Classical India

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Day 1

On your arrival in India, a representative of Luxury Trips, holding a sign in your name, will meet you in the arrivals area upon exiting baggage claim and escort you to your hotel to check-in.

Delhi is one of India’s most vibrant cities today. It is not only a city that has played capital to various dynasties but is also one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Today, apart from being at the political forefront, it also leads the country in terms of art, culture, culinary experiences, shopping, entertainment and overall standard of living. The city is a beautiful homogeneous mix of the old and the contemporary. Delhi is a microcosm of all that is India.

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Day 2

After breakfast sightseeing of Old and New Delhi. Start your tour with a visit to Jama Masjid, India’s largest and Delhi’s most spectacular mosque. Drive past the magnificent Red Fort (Closed on Monday) – a marvel in red sandstone, built on the banks of River Yamuna by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. This fort was built on the lines of the Agra Fort and has similar architectural marvels.

From here, board pedicabs to converse the busy and crowded streets of ‘Chandini Chowk’. Literally translates Chandini Chowk mean Golden Street and used to be the main royal market for the Mughal Empire; today, this is Delhi’s largest wholesale market and represents some of the most expensive real estate. The craziness of the market can be easily ignored as you become an onlooker of life in this huge bazaar. You traverse through two main streets Khari Baoli, the largest spice market and the jeweler row of Kinari Bazaar where in small cramped little shops significant trade of gold and silver is carried out.

The pedi cabs drop you back at your vehicle and you are driven to Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial – Rajghat. Located in a huge open park this monument is as peaceful and tranquil as the man himself.

Afternoon visit the Qutub Minar, the tallest minaret in India. Built in the 12th Century, this minaret is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is made of the traditional red sandstone and marble as also seen in later Mughal architecture. The complex also has an ancient iron pillar, which is 1600 years old. While the Qutub Minar is inscribed with Koranic verses for its entire length of 237 feet, the iron pillar in the same complex is inscribed with Brahmin poetry extolling the kings of the Gupta period. 

Later visit, the mausoleum of Emperor Humayun. The monument was commissioned by Humayun’s wife, selected a Persian architect to build the tomb. He combined the best of Hindu and Persian architectural styles to create this fabulous monument, which went on to become the forerunner of the Mughal style of architecture in the country.

Lastly you are driven through Lutyen’s Delhi where you drive past India Gate – the memorial to the Unknown Soldier, Rashtrapati Bhawan – the Presidential Palace, the Parliament House and other beautiful buildings built by the noted British architect. This entire area of Delhi is lush, with parks, wide roads and rambling beautiful houses. Return to the hotel for an evening at leisure.

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Day 3

After breakfast drive to Jaipur.

Built by Maharaja Jai Singh II (after whom it was named), in 1727, Jaipur today emulates Delhi with its contemporary lifestyle and mélange of art and cultural options. India’s first planned city, Jaipur was built on the classical architectural principals of Vaastu Shastra. The city was divided into blocks and for the first time there was a segregation of residential and commercial areas. The City Palace built at its heart covered almost a seventh of the area of the entire city. It is popularly known as Pink City, due the hue of the buildings across the old town.

On arrival check in to your hotel. Rest of the day is at leisure.

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Day 4

An early breakfast is planned at the hotel, followed by a full day of sightseeing in Jaipur. The tour starts at Amber Fort with a stop at the Hawa Mahal enroute for photographs. The Hawa Mahal or Palace of Winds is a beautiful façade built for the ladies of the royal family. It is where they sat and watched the procession and festivals on the main avenue without being seen. Proceed on to Amber Fort, now declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, located in Amer, a town lying on the outskirts of Jaipur. This is where the Kushwaha Kings were based before moving to Jaipur to cater to the burgeoning population and scarcity of water. The Amber Fort is a classic example of Hindu and Rajput architectural styles. Its large ramparts lead up to a fort that is spread over four levels, each with large courtyards. The fort houses various palaces including the summer, winter and monsoon palace as well as many temples. Each of these palaces was built to combat the extreme weather and even today one can see how effective they were. Built on a high hill, the fort can be seen for miles and has been recently renovated. The ascent up to the fort is on elephant back, in the style of the Maharajas.

After visiting Amber, return to Jaipur to see the City Palace. The City Palace is the residence of the erstwhile royal family but some parts including the museums are open to visitors. The palace contains various smaller palaces, which house the armory museum and the artists’ exhibition. The liveried palace staff can be seen going about their business. On display in the museum are clothes, pictures, and objects from everyday life, horse buggies and elephant Howdahs.  The intricate styling of the city palace doors, the enormous silver urns, the beautiful frescos and the lovely palaces make this an enticing place to visit.

Lastly visit an observatory built by the astronomer king Jai Singh II – the Jantar Mantar. The collection included many architectural astronomical instruments that were used to measure time, predicting eclipses, and tracking stars, do astrological calculations & predictions and more. The fourteen large instruments are still in working condition.

