Early cultures identified celestial objects with gods and spirits. They related these objects (and their movements) to phenomena such as rain, drought, seasons, and tides. It is generally believed that the first "professional" astronomers were priests (Magi), and that their understanding of the "heavens" was seen as "divine", hence astronomy's ancient connection to what is now called astrology. Ancient constructions with astronomical alienations (such as Stonehenge) probably fulfilled both astronomical and religious functions.
DAY 01: ARRIVE DELHI - BY FLIGHT (NO MEALS)
In Delhi, we will be arriving at Indira Gandhi International Airport. After clearing Immigration and Customs, proceed to the arrivals area where you will be met by our representative and transferred to the Hotel.
Overnight at Hotel.
DAY 02: DELHI SIGHTSEEING - BY SURFACE (BREAKFAST)
After breakfast in the morning proceed for city tour of Delhi.
Today first, head out to explore 'Old Delhi' with its narrow dirt roads, its myriad people and inexpensive and colorful bazaars that keep alive the traditional workmanship for which Delhi has always been famous. The first stop is Mahatma Gandhi's house (Gandhi Smriti) at Tees January Marg (the street is named for the day Gandhi died). This house is where Gandhi lived and received most of his famous visitors and it was here on January 30, 1949 that he was assassinated. The house has since been converted into a museum. You continue onto the Raj Ghat (the cremation ground of Mahatma Gandhi).
Driving past the Red Fort (you will visit the more elaborate Red Fort in Agra) you trade your motor vehicles for bicycle rickshaws, which will take you into the heart of Chandni Chowk (the silver square - so named because of the silver merchants). Negotiating alleyways, which seemingly get narrower and narrower you end up at the Jama Masjid, the largest Muslim mosque in India.
Later in the day explore the observatory (Jantar Mantar) with an expert with onsite lecture).
The Jantar Mantar (literally the 'instrument and formula’) is located in the modern city of New Delhi. It consists of 13 architectural astronomy instruments, built by Maharaja Jai Singh II of Jaipur, from 1724 onwards, and is one of five built by him, as he was given by Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah the task of revising the calendar and astronomical tables.
Overnight at Hotel.
DAY 03: DELHI SIGHTSEEING - BY SURFACE (BREAKFAST)
After breakfast, further set out to explore New Delhi.
Our day’s exploration starts with a visit to the Lakshmi Narayan Temple also known as the Birla Mandir. Built in 1938, this beautiful temple is dedicated to the goddess of prosperity and good fortune and is surrounded by beautiful gardens.
Later visit The Nehru Planetarium. The Planetarium is situated in the green surroundings of Teen Murti Bhavan, the erstwhile official residence of first Prime Minster of India Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru.
Continue exploring New Delhi, to see the Humayun tomb. The tomb is an exquisite example of early Mughal architecture.
Overnight at Hotel.
DAY 04: DELHI – JAIPUR - BY SURFACE (BREAKFAST)
After breakfast depart for Jaipur.
Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, is the home of the Ragouts, a warrior clan who ruled this part of India for many years. Built in 1727 by the warrior-astronomer Maharaja Jai Singh II, the city of Jaipur is laid out as described in the ancient Hindi treatise on architecture, known as the “Shilpa-Shastra”. Battlement walls with seven gates encircle the old city; broad avenues divide it into neat rectangles. Jaipur is popularly known as the “pink city”, from the pink-colored sandstone of the buildings in the old walled city.
Upon arrival, check into the Hotel. In the evening, explore the colorful bazaars of Jaipur. Overnight at Hotel.
DAY 05: JAIPUR SIGHTSEEING - BY SURFACE (BREAKFAST)
You have the full day to explore Jaipur.
In the morning, tour the Amber Fort and Palace, stopping to watch the sunrise on the Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds) en route. Amber Fort is a beautiful and very well preserved 16th Century structure, built on four levels and surrounded by ruins.
After your visit to Amber Fort, you will go on a tour of the City Palace, where the present maharaja resides. Part of the complex is an outdoor 18th Century astronomical and astrological observatory (Jantar Mantar) with several incredible sundials, the largest of which is accurate to 0.2 seconds.
Later visit, Birla Planetarium where documentary with lecture has been arranged.
Return to the Hotel. Overnight at Hotel.
DAY 06: JAIPUR – AGRA - BY SURFACE (EN-ROUTE VISIT FATEHPUR SIKRI) (BREAKFAST)
After breakfast, we begin drive to Agra, stopping on the way to explore Fatepur Sikri. Akbar's eerily abandoned city is full of elegant small palace structures carved from red sandstone. Fatepur Sikri (an hour outside of Agra) was the capital of the Mughal Empire between 1570 and 1586. Akbar built the city to celebrate the birth of an heir (the future Emperor Jehangir).
