Day 01:- Arrive in Delhi and Sightseeing
Exotic India Tour Highlights: Red Fort, Jama Masjid and Chandni Chowk.
India Tour Packages Special: Man-pulled cycle rickshaw ride in 400 years old Chandni Chowk bazaar.
Arrive from your country to New Delhi, the national capital of India. You will be welcomed, greeted & assisted upon arrival by a representative of India Tour Packages. You will be escorted to the New Delhi hotel for smooth check in. As most of the international flights land in Delhi around mid-night, you will have ample time to have sound sleep and proper relaxation, shedding jet-lag. Late morning, after having lunch, get refreshed and prepared for Old Delhi sightseeing which includes Red Fort, Jama Masjid and Chandni Chowk.
Delhi has been seat of power and India's capital from 1649 to 1857 and thereafter from 1914 to till date. Hence, Delhi is cornucopia of historical monuments, dating back to Mahabharata time. Being political centre of India makes it resourceful, being national capital transforming it into a commercial hub and being in existence since thousands of years makes it a cauldron of cultural streams and their harmonious chemistry.
Red Fort, a masterpiece planned and executed by Shah Jahan, came into its present form in 1647. Now- a-days part of it is housed by Indian military. Prime Minister of India addresses the nation even today from the ramparts of Red Fort on Independence Day, August 15.
Built during 1644 and 1658, Jama Masjid emerges as an architectural gem out of a cluster that comprises Red Fort, Chandni Chowk and Shahjahanabad. Built in red sandstone with inlay works of marble, Jama Masjid is the last grand architectural creation of Shah Jahan. Being the largest mosque of India and having a collection of Muhammad's relics - the Koran written on deerskin, a red beard-hair of the prophet, his sandals and his footprints, implanted in a marble block, Jama Masjid of Delhi holds prominence among other mosques.
Chandni Chowk of Delhi is a unique market place which is one of the most prominent wholesale and retail markets of India. Chandni Chowk was conceptualized, designed and built by Jahanara, Shahjahan's daughter. It was built about more than 350 years before when Mughal Emperor Shahjahan, in order to consolidate his empire and quell frequent rebellions around Delhi, shifted his capital from Agra to Delhi. The cluster comprising Red Fort, Jama Masjid and Chandni Chowk was known as Shahjahanabad.
After visiting Red Fort and Jama Masjid and exploring characteristic narrow alleys of Chandni Chowk while having rickshaw ride; return to Delhi hotel for overnight stay.
Day 02: New Delhi Sightseeing
Exotic India Tour Highlights: India Gate, Rashtrapati Bhawan, Qutub Minar, Humayun's Tomb, Laxmi Narayan Temple and Sansad Bhavan.
Though on the very first day, you had been put on uncapped journey of exotic India experiences. The second day of Exotic India Tour with India Tour Packages is not an exception. After having breakfast in Delhi hotel, leave for full day sightseeing of New Delhi visiting Birla Temple, Parliament House, Presidential House, India Gate, Qutub Minar and Humayun's Tomb.
India Gate is a war memorial to commemorate the martyrdom of 70,000 Indian soldiers in World War-I, conceived and designed by Edwin Lutyens and built completely in 1931. Now, the Eternal Flame established here is commemorative of the supreme sacrifice done by Indian soldiers in the 1971 war with Pakistan.
One of the mammoth monument of British colonial regime, today's Rashtrapati Bhawan (President House) was erstwhile Viceregal Lodge, designed by Edwin Luteyns, completed in 1929, inaugurated in 1931 with 340 rooms and sprawling over 130 hectares of land in the heart of Delhi.
Parliament House, known as Sansad Bhavan in Hindi, is again a masterpiece of colonial British era. Located on Parliament Street, almost adjacent to the Rashtrapati Bhawan, Sansad Bhawan is a circular building designed by the British architect Herbert Baker in 1912?13. The roof of the outer circle of the structure is supported by 257 granite pillars.
The most recognized insignia of Delhi, Qutub Minar was built by three kings Qutub-ud-din, Iltutmish and Ferozshah Tughlaq. World's tallest brick minaret, 72.5 meters high with the 12th century architecture, Qutub Minar was built on a hill known as Krishnapada. The place was a great ancient Hindu and Jain cultural centre with several temples. The Muslim invaders demolished them and with their rubles constructed Qutub Minar. As the inscription on the gate of Qutub Minar complex reads that 27 temples were destroyed. The importance of the place could be understood by a 7 m-high rust free iron pillar of 4th century, standing in the courtyard of the mosque. The iron pillar used to be called as 'Garunadhvaja'.
