Program photograph

India, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives by Private Jet

November 27 - December 16, 2012
Faculty: Dan Ehnbom, Professor of Art History and South Asian Art Expert

Price: $59,950 per person, double occupancy
$7,950 single supplement
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Overview

Join us for an in-depth exploration of the cultural and natural wonders of the fabled Indian subcontinent and the exotic Indian Ocean islands, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

On this 20-day journey, discover the majestic lakeside palaces of Udaipur, arguably India's most beautiful city. Marvel at the exquisitely carved Jain temple of Ranakpur, and the awe-inspiring grace of Hindu, Sikh, and Buddhist monuments co-existing within the famed Ellora Caves. Visit Jodhpur to experience the legendary elegance and opulence of the Rajputs. Spend a night in a deluxe tented camp under the stars in the Great Indian Desert. Behold the unparalleled beauty of the Taj Mahal. Travel to Hyderabad to see its unique combination of both ancient and high-tech worlds. Venture into the lush tea hills of Sri Lanka, and find idyllic beaches and coral reefs along the shores of the Maldives.

Fly from one destination to the next aboard our specially outfitted Boeing 757 private jet—configured to generously seat 78 travelers in comfort and style. Accompanying you will be a talented team of experts from renowned educational organizations. A professional expedition staff, including a dedicated physician and a private chef, will also travel with you. And as each day's adventure draws to a close, unwind in some of the world's finest accommodations.

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Program Highlights

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Accommodations

The Dorchester, London

Oberoi Udaivilas, Lake Pichola

Taj Residency, Aurangabad

Manvar Tented Desert Camp, Great Indian Desert and Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur

Ista Amritsar

The Gateway Hotel, Ganges, Varanasi

Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad

Cinnamon Lodge, Habarana

Shangri-La Villingili Resort & Spa

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Meals

 

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Faculty

Dan Ehnbom is the adjunct curator of South Asian Art at the University of Virginia Art Museum and the former director of the UVA Center for South Asian Studies. He teaches undergraduate courses on Indian and other Asian art, and specializes in early Indian sculpture and architecture, and painting of the Gupta Period. In 2008 and 2011, Daniel was co-director of the National Endowment for the Humanities summer seminars in India, bringing faculty from colleges and universities across the United States for intensive four-week sessions on the humanities. Daniel has lived in Delhi, Varanasi, and Calcutta, and has lectured on educational trips to India and Sri Lanka since the 1980s.

Jan Nijman is chair of National Geographic’s new Global Exploration Fund – Northern Europe. He is also professor emeritus at the University of Miami and a professor and director at the Centre for Urban Studies at the University of Amsterdam. In addition to researching socio-economic and cultural change in India, his interests include geopolitics and economic and cultural globalization. A former member of National Geographic’s Committee for Research and Exploration, Jan has more than a decade of fieldwork experience in India. He is the author of four books, and his publications have appeared in a wide range of international journals. A native of the Netherlands, he speaks five languages, and has received numerous awards, including the Nystrom Prize, a series of National Science Foundation grants, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Chris Rainier, a National Geographic Fellow, is a director of the National Geographic All Roads Photography Program and a co-director of the Society’s Enduring Voices Project, which is dedicated to documenting and revitalizing the world’s endangered languages. He also serves as a contributing editor for National Geographic Traveler. Chris has traveled to the Indian subcontinent for more than 25 years to photograph its rich culture and archaeological sites—including extensive assignments in Sri Lanka and the Maldives. His life’s mission is to document endangered cultures, and help empower them to use modern technology to save their ancient traditions. He has won numerous awards for his photography, including the prestigious Lowell Thomas Award from the Explorers Club, and was recently nominated as a Royal Geographic Society Fellow.

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Itinerary

Day 1 -- Tuesday (11/27)
London, England
Meet experts, staff, and fellow travelers at a gala welcome dinner in London.

