Mumbai & Gujarat Highlights (9n/10d)

The Sarkhej Roza

The Sarkhej Roza

Upon arrival at Ahmedabad International airport you will be met and assisted by our friendly ground staff and taken to your hotel in the city. Ahmedabad, the largest city of Gujarat State was a major textile manufacturing center and was called the “Manchester of India”.  Ahmedabad is a fast growing industrially town, nestled on the banks of River Sabarmati, the banks of which are being developed for tourism interest.  This city has a number of historical Monuments, Museums, Bird Sanctuary, picturesque gardens, toy train, skyscrapers, and shopping malls to attract the old and the young. Overnight in Ahmedabad

Morning after a leisurely breakfast, you will be met by our Tour Guide in the hotel lobby and proceed for a full day city tour Ahmedabad. Visit the famous Calico Textile Museum, the museum displays a magnificent collection of rare textiles dating back to the 17th century.  There is also an excellent reference library on textiles. Located in the Sarabhai Foundation, in Shahibagh the Calico Museum of Textiles, widely regarded as one of the finest textile museums in the world was constructed in 1949 AD. (The museum remains closed on every Wednesday & Public Holidays) Next visit the Tomb of Ahmed Shah, with its perforated stone windows, stands just outside the east gate of the Jama Masjid.  Across the street on a raised platform is the tomb of his queens –   it’s now really a market and in poor shape compared to Ahmed Shah’s tomb.  Ahmed Shah Mosque, Dated back from 1414 AD, this was one of the earliest mosques in the city and was probably built on the site of a Hindu Temple, using parts of that temple in its construction. Bhadra Fort was built by the city’s founder, Ahmed Shah, in 1411 AD and later named after the goddess Bhadra, an incarnation of Kali. There were royal palaces and a garden inside the Fort.  Hatheesing Jain Temple, a rich Jain merchant built this temple outside Delhi Gate in 1850 AD. It is built of pure white marble and profusely decorated with rich carvings, dedicated to Dharamnath, the 15th Jina or Jain apostle.  Embellished with intricate carvings and built in white marble, the Hatheesing Jain Temple is one of the best ornate Jain temples in Ahmedabad.Sabarmati Ashram: The Gandhi Ashram situated alongside the Sabarmati River, was the nerve center for the Indian Freedom movement.  The beautiful Ashram complex with its shady trees offers a refuge from the loud streets of the city.  There is a Museum inside the Ashram complex.  During the lifetime of Mahatma Gandhi it was known as Satyagraha Ashram.  After Gandhiji’s return from South Africa, he decided to settle in Ahmedabad.  It was for four reasons that he selected this place – In his own words “being a Gujarati, I’ll serve my country best through the use of Gujarati language. Overnight in Ahmedabad

DAY 3: AHMEDABAD – BHAVNAGAR [190 Kms. / Approx. drive 4 hours]
After breakfast, check-out at 10 AM and visit Adalaj Vav, this step–well is an architectural wonder built by Queen Rudabai and is certainly one of the finest monuments of Gujarat. It is a seven-storied structure in the form of a well with chambers one behind the other. The ‘Vavs’ or stepped wells of Gujarat were used as meeting and resting-places during summer since their cool interiors offered unbelievable respite from the scorching sun outside. Later visit Sarkhej Roza is a graceful architectural creation amazing for the use of pierced stone trellises and complete absence of arches.  Sarkhej Roza, the tombs of Saint Ahmed Khattu Baksh and that of Emperor Mehmud Shah Beguda and his Queen. The diplomatic atmosphere makes it an ideal retreat. After visit drive on to Bhavnagar. En-route visiting Lothal: Situated at a distance of 80 kms from Ahmedabad, Lothal city is one of the well-known cities of the ancient Indus valley civilization. The origin and history of Lothal can be dated back to 2400 BC.  This is one of the primary sites of archaeology. It’s certainly one of the most interesting of Harrapan town planning, visit the museum, which was setup in 1976 in order to display the artifacts recovered from the excavation conducted from.  Potteries that previously belonged to the Harappan people have been kept inside the museums and so, is a point of great attraction. Visit Cemeteries that have been discovered ages back to the period of Dravidians, proto Dravidians, Proto Australoids and Mediterranean etc. Dockyard in Lothal is the oldest in the world, and is admired for its extended nature, scientific positioning and constructional skill. It is a wonder that people during the times of Harappan Civilization knew so much about technology. Resume drive and arrive Bhavnagar. Upon arrival, check-in at the hotel. Later, you will be left undisturbed to relax and retire for the night. Overnight in Bhavnagar

