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    Be it Ramayana or the Inca trail, history and folklore come together in travel packages that explore popular myths

    Amble through the Hakgala gardens where Sita was confined, stop by the birthplace of Shinto god, Okuninushi, or pay a visit to the site of King Solomon’s temple from 10th century BC. Our pick of specially-designed luxury tours will see you  re-living famous tales.
    Text: Rashmi Rajagopal Lobo

    Mythology1bVrindavan and Mathura
    This tour takes you back in time to the early years of the Hindu god, Krishna, who is said to have been born in Mathura and raised in Vrindavan. The two towns are dotted by numerous temples that hold significance in Hindu mythology. The Shri Krishna Janma Bhoomi Mandir, where his mother was imprisoned, is believed to be the exact location of his birth — an important stopover on the first day of the tour. For something that’s a little more relaxing, take a boat ride on the river Yamuna and participate in of the aarti ceremony as the sun sets. On day two, you’ll make your way to Vrindavan where you will visit Govardhan, the hill that according to Hindu scriptures Krishna lifted to save his people from the wrath of Lord Indra. The tour also makes stops at Barsana (Goddess Radha’s town) and Shyam Kund (a water body said to be created when Krishna struck the ground with his foot). Rs 4,750 upwards. Details: yatra.com

    Sri Lanka

    Mythology2a With over 50 sites from the epic, Ramayana, Sri Lanka is the ideal escape for mythology enthusiasts. This five-day trail starts at Chilaw in the North Western province, where you will visit the first lingam claimed to be installed by Rama. You will later head to Nuwara Eliya. Here, the Hanuman temple built at Ramboda Hills—where he is said to have searched for Sita—is one of the stops, apart from the Hakgala Botanical gardens (where Sita was held in captive), and the Divurumpola Temple (where she underwent ‘agni pariksha’ or trial by fire, to prove her chastity to Rama). From Nuwara Eliya, the tour moves to Kataragama, home to Ravana Waterfalls. Rs 23,000 upwards (approximately). Details: thomascook.in

    Middle East

    Mythology3b Covering Egypt, Jordan and Israel, this nine-day tour is great for those who would like to experience a mix of Christian, Jewish and Egyptian history. The tour kicks off in Israel, where you’ll be taken to the tombs of Jesus Christ, and King David (said to be the second king of Israel and an ancestor of Jesus); the Wailing Wall or Western Wall, which was built by Herod The Great — who unsuccessfully planned to kill Jesus as a boy; and the Via Dolorosa — the path Jesus took during his crucifixion. After all the walking, take a dip in the Dead Sea, a health resort of sorts for Herod. Four days in Israel later, you’ll be taken to the Pyramids of Egypt, on a cruise down the river Nile and a tour of Cairo. The holiday comes to a close with a quick stop at Jordan, where you will visit Mount Nebo, from where Moses viewed the Promised Land (the place where God is said to have led him and his people to safety, from their oppressive rulers). Rs 1,05,000 per person. Details: cosmotravels.in

    Japan

    Mythology4c While this 12-day tour does take you to the more popular locations, such as Tokyo and Kyoto, it also shows you a side to Japan that is yet largely unexplored. Shimane prefecture is the birthplace of Japanese mythology, which gave rise to Shintoism. After spending the first three days in Kyoto and Nara (the first capital of Japan), you will spend a large chunk of your time walking through the remote towns of Shimane. At Matsue, the capital, visit Izumo Taisha, a shrine said to be a gift from the sun Goddess Amaterasu to Kuninushi (Shinto God); Yomi No Kuni, the entrance to the underworld, and the Kezo Ji temple built over 1,000 years ago, among other sites of Japanese mythology. The tour then moves on to Osaka and Tokyo, before winding up. Rs 23,300 upwards per day, approximately. Details: zicasso.com

    Peru
    If you are intrigued by the Inca empire, this package is just the thing for you. The tour sees you spending five days in Cusco, located in the Urubamba province of Peru. Depending on your preferences, this customisable holiday takes you to Moray, an Incan agricultural laboratory that has circular terraces used to study plants; Coricancha, a sun temple which was once covered with solid gold and housed golden statues; Isla del Sol, the birthplace of the Sun God; apart from the rediscovered site of the Lost City of the Incas — Machu Picchu, among others. Rs 45,000 upwards. Details: theholidaystudio.com

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