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Jyotirlinga Pilgrimage of West and Central India

A pilgrimage covering the five significant temples of Lord Shiva - Jyotirlinga Temples

Jyotirlinga Pilgrimage of West and Central India

$470 per person

Jyotirlinga Pilgrimage of West and Central India is a popular starting point in itineraries for pilgrim travellers. This itinerary combines visits to significant pilgrimages of Lord Shiva in western and central India along with UNESCO Heritage Sites such as Ajanta and Ellora and a few other major sites enroute. You get to experience the spirituality of pilgrim towns such as Ujjain, Omkareshwar, Trimbakeshwar and Shirdi with a stopover at UNESCO Heritage Sites of Ajanta and Ellora and also visit the standalone temples of Grishneshwar, Bhimashankar and Shani Shiganapur.

Jyotirlinga Pilgrimage of West and Central India Highlights

  • A visit to the five significant temples of Lord Shiva (known as Jyotirlinga Temples)
  • Taking a walk in the riverside pilgrim town of Ujjain
  • Early morning Bhasma Aarti at Mahakaleshwar Temple, Ujjain
  • Witnessing stunning riverside views and the temples of Omkareshwar
  • Exploring the ancient yet amazing caves of Ajanta and Ellora
  • Visiting popular temples like Shani Shinganapur Temple and Shirdi Saibaba Temple

Inclusions

  • Hotel accommodation in a double / twin room with buffet breakfast at all places
  • All transfers, sightseeing and Temple visits as per programme using an air-conditioned medium sedan car at all places (Same car driver throughout the trip).
  • Packaged water stocked in car
  • Any and all applicable taxes are included

Exclusions

  • Any air fare or train fare
  • Entrance fees at monuments mentioned in the itinerary
  • 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 an changes made during the holiday
  • India visa charges
  • Travel insurance

Expert Travel Opinion

There are two more significant Lord Shiva Temples east of Aurangabad i.e. Aundha Nagnath and Parli Vaijnath Temple. Many travellers look to tweak the itinerary, add a couple of days in between to include these two. Enroute travellers also visit the Sri Huzur Sahib Gurdwara at Nanded (one of the five most significant Sikh Pilgrimages). The entire itinerary can be extended to include significant pilgrimages in South Maharashtra such as Pandharpur, Tuljapur, Kolhapur, etc.

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Tour Plan

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Day 01 - Ujjain

Arrive at Indore and proceed to Ujjain

Indore is the commercial capital of the state of Madhya Pradesh and is an access point to visit the pilgrim towns of Ujjain (60km) and Omkareshwar (77km). Arrive at Indore and here you are accompanied by a private driver for the entire trip. From Indore you will travel to Ujjain, from the Indore Airport, Ujjain is a one-hour drive. It is a renowned riverside pilgrim centre - one of the four locations where the Kumbh Mela is held every four years and also home to the Mahakaleshwar Temple (one of the twelve Jyotirlinga Temples). You can spend the rest of the day at leisure or visiting temples in Ujjain.

Expert Tip: Ujjain is home to many temples such as Harsiddhi Temple (one of the Shaktipeetha Temples), Kal Bhairav Temple (where wine is served to the deity as an offering), etc. you can visit these temples as well as some other temples in the evening.

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Day 02 - Omkareshwar

Bhasma Aarti in the morning and then travel to Omkareshwar Temple

For the Bhasma Aarti at Mahakaleshwar Temple you need to start early in the morning as you are required to be at the temple at 04:30 AM. You will receive the blessings of Lord Shiva when the morning Darshan along with the Arti is performed. An option is given to visit the remaining temples in Ujjain (if you haven’t visited them the previous day) else you can proceed to Omkareshwar. Omkareshwar, set on a riverine island is home to one of the twelve Jyotirlinga temples and is a major regional pilgrim centre. It takes above 3 hours to reach Omkareshwar (135km) and you will reach by afternoon. A popular tourist activity is the auspicious parikrama (boat ride around the island) and thereafter visiting the Omkareshwar Temple for the darshan.

