Photo Journey India: A Fusion of Color, Music & Soul ( 17 days)

specialDeparture September 15 – October 1, 2023
Celebrate India with Beatle’s friend & photographer, Paul Saltzman! No one describes this cultural tour of India better than Paul:
“Long ago, I realized that if I could only visit one country during the rest of my life it would be—India. It is many, many cultures—an amazing fusion of modern and ancient, of adventures and discoveries. I’ve been there more than 50 times, and each time is a new exploration. It’s the most colourful country of the many I’ve visited. It’s a cornucopia of remarkable people and places, of music and soul. We will be a small intimate group, experiencing the great fusion of east and west that is India. Along with sightseeing; small, private music recitals; wandering and shopping, we’ll occasionally talk about life as we sip a cool drink and watch some of the most gorgeous sunsets in the world. This upcoming journey is very special. My first trip to India, in 1968, was life changing. It was truly a healing journey that still beautifully reverberates in my heart—bringing so much joy, creativity and soul into my life. So it is with great respect, and pleasure, that I welcome you to join me on this wonderful and exciting journey.” –Paul Saltzman This is the 50th Anniversary since Paul met the Beatles in India!

Note: Paul Saltzman is a two-time Emmy Award winning film and television producer-director. His most recent film, the documentary movie, Prom Night in Mississippi, featuring Morgan Freeman, was just screened at the White House.

Early in 1968 he learned meditation at the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram in Rishikesh, India. While there, he spent time with and photographed the Beatles. His photos have been judged, “some of the best intimate shots” ever taken of John, Paul, George and Ringo, and have been seen in galleries worldwide.

In 2000, Paul released a book of his photographs, The Beatles in Rishikesh, with Penguin-Putnam; and in 2006 he self-published the deluxe Limited Edition box set, The Beatles in India.

Day 1 – Arrive Trivandrum
Namaste! We are welcomed the traditional Indian way with palms held together. After immigration and custom formalities, we are met and driven to Kovalam. After checking into our hotel, and before dinner, Paul Saltzman will welcome you on this unique and inaugural journey at the Neera Bar outdoor patio. Overnight: Taj Green Cove Resort(2 Nights)(D)
1. Welcome drink with Paul.

Day 2 – Kovalam
Morning Yoga session, if you wish to join us. The rest of the day is free to relax on the beach, explore the local shops and surroundings, or visit nearby Trivandrum, Kerela’s capital. Those who want to go for Ayurveda can book this at the Taj Spa, which is one of the best Spa’s in the south. Evening we join Paul for his slide show and talk: ‘Fusion of Music & Soul: Why the Beatles Came to India’ followed by conversation. (B)
1. Morning Yoga session (optional)
2. ‘Fusion of Music & Soul: Why the Beatles Came to India’

Day 3 – Trivandrum/Alleppey: (Drive 4 hours)
Scenic coastal drive to Alleppey where we board traditional rice boats—Ketuvallam—converted to house boats, and begin our magical journey through Kerela’s picturesque inland waterways, relaxing in the tranquility of the backwaters and lakes, experiencing the way of life and activity of the locals. A special treat is the authentic and exquisite Kerala cuisine cooked on-board. Boats have one or two bedrooms each. Overnight: House Boat (1 night) (B, L, D)
1. Night Houseboat on Full Board Basis.

Day 4 – Alleppey/Cochin/Mumbai (2 hours drive and flight)
After breakfast, we leave our houseboats and drive to Cochin Airport for our flight to the magical city of Mumbaiwhere we are transferred to the incredible Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. We’ll visit several historical sites in Mumbai as well as the remarkable Chor Bazaar (Thieves Market) famous for antiques and collectables. Later, if possible, we meet with a renowned Bollywood Music Director. In the evening we enjoy dinner at the Leopold Cafe. Overnight: Taj Mahal Palace & Tower – Superior Sea view Rooms (2 Nights) (B)
Activities/Sites Visited:
1. Visit Chor Bazaar
2. Evening Dinner at Leopold Café.

