Day 1 : Arrival at Delhi Airport
A very warm welcome from MJ Tours & Travel crew! We don't venture far from the airport to give you a chance to rest so we go to a hotel in the capital of India, Delhi. The city is believed to be the site of Indraprastha, the legendary capital of the Pandavas in the Indian epic Mahabharata (probably dating from 8th to 9th centuries BCE). We will sleep in Delhi for a night in our pleasant hotel.
Day 2 : Old Delhi
It's a beautiful morning and we will visit three seventeenth century landmarks of Delhi: Red Fort, Jama Masjid and Old Delhi. The Red Fort was built in 1648 by Shah Jahan and it was the capital of the Mughal empire. The Red Fort is an iconic symbol of India. On Independence Day, the prime minister hoists the national flag at the main gate of the fort and delivers a nationally-broadcast speech from its ramparts. Jama Masjid is a very old mosque, built in 1656 and the mosque also houses several relics in a closet in the north gate, including an antique copy of the Qur'an written on deer skin. The Old Delhi was founded by Shajahanabad , a Mughal emperor in 1639 and it was the capital of the Mughal dynasty. We could go around the lotus temple and visit Laxmi Narayana Temple, known as the Birla temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. (Most Hindus are followers of either Shiva or Vishnu). We will relax, rest and sleep in our Delhi hotel one more night.
Day 3 : Agra
Today you are going to see one of the world's greatest buildings! This will be a memorable day in your life where you will get to see the wondrous Taj Mahal. After breakfast we will start our journey towards Taj Mahal which is 231 km from Delhi, located in Agra city. It was built in 1653 by Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaj Mahal. The Taj Mahal is widely recognized as 'the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage'. The Taj was constructed as a tomb by the grief-stricken Shah for his dead wife. (She died in childbirth giving birth to their 14th child). Considering the building materials available at the time, it is a tremendous achievement. In the afternoon we will reach Agra and visit the Taj Mahal. Agra Fort and Mehtab Bagh park. We will stay in Agra for one night in a nice hotel. The Agra fort is first mentioned historically in the 11th century. It was rebuilt by the emperor Akbar in the 16th century. Some 4,000 builders worked on it daily for eight years, completing it in 1573. It is a massive structure.
Day 4 : Jaipur
After breakfast we will leave to Jaipur which is 238 km from Agra. Jaipur is the biggest city in Rajasthan and as founded on 18th November 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, after whom the city has been named. On our way to Jaipur we will visit Fatehpur Sikri. It is at Fatehpur Sikri that the legends of Akbar and his famed courtiers, the nine jewels or Navaratnas, were born.The nine Navaratnas were nine courtiers or intellectuals that Akbar (despite his illiteracy) sponsored. Fatehpur Sikri is one of the best preserved collections of Mughal architecture in India. In the evening we will visit Hawa Mahal and Jantar Mantar. The wonderful sight Hawa Mahal is one of the most popular palaces in India and it was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratab Singh. Built of red and pink sandstone, the palace is situated on the main thoroughfare in the heart of Jaipur's business centre. Its cultural and architectural heritage is a true reflection of a fusion of Hindu Rajput architecture and Islamic Mughal architecture. Jantar Mantar is a collection of architectural astronomical instruments, built by Sawai Jai Singh who was a Rajput king. The main object is a massive sundial that measures time of day correct to half a second. After these exciting sights we go to our pleasant resort hotel for rest and sleep.
Day 5 : Jaipur
As we are in the Palace city of Jaipur we will visit more wonderful places namely City palace and Rambagh palace. City Palace, Jaipur, which includes the Chandra Mahal and Mubarak Mahal palaces and other buildings. It was the seat of the Maharaja of Jaipur, the head of the Kachwaha Rajput clan. The Rambagh Palace in Jaipur, Rajasthan is the former residence of the Maharaja of Jaipur. After lunch we will relax and rest at the hotel and have a further nights stay here.
Day 6 : Pushkar
Let us get ready for more excitement! We will begin our journey to Pushkar, which is 143 km from Jaipur and is used to be an important pilgrimage place for Hindus. We might participate in the Camel festival that takes place between October to November. We will visit Jagatpita Brahma Mandir and will look at pilgrims taking bath on the Pushkar lake. The temple is one of very few existing temples dedicated to the Hindu creator-god Brahma in India and remains the most prominent among them. (Brahma is male and part of the Trinity Brahma/Shiva/Vishnu, and not to be confused with Brahman which is the genderless supreme deity of the Vedanta). Pushkar lake is a sacred lake of the Hindus, people are believed to be purged of sins after bathing in it. Pushkar is also a place where you can buy handicrafts, leather products and clothes. Hundreds of units are making clothes for European markets. We will return to the nice hotel after the traditional rituals and stay for a night.
