A SUITABLE BOY TOUR
December 6 - 15, 2020 (10 days)

Journeys with Shantum Seth

We have extensions to visit the Taj Mahal and the Golden Triangle

Building Love - Agra, the Taj Mahal & Agra Fort (2 days): December 15-16, 2020

The Golden Triangle – Jaipur and Delhi (4 days): December 17-20, 2020

For futher information & registration please contact us at info@buddhapath.com

Buddhapath (Eleven Directions) is 3rd in this august global list (including Plum village and Spirit Rock) of inner journeys in outer spaces. Rating has been done by CNN. Read more...
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• ITINERARY

• PLACES TO VISIT

• TEACHER BIOGRAPHY

• COSTS

• REGISTRATION

• IMPORTANT TO DOs after registration

• TRAVEL FACTS

 

 

ITINERARY November 2020

No.

Date

Week Day

Travel

Night Stay

1

4-Dec-21

Thursday

Begin at 9am in Aurangabad. Visit Ajanta

Aurangabad

2

5-Dec-21

Friday

Visit Ajanta. Fly Aurangabad-Delhi in the evening

Delhi

1

06-Dec-20

Sunday

Journey Begins at 12pm (noon) with Orientation

Delhi

2

07-Dec-20

Monday

Visit ASB sites. After lunch, fly Delhi-Kolkata in the evening

Kolkata

3

08-Dec-20

Tuesday

Visit the ASB sites in Kolkata

Kolkata

4

09-Dec-20

Wednesday

Visit the ASB sites in Kolkata

Kolkata

5

10-Dec-20

Thursday

Explore more ASB sites in Kolkata. In the evening, fly Kolkata-Varanasi

Varanasi

6

11-Dec-20

Friday

Visit cultural and historical sites mentioned in ASB

Varanasi

7

12-Dec-20

Saturday

Early morning fly Varanasi-Allahabad. ASB sites in Allahabad. After lunch take the 3.40pm train to Lucknow (Prayaghat- Lucknow Intercity express)

Lucknow

8

13-Dec-20

Sunday

Visit ASB sites, meet interesting people connected with the book and the film. Visit the filming sites

Lucknow

9

14-Dec-20

Monday

Explore ASB's Lucknow further

Lucknow

10 /1

15-Dec-20

Tuesday

Closing Circle.  In the afternoon, fly Lucknow-Delhi/ Drive to Agra for Taj Mahal extension

Pilgrimage ends in the evening on December 15, 2020 in New Delhi.
You should book your departure for a late night flight on December 15 or early morning of December 16, 2020

 

Departure/Agra

2

16-Dec-20

Wednesday

Visit Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. Drive to Delhi in the evening/Stay in Agra for the Jaipur-Delhi Extension.

Departure/Agra

3

16-Dec-20

Wednesday

Drive Agra-Jaipur. Visit Fatehpur Sikhri en route

Jaipur

4

17-Dec-20

Thursday

Jaipur sightseeing.

Jaipur

5

18-Dec-20

Friday

Drive Jaipur-Delhi. Delhi sightseeing.

Delhi

6

19-Dec-20

Friday

Delhi sightseeing. Departure

Departure

The Agra Taj Mahal journey will end at 8pm on December 16, 2020. You should book your departure flight for a late night flight on December 16 or early morning of  December 17, 2020.

The Exquisite Caves of Ajanta & Ellora journey will begin at 9:00 AM on December 4, 2020 and will end in the evening on December 5. You should book your arrival flight reaching Aurangabad either on December 3, 2020 or early morning of  December 4, 2020.

*There could be minor changes to this itinerary based on a variety of considerations.

A SUITABLE BOY TOUR
For those who take the pre-pilgrimage journey to the  exquisite caves of Ajanta and Ellora (both UNESCO World Heritage sites) we begin in Aurangabad on the morning of December 4, 2020. We will spend one night in Aurangabad visiting Ajanta and Ellora and will return to Delhi on the evening of December 5, 2020 and stay the night in Delhi.

A Suitable Boy Tour
This journey will begin in New Delhi on Sunday  the 6th of December 2020 at 12.00 noon. We will fly to Kolkata the next day. After spending 3 days exploring ‘A Suitable boy’ sites in  Kolkata, we will fly to Varanasi where we will visit the cultural and historical sites as mentioned in the book. After spending 2 days in Varanasi, we will fly early morning to Prayagraj/Allahabad. From there, we will board a train at 15:40 hours to Lucknow and enjoy the countryside. We will spend 2 days in Lucknow and will be back in Delhi on the evening of December 15, 2020. where the tour ends.
You should book your departure flight for either late night of 15th December  or early morning of 16th December 2020.

