- GENERAL AREA : NORTH INDIA
- CITIES : DELHI, RIHIKESH AGRA & JAIPUR
- DURATION : 12 DAYS
- BEST SEASON : OCTOBER TO MARCH
Defining itself as India’s only lifestyle destination spa, at its launch, years later, despite the competition, luxury destination spa Ananda stands tall amongst the spa resorts. Promising physical and spiritual revitalisation it continues to attract the glittering jet set from home and abroad. One can avail of the healing processes of ancient Indian traditions of yoga, Ayurveda and meditation along with western restorative and beauty spa treatments at Ananda.
This tour also offers fabulous and inspiring introduction to the history and culture of northern India’s splendid Moghul heritage. Visit the icons that helped shape history and discover the three cities which make up India’s famous Golden Triangle.
DETAILED DAILY ITINERARY
DAY 01: ARRIVE IN DELHI :- Upon arrival you will be met by our representative at the international airport and will be transferred to the hotel.
Delhi is the nation’s capital and India’s third largest city with a population of 10 million plus, covering an area of 1483 sq km. It is located in the northern part of India, at a height of 239 m above sea level, and is a bustling metropolis. The main languages spoken are Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi, although English is also widely understood. Delhi is also a major travel gateway and is one of the busiest entrance points for overseas airlines, being a major link to all other northern and southern cities.
Overnight at hotel, New Delhi.
DAY 02: FULL DAY SIGHTSEEING OF NEW AND OLD DELHI:- Your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby in the morning for the sightseeing tour of Old and New Delhi.
There is Old Delhi and New Delhi, although the demarcation between the two has begun to blur and areas to the north, south, east and west of Delhi are becoming increasingly popular. New Delhi was designed and built by the British and remains the hub of major political and commercial activities giving the city a cosmopolitan air. It is graced with wide roads, stately monuments, government buildings and embassies, and green parks and gardens.
Begin with old Delhi by visit to Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque, built of red sandstone and white marble in the middle of the 17th Century. Then enjoy strolling around Chadni Chowk (Silver Street), once the Imperial Avenue down which Shah Jehan rode at the head of lavish cavalcades, and endless little alleyways, today bustling with silversmiths’ ateliers and shops and stalls selling almost everything! You may also like to visit the Red Fort, built in 1648 during the reign of Shah Jehan in red sandstone, which gave the fort its name. There is a museum that houses a 14th century manuscript of the Holy Quran.
Sightseeing of New Delhi includes a visit to India Gate, built in memory of Indian soldiers killed during the First World War. Rashtrapati Bhawan, built in the early 20th century as the Imperial residence of the Viceroy is today the official residence of the President of India and Parliament House and unique circular building with huge colonnades, houses the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament.
Drive straight to one of Delhi’s most striking monuments is the 70-meter high Qutub Minar, which looms majestically across the wide plains of Delhi.
End your tour with a visit to Humayan’s Tomb; the first Mughal garden tomb, built by his grieving widow, Hamida Begum, of red sandstone and white marble. The tomb houses 100 graves within it. Visitors are immediately struck by the tomb’s resemblance to its more famous cousin, the Taj Mahal, with its four grand gateways, octagonal base-plan, soaring niche-shaped arches, lofty double domes and the symmetrical garden with its central canal. Wander round the gardens, the air filled with the sounds of peacocks and a wide variety of birds; and sit quietly on a bench watching the sun go down.
Drive back to the hotel evening free for leisure.
Overnight at hotel, New Delhi.
DAY 03 to Day 08: FLY TO RISHIKESH AND EXPERIENCE ANANDA WELLNESS BLISS :- Our representative will collect you from the hotel in the morning and transfer you to the domestic airport to board your Kingfisher flight No. IT – 2359 departing at 10:35 hours and arriving in at Jolly Grant airport at 11:35 hours. Upon arrival you will be met at the airport and transferred to the Ananda in the Himalayas.
