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Experience more than History

Day 01. Arrive in Indore, our driver will be at the airport to welcome you and drive you to Maheshwar. The town possesses a treasure trove of beautiful temples that calm the soul, alongside man-made creations that please the eyes. The day is kept free to relax at the hotel and unwind. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 02. The first sight of the beautiful fort and tiered temples of Maheshwar, shimmering above their reflections in the waters of the sacred Narmada River, is something that no one forgets.

After breakfast today visit the sacred town dotted with captivating temples dating back to the 18th century. The architectural beauty of these temples leaves the visitors enchanted. The town of Maheshwar finds mention in the Great Hindu Epic Mahabharata and Ramayana. The towering temples of Maheshwar are well known for their superbly worked doorways and overhanging balconies. Some of the famous temples of Maheshwar are the Kaleshwar temple, Rajaraheshwar temple, Vithaleshwar temple, and Ahileshwar temple. Other striking features of Maheshwar are its ghats, which have the stone memorials to all the women who ever committed sati here. The Kashi Vishwanath temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and was built by Rani Ahalyabai of the Holkar dynasty. This temple is an architectural gem.  Later you will be visiting the Maheshwar Fort is one of the must-see attractions of Maheshwar. The complex of the fort houses a beautiful statue of Rani Ahalyabai seated on her throne. The queen contributed a lot to making Maheshwar peaceful. She built several temples in the town. Another attraction in the fort which draws attention is the archaeological museum, which houses a rare collection of the possessions belonging to the Holkar Dynasty. The fort was built by Emperor Akbar in 1601.

Post lunch walk in the town of Maheshwar which is also famous for the beautiful and elegant cotton saris popularly known as Maheshwari saris. They are known for their high quality. In the evening today enjoy the sunset boat ride to Baneshwar Temple, which is considered to be the Centre of the Universe. Watch the sun setting as you glide down the Narmada on a hand-poled boat to the Temple. Have a cup of tea and then release diyas as an offering to the River. Evenings at leisure at “Fort Ahilya” A heritage hotel.

Day 03. After breakfast drive to Mandu for a full day trip - The city of Mandu is adorned with spell-binding Afghan architecture surrounded by baobab trees, native to Africa. The grand palaces are still alive with royal romance while the gateways (Darwaza) speak of a history of imperial conquests.

You will be visiting Rani Roopmati Pavilion located on a hillside. The grandeur is built with arched structures and the monument speaks about the romantic history of King Baz Bahadur and Rani Roopmati. The palace also has a cistern that is useful for rainwater harvesting and Roopmati Palace makes for one popular tourist attraction in Mandu. Later visit the Hoshang Shah’s tomb is entirely constructed in white marble. What strikes the viewer instantly about the tomb is its austerity and the massive celestial white tomb. It is said that this domed marble tomb inspired the builders of the Taj Mahal in Agra. The other attractions include the carving of lotuses and blue enamel stars set in masonry. 

Continue to visit the Jahaz Mahal. One of the best monuments which perfectly captures the medieval romance of Mandu is Jahaz Mahal. Said to be built by Sultan Ghiyasuddin Khilji for his large Harem in the latter half of the 15th century, it represents the classical phase of architecture in Mandu. This double-storied structure situated on a narrow strip of land between Munj Talao and Kapur Talao gives it an appearance of a ship anchored in the water. Later onto Hindola Mahal also known as swinging palace derives its name due to its sloping walls. The structure is shaped like an alphabet ‘T’. Architecturally it stands different from that of other monuments in Mandu on account of the simplicity of the construction. The traverse projection had two stories, the upper story being reserved for the use of the Royal ladies. A flight of sloping stages led to the upper apartments which plausibly allowed the ladies to go up sitting in a palanquin.  The Ashrafi Mahal was built as a madrasa (Islamic college) by Hoshang Shah and it was a quadrangle with rows of cells and arcaded corridors on the outside, and four corner towers. Mahmud Khilji of the following dynasty converted the northwest tower into a seven-story victory tower and roofed the courtyard as a platform for his grand marble tomb. Continue to visit the Baz Bahadur Palace is an interesting blend of Rajput and Mughal style. The main gateway to the palace is approached by 40 broad steps with landing at intervals. The main part of the palace is a spacious open court with halls and rooms on all four sides. These halls beside the king’s personal spaces were used as a meeting point for the public and court officials.

