Heart & Soul of India

Tour Duration : 20 Nights/ 21 Days
Destinations : Delhi, Amritsar, Jaipur, Agra, Bhopal, Ujjain, Indore, Mandu, Maheshwar, Jalgaon, Aurangabad, Mumbai & Goa.

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Tour Description : This 20 days tour gives you a glimpse of North, central and western part of India and takes you to the innumerable monuments, exquisitely carved temples, Golden Temple of Amritsar, Stupas, forts and palaces, beaches of Goa and terminates at Mumbai. Gives you an opportunity to experience the Royalty of yester years with a 2 nights stay at Ahilya Fort in Maheshwar, where the present owner Prince Richard Holkar of Indore, is your host. There are no extra charges for food, laundry, boating, trips to the farm, visits to the weaving centre, and unlimited free drinks, wine, beer, spirits, are offered personally by Prince Richard.

Day 1: Arrive Delhi:
Namaste! We are welcomed the traditional Indian way with hands clapped together. After immigration and custom formalities, we are met and transferred to Our Hotel. Overnight: Oberoi Maidens (2 nights)

Day 2: Delhi:Qutub Minar - Delhi
The capital of India is a true reflection of the old and new of India. We start our morning tour with New Delhi and visit the famous India Gate followed by the Houses of Parliament, Connaught Place, Humayun's Tomb and the Qutb Minar - a perfect minaret towering 102 meters / 112 yards into the sky. New Delhi is a blend of Mughal India, Hindu India, British India and certainly of modern independent India.
Our afternoon concentrates on Old Delhi, starting with the famous Red Fort. Built by Shah Jehan, this was once the most opulent fort of the Mughal Empire. Next we visit another Mughal majesty, the Jama Masjid, India's largest mosque. We end our tour with the visit to Raj Ghat, the cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi. (B)
Please note: - Red fort is closed on Monday.

Day 3: Delhi- Amritsar - by Shatabdi Express:- Train # 12029- Swarna Shatabadi, Departure: 07:20 Hrs, Arrival: 13:25 HrsGolden Temple - Amritsar
In the morning we are transferred to railway station for our train to Amritsar. On arrival in Amritsar, we are transferred to our Hotel. In the afternoon we visit Indo-Pak Border to watch retreat ceremony-30 KM on the road to Lahore is India-Pakistan Border. A visit to the border is an interesting experience especially at Sunset, when the retreat ceremony takes place with the Border Security Force on the Indian Side and the Sutlej Rangers on the Pakistan side putting up a well coordinated and spectacular display. The sound from the Bugles blown together from both sides paints past on the canvas when India and Pakistan were one, simultaneously Flags of the two nations are ceremoniously retrieved and lights are switched on marking the end of the day. Amidst thunderous applause today this point is the only land route open to approach Pakistan and central Asia. Overnight: Hotel in Amritsar (1 Night) (Breakfast)

Day 4: Amritsar - Delhi by Train # 12030- Swarna Shatabadi, Departure: 17:00 Hrs, Arrival: 23:05 Hrs
In the morning we visit Golden Temple - the Holy Scripture is brought in a vivid procession from the Akal Takhat (the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs) in the morning to the temple to be returned at night. Singing is central to Sikh worship & is a feast to the souls when hymns from the Holy Scripture are recited Kirtan and the waves of the classical ragas, a sublime blend of voice & music. Next we visit 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. In the afternoon we are transferred to railway station for train to Delhi. On arrival in Delhi, we are transferred to our Hotel. Overnight: Hotel in Delhi (1 Night) (Breakfast)