Nestled in the foothills of the majestic Himalayas, close to the spiritual town of Rishikesh, and surrounded by graceful Sal forests lies India’s finest Luxury Destination Spa, Ananda- In The Himalayas. It is not just a retreat that will leave you breathless with the enchantment of its surroundings, but assists in redefining lifestyles and looking beyond the mere requirements of a tired and strained body, to include all the elements for holistic and stress-free living—Optimum Health, Mental Well-Being, Spiritual Awakening, Sensory Perceptions, and Cuisine to complement the entire experience.
The Ananda experience consists of a delicate blend of the mind, body and spirit experience involving all the five senses. From diet and exercise to beauty, health and cuisine, each aspect of ones being is taken into complete consideration while working out a personalized Spa program which is designed to meet individual needs and health goals in order to enable one to experience both physical and mental relaxation and realize the importance of a moment of calm and personal space in every day life.
Swirled in the sacred mists of time, nestled in the Himalayas is Ananda, a world class Destination Spa. Once the residence of Maharaja of Tehri-Garhwal, it is dedicated to today’s traveller, who is looking for innovative ways to restore and rejuvenate his energies. Grounded in Ayurveda, Yoga and Vedanta combined with contemporary international therapies which enhance and augment the original, Ananda is the ultimate escape from the mundane to the spiritual, where every corner spells harmony and every colour soothes the senses.
Afternoon at leisure, evening followed by stroll along the trail with a guide enjoying the beauty and tranquility of nature. At a certain point guests have the opportunity to be guided to a deep meditative experience? The walk ends with a ginger/lemon tea and a relaxed soak in the pool, spa or sauna.
The uniqueness of the Ananda Spa approach is contained in the saying “Swastha Jeevan Sandhya”, meaning “healthy lifestyle approach with assistance”. Guests benefit from this by a private consultation from a Lifestyle Assistant offering professional guidance and individual attention.
Ananda Wellness Bliss includes the following services during the stay:
- Ayurvedic and Wellness Consultation 30 Minutes 1 Session
- Wild Rose Salt Scrub 45 Minutes 1 Session
- Aromatherapy Massage with the choice of grounding, detoxifying or invigorating blended oils 85 Minutes 1 Session
- Swedish Massage 55 Minutes 1 Session
- Reflexology 55 Minutes 1 Session
- Ananda Royal Facial 85 Minutes 1 Session
- Stress Release through Hot & Cold Stone Therapy 75 Minutes 1 Session
- Ananda Touch our signature treatment for the back 25 Minutes 1 Session
- Personalised Yoga Session per room 60 Minutes 2 Session
- Personalised Meditation Session per room 30 Minutes 2 Session
Ananda Rejuvenation Spa Cuisine meals, should not be looked at just as a place to diet and lose weight, but should instead be “a way of life”. Our cuisine is fresh natural foods low in fat and calories with an emphasis on whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, low-fat dairy products, and the avoidance of added or artificial salts, colors, flavors, or preservatives.
The objective is to provide a rejuvenation cuisine for guests, who, whilst relaxing, desire to re-vitalize their body and soul through a healthy approach to diet and lifestyle. This is reemphasized by the show kitchen at Ananda where our chefs instruct in how to make these dishes at home so that one may continue that ‘way of life’. Special care menus are provided in consultation with the in house Ayurvedic doctor, to align the specific imbalances of the various body types.
Introductory Spa and Fitness orientation sessions with an Initial Spa consultation.
Daily use of the Hydrotherapy facilities: Indoor and Outdoor Jacuzzi, Steam, Sauna, Chill Plunge Pool, Kneipp Hydrotherapy Foot Bath and Heated Lap Pool.
Opportunity to participate in scheduled Spa Lifestyle and Wellness activities Yoga, Pranayama, Meditation, Fitness, Cooking demonstrations. Lectures and Workshops/ Excursions.
Use of the spa facilities like Sauna, Steam and Jacuzzi and the spa therapies are available to guests who are of the age of 18 years and above. However, those under 18 years can take part in other scheduled activities like yoga, meditation, treks and use of the swimming pool.