Day 5 – Mumbai
A morning tour of Mumbai includes the site of the famous EMI Bombay studios, now gone, where George Harrison recorded ‘The Inner Light’ and part of the ‘Wonderwall’ sound track. Later we meet Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, considered to be the foremost bansuri flute player of his generation, for an informal recital. Pandit Chaurasia toured and recorded with George, including ‘The Inner Light’ and George’s ‘Dark Horse Tour’. We’ll meet Suresh Bhojwani in his up-scale Blue Frog Club. He will perform and recount his time with George, in India, and playing with him on a beach in Goa in 1986.(B)
1. City Tour with Guide.
2. Music and meeting with Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, Suresh Bhojwani and others. (Subject to confirmation)

Day 6 – Mumbai/Udaipur (flight)
A short flight gets us into Rajasthan, to the city of Udaipur, named the world’s 7th best city in 2007. We travel by bus and boat to the Lake Palace Hotel – Paul Saltzman’s “favourite hotel in the world.” Later we tour Udaipur, visiting the City Palace; Saheliyon Ki Bari, or the Garden of Maids; and the folklore museum where we can see a presentation of the string puppet shows traditional to this area. Evening we join Paul for his slide show and talk: ‘The Inner Journey: Fusion of East and West’
followed by conversation. Overnight: Hotel Taj Lake Palace (2 Nights) (B)
Activities/Sites Visited:
1. Guided Tour of The City Palace, Saheliyon Ki Bari and the folklore
2. ‘The Inner Journey: Fusion of East and West’.

Day 7 – Udaipur
Along with free time and shopping, we visit the world famous Crystal Gallery in the Fateh Prakash Palace. It has been hailed as the single largest private collection of crystal anywhere in the world. It was in 1877 that the Maharana Sajjan Singh custom ordered this collection from the F&C Osler Co. in Birmingham. It includes a bewildering number of objects d’art, dinner sets, perfume bottles, decanters, glasses, washing bowls and even furniture, including the only crystal bed in the world. We also visit Sajjangarh Fort, the ‘Monsoon Palace’, high above Udaipur, affording a marvelous, panoramic view of the area. In the evening, we’ll enjoy dinner and a dance performance-boat ride on the marigold decorated Royal Barge on Lake Pichola.(B)
Activities/Sites Visited:
1. Tour of the Fateh Prakash Palace (Crystal Gallery) and the Monsoon Palace.
Optional: Royal Barge dinner & dance performance on Lake Pichola.

Day 8 – Udaipur/Jaipur (flight)
A short flight to Jaipur and we are transferred to the Jai Mahal Palace Hotel. An afternoon excursion to the majestic Amber Fort, situated atop a hill rendering a majestic panoramic view of the city. Amber was the old capital of Rajasthan before Jaipur. The Palace is laid out on different levels on the hillside and surrounded by a fortress. A shopper’s paradise, Jaipur is noted for its gems, puppets and craftsmen, skilled in brass inlay, lacquer work and pottery. Most of the buildings in the old city are made of pink sandstone and one of the most beautiful is the Hawa Mahal, the Palace of Winds, from where the ladies of the royal harem would watch the city from behind the intricately carved facade. Evening is dinner at the Spice Court Restaurant, where we are entertained with a Rajasthani puppet show. Shopping at the bazaar is an option.
Overnight: Jai Mahal Palace (1 Night) (B)
Activities/Sites Visited:
1. Guided tour of Amber Fort.
2. City Palace.
3. Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds).

Day 9 – Jaipur/Fatehpur Sikri/Agra (Drive 6 hours)
A lovely countryside drive to Agra gets us first to Fatehpur Sikri, the beautiful capital built in 1640 by the Mughal King, Akbar the Great. A superb example of Mughal architecture, it stands perfectly preserved in the desert. We also visit the artistically designed mausoleum of Salim Chisty and then continue to Agra. Evening we experience Agra’s rich cultural heritage with a gala dinner as we watch the Mohabatten Taj, a dance-drama Show at Kalakriti.
Overnight: Taj Gateway Hotel (1 Night) (B)
Activities/Sites Visited:
1. Guided tour of Fatehpur Sikri – World Heritage Site.
2. Mohabatten Taj – dance drama show at Kalakriti.
3. Gala Dinner at Taj Bano at the ITC Mughal Hotel.

