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cross cultural tours

Duration:
43 Nights / 44 Days
Places to Visit: Delhi - Udaipur - Mt. Abu - Jodhpur - Pokaran - Jaisalmer - Bikaner- Mandawa - Jaipur - Fatehpur Sikri - Agra - Gwalior - Orchha - Khajuraho - Varanasi - New Jalpaiguri - Darjeeling - Gangtok - Siliguri - Kolkata - Bhubaneshwar - Puri - Konarak - Bhubaneshwar - Chennai - Cochin - Allepey - Kumarakom - Cochin - Mysore - Bangalore - Goa - Mumbai - Vashi - Mumbai - Next Destination




 
 
Day 01: Arrive Delhi
Meet and assist by our representative upon your arrival at the airport. Then drive to your hotel with your driver and car.
 
 
Day 02: Delhi - Udaipur
1950 / 0830 Mewar Express. In the morning take a city tour covering Laxmi Narayan Temple, India Gate - The memorial of martyrs, Parliament House - The Government headquarters. In the afternoon take a city tour of Old Delhi covering Jama Masjid - The largest mosque in Asia, Red Fort - The red stone magic, Gandhi memorial - The memoir of father of the nation. In time transfer to the railway station for your overnight train to Udaipur. Overnight on board the express train in air conditioned class.
 
 
Day 03: Udaipur
In the morning reach the Udaipur railway station where you will be met by our representative and the car driver for your tour of Rajasthan. Check into the hotel. In the afternoon visit Sahelion ki bari a garden with fountains.
 
 
Day 04: Udaipur
Visit the City Palace the richest palace museum in the entire Rajasthan. See the peacock square and the miniature painting school inside the palace premises. Udaipur has the prestige of housing the best miniature schools in the country under the royal patronage of the king of Udaipur. Later see the temples of Nagda and Eklingji. The temple at Eklingji is a temple that belongs to the Maharana of Mewar (royal family) and he is often there to pray. The temple complexe of Nagda is a group of temples of which only two remain intact and those are that of Saas and Bahu - two temples of Shiva and of Vishnu both from the 7th century.
 
 
Day 05: Udaipur - Mt. Abu
This morning we drive through the arid Rajasthan and reach Ranakpur a big pilgrimage centre for the Jains. Just four hours drive from Mount Abu is the eternal Jain pilgrimage centre of Ranakpur. Admire the workmanship from the 16th century. The temples are built out of marble and the main shrine of Adinath with 1444 columns is awe inspiring and none of these are similar. Also see the sun temple and the other temples in the campus. Then on to the lone hill station in Rajasthan at a height of 1200mt where we take you for a tour of the temples for a few hours. Mount Abu is a true pilgrimage centre for the Jains as here we see the Delwara Jain temple complex with temples dating back to the 11th century. Later see the Nakki lake and then view the Sun going down the horizon from the sunset point.
 
 
Day 06:Mt. Abu - Jodhpur
Today we reach Jodhpur the blue city by early afternoon. En route stop by Luni. A jeep safari is awaiting you to take you to the bishnoi villages. Here you will see the local rural lifestyle of the bishnois.You also witness an opiumceremony here. Post lunch session introduces you to the spice market of Jodhpur the 2nd largest city in Rajasthan. Walk along the market to feel the odours of the spices filling the air around you. Later drive up to Mandore gardens the then capital of Marwar to view some of the fabulous cenotaphs and the hall of local heroes of the wars.

 
 
Day 07: Jodhpur - Pokaran - Jaisalmer
In the morning go to the majestic Mehrangarh fort, the stronghold of the Rathore princes from 1453AD. We see the superb collection of paintings and arms and ammunitions. The view of the city from the rampart walls is breath taking. Then we set towards our journey across the Thar Desert to reach Pokaran for lunch. Visit the 15th century fortress where the 3rd Mughal emperor, Akbar the Great, was born in 1543. The bazaar in the middle of this village is very colourful and full of local flavours. After lunch continue towards Jaisalmer and arrive by evening to witness the sunset over the desert with the most imposing edifice of the town behind you.

 
 
Day 08: Jaisalmer
Morning an exclusive visit of the Jain temples inside the Sonar Kila.. The Jains are a community that respects life and are pure vegetarians by religion. Visit the citadel's palace that houses a museum with a huge collection of robes and artifacts from the royal family of Jaisalmer. Visit the Patwaon ki haveli with intricately designed latticed windows used by the ladies to view the external world. Also see the Gadisar Lake . Later, we go to Sam or Khuri village. Here we have loads of excitement in store for you. Upon arrival in the village you will be taken to the nearby sunset point on the dunes to see the sunset by camel / camel carts. At sunset return to the village where your dinner is arranged in mud huts. In the evening listen to the haunted tunes of the desert by the local artists and musicians.
 
