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 ALL Tours >> North >> Pilgrimage >> EXTN 04 - PILGRIMAGE TOURS-NEW

 



HINDU PILGRIMAGE TOURS

DELHI* HARIDWAR * MATHURA * VARNASI *

'' VISHVESHAM MADHVAM DUNDHIM DANDPANI BHAIRON VANDEKASHI GUHAAM GANGAM BHAWANI MANIKARNIKA''

Amongst most Hindus, it is regarded as beneficial to worship at places where God has revealed. A pilgrimage trip to these places not only becomes important once in a life time but it also attains significance at time of birth, stepping into youth and at time of birth. At these pilgrimage sites, special importance is given to performing Puja (an integral part of worship) and Darshan- (having a view of the deity), with offerings to gods.

Through this pilgrimage tour we give you a glimpse of these holy places and try to visit some of the Hindu pilgrimage cities of Mathura, Varanasi, Allahabad & Haridwar. The seven holiest places as per Hinduism are Haridwar, Mathura, Ayodhaya, Varanasi, Ujjain, Dwarka and Kanchipuram.

South India as a whole has long been the home of distinctive cultural traditions within India. It has over 2000 years of continuous cultural history, a language dating back before the birth of Christ and some of the most remarkable temple architecture in India and with living tradition of music and dance. Most of towns of today have developed around some piece of mythological history. Places like Chidambaram, Rameshwaram and Kanchipuram are found in Hindu mythological of Ramayana and Upanishad’s.

HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR PILGRIMAGE PACKAGES:
=607; The pilgrimage package has been designed to cater to the
   pilgrimage & eligious requirements of Hindus. However non-
   Hindus are also welcome to get the divine experience and
   insight into the myriad world of Hinduism.
=607; All transfers and sightseeing with chauffer driven air-
  conditioned car.
=607; Special handling and assistance our staff at all place and
  specially in Varanasi, should clients require any assistance
  for prayer or priests etc.
=607; Special Sattwik Bhojan (no onion - no garlic) available on
  request.
 

PROGRAMME 1.
THE NORTH INDIA - PILGRIMAGE TOUR

01:    ARRIVE DELHI.
Met upon arrival and transfer to Hotel. Overnight at Hotel.

02:    DELHI-HARIDWAR-RISHIKESH.SHATABDI EXP.
Morning transfer to station to board Shatabdi Express for Haridwar departing at 7 am. Met upon arrival at Haridwar and proceed with the sightseeing tour of Haridwar. Legend has sanctified it, by placing Lord Vishnu’s footprint on the river bank (Hari-Ki-Pairi) making Haridwar (Vishnu’s Gate) one of the seven holiest cities of India. Haridwar, Allahabad, Ujjain and Nasik are considered the holiest place sin India, as per legend. It is believed that that Hindu gods and demons vied for the pot (Kumbh) that held nector of immortality (amrit). During the 12-day fight for pocession, lord Vishnu spilt four drops of amrit, which fell to earth, making four sacred places. Thus one the zodiacal anniversary of this event, a religious fair is held every 12 years and every 6 years, ardh-Kumbh is held. We visit Hari-Ki-Pairi, Mansa Devi temple, Pawan Dham and the temple of Dakseshwar. After visit drive to Rishikesh. Upon arrival, check-in at your hotel. Afternoon proceed with the sightseeing tour of Rishikesh (Hair of Sages) visiting Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram, Muni-Ki-Reti and Triveni Ghat. It is at Triveni Ghat where pilgrims purify
themselves by bathing in Ganga in morning and offering floating lamps after sunset for evening Aarti. Overnight at Hotel.

03:    HARIDWAR-ALLAHABAD.
Morning at leisure. Afternoon in time transfer to station to board train for Allahabad. Overnight on board train.

04:    ALLAHABAD-VARANASI.
Met upon arrival in Allahabad and transfer to Hotel Kanha Shyam or similar for wash & change. Allahabad lying at the confluence of two rivers Ganges and Yamuna. It is here at beach of Prayag, where mythical underground river Saraswati is also said to surface. Bathing here is auspicious at all time of the year, more so at Magh Mela, which occurs every year for 15 days (January/February) and longer at the Kumbh
Mela. It is during Kumbh, when pilgrims bathe at Prayag to wash away a lifetime’s sins. After breakfast at hotel, proceed with tour of Sangam. Sangam or Prayag is the place where 3 rivers meet, i.e. Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati. It is believed that the purifying power of a sacred river is strengthened at Sangam. After visit depart for Varanasi, 122 kms/2 hours drive en route visiting Sita Marhi. It is also the place where at ancient times Maharishi Valmiki’s hermitage was situated and Lav & Kush were born here. It is also the place where wife of lord Rama, Sita embraced goddess earth to prove her innocence. Visit the only temple dedicated to Sita at this holy place. After the visit depart by car for Varanasi. Upon arrival in Varanasi and check-in at your Hotel. Overnight at Hotel.

05:    VARANASI.
Early morning after morning tea, proceed with visit to the Ghats for Argh ceremony & Boat ride. After visit have session with an Indian priest on Hinduism. After this visit the Sakshi Vinayak Temple, Vishalakshi Temple, Bindu Madhav Temple, Kedareshwar Temple, Varahi Devi Temple & Kal Bhairva Temple. After the visit return to your hotel for breakfast. Afternoon proceed with sightseeing tour of city, visiting Kashi Viswanath or Golden temple, Maa Annapurna temple, New Viswanath temple (BHU), Sankat Mochan, Tulsi Manas Mandir, Durga Temple, Batook Bhairva & Kamakhya Devi temple. Later participate in the evening Ganga Aarti ceremony at the time of sunset with boat ride on river Ganges. Overnight at Hotel.

06:    VARANASI-AGRA-MATHURA.MARUDHAR EXP.
Full day at leisure for individual activity. Evening in time transfer
to station to board overnight train for Agra with packed dinner. Overnight on board train.

07:    AGRA-MATHURA. A:0715 hrs.
Met upon arrival in Agra at 8 am and transfer to hotel for breakfast. After breakfast at hotel, proceed with sightseeing tour of Taj Mahal. After lunch at Hotel, depart by car for Mathura. Upon arrival in Mathura, check-in at your Hotel. Mathura is perhaps the supreme sacred city of Hindus; with birth of Lord Krishna Evening proceed with visit to the Kesava Deo Mandir, believed to the birthplace of Lord Krishna, the Vishram Ghat, where Krishna rested after battle with Kamsa. The Sati Burj. Overnight at Hotel.

08:    MATHURA-DELHI & DEPART.
After breakfast at hotel depart by car for Delhi en route visiting Vrindavan. At Vrindavan – visit Radha Kund, the sacred place where Lord Krishna spent his childhood, visit the Gobind Dev temple, Madan Mohan temple, Jagat Krishna temple and ISKON temple. Arrive in Delhi and transfer to airport to board flight for onward destination.

End of Tour
PROGRAMME 2.
THE SOUTH INDIA  PILGRIMAGE TOUR

01:    ARRIVE CHENNAI.
Met upon arrival and after assistance at the airport and garlanding transfer to your hotel. Overnight at Hotel.

02:    CHENNAI-TIRUPATI-CHENNAI.
After early breakfast at hotel, depart by car for same day excursion to Tirupati (appox 150 Kms one way). The Tirumalai Hills provide a picturesque setting for the famous temple of Sri Venkatesvara. The seven hills of Tirumalai are compared to the 7-headed serpent God Adidesha who protects the sleeping Vishnu under his hood. Visit the 10th century Sri Venkatesvara temple located in the north of the temple complex. Also visit the  Govindarajasvami Temple build by Nayakas in 16th century dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Krishna and the Kapilesvarasvami Temple famous for the sacred waterfall of Kapilateertham. {Presently the Darshan system has been computerized. Each devotee will be given a band at the foothill, which will denote the time when pax will be allowed to enter the "Q" complex, only at that time they will be allowed inside the complex. Till that time they are free for independent activities}. After the visit return to Chennai. Overnight at Hotel.

