SPIRITUAL INDIA
11-DAY HIMALAYAN PILGRIMAGE
Meet Holy Saints, Visit Sacred Shrines,
Trek in the Timeless Himalayas,
Experience the Source of the Ganges River.





The Sacred Himalayan Mountains


Do you now want to experience the awesome high Himalayan mountains, the most sacred shrines of India, and the holy men and women who live in Himalayan caves? Because on our amazing Himalayan Pilgrimage, we will have that rare opportunity in an awesome once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The four most revered Hindu temples are in the Garhwal region of the Himalayas. The temples of Shiva and Vishnu at Kedarnath and Badrinath have been the destination of pilgrims for centuries--once reached after tortuous treks, they are now easily accessible by road. Pilgrims from all over the world have braved severe conditions of landscape and weather to visit the shrines and have the holy sight of the revered dieties.
  
The route to the source of the holy river begins at Rishikesh and passes ancient temples and Valleys along the way. The sacred shrines are only open from May to November. During the severe winter season, the towns close and everyone moves down  the slopes. In the hinterlands of the Himalayas is the town of Gangotri where, it is believed, Mother Ganga, the stream of life, came down from heaven and touched the Earth for the first time. 

The Legendary Ganges River

According to the Hindu religious scriptures, the heavenly goddess Ganga manifested herself in the form of a river to absolve the sins of King Sagar's sons. In Gangotri the river is called Bhagirathi, or the river brought down to the earth from the heavens by Bhagirath - a descendant of Sagar - the king who prayed and did severe penance for the salvation of his 60,000 ancestors. The river forms the Gauri Kund. This is where, according to legend, it descended after leaping from the heavens into the matted hair of the Yogi Lord Shiva, who saved the earth from floods by taking the force of the powerful Ganges river into his hair.

For the Hindus, the Ganga is the mother river which manifested from her celestial home onto the earth for the welfare of mankind. Its timeless flow of sacred water has shaped the devotion of millions and sustained huge populations in the subcontinent of India. Ganga water is holy and is used for purifying every Hindu home. The name of this eternal river symbolizes the very nerve centre of India's ancient culture. This river of life has nourished India's multi-faceted civilization and its growth since time immemorial.

 

Our Amazing Itinerary to the Himalayas
11-day tour



Susan Shumsky of Divine Travels is a member of Travel Service Network, Inc. (TSN).

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Day 1        Welcome to Delhi


Fly overnight to India, arriving in the late evening. Your tour leader will accompany you to your hotel in the heart of Delhi, followed by the Traditional Indian Welcome at the hotel. Overnight at hotel.
Hotel: The Oberoi Maidens or Similar

     

 

Day 2          Explore Old & New Delhi


Meet your group over the late breakfast, then enjoy a walking tour of Old Delhi, featuring Raj Ghat, where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated. Next, a cycle rickshaw carries us through the crowded Chandni Chowk Bazaar to Jama Masjid, India's largest mosque. In the afternoon, drive through New Delhi to visit the India Gate and the old residences of British Viceroys.

Visit the powerful, majestic Hindu Temples of Delhi: Chattarpur Temple, Yogmaya Temple & Lakshmi Narayan Temple.

Hotel: The Oberoi Maidens or Similar (Meals: Breakfast & Welcome Dinner at Chor Bizarre)

 

Old Delhi: The 350 years old walled city was built by Emperor Shah Jehan in 1648 as his capital. Opposite the fort are the black and white onion dome and minarets of the Jama Masjid, the most elegant mosque in India. Raj Ghat is worth a visit where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated in 1948.

New Delhi: The new capital designed by Sir Edward Lutyens. An interesting drive in the one passing through the impressive Rajpath from the World War I memorial arch, the India Gate towards the Presidential Palace. Visit Humayun's Tomb built in 1565 AD, Safdarjung's Tomb, the Qutab Minar, 72 meters high and the most curious antique, the uncorroded Iron Pillar, which dates back to the 4th century AD.

