CLASSICAL INDIA

Key Info

  • DURATION 9 nights / 10 days
  • ACTIVITY GRADING Easy
  • BEST TIME TO TRAVEL October to March

Highlights

  • Rickshaw ride though Old Delhi
  • Elephant ride at Amber Fort
  • TajMahal in Agra
  • Khajuraho Temples
  • Boat ride on on Ganges in Varanasi

DAY 1:

Delhi

On arrival in Delhi you will be met by a representative of 'An Indian Escape' and transferred to your hotel

As the national capital, New Delhi is the seat of executive, legislative, and judiciary branches of the Government. New Delhi is a cosmopolitan city due to the multi-ethnic and multi-cultural presence of the vast population settled in Delhi as the booming economy adds to the colourful nights and always moving traffic.

Enjoy a tour of Delhi today for its New & Old cities.

In New Delhi drive past the 12th century 230 feet high QutabMinar, the imposing Lakshmi Narayan temple, India Gate (memorial to the Indian army soldiers who died in the World War), the President House and the parliament building.

Old Delhi, the City of Shahjahanabad was the capital of Shah Jahan but little remains of that old city. Today, remains of the historical city are the gates like - Kashmiri Gate, Ajmeri Gate, Turkman Gate, Delhi gate. Jama Masjid- one of the largest mosques in Asia. Drive past Red Fort, built by Emperor Shah Jahan in 1648. Finally, walk through ChandniChowk - this famous market of Old Delhi is a chaotic and amazing criss-crossing of lanes and by-lanes that seem to stock everything under the sun, from spices and perfumes, to jewellery and dress materials.

  • Optional experience : Lodhi Garden walk

DAY 2:

Delhi – Jaipur (245 Km / 5 hour)

In the morning after breakfast drive to Jaipur, the pink city, colored to welcome Prince Albert in 1876. It a bustling capital city and a business centre with all the trappings of a modern metropolis but yet flavoured strongly with an age-old charm that never fails to surprise a traveller.

  • Optional experience:Chowkri Modikhana

DAY 3:

Jaipur

Morning leave for Amer fort with Elephant ride. (Elephant ride subject to availability). Amber is a classic and romantic fort- palace. In the foreground the Maota Lake is providing a breathtaking look.

  • Optional experience: BaazarsCusines and The Crafts

Afternoon half day city tour visiting the Maharaja's City Palace and the JantarMantar Observatory. Jaipur's walled City Palace (1732 AD) occupies one-seventh of the city's area. See the Mubarak Mahal, museums of textiles and armoury etc, and the Diwan-I-Khas and Diwan-I-Am. JantarMantar, literally meaning "instruments for measuring the harmony of the heavens" is the oldest in India. Each instrument has a specific purpose and gives an accurate reading.

Photo stop at HawaMahal (Palace of the Winds). Also, drive past the rose-pink residential and business areas of Jaipur.

Days 4

Jaipur – Agra (205 Km / 6 hour)

Drive to Agra and visit of the way FatehpurSikri, the deserted red sandstone city, built by the Great Mughal Emperor Akbar as his capital and palace in the late 16th century. It was abandoned soon after it was built when the local wells went dry and it remains today in much the same condition that it was over 300 years ago.

DAY 5:

Agra

In the morning visit the TajMahal, a poem in white marble built in the 16th century by the emperor Shahjahan as a monument of love. Followed by visit to Agra Fort. An imposing fort on the banks of the river Yamuna, it encloses numerous palaces and houses.

DAY 6:

Agra – Orchha – Khajuraho (182 Km / 5 hour)

Transfer to the train station to board the train Shatabdi Express (08h17/10h48).

Arrival to Jhansi and drive to Khajuraho, on the way visit to Orchha, once the capital of Bundelas, Orchha is now just a village, set amongst a complex of well-preserved palace and temples.

Continue drive to Khajuraho.

DAY 7:

Khajuraho

After breakfast leave for the sigthseeing of Khajuraho visiting Western & Eastern group of temples. Khajuraho was built by the Chandela dynasty, which rose to power in Central India between the 10th and 11th centuries and is home to some 25 odd temples depicting the different facets of life, including the erotic.

