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{ India Tours } -- { Family Holiday Series } -- { Taj Temples Tiger & Tradition }

Taj Temples Tiger & Tradition


Duration of Trip -::- 14 Days
Key Places covered -::- Delhi, Jaipur, Ranthambhore, Agra, Umaria, Bandavgarh, Khajuraho, Varanasi, Delhi

Day 01: Delhi
Arrival at Delhi
Company representatives will receive you on arrival at the international airport in Delhi. Transfer to your hotel. Relax.

DELHI, the capital of kingdoms and empires is now a sprawling metropolis with a fascinating blend of the past and the present. It is a perfect introduction to the composite culture of an ancient land.  A window to the kaleidoscope - that is India.
Overnight will be at the hotel.

Day 02: Delhi

Breakfast will be at the hotel.

Red Fort, Delhi VacationStart with the sightseeing of Old Delhi. The tour will begin with a visit to Raj Ghat, a simple memorial to Mahatma Gandhi; drive past the Red Fort continuing to the Jama Masjid by bicycle rickshaws, one of Asia’s largest mosques. The magnificent Red Fort, overlooking the river Jamuna was built during the years 1638 - 48 when the Moghul Empire was at its peak. The tour continues to Jama Masjid, one of Asia’s largest mosques and which is viewed from the outside.

People stream in and out of the mosque continuously and the presence of a nearby bazaar means that the area is rarely quiet.
Enjoy the rickshaw ride at Old Delhi.

After visiting Old Delhi, you will be driven to New Delhi, which reflects the legacy the British left behind. The division between New and Old Delhi is the division between the capitals of the British and the Mughals respectively. The division in the walled city and New Delhi also marks the division in the life-styles. The walled city is all tradition where one will be able to glean a past life-style in all its facets, colours and spells. New Delhi in contrast, is a city trying to live up to the best of 21st century standards.

Imperial Delhi will include the Qutub Minar, the tallest stone tower in India. The tour also includes a drive past the imposing India Gate, the Parliament building and the Rastrapathi Bhawan, the President’s residence.
Spend night at Delhi.
 
Day 03: Delhi – Jaipur
By road
270 km in 5 hr
Breakfast will be at the hotel.
Drive to Jaipur.
Jal Mahal, Jaipur
Jaipur is the capital of the state of Rajasthan a romantic realm of resplendent palaces, mighty fortresses and regal Maharajahs that lies in the western deserts and is an utterly unique part of India. Proudly belonging to the KSHATRIYA warrior caste and fiercely independent, the Rajput princes made fearsome foes. However, many of them realized that to maintain their wealth and authority locally, it was expedient to proclaim allegiance to the central power. Thus, many enjoyed a privileged position under the Mughal emperors and also the British Raj that followed.

The bustling Rajasthan capital of Jaipur takes its name from its venerated founder Jai Singh II, who was given the title Sawai Maharaja by the Mughal. Literally translated this would mean ’one and a quarter’, suggesting that the Mughal thought this emperor to be more valuable than just ‘one’. Jaipur is known as the ’Pink City’ on account of the distinctive colour of its buildings. This did not, however, form part of the original plan, but dates back to 1856, when the city was given a wash of pink in honor of a State Visit from Prince Albert.

In the afternoon you can enjoy shopping or take an optional visit to SANGANER.

Sanganer is a little village just 16 kilometres from Jaipur. Here you will find the centre of the region’s block printing industry. Traditionally, only coarse cotton was printed for the ankle-length, flared skirts of Rajasthani women and today, you can see cotton cloth being printed by hand. It is said that the water of Sanganer makes the colors fast. Sanganer is the busiest crafts centre in the region and you should have time to visit artisans in their workshops and browse for gifts. You can also visit the Blue Pottery Factory, to see pottery created in Jaipur’s distinctive style; graceful floral designs in white or deep sea-green painted over a traditional inky-blue glaze.
 
In the evening enjoy a cycle rickshaw ride through the bustling bazaars. Jaipur is renowned for textile block printing, blue pottery, carpet weaving, semi-precious stones and local crafts which still thrive from the day of Maharaja Jai Singh's patronage when he designed special areas in the city for the 'bandhanas', the 'cheepas' and the 'meenakari' workers.
Overnight will be in Jaipur.

Day 04: Jaipur
Proceed for a morning excursion to Amber Fort after breakfast. Elephant ride ascent to the fort.
       
AMBER FORT PALACE – Amber is the classic romantic Rajasthani fort palace.  Its construction was started by Man Singh I in 1592, and completed by his descendent Jai Singh I.  Its forbidding exterior belies an inner paradise where a beautiful fusion of Mughal and Hindu styles finds its ultimate expression. At the foot of the hill you will mount your caparisoned elephant for the slow but steady climb up to the main gate, making your entrance in the time honoured fashion. The Fort, completed in the early 18th century, took over 100 years to build and now, although deserted, offers a fascinating insight into the lifestyle of the Moghul ruling families.
Continue sightseeing.

