Royal and Cultural Tour of India: 12 Days

Be introduced to the glorious legacy of India with the Royal & Cultural 12 day tour. Begin your journey by witnessing the cultural potpourri of the Capital. Get whisked away to the banks of the Holy Ganges in Varanasi, where saintly men speak of the legend of birth, re-birth and salvation. Journey on to discover the unabashed sensuality of erotic sculptures in Khajuraho. Find yourself basking in the grandeur of Gwalior, with its princely palaces and heritage of heroism. And, eventually find yourself face-to-face with the hypnotizing splendor of the Taj Mahal.



Day 1-2: Delhi

Enjoy a guided tour of Old Delhi after breakfast.

The tour will begin with a visit to Raj Ghat, a simple memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. He is also famously known as the "father of the nation".

One of the most important buildings of Old Delhi is the RED FORT. The magnificent Red Fort was built during the years 1638 - 48 when the Moghul Empire was at its peak. In 1638 Shahjahan transferred his capital from Agra to Delhi and laid the foundations of Shahjahanabad, the seventh city of Delhi. It is enclosed by a rubble stonewall, with bastions, gates and wickets at intervals. Of its fourteen gates, the important ones are the Mori, Lahori, Ajmeri, Turkman, Kashmiri and Delhi gates, some of which have already been demolished. His famous citadel, the Lal-Qila, or the Red Fort, lying at the town's northern end on the right bank or the Yamuna and south of Salimgarh, was begun in 1639 and completed after nine years. The Red Fort is different from the Agra fort and is better planned, because at its back lies the experience gained by Shahjahan at Agra, and because it was the work of one hand. It is an irregular octagon, with two long sides on the east and west, and with two main gates, one on the west and the other on the south, called Lahori and Delhi gates respectively. While the walls, gates and a few other structures in the fort are constructed of red sandstone, marble has been largely used in the palaces.

Continue your tour to Jama Masjid by bicycle rickshaws, one of Asia's largest mosques. People stream in and out of the mosque continuously and the presence of a nearby bazaar means that the area is rarely quiet.

Enjoy the rickshaw ride at Old Delhi peddling through the narrow by lanes of Chandani Chowk.

After lunch proceed for a sightseeing tour of New Delhi, which reflects the legacy of the British left behind. The division between New and Old Delhi is the division between the capitals of the British and the Mughals respectively. The division in the walled city and New Delhi also marks the division in the life-styles. The walled city is all tradition where one will be able to glean a past life-style in all its facets, colors and spells. New Delhi in contrast, is a city trying to live up to the best of 21st century standards.

Imperial Delhi will include the Qutub Minar, the tallest stone tower in India. Qutb-Minar in red and buff standstone is the highest tower in India. It has a diameter of 14.32 m at the base and about 2.75 m on the top with a height of 72.5 m. Qutbu'd-Din Aibak laid the foundation of Minar in AD 1199 for the use of the mu'azzin (crier) to give calls for prayer and raised the first floor, to which were added three more floors by his successor and son-in-law, Shamsu'd-Din Iltutmish (AD 1211-36). All the storeys are surrounded by a projected balcony encircling the minar and supported by stone brackets, which are decorated with honeycomb design, more conspicuously in the first floor.
Next stop would be the majestic Humayun's Tomb. Humayun died in 1556, and his widow Hamida Banu Begum, also known as Haji Begum, commenced the construction of his tomb in 1569, fourteen years after his death. It is the first distinct example of proper Mughal style, which was inspired by Persian architecture. It is well known that Humayun picked up the principles of Persian architecture during his exile, and he himself is likely to have planned the tomb, although there is no record to that effect.

The tour also includes a drive past the imposing India Gate, the Parliament building and the Rastrapathi Bhawan, the President's residence.

If time permits then visit the Lotus temple located in south of Delhi. It is lotus shaped and has rightly been given the name. It is made of marble, cement, dolomite and sand. It is open to all faiths and is an ideal place for meditation and obtaining peace and tranquillity. Its founder, Bahaullah (1817-1892), is regarded by Bahai as the most recent in the line of Messengers of God that stretches back beyond recorded time and that includes Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Zoroaster, Christ and Muhammad.

We could even have time to see the Indira Gandhi Museum or else Lotus Temple can be replaced with the museum visit. The history of the Gandhi family is well documented in this old building which was the last residence of Mrs Gandhi.

Overnight will be at Delhi.

Day 3-4 Varanasi

In the early morning drive to Daswamedh Ghat and take a boat ride on the sacred river Ganges to see the cremation Ghats and witness the living traditions of one of the world's oldest and most important religions. (To start at 0500 hrs. for the best lifetime experience) For you to appreciate this remarkable city, we'll transfer you to the banks of the River Ganges before the sun rises.

