THE AVATAR IN INDIA
|Easy Path. Visit Northern India|
Photo above: Harwan Valley, Srinagar, Kashmir, India...
Starting in Delhi: Haridwar. Rishikesh. Dehra Dun. Srinagar. Lucknow. Ayodhya. Varanasi. Sarnath. Orchha. Agra. Mathura, Vrindavan. Delhi... 12 Cities. 24 Nights. Then on to Pune ...
This tour is designed for adventurous elderly people to comfortably travel to the Avatar's cities of India. This is not a commercial site. Information only.
Delhi/Pune advice: It's may be ok to wear comfortable jeans with a long shirt/t shirt, but NOT ok for short t-shirt, nor a short skirt nor shorts. Always a good idea for women travelers to keep stole, long scarf handy in bag, to cover head and upper body in religious places.
After clearing customs and entering India, pick up your bag and exit onto the street. You can cross the street and turn right. Half a block to the 'Red Fox Hotel' in aerocity. If you have a reservation you can call and they will send a man to meet you, help you with your luggage and walk you to the hotel entrance! Wonderful hotel. Check in and rest!
Night 1: Red Fox Hotel. Day 1: rest. Nice restaurant in lobby, helpful staff.
Night 2 Red Fox Hotel
ARRIVE IN HARIDWAR
Morning check out. Pre-arrange (on the internet) a car and driver to pick you up at the hotel. Drive (4 hours) to the Haridwar hotel by the Ganges. Stay 2 nights at Hari Haveli Ganga Resort in Haridwar, right on the rushing Ganges River, lovely balcony over the river. A much recommended extravagant splurge! 2 Nights. Hari Haveli Ganga Hotel in Haridwar tel: +91 5947 284 135 | +91 95550 88000
Spend one day relaxing in Haridwar.
Check out and drive (one hour) from Haridwar to Rishikesh. You must walk over the bridge into Rishikesh. Take a walk along the clean, blue Ganges riverside. Always be careful of cows walking towards you! Just give them a little extra room.
Kedarnath is an ancient Shiva temple of great pilgrimage, located at 11,600 ft. Said to be built by the Pandavas. Reconstructed in 8th century AD, It is more than 1000 years old. You can take a helicopter ride there and back, same day, from Rishikesh. About $100.RT. Or hike 14 miles up! Cross back over the bridge and drive (one hour) up to Dehradun.
ARRIVE IN DEHRA DUN
The eldest son of the Seventh Sikh Guru Har Rai, set up his "Dera" (camp) in "dun" (valley) in 1676. This 'Dera Dun' later on became Dehradun. Check into the Dehradun-Red Fox Hotel, the closest hotel to the Meher Dham Spiritual Center 105 Rajpur Road. (+91 98970 12464) and Meher Prasad 74 Rajpur Road. The Blue Bus tour went to Dehra Dun for 5 weeks in 1941. Avatar Meher Baba and his New Life companions spent 9 months there in 1950. In the summer heat of April they went up to Mussoori for 7 weeks. Meher Baba often returned to Dehradun, he began dictating God Speaks, there, using an alphabet board. After His Dehra Dun Darshan they left. November 1953.
The Dalai Lama visited Dehradun briefly during his first visit to India in 1956. Mussoorie was the Dalai Lama’s first place of refuge when he fled Tibet (1959), before he was granted land in Dharamshala. The Tibetan area of Dehradun is under his leadership and is located about 7 kms from the city centre. Shedup Choepelling Temple (main temple open Sundays only) and the world’s largest Stupa are are there. Close to 2000 Tibetan people now reside in the area. Many shops and restaurants. They strive to promote the Tibetan cause in the global discourse and unite in preserving the distinct Tibetan culture, religion, language, and identity.
Their main livelihood depends upon the traditional handicrafts of the Tibetan carpet, shoulder bags and woolen weavings like sweaters, socks and hats. Tibetan refugees in Dehradun are able to live well despite being refugees. There is a 'Tibetan Womens' Centre where refugees make hand knotted rugs and crafts. Nice shops in town.
