Seven Wonders of India

Seven Wonders of India

Duration : 15 Nights & 16 Days

Destination Covered :Mumbai-Aurangabad-Bangalore-Hospet-Hampi-Bangalore-Chennai-Mahablipuram-Chennai-Bhubaneshwar-Delhi-Bhopal-Agra-Delhi

Day 1: Arrive Bombay (Mumbai)

Upon arrival in Mumbai and after clearing immigrations you will be met and transferred Airport/Hotel. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 2. Mumbai / Aurangabad

Morning sightseeing tour of the city.We will see the Gateway of India, a 262 feet high gateway overlooking the sea. We will drive past the Victoria Railway Station to the Flora Fountain. Known by the natives as Hutatma Chowk,Ahis spot is the centre of Mumbai's life. You will also visit the Hanging Gardens, which were laid out in 1881 and gets its peculiar name from the fact that they are built on top of a series of reservoirs that supply water to Bombay. Also visit the Prince of Wales Museum. You will then drive to the famous Marine Drive, which runs along the shoreline of the Black Bay and is one of Bombay's most famous promenade's backed by high rise residential and official buildings.

Also visit Mani Bhavan or the Gandhi Museum and the Dhobi Ghats or the public laundry. Afternoon transfer to the Airport for your flight to Aurangabad. Upon arrival, assistance and transfer to airport/hotel. Aurangabad, once a Mughal capital is now a thriving industrial metropolis and an important base for visiting the Ajanta and Ellora Caves. Northern Maharashtra's largest city, Aurangabad is located almost 41 0 kms northeast of Mumbai and is situated on the northern part of the elevated Deccan Plateau in the region known as Marathwada. It stands along the River Kham and is a pleasant spacious town. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 3: Ajanta

This morning, we will visit Ajanta. Buddhist monks spent centuries carving 29 caves into a horseshoe-shaped cliff on the Waghora River. Completed around the 7th century A.D., masterpieces were lost for a century until a British-hunting party stumbled upon them in 1819. These dramatically cut caves contain some of India's most magnificent paintings. Their murals exquisitely depict scenes from Buddhist legends and reveal telling details of the culture of the time when they were painted. Five of the caves were temples and 24 were monasteries, thought to have been occupied by some 200 monks and artisans. Return to Aurangabad late in the afternoon. Rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight at the Hotel.

Day 4: Ajanta/Mumbai/ Bangalore

In the morning, we will take a short drive to Ellora to visit the temples. Here, stonecutters removed an estimated 200,000 tonnes of rock to build the 34 caves. With statues, columns and decorative facades, these temples are a wonder of ancient art. Over 2,000 years old, they have been compared to the Pyramids for their amazing construction. The highlight of the 34 caves is the mighty Kailasa Temple, the zenith of Hindu rock-cut temple architecture with enclosures, galleries, a bridge, two large stone elephants. Later in the afternoon, drop at the airport to board the flight for Bangalore. Upon arrival, assistance and transfer to the Hotel. Though a modern bustling city and an important industrial centre, with a lot of scientific and research activity.

Day 5: Bangalore/ Hospet

Morning a brief orientation drive through Bangalore city, driving past the Vidhan Sabha, the Secretariat, gardens and the main shopping district. Later in the afternoon drive to Hospet (350 Kms - 6 hrs), which is the base of our explorations into the ruins of Hampi. In the evening drive to the Tungabhadra Dam if possible. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 6: Hampi

Full day excursion to Hampi. The Vijaynagar city ruins near the village of Hampi are one of the most fascinating historical sites in south India. These superb ruins are set in a strange and beautiful landscape which has an almost magical quality ..... a hill country that is partly desolate and strewn with enormous, rounded boulders and partly irrigated and cultivated. There are many sites to see and some to visit. Virupaksha Temple has a 160 ft high gopuram. Vittala Temple is a world heritage monument.

This temple is a world heritage monument. The incredible sculptural work of the Vittala is of the highest standard and is the pinnacle of VijayNagar art. The outer pillars are musical as they reverberate when tapped. The stone chariot or cart in front of the temple is one of the most photographed objects here. The Achyutaraya Temple is even more atmospheric than the Vittala temple and the carvings are just as fine. The royal enclosure area of Hampi and the elephant stables are two other interesting stops. Also visit the Hampi bazaar. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 7: Rampi/ Bangalore/ Chennai

Morning drive to Bangalore airport for your flight to Chennai. Upon arrival, assistance and transfer to the hotel. Madras/ Chennai - the gateway to the sunny south and the capital of Tamil Nadu is also the seat of an ancient civilization, with a rich heritage of fine arts, sculpture and architecture.

Historically, Madras has formidable credentials, going back 2000 years, when its old temple quarter, Mylapore, was a port on the fabled Coromandel Coast, busily trading with the Chinese, the Phoenicians, the Greeks, the Romans and later the French, the Portuguese, the Armenians and the Arabs. St. Thomas, Christ's own Apostle, landed here in 58 AD and was martyred in 72 AD on an island hillock. Nearly three and a half centuries later, Madras the modern city now sprawls over 174 sq-kms and is home to nearly four million people! Overnight at the hotel.

