|Purpose:||Heritage, Culture, History, Spirituality|
|No. of days:||13 days - 12 nights|
|First & Last Cities:||Delhi, Cochin|
|Other cities:||Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, Jaipur, Mumbai|
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 country 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 2000 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 01 - Thu: Delhi
Arrive at Delhi 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.
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 02 - Fri: Delhi
Post leisurely breakfast, meet with your national guide at the lobby and begin your India experience. Drive to Old Delhi and spend time at the 16th century Grand Mosque, nearby colorful markets, the labyrinth of narrow lanes to get lost in and Asia’s largest spice market. You will explore Old Delhi by cycle rickshaw and on foot. From here, 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 built 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. Next visit the 16th century Humayun Tomb, one of India’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the first garden tomb of Asia and like the Taj Mahal is a testament of love built by a Queen for her beloved husband Humayun, the 2nd Mughal Emperor of India. Later return to the hotel and prepare for the Shabbat. This evening, Shabbat services will be at the Judah Hyam Synagogue. Standing silently on Delhi's Humayun Road (about 10 minute walk from the hotel), the sole Jewish synagogue of the city easily slips one's notice. But, if one digs into its history, a need springs up to tread back nearly half a century. Shabbat Shalom! [B]
Day 03 - Sat: Delhi
This morning attend Shabbat Services at the Judah Hyam Synagogue. Rest of the morning is at your leisure with the following options:
The afternoon is at your leisure. Reconvene in the evening for a welcome dinner at a local specialty restaurant. [B/D]
Day 04 - Sun: Delhi, Agra
After a leisurely breakfast, drive to Agra, the city of Taj Mahal, an iconic city that has always inspired love. It may be clichéd but no Indian landmark embraces blue sky as enthusiastically as the Taj Mahal, and, no matter which way the compass needle swings, you will find it striking from any and every angle.
Agra was once the capital city of the mighty Mughals and much of its majesty can be attributed to the vision and power of Akbar the Great and his grandson, Shan Jahan. A town incredible for its UNESCO crowned sights, only a few cities can match the iconic standing that Agra boasts in the fancy of travelers the world over. You notice its majesty wraps around the luster of the Taj Mahal and the beauty of the historical architecture left as a legacy by the Mughal Empire.
Arrive at Agra and start the tour of Agra Fort. Approachable by two imposing gates and constructed of red sandstone, the citadel was built by the Mughal Emperor Akbar between the years 1565 and 1573. Encircled by a moat, this dramatic city within a city was the palace of three emperors, Akbar, Shah Jehan and Aurangzeb, each of whom made significant contributions to the wonderful architecture of the inner buildings – a combination of Persian (Islamic) and local Hindu styles. After the visit, check-into your accommodation. This afternoon is at leisure for you to enjoy the hotel amenities. Just before sunset, head to the Taj Mahal to appreciate the building lit by the special afternoon light. Taking 22 years and 20,000 men to build, the white marble was quarried 200 miles away and was transported to the site by a fleet of 1000 elephants. Built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as an expression of his love for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, in mid 17th century, the Taj Mahal is truly one of the wonders of the world. Though the Taj appears to be amazingly perfect from almost any angle, it is the close-up marble inlay work, which is astounding. You will have ample time to view and be mesmerized by this outstanding piece of architecture. [B/D]
Day 05 - Mon: Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, Jaipur
After breakfast, journey further to the picturesque capital of Rajasthan – the beautiful Jaipur, a city awash with pink, the color of hospitality in Rajput culture. Stop enroute at the ancient abandoned city of Fatehpur Sikri for a quick visit. Fatehpur Sikri is a fine example of a Mughal walled city with defined private and public areas and imposing gateways. Its architecture, a blend of Hindu and Islamic styles, reflects Akbar’s secular vision as well as his style of governance. There will be lunch break at Bharatpur prior to continuing to Jaipur, the 18th century capital of Rajasthan. This wonderful ‘Pink City’ is an eclectic mix of styles and influences and considered to be one of the best planned in the country, built as it is around the principles of Hindu architectural theory. Upon arrival, check into your accommodation. [B/L]
 Option – Sunrise at the Taj Mahal: As dawn breaks, you may wish to return to Taj Mahal to watch the manument caressed by the sunrise
Jaipur – was built in 1727 A.D by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II followed a grid system, which made it the only planned city of its time. A young Bengali architect Vidhyadhar Bhattacharya designed the city in accordance with Shilp Shastra - an ancient Hindu treatise on architecture. There is far more to the city than just its famous monuments and to get a complete experience of Jaipur, uncover the mysteries of the bazaars and visit silversmiths, turban sellers and traditional markets.
Day 06 - Tue: Jaipur
Set off this morning to Amber Fort. Jaipur’s Maharaja Man Singh, Mughal Emperor Akbar’s most successful General, started constructing Amber Fort in the 17th century. 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, it has 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 07 - Wed: Jaipur, Mumbai
Morning, transfer to the airport and fly to Mumbai (9:35 am -11:25 am). On arrival, assisted transfer to the hotel and check in to your accommodation.
Bombay also known as Mumbai is the economic powerhouse of India. It is young, its lively and a confluence of varied cultural currents and cross currents have given Mumbai a unique position of the most multi-ethnic city of India. Mumbai is the most populous city in India, and the fourth most populous city in the world, with a total metropolitan area population of approximately 20.5 million. Mumbai is also country's financial and commercial hub and has a principal port on the Arabian Sea. It is also the hub of Indian film industry, which has played a pivoted 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, U.S.A. Mumbai claims to be the world's largest production center for films.
