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Arts & Crafts Tours Of India

Arts & Crafts Tours Of India
Day 01: Arrival/DelhiLate night arrival. Meeting and assistance upon arrival as our representatives welcome you and escort you to your car.

Whilst the room keys and check-in is organized, our representative would introduce the tour to you and hand over the documents to you.

Welcome to India, or as we say ‘atithi devo bhava’ (the guest is an incarnation of God). Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you!


Day 02: Delhi Following a leisurely breakfast, we proceed on a guided tour of New Delhi, Visiting such sights as Bahai Temple, Humayun’s Tomb (1586), the Qutab Minar 72 meters high and one of the most perfect towers in the Persian world. The Iron Pillar which has survived the vagaries of weather for over 1500 years. Continue with a drive through Embassy area, the Government buildings (1921-1930) and Connaught Place, the heart and main shopping district of the capital.

Afternoon we cross the city and into the walled gates of the Old city with visits to the Jamma Mosque (1650) and drive through the fabled area of Chandni Chowk (aptly translates to Moonlight Square) where the throngs of shoppers and vendors meet in the oldest area of Delhi. Visit the Red Fort (1639-1648 built by Shah Jehan the builder of the Taj Mahal in Agra) to view the inlaid and carved Royal Chambers, on to Raj Ghat and nearby ghats where the founder of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi and thereafter Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were cremated.

The highlight of this tour would be a ride on cycle rickshaws. Now these are 3-wheel cycles with a sofa seat at the back. The Rickshawalla (Rickshaw driver) sits on a small cushion in the front and two passengers on the sofa seat behind. This is a remarkable way to explore and picture the hustle and bustle as well as the colour of the narrow winding streets bursting with people and pavement shops selling wares of all description - including a laughing set of dentures. The ride would be accompanied by peals of laughter both from the passengers as well as the onlookers.

Day 03: DelhiFollowing a leisurely breakfast, we visit Dilli Haat, a project conceived with the basic idea of providing encouragement and exposure to needy artisans and craftsmen all over the country who often spend their lives within the confines of their own village and town. The success of the project lied in freeing the craftsman and the artisan from the stranglehold of the middlemen and bringing them into direct contact with buyers both within the country and outside. Dilli Haat offers the visitor not only the arts and handicrafts of the country at one place, but also the cuisine and performing arts from different parts of the country. While developing the concept, it was kept in mind that when a ‘Haat’ comes to the city, it has to adjust to urban contemporary needs while retaining the cultural ambience familiar to rural crafts people.

Arts & Crafts Tours of India

Arts & Crafts Tours of India
Day 04 : Delhi / Udaipur (9W 707 – 1345 / 1455 Hrs)After a leisurely breakfast transfer to the airport to board your flight to Udaipur

Meeting & assistance upon arrival & transfer to hotel the Lake Palace is located on an island girdled by hills. Built on a rocky island over Lake Pichola about two and a half centuries ago, once it was the summer palace of the rulers of Mewar. Today this pleasure palace is a luxury hotel like no other in the world. To stay here is a privilege, affording as it does a glimpse of pleasure that once were the sole preserve of princes. The Lake Palaces Hotel amazes and delights you at every turn. It is pure white marble, every ancient inch of it - slender carved columns, fountains, filigreed screens, marble from the pinnacles of its domed Chatris to the bottom of its swimming pool, created for the private frolics of a princess.

Evening we enjoy a boat cruise on the serene and beautiful Lake Pichola. The island palace on the Lake called Jagmandir Palace is quite fascinating. The Palace provided inspirations and ideas to the builder of the Taj Mahal. The banks of the lake provide interesting glimpses of the daily bathing and the laundry that takes place here. Looking across the lake, with the city and its great palace rising up behind the island palace, is a scene of rare beauty.


Day 05 : UdaipurFollowing breakfast, we proceed on a tour of this "Lake City". Udaipur is a cool oasis in the dry heart of Rajasthan. It is probably the most romantic city in a state where every city has some romantic or exotic tale to tell. The huge city palace towering over the Lake Pichola is the largest palace complex in Rajasthan. Though it is a conglomeration of buildings built by successive rulers, it manages to retain a surprising uniformity of design and affords very fine view of the lake and the city from the upper terraces. The Jagadish temple next to the city palace enshrines a black stone image of Lord Vishnu and his vehicle- a mighty bird called garuda - in a brass image. The temple is a very fine example of Indo-Aryan Art.

This afternoon we explore the bustling bylanes of Udaipur which have artisans practicing their traditional crafts handed down to them by their elders. Khari printers do decorative floral patterns in gold and silver on plain or printed fabric. Block printers print various designs and patterns in different colours with the help of wooden blocks. You’ll also find artisans carving furniture, making puppets and traditional wooden toys. Along with engraving and embossing on brass, silver, jewellery, copper and even pottery, Meenakari is a specialty of this region. Udaipur also specializes in stone carving, especially in marble and sandstone, with artisans working hard at chiseling their finest filigree work. Colour as usual plays an important role in the life of Udaipur as in Rajasthan. It is wonderfully evident in ghagharas (long flowing skirts), cholis (blouses), and odhnis (long scarves) of the women as well as the turbans of the men.



Arts & Crafts Tours of India

Arts & Crafts Tours of India
Day 06 : Udaipur / Ranakpur / Jodhpur (280 Kms) Following breakfast and then drive to Jodhpur. Our first stop would be at Ranakpur where we tour the exquisitely carved Jain temples made in white marble. The profusion and the detailed sculpture is a mind blowing experience. From here we will continue our drive to Jodhpur.

Upon arrival check in to Umaid Bhawan Palace which built in 20th century conceived by Maharaja Umaid Singh as a centerpiece of his massive famine-relief scheme, giving employment to hundreds of people for nearly 16 years. This opulent edifice in sandstone is still the residence of the former rulers with a part of it running as hotel and remaining part as a museum. The palace captures the imagination of a visitor by its sculpted lawns with sandstone pavements and bouquets of bougainvillea bushes. The name of the palace has been derived from the sandstones being used in its construction. These rocks do not wear out how harsh the weather might be. It took 25 years and 3000 men to give shape to this stupendous expression. The Palace was designed as a smooth combination of European classical elements interlaced with oriental ones. Massive sandstone boulders were cut from a quarry at Surasagar near Jodhpur and transported by a special narrow-gauge train to the construction sites. Master masons chiseled these rough stones into blocks of five and seven tons. The blocks were then fitted into an interlocking fashion with no mortar or cement being used in the construction. Furnished with fashionable Art Deco interiors by the Polish artist and decorator, S. Norblin, the palace consumed one million square feet of the finest marble. The world of Umaid Bhawan Palace contained everything that the royalty required – a private cinema hall, a luxurious swimming pool inlaid with tiles depicting the zodiac, gigantic royal suites, a soaring rotunda, fancy ball rooms, a majestic durbar hall, billiards room, ballrooms, banquet halls, libraries, staff quarters, servant quarters. In 1977, Umaid Bhawan opened as one of India's grandest luxury hotels.

Late afternoon, we visit the Clock Tower Bazaar.

Day 07 : Jodhpur
After rest & relaxation, we proceed on a guided tour of Jodhpur. Our tour includes the massive fort. In olden days this must have been impregnable since its rocky base is scraped straight down making it nearly impossible to ascend. Once inside, royal palaces abound with fascinating history and priceless jewels, on to the armoury and Jaswant Tara - the Royal Crematorium.

Rest of the day is at leisure for independent activities. Jodhpur is a veritable shopper's paradise with entire streets and localities in the walled city devoted to single commodities. The city is famous for bandhani and lahariya, block printed textiles, silver jewellery, antique furniture, wood and metal handicrafts. Carpets and durries can be found on the Umaid Bhawan Palace road. Jodhpur is home to many talented and skilled craftsmen like textile dyers, metal engravers and die-makers and probably .

Arts & Crafts Tours of India

Arts & Crafts Tours of India
Day 08 : Jodhpur / Pachewar (260 Kms)After breakfast we will drive to Pachewar.

Upon arrival check into Pachewargarh, a 300 years old picturesque fort replete with character and old world charm where modern comforts that discerning tourists seek is not overlooked. Here, one can witness great traditions of royal hospitality as you are guests of the erstwhile royalty of the region. A well preserved tranquil fort with its massive ramparts. The period furniture, traditional décor and just the ambience will take you centuries back in time.

We would have opportunities to step out and explore this region frozen in time. This should be the highlight of your tour where you would have opportunities to explore the tribal village beautifully preserved over time. The options here include a visit to royal cenotaphs, built on the banks of Pumpa Sagar lake. These are in memory of the former royalty of the region. However, the village life is special as it brings to you opportunities to witness typical lifestyles as seen in the village schools, the local temples and the atmosphere outside these with pilgrims and religious artifact stalls. Also Pachewar is also a traditional craftsmen village where traditions are maintained and continued for generations. We witness village craftsmen and artisans creating delicate blue pottery, cosy carpets, colorful tie and dye, and terra-cotta. The Nomadic ' Gadia- Luhars (iron-smiths) temper the red-hot iron carry their entire household in a single bullock-craft are a unique legacy of the place. All in all, this is a living museum experience where modern living pauses as we take stock of life in very basic forms, but, very rich in colour, diversity, tradition, and, above all – hospitality. You could walk into the poorest of the poor household, but, they have time for you as they welcome you to their home and offer food or water when they are not sure where their next meal is to come from!

ay 09 : Pachewar / Jaipur (90 Kms)
After breakfast we will drive to Jaipur

Upon arrival, check into the Rambagh Palace, which is one of the most beautiful palaces in India. Originally a garden house of a favorite royal maid, it was constructed in the 19th century. The palace is open to all those who seek to be transported to the royal past, the glorious age of grace and beauty.

This afternoon we will visit a workshop where the most exquisite embroidery is carried out. It is a workshop where wedding saris are embellished with tiny beads and intricate gold and silver threads. When you first see the gold thread work that comes from this workshop you will think it is machine work as it is so precise.

Arts & Crafts Tours of India

Arts & Crafts Tours of India
Day 10: JaipurAn essential starting point for Rajasthan craftwork is block making and block printing and the morning will be dedicated to exploring the process from start to finish in the villages around Jaipur.

