Day 1: Arrive Delhi
On arrival at Delhi airport assistance & transfer to hotel (hotel check in/ out time 12pm).
Later city tour of Delhi. In Old Delhi visit the majestic Red Fort (closed on Monday) the residence of the Mughal emperor for nearly 200 years until 1857. Jama Masjid one of the largest mosques in the world built by Shah Jahan. Cycle Rickshaw ride in Chandni chowk & Khari Baoli Spice Market a busy shopping area with markets full of spices, dried fruit, silver jewelry and vivid saris, while the narrow side streets are crowded with tiny shops selling essential oils, stationery and traditional Indian sweets. Raj Gath the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi where he was cremated after his assassination.
In New Delhi visit Humayun Tomb the first garden-tomb in Indian subcontinent and an early example of Mughal architecture commissioned by Humayun`s first wife Empress Bega Begum in 1569-70. Qutab Minar a 73-metres tall minaret that forms part of the Qutb complex a fine examples of Afghan architecture. Lotus Temple a Bahai House of Worship notable for its flower-like shape. Also drive pass President House, Parliament & India Gate etc. Overnight at hotel. Overnight at hotel.
Day 2: Delhi - Indore
Breakfast at hotel. Transfer to airport to board flight for Indore.
On arrival meet your driver and proceed to visit Omkareshwar one of the 12 Jyotirlinga temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, nestled in the Omkar mountain, an island in the middle of River Narmada. The five storeys temple has a large sabha mandap (prayer hall) standing on 60 brown huge stone pillars. Taking a dip in the Narmada river before going inside the temple is considered auspicious. Drive back to Indore check in & overnight at hotel.
Day 3: Indore - Bhopal (250kms)
Breakfast at hotel. Drive to Bhopal via visiting Mahakaleshwar Temple one of the 12 jyotirlingas in Ujjain, dedicated to Lord Shiva. Built in Bhumija, Chalukya and Maratha styles of architecture, the temple is an architectural marvel. Three floors of the building are occupied by lingams of Mahakalesvara, Omkaresvara and Nagachandresvara, respectively. There is also a kunda (tank) in the premises called Koti Tirtha that has been built in the sarvatobhadra style. On the path from the stairs of the kunda to the temple you will come across several images of the original structure of the temple, reflecting its grandeur during the period of the Paramaras (9th and 14th centuries).
Arrive Bhopal check in at hotel. Later visit two historic mosques the Jama Masjid a classic Islamic architecture with two tall minarets & Moti Masjid an architectural marvel. Only Muslim can enter Taj-Ul-Masjid a stunning and elegant architecture with enormous domes, a spectacular hallway and elegant minarets. Also visit arts center in Bharat Bhawan a centre of performing arts, a unique institution with an unparalleled and impactful architecture. Overnight at hotel.
Day 4: Bhopal
Breakfast at hotel. Early morning visit Bhoj Wetland a Ramsar site consists of two lakes Upper and & Lower Lake a man-made reservoir and home to diverse flora & fauna. 179 species of birds, 43 species of fishes, over a dozen species of reptiles and amphibians (including five species of tortoise), 206 species of phytoplankton and 98 species of insects, all of which add up to a vibrant and thriving ecosystem. over a hundred sarus cranes (India’s largest avian species) have been observed congregating here. Other species sighted at this birders paradise are Eurasian wrynecks, roufous-tailed finch larks, white-throated kingfishers, white-bellied drongoes, black-headed orioles, western reef herons, grey-headed canary-flycatchers, Egyptian vultures and bay-backed shrikes.
Later excursion to visit Bhimbetka rock shelters an archaeological site dating back to the Paleolithic age inhabited by the homo erectus more than 100,000 years ago. Bhimbetka is a world heritage site and houses one of the oldest cave paintings in the world, a must-visit site for all history enthusiasts. Next visit Bhojpur an incomplete 11th CE Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The construction was abandoned for unknown reasons, with the architectural plans engraved on the surrounding rocks. It houses a 7.5 feet high lingam in its sanctum, considered to be one of the finest examples of temple architecture in the region. Overnight at hotel.
Day 5: Bhopal - Khajuraho (376kms)
Breakfast at hotel. Drive to Bhopal enroute visit UNESCO World Heritage Budhist Monuments at Sanchi a serene hill crowned by a group of stupas, monasteries, temples and pillars dating from 3rd BCE to 12th CE. Sanchi Stupa, a UNESCO world heritage site is home to the relics of Buddha and his followers. Built by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BCE, it is a remarkable specimen of Buddhist art and architecture. Sanchi’s uniqueness lies in the fact that Buddha isn’t represented by figures but through symbols. Next visit Udayagiri Caves, early Hindu ritual site, extensively carved and reworked under the command of Chandragupta II, Emperor of the Gupta Empire, in the late 4th & 5th CE. Udayagiri has a series of rock-shelters and petroglyphs, ruined buildings, inscriptions, water systems, fortifications and habitation mounds, all of which have been only partially excavated. Arrive Bhopal check in & overnight at hotel.
Day 6: Khajuraho - Prayagraj (300kms)
Breakfast at hotel. Visit well maintained UNESCO World Heritage Site, exploring eastern, western & southern group of temples adorned by erotic and sensuous carvings. The architecture of these temples depict the erotic forms of love, the carvings on the walls display passion in the most sensuous yet aesthetic ways. Built between 950 to 1050 AD by Chandela dynasty the temples of Khajuraho are India`s unique gift to the world, representing, as they do, a paean to life, to love, to joy, perfect in execution and sublime in expression. Of the 85 original temples, 22 have survived till today to constitute one of the world`s great artistic wonders. Drive to Prayagraj check in & overnight at hotel.
