** This is a heritage trip and you’ll be bombarded with a lot of information regarding the history and culture of the places we visit. So, if you’re not a history person, this trip is not for you!
Madhya Pradesh occupies the 'Heart of India' not only because of its geographical location but also because of the rich history evident from the stupendous architecture of the bygone era. Numerous monuments, intricately carved temples, monuments, fascinating forts and palaces are dotted all over.
Gwalior is best known for its imposing hilltop fort, which was famously described as ‘the pearl amongst fortresses in India’. Historically, the city has been the cradle of a number of dynasties that ruled it over the years. Their influence is clearly seen in the many regal structures that dominate the cityscape. In a sense, Gwalior continues to retain a medieval majesty.
The titillating town of Khajuraho is famed for the glorious temples containing the erotic stone carvings carved in exquisite, breathtaking detail making them one of the UNESCO World Heritage listed temples. The Western Group of temples, in particular, contains some stunning sculptures.
Nestled on the banks of river Betwa, the ancient town of Orchha is frozen in time with its many monuments continuing to retain their original grandeur even to this day. Orchha is one destination that combines natural beauty, the aesthetic legacy of history and a certain authenticity.
Come and explore the Heart of India, ‘far from the madding crowd’ and experience these iconic places -- it's like stepping back into a bygone era.
Day 01 | Arrive in Gwalior
Arrival at Gwalior (GWL) / Railway Station and transfer to the home-stay / hotel. Relax a while and then head out to the grand Jai Vilas Palace – a great palace with a mix of Italian, Tuscan and Corinthian architectural styles. From here, we head to Tansen Tomb, the tomb of Tansen, the great singer who was one of the nine jewels in the court of Akbar. We also visit the adjacent Tomb of Mohammad Ghaus, the teacher of Tansen.
Post lunch, we visit Gwalior Fort, known as one of the most impenetrable fortress of India. Built atop a three kilometer long sandstone plateau, the fort has several temples and palaces with great architecture, intricate carvings and rich past. We visit various monuments like Man Singh Palace, built by Maharaja Man Singh Tomar, Sahastrabahu Mandir (Sas-Bahu Temple) and Teli Ka Mandir (Oilman’s Temple). Assi Khmaba Ki Baori, a step well with 80-pillars in front of Man Singh Palace is not to be missed!
From here, we make a visit to the Mrignayanee Emporium to collect some souvenirs. We spend some time strolling in the market. We return to Gwalior Fort to witness the Light & Sound Show in the evening. Overnight stay in Gwalior. (-/-/D)
Day 02 | Gwalior – Sonagiri – Datia – Jhansi – Orchha
Early morning, we visit the lesser-known Gopachal Parvat, rock-cut colossalsculptures of Jain deities. There are about 100 sculptures mostly defaced by the Mughal rulers. The sculpture of Bhagwan Parshwanath on a lotus is the largest stone cut statue from a single stone in the World.
Then, we depart from Gwalior and head to Orchha (125 KM, 3 HRS) on the way on the way visiting some interesting, less-explored places. Firstly, we visit the Jain pilgrimage site of Sonagiri where there are about 103 temples dating back to the 9th century. From here, we visit Raja Bir Singh Deo Palace, a 7-storey hilltop palace in Datia. While its exterior is adorned with arches, chhatris and oriel windows, the Bundela paintings beautify the interiors.
We stop at the historic Fort of Jhansi, popularly known as 'Jhansi ka Quila', which still bears scars of the British siege in 1858, when Rani Lakshmibai led her famous rebellion. We reach the ancient town of Orchha, situated in the banks of river Betwa by afternoon. Check-in to the homestay / hotel and relax a while. End the day with the Sound & Light Show at Orchha Fort. Overnight stay in Orchha. (B/-/D)
Day 03 | Orchha
The medieval town of Orchha seems frozen in time, with its many monuments continuing to retain their original splendor even now. Orchha, the erstwhile capital of Bundelkhand is hugely rich with temples, palaces & historical sites.
Today, we explore the Orchha Fort Complex that comprises of three stupendous palaces – Jahangir Mahal, built in honor of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir; Raja Mahal, the official residence of the erstwhile kings of Orchha & Rai Praveen Mahal, built by Raja Indramani in honor of Rai Praveen, a gifted poetess, dancer & singer.
Then, we make a visit to Ram Raja Mandir. Legend says that the idol of Lord Ram was actually to be installed in the Chaturbhuj Temple nearby, which was under construction. The idol brought back by the queen after her Ayodhya pilgrimage was temporarily housed in her palace but couldn’t be moved to Chaturbhuj Temple after completion. Next to Laxminarayan Temple connected by a stone pathway from Ram Raja Mandir, an intriguing mix of a fort and a temple, the walls are elaborately decorated with fantabulous mural art which shows compositions from mythological themes.
Also make a visit to the Chaturbhuj Temple, a glorious skyscraper like structure, the impressive towering Chattris (Cenotaphs) in the shape of pine cones almost seem to reach out to the sky. Evening, take a walk, cross the river and watch the sunset over the chhatris from the opposite bank of the Betwa. Overnight stay in Orchha. (B/-/D)
Day 04 | Orchha – Khajuraho
This morning, we leave Orchha to head to Khajuraho (175 KM, 4 HRS). En-route, we stop at Dhubela Museum, which has a rich collection of artifacts and relics depicting the history, rise and fall of the famed Bundela dynasty of Khajuraho.