03:    CHENNAI-MAHABALIPURAM-CHENNAI.
After breakfast at hotel proceed with half-day tour to Mahabalipuram en route visiting Tiruvanmiyur Temple dedicated to Goddess Tripurasundari. The temple has 108 Shivalinga images and is packed with worshippers on Fridays. Mahabalipuram derived its name after the legend when Lord Vishnu captured Mahabali (the Pallava ruler who ruled in 7th century). Visit the Bhagiratha’s Penance (Decent of Ganga) also referred as the Arjuna’s Penance, The Mandapas, group of 10 cave temples, which are hewn out of rock, the Ganesh Mandapa and the Trimurti Temple caves dedicated to Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Also visit the Five Rathas and the Shore Temple. After visit return to your Hotel. Afternoon at leisure for individual activity. Overnight at Hotel.

04:    CHENNAI-KANCHIPURAM-
TIRUKKALUKUNDRAM-PONDICHERY.
After breakfast at hotel, depart by surface for Kanchipuram. Kanchipuram once known as “ the Golden city of thousand temples” is one of the seventh sacred cities of Hinduism. It is also one of the oldest towns in South India, with history going back to 3rd century BC. Once famous for over 1000 temples, there remains only about 200 today. Visit the Kailasantha temple- over 1000 years old, the most beautiful and built of sandstone in early 7th century by Pallava king. The outer wall has a diving wall with a shrine and doorways, separating a large courtyard from smaller. The unusual enclosure wall has 58 raised shrines with a Nandi in most pavilions. The seven shrines in the complex are similar to the Rathas in Mahabalipuram and have images of different forms of Shiva’s. Also visit the Ekambaresvara temple (non Hindus are not to visit the sanctorum). The temple dedicated to lord Shiva, is the largest and have a thousand pillared hall. Visit the Vaikuntha Perumal Temple, built in 8th century and dedicated to lord Vishnu. Later visit Kamakshi Amman temple built in 7th century is dedicated to Goddess Parvati and is one of three holiest places of Shakti worship, the others being in Madurai and Varanasi. There is a shrine to Sri Sankara who founded a monastery and a golden gopuram. The city is also famous for the high quality mulberry silk. Visit a handloom factory and see weavers at work in their spotless huts. After the visit depart by car for Pondicherry en route visiting the Hindu pilgrimage place of Tirukkalukundram famous finely carved hilltop Shiva Temple dedicated to Bhaktavatsleesvara. About 400 steps to take you to the top of the 160m hill and at mid-day, it is said that you will see two Neophran Vultures (pharaoh’s Chicken) fly down to be fed by the priests. The water tank here is considered holy and is said to produce a conch every 1 years. Upon arrival in Pondicherry, check in at your hotel. Overnight at Hotel.

05:    PONDICHERY-CHIDAMBARAM-KUMBAKONAM-
DARASURAM-SWAMIMALI-TANJORE.
After breakfast at hotel visit the Sri Aurobindo Ashram- the final resting place of Sri Aurobindo, a saint-cum-yogi who synthesised yoga and modern science. It is also the final resting place of the Mother. After the visit depart for Chidambaram. Chidambaram is regarded as the holy town of great importance, as it is believed to be the sacred site with center or navel of the universe, connecting the heaven, the earth and the subterranean world of Patala is the place where lord Shiva is believed to have performed the dance of joy. Visit the Nataraja Temple, the Sivaganga Tank, the Raja Sabha with 1000 columned hall or Mandapa and having the largest shrine in India dedicated to Lord Ganesha. After the visit depart by surface for Kumbakonam, named from the legend where lord Shiva was said to have broken a Kumbh (water pot) after it was brought here by a great flood, the water from the pot reputed to have filled the Mahamakam Tank. There are 18 temples in center of town and a monastery of Kanchipuram Sankaracharya visit the Shivite Temple of Nagesvara Swami. Also visit the Sarangapani Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu and the Kumbesara temple and the Mahamakam Tank. After this visit Darasuram located 5 kms south of Kumbakonam to visit the Airavatesvara Temple. Originally named Rajarajesvaram, the temple was re-named after Airavata (literally “born of the milky ocean”) the white elephant that served as the mount of Indra and whom Saivites claimed worshipped Siva at the temple. Also visit the Swamimali, to visit the Temple of Lord Muruga, one of the 6 abodes of Lord Muruga. Upon arrival in Tanjore, check-in at your hotel.

06:    TANJORE-TIRUCHIRAPALLI.
After breakfast at hotel, proceed with tour of Tanjore Temples, visiting the beautiful Chola Temple of Brihadeeshwara. This is a magnificent Shiva temple built 1003 AD by King Rajaraja I, the Chola King. It is considered one of the grandest temples in India. The main shrine is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple is unique because the vimana (the tower over the altar) soars into the sky, while the gopurams (the tower over the entrance) are small. The giant Nandi (bull of Lord Shiva), which is carved out of a single stone, is considered to be the second largest in India, next to the one at Lepakshi. Afternoon depart by surface for Tiruchirapalli en route visiting Samayapuram. The presiding deity of this temple is Mariamman. System of Shakti cult is prevalent here. Oldest form of worship of Goddess is followed here. This is a very powerful Goddess. The main image is made of STACKO (clay which is used for making pottery).  Special poojas are performed on Tue & Fri. The annual festival of this temple is in the month of Adi, during which time Animal sacrifice is done, and also fire walking. Sweet rice (Pongal) is offered to Goddess. People worship this Goddess especially if any one in the family is effected with Chicken pox. Upon arrival in Trichy, check-in at your hotel. Trichy at the confluence of two major river-the Kaveri and the Cooleron. Tiruchirapalli (city of the three-headed demon) was named in memory of a fight Lord Shiva had with a three-headed demon named Trisiras. Evening proceed with visit to the Rock Fort Temple built on an 84-m high rock in the center of the town. It houses the Vinayaka Temple or Ucchi Pillayar Koil with a shrine to lord Ganesha. Also visit the Tayumanaswami Temple located at the base of the mountain. Overnight at Hotel.

