31 Day Pan India

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Taj Mahal, Desert palaces, Erotic temple art, Tiger trails, Kerala backwaters...  A month-long luxury getaway in exotic India that has it all.



HIGHLIGHTS

Taj Mahal, Desert palaces, Erotic temple art, Tiger trails, Kerala backwaters... A month-long luxury getaway in exotic India that has it all.

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  • Day 1: Arrival at Delhi

    A Wild Voyager representative will receive you on arrival at the airport and take you to the hotel.

     

    The city is a mix of the old and the new. With lassi from the narrow alleyways of Delhi to the rich cultural heritage of the city as seen from its magnificent monuments, Delhi will leave you spellbound with its influence from all the empires that have fallen and gained the throne of Delhi through decades. the cafes, bakeries, and glass spires represent the new age.

     

    The afternoon will be spent enjoying the Spice Market tour.

     

  • Day 2: Delhi Attractions

    After breakfast at the hotel, a guided tour of Old Delhi.

     

    Sightseeing:

    There is history in the nooks and corners of all the narrow alleyways of Old Delhi, which date back to the Mughal era. On this tour, you will discover the magical world of Oriental spices with a guided tour with a local chef who will not only describe the spices but also teach you secret Indian recipes and their usage in them.

     

    The tour begins with the eternal symbol of the efforts of the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi--- The Raj Ghat. The shrine is very simple so as to honour the man who changed the world with Ahimsa(non-violence) and the concept of Satyagraha.

     

    Red Fort: This magnificent fort built by Shah Jahan in 1639 is a standing example of Mughal architecture that served as their ruling fort during Shah Jahan's reign and now is the place from where the Prime Minister delivers his speech on Independence Day.

     

    A rickshaw ride through the colourful alleys will take you to the Jama Masjid, which showcases the Mughal architecture at its full splendour with its magnificent domes and minarets.

     

    Next stop will be the New Delhi which was planned by Sir Edwin Lutyens at the orders of the British in the 1930s. it is an architectural feat and is often called Lutyen's Delhi.

     

    The red sandstone arch which is the India gate is the memorial for all the soldiers who died as martyrs in the First World War. It leads us to the Parliament House, the magnificent seat of the world’s largest democracy. We shall also see Rastrapathi Bhawan, the Indian President’s official residence. The famed Mughal garden inside is resplendent with lush lawns and beautiful statuettes. It admits visitors in spring.

           

    Now you will spend some time marvelling at the Qutub Minar. This structure with its rust resistant properties was built during the Delhi Sultanate in India by Quitubuddin Aibak who was called the ‘wisest fool’ because of his crazy but illustrious ideas.

     

    The Bahai Temple can be visited if time is available. This peaceful place will connect to your inner soul and leave you rejuvenated.

     

    A short distance away lie the bustling markets of Chandni Chowk - “Moonlit Square” - the celebrated 17th-century market complex, where sweet shops from the 1790s retain their position as the best in the art of preserving history in every bite.

     

    Enjoy a rickshaw ride through the bustling and colourful alleys of Chandni Chowk.

     

    A short drive away, the stately Humayun’s Tomb is perhaps the first example of the Mughal style of architecture, inspired by Persian styles, more examples of which may be seen in Agra and Fatehpur Sikri. The structure was erected in memory of Emperor Humayun, father of the illustrious Emperor Akbar, by his widow Hamida Banu Begum. An avid scholar who died an untimely death after falling down the steps of his library, Humayun himself was an architecture enthusiast and well-versed in the Persian style of building. It is said that he himself drew up the blueprint of his tomb in his lifetime, but there is no documented evidence to that effect.

     

    Overnight stay will be at Delhi.

     

  • Day 3: Delhi - Varanasi

    By Air

     

    Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

     

    Varanasi is the hub of the Hindu religion since ancient times and is the place to visit to get a taste of the myriad and colourful way the celebrations are carried out every day to appreciate the Ganges.

     

    Varanasi’s high ghats (steps leading to and from the river) are crowded with priests, wrestlers, astrologers, devotees, bathers, morning walkers and saffron-clad mendicants or sadhus. The ringing of temple bells and the heady, heavy smell of incense permeate everywhere.

     

    In Varanasi, even a simple stroll along the banks of the Ganges or a boat ride through the river create memories to be cherished.

     

    The cinematic nature of daily life in Varanasi is not lost on filmmakers and over the years, many have made Varanasi their backdrop, among them maestros like Roberto Rossellini, James Ivory and Satyajit Ray. Fittingly, the first moving picture ever shot on Indian soil was filmed here in 1899.

     

    Varanasi is one of the unforgettable highlights of your luxury holiday in the timeless Indian subcontinent.

     

    A short drive from Varanasi lies Sarnath where, millennia ago, the Buddha delivered his first ever sermon. Today, thousands of travellers from all over the world pour in every year to pay homage to what is one of the holiest places in Asia. The 1600-year-old Dhamekh stupa marks the spot where the Buddha sat as he delivered his first teachings. Interestingly, this ancient stupa is a stand-in for an even earlier structure erected by Emperor Asoka in 249 BC to commemorate the teaching.

