Day 01 : Delhi
Arrive Delhi in the evening. Transfer to Hotel by private vehicle. The capital of modern India, Delhi is a bustling metropolis which successfully combines in its fold the ancient & the modern. Its strategic location was one of the prime reasons why successive dynasties chose it as their seat of power. New Delhi also reflects the legacy the British left behind. The division between New & Old Delhi is the distinction between the capitals of the British & the Moghuls respectively. So, wherever the visitor goes, he will invariably confront the city's past.
Day 02 : Delhi
After breakfast, full day city tour of Delhi. Visit Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India ; the massive 17th century Red Fort ; walk through the colourful bazaars of Chandni Chowk. Rajghat, memorial of Mahatma Gandhi. Drive past India Gate - a war memorial, President's House & the Parliament. Visit the UNESCO Word Heritage Sites : Humayuns Tomb : built in mid 16th century this is an early example of Mughal architecture ; Qutub Minar, at 120 meters, is the tallest brick minaret in the world. The tour ends with a visit to Laxmi Narayan Temple.
Day 03 : Delhi - Jaipur
(260 kms., 5 hrs. drive)
Morning, visit the grand, ancient-styled Swaminarayan Akshardham complex was built over an area of 100 acres on the banks of the Yamuna River. The temple has 234 ornate pillars, 20,000 statues and many arches. It epitomises 10,000 years of Indian culture in all its breathtaking grandeur, beauty, wisdom, bliss & brilliantly showcases the essence of India’s ancient architecture, traditions and timeless spiritual messages.
Afternoon, drive to Jaipur, the capital city of the state of Rajasthan also know as "Pink City" owes its name, its foundation and planning to the great warrior astronomer Maharaja Jai Singh II. The city of Jaipur has broad avenues. The city sits on a dry lake bed in a wild and somewhat arid landscape, surrounded by barren hills surmounted by fortresses and crenellated walls. Upon arrival, check-in at prebooked Hotel.
Day 04 : Jaipur
After breakfast, excursion to Amber Fort enroute witness the façade of Hawa Mahal or the Palace of Winds which was built in 1799. Amber Fort, the ancient capital of the state until 1727 when Jai Singh decided to move from his hillside fortress at Amber to new site on the plains. The construction of this fort began in 1592 by Raja Man Singh, the Rajput commander of Akbar's army. The fort is a superb example of Rajput architecture, stunningly situated on a hillside and overlooking a lake which reflects its terraces and ramparts. Visit the Jagmandir or the hall of victory glittering with mirrors, Jal Mahal & temple of Kali. Ascend on elephant back, the hill, on which the fort is situated.
Afternoon, city tour of Jaipur. Visit the Jantar Mantar, the observatory built by Jai Singh in 1728; the City Palace which is a blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. It also has a museum with an extensive collection of art, carpets, paintings, enamel ware and weapons dating back to the 15th century.
Day 05 : Jaipur - Fatehpur Sikri - Agra
(240 kms, 05 hrs.)
Morning, drive to Agra enroute visit the abandoned Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri : built by Emperor Akbar in 1569, was the old capital of the Mughals, which was abandoned after 15 years due to scarcity of water. See the graceful buildings including the Jama Masjid, Tomb of Salim Chisti, Panch Mahal & other Palaces which are still preserved in its original glory.
Continue drive to Agra. Upon arrival, check-in at prebooked hotel.
Day 06 : Agra
Morning, sightseeing of Agra. Visit the highlight of the day, The Taj Mahal, which was constructed by Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Construction of the Taj began in 1631 and was not completed until 1653.
Visit the impressive Agra Fort, which was built by Emperor Akbar in 1565, and additions were made up until the time of his grandson, Shah Jahan. It contains the hall of public and private audiences amongst many other beautiful structures.
Afternoon, free for individual activities.
Day 07 : Agra - Jhansi (Train) - Orchha - Khajuraho
(178 kms, 04 hrs.)
After breakfast, transfer to the railway station to board Shatabdi Express, scheduled to depart for Jhansi at 0815 hrs. Arrive Jhansi at 1025 hrs., transfer to Khajuraho, enroute visit Orchha : Once the capital of Bundelas, Orchha is a village, set amongst a complex of well preserved palaces and temples. Though Orcha was founded in 1531, it's golden age was during the first half of 17th century. When Jahangir visiting the city in 1606, a special palace, the Jehangir Mahal was built for him. Visit the Jehangir Mahal, Raj Mahal & Ram Raja temple which also dates back to the 17th century.
Arrive Khajuraho and check-in at prebooked hotel.
Day 08 : Khajuraho - Varanasi
(Flight : 9W-2424 : 1405 - 1455 hrs.)
Morning, sightseeing of Khajuraho : Built by the warrior Chandela dynasty that rose to power in Central India between 10th & 11th centuries, the 25 odd surving temples display different facets of life, including the sensual. These erotic carvings on some panels have given rise to much speculation since Khajurahos re-discovery by a British officer in 1838. To preserve it for posterity, Khajuraho has been declared a World Heritage Site. Visit the world famous Khajuraho temples built by the Chandela Kings between 950 AD & 1050 AD. The most important are the Chaunset Yogini temple dedicated to Goddess Kali, the Mahadev temple, Chitragupta or Bharatji temple with lovely image of 11 headed Vishnu, Vishwanath & Nandi temples, Lakshmana temple, Visha temple dedicated to Shiva, which is the largest & most typical of temples.
Afternoon, transfer to airport to board flight for Varanasi : formerly known as Kashi the city that illuminates. The religious capital of Hinduism, Varanasi is the oldest living city of India & one of the world's most ancient. Arrive Varanasi and transfer to prebooked hotel.
Later, excursion to Sarnath - the buried Buddhist city where Buddha preached his first sermon. After attaining enlightenment at Bodh Gaya the Buddha went to Sarnath; and it was here that he preached his first discourse in the deer park to set in motion the 'Wheel of the Dharma'. It is one of the most holy sites as in this place the stream of the Buddha's teaching first flowed. Sarnath was a renowned school of learning from 16th century BC to 12th century AD. Visit the ruins, the stupa, the Buddhist temple & the museum (closed on Fridays). At the museum is the Ashok Pillar with its four guardian lions, used as independent Indias national emblem.
Day 09 : Varanasi - Delhi
(Flight : 6E-635 : 1810 - 1950 hrs.)
Early morning, leave for boat ride on the Ganges to see the bathing Ghats (river bank) & cremation site. Sunrise on the riverfront, as seen from a boat, can be a spiritually uplifting sight. The life on the Ghats bound in an endless string of rituals, ever-changing aspects of the river & the wide landscape across have fascinated visitors from all over the world. Return to hotel for breakfast.
After breakfast, sightseeing of Varanasi - Visit the Bharat Mata temple with a big relief map of India in Marble, Durga temple, Tulsi Manas Mandir, Benaras Hindu University which has an art gallery & the mosque of Moghul Emperor Aurangzeb.
Afternoon, transfer to airport to board flight for Delhi. Arrive Delhi and transfer to the international airport to board your onward/return flight.