Tour Dates 18th – 26th November 2018
A Spiritual lifestyle is the cornerstone of Indian culture. Join us as we experience the rich and colourful culture that celebrates all aspects of the holy and divine on a journey that will take you to some of India’s most sacred churches, temples, ashrams, and holy sites.
Let your senses be tantalised and your spirit lifted as you embrace the vibrant mosaic of cultures, religions and ancient Vedic practices. Our specially planned programs take you off the standard tourist paths, revealing a rich and ancient culture that will open your heart and mind to the divine presence emanating from spiritual India.
Your travel specialists will guide you through our tour, going one step further to take care of every small need while we explore spiritual India together. We also offer you the option to customise your tour and create your own unique experience.
Sunday, 18th November ’18 ARRIVAL CHENNAI
Depart Melbourne on Singapore Airlines flight SQ 218 at 1.05am. Arrive Singapore at 5.45am.
Connect on Silk Air flight MI 436 at 7.00am. Arrive Chennai at 8.50am.
Namaste and welcome to Chennai! A conglomerate of urban villages and diverse surroundings making up Tamil Nadu’s capital, it will pleasantly surprise you. It has lived up to its role as keeper of South Indian artistic, religious and culinary traditions. Located on the south-eastern coast of India, Chennai has an interesting architectural mix reflecting different cultural influences.
On arrival at the airport today, you will be received and driven to your hotel to check in.
After some rest and relaxation, we begin our exploration of this city with a visit to its shopping areas, whereby clothes, basic amenities and items that may be required while visiting Peedam Ashram. In the evening, we meet again to enjoy a sumptuous welcome dinner at the hotel.
Overnight: Radisson Blu GRT, Chennai
Category: Deluxe Room
Meals: Breakfast & Welcome Dinner
Monday, 19th November ’18 CHENNAI
In the morning, we take a walking tour of Mylapore markets as our guide peels off the layers of dust into a living history, museum and a repository of the culture and heritage of Mylapore. We will also visit the famous 9th century Kapaleeshwar temple and its beautiful tank monuments.
We then proceed on our further exploration of the well-preserved architectural and religious legacy of this charming city. We make a stop at Fort St. George, historically known as White Town. It was the first English fortress in India, founded in 1644 at the coastal city of Madras, the modern city of Chennai. The construction of the fort provided the impetus for further settlements and trading activity, in what was originally an uninhabited land. The fort currently houses the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly and other official buildings.
Our next stop is at St. Andrew’s Church, which was built in 1818 to serve the Scottish community in Chennai. Its design was modeled on St. Martin-in-the-Fields. Building started 6 April 1818 and the church was consecrated in 1821. We will also visit The Church of St Mary, which was the first Anglican Church in Asia. Our last stop will be at the Presidency College, a fine example of mid-19th century Indo – Saracenic architecture.
We return to the hotel later and the rest of the evening is free to unwind and relax. Book a spa treatment or take a dip in the pool and enjoy a pre-dinner mocktail.
Overnight: Radisson Blu GRT, Chennai
Category: Deluxe Room
Tuesday, 20th November ’18 CHENNAI – VELLORE – SRIPURAM
At around 10am this morning, we continue our journey and proceed towards Vellore. Approximately 3 hours/140 kms away, Vellore feels rather cosmopolitan, thanks to a couple of tertiary institutions and the American-founded Christian Medical College (CMC).
The one of India’s finest hospitals, which attracts both medical students and patients from across the country This city’s treasure is the massive Vijayanagar fort and temple.
Travel onwards to Sripuram Ashram – the highlight of your spiritual journey.
Overnight: Kamala Nivas (Guest House Ashram)
Category: Shared Room (Ashram)
Meals: B.L & D as per Ashram policy
21st – 24th November ’18 SRIPURAM
Overnight: Kamala Nivas (Guest House Ashram)
Category: Shared Room
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner per Ashram policy
We arrive at the Sripuram for our stay at Sri Narayani Peedam Ashram. Sripuram, meaning a “place of peace’, is a magnificent, 100-acre spiritual park, dedicated to the awakening of individual and global spiritual consciousness. International tourists and devotees from all religious backgrounds visit Sripuram to connect with Spiritual Leader, Sri Sahkti Amma and Amma’ universal message of unconditional love.
Our visit to Sripuram features magnificent temples, cultural song & dance performances, ancient Vedic ceremonies and powerful mantra lift spirits and cultivate more peace. The Star Path, 1.5kms in length, is constructed around twelve ‘auspicious’ vertices ceremonies to lift your spirits and cultivate creating a divine energy form on the Earth, akin to the sacred Sri Yantra or Sri Chakra (a form of mystical diagram (yantra). The beautiful landscape features a 40 feet cascade water fountain with variety of flora and fauna, creating a serene ambience and a natural ecosystem, providing the perfect setting for meditation and reflection.
