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: $5,787 * 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  Ancient observatory in Jaipur  The newly restored Palace of the Winds 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 $5,787 | 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


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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


See All Journeys Dispatches ››


Oct 24 - Nov 9, 2019 Departure; Dec 1 - 17, 2019 Departure
Minhazz Majumdar

Minhazz Majumdar

Minhazz Majumdar is a writer and curator of Indian art, and co-founder of the Earth & Grass Workshop, an organization promoting arts and crafts as livelihood. Minhazz has served as a development consultant for the government of India and for many Indian NGOs and has extensive experience leading groups through India.

Nov 10 - 26, 2019 Departure
Linda Hess

Linda Hess

Linda Hess is Senior Lecturer Emerita in the Department of Religious Studies at Stanford University, where she taught for 21 years as a specialist in religions of South Asia. Her courses at Stanford included Introduction to Hinduism; Hindus and Muslims in South Asia; Gandhi and Nonviolence; and Yoga Ancient and Modern. Her own work has been on the passionate religious poetry of North India, composed in Hindi in the 15th-16th centuries and still vibrantly alive and popular in today’s culture. She has translated and written extensively about the poet Kabir, an iconoclastic mystic whose poetry reflects both inner and outer experience: Kabir expresses profound mystical experience, and he comments sharply on foolishness, prejudice, and hypocrisy in society. She has also written about the poet Tulsidas, author of the vastly popular Hindi version of the great Ramayana epic. This poetry is not just literature, but is also song and drama. Linda has spent as much research time in the field as on the page. In Varanasi, she documented the Ramlila of Ramnagar, an annual 30-day outdoor traveling performance of the Ramayana. Later in Madhya Pradesh, central India, she worked with singers of Kabir, writing about oral and musical transmission of poetry, social and religious contexts, and the sheer joy of singing. Her publications include Bodies of Song: Kabir Oral Traditions and Performative Worlds in North India (Oxford University Press, 2015); Singing Emptiness: Kumar Gandharva Performs the Poetry of Kabir (Seagull Books, 2009); and The Bijak of Kabir (with Shukdev Singh, originally1983, republished by Oxford University Press, 2002). A longtime practitioner of Buddhist meditation, Linda has been interested in the history of Buddhism and has often included Buddhist texts in her teaching on religions of South Asia.

Jan 9 - 25, 2020 Departure; Mar 12 - 28, 2020 Departure
Rita Sodha

Rita Sodha

Rita Sodha is a lecturer in the Department of Art History at the University of Baroda's Faculty of Fine Arts. With a Ph.D. in art history, Rita is an expert on Indian painting and has published several articles on contemporary art in India. With a degree in painting, Rita has conducted workshops on the technique of enameling, tie and dye, patchwork, and quilting, and she designs soft furnishings for customized interiors. She also studied the sitar at the University of Baroda Faculty of Performing Arts. Rita looks forward to sharing her love of Indian art, music, history, and culture with Smithsonian travelers.

Feb 13 - 29, 2020 Departure
Jonathan GoldbergBelle

Jonathan GoldbergBelle

Jonathan GoldbergBelle serves as Senior Director of International Programs at the University of Illinois at Springfield. He holds a Ph.D. in South Asian Language and Literature from the University of Wisconsin with a focus on the study of the great epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, both in their classical and present day forms. Jonathan remains a student of South Asian Literature, particularly contemporary fiction, and of Asian Philosophy and Religion with an interest in the development and spread of Buddhism from India throughout Asia.  

His most recent university courses include “Colonial and Post-Colonial Identity in South Asia," “The Pacific War: World War II in East Asia," and “Spaces of Encounter in East Asia.”

Jonathan has a broad interest in Thailand. He has made a point of studying the Ramakien, the Thai version of the Ramayana, which plays a central role in Thai culture. With his experience of the history and practice of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, India, China, Korea, and Japan, he is fascinated by the Theravada Buddhism found in Thailand. His study of Europe’s exploration and colonization of Asia has led to his desire to explore how Thailand remained independent while all of her neighbors became colonies. In teaching on WW II in Asia he has sought to understand Thailand’s role in the war. And, he loves spicy food and greatly enjoys Thai cuisine!

Jonathan has been in the field of International Education for over 30 years.  He has organized and led study programs to Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.  Most recently he has taken groups to China, Korea, Japan, India, and Thailand.