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Real India Tour

  • 16 Nights / 17 Days
  • Delhi - Varanasi – (Sarnath)-Khajuraho –(Orchha) - Agra –(Fatehpur Sikri)-Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve- Jaipur – Goa-Mumbai- Aurangabad (Ajanta & Ellora)
Beaches & beach parties
Tiger safari
Ganga, ghats & ‘aarti’
Forts, palaces & tombs
Rock-cut Buddhist chapels
Temples & sculpture

17 days Real India Tour is one of the best India tours. Imagine the list of glorious destinations and experiences Real India Tour envelopes into its fold. The historical city of Delhi is now a flourishing capital city of India. On the show are splendid monuments of ancient, medieval & colonial era and amalgamated culture. Varanasi unfolds numerous aspects of Hindu culture, religious rituals, centuries old traditions, worship of Ganga, hymns-chanting in the temples, ethereal ambience of spiritualism, narrow alleys, wide ghats of the Ganges, unique lifestyle etc. Khajuraho, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is worldwide known for erotically sculptured Kamasutra temples. Orchha will be offering you a peep into actual village and town lifestyle of India, naturally with a lineage of glorious past. With Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, Agra is seat of some of the best monuments of the world. Ranthambhore National Park, though holds immense prominence for tiger spotting even during day time, is symbolic of rich flora and fauna of India, particularly Rajasthan. Jaipur is true representative of Rajasthan- vibrant culture, grand forts, beautiful palaces, lively bazaar and above all unmatched royal tradition of hospitality. Ajanta, Ellora and Elephanta are rated among the best of world’s treasure. Mumbai is representative of modern India’s development. And Goa, erstwhile Portuguese colony, offers an excellent vacationing opportunity on its silver sands and golden beaches.

Day 1 Delhi arrival

The 1st day of Real India Tour will start with your arrival on Indian soil at New Delhi international airport. India, known for its cultural ethos of warm hospitality, welcomes you with open arms. Representative of Optima India Tourism will greet you and take to the pre-booked Delhi hotel. The representative will ensure speedy and smooth check in at the hotel. During the course of the process, you will be handed over with hard copies of all the documents pertaining to Real India Tour.

New Delhi is capital of India. India is one of the largest and most populous countries. The stark contrasts, its ancient culture and spirituality make India one of the most attractive tourist destinations for the travelers looking for more than just relaxing. Among historically prominent architectural gems Humayun’s Tomb and world’s highest stone-built minaret Qutub Minar.

Overnight stay has been scheduled in Delhi hotel. Sleep and relax to come out of jet-lag and get re-energized.

Day 2 Old & New Delhi sightseeing tour

Real India Tour is inspired to unfold before you cultural legacy and continuity of Indian civilization since the Vedic ages, comprising ancient glory, tumultuous medieval era, manifestations of British colonial regime and modern India’s stride towards developed future. Delhi, since the time of Mahabharata, plays vital role in India’s political and cultural developments. Though not much of pre-historic and ancient India is left with due to successive religiously intolerant attacks on Hindu monuments by the Muslim invaders but vestiges of ancient era can be noticed particularly in Old Fort (Purana Qila) and Iron Pillar of Mehrauli. Have delicious breakfast in New Delhi hotel and meet with your Delhi tour guide in the hotel lobby. He will take you on a full day sightseeing tour of Delhi which has been bifurcated into two parts- Old Delhi sightseeing tour and New Delhi sightseeing tour. Old Delhi tour will be comprising sightseeing of major monuments like Red Fort and Jama Masjid. But the major Real India tour attraction will be visiting 400 years old but still popular Chandni Chowk market, built by Jahanara, daughter of Shah Jahan. Another interesting aspect of Old Delhi sightseeing tour is exploring and visiting vibrant alleys and buzzing bazaars of Chandni Chowk while having a manual rickshaw ride. Raj Ghat (the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi, who is revered as the father of the Indian nation) is also a tourist attraction. Post lunch, New Delhi sightseeing tour will showcase a mélange of ancient, medieval, colonial and modern era of monuments like India Gate (a 42 meter high archway to commemorate the martyrdom of the soldiers of the second world war), President House, Parliament House, Lotus Temple, Qutub Minar and Iron Pillar of Mehrauli. Modern buildings and infrastructure will create a lovely contrast and continuity of a civilization. You will be having ample time to explore culture, market & taste of Delhi. Later, return to Delhi hotel for overnight stay.

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Day 3 Delhi-Varanasi (By air)- Sarnath tour.

The 3rd day of Real India Tour is special as you will be moving for Varanasi, the cultural capital of India. Enjoying scrumptious breakfast in New Delhi hotel, you will be timely transferred to New Delhi airport to board flight for Varanasi. Varanasi derives its name for being situated on the confluence of two rivers- Varuna and Assi. Varanasi is also calledKashi- city of learning. Varanasi unfolds before you several aspects of cultural and religious India. Varanasi is a place visited mainly by being holy city of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Being a pilgrim of the Hindu, the Buddhist and the Jain, Varanasi is a cultural centre of India. Specifically the Hindus believe that every believer is to visit the city at least once in life and that whoever dies in it will be free from the cycle of birth and re-birth. As a result, many sick and elderly pilgrims visit Varanasi to end their life journey in the holy land of Kashi, another name of Varanasi. The Ganges, with immensely purifying characteristic of water, passes through the city. On the shore, the funeral pyres are installed in accordance with the religious customs of the Hindus to cremate the bodies of the dead. The ashes and debris are then thrown into the river. Thus, combined with sewage and other discharges, make the river highly polluted. Nevertheless thousands of people bathe every day to cleanse their sins.