Spend the afternoon exploring this incredible city. Walk across to the famous Gateway of India, Mumbai’s very own victory arch, built to commemorate the landing of King George the fifth and Queen Mary for the Delhi Durbar. The Gateway of India was built as a symbol of the power of the British. Ironically, this beautiful structure also marked the end of the British rule, as the last infantry left Indian shores from the Gateway. Next, visit of Prince of Wales Museum. Built in gothic and Moorish architecture, it boasts of a significant collection of Indus valley artefacts some of them dating back to more than 5000 years. Most impressive are the miniature paintings – nearly 2000 of them, from various stylistic schools of India. Drive along Marine Drive, the sea - Front Boulevard, also known as the Queen’s Necklace as in the evening, the streetlights on this U-shaped road light up, the view from south Bombay’s skyscrapers or from the exclusive residential area, is that of a Queen’s Necklace. Next, visit the dhobi ghats (photo-stop), the massive outdoor laundry site where dhobhi wallahs (laundry workers) beat, wring, iron and code millions of pieces of laundry daily. End the tour with a visit to Mani Bhawan - a memorial dedicated to the life and works of Mahatma Gandhi. [B/D]
Day 08 - Thu: Mumbai
Start early this morning for a unique experience to see the bustling city Mumbai at dawn. Get a peek into the underbelly of the city and insights into what makes this magnificent city tick. From watching the milkmen drive past with canisters, the melee of colour at the flower markets, to experiencing the clamour and chaos of the arrival of over 100 tonnes of vegetables, fruits and meat– Mumbai by Dawn truly defines the mercurial character of Mumbai, like none other. What’s interesting is that when you walk the same lanes a few hours later, you wouldn’t find any evidence of the morning’s hustle bustle. It comes at a price though, waking up at 5.15 for one! You will return to hotel for breakfast. Return to the hotel for breakfast and explore the Jewish sites in the city. Visit the architecturally stunning Kenneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue, with its beautiful interiors, and the David Sassoon Library. Next, visit Shaar Harahamim or Gate of Mercy Synagogue - the oldest synagogue in Mumbai, built in 1796, by Samaji Hasaji Divekar, a Bene Israeli. From here, drive to 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, the synagogue was 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. [B/D]
Day 09 - Fri: Mumbai
This morning, travel by motor launch to Mandva and continue onward 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 1700s. They were known as the Bene Israel or "Sabbath oil pressers". At Alibagh, visit the picturesque Synagogue. After lunch at the Radisson, return to the city in time to prepare for Sabbath. This evening, attend the Shabbat services at the 19th century Keneseth Eliyahoo Synagogue. [B/L]
Day 10 - Sat: Mumbai
This morning, attend Shabbat Services at the Kenesseth Eliyahoo Synagogue. In the afternoon, explore some of Mumbai’s unique nooks and corners which is paradise for curios, designers, jewellery, textiles and antique hunters. If there’s anything special you wish to buy, you can make a request and our guide can help you find the right place. [B/D]
Day 11 - Sun: Mumbai, Cochin
Early morning assisted transfer to the airport and fly to Cochin (6:20 am – 8:15 am).
Kochi, or more familiarly Cochin is spread across islands and promontories in a stunning location between the Arabian Sea and the Backwaters. The city was founded in 1341 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.
Arrive Cochin and start on a guided excursion to Thekkumbhagam Synagogue and Muziris. Also visit the Jewish settlement area in Mala (Confirmation required – closed on Monday).
Muziris is also known as the Jerusalem of the East and the cradle of several religions. The first Jewish, Christian and Islamic settlements in India were here during 961 BC, 52 AD and 629 AD respectively. It is one of India’s ancient harbors, approximately 3000 years old.
The rare remnants of Jewish Settlement can be seen in Mala. In ancient period, Mala street was known after Jews and it was called "Jews Street Mala". In 1948, when Israel was formed, the Jews left this place and back to their motherland. There is currently no Jewish community left in Mala. There is also a Jewish Cemetery, which exudes memories of Ancestors of the Mala Jewish Community. There were 40 Jewish families settled in Mala and they were the first Jewish community that migrated from Kerala to Israel. The name "Mala" might have originated from the Hebrew word "Mal-Aha" which means "Center of Refugee". [B/L]
Day 12 - Mon: Cochin
Morning 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. Later drive to Mattancherry and visit Dutch Palace, built in 1555 with its elegant coronation hall and magnificent murals. Continue to the Paradesi Synagogue, the oldest in India, (circa 1568). The flooring consists of 18th century blue Cantonese ceramic tiles, hand painted and each one different. The Paradesi synagogue site was given to the Jews by one of the most famous of the Maharajas, Bhaskar Ravi Varman (1565-1601) and is located very near his palace and temple in “Jew Town”, which indicates the importance given by the Raja to the Jewish community. In the evening, visit a local theater to experience Kathakali performance.. Kathakali literally meaning "story dance" is the pantomimic dance drama, the dancing and the acting being blended together into an inseparable form. It is a combination of facial expressions and body movements, which brings out the thought and emotion of the character. This evening enjoy the farewell dinner at a local specialty restaurant. [B/D]
Day 13 – Tue: Cochin, USA
After a morning at your leisure to explore Cochin’s eclectic market, famous for antique shops and spice markets, be ready to be picked up by our representative to be transferred to the airport for your flight back hole. Please keep in mind that check-out is 12:00 pm and that you may make arrangements with the concierge to leave your luggage at the hotel. [B]
[B] = Breakfast | [B/L] = Breakfast and Lunch | [B/D] = Breakfast and Dinner | [B/L/D] = Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
US citizens need a valid visa to enter India
|Season||2-3 Pax||4-6 Pax||7-9 Pax|
Prices are per person and may change without notice.
* 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.
| Sunrise at the Taj Mahal||$25|
Tour Code: IN07BOM17TC