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DURGA PUJA

Kolkata + Sunderbans + Kolkata + Agra + Delhi

Day 01: KOLKATA ARRIVAL


Fly to Kolkata. On arrival in Kolkata you will be greeted and escorted by Indo Asia Tour's staff to your hotel. On arrival, check in the hotel. (Room will be available from 1200 Noon). Overnight stay at hotel

Day 02: KOLKATA - CRUISE JETTY


After breakfast transfer to the Millennium Park Jetty by 9 am. M.V. Paramhamsa will cast off at

09.30 am, once all the guests have checked in. The cruiser sets sail along the Beautiful Ganges towards the South, passing through the various heritage sites for seven to eight hours to reach Namkhana, a fishermans cove and the Gateway to Sunderbans. The guests can unwind, relax, soak in the beauty of the river; read books in the library; interact with artisans or take an ayurvedic massage. The busy fishing harbour will give an insight into the lifestyle of the fisherman. The guests can buy fresh fish and other seafood to be cooked in the live kitchen counters for the dinner.

After the interaction with the fishermen, the cruiser enters Sunderbans to navigate through the narrower creek of Hatania Doanina. The guests will have the first glimpse of the dense mangrove and the vast river system with several creeks flowing into the main rivers. In the evening, the guests will have several choices watching wild life film shows or a talk with a wild lifer and a dinner with music from modern and traditional Bengal. The cruiser will drop anchor at Namkhana for the night

Day 03: SUNDERBANS


At 5.30 AM the guests can see the spectacular sunrise, while the cruiser sails towards the east. This day the guests will experience the lifestyle of the people of Sunderbans, their traditions, culture along with the rich Biodiversity of the region.

The busy fishing harbour will give an insight to the lifestyle of the fishermen. The guests can buy fresh fish and other sea foods to be cooked in the live kitchen counters.

After the interaction of the guests with the fishermen, the cruiser enters Sunderbans to navigate through the narrower creek of Hatania Doania. The guests will have the first glimpse of the dense mangrove and the vast river system with several creeks flowing into the main rivers. The first excursion will be to Lothian Island, a forest trail or visit to the Crocodile project at Bhagabatpur. Thereafter, the vessel will turn towards the towards North-East.

The vessel will again drop anchor at the confluence of the River Malta and River Bidya. From here the guests will be transferred to a small creek boat for a ride through the creeks and shore visits to some of exotic Sunderban islands Nethidopani / Dobanki, Sajnekhali, along with a Wildlifer, who will guide the guests to experience the forest, sight animals and birds, explain various mangrove species and tell interesting stories of the islands. Later in the evening before the sun sets, the vessel will anchor. After sun sets, the guests will enjoy a rich mythological folk drama by the local artists. Later in the evening, the guests will enjoy a traditional Bengali meal. The guests can also enjoy a romantic night with star gazing from the sky deck, soak in the serenity and tranquility of nature.

Day 04: SUNDERBANS


This morning there will two exciting shore visits First a visit to Bali, a beautiful Sunderban Village. Guests will experience farming, paddy husking, honey packing, fishing and various

occupations of the region. And second to Sudhonyakhali, an island most visited by the Royal Bengal Tigers. As we traverse back we will visit some of the other exotic locales not visited on the previous day like Lothian Island, or Crocodile project at Bhagabatpur before starting the return journey to Kolkata.

14TH OCTOBER 2010:

SUNDERBANS / KOLKATA

The vessel again will cross over Namkhana as per the tide and will head back home. The vessel will reach Kolkata in the forenoon depending on the tide. Arrive Kolkata and transfer to the hotel.

Remainder of the day at leisure in Kolkata Overnight stay the hotel

Day 05:

KOLKATA

In the morning after breakfast visit the Famous Jain Temples of Kolkata, , The Howard Bridge, The cantilevered bridge, also known as Rabindra Setu, is similar in size to the Sydney Harbour Bridge but carries a flow of traffic which Sydney could never dream of .It is the busiest bridge in the world. Later drive to the Kali ma temple located near the banks of the River Ganges at Kali Ghat. According to popular legend the Lord Shiva's consort sati killed herself by burning herself as her parents humiliated Lord Shiva, Shiva reached too late and then he picked up her charred body and began the 'tandav' the dance of cosmic destruction. To prevent the destruction of the world Lord Vishnu chopped Sati's charred body into 51 pieces that fell in different parts of the earth and a part fell on the banks of the Ganges and thus the name Kali Ghat and consequently the name Kolkata.

