Beats in India w/Bob Holman

specialDeparture January, upon request for groups 10 more
Join Bob Holman on the road in India to discover the Beat poets’ path to satori, free poetry and life’s brim-fullest meaning. After meeting up at Columbia University in New York, many Beats migrated to San Francisco, finding a kind of group consciousness. From there, Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky set off to meet fellow progressive thinkers and poets Gary Snyder and Joanne Kyger and embark on a soul-searching journey though India. Learn about the Hungryalists, the Beats of India, attend the Baul Fakir, the annual Woodstock for ecstatic street-poets, and find inspiration at scenically gorgeous Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage waystations. We will follow the Beats’ search for the meaning of life in an India that will open these same doors of adventure and insights into art and consciousness for you.

Bob Holman, a friend of many Beat poets, is a Beat literature authority and professor at Columbia University. A poet himself, he is also known for his documentary work to preserve the spoken and written word: On the Road with Bob Holman premiered on LinkTV, and Language Matters with Bob Holman, a David Grubin film, was broadcast nationally this year on PBS.

Click for more about Bob Holman: Bob Holman’s Bio

Day to Day Itinerary:

Day 01: 07 Jan’17 – Arrive Delhi
Arrive in Delhi where you will be met at the airport by our representative and driven to your hotel

Day 02: 08 Jan’17 – Delhi – Gaya – Bodhgaya
1200 hours: Transfer to Delhi Airport Terminal 3 to board Air India flight for Bodhgaya

Day 03: 09 Jan’17 – Bodhgaya
This morning see the famous Bodhi tree of enlightenment. According to Buddhist traditions, Prince Siddhartha, a wandering ascetic sat in meditation under a bodhi tree. The Beats were interested in the philosophy of Buddhism and thus made pilgrimages to various holy places.

Day 04: 10 Jan’17 – Bodhgaya – Varanasi
After breakfast at hotel, transfer by road to Varanasi (approximately a 06 hour drive) Evening enjoy an exclusive boat ride on River Ganges to see Aarti (Prayer) ceremony

Day 05: 11 Jan’17 – Varanasi
Sunrise boat ride on the holiest river in India, the Ganges, and attend aarti (light with blessing) ceremony. The Beats spent hours along the Ganges River witnessing cremations, frequenting the ashrams, making pilgrimage to Sarnath and studying life. Afternoon visit a silk weaving factory and see how the famous Varanasi silk is made. The Beats began their journey in western garb but by the middle of their India sojourn had taken to wearing lightweight “pajama like” clothes bought at local shops. Gandhi’s handspun Khadi cloth and clothes made from Varanasi silk were favorites.

Day 06: 12 Jan’17 – Varanasi – Kolkata
After breakfast drive to Sarnath (Deer Park) where Siddhartha taught his first sermon after attaining enlightenment.

1630 hours: Transfer to Varanasi airport to board Jet Airways flight for Kolkata

Day 07: 13 Jan’17 – Kolkata
After breakfast, tour Kalighat and Howrah Bridge. Kalighat is a temple dedicated to Kali, the Hindu goddess of destruction. The Howrah Bridge spans the Hooghly River and was originally named the New Howrah Bridge because it links the city of Howrah to its twin city Kolkata (Calcutta). In search of Spiritual aspiration the Beats visited the city’s soul temple, Kalighat, adding to the already vibrant bustle and devotion rituals. The Beat’s also were intrigued by Howrah Bridge and the colorful characters, often streets men or yogis, who stayed nearby.

Later visit College Street, stretching from Bowbazar to MG Road north Kolkata, which houses many centers of the city’s intellectual activity. Learn about the Hungryalist movement, and the influence that both Bengali literary members of this movement and the Beats had upon each other. Have coffee at the Indian Coffee House, a cafe that has attracted the city’s intellectuals for decades.

Day 08: 14 Jan’17 – Kolkata – Tarapith – Shantiniketan
Early morning drive to Tarapith, a small temple town known for its Tantric temple and cremation ground where Tantric rites are performed. The Beats were enthralled with the concept that men in India, yogis, even in their day were still attempting to perfect spiritual athletics, so to speak.

Later drive to Shantiniketan and check in at Hotel.

Watch a short introductory film on the Bauls followed by a brief workshop with three bauls with their different kinds of instruments and different styles of singing and dancing.

Dinner at hotel/Overnight at the Hotel

Day 09: 15 Jan’17 – Shantinekatan – Joydev Kenduli – Shantiniketan
Drive to Joydev Kenduli to see the festival

Joydev Kenduli Mela celebrates the poetry and music of the Bauls and Fakirs in a divine, spiritual, and philosophical manner. It’s an annual three-day festival held in Joydev Kenduli in the Birbhum district of West Bengal. Joydev Kenduli is regarded as the birthplace of poet Jayadeva and coincides with Makar Sankranti, which marks the beginning of winter harvest, considered auspicious.

