Certainly unsullied, the state of Maharashtra is ornamented with jewels of diversity, some precious, semi precious and some are well hidden gems. Serene Beaches; lofty mountains; awe-inspiring historic monuments and ancient sites culminate to result in a magical place like Maharashtra. A prominent paradox can be witnessed, where one part of the state like Mumbai and Pune enjoy modern life and amenities, the other parts like Matheran, Lonavala, Mahabaleshwar are satiated with the rustic life and serenity of the landscape. Maharashtra is humbled by the existence of Shirdi, which is the hometown to the holy Sai Baba and is a popular tourist attractions, whereas, Aurangabad (Ajanta and Ellora caves and Bibi ka Maqbara) gives Maharashtra a chance to be boastful of its rich history and making it an important sightseeing place. Sugar-coating the experience of holidays in Maharashtra are the destinations like Ganpatipule and Tarkarli, which with their tranquil settings and scenic views can impress anyone. The long Konkan Coastline; the far east located national parks (Tadoba National Park); the vineyards of Nasik; the cuisine and footwear of Kolhapur and the centre of alternative spiritualism in Pune further enhances the charm of Maharashtra tour.
On arrival at Mumbai airport meet with our representative at airport arrival lounge and transfer to the hotel. Overnight stay at hotel.
After breakfast transfer to the Gateway of India to take the catamaran for Elephanta Caves with an accompanied English Speaking Guide. Boat leaves at 09.00 hrs. Enjoy a one-hour boat ride across Mumbai Harbour brings you to the lovely, green Elephanta Island. Here you visit some of the huge and intricately carved Cave Temples dating back to the 7th century and dedicated to the Sun God - Shiva. Large panels depict episodes in his life. The central sculpture represents Shiva's three aspects as creator, preserver and destroyer.
Later return back to the pier at 1300 hrs. Upon arrival we will enjoy the local sightseeing tour of Mumbai visiting the British-built arch called the Gateway of India, one of Mumbai's most famous landmarks. It was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary for the Delhi Durbar in 1911. Next you will visit the Prince of Wales Museum, which was built between 1904 and 1914 and was used as a hospital during World War I. The huge structure can be spotted from a distance as sunshine sparkles on its massive marble dome. The museum houses a priceless collection of art that is considered to be one of the best in all India. It includes a rich display of miniature paintings, ancient sculptures, jade, china and much more. We drive past University of Bombay, High Court of Bombay. You will also visit the Banganga and Hanging Gardens, which are located on the crest of Malabar Hill. The gardens are a welcome oasis of green in a city built almost entirely of concrete and cement. Next you will drive through the residential area of Mumbai's rich and famous on Malabar Hill. You will also visit the renowned city laundry called Dhobi Ghat, the Gandhi Memorial Museum and Jain Temple.
Evening transfer to the hotel. Overnight stay at hotel.
Transfer to the airport to board the flight for Goa. Upon arrival meet & transfer to the beach resort. Full day free for own activity. Overnight stay at resort.
Day free for own activity. Overnight stay at resort.
Goa is well renowned for its beaches, places of worship and world heritage architecture. Goa is visited by large numbers of international and domestic tourists each year. With the rule of the Portuguese for over 450 years and the consequential influence of Portuguese culture, Goa presents a different picture to the foreign visitor than other parts of India. The state of Goa is famous for its excellent beaches, churches, and temples. The Bom Jesus Cathedral, Fort Aguada and a new wax museum on Indian history, culture and heritage in Old Goa are other tourism destinations. It also has rich flora and fauna, owing to its location on the Western Ghats range, which is classified as a biodiversity hotspot.
Morning after breakfast drive to Badami, via Belgaum visiting en-route. On arrival at badami check in at the hotel. Overnight stay at hotel.
Belgaum, situated in the north-western part of Karnataka. It lies on the border of the two states Maharashtra and Goa. Belgaum is one of the oldest towns in the state. It also has a number of training centres of the Indian Armed Forces, and an air base of the Indian Air Force. This place enjoys rich cultural diversity stemming from its proximity to Maharashtra and Goa. The customs and traditions of Belgaum have been influenced by both the Kannada and Marathi cultures. Nestled in the foothills of the Western Ghats, it enjoys a cool, salubrious climate and is surrounded by natural beauty in the form of rivers, hills and dense evergreen forests.