     

    The highly recommended Sarnath museum houses antiquities dating back to the 3rd century BC. Don’t miss the gigantic red sandstone standing Bodhisattvas and the magnificent Ashokan pillar that is India’s state symbol.

     

    Overnight will be spent at Varanasi.

     

  • Day 4: Varanasi

    Our representative will take you on a tour in a boat to the middle of the river to watch the spiritual life come alive as the morning rituals start. Visit Dashashwamedh and Manikarnika, the holiest of the Varanasi ghats. A section of Manikarnika serves as a cremation ground and it is said the funeral pyre never dies here.

     

    After breakfast, you will visit the 18th century Durga Temple. According to legend, the idol of the goddess simply appeared in the spot where the temple stands today.

     

    The white marble Tulsi Manas Temple has scenes and stanzas from the Hindi epic Ram Charit Manas carved into its walls. The temple is in the traditional Shikhara style, its towers representing the great Himalayan peaks or summits.

     

    Kashi Vishwanath with its famous solid gold spire is one of the holiest of Hindu temples and devotees believe that a dip in the Ganges and offering a prayer here will cleanse people of all sins and free them from the cycle of birth and rebirth, thereby granting them eternal moksha or salvation.

     

    Up next, the 4000 acre Benaras Hindu University campus houses an art gallery and the Mosque of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.

     

    Overnight stay will be at Varanasi.

     

  • Day 5: Varanasi to Khajuraho

    By Air

     

    Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

     

    Proceed for the sightseeing of the Western Group of Temples.

     

    Kandariya Mahadev is the largest temple in the complex and is dedicated to Lord Shiva, with over 800 exquisitely sculpted figures of God's and celestial maidens adorning its walls.

     

    Chausat Yogini Temple is the oldest in the complex. The only granite temple among the cluster, it’s a shrine to one of the aspects of the fearsome Hindu Mother Goddess Kali, or The Dark One.

     

    The Lakshmana Temple stands at the southwest corner. Look out for a minor shrine where one of the ancient sculptors added his own likeness in a touching act of vanity.

     

    Other temples include the Vishwanath Temple with exquisite stonework on its outer wall, the Matangeshwar Temple with its famed eight foot high phallic lingam, the Chitragupta Temple, inside which the radiant Sun God rides his seven-horse chariot, and the Varaha Temple that houses a 1.5 m high Varaha, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu as a giant boar, that attempts (and fails) to find the end of the universe.

     

    In the evening watch sound and light show at Western Group of Temples.

     

    Overnight will be at Khajuraho.

     

  • Day 6: Khajuraho to Jhansi by road, visit Orchha en-route

    Jhansi to Agra, by Rail.

     

    Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

     

    Visit the Eastern and Southern Group of Temples.

     

    The Brahma and the Hanuman temples are the most famous and best preserved among the Eastern Group of temples. Don’t miss the Vamana temple that showcases in elaborate stonework all ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu.

     

    Notable among the Southern Group is the Chaturbhuja Temple (Sanskrit Chatur=four, bhuja=arm) dedicated to a beautiful four-armed Shiva figure. The Chaturbhuja Temple stands out in the complex for being the only one sans any erotic sculpture.

     

    12 km from Khajuraho, the medieval city of Orchha on was founded in 1501 by the Bundela rulers on the bank of the Betwa river. The town is famous for its cenotaphs, locally known as chhattris, built in the memory of long-dead kings.

     

    Of interest, the Orchha Fort, the majestic high domes and spires of Chaturbhuj Temple and the Raj Mandir, both constructed in the later half of the 16th century.

     

    The Mughal capital of Agra on the banks of the Yamuna River is a bustling town teeming with narrow, winding alleyways that hark back to an era gone by. Dotted by magnificent monuments including UNESCO World Heritage Site Taj Mahal, the city is a dazzling contrast of red sandstone and white marble structures.

     

    Overnight stay will be at Agra.

     

  • Day 7: Agra Attractions

    Proceed for sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal.

     

    Built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial to his queen Mumtaz Mahal and designed by Persian architect Ustad, the magnificent Taj Mahal is one of the seven wonders of the world. A massive white marble structure so delicate that it appears to float in the air, the Taj is otherworldly in its beauty and is best viewed in moonlight or at dawn and dusk. The close-up view reveals breathtakingly intricate inlay work carved into the marble and bears eloquent testimony to the triumph of Mughal art, culture and architecture at its peak. No holiday in India is complete without the Taj.

     

    Return to hotel for breakfast and then start sightseeing tour of the city.

     

    A beautifully maintained tree-lined monument at Sikandra marks the grave of the illustrious Akbar the Great. A great believer in harmony and equality of all religions,  this visionary Mughal Emperor created Din-i Ilahi, a unique religion that combines the fundamentals of Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity. His memorial imbibes architectural motifs of all the faiths that inspired him.

