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From Cultural and intellectual capital to the Political capital of India, from a heady mix of Poor and Rich gentlemen, to the city of powerfully connected, Shades of India tour takes you to the journey of lifetime showcasing the underlying unity of belief in the diversity of lifestyles. Explore the Capital of British India, Kolkata in all of its shades, before moving to the Oldest Living city in the world, Varanasi, from the city of faith, Varanasi to the city of cultured manners at Lucknow, from city of mildly spiced fish eating population to the city of delectable spice rich chicken cuisine, from the city of Love to the city of valour, Shades of India tour promises you to present various facets of Indian in its most vibrant form. Explore and visit Kolkata – The city of Joy, Varanasi – The spiritual capital, Lucknow – the city of Nawabs, Agra – the city with monument of Love Taj Mahal, Jaipur –the city of Valour and Colour, Delhi – the microcosm of India.

Shades of India Tour

Destinations Covered:- Kolkata - Varanasi - Lucknow - Agra – Jaipur - Jaipur - Delhi
Tour Duration: 12 Nights / 13 Days
Day: 01 Arrive Kolkata (by flight)

Arrive at Kolkata International airport, clear your customs and immigration, collect your baggage and proceed to the arrival lounge, Eland executive will be waiting with the placard in your name. Meet and greet followed by transfer to the hotel. Stay overnight at Kolkata. (No meals)

Day: 02 Kolkata

Variously known as “City of Joy”, “City of Palaces”, ‘City of Procession”, Kolkata, a city of intellectuals, is a city of religiously and ethnically diverse centre of culture in east India. After a leisurely breakfast, proceed to explore the major landmarks of the city and experience its unique culture. Start your day with the visit to Flowers market – the most colorful way to start your journey, experience the fast pace of life and Bengali ethnic culture, heaps of Golden Yellow Marigolds, the white Jasmine and beautiful orchids provides you with numerous photo-opportunities. Have a magnificent view of the Howrah Bridge before proceeding to visit Kumarhatti Potters Village, a village of potters engaged in carving hundreds and thousands of images of Goddess Durga. An interesting walk through the villages will show you different forms of Durga being idolized, many reflecting contemporary themes. You will get to see the religious side of Kolkata, as you continue to visit Kali Ghat Temple, dedicated to Goddess Kali, it was on the banks of River Hooghly until it changed course and move away. Move to the heart of the city and visit Dalhousie Square, the heart of British Kolkata. Founded by British, it is resplendent with British era buildings. Walk past the Writers building, BBD Bagh area to visit Victoria Memorial – built in white marble in memory of Queen Victoria in early 20th Century, it’s architecture is a harmonious blend of British and Mughal elements as well as Venetian, Egyptian, Deccani and Islamic architectural styles. It now houses various galleries and museum displaying memorabilia of Kolkata’s history.

Enjoy authentic Bengali cuisine Dinner at Aaheli restaurant. Bengali cuisine mainly consists of fish, vegetables especially eggplant and lentils served with rice and Chutney. It is followed by a spread of desserts, mostly made of milk. Stay overnight at the hotel. (Breakfast & Dinner)

Day: 03 Kolkata/ Varanasi (by flight)

After an early morning breakfast, transfer to the airport for flight to Varanasi, also known as Benaras or Kashi, is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, dating back to 20th century BC. Arrive, meet and greet and assisted transfer to the hotel. Rest of the day is at leisure, until evening, when you will be escorted to the banks of holy river Ganges to board the small boats and experience a spiritually awakening experience of evening Aarti (prayers). The priests of the temples on the banks, line up in the evening with their huge brass lamps. They then in unison sing the hymns from Vedas (Hindu religious texts) along with the ringing of bells and swaying of the lighted lamps, as hundreds of visitors, stand in witness, with their own small lighted lamps in their hand. The transcendental experience ends with people offering hundreds of small lamps to the river.
Return to the hotel for your dinner and overnight stay. Stay overnight in Varanasi. (Breakfast & Dinner)

