This tour covers some most renowned historic and cultural destinations of north & central India, The symbol of LOVE – The Taj Mahal, the birthplace of KAMASUTRA – temples of Khajuraho, and the Ghats of HOLY Ganges – Varanasi. These three experiences are the highlights of this tour.
The Taj Mahal is an epitome of love and one of the world's most beautiful monuments ever created by the genius architects under the rule of Emperor Shah Jahan, who had it constructed for the love of his wife and her memory. Poet Rabindranath Tagore described it as 'a teardrop on the cheek of eternity', Rudyard Kipling as 'the embodiment of all things pure', while its creator, Emperor Shah Jahan, said 'it made the sun and the moon shed tears from their eyes'. Every year, tourists numbering more than twice the population of Agra pass through its gates to catch a once-in-a-lifetime glimpse of what is widely considered the most beautiful building in the world. Hardly anyone leaves disappointed. It is another thing to get amazed by seeing the pictures of the Taj Mahal, but you will not notice your jaws dropping when you actually see the Taj.
The erotic art at Khajuraho Temples (a UNESCO World Heritage site) is considered to represent the pinnacle of love and passion. It is because of these erotic sculptures that these temples are also known as the Kama Sutra temples. Most of the erotic sculptures can be found either on the outside or inner walls of the temples but not near the deities. However, it is a common misconception that the sculptures show lovemaking between deities. In fact, they actually show passionate interactions between humans along with changes that occur in human bodies.
The tour ends at a devotional and spiritual note. Brace yourself. You're about to enter one of the most blindingly colorful, unrelentingly chaotic, and unapologetically indiscreet places on earth. Varanasi takes no prisoners. But if you're ready for it, this may just turn out to be your favorite stop of all. Also known at various times in history as Kashi (City of Life) and Benares, this is one of the world's oldest continually inhabited cities and is regarded as one of Hinduism's seven holy cities. Pilgrims come to the Ghats lining the River Ganges here to wash away a lifetime of sins in the sacred waters or to cremate their loved ones. It's a particularly auspicious place to die, since expiring here offers moksha (liberation from the cycle of birth and death), making Varanasi the beating heart of the Hindu universe.
Arrive by flight at Delhi before noon. Welcome to the chaos of Delhi. Love it or hate it, but you cannot just ignore it. It is the capital of India and the base location to explore North India. The largest city of India, Delhi is considered to be the city with a heart. The city’s importance lies not just in its past glory as of the seat of empires and magnificent monuments, but also in the rich and diverse cultures.
The private car will pick you from Delhi Airport and transfer to the hotel for check-in. In the late afternoon head out for some Delhi exploration. We will cover central Delhi this day, which is the seat of the country’s political power. Drive past Rashtrapati Bhavan (the official residence of the First Citizen of India – the President) and the Parliament of India. Visit Rajpath (which means the "King's Way”), a ceremonial avenue that is located in the heart of New Delhi. Then visit India Gate, which is like the “Arc de Triomphe” of India. It is a memorial to 70,000 soldiers of the British Indian Army who died in the period 1914–21 in the First World War. Since 1971 it has served as India's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and as a memorial of the unsung heroes of the wars.
Reach back at the hotel by late evening. Overnight stay will be at the hotel in Delhi.
Enjoy a scrumptious breakfast to start your day of sightseeing in Delhi. A mixture of history with a taste of everyday Delhi, today’s itinerary covers all aspects of this former capital of the Mughal Empire. Stop off at the UNESCO World Heritage sites, Humayun’s Tomb. Built-in 1570, it is of particular cultural significance as it was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent. Then visit the magnificent Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan between 1644 and 1656. After that visit the bustling Chandni Chowk – one of the oldest and busiest markets in Old Delhi. Enjoy a rickshaw ride at Chandni Chowk. Later visit the towering Qutub Minar (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), a 73-metre (239.5 feet) tall tapering tower of five storeys. Qutb ud Din Aibak, the founder of the Delhi Sultanate, started construction of the Qutb Minar's first storey around 1192.
Afterwards visit Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, one of the most prominent Sikh temples, or Sikh house of worship in Delhi and known for its association with the eighth Sikh Guru, Guru Har Krishan. There is also a sacred pool inside its complex, known as the "Sarovar."
Have dinner at a nice restaurant and then reach back at the hotel. Overnight stay will be at the hotel in Delhi.
Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
After breakfast at the hotel, check-out, and transfer to Delhi Train Station. Board the morning superfast train for Gwalior. A historic city founded by king Surajesan, Gwalior is galore with beautiful monuments, palaces, and temples, giving this city a quaint charm that shouts of its glorious past. Being a historic city where one of India's most eminent royalty once resided, Gwalior is full of palaces and glorious temples.