     

    Standing across the river from the Taj, the majestic red sandstone structure of Agra Fort was erected in 1565 by Mughal Emperor Akbar the great. Little did he know that the same fort would later serve as the prison for his grandson Emperor Shah Jahan at the end of his days. From his prison perch of Musamman Burj, an exquisite octagonal marble tower atop the fort, Shah Jahan would spend his last days looking out longingly at the Taj.

     

    Itmad-Ud-Daulah is perhaps the Mughal Empire’s best-kept secret. Empress Nur Jehan, the wife of Jahangir, son of Akbar, commissioned the structure as a memorial to her father. Mistakenly called Baby Taj, Itmad-Ud-Daulah in-fact is decades older than the Taj and may have served as its design blueprint.

     

    Enjoy the dance drama depicting the love story of Taj Mahal in the evening.

     

    Overnight will be at Agra.

     

  • Day 8: Agra-Bharatpur by road

    en-route visit Fatehpur Sikri. Bharatpur to Sawai Madhopur, by Rail.

     

    Breakfast will be the hotel.

     

    Drive to Bharatpur en route visiting Fatehpur Sikri.

     

    Fatehpur Sikri or the “City of Victory”, built by Emperor Akbar in 1569 in honour of Sufi saint Salim Chishti was the capital of the Mughals for 14 years. The white marble Tomb of the Salim Chisti with its intricately carved marble screens occupies pride of place in the central courtyard of the structure.

     

    Attractions include the colossal Buland Darwaza, a victory gate built to mark the conquest of Gujarat by Emperor Akbar, the Diwan-i-Aam where the emperor held his legendary hearings with the general public and the Diwan-i-Khas where he held private consultation with his nine ministers, or as he called them, his navaratna or nine gems.

     

    Fatehpur Sikri also houses the palace of Jodhabai, Akbar’s Hindu wife, and the house of the legendary Birbal - Akbar’s Hindu minister and one of the navaratnas - the tales of whose extraordinary wit and wisdom are the stuff of popular culture in India, inspiring countless comic books and children’s animation TV shows.

     

    The Mughal capital of Agra on the banks of the Yamuna River is a bustling town teeming with narrow, winding alleyways that hark back to an era gone by. Dotted by magnificent monuments including UNESCO World Heritage Site Taj Mahal, the city is a dazzling contrast of red sandstone and white marble structures.

     

    After lunch, proceed to Bharatpur station to Sawai Madhopur.

     

    Ranthambhore is the largest national park in North India and its dry deciduous forests are home to over 500 species of flowering plants and 270 species of birds in addition to leopards, nilgai, sloth bear and wild boar.

     

    Ranthambhore, of course, is best known for its large tiger population. The chances of spotting a tiger are relatively high in Ranthambhore, with the elusive predator often seen basking in the sun or enjoying the shade of a tree.

     

    Overnight will be at Sawai Madhopur.

     

     

  • Day 9: Exploring Sawai Madhopur

    Proceed for early morning game drive in Ranthambore National Park.

     

    Tigers in Ranthambore:-

    Ranthambhore’s most famous denizen is the ageing T-16, better known as Machhli or “fish” after the curious markings on her face. Machhli has been the subject of numerous wildlife documentaries and is an “Internet phenomenon” - a video of her hunting a giant salt-water crocodile generating over 2 million views on Youtube

     

    Other notable striped residents of Ranthambhore include Machhli’s grown up cub T-17 or Sundari (the pretty one), her boyfriend the temperamental T-25 (better known as Dollar), the elusive T-19, the current dominant female of Ranthambhore, and the majestic T-28 or Sitara (Star), the park’s dominant male.

     

    Return to the resort and have breakfast. Post breakfast, visit the nearby village to see the local life.

     

    Post lunch, proceed for the afternoon game drive in National Park.

     

    Dinner and overnight will be at Sawai Madhopur.

     

  • Day 10: Sawai Madhopur - Jaipur

    By road

     

    Enjoy the morning game drive and return to the resort for breakfast.

     

    Post breakfast, drive to Jaipur.

     

    Jaipur, also known as the ‘Pink City’ from the facelift it received in 1853 to celebrate a visit by Prince Albert, is dotted with havelis (traditional mansions), bazaars, opulent palaces and rugged majestic forts that showcase the glorious past of its rulers, the Rajputs.

     

    The Rajput princes were fierce warriors some of whom declared loyalty to the invading Mughals and proved to be formidable allies of the empire. Among them was King Jai Singh II, whom the Mughals gave the title Sawai Maharaja, or “King and a quarter”. Jaipur gets its name from this valiant king.

     

    This evening, visit the Birla Temple. A stunning white marble structure, the three towers of the Birla Temple stand for three different approaches to religion. Carvings on the ornate pillars celebrate Hindu God's and Goddesse's along with Christ, Virgin Mary and St. Francis of Assisi. Don’t miss the hypnotic evening Aarti, the ritual lighting of oil lamps.

     

    Overnight will be at Jaipur.

     

  • Day 11: Jaipur

    Sightseeing in Jaipur.

