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Classic Music Tour of India

Trip Duration:

Trip Route:Delhi -> Varanasi -> Khajuraho -> Orchha -> Jhansi -> Gwalior -> Agra -> Jaipur -> Delhi

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  • Flights

  • Sight Seeing

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The beginnings of Indian music are lost in the fanciful legends of Gods and Goddesses. Saraswati, the Goddess of art and learning, is usually pictured as seated on a white lotus with a vina, flute, in one hand, playing it with another. As per Hindu mythology, the first ever sound to have been heard in the universe is the Om mantra, and since it is a manifestation of the divine power (Brahma), it is the purest and melodious sound to be heard.

Historically, Indian music can be described as having been inaugurated with the chanting of Vedic hymns. The hymns of the Rigveda, the oldest Veda, were addressed to the elements of nature personified as deities, and were prayers for protection from calamities and for attainment of prosperity. The subsequent Vedas refer to several kinds of musicians and musical instruments.

It took a long time for music to come to the form found in present-day India. It has developed through very complex interactions between different races and cultures over several thousand years.

The beginnings of Indian music are lost in the fanciful legends of Gods and Goddesses. Saraswati, the Goddess of art and learning, is usually pictured as seated on a white lotus with a vina, flute, in one hand, playing it with another. As per Hindu mythology, the first ever sound to have been heard in the universe is the Om mantra, and since it is a manifestation of the divine power (Brahma), it is the purest and melodious sound to be heard.

Historically, Indian music can be described as having been inaugurated with the chanting of Vedic hymns. The hymns of the Rigveda, the oldest Veda, were addressed to the elements of nature personified as deities, and were prayers for protection from calamities and for attainment of prosperity. The subsequent Vedas refer to several kinds of musicians and musical instruments.

It took a long time for music to come to the form found in present-day India. It has developed through very complex interactions between different races and cultures over several thousand years.

Music and Dance Tours With Us:

The rich and varied music and dance tradition in India is born out of complex interactions between different races and cultures over several thousand years. While North India’s classical dance, Kathak, is renowned for its elaborate footwork, south India’s Kathakali is admired for its minute movements of eyebrows and eyeballs. While Hindustani classical music is noted for its melody, the Carnatic music is extremely soulful. There are umpteen forms of regional folk music and dance, each of them creations of different socio-economic setups and traditions.

We at "Royals Rajasthan Tours" design hereby Music and Dance Tours as per your specific Interests.
You may choose to follow a particular form of music or dance or survey the best that India has to offer.
We promise to take you behind the scenes at traditional music and dance centres around the country,
help you get familiar with the fundamentals and techniques of various art forms, and connect you with
real people, which will leave an indelible impression and create lifelong memories. 

Sample Itinerary: Rhythm of Music – North India 

Visit a Sufi Mausoleum in Delhi and listen to devotional qawalis

Take a train to Lucknow for a lecture-cum-dance performance of Kathak Dance form which enthralled the Lucknow Nawabs till very recently.

Drive to the ancient holy town of Varanasi where you will enjoy Sitar recital, Thumari vocal classical music performance as well as a Shehnai recital for which Varanasi is an important centre

Fly to the temple town of Khajuraho where a magical dance performance will be organised against the backdrop of a temple. The famous Khajuraho Dance Festival is held every year in February

Take a train ride to Gwalior to enjoy classical singing of Khayal style. This performance will also include a lecture session and a chance to interact with the musicians.

Drive to to Jaipur, an important centre for Hindustani classical music, and enjoy the soul-stirring Dhrupad Vocal music performance.

Detailed Itinerary: 

DAY 01:          ARRIVE DELHI                                              [International Flight]

You will arrive at New Delhi International Airport. Following customs, immigration formalities and baggage collection, a RRT Representative will meet you as you EXIT the ARRIVAL TERMINAL, You will be immediately transferred to your hotel.