Days 8

Khajuraho – Varanasi by flight 9W 724 (12h30 / 13h10)

In the morning transfer to Khajuraho airport to board the flight to Varanasi.

Earlier known as Kashi and then Benaras, present-day Varanasi is an important cultural centre as well. Its rich silk brocades, (the most notable being the BanarasiSarees), ancient Yoga tradition and north Indian classical music-all combine to make Varanasi an experience of tremendous variety.

Later in the evening take a sunset boat ride to see from the Ganges the Ghats, the old Palace, the cremation sites and witness of the magical ceremony Aarty in the night.

Day 9

Varanasi

Early in the morning take another boat ride on river Ganges to experience the morning life. Every morning at dawn hundreds devotees can be seen bathing in the holy water, cremations are taking place on the ghats, some people are practising yoga, fishermen are sailing in their boats, see how the spectacular Varanasi comes alives.

After breakfast visit Sarnath, the archeologicalbuddist site built in the third century BC.

Day 10

Varanasi – Delhi flight 9W 724 (14h40 / 16h00)

Morning at leisure.

  • Optional Experience Walking the Bengali Tola

Transfer to the airport to take the flight to Delhi.

On arrival in Delhi, transfer you to international airport to connect flight back home.



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DELHI

India's capital city, Delhi is the second most widely used entry point into the country, being on the route of most major airlines. It is well linked by rail, air and road to all parts of the country. The remains of seven distinctive capital cities – among them Shahjahanabad and QutabMinar – can be seen. Here, museums, art galleries and cultural centers attract the finest exhibitions and performances from India and abroad. Shopping encompasses virtually everything that can be bought in the country; hotels range from the deluxe to the more modest. Most fascinating of all is the character of Delhi which varies from the 13th century mausoleum of the Lodi kings set in a sprawling park to ultra modern chrome and glass skyscrapers; and from imperial India's Parliament House and the President's Palace to the never ending bustle of the walled city surrounding Jama Masjid. Delhi also makes the ideal base for a series of short excursions to neighbouring places, all connected by road.

The capital of India, Delhi blends an historic past and a vibrant present. The Imperial city planned for the British by Lutyens is set in parks and shaded avenues. Legend has it that Delhi, then called Indraprastha, was originally founded around 1200 B.C. by the Pandavas, the august heroesof the epic Mahabharata. Present day Delhi is built around the ruins of seven ancient cities

HARYANA

This state could well be called a perfect vacation land: A state that blazed a trail of holiday traditions, with its highway tourism policy. The bird named complexes of Haryana Tourism dot the five national highways passing through the state. They also await the holiday maker at district headquarters towns and place of tourist interest. Here you get in touch with Nature. Kick off your shoes and relax with pampered treatment. Eat out at well appointed restaurants. Crowd the icecreamparlours. Gift shops, bars.

Whereas the seventies saw the initial establishment of the tourism strategy and infrastructure, the eighties saw Haryana Tourism concentrate on promoting cultural and pilgrim tourism. The nineties brought in Adventure and Golf Tourism. The turn of the century is seeing Haryana Tourism venturing into privatization, village tourism, development of new locations and the opening of crafts centres. Beginning with one resort in 1966, today Haryana Tourism runs 44 tourist complexes dotted all over the State. The resorts provide a wide range of tourist facilities such as a hotel, motels, restaurants, bars, fast food centres, health clubs, conference halls and recreational facilities like lakes for boating, picnic hides and children's parks. 777 guest rooms are available in the resorts run by Haryana Tourism.

All complexes are dotted with beautiful lakes, picturesque landscaping, golf courses, bath complexes, tennis and billiards facilities. Here Adventure sport means canoeing & kayaking, trekking & rock climbing, camping and river rafting.

HIMACHAL PRADESH

Himachal Pradesh is a tiny hill state whose pleasant summers make it a popular holiday resort. The Raj still lingers in Shimla, the state capital and former summer capital during British rule. Kullu-Manali are neighbouring resorts, surrounded by pine covered hills and lush meadows. Himachal has, in addition to popular resort towns, a series of secluded hill retreats ideal for interested anglers, trekkers and those wanting a quiet getaway. Many of these include: from Shimla – Mashobra, Kufri, Naldehra; those around Kullu-Manali include Manikaran, Naggar and Brighu Lake; the barely accessible valleys of Lahaul and Spiti are a trekker's delight.

