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India Nepal Cultural Tour

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India Nepal Cultural Tour
Delhi - Jaipur - Delhi - Kathmandu - Delhi - Goa - Cochin - Thrissur - Kalamandalam - Thrissur Kumarakkom - Alleppey - Alappuzha - Kovalam - Kanyakumari (20 Nights / 21 Days)

Day 01 / Arrival Delhi
Arrive Delhi, meet assist at the airport & transfer to hotel. Night stay in Delhi.

Day 02 / Delhi
After breakfast proceed for sightseeing tour of Old & New Delhi :
OLD DELHI - A sight-seeing tour of Old Delhi would entail visiting the Raj Ghat - the memorial site where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated; Jama Masjid - the largest mosque in India, Red Fort.
NEW DELHI - An extensive sight-seeing tour of New Delhi would include a visit to the Humayun's Tomb, Lotus Temple, the Qutub Minar, a drive along the ceremonial avenue - Rajpath, past the imposing India Gate, Parliament House, the President's Residence and would end with a drive through the Diplomatic Enclave. Night stay in Delhi.

Day 03 / Delhi - Agra (By super fast air-conditioned train Dep 0615 Hrs arr 0810 Hrs)
Early morning pick up from hotel & transfer to railway station to board the superfast air-conditioned train to Agra. Breakfast in the train. Arrive Agra in approx. 02 hours & transfer to hotel. Later visit the
AGRA FORT - the rusty and majestic red-sandstone fort of Agra stands on the banks of the river Yamuna and the construction was started by Emperor Akbar in 1566. At the Diwan-I-Am (hall of public audience), a colonnaded hall of red-sandstone with a throne alcoveof inlaid marble at the back, the Emperor heard public petitions. At the Diwan-I-Khas (hall of private audience) where marble pavilions with floral inlays lend an ethereal ambience, the Emperor sat on his gem-studded Peacock Throne and met foreign ambassadors and rulers of friendly kingdoms.

AKBAR'S MAUSOLEUM : The mausoleum of Akbar is located at Sikandra at about 10 Km from Agra. Akbar himself designed and started its construction. The beautiful tomb enjoys a perfect blending of Hindu, Christian, Islamic, Buddhist and Jain motifs. Later enjoy a lavish lunch at 5 star hotel in Agra.

Evening at sunset visit the magnificent Taj Mahal - one of the seven wonders of the world surely the most extravagant expression of love ever created. 20,000 men laboured for over 17 years to build this memorial to Shah Jahan's beloved wife . Night stay in Agra.

Day 04 / Agra - Jaipur ( By road Approx 5 Hrs. drive ) enroute visiting Fatehpur Sikri
Early morning a second visit to Taj Mahal at sunrise , Later drive to Jaipur-the fabled “pink city” of the desert named after Jai Singh, the former Maharaja of Jaipur. This is the only city in the world symbolizing the nine divisions of the universe through the nine rectangular sectors subdividing it. The palaces and forts of the yesteryears, which were witnesses to the royal processions and splendours are now living monuments enroute visiting Fatehpur Sikri-a perfectly preserved red sandstone “ghost town" which was the estranged capital of mughal emperor Akbar, built in 1569 and deserted when its water supply failed. Later enjoy the dinner at Chokhi dani (an ethnic village resort) where you will have an idea of the village life of Rajasthan here you will also enjoy various traditional Rajasthani dances, puppet show and various other interesting activities. Arrive Jaipur in late evening & transfer to hotel. Night stay in Jaipur.