On arrival at Varanasi airport, you will be warmly welcomed in traditional Indian way by a representative of Optima India Tourism. After speedy and smooth check- in process, you will be introduced with Varanasi tour guide who will then accompany and showcase the Sarnath. Sarnath, merely 13 kms from Varanasi, is a historical Buddhist place. There in Sarnath, you will be shown and explained various historical facts and facets of ravaged Buddhist monastery, Sarnath Museum and Tibetan Buddhist Monastery. It was Sarnath where Lord Buddha, way back in 600 BC, delivered his first sermon and thus the Buddhist religion. Having explored Sarnath, along with Varanasi tour guide, proceed for Dashaswamedha Ghat of Varanasi where auspicious ‘Ganga Aarti’ (Ganges Worship Ceremony) is performed. After enjoying the surge of religiosity at ghats during Ganga Aarti, return to Varanasi hotel for overnight stay.

Day 4 Varanasi sightseeing- Khajuraho (by air)- Khajuraho sightseeing

Ghats, the Ganges, narrow alleys, temples and unique lifestyle are hallmarks of Varanasi and charm a visitor. Real India tour will help you have first hand-feel of these exotic aspects Varanasi. Today, early in the morning you will be taken along with Varanasi tour guide to the ghats on the banks of the Ganges. A large gathering of people during dawn hour, unimagined by the foreigners, take holy dip in the Ganges and perform religious rituals on the ghats. You shall be taken on an hour long cruise on boat alongside the ghats of Varanasi to behold the eccentric aspects of Varanasi. Hereinafter, you will return to Varanasi hotel to refresh, have breakfast and proceed for visiting famous temples of Varanasi, reached through narrow alleys. Sightseeing of Vishwanath Khand and Benares Hindu University (BHU) will be a lifetime experience. Having seen major attractions of Varanasi, return to Varanasi hotel, check out and proceed for the airport to board Khajuraho-bound flight.

On arrival at Khajuraho, representative of Optima India Tourism will greet at the airport and transfer you to pre-booked Khajuraho hotel. Relax for a while and then sally out to visit world famous erotically sculptured Khajuraho temples, along with Khajuraho tour guide. Prominent among three clusters of Khajuraho temples, Western Group of Temples is the most visited and appreciated. Kandariya Mahadev Temple is the largest and true representative of Khajuraho temples’ architecture and sculpture. Having seen exquisite sculpture, intricate carvings and erotic subject of Khajuraho temples, move to attend a “cultural show” to experience rich lineage of folk legacy. The 4th day of Real India Tour is dedicated to have a peep into customs, rituals, culture and market. Later, return to Khajuraho hotel for overnight stay.

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Day 5 Khajuraho-Orchha (by car-180 kms/04 hrs)-Orchha sightseeing-Agra (by train).

Have delectable and fresh breakfast in Khajuraho hotel and spend early morning hours in leisure. Having refreshed in hotel, drive for Jhansi, a railway junction where you will board Agra-bound train. En route Jhansi, 13 kms prior, has a stop-over at Orchha, a historical town. Orchha is situated on the banks of River Betwa. While you reach Orchha, it’s lunch time. Have lunch in a nice restaurant on the bank of Betwa. Post lunch, Orchha tour guide will accompany you to showcase and detail about various monuments and cultural niceties of Orchha. Orchha Fort Palace complex is the prime attraction of this medieval Indian kingdom. Orchha Fort holds eminence for being un-conquered fort. It houses many 'architectural wonders' such as Raja Ram Mandir, Laxmi Narayan Mandir, Jehangir Palace, Raj Palace and Rani Praveen Palace. After sightseeing of Orchha, you will be transferred to Jhansi railway station to board train for Agra. On arrival at Agra, representative of Optima India Tourism will receive you at Agra railway station and transfer to Agra hotel for overnight stay.

Day 6 Agra sightseeing tour

Agra, though an historical city, has shot to fame for being seat of Mahal. Taj Mahal, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the World’, is undisputedly the most coveted and visited monument of India. As tourists hail from thousands of miles from across the globe to behold the mesmerizing beauty of Taj Mahal, Optima India Tourism endeavours to make a visitor’s stay in and tour of Agra a lifetime experience. Today, you will be met by Agra tour guide in the lobby of hotel. Agra guide will take you to the gate of Taj Mahal on a ‘tonga’ (a horse carriage), detailing you about history and culture of Agra. ‘Tonga’ ride will be a novel and incredible experience. Taj Mahal, as people say, looks the most beautiful at the time of sunrise. You will be inside Taj Mahal complex at the time of dawn to enjoy the beauty of Taj Mahal at its best. Agra tour guide will keep outpouring lot of details and stories related to Taj Mahal while you are watching unparalleled beauty of Taj Mahal. Spend about two hours in Taj Mahal, breathing in serene beauty and ambience. After visiting Taj Mahal, return to hotel to refresh, relax and to have breakfast. Having delicious breakfast, again proceed for sightseeing of other famous monuments and tourist places of Agra. Prominent among them are Agra Fort (built by Akbar on the banks of River Yamuna, Baby Taj (Tomb of It-Mad-ud-Daula)) and )Tomb of Akbar) in )Sikandara) (14 kms from Agra). Thereafter, you have ample time to explore the bustling market famous for its handicraft items, jewellery, leather articles and marble goods. Evening is free for your leisure. You can either explore city as per your wishes or see Taj Mahal from Mehtab Bag at sunset or watch Kalakriti Mohabbat-e-Taj Show). Return to Agra hotel to have overnight stay in Agra.

