The Essence Of India!!
For someone from the west, India providesan authentic adventure - stimulating, absorbing, daunting, sometimes moving and shocking. Here is one of the world's great dramas; an ancient, vast and crowded land committed to the most formidably challenging exercise in mass democracy. It is a spectacle in which hope, pride, paradox and uncertainty mingle and struggle. It is conducted on the whole, and to India's credit in the open. The lasting memories of the land are hospitality, kindness, good humor and generosity. Here is a society of over a 1000 million people, growing by a million a month, divided and united by language, caste, religion and regional loyalties. It has often been described as a functioning anarchy; and it is in many ways an amiable one, of marvelous fluidity and tolerance. Indeed, the true Indian motif is not the Taj Mahal, the elephant or the patient peasant behind the ox drawn plough. It is the crowd, the ocean of faces in the land of multitudes, endlessly stirring, pushing and moving. It is in this human circulation that one sees India's colour, variety, busyness, and, senses also its power, vitality and grandeur.
Namaste!! We welcome you with folded hands
Day 01: Arrival / Mumbai
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!
Overnight atHotel Fariyas (Standard Room) (No Meals)
Day 02: Mumbai
Today we will proceed on a full day city tour of Mumbai. Below are the sights we intend to visit during our tour.
GATEWAY OF INDIA (Stop Over): -This 26m high triple-arch gateway grandeur was built in 1911 to commemorate the visit of George V and Queen Mary to India. The gateway of India overlooks the Arabian Sea, next to Taj Mahal Hotel and has several ferries to take tourist to the nearby Elephanta caves and Alibaug.
PRINCE OF WALESMUSEUM OF WESTERNINDIA (Stop Over) :
Built in the Indo-Saracenic style, this building houses one of the finest collections of Indian artin the world. Designed by George Wittet and completed in 1914 it marked the visit of the Prince of Wales. The museum has three main sections - art, archeology and natural history.
MANI BHAWAN (GANDHIMUSEUM) (Stop Over): - This bungalow on Leburnun road was Mahatma Gandhi's Bombay house from 1917-1934, it is now converted into a museum in his memory. Besides the plain spartan room, there are pictures of events from his life, a research library, and a mini theatre showing films (on request for group only) on Gandhi and India's struggle of independence.
FLORA FOUNTAIN (HUTATMA CHOWK) (DrivePass): -This fountain is situated in a square in the heart of the city surrounded by banks, and other offices. It is named after the Roman Goddess of Abundance. Erected in 1869 to honor the Governor of Mumbai, Sir Bartle Frere for dismantling the Fort and shaping much of modern Mumbai.
VICTORIA TERMINUS (CHHTRAPATI SHIVAJI TERMINUS (DrivePass): - The headquarters of Central Railways, it is one of the most complex suburban railways system in India. It is also the terminus for many inter-city trains. This is the city's most celebrated Gothic structure. Lavishly decorated with sculptures, it was designed by William Stevens and was opened in 1887 to coincide with the Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee celebrations. Makes a striking sight with its cathedral like spires, turrets, arches, Corinthian columns & stained glass windows
MUNICIPALCORPORATIONBUILDING (DrivePass): - This is next to the Victoria Terminus, is a Gothic structure blended with Indian motifs was designed by F.W Stevens and stands like a guardian angel over Mumbai city. It was constructed in the year 1893. This building creates a very serene effect on the spectator with its dome and 255 feet high tower.
UNIVERSITY OF MUMBAI (DrivePass):The original campus is in Fort, Mumbai, near the southern end of the city of Mumbai. It houses the administrative division of the university. It is built in the Gothic style of architecture and also includes a library which holds many original manuscripts. The University of Bombay was established at the FortCampus in 1857.
HIGHCOURT OF MUMBAI (DrivePass): The High Court of Mumbai was inaugurated on 14 August 1862. Although the name of the city was changed from Bombay to Mumbai in 1995, the Court as an institution did not follow suit and remained as the Bombay High Court. The work on the present building of the High Court was commenced in April 1871 and completed in November 1878.
