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18 Days Memorable India Activity Tour

18 Days Memorable India Activity Tour


Itinerary Summary

The MEMORABLE INDIA ACTIVITY TOUR OF INDIA is an experience liked by the first time visitor to India wanting to enjoy the diverse culture of the country and its main monuments & famous sites. The tour includes most importantly the famous monument of love - TAJ MAHAL in AGRA and the most ancient HINDU CITY in the world – VARANASI. You would be arriving through the historical city of Delhi, which is also the vibrant capital of India while departing through the financial capital of India – Mumbai. We have not only tried to include some of the most colourful & culturally vibrant cities of North India but have tried to present you a couple of off beat experiences to give a true INDIAN tour. The tour makes it possible for you to come in close contact with the real people of India on a daily basis and though you still do the famous sites and stay in lovely and comfortable hotels you still get to see the real India - the Indian way. We call it "the Indian way" since the tour is escorted by a local man all through who has a royal background but has stayed in the village through most of his youth - thus having knowledge of the royal estates and the common people.

Explore India is experienced in private and customized holidays but over the years we have come across a lot of requests for group travel from travellers of various age groups. Last year we organized a few "fixed date holidays" for some of our like-minded travellers and based on their feedback and experience have now launched the MEMORABLE INDIA ACTIVITY TOUR as the first of a series of FIXED DATE TOURS FOR THE YEAR 2010 -11.

Depending on the strength of the group we provide luxurious air-conditioned van / coach for transportation and sight seeing while the other highlights and inclusions of Explore India remaining same as in the case of private travellers. And yes, the expert local escort travelling all through with you will be making every day an eventful day.

A couple of activities that we plan during the tour for our travellers are:

- A stop in a village school on the way (books and stationary sponsored by Explore India ) for an one hour interaction and story telling session. Our aim is to increase their exposure to the world and increase their awareness.

- A visit to the common kitchen of a village where all of you learn and help in the making of Indian bread. Our aim here is to give you an idea of how the villages work as one family and we sponsor the bread for the village that evening with a special meal.

- A "daily marketing" experience where you are given some change and a list of things to get from the local market. It is not simple since the local language is written in English but the pronunciation is not given.

- A meal with the royal family of an erstwhile state at their palace in full dress code of past years.

We have realized that travelling in a group is a good idea and could be fun too - it is really enjoyable to travel with your family, friends and the like-minded people. It will take you back in time to your school days of enjoyable school picnics and excursions. Travelling in a group is a good financial decision even since the cost of accommodation as well the cost of transportation come down drastically though there is no compromise on the same.

The tour starts on the 4th of DECEMBER 2008 and you need to arrive in Delhi latest by the 3rd of December. It is middle of the week and you end the tour on a Saturday. This has been done keeping in mind a working day before you start the tour for your last minute shopping at home for the tour. You could extend the tour and add an experience in SOUTH INDIA or a relaxation in a beach destination like GOA. You could also arrive early and do a WILDLIFE EXCURSION or NEPAL HIGHLIGHTS.  

A tour itinerary of a country like India can never be DETAILED since there is so much to do everyday and so many things happen all around you at all times - but we have tried to get the highlights down in a detailed plan as below.

SUGGESTED HOTELS:


Destination
Suggested Hotels
Nights
Delhi
CLARIDGES
02
Varanasi
TAJ GANGES
02
Khajuraho
TAJ CHANDELA
01
Agra
TAJ VIEW
02
Jaipur
RAJ PALACE
02
Jodhpur
AJIT BHAWAN (LUXURY ROOMS)
02
Udaipur
FATEH PRAKASH PALACE (DOVECOTE)
02
Aurangabad
TAJ RESIDENCY (DELUXE)
02
Mumbai
MARINE PLAZA
02

TOUR PRICING: (PER PERSON)


PARTICULARS

TOUR PRICE
US$ / GBP£ / EURO€

In a double room

4555 / 2444 / 2999

In a single room

7222 / 3888 / 4777

  • Day 1:

    Delhi

    Arrival at Delhi

    Company representatives will receive you on arrival at the international airport in Delhi. Transfer to your hotel. Relax.

    DELHI, the capital of kingdoms and empires is now a sprawling metropolis with a fascinating blend of the past and the present. It is a perfect introduction to the composite culture of an ancient land. A window to the kaleidoscope - that is India.

