Few regions in India are more interesting than Madhya Pradesh, in the heart of India. Intersected by rivers and dotted by hills and lakes, the state has a varied setting of great beauty. This tour visits the great Buddhist stupa of Sanchi and the romantic ghost-town of Mandu. There are also the interesting temple towns at Maheshwar and Omkareshwar.
Day 1 - Bhopal
Arrive at Bhopal where you are met and transferred to your hotel. In the afternoon you enjoy a guided tour of Bhopal, a surprising mix of medieval Hindu and Islamic architecture and modern town planning. It is a fast growing industrial city situated on gently rolling hills and around two artificial lakes. There is a large animal park which is home to white tigers and a unique outdoor tribal museum.
Day 2 - Bhopal
Among the earliest monuments of ancient India that have survived are the Buddhist stupas of Sanchi, standing dramatically atop a hill less than 50 km away from Bhopal. The most famous stupa is encircled by a railing cut by four exquisitely carved gateways facing the four directions of the compass. The carvings show a world where people and animals live together in happiness.
Day 3 - Dhar
Drive to Dhar (6 hrs), a bustling market town, 65 km west of Indore. The views from the ramparts of its hilltop fort provide beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. There is a large stone mosque with ancient Sanskrit inscriptions and an adjoining tomb of a Muslim saint.
Day 4 - Maheshwar
The hill city of Mandu is just 33 km away (1 hr). You can explore here the ruins of the beautiful, ancient city of Mandu, once known as the `City of Joy', and noted for its fine Hindu and Muslim architecture. Afterwards continue to Maheshwar (1 hr), a small town, situated on the banks of the river Narmada.
Day 5 - Maheshwar
The gently flowing river's banks are dotted by colourful shrines and are a gentle buzz of activity in the early morning as people come to bathe, wash clothes and swap stories and at night as the site of the daily worship of the sacred river. Visit the Ghats along the river bank and the Maheshwar temples, remarkable for their carved overhanging balconies and intricately worked doorways.
Day 6 - Indore
Drive to the temple town of Omkareshwar (1 1/2 hrs), situated at a spot where the Narmada and the Kaveri rivers meet. On an island between these rivers is the temple of Shiva. It is said that this island is in the shape of the Devnagari letter 'Om'. Clustered around are smaller shrines dedicated to other gods of the Hindu pantheon. Afterwards continue to Indore (1 1/2hrs) where you connect with your onward travel plans.