India is many times rightfully referred to as a subcontinent. On this tour we traverse the country from Delhi to Kolkata travelling through time exploring India’s Hindu, Buddhist, Mughal and British heritage. India features many different geographical regions where diverse civilizations and cultures flourished. At Bestway Tours & Safaris we have developed several tours that focus on India’s regions. Combine these tours and gain in-depth knowledge of this vast subcontinent..
|Price (From)||:||US$ 3880|
|Includes international air|
Day 01: Arrive Delhi
Arrival. Namaste! We are warmly welcomed the traditional Indian way with hands clapped together at the airport and transferred to our hotel. The remainder of the day is free to relax.
Overnight: Sheraton New Delhi (5 Star), Delhi (2 nights)
Day 02: Delhi
We start our morning tour with New Delhi and visit Birla House, the Former Residence of Mahatma Gandhi before he was assassinated by Nathu Ram Godse on January 30, 1948. Later we visit the famous India Gate followed by the Houses of Parliament, Connaught Place and Humayun's Tomb*, the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent, built in 1570. We continue to Qutb Minar and its Monuments* Built in the early 13th century the red sandstone tower of Qutb Minar is 72.5 m high. The surrounding archaeological area contains funerary buildings, notably the magnificent Alai-Darwaza Gate, a masterpiece of Indo-Muslim art and two mosques. Our afternoon concentrates on Old Delhi, starting with the Red Fort Complex*. Named for its massive enclosing walls of red sandstone, it is adjacent to an older fort, the Salimgarh, built by Islam Shah Suri in 1546, with which it forms the Red Fort Complex. The Red Fort is considered to represent the zenith of Mughal creativity which, under the Shah Jahan, was brought to a new level of refinement and each pavilion reveals architectural elements typical of Mughal building, reflecting a fusion of Persian, Timurid and Hindu traditions. After visiting the Red fort, we embark on a captivating journey on a Rickshaw passing through the narrow lanes of the famous Chandni Chowk Bazaar, it was originally built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan for his daughter Jahan Ara in 17th Century since then many changes have taken place however it still remains Old Delhi's one of the Oldest and busiest markets in Delhi. Finally end our rickshaw ride at Jama Masjid, Mughal majesty and India's largest mosque. After visiting the mosque, we proceed to Raj Ghat, the cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi. In the evening we enjoy a welcome dinner at well-known Indian restaurant. (B, D)
Please Note: Red Fort and Birla House are closed on Monday and Chandni Chowk is closed on Sunday
Day 03: Delhi/Sikandra/Agra (Drive)
We drive to Agra visiting the Mausoleum of Akbar the Great in Sikandra en-route. Our afternoon tour starts with a visit to one of the most well-known wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal*. An immense mausoleum of white marble, built in Agra between 1631 and 1648 by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife, the Taj Mahal is the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage. Situated on the right bank of the Yamuna in a vast Mogul garden, this funerary monument combines elements and styles of Persian, Central Asian and Islamic architecture.
Overnight: Jaypee Palace (5 Star), Agra (2 nights) (B, D)
Please Note: Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays.On nights with full moon the Taj Mahal’s pure white marble shimmers silver in the moonlight and is open to visiters,Optional tour can be arranged.
Day 04: Agra/Fathehpur Sikri/Bharatpur/Agra (Drive)
We start the day with a visit of Agra Fort*. This powerful fortress of red sandstone encompasses, within its 2.5-km-long enclosure walls, the imperial city of the Mughal rulers. It comprises many fairy-tale palaces, such as the Jahangir Palace and the Khas Mahal, built by Shah Jahan; audience halls, such as the Diwan-i-Khas; and two very beautiful mosques. We then drive to Fatehpur Sikri*. Built during the second half of the 16th century by the Emperor Akbar, the City of Victory was the capital of the Mughal Empire for only some 10 years. The complex of monuments and temples, all in a uniform architectural style, includes one of the largest mosques in India, the Jama Masjid and the artistically designed mausoleum of the revered Sufi saint, Salim Chisty. We then drive to Keoladeo National Park*. This former duck-hunting reserve of the Maharajas is one of the major wintering areas for large numbers of aquatic birds from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, China and Siberia. Some 364 species of birds, including the rare Siberian crane, have been recorded in the park. (B, D)
Day 05: Agra/Bhopal (train)
Today we are transferred to railway station for our express train to Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh. Shatabdi Express trains are fully air-conditioned, and travelers enjoy complimentary meals. On arrival, we are transferred to our hotel. Bhopal is known as the city of Mosques. We will visit the Jama Masjid with its Gold spikes crowns the minarets, the Moti Masjid, architecturally similar to Delhi's Jama Masjid, and Taj-ul-Masajid, one of the largest mosques in Asia. It has a double-storied gateway with four recessed archways and nine cusped multifold openings in the main prayer hall. The Quibla wall in the prayer hall is carved with eleven recessed arches and has fine screens of trellis work. The massive pillars in the hall hold 27 ceilings through squinted arches of which 16 ceilings are decorated with ornate designs.
