Mumbai – Nasik – Aurangabad - Pune (8nights and 9days)
Welcome to Maharashtra, a land untouched, unsullied, unlimited. A land whose sheer size and diversity will stun you. Enjoy her mountains that stretch out into the mists as far as the eye can see. Her innumerous forts that stand proud and strong. Her scores of temples, sculpted into and out of basalt rock. Her diverse and colourful cultures, woven into one gigantic quilt. Her festivals that galvanise the sleepy thousands into fervent motion. And her miles of silver, white beaches, stretched taut and inviting over the entire coast. Welcome aboard a package that gives you a glimpse into this vibrant and beautiful land.
Day 01 :
Arrive Mumbai, a city that never sleeps, it is the Financial and Bollywood hub of India. Mumbai previously officially known as Bombay is the most populous city in India, and the second most populous city in the world. Mumbai is the commercial and entertainment capital of India, and is home to important financial institutions such as the Reserve Bank of India, the Bombay Stock Exchange, the National Stock Exchange of India and the corporate headquarters of numerous Indian companies and multinational corporations. The city also houses India's Hindi film and television industry, known as Bollywood. On arrival you will be met, assisted and transferred to the hotel. Overnight stay in Mumbai.
Day 02 :
This morning, after breakfast proceed on an exciting tour of Mumbai city. This includes the magnificent Gateway of India overlooking the Arabian Sea - The Gateway of India is the most recognizable symbol of the city. It was built to commemorate the visit of the British Monarch to India in 1911. Later visit the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus formerly The Victoria Terminus, is a historic railway station in Mumbai which serves as the headquarters of the Central Railways. This famous architectural landmark in Gothic style was built as the headquarters of the Great Indian Peninsular Railway. The building exhibits a fusion of influences from Victorian Italianate Gothic Revival architecture and traditional Indian architecture. Externally, the wood carving, tiles, ornamental iron and brass railings, grills for the ticket offices, the balustrades for the grand staircases and other ornaments were the work of students at the Bombay School of Art. Thereafter visit The Prince of Wales Museum, this Museum is one of the premier cultural institutions in the country and a fine example of Indo-Saracenic style of architecture. Thereafter visit Mani Bhavan, a simple old-style, two storied building on Laburnum Road, Mumbai. Whenever Gandhiji was in Mumbai between 1917 to 1934, he stayed here. It is now converted into a museum and research centre. Overnight stay in Mumbai.
Day 03 :
Today morning, after breakfast drive to Nasik (180kms / 4hrs), the wine capital of India for the numerous wine yards. It is also a city of pilgrimage for many Hindus. Arrive and transfer to hotel. In the evening drive to Trambakeshwar, one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, it is the most sacred place in Nasik. The Nagara style of architecture is what typifies this temple made of black stone. It is enclosed in a spacious courtyard and the sanctum (internally a square and externally a stellar structure) houses a small Shivalingam. Also visit Brahmagiri where Lord Shiva performed the tandav dance. Overnight stay in Nasik.
Day 04 :
This day, after breakfast drive to Shirdi (90kms / 2hrs), famous for the Sai Baba Temple, visited by millions of devotees of all religions, castes and creeds and from all over the world. Popularly known as the 'Child of God', Sai Baba preached tolerance towards all religions and the message of universal brotherhood. Arrive and transfer to hotel. Thereafter visit the Sai Baba Temple. Later travel to Shani Shingnapur (75kms / 1.5hrs), famous for Lord Shanidev - the personification of the planet Saturn, is worshipped with utmost reverence and devotion by multitudes of people from all over the world. The spectacle of the deity in black stone is overwhelming. A unique aspect of this place is that no temple structure houses the Shanidev. There is only a simple platform on which stands the swayambhu (born of itself) idol, in black stone. Overnight stay in Shirdi.
Day 05 :
This morning, after breakfast drive to Aurangabad (140kms / 3hrs), meaning “Built by the throne” is named after the Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb. It is the Tourism Capital of the State of Maharashtra and is best known for the Ajanta and Ellora caves – World Heritage Sites. The city has a rich culture and a plethora of magnificent arts on display. Arrive and transfer to hotel. In the evening, visit the Ajanta caves, located 8kms from the city. There are 31 rock-cut cave monuments and include paintings and sculptures considered to be masterpieces of both Buddhist religious art, as well as frescos which are reminiscent of the Sigiriya paintings in Sri Lanka. Overnight stay in Aurangabad.
Day 06 :
Today, after breakfast set off to visit the Ellora Caves, located 30kms from Aurangabad city. Ellora represents the epitome of Indian rock-cut architecture. The 34 "caves" are actual structures, excavated out of the vertical face of the Charanandri hills – being Buddhist, Hindu and Jain rock-cut temples and monasteries. Evening proceed for a half-day tour of Aurangabad city, including Bibi ka Maqbara, the burial place of Aurangzeb's wife, it is an imitation of the Taj at Agra and due to its similar design, it is popularly known as the Mini Taj of the Deccan. Later visit Panchakki (water mill), a 17th century water mill famous for its underground water channel, which traverses more than 8 km. to its source away in the mountains. Also visit the Aurangabad Caves, 12 Buddhist caves dating back to 3 A.D., specially known for the iconography and architectural designs. Overnight stay in Aurangabad.
Day 07 :
This day, after breakfast drive to Pune (202kms / 5hrs), Queen of the Deccan, Oxford of the East and cultural capital of Maharashtra. Long-standing bastion of the Maratha empire and home to the legendary Raja Shivaji, the Pune district is marked by magnificent land and sea forts, testimony to its glorious past. Arrive and transfer to hotel. Evening visit the famous Shanivarwada for an exciting Son-et-Lumiere show (sound & light show). Overnight stay in Pune.
Day 08 :
Today, after breakfast proceed for half-day city tour visiting the famous Osho Ashram. Bhagwan Rajneesh's famous Osho ashram is located in a green and elite suburb of Pune. It is one of the world's largest spiritual centers and has visitors from all over the world. Thereafter visit Shanivarwada, once a palace of the Peshwa rulers, located in the midst of the city. Peshwa Baji Rao I had laid the foundation of his residence on Saturday January 10, 1730, hence the name Shanivarwada (Shanivar in the Marathi language, means Saturday). Later visit Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum, a quaint building that houses a fascinating collection of Indian artifacts collected by the late Shree Dinkar Kelkar. The 36 sections of the museum are used to display a wealth of antiques, carved palace doors, pottery, 17th century miniatures, a priceless collection of nut crackers, lamps, musical items, hookah pipes, hair drying combs and other such items from the Mughal and Maratha period. Then visit Gandhi National Memorial / Aga Khan Palace - is a historical landmark donated to India by the Aga Khan IV in 1969. The gracious buildings with salons and suites that you see standing amidst well laid out gardens is more than just a palace. During the 1942 Quit India Movement, Mahatma Gandhi was imprisoned here. On the grounds are the remains (samadhi) of Kasturba Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi's wife, who died here while in internment. Overnight stay in Pune.
Day 09 :
This day, you will be transferred to the airport for flight to Mumbai. Arrive Mumbai and connect flight to your onward destination, leaving with fond memories of this “Marvelous Maharashtra” tour.