Treasures of India15 NIGHTS /16 DAYS FROM $2,400
OVERVIEW OF YOUR INDIA TOUR
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DAY 1 - ARRIVE MUMBAI
The room is reserved today for you from 1200 hrs today for immediate occupancy. Arrive late in the evening or in the early hours of Day 02.
DAY 2 - IN MUMBAI
After relaxing and overcoming the jet lag, start your late morning sightseeing tour of Mumbai. The Gateway of India is the main attraction of Mumbai city. The Mani Bhawan or the Gandhi memorial was once used to be the residence of Mahatma Gandhi in Mumbai. Also known as Queen’s Necklace, Marine Drive. Juhu is a 5-km-long beach that attracts a large number of visitors on any day of the week. Also, visit gardens like the Hanging Garden and the Kamla Nehru Garden and Chowpatty gives you the view of one of the most happening beaches of Mumbai. Return to your hotel for an overnight stay.
DAY 3 - TO AURANGABAD
In the morning, proceed for a half-day excursion to visit Elephanta Caves. Located nine kilometres by sea from the Gateway of India, are the Elephanta Caves, a place you must include in your excursion itinerary. The Elephanta Caves are characterized by rock temples carved out of two hills that emerge from the centre of the island. It is said that the Portuguese named this island after the stone elephant they found here. At Elephanta, you can see the cave shrine to Lord Shiva, which belongs to the sixth century, and a massive three-headed sculpture representing Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Shiva the destroyer. You can also find the other interesting sculptures here include those that depict the marriage of Shiva and Parvati. In the afternoon transfer to the airport to board a flight for Aurangabad. Arrive in Aurangabad and transfer to the hotel. Aurangabad was an important seat of the Mughal Empire during the Mughal rule in India. The town holds a good number of Mughal architectural marvels making it an important historical destination of Maharashtra. The town is situated on the banks of the Kham River. The medieval monuments and cultural heritage, the silk and cotton textiles and its proximity to the famous world heritage sites of Ajanta and Ellora attract a good number of tourists towards it every year. Though the city looks calm and quiet with not much humdrum on the streets, it is an industrialized, competitive city making its own mark on the tourist and industrial map of India. It is also interesting to note that Aurangabad was formerly known as Khirki (meaning window) because of its strategic position that provided a window view of the Deccan plateau.
DAY 4 - IN AURANGABAD
Day return excursion to Ajanta caves, heritage site especially related to Buddhism from the period of 200 BC to 650 AD. Famous for its caves, Ajanta is one of the few historical and architectural marvels of India. Recognized as the World Heritage site today, it was discovered during the 19th century by a group of British officers who were on a tiger hunt. The Ajanta group of caves, located deep within the Sahyadri hills above the Waghora, depict the story of Buddhism that prevailed here from 200 BC to 650 AD.
DAY 5 - IN AURANGABAD
Morning visit to the Ellora caves, which houses 34 monasteries and temples with some exclusive uninterrupted sequence of monuments that date back from 600 to 1000 AD. Ellora is one of the highly visited World heritage sites of India. Just 30 kilometres Northwest of Aurangabad, Ellora is easily accessible from the nearby major towns. The temples of Ellora are dedicated to Brahmanism, Jainism, and Buddhism. It also has some excellent stonework depicting the legends related to Lord Shiva.
DAY 6 - TO MANDU
Drive this morning to Mandu. Arrive Mandu and check-in at a heritage hotel set amidst beautiful landscape. Mandu, or the ”City of Joy”, is a superb hilltop fort, deserted, dramatic, and alive with ghosts! It is a dream city steeped in legends of the love of Baz Bahadur for his beloved Rani Roopmati. Breathtakingly beautiful, this former capital of the Sultanate of Malwa is perched high on a hill in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, 283 km away from the capital city Bhopal. A ghost city now, Mandu was once the monsoon retreat of the Mughal emperors. For one thing, Mandu is far from the coast. It does not have the sort of sluicing rain that inundates some of our seaboard destinations. Moreover, Mandu is on a plateau and regardless of how much it rains, the water pours off in silver-threaded waterfalls, which gives it a sort of designer magic that no designer but only nature can replicate. And finally—and this is a big plus—many of the monumental buildings of Mandu have been fashioned to use this play of water and rain-heavy thunder clouds to superb effect.