     

    AMBER FORT PALACE - Amber is the resplendent and gorgeous Rajasthani fort palace in Jaipur. Its construction was started by Man Singh I in 1592 and completed by his descendent Jai Singh I.  Its forbidding exterior hides an Oikos (inner chamber) which is significant of the conglomeration of Indian and Mughal architecture.

     

    CITY PALACE – A delightful blend of Mughal and traditional Rajasthani architecture, the City Palace sprawls over one-seventh of the area in the walled city.  It houses the Chandra Mahal, Shri Govind Dev Temple and the City Palace Museum.

     

    JANTAR MANTAR – This is the largest and the best preserved of the five observatories built by Jai Singh II in different parts of the country. This observatory consisting of outsized astronomical instruments is still in use.

     

    HAWA MAHAL – The ornamental facade of this "Palace of Winds" is a prominent landmark in Jaipur.  It is a five-storey structure of sandstone plastered pink encrusted with fine trelliswork and elaborate balconies. The palace has 953 niches and windows. Built in 1799 by Pratap Singh, the Mahal was a royal grandstand for the palace women.

     

    This afternoon is free for you to relax at the hotel spa, shop or explore independently. Shopping is superb in Jaipur, particularly for local wood carvings, silk and cotton sarees, exclusive handicrafts, miniature paintings and Kundan jewellery.

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    Overnight stay will be at Jaipur.

     

     
  • Day 12: Jaipur - Jodhpur

    By road

     

    After breakfast, proceed for sightseeing of 16th century built Mehrangarh Fort, atop a rocky hill which soars 125 Mts. above Jodhpur town.

     

    Set at the edge of the Thar Desert, the regal city of Jodhpur echoes with tales of antiquity in the emptiness of the desert. Once the capital of the Marwar state, it was founded in 1459 AD by Rao Jodha-chief of the Rathore clan of Rajputs who claimed to be descendants of Rama - the epic hero of the Ramayana. The massive 15th century AD Mehrangarh Fort looms on the top of a rocky hill, soaring 125 Mts above the plains. A high wall encompasses the city – 10 km long with 8 gates and innumerable bastions.

     

    Visit Museum in UMAID BHAWAN PALACE: The principal residence of the royal family of Jodhpur till now, this palace is a blend of the beaux-arts style of architecture. It was built to give employment to people during a famine. It was recently awarded the world’s best hotel award. It also has a museum with displays of cavalry items, paintings, swords and so on.

     

  • Day 13: Jodhpur Attractions

    After breakfast, proceed for the sightseeing of Jodhpur.

     

    Hewn out of solid rock atop the red sandstone cliff overlooking Jodhpur 400 feet above the city, the awesome 15th Century Mehrangarh fort spreads out over 5 km and in the words of Rudyard Kipling, is the “work of angels and giants”. The fort’s defences are impressive, with seven highly fortified gates to reach the fort, and massive, ornate cannons perched on the bastion walls. The view of the Blue City from the ramparts of the fort is breathtaking. In spite of the forbidding exteriors, the fort’s exquisitely latticed windows, carved panels, and ceiling with radiant glass tiles reveal another more artistic side to its warrior inhabitants. Batman fans might remember Mehrangarh Fort from an iconic scene in Chris Nolan’s 'The Dark Knight Rises'.

     

    Jaswant Thada, the white marble memorial to Maharaja Jaswant Singh II is known for its highly intricate lattice-work. The marble used in the structure is translucent and in the day time, the interior walls glow from the sunshine outside. Jaswant Singh II was known for his innovative irrigation projects and to this day, locals throng to Jaswant Thada to pay their respects to the benevolent king whose touch once healed their arid land.

     

    Overnight stay will be at Jaipur.

     

  • Day 14: Jodhpur - Udaipur

    By road, en-route visit Ranakpur

     

    Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

     

    The 15th century Ranakpur Temples are situated in the middle of dense woods and are an important pilgrimage for the Jain community. The temples’ exterior is majestic yet sombre, while the interiors are richly embellished with highly intricate carvings covering every inch of the solid marble walls. This reflects the Jain belief in the importance of a rich inner life within a simple exterior.  The huge domed marble central ceiling of the temple is so adorned with dazzling filigree work that it looks almost translucent. The hushed silence inside the temple and the subtle smell of incense will put even the most gregarious traveller in a contemplative mood.

     

    Founded by Maharana Uday Singh, beautiful Udaipur on the banks of Lake Pichola is a fairyland with beautiful palaces in the middle of lakes, islands, opulent haveli's and temples. Surrounded by the ancient Aravalli hills, Udaipur shimmers in dazzling white and is also called the City of Dawn.

     

    Overnight will be at Udaipur.

     

  • Day 15: Udaipur Attractions

    Breakfast will be at the hotel.

