Duration: 07 Nights / 08 Days
Destinations Covered : Mumbai » Bijapur » Aihole » Pattadakal » Hampi » Hayderabad » Aurangabad » Ellora Caves » Mumbai
Get ready for the journey of a lifetime on India's premier luxury train, the Deccan Odyssey! Jewels of the Deccan, takes you through tales and architectural wonders of India's Deccan plateau across a span of 8 wonderful days. On this exquisite holiday, you'll traverse through the Adil Shahi dynasty of Bijapur to the Chalukyan in Aihole & Pattadakal, onto the powerful Vijayanagara kingdom in Hampi. Experience a contrast as you visit the Qutb Shahi dynasty of Golconda and the Asaf Jahi, established later in Hyderabad. You will also sample the best Dakkhani cuisine, and explore some of the most outstanding & unexplored locations of west-central India, including a trip to the beautiful Ajanta & Ellora Caves. And that's not it. On the Jewels of the Deccan journey, we'll introduce you to the quaint little towns that are renowned for hand operated looms that weave enormous quantities of stunning fabric.
Day 01, Mumbai: Board the Deccan Odyssey train at Mumbai - on to Bijapur Welcome aboard the Deccan Odyssey. Early in the evening, you will reach the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus at approximately 15.30 hours to complete the registration process. Once the check in and formalities for your Jewels of the Deccan journey are complete, you will receive a traditional Indian welcome, and a refreshing drink. You will then be guided to your royal Indian cabins. Soon the Deccan Odyssey will begin its journey from Mumbai to Bijapur in Karnataka. Welcome drink and dinner on board. Overnight on board the Deccan Odyssey.
Day 02, Bijapur: Relish breakfast this morning as the Deccan Odyssey arrives at Bijapur, the historic capital of the Sultans of Deccan. Established between the 10th and 11th centuries by the Kalyani Chalukyas, Bijapur changed hands often, passing into the hands of new conquerors and invaders. In the second half of 16th and early 17th century, under the aegis of the Adil Shahi dynasty, their capital city of Bijapur occupied a prominent place among the celebrated cities of India and even surpassed great cities of Delhi, Agra and Mughal India. Due to the secular nature and liberal patronage of the Adil Shahi Sultans, many scholars, poets, painters, dancers, calligraphers, musicians, Sufi saints and other men of arts flocked to Bijapur which also came to be known as the 'Palmyra of the Deccan' Post lunch, first head to the Gol Gumbaz, literally 'round dome', the second largest tomb in the world. The mausoleum of Adil Shah, the Sultan of Bijapur, it is a structural triumph of Deccan architecture, with a circular gallery where the tiniest of whispers gets magnified owing to the unique acoustics of the dome. Next, head to the Jumma Masjid, known as one of the first mosques in India and then onto Malik-e-Maidan, the largest medieval cannon in the world. Don't hesitate to make a wish here as legend has it that if you touch the gun and make a wish, it will come true! Breakfast, lunch and dinner on board Overnight on board the Deccan Odyssey
Day 03, Aihole - Pattadakal : Wake up early this morning, and enjoy a delicious breakfast. Then head out to discover the ancient settlements and temples of Aihole and Pattadakal, one of the largest temple complexes across the globe. A trip here will help you understand why Aihole is often called the cradle of Indian architecture. It is home to over 70 rock cut temples, which we constructed by the Chalukyan kings in a completely experimental style. However, the fact that each temple is different from the others in the complex, and even from other temples in India itself makes Aihole truly unique. Continue on to Pattadakal, which is located on the banks of the Malaprabha River. Witness its architectural style that radiates a seamless blend of South Indian (Dravidian) and North Indian (Nagara) forms. In fact, it is believed that this form of architecture was the inspiration behind the Hoysala and other dynasties. Head back to the Deccan Odyssey for lunch. Post lunch, opt for an optional tour of the weaving village of Guledgud. This place is famous for hand and power looms of ilkal and khann. Witness the process of weaving, and shop for beautiful souvenirs to take back home. You also have the option to visit Badami's sculptured temples and rock cut caves. Head back to the Deccan Odyssey for dinner as it makes its way to Hampi. Breakfast, lunch and dinner on board. Overnight on board the Deccan Odyssey.\
Day 04, Hampi: Today the Deccan Odyssey reaches Hospet. Visit the iconic City of Victory, Hampi. Explore the sacred and royal centres, palaces and impressive temples. This morning as you enjoy breakfast, the Deccan Odyssey rolls into Hospet. Today you will visit the iconic City of Victory - Hampi, a World Heritage site, famous for its splendid architecture, sculptures and their historical significance. A short drive quickly changes your landscape from the city bustle to sentient massive boulders as you reach Hampi. Stop at the Narasimha statue and spend some time taking pictures and looking around. Next head to the mustard Ganesh, located at the base of the Hemkuta hills, and quite a misnomer as the elephant God statue here is anything but small! Take in the breathtaking vistas around the hills with their little caves and alcoves. Walk the banks of the Tungabhadra River as you leave the Virupaksha temple on to the famed Vittala temple, the polar power sites of Hampi, one a living temple, the other a most extravagant architectural showpiece. Head back to Hospet for lunch on board the Deccan Odyssey. Post lunch, disembark once more to continue your exploration, reaching the Royal Center at Hampi. This area was the citadel of the Vijayanagara kings and encompasses courtly and military structures. Visit the Queens Bath, the Stepped Tank, the Mahanavami Dibba or great platform, where a ramp is available to reach its summit, the Hazararama Temple, the Queens Enclosure with its Lotus Mahal and the Elephant stables. After a full day of visiting the wonders of Hampi, return to the Hospet station. Board the Deccan Odyssey for your onward journey to Hyderabad as you sit down at dinner. Breakfast , lunch and dinner on board.
