Fantastic Sights

AGRA
Capital of the great Mughals in the 16th and 17th centuries achieved its magnificence under Emperor Akbar and Shah Jehan . The Taj Mahal described as a tear on the face of eternity, is an enduring monument to love built by the Emperor in memory of a beloved queen.

The Agra Fort begun in 1565 of red sandstone, the Pearl mosque , Sikandra , where the Tomb of Akbar lies in a large garden ,are other legacies of the past

AURANGABAD
the base for visiting the beautiful Ajanta and Ellora Caves , World Heritage sites dating back to 200 BC. Ajanta situated 104 kms from Aurangabad in the forest ravines of the Sahyadri hills provide a unique combination of Buddhist monastic architecture , sculpture and paintings. The 34 Caves at Ellora , 30 kms from Aurangabad are a mix of Hindu,Jain and Buddhist including the magnificient Kailasa Temple cut out of solid rock .

BANGALORE
Located 1000 m above sea level is the bustling capital of Karnataka state founded in 1537 which retains its old world charm alongwith rapid industrial growth especially in information technology .Known as the Garden city and Silicon Valley of India – the city forms a convenient take off point for exploring Southern India.

BHUTANBHUTAN
Land of the Thunder Dragon or Druk Yul , is also known as the Last Shangrilla Situated in the Himalayas ,a land of immense forests , springs, snow capped mountains and a serene gentle people , giant rhododendrons , wild orchids and lofty castles clinging to mountain sides , winding trails .Paro a charming peaceful valley ,located in western Bhutan, entry point by air – is home to the national museum in an ancient watchtower, with a fine collection of Thangka paintings weapons ,arts and artifacts and one of the oldest Dzongs in Bhutan consecrated in 1646 , and Taktsang monastery or Tiger’s nest clinging to a sheer 3000 ft.rockface .

Thimphu, the beautiful capital a two hour drive from Paro , Dochula Pass at an altitude of 3100 m with spectacular views of the Himalayan ranges , Punakha valley with its great Dzong at the confluence of two rivers –are breathtaking sights.

BIKANER
In Rajasthan is a royal fortified city located at one end of the desert triangle dating back to 1488 . Its forts and palaces in red and yellow sandstone are part of its rich historical legacy.Visit the camel breeding farm 08 kms from the city is the only one of its type in Asia ; Gajner wildlife sanctuary , the Karni Mata temple at Deshnoke - a 600 year old temple where devotees feed rats in the belief that they will be reincarnated as holy men.

CALICUT
Kerala - once the capital of the powerful Zamorins and a prominent trade and commerce route , today lush green countryside and serene beaches,historic sites including Kappad beach where Vasco da Gama landed on 27 May 1498.

CHENNAICHENNAI
India’s fourth largest city , capital of Tamilnadu state , retains much of its traditional charm.The 350 year old city is one of the Gateway’s to the south – a journey into timeless India , rich in history , temples , shrines and palaces . Visit Fort St.George which now houses the Secretariat and Legislative assembly , St.Mary’s church within the Fort , consecrated in 1680 A.D. is believed to be the oldest Anglican church in the East, the San Thome Cathedral, the last resting place of St.Thomas ,the Apostle who brought Christianity to India in 52 A.D., the National Art Gallery with its splendid collection of Chola Dynasty bronzes, the Kapaleeswar temple with its massive intricately carved gopurams .

COCHINCOCHIN
The capital of Kerala with one of the finest natural harbours, was once a major centre of commerce and trade with the British, Arabs, Chinese, Portuguese and Dutch. Chinese fishing nets erected between 1350 and 1450 AD by traders from the court of Kublai Khan, the Bishop’s house built in 1506 as the residence of the Portuguese governor ,Fort Immanuel, St.Francis Church built in 1503 by Portuguese Franciscan friars is India’s oldest European church, the Dutch Palace presented to Raja Veer Verma built by the Portuguese, was renovated in 1663 by the Dutch, the Synagogue first constructed in 1568 is known for its mid 18th Century hand painted willow patterned floor tiles from China.