     

    Then we will take you to visit CITY PALACE: Standing with its majestic columns on the east bank of the Lake Pichola, is a large series of palaces built at from 1559 A.D. The balconies provide picturesque views of "Jag Niwas", Jag Mandir and the city of Udaipur. Its main entrance is through the triple-arched gate - the Tripolia, built in 1725. The way leads to a series of courtyards, gardens, arches and other architectural marvels which are beautiful and indescribably gorgeous. There is a Suraj Gokhda, where the maharanas of Mewar presented themselves in the times of trouble to the people to restore confidence. The Mor-chowk (Peacock courtyard), gets its name from the vivid mosaics in glass decorating its walls. The chini-chitrashala is noteworthy while a series of wall paintings of KRISHNA are on display in Bhim Vilas. There are several other places such as Dilkhush Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, Moti Mahal and Krishna villas - in memory of a princess of striking beauty who poisoned herself to avert a bloody battle for her hand by rival princes. The palace with its antique furniture, carvings, utensils takes you to an era of regal splendour.

     

    Here you will be awestruck by the rooms with mirrored walls and ivory doors, many-hued glass windows and inlaid marble balconies and the resplendent Peacock Courtyard.

     

    SAHELIYON KI BARI: Maharana Sangram Singh built this beautiful structure in the mid-18th century. The 'garden of the maidens’ is like a portrayal of the lives of the ladies of the Rajput era. The gorgeous gardens are quiet and secluded with beautiful corners here and there. There are four pools with dainty kiosks, and all around are flowerbeds, lawns, pools and fountains protected by a series of walls and shady trees. The garden is decorated with a lotus pool and garden where the striking ladies would laze and enjoy themselves in their full grandeur.

     

    BAGORE KI HAVELI: This old building was built right on the banks of the Lake Pichola at Gangori Ghat. Amir Chand Badwa, the Prime Minister of Mewar built it in the eighteenth century. The palace has as more than a hundred rooms and displays of the Rajputana costumes and art. The glass and mirror work in the interiors of the Haveli are fragile but well preserved. It also preserves a fine example of Mewar Painting on the walls of the Queen's Chamber. The two peacocks made from small pieces of colored glasses are fine examples of glasswork. After the death of Badwa, the building became the property of the State of Mewar. It came to be occupied by Maharana Shakti Singh of Bagore who built the palace of the three arches also in 1878 and it acquired its name of Bagore-ki-haveli, the house of Bagore. After independence, the structure lay in neglect until 1986 when it housed the West Zone Cultural centre.

     

    JAGDISH TEMPLE: It is the huge temple outside the royal palace with 32 marble steps and a brass image of the lord garuda and hand carved stone iconography telling stories of the hindu mythology. It is finely decorated and folows the maru gurjara style of architecture. It is significant as the temple of lord vishnu and is a marvellous spectacle.

     

    Time free for shopping and clicking pictures from where our representative will take you back.

     

    Overnight will be at Udaipur..

     

  • Day 16: Udaipur - Mumbai, Sightseeing in Mumbai

    By Air

     

    Today as per the flight timing a Wild Voyager representative will transfer you to your Mumbai flight.

     

    Originally an archipelago of seven islands on the Arabian Sea, Mumbai was named after Mumba Devi, patron goddess of the Koli fishermen indigenous to the area.

     

    Mumbai or Bombay as it was once called is the seat of the Bollywood industry with a way to make the stylish and the simple coexist together. From the local fancy markets stocked to the brim with everything tantamounting to the latest fashion, to high-end boutiques which are the ‘Vashti’ of Mumbai, this city has it all. It is often called the city of dreams.

     

    The Prince of Wales Museum, (now the Chhatrapati Shivaji Vastu Sangrahalaya), designed by architect George Wittet, was completed in 1915 but served as a military hospital during the Great War, and came to be used as a museum only subsequently from 1922. Built to commemorate the visit of the then Prince of Wales (who was later to become King George V) the museum is among India's finest and houses artefacts from every age of Indian history including the ancient Maurya and Gupta Empires, as well as the 5000-year-old Bronze Age Indus Valley Civilization.

     

    The Gandhi museum nearby served as lodgings for the great man during his visits to Mumbai, and now houses his personal items and memorabilia collected from the pre-independence era.

     

    The next stop is St. John’s Church, dedicated to the British soldiers who lost their lives in Afghanistan and Sind in the 19th century.

     

    Flora Fountain/ Hutama Chowk: This fountain situated in the heart of the city was erected in 1869 in honour of a British Governor of Bombay. Sir Bartle Frere. Flora Fountain marks a junction of five streets and known as the 'Piccadilly Circus 'of Mumbai, which is decorated at its four corners with mythological figures, the Fountain is a structure in dull stone with a figure the Roman Goddess of flowers, at the top.

     

    A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Victoria Terminus is one of India’s busiest railway stations and a unique mixture of Indian and Gothic architectural styles. The centrepiece of the station is a 160-foot high dome and the statue of a woman carrying a torch. The movie ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ made heavy usage of the Victoria Terminus.

     

    The Mumbai High Court Building was designed by Col. J. A. Fuller, a British engineer, in 1878. It is an excellent example of British gothic architecture. On the western face of this majestic structure stand the statues of Justice and Mercy.

     

    Made of the local but exotic Kurla stone, the 280-foot tall Rajabai Clock Tower is a culmination of the Venetian and Gothic styles of architecture with exquisite stained glass windows and a library in its premises now.

