India

Divine Love: Sacred North India with Andrew Harvey

A Pilgrimage to the Artistic, Historical, and Spiritual Soul of North India November 2 - 17, 2023

Join author and teacher Andrew Harvey on a pilgrimage to discover the essence of sacred North India. Our journey is dedicated to an exploration of the splendour and ecstatic creativity of Divine Love in all its forms.

This journey will immerse you in India’s spiritual past and present, with an ideal balance of sacred sites, natural beauty, and profound teachings by Andrew Harvey. Explore city palaces and ancient temples, meditate by the River Ganges and learn about Sufism, Hinduism, Shivaism and more. Experience a sunrise boat ride on the Ganges, explore the Tantric temples of Khajuraho, be guided in meditation, and of course, visit the Taj Mahal ~ the greatest monument to Divine Love. READ MORE

Tour Leader Andrew Harvey

Andrew Harvey is an author, spiritual teacher, and founder of the Institute of Sacred Activism, dedicated to creating a new world founded in universal compassion and sacred passion for all life.

MORE

I've read spiritual books, done courses, listened to teachers, and visited India in the past.On this pilgrimage, through Andrew's teaching and our experiences, I came to know at a deep level that all is sacred, and that life can be lived joyouslySharon Cleland, Maleny, Australia

TESTIMONIALS

I am still changing and learning more about my spirituality after this journey to explore the art, history, beauty, people and mystics of North India with Andrew Harvey and fellow pilgrims. Dawn Harris, Tasmania, Australia

TESTIMONIALS

Tour Description

We are overjoyed to invite you to join us on a pilgrimage of Northern India on a Path to Divine Love. Although Andrew was born in south India, he spent most of his childhood in the north, and it was there that he first awoke to the magic of India and became saturated in, and permanently changed by, its sacred atmosphere. Each of the places we are going to visit has a profound personal resonance for him, one enriched and expanded by over four decades of constant return. It will be Andrew’s honour to share with you the many-coursed feast of artistic and spiritual beauty this trip so sumptuously lays out.

North India 2023
Andrew Harvey in Varanasi on our last North India journey

Our pilgrimage is dedicated to an exploration and celebration of the splendour and radical ecstatic creativity of Divine Love in all of its forms, and the mystical paths to love in Sufism and Hinduism. The Sufi and Hindu vision of Divine Love has had the deepest imaginable influence on Andrew and he will share the essence of what he has learned from these two traditions as well as three essential heart practices, two from the Sufis and one from the Vedic tradition that you can use for the rest of your life, whatever path you are on, to deepen your experience of the Divine.

After a night in Delhi just to rest and get over jetlag, we begin our journey in Udaipur. How to describe Udaipur? Youd have to be Shakespeare on opium to begin to convey its refined ecstatic beauty, the beauty of a whole civilization that cultivated the highest sacred aesthetic as a way of divinizing life. We will spend three glorious days exploring the gorgeously designed palaces, exotic gardens, divine temples, and meandering alleyways which give you the impression of having stepped into a medieval mural that is alive with mesmerising energy.

North India 2023
Sunset aerial view of Udaipur from our last North India journey

To break our journey to Jaipur, we’ll spend a night in a desert camp near the timeless Pushkar, one of the oldest cities in India dating back to the 4th century. The peaceful ambience and spiritual energy of this picturesque little town are a balm for modern-day pressures.

After a magical night under the stars, we travel to the most resplendent of the Maharaja cities, as Andrew’s mother used to call them: Jaipur. Andrew had the honour of going around the palaces of Jaipur with the old maharani of Jaipur, someone of the greatest inner and outer beauty, and he will share with you the vision he received from her of the inner world of this ancient city as we retrace his footsteps.

By now, our souls, will be intoxicated enough to approach the greatest monument to both human and divine love, the Taj Mahal. Andrew first saw the Taj when he was four years old; that ecstatic memory he is convinced led him to his passion for Rumi and to the treasures of the Sufi tradition. He has spent a lifetime contemplating and studying the Taj and will share with you the latest research that reveals the Taj as a Sufi mystical monument representing nothing less, in its white splendour, than the Throne of God himself.

