The Architectural Abundance !!
Duration - 22 Nights & 23 Days
Destinations - Mumbai, Aurangabad, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Agra, Gwalior, Orcha, Khajuraho, Varanasi, Bodhgaya, Rajgir, Nalanda, Patna, Vaishali, Kushinagar, Lumbini, Balrampur, Lucknow, Delhi
Arrive at Mumbai Airport. You will be met and assisted on arrival by company representative.
Proceed to hotel and relax.
Briefing (Mumbai): Mumbai is the capital of Maharastra State and the gateway to this beguiling subcontinent. Of the four great cities in India, Mumbai is the most cosmopolitan, spear heading India's move into the 21st century. The word Mumbai is derived from Mumbadevi, the patron goddess of the Koli fisherfolk, the oldest inhabitants of Mumbai. The name Mumbai, in its final form, dates back to the 18th century. For Portuguese, the name Bombay is Good Bay ("Bom" "Bay" Good Bay). Mumbai is a cluster of seven islands. These islands of no great value were ceded to Portuguese in 1534 by the Sultan of Gujarat. The Portuguese in turn gave these islands to Englands's Chareless II as part of the wedding dowry of Catherine of Braganza when she married England’s Charles II in 1661. In 1668, the British government leased the islands to the East India Company for 10 pounds per annum in the form of gold and Mumbai grew gradually to become centre of trade.
Overnight will be at Mumbai.
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the hotel.
Later proceed for a sightseeing tour of Mumbai.
Later proceed for sightseeing tour of Mumbai.
Mumbai Fort: The area north of Colaba is known as Mumbai Fort, since the old British fort was once located here. There are a lot of impressive buildings from Mumbai's golden period here. St. John's church, dedicated to the soldiers, who laid down their lives in the Sindh campaign of 1838, and the first Afghan war of 1843, is also worth a visit.
Marine Drive: The marine drive is one of the best known aspects of Mumbai, the commercial capital of India. It is a circular stretch of road starting at Nariman Point and culminating at the Malabar Hills. The entire stretch measures about three kilometers. Marine Drive is officially known as Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Road, but it is seldom referred to with that name.
It is counted as one of the tourist spots of Mumbai, and a large number of major tourist attractions are lined up around the stretch of this road. A trip around Marine drive can start at either ends. Starting from the Nariman Point end, a tourist can get a magnificent view of the entire stretch of the C- shaped road right up to its end. The skyline of the city looks as breathtaking as the serene sea.
Gateway of India: Mumbai's principal landmark, the Gateway of India is a huge archway on the water's edge at Apollo Bunder. It is the starting point for most tourists who want to explore the city. This famous monument was built to commemorate the visit of the first ever British Monarch, King George V and Queen Mary in 1911. The Gateway was built by the British and designed by the architect George Wittet. The first stone was laid by the then Governor of Bombay on March 31st, 1913. The Gate was formally opened in 1924.
Flora Fountain/ Hutama Chowk: This fountain situated in the heart of the city was erected in 1869 in honour of a British Governor of Bombay. Sir Brtle Frere. Flora Fountain marks a junction of five streets and known as the 'Picadilly Circus 'of Mumbai, which is decorated at its four corners with mythological figures, the Fountain is a structure in dull stone with a figure the Roman Goddess of flowers, at the top.
Hanging Gardens in Mumbai: On the Western side of the top of Malabar Hills, opposite the Kamala Nehru Park, lies the hanging gardens or the terraced gardens. Also called the Ferozeshah Mehta Gardens, this is a beautiful place to experience the sunset across the horizon of the Arabian Sea. These are called hanging gardens because they are located on the slope of a hill. The Hanging Gardens was built early in the 1880’s, over Mumbai’s main reservoir. It is often said that these gardens wee made with the purpose to cover the water from the contaminating activities of the nearby Towers of Silence.
Victoria Terminus/Western Railway Station: Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus is popularly known by its acronym VT. Being the headquarters of the Central Railways in India, it is the western-most end point of the division and also the southern end point of the central and harbor lines of Mumbai's metropolitan rail transport system. A blend of Victorian Italianate Gothic Revival architecture and traditional Indian architecture-is displayed by the wood carving, tiles, ornamental iron and brass railings, grills and balustrades in the station It showcases advanced technical and structural designs There is a statue of Queen Victoria on the dome of the station. The first steam train in India-- from Mumbai to Thane was flagged off from here in 1853. It is one of the Mumbai's most prominent buildings and architecturally one of the finest stations in the world. It is built in a style that combines Gothic and Indian influences. It was completed in 1885. Designed by F.W. Stevens the building commenced in 1878.
Overnight will be at Mumbai.
Have your breakfast at the hotel.
Later transfer to the airport to connect flight for Aurangabad.
