Welcome to Delhi:
Fly overnight to India, arriving in the late evening. Your trip leader will accompany you to your hotel in the heart of Delhi, Over night at hotel.
Explore Old Delhi/New Delhi: Enjoy a walking tour of Old Delhi. Next, a cycle rickshaw carries us through the crowded Chandni Chowk Bazaar to Jama Masjid, India's largest mosque. In the afternoon, drive through New Delhi to visit the India Gate and the old residences of British Viceroys.
The 350 years Emperor Shah Jehan built old walled city in 1648. Opposite the fort are the black and white onion dome and minarets of the Jama Masjid, the most elegant mosque in India.
The new capital designed by Sir Edward Lutyens. An interesting drive is the one passing through the impressive Rajpath from the World War I memorial arch, the India Gate towards the Presidential Palace. Visit Humayun's Tomb built in 1565 AD, Safdarjung's Tomb, the Qutab Minar, 72 meters high and the most curious antique, the uncorroded Iron Pillar, which dates back to the 4th century AD. Visit the amazing Chattar Pur Temple.
Delhi/Haridwar/Rishikesh: After breakfast, leave for Rishikesh by air-conditioned bus or train, en route visiting Haridwar. At Haridwar experience the evening Ganga - Aarti at Holy River Ganges at Har Ki Pauri. Afterwards, continue to Rishikesh. Transfer to hotel. Dinner & overnight at hotel.
Explore Rishikesh: Early morning, visit Vashisht Cave; a thousand year old auspicious cave an ideal place for meditation, followed by Rafting down the Ganges. Later, explore evening worship ritual at Triveni Ghat. Transfer to hotel. Dinner & overnight at hotel.
Rishikesh: After breakfast, visit Bharat Temple. It is believed that Bharat, brother of Lord Rama, subjected himself to severe penance there. We will visit Rishikund & Raghunath Temples, Ram Jhoola & Laxman Jhoola and boat ride on Holy River Ganges. In the evening, walking tour of Rishikesh visiting various Ashrams e.g. Swargashram, Parmarthashram, Geeta Press etc. Evening prayers at Kailash Ashram (Shankaracharya Ashram). Dinner & overnight at hotel
Known from ancient time as a celestial abode, is situated on the right bank of Holy River Ganges and surrounded on three sides by Himalayan ranges. It is a great pilgrimage center of India, attracting a large number of pilgrims. It has since been the abode of saints and sages from where they sojourn before undertaking the arduous pilgrimage that lay ahead on the distant Himalayan Peaks. This is the gateway to the kingdom of gods and pilgrimage to Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.
Rishikesh/Delhi: After breakfast, leave back for Delhi. Reach Delhi & transfer to hotel. Dinner & overnight at hotel. Visit exotic Dilli Haat/enjoy Ayurveda Treatments/seek Astrology future seers.
Delhi/Jaipur: After breakfast, leave for Jaipur by air-conditioned bus/Car. Arrive in Jaipur and check-in at the hotel. In the evening, take a walking tour of Old Jaipur. Overnight at hotel.
Explore Jaipur: After breakfast, full day sightseeing of the Jaipur City and Amber Fort. (Includes rides on elephant back up to the Fort).
Jaipur: The picturesque old city of Rajasthan, Jaipur, is color washed pink – which is the color associated with hospitality in Rajput culture. Built in 1727 AD by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, Jaipur displays a remarkable harmony and architectural splendor. The heart of the Pink City beats in its fairy-tale palaces, rugged fortresses perched on barren hills and broad avenues that dot the entire city. The only planned city of its time; a formidable wall encircles Jaipur. There is a timeless appeal to Jaipur's colorful bazaars where one can shop for Rajasthani handlooms and trinkets. Beautiful laid out gardens and parks, attractive monuments and marvelous residence of Maharajas, are worth admiration. Not to mention the ambling camels and cheerful people in multi-hued costumes that makes your trip to the Pink city a memorable one.
Jaipur/Fatehpur Sikri/Agra: A long eastward drive will bring us to Fatehpur Sikri, a mysterious 16th Century city that once rivaled London in its population, wealth and grandeur. The site occupies 117 miles and is enclosed by a wall. Built in 1571, it was mysteriously abandoned just 15 years later. Today, it is India's “Ghost City”. Then, continue to Agra for your first view of the Taj Mahal.
Explore Agra: Rise at dawn to enjoy the Taj Mahal in the peaceful morning light. This afternoon, contrast the ethereal Taj with the imposing Agra Fort, an immense fortified palace that was a seat of Mughal power. Some of its battlements are more than 60 feet tall.