There are many buildings which impacted Shah Jahan to assimilate finer aspects of them into Taj Mahal. Humayun's Tomb probably tops among them. Built by Humayun's widow Haji Begum in 1565, Humayun's Tomb is the first mature representative of Mughal architecture in India and its architectural finesse later imbibed into many other famous monuments of Mughal era.
Return to Delhi hotel for overnight stay
Day 03: Delhi-Varanasi (By Flight)
Exotic India Tour Highlights: Sarnath tour.
India Tour Packages Special: Visit of a Tibetan Buddhist monastery.
Any visitor who tours India, two destinations remain on top of the must see list. These destinations are Varanasi and Taj Mahal. After a delightful morning breakfast drive for New Delhi airport to board flight for Varanasi. Upon arrival in Varanasi, representative of India Tour Packages will meet and give transfer to Varanasi hotel.
Varanasi is the Vatican City of the Hindus. Varanasi is known as the city of Lord Shiva and spiritual capital of India. It is situated on the banks of holy river the Ganges with history dates back to pre-historic times. One of the major pilgrimage destinations for Hindus since ages, Varanasi is one of the oldest living cities of the world. Though home to numerous Ashrams, Ghats, temples, stupas and various religious sects, Varanasi has been since ages a major commercial centre as well. Varanasi, the cultural capital of India, is a seat of learning since more than 3000 years of recorded history.
Having relaxed a bit, proceed on for Sarnath. Sarnath, about 13 kms from Varanasi city, has been a major centre of Buddhist learning, philosophy and religion. Lord Buddha, after attaining Supreme Knowledge at Bodh Gaya, delivered his first sermon in Sarnath. Owing to this, Sarnath is one of the most prominent Buddhist pilgrimages. There was a huge monastery in Sarnath but that had been razed by intolerant Muslim invaders. The debris and a large stupa have been preserved here by Archaeological Department of India. There is a nice museum having the finely sculptured statues. Sarnath is credited with one of the Asokan Pillars as well. Sarnath's destruction and degradation was complete and remained so until the mid nineteenth century, when excavation was begun and continued, under the impetus of Lord Curzon, in the twentieth century.
After visiting Buddhist monastery and museum, drive to a nearby Tibetan Buddhist temple. Enjoy colourful monastery of Tibetan Buddhists. Thereafter, drive to Gadaulia to lead to the ghats of Varanasi to watch the spectacle of mesmerizing worship ceremony of the Ganges. Rajendra Prasad Ghat of Varanasi is where Ganga Aarti (Ganges Worship Ceremony) is performed every evening. Enjoy the serenity, religiousness and all pervading spiritual atmosphere.
After visiting Sarnath, you will be taken to Varanasi hotel for overnight stay.
Day 04: Varanasi city tour-Khajuraho (by air/ 1 hr)
Exotic India Tour Highlights: : Varanasi ghats and temples tour, Varanasi market; Khajuraho temples tour.
India Tour Packages Special: (1) Morning Varanasi ghats tour by boat & (2) Cultural show in Khajuraho.
After early morning breakfast, proceed on Ghat & Temple Tour of Varanasi. The Varanasi tour guide will receive you in hotel lobby and take you to the ghats of Varanasi. A boat ride in river Ganges along the ghats will help you understand and feel the importance of the Ganges for a Hindu. You will be witness to various traditional religious practices and rituals, being performed as part of daily routine by the Hindus. Many facets of Hindu religion and way of life will unfold before you. The 7 kms arc that emerges out of more than 100 ghats on the western side of the Ganges, proffers an amazing view of enchanting sunrise and morning of Kashi (City of Lights- as Varanasi is called).
After morning boat ride in the Ganges, you will be taken on Varanasi temple tour. Varanasi is famous for its narrow alleys. Roaming through these alleys offers a distinctly unforgettable lifetime experience of exotic India. In order to visit Kashi Vishwanath temple, you will have to pass through these narrow lanes. The Golden Vishwanath Temple is the most sacred temple in Varanasi and every Hindu pilgrim visits it. Visiting the temple will unfold many aspects of spiritual and religious India. There are many other temples of significance in Varanasi like Vishwanath Temple in Benares Hindu University, Sankat Mochan Temple and Bharat Mata Temple. Bharat Mata temple is unique in the sense that it embodies undivided cultural India.
