Journey of the Guru and Devotee                                                                                                                              Delhi Agra Amritsar Dharmsala Jaipur Pushkar

                                       ਧੰਨੁ ਧੰਨੁ ਰਾਮਦਾਸ ਗੁਰੁ ਜਿਨਿ ਸਿਰਿਆ ਤਿਨੈ ਸਵਾਰਿਆ ॥         Blessed, blessed is Guru Raam Daas; The One who created You, has also exalted You

                                     ਧੰਨੁ ਧੰਨੁ ਰਾਮਦਾਸ ਗੁਰੁ ਜਿਨਿ ਸਿਰਿਆ ਤਿਨੈ ਸਵਾਰਿਆ ॥

    Blessed, blessed is Guru Raam Daas; The One who created You, has also exalted You

 Journey of the Guru and Devotee

 The Guru is the bestower of Light                                                                                                                              The Devotee is the pure seeker of wisdom

 Experience the merging of light and wisdom

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Arriving in Delhi provides an exciting beginning to this journey.  With it's ancient architecture, people of various religions, streets teeming with a wild spectrum of activities, religious sites, colorful and shocking expressions of life abounding in all directions, and thousands of rickshaws cycling through the streets..... we'll have an energetic time discovering the people and sacred places of this city that is an international crossroad for seekers from around the world.

     

                               Arrive in Delhi and settle in to hotel                                                                   Evening group dinner and orientation

  Meditation at the edge of the sarovar (sacred pool) at                        Bangla Sahib Gurdwara

 Meditation at the edge of the sarovar (sacred pool) at                        Bangla Sahib Gurdwara

                                                                             DAY 1 DELHI

 Day 1 Early morning meditation and chanting at Bangla Sahib Gurdwara ~ This is the Gurdwara dedicated to the young Guru Harkrishan who gave his life in service to others.  We'll have the opportunity to sit and meditate with Asa Di Var Kirtan, recited in the early morning hours in a melodious way and style as mentioned by Guru Arjan Dev Ji called "Tunde Asraje Ki Dhuni"  We'll have the opportunity to listen to this sacred shabd sitting inside the Gurdwara.  Afterwards we will go to the sarovar (the healing pool) to meditate in stillness and silence.

 

Following our visit to Bangla Sahib Gurdwara we will travel a short distance by tuk tuk, the motorized rickshaws to The Lakshmi Narayan Temple where we can experience the various dieties of Durga, Krishna, Lakshmi etc. and have time for quiet sitting and meditation.  This is a unique opportunity for visioning and creating intention in the main meditation space.

Following our visit to Bangla Sahib and Lakshmi Narayan Temple we will return to the hotel for breakfast.

 After breakfast we will travel to the Lotus Temple, a magnificent Bahai Temple dedicated to all the religions of the world.  It's universality and presence inspires one to go deep within.  We will have the opportunity to discover with greater understanding the religions of the world and to meditate inside the Lotus Temple in silence.

Just a short distance from the Lotus Temple is the ISKCON Temple.  This is a well known Vaishnav temple of Lord Krishna and Radharani in the form of Radha Parthasarathi.

    The Lotus Temple ~ of The Bahai Faith  ~ A beautiful temple for silent                    practice

  The Lotus Temple ~ of The Bahai Faith  ~ A beautiful temple for silent                    practice

From here we will travel to Mahatma Gandhi's smriti.  The place where Gandhi lived the last 144 days of his life.  It is now also home to the Eternal Gandhi Multimedia Museum.  This museum gives great insight into the life and teachings of one of the most revered non-violent activists in our modern history.  While visiting the gardens and the place where he taught we will have time for meditation and a world peace prayer. 

After this full journey we will return to the hotel for dinner

People are welcome to visit the Raj Ghat where Mahatma Gandhi's ashes are buried or rest for the evening.


