Unusual India: history, art and nature
History, art and nature come together in an exciting and unusual journey that can offer strong emotions and unforgettable memories. A leap into the unusual past of India, full of palaces' remains and expertly decorated temples. Meet the greenest and wildest India, between lush nature and unique and rare animal species such as the white tiger and deer of the marshes.
Arrival in Delhi and meeting with your guide before the transfer to the hotel.
During the afternoon visiting of the city: starting from Old Delhi, the historical part, surrounded by walls. Passing through the Red Fort, you can admire the most majestic among the monuments of the Mughal Empire, the Jama Masjid (closed on Friday), which is the largest mosque in India. Built between 1644 and 1658 during the reign of Shah Jahan, it is an impressive piece of architecture of red brick and white marble that extends for 40 meters in height and boasts four towers at the corners and 3 gates.
On the banks of the river Yamuna there is the Rajghat: the place where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated, after his assassination in 1948.
Return to the hotel and overnight.
In the morning we will visit New Delhi: the new part conceived, designed and built by the British in the 20s of XX century, in a majestic style. New Delhi is a city characterized by wide tree-lined streets, parks, gardens, grand residences that host the parliament, ministries , embassies, the area of Connaught Place, the financial, commercial and business center.
The India's Gate, known as the arch of triumph, carries the names of several thousand Indians who lost their lives during the First World War. In the opposite side there is the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the official residence of the President of India, a perfect blend of Mughal and Western architectural style. Surrounded by huge parks, its construction was completed in 1929. Qutub Minar, 73m high, is a tower with a diameter of 15m that is narrow down to a minimum of 2m and a half. It is spread over 5 floors, each of which has a sticking out balcony. The mausoleum of Humayun, however, was built between 1564 and 1572 by Haji Begum, the widow of the second Mughal emperor. Nine years after the death of Humayun, it took eight years to complete its construction. Designed by the persian architect Misak Mirza Ghiyaz, the mausoleum boasts an octagonal elevated shape with two domes, 8 arches and it is surrounded by a great wall.
In the afternoon we will leave to Jaipur. Arrival and accomodation in private rooms.
After breakfast, we will proceed to Amber Fort.
The ascent to the fort will be on elephant back or jeep. Located just 11 km far from Jaipur, the Amber Fort is one of the wonderful examples of Rajput architecture that characterized the old capital during the Kachhawah empire. The original palace was built by Raja Man Singh and later completed by Sawai Jai Singh. The wonderful old citadel, a labyrinth of massive walls and towers, hides a beautiful marble building, carved and illuminated by a million tiny mirrors that create a wonderful play of light. Inside the palace there are the Diwan-e-Aam, the '' public auditorium "; the Diwan-e-Khas, or the '' private auditorium "and the Sukh Niws where, in summer, a cool breeze blows through the channels of water and pleasantly refreshes the air. You can then observe the private chambers of the queens from the typical grates windows through which queens could observe the various vicissitudes of the royal court in their intimacy. You can also admire the Jai Mandir or the "Temple of Victory", with its famous Sheesh Mahal, the scintillating "Hall of Mirrors".
In the afternoon visiting of the city of Jaipur. The Hawa Mahal the famous "Palace of Winds", built in 1799, a beautiful five-story building from the spectacular pyramidal facade with a series of windows set in a grid of panels, domes and spiers. The Hawa Mahal is part of the City Palace, commissioned by Sawai Pratap Singh and designed for women of the royal families who could easily observe, in private, the road and its quotidine vicissitudes. We will continue our sightseeing with the Palace Museum of the city and the Observatory, an impressive fusion of traditional Rajasthani and Mughal style. The museum is popular due to its collection of princely clothes, carpets. A room exhibits the old weapons and miniatures which represent court scenes and battles. The Jantar Mantar is the stone observatory built by Jai Singh II, placed close to the City Palace. It is the largest and best preserved of the observatory of the area and thanks to its instruments, the astronomers were able to measure the stars and calculate eclipses.
Return and overnight at the hotel.
A day dedicated to the safari in Ranthambore National Park.