Accommodations: The Dorchester, London

Days 2-4 -- Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (11/28, 29, 30)
Udaipur & Lake Pichola, India
Board our private jet and fly to Rajasthan, the “land of kings,” where, centuries ago, aristocratic Rajputs channeled their wealth from overland trade into sumptuous palaces and majestic gardens. Land in Udaipur, known as the City of Lakes, and admire the fairy-tale marble palaces that appear to rise from the waters of Lake Pichola. Venture into a spectacular labyrinth of courtyards within the City Palace, a soaring creation of marble and granite perched on the lake’s edge. This palace complex, the largest in Rajasthan, blends Rajasthani, Mughal, European, and Chinese architecture, and is richly decorated with inlaid mirror-work, mosaics, and frescoes. Wend your way through the Old Town and its bustling bazaars, and visit the Folk Art Museum, which boasts an impressive collection of traditional toys, musical instruments, puppets, and other regional curiosities. Enjoy a sunset cruise on Lake Pichola, followed by a reception overlooking the city’s shimmering palaces.

Options: Venture deep into the verdant Aravalli Range to visit the Ranakpur temples—among the five holiest Jain sites and one of the most famous temple complexes in the world. Or see the Hindu temples of Eklingji and Nagda, go horseback riding in the Aravalli Hills, and meet with students at a primary school in a local village.

Accommodations: Oberoi Udaivilas, Lake Pichola

Day 5 -- Saturday (12/1)
Sacred Sculptures of the Ellora Caves
Fly to Aurangabad and take a short drive to see the monumental hand-carved caves and temples of Ellora, a UNESCO World Heritage site. These Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain shrines have co-existed on the same cliffside perch since their creation during periods of religious harmony between A.D. 600 and 1000. Admire the distinctive styles, from the ascetic ideal to more intricate designs, which required several generations of builders to complete. Taj Residency, Aurangabad

Options: To learn more about the region’s exquisite textile tradition, you may also visit the Himroo factory, a major producer of Pathani saris and hand-woven shawls. Or photograph the only example of Mughal architecture in the region, the Bibi Ka Maqbara, a 17th century memorial affectionately known as the “Baby Taj” for its resemblance to the Taj Mahal.

Accommodations: Taj Residency, Aurangabad

Days 6-7 -- Sunday and Monday (12/2, 3)
Jodhpur and the Great Indian Desert
Our private jet takes us to the city of Jodhpur, which abounds with the legendary elegance and opulence of the Rajputs. From here, venture into the starkly beautiful Great Indian Desert, a vast expanse of arid plains and rolling sand dunes. Ride camels over the dunes and encounter the small but vibrant desert community that thrives here, including chili and mustard farmers, carpet weavers, metalsmiths, and potters. Later, experience a night under the stars in our unique and well-appointed tented camp.

Return to Jodhpur and visit the 15th-century Meherangarh Fort, a magnificent structure that towers above the blue-painted buildings of Old Town and holds priceless collections of art and artifacts. Explore Sardar Bazaar, where merchants preside over products made from antique royal saris, or take a guided tour of the museum within our historic palace hotel. This evening, we will dine at our hotel, Umaid Bhawan Palace, which is also one of the world’s grandest royal residences—still inhabited by a maharaja.

Accommodations: Manvar Tented Desert Camp, Great Indian Desert and Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur

Day 8 -- Tuesday (12/4)
The Golden Temple, Amritsar
Fly to the city of Amritsar, the spiritual center of the Sikh religion, located in the northern state of Punjab. Visit the exquisite Golden Temple, a complex of sublime beauty and peacefulness, and the holiest Sikh shrine in the world. Explore the bustling Guru Bazaar, where vendors sell Punjabi crafts and spices, and observe the myriad of cultures that have found a home in this historic Asian crossroads and sacred city. This evening, return to the temple for a special dinner and a mesmerizing ceremony during which Sikhs carry their sacred text, accompanied by singing and drumming.

Accommodations: Ista Amritsar

Days 9-10 -- Wednesday and Thursday (12/5, 6)
The Taj Mahal & Ganges River Culture of Varanasi
Board our private jet bound for Agra, the 16th- and 17th-century capital of India’s powerful Mughal Empire. Discover one of the world’s greatest architectural wonders, the Taj Mahal, built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a tribute to his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Explore the monument, which soars above the banks of the Yamuna River, and marvel at its exquisite Persian, Indian, and Islamic detail. Admire its form among the reflecting pools and gardens that surround it, and examine its intricate mosaics made of precious stones.

