Caves & Temples of Central India

Caves & temples of central India

From Capital of India, travelling by local train to Gwalior and onto  Madhya Pradesh to discover fabulous and still little-known sites: the holy place of Omkareshvara crowned with Hindu temples, the fort of Maheswhar, the Afghan city of Mandu, the holy city of Ujjain and the lakes of Bhopal.

Immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle of Mumbai before setting out to explore the mosques and fortresses around Aurangabad. This journey continues through central India, to the Ellora and Ajanta Buddhist caves, the most beautiful in the country, carved into the cliff.

Caves & temples of central India

A trip to Central India is an adventure off the beaten track. You will come across a culture that is totally different from Western culture. Each day will unfold it’s charm and most sensational visits.

Tour Highlights

  1. Local train journeys.
  2. Stone age rock shelters at Bhimbetka.
  3. Religious ceremony on the banks of Narmada River at Maheshwar.
  4. World heritage Ajanta & Ellora caves.
  5. Evening walking tour of Colaba area in Mumbai.

Itinerary

Delhi – Gwalior – Bhopal – Indore – Dhar  – Maheshwar – Aurangabad – Mumbai

Day 01: Arrive in Delhi
Airport welcome and transfer to your hotel.
Day 02: Delhi
Breakfast at hotel. This morning you will be introducing the children to Delhi in style, on a morning's private bicycle rickshaw tour. Your rickshaw driver/guides will cycle you through the winding alleys of the markets of Old Delhi where you and the children will witness Indian city life up close as you pass street barbers and stall keepers selling colourful garments, spices and sweets. Hop off whenever you want a closer look, lunch and visit to the white marble Gurudwara Sikh temple which has a community kitchen as well as a very interesting museum on the history of the Sikh community. After lunch, it is time for an introduction to Indian history and architecture with a visit to Humayun's Tomb, also in New Delhi and somewhere for the children to run around in the shaded formal gardens surrounding the elegant tomb of a Mughal king.
Day 03: Delhi – Gwalior (train)
Today you are transferred Delhi Railway Station to board Train for Gwalior. Upon arrival in Gwalior Railway Station you are met by our Representative and transferred to your Hotel. Afternoon city tour of Gwalior visiting Gwalior Fort – a fort that is considered as a pearl among the fortress of India, Tomb of Rani lakshminai the famous freedom fighter, Jai Vilas Palace – similar to the style of the ‘Palais de Versailles’ in France which has a mix of Tuscan, Italian and Corinthian styles of architecture, and Tansen’s Tomb – the world-famous musician’s tomb.
Day 04: Gwalior – Bhopal (train)
Today you are transferred Gwalior Railway Station to board Train for Bhopal. Upon arrival in Bhopal Railway Station you are met by our Representative and transferred to your Hotel. Afternoon city tour of Bhopal visiting Taj-Ul-Masajid – one of the largest mosques in Asia and Dhai Seedi Ki Masjid – one of the smallest mosques in Asia.
Day 05: Bhopal
Morning excursion to Sanchi Stupa – it is a brick structure built over the relics of the Buddha, a world heritage site which was commissioned by the Emperor Ashoka the Great in the 3rd Century BC. Afternoon continue the visit to Bhimbetka – is a World Heritage site and has the ancient cave paintings of the world. It depicts the earliest traces of human life in India.
Day 06: Bhopal – Indore (185 kms – 03½ hrs)
After breakfast leave for Indore. Afternoon visit to Kanch Mandir – a Jain Temple whose architecture is done in glass, the walls, ceilings, floors, pillars, paintings and door knobs etc are entirely made with glass, Rajwada, Lal Bagh Palace, and Chattri Bagh.
Day 07: Indore – Dhar (105 kms – 02 hrs)
After breakfast leave for Dhar. Enroute visit to Mandu – or Mandavgarh, You'll stroll through the tentative UNESCO heritage sites that include such landmarks as the rock-cut caves from the 11th Century, the early Indo-Islamic architecture at Dilawar Khan's Mosque, and the massive 15th Century meeting hall Hindola Mahal. In total, there are 61 protected monuments in the town, along with a host of other archaeological remnants, including the ruins of the Rajput kingdom and scenic African baobab trees that have found their way into the heart of India likely as a result of human devices.
Day 08: Dhar – Maheshwar (40 kms )
After breakfast leave by Private Vehicle for Maheshwar.  Maheshwar is a beautiful city known for its unique, colorful saris and its fabric tradition. Maheshwar also bears the distinction of having been an imperial capital; its many temples and examples of regal architecture and design attest to this.
Day 09: Maheshwar – Excursion to Omkareshwar
Omkareshwar is a Hindu temple dedicated to the God Shiva, one of 12 revered "Jyotirlinga" shrines of Shiva. This morning you will set out to visit this ancient pilgrimage site. Omkareshwar is also located along the holy Narmada River, and it has been around for more than a millennium. Although fiercely persecuted during certain periods of history, a great many of the original, ancient relics remain here, and even to this day the temple persists as a living community. Upon entering the temple, vendors circulate distributing Bilwa patras, flowers, and sweets for people who wish to worship Shiva. Even aside from the religious and archaeological appeal, the architecture and scenery alone are worth the trip.
Day 10: Maheshwar – Aurangabad ( 340 kms – 07 hrs)
After breakfast leave for Aurangabad, it will be your longest day on road, though there will be breaks to stretch your legs.
Day 11: Aurangabad
Morning proceed for visit to Ajanta Caves – a UNESCO World Heritage Site, these are the rock -cut cave monuments containing paintings and sculptures depicting both the Buddhist religious art and the universal pictorial art.
Day 12: Aurangabad
Morning proceed for the visit to Ellora Caves – an archaeological site famous for its ancient caves made in rock cut architecture, The 34 “caves” depict being the Buddhist, Hindu and Jain rock cut temples. Afternoon visit to the Bibi ka Maqbara – a replica of the Taj Mahal, Daulatabad Fort and Aurangabad Caves.
Day 13: Aurangabad – Mumbai (flight)
Today you are transferred to Aurangabad Airport to board Flight for Mumbai. Upon Arrival in Mumbai Airport you are met by our Representative and transferred to your pre booked Hotel.Afternoon proceed on a guided tour of the city, which is distinctly tropical. Its weathered Victorian mansions, some still privately owned, and grand public buildings, many beautifully lit at night, stand as lingering reminder of the days of the British Raj, First visit the Gateway of India, hastily created as a symbol of welcome to Queen Mary and King George V of England on their to India in 1911. Next visit the Hanging Gardens, perched at the top of Malabar Hill, which provide lovely views over the Arabian Sea.
Day 14: Mumbai Departure
According to flight schedule transfer to airport  for onward journey.
  • Best Season:  From 01 September –  30 April
map of Nawabs of Lucknow

