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India: Hyderabad, Hampi, Badami & Goa

India: Hyderabad, Hampi, Badami & Goa India: Hyderabad, Hampi, Badami & Goa
£ 6880

This delightful tour traverses India from Hyderabad in the central south of the country to Goa on the south western coast. It has been designed by Chris Caldicott, combining stays at handpicked hotels with an exploration of the outstanding historic cultural sites, spectacular scenery and countless culinary delights of this area.

Our journey begins in the vibrant old city of Hyderabad, city of the Nizams and famous for the quality of its pearls, before we explore Hampi, set amidst the vastness of the Deccan Plateau in Eastern Karnataka, and one of India’s most spectacular archaeological treasures. Magnificent palaces, temples, watchtowers, and urban ruins, built in distinctive Dravidian style, line the banks of the Tungabhadra River and are a glorious legacy of the mighty 14th century Vijayanagar Empire. We travel on to the rural market town of Badami in Northern Karnataka which was the capital of the Badami Chalukya Dynasty which ruled from 543 to 753 AD and whose kings adorned the city with a number of beautiful rock cut cave temples. We shall also see the temples at Aihole and Pattadakal which, along with Badami, formed the heart of the Chalukyan Empire.

We end in Goa, an unusual blend of Eastern and Western culture, resulting from more than 1000 years of Hindu and Muslim rule followed by five centuries of Portuguese rule. Enclosed by the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea, Goa is known for its miles and miles of golden sand, palm fringed beaches, tropical vegetation, and also for its delicious cuisine., We will base ourselves at two remarkable but contrasting hotels in the south and north of the state from where we will explore the historic centres of the old and more recent capital cities of Portuguese Goa as well as relaxing by the beach.

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16 days from
per person
Single Supplement:
Tour Date:
2nd November 2021 -
17th November 2021
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    India: Hyderabad, Hampi, Badami & Goa

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    Detailed Itinerary
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    Day 1-2 London / Hyderabad
    London / Hyderabad

    Day 1: 

    Suggested flight (not included in the cost of the tour) British Airways BA 277 departing London Heathrow at 15.10 hrs.

    Day 2: 

    Arrive in Hyderabad at 05.55 hrs. Transfer to the Taj Falaknuma Palace Hotel where two nights are spent and rooms are ready for immediate occupation. Built in 1894, a former palace of the Nizam, the hotel has distinctive charm, magnificent views of the city and excellent amenities including a variety of restaurants, a swimming pool and library, styled on the one in Windsor Castle. Remainder of the morning at leisure.

    Food trail walk to try local snacks and Irani Chai. Visit the exotic Chowmahalla Palace, the historic official residence of the Nizams. Walk in the Madina (old city), through the Pathargatti historic stone arcade and Charkaman square with its four arches to the Charminar monument, built in 1591, and the nearby ornamented granite mosque of Mecca Masjid. Wander through the Laad Bazaar selling the famous Hyderabadi glass and stone studded bangles known as Sona Bai, bridalwear, pearls, and Attar (perfume). Dinner at the hotel.

    Day 3 Hyderabad
    Hyderabad

    Drive to Golcaonda, the capital of the Qutb Shahi dynasty from 1512, and visit the citadel of Bala Hissar, including the ruins of the royal palace, baths, royal mosque, housing for the Abyssinian guards, royal treasury and elephant stables. Visit the Qutub Shahi Tombs, which were built on a square base surrounded by pointed arches incorporating distinctive styles of Pashtun, Persian and Hindu architecture.

    Lunch at the Paradise restaurant. Visit the Salar Jung Museum, which encompasses the Nawab’s prized ancestral collections and Nizam’s Royal jewellery which are beautifully on display. Dinner under own arrangements.

    Day 4 Hyderabad / Hampi
    Hyderabad / Hampi

    Transfer to Hyderabad airport for a domestic flight to Vidyanagar. Transfer to Hampi and check in at the luxurious Evolve Back Resort, where three nights are spent. Set near the ancient city of Hampi, the hotel offers an infinity pool as well as a world class Ayurvedic spa.

