|Purpose:||Heritage, Culture, History, Spirituality|
|No. of days:||13 days - 12 nights|
|First & Last Cities:||Munbai, Delhi|
|Other cities:||Kochi, Jaipur, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra|
Your Tour includes:
Price does not include:
Hotels in your Tour:
|Location||Hotel Name||Room Type||Tripadvisor|
|Agra||Double Tree By Hilton||Guest||4.5|
|Delhi||The Taj Mahal||Run on the house||4.5|
Hotels will be confirmed at time of booking
India is perhaps one of the only countries in the world where there has never been any ant-Semitic sentiments expressed by the local communities. Jews continue to live and prosper in India, though with a population of only 6,000. India has a legacy of four distinct Jewish groups: (a) the Bene Israel, (b) the Cochin Jews, (c) the Sephardic Jews from Europe, and, (d) the "Baghdadis" from Iraq. Their history dates back to over 2,000 years ago where there is evidence listed on the cemeteries in Hebrew. Today the community has shrunk considerably; however, there is a large community still active to share the history with us.
This program combines both Jewish history and remarkable Indian culture. You will not just have the opportunity to meet with fascinating Jewish communities and learn the unknown secrets of the Jewish experience in India but also witness the breathtaking scenery and fascinating culture of India!
Day 1 –Wed: Mumbai
Arrive at Mumbai International Airport. After clearing customs, immigration formalities and baggage collection, you will meet our representative after which you will be transferred to your hotel for check in and overnight.
Mumbai also known as Bombay is the economic powerhouse of India. It is young, lively and offers a confluence of varied cultural currents and cross currents that give Mumbai a unique position as the most multi-ethnic city of India. Mumbai is also India’s most populous city and the fourth most populous city in the world, with a total metropolitan area population of approximately 20.5 million.
Mumbai is also the country's financial and commercial hub and has a principal port on the Arabian Sea. It is also the hub of Indian’s film industry, which has played a pivot role in the development of cinematography. "Bollywood", as it is called, produces the second most number of pictures in the world every year, next only to Hollywood, USA. Mumbai claims to be the world's largest production center for films.
Day 2 – Thu: Mumbai
Meet with your guide at the lobby of the hotel. After a brief orientation on India's Jewish communities, start on the exploration of the city. Drive to the Gateway of India and see the Fort Heritage area and the Kala Ghoda Art District. From here, drive to Sassoon Docks, the first wet dock in the city, where over 25 tons of fish arrive every morning. Then, drive towards the architecturally stunning Kenneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue, with its beautiful interiors, and the David Sassoon Library. Next, visit the oldest synagogue in Mumbai, the Shaar Harahamim or Gate of Mercy Synagogue, built in 1796, by Samaji Hasaji Divekar, a Bene Israeli. From here, continue to the Magen David Synagogue, a tall blue building with a Gothic feel that towers over all the other buildings in the area. The Synagogue has a beautiful tebah (reader's platform that marks the center of Sefardic synagogues) and hekhal (ark which holds Torahs in cases of hammered silver). Regular worship services are conducted here also. David Sassoon built an elementary school near the synagogue, which is now the Sir Jacob Sassoon Free High School. The synagogue runs under the Sir Jacob Sassoon Charity Trust. Continue towards the stunning Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum (formerly the Victoria and Albert Museum), the oldest museum in Mumbai, which is built in the style of a synagogue. The museum is a treasure house of the decorative and industrial arts. Today, it is probably one of the finest contemporary Museums in the city. End the tour with a visit to the Tripareth Israel synagogue, one of the oldest synagogues in Mumbai, formally known as Jacob Circle Prayer Hall, started in 1886 by the Bene Israel community of Mumbai. Sabbath worship services are conducted in the community hall, a place where religious studies take place and various other activities are held. Reconvene in the evening for a welcome dinner at a local specialty restaurant. [B/D]
Day 3 – Fri: Mumbai
This morning, travel by motor launch to Mandava, where you continue by bus to Alibagh on the Konkan Coast. During the religious persecutions in Israel in the time of King Antiochus 2,200 years ago, some Jews escaped to India and were shipwrecked off the coast of Bombay. The few survivors came ashore, kept the faith, lived in interior villages, and were unknown to the Jewish world until they were discovered in the 1,700s. They were known as the Bene Israel or "Sabbath oil pressers". You will visit the unusually picturesque Synagogue at Alibagh. Lunch will be at Radisson Alibaugh and later, return to the hotel in Mumbai. This evening attend Shabbat services at the 19th century Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue. Shabbat Shalom! [B/L]
Day 4 – Sat: Mumbai
Attend Shabbat services at the Kenesseth Eliyahoo Synagogue subject to availability of Minyan. In the afternoon we will explore the main sights of Mumbai starting with the Jain Temple, Malabar Hill, Tower of Silence, Dhobi Ghat (the open-air laundry) and Mani Bhawan (Gandhi Memorial), the house where the Father of the Nation stayed on his early visits to the city. The rest of the day is free for independent activities. [B/D]
Day 5 – Sun: Mumbai, Kochi
Today enjoy a leisurely breakfast. Later check out and proceed to the airport to board a flight to Kochi (Please note that luggage allowance on this flight is 15 kg (33 pounds) for checked baggage and 7 kg (15 Lbs.) for hand luggage). The flight leaves Mumbai at 11:15 am arriving in Cochin at 1:15 pm. On arrival, assisted transfer to the hotel and check in at your hotel. In the evening, visit a local theatre to experience a Kathakali performance. Kathakali literally means "story dance" and is a pantomimic dance drama, the dancing and the acting being blended together into an inseparable form with a combination of facial expressions and body movements, which brings out the thought and emotion of the character. [B/D]
Kochi, or more familiarly Cochin is spread across islands and hills in a stunning location between the Arabian Sea and the Backwaters. The city was founded in 1,341 when a flood created a natural safe port, which became the principal harbor for Malabar Coast’s spice trade. Cochin was on the main trade route between Europe and China. The rulers invited people of various religions to settle here, attracting the Jews and the Christians who built places of worship and their own communities.
