“Everything you see has its roots in the unseen world. The forms may change, yet the essence remains the same . Every wonderful sight will vanish , every sweet word will fade . But do not be disheartened.
Sufi Journeys Tour The source they come from is eternal , growing , branching out , giving new life and new joy . Why do you weep ?The source is within youAnd this whole world is springing up from it.”

Islam , is the religion of peace and submission which leads to ultimate source of One God – Allah , the compassionate and merciful . Sufism is the mystic and profound tradition of Islam which teaches tolerant co-existance , harmony and divine love for all creation . Sufis are detached from the worldly material possessions , false pride , greed and ego . They revel in the beauty of Allah in complete joy of surrender and remain focussed on the reward of paradise in the life hereafter .

The great sufi masters came all the way from Iraq , Iran , Turkey , Afghanistan and found high acceptance and devoted followers in the region of Indian sub-continent from 12th century onwards . Sufis go through constant and rigorous purification of desires , introspection of soul and heart and they engage in the deep pursuit of a direct perception of spiritual truth of Allah , through mystic practices based on sacrifice and renunciation .

This tour of awakening – SUFI JOURNEY , has been designed keeping in mind the spiritual sensitivity of the traveler who is in search of divine knowledge . It gives you the time to experience sufi traditions, Islamic way of life based on high moral values. Beautiful nature , peaceful surroundings to contemplate and meditate makes this tour a lifetime spiritual experience .

The capital city of India show cases the rich heritage of Islamic architecture – grand mosques , tombs , minarets , beautiful gardens and majestic forts. Some of the bazaars still retain the madieval flavour presenting Indian art & craft, delicious cusines , spices and herbs.

The Dargah of Hazrat Nizam -Ud-Din & Amir Khusrau is thronged by devotees and pilgrims everyday. Near by , the magnificiant Humayuns Tomb hosts an annual International Sufi festival of Jehane- Khusrau .

The home to the spectacular Taj Mahal- a love story in marble is one of the architectural highlight of this trip . Strategically located in the heart of India in the rich alluvial plains between the great Ganga and Yamuna rivers . Agra was a vibrant religious and commercial center for the last 3,00 years . But it matured and perfected itself only when the great Mughals chose to make it their home .

Designated a world heritage site by UNESCO, Fatehpur Sikari – was built to commemorate the battlefield victory in Gujarat . It was the capital of the Mughal dynasty under Emperor Akbar between 1571 and 1585. Legend has it that it was a monument of gratitude to Sheikh Salim Chisti ,a humble Sufi saint of the 16th century , who had accurately predicted the birth of Akbar’s sons. You can spend some time marvelling at the jewel of Salim Chisti Tomb set like a white flower in the midst of a red sand stone . Morning is the time for Qawali devotional singing that makes the entire atmosphere very soothing.

Capital of Rajasthan has some marvelous architecture and history to display including the forts , palaces and museums . The pottery bazaar , famous jewellery market , colourful textile shops makes it a shoppers delight .

Situated in the green oasis wrapped in barren hills has been witness to an interesting past of human synthesis . It is a popular pilgrimage center for muslims and hindus also hold it in great reverance . The Dargah , at the foot of a barren hill , has a splendid tomb of the sufi saint Khhwaja Moin Ud Din Chisti . The mausolem has a gigantic gate which was built by the Nizam of Hyderabad . The massive cauldrons in the courtyard are of particular interest and on the right side of the courtyard is the Akbari Masjid built in white marble . There is another mosque in the courtyard built by Shajehan . The shrine attracts thousands of pilgrims during the Urs – commemorating the death anniversary of the saint , held from 01st to 06th day of the Islamic month of Rajab . A vibrant fair that springs up during this time is the major attraction .

With the first rays of the sun , the melodious Azaan – call for the morning prayers , resonates through the mountains , a new day of life ushers into hope and joy with fresh fragrance of the Himalayan blooms and lotuses , of fir and pine trees . The purity of the mesmerizing beauty of Kashmir transforms any seeking soul into a humble being . The enchanting natural beauty of the valley with lakes and waterfalls , mountains and dales , rivers and springs , birds and butterflies and the peace loving folks all together in harmony magnify the Oneness of Allah in totality . The mystic atmosphere of Kashmir made this a suitable place for Rishis , Saints and Sages for time immemorial .

