Twain’s India (10 days)

Mark Twain

©Matthew Brady

specialSamuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist who travelled the world and developed a deep affection for India.  He preferred travelling India by train.  “In other countries a long wait at the train station is a dull thing and tedious, but one has no right to have that feeling in India.  You have the monster crowd of bejeweled natives, the stir, the bustle, the confusion, the shifting splendors of costumes-dear me, the delight of it, the charm of it are beyond speech.”  Ebark on this adventure to Delhi, Agra, Gwalior, Kahjuraho, Bandhavgarh, Varanasi and Lucknow.  Twain’s India gives you a unique chance to discover India through Twain’s eyes.

Day 1 – Delhi
Arrive in Delhi where you will be met and driven to your hotel. 

Day 2 – Delhi
Tour Old Delhi and visit the Red Fort and the Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque.  You also see Raj Ghat, the sight where Gandhi was cremated following his assassination in 1948.

Day 3 – Delhi/Agra
This morning proceed to Delhi’s Safdarjung Railway station where you will be escorted aboard the Maharajas’ Express as you begin your epic journey through this exotic land. Enjoy brunch on-board before you arrive at your first stop, Agra, the jewel of India, and home to the famed Taj Mahal. Tour the Taj Mahal, described as the most extravagant monument ever built honouring love and India’s most illustrious landmark. High tea & champagne has been prepared at Taj Kheema as you admire the Taj Mahal at sunset. Reboard the train for dinner.

Day 4 – Agra/Gwalior
Your train pases the Chambal Ravines, which served as the home to some of India’s most notorious dacoits. Admire the dramatic landscape of deep and narrow gorges, undulating sandy hills interspersed with rich fields. Arrival in Gwalior late this morning and explore one of India’s princely capital cities, with its imposing Fort and stunning palaces. Lunch is at Usha Kiran Palace, a 120 year old palace where the King of England once stayed. After lunch, visit Gwalior Fort with its rich history and impressive palaces. Explore Jai Vilas Palace with its interesting collection of memorabilia and Scindia family treasures. Dinner this evening is a grand affair served in the compound of the Palace, its Royal kitchens preparing a spread of the finest delicacies. Re-board the Maharajas’ Express as you head for Khajuraho.

Day 5 – Gwalior/Orccha/Kajuraho
Stop in Orchha,for a tour of this quaint domain of the Bundela Kings. Visit the Jahangiri Mahal, which is an excellent example of the Rajput Bundela architecture. On arrival in Khajuraho you will explore the erotic sculptures of the temples of Khajuraho. These intricately carved temples are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and not to be missed, with their fine examples of Chandela art at its peak. You will enjoy the evening Sound & Light Show at the temple complex and then board the Maharajas’ Express train as you pass through India’s heartland.

Day 6 – Kajuraho/Umaria/Bandhavgarh
Following tea on board this morning you will visit the Bandhavgarh Game Reserve, renowned for the best ‘sighting’ of the elusive tiger in its natural habitat. This park was the former hunting ground of the Maharaja of Rewa and the grasslands and sal forests harbor a healthy population of tigers and other exotic animals. Lunch at one of Bandhavgarh’s wildlife resorts before returning to Umaria and the Maharajas’ Express for your journey to Varanasi.

Day 7 – Banhavgarh/Varanasi
Today visit Varanasi, set on the banks of the River Ganges. One of the oldest living cities in the world, Varanasi has a spiritual legacy of over 3000 years. Your first stop is Sarnath, the site of Buddha’s first sermon.   Here you will visit the ruins and stupa and the Ashoka Pillar, whose four back-to-back lions have been adopted as India’s national emblem. You will cruise the Ganges just as the sun sets, witnessing the evening aarti ceremony at the ghats of the Holy Ganges. Varanasi is famous for its beautiful Benares silks and brocades, and you will have an opportunity to visit the Varanasi Silk Weaving center famous for its silk sarees and brocades.

Day 8 – Varanasi/Lucknow
Arrive in Lucknow, the fabled ‘City of Nawabs’. Explore the dramatic ruins of imperial Lucknow visiting the Residency, built by the Nawabs for the British Resident in 1800. Unravel the history of the Mutiny of 1857 at the Residency as you explore these ruins with its ghostly atmosphere. Continue with a tour of the famous Rumi Darwaza, a beautifully ornamented gateway; and the spectacular Bara Imambara, an architectural wonder of its day. This evening you will be transported into the glorious era of the Nawabs of Avadh, as you experience the traditional hospitality typical of the Royal Houses.

Day 9 – Lucknow/Delhi
Arrive back in Delhi.  You will be driven to your hotel for a day at leisure.

Day 10  – Depart Delhi
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight.

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