Comments from previous Trip Members:
“It was a spectacular trip, and I think it completely reflected the description, with extra surprises. What I liked best was... The crack-of-dawn Bali Yatra "boat launching," while low-key, was stunning. Hanging out with Mr. Ravi at the Bali Yatra fairgrounds was a blast (I would have liked more time there --) ! -- I wish there had been a LOT more time with him -- wise and insightful, and dead honest when it came to acknowledging the issues and contrasts we encountered -- really one of the most remarkable people I've ever met, as was his mother! The martial arts demonstration, which I hadn't expected to be especially interesting, was INCREDIBLE -- definitely a high point -- I loved the boat and canoe trips --I always do -- strange, since they take up so much time, but there's something about seeing life along the banks that always is rewarding -- The Bharata Natyam performance in Chennai was excellent, as was the visit to the performance and arts institute during the day. The Kathakali demo in Cochin was probably the most "touristy" thing we did during the whole trip, but it was solid, and how often do you get to document the makeup process? Thanks for putting the trip together -- can't wait for the next one -Take care -- many, many thanks.” Professor Bradford Clark Bowling Green WI “Most memorable is my awakening to the realities of India which include its breadth,cleanliness, quest for knowledge, and esprit of the people. Incredible India!!!! Delightful!”
- Hal Hingst, Portland OR
“Overall I enjoyed my first India trip immensely...especially the food, and the people and the beauty of Kerala. Also I will never forget sitting in the wooden boat at sunrise amidst all the other tiny boats and seeing the sun slowly color the ripples red...I will remember so many things: the magic of Alleppy, sitting at night under the soft breeze of the open pavilion’s ceiling fan while the boats motored home, passing silently just a few feet away, and the next day’s fabulous boat ride on the back waters to the big lake full of hyacinths and glorious birds.The refreshing brisk sea breeze at lovely historic Pondicherry and a walk on the promenade and eating and drinking on the roof of the hotel overlooking the old lighthouse, and the boat ride across the bay in Cochin to see the working port--a bit like Hong Kong though not as busy and congested. From the energy of Hindi Bollywood hit music on the plane to the creeping awareness of the importance of politics to the Indian peoples lives and their generosity for the inclusion of many religious threads into their countries fabric. Cheers and thank you!”
- Norvid Roos, Santa Cruz CA
Comments from 2007 Trip Members:
“It was a spectacular trip, and I think it completely reflected the description, with extra surprises.
What I liked best was... The crack-of-dawn Bali Yatra "boat launching," while low-key, was stunning. Hanging out with Mr. Ravi at the Bali Yatra fairgrounds was a blast (I would have liked more time there --) ! -- I wish there had been a LOT more time with him -- wise and insightful, and dead honest when it came to acknowledging the issues and contrasts we encountered -- really one of the most remarkable people I've ever met, as was his mother!
The martial arts demonstration, which I hadn't expected to be especially interesting, was INCREDIBLE -- definitely a high point -- I loved the boat and canoe trips -- I always do -- strange, since they take up so much time, but there's something about seeing life along the banks that always is rewarding --
The Bharata Natyam performance in Chennai was excellent, as was the visit to the performance and arts institute during the day. The Kathakali demo in Cochin was probably the most "touristy" thing we did during the whole trip, but it was solid, and how often do you get to document the makeup process? Thanks for putting the trip together -- can't wait for the next one -Take care -- many, many thanks.”
- Professor Bradford Clark
“Most memorable is my awakening to the realities of India which include its breadth,cleanliness, quest for knowledge, and esprit of the people. Incredible India!!!! Delightful!”