    Overnight will be at the hotel.

  • Day 2:

    Delhi

    Breakfast will be at the hotel.

    Start with the sightseeing of Old Delhi. The tour will begin with a visit to Raj Ghat, a simple memorial to Mahatma Gandhi; enjoy the tour of Red Fort which has been restored largely in the last few years. The magnificent Red Fort, overlooking the river Jamuna was built during the years 1638 - 48 when the Moghul Empire was at its peak.

    Take the bicycle rickshaw continuing to the Jama Masjid, one of Asia’s largest mosques. People stream in and out of the mosque continuously and the presence of a nearby bazaar means that the area is rarely quiet.

    Visit the GANDHI SAMADHI where the great leader is remembered by his country.

    Drive to New Delhi, which reflects the legacy the British left behind. The division between New and Old Delhi is the division between the capitals of the British and the Mughals respectively. The division in the walled city and New Delhi also marks the division in the life-styles. The walled city is all tradition where one will be able to glean a past life-style in all its facets, colours and spells. New Delhi in contrast, is a city trying to live up to the best of 21st century standards.

    Imperial Delhi will include the Qutub Minar, the tallest stone tower in India and the Humayun’s Tomb which is one of the great monuments of Delhi. There is a saying that this monument was the inspiration for the Taj Mahal hence it is a must to see this place and enjoy the architecture. Visit the LOTUS TEMPLE of the BAHAI sect which represents the modern architecture of India.

    The tour also includes a drive past the imposing India Gate, the Parliament building and the Rastrapathi Bhawan, the President’s residence.

    End the tour and return to the hotel. Relax in the evening.

    Overnight will be in Delhi.

  • Day 3:

    Delhi – Varanasi

    By flight
    Flight Number : 9W 723 (Jet Airways)
    Aircraft : Boeing 737
    Departure : 1040 Hrs
    Arrival : 1150 Hrs

    Breakfast will be at the hotel. Proceed to the airport for flight to Varanasi.

    Picturesquely situated on the crescent shaped left bank of the holy River Ganges, Varanasi, one of the ancient seats of learning in India, is said to be a compound of the names of two streams, the Varuna and the Assi, which still flow in the north and south of the city respectively. This name seems to have been corrupted, in medieval times to Varanasi, which was in use till May 1956, when it was changed to Varanasi, by an order of the Government of India. Varanasi is probably one of the most ancient living cities in India. From time immemorial it has been a great religious center for Hindus and one of their most sacred places of pilgrimage, being visited by millions of people every year. To every visitor Varanasi offers a breathtaking experience. The rays of the dawn shimmering across the Ganges; the high-banks; the temples and shrines along the banks bathed in a golden hue …soul stirring hymns and mantras along with the fragrance of incense filling the air…and the refreshing dip in the holy waters gently splashing at the Ghats. Varanasi – The land where experience and discovery reach the ultimate bliss. Varanasi is also renowned for its rich tapestry of music, arts, crafts and education. Some of the world – renowned exponents India has produced in these fields were schooled in Varanasi’s cultural ethos. Luminaries apart, Varanasi abounds in the art of silk weaving, an exotic work of art which manifests itself in precious Banarasi silk sarees and silk brocades which are cherished as collector’s items across the world today.

    Visit Sarnath - 5 miles out of Varanasi for a day excursion: One of the holiest Buddhist sites in the world, where Buddha preached his first Sermon in 590 BC. Here he revealed the eight fold path that leads to the attainment of inner peace, Enlightenment and Ultimate Nirvana. Witness the ruins of a once flourishing Buddhist monastery and then visit a fine Museum which houses an excellent collection of Buddhist art and sculptures found at the site.

    In the evening visit the GHATS for the evening ceremony and the cremations. Overnight stay will be at Varanasi.

  • Day 4:

    Varanasi

    Morning drive to Daswamedh Ghat and take a boat ride on the sacred river Ganges to see the cremation Ghats and witness the living traditions of one of the world's oldest and most important religions. (To start at 0500 hrs. for the best lifetime experience) For you to appreciate this remarkable city, we’ll transfer you to the banks of the River Ganges before the sun rises. Board a boat with your guide and proceed to the middle of the river, where at sunrise the sight unfolds before you. Thousands of faithful come daily to the banks to bathe and pray while in the background, temples and palaces rise in tiers from the water’s edge. Then return for a walk through the cobblestone streets along the banks of "Ganga". As shops are opening, the place now becomes a beehive of activity as the faithful are coming and going. Visit the Kashi Vishwanath Temple while returning to the hotel.

