Ajanta Ellora & Taj
Trip Highlights :- Mumbai | Aurangabad | Delhi | Agra | Jaipur | Delhi |
Tour duration : 10 Nights / 11 Days
Mumbai : Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay) is one of the most happening cities in India. Mumbai is known as much for its throbbing night life as it is famous for being the busiest and economically prosperous city of India. Mumbai is a busy metropolis, nevertheless, it is a tourist hot-spot because of its energy and vigour. It is a wonderful tourist destination. This erstwhile insignificant port city has now developed to become one of the foremost metropolis of the world. Other than the charms of being in a beautiful metropolis, Mumbai has monuments of historical importance. The Gateway of India is one such magnificent monument and prime tourist attraction in the city. The city also has wonderful beaches and these beaches have become wonderful leisure spots for people. As the capital city of the state of Maharashtra, Mumbai is politically one of the most important cities in western India. It also has its own culture and traditions, festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with full fervour. The people in this part of the country speak Marathi but like a true cosmopolitan city, Mumbai is a fine melting pot where you will find people from different parts of India living in harmony in spite of the difference in language, dress codes and food habits. The city also has a multi-million dollar film-making industry. Popularly referred to as Bollywood, Mumbai film industry is not only big but also very charismatic. Every year a number of Hindi pot-boilers are produced here. The actors and actresses enjoy a massive fan following throughout India as well as abroad.
Aurangabad : Aurangabad city, commonly used as a base for a visit to the World Heritage Sites of Ajanta and Ellora is steeped in medieval history. Named for Aurangzeb, the last of the great Mughal Emperors, Aurangabad acquired plenty of monuments and a rich culture as its heritage from the middle ages. The one single factor that determined Aurangabad's role in the history of medieval India is its location. So strategic is its location at the cross roads of north and south India, that Mohammed-bin-Tughlak and Aurangzeb, two powerful kings attempted to translocate their capital from Delhi to Aurangabad. Their vision was clear, from Aurangabad, they would be better able to control both northern and southern regions of their empires. Under Aurangzeb, it became the seat of the powerful Mughal Empire for a short while. Built during his years in Aurangabad were such architectural gems as the Bibi-ka-Maqbara, a mausoleum with a marked resemblance to the Taj Mahal and a medieval watermill. Aurangabad became a thriving industrial centre with many fine academic institutions. Its textiles became much sought after and even today, the weavers of Aurangabad produce fine textiles like Pathani, Himroo and Kimkhwab. But Aurangabad's crowning glory for tourists is undoubtedly the famous Buddhist caves at Ajanta & the magnificent rock temples of Ellora. Built between 200 BC and 650 AD, the Viharas and Chaityas at Ajanta are masterpieces as are the incredibly ornate temples carved out of hard rock at Ellora.
Jaipur : Capital of Rajasthan - the 'Pink City'. Jaipur means "the city of victory" & was founded in 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II and designed by architect Vidyadhar Bhattacharya in accordance with the principles of town planning set down in "Shilp Shastra" an epochal treatise on the Hindu architecture. This colorful city is enriched with royal tradition & culture, attractive monuments, Forts, Palaces like the Magnificent City Palace, Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar, Amer, Nahargarh and Jaigarh fort which are some of the most exquisite blend of Hindu architecture. The whole city was painted pink to welcome the visit of Prince Albert in 1853. City today has a population of more than 5 million residents. Presently, Jaipur is a major business and tourist centre with all the requisites of a metropolitan city. Jaipur extends from latitude 26.92 degrees in the north to longitude 75.82 degrees in the east. The city covers an area of 200.4 sq. kms and lies at an altitude of 431 m above sea level
Agra : Agra is a major tourist attraction as it contains one of the Seven Wonders of the World - Taj Mahal. Agra is an ancient city situated on the river Yamuna within the state of Uttar Pradesh. The city has been described as Agraba in the epic Mahabharata. The city was capital of Lodhi Kingdom and later on served the same for Mughals. During 16th and 17th century the city was developed as art, culture, commerce and learning center by Mughal Emperors like Akbar, Jehangir and Shah Jahan. Some wonderful buildings were erected in Agra City by the Mughal's. Agra city is famous for monuments and crafts. The monuments and crafts have preserved the cultural heritage for centuries.
