On your arrival in Delhi, you will be met by our representative and transferred to hotel. Delhi was the capital of Indraprastha and capital of the Pandavas during the Mahabharata. This magnificent city has been inhabited from the 6th century BC and has been a capital of many kingdoms. It has been destroyed and rebuilt many times and is called the "city of cities". Delhi's culture has been influenced by its different rulers and the city is full of beautiful monuments. The Mughal rulers influenced the food habits of the residents and Mughlai cuisine originated here. Due to the proximity of different states, all festivals are celebrated here. Old Delhi is a maze of small lanes lined and old buildings and New Delhi has large road with huge buildings. Delhi is the capital of India and is the hub for politics.
Your morning tour starts with Old Delhi, built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in 1639 AD. You will visit Raj Ghat where the father of our nation Mahatma Gandhi was cremated. You will be visiting the museum that was built to commemorate him. You will be driven past the iconic Red Fort and Chandni Chowk, a very popular and a busy market in Old Delhi to the next stop - Jama Masjid, one of the iconic, historic and largest mosques in India - built by Shah Jahan. A rickshaw ride in Chandni Chowk could be quite interesting as this part of the city is quite crowded as it is full of shops. These numerous shops sell delicious mouth-watering food, clothes, jewels, household goods, etc. and are virtually a shopper's paradise.
Today you will be transferred from Delhi to Agra. Agra the former capital of Hindustan is a city on the banks of the river Yamuna. Agra is a major tourist destination of India and a part of the Golden Triangle tourist circuit along with Delhi and Jaipur. Agra also known as Akbarabad went through its peak during the time of Mughals and was the capital under the Mughal rulers Akbar, Jahangir and Shahjehan.
In the afternoon visit of Agra, you will be taken to Taj Mahal, one of the wonders of the world. This beautiful building is elegantly built with white marble by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan between the years 1631 to 1648 and it was built in the memory of his favorite beloved Queen Mumtaz Mahal. Standing majestically on banks of Yamuna River, this breathtaking, immensely beautiful monument is a synonymous to romance and love.
In the morning, you will be taken by road from Agra to Gwalior. Gwalior, a historical town renowned for the sacred temples, outstanding palaces, as well as glorious monuments was founded by the King Surajesan. The legend is that Prince Suraj Sen lost his way in the jungle. On meeting a sage Gwalipa the Prince asked for water and was led water which quenched his thirst as well as cured him of leprosy. In return, the sage asked him to construct a wall to protect the sages from wild animals. The Prince obliged and named the place Gwalior after the sage. Gwalior is the birth-place of world class musician Tansen and every winter a huge cultural festival is organized in memory of Tansen, which attracts music lover from across the world.
In the afternoon, you will taken for a Gwalior sight-seeing. In the afternoon Gwalior tour you will be taken to the Man Mandir from the 16th century, the Gujari Mahal
You will be transferred by road from Gwalior to Khajuraho. Khajuraho is known for its erotic and beautiful temples. These temples were constructed by the Chandelas during 950 AD to 1050 AD. After the period of Chandelas, these temples were forgotten and covered with dense palm-date trees. The name Khajuraho comes from the date trees known as Khajur trees in Hindi. In the year 1838, Capt. T.S. Burt and an engineer from British army re-discovered this place.
The afternoon Khajuraho sight-seeing will take you to temples like Chaunset Yogini Kali Temple, Bharatji or Chitragupta temple that is composed of magnificent 11 headed pictures of Lord Vishnu, Lakshmana Temple, Mahadev Temple, Nandi & Vishvanath Temples, Shiva's Visha Temple and Lakshmana Temple. The Parasvanath Temple of Khajuraho is the only Jain temple that still exists. The Javeri Temple is dedicated to the Hindu Lord Vishnu. The other temples you can visit are dedicated to Lord Brahma, Lord Adinath and Yamuna. The transport is at your disposal with-in the city limits. Overnight is in Khajuraho.
