Nov 16th. Varanasi

Overnight –Taj Nadesar Palace

Two of the highlights of your time in Varanasi are the sunset and sunrise cruises on the Ganga. This morning you can sleep in or you can join your Tour Director Guide and start your day with a sunrise morning boat cruise on the Ganga. It is a surreal experience to arrive at the Ghats just before dawn and witness the eons old scene – the most devout Hindu’s are waiting at the holiest Ghats to greet the rising sun as they immerse themselves in the Ganga, while others on the wide riverbank steps meditate and practice yoga. It is also a great opportunity to experience some of Hinduisms ancient and iconic rituals. You can simultaneously witness the religious ceremony as a recently deceased Hindu’s ashes are immersed in the river so that their soul can achieve salvation, while nearby another Brahmin priest orchestrates the naming ceremony of a newborn. Your boat offers an excellent view of all the activity on the Ghats – women immersing themselves into the Ganga discreetly while still wearing their sarees and ascetics waist deep in the water offering prayers as they pour holy water over themselves.

Return to your palace for breakfast and to freshen-up and get some relaxation, or enjoy the historical structure and its gorgeous gardens for a couple of hours. Acceptable dining options are very limited in Varanasi and we recommend lunch before you venture out in the early afternoon.

Head back to the Holy River and you will now explore the other really ancient parts of Varanasi, including visits to some of the iconic temples that lie along the banks of the holy river – please note that, as your Tour Director Guide will point out, some temples are only open to Hindu’s. You will walk through the narrow lanes and through the crowded bazaars to discover a way of life that has not changed much over the past few millennia. Your Tour Director Guide will guide you on a walk on some of the Ghats – it is a lot less crowded on these Ghats before the evening ceremony and sunset rituals, which allows for a close-up look as pilgrims and locals go about their rituals and related activities. The Ghats on the holy river’s banks stretch for a few miles and are always full of activity, but the middle of the whole expanse is where the holiest Ghats are located and where the main evening ceremony takes place.

Your walk ends with you boarding your boat for a cruise along the river and all its evening activities, and your boat excursion ends with a close-up view of the iconic Ganga Aarti ceremony on the now crowded Dashashwamedh Ghat, the holiest place on the river. You can float your own lamps from your boat while you watch the ancient prayer and oil lamp ceremony at sunset. Your boat enables you to enjoy a great view of the ceremony and hundreds of lamps as they float down the holy river.

Two of the highlights of your time in Varanasi are the sunset and sunrise cruises on the Ganga. This morning you can sleep in or you can join your Tour Director Guide and start your day with a sunrise morning boat cruise on the Ganga. It is a surreal experience to arrive at the Ghats just before dawn and witness the eons old scene – the most devout Hindu’s are waiting at the holiest Ghats to greet the rising sun as they immerse themselves in the Ganga, while others on the wide riverbank steps meditate and practice yoga. It is also a great opportunity to experience some of Hinduisms ancient and iconic rituals. You can simultaneously witness the religious ceremony as a recently deceased Hindu’s ashes are immersed in the river so that their soul can achieve salvation, while nearby another Brahmin priest orchestrates the naming ceremony of a newborn. Your boat offers an excellent view of all the activity on the Ghats – women immersing themselves into the Ganga discreetly while still wearing their sarees and ascetics waist deep in the water offering prayers as they pour holy water over themselves.

Return to your palace for breakfast and to freshen-up and get some relaxation, or enjoy the historical structure and its gorgeous gardens for a couple of hours. Acceptable dining options are very limited in Varanasi and we recommend lunch before you venture out in the early afternoon.

Head back to the Holy River and you will now explore the other really ancient parts of Varanasi, including visits to some of the iconic temples that lie along the banks of the holy river – please note that, as your Tour Director Guide will point out, some temples are only open to Hindu’s. You will walk through the narrow lanes and through the crowded bazaars to discover a way of life that has not changed much over the past few millennia. Your Tour Director Guide will guide you on a walk on some of the Ghats – it is a lot less crowded on these Ghats before the evening ceremony and sunset rituals, which allows for a close-up look as pilgrims and locals go about their rituals and related activities. The Ghats on the holy river’s banks stretch for a few miles and are always full of activity, but the middle of the whole expanse is where the holiest Ghats are located and where the main evening ceremony takes place.

Your walk ends with you boarding your boat for a cruise along the river and all its evening activities, and your boat excursion ends with a close-up view of the iconic Ganga Aarti ceremony on the now crowded Dashashwamedh Ghat, the holiest place on the river. You can float your own lamps from your boat while you watch the ancient prayer and oil lamp ceremony at sunset. Your boat enables you to enjoy a great view of the ceremony and hundreds of lamps as they float down the holy river.

Days 

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