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Day 7 Agra- Fatehpur Sikri - Ranthambhore National Park (by car-335 kms/ 07 hrs)

The 7th day of Real India Tour will now lead you to Rajasthan, the desert state of India and appropriately described as tourists’ paradise. After breakfast in Agra hotel, drive to Ranthambhore, a famous tiger reserve with great floral and faunal diversity. On the way to Ranthambhore National Park, in Sawai Madhosingh district of Rajasthan, about 40 kms from Agra lies a mediaeval era deserted township of Fatehpur Sikri. Built by Akbar as twin capital, Fatehpur Sikri is a fine example of art and architecture of early Mughal days and thus represents early days Indo-Mughal architecture. Fatehpur Sikri, presently not more than a big village, is home to meticulously preserved 16th century architectural gems like Buland Darwaja, Jodhabai Mahal, Panch Mahal, Jama Masjid and Salim Chishti Shrine. Though the construction of town had been done on a grand scale but Fatehpur Sikri didn’t flourish due to paucity of potable water. The remoteness of the palaces and fortifications help the beauty to be preserved. The loneliness within the manicured grounds invites you to dream of the Arabian Nights. After visiting Fatehpur Sikri drive for Ranthambhore National Park, about 300 kms away from Fatehpur Sikri. Ranthambhore Wildlife Sanctuary is famous for two regions- one, it contains lot many historical monuments and second, Royal Bengal tiger can easily be spotted and photographed here, even in day time. The richness of flora and fauna is amazing. On arrival at Ranthambhore National Park, you will be directly transferred to the pre-booked jungle resort. Overnight stay will be in Ranthambhore resort.

Day 8 02 game drives (jeep safaris) in Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve.

The 8th day of Real India Tour is reserved for two game drives in an open jeep with a naturalist. These game drives are conducted by the forest department. Have breakfast in Ranthambhore hotel/ resort and proceed for Jungle safari by Jeep/ Canter on sharing basis in Ranthambore National Park for 04 hrs, from 07:00’Oclock to 10:30’Oclock. After jungle safari, return to the resort/hotel and have lunch. Having lunch, proceed for Jungle safari by Jeep/Canter on sharing basis in Ranthambore National Park for 04 hrs, from 02:00’Oclock to 05:30’Oclock in the evening. After tiger safari, come back to resort and enjoy the evening tea with camp-fire. Have dinner and overnight stay in Ranthambhore hotel.

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Day 9 Ranthambhore –Jaipur (by car-150 kms/ 03 hrs)-Jaipur sightseeing tour.

From the jungles of Ranthambhore, you will today proceed to Jaipur, the first smartly planned city of medieval India. Laid down and built on conventional nine-grid pattern of Vaastushastra, Jaipur is representative of royal and regal Rajasthan. Sturdy and mammoth forts, beautiful palaces, majestic temples, colorful bazaar buzzing with activities, rich culture, tasty cuisines, great hospitality, glorious historical past etc make Jaipur one of the most opted & visited tourist destinations of India. Enjoying delectable breakfast in Ranthambhore resort, drive to Jaipur. Representative of Optima India Tourism will receive you on arrival and ensure your smooth check in at Jaipur hotel. There itself, you will be introduced with Jaipur tour guide. After relaxing a bit, move along with Jaipur guide to explore the famous monuments located in the heart of the city. Today’s sightseeing will include a visit of City Palace of Jaipur, Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) and Jantar Mantar (a still working stone-built solar observatory built in 17th century). These monuments are adjacent to the market and hence the tourists, attracted towards colorful bazaar of Jaipur, are taken to this shopping arcade, naturally under the supervision of Jaipur tour guide to help you understand and explore properly. Having seen the monuments and exploring local market, proceed to visit Birla Temple of Jaipur in the evening. Built of white marble, Birla Temple is a prime tourist attraction. You will be attending the ‘aarti’ or ‘deity worship ceremony’ at the time of dusk. It will be an exotic experience of India. Hereinafter, return to Jaipur hotel for overnight stay.