    Breakfast will be at the hotel. Proceed for day guided tour of Varanasi.

    Visit Bharat Mata Temple, which features a big relief map of Mother India engraved in marble. Also visit the 18th century Durga Temple, commonly known as the Monkey Temple due to the huge population of the monkeys. Proceed to the Tulsi manas Temple, crafted from white marble which features the entire Ramayana inscribed on its walls. Also visit the BHU considered as the biggest residential university in Asia. The University Campus houses an Art Gallery and the Mosque of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.

    Overnight stay will be at hotel.

  • Day 5:

    Varanasi – Khajuraho


    By flight
    Flight : 9W 723 (Jet Airways)
    Aircraft : Boeing 737
    Departure : 1220 hr
    Arrival : 1300 hr

    Breakfast will be at hotel.

    Take an afternoon flight to Khajuraho.

    Situated in the northernmost part of Madhya Pradesh, Khajuraho is famous for its enchanting temples and its legendary Khajuraho dance festival. The name Khajuraho is derived from the Khajur tree (the date palm tree) which is grown abundantly in the region. The Khajuraho Temples are dedicated to a celebration of womanhood, her myriad moods and facets. Famous for its erotic architecture, the carvings include, women writing a letter, applying eye makeup, combing her tresses, dancing & playing with her child. Her innocent, blushed, charming, seductive, ardent beauty, all depicted in exquisitely sculptured details. These temples have been designed and carved to lead the eyes from ground level upward till you seem to be looking at heaven.

    Reach and after lunch visit the EASTERN SET OF TEMPLES in the afternoon.

    In the evening enjoy the SOUND & LIGHT SHOW at the temple complex.

    Overnight will be at Khajuraho.

  • Day 6:

    Khajuraho – Jhansi

    (175 km in 4 hr)


    Jhansi – Agra:
    By deluxe train at 1800 hr reaching at 2000 hr

    Enjoy breakfast at the hotel.

    Visit the Western set of temples.

    Start for Orchha by surface.

    It is a medieval city founded by the BUNDELA rulers with palaces and temples of the 16th & 17th century – which has remarkably withstood the onslaught of time. The town is known for its CHATTRIS which were built in the memory of the kings and the place is flanked by the river BETWA.

    Enjoy your lunch at Orchha.

    Proceed for sightseeing of ORCHHA sites within the Fort Complex.

    Take the deluxe train for Agra and reach by evening.

    AGRA: Two great Mughal monarchs, Akbar and Shah Jahan, transformed the little village of Agra into a befitting second capital of the Mughal Empire – giving it the name Dar-ul-Khilafat {seat of the Emperor}. Today a visitor to Agra is caught up in a world of contrasting edifices, of red sandstone and white marble, narrow galleys and quaint buggies, and that irresistible charm that this favorite city of the Mughals still retains. It is not surprising, that modern Agra still reflects its Mughal heritage most conspicuously. A walk down the narrow bustling streets of the city will introduce the visitor to the wafting aroma of Mughlai cuisine.

    Overnight will be at Agra.

  • Day 7:

    Agra

    Have a leisurely breakfast at the hotel.

    Proceed for day sightseeing of Agra.

    TAJ MAHAL: Little needs to be said about this architectural wonder which is always the soul raison-de-etre for every tourist's visit to Agra. Built by Shah Jahan, the Taj is a white marble memorial to his beautiful wife Mumtaz Mahal. This monument took 22 years to be completed and was designed, and planned by Persian architect Ustad Isa. Apart from its stunning design balance and perfect symmetry, the Taj is also noted particularly for its elegant domes, intricately carved screens and some of the best inlay work ever seen.

    AGRA FORT - Built by the famed Mughal emperor Akbar in 1565 AD, the fort is predominantly of red sandstone. Ensconced within is the picture perfect Pearl Mosque, which is a major tourist attraction. It lies on the bend of the river Yamuna, almost in the heart of the town. Akbar built it as his citadel over the years 1563-73 in the finest architectural style. It has imposing gates and walls of red sandstone and a moat.