Agra is famous as being home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World – the "TAJ MAHAL". The architectural splendor of the mausoleums, the fort and the palaces is a vivid reminder of the opulence of the legendary Mughal Empire, of which Agra was the capital in the 16th and early 17th centuries. While its significance as a political center ended with the transfer of the capital to Delhi in 1634 by Shah Jahan, its architectural wealth has secured its place on the international map. A pleasant town with a comparatively slow pace, craftsmen who are descendants of those who worked under the Mughals know Agra for its superb inlay work on the marble and soapstone. The city is also famous for its carpets, gold thread embroidery and leather shoes.
Agra/Mathura - Vrindavan/Agra: After breakfast, leave for Mathura – Vrindavan for a full day round trip. Reaching Agra in the evening. Dinner & overnight at hotel.
Mathura is the land where Lord Krisna was born. The region is richly interwoven with the legend of Krishna, kept alive today by millions of devotees who look upon him as the most endearing incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and by specific locations associated with the legend. Mathura's history dates back to at least 600 BC and archeological remains have testified its importance.
Vrindavan: The twin city of Vrindavan, 15 km away, is also integral to the legend of Krishna. This is where Lord Krishna played his flute and sported with the gopis. The town was later immortalized in the poems of Mirabai, a princess of Medieval India who became an ardent devotee of Krishna. Vrindavan is one of the most important religious centers of Braj Bhoomi.
Agra/Khajuraho: After breakfast, leave for Jhansi by train & then by road transfer to Khajuraho. Transfer to hotel. Dinner & overnight at hotel.
Khajuraho has always remained tucked away from the mainstream events of history. This is probably why the famed temples escaped the ravages of invaders. The origin of these temples as well as the history of Chandela dynasty, during whose era they were built, is not fully documented. However, it is generally agreed that they were built between 950 AD and 1050 AD and that they numbered no fewer than 85. Today only 22 temples, in a good state of preservation, survive. The sculptures, considered to be the most perfect figures achieved in stone, depict gods and goddesses and amorous couples. The erotic tinge to many of the works here has given rise to speculations in various fields.
Explore Khajurho: Full-day sightseeing of Khajuraho, center of the once – is thriving Chandela civilization. Victorian archeologists were scandalized when the uncovered temples and gardens, emblazoned with explicit erotic carvings. But beyond the sexual imagery, Khajuraho is a testament to the spiritual power of love and prajna energy in Hindu thought. We'll visit both the east and west temple complexes, including the Chaunset Ygini, Bharatji and Vihara Temples.
Khajuraho/Sarnath/Varanasi: After breakfast, transfer to Airport for flight to Varanasi . Transfer to hotel. In the evening, visit Sarnath & Buddhist Museum. Dinner & overnight at hotel.
Sarnath: The Buddha preached his first sermon to five disciples at the Deer Park here, enshrining the principles 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 here in wall paintings by a Japanese artist. Sarnath has an interesting archeological museum, which has preserved the famous Sarnath Pillar whose capital forms India's national emblem. Visit the Dhamekh Stupa and Mulgandkuti Vihar.
SUNRISE ON HOLY RIVER GANGAGES
At sunrise, we board a small hand-rowed boat for a cruise on the Ganges. We can photograph riverside temples and ghats in a rich golden light. Every devout Hindu's ambition is to visit Varanasi once in a lifetime and to bathe in the sacred river Ganges for purification. Then enjoy a walking tour of the heart of the old city. Dinner & overnight at hotel.
Varanasi:Its antiquity, like it's spiritually, is shrouded in immortal time. Puranic and other ancient literature date its existence to at least 3,000 years ago. Life in the Varanasi of today revolves around the ghats along the River Ganges where the bulk of the temples are located. From dawn to dusk a steady stream of devotees performs rituals. For several thousands years, pilgrims have cleaned themselves of their sins here and sought release from the cycle of rebirth. The town itself is a maze of small streets and alleyways, hiding in disorderly array not less than a thousands temples and shrines. Hinduism, deep and mystical, is everywhere. In a decorated doorway, in a glimpse of a glittering temple, in the sound of a sacred bell, in the chant of the priests and the fragrance of flower offerings. This is Varanasi the city that is a prayer.
Varanasi/Delhi: After late breakfast, transfer to Airport for flight to Delhi . Transfer to hotel. Dinner & overnight at hotel.