Foraying into South India's glorious past
Arrive Mumbai today where your room is held from 12 noon.
Maheshwar or “abode of Lord Mahesh”, home to thousands of Shiva temples, is a pilgrimage town situated on the banks of the River Narmada. Contemporary Maheshwar though is synonymous with the indomitable 18th century Holkar Queen, Ahilya Bai, who built the fort-palace and several temples. The fort with its distinct Maratha architecture, lovely ramparts, the striking Shiva temples and the ghats along the river all carry the stamp of Ahilya Bai’s elegant style.
Visit Raj Gaddi, or the throne of Ahilya Bai, and the temple she worshiped at (still a family shrine of the Holkars). Maheshwar is best explored by boat, stopping at the riverbanks to explore local temples and sights. Visit the Baneshwar temple, and ride upstream to Sahastradhara, where the river Narmada splits into a thousand streams due to volcanic rock formations on the riverbed.
Maheshwar has been a centre for the famous fine cotton-silk Maheshwari sari, patronized by the Maratha royalty for centuries. Visit the weavers to see the finest examples.
After breakfast, drive to the medieval town of Mandu 1.5 hrs away. The town, set in an isolated location on the Malwa plateau, is rich with architectural gems. It has a most fascinating array of monuments, ranging from rock cut caves, mosques, medieval madarassas (theological colleges), tombs, water bodies and palaces. To add to all this Mandu swirls with the tragic love story of Sultan BazBhadur and his Hindu wife Rupmati.After leisurely explorations you return to Maheshwar.
After breakfast leave for the airport for your flight to Hyderabad.
Hyderabad was the largest and richest of India’s princely states. The Nizams (monarchs) originally ruled on behalf of the Mughal Emperors and as the might of the Mughal Empire declined the Nizams struck out to establish an independent kingdom. Hyderabad is well known for its composite culture known as “dakhani”, an assimilation and interaction of the Persian and the local Telugu cultures.
This morning, drive to Golconda. Enjoy a scenic drive around the 17th century Hussain Sagar. A fortress city and thriving commercial centre since the 13th century, Golconda was capital of the influential QutubShahi dynasty from 1512. Visit the QutubShahi Tombs. Their onion domes and rich decoration distinguish these fine Islamic royal funerary monuments.The dynastic necropolis (apart from two who died in exile) is a fascinating collection of Deccani Islamic funerary monuments.
Visit Purani Haveli, also known as The Nizam’sMuseum, which was the official residence of the Nizam. The next day, visit the Old City. Begin with a visit to the beautifully restored Chowmahalla Palace. Later. walk through the lanes of the Old City. Spend time in the Lad Bazaarthat is particularly well known for its colourful bangles.
Driving out of Hyderabad you travel approximately 140 kms to Bidar. This walled fort town in North Karnataka was once the capital of the Hamanis and the BaridShahis. The fort is still intact and the palaces and tombs provide some of the finest examples of Muslim architecture in the Deccan intermingling Hindu and Muslim styles.
A distance of 115 kms from Bidar, Gulbarga was the first capital of the Bahmanis. The most striking remains in the town are the fort, the mosque and the tombs in the eastern quarter.
Bijapur is distinct as it resembles a Northern Muslim city with its mausolea, mosques and palaces. The main landmark is the Jama Masjid, one of the finest mosques in the Deccan, with a large shallow onion-shaped dome and arcaded courtyard. The presence of both Hindu and Islamic symbols – lotus wheels, cross patterns and bold Arabic calligraphy – are witness to the tolerance of Adil Shah to other religions.
Badami, formerly known as Vatapi, is a town and headquarters of a talukby the same name. It was the regal capital of the Badami Chalukyasfrom 540 to 757 AD. It is famous for rock cut and other structural temples. It is located in a ravine at the foot of a rugged, red sandstone outcrop that surrounds Agastya Lake.
Pattadkal and Aihole are considered to be the cradle of Indian temple architecture and the crossroad of north and south Indian temple architecture.
Aihole was a centre of early Chalukyan art, and was the first capital of the early Chalukyas and is considered a laboratory of experiments of rock cut architecture. The first phase of temple building in Aihole dates back to 6th century CE and the second to the 12th.
Pattadakal is a World Heritage site located on the banks of the Malaprabha River. It is a cluster of temples each with unique architectural characteristics and is considered a repository of the flowering of various styles of temple architecture that later spread all over India.
Spread over a windswept area of rocks and enormous boulders, Hampi was once the seat of the great Vijaynagara Empire and the center of Hindu rule for 200 years from its foundation in 1336. Enormously wealthy, believed to be “greater than Rome”, they held a monopoly of trade in spices and cotton. The site was chosen for strategic reasons, but the craftsmen excelled in adopting an ingenious style to blend in architectural masterpieces with the barren and rocky landscapes. Most of the sites are 16th century and built during the 20-year reign of Krishna Deva Raya.
The Hotels we recommend are handpicked and the best the destination can offer, as per your preference
The activities, sights and experiences are original and offer you the spirit of the land
Flavours of local and global cuisine matched with your preferred drinks at selected restaurants offering unique F&B experiences
We endeavour to make your journey smooth and memorable. Our drivers are trained at driving on Indian Roads and are also knowledgeable guides