DECCAN - OFF THE BEATEN TRACK WITH HIGHLIGHTS
Bombay - Hyderabad - Gulbarga - Bijapur - Aihole/Badami/Pattadakal - Hospet - Hampi - Hassan - Belur/Halebid - Bangalore - Mysore - Kabini - Mangalore - Goa - Bombay

1. Day
Flight to Bombay
HEADING EAST

Touch - down at bombay around midnight and transfer to your hotel for rest .

2. Day
Bombay - Hyderabad
CITY OF 12 MILLION PEOPLE

After a late breakfast we visit the main places of interest of this pulsating , crowded city and financial metropolis of india . The gateway of india , bombay's landmark , was conceived as a triumphal arch to commemorate the visit of george v and queen mary for the delhi durbar in 1911 . At mani bhavan , the home of mahatma gandhi while at bombay , india's freedom struggle is presented as a lively doll's exhibition . At the dhobi ghat it is interesting to see crowds of men wash clothes manually and by method unknown to us , and the appealing panoramic view of bombay's modern skyline from the hanging gardens on malabar hill is quite unexpected . Our onward flight to hyderabad takes off in the afternoon .

3. Day
Hyderabad
ISLAMIC WEALTH

In hyderabad , capital of andra pradesh , we visit the fort of golconda. Once the name golconda was synonomous with diamonds and extrodinary wealth some of the greatest diomonds in history - the kohinoor , the darya -i -noor - were mined here . Today the extensive ruins of golconda bear witness to the engineering genius of the qutb shahi builders . Within the fort are graceful tombs of the rulers with their gentle domes and minarets. Hyderabad's landmark , the charminar , is a rather square triumphal arch with minarets at its corner , built in 1591 to mark the end of an epidemic of plague . Nearby stands the mecca mosque , which while it is one of the largest mosques in the country , is also one of the loveliest . The chaumahala palace was the residence of the nizam of hyderabad , the most important islamic court from the 16th century to independence . A museum houses 35000 objets d'art , priceless treasures , the extravagance of an opulant age and one of the richest men in the world .

4. Day
Hyderabad - Bidar - Gulbarga
FORTS , TOMBS AND MOSQUE

We drive to gulburga on the deccan plateau via bidar , the ancient capital of the bahmani dynasty with two forts and the royal tombs . The afternoon awaits us with the citadel of gulburga hich has no less than 15 watchtowers and houses a mosque for which cordoba ( spain ) is said to be the model .

5. Day
Gulbarga - Bijapur
ISLAMIC RULERS IN SOUTH INDIA

Early in the morning we start to bijapur , one of the most important cities with indo - islamic architecture in this region . Bijapur is the islamic name for vijayapuram , the city of victory . The monumental building is the gol gumbaz , a 17th century mausoleum with the largest dome in the world and fantastic acoustics . Famous too , is the beautiful arched jama masjid . We can imagine the power of bijapur's kings while walking along the citywalls and the massive fortifications , where a cannon of 710 mm , cast in 1551 is still intact . Marvellous stone carvings and sculptures adorn the tomb of taj sultana .

6. Day
Bijapur - Hospet
TRACING THE GREAT CHALUKYA KINGDOM

Enroute to hospet are situated the three capitals of the chalukya - dynasty : aihole , pattadakal and badami . Aihole was the first capital from the 6th to 8th century and is historically known as the cradle of hindu temple architecture . Today it is a pictures--que little village with about 70 temples . The group of temples at pattadakal , uncomparably gracious and a fantasy in stone , represent the climax of the early western chalukyan architecture . Badami , the second capital of the chalukyas , is magnificiently nestled in a canyon and its cavetemples display the full range of religious sects which have grown up on indian soil.

7. Day
Hampi
TO THE OLD CAPITAL

The full day we discover the numerous ruins and temples of hanpi , the capital of the once mighty vijayanagar empire , and one of the most interesting and least visited historical sites in india . Hampi has a magic quality and the ruins are superb , set in a strange hill country strewn with enormous , rounded boulders . The most important monument are the shivatemple with a gopuram 50 mtrs high and a statue of narashima 7 mtrs in height .

8. Day
Hospet - Hassan
SPARCE BUT FASCINATING DECCAN - PLA TEAU

Today's india is everyday's india - the rural life on poor soil . Our images are about simple people ,the village people , the rituals and routines that make up the rhythm of their days , their spiritual fervour , their dignity and sense of colour and self - adornment as well as the earthly beauty of their humble homes and the unconscious artistry of their agricultural labour . In the evening we will reach hassan , a purely industrial town .

