Day 17. Aurangabad – Mumbai

Overnight – The Taj Mahal Palace

You are assisted with your checkout from your hotel after breakfast – we recommend that you leave your baggage with the bell desk until the late afternoon.

Ellora Caves. Proceed for an excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ellora with a packed snack from your hotel. Explore the magnificently sculptured cave temples and monasteries of Ellora. The site at Ellora comprises 34 monastic caves carved out of the basalt hills: 12 Buddhist (caves 1-12), 17 Hindu (caves 13-29), and 5 Jain (caves 30-34) spanning a period from the 5th to the 10th centuries.

Ellora History. The Buddhist caves are the oldest and are predominantly viharas (monastic dwellings), with intricate interiors and detailed carvings. The Hindu caves are known for their deep spiritual symbolism and artistic exuberance. The Jain caves, the latest among the three, represent the Jain values of austerity and non-violence through delicate and detailed carvings.

Kailasa Temple. Among them, the Kailasa Temple (Cave 16) stands out as the largest single monolithic rock excavation in the world. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is an architectural marvel. The entire structure, including intricate carvings and sculptures, was carved out of a single piece of rock. It is supposed to evoke Lord Shiva’s abode in the Himalayas, Mount Kailash. More than 200,000 tons of rock was excavated and 6 generations of craftsmen worked for 125 years to create this masterpiece.

Daulatabad Fort. On your way back to Aurangabad you have the option to stop at Daulatabad Fort. This 14th century hilltop Fort is an impressive sight but what will amaze you is your guide’s illustration of the multiple ingenious tools that were used to make it virtually impregnable. The once sloping sides of the massive stone hill were manually carved sheer to make ascent impossible.

Flight to Mumbai. Return to your hotel to pick up your baggage and use the facilities to freshen up. We recommend that you consider eating at one of the hotel food outlets before heading to the airport. At the appropriate time you are driven to Aurangabad airport in time to board your late evening no-frills flight to Mumbai.

Taj Mahal Palace. At Mumbai your gorgeous historic hotel has an enviable location, across the street from the Gateway of India and the ocean. The legendary palace part of the hotel started construction at the end of the 19th century, and was completed in December 1902, well before the Gateway of India monument that it faces. Your suite in the Palace Wing includes Taj Club facilities and its associated benefits.

Mumbai Culture. The seaside in front of your hotel is where middle class residents of Mumbai like to spend their evenings enjoying the ocean breeze and socializing. It is a great place to walk on your own, as locals sit on the seaside promenade and street vendors hawk their wares to them, from street food to toys to foot massages! You can safely and comfortably explore the surroundings of your Mumbai lodging until the late evening.

You are assisted with your checkout from your hotel after breakfast – we recommend that you leave your baggage with the bell desk until the late afternoon.

Ellora Caves. Proceed for an excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ellora with a packed snack from your hotel. Explore the magnificently sculptured cave temples and monasteries of Ellora. The site at Ellora comprises 34 monastic caves carved out of the basalt hills: 12 Buddhist (caves 1-12), 17 Hindu (caves 13-29), and 5 Jain (caves 30-34) spanning a period from the 5th to the 10th centuries.

Ellora History. The Buddhist caves are the oldest and are predominantly viharas (monastic dwellings), with intricate interiors and detailed carvings. The Hindu caves are known for their deep spiritual symbolism and artistic exuberance. The Jain caves, the latest among the three, represent the Jain values of austerity and non-violence through delicate and detailed carvings.

Kailasa Temple. Among them, the Kailasa Temple (Cave 16) stands out as the largest single monolithic rock excavation in the world. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is an architectural marvel. The entire structure, including intricate carvings and sculptures, was carved out of a single piece of rock. It is supposed to evoke Lord Shiva’s abode in the Himalayas, Mount Kailash. More than 200,000 tons of rock was excavated and 6 generations of craftsmen worked for 125 years to create this masterpiece.

Daulatabad Fort. On your way back to Aurangabad you have the option to stop at Daulatabad Fort. This 14th century hilltop Fort is an impressive sight but what will amaze you is your guide’s illustration of the multiple ingenious tools that were used to make it virtually impregnable. The once sloping sides of the massive stone hill were manually carved sheer to make ascent impossible.

Flight to Mumbai. Return to your hotel to pick up your baggage and use the facilities to freshen up. We recommend that you consider eating at one of the hotel food outlets before heading to the airport. At the appropriate time you are driven to Aurangabad airport in time to board your late evening no-frills flight to Mumbai.

Taj Mahal Palace. At Mumbai your gorgeous historic hotel has an enviable location, across the street from the Gateway of India and the ocean. The legendary palace part of the hotel started construction at the end of the 19th century, and was completed in December 1902, well before the Gateway of India monument that it faces. Your suite in the Palace Wing includes Taj Club facilities and its associated benefits.

Mumbai Culture. The seaside in front of your hotel is where middle class residents of Mumbai like to spend their evenings enjoying the ocean breeze and socializing. It is a great place to walk on your own, as locals sit on the seaside promenade and street vendors hawk their wares to them, from street food to toys to foot massages! You can safely and comfortably explore the surroundings of your Mumbai lodging until the late evening.

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