Hidden Treasures of the Deccan Plateau
16 days from £3340 per person
Standing separate from the regular tourist-trail, the states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh are at the centre of a staggeringly diverse region few visit. A heady mix of culture and history, this novel itinerary represents a journey of rediscovery with visits to Mysore, spectacular Hampi and the exceptional Islamic architecture of Bijapur, Gulbarga and Bidar. This is a land not yet developed for tourism and whilst this journey will take you off the beaten track, it ends with three nights in bustling Hyderabad at the luxurious Taj Falaknuma Palace.
The cultural capital of Karnataka, Mysore is renowned for its beautiful palaces and for the sweet ‘Mysore Pak’. The city comes alive during the annual Dasara celebrations.
In northern Karnataka, Hampi was once one of the richest and largest cities in the world. Chosen for its strategic location, this was the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire.
Hyderabad is the fourth most populous city in India. Its ornate heritage buildings are a delight, displaying the wealth of artistic talent within the region.
Day 1 Depart the UK
Today depart the UK on the British Airways flight to Bangalore. (N)
Day 2 Arrive Bangalore
Bangalore to Mysore – 150kms
Arrive into Bangalore where you will be met and driven to pretty Mysore for a two night stay at the Gitanjali Homestay. Alternatively upgrade to the Royal Orchid Metropole Hotel. In the afternoon take a two hour specialist heritage walk in the city which starts at the Town Hall, visits the Devaraja Market and ends at the Jagan Mohan Palace. During the walk the guide will share various stories from Mysore's past and there will also be a chance to taste ‘Mysore Pak’, the city's famous sweet. (N)
Day 3 Mysore
Today explore Mysore. Visit Chamundi Hill, site of the Chamundeswari Temple and Nandi Bull as well as the vast City Palace which was re-built by Henry Irwin during 1897 in an Indo-Saracenic style. The palace contains extraordinary wall paintings, stained glass work and inlaid doors. Also leave the city to visit the temple complex at Somnathpur and the exquisite Keshava Vishnu temple, one of the finest in India, as well as Srirangapatnam where Tipu Sultan was killed in battle against an East India Company army including Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington. (B)
Day 4 Mysore to Hassan – 145kms
This morning leave Mysore and visit the Jain pilgrimage site of Sravanabelagola. Defined by its towering statue of Gommateshwara which stands proudly atop its hill, the summit is reached by a steep seven-hundred step climb past several small shrines. Later continue onto Hassan and the Hoysala Village Resort for a two night stay. (B)
Day 5 Hassan – visit Belur and Halebid
Today visit the nearby temples of Belur and Halebid. Located on the banks of the Yagachi River, the temples at Belur where built during the 12th and 13th centuries under the tutelage of the Hoysala kings whilst nearby Halebid was once the ancient capital of the Hoysala kings. The temples at both sites are quite exquisite and are characterised by their fine sculptures and intricate designs. (B)
Day 6 Hassan to Hospet – 320kms
After breakfast leave Hassan and continue by road to Hospet, a small market town and base from which to visit nearby Hampi. On your arrival stay for three nights at the Heritage Resort Hampi or upgrade to Hampi's Boulders Resort or Orange County Hampi. Once the epicentre of the Vijayanagara Empire, Hampi was one of the largest and most successful Hindu empires in southern India. In the evening enjoy the sunset from Hemakuta Hill. (B)
Day 7 Hospet – visit Hampi
Day 8 Hospet – visit Hampi
Over the next two days explore the exceptional ruins of Hampi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and centre one of the largest Hindu empires ever to have existed in Indian history. Founded in 1336 AD, evidence of the city's greatness is impossible to miss and an amazing array of palaces and temples still exist in excellent condition. Highlights include the Vitthala Temple, Stone Chariot, Lotus Mahal and Queen's Bath but there are also a plethora of other buildings and ruins. (B)
Day 9 Hospet to Badami – 140kms
Leaving Hospet, drive north through Karnataka to the village of Badami and the Badami Court Hotel for a two night stay. With a striking location, this former Chalukyan capital is best known for its Hindu and Jain cave temples that occupy a spectacular setting cut into the cliff-face of a sandstone hill that looks over this ancient village. (B)
Day 10 Badami – visit Pattadakal and Aihole
Start the day with a visit to the cave temples above Badami which are thought to date from the second half of the 6th century AD. Later continue to the nearby village of Pattadakal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to an impressive 8th century temple complex. End the day in Aihole which is regarded as the birthplace of Indian temple architectural design. Here there are over 140 temples which illustrate a range of differing styles from Hoysala and Dravida to Jain, Buddhist and Nagara. (B)
Day 11 Badami to Bijapur – 120kms
This morning continue to Bijapur, a town distinct from the surrounding area and home to a beautiful collection of Mughal Islamic architecture. In the afternoon explore the town then stay overnight at the Basava Residency. Places of interest include the Golgumbaz, a towering mausoleum which has the second largest unsupported dome in the world, and the beautiful 17th century Ibrahim Rauza. (B)
Day 12 Bijapur to Gulbarga – 160kms
Today continue onto Gulbarga and stay overnight at Lumbini's Grand Hotel. Noted for its fort this afternoon visit the citadel, the Khwaja Banda Nawaz Darga and the tombs of the Bahmani sultans including the beautiful Haft Gumbaz, the Hazrat Gesu Nawaz and highly decorated Taj-ud-Din Firuz. (B)
Day 13 Gulbarga to Hyderabad – 250kms
After breakfast leave Gulbarga and medieval Bidar to visit the palaces, harem and mosques of the fabulous fort. Later continue to Hyderabad for a three night stay at Taj Banjara Hotel. Alternatively upgrade to the Taj Krishna Hotel or the luxurious Taj Falaknuma Palace. Offering a unique insight into the extravagant lifestyle of the Nizams, Falaknuma Palace was completed in 1893 and has hosted visiting royalty from King George V to Russian Tsar Nicholas II. Today this luxury hotel remains home to priceless art, rich handcrafted tapestries, Venetian chandeliers and delicate frescos. (B)
Day 14 Hyderabad
Day 15 Hyderabad
Over the next two days explore Hyderabad with your guide. Founded in 1589 by the fifth Sultan of Golconda, Hyderabad was ruled by a succession of Muslim Nizams from 1724 which many of the city's monuments dating from this period. Highlights here include the Mecca Masjid Mosque, iconic 17th century Char Minar, Chowmahalla Palace, bustling Lad Bazaar and the Salar Jung Museum. Also travel outside of the city to visit the 700 year old Golconda Fort—one of the most impressive citadels of its kind in India. (B)
Day 16 Hyderabad to the UK
Today transfer to Hyderabad Airport to catch the British Airways flight non-stop to the UK. (B)
KEY: N = No meals B = Breakfast L = Lunch D = Dinner
- International flights from the UK
- Private car with English speaking driver
- Sightseeing with local English speaking guides
- Hotel accommodation and taxes
What's not included
- Cost of visas
- Travel Insurance
- Expenses of a personal nature
Guide to Price
The price above is a guide and can vary according to selected airlines, hotels and season. If you wish to travel alone we will be very happy to assist you with your arrangements and will provide a proposal on request
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