City Escapes are one-day tours to a city or a couple of connected cities. We take you to the historic monuments, the grand local markets, delicious eateries and the intriguing lanes of a city. We treat these cities as characters and introduce them to you as living entities. So while royal history comes alive at the grand forts of Jaipur and Udaipur, we make sure you don’t miss the savory street food. And as you admire the beauty of Taj Mahal in Agra, we also introduce you the moonlit Yamuna - a symbol of the dynamic culture of the city. The packages can be modified as per your requirements and interests. We also accommodate more and more destinations in a given budget. Likewise, we package greater delight in every moment of a single day.
Amritsar - The city of Golden Temple
Delhi to Amritsar
Today you will me met and transferred from your hotel in Delhi to the airport for your flight to Amritsar. Amritsar, which literally means "Holy pool of nectar", is home to the famous Golden Temple and is the spiritual and cultural centre of the Sikh Religion. Upon arrival, proceed to your hotel where the rest of the day is at leisure.
Following breakfast, you will visit one of the holiest Sikh sites -
The Golden Temple.
Sikh people from all over the world come to this pilgrimage center and take a dip in holy water of the temple. This important Sikh shrine attracts more visitors than the Taj Mahal in Agra and over 100,000 visitors on week days alone! The temple has four entrances (instead of the usual single entry) symbolic of the openness of Sikhism and the fact that followers of all faiths are welcome here. The temple's architecture is a blend of both Hindu and Muslim styles. Priests continuously recite verses from the holy book in 3-hour shifts. A complete reading of the text takes 48 hours. The chanting of these hymns begins early in the morning and continues long past sunset and these hymns are changed to the exquisite accompaniment of flutes, drums and stringed instruments.
This afternoon, visit the Wagah Border, located 400 meters north of the Golden Temple, which is the only land border between Pakistan and India. Here you can watch the interesting 'Retreat Ceremony' that happens at sunset. Armed soldiers of India and Pakistan, fully decked in their uniforms, enact a particularly hostile parade marked by lowering of their respective flags and closing the border gates. The changing of the guards is carried out with great pomp and fervor. Wagah Border is also known for the Amritsar massacre that occurred in 1919 during the British rule in India.
Amritsar to Delhi
This morning explore the city further with a chance to visit the Golden Temple once again. Continue on to Durgiana temple, the holy abode of goddess Durga. Its resemblance to the golden temple in its structural design is remarkable. It is considered one of the holiest temples in the city and it dates back to the 16th century. With intricately carved paintings, this temple displays an unusual grandeur and elegance. It is also sometimes called "Silver Temple" for its carved silver doors. Afterwards, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back to Delhi. Transfer to your hotel in Delhi and remainder of the day is at your leisure.
Delhi : The Capital city
Delhi Airport to Delhi City Hotel Arrive Delhi and transfer to hotel.
Full Day City Tour of Delhi
Today begin your tour of Old and New Delhi at the Red Fort. India's history has been closely linked with this fort. It was from here that the British deposed the last Mughal ruler Bhadur Shah Zafar, marking the end of a three-century long Mughal rule. It was also from its ramparts that the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawharlal Nehru, announced to the nation that India was free from colonial rule. From there you will be visiting India's largest mosque Jama Masjid, navigate the narrow, bustling alleyways on a rickshaw through "Chandni Chowk" and Raj Ghat a simple square platform of black marble found on the banks of the Yamuna, at the spot where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated following his assassination on 31st January 1948. Next today you will proceed toward New Delhi were you can see such sights as India Gate, a war memorial commemorating the Indian Soldiers killed in WWII, Parliament House and Rashtrapati, the official home of the President. Plus also visit Humayun's Tomb with its several tombs of past emporers and Qutab Minar, India's tallest stone tower, considered an architectural wonder.
Delhi City Hotel to Delhi Airport
Departure transfer to hotel.
Goa Airport to Goa Hotel
Arrival and transfer to hotel.