Belgaum fort is in the heart of the city and worth exploring. Inside the fort one can find an ancient Jain temple of black stone. Just a few meters of walk to this temple is Ramkrishna Ashram where you can relax. There is also an ancient Mosque in the fort. Belgaum Cantonment has both Portuguese and British style buildings, churches and schools.
Morning after breakfast excursion around Badami. Overnight stay at hotel.
Badami or Vatapi was the center of ancient Chalukyan glory. It was home to several rock-cut temples and structural temples. Historically, Vatapi suffered defeat at the hands of the Pallava king Narasimhavarman Pallavan (Mamalla after whom Mamallapuram is named) and his general Sirutonda Nayanar in the year 642 CE. Twelve years later, the Chalukyas recaptured Vatapi and led a successful attack on Kanchipuram the capital of Pallavas.
Cave Temples: The cave temples perched atop a flight of 200 steps, the temple complex consists of four ancient rock-cut caves replete with carved pillars and bracket figures. Of the four temples, three are Brahmanical temples while the fourth one is a Jain cave. The third cave temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, stands out among the lot for its sheer size and sculptural elegance.
Badami Fort: An uneven, steep and winding flight of steps between caves 2 and 3 lead to the imposing Badami fort. Within the ramparts of the fort, nestle a large granary, an underground chamber which must have served as a treasury or private audience hall and many other architectural marvels. The fort, whose chief attraction is the Tipu's cannon, also houses a carved temple raised on top of the northern end of the hill.
Bhoothanatha and Malegitti Temples: The Bhoothanatha temple houses an 18-armed Shiva, Ganesh, Mahishamardini Durga, Varaha and Nrisingha. The pillared hallway is ornamented with exquisite artwork. The Malegitti Visalia Temple (late 7th century) is another major attraction of Badami.
Morning after breakfast drive to Hospet, en-route visiting Aihole & Pattadakal. On arrival at Hospet check in at the hotel. Overnight stay at hotel.
Aihole, was the first capital of the early Chalukyas. It is situated on the banks of the river Malaprabha and has over a hundred temples scattered around the village. The sculptures of Ailhole temples have superb architecture. The oldest temple here is, perhaps, the Lad Khan temple dating back to the 5th Century. On the roof of the temple is another shrine-like Vimana. The temple was built in late 7th or early 8th century.. It consists of a shrine with two mantapas in front of it. The God here is Lord Shiva. The temple was built in a Panchayat style, indicating a very early experiment in temple construction.
Pattadakal is renowned for the group of the 8th century CE monuments. Located on the banks of the river Malaprabha, Pattadakal is the capital of the Chalukya rulers. Packed with a dozen or so temples of varying sizes and antiquity, Pattadakal is one of the unique places to see that many temples of the early Chalukyan architecture. Also it is a rare place where the south Indian & north Indian style temples share the same landscape. The oldest of them all is the Sangameswara Temple built by king Vijayaditya during the 8 century AD.
Morning after breakfast temple tour of Hospet & Hampi. Overnight stay at hotel.
Hampi, the seat of the famed VIJAYANAGARA empire was the capital of the largest empire in post-mogul India, covering several states. The empire reigned supreme under Krishnadevaraya, the Emperor. The Vijayanagara empire stretched over at least three states - Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh. The destruction of Vijayanagar by marauding Mughal invaders was sudden, shocking and absolute. They reduced the city to ruins amid scenes of savage massacre and horrors beggaring description.
Although in ruins today, this capital city once boasted riches known far beyond the shores of India. The ruins of Hampi of the 14th Century lies scattered in about 26 sq. km area, amidst giant boulders and vegetation. Protected by the tempestuous river Tungabhadra in the north and rocky granite ridges on the other three sides, the ruins silently narrate the story of grandeur splendor and fabulous wealth. The splendid remains of palaces and gateways of the broken city tells a tale of men infinite talent and power of creativity together with his capacity for senseless destruction.
Morning after breakfast drive to Hassan, en- route visit Belur & helebid. Further continue drive to Hassan. On arrival check in at the hotel. Overnight stay at hotel.