Day 10 Jaipur sightseeing tour

Rajasthan is famous across the world for its forts. Rajasthan is the land of warriors, the Rajput. Jaipur, the capital city of Rajasthan, prides on having three prominent forts, rich museum and temples. Visit of these forts will impart you real feel of regal Rajasthan. A bit early morning breakfast in Jaipur hotel, you will be taken to excursion of Amber Fort, Jaigarh Fort and Nahargarh Fort. The first stop-over will be Amber Fort. Amber Fort ranks highest in Jaipur tourism. Located about 11 kms away from Jaipur city, Amber Fort Palace complex sprawls over 4 sq kms of area. Amber Fort contains several prominent buildings like Sila Devi temple, Diwan-e-Aam or the "Hall of Public Audience", the Diwan-e-Khas or the "Hall of Private Audience", the Sheesh Mahal (mirror palace) or Jai Mandir, the Sukh Niwas etc. Though the fine and grand architecture of Amber Fort charms a visitor a lot but an elephant ride from the foothill to hilltop (the site of main gate) is an incredible real experience of India at Amber Fort, overlooking Maota Lake and Garden. After visiting Amber Fort, you will be moving to explore Jaigarh Fort, located on Cheel Ka Teela, a hilltop of Aravali range overlooking Amber Fort. In Jaigarh Fort, still in possession of Jaipur royal family and maintained by them, you will see a foundry, great water harvesting and storage system, a museum of arms and ammunitions, and world’s largest canon ‘Jaivan’. Nahargarh Fort, though largely in ramshackle state, offers best view of Jaipur city and pristine Rajasthani art and architecture. Nahargarh Fort was earlier called as Sudarshan Garh. Having seen three forts of Jaipur, return to Jaipur city. Have lunch in a nice city restaurant and move for visiting Albert Hall Museum which showcases a great wealth of historical artefacts. Famous for housing an Egyptian mummy of Ptolemaic era, Albert Hall Museum offers an opportunity to view a large and rare collection of textiles, carpets, paintings, metal and wood crafts, pottery, arms and weapons, flora and fauna of the state, toys, dolls etc. After visiting Albert Hall, proceed to partake into late evening worship ceremony of Govind Dev Ji Temple. It will be a mesmerizing experience. After visiting famous monuments of Jaipur, return to Jaipur hotel for overnight stay.

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Day 11 Jaipur –Goa (by air)

Today you will depart for Goa, famous across the world as beach vacationers’ paradise. Having scrumptious breakfast early in the morning in Jaipur hotel, proceed for Sanganer airport of Jaipur to board flight for Goa. On arrival at Goa, you will be directly transferred to Goa hotel. Goa is famous for its emerald green beaches. Situated on the western coast of Indian peninsula, Goa’s coastline is embedded with numerous world-class beaches. Goa had been an erstwhile Portuguese colony. As a result, the culture of Goa is a pleasant mélange of Konkani and Portuguese cultures. Goa is also famous for its alcoholic beverage ‘feni’ and carnivals. Spend evening in leisure in Goa and overnight stay in Goa hotel.

Day 12 Goa

The Portuguese influence is still felt today in the buildings of the cities, palaces, churches, kitchen and the carnival. People reach Goa for relaxed vacationing. Most of the visitors enjoy the relaxed atmosphere on the beaches of Goa and in the hotel's beautiful facilities. Now you have time to pursue the peaceful life on the wide beaches. Holidays in this unique, relaxing environment are an unforgettable experience for people from the hectic and robotic routine of day to day life in Europe and America. The day in Goa has been kept free for you to enjoy the beach life and remain engaged in activities of your choice. Have breakfast in Goa hotel and spend the rest of day in leisure on the beaches of Goa. Overnight stay is planned in Goa hotel.

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Day 13 Goa

Though beaches are the prime reason to visit Goa but a different culture, historical monuments, sea-surfing and buzzing market place make Goa a destination to be explored. After enjoying beach stay in the morning, you are suggested to visit Goa tourist destinations which comprise churches, temples and forts. Have breakfast in Goa hotel and spend day in leisure on the beaches of Goa. Overnight stay will be in Goa hotel.

Day 14 Goa-Mumbai (By air)

Enjoy the morning in Goa and in early afternoon, depart for Goa airport to board flight for Mumbai. Mumbai is home to Bollywood, the center of the Indian film industry. The most famous landmark of Mumbai is the Gateway of India. On arrival at Mumbai, you will be received at Mumbai airport and transferred to Mumbai hotel for overnight stay.

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Day 15 Mumbai sightseeing tour

Mumbai is commercial capital of India. Its remarkable growth and development is legacy of British rule. Mumbai sightseeing mainly showcases monuments and museum of colonial era. Modern market, Asia’s largest slum Dharavi, Dhobi Ghat etc also attract a visitor’s attention, especially the stark contrast of richness and poverty. But Optima India Tourism will show you ancient Indian heritage of Elephanta cave temples. As Elephanta cave temples are approached through sea route and require at least four hours to visit, your Mumbai sightseeing tour will start soon after early breakfast in Mumbai hotel. The Mumbai tour guide will meet you in hotel lobby and take you for guided sightseeing tour which will primarily include Elephanta cave temples (one has to reach there through sea route by a large boat/ steamer/ ship). After returning from Elephanta (around 1 pm), you will be visiting Gateway of India, Prince of Wales Museum, Hanging Garden (seen on the way from a distance), Dhobi Ghat (open air laundry), High Court building (seen on the way from a distance), Marine Drive, and Mani Bhawan. The emphasis will be mainly on 4 destinations- Elephanta, Prince of Wales Museum, Gateway of India and Mani Bhawan. Later in the evening, return to Mumbai hotel for overnight stay.