Resume drive to Agra. On arrival, check into the Hotel. Overnight at Hotel.
DAY 07: AGRA SIGHTSEEING - BY SURFACE (BREAKFAST)
After breakfast proceed for the sightseeing of Agra. Visit Taj Mahal, an unforgettable way to start off your day.
The Taj Mahal, Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal in 1631 to enshrine the mortal remains of his Queen Mumtaz Mahal. It took seventeen years, 20,000 workers and a King's treasury to build this wonder.
Theo Cruz once wrote about the Taj that “The only way I could escape the feeling of being in a dream was to close my eyes.” And Mark Twain wrote that “Forever and ever the memory of my first glimpse of the Taj will compensate me for creeping around the globe to have that great privilege.”
After visiting Taj Mahal visit Agra Fort, built by Akbar as his citadel over the years 1565-73 in the finest architectural style. It is an almost perfect fusion between military might and lavish beauty. The fort, approachable through its two lofty main portals on the west and south, was successively occupied by three great Mughals - Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan - each of whom made significant structural contributions to this complex. Shah Jahan died here, imprisoned by his son, gazing at the Taj Mahal he had built in memory of his wife.
After Agra Fort visit Gyarah Sidi near Mehtab Bagh. Gyarah Sidi (Literally eleven steps) is the remains of Mughal Emperor Humayun’s astrological observatory, situated at a stone’s throw from Babur’s Mehtab Bagh, in a field on the banks of the Yamuna River in Agra.
Return to Hotel. Overnight at Hotel.
DAY 08: AGRA - DELHI - BY SURFACE & DELHI – VARANASI - BY FLIGHT (BREAKFAST)
Early this morning straight drive to Delhi with your packed breakfast (COLD) for your flight to Varanasi.
Upon arrival in Varanasi, you will be met at the airport and transferred to the hotel.
At sunset you will have the wonderful experience of a sunset boat ride on the Ganga River and witness the evening Aarti. The “Aarti,” is a Hindu devotional hymn normally sung at the conclusion of any religious ceremony or puja, or simply by itself at sunrise or sunset.
Meet an Astrologer and know your future!!! After which Return to the Hotel. Overnight at Hotel.
DAY 09: VARANASI SIGHTSEEING - BY SURFACE (BREAKFAST)
You will rise early this morning and take a boat ride on the Ganges past the ghats for which Varanasi is well known. Here, pilgrims gather on the steps that lead down to the river to bathe in the sacred Ganges as the city begins to come alive in the magical misty light of dawn. Walk through the streets and visit some of Varanasi’s many temples.
Also pay a visit to the astronomical observatory at Man Mandir.
The palace Man Mahal, popularly known as Man Mandir is located adjacent to the famous Dashashvamedh ghat, one of the most famous ghats in Varanasi.
By the orders of Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh of Jaipur, Pandit Gokul Chand Bhavan, the then court astronomer had carried out major restoration work to this observatory in the year 1912 as it was turned into ruins during the middle part of 19th century A.D.
Also visit the ‘Department of Astrology and Oriental Science’ at the Benaras Hindu University with discussion on Vedic astrology with a professor and later interact with the students.
Overnight at Hotel.
DAY 10: VARANASI – KOLKATA - BY FLIGHT (BREAKFAST)
After a leisurely breakfast, check out from the hotel; proceed for an excursion to Sarnath.
It was here at the Deer Park of Sarnath that Sakyamuni Buddha, having achieved enlightenment at Bodh Gaya, delivered his first message of the middle path to final nirvana.
Later transfer to airport for flight to Kolkata. Upon arrival in Kolkata, you will be met and transferred to the hotel. Overnight at Hotel.
DAY 11: KOLKATA SIGHTSEEING - BY SURFACE & KOLKATA DEPARTURE - BY FLIGHT (BREAKFAST)
After breakfast, enjoy an orientation tour of Kolkata including visit to the Victoria Memorial. It is a huge white-marble structure and the most enduring of remains of the British Raj in India.
Also visit the Mother Teresa Orphanage and enjoy watching the children growing up in a loving environment.
We will get a chance to visit the largest observatory of India. Loosely styled on the Buddhist stupa, the Birla Planetarium is one of the world’s largest Planetariums. Its exterior looks impressive when floodlit. Inside, its outer circle forms a small but well-presented, tomb-like gallery featuring astronomer busts and fading star-gazer pictures.
Return to the hotel. Later in the evening transfers you to Kolkata International airport to connect flight for onward destination with the Sweet Memories of India Tour on behalf of DIVINE SAFARI’S TEAM!!!