Day 05 / Jaipur - Delhi ( By fast air-conditioned train Dep 1745 Hrs Arr 2230 Hrs )
After a relaxed breakfast proceed for a morning excursion to Amber Fort. Elephant ride ascent to the fort.
AMBER FORT PALACE - Amber is the classic romantic Rajasthani fort palace. Its construction was started by Man Singh I in 1592, and completed by his descendent Jai Singh I. Its forbidding exterior belies an inner paradise where a beautiful fusion of Mughal and Hindu styles finds it's ultimate expression. Continue sight-seeing.
CITY PALACE - A delightful blend of Mughal and traditional Rajasthani architecture, the City Palace sprawls over one-seventh of the area in the walled city. It houses the Chandra Mahal, Shri Govind Dev Temple and the City Palace Museum.
JANTAR MANTAR - This is the largest and the best preserved of the five observatories built by Jai Singh II in different parts of the country. This observatory consisting of outsized astronomical instruments is still in use.
HAWA MAHAL - The ornamental facade of this "Palace of Winds" is a prominent landmark in Jaipur. Their five-storey structures of sandstone plastered pink encrusted with fine trelliswork and elaborate balconies. The palace has 953 niches and windows. Built in 1799 by Pratap Singh, the Mahal was a royal grandstand for the palace women.
ALBERT HALL : The Central Museum in Jaipur is located at the Ram Nivas Garden in Jaipur, which was earlier a place of recreation for the royal families. A visit to Albert Hall brings you more close to the culture and traditions of Rajasthan. Evening transfer to railway station to board the air conditioned train to Delhi, Dinner in the train. Arrive Delhi & transfer to hotel. Night stay in Delhi.

Day 06 / Delhi - Kathmandu (By flight Jet Lite Dep. 12:00 hrs. Arriv. 13:40 hrs. )
After breakfast transfer to the Airport to connect flight for Kathmandu- the capital town of Nepal, the house of the highest mountains, kathmandu is as much steeped in beauty as in the history of this wonderland. The place has ever since been the center for art, crafts, culture and a rich heritage. Arrive Kathmandu, meet & assist at the airport & transfer to hotel. Night stay in Kathmandu.

Day 07 / Kathmandu
After breakfast Sightseeing tour of the KATHMANDU CITY - The Hanumandhoka - Kathmandu's Durbar Square is the historic seat of royalty. The Durbar Square with its old temples and palaces epitomises the religious and cultural life of the people. It is here that kings of Nepal are crowned and their coronations solemnized. Also visit the Taleju Temple built by King Mahendra Malla in 1549 AD, the temple of Kal Bhairav - the God of destruction and the temple of Kumari (Vestal Virgin) or the Living Goddess - represents a very ancient Hindu deity of Nepal locally known as Taleju is Buddhist by birth. The Kumari acknowledges greetings from her balcony window. Once a year during Indra Jatra festival, the King of Nepal seeks the Kumari's blessing. Kasthamandap - Located near the Kumari Temple is said to be built from the wood of a single tree from the city. The city of Kathmandu derives its name from this temple. The Kathmandu Durbar Square was listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Monument List in 1979.

BOUDDHANATH STUPA: The stupa of Bouddhanath lies 8 kms east of Kathmandu. This ancient colossal Stupa is one of the biggest in the world, and is the centre of Tibetan Buddism in Nepal. Listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Monument List in 1979.
PASUPATINATH TEMPLE: This important Hindu temple is the temple of Lord Shiva, The temple with a two tiered golden roof and silver door is considered one of the holiest shrines for Hindus. Although only Hindus are allowed inside the temple, visitors can witness the activities performed in the temple premises from the eastern bank of the Bagmati River. The temple was listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Monument List in 1979. SWAYAMBHUNATH STUPA- the oldest Buddhist shrine. It is said to be 2,000 years old. Painted on the four sides of the spire's base are the all - seeing eyes of Lord Buddha. It is 3 km west of Kathmandu City and is situated on a hillock about 77 m above the level of Kathmandu Valley and commands an excellent view of the Valley. This Stupa is the oldest of its kind in Nepal. It was also listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Monument List in 1979. Night stay in Kathmandu.

