Experience the vitality and wonder of India with a group of cultural adventurers and spiritual travellers. Engage with people and religions. Explore cultures, history, art, and landscapes. Marvel at the beauty of the Taj Mahal in Agra, the serenity of nature in the Keoladeo National Park, and the grandeur of the forts and palaces in Delhi and Jaipur. Delight in the tapestries of colour and intermingling fragrances in markets, train stations, and temple courtyards. Tour leader Jim Pankratz will guide this unique adventure. Jim was the Dean, and later Interim President, of Conrad Grebel University College. Jim did research in Calcutta for 2 years, has led several tours of India, and taught Indian history, culture, and religion.
Culture & Community in India Tour
Wednesday, October 28 Delhi
Arrive in Delhi, a city with a vibrant mix of old and new—teeming with bazaars, stately British boulevards, Mughal palaces and forts, and more. Transfer to your hotel and meet the rest of your travelling companions. If time allows, take a walking tour of the area near your hotel.
Thursday, October 29 Delhi
Visit the Raj Ghat, a cremation site for major Indian leaders including Mahatma Gandhi. Then tour the National Gandhi Museum and attend a presentation about Gandhi, to learn more about this prominent leader’s use of nonviolent action to support Indian independence. Wind through the alleys of Chandni Chowk, one of India’s oldest and busiest bazaars, by bicycle rickshaw and on foot. Visit the Jama Masjid, one of India’s largest mosques, and learn from an expert about Muslim worship and its history in India.
Friday, October 30 Delhi
See Delhi’s Parliament Buildings and take a short walk through the lush Mughal Gardens. Visit the Sri Bangla Sahib Gurudwara, a Sikh place of worship, to learn about the Sikh faith. The langar, or Sikh community kitchen, provides a free meal to anyone who enters—expressing the Sikh ethics of equality, community, and peace. It’s amazing to see the amount of food they prepare each day! Next, learn about the Baha’i faith at the Lotus Temple, one of only ten Baha’i houses of worship in the world. Shop for beautiful regional crafts during free time at the Connaught Place craft emporiums. Stop at Jantar Mantar, an astronomical observatory dating to the 18th century.
Saturday, October 31 Vrindavan / Mathura
Depart Delhi this morning to visit Vrindavan and Mathura, two neighbouring towns where, according to Hindu belief, Krishna was born and grew up. These towns are important pilgrimage destinations for Hindus. Learn about Hinduism from a local expert. Visit the Mathura Museum and admire ancient art from Mathura’s past, reaching back 3,000 years. Stroll along the Yamuna River, a sacred tributary of the Ganges.
Sunday, November 1 Agra
On an early-morning boat ride along the Yamuna River, see devotees in the water along the river banks. Continue to Agra, where you may stop at the striking tombs of the Mughal emperor Akbar and of Itmad-ud-Daulah. The tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah is sometimes called a first draft of the Taj Mahal, as it represents a transition in architectural styles away from the older style of Akbar’s tomb. Visit Agra Fort, a massive complex built of red sandstone enclosing the 16th century Mughal imperial city. Finally you’ll arrive at the famed Taj Mahal—a structure of incredible beauty that will not disappoint! Take a guided tour, then enjoy free time to further admire the Taj and its surroundings.
Monday, November 2 Keoladeo National Park
Travel from Agra to the Keoladeo National Park, a protected park with diverse ecology which acts as a sanctuary to many birds, animals, and flowering plants. It is one of the richest bird habitats in the world and is a World Heritage Site. Explore the park on guided walks where you’re sure to see many natural wonders.
Tuesday, November 3 Abhaneri / Jaipur
If you’re a dedicated birder who can’t get enough of this park, rise for an early morning guided walk to catch sight of a few more of the 366 bird species who make their home here. Then you’re on the road again travelling further into the desert province of Rajasthan. In Abhaneri, visit a thousand-year-old step well. This colossal well, called Chand Baori, is considered one of the most beautiful step wells in India. Wells like this were built to provide water year-round in the arid climate. Continue to Jaipur, India’s first planned city—also known as the Pink City due to its striking pink-coloured buildings. After a brief city tour, visit a local family and get to know more about Indian culture and diversity. As dinner is prepared, learn about the staples of Indian cuisine, then share a meal together in the family home.
Wednesday, November 4 Jaipur
The Amber Fort, perched on a hill outside of Jaipur, combines impressive fortifications with beauty and charm. As you tour the structure and its surrounding ruins, learn about its history. Back within Jaipur, spend time shopping and people watching as you visit the oldest and busiest of markets in the walled city at Johori Bazaar, a true feast for the senses. Then you’ll have free time to explore further on your own.
Thursday, November 5 Delhi
After driving back to Delhi, visit the Gandhi Smriti, a memorial and information centre at the site of Gandhi’s untimely death. Explore the expansive Lodhi Garden with its beautiful landscaping surrounding ancient tombs, or perhaps visit the nearby Khan Market—a popular shopping destination. Over dinner together, reminisce and reflect on your experiences.
Friday, November 6
Say farewell to your travelling companions as you depart for home, filled with memories of all you’ve seen in the incredible land of India.
For further information, please contact us. We would be happy to be of assistance.