 
Day 09: Jaisalmer – Bikaner
Proceed towards Bikaner and reach by lunch time. See the Junagarh Fort, a royal museum that encompasses history of Bikaner from its days of construction that dates back to the 16th century. In the evening stroll in the busy market area of the city.
 
 
Day 10: Bikaner – Mandawa
In the morning see this beautiful village of Shekhawati that used to be an important caravanserai of the yesteryears. See the many havelis of this quaint little town built by the rich and the famous merchants of the 18th and 19th centuries. These havelis have been painted with activities of daily life and of deities to break the monotony of the desert life.

 
 
Day 11: Mandawa – Jaipur
Today cross the entire stretch of desert region to reach the Pink City Jaipur. After lunch set off to see the Pink city visiting the observatory Jantar Mantar built in 1727 by Sawai Maharaja Jai Singh II who was a mathematician , an astronomer an astrologer and a great musician of his era. He built five observatories throughout India - Jaipur, Ujjain , Varanasi, Mathura and Delhi but only the one at Jaipur is functional. Then visit the City Palace of the Maharaja of Jaipur with a fabulous collection of robes and saris in cotton and silk with gold-latticed work. The City Palace houses a collection of paintings also in the painting gallery and of course a collection of arms and ammunitions in the ammunition gallery.
 
 
Day 12: Jaipur
Visit the Amber fort in the morning; included is an elephant ride at the Amber fort. See the marvelous Shish mahal built in the 17th century in a fusion style of Hindu and Islamic art. Also see the hall of public audiences and Maharaja Man Singh's Palace who had twelve queens. Afternoon shopping for textiles and jewellery.

 
 
Day 13: Jaipur - Fatehpur Sikri - Agra
Leave the Pink City after breakfast and reach Fatehpur Sikri by early afternoon. Visit this abandoned city built by the Mughal emperor Akbar in the second half of the 16th century. Fatehpur Sikri was built by Akbar after his Hindu wife bore him the long awaited son who was born after the renowned sufi saint Salim Chisti blessed Jodhabai Akbar's Hindu wife with a son. Also visit Jodhabai's palace the biggest palace in Fatehpur Sikri even bigger than the emperor's palace himself as this was the queen who bore him his heir to the throne. Continue towards Agra and reach Agra by early evening. Relax at your hotel or go to the local bazaar to see the lifestyle of the people.
 
 
Day 14: Agra
Taj Mahal is awaiting your arrival today morning. A must see with the rising sun as the Taj Mahal is bathed in the golden rays of the morning sun. Built by Shah Jahan, the Taj is a white marble memorial that houses the tomb of his beautiful wife Mumtaz Mahal. This monument took 22 years to be completed and was designed, and planned by Persian architect Ustad Isa. Apart from its stunning design, balance and perfect symmetry, the Taj is also noted particularly for its elegant domes, intricately carved screens and some of the best inlay work ever seen anywhere in the world. Then see the Agra Fort built by Akbar where Shahjahan was imprisoned by his own son Aurangzeb. Post lunch visit Itmad ud Daulah - it is the first mughal building built out completely of marble. In many contexts it is referred to being the predecessor of the Taj Mahal. Then visit Sikandara the tomb of the great emperor Akbar.

 
 
Day 15: Agra - Gwalior - Orchha (219km)
0815 / 0920 Shatabdi Express. Today we go to Gwalior by Shatabdi Express the erstwhile stronghold of the Scindia rulers. Reach Gwalior and meet your chauffeur and car to start your visit. A trip to Gwalior is incomplete without a visit to the fort and the tombs of Ghaus Mohammed and Tansen. Also see the teli ka mandir and the Saas bahu ka mandir inside the fort. Then proceed towards Orchha via Datia by road and visit the palace of the Bundela kings. Datia and Orchha are two twin cities from themedieval times. In these villages time has stopped. And you feel the timelessness of this spot. Orchha is a medieval city founded by Bundela rulers with palaces and temples of the 16th and 17th century - which have remarkably withstood the onslaught of time. The river Betwa picturesquely flanks the city.

 
  Day 16: Orchcha - Khajuraho
In the morning see the beautiful Palace Complex - Jahangiri Mahal and the Raja Mahal. Closely study the intricacies of the mural paintings in the Raja Mahal and visit the Laxminarayana Temple . Post lunch continue towards Khajuraho about 182 km away by road.