The sound of the muffled thud of the block on the fabric is so gorgeous, and the sharpness of the eye of the printers never ceases to amaze - the block always goes down in the right place. Along the street are tiny shuttered shops with men sitting in wood chips, with smiling faces, chip chip chopping at blocks, making the most intricate designs with the utmost precision.

Later you visit a hand made paper factory where you will see mass production of recycled cotton pulp paper. Here it is made with flower petals or leaves and is then cut and made into books, cards, and all kinds of stationary. Finally, on your way back to the hotel, you can visit a small pottery workshop. Jaipur is famous for its blue pottery and at this workshop you can see the intricate, labour intensive painting of the pottery

Day 11 : JaipurThis morning we visit Amber Fort, the former capital of the royal Jaipurs. Few fail to be moved by the dramatic Rajput grandeur of this hilltop fortress-palace 11 km north of Jaipur. Set on the dry wrinkled Aravali Hills, and surrounded by fortified battlements, the palace straddles two sepia-hued tundra hills overlooking Maota Lake, and its sprawling crenellated walls lattice the surrounding hills.

We will ride up to this hilltop palace on a caparisoned, painted elephant, passing through the ancient main gate where Maharajas of Jaipur have entered for four hundred years. Our guide will elaborate on the history of this architectural masterpiece with its mirror-studded alcoves, dazzling mosaics and water-cooled swings that delight today’s visitors as they did their former royal residents.

We shall visit the Hawa Mahal or Palace of the Winds, a five-storied structure of pink sandstone with semi-octagonal and delicately honeycombed windows overlooking the main street of the old city. It was built in 1799 so that veiled royal women could peer down unseen by the world through its 593 stone screens.

Following lunch, a tour Of City Palace & Observatory. The City Palace in the heart of the old city is a blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. The centre of the palace is a seven storied building called Chandra Palace, with fine vies over the gardens and the city. The palace lies in the heart of the city and occupies the whole central grid. The fortified wall has seven gates and was built for protection from invading armies and animals that lived in jungles which surrounded the wall that time. Next, we visit the Solar Observatory - an astronomical treasure house, with solar device that give accurate predictions till date. The Palace Of Winds, a five-storied structure of pink sandstone has semi-octagonal and delicately honeycombed windows overlooking the main street of the old city.

Arts & Crafts Tours of India

Arts & Crafts Tours of India
Day 12: Jaipur / Bharatpur / Fatehpur Sikri / Agra (245 Kms) Following breakfast we drive to Agra. Our first stop will be at Laxmi Vilas Palace, the former home of the Maharaja of Bharatpur for lunch. Set amidst 40 acres of picturesquely landscaped environs, the palace was built in 1899 as residence for the Royal ladies. A lively fusion of traditional Rajasthani architecture and the prevalent Mughal style, this place with its regal ambience, sunny courtyards, and enchanting cupolas will mesmerize you.

From here we drive to the ancient city of Fatehpur Sikri (ghost capital) for a tour of the magnificent and world heritage buildings still in a state of perfect reservation.

Upon arrival as you are individually checked in at your rooms at the luxurious Amarvilas hotel, which is one of the best boutique hotels in the world. The hotel of whimsical charm has several attractions. However, being in the city of the Taj Mahal, the most relevant charm of the hotels is the unhindered view of the Taj Mahal from your bedroom. It is the most beautiful and an amazingly uplifting sight. Only 600 meters from the Taj Mahal stands this luxury resort. Discerning travelers can now appreciate the fabulous Taj Mahal while enjoying world-class luxury. The elaborate Mughal gardens, terraced lawns, fountains, reflection pools and pavilions complement the classical architecture of the hotel.


Day 13 : Agra / Delhi (205 Kms) We are about to witness one of the greatest sights of one’s lifetime - the Taj Mahal at sunrise. Before departure for the monument we shall be served tea/coffee and cookies so that our eyes open real wide to behold this breathtaking sight. A dawn visit to the fabled Taj Mahal to witness the magical effects caused by the reflections of the changing colours of the rising Sun on this brilliant white marble building.

After breakfast we ride to the massive Agra Fort. The elegant buildings inside reflect an interesting synthesis of Hindu and Central Asian architectural styles. Built by Emperor Akbar, the maze of the courtyards, mosques & private chambers of the fort echo the story of the Mughal Empire. The Moti Masjid & other magnificent buildings reflect the skill of the ancient Indian architects.

Late afternoon, ride to Delhi airport through one of India’s finest free ways. We would have opportunities to stop on the way at well appointed comfort stops for refreshments as well as washroom facilities.

Upon arrival, check into Taj Mahal

Rest of the day is at leisure for your independent activities, of course you have car and driver available for local visits and shopping.

Day 14 : Delhi / Departure
Transfer to the International airport for your onward flight.

Ayurvedic & Holistic Vacations

Ayurvedic & Holistic Vacations
Day 03: Cochin / Alleppey / HouseboatAfter breakfast we ride to Alleppey for a houseboat experience through the narrow canals and channels of the backwaters of Kerala.

The materials that go into the making of houseboat are all local and Eco-friendly; bamboo poles, coconut fiber ropes, bamboo mats carpets etc. The main wood used is "Anjali ". The Houseboat provides all comforts - Beds, a kitchen, western toilets and an upper deck. Traditional lanterns are used as lights. The cuisine is of traditional Kerala flavour along with the local Specialities - delicious fish and prawns.

We spend the day Cruising on our boat through remote tribal villages along the tranquil backwaters of Kerala is a superb experience. Sensational in its own silent way, the cruise takes you along snake boat docks, friendly cheering villagers, coir (Jute) making communities, toddy (local spirit) shops, fishing nets pitched for the day's catch, bunded paddy fields and manual canoes of different sizes criss-crossing each other. The experience enables you to reach beautiful untouched areas.

Day 04: Houseboat / KumarakomFollowing a leisurely breakfast, the houseboat traverses through narrow channels and canals and reaches Coconut Lagoon, this has rightly carved its place among the top 10 heritage resorts of the world. The resort is on a small island and can be reached only by boat. The accommodation consists of individual cottages built in the traditional Kerala style, relying heavily on wood and some with private pools.

Day 05: Kumarakom Day is free for independent activities. You can also enjoy the optional ayurvedic body massage at the resort. You could also choose to explore the surrounding tribal villages, visit the nearby water bird sanctuary or ride through the narrow backwater channels through back of beyond Kerala.



Camel Safaris

Camel Safaris
Day 01: Delhi / Jodhpur (IC 471 - 1300 / 1355 Hrs) (Operates on Wed, Sat & Sun) Jodhpur / Jaisalmer Our representative would meet & greet you at your address / hotel in Delhi and would introduce your tour to you. Welcome to our tour, or as we say 'atithi devo bhava' (the guest is an incarnation of God). Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you.

Transfer to the airport to connect your flight to Jodhpur

Meeting and assistance upon arrival and we will drive to Jaisalmer

Upon arrival check into your hotel Taj Rawal Kot

Day 02: Jaisalmer / LuderwaCamel safari will start from hotel after breakfast and stop over at Badabagh, after visit Badabagh proceed for Ramkunda. Lunch at Ramkunda, after lunch on the way visit Roopsi village and proceed for Luderwa.

Day 03: Luderwa / KuldharaBreakfast at camp. Later proceed for Kala village. After visit Kala proceed for lunch at Manpiya river. After lunch proceed for Masoordi village, after visit Masoordi village proceed to Kuldhara.

Day 04: Kuldhara / Jaisalmer Breakfast at camp. After breakfast proceed to Moolsagar, after visit Moolsagar proceed for Jaisalmer. Lunch at restaurant the Trio on fixed menu basis

Later we will drive to our hotel in Jaislamer, upon arrival check into your hotel Gorbandh Palace

Day 05: Jaisalmer / Jodhpur Jodhpur / Delhi (IC 472 - 1720 / 1825 Hours) (Operates on Wed, Sat & Sun) Following a leisurely breakfast transfer to Jodhpur airport to connect your flight to Delhi

Meeting and assistance upon arrival and transfer to your address in Delhi.

Photographic Holidays

Photographic Holidays
Day 01: Arrival / DelhiLate night arrival. Meeting and assistance upon arrival as our representatives welcome you and escort you to your car.

Whilst the room keys and check-in is organized, our representative would introduce the tour to you and hand over the documents to you.

Welcome to India, or as we say 'atithi devo bhava' (the guest is an incarnation of God). Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you!

Day 02: DelhiFollowing a leisurely breakfast, we proceed on a guided tour of New Delhi, Visiting such sights as Bahai Temple, Humayun's Tomb (1586), the Qutab Minar 72 meters high and one of the most perfect towers in the Persian world. The Iron Pillar which has survived the vagaries of weather for over 1500 years. Continue with a drive through Embassy area, the Government buildings (1921-1930) and Connaught Place, the heart and main shopping district of the capital.

Afternoon, we cross over to the Old Delhi. The capital of Muslim India between the 17th and 19th centuries, Old Delhi seems somewhat anachronistic as compared to New Delhi. It draws one through congested roads and lanes, interesting mosques, monuments and forts relating to its chequered history. Our tour includes visit to the Jamma Mosque (1650) and drive through the fabled area of Chandni Chowk (aptly translates to Moonlight Square) where the throngs of shoppers and vendors meet in the oldest area of Delhi, on to the Red Fort (1639-1648 built by Shah Jehan the builder of the Taj Mahal in Agra) to view the inlaid and carved Royal Chambers, on to Raj Ghat and nearby ghats where the founder of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi and thereafter Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were cremated.