Hal Hingst, Portland OR
“Overall I enjoyed my first India trip immensely...especially the food, and the people and the beauty of Kerala. Also I will never forget sitting in the wooden boat at sunrise amidst all the other tiny boats and seeing the sun slowly color the ripples red...I will remember so many things: the magic of Alleppy, sitting at night under the soft breeze of the open pavilion’s ceiling fan while the boats motored home, passing silently just a few feet away, and the next day’s fabulous boat ride on the back waters to the big lake full of hyacinths and glorious birds. The refreshing brisk sea breeze at lovely historic Pondicherry and a walk on the promenade and eating and drinking on the roof of the hotel overlooking the old lighthouse, and the boat ride across the bay in Cochin to see the working port--a bit like Hong Kong though not as busy and congested. From the energy of Hindi Bollywood hit music on the plane to the creeping awareness of the importance of politics to the Indian peoples lives and their generosity for the inclusion of many religious threads into their countries fabric. Cheers and thank you!”
Norvid Roos, Santa Cruz CA
Bali Yatra in India
Oct. 27-Nov. 11, 2009
Day 01 : (Tue) 27 Oct 2009 DEPART USA
Leave USA aboard regularly scheduled Singapore Airlines rated number 1 for safety and service.
Day 02 : (Wed) 28 Oct 2009 KOLKATA Arrive Kolkata by SQ 516 at 22:35 hrs. Meeting on arrival and transfer to hotel. Kolkata is the capital of the State of West Bengal and the gateway to Eastern India. The city dates back to1690 when an English merchant, Job Charnock, established here the trade headquarters of the East India Company. Thickly populated and full of life, the city is rich in its heritage,cultural, economic and political.
Day 03 : (Thu) 29 Oct 2009 KOLKATA Transfer to the boat jetty to cruise to visit Belur Math & the Dakhineshwar Kali Temple. Back to the hotel by coach. After lunch visit the Indian Museum, and later visit the college street to enjoy the book market. Stop at the Indian Coffee House for a cup of coffee. Local tram back to hotel. Belur Math is a prominent pilgrimage site, and is 3kms. distance from the Dakshineswar temple in Kolkata. It includes the main monastery, several temples and the head quarters of Ramakrishna Mission and Ramakrishna Math.
Day 04 : (Fri) 30 Oct 2009 KOLKATA After kbreakfast, visit tohe Victoria Memorial, followed by a visit to the Marble Palace, Jain temple & Missionaries of Charity. The Victoria Memorial was built by Lord Curzon as a marble memorial to Queen Victoria in 1905. It houses the memorabilia of the early days of the British Raj. The Marble Palace is a private mansion housing an incongruous collection of statues and paintings, Chinese ceramics including works by Rubens and Sir Joshua Reynolds. The 19th century Jain Temple sits near the Marble Palace. Also we visit the Missionaries of Charity established by Late Mother Teresa. Remainder of the day free.
Day 05 : (Sat) 31 Oct 2009 KOLKATA / BHUBANESHWAR Transfer to airport and board our flight to Bhubaneshwar at 07:30, arriving at 08:45. Meeting and assistance on arrival and transfer to hotel. After lunch depart on a sightseeing tour of the city . Strewn with a multitude of temples of various sizes, the earliest temples built in Bhubaneswar are the 7th century Brahmeshwar and the Parasurameshwar temples. The latter is famous for its latticed windows. The Mukteswar built in the 10th century has exquisite toranas, the 11th Century temples of Rajarani Temple features fine, detailed carvings while the magnificent Linga Raja temple also of the 11th century (can be seen only from the outside by non-Hindus) is the finest representation of Kalinga art.
