India Arts & Temples
The temples of India, are dedicated to different gods and are the focus of religious life. A feature of most temples is the presence of murtis of the Hindu deity to whom the temple is dedicated. A murti is a sacred statue of God, or a god or goddess. A Hindu priest is called a pujari and his main duty is to perform worship services, which are known as puja. This part of daily life will be seen throughout India as you travel from one destination to another.
In Delhi, India’s capital city, visit 17th-century Red Fort, Chandni Chowk and Jama Masjid in old Moghul era town. While New Delhi has an imprint of the British architect Edwin Lutyens. A boat excursion on the Ganges in Varanasi (Benares), confirms why it is the spiritual centre of the Hindu world. Khajuraho temples of love and Taj Mahal, the monument of love, are both unmissable. In the Ajanta and Ellora caves near Aurangabad, frescoes and wall paintings date back to 3rd century. Near modern Mumbai, Elephanta caves date back to 550 A.D.
TRAVEL UNTAMED ON THIS 12-DAY TOUR OF THE TEMPLES OF LOVE…
And, view compelling art, architecture and ancient religious sites.
The Indian Art developed on the Indian subcontinent from about the 3rd millennium BCE and one of the oldest cliff painting frescoes can be seen in the Ajanta Caves. At the turn of the first millennium CE two major types of temples existed, the northern style and the southern type distinguishable by the shape and decoration of the rising tower of the temple. However, the most popular amongst the tourists are the Khajuraho temples, built in the first century and famous for their erotic sculptures.
This is the ultimate private tour of India’s most compelling art, architecture and ancient religious sites. Starting with Hindu’s religious site of Varanasi and Buddhist religious site of Sarnath, you will have the opportunity to visit and experience the fascinating art of the Chandela Empire. The Khajuraho temples are known worldwide due to their explicit depiction of sexual life during medieval times.
One of the remarkable things you will notice about Indian painting, ancient or modern, court or folk, is that it always depicts pleasure, whereas in the West, where there is far less suffering, art seems to specialise in torment, misery, and death; think of all the crucifications, the war scenes of Goya, the start realism and agony. In India, all art is for pleasure, and the greatest pleasure is dancing.
Delhi and Agra and Delhi reflect fine examples of the Moghul and British (Lutyen’s) influences on Indian architecture and culture. But it is in the caves of Ajanta and Ellora near Aurangabad, you will see the finest pieces of Buddhist art that attained the peak of its development during the 5th and 11th century AD.
The tour features in-depth private touring with expert local guides. Your itinerary is developed around the best of Indian lifestyle, including galleries, boutiques and bazaars. For your stay, we have selected palace-style hotels and luxury resorts.
Arts & Temples of India
An ultimate private tour of India’s most compelling art, architecture and ancient religious sites.
Delhi, Varanasi, Khajuraho, Agra, Aurangabad, Mumbai
(12 Days – Travel Any Day)
Day 1 – Arrive
Delhi Meet and greet on arrival at the Indira Gandhi International Airport. After a warm welcome you will be escorted by our representative to your hotel for 2 nights stay. The rest of your day will be scheduled depending on your arrival time and how tired you feel.
The Imperial hotel (Nil)
Day 2 – Tour
Delhi The capital city of India is a bustling metropolis that successfully combines the ancient with the modern; Old Delhi, once the seat of the Moghul Emperors and New Delhi, established by the British in the early 20th century.
Your private tour begins with a visit to Old Delhi that still reminisces the past and retains its ancient architecture. Places of note in Old Delhi include the 17th century Red Fort that served as the capital of the Moghuls, and its Chandni Chowk market, which is still the busiest in Old Delhi. Also visit Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in Delhi and the final resting place of Mughal Emperor Humayun.
In the afternoon discover New Delhi, which has the imprint of the British architect Edwin Lutyens. Most notable are his India Gate (World War I memorial), the Parliament and the President’s House. The present-day New Delhi, however, has an urban landscape with modern shopping arcades, high-rise buildings with rooftop bars and some of the best Indian and international cuisine restaurants. Wherever you go, you will experience a mix of architectures, cultures and religions.
The Imperial hotel (B)
Day 3 – Transfer
Varanasi Fly to Varanasi (Benares), one of the oldest cities in the world and the spiritual centre of the Hindu world. Don’t miss the grand “Aarti” ceremony, conducted at sunset by the priests who sway in seemingly choreographed movements, worshiping the river goddess with incense, flowers and earthen lamps.
Nadesar Palace (B)
Day 4 – Tour
Varanasi The early morning boat excursion on the holy river Ganges is something you will either love or hate. But if you want to understand Hindu culture then this trip might help. What you will see is hundreds of Hindus congregating on the stone steps along the banks of the holy Ganges River to perform ritual ablutions – bathing and worshipping in the Ganges, the most extraordinary experience of your visit to India.
