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Home : Discover India : The Heart of India
The Heart of India
Duration: 19 Nights / 20 Days
Places Covered: Delhi - Agra - Gwalior - Datia - Sonagiri - Orchha - Shivpuri - Ujjain - Mandu - Maheshwar - Omakeshwar - Indore - Bhopal - Sanchi - Khajuraho - Varanasi
Day 01: Arrival at Delhi
On your arrival at Delhi on the first day of your Heart of India Tour, our executives will receive you on the airport / railway station and lodge you in your hotel. We will begin sightseeing of Delhi's attractions once you have changed and relaxed for a while in your hotel like:
India Gate - It is a war memorial built as a homage to Indian soldiers who died during the Afghan War and World War I. Republic Day Parade passes through India Gate which is held on 26th January in which India's prowess is shown to the world. There are beautiful water channels around where you can enjoy pleasure boating rides. There are sprawling lawns at India Gate which are a popular hangout and picnic destination for the families and travelers.
Humayun's Tomb - It was built by the widow of Mogul ruler Humayun, viz. Hamida Banu Begum in 1565. Several Mogul monuments, most notably Taj Mahal were modeled on its design later on. Qutab Minar: The 72.5 m high red stone minaret was built by Qutb-ud-din-Aibak in 1206 AD and later rulers continued additions to its structure. Its construction was completed with the completion of fifth floor by Ferozshah Tughlaq in 1368. It is an excellent example of Indo-Islamic architectural splendor in India.
Red Fort (Lal Quila) - It was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in 1639 when he shifted his capital from Agra to Delhi. It is Delhi's seventh fort. Prime Minister of India addresses the nation from its ramparts on Independence Day, i.e. 15 August every year.
Akshardham Temple - The temple was opened for public in 2005. This relatively new landmark of Delhi is spread over an area of 100 acres on the banks of Yamuna River. It has musical fountains, IMAX Theatre and food court.
Other worthwhile attractions of Delhi that we will explore during the day if time allows are: ISKCON Temple, Gurudwara Sheesh Gunj, Lodhi Garden, Chandni Chowk, President House, Jama Masjid and Garden of Five Senses.
We will drive to the city of Taj, i.e., Agra soon after our breakfast during second day of our Heart of India Tour. We will have our lunch in Agra and spend the remaining part of the day visiting the wonderful Taj Mahal, which is the prime draw for tourists all over the world to Agra.
Taj Mahal - Construction of Taj Mahal was started by Mogul Emperor Shah Jahan in 1632 and it was completed in 1653. Around twenty thousand laborers were employed to complete the construction in 22 years' time. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983. Now, Taj Mahal is counted among the Seven Wonders of the World. The mausoleum attracts 2 to 4 million visitors annually from around the world. There are four minarets around the main structure of Taj Mahal, each being 130 ft high. The mausoleum was constructed by Shah Jahan in the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal who died relatively young. The monument is constructed in pure white marble and is the most excellent example of Mogul architectural splendor in India. It looks very beautiful on full moonlight night when its silvery aura spreads all around against the misty black backdrop of the night sky. Taj Mahal by Moonlight tours have recently been introduced for tourists where one can view Taj Mahal at night time during full moon night. The monument remains closed on Fridays. We will have our overnight stay at a hotel in Agra.
Day 03 : Agra sightseeing
Agra Red Fort - We will start our day with the sightseeing of Red Fort of Agra. It is situated 2.5 km off Taj Mahal. The fort was initially constructed by Akbar when Agra was the capital of his empire but it was brought to its present form in 1573 by his grandson Shah Jahan, who did some major alterations to its construction. It is spread over an area of 94 acre and there are two main entrances to the fort, viz. Delhi Gate and Lahori Gate.
Fatehpur Sikri - The city was founded by Akbar in 1570 to honor the revered Sufi Saint Sheikh Salim Chisti. The city was built with local red sandstone, known as Sikri sandstone. It is an amalgamation of Mogul, Persian, Indian and Islamic architecture. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1986. It is open from 06.00 am to 07.30 pm daily for tourist visits.
Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daula - The tomb was built by Empress Noor Jahan in the memory of his father Mirza Ghiyas Beg. It has beautiful lattice work, marble screens and is highly ornamented.
Sikandra (Tomb of Akbar) - Sikandra is few kilometers from Agra. The town has tomb of Akbar the Great with huge arched gateway and marble calligraphy work. There is a charbagh style garden and Akbar's three storey tomb lies at the heart of the garden.
Chini-ka-Rauza - It is the tomb of Allama Afzal Khan Mullah of Shiraz, the prime minister of Mogul Emperor Shah Jahan. It is decorated with colorful tiles called chini. It is situated on the eastern bank of Yamuna River, near the tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah.
Other attractions of Agra worth visiting are: Buland Darwaza, Birbal Bhawan, Mehtab Bagh, Dayal Bagh and Sur Sarovar Bird Sanctuary. We shall have overnight stay at a hotel in Agra
Day 04 : Agra - Gwalior (130 km / 03 hrs)
The historic Gwalior city was founded by King Surajesan in eight century AD. It is known for its imposing forts, beautiful palaces and majestic monuments. It is also famous for being the birthplace of great musician Tansen. We will see the following attractions of Gwalior during our Heart of India tour:
Gwalior Fort - The fort was constructed by Raja Suraj Sen 1,000 years ago on the advice of a saint when he was cured of leprosy. Its 35 high wall has a perimeter of 3.2 km. There are statues of Jain saints on either side of the steep road that leads you to the fort. It is situated on a hilly terrain and provides a panoramic view of the valley below.
Gujari Mahal and Museum - The palace was built by king Man Singh for his ninth Gujar wife, Mrignayni. It now has been converted into a museum housing rare stone carvings of the medieval times.
Man Mandir Palace - The exquisitely designed palace is adorned with beautiful tiles. There are nicely carved stone walls and nice chambers. Jauhar Pond is the place where royal ladies committed sati.
Suraj Kund - It is a pond which was built by King Suraj Sen when he, as per the legends, was cured of his chronic disease after drinking water from the pond on the advice of sage Gwalipa. It is situated in Gwalior Fort.
Other worthwhile attractions of Gwalior are: Saas Bahu Temple, Jai Vilas Palace, Tomb of Ghaus Mohammed, Jai Vilas Palace and Teli Ka Mandir. Our overnight stay will be at a hotel in Gwalior.
We will drive to Datia after breakfast, which is 70 km from Gwalior and lies on route to Jhansi. We will visit the following destinations of Datia, Sonagiri and Orchha during our heart of India tour:
Jahangir Mahal - The 400 room palace was built in 1620. The seven storey Jahangir Mahal is 130 ft. in height in its complex includes a fort and a museum.
Temples - Siddhapeeth of Shri Peetambra Devi, Gopeshwar Temple and Buglamukhi Devi Temple are popular shrines of Datia.
Raja Mahal, Rani Mahal, Chandrashekhar Azad Memorial and Dauji ki Haveli are other attractions of Datia. River rafting facilities are also available in Datia-Orchha region.
Sonagiri is a popular pilgrimage center for Digambar Jains. There are several spotless white and clean Jain temples in the region.
Jain Temples - If you want to visit the Jain temples, you will have to ascend about 300 steps barefoot with nothing but a bottle of water with you. Legend has it that King Nanganag Kumar attained Nirvana at Sonagiri along with millions of followers.
Orchha is situated in Tikamgarh district of Madhya Pradesh. It was the capital of erstwhile Bundela Kings. Literally meaning The Hidden Place, Orchha lives up to its name as it has several delights for tourists. Some of them are briefed below:
Laxmi Narayan Temple - The temple presents an amalgamation of fort and temple architecture. Its walls are decorated with mural paintings of mythological themes. A flagstone path connects Laxmi Narayan Temple with Ram Raja Temple.
Chhatris (Cenotaphs) - There are several Chhatris (cenotaphs) that are dotted alongside Betwa River in Orchha. The chhatris are painted beautifully and are placed on elevated platform supported by pillars. The reflections of these glorious remnants of erstwhile Bundela rulers could be seen in the clear waters of Betwa River.
