Culture and Heritage Tour of India
The private tour will begin in Delhi and include Ahmedabad, Patan, Vadodara, Champaner – Pavagadh, Statue of Unity, Maheshwar, Mandu Omkareshwar, Indore, Ujjain, Bhopal, Bhimbetka & Bhojpur, Sanchi & Udayagiri, Khajuraho, Prayagraj, Varanasi & Sarnath in its itinerary. Visit few marvelous UNESCO WHS sites, three Jyotirlinga temples, riverbank & fort & palaces. Private AC vehicles, entrances to monuments & English-speaking guide services are well included in the package price.
Day 1: Arrive in Delhi
On arrival assistance & transfer to hotel (hotel check-in/ out time 12pm). Later city tour of Delhi. In Old, Delhi visits the majestic Red Fort (closed on Monday) the residence of the Mughal emperor for nearly 200 years until 1857. Jama Masjid one of the largest mosques in the world built by Shah Jahan. Cycle Rickshaw ride in Chandni chowk & Khari Baoli Spice Market a busy shopping area with markets full of spices, dried fruit, silver jewelry, and vivid saris, while the narrow side streets are crowded with tiny shops selling essential oils, stationery, and traditional Indian sweets. Raj Gath the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi where he was cremated after his assassination. In New Delhi visit Humayun Tomb the first garden-tomb in the Indian subcontinent and an early example of Mughal architecture commissioned by Humayun`s first wife Empress Bega Begum in 1569-70. Qutab Minar a 73-meter tall minaret that forms part of the Qutb complex fine examples of Afghan architecture. Lotus Temple a Bahai House of Worship notable for its flower-like shape. Also drive and pass by President House, Parliament & India Gate, etc. Overnight at hotel.
Day 2: Delhi – Ahmedabad (B)
Transfer to airport to board flight for Ahmedabad. Transfer to hotel. Later visit Hatheesing Jain Temple established in 1850 by Seth Hatheesing a rich Jain merchant, the temple is dedicated to 15th Jain Tirthankar Dharamnath. Bhadra Fort a beautiful monument that is famous for its intricate carvings, pattern works, and beautiful frescos suits. Located in the middle of lush greenery the huge 44 acres Fort got its name from the Bhadrakali Temple that it houses. Sabarmati Ashram once the residence of Mahatma Gandhi located on the tranquil and serene stretch of the Sabarmati River. The museum is one of the most interesting sections of the ashram as it has on display some of Gandhi’s personal letters and photographs. Shaking Minarets one of the most intriguing architectural wonders & an unsolvable mystery that the world has ever seen. VECHAAR Utensils Museum house an elaborate collection of utensils ranging from hundreds of years back to the current times. Overnight at hotel.
Day 3: Ahmedabad (B)
Full-day excursion to visit Adalaj Stepwell a magnificent structure built in 1498 to provide access to groundwater in this arid region. Walk in to witness astonishing beauty captured in stone and feel the soothing drop in temperature. The tale of its creation is full of love and war, devotion and betrayal, Modhera Sun Temple a Hindu temple dedicated to the solar deity Surya built between 1026-27 CE during the reign of Bhima I of the Chalukyas dynasty. The temple complex has three components: Gudhamandapa, the shrine hall; Sabhamandapa, the assembly hall, and Kunda, the reservoir. The halls have intricately carved exterior and pillars. The reservoir has steps to reach the bottom and numerous small shrines. Rani ki Vav 11th century Solanki era stepwell built by the Queen Udayamati & Karna in memory of her husband Bhima I. The stepwell is designed as an inverted temple highlighting the sanctity of water, divided into seven levels of stairs with sculptural panels, more than 500 principal sculptures, and over a thousand minor ones that combine religious, mythological, and secular imagery. Drive back to Ahmedabad. Overnight at hotel.
Day 4: Ahmedabad – Kevadia (200km) (B)
Drive to Kevadia Enroute visit Vadodara Visit Lakshmi Vilas Palace the largest private dwelling built to date four times the size of Buckingham Palace. Also, visit Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum & Kirti Mandir. Next visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Pavagadh-Champaner. The site encompasses forts, temples, mosques, mausoleum complexes, pavilions, wells, and tanks built around 1523 in Indo-Saracenic architecture.
Arrive in Kevadia, check-in at the hotel. Evening light & sound show at Statue of Unity (Monday closed). The colorful laser lighting system is accompanied by an excellent narration of the history & life of Sardar Patel, his contribution to the independence movement & the unification of India as one nation. Overnight in tent city/ hotel.