     

    Built in 1880, the terraced Hanging Garden on Malabar Hill sits atop the three reservoirs which supply water to all of Mumbai and offers a spectacular view of the city.

     

    The arc curving along the sea barricaded with scattered boulders here and there, covers the stretch from the Nariman point to the Malabar hills, forming the exquisitely lit up ‘Queen’s Necklace’ in the evenings.

     

    Overnight stay will be at Mumbai.

     

  • Day 17: Excursion to Elephanta Caves

    After breakfast, you will be taken on the tour.

     

    The Elephanta caves are situated on an island to the North-east of Apollo Bundar. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it gets its name from a giant elephant statue found on the site which now resides in the Jijamata Garden in Mumbai.

     

    The caves are an amazing insight into Hindu mythology. They depict several sculptures mainly of Shiva the supreme and the Indian version of the yin-yang, the 'Ardhanarishwar'.

     

    Overnight stay will be at Mumbai. 

     

  • Day 18: Mumbai – Cochin

    By Air

     

    After breakfast, the tour will begin.

     

    The ancient port city of Cochin or Kochi is an agglomeration of tiny islands connected to the mainland and the city of Ernakulam via ferries. Dotted with lakes and gently swaying palm groves, Kochi’s otherworldly beauty, coupled with the lure of spices and seafood, draw scores of travellers every year to this natural harbour.

     

    In the early evening proceed for a private harbour cruise.

     

    Overnight will be at Cochin.

     

  • Day 19: Cochin Attractions

    After a hearty breakfast, our representative will begin the tour of Cochin.

     

    Kochi’s famed Chinese fishing nets are perhaps one of the most iconic and often photographed sights of Kerala. They are thin muslin nets mounted on teak and bamboo poles which have been credited to the Portuguese or the Chinese traders from the court of Kubla Khan.

     

    The Old Cochin area is home to one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world, and the Paradesi Synagogue built in 1568 is a must-see treasure of this eclectic corner of South India. It has distinctive tiled roof and bell towers, and the synagogue’s interiors feature intricately hand-painted blue and white Chinese willow tiles of which no two are alike. Elegant Belgian chandeliers adorn its central area. An exquisite oriental rug and gold crowns received as gifts from visitors are also on display.

     

    Also of interest is the intriguing International Pepper Exchange that deals in the global trade of black pepper.  Nearby are Vasco Da Gama Square, the Santa Cruz Basilica that counts among India’s oldest churches, St. Francis Church where Vasco Da Gama was originally interred, VOC Gate and Bastion Bungalow, all of which, according to local records, go back to between the mid-fourteenth and early fifteenth century.

     

    In the evening, our representative will take you to enjoy a Kathakali dance presentation.

     

    Overnight stay will be at Cochin.

     

     

  • Day 20: Cochin - Alleppey, by road

    After breakfast drive to Alleppey.

     

    The city of Alleppey or Alappuzha is the ‘Venice of the East’ because of its verdant greenery, pristine lakes and highly exciting boat races, especially the Nehru boat race that draws in a lot of tourists every year.

     

    The stops to visit in Alappuzha include the beautiful Alappuzha Beach, the Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple, the Edathua Church and the Krishnapuram Palace.

     

    Cruise to Kumarakom.

     

    Barely 16 km from the city of Kottayam, Kumarakom is located by the Vembanad, Kerala’s largest freshwater lake, and is one of the important venues for Kerala’s famous boat races. During the harvest festival of Onam, hundreds of traditional boats, some seating as many as fifty highly vocal rowers, steak down the lake amidst much fanfare, competing for top spot.

     

    Kumarakom is one of your entry points into the famed backwaters of Kerala.

     

    Overnight stay will be in a Houseboat.

     

  • Day 21: Kumarakom – Thekkady

    By Road

     

    After breakfast, disembark from the houseboat at Kumarakom Jetty and proceed to Thekkady.

     

    This evening watch the Kalaripayattu Dance Show.

     

    Overnight will be at Thekkady.

     

  • Day 22: Thekkady Attractions

    After breakfast, the tour will be started.

     

    Not to be missed is the bamboo rafting excursion down the river. This river rafting will provide you with a gorgeous way to spot animals, especially elephants when they come to the river to cool off and drink water. You can also spot sambars, macaques, but leopards and tigers are hard to spot.

     

    A jungle walk will also be provided with experienced guides, where walking on foot will increase chances of a leopard sighting.

     

    The local spice market, reputed to be the largest in Asia is also worth a visit. Spices make for a unique and imaginative memento for back home.

     

    Overnight stay will be at Thekkady.

     

  • Day 23: Thimphu – Madurai

    By Train

     

    After a leisurely breakfast, our representative will help you get on a reserved train to Madurai. Another representative will collect you from Madurai and take you safely to a hotel.

     

    The ancient temple town of Madurai traces its history as far back as the 3rd century BC and finds mention in the writings of Greek explorer Megasthenes.

