Mystical and spiritual, India is a land of rich contrasts. Explore its multifaceted culture as you travel through the classic Golden Triangle and east to Varanasi, stopping in Kalakho where local Meena tribespeople invite you into their homes.

Starting at: $5,587 * Includes airfare, taxes & all fees Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Ancient stepwell near Jaipur  Detail of archway within the Amber Palace, Jaipur  The Amber Palace, overlooking Jaipur  Courtyard in the City Palace Museum of Jaipur  The City Palace Museum, Jaipur  The newly restored Palace of the Winds in Jaipur  Ancient observatory in Jaipur  Women at a temple in northern India. Credit: Linda Currie  Traditional Indian market. Credit: Linda Currie  Father and son in Rajasthan. Credit: Linda Currie  The elusive Bengal tiger, Ranthambore National Park  The Taj Mahal, Agra  Detail of inlaid stone at the Red Fort in Agra  Entrance to Agra's Red Fort, seat of Mughal power for generations  Pavilion inside the Red Fort in Agra  Detail of stonework on the Qutab Minar minaret, Delhi  Qutab Minar, India's tallest minaret, Delhi  Statue of Buddha at Sarnath, one of Buddhism's four holiest sites  The ghats along the Ganges River, Varanasi  Holy man along the Ganges River  The iconic Taj Mahal

Mystical India

The Golden Triangle and Varanasi With an Optional Extension to Nepal

17 days from $5,587 | includes airfare, taxes and all fees

Mystical and spiritual, India is a land of rich contrasts. Explore its multifaceted culture as you travel through the classic Golden Triangle and east to Varanasi, stopping in Kalakho where local Meena tribespeople invite you into their homes.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

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WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

Of all the overseas trips we've taken, this trip ranks right at the top. Smithsonian did an outstanding job of balancing sites and activities with learning. We saw and did so much but we learned even more. We'll always remember India.

- Ron Z.

I have wanted to visit India all my life and, therefore, had very high expectations. This trip far exceeded all those expectations. It was everything I hoped for and more! 

- Brenda S.

India is not only mystical, but it is memorable, and magic. An initial visit only whets one's desire to return to experience the unique physical and spiritual senses over and over again.

- Kenneth N.

I am so happy I saw India with the Smithsonian. It has such a rich and extraordinary history, and Smithsonian was the way to go! 

- Previous Journeys Traveler

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

See All Journeys Dispatches ››

Accommodations

* Click on hotel name to visit hotel web-site.

Taj Palace

Delhi, India

Surrounded by six acres of lush greenery in Delhi's Diplomatic Enclave, the Taj Palace Hotel features a contemporary décor accented by marble and brass. The 422-room hotel offers four restaurants, two bars, and a lounge; Fitness Center with Jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, and spa treatments; outdoor pool; beauty salon; and laundry service. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, Internet access, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 3

Jai Mahal Palace

Jaipur, India

A masterpiece of Indo-Saracenic architecture, the Jai Mahal Palace is certified environmentally-friendly and the former home of maharajahs and three prime ministers of Jaipur. This 270-year-old hotel sits amidst 18 acres of beautifully landscaped Mughal gardens. Amenities include three restaurants, one bar, a bakery, and two lounges; a barber shop and beauty salon; an outdoor pool; fitness center; spa with massage treatments; billiards and game room;  complimentary WiFi internet access; and laundry service. Decorated with period furniture and Rajasthani paintings, air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, tea- and coffee-making facilities, in-room safe, minibar, TV, and phone. 

Number of nights: 3

Taj Sawai Madhopur Lodge

Ranthambore, India

Built in the 1930s by Indian royalty, the Taj Sawai Madhopur Lodge is located just a short distance from Ranthambore National Park. The rustic-style lodge offers a restaurant and bar, croquet, badminton, and outdoor pool. Each of the 30 air-conditioned guest rooms has private bath with hair dryer, mini-bar, in-room safe, Internet access, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 2

Kipling Lodge (November 29, 2018 departure)

Village Charoda, Ranthambore, India

This property is decorated in a colonial-style hunting lodge, set overlooking the Aravalli Hills and sharing the boarder with Ranthambore National Park.  The lodge features a library bar, restaurant, swimming pool, and spa.  Each of the 16 rooms offers a garden, a private bath, TV, with coffee/ tea making facilities.

Number of nights: 2

Dera Village Retreat

Kalakho, India

Off the beaten track of rural Rajasthan sits Dera Lake Retreat, a rustic yet comfortable haven of guest cabins set amidst a series of traditional villages. Sitting on the banks of a monsoon lake, the camp offers a unique opportunity to witness how much of India lives, away from the cities. During our stay we visit a local school, take a camel safari, and meet local Meena tribespeople in their homes. Along with a restaurant, gardens and bonfires add to the retreat's ambience. Air-conditioned guest cabins have private bath with hot and cold running water. This remote location has no telephone service.

Number of nights: 1

Courtyard Marriott Agra (2019 Departure)

Agra, India

Located on famous Fatehabad Road, Courtyard Agra is a luxury haven near the most celebrated jewels of India. Immerse yourself in 5-star comfort within spacious hotel rooms and suites, featuring resort-style amenities, plush pillowtop bedding and high-speed Wi-Fi. Savor distinctive cuisine, creative cocktails and fine wines at our four unique restaurants. Explore some of the world's most legendary attractions, including the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. Celebrate and succeed in 24,000 square feet of elegant outdoor and indoor event space.