Day 06 : (Sun) 01 Nov 2009 BHUBANES HWAR / KONARK/ PURI/ RAGHURAJPUR/ PIPLI/ BHUBANESHWAR After breakfast depart for Konark (65 kms/ 2hrs). to visit the famed Sun Temple. We will also visit Chaitana village, known for its stone carvers. One of the most stunning symbols of architecture, the Sun Temple at Konark also known as the Black Pagoda is the crowning glory of Orissan temple art. Built in the 13th century, the entire temple was designed in the shape of a colossal chariot, carrying the Sun god, Surya, pulled by seven horses. The 24 giant wheels of the chariot symbolize the division of time.The temple is a brilliant chronicle in stone, with thousands of images including deities, heavenly damsels, and human musicians, lovers, dancers, birds, animals and a plethora of intricate geometrical decorative designs. In the afternoon we visit the Jagannath temple (view it from the library opposite to it as non Hindus are not allowed inside). You can walk in the Bazaar around the Temple. Puri, 38 miles from Bhubaneswar, is one of the four Dhams of India, the abode of Lord Jagannath. Situated right on the shore of the Bay of Bengal, Puri has been a centre of pilgrimage since the historic times. It is famed for the massive chariot cars used in the annual Rath Yatra Procession. We return to Buhbaneshwar, visiting Raghurajpur & Pipili enroute. Raghurajpur is famous for its Pattachitra paintings, masks, palm leaf etchings and the making of Ganjifa cards. This is a fascinating village, populated only by crafts people.
Day 07 : (Mon) 02 Nov 2009 BHUBANESHWAR Morning excursion to the Ddaigiri & Khandagiri caves. These twin hills (Khandagiri means "broken hill" and Udaygiri means "hill of the sunrise") posess ancient caves. The caves give ample proof of previous Jain and Buddhist occupation, serving as the site of an ancient Jain monastery, which was carved into cave-like chambers in the face of the hill. Dating back to the 2nd century BC, some of the caves have beautiful carvings. The RaniGumpha, known as the Queen's Cave, is one of the largest,doublestoried,and is ornately embellished with beautiful carvings. In the Hati Gumpha (Elephant Cave), King Kharavela carved out the chronicles of his reign. It is a magnificent specimen of Pali records so far found in India. Afternoon free.
Day 08 : (Tue) 03 Nov 2009 BHUBANESHWAR/ CUTTACK/ BHUBANESHWAR Early morning, depart for Cuttack (20 miles) to arrive at 5:00 AM and visit the bank of the Mahanadi River to see the floating of small paper boats, lite with lamps, sail glittering by. These commemorate the glorious past of commercial voyages to the islands of Bali, Java and Sumatra by Orissa traders. Commonly known as the Bali Yatra it’s held on Mahanadi river bank at Cuttack on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Kartik. Breakfast at a hotel/restaurant in Cuttack.
Later we visit the city of Cuttack and the Silver filigree workshops. Late afternoon & evening visit the festival ground to witness the fair/cultural program held on the occasion of Bali Jatra. After the visits return to Bhubaneshwar.
Day 09 : (Wed) 04 Nov 2009 BHUBANESHWAR / RATNAGIRI / BHUBANESHWAR Depart Bhubaneshwar for Ratnagiri, about a 3 hour drive. This Buddhist heritage site, built in 5 A.D. holds great archaeological significance. Located on a small hilltop overlooking surrounding vast plains, dotted with green hills in the distance. A large-scale excavation has unearthed two large monasteries, one of them identified as Sri Ratnagiri Mahavihara Aryabhikshu Sangha, which features beautiful doorways, cella sanctum, a arge stupa, Buddhist shrines, sculptures and a colossal Buddha.
Originally important center of Mahayana Buddhism, later during 8th and 9th century, it became a large center for Tantric Buddhism and Vajrayana art and philosophy. Several sculptural relics on the walls of the pantheon envisage the prevalence of Vajrayana divinities at that time. Pag Sam Jon Zang, a Tibetan account, indicates that the institution at Ratnagiri also played a significant role in the emergence of Kalachakratantra during the 10th century A.D. Return to Bhubaneshwar ,arrive and check in at hotel
Day 10 : (Thu) 05 Nov 2009 BHUBANESHWAR / CHILIKA / BHUBANESHWAR Morning excursion to the Chilika lake. Observe the prawn farming and take a boat ride to see migratory birds. Later visit a fisherman’s village. Spread over 1,100 sq. km. Chilika is the countries largest inland lake. Dotted with islands, it has rich variety of aquatic fauna and is a bird watcher’s paradise when migratory birds arrive inwinter. Sunset and Sunrise are memorable experiences here. The lake is rich in fish. One can also view the dolphins at Chilika mouth near Satpara. Remainder of the day at leisure.
