Delhi - Jaipur - Fatehpur Sikri - Agra - Jhansi - Orchha - Khajuraho - Varanasi - Kolkata - Chennai - Kanchipuram - Mahabalipuram - Pondicherry -Kumbakonam - Trichy - Madurai - Thekkadi - Kovalam - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Mumbai.
Capture the essence of India grand tour from North, East, South and West in just over 3 weeks. This programme covers the main cultural highlights of Incredible India bundled perfectly to provide the matchless experience of diversity of India.
Highlights of the tour :
1. *Cycle rickshaw ride in Old Delhi
2. *Elephant back ride to Amer Fort in Jaipur
3. *Taj Mahal by sunrise
4. *Kamasutra sculptured exotic temples of Khajuraho
4. *Watching sunset on holy river Ganges & thousands of devotees offering rituals.
5. *Sarnath Deer park where Gautam Buddha gave his first sermon.
6. *Victoria Memorial & tram ride in Kolkata
7. *Silk weavers of Kanchipuram
8. *Shore temple of Mahabalipuram.
9. *Architecturally rich Hindu temples of Kumbakonam & Madurai,
10. *Quaint French colonial town of Pondicherry (Puducherry)
11. *Spice plantation in Thekkady,
12. *Relax at Kovalam beach with ayurveda massage
13. *Bollywood tour in Mumbai (Bombay)
14. *Paintings & sculptures of rock
Day 1 Arrive Delhi
Traditional welcome on arrival at Delhi airport by Travel Pals India executive and transferred by air-conditioned exclusive car to hotel for overnight stay. Delhi is the capital of the modern India, though it is made up of seven ancient cities, spanning over a period from 11th to 20th centuries.
Day 2 Explore Delhi
Full day a guided tour of the historic city of Delhi. The city where one can experience the influence of the many rulers who ruled this region, a city built and destroyed and re-built over seven times. The guided tour takes you to the monuments that depict the different eras. The tour includes visit to the magnificent Red Fort (exterior), the Jama Masjid - one of the Asia's largest mosque, cycle rickshaw ride through the narrow lanes of Old Delhi passing through Chandni Chowk, Chawri Bazaar etc, Humanyun's Tomb, Qutab Minar - the 73m tall minaret, India Gate war memorial, President's House and drive through Connaught Place. Evening, see Son-et-Lumiere (Sound and Light show) at Red Fort with dinner at 'Chor Bizarre', an Indian specialty restaurant (Optional with supplement cost involved).
Day 3 Delhi -Jaipur(260 Kms / 5 hrs)
Today driven to Jaipur - the Pink city of India, founded in the late 19th century. On arrival, transfer to the hotel. Evening, explore the colorful bazaars. Jaipur is famous for its Gems & Jewellery & block printing.
Day 4 Jaipur
A fairly early breakfast (0730 hrs) at the hotel and then a small excursion to the grand Amer Fort. Ascend the fort on a gaily-decorated elephant back. Experience the kingly palace buildings. Later visit the City Palace museum compound visiting the halls containing textiles, arms & weapons, antiques of the Royal family of Jaipur amidst their private residence overlooking the compound. We suggest lunch at the City Palace cafe (on your own). Continue your tour to Jantar Mantar - the Royal Astronomical Observatory having instruments from 1728 AD for measuring celestial planet & star positions. Towards evening you will visit the hand block printing factory to witness the famous skill of the people of Jaipur. You can enjoy shopping around the famous bazaars of Jaipur city where one can choose from precious gems to variety of handicrafts etc.
Day 5 Jaipur - Agra (240km / 4.5 hrs)
This morning drive to Agra, the city of world famous 'Taj Mahal' - 7th Wonder of the world. Enroute visit Fatehpur Sikri, the deserted capital built by Akbar, which was abandoned after 15 years due to scarcity of water. See Darbar-e-Aam, Palaces, Panch Mahal and Taansen Seat etc. Continue to Agra & check into hotel for overnight.
Day 6 Agra - Jhansi (by train) - Orchha (20 kms / 30 mins)
Dawn-view visit of Taj Mahal to witness the wonder marble seems to change colours due to the rising sunlight. A UNESCO World Heritage Site which was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal is best viewed & enjoyed in the non-chaotic and less crowded time of the day. Return to hotel for breakfast. Later, visit Red Fort - built in red sandstone by Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan. Visit the halls of private and public. Visit to a local marble factory to witness the inlay work of precious stones also known as Pietra dura. It's the same art of stone work which is illustrated on the Taj Mahal & Baby Taj. It's a learning experience and a treat to eyes to see the art. In the afternoon, proceed to railway station to board train to arrive in Jhansi. On arrival met and driven to Orchha.