Delhi : On the path of rapid growth and progress today, Delhi has evolved from the fabled "seven cities" established between the 13th and 17th centuries. The haunting Landmarks of yesteryears co-exist with the modern marvels of today. Ancient Forts, Mughal Architecture is juxtaposed with the state of the art architecture, modern residential projects, sky scrapers and commercial hubs of today. City boasts of some of the finest museums and centers of art and excellence. The shopping centers here offer rich heritage of traditional Indian craft as well as rich, fashionable and contemporary ensemble of products
Arrival at Mumbai International airport. Our representative will meet and welcome you at the lounge and provide transfer assistance from airport to hotel. Upon reaching your hotel, you will be handed over the travel documents with a complete briefing of tour by the representative. Check-in and proceed to your room. Overnight stay at hotel.
Morning breakfast at hotel. Start your day with an excursion to Elephanta Island an hour away from Mumbai Harbour. Motorboats ferry tourists across to the island from the jetty at the Gateway of India. The boat ride, itself, is interesting as you go past fishing boats, anchored ships, yachts and little islands. The island resembles twin hillocks rising from the sea and the caves are located halfway up the higher of the two. Hewn out of solid rock, the Elephanta Caves date between the 5th and 8th centuries, these caves were designated as World heritage site by UNESCO in 1987. The temple plan is designed in symmetry with the focal points worked out in a geometric Mandala, representing the cosmic field of energy. This complex is a collection of shrines, courtyards, inner cells, grand halls and porticos arranged in the splendid symmetry of Indian rock-cut architecture, and filled with exquisite stone sculptures of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. At the entrance to the caves is the famous Trimurti, the celebrated trinity of Elephanta : there's Lord Brahma the Creator, Lord Vishnu, the preserver and Lord Shiva the Destroyer. Unfortunately, many of the sculptures inside have been damaged by iconoclastic Portuguese rulers who took potshots at Hindu Gods with their rifles. And yet somehow, nothing has disturbed the sublime beauty of this place for centuries.
Return and visit Gateway of India, It is one of the architectural marvel, located on the southern part of Mumbai on the shores of Arabian Sea. It is a combination of the "Indo-Sarcenic" architecture and was built in Yellow Basalt stone in 1924 to celebrate the arrival of King George V and Queen Mary. It was inaugurated by the Viceroy, the Earl of Reading on 4th Dec 1924. The Gateway of India became all the more symbolic when the last British Force left our country on 28th February 1948.
Afterwards, proceed to Prince of Wales Museum, was set up in the early 20th century to commemorate the visit of the then Prince of Wales (King George V) to India. Designed by an eminent architect, George Wittet, the museum is an impressive heritage building of Mumbai. Built in 1905 to 1915, this museum served as a Children's Welfare Centre and a Military Hospital during the First World War. In 1922 however, it was transformed into Prince of Wales Museum. Artifacts from the Indus Valley Civilization and relics from the Gupta and Maurya periods. The rare Sculptures, Miniature Paintings, Decorative Arts, Arms and Armours, Bronze and Textile. Sections on Nepal / Tibet and Far Eastern Art lend the museum a larger perspective.
Visit Jehangir Art Gallery located near Prince of Wales Museum in Kala Ghoda. Built in 1952, this mansion was founded by Sir Cowasji Jehangir on being constantly urged by K. K. Hebbarand and Dr. Homi Bhabha. This gallery is a great specimen of Indian Arts and sculpture and is a historic monument related with the renaissance of Indian arts. This gallery is a perfect place for all artists to exhibit their talent under common roof and for the art connoisseurs to take a look at their works. The gallery exhibits famous works by well-known Indian artists. There's plenty of art is displayed outside as well. It is full of artists offering their work for sale and also for commission assignments.
Visit Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, earlier known as Victoria Terminus is an UNESCO World Heritage building. An architectural splendor, it was built in year 1888, after nearly 10 years of construction, as the rail terminus based on the model of St Pancras Station in London and is designed by English architect Frederick William Stevens.
Later drive to the Flora Fountain for a photo stop - This marvellous fountain was built in 1869, in honor of Sir Henry Bartle and Edward Frere. It is situated in the heart of the Mumbai city at a junction of five streets. The fountain has a figure of "Flora", the Roman Goddess of Flowers at the top.
Proceed to visit Dhobi Ghat - The traditional open air laundry of Mumbai, where 200 dhobi families work together and continue to maintain their hereditary occupation. Return to hotel for overnight stay.