Kashmir Valley is an ideal refuge for a contemplative mind that gives you space to cultivate virtues towards leading a meaningful and content life . Long walks into the forests and boat cruising in the backwaters of Dal Lake during the day and quite evenings observing the stars awakens ones senses to understand the mystery of the universe .

The most dominant influence on the Kashmiri muslims , in terms of their Kashmiryat is that of the Rishi order of the Sufis . Rishis are the indigenous brand of suifs who have been influenced by many mystic beliefs and rituals over the centuries . Rishis are highly realized souls , who do not have the tounge of desire and do not seek to obtain worldly objects . They plant fruit bearing trees in order that people may obtain benefit from these . They involve themselves in type of jobs that offers help to others as well . Generally they abstain from meat eating and often do not marry . They practice simplicity in spirit of service without pretence .

Desire is like the knotted wood of the forest , It can not be made into planks , beams or into cradles ; He who cut and felled it ,
Will burn it into ashes .

Sheikh Nur – Ud- din ( Nund Rishi )

This tour flows through the Imperial cities , desert citadels , rural villages and finally finds the solitude in the vale of Kashmir – the paradise on Earth .

Duration : 15 DaysDiscovery
Best Time : Mid October to April
Focus : Spiritual experience , Sufi traditions ,Islamic heritage , Grand monuments ,Lovely bazaars , Colourful people , Composite culture & Pristine nature .
Route : Delhi – Agra – Jaipur – Ajmer – Delhi – Srinagar – Delhi

Day 1 : Arrive Delhi
Arrive Delhi from your home country . Upon arrival in Delhi , traditional garland welcome ,assistance and transfer to your pre booked hotel . Morning free . Afternoon visit Old Delhi , Shah Jahan founded the city of Shahjahanabad, now referred to as Old Delhi, in 1648. The famous Red Fort in the heart of Old Delhi was once the most opulent fort of the Mughal Empire and it boasts the Diwan-I-Am, Hall of Private Audience. Opposite the fort is the Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques in the world, built by Shah Jahan to dominate his city. Later in the evening join or witness evening prayer at Fatehpuri Mosque . O/n Hotel

Day 2 : Delhi
Morning after breakfast visit Humayun’s Tomb , Lodhi Gardens , India Gate and President house . Evening visit Nizam – Ud- Din Dargah , join or witness prayers and listen to the healing divine songs ” Qawali – Praises of Allah ” . You will see people , men & women of different faiths and religions paying respect to this Sufi master – Hazrat Khwaja Nizam – Ud – Din . O/n Hotel

Hazrat Khwaja Nizam – Ud – Din
He was born in Badaun – North of India in 1238 AD , into a family whose genealogy raced back to the prophet Muhammed ( P. b. u . h ) , and whose ancestors had originated from Bukhara . He settled near Delhi and established his sufi sanctuary which became a focal point for the spiritual renewal of the lives of the people of Delhi . He personally led a life of celibacy and asceticism . He and his close follower subsisted on unasked for charity which they distributed every day to the neighbouring poor , so that by the end of each day they had nothing stored up for the next day . Hazrat Nizam – Ud – Din died in the year 1325 AD.One of his disciples – and a famous poet Hazrat Amir Khusrau became his main companion and contributed greatly in spreading his spiritual message through poetry , philosophy and heart rendring ragas , gazals , Khyal and Qawalis .

Day 3 : Delhi – Agra
Morning after breakfast we drive to Agra ( about 210kms / 5hrs) , enroute visit the Sikadra to see the Tomb of Great Mughal Emperor Akbar . Further proceed to Agra and check into the hotel . Afternoon visit the Tomb of Itmad – Ud – Duala known as the baby Taj and later on to Red Fort, Akbar began Agra Fort in 1565, with additions of the citadel being made through to the time of Akbar’s grandson, Shah Jahan . The forts have fine views of the Taj across the River Yamuna, and consists of Deewani – Aam(hall of public ordinances) and Deewan- Khass (the hall of Private ordinances), it also has a beautiful fountain ways. O/n Hotel.