9. Day
Belur and Halebid
MASTERCRAFTSMENSHIP

Our day's excursion from hassan leads us to the masterpieces of the hoysala dynasty from the 12th and 13th century , the chennakesava - temple at belur and the hoysaleswara temple at halebid . The walls covered with finest ornaments and religious and worldly figures make these temples superb examples of what dedication can achieve , whether of craftsmen or rulers .

10. Day
Hassan - Srvana Belgola - Bangalore
SKY - CLAD SAINTS

The 17 mtrs high statue of lord bahubali or sree gomnateshwara is visible from a quite a distance on top of the indragiri hill at sravana belgola . The monk on top of the hill as sravana belgola literally signifies , has been cut out of the hard granite rock more than a 1000 years ago . Even though the proportions are not quite realistic , it is an unique artwork and prove of hard manual labour unimaginable in its extensiveness. Sravana belgola is one of the most important holy places of the jainas , a religion vigourously believing in the sanctity of all living things. We return to 20th century india in the afternoon when we reach bangalore , a modern , sprawling , lively and beautiful city , called the garden city .

11. Day
Lepakshi
AWAY FROM ALL TOURIST TREKS

Our morning excursion to lepakshi shows us yet another impressive monument of the vijayanagar dynasty. The papanaseswara temple with wonderfully preserved frescoes on the ceiling , and pillars decorated with carved court scenes and a monolithic nandi - bull , maybe the best in india, is hardly mentioned in any kind of books and even less visited. The afternoon is reserved for your own exploration of bangalore .

12. Day
Bangalore - Mysore
LAST BASTION AGAINST THE BRITISH EMPIRE

On our way to mysore we drive through plenty - paddy fields , sunflowers , millet , Sugarcane and mulberry . Nearly every village in this region is engaged in silkproduction from raising silkworms to the delicate weaving of the adorned mysore silk and of course , we will show you some stages of this laborious process . Just before mysore lies srirangapatnam , where tippu sultan fought and fell in the historical battle of 1779 against the british , ending the local resistance against the rising empire . After a rest in our hotel at mysore we will enjoy the peace and beauty of the bird- sanctuary ranganathittu at sun - set .

13. Day
Mysore
TWENTYONE PALACES IN ONE TOWN

The goddess chamundi guards the city from top of a hill her temple frequently visited by pilgrims , always an absorbing sight . Half way downhill stands a huge monolithic nandi - bull . Back in the city, our fantasies will be raised by the wonders and splendours of the maharaja palace . A most colourful flower , fruit and vegetable market is the delight of all photographers. Afternoon drive to somnathpur , where another hoysala temple , more complete in its architecture than belur and halebid and with similar carvings is located.

14. Day
Mysore - Kabini
COMMUNION WITH NATURE

It all began when the maharaja of mysore decided to have a hunting lodge amidst the dense jungle of karapur. The forest is ever so green , the gentle waters of the kabini river ever so blue and the wild life so abundant. The lodge provided an ideal retreat for the royalty in the beginning of this century , later for the viceroys . Can you resist the lure of the jungle either ? And when you come here , you blend in too , and forget you have any other existence , but this. Naturalists will take us on a jeep safari and a coracle tour . A coracle is a round native boat , something like a basket .

15. Day
Kabini - Mangalore
CROSSING THE WEST - GHATS

Around noon we say farewell to the kabini river lodge start our drive crossing the western ghats or blue mountains . Dense forests and rubber plantations are followed by cocunut - trees as far as one can see. In the evening we reach mangalore.

16. Day
Mudabidri
RELIGIONS OF THE JAINAS

Sea once more we come into the mountains , a morning excursion brings us to mudabidri. Here stands an interesting jain temple with a huge statue , similar to srvana belgola. Afternoon relax at the shore of the lakshadeep.

17. Day
Mangalore - Goa
DESTINATION BEACH HOLIDAYS

A long but interesting drive along the arabian sea amidst beautiful and always changing landscapes lies ahead of us today . Our final destination in india , goa , will be reached in the evening .

18.-21. Day
Goa
PORTUGESE BEQUEST

The plentiful sandy beaches peppered along goa's coast and an easygoing portugese influenced atmosphere provides an ideal end for a very special holiday . All the many memories of your tour will still startle you and we are here for further information , for any questions still unanswered and for any help you should wish .

22. Day
Goa - Bombay - Homebound
FAREWELL TO INDIA

In the afternoon , flight from goa to bombay. Farewell dinner at bombay and leavetaking from our historical and lively country around midnight .
 

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