East-North India Photography Tour
Kolkata takes you on a journey to all the architectural marvels of European legacy specially focusing on Dalhousie Square. Culture Kaleidoscope encompasses everything that makes this city a multi ethnic city in its true sense. From Synagogues to Chinese food, this tour has every cultural flavor that you can ask for in the city. Mesmerizing markets, as the name suggests, takes you close to all the bustling market places in the city. The history, people, architecture, heritage makes up this beautiful city.
Darjeeling popularly known as the Queen of Hills is located in the Shivalink hills of the lower range of the Himalayas. Like most hill stations in India, the British developed Darjeeling as a respite from the summer heat in the plains. Guests are welcomed by its serene atmosphere, view of the snowline, scented pines and a golden colored brew of the famous Darjeeling tea and not forgetting the World Heritage - Toy Train.
Varanasi, one of the world’s oldest living cities, is rightly called the religious capital of India. Also known as Banaraas or Benara. It rests on the left bank of the holy river Ganga, and is one of the seven sacred spots for Hindus. Every devout Hindu hopes to visit the city at least once in a lifetime, take a holy dip at the famous ghats of the Ganga, walk the pious Panchakosi road that bounds the city, and if god will, die here in old age.
Agra is a major tourist attraction as it contains one of the seven wonders of the world - Taj Mahal. Agra is an ancient city situated on the river Yamuna. The city has been described as Agraba in the epic Mahabharata. The city was the capital of Lodhi Kingdom and later on served the same for Mughals. During 16th and 17th century the city was developed as art, culture, commerce and learning centre by Mughal kings like Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan.
Day 01: Arrive Kolkata
Upon arrival in Kolkata, meet and assist and then transfer to your hotel. O/N in Hotel.
Day 02: Kolkata
Today the tour of this vibrant city is begun with the Jain Temple also known as the "Jewel Box Temple of Calcutta". It is situated in the northeast of the city. This temple of exquisite design and construction is dedicated to the 10th of the 24 Jain Tirthankaras and is an ornate mass of mirrors, colored stones and glass mosaics. After this we move to see Kumartolli (place where craftsman make idols). Kolkata is famous for its festivals (PUJAS) round the year and this is the place where the idols are made. It is very interesting to see the craftsman making idols without using any machinery. Finally we move to College Street (one of asia's largest book market), have a cup of coffee at the famous "Coffee Shop" where one can see the young turks gossiping and feel the pulse of the culture.
Lunch Break at AAHELI (Bengali Thali at Peerless Inn).
After Lunch visit the PARK STREET CEMETRY one of the oldest cemetery of the country. Next we visit Mother Teresa House, here lies the mother’s tomb, a photo gallery on Mother Teresa and her works. Finally we visit Kali Temple. It is a great pilgrimage center of the Hindus and is situated at Kalighat. The original temple was built some 350 years ago. A legend goes that when the corpse of sati, wife of lord Shiva was cut into pieces by the Sudarshan Chakra, one of her fingers fell here. O/N in hotel.
Day 03: Kolkata
Today the tour of this sprawling city begins with the Howrah Bridge; this bridge is built on river Hooghly and connects the city of Kolkata with the industrial town of Howrah. After which you are taken to the daily flower market to see the normal life of the common man with the different colors of flower. We now drive pass the Dalhousie Square where we see the Writers Building (State Secretariat), Raj Bhawan (Governor House), General Post Office Building, Kolkata High Court, Kolkata Town Hall and the St.John's Church. The next stop would be to the wholesale fruit market (Machua) and Raj Badis of Kolkata, which will give us an idea of the lifestyle of the Zamidars during the british raj.
Followed by Lunch Break at OH Calcutta ! (Anglo Indian Bengali Lunch)
Immediately after Lunch we see the Victoria Memorial. It is a massive domed building of white marble from Rajasthan. It was inaugurated in 1921 by the Prince of Wales (later, briefly, Edward VIII). It houses a collection of Victoria memorabilia and also history related objects and documents on Bengal. In the park in which the memorial stands are statues of Queen Victoria, Lord Curzon and other figures of the Raj. Here, on weekends, people picnic, families meet for matchmaking, and transiting pilgrims bring flowers to the statue of “Maharani Victoria”. Continue on to one of the largest and most impressive museums in India, the Indian Museum, founded in 1814 on the basis of the collection of the Asiatic Society. Its widely varied exhibits include such oddities as a roomful of meteorites and a number of (stuffed) man-eating crocodiles. It has an impressive archaeology and sculpture department with a superb collection of Gandharan Buddhist art, as well as works from Khajuraho, Bhairat and many other important sites.
