Offbeat Central India Tour

Offbeat Central India Tour

Package Duration: 13 Nights and 14 Days
Places Covered: Delhi - Agra - Bhopal - Ujjain - Mandu - Maheshwar - Burhanpur - Aurangabad - Mumbai

Tour Overview

This Central India Tour Package have all in together which you could image for your offbeat central India trip. In this tour we have included the Taj Mahal, the rock shelters of Bhimbetka, the Sanchi stupa, Mandu, the religious cities of Ujjain and Maheshwar. The ancient town of Burhanpur where the lady for which Taj Mahal was built was originally buried before moving to Taj Mahal. The world famous caves of Ajanta and Ellora and the commercial capital of India – The Mumbai.

Highlights:

  • Food tour in Old Delhi
  • Visit to Magnificent Taj Mahal in Agra
  • Visit to Sanchi Stupa and Bhimbetka Rock Sheleters  in Bhopal
  • Mahakaleshwar temple in Ujjain
  • Stay in Mandu – a city existing since 6th century BC, it houses the biggest fort – The Mandu Fort
  • Visit Ahukhana in Burhanpur where Mumtaj Mahal (queen of Emperor Shah Jahan) was originally buried before being taken to the Taj Mahal.
  • Ajanta & Ellora caves in Auragnabad

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 : 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 Agra
Today morning after breakfast drive to Agra, a journey of about 5 hours. Arrive and check – in at the hotel. Proceed for city tour of the magnificent Red Fort and the Taj Mahal. Overnight at the hotel.

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 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

Day 4 : Train to Bhopal
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 1355 hrs in Bhopal, transfer to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.

Split by a pair of lakes, Bhopal is two cities within a city. Two starkly contrasting cityscapes. Towards the North you have the old city, a fascinating area of mosques, serpentine alleys, chowks, milling crowds, exotic havelis and crowded bazaars. South of the two lakes is the new Bhopal. Modern, with wide roads, upmarket shopping complexes, and plush hotels and restaurants nestled comfortably in the Arera and Shamla Hills, which overlook the lakes and the old city beyond. The central district is known as New Market. Both Bhopals enamour you in their own way and vie to bring out the child within you.

Day 5 : A day in Bhopal
After breakfast Visit Sanchi (67 kms) & Udaigiri (further 17 kms). In the Afternoon excursion to Bhojpur (From Udaigiri 95 kms). After visit return to Bhopal (30 kms). Overnight at the hotel.

Sanchi was the seat of Buddhist learning and pilgrimage from the 2nd century BC to the 3rd Century AD. Although the Buddha never visited this region, Buddhist art and architecture found sublime expression here. Sanchi abounds in stupas, temples, pillars and four magnificent gateways, `Toranas’, profusely carved with images depicting the great events in the life of Gautama Buddha. His life is explained through symbols, as was the tradition in the early years of Buddhism. Local ivory carvers did these artistic votives. The art of Sanchi is the cradle of Indian culture and the very foundation of all the arts and crafts of the land.

Udaigiri Caves: 13 kms from Sanchi are about 20 Gupta cave shrines popularly known as the Udaigiri caves. They date back to the period from the 4th to 7th centuries A.D. Eighteen caves are Hindu and two are Jain. Particularly spectacular is cave 5 in which VISHNU is depicted in his VARAHA (BOAR) incarnation holding aloft an one tusk the earth Goddesses Prithvi . There is another large sculpture of Lord Vishnu in the reclining postures. Cave 9 has 2.5m high pillars, long porticos and pillared halls. Cave 7 was built for the personal use of King Chandragupta II. Cave 20 has detailed Jain carving .All these caves have been cut into a sandstone hill and have all the distinctive features that gave Gupta art its unique place. An inscription in one of the caves seems to suggest that the caves or some of them were built during the region of Chandragupta II.

Bhojpur (28 kms from Bhopal) was founded by the legendary Parmar King of Dhar, Raj Bhoj (1010-53), and named after him. The place is renowned for the remains of its magnificent Shiva temple and Cyclopean dam. The temple, which has earned the nomenclature as the Somnath of the East, is known as the Bhojeshwar temple.

Day 6 : A day in Bhopal
Early morning after breakfast leave for Bhimbetka Caves (approx. 3 hours round trip). In the afternoon visit the Taj Ul Masjid and lakes of Bhopal. Overnight at the hotel

Cave paintings dating back to approximately 30,000 years. Rock shelters that were home to humans, millennia ago. And a rich flora and fauna surrounding these, indeed, make Bhimbetka a gift to us from our earliest ancestors. An archaeological treasure, Bhimbetka has around 243 rock shelters. The paintings found in the rock shelters here have a striking resemblance to the ones discovered in Kakadu National Park in Australia; to the cave paintings of Bushmen in Kalahari Desert and Upper Palaeolithic Lascaux cave paintings in France. A walkthrough these ancient naturally carved rocks surrounded by dense forests of Bhimbetka will bring alive child-like wonder in you.

