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Ganga Sailing On The Holy River Ganges

ganga-sailing

Ganga Sailing on the Holy River Ganges

Duration – 14 Nights / 15 Days

Destination – Delhi – Allahabad – Sitamarhi – Virojpur – Mirzapur – Chunar Fort – Varanasi – Khajuraho – Orchha – Bhopal – Ujjain – Mandu – Maheshwar – Indore – Mumbai

Day 01:

Delhi – ARRIVE DELHI BY AND TRANSFER TO HOTEL.

Day 02:

DELHI – ALLAHABAD BY TRAIN The romance and color of India greets you as you disembark from your jet in Delhi – India’s splendid capital . Founded on the sights of several cities, it has been the seat of power for centuries. The very heart of the world’s largest democracy. New Delhi is quite naturally the focus of all India. Today Old & New Delhi combine to present a harmonious whole offering The Traveler Elegant Shops, Broad Laburnum Line Avenues, Sunwarmed elegant Forts and Mosques that were once the stronghold of Mughal powers and colorful Bazaars. This morning city tour of Old & New Delhi. An aura of history is every were in Old Delhi, Drive past Red Fort with its majestic ramparts. Visit Jama Masjid one of Asia’s largest Mosques from the hub. You will also make a stop at Rajghat – Mahatma Gandhi’s final resting place. Visit Qutub Minar complex, dating back to the 12th century. Lunch in local restaurant. Continue with sightseeing of New Delhi is well planned with wide tree lined avenues, fountains and parks. Colonial architecture dominates this part of the city. You will drive along the ceremonial avenues of Rajpath and view the splendid Presidential Palace. The nerve center is undoubtedly Parliament house, this vast circular colonnade-rimmed architectural landmark was built by Herbert Baker who along with Edwin Lutyens, was responsible for constructing almost all of British Delhi and impressive Diplomatic Enclave. Transfer to New Delhi railway station to board train for Allahabad. Packed Dinner and Overnight on board train

Day 03:

ARRIVE ALLAHABAD ALLAHABAD – SITAMARHI SITAMARHI – VIROJPUR BY BOAT – SIX HOURS Arrive Allahabad in the morning. Allahabad – it was once called, has been a city of holy pilgrimage for Indians for thousand of years. Here, on the banks of the Ganga at its confluence with the Yamuna and the mythological Saraswati, known as Sangam, a once in a year festival – The Kumbha Mela – is staged, the largest bathing event in the world. Amongst the cities of Uttar Pradesh, and indeed of India, Allahabad has a unique situation. It is not just one of the holiest Hindu pilgrimages, or a strategic citadel of medieval times now irrelevant, or just a city of fanatic fervor and sacrifice during momentous movements like the fight for Independence, or even a city of great personalities, past and present. It is a city that doesn’t live merely on its past, or, for that matter, on any single dimension. It is a historical and religious city that lives in the present, for the future. And it is one of the cleanest cities of Uttar Pradesh. A peaceful city, it can be a quiet retreat for those looking for a tranquil holiday. Sangam, the confluence of the rivers Ganga, Yamuna and the mythological Saraswati, offers extraordinary views of the sunrise and the sunset. Meeting and transfer to Hotel Kanha Shyam for wash and change. Breakfast at hotel. Thereafter drive to Sitamarhi ( one & half hours drive ). Visit Sita temple. It is the place where mother goddess Sita entered in earth at her last time of life and situated on bank of river Ganges. 1000 A.M. EMBARK ON YOUR SAILING TRIP AT SITAMARHI AT 1000 HRS. 1:00 P.M. LUNCH ON TRAILOR BOAT. 6:00 P.M. REACH VIROJPUR AND CHECK IN AT TENTED CAMP or HOTEL. 7:30 P.M. DINNER AND OVERNIGHT AT CAMP.

