DAY 1: ARRIVE KOLKATA BY: FLIGHT
Arrive Kolkata by flight. Welcome to India- a country where hospitality is a way of life; to a culture steeped in tradition, a land where history lives in music and dance. You will be received at the airport in a traditional manner with garlands and proceed to your hotel.
Kolkata was the capital of India during British emperor. The city's documented history, however, begins with the arrival of the English East India Company in 1690, when the Company was consolidating its trade business in Bengal. Job Charnock, an administrator with the company was traditionally credited as the founder of the city. In 2003 high court order states that the city should not have a specific founder. While the city's name was always pronounced "Kolkata" in the local Bengali language, its official English name was changed from "Calcutta" to "Kolkata" in 2001, reflecting the Bengali pronunciation.
Overnight in Kolkata
DAY 2: KOLKATA - BAGDOGRA BY: FLIGHT
BAGDOGRA – DARJEELING BY: SUFACE
Morning in time transfer to Kolkata airport to board flight for Bagdogra
Arrive Bagdogra at 1145 hrs and then transfer to Darjeeling (Approx. 80km/3 hours) drive.
Standing high in the Himalayas at an altitude of 2134m, ‘Dorje Ling’, or place of the Thunderbolt, offers breathtaking views of snow-capped mountain peaks, with the Kanchendzonga rising higher than all the others. Often referred to as the “Queen of the Hills”, it remains just as alluring with its tiny waterfalls, little villages and a narrow gauge railway track. Surrounded by World Famous Tea Gardens and snowcapped mountains, Darjeeling remains one of the most exotic destinations. Graeme Westlake in his book ‘ An introduction to hill stations on India’ refers to Darjeeling as having “A view Scarcely Unrivalled on Earth”.
Overnight in Darjeeling
DAY 3: DARJEELING
Early morning visit Tiger Hill and Ghoom Monastery.
Tiger Hill :- It is 13 kms from Darjeeling and one can see beautiful sunrise and Himalayan Range like Kanchandzonga , Mount Everest etc. One can see the horizon changing colors just before sunrise and then the entire Himalayan range turn golden. It is truly a majestic sight.
Ghoom Monastery:- This is oldest Monastery in the area which was built in 1875 and one can see the image of Mythey Buddha 15ft. height on the way back from Tiger Hill
Breakfast at the hotel and go for Enjoy toy train ride.
The spectacular landscape unfolds as the 2-foot gauge Darjeeling Himalayan railway, opened in 1881, labours at about 10 mph criss-crossing the road. It has tiny 4-wheel locomotives (some over 100 years old) like living legends. One can experience the sound, smell and romance of a bygone era. DHR is a work of genius and technological achievement of 1881. It has social and cultural importance. It is beautiful and has outstanding universal appeal. Based on its unique features, it is considered to be of lasting significance to mankind.
Afternoon proceed for city tour.
Himalayan Mountaineering Institute/Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park :- The Himalayan Mountaineering Institute was started in Darjeeling when Tenzing Norgay climbed Everest to give training to learn Mountaineering and other adventure sports related to mountaineering and in that Institute one can see equipment etc.used by Mr. Tenzing Norgay and Everest Museum having complete details on Everest attached to institute one can visit Himalayan Zoological Park where one can see Himalayan animals like Snow Leopard, Tibetan Wolf, Tibetan Yak, Himalayan Black Bear and several varieties of birds.
Tibetan Self- Helf Centre Or Refugee Centre:- This institute is run by Tibetan Refugees to preserve their handicrafts and one can see making of Tibetan Carpets, Leather work, Paintings and Wooden work etc.
Overnight in Darjeeling.
DAY 4: DARJEELING - BAGDOGRA BY: SURFACE
BAGDOGRA – KOLKATA BY: FLIGHT
Morning in time transfer to Bagdogra airport (Approx. 80km/3 hours) to board flight for Kolkata
Arrive Kolkata at 1330 hrs and then transfer to hotel.
Afternoon visit Victoria Memorial, St. Paul Cathedral Church Indian Museum and Dalhousie Square including St. John Church.
