"At sunrise, when the temples are bathed in soft light, we board our small boat for a cruise on the Ganges. From our boat we are witness to the everyday life in the holiest of cities,as the people arrive at the ghats at dawn to take a ritual dip, perform yoga asanas, wash clothes and offer flowers and incense to the river.
We see devotees performing their daily religious rites. At stone steps on the river’s edge, we join our hosts in a pilgrimage: for them, the heart of their faith, for us, a superlative cultural experience. We then continue our guided walking tour of the local temples before returning to our hotel for breakfast.
After breakfast, we’ll visit the unique Bharat Mata (Mother India) temple, dedicated not to gods and goddesses, but to Mother India herself. Inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1936, this relatively modern temple houses and intricate bas relief map of the Indian subcontinent, carved entirely from white marble.
Later, we drive to the nearby ancient Buddhist learning center of Sarnath. Here, Gautama Buddha preached his first sermon to his disciples, as portrayed in Bernardo Bertolucci’s film Little Buddha. We then visit the Sarnath Museum which houses some of the great treasures of Indian Buddhist are, including Ashoka’s Lion Capital—the National Emblem of India—and the beautiful teaching Buddha, among the most beautiful sculptures in the world. We can explore and photograph excavated Buddhist stupas and pillars unearthed during the British archaeological explorations in 1836. We also have the opportunity to visit a silk-weaving workshop."
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