Central India Exploration (8 Days and 7 Nights)

Gwalior - Orchha - Khajuraho - Panna Tiger Reserve - Delhi
Arrive in Gwalior by flight. Drive to a hotel for check-in and lunch. Gwalior is geographically located in the center 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.

After lunch, visit the Jai Vilas Palace. This magnificent palace was built in 1874 AD 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 the Gwalior Fort Complex. The colossal Gwalior fort is located on a sandstone hill and is believed to have been constructed by King Suraj Sen during the 3rd – 8th century AD. Subsequent rulers made additions to the fort, resulting in diverse architecture. During your visit today, 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 explore the unexplored sections.

Post lunch, visit the glorious Sun Temple. This architectural masterpiece was built in 1988 AD by the well-known industrialist and 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, Assi Khamba Ki Baori, Teli’s Temple, and some monuments associated with the Jain faith.

Assi Khamba Ki Baori is a step-well designed for rainwater harvesting, with 80 pillars supporting the structure, hence the name Assi Khamba. Eighty is written as Assi in Hindi/Urdu. During sieges by enemy forces, Assi Khamba Ki Baori provided water for the residents of the Gwalior Fort Complex.

The Sahastrabahu temple showcases impressive Bhumija style architecture. While concrete evidence is lacking, many historians believe it was built during the 9th – 11th century AD by King Mahipala of the Kachchhapaghata dynasty, with Lord Vishnu as the principal deity.

The Teli’s Temple, an ancient structure believed to date back to the 8th - 9th century AD, features a fusion of various Indian architectural styles. Lord Vishnu is worshipped as the principal deity here.

Gopachal Parvat houses the largest cluster of rock-cut Jain monuments in Gwalior, with 22 gigantic statues of Jain Gurus towering at 47 feet. Historians attribute their construction to the kings of the Tomar dynasty during the 7th-15th century AD.

After lunch, visit Sarafa Bazar, a popular marketplace and commercial hub 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 a bygone era. Post lunch, visit 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 AD palace constructed by King Rudra Pratap Singh. While the external appearance of the Raja Mahal is modest, its inner walls and ceilings are adorned with fascinating mural work. The Jahangir Mahal, built in the 17th century AD by King Bir Singh Deo to welcome the Mughal emperor Jahangir, is known for its latticework and serves as an exquisite representation of Mughal and Bundela architecture.
Post breakfast, visit the Laxmi Narayan Temple, the Chaturbhuj Temple, and the royal cenotaphs. Afterward, check out from the hotel and proceed to Khajuraho (180 km, 3 hours). Upon arrival, check in at a hotel for overnight stay. In the evening, enjoy a sound and light show depicting the history of Khajuraho. Khajuraho served as the religious capital of the Chandela Rajputs dynasty, while Mohba was their administrative capital. The temples in Khajuraho were constructed under the reign of successive Chandela rulers between 950 and 1050 AD. Out of the original 85 temples, only 22 have survived and are now listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The day’s excursion will include the exploration of the fascinating Eastern, Western, and South-eastern groups of temples, 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, enjoy a jeep safari in the Panna Tiger Reserve. The tiger reserve came into existence in 1994, when the government of India designated the Panna National Park as a 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 Tigers, leopards, wild dogs, wolves, hyenas, caracals, smaller cats, sloth bears, and deer are some of the mammals that inhabit the reserve, along with 200 species of birds.
Morning safari in the Panna Tiger Reserve. After lunch, drive to Khajuraho Airport to fly to New Delhi. From there, you will proceed to your onward destination. The fascinating exploration of central India comes to an end.
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