07:    TIRUCHIRAPALLI-MADURAI.
After breakfast at hotel, visit the Srirangam Ranganathasvami Temple, the largest temple in India dedicated to lord Vishnu, located in the middle of the Kaveri. Along with Tirupati, the Srirangam Temple is also considered as one of the most important Vishnu temple in South India. It is an important stop for a spiritual tour of South India. Afternoon depart by surface for Madurai en route visiting Tiruparamkundram and Chettinad.  The 78 Chettinad villages left of the original 96 remain a fascinating study for those interested in architecture and artisanship, faith and culture, banking and investment, antiques and Jewellery, comfort and cuisine. The Temple at Tiruparamkundram, is one of the ancient temple of Tamilnadu. Originally this is referred in Kandapuram as PARAN KUNDRAM . The presiding God is Subramanaya and one of the 6 abodes of Lord Subramanaya. The most important event in this temple is THAI POOSAM (JAN) during which time people stay in the temple for 5 days, and they will observe fasting for 5 days and then perform the rituals. The major attraction during this festival is PAL KAVADI/PUSHPAKAVADI etc are taken around this temple. Also visit Alagar Koil’s Athmanathar Temple for it’s superb sculptures and noted for its absence of any images of Siva and Parvati, the main deities whose empty pedestals are worshipped here. This is one of the 108 shrines of Lord Vishnu. This temple is also known as TIRUMAL INUN CHOLAI. The specialty of this temple is that Lord Vishnu is in 3 postures   STANDING/ SITTING & RECLYINING. He is also known as KALL AZHAGAN. The annual festival of this temple is CHITIRAI FESTIVAL. It is really a feast to eyes to watch this ceremony. Lord Vishnu actually starts to Madurai to perform marriage for his sister Goddess Meenakshi, en route he stops at every village as a result of which he will be late to attend his Sister's marriage, when he reaches the Madurai town he comes to know that the marriage is already over and he gets angry and does not enter the town and instead he get's into the Vaigai river.  This festival is conducted in the month of April. Arrive in Madurai and check in at your Hotel. Madurai, located on the banks of river Vaigai, has been an ancient center for Tamil culture. Evening proceed with visit to the Meenakshi Temple, dedicated to the consort of lord Shiva, is an outstanding example of Vijayanagra Temple architecture. Its massive gopurams are profusely decorated (as many as 33 million carvings including an encyclopaedia of dancing poses). Witness the Aarti Ceremony, where the main two deities are taken out in a processions round the temple area by the main priest and followed by hundreds of followers in an elaborate ceremony and thereafter the deities are put back in the Sanctorum.  The ceremony concludes with the Abhisheka (bathing of the deities) before the deities are put to sleep. The Temple is thereafter closed until the next day. Overnight at Hotel.

08:    MADURAI-RAMESHWARAM-MADURAI.
After breakfast at hotel depart by surface for day excursion to Rameshwaram en route visiting Manamadurai. The town takes its name from the mythological story of Ramayana, which tells how Hanuman stopped here with his monkey allies on his way to Lanka to rescue Sita. Visit the Perumal Temple where hanuman is enshrined. Later arrive in Rameshwaram. This is the place as written in the mythological storey of Ramayana that Ram, a re-incarnation of Lord Vishnu, after defeating Ravana, was asked by a sage to purify himself. To do this Ram was advised to set-up a lingam and worship Shiva. Visit the Ramalingesvara Temple with pillared mandapas. After the visit return to Madurai en route visiting Temple of Utara Kosa Mangai. This is one of the oldest temples in South India, situated near Mandapam. The most important festival held is in the month of March - called as Panguni Uthram. The main deity is taken in procession around the town. During this time the local people in this temple conduct marriages. Overnight at Hotel.

09:    MADURAI-CHENNAI.
After breakfast at Hotel proceed with tour of city, visiting the great Meenakshi Temple dedicated to the consort of Lord Shiva. Later visit the Tirumala Nayak Palace- a gracious building in the Indo saracenic style, famous for the Stuccowork on its domes and arches. Afternoon in time transfer to the station to board the overnight train for Chennai with box dinner. Dinner and overnight on board AC 2 tier sleeper of train.

10:    ARRIVE CHENNAI.
Arrive at Chennai’s Egmore station and transfer to your hotel. Rest of the day at leisure. Dinner and overnight at Hotel.

11:    DEPART CHENNAI.
After breakfast in time transfer to airport to board flight for onward destination.

End of Tour
 
ON TRAIL OF SIKHISM

We take a tour of the various religious and sacred site related to the Sikhism religion. These sites and Gurudwaras are spread all over India and Pakistan, the birthplace of Guru Nanak. Some of these Gurudwaras are of immense importance as they are linked to the rise of religion of Sikhism and to the life of their Gurus. We take a journey to some of these important Gurudwaras in Delhi, Patna, Anandpur Sahib and Amritsar.

AA. PROGRAMME 1.

01:    ARRIVE DELHI.
Meeting & assistance on arrival and transfer from airport to
hotel. Overnight at Hotel. (No Meals).

02:    DELHI.
Breakfast at hotel proceed for full day tour visiting, the historical Gurdwara Bangla Sahib. When Aurangzeb summoned Guru Har Krishnan to Delhi then the Guru stayed at Raja Jai Singh’s Bungalow. Since the palace of Raja Jai Singh was called Bungalow, so the same name stuck to the Gurdwara as well. It is believed if one drinks the water from the small water tank within the Gurdwara, it removes all kinds of diseases. Later visit Gurdwara Sees Ganj Sahib, associated with the life of 10th Guru Tegh Bahadur Singh. It is here that Gurdwara Sees Ganj was constructed on the spot where he was cremated. Afternoon proceed with visit to Delhi’s another popular Gurdwara Rakab Ganj. Evening at leisure. Overnight at Hotel.

03:    DELHI -PATNA BY TRAIN.
After breakfast at hotel, proceed with the sightseeing tour of
New Delhi visiting India Gate, drive through the Parliament House, Presidential Palace to Qutab Minar. After this visit the Bahai religion’s Lotus Temple. Afternoon in time transfer to station to board train Rajdhani express for Patna (Monday & Friday only) Departing at 5 pm. Overnight on board the Ac 3 tier sleeper.

04:    ARRIVE PATNA.
PATNA - AGRA BY TRAIN.
Arrive in Patna at 5.45 am. After meeting & assistance on arrival, transfer to hotel Maurya. After Breakfast at hotel, (wash & change rooms provided) proceed with visit to historical Gurdwara, Gurdwara Harminder Sahib. This was to commemorate the birth of Guru Gobind Singh at his birthplace. It is also the second Takhat of the Sikhs (of five such place of authority of Sikhism). Evening in time transfer from hotel to station to board Vikramshila Express departing for Agra at 5 pm. Overnight on board the Ac 2 tier sleeper.

05:    ARRIVE AGRA
Arrive in Agra at 7.20 am. After assistance on arrival and transfer from station to hotel for breakfast. After breakfast at Hotel proceed with sightseeing tour of Taj Mahal one of the most fabled sights in the world, The Taj Mahal, the legendry monument to love built by Emperor Shah Jahan in 1630 to enshrine the mortal remains of his Queen, Mumtaz Mahal. After the visit depart by surface for Delhi. Arrive in Delhi in time to board Shatabdi Express departing for Chandigarh at 4.30 pm (Dinner served on board the train). Arrive in Chandigarh at 10 pm and after assistance at the station transfer to your Hotel. Overnight at Hotel.

06:    CHANDIGARH – ANANDPUR SAHIB - AMRITSAR.
After breakfast at hotel, depart by surface for Amritsar en route visiting Anandpur Sahib (83 KMS). Anandpur sahib is the place where the 10th Guru Gobind Singh created Khalsa. Visit Gurdwara Kesagarh Sahib, the third Takhat of the Sikhs, at Anandpur Sahib, symobolises the turning point in Sikh history. It was at this shrine that Guru Gobind Singh in 1699 A.D. baptized Panj Piaras and thus created a new order of Khalsa. After the visit depart by coach for Amritsar (150 kms). Upon arrival in Amritsar, check-in at your hotel. Rest of the evening at leisure. Overnight at hotel.

07:    AMRITSAR.
After breakfast at hotel, proceed with visit to the Akal Takhat, Harmindar Sahib (Golden Temple) and Museum. Akal Takhat raised by Guru Harigobind Sahib in 1606 A.D is the first Takhat of the Sikhs, a seat of both temporal and eternal authority. It stands facing Harimandar Sahib. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight at hotel.

08:    DEPART AMRITSAR.
    After breakfast at hotel, depart for onward destination.

BB. PROGRAMME 2.

01:    ARRIVE DELHI.
Meeting & assistance on arrival and transfer from airport to hotel. Overnight at Hotel. (No Meals).