Day 5: Delhi - Jaipur : (Drive 262 kms / 5 Hours)
Morning after breakfast we take a countryside drive to Jaipur, the rose pink capital of Rajasthan. Jaipur , filled with frenetic crowds, Rajasthan's chaotic, dusky - pink capital is a place of wild contrasts, bombarding the senses at every turn. Jaipur's old city, it's rich color deepening and fading according to the light, is lined with long, twinkling bazaarsAmber Fort - Jaipur. Like Wacky Races on acid, vegetable - laden camel carts thread their way through streets jam-packed with cars, cows, rickshaws & bicycles. The city owes its name, foundation and careful planning to the great warrior -astronomer Maharaja Jai Singh II (1693 - 1743). On arrival check in to the Hotel. In the evening we visit the famous Lakshi Narayan Temple to witness the evening prayer ceremony. Birla Mandir or the Lakshmi - Narayan Temple, situated just below the Moti Dungari. This is a modern temple built of white marble on top of a hill, dominating the skyline of south Jaipur. The Birlas (industrialists who have also built several temples in India) built this temple. The temple has been constructed in white marble and has three domes, each portraying the different approaches to religion. The presiding deities here are Vishnu (One of the Hindu Trilogy Gods) called Narayan and his consort Lakshmi Goddess of wealth and good fortune. The temple is built is white in marble and exterior has carved sculptures of various mythological themes and images of saints. The interior has large panel in marble of mythological proceedings. The images of the deities are placed in the sanctum sanctorum. Built on raised ground, it is surrounded by large lush green gardens. Overnight : Hotel in Jaipur (2 Nights) ( Breakfast)

Day 6: Jaipur
We are treated like the royalty of yesteryear with an elephant ride to the intriguing Amber Palace, a distinguished example of 17th Century Rajput architecture. After the tour and enjoying a panoramic view, we return to Jaipur to visit the old astronomical observatory built by the founder of the city, Jai Singh. We also visit the majestic City Palace, which houses a rare collection of Indian art, and the colourful bazaar. Jaipur is noted for its craftsmen, skilled in brass inlay, lacquer work and stone setting. Most of the buildings in the old city are made of pink sandstone and one of the most beautiful is Hawa Mahal, Palace of Winds, where the ladies of the royal harem used to watch the city from behind the intricately carved facade. Evening is free to enjoy both shopping and a cultural experience in the bazaars of Jaipur. (Breakfast)

Day 7: Jaipur - Agra - (Drive: 235 Kms)
In the morning after breakfast we drive to Agra enroute visiting Fatehpur Sikri the former Mughal capital where we also visit the artistically designed mausoleum of the revered Sufi Saint, Salim Chisty who is reputed to have prayed for a son for Akbar leading to the birth of Salim Jehangir, the father of the builder of the Taj. Pilgrims of all denominations visit this site with their own prayers. From here we continue with our drive to Agra. On arrival in Agra we check in to the Hotel. Overnight: Hotel in Agra (2 nights) (B)

Day 8: Agra Taj Mahal - Agra
We start our day with a visit to one of the most well known wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal. Built by Shah Jehan as a mausoleum for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj is built of white marble, beautifully carved and inlaid with semi-precious stones. Next we visit Agra Fort, where Shah Jehan, in the later years of his life, was imprisoned by his son to prevent him from spending the family fortunes on a black echo of the Taj Mahal. We also visit Itmad-Ud-Daulah , often called as Baby Taj. A highly ornate edifice, this mausoleum is considered as the imminent precursor of the Taj Mahal as far as elaborate carvings and inlay work are concerned. Though the structure does not have much to offer architecturally, it makes a clear departure from the earlier Mughal tombs built during the period and is more softer and with a lot of inlay carvings. We end our tour with a visit to some of the local factories famous for inlay work on marbles and witness the complex art inlaying precious and semiprecious stones on the world famous Marbles for the mines of Makrana.(Breakfast)
Please Note: Taj Mahal remains closed on Friday's.

Day 9: Agra - Bhopal:- Train #2002 - Bhopal Shatabdi, Departure:- 08:15 Hrs, Arrival:- 14:05 Hrs
Today we are transferred to railway station for our train to Bhopal. On arrival, we check in at our Hotel. Our tour of Bhopal, capital of Madhya Pradesh will be an interesting insight. This modern, beautiful, and historical city is located in the same place, where the 11th century Bhojapal city, founded by Raja Bhoja, once stood. Bhopal was re discovered by Dost Mohammad (1708-1740), an Afghan soldier. Bhopal is known as the city of Mosques - most of which were built by the Begums (Queens) of Bhopal, who ruled the city. The Jama Masjid with its Gold spikes crowns the minarets, the Moti Masjid -architecturally akin to Delhi's Jama Masjid, Ta-ul-Masajidi is one of the largest mosques in Asia and is a fascinating example of Islamic architecture with Quibla wall in the prayer hall carved with 11 recessed arches and the mimbar made of black basalt. Our tour gives us a good impression of the majesty of Islamic architecture. Overnight: Noor-Us-Sabha Palace (2 Nights) (B)

