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Royal North India Tour

Duration of Trip: 14 Nights / 15 Days
Places Covered: Mumbai - Aurangabad - Udaipur - Deogarh - Jaipur Fatehpur Sikri Agra - Khajuraho - Varanasi - Delhi

One of the more comprehensive tours that cover architectural styles of Northern India and offers you a chance to compare distinct styles of various princely states that once constituted India. The itinerary includes the famous temples and Ghats of the holiest city of Hindus - Varanasi. At Khajuraho, you will realize the advanced stage Indian culture had once achieved before it gave way to orthodoxy and stagnancy. The temples of Khajuraho are one of the most primitive forms of sex education that exist in the world. The aristocratic splendor of different forts and palaces along with monuments and mausoleums constructed by Moghuls will take you on a journey to the glorious past of India.


Day 01: Mumbai
Mumbai is the commercial heart and the seat of Hindi Cinema in India. The glamour industry and elite pizzazz thrives here alongside the slums that have attracted so much media attention all over the world with the success of ‘Slumdog Millionare’ at Oscars. As your flight lands at Mumbai, a company representative from TNS will give you a warm traditional welcome, complete with garlands and tilak and transfer you to the luxury hotel The Oberoi, where a room will already be booked for you.

As soon as you check in, the hotel offers you free welcome drinks to help you relax. The company representative will then discuss the details of your itinerary once again and make you aware about all the options that are available along the way to make your trip more enjoyable. This is the right time to make any queries you might still have, indicate your preferences, ask for advice and request for final adjustments to your luxury tour. Then, you are at leisure to enjoy all the comforts at the hotel so that you can be refreshed for the exciting trip for the next day.

Day 02: Mumbai
After feasting on the choicest breakfast at the hotel, you will go on to a half-day excursion to Elephanta Caves, the 6th century rock-cut cave temples known for their sublime beauty and spiritual energy. It has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its beautiful sculptures attract domestic and foreign tourists alike. You will be back in Mumbai for lunch, after which you will proceed to the guided sightseeing tour of the city, which is said to have its own rules of life and success.

Besides the glitterati and celebrities, Mumbai also has a number of architectural delights that it owes mostly to the British Raj period. The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, formerly known as the Victoria Terminus, is one of the busiest and most ornate railway stations of India that now serves as the headquarters for Central Railways. Presenting a fusion of Victorian Gothic and India architectural styles, it has been witness to some historical events, including the terrorist attacks on the city in 2008. The famous Hanging Gardens, the Flora Fountain and the Prince of Wales Museum are other highlights of the city that you will visit.

Ellora-roofYou will also see the Gateway of India that represents the unity of Hindus and Muslims with the fusion of their architectural styles and is the first monument to be seen by people who arrive to the city by boat. In the evening, you will visit the famous Chowpatti Beach that always has the carnival-like atmosphere and is a popular picnic spot for the locals. The spicy roadside snacks, the sands and the sea, and celebration of life here indicate the beginning of the riotous nightlife of the city.

Day 03: Mumbai - Aurangabad (By Air, Usual Time Taken: 45 minutes)
After an early breakfast, you will go on to catch a flight to Aurangabad from the domestic airport, and then to a daylong excursion to Ajanta & Ellora Caves and the Daulatabad Fort. Known for religious art related to Buddhism and universal appeal of its sculptures and paintings, some of the monuments at Ajanta date back to the second century BCE. It was lost to the modern world for as long as 1300 years after 480 AD and were rediscovered only lately by a British officer.

The hill fortress Daulatabad Fort has exceptionally ingenious defense systems. The vertical sides of the plateau on which it stands, the narrow bridge wide enough to hold two people abreast as the only entrance and steep staircase with a grating on top where a huge fire couple be lit to stop the advancing enemy are some of the ways to keep the fort safe from invaders and plunderers. Muhammad Bin Tughlaq ordered all the population in Delhi to march to the fort when he decided to make it the capital of his empire and back due to scarcity of water in the region.

In the evening, you will be driven back to Aurangabad, where you will check in at the Taj Residency for overnight stay.

