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Essence of India

The Essence of India brings to you the quintessence of India through the journey covering the diverse tourist destinations. We provide you with the various facets of India, the urban (Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai), the rural (Orchha), the religious (Varanasi, Madurai), the heritage and cultural (Jaipur, Aurangabad, Mahabalipuram), the acceptance of foreign cultures (Kolkata, Pondicherry), the Taj Mahal at Agra and you have the choice of finishing this tour on the palm-fringed beaches of Goa. Come with an open mind and take back an experience of a lifetime.

21 Nights / 22 Days
to Delhi – Jaipur – Agra – Orchha – Khajuraho – Varanasi – Patna – Kolkata – Chennai – Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry – Madurai – Trivandrum – Mumbai – Aurangabad – Mumbai

Day1 - Arrive Delhi (the capital city of Republic of India) 
Traditional welcome - Atithi Devo Bhava (Guest is god) by garlanding on arrival at Delhi international airport by Comfort Holidays executive. Transferred in your private air-conditioned deluxe car to your hotel for immediate checkin. Day at leisure to relax. 

Day2 - Delhi 
After breakfast, guided tour of historic city of Delhi. The city where one can experience the influence of the many rulers who ruled this region, a city built and destroyed and re-built over seven times. The guided tour takes to the monuments that depict the different eras. The tour includes the magnificent Red Fort, the Jama Masjid, on of Asia's largest mosque, Rajghat - the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi - the "Father of the Nation". Afternoon tour of New Delhi to include Humanyun Tomb, Birla Mandir, Bahai Temple, Qutab Minar, India Gate, President'' House and drive through Connaught Place. Evening, see Son-et-Lumerie at Red Fort (optional). Overnight at hotel.

Day3 - Delhi - Jaipur (260kms/ 5 hrs) 
After breakfast, drive to south west of Delhi passing through the countryside on National Highway 8 to capital city of Rajasthan state - Jaipur. Famously known as the Pink City due to pink colored buildings in the Old walled part of the city, it was founded in the 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II. The city was planned according to Indian Vastru Shastra (Pouranic planning for the comfort and prosperity of the citizens) is considered by many urbanists to be the best planned city. Check-into hotel on arrival. Later, proceed for half day guided city tour visiting City Palace museum, Jantar Mantar - the observatory having instruments from 1728 AD for measuring celestial planet & star positions. Drive past the Palace of Winds (Hawa Mahal). Evening at leisure for enjoying the real charm of this royal city to stroll in the local bazaars to see some handicrafts and artisans. Overnight at hotel.

Day4 - Jaipur – Agra (232 kms / 4.5 hrs) 
Enjoy a royal breakfast at hotel. Then guided excursion to the majestic Amber Fort - the erstwhile capital of the Kachwahas Rajputs before they moved to their newly built capital in Jaipur. This is the only fort where one can still go by the elephant back even today like a Maharaja. Afternoon drive to Agra via Fatepur Sikri; a World Heritage Site. Assisted by a guide visit this world famous complex of monuments and temples built in a uniform architectural style. Proceed to Agra. Agra is a treasure trove for all the tourists from India and abroad. Even though Agra is synonymous with the Taj, the city stands in testimony to the great amount of architectural activity of the Mughals. Evening visit bazaar (shopping area). Overnight at hotel.

Day5 - Agra – Orchha (240 kms / 6 hrs) 
After breakfast, visited the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort. The Taj Mahal of Agra is a monument built by emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of her wife Mumtaz Mahal while the Agra Fort was built by Emperor Akbar. Built with red sandstone the Fort is a mixture of the Islamic and Hindu styles of architecture. After Lunch proceed to Orchha. Check into hotel. Overnight at hotel.

Day6 - Orchha - Khajuraho (175 kms / 3.5 hrs) 
After breakfast, a half-day guided programme of Orchha. Orchha was the erstwhile capital city of the Bundela rulers. The town is steeped in history and is famous for its palaces and temples built in the 16th and 17th centuries. Visit Jahangir Mahal, Rajmahal and Phool Bagh. In the afternoon, drive to Khajuraho. On arrival check into hotel. Overnight at hotel.

Day7 - Khajuraho 
Breakfast followed by a guided tour of Chandela dynasty temples famous for their spectacular sculptures and carvings. Visit the Western, Eastern and Southern group of temples. Evening for leisure. Overnight at hotel.

Day8 - Khajuraho – Varanasi (air) 
Breakfast. In the afternoon transfer to the airport to catch a flight to Varanasi. On arrival, check into hotel. Spend the evening on the ghats of the Ganges. Overnight at hotel.