Day 04:

VIROJPUR – MIRZAPUR BY BOAT – EIGHT HOURS 7:30 A.M. LEAVE VIROJPUR FOR MIRZAPUR. VISIT VINDYACHAL TEMPLE KALI KHOH, ASTABHUJI TEMPLE, MIRZAPUR CITY. ETC 8:00 A.M. BREAKFAST 1:00 P.M. LUNCH. 6:30 P.M REACH MIRZAPUR AND CHECK IN AT TENTED CAMP. 7:00 P.M. DINNER AND OVERNIGHT AT CAMP OR HOTEL.

Day 05:

MRZAPUR – CHUNAR BY BOAT – SEVEN HOURS 7:30 A.M. BREAKFAST. 8:30 A.M. VISIT VINDHYACHAL TEMPLE SIGHT-SEEING IN AND AROUND MIRZAPUR . 10:30 A.M. LEAVE MIRZAPUR FOR CHUNAR. 1:00 P.M. LUNCH . 5:00 P.M. REACH CHUNAR / VISIT CHUNAR FORT. CHUNAR FORT , CHUNAR TOWN , CHUNAR POTTERY WORKS.ETC. CHECK IN AT TENTED CAMP. 7:30 P.M. DINNER AND OVERNIGHT AT CAMP.

Day 06:

CHUNAR – VARANASI BY BOAT – EIGHT HOURS 7:00 A.M. BREAKFAST. 8:00 A.M. VISIT CHUNAR TOWN , CHUNAR POTTERY WORKS ,HINDU FAMILY ETC. 9:00 A.M. LEAVE CHUNAR FOR VARANASI. 10:00 A.M. ENROUTE VISIT SHEETALA TEMPLE AT ADALPURA. 10:30 A.M. LEAVE ADALPURA FOR RAMNAGAR FORT . 1:00 P.M. LUNCH . 3:00 P.M. REACH RAMNAGAR,VISIT RAMNAGAR FORT, MUSEUM. 4:30 P.M. LEAVE RAMNAGAR FOR RAJGHAT EN ROUTE VISIT DASAASWAMEDH GHAT TO WITNESS AARTI CEREMONY. THIS GANGA AARTI AT THE GHATS. YOU GET AN OPPORTUNITY TO PARTICIPATE AND OBSERVE FROM CLOSE QUARTERS SOME IMPORTANT RITUALS OF THE HINDUS. 6:00 P.M. REACH RAJGHAT. 6:30 P.M. TRANSFER TO HOTEL. CHECK IN AT HOTEL. DINNER AND OVERNIGHT AT HOTEL RADISSON (05 STAR)

Day 07:

VARANASI Early morning at 5 a.m. drive through city of Ghats (stone steps) on the banks of the river, then embark on a boat excursion on the Ganges. At dawn multitudes of pilgrims descend to the holy waters to perform the ritual immersions & prayers at the Ghats. Varanasi’s principal attraction is the long string of ghats, which line the western bank of the Ganges. Most are used for bathing but there are also several ‘burning ghats’ where bodies are cremated. The best time to visit the ghats is at dawn when the river is bathed in a magical light and pilgrims come to perform puja to the rising sun. There are around 84 ghats in Varanasi, but Dasaswamedh Ghat is probably the most convenient starting point. A short boat trip from Dasaswamedh to Manikarnika ghat can be an interesting introduction to the river. The name of Dasaswamedh Ghat indicates the brahma sacrificed (medh) 10 (das) horses (aswa) here. Conveniently central, it’s one of the most important and busiest ghats and therefore is a good place to linger and soak up the atmosphere. Note its statues and the shrine of Sitalia, goddess of smallpox Manikarnika is the main burning ghat and one of the most auspicious places that a Hindu can be cremated. Bodies are handled by outcasts known as doms, and they are carried thought the alleyways of the old city to the holy Ganges on a bamboo stretcher Ganges prior to cremation. You’ll see huge piles of firewood stacked along the top of the ghat, each log carefully weighed on giant scales so that the price of cremation can be calculated. There are no problems watching cremations, since at Manikarnika death simply business as usual, but don’t take photos and keep your camera well hidden. Witnessing this spectacle of the practice of religion, unchanged over thousands of years is one of the most extraordinary experiences of a visit to India Return to the hotel for Breakfast. Lunch in the hotel This afternoon visit Sarnath 10 Kms from the holy city of Varanasi, is the blessed locale where more than 2500 years ago Buddha chose to deliver his first sermon, after attaining Nirvana. The five disciples who had followed him were surprised to see the mesmerizing glowing countenance of Buddha, who convinced them and delivered his first sermon before them, now termed as Dharamachakra Pravartan. This set in motion the great Buddhist tradition of the Sangha, for popularizing the teachings of the great ascetic, world wide.Gautama Buddha with his five disciples formed the first Sangha alongwith Yasa of Varanasi and His 54 friends. The beginning of the celebrated Mantra, ” Buddham Sharanam Gachhami “, owes Its origin to Sarnath. The three Jewels ” I go for refuge to the Buddha,I go for refuge to the Wheel of Law, I go to refuge to the Sangha “. first laid down here, have remained unchanged ever since. Hence rightly, every Buddhist Pilgrim after Bodhgaya, endeavors to be blessed with a visit to Sarnath in his life time. Dhamekh Stupa bears particular significance at Sarnath as it signifies the ” seat of the holy Buddha”, as he proclaimed his faith. It is about 34 meters in height and including the foundations, it can be measured upto 42 meters. Besides Dhamekh Stupa, Sarnath also has the ruins of Dharmajajika stupa and that of the original Mulgandhakuti temple which according to Hieun Tsang was about61 meters high. Buddha is said to have rested and meditated here while in Sarnath. Emperor Ashoka ( 273 – 232 B.C) , converted to Buddhism after the Kalinga war and also visited Sarnath. A smooth glistening stone pillar, called the Ashoka Pillar commemorates his visit and laid the foundation of the Buddhist Sangha here. The Lion capital on top of this pillar is now the National Emblem of India Dinner and Overnight at hotel.

Day 08:

VARANASI – KHAJURAHO BY FLIGHT Breakfast at hotel. This morning sightseeing of Varanasi. The Vishwanath Temple, or Golden Temple, is the most sacred temple in Varanasi and is dedicated to Vidhbrdests – Shiva as lord of the universe. The current temple was built in 1776 by Ahalya Bai of Indore, and the 800kg of gold plating on the towers, which gives the temple its colloquial name, was provided by Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Lahore some 50 years later. It’s located in the narrow alleys of the old city. Non-hindus are not allowed into the temple but can view it from the upper floor of a house across the street. There has been a succession of Shiva temples in the vicinity for at least the past 1500 year, but they were routinely destroyed by Muslim invaders. Aurangzeb continued this tradition, knocking down the previous temple and building his Great Mosque over it. The Dugra Temple is commonly knows as the Monkey Temple due to the many frisky monkeys that have made it their home. Located about 2km south of the old city, this small temple was built in the 18th century by a Bengali maharani and is stained red with ochre. It’s in north Indian Nagara style with a multi-tiered shikhara (spire). Durga is the ‘terrible’ form of Shiva’s consort Parvati, so at festivals there are often sacrifices of goats. Non-Hindus can enter the courtyard but not the inner sanctum. Only 150m south of the Durga Temple is modern marble shikhara-style Tulsi Manas Temple, built in 1964. Its two-tier walls are engraved with verses and scenes from the Ram Charit Manas, the Hindi version of the Ramayana. Its author, poet Tulsi Das, lived here while writing it. The Benaras Hindu University has an art gallery and a marble temple. Varanasi has long been a center of learning and that tradition is continued today at the Benares Hindu University (BHU), built in 1917, it was founded by the great nationalist Pandit Malaviya as a center for education in Indian art, music, culture and philosophy, and for the study of Sanskrit. The five sq km campus houses the Bharat Kala Bhavan which has a fine collection of miniature paintings, sculptures from the 1st to 15th centuries and old photographs of Varanasi. It’s about a 30-minute walk from the gates of the university to the New Vishwanath Temple, which was planned by Pandit Malaviya and built by the wealthy Birla family of industrialists. Pandit Malaviya wished to see Hinduism revived without its caste distinctions and prejudices – accordingly, unlike many temples in Varanasi, the temple is one to all, irrespective of cast or religion. The interior has a Shiva lingam and verses from Hindu scriptures inscribed on the walls. The temple is supposed to be a replica of the earlier Viahwanath Temple destroyed by Aurangzeb. Dedicated to ‘Mother India’, this unadorned temple has a marble relief map of India instead of the usual images of gods and goddesses. The map is said to be perfectly in scale, both vertically and horizontally. The temple was opened by Mahatma Gandhi. Early Lunch at hotel. Intime transfer to airport to board flight for Khajuraho. Meeting and transfer to hotel. Check in at hotel. Dinner and Overnight at hotel Radisson (05 STAR)

