India: Land of Mystics

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15 days, from £2745
Wild Frontiers
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Description

A land of quite spectacular diversity, India straddles the vast gulf between its past and its present with equal ambivalence. In a world of instant gratification and media overload, it can still manage to excite and enthral the senses of even the most jaded traveller like few other places on earth. India wears its heart very much on its sleeve and this incredible adventure takes us from the bustling streets of its great capital, on a journey into the very consciousness of this remarkable country.

We will follow in the footsteps of Mughal emperors and colonial overlords, explore the wonderful medieval monuments of Gwalior and Orchha and gaze upon the infamous carvings at the temples of Khajuraho. Seek out the epitome of the natural world - the Bengal tigers at Bandhavgarh National Park. Visiting the timeless setting of Varanasi, one of the oldest and holiest cities on earth, we watch the flowing waters of the Ganges reputedly dividing the worlds of men and gods.

Finally we stand amongst the Buddhist ruins of Bodh Gaya, where the Lord Buddha himself attained enlightenment. All in all this is a wonderful off beat India tour, taking in many cultural highlights.

Highlights:

- Explore the great historical city of Delhi
- Discover the architectural splendor of Gwalior & Orchha
- See the majestic temples of Khajuraho
- Go in search of Bengal tigers at Bandhavgarh National Park
- Varanasi, one of the oldest and holiest cities on earth.
- Visit the important Buddhist sites of Bodh Gaya and Sarnath
- Explore the historical and cultural highlights of Kolkata

Tour Includes:

- Full services of a Wild Frontiers Tour Leader with local guides and drivers
- 13 breakfasts, 14 lunches, 14 dinners (typically in local restaurants where viable)
- Drinking water throughout
- All transport (minibuses, train, shared safari canter and river boat).
- 14 nights' accommodation (11 in hotels - including 1 night in a heritage hotel and 1 night in a 5 star hotel in Delhi - 2 nights in a jungle lodge, and 1 night on an overnight train)
Please note that our December departure of this tour does not finish in Kolkata but instead fly's back to Delhi. Please refer to the December dossier for full details

ALL OUR SMALL GROUP TOURS HAVE NO LOCAL PAYMENTS, HIDDEN EXTRAS OR COMPULSORY SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS

Itinerary


 Day 1: Tour starts in Delhi

Upon arrival we have the afternoon exploring some of India's bustling capital city.


 Day 2: Delhi - Gwalior

Today we experience a train journey to the cultural capital of Madhya Pradesh - Gwalior. We have time in the afternoon to wander the winding streets filled with temples, palaces and havelis with exquisitely carved doorways.


 Days 3-4: Gwalior to Orchha


 Day 3: This morning we visit Gwalior fort before continuing our journey to the medieval gem of Orchha situated on the Betwa River. Day 4: A city tour shows us all the significant landmarks dating back to the golden age of Indian architecture, including the delicate murals of the Raj Mahal and the beautiful two-storey Raj Paryeen Mahal.



 Days 5-6: Orchha - Khajuraho


 Day 5: Khajuraho is a fascinating city of temples and we arrive around lunchtime. It boasts the largest collection of medieval Hindu and Jain temples in India and has a remarkable series of erotic carvings. Day 6: Today we cycle to the southern and eastern temples and enjoy the rural idyll.



 Days 7-8: Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh NP


 Day 7: Today we take a scenic journey through rural India to the home of the Bengal tigers at Bandhavgarh National Park and arrive in time for a late afternoon game drive. Day 8: Game drives around this wonderful National Park and a glimpse at the local way of life.



 Days 9-10: Bandhavgarh NP - Varanasi


 Day 9: A full day's drive to Varanasi, one of the oldest city's in existence situated on the banks of the sacred Ganges River. Day 10: This morning well take to the river by private boat to witness one of the most evocative sites in India, as the faithful come down to the holy river for their early morning cleansing. We also visit the famous 'cremation ground' A by the ghats to experience



 Day 11: Varanasi - Bodh Gaya

Today we head to the Buddhist pilgrimage site of Bodh Gaya, visiting the impressive tomb of the Afghan King Sher Shan Suri in Sasaram en route.


 Days -15: Days 12: Bodh Gaya - Overnight Train to Kolkata


 Day : A full days sightseeing in Bodh Gaya where the Lord Buddha achieved enlightenment more than 2,600 years ago, before taking an overnight train to Kolkata. Day 13: Arriving into Kolkata in the early morning we'll have a chance to relax before we head out for an afternoons guided tour of this bustling city, visiting such sights as the Jain temple and Kali temple. Day 14: Today we will have a full days guided tour of Kolkata, visiting sites such as the black hole of Kolkata, Babu's mansion and Dalhousie Square. Day 15: Our tour ends this morning. Those booked on to the suggested group flights will transfer to the airport for an early morning flight.