Aurangabad: The ancient city of Aurangabad is located in the northern part of the state of Maharashtra in the western region of India. It is 403 km away from Mumbai and is encircled by hills. Situated on the banks of the Kham River, this historical city is famous for its medieval monuments and cultural heritage. Aurangabad was an important seat of the Mughal Empire for a short period. Thus, the city has many monuments speaking volumes about the grandeur of the Mughal architecture. There are many Buddhist, Jain, and Hindu temples also located in this region. Apart from these historical structures, the city is also famous for its close proximity with world heritage sites of Ajanta and Ellora and for its silk and cotton textiles.
Later visit the caves.
Ellora Caves: Ellora caves lay in the lap of the Chamadari hills extending over a mile and a quarter in the north-south direction and are situated at a distance of 30 kms northwest of Aurangabad. Ellora represents some 300 years of great experiments carried out by different faiths with their very different iconography and structural compulsions.
Ellora caves are finest specimens of cave temple architecture. They house elaborate facades and exquisitely adorned interiors. These structures representing the three faiths of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, were carved during 350 AD to 700 AD period.
The cave monuments of Ellora were chiefly patronised by the Chalukya - Rashtrakuta rulers (7th - 10th century AD). Ellora group have 34 caves in them of which 12 are Buddhist, 17 are Hindu and 5 are Jain. Having elaborately carved facades, the work inside the caves will simply leave you breathless. According to experts, these caves were carved between 350 AD and 700 AD. The most appreciated attraction of Ellora Caves is the Kailasa Temple in cave 16. See it once and it will be tough for you to believe that the whole cave is carved out of a single monolith. The assembly hall, sanctum and lower hall, all are carved out of a single block. Cave 32 and Cave 34 are the most important Jain caves in Ellora Caves.
Aurangabad Caves: The Aurangabad caves (19°55’ N; 75°30’ E) are located on a hill running roughly east to west, nearly 2 km behind Bibi-ka-Maqbara. In all twelve Buddhist Caves are found here which fall into three separate groups depending on its location. The first group consists of caves 1 to 5, the second 6 to 9 and third 10 to 12. The caves are datable from circa 2nd – 3rd century AD to 7th century AD. The first and the second groups are separated by nearly 500 metres from each other, with the former at the western side while the latter is on the eastern side of the same hill. The third group is further east of the second group. The earliest excavations (Caves 1 & 3) probably date to 2nd – 3rd century A.D. Cave 3 is in the form of a chaitya griha of the Hinayana order, albeit preserved very badly due to the nature of the rock formation. The heterogeneous rock formation here has prevented very large scale excavations. The excavators have taken much care to avoid portions where the lose rock formations were present. Cave 1 is an unfinished vihara, the ceiling of verandah has fallen down. Cave 2 is also a vihara with a shrine of Buddha at the rear.
Daulatabad Fort: Daulatabad is situated around 13 kms away from Aurangabad. This place is known for its majestic fortress which was built in 12th century on top of a hill. The Daulatabad fort emerges dramatically over 600 ft above the Deccan plain. It is one of the world's best preserved forts of medieval times and also one of the few impregnable forts in Maharashtra with excellent architecture. The city was named Daulatabad 'The city of fortune', by Mohammed bin Tughluq, the sultan of Delhi. lmost 800 years ago, Daulatabad, then called 'Devigiri' was a thriving city. It was founded by Bhillamraja of the Yadava dynasty in 1187 AD.
Relax in the evening. Overnight will be at Aurangabad.
Day 04 Aurangabad
Have a sumptuous breakfast and proceed for sightseeing tour of Ajanta Caves.
Ajanta Caves: The famous Ajanta caves are situated about 99-kms away from Aurangabad district in the state of Maharashtra. These caves are regarded as a world heritage site and were carved out from the 2nd century BC to 6th century AD. They are placed in a horseshoe shape about 3.5 m away from the village. The river Wagura, a mountain stream flows along the bottom of the ravine. This river falls from a height of 200 ft, thus making a series of waterfalls. The sound of the waterfalls can be heard in the caves also. The intriguing Ajanta Caves are carved out of large rocks and are 30 in number. These caves are dedicated to Lord Buddha. The followers and students of Buddhism resided here to study this religion. They have decorated these caves with the help of their excellent architectural skills and artistic paintings. The carvings and the paintings in the caves depict the life stories of Lord Buddha. Along with this, several types of human and animal figures are also carved out of the rocks.
Overnight will be at Aurangabad.
Day 05 Aurangabad - Mumbai - Udaipur
Have your breakfast at the hotel and later proceed to the airport to connect your flight for Udaipur via Mumbai.
On arrival at Mumbai, start for your sightseeing tour to visit Elephanta Caves.