02:    DELHI.
Breakfast at hotel proceed for full day tour visiting, the historical Gurdwara Bangla Sahib. When Aurangzeb summoned Guru Har Krishnan to Delhi then the Guru stayed at Raja Jai Singh’s Bungalow. Since the palace of Raja Jai Singh was called Bungalow, so the same name stuck to the Gurdwara as well. It is believed if one drinks the water from the small water tank within the Gurdwara, it removes all kinds of diseases. Later visit Gurdwara Sees Ganj Sahib, associated with the life of 10th Guru Tegh Bahadur Singh. It is here that Gurdwara Sees Ganj was constructed on the spot where he was cremated. Afternoon proceed with visit to Delhi’s another popular Gurdwara Rakab Ganj. Evening at leisure. Overnight at Hotel.

03:    DELHI -PATNA BY TRAIN.
After breakfast at hotel, proceed with the sightseeing tour of New Delhi visiting India Gate, drive through the Parliament House, Presidential Palace to Qutab Minar. After this visit the Bahai religion’s Lotus Temple. Afternoon in time transfer to station to board train Rajdhani express for Patna (Monday & Friday only) Departing at 5 pm. Overnight on board the Ac 3 tier sleeper.

04:    ARRIVE PATNA.
PATNA - DELHI BY TRAIN.
Arrive in Patna at 5.45 am. After meeting & assistance on arrival, transfer to hotel Maurya. After Breakfast at hotel, (wash & change rooms provided) proceed with visit to historical Gurdwara, Gurdwara Harminder Sahib. This was to commemorate the birth of Guru Gobind Singh at his birthplace. It is also the second Takhat of the Sikhs (of five such place of authority of Sikhism). After dinner at Hotel, in time transfer station to board overnight train for Delhi. Overnight on board the Ac 2 tier sleeper.

05:    ARRIVE DELHI.
Arrive in Delhi 10.20 am. After assistance on arrival and transfer from station to hotel for breakfast. Later in the evening transfer to station to board Shatabdi Express for Chandigarh. Arrive in Chandigarh at 10 pm and after assistance at the station transfer to your Hotel. Overnight at Hotel.

06:    CHANDIGARH – PAUNTA SAHIB - CHANDIGARH.
After breakfast at hotel, depart by surface for full day excursion to Paunta Sahib Gurdwara. Overnight at hotel.

07:    CHANDIGARH – ANANDPUR SAHIB - AMRITSAR.
After breakfast at hotel, depart by surface for Amritsar en route
visiting Anandpur Sahib (83 KMS). Anandpur sahib is the place where the 10th Guru Gobind Singh created Khalsa. Visit Gurdwara Kesagarh Sahib, the third Takhat of the Sikhs, at Anandpur Sahib, symobolises the turning point in Sikh history. It was at this shrine that Guru Gobind Singh in 1699 A.D. baptized Panj Piaras and thus created a new order of Khalsa. After the visit depart by coach for Amritsar (150 kms). Upon arrival in Amritsar, check-in at your hotel. Rest of the evening at leisure. Overnight at hotel.

08:    AMRITSAR.
After breakfast at hotel, proceed with visit to the Akal Takhat, Harmindar Sahib (Golden Temple) and Museum. Akal Takhat raised by Guru Harigobind Sahib in 1606 A.D is the first Takhat of the Sikhs, a seat of both temporal and eternal authority. It stands facing Harimandar Sahib. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight at hotel.

09:    AMRITSAR-DELHI & DEPART.
After breakfast, day at leisure for individual activity. Evening in time transfer to station to board Shatabdi Express, departing for Delhi at 1715 hours. Dinner served on board the train. Arrive in Delhi, at 2250 hours and transfer to airport to board flight for onward destination.
 
CATHOLIC PILGRIMAGE GROUP TO INDIA & SRI LANKA

01:    Arrive-Delhi.
Arrive Delhi by International flight. Meeting and assistance on arrival and transfer to hotel The Park. Overnight at the hotel (NO MEALS).

02:    In Delhi.
Morning visit The Sacred Heart Cathedral for Mass at 0630 hours in the morning. After this visit the Church of the Redemption constructed in 1927. This church was built adjacent to the Viceroys House by the architect Henry Medd in 1927. There after return to hotel for breakfast. After breakfast Morning at leisure. Afternoon combined sightseeing tour of Old and New Delhi. Visit Jumma Masjid, drive past the Red Fort Also visit Raj Ghat and Shanti Vana – the cremations sites of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawahar Lal Nehru. After this visit India Gate (War Memorial), Lakshmi Narayan Temple – Modern Hindu Temple, and drive past President’s House, Parliament House and Secretariat buildings. After lunch at restaurant proceed with tour of New Delhi
and proceed for sightseeing tour of Qutab Minar and Lotus Temple. Dinner and overnight at the hotel. (Breakfast Lunch & Dinner)

03:    Delhi-Agra (204 Kms).
Morning visit Cathedral at Gole Market. Afternoon depart by surface to Agra. On arrival check in at hotel Clarks Shiraz. Overnight at the hotel. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)

04:    In Agra.
Morning attend Mass at St Anthony’s Church. Thereafter return to hotel for breakfast and proceed for visit of Taj Mahal and Red Fort & St George Cathedral belonging to the Church of England. Overnight at the hotel. (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner).

04:    Agra-Jaipur (237 Kms).
Morning depart by surface to Jaipur. On arrival check in at the hotel. Lunch at the hotel. Attend Mass at 1730-1830 hrs. Overnight at the hotel. (Breakfast, lunch & dinner).

05:    In Jaipur.
Morning attend Mass at 0800 hrs till 0930 hrs. Thereafter return to hotel for breakfast and proceed for excursion to Amber Fort including Elephant ride and city tour of Jaipur. Overnight at the hotel. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner)
 

06:    Jaipur-Delhi (258 Kms).
    Delhi-Colombo. UL
Morning free for independent activities. Lunch at the hotel. Depart by surface to Delhi. Dinner at restaurant.  After dinner transfer to the International airport for flight to board flight for Colombo departing at 2310 hours. onward destination. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).

07:    Arrive Colombo  
Morning arrive Colombo at 0345 hrs. On arrival met and transfer to hotel Grand Oriental. After breakfast city tour & shopping in Colombo visit Fort, the former British administrative center and military garrison, and the Minor Seminary Borella, the Dutch Church of Wolfendhal dating back to 1749. The historic Dawatagaha Mosque. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight. (Breakfast & Lunch).

08:    Colombo - Kandy
After breakfast proceed to Kandy and check-in at The Swiss Residence. Afterwards visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic - ever since 4th Century A.D, when the Buddha’s Tooth was brought to Sri Lanka hidden from sacrilegious hands in an Orissan princess’ hair, the Relic has grown in repute and holiness in Sri Lanka and throughout the Buddhist world. It is considered Sri Lanka’s most prized possession. Also Visit Major Seminary – Ampitiya.  Evening witness a cultural dance show featuring various dance types of Sri Lanka. Overnight stay at hotel Swiss Residence.  (Breakfast & Lunch).
 
09:    Kandy-Pinnawela-Negombo
After breakfast city tour of Kandy, including Upper Lake Drive, Market Square, Arts and Crafts Centre and the Gem Museum. Kandy - the hill capital. Venue of the annual Perahera. Also visit the Major Seminary- where boys are trained to be priests. Afterwards proceed to Negombo. En route visit the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage - started in 1975 to house the abandoned and the wounded, the orphanage has grown to be a big family today.  A unique experience never to be missed. After this continue to Negombo. Evening at leisure by the beach. Overnight stay at hotel.  (Breakfast & Lunch).

