Durja Puja Festival Tour India - 10N/11D

Delhi - Khajuraho - Varanasi- Kolkata

Overview

Durga Puja, Bengal's favourite festival, is observed not only as the triumph of good over evil also as the married daughter's vacation to her paternal home. And what better way than a visit to Kolkata for a glimpse of the festive cheer that encompasses both traditional and cosmopolitan fervour.

Arrival Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi
Languages English, Spanish, German, Italian, French
Highlights
  • Guided tour of Delhi including India Gate, Raj Ghat, Govt. Buildings
  • Explore historical sites in Delhi like Jama Masjid, Humayun Tomb, Red Fort and Qutub Minar
  • Visit the Raj Mahal, Jahangir Mahal and Orchha Fort
  • Visit erotic temples in Khajuraho and Eastern Group of temples mainly dedicated to the Jain teachers - Tirthankaras. Also visit the Western Group of temples, which consist of a group of artistic temples built in sandstone
  • Guided tour of Varanasi including Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Bharat Mata Temple, Tulsi Manas Temple, Benares Hindu University, Holy Ghats, Boat Ride, Sarnath, Buddha Temple and also enjoy the Aarti ceremony at the river Ganges.
  • Guided tour of Kolkata including Jain Temples, Howard Bridge, Victoria Memorial and also enjoy Durga Puja is the biggest festival in Bengal.

Tour Map

Tour Itinerary

  • Day 01: Delhi Arrival

    Connecting flight from various airports to Frankfurt. At noon scheduled flight with Lufthansa to Delhi. Arrival in the midnight and subsequently transfer to your hotel.

    Overnight in the Hotel

  • Day 02: Delhi

    After breakfast enjoy a full day city tour of Old & New Delhi. Visit the Red Fort (IMP: Red fort remains closed on Monday) the 17th century imposing fortress built in red sandstone is surrounded by a huge 33m high boundary wall. Inside are exquisite palaces and beautiful gardens.

    Opposite the Red Fort lies Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque) made of red sandstone and white marble, completed in 1656 at a cost of one million Rupees has perfect proportions. India's largest mosque where more than 20.000 people can kneel in prayer, the interior of the prayer hall is divided into aisles by arches. The walls and floors are of marble inlay panels.

    Also visit the Raj Ghat on the banks of the river Yamuna is Mahatma Gandhi's Memorial, where he was cremated following his assassination in January 1948. The memorial lies in the midst of landscaped gardens and made of a simple square platform of black marble inscribed with his last words "Hey Ram". An eternal flame burns 24 hours.

    Drive through Lutyens Delhi and see India Gate Built of Bharatpur stone, commemorates the 70,000 Indian soldiers who died in the 1st world war. 13516 names of British and Indian soldiers killed in the Afghan War of 1919 are engraved on the arch and foundations. Photo stop at Rashtrapati Bhawan once the Viceroy's residence is now the official residence of the President of India.

    Later in the afternoon explore New Delhi. Visit the Humayun's Tomb, built by his wife Haji Begum in the 16th. Century. An early example of Mughal architecture considered the predecessor of the Taj Mahal. The elements in its design a squat building, lighted by high arched entrances, topped by bulbous dome and surrounded by the char bagh (garden divided into quadrants), water channels and fountains.

    Also visit the Qutub Minar the landmark of Delhi, a huge tower of victory started in 1199 and completed in 1368. The Minar is 72.5m high with a diameter at the base 14.4m and 2.7m at the top. The tower has 379 steps to the top.

    Overnight at the Hotel

  • Day 03: Delhi – Jhansi - Orchha – Khajuraho

    After breakfast drive to railway station to board the train to Jhansi.

    On arrival at Jhansi, railway station drives to Khajuraho.

