The Heart and Soul of India

Into the wild and ancient heart of India

The Heart and Soul of India

  • India
  • 14 Days
  • Delhi | Varanasi | Khaujraho | Bandhavgarh National Park | Jaipur | Agra
  • Bengal tigers in Banhdvagarh
  • Intricate sculptures of Khajuraho
  • Delhi’s Mughal and British imprints
  • Taj Mahal and other Mughal monuments
  • Amber Fort at Jaipur
  • The evening aarti at Varanasi


If you stick a pin in the centre of the country, it’s likely to mark Madhya Pradesh right in the heart of India. The state is home to the largest number of wildlife sanctuaries in the country, keeping a green cover for its inhabitants – chital, langur, monkeys, snakes, Indian gaur, black bucks and most of all, the elusive Bengal tiger. This is the place that Rudyard Kipling conceived his adventures for the famous ‘Jungle Book’ and immortalised the region forever. While Madhya Pradesh lies in the centre and becomes the inevitable and literal epicentre, there are other cities that resonate the distinct personality of India – in effect, showcasing its very soul.

These are Delhi, Agra, Khajuraho, Jaipur and the ancient Varanasi. This trip showcases some of the most integral heritage centres of the country, ones that shaped its current form. For travellers, you get to walk in the steps of valiant Kings, and follow the trajectory of Gods in Varanasi. The ‘Heart and Soul of India’ offers a wholesome window to the northern states of the country, a sample of what lies in store in the rest of the nation.



Delhi : You will be met on arrival at the Delhi airport and then transferred to the hotel. Spend the remainder of the day at leisure and overnight at the hotel.


Delhi : Start the day at the oldest quarters of Delhi, Chandi Chowk. Its bustling lanes, crammed with shops, ancient mosques and temple, and shanties with local snacks make this an atmospheric cache of sights. Visit one of the largest mosques in India, Jama Masjid in a rickshaw. Later in the day, head to Akshardham, a stunning Hindu temple complex that showcases vestiges of the faith in its sculptures and peaceful sanctum. Overnight at the hotel.


Delhi – Varanasi : Take the morning flight to Varanasi, said to be the oldest living city in the world, situated on the banks of the River Ganga. Wend through its thriving streets in time for the evening aarti – a prayer ceremony with oil lamps. Stacks of boats, weighed under tourists converge to the ghats (steps) where the aarti takes place.


Varanasi : Early mornings are the best time to explore Varanasi on boat. You’ll find a number of slim and large boats plying devotees, spiritual seekers or just curious travellers on the river highway, with the stepped banks and ancient temples on one side. You can see the ‘burning ghats’, where regular cremations take place – sometimes as many as 300 in a day – and bright temples thronging with devotees. The sight is a memorable one. In the afternoon, a walking tour of the old city gives you an insight into the weaving industry in the narrow maze of lanes, a flourishing street food business and the wonder of living in harmony in the slimmest streets possible. Overnight at the hotel.


Varanasi – Khajuraho : This morning, a morning flight takes you to the temple city of Khajuraho, primarily known for a number of erotic sculptures on the walls of some of the oldest temple walls of the country. After check-in, embark on a small walk through the town to unravel the mysteries of these intricate sculptures and why they were made. Khajuraho is one of the UNESCO accredited historic sites in India. End the evening with an impressive sound and light show. Overnight at the hotel.


Khajuraho – Bandhavgarh : On this day, you drive from Khajuraho’s temple surroundings to tiger country, Bandhavgarh. The national park’s canopy of thick Sal trees interspersed with muted grasslands is perfect to spot animals. After check in, you leave for a 4WD drive safari in the jungle, in the company of a naturalist and a guide. Apart from the tiger, there are a number of avian species, small mammals and reptiles to see here. In the evening, settle into the lodge with a bonfire to share stories.


Bandhavgarh : One safari is never enough when visiting a jungle. We have reserved this day for two safaris – one in the early morning and one later in the afternoon. Another tryst with the jungle allows for more chances to see wildlife at close quarters.


Bandhavgarh : This day, too, is kept aside for safaris and some relaxation in the natural environs. The lodges chosen by us are perfect to hit pause on the travel and just sit back and enjoy the hospitality as well.


Bandhavgarh – Jabalpur – Delhi : Drive through the countryside to reach a major air node of Madhya Pradesh, from where you take a flight to Delhi, the capital of the country. Even though the day is spent on the road, it is a wonderful opportunity to see small hamlets and life on the farms. Reach Delhi and check-in for overnight stay at the hotel.


Delhi – Jaipur : We drive from Delhi to Jaipur on this day, to the desert state of Rajasthan. Jaipur, a city painted in a brushstroke of pink, is the main gateway to the state. Look forward to an array of shopping streets, monuments and local food, but on this day you will have time only to check in and relax at the hotel.


Jaipur : Start your Jaipur sojourn with the majestic Amber Fort on the outskirts of the city. A fort surrounded by a moat, has three main sections and is a veritable hot-spot of history that sculpted the city of Jaipur and surrounding Kingdoms. The afternoon is reserved for a tour of the atmospheric Old City, where all senses are awakened.


Jaipur – Agra : Delhi – Jaipur – Agra is given the moniker of ‘Golden Triangle’. Today, you hit the last stop on this circuit, after stopping at the erstwhile capital of King Akbar’s Kingdom, Fatehpur Sikri. Later you arrive in Agra and transfer to the hotel.


Agra : Agra’s, and perhaps India’s, most famous monument – the Taj Mahal- is sure to stay memorable forever. Built by Shah Jahan, it is a longstanding emblem of love in white marble, which houses the tombstones of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal and him. This is best seen at sunrise. Later, also visit other Mughal remnants like Agra Fort and Itimat-ud-Daulah. Drive to Delhi for the last night in the country.


Delhi : Leave for your International departure.
October – March: Winter months, recommended to travel.
Mid April – June: Summer months, when it is moderately hot in April, but May and June are avoidable.
July – September: Monsoon months where trips are doable.
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