Kolkata and Varanasi…where rich cultures, styles, and mood amalgamate to impart an ecstatic ambience, the Orient and the Occulent fuse to demonstrate the contradicting noble and poor lifestyle, abundance of intellectuals and their ideas have baptized the city as India’s intellectual, artistic and cultural capital, where sadhus(holy men) coat themselves in ashes, exquisite temples evoke spiritual devotion, vibrant colors paint city walls, people dive in water to erase sins, temple bells chime to create music and, where meditation is in laughter therapy.
India boasts a dramatic terrain that is not only limited to sunny beaches and silent deserts but also comprises ofremarkable tall mountains and turquoise lakes.
India is chaos…India is bizarre…India is profoundly addictive.
The Kolkata & Varanasi trip is more about feeling than just about visiting. This trip will take you to India’s intellectual, artistic and cultural capital – Kolkata and then to a spiritual awakening in Varanasi.
Kolkata, the city of joy, is also commonly considered the ‘Paris of the East’ as there’s a happy amalgamation of different cultures, styles and moods, coupled along with numerous forms of industries and commerce and politics. Kolkata boasts an abundance of great intellectuals and is home to Nobel laureates like Rabindranath Tagore, Ronald Ross, Mother Teresa and Amartya Sen. For this very reason, Kolkata has been baptized as India’s intellectual, cultural and artistic capital.
Varanasi, on the other hand, is one of the oldest and the holiest cities inhabited by Hindus and Hinduism. Pilgrims come in numbers lining up to wash their sins or cremate their loved ones. If Delhi is the gateway to India, Varanasi is believed to be the gateway to liberation because, according to popular belief, dying here offers moksha (freedom from the cycle of rebirths).
(If there is any increase in the Service tax, we would charge supplement as per the new rate)
Garlanding on arrival with meeting and assistance at the airport. Our representative will meet to welcome and escort you the Hotel. Whilst the room keys and check-in is organized, our representative will also hand over the “Welcome Folder” documents and brief you the tour programmed.
Overnight at Hotel.
After breakfast, take a full day sightseeing of Kolkata visiting the most iconic landmarks. Visit religious sanctuaries such as Mother Teresa’s Mission and Mother House, locally known as Mother House, where you’ll learn about the significant humanitarian and religious contributions Mother Teresa made throughout the 20th century. Next, head to the Jain Temple, one of Kolkata’s most-visited temples by both locals and visitors alike. Step inside the temple to see the intricate décor including stained-glass windows and pillars inlaid with small mirrors.
Then, a 10-minute car ride will take you to the University Of Calcutta, one of the top-ranking universities in India. Walk the grounds to see its historical buildings while listening to your guide’s informative commentary about the university’s founding and the notable individuals who’ve attended the school, including laudable economist and 1998 Nobel Prize Winner Amartya Sen. At the end visit the Eden Gardens, visit the Victoria Memorial, a memorial building dedicated to the UK’s Queen Victoria which now serves as a museum. Inside, see a large collection of paintings, sculptures and manuscripts from the era of British rule in India. Stop for a great photo opportunity of the Howrah Bridge, one of Kolkata’s most popular symbols and the sixth-longest cantilever bridge in the world.
Afternoon visit the Belur Mutt – Set very attractively amid palms and manicured lawns, this large religious centre is the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Mission, inspired by 19th-century Indian sage Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, who preached the unity of all religions. Its centerpiece is the 1938 Ramakrishna Mandir which somehow manages to look like a cathedral, Indian palace and Istanbul’s AyaSofya all at the same time. Several smaller shrines near the Hooghly riverbank include the Sri Sarada Devi Temple, entombing the guru’s wife. Accessed from the car park, a beautifully presented dual-level museum charts Ramakrishna’s life and the travels of his great disciple Swami Vivekananda.
Overnight at Hotel.
After breakfast, take a Flight to Varanasi. Arrive Varanasi at hrs. Meeting & assistance on arrival and transfer to Hotel. Upon Arrive in Varanasi, Check-in Your Hotel.