CITY PALACE - A delightful blend of Mughal and traditional Rajasthani architecture, the City Palace sprawls over one-seventh of the area in the walled city.  It houses the Chandra Mahal, Shri Govind Dev Temple and the City Palace Museum.
       
JANTAR MANTAR - This is the largest and the best preserved of the five observatories built by Jai Singh II in different parts of the country.  This observatory consisting of outsized astronomical instruments is still in use.
       
HAWA MAHAL - The ornamental facade of this "Palace of Winds" is a prominent landmark in Jaipur.  It is a five-storey structure of sandstone plastered pink encrusted with fine trelliswork and elaborate balconies. The palace has 953 niches and windows. Built in 1799 by Pratap Singh, the Mahal was a royal grandstand for the palace women.

This afternoon is free for you to relax, shop or explore independently. Shopping is superb in Jaipur, particularly for gold and silver jewellery, pottery, tie-dye materials, silk, saris, wooden handicrafts and carpets.

This evening, visit the Birla Temple to learn more about the fascinating religious life of Jaipur. The marble structure, built as recently as 1985, houses ornate statues including one of Lakshmi (goddess of Wealth and Beauty) and Narayan dressed in gaudy robes, representing a Hindu vision of heavenly luxury. Carvings in the temple and on pillars supporting the covered walkways include images of the Hindu pantheon, as well as Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Francis of Assisi. Your visit will coincide with the AARTI Ceremony,which involves oil lamps being lit and waved, in order to awake and invoke the deity. Enjoy the experience and spend night at Jaipur.
Overnight will be at Jaipur.
 
Elephants, Ranthambhore National ParkDay 05: Jaipur – Ranthambhore
By road
175 km in 4 hr
Breakfast will be at hotel.
Drive to Ranthambhore at leisure.

Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, at the junction of the Aravalis and the Vindhyas, is a unique example of natural and historical richness, standing out conspicuously in the vast, arid and denuded tract of eastern Rajasthan, barely 14 kilometers from Sawai Madhopur. Get in tune with nature for a luxury holiday in the heart of the jungle. Most of the resorts are close to the National Park Gate, Tiger Den being the closest.

It spreads over a highly undulating topography varying from gentle to steep slopes; from flat topped hills of the Vindhyas to the conical hillocks and sharp ridges of the Aravalis, from wide and flat valleys to narrow rocky gorges. An important geological feature the ‘Great Boundary Fault’ where the Vindhya plateaus meet the Aravali Hill range meanders through the Reserve. TheNational Park is bound by the rivers Chambal in the south and Banas in the north.

Tiger, at the apex of the food chain, lord over the kingdom in a subtle way. Solitary by nature, it operates in stealth. Therefore tiger sightings, frequent as they are, are always a matter of chance. However, even evidences of tiger's activities are very exciting.

Reach and relax at the beautiful resort. Enjoy lunch and then proceed for the afternoon safari in the park. Track the wild animals and later come back to the resort.
Overnight will be at Ranthambhore.
 
Day 06: Ranthambhore
Wake up early morning and leave for your safari into the National Park. Track the tigers and other wildlife through the morning. Return to the resort / lodge by 1000 in the morning and have breakfast.

Freshen up and either spend time at the pool or visit the town. You could also go for a nice visit to the temple on top of the fort.
In the afternoon have lunch and then leave again for you afternoon safari. The safari will be till evening 1700 – 1800 hr and then return to the resort / lodge.

Dinner will be at the resort and retire early for the night.
Overnight will be at Ranthambhore.

Day 07: Ranthambhore – Agra
By road
250 km in 6 hr
Breakfast will be at the resort.
Drive to Fatehpur Sikri.

The deserted, red Sandstone City, Emperor Akbar built that as his capital and palace in the late 16th century is an exhilarating experience. It a veritable fairytale city and its  "ruins" are in pristine condition  ...  it's not hard to imagine what the court life must have been like in the days of its grandeur. Also visit the Bulund Darwaza, the largest gateway in the world.
Enjoy sightseeing and drive to Agra.

AGRA: Two great Mughal monarchs, Akbar and Shah Jahan, transformed the little village of Agra into a befitting second capital of the Mughal Empire – giving it the name Dar-ul-Khilafat {seat of the Emperor}. Today a visitor to Agra is caught up in a world of contrasting edifices, of red sandstone and white marble, narrow galleys and quaint buggies, and that irresistible charm that this favorite city of the Mughals still retains. It is not surprising, that modern Agra still reflects its Mughal heritage most conspicuously.  A walk down the narrow bustling streets of the city will introduce the visitor to the wafting aroma of Mughlai cuisine.
       
