Heart Of India

17 Nights / 18 Days

Day 1 » Delhi

Arrive in Delhi. Our representative will assist you. Transfer to your hotel. Day free at leisure. Stay Overnight.

Day 2 » Delhi

A day’s sightseeing in Old and New Delhi.

Day 3 » Delhi – Agra

After breakfast check out from your hotel and take the road for Agra arriving at lunchtime and visit the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, both world heritage sites in the afternoon.

Day 4 » Agra – Gwalior

After an early breakfast transfer to the railway station for the morning Shatabdi Express to Gwalior, arriving mid-morning and transfer to your hotel. Gwalior is situated at the very geographical and historical crossroads of India and its immense fortress with history dating back almost 1000 years has had additions from several rulers over the last 500 years. Enjoy a full afternoon’s sightseeing.

Day 5 » Gwalior – Orchha

The 3-hour drive to Orchha brings you to this medieval riverside city by lunchtime. The afternoon sightseeing will include its three palaces and embrace some of the numerous pavilions, lodges and temples that can be glimpsed in the nearby heavily wooded hills, before returning to your hotel in Orchha.

Day 6 » Orchha – Khajuraho

Orchha to the temples of Khajuraho is a 3 to 4-hour drive, bringing you there in time for lunch at your hotel. The temples provide an entertaining and instructive afternoon’s viewing for all human life is depicted here, the Chandella kings who constructed them believing there was no superiority between the physical and spiritual aspects of existence.

Day 7 » Khajuraho – Bandhavgarh

With an early departure from your hotel you reach the wildlife sanctuary at Bandhavgarh and your hotel by lunchtime. Bandhavgarh was originally the private forest reserve of the erstwhile Maharajah of Rewa and despite its compact size (105 sq km) of rugged, hilly terrain, it supports a rich diversity of wildlife including tiger (the ‘white tiger’ variant was first discovered here), leopard, sloth bear, Indian bison (with their distinctive white ‘socks’), and a variety of species of deer. Birdlife too is exceptionally varied, from Malabar hornbills and paradise fly catchers to black vultures and crested serpent eagles. Jeeps and elephants are available for game viewing; note however that the park is open only from November to June.

Day 8 » Bandhavgarh

Full day’s game viewing

Day 9 » Bandhavgarh – Jabalpur

Your morning’s drive takes you to Jabalpur, the 12th century capital and pleasure resort of the medieval Gond Kings and later an important British cantonment. The city itself dates from the nineteenth century, and is laid out in wide and regular streets. It has a beautiful collection of marble rocks called Bhedaghat surrounding the holy Narmada River. Visit them in the afternoon for the Dhuandhar or ‘smoke cascade’ where the Narmada plunges as a waterfall and stay on until nightfall when the snowy rocks are floodlit for a magical effect.

Day 10 » Bhimbetka Hill – Bhopal

We take an early breakfast (and a packed lunch) and leave Jabalpur about 9 am for the long drive to Bhopal. We stop just short at world heritage site of Bhimbetka Hill. The recently discovered large caves here are home to hundreds of plates of prehistoric art on its walls and ceilings, some as old as 10,000 years. We reach Bhopal in the late afternoon.

Day 11 » Bhopal

Situated around two artificial lakes Bhopal, despite its recent past, is an attractive city. The city is home to some 400 mosques the more prominent being Moti Masjid, Jama Masjid and Taj-ul Masjid mosques-all constructed during the 19th century. The morning will be spent sightseeing in Bhopal before going on via the Udaygiri caves, a series of rock-cut sanctuaries carved about 400AD, notable for their sculpture, to Sanchi. This tranquil hilltop cluster of stupas, temples, pillars and abandoned monasteries represents the peak of perfection in Buddhist art and architecture in India. This seat of learning and place of pilgrimage dating from the 3rd century B.C. was lost to view for 500 years from the 14th century. Despite its supreme importance, it remains little visited. You return to Bhopal in the late afternoon.

Day 12 » Bhopal – Ujjain – Indore

You leave Bhopal for the day’s drive to Indore via the ancient town of Ujjain, once an important trade centre on the route to Egypt and still one of the holiest pilgrimage centers for Hindus. Indore is reached by late afternoon and check into your hotel.

Day 13 » Indore

The morning is spent relaxing. After lunch, see outdoor Indore. A liberal and progressive city, it contains the extraordinary Kanch Mandir, a Jain temple of mirrors, and the vigorously eclectic Lal Bagh Palace of the 19th century Holkar dynasty.

Day 14 » Omkareshwar – Maheshwar – Mandu

After breakfast you take the road to Mandu, a fascinating drive full of historic sights. First is Omkareshwar, a sacred island, shaped like Om, the holiest of all Hindu symbols, at the meeting of the Narmada and Kaveri rivers. It is noted for its finely-carved early medieval temples and inspirational setting. A few miles further on is Maheshwar, the site of an ancient temple city mentioned in the 8th century B.C. Mahabharata epic, and revitalized by the Holkar queen, Rani Ahilyabai, in the late 18th century, who built the temples with their soaring spires and the impressive fortress. Arrive at Mandu in the late afternoon. One of the monuments of the Royal Enclave in Mandu. Mandu is a lost and forgotten site in the southern part of Madhya Pradesh.

Day 15 » Mandu

A full day at Mandu. Perched along the Vindhya ranges at an altitude of 2,000 feet, Mandu, with its natural defenses, was originally the fort capital of the Parmar rulers of Malwa. Towards the end of the 13th century, it came under the sway of the Sultans of Malwa, the first of whom named it Shadiabad – ‘city of joy’. And indeed the pervading spirit of Mandu was of gaiety; and its rulers built exquisite palaces like the Jahaz and Hindola Mahals, ornamental canals, baths and pavilions, as graceful and refined as those times of peace and plenty. Each of Mandu’s structures is an architectural gem; some are outstanding like the massive Jami Masjid and Hoshang Shah’s tomb, which provided inspiration to the master builders of the Taj Mahal centuries later.

Day 16 » Ajanta – Aurangabad

An early start after breakfast means arrival at Ajanta by lunchtime, giving you all afternoon to view the extraordinary murals, frescoes and sculptures contained within these rock-cut caves, executed between 200 B.C. and 650 A.D. In the late afternoon drive on to Aurangabad.

Day 17 » Ellora

After breakfast a half-hour’s journey brings you to Ellora and its monumental Hindu, Jain and Buddhist temples cut from the basalt rock. There will also be enough time to see the formidable fortress of Deogiri at Daulatabad, intended by the Delhi Sultan Muhammad Tughlaq as his capital, a short-lived but costly experiment in human lives. Return to Aurangabad. Caves in Elora and Ajanta

Day 18 » Aurangabad – Mumbai

Take the morning flight from Aurangabad to Mumbai. The afternoon is at leisure before your late night transfer to the international airport for your flight home.

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