RAJABAI CLOCK TOWERS (DrivePass): - Situated next to the Mumbai High Courts, in the gardens of MumbaiUniversity. This 280 feet high gothic clock tower is part of the University Library, has five elaborately decorated storeys ornamented with statues in oriental grab representing India's various castes and sects. Designed by Sir Gilbert Scott and built by late Seth Premchand Raichand in memory of his beloved mother Rajabai in 1878.
MARINE DRIVE (NETAJI SUBHASH CHANDRA ROAD) (DrivePass): - It was built in 1920 on land reclaimed from the Back Bay. This beautiful promenade stretches from Nariman Point to Chowpatty in crescent shape along the shoreline of the Arabian Sea. On one side is the Arabian Sea and on the other is the gracious British-type high rises. When lit up at night the entire drive gleams like the "Queen's Necklace". Horse driven Victoria rides are available from either ends of the promenade.
NARIMAN POINT (DrivePass): - Situated at one end of Marine Drive this land reclaimed from the sea is now built over with cities tallest and most elegant skyscrappers. Pleasure seekers come here to take a walk on the wide promenade or to sit on the concrete benches, relax in the cool sea breeze and enjoy the breathtaking view of Marine Drive.
HANGINGGARDENS - Malabar Hill (Stop Over): - Built in 1880 and renovated in 1921. It is landscaped on top of three reservoirs which stores 30 million gallons of water to supply to the city.
KAMALA NEHRU PARK - Malabar Hill (Stop Over): - Adjoining the hanging gardens is Kamala Nehru Park built in 1952 and named after the wife of the then Prime Minister Nehru. It coverrs an area of 4000 sq. yards and from here one enjoys a magnificent view of Marine Drive. It also has "old Lady's Shoe" built of concrete ment for children to play in.
DHOBI GHAT (THE PUBLIC LAUNDARY) (Stop Over): - Mumbai’s unique outdoor laundry system is called Dhobi Ghat is where chaos, color, activity and sounds mix together in a freakish blend. It’s a fascinating place where Mumbai's laundry gets done. Clothes are hand washed by hundreds of Dhobis (laundry men and women) on concrete sinks and hung on clotheslines.
CRAWFORD MARKET (Stop Over):-Crawford Market is situated to the north of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus of Mumbai. It lies just contrary the headquarters of Mumbai Police.Authoritatively known as Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Market, Crawford Market is counted in the midst of the popular shopping areas of the city. Crawford Market has been built as per the Norman and Gothic style of architecture. At a height of 50 feet above its ground is a porthole awning, which brings sunlight into the market.The exteriors of Crawford Market stand festooned with wall paintings, which depict the images of Indian farmers in wheat fields. On the inside, one finds the tone fountains designed by Lockwood Kipling, father of the acclaimed novelist - Rudyard Kipling. Spread over an area of approximately 22,471 sq m (24,000 sq ft). This market is the perfect place to buy food items and fruits.
HORNIMAN CIRCLE (DrivePass):HornimanCircleGardens is a huge park of Mumbai, which sprawls over an area of 10.101 sq m. It is located in the Fort District of South Mumbai. The park is situated amidst premier banks and was initially known as Bombay Greens. HornimanCircleGarden dates back to the 18th Century, when it was laid down with the purpose of providing an open space to the locals living in the walled city area. Since the garden has been planted with trees of every season; it blossoms with lush greenery throughout the year.
ASIATIC LIBRARY (DrivePass): -Asiatic Society of Bombay Library started in 1804 by Sir James Mackintosh along with the startup of Literary society of Bombay in those days. Its one of the paid membership libraries in Mumbai with about 25 to 30,000 rare collections of books with Annual membership fees of Rs. 1000 to 1500 and Rs.10,000 to 15,000 for life time membership with a refundable security deposit of Rs.500/- only. Members are allowed to borrow total of fifteen books and three magazines. This library has a dust free air conditioned laboratory to store books which was built in 1991 whose purpose is to conserve old books and so now it is one of the famous rare collection old books libraries of Mumbai.
