The Holy Shiva Temples & Caves in Maharashtra
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Product Code : AGORA498
The Holy Shiva Temples & Caves in Maharashtra tour will begin in Mumbai. Visit the commercial capital of India & drive to Nasik the land of ancient Hindu temple & a Jyotirlinga. Next drive to Aurangabad via visiting Shirdi Saibaba temple. While in Aurangabad visit Ajanta Cave, Ellora Caves & Grishneshwar jyotirlinga. Further drive to visit Aundha Nagnath an ancient lord shiva temple & Nanded Sikh Gurudwara. Return drive to Mumbai via visiting Shree Vaijnath shiva temple with night stay at Ahmednagar & Bhimashankar. Bhimashankar is a Jyotirlinga Temple in the laps of Sahyadri Hills. You will also visit the Karla Caves and the Bhaja Caves in Lonavala while driving back to Mumbai.
Day 1: Arrive Mumbai
On arrival at Mumbai airport meet with our office executive assistance and transfer to hotel (hotels check in time 1200hr afternoon, early check in subject to room’s availability).
Rest time free for personal activities relax, you can take a walk to have a glance of the city, visiting local markets and restaurants. Overnight at hotel.
Day 2: Mumbai
Breakfast at hotel, city tour of Mumbai. Drive to Marine Drive: one of the most beautifully laid boulevards in the city. Afterwards visit to Elephanta caves (Monday closed), from Gateway of India cruise by motorboats to Elephanta Caves. A flight of 100 steps takes you to the top of the hill where it is set. Afterwards in the afternoon cruise back to Gateway of India and then city tour. Visit Parliament House (view from outside), Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), formerly Victoria Terminus a UNESCO World Heritage Site (view from outside), Dhobhi Ghat see the city's famous open-air laundry in action, Prince of Wales Museum (Monday closed) a heritage museum comprises of a number of ancient artifacts & Mani Bhawan here Gandhi laid the foundation for many independence movements. Overnight at hotel.
Day 3: Mumbai – Nashik (170kms/ 4hrs)
Breakfast at hotel, drive to Nashik check in at hotel.
Later visit Trimbakeshwar Temple located on the outskirts of Nashik, the ancient Trimbakeshwar Temple was constructed by the third Peshwa Balaji Bajirao (1740-1760) at the site of an even older temple. It sits at the foot of the Brahmagiri Hill and is flanked by the hills of Nilagiri and Kalagiri. Made entirely of black stone, it is a beautiful pilgrimage center for Hindus, dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is located near the town of Trimbak, from where River Godavari originates. Kusavarta, a pond within the temple premises, represents the origin point of the holy river. The temple is among the most important in the region as it houses one of the 12 jyotirlingas. The focal point of the shivling here is the fact that it is a three-faced linga embodying Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. The linga is adorned by a crown made of diamonds, emeralds and other precious stones. The crown is displayed every Monday for an hour in the evening. Within the temple, you will also come across images of other gods and goddesses such as Goddess Gangadevi, Lord Jaleswara, Lord Rameswara, Lord Gautameswara, Lord Kedarnath, Lord Rama, Lord Krishna, Lord Parasurama and Lord Lakshmi Narayana.
While you’re here, you can also explore the impressive Brahmagiri Fort, and Gangadwar, located in close vicinity to the temple.
Return to your hotel for overnight stay.
Day 4: Nashik – Shirdi - Aurangabad (170kms/ 4hrs)
Breakfast at hotel, visit the ancient holy city, known for its links to the “Ramayana” epic poem. On the Godavari River is Panchavati, a temple complex. Nearby, Lord Rama was thought to have bathed at Ram Kund water tank. Shri Kalaram Sansthan Mandir is an ancient shrine to Rama, while Rama and Sita are said to have worshipped at Sita Gufaa caves.
Sundarnarayan Temple marks the site of a legend of Lord Vishnu. Tapovan is a pilgrimage site next to the Nasardi River, close to where Lord Rama purportedly lived. Colorful statues of Hindu gods fill ISKCON, a modern temple for the worship of Lord Krishna. The temple complex Muktidham, in white sculpted marble, has painted scenes depicting the lives of Krishna and several chapters of the "Bhagavad Gita," an ancient Hindu scripture. On a small hill to the southwest are the 24 Pandavleni Caves, dating back millennia. They are marked by Buddha carvings, rare inscriptions and cisterns. Vineyards dot the land west of the city.