Overnight at the hotel where you will proceed for check-in. [ROOMS WILL BE BOOKED FROM PREVIOUS NIGHT TO ENSURE IMMEDIATE CHECK-IN]

India’s capital and a major gateway to the country, contemporary Delhi is a bustling metropolis, which successfully combines in its folds - the ancient with the modern. Amidst the fast spiraling skyscrapers the remnants of a bygone time in the form of its many monuments stand as silent reminders to the region’s ancient legacy. The first impressions for any visitor travelling in from the airport are of a specious, garden city, tree-lined with a number of beautiful parks.

Upon arrival at the hotel, you will be accorded with a Traditional Welcome. The warmth of Indian hospitality and the custom of welcoming guests is as old as time itself. As you step into the hotel, ladies in traditional local costumes greet you with garlands of flowers and perform the "aarti" ceremony. After having your forehead anointed with the traditional red "tikka", relax with a non-alcoholic welcome drink. 

After the welcoming ceremony, proceed for check-in to your rooms, which will be pre-allocated to ensure smooth check-in.

DAY 02:          DELHI

Following buffet breakfast, you will proceed for combined sightseeing tour of Old & New Delhi.

You will first visit Old Delhi. The tour will begin with a visit to Raj Ghat, a simple memorial to Mahatma Gandhi; drive past Red Fort (closed on Mondays & national holidays) - World Heritage Site, one of the most spectacular piece of Mughal Architecture. Built by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan between 1638 and 1648, the Red Fort has walls extending up to 2 kms in length with the height varying from 18 mts. continuing to the Jama Masjid, one of Asia’s largest mosques and which is viewed from the outside. People stream in and out of the mosque continuously and the presence of a nearby bazaar means that the area is rarely quiet.

After visiting Old Delhi, you will be driven to New Delhi, which reflects the legacy the British left behind. The division between New and Old Delhi is the division between the capitals of the British and the Mughals respectively. The division in the walled city and New Delhi also marks the division in the life-styles. The walled city is all tradition where one will be able to glean a past life-style in all its facets, colours and spells. New Delhi in contrast, is a city trying to live up to the best of 21st century standards.

The tour to Imperial Delhi will include a visit to the Qutub Minar, the tallest stone tower in India. Qutub-ud-din Aibak started it in 1199. Pulling down 27 Hindu and Jain temples and using their columns erected the attached Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque also built by him. Then visit Humayun’s tomb, built by the widow of the second Mughal Emperor, Humayun, it is an outstanding monument in the Indo-Persian style, a precursor of the Taj Mahal. The tour also includes a drive past the imposing India Gate, the Parliament building and the Rastrapathi Bhawan, the President’s residence.

Post sightseeing tour of Delhi, you proceed for visit to famous Sangeet Mahavidayalya (Music School) in city. Where you can try you hands on musical instruments available under the guidance of faculty & even have a close interaction with the faculty & Students of the School.

Evening will be free for independent activities.

[NOTE: You may get a chance to witness some Musical Play at the renowned theatre or some classical Music Concert happening in the city on your dates of Travel. As being the Capital City of India Delhi hosts such events very often]

Later return to hotel for an overnight stay.

DAY 03:          DELHI – VARANASI [Flight: 9W 723 – 1040 hrs / 1150 hrs]

Breakfast at the hotel

Today a RRT Representative will transfer you to Delhi domestic airport to board flight for Varanasi.

Departure: Delhi                At: 1040 hrs            By: 9W 723 (Jet Airways)

Arrival: Varanasi                At: 1150 hrs            (Operates Daily)

Upon arrival you will be met by a RRT Representative who will transfer you to hotel.

Varanasi, the 'eternal city', and Hinduism's most important city, the antiquity of Varanasi is veiled in immortal times and has been the centre of religion, learning and civilization since ages. It has an endearing universal mystique, which has to be experienced to be understood. The city gets its inherent charm from the location as it’s situated on west side of the Holy Ganges. The principal attraction is being the bathing ghats that are always bustling with life at any given time of the day.

In the afternoon you will proceed for visit to “INDIAN MUSIC CENTRE” which offers Indian Classical Dance, Music & Demonstration of Yoga. The centre is located in the Heart of the City near DASHASWMEDH GHAT.