Musoorie, a hill station, is a one hour drive up above Dehradun. Mussoorie was established in 1825 by Captain Young, a British military officer, he explored the present site and constructed a shooting lodge. The East India Company came to Mussoorie to shoot game. Mussoorie, also known as Queen of the Hills, is among the most popular hill stations of the country. In a small village outside Mussoorie the 'Himalayan Weavers of Masrana' live and work and promote the use of natural dyes on wool. The villages around are old and rich in the culture of the Garhwal Himalayas. One of their shops there, near Musoorie, is very scenic. Their other shop is in Rajpur village in Dehradun.
Last day: check out of the Dehradun -Red Fox Hotel after an early breakfast. Drive back to the New Delhi (6 hours) domestic airport to fly to Srinagar. You will need to have made advance airline reservations to Srinagar.
Pre-booked Car&Driver 5 days. Delhi to Delhi.
ARRIVE IN SRINAGAR:
Kashmir advice: it is imperative for women to dress very modestly when visiting Srinagar. 97 % of the present population of Kashmir is Muslim and It is a male dominated society. You will be happier there if you concede to the local culture in your dressing ie. loose and total covering, nothing exposed. Always a good idea for women travelers to keep stole, long scarf handy in bag, to cover head and upper body in religious places.
Srinagar Airport Pickup from hotel. Check in for 5 nights. Dinner. Previously arrange a car and driver for next 5 days in Srinagar. night 1. There are many nice hotels.
Car and Driver...Day 1 in Kashmir: Visit the Harwan valley area and the Buddhist Monastery Ruins, great views of nearby mountains. Jesus was buried on a mountainside in the Harwan Valley. His tomb is in a cave. It says 'Jesu the Good Shepard' (Yuz) but has been covered by a landslide and is not identified: Have lunch, do a little shopping at some of the famous Kashmiri embroidry shops as well as wood carvings. A shikara ride on Dal Lake is a popular boat ride. Back to your hotel for dinner. night 2.
Car and Driver...day 2 Scenic drive up around Wular lake, the opposite direction from Harwan. Return to Harwan visit shops. Drive up to the Vivanta Dal View for their scenic early sunset view and dinner in the 'Jade Dragon' restaurant. Back to your hotel. night 3
Driver: Day 3. Breakfast. Morning drive to Gulmarg and take the Gondola ride up the mountain. First leg is fine. Second leg is too high for most people (14,000 ft.) You can pre-arrange tickets at the tourist office in Srinagar or stand in line once you get there ( could be a long wait). Drive back to Srinagar hotel. Dinner, in town or back at hotel' night 4 *If you want to stay in Gulmarg, there are many good hotels, it's a popular ski resort in winter.
Driver... Day 4 around Srinagar. shopping, shikara, local sights OR morning drive to Yuzmarg (Yousmarg) meadow and back to Srinagar , many popular restaurants near. night 5 That's 5 nights in Srinagar so far...
Driver ... Day 5 Breakfast, Check out. Drive up to Sonamarg and stay at Rah Villa Resort or drive to Palhagam. and stay Hotel Heevan with river view room. for night 6. . Breakfast, lunch then check out. 3 hour drive each way to either place.
Driver... Day 6. Afternoon drive back Srinagar for night 7 hotel again. Last Dinner in town or hotel.
... Day 7. Breakfast Last Day, ask for late check out. Maybe morning shopping. Taxi to Srinagar airport by 4 PM.. very long inspection to fly to Lucknow 8 PM plane. *Remember you need an advance airline reservation from Delhi to Srinagar and from Srinagar to Lucknow.
Kashmiri hand embroidery on wool shawls
Suggest you search for hotels with an elevator and central Heat! AC in the room in summer. Another consideration is air pollution in central Srinagar (worst month is November). Out of the pollution, East of Dal Lake: Vivanta Dal View Resort on a hill with a wonderful view. Moderate would be the 'Grand Mahal' with elevator and central heat, Almus Resort (7 lovely rooms). North of Dal Lake: Orchard Retreat. If it's summertime, there are many nice budget hotels to consider and the many luxury houseboats.
In the (sometimes polluted) city, most highly rated with heat and elevator: The Kabo, CH2, Four Points by Sheraton and The Downtown. .. There are also countless budget lodgings, most have only stairs and no central heat. Check!