 
 
Day 17: Khajuraho - Varanasi (by flight)
Morning sight seeing shows us the temples built during the 9th to the 11th centuries by the powerful dynasty of Chandela rajputs. The temples with their erotic sculptures are a feast to the eyes. The Chandelas built 85 temples in all but today only 20 temples stand intact. Visit the eastern and western group of temples before being transferred to the airport to catch your flight to Varanasi. Upon your arrival in Varanasi transfer to your hotel. Rest of the day is free.
 
 
Day 18: Varanasi - New Jalpaiguri
1830 /0915 North East Express. Early in the morning (0500hrs) we take you to banks of the river Ganges where we board a boat to see the morning ablutions of the Hindus from the security of our boat. The boat ride starts from Dasashwamedh Ghat and ends at Manikarnika Ghat along the sacred Ganges . See the Kashi Vishwanath temple and the Gyanvyapi kund and the mosque attached to it. Also visit the Benares Hindu University the largest residential university in India with more than 3000 residential students.
Return to your hotel for breakfast. Later visit Sarnath the sacred city for the Buddhist all over the world. It was here that Lord Buddha preached his first sermon to his first five disciples. Also worth visiting is the museum with artifacts dating back to 3 rd century BC. Visit the nearby ruins of the ancient seat of learning in Sarnath. In time transfer to Mughal Sarai railway station to continue towards New Jalpaiguri by train. Overnight in air-conditioned sleeper class train.
 
  Day 19: New Jalpaiguri - Darjeeling
Reach New Jalpaiguri at 0915hrs and drive towards Darjeeling.
 
  Day 20: Darjeeling
Full day in Darjeeling visiting the monastries and the tea gardens in the tea capital of India.

 
  Day 21: Darjeeling – Gangtok
Drive to Gangtok in the State of Sikkim via Kurseong.
 
  Day 22: Gangtok
Rest of the day is at leisure.
 
  Day 23: Gangtok - Siliguri
After breakfast drive to Siliguri. Overnight at Siliguri.
 
  Day 24: Siliguri - Kolkata
In time transfer to the airport to board your flight to Kolkata; the cultural capital of India.
 
  Day 25: Kolkata
Reach Kolkata and check into your hotel. Breeakfast at the hotel. Proceed for a city tour seeing Missionaries of Charity (a charitable organization started by Mother Teresa). In the morning visit the flower market and then passing through the government buildings reach the Jain temple in South Calcutta and view the Rabindra Setu: a cantilever bridge across the holy Ganges (called Hooghly in Calcutta).
 
  Day 26: 08/02 Kolkata
Full day at leisure for independent activities.

 
 
Day 27: 09/02 Kolkata - Bhubaneshwar
1400 / 2055 Jan Shatabdi Express. In the morning visit the Kali temple at Kalighat and then some time to shop at the New Market. Afternoon catch the Shatabdi Express to Bhubaneshwar. Upon arrival in Bhubaneshwar transfer to your hotel.
 
  Day 28: Bhubaneshwar - Puri - Konarak - Bhubaneshwar
After breakfast at your hotel leave for a full day excursion of Puri and Konark. At Puri visit the Jagannath temple complex dating back to the 11th century and marvel at the feat of man and his ingenious in making of these mammoth size temples and sanctums.
 
  Day 29: Bhubaneshwar - Chennai
In the morning visit the temple town of Bhubaneshwar including a visit to Rajarani temple and the Lingaraj temple. In time transfer to the railway station for your train to Chennai. Reach Chennai and check into your hotel in the heart of the city.
 
 
Day 30: Chennai
The city stretches its 19 km length along the Coromandel coast and extends inland about 9 km at its widest. Its irregular shape covers about 172 sq km. It is a fairly low-lying strip of land, its highest point being only 60 m above sea level.
The present city of Madras is itself, however, only about 350 years old. The quest of an East India Company factor, Francis Day, for cheaper cloth and more peaceful surroundings led to the founding of Madras in 1639. The city of today, one of the great metropolises of the world, and the fourth largest city in India, grew from the fort Day and his superior Andrew Cogan built on a narrow spit of no-man's land that Day's dubash Beri Thimanna negotiated with the local governor of the Vijayanagar Empire. The approximately 5 square kilometre sand strip Day was granted has now grown into a city of about 170 sq. kms. with a population of 3.25 million. Madras was Britain 's first major settlement in India and it was here that many who went on to build the Empire first learnt their trade. As a consequence, the city is replete with much that is of significance in British Indian history. But the much older settlements have stories to tell too, and so the city is an amalgam of ancient and more modern history. Everywhere one goes in Madras , one can find history written in every name. Particularly charming features of Madras are its allegiance to ancient traditions, no matter how modernised it has become, and its willingness to spread out further rather than develop into a multi-storey concrete jungle. The result is a widespread city still open to the skies; a green, airy city with several vestiges of its rural past; a city that adheres to the leisurely tempo of the life of a world of yesterday; a city whose values of another day still survive midst the humdrum bustle of today; a city that still retains the charm, culture and courtesies of the ages.

