DAY 01 ARRIVE DELHI by: International Flight
On arrival in Delhi International airport meet ITP representative and assisted transfer to hotel. Upon arrival at the hotel, proceed for check-in at the hotel (check-in time 1200 noon). India’s capital and a major gateway to the country, contemporary Delhi is a bustling metropolis, which successfully combines in its folds - the ancient with the modern. Amidst the fast spiraling skyscrapers the remnants of a bygone time in the form of its many monuments stand as silent reminders to the region’s ancient legacy. The first impressions for any visitor traveling in from the airport are of a specious, garden city, tree-lined with a number of beautiful parks. Overnight stay at hotel in Delhi.
DAY 02 DELHI- PATHANKOT BY TRAIN
After buffet breakfast at the hotel, you will proceed for a full day city tour of Old & New Delhi. You will first visit Old Delhi. The tour will begin with a visit to Raj Ghat, a simple memorial to Mahatma Gandhi; drive past the Red Fort continuing to the Jama Masjid- one of Asia’s largest mosques. It was the last architectural extravaganza of the Mughal Emperor; Shahjahan built in the year 1656 AD with the help of 5,000 craftsmen. The mosque is also known as Masjid-I-Jahanuma, which means 'mosque commanding view of the world'. The tour also includes a drive past the imposing India Gate, the Parliament building and the Rastrapathi Bhawan, the President’s residence. Check out from hotel Afternoon visit the Bahai Temple (also popularly known as the Lotus Temple – closed on Mondays). It is a very recent architectural marvel of the Bahai faith. Shaped like a half opened Lotus flower, this temple is made of mainly marble. It is open to all faiths and is an ideal place for meditation and obtaining peace and tranquility. Later transfer to railway station to connect overnight train to Pathankot Departure Delhi 2115 hrs Train : Jammu Mail Overnight in train.
Day 03 PATHANKOT - DHARAMSHALA
Arrive Pathankot 0720 hrs Meet and assist on arrival and drive to Dharamshala ( 90kms / 2-3 hrs ) . On arrival check in at hotel Afternoon at leisure Overnight stay at hotel in Dharamshala .
Day 04 DHARAMSHALA
Morning visit the Namgyal Monastery . Tourists from around the world come to meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The monastery is the Dalai Lama's home in exile and assists the Buddhist monks in their religious endeavours as well as public activities for Tibet's welfare. Another window to the arts and culture of Tibet is the Norbulinka Institute, which is about four kilometres from Dharmasala. With a heavy Japanese influence, the effort put into preserving Tibetan art and culture in exile is highly appreciable Overnight stay at hotel in Dharamshala.
DAY 05 DHARAMSHALA
Full day free to explore the city on own Overnight stay at hotel in Dharamshala.
DAY 06 DHARAMSHALA - AMRITSAR
Morning drive to Amritsar ( 210kms / 5- 6hrs ) . On arrival check in at hotel . In the evening in time you will be driven to Golden Temple to witness prayers and “Palki Sahib” ceremony - The ceremony of bringing down the Guru Granth Sahib. For the occasion, the palki, a gold and silver palanquin, are prepared for it. Attendants lay down fresh sets of silk and brocade coverings and sprinkle rose water. The head priest of the Harmandir appears with the Sri Guru Granth Sahib on a cushion on his head. And to mark the occasion and to alert the worshippers, there starts the drumbeat sound of the Nigara. The procession solemnly moves across the plaza, through the Darshani Deorhi, and along the causeway, stopping as it reaches the main door of the Harmandir. The head priest reverently lifts the Siri Guru Granth sahib out of the Palki, places it on a silk cushion on his head, and enters the holy shrine Return to the hotel after the tour. Overnight stay at hotel in Amritsar.
DAY 07 AMRITSAR
After a leisurely buffet breakfast at the hotel, proceed for sightseeing tour of Amritsar visiting Golden temple and Jallianwala Bagh. Shining in the morning light, the gilded splendor of its paneling and big dome and small minarets, this temple is a fairy world palace to the devotees of the Sikh faith. Certainly, the first look brings onto the innocent eye the image of a transcendent fact The 'loving sight' peering into heaven from the legends of the miraculous cures by the touch of the water in the pool of nectar, in which the shrine stands makes for ecstatic awareness. The vision has been received by millions of pilgrims who have come here for centuries from near and far. Continue to visit the Jallianwala Bagh - the historic site where hundreds of innocent Indian men, women and children were massacred by British General Michael Dyer on April 13, 1919. A memorial and Garden have been created here as a national monument. Afternoon visit Wagah border : The international border between India and Pakistan. The pomp and pageantry of the Beating Retreat and the Change of Guard within handshaking distance of the Indian and Pakistani forces makes for a most charming spectacle. Overnight stay at hotel in Amritsar.
