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In India, guests are treated with the same respect as the gods. ‘Atithi Devo Bhavah’ is a widely used proverb here, and the various attractions of the country mirror the same emotion perfectly. Every temple, cave, tomb, fortress and mausoleum here tells a story that will either blow your mind or touch your heart. With a history spanning way back into the BC era, over extensive Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Islam and then Christian regimes over the land, there is an endless number of locations for you to explore, spread all across the country.
Your Ajanta Ellora Caves Tour concentrates on some of the major parts of central and western India, with visit to Delhi as well. Starting with Mumbai, the city bustling and over-pouring with life and ending with the still-lingering antiquity of the streets of Delhi, you get much more than a visit to the ancient caves of Ajanta and Ellora in this trip.
The financial capital of India awaits you with all its charm and glory. Land at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport and your tour operator will greet your outside. Head towards your assigned accommodation in Mumbai, and get changed and refreshed for a lovely tour of the city in the evening. While it is hard to cover all the locations of Mumbai in one day, your itinerary covers some of the best parts. Visit Kamala Nehru Park in the Hanging Gardens along Malabar Hills and from up there, catch a scintillating view of the Marine Drive. Stop at Chowpatty Beach along the Marine Drive, otherwise known for its Ganesh Visarjan celebrations during Ganesh Chaturthi. Also see Prince of Wales Museum, Mani Bhavan, Dhobi Ghat and Gateway of India – locations which reflect what Mumbai is as a city. Drive through Crawford Market, Marine Drive and Flora Fountain on your way back to hotel.
Take your ride back to Mumbai airport on the second day to catch one of the many frequently-flying Aurangabad-bound flights. Your ticket, of course, will be booked beforehand and handled by our operator. Arrive at Aurangabad and take up the rest of the day for leisure and rest.
Aurangabad is dotted on every side of the city with historic attractions for you to explore. On the north, there is the complex of ancient Ellora Caves, which forms one of the world’s largest rock-cut temple collections and is the main highlight of your tour. This site, dating back to 600-1000 BCE, is a revered UNESCO World Heritage Site, visited by thousands for its historical and artistic appeal. After a delicious lunch of an Indian cuisine of your choice, head towards the west to see Daulatabad Fort and then the tombs of Aurangzeb and his wife Dilras Banu Begum. The latter’s is the famous Bibi ka Maqbara, which was built by their son Azam Shah in close resemblance to the architecture of Taj Mahal.
The place is also famous for Jain temples and an old Shiva temple. There are white sandstone Jain temples of Parshwanath and Neminath, measuring 150 feet long by 140 broad and 26 high.
Stay overnight at Poshina.
On day five of your trip, a complete local tour of Burhanpur waits for you after breakfast. Your chauffeur will know to take you the best locations, some of which are Jama Masjid, Shahi Qila, Dargah-e-Hakimi, Gurudwara Badi Sangat Badshahi Dus and Kundi Bhandara.
After two nights stay in Burhanpur, make your way towards Maheshwar – the land of Mahishmati. This will be a straight drive without any such stop except for lunch. After you reach the city and check into hotel, get ready for a quick visit to Ahilyabai Fort of Maheshwar and enjoy a tranquil boat ride in Narmada River. The river itself is rich in stories of its mythological origin.
On day seven, you will be going on a day’s excursion to Mandu and visit some of the gems of the city, like Jahaz Mahal, shaped like a maritime vessel, tomb of Hosheng Shah – Malwa’s first official Islamic ruler and Jahangir Mahal. Also see Jami Masjid fashioned after the great mosque of Damascus, Roopmati Pavilion and Baz Bahadur Palace. Return to Maheshwar for overnight stay at your hotel.
Next day, your extended Ajanta Ellora Caves Tour takes you to the beautiful capital of Madhya Pradesh. Bhopal is a city of prosperity and tragedy, both. On your first day here, take a stroll in the streets of Old Bhopal and take in the lovely idyllic ambience, and also enjoy a picturesque sunset at Bhopal Lake to end the day on a mesmerising note. Stay overnight at Bhopal.
Next morning after breakfast, get ready for a day long excursion first to Udaygiri Caves and then to Sanchi Stupa near Bhopal. Sanchi Stupa located on a hill-top is a destination of great spiritual importance to the Buddhists, while the Udaygiri Caves complex is a collection of twenty rock-cut caves from early 5th century BCE. Between these two locations, today will be a day for cultural appreciation at its best. In the afternoon, visit one of India’s largest mosques, Taj-Ul-Masjid, meaning the ‘crown among mosques’, and also Gohar Mahal and Shaukat Mahal.
On day ten, you see some more of Bhopal’s historical treasures. Start with the colossal Shiva Lingam at Bhojpur Temple – a 18ft monolith of single rock, and then proceed to Bhimbetka Caves are considered to be at least 17000 years old and thus the earliest signs of civilization in the Subcontinent. Explore its rock shelter caves dating back to Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Age, and then head towards Bhopal railway station for your train to Gwalior. Arrive at the city and stay overnight at Gwalior.
Today, you go on a city tour of Gwalior after breakfast. In the first half, take a tour of the tombs of Muslim saint Ghaus Muhammad and Akbar’s musical maestro Tansen, and then the colonial-style grand mansion, Jai Vilas Palace. After lunch at a local restaurant, keep the afternoon for a trip to the famous Gwalior Fort that has seen some great many battles of ancient India. Once ruled over by the Maratha Scindias, this fort is one of the grandest in the country. Also see Man Singh Palace, Teli ka Mandir and Sahastrabahu Temple before getting back to hotel.
Next morning, drive to Agra via visiting the trinity of temples – Mitawali, Padawali and the 200+ temples of Bateshwar. After the visit drive straight to Agra for overnight stay.
Agra is home to the Seventh Wonder of the World – Taj Mahal. The story behind its origin is just as beautiful as the architecture of this structure. Admire the marvellous white edifice outside and take a round of the tombs of Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz inside the building. Also see Agra Fort, the once prosperous residence of the Mughals, now just an abandoned ruin. In the afternoon drive to Delhi for overnight stay in the country’s capital.
The penultimate day of your trip takes you on a quick tour of Delhi. See Jama Masjid and stroll in Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi. Also visit Raj Ghat and see the memorial erected as a tribute to Gandhi. After lunch, drive past India Gate, Red Fort and President’s House and a quick visit to Qutub Minar – the tallest brick tower of the world and one of the earliest Islamic structures of India started by the first Delhi Sultan, Qutub-ud-din Aibak.
Your tour assistant will take care of your safe transfer to the airport of Delhi so that you can board your flight for onward journey comfortably in time.