning to our hotel for dinner. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
After breakfast, we’ll visit India’s most famous landmark – the stunning Taj Mahal, which of course needs no introduction. A remarkable mausoleum built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a tribute to his favorite wife – Mumtaj Mahal, when one sees it in person, the feeling is best summed up in the words of Tagore who described the tomb as “one tear drop…upon the cheek of time”. After taking in the Taj, we’ll explore the ghost city of Fatehpur Sikri. Built in the 16th century by Emperor Akbar, these well-preserved ruins were the capital of the Mughal Empire between 1571 and 1585 AD before being deserted. Returning to our hotel, you’ll have time to freshen up before dinner. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
“We cannot thank you all enough for making our trip to India one of a lifetime and one we’ll never forget. We found Rajasthan to be a particularly lovely state. The people were so friendly and warm in amidst the poverty and poor conditions that some of them have to endure every day. It was a very thought provoking trip. Zac and Singhi were fantastic hosts and organizers and we’d love to do another trip with them some time. Your attention to detail is wonderful and we appreciate all the hard work that goes into the trip.”
Linda Reynold (West Sussex, UK)
The capital of Rajasthan, the City of Victory, the Pink City – whatever name Jaipur is called, one thing is certain – it has seduced travelers, wanderers, caravans and the like throughout history. Enticed by the legends, wealth and history it holds within its walls – the kingdom has drawn people for centuries from the furthest points on the globe. The city you see today was founded in the 1700’s, though the history of settlements in the area dates back to the 12th century. Rich in history, arts and architecture; Jaipur’s unique design was built using Vastu Shastra – the Indian version of Feng Shui. The desert terrain around the city consists of the rugged hills of the Aravallis, the oldest mountain range in India – where rulers constructed gated passes, walls, palaces and forts in epic proportions. On our way to Jaipur, we’ll stop at Abhaneri village to visit its epic half- millennium-old Chand Baoli step-well, the largest step-well in India. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Setting out in the morning, we’ll visit the beautiful Amber Fort and theOld Observatory before we set further out in the desert to the romantic Kingdom of Roopangarh. Built by Maharaja Roop Singh in 1648, we’ll be staying at Roopangarh Fort Palace, a captivating example of Rajput defensive architecture with underground passages and armories – evidence of its chivalrous past. On arrival, we’ll explore the narrow lanes and colorful streets of the village before settling down on the royal terrace for dinner. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
The Maharajas here were also patrons of the arts and the area’s paintings, including those that adorn the palace walls, and are well known throughout India. So today, we will be having an introduction and workshop on traditional Rajasthani painting. Then, it’s off for lunch at the nearby Monsoon Palace, built in 1870. This beautiful palace is set on the banks of the moonsoon fed Gundalao Lake, just outside the walls of the massive Kishangarh Fort – so be on the lookout for kites, peacocks, herons and wild ducks that call the lake and nearby fields home. On our way back to our home, we’ll visit the local bazaar where we’ll buy gifts for kids at a school we’ll be guests of in Bhadrajun. During our stay here in the charming Roopangarh Palace, we’ll also have introductions to the varieties of Indian roti (bread) – vegan style of course, and of course candlelit dinner at the beautiful courtyard. (Breakfasts x2, Lunches x2, Dinners x2)
Today we experience India well off the beaten tracks as we travel to the rustic yet charming village of Bhadrajun where we’ll be staying at a 16th century palace residence. The history of Bhadrajun dates back thousands of years and is even mentioned in the ancient Indian epic, the Mahabharata. This picturesque village will be our home for the next two days as we focus on local village life, culture and customs. Upon arrival in Bhadrajun, with its palace nestled among the rocky desert hills and its delightfully peaceful village, you’ll have time to relax and take in the serenity of rural Rajasthan. Later, we’ll explore the narrow-winding streets of this centuries old village before going by jeeps on safari into the desert to watch sunset from atop a sand dune. As the sun dips off into the horizon, we’ll continue out to a remote Hindu temple that dates back well over 3,000 years for their aarti (Hindu ritual) ceremony. At nightfall, we’ll return to our royal residence for a traditional local dinner. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
We’ll start the day as guests of a local Bishnois village. The Bishnois are strict vegetarians and have been strong environmentalists for centuries. Known for their protection of the trees and wildlife that surround their villages, the Bishnois are self-sustaining and many of their villages, like the one we visit today – look similar to the way they’ve looked for centuries. After lunch with a local Bishnoi family, we’ll visit a girl’s school where we’ll join the students in the popular game of sitolia. From the school we’ll be guests of a nearby village before returning to our royal residence where we’ll meet on the ramparts for dinner and a colorful evening of traditional Marwari music and dance. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
“We just returned from the India tour and it was an incredible experience. They go way beyond the regular tourist trap sites and give you a look at the real india. The food was consistently amazing. The tour guides were knowledgeable and friendly and anticipated your every need. Yoga each morning was great! I can’t imagine doing this tour with any other group!”
Bruce Gipe (DC, USA)
Saying goodbye to the desert plains of Bhadrajun, we’ll make our way up into the Aravalli Mountains, one of the oldest mountain ranges in Asia – to the enchanting oasis city of Udaipur. Called the Venice of the East, Udaipur is one of the most romantic towns in India. Arriving in the early evening at our home for the next three days, a charming old noble’s haveli (mansion) set alongside Pichola Lake! One of the highlights of our stay here is our visit to the very special animal rescue organization, Animal Aid. We’ll spend a morning with them out at their base where they not only offer a hospital, but also a home for the abused and neglected animals of the city. Their patients include everything from donkeys to dogs, cows to water buffalos, monkeys to pigs – whoever is in need gets the help. While in the “City of Lakes” we’ll also meet up with our friends who just happen to be great chefs for a mouthwatering vegan cooking class where we’ll roll up our sleeves as we not only learn, but also cook, our own dinner. Then, on our last night we’ll sample some of the tastiest Rajasthani cuisine the oasis town has to offer – a Mewari vegan feast at a local family’s home while enjoying traditional music and dance. (Breakfasts x3, Lunches x3, Dinners x2)
After breakfast, you’ll have some time in the morning free to get in any last minute souvenir shopping before we catch our flight back to Delhi. Arriving in Delhi, our adventure ends on at the airport. Thank you very very much – Bahut, bahut dhanyavaad. Have a safe trip back home! (Breakfast)