Day 04: Fly Kolkata/Bagdogra & drive Darjeeling
After breakfast transfer to airport to board your flight for Bagdogra. Upon arrival, meet and assist and drive to Darjeeling (90 kms/04 hrs). This four hours drive will give you an opportunity to view the beautiful landscapes, tea gardens, toy train etc. O/ in hotel.
Day 05: Darjeeling
Early morning excursion to Tigerhill to the see the sunrise over the Himalayas. The Tiger Hill is located about 11 km from Darjeeling, at an altitude of 2555 meters above the sea level. The dawn view of Kanchenjunga, the highest mount after Mount Everest and K2, and other eastern peaks of the Himalayas is excellent (weather permitting) after that visit Ghoom Monastery, This Monastery (Yiga Choeling) is one of the oldest Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries in Darjeeling which was built in the year 1850 and back to the hotel. After breakfast enjoy toy train (joy ride) and then visit Tibetan Refugee Self Help Center, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and Zoo. PM : Photography in and around Darjeeling.
Day 06: Darjeeling
Full day photography around tea estate to see the tea plucking and manufacturing of World famous Darjeeling Tea. Darjeeling produces the world’s most aromatic variety of tea. The unusual mixture of soil, altitude, sunshine, rainfall and the character of the people help Darjeeling produce the most fragrant of teas – called the Champagne of teas. It was around 1834 when Lord William Bentinck appointed a committee “ to consider the question of importing seeds and plants from China, to decide upon most favorable localities for growing them”
Day 07: Drive to Bagdogra/Fly to Varanasi
After breakfast, drive to Bagdogra airport to board your flight to Varanasi. Upon arrival, meet and assist and then transfer to your hotel. P.M. Visit the city/old city later proceed for evening aarti/Boat ride on the Ganges. The beautiful ritual unfolds every evening on the banks of the Ganga with brass lamps, accompanied with chants and a multitude of people in attendance. An hour before the aarti is due to begin, five elevated planks are placed at the edge of the steps, the big brass lamps are readied, the pujaris (priests) don identitical dhotis and kurtas and the steps leading to the ghat quickly get filled -- a flotilla of boats converge on the riverbank with camera-sporting tourists in eager attention-cum-curiosity. The brass lamps weigh around four-and-a-half kilos and look beautiful under the night sky. Incense-filled smoke rises forth from the ritual as bhajans rent the air.
Day 08: Varanasi
Early morning boat ride on the Ganges. Here you will see the various activities and professionals related to the religious death ceremonies. After that visit the Akaras – Traditional school of Indian wrestling. Walk Walk through the narrow lanes in the heart of the city to capture the small shrines, residences, people, shops and lodgings for pilgrims etc. Back to hotel for breakfast. After breakfast, visit the Ashrams and Bazaar.
P.M. Walking tour in the old part (along with the river Ganges) which is very fascinating.
Day 09: Fly Varanasi/Delhi
After breakfast, transfer to airport to board your flight for Delhi. Upon arrival, meet and assist and then transfer to your hotel. P.M. Proceed to Old Delhi where you can take a brief rickshaw ride on the busy Chadni Chow Market and later visit Jama Masjid. It is the oldest mosque in India. It stands across the road in front of the Red Fort. Built between 1644 and 1658, Jama Masjid is one of the architectural works of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jaha.
Day 10: Delhi – Agra (230 kms/04 to 05 hrs)
After breakfast, drive to Agra. P.M. Visit Agra Fort. Akbar the grandson of Barber laid the foundation of Agra Fort. He began construction of the majestic fort in 1565 when he was only 23 years old. This imposing red sandstone structure is the finest example of craftsmanship of the Mughal Era. Later visit the famous wonder – Taj Mahal. It is a vivid poetry in Marbel. A marvelous piece of Pietra Dura (the stone inlay work) and a monument dedicated to eternal love or the eight wonder in the world. Built by Shahajahan, the fifth ruler of India in 1631 AD, the mausoleum is a tribute to his second wife, advisor and soulmate, Mumtaz Mahal.
Day 11: Agra – Delhi
Early morning, again visit Taj Mahal (sunrise), and then visit the local market. After noon drive back to Delhi.
Day 12: Departure
Final departure transfer to airport to board flight for onward journey.