Temples and Palaces of Central India
From 1206 $ per person
A chance to make an unforgettable journey through North West India. Setting off from Mumbai (Bombay) you drive through Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh before coming face to face with the unmissable Taj Mahal and ending up in Delhi.
By way of introduction to the age-old caves of Ellora and Ajanta, you take the boat to the temples on the legendary island of Elephanta in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Mumbai.
You then turn north again to visit the charming small hill-top town of Mandu, which shelters the abandoned ruins of an ancient city. From here you travel direct to the heart of Hinduism by visiting the holy towns of Maheshwar and Omkareshwar, to which thousands of pilgrims and sadhus flock year round from all over the country. Orchha and Khajuraho, pinnacles of Hindu art, are the next ports of call before you reach Varanasi, the holiest town in India.
This itinerary brings home not only the huge cultural diversity of the regions visited but also their mind blowing ancestral heritage while letting you discover local customs and ways of life. You will experience the soul of a country which is still deeply rural in places while highly cosmopolitan in the big towns.
From $1206 per participant, based on 2 participants.
> Transfers and ground transports (private vehicle with and English speaking driver)
> Flights and/or trains as mentioned in the program
> Accommodation: twin/double room in hotels
PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE:
> International flights and airport taxes
> Entrance fees for temples, monuments and museums mentioned in the program
> Optional activities
> Repatriation fees, should they be required
> Meals (except if mentioned in detailed itinerary) > Drinks and personal expenses
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Day1: Arrive in Mumbai.
Airport pickup, transfer and spend night in hotel.
Day 2: Mumbai - Elephanta Island - Mumbai - [boat trip]
Leave for a boat trip to Elephanta island off the coast of Mumbai. (NOT INCLUDED IN PRICE). The island is named after the large stone elephant which used to stand near the shore. Visit caves and cave-temples whose origin is lost in the mists of time. Return to Mumbai and spend night in hotel.
Day 3: Mumbai - Aurangabad - [flight]
Morning flight to Aurangabad, named after Aurangzeb, the last of the great Moghuls. Airport pickup and check into hotel. In the afternoon we set off for Ellora to visit the Buddhist, Hindu and Jain caves, the pinnacle of Deccan rock-cut architecture. Short trip to Daulatabad and option of climbing up to the top of the fortress for a panoramic view. Overnight in hotel.
Day 4: Aurangabad - Ajanta - Jalgaon - [160 km - 4 hours by road]
Leave for Ajanta, a magnificent site with 29 Buddhist caves, dating from the second century BC to the 7th century AD. It is one of the most beautiful examples of cave architecture in India, especially those parts dating from the end of the Gupta period, one of the golden ages of Indian art. Continue on to Jalgaon. Check into and spend night in hotel.
Day 5: Jalgaon - Mandu - [300km - 7 hours by road]
Long journey to Mandu, through superb countryside which becomes increasingly undulated as we approach the town. Check into and spend night in hotel.
Day 6: Mandu - Maheshwar - [80 km - 2 hours by road]
Visit the ghost town of Mandu, surrounded by ramparts and clinging to the top of a hill. Tour the ruins which bear witness to the reputation and refinement of this former capital of Malwa before it was abandoned: the Royal Enclave, Jama Masjid with its Afghan architecture, the remains of temples and palaces which line the roads. Then leave for Maheshwar. Overnight in hotel.
Day 7: Maheshwar - Omkareshwar - Indore - [170 km - 4 to 5 hours by road]
Early morning visit of Maheshwar, famous for its silk saris. Visit the fortress which overlooks the town and offers a stunning view over the Narmada, one of India’s seven holy rivers, and its ghats. Continue on to Omkareswhar, an island at the confluence of the Narmada and the Keveri and an important place of pilgrimage. Visit Shri Omkar Mandhata and other temples such as the Brahmanic Siddhnath temple which dates back to the beginning of the Middle Ages, as well as the Jain temples. Potter through the warren of alley ways and bazaars. Set off for Indore. Arrive and spend night in hotel.
Day 8: Indore - Ujjain - [55km - 1 hour by road]
Visit Lal Bagh Palace with its mix of Moghul and European architectural styles. Set off for Ujjain. Check into and spend night in hotel.
Day 9: Ujjain - Jhansi - [night train]
Visit the temples at your own pace. These include the Mahakaleswhar Mandir which has another of India’s twelve jyoti linga (Shiva temples) , Harsiddi Mandir and Gopal Mandir. Stroll along the ghats, preferably at dawn or dusk and observe the Hindu rituals. Transfer to station for night train to Jhansi.
Day 10: Jhansi - Orchha - [20 km - 30 minutes by road]
Pickup at Jhansi station and transfer to the small holy town of Orchha. Visit the Raja Mahal and Jehangir Mahal, masterpieces of Indian architecture. Walk along the banks of the Betwa river. Check into and spend night in hotel.
Day 11: Orchha - Khajuraho - [5 hours - 190km]
Drive to Khajuraho. Check into hotel. Visit the temples, renowned for their erotic sculpture and set in lush countryside. Overnight in hotel.
Day 12: Khajuraho - Varanasi - [one hour flight]
Transfer to airport. Flight to Varanasi. Airport pickup and transfer to hotel.
Day 13: Varanasi - Sarnath - Varanasi
Visit the town which is famous for the ghats which line the banks of the Ganges, the holiest river in Hinduism. Option of a dawn boat trip on the Ganges, when all the pilgrims are performing their purifying ablutions. Excursion to Sarnath (20 km from Varanasi), the legendary Buddhist village. Overnight in hotel.
Day 14: Varanasi - Agra - [night train]
Continue visit of Varanasi. Evening transfer to station and night train to Agra.
Day 15: Agra - Delhi - [4 hours - 200 km] Morning pickup at the station. Visit Red Fort and the fabulous Taj Mahal, monument to passion and wonder of the world built by emperor Shah Jahan in 1631 to leave an eternal reminder of his love for queen Mumtaz Mahal. Note : the Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays. In the afternoon we set off by road for Delhi. Check into and spend night in hotel.
Day 16: Delhi
Last day in Delhi (sightseeing or shopping). Transfer to airport in evening. Shanti travel says ’au revoir’.