Mindful India 2024 -
Rajasthan & The North
February 28th - March 14th, 2024
Wednesday 28th February – The Adventure Begins
Israeli contingent departs Tel Aviv. International travelers are en route from their respective points of origin.
Thursday 29th February – Arrive Mumbai - Jaipur
Namaste and welcome to India!
Arrive Mumbai where the Israeli and trans-Atlantic contingents meet.
Board a connecting flight to Jaipur.
Check in to our hotel.
Orientation, get acquainted and organized (including money-changing).
Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, was founded in 1728. Known as the Pink City because of the color of its houses, it is a bustling commercial center and the
main gateway to Rajasthan, India’s most flamboyant state. The colorful city
combines the chaos of old and new: traffic - everything from auto-rickshaws, motorcycles, cars and trucks to cows, camels and elephants – swirls around
Jaipur’s splendid palaces, oases of calm evoking a different pace and another
world. Jaipur is a shopper’s paradise. Commercial buyers from all over the world come here to buy jewelry, gems, crafts, textiles, block prints, blue pottery, carpets, antiques, enamels, and muslins.
Friday 1st March - Jaipur - Pushkar
After breakfast, drive to Pushkar.
Enroute learn about the ancient art of block printing in a visit to Bagru,
a community famous for practicing this art form for the past 350 years.
We'll visit the Titanwala Museum to learn more about this incredible art form.
Continue drive to Pushkar.
Check in to hotel.
Kabbalat Shabbat and dinner (included) at the hotel.
Pushkar, on the shore of Pushkar Lake, means ‘born of a flower’. Hindus believe
that a swan sent by the gods dropped a lotus flower marking the spot where
rahma, the Hindu god of creation, would perform a grand ritual (yagna).
This makes Pushkar one of the five sacred pilgrimage sites (dhams) for devout Hindus. Its primary temple is one of the few temples in the world dedicated to Brahma.
Saturday 2nd March - Pushkar
After breakfast: Mindfulness workshop with Dr. Dina Wyshogrod.
Afternoon: Walking tour of Pushkar, including a visit to its unique Brahma Temple. This temple is one of very few existing temples in the world dedicated to the Hindu creator-god, Brahma, and remains the most prominent among them. We will get an insight into the essence of Hinduism.
Havdallah and dinner (included).
Evening – free time to enjoy this charming, exotic and mystic town and browse and shop in its colorful market.
Sunday 3rd March - Pushkar - Jaipur
After breakfast, drive from Pushkar to Jaipur.
On the way, visit the inspiring Barefoot College (www.barefootcollege.org), an NGO run by and for villagers, empowering them to address problems of water supply, education, health and employment. It is the only college in India built and managed
by the poor. The college identifies, respects and applies traditional knowledge,
village skills and village wisdom to provide basic services to solve rural problems faced by Indian families living on $1 a day. We will also learn how they use their traditional art of puppetry to inform the surrounding villagers about their rights.
Drive to Jaipur and check into our gorgeous hotel.
We are invited to our guide's home where he and his wife will treat us
to a delicious, authentic vegetarian Rajasthani dinner (included).
Monday 4th March - Jaipur
After breakfast, we will visit Amber (pronounced Amer) Fort, a magnificent
Rajput Fort and former capital of the Kachwaha Dynasty. We'll ride up to the Fort
in style -- on elephants (if available)! (It’s also possible to access the fort by jeep).
Back in Jaipur, we will stop for a photo-op at Hawa Mahal (Wind Palace)
and Jal Mahal (Water Palace).
Enjoy a Bollywood movie at Raj Mandir Cinema, one of India's most famous cinemas.
This is THE place to see a Bollywood movie.
Return to the hotel to relax in gorgeous surroundings.
Tuesday 5th March – Jaipur
After breakfast, visit the City Palace.
Visit the world-famous royal observatory, Jantar Mantar.
Afternoon – we will enjoy a rickshaw ride to the bazaars of the Old City
where we'll explore Jaipur’s market/commercial area. Indulge your senses
in all that the market offers, from exotic spices and textiles in riotous colors
to exquisite jewelry. A shopper’s dream.
Then we'll enjoy a cooking class where we will learn to make some authentic
and delicious Rajasthani vegetarian dishes.
Wednesday 6th March – Jaipur - Amritsar
Transfer to the airport for flight to Amritsar.
Arrive Amritsar and check in at the hotel
Thursday 7th March - Amritsar
After breakfast - we will visit Jallianwala Bagh, a memorial garden dedicated to an infamous massacre that took place there in April 1919, considered to be a turning point in India's struggle for independence.
Then we will visit the Golden Temple of the Sikhs, where we will get an introduction
to Sikhism. Experience a key tenet of the Sikhs: hospitality. The Temple Kitchens
feed over 100,000 people per day, for free. Volunteer in lunch preparation, followed
by the unparalleled experience of eating with the locals and pilgrims.