As you are already aware that Varanasi is the oldest living city in the world which is known for it’s life, tradition, Music, Dance, Yoga Festivals & Cuisine which can be organized and offered to those visitors who really wants to see & enjoy the real charm of Varanasi.

The centre is full fledged running from last 4 Years at the residence of co-founder which is an Old Spacious Maintained Building. They perform the programme at the centre of the Home {Aangan} where 40 people can be easily seated. Those wants to have feeling to see the Real Family Life in Varanasi then Indian Music centre is the best place because the family of the residence interacts with the Guests / visitors

In the evening you would be taken to the Ghats to see the illuminated Ganga Aarti ceremony – an experience of life; enlightening your spiritual feelings with rhythm of hymns & other rituals. The Ganga Aarti is a spectacular sight. Hundreds throng to the ghats to participate in this ceremony. Offerings of lamps and flowers are made to the river immediately following this ceremony and it is a moving sight to watch hundreds of miniature lamps float along the river

Later return back to hotel & Overnight stay

DAY 04:          VARANASI

Very early in the morning you will take a boat ride along the bathing ghats on the Holy River Ganges. At sunrise the Hindu faithful flock to the river to cleanse themselves of their sins. You see the cremation ghats and the Deswameedha ghats. To die in Varanasi is to end the Hindu cycle of re-birth, thereby making it a popular place to end one's life. After sunrise you will visit some of the temples in the surrounding area.

After buffet breakfast at the hotel, visit "Bharat Kala Bhavan" which lies within the sprawling grounds of Banaras Hindu University. Its outstanding collection of sculpture, paintings and textiles began with the private collection of the enlightened Rai Krishnadasa. The sculpture collection includes terracotta and clay objects, stone and bronze and cast metal objects. Ancient terracotta varying from ritual icons to toys to utilitarian objects date to the Indus Valley Civilization, Mauryan, Sunga and Gupta period.

In the afternoon proceed to visit house of The Legendary Shehnai Maestro – Ustad Bismillah Khan. A Small part of his house is converted in to a Museum for his fans & Music Lovers. This place hosts awards for his achievements & instruments he used for his rehas (practice) alongwith the other memorable facts of his life. Some of his family members are also residing in the same house.

Ustad Bismillah Khan was a man of tenderness, a man who believes in remaining private and who believes that musicians are supposed to be heard and not seen. Where others see conflict and contradiction between his music and his religion, Bismillah Khan sees only a divine unity. Music, sur, namaaz is the same thing. His namaaz is the seven shuddh and five komal surs. Shehnai Maestro Bismillah khan received Bharat Ratna in year 2001.

Later proceed to witness a Short Classical Music performance at the house of Mr. Durgalal Prasanna with Hi Tea – the favourite & talented student of Ustad Bismillah Khan. After the performance he will share some of his memories of the spent with the legendary personality & His Guru.

In time return back to hotel for overnight.

DAY 05:          VARANASI – KHAJURAHO [Flight: 9W 723 – 1220 hrs / 1300 hrs]

Today after leisurely breakfast, in time a RRT Representative will meet you in the hotel lobby and transfer you to Varanasi airport to board the flight for Khajuraho.

Departure: Varanasi           At: 1220 hrs            By: 9W 723 (Jet Airways)

Arrival: Khajuraho              At: 1300 hrs            (Operates Daily)

Upon arrival you will be met by a RRT representative who will transfer you to hotel.

In the realm of architecture, Khajuraho holds a unique position.  The temples here were built between 950 and 1050 A.D. by the Chandela dynasty, who claims descent from the Moon God and a mortal, Hemavati, with whom the god fell in love.

Most of the temples of the north were destroyed by invaders, but Khajuraho escaped and stands today as an island of beauty.  The Chandelas built 85 temples and some 22 survive today.  Architecturally the temples have some unique features.  They stand on high platforms and do not have customary enclosures. 

Each temple has a large number of spires in ascending order representing man's aspirations towards spiritual goals. They are ornately carved, with each frieze and sculpture depicting the genius of the men who carved it and the king who inspired them.  

