11 Nights and 12 Days Spiritual North India Tour

11 Nights and 12 Days Spiritual North India Tour

Package Duration: 11 Nights and 12 Days
Places Covered: Delhi – Mathura – Agra – Orchha – Khajuraho – Chitrakoot - Varanasi – Bodhgaya – Patna - Delhi

Tour Overview

Discover North India like never before with this India Tour Package. The package will give you a wonderful insight into the religious and cultural heritage of incredible India that cannot be seen elsewhere. During your tour, you will experience something different and unforgettable in each city. Delhi will offer a combination of everything like magnificent forts, mosques, food and shopping. Agra will take you back to the golden period of the Mughals, Varanasi will lift up your religious spirits, Khajuraho offers its ancient temples that depict some of the finest art in the world, Chitrakoot has a unique sense of spiritual wonder that will take you back to your childhood fairy tales and fables and The crucible of Buddhism, Bodhgaya was where Prince Siddhartha attained enlightenment beneath a bodhi tree 2600 years ago and became Buddha (the 'Awakened One')

Highlights:

  • Food walk in Old Delhi
  • The Krishna temples in Mathura & Vrindavan
  • Visit of magnificent Taj Mahal
  • Evening attend a aarti ceremony in Ram Raja Temple at Orchha
  • Early morning boat ride on the river Ganges in Varanasi
  • The Mahabodhi temple at Gaya
  • Visit to Nalanda - the oldest university of the world

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 :Arrive Delhi
Arrive in Delhi today and get transferred in a private vehicle to your hotel where accommodation is held from 1400 hrs. Check-in and spend the rest of the day to explore the bustling national capital. Overnight in the hotel.

Delhi offers a harmonious blend of architecture and history. From remnants of the Mughal empire and British Raj to contemporary India, you can experience it all in the capital. The city is sure to charm you with its eclectic mix of the old and new – from magnificent monuments to bustling Old Delhi markets and stunning high rises.

Day 2 : A day in Delhi
Full day excursion to Old and New Delhi, exploring the medieval and pre-modern faces of the historic capital of India personified by the Jama Masjid and Chandni Chowk (closed on Sundays). Take a food walk in the Chandni Chowk market. In Afternoon visit Humayun’s Tomb and Qutub Minar. Overnight in the hotel.

Jama Masjid is a mosque in Old Delhi, constructed in 1650–56 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahān, a noted patron of Islamic architecture whose most famous work is the Taj Mahal, in Agra.

This vibrant market came to existence when the fifth Mughal Emperor, Shah Jahan, shifted his capital from Agra to Shahjahanabad, now Old Delhi, in the mid 17th century. While Chandni Chowk or the moonlit square no longer bears the magnificence of the bygone era, its importance in the annals of Delhi will never be lost.

The food walk in Old Delhi is a great experience to and the best way to see and taste Old Delhi. The dishes one can savor in Old Delhi Food Walk are large, thick and juicy jalebis, glistening with ghee; Aloo chaat crisp fried potato cutlets dunked in a melange of chutneys and smattered with onions and spices ; varieties of stuffed paranthas potato, onion, cottage cheese, cauliflower, radish, dry fruits and many more….

Humanyun’s Tomb was built in 1565 A.D. nine years after the death of Humayun, by his senior widow Bega Begam. Inside the walled enclosure the most notable features are the garden squares (chaharbagh) with pathways water channels, centrally located well proportional mausoleum topped by double dome.
Qutab Minar is a soaring, 73 m-high tower of victory, built in 1193 by Qutab-ud-din Aibak immediately after the defeat of Delhi's last Hindu kingdom. The tower has five distinct storeys, each marked by a projecting balcony.

Day 3 : Drive to Mathura
After breakfast drive to Mathura, a drive of about 3 hours. Arrive and check – in at the hotel. Afternoon proceed to visit the temples in Mathura and Vrindavan. Overnight at the hotel.

Mathura & Vrindavan are ancient cities with golden past and are amongst the most visited religious destinations in the country. Dotted with myriad big and small temples in every nook and corner, these twin cities are major crowd-pullers and attract number of history buffs, holidaymakers and pilgrims. From exploring ancient temples and offering prayers there and admiring some old architecture.

A visit to the Dwarkadhish Temple of Mathura is unforgettable on many counts. The temple worships the idols of Dwarkadhish (Krishna), the king of Dwarka, along with Radha. The Dwarkadheesh Temple in Mathura is considered to be one of most visited temples in the city. The architecture of the temple is very interesting with beautiful carvings and paintings.

Day 4 : Drive to Agra, en-route Sikandra
After breakfast drive to Agra, en – route stop for visiting Sikandra. A drive of about 2 hours,  arrive and check – in at the hotel. In the afternoon proceed to visit the Agra Fort and Moonlight Garden. Overnight at the hotel.

