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India from South to North

India: From South to North

Cochin, Cherai Beach, Jaipur, Ranthambore National Park, Taj Mahal, Amritsar, Dharamshala.

February 16 – March 6/2025

Arrival in Cochin (COK) and departure from Delhi (DEL)

Cost:  $6600 CAD shared accommodation, $7400 CAD single accommodation

(all inclusive in country, includes Canadian taxes)

10 people required to run this tour. Deadline for registration is: Nov. 1/2024.

Travel through various regions of India: Kerala, Jaipur, Ranthambore National Park Tiger Refuge, Agra and the Taj Mahal, the Punjab and Amritsar, and the Himalayan foothills around Dharamsala. Build a community travelling together, learning how the threads of spirituality, culture and history are woven together in the experience of India. Visit temples, historical sites, beaches, experience ayurvedic massage, visit projects that are making a difference to people in India, spend an afternoon on a houseboat in the Kerala backwaters, tour the beauty of the palaces of Jaipur, visit the iconic Taj Mahal, visit artisans and the Dalai Lama’s temple in Dharamshala and hear about the struggle of the Tibetan people today.  This tour is an epic 19 night adventure where you will see many interesting sites, visit projects and meet inspiring people like our Indian guides and friends.  India is bold, beautiful, spiritual, open-hearted and a truly inspiring place to visit.  Come join us on our 4th India adventure from South to North.  

Itinerary: 

 India from South to North 2025

Sunday,

Feb. 16

ARRIVALS – COCHIN – KOTHAD ISLAND:  Arrive in Cochin, Kerala, India COK.  You can decide to arrive earlier and we can arrange a hotel for you in Cochin or arrive early at the homestay at Ben’s place.  The first official gathering of the group will be dinner on Feb. 16.  Arrivals and airport pickups, relax and recover from the journey on Kothad Island, close to Cochin.  Meals and overnight at Ben’s Homestay and other homestays closeby:  https://www.benshomestay.com/Meals included:  dinner

Monday,

Feb. 17

KOTHAD ISLAND:  Breakfast.  Day on Kothad Island, a tranquil tropical island: visit some families on the island learning about their lives, visit a primary school and the Nuns who run the school, see the Chinese fishing nets in action, Ayurvedic massage appointments, rest, meals at Ben’s place, sunset houseboat trip on the backwaters. 

Overnight at Ben’s Homestay

Meals included:  breakfast/lunch/dinner

Tuesday,

Feb. 18

KOTHAD ISLAND:  Visit to St. Joseph’s Boys Home in Koonammavu where we will visit our friend Fr. Sangeth and the project he has with the boys on farming/market garden.  Lunch out.  Afternoon freetime on the island, walk to the Prawn farm. 

Overnight at Ben’s Homestay

Meals included:  breakfast/lunch/dinner

Wednesday,

Feb. 19

KOTHAD ISLAND – FORT KOCHI:  Breakfast at Ben’s.  Pack up and drive to Fort Cochin.  Walking tour of the old city visit to Jewish Synagogue, St. Francis Church, Chinese fishing boats, spice market, laundry, freetime to explore, lunch out and settle into hotel.  Evening presentation of Katakali Dance (traditional)  https://www.keralakathakali.com/

Overnight:  Tissas Inn https://tissasinn.in/

Meals included:  breakfast/lunch/dinner

Thursday,

Feb. 20

FORT KOCHI – CHERAI BEACH:  Breakfast at Hotel and drive to Cherai Beach for beach time and ayurvedic massage treatments.  Freetime to explore the beach, rest by the pool and organize your own ayurvedic treatments if you wish.  You can hang out at the chill out café just down the road from the hotel.  http://www.chillioutcafe.com/

Overnight:  https://sealagoonhealthresort.com/

Meals included:  breakfast/dinner (lunch on your own)

Friday,

Feb. 21

CHERAI BEACH:  Breakfast at Hotel.  Day in Cherai Beach for relaxing, walking, chilling, spa treatments.

Overnight Sealagoon Health Resort

Meals included:  breakfast/dinner (lunch on your own)

Saturday,

Feb. 22

CHERAI BEACH – JAIPUR:  Early breakfast at Hotel.  Drive to Cochin Airport and flight to Jaipur.  Pickup from Jaipur airport by Sher Singh our friend and guide is Jaipur and drive to Hotel Alsisar Haveli, settle into hotel.  Dinner and Evening with sunset at Birla Mandir Hindu Temple, a beautiful white marble temple.

Hotel:  Alsisar Haveli Heritage Hotel https://www.alsisarhaveli.com/

Meals included:  breakfast/dinner (lunch on the plane/airport)

Sunday,

Feb. 23

JAIPUR:  Breakfast at Hotel.  Depart hotel for visits around Jaipur.  Visit the Amber fort with Jeep ride to get there.  In Amber village we will visit Panna Meena Kund (an ancient step well).  Tour of the Amber Fort.  Stop at Jal Mahal for photos.  Lunch together.  Afternoon visit to the artisan projects:  block printing textile and carpet making.  There are nothing like these carpets and the people who sell them, they even ship internationally.  Dinner and evening at Hotel.   

