Maha Kumbh Haridwar 2021 Tour Package

The Kumbh Mela also happens to be the biggest gathering in history, attracting 70 million pilgrims! From this incredible event comes a powerful and uplifting message of harmony, unity and peace for all humanity.

Kumbh Mela is the largest religious gathering in the world. According to astrologers, the ‘Kumbh Fair’ takes place when the planet Jupiter enters Aquarius and the Sun enters Aries. Kumbh Mela is a sacred Hindu pilgrimage that takes place at the following four locations of India: Prayag, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik. 

Maha Kumbh Haridwar

Kumbh Fair is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the lucky one which is held after twelve years. The crowd and confusion of buyers and sellers, the native groups in every imaginable costume. Some shine in cloths of gold, surrounded by followers splendidly arranged, others are less expensively but picturesquely dressed, and many are half or full naked or wildly clad.

Maha Kumbh HaridwarThe mélange of priests, soldiers, religious mendicants, half beggars-half bandits, with a smattering of Europeans, exhibit all together an exotic display unique in the entire world. To watch the Kumbh Mela processions is to witness the march of the ages. As the holy saints pass by on their various and sundry conveyances — elephants, horses, palanquins, chariots, cars, and camels — they are continually transmitting waves of powerful shakti (energy) to all the people who witness this awe-inspiring and most auspicious event. Devotees are overwhelmed by the palpable spiritual vibrations that pervade the entire atmosphere.

Here are the bath dates for the 2021 Maha Kumbh Mela.

Maha Kumbh Haridwar

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7N/8D Golden Triangle and Udaipur Tour

Udaipur

Explore the Three historic cities of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur along with the world famous City of Lakes, Udaipur.  This tour is for romantics at heart, writers and photographers who like like their holidays rich and interesting. Walk through stunning palaces, formidable forts, museums and famous monuments. Our 7N/8D Golden Triangle and Udaipur Tour combines the very best of North India in this enchanting journey.

Detailed Tour Plan

Day 01: Arrival Delhi

Delhi International Airport

You will be received by our representative at the airport, who will take you to the hotel. Overnight at hotel.

Day 02: Delhi
After breakfast, head on a guided tour of New Delhi.

humayun's tombQutub MinarIndia Gate

Some of the monuments you visit on your sightseeing tour include Bahai Temple (Lotus Temple), Humayun’s Tomb, the Qutab Minar, Connaught Place and India Gate. In the afternoon proceed on a sightseeing tour of Old Delhi, visit Jama Masjid, Red Fort, Raj Ghat and other memorials. You also take a ride on a cycle rickshaw.

Jama Masjid DelhiMahatma Gandhi's Memorial Delhi

Overnight at hotel.

Day 03: Delhi- Agra
After breakfast proceed to Agra.

Red Fort Agra

In the afternoon tour the massive Agra Fort, which was built by the Mughal emperor Akbar. The fort houses various beautiful palaces and mansions that you can visit on your tour of Agra Fort.

Taj-Mahal

In the evening visit Taj Mahal and watch the wonder monument change color as the sun sets. Overnight at hotel.

Day 04: Agra-Fatehpur Sikri-Jaipur
After breakfast proceed to the Pink City – Jaipur. En-route visit Fatehpur Sikri, the capital city of Akbar, the Mughal emperor. The city has some palatial buildings, a mosque and the shrine of saint Salim Chisti.

fatehpur sikri

Upon arrival in Jaipur, check in at hotel. Overnight at hotel.

Day 05: Jaipur
This is the day to take in the architectural beauty of the Pink City.

amber fort jaipur

You visit Amber Fort, City Palace, Jantar Mantar Observatory, Hawa Mahal and other important places on your sightseeing tour of Jaipur.

City Palace jaipurJantar Mantar jaipurHawa Mahal jaipur

Jaipur is rich with ancient monuments, which were built centuries ago. Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 06: Jaipur-Udaipur
After breakfast transfer to airport to catch a flight to Udaipur. Upon arrival check in at hotel. The city was founded by Maharana Udai Singh about four centuries ago.

pichola lake udaipur

On your tour you visit many important tourist places in Udaipur, which include the Jagdish Temple, the City Palace and Lake Pichola.

jagdish temple udaipurcity palace udaipurcity palace udaipur

Day 07: Udaipur-Delhi
The day is at leisure. Take independent walks in the bustling bazaars of Udaipur.

UdaipurUdaipur

You can also visit Shilpgram, the crafts village to shop for some exquisite handicraft items. Afterwards transfer to airport to catch a flight to Delhi.

Day 08: Delhi
Upon arrival check in at hotel. Refresh and relax. Later transfer to airport to catch a flight back home. Tour ends.

End of Tour

22N/23D Enchanting South India Tour

temples-at-Halebid

This offbeat tour of South India is an enchanting journey through the amazing forts, palaces and temples of South India. Experience the unique culture and colorful traditions. Explore the past, walk through the spice gardens, ride and elephant and cruise through the famous Kerala backwaters in comfort and style. This extended tour of South India is a must for couples, families and small groups.

Destinations – Bangalore – Hassan – Coorg – Mysore – Wayanad – Calicut – Cochin – Munnar – Madurai – Periyar – Kumarakom – Kovalam

Itinerary

Day 01 – Arrival in Bangalore Airport

Arrive in Bangalore Airport. Following Customs, Immigration formalities and baggage collection, an INDUS TRIPS Airport Representative will meet you outside the Arrival Hall, after which you will transferred to your hotel. Check-in time is 1200 Noon, early check-in would be subject to availability.

Bangalore Airport

Afternoon at leisure.

Overnight at Bangalore

Day 2 Bangalore – Shravanabelagola –  Hassan

After Breakfast at residing hotel proceed to Hassan enroute visit shravanabelagola, a famous Jain pilgrim site.

shravanabelagola

A 17m high monolithic statue of Lord Gomateshwara standing atop the Vindhyagiri hills makes this site world famous later drive to Hassan, the name of the city derives from the name of the goddess Hassanamba. The city was founded by Channa Krishnappa Naik in the eleventh century. The tenth to the thirteenth century, the beauty of Hoysala art could flourish.

Overnight at Hassan

Day 3 Hassan – Belur – Halibedu – Hassan

After Breakfast visit Belur and Halebedu,this day is dedicated to visit major art sites of the Hindus and especially the Hoysala dynasty.

Hoysala Temple at Belur

Located a few kilometres from Hassan, Belur is the first site built by the Hoysala dynasty (eleventh and twelfth centuries), a star.

Hoysala Temple at Belur

The many and admirable reliefs recount battle scenes between the Cholas Vishnuvardhana, neighboring Tamil Nadu.

temples-at-Halebid

A Halebid, Hoysaleshwara temple listed as a jewel in the quality of its sculptures. No detail is overlooked in this breath-taking panorama of the great Hindu monuments.

Overnight at Hassan

Day 04 Hassan – Coorg

After breakfast drive to Coorg, A hedonist’s paradise, Coorg is a dream you’ll never forget. Hills, old-world charm, coffee, amazing food, vivid cultures and warm hospitality – there’s something in the air of Coorg that makes all things beautiful.

Remainder of the day at leisure to relax.

Overnight at Coorg

Day 05 Coorg

After breakfast, visit to the Byalkuppe Tibetan settlements in India

Byalkuppe Tibetan settlements

The town is mainly inhabited by Tibetans, an estimated 7,000 Tibetans live in the settlements; these were established on land leased by the state government to accommodate some of the Tibetan expatriates who came to resettle in India after 1959. Bylakuppe consists of a number of agricultural settlements, colonies are close to each other, and has number of monasteries and temples in all the major Tibetan Buddhist traditions.

Most notable among them are the large educational monastic institution Sera Monastery, the smaller Tashilunpo Monastery (both in the Gelug tradition) and Namdroling Monastery (in the Nyingma tradition). Bylakuppe also has many Buddhist universities for advanced Buddhist practices.

Overnight at Coorg

Day 06 Coorg – Mysore

After the breakfast have a drive to the silk city “Mysore”.

Devaraja Market

In the evening if you feel free have a walk to Devaraja Market to see the eye-catching flowers, colour powders, vegetables, spices, incense oils, well arranged fruit market housed in an old heritage building.

Overnight at Mysore.

Day 07 Mysore

After breakfast, full day Sightseeing of “Mysore” – the heritage city.  In the morning, have a visit to the famous Mysore Maharaja Palace built in Indo Saracenic style with domes, turrets, arches and colonnades.

Mysore Maharaja Palace

This palace is the treasure house of exquisite art, carvings and paintings from all over the World. Then drive to Chamundi Hills to visit the famous Chamundeshwari temple and the Bull temple.