Number of nights: 2

Taj Gateway Ganges

Varanasi, India

Set amidst 40 acres of landscaped lawns, Taj Gateway Hotel Ganges offers a host of amenities including a restaurant, coffee shop, and bar; laundry and dry cleaning services; astrologer; outdoor pool, croquet, badminton, and yoga; and spa services. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, coffee- and tea-making facilities, mini-bar, in-room safe, Internet access, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 3

Crowne Plaza Gurgaon

Delhi, India

The 234-room Crowne Plaza Hotel Gurgaon is conveniently located near the airport and the local business district. Hotel amenities include two restaurants and a bar, Fitness Center with spa, and both indoor and outdoor swimming pools. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, Internet access, TV, and phone.

Number of nights: 1

Hotel Pullman New Delhi Aerocity (2019 Departure)

Delhi, India

The upscale hotel is located adjacent to both international & domestic airport terminals and is well connected through the Airport Express Line which is just 5 minutes away. The Pullman New Delhi Aerocity is near the business hubs of Gurgaon, New Delhi, and Cyber City. It is also located close to Delhi's shopping malls including DLF Promenade, Emporio and Worldmark. A big complex of 670 rooms, Pullman and Novotel New Delhi Aerocity is a preferred destination for both business & leisure travelers.

Number of nights: 1

Tour Extension

Nepal Post-Program Option

Absorb the beauty of the Himalayan kingdom –and the warmth of its people – on this special journey featuring sacred shrines, royal cities, and indigenous lifestyles.

Your Tour Price Includes

  • Air transportation Varanasi/Kathmandu inclusive of airline taxes and fees
  • 4 nights’ accommodations: 2 nights in Kathmandu at Crowne Plaza Soaltee (Superior First Class); 2 nights in Nagarkot at Club Himalaya Nagarkot (Superior First Class)
  • 8 meals: 4 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 3 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing, including Pashupatinath shrine (UNESCO site); Boudhanath monument; colorful Bhaktapur, “city of Devotees;” Swayambhunath Temple; royal city of Patan; and Kathmandu and environs
  • Services of a professional Tour Director
  • Private motorcoach transportation
  • Gratuities for dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers

Please note that guests on this extension will leave the India tour on Day 16 at the conclusion of the Varanasi stay.

Crowne Plaza Hotel Kathmandu-Soaltee
The 282-room Crown Plaza Hotel Kathmandu-Soaltee stands amidst 12 acres of gardens in the shadow of the Himalayas. The hotel offers several restaurants, bar, and lounge; Wi-Fi internet access (for a fee); safe-deposit boxes; gift shop; beauty salon; fitness center; spa with sauna and steam bath; outdoor pool; and laundry and dry cleaning services. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, tea- and coffee-making facilities, TV, and phone.

Club Himalaya Nagarkot
Club Himalaya Nagarkot sits at 7,200 feet and commands spectacular panoramic views of the valley and of the snowcapped Himalayans, particularly at sunrise or sunset. The hotel offers several restaurants and bar, rooftop observatory, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, indoor swimming pool, fitness center, spa with sauna and massage treatments, and library. Each of the 52 air-conditioned guest rooms features private bath with hair dryer, private balcony, TV, and phone.

Activity Level

Activity Level 3:  Moderate / Active


Expectations: Most trips will feature long touring days, many full-day excursions, and a full and active itinerary with a faster pace and longer distances. Some tours may have activities with higher intensity and more active choices/options. Excursions require standing and walking for extended periods of time over more difficult terrain (cobblestones, city hills, stairs without handrails, limited or no access to elevators, muddy/slippery walking/hiking trails), and walking to city centers where coaches are prohibited. Specific itineraries may feature hiking, use of local transportation, extended overnight train travel, extensive use of Zodiac crafts or other smaller ship conveyances, or multiple internal plane rides. Some itineraries may require early morning departures and later evening returns. Travelers may be in remote and/or rugged regions, and may be touring at higher altitudes with steep ascents/descents. Leisure time may be limited (sometimes only in the later evenings). Certain tours feature more active excursions (such as moderate hiking, swimming, snorkeling, canoeing, bicycling, rafting, or kayaking), though another choice may be offered for an alternate skill level. Walking/hiking tours may feature up to six-mile walks/hikes.  

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit, lead active lives, are comfortable participating in long days of activities, and expect some physical exertion. 

Testimonials

WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

Of all the overseas trips we've taken, this trip ranks right at the top. Smithsonian did an outstanding job of balancing sites and activities with learning. We saw and did so much but we learned even more. We'll always remember India.

- Ron Z.

I have wanted to visit India all my life and, therefore, had very high expectations. This trip far exceeded all those expectations. It was everything I hoped for and more! 

- Brenda S.

India is not only mystical, but it is memorable, and magic. An initial visit only whets one's desire to return to experience the unique physical and spiritual senses over and over again.

- Kenneth N.

I am so happy I saw India with the Smithsonian. It has such a rich and extraordinary history, and Smithsonian was the way to go! 

