Arrive by International flight, after traditional 'Swagat' (Welcome) our representative would assist you at airport and transfer to hotel for check in. Delhi is a bustling metropolis, which successfully combines in its folds the ancient with modern. Its strategic location was the prime reasons why successive dynasties chose it as their seat of power. In fact, more mythological cities are believed to be here, like the city of Indraprastha from the Hindu epic Mahabharata, founded around 5000 BC. Numerous monuments were built over several centuries by different rulers like Qutub-ud-din Aibek, Alauddin Khilji, Tughlaks, Humayun and Shah Jahan, who built the Walled City Shah Jahanabad. Later in first half of 20th century much of New Delhi was planned by Sir Edwin Lutyens, who laid out a grandiose central administrative area as a testament to British rule in India. The division in walled city and New Delhi also marks the division in life styles.
Today we take a guided tour of Old Delhi, the 17th century walled city of Shah Jahanabad, Visiting the great Jama Masjid, the principal mosque of Old Delhi. Built in the year 1656 AD by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, it is the largest and best known mosque in India. Later we walk down or take a rickshaw ride through Chandni Chowk, the old marketplace of Shah Jahanabad now a picturesque bazaar to reach Red Fort, built in the year 1648 by Shah Jahan. In New Delhi, we visit Raj Ghat, memorial to the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. It is a simple black marble platform that marks the spot of his cremation on 31 January 1948. Further we drive past India Gate, memorial built in the year 1931 to commemorate the Indian soldiers who died in the World War I and the Afghan Wars. The names of the soldiers who died in these wars are inscribed on the walls. President's House, the official residence of the President of India, built in the year 1931. Until 1950 it was known as Viceroy's House and served as the residence of the Governor-General of British India. We will also visit Humayun's Tomb, memorial of Mughal Emperor Humayun, built in the year 1562. The complex is a World Heritage Site and the first example of this type of Mughal architecture in India. Qutub Minar built in the year 1206 by Qutub-ud-din Aibek. It is the tallest (72m) brick minaret in the world, an important example of Indo-Islamic Architecture. Qutub Minar and its monuments are listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site.
Today we drive to Jaipur, popularly known as Pink City, the flamboyant and colourful capital of Rajasthan. With its rich and colourfulpast, resplendent with tales of valour and bravery, it is now one of the most important heritage cities in India. The city was founded in the year 1728 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amber. It remains the only city in the world symbolizing the nine divisions of the universe, through nine rectangular sectors. An evening excursion to Chokhi Dhani complex, ethnic village resort located at a distance of 15 km from Jaipur. Rajasthani village atmosphere is recreated on the sprawling ground and includes the entertainment by folk dancers and musicians. Later drive back to hotel.
Today we take an excursion to Amber Fort; the palace complex which stands to this date was commenced under the reign of Raja Man Singh. We take an Elephant ride to reach the Fort situated on the hill, an overwhelming experience. Later we visit the City Palace, a perfect blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. The center of the palace is a seven-storied building called Chandra Palace, with fine views over the gardens and the city. Further we visit Jantar Mantar (Solar Observatory), an astronomical treasure house, with solar devices that give accurate predictions till date. We also visit Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds), a five-storied structure of pink sandstone. It was built in the year 1799 so that veiled royal women could peer down the busy street market unseen by the world through its 593 stone Jharokas (mini windows).
Day 05: Jaipur - Agra via Fatehpur Sikri (260 km - 6 hr)
Today we drive to Agra; en route we will visit Fatehpur Sikri (Ghost Capital), the political capital of India's Mughal Empire under Akbar's reign, from the year 1571 until 1585, when it was abandoned, ostensibly due to lack of water. We visit Emperor Akbar's Residential complex,Mosque and Tomb of Salim Chisti. Further we continue our drive to Agra, beautifully situated on the banks of river Yamuna. It achieved prominence as the capital of the Mughal Emperors from the year 1526 to 1628, remains major tourist destination because of its many splendid Mughal-era monuments, most notably the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri, all three are Unesco World Heritage sites.