The Khajuraho Group of Monuments is home to some of the finest temple art ever seen, justifying its UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Built under the rulers of the Rajput Chandela Dynasty, there were originally 85 structures but today we have only 20 remaining. Hindu and Jain temples made of granite or sandstone in shades of buff, pink and pale yellow are sprawled across six kilometers. Origins of some temples dating as back as to the 9th and 10th centuries, they’ve seen the rise and fall of several kingdoms. The temples based on their geographical location are categorized into three groups: Eastern, Western and Southern. Each temple has beautiful and intricate work, highlighting meditation, spiritual teachings, kinship, wrestling, royalty and erotic art.
After some relaxation at the home-stay, we visit the Western Group of Temples which constitutes some of the fabulous & architecturally stunning specimen of temple structural design in India. The group includes marvelous temples like Kandariya Mahadeo Temple, Chaunsat Yogini Temple, Chitragupta Temple, Lakshmana Temple, Matangeswara Temple, and Varaha Temple.
• Kandariya Mahadeo dedicated to Lord Shiva is the largest of Khajuraho temples reaching to a height of 31 meters, consisting of 872 spectacular statues
• Chaunsat Yogini Temple dedicated to goddess Kali is the earliest surviving shrine of the Western Group which once had 96 cells for the Yoginis
• Lakshmana Temple is famous for the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu & Shiva alongwith goddess Lakshmi and is well preserved of all
• Chitragupta Temple dedicated to Sun God is famous for a three - headed image of Brahma
• Matangeswara Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is famous for its eight feet high lingam
• Vishwanath Temple is noted for its impressive pathway with lions flaking the northern and elephants the southern steps
• Varaha Temple houses a nine-feet high boar-incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
The temples are surrounded by lush gardens that are a welcome break for quiet time or a leisurely chat.
We visit the Adivart Tribal and Folk Art Museum that showcases works of various tribal artisans and artists. It acts as a meeting point of several ancient cultures, traditions, and religion through artifacts, relics, and articles. A lovely art gallery that depicts the art forms from the bygone era. We witness the Sound & Light Show held by the Western Group of Temples. Overnight stay in Khajuraho. (B/-/D)
Day 05 | Khajuraho
Today is the day to explore the Eastern and Southern Group Temples. Eastern Group consists of Parsvanath Temple, Adinatha Temple, Ghantai Temple, Javari Temple, Vamana Temple, Hanuman Temple & Brahma Temple.
• Parsvanath temple is the largest of the Jain temples & renowned for its stunning sculptures depicting celestial beauties in several postures
• Adinatha temple dedicated to Thirthankara Adinatha has the idol made of black stone and is enshrined in the temple sanctum
• Ghantai temple is famous for its ornamental depiction of 16 dreams of Mahavir's mother and a Jain goddess on a winged Garuda
• Javari temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu is famous for its expressively carved gateway and exterior sculptors
• Vamana temple adores on its outer walls with carvings of apsaras (celestial beauties) in a variety of sensuous moods
• Hanuman temple is famous for the colossal statue of Hanuman about 8 feet high placed in the temple
• Brahma temple, made up of granite stone and its shikhar (crown) is that of sandstone.
The Southern Group consists of the Duladeo Temple & the Chaturbhuj Temple. There are several other temples still under excavation in the Southern Group.
• Duladeo temple, dedicated to Shiva is the last of the temples built.
• Chaturbhuj temple dedicated to Vishnu, has a 9 feet high intricately carved statue of Vishnu.
Stroll around the villages of Javari & Jatakara to learn about the local people, their culture & lifestyle, first hand. The two tiny villages, with clean lanes, beautifully painted walls and friendly locals, are a treat for the senses too.
Late afternoon, we head to lesser-known Raneh Falls Canyon. While the temples of Khajuraho are amazing examples of man-made crafts, the multi-colored and layered pure crystalline granite, lime-stone, conglomerate, basalt & dolomite mountains leave its visitors in awe. Ken river water falls have created the Canyon with the 5 km-long and 98 feet deep Bundelkhand Granite and Vindhyan layered mountains. The beauty of the rays of the setting sun falling on the huge pink, red, gray and green colored mountains and the greenish blue water will leave you dumbfounded. We spend time here breathing fresh air and experience peace and tranquility in the lap of nature. We return to Khajuraho by late evening and do some last minute souvenir shopping. Overnight stay in Khajuraho. (B/-/D)
Day 06 | Bid Adieu
Check-out of the home-stay / hotel in the morning after early breakfast. We take the return journey to Gwalior Airport / Railway Station (280 KM, 7 Hours) / Jhansi Railway Station (175 KM, 4 Hours). Khajuraho has an airport (HJR) too just in case you want to fly direct home. We bid good-bye to all the participants. Tour ends. (B/-/-)
The itinerary is loosely drafted, and allows you to do as little or as much as you like.
This itinerary is just to give you an idea on the tour structure but in no means final and is subject to change.
Start Date: Sunday, 20th October 2019
End Date: Friday, 25th October 2019
Pls ensure that you arrive before 11am on the Start Date and book your return ticket for your train / flight after 6pm (Gwalior), 3pm (Jhansi) & 11am (Khajuraho) on the End Date.
INR 17500 per person, ex-Gwalior
Please confirm your participation by paying INR 5000 (non-refundable**) to book your seat. Rest to be paid 30 days before the trip start date.
Pls write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for our Bank Account Details to transfer the Booking Fee (or) pay via Google Pay at 9052220466. Your slot will be confirmed as soon as we receive your Booking Fee.
**If you can find anyone else to replace you, there’ll be NO cancellation charges. We will then refund your money in full including the non-refundable booking fee.
Pls write to us for cancellation conditions & other queries.
“And then there is the most dangerous risk of all — the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.” – Randy Komisar