- Previous Journeys Traveler
Reading List
India
By: Stanley Wolpert
This new edition brings Stanley Wolpert's brilliantly succinct and accessible introduction to India completely up to date for a new generation of readers, travelers, and students. In crisp detail, Wolpert gives a panoramic overview of the continent on which the world's most fascinating ancient civilization gave birth to one of its most complex modern democratic nations. India now includes new sections on the country's current global economic development, the recent national elections, and on its international relations, including those with Pakistan, China, Sri Lanka, and the United States, India's new strategic global partner.
Mirrorwork: 50 Years of Indian Writing 1947-1997
By: Brand: Picador
This unique anthology presents thirty-two selections by Indian authors writing in English over the past half-century. Selected by Salman Rushdie and Elizabeth West, these novel excerpts, stories, and memoirs illuminate wonderful writing by authors often overlooked in the West. Chronologically arranged to reveal the development of Indian literature in English, this volume includes works by Jawaharlal Nehru, Nayantara Sahgal, Saadat Hasan Manto, G.V. Desani, Nirad C. Chaudhuri, Kamala Markandaya, Mulk Raj Anand, R.K. Narayan, Ved Mehta, Anita Desai, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Satyajit Ray, Salman Rushdie, Padma Perera, Upamanyu Chatterjee, Rohinton Mistry, Bapsi Sidhwa, I. Allan Sealy, Shashi Tharoor, Sara Suleri, Firdaus Kanga, Anjana Appachana, Amit Chaudhuri, Amitav Ghosh, Githa Hariharan, Gita Mehta, Vikram Seth, Vikram Chandra, Ardashir Vakil, Mukul Kesavan, Arundhati Roy, and Kiran Desai.
Taj Mahal (Wonders of the World)
By: Giles Tillotson
An enduring monument of haunting beauty, the Taj Mahal seems a symbol of stability itself. The familiar view of the glowing marble mausoleum from the gateway entrance offers the very picture of permanence. And yet this extraordinary edifice presents a shifting image to observers across time and cultures. The meaning of the Taj Mahal, the perceptions and responses it prompts, ideas about the building and the history that shape them: these form the subject of Giles Tillotson’s book. More than a richly illustrated history―though it is that as well―this book is an eloquent meditation on the place of the Taj Mahal in the cultural imagination of India and the wider world.Since its completion in 1648, the mausoleum commissioned by the fifth Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, has come to symbolize many things: the undying love of a man for his wife, the perfection of Mughal architecture, the ideal synthesis of various strands of subcontinental aesthetics, even an icon of modern India itself. Exploring different perspectives brought to the magnificent structure―by a Mughal court poet, an English Romantic traveler, a colonial administrator, an architectural historian, or a contemporary Bollywood filmmaker―this book is an incomparable guide through the varied and changing ideas inspired by the Taj Mahal, from its construction to our day. In Tillotson’s expert hands, the story of a seventeenth-century structure in the city of Agra reveals itself as a story about our own place and time.
DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Delhi, Agra & Jaipur
By: DK Travel
DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Delhi, Agra & Jaipur is your in-depth guide to the very best of this region of India. Explore the must-see sights, from Humayun's Tomb to the world-famous Taj Mahal. Learn about the great pantheon of Hindu gods. Experience the local wildlife, temples, bazaars, museums and attractions. Whether in the bustling center of Delhi or the dusty, provincial town of Alwar, you will find something to fascinate you in this region, which encompasses both old and new.Discover DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Delhi, Agra & Jaipur:   • Detailed itineraries and "don't-miss" destination highlights at a glance.    • Illustrated cutaway 3-D drawings of important sights.    • Floor plans and guided visitor information for major museums.    • Free, color pull-out map (print edition) of Delhi marked with sights, a selected sight and street index, public transit map, practical information on getting around, and a distance chart for measuring walking distances .    • Guided walking tours, local drink and dining specialties to try, things to do, and places to eat, drink, and shop by area.    • Area maps marked with sights .    • Insights into history and culture to help you understand the stories behind the sights.    • Hotel and restaurant listings highlight DK Choice special recommendations. With hundreds of full-color photographs, hand-drawn illustrations, and custom maps that illuminate every page, DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Delhi, Agra & Jaipur truly shows you this region as no one else can.
Lonely Planet India Phrasebook & Dictionary
By: Lonely Planet, Shahara Ahmed, Quentin Frayne, Jodie Martire
Lonely Planet: The world's #1 phrasebook publisher* Lonely Planet India Phrasebook & Dictionary is your handy passport to culturally enriching travels with the most relevant and useful phrases and vocabulary for all your travel needs. Get more from your trip with easy-to-find phrases for eating like a Maharaja, joining in with some of the multitude of festivals and celebrations throughout the country, and bargaining your way through the thousands of colourful markets; all with your trusted travel companion. With language tools in your back pocket, you can truly get to the heart of wherever you go, so begin your journey now! Coverage Includes: Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Malayalam, Marathi, Marwari (Rajasthani), Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu. Organised by language, this one-stop resource makes travelling through multiple countries simple. With each language you can: Feel at ease with essential tips on culture, manners, idioms and multiple meanings Order with confidence, explain food allergies, and try new foods with the menu decoder Save time and hassles with vital phrases at your fingertips Never get stuck for words with the 400-word two-way, quick-reference dictionary Be prepared for common and emergency travel situations with practical phrases and terminology Meet friends with conversation starter phrases Get your message across with easy-to-use pronunciation guides Inside Lonely Planet India Phrasebook & Dictionary: Full-colour throughout User-friendly layout organised by travel scenario categories Survival phrases inside front cover for at-a-glance on-the-fly cues Language map for quick reference Covers Basics - time, dates, numbers, pronunciations, reading tips, grammar rules, common language difficulties Practical - sightseeing, banking, post office, internet, phones, repairs, bargaining, accommodation, directions, border crossing, transport Social - meeting people, interests, feelings, opinions, going out, romance, culture, weather Safe Travel - emergencies, police, doctor, chemist, dentist, symptoms, conditions Food - ordering, at-the-market, at- the-bar, dishes, ingredients The Perfect Choice:Lonely Planet India Phrasebook & Dictionary, a pocket-sized, comprehensive multi-language guide, provides on-the-go language assistance; great for language students and travellers looking to interact with locals and immerse themselves in local culture. Looking for just a few of the languages covered in this phrasebook? Check out Lonely Planet's individual phrasebooks for Hindi, Urdu & Bengali. Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet, Shahara Ahmed, Madhu Thaker, Richard Delacy, Hari Prasad Nadig, Omkar N Koul, Bert Naik, Amrit Parmar, Aruna Magier and PAEN Language Services. About Lonely Planet: Started in 1973, Lonely Planet is the world's leading travel guide publisher with guidebooks to every destination on the planet, and has been connecting travellers and locals for over 25 years with phrasebooks for 120 languages, more than any other publisher! With an award-winning website, a suite of mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community, Lonely Planet enables curious travellers to experience the world and to truly get to the heart of the places they find themselves. The world awaits! *#1 phrasebook publisher. Source: Nielsen Bookscan UK, US & AUS