Phool Bagh, Sunder Mahal and Dinman Hardaul's Palace are other attractions of Orchha. Our overnight stay will be at Orchha.
Day 06: Orchha -Shivpuri (150 km / 03 hrs)
We will reach Shivpuri in the morning on the sixth day of our Heart of India tour. The town is situated in Madhya Pradesh and it once used to be the summer capital of Scindia rulers of Gwalior. It is surrounded by woody forests and dotted with magnificent mansions. A pleasant climate all year round makes Shivpuri a hot picnic spot for families and travelers. Shivpuri attractions are:
Chhatris (Cenotaphs) - There are several elegant and intricately decorated chhatris or cenotaphs of Scindia rulers of the region in Shivpuri. Cenotaphs of Madhav Rao Scindia and Maharani Sakhya are particularly noticeable with their intricate marble inlay work and amusing blend of Hindu and Islamic architectural styles. Rituals are carried out before the statues by traditionally dressed employees with utmost dedication. Tourists can observe these rituals and watch the fine marble inlay work of these chhatris by paying a nominal charge of Rs. 20 per group or family of 4 people.
Madhav National Park - The national park was the hunting ground of Scindias and erstwhile British rulers of the region. It is spread over an area of 157 sq km. There is a boat club in the park that offers you boat riding facility through which you can view the exotic bird and mammalian species of Madhav National Park.
Goerge Castle offers a panoramic view of the sanctuary; however it is more popular for the romantic view of sunset. Two tours are conducted through the park daily for tourists, the first one is conducted between 06.30 am to 10.00 am while the second one is organized between 02.30 pm to 06.00 pm. Tourists are allowed video cameras and one can also avail the services of tourist guides.
Jungle Safari -Shivpuri has dense vegetation all around with abundance of natural beauty. It is rich in exotic flora and fauna. You can have jeep safari in Shivpuri jungles or go for trekking into its dense woods. You can spot herds of chital, spotted deer, Neelgai, sloth bear and other wild animals in Shivpuri jungles during your wildlife safari.
Ujjain is situated on the banks of river Shipra in Madhya Pradesh. It is a pilgrimage center for Hindus and there are several ancient and highly revered temples in Ujjain. Buddhism thrived a lot in Ujjain during 4th century AD. Festivals and fairs are an integral part of the lives of people here. Main attractions of Ujjain are:
Mahakaleshwar Temple - The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and houses one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India. It is a five storey structure with carved motifs, marble screens and pavilions. The main deity here is known as Dakshinamurtia as it is facing south. Bhasm Aarti is an important ritual of the temple which signifies the importance of the cycle of life and death.
Bhartruhari Caves - The caves are situated close to the banks of Shipra River. Ancient writer Bhartrihari is believed to have composed his great works like Shringarshataka and Nitishataka in these caves.
Gomti Kund - It is a steeped water tank located close to Sandipani Ashram. Legend has it that lord Krishna summoned holy rivers from all around to this place so that his guru could do the necessary rituals peacefully.
Other attractions of Ujjain are: Kalideh Palace, Bade Ganeshji Ka Mandir, PIr Matsyendranath, Chaubis Khamba Temple and Navgraha Triveni Mandir. Our overnight stay will be in Ujjain.
Day 08: Ujjain - Mandu (180 km / 05 hrs)
Mandu is a small town situated on the edge of Malwa Plateau in Madhya Pradesh. The town is believed to have been founded by Raja Bhoj and presents the finest example of Afghan architecture in India. The fairy tale town is reverberated with the love stories of a Muslim Prince Baz Bahadur and a Hindu shepherd singer girl Roopmati whose romance became folklore of the region. A massive gateway welcomes you to the town of Mandu. Main attractions of the Mandu are:
Baz Bahadur Palace - Baz Bahadur Palace was constructed in 1509 near Rewa Kund. Baz Bahadur was the last independent king of Malwa. The palace is named after him and is an excellent example of Islamic architecture of the region.