After ghat and temple tour of Varanasi, move for Varanasi airport to board flight for Khajuraho. Upon Khajuraho arrival India Tour Packages' representative will meet you and give transfer to hotel. Check in at Khajuraho hotel, refresh yourself and visit the Western Group of Temples at Khajuraho-probably one of the best examples of Indian art and architecture.
Khajuraho, a small town of Madhya Pradesh of India, used to be flourishing capital city of Chandela rulers during 9th to 12th century. Presently a UNESCO World Heritage site, Khajuraho holds prominence on the map of Indian tourism due to mature Nagra style of temples, only 20 surviving out of 85 temple, which are replete with etched sculptures oozing out passion, eroticism, dance and music in exceptionally artistic mode.
After getting refreshed and relaxed a bit in Khajuraho hotel, proceed on for visiting Western Group of Temples of Khajuraho. Watch and appreciate the expertise of Indian sculptures and imaginations. Later in the evening, attend Sound & Light show in Khajuraho temples complex which is organized by the tourism department to impart sheer entertainment and lot of information.
After enjoying sightseeing of Khajuraho Temples and watching Sound & Light Show in Khajuraho, return to Khajuraho hotel for overnight stay.
Day 05: Khajuraho ?Orchha- Agra (By Road & Train)
Exotic India Tour Highlights: Orchha Fort-Palace-Temples- Complex, Betwa River and Jehangir Palace.
Explore Exotic India with India Tour Packages: Lunch on the banks of river Betwa.
After a relaxed breakfast at the hotel, drive to Jhansi, where you will board train for Agra. En route, about 13 kms prior to Jhansi, visit Orchha in Uttar Pradesh, India.
Orchha, medieval India's potent kingdom, was known for Bundela heroism. Now- a- days, it is a small town but having seen invincible Orchha Fort- Palace- Temples Complex, one can easily conjecture the rich past of the region. The Orchha Fort complex comprises several architectural and sculptural gems like Raja Ram Mandir, Laxmi Narayan Mandir, Jehangir Palace, Raj Palace and Rani Praveen Palace. The Raja Ram Temple is special in the sense that Lord Ram is worshipped and revered here as King Ram rather than Lord Ram. The fort of Orchha has been unconquered throughout its history.
Have lunch in a nice restaurant on the banks of river Betwa and move for Jhansi to board train for Agra.
Known as the seat of Taj Mahal, Agra was erstwhile capital of Mughal Empire. Agra, the city which even finds mention in Mahabharata, was the territory ruled by the Rajput and the Jats, prior to advent of the Mughal.
Agra, home to three UNESCO World Heritage sites, was first Mughal capital. Agra finds mention in ancient epic Mahabharata. It was Ptolemy who for the first time called Agra its modern name. A major city of Uttar Pradesh and about 200 kms from Delhi, Agra boasts of having the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort in the city and Fatehpur Sikri nearby. Many other monuments of Mughal era like Baby Taj, Akbar's Tomb at Sikandara, Chini-ka-Roza will unfold majestic architectural genius of India. Naturally, no trip to India is complete without at least one visit to the Taj.
On arrival at Agra, you will be received by India Tour Packages representative and taken to the pre-booked hotel for overnight stay in Agra.
Day 06: Agra sightseeing tour
Exotic India Tour Highlights: Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daula
India Tour Packages Special: Tonga ride from Agra hotel to the gate of Taj Mahal.
Taj Mahal looks very beautiful at the time of sunrise. At the time of sunrise, the Agra tour guide, appointed by India Tour Packages, will meet you at the hotel lobby. You will be taken to the Taj Mahal on 'tonga', horse carriage. This will be an exotic India experience for you.
Taj Mahal, the masterpiece of Mughal architecture, is a mesmerizing monument, built of white marble. Truly called as an 'epitome of love', Taj Mahal, constructed by Shan Jahan in memory og his beloved wife Mumtaj Mahal, took 22 years in completion with the help of 22,000 laborers and 1,000 elephants. The land was provided by Jaipur Rajput ruler.
After watching Taj Mahal, return to Agra hotel. Refresh, relax and have breakfast. After breakfast, move for sightseeing of Agra which includes Agra Fort, Tomb of It-Mad-ud-Daula and Tomb of Akbar at Sikandara.