City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi
By: William Dalrymple
Sparkling with irrepressible wit, City of Djinns peels back the layers of Delhi's centuries-old history, revealing an extraordinary array of characters along the way-from eunuchs to descendants of great Moguls. With refreshingly open-minded curiosity, William Dalrymple explores the seven "dead" cities of Delhi as well as the eighth city—today's Delhi. Underlying his quest is the legend of the djinns, fire-formed spirits that are said to assure the city's Phoenix-like regeneration no matter how many times it is destroyed. Entertaining, fascinating, and informative, City of Djinns is an irresistible blend of research and adventure.
Capital: The Eruption of Delhi
By: Rana Dasgupta
**Winner of the 2017 Ryszard Kapuściński Award for Literary Reportage**    **Short-listed for the Orwell Prize and for the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize**An extraordinary portrait of the fastest-growing city in the world—and the rise of a new global eliteSince the opening up of India’s economy in 1991, wealth has poured into the country, and especially into Delhi. Capital bears witness to the astonishing metamorphosis of India’s capital city, charting its emergence from a rural backwater to the center of India’s new elites. No other place on earth better embodies the breakneck, radically disruptive nature of the global economy’s growth over the past twenty years. In a series of extraordinary meetings with a wide swath of the population—from Delhi’s forgotten poor to its rich tech entrepreneurs— Commonwealth Writers’ Prize winner Rana Dasgupta presents an intimate portrait of the people living, suffering, and striving for more in this tumultuous city of extremes, as well as an uncanny glimpse of our shared global future.
Kaleidoscope City: A Year in Varanasi
By: Piers Moore Ede
Situated on the left bank of the Ganges, in the state of Uttar Pradash, Varanasi is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world. For Hindus there is nowhere more sacred; for Buddhists, it is revered as a place where the Buddha preached his first sermon; for Jains it is the birthplace of their two patriarchs. Over the last four thousand years, perhaps no city in the world has stood witness to such a flux of history, from the development of Aryan culture along the Ganges, to invasions that would leave the city in Muslim hands for three centuries, to an independent Brahmin kingdom, British colonial rule, and ultimately independence. But what is the city like today? Home to 2.5 million people, it is visited by twice that number every year. Polluted, overpopulated, religiously divided, but utterly sublime, Varanasi is a living expression of Indian life like no other. Each day 60,000 people bathe in the Ganges. Elderly people come to die here. Widows pushed out by their families arrive to find livelihood. In the city center, the silk trade remains the most important industry, along with textiles and the processing of betel leaf. Behind this facade lurk more sinister industries. Varanasi is a major player in the international drug scene. There's a thriving flesh trade, and a corrupt police force that turns a blind eye.As with Suketu Mehta's Maximimum City Piers Moore Ede tells the city's story by allowing inhabitants to relate their own tales. Whether portraying a Dom Raja whose role it is to cremate bodies by the Ganghes or a khoa maker, who carefully converts cow's milk into the ricotta like substance that forms the base of most sweets, Ede explores the city's most important themes through its people, creating a vibrant portrait of modern, multicultural India.
The Idea of India
By: Sunil Khilnani
The key book on India in the postnuclear era, with a new Introduction by the author.Our appreciation of the importance of India can only increase in light of the recent revelations of its nuclear capabilities. Sunil Khilnani's exciting, timely study addresses the paradoxes and ironies of this, the world's largest democracy. Throughout his penetrating, provocative work, he illuminates this fundamental issue: Can the original idea of India survive its own successes?
India: A Short History
By: Andrew Robinson
India’s unfolding story, from the ancient Hindu dynasties to the coming of Islam, from the Mughal Empire to the present day  India has always been a land of great contradictions. To Alexander the Great, the country was a place of clever naked philosophers and massive armies mounted on elephants – which eventually forced his army to retreat. To ancient Rome, it was a source of luxuries, mainly spices and textiles, paid for in gold―hence the enormous numbers of Roman gold coins excavated in India. At the height of the Mughal empire in 1700, India boasted 24 percent of the world economy―a share virtually equal to Europe’s 25 percent. But then its economy declined. Colonial India was known for its extremes of wealth and poverty, epitomized by the Taj Mahal and famines, maharajas and untouchables, and also for its spirituality: many-armed Hindu gods and Buddhist philosophy, Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore.India: A Short History places as much emphasis on individuals, ideas and cultures as on the rise and fall of kingdoms, political parties and economies. Anyone curious about a great civilization, and its future, will find this an ideal introduction, at times controversial, written by an author who has been strongly engaged with India for more than three decades. 12 illustrations in black and white
A Traveller's History of India
By: Sinharaja Tammita-Delgoda
India, named after the river Indus, is heir to one of the worlds oldest and richest civilizations and the origin of many ideas, philosophies, and movements that have shaped the destiny of humankind. This handy title covers the whole scope of Indias past and present history. Maps and line drawings.
Darsan: Seeing the Divine Image in India
By: Diana Eck
The role of the visual is essential to Hindu tradition and culture, but many attempts to understand India's divine images have been laden with misperceptions. Darsan, a Sanskrit word that means "seeing," is an aid to our vision, a book of ideas to help us read, think, and look at Hindu images with appreciation and imagination.
The Hindu Temple: An Introduction to Its Meaning and Forms
By: George Michell