    On the way visit Orchha. The Orchha is a highly picturesque, set on an island on a bend in the Betwa River. You see the beautiful old fort palace raised on a rocky promontory above the wooded countryside. Orchha was founded in the early 16th century by Rajput chieftain, Radra Pratap and remained the capital of powerful Rajput Kingdom from 1583 till 1783. Visit the Raj Mahal with its Hall of Private Audience and Public Audience and royal chambers with beautiful painted murals on the walls and ceilings of religious and secular themes. The Rai Parveen Mahal named after the musician courtesan (1592-1604).

    The Jahangir Mahal (7th century) palace built to commemorate the Emperor's visit.

    Later continue your drive to Khajuraho.

    Temple town of Khajuraho is much different from any other temple city of India. It is not about religion and worshipping and deities. The temples of Khajuraho are instead famous for the eroticism etched on its walls in the form of sculptures. An amalgamation of science and art of architecture, these 10th-11th century temples have a very interesting legend behind them that connects them to the origin of Chandela dynasty.

    On arrival at Khajuraho, transfer to the hotel and check in.

    Overnight at the Hotel.

  • Day 04: Khajuraho

    In the morning visit Eastern Group of temples mainly dedicated to the Jain teachers - tirthankaras - The Parsvanatha Temple, the Adinatha Temple and the Santinatha Temple. The temples are ornately carved on the outside with beautiful figures of Hindu gods, goddesses. Also visit the Western Group of temples, which consist of a group of artistic temples built in sandstone. The sculptures of Hindu deities, dancers and musicians appear to be so natural as if they would come alive any time.

    Later in the evening enjoy the sound and light show in Khajuraho. This fascinating Son-et-Lumière spectacle evokes the life and times of the great Chandela Kings and traces the story of the unique temples from the 10th Century to the present day. Mounted in the complex of the Western Group of temples, the 50-minute show runs in Hindi and in English every evening. Amitabh Bachchan, the Indian super star, narrates the story of Khajuraho in his mesmerising voice.

    Overnight at the Hotel

  • Day 05: Khajuraho – Varanasi

    After breakfast transfer to the airport to board the flight to Varanasi.

    Varanasi, or Benaras, (also known as Kashi) is one of the oldest living cities in the world. Varanasi`s Prominence in Hindu mythology is virtually unrevealed. Mark Twain, the English author and literature, who was enthralled by the legend and sanctity of Benaras, once wrote: "Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together". According to the 'Vamana Purana', the Varuna and the Assi rivers originated from the body of the primordial Person at the beginning of time itself. The tract of land lying between them is believed to be 'Varanasi', the holiest of all pilgrimages.
    On arrival at Varanasi, transfer to the hotel and check in.

    Later in the evening enjoy the Aarti ceremony at the river Ganges.

    Overnight at the Hotel

  • Day 06: Varanasi

    Early morning boat rides on the river Ganges and sees the sunrise. The boat ride passes along some of the 100 ghats, with numerous palaces built by Hindu kings. Experience the early morning rituals of the Hindus being performed on the ghats. Thousands of people take a bath believing they will be free from the circle of rebirth. It is interesting to see the pilgrims offering sweets, flowers and holy water to the Sun God. Later drive for the excursion to Sarnath, one of Buddhism's major centers in India. It was here that Buddha gave his first Sermon after attaining Nirvana. In the complex is the Dhamekh Stupa (5th 6th AD) or Dharma Chakra, the most imposing monument at Sarnath built to commemorate the place where Buddha delivered his first sermon to the five disciples.

    Overnight at the Hotel

  • Day 07: Varanasi – Kolkata

    After breakfast check out from the hotel and drive for the city tour.

    Visit the Kashi Vishwanath Temple - The temple is located in the premises of the Banaras Hindu University and is about thirty minutes walk from the gates of the university. The temple, built by the Birlas, was planned by Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya. Unlike many other temples in Varanasi, this temple is open to all irrespective of caste or creed.

    Bharat Mata Temple - This temple of Bharat Mata (Mother India), inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi, lies about 3 kilometres west of Godaulia, outside the old city. Here, instead of gods and goddesses, one finds a huge relief map in marble of the whole of Indian subcontinent and Tibetan plateau. The map is said to be perfectly to scale both vertically and horizontally with mountains, rivers and the holy tirthas (pilgrimage centres) all clearly visible.

