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7. North India & Nepal(13 N/14 D)
Delhi - Jaipur - Agra - Jhansi - Orchha - Khajuraho - Varanasi - Kathmandu – Delhi
DAY 01 : ARRIVE DELHI
On arrival in Delhi meet & assist at the airport & transfer to prebooked hotel.
Delhi : India’s capital & a major gateway to the country, contemporary Delhi is a bustling metropolis which successfully combines in its fold the ancient & the modern. Its strategic location was one of the prime reasons why successive dynasties chose it as their seat of power. New Delhi also reflects the legacy the British left behind . The division between New & Old Delhi is the distinction between the capitals of the British & the Moghuls respectively. So, wherever the visitor goes, he will invariably confront the citys? past.
DAY 02 : DELHI
After breakfast, half day city tour of Old Delhi. Visit Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India. Built by Shah Jahan, the construction was started in 1844 and was not completed until 1658; Red Fort, which was also built by Shah Jehan. This massive fort was built from 1638 to 1648; Chandni Chowk and Rajghat - the cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi.
Afternoon, city tour of New Delhi. Visit Humayuns Tomb; built in mid 16th century this is an early example of Mughal architecture; Qutab Minar, drive past India Gate, President House, Connaught Place. The city tour ends with a visit to Laxmi Narayan Temple (Birla Mandir) or Gurudwara Bangla Sahib (Sikh temple).
DAY 03 : DELHI-JAIPUR (260 KMS, 05-06 HRS DRIVE)
After breakfast, leave for Jaipur. Arrive Jaipur and check in at prebooked hotel. Rest of the day, free.
DAY 04 : JAIPUR
After breakfast, excursion to Amber Fort. Elephant ride from the foothills of the Aravallis to the fort entrance.
Amber Fort : At a distance of 11 kms from Jaipur, Amber was the ancient capital of Jaipur state. Construction of the fort began in 1592 by Raja Man Singh, the Rajput commander of Akbar's army and is a superb example of Rajput architecture.
Afternoon, city tour of Jaipur. Visit the City Palace which has museum having an extensive collection of art, carpets, enamel ware and weapons ; Jantar Mantar - the observatory built my Maharaja Jai Singh in 1728 and the façade of Hawa Mahal.
DAY 05 : JAIPUR - FATEHPUR SIKRI - AGRA (240 KMS, 06-07 HRS DRIVE)
After breakfast, , leave for Agra. Enroute visit the abandoned Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri : built by Emperor Akbar in 1569, was the old capital of the Moghuls, which was abandoned after 15 years due to scarcity of water. See the graceful buildings including the Jama Masjid, Tomb of Salim Chisti, Panch Mahal & other Palaces which are still preserved in its original glory.
Continue drive to Agra. Arrive Agra in the evening and checkin at prebooked hotel.
DAY 06 : AGRA
After breakfast, city tour of Agra. Visit Red fort, which was built by Emperor Akbar in 1565, and additions were made up until the time of his grandson, Shah Jahan. It contains the hall of public and private audiences amongst many other beautiful structues; the highlight of the day - The Taj Mahal, which was constructed by Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Contruction of the Taj began in 1631 and was not completed until 1653.
Note : Taj Mahal closed on Fridays.
DAY 07 : AGRA - JHANSI (BY TRAIN, SHATABDI EXPRESS, 0815-1025 HRS)
JHANSI - ORCHHA - KHAJURAHO (178 KMS, 04-05 HRS DRIVE)
After breakfast, transfer to the railway station to board train for Jhansi. Arrive Jhansi and board our car which awaits you to drive you to Khajuraho.
Enroute visit Orchha : Once the capital of Bundelas, Orchha is a village, set amongst a complex of well preserved palaces and temples. Though Orchha was founded in 1531, it's golden age was during the first half of 17th century. When Jahangir visiting the city in 1606, a special palace, the Jehangir Mahal was built for him. Visit the Jehangir Mahal, Raj Mahal & Ram Raja temple which also dates back to the 17th century.
