Maharashtra……..Distance to Difference

Day 01. Arrive in Mumbai – Assistance on arrival and transfers to the hotel pre-booked. A late evening walks through Nariman Point - This is also a shopping destination in Mumbai, with the presence of various domestic and international brands. Nariman Point is known to have a lively nightlife, with a chain of lounges, pubs, and restaurants found in the area, accompanied by a breath-taking view of the ‘Queen’s Necklace.’ Dinner at Hotel – Overnight at Hotel.
 
Day 02. After buffet breakfast today the tour starts from the Gateway of India, which is a major landmark of Bombay, Gateway of India (Apollo Bunder, Colaba) designed by Scotland-born architect, George Wittet. Sporting exquisite Mughal-style design elements, this imposing basalt arch overlooks the Mumbai Harbour. The arch was completed in 1924, during the British Raj, to commemorate England’s King George V and Queen Mary’s 1911 visit to India. Board the motor launch, which will take you to the famous Elephanta Caves. {Elephanta Caves is closed every Monday}. The beautifully sculpted rock-cut temples on Elephant Island are 9 nautical miles from Bombay and are reached by taking a motor launch from Gateway of India. They are believed to have been created between 450 and 750 AD when the island was known as Gharapuri, the Fortress City. The Portuguese renamed it Elephanta because of a large stone. Elephant near the shore. The caves are reached by climbing 100 steps to the top of the hill. Later, you will proceed for a half-day sightseeing tour of Mumbai. Return to Gateway of India. Lunch at the Taj Mumbai on your own. Day free for shopping – Return to your hotel early evening, Stay at the Hotel.
 
Day 03. Breakfast at Trident and the tour starts visiting The Chatrapati Shivaji station, formerly known as Victoria Terminus was built in 1888. Designed by the British architect Mr Frederick William Stevens. Victoria Terminus in Mumbai was modelled on St Pancras Station in London. VT was built for Rs16.14 lakh. Later Stevens went to Europe for 10 months so that he could study the railway stations across the European countries in detail. Victoria Terminus was completed in 10 years, named to honour Queen Victoria and then opened to all. Only recently in 1996, it was renamed after Chatrapati Shivaji, a famous Maratha king of 17th-century y the state government of Maharashtra
 
You will later be then driven along Marine Drive, the sea - Front Boulevard. It is also known as the Queen’s Necklace as in the evening, the breeze from the Arabian Sea comes over Marine Drive and as the streetlights on this U-shaped road light up, the view from south Bombay’s skyscrapers or the exclusive residential area is that of a Queen’s Necklace. You will be also driven along with Malabar Hill and Hanging Gardens, which is built over Bombay’s reservoir. From here one can get a panoramic view of picturesque Marine Drive. Continue to Mani Bhawan (Gandhi Memorial), the house where the Father of the Nation stayed on his early visits to the city. The room, in which Gandhi stayed, preserved as it was, and the scenes of Gandhi’s life in photographs and models are of special interest.
 
Later you will be visiting The Haji Ali Dargah is a historical landmark in Mumbai and is also one of the most prestigious Islamic symbols situated in South Mumbai. Haji Ali was built by a wealthy Muslim merchant who became a saint named Haji Ali Shah Bukhari. He renounced all worldly pleasures before embarking on a pilgrimage to Mecca. Haji Ali Dargah was built in his honour in 1431 AD. The whitewashed structure is situated in an area of 4,500 meters and is flanked by crisp, marble pillars that are still marvelled at today. The 400-year-old structure that stands in Mumbai today has degenerated and corroded in many places and the structural up-gradation of this marvellous structure began in 2008. People from all over the world visit the Haji Ali Dargah irrespective of caste, religion, and creed. The Haji Ali Dargah is a popular pilgrimage site today and most tourists visit the tomb of Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari to seek his blessings for wealth, health, marriage, etc.
 
Lunch at Khyber – serving Indian Meals.
 
Post lunch you will be visiting the National Gallery of Modern Art - Initially known as the Sir Cowasji Jehangir Public Hall, it was converted into a national art gallery in 1996. Their areas many as four floors dedicated to art and works ranging from Pablo Picasso’s to Amrita Shergill’s are exhibited here.
 
Interestingly, The National Gallery of Modern Art in Mumbai has become a state-of-the-art structure, with facilities such as temperature control, lighting, and humidity at par with many of the overseas art galleries and museums. The National Gallery of Modern is also richly steeped in history and is the place where great leaders such as Sardar Patel, Gandhi, and Nehru conducted freedom rallies, while legendary musicians like Paul Robeson and Yehudi Menuhin entertained the chic upper-class society. While visiting, make sure that you check out the mummies and statues located in the section on Egyptian artefacts. Return your hotel – Dinner on your own – Stay at the Hotel.
 
Day 04. After breakfast check out from the hotel and drive to Lonavala. Lonavala is the famous hill station of Maharashtra, also known as the jewel of the Sahyadri Mountains. On arrival, transfer to the hotel. The evening is free for leisure exploring the markets to shop for the famous Lonavala Chiky. Overnight at the hotel.
 