Choice restaurants in Srinagar: Best Chinese restaurants in Srinagar are: Lasha, Tibetan Bowl and Nun Kun.
Jade Dragon Vivanta Dal Views. Chinese, Asian, Oriental
Chinar at the Lalit Concepts from around the world
Ahdoos Authentic Kashmiri lamb dishes, Chinese, bakery!
Mughal Darbar. Indian, Mughlai, and Kashmiri.
Cafe de Linz Indian, Chinese and Kashmiri.
Arabian Barbecue top barbecue experience.
Shamyana banks of Dal Lake Asian, and Kashmi
Stream Restaurant Chinese, Indian, and Kashmiri
Last Day. Taxi to Srinagar airport by 4 PM.. very long inspection to fly to Lucknow 8 PM plane. *Remember you need an advance airline reservation from Delhi to Srinagar and from Srinagar to Lucknow. .. or to Delhi.
Pre-booked Car&Driver 6 days. Srinagar to Srinagar.
END OF SECTION ONE. Should you want to break the tour at this point, you can fly from Srinagar to Delhi for 2 nights. Take the super fast express train to Agra for the day and see the Taj. Then fly to (Pune). You can later fly from Pune to Lucknow and resume the tour in Lucknow.
ARRIVE IN LUCKNOW:
General advice for India: Respect the religion, tradition and culture of where you are. Local kids can 'get away with' jeans, more than you! Whether to visit a temple, market or walk down the street in India have nothing exposed. Even if some Indian women can now can wear sleeveless sari tops, foreign ladies cannot go sleeveless! Always a good idea for women travelers to keep stole, long scarf handy in bag, to cover head and upper body in religious places.
Arriving from Srinagar at 10 PM best to stay near the airport. The Piccadilly Hotel is a good option near the airport. It would be an hours drive from the airport to a hotel in town, at night, in a strange town, but doable.
Day 1. Early start: breakfast then check out. Have a car and driver, previously arranged, ( it could be pre-arranged by the hotel) to drive to Ayodhya and back. ( 2 1/2 hours each way) When you return (before dark a must) Check into a different hotel in a more central location, with a prior reservation.
There are no remains of any structure left in Ayodhta from the time Rama was King. After court battles and a lot of strife a magnificient new Ram Temple is being built. There are now many Ram temples to see. Ram was the epitome of goodness and taught us how to be morally correct. If you want another day in Ayodhya there are many hotels in Faizabad close to Ayodhya. The heritage hotel Kohinoor Palace, and others.
Ayodhya Sarayu River
Back to Lucknow: Check into a new hotel in the center. An elegant high-rise, full service hotel: The Renaissance TC. There are many hotels near the monuments and shops. La Place Sarovar Portico TC, Golden Tulip TC near railway station.
Chikankari embroidery is the specialty in Lucknow and is unique. Vani Anand's Designer Boutique. Bhairavi's Chikan. Ada Chikan Designer Studio. Nazrana Chikan. Seva Chikan. Spirit by Raghav, are a few upscale ones.
SEWA: The Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA) is an NGO started back in 1981 that has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. UNICEF and a Literacy House report, revealed how women and children working in the chikan industry were being exploited by middlemen. SEWA was founded to create a sustainable production system for them, with direct access to markets. The chikan store run by SEWA Lucknow is located in Halwasiya Market, near Habibullah Estate. You can also go to their factory outlet, which is located in Brahm Nagar. All other stores, which go by similar names, are not an enterprise of the SEWA
Day 2. See the monuments of Lucknow.
Leaving Lucknow to Varanasi: Early Morning 3-4 hour drive (or fly or train to Varanasi/ Benares/ Kashi)
Pre-booked Car&Driver 2-3 days. Lucknow to Lucknow.
Varanasi's famous Silk Wedding Sarees.
ARRIVE IN VARANASI:
The very essence of spiritual India. Every enlightened master and millions of aspirants have been to Varanasi. Lord Buddha's ashram was in nearby Sarnath. The River Ganges is the destination of every Hindu, Jain, Seek and seeker.
The three aspects of God: Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the Destroyer.
