2 NIGHTS AGRA + 2 NIGHTS HARIDWAR + 1 NIGHT TRAIN
We invite you on this ongoing travel journey to further explore India and her marvels. The Taj Mahal is definitely one of the wonders of the world and will be our first stop, riding the energy of the full moon. There is an embracing calm and acceptance of the diversity of humanity I've experienced at this architectural triumph like no other. Visiting Agra where this awe-inspiring achievement resides promises personal witness of the power of love and vision. The city itself is an amazing and refreshing blend of different spiritual beliefs, coming together for a common cause of celebration of magnificence.
From Agra we will ride an all-day train, taking us into the vastness of the Indian landscape, visiting with other train travelers and pilgrims to the ancient city of Haridwar. It is one of the major places within India of worship of the Ganges River and home to more Shakti Peethas (seats of the Goddess) where we will partake in time-honored practices of Goddess worship.
We will visit Ganga Ma, lighting diya lamps, letting them float down the Ganges with our prayers, hopes and intentions. This is an epicenter for Goddess worship in her many forms and birth place of important Shakti mythology which we will go deeply into before we return back to Delhi by night train.
The Taj Mahal is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan (reigned from 1628 to 1658), to house the tomb of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal who died giving birth to their thirteenth child. The tomb is the centerpiece of a 17-hectare (42-acre) complex, which includes a mosque and a guest house, and is set in formal gardens bounded on three sides by a crenelated wall.
The Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 for being "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage". It is regarded by many as the best example of Mughal architecture and a symbol of India's rich history.
Haridwar, is translated as the "Gateway to God", and is one of the most holy places in India and a center of Hindu religion and mysticism for centuries. Located on the banks of Ganges (Ganga) River, at the point where the Ganges descends from the hills to the North Indian plains. Haridwar attracts a large number of Hindu pilgrims from all over the world.
Sunrise and Sunset at Ganga River
Har-Ki-Pauri is Haridwar's focal point, where devotees gather to bathe and worship on the Ganges. According to legend, this is where a drop of nectar fell from the churning of the oceans when the world was created, and a stone wall has Lord Vishnu's footprint. Each morning and evening thousands gather and worship the river Goddess Ganga by putting diyas (floating lamps) in the river.
Sri Dakshin Kali Temple
This Kali temple is located on the outskirts of town, almost in the wilderness, next to the Chandi Ghat on the banks of the Ganges River an area known as "Neeldhara". The Ganga gently flows southwards and this is why this temple is called Dakshin Kali (Dakshin is South in Sanskrit). What is particularly special about this temple is worship is done at midnight at a fire that's been kept continually burning for 800 years!
This is also the place where Shiva drank the poison that came out of the churning of the ocean. After drinking it and holding it in his throat, he felt the immense heat, and then he is reputed to have bathed in the Ganga here -- giving its name as "Neeldhara" one of the names of Shiva referring to his holding of blue poison in his throat.
For the followers of Devi, this is the first seat of Devi for the collective of ten Goddesses called the "Dash Mahavidyas", ten goddesses of transformation. We will experience firsthand the birth place of this important and powerful collective. Everyone will be introduced to sadhana's of the Mahavidyas.
Daksheshwar Mahadev Temple
This temple is at the heart of the oldest heritage area called the Kankhal. It is the venue of the story of Goddess Sati and Shiva. It is here we will explore Sati's mythology and its importance to the Shakta path. This is the big temple dedicated to Shiva and Sati with a huge Banyan tree next to it worshiped by the devotees visiting the temple. This is the place where Sati transformed herself with her own yogic fire. We explore this important mythology and its symbolism importance on the Shakta yogic path.
Dash Mahavidya Temple
Right next to Daksheshwar Mahadev temple, is this spectacular temple dedicated to the ten Mahavidya forms of Devi. At the heart of this temple is a giant Sri Yantra. Surrounding it are the images of ten forms of Goddess as Mahavidyas: Kali, Tara, Tripura Sundari, Bhuvaneshwari, Bhairavi, Chhinamasta, Dhumavati, Baglamukhi, Matangi and Kamala. This is an important temple for Shakti worshippers where we will meditate.
Maya Devi Temple, the Shakti Peetha of Sati’s navel and heart
In the 11th century the Maya Devi Temple is also one of the three ancient temples of Haridwar, which is still intact, other two being Narayana-shila and Bhairava Temple. Major attractions of the temple are images of Goddess Maya, Goddess Kali, Goddess Kamakhya and two other goddesses, who are all forms of Shakti. Goddess Maya, the main deity of the temple, is a three-headed and four-armed deity and is believed to be the incarnation of Goddess Shakti. Here we will begin to explore the importance of the Goddess Kamakhya.
* We suggest if returning home after this leg of the journey to book your flight from Delhi to leave either late in the day of March 14 or on March 15. As we will be arriving in Delhi in the morning of March 14 and the train can be late sometimes.
* Plus, you may have some last minute shopping you'd like to do and need one more day in Delhi to take care of last minute things. We can assist you to make your final days in Delhi hotel reservations and return to the airport transport.
* Please register for this portion of the pilgrimage and pay in full no later than November 15, 2019.