Day 09:

KHAJURAHO – ORCHHA 186 KMS Breakfast at hotel. This morning you visit the Khajuraho Temples which portray much more than frank eroticism for which they are famous. The imposing proportions of the temples and their richly varied imagery will leave behind lasting impressions. Perhaps no other collection of medieval art uses the body metaphor as voluptuously as these sculptures. The temple walls are living, seething mass of life and vitality. Celebrating youth & beauty, they are sanctuary of lovers both divine & human. Lunch at hotel and drive to Orchha.. Check in at Orchha Resort. Set in a medieval city teeming with Palaces and Cenotaphs (Chhatries) dating back to the Bundela Dynasty, The Orchha Resort blends old world charm and modern amenities, beautifully in a tranquil world of its own, built with red sandstone and marble on the banks of the river Betwa, The resort offers a moment peace and comfort. Dinner and Overnight at hotel.

Day 10:

ORCHHA – JHANSI 18 KMS JHANSI – BHOPAL BY TRAIN Early breakfast at hotel. Start the sightseeing at 0700 hrs. Visit of the city of myths and legends. The outline and bold silhouettes of Orchha depict to this day the grandeur and the power of the Bundela rulers : Every details carve & contour of its cluster of monuments flouting the luxury and the legacy of the erstwhile Rajas. Visit the Jehangir Mahal, Raj Mahal, Raj Parveen Mahal, Ramraj Temple, Chaturbhuj Temple, Phool Bagh, Dinman Herdaul’s Palace, Sunder Mahal and Cenotaphs by the Kanchana Ghat of the river Betwa You finish the sightseeing at 0900 hrs and transfer to Jhansi railway station to board train for Bhopal. You arrive at Jhansi railway station at 0945 hrs. Depart Jhansi by Shatabdi Express at 1032 hrs Arrive Bhopal at 1410 hrs. You are met upon arrival . proceed for lunch at restaurent in BHOPAL and then Drive to sanchi. check in at the hotel in sanchi. Dinner and o/n Iin hotel Gateway Restreat (basic hotel)

Day 11:

SANCHI – UJJAIN 250 KMS. After breakfast check out and then visit the Buddhist sight of sanchi and then drive to Ujjain via BHOPAL(lunch at Bhopal).arrive at ujjain.check in and later on in the evening visit mahakaleshwer temple prayer ceremony. SANCHI : It is know for its Stupas, monasteries, temples and pillars dating from the 3rd century to the 12th century Ad. The most famous of these monuments, the Sanchi Stupa 1 was originally built by the Mauryan Emperor Ashok, the then governor of Ujjaini, whose wife Devi was the daughter of a merchant from adjacent Vidisha. Their son Mahindra and daughter Sanghamitra were born in Ujjaini and were sent to Sri Lanka, where they converted the king, the queen and their people to Buddhism. Great Stupa No 1: The oldest stone structure in the India, 36.5m in diameter and 16.4m in height, with a massive hemispherical dome, the stupa stands in eternal majesty, the paved procession path around it worn smooth by centuries of pilgrims. The Four Gateways: Early Buddhist art has no finer expression than these ‘toranas’ that surround the Great Stupa. The Buddha, as according to the tenets of early Buddhist art, is portrayed in symbols. The Eastern Gateway: Depicts the young prince, Gautama, leaving his father’s palace on his journey towards enlightenment and the dream his mother had before his birth. The Western Gateway: Depicts the seven incarnations of Buddha. The Northern Gateway: Crowned by a wheel of law, this depicts the miracles associated with Buddha as told in the ‘jatakas’. The Southern Gateway: The birth of Gautama is revealed in a series of dramatically rich carvings. Stupa No 2: This stupa stands at the very edge of the hill and its most striking feature is the stone balustrade that rings it. Stupa No 3: Situated close to the Great Stupa. The hemispherical dome is crowned, as a mark of its special religious significance, with an umbrella of polished stone. The relics of Sariputta and Mahamogallena two of Buddha’s earliest disciples were found in its in-most chamber. The Ashoka Pillar: Lies close to the Southern Gateway of the Great Stupa, and is one of the finest examples of the Ashokan Pillar and is known for its aesthetic proportions and exquisite structural balance. The Buddhist Vihara: The sacred relics of the Satdhara Stupa, a few km away from Sanchi have been enshrined in a glass casket on a platform in the inner sanctum of this modern temple monastery. The Great Bowl: Carved out of one block of stone, this mammoth bowl contained the food that was distributed amongst the monks of Sanchi. The Gupta Temple: In the ruins now, this 5th century AD temple is one of the earliest known examples of temple architecture in India. Today you drive to Ujjain – One of the greatest cities of ancient India, Ujjain’s links with its glorious past have endured into the present day, making it a city renowned still for its traditions of spirituality, learning and culture. Tracing its origins to the age of the great Hindu scriptures, the Upanishads and the Puranas, and known earliest as Avantika, legend has it that the king Shiva commemorated his victory over the demon ruler of Tripuri by changing the name of his capital to Ujjaiyini : one who conquers with pride. Today the Shikhar spires of temples still dominate the skyline of the city and the sacred river Shipra that flows through it draws pilgrims by the thousands to take a purifying dip in its waters. Check in at Hotel Shipra (basic hotel). Later visit the sights of Ujjain. Visit the Mahakaleshwar temple with its soaring Shikhar dominates the skyline and life of Ujjain. Here, the God Shiva reigns eternal and the lingam at Mahakaleshwar, one of the 12 jyotirlingas in India, is believed to be Swayambhu (born of itself) deriving its Shakti or power, from within itself. Yet another unique feature of this majestic shrine is the idol which faces the south, a positioning upheld by tantric traditions and found only in Mahakaleshwar among 12 Jyotirlingas. Dinner and Overnight at hotel.

Day 12:

UJJAIN- MANDU 140 Kms 3-4 hours Breakfast at hotel. Later on visit the ghat sight around sacred river shipra and later on continue for mandu. Today you drive Mandu – a celebration in stone, of life and joy, of the love of the poet-prince Baz Bahadur for his beautiful consort, Rani Roopmati. The balladeers of Malwa still sing of the romance of those royal lovers, and high up on the crest of a hill, Roopmati’s pavilion still looks down upon Baz Bahadur’s palace, a magnificent expression of Afghan architecture. Perched along the Vindhyan ranges, at an altitude of 2000 feet, Mandu – The City of Joy is a pervading spirit of gaiety; and its rulers built exquisite palaces like the Jahaz and Hindola mahals, ornamental canals, baths and pavilions, as graceful and refined as those times of peace and plenty. Each of Mandu’s structure is an architectural gem; some are outstanding like the massive Jama Masjid and Hoshang Shah’s Tomb, which provided inspiration for the master builders of the Taj Mahal, centuries later. Under Mughal rule Mandu was a pleasure resort, its lakes and palaces, the scenes of splendid and extravagant festivities. And the glory of Mandu lives on, in its palaces and mosques and in legends and songs, chronicled for posterity. The 45 km parapet of walls that encircle Mandu are punctuated by 12 gateways. Most notables of these are Delhi Darwaza. Arrive Mandu and visit the sights of Mandu. Check in at Tourist Cottages, now renamed as Malwa Resort (Basic accommodation). Lunch at Cottages. Continue your sightseeing. The Jahaz Mahal – this 120 meter long ‘ ship palace ‘ built between two artificial lakes is an elegant two storied palace. With its open pavilions, balconies overhanging the water and open terrace, the Jahaz Mahal is an imaginative recreation in stone of a royal pleasure craft. Visit Taveli Mahal – viewed on moonlit nights from the adjacent, the silhouette of the building, with the tiny domes and turrets of the pavilion gracefully perched on the terrace presents an unforgettable spectacle. The Hindola Mahal – an audience hall, it derives the name of ‘Swinging Palace ‘ from its sloping sidewalls. Superb and innovative techniques are also evident in its ornamental facade, delicate trelliswork in sandstone and beautifully molded columns. Dinner and Overnight at hotel.