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Day 5

This morning after a leisurely breakfast drive to Agra. En-route the magnificent abandoned fort palace of Fatehpur Sikri. Built as an alternative to the crowded city of Agra by the Mughal Emperor Akbar, this city was occupied for just fifteen years before being abandoned due to lack of potable water. It is today the best-preserved examples of Indo-Persian architecture in India. Continue your drive to Agra.

Agra was the erstwhile capital of the Mughal Empire. Located in central India, on the banks of the Yamuna River, this city has always been very important in the country’s history. Today, it is known around the world as the home of the Taj Mahal. Unlike most other Indian cities, Agra has not grown into a large metropolis, but maintains its small-town status. It is replete with monuments and places of interest.

On arrival at Agra check in to your hotel.

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Day 6

Sunrise visit of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Taj Mahal. This monument is an amazing feat of human industry, a perfect example of beauty, symmetry and aesthetics. It is only once you enter the main gates and gaze upon the Taj, does the enormity of the task of building this mammoth structure impress. Built by the Mughal Emperor Shahjehan, this is a tribute of love for his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal. As the rays of the sun hit the marble they make it glitter, and change color, reflecting stark white against a very blue sun.

Return to hotel for breakfast & check out.

Later visit the Agra Fort. This fort, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the best example of Mughal architecture in India.  Spread over a mile and a half, along the banks of the Yamuna River, the fort houses various palaces, gardens and places of worship. Originally a Hindu red brick fort, this monument played home to various empires. It is under the reign of the greatest Mughal Emperor Akbar, that the fort was rebuilt with red sandstone and his grandson Shah Jahan is responsible for the look that can be seen today. The high red stone monument stretches for around one and a half miles. The palace is a notable for its smooth blending of Hindu and central Asian architectural styles. See the Diwan-i-Aam (hall of public audiences), Diwan-i-Khas (hall of private audiences), the Khas Palace, the Sheesh Mahal (palace of mirrors), the Shah Jahani Mahal (Shahjahan’s Palace), Jahangiri Mahal (Jahangir’s Palace) and the Akbari Mahal (Akbar’s palace) inside the fort and Itmad – ud – daulah. Return to your hotel for an evening at leisure

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Day 7

After an early breakfast, check out from the hotel and transfer to Agra Railway Station to connect Shatabdi Express to Jhansi. Upon arrival you will be met and driven to Khajuraho. 

Khajuraho was the erstwhile capital of the Chandela Kings who settled this region. They commissioned the now famous intricately carved Hindu, Jain and Buddhist temples. Unlike the temples in other parts of the country, the Hindu and Jain temples here are famous for their erotic bas-relief. The carvings on the temples depict life in 900AD and you get a wonderful feel of the fashion, lifestyle and the culture of the time from these. The eroticism is a celebration of life and represents the continuity from one generation to another. Of the original 85 temples, only 20 still stand today. The Western Group of Temples is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has the best-preserved Hindu Temples. The other significant group is the Eastern Group of Temples which are dedicated to the Jain faith. On arrival check in to your hotel.

Early this evening you will be taken to witness the sound and Light Show at the Western Group of Temples. (Subject to weather conditions)

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Day 8

This morning after breakfast visit the Eastern and Western Group of Temples. Visit the Western Group of Temples first, armed with the knowledge from the previous evenings Sound and Light show, each temple and its stories come alive. Amongst them is the famous and distinctive UNESCO World Heritage Kandariya Mahadeo Temple, which is one of the best temples of Khajuraho. Later visit the Eastern Group of temples built by the wealthy Jain community. These temples are also intricately carved but the subject matter is different.

This afternoon you will be transferred to the airport to board your flight to Varanasi. On arrival at Varanasi and you will be met escorted to your hotel to check-in.

Varanasi, also known as Kashi or Benares, is situated on the north bank of Ganga in the state of Uttar Pradesh in North India. It is one of the oldest living cities of the world with its history. Numbered amongst the holiest of cities for Hindus, this place is on the top of the Hindu pilgrimage sites. Yoga was born here and perfected by meditating Sadhus, who used concentration, breathing and exercise to keep their body in perfect fitness condition. This city is also famous for Kushti or India wrestling, and for intricately embroidered and woven silks.

This evening proceed to the Ganges to witness the Aarti (prayer) ceremony. You are taken on a boat on the river from where you can watch masses come to the Ghats to offer prayers and float tiny oil lamps on the river. Thereafter return to the hotel.

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Day 9

Early this morning enjoy a boat ride on river Ganges and enjoy a glimpse of the sunrise. Later visit the shore temples including the famous Kashi Vishwanath temple (Non-Hindus and foreign tourists are not allowed to enter the main worship area).

Thereafter visit Sarnath, where Buddha first preached. This is basically a deer park and has the Dhamekh Stupa, which houses a museum on Buddha, his life and religion. (Closed on Friday)

After visit transfer to Varanasi airport for connect flight to Delhi. On your arrival in Delhi you will be met and assisted to your airport hotel for the night. 
 

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Day 10

This morning after breakfast you will be escorted to the international airport to board your flight back home.