Day 03: Delhi / Ahmedabad (IC 817 - 0600 / 0725 Hours) Ahmedabad / Dungarpur Morning transfer to the airport to connect your flight to Ahmedabad

Meeting & assistance upon arrival and drive to Dungarpur

Upon arrival check into the Udai Bilas Palace

The history of Udai Bilas Palace, Dungarpur, Rajasthan dates from the mid-19th century, when Maharawal Udai Singhji-II, a great patron of art and architecture built a wing of bluish grey local stone " Pareva" overlooking the lake and the " Ek Thambia Mahal," featuring intricate sculptured pillars and panels, ornate balconies, balustrades, bracketed windows, arches and frieze of marble carvings, a veritable marvel of Rajput architecture. The Udai Bilas Palace was enlarged in 1940 by Maharawal Laxman Singhji, who built three new wings around the " Ek Thambia Mahal" (Literally one- pillared Palace) and thus created the famous " courtyard of the palace. The result is an architectural expression exquisitely detailed. Still the royal residence, the Palace offers accommodation in the houseguest tradition with seventeen spacious and lavishly appointed bedrooms. No two rooms are alike; each room enchants with its own personality,

Photographic Holidays

Photographic Holidays
Day 04: DungarpurThe district is the stronghold of Bheels, a tribe whose history of occupancy in the Aravalli Range is said to date back to 4000 B.C. They are one of the oldest and most primitive tribes of the world. This morning we will visit some of these unspoiled Bheel hamlets in and around the town. We will witness and photograph age-old tribal lifestyles and customs handed down over the centuries. You would have an opportunity to meet villagers who have never seen white people!! Say hello to people, allow them to get used to you and then, you may go ahead with your pictures. You would soon end up as the pied piper followed by scores of noisy and happy children.

We return to our hotel by mid morning to enjoy the destination at leisure. Udai Bilas Palace is a round-the-year paradise for bird watchers.

The cooler months from mid October to February are the best to see winter migratory birds when birds can be observed in attractive plumage. One can see from the Palace itself at remarkably close range egrets, night and pond herons, white necked and painted storks, coots and winter or resident ducks among others, depending on the season of your visit. Birds are also plentiful in the surrounding woodlands where one can hope to see the Grey Hornbill, Gray Partridge, Green Pigeon, Peafowl, Peacocks, Paradise flycatcher and the Golden backed woodpecker, to name a few representative species. You may proceed on a leisurely walk around the lake or heir boat for a special boat trip on the lake as well as a gentle trek through the forests so that the nature lover in you is able to enjoy the beauty of the place and are able to get a close look at the bird life.

Late afternoon we visit the ancient fortified ruins of the Old Fort. Besides fine panoramic view of the ancient town of Dungarpur the fort has well preserved examples of natural colour paintings and incredible art and architecture.

Day 05: Dungarpur / Udaipur (220 Kms) Following a leisurely breakfast we will drive to Udaipur

Welcome to Udaipur, the famed "City of sunrise" Founded in 1567 by Maharana Udai Singh, from the lineage of the legendary Sisodias of Mewar - the decedents of the sun God. A city where the sun truly never set, where tradition and a strict code of heroism were happily united with a love of fine living. A city that has come to be an oasis of romance in the warrior state of Rajasthan

Meeting and assistance upon arrival and transfer to your luxury hotel Udai Vilas, located on the famous Pichola Lake, has been designed as a traditional Rajasthani Palace. This unique luxury resort is set in thirty acres of beautifully landscaped gardens, decorative fountains and pavilions, giving it a genuine Rajasthani ambiance. This Hotel is an ideal base to explore the fabled city of Udaipur, renowned for its palaces, lakes and colorful bazaars.

Evening we enjoy a boat cruise on the serene and beautiful Lake Pichola. The island palace on the Lake called Jagmandir Palace is quite fascinating.

Photographic Holidays

Photographic Holidays
Day 06: UdaipurMorning we proceed on a tour of this "Lake City". Udaipur is a cool oasis in the dry heart of Rajasthan. It is probably the most romantic city in a state where every city has some romantic or exotic tale to tell. The huge city palace towering over the Lake Pichola is the largest palace complex in Rajasthan. Though it is a conglomeration of buildings built by successive rulers, it manages to retain a surprising uniformity of design and affords very fine view of the lake and the city from the upper terraces. The Jagadish temple next to the city palace enshrines a black stone image of Lord Vishnu and his vehicle- a mighty bird called garuda - in a brass image. The temple is a very fine example of Indo-Aryan Art.

This afternoon we explore the bustling bylanes of Udaipur which have artisans practicing their traditional crafts handed down to them by their elders. Khari printers do decorative floral patterns in gold and silver on plain or printed fabric. Block printers print various designs and patterns in different colours with the help of wooden blocks. You'll also find artisans carving furniture, making puppets and traditional wooden toys. Along with engraving and embossing on brass, silver, jewellery, copper and even pottery, Meenakari is a specialty of this region. Udaipur also specializes in stone carving, especially in marble and sandstone, with artisans working hard at chiseling their finest filigree work. Colour as usual plays an important role in the life of Udaipur as in Rajasthan. It is wonderfully evident in ghagharas (long flowing skirts), cholis (blouses), and odhnis (long scarves) of the women as well as the turbans of the men.

Day 07: Udaipur / Ranakpur / Kumbalgarh (98 Kms)
Following breakfast we ride out to Kumbalgarh. Enroute we visit Ranakpur.

The Ranakpur Jain Temple was built during the reign of the liberal and gifted monarch Rana Kumbha in the 15th century. The basement is of 48, 000 sq. feet area that covers the whole complex. There are four subsidiary shrines, twenty-four pillared halls and eligibly domes supported by over four hundred columns. The total number of columns is 1,444 all of which are intricately carved with no two being alike. The artistically carved nymphs playing the flute in various dance postures at a height of 45 feet are an engrossing sight. In the assembly hall, there are two big bells weighing 108 kg whose sound echoes in the entire complex. The main temple is of Chaumukh or four-faces temple dedicated to Adinath.

After the tour of Ranakpur Jain Temples we continue our ride to Kumbalgarh. We would have photo stop several times as we walk through the countryside as well as interact with primitive tribals.

Upon arrival we check into the fine Aodhi Lodge - a property of the Royal family of Udaipur.

Afternoon, we explore the beautifully preserved and one of the most majestic forts of India. 13 mountain peaks surround the impregnable fortress of Kumbalgarh (54 Kms) at a height of 3281 ft.

Photographic Holidays

Photographic Holidays
Day 10: Narlai / Sodawas (55 Kms)Wake up to the sounds of this 17-century village, and take in the spiritual energy from descending from the Shiva Temple, deep in a primal cave, on the hill overlooking your room. You may hear whispers of the early morning chanting coming from the many temples and mosques. At breakfast you are encouraged to feed the harmless monkeys, if they come down from the hills, as a token of prayer to Lord Hanuman. After breakfast we have an escorted stroll through the small bazaar, bustling with activity and bursting with colour.

After breakfast we will drive to Sodawas.

Sodawas was given in Jagir (Fief) to Late Thakur Bishan Singhji by His Late Highness Maharaja Shri Umaid Singhji of Jodhpur in the Year 1943 along with two other villages, before which it was a 'Khalsa' Village, meaning for Three Decades it was under the direct rule of Marwar State (Jodhpur).

Upon arrival you enter through a grand gateway into the Sodawas Kot, which is still owned by the family of Thakur Bishan Singhji. The Kot has ten bedrooms and every modern amenity. The family drawing and dining rooms have been opened to receive guests in true Rajput Hospitality. Traditional Rajasthani Cuisine, for which the House is well known for, is served with a mild and delicate blend of spices adapted to your taste. The family will join you and will give you an opportunity to discuss their traditions, culture and the rich heritage of Marwar erstwhile State of Jodhpur. Folk Music and dance are performed in the evening especially for us. The beautifully designed stables will interest Horse lovers. Once the much loved stallion and mare of the Late Thakur Sahib were stabled here.

Beyond the Kot walls the guest encounters breath taking green fields of mustard and wheat; and in the village, one can see artisans working on the local crafts of the region.

Day 11: Sodawas / Rohet (55 Kms) Following a leisurely breakfast we will drive to Rohet.

Upon arrival check in to the hotel Rohetgarh

At Rohet, one is transported in to a world of the past, a world of honour and of chivalry, of glory and of pride; a world of vibrant colours and spectacular magnificence. Past centuries come to life at the historic boundary walls of Rohet- the 16th century fortified deserted home of a Rajput clan. Within the precincts of these time weathered walls is our hotel, the impressive Rohetgarh Fort- a bastion of proud Rajput traditions bathed in the ambience of unmistakable Rajasthani culture where one can, even today experience the famed warm and courteous Rajput hospitality. Frescoes on the tall gateway, brightly painted in the traditional style, using traditional motifs and colour schemes herald your entry to this charmed world the bygone era. The gateway leads to a compound where a profusion of flowers frame the archways in welcome. The portico is a warm and informal place decorated with the artifacts and trophies of many years. Exquisitely carved furniture, delicate hand block prints, original paintings and photographs decorate


Photographic Holidays

Photographic Holidays
Day 12: Rohet / Jodhpur (40 Kms) After breakfast we drive to the Jodhpur.

Upon arrival check in to Umaid Bhawan Palace, which built in 20th century conceived by Maharaja Umaid Singh as a centerpiece of his massive famine-relief scheme, giving employment to hundreds of people for nearly 16 years. This opulent edifice in sandstone is still the residence of the former rulers with a part of it running as hotel and remaining part as a museum. The palace captures the imagination of a visitor by its sculpted lawns with sandstone pavements and bouquets of bougainvillea bushes. The name of the palace has been derived from the sandstones being used in its construction. These rocks do not wear out how harsh the weather might be. It took 25 years and 3000 men to give shape to this stupendous expression. The Palace was designed as a smooth combination of European classical elements interlaced with oriental ones. Massive sandstone boulders were cut from a quarry at Surasagar near Jodhpur and transported by a special narrow-gauge train to the construction sites. Master masons chiseled these rough stones into blocks of five and seven tons. The blocks were then fitted into an interlocking fashion with no mortar or cement being used in the construction. Furnished with fashionable Art Deco interiors by the Polish artist and decorator, S. Norblin, the palace consumed one million square feet of the finest marble. The world of Umaid Bhawan Palace contained everything that the royalty required - a private cinema hall, a luxurious swimming pool inlaid with tiles depicting the zodiac, gigantic royal suites, a soaring rotunda, fancy ball rooms, a majestic durbar hall, billiards room, ballrooms, banquet halls, libraries, staff quarters, servant quarters. In 1977, Umaid Bhawan opened as one of India's grandest luxury hotels.
Day 13: Jodhpur / Jaipur (Intercity Express - 0540 / 1040 Hrs) Morning transfer to the airport to connect your train to Jaipur

Meeting and assistance upon arrival, and, transfer to Rajvilas Hotel, one of the country's premier hotel. Set in 30 acres of orchards, gardens, decorated pools and fountains. The hotel is build with exacting detail, recreating a traditional Rajasthani fort setting. A key feature of the landscape is a large lotus filled water body in which floats a 250-year-old temple on a small island. A haveli or traditional Rajasthani mansion has been restored to its former beauty and contains the hotel's world class spa. The spa is professionally run with the assistance of a specialised spa consultant from the United Kingdom. It incorporates traditional Indian Ayurvedic methods of relaxation, massage and herbal treatment into its programmes.