Day 4 : Agra – Fatehpur Sikri – Jaipur
Early morning visit India’s most celebrated monument the Taj Mahal, built as a monument of eternal love by Shah Jahan to the bride Mumtaz . The Taj Mahal looks amazingly graceful from almost any angle. It was built over a period of 20 years by 20,000 laborers and craftsmen and displays superb craftsmanship. The close up details of the Taj Mahal is as exquisite as the overall architectural design, with semi-precious stones and beautiful patterns covering the marble surface . Back to hotel for breakfast and then continue our journey to Jaipur – the pink city of Rajasthan .

Enroute visit Fatehpur Sikri – The Palace complex built to commemorate the birth of Mughal Emperor Akbar’s first child . Visit the tomb of Sheikh Salim Chisti ,a humble Sufi saint of the 16th century , who had accurately predicted the birth of Akbar’s son. Spend some time for Qawali devotional singing that makes the entire atmosphere very soothing and further drive to Jaipur ( About 240 kms / 4hrs ) . Arrive and check into the hotel . O/n Hotel

Day 5 : Jaipur
Morning after breakfast visit City Palace, still inhabited by Jai Singh’s descendants is a superb fusion of Rajput and Mughal architecture. A city within a city, it includes the Govind Deo Temple, the Jantar Mantar astronomical observatory and the Maharaja’s museum with his personal collection of weaponry, miniature paintings, royal attire and jewellery. On the periphery of the Palace stands the Hawa Mahal, the Palace of Winds, an elaborate pink sandstone façade behind which the ladies of the court used to watch the daily goings on in the street below. Afternoon drive to nearby Amber, ascending by elephant to see the 16th century hilltop fortress – Palace and its richly decorated apartments . O/ n Hotel

Day 6 : Jaipur – Ajmer
Morning after breakfast drive to Ajmer ( About 130kms / 3hrs ) . Arrive and check into the hotel. Situated in the green oasis wrapped in barren hills , Ajmer is a popular pilgrimage center for muslims . Afternoon visit the tomb of the Sufi Saint Khhwaja Moin Ud Din Chisti to offer respect and prayers . O/n Hotel

Hazrat Khhwaja Moin Ud Din Chisti
Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti, was born in Seistan (East Persia) also known as Sajistan, around 533 Hijri (1138-39 A.D.) in a well respected family. His father and motherwere the descendants of Hazrat Ali. He lost both his father and mother at an early age of sixteen years. After achieving the light of wisdom and knowledge at the young age , he disposed of all of his worldly belongings and distributed the money amongst the poor. Then he set off for Samarkand and Bokhara then the great centres of learning for religious education and knowledge. Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti, arrived in Ajmer at the age of 52 years around 587 A.H. (1190 A.D.), on his divine mission, unique in the annals of Islam. He settled on a hill close to Ana Sagar lake now known as the Chillah Kwajah Sahib . People were so much inspired by his divine teachings and simplicity that they began to embrace Islam. Many became his disciples. After achieving the objectives of his mission he died on the 6th of Raja 633 A.H. / 16th March 1236 at the age of 97. He was buried in the same cell (Hurrah) which was the center of his divine activities, throughout his stay at Ajmer. Today his tomb is popularly known as “Dugrah Khwaja Saheb, Ajmer”. People of all walks of life and faith from all over the world, irrespective of their caste, creed and beliefs visit this great shrine to offer flowers of there esteem and devotion

Pushkar Fair : Pushkar is famous for the annual camel fair which will be held from November ( 5-13 )Nov’ 2008 and 25 Oct – 02 Nov of 2009 . Here one extra night can be added during the colourful pushkar camel festival

Day 7 : Ajmer – Delhi
Early morning prayers in the Dargah . Later explore the city of Pushkar , famous for the cattle fair and in the late afternoon transfer to railway station for express train to Delhi ( 17.00 / 22.00 hrs ) . Arrive Delhi and transfer to the hotel near airport for overnight .