Half Day Tour of Old Goa
Goa with its tangled twisted streets, plazas and ochre villas of the old city is a wealth of exceptionally impressive churches and convents, all UNESCO world heritage sites. Explore the Basilica of Bom Jesus, a fine example of Jesuit architecture, and perhaps the richest of the churches, with its heavily decorated yet admirably proportioned interior. While noted for its size and style, the Bom Jesus is visited mainly for the precious relic it contains. Here worshipers, or the simply curious, may view the body of Saint Francis Xavier (d.1562), which lies partially exposed in a dazzling silver casket. Its surrounding chapel, constructed of marble and jasper, was a gift of one of the last Medicis.
The Se, or St. Catherine's Cathedral, was commissioned to be "a grandiose church worthy of the wealth, power and fame of the Portuguese who dominated the seas from the Atlantic to the Pacific." It is still larger than any church in Portugal. Its exterior is in Tuscan style, with one remaining tower containing the "Golden Bel", which rang during the Inquisition to announce the public torture and burning of suspected heretics.
A short distance away is the Church of St. Cajetan, which was modeled on St. Peter's in Rome. Its neo classical façade, with twin towers flanking the great dome, disguises an interior that is pure, unrestrained baroque. Hidden beneath the church is a crypt where the embalmed bodies of Portuguese governors were kept in lead coffins before they were shipped back to Lisbon. Forgotten for a time, the last batch was removed only in 1992.
En route to your hotel you will drive through the Panjim city area, Goa's bustling capital.
Goa Hotel to Goa Airport
Departure transfer to airport.
Jaipur : City of Forts & Palaces
Jaipur Airport to Jaipur Hotel
Arrive Jaipur and transfer to hotel.
Full Day Tour of Amber Fort and City
Drive along the streets of Jaipur, to Amber Fort, stopping en-route to view and photograph the Palace of Winds. Completed in 1799, the Palace was originally built to allow the sequestered ladies of the court to view the bustling life of the city. It is popularly known as Hawa Mahal, because of the perforated screen façade which catches the welcome breeze or "Hawa".
Continue on to the Amber Fort. On the crest of a rugged hilltop and overlooking Lake Moata, the fort evokes thoughts of legends and fairy tales. The fort has been constructed in white and red sandstone. The Fort is unique in that its outside, an imposing and rugged defensive structure, is markedly different from its inside, an ornate, lavish interior influenced by both Hindu and Muslim styles of ornamentation. The walls of the interior of the fort are covered with murals, frescoes, and paintings depicting various scenes from daily life. Other walls are covered with intricate carvings, mosaic, and minute mirror work.
Amber Fort is divided into four sections, with each being accessible via large staircases from a central location, or from a broad pathway leading to each of the sections. The pathways are currently used to transport visitors via an elephant ride. The main entrance of Amber Fort, Surajpol, leads to the Jaleb Chowk, the main courtyard of the Fort where the staircase to the palace is located. In ancient times, Jaleb Chowk was the area where returning armies were paraded back home.
Your exploration of the city continues with a visit to the City Palace complex that continues to evoke the splendour of a bygone era. In an unending series of delights, from its grand aged entrance to the play of ornamental fountains, the City Palace is a dazzling showplace of Hindu and Mughal architecture. Amongst the pleasures of the Palace is a museum with ample evidence of opulence.
Next to the city palace is Jantar Mantar, literally translated as Calculation Instrument. This Observatory was built between 1728 and 1734 by Maharaja Jai Singh, Jantar Mantar was built on a grand scale and was way beyond its time. This was modeled after the one that was built in Delhi, the then Mughal capital. He had constructed a total of five, of which the one in Jaipur is the largest.
Continue with a stroll through a local spice market and learn about the many Indian spices. In India from time immemorial spices like cardamom, ginger, mint, cinnamon and cloves have always been used to create mouth-watering aromatic dishes. Spices have always been more than just ingredients that add flavour and aroma to foods and have been known to have magical healing powers. They have been used as appetizers, digestives, anti- oxidants, and preservatives.
Jaipur Hotel to Jaipur Airport
Departure transfer to airport.