Priests and workers inside the temples dislike females who don't cover themselves properly. Female travelers are advised to wear a tunic with long sleeves , a pair of trousers or a salwar kameez, the Indian dress. If possible, cover your head as well. Always a good idea for women travelers to keep stole, long scarf handy in bag, to cover head and upper body in religious places. A few strict temples have decided not to allow the western outfits 'only to maintain spiritual ambience in the temple premises'.
Summer day temperatures can rise up to 45° C. Winter is comfortable with average day temperatures of around 25° C, nights around 7°C. The monsoons arrive at Varanasi in the months of June / July and it rains till end September & early October and the Ganges will be swollen.
The silk weavers of Varanasi are famous. Handwoven silks are exquisite. Machine woven silks are more common.
Hotel choices are difficult and important. So many options! Near the ghats, overlooking the ghats, Sarnath. Traffic is very congested and a major factor in choosing a hotel. Driving across town to the ghats is very congested. At the southern end of the Ghats, Assi ghat is a great location, maybe the best location, but be careful of noise factor. Ideally, choose a room with a window or balcony overlooking the Ganges River. Another factor in choosing a hotel on the ghats is accessibility! They can be very difficult getting in and out of.
ARRIVE IN SARNATH
Visit Sarnath: Buddha Ruins. Buddha came to Sarnath 650 BC, after His awakening in Ceylon. He trained his disciples here, who later spread his teachings to every corner of the Eastern World. Various Buddhist Temples from many countries surround the Buddhist Park. A nicely maintained monument, the archaeological museum at Sarnath is a must visit for visitors. Archaeological Remains are in the museum. Over 6,832 sculptures and artefacts. There are nice hotels right in Sarnath, Fern Residency is good, if you wish to spend more time than just a day visit. It can be an hours congested drive to the ghats.
Buddhist Temples of Sarnath: Sarnath Buddhist Temple, Buddha Temple, Tibetan, Tibetan Monastery, Wat Thai Sarnath Temple, Jambudvipa Sri Lanka, Dharma Chakra Vihar, Burmese, Chackma, Chinese, Maha Bodhi Society of India, Korean and Japanese Buddhist Temples.
Hotel Brijrama from the Ganges River.
Best way to see Varanasi is from the river! A nice walk along the waterfront is essential. Start your visit with a boat ride on the Ganges from many of the 80 ghats. Many steps down, perhaps easiest from Assi ghat. Evening boat rides are a popular way to see the evening arti spectacular performance on the ghats.
Advice: Hotel near Sarnath for 3 nights then Hotel on the ghats for 3 nights. Total 6 nights in Varanasi. The Orchard Spa is closest to the airport and visiting Sarnath is comfortable from there, but it is a long way to a Ganges boatride.
THIS ITINERARY IS NOW APPRX. 21 DAYS / 22 NIGHTS
END OF SECTION TWO. Should you want to break the tour at this point, you can fly from Varanasi to Delhi for 2 nights. Take the super fast express train to Agra for the day and see the Taj. Then fly to (Pune).
Enough? Fly from Varanasi back to Delhi
OR .... Continue Tour - 8 Nights: Orchha, Agra, Mathura, Vrindavan, Delhi.
Lucknow to Orchha: Return to Lucknow for 1 night. Hotel Golden Tulip is near railway station, rooms in the new building are nicer. Early Train (6 hours) to Jhansi and then taxi to Orchha (25 minutes)
ARRIVE IN ORCHHA:
It is believed that Lord Rama frequented Orchha. In the 1500's the queen was a devotee of Lord Rama and wanted his idol to be installed in her palace. With a desire to bring the deity back in the form of a boy, the queen went on a pilgrimage to Ayodhya. It is believed that Lord Rama was pleased with her prayers, and agreed to come to Orchha with her on one condition. According to beliefs, he said that he would not move from one temple to another and would always remain in the place where she would initially house the idol. Thus, the palace was later turned into a temple.
The Holy River Betwa, a place of Pilgrimage, runs along Orchha. Do not miss the aarti at the Ram Raja temple. The temple built by the king is the adjoining Chaturbhuj temple which towers around the monument. The other monuments in Orchha crowd around the Ram Raja temple. The courtyard is now an open bazaar. You can eat in nearby restaurants.