    Lunch under own arrangements. Afternoon at leisure. Dinner at the hotel.

    Day 5-6 Hampi
    Hampi

    Day 5:

    Start to explore the temples of Hampi, once the capital of one of the largest Hindu empires, ruled by the Vijayanagara Dynasty. Begin with the 15th century Vitthala Temple, built by King Devaraya II and expanded by Krishnadevaraya, which comprises many fascinating structures including the stone chariot, the Kalyana Mantapa (marriage hall) and the Ranga Mantapa with the musical pillars. Walk along the Tungabhadra River through some of the ruins which adorn it banks.

    Simple lunch at the Mango Tree Restaurant. Visit the Zenana Enclosure, a segregated area used by the royal women of the Vijayanagara Dynasty, including the Lotus Mahal, one of the most famous architectural landmarks in Hampi, with its central dome carved like a lotus bud, and the 15th century Elephant Stables which provided shelter to the royal elephants, its intricate design indicating their importance to the empire. Watch the sunset from Hemakunta Hill, once fortified with tall stone walls, which has a large number of temples and ruins that date back to the pre-Vijayanagara as well as Vijayanagara periods. Dinner at the hotel.

    Day 6: 

    Visit the Virupaksha Temple, built by Lakkan Dandesha in about the 7th century and dedicated to Lord Shiva, Visit the 15th-century Hazara Rama Temple, once the private temple of the kings of the royal family of Vijayanagara, with intricate relics and panels depicting the story of the epic Ramayana. Also visit the Stepped Tank, Mahanavami Dibba and the Queen’s Bath with its arched corridors, projecting balconies and lotus-shaped fountains that once sprayed perfumed water.

    Lunch under own arrangements. Afternoon at leisure. Dinner at the hotel.

    Day 7 Hampi / Badami
    Hampi / Badami

    Drive to Badami visiting the Chalukya Dynasty temples of Aihole and Pattadakal enroute (journey time approximately 5hrs). The earlier temples at Aihole are simple and squat but beautifully decorated with sculptured images, rosettes and friezes. The Lad Khan Temple and the Durga Temple show the progression and development in architectural styles.

    Packed lunch en route. Proceed to Pattadakal to see the closely grouped buildings built for royal ceremony. Distinctly more complex than those in Aihole, they are alive with sculpture and the architecture interestingly draws on various styles from north and south India. One of the most impressive temples here is the Lokeshwari or Virupaksha Temple. Continue to Badami and check in at the Badami Court Hotel where two nights are spent. Please note this is a basic but comfortable, 3-star hotel. Dinner at the hotel.

    Day 8 Badami
    Badami

    Visit the Badami Caves, a group of cave temples including rock-cut shrines believed to have been carved out during the reign of the Chalukyan monarch Mangalesa, (598 – 610 AD). To reach the caves one has to climb some 200 steps cut into the hill. Of the four caves one is a Jain temple with an image of Lord Mahavira and the remaining three are Hindu shrines with carvings of Lord Shiva, Vishnu and Ganesha. Also visit the Hindu Banashankari Temple, built in Vijayanagara style in 1750 on the site of the former Chalukyan temple, and Mahakuta Temples, also built by the Badami Chalukyas in the 6th or 7th centuries and similar in style to the Aihole Temples.

    Simple lunch at a local restaurant. Evening walk around the imposing Bhuthanatha Temples on the shores of Lake Agasthya, dedicated to Lord Shiva. The complex includes two major temples: Bhuthanatha Temple, built during the reign of the Badami Chalukyas with later additions, and Mallikarjuna Temple, belonging to the later period of the Western Chalukyas. Dinner at the Heritage Inn.

    Day 9 Badami / South Goa
    Badami / South Goa

    Full day’s drive to Goa (journey time approximately 10 hrs).