Note: The Baul Mela in Joydeb Kenduli is still a very rustic one. There is now one Akhra (a big tent with a stage) managed by one Baul called Shadhon Bairagi almost on the edge of the Mela. It is quite a big one and they build small huts with hay stacks for visitors. Normally people sit on the ground or stand to watch and listen to the performance. Generally there are no arrangements for sitting on chairs, so the visitors will have to either sit on the ground or else have to stand. We will hire few huts to experience the atmosphere or to take rest.

Day 10: 16 Jan’17 – Shantiniketan – Joydev Kenduli – Shantiniketan
Today visit Shantiniketan and learn about Rabindranath Tagore and the Beats. It was here, Santiniketan, which means abode (niketan) of peace (shanti), that Rabindranath Tagore started Patha Bhavana (the school of his ideals) whose central premise was that learning in a natural environment would be more enjoyable and fruitful. Also visit houses where Rabindranath Tagore lived during different seasons and his connections with the Bauls.

Late afternoon again visit Joydev Kenduli to see the festival.

Day 11: 17 Jan’17 – Shantiniketan – Kolkata – Delhi
1100 hours: Transfer by road to Kolkata airport to board Air India flight (approximately 03 hours and 30 minutes drive)

On arrival, transfer to Hotel

Day 12: 18 Jan’17 – Delhi – Dharamsala – McLeodganj
Morning transfer to Delhi Airport Terminal 3 to board Air India flight
On arrival, visit to Norbulingka Institute of Tibetology (approximately 30 minute’s drive), named after the summer palace of Dalai Lama in Lhasa comprises the following sections: The Centre for Arts, The Academy of Tibetan Culture, and The Literary and Cultural Research Centre (Open till 1700 hours)

Day 13: 19 Jan’17 – McLeodganj (Dharamsala)
Early morning visit to the monastery for a prayer puja. Explore the Tibetan Library which houses many original texts and books important in preserving Tibetan culture. Dharamsala is the home of the 14th Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile following the political uprising in 1959. By now the Beats had dabbled in Tibetan Buddhism as well as Hinduism and wanted to visit this important spiritual center now gaining fame in north India.

Day 14: 20 Jan’17 – McLeodganj (Dharamsala) – Delhi – Dehradun – Rishikesh
Morning transfer to Dharamsala airport to board Air India flight — On arrival, further connect with Jet Airways flight to Dehradun
Transfer by road to Rishikesh.

Day 15: 21 Jan’17 – Rishikesh
After breakfast spend the day exploring its temples and Ashrams.
Rishikesh is famous for its many Hindi ashrams and the Maharishi Yogi. Explore the temples.

Visiting Rishikesh gave the Beats a more in depth look at the practice of yoga and meditation under Hindu teacher guidance. Located in the foothills of the Himalaya of northern India, Rishikesh is known as the gateway to the Himalayas. In the evening see Aarti (Prayer) Ceremony at Parmarth Niketan Ashram

Day 16: 22 Jan’17 – Rishikesh – Nainital
Morning transfer by road to Nainital. On arrival, check in at Hotel.

Day 17: 23 Jan’17 – Nainital
Nainital at an altitude of 6358 ft sits in a valley containing a pear-shaped lake, approximately two miles in circumference, and surrounded by the highest mountains in the world. Magnificent views can be seen of the vast Indian plain to the south and of the mass of tangled ridges lying north bounded by the great snowy range, Himalaya. Views alone may be considered a spiritual experience along with the sheer power of nature as referred to by the Beats, who loved the remoteness of this area as well.

Day 18: 24 Jan’17 – Nainital – Almora
Morning transfer by road to Almora. On arrival, check in at Hotel.

A journey to Almora hosts spectacular pristine beauty and many noted temples, best made known by Swami Vivekananda, Gandhi, Tagore and Jim Corbett. Temples include Kasar Devi (area also has a Chabad House), Mahadev Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva situated beside the river Ram Ganga and a sun temple (only the second in the world) located at Katarmal only a short distance from the town. The highly revered temple of Shakti or Mother Goddess is in Dunagiri, also known as the birthplace of modern day Kriya Yoga. Almora was a highlight of the Beats Himalayan experience.

Day 19: 25 Jan’17 – Almora – Kathgodam – Delhi
1145 hours: Transfer by road to Kathgodam railway station to board the train
On arrival, transfer to Hotel and check in

Day 20: 26 Jan’17 – Delhi
Morning visit Qutub Minar, the first Islamic dynasty building in India. Also visit Humayun’s tomb which later became the inspiration for Taj Mahal.
Later proceed for half day sightseeing tour of Old Delhi.

Rest of the day is free for you to explore or shop as you wish. Connaught Circle has a number of English book stores to browse, other curio places of interest and restaurants and cafes. In time transfer to Delhi International Airport Terminal 3 to board flight for onward journey.

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