Board a boat with your guide and proceed to the middle of the river, where at sunrise the sight unfolds before you. Thousands of faithful come daily to the banks to bathe and pray while in the background, temples and palaces rise in tiers from the water's edge.

Then return for a walk through the cobblestone streets along the banks of "Ganga". As shops are opening, the place now becomes a beehive of activity as the faithful are coming and going. Visit the Kashi Vishwanath Temple while returning to the hotel.

Return for breakfast to the hotel.

Proceed for day guided tour of Varanasi including the Bharat Mata Temple, which features a big relief map of Mother India engraved in marble. Also visit the 18th century Durga Temple, commonly known as the Monkey Temple due to the huge population of the monkeys. Proceed to the Tulsi Manas Temple, crafted from white marble which features the entire Ramayana inscribed on its walls. Also visit the BHU considered as the biggest residential university in Asia. The University Campus houses an Art Gallery and the Mosque of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.

Visit Sarnath 5 miles out of Varanasi: The great Buddha enhanced the sanctity of Varanasi by choosing the environs of the city to preach his first sermon at Sarnath, (only 10 Kms away) after attaining enlightenment. Later, Ashoka, the great Mauryan Emperor erected magnificent stupas and other buildings along with his mighty stone pillar, Dharmarajika Stupa. The 110 ft. tall Damekh Stupa marks the place where Buddha preached first sermon. Sarnath has been a premier centre for Buddhism. It is a rich collection of ancient Buddhist relics and antiques comprising numerous Buddha and Bodhisatva images on display at the Archaeological Museum (1000 hrs to 1700 hrs. Open all days except Friday)

Post sightseeing day free to explore the city.

Overnight will be at Varanasi.

Day 5: Khajuraho

Drive to Khajuraho. Reach Khajuraho. Transferred to hotel and relax.

Khajuraho: Situated in the northernmost part of Madhya Pradesh, Khajuraho is famous for its enchanting temples and its legendary Khajuraho dance festival. The name Khajuraho is derived from the Khajur tree (the date palm tree) which is grown abundantly in the region. The Khajuraho Temples are dedicated to a celebration of womanhood, her myriad moods and facets. Famous for its erotic architecture, the carvings include, women writing a letter, applying eye makeup, combing her tresses, dancing & playing with her child. Her innocent, blushed, charming, seductive, ardent beauty, all depicted in exquisitely sculptured details. These temples have been designed and carved to lead the eyes from ground level upward till you seem to be looking at heaven.

In the evening proceed for the Sound and light show and retire for the night.

Overnight will be at Khajuraho.

Day 6-7: Gwalior

Breakfast will be at the hotel. Proceed for a sightseeing tour of the city visiting the following interesting monuments.

Gwalior Fort : Standing on a steep mass of sandstone, Gwalior Fort dominates the city and is its most significant monument. It has been the scene of momentous events, imprisonment, battles and jauhars. A steep road winds upwards to the fort, flanked by statues of the Jain tirthankaras, carved into the rock face. The magnificent outer walls of the fort still stand, two miles in length and 35 feet high, bearing witness to its reputation for being one of the most invincible forts of India. This imposing structure inspired Emperor Babur to describe it as “the pearl amongst the fortresses of Hind ".

Man Mandir Palace : Built between 1486 and 1517 by Raja Mansingh. The tiles that once adorned its exterior have not survived, but atthe entrance, traces of these still remain. Vast chambers with fine stone screens were once the music halls, and behind these screens, the royal ladies would learn music from the great masters of the day. Below, circular dungeons housed the state prisoners of the Mughals. Emperor Aurangzeb had his brother, Murad imprisoned, and later executed here. Close by is Jauhar Pond, where in the Rajput tradition, the Ranis committed mass sati after their consorts had been defeated in battle. At Man Mandir Palace, a poignant ambience of those days of chivalry and heroism still lingers in the silent chambers.

Gujari Mahal : Within the fort are some marvels of medieval architecture. The 15th century Gujari Mahal is a monument to the love of Raja Mansingh Tomar for his intrepid Gujar Queen, Mrignayani. The outer structure of Gujari Mahal has survived in an almost total state of preservation; the interior has been converted into Archaeological Museum housing rare antiquities, some of them dating back to the 1st century A.D. Even though many of these have been defaced by the iconoclastic Mughals, their perfection of form has survived the ravages of time. Particularly worth seeing is the statue of Shalbhanjika from Gyraspur, the tree goddess, the epitome of perfection in miniature. The statue is kept in the custody of the museum's curator, and can be seen on request.

Overnight at hotel.