In the evening drive to Srirangapatna – an historic site, the capital city of great Muslim warrior Tipu Sultan.  The main attractions here are Ranganathaswamy temple, Tipu’s summer palace (Daria Dalut Bagh) and Gumbaz.

Palace-of-Tipu-Sultan

Overnight at Mysore.

Day 08 Mysore –Wayanad

After breakfast at residing hotel, proceed to Wayanad (141 kms ; 4.5 hrs ).

Karalad Lake

Wayanad set in the picturesque Western Ghats and mountains at an altitude of about 2000 meters above sea level. Littered with tropical rain forests, dense hills, rolling paddy fields, spice plantations and valleys, Wayanad is a hitherto undiscovered location offering breathtaking views.

Edakal Caves

Evening visit Edakal Caves, the Caves are two natural rock formations believed to have been formed by a large split in a huge rock. The carvings inside are extremely beautiful. A trek up the majestic Ambukuthi Hills is required to reach these caves. The aroma of coffee stays with you the entire way. It is truly a surreal experience as we step into the palms of history.

Overnight at Wayanad

Day 09 Wayanad – Calicut

After breakfast, drive to Calicut (220 Kms/05 Hours) en-route visit Pookode Lake, a scenic fresh water lake surrounded by forest, where you can take a gentle walk around. Upon arrival, check-in at your hotel.  Afternoon, proceed for visit to same famous places like Kappad beach, the place where Vasco da Gama set foot for the first time when he came to India on May 27, 1498. There is a small stone monument at the beach to commemorate that event.

Kappad beach

Pazhassiraja Museum is located on the East Hill. It is run by the State Archeological Department. Ancient mural paintings, antique bronzes, old coins, models of temples, and megalithic structures are on display here.Situated next to Pazhassirajah Museum is an art gallery displaying paintings of Raja Ravi Varma. On this beach are also situated Calicut Town Center, Lions Club, and a lighthouse.

Pazhassiraja Museum

Two crumbling piers, more than hundred years old, stand out into sea at Kozhikode beach. The beach is easily accessible from the city and provides a good view of the setting sun. The place also has a Marine Life Aquarium open whole day. Mananchira, which was the palace tank of King Mana Vikrama, has been now turned into a traditional architectural splendor with carpeted green grass and surrounded by ethnic buildings. The place also has a musical fountain.

mananchira calicut

Overnight at Calicut

Day 10 Calicut – Cochin

After the breakfast, drive to Cochin (190 Kms/04 Hours) Fort Cochin – the mix of culture of Portuguese, Dutch and British.

Jewish-Synagogue-Cochin

In the afternoon have a visit to 16th century Jewish Synagogue and Mattancherry palace also known as Dutch Palace.

Mattancherry Dutch Palace

Have a walk in the Jew Town.

Overnight at Cochin.

Day 11 Cochin

After breakfast, full day sightseeing of Cochin.  First, have a visit to Chinese Fishing nets and fish markets.

Kochi chinese fishnets

Near to this place, have a visit to St.Francis Church, where you can see the tomb of Portuguese sailor Vasco-da-gama, then to Santa Cruz Basilica – a catholic church and Dutch cemetery.

Kathakali-dance

In the evening, attend the traditional dance show of Kerala”Kathakali”.

Overnight at Cochin.

Day 12 Cochin – Munnar

After breakfast, drive to “Munnar”- the meeting point of three rivers. Munnar has beautiful landscapes with a view of natural tea plantations, waterfalls, greeny mountains, the villages on the sloppy areas.

tea gardens munnar

Upon arrival check-in at hotel

Overnight at Munnar

Day 13 Munnar

After Breakfast, visit Eravikulam park – the main inhabitant of the Eravikulam park is Nilgiri Tahr. Now the park has the largest known population of Tahrs existing in the world.

eravikulam national park munnar

Visit Tea museum followed by a tea plantation visit. :- The museum set up at the Nallathanni Estate of Tata Tea in Munnar The Tata Tea Museum diligently portrays the growth of Munnar tea estates, veritably conveyed through some of the displays like the rudimentary tea roller to the modern fully automated tea factory. Visitors to the museum can satiate their curiosity on various stages of tea processing and also learn a thing or two about the production of black tea. Have a visit to the famous Eravikulam National Park and Mattupatty Dam.  Have a walk in the spice markets.

Overnight at Munnar

Day 14 Munnar – Madurai

After breakfast, drive to Madurai (180 Kms/04 Hours) Upon arrival, check-in at your hotel. Afternoon, proceed for sightseeing tour of Madurai.

meenakshi temple madurai

Visit to pilgrimage site Meenakshi Amman Temple, historical monument Tirumalai Nayak Palace being the most prominent. Back to hotel relax for while. Post dinner take you to Meenakshi Temple once again to attend Madurai temple night ceremony.

Bedtime of the God

Overnight at Madurai.

Day 15 Madurai – Periyar

Post a leisure breakfast drive to Periyar and check in at hotel.

Spice Plantation Periyar

Periyar is on 1000 meters above the sea level and is rich in spice growing. 95% pepper in India is produced from here. Vasco de Gama was the first European to land at the Malabar Coast in 1498 A.D. in search of spices. Pepper in those days was exported against the equal weight of gold, so in the beginning of 15th century pepper was called black gold.

Later afternoon visits a Spice Garden to see different varieties of spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, clove, vanilla, ginger, tea and coffee growing in their natural environment.

Overnight at Periyar

Day 16 Periyar

Morning enjoy Elephant package which is 02-hour activity with Timber dragging, Elephant bath & shower, Elephant feeding, Photo session and command and a short Elephant joy ride.

Afternoon enjoy common boat ride at Periyar Lake which has a unique aquatic ecosystem the numerous little islets in the lake are witness to the intricate inherent interrelationship among the terrestrial aquatic and subterranean life forms. A boat cruise on the Lake is perhaps the best way to watch the wildlife in the reserve.

Overnight at Periyar

Day 17 Periyar – Kumarakom

After breakfast drive to Kumarakom, enjoy the real country side of Kerala with amazing Backwaters, Day at leisure today, relax in nature or enjoy the hotel amenities.

Kumarakom

Overnight in Kumarakom.

Day 18 Kumarakom – Alleppey Houseboat

After Breakfast at residing hotel drive to Alleppey to Board your Houseboat. The houseboat cruise takes you through the intricate maze of backwaters, mesmerizing and surprising you at every turn with its serene beauty & simple charm.

houseboat-from-Kumarakom-to-Alleppey

Enjoy the countryside of Kerala at its best. Soak your eyes & soul with array of coconut trees & endless paddy fields. You will also get chance to take a small stroll through the villages & interact with the locals. Have a cruise in the backwaters of “Vembanadu” Lake.  Your boat will be stopped at one place around 5 :30 PM and have a dinner in the houseboat (AC will work in night only and authentic Kerala Cuisine will be served)

Overnight on board

Day 19 Alleppey – Kovalam

kovalam kerala

After breakfast drive to Kovalam via Trivandrum, On arrival check-in at hotel and rest of the day at leisure / Overnight at Kovalam

Day 20 Kovalam

After breakfast, day at leisure (No Transportation envisaged)

Kovalam Beach

Overnight at Kovalam

Day 21 Kovalam

After breakfast, day at leisure (No Transportation envisaged)

Overnight at Kovalam

Day 22 Kovalam – Bangalore (by Flight)

Post Breakfast Drop at Trivandrum Airport to catch flight to Bangalore

Upon arrival at Bangalore Airport transfer to Hotel and Check-in

Afternoon, you will proceed for sightseeing tour of Bangalore – you will take a tour to Vidhan Soudha, the Nandi Temple, the Lal Bagh Garden and Iskon Temple. The rich heritage, beautiful gardens, magnificent palaces, broad avenues & sacred temples attracts the visitors.

bull temple bangaloreBangalores-botanical-gardens

Overnight at Bangalore

Day 23 Bangalore Airport Drop

After Breakfast drop at Bangalore Airport to Catch the flight to Home.

End of Tour

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13N/14D Treasures of South India Tour

meenakshi temple madurai

Bordered by sea from the 3 sides, South India attracts tourists with its lakes, beaches, waterfalls, forts, culture, temples, nature, cities and hill stations. This enchanting tour of South India is a cultural extravaganza which promises to deliver rich and unforgettable holiday experiences.

Destinations: Chennai – Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry – Tanjore – Trichy – Madurai – Thekkady – Kumarakom – Cochin – Goa – Mumbai

Itinerary

DAY 01:    ARRRIVE CHENNAI    BY: INT. FLIGHT

On Arrival at the Chennai airport, an INDUS TRIPS representative will receive you and transfer you to the hotel.