Continue by jet to Varanasi, and observe Hindu pilgrims at their most sacred site along the banks of the Ganges River, where they gather on ceremonial stone steps, or ghats. Join Hindu pilgrims in an aarti, the ritual lighting of a ghee candle. Nearby, visit the monastic ruins of Sarnath, where Buddha delivered his first sermon. After a sunset cruise on the holy river, gather for a special dinner in illuminated gardens where Brahman singers chant Vedic hymns.

Alternative: Instead of the Taj Mahal, you may choose to venture into Kachhpura, a village within Agra inhabited by the Harijan people, formerly known as “Untouchables.” Meet with local families and visit a school. Then visit the tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah, an early 17th-century mausoleum renowned for its intricate marble-work and gardens.

Accommodations: The Gateway Hotel, Ganges, Varanasi

Days 11-12 -- Friday and Saturday (12/7, 8)
Ancient & High-Tech Hyderabad
After an optional sunrise cruise on the Ganges, fly south to Hyderabad, a city once ruled by successive Nizams of the Asaf Jahi dynasty, now an international technology hub. Discover the city’s many remarkable sights, including Charminar, a 16th-century arched monument crowned with four minarets; the Salar Jung Museum, housing one of the world’s largest private art collections; and the lavish Chowmahalla Palace, where the Nizams entertained royal guests and visitors. In the city’s business center, known as Cyberabad, visit the acclaimed Indian Business School, and discover how the modern tech industry has transformed Indian culture. We will stay for two nights in a superbly restored former palace, where you may enjoy a private tour of its priceless interior decor and lavish gardens by an in-house historian.

Accommodations: Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad

Days 13-15 -- Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday (12/9, 10, 11)
Natural Wonders of Sri Lanka
The next leg of our journey takes us to Sri Lanka, the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean.” Upon arrival, board the vintage Viceroy steam train and journey to Habarana, our base for exploring the area’s nature reserves and ancient capitals. Discover the incredible rock fortress of Sigiriya, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a wonder of engineering with water gardens and ancient frescoes believed to represent divine damsels. Explore the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, known for its traditional Sri Lankan waterworks and rock carvings, and the ruins of the Ritigala monastery, hidden in a jungle reserve where elephants abound.

Options: Choose from a variety of activities in the Habarana area: In Minneriya National Park, go on wildlife expedition in search of elephant herds; tour a working spice plantation steeped in 1,000 years of tradition; or explore the Sri Lankan countryside from the back of an elephant, or spend time at the rarely visited beautiful beaches of Trincomalee.

Accommodations: Cinnamon Lodge, Habarana

Days 16-18 -- Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (12/12, 13, 14)
The Maldives, an Indian Ocean Paradise
Fly over the Indian Ocean to the Maldives and take a short boat ride to the tiny island of Villingili. Relax in your own private paradise—an over-water villa set in a turquoise lagoon teeming with marine life. Explore the neighboring islands by bicycle via a 10-mile road that is the longest in the Maldives. Swim or snorkel among delicate corals and the colorful creatures that inhabit them, including nudibranchs, harlequin shrimp, sweetlips, lionfish, and nurse sharks. You may even come face-to-gills with the gentle and graceful manta ray, some of which have a wingspan up to 12 feet. With luck, you might see a manta ray breach the water’s surface and launch into the air—an awe-inspiring sight.

Options: Experience the pristine nature of the Maldives on a cruise to look for schools of dolphins, or go on a night-fishing excursion.

Accommodations: Shangri-La Villingili Resort & Spa

Day 19 -- Saturday (12/15)
London, England
Our private jet returns to London, where we will enjoy a fine meal and bid farewell to fellow travelers.

Accommodations: The Dorchester, London

Day 20 -- Sunday (12/16)
London, England/U.S.
Following breakfast, connect with your regularly scheduled commercial flight home.

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Program Fees

$59,950 per person, double occupancy. A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $7,950 per person.

Price includes:

Price does not include:

Commercial airfare from your home city to London, England, and from London, England to your home city

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How To Register

Ready to register? The best way to do this is by phone so that we can ensure we are meeting all of your needs. Please call us at 1-866-765-2646. Or, e-mail cavaliertravels@virginia.edu with your contact information and the best time to reach you.