Although famous for erotic depictions, these form only a small part of the wealth of the site.  Taken in totality, the sculptures of Khajuraho depict the everyday life of the people and the court in the 10th and 11th centuries. 

After quick wash & change you will visit the Chandela Temple Complex. The tour of Khajuraho this morning concentrates on the famous erotic temples, which represent some of the finest examples of temple architecture in Northern India.  The remote location of Khajuraho meant that the temples were unharmed by Muslim invaders and as a result, the intricately fine carvings are in very good condition and are said to represent life in heaven. 

They were built during the mighty Chandela dynasty; the majority was constructed in a sudden burst of creative and religious energy, between the mid-10th and 11th centuries.  After ruling for about 500 years the Chandela dynasty fell to the might of Islam and consequently the religious centre of Khajuraho was abandoned.  The temples remain as a reminder of a society that believed in the full enjoyment of life, with all the senses being a path to nirvana.  Of the eighty-five original temples only 22 remain, but many are in very good condition. 

You visit the Kandariya Mahadeva, the Chatrabhuj, Parswanath and Ghantai Temples, each remarkable for its beautiful design and architecture.

Overnight at the hotel

DAY 06:         KHAJURAHO – ORCHHA – JHANSI     [Surface: 200 Kms / 05 Hrs]

                      JHANSI – GWALIOR            [Shatabdi express–1755 hrs/1900 hrs]

Today post breakfast you will be transferred to Jhansi railway station to board the train for Gwalior, enroute visiting Orchha a city frozen in time. It was founded in the 16th century by the Bundela chieftain, Rudra Pratap Singh, who built this new capital on large wooded islands on the River Betwa. Today, remains of the fort and palaces speak eloquently of Orchha's time of glory, of its splendid legacy of art and culture. Though little more than a village today, stepping back in time, into Orchha's fortress and palaces is an enjoyable experience.

Place of interest in Orchha include the multi-tiered Jehangir Mahal, within the fort, built in 1606; the Raj Mahal noted for its fine murals and the Rai Praveen Mahal, a palace set in the gardens of Anand Mahal. Orchha has tall-spired temples that are certainly worth visit. Notable among them are the Ram Raja Temple, Laxminarain Temple with its exuberant frescoes, and the Chaturbhuj Temple

Later you will be transferred to Jhansi railway station to board the train for Gwalior.

Departure: Jhansi               At: 1755 hrs            By: # 2001 (Shatabdi express train)

Arrival: Gwalior                  At: 1900 hrs            (Operates Daily except for Friday)

On arrival meet at railway station and transferred to your hotel.

Gwalior, one of the most exquisite cities of India, is an integral part of the state of Madhya Pradesh. Said to have been founded by the chieftain Surajpal, in honor of the saint Gwalipa who cured him, city is the 46th most populated conglomerate in the country.

Overnight at the hotel

DAY 07:          GWALIOR

Post buffet breakfast at the hotel; you will proceed for the visit to Sarod Museum.  

The old ancestral house of the legendry Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan has recently been converted into 'Sarod Ghar' - Museum of Music by the Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan Memorial Trust under the patronage and guidance of his great son and Sarod Maestro Ustad Amzad Ali Khan. Museum is a unique institution devoted to promoting Indian classical music, heritage and culture; through this 'window' to the past, music lovers can gain a better understanding of the evolution and history of North Indian Classical Music and can get a deeper perspective and insight into the context of the art as it exists today.

SAROD GHAR (Closed on Mondays) also houses an impressive collection of photographs and documents. Work on compiling a database on classical music in the form of books, articles, audio and audio-visual recording is in progress.

Later you will visit to Jai Vilas Palace & Museum of Scindia Family (Closed on Wednesdays) - Royal Family of the Gwalior City. Jai Vilas Palace is a European style palace, part of it is converted into museum. Its unique architecture, which is a mix of Italian, Tuscan and Corinthian, is quite amazing. Jai Vilas Palace is constructed by the Maharaja Jiyaji Rao Scindia and the fabulous palace is festooned with furniture from Versailles, Italy and France.

