A 17-Day inspirational journey of India: September 17 – October 3, 2020. Escorted by Paul Saltzman.
Speak to our travel experts. They have spent a lot of time exploring our destinations. Their first-hand knowledge is the basis for organizing your perfect trip.
Paul Saltzman is a two-time Emmy Award winning film and television producer-director with over 300 productions to his credit. The 2008 documentary, Prom Night in Mississippi and his most recent film, The Last White Knight—Is Reconciliation Possible?, which premiered at TIFF in 2012, feature Morgan Freeman. Paul is also a renowned author and photographer.
In 1968, he learned meditation at the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram in Rishikesh, India. There, he spent time with and photographed the Beatles. His photos have been judged “some of the best intimate shots” ever taken of John, Paul, George and Ringo, and have been seen in galleries worldwide. In 2000, Paul released a book of his photographs, The Beatles in Rishikesh, with Penguin-Putnam; in 2006, he self-published the acclaimed Deluxe Limited Edition box set, The Beatles in India. In 2018, Insight Editions released a 50th anniversary hardcover edition.
Day 1: September 17, 2020: Arrive Trivandrum
Namaste! We are welcomed the traditional Indian way with palms held together. After immigration and custom formalities, we are met and driven to Kovalam. After checking into our hotel, and before dinner, Paul Saltzman will welcome you on this unique journey at the Neera Bar outdoor patio. As an added treat, one lucky person will win a draw for Paul’s ‘Special’ Limited Edition box set (value $325).
Overnight: Vivanta By Taj Kovalam (2 Nights) (D)
Welcome drink with Paul and book draw
Day 2: September 18, 2020: Kovalam
Morning Yoga session, if you wish to join us (optional and at no cost). The day is free to relax on the beach, explore the local shops and surroundings, or visit nearby Trivandrum, Kerala’s capital. Those who want to go for Ayurveda can book this at the Taj Spa (Optional), which is one of the best spas in the south. Evening we join Paul for a slide and video presentation ‘Fusion of Music and Soul – Why the Beatles came to India’. (B)
Morning Yoga session (optional)
Film screening “Meeting the Beatles in India”
Optional visit to Kovalam beach
Optional Ayurveda Spa at the Hotel (please book upon arrival and pay directly)
Day 3: September 19, 2020: Trivandrum/Alleppey (Drive)
Scenic coastal drive to Alleppey, where we board traditional rice boats—Ketuvallam—converted to house boats and begin our magical journey through Kerala’s picturesque inland waterways, relaxing in the tranquility of the backwaters and lakes, experiencing the way of life and activity of the locals. The authentic Kerala cuisine cooked on board is exquisite. Boats have one or two bedrooms.
Overnight: House Boat (1 Night) (B, L, D)
- Night House Boat on Full Board Basis
Day 4: September 20, 2020: Alleppey/Cochin (Drive) Cochin/Mumbai (Flight)
After breakfast, we disembark from our houseboats and drive to Cochin Airport for our flight to the magical city of Mumbai, where we are transferred to our hotel. Evening we enjoy a scrumptious dinner in a private dining room at our hotel, prepared for us by the executive chef.
Overnight: Taj Lands End, Mumbai (2 Nights) (B, D)
- Evening Dinner at Taj Lands End (Pre-Set Dinner Menu)
Day 5: September 21, 2020: Mumbai
A long but exciting day ahead of us in Mumbai. Arrangements are in the works for a meeting with Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, considered India’s foremost bansuri flute player. He may give us an informal recital. Pandit Chaurasia toured and recorded with George Harrison on ‘The Inner Light’ and George’s ‘Dark Horse Tour’. This will be followed by a guided city tour of Mumbai including the famous Chor Bazaar (Thieves Market) and the Victoria Terminus, recently declared a World Heritage Site. Then, pass by the EMI Studio where, in 1968, George Harrison recorded ‘The Inner Light’. Afterwards, we have a high tea in the heritage wing of the Taj Mahal Hotel. Please note that as one of the largest cities in the world, Mumbai is known for its traffic. (B, HT, D)
- Meeting with Pandit Hariprasad (subject to availability)
- Guided City Tour including visits to Chor Bazaar & Victoria Terminus (World Heritage Site)
- High Tea at the heritage wing of the Taj Mahal hotel
Day 6: September 22, 2020: Mumbai/Udaipur (Flight)
A short flight takes us into Rajasthan, to the city of Udaipur, named as the world’s 7th best city in 2007. We travel by bus and boat to the Lake Palace Hotel—Paul Saltzman’s “favourite hotel in the world.” Later in the evening, we enjoy dinner on the Royal Barge. ‘Gangaur’ is an antique royal barge of the House of Mewar. Its regal décor and vibrant splendor were featured in the James Bond film Octopussy and guests continue to enjoy its magnificence. Six rowers in traditional attire steer us around the mystical Lake Pichola while we unwind with cocktails and enjoy barbequed snacks and hors d’oeuvres served by our own personal butlers. The highlight of the evening is a floating buffet that attaches to our barge. Our chefs have created for you the finest Indian feast. Gentle, live music is on board.