JAINTEMPLE (Stop Over): - Jainism is one of the very old religions that originated in India. The gods are known as the “Jinas” (the one who has conquered all the inner enemies). It’s a 104 year old Jain temple that has idols of different gods. The temple’s fully made up of white marble with beautiful carvings in it. It’s indeed a treat to one’s senses.
PARSI TOWER OF SILENCE (Drive Pass): -This Structure of Mumbai don’t have Perfect definition of name, Just know as ‘Tower of Silence’ or Parsee Bawdi on top of Malabar hills surrounded at about 55 acres which is believed that after death, Body of the parsi people are sent to this Bavdi (Bawdi) a circular big structure like ‘Well’ which is consumed by Birds like Eagles and Vultures. It is a part of there tradition as they Believe that the death body should not spoil the environmental air, water or Soil by cremating in it. This place is also called as ‘Dakhma / Dokhma’ which denoted place for the dead. It is located very high up in the hill and strictly allowed for members of Parsi community. This community in Mumbai came from Iran in 9th Century AD and Built this structure for deads, which consists of 3 rings, first for Male Bodies, Second for Female Bodies and Final one for Children. It is also believed to be best environmental friendly way of disposing bodies after death.
Overnight at Hotel Fariyas (Standard Room) (B)
Day 03: Mumbai/ Jodhpur (9W 315 – 1105 / 1235 Hrs)
Jodhpur / Mirvana (287 Kms) (04 Hrs Drive)
After breakfast, transfer to the airport to board your flight to Jodhpur
Meeting and assistance upon arrival in Jodhpur and we will ride out through desert country to Mirvana with packed lunch from Ajit Bhawan. For miles altogether, there is nothing but sand, but from this aridness one can expect the unexpected as groups of women appear and disappear in their colourful clothes, apparently going nowhere. Just as suddenly, medieval cities rise, magnificent for their architectural heritage, and are just as suddenly lost to sight. Mirages? No, in the Thar, these are only too real. We will have opportunities to stop on the way and interact with tribals and villagers in remote countryside.
Upon arrival in Mirvana, check into Mirvana Nature Resort.Escape from the hustle and bustle and enjoy a delightful stay at Mirvana Nature Resort, which offers the tranquility of greenery within an otherwise harsh desert. Mirvana Nature Resort is a perfect place to experience nomadic desert life at its best.
Overnight at Mirvana Nature Resort (Tents) (B, L & D)
Day 04: Mirvana
After leisurely btreakfast, we explore the primitive Sadakore village, which exists back in time. Traditional camel dung plastered homes, crafts, occupation take us back in time. The disarming hospitality of the natives and their brightly coloured traditional outfits form an indelible imprint on our hearts and minds
Evening, we visit the nearby Sand Dunes and enjoy camel rides as we explore desert life in all its peace, tranquility and of course draped in its colourful richness. We enjoy tea as we witness the Sun setting in the horizon and camels with their shepherds forming nice sillouttes in the foreground
Overnight at Mirvana Nature Resort (Tents) (B & D)
Day 05: Mirvana
After breakfast, we will visit to BirdaramPanwarBalajiPrimary School
Overnight at Mirvana Nature Resort (Tents) (B & D)
Day 06: Mirvana / Jodhpur (287 Km) (04 Hrs Drive)
Morning, we will drive toJodhpur
Upon arrival in Jodhpur, check into hotel Ratan Vilas, exudes an aura distinctly its own - enhanced by its rich and varied collection of paintings, treasure troves and hunting trophies of yesteryear. Everything is well preserved by the royal family, which still uses a part of the building as its home. The magnificent sandstone building, built for Sir Ratan Singhji, the Maharajadhiraj of Jodhpur, tastefully blends the lavish interiors and modern comforts. Present day facilities are harmonized so as not to disturb the antiquity of the royal abode.