The Golden Temple A spectacular vision in gold, created by hand by teams of artisans featuring more than 1500 tons of gold, every single detail in the temple art has significance from the ancient Vedas. Visit to the temple include puja ceremonies performed to the goddess Laxmi for blessings of peace and abundance.
During our stay we will immerse ourselves in the many cultural and spiritual activities based in and around the Ashram.
Some of the highlights include:
The Goshala, featuring 400 cows of different breeds, nurtured and protected in Amma’s Ghoshala. This nutritious milk is distributed to the poor and needy in the villages, especially for mothers with new born babies.
Sri Narayani Vidyashram (School) AMMA’s vision is “Education with wisdom” with a strong emphasis on Spirituality and Moral Values, to guide the child into a complete personality.
Green Shakti is a multi-award-winning conservation program responsibly for growing and planting more than 100,000 yearly.
Moon Fire Puja is a highlight, an auspicious and powerful Vedic ceremony that deepens the connection to the divine, strengthens and charges our souls with positive energy and brings renewal.
Darshan. Come face to face with Spiritual Leader, Sri Sahkti Amma the Mantapam (Hall of Peace) visitors witness Pujas performed to Goddess Sri Narayani and receive the blessings and holy water from Amma every day after Puja.
During our stay we will visit some of the facilities and institutions that have been developed to benefit humanity and support local community groups.
Saturday, 24th November ’18 SRIPURAM – VELLORE – PONDICHERRY
Our journey continues to Pondicherry today. This little hidden gem of a town was under French rule until 1954. Some people here still speak French (and English with French accents). Hotels, restaurants and ‘lifestyle’ shops sell a seductive vision of the French-subcontinental aesthetic, enhanced by Gallic creative types and Indian artists and designers.
Enroute we will make a stop at Kanchipuram. We will visit the Kamakshi Amman Temple, dedicated to Mother Goddess and the Ekambareshwar Temple, devoted to Lord Shiva of the Hindu Trinity. These temples date back to 8th century and are considered architectural marvels of their time.
We then continue onwards to reach Pondicherry, where on arrival, we will check into the hotel. After some rest and relaxation, we proceed to explore the Shri Aurobindo Ashram. A spiritual community, this ashram grew out of a small community of disciples who had gathered around Sri Aurobindo after he retired from politics and settle in this small town in 1910.
In 1926, after a major spiritual realization, Sri Aurobindo withdrew from public view in order to continue his spiritual work which led to the founding of this world-renowned ashram by this revolutionary turned yogi Shri Aurobindo along with The Mother (Mira Alfassa), a French painter and sculptor. The ashram attracts people from all over the world.
The later part of the evening is at leisure to peruse the beaches of Pondicherry for a restful time.
Overnight: Palais de Mahe, Pondicherry
Category: Standard Room
Sunday, 25th November ’18 PONDICHERRY
This morning, we enjoy a walking tour of Pondicherry to explore architectural styles reflecting the French influence. You will also notice the Tamil influence characterized by features such as thinnais (semi-public verandah spaces) and thalvarams (street verandahs with lean-to roofs over wooden posts).
Our next stop will be at the beautiful 150-year old Basilica of The Sacred Heart of Jesus, with its rare stained-glass panels depicting the life of Christ and saints of the Catholic Church. Situated on the south boulevard of Pondicherry, this Basilica is an oriental specimen of Gothic architecture. In recent years it has become one of the famous pilgrimage spots for Christians.
Later in the afternoon, we meet with a local family and learn about the cuisine of Pondicherry in which one can see the multiple culinary influences. We follow this with a lunch at their home while we share stories.
Overnight: Palais de Mahe, Pondicherry
Category: Standard Room
Monday, 26th November PONDICHERRY – CHENNAI
Our journey comes full circle today as we enjoy a Farewell luncheon before heading to Chennai Airport for our homeward bound journey.
Depart Chennai on Singapore Airlines flight SQ 529 at 11.15pm. Arrive Singapore at 5.55am on 27th November.
Connect on Singapore Airlines flight SQ 207 departing Singapore at 7.05am. Arrive Melbourne at 6.10pm.