Expert Tip: The real parikrama (or circumambulation) is done by walking 7km around the island. If time permits, you can do the walking parikrama in the evening before visiting temple.

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Day 03 - Aurangabad

Morning darshan and then travel to Aurangabad via Ajanta

In the morning, visit the Omkareshwar temple for the morning aarti. After which, depart for Aurangabad (340km - 7 hours), a heritage destination and a popular base point to visit Ajanta / Ellora Caves and the Grishneshwar Temple (one of the twelve Jyotirlinga Temples). Enroute to Aurangabad, you have a stopover at Ajanta Caves (twenty nine Buddhist caves dating back to 2nd century BCE as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site). After a one-hour halt at Ajanta, you will get back on the road to Aurangabad (120km - 2.5 hours) and you will reach in the evening. Upon arrival, for the rest of the evening you can either relax at the hotel or explore Aurangabad at your own pace.

Expert Tips:

  • Ajanta Caves is a good luncheon stopover for those departing to Omkareshwar by 8:30 AM.
  • Ajanta Caves are closed on Mondays.
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Day 04 - Ahmednagar

Ellora Caves - Grishneshwar Temple and Shani Shinganapur Temple

Visit the Grishneshwar Temple, an architecturally South Indian styled temple and one of the twelve Jyotirlinga Temples of Lord Shiva, near Ellora (40km - 1 hour). Next, explore the famous Ellora caves (100 caves dating back to 600-1000 CE as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site) where you will spend some time and then begin to proceed for another 100km (2 hours) to visit Shani Shinganapur Temple, one of the most renowned Lord Shani Temples in India. After this you will drive for an hour (40km) to Ahmednagar for an overnight stay. Relax at the hotel for the rest of the evening or explore Ahmednagar on your own.

Expert Tip: Ellora Caves are closed on Tuesdays.

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Day 05 - Shirdi

Visit Bhimashankar Temple and travel to Shirdi

From Ahmednagar, travel to Bhimashankar Temple (170km - 3.5 hours) which is also one of the twelve Jyotirlinga Temples of Lord Shiva. The drive is through Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary with the temple perched on the hilltop in the heart of the sanctuary. After the darshan at the temple, proceed to Shirdi for an overnight stay (180km - 4 hours). Shirdi is one of the most visited pilgrim centres in India and home to the Shirdi Saibaba Temple. It is also the place where Saibaba, a saint in late 19th and early 20th century spent most of his life. The temple built here is popular among devotees from all religions and communities. You will arrive at Shirdi by evening, post which you can spend the rest of the day relaxing at the hotel or exploring Shirdi on your own.

Expert Tip: Shirdi can have long darshan queues leading to the temple. Online devotee registration and darshan booking is a must for travellers.

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Day 06 - Mumbai

Visit Shirdi Saibaba Temple - Trimbakeshwar Temple and travel to Mumbai

Visit the Shirdi Saibaba temple (recommended time is 6 AM) for darshan, before you travel to the next destination, Trimbakeshwar near Nasik. Being one of the 12 Jyotirlinga Temples of Lord Shiva (120km - 2.5 hours) the temple has three lingams (an iconic form of Shiva) representing Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma. Arrive at Trimbakeshwar by noon and after a darshan at Trimbakeshwar temple, proceed to Mumbai (200km - 4 hours) to reach in the evening. Mumbai, the ‘Financial Capital of India’, is one of the large metro cities overlooking Arabian Sea and home to many significant pilgrim sites.

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Day 07 - Mumbai

Visit pilgrimages in Mumbai before departure

On the last day, you visit significant local pilgrim sites in south Mumbai, such as the Siddhi Vinayak Temple (Lord Ganesha: god with an elephant trunk), the Mahalaxmi Temple (Devi Temple), the Walkeshwar Temple (Lord Shiva) and Haji Ali Dargah (renowned Islamic pilgrimage visited by devotees from all communities and religions). Depart in the evening to Mumbai Airport for departure to your onward destination.

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