For those who take the optional visit to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, (both UNESCO World Heritage sites) we travel from Lucknow to Agra on 15th December. We will spend one night in Agra and will return to Delhi by late evening on 16th December 2020. You should book your departure flight for either late night of 16th December or early morning of 17th December 2020.

For those who take the extension to the Golden Triangle, we travel from Agra to Jaipur on December 17, 2020 (those who take the Peepal pilgrimage will be given a complimentary stay in Delhi on February 13, 2021). The Golden Triangle extension will end in Delhi on December 20, 2020. You should book your departure flight for either late night of December 20  or early morning of December 21, 2020.

(Please note that Shantum Seth will only lead the pilgrimage if there is a minimum of 8 registrants. Otherwise it will be led by a person trained by Shantum)

 

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PLACES TO VISIT

The Exquisite Caves– Ajanta & Ellora
December 4 to December 5, 2020 – US$ 780
(beginning and ending in Aurangabad)

Ajanta
Ajanta is situated near Aurangabad. Beginning in the 2nd century BCE and continuing for 900 years, twenty-six caves were chipped out of a horseshoe shaped cliff.  The early followers of the Buddha created an isolated haven, shrouded in the darkness of the caves where they could meditate in peace.   The exquisite Buddhist paintings and sculptures created by using simple tools in the glow of lamps rank among the world's most important cultural treasures and the area has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Although the Jataka Tales form the main theme of the paintings, also depicted are scenes from contemporary courtly life all demonstrating a startling degree of sophistication.   In the Ajanta paintings we see the brilliant union between sacred and secular art.

Ellora
Ellora Caves: Nearby is Maharashtra state's most phenomenal ancient monument, the Ellora caves which carried on the legacy of Ajanta from the 7th century AD and was subjected to Buddhist, Jain and Hindu influences.   The sculptures at Ellora are massive in form and the entire spectrum of carvings pulsates with life and energy. The phenomenal rock cut Hindu temple of Kailash which is carved out of a hillside is the world's largest monolith and the site's principal attraction. Ellora too, is a World Heritage site declared by UNESCO.

A Suitable Boy Journey:
December 6-15, 2020 – US$ 3650 (GBP 2950)
Shantum’s brother, Vikram Seth, is a well-known author who among many books also wrote his magnum opus ‘A Suitable Boy’ (compared to Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’). This book has recently been made into a six-part series by the BBC and directed by Mira Nair. The filming took place between August and December 2019 in various interesting locations. Shantum even has a small part in it!  The series is to be released on BBC 1 in the UK in June 2020

Meanwhile, ‘A Suitable Boy ‘tour is being organised by Buddhapath and led by Shantum.  We will get to visit the places where the film was shot, meet the author (hopefully his muse will not displace us) and re-live this amazing story in some parts of north India which inspired this book: Delhi, Lucknow/Kanpur, Varanasi, Allahabad, Patna and Kolkata. Those of you who have read the book will know it is a book about India and gives you a wonderful sense of the culture, history and politics of that time.  Vikram is currently writing a book ‘A Suitable Girl’ covering the period from 1999 onwards in India.

The tour covers the cities of Delhi, Kolkata, Varanasi, Lucknow and everything in between!  These are some of the places, both real (and some fictitious) on which the book is based,
We will try and recreate the city of Brahmpur, through our travels - Mahesh Kapoor's home at 'Prem Niwas', Misri Mandi where Bhaskar lived and which was partly inspired by the old city of Delhi and of Varanasi, the University where Lata met Kabir, the Legislative Assembly where Mahesh Kapoor argued the famous Zamindari Act,
Experience a train journey and visit the railway station which was the heart of  Indian transport in the 1950s, visit the sangam of the Ganges and Yamuna and imagine the Kumbh scenes, visit Kolkata where Amit Chatterjee and family, Arun and Meenakshi lived, where the box-wallahs of the 50s worked and clubbed, the HIgh Court where Justice Chatterjee presided, the anticlockwise race course which fascinated Varun, the tanneries and Prahapur where Haresh worked, maybe attend a cricket match like the one in which Kabir played, see the village where Maan may have lived, experience the music concerts of the time.  We will also visit the sites where the film was shot and maybe meet the Director and some of the actors. 
We will also meet the people who lived during that period or have studied it. Chance upon a Rupa Mehra or Lata of today.

