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Highlights of India

 11-Day Tour 

Day 1: DEPART USA 
We depart the US this afternoon for an overnight flight to Delhi.  We will enjoy various meals and service while in flight.

Day 2: ARRIVE DELHI 
Upon our arrival in Delhi late this evening we will be met by our Pilgrim Tours escort who will assist in orienting us to Delhi and checking us into our hotel.

Day 3:  IN DELHI 
We begin our tour of India with a morning sightseeing tour of New Delhi. Visit the 12th century Qutab Minar, gracefully hand-carved for its entire height of 234ft, and the iron pillar, which has withstood the ravages of time and not rusted even after 1500 years. Visit the mausoleum of emperor Humayun – a forerunner of the Mughal style of architecture and the imposing modern Lakshminarayan temple. Drive past the India Gate (war memorial dedicated to the lives  laid down by the Indian soldiers), the President's residence - formerly the Viceroy's Palace, Parliament House and the Secretariat buildings, an interesting blend of the Victorian and 20th century architecture.  Afternoon sightseeing of Old Delhi takes you to the magnificent Red Fort - a marvel in red sandstone, built on the banks of the River Yamuna by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan.  Continuing our tour we visit the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial and the Jama Masjid which is the largest mosque in India. Next we drive past Chandi Chowk, once an imperial avenue of Mughal Royalty which today is the busiest commercial area of the city and finally an opportunity to walk through Chandni Chowk to savor the ambience of an oriental bazaar.  This evening we will enjoy cultural presentation called “Dances at Parsi Anjuman Hall”.  

Day 4: FLY DELHI VARANASI
We transfer to the Delhi airport in time to catch our flight to Varanasi.  Upon our arrival in Varanasi we will be transferred to our hotel.  Late this afternoon we experience Varanasi intimately as we leisurely travel on a rickshaw, riding through the narrow streets and alleys. Ride down to the Ghats for a boat ride at dusk & to witness an Arti Ceremony (collective prayer) and watch the floating Diyas (lamps) on the river Ganges. 

Day 5: IN VARANASI
We begin early this morning with a sunrise boat cruise on the Ganges River.  During our cruise we will focus our attention on the western banks which offers a string of Ghats - the chain of stone steps, all built with pavilions, palaces and terraces, most of which are mainly used as Dharamsalas where the pilgrims stay during their visit to the holy city.  At dawn, the Ghats are buzzing with activity of the devotees performing their ablutions in the river or offering prayers to the rising sun and performing other religious rituals.  After our cruise, we visit the Vishwanath temple also called the Golden temple because of the gold-plating on its roof. After lunch we travel to Sarnath, 10-Kms away from Varanasi to the fabled place which bears testimony to its great past.  Here Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon to his disciples, expounding the principles of Buddhism.  Next we visit the art collection at the Archaeological Museum.  The main attraction is the Ashokan Pillar - the Ashokan symbol of four back-to-back lions which has been adopted as the state symbol Independent India.  We continue on to visit the Mahabodhi'Buddha temple, walk around the Deer Park and the Monastery ruins area of Dhameka Stupa.  This evening we transfer to the railway station to board your overnight train for Agra.  We depart: Varanasi at 10:40 PM by `Magadh Express’. 

Day 6: ARRIVE AGRA
Upon our early arrival in Agra, we will be met and transferred to our hotel.  After breakfast we visit the world famous Taj Mahal built by Shah Jahan in 1630 for his queen Mumtaz Mahal to enshrine her mortal remains. This architectural marvel is a perfectly proportioned masterpiece fashioned from white marble.  The Taj Mahal stands testimony to the skill of 20,000 craftsmen brought together from Persia, Turkey, France and Italy and took 17 years to complete this 'Love Poem in Marble'.  We will also visit the Agra Fort containing the halls of private and public audience, other palaces, as well as a `tonga’ (traditional horse pulled carriage) ride.  Late this afternoon we will meet with a local Henna artist for those interested. 
This evening we may have the opportunity for an optional tour of the Taj Mahal at sunset.

Day 7: DRIVE AGRA-JAIPUR
This morning we depart Agra for Jaipur.  En route we will stop for a visit in Fatehpur Sikri.  Fatehpur Sikri was built by Emperor Akber in 1569 and abandoned after 15 years due to scarcity of water. Visit the remarkably well-preserved, graceful buildings within the 'Ghost City' including the Jama Masjid, tomb of Salim Chisti, Panch Mahal Palace and other palaces that speak of the grandeur and splendor of the Mughal empire at the height of its power.  Post excursion, continue your drive to Jaipur.  After we check into our hotel we will take an evening drive to the Birla Mandir (modern Hindu temple) to witness an `aarti’ ceremony (prayer ritual). 

Day 8:  IN JAIPUR 
This morning features a visit to the Amber Fort with an opportunity for an elephant ride. Amber is a classic, romantic Rajasthani fort Palace. The rugged, time-ravaged walls of the Fort may not look beautiful from the outside, but the interior is a virtual paradise. Miniatures painted on the walls depict hunting and war scenes, apart from festivals. Precious stones and mirrors are embedded into the plaster. A major attraction at Amber is the Elephant Ride all the way up to the Fort entrance. This journey on caparisoned elephants is bound to enrich your memories with the Royal lifestyle of the Maharajas and leave you with a truly unforgettable experience. Inside the Fort visit the Jag Mandir or the Hall of Victory. Inside the Jag Mandir is the famed Sheesh Mahal – a room with all the four walls and ceiling completely embedded with glittering mirror pieces, which were specially imported from Belgium. En route to Amber Fort, you will have a brief photography stop at Hawa Mahal - the Palace of Winds.  This afternoon we take part in a Jaipur city tour as we visit the Maharaja's City Palace, the former Royal residence where part of the Royal residence is converted into a museum. One of the major attractions in the museum is the portion known as Armory Museum housing an impressive array of weaponry-pistols, blunderbusses, flintlocks, swords, rifles and daggers. The royal families of Jaipur once used most of these weapons. Later visit the Jantar Mantar, which is the largest stone and marble crafted observatory in the world. Situated near the gate of the city palace, the observatory has 17 large instruments, many of them still in working condition.  This evening we look forward to a cycle rickshaw ride though the narrow roads at `choti-chauppad’ & to `Johari Bazaar’

Day 9:  DRIVE JAIPUR-NEEMRANA
This morning we depart Jaipur and travel to Neemrana.  As we leave the city, we stop by the famous `lassi ‘(sweetened butter milk) shop, to have `lassi’ in disposable clay mugs. Upon our arrival we will check into the Neemarana Fort Hotel.  Later this afternoon we enjoy a tour of Neemrana-Fort-Palace which is a beautifully restored 16th century fort located on a majestic plateau of the Aravalli ranges. 

Day 10:  DRIVE NEEMRANA-DELHI
We leave Neemrana this morning and travel to Delhi.  En route we will stop in Gurgoan for a visit to a call center.  Continuing on we arrive in Delhi with time to visit the Dilli Haat which is an upscale version of the weekly traditional market.  Here we will observe a balanced view of the richness and diversity of Indian culture and handcrafts.  We will transfer to the airport late this evening in time to catch our early morning flight back to Houston.

Day 11:   RETURN TO USA
We arrive in the USA today.

 

Pricing from $1999.00 per person, based on 20 passengers
NY Departure (many other departure cities available)
Call For Details - 800.322.0788

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