Afternoon - drive to Wagah Border to witness the theatrical daily parade ceremony
on the Indian and Pakistan border. Wagah Border lies about 28 kms. from Amritsar
and is the only overland opening between the two countries.
After dinner – optional visit to the Golden Temple to see the nighttime ritual
of putting the Holy Book to bed.
Amritsar, with approximately one million residents, is one of the major cities
of the Sikh religion and the site of the Sikh religion's holiest shrine, The Golden Temple. he Temple rivals the grandeur and majesty of the Taj Mahal.
The Wagah border, often called "the Berlin Wall of Asia", is a ceremonial border
on the India-Pakistan border. Every evening Border Security forces of both India
and Pakistan engage in a colorful and very precise parade and the changing
of the guard.
Friday 8th March - Amritsar - Pragpur
After breakfast - drive from Amritsar to Pragpur, India’s first heritage village.
Check in to our charming hotel, listed as one of India's unique heritage hotels.
Kabbalat Shabbat in the hotel.
Pragpur is a picturesque little village nestled in the lap of the snow-covered Himalayas, in the lush Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh.
Its rich history and distinctive local color - picturesque cobblestone streets,
mud-plastered walls, and slate-roofed houses - led to its being named India’s
first “heritage hamlet”. A perfect spot for a restful and restorative Shabbat.
Saturday 9th March – Pragpur
Morning - Mindfulness workshop with Dr. Dina Wyshogrod.
Late morning - enjoy a village tour and nature walk (easy level) through bucolic scenery down to the river at Balahar where we’ll savor a picnic lunch (included - brought to us by the hotel staff) along the banks of the peaceful river.
Less strenuous options include exploring the cobbled streets and alleys of this Heritage Village or simply kicking back and relaxing on the grounds of our lovely hotel.
Dinner (included) at our hotel.
Sunday 10th March – Pragpur - McLeod Ganj
After breakfast, drive to McLeod Ganj.
Late morning - visit the Norbulingka Institute.
Arrival at McLeod Ganj, home of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile.
Check in to hotel.
After dinner – watch a movie about the Dalai Lama and how he was chosen to be the religious leader of Tibetan Buddhism.
The Norbulingka Institute, a seven-acre preserve about 15 km. from McLeod Ganj, was established by the Dalai Lama in order to preserve and develop Tibetan art and craftsmanship. Norbulingka, named for the summer residence of the Dalai Lama in Lhasa, Tibet, is graced by ponds, bridges and gardens. It was constructed without chopping a single tree or its branches. It includes a library, a temple, a college, and design studios and workshops where you’ll see Tibetan artisans engaged in the traditional arts of Tibet, such as thangka painting, wood carving, statue making, and appliqué, ensuring the preservation of these skills and safeguarding these beautiful art forms for posterity.
McLeod Ganj is a suburb of Dharamshala in the north Kangra valley of Himachal Pradesh. The town was founded in 1860 and served as the civil administrative point and cantonment of the British. It was named after the British governor of the province, Sir Ian McLeod.
Today McLeod Ganj is known as "Little Lhasa" due to its large population of Tibetan refugees who followed the Dalai Lama when he escaped from Tibet in 1959. His presence and the Tibetan population have made Dharamshala – and McLeod Ganj in particular – a popular destination for Indian and foreign tourists, particularly those interested in Tibetan Buddhism.
Overnight: McLeod Ganj
Monday 11th March – McLeod Ganj
After breakfast, visit the Tibetan Children's Village.
Free time for lunch (on your own) and to explore McLeod Ganj.
Afternoon - walk from Naddi village to Dharamkot (suburbs of Dharamshala),
enjoying breathtaking mountain views.
Dinner on your own.
The Tibetan Children's Village is home to almost 2,000 children of all ages
who were either orphaned as a result of the Tibetan exile or who left their
parents in Tibet seeking shelter in India. The school curriculum includes
all general subjects plus Tibetan language, history, culture, and training
in Buddhism. You’ll learn how aspects of the program, including their
summer camp program, were inspired by the experience of the
Jewish people in keeping an age-old tradition and religion alive
and vibrant in exile.
Overnight: McLeod Ganj
Tuesday 12th March – McLeod Ganj
Visit the Tibetan Refugee Museum.
Lunch on your own.
Afternoon/evening: we have been invited to a local village for home hospitality including a delicious dinner (included) and a program of Kangra folk dance
and music performed by local students.
Overnight: McLeod Ganj
Wednesday 13th March – McLeod Ganj
Fly from Dharamsala to Delhi.
Tour of Delhi – Red Fort and Gandhi Memorial.
Final banquet dinner (included).
Thursday 14th March – Delhi - Mumbai - International Flights
Tour of Delhi – Humayun’s Tomb and Lodi Gardens.
Late afternoon – fly to Mumbai.
Transfer to Mumbai International Airport for flight home.