Day 01 Arrive Delhi
Early morning arrive Delhi International Airport. Where you be met
and transferred to your Hotel. Afternoon:
Half-day city tour
of Old Delhi. The tour of Old Delhi starts with the visit of Red Fort. This
palace citadel was built Shah Jehan in 1648 and was a veritable city within
a city. When Shah Jehan transferred his capital from Agra to Delhi he built
the Red Fort as his residential palace as well as his military fortress. The
fort is a complex of marble buildings with balconies, filigreed windows,
massive red sandstone walls, ramparts and gateways. The most elegant
building is the DIWAN I KHAS or the Hall of Private Audience. From the Red
Fort you will take a cycle rickshaw to Chandni Chowk or the Moonlit Square.
It is a medieval area in which you will recognize not just Cairo or
Istanbul, but also Chester and Heidelberg. This is perhaps one of the
Delhi's most populated areas and the largest marketplace - jewelers, spice
merchants, food vendors, money lenders, shopping arcades, workshops as well
as residences, are crammed here. Within this area is the British built Town
Hall, the St. James Church built by colonel Skinner in the early 19th
century, the old St. Stephen's college and the office of the state
department of Archeology with a colonnaded facade going back to the 19th
century when it was the British Residency. Overnight at the Hotel
Day 02 Delhi / Agra
Breakfast at the hotel. Later drive to Agra. Afternoon:
Half-day tour of Agra, the city of the Moguls made famous by Emperor Akbar.
Visit Agra Fort - Emperor Akbar started its construction in 1565 when he was
just 23 years of age. Within the fort are several fascinating buildings -
the Pearl Mosque built of marble, the Hall of Public Audience where the
famous "peacock throne" was kept, the Octagonal Tower, the
Jehangir Palace built by Akbar for his son Jehangir and the Khas Mahal, a
beautiful white marble structure used as a private palace.
the Taj Mahal - often described as the most extravagant monuments ever built
for love. It took 22 years for the Taj Mahal to be built and in total 20000
people worked on the Taj. Several experts contributed to the designing of
the Taj Mahal such as Frenchman Austin of Bordeaux and the Italian Veroneo
of Venice. The Taj Mahal is amazingly graceful from almost any angle. The
semi-precious stones inlaid the marble in beautiful designs are through a
process called "pietra dura ".
Overnight at the Hotel
Day 03 Agra / Gwalior Morning:
Breakfast at the hotel. Later drive to Gwalior.
Arrive Gwalior and
check into your hotel. Later do a tour of Gwalior City.
The history of
Gwalior dates back to 8th century AD, when its chieftain Suraj Sen was cured
of leprosy by a hermit-saint named Gwalipa. Out of sheer gratitude, Suraj
Sen named the city after his saviour. Gwalior's strategic position between
north and south India made it an important possession and was captured by
several ruling houses. The first historical holders of the city were the
Between 11th to 14th century AD, Gwalior came under the
influence of Kachhwaha Rajputs, the Pratiharas, the Sultans Qutub-ud-din
Aibak and Iltutmish and remained under Muslim possession until 1398. Under
the Tomars, whose most important king was Man Singh (1486-1517), Gwalior
rose to prominence. Gwalior was finally surrendered to Ibrahim Lodi in 1518.
Held in succession by the Mughals, Jats, Marathas and the British, Gwalior
was finally handed over to Jiyaji Rao Scindia at a formal durbar in 1885.
The Scindias were the last ruling family of Gwalior and are still
influential in the political arena of India.
The City of Gwalior is
dominated by its Qila or Fort, which tops the long hill to the north of the
new town Lashkar. The old town clings to the hill northeast of the Fort.
Today, the city is famous for its educational institutions that attract
students from every nook and corner of the country.
Visit of the
Gwalior fort and the city. Gwalior fort is one of the oldest & loveliest
forts in Madhya Pardesh. It was founded around 3rd century AD. It is one of
the oldest examples of Hindu palace architecture to survive unspoiled. It is
built with two floors above and two below ground, the latter contain the
serdab, the cool and shaded apartments were used during the summers. The
palaces of Scindias are magnificent and contain exotic trifles mixed
priceless antiques. Visit Man Singh ad Jai Vilas palaces and the
Gwalior Fort -
most famous landmark has within its wall several interesting temples and
ruined palaces. Rising 100m above the town, the walls of the fort encircle
almost the entire hilltop. On the way uphill to the fort are located the
massive icons of Bahubali, a Jain master which are cut out of huge rocks.