Overnight in Ananda Himalayas, Narander Nagar
DAY 04: EXCURSION TO KUNJAPURI TEMPLE & EVENING VISIT RISHIKESH :- Stay in Ananda offers a combination of beautiful treks in the area surrounding Ananda, at the foothills of the Himalayas. After breakfast the guide will meet you in the resort and take you for the excursion of Kunjapuri temple which is 7 km from Narendra Nagar. The one hour drive goes through thick forest till we reach the top at Kunjapuri. It commands a beautiful view of the snow-ranges of the Himalayas and of the valley of the Bhagirathi. It contains an old temple dedicated to the goddess Kunjapuri Devi which is visited by a number of people every year. The Kunjapuri temple sits atop an almost perfectly conical hill about 1645 M above Rishikesh, canvassing a splendid view of god’s creation. From this temple there are great views of the surrounding Himalayan countryside.
After exploring the area for some time you will drive back to the hotel.
In the late afternoon your drive to Rishikesh which is located some 15 km upstream on the banks of the Ganges where it is met by the Chandrabhaga is the holy town of Rishikesh. Literally, Rishi’s (holy man) locks, this small town is the point where the holy Ganges crashes down in full glory onto huge boulders and creates long stretches of white sandy beaches. The banks are lined with ashrams, where saints and holy men rested before beginning their arduous pilgrimage up into the snow-covered land of the gods. Rishikesh is essentially a combination of five different districts- Rishikesh the commercial centre, Muni-ki-reti in the quiet suburbs, Shivananda Nagar to the north, Lakshmanjhula with its holy shrines and Swarg Ashram where most of the ashrams are located.
Rishikesh is the lap of Hindu philosophy and learning, with several ashrams devoted to the understanding and propagation of the faith. Signs of religious rituals can be seen all over Rishikesh – in the numerous temples lining the banks of the Ganga, the mythological tales that you hear about various spots and even the shops that sell books and religious objects.
Rishikesh acquired prominence in the west when the Beatles generation was influenced by the foray of their idols into this Hindu spiritual heartland. Because Rishikesh is where the Beatles met Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and began their quest for spiritual salvation. Even today, several foreign travellers besides the steady stream of Indian students visit the ashrams to study Hindu philosophy, yoga and Ayurvedic medicine. Every year in the beginning of February an international Yoga week is organized at Rishikesh by the Department of Tourism. Rishikesh is not only popular for its religious significance, but also as a base for devotees on their journey to the Char Dham Yatra (Tour of Four Pilgrim sites). Rishikesh is equally popular with adventure tourists heading for the tougher trekking trails to be found in the higher Himalayas.
At sundown each evening there is a service at the side of the river, at the bathing ghat in the middle of the town, at which tiny candle rafts are lit and let out into the choppy water, lotus petals are floated down the river with religious hymns being played on loud speakers. This is highly recommended as there is a very special ambience at this time.
Overnight in Ananda Himalayas, Narander Nagar
DAY 03 to 07: ENJOY THE FOLLOWING ACTIVITIES APART FROM WELLNESS BLISS :- Yoga: The Yoga practices followed at Ananda are completely pure and traditional in form, stemming from the roots of Hatha Yoga. A disciplined science encompassing all aspects of life in different ways and levels, Yoga assists in balancing mind, body and spirit, restoring perfect health in the most natural and effective manner. Join our complimentary yoga sessions held twice daily and rediscover the balance in your life.
Cultural Programs: Weekends evenings at the amphitheatre are a visual delight of sound and colour, where talented young performers from the nearby children’s’ home come to entertain and enchant. Share these evenings, which are devoted not just to culture, but also to promoting children who need a future.
Golf: An idyllic but challenging six-hole golf course set in scenic surroundings. Practice your swing with a private coach, or just saunter along and enjoy the privacy of a course designed to suit every mood.
Nature Walk: Contemplate and receive nurturing. The morning starts with a fresh juice served in the Spa lounge. This is followed by stroll along the trail with a guide enjoying the beauty and tranquility of nature. At a certain point guests have the opportunity to be guided to a deep meditative experience. The walk ends with a ginger/lemon tea and a relaxed soak in the pool, spa or sauna.
