Archeological Tour of Central India

Tour Route:
Indore - Mandu - Bhopal - Sanchi - Chanderi - Khajuraho - Orchha - Gwalior
Duration:
13 Nights / 14 Days

Day 01 : Arive INDORE - MANDU

Each of Mandu's structures is an architectural gem; some are outstanding like the massive Jami Masjid and Hoshang Shah's tomb, which provided inspiration to the master builders of the Taj Mahal centuries late.
Jahaz Mahal (Ship Palace) :- This ship-like structure was the brainchild of Sultan Ghiyas-ud-din Khilji. The palace served as his harem and was home to 15,000 maidens. Two lakes bound the palace on the eastern and western sides and underpin the illusion of a ship.
Taveli Mahal - Located on the south of Jahaz Mahal, this ancient monument was used as a guardhouse and a stable during the Mughal regime. It now acts as a gallery of Archaeological Survey of India and houses various archaeological findings.
Hindola Mahal (Swing Palace) - It is located near the Jahaz Mahal and is a large hall that is supported by sloping buttresses. It served as a pleasure palace of the Mughals, who organized their evening parties here during the monsoon season.
Champa Baoli - An elaborately constructed step-well, the place was so named as its waters were believed to smell like the 'Champa' flower. A summer retreat of the emperor,; it houses cool wells, underground rooms (Taikhanas) & subterranean bathrooms.
Jami Masjid - This huge edifice, built in 1454, was one of the finest achievements of the Ghauri dynasty. Faced with red sandstone, the monument dominates the village of Mandu and is structured on the 'Omayyed Mosque' in Damascus, Syria.
Tomb of Hoshang Shahh - It lies on the south-west of the Jami Masjid and is believed to be the oldest marble building of India. Sheathed completely in white marble, its design and workmanship greatly influenced Shah Jahan, who sent his architects to study it before building the Taj Mahal.
Ashrafi Mahal - It was built by Mahmud Shah Khilji. Originally constructed as a Muslim religious school (Madrasa), the place was later extended to become his own mausoleum. The building collapsed due to faulty architecture and now stands amidst ruins.
Baz Bahadur's Palace - Located near Rewa Kund, this place was erected in 1509 by Baz Bahadur, the last king of Malwa. It exhibits a skillful blend of Mughal and Rajasthani architectural style, with high terraces, ornate halls and spacious patios.
Rupmati's Pavilion - This fort was originally built as an army observation post and offers some enchanting views of the Narmada gurgling through the Nimar plains below. With its striking pavilions, the fort was used as a summer retreat by the queen.

Day 02 : MANDU - MAHESHWAR

Maheshwar was a glorious city at the dawn of Indian civilization when it was Mahishmati, capital of king Kartivarjun. This temple town on the banks of the river Narmada finds mention in the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Revived to its ancient position of importance by the Holkar queen Rani Ahilyabai of Indore. Maheshwar's temples and mighty fort-complex stand in quiet beauty, mirrored in the river below.
Temples of Maheshwar - Temples of Maheshwar are famous for the unique overhanging balconies. Like temples of olden times in many parts of India, temples here also have intricately crafted walls. And the one thing that will capture your attention will be the exceptionally carved doorway that welcomes you to the world of history. Kaleshwara Temple, Rajarajeshwara Temple, Akhileshwara Temple and Vithaleshwara Temple are the most known temples of the area.
Navdatoli- Archaeological Site - Situated just outside Maheshwar, Navdatoli is an archaeological site that was discovered in the 1950. In the early stages of excavation, painted pottery and microliths were found. But as they dug deeper, it was confirmed that people of many cultures from Lower Paleolithic period till 18th century have resided here. Structures of washed away houses have also been found that tells us that a big flood would have struck this area.