The Museum exhibits a collection of antiques belong to the Scindia reign. Two Belgian chandeliers weighing several tens will definitely catch the sight of everyone. Each article put on display in the museum is worthy to be mentioned, but some rare collections like a glass cradle from Italy, silver dinner services and swords that were once worn by Aurangzeb and Shah Jahan are conspicuous.

Afternoon proceed for the half-day sightseeing tour of Gwalior visiting magnificent Gwalior Fort, which was praised by Cunningham as the 'noblest specimen of Hindu architecture in Northern India.' The fort was built in the 8th century by the Rajputs and is also famous for its riot of blue and yellow glazed tile work. After visiting the fort you will proceed to visit Sas Bahu ka Mandir that has a unique blend of architectural styles. Drive past the Scindia School, run by the royal family of Gwalior. Gwalior also accommodates the tomb of Mohammed Ghaus II, noted for its sandstone screen work, dating back to late 16th Century. Seemingly, Mohammed Ghaus assisted Babur in obtaining Gwalior and later became spiritual adviser to Akbar. It is an exceptional tomb, of early Mughal influence.

Later visit the Sikh Temple (Gurudwara Data Bandi Chhod) – built in 1970 in the memory of sixth Guru of Sikhs (Shri Guru Hargobind singh Sahib). Here you may get chance to hear the recital of Guru Granth Sahib & spiritual hymns in a classical Music form sung in various Raags usually with Tabla & Harmonium at the Evening prayer timings.

Optional: Sound & Light Show at Gwalior Fort: The atmospheric Gwalior Fort Sound-and-Light Show is held nightly in the open-air amphitheatre. This show at the Man Mandir Palace of Gwalior Fort gives you a glimpse into its glorious past. In the Son-et-Lumeire, Pt. Jasraj, Bhimsen Joshi and Kumar Gandharva recreate the spiritual grandeur of the Dhrupad tradition as sung by Baiju and Tansen

Overnight at the hotel

DAY 08:          GWALIOR – AGRA                            [Surface: 122 Kms / 03 hrs]

Today have early breakfast & proceed for visit to Tansen’s Tomb.

Tansen is known as - The father of Hindustani classical music, the great Tansen, one of the 'nine Jewels' of Akbar's court, lies buried in Gwalior. The memorial to this great musician has a pristine simplicity about it, and is built in the early Mughal architectural style. More than a monument, the Tansen's Tomb is part of Gwalior's living cultural heritage; it is the venue of a music festival on a national scale held annually in November-December. Leading musicians of the country gather here to give performances during the festival.

Later you will be driven to Agra (122 Kms / 3 hours). Upon arrival proceed for check-in at your hotel.

Afternoon proceed for the visit to Agra Fort, an outstanding example of Mughal architecture. Agra Fort - the seat and the stronghold of the Mughal Empire under successive generations. This was the seat of Mughal rule and administration and the present structure owes its origins to Akbar who erected the walls and gates and the first buildings on the eastern banks of Yamuna River. Shah Jehan added the impressive quarters and the mosque while Aurangzeb added the outer ramparts. Visit its Hall of Public Audience and its Royal Pavilions.

Overnight at the hotel

DAY 09:          AGRA – FATEHPUR SIKRI – JAIPUR        [Surface: 240 Kms/ 06 hrs]

Today early morning you will proceed for sunset viewing of The Taj Mahal (closed on Fridays). Midway Tonga’s “horse carriages” would be waiting for you and will drop you at the gates of the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal is everything that has been said about it and more. Taking 22 years and 20,000 men to build, the white marble was quarried 200 miles away and was transported to the site by a fleet of 1000 elephants. Built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as an expression of his love for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, in mid 17th century, the Taj Mahal is truly one of the wonders of the world. Though the Taj appears to be amazingly perfect from almost any angle, it is the close-up marble inlay work, which is really astounding. You will have ample time to view and be mesmerized by this outstanding piece of architecture. 

