DAY 01: ARRIVE MUMBAI

Arrive Mumbai by flight.

Meeting upon arrival at the International airport by our representative & transfer to hotel. Mumbai (Bombay) is the vibrant and pulsating capital of Maharashtra. For over a century, Mumbai has been a commercial and industrial centre of India with a magnificent harbour, imposing multi-storeyed buildings, crowded thoroughfares, busy markets, shopping centers and beautiful tourist spots. The British acquired Mumbai from the Portuguese in 1665 and handed it over to the East India Company in 1671 for a handsome annual rent of Sterling Pounds 10 in Gold! Later, these seven islands were joined together by causeways and bridges in 1862.

Overnight in Mumbai

DAY 02: IN MUMBAI

After breakfast at hotel, proceed for an excursion to Elephanta Caves.

The Elephanta Caves is 22 Kms off the coast of Bombay and an hour’s ride by motor launch from the Gateway of India. The cave temples of Elephanta date back to the 7th century. Four rows of massive columns cut into solid rock form three magnificent avenues, leading to the outstanding three-headed sculpture representing Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the Destroyer. Dedicated to Shiva, the beauty and power of these phenomenal sculptures, depicting the various manifestations of Shiva, is overpowering.

Afternoon: Proceed for City tour of Mumbai visiting the 19th century Jain Temple with its silver doors, the Kamala Nehru Park and the Ferozshah Mehta Gardens known as the Hanging Gardens of Bombay and the Towers of Silence where the Parsis dispose their dead. Visit Mani Bhavan where Mahatma Gandhi spent 17 years of his life working for the freedom of India. The Prince of Wales Museum has an excellent collection of miniatures.

Overnight in Mumbai

DAY 03: MUMBAI / KARLA & BHAJA / MUMBAI

After breakfast at the hotel, proceed for day excursion to 2nd century BC old Karla & Bhaja caves. Nestling in the hills of Lonavala and 115 kms from Mumbai on Mumbai-Pune Highway, these rock-cut caves are the oldest and finest examples of early Buddhist temple art in India. The Karla cave, the largest early Buddhist shrine in India, imitates the look of more familiar wooden architecture. The impress structure of the largest Chaitya Hall includes a representation of the Buddha and an aisle made up of 37 pillars and carved elephant heads, which once had real ivory tusks.

The Bhaja caves complex, which is very close to Karva cave, comprises of 18 caves and 14 stupas. All these caves are rich in vihaas, beautiful carvings and storytelling inscriptions.

Bedsa caves are one of the most old in Maharashtra. The history of the caves can be traced back up to 1st century BC. There are two main caves. The best known cave is the chaitya (prayer hall) with comparatively large stupa, the other cave is monastery - vihara. Bedsa completes the Trio kept incomplete by Karla and Bhaja. There is a village named Bedsa near the caves. These are at the south of Raut wadi.
Later return to Mumbai

Overnight in Mumbai

DAY 04: MUMBAI / AURANGABAD

After an early morning breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the airport to board an early morning flight for Aurangabad. Meeting upon arrival and transfer to the hotel.

Aurangabad is the main town in the inland plateau of Maharashtra named after Aurangzeb, the last of the six great Mughal Emperors.

Later in the afternoon, proceed for a day excursion to Ellora caves. 30 kms from Aurangabad lie the finest rock cut cave temples of Ellora (4th & 9th century) which encompasses the three religions - Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The Buddhist shrines are relatively simple and austere but the Hindu temples are marvelously elaborate. Of the 34 caves that are both monasteries and temples, the most remarkable is the magnificent Kailasa temple. The entire structure has been carved out of a monolith and took over 100 years to complete. The temple itself is decorated with themes and incidents from the puranas, in a manner that leaves one in rapturous delight! Recently, 28 new Caves have been discovered dating between 9th & 13th centuries. The new caves are in three clusters around pools of water formed by streams flowing into the Velurganga River. According to a legend, Lord Shiva created the river by striking the rock of the Ellora Caves with his trident to quench the thirst of Parvati.

Overnight in Aurangabad

DAY 05: IN AURANGABAD

After a breakfast at the hotel, proceed for day excursion to Ajanta caves.
The Ajanta caves are located 100kms northeast of Aurangabad in the Waghora Valley. These magnificent rock-cut caves, 30 in number, date from 2nd Century BC to 7th Century AD. They are exclusively Buddhist and unique in that they combine three forms of Art architecture, sculpture and painting. The superb frescoes and paintings depict episodes from the Jataka stories and the life of Lord Buddha.

Overnight in Aurangabad

DAY 06: AURANGABAD / MUMBAI / DEPART

After breakfast at the hotel, visit Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Museum and Memorial and also visit Daulatabad Fort – also known as Devgiri and founded in 1187 by Bhillama I, the prince, who established the power of the Yadava dynasty in the west. Later Muhammad bin Tughlaq changed its name to Daulatabad (Abode of prosperity) and made it his capital.

Later in the evening, transfer to airport in time to board flight to Mumbai. Upon arrival, connect flight for onward destination.

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