Day 16 Mumbai- Aurangabad (by air)-Ajanta (by car- 110 kms/ 02 hrs)

The penultimate day of Real India Tour will bring you to Aurangabad, the city of Ajanta and Ellora cave temples. After a very early morning breakfast in Mumbai hotel, you will be transferred to Mumbai airport to board Aurangabad-bound flight. On arrival at Aurangabad airport, you will be received by the representative of Optima India Tourism and introduced with Aurangabad tour guide and the tour chauffeur. You will be driven to Ajanta directly from the airport. Ajanta cave temples belong to 200 BCE and are known for their exquisite wall paintings, sculptures and ‘Buddhist chapel’ architecture. The wall paintings and sculptures are depicting the stories of Jataka. The wall paintings in the thirty cave temples of Ajanta have been described by the government Archaeological Survey of India as "the finest surviving examples of Indian art, particularly painting". Ajanta cave temples are one of the finest examples of rich cultural heritage of India. Having seen Ajanta caves, treasure of Indian heritage, return to Aurangabad hotel to check in and have overnight stay.

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Day 17 Aurangabad (Ellora) sightseeing tour-Mumbai (by air)-Departure p>The last day of Real India Tour is planned to showcase you Ellora cave temples, belonging to Hindu, Jain and Buddhist faiths. Aurangabad tour guide will be waiting for you in Aurangabad hotel’s lobby at the pre-decided time to lead you to Ellora. Having scrumptious breakfast in the hotel, move for visiting Ellora cave temples, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ellora cave temples are thirty four in numbers and are specimen of intricately, richly, tastefully and graciously carved architecture. The cave temples here have some superior carvings on the stone depicting the legends related to Lord Shiva. The temples of Ellora belong to Gupta Period (600-1000 AD) of ancient India. After sightseeing of Aurangabad, at late afternoon, proceed to airport to board the flight for Mumbai. Upon arrival at Mumbai domestic airport, you will be transferred to Mumbai International airport to board flight for your onward destination.

Delhi

Delhi is enriched with long historical past, glorious culture, an enviable treasure of monuments and modern infrastructure. Delhi, currently the capital of Indian Republic, has passed through several upheavals during its thousands of years of existence and has witnessed many ups and downs of history with many dynasties flourishing and diminishing with the passage of time.

Delhi has been built nine times over the years and accordingly named in the scriptures. Indraprastha, known as first Delhi, was founded by Pandavas of Mahabharata in around 1500 BC. Qila Rai Pithora, termed as second Delhi, was built by Raja Anang Pal and later re-christened by Prithviraj Chauhan as Lal Kot. Siri, the third Delhi, was founded by Ala-ud-din Khilji. Siri Fort, a major tourist attraction, is a famous monument of that time. Tughlaqabad, called as fourth Delhi, had been founded by Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq. Tughlaqabad Fort is a testimony to that. Jahan Panah, the fifth Delhi and a walled city, was constructed by Muhammad bin Tughlaq to address the constant threat of Mongols. The sixth Delhi, Ferozabad, was founded by Feroz Shah Tughlaq and its testimonial evidence can be seen in the form of 13-metre high tapering quadrangular pillar adjacent to Ashokan pillar. Din Panah, the seventh Delhi, was rebuilt afresh by Humayun and later razed and constructed by Sher Shah Suri. Earlier this Old Fort or Purana Qila was seat of legendary ruler Prithviraj Chauhan. The walled city of Shahjahanabad, known as eighth Delhi, had been founded by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan who built Taj Mahal as well in Agra. Modern and present day Delhi, the ninth Delhi and known as Lutyens' Delhi or New Delhi has been laid down by the British.

Varanasi

Situated on the banks of holy river Ganga (the Ganges), the spiritual capital of India- Varanasi is known by several names like Banaras (as local people call it), Kashi (desrived from 'Kashika' meaning the shining one referring to the light of Lord Shiva), Avimukta (meaning never forsaken by Lord Shiva), Rudaravasa (meaning abode of Lord Shiva) and Anandavana (meaning forest of bliss). Varanasi is one of the holiest of the pilgrimages of the Hindus. Being on the banks of the Ganges, the most sacred and venerated river in India, Varanasi becomes all the more pious spiritual centre among religious Hindus. Its name Varanasi is derived from its being on the confluence of two rivers- Varuna and Asi. Though Varanasi is the world's oldest living city but its oldest monument is not older than 300 years because of inimically destructive invasions of Muslims. Varanasi is a prominent business and trade centre as well since the ancient times.

Ghats of Varanasi along the western bank of the Ganges are special as these epitomize various aspects of Hindu way of life. Watch out people having early morning bath followed by ablutions, puja by Brahmin priests, people practicing meditation & yoga, cremation process on Manikarnika ghat and Harishchandra ghat, people consulting the astrologers under their palm leaf parasols, buy offerings for rituals, trades selling silk apparels and brassware etc.

Sarnath

Located 10 kms from Varanasi,Sarnath is one of the four pilgrimages of the Buddhists. It was Sarnath where Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon and declared the birth of a different 'dharma' (religion)- Buddhism. From Sarnath, the 'dharmachakra pravartan' commenced. In around 234 BC, Emperor Ashoka, a great follower of Buddhism, built a grand stupa- Dharmarajika Stupa, here. Later on Sarnath developed as a prominent Buddhist centre with a grand monastery. Between the 3rd century BC and the 11th century AD, several Buddhist structures were built here in Sarnath. The Muslim invaders in medieval period ransacked and destroyed it. But an inquisitive traveler may still experience the rich past in the remnants of monastery, Dhamekh stupa, Dharmarajika stupa and Emperor Ashoka's pillar. Also, visit Sarnath museum. Sarnath museum also has the figures and the sculptures from the Mauryan, Kushana and Gupta periods discovered during the excavations at Sarnath.