Day 11: (Fri) 06 Nov 2009 BHUBANESHWAR/ BANGALORE/ CHENNAI/ PONDICHERRY Transfer to airport flight to Chennai via Bangalore. Depart 12:10 arrive 2:10, and connect flight IT 2407 3:40 arriving in Chennai at 4:40PM, where we meet our driver and drive to Pondicherry (about 3 hrs). Arrive Pondicherry and check in at hotel.
Pondicherry, a quaint enclave in Tamil Nadu upholds its French traditions to this day. The town arose phoenix-like after being razed to the ground by the in the 18th century. It is home to the much acclaimedAurobindo Ashram and is noted for its lovely French architecture and cuisine.
Day 12 : (Sat) 07 Nov 2009 PONDICHERRY Morning sighseeing tour of Pondicherry. Visit the Ashram which was founded by Sri Aurobindo, a onetime Bengal revolutionary who later took a spiritual path. Auroville, the ”City of Dawn,” was started in Feb. 1968 as a unique experiment in international living, where members live and work in total harmony. Auroville was designed as a place of constant progress, of unending education and an experiment in international living and under- standing. Auroville is intented to be a bridge between the past and the future, and belongs to humanity as a whole.The Matrii mandir (pavilion of the Mother) is the soul, the living symbol of Auroville’s aspiration for the Divine. Afternoon at leisure.
Day 13: (Sun) 08 Nov 2009 PONDICHERRY/ CHIDAMBARAM / PONDICHERRY Excursion to Chidambaram ( 1 hour each way ) Chidambaram was the capitol of the Cholas Kingdom from 907 to 1310 AD. The name is derived from “Chit Ambaram” which literally translates as 'wisdom and intelligence infused into the atmosphere'. Lord Nataraja, an aspect of the Divine, is said to have emerged from this sacred space as Siva Nateswara, the Cosmic Dancer, and performed his Cosmic Dance before two of his devotees. It’s a special temple, with an unusual vimana over the Sanctum Sanctorum, which holds the Divine as `Space’ without any form. The 108 Karanas of Bharata Natyam, the Classical Dance form of South India are depicted in sculpture on the walls of the Temple and are absolutely exquisite. Remainder of the day at leisure.
Day 14 : (Mon) 09 Nov 2009 PONDICHERRY/ MAHABALIPURAM/CHENNAI Depart Pondicherry for Chennai, visiting Mahabalipuram enroute. The trip will take 5 to 6 hrs, including our visit to the gloious shore temple, one of the oldest in South India, standing on the sea shore. Noted for its paved forecourts, and most especially for the great bas relief of Arjuna's penance, and other images from Hindu scriptures. A school of sculpture also merits a visit. Arrive Chennai and check into hotel. Chennai is the fourth largest city in India and the capital of Tamil Nadu. Retaining much of its traditional charm, this 350 year old city is the gateway to the South, providing many fascinating vignettes of southern heritage.
In the evening, attend a cultural performance.
Day 15 :(Tue) 10 Nov 2009 CHENNAI – DEPART CHENNAI Morning city tour of Chennai. Visit the Cathedral of Sam Toma, the resting place of St. Thomas the Apostle, who brought Christianity to India in 52 AD. We proceed to Fort George, where most of Chennai’s history was written. St. Mary’s Church within the Fort was built from 1678-80, and Elihu Yale. who in his later years founded the famous Yale University in the US, and one of the early Governors of Madras (as it was then known) was married in this church. Today the Fort houses the Secretariat and the Legislative Assembly. Then visit the Kapaleeswarar temple, built over many centuries, known for its intricately carved gopurams. Afternoon at leisure. Your room at our hotel will be protected for use till departure 4:00PM. Transfer to the airport to board your international flight by SQ 529 departing at 11:15PM.