Drive to Orchha. Orchha's grandeur has been captured in stone, frozen in time & a rich legacy to the ages. For, on this medieval city, the hand of time has rested lightly: the palaces and the temples built by its Bundela rulers in the 16th and 17th century retain much of their pristine glory. Jahangir Mahal, The Orchha town has numerous temples and tombs and the fort has plenty of cenotaphs. The transport is at your disposal with-in the city limits. Overnight is in Orchha.
You will be transferred by road from Orchha to Bhopal which is also known as the City of Lakes. The city is divided into old Bhopal and the new Bhopal. Bhopal offers a blend of Islamic and Hindu cultures with great symphony of South Indian and North Indian tradition. The distinctive feature of this city is that city that was ruled by powerful queens for a long time. Your afternoon Bhopal sight-seeing will cover the Laxmi Narayan Temple, Birla Museum, Moti Masjid, Taj-ul-Masjid which is one of the largest mosques in Asia and other places of interest. You will drive through Vidhan Sabha, National Archives and the Tagore Memorial. A visit to the local markets of Bhopal for shopping for the traditional items will be interesting. The transport is at your disposal with-in the city limits. Overnight is in Bhopal.
Your full day will be spent in an excursion covering Bhimbetka and Sanchi. Some of the 243 Bhimbetka rock shelters were inhabited by Homo erectus more than 100,000 years ago. Now an UNESCO World Heritage Site, some of the paintings date back to more than 30000 years. The studies show a continuous sequence of Stone Age cultures and the world’s oldest stone walls and floors. The colors used for these drawings were vegetable colors combined with manganese, hematite and coal. The drawings survived as they were made on the inner walls or deep niches. The drawings made over the years show peacock, snake, bison, tigers, elephants, rhinoceroses, human figures, hunting pictures with spears, bows and arrows; communal dances, musical instruments, tree gods, magical sky chariots, etc.
Sanchi a UNESCO world heritage site is an important places of Buddhist pilgrimage is famous for its Stupas and other Buddhist monuments from the 3rd century BC to the 12th century AD. The Stupa, one of the oldest stone constructions in India was built by Ashoka the Great in the 3rd century BC. About fifty monuments including stupas and temples remain on the hill of Sanchi. Although made of stone, the gateways and the balustrade were carved as in wood and covered with narrative sculptures showing the life of Buddha with day to day happenings. The transport is at your disposal with-in the city limits. Overnight is in Bhopal.
This morning you will be transferred by road from Bhopal to Indore. On the way, you will be visiting Ujjain. Ujjain, an ancient city also known as Avanti is one of the seven sacred cities for the Hindus. In the ancient times Ujjain was a centre of mathematical and astronomical research. Astronomical calculations were done taking Ujjain as centre of earth. Brahmagupta was the first one to use zero, negative numbers and positional number system. Varahamihira, discovered many trigonometric identities. Bhaskaracharya wrote the book Lilavati covering mathematics. Raja Jai Singh II built one of the five Observatories with astronomical devices.
Ujjain is one of the four holy places where Kumbha Mela takes place and is the home to one of the twelve Jyotirlingas - the Mahakaleshwar Jyothirlinga. Maha Kumbha is one of the largest religious congregations in this world and the next Kumbha Mela will be held in year 2016. The Jyothirlinga is of swayambhu "self born" is said to derive currents of power from within itself. Mahakal means God of death and also God of time. The Mahakali Temple is one of the 51 Shakti Peeths - a temple of Shakti. The important places to visit are Mahakaleshwar Mandir, Kaal Bhairav, Mangalnath Mandir, Harsidhdhi Mandir, the Observatory, etc. The transport is at your disposal with-in the city limits. Overnight is in Indore.
Today you will be enjoying an excursion to Mandu. You will be returning to Indore after the excursion. Mandu known for its fine architecture has a rich and varied history. It was a military outpost with 37 km battlemented wall and 12 gateways. Enclosed in the wall are palaces, mosques and temples. Jama Masjid 1405 AD with Pashtun architecture is the oldest mosque. Built by Sultan Ghiyas-ud-din-Khilji as a harem, Jahaz Mahal is a palace which appears as a floating ship. Hindola Mahal was built by Hoshang Shah in the 15th century. With an Afghan architecture, Hoshang Shah's Tomb is a marble building and Taj Mahal may have been copied from here. Other places of interest are Rewa Kund which is a reservoir, Roopmati's Pavilion and Baz Bahadur's Palace. The transport is at your disposal with-in the city limits. Overnight is in Indore.