For more than 1500 years, from the Indian subcontinent to the islands of the Indonesian archipelago, the temple has embodied and symbolized the Hindu worldview at its deepest level and inspired the greatest architectural and artistic achievements in Hindu Asia. In The Hindu Temple, considered the standard introduction to the subject, George Michell explains the cultural, religious, and architectural significance of the temple. He illustrates his points with a profusion of photographs, building plans, and drawings of architectural details, making the book a useful guide for travelers to Asia as well as an illuminating text for students of architecture, religion, and Asian civilizations. Michell's discussion of the meaning and forms of the temple in Hindu society encompasses the awe-inspiring rock-cut temples at Ellora and Elephanta, the soaring superstructures and extraordinary sexual exhibitionism of the sculptures at Khajuraho, and the colossal mortuary temple of Angkor Vat, as well as the tiny iconic shrines that many Hindus wear around their necks and the simple shrines found under trees or near ponds.
Gandhi: An Autobiography - The Story of My Experiments With Truth
By: Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi
Mohandas K. Gandhi is one of the most inspiring figures of our time. In his classic autobiography he recounts the story of his life and how he developed his concept of active nonviolent resistance, which propelled the Indian struggle for independence and countless other nonviolent struggles of the twentieth century.In a new foreword, noted peace expert and teacher Sissela Bok urges us to adopt Gandhi's "attitude of experimenting, of tesing what will and will not bear close scrutiny, what can and cannot be adapted to new circumstances,"in order to bring about change in our own lives and communities. All royalties earned on this book are paid to the Navajivan Trust, founded by Gandhi, for use in carrying on his work.
Around India in 80 Trains
By: Monisha Rajesh
In 1991, Monisha Rajesh's family uprooted from Sheffield to Madras in the hope of making India their home. Two years later, fed up with soap-eating rats, severed human heads and the creepy colonel across the road, they returned to England with a bitter taste in their mouths.Two decades on, she turns to a map of the Indian Railways and takes a page out of Jules Verne's classic tale, embarking on an adventure around India in 80 trains, covering 40,000km - the circumference of the Earth. She hopes that 80 train journeys up, down and across India will lift the veil on a country that has become a stranger to her.Along the way, Monisha discovers that the Indian Railways - featuring luxury trains, toy trains, Mumbai's infamous commuter trains, and even a hospital on wheels - have more than a few stories to tell, not to mention a colourful cast of characters. And with a self-confessed 'militant devout atheist' in tow, her personal journey around a country built on religion isn't quite what she bargained for...
Along The Ganges (Armchair Traveller)
By: Ilija Trojanow
Ilija Trojanow travelled along the Ganges, from the source, where it breaks free from the eternal ice in the Himalayas, to the great cities, by boat, by bus, on overcrowded trains. He visited the great Hindu festivals and talked to those who warn of ecological disasters resulting from gigantic dams.
India: A Traveler's Literary Companion (Traveler's Literary Companions)
By: Chandrahas Choudhury, Anita Desai
The latest book in the acclaimed series of literary travel guides brings together a delightful sampling of short fiction from one of the world’s most diverse, multicultural, and storied civilizations. India: A Traveler’s Literary Companion features 14 short stories from some of India’s best writers, collectively offering an insightful portrait of the beauty and complexity of Indian landscape, culture, and society. Travel to the Taj Mahal with Kunal Basu, as the humble accountant of his story becomes, in another incarnation, the architect of one of the world’s most resplendent monuments. Let Vikram Chandra leads readers by the hand into the ghettos of Mumbai (Bombay), where a small-time thug fences some gold bars he has stolen and then decides to find out what pleasures his money can buy. Journey with Bibhutibhushan Bandhopadhyay’s silver-tongued salesman of medicated oil as he travels the trains around Calcutta, the city he loves more than anything else. And Nazir Mansuri’s Melvillian “The Whale” transports readers to a small fishing village on the west coast of India, where an embittered sailor makes every whale he sees the object of his fury. Stories from nine languages and more than a dozen distinct cultures and regions — from north, south, east, west, and even from India’s remote northeast — are brought together in this vibrant collection.
Midnight's Children: A Novel (Modern Library 100 Best Novels)
By: Salman Rushdie
Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all timeWinner of the Booker of Bookers Saleem Sinai is born at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, the very moment of India’s independence. Greeted by fireworks displays, cheering crowds, and Prime Minister Nehru himself, Saleem grows up to learn the ominous consequences of this coincidence. His every act is mirrored and magnified in events that sway the course of national affairs; his health and well-being are inextricably bound to those of his nation; his life is inseparable, at times indistinguishable, from the history of his country. Perhaps most remarkable are the telepathic powers linking him with India’s 1,000 other “midnight’s children,” all born in that initial hour and endowed with magical gifts. This novel is at once a fascinating family saga and an astonishing evocation of a vast land and its people–a brilliant incarnation of the universal human comedy. Twenty-five years after its publication, Midnight’ s Children stands apart as both an epochal work of fiction and a brilliant performance by one of the great literary voices of our time.
The Tiger: Soul of India
By: Valmik Thapar
From time immemorial, the tiger, India s national animal, has been represented in various art forms. Valmik Thapar delves deep into the cult of the tiger to show how the animal resides in the very soul of the country s cultural beliefs, myths, and legends. Exploring the close relationship between man and tiger forged over thousands of years, this book reveals almost every facet of this amazing animal: from 10,000-year-old cave paintings in Madhya Pradesh to Mohenjodaro seals, Mughal miniature paintings, and contemporary art to wild tigers today. Focusing on various depictions of the animal on stone, wood, metal, paper, and more Thapar reveals how the tiger was vital to the life of people across India. With close to 250 photographs showcasing the tiger in various art forms, this book for the fi rst time enables the pursuit of research in different cultural facets of tiger imagery. Alongside art forms, there are spectacular pictures of wild tigers the source of inspiration for countless generations. A testimony to the power and beauty of this majestic animal, this book The Tiger Soul of India VALMIK THAPAR reveals everything you ever wanted to know about the cultural history of the tiger from a man who spent 35 years following the tiger s footsteps.
Smithsonian Journeys Spring 2016 (India)
By: various
Travel Insurance