Chennai International Airport

Chennai – More than a city, Madras is a potpourri of impressions: a fistful of color, a whiff of jasmine, the rustling of silk. It brings to mind the subtle, intricate variations of classical music, the evocative grace of Bharatanatyam and a spontaneity of bronzed Dravidian faces. Stray images chase one another: bold colour drawn into the pleats of the Kancheepuram sari; a neat, swaying, ebony plait crowned with a spray of flowers; complicated and exuberant sculpture lacing temple walls. The gateway to the south and the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu, Madras or Chennai is a vibrant metropolis and a combination of old world charm and modern day efficiency.

Overnight at the hotel

DAY 02:   CHENNAI – MAHABALIPURAM     BY: SURFACE

Morning after breakfast at the hotel, proceed for sightseeing tour of Chennai visiting fort St. George, the seat of the state government and the legislative assembly. The fort was built in 1652 by the British East India Company. The fort contains the fort museum with its collection of memorabilia of the East India co.

fort st. george chennai

Also see St. Mary`s church the oldest surviving Anglican church in India. Very near to Fort St.George is the Indo Saracenic High Court building, said to be the largest judicial building in the world after the Courts of London.

Opposite the high courts lies the beautiful Marina beach. Proceed on to the Kapaleeswarar temple, a pure dravidian temple and one of the most ancient in Madras. Drive on to the Government museum with its galleries off chola Bronzes

kapaleeswarar temple chennai

Later leave for Mahabalipuram (58 kms / 1.5 hrs) enroute visiting Kanchipuram.

kailasanatha temple kanchipuram

Kanchipuram is the ancient capital of the Pallavas famous as a city of 1000 Temples and still has 124 shrines. The first temple dedicated to Shiva was built in the 7th and 8th century and has paintings on the walls. Temples of Ekambaswara, Kailasanatha, Sri Kamakshi and Varadarajaswamy are of interest. Kanchipuram is also famous for its silks.

On arrival proceed to check in at the hotel.

Overnight at the hotel

DAY 03:    MAHABALIPURAM – PONDICHEERY       BY: SURFACE

After buffet breakfast visit the magnificent rock temples and carvings in Mahabalipuram.

rathasmahabalipuramFive Rathas (chariots), ceremonial chariots, rock-cut monoliths, named after the 5 Pandavas.  The Shore Temple by the sea surrounded by gardens designed according to descriptions of the original layout from ancient times. Built in sandstone in the 7th century. Bhagiratha’s Penance is a bas- relief (27 to 9m) sculptured on the face of two enormous adjacent rocks, depicts, the penance of Arjuna, myraid characters from the Mahabharata, realistic life-size figures of animals, gods and saints watching the descent of the river goddess Ganga to earth.

arjuna's penance mahabalipuram

Later you will be driven from Mahabalipuram – Pondichery (120 kms / 04 – 05 hrs).

On arrival check in at hotel

Pondicherry was a French settlement that comprised Pondy, Yanam, Karaikal, and Mahe. There is a strong influence of French culture on Pondicherry town, especially on it’s architecture, a result of the centuries-old relations this place maintained with France.

pondicherry french colony 1

Afternoon sightseeing tour of Pondicherry visiting :-

Sri Aurobindo Ashram

auroville ashram pondicherry

The ashram was founded in 1920 when Sri Aurobindo reached Pondicherry, a French colony and put in place his ideas of peaceful community. The ashram, for long, was run by his French companion Mirra Alfassa, universally known as the Mother. The ashram houses the samadhi of Sri Aurobindo and the mother and open to everybody for fixed hours every day.

Pondicherry Museum

Situated in the Government Park, the Pondicherry Museum has a very good sculpture gallery and a section of archaeological finds from the Roman settlement at Arikamedu. There is also a French section charting the history of the colony. The objects include the four-poster bed in which Dupleix is believed to have slept. There is also a superb collection of the snail shells from the Pondicherry Region.

Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Built in the Gothic style, this massive church is one of the most beautiful churches in Pondicherry.

church of the sacred heart of jesus pondicherry

After visit return back to the hotel.

Overnight at the hotel.

DAY 04:      PONDICHERRY – TRICHY         BY: SURFACE

Buffet breakfast at the hotel drive to Tanjore (180 kms / 06 – 07 hrs) enroute visiting Chidambaram. Continue your drive to Tanjore & upon arrival, check-in at hotel.

The Nataraja Temple Chidambaram

Thanjavur:   was the ancient capital of the Chola kings whose origins, go back to the beginning of the Christian era. Power struggles between these groups were a constant feature of their early history, with one or other gaining the ascendancy at various times. The Cholas’ turn for empire building came between 850 and 1270 AD and, at the height of their power. Probably the greatest chola emperors were Raja who was responsible for building the Brihadishwara Temple (Thanjavur main attraction) and his son Rajendra- I whose navy competed with the Arabs for controls of the Indian Ocean trade routes and who was responsible for bringing Srivijaya under Chola control.

Bridhdiswara-Temple-tanjore

Proceed for sightseeing tour of Tanjore – was the capital of the Chola Empire from the tenth to the fourteenth centuries. A Chola king, Raja Chola, who held the throne from 985 to 1016, built the greatest of the empire’s 74 temples, the Brahadeeswarar, with its soaring tower over the inner sanctum. This tower rises more than 62 meters (200 feet). On its dome rests a single block of granite weighing 80 tons

Royal Museum Tanjore

Later drive to Trichy (55 kms / 01 hrs)

Tiruchirappalli is situated in center Tamil Nadu, on the banks of the Cauvery river. It is 320 km from Madras and 150 km from Madurai. It was a Chola citadel during the Sangam Age and was also briefly ruled by the Pallavas and the Pandyas. Today, Trichy is a blend of history, a pilgrim center and a thriving commercial city.

Rock Fort Temple

 Proceed for sightseeing tour of Trichy visit the ‘Rock Fort Temple which rises abruptly to a height of 273 ft. A steep staircase cut into the rock leads upto the Fort. At the first level are the remnants of a huge hall blasted into ruins in 1772. The next storey is the Mathrubhuteshwarer Shrine dedicated to Shiva. Finally at the top of the hill, the ‘Uchhi Pillayar Koil’ – a Ganesh Temple offering a commanding view of the city.

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple

Later you will visit Island of Srirangam. Tiruchirapalli, called Tiruchi or Trichy in Short, was built by the Nayak rulers of Madurai around a rock fort. Tiruchi is on the banks of the Kaveri river and is famous for the Ranganatha Temple at Srirangam, 10 km away. The Rock fort is the center of the city and is a remarkable structure. About 83 meters high, the fort dominates the landscape. The Uchi pillaiyer Temple dedicated to lord Vinayaka or Ganesha. A total of 344 steps, cut into the rock lead to the temple. There is also the Tyaumanaswami Temple of lord Shiva half way up the hillock. There are also two cave temples in the fort with sculptures dating back to the 6th and 7th centuries. The Sri Jambukeswara Temple, at Tiruvankkaikaval, Srirangam is an island in the Kaveri river, north of Tiruchirapalli. The Ranganathaswami Temple here, built around 13th-14th centuries has 21 towers and stone pillars covered with fine carvings.

Sri-Ranganathaswami-Temple-1

Overnight at hotel

DAY 05:      TRICHY – MADURAI        BY: SURFACE

After buffet breakfast you will be driven to Madurai (130 kms / 04 hrs)

Madurai – Situated on the banks of river Vaigai, Madurai is more than 2,500 years old and has a rich cultural heritage and history. Madurai was an important cultural and commercial centre even as early as 550 AD. Madurai was the capital city for the great Pandya kings.

On arrival proceed to check in at the hotel.

Afternoon you will proceed for the sightseeing tour of Madurai City.

meenakshi temple madurai

Madurai’s main attraction is the famous Meenakshi temple located in the heart of the old town, a riotously baroque example of Dravidian architecture with gopurams (towers) covered from top to bottom with a breathless profusion of multi-colored images of gods, goddesses, animals and mythical figures.   The temple complex is a city within a city and one can spend days exploring its labyrinthine corridors and halls.  

Thirumalai-Nayaka-Palace

Another attraction is the Thirumalai Nayak Palace (1636) restored by Lord Napier, dance drama concerts are performed daily.

Bedtime of the God

In the evening, you will once again proceed to the Meenakshi temple complex to witness the evening Aarti ceremony in which Lord Shiva is carried in a palanquin accompanied by musicians, temple singers and priests to the temple of his consort Parvati to spend the night.

Special note:Non- Hindus are not allowed inside the inner sanctum of the temple.