Day 06: Agra - Excursion To Mathura - Vrindavan (60km - 2hr one way)
Today we visit Taj Mahal, symbol of eternal love, which stands on the banks of River Yamuna. It was built by the 5th Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan in the year 1631 in memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It was completed in 22 years. Further we visit Agra Fort, taken over from the Lodhis by the Mughal Emperor Akbar in the late 16th century. The Fort can be more accurately described as a walled palatial city. It was built from red sandstone, often inlaid with white marble and intricate decorations. We will also visit Sikandara, Akbar's tomb. His son Jahangir completed the construction of the tomb in the year 1613. Excursion to Mathura and Vrindavan Later we drive back to Delhi, en route visit Mathura and Vrindavan, places related with the birth and childhood of Lord Krishna. In Mathura we visit Shri Krishna Janmabhumi temple, a stone slab marks the original birth place of Krishna. In Vrindavan we visit Bankey Bihari Temple, built in the year 1864. Temple is famous for the black statue of Krishna, also called as Thakur Ji. ISKCON Temple, one of the most beautiful temples in Vrindavan. Temple is devoted to Krishna, his brother Balram and Krishna's beloved Radha.
Today we take Shatabdi Express train to Jhansi. From Jhansi we drive to Khajuraho, en route we visit Orchha, located at a distance of 16 km from Jhansi. It has a medieval town atmosphere attached to it. The Betwa River quietly flows by the town. The 16th century palaces and temples built by its Bundela rulers appear to be suspended in time. We will visit Orchha Fort complex. Within the Fort complex we visit Jahangir Mahal, built by Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo in the 17th century to commemorate the visit of Emperor Jehangir to Orchha. Raj Mahal built in the 17th century by Madhukar Shah, the deeply religious predecessor of Bir Singh Ju Deo. We also visit Ram Raja temple, palace-turned-temple with soaring spires and palatial architecture. Built by the King Madhukar Shah it is one of the most unusual temples in India and the only place where Lord Rama is worshipped as a King not as a deity. Later we continue our drive to Khajuraho, built between 950-1050 AD by the mighty warrior kings of the Chandela dynasty, a truly inspired burst of creativity. Contain stunningly explicit erotic sculptures. They were rediscovered in the 20th century, is now a Unesco World Heritage Site.
Today we visit Khajuraho temples, famous for the magnificent carvings depicting numerous exotic postures of the famous Kamasutra, ancient Indian work on sex. Only 22 temples survive of the 85 originally built. In fact, worship is still done today in the Matangeshwara temple, continuing an unbroken 1000 year tradition.
Today we take a flight to Varanasi, picturesquely situated on the banks of holy river Ganga. The city is the Oldest Living City of the World and traces of its existence are found around 10000 BC. Other than being a very holy city for Hindus, it also holds a very significant association with Buddha's life and Buddhism. Later today we take an excursion to Sarnath, the site of the deer park where Gautama Buddha is said to have given his first sermon about the basic principles of Buddhism. It has been a premier centre for Buddhism and has a rich collection of ancient Buddhist relics and antiques comprising numerous Buddha and Bodhisattva images on display at the Archaeological Museum.
Today we start our day with a boat ride on the river Ganges. Rise before dawn and step gingerly in the boat as the boatman starts rowing the boat. Witness the daily miracle to unfold, as the Sun appears triumphantly over the horizon. The sound of conches and temple bells add to the delicate pink fabric of dawn. The formerly hushed murmuring of ancient Sanskrit Shlokas (hymns) now rise, in one voice, to a crescendo of unparalleled piety and joy. Later we explore the city by foot to get the feel of this oldest living city of the world. Afternoon at Leisure, in the evening transfer to Varanasi airport to board flight for Delhi. Arrive Delhi, transfer to international terminal to board our flight for onward journey.