Join Rabbi and Marla Segelman for a trip of a lifetime as they lead us to the land of yoga, the Taj Mahal, mysticism—and Jews! Visit the major sights of the capital city of Delhi, wondrous Agra and the Taj Mahal, the Pink City of Jaipur, the port of Kochi with its “Jewtown,” and bustling Mumbai.
You will also experience exclusive programs with the Jewish communities of Delhi, Kochi, Mumbai (including two meaningful Shabbats), a “Bollywood” film showing, a visit to a local charity, a dance performance, dinner with a royal family in their home, and much more.
This fully escorted deluxe tour is for 13 days, 12 nights, and includes all kosher or vegetarian meals. VIEW PRICING
Jan 7, Tu Depart from New York
Evening check-in for your flight to India. Kosher meals in-flight.
Jan 8, We Arrive New Delhi Namaste. After entry formalities, you’ll be met and transferred to your hotel for check-in and overnight. Welcome to India.
Delhiis India’s capital and a major gateway to the largest democracy in the world. Perhaps there is no other capital city in the world so steeped in history and legend as this city. It was the magnet which drew the Mongols, Turks, Persians, Afghans, Mughals and the British, all of whom contributed to its glorious but turbulent past. The fascination with Delhi was such that even though it was abandoned many times, its rulers returned to it again and again rebuilding it at least seven times. Today, Old and New Delhi still attract visitors from all over the world.
Jan 9, Th Old Delhi B,L,D
After a leisurely breakfast, tour Old Delhi. You’ll drive past Red Fort and Jama Masjid – the largest mosque in India built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the year 1650 AD. From here you board your cycle rickshaws for a tour of Chandni Chowk (Silver Street) for a glimpse into an old-world lifestyle slowly fading from Delhi. The hustle and bustle of everyday life can be felt in Chandni Chowk’s narrow lanes. While on the tour, stop at Khari Baoli, Asia’s largest wholesale spice market – operating since the 17th century. Learn about the spices on sale and smell their aromas. The street is congested with shops on both sides selling spices, nuts and herbs. The overall appearance seems to be very chaotic but in reality, it is very well managed. There will be great photo opportunities here. continue to Raj Ghat, a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, set within a beautiful park. Evening cultural show.
Jan 10, Fr New Delhi B,L,D
This morning, you’ll drive through New Delhi, passing by the Presidential Palace, the one-time imperial residence of the British viceroys; India Gate, a memorial raised in honor of the Indian soldiers martyred during the Afghan war; the imposing Parliament house and other elegant buildings built in the first quarter of the 20th century by two famous English architects, Sir Herbert Baker and Sir Edwin Lutyens. It was during this time period that the capital of British India was shifted from Calcutta to Delhi.
Next, visit the famous Akshardham Temple. One of the biggest and most intricate religious places of worship ever constructed, the structure immaculately depicts great Indian culture and its architecture. This amazing structure comprises of 20,000 statues, floral motifs and exquisite carved pillars made of sandstone and marble. It is built along the river Yamuna and over an area of around 100 acres with beautiful gardens, water fountains and carved pavilions. Enjoy lunch at the temple. Afternoon at leisure.
This evening, you’ll be escorted to Judah Hyam Synagogue for Shabbat Services and Dinner with invited members of the local Jewish community. Shabbat Shalom.
Jan 11, Sa Shabbat in New Delhi B,L,D
Breakfast at hotel. Shabbat Services and lunch at Judah Hyam Synagogue. Afternoon optional walking tour to Lodhi Gardens and other nearby sights. Dinner at local vegetarian restaurant.
Jan 12, Su Express Train to Agra B,L,D
Morning transfer to the railway station to board the express train to Agra.
Agrais associated with the Mughal period. The Mughals, besides being great rulers, were also great builders and they preserved their best architectural wonders for Agra. It has many wonderful monuments and the Taj Mahal, the greatest of them all, is a masterpiece. Their architectural genius can also be seen in the forts, palaces and aesthetically laid out gardens that embody the grand style of a golden era.
Visit Agra Fort, which was the stronghold of the Mughal Empire under successive generations. This was the seat of Mughal rule and administration and the present structure owes its origins to Akbar who erected the walls and gates and the first buildings on the eastern banks of Yamuna River. Shah Jahan added the impressive quarters and the mosque while subsequent rulers added the outer ramparts. Visit its Hall of Public Audience and its Royal Pavilions. In the late afternoon, view the Taj Mahal at sunset from a garden across the river, followed by dinner at one of Agra’s most popular vegetarian restaurants.
Jan 13, Mo Sunrise at the Taj ~ Desert Journey B,L,D
Early this morning, watch the sunrise at the Taj Mahal, an unforgettable memory. Emperor Shah Jahan built this monument in memory of his beloved Queen Mumtaz Mahal. This completely white marble mausoleum is world famous for its unique garden design and complex calligraphy. A group photo with the Taj Mahal as your backdrop will create a life-long memory of your visit. Return to your hotel for breakfast.
Later, proceed to Fatehpur Sikri, the deserted red sandstone city built by the great Mughal Emperor Akbar as his capital and palace in the late 16th century. It was abandoned after only 15 years due to scarcity of water. It was a veritable fairytale city and its ‘ruins’ are still in pristine condition. Then continue across the Rajasthan Desert to Jaipur, the “pink city”. Overnight at a heritage hotel (“haveli”), a converted nobleman’s town house built in 1892 and restored to perfection, in the heart of Jaipur.
