India is justly proud of her rich wildlife, and our 17-day journey provides a glimpse of the abundant variety of fauna to be found in northern India, with visits to the world-famous Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, and the Ranthambhor reserve in Rajasthan, as well as including the major historical sites in the region.
Day 1 : ARRIVE DELHI
Arrive Delhi’s International Airport this evening. You will be met at the airport by our representative who give you a warm welcome with fresh flower garlands and transfer to your landmark hotel by air-conditioned Car. Your room is availabe for immediate occupancy. Overnight stay in Delhi.
Day 2 : DELHI
Morning after leisurely breakfast we leave for a sightseeing tour of Old and New Delhi. We visit JamaMasjid, this immense mosque is both the largest in India and the final architectural extravagance of Shah Jahan with a courtyard capable of holding 25,000 devotees. The highlight of the tour is an exhilarating bicycle rickshaw ride through the bustling and colourful streets of the fabled shopping bazaar, ChandniChowk (Silver Street). We drive past Red Fort citadel and reach Raj Ghat, a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi is a simple black marble platform that marks the spot of his cremation on 31 January, 1948. Two museums dedicated to Gandhi are located near by. In New Delhi we visit the Humayun’s Tomb, a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE an outstanding monument in the Indo-Persian style, considered to be the precursor of the Taj Mahal. The India Gate, a memorial raised in honour of the Indian soldiers martyred during the Afghan war and drive past the grand government buildings the President’s House and Parliament House all dating back to the time of British Raj. Overnight stay in Delhi.
Day 3 :DRIVE DELHI / JAIPUR(250 Kms / 5Hrs)
After breakfast we drive towards Jaipur – founded by Maharaja Jai Singh II, this ‘pink city’ is meticulously constructed on the lines of the Shilpa – Shastra, an ancient Hindu treatise on architecture. This evening, visit the Birla Temple to learn more about the fascinating religious life of Jaipur. The marble structure, built as recently as 1985, houses ornate statues including one of Lakshmi (goddess of Wealth and Beauty) and Narayan dressed in gaudy robes, representing a Hindu vision of heavenly luxury. Carvings in the temple and on pillars supporting the covered walkways include images of the Hindu pantheon, as well as Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Francis of Assisi. Your visit will coincide with the AARTI Ceremony, which involves oil lamps being lit and waved, in order to awake and invoke the deity. Enjoy the experience and spend night at Jaipur. Overnight stay in Jaipur.
Day 4 : JAIPUR
Morning breakfast followed by a sight-seeing tour of the city visiting the dramatic hilltop fortress at Amber – ascend the imposing fort on a decorated painted elephant. We wander among glittering inlays and the Hall of Mirrors. On the way back we stop at Jal Mahal, the rajput style "Water Palace" sits in the center of the Man Sarobar lake. The lake is often dry in the summer but winter monsoons frequently turn it into a beautiful lake filled with water hyacinths. Next to view the elegant Hawa Mahal or Palace of the Winds this elaborate building, now little more than a façade, is encrusted with delicate screens and carved balconies from which the royal ladies, confined to their quarters, could sneak views of the outside world. Post lunch we tour the Maharajah’s City Palace, now partly a museum display a unique fusion of Mughal and Hindu architecture, and house a rare collection of paintings, Rajput armoury and costumes. Albert Hall, Situated in the middle of the garden as a centre attraction was the exquisitely built structure of Albert Hall, which was designed by sir Swinton Jacob, a British architect who designed many palaces in Rajasthan. Combining the elements of English and north Indian architecture known as the pride of the New Jaipur opened in 1887 AD, it is a very well maintained and impressive building displaying a rich collection of Art- de- fact like paintings, carpet, ivory, stone and metal sculptures and colourful crystal works etc. Later we explore the city on our own and indulge in shopping for gemstones, silver jewellery, Paintings, blue pottery and hand printed textiles that Jaipur is renowned for. Overnight stay in Jaipur.
Day 5 :DRIVE JAIPUR / FATEHPURSIKRI /AGRA(250 km / 6hrs)
After breakfast we travel to the home town of Taj Mahal – Agra, is the one of the prominent destinations of the World Tourism map with three World heritage monuments -The Taj Mahal, FatehpurSikri& Red Fort. It is more just a dacadent city of graveyards and stones, but it is a vibrant centre of Culture, Art and Religious philosphies that have enriched mankind and shaped humen thought over centuries. Enroute we visit FatehpurSikri - a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE which has been described as “the world’s most perfectly preserved ghost town”. Built by Akbar in the late 16th century, it was abandoned after only 14 years, and the elegant buildings of this superb walled city remain intact to this day. On arrival we check inn to our hotel. Overnight stay in Agra.
Day 6 :AGRA
After enjoying a hearty breakfast at the hotel we leave to explore the monumental heritage of the Great Mughals, including the magnificent Taj Mahal(Closed on Fridays), a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE one of the Seven Wonders of the World and surely the most extravagant expression of love ever created. 20,000 men laboured for over 17 years to build this memorial to Shah Jahan's beloved wife. It's a wealth of white marble and semi-precious stone – « undoubtedly the highlight of the tour ».
