14 Days covering Delhi - Ujjain -Jaipur -Mandu - Maheshwar – Omkareshwar –
Bhopal-Sanchi-Gwalior – Datia - Orchha-Khajuraho-Varanasi-Agra- Fatehpur Sikri – Bharatpur



Day
Program
 
01


Arrive Delhi (no meals)

Assistance on arrival by our friendly Representative and transfer to the Hotel.  The earliest know civilization of India, the starting point of Indian history, was a highly developed urban one that dates back 2500 BC.  This Harappan civilization began its decline in 1700 BC.  Aryan migrations began in 1500 BC.  The Vedic Age deriving its name from the earliest Hindu scriptures, the four Vedas, which comprised of hymns in chaste Sanskrit, spread over several centuries.  Thus began the persistent amalgamation of civilizations that continues to make the Indian culture.

02



Delhi – Ujjain (overnight train)           B

Delhi’s monuments are among the most architecturally striking in the country, and the food here is great. Dhillika, first of the seven cities on this site, was also known as Yoginipura (fortress of the Yoginis – female deities).  Evacuations suggest the date of the oldest habitation in Delhi at around the 4th and 3rd centuries BC.

This morning drive past the Rashtrapati Bhawan, the administrative North and South Blocks, the circular House of Parliament and the Memorial Arch of the First World War called India Gate.  Drive past the Jami Masjid, built on a natural elevation by Shah Jahan in 1651-56 AD.  It is one of the largest mosques in India and most impressive structurally. Continue on past the Red Fort, built as the royal residential and official complex of Shah Jahan.  It is an irregular oblong.  The palaces mostly in marble are along the river front.  Drive on to the Raj Ghat, and visit the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi.

In the afternoon visit the Lotus shaped Bahai Temple, plated with white marble or visit the ISKON temple.  Continue on to the 72.5-meter tall Qutab Minar, adjoining the Quwwatu’l-Islam mosque that is built from materials plundered from Hindu Temples.  In the courtyard stands a rust free iron pillar, raised originally as a standard to Vishnu in the 4th century AD by Chandra Gupta.

Transfer to the railway station in time to board the train to Ujjain.
Dep. Delhi          : 2215 hrs by 2416 Indore Express
Overnight on the train.


03

Jaipur

Ujjain – Mandu (3 hours)
Arr. Ujjain         : 1000 hrs

Met on arrival and proceed immediately for sight-seeing of Ujjain.  Situated on the banks of the sacred river Shupra, where it is believed a few drops of the “sacred nectar” fell, Ujjain commemorates the victory over the demon king of Tripura by the god-like king Shiva, who renamed his capital Avantipura to Ujjayini, meaning one who conquers with pride.  Shiva, the presiding diety of Time reigns supreme in Ujjain.  Visit the Mahakaleshwar Temple with its soaring shikhara and imposing façade.  One of the 12 Jyotirlingas are in Ujjain.  The lingam at Mahakal is believed to be swayambhu (born of itself), deriving currents of shakti (power) from within itself against other images and lingams which are ritually established and invested with mantra-shakti.  Visit the Bade Ganesh ka Mandir situated above the tank near the Mahakaleshwar temple.  It contains a huge idol of Ganesh, son of Shiva, whose size and beauty is rarely found.  The middle temple is adorned by an idol of the panch-mukhi (five-faced) Hanuman.  Visit the Vedha Shala Astronomical Observatory.  According to Indian adtronomers, the Tropic of Cancer passes through Ujjain, and it is also the first meridian of longitude of Indian geographers.  The observatory was built by Raja Jai Singh (1686 – 1743), a great scholar.  Of the observatories built by him in Jaipur, Delhi, Varanasi, Mathura and Ujjain, the one in Ujjain is still actively used.  Ephemeris are annually published by the Department of Education.

