Highlights of India

Duration: 21 Days

Destination Covered: Rajasthan-Varanasi-Orissa-South India & Goa



Trip Highlights


Itinerary Details
Day - 1     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 - 2     Delhi – Mandawa (260km)

In the morning take a city tour covering Laxmi Narayan Temple - The Place of Gods, 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. Also enjoy the sound & light show in the evening. Overnight at hotel.

After lunch continue on your route to Mandawa.

Day - 3     Mandawa – Bikaner (180km)

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.

Then proceed towards Bikaner en route stop at Fatehpur to see the splendid havelis of the local merchants of Shekhawati. Reach Bikaner 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. Later visit the camel-breeding farm, a unique experience. In the evening stroll in the busy market area of the city.

Day - 4     Bikaner – Pokaran – Jaisalmer (330km)

After breakfast 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 - 5     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 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 - 6     Jaisalmer – Jodhpur (280km)

Today we reach Jodhpur the blue city by early afternoon.

Post lunch session introduces you to the fabulous 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

Then go to Mandore gardens the then capital of Marwar to view some of the fabulous cenotaphs and the hall of local heroes of the wars. Later drive up 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.

Day - 7     Jodhpur – Luni – Udaipur (230km)

After breakfast we take you on a safari to discover the hidden beauty of the jungle life. Here you would be visiting the Bishnoi villages. Bishnois are a tribe that respects life in every form – animals trees and even dead branches. They are vegetarians and even in the villages they protect the animal life and don’t let anybody practice hunting in the vicinity of their villages. They live in a joint family system where the oldest member is generally the head of the family.

Then we would like you to witness the opium ceremony with the Patels – a rich tribe. It is a ceremony prevalent in this part of Rajasthan where the youth offers opium to drink mixed with water to the elders of the family when they come back from work in the fields.

Leave Luni and reach Ranakpur another 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. Proceed towards Udaipur and on the way stop by the fields to see the local way of farming and irrigation. Walk into the villages to mingle with the locals around to know more about their lifestyle.

Reach Udaipur by late evening and check into your hotel

Day - 8     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 - 9     Udaipur – Ajmer – Pushkar – Jaipur by surface

Today cross the entire stretch of Mewar to reach the most holy cities of Pushkar and Ajmer.

Pushkar happens to be the holiest places according to the Hindus as it is considered that Lord Brahma (the Creator) and his wife Saraswati (the godess of learning and music) performed a ritual in the lake. Here we visit the only Brahma temple of the world before intermingling with the local colours in the local bazaar. Pushkar is the world famous for its cattle fair held each year in the month of October/November. Proceed towards Ajmer.

Ajmer is the pious city for the Muslims. Surprisingly both the cities are at distance of 11km from each other. Visit the Durgah built in fond remembrance of Khwaja Muin ud Din Chisti where the Muslim pilgrims from all over India throng during the festival times. Later visit Mughal emperor Akbar’s Palace where his son Jehangir received Sir Thomas Roe to grant him the permission of trade to East India Company with India, that changed the history of India completely and slowly and steadily India became colony of the British Empire. Continue towards Jaipur and reach by late evening and check into hotel.

Day - 10     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.

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 - 11     Jaipur – Fatehpur Sikri – Agra by surface

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.

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.

Day - 12     Agra – Khajuraho (183km)

Today we board our car to proceed towards Khajuraho via Datia and visit the palace of the Bundela kings.

Continue towards Khajuraho about 182 km away by road.

Day - 13     Khajuraho – Varanasi By flight

Morning sightseeing 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. (1525hrs)

Upon your arrival in Varanasi transfer to your hotel. Rest of the day is free.

Day - 14     Varanasi – Puri (by overnight train)

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 3rd century BC. Visit the nearby ruins of the ancient seat of learning in Sarnath.

In time transfer to the train station to continue towards Calcutta; the cultural capital of India.

Overnight in air-conditioned sleeper class train.

Day - 15     Puri – Konark – Bhubaneshwar

Reach Puri in the morning 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.

Continue towards Konark a short distance away and see the Sun Temple. Later in the day reach Bhubaneshwar via Pipli.

Day - 16     Bhubaneshwar – Chennai by flight

After breakfast transfer to the domestic airport for your flight to Chennai (Madras). Upon arrival transfer to your hotel.

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 Vijaynagar Empire. The approximately 5 square kilometer 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 modernized 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 - 17     Chennai – Cochin by flight

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. Proceed towards the airport for your flight to Cochin.

Upon your arrival at Kochi (Cochin) proceed for a half-day sightseeing 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 - 18     Cochin – Alleppey – Cochin

Visit the Fort Cochin built in British, Dutch and Portuguese styles and reflects 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 Alleppey. Alleppey 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 centers 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.

Day - 19     Cochin – 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 - 20     Goa

Relax on the beach.

Day - 21     Goa – Mumbai – Next destination

In time transfer to the airport for your onward flight to Mumbai.

Visit the Albert Hall Museum and Jahangir 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.

In time transfer to the international airport for your onward flight.


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