Historic Caves, Fort Palaces, Temple & Backwater
Package price On Request
Product Code : AGORA362
The private Historic Caves, Fort Palaces, Temple & Backwater tour will begin in Mumbai the commercial capital of India a bustling city with Bollywood industry. Explore magnificent monuments of colonial era and Historical Elephanta cave. Thereafter fly to Aurangabad gateway to Ajanta & Ellora Caves. Next fly to Hyderabad an imperial city with historic Golconda Fort & Salarjung Museum. Then visit Bidar, Gulbarga and Bijapur ruled by Muslims dynasties. Further drive to Badami & Hampi centenaries old UNESCO World Heritage Monuments expanded in complexes. Fly from Hubli to Cochin a gateway city in Kerala to explore the tea estate, wildlife & backwater.
Day 1: Arrive Mumbai
On arrival at Mumbai airport assistance & transfer to hotel (check in/out time 12pm). Mumbai is disciplined by no time frame neither day nor night. Dazzling shopping arcades, exciting sport activity, nightclubs & discotheques, theatre, music & gourmet restaurants offers visitors a heady mix of all this and more. Rest time free for personal activities. Overnight at hotel.
Day 2: Mumbai (B)
City tour of Mumbai. Drive via Marine Drive one of the most beautifully laid boulevards in the city to reach Gateway of India. Board a ferry from here to reach Elephanta Caves (Monday closed). A flight of 100 steps takes you to the top of the hill where caves are located. Afterwards cruise back to Gateway of India and then city tour. Drive pass CST & Parliament House. Visit Dhobhi Ghat to see the city famous open air laundry in action. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalay, a grade I Heritage Building of the city counted amongst one of the most prominent museums of India. The complex exhibits a myriad collection of ancient artefacts, artwork and sculptors of the country which give a unique insight into our past. Overnight at hotel.
Day 3: Mumbai - Aurangabad (B)
Transfer to airport to board flight for Aurangabad. Arrival transfer to hotel. Visit Bibi ka Maqbara, the white marbled monument, a son loving tribute to his mother. Panchakki, which literally means water mill. An artificial waterfall has been created near the mill, through which this water is discharged on to the wheel to power the flourmill and grind grain for the pilgrims. And Aurangabad Caves the twelve rock-cut Buddhist shrines located on a hill running roughly east to west, close to the city of Aurangabad. The first reference to the Aurangabad Caves is in the great chaitya of Kanheri Caves. The Aurangabad Caves were dug out of comparatively soft basalt rock during the 6th and 7th century. Overnight at hotel.
Day 4: Aurangabad (B)
Excursion to Ajanta (Monday closed). The Buddhist Caves of Ajanta were discovered by the British officers in 1819 while hunting tiger. Ajanta Caves were first mentioned in the writings of the Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang who visited India between AD 629 and 645. The Caves at Ajanta are older than those at Ellora which date from about 200 BC to 650 AD. Thirty beautiful Buddhist Caves with mesmerizing sculptures and paintings depicting Buddha`s life as well the lives of the Buddha in his previous births. Five of these Caves are Chaityas (Place of worship) while the other twenty-five are Viharas (monasteries). Ajanta Caves are divided in two categories based on two schools of Buddhist thought - Hinayana Caves and Mahayana Caves. Drive back to Aurangabad for overnight stay.
Day 5: Aurangabad - Hyderabad (B)
Excursion to visit the Ellora Caves (Tuesday closed), a UNESCO World Heritage Site from about 200 BC. to 650 AD. There are 34 monasteries and temples at Ellora, belonging to the three different religions Buddhism, Hinduism & Jainism. Grishneshwar Temple one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines mentioned in the Shiva Purana. On way back visit Daulatabad Fort one of the most powerful forts of the medieval Deccan. Transfer to airport to board flight for Hyderabad. Arrival transfer to hotel check in & overnight at hotel.