Day 03 : MAHESHWAR - BHOPAL

Bhopal is the capital of the state of Madhya Pradesh , India and also the second largest city in the state. The City of Lakes, as it is often referred to, has its origins dating back as far as the 11th century. It was during this period that the ruling Raja Bhoja contracted leprosy and in turn, was advised to bathe in the healing waters of the lake. Slowly but surely the city of Bhopal was born from where Raja Bhoja and his descendants ruled the Malwa region until the end of the 13th century. Three centuries later it became part of Mughal empire.
Laxmi Narayan Temple - Also known as Birla Temple, Laxmi Narayan temple was built by the Birlas and is commemorated to the Hindu deities, Laxmi & Vishnu. This sandy-yellow edifice, embellished with idols of many Hindu Gods and Goddesses, poses a magnificent sight. Birla Museum, adjoined to its precinct, is a storehouse of art and artifacts that date back to the 12th century. The beautifully carved archway and the trailing green lawns of the place make it a famous tourist draw of Bhopal.
Taj-ul Masjid - One of the largest and most beautiful mosques in India, Taj-ul-Masjid literally means 'The Crown of Mosques' and is an imposing landmark of Bhopal. Its pink fa�ade, coroneted with white-domed minarets, soars to the skyline and stands as a stunning ovation to the rule of Begums in Bhopal. Its construction began under the regime of Shah Jehan Begum, but saw completion after her death. This striking monument is also used as a religious school (madarsa) during the day.
Shaukat Mahal - Shaukat Mahal exhibits Gothic and post-Renaissance architectural patterns and is a beautiful amalgamation of both oriental and occidental architectural styles. Thought to be designed by a Frenchman, it is strikingly different from the other Muslim monuments in its vicinity, especially with the triangular arches that adorn its roof. The white exterior of the building, carved with exquisite floral patterns, makes it stand out amongst all the antique monuments of Bhopal.
Sadar Manzil - Sadar Manzil is located near Shaukat Mahal and is an equally attractive site. Even today, the place highlights the bygone grandeur of the Nawabi era of Bhopal. It served as the hall of public audience of the erstwhile rulers of the place. Sultan Kaikhusrau Jahan Begum, daughter of Shah Jahan Begum, also used it as her private palace. Today, the building houses the headquarters of Bhopal Municipal Corporation.
Moti Masjid - Moti Masjid of Bhopal bears a prominent resemblance to the Jama Masjid of New Delhi. Built by Sikandar Jahan, the daughter of Kudsia Begum, in 1860, this staggering mosque brilliantly displays the heights attained by Islamic art and architecture during the Nawabi era. Fabricated with red sandstone, the highly stylized structure of the mosque is typical of Muslim architecture. It has an arresting marble fa�ade, with two red minarets crowned by golden spikes.
Upper and Lower Lakes - These lakes highly contribute towards beautifying the landscape of Bhopal and are credited as the artwork of Raja Bhoj. The Upper Lake is 6 sq. km. in area and is divided from the Lower Lake by an over bridge. MP Tourism's Yacht Club provides facilities and warrants exciting trips by sail, paddle and motor boats at the Upper Lake. 'Van Vihar' (safari park) and the fish-shaped aquarium near the place also contribute towards its popularity amongst the locals and tourists.

Day 04 : BHOPAL-BHIMBETKA-BHOJPUR-BHOPAL

Bhojpur-Founded by the legendary Parmar King of Dhar, Raja Bhoj (1010-1053), and named after him, Bhojpur, 28 km from Bhopal, is renowned for the remains of its magnificent Shiva temple and Cyclopean dam.The temple which has earned the nomenclature of the Somnath of the east, is known as the Bhojeshwar Temple. The temple was never completed and the earthen ramp used to raise it to dome-level still stands. Had it been completed, it would have had very few rivals. As it is, even with the ravages of time, it remains one of the best examples of temple architecture of the 11th - 13th centuries.
Bhimbetka-Surrounded by the northern fringe of the Vindhyan ranges, Bhimbetka lies 46 km South of Bhopal. In this rocky terrain of dense forest and craggy cliffs, over 600 rock shelters belonging to the Neolithic age were recently discovered. Here, in vivid panoramic detail, paintings in over 500 caves depict the life of the pre-historic cave-dwellers making the Bhimbetka group an archaeological treasure, an invaluable chronicle in the history of man.

