Mumbai - Maheshwar - Bhopal - Gwalior - Delhi - Chandigarh - Pragpur - Dharamshala - Amritsar - Haridwar - Rishikesh - Delhi
08 Sep 2019 - 29 Sep 2019 ** Indicates tentative date.
2 people in 1 Room (s)
Mumbai , Indore , Maheshwar , Bhopal , Gwalior , Delhi , Chandigarh , Paragpur , Dharamshala , Amritsar , Haridwar , Rishikesh , Dehradun
After you clear Immigrations and Customs you will be met and greeted and transferred to the Hotel where room is booked for immediate occupancy on arrival for your overnight stay. Rest of the Day is at leisure to unwind and relax before you start on the special tour of Hidden India and the Back roads of the Himalayas tomorrow, starting with a morning flight to Indore.
Transfer early morning from the Hotel to the Mumbai airport for your onward flight to Indore. After arrival transfer to a hotel in Indore for breakfast and to freshen up, later continue your drive to Maheshwar 110 kms and Check into the Hotel for your overnight stay. Lunch at leisure on your own - remainder of the afternoon/evening is free. Overnight in the Hotel.
After early breakfast drive to Mandu, a deserted Fort city, on top of a seven mile plateau which overlooks the Narmada Valley. This area was settled by the Hindus before it fell to the Sultans of Delhi and then to the Afghans under whom it was celebrated as a City of Joy. The Jami Masjid is considered to be the finest example of Afghan architecture in India. Two lakes flank the Palace of the Royal enclave which was built by the Sultan as a play ground for his harem. A picnic lunch will be arranged and after the tour of the Palace and other sites drive back to the Hotel. Overnight at the hotel.
After Breakfast visit Ahilya Fort Palace was built above the Fort and beside the Maheshwar Temple. This was once the capital of one of Indias most powerful women rulers Ahilya Bai Holkar and remains part of the family trust and is at the present managed by Prince Sayaji Rao Holkar, son of the last Maharajah of Indore. This is also located on the banks of one of Indias seven sacred rivers the Narmada that flows 775 miles from a plateau to the Arabian Sea. Walk along the River Front lined by carved temples facing a succession of colorful bathing ghats. Visit an ancient handloom center which is noted for its uniquely woven and intricately patterned Saris and other Textiles. Take a boat ride to the Baneshwar Temple in the middle of the River. Overnight in the hotel.
This morning, after a leisurely breakfast, explore Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh with a fascinating amalgamation of scenic beauty with a proud heritage and modern urban planning. The modern city was developed by Dost Mohamed Khan, one of Mughal Emperor Aurangzebs Afghan Governor, who planned to set out wide roads and adorn it with monuments and replant the gardens. From 1857 to 1926 Bhopal was ruled by two Muslim women. It still retains a very strong Muslim character. There are numerous mosques and you will visit the Taj-ul-Masjid and Moti Masjid. You will also visit the State Archaeological Museum, the Bharat Bhavan a center for creative and performing arts designed by the Indian architect Charles Correa. It also houses an impressive collection of rural and tribal arts, a modern art gallery, crafts gallery and print makers studio and theatre for performing arts. You will end the tour with a visit to the Tribal Habitat (Museum of man), an open air permanent exhibition of Tribal Huts in typical settings from different parts of India showing details of interiors. Afternoon is free and overnight in the Hotel.
After breakfast leave for a full day return excursion to Sanchi (a World Heritage site) and Udaygiri Caves. Sanchi is considered to be amongst one of the finest surviving Buddhist monument in India. It flourished from 3rd century BC to 14th century AD. It was rediscovered in the early 20th century. The four Gateways of the Stupa built in the first century BC depict stories of Buddhas past and present and are the finest specimens of early classical art. Later visit the nearby Udaygiri Caves most of the shrines are Hindu and one particularly notable one is an image of Vishnu in his boar head incarnation and a series of Jain carvings. A short stop will also be made to see the Heliodorus Pillar erected in 140 BC Heliodorus the Greek Ambassador in the city. Time permitting you will visit the adjacent town of Vidisha which has a State Museum with important medieval sculptures. Return to Bhopal after the excursion and overnight stay at the hotel.