Overnight at the hotel.

DAY 06:               MADURAI – THEKKADY                           BY: SURFACE

After buffet breakfast you will proceed for Periyar (160 kms / 4.5 hrs).

The name Thekkady, brings to mind images of elephants, unending chains of hills and spice-scented plantations. Moreover, the flora and fauna of the Periyar wildlife sanctuary is absolutely thrilling. The wildlife sanctuary here is the natural habitat of a wide variety of animal species.

wildlife-sanctuary-of-Periyar

The Periyar Lake is a paradise for the nature lovers. It gives you an opportunity to observe the wild animals roaming in the jungle. The greatest attraction of Periyar Lake, however, is the herds of wild elephants that come down to play in the lake. Moreover, the Sanctuary Watch Tower situated in the forest interior gives you a panoramic view of the park.

Periyar

Other attractions of the sanctuary are the Sambhar, Bison, Spotted Deer, Tigers, Leopards, Malabar Flying Squirrels, Stripe necked Mongooses, etc. There are over 260 species of birds here including Nilgiri Wood Pigeons, blue-winged Parakeets, White bellied Tree Pies, laughing Thrushes and Fly Catchers.

On arrival proceed to check in at the hotel.

In the afternoon, proceed to Periyar National Park to view the wildlife by boat. Situated within the confines of the Western Ghats in the southern Indian state of Kerala, PeriyarNational Park and Tiger.

Periyar-Lake-Boat-Ride

Reserve is one of the most captivating wildlife parks in the world. The park has a picturesque lake at the heart of the sanctuary. Herds of elephant and sambar, gaur and wild pigs and wander down to the lakeside and can be observed from the launches that cruise the lake. Periyar also harbours the leopard, wild dog, barking deer and mouse deer.

Return to the hotel after your boat ride.

Overnight at the hotel.

DAY 07:    THEKKADY –  KUMARAKOM BY: SURFACE

After buffet breakfast you will proceed for Kumarakom (180 kms / 4.5 hrs)

On arrival proceed to check in at the hotel. 

Kumarakom-Bird-Sanctuary

Twelve kilometres to the west of Kottayam town lies a small village called Kumarakom. The village is a part of Kuttanad, the wonderland which lies below sea level. The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, spread over 14 acres of lush greenery and blue waters, is located on the banks of the Vembanad Lake. The sanctuary is home to local varieties of waterfowl, cuckoo, and water ducks, as well as migrating Siberian storks.

Rest of the day at leisure.

Overnight at the hotel.

DAY 08:   KUMARAKOM – ALLEPPY

After buffet breakfast you will proceed to board your houseboat.

Kettuvallom

Kettuvallams are huge, tapering barges which were traditionally used to cargo rice and other goods across Kerala. It has a portion covered with bamboo and coir serving as kitchen and rest rooms for the crew. These boats are entirely built without the use of nails. Planks of jack wood are woven together with coir ropes and coated with a black resin made from boiled cashew kernels

kettuvallamModern-day Kettuvallams called houseboats, carry finished bedrooms, modern toilets, cosy living rooms, a kitchen and even a balcony where tourists can laze on cushions. Sections of the carved roof of wood and plaited palms open out to provide shade and allow an uninterrupted view. Most of the boats are poled by local oarsmen. Some are powered by engines. Gliding on serene backwaters, visitors can witness an unspoilt Kerala

Overnight on board houseboat

DAY 09:    ALLEPPY – COCHIN

Morning disembark Houseboat and depart for Cochin by surface (90 Kms/2 Hrs).

Spice market Cochin

Cochin (Kochi) is spread across islands and promontories in a stunning location between the Arabian Sea and the Backwaters. The city was founded in 1341 when a flood created a natural safe port, which became the principal harbour for Malabar Coast’s spice trade. Cochin was on the main trade route between Europe and China. The rulers invited people of various religions to settle here, attracting the Jews and the Christians who built places of worship and their own communities.

Afternoon, you will proceed for the sightseeing tour of Cochin.

Jewish-Synagogue-Cochin

You will first proceed to Mattancherry and visit the oldest Jewish Synagogue (Closed on Saturdays & All the Jewish holidays)in India, built in 1568; it was destroyed by the Portuguese and rebuilt by the Dutch a century later.

Mattancherry Dutch Palace

You will also visit The Dutch Palace(Closed on Fridays)- which was built in 1555 and its coronation hall and murals at Ramayana are noteworthy features.

Kochi chinese fishnets

Chinese fishing nets. The cantilevered fishing nets line the entrance to the harbour mouth. Chinese traders are believed to have originally introduced them in the 14th century although, today parts of the nets are known by Portuguese names.

St. Francis ChurchYour next stop will be St. Francis Church, originally named after Santo Antonio and dedicated to him as the Patron Saint of Portugal, St. Francis Church is the first church to have been in the new European influenced tradition. Originally a wooden building was replaced by the present stone building. Vasco De Gamma died on the site in 1524 and was originally buried in the cemetery. 14 years later his body was removed to Portugal. The church was renamed St. Francis in 1663.

Kathakali-dance

In the evening, you will be taken to a Kathakali dance centre where you will witness the most elaborate of the dance forms in southern India. Here you will witness the artists readying themselves up with the make up for the final performance.   Kerala owes its transnational fame to this nearly 300 years old classical dance form, which combines facets of ballet, opera, masque and the pantomime. It is said to have evolved from other performing arts like Kootiyattam, Krishnanattam and Kalarippayattu. Kathakali explicates ideas and stories from the Indian epics and Puranas. Presented in the temple precincts after dusk falls Kathakali is heralded by the Kelikottu or the beating of drums in accompaniment of the Chengila (gong).

Overnight at the hotel.

DAY 10:    COCHIN – GOA     BY FLIGHT                       

After buffet breakfast, you will be transferred to Cochin airport to board your flight to Goa via Mumbai/Bangalore.

Goa Beach

Upon arrival in Goa, a representative will meet you and transfer you to your hotel

Overnight at the hotel.

DAY 11:  GOA

After buffet breakfast, you will proceed for sightseeing tour of Goa.

Take a half day tour of Goa, starting from the slopes of Altinho hill for a breath-taking view of Panjim and river Mandovi.

Goa Beach

Drive to Donapaula for a view of India’s largest natural harbour, Marmagoa. Then on to Old Goa, the spiritual heart of Portuguese Goa to visit Basilica of Bom Jesus wherein is enshrined the body of St. Francis Xavier in an ornate silver casket.

se cathedral goa

Also visit St. Cathedral; the biggest Church in the East, St. Catejan built like St Peter’s of Rome, the Church of Lady Rosary and St. Monica.

basilica of bom jesus goa

Return to your hotel after the tour.

Overnight at the hotel.

DAY 12:   GOA

After buffet breakfast, remainder of the day at leisure.

Overnight at the hotel

DAY 13:    GOA – MUMBAI         BY FLIGHT

After buffet breakfast, you will board the flight to Mumbai

Upon arrival, you will proceed for the sightseeing tour of Mumbai city.

Bombay, or Mumbai, is the capital of Maharashtra and the economic powerhouse of India. It’s the fastest moving, most affluent and the most industrialized city in India. Yet, once upon a time, Bombay was nothing more than a group of low-lying, swampy and malarial mud flats presented to the British by its Portuguese occupiers as a wedding gift in 1661.

Dhobi Ghats mumbai

During your tour you will be driven to the Dhobi Ghats for a photo stop, that is a huge open-air laundry, which makes an interesting viewing.

Tower of Silence mumbai

You will be then driven to Malabar Hill (drive past) via the Tower of Silence (drive past) – a round stone construction on which Parsis place their dead to be eaten by the vultures and Hanging Gardens which is built over Bombay’s reservoir.

Marine Drive Mumbai

You will be then driven along Marine Drive, the sea – Front Boulevard. It is also known as the Queen’s Necklace as in the evening, the breeze from the Arabian Sea comes over Marine Drive and as the streetlights on this U-shaped road light up, the view from south Bombay’s skyscrapers or from the exclusive residential area, is that of a Queen’s Necklace. 

Victoria Terminus mumbai

You will than photo-stop at Victoria Terminus which is now known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. This magnificent building was constructed for a period of 10 years. The construction work started in 1878 and was completed in the year 1888. The building was designed by F.W .Stevens, a famous architect of Britain. In 1882, on the occasion of New Year’s Eve this railway station started its operation in Mumbai.

