Luxury Train in India: Deccan Odyssey Jewels of the Deccan
Luxury Train in India: Jewels of the Deccan is an 8-day journey through India’s Deccan plateau on India’s premier luxury train, the Deccan Odyssey, that takes you through tales and architectural wonders of the Adil Shahi dynasty of Bijapur to the Chalukya empire in Aihole and Pattadakal, onto the powerful Vijayanagara kingdom in Hampi; to the contrasting styles of the Qutb Shahi dynasty of Golconda and the Asaf Jahi, established later in Hyderabad and finally visits to some of the most prominent and unexplored destinations of West-Central India, with a trip to the unrivaled Ajanta and Ellora Caves – World Heritage Sites.
Sprinkled among these stories and fables are visits to quaint little towns famed for hand operated looms that weave vast quantities of beautiful fabric, and samplings of some of the best Dakkhani cuisine to be had. Luxury Train in India: Jewels of the Deccan is a railroad journey like none other, exploring the pristine countryside and superb heritage sites along-with top class hospitality and services.
Lovingly knows as Blue Limousine on rail, the Deccan Odyssey comprises of 21 magnificent coaches; 11 of them are used for accommodate guests while the remaining 10 are used for guest facilities such as dining, lounging, a conference car and even a health spa.
Each guest coach of the luxury train in India, Deccan Odyssey, derives its names from a particular region of Maharashtra and is equipped with facilities like air-conditioning, internet connectivity and personalized guest amenities to ensure you carry marvelous memories of the journey.
Luxury Train in India Departure dates:
- 2018: December 1
- 2019: February 16 and April 20
- Accommodation in double/twin bedded cabin with en-suite bathrooms
- All meals (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
- Soft beverages during the journey
- Valet service
- Still camera
- Guided off train excursions and game drives as illustrated in the itinerary – inclusive of entrance fees, park fees, transport and services of an English speaking guide
- Taxes, Insurance, Gratitude
- Laundry, Alcoholic beverages, Soft beverages during non-meal hours
- Video and professional still camera fees
- Arrival and Departure transfers
- International and Domestic air tickets
- Pre and post tour accommodation and any tour extensions unless specifically mentioned as a part of the journey
Day 01 - Mumbai
Board Deccan Odyssey at Mumbai and travel to Bijapur
Board the Deccan Odyssey at Mumbai - on to Bijapur. Early this evening, assemble at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus at approximately 3.30 PM to complete the registration process and check in formalities for your Jewels of the Deccan journey, as you receive a traditional Indian welcome. After completion of all formalities, you will be shown to your delightful cabins. As you settle in, the Deccan Odyssey shall depart Mumbai for Bijapur in Karnataka, the historic capital of the Sultans of Deccan.
Day 02 - Bijapur
Relish breakfast this morning as the Deccan Odyssey arrives at Bijapur. Established between the 10th and 11th centuries by the Kalyani Chalukyas, Bijapur changed hands often, passing into the hands of new conquerors and invaders. The star attraction of Bijapur is the Gol Gumbaz, the second largest tomb in the world. After breakfast, disembark and first head to the Gol Gumbaz, mausoleum of Adil Shah, the Sultan of Bijapur, a structural triumph of Deccan architecture. Here, you visit the 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. Visit Mehtar Mahal, a 17th century ornamental gateway to a mosque. Then, drive to and explore Ibrahim Rouza, considered amongst the most elegant Islamic monuments in India; its 24m high minarets said to have inspired those of the Taj Mahal.
Return for lunch on board as it departs for Aihole and Pattadakal. Spend the evening marvelling at the subtly changing shades of the formidable granite landscape as the Deccan Odyssey snakes its way through the Deccan plateau.
Day 03 - Aihole - Pattadakal
Aihole - Pattadakal
Rise early this morning, and after breakfast head out to explore the temples and ancient settlements of Aihole and Pattadakal, one of the world's largest temple complexes. Aihole is often called the cradle of Indian architecture. Explore a few of the over 70 rock cut temples constructed by the Chalukyan kings in a completely experimental style, with each temple different from the others in the complex and even from other temples in India itself.
Continue on to Pattadakal, situated on the banks of the Malaprabha River and explore the architectural style here which combines South Indian (Dravidian) and North Indian (Nagara) forms. In fact, this architecture can be seen to have influenced later architecture commissioned by the Hoysala and other dynasties.
Post lunch, you can choose an optional tour to the lovely weaving village of Guledgud, famous for its hand and power looms of ilkal and khann. Observe the process of weaving and head to an outlet where you can pick up lovely souvenirs to carry back home or visit the rock cut caves and sculptured temples in Badami.
Day 04 - Hampi
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. 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.
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.
Day 05 - Hyderabad
This morning, the Deccan Odyssey rolls into the royal city of Nizams, Hyderabad. After an early breakfast this morning, disembark and drive towards the epitome of Nizami culture and grandeur, Golconda. Originally a mud fort, it soon acquired impressive proportions after becoming the seat of power of the Qutub Shahi dynasty.
Alternately, you could also choose to take an optional shopping tour. Hyderabad is a city known for its pearls, lac bangles and custom-made oil-based fragrances or “ittars” amongst other specials.
Continue on to Falaknuma Palace, the name means “like the sky”, as it stands tall, reaching for the clouds. Take a tour of this beautiful palace followed by a sumptuous high tea. Thereafter, explore the old city area of Charminar and its bustling bazaars. It is interesting to walk through and shop in the markets in the Charminar area, a busy bustling area. Walk through Laad Bazaar for the local jewellery, especially exquisite bangles, and to Pather Gatti for the famous Deccan pearls.
Day 06 - Aurangabad - Ellora Caves
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 breakfast, 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 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. In the evening, the Deccan Odyssey proceeds towards Jalgaon towards the exquisite Ajanta Caves, a World Heritage site.
Day 07 - Ajanta Caves
The Deccan Odyssey arrives at the Jalgaon station this morning from where, after breakfast on board, you will disembark and drive to the Ajanta Caves, another World Heritage site and an architectural marvel of its time. The 30 rock-hewn Buddhist caves at Ajanta have been masterfully carved and are adorned with sculptures and paintings of Buddhist religious art, depicting universal pictorial art and are known to depict the fusion between Buddhist and Hindu faith.
Post lunch, you will disembark once more to visit a memorial for Mahatma Gandhi, considered to be one of the most important thought leaders of not just India, but the world. In the evening, watch the tapestry of rural India unfold as you sip a sun downer before dinner as the Deccan Odyssey pulls into the last leg of its journey to Mumbai.
Day 08 - Mumbai
Return to Mumbai
Early this morning, after breakfast, you will disembark at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai.
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