Those taking the extension tour to Kerala will stay overnight in Chennai.
CITY HOTELS ROOM CATEGORY
The Oberoi Grand www.oberoikolkata.com Deluxe Room
Trident www.tridenthotels.com/bhubaneswar/index.asp Deluxe Room
The Dune http://tinyurl.com/qdcnl9 Standard Room
Taj Connemara http://tinyurl.com/obnaw 4 Superior Room
EXTENSION TOUR TO KERALA:
Wed. Nov. 11: CHENNAI/COCHIN/ALLEPPEY
Transfer to airport for flight to Cochin by IT 2481 (07:30/ 09:00 hrs) Meeting on arrival and drive to Alleppey (50 kms/ 1 hr). Arrive Alleppey and check in at hotel. Later take a walking tour of Alleppey. Alleppey is 64 kms south of Kochi ( Cochin) and a town with extensive canal network interspersed with bridges--hence it is commonly referred to as the Venice of South India. The town is known for its water carnivals, the most popular event being the Snake Boat Race, organized on the second Saturday of August every year. Alleppey is also a coconut town and is known for the manufacture of coir yarn, mats and allied goods Overnight in Alleppey. Keraleeyam Hotel
Thur. Nov. 12: ALLEPPEY
Drive to Kumarakom and visit the traditional Kerala village “Ayemanam.” Later we board a houseboat to cruise through the backwaters of Kerala Lunch on board houseboat. Disembark houseboat at Alleppey and transfer to your hotel. Overnight in Alleppey
Fri. Nov. 13 ALLEPPEY
Morning visit to the Krishnapuram Palace & Mannarsala Snake temple. Afternoon at leisure. Overnight in Alleppey
Sat. Nov. 14: ALLEPPEY/COCHIN
Drive to Cochin and proceed for a sightseeing tour. Cochin, the palm green commercial town of Kerala, has one of the finest natural harbors in the world, and is the gateway to Kerala. Afternoon sightseeing tour of Cochin, beginning with the Synagogue. Built in 1568 AD, the Synagogue contains Grand Scrolls of the Old Testament and the copper plates containing the privileges granted to the Jews by the Cochin rulers. The floor of the synagogue is paved with exquisite Chinese hand painted tiles. The Dutch Palace was built by the Portuguese and presented to the Cochin Raja in 1555 AD. Seventeenth century murals depicting scenes from the Indian epic, Ramayana, can be seen here. The Chinese fishing nets can be seen at the entrance of the harbor--this technique taught by the Chinese through trade contact . These nets along the backwaters are a fascinating sight. Afternoon visit the Cochin Cultural Center to see the makeup process for Kathakali, thereafter and attend the performance of Kathakali. Kathakali, the dance form of Kerala, is recognized as one of the four major classical Indian styles. Virtually nothing about Kathakali is naturalistic because it depicts the world of Gods and Demons. Although it bears the unmistakable influences of Kutiyattam and indigenous folk rituals, Kathakali literally meaning "story-play", is thought to have crystallised into a distinct theatre form during the seventeenth century. The plays are based on three major Hindu epics: the Mahabarata, the Ramayana and the Bhagavata Purana. Men play both the male and female roles. Overnight in Cochin. Taj Residency Hotel
Sun. Nov.15: COCHIN
Morning excursion to Nettoor to see Kalarippayat, the ancient martial art of Kerala. Kalarippayat is based on the science of Yoga for its forms and exercises, and its medical treatments are based on the science of Ayurveda. In Malayalam, Kalarippayat means 'the fighting art of the Kalari'. In ancient Kerala, the Kalari was a college or place of learning for subjects such as medicine, philosophy, astrology, architecture and geometry in addition to combat arts and Yoga. Another definition is Kalari (battlefield), and Payat (training in the art of combat). The origins of Kalarippayat are obscured by time, since it has been nurtured from the oldest martial traditions of Dravidian South India, with later influences from North Indian Aryan martial traditions, and linked with the science of the Art of War of ancient India. It is possible that Kalari in its present form has existed, with little change, for over 1500 years. Afternoon at leisure. Room at hotel will be protected for use till departure. Late evening transfer to airport to board international flight.