For the convenience of our travelers, Smithsonian Journeys includes an on-tour Provided Insurance Plan through Travel Guard with the price of your tour. This travel insurance plan includes On-tour medical evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), emergency medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only, not including U.S. Territories). Travel must be more than 100 miles from the Insured’s primary residence.

In addition, you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance to protect your investment from unforeseen events, such as missed flight connections, lost luggage, and cancelled plans. There are many plans you can consider. For your convenience, you may visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1.800.208.6142 to learn more.

Terms and conditions

Mission

Smithsonian Journeys engage travelers in the mission of the Smithsonian – “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Like the Institution, our tours enrich our guests’ lives and satisfy their curiosity about the world. Your participation benefits the work of Smithsonian’s 19 museums, National Zoo, and nine research centers, helping to preserve our national treasures and shape the future through science, research, and exhibitions.

What Is Included in the Tour Cost

  • Expertise of a Smithsonian Journeys expert, tour director and local guides throughout the tour
  • All gratuities for the expert, tour director, on-tour guides and drivers
  • On-tour medical evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), emergency medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. residents only)
  • Pre-tour information, including a reading list
  • Transfers and luggage handling abroad (for air inclusive guests)
  • All on-tour transportation including flights within the itinerary, unless otherwise noted
  • All accommodations for the duration of the tour
  • Meals, as noted in the itinerary (B-breakfast; L-lunch; D-dinner)
  • All sightseeing and visits as noted in each itinerary
  • Airfare to/from your departure city, airline taxes, surcharges, and fees, which are subject to change until final payment is made (for air inclusive guests only)

What Is Not Included in the Tour Cost

  • Passport and all visa fees and photos; immunization(s); and any other travel documentation fees as required
  • Optional travel insurance, including cancellation/delay/lost baggage insurance (learn more at TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys)
  • Personal items, unless otherwise stated, such as wine, liquors, a-la-carte orders
  • Expenses incurred by our tour operator in making any individual travel arrangements in conjunction with the tour
  • Airline baggage and other airline fees and associated taxes, unless noted in Tour description
  • Transfers and baggage handling abroad when purchasing “land only” package
  • Communication Charges (e.g.: phone, internet, etc.)
  • Other items noted as optional or not specifically mentioned as included
  • Airfare from your hometown to your departure city (for air inclusive guests only).

Registration

To submit a reservation request, please use our secure online system at SmithsonianJourneys.org or contact a Cultural Travel Specialist, at 1-855-330-1542 Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time). Submitting an online request does not guarantee space on a tour.  You will be notified by a Reservation Specialist of your status once your request has been received and processed.  Please note: No new registrations can be accepted within 30 days of most tours. Some tours are more restrictive; please see individual tour pages for these exceptions.

To complete your reservation, the following information is required.
In accordance with the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Secure Flight program, for all international tours, passport information is required, including the following:   Full name as it appears on your passport, Date of birth, and Gender (for further information, please visit www.tsa.gov).

For tours that include round-trip international airfare: If you provide incorrect information to the ticketing agent, or if you use a different passport than originally cited, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.

Payments

A deposit of $500 per person for a land tour reservation, unless otherwise noted, is required to reserve a space on a tour.  All payments may be made by credit card or check to the tour operator.  Deposits are applied to final payment of the tour price.

Final payment is due 95 days prior to departure, unless otherwise noted.  Balance is due upon invoicing.  If full payment is not received by the final payment due date, your place cannot be guaranteed on the tour.

Late Registration

Any registration received within 95 days (180 for Alaska) of departure is considered “on-request” and is subject to specific confirmation. Some tours are more restrictive. Payment in full must be made immediately by credit card, or by check sent by overnight mail to the tour operator, before confirmation is possible.

Once confirmed, cancellation penalties apply as set forth below. If confirmation is not possible, all payments made will be refunded in full. Late registration confirmation procedures apply to any participant who is transferred from the wait list to the tour within the designated late registration period for that tour.

For additional information, please contact a Cultural Travel Specialist, at 1-855-330-1542 Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time), or SJReservations@si.edu and SmithsonianJourneys.org.

A Note about Costs

All prices are based on two persons sharing a room/cabin. All prices are quoted in U.S. dollars. Tour costs are based upon current airfares, tariffs, currency values, and on the basis of a presumptive minimum number of participants. While we will do everything possible to maintain the listed prices, they are subject to change.   Due to fluctuations in oil prices, a fuel surcharge may be added to your tour fee (e.g. internal flights, cruises, etc.).  Details and costs will be advised prior to departure.