Sikandra is a grandiose complex famous for being the home of the tomb of Akbar the Great, the greatest Mughal leader. This glorious monument showcases a harmonious fusion of Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Islamic and Jain art and architecture. Marvel at a collection of lavish red sandstone and marble gateways, chambers and minarets. Enjoy a moment of peace and serenity while wandering along the pathways of a tree-shaded garden. Emperor Akbar started work on Sikandra and his own mausoleum in the early 1600s and it was completed by his son, Jehangir. Akbar’s dream was to create a blend of religious themes befitting of his well-known tolerance of spiritual beliefs. The complex takes its name from Sikandra Lodi, the former Sultan of Delhi who established the district in which it stands.

Agra Fort was begun by Akbar between 1565 and 1573. It is situated on the west bank of the Yamuna River, about 2km upstream from the Taj Mahal.  Akbar built the fort of sandstone; his grandson Shah Jahan, the builder of the Taj Mahal, constructed palaces of white marble within the fort itself.

Known to exist since prehistoric times, Agra came into full flower during the 16th and 17th centuries as one of the four capitals of Mughal dynasty. It was in Agra that the artistic excellence of the Mughals reached its zenith at a time that coincided with the political high water mark of their vast and expanding.

Day 5: In Agra
After breakfast visit the Taj Mahal, Itmad Ud Daulah and end your day with visit to Moonlit Garden. Overnight at the hotel.

The Taj Mahal is an enormous mausoleum complex commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the remains of his beloved wife. Constructed over a 20-year period on the southern bank of the Yamuna River in Agra, the famed complex is one of the most outstanding examples of Mughal architecture, which combined Indian, Persian and Islamic influences.

Do you know that the Taj Mahal was not the first or only monument in marble in Agra? Baby Taj or Itimad-ud-Daulah is a tomb that was built by mother of Shah Jahan. It has a very delicate architectural beauty. The marble lattice structures in this monument are the highlight. You can find exotic Persian styled gardens around the tomb.

The Mehtab Bagh or the moonlight garden, was the last of the eleven Mughal-built gardens along the Yamuna river opposite to the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort. Built during the period 1631- 1635 A.D., Mehtab Bagh literally means “a moonlit pleasure garden”.

Day 6 : Train to Jhansi, drive to Orchha
Early Morning you will be transferred to the Agra Railway Station for train to Jhansi leaving at 08:00hrs. Carry packed breakfast from the hotel. Arrive at 10:45hrs, drive to Orchha historical site with magnificent temples and monuments, check-in at the hotel. Afternoon visit the Jehangir Mahal, , Laxmi Narayan Temple, the chhatris overlooking the betwa river. In the evening attend a aarti ceremony in Ram Raja Temple. Overnight at the hotel.

Orchha is the erstwhile capital city of the Bundela rulers. The town is steeped in history and is famous for its palaces and temples built in the 16th and 17th centuries. The architectural splendor of the monuments in Orchha reflects the glory of its rulers. The Betwa River, on whose banks Orchha lies, and the forests around it attract tourist to this place.

Located on the banks of River Betwa, Jahangir Mahal is a three-storied storied structure that is a blend of Hindu and Islamic architectural styles. This beautiful palace consists of numerous large courtyards, more than 100 rooms, balconies, 8 elegant domes, terraces and porches.

There is a fascinating tale behind the history of the Ram Raja Temple. This temple was at one point of time, a palace of the then ruler Madhukar Shah. Legend says that once Lord Rama appeared in his dreams due to which Madhukar Shah brought the idol of Lord Rama into the palace before installing it inside the temple. But for some reason the idol could not be moved from its original place in the palace. The ruler then remembered the bit of his dream where it was said that the idol would stay at the place it would be kept initially. It was then that the king turned the palace into a temple.

The Chhatris or the cenotaphs in orchha are another of the many historical tourist attractions in Orchha. These are memorials of the rulers of the Bundels and are laid down in a row of 14 along the beautiful banks of the Betwa River. It reflects a wonderful sight though to some it looks uncanny. The Chhatris of Orchha are the most melancholy ruins of the city in Madhya Pradesh.

Day 7: Drive to Khajuraho
After breakfast, leave for Khajuraho a journey of about 4hrs . Arrive and check-in at the hotel. Afternoon visit the proceed for sightseeing of Southern, Eastern and Western group of temples. Overnight at the hotel.

Situated in the heart of Central India, Khajuraho is a fascinating village with a quaint rural ambiance and a rich cultural heritage. The fascinating temples of Khajuraho, India's unique gift of love to the world, represent the expression of a highly matured civilization.

Khajuraho temples were constructed between 950 and 1050 A.D. during the reign of Chandel Empire. Khajuraho derives its name from the Khajur tree (the date palm tree) which can be found in abundance in the area. These temples are considered the "high point" of Indian architectural genius in the Medieval period.

