Jewish India Tour

Jewish Culture Tour of India

with Rahel Musleah

Journalist, Author, Lecturer, Singer, Calcutta Native

Explore Jewish India: An Insider’s Tour

November 2016 and February 2017

india tour

On this guided tour of India, you’ll learn about the intriguing history, culture, customs, and music of the Jewish communities of Bombay, Cochin, Calcutta, and Delhi.

Visit the Taj Mahal and other top attractions. Enjoy a bicycle rickshaw ride through Delhi’s crowded markets, a backwater tour along Kerala’s canals, an elephant ride in Rajasthan, Bollywood dancing, and yoga.

“This is not just a trip. This is a trip with neshamah!”

Five-star hotels, three meals a day (vegetarian), and all transportation within India included. International flights are on your own.

For more information contact Rahel Musleah at rahel.musleah@gmail.com or call 516-829-2358

 

A Personal Note from Rahel

India is a vast country of dramatic contrasts, extraordinary cultural richness, and religious diversity. Any visitor to India can choose from a wide array of tours. What distinguishes ours is its “insider’s” perspective.

I was born in Calcutta to a family with Baghdadi roots; I live in the United States today and speak widely about the Indian Jewish communities—always adding music wherever I go. My tour partner, Joshua Shapurkar, is a member of the Bene Israel community of Bombay and has been leading general and Jewish tours for twenty-five years. Together we have an intimate knowledge of the Indian Jewish communities and close relationships with its members.

You, too, will be treated as part of our broader family. You will meet and interact with community members, enjoy local hospitality, experience India’s magnificent cultural tapestry, and enjoy its rare Jewish treasures. We will attend Shabbat services together in Bombay and Calcutta. I will lead services in the Baghdadi-Indian tradition in the Magen David Synagogue, where my father was rabbi, and share my memories with you as we walk together through streets and bazaars. Our accommodations are deluxe—and you won’t have to worry about meals or transportation in India: everything is included.

Please join us on this unforgettable adventure!

Rahel

Rachel leading a service in Calcutta.  Photo by Joan Roth/Photographer

 

IndiaTravel

 

Itinerary

Day 1

Namaste and Welcome to India!


Day 2

Mumbai
Tour the general sites of the city of Mumbai, learn about India’s multifaceted religious heritage, and visit synagogues that reflect the thriving presence of the Bene Israel and Baghdadi Jews


Day 3

Mumbai
Enjoy Shabbat services followed by an optional walking tour and a festive evening activity.


Day 4

Mumbai
Visit the villages along the coast of Bombay where, according to Bene Israel tradition, seven couples were shipwrecked over 2,000 years ago.


Day 5

Mumbai-Cochin
Cochin was once home to another flourishing Jewish community. Today only 22 Jews remain. Tour its general sites and explore its Jewish heritage.


Day 6

Cochin
Visit the synagogues and museums in the areas surrounding Cochin. Enjoy a lush backwater tour along Kerala’s local canals and a Kathakali dance drama.


Day 7

Cochin-Jaipur
Jaipur, the “Pink City of India” and capital of Rajasthan, is nestled in India’s mountains.


Day 8

Jaipur
Prepare to be awed by the Amber Fort, the ancient citadel of Jaipur’s rulers, ride an elephant, stop at the city palace and the Jantar Mantar observatory. Take time to shop in this beautiful city, known for textiles, jewelry and carpets.


Day 9

Jaipur-Calcutta
Calcutta was once the capital of the British Raj. It is also Rahel’s birthplace. Visit the dazzling and peaceful Jain Temple, enjoy British-era architectural masterpieces, and delight in Calcutta’s synagogues.


Day 10

Calcutta
Shabbat services and hospitality with the local Jewish community and a walking tour of local sites, including the flower market and the ghats (steps) that lead down to the holy Ganges River.


Day 11

Calcutta-Delhi
Delhi, the second most populous city in the world, is the seat of the Indian government. Visit the magnificent Red Fort built by the Moghul ruler Shah Jahan, who also built the Taj Mahal. Enjoy a bicycle rickshaw ride through the narrow, bustling lanes of Old Delhi, and experience some surprising Jewish sites.


Day 12

Delhi
City tour of Old Delhi.


Day 13

Delhi-Agra
Visit the awe-inspiring Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, built by the emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century, and marvel at the Red Fort.


Day 14

Agra-Delhi
Return by road to Delhi. Overnight at Holiday Inn-Airport.