Day 10 – Agra/New Delhi (Drive 4 hours)
A sunrise visit to the most well known of the ‘Seven Modern Wonders of the World’, the Taj Mahal. It is a unique and exquisite experience to stand in front of the huge wooden Mughal doors as they are swung open and be the first to view the Taj Mahal in the soft morning light, with the grounds empty. Built by Shah Jehan as a mausoleum for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, visiting the Taj is beyond any photographs or film one can view. While there, Paul will share a few of his favourite stories of ancient India. After breakfast, we visit the Agra Fort, where Shah Jehan, in the later years of his life, was imprisoned by his son. We end our tour with a visit to several local shops and witness the complex art of inlaying precious and semiprecious stones in the world famous marbles from the mines of Makrana. Later, we drive to New Delhi.
Overnight: The Taj Mahal Hotel Deluxe Rooms (3 Nights) (B)
Activities/Sites Visited:
1. Guided tour of Taj Mahal –World Heritage Site.
2. Guided tour of Agra Fort – World Heritage Site.

Days 11 & 12 – New Delhi
We visit the Ravi Shankar Institute in New Delhi. You may have a chance to meet Pandit Shankar’s daughter, Anushka, if she’s there. Explore wonderful sights and experiences of New Delhi and Old Delhi during our days, here. The British Raj built New Delhi as their capital, while Old Delhi is a reflection of both its Mughal past and the 7 city kingdoms of earlier times.

We could easily spend a month exploring exotic corners of both cities and some of the highlights for these days include: The Akshardham Temple complex is its own amazing world of Indian Hindu culture, ornate with 20,000 statues, floral motifs, arches and exquisitely carved pillars. Built on the banks of the River Yamuna, over a sprawling 100 acres of lush manicured lawns adorned with water fountains and carved pavilions, it cost 2 billion dollars and took 5 years to construct. Birla House is the former residence of Mahatma Gandhi, where he spent his later years and where he was assassinated on January 30, 1948. It’s a museum and memorial to the man Nelson Mandela credits as his inspiration to non-violence. Jama Masjid, in Old Delhi, is the second largest mosque in Asia and the most important in India. A center of Muslim importance, it was built in 1656 by Shah Jehan, builder of the Taj Mahal. The best over-views of Old Delhi are to be seen by climbing the narrow steps to the top observation level of one of its two towering minarets.

The gullies, or narrow pathways of Old Delhi hold the most wonderful specialty markets: spices, gold and silver, wedding saris, antiques and much more. Besides these bazaars, we’ll go with Paul to his favourite place to buy arts, crafts and antiques, that he calls “Sharma’s Antique Farm.” Just south of New Delhi, it’s on a farm with acres of indoor and outdoor items of beauty, and is a well frequented wholesale supplier to upscale western shops. Other possibilities include: the ancient and unique Qutb Minar – a perfect minaret towering 102 meters (112 yards) into the sky; the famous Red Fort, once the most opulent fort of the Mughal Empire and its seat of power; Rikhi Ram’s – the renowned music instruments store. (B)
Activities/Sites Visited:
1. Ravi Shankar Institute
2. Birla House — Residence of Mahatma Gandhi.
3. Qutb Minar —World Heritage Site.
4. Jama Masjid Mosque.
5. Red Fort —World Heritage Site.
6. Akshardham Temple.
7. Old Delhi bazaars, Sharma’s Antique Farm & Rikhi Ram’s.

Day 13 – Delhi/Haridwar/Rishikesh (Train & Road)
India has the world’s largest train network and it is said that on any given day there are some 25 million people on the trains of India. Any train journey adds a lot to the flavour of our Indian adventure. We take the deluxe early morning Shatabdi Express ride up into the foothills of the Himalayas to Haridwar, in the lower Shivalik mountain rage, on the banks of River Ganges. Haridwar is a jumping off point for the short drive up to Rishikesh, one of the four holiest sites of Hinduism and a center for meditation, yoga and spiritual studies. It was the site, in 1968, of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashramwhere the Beatles spent a number of weeks and where Paul Saltzman spent a week with John, Paul, George and Ringo. Evening we share music and memories of George Harrison with Ajit Singh the famous Vichitra Veena player who played with George.
Overnight: Vasundhara Palace Hotel (3 Nights) (B)
Activities/Sites Visited:
1. Music & meeting with Ajit Singh

Day 14 – Rishikesh
After our morning yoga (optional) we cross the Ganges to visit the site of what used to be Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram at Raja Ji National Park. Here, we’ll sit by the edge of the cliff overlooking the Ganges, far below, where the Beatles sat for many hours. Their time at the ashram was their single most creative capsule of time – they wrote 48 songs in a few short weeks. Overlooking the Ganges, Paul will lead a short meditation and share stories of his time with the Beatles at the Ashram. The rest of the day is free to indulge in the rejuvenation Spa facilities offered at Rishikesh (Treatments optional. On Direct payment) (B)
Activities/Sites Visited:
1. Morning Yoga Session (optional)
2. Visit to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram
3. Optional Spa treatments.

