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 - Delhi
(203 kms, 04 hrs.)
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, drive to Delhi. Arrive Delhi, check-in at prebooked hotel.
Day 07 : Delhi - Colombo (Flight) - Habarana
Transfer to the airport to board flight for Colombo. Arrive Colombo, transfer to pre-booked hotel in Habarana (160 kms, 4 hrs. drive), a location of spectacular sceneries. Rest of the day free for individual activities.
Day 08 : Habarana
After breakfast, explore one of the best kept ruins of ancient Ceylon - the UNESCO World Heritage City of Polonnaruwa (43 kms, 1 hr. drive). This was the Capital of Sri Lanka from the 11th to 13th century, which was a well-planned medieval city defended by enclosing walls, graced by palaces, shrines, monasteries, pavilions, parks, ponds and irrigation lakes. Polonnaruwa is strewn with ruins in a resplendent state of preservation. The 'Gal Vihara' which consists of statues of the recumbent, standing and seated Buddha have been cut from a single granite wall and rank among the true masterpieces of Sri Lankan Art.
Day 09 : Habarana - Kandy
Morning, visit the city of Dambulla (25 kms., ½ hr.) to explore the famous Golden Rock cave temple, which is one of the eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka. Being a sacred pilgrimage site for 22 centuries, this cave monastery is a vast isolated rock mass with its five caverns recorded as the largest best preserved cave-temple complex in Sri Lanka. The Buddhist mural paintings (covering an area of 2,100 sq. meters) are of particular importance as are the 157 statues including a 47 foot long statue of the recumbent Buddha.
Next visit the Sri Lanka's famous fallen kingdom - Sigiriya, The Rock Fortress (25 kms., ½ hr.). Climb the 5th Century "Fortress in the Sky", built by King Kassapa. The fortress was a Royal Citadel for more than 18 years. The lion rock (A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE) is a citadel of unusual beauty, rising 200 metres from the scrub jungle. The base of the rock is ringed by a moat and rampart and the extensive gardens are a glorious splendour pumped by advance plumbing techniques that baffles the historians to this day. The majestic Lion's Paw picturesquely guards the stairway of the palace on the summit. See the famous frescoes of the "Heavenly maidens" of Sigiriya in a sheltered pocket of the rock and the 10 foot high Mirror Wall.
After the visit, drive to the bustling hill capital of Kandy (92 kms., 3 hrs.) enroute visit the spice garden in Matale. Arrive Kandy and check-in at prebooked hotel. Relax in the wonderful ambience of city of Kandy. In the Evening you will visit the sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic, and later enjoy the Kandyan Cultural show at the Kandyan Arts and Cultural Centre. The show features the graceful and rhythmic dancers and drummers culminating in an impressive fire walking display.
Day 10 : Kandy - Nuwara Eliya
After breakfast, visit the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage (50 kms., 1½ hr.). This project was initiated by the Government of Sri Lanka to take care of baby elephants that are lost or abandoned in the wild. Now it has become one of the hottest tourist destinations in the isle, where anyone can witness the innocence of the second largest land animal without a fear. While you are here, you will be offered the rare opportunity to observe the feeding of the elephants. Bath time is enjoyed by all elephants, young and old alike and it is a good time to closely observe their tightly knit family structure, which is also a marvellous photo opportunity. Daily feeding times - 9.15 am, 1.15 pm, and 5.00 pm. bathing times 10.00 am, 2.00 pm, and 4.00 pm.
Continue drive to Nuwara Eliya (130 kms, 04½ hrs.) enroute visit the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens, where a rare collection of tropical exotic and indigenous flora including the famous Orchid House could be viewed.
Arrive Nuwara Eliya & check-in at prebooked hotel. It is a beautiful town, set in the heart of hill country and situated 1890 meters above sea level. It is where the British succeeded in creating an English countryside with charming homes inspired by Georgian to Queen Anne.
Day 11 : Kandy - Colombo
After breakfast, leave for Kitulgala (120 kms., 3 hrs.), a small town perched on the hills that slope down to the flowing waters of the Kelani River. The main attractions include white water rafting, trekking and the Kelani Forest Reserve, renowned as a bird watching location.
Continue drive to the city of Colombo (86 kms., 2½ hrs.). Arrive Colombo and check-in at pre-booked hotel. Rest of the evening in leisure. Free to drive around the city of Colombo, where the colonial remnants creatively fuses with the modern architecture.
Day 12 : Depart Colombo
Transfer to Colombo airport (35 kms., 01 hr.) to board your onward/return flight.