10:    Negombo-Singapore.
Morning transfer to airport to board flight at 0705 hrs back to Singapore. Arrive home sweet home at 1445 hrs with sweet memories of north India & Sri Lanka.


CHURCHES PILGRIMAGE TOUR OF INDIA

01:    Arrive Mumbai.
Met upon arrival and after assistance at airport transfer to hotel Guestline Mercure. Overnight at the hotel (NO MEALS).

02:    Mumbai-Goa. 9W-479. 0630/0730 Hrs.
Morning in time transfer to airport to board flight for Goa. Meeting & assistance on arrival and transfer to hotel Whispering Palms. Check-in on arrival at the hotel. Breakfast at the hotel. Later, proceed for Mass at St. Alex Church in Calungate. (We have arranged private mass at 1100 hrs). After Mass, return back to the hotel for lunch. After lunch, proceed for a short visit of the church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception in Panjim & also Panjim City. Evening proceed for a one-hour’s boat cruise on river Mandovi (1800 HRS TO 1900 HRS). Dinner at the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.

03:    Goa.
After breakfast at hotel, proceed with tour of Old Goa to visit the various churches, chapels, convents & monastery- that will take you back to the days when the Apostle of the Indies, St. Francis Xavier preached the Gospel of Christ. Visit the Basilica of Bom Jesus, where the mortal remains of St.Francis Xavier are enshrined in a silver casket. Next visit the Se Cathedral - which is supposed to be one of the biggest churches in Asia & is famous for its fourteen magnificent altars & the five bells of which one is the Golden bell. Also visit St. Cajetan's church, which is modelled on the original design of St. Peter's in Rome. {Group can have private mass at basilica of Bom Jesus at 1100 hours}. Also visit the church of St. Francis of Asissi, the convent of Saint Monica, etc. After the visit proceed to the Shakari Spice Plantation. En route you visit a cashew-nut factory. At the spice farm you will be welcomed with an Indian traditional Aarti, kumkum & a welcome drink of fresh tender coconut will be served. A Goan buffet is laid out & you serve yourself the meal on a banana leaf. After a sumptuous lunch, begin the tour of the plantation with a well-experienced guide. The plantation is a home to a vast variety of exotic spices, medicinal herbs & fruits. Meet the Ayurvedic doctor who will give a detailed explanation on the herbal plants that are grown in the plantation as a medicine for cure of many ailments. You will also be given a unique opportunity of coming in direct contact with the plants, fruits, medicinal herbs, spice & plucking leaves. You may also purchase various spices, Ayurvedic medicines or medicinal herbs from the farm to take back home. Later return back to the hotel. Dinner at the hotel.

04:    Goa.
After breakfast at the hotel, proceed to Pilar church & seminary. Group can have private mass in Pilar. We have arranged the private Mass at 1100 hrs. After Mass proceed to visit Ancestral Goa in Loutolim. After having a guided tour of Ancestral Goa, proceed for a typical Goan lunch at the Big Foot (which is adjacent to Ancestral Goa) Later proceed to Rachol to visit the Rachol Seminary. Return back to hotel. Dinner at the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.

05:    Goa-Mumbai. 9W-476. 1345/1445 Hrs.
Breakfast at the hotel. Later depart from the hotel & proceed for Mass at St. Alex Church in Calangute. (We have arranged private mass at 0900 hrs). Return back to the hotel. Later, checkout from the hotel & depart for the airport in time to connect for flight for Bombay. Met upon arrival and transfer to Hotel marine Plaza Dinner and overnight at the hotel. (Breakfast & Dinner).

06:    Depart Mumbai.
After breakfast at hotel, proceed with the sightseeing tour of city, visiting the Gateway of India, Prince of Wales Museum (closed on Mondays) Hanging Gardens. After this drive through the famous Marine drive to visit Mani Bhawan. Afternoon proceed with visit to the various churches of Mumbai. Visit the Church of Our Lady of the Mount in Bandra and also to the St. Mary's Basilica, situated atop a hill, 16 Kms from city of Mumbai. This particular shrine although re-built in 1904 has over 400 years old history. The Basilica is frequented by large number of pilgrims throughout the year. After dinner at hotel, in time transfer to international airport to
board flight departure for onward destination.
**************
 
BUDDHIST PILGRIMAGE TOUR
A pilgrimage tour

India the Birthplaces of ancient cultures and timeless traditions the home of the warriors and kings, saints and sagas - India the land of the enlightened one, they call the Buddha. Buddha was born in this Holy Land and attained Nirvana. You will still feel his serene presence as you visit each sacred spot. Because here the spirit of Buddha still lives on forever. The tour includes destinations, which have been closely associated with the life of Lord Buddha.
OPTION 1.
01.  ARRIVE DELHI.
Met upon arrival from your international flight and transfer to Hotel. Overnight hotel.

02.  DELHI.
After breakfast at hotel, proceed with full day sightseeing tour of city. Morning sightseeing tour of Old Delhi visiting Red Fort and Jumma Masjid. After lunch at local restaurant, proceed with sightseeing tour of New Delhi visiting Humayun tomb, Qutab Minar, President's   House, Parliament House and Govt. buildings.
Overnight at hotel.

03.  DELHI-AGRA-VARANASI.
Early morning transfers to station to board Shatabdi express departing at 0615 hours for Agra. Breakfast on board the train. Arrive in Agra at 0815 hours and proceed with sightseeing tour of city visiting the Taj Mahal and Agra fort. After lunch at hotel, proceed with sightseeing tour visiting Itmad-ud-Daulah. Proceed to hotel Kant for wash & change rooms. After dinner at hotel, transfer by coach to Tundla Railway Station 35 kms away from Agra city. Upon arrival at Tundla station board, express train departing at 2255 hours for Mughal Sarai Junction (12 kms away from city of Varanasi). Overnight on board the second-class air-conditioned sleeper berths. Overnight on Train.

04.  ARRIVE VARANASI.
Arrive in Mughal Sari Junction at 0555 hours and after assistance at the station, transfer by coach to Varanasi. Upon arrival Varanasi, check-in at Hotel. After breakfast at hotel, proceed with the sightseeing tour of city visiting the Laxmi Narayan temple, Monkey temple and Benaras Hindu University. After lunch at hotel, proceed with tour of Sarnath. It is here that Lord Buddha attained enlightenment. At the deer park, he disclosed the truth to his first five disciples. Dhamek stupa marks the spot of the Buddha's first sermon. Here one can see chankrama where Buddha walked in meditation. The ruins date back to the time of Emperor Ashoka, as does the lion headed pillar nearby. At the Sarnath Museum, there is a remarkable statue of Buddha setting the wheel of law in motion. The Tibetan Buddhist vihara enshrines sacred relics and is decorated with frescoes by the Japanese artist Kosetsu-Nosu. After the visit return to hotel in Varanasi. Dinner and overnight at Hotel.

