THE MAHATAMA, THE TIRTHANKARAS AND A JUNGLE KING
Our tour begins in the bustling metropolis of Mumbai, India’s commercial hub and home to its film industry – Bollywood, for an exciting taste of modern India. Here, we also visit Mani Bhawan, erstwhile home turned museum, where Gujarat’s (and the nation’s) most famous son: Mahatma Gandhi, lived for many years. From Mumbai we journey north to Gujarat’s largest city, Ahmedabad, beside the Sabarmati, where we visit Gandhi Ji’s home and other local places of interest.
In the days following, we travel through the narrow lanes of Bhavnagar’s old city for a fascinating glimpse into Gujarati life, visit the fabulous Jain temples of Palitana, and spend a relaxing day on the beach in the charming, former Portuguese colony of Diu. We turn to nature, towards Sasan Gir National Park, where e make a bid to see the majestic Asiatic lion, along with a wide variety of other wildlife species, other cultural treasures include the exquisite Somnath temple, the magnificent Buddhist caves, the splendid Junagadh Fort, the queer old city of Rajkot and the fabulous palaces of Gondal.
- The Asiatic lion at Sasan Gir National Park
- The exquisite Somnath Temple
- A beach rendezvous at Diu
- An experiential tour of Mumbai: India’s commercial and cultural hub
- Visit to the Sabarmati Ashram, home to Mahatma Gandhi for many years
- The magnificent Jain Temple near Bhavnagar
Day 1Traditional welcome and transfer to Hotel
Upon arrival at the Mumbai International Airport we are transferred to our hotel. Mumbai, a cosmopolitan metropolis and earlier known as Bombay, is the largest city in India and the capital of Maharashtra state. This bustling city is undoubtedly the commercial capital of India and is one of the predominant port cities in the country. Mumbai, as the most eclectic and cosmopolitan Indian city is symbolic of Bollywood, the great India Film Industry that produces a large number and variety of films in Hindi and many other Indian regional languages. It is a hub for the TV series and commercials. Ironically, the same city is also home to India's largest slum population.
Day 2 - 3Sightseeing of Mumbai and board night train to Ahmadabad
Mumbai - Ahmedabad
Today our tour begins with a visit to the Gateway of India, one of Mumbai’s most famous landmarks. This gate-like structure was built by the British to commemorate the visit of King George-V and Queen Mary for the Delhi Durbar meaning "Court of Delhi" in 1911. We also visit the Prince of Wales Museum that was used as a hospital during World War I, and now housing a priceless collection of artefacts that is considered to be one of the best in India.
We drive past the University of Bombay, the High Court and Crawford Market on our way to the Hanging Gardens located on the crest of Malabar Hill. The gardens are a welcome oasis of green in a city built almost entirely of concrete. Next, we drive through the residential area of Mumbai’s rich and famous on Malabar Hill. We also visit the most interesting city laundry called Dhobi Ghat, the Gandhi Memorial Museum and Victoria Terminus.
Late evening, we would be transferred to railway station to board the night train to Ahmedabad.
Arrive in Ahmedabad and we would be received by our represantative and transferred to hotel.
Thereafter, we begin the full day sightseeing of Ahmedabad, it is the sixth largest city in India and has several floridly carved historic monuments including a step-well at Adalaj and the Rani Mosques (dedicated to Rani Sipri and Rani Rupmati). It is also home to many fine museums and art galleries. We visit Calico Museum of Textiles, one of the finest textile museums in the world and housed in one of Gujarat's famous carved wooden havelis (mansions). The museum displays a magnificent collection of rare textiles dating back to the 17th century. Gandhi Ashram or The Sabarmati Ashram, located near Vadaj, was once the residence of Mahatma Gandhi who founded it in 1915, and today without doubt, it is the biggest tourist attraction in Ahmedabad.
Note - Calico Museum of Textiles remains closed on Wednesday and on Government holidays
Day 4Head towards the cultural capital of Saurashtra
Ahmedabad - Bhavnagar
In the morning, we continue our journey to Bhavnagar, the fifth-largest city of Gujarat, and the second-largest city in the Saurashtra region.
Today we visit Takhteshwar Temple - located at the center of the city from where one can enjoy a panoramic view of the entire city, and Gandhi Smruti - a memorial that has a library of Gandhian books and photographs providing glimpses into the life of Mahatma Gandhi. It also has a fine collection of art objects representing the culture of the Saurashtra Region. In the evening, we visit the local market.