Khajuraho

Khajuraho is well known for its temples. Of Indo-Aryan architecture, the temples of Khajuraho are embellished with superb decorations. Fine and artistic stonework is to be found around these temples. Many aspects of Indian life, as it existed 1000 years ago, have been depicted by the sculptors; curiously women and sex have been depicted in more detail. Owing to the subject of the sculptures, Khajuraho temples are also called Kamsutra Temples. These temples were built in Chandela period.

A Dance festival is held in March. The festival lasts for 10 days and some of the best classical dancers of India perform during the Khajuraho Dance Festival against the backdrop of Khajuraho temples which are floodlit.

Orchha

At Orchha, one can see the palace of Bir Singh Deo and also the Jahangir Palace. The palaces are impressive and offer pleasant views of the countryside and are worth a visit. There many other ruined buildings here and the seven storey Chaturbhuj Temple is close by.

Agra

Agra finds its mention in epic of Mahabharata as ‘Agravana’. Agra is traditionally and culturally part of Brijbhumi, associated with legendary Lord Krishna. Strategically located on the banks of river Yamuna, the city of Agra has seen many upheavals due to intermittent attacks of the invaders to take control of it. Agra remained under control of the Rajputs, the Muslims, the Marathas and the British. Though the influences of these regimes are quite visible in art, architecture and culture of the city but the Mughal impact is more pronounced, especially in old Agra. Now-a-days, Agra has been synonymous with Taj Mahal from tourism perspective. Taj Mahal can easily be termed as a feather in the cap of India, particularly Agra, which also possesses the most precious jewel in the country’s crown the “Taj Mahal”. Sikander Lodhi, Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Jahangir and Shahjahan ruled with Agra as capital of their kingdoms. Babur was the first Mughal king who built first Islamic monument in Agra i.e. Gul-e-Afgaan or the Aram Bag -a planned garden. During the rule of Akbar, famous monuments of Agra, Fatehpur Sikri and Agra Fort, were constructed. Sikandara and It-mad-ud-Daula are the famous buildings of Jahangiri period. World renowned Taj Mahal, built by Shah Jahan in fond memory of Mumtaj Mahal, is now one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the World’. Agra is also known for its fabulous handicrafts, made of marble and soft-stone inlay work. Agra's major handicraft products besides inlay work are: leather-ware, brassware, carpets, jewellery and embroidery work.

Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur Sikri, a historical place with nicely preserved monuments of Mughal era, is a must see place while visiting Agra. Located some 37 kms from Agra, Fatehpur Sikri of Buland Darwaja fame was founded by Akbar in 1569 to express his gratitude for Sufi mystic Salim Chishti, who was born in Sikri village. Many historians believe that Fatehpur Sikri was established as a joint capital with Agra but due to paucity of potable and drinking water, the plan to shift a section of imperial officials there had been reversed. Even today, its red stone architecture, richly ornamented with carvings & firework, is in a perfect state of preservation. Buland Darwaja is 15-storied, stands 140 feet on the pedestal and is 54 feet above the ground. A steep flight of 42 steps leads one to the massive gateway and makes it as one of the tallest gateways in the world is made of red-sandstone with marble decoration on it. With Quranic inscription on the front and cenotaph on the heights of the gateway, Buland Darwaja is a splendid blend of Hindu and Persian architecture. The calligraphy work done on the inner façade of Buland Darwaja has very less parallels in India.

Ranthambhore National Park

Spread in sprawling 392 sq kms and surrounded by the Vindhyas and the Aravalis, Ranthambhore National Park in Rajasthan was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1957 and a national park in 1971. In 1974, Ranthambhore National Park was brought under Project Tiger. Ranthambhore has glorious history and the national park has several historical monuments like Ranthambhore Fort and Raj Bagh ruins. It has several manmade lakes like Padam Talao, Raj Bagh Talao and Malik Talao which help keep the flora and fauna alive and flourish. The Tiger which is considered as the lord of the kingdom dominates the Ranthambore National Park. There are many wild animals belonging to the cat family like Leopard, Caracal, Leopard cat, Fishing cat and Jungle cat. The other large predators include Sloth Bear, Striped Hyena, Jackal, Desert fox, Palm civet, common mongoose, crocodile, python etc. There are two species of antlers the spotted deer (chital), and Sambhar deer and two kinds of antelopes namely the Indian Gazelle (chinkara ) and the Bluebull ( Nilgai ). Earlier, Ranthambhore used to be hunting ground of the royalty of Jaipur.

Jaipur

Jaipur, present day capital city of India’s largest state Rajasthan, is representative of typical Rajasthani culture, art, architecture and lifestyles. Known as ‘Pink City’ or ‘Gulabi Nagar’ of Rajasthan, Jaipur attracts tourists towards its gargantuan forts, marvelously built palaces, lively market of handicraft products and intricately carved out temples. The sprinkling beauty, the edifices, big havelis and stupendous sky-touching forts of Jaipur attract the tourists immensely. Jaipur is the only city in the world which has been built as per India’s Vaastu Shastra and segmented as per astrology. Jaipur has been laid according to the conventional nine-grid pattern that astrologers believe to be lucky and which has been recommended in the ancient Indian treatise on architecture. Its nine rectangular sectors represent nine levels of universe. A boundary wall with eight gates surrounds the city.