Day 8 : Delhi – Srinagar
Morning transfer to the domestic airport for flight to Srinagar . Arrive Srinagar , welcome with Kashmiri flowers on arrival at airport and transfer to Houseboat Lotus Retreat in the famous Dal Lake . The Mughals aptly called Kashmir, Paradise, and they journeyed across the tortuously hot plains of India,to summer in the cool environs of Srinagar. And here they laid, with great love and care, Srinagar’s many formal, water-front gardens, now collectively known as the Mughal Gardens. Today’s Srinagar is a pleasure resort for the tourist who can experience, at first hand, the peculiar beauty of the valley that has attracted the Chinese, the Mughals and the British to it. Afternoon Shikara boat ride in Dal Lake visiting floating/vegetable gardens

Day 9 : Srinagar
Today morning after breakfast visit the Nishat Bagh ( Garden of Gladness ) and Shalimar Bagh gardens built on a symmetrical plan of a central waterway with fountains dividing a series of gardened terraces . Nishat Bagh ( about 11kms from Srinagar ) on the shores of the lake was laid out in 1633. It is the largest of all the Royal gardens . The gardens on either side of the water course are planted with tall Chinar trees, which you can see at their best in Autumn.

Two Kilometers further on is the Shalimar Bagh garden built for Nur Jahan by her husband , the Mughal Emperor Jahangir . The central black marble pavilion in the Zenana or Ladies’ garden is surrounded by water and looks out in four directions . Below in the Diwan -i – Am , the hall of Public Audiences the Emperor used to sit on a black marble throne above the water . Afternoon visit the Sufi Dargah of highly respected Pir- Mirak Sahib . Offer spiritual prayer here . O/n Houseboat

Day 10 : Srinagar
Morning excursion trip to Gulmarg (the meadow of flowers) 2730 metres, above sea level. The distance of 56 kms will be covered in about 2 ½ hrs. Gulmarg has one of the best ski slopes in the world, and one of the highest golf courses in the world with 18 holes. You can also enjoy a view of Nanga Parbat if the weather permits. The view en route from Tangmarg to Gulmarg is fascinating. Afternoon visit the shrine of Great mystic Baba Rishi . The place is no less than the supreme paradise because the shrine of Hazrat Payam Uddin stands here. The shrine and tomb are built in the pagoda style and placed amid wondrous scenic beauty. It has the Jama Majid on one side and a market on the other. One reaches the shrine through a flight of stairs. The langar (public, free eating place) adjoins the tomb. Return back to Srinagar for overnight . O/n Houseboat

Day 11 : Srinagar
Morning after breakfast excursion to Pahalgam (the valley of Shepherds) . The total distance of about 96 kms. Will be covered in about 3 hrs. Drive through the pine forest. Explore Pahalgam by walk along pony trails with a magnificent view of the mountains. Afternoon visit the shrine of Aishmukam belongs to Great Rishi Baba Zanshah Sahib . Later drive back to Srinagar . O/n Houseboat

Day 12 : Srinagar
Today we will visit the Khankah of Shah Hamadan in the madival setting of old town, one of the important and first mosque ever built in Srinagar . O/n Houseboat

Khanqah of Shah Hamadan – Kashmir
Situated on the banks of river Jhelum , between the third and fourth bridge . It is the first mosque ever built in Srinagar . The original structure was built in 1395 A.D . The great Sufi Saint Shah Hamadan’s full name was Mir Syed Ali Hamadani , the sir name being derived from the city of Hamadan in Persia ( Iran ) . He is the instrument of spreading Islam in Kashmir through his Sufi order . After staying in Kashmir for many years , he left for Central Asia via Ladakh . A mosque was established by him at Shey near Leh .

The Khankah in Srinagar is a wooden structure whose chief aesthetic feature is its beautifully carved leaves and hanging bells . The interiors are richly carved and painted , and the antique chandeliers give it an air opulence .

Offer respect and prayers here at Noon .

Day 13 : Srinagar
Morning after breakfast drive to CHARARE – SHARIEF, beautiful village and Dargah about 30 kms from Srinagar to visit the shrine of Nundrishi . Both Hindus and Muslims go to this shrine to offer flowers.

Nunda Rishi ( Sheikh Nur – Ud – Din ) : Endearingly and in Veneration called Nunda Rishi , has left an indelible marks on the thinking and culture of Kashmiris . The great sage was one of the twin stars of medieval Kashmir along with Lalleshwari ( Lal Ded ) with whom he shared the intensity of mystic experience whose profoundity remains unrivalled to this day.

