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Classical North India

classical-north-india

Classical North India

Duration -13 Nights / 14 Days

Destination – Delhi – Nawalgarh – Jaipur – Sawai Madhopur – Dholpur -Gwalior – Orchha – Khajuraho – Varanasi – Delhi

Day 01:

Arrive Delhi – Arrive Delhi by International flight. Meeting and assistance on arrival and transfer to the hotel Delhi – the capital of India, is a fascinating city with complexities and contradictions, beauty and dynamism, where the past co-exists with the present. Many dynasties ruled from here and the city is rich in the architecture of its monuments. Delhi is not only the present metropolis of India but also a necropolis. Because of its location on the banks of the river Yamuna, Delhi has witnessed the rise and fall of many cities over the last five millennia. Overnight in DELHI (Manesar)

Day 02:

Delhi / Nawalgarh – Leave Delhi for Nawalgarh by road. On arrival, check-in at the hotel. Afternoon: Sightseeing Tour of Nawalgarh Nawalgarh was founded in 1737 by Thakur Nawal Singh. The town has a colourful bazaar and two forts. There are numerous fine havelis (mansions) in this region. Visit the Aath haveli, Surajmal Chhauchharia Haveli, Goenka haveli and Anand Lal Poddar Haveli. The re are also interesting temples in town including Ganga Mai and Lakshminarayan temple. Overnight in Nawalgarh

Day 03:

Nawalgarh/Jaipur – Breakfast at the hotel. Leave Nawalgarh for Jaipur by road. On arrival in Jaipur, check-in at the hotel Jaipur – the capital of Rajasthan, is colour washed pink – the colour associated with auspiciousness and Rajput hospitality. This Pink City of fairy tale palaces, rugged fortresses perched on barren hills, and a city of broad avenues is picturesque. The first planned city of its time, Jaipur is encircled by a formidable wall. Afternoon: City tour of Jaipur visiting the City Palace and Observatory (Jantar Mantar) City Palace – the former royal residence built in a blend of the Rajasthani and Mughal styles. It now houses a museum with a superb collection of Rajasthani costumes, an armoury of the Mughals and Rajputs with weapons of arms, an art gallery with an excellent collection of miniature paintings, carpets, royal paraphernalia and rare astronomical works in Arabic, Persian, Latin and Sanskrit. Jantar Mantar – an astrological and astronomical Observatory built by Maharaja Jai Singh in 18th century, which is remarkable for its accuracy of the instruments even in the present times. Drive past the Palace of Winds, known popularly as Hawa Mahal, which is just a facade built for the Ladies of the Royal household in the 19th century. Overnight in Jaipur.

Day 04:

Jaipur – Breakfast at the hotel. Morning: Excursion to Amber Fort The Amber Fort, the capital of the erstwhile state of Jaipur until 1728 is perched on a hill. It has halls of Public and Private audience, a Sheesh Mahal (hall of mirrors) various marble palaces which are marvelous examples of medieval Rajput architecture. Visit the Temple of Amba (Mother Goddess), the patron deity of the Royal family is at the entrance to the palace. Ride an elephant to ascend the hill on which the Fort is situated. Ride an elephant (subject to availability) or ride in a jeep to ascend the hill on which the fort is situated. Afternoon: Free to visit the local markets. Overnight in Jaipur.

Day 05:

Jaipur / Sawai madhopur – Breakfast at the hotel. Leave Jaipur for Sawai Madhopur by road. On arrival in Sawai Madhopur, check-in at the hotel. The highlight of the trip to Sawai Madhopur is the visit to the Ranthambore National Park, which is one of the finest habitats in the world for the Tigers. Situated at the junction of the Aravali and Vindhyas hills, Ranthambore National Park is 10 km west of Sawai Madhopur. The blend between nature and history is self-evident at Ranthambore and the 13th century fort is the focal point of the park. The landscape is so stunning that even without the wildlife, Sawai Madhopur would have qualified as a place worth a visit. Ranthambore is replete with lakes, haunted by crocodiles and dotted with delicate pavilions and decaying, creeper-covered Rajput palaces. The Ranthambore Fort is a must visit attraction. You can have a panoramic view of the park from its ramparts. From the fort, one can have a glimpse of open bush land and fairly dense forest, replete with ruined pavilions/ chatris and hideouts. Lunch at the hotel. Late Afternoon: Visit the Ranthambhore National Park by Jeep or Canter. Dinner at the hotel. Overnight in Sawai Madhopur.

