Classical North India tour with Gwalior & Lucknow

Classical North India tour with Gwalior & Lucknow

Package Duration: 12 Nights and 13 Days
Places Covered: Delhi - Agra - Gwalior - Orchha - Khajuraho - Varanasi - Lucknow - Delhi

Tour Overview

Discover Classical 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. Jaipur will offer you a glimpse into the grandeur of Rajputana’s, Khajuraho the erotic temple town, Lucknow- the city of Nawabs and Varanasi will lift up your religious spirits.

Highlights:

  • Food walk in Old Delhi
  • Visit of magnificent Taj Mahal
  • Elephant ride at Amber Fort Jaipur
  • In the evening attend a aarti ceremony in Ram Raja Temple, Orchha
  • Imambara of Lucknow
  • Sunrise boat ride on river Ganges in Varanasi

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 : Arrive in 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 : 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 Jaipur
After breakfast leave for Jaipur by surface, a drive of about 6 hours. Arrive in Jaipur and check – in at the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.

An erstwhile princely state and now the capital of modern Rajasthan. Jaipur is popularly known as the “Pink City” because of the rose coloured wash that adorns most buildings in the old quarter and it is the first planned city in the country.”

Day 4 : A day in Jaipur
After breakfast visit Amber Fort, the grandest way to reach Amber is on an elephant back. Later we proceed to visit the City Palace and Observatory. And we also stop for some photos from across the road of Hawa Mahal – the Palace of Winds. In evening attend aarti or a prayer ceremony at Birla Mandir. Overnight in the hotel.

Amer fort was built with red and white sandstone. The fort still stands as a grand example of ancient Indian architecture. It is known for its blend of Rajput and Hindu style of architecture and mixture of Hindu and Muslim style of ornamentation. The carvings on the ceiling and the walls are extraordinary features of this fort. There are many paintings of ancient hunting styles, portrait of important Rajput rulers and others. There are a series of gates in the fort and each one has a unique structure and architectural element to enjoy. You can find many buildings inside the fort including Diwan-e-Aam, SukhMandir, Sheesh Mahal and others.

The City Palace reflects Rajput, Mughal and European architectural styles. The Palace has been designed according to a 'grid style' and houses various structures such as, 'Chandra Mahal', 'Mubarak Mahal', 'Diwan-I-Khas' and the 'Govind Dev Ji Temple. The walls and gates are ornately designed to Mughal style, with various murals, lattice and mirrors adorning them from sides.

The Jaipur observatory is by far the most elaborate and complete of Jai Singh’s all other Observatories. The observatory occupies a plot of land just outside the City Palace.

Jaipur’s most photographed landmark, the Hawa Mahal is an extraordinary pink-painted delicately honeycombed hive that rises a dizzying five storeys. It was constructed in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh to enable ladies of the royal household to watch the life and processions of the city.

The Birla Temple, of Jaipur is built of pure white marble, whose interiors contain, beautifully sculpted idols of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi, as well as other Hindu Gods. Commonly considered a true work of art, this temple forms a wonderful backdrop to witness a traditional ceremony.An Aarti represents the elements of fire, earth, water and air as well as the senses, the priest has a tray with a diya (lamp), offerings of food, water, flowers, incense and a small bell.

Day 5 : Drive to Agra, en-route Fatehpur Sikri
After breakfast drive to Agra, en – route stop for visiting the celebrated medieval Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri. A drive of about 7 hours,  arrive and check – in at the hotel. In the Afternoon visit the Agra Fort and Moonlit Garden. Overnight at the hotel.

The history of Fatehpur Sikri dates back to the Mughal era in the 16th century. . Lost and abandoned, Fatehpur Sikri stands like a proud maiden showing off her beauty even as an air of melancholy surrounds it.  The rich sand stone walls echo the tales of poignancy and erstwhile glory.

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 empire.

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.

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 : Drive to Gwalior
After breakfast visit the Taj Mahal (closed on all Fridays). Leave for Gwalior by surface, a journey of about 2.5hrs. Arrive and check-in at the hotel. In the afternoon visit the Jai Vilas Palace and Gwalior Fort. 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.

Famous for its dramatic and dominant hilltop fort, which Mughal emperor Babur reputedly described as the pearl of Indian fortresses, Gwalior makes an interesting stop en route to some of the better-known destinations in this part of India. The city also houses the elaborate Jai Vilas Palace, the historic seat of the Scindia family, who have been playing important roles in Indian history for more than two centuries.

The museum occupies some 35 rooms of the Scindias’ opulent Jai Vilas Palace, built by Maharaja Jayajirao in 1874 using prisoners from the fort. The convicts were rewarded with the 12-year job of weaving the hall carpet, one of the largest in Asia. Supposedly, eight elephants were suspended from the ceiling of the durbar (royal court) hall to check it could cope with two 12.5m-high, 3.5-tonne chandeliers, said to be the largest pair in the world. Bizarre items fill the rooms: cut-glass furniture, stuffed tigers and a ladies-only swimming pool with its own boat. The cavernous dining room displays the pièce de résistance, a model railway with a silver train that carried after-dinner brandy and cigars around the table.

