Itinerary

The Elephanta Caves

13 Nights / 14 Days

• Luxury accommodations at personally selected, highest-rated hotels

• All breakfasts, most lunches and dinners at our favorite restaurants

• Traditional Ayurvedic massage, yoga, Kathakali theater performance

• Special access to Jewish communities and synagogues

• Lectures and talks at Jewish sites by Dr. Shalva Weil, named the world’s leading academic expert on Jewish India

 

Daily Highlights 2018

Exact day-to-day details will be provided in plenty of time before departure

Mumbai and its surrounding areas
Tour the highlights of Mumbai, the heart of India and one of the world’s most exciting cities. Visit centuries-old temples, synagogues, colonial relics, and markets. Meet the vibrant Jewish community. Share perfectly prepared Indian meals. Shop for exquisite Indian jewels, shawls, and more. Visit the Konkan Coast where Jews were shipwrecked more than two thousand years ago, and explore UNESCO World Heritage Site, ancient Elephanta Island Hindu caves.
Cochin and its surrounding areas
Get to know the ancient and intimate small island city of Fort Cochin and earlier pre-Cochin settlements. Chinese fishing nets, Dutch Palace, St. Francis Church where Vasco da Gama was buried, Jew Town 
spice and antique markets. Attend services in ancient temples, synagogues, and churches. Meet members of the tiny Jewish community. Shop for world-famous spices, fabrics and more. Learn about delicately-spiced south Indian food with a Cochini Jewish twist. Follow ancient spice routes. Enjoy idyllic Kerala backwaters houseboat cruise, Kerala-rooted yoga, ayurvedic massage, and traditional Kathakali performance.

Rajasthan and the Golden Triangle – Jaipur, Delhi, and Agra, home of the iconic Taj Mahal
From Cochin, fly to Jaipur, spending two nights in the colorful capital of Rajasthan. Experience the Amber Fort on an elephant and the city palace, the huge complex of courtyards, gardens, and buildings that blend Rajasthan and Mughal architecture. See the exquisite Peacock Gate and visit the museum in the buildings not currently being used by the royal family. Shop for famous Jaipur jewelry, hand-woven fabrics and more.

From Jaipur, fly to New Delhi, spending two nights in the British-designed new capital of India. Visit the India Gate and the president’s palace, the 234 foot high Qutab Minar and the 16th-century tomb of Humayun. In Old Delhi, view the remains of the ruling Moghuls, the Red Fort, and Jama Masjid (India’s largest mosque), both built by Emperor Shahjahan. Visit Vast Rajghat, where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated. Meet the Jewish community and observe Shabbat at the Judah Hyam Synagogue, designed by the well-known Bene Israel architect, Joshua M. Benjamin, who also designed the Parliament House annex. Membership peaked at 250-300, but now only 10 Indian Jewish families remain in Delhi.

Drive to Agra, spending two nights visiting the Red Fort and the Taj Mahal. In our opinion, the Taj Mahal, considered the most beautiful building in the world, is one of the only sites in the world that is even more beautiful than expected. Visit at sunset and sunrise, when it is at its most wonderful. The Taj Mahal was built by Shah Jahan as a memorial for his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died giving birth to their 14th child in 1631. The death of Mumtaz left the emperor so heartbroken that his hair is said to have turned gray virtually overnight. Construction of the Taj began the following year and, although the main building is thought to have been built in eight years, the whole complex was not completed until 1653. Not long after it was finished Shah Jahan was overthrown by his son Aurangzeb and imprisoned in Agra Fort where, for the rest of his days, he could only gaze out at his creation through a window. Following his death in 1666, Shah Jahan was buried alongside Mumtaz.

Explore the Agra Fort, built by Emperor Akbar, undoubtedly the greatest Mughal emperor of India. Construction of Agra Fort began in 1565 and was completed in 1571. Built with red sandstone, Agra Fort is a mixture of the Islamic and Hindu styles of architecture. The red sandstone fort was converted into a palace during Shāh Jahān’s time and reworked extensively with marble and pietra dura inlay. Notable buildings in the fort include the Pearl Mosque or Motī Masjid, the Dīwān-e-‘Ām and Dīwān-e-Khās (halls of the public and private audience), Jahāngīr’s Palace, Khās Mahal, Shīsh Mahal (mirrored palace), and the Musamman Burj.

Return to Delhi, on the way, visiting Fatehpur Sikri, constructed by Emperor Akbar as part of his plans to build a grand capital for his empire. The World Heritage Site of Fatehpur Sikri is 39 km away from Agra in Uttar Pradesh. Fatehpur Sikri served as the Mughal capital from 1571 to 1585. Spread across eight square kilometers, the city is about three miles long and one mile wide. Built with red Sikri sandstone, the city’s architecture is a blend of Islamic and Hindu styles. Fatehpur Sikri had royal palaces, halls for the public and private audience, the zenana or the quarters for women, courtyards and grand avenues.

After the tour, spend more time on your own in Delhi, many other destinations in India and the region, or fly home.

 

Read more: Extension to Khajuraho and Varanasi