North India Pilgrimage (15 Days and 14 Nights)
India is such a vast country with so many spiritual places that it will take months, if not a year, to visit and experience all of them. Keeping this in mind, we have designed North India Pilgrimage which provides an opportunity for devotees to explore and experience the spiritual places of North India in a time-bound, systematic manner. North India Pilgrimage takes one through nine places which are namely Delhi, Dharmashala, Amritsar, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Ranikhet, Vrindavan, Mathura and Agra. Visit to Agra will be primarily to explore the Taj Mahal which has of late become synonymous with India. We will visit these nine places over a period of 15 days and 14 nights. The pace of the pilgrimage will be engaging yet unhurried.
We will receive you at the Delhi Airport and head towards hotel for check-in. The day will be off for rest.
We will proceed to Dharmashala by flight and check-in at the hotel there. Later in the day, we will visit the Tsuglagkhang complex which includes a Tibetan Temple (named as Tsuglagkhang), Namgyal Gompa, Tibet Museum and the residence of His Holiness Dalai Lama. Tibet Museum showcases rare and never seen images of Tibet and provides detailed information about history, culture and forceful occupation of Tibet by Chinese. Dalai Lama gives discourse on Buddhism teachings from time to time and it is possible to get a glimpse of him during such public functions. We will be then back in the hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
Post breakfast, we will visit Chinmaya Tapovan which houses the Samadhi Shrine of Swami Chinmayananda. Swami Chinmayananda Saraswati was a revered Hindu saint. He was a disciple of one of the greatest saints of India – Swami Sivananda. In the year 1953, the devotees of Swami Chinmayananda founded Chinmaya Mission – an organization which has since then done a great service to the nation in the field of education and philanthropic works. Strong peaceful vibrations can be felt at his Samadhi Shrine. We will spend time in meditation there and then proceed to visit Gyuoto Tantric Gompa which is also known as Karmapa Monastery by the locals.
Next on visit list would be Norbulingka Institute which is founded to impart training to the Tibetans in their ancient art and thus provide them a means of livelihood. Post lunch, we will visit the Secretariat of Tibetan Government in exile. The day’s excursion will then come to an end and we will return to the hotel.
Day 4Harmandir Sahib
After breakfast, we will travel to Amritsar by road. The road journey will approximately take three and half hours. Once in Amritsar, we will check-in at the hotel and have lunch. Later in the day, we will visit Harmandir Sahib which is more popularly known as the Golden Temple. Harmandir Sahib is the holiest of all Sikh Shrines in India. It houses sacred scripture of Sikhs called Adi Granth. There is a tank known as Amrit Sarovar which was carved out by the fourth Guru of Sikhs – Guru Ramdassji. Devotees from all walks of life and religions are welcome here in the temple. After spending peaceful time in the Golden Temple, we will head for Jalianwala Bagh. This is the park, where in 1919, a British general had ordered an open fire on non-violent and peacefully protesting people. Those people had gathered there to protest against the British rule in India. Dinner and overnight stay will be at the hotel.
We will proceed to Haridwar, the holy town of Hindus where Kumbha Mela is conducted. At Haridwar, we will check-in at the hotel and take rest. Later in the day, we will visit the ashram of Swami Keshabananda. Swami Keshabananda was an illumined disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya. Keshabananda had brought a portion of Lahiri Mahasaya’s ashes and preserved it in his ashram. A platform is raised on the grounds where his ashes are enshrined. We will then take a stroll on the ghats of river Ganges. Dinner and overnight stay will be at the hotel.
Day 6Ganga Aarti in Haridwar
After breakfast, we will visit the ancient temple of Chandi Devi – a form of Goddess Durga. Chandi Devi Temple is located atop Neel Mountain. It offers a panoramic view of the Himalayan ranges in the vicinity of Haridwar. We will then visit Anandamayi Ma’s Ashram. Anandamayi Ma’s Ashram houses her Samadhi Shrine. Nearby the Ashram is the Matri Museum which showcases various articles used by Ma. This museum was the house of a devotee where Anandamayi Ma would stay on her Haridwar visits. In the evening, we will then visit Hari-Ki-Pauri where Ganga Aarti is conducted with pomp and vigour. For dinner and overnight stay, we will be back at the hotel.
Day 7Tapasya Kutir in Rishikesh
We will have breakfast at the hotel and then proceed to Rishikesh. In Rishikesh, our first visit will be to Sivananda Ashram which will be then followed by a visit to Gurudeva Kutir and Tapasya Kutir. These places are associated with illumined sage of India – Swami Sivananda. Swami Sivananda was the founder of the Divine Life Society. Gurudeva Kutir is the room where Swami Sivananda stayed for major part of his life. Tapasya Kutir is a small room where he would do meditation and austerities. It is located on the ghats of the holy river Ganges. Post lunch, we will head for Vashistha Cave. Sage Vashistha and his wife Arundhati meditated inside this cave. The experience inside the cave will be something which you will remember for long. We will then head back to the hotel.
After breakfast, we will head for Ranikhet – a hill station located in the Almora district of Uttarakhand. The road journey will take somewhere around eight hours. On the way, we will stop to have lunch in a restaurant. In Ranikhet, we will check-in at a hotel and the day will be off for much needed rest.