Day 5: Kevadia – Maheshwar (265kms) (B)
Visit the world’s tallest Statue of Unity. The high-speed elevators will take you to a height of about 400 feet through the core of the statue where you can get a panoramic view of the surroundings. Next Visit Sardar Sarovar Dam, the world’s second-largest concrete gravity dam, located on the mighty Narmada river near the Statue of Unity. Sardar Sarovar Dam provides electricity, drinking, and irrigation water to four states in India. Valley of Flowers, a beautifully landscaped garden with the mighty Narmada river and the Statue of Unity in the background. Made to give a glimpse into local ecology, featuring hundreds of species of native flowers, shrubs, trees, bamboo, grasses, and more. Also featuring many selfie points for all visitors to capture photos from the most scenic spots. Later drive to Maheshwar check-in & overnight at hotel.
Day 6: Maheshwar (B)
Excursion to Mandu an ancient fort city dotted with gateways, adorned with spell-binding Afghan architecture, surrounded by baobab trees, native to Africa. The grand palaces are still alive with royal romance while the gateways speak of a history of imperial conquests. Landmark buildings include Hoshang Shah`s Tomb, a domed marble mausoleum, the vast Jami Masjid mosque, with courtyards framed by colonnades, and the imposing centuries-old Jahaz. Floating over its own reflection, the Jahaz Mahal looks like a ship that`s about to sail. However, for centuries this ship made of stone and mortar never did. Instead, it stood floating over the twin lakes, bearing a silent witness to Mandu`s long, rich and varied history.
Drive back to Maheshwar. Visit Fort of Maheshwar built during the 4th to 5th century, the best example of ancient Indian material construction, war tactics & defense policy. The present structure belongs to the 17th to 18th centuries. There are five main entrances & several rooms for watching soldiers. It also has a five feet wide footpath to supervise the area around it. The monuments inside the fort are Rajwada Palace, having golden jhula & Rajrajeshwar temple. Overnight at hotel.
Day 7: Maheshwar – Indore (145kms) (B)
Drive to Indore via visiting Omkareshwar one of the 12 Jyotirlinga temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, nestled in the Omkar mountain, an island in the middle of River Narmada. The five stories temple has a large sabha mandap (prayer hall) standing on 60 brown huge stone pillars. Taking a dip in the Narmada river before going inside the temple is considered auspicious. Arrive Indore check-in at hotel. Later visit Lal Bagh Palace Museum. Overnight at hotel.
Day 8: Indore – Bhopal (255kms) (B)
Drive to Bhopal via visiting Mahakaleshwar Temple one of the 12 jyotirlingas in Ujjain, dedicated to Lord Shiva. Built-in Bhumija, Chalukya, and Maratha styles of architecture, the temple is an architectural marvel. Three floors of the building are occupied by lingams of Mahakalesvara, Omkaresvara, and Nagachandresvara, respectively. There is also a kunda (tank) in the premises called Koti Tirtha that has been built in the sarvatobhadra style. On the path from the stairs of the kunda to the temple, you will come across several images of the original structure of the temple, reflecting its grandeur during the period of the Paramaras (9th and 14th centuries).
Arrive in Bhopal check-in at the hotel. Later visit two historic mosques the Jama Masjid a classic Islamic architecture with two tall minarets & Moti Masjid an architectural marvel. Only Muslims can enter Taj-Ul-Masjid a stunning and elegant architecture with enormous domes, a spectacular hallway, and elegant minarets. Also visit the arts center in Bharat Bhawan a center of performing arts, a unique institution with unparalleled and impactful architecture. Overnight at hotel.
Day 9: Bhopal (B) (B)
Early morning visit Bhoj Wetland a Ramsar site consists of two lakes Upper and & Lower Lake a man-made reservoir and home to diverse flora & fauna. 179 species of birds, 43 species of fishes, over a dozen species of reptiles and amphibians (including five species of tortoise), 206 species of phytoplankton, and 98 species of insects, all of which add up to a vibrant and thriving ecosystem. over a hundred sarus cranes (India’s largest avian species) have been observed congregating here. Other species sighted at this birders paradise are Eurasian wrynecks, Rufous-tailed finch larks, white-throated kingfishers, white-bellied drongoes, black-headed orioles, western reef herons, grey-headed canary-flycatchers, Egyptian vultures, and bay-backed shrikes.
Later excursion to visit Bhimbetka rock shelters an archaeological site dating back to the Paleolithic age inhabited by the homo Erectus more than 100,000 years ago. Bhimbetka is a world heritage site and houses one of the oldest cave paintings in the world, a must-visit site for all history enthusiasts. Next, visit Bhojpur an incomplete 11th CE Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The construction was abandoned for unknown reasons, with the architectural plans engraved on the surrounding rocks. It houses a 7.5 feet high lingam in its sanctum, considered to be one of the finest examples of temple architecture in the region. Overnight at hotel.