Day 05 : BHOPAL-UDAIGIRI-SANCHI

Sanchi is known for its Stupas, monasteries, temples and pillars dating from the 3rd century B.C. to the 12th century A.D. The most famous of these monuments, the Sanchi Stupa 1, was originally built by the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka, the then governor of Ujjayini, whose wife Devi was the daughter of a merchant from adjacent Vidisha. Their son Mahindra and daughter Sanghamitra were born in Ujjayini and sent to Sri Lanka, where they converted the King, the Queen and their people to Buddhism.
Udaigiri-13 km from Sanchi and 4 km from Vidisha are a group of rock-cut cave sanctuaries carved into a sandstone hill that stands sentinel-like on the horizon. An inscription in one of these states that it was produced during the region of Chandragupta II (382-401 AD), thus dating these caves to 4th-5th century AD.

Day 06 : SANCHI - GYARASPUR - UDAYPUR - SAGAR

Gyraspur-41 km north-east of Sanchi, Gyraspur was a place of considerable importance in the medieval period. Here in the ruins called Athkhamba (Eight Pillars) and Chaukhambe (Four Pillars) are what remain of the columned halls of two temples belonging to the 9th and 10th centuries AD. The faceted shafts of Athakhambe, with their extreme delicacy of carving, testify to the high degree of craftsmanship during the period. Other monuments of note at Gyraspur are of the early 10th century: Bajra Math and the Mala Devi Temple, the latter distinguished by its carved pillars with foliate motifs, representative of the richest post-Gupta style.
Udaypur-93 km from Sanchi via vidisha and ganj basoda. The colossal Neelkanteshwar temple here is an outstanding example of Parmara art and architecture of the 11th century AD. The crowning beauty of this temple is its well proportioned and gracefully designed spire and delicately carved medallions adorning its sides. Built of fine red sandstone and standing on a lofty platform, the temple consists of a garba-griha (shrine room), a sabha mandap hall) and three pravesha mandaps (entrance porches).Bijamandal, Sahi Masjid and Mahal, Sher Khan-ki-Masjid and Pisnari-ke-Mandir are some of the other monuments in Udaypur.

Day 07 : SAGAR-ERAN-CHANDERI

Eran is the site of first reported monument of Sati dated 510 AD in India.The archaeological site nearby Eran has revealed several Gupta inscriptions. The village of Eran has a most interesting collection of archaeological relics. There is a fort in rulings attributed to the Dangis, who formerly dominated over this region. The site had a number of Vishnu shrines but nothing now remains except some of the lower courses of masonry, four standing columns with their architrave and some beams and part of door ways. The Principal statue is a colossal Varahaabout 10 feet high. The excavation conducted by the Department of Archeology of the University of Sagar have yielded relics similar to those found at Maheshwar and Tripuri showing that Eran formed the Northern most limit of the Chalcolithic culture in Madhya Pradesh.Excavations were carried out at Eran in 1960-61 to 1964-65; and 1987-88.Excavations at Eran have revealed about the earliest fort built by mud ramparts. Prof. K.D. Bajpai has studied coins from Eran excavations and has done a chronological analysis.He has given a note on �Svabhoganagara� in the Eran inscription of Samudragupta.
The documented history of Chanderi goes back to the early 11th century and is a kaleidoscope of movement and activity prompted by its strategic location. On the borders of Malwa and Bundelkhand, the town dominated the trade routes of Central India and was proximate to the arterial route to the ancient ports of Gujarat as well as to Malwa, Mewar, Central India and the Deccan. Consequently, Chanderi became an important military outpost, prized by rulers with power or ambition, and repeatedly experienced the might of men who moulded the destiny of Hindustan.

