Whenever you arrive, we will meet you at the brand new Mumbai airport and bring you to the Hotel.
We will look after you, let you rest, offer you breakfast and lunch (as required) and begin the tour with dinner with your new friends and travel companions.
In Mumbai we will stay, including for Shabbat, in THE most feted hotel in India, #3 in the world, the Oberoi Mumbai. http://www.oberoihotels.com/oberoi_mumbai/
There is so much to see here of Jewish and general interest. Our guide here will be the one and only "First Jewish Lady" of Mumbai who, with her husband, will also be our Shabbat guests for our meals in the hotel.
Today there are about 5,000 Jews in Mumbai and 8 active synagogues, some of which we will visit as they have daily services.
This is a city of 10 million inhabitants, billionaires and paupers, which fascinates anew with every corner you turn. It is built on a series of islands connected to the mainland by bridges and low swampy areas.
We'll see the main sights:
Elephanta caves (boat trip)
Prince of Wales Museum
Gateway of India (see right) built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary in 1911
Dhobi Ghat world's largest open laundry
Rajabai clock tower and the High Court built in the Gothic architectural style, at the time so fashionable in Britain and throughout the Empire
Marine Drive - also known as "the queen's necklace" as the street lights shining like jewels at night the Hanging Gardens on Malabar Hill Crawford Market and the famous Victoria Terminus station
Leaving Mumbai there's a direct flight to the holy city of Varanasi on the Ganges. A short, hair-raising, ride in a rickshaw will bring us to see the evening "Deempala" ceremony - a loud, colorful and most impressive religious ritual that takes place at the end of each day on the banks of the river.
Dinner and overnight are at the Ramada, Varanasi. (There's no Oberoi here!! No meat either – a "pescatarian" city)
At sunrise (sorry again!!), we'll take a cruise down the Ganges River from where we'll watch the multitudes coming down to the river for their morning purification rituals.
After breakfast back in the hotel we'll visit the town; from there it's onwards to Saranat where Buddha gave his first sermon regarding the middle path to Nirvana. Then off to the airport for a mid-day flight to Agra
We'll start with a "pure veg" lunch, check in at our next Oberoi, have plenty of time to visit the fascinating Agra fort, before coming back to our Hotel for dinner.
Tuesday is Taj Mahal day. We can visit at dawn if you wish, before breakfast at the hotel, and during the day there will be time to enjoy the Hotel, have a guided visit to the Taj Mahal, eat lunch and dinner before boarding the wonderful Shatabdi Express train, one of India's most famous and most comfortable, for the 2 hour ride to Delhi. By the time we arrive (late!!) your luggage will be"h already be in your room in the Oberoi Gurgaon.
We'll visit the major attractions of the city: the Main Bazaar, the Sikh Temple, Ghandi's Tomb, the Lotus Temple, and others.
One evening, we'll take a Rickshaw tour of the Old City, followed by an Indian Home Visit with cocktail.
Our meals will be taken in our wonderful hotel and in some fabulous "pure veg" restaurants.
Welcome to to the pink city of Jaipur, capital of Rajasthan, and another Oberoi hotel, the Raj Vilas, to relish for 4 nights.
The reception we received at this hotel last time was beyond incredible – perhaps because the GM's wife is Jewish.
They even brought the head of the Oberoi hotel and cooking school to Jaipur for the duration of stay to learn about Hilchot Kashrut. We can't wait to get back!!
While in Jaipur, we'll climb up to the Amber Fortress (riding elephants, as if we were royalty!!), visit the Maharajah's Palace, see the Palace of Winds (Hawa Mahal - a uniquely designed 5-storey structure with tiers of overhanging balconies), Mantar Jantar (a 300 year old planetarium) and the colorful markets.
On one of our evenings in Jaipur we'll go to a Bollywood movie (and watch at least a part of it), on the other we'll visit a beautiful ethnic village, Chokhi Dhani, with a plethora of activities to enjoy.
We are also building in "down-time" to enjoy this hotel, regarded as one of the finest in the world!! For those who want, we'll also be offering a yoga session in Jaipur!!
On Monday, we bid a sad farewell to those leaving India while everyone else will continue to discover a whole different India – the South!!
Early transfer to airport for early flight to Kochi via Mumbai.
Such a variety -we'll visit the Jewish cemetery & ancient synagogues.
We'll visit the old city of Cochin/ Mattancherry, Mattancherry Dutch Palace and Fort Cochin, the Jewish market and the spice market.
We'll visit other old Synagogues and meet some of the last remaining Jews of the region, hearing their history and their hopes for the future.
ln Aleppey where we'll board a Kettuvallam (houseboat) outfitted with a large and comfortable sundeck where we'll be able to relax in wicker chairs as we watch the world go by. We'll cruise the enchanting backwaters of Kerala through the coconut groves and quiet lagoons.
We'll also be able to see village life with traditional crafts that are the survival skills of the region.