Overnight: Noor-US-Sabah Palace (Heritage), Bhopal (2 nights) (B, D)
Day 06: Bhopal/Excursion to Sanchi & Bhim Betka Caves
Morning we explore the Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi* consist of a group of monolithic pillars, palaces, temples and monasteries in different states of conservation, most of which date back to the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C. It is the oldest Buddhist sanctuary in existence and was a major Buddhist centre in India until the 12th century A.D. On our way back, we visit Udaygiri Caves, a group of rock-cut cave sanctuaries carved into a sandstone hill from 4th and 5th centuries AD. In the afternoon we visit the Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka* in the foothills of the Vindhyan Mountains on the southern edge of the central Indian plateau. Within massive sandstone outcrops, above comparatively dense forest, are five clusters of natural rock shelters, displaying paintings that appear to date from the Mesolithic Period right through to the historical period. The cultural traditions of the inhabitants of the twenty-one villages adjacent to the site bear a strong resemblance to those represented in the rock paintings. (B, D)
Day 07: Bhopal/Khajuraho (train)
Early morning, we are transferred to railway station for our train to Khajuraho. On arrival, we are transferred to our hotel. In the afternoon we explore the Khajuraho Group of Monuments* The temples at Khajuraho were built during the Chandella dynasty, which reached its apogee between 950 and 1050. Today only 20 temples remain, and they fall into three distinct groups and belonging to the religions of Hinduism and Jainism. They strike a perfect balance between architecture and sculpture. The Temples are decorated with a profusion of sculptures that are among the greatest masterpieces of Indian art.
Overnight: Mint Bundela Khajuraho (4 Star), Khajuraho (1 night) (B, D)
Day 08: Khajuraho/Varanasi (Flight)
Morning is free for personal activities. In the afternoon we are transferred to airport for our flight to Varanasi. In the evening we go to the banks of the Ganges to witness the devotional ceremony of Aarti after sunset performed by devout Hindus.
Overnight: Taj Ganges (5 Star), Varanasi (2 nights) (B, D)
Day 09: Varanasi
In the early morning we take a sunrise cruise on the River Ganges for a most serene experience. One of the cardinal principles of Hinduism is the belief in the holiness of the Ganges. Every morning scores of pilgrims and priests fill the riverbanks bathing in the holy waters and performing various other rituals. This unique experience literally transports you to another world. After boat ride we explore old Varanasi, visiting the Bharat Mata Temple, which houses a huge marble relief map of India; the Durga Temple, the Tulsi Manas Mandir beside the Banaras Hindu University and the Mosque of Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb. After the tour we come back to hotel for breakfast and rest.
In the afternoon we explore Sarnath, the site of Lord Buddha's first sermon after attaining enlightenment. The Ancient Buddhist Site of Sarnath contains Chaukhandi Stupa, a lofty brick structure crowned with an octagonal tower and the remains of several stupas, monasteries and Ashokan column are built from the 3rd century B.C. to 12th century A.D.in brick and stone. The city is famous also for its silk sarees and we visit some of the houses where the beautiful silk sarees are woven. In the evening we enjoy Satvik Thali Dinner at Varuna restaurant. (B, D)
Day 10: Varanasi/Lucknow (Drive)
After breakfast, we drive to Lucknow. Upon arrival, we are check in our hotel. In the evening, we join our local culinary expert for a culinary walking tour. Lucknow can very well be termed as a city that has carved a niche by attracting gastronomes for the want of discovering and re-discovering the Awadhi Cuisine. Till date the people of Lucknow spend most of the earning and time in their kitchens. Lucknow is one place that has a colony of chefs called ‘Bawarchi Tola’ and then there is a full street where one can find the best from Lucknow’s very own kitchens.
Overnight: Lebua Lucknow (Boutique Hotel), Lucknow (2 nights) (B, D)
Please Note: This culinary walk is essentially for meat eaters and is conducted everyday except Thursday and Sunday.
