Pilgrimage Tour of North India

Duration : 15 Nights / 16 Days

Destinations : Delhi - Haridwar - Rishikesh - Badrinath - Gaurikund - Samode - Jaipur - Fatehpur Sikri - Agra - Khajuraho - Varanasi - Delhi


Badrinath Temple
Day 01: Arrive Delhi

On arrival at International airport, the guest will be met by our representative and transferred to hotel. Overnight at hotel.

Delhi, capital city of the Federal Republic of India is one of India's fastest growing cities. The city has two distinct parts, Old Delhi & New Delhi. Old Delhi reflects shades of Mughal Emperor whereas New Delhi shows the legacy of what British left behind.

The streets of Old Delhi are narrow & bustling. The beauty & serenity lies inside the courts of the main buildings. Delhi has some of the finest museums in the country. Its boutiques and shopping arcades offer access to a wealth of traditional and contemporary crafts, from all over the country. New Delhi was proclaimed the capital of India by the British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869-1944), & is tree-lined & spacious.

Jama Masjid, Delhi
Jama Masjid - Delhi
Day 02: Delhi

After breakfast proceed for day sightseeing of Delhi covering the following areas of New Delhi and Old Delhi

Rajghat - A memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, also known as Bapu (Father of Nation)

Red Fort (Lal quila) - Old Delhi is centered on the Red Fort built by Emperor Shah Jahan between 1636 & 1658, when the mougal empire was on its peak.

Jama Masjid (Mosque) - Work on the Jama Masjid mosque was begun in 1650 by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan to complement his palace at the Red Fort. More than 5,000 workers toiled for six years to complete the largest mosque in India.

Qutub Minar - is the tallest stone tower in India. Some believe it was erected as a tower of victory to signify the beginning of the Muslim rule in India. Others say it served as a minaret to the muezzins to call the faithful to prayer

Indian Gate - Built as a memorial to commemorate the 70,000 India soldiers killed in World War, India Gate was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and completed in 1931.

Built from sandstone, the arch also houses the Eternal Flame, a gesture in memory of the Indian soldiers who laid their lives in the 1971 war with Pakistan.

Rashtrapati Bhawan - Formely the Viceregal Lodge, the building is the highlight of Lutyen's New Delhi and was completed in 1929 at a cost of 12,53,000 pound sterling. Located in an area of 130 hectares, the palace has 340 rooms

Overnight in Delhi - we will be happy to recommend places for an evening stroll or a restaurant for dinner tonight.

Haridwar
Haridwar
Day 03: Delhi - Haridwar - Rishikesh (224 Kms 5 hrs drive by road)

Early morning drive to Rishikesh, via Haridwar. Haridwar literally means 'The gateway to the Gods'. It's the place where the river Ganga descends to the plain. A Gateway to the four pilgrimage of Uttarakhand, Haridwar is variously mentioned as Mayapuri, Gangadwar, and Mokhsadwar in the ancient Hindu scriptures and epics.
Upon arrival visit to Har-Ki-Pauri and local temples.

In the late evening drive to Rishikesh.

Rishikesh is one of the best-located pilgrimage centers along the right side of the bank of the Ganga. The holy river emerging from the high mountains not far from here, runs deep and silent through the thickly wooded hills of the Tarai that straddle this region. A breathtaking experience of natural beauty and undiscovered wildlife await here. Not to mention the peace and tranquility of a landscape associated with munis and meditation.
Arrive Rishikesh and check in at hotel.
Overnight at hotel.

Day 04: Rishikesh

After breakfast proceed for sightseeing tour of Rishikesh.
Bharat Mandir - It is an engrossing temple established by Adiguru Shankaracharya near in the 8th century AD. It is in the center of the old town on the Banks of the River Ganges.

Rishi Kund - It is located adjacent to Triveni Ghat and is one of the most significant among the tourist attractions in Rishikesh.

Triveni Ghat - It is a sacred spot where the pilgrims swarm to for a holy dip. A large number of pilgrims throng in to this place every evening to attend the Ganga Arti that takes place at this Ghat.

Geeta Bhawan - This is the oldest temple complex in the entire area and you can find the description of well-known Indian epic Ramayana and Mahabharata on its walls. Only peace and harmony seem to dwell at this place and it is must visit among the tourist attractions in Rishikesh.