Relax at the hotel.
Overnight will be at Agra.
 
Day 08: Agra – Umaria (Bandavgarh)
By Overnight train at 2100 hr
Breakfast will be at hotel.
Proceed for day sightseeing of Agra.

TAJ MAHAL: Little needs to be said about this architectural wonder which is always the soul raison-de-etre for every tourist's visit to Agra. Built by Shah Jahan, the Taj is a white marble memorial to his beautiful wife Mumtaz Mahal. This monument took 22 years to be completed and was designed, and planned by Persian architect Ustad Isa. Apart from its stunning design balance and perfect symmetry, the Taj is also noted particularly for its elegant domes, intricately carved screens and some of the best inlay work ever seen.   

AGRA FORT - Built by the famed Mughal emperor Akbar in 1565 AD, the fort is predominantly of red sandstone.  Ensconced within is the picture perfect Pearl Mosque, which is a major tourist attraction. It lies on the bend of the river Yamuna, almost in the heart of the town. Akbar built it as his citadel over the years 1563-73 in the finest architectural style. It has imposing gates and walls of red sandstone and a moat.

After Agra Fort we will visit BABY TAJ – The interiors of which are considered better than the Taj.
Take evening train to UMARIA.
Overnight will be on the train.

Tiger Safari, Bandhavgarh National ParkDay 09: Arrive at Bandavgarh

Reach UMARIA and transfer to Bandavgarh.
Reach and check in at the resort.

Bandavgarh is a new National Park with a very long history.  Set among the Vindhya hills of Madhya Pradesh with an area of 168sq miles (437sq km) it contains a wide variety of habitats and a high density of game, including a large number of Tigers.  This is also the White tiger country.  These have been found in the old state of Rewa for Many years.  Maharaja Martand Singh captured the last known in 1951.  This white Tiger, Mohun is now stuffed and on display in the Palace of Maharaja of Rewa. Prior to becoming a National Park, the forests around Bandavgarh had long been maintained as a Shikargah, or game preserve of the Maharaja of Rewa.  The Maharaja and his guests carried out hunting – otherwise the wildlife was well protected.  It was considered a good omen for Maharaja of Rewa to shoot 109 tigers.  His Highness Maharaja Venkat Raman Singh shot 111 Tigers by 1914.

In the afternoon proceed into the Park for your wildlife safari. In the evening have dinner by the bonfire.
Overnight will be at the resort.
 
Day 10: Bandavgarh
Enjoy birding inside the jungle and on the periphery. (Two safaris)

Trip to the Bandavgarh Fort: The oldest fort in India - considered to be more than 2500 years.   One-hour trek up the fort is worth the effort.  The charm of this trek lies in discovering these monuments in the jungle, unspoiled and unexplored.  Some of the statues lie off the main path and so it is best to take a guide.  Apart from the avatars, well worth seeing are three small temples of around the 12th century.  These temples are deserted but the fort is still used as a place of worship.  Kabir Das, the celebrated 16th century saint, once lived and preached here. The natural ramparts of the fort give breathtaking view of the surrounding countryside. The fort still belongs to the Maharaja of Rewa and permission is required to visit it. However permission is available locally and no trip to Bandhavgarh is complete without making an effort to climb up the fort. The staff of the resort carries your lunch while you are busy negotiating the trek to the fort.
Overnight will be at the resort.
 
Day 11: Bandavgarh – Khajuraho
By road
250 km in 6 hr
Enjoy early morning safari in the park.
Drive to Khajuraho after breakfast.
Reach by early evening.

Situated in the northernmost part of Madhya Pradesh, Khajuraho is famous for its enchanting temples and its legendary Khajuraho dance festival. The name Khajuraho is derived from the Khajur tree (the date palm tree) which is grown abundantly in the region. The Khajuraho Temples are dedicated to a celebration of womanhood, her myriad moods and facets. Famous for its erotic architecture, the carvings include, women writing a letter, applying eye makeup, combing her tresses, dancing & playing with her child. Her innocent, blushed, charming, seductive, ardent beauty, all depicted in exquisitely sculptured details. These temples have been designed and carved to lead the eyes from ground level upward till you seem to be looking at heaven.

In the evening proceed for the SOUND AND LIGHT SHOW and retire for the night.
Overnight will be at Khajuraho.
 
Day 12: Khajuraho – Varanasi
By Air

Breakfast will be at the hotel.
Start sightseeing of the WESTERN & EASTERN TEMPLES.