Victoria Terminus is undoubtedly the Raj’s piece de resistance, Complete with carved stone friezes, stained glass windows and flying buttresses.

clock tower mumbaiYou will drive past Rajabai Tower is situated within the premises of the Fort campus of the Mumbai University. It is basically a clock tower that rises to a height of 85 m (280 ft) and houses the University Library. The top of the cupola is ornamented with sixteen statues depicting various Indian castes. The tower has been modelled after the Big Ben Clock Tower of the UK houses of Parliament, situated in London, and was built as per the designs of Sir George Gilbert Scott, an English architect. It was in March 1869 that the foundation stone of the Rajabai Clock Tower of Bombay was laid down.

mumbaiYou next stop will be to Gateway of India –the landmark of Bombay, which, was before the advent of air travel, the only gateway to India. It was built to commemorate the visit of King George and Queen Mary to India in 1911.

After sightseeing tour, you will have transferred to Mumbai airport for your final departure.

DAY 14  DEPARTURE MUMBAI  BY: INT FLIGHT

In early hours, you will check-out of your rooms and a INDUS TRIPS representative will meet you and transfer you to International airport to board your flight for back hom.

End of Tour

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9N/10D North East India Photography Tour

There is no other place in the world as colorful and diverse as the elusive North East India. It is a world stuck in time which is yet to open up to the world. For a photographer North East India presents amazing opportunities to capture stunning pics,  tribal way of life amidst natural abundance and richness of traditions and cultural heritage.

North East India is the easternmost region of India representing both a geographic and political administrative division of the country. It comprises eight states – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura.

It is a diverse cultural mix with 145 tribal communities of which 78 are large each with a population of more than 5000. Furthermore, there are about 220 languages spoken in the states of the Northeast. Interestingly, both language and culture of Northeast are a mix of Tibetan, South-East Asian and East Indian culture.

Arunachal Pradesh, also known as the land of rising sun receives the second ray of sunlight everyday on planet earth after Japan. The world’s largest river island, the Majuli and the world’s smallest river island Umananda, both are in the Northeast. The North-East India has been identified as one of the world’s seven richest biodiversity areas by Myers 2000

Arunachal Pradesh has prestigious 2nd position in terms of the total global tea production and the tea production from Assam may be attributed for this honor that India enjoys in the global tea market. The hottest chilli in the world, the Bhut Jolokia or Raja Mirchi, comes from this region. It’s like the Chuck Norris of spicy food.

Best time to Visit: November to May

9N/10D North East India Photography Tour

Kolkata – Lilabari – Ziro – Majuli Island – Mon – Jorhat – Kaziranga – Guwahati – Kolkata

Itinerary

Day 01: Kolkata – Lilabari (by Flight) – Ziro (By surface approx. 130 Kms/04 Hrs)

kolkataEarly morning transfer to airport to catch the flight to Lilabari. Arrive at Lilabari airport and drive to Ziro en-route visit Nyishi tribal villages.

Nyishi-tribal-women

On arrival, check in to the hotel. Overnight in the Hotel.

Day 02: Ziro

large-nose-plugsFull day is to visit the Hong/Hari/Hapoli and other Apatani Villages. It is the ambition of each woman to wear the largest possible nose plugs, which are made of wood. 

Both sexes extensively tattoo their faces.  Each sect has distinctive features. Their hats, clothes, ornaments, language and even physical features are totally different.

Apatani-Tribals

Overnight in the Hotel.

Day 03: Ziro-Majuli (By surface approx. 220 Kms/05 Hrs + Ferry crossings)

After breakfast drive to Majuli Island, En route cross the local tributaries of Brahmaputra River by locally made ferry.

Majuli-Island

On arrival in Majuli, check in to the lodge for overnight stay.

Day 04:  Majuli Island

Full day is to explore the Majuli Island.  The world’s largest River Island is famous for its twenty-two 15th Century “satras”. Visit Samuguri Satra famous for making Mask which are used during the live performance. Later visit Uttar Kamalabari Satra – the older Satra in Majuli Island.

majuli majuli

We will also explore the villages of Mishing tribes who live on this island & Dairy farmers village.

Day 05: Majuli Island-Mon (By surface approx. 210 Kms /06 Hrs + 1 ½ hrs. ferry crossing)

Early morning start your drive to Mon for 06 hours.  If lucky we may see tea workers working on the numerous tea gardens enroute. After going through local Police & Indian Army checking formalities at the border of Nagaland, we enter the state.

We will enter the first Naga village on the way to Mon to pay a visit to the Village Morung. On arrival, check-in to the resort.

Day 06: Mon

After breakfast, we drive to Longwa village (approx. 42 kms/2 Hrs), one of the biggest villages in Mon district, it is an interesting sight to see. En route we make stops to visit local market and admire scenic beauty.

Longwa-village As the village straddles an international boundary line, one half of the Angh’s house falls within Indian Territory, whereas the other half lies under Myanmarese control. However, the whole village is controlled by the Angh and the village Council Chairman. Another interesting feature of this village is that the Angh of the village has 60 wives and his jurisdiction extends up to Myanmar and Arunachal Pradesh. Our special local guide speaks local dialect so he will unable the interaction with tribe people. Angh’s House and Morungs are decorated with different trophies like different animals skulls.

Hongpoi-VillageAfter our picnic lunch we drive back to Mon and visit another Konyak Tattooed Head Hunters village – Hongpoi Village (approx. 15 kms/45 mins). We drive back to our resort by late afternoon and evening free to relax.

Day 07: Mon- Jorhat (By surface approx. 190 Kms/06-07 Hrs)

After breakfast drive to Jorhat. En-route visit Charaideo Maidam – 30 kms from main Sibsagar town, sacred burial grounds of Ahom kings and queens and is also the place of ancestral Gods of the Ahoms. Later visit Kareng Ghar – The Royal Palace of Ahom Dynasty who ruled this area for 600 long years before the British came.

Kareng GharAfter lunch continue your drive to Jorhat and on arrival transfer to your Tea resort for overnight stay.

Day 08: Jorhat-Kaziranga NP (approx. 90 kms/2-3 hrs.)

Morning after breakfast drive to Kaziranga National Park, famous for its one horn Rhinos. Arrive Kaziranga and transfer to your hotel. After lunch we go for our first Jeep safari in Central Zone. O/n hotel.

Kaziranga

Kaziranga National Park is spread over 850 sq kms across Golaghat, Nagaon and Sonitpur districts. Kaziranga National Park is also designated World Natural Heritage sites by UNESCO in 1985. Originally established as a reserve forest in 1908, Kaziranga was declared a sanctuary in 1916 to counter excessive poaching, especially of its most prized inhabitant, the rhinoceros.

NOTE: Kaziranga National Park is closed from 01st May TILL 31st Oct every year.

Day 09: Kaziranga NP

Early morning enjoy Elephant safari to visit central range of the park.

Kaziranga SafariReturn back to your hotel for breakfast and after breakfast another trip of Jeep safari in Western Zone of the park. Afternoon after lunch enjoys your Jeep safari into the park. O/n Hotel.

Jeep Safari Timings:

Morning Safari starts from 07.00 am till 09.30 am for 02 hours.

Afternoon Safari starts from 01.30 pm till 03.30 pm for 02 hours.

Elephant Safari Timings:

Central Zone of the park at 05.30 am and at 06.30 am for 40 minutes respectively.

Day 10: Kaziranga National Park – Guwahati – DELHI/KOLKATA (FLIGHT)

After breakfast drive back to Guwahati and straight transfer to airport to catch your flight to onward destination.

End of Tour

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3N/4D Khajuraho Orchha Tour from Delhi

Khajuraho

The Khajuraho Group of Monuments is a group of Hindu temples and Jain temples in Chhatarpur district, Madhya Pradesh, India, about 175 kilometres southeast of Jhansi. Khajuraho temples were built during the Chandela Empire between 950 – 1050 A.D. They are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Khajuraho temples are famous for their nagara-style architectural symbolism and their erotic sculptures.

khajuraho temple

The temples of Khajuraho are divided into three divisions – western, eastern and southern. The Western group is home to the largest and most typical Khajuraho temple, dedicated to Kandariya Mahadev. The images of Goddesses and Gods sculpted on the temple walls represent the many manifestations of the divine Shakti and Shiva, the female and male principles, the Yin and the Yang.

Orchha Palace
Orchha Palace

You will also visit Orchha which was established by Rudra Pratap Singh some time after 1501, as the seat of an eponymous former princely state of central India, in the Bundelkhand region. The town is steeped in history and is famous for its palaces and temples built in the 16th and 17th centuries.

3N/4D Khajuraho Orchha Tour from Delhi

Delhi – Jhansi – Orchha – Khajuraho – Jhansi – Delhi

The fastest and most convenient way to reach Khajuraho is by Flight, as there are no direct trains. Given below itinerary is by Train, via Jhansi, which is known for the heroic Lakshmi Bai, who was one of the leading figures of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and became a symbol of resistance to the British Raj for Indian nationalists.