North India 2023
Our wonderful group of pilgrims at the Taj Mahal on our 2020 journey

With the magnificence of the Taj alive in ourselves, we continue our journey, spending a night in Orchha, an exquisite historical gem cloistered away from the beaten track in the northern part of Madhya Pradesh.

We then spend three magnificent days in Khajuraho, where Andrew will give an essential overview of the Shaivite Tantric tradition that he himself has been trained in and aspires to follow. The great Shaivite mystic, Alain Danielou, said to him, Khajuraho is the revelation of the divine body and its inherent tenderness, ecstasy and freedom.” The sculptures of the temples at Khajuraho show human love at its most passionate, meeting Divine Love at its most exalted in an explosion of radical beauty that has permanently altered his own understanding of love and sexuality, and will yours. We have the honor of touring the temples and having meditation sessions with both Andrew and Swami Ganga, renowned expert on Khajuraho, who will share some of the secret Tantra teachings that he learned from Osho, when he was his tour guide many years ago.

North India 2023
Exciting discussions with Andrew Harvey in Khajuraho and throughout our journey!

Our pilgrimage ends with three days in Varanasi, the old Banaras, Andrew’s favourite place on earth. Varanasi is quite simply the essence of sacred India, a wild holy thrilling marriage of opposites, Indias holiest city, sacred for millennia to Shiva. As we revel in its ceremonies and meditate by the Ganges, our guide will be the greatest mystic Banaras and India ever produced – the 15th century weaver Kabir, who sang his astounding songs in Varanasis winding, crowded streets. Andrew has just spent five years producing his new book, Turn Me to Gold – 108 Poems of Kabir, and longs to introduce you to his incisive, fiery revolutionary voice and to the path of transfiguration through Divine Love that he pioneered for us. Kabir is with Rumi one of humanitys two universal mystical poets and an essential guide to the birth of an embodied divine humanity.

North India 2023
Sunset boat trip on the sacred Ganges River in Varanasi

We hope we have said enough to give you a rich taste of what inspiration and joy await you. Please join Andrew on an unforgettable pilgrimage into the heart of Sufi and Hindu India and into the softly blazing heart of Divine Love itself.

We invite you to watch the videos and view the photos, from our last North India journey with Andrew Harvey.

Welcome to India! Today you’ll arrive in Delhi and after clearing Immigration and Customs formalities, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

In the evening Andrew will give you an introductory talk about this beautiful sacred Journey in India.

(Overnight in Delhi at Jaypee Vasant Continental Hotel or similar)

North India 2023

After breakfast, we will take a flight to Udaipur. With majestic palaces gracing its skyline, shimmering lakes at its feet and the Aravali Mountain range forming a silhouette in the distance, Udaipur is like a sublime painting that has come alive. The gorgeously designed palaces, exotic gardens and meandering alleyways give you the impression of having stepped into a medieval mural that is alive with mesmerizing energy. The locals have a passion for vibrant colors, melodiously expressive folk songs, and energetic dances, as well as a cheerful willingness to engage with tourists. All of this comes together to make Udaipur the Venice of the East” with a fascinating blend of sights, sounds and experiences. 

In the late afternoon, we embark on a boat trip on Lake Pichola – an ideal way to see the hills, palaces, temples and bathing ghats that surround this body of water. We make a stop at the Lake Garden Palace," Jag Mandir, situated on a natural island towards the southern end of the lake. Before being crowned Emperor, Shah Jahan was given refuge on the natural island in a specially built domed pavilion known as Gul Mahal. This was later transformed into the Jag Mandir Palace and is said to have been part of the inspiration for the Taj Mahal.

This evening marvel at the panoramic views over Udaipur while getting to better know your fellow pilgrims and Andrew Harvey at a special Welcome Dinner.