Elephanta Caves: Elephanta caves, situated on Gharapuri Islands 15 miles from the Gateway of India in Mumbai, dates back to 6th century A.D. It is famous for the statues of Shiva and Parvati. The most striking statue of Trimurti, Shiva in the three moods as the Creator, the Destroyer and the Preserver is a masterpiece by itself. It was the Portuguese who named the caves The Elephanta caves after the statue of an elephant which is seen close to landing area. Many of the carved figures have been unfortunately destroyed by Portuguese iconoclast. Yet the sublime beauty of these sculptures remains intact. These caves are dedicated to Lord Shiva and consist of affluent sculptures.
These caves were carved out from a single rock. The Elephanta Caves covers an area of approximately 60000 square feet. The cave is filled with beautiful stone carvings of Hindu Gods and Goddess. Within the cave there are columns, images and internal space. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Elephanta Caves are accessible only by boat. The boat ride not only makes the trip to the Elephanta Caves an interesting experience, but also gives you an idea of the artistic embellishments and unimaginable beauty of the statues.
Return back to the city and transfer to the Airport to connect flight for Udaipur.
Briefing (Udaipur): Udaipur is the jewel of Mewar kingdom ruled by the Sisodia dynasty for 1200 Years. Udaipur is also known as the city of Dawn. It is a lovely land around the azure lake, hemmed in by the lush hills of the ARAVALLIS. The foundation of the city has an interesting legend associated with it. According to it, Maharana Udai Singh, the founder, was hunting one day when he met a holy man meditating on a hill overlooking the Lake Pichhola. The hermit blessed the Maharana and advised him to build a palace at this favorable located spot with a fertile valley watered by the stream, a lake, an agreeable altitude and an amphitheater of low mountains. Maharana followed the advice of the hermit and founded the city in 1559 A.D.
Spend night at Udaipur.
Enjoy a leisurely break fast at the hotel. Later proceed for the sightseeing tour of Udaipur.
City Palace: City Palace boasts of the wonderful blend of Medieval, European and Chinese Architecture. The Palace has various towers, domes and arches, which add to the flavor of heritage site. Towering on the banks of Pichola Lake, City Palace is truly a feast to the eyes. City Palace is a marvelous assortment of courtyards, pavilions, terraces, corridors, rooms and hanging gardens. Encircled by fortifications, this imposing Palace is wholly built in granite and marble.
Later proceed for the most awaited sightseeing tour of this marvelous city visiting City Palace, Saheliyon Ki Baari, Bagore Ki Haveli, and Jagdish Temple.
Saheliyon ki Bari: Garden of maids was built in the 18th century by Maharana Sangram Singh for the royal ladies. Saheliyon Ki Bari is one the most beautiful gardens and a major tourist destination in Udaipur. The garden is famous for its lush green lawns, marble art and fountains. English translation of Saheliyon Ki Bari means "Garden of maids". This renowned garden is located on the banks of Fateh Sagar Lake, presenting a green retreat in the dry lands of Rajasthan. As per the legends, the garden was designed by the king himself and he presented this garden to his queen.
Bagore Ki Haveli: Bagore Ki Haveli is an ancient building that stands on the platform of Gangori Ghat in the vicinity of Pichola Lake. The splendid architecture of the mansion boasts of delicate carved work and excellent glass work. In the eighteenth century, Bagore Ki Haveli was built by Amir Chand Badwa, who was the Chief Minister at the Mewar Royal Court in earlier times. When Amar Badwa died, the building came under the possession of Mewar State. In 1878, the Haveli made the abode to Maharana Shakti Singh of Bagore, who further incorporated three stories to the main structure.
Jagdish Temple: Jagdish Temple is one of the famous temples of Udaipur. Located in the City Palace complex of Udaipur, this temple is made in the Indo-Aryan style of architecture. In 1651, Jagdish temple was built by Maharana Jagat Singh, who ruled Udaipur during 1628-53. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu (Laxmi Narayan), the preserver of the Universe. It is celebrated for being the largest temple in the city of Udaipur. The gateway of this temple can be sited at a distance of 150 meters from the Bara Pol of the City Palace.
City Palace: City Palace boasts of the wonderful blend of Medieval, European and Chinese Architecture. The Palace has various towers, domes and arches, which add to the flavor of heritage site. Towering on the banks of Pichola Lake, City Palace is truly a feast to the eyes. City Palace is a marvelous assortment of courtyards, pavilions, terraces, corridors, rooms and hanging gardens. Encircled by fortifications, this imposing Palace is wholly built in granite and marble. City Palace comprises 11 wonderful palaces, which were built by different rulers still they resemble each other.
Overnight will be at Udaipur.
Day 07 Udaipur - Jodhpur
Distance 280 kms / 6 hrs
Have a comfortable morning at the hotel at Udaipur with a leisurely breakfast.
Later proceed for a Jodhpur, en-route visiting Ranakpur Temples.
Briefing (Ranakpur Temple): The temples date back to the 15th century. Its 200 pillars, none of which are alike, support its 29 halls. The Temple abounds with intricate friezes and sculptures. Includes visits to two more Jain temples and the Temple of the Sun God with its erotic sculptures.
