Chris Coleman has 20 years experience as a France tour guide with Rick Steves Europe. She has been a yoga teacher and studio owner since 2008 in Minnesota and is a IATY-Certified Yoga Therapist. She has studied with various teachers that have inspired her work: Yoga North's Ann Maxwell & Molly McMannus; Deborah Adele, Susi Hately, Dr. Timothy McCall, Indu Aurora, Sidhartha Krishna and more. Chris led a yoga tour to France in June 2015 and is thrilled to be able to offer future experiences. Come travel with me!
Join me in India! March 11 – 24, 2019
Hello friends, Many of you know that I traveled to India last year and it was breathtaking. I am collaborating with my long time friend and tour guide colleague at Rick Steves Europe, Reid Coen. Reid owns a tour company called Imprint Tours, we have put this tour together to incorporate some of the amazing experiences that we both have had in India to share with you! The India tour cost is $3700 per person for the tour, flights to/from Delhi are not included and some dinners and lunches not included. Otherwise all hotels, breakfasts, in-country transport, sightseeing are included. Payments are handled by Imprint Tours http://imprinttours.com . The tour deposit is $400 per person. The early bird price of $3700 is good until mid-July and then the price goes up by $300. Imprint Tours: http://imprinttours.com/india-yoga-itinerary/
Our local guide for the tour is amazing, and is a yogi. We will be going to our guide's family home for a special dinner the night before the Holi festival- so that special cultural aspect will be superb. If you are not familiar with the Holi festival - or the festival of colors- it celebrates the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships. The picture above depicts people enjoying the festival! I have always wanted to celebrate this fun and colorful event and we will be experiencing this with the locals!
To Yoga or Not?
The yoga theme is prevalent throughout the tour however those who would prefer to opt out of yoga classes/activities are encouraged to do as they feel. Yoga will be offered when we have the space available. The tour is not promoted as a yoga retreat, it is a cultural, historical tour with yoga inspiration.
Hotels are not set until we get the group together but here are the hotels or similar we will be staying in during the tour:
I hope you can join me for this trip, it will be amazing and I can't wait to experience India with you! If you are interested, contact Imprint Tours to send a deposit. The group size will be 10 minimum to 20 max.
Day 1 March 11 Arrive Delhi
In the late afternoon we’ll have our get acquainted meeting and then go on to dinner together in a neighborhood restaurant.
Jaypee Siddarth Hotel (2 nights)
Day 2 March 12 Delhi
After breakfast we will visit Humayun’s Tomb before the tourist crowds arrive. This tomb, built in 1570, is of particular cultural significance as it was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent. It inspired several major architectural innovations, culminating in the construction of the Taj Mahal. Next we will travel to Old Delhi for a cycle rickshaw tour of the Chandni Chowk. It is the old city’s nerve center for commercial activity where traditional workmanship survives. We’ll conclude our morning with a visit to the Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque. We’ll pause for lunch, investigating the food traditions of the Sikhs with a vegetarian lunch at a Sikh Temple. After lunch we’ll continue our culinary theme with a “food walk”, stopping to try Delhi specialties such as Kulfi Falooda, Chaat, and more.
Day 3 March 13 Haridwar / Rishikesh
We depart Delhi early by train on the “Shatabdi Express” to Haridwar, arriving late morning. After checking in to our hotel and settling in, we’ll engage in our first yoga practice in the afternoon. In the evening we’ll attend the Ganga Aarti held at the riverside temple of the Parmarth Niketan Ashram. The ceremony commences with the singing of Bhajans, prayers, and a purifying and sacred ritual that takes place around a fire, with offerings made to Agni, the fire god. Then lamps are lit and the aarti takes place: the ceremonial bidding of good night to mother Ganga.
Elbee Rishikesh (4 nights)
Day 4 March 14 Rishikesh
In the morning we’ll enjoy a walking tour of Rishikesh, visiting various temples and getting oriented to the city. In the afternoon you’ll be free to explore on your own.
Day 5 March 15 Rishikesh
This day begins with an early hike to Kunjapuri Devi Temple. This beautiful temple complex is situated on top of a hill with a lovely panoramic view of the area and the surrounding Himilayan peaks. In the afternoon we will engage in a Satsang with Yogi Sidhartha. Later we’ll visit the Mahrishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram. Also known as the Beatles Ashram, it was abandoned in 1997 and is now under the control of the forest department. However, many buildings, meditation cells, and lecture halls can still be seen, including Maharishi’s own house and the guesthouse where the Beatles stayed and wrote much of the White Album.
Day 6 March 16 Rishikesh
Our highlight activity today is a journey to Devprayag for a ceremonial dip in the River Ganges. Devprayag is one of Hindu’s sacred places and a popular pilgrimage destination. The name means “godly confluence” and indeed, it is the confluence of the Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers here which give birth to the sacred Ganges. Our lunch today will be at the nearby, famous Glass House. Your afternoon is free for yoga practice, relaxation, or more Rishikesh explorations.