Day 06:

Sawai Madhopur – Early Morning: Visit the Ranthambhore National park by jeep. Breakfast at the hotel. Morning: Visit the Ranthambhore Fort. Lunch at the hotel. Rest of the day at leisure. Dinner at the hotel. Overnight in Swai Madhopur.

Day 07:

Sawai Madhopur / Dolpur – Breakfast at the hotel. Leave Sawai Madhopur for Dholpur and on arrival, check-in at the hotel (185 kms/4 hours). Afternoon: Sightseeing Tour of Dholpur. Overnight in Dholpur Dholpur is an interesting town to visit, especially because it is far from the usual tourist track and thus, quite ‘undiscovered’. But Dholpur is well known in another way – for its excellent sandstone.This red stone was used for building not just the local structures but also those of Delhi like the Red Fort. In fact, the architect of modern Delhi, Edward Lutyens, had a special liking for it.

Day 08:

Dholpur – Day excursion to Agra – Visit the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and the Tomb of Itmad-du-Daula Agra Agra is famous as the home to one of the Seven modern Wonders of the World – the Taj Mahal. This city having been the capital of the Mughal dynasty for over hundred years till 1650 there are many Mughal monuments of repute. Agra Fort The Agra Fort was built by three Mughal Emperors starting from Akbar the Great in 1565 AD. The fort is a masterpiece of design and construction. Within the fort are a number of exquisite buildings including Jahangir’s Palace, Khaas Mahal,Sheesh Mahal, Diwan-i-Am, Diwan-i-Khas and Musamman Burj – the Octagonal Tower, where Emperor Shah Jahan, the builder of the Taj Mahal was imprisoned by his son Aurangazeb for seven long years and died a prisoner. Taj Mahal The Taj Mahal – the inimitable poem in white marble was built over a period of 22 years (1631-1653), using a workforce of 22000 people, by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan for his Queen Mumtaz Mahal to enshrine her mortal remains. (The Taj is closed on Fridays). The Taj Mahal presents a wonderous sight at different time of the day – at dawn, during the day, at sunset and even on a moonless night. Needless to say it is exquisite on a moonlit night. The tomb of Itmad-Ud-Daula was built by Empress Noor Jahan in memory of her father, Ghias-ud-din Beg in 1622-25 AD. He was known as Itmad -Ud – Daula. This ornate tomb is considered a precursor of the Taj Mahal. Take a ‘Tonga’ (horse drawn carriage) ride between Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal. Return to Dholpur. Overnight in Dholpur.

Day 09:

Dholpur / Gwalior / Orchha – Breakfast at the hotel. Leave Dholpur for Orchha visiting Gwalior enroute (180 kms/7 hours). On arrival in Orchha, check-in at the hotel. Afternoon: Sightseeing Tour of Orchha Orchha – founded in the 16th century by the Bundela Rajput chieftain Rudra Pratap, Orchhas grandeur has been captured in stone, the palaces and temples retain much of their pristine perfection. Visit the Jehangir Mahal has built by Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo in the 17th century to commemorate the visit of Emperor Jehangir to Orchha. Its strong lines are counterbalanced by delicate chhatries and trellis work, the whole conveying an effect of extraordinary richness. Visit the Ram Raj Temple – a palace-turned temple with its soaring spires and palatial architecture is one of the most unusual in India. Also visit the the Chaturbhuj temple and the Laxminarayan temple. Overnight in Orchha.

Day 10:

Orchha / Khajuraho – Breakfast at the hotel. Leave Orchha for Khajuraho by road (172 kms/4 hours). On arrival in Orchha, check-in at the hotel Situated in the heart of Central India, Khajuraho is a fascinating village with a quaint rural ambiance and a rich cultural heritage. The fascinating temples of Khajuraho, India’s unique gift of love to the world, represent the expression of a highly matured civilization. Khajuraho temples were constructed between 950 and 1050 A.D. during the reign of Chandel Empire. Khajuraho derives its name from the Khajur tree (the date palm tree) which can be found in abundance in the area. These temples are considered the “high point” of Indian architectural genius in the Medieval period. Originally there were 85 temples, of which only 22 still exist. The amazingly short span of 100 years, from 950 AD – 1050 AD, saw the completion of all the temples, in an inspired burst of creativity. With the wane of the Chandela empire, these magnificent temples lay neglected, and vulnerable to the ravages of Nature. It was only in this century, that they were rediscovered, restored and granted the recognition that they justly deserve. The murals depict the life and times of the Chandelas, and celebrate the erotic state of being. If the temples of Khajuraho can be said to have a theme, it is woman. A celebration of woman and her myriad moods and facets- Writing letters, applying kohl to her eyes, brushing her hair, dancing with joyous abandon playing with her child. Woman – innocent, coquettish, smiling – infinitely seductive, infinitely beautiful. Depicted in a wealth of detail, sharply etched, sculpted with consummate artistry. The philosophy of the age dictated the enjoyment of the delights of arth (material wealth) and kama (sensual pleasures) while performing one’s dharma (duty) as the accepted way of life for the grihastha (householder). The temples are a world heritage site and belong not just to India but to the world. The Archaeological Survey of India’s dedicated efforts towards their conservation rank them against the best preserved monuments of this antiquity. Most of the temples are built of sandstone in varying shades of buff, pink or pale yellow. Afternoon: Visit the Eastern & Southern group of temples The largest in the group of three Jain temples, the Parsavanath image in this temple, was installed in 1860. The sculptures on the northern wall depict everyday activity, in awesome detail. A woman sits bent pensively on a letter, a lovely young girl removes a thorn from her foot, the master craftsmen of Khajuraho display here their deep understanding of the trifles that make up a human life. Within the temple, a throne faces the bull emblem of first tirthankara, Adinath. Evening: Attend sound & light show at the Western Group of Temples. Overnight in Khajuraho.

Day 11:

Khajuraho / Varanasi – Breakfast at the hotel. Morning: Visit the Western group of Temples Western group is certainly the best known, because it is to this group that the largest and most typical Khajuraho temple belongs : the Kandariya Mahadev. Perfectly symmetrical, it soars 31 km high. This is the largest, and most typical Khajuraho temple. There are abput 900 statues. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, it soars 31 m high. The sanctum enshrines a lingam, while the main shrine is ornately carved and depicts various gods, goddesses, apsaras (heavenly maidens) in elaborate detail. The entrance arch, the massive pillars and ceilings are adorned with exquisite carvings, that leave the visitor spellbound. Beyond the archway of the Kandariya Mahadev, lie the six interior compartments; the portico, main hall, transept, vestibule, sanctum and ambulatory. The ceilings are particularly noteworthy and the pillars supporting them have intricately carved capitals. The transept’s outer walls have three horizontal panels showing deities of the Hindu pantheon, and groups of lovers, a pageant of sensuousness, vibrantly alive. Transfer to airport to board flight to Varanasi. Leave Khajuraho for Varanasi by 9 724 (1330/1410 hours). Meeting and assistance on arrival and transfer to the hotel Varanasi is one of India’s most important pilgrimage sites and the holiest of holy cities for Hindus. Known also as Kashi and Benaras, Varanasi is one of the world’s oldest living cities, and has been a centre of learning and culture for well over 2000 years. Evening: Attend the “aarti” (religious) ceremony on the ghats of River Ganges. Overnight in Varanasi.

Day 12:

Varanasi – Early Morning: Boat Ride on River Ganges Boat ride at dawn down India’s most sacred river, The Ganges. Sun rise at the holy river is a truly tranquil and breath taking sight with pilgrims standing waist-deep in water, praying to the rising Sun. Past these bathing ghats, see the “burning ghats” where the Hindus cremate their dead. This is done with great religious fervour which makes for a moving experience. · Morning: Sightseeing Tour of Varanasi The Benaras Hindu University founded in 1916 and its famous Museum ‑ Bharat Kala Bhavan which houses one of the finest collection of Mughal miniature paintings and brocade textiles. The Bharat Mata and Durga Temple and see the famous Vishwanath temple with its spires covered with gold, dedicated to Shiva, the presiding deity of the city. · Afternoon: Excursion to Sarnath This is the place where the Buddha delivered his first Sermon ‘Turning of the Wheel of Law’. See the Chowkandi and Dhamek Stupas, the ruins of 9th and 10th century monasteries and temples, the temple built by the Mahabodhi Society in 1931, and the Tibetan Temple. Visit the famous Sarnath Museum (closed on Fridays). Overnight in Varanasi.

Day 13:

Varanasi / Delhi – Breakfast at the hotel. Morning: At leisure. Transfer to airport to board flight to Delhi. Leave Varanasi for Delhi by IT 603 (1445/1600 hours). Meeting and assistance on arrival and transfer to an airport hotel for wash & change. Dinner at the hotel. Transfer to international airport.

Day 14:

Depart Delhi – Depart Delhi by onward international flight

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