(Overnight in Udaipur at Swaroop Vilas or similar)

North India 2023

After our delicious hotel breakfast this morning we tour the city of Udaipur, meaning city of sunrise”.  We start at the hill-top City Palace complex, exquisitely crafted from granite and marble over a period of 400 years. We will learn more about the significance of the different elements of the complex, such as the Mor Chowk peacock courtyard and the Sheesh Mahal, a palace of glass and mirrors. You cannot help but gasp in awe at the beautifully adorned rooms and intricate architectural details. Palanquins, howdahs and miniature paintings are just some of the royal artefacts housed in its museum.  After that drive to Saheliyon Ki Bari or the Garden of Maids”; it is believed that the garden was constructed for 48 maids who accompanied the Maharanas wife as dowry. We will have time for a leisurely walk in the ornamental garden created as a retreat for the royal ladies of yore.

The evening winds down peacefully at the Jagdish Temple to witness aarthi, a religious ritual of worship. The temple is an excellent example of Hindu iconography, with 32 marble steps leading us up to the main shrine.

(Overnight in Udaipur at Swaroop Vilas or similar) 

North India 2023

Your day will begin early as you drive to the most popular temple of Rajasthan, Eklingji. Eklingji Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and its brilliant architecture is visited by many locals and tourists alike. This double-storied temple looks magnificent with its pyramidal-style roof and uniquely carved tower. The outer walls of the temple are made up of steps that stretch all the way down to the serene waters. This temple is filled with an enthralling fragrance and is known for a striking four-faced idol of Eklingji (Lord Shiva) that is made out of black marble. 

You will have the afternoon free to rest or explore Udaipur at your own leisure.

(Overnight in Udaipur at Swaroop Vilas or similar) 

North India 2023

After breakfast, we will begin the scenic journey from Udaipur to Pushkar. If you want to escape the relentless pressure of time binding you, then you cannot make a better choice than timeless Pushkar, one of the oldest cities in India dating back to the 4th century. The peaceful ambience and spiritual energy of this picturesque little town are a balm for modern-day pressures. Set against hillocks and skirting Pushkar Lake, it is pleasing to the eyes and restful to the soul. Due to its very strong religious background, Pushkar is one of the few towns that serve only vegetarian food and no alcohol; yet it is a favorite among tourists and Hindu devotees alike. In fact, its idyllic setting often lures visitors to stay longer than intended. With its lighted ghats during evening aartis, tinkling prayer bells, hypnotizing devotional chants, famous rose gardens, tempting street food and quaint shops featuring traditional wares, tiny Pushkar holds its own among Rajasthans many prominent cities. 

In the evening you will visit the sacred Pushkar Lake. Surrounded by 52 bathing Ghats (steps) and over 400 temples, the lake is known as Tirtha Raj” or the king of pilgrimage sites, to which thousands of devotees flock during the religious festive periods. It is believed the lake came into existence when Lord Brahma dropped a lotus at the site, and so devotees take a ritual dip in its waters to cleanse their sins. The priests from Pushkar will perform a special Ganesh pooja for prosperity, good fortune, wisdom, and health and to purify your soul. 

(Overnight in Pushkar at Camp Land's End or similar)

North India 2023

After a peaceful night under the stars and breakfast, we will visit Brahma Temple before proceeding to Jaipur. The Brahma Temple is one of the very few in India dedicated to the God of Creation. The one in Pushkar is considered the most important as God himself is said to have chosen the site. It is built in marble and has a striking red spire with bright blue pillars. 

Afterwards, we will make the 3-and-a-half-hour drive to Jaipur. Jaipur is truly a feast for the eyes! The stunning architecture of the magnificent palaces, majestic forts, and lush royal gardens evoke the grandeur of this 18th-century royal city. The pastel pinks of the heritage buildings are elegantly juxtaposed against the riotously vibrant bazaars. The local food is just as colourful with its own unique flavours. The penchant of the locals for colourful outfits and unique jewellery coupled with their love for folk songs and dances makes this Pink City a treasure trove of Rajasthani culture. 