Mumbai : City of dreams
Mumbai Airport to Mumbai City Hotel
Arrival Mumbai and transfer to hotel.
Half Day City Tour of Mumbai
Mumbai is a sprawling metropolis and the financial capital of India. Enjoy a half day tour starting with the Gateway of India, a monument that commemorates the landing of King George V and Queen Mary. Next, visit the Prince of Wales Museum**, which houses many interesting artifacts. Drive down the seaside Marine Drive to see the Hanging Gardens. Arrive at the Church Gate Station and watch the "dabba-wallahs," members of the Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Association. Every day 4,000 workers deliver fresh, home-cooked food from 100,000 suburban kitchens to downtown offices. Next, head to Mani Bhavan, Gandhi’s base between 1917 and 1934. It is now a permanent museum and memorial to the Mahatma. Enjoy a photo stop at the dhobi ghats, an area where you will see traditional laundrymen at work. En route back to your hotel, drive past the Victoria Terminus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and historic railway station. (**Prince of Wales museum is closed on national holidays, and every Monday during summer months. Alternate touring will be to the Mahalakshmi and Shri Siddhivinayak temples.)
Mumbai City Hotel to Mumbai Airport
Departure transfer from hotel to Mumbai airport.
Udaipur : Venice of the East
Udaipur Airport to Udaipur Hotel
Arrival Udaipur and transfer to hotel.
Half Day City Tour of Udaipur
Your touring begins with a visit to the City Palace, the largest palace complex in Rajasthan. It is a spectacular complex containing decorated mirror works and galleries adorned with frescoes. The City Palace was built in 1725 of granite and marble with filigreed balconies, ornate windows and craftsmanship in glass. The royal palace walls stretch over a mile on the eastern side of the lake. Within the palace is a maze of courtyards, apartments and decorated halls. The rooms are covered with frescoes, displays of royal processions, stone and glass mosaics, and ornamental doors and painted windows.
You will also visit the Jagdish Temple, one of the famous temples of Udaipur. Located in the City Palace complex of Udaipur, this temple is made in the Indo-Aryan style of architecture. In 1651, Jagdish Temple was built by Maharana Jagat Singh, who ruled Udaipur from 1628-53. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu (Laxmi Narayan), the preserver of the Universe. It is celebrated for being the largest temple in the city of Udaipur. This three-storied temple is a wonder of architecture that comprises beautifully carved pillars, decorated ceilings, painted walls and lush halls. In those times, 1.5 million rupees were spent to raise this structure. The spire of the main temple is around 79 feet high that undoubtedly dominates the skyline of Udaipur. This shikhar (spire) is festooned with sculptures of dancers, elephants, horsemen and musicians making it truly a sight to behold.
Every year, many come to visit this holy place of worship. The serenity as well as the architectural magnificence of the temple cannot be bounded in words, so one must visit this temple to get the blessings of Lord Jagdish.
Continue to visit the Sahelion Ki Bari Gardens built by Maharana Sangram Singh in the mid 18th Century. Literally translated as "The Garden of the Maidens", it evokes vivid pictures of the luxurious lifestyle of the ladies of the court. The garden is said to have been made for the 48 girls that the Maharana received in his dowry! The beautifully landscaped discreet gardens are adorned by four pools with dainty kiosks and encompassed with flowerbeds, lawns, pools and fountains. A series of walls and shady trees protect these gardens. To add to the ambience the garden also has a lotus pool and the tingling bells add to the nostalgia of these gardens.
Your tour ends with a boat ride on the placid waters of Lake Pichola. The beautiful Lake Pichola was enlarged by Maharana Udai Singh after he founded the city. The city palace extends a considerable distance along the east bank of the lake. From the boat you will be able to view the city of Udaipur as it rises majestically above the lake in the middle of the Rajasthan desert. You will be able to get a view of the Dhobi Ghat (open-air laundry).
Udaipur Hotel to Udaipur Airport
Departure transfer from hotel to airport.
Varanasi : The oldest living city in the world.
Varanasi Airport to Varanasi Hotel
Arrival Varanasi and transfer to hotel.
