11
Days Cultural India Tour (I-33)

Delhi - Jaipur - Agra - Gwalior - Orchha - Khajuraho - Varanasi - Delhi

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Day 01:- Arrive in Delhi. Sightseeing of Delhi.

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 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 the Raj Ghat where 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, etc. and are virtually a shopper's paradise.

In the afternoon, you will visit Qutub Minar, touted as India’s largest Minaret. Qutub Minar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was built in 1192 by Turk ruler Qutub-Ud-Din Aibak. You will then move forward to Humayun’s tomb, yet another UNESCO world heritage site. Your next stop is India Gate, built in memory of the Unknown Soldier. You will be driven past the Parliament House, President’s House and other Government Secretarial Buildings, to your final destination which will be Lakshminarayan Temple, a temple dedicated to Lakshmi and Lord Narayana. Overnight in Delhi.

Early in the morning, you will be driven to Jaipur. Jaipur, also known as the pink city is the capital of Rajasthan. Many captivating palaces are present here having breathtaking design and architecture. In the 18th century Prince of Wales had visited Jaipur and the entire city was painted in pink color and due to these pink buildings the city is known as the pink city. Origin of Jaipur lie 260 years back. It was built by Maharaja Jai Singh and Jaipur got its name from this king. Rest of the day could be spent visiting the Jaipur bazaars or walking down the crowded colorful streets. The transport is at your disposal for any additional visits of monuments or restaurants or places of interest which are with-in the city limits. Overnight in Jaipur.

The morning journey starts from Amer fort also known as Amer Palace, the earlier capital of Jaipur. This magnificent fort was constructed in red sand-stone and marble by Raja Man Singh and is divided into four sections each with a courtyard. The main entrance gate is Surajpol having a fascinating architecture. Near the Ganesh Gate, there is a temple dedicated to the Goddess Sila Devi. The Diwan-e-Aam - hall of public audience, Diwan-e-Khas - hall of private audience, Sheesh Mahal - palace of mirrors and Sukh Niwas are quite beautiful. At the Sukh Niwas, a pleasant climate is created by winds that blow over a water cascade. You could ascend the fort by walking up the steps or on an elephant's back or in jeeps.

In Jaipur you will be taken to Maharaja City Palace, a royal palace with seven storey as well as Jantar Mantar, the observatory. This wonderful observatory attracts mathematicians as well as astronomers from the whole world. City palace is perfect blend of all three excellent styles (Mughal, Rajput and European). Another palace, Hawa Mahal is popular all over world for its magnificent architecture. You will be taken through pink rose garden as well business centers of Jaipur. A tour of Jaipur is not complete without shopping. Jaipur is famous for clothes, carpets, precious and semi-precious stones and jewelry and various handicrafts made of wood, metals, etc. and also for silk paintings and miniatures. The transport is at your disposal with-in the city limits. Overnight in Jaipur.

This morning, you will be transferred from Jaipur to Agra enroute visiting Fatehpur Sikri, built in the 16th century by Emperor Akbar. Fatehpur Sikri holds exceptional testimony to Mughal civilization and is one of the well-known UNESCO World heritage site of India and has various historical monuments. You will visit Jama Masjid, followed by the Tomb of Salim Chishti, the five storied Panch Mahal and Buland Darwaza a graceful monument and stupendous piece of beautiful architectures. It is central portico with a total of three arched entrances and is locally known as Horseshoe gate. You will visit the other graceful buildings of this place such as Ibadat Khana, Mariam-uz-Zamani’s palace, Naubat Khana and Birbal’s house. You will be driven to Agra where you have the afternoon at leisure. Overnight is in 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 Tourist Circuit of Golden Triangle along with Delhi and Jaipur. Agra also known as Akbarabad went through its peak during the time of Mughals and was the capital of 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.

Your next stop Agra Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and known for its architectural structure and was built in the 16th century during the Mughal Empire. This place comprises of several fairy-tale palaces like Khas Mahal and Jahangir Palace. Over here you will also get a chance to see Diwan-e-Aam and Diwan-e-Khas, which are also known as private audience hall and public audience hall. Afternoon can be spent visiting more places of interest or shopping. Agra is famous for inlaid marble work and handicrafts made of marble, wood and metal. The transport is at your disposal with-in the city limits. TAJ MAHAL IS CLOSED ON FRIDAYS. Overnight is in Agra.

This morning you will be transferred by road to Gwalior. On your arrival in Gwalior, you will be transferred to your hotel. 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 Gwalior tour you will be taken to the Man Mandir from the 16th century, the Gujari Mahal which is now an archaeological museum, Teli Ka Mandir – a beautiful tall structure of about 100 feet, the 9th century Sas-bahu Temple that allures devotees to this place, Jai Vilas Palace – a European style palace of European type that now has been transformed into a museum, Mausoleum of the Tansen, Tomb of the Gaus Mohammad and of course the bazaars. Gwalior is an old town with a different charm and is worth visiting. Overnight in Gwalior.

You will be transferred by road from Gwalior to Orchha. You will be visiting Orchha in the afternoon. Orchha was established in the 15th century AD by Rudra Pratap Singh, the first king of Orchha. The Orchha Fort was also built by the same king. Orchha Fort consists of several constructions like Raja Mahal, Jahangir Mahal, etc. Raj Mandir was built by 'Madhukar Shah' during 1554 to 1591 AD and the Chaturbhuj Temple was built by Queen Ganeshi Bai. You could climb the roof of the camel shelter "Uth Khana" for a beautiful view of Orchha. This is where the camels of the kings were held. The Orchha town has numerous temples and tombs and the fort has plenty of cenotaphs. Overnight is in Orchha.

This morning you will be transferred by road from Orchha to Khajuraho. On your arrival in Khajuraho, you will be assisted in check-in at your hotel. 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.

Your afternoon visit of Khajuraho will take you to the different temples. The 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 and Shiva’s Visha 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. Overnight is in Khajuraho.

You will be transferred to airport to board flight for Varanasi. On your arrival in Varanasi, you will be transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure to discover the city or visit Sarnath. The evening Arti at the River Ganges Ghats is worth watching. Or a stroll in the busy bazaars of Varanasi also called Benaras or Banaras or Kashi will be quite interesting. Varanasi is said to be the oldest living city in the world, dating back to 5000 years. It has been the cultural and spiritual capital of North India for years. The belief of Hindus is that death in Varanasi leads to salvation. Varanasi is also known as the holy city of India or the city of temples, or the city of learning and also as the oldest living city on earth. Overnight is in Varanasi.

Your morning boat excursion on the river Ganges will take you to the different ghats. Two of most renowned ghats, Manikarnika and Harishchandra ghats, which are frequented by hundreds of devotees. These two ghats are quite famous not only for taking a holy dip, but also for cremation purposes. It is strongly believed by Hindus that whoever dies in Varanasi and gets cremated on bank of river Ganga achieves salvation, thereby releasing him from this birth cycle. You may witness numerous funeral pyres burning around in these ghats. Your afternoon is at leisure. Overnight is in Varanasi.

You will be transferred to airport to board flight for Delhi. On your arrival in Delhi you will connect to your return/onwards flight. As most of the flights depart after mid-night, accommodation is not included in Delhi. Depart for your return/onward journey.

END OF YOUR NORTH & CENTRAL INDIA HOLIDAY PACKAGE.