DAY 08 AMRITSAR - HARIDWAR TRAIN HARIDWAR - RISHIKESH DRIVE
In time transfer to railway station to connect train to Haridwar Departure Amritsar 0700 hrs Train : Jan Shatabdi Arrive Haridwar 1355 hrs Upon arrival, you will be transferred to Rishikesh ( 25 kms) , where you will proceed for check-in at the hotel. Rishikesh - also known as the 'place of sages', at the confluence of the Chandrabhaga and Ganga. It is believed that God by the name of 'Hrishikesh' had appeared as an answer to the hard penances by Rabhiya Rishi and henceforth the place derived its name. It is the starting point for the Char dham pilgrims but also for the people who are interested in meditation, yoga and other aspects of Hinduism.
DAY 09 RISHIKESH
After the buffet breakfast, proceed for sightseeing tour of Rishikesh. You will visit Laxman Jhula- a hanging bridge on the river Ganga is one of the most famous spot in Rishikesh. According to Indian mythology, Lakshman, the younger brother of Lord Rama crossed the Ganga with the help of hanging bridge made of Jute. The bridge offers a scenic view of the river Ganga as it tumbles down to Haridwar. Also visit Bharat Mandir - the oldest temple in Rishikesh, near the Triveni Ghat. This temple is dedicated to Bharat, the younger brother of Lord Ram. Overnight stay at hotel in Rishikesh.
DAY 10 RISHIKESH - HARIDWAR - RISHIKESH
After breakfast, you will be driven to Haridwar (25 Kms/30 Mins). Afternoon is free at leisure. In the evening you will be taken for the illuminated Ganges Aarti. Aarti is the act of showing reverence to a particular god or goddess, through invocations, prayers, songs, and rituals. The city acquires a unique charm in the evening when the ghats become breathtakingly beautiful with thousands of Diyas and Marigold floating in the waters of Ganges. Later return to Rishikesh. Overnight stay at hotel in Rishikesh.
DAY 11 RISHIKESH- DELHI
After breakfast, you will be driven from Rishikesh to Delhi (224 kms/ 5 hrs).
On arrival check in at hotel . On arrival check in at hotel . Afternoon at leisure Overnight at hotel
DAY 12 DELHI - AGRA
Morning drive to Agra ( 204kms / 4 hrs ) en-route visiting Mathura & Vrindavan. Mathura is famous as the birthplace of Lord Krishna, an important deity in the Hindu religious pantheon. It is an important pilgrim place of the Hindus and one of the seven most sacred cities in India. The main pilgrim centre in Mathura is the Shri Krishna Janmbhoomi temple. A stone slab marks the original spot of the birth of Lord Krishna. The earlier Kesava Deo temple had the room where Lord Krishna was born. According to legends, Lord Krishna was born in a small prison room where the tyrant ruler Kansa held his parents captive. Vrindavan is 10 km from Mathura and it is associated with the childhood exploits of Lord Krishna. Like Mathura, Vrindavan is also famous for its temples. There are about 4,000 temples in Vrindavan. The main temples are Govind Dev Temple, Rangaji temple, Bankey Bihari temple, Radha Ballabh temple, Madan Mohan temple, Pagal Baba temple and the Nidhi Van temple. On arrival in Agra check in at hotel . Overnight stay at hotel in Agra.
DAY 13 AGRA
Early morning, you will proceed for a sunrise tour of the Taj Mahal (closed on Fridays). Midway Tonga’s “horse carriages” would be waiting for you and will drop you at the gates of the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal is everything that has been said about it and more. Taking 22 years and 20,000 men to build, the white marble was quarried 200 miles away and was transported to the site by a fleet of 1000 elephants. Built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as an expression of his love for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, in mid 17th century, the Taj Mahal is truly one of the wonders of the world. Though the Taj appears to be amazingly perfect from almost any angle, it is the close-up marble inlay work, which is really astounding. You will have ample time to view and be mesmerized by this outstanding piece of architecture. Return to your hotel for buffet breakfast. After buffet breakfast visit Agra Fort, an outstanding example of Mughal architecture. Agra Fort - the seat and the stronghold of the Mughal Empire under successive generations. This was the seat of Mughal rule and administration and the present structure owes its origins to Akbar who erected the walls and gates and the first buildings on the eastern banks of Yamuna River. Shah Jehan added the impressive quarters and the mosque while Aurangzeb added the outer ramparts. Visit its Hall of Public Audience and its Royal Pavilions. Return to your hotel after the sightseeing tour following which remainder of the day is at leisure. Overnight stay at hotel in Agra.