Khajuraho

Itinerary Details

Day 1: Delhi – Jhansi [By Train]
Early morning pick up from your hotel & transfer to Railway station to board on the Shatabdi train to Jhansi. On arrival at Jhansi, transfer to the hotel. In the afternoon enjoy a half day city tour of Jhansi covering Fort, Museum and Rani Mahal.
Jhansi fort
Jhansi fort

Jhansi Museum

Jhansi Palace
Jhansi Palace
Return back to hotel in the evening for dinner & Overnight stay at Hotel.

Day 2: Jhansi – Orchha – Khajuraho [180 Kms]

After an early breakfast check out from the hotel and drive to Khajuraho via Orchha.

On arrival at Orchha, visit Orchha fort. As there are many temples within the fort, three are especially worth visiting. Visit Ram Raja, Chaturbhuj and Lakshmi Narayan Temple.

Orchha Fort
Orchha Fort
Lakshminarayan Temple Orchha
Lakshminarayan Temple Orchha

In the afternoon, a continue to drive to Khajuraho. On arrival at Khajuraho, check into the hotel. Enjoy dinner & Overnight stay at hotel in Khajuraho.

Day 3: Khajuraho

This morning after breakfast in the hotel proceed for full day sightseeing of Khajuraho visit Eastern & Western Group of Temple’s.
Khajuraho
Explore the light & sound show in the evening. Later, return back to a hotel for dinner & Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 4: Khajuraho – Jhansi railway station [180 Kms/05 hrs]

After an early breakfast leave from Khajuraho and directly drive to Jhansi Railway station to board the train for Delhi. On arrival at Delhi, transfer to Airport/Hotel for your next destination.
End of Tour

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4N/5D Ladakh Hemis Festival Tour from Delhi

Dressed in colorful, vibrant brocades with brightly decorated and richly adorned paper-mache masks the monastery lamas perform to a cacophony of drums, cymbals and long horns at the birthday celebrations of Guru Padamasambhava. Join us in Leh, the capital of the former Kingdom of Lakakh to discover, Buddhist gompas and monasteries perched on soaring hilltops, ruinous ancient palaces, snow peaked Himalayan landscapes and the local culture and ancient traditions of the annual Hemis festival.

Dates : 30June – 1st July 2020

4N/5D Ladakh Hemis Festival Tour from Delhi

Delhi – Leh – Delhi

Itinerary

Day 1: Flight from Dehli to Leh

Monday. Delhi – Leh. Early morning flight from Delhi to Leh. Flights can be booked with us or independently. Upon arrival to Leh onward transfer to your guesthouse where the remains of the day can be spent at leisure.

Leh

Ladakh is a vast highland desert sitting at 3524 metres above sea level, lying between the Karakoram and the Himalayan ranges characterized by a desolate moonlike landscape and snowy peaks.

Leh Palace leh ladakhThe town is still dominated by the now ruined Leh Palace, former mansion of the royal family of Ladakh, built in the same style and about the same time as the Potala Palace. The 28 000 residents of the the city are predominantly Buddhists and accordingly, Leh is the very much the heart and soul of Buddhist culture in the region. Overnight – Leh

Day 2: The Hemis Festival & city sightseeing tour

Hemis Gompa, is the biggest monastery in Ladakh and the site of the annual festival commemorating the birth of Guru Padamasambhava, who is said to have brought Vajrayana Buddhism to Bhutan and Tibet. Revered throughout the Himalayan ranges and considered the second Buddha, Guru Padmasambhava, the Lotus-born (popularly known as Guru Rinpoche, the Precious Master) was invited from India in the 8th century to conquer the dark and hostile forces transforming them into guardians and protectors of the pure dharma. In the process the guru brought Vajrayana Buddhism – a revelation of the complete and perfect path to awakening.

Hemis-monastery-ladakh

Followers believe that their path is the purest form of Buddhism with the goal of liberation from suffering and attainment of enlightenment. It is believed to be the path actually practiced by Buddha with the teaching indelible, even still today within the entire Himalayan region. This morning we make our way to the Hemis monastery (1.5 hrs drive), the largest and richest monastery in all of Ladakh. In the courtyard filled to capacity with local Ladakhis and pilgrims (at 9am) Guru Padamasambhava birthday celebrations will commence.

hemis-festival

A raised dais with a richly cushioned seat with a finely painted small Tibetan table is placed with the ceremonial items – cups full of holy water, uncooked rice, tormas made of dough and butter and incense sticks. A number of musicians play the traditional music with four pairs of cymbals, large-pan drums, small trumpets and large size wind instruments. Next to them a small space is assigned for the lamas to sit.

The festival highlight is the gathering of the lamas around the central flagpole performing the mystic mask dances (Chams) and sacred plays. Chams are essentially a part of Tantric tradition, performed only in the gompas that follow the Tantric Vajrayana teachings and where the monks perform tantric worship.

hemis festival ladakh

Dressed in colourful bright brocades with vibrantly decorated and richly adorned paper-mache masks (some extending over 1 metre in height) the masked dancers simulate combat between good spirits and evil demons to the cacophony of drums, cymbals and long horns. The crowd unites in uproarious song and dance when the dough idol of evil is destroyed by the leader of black hat dancers signifying that good has prevailed.

This afternoon offers a guided sightseeing tour of the town, dominated by Sengge Namgyal’s, nine storey palace. The colossal stone structure is one of the most captivating architectural ruins of the region. Built in traditional Tibetan style it sits on the foothills of the barren landscape. Constructed in the 17th century as the residential palace for the King to mark the reunifying Upper and Lower Ladakh.

Victory PeakAbove Leh Palace, on Namgyal Tsemo (Victory Peak) overlooking the town, are the ruins of the earliest royal residence at Leh a fortress type structure built by King Tashi Namgyal in the 16th century.

Visits will also be made to Sankar Gompa to view the image of Avalokitesvara, inset with turquoise and shown with 1000 heads, arms and feet and 100,000 eyes, Shanti Stupa – built to commemorate 2500 years of Buddhism and inaugurated by his holiness the Dalai Lama in 1985.

shanti stupa leh ladakhOvernight – Leh

Day 3: Time to Explore

Today offers free time for you to independently explore the area. You may wish to return to the Hemis Grompa today as the festival continues (on a smaller scale) with a program of music, song, dance and drama. Transportation to the monastery can be arranged locally should you require. If staying in town for the day considering visiting the Leh bazaar.

Leh-BazaarThe main sites to visit are the Jokhang, the new main Buddhist temple built in the 1980s by the Ladakh Buddhist association and an imposing mosque reflecting a mixture of Islamic and Tibetan architecture that accommodating more than 500 worshipers dating from the late 17th century situated opposite each other.

jokhang-temple

Overnight – Leh & Ladakh

Day 4: Shey and Thiksey Monestories, Stok Palace

Today offers guided tours of Shey and Thiksey monasteries and Stok Palace.

Shey Monastery

Shey monastery situated on a hilltop, 15km from Leh, was the summer palace of the royal family of the region. The monastery houses a two storey high-seated image of Buddha cast from copper and covered with gold leaf. It is also beleived that Kings of Leh were born here, in the monastery.

Thiksey-Monastery

Thiksey monastery is situated on a hilltop and the views of the green Indus valley from its rooftop are splendid. This monastery has a number of chambers full of statues and stupas. Courtyard murals are bright and this imposing structure is in many respects a replica of Potala Palace in Lhasa.

Stok-Palace-ladakh

Stok Palace now operates as a museum where in the Sengge Namgyal family heirlooms and relics are displayed. Overnight – Leh & Ladakh

Day 5: Leh to Delhi by flight

Friday. Leh – Delhi. Early this morning (dictated by flight times) we transfer to the airport for flight to Delhi arriving at approximately 8:30am. Later today you will be transferred to the airport for your onward international flight.

End of Tour

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4N/5D Hola Mohalla Sikh Festival Tour

Hola Mohalla Sikh Festival

Head north to the Punjab and attend the amazing Hola Mohalla Sikh Festival in Anandpur Sahib! Experience magnificent displays of horsemanship and exciting mock fighting (Gatka), witness the tremendous colors of the Sikh faith, including the stunning blue and orange blend of the Nehang Sikh Army.

