Spiritual & Cultural India

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Day Place Highlights
1 Mumbai Overnight in Mumbai
2 Mumbai Visit Gateway of India, Maha Lakshmi Dhobi Ghat, Prince Wales Museum,
Mani Bhavan (Gandhiji’s once-upon-a-time residence). Shopping from local markets
3 Mumbai-Aurangabad Ellora caves - Hindu, Buddhist and Jain caves. A world heritage site
4 Aurangabad-Delhi by air Overnight in Delhi
5 Delhi India Gate, the war memorial in the heart of the city.
Red Fort built of red sandstone is the of great importance in present day - republic day parades initiate from here.
Jama Masjid is one of the largest mosques which can accommodate up to 25,000 devotees. Rajghat, Mahatma Gandhi's memorial.
Visit Humayan’s tomb and Qutab Minar (the tallest minaret in India)
6 Delhi-Agra Mathura, Lord Krishna’s birthplace. Vrindavan and Gokul are dotted with sacred halts and temples where Lord Krishna spent his life
7 Agra Taj Mahal - Mughal marvel which features among the seven wonders of the world.
Visit Mini Taj built by Nurjahan in the memory of her deceased father
8 Agra-Jhansi by train En route visit Jahangir Mahal at Orchha
9 Orchha-Khajuraho Khajuraho temples with erotic sculptures on exteriors is a world heritage site
10 Khajuraho-Varanasi By air Visit crocodile sanctuary. After reaching Varanasi, checkout Ganga aarti on the holy ghats
11 Varanasi Visit Sankat Mochan temple and the Bharat Mata temple (Hindu temples),
The Benaras Hindu University, one of the top educational institutions in India.
Go to Sarnath (Buddhist pilgrimage site). You can’t miss out Ashok Stambh, which bears the national emblem.
12 Varanasi-Delhi Take a boat cruise to explore the well-known ghats at Varanasi, (Manikarnika and Harishchandra). Overnight on train
13 Delhi Leisure
14 Delhi Airport Departure

Duration : 13 Nights / 14 Days
Destination : Mumbai - Aurangabad - Delhi - Mathura - Agra - Khajuraho - Varanasi - Delhi


Day 1 Arrival Mumbai in evening

Our representative will welcome you on arrival at the airport and escort you to the hotel.
Overnight in Mumbai

 

Day 2 Mumbai
Today, proceed on a half-day tour of Mumbai. Mumbai is the commercial capital of India, and a fast paced, cosmopolitan city. Visit the Gateway of India, situated at Apollo Bunder. It was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to India in 1911. Next, visit the Prince of Wales Museum, which houses a priceless collection of art, sculpture, china and other antiques. Drive past the Victoria Terminus, Mumbai University and Rajabai Clock Tower. Make a photo stop at Dhobi Ghat, the open-air laundry of the city. Drive past Marine Drive, Chowpatty Beach, the Parsi Towers of Silence and Malabar Hill. Visit Mani Bhavan, the old Mumbai residence of Mahatma Gandhi. It's a pretty, two-storied structure that showcases well-preserved memorabilia, including an old charkha or spinning wheel that Gandhiji used to use.

Overnight in Mumbai


Day 3 Mumbai-Aurangabad (Afternoon flight: 1500/1550hrs)

After breakfast you are at leisure; at noon check out hotel and transfer to airport to board flight for Aurangabad. Upon arrival you will proceed for sightseeing of Ellora caves (30kms from city). They were carved out of the vertical face of the Charanandri hills between the 6th and 10th centuries. The carving work began around 550 AD, about the same time the Ajanta Caves (100km northeast) were abandoned. At the time, Buddhism was declining in India and Hinduism was beginning to reassert itself. There are 34 caves in all: 12 Buddhist caves, 17 Hindu caves and 5 Jain caves. The coexistence of structures from three different religions serves as a splendid visual representation of the prevalent religious tolerance in India. The Kailash Temple in cave 16 is a stupendous piece of architecture, with interesting spatial effects and varied sculpture. Its construction was a feat of human genius – it entailed the removal of 250,000 tons of rock, and took 100 years to complete. The Ellora Caves were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.

