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Haridwar Kumbh Mela - The Gateway to God

Delhi - Bandhavgarh - Toria - Khajuraho - Varanasi - Khatmandu - Delhi - Haridwar - Delhi

India - a land that evokes flights of imagination and curiosity, a canvas of spectacle and colour. Ruled by a succession of native kingdoms, often overrun and inhabited by invading armies of Central Asian origin, followed by the Mughals and finally the British, transformation has been never ending. A profusion of races and cultures, and the magnitude of their legacies, are evident today.

Please note a tour comprising the first 11 days of this itinerary may be taken at any time: For the Kumbh Mela at Haridwar, the tour should be taken on the dates shown.

Day 1: 15-02-16 Arrival Delhi
On arrival at international airport in Delhi and after clearing customs & immigration, our representative will receive and escort you to your hotel.
Delhi, the capital of kingdoms and empires is now a sprawling metropolis with a fascinating blend of the past and the present. It is a perfect introduction to the composite culture of an ancient land. Rest of the day at leisure

Day 2: 16-02-16 Delhi (B/D)
After breakfast visit Old Delhi, it pulses with the energy and colour, the hustle and bustle of thronged bazaars and is laced by a maze of narrow lanes which twist and turn between tall, leaning houses full of the sights, sounds and aromas of the Indian subcontinent. You will visit Jama Masjid with its tapering minarets and wonderful marble domes. In Old Delhi you will also have an opportunity to enjoy a rickshaw ride.
In the afternoon proceed we visit New Delhi. The city named New Delhi offers more historical sites than the Old Delhi. The city was founded by the imperial British government in 1911 to move their capital from Kolkata (called Calcutta earlier). The sight-seeing tour of New Delhi includes a visit to the Qutub Minar and Humayun’s Tomb, a drive along the ceremonial avenue - Rajpath, past the imposing India Gate, Parliament House and the President's Residence and ends with a drive through the Diplomatic Enclave followed by shopping at famous shopping places.
In the evening, we will organize a visit to an Indian home for interaction while tasting traditional home-style Indian cooking. A full meal will be demonstrated to you. You’ll have a great chance to learn the tying of the Sari (Indian women’s traditional wear) demonstrated by the lady host. Overnight at hotel.

Day 3: 17-02-16 Delhi - Khajuraho - Bandhavgarh (B/D)
After early breakfast transfer to Delhi airport for flight for Khajuraho, On arrival at Khajuraho airport transfer to car and drive to Bandhavgarh (270 kms/5-6 hrs). Bandhavgarh National Park is set amongst The Vindhya Hills in Madhya Pradesh, Bandhavgarh consists of 168 sq miles of Sal & a mixed forest of bamboo, grassland, and a complex of deciduous forests. There are at least 150 species of birds in the park, along with other mammals such as Tigers, Sloth Bear, Langur Monkeys, Wild Boar, Mongoose, 3 Kinds Of Deer - Chital, Sambar And Barking, to name a few. Overnight at the Lodge.

Day 4: 18-02-16 Bandhavgarh (B/L/D)
Early morning wake-up call with a knock on your room door and Tea/Coffee. You will wake up to misty mornings and sounds of birds calling, which will make an exciting start to your day. As soon as dawn breaks, leave for your Jungle Safari, accompanied by a resident naturalist and forest park guides in 4x 4 Jeeps. In the winter months morning safaris require warm clothes and woolen caps and gloves to keep you warm from the wind chill factor in your open jeep. We provide blankets and sometimes even a hot water bottle to keep you comfortable.
Lunch and afternoon safari by 4x4 jeep accompanied by resident naturalist and forest guide, return to lodge for evening tea and rest of time free to relax.

Day 5: 19-02-16 Bandhavgarh (B/L/D)
As day 4.

Day 6: 20-02-16 Bandhavgarh - Sarai at Toria (180 kms / 4-5 hrs)(B/L/D)
After morning safari and breakfast drive to Sarai at Toria, on arrival at Toria transfer to hotel and rest of the day at leisure.