In the late afternoon drive on to Mandu, and on arrival check-in to the Ujjain – Mandu (3 hours)

Arr. Ujjain         : 1000 hrs
Met on arrival and proceed immediately for sight-seeing of Ujjain.  Situated on the banks of the sacred river Shupra, where it is believed a few drops of the “sacred nectar” fell, Ujjain commemorates the victory over the demon king of Tripura by the god-like king Shiva, who renamed his capital Avantipura to Ujjayini, meaning one who conquers with pride.  Shiva, the presiding diety of Time reigns supreme in Ujjain.  Visit the Mahakaleshwar Temple with its soaring shikhara and imposing façade.  One of the 12 Jyotirlingas are in Ujjain.  The lingam at Mahakal is believed to be swayambhu (born of itself), deriving currents of shakti (power) from within itself against other images and lingams which are ritually established and invested with mantra-shakti.  Visit the Bade Ganesh ka Mandir situated above the tank near the Mahakaleshwar temple.  It contains a huge idol of Ganesh, son of Shiva, whose size and beauty is rarely found.  The middle temple is adorned by an idol of the panch-mukhi (five-faced) Hanuman.  Visit the Vedha Shala Astronomical Observatory.  According to Indian adtronomers, the Tropic of Cancer passes through Ujjain, and it is also the first meridian of longitude of Indian geographers.  The observatory was built by Raja Jai Singh (1686 – 1743), a great scholar.  Of the observatories built by him in Jaipur, Delhi, Varanasi, Mathura and Ujjain, the one in Ujjain is still actively used.  Ephemeris are annually published by the Department of Education.

In the late afternoon drive on to Mandu, and on arrival check-in to the Tourist Bunglow.  Mandu is a celebration in stone of the joy of life, and the love of the poet Prince Baz Bahadur for his beautiful consort, the Rani Rupmati.  The balladeers of Malwa still sing of their romance.  High on the crest of a hill, Rani Roopmati’s palace gazes down at Baz Bahadur’s palace.  Percehed on the Vindhya Ranges at an altitude of 2000 feet, Mandu was originally the fort-capital of the Parmar rulers of Malwa.    Towards the end of the 13th century it came under the sway of the Sultans of Malwa, who renamed it Shadiabad – city of joy.  Indeed the pervading spirit of Mandu was gaiety.  Its rulers built exquisite palaces, ornamental canals, baths and pavilions, as graceful and refined as those times of peace and plenty.  Under the Mughals, Mandu was a pleasure resort, its lakes and palaces the scene of splendid festivities.

Mandu is a celebration in stone of the joy of life, and the love of the poet Prince Baz Bahadur for his beautiful consort, the Rani Rupmati.  The balladeers of Malwa still sing of their romance.  High on the crest of a hill, Rani Roopmati’s palace gazes down at Baz Bahadur’s palace.  Percehed on the Vindhya Ranges at an altitude of 2000 feet, Mandu was originally the fort-capital of the Parmar rulers of Malwa.    Towards the end of the 13th century it came under the sway of the Sultans of Malwa, who renamed it Shadiabad – city of joy.  Indeed the pervading spirit of Mandu was gaiety.  Its rulers built exquisite palaces, ornamental canals, baths and pavilions, as graceful and refined as those times of peace and plenty.  Under the Mughals, Mandu was a pleasure resort, its lakes and palaces the scene of splendid festivities.

   
04
Mandu             B

Full day sight-seeing of Mandu.  The 45 kilometer parapet of walls that encircle Mandu and punctuated by 12 gateways, the most notable of which is the Delhi Darwaza.  Visit the Royal Enclave which houses the 120 meter, two storeyed, elegant Jahaz Nahal which is located between the two artificial lakes of Munj Talao and Kapur Talao.  It is an imaginative recreation of a royal pleasure ship, with open pavilions and balconies over-hanging the terraces and water.  It was probably built by Ghiyas-ud-din Khilji for his large harem.  View on a moon-light night from the adjoining Taveli Mahal, the silhouette of the building with the tiny domes and turrets of the pavilions gracefully perched on the terrace present an unforgettable sight.   Visit the Hindola Mahal or “swinging palace”, which derives its name from its sloping side walls.  Superb and innovative techniques are evident in its ornamental facade, delicate trellis work in sand-stone and beautiful moulded coloumns.   To the west of the Hindola Mahal are several unidentified buildings which bear traces of past grandeur.  Amidst these is an elaborately structured well know as Champa Baoli wihich is connected with underground vaulted rooms where arrangements were made for hot and cold water.  Visit the Dilawara Khan’s Mosque, the Nahar Jharokha, and the Andheri Baolis. 