Wait List

If the tour of your choice is fully subscribed, you may choose to be placed on a waitlist by contacting a Reservation Specialist at 1-855-330-1542 Mon-Fri 9 am - 7 pm; Sat 9 am – 4 pm (Eastern Time), or SJReservations@si.edu. Individuals on the wait list will be contacted if space becomes available and can inquire about tour status by contacting a Reservation Specialist. If you choose to withdraw from a wait list, please notify us.  

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Following enrollment, a participant’s withdrawal from the tour for any reason, including, but not limited to, illness, injury, family engagements, work-related issues, or geopolitical concerns, etc., will be deemed a cancellation. Please understand that there will be no exceptions to our cancellation policy.

Per person cancellation fees are based on date of written notice to Smithsonian Journeys. Tour operator will refund on the following basis:

  • Cancellations within 7 days of booking:  Full Refund (unless it is within final payment date, 95 days before departure)
  • Cancellations after 7 days of booking:  Full Deposit Retained
  • Cancellations made within final payment date, 95 days before departure:  No Refund
  • Cancellation by Smithsonian Journeys:  Full Refund or Credit

Please understand that there will be no exceptions to our cancellation policy.

Smithsonian Journeys recommends that all participants purchase travel insurance.

If your flights are delayed or if for any reason you are prevented from joining the tour on the scheduled departure date and time, or if you choose to leave the tour early, we cannot provide a full or partial refund or credit toward a future tour.

Smithsonian Journeys reserves the right to cancel any tour due to low enrollment and when a U.S. Department of State Travel Warning is issued for the destination.

Air Service

For tours that include round-trip international airfare, rates are based on economy class from designated departure cities as shown.  Airfares from other cities are available upon request.  Airline upgrades at additional cost may be available on request for the international portion of your flight.  If an air schedule requires an overnight stay in a gateway city, the cost of the overnight will be at your expense.  For tours that include round-trip international airfare, the tour operator  will be happy to help with arrangements. Please note that seat assignments for your international flights is usually done at airport check-in. The tour operator is unable to guarantee any seat assignments.

When planning our tours that include international round-trip airfare, the tour operator contracts with those airlines that they feel provide the level of service, routings, and value necessary for your entire trip. While another airline may offer a more direct connection, it may be at a price unavailable at the lower group rates that enable us to offer you the best possible travel value. Please note that frequent flyer mileage credits are issued at the discretion of the airline(s) and may not be available for the flights on your tour. If you prefer to make your own airline reservations, “land only” pricing is available on most of our tours.

Air Service/Tickets Purchased Independently of the Tour

International and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time. Tours can also be canceled due to low enrollments. If you make your own airline reservations, we recommend that you do not purchase nonrefundable tickets or tickets with high penalties for changes. 

We urge you to check airline cancellation penalties before purchasing airline tickets since international departure times and flights can change. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator accepts liability for cancellation penalties related to domestic or international airline tickets purchased independently in conjunction with a tour.

Travel Insurance- Cancellation/Delay/Lost Baggage

Smithsonian Journeys recommends that all participants purchase travel insurance.  Learn more at TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys.

Travel Documents and Information

Participants are responsible for obtaining any documents required for their participation in the tour such as a valid passport, all visas, vaccination certificates, and any other documents. If your tour requires a visa or other entry documents, we will send you the appropriate information after you make a reservation.  Failure to obtain documents does not negate the terms and conditions, and any extra costs incurred for rerouting or delay due to travel without the necessary documents will be the participant’s responsibility. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please contact your embassy or consulate to ensure you obtain the proper documentation.

For all international departures, a passport valid for at least six months after the completion of your tour, and with at least six blank visa pages, is required for U.S. citizens on all tours. The U.S. Department of State will no longer add visa pages into U.S. passports beginning January 1, 2016. The decision to discontinue this service was made to enhance the security of the passport and to abide by international passport standards. Beginning January 1, 2016, applicants in need of additional pages in their valid passports must obtain a new passport. For more information on how or where to apply, please visit Travel.State.Gov/ApplyEarly or call the National Passport Information Center toll-free at 1-877-487-2778/1-888-874-7793 (TTY/TTD).

For more information about traveling to destinations abroad, we recommend the “Learn about your destination” section on the U.S. Department of State travel website www.travel.state.gov.  For medical information, we recommend contacting the Centers for Disease Control at (877) FYI-TRIP or www.cdc.gov/travel

Physical and Medical Considerations

To enjoy the travel experience, participants should be in good physical and mental health. All tours require an element of walking (up to two miles per day over uneven terrain) and of climbing stairs, often without handrails. Participants should have sufficient stamina to keep pace with an active group of participants on long days of touring. If you have any questions about your ability to participate in a tour, please call us at 855-330-1542. Any physical condition, diet, or special request for accommodation must be identified in writing on the Personal Information Form when the reservation is made. Some tours have additional information regarding physical and medical considerations, which may be discussed with the Reservation Specialist at 855-330-1542.

Please be aware that health care standards, facilities, and services abroad may be different or even inadequate for treating certain health conditions.  It is essential that you inform us in writing (on the provided Personal Information Form) of any existing condition for which you may require medical attention or accommodation during the tour. We will make reasonable efforts to accommodate the needs of our participants; however, services of a personal nature cannot be expected or guaranteed. By forwarding the deposit for pre-registration or registration in full, you affirm that you do not have any physical or other limitations that would create a hazard for yourself or other participants or would require adjustments to the tour for other participants.