Day 08 / Kathmandu
After breakfast proceed to visit Bhadgoan, also known as Bhaktapur. The Durbar Square is a conglomeration of pagoda and shikhara style temples grouped around a fifty-five window palace of brick and wood. The square is one of the most charming architectural showpieces of the Valley as it highlights the ancient arts of Nepal. The golden effigies of kings perched on the top of stone monoliths, the guardian deities looking out from their sanctuaries, the wood carvings in every place-struts, lintels, uprights, tympanums, gateways and windows, all seem to form a well orchestrated symphony. You will visit the The Golden Gate – which is said to be the most beautiful and richly moulded specimen of its kind in the entire world. The door is surmounted by a figure of the goddess Kali and Garuda (the mythical man bird) and attended by two heavenly nymphs. It is placed like a jewel, flashing innumerable facets in the handsome setting of its surroundings. You will next visit the The Palace of Fifty five Windows - This magnificent palace was built during the reign of King Yakshya Malla in A.D. 1427 and was subsequently remodelled by King Bhupatindra Malla in the seventeenth century. Among the brick walls with their gracious setting and sculptural design, is a balcony with Fifty five Windows, considered to be a unique masterpiece of woodcarving.

Afternoon your guided tour will take you for a visit to Patan. Also known as Lalitpur , the city of beauty is separated from Kathmandu only by the Bagmati River and is the second largest town in the valley. Lalitpur is fragmented from other cities due to its substantive architectural ancient masterpieces. Patan's central Durbar Square is absolutely packed with temples: Its an architectural center point with a far greater concentration of temples per sq. meter than in Kathamandu or Bhaktapur. Within the city also lies the Tibetan refugee center, home to most of the valley's Tibetan population. While technically refugees, the Tibetans are some of the wealthiest people in the valley because of the carpet industry they operate. For those looking to bring home a fine Tibetan carpet, this is the place to shop. Night stay in Kathmandu.

Day 09 / Kathmandu - Delhi ( By flight Indian Airlines Dep. 16:15 hrs. Arriv. 17:30 hrs. )
Morning transfer to airport to board the flight for Delhi . Arrive Delhi & transfer to hotel. Evening explore the local markets etc. for last minute shopping activities. Night stay in Delhi.

Day 10 / Delhi - Goa ( By flight Go Air Dep. 12:45 hrs. Arriv. 15:30 hrs. )
Morning transfer to airport to board the flight for Goa via Bombay. Arrive Goa & transfer to hotel. Day at leisure. Night stay in Goa.

Day 11 / Goa
After breakfast, proceed on a half day sightseeing tour of Goa, visiting Miramar Beach, Basilica of Bom Jesus and the city of Panjim- bustling with shops and tourists. The afternoon is at leisure to relax on the beach. Night stay in Goa.

Day 12 / Goa
Day at leisure. Laze on the beach, go for swim, explore the shops for cashewnuts, buy holiday wear. Night stay in Goa.

Day 13 / Goa - Cochin ( By flight via Bangalore By Kingfisher Airlines ) / Goa - Bangalore ( Dep. 08:15 hrs. Arriv. 09:45 hrs. ) Bangalore - Cochin ( Dep. 11:00 hrs. Arriv. 12:20 hrs. )
Transfer to airport to board the flight to Cochin via Bangalore. Arrive Cochin meet assist at airport and transfer to hotel. Rest of the day at leisure.
Evening Witness Kathakali the famous dance drama of Kerala. Start early to see the artist preparing themselves for the show (5 PM ). Watch in detail the ritual worth seeing hour long process of make-up as part of our daily KATHAKALI performance. After the Performance, you will have a unique opportunity to take photographs along with the artists in colorful costumes as a souvenir. Entire performance will be supported with commentary in English. Night stay at Cochin.