Continue on to the Central Group of monuments, with the magnificent Hoshang Shah’s Tomb.  It is the first marble edifice of India, and is a refined example of Afghan architecture.  Its unique features are its perfectly proportioned dome, marble lattice work of remarkable delicacy, porticoed courts and towers to mark the four corners of the rectangle.    Visit the Jami Masjid, conceived on a grand scale, and inspired by the great mosque of Damascus.  One is struck by the hugeness of the building with its stark simplicity.    The court-yars is enclosed by huge colonnades with a rich and pleasing variety in the arrangement of arches, pillars, bays and the rows of domes above.  Visit the Ashrafi Mahal facing the Jami Masjid, which was conceived as a madrassa – educational institution – for young boys.   Within the complex Mahmud Shah Khilji built a seven storey tower to commemorate his victory over Rana Khumba; one storey remains. 

Continue on to the Rewa Kund Group.  At the Rewa Kund reservoir, Baz Bahadur built an aquaduct to provide Roopmati’s Palace with water.  Toady the pool is revered as a sacred spot.  Visit the Baz Bahadur Palace built in the early 16th century.  It has a spacious courtyard surrounded by halls and high terraces, which afford a superb view of the surrounding countryside.   Further on is the pavilion originally built as an army observation post, and modified to become Rani Roopmati’s Pavilion.  This superbly located retreat for the Rani, affords a magnificent view of Baz Bahadur’s Palace and the Narmada river flowing through the Nirmar plains far below.

05


Mandu – Maheshwar – Omkareshwar –
Bhopal (2 + 1 + 2 hours)    B

Leave this morning for Bhopal via the ancient towns of Maheshwar and Omkareshwar.  Omkareshwar, the sacred island is shaped like the “Om”, the most sacred of Hindu symbols.  Here at the confluence of the rivers Narmada and Kaveri, the devoted have gathered to worship at one of the 12 jyotrilingas.  The Shri Omkar Mandhata temple stands on the one mile by half mile island formed by a fork of the river Narmada.  The soft stone of which it was constructed lent its pliable surface to a rare degree of detailed work, and the frieze of figures on the upper portion are most striking. 

Continue on to Maheshwar, a glorious Indian city from the dawn of Indian civilization.  It finds mention in the epic Ramayana.  The temples and mighty fort stand in quiet beauty mirrored in the river Narmada below.  Maheshwar was revived to its ancient importance by the Holkar Queen, Rani Ahliyabai.  Visit the life-size statue of the Queen seated on the Rajgaddi within the Fort complex.  Fascinating relics and heirlooms of the Holkar dynasty can be seen in the rooms of the fort.  Within the fort is a small shrine.  Visit the Ghats on the banks of the Narmada.  The more famous are the Peshwa ghat, Fanase Ghat and the Ahilya Ghat.  Through the day a kaleidoscope of rural India can be seen here.  Pilgrims and holy men sit in silent meditation.  Roes of graceful women carry gleaming brass pots down to the holy life-giving river.  Lining the banks are poignant memorials in stone to the satis of Maheshwar, who perished in the funeral pyres of their husbands.  The temples of Mahaeshwar are distinguished by their soaring spires, carved over-hanging balconies and intricately worked door-ways.  Maheshwar is famous for the Maheshwari saree introduced by Rani Ahilayabai over 250 years ago.  They are know for their unique weave, mostly in cotton.  It is normally of plain body, with sometimes stripes of cheks in several variations.  The border design has a wide range of leaf and floral patterns.  The pallu is particularly distinctive,   with five stripes – three colored and two white alternating, running along its width.  It has a reversible border known as the bugdi.

On arrival in Bhopal check-in to the Hotel.  Bhopal is a fascinating amalgamation of scenic beauty, history and modern planning.  It is situated on the 11th century site of Bhojapal founded by Raja Bhoja.  The existing city was founded by Dost Mohammed, an Afghan soldier of fortune in 1708 to 1740 AD, who fled Delhi in the chaotic period that followed Aurangzeb’s death.  He encountered the Gond queen Kamlapati and aided her to murder her consort.  Legend had it that they would recline in a lotus barge and drift across the lake on moonlit nights.



