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Art, Cultural and Historical Tour India

Tour Duration: 41 Nights / 42 Days
Destinations Covered: Chennai - Mahabalipuram - Bhubneshwar - Konark - Puri - Kolkota - Varanasi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh National Park - Orchha - Jhansi - Agra - Delhi - Jaipur - Samode - Mandawa - Bikaner - Jaisalmer - Sam Sand Dunes - Jodhpur - Kumbhalgarh - Udaipur - Kota - Mumbai - Aurangabad - Mumbai

Visit a bazaar and groups of men and women in their colorful costumes of seemingly impossible combinations of magenta and turquoise vie for visual attention with their sisters in silks of purple and yellow. Entire land of India used to catch the eye. See the mud walls decorated with traditional geometric patterns, camel pelts are clipped to produced swirling paisleys, cattle horns are painted and decorated with brass bells, cycle rickshaws are covered in painted parrots, landscapes, slogans and decorated with chrome studs. Even the natural landscape is filled with an exuberance of peacocks, elephants and tigers. The eye is lured, assaulted, charmed and enchanted as you take time to experience the fascinating aspects of daily life in India, as well as study its art and history.

India is the birthplace of the Buddhist, Hindu, Jain and Sikh religions. India is also the home of 105 million Muslims. Over the centuries all of these traditions have inspired major works of art and architecture on the subcontinent. You will visit a wide selection of important sites from Mahabalipuram in the South of Indian to Delhi in the North. These sites have been chosen to give a historical overview of the best of Hindu and Muslim art and architecture. From the grace of seventh century Pallava sculpture to the white marble subtlety of the architecture of the seventeenth century Taj Mahal, you will study the great variety of Indian arts and architecture, both religious and secular.

TRAVEL ITINERARY

Day 1 : LEAVE HOME to MADRAS :
Depart home to board Chennai (Madras) bound flight.
Meeting and greetings on arrival and transfer to the hotel.

Day 2 : At Chennai
Morning after relaxed breakfast leisurely proceed to visit Chennai where you will visit Kabalishwara Temple, Santhom Church, St. George Fort and Madras (Chennai) Museum. ternoon explore Chennai on your own. Overnight at the hotel.

Days 3 : CHENNAI TO MAHABALIPURAM
After breakfast at the hotel proceed by car to reach Mahabalipuram via visiting Kanchipuram.

Day 4 : AT MAHABALIPURAM
Morning after breakfast explore temples of Mahabalipuram and enjoy the beach. Overnight at hotel.

Day 5 : MAHABALIPURAM / CHENNAI / BHUBANESHWAR
Morning after breakfast at the hotel drive to Chennai airport and board overnight train to reach Bhubaneshwar. Overnight on board the train.

Day 6 : ARRIVE BHUBNESHWAR
Met upon arrival at Bhubneshwar Railway Station at 2125 hrs and transfer to the hotel.

Day 7 : At Bhubaneshwar
Full day explore important temples among the 7000 that make up Bhubaneshwar. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 8 : Bhubaneshwar to Konark to Puri
Morning after breakfast at the hotel drive to Puri via visiting Sun Temple (stone “Chariot of the Sun God) at Konark. Arrive Puri and check into the hotel. Rest of the day free to relax. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 9 : AT PURI
Full day explore Jaganath Temple and other places of interest at Puri. Evening free to enjoy the beach. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 10 : PURI / BHUBANESHWAR / KOLKATA
Morning depart for Bhubaneshwar and board day train to reach Kolkata. Upon arrival at Kolkata Railway station transfer to the hotel for overnight stay.

Day 11 : KOLKATA TO VARANASI – Overnight train
Morning visit the city built by the “East India Company”. Evening transfer to Howrah Railway Station to board overnight train for Varanasi at 8.35 PM. Overnight on board the train.

