Central India Heritage Destinations: Temple Grandeur and Mughal Marvels
Central India Heritage Destinations- Temple Grandeur & Mughal Marvels is a popular itinerary that combines illustrious heritage sites and monuments with the cities of Delhi and Agra and the spirituality of Varanasi.
Here, you can explore the sites of the Mughal era in Delhi, get spellbound by the Taj Mahal, capture the riverside character of Orchha, get mesmerized by the sculptures of Khajuraho and prepare to be fascinated by the River Ganges in Varanasi.
Temple Grandeur & Mughal Marvels Highlights
- Visit UNESCO Heritage Sites of Delhi (Humayun Tomb, Red Fort, and Qutab Minar)
- Few hours in and around the Taj Mahal in Agra and Agra Fort
- A stopover at the impressive Gwalior fort (8th century), one of the foremost Central India Heritage Destinations
- Riverside heritage walk around the monuments of Orchha
- Explore Nagara style architecture at the temples of Khajuraho – another stunning Central India Heritage Destinations
- Scenic countryside drives in central India through villages and small towns
- Boat ride in the holy River Ganges and experience spirituality in Varanasi
- A visit to Sarnath, a prime Buddhist heritage site
Inclusions – Central India Heritage Destinations – Temple Grandeur & Mughal Marvels
- Hotel accommodation in a double/twin room with buffet breakfast at Delhi/Khajuraho and all meals at Kanha/Bandhavgarh
- Six exclusive guided jeep safaris at Bandhavgarh and five exclusive guided jeep safaris at Kanha
- Entrance fees at monuments
- Services of English-speaking guides in Delhi, Agra, and Khajuraho
- All transfers, sightseeing, and visits as per programme using AC Toyota Innova
- Any and all applicable taxes are included
Exclusions – Central India Heritage Destinations – Temple Grandeur & Mughal Marvels
- Any meals that are ordered other than that which is part of the “Cost includes”
- Expenses of a personal nature such as gratuities, telephone calls, laundry, liquor, etc.
- Additional costs and charges as applicable based on any changes made during the holiday
- India visa charges
- Travel insurance
- Delhi – Khajuraho, Jabalpur – Delhi Flight (Approx Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 15,000 per person)
Expert Travel Opinion
Bird Watchers – Chambal river area 60-80 kms South of Agra is renowned for its alligators and is a prime birding destination where bird photographers arrive for rare bird species such as Indian Skimmer. You will need to spend at least one additional night here to be able to explore Chambal area.
Wildlife Travellers – Panna at 50 kms from Khajuraho is one of the national parks to visit for sighting the elusive Royal Bengal Tiger and is home to one of the largest colonies of vultures. Panna is home to some experiential / offbeat stay by the River Ken. Nearby Ken Ghariyal Sanctuary is home to a large population of alligators. Panna is one of the few wildlife destination to offer night safaris and Mahaseer angling. You will need to spend at least one additional night here to be able to explore Panna.
Experiential Travellers – Delhi is renowned for heritage walks, Agra has cycle rickshaws and a bear rescue centre. Chambal offers jeep safaris / Camel Safaris to countryside areas and ravines that were once home to dreaded dacoits. You will need to spend additional time at these destinations for these experiences.
Day 01 - Delhi
Arrive at Delhi, a renowned heritage destination that is the capital of India and one of the main arrival points into India. Meet our representative and get introduced to your private driver who will stay with you till Khajuraho.
Since most international arrivals are at late evenings, there is not much time left for exploring and hence, it is advised to relax at the hotel.
Day 02 - Delhi
Start the journey by visiting the UNESCO Heritage Sites and prominent monuments of Delhi. Your journey begins by arriving at the famous Qutab Minar, a 240-foot minaret and one of the tallest in the world (located in south Delhi).
From here, travel 20 minutes to visit the Baha’i Temple in south-east Delhi (popularly Known as the Lotus Temple), a unique lotus shaped temple with no deity. From Baha’i Temple, proceed northwards to visit Humayun’s Tomb (16th-century tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun and a UNESCO World Heritage Site).
Thereafter, drive past India Gate (a war memorial), the Parliament House and the Presidential Palace before stopping for lunch.
After lunch, proceed towards areas in old Delhi in central Delhi where you will visit the Red Fort (dated 17th century, the residence of Mughal emperors for over 200 years and a UNESCO Heritage Site).
After spending an hour and a half at the Red Fort, you will return to your hotel. Leisurely spend the rest of the evening on your own.Expert Tips
- If you are staying around Connaught Place in central Delhi, you may return to the Red Fort in the evening at 7:30 PM for the light and sound show. Alternatively, you can explore the beauty of one of the oldest commercial complexes built by the British, Connaught Place, popular for pubs, lounges, restaurants and big showrooms selling branded merchandise and handicrafts.
