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India Religious Tour

Delhi - Patna - Bodhgaya - Varanasi - Khajuraho - Agra - Mathura - Vrindavan - Agra - Fatehpur Sikri - Bharatpur - Jaipur - Delhi ( 11 Nights / 12 Days ) Day 01/ Arrival Delhi Welcome to India! Arrive Delhi, meet assist at the airport & transfer to hotel. Overnight at Delhi.Day 02/ Delhi Breakfast in Hotel, after breakfast proceed for sightseeing tour of Old & New Delhi: Breakfast in the hotel, after breakfast proceed for sightseeing tour of Old & New Delhi: OLD DELHI - A sight-seeing tour of Old Delhi would entail visiting:- Red Fort - The red sandstone walls of Lal Qila, the Red Fort, extend for two km and vary in height from 18 metres on the river side to 33 metres on the city side. Shah Jahan started construction of the massive fort in 1638 and it was completed in 1648. Jama Masjid - Jama Masjid The splendid mosque built by Muhammad Ali Shah in the typical Mughal style with two minarets and three domes, lies to the west of the Hussainabad Imambara, Raj Ghat - the memorial site where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated. NEW DELHI - An extensive sight-seeing tour of New Delhi would include a visit:- Humayun's Tomb - Built in the mid 16th century by Haji Begum, senior wife of Humayun, the second Mughal emperor, Humayun's Tomb is an early example of Mughal architecture built in Delhi. Qutub Minar - 13 km to the south of Connaught Circus at Lalkote of 8th century Tomor Rajputs, the 72.5 m high Victory Pillar stands as a victory stand of a Muslim King Kutub-ud-din-Aibak in India, a drive along the ceremonial avenue - Rajpath, past the imposing India Gate, Parliament House, the President's Residence, Lotus Temple and would end with a drive through the Diplomatic Enclave. Overnight at Delhi. Day 3/ Delhi - Patna - Bodhgaya Morning, transfer to airport to board morning flight southeast from Delhi to Patna, then drive south through rural central Bihar State to Bodh Gaya. Bodh Gaya is the place where the Buddha attained enlightenment, and the most important Buddhist pilgrimage site in the world. After hotel check-in, you will have a full-day guided tour of the area as we follow in the steps of the Buddha. In this large working Buddhist center, you will see the descendant of the Bodhi tree under which the Buddha sat, as well as numerous international Buddhist monasteries built in their respective country's styles. Overnight at Hotel.Day 4/ Bodhgaya - Varanasi After breakfast, drive west from Bodhi Gaya into Uttar Pradesh state and to Hinduism's holiest pilgrimage city, Varanasi, the "City of Light." Also known as Benares or Kashi, Varanasi is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. It is here that all Hindus aspire to come once in their lifetimes to bathe in the Ganges River from the ghats, or landings, all along the river. This act of worship releases the soul from earthly sansara, or the cycle of life, death and rebirth, caused by ignorance. We will have the opportunity to perform this ritual release as we take a holy dip in the Ganges River. We will also enjoy an inspiring sunrise boat ride along the river's edge to view the temples and the ancient rituals of the thousands of pilgrims who worship here daily. Free time will be given to roam this ancient city independently. Afternoon you will also have the opportunity to visit the Buddhist sacred site of Sarnath, where the Buddha taught his first sermon about the Four Noble Truths in Deer Park. During our evenings in Benares, we will meet with scholars in fields such as Sanskrit, Ideology, Buddhism and Tantra. Overnight at Hotel. Day 5/ Varanasi Day in Varanasi to explore the city and temples. Overnight at hotel.Day 6/ Varanasi - Khajuraho (by flight)

In the afternoon take a short flight westward to the world-famous temple city of Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh state. The erotic sculptures of these 22 temples date back to the Chandela Dynasty of the 10th century AD. They have been linked to everything from Tantric cults to Kama Sutra instruction to a carved depiction of the marriage party of Shiva and Parvati. Regardless of their origins, they depict a joyful ode to the source of all life, and are India's unique gift to the world.