Victoria Memorial - The Victoria Memorial (closed on Monday) is one of the popular tourist attractions in Kolkata. It is a majestic structure which is made with white marble. The structure was constructed during the British Empire in the memory of Queen Victoria. Hundreds of tourists who visit Kolkata come to the Victoria Memorial.
The Victoria Memorial, Kolkata was designed by renowned architect Sir William Emerson. The style of the building is similar to the Belfast City Hall. The structure is constructed with a blend of Mughal and European architectural styles. There is also a museum in the Victoria Memorial which consists of various specimens of ancient Kolkata and also of various artifacts of British India.
St. Paul Cathedral Church - Built between 1839 and 1847, St Paul's Cathedral is one of India's most important churches. It's east of the Victoria Memorial at the South end of the Maidan. The steeple fell during an earthquake in 1897 and was redesigned and rebuilt. Inside there's some interesting memorials and stained glass, including the west window by Sir Edward Burne-Jones
Indian Museum (closed on Monday) – Founded in 1814 at the cradle of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Indian Museum is the earliest and the largest multipurpose Museum not only in the Indian subcontinent but also in the Asia-Pacific region of the world.
The St. John’s Church is the third oldest church of Kolkata. It lists among the important heritage sites of Kolkata. The St. John’s Church was built in 1787 by architect James Agg. The land for the church was donated by Raja Nabo Kishen Bahadur of the famed Shovabazar Raj Family of North Kolkata.
Overnight in Kolkata
DAY 5: KOLKATA
After breakfast proceed for full day tour visiting Dakshineshwar Kali temple and Belur Math.
Dakshineswar Temple - In the early 1800s, Dakshineswar was a small village along the eastern banks of the River Ganga. The famous Dakshineswar temple which houses the Goddess Kali was founded by Rani Rashmoni following a dream she saw when she was about to start on her pilgrimage to Benaras. A long term plan of the Rani materialized which she had longed to perform when her husband died with unfulfilled wish of constructing a Kali temple.
Belur Math - A beautiful fusion of Hindu, Islamic, and Christian architecture, Belur Math is located on the west bank of the Hooghly River, a distributary of the Ganges. Serving as the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission, the ornate complex was founded by Swami Vivekananda in loving memory of his teacher Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa, who preached for unity of all religions.
Attracting tourists from across the world, the Mission is based on the principle of religious fraternity, as was advocated by Ramakrishna Paramhansa, and this is reflected in the architectural design, which exhibits a blend of temple, church, and mosque patterns.
On your back to city visit Tagore House and College Street Book Market and Indian Coffee House.
Overnight in Kolkata
DAY 6: KOLKATA – VARANASI BY: FLIGHT
Morning in time transfer to Kolkata airport to board flight for Varanasi
Arrive Varanasi at 0950 hrs and then transfer to hotel.
Afternoon proceed to Sarnath.
SARNATH After attaining enlightenment at Bodh Gaya Buddha went to Sarnath; and it was here that he preached his first discourse in the deer park to set in motion the 'Wheel of the Dharma'. It is one of the most holy sites as in this place the stream of the Buddha's teaching first flowed. At this place, Buddha encountered the five men who had been his companions of earlier austerities. On meeting the enlightened Buddha, all they saw was an ordinary man; they mocked his well-nourished appearance. "Here comes the mendicant Gautama," they said, "who has turned away from asceticism. He is certainly not worth our respect." When they reminded him of his former vows, the Buddha replied, "Austerities only confuse the mind.
Evening we will head towards the Dasaswamedh Ghat (One of the banks of Ganges River.close to Kashi Vishwanath Temple) to witness Ganga Aarti (Evening Prayer). Take a stroll through the Local Market which is very colorful during the evening with lights
Overnight in Varanasi
DAY 7: VARANASI – KHAJURAHO BY: FLIGHT
Early morning enjoy an inspiring and beautiful Sunrise boat ride along the river’s edge to view the temples and the ancient rituals of the thousands of pilgrims who worship here daily. Bear a testimony to the ancient living heritage of thousands of years. Take a long boat ride along the bathing Ghats and later disembark to walk through the ancient narrow lane of Varanasi witnessing the pilgrims going for worship to the temple after they have taken a cleanse from the Holy Dip in the River Ganga, which you will be able to see from outside only,
After the boat ride come back to hotel for breakfast.