The highlights of this trip

Mandu

Perched on a pleasantly green, thinly forested 25-sq-km plateau, picturesque Mandu is home to some of India’s finest examples of Afghan architecture as well as impressive baobab trees, originally from Africa and carried here on ancient trade routes. The plateau is littered with World Heritage–listed palaces, tombs, monuments and mosques. Some cling to the edge of ravines, others stand beside lakes, while Rupmati’s Pavilion, the most romantic of them all, sits serenely on the edge of the plateau, overlooking the vast plains below. 

Omkareshwar

This Om-shaped island in the holy Narmada River attracts pilgrims in large numbers and has become a spiritual chill-out destination for some travellers. A controversial dam just upstream has changed the look of Omkareshwar considerably, but the island has retained its spiritual vibe and remains a pleasant and authentic – if typically commercialised – pilgrimage point.

 

Ajanta & Ellora Caves

Give a man a hammer and chisel and he’ll create art for posterity. Come to the Unesco World Heritage Site Ellora cave temples, located 30km from Aurangabad, and you’ll know exactly what we mean. The epitome of ancient Indian rock-cut architecture, these caves were chipped out laboriously over five centuries by generations of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain monks. Monasteries, chapels, temples – the caves served every purpose and they were stylishly embellished with a profusion of remarkably detailed sculptures.

  • Cultural 90% 90%
  • Monuments 95% 95%
  • Architect 95% 95%
  • History 95% 95%

Seriously absorbing in terms of history and architecture.

“A fascinating trip for those who are not bored by a heavy dose of temples, caves, and forts. This is seriously absorbing in terms of history and architecture. Our young tour leader was both personable and efficient; a serious candidate for a ‘tour leader of the year’ award in the future.”

Megan & Joshua, New York, USA

Wish we had more time.

“The trip was fantastic. We did feel that the trip could have benefited from a couple of extra days. Specifically in aurangabad to allow more time at the Ellora caves. Our trains were delayed, the delay we experienced on the train seemed to be the norm.“

Robbie & Irma, Perth, Australia.

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