Hindola Mahal (The Swing Palace) - The palace is located near Jahaz Mahal. Its large hall is supported by sloping buttresses which resemble with the supporting ropes of a swing; hence the palace got its name as Hindola Palace or the Swing Palace.
Other attractions of Mandu are: Jahaz Mahal, Roopmati Pavilion, Ashrafi Mahal, Bagh Caves, Jami Masjid, Nilkanth Temple, Champa Baoli, Hoshang Shah's Tomb and Nahar Jharokha which we will see the next day of our Heart of India tour.
Day 09: Mandu sightseeing
We will continue sightseeing of Mandu's attraction for one more day. We shall start our tour after a sumptuous breakfast in the morning with Jahaz Mahal, which is a landmark of the city.
Jahaz Mahal (Ship Palace) - The outer structure of the palace resembles with that of a ship. It was built by the ruler Ghiyas-ud-Din as a harem for his 15,000 maidens.
Roopmati Pavilion - The beautiful pavilion is situated at the edge of Mandu Fort. It's a fairy tale building of the olden days with perfect romantic ambience all around. It is namedafter Roopmati, who was a singer shepherd girl with whom Prince Baz Bahadu fell in love. Their love story met a tragic end when Akbar invaded Mandu. Roopmati committed suicide to avoid falling into the clutches of Akbar's forces.
Hoshang Shah's Tomb: The foursquare monument was constructed in 1435 AD. It is considered to be the oldest marble monument in India with a strong influence of Hindu architectural style.
Jami Masjid - The mosque was built in 1454 and designed by architect Omayyed Mosque of Damascus. Ashrafi Mahal, which is just opposite Jama Masjid is the best location to have a panoramic view of the mosque.
Nilkanth Temple - It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and attracts devotees from nearby areas.
Champa Baoli - It is a step-well with cool waters and bathing rooms. It was a popular summer retreat for the locals.
Your overnight stay will be at a hotel in Mandu where you will be served delicious dinner.
Maheshwar is a temple town of Madhya Pradesh which is situated on the banks of Narmada River. A good number of magnificent temples were constructed here with active association of Maharani Ahilya Bai of Holkar Dynasty. There are several ghats (river landings) that provide a distinctive look to Maheshwar. We will visit the following destinations in Maheshwar:
Ahilyeshwar Temple - The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is famous for its excellent artistry. It is located on the bank of Narmada River and its façade has marvelous carvings all over. Beautiful images of Maratha soldiers on elephants arrest the attention of the visitors to the temple. Aartis (Offerings to the God) are held in the temple at 8 am and 6 pm every day.
Queen's Fort - The fort was the residence of Queen Ahilya Bai Holker, one of the most prominent queens of India. The fort displays chhatris (cenotaphs), the crown and other personal belongings of the queen which still ooze out elegance of the olden days. It remains open for the public from 07.00 am to 07.00 pm on working days.
Rajarajeshwara Temple - The temple is situated near Ahilyeshwar temple and you can reach to it within minutes through a stone paved path. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and situated on the bank of Narmada River. There are 11 Akhand Jyoti Deepaks or the Lamps of Eternal Flame that are never allowed to burn off. The lamps are lit with ghee as the offerings.
Jaleshwar Temple, Omkareshwar Temple and Pandrinath Temple are other important religious places of Maheshwar. Your overnight stay will be in Maheshwar where you will be served traditional delicacies.
Day 11 : Maheshwar - Omkareshwar - Indore (130 km / 05 hrs)
We will drive to Omakeshwar immediately after breakfast on the eleventh day of our Heart of India tour. Also spelled as Omkareswar, it is a pilgrimage destination which is located on Mandhata Island in Narmada River.
Attractions of Omkareshwar
Omkareshwar Temple - The temple is located 20 km from Mortakka town at the meeting point of River Narmada and Kaveri in Madhya Pradesh. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and houses one of the twelve Jyortirlingas in India. Shiva devotees will never miss a visit to this temple when in Omkareshwar. You can also shop for handicrafts near the temple.