Continue your drive to Jodhpur.
Briefing (Jodhpur): Set at the edge of the Thar Desert, the imperial city of Jodhpur echoes with tales of antiquity in the emptiness of the desert. Jodhpur "The Sun City" was founded by Rao Jodha, a chief of the Rathore clan, in 1459. It is named after him only. Jodhpur in Rajasthan, India was previously known as Marwar. Jodhpur is the second largest city in Rajasthan. It is divided into two parts - the old city and the new city. The old city is separated by a 10 km long wall surrounding it. Also it has eight Gates leading out of it. The new city is outside the walled city.
The landscape is scenic and mesmerizing. Jodhpur city has many beautiful palaces and forts such as Mehrangarh Fort, Jaswant Thada, Umaid Bhavan Palace and Rai ka Bag Palace. Other charms of Jodhpur include Government museum and its beautiful Umed garden. The city is known as the "Sun City" because of its bright and sunny weather throughout the year.
Day 08 Jodhpur
Have a sumptuous breakfast at the hotel and later proceed for the tour of Jodhpur.
Meharangarh Fort: Mehrangarh Fort stands a hundred feet in splendor on a perpendicular cliff, four hundred feet above the sky line of Jodhpur. Burnished red sand stone, imposing, invincible and yet with a strange haunting beauty that beckons. Much has been written about the Citadel of the Sun, for truly, it is one of the most impressive in all Rajasthan. So colossal are its proportions that Rudyard Kipling called it “the work of giants”. Today, it is acknowledged as the finest living example of a Hindu fortress.
Jodha’s fortress was 'Chao Burja' – a fort with four Bastions. The extremities of the original fortress fall within the limit of the second gate today.
Jaswant Thada: The magnificent Jaswant Thada is a beautiful marble cenotaph that was built in memory of Maharaja Jaswant Singh in 1899. This architectural landmark in Jodhpur is truly an architectural wonder in itself with its intricately carved façade. In fact, the Jaswant Thada is truly a magnificent sight to behold with its elegant beauty and picture perfect settings. Jaswant Thada is a classic example of the famed Rajputana style of architecture. The main cenotaph is really impressive with its ornamented sculptures, friezes, domes and pillars. Don't forget to enjoy a view of the picturesque surroundings around Jaswant Thada from the terrace in front of the cenotaph. That would indeed add up to a wonderful experience.
Rai Ka Bagh: The Rai ka Bag Palace of Jodhpur, Rajasthan is another tourist spot for you to visit on your trip to Jodhpur. The queen of Maharaja Jaswant Singh-I, Hadiji, built this palace. It is situated near the Raika Bag palace railway station. Famous Rai Ka Bag palace in Jodhpur, India was constructed in 1663. It was amongst the favorite palaces of King Jaswant Singh-II, most of the time he stayed in the octagonal bungalow of Rai Ka Bag palace. In 1883, Swami Dayanand Saraswati came to Jodhpur.
Return back to the hotel and overnight.
Day 08 Jodhpur - Jaipur
Have a sumptuous breakfast at the hotel.
Later proceed for the Pink City of Rajasthan, Jaipur.
Briefing (Jaipur): The origins of the beautiful city of Jaipur can be traced back to the eighteenth century, during the reign of Jai Singh II who ascended the Amber throne in 1699. Jaipur today, epitomizes the spirit of Rajputana. In-spite of growing into a bustling metropolis, it still retains its character and history - A beautiful fusion of the yesteryears and modernity. Jaipur is popularly known as the Pink City because of the extensive use of the locally abundant pink plastered stone, painted so in honor of the visit of the royal consort of Queen Victoria.
Reach and check in at the hotel. Rest of the time will be at your own leisure to relax.
Overnight will be at the hotel.
This morning have a heavy break fast as we start the day's excursion with Amber Fort Palace:
Briefing (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.
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.
In the evening, we will take you to the Birla Temple to know more about the fascinating religious life of Jaipur.
Briefing (Birla Temple): 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.
Spend your night at Jaipur.
Day 10 Jaipur - Agra
Distance 250 kms / 5 hrs
Have a leisurely breakfast at the hotel.
Proceed for Agra, en-routing Fatehpur Sikri.
Briefing (Fatehpur Sikri) - Fatehpur Sikri is 37 km west of Agra. Jajal-ud-din-Muhammad Akbar, Humanyun's son, accessed the throne at the tender age of 14. While hunting around Sikri his curiosity was aroused by the songs of some minstrels about the celebrated Khwaja -Mu'inu'd-din Chisti, the founder of the Chisti order of SUFIS. Akbar, who was without a male heir heard about Saint Salim Chisti and visited him in the year 1568.
Continue your drive to Agra.
Check in at the hotel and relax.
Today we take you to enjoy the Cultural Show by Kala Kriti in Agra.