Teli Ka Mandir -
is a 9th century complex within the
fort that has a peculiar plan and design. The roof is Dravidian while the
decorations (the whole temple is covered with sculptures) are Indo-Aryan. A
figure of Garuda crowns the 95m high doorway. This is the highest structure
in the fort. Sas Bahu Temples -
Mother-in-law (Sas) Daughter-in-law (Bahu) temples are another architectural
marvel and date from the 9th to 11th centuries. Originally known as the "Sahasrabahu"
temple, this temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu is probably the most ancient of
the structures within the fort precinct. Man Mandir Palace -
was once a grand music hall built by Raja Man Singh during 1486 for the
royal ladies of the palace. It's also known as Chit Mandir or Painted
Palace. A delightful and whimsical building, it is the most impressive
building in the fort, richly studded with blue, green and yellow tile work
creating patterns of animals, birds, tree and flowers on its exteriors.
The Archeological Museum -
located within the Gujari
Mahal Palace, built in the 15th century by Raja Man Singh for his favorite
queen, Mrignayani, has a large collection of Hindu and Jain sculptures and
copies of Bagh Caves frescoes. Jai Vilas Palace &
Scindia Museum -
located in the new town, the palace belongs to the
Scindia family. Although the current Maharaja still lives in a portion of
the palace, a large part of it is now a museum. It's full of bizarre items
such as Belgian cut-glass furniture, modes of transport ranging from a Rolls
Royce on rails to German bubble car, a model railway that carried brandy and
cigarettes around the dining table after dinner and so on. The Old Town - of
Gwalior lies to the north and northeast of the fort hill and has three
notable monuments, namely the tombs of Tansen and Mohammed Gaus and the Jama
Masjid. Tomb of Tansen -
built for the most famous
musician of Mughal Emperor Akbar's court, Tansen, the tomb is located in an
attractive garden and is the venue for the annual music festival held in
Nov-Dec. Jama Masjid -
built during 1661, the mosque is
a fine old building constructed of sandstone quarried from the fort hill.
Tomb of Mohammed Gaus -
is a sandstone mausoleum of the
Sufi saint, who helped the first Mughal Emperor Babur to win over the fort.
It is a good example of early Mughal architecture having hexagonal towers at
its four corners and a dome that was once covered with glazed blue tiles.
Overnight at the Hotel
Day 04 Gwalior / Bhopal Morning:
Breakfast at the hotel. Later transfer to railway station to bard the
Shtabadi Express to Bhopal. Arrive Bhopal and transfer to your hotel.
Capital of Madhya Pradesh, Bhopal is a fascinating amalgam of scenic
beauty, historic city and modern urban planning. It is situated on the site
of an 11th century city, Bhojapal, founded by the legendary Raja Bhoja who
is credited with having constructed the lakes around which the city is
built. The present city was laid out by the Afghan soldier Dost Mohammed who
was in charge of Bhopal during Aurangzeb's reign. He took advantage of the
confusion that followed Aurangzeb's death in 1707 to carve out his own small
kingdom. Today Bhopal presents a multi-faceted profile; the old city with
its teeming marketplaces and fine old mosques and palaces still bears the
aristocratic imprint of its former rulers, among them the succession of
powerful Begums who ruled Bhopal from 1819 to 1926.
In the centre of
the city are the two lakes. A charming legend relates how the queen would
recline in a lotus barge that on moonlit nights would drift across the lake.
The two lakes of Bhopal still dominate the city, and are indeed its nucleus.
Bordered along their shores stand silent sentinels that testify to the
growth of a city. Afternoon:
Visit the famous Bhimbetka
Caves - like the aboriginal rock paintings in the outback of Australia, the
cave paintings of the Bushmen in the Kalahari Desert in Africa or the
Paleolithic Lascaux caves in France, the Bhimbetka caves belonging to the
Neolithic Age are an archaeological treasure. 45 km south of Bhopal amongst
forests of teak and sal in the craggy cliffs, some 1000 rock shelters are
located. Almost half contain ancient paintings depicting the life and times
of the different people who lived here. Because of the natural red and white
pigments, which the painters used, the colours have been remarkably well
preserved. There is everything from wild buffalo, rhinoceros, bears and
tigers to hunting scenes, initiation ceremonies, childbirth, communal
dancing and drinking scenes, religious rites and burials. The oldest
paintings are believed to be up to 12,000 years old whereas some of the
crude, geometric figures date as recently as the medieval period. The vivid
panoramic detail of the paintings depicting the life of the pre-historic
cave dwellers makes the Bhimbetka group an invaluable chronicle in the
history of mankind.
