Agra finds mention in the Mahabharata as Agraban. The city of Taj Mahal was established in 1475 by Badal Singh. This city in those days was considered to be the sister city of Mathura which was more prominent than Agraban. Agra came into its own when the Lodhi Kings chose this place beside the Yamuna to be their capital city.
The splendid views of the show-clad ranges of the Himalayas, fine walks through oak and flowering rhododendron, enchanting resorts within easy reach, golf Naldehra and skiing at Kufri and Narkanda make Shimala an attractive destination throughout the year. Shimla's salubrious climate, easy accessibility and numerous attractions have made it one of the most popular hill stations in northern India.
Manali is situated near the end of the valley on the National Highway leading to Leh. One sees well-defined snow capped peaks, the Beas river with its clear water meanders through the town. The landscape here is breath taking. On the other side are deodar and pine trees, tiny fields and fruit orchards. It is an excellent place for a holiday, a favorite resort for trekkers to Lahaul, Spiti, Kinnaur, Leh and Zanskar regions in Kashmir valley. It is known as the SWITZERLAND OF INDIA.
Meeting and greetings on arrival at Delhi’s international airport and transfer to Hotel Regent Continental. Rest of the day free to relax. Overnight at the hotel.
Morning after breakfast at the hotel met your driver at hotel lobby and proceed for a combined tour of Old and New Delhi (without Guide).
Old Delhi visiting Red Fort - The red sand stone walls of Lal Quila, the Red Fort extend for 2 km and vary in height from 18m on the river side to 33m on the city side. Shah Jahan started construction of the massive fort in 1638 and it was completed in 1648. The Red Fort dates from the peak of Mughal power. The Mughal reign from Delhi was a short one. Aurangzeb was the first and the last emperor to rule from here. Jama Masjid- the Great Mosque of Old Delhi was both the largest and the final architectural extravagance of Shah Jahan. Begun in 1644, the mosque was not completed until 1658. It has three gateways, four angle towers and two minarets standing 40m (133ft) high constructed of alternating vertical strips of red sandstone and white marble. The courtyard of the mosque can hold 25,000 people. Take a rickshaw ride to Chandni Chowk - the main street of Old Delhi - the colourful shopping bazaar just opposite the Red Fort and visit Raj Ghat - the cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi after his assassination in 1948.
New Delhi visiting Qutab Minar – 234 feet high tower. The Qutab Minar itself is a soaring tower of victory that was started in 1193, immediately after the defeat of the last Hindu kingdom in Delhi. It is nearly 73m(243ft) high and tapers from a 15m(50ft) diameter base to just 2.5m(9ft) at the top. The tower has five distinct storeys, each marked by a projecting balcony. The first three storeys are made of red sandstone, the fourth and the fifth of marble & sandstone. Also visit the Tomb of Mughal Emperor Humayun. Built in the mid-16th century by Haji Begum, the Persian-born senior wife of Humayun, the second Mughal emperor, this is a wonderful early example of Mughal architecture. The elements in its design – a squat building, high arched entrances that let in light, topped by a bulbous dome and surrounded by formal gardens – were to be refined over the years to the magnificence of the Taj Mahal in Agra. Drive past India Gate (War Memorial), President’s House, which was once the Viceroy’s Palace, Parliament House and Secretariat buildings.
Overnight at the hotel.
Little early breakfast at the hotel drive to reach Agra (around 4 ½ hrs each way) and visit the world famous Taj Mahal built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his second wife, Mumtaz Mahal, whose death in childbirth in 1631 left the Emperor so heartbroken that his hair is said to have turned gray overnight. Construction of the Taj, begun in the same year, was not completed until 1653. In total 20,000 people from India and Central Asia worked on the building. The Taj Mahal is like a silent rhapsody that you will carry in your heart. Also visit Agra Fort, constructed by Emperor Akbar in 1695 on the banks of the Yamuna River. Initially the fort was a military structure, but during Shah Jahan’s reign it had partially become a palace.
Evening return to Delhi and overnight stay at the hotel.
20 July, 2009 – Delhi / Shimla – Drive 8 hours
Meeting on designated place and drive to Shimla and check in at the hotel on arrival. Rest of the time free to relax from long drive. Overnight at the hotel.
Shimla is the capital town of Himachal Pradesh. The town of Shimla is built over several hills and connecting ridges. The important hills are Jakhu ( 2,455 meters ), Prospect Hill ( 2,328 meters ), Observatory Hill ( 2,350 meters ), Elysigim Hill ( 2,466 meters ) and Summer Hill ( 2,300 meters ). Shimla is situated in the North-West Himalayas and was the Summer Capital of India during the British rulling era. This town is spread over the ridge measuring about 12 km. It is perhaps the biggest hill station in the world, located at an altitude of 2,421 meters above sea level. A place of peace and pleasure, Shimla is a tourist resort in real sense of the world. The best season of the year here is autumn but the early spring runs a close second. Shimla is connected with air, rail, and road traffics. Shimla under snow is a wonderful sight and it offers the unique attraction of an open air ice skating rink. Also the legendary Ridge under snow and snow sports at Kufri make Shimla a wonderful winter holiday resort.