Post breakfast proceed for city tour of Varanasi. Starts from the visit of Durga temple called as the Sankat Mochan temple and the Bharat Mata temple.
Later transfer to airport to board flight for Khajuraho
Arrive Khajuraho at 1335 hrs and then transfer to hotel.
Later proceed for sightseeing of Khajuraho
Temples of Khajuraho (In the temple architecture of India, the Khajuraho complex remains unique. One thousand years ago, under the generous and artistic patronage of the Chandela Rajput kings of Central India, 85 temples, magnificent in form and richly carved, came up on one site, near the village of Khajuraho. The amazingly short span of 100 years, from 950 AD - 1050 AD, saw the completion of all the temples, in an inspired burst of creativity. Today, of the original 85, only 22 have survived the ravages of time; these remain as a collective paean to life, to joy and to creativity; to the ultimate fusion of man with his creator).
Overnight in Khajuraho
DAY 8: KHAJURAHO – ORCHHA BY: SURFACE
Morning drive to Orchha (Approx. 180 Kms/ 4 hrs drive) and then check in at hotel.
Afternoon proceed for sightseeing.
Orchha is a small town placed on the banks of River Betwa and accurately translates to "hidden place "and is a well known traveler Destination. Orchha is residence to Bundella style of structural design and the palaces of Orchha bear observer to the magnificent work of medieval architects. The famous amongst this are Raj Mahal and Jahangir Mahal. The Rajmandir - built on a square base has plain external with projecting windows. The Jahangir Mahal, built to welcome the Mughal emperor Jahangir is the magnificent example of Hindu structural design. The other attractions include the Raj Mahal, The Sheesh Mahal, the chaturbhuj temple. Along with these there are numerous Chhatris of royals or cenotaphs dotting the banks of the river Betwa.
Overnight in Orchha
DAY 9: ORCHHA – JHANSI BY: SURFACE
JHANSI – BHOPAL BY: TRAIN
Morning in time transfer to Jhansi railway station to board train to Bhopal
Depart Jhansi at 1051 hrs by Shatabdi Express
Arrive Bhopal at 1400 hrs and transfer to hotel.
Afternoon proceed for sightseeing of Bhopal
Taj-ul-Masajid - The name 'Taj-ul-Masjid' means 'The Crown of Mosques'. And it surely lives up to the name, as this is one of the biggest mosques in Asia and the largest in India. Built by Nawab Shahjehan Begum, Taj-ul-Masjid has an attractive and imposing structure. This pink mosque is built around a large courtyard with a huge tank in the center. The main attractions of the mosque are the 18 floor high octagonal minars that tower over the nearby structures and the marble domes that as radiant as gold in sun.
Gohar Mahal - It owns the pride of being built by the first ever woman ruler in Bhopal. Gohar Begum, the first woman ruler built it in the year 1820. Located on Upper Lake banks, the palace displays a combination of Mughal and Hindu architecture.
Moti Masjid - Moti Masjid, a lovely shrine in Bhopal is a significant landmark in the history of muslim women in India. This marvelous shrine was constructed by the progressive muslim ruler Sikander Begum in the year 1860. The architectural design of the Moti Masjid has a close similitude to the famous Jama Masjid in Delhi.
Sadar Manzil - A graceful building of the princely era, Sadar Manzil is located at the Chowk area of Madhya Pradesh. The former rulers of Bhopal were using this graceful building as a hall of public audience. This brick-red edifice has a flamboyant appearance, and the precincts that surround the palace make it picturesquely beautiful.
Raj Mahal - The building was originally named Raj Mahal ("royal palace"). The British Resident at Bhopal, who was highly impressed with the architecture once remarked that the palace should be known as Taj Mahal: the Taj Mahal at Agra had been built by the Begum's namesake Shah Jahan. Thereafter, the palace was renamed to Raj Mahal. The architecture of Taj Mahal has British, French, Mughal, Arabic and Hindu influences. The palace has 120 rooms, including Sheesh Mahal (palace of mirrors) and the Sawan Bhado pavilion (a 50x50 feet gallery in the courtyard). The main entrance is a seven-storied structure.