DAY 4: BHAVNAGAR – SASAN GIR [215 Kms. / Approx. drive 4 ½ hours]
After breakfast, check-out at 10 AM  and visit the Jain Temples at Palitana (55 Kms / Approx. drive 1 ½ hours.), a fascinating pilgrim center located at the foot of the 2,000 foot high Shetrunjaya Hills, take palanquins to reach the top of the hill.  There are 863 temples, exquisitely carved in marble.  No one is allowed to sleep overnight including the priest, because the temple city has been built as an abode for the Gods. The town is considered by many Jains to be more important than the temple covered hills of other parts of India.  Palitana was the capital of a princely state of the Gohil Rajput clan. It is also one of the greatest tourist attractions in Gujarat for foreign tourists. Resume drive and arrive Sasan Gir.  Upon arrival, check-in at the hotel. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight at Sasan Gir

Today enjoy early morning & afternoon game drives in Sasangir National Park to explore the wildlife. Sasan Gir National Park, lies on the southwestern fringes of the Saurashtra Peninsula.  The sanctuary is home to approximately 300 Asiatic Lions.  The sanctuary was created in 1913 to provide protection to the largest surviving groups of the Asiatic Lions.  It was given the status of the sanctuary in 1965. The vegetation of the sanctuary consists of teak and deciduous trees including Sal (Shorea), Dhak (Butea frondosa) and Thorn Forests.  The forest has a rugged terrain with steep rocky hillsides.  There are a few springs also, but their flow generally depends upon the season.  The Asiatic Lion attracts a lot of visitors to the park every year. Sasan Gir is the only place in the world where the lion can be seen in its natural habitat outside the African continent.  The Asiatic Lion is slightly smaller than its African counterpart.  The Asiatic Lions had once become almost extinct species.  The number of Asiatic Lions has been steadily on the rise since 1980 in the Gir Lion Sanctuary.  The Asiatic Lion attracts a lot of visitors to the park every year.  Sasan Gir is the only place in the world where the lion can be seen in its natural habitat outside the African continent. The sanctuary provides natural habitat to other species like Chital, Chinkara (Gazelle), Four-Horned Antelope, Leopard, Nilgai, Spotted Deer, Wild Boar and Wild Ass. Monkeys, Parrots and Peacock can also be seen around the forest.  Adjacent Sihn Sadan Lodge is the Crocodile-Rearing and Research Center, where hatchlings are reared and then released into their natural habitat. Overnight in Sasan Gir

DAY 6: SASAN GIR – PORBANDAR [115 Kms / Approx. drive 3 hours]
Morning enjoy a safari in the National Park. Return to hotel for breakfast. Later check-out followed by lunch at the hotel and then proceed to Porbandar. Upon arrival, check-in at the hotel.  Rest of the day free. Overnight in Porbandar