Day 7: 21-02-16 Sarai at Toria - Khajuraho - Varanasi (B)
After breakfast proceed to visit eastern & western group of Khajuraho temples, the divine sculptures in these temples are a tribute to life itself, embodying everything that is sublime and spontaneous about it. The murals depict the life and times of the Chandelas, and celebrate the erotic state of being. They not only testify to the mastery of the craftsman, but also to the extraordinary breadth of vision of the Chandela Rajputs under whose reign, these temples were constructed.
After visit transfer to Khajuraho airport to connect flight for Varanasi. On arrival at Varanasi airport, our representative will meet you and transfer to the hotel.
Varanasi, known to the devout as Kashi, is said to have been founded by Shiva, Lord of the Universe. One of the oldest living cities in the world, as also one of the most important pilgrimage sites in India, Varanasi is a major tourist attraction. Situated on the banks of the sacred Ganges, the city has been a center of learning and civilization for over 2000 years. Evening visit to the Ganges for glittering evening Aarti (prayer) ceremony. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 8: 22-02-16 Varanasi (B)
In the morning - a walk through the mystical landscape of poets, sacred temples, holy ponds near Assighat, the southernmost embankment of the holy Ganga river, walk in the footsteps of 16th century Banaras poet and mystic Pandit Goswami Tulsidas, translator of the sacred Ramanyana text, you will hear about the history and special culture of Varanasi while visiting the Southern temple established by Tulsidas! The walk ends with a special darshan, meaning 'taking sight' of a hidden sun temple behind his home.
Afternoon excursion to Sarnath. Sarnath has previously been known as Mrigadava, "deer park," and Isipatana,meaning the place where holy men fell to earth. The latter name is based in the legend that when the Buddha was born, devas came down to announce it to 500 holy men. The holy men all rose into the air and disappeared and their relics fell to the ground. Overnight at hotel.

Day 9: 23-02-16 Varanasi - Kathmandu (B)
Breakfast at hotel, then transfer to Varanasi airport to catch flight to Kathmandu, On your arrival at international airport in Kathmandu after clearing customs & immigration, our representative will receive and escort you to your hotel. Afternoon visit Pashupatinath Temple: Situated 5 km east of Kathmandu, the temple of Lord Shiva, Pashupatinath, with two tiered golden roof and silver door is considered one of the holiest shrines for Hindus. Although only Hindus are allowed inside the temple, visitors can clearly see the temple and the activities performed in the temple premises from the eastern bank of the Bagmati River. The Temple was listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Monument List in 1979. Pashupatinath draws thousands of pilgrims every year and devotees from Nepal and India later enjoy witness arti ceremony. Overnight at the Hotel.

Day 10: 24-02-16 Kathmandu (B)
Morning mountain flight for one hour to see Everest and later back to hotel for breakfast, after breakfast sightseeing tour of Kathmandu city: The seat of royalty till the last century, Kathmandu Durbar Square is a wondrous cluster of ancient temples, palaces, courtyards and streets. Kumari, the living Goddess, the stone carved statue of ferocious Kal Bhairav, erotic carvings glorifying the art works in the temples, the giant temple of the Goddess Taleju and image of Shiva and Parvati peering outside through the window are just a few of the most noteworthy attractions in the area. One can't help but admire the exceptionally attractive woodcarvings, statues and buildings that are cluster in the area continue visit to Swoyambhunath stupa, a golden spire crowning a conical wooded hill, Swayambhunath Stupa is the most ancient andnigmatic of all the holy shrines in Kathmandu valley. Its lofty white dome and glittering golden spires are visible from many miles and from all sides of the valley. Historical records found on a stone inscription give evidence that the stupa was already an important Buddhist pilgrimage destination by the 5th century AD.
Afternoon visit Patan, nowhere else can be seen such a compression of marvelous monuments within a limited space like in the Patan Durbar Square. Besides the old royal palace, which dominates all others in grace and grandeur, here is the 17th-century Krishna Mandir. Entirely made of stone, this shikhara-style structure with 21 pinnacles is dedicated to Lord Krishna, a saviour deity in Hindu pantheon, and is equally noted for rare stone carvings on its walls, which depict various episodes of the epic wars of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Other landmarks within the Square are Tusha-hity (water spout), Sundari Chowk, Taleju Temple and the Keshav Narayan Chowk. The Hiranyavarna Mahavihar (Golden temple), Rudravarna Mahavihar and the terra-cotta temple of Mahabouddha are other highlights in the vicinity. Overnight at the Hotel.

