Diversity of Faith (Part I) :
Delhi is known for its unity in diversity where people follow different religions and have mutual respect for each other’s faiths. A full day tour covering the main sites of worship in Old Delhi for Islam, Jainism and Sikhism led by Shantum Seth. We will visit Jama Masjid, India’s oldest and largest mosque, the Digamber Jain temple and its amazing bird hospital and sense the calm as we step into Gurudwara Sisganj, one of the holiest shrines for the Sikhs where Guru Tegh Bahadur was martyred.
Diversity of Faith (Part II):
A full day tour covering Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and the Bahai faith. We will start with the spectacular Bahai or Lotus temple with its twenty seven unfurling petals made of white marble. We then visit the Sacred Heart Cathedral and feel its sense of peace. . After lunch we go to the Maha bodhi temple and hear stories on the life of the Buddha and his teachings. The mood changes sharply from modesty and grandeur to ritual and colour at the famous Lakshmi Narayan temple which houses a large number of idols of Hindu gods and goddesses. It was among one of the country’s first temples which had no caste restrictions and Mahatma Gandhi inaugurated it on that condition.
Gandhi and Craft – A Way of Life
A full day tour visiting Gandhi Smriti where Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated as he was coming out into the gardens for a prayer meeting. This building also houses one of the best museums on Gandhi including his worldly possession at the time of his death and a depiction of his life in doll form. Shantum Seth will lead you and talk to you about the Mahatma’s life, his politics, his emphasis on village industries and artisan way of life, his religion and humanity. After lunch, we will visit the Crafts Museum with over 20,000 fabulous objects of both beauty and practical use, tribal, folk and classic, including intricate textiles from all over the country. We will also meet artisans from across India who will be demonstrating their skills and selling their work.
From Chandini chowk to Meena Bazaar (evening tour):
Rub shoulders with the old and the antique as we go on a tour of Old Delhi. The myriad lanes and by lanes conjure up intriguing memories of Delhi’s historic past where both religious activity and commerce mix happily together. Established in 1648 this bustling trading hub of old India is still the centre of festivities, processions and the base for one of the largest wholesale markets in Asia. We will visit whole sale markets and alleyways of spices, parathas (Indian bread), wedding finery, silver jewellery, perfume, bangles, paper, much of which has not changed in the last four centuries. We will end with a spectacular sound and light show that gives you the history of Delhi till Independence, at the magnificent Red Fort of Delhi commissioned by Shah Jahan, the Mughal Emperor who built the Taj Mahal at Agra.
Capital Story – The City of Djinns (Part 1)
To the west of the river Yamuna and amid the rocky arid plains below the Aravalli hills are the remains of the seven cities, now known as Delhi, from where chieftains, sultans and emperors ruled Hindustan or India. This area has been continuously settled for atleast 2500 years and since the 12th century, Delhi has seen the rise and fall of seven major powers who have built themselves a capital here. We will visit Qutub Minar built in 1193 with the famous 4th century iron pillar, drive past the massive fortifications of Tughlaqabad, visit the Lodi Gardens which has the beautiful tombs of the Lodi and Sayyid sultans who ruled north India in the 15th and 16th century . Designed with exotic flowers and trees and the tombs and mosques stand amid a beautiful park, frequented by many ‘Delhites’ for their walks and leisure. After lunch we will visit the National Museum which gives us five millennia of Indian history with a collection of 150,000 pieces of Indian art, from Mohenjadaro and Harappa to the relics of the Budha, stone and bronze statues from temples and stupas, Mughal miniatures, jewellery and much more.
Capital Story – Medieval Delhi (Part 2)
We will visit Old Fort or Purana Quila that stands on a site believed to be Indraprastha mentioned in the epic Mahabharata. The fort was started by Humayun, the second Mughal emperor and built by Sher Shah Suri after he deposed Humayun. Humayun returned to re- establish the Mughals in India and died at the fort. We will visit his Mughal garden tomb (Humayun’s tomb) , one of the most beautiful buildings in Delhi, built of sandstone and marble by his wife, that became the inspiration for later mausoleums such as the Taj mahal. After lunch we will visit the magnificent Red Fort, with its 2 kilometre long red sandstone walls and gates, that was commissioned by Shah Jahan, Humayun’s great grand son and used by the Mughal emperors till the mid 19th century. Even today, it symbolises India’s political power as the Prime Minister addresses the country and unfurls the national flag every year on India’s Independence day.The evening will culminate with a dramatic sound and light show at the Red Fort which tells us the history of Delhi from the Mughals to independence.
Capital story – The Corridors of Power – Modern and colonial Delhi (Part 3)
This tour will focus on the colonial city of Delhi, designed by Lutyens and Baker and post independence leaders. We will begin by visiting Gandhi Smriti where Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated as he was coming out into the gardens for a prayer meeting. This building also houses one of the best museums on Gandhi including his worldly possession and a depiction of his life in doll form. We will go on to Teen Murti House the former residence of the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru where we get a fascinating insight into the history of the independence movement and of Nehru himself, followed by a drive past India Gate, Rashtrapati Bhavan where the President of India lives. We will visit the Parliament House Museum depicting the history of Indian democracy and end at the residence of Indira Gandhi, another former prime minister who was shot there by her Sikh bodyguards in 1984.