Delhi is not only exciting and dynamic, rich in history and tradition, but also home to millions of people of many different confessions. In Delhi as well as in the whole of India, characterized by its diversity, it is possible to find almost all the religions of the world. Of course, these are not practiced just in the hearts and minds of men, but also in thousands of temples.
The focus of this tour is mainly the Hindu temples of the Indian capital. This is simply because Debashree herself is a Hindu, and can tell you best about her own religion. She will teach you about its ancestral origins, its complex rites and colorful practices, and take you by the hand to the world of Krishna, Vishnu, Shiva and Kali.
Also the majority of Delhi’s inhabitants are Hindus. According to the 2001 census, they account for 82% of the population of the Capital Territory. The largest minority are the Muslims with 13%. Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Christians and people of other professions of faith comprise the comparatively small remnant.
The following places can be included on the program. Unfortunately it is not possible no visit all the entries in this list in one single tour: the traffic in Delhi is an unruly force of nature and you have to consider the time spent on the road. A visit to the Akshardam Temple can fill a whole day’s program.
A bit of flexibility and spontaneity will also help you have a better, more authentic experience. Be open to the surprising and the unexpected, and look forward for unusual things that catch your eye. Of course, you can also simply tell us which of the following places should be in the program.
The ISKCON Temple is called Sri Sri Radha Parthasarathi Mandir by the locals and it’s a well-known Vaishnav temple dedicated to Lord Krishna and Radharani, in the form of Radha Parthasarathi. It is located on the Hare Krishna Hills, in the East part of the Kailash district in South Delhi, where it was opened in 1998. Ever since, it has been one of the most popular attractions in Delhi. Not only is it a temple, but also a learning center dedicated to the study of the Vedic science.
The Lotus Temple is the newest of the world’s seven Bahá’í temples. The name derives from the shape of the building, which is reminiscent of a lotus flower. The building was opened on December 24, 1986, and since then has won numerous architectural awards and has been pictured in countless magazines and newspapers. The sacred building is one of the most famous of the Bahá’í faith and is visited annually by about three million people. The building is an outstanding example of modern architecture in India.
The Jagannath Temple in New Delhi is relatively modern, erected in honor of the Hindu god Jagannath by a community of people from Odisha, an eastern Indian state on the Bay of Bengal. The temple is located in South Delhi near the Green Park and the Hauz Khas Village. The Jagannath Temple is especially famous for the annual Rathyatra Festival, which attracts thousands of followers.
The Chhatarpur Temple – or Shri Aadya Katyayani Shakti Peetham – is also located in South Delhi. It is considered the second largest temple in India, and third in the world, and is dedicated to the goddess Katyayani. The temple was founded in 1974 by Baba Sant Nagpal Ji, who died in 1998. This temple is totally constructed with marble in what is classified as a Vessara style of architecture.
The Akshardam Temple, also called Swamirayan Temple, is the world’s largest Hindu temple complex. It is one of the most recent temples of Delhi – the opening took place in 2005 – and in many ways it reminds of a religious theme park. A visit to this contemporary architectural wonder is undoubtedly recommended, but you have to remember to save enough time for it. One can spend easily a whole day in the complex.
Sightseeing can be as interesting as exhausting, so either between temples or at the end of the tour we will need to recover our energies with a meal in a restaurant. In this case, one that only serves vegetarian dishes. In the Hindu religion it is not forbidden to eat meat, but a vegetarian diet is recommended, since it is important to practice ahimsa (non-violence) against all forms of living beings. Therefore, many Hindus prefer a vegetarian (mostly lacto-vegetarian) form of nutrition.
For 1 Person / Individual tour: 116 Euro
For 2 People: 60 Euro/Person
For 3 People: 46 Euro/Person
For 4 People: 40 Euro/Person
Taxi rides (private, acclimatized) – pick up at the airport / hotel
Guide (Debashree Chatterjee) – English language
Boat ride at Purana Qila
Everything else not mentioned under services
Since Debashree does not work as a guide, but as a journalist, a day tour implies “only” 6 hours. But quality is better than quantity!
We ask you to be considerate and respectful when visiting religious sites. As far as clothing is concerned, it is important to stick to a few rules (not all are so strict – the following rules apply especially to the Akshardam temple – but there’s nothing to lose if you stick to it in other temples as well).
If you want, you can take this tour also in a auto (that’s how the motorized Rickshaws are called in India). Then it is of course a bit cheaper. However, the only air-conditioning in the car is the wind on your face. ;-P However, the vehicle will snake its way through the narrowest streets just for you.
Write us if you are looking for something more adventurous: email@example.com
To all the dear TRAVELERS: I can really truly RECOMMEND a tour with Debashree! I have been to Delhi several times, and one can’t have a more personal and exciting experience than with her! Debashree loves her homeland, her culture and its traditions – and she knows soooo much! She has a lot of exciting and entertaining things to tell – and always in the right “dose”. Something that I particularly like: through Debashree, one gets to look “behind the scenes” and can therefore learn very interesting details about the life in India. By the way, thanks to Debashree I became a Delhi lover (and that means something coming from me, for whom Vienna is already too big!).
Ulli Felber, Graz
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