Central India Exploration (8 Days and 7 Nights)

Gwalior - Orchha - Khajuraho - Panna Tiger Reserve - Delhi
Arrival in Gwalior by a flight. Drive to a hotel for check-in and lunch. Gwalior is geographically located in the centre of India, in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Its lofty forts, magnificent palaces and ancient temples tell the tale of its rich history and tradition.

Post lunch, visit to the Jai Vilas Palace. This magnificent palace was built in 1874 by Jayajirao Scindia, the king of Gwalior. The architecture of the palace is a blend of various European architectural styles. A section of the palace consisting of 40 rooms was converted into a museum in 1964. The museum has a fine collection of weapons, paintings and other belongings of the royal family. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.
After breakfast, visit to the Gwalior Fort Complex. The colossal Gwalior fort is located on a sandstone hill. It is believed to be constructed by the king Suraj Sen during the 3rd – 8th century AD. Subsequent rulers made additions to the fort, making the overall architecture quite diverse. During your visit today, you will explore the Man Singh Palace, the Jahangir Palace, the Hawa Mahal, the Vikram Palace, the Gujari Mahal Archaeological Museum and the Johar Kund. Another visit to the fort complex will be made the next day to go through the unexplored section.

Post lunch, you will visit the glorious Sun Temple. This architectural masterpiece was built in 1988 by a well-known industrialist cum philanthropist, Mr. G.D. Birla. The temple is a replica of the medieval Sun Temple of Konark, located in the Indian state of Odisha. The exquisitely carved temple is made of pink sandstone. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
Another visit to the Gwalior Fort Complex where you will explore the Sahastrabahu Temple, the Assi Khamba Ki Baori, the Teli’s Temple and some monuments associated with the Jain faith.

The Assi Khamba Ki Baori is a step-well which was made for rainwater harvesting. It has 80 pillars supporting the structure, thus the name Assi Khamba. Eighty is written as Assi in Hindi/Urdu. When under siege by enemy forces, the Assi Khamba Ki Baori would fulfill the water requirement of the residents of the Gwalior Fort Complex.

The Sahastrabahu temple has impressive architecture of the Bhumija style. In the absence of concrete evidences, many historians believe that temple was constructed during the 9th – 11th century AD by the king Mahipala of the Kachchhapaghata dynasty. The principal deity of the temple is Lord Vishnu.

The Teli’s Temple is an ancient temple believed to be constructed during the 8th - 9th century AD. A fusion of various architectural styles of India is seen in the architecture of this temple. Lord Vishnu is the principal deity of the temple.

The Gopachal Parvat is the largest of the five rock-cut clusters of Jain monuments in Gwalior. There are 22 gigantic statues of the Jain Gurus which are 47 feet tall. According to historians, the statues were constructed during the 7th-15th century AD by the kings of the Tomar dynasty.

Post lunch, visit to the Sarafa Bazar; a popular marketplace, and the commercial centre of Gwalior. It is renowned for handicrafts, jewellery, handlooms and local street food. Return to the hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
Drive to the historical town of Orchha (120 km, 2.5 hours). Hotel check-in will be followed by lunch. The erstwhile capital of the kingdom of Bundelkhand, Orchha, transports one to medieval times. With a backdrop of the picturesque Vindhya mountains, the artistically crafted palaces, forts and temples tell the tale of the bygone era.

Post lunch, visit to the Orchha Fort Complex which includes three prominent architectural masterpieces: the Raja Mahal, the Jahangir Mahal and the Sheesh Mahal. The Raja Mahal is a 15th century palace, which was constructed by the king Rudra Pratap Singh. The external appearance of the Raja Mahal is modest, but it has fascinating mural work on its inner walls and ceilings. The Jahangir Mahal was built in the 17th century by the king Bir Singh Deo to welcome the Mughal emperor Jahangir. The palace is known for its latticework and is an exquisite representation of the Mughal and the Bundela architecture.
Post breakfast, visit to the Laxmi Narayan Temple, the Chaturbhuj Temple and the royal cenotaphs. You will then check-out from the hotel and proceed to Khajuraho (180 km, 3 hours). On arrival, check-in at a hotel for overnight stay. In the evening, you will watch a sound and light show about the history of Khajuraho.

Khajuraho was the religious capital of the Chandela Rajputs dynasty. To keep politics distinct from religious activities, the Chandelas had two capitals for its kingdom. Mohba was the administrative capital of the Chandela kingdom and Khajuraho was the religious capital. The temples were built under the rein of successive Chandela rulers during the period of 950-1050 AD. Out of the 85 temples, only 22 have survived the test of time. These temples are listed under the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The day’s excursion will include the exploration of the fascinating Eastern, Western and South-eastern groups of temples, which are dedicated to Hindu and Jain deities. The Kandariya Mahadev Temple, The Lakshman Temple and The Matangeshwar Temples are the most popular among the Western Group of Temples. The Adinath and The Javari Temple are quite popular and most visited among the Eastern Group of Temples. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.
After breakfast, drive to Panna (26 km, 45 minutes) where you will check-in at a hotel. In the afternoon, jeep safari in the Panna Tiger Reserve. The tiger reserve came into existence in 1994 when government of India brought the Panna National Park under the Project Tiger Reserve. The reserve is located on either side of the Ken River, which flows from south to north through the lower Vindhya Hills formations within the park. The reserve is spread over 1645 square km. Royal Bengal Tiger, leopard, wild dog, wolf, hyenas, caracal, smaller cats, sloth bear and deer are the mammals who abide in the reserve along with 200 species of birds.
Morning safari in the Panna Tiger Reserve. Post lunch, drive to Khajuraho Airport to fly to New Delhi. You would then proceed to your onward destination. The tour concludes.
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