Overnight at the Hotel Day
05 In Bhopal Morning:
Breakfast at the hotel. Lying 46km
north of Bhopal, Sanchi has the singular distinction of having specimens of
almost all kinds of Buddhist architectural forms, stupas, chaityas, temples,
monasteries and pillars - the finest examples of Buddhist creative art and
sculpture in the country dating from 3rd century BC to 12th century AD. The
Sanchi Hill works up in shelves, with Stupa 2 on a lower shelf, while Stupa
1, Stupa 3, a 5th century Gupta temple No. 17 and a 7th century No. 18 lie
at a middle shelf, and the apex of the hill crowned by a later monastery.
Sanchi is, undoubtedly, a landmark in Indian history, specifically the part,
which deals with the nurture and subsequent flowering of Buddhism. Sanchi
is, undoubtedly, a landmark in Indian history, specifically the part that
deals with the nurture and subsequent flowering of Buddhism.
The most important Places to See Great Stupa
No. 1 -
the oldest stone structure in India 36.5m in diameter and 16.4m
high and with a massive hemispherical dome, the stupa stands in eternal
majesty. Originally constructed by the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd
century BC, it was later enlarged and the original brick stupa enclosed
within a stone one. The toronas or gateways that surround this Stupa are the
earliest and finest known specimens of Buddhist art. Here, the Buddha is
portrayed in symbols: the lotus representing his birth, the tree his
enlightenment, the wheel derived from the title of his first sermon, the
footmarks and throne representing his presence. A Chunar sandstone pillar
fragment lies near Stupa 1 and carries the famous Ashoka edict warning
against any kind of fracture in the Buddhist community.
Stupa 2 -
lies at the edge of the hill and its most notable aspect is
the stone balustrade that encircles it. Stupa 3 -
near Stupa 1, has a hemispherical dome crowned with an umbrella of polished
stone, which is religiously symbolic. The relics of Sariputta and
Mahamogallena, two of Buddha's earliest disciples, were discovered in its
inner chamber. The Ashoka Pillar -
lying close to the
Southern Gateway of the Great Stupa is one of finest examples of the pillars
erected by Emperor Ashoka. It is known for its incredible structural balance
and artistic design apart from the vital message that it carries. The
Buddhist Vihara - is a modern day monastery that enshrines the sacred relics
of the Satdhara Stupa in a glass casket on a platform in its inner sanctum.
The Great Bowl -
carved out of one block of stone, this
mammoth bowl contained the food that was distributed among the monks of
Sanchi. Gupta temple No. 17 -
was deemed by Sir John
Marshall, as one of the most logically designed structures in Indian
architecture. It embodied all the principles that were necessary in the
construction of a medieval Indian temple. Built in 5th century AD, it is one
of the earliest known specimens of Indian temple architecture.
The Museum -
The Archaeological Survey of India maintains a site
museum below the Sanchi Hill. Noteworthy antiquities on display are the lion
capital of the Ashokan Pillar, metal objects used by the monks and other
ancient stone sculptures dating back to 3rd century BC discovered during
excavations at Sanchi. If time permits one can also visit
Udaygiri Caves -
13km from Sanchi and 4km from Vidisha are a group of 20
rock-cut Gupta cave shrines, carved into a sandstone hill that stand,
sentinel like, on the horizon. An inscription on one of these caves states
that they were produced during the reign of Chandragupta II (382-401 AD),
thus dating these caves to 4-5th century AD. The caves possess all the
distinctive features that gave Gupta Art its unique vitality, vigour and
richness of _expression: the beautifully moulded capitals, the treatment of
inter-columniation, the design of the entranceway and are characterized by
richly carved facades and doorways. The caves have been numbered probably
according to the sequence in which they were excavated. Taken as a whole,
this stupendous group is a rich representation of the strength of Gupta Art
and architecture. Overnight at the Hotel
Day 06 Bhopal / Ujjain ( 190 Kms )
Breakfast at the hotel. Later drive to Ujjain. Arrive and check-in at the
hotel. Ujjain is the modern name of Ujjayini. Ujjain is one of the holiest
cities in India. It is situated on the banks of river Shipra. It gets its
sanctity from a mythological tale about the churning of the oceans by the
Gods and the demons in search of nectar of immortality. When the coveted
vessel of nectar was finally found, there followed a mad scramble across the
skies with demons pursuing the gods in an attempt to take the nectar from
them. In the process four drops were of split and they fell at Haridwar,
Nasik, Ujjain and Allahahbad. As a result Ujjain became one of the holiest
cities and the sites of the Kumbh Mela, which takes place every 12 years.
Overnight at the Hotel
Day 07 Ujjain /
Mandu ( 155 Kms ) Morning:
Breakfast at the hotel. Later
visit the temples of Ujjain. The most important temple in Ujjain is
Mahakaleshwar Mandir which is dedicated to God Shiva. The temple enshrines
one of India 12 "jyothirlingam" naturally occurring lingam
believed to derive currents of shakti (power) from within themselves as
opposed to lingam ritually invested with mantra shakti by the priests.