The Taj-ul-masjid, one of the largest mosques in India consists of an impressive main hall with inter-arched roof, broad facade and wide courtyard. The Gandhi Bhawan has a collection of photographs of Mahatma Gandhi.

Day 7 : Drive to Ujjain
Breakfast at the hotel, leave for Ujjain a journey of about 6hrs. Arrive in Ujjain , check – in at the hotel. Later visit Mahakaleshwar Temple. Overnight at the hotel.

Mahakala of Ujjain is known among the twelve celebrated Jyotirlingas in India. The glory of Mahakaleshwar temple has been vividly described in various puranas. Starting with Kalidasa,many sanskrit poets have eulogized this temple in emotive terms.The tradition of Mahakala in minds of the people is eternal Ujjain used to be center point of the calculation of the Indian time and Mahaklala was considered as the distinctive presiding deity of Ujjain.

Day 8 : Drive to Mandu
Breakfast at the hotel, leave for Ujjain a journey of about 4hrs. Arrive in Mandu , check – in at the hotel. Later visit Jami Masjid, located in a nearby village. Overnight at the hotel.

Mandav or Mandu was earlier known by the name of "Shadiabad" meaning the city of happiness (Anand Nagari), the name was given by then ruler Allauddin Khilji. Mandu city is situated at an elevation of 633 metres (2079 feet) and extends for 13 km (8 miles) along the crest of the Vindhya Range, overlooking the plateau of Malwa to the north and the valley of the Narmada River to the south.

Jami Masjid is inspired by the great mosque of Damascus, this humongous structure is striking in both its simplicity and architectural style-with large courtyards and grand entrances.

Day 9 : A day in Mandu
Breakfast at the hotel, leave for sightseeing of Mandu covering Baz Bahadur Palace and Roopmanti’s Pavillion. In the afternoon: Visit Hoshangsha's Tomb & Hindola Mahal. Overnight at the hotel.

Baz Bahadur was the sultan of Mandu from 1555 – 1561 and Mandu reached heights of grandeur during this period but only for a short time. However, he had built the palace long before he ascended the throne. It was in 1509 that the wonderful edifice was erected. It stands on the hill above the holy Rewa Kund, a tank, which supplied water by a water lift. Exhibiting specimens of Mohammedan as well as Rajput culture in its architectural forms, Baz Bahadur’s Palace initially opens up to a sprawling courtyard and flaunts halls on all four sides. The northern side has an octagonal porch with arches on the fringes. Overlooking this pavilion is a garden.

Roopmati Pavilion: A large sandstone structure originally built as an army observation post it is known today as Roopmati's Pavilion.

Hoshang's Tomb: India's first marble structure, it is one of the most refined examples of Afghan architecture. Its unique features include the beautifully proportioned dome, intricate marble lattice work and porticoed courts and towers. It served as a template for the construction of Taj Mahal.
    
Hindola Mahal: Meaning Swing palace is so named due to its sloping side walls. The Hindola Mahal might have been constructed during the reign of Hushang Shah about 1425 C.E. but may date to the end of the 15th century during the reign of Ghiyas al-Din. It is one of a set buildings making up the royal palace complex at Mandu.
    
Day 10 : Drive to Maheshwar
After breakfast leave for Maheshwar, a journey of about 2hrs. Arrive and proceed for visit of Ahilya Bhai fort and Palace,  Akhileshwar Temple and visit some weavers of famous Maheshwari silk. Evening visit the banks of Narmada river. Overnight at the hotel.

Situated on the banks of river Narmada, Maheshwar appeals to both, the pilgrim as well as the tourist in you. The town possesses a treasure trove of beautiful temples that calm the soul, alongside man-made creations that please the eyes. A centre of handloom weaving since the 5th century, Maheshwar has been producing the exquisite Maheshwari saris and fabric. The town also holds the distinction of being the capital of Rajmata Ahilya Devi Holkar’s empire during the 18th century. This historic town weaves spirituality and folklore with the beauty of nature and Maheshwari saris, bringing alive child-like awe in you.

Day 11 : Drive to Burhanpur
After breakfast leave for Burhanpur, a journey of about 4hrs. Arrive andvisit the Rajghat Palace, Jama Masjid,  Gurudwara and Ahukhana. Overnight at the hotel.

Burhanpur is situated on the bank of river Tapti in the state of Madhya Pradesh. This historical city was founded in about 1400 AD. by the prince Nasir Khan.The city is surrounded by rampart and has several huge gates. It was once the capital during the Mughals (Akbar) rule in India. It has a number of mosques , tombs and Places of historical values.