JAMMU & KASHMIR

Jammu and Kashmir, India's fascinating northernmost state consists of three regions differing in topography and culture. Jammu was the stronghold of Hindu Dogra kings and abounds with popular temples and secluded forest retreats. Kashmir's capital city, Srinagar offers delightful holidays on the lakes with their shikaras and houseboats.

Ladakh is the northern most province of the state, with a bleak terrain of barren mountains. Hilltop monasteries and a colourful way of life, completely at one with the surroundings, make Ladakh one of the best living traditions of Tibetan Buddhism in the world today.

Amongst the three regions of Jammu & Kashmir State, Jammu, perhaps, offers the widest diversity of terrain and beauty. The entire region is pocketed with lakes and valleys, some still little explored. The foundation of the settlement of Jammu is attributed to King Jambulochan of the 9th century BC. In 1730 AD, it came under the Dogra rule of Raja Dhruv Deva and Jammu became an important centre for arts and culture, now renwned as the Pahari School. Religion, too, played an important part in its development, so beautifully evidenced in its various shrines and temples spread throughout the region.

PUNJAB

Punjab, the land of five rivers and integrated cultural history,is a treasure trove for an avid tourist.For this land of the great gurus not only boasts of ancient monuments but throbs with historical embodiments.It is no secret that whoever comes to this land of yellow fields with blue mountains providing the romantic and picturesque backdrop has never gone back without imbibing the essence of Punjab.

There is no dearth of breathtaking palaces,for Punjab was the seat of royality,as the imposing Quila Mubarak will tell you. Museums galore and so are the religious places with the Golden Temple offering succour to the mind and soul of any one visiting. If you are a wild life freak, then Punjab can take you on a tour of the sanctuaries,which are hot favourites with migratory birds.Since this state borders Pakistan,there are two main posts from which you can peep into the land that was once an integral part of Punjab and experience the feelings of the people separated by a line. The much truncated India's portion of present Punjab is divided into three natural regions :theMajha,theDoaba and the Malwa. Punjab, the chief wheat producing area of the country, is the overland entry point into India. The state is also known for its production of sports and hosiery goods. The holiest shrine for the Sikhs is the Golden Temple in Amritsar, so called because the dome is covered with gold leaf.

AMRITSAR

Amritsar - the holy city of Sikhs, has grown from a sacred village pond intoa spiritual temporal centre of Sikh culture. The city gets its name from thepool-Amritsar (Pool of Nectar), which was constructed by the fourth religiouspreceptor of the Sikh faith. It also lies on the Asain Highway.

CHANDIGARH

The city of Chandigarh lies in the valley surrounded by Shiwalik Hills that hem the great Himalayas. From here one can travel northwards to the hill resorts of Shimla Kulu, Manali, Dharmashala and Dalhousie. Chandigarh is not only the most modern city in the country but has been planned to perfection by the world famous French architect le Corbusier.

RAJASTHAN

Rajasthan, India's desert state, was once a collection of princely kingdoms where feudal traditions still carry on amidst forts and palace hotels.

Bharatpur is famous for its 29 sq km bird sanctuary which has the largest concentration and variety of birdlife in Asia. Throughout the year Bharatpur's native population of tree and water birds can be seen, the latter breeding in July-August. However, the sanctuary has gained worldwide attention as being the winter home of several migratory species including the endangered Siberian crane.

The capital city, Jaipur, was the stronghold of a clan of rulers whose three hill forts and series of palaces in the city are important attractions. Known as the Pink City because of the colour of the stone used exclusively in the walled city, Jaipur's bazaars sell embroidered leather shoes, blue pottery, tie and dye scarves and other exotic wares. Western Rajasthan itself forms a convenient circuit, in the heart of the Thardesert which has shaped its history, lifestyles and architecture. Jodhpur's exquisitely lovely fort, now a museum; art deco royal palace converted into a hotel, and quaint markets, all vividly testify to the history of the princely state. Jaisalmer, in the heart of the desert, is surrounded by sand-dunes which rendered the sand coloured fort impregnable. Today it is an inhabited city whose chief attraction is lacy filigree of pierced stonework facades of private houses, and a series of ornately carved Jain temples.

