India & The Silk Road
Let India’s cultural complexity envelop you as tranquility and chaos vie for your senses, and peacocks and brahman cows cross your path. In the sultry stillness of India’s western desert, join master carpet weavers who invite you to participate in the dance of warp and weft, and dine with majestic maharajas who spin tales of the days of the British Raj. In the ghost city of Fatehpur Sikri, study Emperor Akbar’s vision for a multicultural, tolerant nation through a combination of Hindu and Islamic architectural motifs. In sacred Varanasi, India’s site of redemption, travel by rickshaw to the Ganges’ edge as pilgrims bathe in the holy water. In the shadow of the Taj Mahal, travel back in time to ponder Shah Jahan’s devotion to his beloved, whom he memorialized in this tomb. Travel to unexpected, tucked-away architectural jewels of India that few Americans visit—the Golden Temple of Amritsar, which rivals the Taj Mahal; the rational designs of modernist architecture in Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh; or Madurai’s sacred, multi-colored Meenakshi Temple, the only temple in India dedicated to a woman. Dine in regal splendor in the gracious home of an Indian general, at the country retreat of a spice farm entrepreneur, or at a feast in your honor on the romantic rooftop of an elegant hotel.
In Central Asia, meditate on the sheer contrast of bright-colored splendor and solemn desert emptiness while exploring the Silk Road. Few places in the world are more romantically remote from our overstimulated modern lifestyles. Be dazzled by the great art, archaeological, and architectural treasures of Samarkand, Khiva, and Merv while following in the footsteps of Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Marco Polo, and Tamarlane. Go beyond the great monuments with ISDI on a custom-designed educational travel program to discover local living spaces—markets, schools, and artisan workshops.