Also visit Victoria Memorial that is a huge white-marble structure and the most enduring of remains of the British Raj in India. Built by Lord Curzon in memory of the popular monarch, Queen Victoria, it is a wonderful example of the Western style of architecture. It has been now converted in a museum that houses the most impressive collection of memorabilia from the days of Raj. The manuscripts, paintings and sculptures here are outstanding. Overnight in the Hotel

Day 06: KOLKATA


After breakfast, enjoy the walking tour of the city and enjoy the Durga Puja Festival. Durga Puja is the biggest festival in Bengal. This is also known as Dussehra and Navaratri in other parts of India.

Durga is the Goddess of divine power against all evils. The story goes that Mahisasur, the Buffalo Demon, through years of praying, received blessing from Lord Brahma, that no power can kill him which means he is invincible. But once gaining this power he started ravaging the whole world and killing people. And finally he wanted to uproot the Gods too. The Gods, in dismay, combined their powers to create a beautiful maiden, and each placed his or her most potent weapon in one of her ten hands riding a lion. Her return in each year in the Bengali month of Aswin (September-October) commemorates Rama's invocation of the goddess Durga before he went into battle with Ravana. The traditional image of the Bengali Durga follows the iconographic injunctions of the Shastras. It is similar to the Durga of Aihole and of Mahabalipuram (seventh century). The tableau of Durga with her four children - Kartik, Ganesh, Saraswati and Lakshmi, representing respectively the Protector, the Initiator of the puja, Knowledge and the Provider - signifies the complete manifestation of the goddess. Bengalis all over the world during these days of Durga Puja rejoice to their heart's content reconnecting with friends and relatives. Durga Puja is an occasion when the familiar sound of Dhak, Dhunuchi nachh,the mild fragrance of Shiuli, gives a familiar tug to every Bengali heart. Overnight in the Hotel

Day 07: KOLKATA


Today enjoy the Durga Puja Festival. The day of Durga's victory is celebrated as Vijaya Dashami (East and South India), Dashain (Nepal) or Dussehra (North India) - these words literally mean "the tenth" (day), vijaya means "of-victory". In Kashmir she is worshipped as shaarika (the main temple is in Hari Parbat in Srinagar). Vijaya Dashami also known as Dasara, Dashahara, Navaratri, Durgotdsav is one of the very important & fascinating festivals of India, which is celebrated in the lunar month of Ashwin (usually in September or October) from the Shukla Paksha Pratipada (the next of the New moon day of Bhadrapada) to the Dashami or the tenth day of Ashwin. Word DASARA is derived from Sanskrit words Dasha & hara meaning removing the ten (10). This is the most auspicious festival in the Dakshinaayana or in the Southern hemisphere motion of the Sun. In Sanskrit, 'Vijaya' means Victory and 'Dashami' means 10th day. 'Thus Vijaya Dashami' means victory on the 10th day.

Dasara is also known as Navaratri, as in the first nine days the Divine Mother Goddess Durga is worshipped and invoked in different manifestations of her Shakti. The 10th day is in honor of Durga Devi. The basic purpose behind this festival is to worship feminine principle of the Universe in the form of the divine mother to remind the teachings of the Taitareeya Upanishad, "Matru Devo Bhava." Essence of the navaratri celebration at social level is to remind & respect all the women, who are the guardians of the family, culture, and national integrity, to take lead in times of crisis to guide the humanity towards the path of social justice, righteousness, equality, love, and divinity. Overnight in the Hotel

Day 08: KOLKATA DELHI (FLIGHT) AGRA (DRIVE)


After breakfast transfer to the airport to board the flight to Delhi. On arrival at Delhi, to Agra. On arrival in Agra, check in at the hotel.