A deposit of $2500 per person is required to reserve your spot as well as your insurance payment if you wish to take advantage of the pre-existing medical condition exclusion. Final payment is due 95 days prior to departure (August 27, 2012).

The deposit can be made by check; wire transfer; or by a major credit card such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover Card. Make checks payable to "ISM-12 Escrow." Mail to the University of Virginia, Cavalier Travels, P.O. Box 400807, Charlottesville, VA 22904, or call 866-765-2646.

Early registration is encouraged as space is limited.

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General Terms & Conditions

TCS & Starquest Expeditions, Inc. (Operator) is the qualified tour operator that will organize and administer the India, Sri Lanka, & the Maldives by Private Jet expedition (Expedition) for the University of Virginia, Cavalier Travels (Sponsor).

Expedition Prices: $59,950 per person, based on double occupancy ($7,950 single supplement)

What Is Included:

What Is Not Included:

Airfare: We are happy to assist you in reserving commercial flights from your home city to London, England and from London, England to your home city, in the class of service that you prefer. We can also arrange pre- or post-trip hotel accommodations. Please ask for details.

Reservations & Payments: To reserve your place on Expedition, complete the Reservation
Form and return it with your deposit of $2,500 per person. The deposit can be made by check; wire transfer; or by a major credit card such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover Card. Make checks payable to “ISM-12 Escrow.” Mail to the University of Virginia, Cavalier Travels, P.O. Box 400807, Charlottesville, VA 22904, or call 866-765-2646. The second payment of $15,000 per person is due April 27, 2012. Final payment is due August 27, 2012. The second and final payments are payable by check or wire transfer only.

Cancellation & Refunds: All requests for refunds must be sent to us in writing via mail, fax, or e-mail. Cancellations will become effective as of the date of the postmark or e-mail receipt. Deposits and any payments are fully refundable, less a cancellation fee, as set forth in the following schedule:

If your notice is received… You will receive a refund of all deposits less a…
On or before April 27, 2012 $1,000 per-person cancellation fee.
From April 28 to June 27, 2012 $5,000 per-person cancellation fee.
From June 28 to August 27, 2012 $15,000 per-person cancellation fee.
After August 27, 2012 No refund.

Leaving an expedition in progress, for any reason whatsoever, will not result in a refund, and no refunds will be made for any unused portions of an expedition. Operator reserves the right to cancel any expedition because of inadequate enrollment that makes the expedition economically unfeasible to operate. If Operator cancels an expedition prior to departure, you will receive a full refund of monies paid. Please note that costs for visas, commercial air tickets, insurance, suite upgrades, and pre- or post-tour independent arrangements may not be refundable. We strongly recommend trip cancellation insurance; applications will be sent to you upon registration.

Insurance: Trip cancellation, health, and accident insurance are available for purchase; we will send you more information upon registration. These important protections can save you money if you are forced to cancel or alter your trip. Insurance premium payments are subject to the policies of the insurance carrier.

Baggage: On the private jet, each passenger is limited to 90 pounds of checked baggage in 2 bags (one bag of your choice limited to 50 pounds, and one wheeled bag that Operator will send ahead of time to you specifically for use on the expedition, limited to 40 pounds); plus a few smaller carry-on items such as a backpack, purse, camera, and/or laptop. For international flights, the air carrier’s liability is limited to the actual value of the baggage but not more than 1,000 Special Drawing Rights, approximately $1,250 per person, unless a higher value is declared at the time of check-in and an appropriate excess valuation charge is paid. Baggage, when not handled by Operator and personal effects are at all times the sole responsibility of the participant.

Single/Shared Accommodations & Suite Upgrades: A limited number of single rooms are available at an extra cost on a first-come, first-served basis. We will do everything possible to assist persons requesting a roommate. If one is not confirmed, the single rate will be charged. Suite rooms are available in some destinations; more information about them, including their extra costs, will be sent to you in the months before departure.

Itinerary Changes: The itineraries and staff are subject to modification and change by Sponsor and Operator. Every reasonable effort will be made to operate the expeditions as planned; however, should unforeseen world events and conditions require our itinerary to be altered, we reserve the right to do so for the safety and best interest of the group.

