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Summary of Best of Central and West India
Location: West & Central India
Best Time: September to May
This tour Journey start through the city of dreams - Mumbai and the spectacular rock cut caves and cave paintings at Ajanta and Ellora in Maharastra, a picturesque state in western India with marvelous diversity. Explore some of the symbols of power reflecting a long and proud history starting from Udaipur & Jodhpur, the most enchanting cities of Rajasthan full of forts, palaces, temples and havelis ranging from the modest to the extravagant.
The golden triangle of Jaipur, Agra and Delhi combined with massive forts of Orchha, holy city of Pushkar, the thousand year old carved temples of Khajuraho, one of the world’s greatest artistic wonders and to the holy of city of Varanasi, situated on the bank of the sacred river Ganges. The tour ends on a cultural note taking in the great sights of Old and New Delhi.
Complete Daywise Itinerary
Day 01: Mumbai
Arrive in Mumbai. You will be transferred to hotel. Rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 02: Mumbai - Aurangabad flight
After breakfast excursion to Elephanta caves with rock-cut cave temples and sculptures dedicated to Lord Shiva and located across the sea and accessible by ferry. Also visit the Gateway of India - a prominent promenade and the landmark of Mumbai. Afternoon tour of Mani Bhawan (Gandhi Memorial), Prince of Wales Museum - built in a grand Indo-Saracenic style with the collection of impressive sculptures, terra cotta figurines, miniature paintings, porcelain and weaponry and drive past Victoria Terminus. In the evening fly to Aurangabad (1 hr). Transfer to your hotel. Overnight: Hotel.
Day 03 - Aurangabad sightseeing
Moring after breakfast full day tour of the Ajanta Caves to discover remarkable paintings in Ajanta within the Sahayadri hills, cut into the curved mountainside above the Waghore River. Their isolation till 1819 AD contributed to the fine state of preservation in which some of their remarkable paintings remain to this day. This world heritage site, depict the story of Buddhism, spanning the period from 200 BC to 650 AD.Overnight: Hotel.
Day 04 - Aurangabad - Mumbai
Morning, half-day tour of Ellora Caves. The cave temples of Ellora, also listed in world heritage site, are the pinnacles of Deccan rock-cut architecture. Over five centuries, generations of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain monks carved monasteries, chapels and temples from a 2 km long escarpment and decorated them with a profusion of sculptures of remarkable imagination and detail indicating a prolonged period of religious tolerance with coexistence of three religions at one site. Evening, fly to Mumbai (1 hr). Transfer to your hotel.
Day 05 - Mumbai - Udaipur
In the morning fly to Udaipur (1 hr, 10 minutes), the most enchanting and romantic city of Rajasthan full of palaces, temples and havelis. Visit City palace - an imposing and majestic architectural marvel with its scalloped arches, fretted balconies and cupolas, museum, Jagdish temple – a fine Indo-Aryan temple built in 1651and dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the lord of universe, Saheliyon-ki-Bari - or Garden of the Maids of Honour is a small ornamental garden with fountains, marble elephants and delightful lotus pool. Evening enjoy a boat ride on Lake Pichola.
Day 06: Udaipur - Jodhpur
Morning drive to Jodhpur visiting Ranakpur en route (260 Kms/ 5-6 hrs). Visit the Jain temples with polygonal walls richly embellished with carvings in Ranakpur. Afternoon tour of Jodhpur, the second largest city in Rajasthan after Jaipur and located at the edge of the Thar Desert. Jodhpur is affectionately referred to as the 'Blue City' because of the indigo coloured houses in the old town. Visit the Mehrangarh Fort - one of the most impressive and formidable forts in fort-studded Rajasthan, Jaswant Thada - a white marble memorial to Maharaja Jaswant Singh I.
Day 07: Jodhpur - Jaipur
Morning fly to Jaipur (40 minutes). Afternoon tour of Jaipur city- the colourful and vibrant capital of the State of Rajasthan, popularly known as the 'Pink City' because of the pink-coloured buildings in its old city. Visit the city palace complex - located in the heart of the old city occupying a large series of courtyards, gardens and buildings. Visit the observatory built by Maharaja Jai Singh in 1728 whose passion for astronomy was even more notable than his power as a warrior. Finally drive around the city and its bustling bazaars.