 

DELHI
India’s capital and major metropolis , is an intriguing juxtaposition of the modern and ancient.Its history spans more than 2300 vibrant years with dynasty after dynasty holding the reins of power.The remains of seven distinctive capital cities including Shah Jehanabad.

Old Delhi – once the seat of power of the mighty Mughal emperors provides a fascinating glimpse into traditional lifestyles.New Delhi – many of whose wide tree lined broad avenues were laid by the British ,is a reflection of India today . The 13th century mausolea of the Lodi Kings set in a sprawling park to modern glass skycrapers Imperial Delhi , with its imposing Presidential Palace , Parliament House , Raj Ghat – final resting place of the Father of the Nation – Mahatma Gandhi , Chandni Chowk or Silver Street ,Red Fort,the National Museum with its ancient treasures , the Qutb Minar , Humayun’s tomb the Lotus Bahai temple are some unforgettable sights.

GANGTOK
Capital of the state of Sikkim , situated at an altitude of 1600 m, facing the majestic Mt.Kanchenjunga. A Buddhist state with serene monasteries, chortens , dense Forests , an orchid sanctuary renowned institute of Tibetology.

GoaGOA
Sun , sea and golden sand seeming to stretch endlessly – an emerald land on the west coast of India , a tropical paradise with a unique cultural heritage – the Portuguese legacy of 450 years left magnificent churches including the Basilica of Bom Jesus where the enshrined remains of St.Francis Xavier , Patron saint whose Feast is celebrated on 03 December , temples and forts , many built in the 16 century of which Fort Aguada is the most famous.The churches of Goa have been included in the World Heritage Monuments and stand as testimony of the wealth and grandeur of the city in the first two centuries of Portuguese rule.

 

 

 

JAIPURJAIPUR
The Pink city , capital of the state of Rajasthan is a cultural and historical treasure where the past comes alive with magnificent forts and gracious palaces, bustling bazars .

The City Palace with its Rajput military armoury, treasures of the royal house including Textiles,carpets,paintings and manuscripts ,the Jantar Mantar an astronomical observatory The Johari bazar are all voyages of discovery with the massive and impregnable Amer Fort with its spectacular views and sprawling complex of courtyards,halls and apartments.

JAISALMER
in Rajasthan – golden desert city rises from the heart of the Thar desert – a commanding Fort etched in yellow sandstone dominates the city and houses an entire township within its ramparts.Visit Gadisar a scenic rain water lake with beautiful shrines around the Havelis or merchant mansions all intricately latticed including Nathmalji ki Haveli with interior walls ornate with splendid miniature paintings ; Luderva , ancient capital lies 16 kms away with magnificent Jain temples.Wind up the evening with a sunset visit to Sam sand dunes 42 kms away for a camel ride or staging point for a camel safari.

JODHPUR
Grand fortified city standing guard to the mighty Thar desert , formerly capital of the state of Marwar , the city was founded in 1459 by the chief of the Rathor clan who claimed descent from Lord Rama. Encompassed by a high wall 10 kms long with eight formidable gates , within which atop a rocky hill stands the massive Mehrangarh Fort ,one of the largest in India with carved palaces and courtyards.The Umaid Bhawan Palace , built in the 20th Century gave employment to the local people during long years of famine.

KHAJURAHOKHAJURAHO
Once capital of the great Chandela rulers is now famous for its superb temples built between 950 – 1050 AD by the Chandela dynasty which survived for five centuries before falling to foreign invaders.The Kendriya Mahadeva temple largest of them all has an inner sanctum with a marble Linga , a roof which rises to a summit of 31 m shikara .800 statues of gods and goddesses , musicians are carved onto its internal and external surfaces.

KATHMANDU
Capital city of the mountain nation of Nepal , principal entry point , is the historical centre.A fascinating glimpse into the past – visit Darbar square , the old Royal Palace , Kumari Chowk – house of the Living Goddess and the Kasthamandap or House of wood which gave the city of Kathmandu its name.Wander through the old bazars and mingle with a friendly smiling people. A visit to Patan - City of Beauty with its profusion of temples and Buddhist shrines , Bhadgaon also located in the valley each with their exquisite artistic traditions.