Return back to the hotel and Overnight.
Day 11 Agra
Briefing (Agra) The overwhelming is the exquisite beauty and presence of this marble mausoleum that centuries later today, even the very land where it has been located - Agra - has been immortalized as the City of the Taj. Yet, it doesn’t take much for the roving eye to discover that there's more to Agra than just the fabled Taj Mahal. . The older city of Agra has impressively retained much of its resplendent history… captivating every visitor with fond memories to take back home.
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.
After Agra Fort we will visit BABY TAJ – The interiors of which are considered better than the Taj.
Return back to the hotel have your dinner.
Overnight will be at Agra.
Day 12 Agra - Gwalior
Have a sumptuous breakfast at the hotel.
Today we drive to Gwalior.
Briefing (Gwalior): Gwalior is the perfect entry point into Madhya Pradesh. It will instantly give you a feel of the state’s history, landscape and people. The people of Gwalior are as tough and resilient as its terrain. They have crossed swords with the mightiest armies in the country down the ages. Named after Saint Gwalipa, Gwalior is a verdant city but only if you look at the canopy cover.
In 8 AD, where a deadly disease struck a chieftain called Suraj Sen. He was cured by a hermit saint, Gwalipa, who stayed on the hilltop where the fort stands. Gwalipa gave Suraj Singh a drink of water from the suraj Kund, which is still there in the fort. Gwalior is divided into four sections: the Old Town, the New Town, Lashkar, and Morar – which is the cantonment area. The city is watered by numerous rivers including the great Chambal in the north, the Sindh in the south, the Londara in the southeast, the Pawaya in the west and the Kunwari in the northwest. Right next to the Gwalior Fort is the Swarnrekha River.
Reach and check in at the hotel and later proceed for a sightseeing tour of Gwalior.
Gwalior Fort: This is one of the most unconquerable forts in India, which was built by Raja Man Singh Tomar in the 15th century. This fort is situated at Gopachal, nealy 100m above the town of Gwalior. The Gwalior Fort spreads out over an area of 3 square km, bounded by solid walls of sandstone, which enclose three temples, six palaces and a number of water tanks. The Mughal emperor Babar referred to the Gwalior Fort as “the pearl amongst fortresses in India”. In the five hundred years since then, the fort has changed hands many times - it has been held by the Tomars, Mughals, Marathas and British, who finally handed it over to the Scindias. According to a legend, the history of Gwalior traces back to about 1000 year. This fort has been witness to many battles in the turbulent times as well as festivals in the peacetime. The magnificent momentous of a glorious past have been preserved with care, giving Gwalior an appeal unique and timeless.
Maan Mandir: Built between 1486 and 1517, the tiles that once adorned its exterior have not survived, but at the entrance, traves of these still remain. Vast chambers with fine stone screens were once the music halls, and behind these screens, the royal ladies would learn music from the great masters of those times. Below the circular dungeons once housed the state prisoners of the Mughals. The Emperor Aurangzeb had his brother Murad, imprisoned, and later executed here.
Gujari Mahal: The 15th century Gujari Mahal is a monument of love by Raja Mansingh Tomar for his Gujar queen, Mrignayani. After he had wooed and won her, Mrignayani demanded for a separate palace with a constant water supply from the river Rai. The outer structure of the Gujari Mahal has survived in an almost total state of preservation; the interior has been now converted into an archaeological museum.
Sas Bahu Ka Mandir: This was built in 11th century is a dedication to Lord Vishnu.
Sun Temple:Located near the Residency at Morar, the newly constructed Sun Temple takes its inspiration from the famous Konark Sun Temple in Orissa.
Jain Sculptures: Along the path leading to the fort from the southern side are many Jain sculptures along the rock faces. These sculptures were originally cut in the mid – 15th century but were defaced by marauding armies of Babar in 1527. However, they were later restored. The sculptures can be divided into 5 groups. Image 20, belonging to the Arwahi group is a sculpture figure representing, the 22nd Tirthankar Nemnath. It is 10m high. The most important group is the southeastern group in which there are nearly 20 images spread over a distance of 1 km.
Day 13 Gwalior - Jhansi
Jhansi – Orcha – Khajuraho
Distance 175 kms / 4 hrs
Have an early breakfast and you will be transferred to the railway station to board train for Jhansi.
On arrival at Jhansi Railway station you will be met and assisted.
Continue your drive to Khajuraho, en-route visiting Orcha.
Briefing (Orcha): Orcha is a town situated near the Banks of Betwa River, which is located in Madhya Pradesh a state of India. It is a city of medieval times comprised of temples and splendid palaces of the past. Orcha has been a very mighty kingdom of Central India founded by Bundela Rajput Rudra Pratap. The palaces still have the glory of the past telling the tales and tastes of the rulers of those times.