Day 7: Prayagraj - Varanasi (120kms)
Breakfast at hotel. Visit Sangam, the confluence of Ganges, Yamuna and a mythical river named Saraswati. The place is considered to be one of the most sacred in Hindu religion and is the site for Ardh-Kumbh and Kumbh Mela that takes every 6 and 12 years respectively. Allahabad Fort, situated on the northern banks of Yamuna near the confluence, Emperor Akbar himself commissioned this magnificently designed fort in the year 1583. At a time this fort was considered among the best garrisons in the entire Mughal Empire. The fort has massive walls and three gateways that are flanked by high towers. Anand Bhawan, the ancestral home of Jawaharlal Nehru, the freedom fighter and the first Prime-Minister of India. The place has been turned into a fine museum that displays the memorabilia of the Nehru family.
Drive to Varanasi check in at hotel. Evening attend Holy Ganga Aarti, a magical ritual held every evening at sunset on the banks of the Holy Ganges. The entire Ghat gets illuminated with a divine light that can be felt strongly. The magnificent ritual involves huge brass lamps lit with oil and the priests chant the holy mantras that reverberate in the entire location. The entire Ghat gets illuminated with a divine light that can be felt strongly. The magnificent ritual involves huge brass lamps lit with oil and the priests chant the holy mantras that reverberate in the entire location Overnight at hotel.
Day 8: Varanasi
Early morning boat ride & ghat visit along the Ganges and catch the scene of devotees bathing and praying in the sacred water. Ghats in Varanasi are riverfront steps leading to the banks of the River Ganges. The city has 88 ghats, most of the ghats are bathing and puja ceremony ghats, while two ghats are used exclusively as cremation sites. The ghats are frequented by the people which include early morning bathers, priests, people practicing meditation and yoga, students and tourists as well.
Breakfast at hotel. City tour of Varanasi. Visit Banaras Hindu University, with 5.3 sq kms campus and 30,000 residing students it is the largest residential university in the continent. Bharat Mata Temple built in 1936 houses a relief map of undivided India carved out of marble. Tulsi Manas Mandir one of the most famous temples in Varanasi. The temple has beautiful images of Lord Rama, Mother Sita, Lakshman and Lord Hanuman. The walls of temple are adorned with verses from Ramcharitmanas, the Hindi version of the epic Ramayana. Sarnath it was here Lord Buddha preached his first sermon after attaining the Enlightenment at Bodh Gaya. Overnight at hotel.
Day 9: Varanasi - Bodhgaya (250kms)
Breakfast at hotel. Drive to Bodhgaya check in at hotel.
Later visit Mahabodhi Temple an UNESCO World Heritage Site. This 54mts tall temple has been renovated over the years. It enshrines a large golden Buddha, and is encompassed by an ancient railing, dating back to 100 BC. Bodhi Tree where Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment, and the Vajrasana where Buddha sat. Also visit Great Buddha Statue, Tibetan Monastery housing the Maitreya Buddha (future Buddha), Burmese Temple, Chinese Temple and Monastery, Buddhist Monastery of Bhutan, Thai Temple and Monastery, and many more.
Next excursion to visit Gaya is a holy city beside the Falgu River. It`s known for 18th-century Vishnupad Mandir, a riverside temple with an octagonal shrine. Close by, ancient Mangla Gauri Temple is set on a hilltop. To the north, Hindu devotees bath in a Brahma Kund pond before honoring their deceased ancestors atop Pretshila Hill. Overnight at hotel.
Day 10: Bodhgaya - Deoghar (235kms)
Breakfast at hotel. Drive to Deoghar check in at hotel.
Later visit Baidyanath Jyotirlinga temple, most sacred abode of Lord Shiva. Large and magnificent temple complex comprises of the main temple of Baba Baidyanath, where the Jyotirlinga is installed, along with twenty-one other significant and beautiful temples. Next visit Baidyanath Jayadurga Shakti Peeth (devotional shrines) a Hindu pilgrimage. The mythology behind this Shakti Peeth is that the heart of Mata Sati has fallen here, and for this reason, it is also known as HridayPeeth. It is the first Shaktipeeth where Mahadev is also there in the form of Jyotirlinga. Naulakha Temple, a 146 ft high, temple edicated to Radha-Krishna. Overnight at hotel.
Day 11: Deoghar - Patna (265kms)/ Delhi (flight)
Breakfast at hotel. Drive to Patna via visiting Rajgir, a spiritual town with natural serenity amongst the dense forests, mysterious caves and springs. Rajgir houses many religious shrine dedicated to Buddhism & Jainism. Both lord Buddha and Lord Mahavir have said to spent time here giving it huge spiritual and religious importance. One can visit various ruins, temples and sites here and also spend some time indulging in its refreshing calmness. Among notable places in the area are the tranquil Vulture`s Peak (Gijjhakuta), where the Buddha meditated, and the Sattapanni Cave, where the First Council was organized after the Buddha`s passing.
Next drive to visit Nalanda, established in the 5th century CE was an ancient Mahavihara, a revered Buddhist monastery which also served as a renowned center of learning, in the ancient kingdom of Magadha. The ancient university of Nalanda obtained significant fame, prestige and relevance during ancient times, and rose to legendary status due to its contribution to the emergence of India as a great power around the fourth century. At its peak the school attracted scholars and students from near and far, with some traveling from Tibet, China, Korea, and Central Asia. Arrive Patna check in and overnight at hotel.
Day 12: Delhi - Departure
Breakfast at hotel. As per flight schedule Departure transfer to airport to board flight for onward destination.
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