Return to Maheshwar. Evening relaxes at the hotel by enjoying your drink or a dip in the pool. Dinner and overnight at the hotel. 

Day 04. Breakfast and drive to Omkareshwar. A river island in the Narmada, surrounded by waters of the Narmada on all sides. If you take an aerial view of the island, it forms the sign of OM – one of the many reasons why it is called Omkareshwar. Om is the primordial sound from which we believe everything emerged. Home to one of the 12 Jyotirlingas, it is one of the holiest places in India. Visit the Omkareshwar Temple. The scriptures suggest a continued habitation of this holy place since 5500 years at least. It gets a mention in Puranas also indicates it was a living place as well as a pilgrimage place for a long time. Further drive to the Temple of Kal Bhairav - Liquor is one of the offerings made to the temple deity. Every day, hundreds of devotees offer liquor to the deity. The devotee's hand over the liquor bottles to the priest, who pours the liquor in a saucer. He then offers prayers and takes the saucer near the deity's lips, which have a slit. He tilts the plate a bit, and the liquor starts disappearing.

The temple priests, as well as several devotees, claim that the slit doesn't have any cavity and that the deity miraculously swallows the liquor offered to him. However, the temple priest does not allow visitors to examine the statue.

Drive to Ujjain - One of Hinduism’s seven sacred cities, Ujjain boasts a wealth of cultural heritage, largely in the form of temples. Situated on the banks of the Shipra River, the city dates back to 600 BC and was once the residence of Ashoka. It was also the political and commercial hub of central India and the capital of the ancient Avanti Kingdom. Ujjain’s spiritual charm is undeniable. The famous poet, Kalidas, described it as ‘The town fallen from Heaven to bring Heaven to Earth’. The many temples give you glimpses of a glorious past. Check into your hotel pre-booked. Dinner and overnight at the hotel. 

Day 05. One of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India, the Jyotirling at the Mahakaal is believed to be swayambhu (born of itself) deriving currents of power shakti) from within itself as against the other images and lingams which are ritually established and invested with mantra-Shakti.
Today early morning attend the Bhasma Aarti at Mahakaleshwar Temple at 4.00 am. {Prior online bookings are to be done in advance}. Later return to your hotel for early breakfast and drive to Bhopal. Often referred to as the City of Lakes, Bhopal is the second largest city of Madhya Pradesh. The places worth visiting here are Laxmi Narayan Temple - dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Goddess Laxmi, Taj-ul-Masjid - a large and beautifully crafted mosque of India, the beautiful Shaukat Mahal which offers glimpses of Gothic and post-Renaissance architecture, Sadar Manzil, Moti Masjid, and Upper and Lower Lakes. At either of the lakes, you can go boating or take a safari in the nearby forest. Visiting the nearby aquarium is also a great bet. Overnight will be at the hotel in Bhopal.

Day 06. Post breakfast drives to Sanchi today. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a landmark structure in tracing the evolution of Indian architecture starting with the Maurya period. One of the oldest surviving stone structures in India and a specimen of Buddhist architecture, the Great Stupa at Sanchi will help you join the dots between one of ancient India’s most powerful rulers, King Ashoka, and the subsequent rise of Buddhism. This hemispherical stone dome however synonymous with Sanchi, when originally commissioned by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd Century BCE was a simple brick structure with the relics of Lord Buddha placed in a central chamber.