Drive to Mandu. This town is perched on a hilltop
of the Vindhya Range, Mandu, with its natural defenses, was originally the
fort capital of the Parmar rulers of Malwa. Towards the end of the 13th
century, it came under the sway of the Sultans of Malwa, the first of whom
named it Shadiabad or the 'city of joy'. And indeed the pervading spirit of
Mandu was of gaiety; and its rulers built exquisite palaces, ornamental
canals, baths and pavilions, as graceful and refined as those times of peace
and plenty. Each of Mandu's structures is an architectural gem. The
extensive and now mainly deserted hilltop fort is one of the most evocative
sights in central India. Overnight at the Hotel
Day 08 In Mandu
Breakfast at the hotel. Later do an excursion to Maheshwar (63
Kms) & Omkareshwar. Maheshwar -
located 63 km away from Mandu situated
on the banks of river Narmada, this town was an important cultural and political
centre at the dawn of Hindu civilization and was mentioned in the Ramayana and
Mahabharata under its former name Mahishmati. It languished in obscurity for
many centuries until revived by the Holkar queen Rani Ahilya Bai of Indore in
the late 18th century. The principal sights here is the mighty fort-complex
the three ghats lining the banks of the Narmada and the many tiered temples
distinguished by their overhanging balconies and intricately worked doorways.
The town is also famous for the Maheshwari saris, the hand woven saris known
for their unique weave and beautiful complex patterns. The Rewa Society inside
the fort runs a sari-weaving factory where you can see the weavers at work
Drive to Omkareshwar -
`located about 62
km from Maheshwar, this is an island at the confluence of the Narmada and
Cauvery rivers. The island comprises two lofty hills and is divided by a
valley in such a way that it appears in the shape of the sacred Hindu symbol
'Om' from above, hence its name. It is a sacred Hindu pilgrimage site as it
has one of the 12 jyotirlingas (natural Shiva linga) enshrined in the temple
of Sri Omkar Mandhata. It has numerous medieval temples. Perhaps the most
important is the Shri Omkareshwar Mahadeo temple enshrining one of the 12
Jyotirlingas (naturally occurring linga) of India. The temple is constructed
from local soft stone that has enabled its artisans to achieve a rare degree
of detailed work.
The setting of the temple is quite stunning.
From the village on the banks of the Narmada, the island seems to loom out
of the river, crowned by a former palace. A high footbridge connects the
village with the island. One can also descend to the ghats and take a
motorboat across the Narmada.
There are other temples on the
island as well one of which is the Siddhanta Temple, a good example of early
medieval Brahmanic architecture and a cluster of other Hindu and Jain
temples. Though damaged by Muslim invaders in the 11th century, these
temples remain essentially intact. Overnight at the Hotel
Day 09 Mandu /
Indore (100 Kms)
Breakfast at the hotel. Later drive to Indore.
Indore is located in the Narmada River Valley in the western part of Madhya
Pradesh with the rivers Saraswati and Kham flowing through. Indore was planned
and founded by Rani Ahilyabai Holkar and derives its name from the 18th century
Indreshwar Temple. Indore is a flourishing Industrial City and a major textile-producing
centre. Although the city is located on the ancient pilgrimage route to Ujjain,
nothing much happened here, historically speaking, until the 18th century. From
1733, it was ruled by the Holkar dynasty that was firm supporters of the British.
Half day visit of Indore Rajwada -
old palace located in the old part of the town. Its multi storey gateway
looks out onto the palm-lined main square in the crowded streets of the
Kajuri Bazaar. The Palace is a mixture of French, Mughal and Maratha styles
and has been up in flames three times during its 200-year history.
Kanch Mandir -
or the Glass temple, located near the Rajwada,
this Jain temple (also called Seth Hukanchand temple) is very plain
externally but inside, it is completely mirrored with pictures of sinners
being tortured in the after life. The Museum - has one of the best
collections of medieval and pre-medieval Hindu sculptures in Madhya Pradesh,
most are from Hinglajgarh in the Mandassur district of western Madhya
Pradesh and range from early Gupta to Paramara times. Lal
Bagh Palace -
located in the southwest of the town and surrounded by
gardens, this grand palace was built in 1886. It has the usual over the top
touches like entrance gates that are replicas of those at Buckingham Palace,
a wooden ballroom floor, marble columns, chandeliers, stained glass windows
and stuffed tigers.
Overnight at the Hotel
Day 10 Indore / Delhi
Breakfast at the hotel.
Afternoon transfer to airport to take your flight to Delhi. Arrive Delhi and
be transferred to your hotel. Overnight at the Hotel
Day 11 Delhi / Europe
Today you be transferred to airport for your International flight back home.