Later in the afternoon, we’ll enjoy high tea at The Rambagh Palace in Jaipur which is the former residence of the Maharaja of Jaipur and now a luxury hotel run by the Taj Group. The spectacular architecture of this palace will mesmerize you with its beauty and service. 

You will then make your way to the Govind Dev temple dedicated to Krishna and his consort Radha. The air is thick with the sounds of Mangala Aarati at dawn and Shayana Aarati at night. Locals believe that the statue of the deity here looks exactly like Krishna's form during his incarnation on Earth. It was built during the reign of Emperor Akbar by Sawai Man Singh in 1590 and regarded as being one of the largest temples in the world during its time.

(Overnight in Jaipur at Umaid Bhawan Hotel or similar)

North India 2023

Today we have the whole day to explore Jaipur. We leave early to visit the impressive Amber Fort, which is just outside of Jaipur. Arriving early is the best way to get ahead of the crowds! We will travel by jeep up the steep winding road, which was used to protect the castle against enemies. Then it’s time to experience the immense size of the fort and let yourself be overwhelmed by the beautiful details and the richness it conveys. The various palaces that you find there were once the scene of royal processions and lavish opulence. We will then get back in the jeeps to travel back down to our coach.

In the afternoon, we continue our exploration of Jaipur. Our next stop will be the pink sandstone Palace of the Winds (Hawa Mahal) with its honeycomb structure, it’s a fine example of the artistry of the Rajputs. The palace was built to shield the women of the Maharaja and to give a glimpse of life on the streets and the processions that took place there. Finally, we will view the City Palace and the Jantar Mantar Observatory built in 1700 by Maharaja Jai ​​Singh, the founder of Jaipur. 

(Overnight in Jaipur at Umaid Bhawan Hotel or similar)

North India 2023

Today we will make the drive to Agra, home to three UNESCO World Heritage sites. The size of this little city belies its significance in Indian history. First mentioned in the ancient epic Mahabharata as Agrevana, it later became the seat of the powerful Mughal Empire. Agra flourished under its rule, giving rise to stunning architecture with a distinctive style that is remarkably symmetrical and decorative. Today, the legacy of the Mughal kings draws a staggering number of visitors, who get to experience Agras unique and beautiful blend of cultures as seen in its traditions, customs, food and lifestyles. 

This afternoon, we visit the world famous Taj Mahal. Built by Shah Jahan in 1630 for his Queen, Mumtaz Mahal, to enshrine her mortal remains, it is described as “a tear on the face of eternity” by the poet laureate Tagore, and is an enduring monument to love. This architectural marvel is a perfectly proportioned masterpiece fashioned from white marble that stands testimony to the skill of 20,000 craftsmen brought together from Persia, Turkey, France and Italy. The construction of this “love poem in marble” took 17 years to complete. Here, Andrew will share the latest research on the meaning of this awe-inspiring monument.

(Overnight in Agra at the Double Tree by Hilton or similar)

North India 2023

After breakfast, we will take the train to Jhansi, and from here we will make our way to Orchha. The 3-hour train journey is the perfect opportunity to relax and fully enjoy the beautiful surroundings, giving us an even better insight into Indian life. 

Orchha means hidden” in the local language, and this town is an exquisite historical gem cloistered away from the beaten track in the northern part of Madhya Pradesh. Orchha boasts a breathtaking expanse of medieval architecture, left as a legacy by the Bundela dynasty of Rajputs. Located on an island and approached through a multiple-arched causeway, the Orchha Fort is an immense complex. The four palaces with painted walls and ceilings, arched doorways and latticed windows are a reminder of the opulent life of royalty. The projected balconies afford a magnificent view of Orchha and its surroundings.

In the evening we will visit Shri Ram Raja Mandir to witness a special pooja, with Aarthi and chant to experience the blessings of Lord Ram.

