Temples of the North & the Taj
Temples of the North & the Taj - 8days/7nights
Varanasi, the centre of the Hindu universe, has maintained without break a religious tradition that goes back to the sixth century BC. In all these years, great sages, teachers and students have sought answers from the ghats. Amongst these have been the Buddha, Mahavira, Shankaracharya and many others. Others look for release from life's cycle and cremation here in Varanasi, on the banks of the Ganges, is one way of attaining it.
The temples of Khajuraho also promise enlightenment, but the erotica that they have gained such notoriety for has its basis in tantric belief. But there are only a few of these panels; the temples, particularly Kandariya Mahadev, in their proportions, embellishment and composition represent the best of North Indian temple architecture. To a visit to these cities, the itinerary adds a trip to the Taj Mahal – that striving for perfection in the expression of eternal love. The result is a near perfect tour of classical north.
price on application
Cost Includes: Accommodation for 7 nights with breakfast, transfers, excursions and sightseeing with English speaking guide in an air-conditioned chauffeur driven car, monument entrance fee, porterage, mineral water in car, 2 visits to the Taj, boat ride on the Ganges in Varanasi, welcome dinner with Indian music in Delhi, train travel in air-conditioned executive chair-car and air travel in economy class as per itinerary.
Hotels Superior: Oberoi Maidens (superior) Delhi, Radisson (standard) Varanasi, Holiday Inn (standard) Khajuraho, Mansingh Palace (standard) Agra Deluxe: Intercontinental (deluxe) Delhi, Taj Ganges (superior) Varanasi, Taj Chandela (superior garden view) Khajuraho, Taj View (deluxe Taj facing) Agra Luxury: Imperial (heritage) Delhi, Taj Ganges (executive suite) Varanasi, Taj Chandela (superior pool view) Khajuraho, Amarvilas (premium with Taj facing terrace) Agra.
Day 01 Arrival
Reception and welcome at New Delhi airport followed by transfer to the hotel.
Day 02 Delhi
A slow start to the first day gives you time to unwind before your introduction to New Delhi, both as the British visualized it and as it has taken shape since Independence.
Day 03 Delhi
Visit the old city, established by the Mughals as their capital after Agra.
Day 04 Delhi – Varanasi
A morning flight takes you to Varanasi. Sarnath, just outside the city is where the Buddha preached his first major sermon following enlightenment. Come back before sunset, in time for the prayer ceremony on the ghats.
Day 05 Varanasi - Khajuraho
The early morning boat ride on the river Ganges provides an unmatched view of the various ghats and the ceremonies being performed. Your flight to Khajuraho is about noon, so you can explore the temples in the afternoon or evening.
Day 06 Khajuraho – Orcha – Jhansi - Agra
Drive to Jhansi via Orcha, where you stop to admire the temples and have lunch. The express train to Agra leaves from Jhansi.
Day 07 Agra
The luminescent marble of the Taj expresses many moods, a single visit will not do justice. Return in the evening after having explored the town.
Day 08 Agra - Delhi
Drive back to Delhi and transfer to the airport in time for your flight out.
I had attempted to obtain tickets for the Palace on Wheels (POW) from a specialist rail tour company in the United States, only to be informed that the ticket allocation has been exhausted on the date we wanted to travel. I incidentally mentioned this to Andre as part of a broaderPeter Bermingham