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Deccan Odyssey & Enchanting Goa

Char MinarThe perfect place to start exploring India is, of course, Delhi, the capital of India and a city of fascinating contrasts. From Delhi to Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh, a city filled with domes and minarets, palaces and colorful bazaars spilling over with silks, pearls, perfumes, and antiques. Visit the historical sites full of forts and palaces, mosques and tombs, the remains of typical Islamic mosaics in Bidar, Gulbarga, Bijapur, world heritage monuments in Hampi and Badami with the beautiful and evocative of all the ruins in Karnataka dating back to early 16th century. We traverse Belgaum, one of the oldest town in the state nestled on foothills of the enchanting Sahayadri Range, to reach Goa, a small tropical paradise set on the Konkan coast. Finally the tour ends in the city of dreams- Bombay (now called Mumbai) after taking an excursion to the magnificient rock cut caves temples in Elephanta caves.

Day 01: Delhi
Arrive Delhi. Upon arrival at the airport in Delhi transfer to hotel.

Day 02: Delhi - Hyderabad
Embark on a tour of Delhi. Visit Red Fort - splendid Fort built in red sandstone dating back from the very peak of the Mughal power, Jama Masjid - the largest of congregational mosques in India with the courtyard which can hold about 25,000 people and drive past Rajpath & India Gate, the magnificient government complex - President's House famed by the secretariats and the circular Parliament House. Also visit Humayun’s Tomb - a wonderful example of Mughal architecture, considered as the predecessor of Taj Mahal and Qutub Minar (Victory Tower) of 13th century. Late afternoon transfer to the airport and fly to Hyderabad (2 hrs). Transfer to the hotel.

Day 03: Hyderabad
A full day sightseeing tour of Hyderabad city includes visits to the Charminar - the most famous landmark of Hyderabad built in 1591, Salar Jung Museum - one of Hyderabad's prime attractions as it is the world's largest one-man collection housing around 35,000 exhibits which includes unusual collections of jade, marble statues, rare manuscripts, Persian miniature paintings, Chinese porcelain and other objects d'art, Golconda Fort - one of the most magnificent fortress complexes in India built on a granite hill 120m high and located on the outskirts of city.

Day 04: Hyderabad - Bidar - Gulbarga
Morning drive to Gulbarga (252 Kms/5-6 hrs) visiting Bidar en route. Bidar has splendid 15th century Fort and three palaces, remains of typical Islamic mosaics, oldest & one of the largest Muslim building in India. Drive on and check into your hotel. Rest of the day is at leisure.

Day 05: Gulbarga - Bijapur
In the morning tour of Gulbarga, which was once the Bahmani capital from 1347 till 1428. Visit the Fort of Gulbarga - an amazing structure, with 15 towers and 26 guns. Inside the fort, is the Jama Masjid, built during the late 14th century by a Moorish architect who is said to have fashioned it on the lines of the great mosque in Cordoba in Spain, Bahmani Tombs - This tomb is also the venue of the annual Urs, attended by thousands of people. In the afternoon drive to Bijapur (190 Kms/ 3-4 hrs) and check into your hotel. Rest of the day is at leisure.

Day 06: Bijapur - Hospet
Morning a half-day tour of Bijapur, former capital of the Adil Shahi dynasty (1489-1686) and now a town blessed by scattered ruins, mausoleums, palaces, finest mosques in the Deccan. Visit Gol Gumbaz - built in 1659, the mausoleum of Mohammed Adil Shah with its vast dome, said to be the second largest dome, unsupported by pillars, in the world, after St. Peter's in the Vatican City of Rome. Also visit an archeological museum, Ibrahim Roza mosoleum, the citadel - surrounded by its own fortified walls and wide moat in the city centre, Jama Masjid - a finely proportioned mosque considered one of the finest in India. Afternoon drive to Hospet (210 Kms/ 4 hrs), a fairly typical Karnataka country town usually used as a base to explore the ruins at Hampi. Check into your hotel.