Breakfast is at leisure. This morning you can choose to visit the Bhimbetka, about 28 kms from Bhopal (a World Heritage Site) amid plantations of Sal and Teak. There are some 1,000 rock shelters (the Lascaux of India). It is believed to be South Asias richest collection prehistoric paintings and many other archaeological discoveries. You will be transferred to the Bhopal Railway Station to board the Bhopal/New Delhi Shatabdi Express Train departing Bhopal at 2.40 pm to arrive Gwalior Railway Station at 7.00 pm and transferred in a motor coach to the Hotel for Overnight stay.
Breakfast is at leisure in the Hotel. Todays visit will include the Gwalior Fort that rises 100 meters high and stretches for two miles on top of a hill one of the fine examples of Rajput architecture. The fort has changed hands several times and was controlled by the Tomars, the Lodis, and the Mughals and twice by the British. It is now owned by the Scindias. Inside the Fort are a series of temples and palaces including the Man Singh Palace. In the afternoon visit the Jai Vilas Palace in the new town that dates from early 19th century and remains the residence of the Scindias ruling family. Two of the worlds largest Chandeliers hang in the Durbar Hall. Other collectibles include the Belgian cut glass furniture including a rocking chair, a room full of erotica, modes of transport and the masterpiece is a model railway that carried Brandy and Cigars around the drinking table after dinner. Overnight stay at the hotel.
After breakfast transfer to the Railway Station in New Delhi for your onward journey to Chandigarh. On arrival you will be met and transferred to the hotel. In the afternoon your Guide will meet you and take you on a tour of this city where the main Government buildings were designed by Le Corbusier. Return to the hotel for overnight stay.
Explore this 17th century village that is now part of the Garli-Pragpur heritage zone. Walk through its cobbled streets and see its ancient havelis (mansions) and its slate roofed houses, the ornamental water pond and Mughal style gardens with orange blossoms and red, white and pink bougainvilleas. Many craft artisans live and work here, among them weavers and silversmiths and you will see their hand woven shawls and silverware. You will also visit Garli and see its old houses and other buildings. Overnight at the hotel.
After breakfast, depart by road for Dharamshala. A gentle drive past small hamlets and streams that empty into the River Beas ascends dramatically to the upper reaches of the Kangra Valley. Arrive Dharamshala in the afternoon and check in at the hotel for your overnight stay.
During stay at Dharamshala you will visit: The Tibetan temple complex popularly called the Dalai Lama temple. The central shrine, Tsuglagkhang, has three images of different incarnations and manifestations of the Buddha, one of them sculpted in silver with eleven faces, a thousand arms and a thousand eyes. At the Namgyal Monastery across the courtyard, young monks participate in lively debate and at the Kalachakra temple next door, see frescoes of numerous deities and Tibetan thangkha paintings on the walls. The Norbulingka Institute, established as a center where writers, researchers, painters and sculptors can form a community dedicated to preserving Tibetan cultural roots and identity, it has studios, a temple, a meditation hall and a garden that has made use of the natural landscape of rocks, trees and flowing water that surrounds the building. The Kangra Art Gallery and Museum: It has a display of Pahari miniature paintings of the Kangra school dating to the 17th century and an interesting collection of artifacts dating to the 5th century, wood carving, sculpture, pottery, tribal jewelry, costumes, royal canopies and the royal embroidery that was once a special handcraft of this region. The village of Naddi for a panoramic view of the Dhauladhar Mountains and continue to the Tibetan Childrens Village to visit the school that from 1960 has provided a home and education to thousands of Tibetan children who were either orphaned or from refugee families who arrived here after a difficult journey across the Himalayas. On your own you might wish to visit the Tushita Meditation Center which offers drop-in guided meditations daily at 9:15 a.m. that are led by an experienced practitioner and last for an hour. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Breakfast is at leisure in the hotel. This morning visit the famous Golden Temple of the Sikhs and other historical sites and sites Parks and museums in Amritsar. This afternoon, your guide will take you to the India/Pakistan border where you will witness the old tradition of changing of Guards at sunset. Return to the hotel and overnight stay
After an early breakfast, transfer to the Amritsar Railway Station for your onward journey to Haridwar. You will have reserved air conditioned Chair Car seats. On arrival you will be met and transferred to the Hotel. Haridwar is also one of the four places where drops of Amrit or nectar fell from the pitcher which was being carried by Garuda, the heavenly bird and the spot is known as Brahma Kund or Har-ki-Pauri where you can witness Aarti of the Holy River Ganges in the evening. later return Back to hotel for overnight stay at Haridwar.
