New Delhi, the capital and the third largest city of India is a fusion of the ancient and the modern. Standing along the West End of Gangetic Plain, the capital city, Delhi, unwinds a picture rich with culture, architecture and human diversity, deep in history, monuments, museums, galleries, gardens and exotic shows. Comprising of two contrasting yet harmonious parts, the Old Delhi and New Delhi, the city is a travel hub of Northern India.
Day 01: Arrive Delhi - Welcome to India welcome by our representative. Arrival and Greetings at Indira Gandhi International Airportand get transfer to your hotel / Overnight at New Delhi.
Day 02: Delhi / Jaipur (Surface / 270 kms / 4 & 1/2 hrs) - Combined Sightseeing of Old and New Delhi
Morning visit of Old Delhi to Raj Ghat
Raj Ghat: Along with riverfront, the most prominent memorial among many is the Raj Ghat dedicated to the father of the Nation, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (popularly known as Mahatma Gandhi). The historic name refers to the ghat (stepped embankment) at the edge of the river.
Continue sightseeing to New Delhi visiting the Qutab Minar, India Gate, Lakshmi Narayan Temple, pass by various Government building including Parliament House, Rashtrapati Bhawan, etc.
Qutab Minar: Qutab Minar is a soaring, 73 m-high tower of victory, built in 1193 by Qutab-ud-din Aibak immediately after the defeat of Delhi's last Hindu kingdom. This 234-foot-high tower, gracefully hand-carved for its entire height, has five distinct story’s, each marked by a projecting balcony and tapers from a 15 m diameter at the base to just 2.5 m at the top.
India Gate: At the center of New Delhi stands the 42 m high India Gate, an "Arc-de-Triomphe" like archway, commemorates the 70,000 Indian soldiers who lost their lives during the World War I
Later afternoon and drive to JAIPUR.
JAIPUR is the state capital of Rajasthan and owes its name, planning and foundation to the Maharaja Jai Singh II. In1727, when he decided to move from his hillside fortress at Amber to the plains, and thus Jaipur was conceived, it is also known as the "Pink City", derived from the pink painted sandstone from which the buildings in the old walled city are constructed. This planned city presents great architectural elegance and beauty, historic and magnificent Palaces, Temples, Gardens, museums, etc. Arrive Jaipur and check into your hotel. Evening free for leisure / Overnight at Jaipur.
Day 03:Jaipur / Fatehpur Sikri / Agra (Surface / 241 kms / 5 hrs) Half day visit of Jaipur city covering various attractions of this marvelous city like Amber fort on elephant back, City Palace, Hawa Mahal (from outside) and Jantar Mantar (Observatory).
Amber Fort with elephant ride Seven miles outside the city in the rugged hills that surround Jaipur is the magnificent Amber Fort. An elephant will take you up to the fort through its huge gateways and pillared pavilions. This Rajput Fortress/Palace was constructed from 1592 by Raja Man Singh II and is a superb example of Rajput architecture. Within the Fort there lies the famous Jai Mandir renowned for its architectural designs using mirrors of varied shapes and sizes peculiarly, known as the Sheesh Mahal, meaning the Palace of the Mirrors.
A city tour takes you through the bazaars to the Maharaja’ City Palace, the former Royal residence, part of it converted into a museum. A small portion is still used by the Royal family of Jaipur, Built in the style of a fortified campus.
Hawa Mahal (Photo Stop) built in 1799. The five-story building looks out over the main street and was originally for the ladies of the royal household to watch life and processions of the city.
Jantar Mantar the largest stone and marble crafted observatory in the world. Built by Jai Singh, it is still equipped with the ancient instruments including a very accurate 90-foot sundial, in 1728 and the observatory has 17 large instruments, many of them still in working condition.
Check out and drive to Agra, enroute visit Fatehpur Sikri.
Fatehpur SikriFatehpur Sikri Located 40 Km from Agra, Emperor Akbar built the deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri in 1569, in honour of the great Saint Sheikh Salim Chisti who blessed Akbar and prophesized the birth of three sons to the heirless Emperor. The attractions in Fatehpur Sikri are Jama Masjid – a beautiful building containing elements of Persian and Hindu Design. This amusing little five-story palace was probably once used by the ladies of the Court and originally had stone screens on the sides. Arrive AGRA and check into your hotel.
OPTIONAL Around 6 PM Enjoy an evening at the ‘Mohabbat The Taj’ show. Travel to the Kalakriti Cultural and Convention Center and watch this popular show: a retelling of the Taj Mahal’s story. Be swept up by the dance, music, and songs as you learn how the love between the Emperor Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz inspired the TAJ / Overnight at Agra.
Day 04: Agra Morning visit Taj Mahal built by Shah Jahan between 1631 to 1653 in memory of his queen Mumtaz Mahal to enshrine her mortal remains. This architectural marvel is a perfectly proportioned masterpiece fashioned from white marble that stands testimony to the skill of 20,000 craftsmen brought together from Persia, Turkey, France and Italy, laboured day and night who took 17 years to complete the main structure of this ‘Love Poem in Marble'. Take a Tonga Ride experience outside the premises.