Day 6 – Mon: Kochi
Morning visit the 19th-century Chennamangalam Synagogue and museum. Its close proximity to a Hindu temple, church and mosque highlights India’s religious tolerance. Stop at the Parur Synagogue, an architectural gem dating from 1,616. In the afternoon, visit the Chinese fishing nets and the Saint Francis Church, the burial place of Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese explorer who discovered India, and walk through the Palace of the Maharajah to learn how he saved the Jews from the Portuguese 500 years ago. Next, visit the exquisite 450-year-old Paradesi Synagogue, one of the oldest in India (circa 1568), where the caretaker will open the Torah scrolls for Jewish visitors. End the day exploring the area’s antique shops and spice markets. [B/D]
Day 7 – Tue: Kochi, Mumbai, Jaipur
After breakfast check out of your hotel and visit Ernakulam’s Kadavumbagam Synagogue, whose origin dates back to the 13th century and learn about its history. Visit a Hindu temple, shop for local handicrafts, and savor the fragrant spices of the nearby market. In the afternoon fly to Jaipur via Mumbai (please remember domestic baggage rules!). Your flight leaves Kochi leaves at 1:15 pm and arrives in Jaipur at 6:35 pm. On arrival, assisted transfer to the hotel for check-in and overnight. [B/D]
Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, is known for its arts and crafts, jewelry, hand-painted fabrics and stone sculptures. It is one of North India’s finest examples of a planned city embodying the best of Rajput and Mughal architecture.
Day 8 – Wed: Jaipur
Set off, this morning, to Amber Fort whose constructions started in the 17th century under Jaipur’s Maharaja Man Singh, Mughal Emperor Akbar’s most successful General. Before the City Palace was constructed in Jaipur, Amber was the seat of power. The Fort is surrounded by fortified battlements and overlooks the Moat Lake. You will ascend the hill leading to the fortress on elephant-back and then walk through the sprawling complex of courtyards and halls. Many of the rooms have delightful wall paintings, with precious stones and mirrors inlaid in the walls. Most fascinating, perhaps, is the Sheesh Mahal (hall of mirrors) where a single lamplight is reflected in the many mirrors, lighting up the room. Return to the city, with a photo-stop at Hawa Mahal (the Palace of Winds). Five stories in height, and built of red and pink sandstone highlighted with white quicklime, it is thought that the women of the royal harem used the many casements to observe everyday life in the street below without being seen. Continue to Jantar Mantar, an observatory built by Sawai Jai Singh ll in the 18th century. The Maharajah, a scientist as well as an astronomer, had the principles of Euclid translated into Sanskrit. One of the most remarkable sites in Jaipur, the Jantar Mantar has fourteen major geometric devices for measuring time, predicting eclipses and tracking stars and planets. Just next to the observatory is the City Palace built within the fortified area of the original city possessing one of the finest monumental entrances in India. The Palace is now principally a museum housing a collection of great treasures, including miniature paintings, carpets, royal garments and other interesting objects from Jaipur's intriguing past. The former royal family retains a part of the palace for their personal use. You will have some leisure time at the hotel or opt to visit the colorful local market. Walk through the old city of Jaipur past the Palace of Winds and market stalls before heading back to the hotel. Please be aware that these are very old market places in Jaipur used almost entirely by local people, hence you should be prepared for the hustle and bustle in the streets. [B/D]
Day 9 – Thu: Jaipur, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra
This morning start your drive to Agra passing some incredible scenery. Stop for lunch at a charming heritage hotel in Bharatpur and continue your journey to Fatehpur Sikri. The deserted red sandstone city is an outstanding example of Mughal architecture, built by the Great Mughal Emperor Akbar as his capital and palace in the late 16th century and abandoned after 15 years due to scarcity of water. It was a veritable fairy tale city and its 'ruins' are still in a pristine condition. Arrive in Agra and visit the Taj Mahal. Said to be one of the most elegant and a harmonious buildings in the world, the Taj Mahal was built by Mughal Emperor Shahjahan in 1,630 AD to enshrine the mortal remains of his beloved Queen Mumtaz Mahal and manifests the wealth and luxury of Mughal art as seen in the architecture and garden design, painting, and calligraphy. The 144-foot double dome of the Taj is capped with a finial and four minarets, each 131 ft. high, and crowned by an open octagonal pavilion to highlight the perfect symmetry of the tomb. [B/L/D]