Day 14 / Cochin
After a leisurely breakfast proceed for sightseeing tour of cochin including .The Hill Palace Museum, a fully-fledged archeological museum and Kerala’s first ever Heritage Museum are the main attractions (closed on Mondays). Chinese Fishing Nets, this unique style of huge cantilevered fishing nets were erected between 1350 and 1450 AD by traders from the Court of Kubla Khan, a Chinese King. Santa Cruz Basilica, this historic church was built by the Portuguese and elevated to a Cathedral by Pope Paul IV in 1558. Pope John Paul II proclaimed the Church a Basilica in 1984.. The Jewish Synagogue, constructed in 1568, this is the oldest Synagogue in the Commonwealth (closed on Saturdays & Jewish Holidays). The area around the Synagogue, called Jew Town, is the centre for Spice & Handicraft shops. Mattanchery Palace (Dutch Palace), built by the Portuguese in 1557 and presented to the Regent of Kochi (closed on Fridays).

Evening go for Sun set Cruise in Kochi . Night stay at Kochi

Day 15 / Cochin- Thrissur (80 Kms – Approx. 1.5 Hrs ) Thrissur – Guruvayur ( 30 Kms - Approx. 40 minutes drive )
After breakfast proceed to “Thrissur”, the one thing that comes to his mind is all about the extravagant Thrissur Pooram. The luminous environment with the presence of the Gods and Goddesses of Thrissur, the display of the impressive elephants adorned with golden ornaments, the crowd and everything else gives him the best memorable moments in his life. Thrissur is known as the Cultural Capital of Kerala a For those who wish to explore the cultural heritage of the State, a visit to Thrissur is inexorable. ( Thrissur Elephant decoration is available generally from mid April to mid May at the time of differentfestival at Thrissur )

Later drive to Guruvayoor, a prominent centre for Hindu culture and religion, revolves around the Sree Krishna Temple known popularly as the Guruvayurappan Temple. Located at a distance of 3 km from the temple is Punnathoor Kotta. It is the palace ground of the former emperors of Punnathoor, where more than 60 elephants were trained. This elephant camp of the Guruvayoor Devasom Board is the only one in the world. All the elephants in this camp are offerings from devotees like politicians, businessmen and film stars to Lord Sree Krishna of Guruvayoor. Here you shall see the baby elephants playing and naughty adolescents feeding on piles of fodder and being looked after by their mahouts who wash and scrub them regularly in the sanctuary pond. The animals participate in the annual elephant race and the festivals held at Guruvayoor Temple and also at other temples of the state. Actually, it is the elephants from this camp that glimmer as stars in the Thrissur Pooram. Every year, after the strict festival schedule, the temple elephants undergo an annual healthcare regimen by the animal doctors.
Night stay at Thrissur.

Day 16 / Thrissur - Kalamandalam - Thrissur (35 Kms – 45 Mts )
Early Morning proceed to Vallotal Nagar Near Thrissur to fix a day with the masters in Kerala Kalamadalam. The program is a window to the world of Kerala’s traditional performing arts viz. Kathakali, Kutiyattam (traditional Sanskrit theater), Mohiniyattam, Thullal and the percussion music. One can watch the artistic skill of both the trainee and the trainer while walking inside the campus at the Vallathol Nagar. Highlight of the programme is Authoritative guidance by Trained, professionals who will accompany the visitors explaining to them the gross and subtle details of art forms covering their history and development. The interactions between the visitors and the tour-guides will also extend to the terrains of culture, history, philosophy and science. Programme starts at 9:00 AM .In Which A brief introduction about Kalamandalam and the art forms of Kerala, Visit to the Art Gallery, Museum, and the Vallathol Samadhi at 12:30-2:00 PM is the Lunch break and later from 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM ,you can witness the Performance at the Koothambalam . The Koothambalam or the Art theatre is a magnificent architectural wonder. Built in 1976, the Koothambalam has an impressive history to narrate. What is most unique about the Koothambalam besides its visual appeal, is the experience of being inside it. The Koothambalam has known to have produced a calming, almost mystical effect on many a visitor. Night stay at Thrissur. Kalamandalam generally remain closed from 3rd week of March up to June end due to summer vacation.