Later in evening back to city; check in at a hotel and relax. Overnight in Aurangabad


Day 4 Aurangabad-Delhi (evening flight: SG-162 - 1940/2130hrs)

After breakfast, enjoy a tour of the Ajanta Caves (98kms from city)… showcasing some of the best Buddhist art in India. These are a series of 29 Buddhist cave temples, some of which date from the 2nd century BC. They were carved out of a horseshoe-shaped cliff and used by Buddhist monks as prayer halls (chaitya grihas) and monasteries (viharas) for about nine centuries, and then abruptly abandoned. The Mahayana caves feature colorful murals and statues depicting the life (and former lives) of the Buddha and various Bodhisattvas. In the afternoon, visit the Ellora Caves. They were carved out of the vertical face of the Charanandri hills between the 6th and 10th centuries. There are 34 caves in all: 12 Buddhist caves, 17 Hindu caves and 5 Jain caves. The Kailash Temple in cave 16 is a stupendous piece of architecture, with interesting spatial effects and varied sculpture. Its construction was a feat of human genius – it entailed the removal of 250,000 tons of rock, and took 100 years to complete. The Ellora Caves were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.

Later in evening board on flight for Delhi; check in at a hotel on arrival and then relax. Overnight in Delhi


Day 5 Delhi

Today, you will proceed for a full-day tour of Old and New Delhi. Visit Jama Masjid, which is the largest mosque in India, commissioned by Emperor Shah Jahan. Enjoy a rickshaw ride in Chandni Chowk, the busiest market in Old Delhi. Visit Red Fort (closed every Monday), President House, India Gate and several other government buildings in Edwin Lutyen’s modern Delhi before you head to Rajghat, the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi that marks the spot where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated in 1948. Thereafter, visit Humayun’s Tomb, commissioned by Humayun’s wife Hamida Banu Begum in 1562. It was the first garden tomb built in the Indian sub-continent where the Persian architect used red sandstone on a large scale. Later in the evening visit the Qutab Minar, which is the tallest brick minaret in the world; it was commissioned by Qutbuddin Aibak, the first Muslim ruler of Delhi.

Overnight in Delhi


Day 6 Delhi-Agra (205kms; 4-5hrs drive approx.)

After breakfast you will drive to Agra en route visiting Mathura and Vrindavan.

Mathura widely known as birth place of lord Krishna is located near Yamuna river. For about 3000 years from now it was the hub of culture and civilization. Held in sanctity by the Buddhists, Jain and Brahmanical faith alike, it has a long history. The present day Mathura abounds in place of religious and historic interest. All round the year a large number of festival and fairs are held in Mathura and adjoining areas of Vrindavan, Gokul, Brazen and Goverdhan.

Places to be visited are:

SHRI KRISHNA JANMA BHUMI: The Birth Place of Lord Krishna
VISHRAM GHAT: The sacred spot where Lord Krishna is believed to have rested after slaying the tyrant Kansa.
DWARKADHEESH TEMPLE: Built in 1814, it is the main temple in the town. During the festive days of Holi, Janmashthami and Diwali, it is decorated on a grandiose scale.

GITA MANDIR: Situated on the city outskirts, the temple carving and painting are a major attraction.
from the Gupta and Kushan period (400 B.C.-1200A.D.) are on display. Major attraction for tourists.

Later continue drive to Agra; check in at a hotel on arrival and relax. Overnight in Agra


Day 7 Agra

After breakfast proceed for full day city tour of Agra. Visit the Red Fort, which was commissioned in 1565 by Akbar, and subsequently embellished by other Mughal Emperors. The beautiful yet forbidding structure is a handsome example of Mughal architecture. Later, visit the Taj Mahal (closed on every Friday)… a mausoleum built as a symbol Emperor Shah Jehan’s devotion to his beloved queen Mumtaz Mahal. Considered an architectural marvel, its construction took thousands of workers over 21 years to complete. This edifice is replete with decorative inlays, carvings and calligraphy. Thereafter, visit Itmad- Ud - Daula, known as the "Baby Taj"; this mausoleum rests in a walled garden close to the Yamuna River. You will then visit Sikandra, which is also a mausoleum… of the great Emperor Akbar. Akbar designed his own mausoleum as a perfect blend of Hindu, Christian, Islamic, Buddhist and Jain designs and motifs, in keeping with his religious tolerance and secular views.

Overnight in Agra


Day 8 Agra-Jhansi (by morning train: ) & drive to Orchha

After early morning breakfast you will be given transfer to Agra Cantt railway station to board train to Jhansi.

 

Upon arrival Jhansi, you will drive straight to Orchha (16kms; 30minutes drive approx.) and proceed for a sightseeing or Orchha Fort and cenotaphs near Betwa river. Later in evening enjoy evening aarti at Ramlala temple.