This is a picturesque location set between the Aravali Hills and the Vindhyan Plateau, in the eastern part of Rajasthan, the ancient place where Maharajas of Jaipur used to hunt. The river Chambal in the South, and Banas in the North are the main sources of water of the park. It will be amazing to do this tour inside the reserve to observe its incomparable beauty, enhanced by the presence of six artificial lakes and streams always rich of water. The park covers an area of 1334 km2 and includes the shrines of Kaila Devi and Mansingh. The idea of preserving nature was set off by the rulers of Jaipur, which changed Ranthambore in a safari reserve in 1955, and made it become one of the first protected areas, although officially became a National Park in 1984. It absolutely was among the first reserves to host tigers, when the "Project Tiger" started in 1972. It represents a shelter for about 36 tigers and 40 leopards, as well as 30 other species of animals and 300 other species of animals such as bats, flying foxes, gazelles, monkeys, wild boars, sloths, porcupines etc.
The Jeep safari will last about 3 hours to make the all tour of the park.
Overnight at hotel.
After breakfast, departure for Bharatpur and after the arrival, hotel accommodation.
Afternoon dedicated to visiting the park on board a traditional rickshaw. Bharatpur, in fact, is a nature reserve known for being the refuge of many birds.
The Keoladeo Ghana National Park is the home to over 400 species of sea birds, migratory birds from Afghanistan, Central Asia, Tibet, as well as Siberian cranes and geese from China, who come here to spend winters.
Return to hotel and overnight.
After breakfast departure for Agra and along the way we will stop at Fatehpur Sikri, a fascinating ghost town, located just after the small red sandstone town of Agrain. Built thanks to Emperor Akbar as his capital, Fatehpur Sikri was a veritable fairytale city and its ruins are still in excellent condition today. It is not hard to imagine how he could be the court life during that great time. Set like a jewel in a courtyard of pink sandstone, the marble tomb of Saint Salim Chisti is surrounded by finely carved marble. We will visit the Buland Darwaza, Panch Mahal, the Jami Mosque, the Birbals Palace, the Sunhera Makan, the Palace of Jodha Bai, the Kahan-i-khas, the Diwan-im.
In the afternoon arrival at Agra, hotel accommodation and visiting of the Taj Mahal.
Agra, in fact, is the city of the Taj Mahal, perhaps the most photographed monument of the world. No matter how many pictures you have seen, or no matter what kind of expectations a person has, the Taj Mahal (closed on Fridays) never betrays. The glory and the uncomparable beauty of this monument built for love goes beyond all human expectation. Thanks to its perfect symmetry in every aspect, the construction is notable for the remarkable quality of the inlay work of marble semi precious stones characterized by a stone hard style.
Later, there will be a visiting to the Agra Fort: built in 1565 on the banks of the river Yumana, located north-west of the Taj Mahal. Emperor Akbar began the construction of this magnificent fort, which was later enriched with sandstone and marble buildings by Jehangir and Shah Jahan. The colossal double walls of the fort are raised to more than 20 m in height and 2.5 m in length. Inside the walls, a maze of superb halls, mosques, rooms and gardens are forming a small city within a city. You can also admire the Jahangir Place and the Khas Mahal, Diwan-i-Khas and two beautiful mosques.
Overnight at hotel.
After breakfast, transfer to the train station of Agra to take the train to Jhansi.
Upon arrival, meeting with an assistant and departure for Khajuraho; visiting of Orchha, chosen by the head Bundela RajaRudra Pratap (1501 - 1531) as its capital, because of being an easily defensible place. Located on a small island of the river Betwa, the city rises over the surrounding countryside and within it there are three buildings. The Jehangir Mahal Palace is the most admired and it was built by Bir Singh Deo as a welcome gift for the visiting of Emperor Mughals in the seventeenth century. The Sheesh Mahal, called "Palace of Mirrors" was erected at the beginning of the eighth century in order to be the countryside residence of Raja Udait Singh, but after the country's independence, it became property of the government. Finally, the most modest palace located between the Raj Mahal and the Jehangir Mahal is the Phool Mahal, also called "flower garden" thanks to its resemblance with a small spot during the summer. Following visiting to temples of Ram Raja and Chaturbuj.
After the sightseeing, our trip will lead to Khajuraho.