06

Bhopal – Sanchi (2 hours) – Gwalior (train)   B

Leave this morning for an excursion to Sanchi known for its stupas, monastries, temples and pillars dating from the 3rd century BC to the 12th century AD.  The most famous is the Sanchi Stupa built by the Mauryan Emperor Ashok.  Exquisitely carved gateways adorn the entrances to the great stupas.  A chunar sand-stone pillar shining with the proverbial Mauryan polish lies near Stupa One.  A balustrade surrounds Stupa Two and dates to the 2nd century BC.  .  The four gateways near Stupa One are carved with stories of Buddha’s life and the subsequent history of Buddhism.  The adjacent Gupta temple has been hailed as one of the most rationally organized structure in Indian architecture as it heralds all principles that went into the engineering of an Indian temple in the medieval period.

Return to Bhopal in time to board the superfast train to Gwalior.

Dep. Bhopal       : 1450 hrs by 2001 Shatabdi Express
Arr. Gwalior       : 1855 hrs

Assistance on arrival and transfer to the Hotel.  Gwalior’s history is traced back to a legend.  In the 8th century a chieftain Suraj Sen was stricken by a deadly disease.  He was cured by the hermit saint  Gwalipa, and in gratitude founded a city he named after the saint .  The city of Gwalior became over the centuries the cradle of great dynasties of the Rajput clans of Pratiharas, Kachwahas and Tomars.

   
07
Gwalior – Datia - Orchha (1 ½  + 2 hours)    B

Visit the Gwalior Fort standing on a steep mass of sandstone.  It has been the scene of imprisonments, battles and jauhars.  Its massive walls 35 feet high and 2 miles in length bear testiment to being one of the most invincible forts of India. The road up is flanked by statues of Jain tirthankaras.  Within the fort are marvels of medieval architecture.  The 15th century Gurjari Mahal, the Man Mandir Palace built between 1486 to 1517 AD, the Suraj Kund that can be traced back to 425 AD, the Teli ka Mandir (temple) and Sas Bahu ka Mandir are the prominent sights worth visiting within the fort complex.

Continue on to the Jaipur Vilas Palace, which is the current residence of the royal family of Scindia.  The palace combines the Tuscan and Corinthian styles of architecture. Some thirty five rooms in the Palace have been turned into the Jivaji Rao Scindia Museum, and are evocative of a regal lyfe-style. Eye catching treasures include a silver train with cut-glass wagons which served guests as it chugged around the table serving guests, silver dinner services, the sword once worn by Aurangzeb and personal mementos of the Scindia family.  The museum offers an unparalled glimpse into the rich culture and life-style of princely India.

In the afternoon leave for Orchha.  Enroute stands the seven storey palace of Raj Bir singh Deo built in the 17th century, and is a an unique example of Hindu architecture.  It stands on a hill, and is said to extend seven storeys down-wards as well.  Local legend had it that some years ago, a marriage party come to Datia, ventured into this under-ground un-chartered labyrinth, and never came out again.  The passages have hence been sealed to prevent such further mishap. 

On arrival in Orchha check-in to the Hotel.  Founded in the 16th century by the Bundela Rajput chieftain Rudra Pratap, Orchha is a rich legacy of the ages.  The palaces and temples retain much of their pristine perfection.  Orchha is a feast of architecture.  Complementing the noble exteriors are interiors which represent the finest flowering of the Bundela School of Painting.


08
Orchha – Khajuraho (4 hours)                        B

Early this morning visit the exquisite Jehangir Mahal , a multi-tiered palace crowned with graceful chhatris.  Continue onto the Raj Mahal, whose plain exteriors crowned by chharis , give way to interiors with boldly colorful murals. Leave for Khajuraho and on arrival check-in to the Hotel.

This afternoon explore the temples of Khajuraho, perfect in execution, sublime in expression and representing a paean to life, to love and to joy.  The period 950 AD to 1050 AD, a mere hundred years, saw a flowering of architecture in this small village that has no parallel.  The temples are divided into three groups, the western, eastern and southern, of which the western group is the largest.  Here the Chandelas raised 85 temples to the glory of God, of which 22 now remain. 