Overnight:  Alsisar Haveli Hotel.  Meals included:  breakfast/lunch/dinner

Monday,

Feb. 24

JAIPUR:  Breakfast at Hotel, and morning visit to Mother Teresa House in Jaipur, we will hopefully host a little party for the residents and learn about the sisters and their work with the poorest of Jaipur.  Lunch together.  Afternoon visit to the city palace and Jantar Mantar.  Dinner and evening at Hotel. 

Overnight:  Alsisar Haveli Hotel.

Meals included:  breakfast/lunch/dinner

Tuesday,

Feb. 25

JAIPUR:  After breakfast a walk through the historical centre of the Pink City visiting the flower market, vegetable market, milk sellers, and the spice market.  Enjoy chai and coffee with samosa from the trusted street sellers.  Optional afternoon visit to the gem stone and Jewellery Factory.  Evening with one local family where they will share some of their cooking techniques and we will enjoy life in a family home. 

Overnight:  Alsisar Haveli Hotel.  Meals included:  breakfast/lunch/dinner

Wednesday,

Feb. 26

JAIPUR – RANTHAMBORE NATIONAL PARK:

Early morning breakfast and depart Jaipur and drive to Ranthambore National Park.  (4 hour drive)  Lunch and afternoon Canter Safari in Jungle to see nature and hopefully some tigers in their natural habitat.  Dinner & evening at Hotel.  https://www.ranthamborenationalpark.com/ 

Overnight:  Raj Palace Resort  https://www.rajpalaceranthambhore.com/

Meals included:  breakfast/lunch/dinner

Thursday,

Feb. 27

JAIPUR – AGRA:  Early morning jungle safari after safari breakfast at the hotel and checkout.  Drive to Agra. (5 hour drive)  Sunset visit to the Taj Mahal.  Freetime and Dinner.  Overnight:  Coral Court Homestay:  https://coralcourthomestay.com/                             Meals included:  breakfast/lunch/dinner

Friday,

Feb. 28

AGRA – AMRITSAR:  Breakfast at the hotel and drive to Delhi Airport(4 hours) and fly to Amritsar.  Arrive and meet our guide Dalbir Singh.  Transfer to hotel then take a stroll around the temple area at the Golden Temple and visit inside of the temple to listen to the priests chanting from the Holy Book.   The Golden Temple is like the Vatican to Catholics, the most holy site for Sikhs.  We will learn about Sikhism and the history or the Golden Temple.  We will have a short visit the Jallianwala Bagh, the place of the British massacre in 1919. It is a peaceful garden today that you can stroll around and enjoy.  Dinner together and learn about Sikhism from our guide Dalbir. 

Overnight Amritsar:  https://hotelsapphire.in/  Our hotel is directly beside the Golden Temple and you can always visit whenever you wish.

Meals included:  breakfast/lunch/dinner

Saturday, Mar. 1

AMRITSAR:  Day in Amritsar.  Breakfast at Hotel and morning visit to the Golden temple and the Langar Hall, the world’s largest free kitchen where over 100,000 meals are served each day.  Lunch together and afternoon visit through the Katra Jaimal Singh Bazaar, famous for its textiles and saris and the old city market.   Dinner together and free evening.

overnight in Amritsar at Hotel Sapphire.

Meals included:  breakfast/lunch/dinner

Sunday,

Mar. 2

AMRITSAR – DHARAMSHALA:  Early breakfast and departure when we will meet our guide Ashish and take a drive through the Punjab plains into the foothills of the Himalayas as you make your way towards Dharamsala – the home of the Dalai Lama. (5-6 hour drive)  Lunch enroute and arrive and settle into our hotel on the site of the Cultural Centre of the Tibetan people.   Afternoon visit to the Norbulingka Institute with a guided tour of the workshops to see traditional Tibetan art and the preservation of Tibetan culture.  Freetime to explore the village and enjoy dinner together. 

Overnight:   https://www.norbulingka.org/norling-house.htm

Meals included:  breakfast/lunch/dinner

Monday, Mar. 3

DHARAMSHALA – MCLEOD GANG:  After breakfast guide will take you to visit Naddi – a beautiful local village with magnificent views of the spectacular Himalayas.   We return to McLeod Ganj for lunch and spend time at the temple of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Museum absorbing Tibetan culture.  Late afternoon return to Hotel and Dinner together.  Freetime.  https://www.dalailama.com/

Overnight:  Norling House

Meals included:  breakfast/lunch/dinner

Tuesday,

Mar. 4

DHARAMSHALA – MCLEOD GANG:  Breakfast at Hotel.  Visit the Tibetan Children’s Village which is a thriving educational community for Tibetan children living in exile. Lunch together and visit to St. John Wilderness Church and British cemetery, then visit the Tibetan Parliament in Exile and the Tibetan Library.  Dinner and freetime to explore McLeod Gang, shops etc.  Meet for dinner and transport back to our hotel after dinner. 