(Overnight in Orchha at Hotel Amar Mahal Palace or similar)

North India 2023

In the morning we enjoy a leisurely three-hour drive to Khajuraho. Khajuraho, a peaceful little town in Madhya Pradesh, is home to numerous magnificent temples built between 950-1050 AD by the Chandela Dynasty rulers. Forgotten in the forests for years until the 19th century, this UNESCO World Heritage site has become one of the top Indian destinations. The temples are adorned with intricately carved statues depicting various aspects of life – from languid figures going about their normal daily activities to graphically erotic sculptures. Why this paradoxical intermingling of the sacred and the sensual? The Chandela rulers obviously believed in embracing and celebrating all stages of life. A visit to the monuments will evoke many different responses. 

During our stay in Khajuraho, we will have the honor of touring the temples and having meditation sessions with both Andrew and Swami Ganga, renowned expert on Khajuraho, who will share some of the secret Tantra teachings that he learned from Osho, when he was his tour guide many years ago. For an even more personal touch, we will also be staying at his Hotel Harmony, a serene hotel with all the basic comforts we will need, plus spaces to meet and meditate.

Later, in the evening we will enjoy our first session with Andrew and Swami Ganga, sure to be a deeply moving experience.

(Overnight in Khajuraho at Hotel Harmony or similar) 

North India 2023

Morning meditation session with Andrew and Swami Ganga.

After breakfast we visit the Khajuraho Group of Monuments, starting with the Eastern group of temples, which includes the ruined Jain Ghantai temple, dedicated to the “Vamana” or dwarf incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and the Javari temple.

After lunch (included), we then visit the Western group of temples, the most important of which is the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, and one of the largest and most typical of the Khajuraho temples, with many manifestations of female beauty and ecstatic sensual depictions. We will also explore the Chausath Yogini Jain temple, dedicated to the 64 Yoginis or attendants of Goddess Kali, and the Chitragupta or Bharatji Temple with a lovely sculpture of Lord Vishnu in his 11-headed form.

Evening teachings with Andrew and Swami Ganga.

(Overnight in Khajuraho at Hotel Harmony or similar) 

North India 2023

Morning meditation session with Andrew and Swami Ganga and time at leisure.

After enjoying lunch (included), we will have time to explore the Southern groups of temples of Khajuraho.

Of the original 85 temples of Khajuraho, 22 have survived to testify to the sculptural and cultural beauty of the Chandela era. Built-in the North Indian nagara style of architecture with high ascending spires, the Hindu and Jain temples feature an astounding array of sculptures. Eschewing mortar, the builders used precise joints to hold the stones together. Dedicated to Vishnu, the Lakshamana Temple has superb interior and exterior carvings, while the Devi Jagadamba Temple carvings include heavenly nymphs and loving couples.

Evening teachings with Andrew and Swami Ganga.

(Overnight in Khajuraho at Hotel Harmony or similar)

North India 2023

After breakfast, we will fly to Varanasi. From time immemorial, Varanasi has continued to hold sway as a center of religion, culture, arts and education. It is one of the worlds oldest continuously inhabited cities. Sitting on the banks of the holy River Ganges in Uttar Pradesh, this 3000-year-old city is a seamless blend of majestic antiquity and exuberant presence, soulful spirituality and clamorous street life. Varanasi captures the essence of India in all its glory, richness and diversity. As you weave through the maze-like narrow alleys of the city, you will be greeted by an onslaught of sights, sounds and smells. Varanasi has to be seen, felt and experienced in its entirety. And long after you leave…it continues to echo in your heart.

At sunset we head out to witness the spectacular Ganga Aarti ceremony at Dashashwamedh Ghat. This powerful spiritual ritual uses fire as an offering to the Goddess Ganga, and young pandits perform the ceremony amid rhythmic chants of hymns, flaming oil lamps, and sandalwood incense.

(Overnight in Varanasi at  Ganges View Hotel or Palace on Ganges )

North India 2023

An early start today as we enjoy a sunrise boat trip with instrumental music of sitar and Tabla on the holy River Ganges to witness the enduring traditions of one of the worlds oldest and most important religions. See Varanasi come alive, with pilgrims bathing in the holy water, worshipping the rising sun, and bidding farewell at the riverbank holy cremation grounds. It is believed that if you die in Varanasi, you go straight to heaven!

