Arrive Delhi. Transfer to hotel. Tour of Delhi. In Old Delhi visit the Raj Ghat - the cremation sites of Mahatma Gandhi , Jama Masjid and drive past Red Fort and Chandni Chowk. In New Delhi visit the Qutub Minar built by Qutub-ud-Din Aibek in 1199, Humayun's Tomb, India Gate, Lakshminarayan Temple - a modern Hindu Temple. Drive past President's House, Parliament House, Government Secretariat Buildings and Connaught Place shopping centre. Overnight Delhi.
Drive to Agra. Afternoon visit the world famous Taj Mahal built by the Moghul Emperor Shahjehan in 1630 for his Queen Mumtaz Mahal to enshrine her mortal remains. Later visit the Agra Fort containing the Halls of Public and Private Audience. Overnight Agra.
Drive to Jaipur. Enroute visit Fatehpur Sikri which was built by Emperor Akbar in 1569 and abandoned after 15 years due to scarcity of water. See the graceful buildings including the Jama Masjid, Tomb of Salim Chisti, Panch Mahal and other Palaces. Overnight Jaipur.
Morning visit Amber Fort - the ancient capital of the State. Visit the Sheesh Mahal or the Hall of Victory glittering with mirrors. Afternoon tour of Jaipur. Jaipur - the capital of Rajasthan was given a colour coat of pink a century ago in honour of a visiting Prince. Built by Maharaja Jai Singh, the notable astronomer, this city is 260 years old. Visit Maharaja's City Palace and the Observatory. Drive past Hawa Mahal and through the pink rose residential and business areas. Overnight Jaipur.
Morning visit Kamla Nehru Park, Hanging Gardens situated on the slopes of Malabar Hill offering a panoramic view of Marine Drive, Chowpatty Beach, Prince of Wales Museum, Mani Bhawan, Dhobi Ghat, Gateway of India and drive through the Crawford Market, Marine Drive and Flora Fountain. Afternoon free. Overnight Mumbai.
Morning visit the palace of the Maharaja built in 1911-12. The palace is of harmonious syntheses of the hindu and saracenic styles of architecture with archways, domes, turrets, colonnades and sculptures which are magnificent. Visit the Art Gallery. Drive up to Chamundi hill to see Chamundeshwari Temple and a panoramic view of Mysore. On the way back, see the Nandi Bull. Overnight Mysore.
Morning city tour. Cochin is a natural harbour created by the underwater Malabar mud-banks whose quality ensures that the rougher the seas are outside the calmer the waters are within the Harbour. Vasco-de-Gama placed it on the world map. It has a Jewish synagogue, Portuguese churches, mosques and Hindu temples. Watch the Chinese Fishing Nets. Overnight Cochin.
Drive to Periyar. Free time for game viewing. Periyar - the earliest sanctuary to be set up in 1934, extends to 777 square kms and forms part of the high mountain ranges, the Western Ghats. Wild life can be seen while cruising on Periyar Lake in a motor boat. Amongst the animals which can be seen are elephants, wild boar, sambar, tiger, leopard, wild dog, langur monkeys,etc. Overnight Periyar.
Morning visit the great Meenakshi Temple dedicated to the consort of Lord Shiva with its towering gopurams. Visit the Tirumala Nayak Palace - A gracious building in the Indo saracenic style, famous for the Stucco work on its domes and arches. Also visit the Alagar Hills and Tirupara Kundran Rock temple. Afternoon free. Overnight Madurai.
Drive to Tanjore. Afternoon visit the beautiful Chola Temple of Brihadeeshwara, capped by a monolithic cupola made of a single granite block weighing 80 tons which was taken to the top with the help of a 6 kms long ramp, an old technique used by the Egyptians for building pyramids. Its bronzes and handicrafts make Tanjore one of the highlights of a visit to South India. Overnight Tanjore.
Morning visit the capital of French India before independence. Pondicherry traces its origin to Saint Agasthya, the revered sage of the south and excavations near-by reveal that a Roman settlement existed here 2000 years ago. It was the theatre of many a battle between the British. Afterrnoon drive to Mahabalipuram. Overnight Mahabalipuram.
Morning visit Mahabalipuram famous for the seven pagodas. Here on the seashore is an interesting group of ancient rock hewn temples which are the examples of Dravidian style of Architecture. Overnight Mahabalipuram.
Day 18: Mahabalipuram Kanchipuram Chennai (Madras)
Morning drive to Chennai visiting Kanchipuram enroute. Kanchipuram is the ancient capital of the Pallavas famous as a city of 1000 Temples and still has 124 shrines. The first temple dedicated to Shiva was built in the 7th and 8th century and has paintings on the walls. Temples of Ekambaswara, Kailasanatha, Sri Kamakshi and Varadarajaswamy are of interest. Kanchipuram is also famous for its silks. Later drive to Chennai. Overnight Chennai.
Morning visit the museum to see the Art and Bronze Gallery. (Closed on Fridays and Public holidays). Drive through the Flower and Fruit market, High court, Fort museum, Marina Beach, Santhome Cathedral and snake park. Afternoon free. Overnight Chennai.
Morning visit the Jain Temple, Zoological Gardens, Victoria Memorial and drive past Howrah Bridge, Dalhousie Square, Fort Williams, Secretariat Building and Old Court House Street. Check-out from the hotel at 1200 hrs. Later transfer to railway station to board the train for Varanansi. Night on board.
Morning boat excursion on the river Ganges. People bathe early in the morning to offer the prayers to the rising sun. The two cremation ghats are Manikarnika and Harishchandra where funeral pyre burns Day and night. Every pious Hindu believes that to die in Kashi and to be cremated on banks of the Ganges is to attain release from the cycle of birth and death. Transfer to airport to board flight for Delhi. No Hotel in Delhi. Later transfer to airport for return flight.