Dates 10 March to 12 March 2020

11N/12D Hola Mohalla Sikh Festival Tour

Delhi – Anandpur Sahib – Kikar – Delhi

Itinerary

Day 1: Delhi

Welcome to India! Arrive into New Delhi and be transferred to our hotel. The remainder of the day can be spent at leisure exploring India’s capital. Overnight – Delhi

Days 2 – 3: Holla Mohalla at Anandpur Sahib

Delhi – Kangar Village. After breakfast on day 2 we climb aboard the Shatabdi Express train north to Chandigarh, passing through the picturesque state of Haryana which is blessed with lush green scenery and beautiful lakes and rivers. Upon arrival in Chandigarh we are driven to the tranquil Kikar Lodge in Kangar Village.

Kikar Lodge

This is our base for the next 3 nights, while we attend the prestigious Hola Mohalla festival in the nearby holy city of Anandpur Sahib. Hola Mohalla is an annual 3 day festival which occurs during the first lunar month of Chet.

Hola Mohalla Sikh Festival

We spend the remains of day 2 and day 3 at the Holla Mohalla Festival, where we’ll witness all the colorful festivities which include dramatic mock martial arts battles (known as Gatka), impressive displays of weaponry, archery and wrestling.

Hola Mohalla Sikh FestivalThere’s also music, poetry and prayers, singing and chanting, while food is served to pilgrims from all castes and creeds by women from the neighboring villages, who set up langars (community kitchens). This is impressive and humbling to watch as regardless of caste, all Sikh’s sit together.

Hola Mohalla Sikh Festival

There are also exciting horse riding displays from the Nahib Sikh Army where the riders gallop bareback, performing tricks like riding astride two horses. One of the main attractions at the festival are the Nehangs – a prestigious armed Sikh order who wear a striking blend of blue and orange, with twisted moustaches and staggeringly giant embellished turbans. Any keen photographers will have a whale of a time here with all the amazing sights and vibrant colors on show. Overnight – Kangar Village

Day 4: Kikar

Today is yours to spend at leisure. Anyone who wants to return to the Hola Mohalla Festival can do so, or there are plenty of other forms of entertainment. The lodge is surrounded by nature trails for any keen walkers and wildlife is here in abundance. Sporting activities include volleyball and badminton and there’s the opportunity to take a leisurely buffalo cart or tractor ride. Overnight – Kangar Village

Day 5: Delhi

Kangar – Chandigarh – Delhi. Today we travel back to Chandigarh and explore its wonderful Rock Garden. This unique attraction displays numerous sculptures made entirely from industrial and urban waste.

rock-garden-chandigarhLook out for sculptures made out of mudguards and marbles, broken bangles and brake pads or even handle bars and hubcaps! Next we head over to Sukhna Lake. This picturesque manmade lake is 3 km in length and is very popular with water sports fans and is a great place to relax and unwind. Early this evening we travel by train back down to Delhi.

Once back in Delhi we are transferred back to the airport for onward journeys. Tour end.

OPTION – Add on 6 days Golden Triangle tour of Delhi Agra Jaipur!

If you are coming to India for the first time, have a few more days available then you may consider adding a Golden Triangle Tour of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur to the above tour plan for a rich experience. This is the best option because the 3 cities have unique past, forts, palaces and museums which offer a unique insight into the past.

Day 6: Old Delhi

This morning We’ll enjoy a full day sightseeing tour of Delhi, taking in the impressive Red Fort, Jama Masjid – India’s oldest and largest mosque, Raj Ghat – the site of Gandhi’s cremation and more.

Red FortJama Masjid DelhiMahatma Gandhi's Memorial DelhiTonight, we enjoy Dinner at a restaurant specializing in classic Indian cuisine. Overnight – Delhi

Day 7: Taj Mahal

Delhi – Agra. Departing Delhi, we journey to Agra, once India’s Mughal capital. Here, we will visit the legendary Taj Mahal.

Taj-Mahal

Built entirely of white marble, the Taj Mahal has no peers. Continuing, we visit Agra fort, which boasts some of India’s finest Mughal buildings behind it’s fortified walls. Overnight – Agra

Day 8: Agra

Agra – Jaipur. En route to Jaipur, we visit the ghostly former Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri, abandoned due to lack of water.

fatehpur sikri

We enjoy lunch at Udai Vilas Palace in Bharatpur, before taking a walk through the nearby rural village Peharsar. Overnight – Jaipur

Day 9: Jaipur

amber fort jaipurAfter breakfast we travel to the 16th century Amber Fort.

Elephant ride to the fort

An exotic elephant ride transports us to the lofty fort, where we’ll enjoy a tour of this Rajput extravaganza.

City Palace jaipur Jantar Mantar jaipurLater in the afternoon we tour the City Palace, which boasts an interesting museum of regal attire and Jantar Mantar, an ancient astronomical observatory. Overnight – Jaipur

Day 10: Village life, rural India

Jaipur – Surajgarh/ Shekhawati region. Today, we drive to the semi-desert Shekhawati region.

beautiful-Havelis-of-the-Shekhawati-region

The small towns in this region became important trading posts, a lasting legacy of which are the beautiful painted havelis (mansions) constructed by wealthy merchants in the 18th and 19th centuries. Afternoon village walk and time to relax. Overnight – Surajgarh

Day 11: Surajgarh to Delhi

Shekhawati region – Delhi. Returning to Delhi, the latter part of the afternoon is free for you to relax or independently explore more of Delhi. Overnight – Delhi

Day 12: Delhi

Saturday. Hotel check out and included onward departure transfer to airport.

End of Tour

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14N/15D Jaisalmer Desert Festival Tour from Delhi

Jaisalmer Desert Festival

Join us on a Grand Rajasthan Tour – the ultimate trip through the Land of the Rajput Kings with the unique opportunity to experience the exciting spectacle of the Jaisalmer Desert Festival. As the drums of Rajasthan beat out aloud brightly adorned elephants with their mahouts and tassel laden camels and riders, colourful floats, singers, dancers and marching bands will waltz on by in the city’s annual street parade.

Dates: 7 Feb 2020 – 9 Feb 2020

14N/15D Jaisalmer Desert Festival Tour from Delhi

Delhi – Agra – Jaipur – Surajgarh – Bikaner – Jaislmer – Jodhpur – Ranakpur – Udaipur – Delhi

Itinerary

Day 1: Delhi

Welcome to India and the start of your holiday! Arrive Delhi, included transfer to hotel. Overnight – Delhi

Day 2: Sightseeing in Old & New Delhi

This morning, our Welcome Meeting takes place. We’ll then enjoy a full day sightseeing tour of Delhi, taking in the impressive Red Fort, Jama Masjid – India’s oldest and largest mosque, Raj Ghat – the site of Gandhi’s cremation and more.

Red FortJama Masjid DelhiMahatma Gandhi's Memorial Delhi

Tonight, we enjoy Dinner at a restaurant specializing in classic Indian cuisine. Overnight – Delhi

Day 3: The Taj Mahal

Departing Delhi, we journey to Agra, once India’s Mughal capital.

Taj-MahalHere we explore the legendary Taj Mahal. Built entirely of white marble, the Taj Mahal has no peers.

Red Fort AgraContinuing, we visit Agra fort, which boasts some of India’s finest Mughal buildings behind it’s fortified walls. We also visit a marble craftshop. Overnight – Agra

Day 4: Jaipur

Agra – Jaipur. En route to Jaipur we visit the stunning former Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri – Emperor Akbar’s vision in red sandstone.

fatehpur sikriWe enjoy lunch at Udai Vilas Palace in Bharatpur, before continuing our journey to Jaipur. Overnight – Jaipur

Day 5: Jaipur

This morning, we travel beyond Jaipur to the 16th century Amber Fort.

amber fort jaipur

An exotic elephant ride transports us to the lofty fort, where we’ll enjoy a tour of this Rajput extravaganza.

Elephant ride to the fort

Later in the afternoon we tour the City Palace, which boasts an interesting museum of regal attire and Jantar Mantar, an ancient astronomical observatory.

City Palace jaipur Jantar Mantar jaipur

Overnight – Jaipur

Day 6: Surajgarh – rural India

Jaipur – Surajgarh/ Shekhawati region. Today, we drive to the semi-desert Shekhawati region.

beautiful-Havelis-of-the-Shekhawati-regionThe small towns in this region became important trading posts, a lasting legacy of which are the beautiful painted havelis (mansions) constructed by wealthy merchants in the 18th and 19th centuries. Enjoy an afternoon village walk. Overnight – Surajgarh

Day 7: Bikaner

Surajgarh – Bikaner. Travelling west, our next stop is the 14th century desert town of Bikaner.