Overnight: Hotel Taj Lake Palace (3 Nights) (B, D)
- Dinner on the Royal Barge
Day 7: September 23, 2020: Udaipur
Day is free to explore Udaipur or relax with spa services at the hotel (at own cost). In the evening, we join Paul for his slide show and talk, ‘The Inner Journey. Fusion of East and West’, followed by conversation. (B)
- The Inner Journey. Fusion of East and West. Slide show and talk.
Day 8: September 24, 2020: Udaipur
Today, we tour Udaipur, visiting the City Palace followed by a visit to the world-famous Crystal Gallery in the Fateh Prakash Palace. It has been hailed as the single largest private collection of crystal anywhere in the world. It was in 1877 that the Maharaja Sajjan Singh custom ordered this collection from the F&C Osler Co. in Birmingham. It includes a bewildering number of objects d’art, dinner sets, perfume bottles, decanters, glasses, washing bowls and even furniture, including the only crystal bed in the world. In the afternoon, we visit Sajjangarh Fort, the ‘Monsoon Palace’, high above Udaipur, affording a marvelous, panoramic view of the area. En route to our hotel we can visit an excellent gallery/fine crafts emporium. (B)
- City Tour of Udaipur visiting City Palace, Crystal Gallery
- Visit Sajjangarh (Monsoon Palace)
- Gallery/Fine Crafts Emporium
Day 9: September 25, 2020: Udaipur/Jaipur (Flight)
After breakfast, we take a short flight to Jaipur, capital of India’s most romantic state, Rajasthan. On arrival in Jaipur, we are transferred to our hotel. This evening, we’ll see a 23-minute video on a Jaipur family of Master Meenakari craftspeople who create exquisite gold and silver enamel jewelry, chess sets and more. The film, made by Paul Saltzman in 1975, follows Gopal Deen Dayal, age 11, as the craft is passed to him and his brothers by their father. We’ll visit them the next day in their home/workshop.
Overnight: Jai Mahal Palace (2 Nights) (B)
Day 10: September 26, 2020: Jaipur
This morning we are treated like the royalty of yesteryear with an elephant ride to Amber Fort, situated on top of a hill rendering a majestic panoramic view of the city (option to do the hill by jeep also available). Amber was the capital of Rajasthan before Jaipur. The Palace is laid out on different levels on the hillside and surrounded by a fortress. A shopper’s paradise, Jaipur is noted for its gems, puppets and artisans, skilled in brass inlay, enamel and lacquer work and pottery. Most of the buildings in the old city are made of pink sandstone and one of the most beautiful is the Hawa Mahal, the Palace of Winds, from where the ladies of the royal harem would watch the city from behind the intricately carved facade. In the afternoon, we’ll visit Gopal’s home and workshop in the old bazaar area of Jaipur. Evening is dinner at Diggi Palace, where we are entertained with a Rajasthani cultural show. Shopping at the bazaar is an option. (B, D)
- Guided tour of Amber Fort.
- Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds)
- Gopal and family home/workshop
- Dinner at Diggi Palace
Day 11: September 27, 2020: Jaipur/Fatehpur Sikri/Agra (Drive)
After an early breakfast, we head out for a lovely countryside drive to Agra. En route we visit Fatehpur Sikri, the beautiful capital built in 1640 by the Mughal King, Akbar the Great. A superb example of Mughal architecture, it stands perfectly preserved in the desert. We tour the Palace-Fort and visit the artistically designed mausoleum of Salim Chisty before continuing to Agra. On arrival in Agra, we check in to our hotel. Later in the evening, we have a gala dinner at the Peshawari restaurant at ITC Mughal.
Overnight: ITC Mughal (1 night) (B, D)
- Guided tour of Fatehpur Sikri, a World Heritage Site
- Gala Dinner at Peshawari restaurant at the ITC Mughal Hotel
Day 12: September 28, 2020: Agra/New Delhi (Drive)
We begin our day with a sunrise visit to the most well-known of the ‘Seven Modern Wonders of the World’, the Taj Mahal. It is a unique and exquisite experience to be among the first to view the Taj Mahal in the soft morning light, with the grounds empty. Built by Shah Jehan as a mausoleum for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, visiting the Taj is beyond any photographs or film one can view. While there, Paul will share a few of his favourite stories of the Taj and of ancient India. After breakfast, we drive to New Delhi. On arrival, we visit the famous Akshardham Temple complex, an amazing world of Indian Hindu culture, ornate with 20,000 statues, floral motifs, arches and exquisitely carved pillars. Built on the banks of the River Yamuna, over a sprawling 100 acres of lush manicured lawns adorned with water fountains and carved pavilions, it cost 2 billion dollars and took 5 years to construct.
Overnight: The Taj Mahal Hotel (2 nights) (B)
- Guided sunrise visit to Taj Mahal, a World Heritage Site
- Drive to Delhi
- Guided tour of Akshardham Complex
Day 13: September 29, 2020: Delhi
Today, we explore wonderful sights and experiences of New Delhi and Old Delhi. The British Raj built New Delhi as their capital, while Old Delhi is a reflection of both its Mughal past and the 7 city kingdoms of earlier times. We could easily spend a month exploring exotic corners of both cities and some of the highlights for today include: Jama Masjid, in Old Delhi, is one of the largest mosques in Asia and the most important in India. A center of Muslim importance, it was built in 1656 by Shah Jehan, builder of the Taj Mahal. The best views of Old Delhi are to be seen from the top observation level of one of its two towering minarets We take bicycle rickshaws through the gullies, or narrow pathways of Old Delhi, which hold the most wonderful specialty markets: spices, gold and silver, wedding saris, antiques and much more. Then we will drop in at the Rikhi Ram Music Store in Connaught Place where the Beatles shopped for their musical instruments. This is followed by a visit to Birla House, the former residence of Mahatma Gandhi, where he spent his later months and where he was assassinated on January 30, 1948. It’s a museum and memorial to the man Nelson Mandela credits as his inspiration for non-violence. (B)
- Jama Masjid Mosque
- Old Delhi bazaars
- Rikhi Ram Music Store
- Birla House — Residence of Mahatma Gandhi
Day 14: September 30, 2020: Delhi/Haridwar (Train) Haridwar/Rishikesh (Drive)
India has the world’s largest train network and it is said that on any given day, there are some 25 million people on the trains of India. Any train journey adds a lot to the flavour of our Indian adventure. We take the deluxe, early-morning Shatabdi Express ride to the foothills of the Himalayas, to Haridwar, on the banks of River Ganges. Haridwar is a jumping off point for the short drive up to Rishikesh, one of the four holiest sites of Hinduism and a center for meditation, yoga and spiritual studies. It was the site, in 1968, of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram where the Beatles spent a number of weeks and Paul Saltzman spent a week with John, Paul, George and Ringo.Evening, we’ll join a candlelight Aarti ceremony on the Ghats of the Ganges at Parmath Ashram.