Breakfast and check-out from hotel. Before your train journey to Aurangabad during the day time, proceed for a half day tour, visit the following places of interest:
Visit Mani Bhavan, a veritable memoir of Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, located at Laburnum road. Also known as Gandhi Museum, Mani Bhavan served as the residence of the great freedom fighter of India between 1917 and 1934. Infact, Mahatma Gandhi started various struggle movements like Non-Cooperation, Satyagraha, Swadeshi, Khadi and Khilafat while residing here. This mansion came under the stewardship of the Gandhi Smarak Nidhi in 1955 and since then it has become a veritable memorial to Gandhi capturing all the facets of Gandhi leading to India's freedom movement. It now houses a reference library with over 2000 books, a photo exhibition of the Mahatma's life, and well preserved memorabilia, including an old charkha or spinning wheel that Gandhiji used to use. This house belonged to Shri Revashankar Jhaveri, Gandhi's friend and host in Mumbai.
Drive past Marine Drive, it is one of the most scenic stretches amid the concrete jungle of Mumbai. Six lane roads alongside the Arabian Coast, this C shaped natural bay connects the leafy green slopes of Malabar hills and Nariman Point - Mumbai's Manhattan. Marine Drive's well-maintained pathways, is used by the public as a place to relax in the evenings, take a walk with or just sit down & soak in the beauty of its surroundings. Marine Drive is termed as Queen's necklace, strung with glittering street lights like an enormous strand of imperious jewels.
Visit Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, earlier known as Victoria Terminus, is an UNESCO World Heritage building. An architectural splendor, it was built in year 1888, after nearly 10 years of construction, as the rail terminus based on the model of St Pancras Station in London and is designed by English architect Frederick William Stevens. The station was christened to commemorate Victoria Jubilee Day in 1887 when India's first steam engine puffed out to neighbouring Thane, about 45 Kms away. The building is adorned with the statue of Queen Victoria on the dome.
Later in-time transfer to Dadar Railway Station to board train for Aurangabad [Train# 12071 Jan Shatabdi Express, Departure - 1400 hrs / Arrival - 2035 hrs].
Arrival in Aurangabad, meeting assistance at railway station and transfer to hotel. Overnight stay at hotel.
Morning breakfast at hotel and leave for full day excursion of Ajanta and Ellora caves. Ajanta caves – UNESCO World Heritage Site, these 3rd century caves are considered the finest masterpiece of Buddhist art and architecture. These historical manmade caves comprise of beautiful paintings on the walls and ceilings that depict the life of the Buddha. Visiting these caves is like travelling back to the past. At Ajanta, the paintings on the walls, illustrate the events in the life of Gautama Buddha.
These caves are believed to see the rise and spread of both the two sects of Buddhism, the Hinyana and the Mahayana, and enough examples of architecture are available still in the caves. The 30 caves, including the unfinished ones, seem to carry a distinct charm and represent the true faces of the flourishing Buddhist architecture, art, and obviously the religious influence at that period of time. The fact that these caves were inhibited by Buddhist monks and religious devotees for more than 800 years. These caves were discovered by a British Captain, John Smith in 1819, while on a hunting expedition.
Interestingly, the caves include both Chaitya (Prayer Halls) and monasteries and have both types of architecture and art besides paintings and scriptures, of the two sects Hinyana and Mahayana. Caves numbered 8, 9, 10, 12, 13 and 15 are of the older Hinayana sect. Mahayana related caves are numbered 1, 2, 16, 17, 19 and 26 where, 19 and 26 are Chaityas.
There are some unsurpassable paintings in the caves 1 and 2, mainly depicting the Jataka Tales. Buddha preaching in sitting position is the other common example of sculptures. Cave 10 is also quite attractive for its Buddha images and the depiction of Jataka tales. Cave 16 and 17 are monasteries full with images of Jataka tales, child and youth of Buddha, the Sravasti tales etc and are good examples of architecture. Caves 1,2,3,5,6,8, 14,15,16 and 17 are Viharas or monasteries, 19 and 26 are prayer halls while caves 20 to 25 were used for residential purposes.
Though all the caves are interesting to watch and noteworthy, if one has only a little time in hand caves, remember 1, 2, 16, 17, 19 and 26 are must see.