Arti at the Ram Temple and a walk to the River Betwa. Orchha is a quiet city and staying a few days for a break is a nice idea. Dip your feet in the Holy Betwa River (or even take a dip). Easy river rafting too.
Orchha Organic Food Restauran, you can't miss this place!! Ah, the view is so beautiful with the temples all around.
Leaving Orchha: Taxi to Jhansi and a train ride to Agra (2.5 hours), be mindful of schedule.
It is possible to take a train from Orchha direct to Delhi and fly to (Pune).
ARRIVE IN AGRA
Visit the Taj Mahal , Closed on Fridays to non Muslims. Presently Closed Saturdays and Sundays due to the pandemic. Possibly see the Taj by moonlight! Agra Hotel for two nights. Meet your pre-arranged car and driver who will stay with you until you return to Delhi to fly to Pune.
You can go inside the Taj Mahal building! .. If you have a “High Value Ticket”, you completely skip that line and go right to the center of the Taj Mahal inside the mausoleum itself, just as you skipped the line to get into the main doors to the courtyard.
The Taj Mahal is now accessible to physically challenged people, the monument has wheelchairs that people with disabilities can use to move around the complex. There are nine ramps placed in different parts of the complex.
Agra fort and the Shish Mahal within (the glass palace), built by Mughal emperor Shahjahan
Fatehpur Sikri is a one hour drive from Agra. Built during the second half of the 16th century by the Emperor Akbar, Fatehpur Sikri was the capital of the Mughal Empire for 10 years but due to water shortage the Mughal capital moved to Lahore (now in Pakistan).
Keoladeo National Park. You can drive from F. Sikri to Bharatpur in half an hour. Spend a night in Bharatpur and visit the Keoladeo Bird Reserve in the morning or late afternoon. Visit the Reserve in an open bIcycle rickshaw. Richshaw drivers are experienced guides and can hired by the main entrance of Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary. 2 persons max. Open throughout the year. A few hours to see the city center is good as well.
Drive Bharatpur to Mathura. (2 hours)
It is possible visit the the elephant Care and Conservation Center. +91 96900 09792 on the way from Agra to Mathura.
The Agra Bear Rescue Facility is the largest Sloth Bear Sanctuary. You can visit again, when it re-opens to the public, post pandemic.
Drive Agra to Mathura. (1.5 hrs)
Vishram Ghat. Painting by Lord Weeks.
ARRIVE IN MATHURA Lord Krishna was born in Mathura. His earliest years were in Gokul and childhood in Vrindavan.. Krishna later moved to Dwarka.
ARRIVE IN VRINDAVAN
The ghats of Vrindavan and Mathura were built by Raja Himmat Bahadur 600 years ago on the Yamuna river front. On the banks of the Yamuna river, few kilometers from each other, are the towns of Mathura and Vrindavan. Both sacred for devotees of Krishna
Among the two, Mathura is the biggest: a city of 600.000 people, Mathura is also one of the seven sacred cities of Hinduism, and the birthplace of Lord Krishna. Main attraction and core of the city is the amazing Vishram Ghat.
Vrindavan, with only 60,000 inhabitants, is 11 kms North of Mathura. Despite its size, Vrindavan is home to around 5,000 Hindu temples. Vrindavan is also famous as a shelter for Indian widows, who, after their husband’s death, can be kicked out of their house by their relatives and end up living in the streets. Vrindavan was Krishna's childhood home, where he played the flute for his Radha and gopis, until he left Vrindavan.
Vishram Ghat Main ghat of Mathura is on the banks of the River Yamuna, and is central to 25 other ghats. The traditional parikrama starts and ends at Vishram Ghat. This is the place Lord Krishna bathed in order to celebrate his killing of the demon Kansa. People bathe, rest and worship.
Krishna Janma Boomi Mander. Mathura. Constructed where Krishna was born. It was a prison cell that belonged to Kansa, Krishna’s maternal uncle. The prison cell is a stone walled cell that reminds people of King Kans’s cruelty in those days. Beautiful and well-maintained temple. limited hours.