After rest & relaxation, we would ride horse carriages to the Clock Tower Bazaar. This is one of India’s largest and most colourful wholesale markets especially with respect to clothes, fabrics, spices, vegetables etc. It is a fantastic experience to walk through the place observing and photographing this incredible spectacle of vibrant lifestyles and incredible colours.
Overnight at Ratan Vilas- a Heritage Hotel (Superior Room) (B)
Day 07: Jodhpur
After breakfast, 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 UmaidBhawanPalace road. Jodhpur is home to many talented and skilled craftsmen like textile dyers, metal engravers and die-makers and probably the last of the tailors of the classic Jodhpur breeches
Overnight at Ratan Vilas- a Heritage Hotel (Superior Room) (B)
Day 08: Jodhpur / Ranthambhore (Intercity Express – 0610 / 1315 Hrs)
Early morning, transfer to the train station to board your train to Ranthambhore
Meeting and assistance upon arrival in Ranthambhore and transfer to Ranthambhore Regency
Afternoon jungle excursion in Canter (Community safari vehicle)
Overnight at Ranthambhore Regency (Standard Room) (B & D)
Day 09: Ranthambhore
Morning & afternoon Jungle excursions in canter Ranthambhore is known to have India's Friendliest tigers Assured of protection; these nocturnal creatures are seen often in the day. Sprawled on the Aravalli and Vindhya ranges of Rajasthan, RanthambhoreNational Park encompasses an area of 410 Sq. km. in which lives a healthy population of about 40 tigers. A large number of deer inhabit the area and leopards are occasionally sighted. The Pandam Taloa lake, located adjacent to the Jogi Mahal hunting lodge, is the park's favorite water source. Smaller pools at Raj Bagh and Milak also attract a variety of wild life The best way to explore Ranthambore is in jeep as the park is well connected by arterial roads and tracks. Some of the popular sighting areas are Nal Ghati, Lahpur, Bakuala, Anantpur and the Kachida valley. Mammals: Tiger, Panther, Hyena, Jackal, Jungle Cat, Caracal, Sloth Bear, Sambar, Chital, Nilgai, Wild Boar, Chinkara, Indian hare mongoose. Birds: Bonelli's eagle, crested serpent eagle, great Indian horned owl, grey partridge Sandgrouse, quail, spurfowl, common peafowl, tree pie, paradise flycatcher, and pheasant tailed jacana, painted stork, black stork, spoonbill, green pigeon, and ducks.
Overnight at Ranthambhore Regency (Standard Room) (B, L & D)
Day 10: Ranthambhore / Fatehpur Sikri / Agra (270 Kms) (06 Hrs Drive)
Morning jungle excursion in canter (Community safari vehicle)
After breakfast, we drive to Agra stopping at deserted capital city of Fatehpur Sikri. This abandoned capital of the Mughals is a perfectly preserved city at the height of the empire’s splendour. The city divided into religious and secular parts has interesting well-sculpted buildings. From here we continue riding to Agra.
Upon arrival check into The Retreat
Overnight at The Retreat (Superior Room) (B)
Day 11: Agra(Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays)
Agra is the city of the Taj Mahal, perhaps the most photographed monument in the world. However, there is a degree of enigma about the Taj. Once you hear about a building so much and once you see so many pictures of a building your expectations are real high; and this is the enigma about the Taj Mahal. No matter how many pictures you have seen or no matter how high your expectations are the Taj never lets you down - the unparalleled glory and beauty of the building surpasses beyond all human imaginations. At sunrise we visit one of the greatest sights of one’s lifetime - Taj Mahal. 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. Later we return back to our hotel for breakfast.
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.