 
 
Day 31: Chennai
After breakfast and a brief stay city tour of this traditional / cultural capital city covering Fort St. George, High Court Complex, George Town, Corporation Complex, Patheon Complex, Valluvar Kottam, Kodambakkam, St. Thomas Mount, Guindy National Park, Kalakshetra, Elliot's Beach, Theosophical Society, the Shrines of Mylapore & Triplicane Government Estate, the Marina and Anna Salai.
 
 
Day 32: Chennai - Cochin (by flight)
Upon your arrival at Kochi (Cochin ) proceed for a half-day sight seeing of Cochin by boat. A few interesting sites included in the tour are the Chinese fishing nets along the Vasco da Gama Square, Santa Cruz Basilica, St. Francis Church, VOC Gate, Bastion Bungalow etc. Apart from these architectural splendors, an array of restaurants serving fresh seafood is also popular among tourists. The Chinese fishing nets erected on teak wood and bamboo poles work on the principle of balance. Records say they were first set up here between AD 1350 and 1450. Vasco Da Gama Square , the narrow promenade that parallels the beach, is the best place to watch the nets being lowered and pulled out of the sea.
 
 
Day 33: Cochin - Allepey
Visit the Fort Cochin built in British, Dutch and Portuguese styles reflect the architectural planning of the colonizers. The Church of St. Francis is also worth a visit where Vasco da Gama was buried in 1524 . Later visit the Mattancherry Palace with a collection of fine mural paintings and other masterpieces. Proceed for Allepey. Allepey or Alappuzha is famous for its boat races, houseboats, coir products, fish and lakes. Alappuzha remains prominent on the tourist trial of Kerala as one of the major centres for backwater boat trips. "Kuttanad" in Alappuzha is one of few places in the world where farming is done below sea level. Kuttanad is a land of lush paddy fields and is called the 'Rice Bowl' of Kerala. Kuttanad stretches for 75 km sandwiched between the sea and the hills. Overnight at Allepey in a houseboat.
 
  Day 34: Allepey - Kumarakom
Today you will be cruising through the backwaters of Kerala to reach Kumarakom and visit the Bird Sanctuary here. Proceed to your hotel for the night stay.

 
  Day 35: Kumarakom - Cochin - Mysore
In time transfer to Bangalore. Upon your arrival in Bangalore transfer to Mysore. In the evening visit the famous Brindavan gardens.

 
 
Day 36: Mysore – Bangalore
In the morning visit the Maharaja's palace with ornate interiors suggests the rich and extravagant lifestyle of the rulers of this region. Later visit Tipu Sultan's Palace and capital at Srirangapatnam which holds a few mural paintings depicting life tales of Tipu Sultan and his father Hyder Ali both a living terror to the British. Finally return back to Bangalore. Today you see the Administrative buildings of this beautiful south Indian city. Also see the botanical gardens with 1000 different varieties of flowers. This garden was done up by Hyder Ali in the 18th century.
 
 
Day 37: Bangalore - Goa (by flight)
In time transfer to the airport to catch your flight to Goa the top beach resort in India. Visit the city and its churches before checking into the hotel. Time is at leisure to relax on the beach.
 
  Day 38: Goa
Relax on the beach.
 
 
Day 39: Goa
In the afternoon city tour of the earstwhile Portuguese colony with its ornate Churches and basilicas. In the evening boat cruise with live music and dance.

 
 
Day 40: Goa - Mumbai
In time transfer to the railway station for your onward travel to Mumbai by Mandovi Express. Upon arrival in Mumbai check into your hotel.
 
 
Day 41: Mumbai
In the morning excursion to Elephanta caves by motor launch. In the afternoon see the Gateway of India. Visit the Albert Hall Museum and Jehangir Art Gallery and then see the tower of Silence where the Parsi community leaves their dead to be eaten by the vultures and other prey birds. Also visit the Gandhi Smriti museum and the Kamala Nehru Park with its unique Boot house.
 
  Day 42: Mumbai - Vashi
Full day is at leisure for independent activities.
 
  Day 43: Mumbai - Vashi
Full day is at leisure for independent activities.
 
  Day 44: Mumbai - Next Destination
In time transfer to the airport for your international flight back home
 
 
 
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