Ajanta Caves - 112 Kms from Aurangabad, the caves here which are over 2000 years old hewn out of a solid rock. The wall paintings and frescoes of these caves have a beautiful flow of line and a wealth of colour. 30 caves at Ajanta are decorated with remarkable murals that universally regarded as some of India's finest artistic treasures. They depict scenes from the life of the Buddha and Buddhist fables with skill and devotion. Later visit Ellora caves, - Three distinct groups of temples relate the story of the evolution of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. Chiseled out of rock by religious monks over the centuries, the sites were chosen for their seclusion. Over 2000 years old, they are compared to the Pyramids for their amazing construction, sculptures and frescoes. The most marvelous of all is the Stupendous Rock Temple of Kailash.
Overnight stay at hotel
Breakfast at hotel. This morning proceed for the sightseeing in and around Aurangabad. Visit Bibi ka Maqbara, Tomb of the Empress, Panchakki, where an old mill and Tomb of an important Sufi Saint are set in serene Gardens. There is also the Dualatabad Fort just outside the city, built by Muhammad Bin Tughlaq. Overnight stay at hotel.
Breakfast at hotel. Morning art leisure, check-out from hotel by noon. Transfer assistance from hotel to airport to board flight for Delhi. (Flight AI 442 IXU / DEL 1620 / 1810 hrs) Arrival in Delhi, transfer assistance from airport to hotel. Check-in at hotel for overnight stay.
Morning breakfast at hotel and leave for combined city tour of Old and New Delhi visiting Mughal monuments like the Red Fort, Jama Masjid and Chandni Chowk with a cycle rickshaw ride and Rajghat - the place where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated, In New Delhi, first drive past Connaught Place, the heart and main shopping district of the capital. Then drive to Rajpath (King's Way), India Gate - the 42mt high stone "Arch of Triumph", erected in the memory of Indian soldiers who died in First World War. Drive past Rashtrapati Bhawan (President Palace) and Parliament House. Visit the Humayun Tomb and later visit the Qutab Minar 12th century minaret built by Qutub-ud-din Aibek of the Slave Dynasty - this building complex dates back to the onset of Muslim rule in India and is fine example of Afghan architecture which is graceful and well sculptured and stands 75 meters. Overnight stay at hotel.
Breakfast at hotel and later check-out. This morning drive to Agra. The Royal seat and capital of the province of yesteryears, "Agra the City of Mughals". Upon arrival check in at hotel and proceed to your room to relax and refresh. Later during the day visit the Agra Fort a World Heritage Site, located near to the Taj Mahal gardens on the banks of River Yamuna. The real specimen of architectural marvel, this fortress was constructed in the 15th century. The construction of this mammoth structure started during 1565 during the reign of Emperor Akbar and continued the developments up to the period of Emperor Shah Jahan. The fort, in a length of 2.5 km marvelous enclosure walls, is built in red sandstones and encloses many monuments which are real architectural wonders. Many exquisite palaces such as the Jehangiri Mahal, Shah Jahani Mahal, the Khas Mahal, Diwan-i-Aam - which was used as a communications ground between the public and the aristocracy and once housed the Peacock Throne, Diwan-i-Khas - a hall of private audience, it was used to welcome Kings and dignitaries and Mussaman Burj - a large, octagonal tower with a balcony facing the Taj Mahal are enclosed in the Fortress. Other monuments include the Fish Pavilion, the Nagina Masjid, Garden of Grapes and the Pearl Mosque. Views of the Taj Mahal from the Fort are amazing. Afterwards, proceed to see the rarely visited Itmad-Ud-Daulah's Tomb. The tomb, built between 1622 and 1628 represents the transition between the first phase of monumental Mughal architecture - primarily built from red sandstone with marble decorations, as in Humayun's Tomb in Delhi and Akbar's Tomb in Sikandra - to its second phase, based on white marble and pietra dura inlay - most elegantly realized in the Taj Mahal. Return to hotel for overnight stay.
This early morning visit world famous Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonder of the World. A pristine monument of undying love, built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaj Mahal. It took 22 years and hard toil of more than twenty thousand workers to construct Taj Mahal. The beauty of the Taj Mahal is enchanting and it reflects the marvellous beauty of architecture. Taj Mahal symbolize the richness of art and architecture of the Mughal period. Return to hotel for breakfast.
Afterwards check-out from hotel and drive to Jaipur, en-route stop to visit Fatehpur Sikri - Mughal Emperor Jalal-ud-din-Muhammad Akbar, Humanyun's son, accessed the throne at the tender age of 14. Emperor Akbar, who was without a male heir heard about Saint Salim Chisti and visited him in the year 1568, Saint blessed him with 3 sons and in gratitude Akbar ordered the great mosque of Fatehpur Sikri built under his supervision. As a mark of respect to the Saint, Akbar shifted his capital to Fatehpur Sikri and built various secular buildings like the Buland Darwajah, Diwan-I-Am, Diwan-I-Khas, Jodhabai palace, Birbal's house, Marian's house and the Panch Mahal.