Day 11: 25-02-16 Kathmandu - Delhi (B)
Early breakfast at hotel, then transfer to Kathmandu airport for flight to Delhi. On arrival at Delhi airport our guide will meet you and transfer you to hotel. In the late afternoon visit Gurudwara Bangla Sahib and Nizamuddin dargah to hear Sufi music. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 12: 26-02-16 Delhi - Haridwar (By Train) (B/L/D)
After early breakfast, transfer to New Delhi Railway Station to catch train for Haridwar On arrival at Haridwar Railway Station transfer to Camp.
Haridwar is a sacred territory where pilgrims come from across the world. It is among the most revered pilgrimage centers of India which occupies a prized position in hearts of Hindus. The meaning of Haridwar is 'Gateway to God'. It is set amidst calm and attractive surroundings at the foothills of the mesmerizing Himalayas. It is believed in the Hindu traditions that one must visit Haridwar at least once in a lifetime. It is a magnificent place where the holy river Ganga enters the Indo-Gangetic plain of North India. The scenic beauty of Haridwar is equally mesmerizing. The views of the holy river Ganga and majestic mountains are the sights to behold. Haridwar is also the place for the world well-known for Kumbh Mela which is celebrated in every 12 years. Kumbh Mela is one of the major religious gatherings in the world and is celebrated for forty days.
The biggest religious ceremony in the world, known as "Kumbh Mela" (Festival of Urn), The Purna Kumbh Mela, the biggest and the most auspicious fair, occurs four times every twelve years and is organized in rotation among four places where drops of the sacred nectar spilled over: Allahabad (Prayag), Haridwar, Ujjain and Nashik. A mass pilgrimage for the Hindu community of India, the Kumbh Mela or Kumbh fair is rumoured to be one of the largest congregation of sages, yogis, ascetics, mendicants, men, women and children on the planet. But every sixth year after a Purna Kumbh Mela sees an Ardh Kumbh Mela taking place. In the Hindi language the word "Ardh" stands for "half" and "Mela" means "fair". The "Ardh Kumbh Mela" is called so because it is held at the sixth year and marks the halfway stage between the celebration of the Purna Kumbh Melas every 12 years. The Ardh Mela (half Fair) takes place six years after the Maha Kumbh at Haridwar & Allahabad only.
Kumbh Mela derives its name from the immortal - Pot of Nectar - described in ancient Vedic scriptures known as the Puranas. Kumbh Mela literally means festival of the pot or a festival celebrating the appearance of the pot of nectar. During the festival, Hindus consider Allahabad as India's religious capital and more than ten million people dip into the holy Ganga, in order to purify body, mind and soul and wash off their sins. On the eve of such a bathing day, the town vibrates in hectic religious fever and the centre stage of the Maha Kumbh Mela is occupied by the sadhus who belong to dozens of Hindu sects.
Ardh Kumbh Mela is not just a mere festivity like Diwali or Holi but holds lot of importance for people in India. People look up to Kumbh Mela & Ardh Kumbh with highest regard, as this event gives them a golden opportunity to liberate themselves from the miseries and sufferings of life. It enables them to take a holy dip in the sacred water and wash away all the sins they have committed in the past. People come from different parts of the country to be a part of this sacred ceremony. It is believed that taking a holy dip in water paves way for attainment of Moksha.
On arrival, settle into your private camp with time at leisure before an informative briefing on the days ahead. Overnight at the camp.

Day 13 and 14: 27 and 28-02-16 Haridwar (B/L/D)
Three days and two nights are spent experiencing the Ardh Kumbh Mela, its meaning and relevance, rituals and understanding why millions of people who journey here from all walks of life in what is the ultimate spiritual quest.
Apart from day activities during your stay in Haridwar, experience extra activities of the Ardh Kumbh Mela such as enjoying a scheduled walking tour with an English speaking experienced guide near to the bathing areas. Overnight at the Camp.

Day 15: 29-02-16 Haridwar - Delhi (By Train) - Departure (B)
Enjoy your leisurely breakfast at Camp and enjoy some free time at Haridwar near the ghat. In the afternoon transfer to Haridwar Railway Station to catch train for Delhi. Upon arrival at New Delhi Railway Station transfer to Delhi airport for flight to UK.

Please note that, whilst every effort will be made to carry out the programme shown above, small changes may sometimes be necessary.

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Jama Masjid
Jama Masjid, Delhi
Red Fort
Red Fort, Delhi
New Delhi
New Delhi
Tiger at Bandhavgarh
At Bandhavgarh
At Varanasi
At Varanasi
Pashupatinath Temple Kathmandu
Pashupatinath Temple Kathmandu
Kathmandu Valley
Kathmandu Valley
Swayambhunath Stupa
Swayambhunath Stupa
At Haridwar Kumbh Mela
At Haridwar Kumbh Mela
At Haridwar Kumbh Mela
At Haridwar Kumbh Mela
At Haridwar Kumbh Mela
At Haridwar Kumbh Mela
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International flights to/from UK
Accommodation with meals as shown (B/L/D).
Transfers, tours with English speaking guide.
Service charges, rooms tax and handling fee.
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Your tour price will not include:
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Drinks with provided meals
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Tips, personal expenses and other services which are not mentioned in the program.