Day 7 Orchha - Khajuraho (175 kms / 3.5 hrs)
Morning enjoy a guided programmed of Orchha which was the erstwhile capital city of the Bundela rulers. The town is steeped in history and is famous for its palaces and temples built in the 16th and 17th centuries. Visit Jahangir Mahal, Rajmahal and Phool Bagh. In the afternoon, drive to Khajuraho. On arrival check in hotel. Late evening, enjoy the Sound and Light show - history depicted beautifully on Khajuraho temples.
Day 8 Khajuraho - Varanasi (by air)
Today, you will make a guided visit to the temples of the Western cluster - Laxman Temple, Kandaria Mahadev Temple and Jain Temples in the Eastern cluster. Khajuraho has the largest group of medieval Hindu and Jain temples, famous for their erotic sculpture. The Khajuraho group of monuments has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is considered to be one of the "seven wonders" of India In the afternoon, our representative will transfer you to airport to connect flight for Varanasi at 1345 hrs. On arrival you will meet & transfer to hotel for check in. In the evening visit river Ganges with the guide by cycle rickshaws to witness the evening 'Aarti' - worship of holy Ganges with lit oil lamps accompanied by holy chants and music.
Day 9 Varanasi
Early morning, we take a Boat Ride on the River Ganga with our guide to observe the riverside activities at the time including the famous Manikarnika Ghat where Hindus cremate their dead bodies round the clock. On the way back, walk with our guide to your car through the narrow lanes of Kashi - the oldest part of Varanasi or also the other name of this ancient Hindu city. Later a guided excursion to Sarnath where "Lord Buddha" delivered his first sermon after attaining enlightenment, 2,500 years ago. Buddha came here after achieving enlightenment at Bodhgaya (in eastern India). A visit to the famous Benares Hindu University, It is the largest residential university in Asia, with over 12,000 students living on its campus. BHU was founded in 1916. The campus spread over 1350 acres (5.5 km) was built on land donated by the Kashi Naresh, the hereditary ruler of Banaras. Spend the evening on the Ghats of the Ganges.
Day 10 Varanasi - Kolkata (by air)
Morning at leisure. Later, at appropriate time Travel Pals Representative will transfer you to the airport to connect flight for Kolkata 1720 hrs. On arrival at Kolkata met & received and transfer to the hotel for wash 'n' change and rest. In the afternoon drive around this once colonial city built in the 18th century. Like Mumbai and Chennai, which we later visit, Kolkata originated largely due to the expansionist ambitions of the European powers, especially the British Raj. Little wonder, Kolkata has some of the finest Raj edifices built in a variety of styles.
Day 11 Kolkata
Breakfast followed by a full day guided tour of Kolkata visiting the Victoria Memorial, Indian Museum, Fort William, Kali Mandir and Belur Math . Evening free for explore the city on your own.
Day 12 Kolkata - Chennai (by air)
After breakfast, our staff will transfer you to the airport to connect flight for Chennai at 1040 hrs. On arrival met & a guided tour Fort St. George, War memorial, St. Mary's Church, the Basilica of Saint Thomas, believed to have been built by St. Thomas, Sri Parathasarathy temple, Snake Park, ending the day on the Marina beach - world's second longest beach. In the evening check in at the hotel.
Day 13 Chennai - Kanchipuram - Mahabalipuram (175 kms)
This morning driven to Kanchipuram (1 hr.) the erstwhile capital of the Pallavas and Cholas. Visit the temples dedicated to various gods and goddesses. Also visit the shopping area, as it is also home of weavers of the famed Kanchipuram silks. Lunch at Kanchipuram. Evening drive to Mahabalipuram (Mamallapuram), a World Heritage Site and check into the hotel. Mahabalipuram too was part of the Pallavas dynasty and exhibits some of the most outstanding examples of the Dravidian style of art and architecture. A guided tour of Arjuna's Penance, the rock cut caves, the Krishna Mandapam, the famous rathas and the Shore Temple.
Day 14 Mahabalipuram - Pondicherry - Kumbakonam (230 kms / 4.5 hrs)
This morning driven to Kumbakonam, En-route visit Pondicherry and enjoy this quaint French town visiting the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and the museum. Continue to Kumbakonam & Check in at the hotel. Evening will be free to explore the city on your own.
Day 15 Kumbakonam
Morning visit Famous Suriyanar Koil, in this temple, having 9 individual temples for all 9 Navagragha's. Later, take a guided excursion to Thanjavur, the former city of Danish settlement from 1624 to 1825, visiting Brahadeeswara Temple, built in the 10th century AD and an outstanding example of the Chola (dynasty) architecture. Later visit the Palace built by the Nayaks and renovated by the Maratha dynasty. It dates back to the 1550s and houses an art gallery, a library, a hall of music and the Schwartz Church. Return to Kumbakonam for overnight.