Day 9Mahavatar Babaji’s cave in Kukuchina
Post breakfast, we will proceed to Kukuchina by road. Kukuchina is the starting point of the trek to Sri Mahavatar Babaji’s cave. Mahavatar Babaji had initiated his disciple Sri Shyama Charan Lahiri in the ancient technique of Kriya Yoga inside this cave. The incident is vividly described in the book of Paramahansa Yogananda – The Autobiography of a Yogi. The road journey to Kukuchina will take approximately three hours and the trekking will take around forty-five minutes. We will meditate inside the cave and then slowly trek down to the starting point. We will then have lunch and then proceed to visit the ancient Dronagiri Temple atop Dronagiri Mountain. From the temple premises, one can also have a panoramic view of the nearby mountains and valleys. We will then return to the hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
After breakfast, we will check out from the hotel and visit the Ananda Puri Ashram of Haidakhan Babaji. After that we will visit the Ashram of Neem Karoli Baba at Kainchi. Neem Karoli Baba was a self-realized saint who was very popular in the northern part of India. The use of divine powers to heal or to help people brought him the undesired popularity among the masses. One of his chief disciples is Ram Dass who has done commendable work to introduce his Guru to the world. We will then proceed to Kathgodam to board a train for Delhi. The train journey will approximately take six hours. Once in Delhi, we will check-in at the hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
The first half of the day will be off for rest. This will help you to recover from the tiring long journey of the previous day. Later in the day, we will visit the grand Akshardham Temple. This temple is an architectural marvel and reminds one of the grandeur of the Hindu temples of the medieval era. Majority of such temples were destroyed and looted by Muslim invaders and rulers between the 11th and the 16th centuries. After leisurely appreciating the beauty of Akshardham Temple, we will proceed to visit India Gate. Indian Gate is an arch built in the memory 90,000 Indian Soldiers, who lost their lives in the World War I, the Northwest Frontier operations and in the 1919 Anglo-Afghan War. We will be back in the hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
After breakfast, we will proceed to Vrindavan by road. The journey will take approximately three hours time. Vrindavan is a very popular pilgrimage destination for Hindus. Lord Krishna had spent his childhood days in Vrindavan and many important events of his life had taken place during his stay there. We will check-in at the hotel and take lunch. Later in the day, we will visit the Samadhi Shrine of Neem Karoli Baba and visit the ancient Banke Bihari Temple. We will be then back in the hotel for overnight stay.
Day 13Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi
We will be visiting many vibrant spiritual places on this day. The first on the list will be the ashram of Devaraha Baba on the banks of river Yamuna. We will have to use a boat to cross the river and reach his ashram. The ashram houses his Samadhi Shrine. We will spend some time in the meditation and then proceed to Nidhivan. Nidhivan is the garden area where Krishna would meet his female devotee-friends, who are popularly called as Gopiyan. They would meet up and sing devotional songs and dance, which would often result in devotees entering the state of Samadhi. It also houses the Samadhi Shrine of Saint Haridas who was blessed with the vision of Lord Krishna. He had got the vision after a long meditation practice. We will then visit the temple of goddess called Katyayani Peeth. It is one of the 52 Shakti Peeths of India – the places of worship dedicated to goddess. The temple is inside the ashram of Swami Keshabananda. Paramahansa Yogananda had visited this ashram and the account of his visit is mentioned in his autobiography. The first half of the day’s excursion will come to an end after a visit to a widow home. This home which is called as Vidhwashram, is inhabited by many poor old widows from different parts of India. They stay in this home and spend time in their religious and spiritual pursuits. Post lunch, we will proceed to Mathura to visit Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi – the birthplace of Lord Krishna. The temple premises houses the prison room where Lord Krishna was born. There is an adjacent temple dedicated to Lord Krishna and his disciple Radha. We will leisurely spend time in the temple complex, soaking in the divine vibrations of the place. We will then return to the hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 14The Taj Mahal
This will be the last day of our North India pilgrimage! We will check out from the hotel and head for Agra. In Agra, we will visit The Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort. The Taj Mahal is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Without a visit to the Taj Mahal, a visit to North India seems incomplete to the devotees. Post lunch, we will proceed to Delhi by road. The road journey may take approximately three and half hours. Once in Delhi, we will check-in at the hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
Your visit to North India will finally come to an end. After breakfast at the hotel, you will be free to fly to your desired destination.
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On demand, this pilgrimage can be organized throughout the year.
- It is always good to read about the places which we will be visiting as part of this pilgrimage. That will increase your receptivity when you will be visiting those shrines and temples. Receptivity will enhance your meditation and overall experience of the place.
- The best time to visit North India is from September to March. From December to January, it is winter season in Northern India and the temperature may fall up to 5 degree Celsius. If you are planning to visit in the winters, then it is essential to bring warm clothing with you.
- We request women travelers from the western countries to give thoughtful consideration to the fact that the dress culture is on the conservative side in this part of the world and thus dress accordingly to avoid unwanted attention.
- Taking into consideration the spiritual nature of the places on the itinerary, one may opt for loose-fitting clothes which are more conducive for meditation.
- We strongly recommend you to carry air pollution mask, sunglasses, umbrella and cap.