Orchha was founded in the 16th century by the Bundela Rajput chieftain, Rudra Pratap, who chose this stretch of land along the Betwa river as an ideal site for his capital. Of the succeeding rulers, the most notable was Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo who built the exquisite Jehangir Mahal, a tiered palace crowned by graceful chhatris. From here the view of soaring temple spires and cenotaphs is spectacular. Complementing the noble proportions of their exteriors are interiors which represent the finest flowering of the Bundela school of painting. In the Laxminarayan Temple and Raj Mahal, vibrant murals encompassing a variety of religious and secular themes, bring the walls and ceilings to rich life. Strewn around the area are the little shrines and memorials, each with its own poignant history, each contributing to the nostalgic beauty that is Orchha.

Overnight in Orchha


Day 9 Orchha-Khajuraho (170kms; 4hrs drive approx.)

After breakfast drive to Khajuraho; on arrival you will visit Eastern, Western and Southern group of temples. The temples are grouped into three geographical divisions: western, eastern and southern. The Khajuraho temples are made of sandstone. The builders didn't use mortar: the stones were put together with mortise and tenon joints and they were held in place by gravity. This form of construction requires very precise joints. The columns and architraves were built with megaliths that weighed up to 20 tons. Overnight in Khajuraho


Day 10 Khajuraho-Varanasi (afternoon flight: S2-3424 - 1345/1435hrs)

After breakfast visit Ken Crocodile Sanctuary; thereafter at noon you will fly to Varanasi; on arrival Varanasi you will check in at a hotel and relax. In evening you will enjoy Ganga Arti in holy river banks of Ganges. Overnight in Varanasi


Day 11 Varanasi

Early morning you will enjoy boat ride in Ganges; thereafter you will be back to hotel to enjoy breakfast. Later proceed for the city tour of the Varanasi from the Heritage temples and the city. Starts from the visit of Durga temple called as the Sankat Mochan temple and the Bharat Mata temple. The Benaras Hindu University, one the most presumed educational institutions in India. Later enjoy the pleasure trip to Sarnath few kilometres from Varanasi. This destination holds great religious importance of Buddhists. Here Lord Buddha lectures his first sermon to his disciples, after he attained enlightenment in Bodh Gaya.A tombstone is built in the deer park where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon. Emperor Ashoka, a dedicated Buddhist and Preacher of Dhamma had built a number of stupas and Chaityas here which exists even today. Most prominent amongst these are the Damekh stupa built in the year 249 BCE and the Chaukhandi stupa built in 5th century AD. The Sarnath museum is home of many Buddhist ruins and artifacts. It is also the proud keeper of the Ashok Stambha, the national emblem of India.

Overnight in Varanasi


Day 12 Varanasi-New Delhi (by night train)

In early morning you will enjoy boat ride in Ganges. Later you will proceed for half day sightseeing of Varanasi.

 

Alamgir MosqueAlso known as Beni Madhav Ka Darera, this mosque was originally built in the Vishnu architectural style but now displays Hindu and Mughal architectural influences. Perhaps best seen from a boat, the mosque sits picturesquely on the banks of the Rover Ganges.GhatsWith over 100 ghats to explore, it is unlikely any visitor will have time to see them all. Each of the primary ghats (steps leading down to the river) are indicated by a lingam, or a phallic symbol of lord Shiva. Many of the ghats double as morning bathing spots for pilgrims, an amazing sight at dawn. The ghats are also a popular hang out for religious men, some of which spend their time practising yoga or smoking ganja for religious purposes. These colorful characters are often willing to engage in conversation with visitors and are even willing to be photographed for a small donation. Highlights include Manikarnika and Harishchandra ghats, which are commonly referred to as ‘burning ghats’ for their function as the site of Hindu cremations. Visitors can pause to take in this sight, but are not encouraged to linger for long or to take photographs. One of the most relaxing ways to take in the ghats from a distance is to hire a boat for a trip along the river.Pandit Malaviya TempleUnique in that it is open to people of all castes and religions, the Pandit Malaviya Temple was inspired by the man of the same name, who wanted to see Hinduism eliminate caste distinctions. The interior is said to be a reconstruction of the now destroyed Vishwanath Temple, which was toppled by Mughal ruler Aurangzeb in the 17th century. 

Overnight in train


Day 13 Arrival Delhi in morning

Upon arrival you will check in at a hotel and relax. Thereafter you are free at leisure for your independent activities (no vehicle hereafter). Overnight in Delhi


Day 14 Delhi exit

After breakfast you will be given transfer to airport to board flight for onward destination; henceforth your journey ends with sweet memories.

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