Day 04: Aurangabad - Mumbai - Udaipur (By Air, Usual Time Taken: 2 hrs)
After a long tiring trip on the previous day, this day is light and relaxing. You will be served a royal breakfast before you check out of the hotel and then, you will fly to Udaipur via inter-transit flight at Mumbai. Udaipur is the most romantic destination of Rajasthan. Surrounded by hills and a number of lakes, it is rightly considered the Venice of the East. You will check in at The Oberoi Udaivilas where you can relax and be refreshed for the next day excitements, when you will visit the fairy-tale palaces and monuments of the city.

Day 05: Udaipur
After breakfast, you will go on a guided sightseeing tour of the city. The City Palace complex on the bank of Lake Pichola provide panoramic views of the Lake Palace Hotel, Jag Mandir and the city. The triple-arched gate known as the Tripolia, the Peacock Courtyard, and Sheesh Mahal are just some of the highlights of complex. You may also visit the heritage hotels inside the complex known as the Shiv Niwas Palace and the Fateh Prakash Palace. The most romantic site in Udaipur is undoubtedly the Lake Palace, which was once a royal summer palace and is now the preferred destination for royal Rajasthan weddings.

Jag Mandir, situated on an island in Lake Pichola, provided sanctuary to Shah Jahan when he revolted against his father. The folk art museum and its puppet shows are quite popular among foreign tourists who also find Monsoon Palace that harvested rainwater for the year-round consumption quite interesting. There are a number of gardens in the city too - the most notable being Sahelion ki Bari, which was once meant exclusively for royal ladies. A romantic boat ride at Lake Pichola watching sunset is an ethereal experience too. At Udaipur, you will also visit the famous Jagdish Temple and the Solar Observatory.

Day 06: Udaipur - Deogarh (Distance by Road: 120 km, Usual Time Taken: 2 hrs)
The true luxury of the tour lies in the choicest of palaces where you will stay during your trip. Once you check out of the hotel at Udaipur, you will be driven to Deogarh Mahal that has now been converted into a luxury palace. A symbol of Mewar aristocracy, it is not gold or wealth that defines the opulence of the place but the subdued grandeur, chivalry and greatness finds expression in the collection of antiques, paintings, intricate carvings and an eclectic mix of European and Indian style furniture. You are free to explore the palace for the day. 

Day 07: Deogarh - Jaipur (Distance by Road: 290 km, Usual Time Taken: 6 hrs)
The erstwhile royalty of Jaipur still has an indelible impression on the mood and environment of the Pink City. After breakfast at Deogarh, you will proceed to a long drive to the Capital of Rajasthan, where you will check in at the Oberoi Raj Villas for overnight stay.

Jaipur is known for its hospitality. It was painted pink to assure Prince Wales that pink is a sacred color here, when some revolutionary referred to him as the pink-faced monkey during his visit to the city. The color has now become the defining characteristic of the old city area.

Day 08: Jaipur
After a light breakfast at the hotel at Jaipur, you will go on a guided sightseeing tour of the city. The first excitement of the day is the royal elephant ride up the slope of the hill to Amber Fort. The majestic fort complex has strong use of Rajput motifs and architectural features including carved brackets and kiosks. Rani Jodhabai, the Hindu queen of Mughal Emperor Akbar, belonged to this place.

Ellora-roofOther landmarks of the city are the magnificent City Palace, a part of which houses the heirs of erstwhile royalty; the Hawa Mahal or the Palace of Winds with an ingenious natural air-conditioning system; and the Jantar Mantar or the Royal Observatory. You will also visit the rug and the gem factory in the evening. At rug factory, you can see ladies weaving intricate designs while at the gem factory, you can see the precision and focus that cutting and polishing of gems require.

Day 09: Jaipur - Fatehpur Sikri - Agra (Distance by Road: 235 km, Usual Time Taken: 5 hrs + 2 hours for touring Fatehpur Sikri)
You will be served breakfast at your hotel in Jaipur, before you proceed to the City of Taj, Agra. En-route, you will visit Fatehpur Sikri, developed by Emperor Akbar with a vision of making it their capital. However, it had to be abandoned later due to scarcity of drinking water. The city and its monuments are simply grand and beautiful. The Royal Entrance or the Buland Darwaza leads straight to the pool of oblations and Sheikh Salim Chisti’s Dargah. The Hall of Public was designed to deliver justice to the commons and the Private Hall was designed to greet royal guests and honored personages. The queen’s quarters are equally enchanting and present a fusion of various architectural styles and European, Islamic and Rajput motifs to represent the secular views of the emperor. The Panch Mahal, the palace of Rani Jodha Bai, had a five-chamber planning and is the most spectacular specimen of architectural beauty.