Visit Agra Fort Built principally as military establishments by Akbar in 1565, the red sandstone Agra fort was partially converted into a palace during Shah Jahan’s time. Though Akbar built the original structure, his grandsons made many more additions. This powerful fortress encompasses the imperial city of the Mughal rulers within its 2.5-kilometre-long enclosure walls. Rest of the free time at leisure / free for shopping / Overnight at Agra / Breakfast at the hotel
Day 05: Agra / Jhansi (Train / 1 hr & 40 min) Orchha / Khajuraho(Surface / 212 km / 5&1/2 hrs.) Morning train to Jhansi (Shatabdi Express) Dep 0810 hrs / Arr. 1040 hrs
Arrive at Jhansi station and drive to Khajuraho enroute visit Orchha.
Orchha's grandeur has been captured in stone, frozen in time, a rich legacy to the ages. In this medieval city, the hand of time has rested lightly, and the palaces and temples built by its Bundela rulers in the 16th and 17th centuries retain much of their pristine perfection.
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 schools 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.
Arrive Khajuraho and check into your hotel.
Khajurahothe rich and powerful Chandela Emperors built the magnificent richly carved temples at Khajuraho, whose dynasty survived for five generations before falling to the onslaught of Islam. There are around 85 temples and almost all of them date from one century-long burst of creative genius between 950AD to 1050AD. Each temple has a large number of spires in ascending order representing man's aspirations towards goals / Overnight at Khajuraho.
Day 06: Khajuraho / Varanasi (Flight AI405Dep 1515 hrs. / Arr. 1610 hrs) - Morning sightseeing of Khajuraho Temples The temples of Khajuraho are divided into three geographical groups: Western, Eastern and Southern.
The Western group is certainly the best known, because it is to this group that the largest and most typical Khajuraho temple belongs: The Kandariya Mahadev. Perfectly symmetrical, it soars 31 m high. Though the four temples that stand at the corners of the main shrine are now in ruins, the main shrine has an exquisitely carved entrance arch with a multitude of themes.
The three Hindu temples in the Eastern Group are the Brahma, Vamana and Javari Temples. A double row of apsaras, celestial nymphs, adorns the outer walls of the Vamana temple. A variety of sensuous attitudes: languid, provocative, mischievously inviting, give credibility to the theory that Khajuraho's erotica were meant to test the devotees who came to worship their gods at the temples.
Visit of Southern Temple The fine Chaturbhuj Temple in this group has a massive intricately carved image of Vishnu in the sanctum. Duladeo Temple, another of the southern group, is a little away from the road to the Jain group of temples.
Later check out drive to airport to board on your afternoon flight to Varanasi. Arrive Varanasi and check into your hotel.
Standing on the western bank of India's holiest river Ganges, Varanasi, or Benaras, (also known as Kashi) is the oldest surviving city of the world and the cultural capital of India. According to the historians, the city was founded some ten centuries before the birth of Christ. The relationship between the sacred river and the city is the essence of Varanasi - 'the land of sacred light'. Varanasi’s associations with Lord Shiva extend to the beginning of time: legends relate how, after his marriage to Devi Parvati, Lord Shiva left his Himalayan abode and came to reside in Kashi with all the gods in attendance. Along the water's edge of Ganga, there are the burning ghats. The most sacred one is Manikarnika, associated with Goddess Parvati; it is in the heart of this city that there stands in its fullest majesty the Vishwanath Temple devoted to Shiva, the Lord of the Universe. In the evening the Ghats and temples are lit with oil-lamp lights or candles. Participate in an Arti Ceremony (collective prayer) and watch the floating Diyas (lamps) on the river Ganges / Overnight at Varanasi
Day 07: Varanasi The early morning after Tea / Coffee boat ride on the Ganges to view the Sunrise, as seen from the boat can be a spiritually uplifting sight. One of the Highlights of the trip is to experience city on the water of the Ganges at sunrise and bathing Ghats. From dawn to dusk the riverfront (Ghats) are thronged by thousands of devotees, who perform their holy rituals in the hope of attaining eternal salvation, the "NIRVANA. Return hotel and have Breakfast.
Later visit Sarnath – situated 10 km from Varanasi, Sarnath is one of the four most important Buddhist pilgrimage centres of India. It is the site where Buddha delivered his first sermon to his five disciples, preaching the middle path for attaining 'Nirvana'. Realising the sanctity of the site, emperor Ashoka, in the 3rd century B.C. built some of the finest monuments and legacies. The 34-metre-high 'Dhamekh' Stupa stands as a remarkable structure.
City sightseeing visiting the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Bharat Mata Temple, Benaras Hindu University
The Kashi Vishwanath Temple: It is in the heart of Varanasi city there stands in its fullest majesty the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in which is enshrined the Jyotirlinga of Shiva. Late Maharani Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore built the Temple in the present shape way back in 1780. This temple has been a living embodiment of our timeless cultural traditions and highest spiritual values.
Bharat Mata Temple: Inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1936, the uniqueness about this temple is, instead of customary gods and goddesses; it houses the perfect relief maps of India. The statute of Bharat Mata is built in marble and is a model of undivided India, depicting the mountains, plains and oceans.
Benaras Hindu University (the largest residential university in Asia - a great seat of learning Sanskrit) is one of the tallest in India. This University is an internationally reputed temple of learning, founded by the great nationalist leader, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, in 1916. The area of the main campus of this premier Central University is 1300 acres, having well maintained roads, extensive greenery, a temple, an air strip and buildings which are an architectural delight. The new Vishwanath temple in the premises of the University is dedicated to lord Shiva and is a replica of the original Vishwanath temple / Overnight at Varanasi
Day 08: Varanasi / Delhi (Flight 6E243Dep 1020 hrs. / Arr. 1155 hrs) Check out and drive to airport to board your afternoon flight to Kathmandu, Nepal.