Day 17 / Thrissur – Kumarakkom (150 Kms Approx – 3.5 Hrs ) Stay with Famly at the Philipkutty Farm
Early Morning Check out from Hotel and Proceed to Kumarakkom to Stay with Famly .The Philipkutty Farm.The farm is located on a small farm island (approx-750 acres) in the backwaters / Vembanad Lake next to Kumarakom within the Vechoor village limits. The farm is about 50 acres (owned by the family and some relatives) and is the largest farm on the island. The island is a reclaimed property which was made in the early 1950’s .It was late Philipkutty, who undertook further development on the farm by bringing in a system of inter-crop farming. The island is called Puthankayal (‘Puthan’ means new) as it was the last island to have been reclaimed in the backwater region for agriculture.
Being a reclaimed property typical of the Kuttanad or backwater region, the farm is approx 2 mts. below the lake level. The retaining dyke around the perimeter of the island keeps the lake water from entering the farm. Being below the lake level, all the rain water is pumped out especially during the monsoon season by using an electric motor and pump. This is critical to the existence of the farm.

The farm is made up of ridges and canals, with all the planting done on the ridges. The canals are used for natural fish culture. Karimeen (Pearl spot) and fresh water jumbo prawns (scampi) are grown naturally in some of the canals. The major crops on the farm are coconut, toddy tapping, nutmeg, cocoa, banana, pepper and many other fruits, vegetables and spices. The farm also has a few cows, geese, ducks and hens. We are members of the Vechoor Cow Trust and are doing our small part in the conservation of Vechoor cows by having one on the farm. We hope to take up a few more. Currently we have started planting vanilla also. The reclaimed island has also helped Vechoor Village to develop. It has given land to the people, plenty of employment, free grass for cows and plenty of free fuel.

The farm was a ‘modern’ farm when it started, but in the last 10 years we have been systematically cutting down on chemicals and relying more on organic and natural farming methods. Today we have successfully cut down by 75 to 80% all chemical inputs. At present the farm employs sustainable and organic methods of farming and we believe that in the coming years we will be a 100% organic farm.

Enjoy the Whole day with the Kerala Family learning the local culture ,cuisine. Night stay at Farm house.

Day 18 / Kumarakkom- Alleppey (30 Kms Approx. 45 minutes )
Morning Check out from Hotel and Proceed to Alleppey Morning drive to Alleppey to board Houseboat for a day and night cruise in the famous backwaters of Kerala. Lunch will be served at the time of check in. See the village life along the banks of the Backwaters while cruising in the backwaters . Evening The Houseboat will be anchored in a safer Place along the banks. Overnight on Board at air-conditioned Houseboat.

Day 19 / Alappuzha - Kovalam ( By road ) ( 180 Kms- Approx. 4 Hrs Drive)

Morning drive to Kovalam & transfer to hotel. the international beach Resort with full of Coconut trees.Kovalam is an internationally renowned beach of Kerala, with three adjacent crescent beaches. Kovalam has been a favorite haunt of tourists, especially Europeans, since the 1930s. A massive rocky promontory on the beach has created a beautiful Bay of calm waters ideal for sea bathing. The leisure options at this beach are plenty and diverse - sunbathing, swimming, herbal body toning massages, special cultural programs, Catamaran cruising etc. Evening enjoy the beach. Night stay at Kovalam.

Day 20 / Kovalam - Kanyakumari ( the famous Vivekananda Rock Memorial ) - Kovalam ( 100 Kms- Approx. 2 Hrs Drive)
After breakfast proceed for Kanyakumari - the land's end of India where the water of the Arabian Sea , the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean meet. An important pilgrim centre of India, it is famous for the Amman Temples - a symbol of unity and sanctity - deidicated to the virgin Goddess , Kanya Kumari. To its South - East lies the famous Vivekananda Rock Memorial, a blend of all the architectural styles of India. Evening Drive back to Kovalam . Night stay at Kovalam

Day 21 / Kovalam- Trivandrum ( By road ) Approx. 20 minutes drive Trivandrum - Delhi / Mumbai ( By flight ) Departure
Early Morning Check out from Hotel and Proceed to Airport to connect flight for onward journey.
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