Lakshman Jhula, Rishikesh
Lakshman Jhula - Rishikesh

Lakshman Jhula - It is one of the most prominent landmarks at Rishikesh. This is a suspended bridge and was built in the year 1929. According to the beliefs, the river at this place is said to have been crossed by Rama’s brother Lakshman using a jute rope. To savor the panoramic views of the surroundings and the cool breeze, this bridge is an ideal spot.

Ashrams - The ashrams strewn all over the town are indisputably the leading tourist attractions in Rishikesh. On your tour to Rishikesh, you will come across lots of them. Most of them impart spiritual studies and lessons on meditation and well-being of the mind.
Overnight at hotel.

Day 05: Rishikesh - Badrinath (297 Kms 6 hrs drive by road)

After breakfast start for Badrinath.

Badrinath lies at an elevation of 3,133 m above sea-level. Considered to be amongst the most pious of the eternal Hindu shrines of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. Badrinath is located in the lap of Nar-Narayan Parvat, with the Neelkanth peak (6,597m) overlooking in the background.

It is to the credit of Adi Guru Shankaracharya, who in order to revive the lost prestige of Hinduism and to unite the country in one bond, built four dhamas or pilgrimage centers in four corners of the country. Badrinath temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is located on the right bank of river Alaknanda, perched at an altitude of over 3000m in the middle of a valley full with scenic beauty.
Arrive Badrinath and check in at hotel.
In the evening visit Badrinath Temple for Aarti.
Overnight at hotel.

Day 06: Badrinath

After having a bath in the Taptkund have the Darshan of Badrivishal. Brahamakamal is significant for Pinddan Shraddh of ancestors (Pitrus).

Also visit Mana, Vyas Gufa, Maatamoorti, Charanpaduka, Bhimkund and the "Mukh" of the Saraswati River. Just within the three kms of Badrinath.
Overnight at hotel.

Day 07: Badrinath - Gaurikund (227 Kms 5 hrs drive by road)

After breakfast start for Gaurikund.

While proceeding downwards from Dolma - La (Dolma Pass), a steep descent will lead you to Gauri Kund at 5608 m. Some call it the ‘Lake of compassion’. In the religious book Shiva Purana, this is the setting for the legend of Hindu goddess Parvati and how Ganesh (Parvati’s son) acquired his elephant head while bathing in the emerald waters of the lake. Parvati fashioned an image of Ganesh from the soap suds on her body, breathed life into it and placed it at the entrance of her Home to prevent anyone entering.

Arrive Gaurikund and check in at hotel.
In the afternoon visit temple which is dedicated to Gauri. Rests of the day enjoy wild unparalleled scenic beauty, rare panoramic views of innumerable snow - clad peaks.
Overnight at hotel.

Kedarnath Temple
Kedarnath Temple - Kedarnath
Day 08: Gaurikund - Kedarnath - Gaurikund (10 Kms 10 minutes drive by road)

After breakfast start for full day excursion to Kedarnath.

Kedarnath is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. Lying against the backdrop of the majestic Kedarnath range, at an altitude of 3,581 m, the imposing Kedarnath temple is surrounded by lofty snow covered peaks. One of the panch Kedar Shrines, the temple was built by Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century A.D., standing at the site of an earlier temple built by the Pandava's. Behind the temple itself is the Samadhi of Adi Shankaracharya. Chorabari (Gandhi Sarovar) with floating - ice on the crystal clear waters of the lake and Vasuki Tal, another lake at an altitude of 4,150 m are fascinating sites around Kedarnath. Wild unparalleled scenic beauty, rare panoramic views of innumerable snow - clad peaks, rhododendron forests Alpine meadows make the area utterly enchanting.

In the evening drive back to Gaurikund.
Overnight at hotel.

Day 09: Gaurikund - Delhi (400 Kms 8.5 hrs drive by road)

After breakfast start for Delhi.
Overnight at hotel.

Day 10: Delhi - Samode (264 Kms 5.5 hours drive by road)

After breakfast start for Samode.

Samode - It is a place of great interest for people who appreciate culture and local arts. The village or town is famous for its magnificent havelis, mansions and handicrafts, so for your next holiday travel to Samode and see the rural life and flavors of Rajasthan.