The remote location of Khajuraho meant that the temples were unharmed by Muslim invaders and as a result, the intricately fine carvings are in very good condition and are said to represent life in heaven.  They were built during the mighty Chandela Dynasty the majority of which were constructed in a sudden burst of creative and religious energy, between the mid-10th and 11th centuries.  After ruling for about 500 years the Chandela dynasty fell to the might of Islam and consequently the religious centre of Khajuraho was abandoned.  The temples remain as a reminder of a society that believed in the full enjoyment of life, with all the senses being a path to nirvana.  Of the eighty-five original temples only 22 remain, but many are in very good condition including the Kandariya Mahadeva, the Chatrabhuj, Parswanath and Ghantai Temples, each remarkable for its beautiful design and architecture.

Take flight to Varanasi.
Picturesquely situated on the crescent shaped left bank of the holy River Ganges, Varanasi, one of the ancient seats of learning in India, is said to be a compound of the names of two streams, the Varuna and the Assi, which still flow in the north and south of the city respectively. This name seems to have been corrupted, in medieval times to Varanasi, which was in use till May 1956, when it was changed to Varanasi, by an order of the Government of India. Varanasi is probably one of the most ancient living cities in India. From time immemorial it has been a great religious center for Hindus and one of their most sacred places of pilgrimage, being visited by millions of people every year. To every visitor Varanasi offers a breathtaking experience. The rays of the dawn shimmering across the Ganges; the high-banks; the temples and shrines along the banks bathed in a golden hue …soul stirring hymns and mantras along with the fragrance of incense filling the air…and the refreshing dip in the holy waters gently splashing at the Ghats. Varanasi – The land where experience and discovery reach the ultimate bliss. Varanasi is also renowned for its rich tapestry of music, arts, crafts. Some of the world – renowned exponents India has produced in these fields were schooled in Varanasi’s cultural ethos. Luminaries apart, Varanasi abounds in the art of silk weaving, an exotic work of art which manifests itself in precious Banarasi silk sarees and silk brocadeswhich are cherished as collector’s items across the world today.

Visit Sarnath ‑ 5 miles out of Varanasi: The great Buddha enhanced the sanctity of Varanasi by choosing the environs of the city to preach his first sermon at Sarnath, (only 10 Kms away) after attaining enlightenment. Later, Ashoka, the great Mauryan Emperor erected magnificent stupas and other buildings along with his mighty stone pillar, Dharmarajika Stupa. The 110 ft. tall Damekh Stupa marks the place where Buddha preached first sermon.Sarnath has been a premier centre for Buddhism. It is a rich collection of ancient Buddhist relics and antiques comprising numerous Buddha and Bodhisatva images on display at the Archaeological Museum (1000 hrs to 1700 hrs. Open all days except Friday)

Enjoy the evening AARTI at the GHATS. The guide will be giving a commentary to you on the proceedings and meanings of the chants during the AARTI of the river.
Overnight will be spent at Varanasi.
 
Ganga Ghat, Varanasi Tour & TravelDay 13: Varanasi
In the early morning drive to Daswamedh Ghat and take a boat ride on the sacred river Ganges to see the cremation Ghats and witness the living traditions of one of the world's oldest and most important religions. (To start at 0500 hrs. for the best lifetime experience) For you to appreciate this remarkable city, we'll transfer you to the banks of the River Ganges before the sun rises. Board a boat with your guide and proceed to the middle of the river, where at sunrise the sight unfolds before you. Thousands of faithful come daily to the banks to bathe and pray while in the background, temples and palaces rise in tiers from the water's edge. Then return for a walk through the cobblestone streets along the banks of "Ganga". As shops are opening, the place now becomes a beehive of activity as the faithful arecoming and going. Visit the Kashi Vishwanath Temple while returning to the hotel.

Return for breakfast to the hotel.

Proceed for day guided tour of Varanasi including the Bharat Mata Temple, which features a big relief map of Mother India engraved in marble. Also visit the 18th century Durga Temple, commonly known as the Monkey Temple due to the huge population of the monkeys. Proceed to the Tulsi Manas Temple, crafted from white marble which features the entire Ramayana inscribed on its walls. Also visit the BHU considered as the biggest residential university in Asia. The University Campus houses an Art Gallery and the Mosque of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.

Vishwanath Temple: Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple is the most sacred shrine in Varanasi. The original temple was destroyed by the Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb which was later restored by Rani Ahilyabai of Indore in the 18th century. The Gold plating of the dome was done during the 19th century by Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab. Foreigner’s entry restricted.

Banaras Hindu University: Founded by Pundit Madan Mohan Malviya it is considered to be the largest residential university in Asia. Within the university campus, Vishwanath Temple and Bharat Kala Kendra (Museum) are well worth a visit.
Overnight will be in Varanasi.
 
Day 14: Varanasi – Delhi
By Air

Breakfast will be at hotel. Proceed to the airport for flight to Delhi. Reach and check in at hotel. Spend the afternoon in last minute shopping.

Proceed to the airport as per flight timing and enjoy the FAREWELL DINNER.  Board the flight for home with sweet memories of India.


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