India Unlimited

india

Best Season

October - March

Grade

Gentle

Duration

20 days

05-08 Persons

Places to see: Delhi, Varanasi, Khajuraho, Orchha, Agra, Jaipur, Mumbai, Cochin, Munnar, Alleppey, Kumarakom

Highlights: Delhi’s Taj, President House, Birla Temple, Burning Ghats, Tiger Safaris, Elephanta Caves, Chinese Fishing nets, Sunset Cruise, Backwater cruise, Beach stay

OVERVIEW

We call this the equator tour precisely for its all encompassing reach from the North down parts of east to central & finally down to the southernmost part of India. It only encapsulates the heart of the country in all its dimensions from Art to culture, heritage to wild food to beaches, revealing some of the country’s wonderful secrets. While you bask in the sun & rest in shade, the warm hospitality of an Indian is hardly missing anywhere. India in nutshell is a dazzle of colors, water wild, land & mountains form a kaleidoscope that give you the traveler infinite memories of the land truly blessed by the Gods, A trip with Banjaaray is a fulfilling one. Enjoy the thrill.

Mobile: +91 9899238167

Mail: info@banjaaray.com

MAJOR INCLUSIONS

  • TRANSPORTATION INCLUDED YES
  • BREAKFAST INCLUDED YES
  • ALL MONUMENTS TICKETS YES
  • HOTELS 4 / 5 STAR INCLUDED YES
  • GUIDE / ESCORT INCLUDED YES

DAY WISE ITINERARY

DAY 01 ARRIVAL IN DELHI

You arrive in Delhi on your own. We shall meet you at the airport exit. Assist you & escort you out to the waiting Innova car & drive along to your hotel for your checking in. You freshen up & relax a while. Later in the day you shall set out for a panoramic visit of the Lutyen’s Delhi.

Here you shall drive past the India Gate (War memorial for soldiers of the Afghan War); President’s Palace (Vice Regal mansion, home to The President of India), Connaught Place (Central shopping hub) & the legendary Birla Temple.

Return by the evening time for your overnight stay at the hotel.

Hotel:

Meals provided today: None

DAY 02 DELHI – VARANASI (flight time 1hr, 30 minutes)

Early morning you leave for the airport escorted by the company representative for your flight to Varanasi. The company representative meets & greets you at the airport. Assists you to the waiting vehicle outside & you drive to your hotel after that. Check in & relax for a while. Later in the evening you witness Aarti (Puja, evening prayers on the Ganges).

The stand out spectacle is undoubtedly the evening Aarti (Puja/recitals) (Chanting of hymns by Hindu priests clad in white Loose cotton wear sporting vermillion on their foreheads & holding huge bronze/brass/earthen Pots with burning Camphor/mustard oil/Vegetable fat), watched by hundreds of devotees on the Ghats (Banks of River Ganga).

VARANASI AT A GLANCE

Varanasi is also known by its ancient names Benares or Kashi as well. The holy Ganges River can be seen flowing in its prime through this city & hence most of the religious sanctity is imparted to this town because of this. The city considered the oldest, the holiest & the most mystical holds a great significance for Hindus for it has received special mention in the Rig-Veda & Mahabharata apart from having served as the capital of Kashi during Gautama Buddha. It is also renowned as a seat of Learning since ancient times Scholars, historians, musicians, artisans, saints all have made it their eternal abode at some point or the other.

Hotel:

Meals provided toady: Breakfast.

DAY 03 VARANASI

After early Breakfast at the hotel, you shall leave for a full day excursion of this historic town. You go boating from Dhashwamedha Ghats & also see some other important Ghats (river banks)

River Banks/Fronts (Ghats):

These are legendary swathes (4-5 kms) of river fronts that see visitors in thousands everyday either enjoying their boat rides on the Ganges or witnessing the first rays of the Sun. The splendor & the appeal are just unparalleled. One can also see hundreds of pyres burning at some of these Ghats where Hindus cremate their dead. Hindus believe that by cremating their dead here or spending their fag end of life in this holy city is akin to attaining salvation. Mark twain fell for this enigma & history while describing Varanasi as a place which was older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together. You shall also get to see the following spots today:

The Kashi Vishwanath Temple

This is the Hindu parallel of Sikh Golden temple in Amritsar at least in its importance & how it is known as. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva where the Shivalinga installed in the temple remains the centre of attraction to millions of its visitors.

Banaras Hindu University

As the largest residential university in India, BHU is still the epitome of a great learning by scholars from all over the world. It incidentally houses the Kashi Vishwanath temple in its precincts apart from a grand statute at its entrance of its founder Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya.