Day 08 : CHANDERI-DEOGARH-CHANDERI

Deogarh is a village near the town of Lalitpur in Lalitpur district, in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, India. It is known for the monuments, on and near, the hill fort on the right bank of the Betwa River. A plethora of ancient monuments of Hindu and Jain religions are found within and outside the walls of the fort.The hill fort contains a cluster of Jain temples the oldest of which date to the 8th and 9th centuries.

Day 09 : CHANDERI-KHAJURAHO

In the temple architecture of India, the Khajuraho complex remains unique. One thousand years ago, under the generous and artistic patronage of the Chandela Rajput kings of Central India, 85 temples, magnificent in form and richly carved, came up on one site, near the village of Khajuraho. The amazingly short span of 100 years, from 950 AD - 1050 AD, saw the completion of all the temples, in an inspired burst of creativity. Today, of the original 85, only 22 have survived the ravages of time; these remain as a collective paean to life, to joy and to creativity; to the ultimate fusion of man with his creator.

Day 10 : KHAJURAHO

The architectural style of the Khajuraho temples is very different from the temple prototype of that period. Each stands, instead of within the customary enclosure, on a high masonry platform. Combined with the upward direction of the structure, which is further accentuated by vertical projections, the total effect is one of grace and lightness, reminiscent of the Himalayan peaks. Each of the chief compartments has its own roof, grouped in such a way that the highest is in the centre, the lowest over the portico, a triumph of skill and imagination in recreating the rising peaks of a range.The temples of Khajuraho are divided into three geographical groups: Western, Eastern and Southern.

Day 11 : KHAJURAHO-ORCHHA

Orchha was founded in the 16th century by the Bundela Rajput chieftain, Rudra Pratap, who chose this stretch of land along the Betwa river as an ideal site for his capital. Of the succeeding rulers, the most notable was Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo who built the exquisite Jehangir Mahal, a tiered palace crowned by graceful chhatris. From here the view of soaring temple spires and cenotaphs is spectacular.Complementing the noble proportions of their exteriors are interiors which represent the finest flowering of the Bundela school of painting. In the Laxminarayan Temple and Raj Mahal, vibrant murals encompassing a variety of religious and secular themes, bring the walls and ceilings to rich life.

Day 11 : ORCHHA-DATIA-GWALIOR

Datia -69 km from Gwalior, on the Delhi-Chennai main line, Datia is a town whose antiquity can be traced back to the Mahabharata. A town of great historic significance, Datia's seven-storeyed palace built entirely of stone and brick by Raja Bir Singh Deo in 1614, is considered to be one of the finest examples of Bundela architecture in the country. Within the palace are some fine wall paintings of the Bundela school. An interesting blending of cultures can be seen in the frescoes in a temple; Datia's other attraction is its imposing Gopeshwar Temple.

Day 11 : GWALIOR-PADAVALI-BATESHWAR-GWALIOR

Padavali is famous for the magnificent temple built on the fortress of Padavali. The temple displays classic architecture, which can be equated with any of the famous temples. This marvelous temple depicts the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu, Ram Leela, Krishna Leela, Mahabharat, marriage of Lord Ganesha, and Samudra Manthan. The image of Lord Shiva dancing in the cemetery in Preta form is a specialty of this beautiful shrine. An abode of numerous Hindu gods and goddesses, devotees will be enriched with devotion by the holy darshan. The Bateshwar valley is famous for the numerous temples, most of which are in a ruined condition. The popular belief is that the statues found here are the creations of the Mother Nature. The valley is blessed with lustrous greenery, which makes the surroundings serene and mesmerizing. Situated in a strategic location near to Padavali, the Bateshwar valley attracts thousands of tourist every year.

Day 11 : GWALIOR DEP TRF

End of the tours .