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The Indian Love Affair

Duration : 8 Days / 7 Nights
Destination Covered : Delhi - Agra - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Varanasi

Day 01: Arrival / Delhi

WelcomeLate night arrival. Meeting and assistance upon arrival as our representatives welcome you and escort you to your car.

Whilst the room keys and check-in is organized, our representative would introduce the tour to you and hand over the documents to you.

Welcome to India, or as we say 'atithi devo bhava' (the guest is an incarnation of God). Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you!

Overnight at The Imperial - a 5* Downtown Hotel

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Day 02: Delhi

Red FortFollowing a leisurely breakfast, we proceed on a guided tour of New Delhi, Visiting such sights as Bahai Temple, Humayun's Tomb (1586), the Qutab Minar 72 meters high and one of the most perfect towers in the Persian world. The Iron Pillar which has survived the vagaries of weather for over 1500 years. Continue with a drive through Embassy area, the Government buildings (1921-1930) and Connaught Place, the heart and main shopping district of the capital.

Afternoon we cross the city and into the walled gates of the Old city with visits to the Jamma Mosque (1650) and drive through the fabled area of Chandni Chowk (aptly translates to Moonlight Square) where the throngs of shoppers and vendors meet in the oldest area of Delhi. Visit the Red Fort (1639-1648 built by Shah Jehan the builder of the Taj Mahal in Agra) to view the inlaid and carved Royal Chambers, on to Raj Ghat and nearby ghats where the founder of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi and thereafter Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were cremated.

The highlight of this tour would be a ride on cycle rickshaws. Now these are 3-wheel cycles with a sofa seat at the back. The Rickshawalla (Rickshaw driver) sits on a small cushion in the front and two passengers on the sofa seat behind. This is a remarkable way to explore and picture the hustle and bustle as well as the colour of the narrow winding streets bursting with people and pavement shops selling wares of all description - including a laughing set of dentures. The ride would be accompanied by peals of laughter both from the passengers as well as the onlookers.

Overnight at The Imperial - a 5* Downtown Hotel

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Day 03: Delhi / Agra

Agra FortMorning, we drive to Agra along one of the India's finest freeways.

Upon arrival in Agra check into your hotel Amarvilas

After rest & relaxation we will ride to the massive Agra Fort. The elegant buildings inside reflect an interesting synthesis of Hindu and Central Asian architectural styles. Built by Emperor Akbar, the maze of the courtyards, mosques & private chambers of the fort echo the story of the Mughal Empire. The Moti Masjid & other magnificent buildings reflect the skill of the ancient Indian architects.

Agra is the city of the Taj Mahal, perhaps the most photographed monument in the world. However, there is a degree of enigma about the Taj. Once you hear about a building so much and once you see so many pictures of a building your expectations are real high; and this is the enigma about the Taj Mahal. No matter how many pictures you have seen or no matter how high your expectations are the Taj never lets you down - the unparalleled glory and beauty of the building surpasses beyond all human imaginations. At sun set we visit the Taj Mahal to witness this spectacular monument built for love. Besides perfect symmetry in every aspect of its construction, the inlay work of semi precious stones into marble in pietra dura style is absolutely remarkable.

Overnight at Amarvilas - a 5* Hotel

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Day 04: Agra / Jhansi (Shatabdi Express - 0820 / 1040 Hrs) Jhansi / Khajuraho

KhajurahoMorning, transfer to the train station for a short ride on India's premier train service to Jhansi.

Meeting and assistance upon arrival drive through fascinating tribal country to Khajuraho.

Upon arrival check into your hotel The Grand Temple View

After rest & relaxation we proceed on a tour of Eastern Group of Temples. If pictures speak a thousand words, then the temples of Khajuraho form a magnum opus... an expression of Indian sculptors of yore. These temples of Khajuraho were built by the Chandela kings following the tradition of Tantric art. Although famed for their erotic sculptures, the philosophy behind the temples is much more vast and encompassing. They are in fact a celebration of life!

Sound & Light Show:
Afternoon, we visit temple complex to enjoy Sound & Light Show, where the history of the temples is narrated through the medium of Sound & Light. This fascinating Son-et-Lumiere spectacle evokes the life and times of the great Chandela Kings and traces the story of the unique temples from the 10th century to the present day. Amitabh Bachhan, the Indian Super Star, narrates the story of Khajuraho in his mesmerizing voice.