Day 3            Delhi/Haridwar/Rishikesh

After breakfast, leave for Rishikesh by surface, en route visiting Haridwar. At Haridwar explore Evening Ganga - Aarti at Holy River Ganges at Har Ki Pauri. Afterwards, continue to Rishikesh. Transfer to hotel. Dinner & overnight at hotel.
Hotel: Nataraj, Shreeji, or similar (Meals: Breakfast & Dinner)

 
  
    

 

Day 4          Explore Rishikesh

After breakfast, full day sightseeing of Rishikesh. Dinner & overnight at hotel.
Hotel: Natraj, Shreeji, or Similar (Meals ­ Breakfast & Dinner)

Rishikesh is situated on the right bank of Holy River Ganges and surrounded on three sides by Himalayan ranges are known from medieval time as a celestial abode. It is a great pilgrimage center of India, attracting a large number of pilgrims. It has since been the abode of saints and sages from where they sojourn before undertaking the arduous pilgrimage that lay ahead on the distant Himalayan Peaks. This is the gateway to the kingdom of gods and pilgrimage to Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.

    

 

Day 5           Rishikesh/ Rudraprayag

After breakfast, leave for Rudraprayag by surface. Reach Rudraprayag in the evening and transfer to hotel. Dinner & overnight at hotel.
Overnight: Hotel Monal Resort Or GMVN Guest House (Meals ­ Breakfast & Dinner)

Narada, an ancient Indian sage, reputed to be the inventor of the veena, a stringed musical instrument, meditated here for several years at the temple of Rudranath, in order to attain perfection in the science of music. Pleased with his devotion, Shiva blessed Narad, granting him the cherished wish that the sage became the repository of sacred music. Here, in the temple, Shiva is worshipped in the form of Rudranath. With a population of 5,000, Rudraprayag is at the junction of the three hill districts of Pauri, Tehri and Chamoli. Rudraprayag is situated on the confluence of the rivers Mandakini and Alaknanda.

 



Susan Shumsky of Divine Travels is a member of Travel Service Network, Inc. (TSN).

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Day 6          Rudraprayag/ Uttarkashi

After breakfast, leave for Uttarkashi for (170 Km) by surface. Reach Uttarkashi in the evening. Transfer to hotel. Dinner & overnight at hotel.
Overnight: Hotel Oasis Or GMVN Guest House (Meals; Breakfast & Dinner)

Uttarkashi is is the gateway to the pilgrim route to Gangotri. The beautiful small town is situated on the right bank of the Bhagirathi, surrounded by the rivers Varuna and Assi, at an altitude of about 1,550 m. As the name suggests, Uttarkashi is considered the northern Kashi or Varanasi, a historical pilgrimage city in the Indian plains. The temples and ghats in Uttarkashi have names almost identical to those in Varanasi, such as the Shiva temple--Vishwanath Mandir, where stands a magnificent Trishul (trident), one meter in circumference and made of copper. It supports a trident four meters long. Each prong is about two meters in length.   

At one time, there were 365 temples in this town. It is known for its temples dedicated to Rishi Parasurama, Dattatreya, Goddess Annapurna Devi, Goddess Kali, and Bhairon. Among the other temples in this town filled with splendor are the temples of Parashuram, Kali and that of the Ekadash Rudra, built by the former Maharaja of Jaipur. The town is also known for its various ashrams, which are the homes of sanyasis and mendicants who occupy the banks of the holy river for penance and prayers.

.           

Uttarkashi is also known as Barahat, literally meaning "a big market place". It is a town with modern facilities. The Nehru Institute of Mountaineering is located here. This national institute imparts mountaineering training to young people to inculcate the spirit of adventure among the youth of the country. The region has some high-altitude lakes and the Gangotri and Yamunotri glaciers lead on to several major peaks-the hunting grounds for serious mountaineering buffs.

      

 

Day 7           Uttarkashi/ Gangotri

After breakfast, leave for Gangotri (97 Km) by surface. Reach Gangotri and transfer to hotel. Dinner & overnight at hotel.
Overnight: Manish Lodge or GMVN Guest House (Meals: Breakfast & Dinner)

Gangotri, beyond the gorge where the Jadh Ganga meets the Bhagirathi, heralding the approach of the Gangotri temple, the narrow Bhagirathi Ravine, dramatic and beautifully wooded, opens out into a valley flanked by jagged snowy peaks. At the end of this portion of the valley stands a simple edifice to the Goddess Ganga built in the eighteenth century, to commemorate where King Bhagirath sat and prayed for 5,500 years and where came the Pandavas to atone for the death of their kinsmen. Standing on pillars on the right bank of the river at a height of 3,200 meters (10,500 ft), the slopes surrounding the temple indicate the level of the bed of the past giant glacier, while the tiny village is full of giant deodars and conifers. Here the river flows north, giving the village its name Gangotri--Ganga turned north. The temple of Ganga in Gangotri is visited by millions of devotees each year.