Day 10: Bhopal:- visit to Sanchi, Udaygiri and Bhimbetka Caves
In the morning we explore one of the most intriguing World Heritage Sites in India, Sanchi. Crowning the hilltop of Sanchi nearly 91 meters in height, is a group of Buddhist monuments commanding a grand view. These are most perfect and well-preserved stupas, offering a wide and academic in the study of Buddhist art and architecture. The establishment of Sanchi is an important center of Buddhism and was probably established by the great Maurya emperor Ashoka (273-236 B.C.) in recognition of his marriage to a lady of Vidisha. On our way back we visit Udaygiri Caves 13 km from Sanchi. Udaygiri is word of Sanskrit language meaning "sunrise hills". These are a group of rock-cut caves sanctuaries carved into a sandstone hill that stands sentinel-like on the horizon. An inscription in one of these states that it was produced during the reign of Chandragupta II (382-401AD), thus dating these caves to 4th - 5th century AD.
In the afternoon we visit Bhimbetka Caves - situated 46 km south of Bhopal, has one of the oldest prehistoric paintings of the world. The paintings is these rock shelters are similar to the aboriginal rock paintings in the outback of Australia, the cave paintings of the Bushmen in Kalahari Desert and the Paleolithic Lascaux cave paintings in France. These caves belong to the Neolithic Age. Hidden amid forests of teak and sal in the craggy cliffs, these 1,000 rock shelters are recognized by UNESCO as one of the World Heritage Sites. (B)

Day 11: Bhopal - Ujjain - Indore:- DriveMahakaleshwar Temple - Ujjain
We drive to Indore En-route we visit Ujjain. Here we will see Mahakaleshwar Temple. We arrive Indore and Visit Kanch Mandir and The Lal bagh Palace.
Overnight: Fortune Landmark Hotel (1 Night) (B)

Day 12: Indore - Mandu - Maheshwar:- Drive
In the morning we take an excursion to Mandu enables us to view the Jahaz Mahal, Taveli Mahal, Asharafi Mahal, Tomb of Hoshang Shah, the Jain Temple , Jama Masjid , Baz Bahadur's Palace, Rupmati's Pavalion, Darya Khan ‘s Tomb and Nil Kanth Palace. From here we drive to Maheshwar. On arrival, we check in at Ahilya Fort.
Overnight: Ahilya Fort (2 Nights) (B,L,D)

(Please Note:-Accommodation at Ahilya Fort includes all meals, Indian beverages of a wide variety, soft drinks, Tea and Coffee throughout the day, laundry, local boating on the river (On prior request) and local sightseeing.)

Day 13: Maheshwar:
Today we take excursion to Omkareshwar. Omkareshwar is a sacred island, shaped like the holiest of all Hindu symbols, ‘Om’. Omkareshwar is situated on the banks of the Narmada, and is one of the 12 revered Jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva.
(B, L, D)

Day 14: Maheshwar - Jalgaon - Drive 275 kms/6 hrs
In the morning after breakfast we take drive to Jalgaon. On arrival we check in our Hotel. Rest of the day is free. Overnight: Hotel Royal Palace in Jalgaon (1 night) (B)

Day 15: Jalgaon / Aurangabad- Drive 150 Kms :-
In the morning we drive to Aurangabad en-route visiting the Ajanta Caves. One Hundred and seven Kilometers north-east of Aurangabad are the remarkable rock-cut monuments of Ajanta, containing important examples of Buddhist Architecture and sculpture, and what is undoubtedly the finest and most complete examples of early Buddhist paintings of India. The cave temples are cut into the rocky sites of dramatic crescent shaped gorge at the head of which is a waterfall that feeds the natural pool, the Saptakunda. The earlier monuments date back to the second and first centuries BC.
The Ajanta Carvings of the Mahayana Phase rival those of the Gupta period monuments, to which they are stylistically related, demonstrating the artistic links between Deccan and central India in the fifth century. The series of paintings at Ajanta that cloaks the walls and ceilings is unparalleled in the history of Indian Art, both for the wide range of subjects illustrated and the assured mastery of the medium. The paintings that adorn the walls and ceilings of the caves depict incidents from the life of Buddha and various Buddhist divinities. Among the more interesting paintings are the Jakarta tales, illustrating diverse stories relating to the previous incarnations of the Buddha as Bodhisattva, a saintly being who is destined to become Buddha. Overnight: Hotel Taj Residency ( 2 Nights) (B)
Please Note: Ajanta Caves are closed on Monday.