Agra Fort, about 2.5 kms long, is constructed along the banks of river Yamuna. The present day form is result of the contributions of Akbar and Shah Jahan. Before the Mughal, the site was having a fort, made of bricks, built by the Rajput rulers. It consists of a wall built in red sandstone and several buildings inside. The shielding wall has 2 gates, the Delhi Gate and the Amar Singh Gate.
Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daula was the first building of Mughal era which employed white marble on such a large scale and probably inspired Shah Jahan for Taj Mahal. The Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daula, popularly known as Baby Taj, is also a mausoleum. Jahangir's wife Noor Jahan built the mausoleum in memory of her father Ghias Beg.
After visiting famous monuments and exploring vibrant market of Agra, return to Agra hotel for overnight stay in Agra hotel.
Day 07: Agra-Fatehpur Sikri- Jaipur (By Car 232 kms/ 5 hrs)
Exotic India Tour Highlights: Panch Mahal, Buland Darwaja, Jodhabai Palace (Fatehpur Sikri); Birla Temple.
India Tour Packages Special: Visit of and Rajasthani dinner at Chokhi Dhani- a cultural treat.
After early morning breakfast at the hotel, proceed to Jaipur in the state of Rajasthan, India. En route visit the deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri. Deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri keeps ensconced several architectural gems of early Mughal era. The major tourist attractions of Fatehpur Sikri are Panch Mahal, Buland Darwaja, Jodhabai Palace, Jama Masjid and Shrine of Sheikh Salim Chishti.
Continue your drive to Jaipur. On arrival in Jaipur, check in at Jaipur hotel.
Jaipur, the capital city of Rajasthan, is popularly known as Pink City. It was medieval India's first planned city and was laid out as per nine-grid pattern suggested by traditional Indian astrological and architectural treatise. Jaipur is representative of Rajput art, culture, architecture and royal legacy. Gargantuan forts and palaces, bustling market, cornucopia of handicraft articles, cultural tinges, amalgamation of ancient and modern way of life etc easily charm a tourist and draw an indelible lifetime impact the very psyche of the visitor.
Refresh and relax a bit. Proceed to visit Birla Temple and Chokhi Dhani. Visit of Birla temple will offer you an opportunity to watch the deity worship ceremony, conducted in the evening, live. After experiencing the religious rituals, uniquely Indian, move for Chokhi Dhani to experience first- hand many aspects of Rajasthani culture.
Later in the evening, return to Jaipur hotel for overnight stay.
Day 08: Jaipur sightseeing tour
Exotic India Tour Highlights: Amber Fort & Palace, Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar, Jal Mahal and City Palace.
India Tour Packages Special: Enjoy elephant ride at Amber Fort.
After breakfast in Jaipur hotel, proceed on Jaipur city tour. Take an excursion to Amber Fort. Enjoy elephant ride from foothill to hilltop, where main gate of Amber Fort Palace is located. Having visited Amber Fort, proceed to visit other famous monuments of Jaipur. Which include Jal Mahal, City Palace, Hawa Mahal and Jantar Mantar. All of these monuments of Jaipur are hallmarks of the city of Jaipur. Having enjoyed full day sightseeing tour of monuments of Jaipur, explore lively market of Jaipur which offers you various shades of colourful Rajasthan.
After exploring vibrant and bustling local market known for handicraft products namely carpets, printed clothes and jewelry, return to Jaipur hotel for overnight stay.
Day 09:- Jaipur- Pushkar- Jodhpur (By Car 325 kms/6 Hrs)
Exotic India Tour Highlights: Brahma Temple, Pushkar Lake, Ghats on Pushkar Lake.
Explore exotic India with India Tour Packages: Free time for exploration of uniquely rural and religious Rajasthan.
After early morning breakfast at Jaipur hotel, proceed to Jodhpur, in the state of Rajasthan India. En route, visit Pushkar, a pilgrimage of Hindus in Ajmer district of Rajasthan. Have lunch there in a nice restaurant on the banks of Pushkar Lake. Pushkar is a very famous Hindu pilgrimage and tourist destination. The religious ambience, rustic feel, Pushkar Lake and Brahma Temple are prime attractions of Pushkar.
After visiting Pushkar, move on for Jodhpur. On arrival at Jodhpur, India Tour Packages representative will meet you and ensure smooth check in at the hotel. Spend evening at leisure and have overnight stay in Jodhpur hotel.