Today you will be transferred by road from Indore to Jalgaon. You could do a short tour of Indore before departure. Indore was a trading hub between Deccan Delhi in the 16th century. The building of Indore with a fusion of Maratha and Mughal architecture are quite wonderful. The 18th century Rajwada Palace is a seven storied building with a huge iron studded wooden door. Lal Bagh Palace is one of the buildings of the Holkars. The royal cenotaphs Krishnapura Chhatris are with domes and pyramidal spires. A 337 m replica of Eiffel Tower is in the at All India Radio campus. The Atal Bihari Vajpeyee Regional Park has musical jet fountain, Artists' village, etc. The Indore Zoo has white tigers, Himalayan bear, etc. The transport is at your disposal with-in the city limits. Overnight is in Jalgaon.
Today you will be transferred by road from Jalgaon to Aurangabad. On the way, you will be visiting the Ellora Caves. The sightseeing of Ellora Caves dating back from 5th century to 11the century takes you to the monasteries & temples excavated out of the vertical face of a rock. These 34 caves of Ellora have Buddhist monasteries, Hindu temples and Jain temples. The amazing and wonderful Kailasa Temple is the largest monolithic structure in the world. Ellora caves are closed on Tuesdays. The transport is at your disposal with-in the city limits. Overnight is in Aurangabad.
Your full day will be spent visiting the Ajanta Caves. The Ajanta sight-seeing takes you to the Buddhist Chaityas and Viharas with carvings and fantastic wall paintings. The paintings show Buddha’s life and rituals of the Mahayana Buddhism period. The Mural paintings prove that the ancient Indians had mastered a fluent style, dealing with large groups of people and were painted on top of a dry plaster surface rather than into a wet plaster. The paintings show in detail the life of a wealthy court. The ceilings are painted with detailed decorative motifs and some of them represent the Jataka tales showing the previous lives of Buddha as a ruler. Ajanta Caves are closed on Mondays. The transport is at your disposal with-in the city limits. Overnight is in Aurangabad.
If time permits, you could have an optional tour of Aurangabad. Aurangabad built in 1610 AD by Malik Ambar was named after the Emperor Aurangzeb. Some of the places of interest in Aurangabad are Bibi Ka Maqbara, Panchakki, Kali Masjid, Jumma Masjid, Quila-E-Ark, Aurangabad Caves, etc. Bibi Ka Maqbara built in 1678 is the tomb of Aurangzeb's wife Dilras Banu Begum and is called the Baby Taj as it has a similar design as Taj Mahal. The Panchakki from the 17th-century is a water mill. The Quila-E-Ark from the 17th century is a palace. Kali Masjid and Jumma Masjid are mosques built by Malik Ambar in the 17th century. Later you will be transferred to the Aurangabad airport in time for your Mumbai flight. On arrival in Mumbai you will be transferred to your hotel. Overnight is in Mumbai.
This morning is spent visiting the city of Mumbai. Mumbai earlier called “Bombay” got its name due to the popular temple of the city, “Mumba Devi.” It consists of seven islands and is the finance capital of India. It is a city of both the wealthy as well as the poor. Asia’s biggest slum Dharavi is in Mumbai. You will end this Central India holiday package with a city tour of Mumbai. This afternoon, you will be taken to the Hanging Gardens located on the beautiful slopes of the Malabar Hills as well as Kamla Nehru Park offering a marvelous and panoramic view of the Chowpatty Beach as well as the Marine Drive. You will continue with your tour and taken to Mani Bhawan, Prince of the Wales Museum, Gate of India and Dhobi-Ghat and will drive through Marine Drive, Flora Fountain and Crawford market. Check-out from the hotel will be at 1200 hrs. Later in the evening you will be transferred to the airport in time for your return/onward flight.
END OF YOUR CENTRAL INDIA CULTURAL TOUR PACKAGE.