Bikaner too has echoes of the past in its sandstone palace, temples and cenotaphs. In the north of Rajasthan, Shekhavati is approachable by road from Jaipur. The greatest attraction here are the deserted mansions of local merchants decorated with a profusion of wall paintings. The subjects and styles vary greatly, and are not encountered elsewhere in India. Nearby Dundlod and Mandawa are forts, now converted into charming hotels. Bundi is remarkable for its palace fort and gallery of fine frescoes, executed in the style for which the state is famous.

Approachable by road from Jaipur are Ajmer and Pushkar. Ajmer's pre-eminence is due to the shrine of a Muslim saint who is believed to fulfill one's wishes. Nearby Pushkar has one of the very few temples dedicated to Brahma the Creator. The sleepy town with its placid lake is catapulted into prominence for 10 days every November as India's most splendid camel fair takes place here, attended by thousands of locals flashing jewellery and exuding colour. For the thousands of tourists who visit Pushkar, accommodation is in the form of tents which cater to all budgets.

Also in Rajasthan is the wildlife sanctuary of Sariska where a royal hunting lodge has been converted into a hotel. Sariska's wildlife includes the tiger, panther, deer and antelope.

UTTARAKHAND

Uttarakhand became the 27th state of the Republic of India in November 2000. Carved out of the state of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand mainly comprises the hilly regions of Uttar Pradesh. The state borders Himachal Pradesh in the north-west and Uttar Pradesh in the South, and has international borders with Nepal and China. A picturesque state, Uttarancahal has magnificent glaciers, majestic snow-clad mountains, panoramic views of the Himalayas, dense forests and the valley of flowers, as well as some of Hinduism's most sacred pilgrim sites. The State's 13 Districts can be grouped into three distinct geographical regions, the High mountain region, the Mid-mountain region and the Terai region. This is the land where the Vedas and Shastras were composed and great Indian epic, The Mahabharatha, was written.

The state is very rich in natural resources especially water and forests as it has many glaciers, rivers, forests, mountain peaks. The famous peaks of Uttarakhand are Nanda Devi, Kedarnath, Trishul, Bandarpunch and Mt Kamet. The major glaciers include Gangotri, Pindari, Milam and Khatling. The Ganga, The Yamuna, Ramganga and Sharda are principal rivers of this region.

The name Haridwar means "gateway to God", and it is from here that the pilgrimage to two famous temples, Kedarnath (Lord Shiva) and Badrinath (Lord Vishnu) starts. It is situated on the banks of river Ganga, at the foothills of the Shivalikmountains. It is one of the four places where the Kumbhmela is held every 12 years. During this fair, millions of devotees take a holy dip in the river Ganges to wash away their sins. It is said that the pitcher of Amrit was kept in hiding here by Devtas when it was unearthed from SagarManthan. The same pitcher was taken to the other places, i.e. Allahabad, Ujjain and Nasik. In the struggle with Asuras the pitcher broke spilling some sacred water (amrit), since then these places became very holy and the Kumbhmela is held every 3 years in these cities in succession. Every evening, after sunset, aarti of the Ganga is performed in Har-ki-Pauri.

UTTAR PRADESH

In Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow was associated with the princely court of Oudh and then with the British, both traditions lingering on in the city whose finest monument is the Bara Imambara. Further east, Varanasi is the oldest city in India. An important centre of Hindu pilgrimage, it is believed that those who die in Varanasi will be released from the cycle of rebirth. Pious Hindus still come to Varanasi to spend their last days, living in spartan communes run by a multitude of religious trusts. The focus of interest to a visitor is the sacred River Ganga. At the series of steps leading down to it, people come to wash away their sins by bathing in the river, the dead are cremated and holy men meditate. In the narrow bylanes of the city are crowded bazaars selling brassware and silk brocades.