13
Days Religious Tour (I-10)

Delhi - Jaipur - Agra - Varanasi(Banaras) - Bhubaneshwar - Konark - Puri - Kolkata(Calcutta)

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HIGHLIGHTS-
  • In New Delhi visit the Qutub Minar, Humayun's Tomb, India Gate (War Memorial Arch), Lakshminarayan Temple.
  • Sheesh Mahal and hawa mahal in jaipur.
  • Taj Mahal and agra fort in Agra.

Day 01:- Arrive 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 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.

In the afternoon, you will visit Qutub Minar, touted as Indiaís 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 Humayunís tomb, yet another UNESCO world heritage site. Your next stop is India Gate, built in memory of the Unknown Soldiers. You will be driven past the Parliament House, Presidentís House and other Government Secretarial Buildings, to your final destination that will be the Lakshminarayan Temple, a temple dedicated to Lakshmi and Lord Narayana. Overnight is 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 is 260 years back. It was built by Maharaja Jai Singh and Jaipur got its name from this king. The rest of the day could be spent visiting the Jaipur bazaars or walking down the crowded colorful streets. The transport is at your disposal 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 jeep.

In Jaipur you will be taken to Maharaja City Palace, a royal palace with seven storeys as well as Jantar Mantar, the observatory. This wonderful observatory is attracted by mathematicians as well as astronomers of 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, metal, 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 well-known UNESCO World heritage site of India and has various historical monuments. You will visit the 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 architecture. 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-Zamaniís palace, Naubat Khana and Birbalís house. Later you will be driven to Agra. You will be driven to Agra where you have the afternoon at leisure. The transport is at your disposal with-in the city limits. Overnight 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 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 of under the Mughal rulers Akbar, Jahangir and Shahjehan. In the morning 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 synonymous to romance and love. TAJ MAHAL IS CLOSED ON FRIDAYS.

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. Check-out from the hotel at 1200 hrs. Later in the evening, transfer to Tundla rail-station in time for Varanasi train. Night on board.

In the morning, on your arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel in Varanasi. Rest of the day is at leisure. 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. The evening Arti at the River Ganges Ghats is worth watching. Overnight in Varanasi.

This morning, you will be taken to the River Ganges for a boat ride. Two of the most renowned ghats, Manikarnika and Harishchandra ghats 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 form this birth cycle. You may witness numerous funeral pyres burning around in these ghats. The rest of the day is at leisure to discover the city or visit Sarnath. Later you will be transferred to the rail-station in time for Bhubaneshwar train. Night on board.

On your arrival in Bhubaneshwar, you will be transferred to your hotel. Bhubaneshwar is the capital of Odisha and has a history of over 3,000 years. Bhubaneswar gets its name from Tribhubaneswar, meaning the Lord Shiva who is the Lord of the Three World and was mentioned during the Kalinga War where Emperor Ashoka was shocked with the brutalities of war and shifted to Buddhism. Bhubaneswar known as the Temple City of India had over a thousand temples and some of the important temples are Lingered Temple, Muktesvara Temple, Rajarani Temple, and Ananta Vasudeva Temple.

In Khandagiri & Udayagiri, carved into cave-like chambers in the hill is a Jain temple with inscriptions from the 2nd century BC giving an account of that period. Edicts of Emperor Ashoka, from 272 to 236 BC are carved in rock 8 kms away. Most of the temples built between 7th to 11th century are of Shiva. Ananta Vasudeva Temple and Bindusagar Tank are one of the few Vishnu temples. A tour of Bhubaneshwar Konark Puri is known as the Golden Triangle Tour of East India.

Bhubaneswar due to the Oriya cinema industry is called as dubbed Ollywood. The world famous Odissi classical dance originated from this place. Odissi is the oldest classical dance forms of India and can be traced to the ancient temples. The State Museum houses artifacts, weapons and local arts and crafts. A visit to the Nandankanan Zoological Park is quite interesting. The botanical garden has a good collection of exotic and regional fauna. Bhubaneshwar is a base to for excursions to the tribal areas. Rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight in Bhubaneshwar.

Today morning, you will be transferred by road from Bhubaneshwar to Konark which is famous for its Sun Temple of 13th century or the Black Pagoda as it was built in black granite. The name Konark comes from the Sanskrit words Kona (angle) and Arka (Sun) and is dedicated to Surya the Sun God. The Temple is designed as a huge chariot of the Surya with twelve pairs of wheels, some of them 3 meters wide and pulled by seven horses. The temple which is in ruins is a World Heritage Site. Konark is home to the Konark Dance Festival devoted to the classical Indian dance forms, including Odissi. After the visit of Konark, you will proceed to Puri. Rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight in Puri.

You have a day free in Puri to discover this religious town. Puri is one of the holiest places for Hindus and has many names like Jagannath Puri, Srikshetra, Shankhakshetra, Purusottama Puri, Neelachala, Neeladri, etc. Every Hindu would like to make a pilgrimage tour to four temples towns at least once in his life and Puri is one of them and the other three are Badrinath, Dwarika and Rameshwaram. Puri has one of the four Mathas (Hindu monastery) established by Adi Shankaracharya. The others are at Jyotirmath, Sringeri and Dwarika. The Jagannath Temple is closed for non-Hindus. Overnight in Puri.

The morning is at leisure to discover the town and also to visit the beach. Puri is the only shrine where Radha, Lakshmi, Durga, Parvati, Sati and Shakti abode with Krishna. Thousand of pilgrims flock to Puri every year to participate in the Ratha Yatra (Festival of Chariots). Check-out from the hotel is at 1200 hrs. Later you will be transferred to the rail-station in time for your Puri to Kolkata train. Overnight on board.

On your arrival in the morning in Kolkata, you will be transferred to your hotel. Rest of the day is at leisure. Kolkata is an important commercial and cultural point in East India. In the 17th century, the Nawab of Bengal granted the East India Company a trading license. Kolkata was the Capital of India till 1911, under the British rule after which the Capital was shifted to Delhi. Kolkata is also called as the City of Joy and also the Cultural Capital of India. The Bengalis of Kolkata are known to be educated, cultured and soft spoken.

If you opt for an optional tour, you will be taken to the most important Jain Temple dedicated to Parasvanath, the 23rd Jain Tirthankara. The complex consists of four temples inside of it. The deity of Lord Sitalnathji is seated in the sanctum sanctorum, and his diamond-studded forehead is a major attraction. You will continue with your tour visiting the Victoria Memorial which is one of India's most beautiful monuments built between 1906 and 1921 in white marble. The memorial was the inspiration of Lord Curzon, who in 1901, felt that his lately departed Queen Empress, required a suitable monument to her memory. It houses paintings, manuscripts, and other objects of historic value in its Museum and Art Gallery (Closed on Mondays & National Holidays).

You will drive past Howrah Bridge, Dalhousie Square, Fort Williams, Secretariat Building and Old Court House Street. Dalhousie Square named in the memory of Lord Dalhousie who was the Governor General of India from 1847 to 1856. But it was renamed as BBD Bagh (Binoy, Badal, and Dinesh) three patriotic sons of Bengal who attained martyrdom during India's struggle for independence. The Dalhousie Square is surrounded by some of Kolkata's most enduring Raj-era monuments like the magnificent GPO (General Post Office), the regal Raj Bhawan, the Town Hall, the St. John's Church and the Gothic style Writer's Building. In terms of heritage, no other city square is as rich as Dalhousie Square. Overnight in Kolkata.

You will be transferred to the Kolkata airport in time for your return/onward flight. END OF YOUR GOLDEN TRIANGLE + VARANASI + ODHISHA TEMPLE TOUR.