Day 8: Mahabalipuram

Morning tour of Madras city. Our brief tour will include visits to St. Thomas's Cathedral which houses the grave of St. Thomas the Apostle, the Bronze Museum, the Mylapore Temple etc. Afternoon excursion to Mahabalipuram - "the city of the seven pagodas" which was once the harbour and naval base of the great Pallava Empire. I witness the breathtaking display of the pagodas or rathas, small sized shrines that have all been chiseled out of boulders in the form of temple chariots dedicated to the Pandava princes. But the masterpiece at Mahabalipuram is the "Penance of Bhagirath", the wood's largest bas-relief in stone. Its vitality makes its figures appear to be alive. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 9: Madras / Bhubaneshwar

Morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Bhubaneshwar. The town's history dates back over 2000 years and is also known as the Temple Town and Cathedral City on account of its many temples built in extravagant styles dating back to the 8th century. Afternoon visit the Lingaraj Mandir, dedicated to Tribhuneshwar or Lords of the Three worlds, also known as Bhubaneshwar. The temple compound is about 150 square meters and is dominated by a 40 meter high temple tower .You will visit some more temples like the Parsurameshwar Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva built in 650 AD and the Brahmeswar Temple, known for its detailed sculptures. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 10: Konark

You will drive to Konark, which is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and we will visit the famous Sun Temple, which was constructed in the mid 13th century. The entire temple was conceived as a chariot for the Sun God, Surya which is said to have been built by the Orissan King Narashimhadev I, to celebrate his victory over the Muslims.

It went into misuse in the 17~ century until the early 1900's when the debris and sand were cleared around the temple base and the sheer magnitude of the architect's imagination was revealed. Seven mighty stone horses haul at the temple and the immense structure is covered with carvings, sculptures, figures and bas-reliefs. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 11: Konark / Delhi

Morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Delhi. Delhi is the capital of India. Her history goes back 3000 years. Various rulers built eight successive cities in and around present day Delhi. Few capitals in the world have as many monuments of which Delhi is justly proud. Rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 12: Qutab Minar and iron Pillar

Morning tour of New Delhi. Designed in 1911 by the British, New Delhi is one of the greenest capitals in the world. Your tour includes a visit to the impressive Qutab Minar, a 234 foot sandstone tower and Humayun's Tomb, a predecessor to the famous Taj Mahal.

Later drive past the government buildings and presidential palace along the broad and majestic Rajpath, Diplomatic Enclave etc. Afternoon tour of Old Delhi. See the Red Fort, a symbol of Mughal power. Drive past Chandni Chowk (old shopping street) and the Jama Mosque area. On return visit the Raj Ghat, a memorial to the great Mahatma Gandhi. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 13: Delhi / Bhopal

Morning transfer to the rail station for a train ride to Bhopal. Upon arrival, assistance and transfer rail station/hotel. Bhopal, the capital of the state of Madhya Pradesh was founded by Raja Bhoja in the 11th century. The city and its surroundings are a good example of the co-existence of the old and the new.

Bhopal is really important as the base from which one could visit Bhimbetka, Sanchi and Ujjain than for what the city itself can offer the tourist. Afternoon, a brief sightseeing tour of the city visiting the Jama Masjid, the Taj-ul-Masjid, the Birla Mandir and Archaeological Museum, the Laxmi Narayan Temple, and a museum of modem, rural and urban-l.00'¬arts, as we drive past picturesque lakes. We will also visit the Bharat Bhawan, a complex for verbal,visual and performing arts. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 14: Sanchi/ Bhimbetka

Full day excursion to Sanchi and Bhimbetka. The Sanchi Stupa - 48 kms from Bhopal is a world heritage monument and one of the world's most important Buddhist pilgrim centres. The construction of the Stupa began during the rule of Emperor Ashoka. The four gateways of the stupa are exquisitely carved and recount the life of Gautam Buddha. 8 kms away at Vidisha is the famous Besnagar monolithic pillar dating back to 90 BC, which states that Heliodorus - the Greek Ambassador in the court of Takshashila (Taxila) , raised the pillar.

Heliodorus refers to himself as the worshipper of Vishnu. The Bhimbetka ruins are famous for a large number of cave paintings dating back from the Old Stone Age to medieval times. Like the Aboriginal rock paintings in the outback of Australia, the cave paintings of the bushmen in the Kalahari desert in Africa or the Paleolithic Lascaux Caves of France, the Bhimbetka caves are a must-see. Amongst forests of teak and sal in the craggy cliffs of an almost African setting, some 1000 rock shelters have been discovered. These remarkably well-preserved natural pigment paintings depict the vibrant social life of our ancestors and are breathtakingly life-like! Overnight at the hotel.

Day 15: Bhopal / Taj Mahal

Morning at leisure. Afternoon transfer to the rail station, to board train to Agra. Upon arrival, assistance and transfer to the hotel.The earliest reference to Agra is in the epic "The Mahabharat". Alexander the great geographer also called it Agra. It was however in the medieval period that Agra earned prominence as a capital city under the Mughals. its many wonderful monuments and the Taj Mahal, the greatest of them all, have given it a unique position as a major tourist centre. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 16: Agra / Delhi

Taj Mahal, simply, is beauty - not just in design and technique, but in desire and intent. It was built as a monument to love, a manifestation of life's most powerful emotion. When his wife died unexpectedly, Emperor Shahjahan vowed to honour her with a memorial of unmatched beauty. He commissioned the world's best craftsmen and 20,000 workers to build this beautiful structure.

The result stands before you today - a delicately carved, white marble jewel, which seems to float on a sea of red limestone. Visit the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort in the morning. Afternoon excursion to Fatehpur Sikri, the once fabled Mughal capital which has taken on a sleeping beauty quality, lying quietly but wonderfully preserved. We will see the Halls of Public and Private Audiences, the tower of Victory and the tomb of Salim Chisti, which is laced with mother of pearl. In the evening, transfer to the rail station to board train ride to Delhi. Alternatively drive to Delhi Airport (200 kms - 4 hrs) for your connecting flight back home.