Govardhan Hill place of Hindu Pilgrimage the place where Lord Krishna grew up. The Govardhan Parvat is mentioned in a number of religious and sacred texts, a number of tales about Lord Krishna. It is said that Lord Krishna lifted the mountain to protect the villagers of Mathura from a raging thunderstorm. In addition to this, a number of 16th century monuments are situated on the hill, and the view of the surrounding villages is breathtaking from the top.
Kusum Sarovar. Govardhan is believed to be the place where Radha along with gopis used to collect flowers and meet Lord Krishna. Kadamba trees are found all over. A simple earthen pond till 1675, it was properly built by ruler of Orchha, Veer Singh. Later surrounded by magnificent structures constructed by the king of Bharatpur in the middle of 18th century, The main tomb has beautiful paintings on its ceiling depicting the pastimes of Krishna and the lotus feet of Krishna engraved on the floor. The interior of these buildings is breathtaking.
Radha Kund Govardhan, Mansi Ganga Lake. Considered to be one of the holiest temples. The legend goes that Radha and her friends used their bangles to dig out a kunda and filled it with water from ‘Manasi-Ganga’. Pilgrims take a dip in this holy body of water throughout the year. The fresh and cool water of this kunda is kept quite clean.
Keshi Ghat. Vrindavan is an embankment of the River Yamuna, and is one of the most beautiful spots in the whole of Vrindavan. Idyllic for watching sunrises and sunsets. Evening Aarti 4:30pm is something. Perfect to just sit in peace, as the serenity of this place is comparable to none other. Banke Bihari Temple, built in 1862
Radha Raman temple Vrindavan is dedicated to Lord Krishna and Radha, the love of his life. Constructed in 1542, this is one of the most exquisitely crafted Krishna temples. The original deity of Krishna with Radharani is in this temple. The aarti is loud chanting of Lord Krishna’s name.
Radha Damodar Temple. Vrindavan. One of the oldest temples in Vrindavan, is a reflection of the glory of architecture in ancient India. Built in the year 1524
Iskcon Temple. Vrindavan. Built by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness or ISKCON. One of the major temples of the organization. The temple is dedicated to the divine brothers Krishna and Balaram, and was built in 1975. The aarti is something that should not be missed it is quite a sight to see.
Prem Mandir is maintained by Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat, an international non-profit, educational, spiritual, charitable trust. Completed in 2012. The complex is on a 55-acre site on the outskirts of Vrindavan. It is dedicated to Radha Krishna and Sita Ram.
Whether your hotel is in Mathura or Vrindavan, does not matter, they are equal distance from Govardhan. There are more hotels in Vrindavan.
After Krishna moved his disciples to Dwarka in Gujarat, he married Rukmini. Krishna was king and Rukmini was queen
Pre-booked Car&Driver 5 days. Agra to Delhi
BACK TO DELHI - FLY TO PUNE
Lord Krishna was King in Dwarka, on the coast of the Arabian Sea, western Gujarat. Lord Krishna moved with his companions to ancient Dwarka after he killed the evil Kansa. Krishna felt it was no longer safe around the Mathura area. The wars of the Mahabarata were fought from there.
The legendary Dwarka of Krishna's reign is now 120 feet under the Arabian sea.
To visit Meher Baba's Samadhi, fly from Delhi to Pune
Avatar Meher Baba Samadhi - Tomb Shrine.
ARRIVE IN MEHERABAD
To visit: Avatar Meher Baba Samadhi Tomb Shrine. Fly from Delhi to Pune. There are many hotels in Pune, which is a 2 hour drive from Meherabad (Ahmednagar). There are a few new hotels in Ahmednagar with restaurants. The car ride from town to Meherabad is 15 minutes. There is a pilgrim guest house in Meherabad available for people genuinly interested in Meher Baba, only with prior reservations through the Trust Office.
The Samadhi can be visited directly from either Pune or Ahmednagar. You need to hire a car with a driver who knows how to drive to the parking up the hill, near the Samadhi. Open to everyone from 7 am to 7 pm.
Information about Meher Baba: https://avatarmeherbabatrust.org/
------DISCLAIMER: This is not a commercial site. We offer nothing but the opportunity for you to see a way to make this trip work. Information only. No gaurantee the info is correct. Have tried my best, but I'm no expert. ---------------- I have not taken the *photos on this page-------
NORHTERN INDIA CITIES OF THE AVATAR