Day 7 : Fort Kochi
We will get up early in the morning and catch a flight from Jaipur to Cochin and it will be 2 hours journey by flight. We will check in and relax in a hotel at Fort Kochi until the evening. Fort Kochi is collectively known as the old Kochi, surrounded by Sea and the harbour. In the evening we will visit the Chinese fishing nets. It was earlier thought that the nets might have been introduced by Chinese explorer Zheng, but recent research shows that these were introduced by Portuguese Casado from Macau. Then we will proceed to St Francis Church in Fort Kochi originally built in 1503 is the oldest European Church in India. Vasco da Gama died in Kochi in 1524 when he was on his 3rd visit to India and his body was originally buried in this church but after 14 years his remains were removed and sent to Lisbon. Vasco Da Gama was the first explorer from the west to successfully reach India after many vessels were shipwrecked and thousands died. We go back our nice hotel at Fort Kochi for a further nights stay.
Day 8 : Fort Kochi
We can visit the Dutch Palace and the Jewish Synagogue. Please note that the Jewish Synagogue will be closed between 12.00 hours to 15.00 hours. The Dutch Palace was built and gifted by the Portuguese as a present to the Raja of Cochin around 1555. It shows beautiful Hindu Temple art, portraits and exhibits of Rajas in Kochi. The Paradesi Jewish Synagogue is the oldest active synagogue in the Commonwealth of Nations. It was constructed in 1568. There are said to be seven synagogues earlier but this is the only one that remains in use. Paradesi means refugees or immigrants. In the evening we will participate in the Kathakali dance that will start from 5:30 p.m. and ends at 7:30 p.m. This show will include make up session and the performance (one hour of each). Kathakali translates literally as 'story play' and was introduced during the 17th century. It portrays stories derived from the epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana.(The two classical Hindu epics; thousands of years old). We will have a special dinner at a heritage hotel and enjoy the evening. We will sleep in Fort Kochi for one more night.
Day 9 : Alleppey
We travel to Alleppey! Kerala has many beautiful destinations but Alleppey offers a very unique backwater and houseboat experience. Alleppey is 58 km from Kochi. Alleppey is considered to be the oldest planned town in this region and it is a town with picturesque canals, backwaters, beaches and lagoons. It was described as the 'Venice of the East' by Lord Curzon. Alleppey also houses the Lagoons and Canoe boat rides are a memorable experience. We hire a beautiful houseboat and will sleep on the water tonight in the houseboat.
Day 10 : Varkala
Let us get ready to visit another interesting town in Kerala. Varkala is a unique destination with its cliff view, beaches and Ayurveda centres. Varkala is 112 km from Alleppey and we can reach it in 2 hours. After lunch you will be astonished by the rituals performed at the Papanasam beach. Papanasam beach is being used as a cremation centre and its holy water said to be relieving people from their sins. We will also spend a couple of quiet hours on the Varkala beach which is an ideal beach for sunbathing and swimming. In the evening we will head to Kapil lake, with an amazing view from the bridge. We have the option going in for a boat-ride. On our way back you will be given a traditional Kerala Ayurvedic massage that will relax and sooth body and mind. We will stay in Varakala for a night in a nice hotel.
Day 11 : Kovalam
It is going to be another interesting day as we will travel to Kovalam, a popular beach destination in Kerala. Kovalam is 58 km from Varkala and we can reach it in 1 hour. Kovalam means 'a grove of coconut trees' and true to its name the village offers an endless sight of coconut trees. It is also known as the paradise of the south. Kovalam is famous for sandy beaches. It is a beach town located in Trivandrum, Kerala. In Kerala there are plenty of beaches with panoramic views and stunning scenery, but Kovalam Lighthouse Beach tops the list. We will spend our second morning on the beach which is very clean and is well maintained, it is also ideal for those who wish to sunbathe. There is a variety of boat-rides available on Lighthouse beach which are also exciting. If you prefer peace and quiet there are two more beaches which we can head towards if you wish to see a little more of Kerala in a quieter mode. The beautiful Hawah and Samudra beaches are adjacent to each other and they are preferred by the tourists who want peaceful holidays and to sunbathe in peace with no hassle. Water sports on these two beaches are highly recommended. At sunrise they are especially enjoyable.