He lived from 1378 to 1430 A . D. He started a normal life , married and had two children . During the turbulent times in medieval Kashmir , what he saw going around him made him intensely sad and he lost interest in Surpurflous life . So , he took to caves and solitary places for severe penance and meditation . At the height of his spiritual realization the saint sustained only on drinking water alone . Throughout his life he made all efforts to preach co – operation & Co – existence and advised any confrontation . Kashmir’s precious heritage was dear to his heart . It was for these views of humanistic philosophy that he was called ALAMDAR – the standard bearer of Kashmir .

Later back to Srinagar where a special farewell is waiting you with Sufi folk songs and music followed by elaborate Kashmir dinner – Wazwan . O/n Houseboat

Day 14 : Srinagar – Delhi
Morning after breakfast transfer to the airport to board flight back to Delhi . Met upon arrival in Delhi , transfer to the hotel for overnight . O/n Hotel

Day 15 : Delhi – Europe
Early morning transfer to the International airport to board flight back to your home country .

Additional tips

Classical music of the Indian sub -continent has a rich history of being one of the most developed expressions of our cultural heritage . Its foundations precede 5000 years , going back to the ancient Indus civilization . Many instruments such as harps , flutes and percussion instruments were found during the excavations at Harappa and Mohenjo Daro.

Indian music underwent several innovative changes after the advent of Muslim rule beginning from the 11th century . Islamic influence brought in its wake a changed perspective in the style and structure of Indian music , which over the course of time evolved to become a unique blend of Hindu and Muslim traditions .

This unique synthesis resulted in the creation of new ragas and musical genres such as qawaali , tarana , khayal and thumri . Instruments such as the rebab , sarod , sitar , tabla , santoor and naqara were developed and introduced into the Indian fold . The fist encounter of Indian music with muslims was through Sufi saints who were attracted by traditional Hindu temple music – sensing that music was an essential feature of the daily lives of the local inhabitants , Sufis used music to spread the message of Islam across to the populace of India . Sufi saints held regular sessions of sama or qawwali at their khanqahs to propagate Islam to the masses .

The name of Hazrat Amir Khusrau stands at the forefront of muslim contribution towards the culture of the subcontinent . He was a strong patriot and highly praised Indian culture , customs and its people . He popularized the sufi devotional music qawwali , said to have created new genres like the tarana , Khayal , naqsh and qalbana .

Extension Tour to Lucknow

Day 1 : Delhi to Lucknow
Morning flight to Lucknow . Arrive at Lucknow, transfer to hotel. Afternoon free , evening explore the bazaars of Lucknow famous for its gold and silver brocades, silverware, clay figurines and pottery . O/n Hotel

Lucknow : Known as the “Shiraz of Awadh” and “Constantinople of India”, as it is metaphorically called, rose to prominence as the capital city of Uttarpradesh during the era of the Nawabs of Awadh. These Nawabs ruled the northern region of India for about a century after the decline of Mughal empire and most interesting monuments in Lucknow date from the period

Day 2 : Lucknow
A full day to visit Lucknow .Visit Rumi Darwaza : Also known as the Turkish Gateway, the Rumi Darwaza leads into the outer ward of the Bara Imambara . Bara Imambara : Built in the year 1784 by the champion of charity Nawab Asaf-ud- daulah it provided food to the famine stricken subjects of the Nawab. Chhota Imambara : Known also as the Hussainabad Imambara, it was built by Mohammad Ali Shah as a mausoleum for himself. The interior is lavishly decorated with huge chandeliers, gilded mirrors, colorful stucco and Tazia in sandalwood wax and zari. Later on visit Jama Masjid- the construction of this mosque was started in 1840 by Mohammad Ali Shah but it was finally completed by his wife Begum Malika Jahan after his death. Also visit Clock Tower- Rising 221 ft. above the ground, this is the tallest Clock Tower in India. O/n Hotel

Day 3 : Lucknow – Delhi
Morning free to relax . Afternoon transfer to the domestic airport to board flight back to Delhi . Upon arrival in Delhi , transfer to the hotel near International airport for overnight . O/n Hotel

Day 4 : Delhi – Onward Destination
Early morning transfer to the International airport to board flight to your onward destination .

” I thought of You so often ,
that I completely became You .
Little Little by little You drew near ,
And slowly but slowly I passed away .