Day 07: Hospet - Hampi - Hospet
Morning a full day excursion to the Lost Kingdom of Hampi, one of the most fascinating historical and world heritage site in India with the beautiful and evocative of all the ruins in Karnataka. Visit Hampi Bazaar & Virupaksha Temple, one of the earliest structures in the city dedicated to Lord Shiva. Overlooking the temple to the south is the Hemakuta Hill, which has a scattering of early ruins including Jain temples and a monolith sculpture of Narasimha (Vishnu in his half-man half-lion incarnation). Also visit Vittala Temple complex - the most amazing monument in Hampi and a World Heritage Monument having musical pillars, an ornate Stone Chariot in the temple courtyard, the Royal Centre - a complex, which has various stonewalled enclosures having the rest of Hampi's major attractions like the Lotus Mahal and the Elephant Stables.

Day 08: Hospet – Badami
Drive to Badami (112 Kms/ 2-3 hrs) en route visiting Aihole and Pattadakal. Aihole was the first capital of the early Chalukyas, also widely regarded as the birthplace of Indian temple architectural styles with over a hundred temples, scattered around the village - half within the fort walls. From the earliest Ladkhan Temple to the later and more complex structures like the Kunligudi and Durgigudi, is particularly interesting, and probably unique in India, being circular in shape and surmounted by a primitive gopuram. Visit Pattadakal village, which was not only the second capital of the Badami Chalukyans, but the place where all coronations took place. Drive on and check into your hotel in Badami. Afternoon a half-day tour of Badami City, the capital of the Chalukya Empire during the 6th and 8th centuries and now a small rural town, set in beautiful countryside at the foot of a red sandstone ridge. Badami is well known for its several earliest and finest examples of Dravidian temples and rock-cut caves.

Day 09: Badami - Belgaum
Morning, drive to Belgaum (155 Kms/ 3-4 hrs) and check into your hotel. Afternoon proceed on a half-day tour of Belgaum City. Lying at the border of the States of Maharashtra and Goa, it is one of the oldest towns in the state, which is nestled in the foothills of the enchanting Sahayadri Range, at an altitude of about 779m and only 100km from the Arabian Sea with the River Markandeya flowing nearby. Belgaum is unique in its natural beauty and environment, a world of contrast and harmonies with swift and kaleidoscopic change in topography, vegetation and climate. Visit the Fort, colorful cattle Market, Jain temples and the surrounding areas.

Sunset - GoaDay 10: Drive Belgaum – Goa
Morning drive to Goa (140 Kms/ 3 hrs), a small tropical paradise set on the Konkan coast, on the Western Ghats, along the Arabian Sea. Check into your hotel/beach resort. Rest of the day is at leisure.

Day 11: Goa
Morning, go on a half-day tour of Goa. Visit some famous churches of Portuguese influence including some temples and beaches of Goa. With the rule of the Portuguese for over 450 years and the consequential influence of the Latin culture, Goa presents a somewhat different picture to the foreign visitor than any other part of the country. A striking feature of Goa is the harmonious relationship between the two principal religious communities, the Hindus and the Catholics, who have lived together peacefully for generations. Rest of the day is at leisure.

Day 12: Goa
Day at leisure on the beach.

Marine drive, MumbaiDay 13: Goa - Mumbai
In the morning transfer to the airport and fly to Mumbai (1 hr). Afternoon tour of Mumbai city with visits to Mani Bhawan (Gandhi Memorial), Prince of Wales Museum - built in a grand Indo-Saracenic style with the collection of impressive sculptures, terra cotta figurines, miniature paintings, porcelain and weaponry and drive past Victoria Terminus.

Day 14: Mumbai
Morning excursion to Elephanta caves with rock-cut cave temples and sculptures dedicated to Lord Shiva and located across the sea and accessible by ferry. Also visit the Gateway of India - a prominent promenade and the landmark of Mumbai. Afternoon is at leisure.

Day 15: Mumbai - Departure
Transfer to the airport to board your flight for onward journey.


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