KANCHIPURAM
one of the seven sacred cities in India lying 71 kms from Chennai – former capital of the Pallava and Chola dynasties, the town is dotted with the soaring spires of a thousand temples and is also famous for its handwoven gorgeous silks.

KUMARAKOM
In Kerala state , is an unbelievably beautiful paradise of mangrove forests, emerald green paddy fields and coconut groves with enchanting waterways and canals.Situated on the Vembanad Lake , traditional country boats and canoes take you into the heart of this scenic lake.Ayurvedic massages , yoga ,meditation can also form part of this southern experience .

LADAKH
Situated in the state of Jammu and Kashmir , is a tranquil land of snowy peaks translucent lakes, forbidding barren terrain and a great Buddhist tradition – with 13 major Gompas or monasteries – one of the most famous is the Hemis Gompa site of an annual festival.

MAHABALIPURAMMAHABALIPURAM
Situated 58 kms south of Chennai , an ancient seaport , its monuments Carved out of solid rock,magnificent examples of Dravidian architecture- the Shore temple,one of the oldest in South India with an immense bas relief intricately carved .Other rock cut temples depicting stories from Indian mythology make it a veritable open air museum of Pallava art.

MADURAI

City of Nectar – one of India’s most ancient cities referred to by the Greek ambassador Megasthenes in 320 B.C. site of the magnificient temple complex in the heart of the city with its immense gopurams , painted stucco figures of Gods and Goddesses ,colourful crowds and chanting of mantras , marvellous hall of a thousand carved pillars exquisitely decorated with carvings of Shiva and Meenakshi .

MYSORE
140 kms from Bangalore , this imperial city was the erstwhile capital of the Wodeyar dynasty . Also known as the city of Palaces , the Dussehra festival usually held in October is a spectacular event .


PERIYAR

one of India’s most picturesque National Parks .Prominent fauna include Elephant ,sambar,barking deer , mouse deer , wild dog, sloth bear,gaur and the elusive tiger.

SARNATH
10 kms from the holy city of Varanasi , this fabled place is where the Buddha chose to deliver his first sermon to his disciples expounding the principles of Buddhism more than 2500 years ago .The Ruins of stupas ,monasteries, pillar edicts and art collection in the museum represent the glorious past of Sarnath.

SHEKHAWATISHEKHAWATI
Rajasthan 231 kms from Delhi , comprises the districts of Jhunjhunu and Sikar with its profusion of frescoes , decorated Havelis or merchant houses , temples and cenotaphs , wells and forts - an oasis of art among rolling sand dunes.

SAMODE
in Rajasthan – situated in the serenity of a small village 42 kms from Jaipur, the Samode Palace transformed into a heritage hotel offers a glimpse into traditional hospitality. A fascinating retreat into a beautiful environment recreating the splendour of stately corridors, frescoed walls, shimmering audience hall.

TIRUCHIRAPALLI

famous for its Rock Fort precariously perched atop a massive outcrop; originally a citadel of theChola kings , with superb views of the city below. Apart from the fortifications on the rock are temples – the oldest of which are the Pallav cave temples , one of which has a beautiful sculptured panel of Lord Shiva holding up the Ganges River as it emerges from his hair.

UDAIPURUDAIPUR
Rajasthan ,city of Dawn , surrounded by lush hills of the Aravalli mountains and blue lakes ,fairytale palaces ,temples,gardens and narrow streets, was founded in 1559 AD Overlooking Lake Pichola stands the splendid City Palace.Places of interest around Udaipur include Chittorgarh , the mountain fortress of Kumbhalgarh , the Jain temples of Ranakpur , Eklingi and Nagda temples .

VARANASIVARANASI
The Eternal city situated on the banks of the sacred river Ganges, has been a centre of learning and civilization for over 2000 years. For the Hindu , a pilgrimage to the city ensures a route to heaven. With over 100 ghats along the river banks including the Dashwamedh Ghat where it is believed Lord Brahma performed the 10 horses ritual, an early morning boat ride on the river provides a fascinating glimpse into age old Hindu religious traditions .Include a visit to some of the numerous temples and the famous Benaras Hindu University founded in 1918 – a centre of education in Indian art,culture ,music and Sanskrit.