Upon arrival, accommodation and overnight.
After breakfast, visit to the eastern and western group of temples of Khajuraho.
The Western group of temples includes: Khndarya Mahadeo, the largest and most typical of these temples which rises to 31 meters high and is dedicated to Shiva. Chaunsat Yogini is dedicated to Kali and it is the only temple in granite, as well as the oldest shrine of the group. Chitragupt Temple : facing east, this temple is dedicated to Surya, the god of sun. The image of the goddess in the innermost sanctuary is particularly impressive: about 2 meters high, driving a horse-drawn carriage. Vivshwanath Temple : here is the venerated the three-headed Brahma. Impressive is the view of lions in the north part and elephants in the south part of the temple. Lakshmana Temple: the lintel over the entrance of this beautiful temple shows the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva with Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu. Matangeswara Temple : today's place of worship, the temple is dedicated to Shiva, with a "lingam" 8 feet high that is outside of the western group of temples.
The Eastern group of temples was built between the ninth and tenth centuries by the Chandela dynasty and was influenced by Tantrism, making eroticism a theme of philosophical interest. Is possible that, even the city of Khajuraho were influenced by "Kama Sutra". The temple of Parsvanatha is the largest Jain temple of the eastern group and boasts a complex weave of carving; in particular, the sculptures of the north are wonderful. It hosts a throne representing a bull, the symbol that represents the first tirthankara, Adinatha. The Jain temple of Ghantai, however, has obvious frescoes depicting the 16 dreams of the mother of Lord Mahavira during the giving birth, and the goddess Jain on board of a winged Garuda. The Adinatha Temple is richly decorated by graceful sculptures, including those of "yakshis" and is dedicated to the first Jain saint, called Adinath. Most of these temples belong to the Jain faith, but there are also three Hindu temples: Brahma, Vamana, with erotic carvings of celestial maidens, and Javari, characterized by a wonderful decorated entrance and sculptures on the outside part.
In the afternoon, we will continue till Bandhavgarh and, after the arrival, accommodation and overnight.
Full day devoted to safaris around Bandhavgarh National Park.
This area was an hunting reserve of the Maharaja of Rewa, and today is the natural habitat of the white tiger. White tigers, which today constitute the main attraction of the park, were sighted for the first time in Rewa, not far from here. The territory is varied, with rocky hills that run from east to west, interrupted by grassy marshes and forests. Most of the park is covered by the forest, although there are also stretches of bamboo and grasslands. In this area, the forests are less dense, giving you the chance to see wild animals, especially mammals, such as the beautiful tigers (about 40 inside the park) and many other species of animals, including 150 varieties of birds. The whole park is dominated by the stronghold of Bandhavgarh, situated on a plateau and reachable passing through a steep slope; although today there are only its ruins that are gradually covered by greenery, they act as a refuge for many animals.
Overnight at the hotel.
Full day dedicated to the safari in Kanha National Park.
This is the setting in which the writer Rudyard Kipling set his famous novel "The Jungle Book" and is still one of the most important natural reserves of central India, famous for hosting a big population of deers (about 380). Spot some animal is always a matter of luck but in Kanha it will not be difficult to do it.
In addition, many people are determined to meet the inhabitant par excellence of this area: the tiger. A large number of specimens are present in the area, which has remained one of the best places to observe these predators. Besides, there are 175 varieties of birds in the national park and you can choose from a number of specific routes in order to observe the birds. The territory within the park is very diverse: from bamboo forests to grasslands etc. With a little luck, you may even catch sight of the rare barasingha, popular as swamp deer. Once a time, there were only 66 specimens of these animals, but a slow process of repopulation, increased the number to 400 units. Also, just in Kanha, the famous zoologist George Schaller started the very first scientific study on tigers. Another milestone that could be reached within this natural park, is the preservation of the so-called "hard ground", extending the prairies, displacing villages, and increasing the habitat.
Overnight at hotel.
After breakfast, departure for the airport to take the flight from Nagpur to Mumbai.
Upon arrival, meeting with the assistant, transfer and overnight at the hotel.
The end of our tour has come. After breakfast, you will have free time until the transfer to the airport.
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