Day 10: Jodhpur sightseeing tour
Exotic India Tour Highlights: Mehrangarh Fort, Clock Tower, Ummaid Bhawan, Jaswant Thada and Sardar Market.
India Tour Packages Special: Bishnoi village safari.
Have relaxed breakfast at the hotel and drive to visit Bishnoi village to experience true rural life and their skill sets and value systems. The Bishnois are a eco Friendly sect of Hindu religion. It is one of the different community of Rajasthan who are famous for their rich cultural Rajasthani life and there true love for nature and animals.
After Bishnoi village safari, return to Jodhpur city. Have sumptuous lunch in a nice restaurant and proceed for visiting famous monuments of Jodhpur. Visit the mammoth Mehrangarh Fort and explore beautiful palaces and temples within the fort complex. Also visit the Clock Tower, the Umaid Bhawan Palace & Museum, the Jaswant Thada ? the royal cenotaph memorial, and other tourist spots. Also explore the famous Sardar Market.
After exploring local market, return to Jodhpur hotel for overnight stay.
Day 11:-Jodhpur-Ranakpur- Udaipur (By Car 265 Kms/6 Hours)
Exotic India Tour Highlights: Ranakpur Temple and Lake Palace.
India Tour Packages Special: View Lake Palace and traditional Udaipur city while having boat ride in Lake Pichola.
After hearty breakfast in Jodhpur hotel, proceed for Udaipur. On the way, visit Ranakpur temple- one of the most famous Jain temple town of Rajasthan, India. Ranakpur represents a pleasant idyllic set up.
Ranakpur temple, built of light shaded marbles, covers an area of 3600 sq metres. Intricate carvings are distinctive hallmarks of Ranakpur temple. The Ranakpur temple contains more than 1444 richly carved pillars and the most striking aspect is that no two pillars are same. The Ranakpur temple has been designed as 'chaumukha', meaning four faces and symbolizes the four cardinal directions won by the Tirthankara.
After visiting Ranakpur temple, proceed for Udaipur which is almost 95 kms away from here. On arrival at Udaipur, check in at the pre-booked hotel. After relaxing for some time, move for leisurely sightseeing while having boat ride in Lake Pichola.
Udaipur, earlier capital of Mewar region of Rajasthan, is though known today as the 'Venice of East' and 'City of Lakes'; is representative of supreme sacrifices made by the Rajput- men, women and children. The stories of valour, pleasant lakes in desert areas, mammoth fort and palaces, exotic museums, thriving commerce and vibrant culture amalgamate to make Udaipur the second most-sought after tourist destination of the state. The Lake Palace (Jag Niwas) is one of most romantic and beautiful palaces in the world. The Lake Palace or Jag Niwas is true representative of Rajasthani architecture. The Lake palace was built, amidst Lake Pichola, in the 17th century on a natural foundation of 4 acres of solid rock.
Spend rest of the day at leisure or relax. Overnight stay will be at the Udaipur hotel.
Day 12: Udaipur sightseeing tour
Exotic India Tour Highlights : City Palace, Saheliyon Ki Bari and Jag Mandir Palace.
Explore exotic India with India Tour Packages: Evening free time for enjoying perfect scenic set-up.
Udaipur is termed as honeymooners' paradise. Your Udaipur sightseeing tour will commence after having sumptuous breakfast in Udaipur hotel. Embark on Udaipur city tour. Visit the City Palace Complex, The Jag Mandir, Saheliyon Ki Bari and other picturesque spots of tourist interests.
The City Palace of Udaipur is the largest palace complex of Rajasthan. The City Palace of Udaipur, built of granite on the banks of Lake Pichola, is a distinguished piece of Rajasthani architecture. Encircled by massive fortifications, the City Palace of Udaipur is a large and beautiful constellation of courtyards, pavilions, terraces, corridors, rooms and hanging gardens.
The Jag Mandir Palace, another tourist attraction of Udaipur, is built of yellow sandstone and had been source of inspiration for Shah Jahan of Taj Mahal fame. Shah Jahan incorporated several niceties of Jag Mandir Palace, especially pietra dura work, in Taj Mahal.
Another prime attraction of Udaipur is Saheliyon ki Bari which is a nice garden, earlier meant for the maids of the queen. A lush garden, on the banks of Fateh Sagar Lake and in a desert state, make it an oasis in the arid and hilly terrain.
All of these monuments of Udaipur house marvelous museums which showcase various aspects of ancient and medieval Rajasthan.