Day 6: Hyderabad (B)
City tour of Hyderabad, explore 400 year old metropolitan city teeming with bustling bazaars & Muslim monuments. Visit Golconda Fort renowned for its diamond mines that have given the world famous Kohinoor and Darya-i-noor diamonds. The ancient fort complex of Golconda will charm you with its history, tinged with legends and anecdotes. Qutub Shahi Tombs a group of small and big mosques and tombs built by the rulers of the Qutub Shah dynasty on a raised platform and have a dome-shaped structure. Charminar built in 1591 by Quli Qutub Shah is an identifying landmark of Hyderabad. It is also famous for the market that sprawls around it called Laad Bazaar. Salar Jung Museum (Friday closed) a treat for tourists famous for being the third largest museum in the country, having the largest antiques collection dating back to the first century. Chowmahalla Palace (Friday closed) the seat of the Asaf Jahi dynasty where the Nizams entertained their official guests and royal visitors. Birla Mandir made of pure white Rajasthani marble the temple beauty leaves you awestruck. Also drive pass Hussain Sagar Lake one of the largest man made lake renowned for its monolith of Lord Buddha placed right at the center of the lake. Overnight at hotel.
Day 7: Hyderabad - Gulbarga (260km) (B)
Drive to Gulbarga via visiting Bidar Fort one of the magnificent forts rebuilt by Sultan Ahmed Shah Wali of Bahmani Dynasty, when his capital was moved from Gulbarga to Bidar in 1430 AD along with a number of Islamic monuments. The Bidar fort is a specimen of the Persian architecture, surrounded by three miles long walls and comprising 37 bastions, triple moat & seven gates. Bahmani Tombs the 12 tombs of Bahmani Sultans are huge structures with beautiful arches, niches and lofty domes. The Rangeen Mahal built in the mid-16th century, the tile work and the granite with mother-of-pearl inlay work are the exclusive features of the citadel walls. Narasimha Jhira a wonderful cave temple situated on the outskirts of Bidar town dedicated to the lion god Narasimha, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The Temple is known for its natural beauty and is considered to be very sacred.
Arrive Gulbarga check in & overnight at hotel.
Day 8: Gulbarga - Bijapur (170km) (B)
Visit the Gulburga Fort a leftover of the Brahmani era, was originally built by Raja Gulchand. Later 15 towers were added by Allah-ud-din Bahmani in the existing structure of the fort. The fort contained 15 towers and 26 guns of which one was 8 metres long. Jama Masjid a 14th-century mosque in Fort complex which marks the establishment of the Bahmani Kingdom in the Deccan. Jama Masjid interior are similar to the Great Cathedral-Mosque of Cordoba in Spain. Sharana Basaveshwara Temple built in the twelfth century, this temple is a marvel of Hindu stone carvings. The pillars, walls and towers of the site are covered with intricate carvings of Hindu gods, goddesses, demigods, damsels, animals and events from local lore. Tomb of Sufi mystic Khwaja Bande Nawaz a unique confluence of religious diversity. The Persian, Indo-Saracenic and Arabic influences on the building are evident from the dome and towers that surround the tomb.
Drive to Bijapur, check in & overnight at hotel.
Day 9: Bijapur - Badami (120km) (B)
Visit Bijapur Fort which has a plethora of historical monuments of architectural importance built during the rule of Adil Shahi dynasty. Prominent attraction includes Asar Mahal built in 1640 used to serve as a Hall of Justice, Bara Kaman the unfinished mausoleum of Ali Adil Shah II, Gol Gumbaz the second largest dome in the world, Jama Masjid noted for graceful twin minarets, Malik-e-Maidan the biggest cannon ever made in the history of world & Mehtar Mahal built in 1620 the most elegant structure within the fort & the Ibrahims Rouza built in the 15th century.
Drive to Badami check in & overnight at hotel.
Day 10: Badami (B)
Excursion to visit Aihole a historical site & home to over 125 beautiful Chalukyan temples and monuments from 6th to 12th century. Few important monuments in Aihole include the Durga Temple, Lad Khan Temple, Ravanaphadi Cave Temples, Huchimalli Temple, Meganagudi Group Temple, Gowda Temple and the Huchappayyagudi Temple amongst numerous others. And Pattadakal a treasure trove of Hindu and Jain temples complex built in 7th and 8th century CE. The various temples that one must visit are Virupaksha Temple, Jain temple, Papanatha temple, Galaganath temple, and Sangameshwara temple. Also visit Badami Cave consist of four separate temples, each holding intricate carvings & depictions. Badami Fort perched on the top of a cliff accompanied by two Shivalaya complexes dating back to the 5th century & watchtower atop hill. And Agastya Lake surrounded by red sandstone temples. Overnight at hotel.