Overnight in Bhopal
DAY 10: BHOPAL – BHUSAVAL BY: TRAIN
Morning proceed for excursion to Sanchi Stupa and Bhimbetka caves.
Sanchi is famous for outstanding specimen of Buddhist art and architecture, belonging to the period between the third century BC and the twelfth century AD. The most important of all the Sanchi monuments is the Sanchi Stupa.
It is around 50 ksm away from Bhopal in the north east direction.
Later visit Bhimbetka caves which is around 46 kms from Bhopal in the south east direction.
Bhimbetka Caves are among the most fabled destinations in the country. The caves happened to be the dwellings of pre-historic man during the Paleolithic era. The paintings in the caves exhibit the development of the human race with time. This site bears immense historic significance owing to the rarest specimens of pre-historic paintings ever discovered in India. The unique specialty lies in the fact that most of these paintings are still in a condition good enough to be studied.
Late evening in time transfer to Bhopal railway station to board overnight train to Bhusaval
Depart Bhopal by Jhelum express at 2200 hrs
Overnight on train
DAY 11: BHUSAVAL – AURANGABAD BY: SURFACE
Arrive Bhusaval railway station at 0505 hrs and then drive to Ajanta Caves for sightseeing.
Ajanta (closed on Monday) is famous for its Buddhist rock-cut cave temples and monasteries with their extraordinary wall paintings. The temples are hollowed out of granite cliffs on the inner side of a 20-meter ravine in the Wagurna River valley, 105 km northeast of Aurangabad, at a site of great scenic beauty. About 30 caves were excavated between the 1st century BCE and the 7th century CE and are of two types, caityas ("sanctuaries") and viharas ("monasteries"). Although the sculpture, particularly the rich ornamentation of the caitya pillars, is noteworthy, it is the fresco-type paintings that are the chief interest of Ajanta. These paintings depict colourful Buddhist legends and divinities with an exuberance and vitality that is unsurpassed in Indian art.
Overnight in Aurangabad
DAY 12: AURANGABAD – MUMBAI BY: FLIGHT
After Breakfast proceed for sightseei ng of Ellora Caves (closed on Tuesday) – The World Heritage site, one of the finest examples of rockcut caves , there are 34 caves, Cave 16 is the most famous and has Lord Shiva sculpted on the rocks-the largest monolith in the world. The other popular cave is No.32, a shrine within contains the seated Lord Mahavir, last of the 24 tirthankars of Jainism. After Ellora Caves.
Afternoon, go for city tour covering The Daulatabad fortress, which was an old Hindu stronghold originally called Devgiri Fort. Seven outer walls and an internal moat protected the fort built by Bhilam Raja of the Yadava dynasty in 1187. Then after visit Bibi-ka-Maqbara, built in memory of Aurangazeb’s wife Rabia Durrani and meant to surpass the Taj Mahal (built by his father Shah Jehan) in grandeur.
Later in time transfer to Aurangabad airport to board flight for Mumbai
Arrive Mumbai at 1850 hrs and then transfer to hotel
Overnight in Mumbai
DAY 13: MUMBAI - JAPUR BY: FLIGHT
Morning proceed for sightseeing of Mumbai.
Visit The Gateway of India which is a treasured monument that was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary for the Delhi Durbar in 1911. It is complete with four turrets and intricate latticework carved into the yellow basalt stone, further drive past a popular sea front, Marine Drive is a winding stretch of road with tall buildings on one side and sea on the other. It was once called the Queen’s Necklace because of its curved shape. Tours continues with visit to Mani Bhawan & Hanging gardens.
Mani Bhawan used to be the Mumbai residence of Mahatma Gandhi. One of the important places to visit in Mumbai. It has a reference library with over 2000 books and other of the Mahatma’s belongings. The Hanging Gardens or Ferozeshah Mehta Garden and Kamla Nehru Park are located opposite each other. Both the gardens provide lovely sunset views over the Arabian Sea. The latter has the famous “Old Woman’s Shoe” that is a delight to all children.