Explore the old Varanasi town and its ancient shrines and temples and later take an excursion to Sarnath, where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon and was a school of learning from the 6th century BC to the 12th century AD.
Nadesar Palace (B)
Day 5 – Transfer
Khajuraho Fly to Khajuraho (Mon, Wed & Fri only), a UNESCO world heritage site and one of India’s most renowned temple complexes. You will stay in an exclusive “small luxury hotel”. Later in the day, you have options to see Khajuraho dancing or a Sound and Light show.
The Lalit Temple View (B)
Day 6 – Tour & Transfer
Agra With your private guide, tour the 10th century stone temples of Khajuraho. Built over a span of 200 years, they represent a paean to life, to love, to joy; perfect in execution and sublime in expression. Life, in every form and mood, has been captured in stone, including the acts of love inspired from the ancient art of Kama Sutra. A Unesco heritage site and considered to be one of the "seven wonders" of India.
This afternoon take a private transfer to Orchha, a medieval riverside town known for its palaces and temples. Enjoy an afternoon tour of Orchha, which is peppered with fascinating little shrines and memorials. Later take an express train to Agra.
Amarvilas hotel (B)
Day 7 – Tour
Agra You will be received by our representative at the Agra railway stations and escorted to your hotel. Agra achieved fame as the capital of the Mughal Empire between the 16th and 17th century during which the Moghuls left their mark with spell binding monuments. Your private tour begins with the Agra Fort, built in red sandstone with magnificent palaces, halls and beautiful gardens.
Not far is the Taj Mahal, a poem in white marble and a fine example of the fusion of many architectural styles. Built in 1652 by Emperor Shahjahan, it took almost 22 years and 20,000 skilled artisans who inlaid the white marble edifice with precious and semi precious stones.
Time permitting, you will visit Akbar’s deserted city Fatehpur Sikri, India’s “Pompeii” once a glittering imperial capital, later mysteriously abandoned. You will stay in the lavish Oberoi Amarvilas in a room with an uninterrupted view of the Taj.
Amarvilas hotel (B)
Day 8 – Transfer
Aurangabad This morning embark on a drive to Delhi airport to board your flight to Aurangabad. Rest of the day at leisure.
Taj Regency (B)
Day 9 – Tour
Aurangabad With your local specialist guide, tour Ajanta and Ellora, the two ancient religious complexes filled with extraordinary art. Here Buddhist art attained the peak of its development, in frescoes and wall paintings revealing a fascinating lifestyle. Carved out of horse shoe-shaped rocks over a period of 900 years, the Ajanta caves date back to the 3rd century.
Taj Regency (B)
Day 10 – Tour & Transfer
Mumbai Next day visit the unique Ellora caves that extend in a linear arrangement and include Buddhist Hindu and Jain temples carved from basalt cliffs. Spanning a period of about 600 years between the 5th and 11th century AD, the earliest excavation seen here is in cave 29. The most imposing excavation is that of the magnificent Kailasa Temple (Cave 16) which is the largest single monolithic structure in the world!
Taj Mahal Palace & Towers (B)
Day 11 – Tour
Mumbai This morning enjoy an excursion tour to the rock cut Elephanta Caves. A short ferry ride takes you across the harbour to the island of Elephanta for a visit to the Great Cave Temple, which dates back to 550 A.D. Elephanta’s most striking figure represents the three aspects of Shiva – the creator, preserver and destroyer
Later in the afternoon, enjoy a city tour of Mumbai visiting the Prince of Wales Museum, Gateway of India, Gandhi museum and the bustling Dhobi Ghats, where you will see hundreds of men and their families engaged in the family business of washing clothes.
Taj Mahal Palace & Towers (B)
Day 12 – Depart
Mumbai This afternoon, you will be transferred to the airport to catch your flight back home.
Make this your holiday
Getting There All major international airlines fly to India’s main airports: Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. Airports tend to be on the outskirts of cities. Pre-paid taxi services and auto-rickshaws are stationed outside the terminus to get you into the city.
When to go The best time to travel to India is between September and March. This is a high season and it is advisable to book your holiday well in advance. Summer starts in April and by June, it becomes very hot. By July there is the south-west monsoon, which brings heavy rains to the west coast. September is a generally a clear month though later, between October and December there may be a reverse pattern called the north-east monsoon that appears in the Bay of Bengal, bringing rains to the east coast. The best time for trekking in the Indian Himalaya is between April and November but it varies from region to region and the altitude you are planning to reach.
Passport/Visa Visas are required to enter, exit or transit through Indian territories. The most common is a single entry 30-day visa. Multiple entry, 60-day and 90-day visas are also available. Passports must have a minimum of six months validity. Enquiries should be directed to the nearest Indian High Commission, embassy or consulate.
All visa applications in UK should be filled online at http://in.vfsglobal.co.uk. Cost of six months tourist visa for UK nationals including handling charges is £92.20.