Flight Delhi - Indore
Namaste! We welcome you warmly at the Indore airport and drive you to your hotel. Overnight in Indore.
Indore - Ujjain - Indore
After breakfast, we leave for Ujjain located on the right bank of the Shipra, one of the tributaries of the Ganges. Ujjain is one of the seven highest places of Hindu pilgrimage ('Sapta Puri') and rightly so: the city houses 'Mahakaleshwar', the lord of time or death, one of the 12 'jyotir lingams' or 'lingams of light'. It is also the dwelling of the Hindu goddess Harasiddhi, one of the 51 Shakti Peetha. After visiting these sacred places, we will return to Indore where we will visit the Rajwada, the seven-story palace of the Holkar kings and the Kanch Mandir, an amazing Jain temple adorned with mirrors and floor-to-ceiling mosaics. A real gem. Overnight in Indore.
Indore - Omkareshwar - Indore
After visiting the Bada Ganapati Temple, which houses a huge 8m high colored statue of the Hindu god Ganesha, we will leave for Omkareshwar, which is home to the 'Lord of the Om', one of the twelve 'lingams of light'. The Narmada River that flows to Omkareshwar splits in two and forms an island called Shivapuri. This island have the shape of 'OM' (ॐ), the Hindu symbol, hence the name of Omkareshwar. We will visit the two most important temples of the city, Omkareshwar and Mamleswar and we will walk in the bazars of this holy town. Perhaps you will be tempted to buy a 'banalingam', a variegated stone of oval shape considered sacred by Hindus. We return to Indore and, depending on the time available, we will visit the Lal Bagh Palace of the Holkar rulers. Overnight in Indore.
Departure for Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh. In the afternoon, we will visit the mosque 'Taj-ul-Masajid' meaning literally 'the crown among the mosques'. It is one of the largest mosques in Asia. Then we will go for a short walk in the city. We will pass the Gohar Mahal, the pink palace of Begums, now converted into a cultural center. In the afternoon, we will leave the city to visit the temple of Bhojeshwar, which houses a lingam of more than 2 meters high, one of the largest in India. Then we will drive to the World Heritage Site of Bhimbetka, which contains 28,000-year-old cave paintings. Overnight in Bhopal.
Bhopal - Sagar via Sanchi
We leave for Sagar. On the way, we will stop in the village of Sanchi, famous for its splendid Buddhist monuments dating back to the first century BC. There are fifty monuments on the hill of Sanchi, including the great stupa built by Emperor Maurya Ashoka, and several temples in ruins. Arrival in Sagar at the end of the day. Overnight in Sagar around the lake.
After visiting the temples of Sagar, we will go to Khajuraho and its splendid temples of the Chandela dynasty known worldwide for their 'sensual' frescoes. Overnight in Khajuraho.
The temples of Khajuraho are divided into three groups called 'west group', 'east group' and 'south group'. The most important temples are concentrated in the western part and are adorned with finely carved statues that illustrate many aspects of everyday life and the deities of the Hindu pantheon. But what attracts a lot of tourists here are their erotic sculptures, although they actually represent only a tiny portion of the decoration of the temples. Overnight in Khajuraho.
Khajuraho - Chitrakoot
We arrive at Chitrakoot for lunch. This pilgrimage town vibrates to the sound of 'Ram Ram, Sita Ram' mantra. Legend has it that Lord Rama, his wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana lived for eleven and a half years in exile in the thick forests of Chitrakoot. In the late afternoon, we will visit the 'Ram Ghats' as well as several ancient temples along the Mandakini River. At sunset, we will board on small boats to attend the evening arati (ritual of flames) on Ram Ghat. Overnight in Chitrakoot.
Chitrakoot, the exile of Lord Rama
We continue our visit of Chitrakoot. We will first go to Kamadgiri. In Sanskrit, Kamadgiri means 'the mountain that fulfills all wishes'. It is a place of great spiritual importance for the Hindu faithful. Rama, Sita and Lakshmana stayed at that very place during their exile. We will perform the parikrama (circumambulation) of 5 km around the hill. In the afternoon, we will visit Gupt Godawari, an original temple located in the bed of a stream; we will have to walk in the water through narrow corridors dug into the rock to reach a small temple dedicated to Rama. Depending on the time available, we will also visit the temple of Hanuman Dhara devoted to the monkey god. Overnight in Chitrakoot.
Chitrakoot - Varanasi via Allahabad
Departure for the last leg of this tour in sacred India, and what a step! The divine and unique Varanasi, spiritual capital of India. On the way, we will make a stop at the 'Triveni Sangam', in the city of Allahabad, the confluence point of the Ganges, the Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati. Arrival in Varanasi in the late afternoon. Walk on the ghats. Night in a hotel overlooking the Ganges.
Varanasi, spiritual capital of India
We will begin the visit of Varanasi with a boat trip on the Ganges at sunrise, a pure delight. Then, we will visit the old city and its Kashi Vishwanath temple, the most revered in the city because it houses one of the 12 'jyotir lingams' or 'lingams of light'. Next door is the Annapurna Temple dedicated to the goddess of abundance. She is the supreme female deity of Varanasi. We will then head to the 'Lalita Ghat' and come across a Nepali-style temple, a curiosity in Varanasi. It was built 170 years ago by the king of Nepal Rana Bahadur Shah. In the evening, we will make another boat ride on the Ganges to observe the cremations held at the Manikarnika Ghat and to attend the ceremony of the arati at the ghat Dashashwamedh. Night in a hotel overlooking the Ganges.
Varanasi, the eternal & Sarnath, place of the Buddha's first sermon
Continuation of the visit of the important temples of Varanasi: Kalbhairav, Durga Monkey, Sankat Mochan Hanuman and the Baratha temple, which houses a relief map of India carved in marble representing the goddess 'Bharat Mata' personifying India. In the afternoon, we will leave for Sarnath, one of the highest places of Buddhism: there the Buddha would have pronounced his first sermon after attaining enlightenment in Bodhgaya. Return to Varanasi in the late afternoon, ride on the ghats. Overnight in Varanasi.
Flight Varanasi - Delhi
We drop you off at the airport. End of the trip. Looking forward to a new meeting. Namaste.