Omkareshwar Parikrama - It is a ritual that Shiva devotees perform when visiting the Omkareshwar Temple. They circumambulate the temple in clockwise direction. It is believed that this walking around the holy jyotirlinga will fill one with positive energy. Since the temple is situated on the bank of Narmada River, the parikrama also offers a great view of the river and its pristine surroundings to the devotees and travelers.
Sacred Meeting Point - River Narmada and River Kaveri confluence at Omkareshwar, creating an island which resembles the shape of Om, which is a holy Hindu symbol. Since River Narmada is named after the daughter of Lord Shiva, it is believed that a dip in the holy waters of the Sacred Meeting Point of Narmada and Kaveri rivers will help one get rid of his sins and attain salvation. The natural scenery of the meeting point is simply awesome and one can spend hours admiring the natural bounties of the region.
Sri Govinda Bhagavatpaada Cave, Kadareshwar Temple and Omkar Mandhata Temple are other attractions of Omkareshwar.
We will proceed to Indore after lunch. The charming city has several magnificent temples, palaces and other monuments. It is also known with the sobriquet "The Food City" as you can taste here a variety of Indian and Punjabi delicacies which will leave you craving for more. We will visit the following attractions of Indore:
Rajwada (Holkar Palace) - The 200 year old spectacular mansion has well laid gardens and waterfalls. It is a landmark of Indore and is a speaking edifice of the rich historical past of the city.
Lal Bagh Palace - The palace belongs to Holkar Dynasty and is spread over 28 hectares. It is a reflection of the grandeur and architectural taste of Holkar rulers of the region. It was earlier used to hold royal celebrations but now has been converted into a museum which remains open for public from 10.00 am to 05.00 pm on working days.
Other attractions of Indore are: Gomatgiri, St. Anne's Church, Krishnapura Chhatris, Khajuri Bazaar, Patalpani and Annapurna Temple. Your overnight stay will be at Indore city.
We will drive to Bhopal in the morning, the capital city of Madhya Pradesh. The city is situated at the slope of Malwa Plateau amidst two artificial lakes. There are majestic hills, woody forests and great monuments of historical importance in Bhopal. We will visit some of the most prominent attractions of Bhopal during the day like:
Upper Lake - It was constructed in eleventh century and is the oldest manmade lake in India. Locally known as Bada Talaab, it is constructed across Kolans River and covers a catchment area of 36 sq km. There is the lovely Kamla Park in the vicinity of the lake. The region is a popular destination for picnickers, honeymooners, love birds and family travelers.
Taj-ul-Masjid - It is one of the most imposing structures of Bhopal. Literally meaning the "Crown of the Mosques", the spectacular mosque has a pink façade, huge domes and minarets. There are three huge bulbous domes that are a good example of Islamic architectural splendor of the region. Large numbers of faithful gather in the mosque during the annual three day long Ijtima congregation.
Van Vihar National Park - The park is situated in the heart of Bhopal on a hillock and spread over an area of 445 hectares. It is like an open zoo where you can view a variety of mammalian and avian species. The national park is home to a large number of orphaned animals. It remains open from 7 am to 11 am and 3 pm to 5 pm on all days except Tuesdays.
Other worthwhile attractions of Bhopal are: Archaeological Museum, Bharat Bhawan, Chowk, Gohar Mahal, Lower Lake, Museum of Mankind and Moti Masjid.
Our overnight stay will be at Bhopal. We will embark on a rewarding excursion to the historical sites viz. Bhojpur and Bhimbetka which are within short drive from Bhopal.
Day 13: Excursions to Bhojpur and Bhimbetka
Bhojpur is 28 km from Bhopal. Shiva Temple, also known as Bhojeshwar Temple is the main attraction of Bhojpur
Bhojeshwar Temple - The richly carved temple has an incomplete dome which still has retained its elegance. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and was constructed by Raja Bhoj in 11th century. It houses a 2.3 m high lingam.
