Sacred India



Uncover the religious diversity of India

Dates & Prices



Take a trip through the great religious centres of India. Explore Mumbai and learn about Zoroastrian culture and their sobering Tower of Silence. Head to the city of Varanasi, sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists. Take a boat at sunrise and see Hindus bathe in the holy river Ganges. In Lucknow, marvel at the grand Bara Imambara mosque and the Islamic culture that permeates this city. Fly to Amritsar, site of the inspiring Golden Temple and the centre of Sikhism. Finally, drive to Dharamsala in the foothills of the Himalayas, home of the Dalai Lama and where Buddhism flourishes.


  • Boat ride on the holy river Ganges
  • Marvel at the Golden Temple
  • Buddhist culture in Dharamsala
  • Explore the heritage sites

Places Visited

Mumbai - Varanasi - Sarnath - Lucknow - Amritsar - Dharamsala - Mcleodganj - Delhi

What's Included

Airport transfers
Domestic flights
Ground transport with driver
English-speaking guides
Breakfasts and some meals (refer to itinerary for meal plan)
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Day 1 : Arrival

Arrive in Mumbai, where you will be met by a Travel The Unknown representative and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to enjoy at your leisure. Overnight in Mumbai.

Meal plan: n/a

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Day 2 : Mumbai

After breakfast enjoy a guided walking tour of Mumbai, learning more about the religious diversity of this fascinating city. Overnight in Mumbai.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Mumbai is the most populous city in India, the economical and commercial centre of the country and the home of Bollywood, the Hindi film industry. Mumbai's most famous site is the Gateway of India, a 26-metre-high arch built to commemorate the landing of King George V and Queen Mary in India in 1911. Other important landmarks include the Marine Drive boulevard, known as the 'Queen's Necklace' due to its resemblance to a pearl necklace when viewed at night from above; Dhobi Ghat, the world’s largest open air laundry; Crawford Market, the largest market in Mumbai,  named after  the first Municipal Commissioner of the city, Arthur Crawford; and the Victoria Terminus railway station, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The latter is famous for its blend of Gothic Revival and traditional Mughal architectural styles, and was built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee. In 1996 it was renamed to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, after the founder of the Maratha Empire.

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Day 3 : Mumbai - Varanasi

Transfer to the airport to board your flight to Varanasi. You will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel, after which you will be given time to freshen up and relax. In the afternoon you will be taken on a walking tour around the Ghats of the Ganges. Witness the "Aarti" ceremony by boat in the evening. Overnight in Varanasi.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Varanasi is regarded as the spiritual capital of India, signifying the crossing between the physical and spiritual worlds, and regularly attracts pilgrims to bathe in the sacred waters of the River Ganges. The Ghats leading into the river are colourful, full of character and a have an unrivaled spiritual atmosphere. Every evening at sunset, Varanasi stages the 'Aarti ceremony' where Pilgrims gather on the banks of the Ganges and offer fire to Lord Shiva & the river. 

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Day 4 : Varanasi - Sarnath - Varanasi

Depart on a morning boat cruise along the River Ganges to observe the local way of life. Later, continue on an excursion to Sarnath. Return to Varanasi for overnight stay.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Sarnath is considered the most beautiful Buddhist pilgrimage, naturally preaching tranquility and peace. Sarnath Temple or Dhamekh Stupa attracts pilgrims from all over the world as it is where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon after achieving enlightenment. It was built around 500 AD, although some parts are thought to be even older.

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Day 5 : Varanasi - Lucknow

Today you will be transferred to Lucknow. In the evening, enjoy a walk around Hazratganj, the Victorian-style market. Overnight in Lucknow.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Lucknow, the Golden City of the East, is the capital city of Uttar Pradesh in India. A multicultural city, it flourished as the cultural and artistic capital of North India in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is typically associated with legendary ‘nawabi’ hospitality, the British Raj, leisurely lifestyles and world-renowned cuisine. The rich Awadhi cuisine of Lucknow was made popular by the Nawab of Awadh who, to deal with food shortage, ordered his men to cook in huge handis (vessels) to feed the hungry. This eventually led to a style of cooking called ‘dum’ – the art of sealing ingredients in large handis and cooking over a slow fire.