Arrive Samode and check in at Samode Palace, one of India's most charming and romantic hotels and awarded as the Best Heritage Hotel in the country for 5 consecutive years. The Palace has been meticulously restored offering a retreat into an aesthetically beautiful environment where visitors can enjoy India's natural beauty and rich history.

In the afternoon start for sightseeing of Samode.

Visit Samode fort which is above the Samode palace, on the hill. It is in quite a bad condition since it seems to have been hard hit by time yet it is still popular with tourists for its historical significance and the view it offers of the town below. Also visit the Samode Bagh, which is 3 kms from Samode and is a beautiful garden that has regained its former beauty after some restoration work.
Overnight at hotel

Ganesh Pol, Amber Fort
Ganesh Pol - Amber Fort,
Jaipur
Day 11: Samode - Jaipur (42 Kms 30 minutes drive by road)

After breakfast start for Jaipur.

Jaipur - the pink city was founded in 1727 by Maharaja Jai Singh II, a Kachhwaha Rajput, who ruled from 1699-1744. However, Jaipur has joined the parade of metropolitan cities; still there are some traditions and customs in the city, which you will find quite surprising. Jaipur is the capital of the state of Rajasthan a romantic realm of resplendent palaces, mighty fortresses and regal Maharajahs that lies in the western deserts and is an utterly unique part of India. Proudly belonging to the Kshatriya warrior caste and fiercely independent, the Rajput princes made fearsome foes. However, many of them realized that to maintain their wealth and authority locally, it was expedient to proclaim allegiance to the central power. Thus, many enjoyed a privileged position under the Mughal emperors and also the British Raj that followed.

Arrive Jaipur and check in hotel.
In the afternoon proceed to Amber Fort. Elephant ride ascent to the fort.

Amber fort palace - Amber is the classic romantic Rajasthani fort palace. Its construction was started by Man Singh I in 1592, and completed by his descendent Jai Singh I. Its forbidding exterior belies an inner paradise where a beautiful fusion of Mughal and Hindu styles finds its ultimate expression. At the foot of the hill you will mount your caparisoned elephant for the slow but steady climb up to the main gate, making your entrance in the time honoured fashion. The Fort, completed in the early 18th century, took over 100 years to build and now, although deserted, offers a fascinating insight into the lifestyle of the Moghul ruling families.
Continue sightseeing.

City palace - A delightful blend of Mughal and traditional Rajasthani architecture, the City Palace sprawls over one-seventh of the area in the walled city. It houses the Chandra Mahal, Shri Govind Dev Temple and the City Palace Museum.

Jantar Mantar - This is the largest and the best preserved of the five observatories built by Jai Singh II in different parts of the country. This observatory consisting of outsized astronomical instruments is still in use.

Hawa Mahal - The ornamental facade of this "Palace of Winds" is a prominent landmark in Jaipur. It is a five-storey structure of sandstone plastered pink encrusted with fine trelliswork and elaborate balconies. The palace has 953 niches and windows. Built in 1799 by Pratap Singh, the Mahal was a royal grandstand for the palace women.
Overnight at hotel.

Day 12: Jaipur - Fatehpur Sikri - Agra (232 Kms 5 hours drive by road)

Early morning drive to Agra, via Emperor Akbar's deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri.
Fatehpur Sikri in Agra is a city in Uttar Pradesh, built during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Akbar during the 16th Century BC. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is a combination of various regional schools of architecture. Influence of Hindu and Jain architectural features are found in this monument with traces of Islamic elements in it. Fatehpur Sikri is made of red sandstone and the beautiful marvel tomb of Sheikh Salim Chisti is located here. Arrive Agra and check in hotel.

Agra - Heritage of Agra city is linked with the Mughal dynasty, numerous other rulers also contributed to the rich past of this city. Modern Agra was founded by Sikandar Lodhi (Lodhi dynasty; Delhi Sultanate) in the 16th century.