    After Agra Fort we will visit BABY TAJ – The interiors of which are considered better than the Taj.

    Overnight will be at Agra.

  • Day 8:

    Agra – Jaipur

    (221 km in 5 hr)


    Breakfast will be at the hotel.

    Drive to Jaipur. On your way, stop at Fatehpur Sikri.

    Fatehpur Sikri is 37 km west of Agra. Jajal-ud-din-Muhammad Akbar, Humanyun's son, accessed the throne at the tender age of 14. While hunting around Sikri his curiosity was aroused by the songs of some minstrels about the celebrated Khwaja -Mu'inu'd-din Chisti, the founder of the Chisti order of SUFIS. Akbar, who was without a male heir heard about Saint Salim Chisti and visited him in the year 1568. The saint blessed him with 3 sons and in gratitude Akbar ordered the great mosque of Fatehpur Sikri built under his supervision. As a mark of respect to the saint, Akbar shifted his capital to Fatehpur Sikri and built various secular buildings like the Diwan -I-Am, Diwan-I-Khas, Jodhabai palace, Birbal's house, Marian's house and the Panchmahal.

    Continue drive to Jaipur.

    Jaipur is the capital of the state of Rajasthan a romantic realm of resplendent palaces, mighty fortresses and regal Maharajahs that lies in the western deserts and is an utterly unique part of India. Proudly belonging to the KSHATRIYA warrior caste and fiercely independent, the Rajput princes made fearsome foes. However, many of them realized that to maintain their wealth and authority locally, it was expedient to proclaim allegiance to the central power. Thus, many enjoyed a privileged position under the Mughal emperors and also the British Raj that followed.

    The bustling Rajasthan capital of Jaipur takes its name from its venerated founder Jai Singh II, who was given the title Sawai Maharaja by the Mughal. Literally translated this would mean ’one and a quarter’, suggesting that the Mughal thought this emperor to be more valuable than just ‘one’. Jaipur is known as the ’Pink City’ on account of the distinctive colour of its buildings. This did not, however, form part of the original plan, but dates back to 1856, when the city was given a wash of pink in honor of a State Visit from Prince Albert.

    This evening, visit the Birla Temple to learn more about the fascinating religious life of Jaipur. The marble structure, built as recently as 1985, houses ornate statues including one of Lakshmi (goddess of Wealth and Beauty) and Narayan dressed in gaudy robes, representing a Hindu vision of heavenly luxury. Carvings in the temple and on pillars supporting the covered walkways include images of the Hindu pantheon, as well as Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Francis of Assisi. Your visit will coincide with the AARTI Ceremony, which involves oil lamps being lit and waved, in order to awake and invoke the deity. Enjoy the experience and spend night at Jaipur.

    Overnight will be in Jaipur.

  • Day 9:

    Jaipur

    Proceed for a morning excursion to Amber Fort after breakfast. Elephant ride ascent to the fort.

    AMBER FORT PALACE – Amber is the classic romantic Rajasthani fort palace. Its construction was started by Man Singh I in 1592, and completed by his descendent Jai Singh I. Its forbidding exterior belies an inner paradise where a beautiful fusion of Mughal and Hindu styles finds its ultimate expression.

    Continue sightseeing.

    CITY PALACE – A delightful blend of Mughal and traditional Rajasthani architecture, the City Palace sprawls over one-seventh of the area in the walled city. It houses the Chandra Mahal, Shri Govind Dev Temple and the City Palace Museum.

    JANTAR MANTAR – This is the largest and the best preserved of the five observatories built by Jai Singh II in different parts of the country. This observatory consisting of outsized astronomical instruments is still in use.

    HAWA MAHAL – The ornamental facade of this "Palace of Winds" is a prominent landmark in Jaipur. It is a five-storey structure of sandstone plastered pink encrusted with fine trelliswork and elaborate balconies. The palace has 953 niches and windows. Built in 1799 by Pratap Singh, the Mahal was a royal grandstand for the palace women.

    This afternoon is free for you to relax, shop or explore independently. Shopping is superb in Jaipur, particularly for gold and silver jewellery, pottery, tie-dye materials, silk, saris, wooden handicrafts and carpets.