Originally there were 85 temples, of which only 22 still exist. The amazingly short span of 100 years, from 950 AD - 1050 AD, saw the completion of all the temples, in an inspired burst of creativity. With the wane of the Chandela empire, these magnificent temples lay neglected, and vulnerable to the ravages of Nature. It was only in this century, that they were rediscovered, restored and granted the recognition that they justly deserve. The murals depict the life and times of the Chandelas, and celebrate the erotic state of being.

Western group is certainly the best known, because it is to this group that the largest and most typical Khajuraho temple belongs : the Kandariya Mahadev. Perfectly symmetrical, it soars 31 km high. This is the largest, and most typical Khajuraho temple. There are about 900 statues. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, it soars 31 m high.

The sanctum enshrines a lingam, while the main shrine is ornately carved and depicts various gods, goddesses, apsaras (heavenly maidens) in elaborate detail. The entrance arch, the massive pillars and ceilings are adorned with exquisite carvings, that leave the visitor spellbound. Beyond the archway of the Kandariya Mahadev, lie the six interior compartments; the portico, main hall, transept, vestibule, sanctum and ambulatory. The ceilings are particularly noteworthy and the pillars supporting them have intricately carved capitals. The transept's outer walls have three horizontal panels showing deities of the Hindu pantheon, and groups of lovers, a pageant of sensuousness, vibrantly alive.

Day 8 : Drive to Chitrakoot
After breakfast, leave for Chitrakoot a journey of about 4hrs . En-route visit Gupt Godavari. Arrive and check-in at the hotel. Afternoon proceed for visit of Hanuman Dhara, Janki Kund and Ram Ghat . Overnight at the hotel.

Gupt Godavari is located 18 Kms from Chitrakoot. Legend has it that Lord Rama and Lakshman stayed here for some part of their exile. Gupt Godavari is a two cave system inside a mountain with knee high water level. The bigger cave has two stone carved thrones believed to be belonging to Rama and Laxman. The outside of these caves are covered with shops for purchasing memorabilia.

Boasting a spiritual legacy that very few cities in India can match, Chitrakoot is known to be of great religious and mythological significance. It is in the deep forests of Chitrakoot that Lord Ram and Sita spent eleven of their fourteen years of exile. A regular feature in Indian folklore, Chitrakoot dates back to the mythological times and was the meditation shrine of many legendary sages and is believed to be frequently visited by Gods and Goddesses. Known as the ‘Place of Many Wonders’, Chitrakoot nestles in the northern Vindhya range of mountains. The place has a unique sense of spiritual wonder that will take you back to your childhood fairy tales and fables.

There is a stream of water falling upon the deity of lord Hanuman releasing in a kund and there are langoors in this area which are well associated with Hanuman, the monkey God. Hanuman Dhara is the name of the spring which sprouted from a rock when Lord Ram shot an arrow into it to calm down an enraged Hanuman when he came to this place to extinguish the fire that was caught in his tail after he returned from burning Lanka.

Mandakini river is lined up by ghats called Ramghat. Ramghat is where lord Ram, Sita and Lakshman appeared in front of the famous poet Tulsidas and he used to sit on the river side and write Ram Charitra Manas. The fragrance of incense sticks and the hymn of holy chants by the saints in saffron clothes makes the soul calm and touched. You can go for boating in the river and enjoy the beauty of this place until the evening and attend the arti with beautiful diya lightings, sounds of bell and holy chants.

Day 9 : Drive to Varanasi
After breakfast, leave for Varanasi a journey of about 6hrs . Arrive and proceed for half day city tour of Varanasi which included Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Alamgir Mosque and The Bharat Mata Temple. After visit check-in at your hotel. Evening we will visit the banks of Ganges for Ganga Aarti Overnight at the hotel.

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, kashi vishwanath temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas and has also been referred to in the holy scriptures. The temple structure as it stands today consists of a series of smaller shrines located in the Vishwanath Galli.

Ganga Aarti is a ceremony to thank and praise the river". A group of young saints dressed up with silky saffron and white robes conduct this ceremony.

Each pandit or saint takes up a specific spot in the Ghat and start the ritual by offering flowers to the river. The ritual includes many oil lamps like snake hood lamp which are waved in a synced motion. Conch shells are blown during the ceremony too. Yak tail fans and peacock feather fans are also waved during the ceremony. The priests end the ceremony by pouring a bowl of water into the river.

Day 10 : Drive to Bodhgaya
In the early morning, enjoy boat ride across the river Ganges. Visit the numerous temples alongside river Ganga and get a closer view of Hinduism being in Varanasi. Observe the daily life of the natives. Take a walk in the narrow street of Varanasi (Old Varanasi). After visits eave for Bodhgaya by surface, a journey of about 8hrs. Arrive and check-in at the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.