Overnight at Hotel Grand Temple View

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Day 05: Khajuraho / Varanasi (9W 724 - 1300 / 1410 Hrs)

KhajurahoMorning we proceed on a tour of Western Group of Temples depicting erotic sculptures of love making images of Gods and Goddesses and celestial Nymphs. The sexual fantasies displayed in the sculptures are mind boggling. It speaks very highly of the artistic creativity and imagination of the sculptors. Afternoon return to your hotel.

Later, transfer to the airport to board your flight to Varanasi

Meeting and assistance upon arrival and transfer to hotel Taj Ganges

Evening, we visit the ghats of Varanasi to witness the performance of Ganges Aarti. We enjoy a special evening cruise on the Ganges See the Hindu devotees performing the "Puja" with lighted lamps. The view is very mesmerizing and the ambience is spectacular in the back drop of the beating of cymbals and bells as well as the incessant chantings.

Overnight at Taj Ganges - a 5* Taj Group Hotel

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Day 06: Varanasi

KhajurahoAt dawn we visit the sacred Ganges for a boat ride. Every morning at dawn hundreds of worshippers can be seen bathing in the sacred waters. The great river banks are lined with an endless chain of stone steps-the ghats-that stretch from one end of the city to the other. The Ghats form an impressive part of the religious landscape of the city. Proceeding downstream at a leisurely pace, you would be pointed out the significant temples and buildings as well as the changing architectural style. Life and death go hand in hand in Varanasi. While young people seek prosperity and protection from harmful influences, the older generation comes to Varanasi to cleanse their souls in the forgiving waters in preparation for their ultimate dissolution. Believing that anyone who dies in the river of life in Varanasi gains freedom from the cycle of birth and death, the City of Light has become a haven for the sick and aged waiting out their final days. The smoke that billows from the crematoriums on the edge of the river gives testimony to their final release from life's earthly confines. We would docked our boat at Manikarnika (Cremation) Ghat. On any given day, anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred corpses are cremated here, The ghat is assiduous with activity as the cremated bodies threw up smoke and fire.

Following the boat ride we set off on foot to explore the inner city. Through a twisted maze of narrow alleys, home to numerous shrines and pilgrim shops, we walk back a few centuries. Life here has stood still for years. The homes, the shops and even the cattle have not changed over the centuries. It is a brilliant nostalgic experience of timelessness!

Afternoon, we will visit several temples and the Hindu University at Benares. First stop would be the Bharat Mata (temple of Mother India). Inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi, it features a huge marble map of India on the ground floor. Next up, the Durga Temple. Known for its bright red color and the playful, if sometimes aggressive, monkeys that run amok there, the Durga Temple is one of the most imposing architectural monuments in Varanasi.

The university, which occupies a large piece of land at the southern end of town, is also home to the New Vishwanatha Temple. The New Temple is modern in design and open to Hindus and non-Hindus alike. Surrounded by palm trees, it is a splendid white marble structure that shines in the afternoon sun against a pale blue sky. Inside, the temple is spacious and airy. The interior walls are covered with Vedic art above inscriptions from the Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads. In the center of the first floor is the Shiva linga.

This evening we take a short trip to the Buddhist city of Sarnath. It is here that the Buddha preached his first sermons after attaining enlightenment. The highlight of this tour would be a participation in the evening prayer service (aarti) of the main Buddhist temple here - the synchronized chanting of hymns to the accompaniment of traditional temple music is a sole stirring experience.

Overnight at Taj Ganges - a 5* Taj Group Hotel

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Day 07: Varanasi / Delhi (9W 724- 1330 / 1410 Hrs)

Morning is at leisure to absorb & observe the religious spirit of Varanasi

Later transfer to the airport to connect your flight to Delhi

Meeting and assistance upon arrival and transfer to your hotel The Imperial

Home Visit & a Farewell Dinner with an Indian Family : Meeting and assistance upon arrival and we would visit an Indian family for an Indian home experience. The evening is designed to give you a 'feel' and insight into Indian family life as well as experience typical Indian hospitality and home made Indian food.

Overnight at The Imperial - a 5* Downtown Hotel

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Day 08: Delhi / Departure

Today we will be transferred to International airport to connect our onward flight back home.

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END OF SERVICES…

We do hope the flavor of India will remain on your taste buds for all times to come and hopefully would kindle an indelible fondness for the country and her people; Thank you for being our guest, and as we say in India 'Please Come back Soon"





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