We will reach Bhimbetka after lunch, which is 40 km south of Bhopal. We will visit ancient caves here which have world's largest collection of pre-historic wall paintings, some of them dated back to 10,000 BC. Bhimbetka Rock Shelters have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The paintings have remarkable contour formations with stunning tinges that depict scenes like hunting, communal dancing and even childbirth. The Stone Age paintings provide a rare insight about the life and culture of aboriginal dwellers of the region and area a geologist's delight.
We shall return to Bhopal for overnight stay in the hotel.
Day 14: Bhopal - Sanchi (70 km / 02 hrs)
Sanchi is a Buddhist heritage site which is dotted with stupas, monasteries and pillars dating back to 3rd century BC. Main attractions of Sanchi are:
Great Stupa of Sanchi - The main Sanchi stupa, also known as Sanchi Stupa No. 1 has a diameter of 36.5 m and a height of 16.4 m. There is a colossal hemispherical dome over it that that adds to the heavenly charm of the structure. Embellished walls and imposing gateway are the main attractions of the Stupa. The Great Stupa of Sanchi was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1989.
Ashoka Pillar - The brilliantly carved Ashoka Pillar at Sanchi is renowned for its sumptuous proportions, dazzling finish and aesthetic beauty. It was erected in 3rd century BC by Ashoka the Great.
Other attractions of Sanchi are: The Great Bowl, The Eastern Gateway, The Northern Gateway and Sanchi Museum.
If you are not inclined to religious sightings, Sanchi is still a good place to chill out as it has picturesque beauty all around. Our overnight stay will be at a hotel in Sanchi.
Day 15: Sanchi - Khajuraho (350 km / 08 hrs)
We shall depart for Khajuraho after breakfast. The temple town is situated in the Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh. It is known for its appealing temples that were built by Chandela rulers. Khajuraho Temples have detailed erotic figures of voluptuous apsaras (celestial maidens) and handsome men in a variety of courtship positions. A cultural extravaganza, known as Khajuraho Dance Festival is held here for a week every year from 25 February to 02 March that attracts tourists from all over. You will require special permission of Director General, Archaeological Survey of India to pictures some specific images and sculptures. A 50 minutes long Sound and Light Show is also held at the Western Group of Temple Complex in evening at 06.30 pm in English and 07.30 pm in Hindi that depicts the history of the temples and the splendor of Chandela rulers. We shall see the following temples in Khajuraho during our visit:
Kandariya Mahadev Temple - It is the largest of Khajuraho temples and was built in 1025-1050 AD. The temple tower is 100 ft high and its sanctum sanctorum (Garbh Griha) has more than 800 images of deities. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Devi Jagdambi Temple - The temple is famed for its erotic sculptures that have intensely carved figures of humans engaged in the acts of sex and foreplay. Mithuna sculpture is the most striking figure of the temple.
Chitragupta Temple - The temple faces eastwards to the rising sun and is dedicated to Sun God. The 11th century temple has a 5 ft high image of Sun God driving a chariot of seven horses.
Our overnight stay will be at Khajuraho and we will continue our sightseeing of Khajuraho temples and other attractions of the city for one more day.
Vaman Temple: - It is dedicated to Lord Vaman or the dwarf lord and situated in the Eastern Group of Temples Complex. It has a tall spire called Shikhara, framed niches and a Maha-Mandapam or a great hall.
After exploring all the temples of Khajuraho temple complex like Adinath Temple, Lakshmi Temple, Javari Temple and others, we will proceed for the sightseeing of Ajaigarh Fort and Kalinjar Fort after lunch.
Ajaigarh Fort: - The fort stands at an altitude of 1,111 m on an isolated hilltop of Vindhyas mountain ranges. It was built by Chandela kings from where one can have a beautiful view of Ken River. The fort was built at the outskirts of the town to protect the local populace from the attacks of invaders.
Kalinjar Fort: - The magnificent fort complex has several temples within it. Its Chhatris and engravings are testimony to the splendor or Chandela kings. Its strategic location and strong battlements that are interspersed with massive gates provide picturesque look to the visitors. Our overnight stay will be at Khajuraho and we will depart for Hindu pilgrimage center Varanasi the next day.