Day 16 Kumbakonam -Trichy - Madurai (230 kms / 4.5 hrs)
Morning drive for Madurai en-route a guided sightseeing of Trichy visiting the Rockfort and Srirangam Temple. Then proceed further for Madurai and on arrival check-in hotel. Evening free to explore the city or free at leisure.
Day 17 Madurai - Thekkady (138 kms / 3 hrs)
This morning a guided sightseeing of ancient temple town of Madurai visiting renowned Meenakshi temple and visit the temple which dominates the city skyline by its towering gopurams. Afternoon drive to Thekkadi on arrival check in to hotel. Evening at leisure to shop at the handicraft and spice shops that stretch all the way from Kumily to Thekkady. Overnight at hotel.
Day 18 Thekkady
Take an early morning boat ride on the Periyar Lake. After breakfast, free day to opt from the many activities conducted by the Periyar Tiger Reserve: Nature Walk, Jungle Patrol, Bamboo Rafting, Border Hiking or a Bullock Cart ride exploring rural Kerala. Overnight at hotel.
Day 19 Thekkadi - Kovalam beach (220 Kms / 5.3 hrs)
After breakfast, visit the Tribal Heritage Museum and then drive to Kovalam. On arrival, check into the hotel for overnight.
Day 20 Kovalam Beach
Have a relaxed breakfast at resort. Day free to laze on the beach and indulge in ayuvedic massage(s) and yoga to rejuvenate your body and mind. Over night at resort.
Day 21 Kovalam Beach - Trivandrum (20 kms / 30 minutes) - Mumbai (by Air)
After leisurely breakfast, our executive transfer to the Trivandram airport to board flight to Mumbai AI 668 at 0915 Hrs - India's commercial capital, industrial powerhouse, busiest port, fashion capital, home to 'Bollywood' (India's Hollywood), world's biggest textile market - the list goes on and on. On arrival met & transfer to hotel. Afternoon free for leisure.
Day 22 Mumbai
Full day a guided city sightseeing of Mumbai city city tour visiting Gateway of India - an architectural marvel that scores over other buildings in Mumbai. Having advantages of both location and architectural construction, it shines every morning with morning sun of Mumbai. Further an excursion by ferry from Gateway to Elephanta caves - have been carved out of rock and have also been given the recognition of a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Known in ancient times as Gharapuri, the present name Elephanta, was given by 17th century Portuguese explorers, after seeing a monolithic basalt sculpture of an elephant found here near the entrance. They decided to take it home but ended up dropping it into the sea because their chains were not strong enough On your return back to the city, visit the Crawford Market - an architectural marvel in Mumbai and a shopper's paradise, the Afghan Church in Colaba - Its a tribute to a Soldier died in a Afghan Sindh war, an old Monument and Mumbai heritage made of beautiful art works on glass and Some lovely Sculptures and the Prince of Wales Museum - is one of the best-known Museums of the Country. This magnificent heritage building, situated on the famous 'Crescent Site' on the way to the Gateway of India, is a landmark of south Mumbai. Architecturally it is an exquisite example of the Indo-Saracenic style, popular in India during the early part of this century.
Day 23 Mumbai - Aurangabad (by air)
Early morning you will be transfer to the airport for a short flight to Aurangabad. On arrival met & transferred to hotel for check in. Aurangabad has been a place of great importance due to it's location on the famous "Silk Route" that traversed across the breadth of Asia to reach Europe. Textiles, embroidered finery and various kinds of beads made in nearby Paithan were exported to the markets of Greece, Rome and Egypt. Today you will be driven 100 kms each way for an excursion to the Ajanta Caves - the marvellous architectural wonder that depicts the rich legacy of India are a 30 rock-cut cave monuments which date from the 2nd century BCE to the 600 CE
Day 24 Aurangabad - Mumbai - Onward destination
This morning visit Ellora Cave Temples carved between the 5th to 8th cent AD by Buddhists, Hindus & Jains; we see the 8th cent Kailash Temple, the world's largest monolithic sculpture, created by cutting away 20 million tons of rock out of the hillside. In the afternoon, we visit city to visit the Alamgiri Dargah - the tomb of the 6th Great Mughal Aurangzeb, an epitome of simplicity open to the sky. In the afternoon, our staff will transfer you to airport to connect flight to Mumbai & further connect flight for onward journey.
Bon Voyage !