International Flights: The operation of these flights is subject to the foreign governments involved granting landing rights for the flight. If the air carrier cannot obtain these rights for any particular flight leg of an expedition, that flight leg will be canceled and alternative arrangements may be made, at the discretion of Sponsor and Operator.

Health Requirements: This is an active program, which requires you to make a realistic assessment of your health. All participants are expected to be in active good health, to enjoy traveling as part of a group, and to be ready to experience cultural differences with grace. Walking and climbing stairs are required in many hotels and airports, to board the aircraft, and are part of many excursions. Prior to traveling, we highly recommend visiting your personal physician for a check-up, so that you may discuss your ability to participate in this type of journey. To go to certain destinations or participate in certain activities, you may need to obtain your physician’s approval. In this case, a form will be sent to you for your physician to sign. An alternate destination or activity can be arranged, if your physician recommends it. Malaria and other diseases are present in some of the countries featured in this itinerary; proof of yellow fever inoculation is recommended. For the latest recommendations on specific health precautions for the areas you will visit, consult your physician and the Centers for Disease Control. Any physical condition requiring special attention, diet, or treatment should be reported in writing when the reservation is made. We will make reasonable efforts to accommodate travelers with special needs; however, we regret that we cannot accommodate wheelchairs. If you require a slower pace, extra assistance, or the use of a cane or walking stick, arrangements will be made for private touring at each destination, if necessary, at the discretion of our tour staff. Any extra cost for such arrangements will be the responsibility of the traveler. If you would like to forego some of the scheduled sightseeing to rejuvenate and relax, please feel free to do so at any time.

Photography & Video: We reserve the right to take photographs and/or videos (the “Photography”) during the Expedition and to use the Photography for promotional purposes. Participants who prefer their images not be used should notify us in writing before the commencement of the Expedition.

Responsibility: Sponsor has selected Operator as the qualified tour operator that will organize and administer Expedition. Operator acts only as the agent for any transportation carrier, hotel, ground operator, or other suppliers of services connected with this tour (“other providers”), and the other providers are solely responsible and liable for providing their respective services. The passenger tickets in use by the carriers shall constitute the sole contract between the carriers and the passenger; the carriers are not responsible for any act, omission, or event during the time tour participants are not aboard their conveyance. Sponsor and Operator shall not be held liable for (A) any damage to, or loss of, property or injury to, or death of, persons occasioned directly or indirectly by an act or omission of any other provider, including but not limited to any defect in any aircraft, watercraft, or vehicle operated or provided by such other provider, and (B) any loss or damage due to delay, cancellation, or disruption in any manner caused by the laws, regulations, acts or failures to act, demands, orders, or interpositions of any government or any subdivision or agent thereof, or by acts of God, strikes, fire, flood, war, rebellion, terrorism, insurrection, sickness, quarantine, epidemics, theft, or any other cause(s) beyond their control. The participant waives any claim against Sponsor and Operator for any such loss, damage, injury, or death. By registering for Expedition, the participant certifies that he/she does not have any mental, physical, or other condition or disability that would create a hazard for him/herself or other participants. Sponsor and Operator reserve the right in their sole discretion to accept, decline to accept, or remove any participant on an expedition and reserves the right without notice to withdraw any part or all of the trip and to make such changes as may be necessary. Sponsor and Operator shall not be liable for any air carrier’s cancellation penalty incurred by the purchase of a nonrefundable ticket to or from the first or last destination of Expedition.

Basis of Rates: All prices are based on two persons sharing a room. All prices and fares are quoted in U.S. dollars. The rates are based on current tariffs and are subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances. While Operator will make reasonable efforts to maintain the listed prices, if it is necessary to levy a surcharge, Operator reserves the right to do so and will notify you at the time of final invoicing. Operator reserves the right to cancel the Tour because of inadequate enrollment that makes the Tour economically infeasible to operate. In such a case, a full refund of the Tour cost will be made.

TCS & Starquest Expeditions is a Registered Seller of Travel in Washington (#602-320-265), a California Seller of Travel (#2071584-30), an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau, and is endorsed by IATAN the International Airlines Travel Agent Network (#50- 755585). TCS & Starquest Expeditions’ Dunn & Bradstreet D-U-N-S number is 17-084-7961.

 

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