05.  VARANASI-GAYA.
After breakfast at hotel, depart by coach for Gaya, 280 kms/ over 7 hour’s drive. Upon arrival in Gaya, check-in at Hotel Siddharth International. Afternoon proceed with tour of this sacred Hindu city visiting the Vishnupad Temple. This 18th century temple constructed by Queen Ahalya Bai of Indore is dedicated to lord Vishnu. Dinner and overnight at Hotel.
06.  GAYA-BODHGAYA-GAYA
After breakfast at hotel, proceed with excursion to Bodhgaya with packed lunch. Bodhgaya is one of the most sacred places for the Buddhists and Hindus. Here visit the Bodhi tree; Gautama attained supreme knowledge to become Buddha. The tree stands today is believed have grown from the original Pepal tree under which lord Buddha meditated. This is Bodhgaya where the story of prince Siddharth ended and the Saga of Buddha begins. Places worth visiting are Mahabodhi temple, Lord temple the greatest and the most sacred shrine to the Glory of land Buddha and are marked by stone lotuses and a soaring tower. Different aspects of Buddha are depicted on its walls. Across the market place is the Tibetan Monastery built in the style of Tibet with slopping tiled roofs. Little away is the Thai Temple and Monastery. Here one can see a magnificent gilded Buddha with curly hair tied in a knot on top of his head. Also, visit Gaya very sacred to the Hindus for it is believed that offerings at the temples and shrines of Gaya will protect and save the recently dead ones from the cycle of birth and rebirth. Dinner and overnight hotel.

07.   GAYA-PATNA.
After breakfast at hotel, depart by coach for Patna, 180 kms/ over 5 hours drive en route visiting Rajgir and Nalanda. Rajgir was the capital of Magadh Empire until Ajatshatru moved to Pataliputra (Patna) in the 5th century BC. Rajgir is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site since Buddha spent 12 years here and the first Buddhist council after the Buddha attained Nirvana was held here. Visit Ajatshatru's fort, Venuvana, Swarna Bhandar, the Cyclopean wall. Lunch at Rajgir Centaur hotel. After this proceed on with your journey and visit Nalanda. Nalanda founded in 5th century BC, was one of the world’s great universities and the Afghans attacked an important Buddhist center until it in the 12th century. Visit the remains of the brick built Great Stupa, the Archeological museum. Upon arrival in Patna, check-in at hotel Patilputra Ashok. Dinner and overnight at Hotel.

08.  PATNA-VAISHALI-KUSHINAGAR.
After breakfast at hotel, depart by coach for Kushinagar, the place of Nirvana. (109 kms/ over tow hours of drive) en route visiting Vaishali. Vaishali holds an important place in the life of Lord Buddha. He visited Vaishali on three occasions. It was here that he announced his approaching Nirvana to his disciples. The famous lion pillar erected by the Emperor Ashoka to mark this portentous event still stands today. During the second great Buddhist council held at Vaishali about 100 years after Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana, a stupa was erected to house one eighth of the enlightened urn's funeral visited Vaishali in the 5th & 7th centuries respectively. At Vaishali   Museum, you will see figures, old coins and photographs   of   the excavations. Buddha’s last journey led him to Kushinagar. Here at the age of 80 Buddha passed into Mahaparinirvana. Buddha was finally freed from the eternal cycle of re-birth leaving with us all the wisdom and knowledge of his remarkable life. The famous sites are Mahaparinirvana temple and Ramabhar stupa where Buddha was cremated. Also visits the Muktabandhana Stupa built by Malla Dynasty to house Buddha’s relics after the cremation. Overnight and Dinner at Hotel.

09.  KUSHINAGAR-SRAVASTI-GORAKHPUR.
Morning after breakfast at hotel, depart by coach for Gorakhpur, en route visiting Sravasti with packed lunch. Sravasti was an important city during the time of Buddha who lived and preached at the monastery of Jetavana. In addition, it was here that Buddha performed the miracle of sitting on a 1000-petalled Lotus and multiplying himself a million times, fires and water emanating from his body. After his death, the monastery enjoyed royal patronage, particularly from King Ashoka and it remained active until 11th Century. Remains of the city and monastery are around the villages of Maheth and Saheth, which are no more than 500m apart. Maheth, on the banks of the Achiravati River, consists of an earthen embankment and the ruins of two stupas and temples. Saheth contains the remains of the Jetavana monastery.

10.  GORAKHPUR-LUMBINI.
After breakfast at hotel, depart by coach for Lumbini, en route visiting Kapilavastu. Kapilavastu is the place where Buddha was groomed to become the future king of Kapilavastu, but his destiny lay elsewhere. It is here he renounced the world and set himself on a long journey. Dinner and overnight at Hotel.

11.  LUMBINI-KATHMANDU.
After breakfast at hotel, depart by coach for Kathmandu with packed lunch/ or transfer to the Bhairwa Airport to board domestic flight of Royal Nepal for Kathmandu. Upon arrival in Kathmandu, check-in at Hotel. Dinner and overnight at Hotel.

12.  KATHMANDU.
After breakfast at hotel, proceed with sightseeing tour of city, visiting the Durbar Square, Hanuman Dhoka- the ancient royal residential quarter, Mahadev and Parvati Temple, Machhender Bahl-holy place for the Buddhists and Hindus. Walk around the local bazaar to the Temple house of Kumari-the vestal virgin or the living goddess. After lunch at hotel, proceed with the sightseeing tour visiting Bodhnath- the colossal Stupa, one of the largest in the world. This stupa has the all-seeing eyes of the Buddha built by King Manna Deva in expiation of his sins of the advice inset with prayer wheels. Also, visit the Pashupatinath Temple, which is noted for its erotic woodcarvings of the struts. Dinner and overnight at Hotel.

13.  KATHMANDU
After breakfast at hotel, proceeds with the sightseeing tour of Bhatgaon- another Newar city founded in the 19th century. Visit the ancient gateway, Durbar square- the royal residential quarter of Bhupendra Malla, famous five-storied temple of Nytapole in pagoda style and other temples. Afternoon visit Patan, also an old royal city built by Newars and Swayambhunath, the 2500 years old Buddhist temple.

14.  DEPART KATHMANDU.
After breakfast at hotel, transfer to the airport to board flight for onward destination.
End of tour

OPTION 2

DAY 01: ARRIVE VARANASI
Meeting and assistance on arrival and transfer to hotel. Afternoon proceed with the sightseeing tour of Sarnath. After attaining enlightenment, Lord Buddha came to Sarnath where he gave his first sermon. In the Sylvan surroundings of deer park, he initiated his first five disciples into the Buddhist monk hood. Here began one of the greatest religious of the world. Emperor Ashoka erected a magnificent stupa here. Forgotten for centuries, Sarnath was excavated by British archaeologist in 1836. Sarnath was a renowned school of learning from 6th century B.C. TO 12 century A.D.   Overnight at Hotel.

DAY 02: VARANASI-BODHGAYA (240 KMS)
Early morning before sunrise proceeds with the boat ride on river Ganges, to see the bathing Ghats and cremation site. Sunrise on the riverfront, as seen from a boat can be a spiritually up lifting sight. The religious capital of Hinduism, Varanasi is the oldest living city in India, and one of the world’s most ancient. It was previously known as Kashi –the city that illuminates. The present name is derived from the fact that the city is at the confluence of the rivers Varuna and Asi. Afternoon depart by surface for Bodhgaya. On arrival check in at the hotel. Overnight at hotel.

DAY 03:  BODHGAYA.
Morning proceed with the sightseeing tour of Bodhgaya. It is this place where meditating under a Fig tree, Gautama Buddha in burst of illumination, he discovered the meaning of existence and became Lord Buddha. This philosophy of life was later spread all over the world by the followers of Buddha.  Thus, this is one of the most important places for the followers of Buddhism to meditate. Today it is a town of temples and monasteries from all the major Buddhist areas of the world. The most important shrine, quite naturally is the one built around the tree, which according to devotees, marks the spot where the great sage received his illumination. It is estimated to be at least 1000 years old. Visit the 9-storied Mahabodhi temple and the Museum. Overnight at hotel.          