After the visit return back to hotel for Breakfast

Post breakfast proceed for drive to Jaipur enroute visiting Fatehpur Sikri, the deserted red sandstone city, built by the Great Mughal Emperor Akbar as his capital and palace in the late 16th century.  It was abandoned soon after it was built when the local wells went dry and it remains today in much the same condition that it was over 300 years ago.  It is complete with palaces and mosques and used to be a town larger than London when it was originally constructed. Now it is an extraordinary place to wander around with its buildings in near perfect condition.

After visit continue your drive to Jaipur. On arrival proceed for check-in at your hotel.

Jaipur's past is never too far from hand. The city of victory, Jaipur presides over the fascinating desert state and its people: surrounded by rugged hills, each crowned by a formidable fort; and beautiful palaces, mansions and gardens dotted throughout its precincts. The palaces and forts of yesteryear that were witness to royal processions and splendour are now living monuments, accepted quite naturally into the lifestyles of the people of the "pink city".  Except for the busy traffic of bicycles, cars and buses, little seems to have changed.  There is a timeless quality to Jaipur's bazaars and its people.  With its historical past, Jaipur revives legends of the ancient Rajputs.  The dresses of the women and the turbans of the men add colour to this fascinating city.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

DAY 10:          JAIPUR

Breakfast is at the hotel.

Post breakfast you will proceed for half day sightseeing tour of Jaipur city visiting the City Palace, which is an overwhelming complex of exquisite palaces, gardens and courtyards, decorative art and carved doorways. The palace museum houses collections of rare manuscripts, armoury, costumes, carpets and miniature paintings.

Jaipur's Jantar Mantar is the most famous of five observatories built by Sawai Jai Singh in India. Jai Singh was a great admirer of progresses and research made in the fields of science and technology, but he was passionate about astronomy. There is a very interesting story behind the construction of this observatory, considered as the largest stone observatory in the world. Sawai Jai Singh sent his emissaries to all parts of the world before commencing the construction of this observatory. The emissaries returned with many manuals on astronomy containing cutting-edge technological information. One of these manuals was a copy of La Hire's "Tables". The king ordered the observatory to be built according to the details contained in this manual. When the construction ended, for the astonishment of the king and others, the observatory was 20 seconds more accurate than the one mentioned in "Table.

In the afternoon you will proceed for visit to Academy of Folk Music for a lecture on Indian Classical & Folk Music by a Scholar; Followed by a live performance of Rajasthani Folk Music & Dance by the students of the academy/ institute.

These types of Institutes / academies are dedicated to the preservation, promotion & dissemination of art & culture of India. They work on the basis of Guru Shishya Parampara since years. These are best source to restore the dignity of performing arts from famous Jaipur Gharana & spread it worldwide.

DAY 11:          JAIPUR – DELHI                   [Surface: 260 Kms / 06 hrs]

                        DEPARTURE DELHI             [International flight]         

Today early in the morning following buffet breakfast you will proceed to visit the capital of Amber to see the fabulous Amber Fort. Maharaja Mansingh, Mughal Emperor Akbar’s most successful General, started the construction of Amber Fort in the 17th century. Before the City Palace was constructed in Jaipur, Amber was the seat of power. The fort is surrounded by fortified battlements and overlooks the Moat Lake. Ruins and remains are spread over the Aravalli hills and sprawling crenulated walls lattice the surrounding area.

An elephant (alternatively by jeeps) will spare you the trouble of reaching up to the fortress. Once you reach on the top, stroll through the sprawling complex of courtyards and halls. Many of the rooms have delightful wall paintings, with precious stones and mirrors inlaid in the walls. Most fascinating, perhaps, is the Sheesh Mahal (hall of mirrors) where a single lamplight is reflected in the many mirrors, lighting up the room.

En-route to Amber Fort you will stop and see the `Palace of Winds’, otherwise known as Hawa Mahal. It is really an elaborate facade behind which the ladies of the court used to watch the daily goings on in the street below. It is extremely intricate in its pink sandstone carving. The cool wind blows through its facade of windows and latticed screens through which the queens of the court once viewed the streets of the city.

Post visit to the magnificent fort you will be driven to Delhi. Upon arrival you will be met & transferred to international airport to board your flight back home.

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