(Confirmed) Taj Mahal & Early Buddhism in N. India (RSVPs required NOW)

Saturday, February 2, 2019 - 12:45pm to Tuesday, February 12, 2019 - 5:00am
Taj Mahal & Northern India
Variable - now reduced!
Tour Leader: 
Tom Coyner
Royal Asiatic Society, Korea Branch

2019 Lunar New Year Excursion to Northern India -  

A Journey to Major Icons of
Three of the World's Great Religions

This excursion is now a confirmed event.  We are now down to the last 5~6 seats on our excursion.  The deadline for the downpayment is Friday, November 9.  Pleases be aware you need to act sooner as there is some minor additional paperwork for payment to India that takes an extra day or so to transact.  

Please make your reservation now!
-Simply click here to make your reservation.  (You must make an online reservation as soon as possible if you wish to join us.)

Besides the Taj Mahal of Islam and the amazing Ganges River Hindu temples of Varanasi, we will visit some of the first monuments of Buddhism).

One of our Buddhist highlights will be a visit to the village of Bodh Gaya, site of the Buddha Shakyamuni's enlightenment.  Bodh Gaya is the most revered of all Buddhist sacred sites.

The main temple complex houses the famous Mahabodhi temple/stupa and a descendant of the original Bodhi Tree under which the Buddha gained enlightenment. Inside the Mahabodhi temple complex we will enjoy the Lotus Pond or the meditation garden. Bodh Gaya has temples or monasteries from many other nations with a Buddhist tradition (Bhutan, Bangladesh, China, Japan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tibet), all within easy walking distance from the Mahabodhi temple.


We will boat down the Ganges River during sunrise, one of the main attractions in Varanasi. We will observe the Hindu way of life along the banks of the Ganges (Ghats) River. 

Varanasi presents a unique combination of physical, metaphysical and supernatural elements. According to the Hindu mythology, Varanasi liberates soul from human body to the ultimate. It is the Ganga Ghats of Varanasi that complement the concept of divinity. The Ganga Ghats at Varanasi are full of pilgrims who flock to the sacred river to take a dip in the holy Ganges, which is believed to absolve one from all sins.

We will watch people come down to river in the early morning, take a bath in the mother Ganga, performing rituals, worshiping the Sun is a unique experience. There are number of temples on the banks of the Ganges River in Varanasi. The old buildings, ashrams and palaces along the river side look as colorful as a rainbow when the sunlight hits them. It is at the Banaras Ghat where we will be able to see life and death together. There are numbers of Ghats alongside Ganges River in Varanasi. There are numbers of Ghats alongside Ganges River in Varanasi.

We will make an early morning visit (the least crowded and most beautiful time of day) to the Taj Mahal, meaning "Crown of the Palace," is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperorShah Jahan (reigned from 1628 to 1658), to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The tomb is the centrepiece 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 crenellated wall.

Construction of the mausoleum was essentially completed in 1643 but work continued on other phases of the project for another 10 years. The Taj Mahal complex is believed to have been completed in its entirety in 1653 at a cost estimated at the time to be around 32 million rupees, which in 2015 would be approximately 52.8 billion rupees (U.S. $827 million). The construction project employed some 20,000 artisans under the guidance of a board of architects led by the court architect to the emperor, Ustad Ahmad Lahauri.

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. The Taj Mahal attracts 7–8 million visitors a year. In 2007, it was declared a winner of the New 7W onders of the World (2000–2007) initiative.

For a complete, up-dated itinerary, please email us.
For those people really serious about photography, they are encouraged to join Tom Coyner for at least optional dawn walk to photograph sunrise settings and early morning stirrings, followed by breakfast with everyone.  Time permitting, Tom will give a mini workshop on travel photography.  He is researching photographers' tips on how to best capture images of our destinations.

What does it cost?
Single room occupancy, excluding Incheon-Deli roundtrip airfare: $1,945.00 (reduced)*
Shared room occupancy, excluding Incheon-Deli roundtrip airfare: $1,445.00 (reduced)*

Air flights round-trip between Incheon and Deli (flights K# 481; KE 6710 & KE 658) will vary in costs, depending on when you book the flight.  We are not reserving a block of seats so as to have greater flexibility and to make possible cheaper flights for those people who book early. For general budgeting purposes, we recommend $1,100.00.  Your price could be less, but if you wait until the last minute (no later than Dec. 14), you risk paying more.  Inquiries for booking a flight from Incheon on Saturday, Feb. 2, 12:45 (KE/481), you should email Christy Kang at Christy_Kang@hotmail.com.