Day9 - Varanasi – Patna (rail) 
Breakfast. Transfer to the railway station to catch a train to Patna. Arrive Patna in the evening, check into hotel. Evening free. Overnight at hotel.

Day10 - Patna 
After breakfast take a guided excursion to Vaishali where Lord Buddha preached his last sermon announcing his approaching Nirvana. Visit stupas holding urns containing ashes of Buddha and Ashok pillar erected by Emperor Ashoka to mark places sanctified by Buddha. The place is also known now for famous Madhubani paintings. Overnight at hotel.

Day11 - Patna – Kolkata (air) 
Breakfast. In the afternoon transfer to the airport to catch a flight to Kolkata. On arrival, check into hotel. In the evening, drive around this once colonial city built in the 18th century. Like Mumbai and Chennai, which we later visit, Kolkata originated largely due to the expansionist ambitions of the European powers, especially the British Raj. Little wonder, Kolkata has some of the finest Raj edifices built in a variety of styles. Overnight at hotel.

Day12 - Kolkata – Chennai (air) 
Breakfast followed by a full-day guided tour of Kolkata visiting the Victoria Memorial, Indian Museum, Fort William, Kali Mandir and Belur Math, in the evening transfer to the airport to catch a flight to Chennai. On arrival, check into hotel. Overnight at hotel.

Day13 - Chennai 
Breakfast at hotel. Then a full day guided visit to Fort St. George, War memorial, St. Mary's Church, the Basilica of Saint Thomas, believed to have been built by St. Thomas, the apostle, Snake Park ending the day on Marina Beach. Overnight at hotel.

Day14 - Chennai - Kanchipuram – Mahabalipuram (175 kms) 
After breakfast, drive to Kanchipuram (1 hr.) the erstwhile capital of the Pallavas and Cholas. Visit the temples dedicated to various gods and goddesses. Also visit the shopping area, as it is also home of weavers of the famed Kanchipuram silks. Lunch at Kanchipuram. Evening drive to Mahabalipuram (Mamallapuram), a World Heritage Site and check into the hotel. Overnight at hotel.

Day15 - Mahabalipuram - Pondicherry (134 kms / 3.5 hrs) 
Breakfast at hotel. Mahabalipuam, too was part of the Pallavas dynasty and exhibits some of the most outstanding examples of the Dravidian style of art and architecture. A full day guided tour of Arjuna’s Penance, the rock cut caves, the Krishna Mandapam, the famous rathas and the Shore Temple. Afternoon drive to Pondicherry and enjoy this quaint French town. Evening free on own to explore the city on your own. Overnight at hotel.

Day16 - Pondicherry 
Breakfast at hotel. Proceed for a half-day sightseeing tour visiting Auroville and Aurobindo Ashram. Overnight at hotel.

Day17 - Pondicherry – Madurai (324 kms / 7 hrs) 
Breakfast at hotel. Drive to Madurai. On arrival, check into hotel. Overnight at hotel.

Day18 - Madurai – Trivandrum (265 kms / 5 hrs) 
Breakfast followed by a half day guided programme of Meenakshi temple built in the Dravidian style and Teppa Kulu, a tank with an island temple and Tirumalai Nayak Palace. Afternoon, drive to Trivandrum. Check into a beach resort. Overnight at resort.

Day19 - Trivandrum – Mumbai (air) – Aurangabad (air) 
Breakfast. Morning free to spend time on the beach. Afternoon transfer to the airport to catch a flight to Mumbai and an evening flight to Aurangabad. Overnight at hotel. 

Day20 - Aurangabad 
Breakfast. Followed by a full day guided excursion of the ancient Ajanta and Ellora Caves, a world heritage site. The 30 odd Buddhist caves at Ajanta are full of sculptures and frescoes of life of Lord Buddha. The Ellora Caves, is where one can see Buddhist, Jain and Hindu shrines dating back to 4th to 9th century A.D. Overnight at hotel.

Day21 - Aurangabad – Mumbai (flight) 
Early breakfast. Catch a flight back to Mumbai. On arrival, check into hotel for wash-n-change followed by a full-day guided sightseeing of Mumbai covering Hanging Garden, Marine Drive, Dhobi Ghat, Vidhan Sabha, Malabar Hill and Prince of Wales Museum. Evening free. Overnight at hotel.

Day22 - Mumbai – onward destination 
Breakfast. Transfer to the airport to catch a flight to connecting destination

Heritage of Rajasthan

Forts and Palaces of India

Essence of India
Golden Triangle Tour Indian Panorama The Maharaja and Maharani on
Tour (Rajasthan)
Splendors of Central India Gateway to Sunderbans -
Ganges river cruise