Overnight: Vasundhara Palace Hotel (2 nights) (B)
- Train from Delhi to Haridwar
- Aarti Ceremony at Parmarth Ashram
Day 15: October 1, 2020: Rishikesh
After our morning yoga (optional) we cross the Ganges to visit the site of what used to be Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram, known as ‘the Beatles ashram’, at Raja Ji National Park. Here, we’ll sit by the edge of the cliff overlooking the Ganges, far below, where the Beatles sat for many hours. Their time at the ashram was their single most creative capsule of time—they wrote 48 songs in just a few short weeks. Overlooking the Ganges, Paul will lead a short meditation and share stories of his time with the Beatles at the Ashram. Afterwards, we’ll stop at a small tea and fruit salad shop overlooking the Ganges. ‘The Office’ is said to have the best chai in all of India. At our culminating, ‘goodbye’ dinner celebration Tour Certificates will be presented to all participants. (B, D)
- Morning Yoga Session (optional)
- Visit to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram, and chai at ‘The Office’
- Farewell dinner with Tour Certificate
Day 16: October 02, 2020: Rishikesh/Dehradun (Drive) Dehradun/Delhi (Flight)
Today we are transferred to Dehradun airport for our flight to Delhi.
For those joining the trek to Nepal, please see itinerary below.
For those ending the tour in Delhi, you will be met and transferred to your hotel in Delhi.
Overnight: Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi (1 Night) (B)
Day 17: October 3, 2020: Delhi/Home
Today we are transferred to Delhi airport for our flight to onward destinations. (B)
Optional Himalayan Trek in Nepal (October 2 – 7, 2020)
Nepal is the trekking heaven of the world. Experience tranquility at the foot of the majestic Himalayas and meet local mountain folks. This is a moderate trek on the first day followed by becoming mildly strenuous on the second day and an easy trek on the final day, with nights spent in lodges. No trekking equipment is required. Sports-wear/running shoes with proper ankle support are recommended. While daytime temperatures can be moderate, evenings and early mornings can be chilly and cold, so it is advised that you bring wind breakers, layered wear, full sleeve shirts and warm clothing. Thick cotton socks, light gloves, toilet kit, small rucksack/day-pack and personal medicines are recommended. Lodges don’t have heating systems and they provide hot water bottles and blankets.
Day 16: October 2, 2020: Delhi/Kathmandu (Flight)
From Delhi, we take our connecting flight to Kathmandu. On arrival in Kathmandu, we are transferred to our hotel.
Overnight: Yak & Yeti (1 Night) (B)
Day 17: October 3, 2020: Kathmandu/Pokhara (Flight) Pokhara/Lumle (Drive) Lumle/Birethanti (1,150 M) (moderate trek – 3-4 hours)
Morning we are transferred to airport for our flight to Pokhara. Pokhara is a remarkable place of natural beauty situated at an altitude of 900 meters sea level and 200 kilometers west of Kathmandu valley. The enchanting town has several beautiful lakes and offers stunning panoramic views of Himalayan peaks. The serenity of lakes and the magnificence of the Himalayas rising behind them create an ambience of peace and magic. Here we meet our guide and drive for about an hour to Lumle, the start point of our trek. Aided by our team of porters, we start our trek, which will follow a ridgeline in the lower foothills of the Annapurnas with surrounding views of the Pokhara Valley. This route then drops to the Modi River Valley, where Ker & Downey’s Sanctuary Lodge is located. The lodge has magnificent views of the sacred and unclimbed Fishtail Mountain, or Machhapuchhre, as it is locally known. Lunch is at the lodge followed by an optional walk to the village of Birethanti. Or you may choose to spend the afternoon exploring the surrounding river valley.
Overnight: Ker & Downey’s Sanctuary Lodge (1 Night) (B, L, D)
Day 18: October 4, 2020: Birethanti (1,150M)/Majgaon (1,450 M) (mildly strenuous trek – 2-3 hours)
Following a leisurely breakfast, we leave the Sanctuary Lodge and trek to Ker & Downey’s Gurung Lodge at 1450 meters. The lodge is built along the lines of a traditional Nepalese village. Every room has spectacular views of the surrounding valley and mountains. Trek time to the lodge is just 2 hours. After lunch at the lodge, you will be escorted to the local village of Tanchok. There will be a talk at a local house, now made into a museum. The contents of the house illustrate how the local people live, together with the tools and implements of day-to-day traditional village life.