Sunrise boat ride on Ganga in Varanasi is a memorable experience and not to be missed. It gives a glimpse of morning life along the ghats in Varanasi. If you are lucky you can see stunning views of sun rising in the eastern horizon.

These boats are slow moving ones with oars. Each boat has a boat man and his assistant. They move very slowly and help you to see stunning sun rise over the horizon with Ganga in the foreground, the panoramic views of ghats and the morning life on ghats closely.

The crucible of Buddhism, Bodhgaya was where Prince Siddhartha attained enlightenment beneath a bodhi tree 2600 years ago and became Buddha (the 'Awakened One'). In terms of blessedness, this tiny temple town is to Buddhists what Mecca is to Muslims. Unsurprisingly, it attracts thousands of pilgrims from around the world every year, who come for prayer, study and meditation.

Day 11 : In Bodhgaya
After breakfast proceed for visit of Mahabodhi Temple and Bodhi tree. Rest of the day to explore the town on your own. Overnight at the hotel.

The magnificent Unesco World Heritage–listed Mahabodhi Temple, marking the hallowed ground where Buddha attained enlightenment and formulated his philosophy of life, forms the spiritual heart of Bodhgaya. Built in the 6th century AD atop the site of a temple erected by Emperor Ashoka almost 800 years earlier, it was razed by foreign invaders in the 11th century, and subsequently underwent several major restorations. Topped by a 50m pyramidal spire, the inner sanctum of the ornate structure houses a 10th-century, 2m-high gilded image of a seated Buddha. Amazingly, four of the original sculpted stone railings surrounding the temple, dating from the Sunga period (184–72 BC), have survived amid the replicas. Others are now housed inside the archaeological museum.

Pilgrims and visitors from all walks of life and religions come to worship or just soak up the atmosphere of this sacred place. An enthralling way to start or finish the day is to stroll around the inside of the perimeter of the temple compound (in an auspicious clockwise pattern) and watch a sea of maroon and yellow dip and rise, while Tibetan monks perform endless prostrations on their prayer boards. There’s a less atmospheric Meditation Park for those seeking extra solitude within the temple grounds.

Undoubtedly, the most sacred fig tree ever to grace the Earth was the Bodhi Tree at Bodhgaya, under which Prince Siddhartha, the founder of Buddhism, achieved enlightenment. Buddha was said to have stared unblinkingly at the tree in an awed gesture of gratitude and wonder after his enlightenment. Today, pilgrims and tourists alike flock here to pray and meditate at the most important of Buddhism’s four holiest sites.

Known as Sri Maha Bodhi, the original tree was paid special attention by Ashoka, a mighty Indian emperor who ruled most of the subcontinent from 269 to 232 BC, a century or two after Buddha’s believed death. His wife, Tissarakkhā, wasn’t such a fan of the tree and in a fit of jealousy and rage, caused the original Bodhi Tree’s death by poisonous thorns shortly after becoming queen. Thankfully, before its death, one of the tree’s saplings was carried off to Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka by Sanghamitta (Ashoka’s daughter), where it continues to flourish. A cutting was later carried back to Bodhgaya and planted where the original once stood. The red sandstone slab between the tree and the adjacent Mahabodhi Temple was placed by Ashoka to mark the spot of Buddha’s enlightenment – it’s referred to as the Vajrasan (Diamond Throne).

Day 12 : Drive to Patna (en-route Rajgir & Nalanda) then flight to Delhi and departure
After breakfast leave for Patna by surface, en-route visit the Rajgir and Nalanda. After visits drive to Patna Airport to catch flight to Delhi leaving at 1750hrs and arriving at 1940hrs. Arrive and connect to your flight back home.

Rajgir is the ancient capital of Magadha kings. The Buddha often visited Rajagriha to retreat at the Jivkamaravana monastery, preaching and meditating on the Gridhakuta Hill. The disciples of the Buddha built many structures here. Rajgir is also sacred to Jains as Lord Mahavira studied and meditated here. The first Buddhist Council was held here after the Buddha’s nirvana.

Nalanda is believed to be the oldest university in the world. Founded in the 5th century BC, it became a renowned centre of Buddhist and Jain learning. Hieun Tsang, the Chinese traveller, spent several years here in the 7th century AD. Nalanda Archaeological Museum has a magnificent collection of Pali and Mauryan statues, bronze and manuscripts.

Nalanda Mahavihara an institute for the study of Pali literature houses rare Buddhist manuscripts. Though Buddha visited Nalanda several times during his lifetime, this famous centre of Buddhist learning shot to fame much later, during 5th – 12th centuries. The Chinese scholar and traveller Hiuen Tsang stayed here in the 7th century, and has left an elaborate description of the excellence, and purity of monastic life practised here. About 2,000 teachers and 10,000 students from all over the Buddhist world, lived and studied in this international university.

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