Day 1: Mumbai Arrival
On arrival, meet with assistance and be transferred to your hotel in Mumbai.
Mumbai (formerly Bombay), the gateway to India in the days of the British Raj, is today India's commercial capital. The city dates back to around the first century AD, when the area consisted of seven islands separated by the sea. In 1661 the Portuguese presented the port and islands of Bombay to the British, and in 1668 the East India Company leased all of the islands from the British Government. for £10.00 in gold per year.
On independence in 1947 the Bombay presidency became Bombay state, and subsequently Bombay became the state capital of Maharashtra. Today Mumbai is a fascinating crossroads of the east and west where the sophistication and technology of the first world is combined with the eastern ability to sell almost anything against a backdrop of oriental colour and scent. Besides being the major port Mumbai is the most cosmopolitan, fastest moving, affluent and industrialized city in India. It is India's financial, commercial and industrial centre, and the centre of the film industry (Bollywood).
Check in at hotel. Rest of the day at leisure.
Day 2: Mumbai Sightseeing
Breakfast at hotel
Afternoon sightseeing of the city, visiting the Prince of Wales Museum, Mani Bhawan, Dhobi Ghat, Crawford Market and Drive along Marine Drive.
Princes of Wales Museum: Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum previously known as Princes of Wales Museum was built to commemorate the visit of the King George V’s first visit to India in 1905 when he was still the Prince of Wales, and opened in 1914. With sections on art, archaeology and natural history, it houses rare and ancient exhibits of India’s history as well as objects from foreign lands. Also Indus Valley Civilization artefacts, relics from ancient India and examples of Mauryan Art. (Closed on Mondays)
Mani Bhawan: This is where Mahatma Gandhi stayed when he visited Mumbai between 1917 and 1934. He preached Ahimsa or Non-violence, and it was here that his association with the charkha or spinning wheel began in 1917. It now houses a picture gallery, a 20,000-volume research library and a film and recording archive
Dhobi Ghat: A unique feature of Mumbai, the dhobi is a traditional laundryman, who will collect your dirty linen, wash it, and return it neatly pressed to your doorstep. At Dhobi Ghat the clothes are soaked in lather water, then thrashed on the stones, later thrown into huge vats of boiling starch and then hung out to dry.
Marine Drive: also known as the "Queen's Necklace" is a pleasant drive along the shoreline of Back Bay, from Nariman Point past Chowpatty and up to Malabar Hill.
Overnight in Mumbai
Day 3: Mumbai Aurangabad (Surface 07 hrs Aprx.)
After breakfast, proceed for Elephanta Island Excursion.
Morning visit to the Gateway of India and Elephanta Island. The Gateway of India, Mumbai's most striking monument, is an imposing arch in the Indo-Saracenic style with Gujarati and Islamic elements. It was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to India in 1911. Near the Gateway is a statue of Shivaji, the 17th century founder of the independent Hindu Kingdom of Maharashtra.
An hour's boat-ride, 6 miles across the Arabian Sea from Gateway, is the small but celebrated island of Elephanta, famous for its Elephanta Cave Temples. Carved into the island’s solid stone, the base relief carvings are magnificent. The Portuguese renamed this island Elephanta after a large stone elephant found near the shore. (Closed on Mondays)
Later drive to Aurangabad. Upon arrival check in at hotel.
Upon arrival you will met and transferred to the hotel.
Globally known as a favourite destination because of its proximity to the Ajanta and Ellora caves, Aurangabad serves as a major tourist hub that offers a wide array of network services to visit some of the most important attractions around it. Also, as a city, Aurangabad fascinates with its culture and lifestylec, offering discerning tourists a wide gamut of hospitality.
Recently declared the ‘Tourism Capital of Maharashtra’, Aurangabad is an important hub in the state’s tourism sector with its close connection to such significant tourist destinations as caves of Ajanta and Ellora which have been declared ‘World Heritage Sites’ by UNESCO as well as the famous Mughal monument BibikaMaqbara. One of the fastest growing cities in Maharashtra, it is also emerging as a prime industrial city. The city is linked with Mumbai by air, rail and road and an excellent road network connects Aurangabad with the rest of the state. Apart from Ajanta and Ellora, the city also serves as a transit point for Pitalkhora, Daulatabad, Khultabad, Paithan and Shirdi.
Check in at hotel.
Aurangabad Caves: Nestled in the hills 8 kilometers from the city are 12 Buddhist caves probably dating from the 1st Century A.D. Of particular interest are the Tantric influences evident in the iconography and the architectural design of the caves. Some of the chaityas (temples) are constructed on a mandala plan for the circumambulation of the Buddha, who is depicted here seated on an intricately carved throne.
Daulatabad Fort: Originally the Deogiri fortress it was a Hindu stronghold, captured and plundered by deceit in the 13th Century. Made the capital of the Delhi Sultanate a 100 years later by Tughlaq, it became the prime fortress for successive dynasties in the Deccan. Daulatabad is known for it’s many trick defenses and secret escape routes. Monuments within the fort include the Jami Masjid, Chand Minar, Elephant Tank and Chini Mahal or Chinese Palace.