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Day 6 : Lucknow

After breakfast, proceed on a guided city tour of Lucknow. The tour will take in many of the city's most impressive sights, such as Bara Imambara, the British Residency and the Clock Tower. Overnight in Lucknow. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

Bara Imambara is one of the most famous monuments in Lucknow, built by the fourth Nawab of Awadh known as Asaf-ud-Daula, as part of a relief project in response to the 1784 famine. The central hall of Bara Imambara is said to be the largest arched hall in the world, measuring 50 metres long and 15 metres high. The unique construction of interlocking bricks means there are no girders or beams. The roof stands steady till date without any pillars to support it. Today, the central hall is an important place of worship for Muslims. 

The British Residency served as a refuge for approximately 3000 British inhabitants throughout the 1857 uprising. Lucknow was the centre of all British activities during the siege and the Residency became the monopolistic centre of the British for almost 90 days. Within the walls are the graves of around 2000 British soldiers who died in the 1857 revolt. On November 17th, the British troops defeated the Indian forces and recaptured the city. Today, the British Residency of Lucknow serves as a government office. 

Constructed in 1887, the Hussainabad Clock Tower, the tallest Clock Tower in India, is one of the finest examples of British Architecture in the country. The 221-foot tall structure was erected by Nawab Nasir-ud-din Haider to mark the arrival of Sir George Couper, 1st Lieutenant Governor of United Province of Avadh in the year 1887.

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Day 7 : Lucknow - Amristar

After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport to board your flight to Amritsar. In the afternoon, proceed to visit the Wagah Border to witness the changing of the guard ceremony. Watch the Palki Sahib ceremony at the Golden Temple. Overnight in Amritsar.

Meal plan: Breakfast

The city of Amritsar boasts the famous Golden Temple, located in the heart of the city. Amritsar is at the epicentre of the Sikh faith, where the Golden Temple is the holiest of Sikh shrines. For Sikhs it is both a display of Punjab's wealth and an important pilgrimage. People from all faiths gather at the Golden Temple, a tribute to the traditions of a faith whose holy book is a compilation of the writings of men of different faiths. 

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Day 8 : Amritsar

After breakfast, enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of Amritsar. In the evening explore the local markets and sample some local delicacies. Overnight in Amritsar.

Meal plan: Breakfast

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Day 9 : Amristar - Dharamsala

Depart for Dharamsala. Upon arrival, the rest of the day is free to relax and enjoy at your leisure. Overnight in Dharamsala.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Dharamsala is situated in the upper reaches of the Kangra Valley and surrounded by dense coniferous forest. The hill-station town is best known as the home of the exiled Dalai Lama and the centre of the Tibetan exile world in India. The town is a centre for Tibetan arts and crafts, boasting several art galleries and an annual international film festival. The Dalai Lama temple and other Buddhist monasteries are set in beautiful and serene surroundings.

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Day 10 : Dharamsala - Mcleodganj - Dharamsala

Drive to Mcleodganj to experience Tibetan culture. Visit Tsuglagkhang complex, Namgyal monastery, the Tibetan museum and Norbulingka Institute. Return to Dharamsala for overnight.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Mcleodganj, named after Sir Donald Friell McLeod ('ganj' is a common Hindi word for 'neighbourhood'), is a suburb of Dharamsala with a large Tibetan population. It is the headquarters of the Tibetan government-in-exile, as well as the Dalai Lama.

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Day 11 : Dharamsala

Visit the Tibetan Library and Archives, Nechung monastery and 'Men Tsee Khang', the Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute. Overnight in Dharamsala.

Meal plan: Breakfast

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Day 12 : Dharamsala - Delhi

After breakfast, transfer to the airport to board your flight to Delhi. You will have time to relax until the evening, when you will proceed on a guided tour of New Delhi. Overnight in Delhi.

Meal plan: Breakfast

India’s capital and a major gateway to the country, contemporary Delhi is a bustling metropolis, which successfully combines the ancient with the modern. Amidst the vast spiraling skyscrapers, the remnants of a bygone era in the form of its many monuments, stand as silent reminders of the region’s ancient legacy. The first impression for any visitor travelling in from the airport is of a specious, garden city, tree-lined with a number of beautiful parks.

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Day 13 : Delhi

Today you will be taken on a guided tour of Old Delhi. Overnight in Delhi.

Meal plan: Breakfast

The walled city of Old Delhi, which includes the Lal Qila or Red Fort of Delhi, was established in 1650 AD by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. The Spice Bazaar, or Khari Baoli, is a street in Old Delhi known for its wholesale grocery and is one of Asia’s largest wholesale spice markets selling all kinds of spices, nuts and herbs. Operating since the 17th century, the market is situated close to the historic Delhi Red Fort. Learn about the spices on sale and smell their aromas. One of Delhi's most interesting buildings is the Jama Masjid (mosque), which is surrounded by traditional businesses that showcase centuries’ old arts and crafts. There is also a marvellous old-fashioned shop where you can test Indian perfume from cut-glass bottles. You will saunter through the main bridal street of Old Delhi, Kinari Bazaar, with its dazzling display of embroidered silk wedding saris.