Day 11: Badami - Hampi (180km) (B)
Drive to Hampi via visiting Gadag a place of historical importance, famous for its ancient Hindu & Jain temples and medieval architecture. Constructed between the 10th to 12th CE by the Kings of Chalukyan Empire, the Trikuteshewara Temple is famous for its style of architecture and the temple has three Shivalingas carved out of a single rock. And Lakkundi a heaven of ancient temples ruins and step wells. It is a place of antiquarian interest with more than 50 ancient temples scattered all over the village, 101 stepped wells built during the rule of the Chalukyas, Seuna, Kalachuris and Hoysalas. These temples are most famous for their ornate and elaborate furnishing.
Arrive Hampi check in & overnight at hotel.
Day 12: Hampi (B)
City tour of Hampi an UNESCO world Heritage sites dotted with numerous ruined temple complexes from the Vijayanagara Empire on the bank of the River Tungabhadra. Although the city was destroyed by marauding Moghul invaders in the 16th century, much of it remains today. The vast site of monuments and ruins are a mute witness to an ear of glories, triumphs and tragedies. The ruins of Hampi are so majestic and imposing that they leave the visitor totally dumbfounded, awestruck and humbled. Visit Hazara Rama Temple, Kings Balance, Mahanavami Dibba, Royal enclosures, Statue of Ugra Narasimha Temple, Virupaksha Temple, Vithala Temple Complex, Lotus Mahal & ASI Museum. Overnight at hotel.
Day 13: Hampi - Cochin (B)
Transfer to Hubli airport to board flight for Cochin. Arrival transfer to hotel. Overnight at hotel.
Day 14: Cochin - Munnar (140km) (B)
City tour of Cochin the lovely seaside city flanked by the Western Ghats on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west. You will find here a unique mix and match of traditional as well Western architecture and lifestyle. Visit Fort Cochin a charming seaside area known for its Dutch, Portuguese & British colonial architecture and elaborate bamboo fishing nets at Fort Kochi Beach. St. Francis Church was the original burial site of explorer Vasco da Gama. Upscale eateries and chic cafes serve Keralan specialties, and quaint shops sell cotton clothing and handmade souvenirs. Heritage buildings house contemporary art galleries. Also visit Jewish Synagogue & the Mattancherry Dutch`s Palace.
Drive to Munnar check in & overnight at hotel.
Day 15: Munnar (B)
Visit Pothamedu which offers an excellent view of the tea, coffee and cardamom plantations in Munnar. Mattupetty dam and its reservoir, a concrete gravity dam built between the hill ranges for water storage for hydroelectric projects. Rajamala a hill station in Eravikulam National Park a natural habitat of the Niligiri tahr 2695 Mts above sea level. Half the world`s population of the rare mountain goat or tahr which is fast becoming extinct, is now found here. Mattupedi Dairy Farm, famous for the Indo-Swiss Farm, a highly specialized dairy farm which comes under Indo-Swiss Livestock Project. Echo Point, go there and scream as loud as you can and wait for a minute to hear your echo back! Also visit Tea Museum to know more about the century old culture a lively glimpse of how the tea culture flourished across South India. Overnight at hotel.
Day 16: Munnar - Thekkady (110km) (B)
Drive to Thekkady via Ramakkalmedu one of the windiest places in Asia and being so, one can find here a wind farm generating electricity. Visit Frog Rock, Turtle Rock and the highest twin-statue in Kerala called Kuravan & Kurathi. Evening watch Martial Arts & Kathakali Dance show. Overnight at hotel.
Day 17: Thekkady - Kumarakom (140km) (B)
Explore Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary on a boat. The tropical evergreen and deciduous forests teeming with elephants, bison, sambar deer, wild dogs, jungle cats, tiger and wild boar along with various species of snake including cobras, vipers, kraits and many non-poisonous snakes is a wildlife lover`s dream. A variety of birds such as grey jungle fowl, Malabar grey hornbill, woodpeckers and bulbuls also have found a home in this sanctuary. Afterwards take a spice plantation tour to see crops of cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, coffee, tea estates etc. You could stop at the local market and pick some fragrant spices. Drive to Kumarakom check in & overnight at hotel.