Day 5 - 6Drive to Diu en route visiting Palitana
Bhavnagar - Palitana
After breakfast at the hotel, we drive by surface to Palitana, which is famous for Palitana Jain Temples. This is a major pilgrimage center for Jains, known world over for their non-violent way of life.
The Palitana temples, forming world’s largest temple-complex, are considered most sacred places of pilgrimage by the Jain community. There are more than 3000 temples located on the Shatrunjaya hills and are exquisitely carved in marble. The top is reached by climbing (or by being carried up) 3,572 steps – a stiff 2-hour ascent. On our way we see many devotees dressed in white, some wearing gauze masks to filter innocent microbes from the air that they breathe.
Palitana - Diu
Later, we continue our drive to Diu. Upon arrival, check-in to the hotel.
Diu Island is located south of Gujarat and is connected to the mainland by bridges and a ferry. It was a Portuguese colony from 1539 to 1961. The city has many beaches which one may choose to explore. Nagoa Beach is the most commercial beach providing facilities for water-sports and is lined with restaurants offering variety of sea-food. Contrary to Nagoa Beach, Jalandhar Beach is very quiet and isolated, apt for bathing and sun-bathing.
Day 7 - 8Way to Sasan Gir National Park and enroute visiting Somnath temple
Diu - Somnath Temple
Somnath means The Protector of (the) Moon God. The Somnath Temple is known as ‘the Shrine Eternal’, having been destroyed six times and rebuilt the same number of times. Most recently it was rebuilt in November 1947 when Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel visited the area for the integration of Junagadh and mooted a plan for its restoration. Somnath Jyotirlinga Temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga temples dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Somnath Temple - Sasan Gir Forest National Park
Later, we continue our drive to Sasan Gir. Upon arrival, we check-in to the hotel.
Today is the day for some adventure when we get to do two game drives (morning/afternoon) into Sasan Gir National Park to look for Asiatic lions. Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is the sole home of the pure Asiatic Lions (Panthera Leo Persica) and is considered to be one of the most important protected areas in Asia due to its supported species. The ecosystem of Gir, with its diverse flora and fauna, is protected as a result of the efforts of the government’s Forest Department, wildlife activists and NGOs. The count of 2,375 distinct fauna species of Gir includes about 38 species of mammals, around 300 species of birds, 37 species of reptiles and more than 2,000 species of insects. The carnivorous group mainly comprises Asiatic lions, Indian Leopards, Bengal Tigers, Sloth bears, King Cobras, Jungle Cats, Striped Hyenas, Golden Jackals, Indian Mongoose, Indian Palm Civets, and Ratels.
Day 9Sasan Gir National Park to fort Junagarh
Sasan Gir Forest National Park - Junagadh
After the breakfast at the hotel, we drive to Junagadh.On arrival, check-in in hotel.
Visit of Junagadh, located ideally at the foothills of Girnar Hills, Junagarh is a historic city of Gujarat. The term Junagarh in Gujarati means an ancient fort. It is a famous tourist destination known for its monuments, temples and rich culture. We visit Upperkot Fort. Evening is free to relax or to explore the local area.
Day 10 - 11Journey to Rajkot enroute visiting Gondal
Junagadh - Gondal
In the morning, we visit some ancient Buddhist caves which are thought to be at least 1700 years old. These double-story caves have six pillars with very fine carvings. The soft rock on which Junagadh is built encouraged the construction of caves and wells. There are other caves including some thought to date back to the time of Ashoka.
Later we drive to Rajkot. En-route we visit the Naulakha Palace in Gondal. This Palace was built in 1748 CE in Darbargarh or old fort by Jadeja Rajputs who ruled Gondal.
Gondal - Rajkot
We continue our drive to Rajkot. Upon arrival, we check-in to the hotel.
Rajkot, a famous commercial and industrial city of Saurashtra, was founded by Vibhoji Ajoji Jadeja of the Jadeja clan in 1612. We visit Kaba Gandhi's Gate, Watson Museum and Library, Lal Pari Lake and Randerda, exotic natural spots known for bird-watching. The lake is the roosting place for different species of birds including rare migratory birds. Some of the known bird species which can be sighted here are black-tailed godwit, purple moor hen, common teal, pelican and spoon bill.
Day 12Drive to Ahmadabad and board overnight train to Mumbai
Rajkot - Ahmedabad
After the breakfast, we drive to Ahmedabad. Upon arrival we have free time to explore the local bazaar of the city.
Later we are transferred to the Railway station to catch our overnight train to Mumbai.
Early morning arrival in the Railway station, we will be received by driver and transfer to hotel. One room for 4 participant would be available for refreshing.
We are transferred to the International airport for our onward travel to our next destination.