The cherry on the cake will be an Indian wedding on the last day - and if any of the participants of this tour want to get married (or remarried!), we can organise that too.... with henna, white mare and hullabaloo!

DAILY SCHEDULE & SPECIAL EXCURSIONS

Building Love- Agra, the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort
 December 15 to December 16, 2020 US $475/ GBP 380
Agra was the capital of the great Mughals.  Emperor Akbar, was the main architect of the Agra Fort. His grandson Shah Jahan built the beautiful monument to love, the TajMahal, as a mausoleum for his beloved wife MumtazMahal. Both these monuments are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

……………………………………………………………….
The Golden Triangle
December 16th to December 20, 2020 US$ 1950 (GBP 1565)

Fatehpur Sikri
Fatehpur Sikri, bears exceptional testimony to the Mughal civilization at the end of the 16th century.
 Jaipur
Jaipur or The City of Victory is the only city in the world symbolizing the nine divisions of the Universe through nine rectangular sectors sub-dividing it.
 New Delhi
New Delhi is a near perfect blend of the ancient and
the modern and is seamlessly divided into two parts –
Old and New Delhi.  Explore some of it, beginning
with a visit to pay homage to Gandhi-ji at the site of his
martyrdom.

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TEACHER BIOGRAPHY:


Shantum is an ordained teacher (Dharmacharya) in the Zen Buddhist lineage (of the Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh) and has been leading pilgrimages ' In the Footsteps of the Buddha' and other transformative journeys since 1988. He will offer meditations, talks and facilitate discussions along the way. He is also well connected with people in Vietnam, so shall facilitate meetings and discussions with interesting people.


Thich Nhat Hanh officiating at the wedding of Shantum & Gitu

He has co-authored books such as Walking with the Buddha and been a consultant for films like BBC-Discovery’s Life of the Buddha and BBC-PBS’s The Story of India. He is a Senior Advisor to the World Bank/Govt. of India to help promote Buddhist pilgrimage tourism in India and South Asia.

Shantum is actively involved in village development and cultural programmes including bringing mindfulness into Indian education, being pioneered by the non-profit Ahimsa www.ahimsatrust.org He is working on setting up a Meditation centre in the foothills of the Himalayas, where he lives.

 

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COST

Journey

Price

Single Room Supplement

The Exquisite Caves – Ajanta & Ellora
December 4 to 5, 2020

US$780 /GBP 630

 

A Suitable Boy Tour
December 6 to 15, 2020

US$ 3650/GBP 2950

$1450/GBP 1165

Building Love - Agra and the Taj Mahal
December 15 to 16, 2020

US$ 475/GBP 380

$140/ GBP 115

Golden Triangle Extension
December 15 to 20, 2020

US$ 1950/GBP1565

$780/GBP625

The tour price includes the following for the entire duration of the pilgrimage:
Lodging arrangements (based on twin sharing rooms)*
All Meals
Transportation within India from where the tour starts and ends
Local English speaking Guide services
Monument entrance fees
Bottled water
Complimentary airport transfers and escort service in Aurangabad and New Delhi.

“For single travelers who do not want to opt for a single room, we will try to room them with someone suitable.
Forced single room supplement (in case we are not able to room you with anyone else) will be 50% of the single supplement.

Please note that the cost does not cover:
International airfare to and from New Delhi
Visas and other international arrangements,
Any extra days spent in India beyond the dates of the pilgrimage
Excess baggage fees on the flights
Personal expenses including laundry, drinks, phone calls, faxes etc

Medical and other insurance coverage such as travel insurance.

 

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REGISTRATION

A non-refundable deposit of US$ 500 (GBP 400) per person is required at the time of booking.  The remainder of the cost of the journey is due by October 1, 2020. 


CANCELLATION
For cancellations received up to eight weeks before the commencement of the journey only the deposit will be forfeited.  The cancellation fee within eight weeks of the beginning of the journey will be 100% of the total cost.


DISCLAIMER AND RELEASE OF LIABILITY
Seth Consultants Pvt. Ltd. (Buddhapath) and Shantum Seth while undertaking tours, transportation, hotel accommodation and other services only act on the clear understanding that they shall not be in any way responsible or liable for any accident, damage, loss, delay or inconvenience caused in connection with travel and other facilities arranged by the company, their employees or agents. All bookings are accepted and executed with utmost care, yet no responsibility is taken for any change or deviation on account of factors beyond their control.
By making a deposit for the tour, participants acknowledge that they have read and understood this document in its entirety, and have consented to all conditions herein, including the Disclaimer and Release of Liability.  For participants under 18 years of age, their parent or legal guardian shall sign on their behalf and the same Disclaimer and Release shall apply.

