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The frenzy and adrenaline rush of the city of Mumbai to the aweing rock sculptures at the Ajanta and Ellora caves, come and explore the ancient with the modern, the bustling with the serene.
Our representative will meet you at the Mumbai airport and assist you to check into the hotel.
Mumbai is often also called the city of dreams and the city that never sleeps. This bustling metropolis is brimming with life and energy and its round the clock frenzy of activity makes it one of the most happening cities in the world. From being the commercial hub of the country, to being recognized as the land of divas and superstars of Bollywood, Mumbai is also known for its daily mundane precisions, such as the mindboggling network of local trains and commutes, the slums and housing colonies, the dabbawalas as well as the grooving nightlife. Formed from an archipelago of islands in the Arabian Sea, Mumbai is named after the Goddess of the indigenous fishermen, Mumba Devi.
Overnight stay will be in Mumbai.
After breakfast, proceed for sightseeing.
The sightseeing tour of Mumbai will include the following city landmarks.
The region north of Kolaba is a popular area and is often also referred to as the Fort. A fort that no longer exists was built here by the East India Company after the Maratha Wars, however, the typical architecture of the time still remains to be seen in the colonial buildings of the area. Some noteworthy ancient buildings that should be acknowledged for their colonial architecture include the St. John’s Church built in the 19th century in the memory of the British soldiers who fought in Afghanistan and Sind.
The Marine Drive is probably the most iconic landmark of the city, the arching promenade that begins from Nariman Point to Malabar Hill. Facing the mighty Arabian Sea, the drive is lit up at night to create the famous ‘Queen’s Necklace’. In fact, for those who have been fortunate enough to take a peep outside their aeroplanes when nose-diving towards Mumbai may have seen the shimmering pearls of lights of the magnificently ornate Marine Drive.
The Gateway of India, built in 1911 as a symbol of welcome for King George V and Queen Mary stands in grandeur till date, facing the Arabian Sea and acting as a prominent city landmark and tourist site. The Gateway is abuzz with vendors, hawkers, locals and tourists soaking in the sea breeze and the motorboat or launch rides are excellent ways to take a cruise along the waters and watch the stark monument stand in control at the helm of the shore. The Apollo Bunder area lies towards the east and is popular for its vendors, walkers, tourists and fortune-tellers.
Flora Fountain, a magnificently carved structure stands quite literally at crossroads. The road intersection where it is erected is today called Hutatma Chowk or Martyr’s Memorial, named after the martyred that fought for the creation of the state of Maharashtra. Carved from the stone shipped from England, the Flora Fountain has the statue of the Roman Goddess of abundance and fertility at its center, with carvings and adorable embellishments of sea creatures and mythical beings.
The Hanging Gardens built in 1880 is a green spot within the city and due to its advantageous location atop a hill, offers some great aerial views of the city spread below.
Enjoy a comfortable restful night after an eventful day of sightseeing.
After breakfast, proceed to the airport for your flight to Aurangabad.
The city of Aurangabad was founded in 1610 by Malik Amber and was called Fatehpur. It was later renamed when it was ruled by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb and is also often called the ‘City of Gates’ due to its fortified layout to protect its inhabitants against the Maratha invaders.
The Bibi ka Maqbara is the most well-known landmark of the city and is also often referred to as the ‘Taj of the Deccan’ due to its similarity to the Taj in architecture, structure and layout. The intention was to build a monument that would rival the Taj, however, due to cost restraints the Bibi ka Maqbara could come close to becoming in many ways, a copy of the Taj. Bibi ka Maqbara was built by Azam Shah, son of Aurangzeb in the memory of his mother Rabia-ud-Daurani.
Aurangabad’s main claim to fame is, however, its proximity to the historical Ajanta and Ellora Caves.
Spend a peaceful night at Aurangabad and be ready for a couple of days of excitement at the Ajanta and Ellora Caves.
After breakfast, proceed to the Ajanta Caves.
Built in two phases, the Ajanta Caves are a splendid ancient Buddhist art form that has left many historians and travellers dazzled. First built around the 2 century BC the second phase of cave paintings and sculptures began during the 5th and 6th century AD. The 29 rock-cut caves that stand above the Waghora River gorge are known for their impressive paintings, especially of emotions and postures and rock-cut sculptures of the different forms of Buddha. The insides of the caves have prayer halls, monasteries and mural wall paintings that depict the Buddhist traditions, life and rebirth of Buddha and tales from the Jatakamala.
Next, pay a visit to the Daulatabad Fort.
The Daulatabad Fort is about 16km from Aurangabad and stands on a conical hill. Its main attraction is its heavy fortification and strength. With only a single real entrance, spiked gates, curved walls, false gates and a narrow bridge to access the summit, the Daulatabad Fort is an extremely well planned strategic piece of invincible architecture.
Return to Aurangabad for the night stay.
After breakfast, we proceed towards the Ellora Caves.
Also, a UNESCO World Heritage Site the Ellora Caves are a stunning assortment of rock-cut temples and monasteries of Buddhist, Jain and Hindu origin. These caves excavated from the Charanandri Hills, include 12 Buddhist caves, 17 Hindu caves and 5 Jain caves each representing deities and traditions of their individual faiths respectively. Built between 550-1000 AD all the caves are special, however, the Kailasa Temple in Cave 16 needs to be mentioned because it is said to have been carved out entirely out of a single piece of rock. This by itself bears testimony to the skill and craftsmanship of those who toiled to create the Ajanta and Ellora Caves.
Next, we visit; the Aurangabad Caves which are 12 Buddhist rock caves that are set on a steep slope about 20m above the lower plains. The caves are divided roughly into the western, eastern and easternmost caves. The caves consist of viharas or monastery, chaitya or the shrine, depiction of the figure of Buddha and sculptures of other Buddhist gods and goddesses. Dating back to 2nd century AD, cave 7 is the most beautiful and elaborate of all caves cut into a central hall, an outdoor corridor and row of pillars and also represents the Bodhisatva Padmapani, the posture of deliverance.
Return to Aurangabad after an eventful day and spend the night resting well.
After breakfast, proceed to the airport for your flight to Mumbai. In Mumbai enjoy some more shopping and exploring the city, before it is time to board your flight for your onward destination.
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