Goa

The brilliant green of the paddy field and the tiny hamlets with white painted churches stand out against a brilliant red soil-Goa startles, enchants and hypnotizes with its blends of East and West. This is after all an erstwhile Portuguese colony and the colonial masters have left behind a rich cultural legacy. India's finest beaches are in Goa. The Tomb of St Francis Xavier in Old Goa is a major Christian Pilgrimage. The elegant Portuguese mansions resting in sleepy villages are enchanting.

Goa is a new state of India and its capital Panjim though has modern buildings but still contains the charm of small town feel. The old buildings which impart it special pristine charm include the Idalcao Palace, Braganza Institute, Largo da Igreja (the Main Square, dominated by the Church of Immaculate Conception). The nearby Dr Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary is a nice excursion.

Also called Valha Goa, Old Goa is the erstwhile capital of Albuquerque and the heart of Portuguese Goa. The Tomb of St Francis Xavier inside the Basilica of Bom Jesus attracts millions of devout here annually. Mapusa, the administrative headquarters of Bardesz talluka, boasts of St Jerome's Church, Our Lady of Miracles and the Maruti Temple. Coconut-fringed sandy beaches dot the coastline in Bardez and Pernem talukas, in north Goa.

Margao, the capital of Goa's most prosperous taluka- Salcete- is the second largest commercial centre in Goa. Margao exudes the pristine colonial charm in its subtlest form. Margao usually serves as an overnight stop for visitors who are about to hit the beaches of south Goa but the Baroque-style Church of the Holy Spirit, and the many fine 17th-century houses are worth checking out. The famous beaches of souther Goa are Benaulim, Varac and Colva with many luxurious beach resorts.

Goa is known for partying and festivals and fairs give opportunity to party with religious and cultural fervor. It can be observed in the celebration of several Christian festivals in Goa with much gusto. These include the Feast of Three Kings, Feast of our Lady of Miracles, Feast of St Anthony, and Feast of St Francis Xavier. The largest non-religious celebration is the Carnival, marked by colorful processions complete with floats.

Goan food is hot, making good use of the bird's -eyes chilling grown locally. The dishes show a strong Portuguese influence, although local flavors are also apparent. The signature dish is the spicy pork or beef Vingaloo. The Goan sausage-chorizo-is 'hot', literally. Other notable dishes include sorpotel (Pickeled pig liver and heart) and chicken xacuit. The juice of the cashew fruit is fermented to produce feni, the potent local brew. Goa is one place that knows how to party, where people come for their bit of fun and sun. The best time to be here is around New Year, when the wildest parties in the country are thrown all over Goa. It's an experience few can forget.

Mumbai

Mumbai is the capital of Maharashtra and financial capital of India. It is a sprawling metropolis which traces its history to a set of seven islands given to the British monarch Charles-II as part of the dowry, when he married Princes Catherine of Portugal in 1661. The name Mumbai has been derived from MUMBA AAI or MAHA AMBA AAI- the patron goddess of Kolis of fishing community.

Mumbai's two main land marks, the Gateway of India and the Taj Mahal Hotel are at Colaba. Nariman point is at the southern end of Marine Drive. At the other end of Marine Drive is Malabar Hills, a posh residential area. Today, it is a hub of activity, trade, industry and finance. As the commercial capital of India and the world's largest textile market, Mumbai ports handle around 40 percent of India's maritime trade. Some areas in Mumbai like Dharavi are amongst the most thickly populated in the world. Mumbai has diverse population, where the extra-ordinarily rich exist side by side the appallingly poor, and yet, co-exist.

Aurangabad

About 400 kilometers eastward of Mumbai, is Aurangabad, the most convenient base for seeing India's timeless art at the renowned Ajanta and Ellora, both on the UNESCO's World Heritage List. The thirty caves at Ajanta, chiselled out of rock by Buddhist monks between 200 BC and 650 AD as chaityas (chapels) and viharas (monasteries), contain magnificent sculptures and frescoes. At Ellora are thirty-four Buddhist, Hindu and Jain rock temples carved top downwards from a two-kilometre escarpment between 350 AD and 700 AD and decorated with a profusion of sculptures. These includes the Kailasa Temple, the largest monolithic sculpture of the world, covered with a variety of finely carved panels, with entailed removing of some 200,000 tons of rocks!

  • Accommodation in the mentioned hotels on double sharing.

  • Daily breakfast basis on all places.

  • Total Meals: 21 (Breakfast-11, Lunch-03, Dinner-02).

  • Total night stays: 16 (Delhi-02; Varanasi-01; Khajuraho-01; Agra-02; Ranthambhore-02; Jaipur-02; Goa-03; Mumbai-02; Aurangabad-01).

  • Well-appointed upgraded air-conditioned rooms at all places.

  • Along with breakfast at all places, 01 lunch in Orchha in a restaurant located on the banks of river Betwa; lunch and dinner during whole stay in Ranthambhore hotel.

  • 02 jungle safaris in shared jeep/ canter.

  • Monument entrance charges.

  • Rickshaw ride in Chandni Chowk, Delhi.

  • Elephant ride at Amber Fort in Jaipur.

  • Morning boat cruise in the Ganges during morning hours to enjoy panoramic view of Varanasi ghats.

  • English speaking & destination-specific guides at all destinations for mentioned sightseeing tour.

  • Meet & assist at the airport on arrival & departure.

  • Sightseeing tours as mentioned in the itinerary.

  • Air-conditioned private car for the whole sightseeing tour.