Day 18: Kumarakom - Alleppey (B,L,D)
Transfer to Alleppey boat jetty to board houseboat and sail through the tropical countryside enchanting backwaters. While sailing enjoy palm fringed narrow canals winding through the vast expanse of paddy fields and the neat tiny hamlets lined up along either side of the canals, the panoramic sights one can never forget. Pass through one of the few areas in the world where farming is done below sea level. Alleppey is referred as the Venice of the East, due to canals, backwaters, and lagoons. Boats are the main mode of transportation here, you can see Shikara boats, small motor boats, passenger boats, cargo boat, and houseboats. Evening enjoy sunset from the sun-deck of the houseboats. The Houseboats have generated electricity, sitting cum dining area, separate bedroom with attached English toilets, sun deck and fully loaded kitchen with a chef & driver. Overnight in houseboat.
Day 19: Alleppey - Cochin (60km) (B)
Departure transfer to Cochin airport.
Assistance on arrival at airport.
18 Nights accommodation in selected price category hotels.
Meal as per day plan (B- Breakfast, L- Lunch, D- Dinner)
Private air conditioned deluxe car for airport transfer, sightseeing and excursion as per program.
English speaking tour guide on sightseeing days (local guide in each city), as per program.
Monuments entrances and activities charges mentioned in the itinerary.
Bottled drinking water in car.
Hotels used or similar for 18 nights accommodations
Mumbai x 2 nights
3* - Hotel Suba Palace/ BW Hotel Sahil
4* - Sun-N-Sand Hotel/ Fariyas Hotel
5* - Trident Hotel/ ITC Grand Central
Aurangabad x 2 nights
3* - 7 Apple Hotel Aurangabad / Ginger Aurangabad
4* - Sun-N-Sand Hotel/ Fariyas Hotel
5* - WelcomHotel Rama International / Lemon Tree Hotel
Hyderabad x 2 nights
3* - Aditya Park/ Lemon Tree Hotel
4* - Lemon Tree Hotel/ Fortune Park Vallabha
5* - ITC Kakatiya, a Luxury Collection/ Trident Hotel
Gulbarga x 1 nights
3*/4*/5* - Hotel Heritage Inn
Bijapur x 1 nights
3*/4*/5* - The Fern Residency/ Sun Hotel
Badami x 2 nights
3* - Krishna Heritage/ The Heritage Resort
4*/5* - Badami Court/ Krishna Heritage
Hospet/ Hampi x 2 nights
3* - Krishna Palace/ Kishkinda Heritage Resort
4* - Heritage Resort/ Malligi Hotel
5* - Hyatt Place/ Hampi Boulders
Cochin x 1 nights
3* - The Dune Hotel/ Abad Plaza
4* - Casino Hotel/ The Avenue Regent
5* - Xandari Harbour/ Le Meridien
Munnar x 2 nights
3* - Fort Munnar/ Abad Copper Castle
4* - Nature Zone Jungle Resort/ Fragrant Nature Munnar
5* - Chandys Windy Woods/ Tea County
Thekkady (Thekkady) x 1 nights
3* - Abad Green Forest/ Hotel Treetop
4* - The Elephant Court/ Cardamom County
5* - Spice village/ Cardamom County
Kumarakom x 1 nights
3* - Abad Whispering Palm/ Cocobay Resort
4* - Eastend Lake Song/ Goldfield Lake Resort
5* - Coconut Lagoon/ The Zuri
Alleppey x 1 night
3* - Deluxe Houseboat (ATDC Houseboat/ Dream Boats)
4* - Premium Houseboat (Abad Premium Houseboats/ Rainbow Premium Houseboats)
5* - Luxury Houseboat (Xandari Riverscapes/ Lakes & Lagoons)
Any air fare
Camera charges at monuments
Main Meals, Lunch or dinner unless mentioned
Expenses of personal nature like liquor, laundry, tips, telephone, fax, internet etc.
Or anything not mentioned above.