REGISTRATION FORM
Each pilgrim must complete this form in full, and send with a non-refundable deposit of $500 per pilgrim to:
Ms Bina Aranha
Buddhapath/Eleven Directions
309-B, Sector 15A, Noida 201 301, India
Tel: +91-120-4334284; 2511633; 2512162; 2512162

Email: info@buddhapath.com

 

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IMPORTANT INFORMATION AFTER YOU HAVE REGISTERED 

INFORMATION TO BE SUBMITTED
Each participant must provide the following details in order to reserve train, air and hotels:  Name, gender, date of birth, passport number, date of issue of passport, date of expiry of passport, place of issue of passport, and emergency contact information.  In addition, registrants must provide the visa number, date of issue, date of expiry and place of issue as soon as the visa for travel to India has been issued.
Please send us the visa details after you have obtained them.

TRAVEL INSURANCE:
We encourage people to take travel and health insurance. The range of coverage can vary significantly from policy to policy, and travelers are encouraged to speak with a travel agency to identify a policy that suits their needs.  Things to consider are travel delays, trip cancellation or interruption, medical coverage, and baggage loss or delay.  Before purchasing insurance, you may wish to check with your health insurance carrier to see if your policy includes medical care overseas.  Please note that many insurance carriers require that insurance be purchased at the time a deposit or final payment is made; check with your carrier for details.

INTERNATIONAL AIR TRAVEL
Arrival
Arrival and departure are to and from New Delhi (Delhi), India.  Participants are responsible for making their own round-trip flight arrangements from their point of origin to New Delhi, India and back.  For international flights, tickets should be booked as early as possible.  Flights to and from India are frequently full, and this trip takes place at the height of the tourist season.  Most international flights arrive at night or early morning.  You may check with us before you confirm your flight bookings.
We will arrange a complimentary airport transfer on arrival.
Departure
We will do a complimentary airport transfer for your departure.
You should book your international departure for a late night flight on the day the pilgrimage ends or early morning on the next day.

EXTRA NIGHTS
For those wishing an extra day or two to recover from air travel before the pilgrimage begins, or who wish to stay longer after the pilgrimage ends, we would be happy to provide a list of hotels in Delhi.  Please make your hotel bookings for New Delhi well in advance, as November is a peak travel month.

 

TRAVEL DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR THIS TRIP
You will need a valid passport and visas for both India and Nepal. Normally the visa is valid for 6 months from date of issue.
The visa for Nepal can be obtained on arrival (it costs US$ 25) at the Indo-Nepal border while on the pilgrimage. Please ensure you have an empty page on your passport and one passport-sized photograph.

INDIA VISA INFORMATION
The Indian Embassy in the US has outsourced its visa applications at http://www.in.ckgs.us/index.shtml
The Indian Embassy has a Consulate in New York (Tel: 212 774 0699), Chicago (312 595 0405), Houston (713 626 2148) and San Francisco (415 668 0662). The main embassy is based in Washington DC and their number is (202) 939 7000. Please ensure that the visa covers the travel period for which you are applying. If you need a reference in India, you can give:  Mr. Shantum Seth, 309-B, Sector 15A, Noida 201 301, District Gautam Buddha Nagar, India.  Telephone: +91-120-2511633.

An Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) as e-Tourist Visa on Arrival  is also available for travelers from 164 countries including Australia, New Zealand, United States of America, UK,  Singapore, Germany, Russia, Mexico, Japan, Norway, Finland...   https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html
You can apply for this Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) a minimum of 4 days before your date of travel. This visa is issued for a period of 90 to 180 days only.

Please ensure your visa to India is a DOUBLE ENTRY or MULTIPLE ENTRY visa. PLEASE CARRY A COPY OF YOUR INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT RETURN TICKET

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TRAVEL FACTS

CURRENCY EXCHANGE, ACCEPTANCE OF CREDIT CARDS & TIPPING
As stated above, hotels, food, transportation within India, and guide services are all covered by the tour fees.  It is suggested that travelers carry cash for expenses like gifts or souvenirs, as it is difficult to change money at the sites we visit during the pilgrimage.  Travelers will also need money if they are planning to extend their stay in India before or after the pilgrimage.  Credit cards such as VISA or American Express are accepted in some of the hotels and large shops in Delhi or Varanasi, but not in all the places we visit.  There are ATM machines in most places where one can access cash, but their presence is not universal as it is in the U.S. or other countries. We recommend that you convert some cash at the airport when you arrive in New Delhi.  There is no need to exchange it in the U.S. — it is best to do so in India.  There are a couple of banks with a standard exchange rate at the airport both before and after you clear customs.  Please keep your bank receipts carefully in case you need to change the money into dollars when you return home.

