Sept 8 – Day 1: Delhi
Upon arrival at the airport, you will be picked up by the driver of The Imperial Hotel, who will meet you upon exiting immigration and customs. He will then take you directly to The Imperial Hotel.
The Imperial Hotel is an oasis of calm and comfort sums up the understated luxury of this Lutyen’s masterpiece. Bestowed with the prestigious title of the ‘Best Heritage Hotel’ by the Jury- Outlook Traveller Awards 2018 and also by Travel + leisure India’s Best Awards 2017. It is the only hotel amongst 7 hotels in India to be listed in Conde Nast Gold List for 2018. An iconic and the most distinguished address situated in the heart of the capital, it is reminiscent of the halcyon days of the Raj.
Sept 10 – Day 2: A day in New Delhi
Have a delicious and healthy breakfast before a day of touring and relaxation.
To do in Delhi:
Gandhi Memorial Museum
India Gate and the great monuments of the British Raj.
Qutub Minar Mosque
Haus Khas Shopping area
Old Delhi walking tour
Spa Treatments at the Imperial Hotel
Important arrival information: If you need to adjust your schedule and are not able to arrive on Day 1, you may join the group on Day 2. Unless you plan otherwise, your flight will arrive late in the day, and you will miss the main Welcome Dinner. Please kindly remember if you are delayed and do not arrive on Day 2, you will miss the group departure. The following morning and will need to make arrangements on your own to Rishikesh.
In the evening, you will experience a food tasting sensation in one of the most renowned restaurants in all of South East Asia at the Indian Accent Restaurant. You will be taken a journey in their signature Chef Tasting Menu.
“Awarded the best restaurant all India by time out, Indian accent showcases Indian food for the 21st century with a path-breaking contemporary menu with a unique marriage of global ingredients and techniques with the flavors and traditions of India that is sure to excite the adventurous, yet satisfy traditional palates.”
Sept 10 – Day 3: Delhi to Rishikesh
After breakfast, we will depart for the local airport and fly to Rishikesh, where we will be on retreat for the next six days.
Rishikesh is said to be the gateway to the Himalayas.
“Scenically located where the Holy Ganges River comes down from the Himalayas, Rishikesh is also a gateway to the World Heritage Site Valley of Flowers National Park – The 8th Wonder of the World and Kedarnath.”
All of Rishikesh is considered to be sacred. Spiritual seekers believed that meditation in this place leads to the attainment of salvation. There are many temples–some ancient, some new–along the River Ganges. The ashrams of Sadhus and Sages dot the river bank.
Every day you will be lead in morning ritual and yoga practice with Yogi Aaron. After breakfast, the rest of the day will be left for you to explore the sights and culture of Rishikesh.
Some activities in Rishikesh will be prearranged for you to join if you wish. These activities will be announced once we arrive in Rishikesh.
Please remember that by law, Rishikesh is a vegetarian as well as an alcohol-free city. Rishikesh has also banned the use of plastics bags by shopkeepers and vendors.
Once we have finished our time in Rishikesh, we will journey to Kedarnath.
Sept 16 – Day 9: Journey to Kedarnath
We will have a very early start in the morning as we begin our drive into the Himalayas and spend the night in Kalimath, at the base of Kedarnath. We will be in the car traversing through the Himalayas for approximately 7-8 hours. (We will drive for a few hours, and then stop for breakfast along the way.
Kalimath lies at an altitude of 6,000 feet (1,800 m) on the Saraswati river in the Himalayas, surrounded by the peaks of Kedarnath.
Kalimath is the only place where the goddess Kali is worshipped along with her sisters Laxmi and Saraswati.No idol is worshipped in the temple. Instead, the Sri Yantra is the object of devotion. On one day each year, the goddess is taken out, and Puja is performed at midnight, with only the chief priest present.
Get ready to take some stunning photos along the way.
Sept 17 – Day 10: Kalimath to Kedarnath
After breakfast and a very short drive through breath-taking mountain passes, we will arrive at Gaurikund, the base of the mountain.