DAY 7 - IN MANDU
You can easily spend all day in Mandu, wandering in and out of palaces, pausing to admire the beauty of the Champa Baoli, the former baths, and the huge 15th-century Jami Masjid, the finest example of Afghan architecture in India. Then there are the beautiful Jahaz Mahal (ship palace), where the two surrounding lakes complete the architectural illusion; the Hindola Mahal, or swing palace; the romantic Baz Bahadur’s Palace and Roopmati’s Pavilion; and Hoshang Shah’s Tomb, the final resting place of the founder of Ghuri Dynasty. Besides, there are many palaces, pavilions, and reservoirs where you can spend a leisurely day taking in the city’s rather turbulent history, which is not revealed by the monuments, that speak of luxurious royal lifestyles.
DAY 8 - TO INDORE
This morning, leave for Indore by surface. Indore is known as the city of the Holkars. Planned and built by Rani Ahilyabai, the brave Holkar queen, Indore lies to the extreme west of Madhya Pradesh on the banks of the rivers Saraswati and Khan, which unite at the centre of the city. The bustling and vibrant city, 186 km from Bhopal, derives its name from the 18th century Indreshwar temple.
In the afternoon visit Lal Baag Palace – Lal Baag Palace is one of the grandest monuments the Holkar dynasty left Indore. A reflection of their taste, grandeur and lifestyle, its construction began in 1886 under Tukoji Rao Holkar II and was carried out in three phases. The final phase was completed in 1921 under Tukoji Rao Holkar III. Many royal receptions were held here. It has a total area of 28 hectares, and at one time it had the reputation of having one of the best rose gardens in the country. Bada Ganpati – Better known for its size than antiquity, this temple houses perhaps the largest Ganesh idol in the world measuring 25 feet from crown to foot. Created as a result of the dream of an Avantika (Ujjain) resident, Shri Dadhich, it was built in 1875. Kanch Mandir – This Jain temple is an architectural marvel in glass. The walls, ceilings, floors, pillars and doorknobs are entirely inlaid with glass. Even paintings are done in glass. Atop is a special glass chamber, which multiplies the three statues of Lord Mahavira installed there into an indefinite number (said to be visible up to 21 times, corresponding to the 21 Tirthankaras).
DAY 9 - IN INDORE
Visit the temples of Omkareshwar and Maheswar today.
77 km from Indore, Omkareshwar, the sacred island, shaped like the holiest of all Hindu symbols, ‘Om’, has drawn to it hundreds of generations of pilgrims. Here, at the confluence of the rivers Narmada and Kaveri, the devout gather to kneel before the Jyotirlinga (one of the twelve throughout India) at the temple of Shri Omkar Mandhata. And here, as in so many of Madhya Pradesh’s sacred shrines, the works of Nature complement those of man to provide a setting awe-inspiring in its magnificence.
91 km from Indore, Maheshwar was a glorious city at the dawn of Indian civilization when it was Mahishmati, capital of king Kartivarjun. This temple town on the banks of the river Narmada finds mention in the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Revived to its ancient position of importance by the Holkar queen Rani Ahilyabai of Indore. Maheshwar’s temples and mighty fort-complex stand in quiet beauty, mirrored in the river below.
Return to your hotel in Indore in the evening for an overnight stay.
DAY 10 - TO UJJAIN
Drive 55 km today to the city of Ujjain situated on the banks of the river Shipra, regarded since times immemorial as sacred. The belief in the sacredness of Shipra, has its origins in the ancient Hindu mythological tale of churning of the Ocean by the Gods and the Demons, with Vasuki, the serpent as the rope. The ocean bed first yielded fourteen gems, then Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth, and finally the coveted vessel of Nectar. Then began the wild scramble for immortality with the demons chasing the Gods across the skies, and in the process, a few drops were spilt and fell at Hardwar, Nasik, Prayag, and Ujjayini. Hence the sanctity of the waters of the Shipra. Return to your hotel in Indore in the evening for an overnight stay.
DAY 11 - TO SANCHI AND BHOPAL
Drive 186 km today to arrive in Bhopal. En route stop at Sanchi – known for its Stupas, monasteries, temples and pillars dating from the 3rd century B.C. to the 12th century A.D. The most famous of these monuments, the Sanchi Stupa, was originally built by the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka, the then governor of Ujjayini, whose wife Devi was the daughter of a merchant from adjacent Vidisha. Their son Mahindra and daughter Sanghamitra were born in Ujjayini and sent to Sri Lanka, where they converted the King, the Queen and their people to Buddhism.