Later we visit the world famous erotic temples. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 7/ Khajuraho - Orchaa Jhansi - Agra Morning we drive down to Jhansi station enroute visiting Orchha. Proceed for sight seeing tour where we visit Raj Mahal : Situated to the right of the quardrangle, this palace was built by Madhukar Shah, the deeply religious predecessor of Bir Singh Ju Deo. Jehangir Mahal : Built by Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo in the 17th century to commemorate the visit of Emperor Jehangir to Rochha. Raj Praveen Mahal, Ram Raja Temple, Chaturbhuj Temple, Laxminarayan Temple.

We then proceed to Jhansi train station to board our train to Agra at 1755 hours. Arrive Agra around 2015 hours and proceed to the hotel for check in. Overnight stay in Agra.

Day 08/Agra - Excursion to Mathura and Vrindavan Today we drive drive to Mathura - the birthplace of Krishna. Later we also visit Vrindavan. In the evening we return back to Agra. Overnight stay in Agra. Day 09/Agra - Fatehpur Sikri - BharatpurEarly morning we visit the the legendary Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. This tastefully ornate and architecturally perfect mausoleum was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, and is said to be the most extravagant monument ever built for love. In addition to the Taj, we will visit Agra Fort.

In the afternoon we leave for the deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri, Built between 1569 and 1585 by the great Moghuls emperor Akbar, this unusual ghost city fuses both Hindu and Muslim artistic traditions, in reflection of the unique tolerance of this Muslim emperor. It was abandoned after 16 years due to a shortage of water. Later continue for a short distance west into Rajasthan state to arrive in the traditional town of Bharatpur, where we will stay in a beautiful hotel, formerly owned by a royal family of Jaipur. This small town is also home to the Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary, a World Heritage site, and one of the finest bird sanctuaries in the world. In the evening, walk down to the town to visit with the village inhabitants as they create hand-woven carpets. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 10/ Bharatpur - Jaipur At dawn on the morning, enjoy a cycle rickshaw safari in the Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary. The 29 square kilometers of swamps and lakes here constitute one of the most important heronries in the world, with such species as the dazzling purple heron, the common grey and the tiny brown pond heron. Other species include orange-headed painted storks, snake-like darters, spoonbills, white ibis, egrets, coots, shovelers, widgeons, kingfishers, and grey pelicans. From October to March, the 120 species of Indian birds who live in the park year-round are joined by another 130 species from as far afield as the Russian steppes and Central Asia, including the rare Siberian crane, only 125 of which are estimated to survive in the entire world. Along with birds, other species present include wild boar, mongoose, spotted deer, blue bulls, antelope, jungle cats, hyenas, jackal's otters, pythons and Indian black buck. This is definitely a sanctuary that even non-birders will enjoy! After a relaxed breakfast, drive west to the traditional Rajasthani city of Jaipur and check into hotel, In the afternoon, take a guided city tour of Jaipur, the "Pink City," to include the honeycomb pink and white-faced "Palace of the Winds," the magnificently ornate City Palace, and the incredible sherbet-yellow astronomical observatory, which operates through the use of the sun's shadows to identify the positions of the planets. Overnight at hotel. Day 11/ Jaipur - Delhi In the morning, take a guided excursion through the Amber Fort and Raj Mahal Palace complex. Built by Raja Man Singh beginning in 1592, this ancient capital is a superb example of Rajput architecture, stunningly situated on a hillside and overlooking a lake, which reflects its terraces and ramparts. Enjoy a sturdy uphill ride to the palace atop a colorfully decorated elephant. In the palace, visit the Shila Mata Temple, dedicated to Goddess Kali in her aspect as the Goddess of War. Later in the afternoon, drive back to Delhi in Uttar Pradesh state, and check into hotel. Overnight at hotel.Day 12/ Delhi Breakfast in hotel. Transfer to airport on time to board flight for home with sweet memories of India or onward journey.

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