Overnight on board the Deccan Odyssey.
Day 05, Hayderabad:Today, Deccan Odyssey will reach the royal city of the Nizams, Hyderabad. According to legends, this capital of the Asaf Jahi dynasty was originally named after Bhagmati, the Hindu wife of Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah. But she later converted to Islam, and changed her name to Hyder Mahal, which have the city its current name. This morning, enjoy an early breakfast and drive to Golconda - the epitome of Nizami culture and grandeur. What was originally a mud fort, soon acquired impressive proportions after it became the seat of power of the Qutub Shahi dynasty. Head to the Deccan Odyssey for lunch.
Alternately, you can also choose an optional shopping tour. Hyderabad is the perfect place to buy pearls, lac bangles and custom made oil based fragrances or "ittars" amongst other. Follow up this shopping trip with the delectable Hyderabadi Biryani for lunch. Proceed to Falaknuma Palace, which stands for "like the sky". Akin to its name, this palace stands tall, almost reaching the clouds. Enjoy sumptuous high tea, post the tour of this stunning palace. Then move on to explore the old city area of Charminar. Filled with bustling bazaars, it stands tall in the centre of the city. One of the most recognized structures of India, it was allegedly built by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah to fulfil his vow of building a mosque if the plague epidemic devastating the city ceased. Walk through the markets in the Charminar area, especially the Laad Bazaar for the local jewellery, and Pather Gatti for the celebrated Deccan pearls. Return to the Deccan Odyssey for dinner as Deccan Odyssey continues the journey to Aurangabad.
Breakfast and lunch on board High tea at Falaknuma Palace and dinner on board. Overnight on board the Deccan Odyssey.
Day 06, Aurangabad - Ellora Caves: Aurangabad, named after the last Great Mughal Aurangzeb, is an industrial town in Maharashtra and the stop from where to head out to visit the exceptional Ellora Caves, a World Heritage site. The city itself has deep Mughal influences and there are several monuments of note here; the Daulatabad Fort, Bibi-ka-Makbara and the city's 52 gates, each with its own history, amongst them.
As you enjoy lunch, the Deccan Odyssey arrives at Aurangabad, from where a scenic drive takes you to the Ellora Caves, carved into the side of a basaltic hill 30 km from the city. The finest specimen of cave-temple architecture in India, the site encompasses 34 rock-cut shrines representing Buddhist, Jain and Hindu art dating from the 4th to 5th century AD. The 12 caves to the south are Buddhist, the 17 in the centre are Hindu, and the 5 caves to the north are Jain. The most remarkable is the Kailash temple, meant to be a replica of Shiva's celestial abode on Mt. Kailash. It is the best example of rock cut architecture and an engineering marvel. Time at leisure on board as the hinterland of Maharashtra sweeps past, with its ever-changing colors and landscape.
In the evening, sit back, unwind and enjoy cocktails fixed by our bartender onboard, followed by a sumptuous dinner and a well deserved rest as the Deccan Odyssey proceeds towards Jalgaon to visit the exquisite Ajanta Caves. Breakfast, lunch and dinner on board. Overnight on board the Deccan Odyssey.
Day 07, Ajanta Caves: The Deccan Odyssey will arrive at the Jalgaon station this morning. Post breakfast onboard, you will drive to the Ajanta Caves, and explore yet another architectural marvel. The 30 rock-hewn Buddhist caves adorned with paintings and sculptures of Buddhist religious art are nothing less than spectacular. Skilfully carved, they depict the fusion between Buddhist and Hindu faith. Lunch will be on board the Deccan Odyssey. Post lunch, you will disembark to visit the Mahatma Gandhi memorial. There are many lessons waiting to be learnt at the Gandhi Teerth, which pays ode to the man who quoted "My religion is based on truth and non-violence. Truth is my God. Non-violence is the means of realising Him." In the evening, the Deccan Odyssey will pull into its last leg of journey back to Mumbai. Take in the views of a rustic India as you sip a sun downer, and enjoy a delicious dinner. Breakfast, lunch and dinner on board. Overnight on board the Deccan Odyssey.
Day 08, Mumbai: Early this morning, after breakfast, you will disembark at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Railway Station, Mumbai. Bid farewell to the Deccan Odyssey, and take home with you grand memories this fantastic Deccan sojourn. Breakfast on board.
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