Itinerary or Tour Modifications

Smithsonian Journeys strives to improve tour itineraries and their features. If improvements can be made, or unforeseen circumstances beyond our control make changes necessary, at our sole discretion, we reserve the right to vary itineraries and to substitute elements of the tour.  These elements include, but are not limited to:  hotels, staff, speakers, experts, and services for any stated in the itinerary.

Every effort will be made to carry out the tour as planned but alterations may still occur after the final itinerary has been sent to you. Please note that weather and other conditions may force changes to the advertised sailing schedule on cruise tours. The ship’s captain has the authority to change the ship’s schedule.

Hotel Accommodations

Smithsonian Journeys chooses hotels based on a combination of location, service, atmosphere, and price. On adventure tours and tours in out-of-the-way places, best-available hotels are used.  Tour prices are based on two persons sharing a room with a bath.

Singles and Roommates

Hotel rooms are always reserved for single participants, however, the number of single rooms available on a tour may be limited. Therefore we recommend that you register early. Please note that a single supplement will most likely apply for a single room.  If you are traveling alone and wish to share a room/cabin, we will do our best to find someone of the same gender and smoking preference to share with you. If you are matched with a non-smoking roommate, it is mutually agreed that you cannot smoke in your hotel room/cabin. When a roommate cannot be found, a single supplement will be charged. Please note that the single rooms in many foreign hotels may be smaller than those to which you are accustomed.

Children

All tours except family journeys, are designed for adults. Some may be suitable for children 16 and older. Regardless of age, children must pay full price unless otherwise noted, moreover, a parent or guardian must accompany those under 18.

Special Travel Arrangements

Participants may wish to extend their stay in the group hotel after the tour. Our tour operators will work with you on these arrangements, dependent upon space availability.  . For participants using air, only post tour extensions are offered. Tour operator may be able to assist land only participants with pre-tour arrangements.

Should you decide not to participate in certain parts of the tour or use certain goods included in the tour, no refunds will be made for those unused parts of the tour or goods.

Dispute Resolution

If a complaint arises, the participant should first inform a member of the on-tour staff, so that the staff can attempt to rectify the matter. If the issue remains unresolved, the individual should submit the complaint in writing to Smithsonian Journeys within 30 days of the completion of the tour.

The Smithsonian Journeys staff will make a good faith effort to resolve any dispute.  In the event that the parties are unable to resolve the dispute, the parties may agree to use a method of non-binding Alternative Dispute Resolution to resolve the dispute.  In the event that the parties are unable to agree on the method of Alternative Dispute Resolution to use, or in the event that either party is dissatisfied with the outcome of that alternative dispute resolution method, such efforts shall not constitute a waiver by either party of the right to file suit.

Photography and Video

Participants on tour may be photographed or recorded (audio and video) for the educational and promotional purposes of the Smithsonian Institution and Smithsonian authorized third parties.  This content may be used in marketing publications and posted on websites to promote Smithsonian Journeys without compensation to the participant. Participants who prefer that their name, voice and/or image not be used must notify us in writing prior to the beginning of the tour.

Smoking Policy

 For the comfort of all participants, we ask that there be no smoking during all group activities, including excursions and meals. On certain cruises, there is no smoking aboard the ship. Your pre-tour bulletins will provide further information.

READ CAREFULLY: RESPONSIBILITY STATEMENT AND LIABILITY DISCLAIMER

Smithsonian Journeys tours are organized and administered by professional tour operators hired as independent contractors. The use of designated tour operators allows the Smithsonian to offer participants a wide array of educational travel opportunities. The tour operator acts only as an agent for the respective suppliers by making arrangements for transportation, accommodations, and other services. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator shall be held liable for personal injury, death, property damage or accident, delay or irregularity arising out of any act or omission of these suppliers. The Smithsonian Institution and the tour operator reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in their judgment, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of tour participants.

The Smithsonian Institution and its designated tour operator also reserve the right, without penalty, to withdraw the tour announced, to decline to accept any person as a participant in a tour, or to require any participant to withdraw from the tour at any time (including, but not limited for inappropriate, or offensive behavior) when such action is determined by tour staff to be in the best interests of the health, safety or general welfare of the tour group or the individual participant.

Dates, schedules, tour details, and costs, although provided in good faith based on information available at the time of publication on the website, in the brochure or catalog, are subject to change and revision.

AS A CONDITION OF ACCEPTANCE OF ANY APPLICATION, EACH APPLICANT MUST AGREE TO THE STATEMENT SET FORTH BELOW:

The undersigned has read carefully the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer set forth above, the schedule of activities for this tour, as well as the terms and conditions of application and participation as set forth in the tour materials, and recognizes and accepts any risk associated with the tour and the conditions, including the refund policy, set forth in the tour materials. The undersigned further acknowledges that there are many risks and uncertainties inherent in any travel tour, including but not limited to the hazards of various modes of transportation, forces of nature, acts or omissions of foreign governments, terrorism, war or insurrection, theft, illness, and damage to person or property due to the negligent acts or omissions of tour staff or others. In consideration of, and as part payment for, the right to participate in the tour, the undersigned, on behalf of himself, his dependents, heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, agrees to release the Smithsonian Institution, its Regents, officers, employees, representatives or agents, the United States, and the tour operator and its officers, employees and agents, from liability for personal injury, death, property damage or loss suffered by any person in connection with this tour, even if caused by the negligence (but not the reckless, willful, or fraudulent conduct) of tour staff or other related persons or entities. In addition, by registering for this tour, the applicant certifies that he or she is mentally and physically capable of full participation in this tour. By registering for a Smithsonian Journey, the participant agrees to the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer and the Terms and Conditions herein.