Leave Cochin for Singapore by SQ-5367 (23:15/ 06:15 hrs). Arrive back the same day.
|Included: The rates include the following specific services:
- RT Air USA to Kolkata and return via Chennai on Singapore Airlines
- Inter-India flights: Kolkata/ Bhubaneshwar/ Bangalore/ Chennai
- Meeting and assistance upon arrival and departure by an INDEBO representative.
- Transfers from airports to hotels & vice-versa by air-conditioned coach.
- Accommodation in the hotels mentioned or similar for a total of 14 nights.
- Meal Plan: Room & Breakfast basis
- Presently applicable Government taxes, which are subject to change.
- Check in and check out time at all hotels is 12 noon unless otherwise specified
- Services of locally appointed English speaking guide’s.
- Currently applicable entrance fees to places of visit as per the itinerary
- Transportation by air-conditioned coach as per the itinerary.
- Professional and service charges for preparation and operation of the tour program..
Not Included: Camera Fees, visa charges, airport taxes on departure and items of a personal nature such as cost of telephone calls, table drinks, laundry, tips etc.
CONDITIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
TRIP COST AND FEES:
The trip price $3684.00 per person is based on two persons sharing a twin-bedded room with private bath, full breakfast, excursions listed in the itinerary, classes, services of local and USA guide. Kerala Extension: $1286.00.Airfare on Singapore Airlines is currently priced at $1627.00. Departures out of SFO. LA, and NYC. Minimum 10 participants, maximum 16.
DEPOSIT: A deposit of $350.00 per person is required at the time of booking. Final payment is due Sept. 1, 2009. Limited to 16 participants.
CANCELLATIONS AND REFUNDS: For the flight portion, cancellation will be governed by the rules and regulations as listed in the flight contract by the participating airline. For the land portion, a cancellation fee of $75.00 is assessed up to 30 days prior to departure. A fee of $100.00 will be charged between 30-7 days prior to departure.
No refunds will be made after departure. Trip cancellation and medical evacuation insurance is recommended.
TRANSPORTATION: Round trip air transportation can be cooked on your own or through our travel agent: Wendy Simon at pacific Harbor Travel, 1-800- Possible optional return stopovers.
ACCOMMODATIONS: All accommodations are based on two persons sharing a twin bedded room with private, western-style bath. Single supplement available.
ROOMMATES: Single people may sign up for accommodations desired on a share basis and will be assigned a roommate as circumstances permit. If a roommate is unavailable, the participant will be notified of the adjusted price for a SINGLE SUPPLEMENT:$1034.00. Kerala Extension:$450.00.
MEALS: Full American Breakfast daily. Although most meals are not included in the trip, we do organize some group meals to familiarize you with local dishes and acquaint you with favorite, cost-friendly restaurants.
PASSPORT, VISA AND HEALTH REQUIREMENTS: A passport, valid six months from date of entry to any country visited with proof of onward transportation. Participants will need to secure a visa before departure from the Indian Embassy. The form can be accessed on-line. We suggest that clients should be covered by Travel, Medical, Health and other types of insurance. These cannot be obtained in India.
Madé Surya B.S. is a professional tour organizer and has been leading study tours in for 23 years. He has translated and worked with scholars and educational film and video crews, including National Geographic, and has conducted extensive research on Hinduism.
Call toll free 888-476-0543 or email for further information.
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