Day 7 March 17 Agra
Today is a travel day. After a leisurely morning we’ll be transferred to the Dehradun airport for a midday flight to Delhi. From Delhi’s airport we’ll drive south to Agra via coach (4 hours). Dinner this evening is at Pind Balluchi restaurant which is an interesting amalgamation of rustic ambience and delicious food. The interior boasts a “Villages of Punjab” theme with Mud walls and Punjab artifacts, and the staff wear traditional attire.
The Grand Imperial (2 nights)
Day 8 March 18 Agra
Today’s destination is the jewel in India’s crown, the Taj Mahal. The ultimate monument to love and flawless architectural creation took 22 years and 20,000 men to build. Built in the mid-17th century by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as an expression of his love for his wife Mumtaz Mahal. After our Taj visit we’ll continue to Agra Fort, built by Emperor Akbar on the west bank of the river Yamuna and beautified with palaces and gardens by Shaw Jehan’s son Jehangir. Today the citadel dominates the center of the city with distant views of the Taj. Your afternoon and evening are free to explore Agra further on your own.
Day 9 March 19 Jaipur
Today is a travel day with two amazing sights along the way. Fatehpur Sikri is the one-time capital of the Mughal Empire. The city was abandoned within a few years of being established and survives in almost perfect preservation – a ghost town of Mughal glory. The Chand Beori step well is an impressive hydraulic and engineering marvel of the 9th century.
Alsisar Haveli (3 nights)
Day 10 March 20 Jaipur
After breakfast we’ll proceed to the fabulous Amber Fort. Maharaja Mansingh, Mughal Emperor Akbar’s most successful General built the fort in the 17th century. Its picturesque setting, golden walls, and sumptuous palace interior make it one of India’s premier sights.
In the afternoon we’ll have some free time to explore Jaipur. Our guide can organize some shopping or handicraft demonstrations for those who are interested. But it is our evening that will mark this day a memorable. Holi Celebrations start with Holika Dahan on the night before Holi. The ritual symbolizes the Victory of Good over Evil. People gather around the holi fire for singing and dancing. We have made sure we are part of this vital Hindu ritual, spending the evening at your tour leader’s family home. There will be lots of excited relatives to meet and engage and they will help get you ready for the Holi celebrations. We will conclude the day by sharing dinner with the family.
Day 11 March 21 Jaipur
Today is a day you will remember for the rest of your life. Holi is one of India’s most spectacular festivals. We will start with a toned down version of Holi with our new family. This is a courteous affair where we put colors on each other’s cheeks and on those our host family and blow colored powders into the air. Then we’ll share more traditional sweets. After this peaceful observance, it will be time to engage in the true spirit of Holi. This is war- but a playful war fought with harmless colors. We’ll be armed with packets of powdered dye plus water balloons and squirt guns filled with colored water. Then it is time to engage in the “fury of the colors”! Once we are all painted in multiple colors we can enjoy a delicious home cooked lunch prepared by our hosts, sitting with the family and enjoying the debate over who won the battle of colors.
Our afternoon and evening are free for relaxed recovery or free-time sightseeing.
Day 12 March 22 Varanasi
A morning flight takes us to India’s most sacred city. An afternoon at leisure precedes a visit to the local ghats to witness Varanasi’s famous Aarti ceremony. Taking its name from the Sanskrit word for homage and devotion, Aarti takes place every evening on the banks of the River Ganges. During the ceremony, small diya (candle-lit lamps decorated with flowers) are floated down the river as an offering to the Goddess Ganga, accompanied by a chorus of chanting hymns, drums and temple bells.
Temple on Ganges (2 nights)
Day 13 March 23 Varanasi
Today starts early with a sunrise boat ride on the Ganges, where we can watch the light gradually illuminate the many ghats and temples along the river and observe the morning ablutions and worship of the many pilgrims. After breakfast we’ll take a walking tour of the old city, through narrow lanes packed with stalls and shops, past dhobi wallahs, burning ghats, and the endless temples that echo with bells and the pungent aroma of incense. We’ll have a final yoga practice this afternoon and our final dinner together this evening.
Day 14 March 24 Delhi
On our final morning together we’ll take a trip to nearby Sarnath, one of the world’s most important Buddhist pilgrimage destinations. The site is where Buddha preached his first public sermon about the path to enlightenment. The site features a huge stupa and many Buddhist temples to explore.
In the afternoon we’ll board a final flight, returning to Delhi.
We’ll have shared day-rooms at an airport hotel. Most international flights departing from Delhi do so between 10:00PM and 2:00AM. For anyone wishing to extend their time in India, Imprint will assist with transportation into the city.
March 11-24, 2019
Northern India: Explore India’s History, Culture & Yoga