DAY 7: PORBANDAR – JUNAGADH [220 Kms / Approx. drive 4 ½ hours]
After early breakfast, check-out at 8 AM. Later, you will be met by our Tour Guide and visit the city. This city is known as the birthplace of “Father of the nation” Mahatma Gandhi. Kirti Mandir, a national monument of Gujarat that was said to be the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi and contains a library with books on Gandhism, a spinning hall, a children’s nursery and a lovely prayer hall.  In the prayer hall of the Kirti Mandir, prayers of all faith are regularly organized. Bharat Mandir: The large temple hall is in a charming irrigated garden opposite the Planetarium.  On the floor inside is a huge relief map of India and the building’s pillars are brilliantly painted with bas-reliefs of over 100 religious figures and legendary persons from Hindu epics.  The verandah’s six distorting mirrors are popular with children. After sightseeing, our chauffeur drives the car drive to Junagadh, en-route visiting Somnath temple. Facing the wide open Arabian Sea, the temple at Somnath Temple is an imposing structure offering a spectacular sight to the beholders. It is believed that the Somnath Temple here was originally built by  Somraj, the Moon God himself, out of gold, and then rebuilt by Ravana in silver and then by Krishna in Wood, then by Bhimdev in stone.  Somnath is among one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva.  The legend says Somnath was built by none other than the Moon God himself at the time of creation. The remains of the temple “braved the shocks of time and survived the attacks of destroyers.” After visit, resume drive and upon arrival in Junagadh, check-in at your hotel. Overnight in Junagadh

DAY 8: JUNAGADH – RAJKOT [100 Kms / Approx. drive 2 ½ hours]
Morning after breakfast followed by check-out at 10 AM and later, you will be met by our Tour Guide in the hotel lobby and visit the city. Visit Uparkot Fort: Famous in by gone times for its virtual inaccessibility, the Upar Kot or Upper Fort is girdled by a wall that is, in some places, over 20m high.  An ornate entrance gateway leads to the ruins. A mosque still stands in a state of preservation. A Nilamtope (canon) was acquired by the Nawab of Junagadh from a Turkish Sultan. There are also two step-wells, Jama Masjid and Buddhist Caves in the fort premises.  Ashoka’s Rock Edicts, fourteen rock edicts of the Emperor Ashoka can be seen inscribed on a great boulder. The inscription carried in Brahmi script in Pali language and dated back to 263 B.C.  On the same rock are inscriptions in Sanskrit. Mahabat Ka Maqbara: Also known as Bahauddin Makbara, mausoleum of the Wazir of Junagadh, this monument is mostly in tatters instead of getting a place in history.  Even though it is protected by the ASI the story of this monument is untold.  Situated in the middle of the city next to a historical mosque, this monument has extremely intricate carvings and numerous spellbinding mini minarets and a tribute to the architectural beauty of that time. Visit Junagarh Museum ,house of prehistoric stones and bone implements, 9th century stone carvings and many bronzes, manuscripts, silverwork, glass crafts, woodcarvings, textiles and other items from the history of the area (Closed on Wednesdays and public holidays). After sightseeing, our chauffeur drives the car drive to Rajkot, en route visiting Virpur.  This city is famous for Jalaram Bapa Temple, Jalaram Bapa the great social reformer and founder of the Jalaram movement, was born here in the year 1800 AD.  His former residence is now part of a larger complex housing the main Jalaram temple and extensive kitchens to take care of needy pilgrims. Resume drive & upon arrival in Rajkot, check-in at the hotel and later you will be left undisturbed to relax and retire for the night. Overnight in Rajkot

DAY 9: RAJKOT – MUMBAI by Flight
After an early breakfast, check-out at 8 AM and visit the city.  This is the city where Mahatma Gandhi spent his childhood days. He got married here and this city is the base from where he started his Non-violence movement. Mohandass Karamchand Gandhi, the father or the Mahatma was appointed the Diwan of Rajkot State and resided in what is today known as Kaba Gandhi no Delo, located just off the busy Gheekantha Road. The house offers a pictorial tour of the Mahatma’s life with bilingual captions in both Hindi and   Gujarati. An NGO runs classes in sewing and embroidery for young girls within the premises (Remains closed on Sundays and public holidays). Rashtriya Shala, Rastriya Shala is of immense historical importance.  On February 21, 1921, it made its humble beginning and started functioning in a rental premise in Rajkot.  The land on which the main building stands was given by Shri Lakhajiraj, the ruler of the state of Rajkot, who was a staunch admirer of Mahatma Gandhi (Remains closed on Sundays and public holidays). The Watson Museum and Library, It is one of the prominent tourist attractions in Rajkot.  It displays exhibits like copies of artifacts dating to the times of Mohenjodaro, 13th century carvings, silverware, natural history exhibits and textiles.  Here you will also find a massive 19th century marble statue of Queen Victoria.  It also houses several impressive portraits and photographs of prominent personalities of Saurashtra and European dignitaries, handicrafts, pottery and royal artifacts. (The museum remains closed on Wednesdays and public holidays). After visit, you will be straight transfer to Rajkot Airport to board the Flight for Mumbai.Upon arrival at Mumbai Airport you will be met & facilitated by our  representative and thereafter transferred to hotel and assisted with check-in at the hotel. Later, you will be left undisturbed to relax and retire for the night. Overnight in Mumbai

