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VARANASI, THE CENTRE of the Hindu universe, has maintained without break a religious tradition that goes back to the sixth century BC. In all these years, great sages, teachers and students have sought answers at the ghats. Amongst these have been the Buddha, Mahavira, Shankaracharya and many others. Others look for release from life’s cycle, and cremation here in Varanasi, on the banks of the Ganges, is one way of attaining it.
The temples of Khajuraho also promise enlightenment. The erotica that they have gained such notoriety for has its basis in tantric belief. There are only a few of these panels; the temples, particularly Kandariya Mahadev, in their proportions, embellishment and composition represent the best of North Indian temple architecture.
To visit to these cities, the itinerary adds a trip to the Taj Mahal – that striving for perfection in the expression of eternal love. The result is a near perfect tour of classical north.
DAY 01: ARRIVAL DELHI
Reception and welcome at Delhi airport followed by transfer to your hotel.
DAY 02: DELHI
A slow start to the first day gives you time to unwind before your introduction to New Delhi, both as British visualised it and as it has taken shape since Independence.
DAY 03: DELHI
Visit the old city, established by the Mughals as their capital after Agra.
DAY 04: DELHI – VARANASI BY FLIGHT
A morning flight takes you to Varanasi. Sarnath, just outside the city is where the Buddha preached his first major sermon following enlightenment. Come back before sunset, in time for the prayer ceremony on the ghats.
DAY 05: VARANASI – KHAJURAHO BY FLIGHT
The early morning boat ride on the river Ganges provides an unmatched view of the various ghats ad the ceremonies being performed. Your flight to Khajuraho is about noon, so you can explore the temples in the afternoon or evening.
DAY 06: KAHURAHO – ORCHAA – JHANSI BY SURFACE, JHANSI – AGRA BY TRAIN
Drive to Jhansi via Orchha, where you stop t admire the temples and have lunch. The express train to Agra leaves from Jhansi.
DAY 07: AGRA
The luminescent marble of the Taj expresses many moods; a single visit will not do justice. Return in the evening after having explored the town.
DAY 08: AGRA – DELHI BY SURFACE
Drive back to Delhi where they afternoon is your own to go shopping!
DAY 09: DEPARTURE DELHI
Transfer to the airport in time for your flight out.
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