    Tulsi Manas Temple - Built in 1964, the Tulsi Manas Temple stands about 150 m south of Durga Temple. The temple, dedicated to Lord Rama is situated at the place where Tulsidas, the great medieval seer, is believed to have lived and written the great epic "Shri Ramcharitmanas". The two tier walls of the temple are engraved with the verses and scenes from this great epic.

    Benares Hindu University - One of the oldest educational centres in India, the Banaras Hindu University was built in 1917. The university was founded by Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya as a centre for the study of Indian art, culture, music and Sanskrit. The university campus is spread over five square kilometres and houses the Bharat Kala Bhavan. The Bhavan has a fine collection of miniature paintings, sculptures from first to fifteenth centuries, old photographs of Varanasi and brocade textiles.

    Later transfer to the Railway station to board the train to Kolkata.

    Overnight in the train

  • Day 08: Kolkata

    Morning arrival at Kolkata

    On arrival in Kolkata transfer to the hotel and check in. (Room will be available from 1400 Noon).

    Later visit the Famous Jain Temples of Kolkata, The Howard Bridge, The cantilevered bridge, also known as Rabindra Setu, is similar in size to the Sydney Harbour Bridge but carries a flow of traffic which Sydney could never dream of .It is the busiest bridge in the world. Later drive to the Kali ma temple located near the banks of the River Ganges at Kali Ghat. According to popular legend the Lord Shiva's consort sati killed herself by burning herself as her parents humiliated Lord Shiva, Shiva reached too late and then he picked up her charred body and began the 'tandav' the dance of cosmic destruction. To prevent the destruction of the world Lord Vishnu chopped Sati's charred body into 51 pieces that fell in different parts of the earth and a part fell on the banks of the Ganges and thus the name Kali Ghat and consequently the name Kolkata.

    Also visit Victoria Memorial that is a huge white-marble structure and the most enduring of remains of the British Raj in India. Built by Lord Curzon in memory of the popular monarch, Queen Victoria, it is a wonderful example of the Western style of architecture. It has been now converted in a museum that houses the most impressive collection of memorabilia from the days of Raj. The manuscripts, paintings and sculptures here are outstanding.

    Overnight in the Hotel

  • Day 09: Kolkata

    After breakfast enjoy the Durga Puja Festival

    Durga Puja is the biggest festival in Bengal. This is also known as Dussehra and Navaratri in other parts of India.

    Durga is the Goddess of divine power against all evils. The story goes that Mahisasur, the Buffalo Demon, through years of praying, received blessing from Lord Brahma, that no power can kill him which means he is invincible. But once gaining this power he started ravaging the whole world and killing people. And finally he wanted to uproot the Gods too. The Gods, in dismay, combined their powers to create a beautiful maiden, and each placed his or her most potent weapon in one of her ten hands riding a lion. Her return in each year in the Bengali month of Aswin (September-October) commemorates Rama's invocation of the goddess Durga before he went into battle with Ravana. The traditional image of the Bengali Durga follows the iconographic injunctions of the Shastras. It is similar to the Durga of Aihole and of Mahabalipuram (seventh century). The tableau of Durga with her four children - Kartik, Ganesh, Saraswati and Lakshmi, representing respectively the Protector, the Initiator of the puja, Knowledge and the Provider - signifies the complete manifestation of the goddess.

    Bengalis all over the world during these days of Durga Puja rejoice to their heart's content reconnecting with friends and relatives. Durga Puja is an occasion when the familiar sound of Dhak, Dhunuchi nachh,the mild fragrance of Shiuli, gives a familiar tug to every Bengali heart.

    Overnight in the Hotel

  • Day 10: Kolkata

    After breakfast full day enjoy the Durga Puja Festival

    Overnight in the Hotel

  • Day 11: Kolkata Departure

    In time to the International Airport to board the flight to for onwards journey

    Imp: rooms will be available until 1200 hrs

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