After the boat ride, we will make our way to a secluded ghat where a Surya Namaskar, or sun salutation series with pranayama techniques, is taught. We will then return to the hotel to enjoy breakfast and you have the rest of the morning to enjoy at your leisure.

In the afternoon we will go for a walking tour around the alleys and markets of the old part of the city, known as Mahal. We’ll amble past the Chowk, the traditional business square, where you can explore the shops and learn about the people of the Thatheri Bazaar, the metal craftershousehold goods market, many of whom have not left their neighbourhood for years.

After a visit to Panchganga Ghat, the Embankment of the Five Rivers, our walk concludes at the temple of the fearsome Kaal Bhairav, where locals and pilgrims alike pay their respect to the fierce manifestation of Shiva.

(Overnight in Varanasi at  Ganges View Hotel or Palace on Ganges )

North India 2023

Today we will visit an Ashram to experience the spiritual, peaceful energy of an Indian spiritual hermitage. Ashrams are homes to a spiritual or religious guru who lives there with his or her disciples. They are usually secluded places that are devoted to spiritual activities like yoga, meditation or religious instruction and are often frequented by those seeking peace and solitude in India.

Later, we gather for a Farewell Dinner. This is an opportunity to share delicious, authentic food with newfound friends as you recall the sacred sites you have visited over the past two weeks, and the knowledge and experiences you will be taking back home with you.                     

(Overnight in Varanasi at  Ganges View Hotel or Palace on Ganges )

North India 2023

One final breakfast at the hotel this morning, and then some time to relax and pack before our transfer to Varanasi airport to board our flight to Delhi. After two weeks of travel through the artistic and spiritual soul of North India, you will be taking home with you a more profound understanding of Sufism, Hinduism, and Divine Love as well as a deepened appreciation for the beauty that surrounds us.

Connect with your onward flights home (please ask us about minimum connection time in Delhi, and an overnight hotel if needed).

(B = Breakfast; L = Lunch; D = Dinner)

Note: This itinerary is subject to change due to conditions beyond our control.

North India 2023

Divine Love: Sacred North India with Andrew Harvey

November 2 - 17, 2023

Tour Includes:

  • 15 nights accommodation at carefully selected hotels
  • Breakfast daily
  • 2 Lunches; High Tea in Jaipur
  • Welcome Dinner, Farewell Dinner, Dinner in Pushkar
  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Domestic Flights – Delhi/Udaipur, Khajuraho/Varanasi and Varanasi/Delhi
  • Air Conditioned Coach travel for all transportation, as per itinerary
  • English-speaking tour guide for the entire tour 
  • Entrance fees to all sites noted on the itinerary
  • Train from Agra to Jhansi, in an air-conditioned chair car
  • Indian Government Service Tax (GST)

Added Features:

  • Travel and discussions with author and spiritual teacher Andrew Harvey
  • English-speaking local guide throughout
  • Boat trip on Lake Pichola, Udaipur
  • Special Ganesh pooja at Pushkar 
  • Dinner in Pushkar with Rajasthani folk dance and music 
  • Jeep Ride to the entrance of the Amber Fort, Jaipur
  • High tea at Rambagh Palace, Jaipur 
  • Evening aarti ceremony at Ganges Ghat
  • Surya Namaskar sunrise boat ride on the Ganges
  • Northern bazaars and hidden alleys walk in Varanasi
  • Meditation sessions with Swami Ganga in Khajuraho 

Tour Does Not Include:

  • Airfare to/from Delhi, India
  • Cancellation & medical insurance (ask us for a quote)
  • Meals and drinks not specified
  • Cost to obtain a valid passport
  • Indian Tourist Visa (required)
  • Any items of a personal nature such as laundry, drinks and telephone calls
  • Any item that is not specifically detailed on our website

Tour Price:

    • Double Room: USD $4,580 per person
    • Single Supplement: USD $980
Book this Journey
or call us on
1-877-874-7922 to help you make your reservation

Sign up to our Newsletter

Thank you. Please try again. Please ensure all fields are complete. Processing...