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Day 14 : Departure

Breakfast. Transfer to airport for onward flight.

Meal plan: Breakfast


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Uncover the religious diversity of India

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The Sacred India/tailormade trip lived up to my expectations, and provided a stimulating and immersive experience of India, notably the Hindu aspects of Indian society. Varanasi was a wonderful experience, the evening Aarti festival, the dawn river trip, and the tour around the alleyways of the old city were outstanding. The Khajuraho temples were beautiful, in a wonderful parkland setting. I was pleased that there were things happening almost all the time. The food was good, especially in Varanasi and the Varanasi guide especially was excellent. He had a real feel for the area and the philosophy of the place

Malcolm Copley , Sacred India, India

I would highly recommend Travel the Unknown to anyone visiting India. The service we received both prior to, during and following our travels was always timely and excellent. We were able to customize our trip to our liking and to enjoy a wide variety of activities. The guides in every location were outstanding! Honestly. Having travelled through much of the world I can truly say that we have never been more impressed with the quality of the guides arranged for us in each location, as well as the service we received. Similarly, the hotels were excellent and allowed us to live very comfortably while, at the same time, enjoy an authentic Indian experience. If you haven`t already booked your trip with Travel the Unknown, then either do so now....or at least give them a chance to show you what they can offer.

Tracey & Gary , Tailormade India

I have been on 3 tailor made trips with Travel The Unknown and have found them to be knowledgeable and reliable. We`ve stayed in some wonderful places and have had some unusual and satisfying experiences that go beyond the standard tours.

Joan Edmunds (USA) , Tailormade India

For our first visit to India we couldn't have chosen any better. Our 'Sacred India' tour will leave us with many wonderful long-lasting memories. Everything worked like clockwork and we had some truly inspiring guides, many of whom had the most impressive knowledge and interest in what they were showing us and were only too keen to pass that on. On top of that, Travel the Unknown chose some lovely places for us to stay.

Alexandra Praill & Peter Denly , Sacred India, India

I thoroughly enjoyed my tailor made tour of northwestern and central India. Guides and accommodations were excellent and we saw as much of the area as could be packed into two weeks. I look forward to another tour with Travel the Unknown.

Mary Trubek (USA) , Tailormade India

Another fantastic trip with this company. WE really managed to get off the beaten track and have seen some amazing sights. Well put together. We will travel again with Travel the Unknown

Hazel & James Frost , Tailormade India

Another great trip from Travel the Unknown. I would recommend this company to anyone who wants to move outside the boundaries of the usual tourist itinerary.

Catherine Crawford , Kashmir & Ladakh Explorer, India

What an excellent service! Rahul adapted, extended and improved our trip so many times without a qualm and we ended up with the trip of a lifetime. The destinations are unusual and interesting but everything has been checked out by the team and works brilliantly. I can`t wait to do another trip.

Penelope Smith , Assam & Nagaland Hornbill Festival, India

This is our second fabulous trip with Travel The Unknown and we were not disappointed. Rajasthan's vibrant colours of turbans and saris, the noise, the spicy aromas, the silence in the hot air balloon over rural Jaipur, the majestic forts and palaces of ancient times, sighting leopards in the wild, all far exceeded our expectations and the heritage homes and hotels we stayed in, whilst being of high standard in every way, still had a friendly family touch. Thanks so much to Rahul and the team for such a memorable trip. Six weeks on and we still can't stop talking about it. I can't wait for the next one!

John & Christine Gregory , Tailormade India

This trip was my first time travelling with Travel The Unknown, but definitely not my last!

Lori Martin , Assam & Nagaland Hornbill Festival, India

As always Travel The Unknown were exceptional in organising my trip to India. The guides for Meghalaya and the Golden Triangle were friendly, extremely helpful and very informative. The tour was busy but never felt rushed; the combination of Meghalaya and Golden Triangle giving quite a varied perspective of India.

Terry Cooper , Living Bridges of Meghalaya

Gotta say thanks to Travel The Unknown for organising my fascinating trip to a little-known area of the world. The scenery was fantastic, food was amazing, the guide was great and the living bridges were inspiring. An India not many get to see. Thanks again.

Stephen , Living Bridges of Meghalaya, India
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