Bharat Mata Temple

The great founding father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi inaugurated this in 1936 & it houses one perfect relief Map of India carved out of a marble.

Ashoka Pillar

This is in Sarnath (10 kms off the main city) & where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon. It is a very popular Buddhist pilgrimage centre where Ashoka the great conqueror sat and meditated. The Sarnath Archaeological Museum, houses a copy of Ashoka’s lion pillar and some sculptures

Stay overnight at the hotel.

Meals provided today: Breakfast

DAYS 04 & 05 VARANASI – KAHJURAHO (By air 1 hr flight)

After early breakfast at the hotel you leave for the airport to catch your flight to Khajuraho. You meet with the company representative at the airport exit who assists you & checks you in the hotel. Later you leave for a tour of the exotic temples of the town. Here we will visit Western and Eastern group of temples. You can click pictures, purchase books and other artistic articles. Stay overnight.

KHAJURAHO

Khajuraho is known for its erotic yet aesthetic sculptures depicted on rocks & its countless temples. Perhaps the only hotspot on the Northern/central India tourism horizon, Khajuraho holds its pride of place for its exotic depiction of human love & lust. Mystery is the most apt word that can be associated with the history of Khajuraho. The thought provoking & impishly tempting architecture & sculpture of Khajuraho gives credence to the assumption that Khajuraho erotica were designed to check the devotees control who came to adore their gods at the temples. The magnificence and dignity of Khajuraho is due to the innovative thoughts, highly developed artistic sense, and religious commitment of the great Chandela rulers. A synonym for the medieval splendor, Khajuraho temples illustrate not only the creativity of the craftsman but also the astonishing progressiveness of the illustrious rulers, under whose patronage these amazing structures were Envisioned and constructed.

Hotel:

Meals provided today: Breakfast

DAY 06 KHAJURAHO – ORCCHA (170 kms, 3-4 hrs, by road)

You continue your journey to Orchha, the former capital of the region but now just a village. There you visit the old fort on an island in the Betwa River and a palace that was built for Jahangir – they are impressive in size and provide pleasant views of the countryside. . In the evening, join the friendly villagers and other pilgrims at the Rama Temple for a festive Aarti ceremony.
Hotel: TBA

Meals provided today: Breakfast

DAY 07 ORCHHA – JHANSI- AGRA (Total Travel time 4 hrs; 30 minutes by bus & 3 ½ hrs by train)

This morning you’ll explore the Jahangir Palace and Raja Mahal which tower over several square miles of temples, palaces, and memorial Chhatris that have been taken over by jungle. Explore the monuments for frescoes and other relics.
Leave for Agra today via Jhansi, where you catch the Shatabdi train to Agra. Agra is home to the Taj Mahal, the most complete and perfect of the wonders of the world. It was built in 1652 by Emperor Shah Jahan. It took 22 years and 20,000 skilled artisans to complete. You also visit the Agra Fort which lies across the river Jamuna. It was here that

Aurangzeb, the third son of Shah Jahan, kept his father under house arrest. One can get a fantastic view of the Taj from the little octagonal tower in the fort.

Hotel: TBA

Meals provided today: Breakfast

DAYS 08 & 09 AGRA – JAIPUR (240 KMS, 3-4 HRS)

You are bound for the Pink city today. Upon arrival you check in your hotel. After some rest, you leave for an excursion of the city. We have compiled a list of the worth seeing spots in Jaipur which you can explore during your two days stay. These are listed below:-

City Palace:

This grand edifice which also includes the Chandra Mahal and Mubarak Mahal palaces and other buildings is a palace complex in Jaipur, built between 1729 and 1732, initially by Sawai Jai Singh the ruler of Amber. He planned and built the outer walls, and later additions were made by successive rulers continuing up to the 20th century. The architects achieved a rare fusion of the Shilpa Shastra of Indian architecture with Rajput, Mughal and European styles of architecture blended into one.

Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds)

This building was created especially for the women folk of the Maharaja clan of those times. From the numerous windows & air inlets of the structure the Maharajah’s wives would spy the daily life of Jaipur hidden by the lattice work screens.