DAY 12 - TO JHANSI & ORCHHA
In the morning visit the Bhimbekta caves, where about 700 rock shelters belonging to the Neolithic age and over 500 caves have paintings of pre-historic men. In the afternoon connect the express train for Jhansi. Arrive Jhansi and transfer to Orchha. Orchha, now a small hamlet in the state of Madhya Pradesh, was once the capital of the formidable Bundela kings who ruled over a large tract between the Ganga and Narmada in medieval times. According to legends, King Rudra Pratap chose this place situated on the loop of the river Betwa to make his capital in AD 1501. Located at a distance of 16 km from Jhansi, Orchha rises out of the hills and the greens surrounding it. The historical monuments of Orchha still retain their pristine charm and narrate stories of war and peace, of love and destruction. It is also a place famous for Bundela paintings, of which it was once a center
DAY 13 - TO KHAJURAHO
Drive 175 km to the temple town of Khajuraho, which has lent its name to a complex of exquisite Hindu and Jain temples, is a small town located amidst the forested plains of Bundelkhand in north-central Madhya Pradesh. The beautiful temples that dot Khajuraho are believed to have been built by the mighty Chandela rulers in the 9th and 10th century AD. The engravings on these temples are highly sensual and erotic that depict in graceful forms intimate scenes of the whole range of human emotions and relationships. These sculptures congeal in stone a lyrical paean to love and passion and reflect the Chandela dynasty’s immense appreciation for art. Arrive in Khajuraho and check in at the hotel.
DAY 14 - TO DELHI
In the morning, proceed for a guided city tour of Khajuraho temples. Khajuraho combines history, architecture, culture and environment with delectable charm. It is a town that takes you away from the noise and pollution of the city, with its fresh air and scenic countryside. For convenience, the temples of Khajuraho are divided into Western, Eastern, and Southern groups. The Western Group, situated opposite the Government of India Tourist Office, has 14 temples. The Chaunsath Yogini, Lalguan Mahadev, Parvati, Varaha, Matangesvara, Lakshmana, Vishvanath and Nandi, Chitragupta, Devi Jagdamba and Kandariya Mahadeo temples belong to this group. The Eastern Group, 2.4 km from the Tourist Office, consists of seven temples (four Jain and three Hindu). The Parsvanath, Adinath, Shantinath, and Ghantai temples belong to the Jains while the Vamana, Javari and Brahma are Hindu temples. The Southern Group, about 5 km from Khajuraho, contains the Chaturbhuj and Duladeo temples. Late in the afternoon, fly to Delhi.
DAY 15 - IN DELHI
This morning, proceed for a guided tour of Old and New Delhi. In Old city visit Red Fort built by Emperor Shah Jahan; Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques in India; Raj Ghat – the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi and enjoy a walking tour in Chandni Chowk – the silver street of Delhi bustling with activity. Stop for lunch during your tour at a downtown restaurant in the heart of the city. Later in the New city visit Qutab Minar, the tallest stone tower in India; Humayun’s Tomb built in the Indo Persian style and a predecessor to The Taj Mahal in Agra; India Gate – A War Memorial Arch. Also, drive past the President’s house, Parliament House, Government secretariat buildings and Connaught place – the heart of New Delhi and a busy shopping center. In the evening return to your hotel for an overnight stay.
DAY 16 - DEPARTURE
A representative will accompany you to the airport to board a flight for your onward destination.
WHAT'S INCLUDED ON YOUR INDIA TOUR
*Prices are based on twin sharing & include daily breakfast at the hotels, services of an English speaking local guide for sightseeing tours as per the itinerary, 02 bottles per person per day of mineral water, all prevailing taxes ie// luxury tax in all hotels and expenditure tax wherever applicable, all transfers to or from hotels, city tours, excursions, drives by air-conditioned car, mandatory Government Service Tax as applicable, interstate road tax, toll tax, driver’s allowance, parking etc.
WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED ON YOUR INDIA TOUR
*Prices do not include any lunch, dinner, snacks, mineral water etc. unless mentioned in the itinerary, airfare for guest, Wi-Fi charges at the hotels, (Wi-Fi is always chargeable at the hotels), monument fee $110 to $180 depending upon the tour, portage, laundry, telephone calls, table drinks or any other expenses of personal nature, Any item not specified under cost includes.