Legend says that the Moon God seduced Hemwati the lovely young daughter of a Bhramin priest while she was  bathing in a forest pool.  This union gave birth to Chandravarman,  founder of the Chandela dynasty and creators of the temples.  Some say the Chandelas followed the Tantric cult who believed in the gratification of earthly desires as a step towards infinite liberation.  Others believe that Chandravarman was implored in a dream visitation by his mother to build temples that would reveal the emptiness of human desire.  In the western group stands the Kandariya Mahadeo temple soaring 31 meters, dedicated to Lord Shiva, features carvings in delicate details of gods, goddesses, celestial maidens and lovers. The Chausat Yogini is the only granite temple of the group.  Of equal importance and exquisite detail are the Chitragupta temple dedicated to the sun god, Vishwanath temple Lakshmana temple and the Matangeshwara temple.  The temples are designed to lead one’s eyes from ground level ever upwards to the ultimate heaven.  They are ornately carved, with each frieze and sculpture depicting the genius of the men who carved it and the king who inspired them.  The sensual appeal of the erotic sculptures is only a small part of the wealth of the site.  Taken in totality, the sculptures of Khajuraho depict the everyday life of the people and the court of the 10th and 11th centuries.  The procession of life itself culminates in the sanctum sanctorum, where one sheds the earthly coil before the deity.


09
 
Khajuraho – Varanasi                         B

The morning is at leisure to explore the temples on your own.  In the afternoon transfer to the airport in time to check-in for the flight to Varanasi.

Dep. Khajuraho : 1310 hrs by 9W 724
Arr. Varanasi     : 1350 hrs

Assistance on arrival by our friendly Representative and transfer to the Hotel.  Varanasi is in Uttar Pradesh which is one of the mostly densely populated states of India, with diverse religions, cultures and ethnic elements, with distinct socio-cultural elements.  Hindu myths and legends claim a hoary antiquity. During the 6th and 5th century it was associated with deep quests for Enlightenment fueled by the teachings of the Buddha and Mahavir.  These Teachers marked the Path to Enlightenment, which fuelled a spiritual revival through-out India, quite like the Renaissance fuelled the revival of the Arts and Sciences in Europe.  Over the centuries these developments crystallized into the religions of Buddhism and Jainism with their various sub-branches.


10

Varanasi – Agra (overnight train)     B

Situated on the left bank of the holy river Ganga, Varanasi is traditionally regarded as the eternal city.  Its antiquity can be traced back to the first millennium BC.  Since time immemorial it has served as a holy center of pilgrimage and a great seat of traditional Hindu learning.  It is famous for its silks, shawls, brocade and embroideries.  It is well know for its ghats, linked to the crowded streets, which are always full of travelers, pilgrims and devotees. Early this morning enjoy a boat ride on the Ganga at sunrise to witness the procession of life as pilgrims and devotees perform their rituals amidst the ringing of bells from countless temples.  Walk through the crowded lanes, past the gold domed Vishwanath Temple.  Visit the city of Varanasi, or Kashi another name for  Lord Shiva.   Drive through the Benares Hindu University  with its solid teak trees.Visit the Durga  Temple  (or  monkey temple  as  it is known because of the myriads of  monkeys).   We will be driving through bazaars past saree and brocade shops, and other sights to titillate your vision.

This early afternoon travel north of Varanasi to Sarnath, where Siddharth Gotama preached his first sermon after attaining enlightenment and becoming a Buddha.  The  great emperor Ashoka  erected magnificent stupas  and monasteries here, which are now in ruins, however  the 34 meter high Dhamekh Stupa still marks the spot where the Master first preached.  The site was recorded by the Chinese  travellers Fa Hein and Hiuan Tsang. The ruins of monasteries, built more than 2000 years ago, the Dhamok Stupa, the Dharamaraji Ka Stupa and the main shrine are worth visiting.  At Sarnath stands the famous Ashoka pillar of polished sandstone whose lion capital has been adopted by the Republic of India as its state emblem.  The site was deserted following the decline of Buddhism in India, and because Muslim invaders desecrated it.  Many ruins survive including a shrine built by the great Indian Emperor Ashoka (272-232 BC).  A modern Sri Lankan temple contains Japanese Buddhist paintings.

