Amritsar Amritsar was founded in 1577 by Guru Ram Das, the fourth guru of Sikhs. It’s the spiritual capital of the Sikhs and gained its name, meaning "Holy Pool of Nectar", from the body of water around the Golden Temple. The exquisite Golden Temple attracts pilgrims from all over the world. It looks particularly arresting at night when it’s beautifully lit up, with its imposing pure gold dome illuminated.
4.- Rishikesh Rishikesh, the birthplace of yoga, is a popular place to come and meditate, do yoga, and learn about other aspects of Hinduism. It’s situated on the banks of the Ganges River, surrounded by hills on three sides, not far from Haridwar in Uttarakhand. Rishikesh lures those seeking knowledge and peace with its numerous ashrams and yoga institutes. It's particularly popular with spiritual seeking foreigners, while Haridwar holds more significance for Hindu pilgrims.
3.- Bodhgaya Bodhgaya is the most important Buddhist pilgrimage place in the world. Located in the state of Bihar, it’s here that Lord Buddha became enlightened during intense meditation under a Bodhi tree. The exact spot is now marked by the sprawling Mahabodhi Temple complex. The town is also home to dozens of Buddhist monasteries. Those who are interested will find plenty of meditation and Buddhism courses and retreats on offer.
2.- Varanasi Varanasi, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, is another of the seven sacred Hindu cities with a very old history. Known as the city of Lord Shiva, the god of creation and destruction, it’s believed that anyone who dies here will be liberated from the cycle of reincarnation. The fascinating thing about this mystical city is that its rituals are revealed openly to along the many riverside ghats. It's an intense city that attracts Hindu pilgrims and foreigners alike.
1.- Haridwar Ancient Haridwar (the "Gateway to God") is one of the seven holiest places in India, and one of the oldest living cities. Located at the foothills of the Himalayas in Uttarakhand, it's particularly popular with Hindu pilgrims who come to take a dip in the holy waters of the fast flowing Ganges River and wash away their sins. Unlike Varanasi, the water is clean and fresh in Haridwar. The evening Ganga Aarti holds special appeal.
South India is home to ancient civilisations, bustling modern cities, mountains, forests, exotic wildlife, temples, beaches and backwaters. This tour takes in a variety of destinations while still giving you the chance to see local life up close and engage with the wonderfully warm and friendly people who call this land home. Day 1 On arrival in Chennai you’ll be met and introduced to your driver. Depart immediately and drive 90 minutes south to the beachside town of Mahabalipuram. Overnight in Mahabalipuram. Day 2 Your first full day in India will be relatively low-key with a half-day sightseeing tour of the ancient monuments of Mahabalipuram in the afternoon, after a morning spent acclimatizing and perhaps strolling on the beach. Overnight in Mahabalipuram. Day 3 Day excursion to the temple town of Kanchipuram, one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites in southern India. On the way back to Mahabalipuram you will visit the Cultural Village of Dakshinachitra and the Crocodile Bank - a unique centre for the study of these amazing reptiles. Overnight in Mahabalipuram. Day 4 Departing Mahabalipuram the next stop is at Trichy, another of Tamil Nadu’s important Temple Cities and home to Srirangam and Rock Fort Temples. The climb to the top of Rock Fort is rewarded with views over the city and Srirangam temple, one of the largest in Asia. Rock Fort Bazaar is a very interesting market, seething with people and a great place to buy almost anything. Overnight in Trichy. Day 5 Leave Trichy after breakfast and drive 3 hours to Madurai. Later in the day visit Meenakshi Temple and the Nayak Palace, with free time in the late afternoon to explore the markets of Madurai, the second largest city in Tamil Nadu and one of its most fascinating. Overnight in Madurai. Day 6 Early morning visit to the famous Madurai flower markets, and after breakfast drive 4 hours to Periyar, high in the hills of the Western Ghats. Options for the afternoon include guided trekking in the forests of the famous Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, a visit to a spice plantation, bamboo rafting or a chance to ride, feed and bathe an elephant. Overnight in Periyar. Day 7 Leaving the hills, drive down to Kumarakom on the shores of Vembanad Lake and board your private houseboat. This is one of the quintessential experiences of South India - cruising the unique backwaters of Kerala. Overnight on the houseboat. Day 8 Disembark the houseboat and drive 2 hours to Cochin. Afternoon sightseeing around historic Fort Cochin, a major trading port for centuries and home to a multitude of cultural influences. Overnight in Fort Cochin. Day 9 Full day drive to Wayanad- a remote district in the north of Kerala. Overnight in Wayanad. Day 10 A day in the Wayanad district where you can go trekking, visit a wildlife sanctuary by jeep or see some of the local attractions which include India’s oldest Neolithic rock carvings and ancient Jain temples in the forests. Overnight in Wayanad. Day 11 Morning drive down to Mysore and in the afternoon visit the famous flower market and sumptuous Mysore palace. If you happen to be in Mysore on a Sunday you Can see the amazing sight of the nearly 100,000 lights of the palace being turned on. Overnight in Mysore. Day 12 Depart Mysore and drive to Hassan, en route visiting the giant Jain statue at Sravanabelgola. Later in the day you will be able to see two of the most intricate temples in south India- the Hoysala Dynasty structures at Belur and Halebid. Overnight in Hassan. Day 13 Full day drive to Hospet; settle in to your accommodation ahead of the next two days at Hampi which is 12km/20 minutes from Hospet. Day 14 and 15 2 full days are needed to do justice to this remarkable site- spend one day with a guide to get some background and understanding of the history of Hampi, and on the second day explore at your own pace. Overnight in Hospet Day 16 A full day excursion to the temples and caves at Aihole, Pattadakal and Badami. Overnight Badami. Day 17 Drive west to the coast and the world famous beaches of Goa, India’s smallest state. Overnight in Goa Day 18 and 19 Wind down with 2 days relaxing on the beach. If you are interested in the history of Goa, a full day tour is an option. Overnight in Goa. Day 20 Morning flight to Mumbai, where you will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel. In the afternoon, visit some of the many highlights of Mumbai including the Gateway of India, the Dhobi Ghats (probably the world’s largest open-air laundry), the Hanging Gardens and historic colonial buildings of south Mumbai. Overnight in Mumbai. Day 21 Morning visit to the rock-cut temples at Elephanta Caves, on Elephanta Island in the middle of Mumbai Harbour. Later in the day transfer to Mumbai airport for your flight home. Madurai- Flowers Market Goa Beaches Vembanad lake http://www.indianpanorama.in/201sth_india.html