Opposite to Tajmahal we visit MehtabBagh, the moonlit garden from where we have a amazing view of Tajmahal — believed to have been designed by Shah Jahan to view the Taj on moonlit nights, far away from the maddening crowd, The garden complex is situated on the left bank of Yamuna opposite to TajMahal. It is a huge square measuring approximately 300x300 m and in straight alignment with the Taj Mahal. The forestry plantations and agricultural fields provide a green forecourt to TajMahal and its reflection in Yamuna. Post lunch tour of the imposing Agra Fort, a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE this powerful fortress of red sandstone encompasses, within its 2.5-km-long enclosure walls, the imperial city of the Mughal rulers. It comprises many fairy-tale palaces, such as the Jahangir Palace and the Khas Mahal, built by Shah Jahan; audience halls, such as the Diwan-i-Khas; and two very beautiful mosques. Overnight stay in Agra.
Day 7 :DRIVE AGRA / DELHI & FLY PATNA(IC407, 1125/1255hrs) / BODHGAYA (125Km/03Hrs)
Early morning we drive back to Delhi and board our flight to Patna, Met on arrival at Patna airport and drive to Bodhgaya, It was in Bodhgaya under the Bodhi tree that Gautam, the prince, attained enlightenment to become the Buddha. King Ashoka erected a shrine near the Bodhi tree which was replaced by Mahabodhi Temple in the 2nd century BC. It houses a gilded image of the Buddha in the pose signifying enlightenment; there are carvings on the stupas depicting tales from Buddha's lives. The original Bodhi tree was said to have been destroyed and the present tree behind the temple complex is believed to come from the sapling which was carried to Sri Lanka from the original tree and then brought back to Bodhgaya.
Enroute we will be visiting Rajgir and Nalanda (prominent Buddhist sites). Overnight stay in Bodhgaya.
Day 8 :BODHGAYA
After enjoying our breakfast we embark on a sightseeing tour of Bodhgaya visiting Mahabodhi Temple,a UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE depicting the various phases of Buddha's journey towards enlightenment, showing different aspects of his life. Overnight stay in Bodhgaya.
Day 9 :DRIVE BODHGAYA /VARANASI(240Kms / 6 Hrs)
After enjoying our breakfast we drive to Varanasi, the most ancient living cities in India. From time immemorial it has been a great religious center for Hindus and one of their most sacred places of pilgrimage, being visited by millions of people every year. To every visitor Varanasi offers a breathtaking experience. The rays of the dawn shimmering across the Ganges; the high-banks; the temples and shrines along the banks bathed in a golden hue …soul stirring hymns and mantras along with the fragrance of incense filling the air…and the refreshing dip in the holy waters gently splashing at the Ghats. Varanasi – The land where experience and discovery reach the ultimate bliss. Varanasi is also renowned for its rich tapestry of music, arts, crafts and education. Some of the world – renowned exponents India has produced in these fields were schooled in Varanasi’s cultural ethos. Luminaries apart, Varanasi abounds in the art of silk weaving, an exotic work of art which manifests itself in precious Banarasi silk sarees and silk brocades which are cherished as collector’s items across the world today.
We arrive by afternoon. Early evening we visit Sarnath, an important pilgrimage centre for Buddhist. This is where the Buddha preached his first sermon after getting enlightenment. Sarnath's temples and Archaeological Museum are full of Buddhist art treasures. Overnight stay in Varanasi.
Day 10 : DRIVE VARANASI / KUSHINAGAR(275 Kms / 6 Hrs)
In the morning visit the sacred river Ganges before sunrise, to see how the Hindus of Varanasi pray to the rising Sun and then pray to the river Ganges. Enjoy the boat ride at river Ganges. Breakfast at the hotel. Later proceed for sightseeing including the Golden Temple, Bharat Mata Temple and Birla ( Shiva ) Temple. Later check out and drive to Kushinagar. On arrival, check into the hotel. Overnight stay in Kushinagar.
Day 11 : DRIVE KUSHINAGAR/LUMBINI(175 Kms / 4 Hrs):
After breakfast visit the Mahaparinirvana Temple& Stupas, later drive to Lumbini& transfer to hotel. Lumbini- the birthplace of the Buddha, was located in 1890 after being untraced for 1,500 years. Evening sightseeing tour of Lumbini including a visit to the birth Place of Lord Buddha.Overnight stay in Lumbini.
Day 12 :DRIVE LUMBINI / SRAVASTI(240 Kms / 6 Hrs)
After breakfast drive to Sravasti - the capital of the ancient kingdom of Kosala, has the honor for sightseeing of Buddha for 24 rainy seasons in the Jetvana Gardens. The city believed to be founded by the mythological king Sravasti, has age-old stupas, majestic monasteries and several temples. Buddha is said to have performed some miracles here. In Sravasti visit Saheth - Maheth&Jetvan. Overnight stay in Sravasti.
Day 13 :DRIVE SRAVASTI / LUCKNOW(170 Kms / 4 Hrs) /FLY DELHI
After breakfast drive to Lucknow and board flight to Delhi. Met on arrival at Delhi airport and transfer to the Hotel.Overnight stay in Delhi.
Day 14 : DEPART DELHI
Check out time is 12 Noon. Spend the afternoon by exploring Delhi as per your own wish. Evening Farewell Dinner at popular restaurant and later Transfer to the airport to board home bound flight.