Overnight in Ananda Himalayas, Narander Nagar
DAY 08: FLY DELHI : – Our representative will collect you from the Resort in the morning and transfer you to the Jolly Grant airport to board your Kingfisher flight No. IT – 2360 departing at 12:30 hours and arriving in Delhi at 13:00 hours. Upon arrival you will be met by our representative at the international airport and will be transferred to the hotel.
Evening free for leisure.
Overnight at hotel, New Delhi.
DAY 09: DRIVE TO AGRA (205 Km / 5-6 Hours) :- After breakfast drive to Agra for 5 -6 hours. Upon arrival in Agra check in to hotel.
Agra is a city that is still associated with the memorable Mughal period during which, in the 16th and 17th centuries, Agra was the capital of India. The city has many monuments that epitomize the high point of Mughal architecture. It was here that the founder of the dynasty, Babar, laid out the first formal Persian garden on the banks of the river Yamuna. Here, Akbar, his grandson raised the towering ramparts of the great Red Fort. Within its walls, Jehangir built rose-red palaces, courts and gardens, and Shah Jehan embellished it with marble mosques, palaces and pavilions of gem-inlaid white marble. Agra is home to some of the world famous monuments that are an epitome of skilled craftsmanship and timeless beauty; the crowing glory being, of course, the Taj Mahal.
Upon arrival in Agra check in to the hotel, after lunch visit Taj Mahal – surely the greatest monument to love and one of the wonders of the modern world. There are fewer visitors at this time and the sun casts its mellow rays on this magical building, bathing the pristine white marble edifice in warm hues of gold, ochre, orange, rust and flame. Completed in 1652, skilled craftsmen from Persia, Turkey, France and Italy and some 20,000 labourers worked for 17 years to build this edifice, constructed by Emperor Shah Jehan as a mausoleum for his beloved queen Mumtaz Mahal. The Taj Mahal stands serene and awesome, on a raised marble platform, by the banks of the Yamuna River. It was built in memory of Mumtaz Mahal, the beloved wife of Emperor Shah Jehan, who died giving birth to their 14th child. The main architect of this symbol of eternal love was Isa Khan, who was brought all the way from Shiraz in Iran. After Shah Jehan was deposed and brutally imprisoned in the Agra Fort by his son, Aurangzeb, he spent the rest of his life looking wistfully at his wife’s final resting place, just across the river.
Continue your sightseeing by visiting Agra Fort standing like a crescent on the banks of the Jamuna River, enclosed by forbidding 20-meter high walls with a 12-meter moat between them, three successive Mughal emperors – Akbar, Jehangir and Shah Jehan – helped create this massive structure which is notable for its smooth blending of Hindu and Muslim architecture. The Fort houses palaces, courts, mosques, baths, gardens and gracious pavilions within its premises. Among the fascinating structures is the red sandstone Jehangiri Mahal built by Akbar for his Hindu queen, Jodhabai, this being one of the earliest constructions illustrating the fort’s change from a military structure to a palace. The Diwan-i-Am, the Diwan-i-Khas, the Khas Mahal, the Palace of Mirrors, the Pearl mosque, the Nagina Masjid, the Garden of Grapes, and the Fish Pavilion are the other monuments in the fort complex.
Evening free for leisure.
Overnight in Hotel, Agra
Day 10: DRIVE TO JAIPUR (232 Km / 5-6 Hours) VIA FATEHPUR SIKRI :- After breakfast check out from the hotel and drive to jaipur via Fatehpur Sikri; 40 km, and about 1 hour from Agra.
This deserted sandstone city was the glorious but short-lived imperial capital of Akbar, the greatest of Mughal emperors. Lying on a rocky ridge, it is today a haunting complex of empty palaces, forts and mosques. A variety of architectural styles are found, since craftsmen representing many schools were employed.
Fatehpur Sikri served as the capital of the Mughal empire between 1570 and 1586. But as abruptly as it had been built, it was abandoned. A popular legend is attached to the city’s conception; Emperor Akbar was without a male heir and therefore made a pilgrimage to seek the blessings of the powerful saint Sheikh Salim Chisti. His prayer was fulfilled and soon a son was born to him. In honour of the saint, Akbar named the prince Salim, and decided to found a new city to celebrate his birth. And thus, the magnificent Fatehpur Sikri, the new capital, came into being. The city was intended to embody the noble ideals and the humanitarian bent of this dynamic emperor. Although a Muslim, Akbar was famous for his incredible tolerance towards other religions and he is said to have indulged in a great deal of study and discussion in this field in his new capital. He also created a new religion, Deen-e-Elahi, which attempted to fuse positive aspects of all the major religions.