At Agra, you will check in at the Oberoi Amar Vilas.

Day 10: Agra
A special day for those who had been waiting to see Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, you will go on a guided sightseeing tour of the erstwhile capital of Mughals on this day. The pure white Taj Mahal has been the beloved of photography enthusiasts for its clever use of optical illusions, pure white marble expanse, breathtaking landscaping, perfect planning and inlaid stone work that used precious and semi-precious stones. The changing colors of the mausoleum and the resplendent beauty of the dome in the full moon cannot be captured in words.

You will also see the Agra Fort, where Aurangzeb imprisoned his ailing father Shah Jehan in his last days to capture his throne. The magnificent vantage viewpoint of Taj from the room where Shah Jahan took his last breath speaks volumes about his love for his beloved queen. Other highlights of the city include Itmad-ud-Daullah’s tomb, which is said to be an important link of evolution of Mughal style of architecture. Before retiring for the night, you can shop for souvenirs and gifts such as Taj miniatures, handicraft items and marble tabletops with inlaid stonework.

Day 11: Agra - Jhansi (By Train, Usual Time Taken: 4 hrs) Jhansi - Orchha - Khajuraho (Distance by Road: 170 km, Usual Time Taken: 4 hrs)
The day today is long as you take the train from Agra to Jhansi and then proceed directly to the Orchha Fort complex. This huge fort palace has several buildings and monuments, the most notable being Rajmandir and Jahangir Mehal. Beautiful specimens of domestic Hindu architecture, it was once the stronghold of Bundela Rajputs. Situated on an island in the Betwa River, its palatial rooms, pillars, domes and arches are some of the most alluring features of the fort palace. The complex also has one of the oldest heritage hotels of India, Orchha Palace, where you will have lunch before leaving for Khajuraho.

Khajuraho is the second most popular tourist destination of India after Taj Mahal. Its beautiful carvings and sculptures are famous all over the world. This luxury tour will allow you enough rest to keep up your mood and thus, you will check in Hotel Chandela at Khajuraho for overnight stay.

Day 12: Khajuraho
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Khajuraho's erotic sculptures have attracted media attention from all over the world. This largest group of Hindu and Jain Temples were built from 950 to 1150 AD. Neglected and anonymous for centuries, only 25 of the 80 Hindu Temples here are reasonably preserved today. The unique depiction of sex in medieval society in its sculptures look out of place in a place of worship but locals believe that the temples were especially built for the newlyweds and the sculptures here can be defined as the primitive form of sex education.

However, one should also note that erotic sculptures are not placed inside the temples or near the deities but only grace the exterior walls, perhaps representing that once you are done with sexual and worldly desires, you will be able to find spirituality and peace in the inner sanctorum of your heart. In the evening, you will be treated to the Sound and Light Show organized in the Western set of Temples for the benefit of tourists visiting the place.

Day 13: Khajuraho - Varanasi (By Air, Usual Time Taken: 40 minutes)
You will be served a delicious breakfast at Khajuraho before you catch your flight to the 3000-year old city of Varanasi, which is said to be one of the most important Hindu pilgrimage centers. As soon as you land at Varanasi, you will go on a daylong excursion trip to Sarnath, one of the four most sacred Buddhist religious sites as Lord Buddha preached his first sermon there. Sarnath got its name from Sarangnath or God of Deers, who was considered to be Bodhisattva who took birth as a deer and offered to sacrifice his life to the king on a hunting trip to save his doe. The incident so moved the king that he gave up hunting and embraced non-violence. At Sarnath, you can see several stupas, monasteries built in typical styles and the Ashok Pillar. You will be driven back to Varanasi by evening, where you will check in at The Gateway Hotels Ganges.

Varanasi-ghatDay 14: Varanasi
You will get up quite early this morning, actually much before dawn. You will be sailing in the boat at Daswamedh Ghat with the first ray of the sun so that you can have a close look at the unique culture and traditions of the city. Hinduism considers life and death to be an ongoing journey until the spirit learns its lessons and attains Nirvana or Moksha. Thus, you can see death ceremonial rites and prayers to rising sun and the deity of sacred River Ganges being offered alongside. In fact, Daswamedha Ghat is considered to allow direct entrance into the paradise. You will then go to the hotel for breakfast and some rest, before you proceed to see the religious, cultural and architectural richness of the city.