DAY 04: BODHGAYA-PATNA (180 KMS)
Morning depart by surface for Patna en route visiting Rajgir and Nalanda. Nalanda - 90 kms from Patna is the site of famous Buddhist University, which flourished from 5th to the 12th century A.D students, came here from many eastern countries, and its library was said to contain over 9 million volumes. Excavations have unearthed ruins of several of the original buildings. Rajgir-12 kms to the south of Nalanda is a holy place for Jains and Buddhists. Gautam Buddha and Mahavira Jain both spent much time here giving sermons, and the First Buddhist Council was held at Rajgir six months after the death of Lord Buddha.  Upon arrival in Patna, check in at hotel. Overnight at hotel.

DAY 05: PATNA-KUSHINAGAR (253 KMS)
Morning leave by surface for Kushinagar en route visiting Vaishali. Vaishali is believed to be the first republic of the world, having an elected body of representatives, holds special significance for Buddhist devotes. At Kolhua, lord Buddha delivered his last sermon, hinting at his impending departures from the mortal world. Later Emperor Ashoka erected a huge pillar to commemorate the spot of the last. Vaishali was also the center of the second Buddhist council congregation held after 100years of Buddha’s Parinirvana to discuss the ten points of Vinaya, the rule of conduct under dispute. Other important sites at Vaishali are Raja Vishal ka Garh, Buddha Stupa 1 and 2 (04th Century B.C). On arrival in Kushinagar, check in at hotel. Later proceed with the tour of Kushinagar (Kushinara of Yore), a revered place for Buddhist pilgrims. It was here that the Tathagata, the reciter of truth, breathed his last with last words, “ Behold now, brethren, I exhort you, saying decay is inherent in all component things, Work out your salvation with diligence “ A temple dedicated to the event the Mahaparinirvana temple today stands amidst a serene “sal” grove, as it still reminiscing the great demise. The huge statue of the reclining Buddha, excavated in 1876 at the temple, is one of the most momentous of all sights for the devout. The whole of Kushinagar, since Mahaparinirvana of Gautam Buddha, was turned into a memorial site with stupas including the relic stupa –Mukutbandhana and Gupta period Chaitayas and Viharas, built by the devout Kings. Overnight at hotel.

DAY 06: KUSHINAGAR-LUMBINI (173 KMS)
Morning depart by surface for Lumbini, en route visiting Kapilavastu, where Lord Buddha spent his early 29 years. Today it is a forest but the recent archaeological excavation has brought the old Royal Palace to surface. Upon arrival in Lumbini, check-in at your Hotel. Afternoon proceed with the tour of Buddha Temple, where he was born. Overnight at Hotel.

DAY 07: LUMBINI-SRAVASTI
Morning depart by surface for Sravasti. On arrival check-in at hotel. Sravasti, according to legend the Buddha confounded his critics by making them witness and a miraculous million-fold self manifestation seated on a thousand petal-ed lotus, as fire and water emanated from his body. The prophet of peace spent 24 rainy seasons here teaching people the essence of his gentle creed. Sravasti is one of the eight most important pilgrimages of Buddhists. Excavation have also revealed two pillars raised here by Emperor Ashoka, the great Indian king who was largely responsible for spreading this word of Buddhism .The Pillars which lie at the eastern gate of Jetavana, mark Ashoka ‘s Pilgrimage to the city.Overnight at Hotel.

DAY 08: SRAVASTI-LUCKNOW
Morning leave by surface for Lucknow to connect flight for Delhi. Met upon arrival in Delhi and transfer to airport to board flight for onward destination.

BUDDHIST PILGRIMAGE GROUP.

01:    BANGKOK-KATHMANDU. TG-319.
Met upon arrival from flight TG-319 arriving at 1235 hours. After assistance at the airport, transfer to your hotel Soaltee Crowne Plaza. After lunch at hotel, proceed with sightseeing tour of city, visiting Swayambhunath temple & museum. Dinner and overnight at Hotel. (Lunch & Dinner)

02:    KATHAMNDU-LUMBINI. 3Z-311. ETD: 1125/A: 1200.
Morning in time transfer to airport to board flight for Lumbini. Arrive in Lumbini and met upon arrival and transfer to Hotel Hokke. Afternoon proceed with visit to the Holy site of sacred gardens, where Gautam Buddha was born. Also visit the sections of Maya Devi Mandir, mother of Gautam Buddha, which is believed to date as far back as the 3rd or 4th century BC, though much of the structure consists of later additions. The Peepul tree, that was cut down was almost certainly not the one below, which Maya Devi gave birth; the original [considered to have been sal] may have survived into 6th or 7th Century AD.  Most important the Ashokan Pillar with circumference of 2.78 meters and standing at 7.79 meters, though a large section is below ground. It was erected by greatest of Mauryan emperor Ashok in 250 BC, in the 20years of his reign. The pillar is Nepal’s oldest known monument. Dinner and overnight at Hotel. (Breakfast, lunch & Dinner).

03:    LUMBINI- KUSHINAGAR.
After breakfast at hotel, depart by surface for Kushinagar, 140 Kms. Arrive in Kushinagar and check-in at hotel Lotus Nikko. Kushinagar (Kushinara of Yore) is a revered place for Buddhist pilgrims. It was here that the Tathagata, the reciter of truth, breathed his last with the last words, “ Behold now, brethren, I exhort you, saying, decay is inherent in all component things! Work out your salvation with diligence!”. After lunch at hotel, proceed with visit to the Mahaparinirvana temple the huge statue of the Reclining Buddha, excavated in 1876 at the temple, is one of the most momentous of all sights for the devout. The whole of Kushinagar, since Mahaparinirvana of Gautam Buddha, was turned into a memorial site with stupas including the relic Stupa – Mukutbandhana and Gupta period Chaitayas and Viharas, built by the devout kings. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

04:    KUSHINAGAR-VAISHALI-PATNA
After breakfast at hotel, depart by surface for Patna, 280 Kms./07-08 Hrs. with packed box-lunch en route visiting Vaishali.  Vaishali located 60 Kms before Patna, is believed to be the first republic of the world, having an elected body of representatives, holds special significance for Buddhist devotees. At Kolhua, Lord Buddha delivered his last sermon, hinting at his impending departures from the mortal world. Later, Emperor Ashok erected a huge pillar to commemorate the spot of the last.  Vaishali was also the center of the IInd Buddhist Council congregation, held after 100 years of Buddha’s Parinirvana to discuss the ten points of Vinaya, the rule of conduct under dispute. Other important sites at Vaishali are Raja Vishal Ka Garh, Buddha Stupa I and II (4th Century B.C).  Vaishali is important for Jains as Mahavir the first Tirthankara born here.   After the tour proceed with drive to Patna. Arrive in Patna and check-in at Hotel Chanakya. Dinner and overnight at Hotel. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)

05:    PATNA-NALANDA-RAJGIR-BODHGAYA.
After breakfast at hotel, depart by surface for Bodhgaya, en route visiting Nalanda and Rajgir. Nalanda, located 90 Kms from Patna was founded in 5th century BC, Nalanda was one of the world’s great universities and an important Buddhist center until it’s sacking by the Afghans in the 12th century.  When Chinese scholar and traveller Xuan Zhang visited between 685 and 762 AD 10,000 monks and students resided here.  The extensive brick-built remains include few intact votive stupas around it, and the monks’ cells.  Also worth visiting the Archaeological Museum [OPEN FROM 1000-1700 HRS.] , Houses the Nalanda University seal, sculptures and other remains found on the site.  After this continue with your drive to Rajgir located 12 Kms. Arrive in Rajgir and proceed with hot lunch at a local hotel. After lunch proceed with visit to the Ajatshatru Fort, Venuvana, and the bamboo grove where Lord Buddha spent some time. Located close is the Jivakamarvana Monastery (4-3rd C BC). After this take the cable car ride to visit the Visva Shanti Stupa built by Japanese on top of Ratnagiri mountain. From here you can have a good view of the Griddakuta Hill (the hill of vultures) from where Lord Buddha, delivered many important sermons and also of the Sattapani Cave, where the First Buddhist Council was convened six months after the death of Lord Buddha. Evening arrive in Bodhgaya and check-in at Hotel Lotus Nikko. Dinner and overnight at Hotel. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).