Travelers often have questions about tipping.  In the last few years, we have developed a system where a kitty is collected at the beginning, and the tips are distributed from it (contributing is optional). Thus far, this has worked well. It usually works out to $10 to $15 per day, but this figure could vary. It may be a good idea to set aside $200 for tips.

If you arrive before the start of the pilgrimage or stay after it concludes, the general rule is as follows:  tipping someone who has carried your luggage is common and we would suggest Rs.50 to Rs.100.   In restaurants, one normally leaves a tip of between 5% to 10% of the entire bill, unless a service charge has already been levied.  It is not necessary to tip taxi drivers; however if you have hired a car for the day and you are happy with the driver, a tip of between Rs.200 to Rs.500 is fine.

HOTELS/HOUSING
We choose the best available accommodations in the vicinity of the sites based on shared, twin-bedded rooms with a private bath or shower and toilet.  The accommodations are clean and comfortable —in some cases rather luxurious and in one place rather simple.  If you prefer a single room (where available), there is a price supplement.

ELECTRICITY
India uses220 volts, 50 cycles AC. Plugs/sockets are usually an issue (the electrical sockets in India have round holes, not flat one, so please ensure that the stems of your plug has rounded stems). It’s best to travel with a universal plug adaptor.

WEATHER & CLOTHING NEEDS
Given that there can be a high variation between the daytime and evening temperatures (the general range is from 7 degrees to 20 degrees Celsius, (44 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit) layering is a practical approach.  It’s important to be comfortable and modestly dressed.  We recommend that you bring one coat or jacket and a light sweater for the evening; perhaps a shawl if you want to meditate in the morning.  For the warmer part of the day, cotton shirts, T-shirts and cotton trousers will work well.  There is no need to bring formal clothing.

Generally, the weather is dry with a small possibility of light rain or fog in some places.  It is handy to have an umbrella that can double as a sunshade if it gets too sunny or even be used as a walking stick.  Please bring comfortable sneakers or sandals (which you can wear with socks if it gets cold).  We do not go on treks, but one or two of the (optional) walks are long.  We also visit a number of temples where you will need to remove your shoes, so it is helpful to bring a pair of socks (the airline slip-ons are very convenient).  It is always useful to have a hat or cap to protect you from the sun.  We are allowed 15 kilos (33 lbs.) check in baggage and 7kgs (15 lbs) as cabin baggage on Indian airplanes, so we recommend that you travel light.  You can carry extra baggage, at an additional cost. Laundry facilities are available at all the places we stay, and laundry is returned within 24 hours.

HEALTH CONCERNS
We stay in clean, safe places, and the food in the places we stay will be clean, fresh and prepared to suit a delicate digestive system.  You will be provided bottled mineral water for drinking.

If you are coming from Africa or some parts of Latin America, a certificate of yellow fever inoculation is required by the Indian authorities.  If you are coming from Kenya, you have to take the OPV (Oral Polio Vaccine) before you travel.

There is no other medical restriction upon your entry into India.  We recommend a Hepatitis-A inoculation and a Tetanus shot.  If you prefer to be more careful, then please speak to your physician.  We do carry a first-aid kit with us, but many people prefer to bring their own supply of medicines.  We would recommend you get an insect/mosquito repellent and also a stomach medicine for both diarrhea and constipation as one’s stomach has its own way of adjusting to different foods.
If you have any special diet needs or medical needs, please do let us know.

SIM CARD, IPHONE ETC.
It is quite easy and inexpensive to get a local SIM card for your mobile phone at the Delhi airport. You need one photograph and a copy of your Indian visa and passport. If you have an iPhone, you may need to ‘unlock’ it before you come to India. Mobile telephony in India is inexpensive.
Internet and wifi is available at many of the hotels we use.

ADDITIONAL TRAVEL SERVICES (e.g. shuttle buses, taxis)

We provide airport transfers both ways and all the transport services during the pilgrimage, including having you met on arrival in New Delhi.  There is no extra charge for meeting you at the airport.  For those who want to make your own arrangements, the Delhi Airport has cabs lined up and you can register with them.

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For futher information & registration please contact us at info@buddhapath.com
 

 

 

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