At 3048m, Gangotri lies in the northwest Himalayas of Garhwal. It is one of the four dhams (pilgrimage centres for Hindus, the other three being Yamunotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath) of Garhwal region of the Himalayas. The Bhairnoghati bridge, built across one of the deepest gorges in the world, connects Gangotri to the rest of the world across the Bhagirathi River. There is an 18th century temple made of granite rock at Gangotri. The temple is dedicated to the Goddess Ganga who is believed to have descended from heaven as a result of King Bhagirath's centuries-long penance, since the latter wanted the ashes of his dead relatives to be washed away by the holy waters of the Goddess Ganga.

When Ganga descended from heaven, the current was so strong that Lord Shiva (the Destroyer in the Hindi Holy Trinity of Creator-Preserver-Destroyer) had to hold her flow in check by coiling his matted locks around her. From then on, Shiva is also known as Jatashankar (Jata means hair in Hindi). There is a lingam (the symbolic phallus of Shiva) submerged in the river that can be seen in winter, a natural rock shivling where according to mythology Lord Shiva sat when he received the Goddess Ganga in his matted locks.

 

Day 8           Gangotri/ Chirbasa/ Bhojbasa

After breakfast, trek towards Bhojbasa via Chirbasa. (You can ride a pony or be carried in a pallanquin if you do not want to trek.) A total of 13 kms to be covered within approx. 05 Hrs. The trek route passes through deep dense forest Bhojbasa of Himalayan coniferous and pine trees to arrive at Bhojbasa. The main structure at Bhojbasa is an ashram, which is served as a stop over point en route Gaumukh. Transfer to hotel. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Hotel: G.M.V.N. Guest House Or Similar (Meals - Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)

 
  



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Day 9            Bhojbasa/ Gaumukh/ Gangotri

Gaumukh is the point from where the holy Ganges originates. A short and easy trek of an hour brings us to Gaumukh - The Source of Ganges. Afterwards, continue to Gangotri. Reach Gangotri & Transfer to hotel. Dinner and overnight at hotel.
Hotel: Manish Lodge or G.M.V.N. Guest House Or Similar (Meals - Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)

GAUMUKH
--forbiddingly beautiful.
Gaumukh ("mouth of the cow"), 3892m, is the small cave in the higher Himalayas where the Ganga emerges from the massive Gaumukh Glacier. The awesome Shivling peak looms 6,543 M (21,470 ft) above the source of the Ganga at the Gangotri glacier, which evokes a mystical atmosphere descending from beyond the Chaukhamba cluster of snow peaks, while the three peaks of the Bhagirathi mountains tower over the Gaumukh springs almost as if these mountains were the embodiments of Shiva. At the end of the valley is the snout of the Gangotri glacier called Gaumukh ­ a hundred-meter (328 ft) high wall of Grey snow from the top of which moraines come regularly crashing down. From the ice walls of the blue ice caves, the waters of the Bhagirathi gushes out with force and cut a fantastic gorge among the granites of the Himalayas. The colossal glacier varies in colour from shades of blue to green lying in a basin 5,000 meters (16,404 ft) high.

The high altitude plain, Tapovan, is where King Bhagirath supposedly did penance. Legend has it that his prayers compelled Mother Ganga to descend from heaven and fall onto the earth here. Tapovan is the foothill of the mighty Shivling Peak (6543m), one of the most beautiful peaks in the world. Sixteen kilometres downhill, it is seen as a river in Gangotri. The force of the water here is awesome.

 

Day 10         Gangotri/Rishikesh

After breakfast, leave back for Rishikesh by surface. Reach Rishikesh and transfer to hotel. Dinner & overnight at hotel.
Hotel: Natraj or Shreeji, or similar (Meals: Breakfast & Dinner)

  

 

Day 11     Rishikesh/Delhi

After breakfast, leave back for Delhi. Reach Delhi and transfer to Village BISTRO for Farewell Dinner and afterwards continue to IGI Airport and tour terminates.
Meals - Breakfast & Farewell Dinner at Village BISTRO

END OF TOUR
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