Day 8-9: Agra

Proceed for a sunrise view of the Taj Mahal.

TAJ MAHAL - Little needs to be said about this architectural wonder which is always the soul raison-de-etre for every tourist's visit to Agra. Built by Shah Jahan, the Taj is a white marble memorial to his beautiful wife Mumtaz Mahal. This monument took 22 years to be completed and was designed, and planned by Persian architect Ustad Isa. Apart from its stunning design balance and perfect symmetry, the Taj is also noted particularly for its elegant domes, intricately carved screens and some of the best inlay work ever seen. Return back to the hotel for breakfast.

Proceed for an afternoon visit of Agra Fort.

AGRA FORT - Built by the famed Mughal emperor Akbar in 1565 AD, the fort is predominantly of red sandstone. Ensconced within is the picture perfect Pearl Mosque, which is a major tourist attraction. It lies on the bend of the river Yamuna, almost in the heart of the town. Akbar built it as his citadel over the years 1563-73 in the finest architectural style. It has imposing gates and walls of red sandstone and a moat.

After Agra Fort we will visit BABY TAJ - The interiors of which are considered better than the Taj.

Overnight will be at Agra.

Day 10-11: Jaipur

Proceed for morning excursion to the Amber Fort. Ride to the Fort on elephant back in a royal manner.

AMBER FORT PALACE - Amber is the classic romantic Rajasthani fort palace. Its construction was started by Man Singh I in 1592, and completed by his descendent Jai Singh I. Its forbidding exterior belies an inner paradise where a beautiful fusion of Mughal and Hindu styles finds its ultimate expression.

Afternoon sightseeing tour of Jaipur visiting...

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.

After the sightseeing, as per the timing, you could proceed to the hotel to relax or from could proceed directly to Chokhi Dhani.

A perfect way to experience the rich culture and heritage of Rajasthan will be complete with a visit to Chokhi Dhani. Experience the rich warmth, the culture, traditions of a Rajasthan village, along with various dance and music performances at Chokhi Dhani. The place also displays local art and handicrafts for the tourists to take back home. Along with all this, people specially visit this place to enjoy the local cuisine. The local village people serve the food while you eat and display the tradition of a country were a guest is treated as a god. Away from the crowded city life, this is a perfect way of spending time and getting a closer look at the roots of the culture and traditions which tourists miss on.

Overnight will be at Jaipur.

Day 12: Delhi - Back Home

Breakfast at hotel. Day free to explore the city and finish last minute shopping.

Proceed for the in the evening at 1800 hr after checking out of the hotel. After the show you will have FAREWELL DINNER before reaching the airport for flight home with sweet memories of India.

SPECIAL HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDED

• Rickshaw ride at old delhi bazaar,
• Royal Tour Operators IndiaBoat cruise in ganges at varanasi,
• Aarti ceremony at varanasi,
• Light and sound show at khajuraho,
• Lunch at orchha,
• Horse cart ride to taj mahal in agra,
• Theatre show kalakriti in agra,
• Lunch at abhaneri,
• Prayer ceremony at birla temple in jaipur,
• Elephant ride at amer fort - jaipur, and
• Boat ride at udaipur - if water level permits.

THE TOUR INCLUDES

• Accommodation at suggested hotels on double occupancy,
• Daily buffet breakfasts,
• Sightseeing tours as mentioned in the itinerary,
• All tours and transfers in ac private toyota innova at disposal with driver,
• English speaking company authorised guide for all mentioned tours,
• Monument entrances,
• Assistance at the airports on arrival / departure,
• Assistance at stations on departure and arrival,
• 24 hrs dedicated tour manager,
• Unlimited mineral water and tissues during drives,
• Porter charges at stations,
• Train fare in ac chair car for the mentioned sector,
• Economy class airfare for the mentioned sectors,
• Light,Rayal Rajasthan Tour PackagesAll applicable taxes and service charges, and
• All road taxes, government taxes and driver allowances.

EXCLUSIONS

• Lunches and dinners (except for those mentioned in inclusions),
• Personal expenses,
• Camera fees, tips etc,
• International airfare,
• Visa charges.

Hotels

City Luxury Palace & Boutique First Class & Heritage Nights
Delhi The Oberoi The Imperial The Maidens 02
Varanasi Nadesar Palace The Gateway Hotel Ganges Radisson 02
Khajuraho The Lalit Temple View The Lalit Temple View Radisson 02
Gwalior Taj Usha Kiran Palace Taj Usha Kiran Palace Central Park 02
Agra The Oberoi Amarvilas Grand Imperial Clarks Shiraz 02
Jaipur The Oberoi Rajvilas Taj Jai Mahal Palace Shahpura House 02

Tour Price

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