The tourism spotlight doesn’t hit Madhya Pradesh with quite the same brilliance as it shines on more celebrated neighbouring Indian states, so here you can experience travel riches ranking with the best without that feeling of just following a tourist trail. Temples have some of the finest stone carving in the country and the region has glorious palaces, forts, mosques and stupas. And you chance of spotting a wild Royal Bengal tiger here are as good as anywhere in India.
Arrival in Mumbai
On arrival at Mumbai you will be met by one of our tour representatives and taken to your hotel in the city. Relax after the journey then spend rest of the day and evening exploring this exciting city seeing all the sights and sounds. Mumbai is the commercial capital of India, and a fast paced, cosmopolitan city. Today you can visit the Gateway of India, situated at Apollo Bunder, which was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary in 1911.
Mumbai – Indore
Today you are taken to the airport for your flight to Indore, which is the perfect place to begin your tour of Madhya Pradesh. As this is a pilgrimage tour, avoid carrying leather items with you as many temples often restrict such items. Similarly, take photographs only where permitted and wear sandals instead of shoes as often you have to remove them before entering temples. Today, while exploring on your own, you can go to the Rajwada Palace, Central Museum and Khajrana Ganesh Mandir. Overnight at Indore.
Indore City Tour
After breakfast at your hotel you are taken on a city tour. There are many tourist attractions here and you can enjoy the local cuisine at outlets along Chhappan Bhog Food Street. Indore is known for the seven-story Rajwada Palace and the Lal Baag Palace, which date back to the 19th-century Holkar dynasty, whose rulers are honored by a cluster of tombs and cenotaphs at Chhatri Baag. The night market of Sarafa Bazar is worth visiting as is the Indo-Gothic Gandhi Hall and clock tower.
Omkareshwar and Mahesshwar
After breakfast today you travel for around 200 miles to visit Omkareshwar and Maheshwar seeing all the sights in both places. On your exciting five hour journey you will stop to visit Annapurna Temple, Swami Gajanan Ashram and Narmada Ghat, Ahilya Fort and the Shiv Temple. After a long day you return to your hotel in Indore where the rest of the evening is free for you to possibly go out and try one of the many local restaurants.
You have a four hour trip today when you are taken to Mandu where you visit the Jahaj Mahal, Jami Masjid, Bajbahadur Palace and Rani Roopmati Pavilion. Mandu is an ancient fort city in the centre of Maghya Pradesh which is surrounded by stone walls dotted with gateways. It's also known for its Afghan architectural heritage. Other landmark buildings include Hoshang Shah's Tomb, which is a domed marble mausoleum. Overnight at Indore.
Indore to Ujjain
After breakfast today you leave Indore for the 50 mile drive to Ujjain where you visit the centuries-old Mahakaleshwar Temple, a towering structure with a distinctive ornate roof. Nearby, Bade Ganesh Temple houses a colourful statue of the elephant-headed deity. Today you will also see Mandir, Sandeepni Ashram, and Harsidhi and Kal-Bhairav temples. Tonight you stay at Ujjain, which is an ancient city beside a river and an important Hindu pilgrimage destination.
Ujjain to Bhopal
Today there may be time for more sightseeing or temple visits in Ujjain before you leave the city and begin the three hour drive to Bhopal stopping on the way at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sanchi. Today you will be exploring monasteries and stupas from the Era of Ashoka and in the evening, check in to your next hotel in Bhopal, which is one of the greenest cities in India, and stands between two great lakes.
Today after breakfast you travel to Bhimbetka to see the archaeological treasures in the form of cave paintings that reveal the life story of pre-historic cave dwellers in India. Back in Bhopal, where you stay for a second night, you can visit the national park which is home to magnificent Royal Bengal tigers as well as lions and leopards or visit the State Museum which has lots of fossils, paintings and rare Jain sculptures.
Bhopal to Mumbai
Today you catch a flight back to Mumbai where you stay for your final night of the tour. After checking in to your hotel you have a half-day tour of the city seeing the Prince of Wales Museum, which houses a priceless collection of art, sculpture, china and antiques. Drive past the Victoria Terminus, Mumbai University, Rajabai Clock Tower and Dhobi Ghat, the open-air laundry. Also see Chowpaty Beach, the Parsi Towers of Silence and Malabar Hill and visit Mani Bhavan, the old home of Mahatma Gandhi.
Departure from Mumbai
Today your wonderful pilgrimage tour around the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh comes to an end. Maybe time for some more sightseeing and last minute souvenir shopping in Mumbai before you are taken to the airport to catch an onward flight or begin your journey home. This fascinating trip to one of India's less-visited hidden gems will leave you with lots of great memories and is perfect for anyone who has visited the country before and wants a holiday with a difference.