    Overnight will be at Jaipur.

  • Day 10:

    Jaipur – Jodhpur

    (250 km in 6 hr)

    Enjoy the breakfast at hotel.

    Drive to Jodhpur at leisure and on your way you will visit Pushkar. Reach later in the afternoon and in the evening relax at the palace.

    Set at the edge of the THAR Desert, the imperial city of Jodhpur echoes with tales of antiquity in the emptiness of the desert. Once the capital of the Marwar state, it was founded in 1459 AD by Rao Jodha – chief of the RATHORE clan of Rajputs who claimed to be descendants of Rama - the epic hero of the RAMAYANA. The massive 15th century AD Mehrangarh Fort looms on the top of a rocky hill, soaring 125 Mts. Above the plains. The city is included by a high wall -10 km long with 8 gates and innumerable bastions.

    Overnight will be at Jodhpur.

  • Day 11:

    Jodhpur

    Enjoy breakfast at the hotel.

    Morning sightseeing tour of Jodhpur – gateway to the desert beyond, home of the Rathors of Marwar, visit the Mehrangarh Fort, rising up a hilly scarp, built on the advice of a hermit, overlooking the city in the image of a long sentinel. Inside the Fort are a number of palaces added by successive rulers. In this palace you would see different miniature paintings & cradle room. After this you would visit Jaswant Thada Memorial.

    In the afternoon go for a drive to OSIYAN for an evening in the deserts.

    Osiyan was a religious and trading center between the 8th and 12th centuries. Sixteen Hindu and Jain temples dating from this period are located here. Dominated by the Jains during this period, the town has special significance for Jains because it is associated with the origin of the Oswal Jain community of merchants who became very wealthy through trade. This wealth enabled them to build the beautiful temples. Built from local sandstone, the buildings have withstood time and are in excellent condition.

    Enjoy a short sightseeing and then ride your camels into the desert for sunset. Dinner will be in the dunes amidst a cultural program by the tribal people.

    Return to the city and overnight will be in Jodhpur.

  • Day 12:

    Jodhpur – Udaipur

    (250 km in 6 hr)

    Drive to Luni after breakfast.

    Stop at LUNI (a short distance away) for a jeep safari into the tribal villages.

    Enjoy the safari and interact with locals.

    Return for a cup of tea / coffee at the LUNI FORT and then start for RANAKPUR TEMPLES.

    The RANAKPUR TEMPLES, dating back to the 15th century have 200 pillars, none of which are alike, support its 29 halls. The Temple abounds with intricate friezes and sculptures. Includes visits to two more Jain temples and the Temple of the Sun God with its erotic sculptures.

    Enjoy a hot lunch in a nice village restaurant or at the FATEH BAGH PALACE and continue drive to Udaipur.

    Reach Udaipur and check in to hotel.

    The city of Dawn, Udaipur is a lovely land around the azure lake, hemmed in by the lush hills of the ARAVALLIS. A vision in white drenched in romance and beauty, Udaipur is a fascinating blend of sights, sound and experiences and inspiration for the imagination of poets, painters and writers.

    Its kaleidoscope of fairy-tale palaces, lakes, temples, gardens and narrow lanes strewn with stalls, carry the flavor of a heroic past, epitomizing valor and chivalry. Their reflection in the placid waters of the LAKE PICHOLA is an enticing sight.

    Udaipur is the jewel of MEWAR -a kingdom ruled by the Sisodia dynasty for 1200 Years.

    Overnight stay will be at Udaipur.

  • Day 13:

    Udaipur

    Breakfast will be at hotel.

    Proceed for sightseeing tour of Udaipur, stopping first at City Palace. Here you will marvel at rooms with mirrored walls and ivory doors, colored glass windows and inlaid marble balconies and the Peacock Courtyard.

    Also visit the lovely Sahelion-ki-Bari Gardens, the Jagdish Temple and the local folk Museum.

    Proceed for Evening Motor launch cruise on the placid waters of Lake Pichola. From the boat you will be able to view the city of Udaipur as it rises majestically above the lake in the middle of the Rajasthan desert. Also visit the Jag Mandir Palace - the other island palace in the middle of the lake and spend some time. (Currently water level is very low and is subject to increase water level)

    Enjoy the visit to the CENOTAPHS of the royal rulers and in the evening proceed for a dinner with dances show.