OUR JOURNEY CONCLUDES
Cost Per Person (twin-share): $4,670 per person
Single Supplement: $880 (Peedam Ashram will be on shared basis)
- Return airfares ex Melbourne to Chennai flying with Singapore Airlines
- All applicable ticket taxes as of today (17th May 2018)
- International travel insurance on a Group Policy from 18th November – 27th November 2018
- 2 nights in Chennai at the Radisson Blu Hotel
- 4 nights in at Sripuram Ashram including all ashram meals
- 2 nights in Pondicherry at Palais de Mahe Hotel
- Daily breakfast at hotels including breakfast on the day of arrival
- Welcome Dinner & Farewell Luncheon
- All arrival and departure transfers and tours in A/C mini coach
- Transfer from Chennai to Peedam Ashram
- Assistance at international arrivals and departures
- Licensed English-speaking local guides for all included tours
- Entrance fees per guest, as per sites in the above-mentioned itinerary
- Bottled water during sightseeing and excursions
- 01 local mobile phone for use while on journey
- All currently applicable Indian local taxes
Terms & Conditions
- DEPOSIT of $1,500 per person is required within 5 days of booking
- 2nd INSTALMENT of $1,200 is due on/prior to 20th June 2018
- BALANCE of $1,970 is due on/prior to 19th September 2018
- CANCELLATION after deposit is paid: Deposit is non-refundable.
Cancellation between 90 – 60 days prior to departure $3,000 plus costs incurred by suppliers
Cancellation between 60 – 45 days prior to departure $3,500 plus costs incurred by suppliers
Cancellation within 45 days prior to departure $3,700 plus any fees charged by airlines or suppliers
Should you wish to veer from the itinerary and travel on dates other than those set out in the program, a fee of $250 per person in addition to amendment fees charged by airlines or suppliers will also apply.
- TRAVEL INSURANCE is included in the cost of this trip. For full details and Product Disclosure Statement please see https://www.aussietravelcover.com.au/atc Touchdown Tours is also happy to provide you with a hard copy, printed booklet of the policy.
As a part of this tour you will be covered under the MID INTERNATIONAL plan. You may upgrade your policy if you so wish, by contacting Touchdown Tours on (03) 9482 5215 or email email@example.com
If you are 51 years of age or over, you will incur an additional premium – please contact Touchdown Tours for additional premium cost.
Similarly, you must disclose all known medical conditions to the travel insurer; some medical conditions are automatically covered without an additional premium, but others will require a medical assessment from the insurer’s Medical Team and a further premium increase may be incurred. Once more, please contact Touchdown Tours for details.
- TOUCHDOWN TOURS act solely as the travel coordinator for this trip. Any questions in relation to Sripuram Ashram or your possible experiences and spiritual journey should be directed to Gena Sattler or Wendy O’Rourke at firstname.lastname@example.org
- CHANGES to the booking (whether for flights or other services) will incur additional charges. Please contact Touchdown Tours should you wish to make any alterations to your booking so that we may quote accordingly.
- PASSPORTS should be valid for 6 months beyond the date of your return to Australia. If you are unsure if your passport has enough validity, please contact Touchdown Tours for clarification.
- VISA is required for entry into India. You are solely responsible to obtain your Indian visa (additional cost applies, currently $125) which you may do online at https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html
- FLEXIBILITY You appreciate and acknowledge that the nature of this type of travel requires considerable flexibility and you should allow for alternatives. The itinerary provided for each trip is representative of the types of activities contemplated, but it is understood that the route, schedules, itineraries, amenities and mode of transport may be subject to alteration without prior notice due to local circumstances or events.
- TERMS & CONDITIONS which apply to Full Moon Retreat at Sripuram & Spiritual India tour also apply to the Optional Extension: The Golden Triangle for those who choose to add this tour.
OPTIONAL EXTENSION: THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE
Day 1 CHENNAI – DELHI By Flight
Day 2 DELHI
Begin your onward journey to Delhi today by flight. You will be transferred to Chennai airport to board your flight to Delhi. Upon arrival you will be welcomed by our representative and transferred to the hotel to check in.
Delhi is a fascinating city which has existed for ages witnessing upheavals and imperial glories from the rule of the ancient Pandava Dynasty, through to the British Raj and India’s Independence. Not only the capital of India, it is also the museum of its past.
Later after a bit of rest and relaxation, begin your exploration of the fascinating and living legacy of Delhi with your guide, learning about the Indo-Islamic culture and lifestyle of Old Delhi. Wander through the narrow and busy lanes of the mile-long Chandni Chowk market, also known as Silver Street, filled with shops and bazaars. Here you will also have the opportunity to experience an exhilarating rickshaw ride through the old by-lanes of this fascinating city-within-a-city. Further visit the Jama Mosque – with its tapering minarets and beautiful marble domes; this is the second largest mosque in Asia and can accommodate 20,000 people.
Day 3 DELHI – JAIPUR By Road
Enjoy a scenic drive through the countryside of Rajasthan, covering 235 kms in 5 hrs while you arrive in Jaipur.
Jaipur is one of the well-planned cities of its time. City that runs across in pink colour has earned the title of “The Pink City”. Jaipur is predominantly known for its musicians, artisans and craftsmen. Today, it is flocked by masses for its fine jewelry, varied textiles and sumptuous cuisine.