Later in time transfer to Mumbai airport to board flight for Jaipur
Arrive Jaipur at 2015 hrs and transfer to hotel
Overnight in Jaipur
DAY 14: JAIPUR
After breakfast, you will be taken for sightseeing of Jaipur.
Morning proceed to Amer fort using shared Jeep while going uphill the fort. After seeing the fort come back down the fort by open Jeep.
Amber fort complex stands amidst wooded hills. One of the finest examples of Rajput/Mughal architecture. Built in 16th century it stands as a testament reflecting the glory of the fierce Kachawaha Dynasty that ruled over the region from 12th to the 18th century. The Amber Fort set in picturesque and rugged hills is a fascinating blend of Hindu and Mughal architecture.
Constructed by Raja Man Singh I in 1592 and completed by Sawai Jai Singh I the fort is made in red sand stone and white marble. The rugged forbidding exterior belies an inner paradise with a beautiful fusion of art and architecture. Amber is the classic and romantic fort- palace with a magnificent aura. The interior wall of the palace depicts expressive painting scenes with carvings, precious stones and mirror settings. In the foreground is the Maota Lake providing a breathtaking look. Built mainly for the warring enemies as a safe place, the heavily structured walls could defend the residents within the ramparts of the fort.
Then proceed to visit Hawa Mahal which is the best-known landmark of Jaipur. In the heart of the city is situated the City Palace, a blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. The place is now a museum except for one section where the erstwhile royal family still lives. Jantar Mantar is only one of the five observatories constructed by Jai Singh to whom the city owes its name. Central Museum has a large collection of costumes, woodwork, brassware, jewelry, and pottery. The hilltop forts of Nahargarh, Jaigarh, and Amber constitute the real Rajputana legacy. The Maota Lake offers a breathtaking reflection of the magnificent Amber Fort-Palace.
Overnight in Jaipur
DAY 15: JAIPUR – AGRA BY: SURFACE
Morning drive to Agra (Approx. 245 Kms/ 5 hrs drive) and upon arrival check in at hotel.
Afternoon visit Agra Fort
Agra Fort (Near the gardens of the Taj Mahal stands the important 16th-century Mughal monument known as the Red Fort of Agra. More often than not, the Agra Fort is overshadowed by the pristine beauty of the Taj, but for those looking for something beyond romance, the Agra Fort is worth seeing. Situated on the bank of river Yamuna, the Agra Fort today, stands as a citadel of the past that has witnessed centuries slip by).
Overnight in Agra
DAY 16: AGRA – DELHI BY: SURFACE
Morning visit Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal (Friday) - Someone rightly said, ‘see the Taj and die’ and the Taj certainly surpasses this thought. Described as the most spectacular monuments ever built for love, Taj Mahal is the Agra fascination and greatest pride of India. One of the legendary Indian poet -Rabindranath Tagore described its beauty as “a teardrop on the face of eternity”. It was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial for his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died after giving birth to their 14th child in 1631. Around 20,000 workers devoted day and night to construct this magnificent monument.
Taj Mahal proved to be the costliest tomb ever build on this earth. Specialists were brought in from Europe and other Asian counties to produce the exquisite marble screens and pietra dura made with the thousands of semi precious stones. It is said that Shah Jahan also wanted to built a black Taj Mahal as a tomb for himself on the opposite side if the river Yamuna. Locals guides are found saying that he want to portray his negative image, when his own son Aurangzeb threw his son into the jail, but sadly he could not afford his grandiose plans.
Later drive to Delhi (Approx. 210 kms) and check in at hotel.
Overnight in Delhi
DAY 17: DEPART DELHI BY: FLIGHT
Morning visit Rajghat and Lotus temple (closed on Monday).
Rajghat - A simple square platform of black marble marks the spot where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated following his assassination in 1948. It is surrounded by a beautiful park with labelled trees planted by notables like Queen Elizabeth II, USA President Eisenhower, Ho Chi Minh and various others.
The structure is made up of pure white marble the architect Furiburz Sabha chose the lotus as the symbol common to Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam. Adherents of any faith are free to visit the temple and pray or meditate.
Later proceed for dinner followed by transfer to airport to board flight back home.
***End of Tour***
Days : 17 | Nights : 16