     

    The awe-inspiring Sri Meenakshi Amman temple, a mini-city in its own right, dominates the Madurai skyline. It is one of the finest examples of Dravidian architecture in India with its gorgeous gopurams and masterful etchings and carvings in all the nooks and corners of the fantastic temple. The carvings of gods, goddesses and beasts are breathtaking and terribly beautiful. These are the highlights on the tour.

     

    In the evening our representative will take you to visit the great Meenakshi Temple, dedicated to the consort of Lord Shiva where you will witness the colourful and special evening Aarati.

     

    Overnight stay will be at Madurai.

     

  • Day 24: Madurai Attractions

    After breakfast, you will be taken on a tour of the temple town of Madurai.

     

    Thousand Pillar Museum: It is located inside the temple premises and has a plethora of different collections and artefacts to see.

     

    The spacious Gandhi Memorial Museum is just what the name suggests. It is a moving account of the history of the Indian freedom struggle, focusing mainly on Mahatma Gandhi and his principles of ahimsa(non-violence) and Satyagraha and his search for truth.

     

    Located a few minutes away from Madurai, the Vishnu Temple is one of the most important and beautiful temples of South India and is unique in the layout of its three altars, arranged as they are one on top of one another. Each altar shows Lord Vishnu in a different position. The seated Vishnu on the middle altar, Koodal Alagar, is the main deity of the temple. The temple’s exterior is a breathtaking sight with carvings of all the celestial figures in Hindu mythology and the special Dravidian style of stone etchings with its minute attention to fine detail.

     

    Built by King Thirumalai Nayak in 1636, the regal Thirumalai Nayak Palace fell to ruin after the king’s demise and was restored only partially by the British. However, the present day structure still portrays the magnificent beauty of what the structure was once upon a time. Look out for the intricate stucco work on its arches and pillars and the astonishing Sorgavilasam or Celestial Pavilion, a 1300 square meter free-standing structure, unsupported by any pillar or girder. 

     

    The giant Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam reservoir is fed by a Vaigai River through an invisible maze of underground channels. During Teppam (The Float Festival), hundreds of boats crammed with devotees, crowd the reservoir in a race to reach the temple at its center.

     

    Thirupparankundram: Located south of Madurai at a distance of 11 Km is the celebrated cave to Lord Subramanian (Lord Siva’s son). He is said to have married Devayana, daughter of Indra, in this place and performed several of his miracles. The 8th Century Pandyas Rock cut Cave is also here to be visited where you will get storytelling by local guides.

     

    Overnight stay will be at Madurai.

     

  • Day 25: Madurai - Tanjore

    By Road, en-route visit Trichy

     

    Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

     

    Situated on the banks of river Kaveri, Tiruchirapalli or Trichy is one of the largest cities in the state of Tamil Nadu. In the course of its long and checkered history, Trichy has changed hands many a time, starting off as the capital of the Chola Kings, falling later to the Pallavas and eventually to the Nayaks of Madurai, the Marathas, the Sultanate and finally the British. Each successive ruling dynasty left their indelible mark on the city and contributed towards its growth as the flourishing, eclectic urban center that it is today.

     

    Rock Fort temple or Malaikottai is a temple carved out of an 80m high rock, the rock itself being of prehistoric vintage and older than the Himalayas.

     

    The riverine island of Srirangam with its seven-walled Vishnu Temple is also worth a visit.

     

    Tanjore or Thanjavur was the capital of the Chola empire from the 10th century to the 14th century A.D. and was for long periods the political and cultural nerve center of the region. The Great Living Chola Temples that form a UNESCO World Heritage Site are located around Thanjavur, also home to the distinctive Tanjore style of Painting.

     

    Overnight will be at Tanjore.

     

  • Day 26: Tanjore Attractions

    Tanjore - Pondicherry, by road

     

    Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

     

    The magnificent Brihadisvara Temple is an architectural marvel and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Vimana atop the temple is a 60.95m high 13-storey pyramidal tower, in turn, crowned by a 70 tonne stone domed monolith. The inner walls are adorned with murals of Shiva in the 108 mudras, or poses, of Bharatanatyam, the classical Indian dance form.

     

    Saraswathi Mahal Library, established in the early 18th century houses a wealth of manuscripts dating back to the Nayak Kings of Tanjore and its subsequent Maratha rulers. Also of interest are rare European manuscripts like Lavoisier’s Traité Élémentaire de Chimie or Elements of Chemistry and Charles Le Brun’s pictorial charts depicting the evolution of man.

     

    A French colony until 1950, Pondicherry (now Puducherry) is markedly different from the rest of Tamil Nadu state in architecture and town planning. Modelled after towns in the French Mediterranean, Ville Blanche or White Town is dotted with colonial villas, while more Indian style buildings populate Ville Noire or Black Town. Today, unlike in the past, both halves of Pondicherry is open to all residents of the city. Use of French is still common in Pondicherry.

     

    Overnight will be at Pondicherry.