    Overnight will be at Udaipur.

  • Day 14:

    Udaipur – Aurangabad


    By Flight
    Number : IT 2335 (Kingfisher Airlines)
    Aircraft : ATR Jet
    Departure : 1440 hr
    Arrival : 1625 hr

    Breakfast will be at the hotel.

    Enjoy the old city in the morning.

    Proceed to the airport for flight to Aurangabad.

    Reach and check into the hotel.

    The city of Aurangabad was founded in 1610, on the site of a village, Khirki by Malik Ambar - the Prime Minister of Murtaza Nizam Shah II. When Fateh Khan, Malik Ambar's son turned successor in 1626, he gave the city the name 'Fatehpur'. Later in 1653, when Prince Aurangzeb became Viceroy of the Deccan, he made the city his capital and called it Aurangabad. Aurangzeb added the walls that enclose the central part of the city in 1686 in order to withstand attacks from the Marathas. There are four principle gateways to the city - the Delhi Darwaza, the Jalna Darwaza, the Paithan Darwaza and the Mecca Darwaza. Nine secondary gateways also formed a part of the defensive system of this city.

    Aurangabad district has always been a prominent region on the Deccan plateau. Having been inhabited since the Stone Age, it has a long artistic and cultural history - to which several dynasties have made major contributions over the years. Maurya rule marked the arrival of Buddhism in Maharashtra.

    Aurangabad today is a bustling city of Maharashtra with diverse big and small industries, fine silken textiles, and exquisite hand woven brocades of silver and gold fabrics, Himroo of world frame. To scholars and lovers of art and culture the city is more familiar as the gateway to the ancient caves of Ajanta and Ellora, both famous as treasure houses of Indian Art and Sculpture.

    Overnight will be at Aurangabad.

  • Day 15:

    Aurangabad

    Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

    Proceed for a full day sightseeing with excursion to Ajanta Caves.

    Ajanta caves: Nestling in an inner fold of the Sahyardi hills, 100 km from Aurangabad in the shape of a mammoth horse- shoe, are the 30 rock-hewn caves of Ajanta. The Caves date from the 2nd century BC. Discovered in 1819 by a group of British army officers, these startling achievements took around 600 years to create. Carved with little more than a hammer and chisel, Ajanta, once the retreat of Buddhist monastic orders features several 'chaityas' (chapels) and 'viharas' (monasteries). The exquisite wall and ceiling paintings, panels and sculptures of Buddha's life are famous throughout the world as the earliest and finest examples of Buddhist pictorial art.

    Return to Aurangabad and visit the Daulatabad Fort.

    Once known as 'Devgiri', this magnificent 12th century fortress stands on a hill just 13 km. from Aurangabad. It was given the name Daulatabad, the 'city of fortune', by Muhammad Tughlaq, Sultan of Delhi. Initially a Yadav stronghold, it passed through the hands of several dynasties in the Deccan. One of the world's best preserved fort of medieval times, surviving virtually unaltered, Daulatabad yet displays the character that made it invincible. This is a Fortress that was conquered only by treachery. A series of secret, quizzical, subterranean passages lie coiled like a python amidst the fort. Here flaring torches were thrust upon an unwary enemy. Or hot oil poured down his path, as he deliberated in the labyrinth. Also the heat from a brazier was blown into the passage by a process of suction suffocating the entire garrison within. The Fort itself lies in the body of an isolated hill; the steep hill - sides at the base falling so sharply to the moat that no hostile troops could scale the height. The moat, 40 ft. deep with mechanical drawbridges teemed with crocodiles. A 5-kilometer sturdy wall, artificial scarping and a complicated series of defenses made Daulatabad impregnable. The 30-meter high Chand Minar (Tower) built much later with 3 circular galleries had a defensive and religious role in the fortress.

    Overnight will be at Aurangabad.

  • Day 16:

    Aurangabad – Mumbai


    By Flight
    Number : 9W 3110 (Jet Airways)
    Aircraft : ATR Jet
    Departure : 1955 hr from Aurangabad
    Arrival : 2055 hr at Mumbai

    Breakfast will be at the hotel.

    Proceed for a visit to the Ellora Caves and Aurangabad Caves.