Other landmarks that you will visit here include the controversial Kashi Vishwanath Temple and Gyanvapi Mosque complex, premises of the renowned Benares Hindu University, and several temples. The city of Varanasi is believed to be founded by Lord Shiva and the Kashi Vishwanath Temple is considered one of the 12 jyotirlingas. Many great personalities started the journey of their success from here including Kabirdas, Tulsidas, Jayshankar Prasad and Munshi Premchand. A patron of arts of all types, Varanasi is an interesting city to visit. You will also tour around some of the best-known Ghats of the city, with their unique historical and mythological significance and legends, before retiring for the night.

Day 15: Varanasi - Delhi (By Air, Usual Time Taken: 1 hour 20 minutes)
Since the previous day has been busy, this day is light and leisurely. You will check out of the hotel after breakfast and fly to Delhi, the capital of India. At Delhi, you will check in at The Imperial or The Oberoi and spend the rest of the day in any way you desire to fully enjoy your vacations. In the last phase of your tour, you have luxury to enjoy comforts and facilities of the hotel to relax fully and feel at home. Delhi has some interesting entertainment venues that you might like to explore too.

Day 16: Delhi
Though the last day of your luxury tour, it holds some of the most splendid architectural pearls that are legacies of Mughal and British rule in India. The famous Red Fort was once the stronghold of Mughals and it was here that the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, unfurled the tricolor on the day India got its independence. Jama Masjid is the largest mosque of India, which was built by Shah Jahan, who used his distinctive pure white marble for it. Chandni Chowk was constructed to provide the living and trading quarters for the people inside and outside Red Fort but has now blown up to be the Asia’s biggest and oldest markets with narrow lanes specialized for their merchandise. Several delicacies of the food points at Chandni Chowk have made such a niche that Delhi has earned the title of being the City of Foodies. A rickshaw ride at Chandni Chowk is one of the most popular thrills here for the foreign tourists.

The Qutub Minar was once the world’s tallest minar and represented the first Islamic victory in India while the uniquely designed Lotus Temple is perhaps the only seat of the Baha’I faith in India. The Rajpath is the road where the military power and paraphernalia of India is displayed in all its glory in India every year on 26th January and stretches from the palatial Rashtrapati Bhawan or the President’s House to the monument erected as a tribute to martyrs of India known as the India Gate. You will also see the cremation ground of Mahatama Gandhi known as Raj Ghat and his memorial who is the Father of the Nation and perhaps, one of the most notable modern-day saints and the greatest follower of Non-Violence and Truth.

In the evening, you will see the Dances Of India Show, which starts at 18:45 hrs and presents you a bunch of India’s most popular classical and folk dance performances. Before retiring for the night, you will be treated to a lavish farewell dinner by a company representative from TNS.
 
Day 17: Delhi
You will be transferred to the International Airport late at night or early morning, in time for your flight to home.

TOUR ENDS

THE TOUR INCLUDES:
  1. ACCOMMODATION AT SUGGESTED HOTELS,
  2. DAILY BREAKFAST AT HOTEL
  3. SIGHTSEEING TOURS AS MENTIONED IN THE ITINERARY,,
  4. ENGLISH SPEAKING GUIDES
  5. PRIVATE CAR WITH DRIVER
  6. CHANDNI CHOWK RICKSHAW RIDE
  7. ELEPHANT SAFARI IN JAIPUR
  8. BATTERY VAN RIDE IN AGRA
  9. LIGHT AND SOUND SHOW IN KHAJURAHO
  10. BOAT RIDE ON SACRED RIVER GANGES
  11. ALL APPLICABLE TAXES AND SERVICE CHARGES
  12. ALL ROAD TAXES, GOVERNMENT TAXES AND DRIVER ALLOWANCES,
  13. ONE FAREWELL DINNER FROM TNS GROUP.
EXCLUDES:
Lunches and dinners are not included (except where mentioned in the inclusion list) along with personal expenses, camera, etc. tips, (if any) at places where applicable. All hotels are subject to availability and all flights are subject to confirmation. Airfare is included in the tour price. It is not separate.

 
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