After rest & relaxation, we explore the unending shopping options of Jaipur. An essential starting point for Rajasthan craft work is block making and block printing and we will be exploring the process from start to finish in some of the popular stores here.

Photographic Holidays

Photographic Holidays
Day 08: Kumbalgarh / Ghanerao (40 Kms)Following a leisurely breakfast drive to Ghanerao

Upon arrival at Ghanerao we check into the Royal Ghanerao Castle, a property of the Royal Family of Mewar. We stay at the Ghanerao Royal Castle to step back into the past and re-live it. Here truly time stands still to let you bask in the sunshine of the bygone era. Besides all modern comforts the royal family here have endeavoured to recreate the lifestyle of the thakurs (feudal lords) in all past glory. Situated in the picturesque `Godwar` region of Rajasthan, Ghanerao was founded in 1606 A D Today, standing sentinel over the villages, The Ghanerao Royal Castle is a truly magnificent edifice of red sandstone havelis (mansions), marble citadels and some miniature paintings on walls, the village is strewn with old temples, step walls and marble archways. The old fort to the south of the castle pock, marked with cannonballs and destroyed time and again, but stubbornly refusing to be vanquished.

Afternoon suggest walks through the primitive town to witness traditional styles of living and occupation.

Day 09: Ghanerao / Narlai (35 Kms)After breakfast we will drive to Narlai. We would have opportunities to stop a few times for interactions with the extremely friendly tribals as well as witness their homes and lifestyles unchanged for centuries.

Upon arrival check in to the Hotel Rawla Narlai Situated in the Narlai village, Rawla Narlai, is a 17th century fortress renovated over the years to have 15 exquisite double rooms. Rawla Narlai is full of surprises; it is situated in the heart of a typical Rajasthani village bustling with activity and bursting with colours. But, inside the Rawla (fortress) there is only serenity and stupendous view of a gigantic350 ft single rock of granite dotted with caves and temples and crowned by a statue of a white elephant - proud guardian to the open desert on one side and the crumbling Aravali hills on the other. Maharaja and Rani Swaroop Singh, and their sons oversaw the careful restoration of this hunting lodge, with aesthetics, comfort, and atmosphere that will embrace your senses. Comfortable rooms and modern bathrooms blend with the ancient way of Narlai, while offering a warm and homely atmosphere. The charming rooms are all stylised from references from the past adding more to your experience at Rawla Narlai. The chef prepares you a delicious meal, garnished with care made from Secret Recipes handed down for generations to the Royal family. In the evening bathe in the moonlight under the starry sky, listening to hypnotic and chanting rhythms by local musicians who will rekindle the sprit in you. The peace and calm of the gentle rustling leaves, the sun bathed courtyards and the star lit night's ads an air of romanticism to this wonderful fortress.

The village of Narlai is one of the most exquisite well-preserved tribal settlements of India. You would find your walk through the maze of lanes and bye lanes and incredible experience.

Walking & Biking Tours

Walking & Biking Tours
Day 01: Arrival / DelhiLate night arrival. Meeting and assistance upon arrival as our representatives welcome you and escort you to your car.

Whilst the room keys and check-in is organized, our representative would introduce the tour to you and hand over the documents to you.

Welcome to India, or as we say 'atithi devo bhava' (the guest is an incarnation of God). Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you!

Day 02: Delhi / Udaipur (9W 3401 - 0545 / 0810 Hrs)Early this morning transfer to the airport to board your flight to Udaipur.

Welcome to Udaipur, the famed "City of sunrise" Founded in 1567 by Maharana Udai Singh, from the lineage of the legendary Sisodias of Mewar - the decedents of the sun God. A city where the sun truly never set, where tradition and a strict code of heroism were happily united with a love of fine living. A city that has come to be an oasis of romance in the warrior state of Rajasthan.

Meeting and assistance upon arrival check into the hotel Lake Palace, which is a palace on an island girdled by hills. Built on a rocky island over lake Pichola over two and a half centuries ago, once it was the summer palace of the rulers of Mewar. Today the pleasure palace is a luxury hotel like no other in the world. To stay here is an un missable privilege, affording as it does a glimpse of pleasure that once were the sole preserve of princes. The Lake Palaces Hotel amazes and delights you at every turn. It is pure white marble, every ancient inch of it - slender carved columns, fountains, filigreed screens, marble from the pinnacles of its domed Chatris to the bottom of its swimming pool, created for the private frolics of a princess.

After wash & change we proceed on a tour of this "Lake City". Udaipur is a cool oasis in the dry heart of Rajasthan. It is probably the most romantic city in a state where every city has some romantic or exotic tale to tell. The huge city palace towering over the Lake Pichola is the largest palace complex in Rajasthan. Though it is a conglomeration of buildings built by successive rulers, it manages to retain a surprising uniformity of design and affords very fine view of the lake and the city from the upper terraces. The Jagadish temple next to the city palace enshrines a black stone image of Lord Vishnu and his vehicle- a mighty bird called garuda - in a brass image. The temple is a very fine example of Indo-Aryan Art.

Day 03: Udaipur / Ranakpur / Kumbalgarh (98 Kms)The Ranakpur Jain Temple was built during the reign of the liberal and gifted monarch Rana Kumbha in the 15th century. The basement is of 48, 000 sq. feet area that covers the whole complex. There are four subsidiary shrines, twenty-four pillared halls and eligibly domes supported by over four hundred columns. The total number of columns is 1,444 all of which are intricately carved with no two being alike. The artistically carved nymphs playing the flute in various dance postures at a height of 45 feet are an engrossing sight. In the assembly hall, there are two big bells weighing 108 kg whose sound echoes in the entire

Walking & Biking Tours

Walking & Biking Tours
Day 08: Rohet / Luni (18 Kms)Upon arrival check in to Hotel Fort Chanwa, which is an exceptional example of elegance and symmetry in Indian architecture of the last century. The entire fortress is carved out of the famous red sandstone of Jodhpur and with its ornately carved latticework friezes and intricate "Jharokas"; it exquisitely captures the romance and grace of a bygone age. The fort is composed of a lyrical complex of courtyards towers, water, wheels, stables, passages and unexpected stairways to secret pavilions and panoramic roof tops spanning the village below and the Thar horizon beyond.

This evening, we would explore the tribal village of Luni, which is a fascinating small feudal town, which seems to be straight out of the Arabian Nights. There is no proper road here - only one main dust trail. On either side are typical thatched houses and shops of all kinds - colorful bangles, silver jewelry, potters, fruit vendors on carts, dress shops, tailors etc.

Day 09: Luni / Jodhpur (40 Kms)Upon arrival check in to Umaid Bhawan Palace which built in 20th century conceived by Maharaja Umaid Singh as a centerpiece of his massive famine-relief scheme, giving employment to hundreds of people for nearly 16 years. This opulent edifice in sandstone is still the residence of the former rulers with a part of it running as hotel and remaining part as a museum. The palace captures the imagination of a visitor by its sculpted lawns with sandstone pavements and bouquets of bougainvillea bushes. The name of the palace has been derived from the sandstones being used in its construction. These rocks do not wear out how harsh the weather might be. It took 25 years and 3000 men to give shape to this stupendous expression. The Palace was designed as a smooth combination of European classical elements interlaced with oriental ones. Massive sandstone boulders were cut from a quarry at Surasagar near Jodhpur and transported by a special narrow-gauge train to the construction sites. Master masons chiseled these rough stones into blocks of five and seven tons. The blocks were then fitted into an interlocking fashion with no mortar or cement being used in the construction. Furnished with fashionable Art Deco interiors by the Polish artist and decorator, S. Norblin, the palace consumed one million square feet of the finest marble. The world of Umaid Bhawan Palace contained everything that the royalty required - a private cinema hall, a luxurious swimming pool inlaid with tiles depicting the zodiac, gigantic royal suites,
Day 10: Jodhpur / Delhi (9W 3312 - 1400 / 1520) This morning we proceed on a guided tour of Jodhpur. Our tour includes the massive fort. In olden days this must have been impregnable since its rocky base is scraped straight down making it nearly impossible to ascend. Once inside, royal palaces abound with fascinating history and priceless jewels, on to the armoury and Jaswant Tara - the Royal Crematorium.

Walking & Biking Tours

Walking & Biking Tours
Day 06: Narlai / Sodawas (55 Kms) Wake up to the sounds of this 17-century village, and take in the spiritual energy from descending from the Shiva Temple, deep in a primal cave, on the hill overlooking your room. You may hear whispers of the early morning chanting coming from the many temples and mosques. At breakfast you are encouraged to feed the harmless monkeys, if they come down from the hills, as a token of prayer to Lord Hanuman. After breakfast we have an escorted stroll through the small bazaar, bustling with activity and bursting with colour.

After breakfast we will drive to Sodawas.

Sodawas was given in Jagir (Fief) to Late Thakur Bishan Singhji by His Late Highness Maharaja Shri Umaid Singhji of Jodhpur in the Year 1943 along with two other villages, before which it was a 'Khalsa' Village, meaning for Three Decades it was under the direct rule of Marwar State (Jodhpur).

Upon arrival you enter through a grand gateway into the Sodawas Kot, which is still owned by the family of Thakur Bishan Singhji. The Kot has ten bedrooms and every modern amenity. The family drawing and dining rooms have been opened to receive guests in true Rajput Hospitality. Traditional Rajasthani Cuisine, for which the House is well known for, is served with a mild and delicate blend of spices adapted to your taste. The family will join you and will give you an opportunity to discuss their traditions, culture and the rich heritage of Marwar erstwhile State of Jodhpur. Folk Music and dance are performed in the evening especially for us. The beautifully designed stables will interest Horse lovers. Once the much loved stallion and mare of the Late Thakur Sahib were stabled here.