Of course, you are free to book your own flight to Deli, but you must meet up with us on time at Deli airport at the arrival lounge by Gate 2 for Korean Air (KE) 481 by 1900 hours (7:00pm).

*Final pricing subject to change.

Payments Procedures

[Important] All bank (sending & reviving) /credit card charges are on senders.

Korean Air fares are available from VaKang Travel.  VaKang Travel handles only the airline bookings.

Separate payments for the India tour are made directly to our Indian travel agent:

Please note a 10% downpayment is due Friday, Nov. 9th.

  • India tour, Feb. 2 ~ Feb. 11:
    • 1st Downpayment of about 10% [$195 (single) or $145 [shared)] india tour due by Friday, Nov. 9, 2018
    • 2nd Payment of remaining approximately 90% [$1,750 (single) or $1,300 [shared)]  India tour fees due by Friday, Dec. 14, 2018
    • Payments may be made by bank wire transfer (including sending & receiving fees in payment) or by credit card (plus 3% card handling fees)
    • Recommend downpayment by credit card payment and final payment by bank wire transfer for least gross cost.
    • Cancellations from 90 (Nov. 2, 2018) to 60 days (Dec. 2) prior to the start of the service:  administrative cost of 5% of India tour price (excluding airline price)
    • Cancellations from 59 days (Dec. 3)  to 31 days (Jan. 2, 2019) prior to the start of the service: 50% of total India tour price (excluding airline price) non-refundable
    • 30 to 8 days prior to the start of the service: 75% of total India tour price (excluding airline price) non-refundable
    • 7 days and less than 7 days prior the start of the service or no show: 100% non-refundable 
    • No Show due to any reason: 100% of total India tour price (excluding airline price) non-refundable; No refund of unused services
    Bank                   :  HDFC Bank
    Branch Address: -Manish Global Mall, Sector 23, Dwarka,  New Delhi – 110001
    Account No.      : - 5020 – 000359 -9982
    Swift Code         : - HDFCINBBXXX
    For payment through Credit Card there will be additional 3% over the invoice amount towards Bank merchandising fees.
    For payment through Credit Card, we will need the following documents:
  • Credit Card Authorization form (ask Tom Coyner at the RAS Korea for a copy, it has to be filled up, signed and sent back to Total Holiday Options via Tom)
  • Copy of Credit Card (front and back)
  • Passport ID page copy (for photo and address proof).

India Visa 

  • India visa - you need to secure that on your own visa (passport must be good through Sept. 2019 and have 2 blank pages - eVisa can be obtained at https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html
  • Your passport must be good six months following your visit to India.

We will be flying out of Incheon on Tuesday, noon, Feb. 2, 2019 and returning to Seoul very early morning, Tuesday, Feb. 12.  Again, you may book your independent flights to and from India.

We have just 21 seats.  But we have received assurances from our travel agency that we can add a few more people if needed.  To guarantee places on this excursion, we are asking travelers to send Tom Coyner their passport images by as soon as possible.  Later reservations may be accepted on an available space basis.  The approximate 10% payment of $145 for double room occupancy, or $195 for single room occupancy, plus 3%, required by Friday, November 9.  

Simply click here to make your reservation by November 2.

Please note that one needs not be an RAS Korea member to participate.  

Trip organizer Tom Coyner can answer any of your questions by contacting him at raskb1900@gmail.com or by phoning +82(0)10-9099-6195.


Contact Us

Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch
Room 611, Korean Christian Building, Daehak-ro 19 (Yeonji-dong), Jongno-gu, Seoul 03129
[03129] 서울시 종로구 대학로 19 (연지동) 한국기독교회관 611호

Office is normally open as follows:

Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays & Saturdays:
                                   10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Wednesdays & Thursdays: 2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Please call before your visit.
Phone (02) 763-9483 FAX (02) 766-3796

Email - royalasiatickorea@gmail.com

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