After breakfast you will visit Ashrams and temples- Mansa Devi and Chamunda Devi etc at haridwar and later in the evening you will be transfered to Rishikesh for overnight stay. Rishikesh, the place of Sages, has a number of ashrams. This is the place where the River Ganges or Ganga cuts through its passage through the last foothills and enters a complex of 3 localities. The first area is where the famous Laxman Jhoola Bridge spans the river and the locality is named after the bridge; the second is Muni-ki-Reti (Sands of the Sages) where the devotees and sages spend time in devotion, meditation and yoga -(visitors are asked to be careful as all those dressed in saffron color clothes are not Sages and some are con artists), after that is the expanding township on the bank of the river. Pilgrims flock to this gorge centered town that is 40 kilometers from Dehra Dun. Ashrams and religious retreat centers offer lessons in meditation, yoga and treatment for a variety of stress related ailments using ancient medical techniques. Rishikesh is also the gateway for journeys to various important religious places like Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamnotri. Rishikesh is also a centre for riverine sports like white water rafting and also a base for hikes and trekking the beautiful Garhwal Himalayas. There is also a very important Sikh shrine at Hemkund Sahib
On this day, wake up to a delicious breakfast in the hotel and spend the day at leisure. Later, return to your hotel for a comfortable stay. Suggested: During the day, you can visit Jumpin Heights, an amusement park famous for its bungee jump, canyon swing and Asia's longest flying fox. Alternatively, you can try white water rafting, a famous activity throughout Rishikesh. You can end your day with a visit to one of the several cafes which serve vegetarian food and tropical non-alcoholic drinks. Overnight stay at rishikesh
Breakfast is at leisure at the resort. Later transfer from the hotel to Dehradun airport in time for your onward flight to Delhi. On arrival in Delhi airport you will be met and transferred to the Hotel near the airport. Later this evening our representative will meet you again and transfer you to the Delhi Airport, at the appropriate time, to complete the international departure formalities before boarding the flight.
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Thank you for your excellent care of our group. We deeply appreciate your excellent and prompt service. It has been a delight to get to know all of you. Diwakar dropped off the Chandigarh tickets and invoice this morning. I have given him the money. The Nath Guest House taxi service will take us to Delhi Central station. We do NOT need an IVAT transfer the morning of the 7th. The Nath Guest House/Lutyens Bungalow is one of the BEST locations we have been at. We have gotten to know the family and they have been wonderful to our students. Our students wanted to eat most of their meals here and so we did. Good desi home cooked meals. We have to return here, it is a gem of a place. Thank you Diwakar for your friendship and good cheer, the students enjoyed your company. It is strange for Kailash and me to be at the Nath Guest House without the students it is very quiet, and we miss them terribly.
A pat on the back for our driver Sharmaji and Shyam. They were excellent. Last time (2011) driver Balbir Singh was also excellent.
Kailash and I leave for Chandigarh tomorrow the 7th, return on the 8th and then we will stay with my cousin in Gurgaon. They will take us to the airport on the 10th for our flight to Mumbai. Enclosed is the itinerary for the Mumbai flights. Do reconfirm.
We will be in Mumbai till the 21st when our daughter arrives in India. She is at college in the US and is the same age as our students. We look forward to her visit since she will fill the void the students have left. After visits to Bangalore the Khandkes return to the US on January 6th.
On behalf of Furman University's India Study Away Program, 2013, Thank You IVAT for your excellent arrangements. If I am one of the directors of Furman University's India Study Away Program in 2015, I will be in touch again by mid-2014. Until then.
Dept. of Asian Studies
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