Overnight stay will be in Udaipur hotel.
Day 13: Udaipur - Mumbai- Mumbai (By Flight)
Exotic India Tour Highlights: Gateway of India, Prince of Wales Museum, Mani Bhawan, Afghan Church, Crawford Market and Marine Drive.
Now onwards, you will enter into a different phase of Exotic India Tour and realize the diversities of Indian culture. After early breakfast at the hotel, transfer to Udaipur airport to board flight for Mumbai. On Mumbai arrival you will be met by India Tour Packages representative, holding a placard with your name on it at the exit. Transfer to hotel, relax a bit and then move for sightseeing of Mumbai.
Mumbai, the commercial capital of India, showcases various disparate aspects of m?lange of different cultures, languages, architectural styles, attires and tradition with modernity. Situated on the bank of sea, Mumbai epitomizes Bollywood (from the names Bombay and Hollywood). Prime attractions of Mumbai sightseeing tour include Gateway of India, Prince of Wales Museum, Mani Bhawan, Afghan Church, Crawford Market and Marina Drive.
Return to Mumbai hotel for overnight stay.
Day 14: Mumbai-Aurangabad (By Flight) - Ajanta sightseeing.
Exotic India Tour Highlights: Ajanta cave temples.
On 14 day of your Exotic India Tour with India Tour Packages, you will enter into Deccan. After early morning breakfast in the hotel, proceed to Mumbai airport to board the flight for Aurangabad. Upon Aurangabad arrival, meet India Tour Packages representative at the exit. Transfer to Aurangabad hotel. Check in, relax a bit and proceed to visit Ajanta cave temples.
The Deccan, which takes its name from the Sanskrit 'dakshina' meaning "the south," is a wide region variously defined, but to a traveler to India who is not interested in geographical quibbles, the Deccan is certainly the South India- a vast plateau south-east of Mumbai that includes Mysore and extends as far as Hyderabad. It also includes the famous caves of Ajanta & Ellora.
For the visitor to India today, the chief interest of the Deccan Plateau is not its tumultuous history but the fact that it is the site of the painted and sculptured caves of Ajanta and Ellora.
No doubt, the very remoteness of the site was a determining factor in the minds of the monks who first chose the caves of Ajanta to live, pray and work in. This activity began around the 2nd century B.C. and came to a gradual halt about the 7th century A.D., when Buddhism began to be supplanted in popular appeal by other popular, liberal and practical faiths. These caves are located deep within the Sahyadri hills above the Waghora. They describe the story of Lord Buddha and Buddhism religion that prevailed here during 200 BC to 650 AD. In fact, the caves disappeared from sight altogether until the year 1819, when a group of British officers, hunting in the Deccan hills, came across them. At the time Ajanta cave temples were first discovered, so it is said, the frescoes were in good preservation but then gradually began to fade and crumble.
Ajanta cave temples are now being properly looked after by the Indian government and constitute a unique opportunity to see Buddhist painting, both sacred and secular, of such high quality and such great antiquity.
After visiting Ajanta cave temples, return to Aurangabad hotel for overnight stay.
Day 15: Aurangabad sightseeing-Mumbai (By Flight)
Exotic India Tour Highlights: Ellora cave temples.
With Aurangabad tour guide, proceed for sightseeing tour of Ellora cave temples, after enjoying delicious breakfast in Aurangabad hotel.
Ellora cave temples, almost 18 miles away from Aurangabad, are replete with a number of sculptured representations of Lord Buddha at different stages of his life. Ellora's thirty four caves were dug deep into the side of a hill and, unlike Ajanta, are not exclusively Buddhist. The Ellora cave temples date back from 600 AD to 1000 AD which was about the time Buddhism began to lose its popular appeal, to be replaced by Hinduism and Jainism. Consequently, of Ellora's caves, the southernmost twelve are Buddhist, the seventeen in the centre are Hindu and the five on the north are Jain. Various methods were employed in construction of Ellora cave temples. Some of the cave temples were never completed. But, in all it has been estimated that over two hundred thousand tons of stone were carried away from the Ellora hillside- a rather staggering thought considering the primitive methods of excavation and cartage that were available at the time.
At late afternoon proceed to airport to board the flight for Mumbai. Upon Mumbai arrival, representative of India Tour Packages will assist you to the hotel for overnight stay.
Day 16: Mumbai-Chennai (By air) ? Mahabalipuram (By Car-50 kms/ 1 hour)
Exotic India Tour Highlights: Shore Temples.