Later drive to Aurangabad via visiting Shirdi. Shirdi is known as home of revered spiritual leader Sai Baba, and as a major pilgrimage site. Devotees gather daily at the Sai Baba Temple complex to honor his legacy. Here, the Samadhi Mandir shrine has an ornate marble statue of Sai Baba, alongside his tomb. Close by are Dwarkamai, a mosque where Sai Baba once lived, and tree-lined Lendi Garden.
Continue drive to Aurangabad check in at hotel. Overnight at hotel.
Day 5: Aurangabad – Ajanta (105kms/ 2hrs approx one way)
Breakfast at hotel. Full day excursion to Ajanta Caves (Monday closed). The Buddhist Caves of Ajanta were discovered by the British officers in 1819 while tiger hunting. Ajanta Caves were first mentioned in the writings of the Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang who visited India between A.D 629 and 645. The Caves at Ajanta are older than those at Ellora, which date from about 200 B.C to 650 A.D. Thirty beautiful Buddhist Caves with mesmerizing sculptures and paintings depicting Buddha's life as well the lives of the Buddha in his previous births. Five of these Caves are Chaityas (Place of worship) while the other twenty-five are Viharas (monasteries). Ajanta Caves are divided in two categories based on two schools of Buddhist thought - Hinayana Caves and Mahayana Caves.
Evening back to hotel in Aurangabad for overnight stay.
Day 6: Aurangabad – Ellora (36kms/ 1hrs approx one way)
Breakfast at hotel, excursion to visit Grishneshwar jyotirlinga & Ellora Caves. Visit Grishneshwar Temple one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines mentioned in the Shiva Purana. The temple is an important pilgrimage site in Shaivism tradition of Hinduism, which considers it as the last or twelfth Jyotirlinga. Made of red and black stones boasting intricate carvings and patterns the temple was constructed by Queen Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore, in the Maratha style of architecture.
Ellora Caves a UNESCO World heritage sites (Tuesday closed). It houses 34 monasteries and temples with some exclusive uninterrupted sequence of monuments that date back from 600 to 1000 AD. The temples of Ellora are dedicated to Brahmanism, Jainism, and Buddhism. It also has some of the excellent stonework depicting the legends related to Lord Shiva.
On way back visit Daulatabad Fort one of the most powerful forts of the medieval Deccan. The defense system that made Daulatabad virtually impregnable comprises fortifications with double and even triple rows of massive walls.
Later city tour of Aurangabad visit Bibi ka Maqbara Built by Azam Shah in 1678, the Bibi ka Maqbara is a son's loving tribute to his mother. Due to its similar design standing spectacularly on the lawns of the landscaped garden with ponds, fountains and water channels, the white marbled monument is popularly known as the mini Taj of the Deccan. Overnight at hotel.
Day 7: Aurangabad – Aundha Nagnath - Nanded (265kms/ 5hrs approx)
Breakfast at hotel drive to Nanded via visiting Aundha Nagnath (Nageshwaram Temple), supposed to be the eighth of the twelve jyotirlingas and an important place of pilgrimage. The present temple is said to have been built by the Seuna (Yadava) dynasty in 13th century. The first temple is said to be from time of the Mahabharata and is believed to have been constructed by Yudhishthira, eldest of the Pandavas, when they were expelled for 14 years from Hastinapur. It has been stated that this temple building was of seven-storyed before it was sacked by Aurangzeb.
Continue drive to Nanded check in at gurudwara sarai/ hotel. Later visit Hazur Sahib one of the five takhts in Sikhism located on the banks of the River Godavari in Nanded. The gurudwara within the complex is known as Sach-Khand. The structure is built at the place where Guru Gobind Singh Ji left his earthly life. The inner room of the gurdwara is called the Angitha Sahib and is built over the place where Guru Gobind Singh was cremated in 1708. The gurdwara was built between 1832 and 1837 by order of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Ji. Overnight at gurudwara sarai/ hotel.
Day 8: Nanded – Shree Vaijnath - Ahmednagar (325kms/ 7hrs approx)
Breakfast at hotel drive to Ahmednagar via visiting Shree Vaijnath Temple. The temple is built on a hill using stones approximately at a height of 75-80 feet from ground level. The main entrance is from East and the magnificent door present there is brass plated. Surrounded by four strong walls, the temple consists of corridors and a courtyard. The main gate of the temple also called "Mahadwar" has a Minaret nearby called a Prachi or Gawaksha, i.e., window. The temple has a wide staircase to enter. The temple renovated by Shiva devotee Ahalyadevi Holkar in the year 1706.