Overnight: Ker & Downey’s Gurung Lodge (1 Night) (B, L, D)
Day 19: October 5, 2020: Majgaon/Chandrakot/Lumle (easy trek – 1.5 hours) Lumle/Pokhara (Drive 1 hour)
Early morning tea and coffee served on your verandah where you’ll have the opportunity to photograph the stunning scenery of the Annapurnas from several different locations around the lodge. After breakfast, we trek to the village of Chandrakot through forests with surrounding views of the valley and mountains. Chandrakot is at an altitude of 1580 m / 5200 ft. After a further 30 minute walk we arrive at the village of Lumle, which is situated at 1620 m / 5300 ft. This is where we meet our vehicle. From Lumle, we return to Pokhara, a 1-hour journey. En route we can stop to visit the Tibetan Refugee Camp upon request. Arrival in Pokhara and check in at hotel. Rest of the day is at leisure. Possibility of optional adventure activities in Pokhara like boat ride, paragliding, tower bungy, zipline, Ultralight flight etc. Pokhara is the center of adventure in Nepal. You can also take a relaxing stroll around Phewa Lake (on your own).
Overnight: Temple Tree Resort & Spa (1 Night) (B)
Day 20: October 6, 2020: Pokhara/Kathmandu (Flight)
Today we are transferred to the airport for our flight back to Kathmandu. Later, half day visit of Kathmandu Durbar Square and Swoyambhunath stupa. Kathmandu Durbar Square is located in the heart of the old city of Kathmandu. The founding of the Durbar (Royal Palace) dates back to Licchavi times. With considerable renovations by Malla rulers and later the Ranas, construction was accomplished progressively over many centuries. There are around 50 temples in the vicinity. Visit the 17th-century Durbar complex, Hanuman Dhoka, Parvati temple, great Bell and Drum, Bhairav, Taleju Temple and the array of temples grouped around it. A few steps away is the Temple of the Living Goddess, where we may catch a glimpse of the Kumari at one of the open windows overlooking the inner courtyard. All around the splendor of historical monuments is the hustle and bustle of the market place, including vegetable vendors, trees of flutes, salesmen with their wares displayed on their person, souvenir hawkers, and street shops selling imported goods. Tucked away in a quiet corner, the glittering bead market offers custom-made bead necklaces. Atop a green hillock west of Kathmandu stands the great stupa of Swoyambhunath, a more than 2,500-year-old site marking the point where the legendary patriarch Manjushree discovered the lotus of the ancient Valley Lake. Swoyambhunath offers a bird’s eye view of the Kathmandu city. This huge stupa is one of the holiest Buddhists sites in Nepal and its establishment is linked to the creation of Kathmandu. The faithful circumambulate the stupa clockwise, turning the banks of prayer wheels.
Overnight:Yak & Yeti (1 Night) (B)
Day 21: October 7, 2020: Kathmandu/Home
Early morning optional Mt Everest Flight. After breakfast, we visit Bhaktapur Durbar Square. Bhaktapur, also known as Bhadgaon, is the home of medieval art and architecture, and still retains its rich medieval aroma. A city of farmers, Bhaktapur is also known for its pottery and weaving. Bhaktapur is the most charming and the best preserved of the valley’s three cities. Visit the ancient gateway, Durbar Square, the Royal Residential Quarter of Bhupatindra Malla, Batsala temple, Bhairavnath temple, Duttatraya temple, Pujari Math and Palace of 55 Windows. Walk to the famous Nyatapole temple, the five-storied temple in pagoda style, the tallest temple in the country guarded by a series of mythical animals and deities overlooking the Bhairav temple dedicated to the tantric deity of Bhairav. Hotel checkout time is 1200 hrs. We are transferred to the airport in time for our departure flight. (B)
on twin sharing
|September 17 to October 3, 2020||$7495 USD||$2095 USD|
|Optional Himalayan Trek in Nepal||$1750 USD||$425 USD|
Tour Price Includes
• Air and train within India on coach class
• 16 nights Hotel accommodation as mentioned or similar, including hotel taxes
• 25 Meals as mentioned (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner, HT=High Tea)
• All sightseeing and transfers as per the itinerary
• Boat Ride at Lake Pichola – Udaipur
• Exclusive Cocktails & Sumptuous Dinner on 150-year-old Boat “The Gangaur” at Udaipur
• Entrance fees to museums & sites included in the itinerary
• Honorariums for yoga, lecturers and folk dances
• Services of local English speaking guides cum drivers
• International airfares (for assistance on air please give us a call)
• Insurance/Indian visa fees
Optional Himalayan Trek In Nepal (October 2-7, 2020)
- 2 nights in Kathmandu deluxe/superior rooms (5 star) with breakfast
- 2 nights at Ker & Downey lodges (Sanctuary Lodge in Birethanti and Gurung Lodge in Majgoun)
- 1 night in Pokhara Temple Tree Resort & Spa, deluxe room (4 star) with breakfast
- All meals during the trek
- Airport transfers as per the program in Kathmandu & Pokhara on private basis
- One experienced Sherpa guide along with porters including their food, accommodation, allowance, insurance and equipment
- Annapurna entry fee & Trek permit (ACAP & TIMS)
- Sightseeing tours in Kathmandu as per the program including English speaking guide
- All applicable entrance fees for the monument included in the program
Airfares Dehradun/Delhi/ Kathmandu, Kathmandu/Pokhara & Kathmandu (currently at $590USD / $797 CAD per person and subject to change)
Travel/Medical insurance, evacuation cost
Tips to porters and sherpa
The ‘India with Paul Saltzman – A Fusion of Colour, Music & Soul’ tour operates on a minimum of 16 and a maximum of 24 participants.