Explore exotic India with India Tour Packages: Enjoy emerald beach with great aura of heritage around.
Have early morning breakfast in Mumbai hotel and proceed to Mumbai airport to board flight for Chennai. Arrive at Chennai airport. You will be met by India Tour Packages representative to receive you at the airport and you will be taken to Mahabalipuram directly. After getting refreshed a bit, move for enjoying sightseeing and seashore of Mahabalipuram.
Mahabalipuram, erstwhile known as Mammallapuram, used to be a thriving port and centre of art and architecture during the reign of Pallava kings. Mahabalipuram offers spectacular and splendid pieces of rock cut monolithic temples, known as Panch Raths (five chariots). These Raths, sculptured in 7th century, have been named after the characters of Mahabhrata and are declared as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Arjuna's penance is the world's largest bas relief measuring 27m by 9m. The walls and pillars are sculpted depicting stories related to Hindu mythology.
Return to hotel in the evening. Overnight stay will be in the pre-booked Mahabalipuram hotel.
Day 17: Mahabalipuram - Puducheri (115 kms/3.00Hrs)
Exotic India Tour Highlights: Old Churches & Auroville.
Explore exotic India with India Tour Packages: Enjoy Puducheri beach and amalgam of French & Indian culture.
After relishing delicious breakfast in Mahabalipuram hotel, check out and drive to Puducheri. On arrival at Puducheri, you will be received by India Tour Packages representative and taken to Puducheri hotel for smooth check in. Relax a bit and proceed for sightseeing of Pondicherry which primarily includes churches built during the French rule and Auroville.
Puducheri, earlier called as Pondicherry, was a French colony and hence offers a unique amalgam of Indian and French cultures. The traces of French rule and its cultural influences can easily be noticed in the red kepis of the police officers, French spelling on signboards and traffic signs and some buildings and old stones. Explore Pondicherry and must visit old churches and Ashrama of Maharshi Aurobindo Ghosh, Auroville. In the evening, enjoy pleasurable sea beaches of Puducheri.
After sightseeing of Puducheri, return to Pondicherry hotel for overnight stay.
Day 18: Puducheri - Tanjore (175 kms/4.00Hrs)
Exotic India Tour Highlights: Chidambaram Temple, Gangaikondacholapuram, Darasuram, Kumbakonam, Brihadeeswar Temple and Tanjore Palace.
Explore exotic India with India Tour Packages: Enjoy thousands of year old and still lively Hindu cultural ambiences all around.
Have early morning breakfast, check out from Puducheri hotel and proceed for historical city of Tanjore. En route visit Kumbakonam, Darasuram, Gangaikondacholapuram and Chidambaram temples etc.
Chidambaram is a famous temple of Tamil Nadu, South India. Chidambaram Temple is built in an area of 40 acres. It's gopuram, the main gateway, are sculptured with 108 classical mudras (postures). The main hall of Chidambaram temple, built on support of 1000 pillars, is known as Rajasabha, measuring 103 merts long and 58 meters wide. The dancing Shiva idol (Natraj) of the temple is a distinctive feature.
Gangaikondacholapuram temple was built by Rajendra Chola. Gangaikondacholapuram temple has been built almost on the similar pattern of Brihadeeshwara temple of Tanjore. Darasuram temple, dedicated to lord Shiva, was built by Rajendra Chola.
Arrive at Tanjore, check in at the designated Tanjore hotel. Relax a bit and move for short sightseeing of Tanjore that includes Tanjore Palace (built by Nayakas and Marathas in 1550 AD) and Brihadareeshwar Temple (built by Chola King Raj Raja in 10th century).
Tanjore, a historical town, is known for its glorious past, explicitly visible in several monuments of the Pandyas, the Pallavas, the Cholas, the Nayakas and the Marathas. Once the capital of the Cholas during 10th -14th centuries, Tanjore still maintains the glorious Chola culture.
Return to hotel for overnight stay.
Day 19: Tanjore -Trichy - Madurai (By car 200 kms/ 04 hrs)
Exotic India Tour Highlights: Srirangam, Ranganathar (Trichy); Meenakshi Temple & Vaniyur Mariamman Teppakulam (Madurai).
Explore exotic India with India Tour Packages: Explore ages old traditions and rituals of world's one of the oldest cities.