Day 07: Sodawas / Rohet (90 Kms)Upon arrival check in to the hotel Rohetgarh

At Rohet, one is transported in to a world of the past, a world of honour and of chivalry, of glory and of pride; a world of vibrant colours and spectacular magnificence. Past centuries come to life at the historic boundary walls of Rohet- the 16th century fortified deserted home of a Rajput clan. Within the precincts of these time weathered walls is our hotel, the impressive Rohetgarh Fort- a bastion of proud Rajput traditions bathed in the ambience of unmistakable Rajasthani culture where one can, even today experience the famed warm and courteous Rajput hospitality. Frescoes on the tall gateway, brightly painted in the traditional style, using traditional motifs and colour schemes herald your entry to this charmed world the bygone era. The gateway leads to a compound where a profusion of flowers frame the archways in welcome. The portico is a warm and informal place decorated with the artifacts and trophies of many years. Exquisitely carved furniture, delicate hand block prints, original paintings and photographs decorate your rooms, which though redolent with the romance of a bygone era, provide all the modern amenities. Antique hunting riffles, shields & spearheads, daggers and original paintings form the backdrop of the dinning room.

Walking & Biking Tours

Walking & Biking Tours
Day 04: Kumbalgarh / Ghanerao (40 Kms)Upon arrival at Ghanerao we check into the Royal Ghanerao Castle, a property of the Royal Family of Mewar. We stay at the Ghanerao Royal Castle to step back into the past and re-live it. Here truly time stands still to let you bask in the sunshine of the bygone era. Besides all modern comforts the royal family here have endeavoured to recreate the lifestyle of the thakurs (feudal lords) in all past glory. Situated in the picturesque `Godwar` region of Rajasthan, Ghanerao was founded in 1606 A D Today, standing sentinel over the villages, The Ghanerao Royal Castle is a truly magnificent edifice of red sandstone havelis (mansions), marble citadels and some miniature paintings on walls, the village is strewn with old temples, step walls and marble archways. The old fort to the south of the castle pock, marked with cannonballs and destroyed time and again, but stubbornly refusing to be vanquished.

Day 05: Ghanerao / Narlai (35 Kms)After breakfast we will drive to Narlai. We would have opportunities to stop a few times for interactions with the extremely friendly tribals as well as witness their homes and lifestyles unchanged for centuries.

Upon arrival check in to the Hotel Rawla Narlai Situated in the Narlai village, Rawla Narlai, is a 17th century fortress renovated over the years to have 15 exquisite double rooms. Rawla Narlai is full of surprises; it is situated in the heart of a typical Rajasthani village bustling with activity and bursting with colours. But, inside the Rawla (fortress) there is only serenity and stupendous view of a gigantic350 ft single rock of granite dotted with caves and temples and crowned by a statue of a white elephant - proud guardian to the open desert on one side and the crumbling Aravali hills on the other. Maharaja and Rani Swaroop Singh, and their sons oversaw the careful restoration of this hunting lodge, with aesthetics, comfort, and atmosphere that will embrace your senses. Comfortable rooms and modern bathrooms blend with the ancient way of Narlai, while offering a warm and homely atmosphere. The charming rooms are all stylised from references from the past adding more to your experience at Rawla Narlai. The chef prepares you a delicious meal, garnished with care made from Secret Recipes handed down for generations to the Royal family. In the evening bathe in the moonlight under the starry sky, listening to hypnotic and chanting rhythms by local musicians who will rekindle the sprit in you. The peace and calm of the gentle rustling leaves, the sun bathed courtyards and the star lit night's ads an air of romanticism to this wonderful fortress.

The village of Narlai is one of the most exquisite well-preserved tribal settlements of India. You would find your walk through the maze of lanes and bye lanes and incredible experience. You need to come back to your fortress by late afternoon, to enjoy the magical sunset as well as the ethnic décor and charm of your amazing hotel.

Trekking in The Himalayas

Trekking in The Himalayas
Day 10: Leh / Delhi (9W 610 - 0735 / 0850 Hours) Transfer in time to the airport for your flight to Delhi.

Meeting and assistance upon arrival and transfer to your hotel Taj Palace

Home Visit & A Farewell Dinner with an Indian Family : This evening, we would visit an Indian family for an Indian home experience. The evening is designed to give you a 'feel' and insight into Indian family life as well as experience typical Indian hospitality and home made Indian food.

Day 11: Delhi / Departure Transfer to International airport to connect your inward flight back home.

Incredible Water Sports Destination

Incredible Water Sports Destination
Day 01: Arrival / CochinMid morning arrival. Meeting and assistance upon arrival and check into The Brunton Boatyard - a Casino Group of Hotel in Cochin is situated right at the Fort Kochi, build on the old Portuguese architecture, Situated at the Harbour mouth overlooking the busy ship channel all rooms boast of a magnificent view of the sea and the Delta. There is never a dull moment out there for boats of every size and colour constantly ply these waters not forgetting the mammoth Ocean liners which silently glide past just outside the window. The hotel has its own private jetty, which doubles up as a 'café'. Over looking the pool garden and the sea, The History Restaurant a unique gastronomic exploration of Kerala's famous port and its rich past, the Terrace Grill adjacent to the History restaurant opens for Dinne, The Armoury offers a breath-taking view of the Delta. Serving mini meals light snacks and tall drinks is open right through the day and a major part of the night.

Kathakali Dance:
A special treat awaits us this evening as we proceed to witness the strength and vigor of Kathakali dance drama, as it enacts episodes from great Indian epics. The extremely stylized gestures, the elaborate make-up, the masks and the splendid costumes of these all-male dancers, recreates an incomparable sense of pageantry.

Day 02: Cochin / Aggatti (IC 502 - 0915 / 1050 Hrs)Morning transfer to the airport to board your flight to Aggatti

Meeting and assistance upon arrival and a launch transfer to Bangaram Island Resort

Rest of the day is at leisure for independent activities

Day 03 - 07: BangaramDays are at leisure to enjoy the resort and water sports

On The Buddha's Footsteps

On The Buddha's Footsteps
Day 06: BodhgayaFull day touring of Bodhgaya. One of the holiest of holy pilgrim places for the Buddhists of the world is Mahabodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya The Mahabodhi Temple built on the east of the sacred tree stands majestically 170 feet high on a base 50 feet square, and consists of a soaring pyramidal tower surmounted by a stupa. The Vajrasan or Diamond Throne lying between the Bodhi Tree and the temple marks the actual spot where Buddha sat in meditation and attained supreme knowledge. A gilded Buddha smiles upon the visitors from a niche in the wall of the temple, and his footsteps carved in stone hold flower offerings from the devout. Unbelievable peace pervades the atmosphere giving credence to legend.

Besides the Mahabodhi temple, we would visit several Buddhist temples built by the followers of Buddhism from all over the world.

Day 07: Bodhgaya / Rajgir / Nalanda / Patna
After Breakfast drive to Patna enroute we visit Nalanda & Rajgir.

Rajgir -The picturesque Rajgir, or Rajagriha as it was known in the past (literally, the abode of kings) is surrounded by the meandering river Banganga and 5 hills. During the lifetime of the Buddha this was the capital of the powerful Magadhan kingdom, ruled by the virtuous King Bimbisara. The hills and caves surrounding Rajagriha were home to spiritual teachers, ranging from the materialism of the early Charavaka school to the metaphysics of Upanishadic philosophers. Like many others in search of truth, Prince Siddhartha, after he renounced his royal heritage came to this city to seek the path of vation. Nalanda -Nalanda was the most renowned university in ancient India. It derived its name from Na-alam-da, meaning Insatiable in Giving, one of the names by which the Lord Buddha was known. From here we continue our drive to Patna.

Upon arrival in Patna check in to hotel Maurya Patna

Day 08: Patna / Vaishali / KushinagarAfter breakfast drive to Kushinagar where the Buddha finally attained Mahaparmirvana. Amongst the ruins are the Mukutbandhan Stupa and a beautiful statue of the reclining Buddha enroute visiting Vaishali.

Upon arrival in Kushinagar check in to your Hotel.

Day 09: Kushinagar / Lumbini After breakfast visit the Mahaparinirvana Temple & Stupas.

We drive to Lumbini upon arrival check in to Lumbini Hokke

Lumbini - the birthplace of the Buddha, was located in 1890 after being untraced for 1,500 years. Evening sightseeing tour of Lumbini including a visit to the birth Place of Lord Buddha

Day 10: Lumbini / Kapilvastu / Sravasti After breakfast drive to Sravasti enroute visiting Kapilvastu - the capital of the ancient kingdom of Kosala, has the honour for sheltering Buddha for 24 rainy seasons in the Jetvana Gardens. The city believed to be founded by the mythological king Sravast, has age-old stupas, majestic monasteries and several temples. Buddha is said to have performed some miracles here. In Sravasti visit Saheth - Maheth & Jetvan.

Upon arrival check in to hotel Lotus Nikko

On The Buddha's Footsteps

On The Buddha's Footsteps
Day 04: Varanasi
At dawn we visit the sacred Ganges for a boat ride. Every morning at dawn hundreds of worshippers can be seen bathing in the sacred waters. The great river banks are lined with an endless chain of stone steps-the ghats-that stretch from one end of the city to the other. The Ghats form an impressive part of the religious landscape of the city. Proceeding downstream at a leisurely pace, you would be pointed out the significant temples and buildings as well as the changing architectural style. Life and death go hand in hand in Varanasi. While young people seek prosperity and protection from harmful influences, the older generation comes to Varanasi to cleanse their souls in the forgiving waters in preparation for their ultimate dissolution. Believing that anyone who dies in the river of life in Varanasi gains freedom from the cycle of birth and death, the City of Light has become a haven for the sick and aged waiting out their final days. The smoke that billows from the crematoriums on the edge of the river gives testimony to their final release from life's earthly confines. We would docked our boat at Manikarnika (Cremation) Ghat. On any given day, anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred corpses are cremated here, The ghat is assiduous with activity as the cremated bodies threw up smoke and fire.