    Lunch in local restaurant en route at Hubli. Check in at the Cabo Serai Hotel where three nights are spent. This luxurious eco-conscious resort is set on a hill in southern Goa with stunning panoramic views of the Arabian Sea and surrounding landscape of native trees. It has a range of cottages and tents with private balconies. Delicious, fresh meals are prepared using produce from the garden. Remainder of the day at leisure. Dinner at the hotel.

    Day 10-11 South Goa
    South Goa

    Day 10:

    Day at leisure to enjoy the extraordinarily picturesque Cabo de Rama Beach, a pristine stretch of white sand flanked by a coconut grove and steep cliffs. If you are lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the Indian Ocean Humpback dolphins that surf the surrounding waves.

    Lunch under own arrangements at the Beach Shack. Sunset walk to the cliff top. Sundowner drinks at the Beach Shack. Dinner at the hotel.

    Day 11: 

    Early morning visit to a nearby fishing village. Return to the hotel for breakfast. Remainder of the morning at leisure.

    Lunch under own arrangements. Visit the ruins of the mighty Portuguese Cabo de Ramo Fort. Dinner at the hotel.

    Day 12 South Goa / North Goa
    South Goa / North Goa

    Check out and drive north to Margao to visit the fruit, vegetable and fish market. Continue north to Panjim city (now known as Panaji) on the banks of the Mandovi River, which the Portuguese made their capital in 1843. Walk through the narrow streets of the colonial Fontainhas Latin Quarters lined with coloured mansions decorated with wrought-iron balconies. Free time for shopping in the local boutiques. Also visit the Fundação Oriente’s Art Gallery, which features fascinating early 20th-century portraits by Goan artist António Xavier Trindade, and a couple of other galleries.

    Lunch at Fisherman’s Wharf. Drive on and check in at Ahilya by the Sea where three nights are spent. The family-style, boutique hotel was built on the grounds of the old Portuguese Customs House on Dolphin Bay’s Coco Beach. It comprises a pair of villas with interestingly individual rooms that offer superb views over the mouth of Old Goa’s seaway. The hotel’s art works and rooms were created by António Xavier Trindade who was the owners’ grandfather. Remainder of day at leisure. Dinner at the hotel.

    Day 13-14 North Goa
    North Goa

    Day 13:

    Morning tour of Old Goa (Velha Goa) on the banks of the Mandovi River. This magnificent 16th-century city was once the Portuguese capital and the hub of its eastern empire until the 18th century when it was abandoned due to the plague. It comprised broad avenues lined with ornate churches, convents, monasteries and stately mansions, some of which can still be seen today. Visit some of city’s historic churches including the Basilica of Bom Jesus, completed in 1605, which contains the relics of St. Francis Xavier, and the Sé Cathedral, built 1562-1619 and dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria. Also visit the 17th-century St. Cajetan Church, modelled on St. Peter’s in Rome, and the Chapel of Our Lady of the Mount, built between 1510 and 1519 and one of the oldest churches in the city.

    Lazy Sunday lunch of Goan dishes at the Posada by the Beach in Calangute. Return to the hotel and time to relax. Dinner at the hotel.

    Day 14: 

    Visit the colourful Mapusa Market selling local produce including fruit, jewellery, pottery, spices and carpets.

    Lunch at the Edible Archives restaurant which serves Innovative food and is run by two pioneering young women. Continue to Mr Gellato’s ice cream parlour for dessert. Visit the MOG (Museum of Goa) founded in 2015 which celebrates Goa’s history and people through contemporary art. Dinner at the hotel.

    Day 15 North Goa / Mumbai
    North Goa / Mumbai

    Walk to visit a sleepy local village. Transfer to Goa airport for a domestic flight to Mumbai. Transfer to the hotel. Check in at Taj Lands End Hotel, close to the domestic and international airport, where one night is spent.

    Lunch under own arrangements. Afternoon at leisure. The coach will be available for those who wish to explore Mumbai. Dinner at Pali Village Restaurant.

    Day 16 Mumbai / London

    Transfer to Mumbai airport for suggested flight (not included) British Airways BA 198 departing Mumbai at 13.10 hrs arriving London Heathrow at 18.25 hrs.

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