Day 15 – Rishikesh
Morning yoga session (optional). Rest of your day is free to enjoy activities such as white water rafting on the Ganges, or simply exploring the area. In the afternoon Paul will lead a workshop appropriate for our imminent return to the hustle and bustle of our daily lives: ‘Overcoming Life’s Anxieties’ affords a magical way to overcome anxiety. In the evening before concluding ‘India with Paul Saltzman: A Fusion of Colour, Music & Soul’, we’ll join a candlelight Aarti ceremony on the Ghats of Ganges at Parmath Ashram. (B)
Activities/Sites Visited:
1. Morning Yoga Session (optional)
2. ‘Overcoming Life’s Anxieties’ with Paul Saltzman
3. White water rafting (Not included in cost)
4. Aarti Ceremony at Parmarth Ashram

Day 16 – Rishikesh/Delhi (Road 5 hours)
A scenic drive to Delhi. On arrival in Delhi, we check in our Hotel. Rest of your day is free.
Overnight: Trident Gurgaon Hotel(1 Night) (B)

Day 17 – Depart Delhi
Today we are transferred to Delhi airport for our flight to onward destinations. (B)

(NOTE: all daily events are optional for you to participate, or not; at any time you are welcome to just put your feet up or wander the markets and shops. All meetings/recitals are subject to availability.)

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*** Optional Trek: 4 days/3 nights Trekking in the Himalayas*** Departure October 7 – 12, 2016
For those who want to do a few days of medium grade trekking in the Himalayas – we leave early in the morning on October 7 from our hotel in Rishikesh and end on October 12..

Day 1 -Rishikesh/Chopta/Pothibasa (Road)
Morning drive towards Chopta and onwards to Pothibasa for meals and overnight stay. The entire drive is an enchanting one along the Ganges up to Deoprayag and then along Alaknanda up to Rudraprayag. From Rudraprayag we drive along the Mandakini River. Lunch en route. We view the majestic peaks of the Himalayas, breathtaking in their beauty against the clear blue sky. Spending nights on the roof of the world is a unique experience, with the skies so thickly starred you can almost grab a handful of them.
Overnight: Leopard Leap Lodge(3 Nights) (B, L, D)

Day 2 – P’basa/Chopta/Deoriatal/Chopta/P’basa (Trek: 5-6hrs.)
After breakfast, we drive to the village of Sari where we commence our trek to Deoriatal, one of the finest high altitude Himalayan lakes. There, we can witness the reflection of greater Himalayan peaks in the lake. Pack lunch en-route. Later we trace our steps back to Sari and drive back to Pothibasa for dinner and overnight stay. (B, L, D)

Day 3 – P’basa/Chopta/Tungnath/Chopta/P’basa (trek: 6-7hrs.)
After breakfast, we drive to Chopta and commence our trek to Tungnath, the highest temple in India, dedicated to Lord Shiva. In Hindu mythology, it is here that the arms of Lord Shiva reemerged after sinking into the earth at Kedarnath. The trek goes through a thick forest of Rhododendron and Oak. Chances of encountering wildlife, including rare musk deer, and the most colourful pheasant, the Monal, are very high here. Arrive Tungnath Temple: the entire temple is full of ancient statues and other objects of historical and mythological importance. Afterwards we trek to Chandrashilla peak from where we can enjoy a grand view of greater Himalayan peaks such as Nanda Devi, Punch Chuli, Dunagiri, Nilkanth and Kedarnath. After exploring the area, we trace our steps back to Chopta and drive to Pothibasa. (B, L, D)

Day 4 – Pothibasa/Rishikesh/ New Delhi (Road, train optional)
After breakfast we drive to Rishikesh. Lunch en-route. Arrive Rishikesh and leave for New Delhi and onward destinations. (B)

-16 nights hotel accommodation as mentioned or similar category
– Meals as mentioned (B = Breakfasts, L = Lunch, D = Dinners)
– Airfares within India on coach class
– All transfers and sightseeing as per the itinerary
– Entrance fees to museums and sites
– All transfers and sightseeing with an English speaking guides
– Honorariums for Yoga, lectures, and folk dances

Does not include:
– International & domestic airfares
– Insurance & Visa fees