Reach Gwalior by noon. The private car will pick you from Gwalior Train Station and transfer to the hotel for check-in. In the afternoon head out to explore Gwalior. Visit Gwalior Fort, which is one of the largest forts in India and gives a panoramic view of the entire city. Important buildings housed inside are Gurjari Mahal and Man Mandir. This fort is built on a steep hill called Gopachal. Visit Sahastrabahu Temple also called the Sas-Bahu Mandir. Then visit Sun Temple & Tomb of Tansen, the tomb of a renowned classical musician from medieval times.
Reach back at the hotel by evening. Overnight stay will be at the hotel in Gwalior.
After breakfast at the hotel, check-out and transfer to Khajuraho are one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Madhya Pradesh state of India. It is renowned for its ancient temples that display some of the finest art in the world. These temples depict various forms like meditation, spiritual teachings, kinship, wrestling, royalty, and most significantly, erotic art. The temples consist of stunning displays of fine sculptures and exceptional architectural skills, making them one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India.
Reach Khajuraho by early evening. Check-in at the hotel and relax. The evening is at your leisure. Overnight stay will be at the hotel in Khajuraho.
After a nice breakfast, head out for sightseeing. Visit the famous Khajuraho Group of Monuments. The Khajuraho Group of Monuments is a group of Hindu temples and Jain temples. The temples are famous for their nagara-style architectural symbolism and their erotic sculptures. Most Khajuraho temples were built between 950 CE and 1050 CE by the Chandela rulers. There are 25 surviving temples at Khajuraho, of which the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is decorated with a profusion of sculptures with intricate details, symbolism, and expressiveness of ancient Indian art.
In the afternoon head out to visit the beautiful Raneh Falls & canyon. Located at a distance of around 20 km from Khajuraho, Raneh Falls are mesmerizing natural waterfalls over Ken River. The river has carved a deep canyon in the valley made of crystalline granite in shades of red, pink, and grey. There are many small and big waterfalls emerging from this gorge, collectively called as Raneh Falls.
Reach back hotel by evening. Overnight stay will be at the hotel in Khajuraho.
After breakfast, check out from the hotel & head towards Orchha. This historic village on the banks of the boulder-strewn Betwa River showcases a supreme display of Mughal architecture, some of which is similar to that of nearby Khajuraho (albeit without such high-quality artistry) with much grander palaces and cenotaphs dotting the pastoral landscape as well.
Check-in at the hotel on arrival. In the afternoon head out for sightseeing. Visit Orchha Fort situated on the island on Betwa River. The scenic location apart, the fort has more to offer. It houses many palaces and temples. The three most important palaces seen here are Jahangir Mahal, Raj Mahal, and the famous Rai Parveen Mahal.
Reach back at the hotel by evening. Dinner & overnight stay will be at the hotel in Orchha.
Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
After breakfast, check out from the hotel & head towards Agra. Welcome to the city of Wonder… because it’s the place of the Taj Mahal – one of the seven wonders of the world. Pictures of the Taj Mahal don’t do the complete justice to its magnificence. It’s an epitome and symbol of love. You got to be here to feel your jaws drop. Agra used to be the historic capital of the Mughal empire.
Reach Agra by late afternoon. Check-in at the hotel and freshen up. In the late afternoon visit Agra Fort, a historical fort, which remained the main residence of the Mughal emperors till 1638. Walking through courtyard after courtyard of this palatial red-sandstone and marble fortress, your amazement keeps growing as you hear about the history of this fort from the guide. In the evening visit the local market to get the true essence of Agra city. Have dinner at a nice restaurant. Overnight stay will be at the hotel in Agra.
Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
Early in the morning, visit the majestic Taj Mahal (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) built by Shah Jahan in 1560 in memory of his queen Mumtaz Mahal to enshrine her mortal remains. Taj Mahal looks really mesmerizing at the sunrise.
After breakfast check out from the hotel, and head towards Jaipur. On the way take a short detour to visit Chand Baori, a stepwell built over a thousand years ago in the Abhaneri village of Rajasthan. About 100 feet deep, it is India's largest and deepest stepwells with 13 floors and was built in the 9th century for water harvesting.
Then continue towards Pink City - Jaipur, famous for its broad avenues, massive forts, magnificent palaces, exquisite temples, and proud culture. Reach Jaipur by late afternoon. Check-in to the hotel on arrival. In the evening head out for a guided walk tour through the Pink City market. Jaipur is also known as the shopper’s paradise. Jaipur's colorful markets offer a great break to stop and shop on your tour. Take in the glint and sparkle of the rows of shops selling hand-crafted bangles and other decoration items. While moving through the markets, you will come across the vivacious culture of this region.