Day 13:

MANDU- MAHESHWAR 70 KMS- 2 HOURS DRIVE After breakfast continue to visit following sights in mandu and then drive to Maheshwer. Visit Ashrafi Mahal – this palace of gold coins was conceived as an academic institution for young boys, still remains in a fair state of preservation. Visit Baz Bahadur’s palace built in the early 6th century, the palace’s unique features are its spacious courtyard surrounded by halls and high terraces which afford a superb view of the surrounding countryside. Visit Rani Roopmati’s Pavilion was originally built as an army observation post. From its hilltop perch, this graceful structure with its two pavilions was a retreat of the lovely queen, from where she could see Baz Bahadur’s palace and the Narmada river flowing through the Nimar plains, far below. Today you drive to Maheshwar – Revived by the Holker queen, Rani Ahilyabai of Indore, in the late 18th century. Check in at Ahilya Fort (heritage hotel). Lunch at Fort. This afternoon visit the principal sights, the Fort, which is now a museum displaying heirlooms and relics of Holker dynasty, the three Ghats lining the banks of the Narmada river, and the many tiered temples, distinguished by their Overhanging balconies and intricately worked doorways.. Dinner and Overnight at Fort.

Day 14:

MAHESHWAR – FULL DAY ENJOY THE MAHESHWER (02 NIGHTS ARE COMPULSORY AT MAHESHWAR)

Day 15:

MAHESHWAR – INDORE 80 KMS – 3 HOURS INDORE – BOMBAY Flight Breakfast at hotel. Today you drive to Indore – then ruled by the princely Holkars, metamorphosed into a thriving commercial township and the pride of Central India. Fine examples of Maratha architecture and centuries-old temples coexist quite naturally with textile mills and heavy industry. Links to the historical past are manifested in the palaces, cenotaphs, temples and traditions dating back to the early eighteenth century when the Holkars, Maratha rulers of Malwa began their rule. Today you visit the sights of Indore, the Krishnapura Chhatries, exquisite cenotaphs of the Holkar rulers, with their pyramidal spires tapering into soaring kalashas, are a breathtaking sight when illuminated under the evening sky. Lalbagh Palace, an ostentatious blend of the baroque and renaissance styles, has splendidly proportioned rooms with frescoed ceilings and gilded ornamental moldings. The architecture and decoration of Lalbagh Palace, built by Tukoji Rao Holkar II in 1886, reflect a highly westernized aesthetic sensibility. Kanch Mandir (glass temples) was built by the ‘cotton king’ Sir Hukumchand Seth in the early 20th century. The mirror-work on the walls. Floor and ceiling reflect minute detailing. Sarafa, a mile long thoroughfare, abounds with little shops situated in stone-and-wood buildings. Lunch at Indore. Time free till transfer to airport to board flight for Bombay. Meeting and transfer to Hotel . Later intime transfer to International airport to board flight for onward destination.

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