Day 08: Jaipur
Morning excursion to Amber Fort en route photo stop at Hawa Mahal or the Palace of Winds, the major landmark of Jaipur built in 1799. Amber Fort is a beautiful complex of palaces, halls, pavilions, gardens and temples and a superb example of Rajput architecture, which is stunningly situated on a hillside and overlooking lakes and the best way of experiencing the majesty of the bygone era is by taking an elephant ride up to fort. Afternoon is at leisure.
Day 09: Jaipur - Bharatpur - Agra
Morning drive to Agra (230 Kms/5 hrs) en route halting first to visit Bharatapur Bird Santuary, the renowned World Heritage site and one of the finest bird sanctuaries in the world with over 400 species of water birds including the exotic migratory birds from Afghanistan, Central Asia, Tibet as well as Siberian cranes, and bareheaded geese from China. On the way, visit Fatehpur Sikri - perched atop a rocky ridge, the abandoned capital of the Mughals built by Akbar during 1564 AD. Continue to Agra and check into hotel.
Day 10: Agra
This morning go on a half-day tour of Agra city. The city of the Taj is an educational and business centre known for its craftsmen and handicrafts. Visit Taj Maghal - situated on the banks of the Yamuna River, this masterpiece in marble built on a sandstone base is a monument to love and beauty in the memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Begum, Agra Fort - situated by the side of Yamuna river. Afternoon is at leisure.
Day 11: Agra - Jhansi - Orchha – Khajuraho
Morning proceed by train to Jhansi (215 Kms/2.5 hrs). On arrival drive to Khajuraho (265 Kms/6 hrs) en route visiting Orchha, located along the Betwa River, once the capital of the Bundelas founded in 16th century which is s now a village set among a wonderful complex of well-preserved palaces and temples.
Day 12: Khajuraho - Varanasi flight
Morning visit the Khajuraho Temples, famous for its magnificent erotic temples built between 950 and 1050 AD representing some of the most exquisite specimens in medieval India. In the afternoon, fly to the holy city Varanasi (40 minutes) situated on the bank of the sacred Ganges River. Afternoon tour of Varanasi City, which includes the visit to Durga Temple - built in the Nagara style of North Indian architecture, Bharat Mata Temple - dedicated to Mother India and drive through Banares Hindu University - one of the largest residential universities in Asia spread in about 2000 acres with departments of Sanskrit, Indian Art, Culture and Music.
Day 13: Varanasi - Delhi flight
Early morning boat ride on River Ganges, an unforgettable experience and a chance to see the Burning Ghats where cremations are conducted and the Bathing Ghats where devotees pray and take a dip in the holy water, a ritual that washes away all sins. Later visit Sarnath, located about 10km from Varanasi, one of the important Buddhist centres and the site where Lord Buddha had preached his first sermon. In the afternoon fly to Delhi (1 hr, 15 minutes). Transfer to your hotel. Rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 14: Delhi
Full day tour of Delhi. Visit Red Fort (Lal Qila) – an imposing Fort built in red sandstone dating back from the very peak of the Mughal power, Jama Masjid – the largest of congregational mosques in India with the courtyard which can hold about 25,000 people, Raj Ghat - the cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, Laxmi Narayan Temple - also known as Birla Mandir is a modern Hindu temple built in 1938 and drive past Rajpath & India Gate - the immensely broad road and flanked on either side by ornamental pools and gardens where the Republic Day Parade is held here every year, the President's House, the Parliament House.
Also visit Humayun’s Tomb - a wonderful example of early Mughal architecture, considered as the predecessor of Taj Mahal, built in 16th century by Haji Begum, wife of Mughal Emperor Humayun, Qutub Minar Complex - one of the greatest bequests of Islamic culture and dominated by high Qutab Minar (Victory Tower) dating back to 13th century and Bahai Temple - an architectural marvel constructed in the shape of the Lotus by the followers of the Bahai faith.
Day 15: Delhi - Departure
Transfer to the airport to board your flight for onward journey.
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