- If you are staying around south Delhi, you may visit Hauz Khas Village for shopping and dinner (Hauz Khas Village is well-known for pubs, lounges, restaurants and exquisite shops selling designer clothing and handicrafts).
Day 03 - Agra
Depart in the morning to Agra (210km - 4 hours), home to the Taj Mahal, one of the original Seven Wonders of the World and the most visited monument in India. You will arrive at Agra by lunchtime and the hotels at Agra are set within a 2km radius of the Taj Mahal. After being dropped at Shilpgram, a battery-operated vehicle will take you to the east gate of the Taj. Look forward to a guided tour of the mesmerizing Taj Mahal at about 3 PM.
After spending around an hour and a half in awe of the monument, taking photographs and exploring its different chambers, you will return to the hotel in the evening.Expert Tip
- You have an option to visit "Mohabbat e Taj", a light and sound show at Kalakriti in the evening (6.30 PM to 8 PM) depicting the history and heritage of Agra.
Day 04 - Agra
Embark on an excursion to Fatehpur Sikri (dated 16th century), a large complex and a well-preserved monument of Mughal architecture located about 30+ km from Agra. Main attractions of Fatehpur Sikri are the Buland Darwaza (the entrance gate is at a height of 180 feet), Jama Masjid (Friday mosque) and Tomb of Salim Chisti (tomb of a renowned Sufi saint).
After admiring Fatehpur Sikri for a couple of hours, you will return to Agra to visit the Agra Fort (a 17th-century Mughal fort and a UNESCO World Heritage Site). The fort is full of history as it was the site of a battle during the 1857 Indian rebellion against the British Raj. If time permits, you may also visit the 17th century Jama Masjid (Friday mosque), another fine example of Mughal architecture.Expert Tip
- One can revisit the Taj Mahal around sunset and the best view can be sought from Mehtab Bagh from across the Yamuna River.
Day 05 - Orchha
Start in the morning and travel to Orchha (249km - 4.5 hours), a quaint riverside town filled with temples, forts and heritage sites. Enroute, visit Gwalior Fort (118km - 2.5 hours), an 8th-century hill fort which has a massive fort complex that is home to Jain/Hindu temples a palace and a museum.
After spending a couple of hours at Gwalior Fort, proceed to Orchha, you will reach by evening. Orchha will seize your imagination with its Betwa River backdrop, rich history, and the surrounding heritage sites. Take a heritage walk at late evening, around sunset, for stunning photographs and you will be able to capture the true essence of Orchha.Expert Tip
- You may opt for a light and sound show at the fort/palace complex.
Day 06 - Khajuraho
Take an early morning walk around Orchha town and the Orchha Fort across the river. Once you return to the hotel, feast on the delicious breakfast and then prepare to depart to Khajuraho (170km - 3.5 hours); a city which is renowned for its 9-10th-century Nagara Style temples (UNESCO World Heritage Site) and carvings on its sculptures.
Khajuraho comprises the western, eastern and southern group of temples, all are within walking distance of one another. Arrive here by the afternoon and take a guided tour of the western group of temples followed by a light and sound show in the evening.Expert Tip
- Khajuraho has a wide range of restaurants offering cuisines from across the world, additionally, you will also get to interact with an interesting group of travelers arriving from all over the globe. Here, you can opt for a quiet dinner at one of the restaurants.
Day 07 - Varanasi
Take a morning walk to visit the eastern and southern group of Khajuraho temples for a spellbinding experience. After breakfast, proceed to take a flight from Khajuraho to Varanasi. Varanasi, one of the oldest cities in the world, lies on the banks of River Ganges, (popularly known in India as ‘Ganga’), It is also prominent for its spirituality and proximity to Sarnath, a prime Buddhist pilgrimage destination.
Upon arrival, you will meet our representative and get introduced to your private driver for the trip. In the evening, take a boat ride for a glimpse of several riverside areas (ghats – steps leading to the Ganges) where prayers are offered and pilgrims take a dip in the holy River Ganga. The boat can take you to Dashashwamedh Ghat for evening prayers (arti) around the time of sunset - it is a unique spiritual experience and needs to be experienced by every traveler. Later in the evening, you will return to the hotel.
Day 08 - Sarnath
Embark on a short excursion to Sarnath (12km), one of the four prime Buddhist pilgrimage sites in India and Nepal. It is here that Gautama Buddha is believed to have first taught ‘Dharma’. Several Stupas, archaeological museums, and heritage sites can be seen in and around Sarnath. Spend a few hours in Sarnath before returning to Varanasi. In the evening you get to leisurely explore Varanasi on your own.
Day 09 - Delhi
Get ready to take a flight from the Varanasi Airport (35km from Varanasi town) to Delhi for an onward international departure.Expert Tip
- Guests taking the afternoon flight have an option to take a walk in the old city of Varanasi or take boat ride early in the morning for another spiritual River Ganga experience.
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