Continue your drive to Jaipur, the Rose Pink City founded by Maharaja Jai Singh II (1693-1743), is the capital of Rajasthan. The Old City (Known as the Pink City) is a great place to wander around. The whole city was painted in Pink colour by Maharaja Man Singh II when Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, visited Jaipur in 1876 AD. Today, every home within the city is obliged by law to maintain its facade. It is a very well planned city laid out in a grid pattern and was designed by a young Bengali engineer and scholar by the name “Vidyadhar Bhattacharya”.
Jaipur got its name from its founder Sawai Jai Singh (1693-1743), who had the vision to create a meticulously planned city as his capital. Jaipur was and remains the only city in the world, symbolising the nine divisions of the universe, through nine rectangular sectors sub-dividing it. Jaipur is a royal city & this is its most noticeable aspect, small buildings & festivals testify it. Jaipur & its surroundings are rather like an endless museum. The city also offers an endless variety of crafts. Jewellers here still fashion the beautiful enamel-on-gold pendants, studded on the reverse with precious stones or pearls & turquoise that one sees in miniature paintings. Jaipur’s lacquer bangles are famous all over the world.
Upon arrival check in to the hotel.
Overnight at hotel, Jaipur.
DAY 11: ELEPHANT RIDE ON AMBER FORT & CITY TOUR OF JAIPUR :- In the morning drive to Amber Fort for the Elephant ride, 11 km north of Jaipur and the regional capital for 6 centuries before Jaipur was built. Rising majestically on the slopes of a hill, this 11th century fort and palace complex is a blend of Hindu and Muslim styles. It may be possible (subject to availability) to enjoy an elephant ride up the ramparts of the fort. The earlier constructions in the inner apartments designed by the Hindu founder are austere, while later constructions abound in the rich flourishes characteristic of Muslim influence. The Diwani-i-Am (Hall of Public Audience) affords a view of the strategic location of Amber. The Jai Mandir (Hall of Victory) is the finest example of the artistic exuberance of the day – panels of alabaster, fine inlay work, a shimmering Hall of Mirrors, renowned for its fine mirror work. The Sukh Nivas (Hall of Pleasure) has 17th century air conditioning.
Continue exploring Jaipur, one of the best planned cities in India, built of rose-pink sandstone by the great astronomer-king Jai Singh II in 1727. The City Palace stands in the centre of the city. Part of it is still the Maharaja’s residence, while most of the complex has been developed into a museum containing rare manuscripts, fine specimens of Rajput and Mughal paintings, royal apparel and an armoury. Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) is the landmark of Jaipur. It stands on one of the main streets, a curious building, elaborate and fanciful, built of pink sandstone with a delicate honeycomb design. Rising five storeys high, it is composed of semi-octagonal overhanging windows, each with its perforated screen, which allowed the ladies of the court to look onto the main street without being seen.
Jantar Mantar is the observatory, built by the founder of Jaipur Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh. The huge stone instruments were devised to study the movements of the sun, moon and planets and are incredibly accurate.
There is time to wander through the colourful bazaars, a veritable collector’s paradise where you can watch ancient craft forms. Meenakari or enamelling delicate patterns of birds and flowers fired in glowing red, deep green, peacock blue and white; the gold jewel is then given further sparkle with emeralds, rubies, white sapphires and dangling pearls. In tiny ateliers you can see the age-old tie-dye methods of cloth printing, with yard upon yard of vivid turquoise, ochre and crimson cloth unfolding.
Overnight at hotel, Jaipur.
DAY 12: DRIVE TO DELHI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (259 KM, 6 HOURS) :- Morning at leisure after lunch check out from the hotel and drive to Delhi. Upon arrival in Delhi you will be transferred to the international airport to board your flight for homeward journey.