Following the boat ride we set off on foot to explore the inner city. Through a twisted maze of narrow alleys, home to numerous shrines and pilgrim shops, we walk back a few centuries. Life here has stood still for years. The homes, the shops and even the cattle have not changed over the centuries. It is a brilliant nostalgic experience of timelessness!

Afternoon we will visit several temples and the Hindu University at Benares. First stop would be the Bharat Mata (temple of Mother India). Inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi, it features a huge marble map of India on the ground floor. Next up, the Durga Temple. Known for its bright red color and the playful, if sometimes aggressive, monkeys that run amok there, the Durga Temple is one of the most imposing architectural monuments in Varanasi.

The university, which occupies a large piece of land at the southern end of town, is also home to the New Vishwanatha Temple. The New Temple is modern in design and open to Hindus and non-Hindus alike. Surrounded by palm trees, it is a splendid white marble structure that shines in the afternoon sun against a pale blue sky. Inside, the temple is spacious and airy. The interior walls are covered with Vedic art above inscriptions from the Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads. In the center of the first floor is the Shiva linga.

Day 05: Varanasi / Bodhgaya
Following a leisurely breakfast we will drive to Bodhgaya.

Upon arrival check in to Lotus Nikko

Bodhgaya - As the place of the Buddha's Enlightenment, Bodhgaya is the spiritual home of Buhddhists. Bodhgaya situated near the river Niranjana, is one of the holiest Buddhist pilgrimage centres since it was here that Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree.

On The Buddha's Footsteps

On The Buddha's Footsteps
Day 11: Sravasti / LucknowAfter breakfast we will proceed to the tour of Saravasti.

After the tour we will drive to Lucknow

Lucknow is known all over the world for the courteous behavior of its people. It is a rare city. Few places in the world are endowed with such rich cultural traditions, as is this romantic city of the nawabs. Whether it is history, architecture, music, dance, handicrafts, etiquette, or sports, Lucknow has its own story to tell.

Upon arrival check in to Hotel Taj Residency

After rest and relaxation we will proceed to explore Lucknow. It has a number of sites to go shopping. Blended in history, these shopping places also are used as the popular means of passing time and lazy strolling. Hazrat Gunj (named after Begum Hazrat Mahal) is a fashionable shopping plaza overflowing with shops and restaurants. Strolling leisurely in Hazrat Gunj and stopping for a bit of window-shopping or meeting friends at your favorite corner is a popular pastime here. Aminabad is among the busiest markets in the city where one can pick up all kinds of things. But it is primarily known for jewelry and pickle shops. Shopping in the Chowk, an old locality of Lucknow, is also a delightful experience. While doing the rounds of the shops, a visit to Nakhas, the Sunday market, is obligatory. A colorful, noisy pavement bazaar, it is a veritable storehouse of antiques and curios. The visitor can pick up old, beautifully carved paandans (boxes in which the various ingredients that make up a paan are kept), khaasdans (pretty little containers in which the paans are served), and all kinds of other such charming objets d'art. Nakhas also has a bird market. And pottery lovers should make a beeline for Chinhat, located just a few kilometers away from Lucknow. There are pottery factories here that churn out attractive planters, bowls, tea sets, mugs, vases, and dinner sets-all available at very reasonable prices.

Day 12: Lucknow / Delhi (Lucknow Shatabadi - 1535 / 2205 Hours) Morning, we ride out for a tour of Lucknow. The city abounds with lovely monuments that tell the story of their time. For any visitor to this city, a trip to the various architectural wonders is an absolute must. Among the most important monuments are the Imambadas, the many mosques, the Roomi Darwaza, and the many splendid Mughal architectural marvels.

Later transfer to the train station to board your train to Delhi

Meeting & assistance upon arrival & transfer to hotel The Imperial

Day 13: Delhi / Departure Transfer to the International airport to connect your onward flight back home.




Spirit of South India

Spirit of South India
Day 06: Trichy / Madurai (130 Kms - 3 Hours) Morning, ride to Tirumayam, which is one of the 108 Divya Desams. Tirumayam has two cave temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva, which are visited by large number of devotees. Mahendravarman and Narasimhavarman Pallava built the cave temples, which lie adjacent to each other.

After the tour we will drive to Madurai

Upon arrival check into your hotel Taj Garden Retreat.

Evening we will witness Bed Chamber Ceremony at Meenakshi temple.

Day 07: Madurai / Chennai (9W 3520 - 2055 / 2210 Hrs)
After breakfast we will proceed on a guided tour of Thirumalai Nayak Mahal. The palace was built in 1636 by Thirumalai Nayakar. A classic example of the Indo-Saracenic style, the piece de resistance of this Mahal is its carved dome outsoars without the support of girders or rafters. The stucco work on its domes and arches is remarkable. The gigantic pillars and structures represent the amazing architectural mastery of Nayak Kings. The courtyard and the dancing hall are being the center of attractions. There are around 248 pillars of each 58 feet toll and 5 feet diameter. Furniture and utensils used by the kings have been exhibited inside the palace.

We will also visit Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam, which is a huge temple tank. The mandapam in the centre has an idol of Vigneshwara (Vinayaka). This tank was said to have been dug by Tirumala Nayaka. It is the biggest tank of its kind in Tamil Nadu and one of the most imposing sights of Madurai when it is full of water. The vinayaka idol was found when the earth was being dug out from here to build the Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal. So, the place attained sanctity and was converted into a teppakulam (tank).

Our tour includes a visit to The Gandhi Memorial Museum, which is meant to be living Institutions and not merely a building preserving and showing exhibits, however precious. It seeks to help an ever increasing number of people to understand and to value the life, work and teachings of Gandhiji

Madurai is one of the oldest cities of southern India. It has been a center of pilgrimage, for centuries. The Meenakshi temple, the main architectural attraction here, is an excellent example of Dravidian architecture, with gopurams or multi pillared halls, covered from top to bottom, in a profusion of multicolored images of gods, goddesses, animals and mythical figures.

Day 08: Chennai / Departure Transfer to Cochin airport to board your flight back home.

Photographic Holidays

Photographic Holidays

Trekking in the Himalayas

Trekking in the Himalayas

Special Interest Tours

We, Indian Tour Operators, From Buddha to Bollywood, Architecture to photography, great Indian cuisines to the world’s largest camel fair, our selections of special tours are designed to enthrall the visitors. The country has been treasure trove with rich history and tradition that have been passed down for generations. We (Tour Operators in India) offer a complete package of special interest tours that will help you to discover the multiple facets of India.

Trekking in the Himalayas

Trekking in the Himalayas
Day 01: Arrival / DelhiLate night arrival. Meeting and assistance upon arrival as our representatives welcome you and escort you to your car.

Whilst the room keys and check-in is organized, our representative would introduce the tour to you and hand over the documents to you.

Welcome to India, or as we say 'atithi devo bhava' (the guest is an incarnation of God). Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you!

Day 02: Delhi Following a leisurely breakfast, we proceed on a guided tour of New Delhi, Visiting such sights as Bahai Temple, Humayun's Tomb (1586), the Qutab Minar 72 meters high and one of the most perfect towers in the Persian world. The Iron Pillar which has survived the vagaries of weather for over 1500 years. Continue with a drive through Embassy area, the Government buildings (1921-1930) and Connaught Place, the heart and main shopping district of the capital.

Afternoon we cross the city and into the walled gates of the Old city with visits to the Jamma Mosque (1650) and drive through the fabled area of Chandni Chowk (aptly translates to Moonlight Square) where the throngs of shoppers and vendors meet in the oldest area of Delhi. Visit the Red Fort (1639-1648 built by Shah Jehan the builder of the Taj Mahal in Agra) to view the inlaid and carved Royal Chambers, on to Raj Ghat and nearby ghats where the founder of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi and thereafter Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi were crema

Day 03: Delhi / Leh (9W 609 - 0540 / 0655 Hours) Early morning transfer to the airport to board your flight to Leh

On arrival the advice is to lie down for a day, until your body catches up with the altitude.

Day is free for leisure & independent activities.


Day 04: LehDay is at leisure for your independent activities. You may gently stroll out to visit Leh's wide street bazaar that runs east west. Together with the labyrinth of adjoining side streets and alleys, the bazaar is the center of business and shopping -- particularly for visitors who find the plethora of antiques (and not-antiques) shops worth checking out. The bazaar is an incredible example of traditional Ladakhi lifestyles. Watch out for the pavement vegetable sellers and the traditional homes that exist on top of the stores which sell only the very basic provisions.

Day 05: Leh / Shey / Thiksey / Hemis / LehThis morning we proceed on a guided tour of Shey, which is a small town in comparison to Leh. Shey Palace was built in early 17th century AD by Deldan Namgyal as a memorial for his father, Singay Namgyal. The palace houses a three storey copper statue of Buddha Shakyamuni. Overlooking the Shey palace are the ruins of the fort built by the first king of Ladakh, Lhachen Spalgigon. Shey also has a very large scattering of stupas all across its landscape.

From here we drive to Thiksey Gompa (monastery), it is located 17 km on the main highway from Leh in the direction of Manali.

Trekking in the Himalayas

Trekking in the Himalayas
Day 09: Uletokpo / Lamayuru / UletokpoA half day excursion through paradise as we visit Lamayuru. Every twist and turn brings to you new vistas of natural beauty. But, wait till you get to the 'Lamayuru Moonland'. We look down on this landscape which appears to be a dusty surface of the Moon itself with craters & hills . The snow rising in the backdrop of this sandy script reminds you that you are in Ladakh.

The landscape around Lamayuru monastery is one of most spectacular things one could see on earth.

Lamayuru monastery popularly known as, "Yangdrung Gomp" is situated 126 km west of Leh, on the Leh - Srinagar highway. In ancient times there was a huge lake in this place. The great saint Nyimagung, made a prophesy saying: " May a monastery be founded in this place" and he then offered a votive water offering to all the naga serpent spirits who were the guardians of that place. The grains of that corn that formed part of this offering were carried by the waves of different places along the cliff side by the edge of the lake and when they had become mixed with the earth they sprouted forth as corn in the shape of a swastika. At the time when a monastery was later founded there it was called Yangdrung "swastika". In the 11th century the mahasiddha Naropa came to this place and the cave where he resided and meditated is still to be seen today. Then Rinchen Zangpo, the Translator came and built many temples and stupas and so the teachings of the Kadampa School came to flourish greatly there. Thereafter, for many years the monastery was administered by the Red Hats order of the Tibetan Buddhism., but later it was taken over by Digungpa order. Then the rituals and observances of the Digung Kargud School were introduced and the monastery received the name of Yangdrung Tharpaling.