Visit the Rajghat Palace (also known as Shani Kila) which has seven floors, Jama Masjid- the only mosque where the inscriptions are in Arabic, Sanskrit & Urdu languages; the Gurudwara – where the Holy Book of the Sikhs The Guru Granth Sahib is signed by Guru Govindsingh himself; Ahukhana where Mumtaj Mahal (queen of Emperor Shah Jahan) was originally buried before being taken to the Taj Mahal.

Day 12 : Drive to Aurangabad, en-route Ajanta Caves
After an early breakfast at the hotel, leave for Ajanta. A journey if about 4hrs. Visit the Ajanta Caves (closed on Mondays). After visit leave for Aurangabad, a drive of about 2hrs. Arrive in Aurangabad and transfer to hotel. Overnight at the hotel.

Ajanta : About 107 kilometers from the city of Aurangabad, the rock-cut caves of Ajanta nestle in a panoramic gorge shaped like a gigantic horseshoe. Excavated in two distinct phases-the first phase dating between the 2nd and 1st century Bc and the second phase between the 5th and 6th century AD, these caves are among the finest examples of some of the earliest Buddhist architecture, cave paintings and sculptures. The caves comprise Chaitya Hall, or shrines, dedicated to Lord Buddha, and Viharas , or monasteries, used by Buddhist monks for meditation and the study of Buddhist teachings.

The paintings that adorn the walls and ceilings of the caves depict incidents from the life of the Buddha and various Buddhist divinities. Among the more interesting paintings are those from the Jataka tales, illustrating diverse stories about the previous incarnations of the Bodhisattva. Large decorative medallions painted on the ceilings accompanied by flying celestial figures, birds, animals and abstract geometrical forms, complete the vision of the devout Buddhist universe.

Aurangabad : The gateway of the world Heritage Sites of Ajanta and Ellora, Aurangabad is named after the great Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb. Aurangabad district has a long history of art and culture –to which several Buddhist, Hindu, Jain and Muslim communities have contuributed over the years. Aurangabad , the district headquarters , is today a modern city which offers visitors all the comforts and amenities. It has several luxury and budget hotels, shopping centres , hospitals and banks .In the city are three museums, housing the art treasures of the region- the Sunheri Mahal Museum, the University Museum and the Chhaterpati Shivaji Museum.

Day 13 :A day in Aurangabad
After breakfast at the hotel, proceed to visit the Aurangabad caves and Bibi Ka Maqbara. And in the afternoon: visit the Ellora caves (closed on Tuesdays) and the Daultabad Fort. Overnight at the hotel.

Aurangabad Caves : Situated 13 kms. From Aurangabad ,city these caves were excavated between the 1st and the 6th century AD. Though predominantly Buddhist in dedication, they reflect tantric influences in their  iconography . These nine caves, comprise mainly Viharas. The sculptures and paintings inside the caves the Jataka  tales and various Buddhist divinities.

Bibi-Ka –Maqbara : Designed as a replica of the famous Taj Mahal, the Bibi-Ka –Maqbara is one of the finest examples of Mughal architecture in the Deccan. It was built in 1678, by Aurangzeb’s son, in memory of his mother Begum Rabia Durani.

Ellora: The cave temple and monasteries at Ellora ,are 26km.from Aurangabad. Extending in a linear arragement ,the 34 caves comprise Buddhist Chaityas (shrines),and Viharas(monasteries), together with some of the finest Hindu and Jain temples from the 5th to the   11th centure AD.

Ellora, unlike the Ajanta caves , was never ‘rediscovered’ . Known as Verul in ancient times , it has continuously attracted pilgrims since early times to the present day .The earliest excavation here is of the Dhumar Lena (cave29), while the most imposing excavation is that of the Kailasa Temple (cave16), which is the largest monolithic structure in the world .The Jains caves are dedicated to Lord Mahavira, the founder of Jainism and the Tirthankaras, or teachers, worshipped by the Jains .

Daulatabad Fort : Once known as Devgiri, this mighty 12 th-century fort stands atop a hill just 13kms from Aurangabad , on the way to Ellora . It was renamed Daulatabad , or the city of fortune , by Muhammad bin Tughlaq, the sultan of Delhi .Sturdy walls , artificial  scarping and  a complicated  series of defense systems made the fort completely impregnable .With in the complex are the Bhavani Temple ,Saraswati wel ,Garden House, Masonry Tank and the spectacular 30- meter high Chand Minar.

Day 14 : Flight to Mumbai and final departure
Early in the morning flor flight to Mumbai leaving at 0835 hrs. Breakfast onboard the flight. Arrive in Mumbai at 09:35hrs. Arrive and proceed for sightseeing tour of Mumbai. Drive past the Victoria Terminus railway station, visit the Crawford Market, Mani Bhavan and the Jain Temple. After visit transfer to the International airport for your flight onwards.

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