Day 12 : ARRIVE VARANASI
Meeting on arrival at Varanasi Railway Station and transfer to the hotel for check in.
Afternoon visit the important Buddhist site of Sarnath. At sunset walk along the Ganga river. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 13 : AT VARANASI
Early morning sunrise boat cruise on the Ganga river followed by temple tour of Varanasi. Afternoon free to explore this oldest city of Varanasi on your own and experience the narrow streets. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 14 : VARANASI TO KHAJURAHO
Late morning leave for airport to board flight for Khajuraho. Meeting on arrival and transfer to the hotel. Afternoon proceed to visit Eastern and western group of Temples with its temples famous for their elaborate carvings. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 15 : KHAJURAHO / BANDHAVGARH TIGER PRESERVE
Little early in the morning drive (5 - 6 hours) to reach Bandhavgarh National Park, one of the first of the Tiger Preserves to have been set-up under the wildlife preservation programme “Project Tiger”. Check in at Jungle resort on arrival. Afternoon game viewing in the part by jeep.

Day 16 : AT BANDHAVGARH
Full day to explore the park, in search for the elusive tiger, using jeeps and elephants.

Day 17 : BANDAVGARH TO ORCHHA
Drive to the the medieval temple town of Orchha (7-8 hours) in the morning. Rest of the day is spent exploring the medieval temples of Orchha.

Day 18 : ORCHHA / JHANSI / AGRA
Morning explore more of the medieval temples. Late morning drive to Jhanis where you will visit Jhansi Fort built between 1606 – 27 on rocky land.
Later leave for Jhansi Railway Station to board Shatabdi Express train for Agra at 5.55 PM for Agra. You will be met on arrival at Agra Railway Station at 8.25 PM and transfer to the hotel for overnight stay.

Day 19 : AGRA / DELHI
Early morning sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal. Later visit Agra Fort and ghost city of Fatehpur Sikri, Red Fort of Agra and the inspiration of Taj Mahal.

Evening leave to board Shatabdi Express train for Delhi at 8.30 PM. Meeting on arrival at New Delhi Railway Station at 10.30 PM and transfer to the hotel.

Day 20 : DELHI :
Full day to tour to visit New and Old Delhi. Traditional Indian farewell dinner.

Day 21 : DELHI
Full day free to explore other monuments and markets of New Delhi and old Delhi.

Day 22 : DELHI / JAIPUR
Morning after breakfast leave for Jaipur – the pink city (5 hours drive). Afternoon tour of Jaipur city. Evening walking tour of Jaipur.

Day 23 : AT JAIPUR
Morning is visit Amber Fort little out of Jaipur city where an elephant ride will be enjoyed. Rest of the after is free to explore this city of colours on your own. Overnight say at the hotel.

Day 24 : JAIPUR / SAMODE
Morning after leisurely breakfast drive one hour away to Samode to see the art work done on this magnificent Palace which is now a luxury palace hotel. Day is spent exploring village of the past. Overnight stay at Samode.

Day 25 – SAMODE / MANDAWA
Leave Samode for Mandawa village in Shekhawati region which rich beautifully painted and maintained mansions. This afternoon is spent exploring this old havelies (mansions). Overnight is spent at one of the old mansion converted into a hotel to have a feel of the past.

Day 26 – MANDAWA / BIKANER
Morning after breakfast drive to Bikaner in around 4 hours. Afternoon explore this camel country. The royal fortified city with a timeless appeal. Lying in the north of the Desert State, the city is dotted with many sand dunes. Bikaner retains the medieval splendor that pervades the city's lifestyle. In your sightseeing tour you will visit Jhunagarh Fort, Camel breeding farms and Karnimata Temple also known as Rat temple at Deshnokh around 30 kms out of Biknaer. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 27 : BIKANER / JAISALMER
Morning after breakfast proceed to Jaisalmer where we reach after around 6 to 7 hours drive where one of the main draws is the daunting 12th century Jaisalmer Fort. The beautiful havelis which were built by wealthy merchants of Jaisalmer are yet another interesting aspect of the desert city. And you can let your eyes caress the sloppy sand dunes while you ramble your way in a short camelride. The desert citadel is truly a golden fantasy in Thar Desert. Bhatti Rajput ruler Rawal Jaisal, after whom the city finds its name, founded Jaisalmer in 1156.