All daily events are optional for you to participate. At any time you are welcome to just put your feet up or wander the markets and shops. All meetings/recitals are subject to availability.
Lodge Trek in Nepal: Please note accommodation during the trek is typical of Nepal treks and is basic. Food will also be simple with limited variety. Treks in Nepal are to experience our unbeatable combination of natural beauty and cultural richness but not for comfort. No refunds for unused services. It is highly recommended that you do have adequate travel insurance to include emergency rescue and evacuation. Sherpa guides have limited knowledge of English.
Additional night(s) in Kathmandu available — if interested, please ask!
A Note From Paul Saltzman
Long ago, I realized that if I could only visit one country during the rest of my life, it would be the subcontinent of India. India is many, many cultures—an amazing fusion of modern and ancient, of adventures and discoveries. I’ve been there about 60 times now, and each time is a new exploration. It’s the most colourful country of the many I’ve visited. It’s a cornucopia of remarkable people and places, of music and soul.
We will be a small intimate group, experiencing the great fusion of east and west that is India. Along with wonderful sightseeing; an elite, small, private music class; and wandering and shopping, we’ll occasionally talk about life as we sip a cool drink and watch some of the most gorgeous sunsets in the world. Above all, we’ll have great fun together.
My first trip to India, in 1968, was life changing. It was truly a healing journey that still beautifully reverberates in my heart—bringing so much joy, creativity and soul into my life. Now, 52 years later and just after the 52nd anniversary of the Beatles visit to Rishikesh, we will experience the joy, excitement and adventure of discovery.
This will be only the fifth time we’ve offered this tour, and you can read about the experiences of our previous travellers in our Testimonials.
So it is with great respect and pleasure that I welcome you to join me on this wonderful and exciting journey…
“We’ve done many tours and this is the best tour we’ve ever been on, and Paul was the best tour guide ever. The most wonderful thing about this “experience”, is the memories that pop up at the least expected time. I have never had this happen to me before and find it quite exquisite!” ~ Cheryl & Joe of BC, Canada
“Your tour of India was so incredible!! I cannot thank you enough, Paul. From the very special fellow tour members to the unique experiences of music and culture, you created a set of experiences which have changed me and will be forever memorable.” ~ Cathy of TX, USA
“The trip was everything we expected and more. We enjoyed each and every day from the south to the north and all the days in between. We have been on a number of organized tours and the India tour will stand out as one of the highlights of our travel experiences.” ~ Linda & Ken of ON, Canada
“It was a mind and heart-expanding experience, Paul. I experienced India in a more personal and meaningful way because of your meditation experience and love for the culture.” ~ Anne of ON, Canada
“So many fine folks to share this fine adventure with. This magical excursion to India was transformative in so many ways. Like the gift that keeps giving.” ~ Charles of TX, USA
“I feel extremely lucky to have made this amazing journey. I personally had the most glorious time on this trip and am so thankful to Paul and to Bestway for creating it.” ~ Laura of IN, USA