Day 16: Aurangabad:
In the morning we visit ELLORA CAVES situated about 18 miles away from the city of Aurangabad - a group of rock temples - posses a magnificent series of Buddhist, Brahmanical and Jain temples of the 9th Century A.D. Kailash Temple, hewn out of a single rock, carved with life size figures of gods and goddesses, is a wonder. There are 34 caves, of which 12 are Buddhist, 17 Hindu and 5 Jain Later we also visit the Daulatabad fort and Bibi-Ka-Maqbra - The Bibi-Ka-Maqbra (19°55’ N; 75°15’ E) is a beautiful mausoleum of Rabia-ul-Daurani alias Dilras Banu Begum, the wife of the Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb (1658-1707 A.D.). This mausoleum is believed to be constructed by Prince Azam Shah in memory of his mother between 1651 and 1661 A.D. (B)
Please Note: Ellora Caves are closed on Tuesday

Day 17: Aurangabad - Mumbai - Goa: - Flight
In the morning we take a short flight to Mumbai. On arrival, we change plane and fly to Goa. On arrival in Goa, we are transferred to our Hotel. Goa- The former Portuguese enclave of Goa has a character quite distinct from the rest of the India. Although its renowned 'travelers scene' and reliance on tourism has changed and shaped aspects of this tiny state in the past two decades, Goa offers much more than just the hedonism of sun, sand and sea. Despite five decades of liberation from Portuguese rule, Roman Catholicism remains a major religion, skirts far outnumbers saris, and Goans display an easygoing tropical indulgence, humor and civility. White washed churches, paddy fields, coconut -palm groves and crumbling forts guarding rocky capes make up the Goan landscape. Markets are lively, colorful affairs, siesta is widely observed during the hot afternoons, and there are feasts and festivities throughout the year. Rest of the day is free to relax on the Beach. Overnight at Hotel in Goa - 2 Nights (B)

Day 18: Goa
We take a full day tour of Goa visiting South Goa and North Goa, visiting Mapusa town, Mayem Lake, Vagator, Anjuna, Calangute beaches and Fort Aguada in North Goa and the South Goa tour covers Old Goa Churches - Bom Jesus, Se Cathedral, Margao, Colva and Mormugao.
Old Goa is an important pilgrimage Centre visited by thousands of pilgrims and devotees particularly on the occasion of St Francis Xavier's annual feast on 3rd December. At Old Goa, about 15 kms from Panaji, rises a complex of ancient churches, monasteries and convents renowned for their unique architectural style and loftiness.
Church: The Basilica of Bom Jesus built in the 16th century, where the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier are enshrined; the Se Cathedral, which is the most imposing of all churches at Old Goa. Its vaulted interior overwhelms the visitors by its sheer grandeur. The cathedral has five bells of which one is the famous Golden bell, the biggest in Goa and one of the best in the World. (B)

Day 19: Goa- Mumbai- Flight: Gateway of India - Mumbai
Transfer to airport for flight to Mumbai. On arrival check in at the Hotel. Later our experience of Bombay or Mumbai starts with - Gateway of India- Mumbai's most famous monument; this is the starting point for most tourists who want to explore the city. We also visit Hanging gardens, the bustling Crawford Market, Haji Ali - Across a rocky path that meanders into the sea from Mahalaxmi Temple, you can see a cluster of ethereal white domes floating on the water. This is Haji Ali Dargah, the tomb of a wealthy Muslim merchant, who renounced all his worldly belongings before embarking on a pilgrimage to Mecca. Next we visit Flora Fountain and the Dhobi Ghats - a vast outdoor laundry & the Prince of Wales Museum & Victoria Terminus which is recently added to the world heritage site. This is a city's most exuberant Gothic building look more like a lavishly decorated palace or cathedral than something as mundane as a transport depot - don't wait until you have to catch a train to see it. It was designed by Frederick Stevens as the headquarters of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway Company and was completed in 1887; 34 years after the first train in India left this site on its way to nearby Thana. Evening is free for shopping and personal activities. Overnight: The Trident Nariman Point (2 Nights) (B)
Please Note: Prince of Wales Museum is closed on Monday's.