Morning after breakfast drive to Mysore, en-route visit Shravanabelagola. The town is located in the midst of two hills. There is a tank in the midst of this town called "Belagola" and the town is called by the same name. It is 8 miles from Channarayapatna in Hassan district. The town's Municipality has existed for the past 70 years. Shravanabelagola is a holy place for Jains. Their Guru is residing here in a Mutt. There is a Sanskrit Pathshala to study Sanskrit and Shastras.
There are ancient monuments in and around Shravanabelagola. There are monuments of rare excellence and skill got executed by the illustrious Gangas and Hoysalas who had profound sense of duty and ardent devotion to religion. The chief monuments are found in two sacred hills known as the Vindhyagiri and the Chandragiri. On arrival at Mysore. Check in at the hotel. Overnight stay at hotel.
After breakfast, visit this ancient princely city, famous for its silks, sandalwood and various palaces, among which the largest palace in India, built in Indo-Persian style in 1900. Visit an art gallery and the Chamunseshwari Temple dedicated to the goddess Kali on Chamundi Hill, from which you have a panoramic view of the city. You will also visit Somnathpur, famous for the temple of Keshava. Overnight at the hotel.
Morning after breakfast drive to Ooty, the queen of hills. On arrival check into the hotel. Evening free to explore the beautiful & ravishing beauty of Ooty. Also visit Botanical Garden; A variety of exotic and ornamental plants adorn this garden which is the venue for the Flower show held in May every year. Overnight stay at hotel.
Morning breakfast, proceed for full day sightseeing; visit Deer Park - The Ooty Deer Park is a unique wilderness situated on the fringes of the Ooty lake. It is one of the high altitude animal park in India, Doddabetta - It is highest peak in the Nilgiris and the name Doddabetta literally means 'big mountain' which is so in reality, Ooty Lake - The Ooty Lake is the pride of the Blue Hills. It is Central and strategic attraction. Return back to the hotel and overnight.
Morning transfer to the Ooty railway station to board the train for Coonoor. Here we will be on Nilgiri mountain railway. In July 2005, UNESCO added the Nilgiri Mountain Railway as an extension to the World Heritage Site of Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the site then became known as "Mountain Railways of India. After it satisfied the necessary criteria, thus forcing abandonment of the modernization plans. For the past several years diesel locomotives have taken over from steam on the section between Coonoor and Udhagamandalam. Local people and tourists have led a demand for steam locos to once again haul this section.
Upon arrival at Coonoor railway station meet with our representative and drive to Cochin. Upon arrival meet with our representative and transfer to the hotel. Overnight stay at hotel.
Morning after breakfast city sightseeing tour of Cochin visit including the Dutch Palace, built by Portuguese and presented to the Raja of Cochin in 1555 AD, Jewish Synagogue situated in Mattancherry, the Synagogue was built in 1568 AD, St. Francis Church - It is here the remains of Vasco da Gama were initially buried before it was taken to Portugal. Chinese fishing nets - Is said to have been brought from China by traders of Kubala Khan's Court, they are used at high tide.
Later in the afternoon drive to Kumarakom. On arrival check in at the resort. Overnight stay at resort.
Morning at leisure or to explore the bird sanctuary. Later in the afternoon drive to Alleppey, popularly known as the 'Venice of the East'. Here a houseboat awaits you for a magnificent backwater cruise. Overnight stay in Houseboat.
Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is spread over 14-acres and is a favourite haunt of migratory and other water birds. Aruvikkuzhi Waterfalls, 2 Km down a mud lane is known for its beautiful landscape and cascading falls. The Vembanad Lake is a feast for the eyes with its traditional country crafts or Kettuvallams and canoes floating up and down. The lake and its surrounding area can be best explored on a houseboat. There is a small island, Pathiramanal or Midnight Sands which is worth a visit for its natural beauty.
The quaint town is a cluster of little islands, located on the banks of the Vembanad Lake in the Kuttanad region of Kerala. Renowned for its natural beauty, Kumarakom is an ideal base to experience the famous Kerala backwaters, replete with meandering lagoons, coconut trees, endless rows of paddy fields interspersed by waterways and canals.
After a leisure breakfast, bid adieu to your crew and drive to Cochin. On arrival transfer to the airport to board the flight for onward destination.