After an early breakfast, check-out at 9 AM and embark on a full-day city tour of Mumbai. Visit Gateway of India, a yellow basalt arch of triumph officially ‘opened’ in the year 1924 and then swiftly made redundant just 24 years later when the last British regiment ceremoniously departed India. Next, visit the adjoining, Taj Mahal Palace. Known as India’s first luxurious hotel, this iconic 107 year old heritage building still retains its stature as the flagship property of Taj Group to welcome worldwide guests with its old glory. Prince of Wales museum, founded by the king George V, on his Indian visit of 1905, boasts of a good collection of ancient Indus-valley art crafts, Nepalese and Tibetan Buddhist Thangkas and over 2000 miniature paintings (Note that Prince of Wales museum remain closed on Mondays). A visit to adjoining Jehangir Art Gallery, a collection of some of the numerous painting & sculpture by some leading Painters & Sculptures of India. Malabar Hills, The colonial bungalows that peppered the hillside in the 18th century have now been replaced by the apartment blocks of Mumbai.  Hanging Gardens, Perched at the top of Malabar Hill, on its western side, these terraced gardens, are also known as Ferozeshah Mehta Gardens provide lovely sunset views over the Arabian Sea. The park was laid out in the early 1880s over Mumbai’s main reservoir, some say to cover the water from the potentially contaminating activity of the nearby Towers of Silence. This park also offers a panoramic view of Bombay bay, the colorful Chowpatty Beach immediately below, and the imposing buildings of Nariman Point (Manhattan of India) reaching for the sky.  Drive down to visit Chowpatty Beach, Mumbai’s famous beach.  There is no place for a sunbath or taking a dip. In fact, there’s not much going on at Chowpatty at all during the day, but in the evening it develops a magical atmosphere as locals come to stroll among the balloon sellers, fortune tellers, magicians, nut vendors, ferries wheels and shooting galleries. Mani Bhavan served as the residence of the “Father of the Nation” Mahatma Gandhi between 1917 and 1934. Mahatma Gandhi started various struggle movements like Non-Cooperation, Satyagraha, Swadeshi, Khadi and Khilafat while residing here. Dhobi Ghat, the massive open air laundry provides an unforgettable glimpse into the inside of the city. Dirty laundry from all over Mumbai is brought here and painstakingly hand washed by the dhobis (washer-men) in the seemingly endless rows of concrete troughs. The profession, handed down from generation to generation, requires incredible strength and determination. Crawford Market, The colorful indoor Crawford Market, is the last outpost of British Bombay before the fever of the central bazaars begins. It’s a blend of Flemish and Norman architecture with a bas relief depicting Indian peasants in wheat fields just above the main entrance. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai’s one of the major Railway Station, designed in Italian Gothic style by Architect F W Stevens.  It is one of Mumbai’s most prominent buildings and architecturally one of the finest stations in the world, with construction commencing in the year 1878 and being completed in 1885 AD. Later drive past / through the Marine Drive, which runs along the shore of the Arabian Sea from Nariman Point, Chowpatty Beach to the foot of Malabar Hill. After sightseeing, you will be transferred to Hotel for “Wash & Change” and later we will transfer you to the Mumbai international airport for flight home or onward destination.

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