Orcha is of great interest of Tourists because it reflects ancient history of Kings and Kingdoms, which have vanquished the world over and their descendents are left with just the titles and memories of the past, with the modern civilization having tramped them in all corners of the world.
Proceed for Khajuraho.
Briefing (Khajuraho): 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. Temple town of Khajuraho is much different from any other temple city of India. It is not about religion and worshipping and deities.
Reach and check in at the hotel.
Later proceed for evening Sound & Light Show at the Western Group of Temple.
Day 14 Khajuraho
Start your day with a comfortable morning and breakfast at the hotel.
Today we take you to the sightseeing tour of the erotic Temples of Khajuraho with a visit to the Western, Eastern & Southern Group of Temples.
The Western Group:
This is the largest and paramount group with most of its constituent temples laid out roughly in two rows. The Lakshmana Temple, the Matangesvara Temple and the Varaha Temple form one complex and the Visvanatha and Nanditemples are not far from this complex.
The Kandariya Mahadeo is considered the most evolved example of central Indian temple architecture. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple is also the largest of Khajuraho'stemples. The Lakshmana Temple is one of the oldest and finest of the western group of temples. Although the general norm in other temples is three bands of sculpture, this temple has only two. Recurrent themes are battles, hunting, and women.
Later proceed for sightseeing tour of the temple of Devi Jagdamba is considered by many to be one of the most erotic temples of Khajuraho. Chaunsat Yogini is the oldest of the surviving temples of Khajuraho. This temple is dedicated to goddesses Kaliand is the only temple in Khajuraho that is built in granite.
The Eastern Group: The eastern group of monuments, situated in close proximity to the Khajuraho village, includes three Brahmanical temples known as Brahma, Vamana and Javari and three Jaintemples, the Ghantai, Adinath and Parsvanath.The temple of Parsvanath is the largest of the Jain temples in Khajuraho .The temple was originally dedicated to Adinath and latter to Parsvanath. It is the finest example of the sensitive art without any sexual motifs. Shantinath is the youngest of all the temples in Khajuraho. The temple has a four and a half meter statue of Adinath.
The Southern Group:
The southern group of monuments comprises the Duladeo and the Chaturbhuja temples. The Duladeo is about a kilometer south of the Khajuraho village and half a mile southwest of the Jain group of temples.
Return back to the hotel and overnight will be at Khajuraho.
Have sumptuous breakfast at the hotel.
Enjoy some time at your own leisure and later you will be transferred to the airport to connect flight for Varanasi.
On arrival, you will be met and transferred to the hotel.
Check in and proceed for the sightseeing tour of Varanasi visiting Sarnath, and the Ghats at the River Ganges to participate in the Aarti Ceremony.
Briefing (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. Varanasi is the oldest city of the world. Varanasi is more than 3000 years old and is famous as the city of temples. In Varanasi, there are temples at every few paces. Jyotirlinga Visvanatha Temple or Golden Temple, rebuilt in 1776, is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Jnana Vapi well (meaning 'Well of Wisdom) is believed to have been dug by Lord Shiva himself.
Sarnath: Sarnath, 10 km from Varanasi, where the Buddha preached his first sermon in the Deer Park, contains the most impressive remains, as well as a modem temple. The Dharmarajika, Chaukhandi and Dharnek stupas are outstanding. There are also the remains of a monastery, and the beautifully polished Lion Capital of Ashoka.Sarnath contains a rich library and at the Mula gandha Kutir Vihara there are excellent frescoes by Kosetsu Nosu. The Sarnath Museum, not far from the site, contains some of the finest specimens of Buddhist sculpture.
After visiting Sarnath, drive to the River Ganges for an evening Aarti Ceremony.
Enjoy the evening AARTI at the GHATS. The guide will explain you the proceeding and meanings of the chants during the AARTI of the river.Overnight will be at Varanasi.
Distance 240 kms / 5 hrs
Early morning drive to Daswamedh Ghat early in the morning 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) 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. Return for a walk through the cobblestone streets along the banks of "Ganga". On the way back to the hotel visit the Bharat Mata Temple, which features a big relief map of Mother India engraved in marble.
Breakfast will be at the hotel and later proceed for Bodhgaya.
Briefing (Bodh Gaya): Bodhgaya continued to function as a centre of Buddhist scholarship and pilgrimage up to at least the beginning of the 15th century.Bodhgaya is one of the sacred places for the Buddhists as well as for the Hindus. Here under the Bodhi Tree, Gautama attained supreme knowledge to become Budhha, the `Enlighted One'.The tree from the original sapling still stands in the temple premises. It is the most important Buddhist pilgrimage centre as Buddhisrn was born here.
Overnight will be at Bodhgaya.
Day 17 Bodhgaya - Rajgir - Nalanda - Patna
Breakfast will be at the hotel.
Proceed for sightseeing of Maha Bodhi Temple and Tree. Visit the Chinese Temple, Niranjana Temple and River.