Day 10: Uletokpo / Alchi / LehThe village of Alchi in lower Ladakh is to be considered one of the most important cultural sites throughout the Himalayas. Consisting of four separate hamlets, the village contains numerous historic monuments of different ages and in various states of repair, the oldest and most famousof which is a monastic complex. The 1,000-year-old three-storied Himalayan temple, with its unique murals and iconography, is a fragile wooden structure. Confirmed a World Heritage site by UNESCO, this is one of only four surviving monasteries of the 108 founded by the Great Translator, Lotsava Rinchen bZangpo in the later 10 th and early 11 th century. The temple preserves some of the finest examples of Kashmiri art of the period.

Following the tour of Alchi, we continue drive to Leh and get there by lunchtime. Upon arrival, transfer to your Hotel Spic n Span. The afternoon is at leisure and you may wish to walk into the bustling bazaar or catch up with your reading and postcards.

This evening we are invited to a typical Ladakhi home for high tea and interaction with different members of the Ladakhi family. The kitchen is the heart of the Ladakhi house. These are people for whom food is so central it forms the basis of their all-purpose greeting, "Julay",

Trekking in the Himalayas

Trekking in the Himalayas
Day 11: Leh / Delhi (9W 610 - 0735 / 0850 Hours) Early morning transfer to the airport to board your flight to Delhi

Meeting & assistance upon arrival in Delhi & transfer to your hotel Taj Palace

Rest of the day is at leisure fore your independent activities

A Home Visit & a Farewell Dinner with an Indian Family : This evening, we would visit an Indian family for an Indian home experience. The evening is designed to give you a 'feel' and insight into Indian family life as well as experience typical Indian hospitality and home made Indian food.

Day 12: Delhi / Departure Transfer to the International airport to board your flight back home

Trekking in The Himalayas

Trekking in The Himalayas
Day 04: Leh / Likir (Drive) / Yangtang (4/5 Hrs Trek)Following a leisurely breakfast we drive to Uletokpo Visiting the Likir Monastery on the way. The journey itself through spell bounding scenes of natural beauty is worth the effort. Snow capped Himalayas dot the background while craggy dusty mountain ranges and the swiftly flowing Indus river as well as patches of farm make up for the fascinating foreground.

At Nimu we witness the magical confluence of the two main rivers of the region - Indus & Zanskar.

Another interesting aspect of our journey would be the opportunity to travel past several Ladakhi Villages where time has stood still. We will walk into these villages and experience traditional Ladakhi Villages, lifestyles and occupations.

We make a brief stop at the Likir Monastery that houses many gigantic clay statue of Buddha in various forms. The primary attraction is, however, their 1000-year old wall painting which make a visit more than worthwhile.


After visiting the monastery, we commence our trek as we walk past Likir village leaving behind the last houses. We enter an arid terrain, and, start ascending towards a small pass PobeLa, arriving at Sumdo village where we cross the river and leaving Sumdo on the right side, continue in the valley for about an hour and finally reach at the summit of the CharastseLa..

Day 05: Yangtang - Hemis Shukpachen (3/4 Hrs Trek) Proceed to Wulle valley, (very close - 15 minutes only), then ascend for one hour to SermanchanLa and then descend towards Hemis Shukpachen a big village. Here Cedar is found in plenty, hence the name of the village. There is a beautiful gompa (Monastery) here.

Day 06: Hemis Shukpachen - Tingmosgam Trek 3/4 Hrs Trek - UletokpoAfter crossing the village, there is flat land, then, a steep descent. Keeping to the right side climb a steep slope to the summit of the Meptekla. It is 2 Hrs. hike from Hemis Shukpachen. Descend for half an hour and you are in Ang village. Continue walking towards to Tingmosgam, It is the richest fruit valley in Ladakh - Apricots, Apples, Nuts are in plenty. The houses here are beautiful and unique. From here we will be driven to Uleytokpo.

Upon arrival at lunch time we check into tented accommodation at Uleytokpo. This place is heaven on earth ! the accommodation here are lovely fixed camps run by a Ladakhi family. The tents have attached toilets and beds, and are set amidst apricot orchards. The place is right in the lap of nature and you would very much enjoy the feel of the breeze, the scent of flowers, delightful nature walks, views of the snow capped Himalayas and the gentling rolling sound of the Indus river. If you are a bird lover there are great possibilities of viewing a variety of birds. Just 4 kms away is Ridzong, the most isolated monastery of all the monastery of Ladakh. One can still find the small caves where Lamas used to meditate for years cutting themselves from the rest of the world except for an one feet square outlet window from where they accept the one time meal of the day. Also close by is a nunnery.

Trekking in The Himalayas

Trekking in The Himalayas
Day 07: Uletokpo / Lamayuru / Uletokpo A half day excursion through paradise as we visit Lamayuru. Every twist and turn brings to you new vistas of natural beauty. But, wait till you get to the 'Lamayuru Moonland'. We look down on this landscape which appears to be a dusty surface of the Moon itself with craters & hills . The snow rising in the backdrop of this sandy script reminds you that you are in Ladakh.

The landscape around Lamayuru monastery is one of most spectacular things one could see on earth.

Lamayuru monastery popularly known as, "Yangdrung Gomp" is situated 126 km west of Leh, on the Leh - Srinagar highway. In ancient times there was a huge lake in this place. The great saint Nyimagung, made a prophesy saying: " May a monastery be founded in this place" and he then offered a votive water offering to all the naga serpent spirits who were the guardians of that place. The grains of that corn that formed part of this offering were carried by the waves of different places along the cliff side by the edge of the lake and when they had become mixed with the earth they sprouted forth as corn in the shape of a swastika. At the time when a monastery was later founded there it was called Yangdrung "swastika". In the 11th century the mahasiddha Naropa came to this place and the cave where he resided and meditated is still to be seen today. Then Rinchen Zangpo, the Translator came and built many temples and stupas and so the teachings of the Kadampa School came to flourish greatly there. Thereafter, for many years the monastery was administered by the Red Hats order of the Tibetan Buddhism., but later it was taken over by Digungpa order. Then the rituals and observances of the Digung Kargud School were introduced and the monastery received the name of Yangdrung Tharpaling.

We return to Uletokpo by lunch time.

Afternoon is at leisure for nature walks . Alternatively, your 24x7 guide would be happy to walk you to the neighbouring Mangyu village (3hrs). This would be another opportunity to witness traditional Ladakhi country life unchanged from time immemorial. We will interact with locals and also learn more about Ladakhi living.

Trekking in The Himalayas

Trekking in The Himalayas
Day 08: Uletokpo / Lamayuru / UletokpoA half day excursion through paradise as we visit Lamayuru. Every twist and turn brings to you new vistas of natural beauty. But, wait till you get to the 'Lamayuru Moonland'. We look down on this landscape which appears to be a dusty surface of the Moon itself with craters & hills . The snow rising in the backdrop of this sandy script reminds you that you are in Ladakh.

Lamayuru monastery popularly known as, "Yangdrung Gomp" is situated 126 km west of Leh, on the Leh - Srinagar highway. In ancient times there was a huge lake in this place. The great saint Nyimagung, made a prophesy saying: " May a monastery be founded in this place" and he then offered a votive water offering to all the naga serpent spirits who were the guardians of that place. The grains of that corn that formed part of this offering were carried by the waves of different places along the cliff side by the edge of the lake and when they had become mixed with the earth they sprouted forth as corn in the shape of a swastika. At the time when a monastery was later founded there it was called Yangdrung "swastika". In the 11th century the mahasiddha Naropa came to this place and the cave where he resided and meditated is still to be seen today. Then Rinchen Zangpo, the Translator came and built many temples and stupas and so the teachings of the Kadampa School came to flourish greatly there. Thereafter, for many years the monastery was administered by the Red Hats order of the Tibetan Buddhism., but later it was taken over by Digungpa order. Then the rituals and observances of the Digung Kargud School were introduced and the monastery received the name of Yangdrung Tharpaling.

Afternoon is at leisure for nature walks . Alternatively, your 24x7 guide would be happy to walk you to the neighbouring Mangyu village (3hrs). This would be another opportunity to witness traditional Ladakhi country life unchanged from time immemorial. We will interact with locals and also learn more about Ladakhi living.

Day 09: Uletokpo / Alchi / Leh The village of Alchi in lower Ladakh is to be considered one of the most important cultural sites throughout the Himalayas. Consisting of four separate hamlets, the village contains numerous historic monuments of different ages and in various states of repair, the oldest and most famousof which is a monastic complex. The 1,000-year-old three-storied Himalayan temple, with its unique murals and iconography, is a fragile wooden structure. Confirmed a World Heritage site by UNESCO, this is one of only four surviving monasteries of the 108 founded by the Great Translator, Lotsava Rinchen bZangpo in the later 10 th and early 11 th century. The temple preserves some of the finest examples of Kashmiri art of the period

Following the tour of Alchi, we continue drive to Leh and get there by lunchtime. Upon arrival, transfer to your Hotel Spic n Span. The afternoon is at leisure and you may wish to walk into the bustling bazaar or catch up with your reading and postcards.

Trekking in The Himalayas

Trekking in The Himalayas
Day 01: Arrival / CochinLate night arrival. Meeting and assistance upon arrival as our representatives welcome you and escort you to your car.

Whilst the room keys and check-in is organized, our representative would introduce the tour to you and hand over the documents to you.

Welcome to India, or as we say 'atithi devo bhava' (the guest is an incarnation of God). Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you!

Day 02: Delhi / Leh (9W 609 - 0540 / 0655 Hours)Early morning transfer to the airport to board your flight to Leh

On arrival the advice is to lie down for a day, until your body catches up with the altitude.