Thereafter continue your drive to Jaipur - The picturesque capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur is colour washed in Pink - the colour associated with hospitality in Rajput culture. Upon arrival check in at hotel.
Late in the afternoon visit Albert Hall Museum and Birla Temple. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Morning after breakfast and leave for the excursion to Amber Fort and ride the hill on the back of decorated elephant and feel like Maharaja. Amer originally, was the capital of the state before Jaipur. It is an old fort, built in 1592 by Raja Man Singh. This fort was built in red sandstone and marble and the Maota Lake adds a certain charm to the entire Fort. Though the fort is quite old and may even look so from the outside, it is beautiful on the inside and boasts of various buildings of prominence like the 'Diwan-i-Aam', the 'Sheesh Mahal' and even the 'Sukh Mahal'. It has influences of both Hindu and Muslim architecture. It also has the 'Shila Devi' Temple and the 'Ganesh Pol' which is a gate that leads to the private palaces of the kings.
Later proceed for the city tour of the Pink city built in the 1727 A. D. to visit Hawa Mahal - Palace of winds for a photo stop - a four storied façade of pink sandstone and one of the most picturesque landmarks with semi-octagonal and delicately honeycombed windows overlooking the main street of the old city. It was built in 1799 so that veiled royal women could see the royal processions through its 593 stone screens without being seen by the outsiders. Visit City Palace Complex which houses the rare and rich collection of ornaments, arms, royal costumes, carpets and decorative art objects of traditional Rajasthani and Mughal art and architecture; Jantar Mantar - A 18th century observatory. Overnight stay at hotel.
Breakfast at hotel, remaining morning at leisure. Check-out from hotel by noon (1200 hrs). Afterwards drive to Delhi, upon arrival in the evening proceed to a local restaurant for farewell dinner. Afterwards transfer to International airport to board flight for return journey.
Departure early in the morning by an international flight.
End of our services
Accommodation in Double room in 05 Star or 04 Star category hotels on CP Basis (Room + Breakfast Basis) inclusive of all presently applicable taxes.
Welcome Garlanding upon arrival in India at Mumbai airport.
All Arrival / Departure transfers from hotel to airport and vice-versa.
Monument entrance fees to places of visit as per the itinerary.
Accompanying English speaking Guide.
All Transfers, City sightseeing/excursions and long drives as per itinerary using chauffeur driven air-conditioned Car / Mini Van / Coach.
Boat cruise from Gateway of India to Elephanta caves and vice-versa in Mumbai, Elephant joy ride at Amber fort in Jaipur and Cycle rickshaw ride in Old Delhi.
Train ticket/s in Jan Shatabdi Express from DADAR (Mumbai) to AURANGABAD.
Air ticket/s for sector AURANGABAD / NEW DELHI in economy class.
01 bottle packaged drinking water per person per day.
All presently applicable interstate & toll taxes.
Return international air tickets from the city of origin.
Travel Insurance and Indian Visa.
Personal expenses such as: Any Meals other than specified above / Drinks / Laundry bill & Telephone calls at hotel. Tips for Guides & Driver / Camera Fees at the monuments or any other expenses not included in the clause "inclusions".
All Flight timings mentioned are subject to last minute change
Excursion to Elephanta caves - Boat service will depend upon weather conditions
The Ajanta caves are closed on Mondays, and the Ellora caves are closed on Tuesdays.
Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays.
There are a limited number of licensed elephants in Amber Fort – Jaipur for the ride upto the Fort, visitors should arrive early in the morning, to avoid queue as you cannot pre-book the elephant-ride. Despite efforts, sometimes there are not enough elephants for the growing number of tourists. In this situation, we are forced to use alternative jeeps, to climb to the Fort.
In case of luggage loss, one has to go to the airport to retrieve & pass customs (unlike in Europe that the airline gives it to the passenger in your hotel/ home). The recovery of lost luggage is not included in the price of the tours. DIVA makes this service available to its customers for a small fee of USD 30 nett per case, against an invoice / official receipt for the passenger to recover such amount on his return, either with the airline or insurance company.
Any additional services during the trip must be paid by the customers.