    The spinning wheel at gandhiji's residence

   The spinning wheel at gandhiji's residence

                                                                                        Day 2 Agra

Day 2 After breakfast we will depart for Agra (approx. 3-4 hour drive in van)  We'll arrive at the beautiful Jaypee Palace, check in and have lunch.  We will then travel to see the sunset over the  Taj Mahal from the Yamuna river side.  A little known prime viewing spot of the Taj Mahal exists opposite the monument on the northern shore. It is Mehtab Bagh, a centuries old garden complex, open to the public but little advertised and not easily visited for short term Agra visitors. 

From here we will visit the Agra Fort.  Architects laid the foundation and it was built with bricks in the inner core with sandstone on external surfaces. Some 4,000 builders worked on it daily for eight years, completing it in 1573.[1]The Agra fort gives another unique perspective of the Taj Mahal.

Following this outing we will return to the hotel for a delicious dinner.

                          Taj Mahal at Sunrise

                         Taj Mahal at Sunrise

The Taj Mahal is one of the most famous buildings in the world, the mausoleum of Shah Jahan's  wife, Mumtaz Mahal.   It is one of the New Seven Wonders of the world, and one of threeWorld Heritage Sites in Agra.

You'll have an opportunity to witness the Taj Mahal from numerous perspectives from inside, in the main courtyard, as well as from across the Yamuna River  in the Mehtab Bagh garden. It is also noted that Emperor Shah Jahan had identified a site from the crescent-shaped, grass-covered floodplain across the Yamuna River as an ideal location for viewing the Taj Mahal. It was then created as "a moonlit pleasure garden called Mehtab Bagh. Finished in marble, The Taj Mahal is said to be India's most fascinating and beautiful monument.

We will also visit the Agra Fort (sometimes called the Red Fort), was commissioned by the great Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1565, and is another of Agra's World Heritage Sites. The red sandstone fort was converted into a palace during Shāh Jahān's time, and reworked extensively with marble andpietra dura inlay.

Discover through your own eyes the wide variety of shapes & beauty created by the artisans of this era.  The Taj Mahal reveals exceptional design, elegant domes, intricate inlay and brilliant marble.  As you discover this magnificent memorial site with your mind, you will also connect with some of the ancient beauty of India through your other senses.

Accommodations: Jaypee Palace ~ www.jaypeehotels.com   "The regal Jaypee Palace Hotel is a structural blend of red sandstone and marble is spread over an unbounded 25 acres of elegantly landscaped luxuriant greenery. Sprinkled with enormous water bodies and endless walkways."  "We were very impressed with this hotel, it is very big ok but it is lovely . The rooms are big bright and spotless with all the usual facilities. The food was great , there was a good mix and not everything was spicy as some of the other hotels . The staff were really friendly and helpful .    Mollie Kilkenny Ireland Tripadvisor

                                                                           DAY 3 AGRA

Day 3 With an early morning start we will go to witness the sunrise at The Taj Mahal.  The grounds of this historic site are enjoyable to explore.  We'll have the opportunity to go inside The Taj Mahal and experience it's intricate and exquisite architecture.  We will be able to discover the history and story of this magnificent work of art with our guide and our traveling companions. 

After our morning visit we will return to the Jaypee Palace for breakfast.  We'll then check out and visit one of Mother Theresa's orphanages.   A very meaningful and profound experience with the nuns and caretakers of this blessed facility.  After this we will depart for Delhi arriving back at our hotel for dinner.  

                                                                                   

                                                                 Days 4, 5 and 6 Amritsar

   The Guru's journey from the Akal Takhat to The Golden Temple in the                     early morning

  The Guru's journey from the Akal Takhat to The Golden Temple in the                     early morning

  We will  greet The Guru (Siri Guru Granth Sahib) in the ambrosial hours coming from The Akal Takhat on it's way to The Golden Temple ~ a beautiful and moving experienc                                                                              

“When the Golden Temple reflected the evening sun or shone in the moon, it was the light of the water (in the pond before it) that made the entire structure look as if it were mysteriously floating along and flapping its wings. The strong bonds of the temple's form were loosened by the reflection of the quivering water, and at such moments the Golden Temple seemed to be constructed of materials like wind and water and flame that are commonly in motion.”      ― Yukio Mishima