Enjoying delicious breakfast, check out from Tanjore hotel and proceed for Madurai, known as Kashi of South India. En route visit historical city of Trichy or Trichirapally. On arrival at Trichy, proceed for sightseeing of Tiruchirapally which is situated on the bank of river Cauvery. Trichy is a historical city. According to legends, Tanjore's history even goes beyond history. During Sangama age, Trichy was an impregnable bastion of the Cholas. The famous dynasties like the Pandyas and the Pallavas also ruled Trichy for a limited duration. The Nayakas of Madurai, a prominent dynasty of South India, had played a very important role in protecting Tanjore by constructing the historic rock fort which played a vital role in Carnatic wars in 18 century.
Srirangam and Rangnathar are prime tourist attractions of Trichy.
Srirangam, an island town sandwitched between Kavery and Kollidan rivers, is a temple complex, enclosed within the seven walls of the mammoth Sri Ranganathaswami Temple. The rulers of various South Indian ruling dynasties like the Cholas, the Cheras, the Pandyas, the Hoysalas, the Vijayanagar kings and the Nayaks of Madurai contributed their bit to form Srirangam as the biggest temple complex of India. Initially, it was a small cave temple, built by the Pallavas but the Nayakas of Madurai recognized its strategic importance and utilized its naturally fortified location.
Ranganathar is a magnificent temple complex in Srirangam. It is almost three kms away from the rock fort. Rangnathar Temple complex is surrounded and protected by seven fortified walls with 21 gopurams (temple gateways). These gopurams are the largest gopurams in any temple.
Have sumptuous lunch in Trichy and early noon, move for Madurai. On arrival at Madurai, you will be received by the representative of India Tour Packages and taken to Madurai hotel. Relax and refresh a bit and proceed for sightseeing of Madurai.
Existence of Madurai, known as 'Kashi of South', spans over 2500 years. The historical city of Madurai, situated on the banks of river Vaigi, was established by the Pandyan king Kulasekara. Various ruling dynasties of South India like the Cholas, the Cheras, the Pandyas and the Nayaks of Madurai. It was during the reign of the Nayakas, Madurai shot into the most glorious phase of its existence with spectacular progress in art, architecture and learning.
On arrival, check in at Madurai hotel. Afternoon, visit Tirumalai Nayak Mahal, Vaniyur Mariamman Teppakulam and more than 2000 years old Meenakshi Temple with Madurai tour guide.
After exploring Madurai, return to Madurai hotel for overnight stay.
Day 20: Madurai- Kumarakom (by car-260 kms/ 05 hrs).
Exotic India Tour Highlights: Vembanad Lake & Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary.
Explore exotic India with India Tour Packages: Houseboat stay and cruising in backwaters.
After having delicious breakfast early in the morning in Madurai hotel, move for Kumarakom, in the state of Kerala. On arrival at Kumarakom, you will be received by the representative of India Tour Packages. You will be facilitated by India Tour Packages representative your smooth check in at the houseboat for heavenly stay and pleasure for the rest of the day and night.
Kumarakom is a small hamlet on the banks of Vembanad Lake. The small hamlet of Kumarakom has now ?a- days flourished as a hot tourist destination of Kerala with many luxurious hotels and houseboats. The island in Vembanad Lake has grown as a famous Bird Sanctuary of India.
After more than a fortnight travelling, stay in houseboat with rejuvenating atmosphere all around will be a heavenly experience. Your lunch, supper, dinner and breakfast will take place on houseboat itself. Overnight stay is scheduled in the houseboat itself.
Day 21: Kumarakom- Cochin (by car-50 kms/1 hr)- Delhi (by air)- Departure.
Exotic India Tour Highlights: St. Francis Church, Kochi Fort, Santa Cruz Cathedral, Jewish Synagogue and Dutch Palace.
Explore exotic India with India Tour Packages: Free time to explore spice market and taste delicious cuisines.
After breakfast in the houseboat, move for Cochin, known as the 'Queen of Arabian Sea'. India Tour Packages representative will receive and introduce you with the Cochin tour guide who will make your Cochin visit informed and exhilarating one. While exploring Cochin, visit St. Francis Church, Kochi Fort, Santa Cruz Cathedral, Jewish Synagogue and Dutch Palace. Also explore spice market of Cochin as well.
After sightseeing, move for market place which is known worldwide for spices since centuries. Late afternoon, move for Cochin airport to board flight for Delhi. On arrival at Delhi airport, move for boarding another flight for your onward destination.
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