    Ellora Caves: Impressive in their own right is the rock-hewn temples and monasteries of Ellora that lie just 30 km away from Aurangabad city. In all, there are 34 cave temples, 12 Mahayana Buddhist caves (550-750 AD), 17 Hindu caves (600-875 AD) and 5 caves of the Jain faith (800-1000 AD) 22 more caves, dedicated to Lord Shiva, were recently discovered. Kailas Temple (cave16), the central attraction at Ellora, is the most remarkable. Chiseled by hand from a single massive rock, it includes a gateway, pavilion, courtyard, vestibule, sanctum, sanctorum and tower which bear testimony to the excellence of Dravidian art. It is believed to have taken 7000 laborers, working in continuous shifts and 150 years to build. Ever since the first European visitors in 18th Century, Ellora has attracted chroniclers, antiquarians, scholars and in more recent years, ever- increasing number of tourists.

    Aurangabad Caves: The almost forgotten caves of Aurangabad lie just outside the city. Excavated between the 2nd and 6th century AD, they reflect TANTRIC influences in their iconography and architectural designs. In all there are nine caves which are mainly viharas (monasteries). The most interesting among these are Caves 3 and 7. The former is supported on 12 highly ornate columns and has sculptures depicting scenes from the legendary 'Jakata' tales. Cave 7 with its detailed figures of bejeweled women also has a dominating sculpture of a 'Bodhisattva' praying for deliverance.

    Proceed to the airport for flight to Mumbai.

    Its young, its lively and a confluence of varied cultural currents and cross currents have given Mumbai a unique position of the most multi-ethnic city of India. The capital city of Maharashtra State formerly known as Bombay lies in the southwestern part of India and occupies a peninsular site originally composed of seven islets lying off the KONKAN COAST of western India. Oozing with the cocksure self-confidence of a maverick moneymaker and "Bindass" (carefree) attitude, Mumbai is also country's financial and commercial hub and has a principal port on the Arabian Sea.

    Yet, there's another face of Mumbai too that is of the most densely populated cities in the world. Mumbai is located on a site of ancient settlement and took its name from the local Goddess "Mumba" - a form of Parvati, the consort of Shiva, one of the principal Gods of Hinduism – whose temple once stood in what is now the southeastern section of the Mumbai city.

    Reach and check in at hotel.

    In the evening enjoy the local beach at CHOWPATTY – the locals come here for a relaxed evening and it will be an insight into the urban culture.

    Chowpatty Beach: Chowpatty beach situated at the end of Marine Drive has a moderate expanse of sand and is the only beach in the central part of Mumbai. One can witnesses many Hindu religious ceremonies taking place at Chowpatty like the Annual Thread-Tying Ceremony initiating young boys into the Brahmin caste, 'Nariel Purnima' towards the end of the monsoons and 'Ganesh Chaturthi' immersions.

    Overnight will be at Mumbai.

  • Day 17:

    Mumbai

    Proceed for a city tour of Mumbai after a relaxed breakfast.

    Mumbai Fort: The area north of Colaba is known as Mumbai Fort, since the old British fort was once located here. There are a lot of impressive buildings from Mumbai's golden period here. St. John's church, dedicated to the soldiers, who laid down their lives in the Sindh campaign of 1838, and the first Afghan war of 1843, is also worth a visit.

    Marine Drive in Mumbai: Marine Drive located in the central Mumbai, built in the 1920s and 30s on land reclaimed from the sea, is Mumbai's most famous thoroughfare. It is also referred to as the Queen's Necklace because of the dramatic line of street lamps lit up at night. Recently it has come to known as Netaji Subhashchandra Bose Road with Nariman Point on one end to Babulnath, at the foot of Walkeshwar on the other.

    Gateway of India: Mumbai's principal landmark, the Gateway of India is a huge archway on the water's edge at Apollo Bunder. It is the starting point for most tourists who want to explore the city. This famous monument was built to commemorate the visit of the first ever British Monarch, King George V and Queen Mary in 1911.

    Flora Fountain/ Hutama Chowk: This fountain situated in the heart of the city was erected in 1869 in honour of a British Governor of Bombay. Sir Brtle Frere. Flora Fountain marks a junction of five streets and known as the 'Picadilly Circus 'of Mumbai, which is decorated at its four corners with mythological figures, the Fountain is a structure in dull stone with a figure the Roman Goddess of flowers, at the top.