Stretched majestically along the top of a 3km-long plateau overlooking Gwalior, the fort is a dominant, unmissable sight, and full of fascinating palaces, temples, museums and other buildings. Much of the fort is now occupied by the prestigious private Scindia School, established by Maharaja Madho Rao Scindia in 1897 for the education of Indian nobility.There are two approaches to the fort, both uphill treks. Vehicles can drive up the west side through the Urvai Gate, but this approach is an anticlimax compared with the formidable view of the fort from the eastern approach, which makes entering from the east well worth the walk. Don’t, however, miss the rock sculptures part way down the western side.

Day 7 : Drive to Orchha, en-route Datia
After breakfast drive to Orchha historical site with magnificent temples and monuments, a journey of about 3hrs. En-route visit Datia Fort. Arrive and 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.

An astonishing confluence of Mughal and Rajput architecture, the 7 storeyed Datia Palace stands tall in the historic city of Datia. While its exterior is adorned with arches, chhatris and oriel windows, the Bundela paintings beautify the interior. Mentioned as Daityavakra in Mahabharata, the city of Datia is blessed with history as well as divinity. Numerous temples, some even dating back to pre-historic times, give this city its second name - ‘Laghu Vrindavan’ or ‘Small Vrindavan’.The city of Datia might be nicknamed ‘Small Vrindavan’ but it holds stories, countless and ancient, that very few libraries can. Stories that take you back in time, and to the childhood moments of wonder.

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 8 : 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 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.

Day 9 : Flight to Varanasi
After breakfast visit the western group of temples. In the Afternoon you will be met and transferred to the Airport for flight to Varanasi leaving at 15:15hrs. Arriving in Varanasi at 1620hrs, upon arrival you will be transferred to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.

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 10 : A day in Varanasi
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). Later visit the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Alamgir Mosque and The Bharat Mata Temple. In the afternoon visit the Sarnath. Evening we will visit the banks of Ganges for Ganga Aarti. 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.

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.

Located 13 km northeast of Varanasi, Sarnath is among the famous Buddhist pilgrimages in India. After achieving enlightenment at Bodhgaya, the Buddha came to Sarnath seeking his former companions and thus gave his first sermon here.

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 11 : Drive to Lucknow
After breakfast leave for Lucknow by surface, a journey of about 7hrs. Arrive in Lucknow and check-in at the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.

Lucknow is sprinkled with exceptional British Raj–era buildings, boasting two superb mausoleums and famed throughout India for its food, the capital of Uttar Pradesh is something of a sleeper: plenty worth seeing, but often overlooked by travellers. Central Lucknow features wide boulevards, outsized monuments and several parks and gardens, but feels a bit worn out, creating an atmosphere of tired grandiosity. Locals tend to be welcoming, and you'll experience little of the hassle of more touristy towns.

Day 12 : In Lucknow
After breakfast proceed for sightseeing of Lucknow. We start the tour from La Martiniere, Sadat Ali and Begum Tombs, The Residency, Asafi Imambara (Bara Imambara), Rumi Darwaza, Clock Tower, Residency and Chota Imambara. Overnight at the hotel.

La Martiniere was constructed in 1794 by a French soldier – Claude Martin. The architecture of this building is a complete mixture of Indo-European school of architecture. It held a place of pride in the heart of Claude Martin because he is said to have constructed it in memory of his love – Constance and named it Constantia. Before dying he expressed his last wish which was that his mortal remains should be laid to rest in the basement of this building.

Sadat Ali & Begum Tombs house the graves of Nawab Sadat Ali Khan and his wife stand majestically opposite Hazrat Mahal Park (Earlier called Victoria Park). The architecture is a fine example of Indo-Syrian style with arches, pillars and Awadhi patterns.

An all-out siege of the Residency in 1857 that continued for nearly five months took the life of 2197 defenders including British and the Indians. What were left of this majestic building are the broken walls with marks of bullets and cannon balls. This is the most gruesome tale of the British era in India that has lived to tell its story to the generations to come with its roofless walls and the epitaphs on the graves in the cemetery.

Asafi Imambara, built in 1775 by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula, at the time a famine had broken out in and around the city of Lucknow. It is said that the people of Lucknow would not accept alms, thus the Nawab began the construction of this Imambara Complex, which would provide employment to the masses and they could work for a living. This Nawab was known for his generosity. The Asafi (Bara) Imambara is a complex consisting of the hall, a Mosque, gardens and a water well (Baoli).

The history attaches the design of the Rumi Darwaza gateway with portal of Constantinople. Built in 1784 Rumi Darwaza or the Turkish Gate is a perfect combination of Hindu-Muslim architecture. Each brick placed in the structure of Rumi Darwaza moans the gloomy past of famine stricken people and hails Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula for providing the relief.

Hussainabad (Chota) Imambara was built by Nawab Mohd Ali Shah (1837-1840). It is ornate in design with exquisite chandeliers, gilt-edged mirrors and colourful stucco work which adorns the interiors. Fine calligraphy on the exteriors of the building make it a truly exceptional monument. Venetian, English, Chinese and Japanese chandeliers, Belgian mirrors and miniature paintings are some of the interesting artifacts one gets to see inside the Husainabad Imambara.

After your tour of these monuments, you  will get a chance to stroll through one of the city’s oldest markets/bazaars, either Chowk or Hazratganj, depending when which market place is open.

Day 13 : Train to Delhi and final departure
Early Morning transfer to the Railway Station for train to Delhi leaving at 1535 hrs and arriving at 2215hrs. Arrive and transfer to the International Airport for flight back home.

Travel Route

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