Day 17: Khajuraho - Varanasi (By flight)
We will reach Varanasi in the morning on the seventeenth day of our Heart of India tour. Varanasi is also known with the names of Kashi and Banaras. It is situated in Uttar Pradesh state in Northern India. Hindu mythology has it that the sacred city was founded on the banks of holy Ganga (Ganges) River by Lord Shiva himself 5000 years ago. We shall see the following attractions of Varanasi:
New Vishwanath Temple (Golden Temple) - Also known as Birla Temple, it is situated in the campus of Banaras Hindu University (BHU). It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and it is adorned with marble sculptures of Hindu gods and goddesses. It is open to people of all faiths.
Panchganga Ghat - The river landing is located at the confluence of five holy rivers viz. Ganga, Saraswati, Yamuna, Dhupapapa and Kirna. There are eight waterfront locations at Panchganga to do rituals. Alamgir Mosque is situated in the vicinity of the Ghat that was built by Emperor Aurangzeb.
Kashi Vishwanath Temple - The temple houses one of the twelve jyotirlingas in India. The beautiful temple was built in 18th century by Indore Queen Rani Ahilyabai Holkar. The temple is located on the bank of Ganga River, graciously overlooking the city of Varanasi. One can offer pooja into the temple from one's home also by a dedicated website which was launched by the temple's management in 2007. Our overnight stay will be at Varanasi.
Day 18: Excursion to Sarnath (45 km/ 01 hour)
Sarnath was known as Isipathana about two thousand years ago. It is the place where Lord Buddha preached his first sermon to five disciples after attaining Enlightenment and hence put the Wheel of Righteousness into motion. Buddhism flourished in the region till six century AD when a series of invaders like Huns, Mahmud of Ghazni and Qutub-ud-din-Aibak razed almost all of the Buddhist shrines of the region. Sarnath has again gained its ancient glory and now there are several shrines and monasteries built in Sarnath by Burmese, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Sinhalese and Buddhists of other nationalities. Sarnath sightseeing places are:
Dhamekha Stupa - The huge stupa was built by Emperor Ashoka in 2nd century BC at the very spot where Lord Buddha preached his first sermon to five disciples.
Chaukhandi Stupa - The stupa was built in fifth century at the place where Buddha first met his five disciples. Some more stupas were enacted nearby like Chaukhandi Stupa, Dharmachakra Stupa and Dharmajika Stupa later on.
Ashoka Pillar - There is Ashoka Pillar at Sarnath that informs us that Lord Buddha preached his first sermon at the site.
Thai Temple - The monastery is set amid the extensive gardens and beautifully carved. It is run and maintained by Thai monks.
Archaeological Museum, Deer Park and Tibetan Temple are other attractions of Sarnath. Our overnight stay will be at Sarnath.
Day 19: Varanasi sightseeing
We will return back to Varanasi after breakfast. We shall spend the day in sightseeing of some more attractions of Varanasi like
Ramnagar Fort - It was constructed by Maharaja Balwant Singh in seventeenth century. It was the royal residence Maharaja of Banaras and the descendents of royal family still live in it
Hanuman Ghat - Earlier known as Rameshwaram Ghat, it is situated at Juna Akhara. The Ghat is popular among wrestlers and body builders
Durga Temple - The temple is located near Durga Ghat. It has a multi-storey Shikhara (spire) and an impressive image of goddess Durga
Kedar Ghat - The Ghat was built by Maharaja of Vijaynagar in ancient Hindu architectural style. There is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva (Kedarnath) and a pond known as Parvati Kund
Gyan Kup - Also known as Gyan Vapi Well, or the Well of Knowledge, it has imposing pavilions. It was built in 1828 by Rani Baiza Bai. The waters of the well are believed to provide spiritual enlightenment to the devotees.
We will reach back to Delhi on the last day of our Heart of India tour from where you can embark on your further journey to your home city.
Tags : Heart of India Tour, Tourist Places of North India, Central India Tours, Red Fort, Govind palace, Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Taj Mahal Tour
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