Classical North India Tour - 10 Days

Day 1: Delhi

Arrive Delhi. Transfer to hotel. Check in 12 Noon. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight at hotel.

Day 2: Delhi

Morning:
Breakfast at hotel. City tour of Old Delhi – Visit-The magnificent Red Fort (closed on Mondays), Jama Masjid. Drive past Kotla Firoze Shah, ruins of an old fort of the 14th century with the 13 metre high Ashoka Pillar of 3rd BC. Visit Raj Ghat, where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated in 1948. Drive through the old city subject to traffic restrictions.

Afternoon:
City tour of New Delhi-Drive past the Presidential Palace, the Rashtrapati, the impressive Rajpath to the World War I memorial arch, the India Gate, Visit Humayun’s Tomb built in 1565 AD by his grieving widow Haji Begum. Visit the Qutub Minar, the 72 meter high Minaret. and the ruins of Quwat-ul-Eslam (Light of Islam) Mosque Overnight.

Day 3: Delhi - Jaipur

Morning:
Breakfast at hotel. Leave Delhi for Jaipur (265 kms) by road.

Late Afternoon:
Arrive Jaipur and proceed to hotel. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight.

Day 4: Jaipur

Morning:
Breakfast at hotel. Excursion to Amber fort including Elephant ride. Just 7 miles north of Jaipur is Amber with its a honey-coloured fortress-palace in the Aravalli Hills which can be mounted by elephant. It has been described as “the sleeping beauty of Rajasthan”. The sombre exterior belies the richness of the royal apartments which open on to striking views of the gorge. It also possesses a Chamber of Mirrors. The Hall of Victory presents a galaxy of decorative art - panels of alabaster with fine inlay work of the tenderest hues.

Afternoon:
City tour of Jaipur - a city which has the “tone of the autumn sunset”. Visit Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) an elaborate building encrusted with delicate honeycomb screens and carved balconies from which the royal ladies, confined to their quarters, could view the world outside. Jai Singh’s Observatory built in the 17th century by the founder of Jaipur who, besides being a prince was also soldier, astronomer and builder. City Palace now a museum contains fine Rajput and Moghul paintings, rare manuscripts and an armoury. Overnight.

Day 5: Jaipur - Agra

Morning:
Breakfast at hotel. Leave Jaipur for Agra by road (235 km.) en route visit Fatehpur Sikhri. 37 km. west of Agra lies the ghost city of Fatehpur Sikhri - an epic poem in red sandstone, built by Emperor Akbar the Great in 1569 and deserted 14 years later because its water supply failed. Its glorious courtyards and palaces conjure up dreams of the mysterious past. Buland Darwaza, the victory gate looms 134 feet high. There’s the imperial Jami Masjid, the tomb of Shaik Salim Chisti who predicted the birth of Akbar’s son Jehangir, the Panch Mahal, a strange building which resembles a Buddhist Temple, a cloistered courtyard which was the Hall of Public Audience, and the Pachchisi paved with black and white where the Emperor played chess using slave girls as figurines.

Afternoon:
Arrive Agra and proceed to hotel. City tour of Agra: Visit the Taj Mahal - the greatest love story ever told. On the death of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, in wild extravagance, Shahjehan built her this memorial. 20,000 men laboured for over 17 years to build this wealth of white marble and precious stone. Visit Agra Fort - behind its forbidding red sandstone battlements lie palaces that tell the story of the Mughal Empire. The most impressive part of the Fort are the Dewan-e-Am, where the Emperor sat on his throne to dispense to his subjects, and the Dewan-e-Khas where he received foreign dignitaries. Visit the tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah, father of Queen Nur Jehan - a two-storied tomb bearing mosaics in inlaid semi- precious stones. Overnight.

Day 6: Agra - Jhansi - Khajuraho

8.17 hrs:
Early Breakfast at hotel. Transfer to Railway station. Leave Agra for Jhansi by train - Shatabdi Express

10.48 hrs:
Arrive Jhansi & transfer to Khajuraho by road En route Visit Orchha. Lunch at Orccha on direct payment.

Arrive Khajuraho and proceed to hotel. Overnight.

Day 7: Khajuraho - Varanasi

Morning:
Breakfast at hotel. City tour of Khajuraho Temples - Khajuraho was the capital of the Chandela kings and its temples were built in the short span of hundred years, from 950-1050 AD. Most of them were destroyed by Muslim invaders. Adorned with exquisite sculpture, only 22 temples remain of the original 85. They are the strange works of a long dead people. Khajuraho’s temples are covered with hundreds of sculptured figures - a galaxy of gods and goddesses, beasts and serpents, and a multitude of erotic couples which represent a paean to life, to love and to joy. The most famous are the Kandariya Mahadev, the Chaturbhuj, the Paraswanath and the Ghantai - the summit of Hindu sculpture: voluptuous forms; human and divine, throbbing with life and sublime in expression. Transfer to airport.

13:25 hrs:
Depart for Varanasi.

14:10 hrs:
Arrive Varanasi & transfer to hotel. Overnight.

Day 8: Varanasi

Early Morning:
The time to see the ghats is early dawn when out of the morning mist, forms descend the steps, their numbers increasing by the minute until a solemn silent multitude, lit by the sun’s first rays, moves in the same direction to immerse itself in the holy stream and to salute the sun. During this particular sightseeing no monuments are visited. See the Bathing Ghats, Cremation Ghats, The Gyanvapi Mosque built in the 17th century when the fanatical Emperor Aurangazeb pulled down the original Vishwanath Golden Temple and on its site raised a mosque. After the boat ride visit the Golden Temple and walk through the narrow lanes of Varanasi.

Morning:
Sightseeing of Varanasi - (3 hours) During the 30 km. drive you will see the Bharat Mata Temple, dedicated to Mother India, which, instead of gods and goddesses, houses a relief map of India carved out of marble. Emperor Aurangazeb’s Mosque built in the 17th century on the site of a Hindu Temple. The rear of the mosque reveals specimens of the ancient temple art of India. Vishwanath Temple (Golden Temple) erected by Rani Ahalyabai Holkar of Indore in 1776. The shikharas of the temple are gold plated. Visit Varanasi Hindu University, a great seat of oriental learning. It started as a centre of education in Sanskrit, Indian art, culture and music. Visit the Durga (Goddess of Power) Temple popularly known as the Monkey Temple because of hundreds of monkeys in the courtyard.

Afternoon:
Excursion to Sarnath - Sarnath, 10 km. from Varanasi - (3 hours) The Buddha preached his first sermon to five disciples at the Deer Park here, enshrining the principals of his teaching into laws. The Dhamek Stupa marks the location of a once resplendent monastery. A large complex of ruined monasteries cover the area north of the stupas. Some of the buildings belong to the Kushan and Gupta period. The first monk communities probably settled here in the 3rd century BC. Near the Dhamek Stupa is a new monastery built by the Buddhist Mahabodhi Society. The major events of Buddha’s life are depicted here in wall paintings by a Japanese artist. Sarnath has an interesting archaeological museum which has preserved the famous Sarnath pillar whose capital forms India’s national emblem. Overnight.

Day 9: Varanasi - Delhi

Morning:
Breakfast at hotel. At leisure. Transfer to airport.

14:40 hrs:
Depart Varanasi.

16:00 hrs:
Arrive Delhi. Transfer to the hotel. Overnight.

Day 10: Delhi

Transfer to international airport.

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