Bikaner

Once an important staging post on the great caravan routes, much of the atmospheric old town which we will explore is still encircled by massive fortified walls. Within these walls are havelis, artisan shops and people going about their daily lives.

junagarh-fort-palace

We also visit the spectacular Junagarh Fort & museum, built between 1587 and 1593 during the rule of Rai Singh. Overnight – Bikaner (B)

Day 8: Jaisalmer

Bikaner – Jaisalmer. Driving through the Rajasthani Thar desert we arrive at the medieval caravan outpost of Jaisalmer, one of the jewels in India’s crown. Exquisite wood and yellow sandstone buildings dot the town and within Jaisalmer Fort are homes, hotels and shops hidden in ancient lane ways.

Jaisalmer FortLate afternoon and evening at lesiure. Overnight – Jaisalmer

Day 9: Jaisalmer Desert Festival

Jaisalmer Desert Festival

Bright and early this morning we take a guided tour of the Jaisalmer Fort. Today we have a wonderful opportunity to experience the exciting spectacle of the golden city’s grand parade. As the drums of Rajasthan beat out aloud brightly adorned elephants with their mahouts and tassel laden camels and riders, colourful floats, singers, dancers and marching bands will waltz on by in the city’s annual street parade.

Jaisalmer Desert Festival

Afterward we’ll wait in readiness at the First Gate of mammoth stone fort. Here, with the honey colored fortress as a backdrop there will be plenty of photo opportunities as the procession marches by. Then, together we can walk alongside the festival and street parade as it weaves its way through the city streets of the Rajputs to gates of the town stadium.

Jaisalmer Desert Festival

We too will enter the stadium (scheduled to arrive at 12 noon) and watch the festival events for an hour or so before continue with our city sightseeing tour (time permitting).

jaisalmer

Later in the afternoon after time to freshen up and have some lunch we enjoy a camel ride across the vast, rolling sand dunes of the desert. Overnight – Jaisalmer

Day 10: Jodhpur & the Mighty Thar Desert

Jaisalmer – Jodhpur. An interesting drive through increasingly varied scenery takes us to Jodhpur, a town at the edge of the mighty Thar Desert.

mehrangarh-fort-jodhpurDominated by Meherangarh Fort which sits majestically atop a hill, Jodhpur is known as the Blue City.

Blue City Jodhpur

This is because of the coloured houses in the old town, painted indigo. We’ll enjoy some touring in this colourful Rajasthani city, taking in the mighty fort and bazaars of the old city which are gathered around the city’s tall clock tower. Overnight – Jodhpur

Day 11: Ranakpur

Jodhpur – Ranakpur. Leaving Jodhpur, we drive to Ranakpur, a small town tucked away in a remote valley and famed for its beautiful 14th century Jain temples.

Ranakpur Jain TempleWe’ll enjoy some exploration here and time to relax at our hotel. Overnight – Ranakpur (B)

Days 12 – 13: Ranakpur – Udaipur – picturesque Lake Pichola

Continuing south, we arrive at Udaipur. An oasis of cool, with its massive lake and Venetian-like appearance, Udaipur is one of the most romantic towns in Rajasthan.

pichola lake udaipur

A favorite amongst travelers, Udaipur is crammed full of palaces and temples. During our stay we’ll enjoy a cruise on Lake Pichola, plus touring of the imposing City Palace, not to mention free time to explore and perhaps shop for colorful Rajasthani souvenirs and Indian spices.

jagdish temple udaipur Taj-Palace-Hotel-Udaipur

Overnight – Udaipur

Day 14: Fly back to Delhi

Udaipur – Delhi. Departure transfer to the airport to board a morning flight to Delhi / Mumbai, see note below. The afternoon is free for you to relax at the hotel or to head out and further explore Delhi. Overnight – Delhi

Day 15: Delhi

Saying goodbye to our new found friends, our tour ends, hotel check-out and included onward transfer to airport.

End of Tour

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4N/5D Pushkar Camel Fair Tour from Delhi

Pushkar Camel Fair

Discover the fascinating spectacle of cattle trading, religious pilgrimage, celebration and festivity at Pushkar Camel Fair. Aside from the serious business of livestock trading, there’s the longest mustache competition, a camel beauty pageant, a cricket match, musicians, dancers, magicians and snake charmers hundreds of authentic stalls to explore.

Dates: 22 – 30 Nov 2020

4N/5D Pushkar Camel Fair Tour from Delhi

Delhi – Pushkar – Ajmer – Delhi

Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Delhi

Welcome to India and the start of your holiday!We will pick you from the Airport and take you to a pre booked hotel. After checkin, relax for a few hours.

Jama Masjid Delhi

In the afternoon we will take you on sightseeing tour of Old Delhi. Explore the colourful sights of Delhi. Opt to visit the imposing Red Fort, Jama Masjid – India’s oldest and largest mosque, Raj Ghat – the site of Mahatma Gandhi’s cremation. Overnight – Delhi

Day 2: Delhi – Ajmer – Pushkar Camel Fair

This morning is an early start as we board the Ajmer Shatabadi express bound for Ajmer. Seated in the air conditioned chair class carriage and leaving the city behind we look out upon a landscape of golden desert studded with green fields of agriculture and peaceful villages. Upon arrival to Ajmer a short drive leads us to our accommodation, a kilometer from the uproarious gathering of the Pushkar Camel Fair.

pushkar fair

For the next few nights we bed down in our comfortable Swiss style permanent tented camp. Each high roofed tent with solid flooring, proper beds and linen offers the facilities of air conditioning, en suite with a bath and hot and cold running water.

Pushkar-Camel-Festival

After lunch and time to freshen up we head over to the frenzy of activity and riot of colour that is associated Pushkar – possibly the world’s largest camel fair. Attracting some 300 000 visitors, 40 000 camel, cattle and horses the fair draws sightseers, pilgrims, nomads, breeders, herdsmen, farmers and traders with their accompanying family, livestock and wares from all over the state of Rajasthan. Pushkar is an authentic cultural spectacle that’s totally unique and promises to be good fun. Overnight – Pushkar

Day 3: Camel judging, cricket, music & magicians

pushkar fairToday offers a glimpse at the serious business of livestock trading and the judging of the best bovine and came lids in each category. There are also more light hearted activities on offer such as the camel running races, tug of war, awards for the best dressed camel and a beauty pageant. Take a look in at the longest moustache competition or keep score at the cricket match between the local Pushkar club and a random assortment of tourists.

There are also vibrant folk music and dances, magic shows and various other traditional entertainment and competitions as well as hundreds of authentic stalls to explore, packed with jewelry and textiles from the surrounding areas.

pushkar fair

This evening can be spent watching the various entertainments offered at our camp, outdoors and under a blanket of stars. Overnight – Pushkar

Day 4: Pushkar – bathing at the ghats

Pushkar LakeToday marks the start of the Kartik Poornima, a Hindu holy day celebrated on the full moon or the fifteenth lunar day in the month of Kartik. According to the Hindu scriptures the lake relates to Brahma, the god of all creation and is one of the five most holy Hindu pilgrimage sites in India.

Pushkar Lake Video

Pushkar Market Video

Savitri Mata Temple Pushkar

The Brahma temple here is the most important temple in Pushkar, and is in fact the only Brahma temple in the whole of the country.

brahma temple pushkar

On this day of celebration countless pilgrims swathed in colourful fabric converge for a holy dip in the sacred lake before the morning sun has cast its first rays on the earth. Surrounded by 52 bathing ghats (a series of steps leading to the lake), throngs of devotees line the water’s edge praying to the deities before washing away the sins of a lifetime.

pushkar fair

After all sin has been absolved, the atmosphere is electric and the carnival, music, dancers, magicians, acrobats, snake charming, horse and camel racing continues. If all the excitement becomes to much and you’re in need a breath of fresh air remember you can always take stroll and explore any one of the 500 Hindu temples surrounding the lake and the local area.

pushkar fair

This fascinating spectacle of cattle trading, religious worship, celebration and festivity at Pushkar during this time of year is globally famous. Your baggage allowance may not allow you to take home a camel, but you’re sure to find something truly unique and authentic here at the annual fair. Overnight – Pushkar

Day 5: Ajmer Sherif and onward to Delhi

Pushkar – Delhi. This morning offers free time before visiting the town of Ajmer Sherif. The most notable site is the resting place of the Sufi seer, Khwaja Muin-ud-din Chisti who died here in 1236 after six days of fasting and praying. Possibly the most important Muslim shrine in India fervent pilgrims patronize the shrine as did many of the Mughal rulers including that of Emperor Akbar.

Ajmer Sharif

Leading off the Dargah Bazaar we enter the shrine via a gateway of immensely beautifully intricately carved silver doors. In the courtyard stands two huge cauldrons with capacity of 2240 kg and 4480 litres! That’s a lot of chicken soup!

Onward to the station we board our train to Delhi arriving at 22:45 in the evening and transfer to the airport for your onward international flight.

End of Tour

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