After the tour of Bodhgaya proceed for an excursion to Rajgir and Nalanda.
Lunch will be on the way to some good local restaurant.
NALANDA: Nalanda was a great center of Buddhist learning in ancient times. A large number of Buddhist students thronged the Nalanda University to study Buddhism. The University of Nalanda was founded in the 5th century by the Gupta rulers. There were thousands of students and teachers. The importance of Nalanda University as a monastic university continued until the end of the 12th century. The ruins of the Nalanda University extend over a large area. Excavations at Nalanda have uncovered nine levels of occupation. For revenue purposes, a large number of villages were assigned to the Nalanda University.
RAJGIR: Rajgir was the ancient capital city of the Magadha kings until the 5th century BC. Jarasanadh who hailed from this place had defeated. It was at this place the Gautam Buddha spent several months meditating, and preaching at Griddhkuta.
Continue your drive to Patna.
Briefing (Patna): Pataliputra or Patna of today stands as the capital of Bihar. Once a prosperous city with strong Buddhist connections and a great learning center, this city has now turned into a developed modern city.
Hanuman Mandir this temple is situated near to Patna station with the help of Senior Superintendent of Patna District. There is a mosque also nearby showing brotherhood between Hindu and Muslim. Lot of devotees offer prayer here on Tuesday and Saturday, a must visit. The other places of interest are, Patna Planetorium, Golghar, and Patna Museum.
Overnight will be in Patna.
Breakfast will be at hotel.
Later proceed for Kushinagar, en-route visiting Vaishali.
Briefing (Vaishali): The capital of one of the first republican states in the Ganga, Vaishali is bound by the hills of Nepal on the north and the river Gandak on the west. Hundred years after he attained Mahaparinirvana, it was the venue of the second Buddhist Council. According to one belief, the Jain Tirthankar, Lord Mahavir was born at Vaishali. The Chinese travelers Fa-Hien and Hieun Tsang also visited this place in early 5th and 7th centuries respectively and wrote about Vaishali.
Briefing (Kushinagar): The Buddha is believed to have breathed his last in this land with pastoral surrounding, the small hamlet of Kushinagar, 53 km west of Gorakhpur. The district of Kushinagar had been witness to the glorious ancient history and culture. It is believed to be an important centre for Vaishnav, Shiv, Shaktipeeth, Buddha, Mahavir etc. Situtaed on the bank of river Gandak and near to the terrain of the Himalayas, this region was an ideal 'Meditation Place' for sages, saint’s, hermits and Mahatamas who were attracted by it’s pious tranquil and charming natural surroundings. Archeological excavation has yielded rich collection of antiquities, artistic artifacts and statues of various gods and goddesses.
Explore the site where Buddha was cremated and visit Mahaparinirvana Temple.
Overnight will be at Kushinagar.
Day 19 Kushinagar - Kapilavastu - Lumbini
Breakfast will be at the hotel. Later proceed for Lumbini, en-routing Kapilavastu.
Reach Lumbini and check in at the hotel.
Later proceed for the sightseeing tour of Lumbini.
Breifing (Lumbini): The birthplace of the Gautama Buddha, Lumbini, is the Mecca of every Buddhist, being one of the four holy places of Buddhism. Buddha himself identified four places of future pilgrimage: the sites of his birth, enlightenment, first discourse, and death. Hence the birth of Gautam Buddha makes it one of the most sacred places in the world. The Sal tree where Siddhartha was born is difficult to locate now. But Ashoka, in the 21st year of his reign visited the forest and raised a pillar on the spot where Siddhartha was born.
The Mayadevi Temple: This Mayadevi temple dedicated to the mother of the Buddha has been digged out and restored. The temple has a stone artifact depicting the nativity of the Buddha. Maya Devi, his mother, gave birth to the child on her way to her parent's home in Devadaha while taking rest in Lumbini under a Sal tree in the month of May in the year 642 BC.
Overnight will be at LUMBINI.
By Road 190 Kms / 4 Hrs
Breakfast will be at the hotel.
Later start for Balrampur, en-route Sravasti, also visit Saheth & Maheth.
During the time of Sakyamuni, a rich and pious merchant named Sudatta lived in Sravasti. While on a visit to Rajgir, he heard the Buddha's sermon and decided to become the Lord's disciple.
Sudatta invited the Buddha to Sravasti and began to look for a suitable place to build a vihara. A beautiful park at the southern edge of Sravasti attracted his attention. The park belonged to Jeta, son of King Prasenjit of Sravasti.
Sravasti has two villages, Sahet and Mahet. From the Balrampur-Sravasti road one can enter Sahet, which is spread over an area of 400 acres and has a number of ruins.
Overnight will be in Balrampur.
Day 21 Balrampur - Lucknow
By Road 160 Kms/ 4 Hrs
After a sumptuous breakfast proceed for Lucknow.
