Khajuraho is famed for its stunning temples which display exceedingly artistic aspects of Indian life a millennium ago. How and why they were built still remains a mystery. Varanasi is said to be the holiest city in India and is a place of Hindu pilgrimage.
Khajuraho – Varanasi. In the morning enjoy a sightseeing tour of the Chandela Dynasty temples. The temples rate as one of India’s greatest attractions and were mostly built during a major creative burst of genius from 950AD to 1050AD. Remarkably enough, these ancient temples are incredibly well preserved. The temples were built during the Chandela period, a dynasty that survived for five centuries before falling to the mighty Mughal onslaught. Their sheer beauty and immense size has confounded experts as to why and how they were built in Khajuraho, a small town then and still a relatively small town now.
To build temples of such size and with such skill at such a momentous pace would have required many, many skilled hands. Around the temples are bands of intricately carved stone work detailing Indian life and style a millennium ago. There are also various acts from the famous Kamasutra depicted on these monolithic temples. Later transfer to the airport for your included flight to Varanasi.
Overnight: Varanasi | Breakfast
Varanasi. The early morning boat ride on the Ganges to view the sunrise from the boat - a spiritually uplifting sight. From dawn to dusk the Ghats (riverside steps) are thronged by thousands of devotees, who perform their holy rituals in the hope of attaining eternal salvation, the ‘nirvana’.
Later, we enjoy a sightseeing tour of the city. Varanasi is guaranteed to make an impression. The city of 1,027,000 is the holiest site in India, and thousands of Hindu pilgrims tour its temples and bathe in the Ganges River to gain religious merit. Thousands more go to die and have their ashes thrown into the holy waters. Scores of people enter the water from the ghats (riverside platforms with steps) to purify themselves before the rising sun. Some perform religious rituals in the water; others go to bathe and swim. While you watch all of this, cremations take place on some of the ghats. Don’t even think of entering the water - it may be spiritually pure, but it’s one of the most polluted rivers in the world. Nor should you take pictures of the cremations. It is considered disrespectful.
All of this incredible commotion takes place along the western bank, the eastern bank is unpopulated and almost barren. You can view the scene from tour boats that patrol the waters. Small boats (with or without rowers) can also be hired. Providing the backdrop is an incredible array of temples and ancient buildings, several of them standing at odd angles because their foundations have been eroded unevenly by flood waters. There are 2,000 temples and shrines in Varanasi, but the holiest, Vishvanatha, is closed to non-Hindus. The Durga Temple, which can be visited, is teeming with monkeys (hold onto your valuables).
Further downstream on the eastern bank of the Ganges is the Ram Nagar Fort. It isn’t one of the country’s best, but it does have a fascinating, if gruesome, collection of weapons. Take a walking tour of the Islamic section, the streets are filled with Arabic music and veiled women and it’s here that famous Varanasi silk is dyed, dried and woven.
Overnight: Varanasi | Breakfast
Varanasi – Delhi. Transfer to the airport for your included fight to Delhi. Upon arrival in Delhi, transfer to your hotel or transfer to the aiport for your onward flight.
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Prices & Dates
Prices shown are ‘per person’, based on a travelling party of at least 2 adults. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers who require their own room and needs to be added to the per person price.Read More