Reach back at the hotel by late evening. Overnight stay will be at the hotel in Jaipur.
Have a sumptuous breakfast and then set out for exploring the best attractions of Jaipur. Visit the historic heritage sites of Jaipur - Hawa Mahal ("Palace of Winds"), a high screen wall built so the women of the royal household could observe street festivals while unseen from the outside. Then visit Jantar Mantar (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). It is a collection of nineteen architectural astronomical instruments, built by the Rajput king Sawai Jai Singh, and completed in 1738 CE.
Afterward, visit the City Palace. It houses the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum and continues to be the home of the Jaipur royal family. The palace complex has several buildings, various courtyards, galleries, restaurants, and offices of the Museum Trust.
Later visit Galtaji Temple (a.k.a. Monkey Temple), a prehistoric Hindu pilgrimage site located on the outskirts of the regal city of Jaipur. Outlined by the striking Aravalli hills, it consists of several shrines, holy kinds, pavilions, and natural springs. This majestic temple is situated at the heart of a hilly terrain that is bounded by a beautiful gorge that attracts tourists here every year. Galtaji Temple was built using pink color sandstone and is a vast temple complex.
Later in the evening enjoy dinner at a nice restaurant. Overnight stay will be at the hotel in Jaipur.
Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
After a delicious breakfast head out to explore the famous forts of Jaipur. First stop by to visit Jal Mahal, a palace in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake in Jaipur city. It was built in the 17th century. Then visit the grand Amer Fort (or Amber Fort), also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the principal tourist attraction in the Jaipur and the current structure was built during the late 16th century by Rajput Kings. This magnificent fort comprises an extensive palace complex, built from pale yellow and pink sandstone, and white marble, and is divided into four main sections, each with its own courtyard.
Afterward, visit Jaigarh Fort, a grand structure perched on the top of a hill in the Pink City of Jaipur. This magnificent edifice was commissioned by Sawai Jai Singh II in the year 1726 to protect Amer Fort. Cradled on the top of the cliff, it is a palatial structure bounded by verdant greenery and massive battlements. The fort currently houses the world's largest cannon on wheels - 'Jaivana' and offers a magnificent view of the Jaipur city. In the evening visit Nahargarh Fort, which provides a beautiful bird's eye view of the entire Jaipur city. There is a food court and a restaurant "Padao" at the top of the fort with an excellent view.
Reach back at the hotel by late evening. Overnight stay will be at the hotel in Jaipur.
After breakfast check-out from the hotel and transfer to Jaipur Airport. Board the flight for Varanasi. Also known at various times in history as Kashi (City of Life) and Benares, this is one of the world's oldest continually inhabited cities and is regarded as one of Hinduism's seven holy cities. Pilgrims come to the Ghats lining the River Ganges here to wash away a lifetime of sins in the sacred waters or to cremate their loved ones.
A private car will pick up from Varanasi airport and transfer you to your hotel. Check-in at the hotel on arrival and relax. In the evening visit and hang out at the local market. Try the different taste of street food at Varanasi. Overnight stay at hotel in Varanasi.
Start your day with the early morning boat ride in the Ganges River. Rowing boat rides during the dawn are perhaps one of the best things to do in Varanasi. Witness the daily rituals. The best time to enjoy a boat ride of the Ganges River is from 5:30 AM to 7:00 AM. This is when the color and clamor of the place will enthrall you.
After breakfast, morning at your leisure. At noon, head out for the tour to Sarnath, one of the holiest Buddhist sites. Located around 10 km from the Hindu holy city of Varanasi, it is the site of the deer park where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma after his enlightenment. Visit the Dhamekha Stupa where the voice of Buddhism was first heard and many Buddhist dignitaries visit to pay homage to Buddha. After that visit Sarnath Museum, the oldest site museum of Archaeological Survey of India built in 1910 CE. The museum contains five galleries and two verandahs to display the antiquities ranging from the 3rd century BCE to 12th century CE that have been found at Sarnath. The single most famous exhibit of this museum is the Lion Capital of Ashoka, a sculpture of four Asiatic lions standing back to back, on an elaborate base, built-in around 250 BCE. Later during the day visit the famous silk market of Varanasi. Varanasi silk is famous all over India and abroad. In the evening see the Ganga Aarti, a spectacular ceremony that takes place every day at the Dashashwamedh Ghat.
Reach back at the hotel. Overnight stay at hotel in Varanasi.
After breakfast check out from the hotel and transfer to Varanasi Airport. The private car will drop you at the airport to catch your flight for Delhi from where you could take your return flight.
To all the good things, comes an end. Bid farewell with the memories of amazing fun-filled 13 days of the best of northern India (Agra, Khajuraho & Varanasi), worth remembering for a lifetime!
Moods: Culture & Insight