Reach and check in at the hotel.
Briefing (Lucknow): Lucknow’s foundations were laid in the 13th century a.d., a fairly recent date as compared to other cities in India. Explore this royal city of Nawabs. Lucknow is caught in a time warp. It exists in an in-between land of the past and the present looking back constantly to the memories of a colonial-Nawabi past. There is at the same time a sense of pride at the thought being after Delhi, the most important center of power in free India. Politics has indeed been Lucknow's forte but culture has been its historical identification.
Later proceed for a sightseeing tour of Lucknow visiting Bada Imam Bada, Chota Imambada, etc.
Overnight will be in Lucknow.
Day 22 Lucknow - Delhi
Have an early breakfast at the hotel.
In time you will be transferred to the airport to connect flight for Delhi.
Delhi -: Delhi is the capital of India and its third largest city. Delhi, the seat of one of the world’s largest democracies is a combination of “Old Delhi”- the capital of Muslim India and “New Delhi” the imperial city created as the nation’s capital by the British. There’s a unique blend of tradition and modernity. Here one can see mingling of many cultures, languages, traditions and people in complete harmony.
Reach and check in at the hotel.
Proceed for a sightseeing tour of Old Delhi.
Red Fort: Red Fort or Lal Quila as it is more popularly known is a masterpiece of architecture and one of the most haunting spots for tourists from both India and abroad. This colossal fort on the banks of the river Yamuna, built by Shahjahan as the citadel of the 17th Century Delhi is a significant link between the past and the present, for it is from here that the prime minister of India addresses the people on the Independence Day (August 15th).Mughal Emperor Shahjahan started construction of the Red Fort in 1638, which was completed in 1648. The fort contains - halls of public and private audience, domed and arched marble palaces, plush private apartments, a mosque and elaborately designed gardens. Even today, the fort continues to be impressive evidence to Mughal grandeur.
Jama Masjid: It is the largest mosque in India. Located in Old Delhi, the mosque has the capacity to accommodate 25000 devotees. Jama Masjid was completed in 1656 AD and it was again the great Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan behind this architectural masterpiece. Close to some 5000 craftsmen were involved in the construction of the mosque. Jama Masjid is also called the Friday congregational mosque because Muslims turn up in large numbers to offer Namaz on Fridays, called as the yaum al-jum`a. Masjid-i-Jahan Numa popularly called as Jama Masjid, means the mosque commanding a view of the world. The mosque is a real example of great architecture that existed during the Mughal period. It has the blend of both Hindu and Mughal style of architecture. (To be viewed from outside.)
Qutub Minar: The word 'Qutub' itself means 'pole of justice.' The Qutub Minar made of red sandstone rising to the height of 72.5mts is an architectural marvel of the 13th century. It is situated in Delhi. It is constructed by Qutb-ud-din Aibak in the 12th century to celebrate the victory of Mohammed Ghori over the Rajputs and was completed in the 13th century by his successors.
The structure was also probably built as a Minar, or place to call the faithful to prayer. It is often viewed as a symbol of the military might of the Turko-Afghan dynasty and Islam.
Return back to the hotel and overnight.
Day 23 Delhi - Back Home
After a heavy breakfast proceed for the sightseeing tour of New Delhi.
India Gate: It is a majestic high arch, 42 meters high, built as a memorial to the Indian soldiers killed in the World War I. It is called the All India War Memorial. The foundation stone was laid by His Royal Highness, the Duke of Connaught in 1921 and was designed by Edwin Lutyens. The monument was dedicated to the nation 10 years later by the then Viceroy, Lord Irwin. Another memorial, Amar Jawan Jyoti was added much later, after India got its independence. It is in the form of a flame that burns day and night under the arch to remind the nation of soldiers who laid down their lives in the Indo-Pakistan War of December 1971.
Lotus Temple: The grand "Lotus Temple" is termed by many as the Taj of modern India. Its distinctive lotus shaped marvel in marble is surrounded by a landscaped garden and is a symbol of peace. It is a very recent architectural marvel of the Bahai faith. It was completed in 1986. It is made of marble, cement, dolomite and sand. It reaches a height of more than 40m. One can see 27 giant white petals of marble in a lotus shape, springing from nine pools and walkways indicative of the nine unifying spiritual paths of the Bahai's faith. The Bahai's laid great emphasis on prayer and meditation. They believe that these are important instruments for the progress of the human soul, both in this world and the next.
The Parliament Building
Rasthrapati Bhavan – President’s House.
Raj Ghat: The mortal remains of Mahatma Gandhi were cremated on this spot on the west bank of the river Yamuna on the evening of January 31, 1948. A simple open platform inscribed with the Mahatma's last words, 'Hey Ram' (Oh God) is set in a garden with fountains and a variety of exotic trees.
Return back to the hotel and spend some time at your own leisure.
After dinner you will be transferred to the international airport to connect flight back home.