Agra stands on the right bank of the river Yamuna, was once the seat of the Mughal rulers, the zenith of art and an en-shrined romance. A town famous for its beautiful medieval monuments. The passion of the Mughals for building endowed it with some of the loveliest buildings in the world.

Overnight at the Hotel.

Day 09: AGRA


After breakfast visit the Taj Mahal- a poem in white marble, built by the Mughal Emperor Shahjahan in the memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaj Mahal. Today India's most fascinating and beautiful masterpiece, this perfectly symmetrical edifice is set amidst landscaped gardens on the banks of the Yamuna River. Its marble exterior reflects rose and golden tints at sunrise and sunset, while it is dazzling white during the day and glows pearl-like in the moonlight and during the monsoon. (IMP: Remains closed on Friday)

Later visit Agra Fort. Designed and built by Akbar in 1565 A.D., the fort is surrounded by a 70 feet high wall. It houses the beautiful Pearl Mosque and numerous palaces. The Agra fort happens to be on the same bank of the river Yamuna as the Taj Mahal, which is visible in all its beauty from one side of the fort. Emperor Shahjahan, a prisoner of his son Aurangzeb in his old age was put in a cell from where he could gaze at the Taj Mahal at a distance from his cell in the

Agra Fort. It is an imposing structure with walls of red sandstone almost three kilometers long. Later visit the stunning tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah or the `Baby Taj'- a marble memorial with exquisite inlay work built in 1628 by Nur Jahan, queen of Jehangir, for her father Mirza Ghiyas Beg. Overnight at the Hotel

Day 10: AGRA DELHI


After breakfast drive to Delhi.

En-route visit Sikandra. The mausoleum of the great Mughal King Akbar (1556-1605). Akbar began building it during his lifetime and his son, the Mughal Emperor Jahangir, completed it. It has a large arched entrance and green lawns, on which deer can be seen grazing, surround the tomb. The entrance is decorated with marble inlay work around the arch, and the inner surface of the dome of the tomb is decorated with images of flowers, geometric designs and Islamic calligraphy.

Later continue your drive to Delhi. On arrival, transfer to the hotel and check in.

Overnight at the Hotel

Day 11: DELHI


After breakfast enjoy a full day city tour of Old & New Delhi. Visit the Red Fort - the 17th century imposing fortress built in red sandstone is surrounded by a huge 33m high boundary wall. Inside are exquisite palaces and beautiful gardens. (IMP: Remains closed on Monday) Opposite the Red Fort lies Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque) made of red sandstone and white marble, completed in 1656 at a cost of one million Rupees has perfect proportions. India's largest mosque where more than 20.000 people can kneel in prayer. The interior of the prayer hall is divided into aisles by arches. The walls and floors are of marble inlay panels.

Also visit the Raj Ghat on the banks of the river Yamuna is Mahatma Gandhi's Memorial, where he was cremated following his assassination in January 1948. The memorial lies in the midst of landscaped gardens and made of a simple square platform of black marble inscribed with his last words "Hey Ram". An eternal flame burns 24 hours.

Day 12: DELHI DEPARTURE


India Gate - Built of Bharatpur-stone, commemorates the 70,000 Indian soldiers who died in the 1st world war. 13516 names of British and Indian soldiers killed in the Afghan War of 1919 are engraved on the arch and foundations. Photo stop at Rashtrapati Bhawan once the Viceroy's residence is now the official residence of the President of India.

Later in the afternoon explore New Delhi. Visit the Humayun's Tomb, built by his wife Haji Begum in the 16th. Century. An early example of Mughal architecture considered the predecessor of the Taj Mahal. The elements in its design - a squat building, lighted by high arched entrances, topped by bulbous dome and surrounded by the char bagh (garden divided into quadrants), water channels and fountains. Later visit the Qutub Minar - the landmark of Delhi, a huge tower of victory started in 1199 and completed in 1368. The Minar is 72.5m high with a diameter at the base 14.4m and 2.7m at the top. The tower has 379 steps to the top. Overnight at the Hotel

22ND OCTOBER 2010: DELHI DEPARTURE


On time transfer to the International Airport to board the flight for onwards journey.

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