Explore the narrow lanes and get under the skin of old city of Jaipur. Your guide will help you understand its culture and vivacity. Along the way you will see city’s delicious and aromatic street food heritage. Learn local religious rituals and legends when you stop at small shrines.
Day 4 JAIPUR
Your private chauffeur will drive you to Amber Fort, the ancient capital that preceded Jaipur. Originally built on a smaller
area and expanded in size and scope by succeeding dynasties and their rulers, Amber is a fortress town of visual awesomeness. Ride up to its imposing hilltop location in jeeps and explore the maze of passages, corridors, pavilions, ornamental gardens and ramparts.
Further your private guide will take you on further exploration of Jaipur visiting the City Palace and Observatory. Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan and its centerpiece is the City Palace, home even today of the royal family, and known for its clutch of excellent private museums that display royal memorabilia, particularly armaments, art, books, costumes and textiles.
Lying adjacent to the City Palace is the medieval Jantar Mantar Observatory – built by Maharaja Jai Singh II, an inveterate astronomer whose curiously shaped and oversized implements are astonishingly accurate till today.
This evening meet with a local family to try your hands at the authentic Rajasthani cuisine. Enjoy sharing stories over dinner with them about how lives are different on the two sides of the world!
Meals: Breakfast & Cooking demonstration with Dinner
Day 5 JAIPUR– AGRA By Road
Your journey will continue to Agra, perhaps the most famous city in the entire subcontinent, where a succession of charismatic Mughal rulers contributed to a rich architectural legacy, creating an ambience of grandeur and romance…. Agra, the home of the magical Taj Mahal!
Enroute make a stop at Fatehpur Sikri, an enigmatic deserted Mughal city. This spacious, red sandstone city was built by the great Mughal Emperor, Akbar, one of India’s greatest rulers. The architecture of Fatehpur Sikri is a combination of Hindu and Muslim styles, expressing Akbar’s vision of synthesizing the two cultures. This hauntingly beautiful city has been painstakingly restored and is now a World Heritage Site.
Stroll through the Mehtab Bagh, also known as the Moonlight Garden, from where you can get excellent views of the Taj Mahal from across the river Yamuna.
Optional – Make a stop at Sheroes for a coffee – a café run by brave-heart women who have survived acid attack.
Day 6 AGRA – DELHI By Road
Early this morning, experience the sublimity of the Taj Mahal as the sun rises and shines bright over this monumental edifice – a varying kaleidoscope of solitude, colour and mood. A tribute from a great emperor to the memory of his beloved wife, it was 22 years in the making and is a cerebral experience that defies description. (Friday Closed)
Continue your guided tour of the city including a visit to Agra Fort that is strategically situated along a bend on the Yamuna River. Built by three generations of Mughal emperors, it is a superb synthesis of stern military fortifications with delicate interior details.
Later begin your return journey to Delhi. This journey will be covered in approximately 4 hours while you arrive in Delhi. Upon arrival you will be assisted with check in at the hotel. The rest of the evening is at leisure to relax and unwind.
Day 7 DELHI – HOME By Flight
With a relaxed start to the day, you will be transferred to the international airport for your return flight home.
OUR JOURNEY CONCLUDES
Per person on twin share basis up to 2 paying passengers: $2,436
Per person on twin share basis for 3-5 paying passengers: $2,262
Per person on twin share basis for 6-7 paying passengers: $1,998
Per person on twin share basis for 8-10 paying passengers: $2,198
Single Supplement: $938
- Airfare from Chennai to Delhi (15kg luggage allowance + 9kg carry-on) including applicable taxes
- 3 nights in Delhi at The Claridges Hotel including breakfast daily
- 2 nights at the Marriott in Jaipur including breakfast daily
- 1 night in Agra (near Taj Mahal) at the ITC Mughal including breakfast daily
- Special dinner with local family including cooking demonstration
- All entrance fees to sites and museums as mentioned in the itinerary
- Bottled water available during tours & excursions
- All transfers to/from airports and hotels
- Licensed English-speaking local guides for up to 7 guests
OR Licensed English-speaking Indian escort throughout for group strength over 7 guests
Terms & Conditions
- DEPOSIT of $1,000 per person is required within 5 days of booking
- BALANCE is due on/prior to 19th September 2018
- CANCELLATION after deposit is paid: Deposit is non-refundable therefore, we strongly suggest travel insurance should be taken out at the same time as your deposit is paid.
Cancellation between 90 – 60 days prior to departure $1,500 in addition to costs incurred by suppliers
Cancellation between 60 – 45 days prior to departure $1,750 in addition to costs incurred by suppliers
Cancellation within 45 days prior to departure $2,000 plus any fees charged by airlines or suppliers
- TERMS & CONDITIONS of Full Moon Retreat at Sripuram & Spiritual India tour apply to the Optional Extension : The Golden Triangle