    Hanging Gardens in Mumbai: Also known as Pherozeshah Mehta Gardens, the Hanging Gardens were built in 1880 and renovated in 1921. These gardens are popularly known as Hanging Gardens, because of their location on the slope of a hill. The terrace garden looks south from Malabar Hill towards Colaba, and affords a panoramic view of the city or a breathtaking sunset. It is built over three reservoirs, which store 30 million gallons of water pumped here for cleaning before being supplied to the town.

    Victoria Terminus/Western Railway Station: At the site of the Koli's original temple to Mumba Devi now stands Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus - one of Mumbai's most prominent buildings and architecturally one of the finest stations in the world. It is built in a style that combines Gothic and Indian influences. It was completed in 1885. Designed by F.W. Stevens the building commenced in 1878. This Italian gothic Building has a frontage of over 1500 feet. The administrative offices form three sides of a rectangle enclosing an ornamental garden, the entrance gate guarded by a massive stone Lion and Tiger. The most prominent feature of this building is the high 160 feet dome crowning the centre. On top of the giant dome is a figure of a women with a torch held aloft to symbolize progress.

    Rajabai Clock tower: Rajabai Clock tower, situated at the gardens of the Bombay University building rises above the portion of the library section. Consisting of five elaborately decorated storeys the tower is 280 ft. in height. The top of the cupola is ornamented with sixteen statues depicting various Indian castes.

    Finish the tour and then in the afternoon and return to the hotel.

    Enjoy shopping during the evening. Dinner will be served at an Indian seafood restaurant with a cultural program. Overnight will be at Mumbai.

  • Day 18:

    Mumbai – Home

     

    Enjoy breakfast at the hotel.

    Day will be free for everyone to explore individually and all rooms will be on an extended check out basis till 6 PM. Individual cars and drivers will be provided to all the travelers.
    Proceed to the airport in time for flight home / next destination with sweet memories of India.

    TOUR ENDS

THE TOUR INCLUSIONS:

  1. ACCOMMODATION AT SUGGESTED HOTELS,
  2. DAILY BREAKFASTS AT HOTELS,
  3. SIGHTSEEING TOURS AS MENTIONED IN THE ITINERARY,
  4. ALL TOURS AND TRANSFERS IN AC COACH,
  5. ENGLISH SPEAKING GUIDE FOR ALL MENTIONED TOURS,
  6. SARNATH EXCURSION AT VARANASI,
  7. SUNRISE & SUNSET GANGES CRUISE IN VARANASI,
  8. EVENING AARTI IN GANGES GHATS AT VARANASI,
  9. SOUND & LIGHT SHOW AT KHAJURAHO,
  10. LUNCH AT ORCHHA,
  11. DAILY DINNERS AT STAND ALONE RESTAURANTS OR HOTELS,
  12. FIRST CLASS TRAIN RIDE FROM JHANSI TO AGRA,
  13. ALL MONUMENT ENTRANCE FEES,
  14. AJANTA & ELLORA EXCURSIONS IN AURANGABAD,
  15. ASSISTANCE AT THE AIRPORTS & STATIONS,
  16. ALL APPLICABLE TAXES AND SERVICE CHARGES,
  17. BOAT CRUISE ON LAKE PICHOLA AT UDAIPUR,
  18. ALL LOCAL AIRFARE BY FULL SERVICE AIRLINES IN COACH CLASS,
  19. ELEPHANT RIDE AT AMER FORT – JAIPUR AND
  20. ALL ROAD TAXES, GOVERNMENT TAXES AND DRIVER ALLOWANCES.

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Guest Experiences
"

Guest Name: Maria Veronica Galli 
Tour Taken: Delhi - Agra - Mumbai 

Hi

Thanks for your wishes of 2017 and the same for you. Here I am sending you the photos of my trip as requested.If you want you can add my comments to your website, delighted, the truth is that whatever I contracted surpassed my expectations. Everything even the  vehicles, were excellent, just like the drivers and the friendly guides, of quality and loving .I felt at ease and was able to enjoy my trip. You never know I might return to India , the truth is  I liked it a lot and would love to know  a lot more. Many Thanks!

Greetings

"

Thanks
Maria Veronica


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