Arrive Ahmednagar check in at hotel. Later visit the Ahmednagar Fort a major attraction. Built by Ahmed Nizam Shah the founder of the city during the 15th and 16th Century. The fort has tall walls, 18 m high, which are supported by 22 bastions. It has 24 citadels, 30 m wide. It served as a prison to accommodate captured enemy soldiers. It was also used to imprison several leaders of the Indian National Congress during the Quit India Movement. The famous book authored by Jawaharlal Nehru – The Discovery of India – was written here. The Ahmednagar Fort underwent plenty of renovations under the Nizami King’s reign during the period of 1559 to 1562. Rest time free and easy to relx. Overnight at hotel.
Day 9: Ahmednagar – Bhimashankar (170kms/ 4hrs approx)
Breakfast at hotel drive to Bhimashankar check in at hotel.
Later visit Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga Temple away from the tumult of city in the laps of Sahyadri Hills. The modest yet graceful temple dates back to the 13th century and is ornated with Buddha cravings as well. A trek to the Bhimashankar temple adds a pinch of adventure to your spiritual visit. The holy shrine of Bhimashankar is a work of Naga style of architecture. The temple brilliantly showcases the intelligent work of Vishwakarma sculptors of ancient times. Situated atop the hills, the place is perfect for all nature lovers and trekkers. The forest nearby is said to be a treasure of medicinal herbs. The site is highly picturesque and gives mind-boggling views of the nearby locations.
Optionally visit and trek in Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary. The place is mainly famous for being a home to many endemic and pandemic animal and bird species including the Indian Giant Squirrel. It is so rich in flora and fauna that it is considered to be one of the biodiversity hotspots of the world. The reserve is also known for being the home of 14 sacred groves which are said to be thousands of years old and responsible for the origin of many species. Overnight at hotel.
Day 10: Bhimashankar – Lonavala - Mumbai (200kms/ 5hrs approx)
Breakfast at hotel drive to Mumbai via visiting The Karla Caves and the Bhaja Caves in Lonavala. The Karla Caves and the Bhaja Caves are ancient Buddhist shrines carved out of the rock. These are caves carved from solid granite rocks around 160 BC. It has an Ashoka stambh at the entrance. The caves have rooms for the monks who resided here a prayer hall and a huge stupa. It also has the temple of Ek Veera the goddess of the Koli flock who are the original residents of Mumbai. They feature massive pillars and intricate relief sculptures. South of the Bhaja Caves sits the imposing Lohagad Fort, with its 4 gates. West of here is Bhushi Dam, where water overflows onto a set of steps during rainy season.
Continue drive to Mumbai and check in at hotel. Overnight at hotel.
Day 11: Mumbai - Departure (flight)
Breakfast at hotel. As per flight schedule transfer to airport to board flight for onward destination.
Private airport transfer with assistance of office executive.
10 Night accommodation in selected category hotels or similar.
Daily breakfast at hotels
Deluxe air-conditioned private vehicle with English speaking chauffeur as per tour program.
Monuments entrances of sightseeing mentioned in the itinerary.
English speaking tour guide on sightseeing days (local guide).
Bottled water in car
Applicable GST (government taxes).
Hotels used or similar for 10 nights accommodation
Mumbai x 3 nights
3* - Hotel Suba Palace/ BW Hotel Sahil
4* - Sun-N-Sand Hotel/ Fariyas Hotel
5* - Trident Hotel/ ITC Grand Central
Nashik x 1 nights
3* - Lily Sarovar Portico/ Holiday Inn Express
4* - Express Inn/ Hi 5 Hotel
5* - The Gateway Hotel Ambad/ The Source at Sula
Aurangabad x 3 nights
3* - Keys Hotel The Aures/ Aurangabad Gymkhana Club
4* - Ambassador Ajanta / VITS Hotel
5* - WelcomHotel Rama International / Lemon Tree Hotel
Nanded x 1 night
3* / 4* / 5* - Gurudwara Sarai/ NRI Complex (Neat & clean)
Ahmednagar x 1 night
3* / 4* / 5* - Iris Premiere Hotel/ Hotel Raj Palace
Bhimashankar x 1 night
3* / 4* / 5* - Neelam Hills Resort/ Blue Mormon Jungle Holiday Resort
Note; There are no 4 or 5star hotels in Nanded, Ahmednagar & in Bhimashankar.
Any flight tickets.
Camera charges at monuments.
Meals other than mentioned in day plan.
Expenses of personal nature like liquor, laundry, tips, telephone, fax, internet etc.
Gratuities & optional activities.
Anything not mentioned in inclusions.