Day 20: Mumbai:
After breakfast we take an excursion to the world famous Elephanta Caves. Little is known about their origins, but they are thought to have been created between AD 450 and 750, when the island was known as Gharapuri (Place of Caves). The Portuguese renamed it Elephanta because of a large stone elephant near the shore. There is one main cave with a number of large sculptured panels, all-relating to Shiva. The most famous of the panels is the Trimurti (Triple headed) Shiva, where the god is depicted as destroyer, preserver, and creator. There are also figures of Shiva dancing the Tandava, the marriage of Shiva and Parvati, Ravana shaking Kailasa, a scary carving of Shiva killing the demon Andhaka and one in which Shiva appears as Ardhanari (half lady), uniting both genders in one body.(B)
Please Note: Elephanta Caves are closed on Monday's.

Day 21: Mumbai - Home:
Today we are transferred to airport for our flight to onward destination. (B)

(B) = Breakfast, (L) = Lunch, (D) = Dinner
Dates and Prices

We accept payment in US $ (US Dollars) or equivalent EURO (for clients outside North America). Bestway Tours & Safaris offers conversion rate protection. Once full payment has been received, and no modification has been made to the tour itinerary, we will honor that rate. For Clients making payment in Euro and GBP please visit http://www.xe.com to check the conversion rate. The conversion rate on the payment due date will be applicable. For Complete payment procedures please visit http://www.travelling-in-india.com/payinfo.html

(All Prices on Per Person Basis in US $)

Price Valid from June 2011 to 15 September 2011
Solo Traveller Double Occupancy Single Room Supplement
USD 4630 USD 2710 USD 1135

Price Valid from 16 September 2011 to 15 April 2012
Except 21st December, 2011 to 5th January, 2012
Solo Traveller Double Occupancy Single Room Supplement
USD 5110 USD 3020 USD 1335

Price Valid from 16 April 2012 to 15 September 2012
Solo Traveller Double Occupancy Single Room Supplement
USD 4735 USD 2785 USD 1195

Other Supplements
Domestic Air fare for Aurangabad - Mumbai - Goa and Goa Mumbai sectors - USD 275 Per Person Subject to Change and Availability


City Hotel Name No.of nights
Delhi Jaypee Siddharth - 5 Star 02
Amritsar Country Inn Suites - 4 Star 01
Delhi Jaypee Siddharth - 5 Star 01
Jaipur Royal Orchid Central - 5 Star 02
Agra Jaypee Palace Agra - 5 Star Deluxe 02
Bhopal Noor-us-Sabha- Palace - Heritage 02
Indore Fortune Land Mark - 4 Star 01
Maheshwar Ahilya Fort - Heritage 02
Jalgaon Hotel Royal Palace 01
Aurangabad Taj Residency - 5 Star 02
Goa O Resort - 4 Star 02
Mumbai The Trident Nariman Point - 5 Star 02

Inclusions & Exclusions

Inclusions Exclusions
Accommodation on twin share basis in the mentioned or similar hotels for 20 Nights with daily buffet Breakfast as per the itinerary. Stay at Ahilya Fort includes all meals and beverages including Non alcoholic - Indian Make. Any Domestic Air Fare - Supplement given above
Transfers and sightseeing as per the itinerary by air-conditioned Vehicle. Any personal expenses such as laundry bills, telephone bills, alcoholic / Non Alcoholic beverages.
Road tax, Toll Charges, parking fees and driver's overnight wages. Tips and other such cost which is to be paid to the drivers, guides, porters etc.
Elephant Ride at Amber Fort (Subject to availability) Visa fees or International flight tickets and insurance.
Demonstration of Marble craftsmanship in Agra. Any other services not mentioned in the cost inclusions.
Rickshaw Ride in Old Delhi. Liability for change in itinerary due to reasons beyond our control like change in schedule / cancellation of flights / trains / political disturbances, natural phenomenon etc.
Boat Charges to Elephanta Caves in Mumbai  
All entrances to Monuments of Visit - Single entry  
Train Fare Agra to Bhopal  

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