Day 28 : AT JAISALMER
Morning after breakfast proceed visit Golden Fort of Jaisalmer and huge mansions (havelis) adjacent to each other in the nature of medieval culture and profusely decorated walls and ceilings and intricately carved outdoors and interiors. The colourful art forms and some how side kind the royal heritage and made it appear more pale in comparison.

Afternoon leave for Sam Sand Dunes to have glimpse of Sunset from the Sand Dunes. Ride on camel back for short time through the desert.

Day 29 : JAISALMER / JODHPUR – 6 hours drive
Morning after breakfast proceed to Jodhpur in the morning. Rest of the day free to explore this blue city. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 30 : AT JODHPUR
Morning after breakfast proceed visit massive Meherangarh Fort topping a sheer rocky ridge, Jaswant Thada - A cluster of royal cenotaphs in white marble built in 1899 A.D, Umaid Bhawan Palace The only 20th century palace built under the famine relief project that gave employment to famine struck population. The palace was completed in 16 years. This opulent edifice in sandstone is still the residence of the former rulers with a part of it running as hotel and remaining part as a museum. Mandore Gardens which is ancient capital of Marwar has cenotaphs of the Jodhpur rulers. The Hall of heroes has fifteen figures carved out of the rock on the wall which represent Hindu deities. Its beautiful gardens with high rock terraces make it a popular picnic spot and visit local market.

Day 31 : JODHPUR / KUMBHALGARH
Morning after breakfast proceed drive to the remote hilltop fort at Kumbhalgarh enroute visit visit Ranakpur where the beautifully sculptured Jain temples lie in a tranquil valley of the Aravallis. Rest of the day we spend Exploring the many palaces and temples that lie within the walls of the Kumbhalgarh fort, situated on the edge of a wildlife sanctuary. Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 32 : KUMBHALGARH / UDAIPUR
Morning after breakfast proceed drive from Kumbhalgarh to Udaipur.
At Udaipur visit fort, maid's garden, Museum and Jagdish Temple.  Probably you can go in for a evening sunset boat ride on Lake Pichola by public boat. Overnight at stay one of the heritage hotel.

Day 33 : AT UDAIPUR
Full day free explore this city of lakes on your own. Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 34 : UDAIPUR / KOTA
Morning after breakfast proceed drive to Kota and visit untouched wealth of impressive forts, opulent palaces and splendid temples dating back over several centuries retain the past glory.

Day 35 : KOTA / MUMBAI
Full day free to explore Kota and its surroundings. Evening board overnight train for Mumbai at 8.50 PM. Overnight on board.

Day 36 : ARRIVE MUMBAI
Meeting on arrival at Mumbai Railway Station at 8.35 AM and transfer to the hotel. Relax at the hotel after check in. Afternoon visit Mumbai city.

Day 37 : AT MUMBAI
Morning leave for an excursion trip to visit Elephanta Caves. Afternoon free for self exploration. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 38 : MUMBAI / AURANGABAD
Transfer to the railway station to board train for Aurangabad. Met upon arrival and transfer to the hotel. Afternoon visit Aurangabad city where you will visit baby Taj and pan Chakki (floor mill). Ovenright at hotel.

Day 39 : AT AURANGABAD
Morning after an early breakfast proceed for full day excursion to Ajanta and Ellroa Caves. Ajanta Caves - you will see dedicated solely to Buddhism. The caves including unfinished are thirty in number of which five (9, 10, 19, 26 and 29) are "Chaitya-Grihas" and the rest are "Sangharamas" or Viharas (monasteries). The caves 1, 2, 16 and 17 can be ranked high among the greatest artistic works of the contemporary world.

Return to Aurangabad via visiingt Ellora caves - the finest specimens of cave temple architecture. They house elaborate facades and exquisitely adorned interiors. These structures representing the three faiths of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, were carved during 350 AD to 700 AD period.

Day 41 : AURANGABAD / MUMBAI
Morning free to relax. Afternoon transfer to Railway Station to board day Train back to Mumbai at 2.35 PM. Met upon arrival at Mumbai Railway Station and transfer to the hotel for overnight stay..

Day 42 : Depart MUMBAI
Transfer to the airport to board homebound flight.

Bon Voyages

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DISCOVERY FULL CIRCLE TOURS
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