     

  • Day 27: Pondicherry Attractions

    Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

     

    Founded by nationalist turned mystic Sri Aurobindo, Aurobindo Ashram is a commune housing followers from the world over. The ashram aims to disseminate the philosophy of Aurobindo’s “integral yoga”, a synthesis of ancient mystical thought and modern science.

     

    Designed by architect Roger Anger, Auroville is a unique urban experiment in communal living where men and women of various races and nationality attempt to live together in peace and harmony. In the words of its founder Mirra Alfassa or The Mother, “The purpose of Auroville is to realize human unity."

     

    Aurobindo Ashram generates a substantial income through services and goods produced by the Ashram’s inhabitants. Aurobindo Hand made Paper factory is one of its leading commercial ventures and its hand made paper is exported worldwide.

     

    Located in the former French Administration building, the Pondicherry Museum has an enviable collection of rare bronze and stone artefacts from the Chola and Pallava eras, as well as objects excavated from Arikamedu some of which are Roman in origin, indicating extensive trading links between the Rome and the ancient cultures of South India.

     

    The 300 years old Manakula Vinayagar Temple is famed for its golden spire and forty beautiful likenesses of Lord Ganesh.

     

    On Subbiah Salai, the white and brown neo-gothic Sacred Heart church is one of Pondicherry’s finest Catholic churches. Beautifully stained glass panels depict incidents from Jesus Christ’s life. ‘

     

    Overnight will be at Pondicherry.

     

  • Day 28: Pondicherry - Mammallapuram

    By Road

     

    On Subbayah Salai, the white and brown neo-gothic Sacred Heart church is one of Pondicherry’s finest Catholic churches. Beautifully stained glass panels depict incidents from Jesus Christ’s life.

     

    Overnight will be at Mamallapuram.

     

     

  • Day 29: Mamallapuram Attractions

    After breakfast, proceed for sightseeing of Mamallapuram.

     

    The Mahabalipuram Caves are temples cut out of solid rock. The interior walls are adorned with sculpted scenes from mythological battles, Gods, demons and beasts both real and mythical. Don’t miss the Mahishamardini Cave depicting the Goddess Durga’s battle with Mahisasur, a Minotaur-like buffalo demon.

     

    Krishna Mandapam is the largest rock-cut temple of the area with exquisite bas relief work depicting the life of Krishna, as well as scenes from the daily lives of ordinary people.

     

    The magnificent giant bas relief work of Arjuna’s Penance depicts a scene from the Hindu epic Mahabharata where the hero, Arjuna, performs penance on a river bank in order to win the devastating Pasupata weapon from Shiva. A cleft in the rock has been cleverly used to depict the river. It’s possible to spend hours examining the extremely detailed figures of gods, men, birds and animals that populate the sculpture. 

     

    A group of five intricately carved monolithic temples, the Pancha Rathas or five chariots are named after their resemblance to ceremonial temple chariots (rathas). According to the Archeological Survey of India, the naming of this group of temples after the Pandavas, the five heroes of the Mahabharata, is a more recent phenomenon. The structures are probably Buddhist in origin. In spite of their huge size, each ratha is carved from a single rock.

     

    One of the oldest temples in Mahabalipuram, the spectacular, brooding Shore Temple on the edge of the sea houses shrines to both Shiva and Vishnu and is one of the earliest examples of the pure Dravidian style of architecture.

     

    Overnight will be at Mamallapuram.

     

     
  • Day 30: Mahabalipuram - Chennai

    By Road

     

    After a hearty breakfast, you will be accompanied on a tour of the city of Chennai.

     

    The Neo-Gothic San Thome Basilica is one of the most important churches of religious as well as historical significance with it being one of the only three basilicas in the world having the relics of an apostle of Christ. It also houses the tomb of St. Thomas.

     

    Fort St. George was built in 1644 as a response to the growing trade and commerce that was soon going to change little hamlet into the hub of economy and commerce that is present-day metropolitan Chennai. The fort is now the chamber of the state legislative assembly. It is one of the most important monument for tourists with its ten galleries housing several artefacts.

     

    Ripon Building: A great example of neo-classical architecture with ionic and Corinthian styles and named after Lord Ripon, the man who taught self governance to India. The Chennai Corporation and its council are functioning in this building.

     

    The lively Kapaleeswarar Temple with its proud 120 feet tall exquisitely engraved Gopuram is one of the finest examples of Dravidian architecture. Inscriptions from the 13th century and highly ornate stucco work adorn its walls. It’s also the site for the spectacular annual Arupathimoovar festival, during which a huge wooden chariot carrying the main deity is pulled through the streets of Chennai by hundreds and thousands of frenzied devotees, followed by a procession of gods involving sixty three idols on palanquins. Students of cinema may recall this festival from French master Louis Malle’s Cinema Verite´. 

     

    Central Railway station: A red structure, built exclusively by the British to acknowledge the gateway to Chennai, this building is a rich architectural heritage point of the city of Chennai and a must watch with platform tickets as mementos.

     

    Overnight stay will be at Chennai.

     

  • Day 31: Chennai Departure

    You will be left to your own devices till our representative picks you up and drop you off at the airport for your flight back home

    TOUR ENDS