Afternoon visit Sarnathwhich has yielded a rich collection of sculptures, artifacts and edifices comprising numerous Buddha and Bodhisattva images and other ancient remains. To house all the findings and excavations at Sarnath, the Archaeological Survey of India established a site Museum at Sarnath. Finest specimens of Buddhist art and other important remains have been housed at the museum.
While the single most famous exhibit of this museum is the lion capital, the Sarnath museum has a small but awe-inspiring collection of Buddhist artifacts. Among the things to see is a beautiful sculpture of the Buddha from the fifth century. The Buddha sits cross-legged, with eyes downcast in deep meditation, and a halo around his head. Also worth exploring are several beautiful figures of the bodhisattvas.
The main attraction of the Sarnath Archaeological Museum is the superb Ashokan Pillar. It has four back-to-back lions, which has been adopted as the National symbol of India. Below this are representations of a lion, an elephant, horse and the bull.
Enjoy the Christmas Eve celebrations at the hotel.
Overnight at Hotel.
After a leisurely breakfast visit the famous temples of Varanasi.
Bharat Mata Temple – the only temple dedicated to Mother India. The temple was built by Babu Shiv Prasad Gupt and inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1936. The statute of Bharat Mata is built in marble and is a model of undivided India, depicting the mountains, plains and oceans. The most peculiar thing about the Bharat Mata Temple is that instead of the customary gods and goddesses, it houses a relief map of India, carved out of marble.
SankatMochan Temple – one of the sacred temples of Varanasi. It is dedicated to the Hindu God, Hanuman. The word “SankatMochan” means one who helps in removing sufferings i.e. Lord Hanuman. Tulsidas, the author of the famous Hindu epic Ramacharitamanasa, founded the SankatMochan temple. According to Hindu mythology, one who visits the SankatMochan temple regularly, his wishes get fulfilled.
Vishwanath Temple – The KashiVishwanath temple is the center of faith for millions of Hindus. The Jyotirlinga of Shiva, Vishweshwara or Vishwanatha, is enshrined in the temple, considered as one of the holiest temples of India. In Hindu religion it is believed that a simple glimpse of the Jyotirlinga is a soul-cleansing experience that transforms life and puts it on the path of knowledge and Bhakti (devotion). A single darshan of VishweshwaraJyotirlinga is considered to merit more than the darshan of other jyotirlingas, scattered in various parts of India. The KashiVishwanath Temple has been a living picture of the timeless cultural traditions and highest spiritual values.
Early evening take a boat tour on the River Ganges, when you can light a lotus flower candle and set it adrift on the water before watching the nightly ganga aarti ceremony (7pm) at DashashwamedhGhat directly from the boat.
Overnight at Hotel.
Early morning take a boat ride along the Ganges which is a quintessential Varanasi experience. The early-morning light is particularly inspiring, and all the color and clamour of pilgrims bathing and performing puja unfolds before you. An hour-long trip south from DashashwamedhGhat to HarishchandraGhat and back is popular, but be prepared to see a burning corpse at Harishchandra. Return to hotel for breakfast.
After a leisurely breakfast, visit the various Ghats. Varanasi or Kashi is older than traditions. It presents a unique combination of physical, metaphysical and supernatural elements. According to the Hindu mythology, Varanasi liberates soul from human body to the ultimate. It is the Ganga Ghats of Varanasi that complement the concept of divinity. Ghats of Ganga are perhaps the holiest spots of Varanasi. The Ganga Ghats at Varanasi are full of pilgrims who flock to the place to take a dip in the holy Ganges, which is believed to absolve one from all sins.
There are number of temples on the bank of the Ganga River in Varanasi. It is believed that people are cleansed physically, mentally and spiritually at Ganga Ghats. It is at the Ganga Ghats where we see life and death together. For thousands of years people have been thronging these Ghats to offer their morning prayers to the rising sun. There is more than 100 ghats along side Ganga in Varanasi. Some of the prominent and popular Ghats at Varanasi are the DasaswamedhGhat, ManikarnikaGhat, HarischandraGhat, KabirGhat and AssiGhat.
Breakfast and flight to Delhi, Arrive and transfer to international airport to catch the Flight back home.