Day 11: Lucknow
Lucknow is perhaps the most romantic of capital towns in India. There is no city where it is so simple to turn back the pages of history and the colorful days of Nawabs and Begums, through the eyes of those who claim to have personal knowledge of court and customs, secrets and intrigues. Lucknow is famous for its gold and silver brocades, silverware, clay figurines and pottery.
In the morning, we start with a tour of Lucknow visiting the ex-British Residency built between 1780-1800, it was originally a very extensive and beautiful building - scene of dramatic events during the Mutiny of 1857. The scarred ruins tell the story of the British community besieged by the rebels. The main house overlooks the river and is surrounded by terraced lawns and gardens. Next, we visit Martiniere College, Asafi Imambara - Also known as the Bara Imambara, it was built by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula in 1784 and is one of the architectural highlights of the era.
The central hall is said to be the largest vaulted chamber in the world. Within the compound of the Imambara is a grand Asafi mosque. Later we visit the beautiful clock tower, constructed in 1887, the tallest Clock Tower in India and one of the finest examples of British Architecture in India. (B, D)
Day 12: Lucknow/Delhi/Bagdogra (flight) /Bagdogra/Darjeeling (Drive)
Today we are transferred to airport for our flight to Delhi where we take our connecting flight to Bagdogra. On arrival in Bagdogra, we take a scenic drive to the enchanting town of Darjeeling. At the Phalut ridge, Nepal meets India whilst at the eastern frontier lie the Tista and Rangeet Rivers - beyond which is the Rishi-La and Bhutan. The lower regions of the labyrinth hilly forest-clad ridges, is home to the world-famous Darjeeling tea. Darjeeling at 2134 m is known also for it’s very friendly people who are relaxed as tea can make one. There are large areas of firs, pines and fast-moving torrents, with some 4000 types of flowering plants and 300 varieties of ferns, including the rare tree fern.
Overnight: The Elgin Darjeeling (Heritage), Darjeeling (2 nights) (B, D)
Day 13: Darjeeling
Just before sunrise we get into our 4 x 4’s and proceed to Tiger Hill to view an incredible sunrise from behind the huge lofty mountain peaks. Here we get a breathtaking view of the majestic Mts. Everest and Kanchenjunga. This is followed by a visit to one of the most unique of the world Heritage Sites – the Toy Train*. We ride on this one of a kind rail culminating with a visit to the Ghoom Monastery. The monastery, built in 1875, houses one of the largest statues of the Maitreya Buddha. Next stop is the Himalayan Zoo, home to Himalayan fauna such as the Red Panda, Black Bear, Yaks and Tigers in their natural habitat. We end the day with a visit to the Natural History Museum, which houses a fine collection of preserved butterflies, birds, reptiles and insects of the Himalayas. (B, D)
Day 14: Darjeeling/Bagdogra (Drive) /Bagdogra/Kolkata (flight)
Today we are transferred to Bagdogra airport for our flight to Kolkata. Upon arrival at Kolkata, we are transferred to our hotel. Balance of the day is free for leisure activities.
Overnight: Taj Bengal (5 Star), Kolkata (2 Nights) (B, D)
Day 15: Kolkata
Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta is a compelling, effervescent city, teeming with life. Under East India Company and later under the British Raj, Kolkata served as the capital of India until 1911. In the morning after breakfast we start the tour of our cultural city with a visit to the famous Malik Ghat flower market beneath the Howarh Bridge. This is the place where the cities floral retailers buy their fresh merchandise. Next, we visit Howrah Bridge, iconic symbol of modern Kolkata followed by visit to Belur Math, the headquarters of Ramkrishna Mission founded by Swami Vivekanand. The temple is notable for its architecture that features Hindu, Christian and Islamic motifs as a symbol of unity of all religions. Later we visit Dakshineswar Kali Temple. Our afternoon concentrates on British Calcutta, visiting St. John's Church and St. Paul's Cathedral. The evening is free to enjoy and maybe join the famous Calcutta Tea Houses, well known as a meeting point of philosophers, writers, poets and students. In the evening we enjoy farewell dinner at local restaurant. (B, D)
Please Note: Victoria memorial remain closed on Monday.
Day 16: Depart Kolkata
After a memorable journey through incredible India, we are transferred to the airport for our departure home or to our next exciting destination. (B)
B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
Departure Dates & Prices
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• We also offer this tour using superior category of hotels. Please contact us for details.
This tour operates on a minimum of 02 and a maximum of 15 participants
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