Agra in terms of ambiance is still associated with its Mughal period. The Mughals besides being great rulers were also great builders and they preserved their best architectural wonders for Agra and its neighborhood. It has many wonderful monuments and the Taj Mahal, the greatest of them all, is a masterpiece of Mughal architecture at its best. Their architectural genius can also be seen in the forts, palaces and aesthetically laid out gardens, each one a silent witness to a grand style of a golden era.
Day 10 – Fri: Agra, Delhi
Check out of the hotel in the morning and make your way to the Agra Fort, which was the seat and the stronghold of the Mughal Empire under successive generations. This was the seat of Mughal rule and administration and the present structure owes its origins to Akbar who erected the walls and gates and the first buildings on the eastern banks of Yamuna River. Shah Jehan added the impressive quarters and the mosque while Aurangzeb added the outer ramparts. Visit its Hall of Public Audience and its Royal Pavilions.
After the visit continue to Delhi for check-in at your hotel. This evening attend Shabbat services at the Judah Hyam Synagogue. Built in 1,956 to accommodate the needs of a growing Jewish population of both local and passing diplomats arriving after India’s independence. It is the sole Jewish Synagogue in Delhi standing silently on Humayun Road and may easily slip one's notice despite its daily activity and weekly services. Shabbat Shalom! [B/L]
Delhi is India’s capital and a major gateway to the country. Perhaps there is no other capital city in the world so steeped in history and legend as the Indian capital. It was the magnet that drew the Mongols, Turks, Persians, Afghans, Mughals and the British, all of whom contributed to its glorious but turbulent past. The fascination with Delhi was such that even though it was abandoned many times, its rulers returned to it again and again rebuilt it at least seven times. Today, the twin cities of Old and New Delhi still intrigue Indians and tourists alike as the cultural and political capital of the largest democracy in the world.
Day 11 – Sat: Delhi
After breakfast set out on a tour of Old Delhi, the capital of the Mughal dynasty between the 16th and 19th centuries. Visit Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India, built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Later stroll through a boisterous spice market where transactions have taken place for generations. Here you will also find India’s largest jewelry market and catch glimpses of once-glorious Havelis or Royal mansions. Continue to a Gurudwara (Sikh temple) and witness the community kitchen where thousands of worshippers are fed round the clock. Next drive through New Delhi, passing by the Presidential Palace - the one-time imperial residence of the British viceroys - the India Gate, a memorial raised in honor of the Indian soldiers martyred during the Afghan war, Parliament house and other government buildings erected in the first quarter of the 20th century by two famous English architects: Sir Herbert Baker and Sir Edwin Lutyens. It was during this time period that the capital of the British Empire was shifted from Calcutta to Delhi. End your day at the 16th century Humayun’s tomb, the first garden tomb of Asia and a UNESCO World Heritage Site built by a Queen for her beloved husband Humayun, the 2nd Mughal Emperor of India. Dinner at your hotel. [B/D]
Day 12 – Sun: Delhi
Today is free for independent activities. In the evening, enjoy a farewell dinner at a local specialty restaurant. [B/D]
Day 13 – Mon: Delhi, USA
At the appointed time, depending on your flight schedule, you will be picked-up and transferred to the international airport to board your flight back home. [B]
[B] = Breakfast | [B/L] = Breakfast and Lunch | [B/D] = Breakfast and Dinner | [B/L/D] = Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
|Season||2-3 Pax||4-6 Pax|
Prices are per person and may change without notice.
Blackout dates: December 20th ’17 through December 5th ‘18
* The domestic air portion may be cheaper if calculated as part of the international ticket. Ask you Travel Agent or HWDT to calculate your total fare.
Tour Code: IN07BOM17TC