 

          The Golden Temple and Akal Takhat at night

        The Golden Temple and Akal Takhat at night

Amritsar is home to the  Harmandir Sahib (referred to as the "Golden Temple" in the west), the spiritual and cultural center for the  Sikh religion. This important Sikh shrine attracts over 100,000 visitors on week days alone. The city also houses the Sikh temporal and political authority,  Akal Takht, as well as the  Sikh Parliament.  You'll have the opportunity to sit and meditate at this  magnificent sacred temple, and be a part of the profound worship services as they unfold. 

We'll arrive in the early morning at the Golden Temple so that we can go inside and enjoy the kirtan (devotional music) that goes on throughout the day.  The Sikhs are very hospitable and enjoy talking and meeting their visitors.  We'll having a fulfilling time connecting with the local Sikh families

  Meditate at night or early morning along the         healing waters of The Golden Temple

 Meditate at night or early morning along the         healing waters of The Golden Temple

 We will spend time on the Perkarma which surrounds the sacred waters of the Golden Temple.  It  is a unique place to sit and listen to the chanting ....As the day blends into the night, the Golden Temple increases in its radiance and majesty.  You'll be able to experience this magical unfolding at numerous times of the day.

    

Just outside of Amritsar we'll visit and experience the Nihang village in Chapa and see how the Sikh warriors live from day to day with their horses and visit their local Gurdwara.  


 Experience the joy of serving in  the largest free kitchen in the worl d adjacent to the Golden Temple  the langar hall serves 80,000 people per day  ~ All are welcome ~  We'll learn to make chapatis from the masters

Experience the joy of serving in the largest free kitchen in the world adjacent to the Golden Temple the langar hall serves 80,000 people per day ~ All are welcome ~ We'll learn to make chapatis from the masters

Just a short walking distance from The Golden Temple we will visit The Baba Atal Gurdwara, a touching commemoration of the young life of Baba Atal Rai, the son of Guru Hargobind. Its nine stories echo his nine years of life....this is a view of The Golden Temple (Darbar Sahib) from atop Baba Atal Gurdwara

Accommodations: Hyatt Amritsar ~ amritsar.hyatthotels.hyatt.com  "This is my second stay with the Hyatt in Amritsar. The hotel has been upgraded somewhat and we were greeted with warm and efficient staff. We were upgraded upon arrival and our room overlooked the lights of Amritsar. One can almost "feel" Amritsar from this vantage point. Very efficient and plush room with all the amenities....."  Cheryl P Illinois USA Tripadvisor

                                                                           Days 7 and 8 Dharmsala 

  Om Mani Padme Hum ~ Prayers of compassion for the world

Om Mani Padme Hum ~ Prayers of compassion for the world

Dharamsala is a city in the upper reaches of the Kangra Valley, surrounded by dense coniferous forest, and fresh air, providing beautiful views of the snow capped mountains.

We will be staying  in the village of McLeod Ganj, lying in the upper reaches, which is known worldwide for the presence of His Holiness The  Dalai Lama. On 29 April 1959, the 14th Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso) established the Tibetan exile administration in the north Indian hill station of Mussoorie. In May 1960, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) was moved to Dharamsala.

                   

                   Butter lamp room at                                The Dalai Lama's monastery

                 Butter lamp room at                                The Dalai Lama's monastery

Dharamsala is an invigorating and inspiring experience.  We stay in the Tibetan owned Chonor House very close to Namgyal Monastery, which is home to the Tibetan monks and His Holiness.  It is a short walk to the monastery from the hotel, providing us with a daily connection with the activities at the monastery.  Dharamshala also provides bustling streets that offer a wide variety of shops with clothing, statues, tangkas, jewelry and a wide range of artifacts and interesting people to discover.