The great Maurya ruler, Ashoka, who reigned over the entire subcontinent between 268 and 232 BCE, can be credited for laying the foundation of a typical Vihara (Buddhist monastery) architecture as evident in Sanchi, a trend that flourished through the centuries until the 12th century AD.
Early inscriptions indicate that the extremely ornate gateways on all four directions and the heavily carved balustrade running the circumference of the Stupa were added to the original structure in the 1st Century BCE in the reign of the Satavahanas. Take a closer look at the gateways and the balustrades and you will witness a spectrum of illustrations revolving around the life of the Buddha including tales from Aryasura’s Jatakamala. It is interesting to note the way symbolic manifestations of the Buddha have been used across the carvings in the form of a tree or inanimate objects like wheels, thrones, or footprints. Later visit the Sanchi Archaeological Museum close by.

Return to Bhopal. Rest of the day at leisure. Dinner and overnight at Bhopal.

Day 07. You will be having a long drive to Khajurao today after early breakfast en-route, a stopover is in your program at Udaygiri, 13 km from Sanchi. Located near Vidisha, Udaygiri is famous for the rock-cut caves formed by making different intersections in one mount. The caves date back to the 4th and 5th centuries. Continue to Khajurao. Day free at the hotel.

Day 08. Today after breakfast visit Khajuraho Temples. Originally it had 85 temples until the 12th century. When during the 13th century, central India was seized by the Delhi Sultanate, some of the temples were destroyed and the rest were left in neglect. Now, only 22 temples managed to survive and stood the test of time.

The famous Khajuraho temples of Madhya Pradesh have been hogging the limelight now and then for various reasons. And the most popular psyche is that many find the carvings on the Khajuraho temples as offensive pornographic scenes. Perhaps, in all this, we tend to miss the most important point, i.e., the basic purpose of building these temples. This UNESCO World Heritage site is far from being a petty representation of the Kama Sutra. The temples here, in fact, illustrate the idea of life that engaged aesthetic objects to create something inspirational.
Later visit Lakshman Temple which appears similar to Kandariya Mahadev Temple, however, it is the oldest and the largest in the Western Group of Temples. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight at Khajurao.

Day 09. Post breakfast drive to Orchha - Check into your hotel pre-booked. Orchha is a small town placed on the banks of River Betwa and accurately translates to "hidden place "and is a well-known traveller Destination. Orchha is residence to Bundela style of structural design and the palaces of Orchha bear observer to the magnificent work of medieval architects. The famous amongst these are Raj Mahal and Jahangir Mahal. The Raj Mandir - built on a square base has plain external with projecting windows. The Jahangir Mahal, built to welcome the Mughal emperor Jahangir is a magnificent example of Hindu structural design. The other attractions include the Raj Mahal, The Sheesh Mahal, the Chaturbhuj temple. Along with these, there are numerous Chhatris of royals or cenotaphs dotting the banks of the river Betwa. Return to your hotel. Evenings are free. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 10. After breakfast drive to Gwalior via Datia. Datia is mentioned in Mahabharata as the Daityavakra. It is famous for the 17th century, 7 storey hilltop Palace of Raja Bir Singh Deo. Among its main historical monuments do not miss seeing the temple with Mughal frescoes and the Gopeshwar Temple. On arrival at Gwalior check in at the hotel. Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 11. Breakfast at the hotel today later enjoy a half-day tour of Gwalior and visit the majestic Gwalior Fort and Saas Bahu Temple. The Gwalior fort spreads out over an area of 3 square km, surrounded by concrete walls of sandstone. The Gwalior fort encloses three temples, six palaces, and numerous water tanks. Saas-Bahu temple, or Sahastrabahu Temple, built by King Mahipal of the Kachchhapaghata dynasty is a beautiful temple in Gwalior. The temple is a marvellous example of architectural brilliance and the intricate design is worth noticing. The entire temple is adorned with carvings and a beautiful idol of Brahma, Vishnu, and Saraswati. The rest of the day is kept free for shopping. Return to your hotel for Dinner.

Day 12. Breakfast at the hotel and later drive to Gwalior Railway Station for your onward journey to Delhi. A car and driver will receive you at the Railway Station and transfer you to the Aerocity Hotel. Day in Delhi.

Day 13. Early morning transfers to the international/domestic airport taking back some untold stories of India...

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