Day 10: Bhopal – Khajuraho (380kms) (B)
Drive to Bhopal Enroute visit UNESCO World Heritage Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi a serene hill crowned by a group of stupas, monasteries, temples, and pillars dating from 3rd BCE to 12th CE. Sanchi Stupa, a UNESCO world heritage site is home to the relics of Buddha and his followers. Built by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BCE, it is a remarkable specimen of Buddhist art and architecture. Sanchi’s uniqueness lies in the fact that Buddha isn’t represented by figures but through symbols. Next visit Udayagiri Caves, an early Hindu ritual site, extensively carved and reworked under the command of Chandragupta II, Emperor of the Gupta Empire, in the late 4th & 5th CE. Udayagiri has a series of rock-shelters and petroglyphs, ruined buildings, inscriptions, water systems, fortifications, and habitation mounds, all of which have been only partially excavated. Arrive Bhopal check-in & overnight at the hotel.
Day 11: Khajuraho – Prayagraj (300kms) (B)
Visit well maintained UNESCO World Heritage Site, exploring eastern, western & southern groups of temples adorned by erotic and sensuous carvings. The architecture of these temples depicts the erotic forms of love, the carvings on the walls display passion in the most sensuous yet aesthetic ways. Built between 950 to 1050 AD by the Chandela dynasty the temples of Khajuraho are India`s unique gift to the world, representing, as they do, a paean to life, to love, to joy, perfect in execution and sublime in expression. Of the 85 original temples, 22 have survived till today to constitute one of the world’s great artistic wonders. Drive to Prayagraj check-in & overnight at the hotel.
Day 12: Prayagraj – Varanasi (120kms) (B)
Visit Sangam, the confluence of Ganges, Yamuna, and a mythical river named Saraswati. The place is considered to be one of the most sacred in the Hindu religion and is the site for Ardh-Kumbh and Kumbh Mela that takes every 6 and 12 years respectively. Allahabad Fort, situated on the northern banks of Yamuna near the confluence, Emperor Akbar himself commissioned this magnificently designed fort in the year 1583. At a time this fort was considered among the best garrisons in the entire Mughal Empire. The fort has massive walls and three gateways that are flanked by high towers. Anand Bhawan, the ancestral home of Jawaharlal Nehru, the freedom fighter and the first Prime-Minister of India. The place has been turned into a fine museum that displays the memorabilia of the Nehru family.
Drive to Varanasi check in at the hotel. Evening attends Holy Ganga Aarti, a magical ritual held every evening at sunset on the banks of the Holy Ganges. The entire Ghat gets illuminated with a divine light that can be felt strongly. The magnificent ritual involves huge brass lamps lit with oil and the priests chant the holy mantras that reverberate in the entire location. The entire Ghat gets illuminated with a divine light that can be felt strongly. The magnificent ritual involves huge brass lamps lit with oil and the priests chant the holy mantras that reverberate in the entire location. Overnight at hotel.
Day 13: Varanasi (B)
Early morning boat ride & ghat visit along the Ganges and catch the scene of devotees bathing and praying in the sacred water. Ghats in Varanasi are riverfront steps leading to the banks of the River Ganges. The city has 88 ghats, most of the ghats are bathing and puja ceremony ghats, while two ghats are used exclusively as cremation sites. The ghats are frequented by the people which include early morning bathers, priests, people practicing meditation and yoga, students and tourists as well. City tour of Varanasi. Visit Banaras Hindu University, with a 5.3 sq km campus and 30,000 residing students it is the largest residential university in the continent. Bharat Mata Temple built-in 1936 houses a relief map of undivided India carved out of marble. Tulsi Manas Mandir one of the most famous temples in Varanasi. The temple has beautiful images of Lord Rama, Mother Sita, Lakshman, and Lord Hanuman. The walls of the temple are adorned with verses from Ramcharitmanas, the Hindi version of the epic Ramayana. Sarnath it was here Lord Buddha preached his first sermon after attaining the Enlightenment at Bodh Gaya. Overnight at hotel.
Day 14: Varanasi – Delhi (B)
Transfer to airport to board flight for Delhi. Transfer to hotel check-in. Rest time free to relax. Overnight at hotel.
Day 15: Delhi – Departure (B)
Departure transfer to airport to board flight for onward destination.
Specification: Culture and Heritage Tour of India
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