Jantar Mantar

A collection of astronomical observation instruments and calculations of the of the ancient India masters of Jyotishis is what this World Heritage site has to offer. Built by the Rajput King Sawai Jai Singh, this observatory consists of fourteen major geometric devices for measuring time, predicting eclipses, tracking stars’ location as the earth orbits around the

sun, ascertaining the declinations of planets, and determining the celestial altitudes and related ephemerides. Highly recommended for the visit

Amber Fort

Also known as Amer Fort & situated on the outskirts of Jaipur town, it is one of the most famous forts in whole of Rajasthan. It was originally the capital of the state before Jaipur got bestowed with this title. Constructed in the 16th century by the then Raja Jai Singh in red sandstone and marble, it is an imposing structure atop the hillock overlooking Jaipur & adjoining areas. You can ride an elephant up the path to the main compound. You can also see the ‘Shila Devi’ Temple and the ‘Ganesh Pol’ inside the premises that is thronged by hundreds of visitors each day. Do not miss the great durbar Hall & other pavilions. Watch the sunset over Jaipur from the Sun Temple here.

Other places of interest are Albert Museum (Named after Price Albert Edward, this massive structure in stone is a fitting tribute to the indefatigable Indian Artisan & his workmanship).

Jal Mahal ( This water palace is a part of the Man Sagar Lake & a complete makeover of the ancient place done by Maharaja Jai Singh of Jaipur in the 18th century. You can see this lake surrounded by two hills on the sides which are itself a part of the great Aravalis)

Heritage Walk (Recommended)

This tour is very different & full of unexpected sights and surprises. You shall pamper your senses with Unforgettable images of men & women, young & old engaged animatedly in their daily work in the lanes & by lanes of this city. Though quite a modern city yet Jaipur has not lost its old charm and is a stunning example of India’s rich cultural & historical legacy. At one end of this walk you shall see metal making experts work with their traditional tools & on the other you get to see the Sarvajanik Kuan or The Public well, the spot where ladies used to gather in ancient times over some chit chat while drawing water from the well. From tie & dye textile facilities to Earthen ware, from ancient Johri bazaar (goldsmiths market) to spicy street food, you savor this all during this heritage walk.

Hotel: TBA

Meals provided: Breakfast

DAYS 10 & 11 JAIPUR – MUMBAI (1 hr, 40 minute’s flight)

Enter the commercial capital of India on your own. Exchange greetings with your company representative/travel host at the airport, Leave for your hotel. Check in & relax. Later you go on a panoramic tour of city covering in it the majestic Gateway of India & a ferry trip to the Elephanta caves.

The Gateway of India is one of India’s most unique landmarks that overlook the Mumbai harbor. Bordered by the Arabian Sea, it recorded the ‘First Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry’ parade as the first main event on February 28, 1948, when the last set of British troops and divisions left India, post-independence.

The Elephanta Caves are a complex of ancient cave temples on Elephanta Island, an hour-long ferry ride from Gateway of India. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, Elephanta Island is not only a worthy destination in itself, it also provides a great view of Mumbai’s skyline and an escape from the chaos of the city.

Activities/sightseeing

Take a deep breath & imagine an ocean of men, women, children, young & old very assiduously going about their lives in the largest slum of this world. You are in Dharavi, ladies & gentlemen.

Next is Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat: Massive open-air laundry where thousands of Dhobi-Walla’s (washer-people) clean dirty clothes and linen. You can hear trains whizz past in the background.

The other spots that we recommend to see are Haji Ali Dargah, Chow patty Beach, Marine Drive, Victoria terminus, Prince of Wales Museum (now Chhatrapati Shivaji Sangralaya), Hanging gardens etc

Hotel:

Meals provided: Breakfast

DAYS 12, 13 & 14 MUMBAI –COCHIN (2 hrs flight)

This morning after breakfast you’ll be transferred to the airport in time for your flight to Cochin. Upon arrival, meet your driver and transfer to your hotel in Cochin, Rest and relax a while before you leave around sunset and enjoy a cruise on Cochin Harbor, passing Wellington Island, the Bolgatty Islands and more fishing boats than you can count.

Cochin

The commercial hub of Kerala and a town of great historical importance Cochin is a wonderful, natural harbor and is India’s biggest shipping port. The town was shaped by the Portuguese, the Dutch and later, the British. The result of these cultural influences is seen in the many examples of Indo European architecture that still exist here.

Activities

After breakfast at the hotel, you shall enjoy a full-day exploration of the city starting with Fort Cochin and the synagogue in Jewish town, built in 1568 and rebuilt in 1664. Its interior is a hodge-podge of styles, with hand painted blue and white floor tiles from Canton, 19th-century Belgian chandeliers, and an elaborately carved Ark housing four scrolls from the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament).

Afterwards, visit St. Francis Church, built originally by the Portuguese in 1510, believed to be the oldest church in India. The building was originally constructed out of timber and later reconstructed in stone masonry during the 16th century. Vasco da Gama, who died in Cochin in 1524, was buried here before his remains were returned to Portugal 14 years later.