Morning tour of Shimla hills visiting Jakhu temple (Hiking), Wild Flower Hall, Christ Church and Museum.
Jakhu Hill :- ( 2,455 meters ) 2 km. from town. This is the highest peak of Shimla and offers panoramic view of the town and the mountains. 'Hanuman Temple of Jakhu' is very famous. According to legend, Hanumanji took some rest here when he was carrying a hill of 'Sanjiwani Booti' ( a herb to save the life of Lakshmana, the younger brother of Lord Rama ).
Wild Flower Hall :- ( 13 km. once the residence of Lord Kitchuer, the Commander-in-Chief of India in the beginning of the 20th century. This is surrounded by dense and beautiful pine forest. About 1 km from Wild Flower Hall is the ‘Retreat’ , the weekend resort of Lord Curzon. Between Wild Flower Hall and Retreat, ‘Hem Kunj’ ( formerly Dane's Folly ) the summer holiday resort of the Punjab Governor is situated. On January 4-5-1993, Wild Flower Hall was reduced to ashes in a major fire.
Afternoon free to stroll in the famous shopping place of Shimla town – The Mall & The Ridge. Overnight at the hotel.
Morning after an early breakfast at the hotel drive to Manali and check into the hotel. Rest of the day free to relax. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Manali - unspoilt scenic grandeur is extremely popular with the tourists, for a lavish display of natural scenery. It is one of the principal show places of the Kullu region. To its North, South and West are an ostentation of pinnacles and ridges which, in fine weather, stand out in bold relief against skyline. At the lower elevation and in every direction there are vivid green patches of grassland and evergreen valleys ascending in irregular formation present probably the best view in the country. Manali is situated at an altitude of 1,926 metres and spreads in 12.5 square km. It is the real starting point of an ancient trade rout.
Morning after breakfast at the hotel excursion to Rohtang Pass or snow point to have a glimpse of snow and enjoy playing with it. Return to Manali. Rest of the afternoon free to relax or go for hiking in nearby hills again. Overnight at hotel.
Morning after breakfast commence half day sightseeing of Manali visiting Hadimba Devi Temple, Vashisht Village and Tibetan Monastery. Overnight at hotel.
Hidimba Devi Temple :- ( 1.5 km. ) Built in 1553 A.D. also known as 'Doongri Temple' dedicated to the Goddess Hidimba ( Hirma Devi ), the wife of Bhima, has a four tiered pagoda shaped roof with a doorway carved with figures and symbols. Although carving is simple yet beautiful. This temple was built by Raja Bahadur Singh of Kullu.
Vashisht :- ( 3 km. ) This place is famous for its hot water springs and temples of Vashisht Rishi and Lord Rama. It is located on the bank of Beas, but well above the river. Natural hot sulphur springs with two separate bathing tanks for gents and ladies are always full of tourists. Turkish style showers fitted baths have also been built nearby. Hot water from the nearby spring is provided for bathing.
Jagatsukh :- ( 6 km. ) The original name of this was 'Nast', it remained the ancient capital of Kullu for about 10 generations. Jagatsukh is famous for its Shiva temple in Shikhara Style and interesting old temple of 'Gayatri Devi' and Devi Sharvali.
Tibetan Monastery :- A new but colorful Buddhist temple. It contains many idols of Buddha. This monastey is famous for its carpet weaving and Tibetan handicraft.
Afternoon free to enjoy the market go for hiking in adjoining hills. Overnight at the hotel.
Morning after breakfast at the hotel drive to Chandigarh and check into the hotel on arrival.
Chandigarh is situated at the foothills of the Shivaliks (the first of three parallel chains of the Himalayas), Chandigarh is the India’s first planned city. Chandigarh is best travel hub for travel northwards to the hill resorts of Chandigarh Kulu, Manali, Dharmashala and Dalhousie. Chandigarh is located 270 km north of Delhi. The name of the city is derived from the Goddess of power known as Shri Chandika whose temple is on Chandigarh-Kalka Road. The temple is known by the name of Chandi Mandir. The temple is believed to be an ancient site and has a major religious significance for Hindus. Chandigarh originated in 1953 and today serves as the capital of two states, i.e. Punjab and Haryana. It is administered by the Central Government and is hence classified as a Union Territory.
Afternoon visit Rock Garden - Established by Nek Chand, this beautiful rock garden has thousands of sculptures set in large mosaic courtyards linked by walled paths and deep gorges and a combination of huge buildings with a series of interlinking waterfalls. The Rock Garden is now acknowledged as one of the modern wonders of the world and Rose Garden - The Zakir Hussain Rose Garden is Asia’s largest Rose Garden and is spread over 30 acres of land having over 1600 different species of roses. The garden was planned by Dr. M.S. Randhawa as his interest in horticulture and fondness for flowers was immense. Every year, either at the end of February or beginning of March, a big festival known as Rose Festival, is celebrated at this garden. Over 20,000 people visit this festival. It’s one of the greatest and must see event in the city.
Overnight at the hotel.
Morning after breakfast at the hotel drive to Delhi airport to board flight for Chennai.