The Heart of India Tour

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Tour Details: This suggested itinerary takes you through the tourist gems of India and also to the hidden jewels, waiting to be discovered. This pan-India tour takes you through rich architecture, history, culture, geology, two world heritage wildlife parks and rural/tribal India.

Highlights: The trip can be tailor made to suit your budget & interests. Hotels, length of stay at each destination, Language Guides (English, French, German, Italian, Russian, Japanese, Chinese or Spanish) and vehicles can be chosen to suit these requirements.

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Day Wise Breakup

Day 1: Delhi: Following your arrival in Delhi transfer to the hotel.

Day 2: Delhi Tour: A day sightseeing in Old and New Delhi.

Day 3: Agra: After breakfast check out from the hotel and road drive for Agra arriving at lunchtime and in the afternoon, visit to the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, both world heritage sites.

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Day 4: Gwalior: After an early breakfast transfer to the railway station for the morning Shatabdi Express to Gwalior, arriving mid-morning and transfer to your hotel. Post lunch, enjoy glorious fortresses of Gwalior dating back to almost 1000 years.

Day 5: Orchha: The 3-hours drive to Orchha brings you to this medieval riverside city by lunchtime. The afternoon sightseeing will include its three palaces and embrace some of the numerous pavilions, lodges and temples that can be glimpsed in the nearby heavily wooded hills, before returning to your hotel in Orchha.

Day 6: Khajuraho: Today, a 3-4hrs drive to the temples of Khajuraho, followed by lunch. The temples provide an entertaining and instructive afternoon's viewing for all human life depicted here. In these magnificient temples, discover antiquity and beautifully carved designs well preserved.

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Day 7: Bandhavgarh Tour: With an early departure reach the wildlife sanctuary at Bandhavgarh by lunchtime. Also experience exceptionally varied Birdlife from Malabar hornbills and paradise fly catchers to black vultures and crested serpent eagles. Jeeps and elephants are available for game(the park is open from November-June).

Day 8: Bandhavgarh: This day is completely reserved for game viewing and some leisure activities.

Day 9: Jabalpur: Morning drive takes you to Jabalpur. The city itself dates from the nineteenth century and has a beautiful collection of marble rocks called Bhedaghat surrounding the holy Narmada River. Visit them in the afternoon for the Dhuandhar or 'smoke cascade' where the Narmada plunges as a waterfall and stay on until nightfall when the snowy rocks are floodlit for a magical effect .

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Day 10: Bhimbetka Hill - Bhopal: Having an early breakfast (and a packed lunch) leave Jabalpur for the long drive to Bhopal. We stop just short at world heritage site of Bhimbetka Hill. The recently discovered large caves here are home to hundreds of plates of prehistoric art on its walls and ceilings, some as old as 10,000 years. Reach Bhopal in the late afternoon.

Day 11: Bhopal: The morning will be spent sightseeing in Bhopal, the city is home to some 400 mosques the more prominent being Moti Masjid, Jama Masjid and Taj-ul Masjid mosques, followed by visit to Udaygiri caves, a series of rock-cut sanctuaries carved about 400AD, notable for their sculpture, to Sanchi. Enjoy this tranquil hilltop cluster of stupas, temples, pillars and abandoned monasteries. Return to Bhopal in the late afternoon.

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Day 12: Ujjain - Indore: You leave Bhopal for the day's drive to Indore via the ancient town of Ujjain, once an important trade centre on the route to Egypt and still one of the holiest pilgrimage centers for Hindus. Indore is reached by late afternoon and check into the hotel to relax and overnight stay.

Day 13: : Indore: Enjoy your relaxed morning. After lunch, see outdoor Indore, visiting the extraordinary Kanch Mandir, a Jain temple of mirrors, and the vigorously eclectic Lal Bagh Palace of the 19th century Holkar dynasty.

Day 14: Omkareshwar - Maheshwar - Mandu: After breakfast a fascinating drive full of historic sights to Mandu. Visit to Omkareshwar, a sacred island, shaped like Om, the holiest of all Hindu symbols, at the meeting of the Narmada and Kaveri rivers. A few miles ahead is Maheshwar, the site of an ancient temple city. Arrive at Mandu in the late afternoon.

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Day 15: Mandu: A full day at Mandu and see exquisite palaces like the Jahaz and Hindola Mahals, ornamental canals, baths and pavilions, as graceful and refined as those times of peace and plenty in 13th century. Each of Mandu's structures is an architectural gem; some are outstanding like the massive Jami Masjid and Hoshang Shah's tomb, which provided inspiration to the master builders of the Taj Mahal centuries later.

Day 16: Ajanta - Aurangabad: An early start after breakfast means arrival at Ajanta by lunchtime, giving you all afternoon to view the extraordinary murals, frescoes and sculptures contained within these rock-cut caves, executed between 200 B.C. and 650 A.D. In the late afternoon drive to Aurangabad.

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Day 17: Ellora: After breakfast a half-hour's journey brings you to Ellora and its monumental Hindu, Jain and Buddhist temples cut from the basalt rock. Also see the formidable fortress of Deogiri at Daulatabad, intended by the Delhi Sultan Muhammad Tughlaq as his capital, a short-lived but costly experiment in human lives. Return to Aurangabad.

Day 18: Aurangabad – Mumbai: Take the morning flight from Aurangabad to Mumbai. The afternoon is at leisure before your late night transfer to the international airport for your flight to home.

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