Day 15

Delhi
Namaste! Transfer to the Delhi International Airport for flights home or for post-tours.

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“Of the many trips abroad that my wife and I have taken, our India journey with Rahel and Joshua was the best! Joshua is the most wonderful travel guide, our exploration into Jewish India was fascinating and spiritually meaningful, and India’s people, colors, food, smells, and wonders were a constant delight!”—Stephan U., Denver, CO

“It was a delightful, memorable and fascinating tour of India with the added bonus of learning about another facet of Jewish history and culture. Joshua was excellent. Rahel was a full hands- on guide, providing the insights as only an insider can.”—Judith P., Boston, MA

“Joshua was fantastic. Can’t think of a thing he could have done to better help us. He was constantly aware of what people needed, was resourceful and able to resolve issues on the fly, and wonderfully knowledgeable about both the Jewish histories of India as well as the non- Jewish political and religious histories. He really knows his stuff, and shares it in a fascinating, informative and humorous way. Joshua and Rahel worked incredibly well together, in a beautiful melding of the Bene Israel and Baghdadi traditions. Rahel’s leading the Shabbat morning Torah service in Delhi was a total treat, and singing [Salamone] Rossi in the synagogue in Calcutta was a real gift. Rahel’s personal and musical history in combination with Joshua’s experience as a tour guide really made this a special trip.”—Fredrica B., Brooklyn, NY

“The tour was well-managed and stress-free considering we had a lot of ground to cover. I enjoyed the visits to the synagogues and the Taj Mahal; even crossing the streets was a highlight!”—Carol D., Brooklyn, NY

“What a sensory experience! The tour was a compelling introduction to India through the lens of the history of Jews in India. It was revelatory in many ways, bringing to light how Jews thrived in India.”—Karen C., Santa Fe, NM

“I loved all the meals and meeting members of the communities! Joshua and Rahel were outstanding guides and brought to life the history of the Jewish people of India. I would highly recommend traveling with them!”—Loni B., Great Neck, NY

“The tour was an eye-opening adventure from start to finish. I enjoyed learning about a Jewish culture and history that was new to me. I also came away with tremendous respect for the vitality, resilience and diversity of the Indian people.”—Mara W., Wyomissing, PA
“Thank you for putting this tour together! My eyes have been opened to the Indian Jewish community and to India in general. It’s a great combination. The musical addition was wonderful.”—Bonnie K., Denver, CO

“The trip offered a very nice balance between Jewish content and Indian sites. The time we spent with members of the Jewish community in Mumbai, Cochin, Calcutta and Delhi made it a unique experience. Rahel and Joshua planned the trip with amazing attention to detail and with love.”—Karen R., New York, NY

“Highlights included Shabbat at Knesseth Eliyahu in Mumbai, the tour of the Kerala backwaters, the dinner at Flower’s house, and the amazing Moghul palaces around Agra and Delhi.”—Gabriella J., Jerusalem, Israel

“We appreciated the opportunity to visit Jewish sites in India that we could not have seen on our own. We learned a lot about India as well. Hotel accommodations were excellent.”—Marvin and Judy S., Center Conway, NH

“This was a superb experience. My expectations were more than met! I connected with my personal past and gained a better understanding of past and present Jewish Indian life and community. Joshua gave me a strong message that there is a future for the Jews in India.”— Nancy S., Newton, MA

“What a pity you only do India! What about Japan, China . . .?”—Shulamith D., Brazil

Testimonial

Rahel and Joshua. Photo by Joan Roth/Photographer

Costs:

  • $4,975 pp double occupancy.

    Costs (subject to change):

    •   $4,975 pp double occupancy.
    •   $6,675 single occupancy.Cost includes:
    •   15 days, 14 nights at five-star hotels.
    •   All meals (vegetarian, with some fish and two kosher meat meals).
    •   All sightseeing costs.
    •   All travel within India, including flights, transfers, boat and ferry trips, and air-conditioned buses.
    •   Fully escorted by highly experienced, English-speaking guide from arrival until departure.
    •   Specialized talks about Jewish India and get-togethers with members of the local Jewish communities.
    •   All current applicable taxes and most gratuities.What is NOT included:
    •   International airfare and visa fees.
    •   Gratuities for guides and drivers.Payments and Other Requirements:
    •   $1,000 non-refundable deposit.
    •   Visa and valid passport required.Optional Add-Ons: Pre-Tour:
      •   Additional night at Taj Mumbai.
      •   Mumbai day tour.

    Post –Tour: Please request additional itineraries if you are interested.

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