Day 05. After breakfast take a sightseeing tour of Lonavala visiting the famous, ancient Buddhist rock-cut caves of Karla & Bhaja Caves. Then visit the famous Bhushi Dam, the most visited place of Lonavala during monsoons. The rest of the evening is free for relaxation and to enjoy the various facilities at the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.
 
Day 06. After breakfast check out from the hotel and drive to Pune, a mix of potpourri and culture which makes it a fascinating and young city. On arrival, transfer to the hotel. Later visit Osho ashram, the undoubted highlight of the city. The Osho Ashram with its green and soothing surroundings creates the most suitable environment for meditation and introspection for its visitors. Also visit certain historic sites of the city like the Raja Kelkar, with an enthralling collection of artefacts' from the Mughal and Maratha periods. Agha Khan Palace was built by Aga Khan III, in the year 1892 to employ the people of the nearby areas, who were hit by famine. Shaniwar Wada, the stately mansion built as the residence of the Peshwas. The Tribal Museum, which showcases the culture of Maharashtra's tribal communities. The Parvati Temples, located on top of a hillock is one of the oldest heritage structures of Pune and offers a panoramic view of the city. Overnight at the hotel.
 
Day 07. Today after breakfast leave for Aurangabad. Enroute visit Ellora, carved into the sides of a basaltic hill, one of the highly visited World heritage sites of India. Ellora is also world-famous for the largest single monolithic excavation in the world, the great Kailasa. The finest specimens of cave-temple architecture, they house elaborate facades and exquisitely adorned interiors. These structures representing the three faiths of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism were carved during the 350 AD to 700 AD period. It houses 34 monasteries and temples with some exclusive uninterrupted sequence of monuments that date back from 600 to 1000 AD. It also has some excellent stonework depicting the legends related to Lord Shiva. After this visit drive to Aurangabad. On arrival transfer to the hotel for an overnight stay.
 
Day 08. After breakfast take an excursion to the famous Ajanta caves. Ajanta is the world's greatest historical monument recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The Ajanta Caves were carved in the 2nd century BC out of a horseshoe-shaped cliff along the Waghora River. They were used by Buddhist monks as prayer halls (chaitya grihas) and monasteries (viharas) for about nine centuries, then abruptly abandoned. They fell into oblivion until they were rediscovered during the 19th century by a group of British officers who were on a tiger hunt. They cover 800 years where under the royal patronage of ruling dynasties, professional artists helped Buddhist monks to create magnificent murals narrating the story of Buddha in his cycle of incarnations, while simultaneously creating a painted record of the panorama of life in ancient India. Etched and painted in mineral dyes, the paintings have a languorous stylized beauty and magical eloquence. Return to the hotel for an overnight stay.
 
Day 09. After breakfast take a sightseeing tour of Aurangabad a historical city, named after the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. Later visit Bibi ka Maqbara Built by Azam Shah in 1678, the Bibi ka Maqbara is a son's loving tribute to his mother, Begum Rabia Durrani, the Queen of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. Due to its similar design standing spectacularly on the lawns of the landscaped garden with ponds, fountains and water channels, the white marbled monument is popularly known as the Mini Taj of the Deccan and Panchakki - which means 'Water Mill' by Malik Ambar in 1695. It receives water from an underground channel, with its source being 6 km away in the mountains. An artificial waterfall has been created near the mill, through which this water is discharged onto the wheel to power the flour mill and grind grain for the pilgrims. After the visit proceeds to Shirdi. Shirdi was the abode of the saint Sai Baba, who lived here for eighty years - and died here over eighty years ago. It is said that Sai Baba himself calls his devotees to Shirdi and that his blessings can heal even the deepest wound. On arrival, transfer to the hotel.
 
Day 10. After breakfast proceed to "The Temple of Sai Baba of Shirdi". Spend your time in the sacred atmosphere of Shirdi. Roam around in the spiritual atmosphere. Later drive to Nashik. On arrival, transfer to the hotel. Nashik: A delightful town, usually bustling with fervent crowds. It paves the way to many fascinating forts and royally graceful temples that possess an aura of exuberance. Later explore the holy city visiting Kala Ram Temple, the city's holiest temple with black stone deities of Rama; Sita and Lakshman, Ram Kund (pool) said to have been used by Rama and Sita during their exile. Its holy water is believed to provide Moksha (liberation of the soul). More interestingly, the water can dissolve bones and the remains of famous Indians have ended up here, followed by a visit to Rameshwar or Naro Shankar Temple with its white marble structure is the richest and the most elaborate, the ornamental Sunder Narayan Temple is rich in carvings and domed porticoes, the Kapaleeswara Temple, Balaji Temple built on the confluence of the Godavari and the Saraswati (a mythical river that flows underground) houses copper images of Balaji. Overnight at the hotel.
 
Day 11. After breakfast check out of the hotel and drive to Mumbai. On arrival, transfer to the hotel. Dinner and overnight at Hotel.
 
Day 12. Post breakfast transfers to the airport to board the flight back home.