Early Morning Ganges Boat Ride
Early morning, proceed to the ghats for a boat ride on the River Ganges. As your boat slowly drifts along the misty river you will witness so many fascinating sights - devotees having their ritual bath, the performing of religious ceremonies or "puja", to the rising sun, an ancient tradition that is still followed today. The shimmering red and gold hues on the waters of the river seem to cast a magical spell on the devout worshippers. The haunting sound of the chanting of mantras and hymns, coupled with the sweet fragrance of incense, fills the air with mystery and engulfs the senses of its spectators and offers an experience of ultimate bliss.
Half Day City Tour of Varanasi
Today you will explore the city. A visit to the Bharat Mata Temple is an interesting experience since, unlike other temples in India which all house deities of gods and goddesses, this is the only temple dedicated to Mother India. The most peculiar thing about the Bharat Mata Temple is that it houses a relief map of India, carved out of marble. Built by Babu Shiv Prasad Gupt and inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1936, the statue of Bharat Mata is built in marble and is a model of an undivided India, depicting the mountains, plains and oceans. Every evening, as dusk descends you will proceed to the ghats to witness the Ganga Aarti being performed. It's a very powerful and uplifting spiritual ritual. The rays of the setting sun cast their mystical shadows upon the darkening water. All along the banks shimmering lights of the tiny oil lamps 'diyas' flicker in the darkness lighting up the darkness with tiny specks of light.. An aarti is a devotional ritual that uses fire as an offering. The aarti takes place facing the river. The lamps are lit and circled around by the pandits (Hindu priests) in a clockwise manner, accompanied by changing or songs in praise of Goddess Ganga, also affectionately referred to as Maa Ganga, goddess of the most holy river in India. The idea is that the lamps acquire the power of the deity. After the ritual is complete, devotees will cup their hands over the flame and raise their palms to their forehead in order to get the Goddess's purification and blessing. The ceremony of the priests worshipping the river goddess with incense, camphor, flowers and earthen lamps is an unforgettable sight.
Varanasi Hotel to Varanasi Airport
Departure transfer to airport.
Arrival Chennai early in the morning and transfer to hotel. Rest up in the morning.
Chennai, India’s fourth largest city, is also called the Gateway to the South. From a tiny hamlet in 1639, it grew around the Fort St. George built by the British. A lush green city famed for its temples, silk, music and dance, Chennai gives a sense of serenity and spaciousness, enhanced by one of the world’s largest and most beautiful beaches, the Marina beach.
Afternoon proceed for a half day city tour. Visit the museum to see the bronze gallery with its superb collection of Chola art. Drive through the flower and fruit market, past the High Court built in Indo-Saracenic style, the Fort Museum with its collection of colonial memorabilia and Marina Beach.
Visit the San Thome Cathedral said to house the remains of St Thomas the Apostle, Arrival Chennai early in the morning and transfer to hotel. Rest up in the morning.
Overnight at hotel. Lunch & Dinner on own.
8 Jan’17 / Sun, Chennai -Mahabalipuram – Chennai by car
(50 kms / 90 mnts one way)
Breakfast at hotel.
Day return trip to Mahabalipuram. Also called Mamallapuram, the coastal temple town of Mahabalipuram is an hour’s drive from Chennai. It has a beautiful beach over 20 km long. An erstwhile port of the Pallava dynasty, its stone carvings, caves and rock cut temples also attract tourists.
A crocodile farm, a snake venom extracting center, schools of art and sculpture and many resorts draw holiday seekers all around the year, especially during the dance festival held in January.
Take a tour of Mahabalipuram
It isfamous for being a sculptor’s delight. There are 14 cave temples, nine monolithic rathas, three stone temples and four relief sculptured rock panels. Built in the Dravidian style in the 7th and 8th century, most of them are dedicated to Vishnu or Shiva. Sights include the Shore temple (a World Heritage site), Arjuna’s Penance, the Five Rathas , various mandapams etc. The sculptures here depict deities, animals, Hindu fables and scenes of everyday life.
Overnight at hotel. Lunch & Dinner on own.