Overnight:  Norling House

Meals included:  breakfast/lunch/dinner

Wednesday,

Mar. 5

DHARAMSHALA:   After breakfast visit to Tong Len, a charitable orphanage and school for children from the slums, run by an incredible Tibetan monk, Jamyang.  Learn about the project and the educational model.  Visit to the Dharamashala Tea Gardens.  Lunch together.  Afternoon visit to our guide’s home, Ashish.  Where we will visit his family, see his rural home and all the cows and animals, and enjoy a traditional ‘chai’ (tea) party.  Late afternoon and dinner at our hotel.  https://tong-lencharitabletrust.org/category/tong-len-school/

Overnight:  Norling House

Meals included:  breakfast/lunch/dinner

Thursday,

Mar. 6

Early Departure FLIGHT Early breakfast at Hotel and morning flight from Dharamsala to Delhi.  You would be able to fly out of India later afternoon/evening or on March 7 or stay longer in India

Meals included:  breakfast

Included in the fee:  accommodation for 18 nights, all meals and non alcoholic drinks, guided tour by 2 Canadian guides and connections and guiding with four local friends who will be with us for portions of the tour, all in-country transportation including 3 flights, from Cochin to Jaipur, from Delhi to Amritsar, from Dharamsala to Delhi, all entrance fees to sites, museums, parks etc, tips, donations to the organizations and projects we will visit.  

Not included in the fee: extra Ayurvedic massages and treatments, visa costs, immunizations, alcohol during the trip. The flight costs to India is also your own responsibility; however, we will let you know which flight we recommend or you can use your own travel agent.  Cancellation insurance is recommended.  

You will fly into Cochin by Feb. 16 and fly out of Delhi at the earliest by the afternoon of March 6. This trip is designed for those aged 18 and up.  

Hotels:  All accommodation has AC.

Cochin:  A beautiful place to rest and begin the journey:  Bens Homestay  www.benshomestay.com  Staying at Bens home and surrounding homes on a Kothad island close to Cochin, peaceful and beautiful on the backwaters.   Walk around the island and visit families, boat trip on the backwaters, visit the Catholic Church and the Senior’s project, St. Joseph’s Boys Home, ayurvedic massage, enjoy meals with the family in the south Indian style.  (3 nights)  

Fort Kochi:  the old city of Kochi blends the influences of the Portuguese, Dutch and French who occupied it during colonial times and has a European laid back feel.  Drive from Ben’s to Cochin, visit the historic Jewish Synagogue, St. Francis Church, Chinese fishing nets, spice market, Jain Temple, freetime to explore, lunch out, evening presentation of Katakali Dance.  Dinner together.  We will stay at Tissa’s Inn: (1 night) https://tissasinn.in/

Cherai Beach:  Set in beautiful Cherai Beach you enjoy a few peaceful days at the ocean and backwaters, eating incredible seafood, optional ayurvedic treatments, ocean walks & sunset, rest.  https://sealagoonhealthresort.com/ (2 nights)  

Jaipur:  We will stay at the Alsisar Haveli Heritage Hotel, beautiful historic mansion in the heart of Jaipur. Visits to Hawa Mahal, 16th Century Step Well, Amber Fort Lunch, visit to artisans of Jaipur, textile block printers and carpet cooperative, visit with a local family for cooking demonstrations & dinner, City Palace, Jantar Mantar, walking tour of the pink city with local food tasting, visit to Birla Mandir (Hindu Temple), Mother Teresa House and visit to a Spice Market https://www.alsisarhaveli.com/ (4 nights)

Ranthambore National Park:  Drive from Jaipur to Ranthambore and enjoy this natural park and Tiger Safari.  Raj Palace Resort  https://www.rajpalaceranthambhore.com/

Agra:  We will stay 1 night in a homestay close to the Taj Mahal.  Red Fort and sunrise at the Taj Mahal.   https://coralcourthomestay.com/   Drive from Agra to Delhi and fly directly to Amritsar.  

Amritsar:   Explore the Golden Temple, the most holy place in the Sikh faith with our guide Dalbir Singh.  Visit the largest Langar Hall in the world, feeding hundreds of thousands each day.  Enjoy the old city of Amritsar and learn about the Sikh faith.  https://hotelsapphire.in/  2 nights  

Dharamasala:  Norling House:  Tibetian style accommodation on the grounds of the Norbulingka Institute, the centre of Tibetian Arts and Culture.  (4 nights)  https://norbulingka.org/pages/norbulingka-accommodation

For more information contact:  Doris at worldpilgrims@gmail.com 604.341.2724

This is World Pilgrims fourth journey to India! Doris is the founder of World Pilgrim and has been travelling with groups since 1997 when she took a group of Youth to Guatemala for the first time. She speaks English, German and Spanish and her great passion is helping people experience the world as it really is and make connections globally. Julio is a Maya Quiche from Guatemala and has been travelling and guiding with World Pilgrim for the last 7 years. He is a human right activist working with the women in his community to help them and himself overcome the trauma of the civil war. This will be his third trip to India. World Pilgrim has been building up networks of friends in countries like India, Thailand, Europe, Guatemala and Cuba where they work to create meaningful travel that makes a difference to the communities visited and for the travelers themselves. Come join us!


Some highlights from previous tours to India.