Day: 04 Varanasi

Wake up with the first rays of the sun, and embark on a boat ride by the side of the bathing ghats of the holy river – the best way to observe the daily life of the locals. Witness flocks of Hindu devotees offering prayers early in the morning and taking several dips in the river water to cleanse their soul. Also see the Hindu cremation being carried out at Manikarnika and Dashwamedh Ghats. It is believed that if you die at Varanasi, you attain Moksha – liberty from the cycle of birth and death.
Take a leisurely walk through the banks and return back to the hotel for breakfast. After a brief rest, proceed for half day city tour of Varanasi. Visit Kashi Vishwanath Temple – dedicated to Lord Shiva, it is one of the twelve jyotirlings, Benaras Hindu University & Bharat Mata Temple where the map of India is idolized as Goddess
Later in the afternoon, drive for an excursion to Sarnath – the place where Lord Buddha imparted his first teachings and thus started in motion of The Dhamma Chakra. It was here the Buddhist religion was founded. The site is now marked with a huge stupa, which is believed to contain some of the remains of Lord Buddha at its centre.
Return to the hotel in the evening. Stay overnight at Varanasi. (Breakfast & Dinner)

Day: 05 Varanasi/ Lucknow (by train)

Early morning check out and transfer to the Varanasi railway station for your train to Lucknow. Get introduced to how 11million people in India travel daily, enjoy a day train journey to Lucknow. Although not as comfortable and modern as their European or Japanese counterpart, Indian railways offers you a comfortable journey with an added incentive of discovering lifestyle of a common Indian, displayed without any prejudice and inhibition. It also lets you enjoy the rural landscape as the train passes through many cities and remote villages. Arrive Lucknow by the afternoon, de-board, our executive will meet you and provide you assisted transfer to the hotel.
Rest for rest of the day. Early evening enjoy and amazing way of discovering the delicate mouth- watering Awadhi cuisine, enjoy the culinary walk of Lucknow. Hop in and Hop out of the Lucknow’s famous eateries tasting exquisite dishes prepared by them as our guide discusses their importance, history and nuances in their preparation. The list includes the famous Tunde Kabab, nihari gosht, biryani and many others. This will be your dinner for the day.
Stay overnight at Lucknow. (Breakfast & Dinner)

Day: 06 Lucknow

Often referred to as the City of Nawabs, Lucknow has seen the development of a very distinct culture of politeness and finesse. The buildings of Lucknow, built under the aegis of Islamic Nawabs, each of whom was patron of arts, dances and food, reflects a distinctive architecture, heavily influenced by the Persians. After a leisurely breakfast, proceed to explore the marvels of Lucknow. Start your day with the visit to Bara Imambara, built in the year 1784 by the fourth Nawab of Awadh known as Asaf-ud-Daul as part of a famine relief project. The Complex consists of the Bhul Bhulaiya – the labyrinth, and the Asafi mosque. Notable to see is the Badshahi mosque – one of the last projects to be built without European influence, i.e. without the use of any iron. The main Imambara consists of a large vaulted central chamber containing the tomb, has a ceiling without beams supporting it, one of the largest such arched construction in the world. Later visit Hussainabad Imambara, also known as Chota Imambara, built by Mohammed Ali Shah in the year 1837. The tombs of Mohammed Ali Shah and his mother are located over here. The walls of the monument are decorated with Arabic verses that have been carved beautifully by efficient craftsmen. Visit the Clock Tower located Between the Bara Imambara and Chhota Imambara, it was constructed by Nawab Nasir-ud-Din Haider in the year 1880. Other places to see are the British Residency and Rumi Darwaza – one of the most impressive gateways to be ever constructed in India.
Stay overnight at Lucknow. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day: 07 Lucknow / Agra (by train)

After breakfast, morning is spent at leisure. Later in the afternoon, in time check out and transfer to the railway station for yet another train journey , this time to the medieval city of Agra, the city of monument of love Taj Mahal, was showered with special love for by the Mughals and have many magnificent monuments constructed by them. Arrive late in the evening, met by eLand executive and transferred to the hotel for overnight stay.
Stay overnight at Agra. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day: 08 Agra