Bibi ka Maqbara: The tomb of Begum Rabia Durani, wife of Emperor Aurangzeb, its design mimics (poorly) that of the Taj Mahal. Consequently it is known as the mini Taj of the Deccan. The Maqbara stands in a spacious, planned and landscaped Mughal garden, with axial ponds, fountains, water channels, broad pathways and pavilions.
Overnight in Aurangabad
Day 4: Aurangabad - Ajanta Caves - Aurangabad
Post breakfast full day excursion to Ajanta caves
Ajanta is located 107 kilometers from Aurangabad and 60 kilometers from Jalgaon. A cluster of 32 Buddhist caves not far from a medieval village of the same name, the site is a protected monument in the care of the Archaeological Survey of India. Moreover, since 1983, the Ajanta Caves have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The caves located here can be chronologically divided into two phases viz. the early Buddhist caves of 2nd century BCE to 1st century CE and the Mahayana caves dating to 5th century CE. Among the early caves, 9 and 10 are ‘chaityas’ which comprise the earliest known remnants of paintings in the history of India while 8, 12, 13, and 15A are ‘viharas’. Caves 19, 26 and 29 are chaityas of the Mahayana period and all the other caves are viharas.
Drive back to hotel. Rest of the day at leisure.
Overnight in Aurangabad
Day 5: Aurangabad - Ellora - Shirdi (Surface 03 hrs Aprx.)
Post breakfast proceed for an excursion to Ellora caves.
One of the most fascinating archaeological sites in Maharashtra, Ellora dates back to about 1,500 years ago, and is the epitome of Indian rock-cut architecture. The 34 caves are actually Buddhist, Hindu and Jain religious monuments carved in the rock. They were given the status of World heritage Site in 1983.
Created between the 6th and 10th century, the 12 Buddhist, 17 Hindu and 5 Jain caves carved in proximity at Ellora are proof of the religious harmony prevalent during this period of Indian history.
Later visit Grishneswar Temple
The temple at Ghrushneshwar stands as an illustration of the architecture of the 18thcentury. Built of red stone it is composed of a five-tier ‘shikhara’. The temple is 240 x 185 feet tall and houses beautiful carvings and sculptures of many Indian gods and goddesses. Holy water is known to spring from inside the temple. In Padma Purana it is said that Lord Shiva stayed here in the form of a ‘linga’ on the request of his most devoted lady, Ghrushna.
According to folk lore, Ghrushna’s son was killed by her relatives. Still, she was patient and continued to repose deep faith in Lord Shiva. Pleased with this, Shiva came and resided here for some time, which is how the place acquired its name. The Shivalaya Tirtha Kunda was created through the efforts of Bramha by bringing sacred water from eight different ‘kundas’. Another famous legend tells us that Shiva appeared in the form of a flame on the palm of Parvati, his wife, while she was rubbing her finger on the palm to mix saffron. The flame created due to ‘gharshana’ (friction) was then put into a stone linga and so named Ghrushneshwar.
Drive to Shirdi
Shirdi is where the holy soul of Shri Satchidanand Sadguru Sainath Maharaj - affectionately known as ‘Saibaba’ rests today. The mysterious ‘fakir’ (wanderer) came to this village in his teens and lived in Shirdi for more than 60 years. He was knowledgeable; had no desire for worldly objects; and was gifted with the ability to present the many facets of god to human consciousness. He was also a master ‘yogi’ and is said to have demonstrated his skill upon many occasions. His simple ascetic life and high virtues drew devotees during his lifetime and continues to do so till date.
Upon arrival proceed for Darshan.
Overnight in Shirdi
Day 6: Shirdi - Nashik (Surface 2 hrs Aprx.) - Mumbai (Surface 03 hrs Aprx.)
Breakfast at hotel
Later check out and drive to Nashik
Trimbakeshwar is just 28 kilometers away from Nashik city and it is here that the sacred river Godavari originates at Brahmagiri. You will find at Trimbakeshwar a huge ‘kund’(water tank) called the ‘Kushavarta’. It is symbolic of the origin of Godavari and hence considered a sacred bathing place for the Hindus. The temple of Trimbakeshwar is said to have been reconstructed by Peshwa Balaji Bajirao i.e. Nanasaheb Peshwa. The temple faces east and is constructed from stone. The mighty mountain, Brahmagiri, is just behind this temple.
Brahmagiri occupies a prominent place in the history of Trimbakeshwar and since Godavari has its actual origin from the top of this mountain, it is called Ganga Teerth. The water percolates from the rocks into a cave and emerges as a river. According to mythology, it was Shiva who made way for the Godavari to flow from the locks of his hair, thereby making it so sacred. During the month of Shravan, a ‘parikrama’ of the Brahmagiri is performed as a ritual and thousands of devotees arrive here during the entire month.
Later drive to Mumbai, Upon arrival check in at hotel. Rest of the day at leisure.
Overnight in Mumbai
Day 7: Mumbai Departure
Breakfast at hotel
Later driver will drop you at the airport to board the flight back to home.