Day free for leisure & independent activities

Later in the afternoon, you may gently stroll out to visit Leh's wide street bazaar that runs east-west. Together with the labyrinth of adjoining side streets and alleys, the bazaar is the center of business and shopping -- particularly for visitors who find the plethora of antiques (and not-antiques) shops worth checking out. The bazaar is an incredible example of traditional Ladakhi lifestyles. Watch out for the pavement vegetable sellers and the traditional homes that exist on top of the stores which sell only the very basic provisions

Day 03: Leh / Shey / Thiksey / Hemis / LehThis morning we proceed on a guided tour of Shey, which is a small town in comparison to Leh. Shey Palace was built in early 17th century AD by Deldan Namgyal as a memorial for his father, Singay Namgyal. The palace houses a three storey copper statue of Buddha Shakyamuni. Overlooking the Shey palace are the ruins of the fort built by the first king of Ladakh, Lhachen Spalgigon. Shey also has a very large scattering of stupas all across its landscape

From here we drive to Thiksey Gompa (monastery), it is located 17 km on the main highway from Leh in the direction of Manali. The present day monastery founded by Paldan Sherab, overlooking the village below, was not the original location. It was originally built at Stakmo. This monastery hosts the festival of Thiksey Gustor.

Later we drive to Hemis Gompa (monastery) which is the most important and the richest Gompa in the whole of Ladakh and is dedicated to Guru Padama Sambhava the great Indian teacher & philosopher. This monastery located among the beautiful landscape of the Hemis National Park was founded in 1630 AD. It is located at a distance of 45km from Leh and is one of the most popular monasteries visited by travelers. It is also famous across the world for the Hemis Festival hosted by it.

Evening we drive back to our hotel in Leh

Incredible Water Sports Destination

Incredible Water Sports Destination
Day 08: Bangaram / Agatti Agatti / Cochin (IC 501 - 1115 / 1250 Hrs)Morning launch transfer to Agatti airport to board a flight to Cochin

Meeting and assistance upon arrival and transfer to your hotel Brunton Boatyard

Rest of the day is at leisure for your independent activities

Day 09: Cochin / Departure Transfer to the International airport to connect your onward flight back home.

On The Buddha's Footsteps

On The Buddha's Footsteps
Day 01: Arrival / DelhiLate night arrival. Meeting and assistance upon arrival as our representatives welcome you and escort you to your car.

Whilst the room keys and check-in is organized, our representative would introduce the tour to you and hand over the documents to you.

Welcome to India, or as we say 'atithi devo bhava' (the guest is an incarnation of God). Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you!

Day 02: Delhi
Following a leisurely breakfast we will drive to Akshardham Temple.

Akshardham Temple is situated along the bank of the Yamuna River, adjacent to New Delhi. It is a large complex of temples made of pink sandstone and white marble. The Akshardham Temple was built by the Swaminarayan sect as a spiritual center of prayer and learning and as a resource center for the study of Indian Culture.

Spread over 30 acres of the Eastern Bank of the Yamuna, the Akshardham Temple is a synthesis of Indian architectural styles. The design of the Akshardham Temple is inspired by temples from different parts of India. The sources include the temples of Badrinath in North India, Somnath in West India and Konark in East India. With a complex of temples and shrines set amidst sprawling lawns, prayer halls and spaces for meditation and communal gatherings, the Akshardham Temple is a new landmark in the National Capital Region. The Akshardham Temple is a religious and cultural highlight of Delhi.

Day 03: Delhi / Varanasi (9W 723 - 1040 / 1150 Hrs)

Morning transfer to the airport to connect your flight to Varanasi

Meeting and assistance upon arrival and transfer to your hotel Taj Ganges

Varanasi is quite possibly the world's oldest living city. Religious artifacts link it to the sixth century B.C. Said to be founded by Shiva, Varanasi's Vedic affiliation goes back to the beginning of time. It is also a city of many names. The present name, Varanasi (derived from the names of two nearby rivers) is mentioned in the Mahabharata. The ancient name is Kashi, the City of Light. To the devout it is also called Kashika, the shining one, referring to the light of Shiva. Many others prefer the anglicized Benares. Revered by Hindus, Buddhists and Jain alike, Varanasi is considered the holiest city in all of India. It is presided over by Shiva in his manifestation as Vishwanatha, Lord of the Universe. Buddha delivered a sermon in nearby Sarnath and Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, lived in Varanasi. As a result, more Indians will make a pilgrimage to Varanasi in their lifetime than any other place.

This afternoon we take a short trip to the Buddhist city of Sarnath .It is here that the Buddha preached his first sermons after attaining enlightenment.

Evening, we visit the ghats of Varanasi to witness the performance of Ganges Aarti. We enjoy a special evening cruise on the Ganges. See the Hindu devotees performing the "Puja" with lighted lamps. The view is very mesmerizing and the ambience is spectacular in the backdrop of the beating of cymbals and bells as well as the incessant chantings. Later return to the hotel

Spirit Of South India Tours

Spirit Of South India Tours
Day 01: Arrival / Chennai Chennai / Mahabalipuram (70 kms - 90 Minutes)Late night arrival. Meeting and assistance upon arrival as our representatives welcome you and escort you to your car.

Whilst the room keys and check-in is organized, our representative would introduce the tour to you and hand over the documents to you.

Welcome to India, or as we say 'atithi devo bhava' (the guest is an incarnation of God). Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you!

Day 02: Mahabaipuram / Kanchipuram / Mahabalipram (60 Kms)
Following a leisurely breakfast, we will tour Mahabalipuram

Mahabalipuram is famous for its shore temples. The sculpture here is particularly interesting because, instead of Gods & Goddesses, the sculpture shows scenes from contemporary day to day life - women milking cows, pompous dignitaries, young girls priming and posing in street corners or swinging their hips in artful come-ons. Mahabalipuram is an easy going village of essentially two streets and positioned at the foot of low lying boulder strewn hill where most of the fascinating temples and the rock cut carvings are to be found. It affords a wonderful combination of an excellent beach, good seafood and the fascinating remains of an ancient Indian Kingdom.

Later we will have an excursion of Kanchipuram

Kanchipuram is a Hindu Holy City and capital of the Pallava dynasty from the 7th to 9th centuries AD, is renowned for temples and silk, and you will see plenty of both. The temples range in date from the 8th to the 17th century. The latest building was impressive in its size, the height of its gopuram, the intricacy of its carvings and wealth of colour, but, the earliest temples, of golden sandstone, are more aesthetically pleasing, the only colour provided is by a flock of ring-necked.

Across the road is a workshop where men sit at a loom, weaving fabrics that you will recognise immediately as "Madras cotton". However, Silk-weaving takes place on a grander scale than the cotton-weaving in this town dotted with cottage workshops. You could visit a factory where all the processes of spinning, dyeing and weaving take place. Of special note would be exquisite wedding saris made to order - the silk is heavily interwoven with gold thread. The sari and blouse are woven together so as to ensure a perfect match. From here we continue our ride to Mahabalipuram

Day 03: Mahabalipuram / Pondicherry (113 Kms - 3 hrs)
Morning we will drive to Pondichery

Upon arrival check into your hotel Le Dupleix

Afternoon, proceed on a tour of the city. More than anything else, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, where Sri Aurobindo and the Mother lived for the most parts of their lives, is a major attraction of this little city. The Pondicherry Museum is home to some of the most exquisite collections on architecture and sculpture. Pondicherry also has a pleasant beach alongside promenade and historical monuments. Some of the other interesting sites includes the Bharti and Bharthidasan Memorial museums and the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Spirit of South India

Spirit of South India
Day 04: Pondicherry / Chidambaram / Kumbakonam / Darasuram / Gangaikonda / Thanjavur (170 Kms - 8 Hours including tours en route)Morning we will drive to Thanjavur enoute we will visit Chidambaram, Kumkakonam, Darasuram & Gangaikonda.

Chidambram is in between two rivers in a 40 acres temple-complex, it is one of the oldest and magnificent temples of the South. Shiva Natrala or the Dancing Shiva stands in his cosmic dance pose in the golden rooted sanctorum. Flanking the temple are 108 sculptured illustrations of Bharat Natya Shashtra. In Akash Lingam hidden by a veil, lies the real secret of Chidambaram. Kumbakonam is flooded with temples of large size. There are as many as sixty temples, in and around Kumbakonam within 40-km of radius. Of the many temples in Kumbakonam, the oldest Shaiva fane is the Adikumbeshwara and the oldest Vaishnava fane, the Sri Sarangapani.

Darasuram is a 'Sculptor's dream in stone', musical pillars, mandapam in the shape of a chariot, a wealth of sculpture and painting are synonymous with Airavateshvara Temple. The temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, is a well-preserved example of 12th century Chola architecture. Darasuram is an ancient town about 380 kms south of Chennai in Tamil Nadu and also boasts a silk weaving centre. The original name of Darasuram was Rajarajapuram, which later got corrupted into Darasuram.

We drive through the tropical mountains to Gangaikonda through the Coleroon river delta.. The ancient town of Gangai Konda Cholapuram in Tamil Nadu is an hour's drive from Chidambram. It was the capital of the Cholas till their fall in the 13th century. This place is well known for the Gangai Konda Cholapuram temple which was built in 11th century, to commemorate Chola King's conquest up to the Gangetic plain. The temple is one of the very ancient temples of Tamil Nadu, built in the Chola style. The temple is lavishly sculpted with beautiful stone sculptures including a dancing Ganesha, a lion headed well and a stunning freeze depicting Rajendra being crowned by Siva and Parvati.

Day 05: Thanjavur / Srirangam / Trichy (65 Kms - 2 hours)Morning tour of the Tanjavur Palace. It has huge halls, spacious corridors, observation & arsenal towers and a shady courtyard. Though many sections of the palace are in ruins restoration work has been taken up. The palace houses a library, a museum and an art gallery. The Royal museum displays many items from the kings who ruled the place in past. The eclectic collection of royal memorabilia can fascinate any visitor. The Royal cloths, hunting weapons, the head gears and many more such items are enough to catch the attention of any one. There are two Durbar halls where the rulers held public meetings. Though they have not been renovated, they are in good shape.

The Nayak hall of the palace is occupied by the Art Gallery. This gallery has an excellent collection of artifacts from the Chola dynasty during the 8th and 9th century. The bronze and granite statues reflect the height of craftsmanship obtained during those days.
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