Hotel: TBA

Meals provided today: Breakfast

DAYS 15 & 16 COCHIN – MUNNAR (120 kms, 3 hrs drive)

You leave after breakfast to Munnar today. The highway drive to Munnar from Cochin is a beautiful experience with winding roads and serene landscape all through its length. En-route you can stop at Adimali, a town at the foot of the hills and take a short break over coffee. Continuing with the drive you shall come across small waterfalls and countless

Simians waiting for the foodstuff thrown at them, overall a pleasing experience, before reaching the scenic town here you check in your hotel. Rest of the evening is at leisure.

Activities

We recommend the following places to see:

Mattupetty Dam, Anamudi Peak, Echo Point, Tata Tea Museum, Forest Rose garden and a couple of falls though you may require to drive to these spots for 40 odd minutes.

Munnar

Munnar is the epitome of breathtaking scenery amidst the thriving green tea plantations with the combination of valleys, streams, cliffs, bubbling brooks, exotic wildlife and clear trout streams making it an irresistible place. The first plantations on the land of Munnar were that of Cardamom, Coffee and Zinchona. It was A.H. Sharp, who planted the first tea sapling at Munnar in the early 19th century. He planted the sapling at Parvathi, which now form a part of the Sevenmullay estate. The city of Munnar was declared as the summer capital of the British and Duke of Wellington is said to have visited the city. The largest tea estate of the world Tata tea estate is a part of the historical legacy of Munnar.

Today after breakfast at the hotel, you set sail in the ocean. We call it the cruise to Elephanta caves. You drive from the hotel to the gateway of India escorted by the company representative. Here you embark on ferry that takes approx 90

Minutes to reach the docking point. You disembark, walk out to the bank & start steep ascent on concrete stairway to the caves point.

Hotel:

Meals provided today: Breakfast

DAYS 17, 18 & 19 (MUNNAR – ALLEPPY- KUMARAKOM (140 kms, 3-4 hrs by road) Backwaters & Organic Farm/Culinary Special

After breakfast you check out from the hotel and drive to Alleppey, another heavenly location in God’s own country. Check into your houseboat. Alleppey is a quaint town flanked by the Arabian Sea in the west and has a vast network of lakes, lagoons and freshwater rivers crisscrossing it. Alleppey is an important backwater destination attracting several thousand foreign tourists every year and is also famous for its boat races, beaches, marine products and coir industry.

You’ll cruise around backwater villages of Alleppey. The cozy double bedroom, the sit – out, the sundeck, the well stocked kitchen and the modern toilette give you a feeling of being at home in the lovely waters. You’ll move through small narrow canals, lakes and lagoons & see traditional fishing, and framings, which will help you to catch a brief memorable picture of Kerala backwaters.

In Kumarakom

Once you have reached Kumarakom from Alleppey, you shall board a kettuvallam, the splendid traditional boat used for transport in Kerala, and glide through the backwaters of Kerala. This labyrinth of shimmering waterways is comprised of innumerable lagoons, lakes, canals, estuaries and the deltas of 44 rivers that drain into the Arabian Sea. Cruise past temples, churches (Christianity is well represented), and schools where uniformed children wave and shout as you float past.

Culinary Special

On the 2nd & 3rd day of your stay in the region, you Cruise to lovely Philipkutty’s Farm for a delicious lunch. Surrounded by canals that are a habitat for fish and fresh water jumbo prawns, the grounds grow coconut, nutmeg, cocoa, banana, pepper and many other fruits, vegetables and spices. Cows, geese, ducks and hens roam through the lush foliage. It is a bio -waste using organic farm which has been endeavoring to develop a role model for economically viable eco-farming. This is simply a return to traditional farming system called ‘The Thodi’ (tropical home garden, which was the backbone of the Kerala agriculture. Here you get to appreciate delicate Kerala Cuisine & its taste. You will closely watch how the food is made and some recipes you do with your own hands.

Hotel: TBA

Meals provided today: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

DAY 20 KUMARAKOM – COCHIN – MUMBAI (2 hrs drive + 2 hrs flight)

You pack up in time for checking out of your hotel. Drive for a couple of hours or so to reach the Cochin airport. Board your flight to Mumbai. Transfer to the international airport for your departure flight home (Depending on your flight schedule & timing).

Your tour ends here. We wish you a safe flight. Hope you enjoyed travelling with us.

Good Bye till next time.

Hotel: TBA

Meals provided today: Breakfast

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Banjaaray…The Eternal Wanderers

  • B-231, North Ex. Mall, Sector 9, Rohini, Delhi - 85, India.

  •    Mobile: +91 9899238167

  •    Mail: info@banjaaray.com

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