06:    BODHGAYA.
The day starts with the visit of Mahabodhi temple.  It was in Bodhgaya under the Bodhi tree that Gautam, the prince, Attained enlightenment to become Buddha. King Ashok 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 Stupa depicting tales from Buddha's lives.  (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).

07:    BODHGAYA -VARANASI.
Morning depart by surface for Varanasi. (240 Kms).  Arrive in Varanasi and check-in at hotel Taj Ganges. After lunch at hotel, proceed with visit of Sarnath, the buried Buddhist city where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon.  Sarnath was renowned schools of learning from 6th century B.C. to 12th century A.D. Visit the ruins, the Stupa, the Buddhist temple and the Museum. Dinner and overnight at Hotel. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).

08:    VARANASI-AGRA.
Early morning proceed with boat ride on the holy river Ganges. After early lunch at hotel, in time transfer to airport to board flight CD-7408 departing at 1635 for Agra. Arrive in Agra at 1825 and transfer to Hotel Jaypee Palace. Dinner and overnight at Hotel.

09:    AGRA-DELHI.
After breakfast proceed with the sightseeing tour of city visiting the seventh wonder of the world Taj Mahal. Enjoy tricycle rickshaw ride to gate of monument. After this proceed with tour of Agra Fort. After lunch at hotel depart by surface for Delhi. Arrive in Delhi and check-in at Hotel The Park/Crowne Plaza Surya. Dinner and overnight at Hotel. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).

10:    DEPART DELHI.
After breakfast at hotel, proceed with the sightseeing tour of city visiting Old & New Delhi. Visit the largest mosque in the world Jumma Masjid, drive past Red Fort, Shanti Vana & Raj Ghat. After this proceed for lunch at local restaurant. Afternoon proceed with tour of New Delhi visiting India Gate, drive past the Parliament House & Presidential palace to visit the towering Qutab Minar monument & Bahai Lotus temple. After dinner in time transfer to airport to board flight for Bangkok. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner).
 


Muslim Architecture In Northern India
Delhi * Lucknow * Bhopal * Indore *Mandu * Ajmer * Jaipur * Agra Delhi

The victory of the Turkish ruler of Ghazni over Rajputs in AD 1192 established a 800 year period of Muslim power in India. This period of interaction between the respective cultures the new rulers and the local Hindu population produced innovative developments in the arts , architecture, language and literature. Unlike previous invaders, they retained their own identity and a contemptuous attitude towards their infidel subjects and in doing so prevented their own absorption into the prevailing Hindu religious and social systems. Thus despite almost 800 years of Muslim rule today less than 25% of our population is Islamic yet some of famous monuments were built by them. Given below is a sample itinerary which attempts to cover some of the great Muslim architectural works in North India ,considering the paucity of time we have restricted the coverage to one zone only.
Itinerary
01:    ARRIVE BOMBAY.
Upon arrival at Bombay’s Sahar international airport, met by our Bombay office representative and escorted to the Marine Plaza hotel. Located on Marine drive it is ideal location. After check in ( normal check in time is 1200 hrs) rest for a while. In the afternoon proceed for a half day’s orientation cum sightseeing tour of Bombay.

02:    BOMBAY - DELHI by IC 185 0930 / 1125 hrs.
Transfer to airport to connect flight IC 185 for Delhi. Upon arrival at the Delhi airport transfer to the Claridges hotel. After check in and soon after meet with Mr. Alok Tiwari, your guide and escort for the entire tour till your departure back for Bombay and onwards to Israel. After a detailed briefing start a short half day’s study tour. In the evening proceed for a Sound N light programme at the Red fort. This programme runs through the Muslim history of India. Overnight at hotel Claridges.

03:    DELHI.
Morning proceed with sightseeing tour visiting, Shah Jahanabad-Red Fort,-The red sandstone walls of Lal Qila, the Red Fort, extend for two km and vary in height from 18 Mts. On the river side to 33 Mts. on the city side, Shah Jahan stared construction of the massive fort in 1638 and its was completed in 1648. Lahore Gate - The main gate to the fort takes its name from the fact that it faces towards Lahore, now in Pakistan. When you enter the fort here and immediately find yourself in a vaulted arcade, the Chatta Chowk ( Covered Bazaar). Moti Masjid - Built in 1659 by Aurangzeb for his own personal use, the small and totally enclosed pearl Mosque, made of marble, is the next to the royal baths. One curious feature of the mosque is that its outer walls are oriented exactly to be in symmetry with the rest of the fort, while the inner walls are slightly askew, so that mosque has the correct orientation with Mecca. Jama Masjid - The great mosque of Old Delhi is both the largest in India and the final architectural extravagance of Shah Jahan. Commenced in 1644, the mosque was not completed until 1658, Its now only open on Fridays and Muslim festival days. Chandni-Chowk- The main street of Old Delhi is the colorful shopping bazaar known as Chandni Chowk ( Silver Street). It was the eyes and ears of the Mughal’s commercial interests. The entire area was designed by Jahanara Begum, Shah Jahan’s favourite daughter and was then inhabited by the well-to-do families of the time. The west end of the Chandni Chowk is marked by the Fatehpuri Mosque which was erected in 1650 by one of Shah Jahan’s wives. Purana Qila - This is the supposed site of Indraprastha, the original city of Delhi. The Afghan ruler, Sher Shah, who briefly interrupted the Moghul empire by defeating Humayun, built the fort during his reign from 1538-45, before Humayun regained control of India. Mughal Gardens - Situated within the President’s Estate, these gardens boast of the finest varieties of roses in the country. Overnight at hotel Claridges.

04:    DELHI.
Full day in Delhi. Due to Indian general elections, Delhi ‘s monument etc. will remain closed throughout the day. All efforts will be made for you to visit whatever monuments etc. are open. Alok will be at disposal and he will decide and find out what

 

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Andaman & Nicobar   Andhra Pradesh   Arunachal Pradesh   Assam   Bhadohi   Bhopal   Bihar
Chhattisgarh   Dadra & Nagar Haveli   Daman & Diu   Daman & Diu - Union   Daman & Diu - Union Territory   Delhi   Goa
Gujarat   Haryana   Himachal Pradesh   Jammu & Kashmir   Jharkhand   Karnataka   Kerala
Kerela   Madhya Pradesh   Maharashtra   Meghalaya   Nagaland   Orissa   Pondicherry
Punjab   Rajasthan   Sikkim   Tamil Nadu   Uttar Pradesh   Uttarakhand   West Bengal
                         

 


   

destinations in india

                       
Andaman and Nicobar   Andhra Pradesh   Arunanchal Pradesh   Assam   Bihar   Chhattisgarh   Dadra and Nagar Haveli
Delhi   Goa   Gujarat   Haryana   Jammu and Kashmir   Jharkhand   Karnataka
Kerala   Lakshadweep   Madhya Pradesh   Maharashtra   Manipur   Meghalaya   Mizoram
Nagaland   Orissa   Punjab   Rajasthan   Sikkim   Tamilnadu   Tripura
Uttar Pradesh   Uttaranchal   West Bengal        

 


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