Arrive Khajuraho and check-in at prebooked hotel.
DAY 08 : KHAJURAHO - VARANASI (FLIGHT, 9W 724, 1330-1410 HRS)
After breakfast visit Khajuraho : Built by the warrior Chandela dynasty that rose to power in Central India between 10th & 11th centuries, the 25 odd surving temples display different facets of life, including the sensual. These erotic carvings on some panels have given rise to much speculation since Khajuraho?s re-discovery by a British officer in 1838. To preserve it for posterity, Khajuraho has been declared a World Heritage Site.
Visit the world famous Khajuraho temples built by the Chandela Kings between 950 AD & 1050 AD. The most important are the Chaunset Yogini temple dedicated to Goddess Kali, the Mahadev temple, Chitragupta or Bharatji temple with lovely image of 11 headed Vishnu, Vishwanath & Nandi temples, Lakshmana temple, Visha temple dedicated to Shiva, which is the largest & most typical of temples.
Afternoon, transfer to airport to board flight for Varanasi : formerly known as Kashi ? the city that illuminates. The religious capital of Hinduism , Varanasi is the oldest living city of India & one of the worlds? most ancient. The present name is derived from the fact that the city is at the confluence of the rivers Varuna & Asi.
Arrive Varanasi and transfer to prebooked hotel.
DAY 09 : VARANASI
Early morning, leave for boat ride on the Ganges to see the bathing Ghats (river bank) & cremation site. Sunrise on the riverfront, as seen from a boat, can be a spiritually uplifting sight. The life on the Ghats bound in an endless string of rituals, ever-changing aspects of the river & the wide landscape across have fascinated visitors from all over the world. Return to hotel for breakfast.
After breakfast, city tour of Varanasi - Visit the Bharat Mata temple with a big relief map of India in Marble, Durga temple, Tulsi Manas Mandir, Benaras Hindu University which has an art gallery & the mosque of Moghul Emperor Aurangzeb.
Afternoon, excursion to Ramnagar - For a 17th century fort, this one is seriously well-preserved, probably because the Maharaja of Benares still resides here. The hall of public audience (Durbar Hall) and the royal museum housing collections of palanquins, elephant saddles, arms, furniture, costumes, etc., are a must see at the Ramnagar fort. Return by boat in the evening, enroute witness the religious ceremonies along the banks of river Ganges
DAY 10 : VARANASI-KATHMANDU (FLIGHT, F5 622, 1525-1635 HRS)
NOTE : Flight operates on Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday.
After breakfast, excursion to Sarnath - the buried Buddhist city where Buddha preached his first sermin. After attaining enlightenment at Bodh Gaya the Buddha went to Sarnath; and it was here that he preached his first discourse in the deer park to set in motion the 'Wheel of the Dharma'. It is one of the most holy sites as in this place the stream of the Buddha's teaching first flowed. Sarnath was a renowned school or learning from 16th century BC to 12th century AD. Visit the ruins, the stupa, the Buddhist temple & the museum (closed on Fridays). At the museum is the Ashok Pillar with its four guardian lions, used as independent India's national emblem.
Afternoon transfer to the airport to board flight for Kathmandu. On arrival in Kathmandu meet and assist at the airport and transfer to prebooked hotel.
DAY 11 : KATHMANDU
In the morning, visit the valley of Kathmandu ? the capital city of Nepal, Swayambhunath & Museum. Afternoon, excursion to Patan.& Tibetan Handicraft centre.
DAY 12 : KATHMANDU
After breakfast, visit Bhaktapur, Boudhnath & Pashupatinath. Afternoon, excursion to Dhulikhel to witness the beautiful sunset. Return to Kathmandu after sunset.
DAY 13 : KATHMANDU-DELHI (FLIGHT, F5 603, 1600-1800 hrs)
After breakfast, free for individual activities. Afternoon, transfer to the airport to board flight for Delhi. Arrive Delhi and transfer to prebooked hotel.
DAY 14 : DEPART DELHI
Transfer to the airport to board flight back home