From Gaurikund, you will have a few options on who you decide to get to Kedarnath.
The hike is approximately 5 hours or 15 km up. The path is user-friendly. You will need to be in decent shape to participate in this climb, exercising before the trip, and have a determined and focused mind.
2. Take a donkey or horse up the mountain. Please be warned that pilgrims have been known to fall off them.
3. Ascend the mountain by helicopter. If it is still available at this time of year, which is weather dependent, we will set this up the day before our climb.
Sept 18 – Day 11: Spend the day in Kedarnath
Spend the day exploring, praying, meditating, or hiking. There are numerous hikes from this point.
Kedarnath: Located 14 km above an uphill trek from Gaurikund, Kedarnath is one of the Chota Char Dhams in Northern India of Hinduism. The temple, which houses a Jyotirlinga, was constructed by the Pandavas and was rebuilt by Adi Shankaracharya.
According to legends, the Pandavas were supposed to have pleased Shiva with their penance here. Here are some interesting facts related to the temple-
As per Hindu mythology, the Pandavas killed their relatives during the Mahabharata war. To absolve themselves from the sin, they went on a pilgrimage. But Shiva was away to Kailasa in the Himalayas.
When the Pandavas came to know about this, they left Kashi and reached the Himalayas through Haridwar. They saw Shiva from a distance, but he hid. But the Pandavas were determined to meet him so that their sins were washed away.
The place where Shiva hid is now a famous shrine called Guptakashi(Rudraprayag).
From Guptakashi, the Pandavas went to Gaurikund in the Himalayas to look for Shiva. There, Nakul and Sahadev came across a buffalo with a unique look. Bhima followed the buffalo with his mace. But he could not catch the buffalo though he was able to hit it with his mace. The buffalo hid its face in a crevice.
Bhima started pulling it by its tail. During the tug of war, the buffalo’s face went to Nepal, while its rear part remained in Kedar. The place where the face fell is now called Doleshwar Mahadev in Sipadol, Bhaktapur, Nepal. From the hind part, a Jyotirlinga appeared. Shiva appeared from the light, and by seeing him, the Pandavas were absolved from all their sins.
According to another legend, Nara and Narayana, two incarnations of Vishnu performed severe penance in Badrikashraya of Bharat Khand in front of a Shivalingam made from earth. Satisfied with their devotion, Shiva appeared before them and told them to ask for a boon. Both Nar and Narayan requested Shiva to make Kedarnath a permanent abode to ensure that people worshipping him gain freedom from all their miseries.
Sept 20 – Day 12: Hike down from Kedarnath and Drive to Rudra Prayag
We will have an early start to our day and begin hiking down to Gaurikund. (Breakfast will not be included this morning. Please have some snacks ready.)
Once we have regrouped, we will have a short drive to Rudra Prayag where will have the afternoon to enjoy a special surprise and delicious dinner. We will be staying at the fabulous Monal Resort. There is a beautiful pilgrim walk we will do once we have arrived at the hotel.
Sept 20 – Day 13: Rudra Prayag to New Delhi
We will depart in the early morning from Rudra Prayag, drive to Rishikesh to catch our flights, and then back to the Imperial Hotel. Once we arrive at the hotel in Delhi, we will have a final farewell dinner.
For those people who are on a tighter schedule and prefer to leave this day, you will be able to catch a flight out of Delhi if it is 11 PM or later. Any earlier and you may run the risk of missing your trip in the event we are delayed getting to Delhi. We are expecting to arrive in Delhi by 6:00 PM.
Sept 21 – Day 14: Go home
You may leave when you would like. A list of suggested activities will be made available for you. The fees for these activities are NOT apart of your package.
If your flight leaves later this day, then you will be able to take advantage of all that Delhi has to offer. We might suggest using this day to visit the Taj Mahal. If you need help making plans, let us know. The Imperial Hotel will also be able to help plan any activities.