Jan 14, Tu Jaipur B,L,D
Jaipur was founded in AD 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II. The capital of Rajasthan, it is popularly known as the ‘Pink City’ and was the first planned city of India. Jaipur is one of the three corners of the golden triangle that includes Delhi and Agra. Highlights include Amber Fort, the Palace of Winds and an astronomical observatory designed by a child prince that is accurate to this day. Wonderful shopping opportunities as well for famous Rajasthani ceramics and crafts.
This evening, visit the home of a noble family for a fascinating interactive session, followed by dinner.
Jan 15, We ~ fly to Kochi & Jewtown Excursion B,L,D
This morning, fly to Kochi. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel.
Kochi, formerly known as Cochin, is spread across islands and promontories in a stunning location between the Arabian Sea and the Backwaters. The city was founded in 1341 when a flood created a natural safe port, which became the principal harbor for the Malabar Coast’s spice trade. Cochin was on the main trade route between Europe and China. The rulers invited people of various religions to settle here, attracting the Jews and the Christians who built places of worship and their own communities. Kochi is known as the Jerusalem of the East.
This afternoon visit Fort Cochin. Walk through the bustling harbor area and quaint backstreets to discover its rich and multifaceted past. You will see St. Francis Church, originally named after Santo Antonio and dedicated to him as the Patron Saint of Portugal. Once a wooden building, it was replaced by the present stone building. Vasco De Gamma died on this site in 1524 and was originally buried in the cemetery. His grave is still marked with a plaque and a brass rail, though his remains are now in Portugal. Try your hand at working the Chinese Fishing Nets along the tip of Fort Cochin, a unique mechanical method of catching fish by local fishermen.
This evening, experience Kathakali, or “story dance”, where the combination of facial expressions and body movements bring out the thoughts and emotions of each character.
Jan 16, Th Backwaters cruise ~ fly to Mumbai B,L(D)
This morning, explore the Mattancherry area. Visit the Dutch Palaceand the historic synagogue. Dutch Palace was built in 1555 AD and its coronation hall and murals at Ramayana are noteworthy features. Thesynagogue was built in 1568 AD, then destroyed by the Portuguese and rebuilt by the Dutch a century later. Explore Jewtown where you will meet Queenie Hallegua, matriarch of the Jewish community and one of the last remaining Jews in Kochi. Queenie is the living history of Jewtown and the Jewish experience in India. From here you will visit Sarah’s Hand Embroidery shop run by one of the last Jewish residents of Kochi and her Muslim caretaker.
Afternoon cruise on the backwaters followed by transfer to the airport for your evening flight to Mumbai. Upon arrival, you’ll be transferred to your hotel for overnight.
Jan 17, Fr Mumbai B,L,D
Formerly British Bombay, this city is the economic powerhouse of India. It is young, lively and a confluence of varied cultural currents giving Mumbai a unique position as the most multi-ethnic city of India. Mumbai is also the most populous city in India, and the fourth most populous city in the world, with a population of approximately 20.5 million. Additionally, Mumbai is the country’s financial and commercial hub and a principal port on the Arabian Sea.
After a leisurely breakfast, visit a local aide organization or school for under privileged primary school students. Lunch at Chabad. Afternoon at leisure.
This evening, transfer to Knesset Eliyahoo (“Fort Synagogue”) for Shabbat Services and Dinner with members of the local Jewish community. Escorted walk back to hotel. Shabbat Shalom.
Jan 18, Sa Shabbat in Mumbai B,L,D
Breakfast at hotel. Shabbat Services and lunch at the synagogue. Optional afternoon walking tour to Sassoon Library and Chhatrapati Shivaji Museum (entrance fees prepaid). Dinner at local restaurant.
Jan 19, Su Elephanta Island ~ Bollywood movie B,L,D
Morning excursion by ferry to Elephanta Island. The cave temples here were excavated between the 5th and 8th centuries AD and are famous for magnificently sculpted panels. The best known is the one depicting the three-headed image of Lord Shiva from Hindu mythology. The Portuguese named this island after a large stone elephant that was found here. The elephant now stands at the Chhatrapati Shivaji (formerly Victoria and Albert) Museum near your hotel. Take in a Bollywood movie this afternoon. JDC will host dinner and a get-together this evening.
Jan 20, Mo Mumbai ~ Farewell dinner B,L,DHighlights of your morning city tour include the colonial Victoria Terminus Station, Magen David Synagogue, Tiphereth Israel, the dhobi ghats (the most unusual laundry in the world), Malabar Hills and other sights. After lunch and check-out, time for shopping at a local market on Fashion Street or in Crawford Market. Enjoy a gala farewell dinner before arriving at the airport for departure. Bon voyage.
B = breakfast L– Lunch D = Dinner ( ) = inflight
Not included: international airfare to Delhi and return from Mumbai; passport and visa fees; travel insurance; items not on the table d’hote menus of included meals; purchases from hotel mini-bar; phone, fax and internet; laundry and dry cleaning; and items of a personal nature.
Required Travel Documents passport valid for at least 6 months beyond end of the tour and India e-visa. WESTCHESTER JEWISH CENTER TOUR TO INDIA 2020
Delhi 4 nts Taj Mahal
Agra 1 nt Taj Gateway (Taj view rooms)
Jaipur 2 nts Alsisar Haveli
Kochi 1 nts Taj Malabar
Mumbai 4 nts Taj Mahal Tower