Early morning visit Taj Mahal during sunrise Taj Mahal is widely recognized as "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage” made by the great Mughal Emperor in memory of his loving wife Mumtaz Mahal. It is the best time to visit as you can actually see the changing hues of white marble with the rising sun. (Taj Mahal Remains closed on every Friday). Return to the hotel for breakfast.
After breakfast and a brief rest, l visit Agra fort a UNESCO World heritage it is one of the most important and robustly built stronghold of the Mughal’s. Also visit Itimad Ud daullah Tomb – also known as “Jewel Box” – this is the first monument to be made Mughals, entirely in white marble. Evening witness the ‘Mohabbat-the-Taj’ – a series of play depicting the saga of love performed with the gigantic replica of Taj Mahal at the background. It brings to life, the true and immortal love of Shajahan for Mumtaj Mahal- his beautiful wife; the lavish lifestyle of Mughal era and his passion towards the construction of Taj Mahal – an unparalleled structure.
Dinner and stay overnight at the hotel. Overnight in Agra. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day: 09 Agra – Jaipur (Approx 260 kms/ 6hrs drive)

After leisurely breakfast at hotel drive to Jaipur enroute visiting the UNESCO world heritage site – Fatehpur Sikri. This deserted red sandstone city was built by the Great Mughal Emperor Akbar as his capital and palace in the late 16th century but was abandoned due to the scarcity of water. The City is well preserved and have some of the astonishing structures including Buland Darwaza – believed to be the largest gateway of the world, Jama Masjid, Tomb of Salim Chishti, Diwan-i-Am, Panch Mahal etc. The treasury building is a beautiful example of amalgamation of Gujarati style of decoration with Indo Islamic architecture. Continue your drive to explore yet another marvel, the Chand Baori – a 10th century stepwell located at the village of Abhaneri. An architectural marvel, it shows the sensitivity of the early era population towards water conservation and rain water harvesting. Located in the front of the Harshat Mata temple, this colossal step well has a depth of 20 meters, with 13 levels. Chand Baori is regarded as one of deepest and largest step wells in India. Despite being so huge, the well still has delicate and intricate carvings which are a visual treat.
Later continue drive to Jaipur. Upon arrival check into your hotel.
Stay overnight at Jaipur. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day: 10 Jaipur

After breakfast at hotel, morning proceed for an excursion to the majestic Amber Fort. Take an elephant ride to ascend the hill on which the fort is situated. The Amber Fort set in picturesque and rugged hills is a fascinating blend of Mughal architecture, construct by Raja Man Singh in 1592 and completed by Sawai Jai Singh, the fort is made in red sand stone and white marble. Afternoon proceed for city Jaipur city tour visiting, the City Palace and the Observatory and photo stop near the Palace of Winds, also known as Hawa Mahal.
Late evening, proceed to explore how rural Indians celebrate, visit Chokhi Dhani, an ethnic village resort replicating the rural fair every evening. Enjoy the folk dances, folk songs as you explore the rustic settings, there is camel ride, a magician, a fortune teller, a Heena Painter (traditional Indian Tattoo) and numerous other activities to keep you engaged. Culminate your experience with an authentic Rajasthani cuisine dinner, served in the very traditional way. Return to the hotel very late in the evening.
Stay overnight at Jaipur. (Breakfast and Dinner)

Day: 11 Jaipur- Delhi (Approx 260 kms/ 06hrs drive)

After a leisurely breakfast, morning is at leisure to explore the vibrant markets on Jaipur on own. Later check out and drive to the Political capital of India – Delhi. A true microcosm of India, it is a combination of eight different cities founded during different ages and reigns. It has enjoyed the status of being political capital and power centre for the longest among Indian cities. Arrive late in the evening to check in and stay overnight at the hotel.
Stay overnight in Delhi. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day: 12 Delhi

After a leisurely breakfast, proceed for a short discovery of 17th Century Shahjehanabad, popularly known as Old Delhi. Visit the largest mosque of Asia, the Jama Masjid. Enjoy the rickshaw ride through one of the oldest markets of India, Chandni Chowk. Extremely crowded, the narrow street is a chaotic mix of Cycle Rickshaws, Two Wheelers, Four Wheelers, Tuk Tuk and horse carriage. Later proceed to explore the major landmarks of Delhi visiting Humanyun’s Tomb, regarded as a prototype of the famed Taj Mahal, it is built by emperor Humanyun's wife, which took eight years to complete visit Lotus Temple which is a Bahai House of Worship completed in 1986. Notable for its flower like shape, and also visit Qutab Minar which is the tallest minar in India. Afternoon drive past to India Gate and President House. Overnight stay at Hotel. (Breakfast & Dinner)

Day: 13 Delhi/ Departure

After a leisurely breakfast, morning at leisure. Later check out and in time transfer to airport to connect your onward flight. (Breakfast)