In the evening transfer to the railway station in time to board the overnight train to Agra.

Dep. Varanasi    : 1725 hrs by 4853 Marudhar Express
Overnight on the train.



11
 
Arrive Agra

Arr. Agra           : 0550 hrs

Assistance n arrival and transfer to the Hotel.  Agra retains its medieval flavor with narrow crowded street and lanes, full of colorful shops selling all kinds of goods. 

This morning visit the Taj Mahal, mausoleum of Empress Mumtaz Mahal, the beloved spouse of Shah Jahan and described as the most extravagant monument ever built for love.   The vastness of geometric perfection and balance with design, together with the finesse of the rich inlay work with semi precious stones in white marble is executed with great skill.  It marks the most developed stage of Mughal architecture.  The designer is believed to be Ustad Ahmad Lahori (closed on Friday).

In the afternoon visit the Agra Fort, which lies on the bend of the river Yamuna.  Built by Akbar over 1565-73 AD, it was successively occupied and added to by Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan.  The prominent edifices inside are Jahangiri Mahal, Khas Mahal, the vineyard Anguri Bagh, the ornamental bath Shish Mahal and Masumman Burj where Shah Jahan died a captive of his son Aurangzeb, passing his last days gazing at the Taj Mahal.


12
 
Agra – Fatehpur Sikri – Bharatpur (2 + 1 hours)                  B
Leave this morning for Bharatpur.  Enroute lie the imperial ruins of Fatehpur Sikri, chiseled of red-sandstone, with its many halls, gates and palaces.  Their design combines several regional elements of regional architecture with that of Central Asia and Iran. It has many fine monuments.  Fatehpur Sikri was raised by the great Mughal Emperor Akbar as a city expressing his ideals and vision, where he carried out experiments in art and architecture.

On arrival in Bharatpur, check-in to the Hotel.  Bharatpur is the eastern gateway to Rajasthan, and is popular for its bird sanctuary, the Keolado Ghana National Park.  The park was established in 1983 in an area of 29 square kilometers.  Once the royal hunting preserve of the princes of Bharatpur it is one of the finest bird sanctuaries in the world inuandated with over 400 species of water-birds. It is also considered as one of the greatest heronries in the world. Its shallow fresh water marsh attracts thousands of migratory birds from Afghanistan, Central Asia, Tibet; as well as Siberian cranes from the Arctic, greyleg geese from Siberia, and the bareheaded geese from China.  Over 10,000 nest of egrets, darters, pelicans, ebis, comorants, grey herons and storks hatch nearly 20,000 to 30,000 chicks every year.  Mammals like the sambhar, black-buck, chital, nilgai, fishing cat, otter and mongoose roam freely here.  The park is also home to the Indian python. The raised paths camouflaged by babul trees makes viewing easier.  Visit the National Park in the evening.

   
13
 
Bharatpur – Delhi (3 ½ hours)           B
Leave this morning for Delhi, and on arrival check-in to the Hotel.   The day is at leisure.  You may wish to visit the local market of Karol Bagh (closed Monday).  This is an extensive shopping area with shops selling all kinds of items from brocade sarees, gold, toys, electronic items, textiles, house-hold items and frankly more items than can be conveniently accommodated in this description.  Connaught Circus (closed Sunday), another excellent shopping center is also close by. You could visit the  Emporiums  of various Indian States at Connaught Place and  shop  for artifacts  from  all  over India.  Wander around window shopping and perhaps lunch in one of the many excellent restaurants here. Other good local markets (closed on Monday) are Lajpat Nagar Central Market and Sarojni Nagar Market.
   
14
 
Departure Delhi           B
Hotel check-in and check out is 12:00 noon.  Transfer to the international airport in time to check-in for the onward flight. 
 
| BACK | GO TOP | HOME |

Corporate Profile
Indian Cities & Map
Nepal
Bhutan
Sri Lanka
Hotel Bookings
Contact us
Home