DAY 14 AGRA - JHANSI BY TRAIN , JHANSI - KHAJURAHO DRIVE
Morning intime transfer to railway station to connect train to Jhansi Departure Agra 0817 hrs Train : Shatabdi Exp Arrive Jhansi 1048 hrs Meet and assist on arrival and drive to Khajuraho ( 180kms / 4-5 hrs ) enroute visit Orcha Picturesquely set on a bend along the Betwa River, Orchha grandeur has been captured in stone, frozen in time, a rich legacy to the ages. For, on this medieval city, the hand of time has rested lightly and the palaces and temples built by its Bundela rulers in the 16th and 17th century retains much of their pristine perfection. You will visit the Jehangir Mahal, built to commemorate the visit of Emperor Jehangir way back in 17th century. The extraordinary beauty is in sharp contrast to an earlier building, adorned by colourful murals, known as the Raj Mahal within the same complex. A trail through the maze of intricate stairways leading to numerous turrets is an experience in itself. You will also see the Cenotaphs or chhatris of Orchha rulers. On arrival in Khajuraho check in at hotel . Overnight stay at hotel in Khajuraho.
DAY 15 KHAJURAHO - VARANASI BY FLIGHT
Morning after breakfast proceed for the sightseeing tour of Western Group of Temples. The tour of Khajuraho this morning concentrates on the famous erotic temples, which represent some of the finest examples of temple architecture in Northern India. The remote location of Khajuraho meant that the temples were unharmed by Muslim invaders and as a result, the intricately fine carvings are in very good condition and are said to represent life in heaven. They were built during the mighty Chandela dynasty; the majorities were constructed in a sudden burst of creative and religious energy, between the mid-10th and 11th centuries. After ruling for about 500 years the Chandela dynasty fell to the might of Islam and consequently the religious centre of Khajuraho was abandoned. The temples remain as a reminder of a society that believed in the full enjoyment of life, with all the senses being a path to nirvana. Of the eighty-five original temples only 22 remain, but many are in very good condition. You visit the Kandariya Mahadeva, the Chatrabhuj, Parswanath and Ghantai Temples, each remarkable for its beautiful design and architecture. In the afternoon intime transfer to railway station to connect train Departure Khajuraho 1325 hrs Flight : 9w 724 Arrive Varanasi 1410 hrs Meet and assist on arrival and transfer to hotel . Varanasi, the 'eternal city', and Hinduism's most important city, located on the banks of the sacred River Ganges, has been the center of learning & civilization for over two thousand years. Late afternoon, a Hindu scholar will meet you in the hotel and explain in detail about the Hindu religion. Afterwards, you would be taken to the Ghats to see the illuminated Ganga Aarti ceremony – an experience of life. Return to your hotel after your visit. Overnight stay at hotel in Varanasi.
DAY 16 VARANASI
Early morning you will be taken on a visit to the ghats witnessing the Hindu pilgrims perform the rituals and following the centuries old tradition and belief that by dying in Varanasi or by immersing the mortal remains in the holy Ganges, it clears one from the birth circle and you are incarnated to human life in the next birth. You would be taking boat cruise on the river Ganges around all the ghats and stopping at the important ones. The riverfront, as seen from a boat, early in the morning, is a spiritually uplifting sight. This religious city is crowded with temples, and its labyrinth of streets with their throngs of people is exciting and enticing. Return to your hotel for buffet breakfast following which morning will be at leisure. later you will proceed to visit the Kashi-Vishwanath Temple- the most sacred of shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva, the patron deity of Varanasi. Reconstructed in the 18th century, its gold plating on the 'shikaras' was a gift of the one-eyed Sikh king, Maharaja Ranjit Singh; & Bharat Mata Mandir - inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi is a unique temple dedicated to Mother India. It houses a relief map of India carved out of marble; and some other important temples. Later you will proceed for an excursion to Sarnath, a major Buddhist centre in the world. After achieving enlightenment at Bodhgaya, Buddha, the 'Awakened One', delivered his first sermon here. It was sixth century then, when he also set in motion the wheel of law, the Dharmachakra. This dwelling place of the rishis, it was also known as 'Rishipatana' (the place of the Rishis or sages). Buddha gave his first sermon in the Deer Park where he initiated his first five disciples into Buddhist monkshood. Buddhism found its roots in Sarnath, the birthplace of this way of life. Return to your hotel after the sightseeing tour. Overnight stay at hotel in Varanasi.
DAY 17 VARANASI - DELHI by Flight
Morning at leisure In the afternoon intime transfer to airport to connect flight to Delhi Departure Varanasi 1440 hrs Flight : 9w 724 Arrive Delhi 1600 hrs Meet and assist on arrival and transfer to hotel . Overnight stay at hotel in Delhi.
DAY 18 DEPARTURE DELHI by Flight
In time transfer to International airport to connect flight for onward destination
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