Babar (founder of the Mughal dynasty) also stayed for sometime in Agra and introduced the concept of square Persian-styled gardens here. Emperor Akbar built the Agra fort and Fatehpur Sikri near Agra. Fatehpur Sikri remained his capital for around fifteen years after which the city was left isolated in mysterious circumstances. Jahangir beautified Agra with palaces and gardens despite spending most of his time in Kashmir with which he was passionately attached.
Evening proceed for Taj Mahal sightseeing

Taj Mahal For centuries, the Taj Mahal has inspired poets, painters and musicians to try and capture its elusive magic in word, colour and song. It is one of the most flawless architectural creations of the world. Since the 17th century, travellers have crossed continents to come and see this ultimate memorial to love, and few have been unmoved by its incomparable beauty. The Taj Mahal in Agra India is considered one of the best examples of Mughal architecture in India. The history of the Taj Mahal is one of the great love stories of the world. The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan ruled from 1628 to 1658 and was married to Arjumand Bano Begum in 1612 A.D. He called his wife Mumtaz Mahal or Crown of the Palace. Her dying wish to Shah Jahan was that he should "build a tomb in her memory such as the world had never seen before." The history of the Taj Mahal begins with Mumtaz Mahal's tragic end.
Overnight at Agra.

Khajuraho Temple
Khajuraho Temples
Day 13: Agra - Jhansi (Shatabdi - 3 hours) - Khajuraho (172 kms - 4 hours drive by road)

Early morning transfer at Agra station to catch Shatabdi to Jhansi. Arrive and transfer to Khajuraho.
Khajuraho - used to be the capital of the Chandela kings and the temples found here were built between 950 and 1050 AD under the later Chandela kings. The temples of Khajuraho are brilliant example of medieval Indian architecture.It is believed that Khajuraho originally had 85 temples. But only about 22 have survived the ravages of time and they are strewn amidst lakes and fields in the area. The existing Khajuraho temples are divided into three groups - western, eastern, and southern. The western group is most famous, and it is designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The sculptors of Khajuraho have decorated the walls of the temples with carved figures of men and women of the day doing their daily routines, such as musicians playing music, women putting on make-up, etc. That includes depiction of Mithuna or human couples engaged in sexual acts. Though only about 10% of the carvings on the temple walls show erotica, this is what make the temples of Khajuraho so talked about thing.
Check in at Hotel. Relax. Overnight at hotel

Day 14: Khajuraho - Varanasi (399 Kms 55 minutes by Air)

Morning visit temples of Khajuraho. Transfer in time to airport for flight to Varanasi. Upon arrival at Varanasi transfer to hotel.

Varanasi - has been the ultimate pilgrimage spot for Hindus for ages. Often referred to as Benares, Varanasi is the oldest living city in the world. These few lines by Mark Twain say it all: "Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together". . Hindus believe that one who is graced to die on the land of Varanasi would attain salvation and freedom from the cycle of birth and re-birth. Abode of Lord Shiva and Parvati, the origins of Varanasi are yet unknown. Ganges in Varanasi is believed to have the power to wash away the sins of mortals.

Visit Sarnath 5 miles out of Varanasi for a day excursion: One of the holiest Buddhist sites in the world, where Buddha preached his first Sermon in 590 BC. Witness the ruins of a once flourishing Buddhist monastery and then visit a fine Museum which houses an excellent collection of Buddhist art and sculptures found at the site.
Overnight at hotel in Varanasi

Varanasi Ganga Aarti
Evening Ganga Aarti -
Varanasi
Day 15: Varanasi

In the morning drive to the Ghats (steps on river bank) to board a boat for a ride on the Hindu holy river Ganga. During this boat ride we will witness the morning religious rituals on the Ghats and in the temples along the river bank.

Later visit the ancient and modern Hindu temples of the holy city dedicated to Lord Shiva. In the evening experience the Prayer ceremony at the banks of River Ganges - homage to the holy river with oil lamps and incense etc.
Overnight at hotel in Varanasi

Day 16: Varanasi - Delhi (780 Kms 1 hour 15 minutes by Air)

After breakfast visit the birthplace of Buddhist religion, Sarnath. Lord Buddha meditated for many years in the dear park at Sarnath. After enlightenment at Bodhgaya, he returned to Sarnath to preach the "Dharma chakra" or the "wheel of religion sermon". This was his first sermon to his initial five disciples. Mauryan Emperor Ashoka built a Stupa at the site where Lord Buddha's ashes were preserved along with a massive monastery and university complex. We will view the archeological ruins of this historic site and also visit a very interesting site museum of archeology.
Transfer to airport to board flight to Delhi.