Day 12 : Trivandrum
After breakfast we will visit Trivandrum which is just a 30 minutes journey and visit Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Thiruvanathapuram which means,'The City of Lord Ananta,' received this name from the deity of the Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple which is located in the centre of the city. The entry to this temple is restricted to only those who profess the Hindu faith. Devotees have to strictly follow the dress code, which means the men have to remove their shirts and they have to be wearing dhoties. Remember Hinduism is the world's oldest religion. The chants of the Brahmin priests go back thousands of years! The Thiruvananthapuram Zoo is a short drive away, not so far. At this Zoo, you are able to see animals such as; Tigers, Lions, Crocodiles, Bears and Monkeys etc. After lunch we will go for boat ride into the Arabian sea and have a Kerala Thali as a dinner in a local restaurant.(A thali is a selection of small dishes that are eaten with rice. It is a very traditional Indian meal and has several forms). Get prepared to catch a late night train or an Evening flight to Chennai and then to get transferred to Kanchipuram for a nights stay.
Day 13 : Kanchipuram
After breakfast we will visit the Kailasanathar Temple and Vaikunta Perumal temple both dedicated to Lord Shiva and Vishnu respectively. We will go around the traditional silk factories that make silk saris. (The Indian women's sari comes in 3 forms: cotton (simple) polyester (everyday use) and silk (for special social functions)).and then leave to Pondicherry which is 121 km from Kanchipuram. Kanchipuram is a known as the Temple town and it was the capital of Pallava dynasty.
Day 14 : Pondicherry
Rise and Shine! Get ready for a visit to Pondicherry, It's another amazing destination with a rich colonial past (Dutch, Portuguese, English and French). It became part of India in 1954, but retains a French flavour. After lunch a local guide will teach us about the historic heritage of the town. We will walk through the old town and learn about both French and Tamil architectures. By about 5 p.m., we will visit be privileged to visit Sri Aurobindo Ashram, which is an amazing meditation center that brings soothing effect to the mind. It gets spiritual seekers from all over the world. We will round off the day with a walk through the beach back to our pleasant hotel.
Day 15 : Auroville
We will relax until the evening when we leave to Mahabalipuram which is 100 km from Pondicherry. On our way back we will visit an an experimental town named Auroville, founded by Mira Alfassa, the spiritual companion of Sri Aurobindo. We will visit the famous Matrimandir, which means literally 'temple of the mother' in Sanskrit referring to Mira Alfassa also known as the 'Sweet mother'. This wonderful dome has a striking appearance and is an ideal place for meditation. After the visit we will drive down to Mahabalipuram which will be a scenic drive along the coastal area and relax in a beautiful hotel at Mahabalipuram.
Day 16 : Mahabalipuram
It is worth getting up early to visit a huge temples & sculptures place, that has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site including The Shore Temple, known to be the most ancient temple in South India, dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Pancha Pandava Rathas (temples in the form of chariots) and the Arjuna's Penance, a giant open air relief as well as the Krishna Mandapam (cave sanctuary) and Krishna's Butter Ball. In the evening we might be a spectator at a Traditional Pongal Dance Festival held in Mahabalipuram. This will have varieties of dances like Classic and Cultural dances. The Indian Classical Dance form is well worth a look and there is at least one such dance every night in the festival. Every part of the dancers body is involved: feet, legs, arms, hands, fingers, head and eyes. The dance festival will commence on 23rd December and finish on 25th January every year. This show will last for 2 hours from 5:30 p.m. As a special treat we will have a dinner with Sea Food in a local Fisherman's house and return to the hotel for a night stay.
Day 17 : Transfer to Chennai Airport
MJ Tours & Travel will leave you at the airport and we return with an immense satisfaction of having served you all! It's been a privilege and will be nice to meet you all very soon once again.
From 1270 per person based on 8 people
- Above quoted rate is Per Person
- Accommodation in 2 or 3-star hotels with breakfast included and twin-share rooms
- AC taxi with English-speaking driver
- Private English-speaking guide
Package does not include:
- The Flight tickets
- Visa Charges
- Lunch and Dinner
Depending on your arrival and departure time you may have to pay for the additional nights stay.