For people who enjoy hiking, Dharmsala offers beautiful vistas and many paths for exploration.  

One of the highlights is visiting TCV, the Tibetan Children's Village. From its humble beginnings 54 years ago, Tibetan Children's Village has today become a thriving, integrated educational community for destitute Tibetan children in exile, as well as for hundreds of those escaping from Tibet every year.  Meeting the staff and children is always a deeply moving and profound experience.

 

Accommodations:  Chonor House ~ www.norbulingkahotels.com  "Dedicated to the preservation of Tibetan art and culture."   We stayed in Chonor house last September and it was a really good beginning for our trip in India... a very warm, peaceful and beautiful Tibetan style decorated. This is really a different place to be in Mcleod Ganj and very very near Dalai Lama's Temple (from some of the rooms you can see the temple) ...."  Helena A Tripadvisor

                                                                                   Days 9 and 10 Jaipur

       On the way to The Amber Palace

     On the way to The Amber Palace

             Jaipur, along with its majestic monuments,  has strong cultural routes in its shopping areas as well. The city offers perfect traditional shops to buy antiques, jewelry, handicrafts, gems, bangles, pottery, carpets, textiles, and metalwork.

The communities settled in the city and made Jaipur their home. As a result, Jaipur is a major hub for arts and crafts. Some of the crafts include Bandin; block printingstone carving and sculpturetarkashizarigotakinari and zardozi; silver jewellery; gemskundanmeenakari and jewelleryminiature paintings; and pottery

Jaipur is a great place to explore handicrafts,  gems and shops, as well as have a ride on an elephant to the palace

Accommodations:  Rajputana Hotel

 

                        Water Temple Jaipur

                       Water Temple Jaipur

                                                                                Days 11-15 Pushkar

              Creating block prints in Jaipur shop

            Creating block prints in Jaipur shop

     Desert musician and camel on the dunes in Pushkar

   Desert musician and camel on the dunes in Pushkar

 

Pushkar has a magnetism all of its own – it’s quite unlike anywhere else inRajasthan. It’s a prominent Hindu pilgrimage town and devout Hindus should visit at least once in their lifetime. The town curls around a holy lake, said to have appeared when Brahma dropped a lotus flower. It also has one of the world’s few Brahma temples. With 52 bathing ghats and 400 milky-blue temples, the town often hums with puja (prayers) generating an episodic soundtrack of chanting, drums and gongs, and devotional songs.

                 Puskkar Camel Fair  - Camels on the move

               Puskkar Camel Fair  - Camels on the move

                                                                                                     ".....The result is a mixture of religious and tourist scenes. The main street is one long bazaar, selling anything to tickle a traveller’s fancy.  The town remains enchantingly small and authentically mystic, extremely exciting and engaging.  The camel fair is an amazing experience.  Rajasthan’s most famous festival is less and less about the eponymous camels and more about a rollickin’ good time, though the dunes outside of Pushkar are still a sight (and a smell) to behold when the cameleers come to town. Drawing in 50,000 camels and 200,000 people, the fair is ostensibly a time when Rajasthani farmers gather to buy and sell camels and cattle....." The Lonely Planet

Day 14we'll enjoy a deep full moon meditation on this auspicious day in Pushkar

                                                  

Accommodations:  Hotel Pushkar Palace ~ www.hotelpushkarpalace.com  "Pushkar Palace is centrally located on the banks of the Pushkar Lake. It is walking distance from major temples including the famous Brahma Temple. Originally the residence of the Maharaja of Kishangarh, the Pushkar Palace is the only hotel situated on the banks of the holy Pushkar Lake."  

"Set along the lakeside ghats, this hotel reflects former glories in a quietly aging way. Our room was on the fourth floor, accessed along an open gallery which offered views across the lake towards the town. One can sit on the gallery and admire the sunset reflected in the lake. The room itself was spacious...."  Steve H MBibane Swaziland Tripadvisor

  From Pushkar we will be flying back to Delhi where you will catch your flight to your home destination