  • Driver for the whole tour.

  • All prevailing taxes like luxury tax, service tax etc.

  • All transfers, city tours, excursions & drives by air-conditioned transport.

  • Interstate road tax, toll tax, parking charges, driver’s wages, fuel charges etc.

Optima Special:
  • Guests enjoy an option of either walking through narrow but buzzing alleys or see the market while riding on a man-pulled tri-cycle rickshaw in Chandni Chowk market of Delhi.
  • Early morning boat cruise in the Ganges along the ghats of Varanasi to behold beautiful sunrise and various activities of the religious Hindus.
  • Again, opt for either a cultural evening show or ‘sound & light show’ in the western group of Khajuraho temples.
  • Enjoy a ‘Maharaja-like’ ride on a caparisoned elephant.
  • Tonga (horse carriage) ride in Agra- from hotel to Taj Mahal gate.
Don't miss on Real India Tour:
  • A stay like a royal in one of the finest heritage hotels in its class in Jaipur, Rajasthan. Experience centuries old historical and cultural legacy of Rajasthan with all modern amenities in the hospitality of the heritage hotel.
  • View of enchanting and spirituality-evoking Ganga Aarti (Ganges Worship Ceremony) in the evening on Dashashwamedha Ghat of Varanasi, sitting in a boat.
  • A morning tour of hinterland in Khajuraho on hired-bicycle.
  • Exploring Goa on your own by hiring a two-wheeler for few hours.
  • Have a stroll in Janpath & Connaught Place market. Explore street bazaar to have a surreal feel of traditional Indian ‘haat’.
  • In the evening, hire an auto-rickshaw and move out to catch a Bollywood blockbuster in Jaipur.
  • A visit of Chokhi Dhani unfolds several cultural aspects of Rajasthan.
Shopping:

Varanasi: Rudraksha, Banarasi sarees, carpets and clay artefacts.
Agra: Marble souvenirs.
Jaipur: Environment-friendly printed clothes, jewellery and ethnic goods.

Cuisines:

Delhi: street foods of Delhi in Chandni Chowk.
Varanasi: Thandai- a local, nutritious and delicious milk-product of Varanasi.
Agra: Mughlai non-veg cuisines like chicken, mutton, korma, biryani etc.
Jaipur: Spicy ‘gutta’ vegetable.
Goa: Do taste Feni- a local Goan alcoholic beverage.

Is This Trip For Me:
Travel Style Service Level TPhysical Demands Trip Type Trip Rating
Classic Standard FIT/Small Group 4.65/5
DestinationsStandardSuperiorDeluxeLuxury
DelhiJiviteshHiltonShangri LaHotel Imperial
VaranasiHotel IndiaRamada PlazaRadissonNadesar Palace
KhajurahoUsha BundelaClarks KhajurahoTaj ChandelaLalit –Temple View
Agra Siris 18 Mansingh Palace ITC Mughal Oberoi Amar Vilas
RanthambhoreTiger Safari ResortRanthambhore BagNahargarh PalaceOberoi Vanya Vilas
Jaipur Paradise Shahpura House ITC Rajputana Oberoi Raj Vilas
GoaAlore Holiday ResortTerra ParaisoCidade de GoaTaj Exotica
Mumbai Juhu Plaza Kohinoor ContinentalTrident Taj Mahal Palace
Aurangabad Windsor Castle Lemon TreeRama International Vivanta by Taj
  • Price is per person twin/ double sharing basis.

  • Airfare not included.

  • Additional conditions may apply, please enquire for further details.

  • Prices shown are fully inclusive of taxes.

  • Additional levies, government charges & other applicable fees, including additional taxes and surcharges on flight routing, may apply and are beyond our control.

  • Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply depending on date of travel.

  • Payments made by credit card will incur a surcharge.

  • Prices shown are for payments made by cash in store or through normal bank transfer into our accounts.

  • These prices are a guide to the best price and are subject to change without notice.

  • Prices are subject to change without notice, due to matters outside our control, such as adverse currency fluctuations, fuel surcharges, taxes and airfare increases, please enquire for further details.

  • Please provide your passport details to Intrepid at least one month before travelling. Please note that if you do not provide your passport details you may be denied entry to any National Parks that are visited along this itinerary, or you may be charged a fee by the local government as passport details are now a requirement for entry into all national parks in India.

  • Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

  • In India normally the check in time is 02:00 PM and check out time is 10:00 AM.

  • Meals other than breakfast and as specified above.

  • Video camera/ still camera fee applicable at various monuments. The same will be paid by you direct on spot on actual basis.

  • Items of personal nature like telephone calls, laundry, tips, hard/soft drink etc.

  • Any expenses arising out of unforeseen circumstances like flight delay/cancellation/hike in fare, strike or any other natural calamities.

  • Indian visa fees.

  • Any compulsory meal supplements during festive season is not included.

  • Early check in & late check out at the hotels.

  • Any other Items is not included in " Inclusions" heading.

*Important Notice: The following information has been obtained from the relevant suppliers and should be considered an indicative guide only as to the prices that may be available for these products. Optima India Tourism cannot guarantee that any particular product will still be available at the following prices, or for your exact dates of travel. At time of making your booking, prices may differ to that price displayed on this website. Please contact an Optima India Tourism travel consultant to obtain the latest up to date information regarding applicable prices, fees and charges, availability and other terms and conditions which may apply.

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