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Welcome to Jewels of the Deccan, an 8-day journey through India’s Deccan plateau on India’s premier luxury train, the Deccan Odyssey. Your adventure takes you through the tales and architectural wonders of the Adil Shahi dynasty of Bijapur, to the Chalukyan in Aihole and Pattadakal, onto the powerful Vijayanagara kingdom in Hampi; to the contrasting styles of the Qutab Shahi dynasty of Golconda and the Asaf Jahi in Hyderabad. Finally, you’ll visit 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. Throughout the journey you’ll hear stories and fables, visit quaint towns famed for hand operated looms that weave vast quantities of beautiful fabric, and sample the best Dakkhani cuisine to be found. A railroad journey like none other, in a land like no other — we welcome you on board the Deccan Odyssey.

Day
Location
Details
Meals
1
BOARD THE DECCAN ODYSSEY AT MUMBAI – ON TO BIJAPUR
Welcome aboard the Deccan Odyssey. This evening we’’ll assemble at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, check in for your Jewels of the Deccan journey and enjoy traditional Indian welcome and a refreshing drink. As you settle into your cabins, the Deccan Odyssey shall depart Mumbai for Bijapur in Karnataka. Dinner on board. Overnight on Deccan Odyssey
2
BIJAPUR
This morning 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, rule passing to 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 the 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, the “Palmyra of the Deccan”. After breakfast, we’ll head to the Gol Gumbaz, literally “round dome”. The mausoleum of Adil Shah, Sultan of Bijapur. It is a triumph of Deccan architecture, with a circular gallery where even the gentlest of whispers are magnified owing to the unique acoustics of the dome, thought to be the second largest in the world. 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 — legend has it that if you touch the gun and make a wish, it will come true. Our visit will continue on to Mehtar Mahal, a 17th century ornamental gateway to a mosque. From here we’ll 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. We’ll return to the Deccan Odyssey for lunch on board and depart for Aihole and Pattadakal. Spend the evening marveling at the changing shades of the formidable granite landscape as the Deccan Odyssey snakes its way through the Deccan plateau. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner on board Overnight on the Deccan Odyssey
3
AIHOLE – PATTADAKAL
Rise early this morning, enjoy breakfast and 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 Chalukyan kings in a completely experimental style, each temple not only different from the others in the complex, but those across India itself. Continue on to Pattadakal, situated on the banks of the Malaprabha River, and experience an architectural style which combines South Indian (Dravidian) and North Indian (Nagara) forms. These forms will be seen to have influenced later architecture commissioned by the Hoysala and other dynasties. For lunch, we’ll head back to the Deccan Odyssey. Following lunch, you might choose an optional tour to the lovely weaving village of Guledgud, famous for its looms of ilkal and khann. You’ll observe the weaving process and visit an outlet where you can pick up lovely souvenirs to carry back home OR, you might choose to visit the rock cut caves and sculptured temples in Badami. Head back to the Deccan Odyssey for dinner as we make our way to Hampi. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner on board Overnight on Deccan Odyssey.
4
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 historical significance. A short drive takes you from the bustle of city to a contemplative landscape strewn with massive boulders as you draw closer Hampi. A stop at the Narasimha Statue will allow you to take in the views (and plenty of photos). 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, peppered with little caves and alcoves. Walk the banks of the Tungabhadra River as you leave the Virupaksha Temple and move toward the famed Vittala Temple — a truly extravagant architectural showpiece. Head back to Hospet for lunch on board the Deccan Odyssey. After 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 both courtly and military structures. You’ll visit the Queen’s Bath, the Stepped (water)Tank, the Mahanavami Dibba or “great platform”, the Hazararama Temple, the Queen’s Enclosure (with its Lotus Mahal) and the Elephant Stables. After a full day of visiting the wonders of Hampi, we’ll return to the Hospet station and board the Deccan Odyssey for your onward journey to Hyderabad, dining as the landscape passes. Breakfast , Lunch and Dinner on board Overnight on Deccan Odyssey
5
HYDERABAD
This morning the Deccan Odyssey rolls into royal city of the Nizams, Hyderabad. Legends abound over how this capital of the Asaf Jahi dynasty came to be called Hyderabad. One of the more interesting claims that it was named after Bhagmati, the Hindu wife of Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, who converted to Islam and changed her name to Hyder Mahal. After an early breakfast this morning, we’ll disembark and drive towards the epitome of Nizami culture and grandeur, Golconda. Originally a mud fort, it acquired impressive proportions after becoming the seat of power of the Qutub Shahi dynasty. Following our tour, we’ll return to the Deccan Odyssey for lunch and a little rest. Alternately, you could choose to take an optional shopping tour. Hyderabad is a city known for its pearls, lac bangles and custom-made fragrances or “ittars”. Spend your morning shopping and follow it up with lunch featuring the famed Hyderabadi Biryani. Continue on to Falaknuma Palace, tour this beautiful palace and enjoy a sumptuous High Tea. After this respite, explore the old city area of Charminar and its bustling bazaars. Standing tall in the centre of the city, Charminar is a global icon for Hyderabad and one of the most recognized structures of India. It was ostensibly built there by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah to fulfill his vow of building a mosque if the plague epidemic ravaging the city ceased. It is fascinating to explore and shop in the markets near Charminar, a busy, bustling area. Head to Laad Bazaar for the local jewellry, especially the exquisite bangles, and to Pather Gatti for the famous Deccan pearls. Return to the Deccan Odyssey for dinner and a restful evening as Deccan Odyssey departs Hyderabad for Aurangabad. Breakfast and Lunch on board, High tea at the Falaknuma Palace and Dinner on board. Overnight on Deccan Odyssey.
6
AURANGABAD – ELLORA CAVES
Aurangabad, named after the last Great Mughal Aurangzeb, is an industrial town in Maharashtra and the stop from which 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 fifty-two gates, each with its own history. As you enjoy breakfast, the Deccan Odyssey arrives at Aurangabad — a scenic drive brings you to the Ellora Caves, carved into the side of a basaltic hill just 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 a stunning example of rock-cut architecture and an artistic and engineering marvel. Savour a leisurely lunch 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 and the exquisite Ajanta Caves, a World Heritage site. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner on board Overnight on Deccan Odyssey
7
AJANTA CAVES
The Deccan Odyssey arrives at the Jalgaon station this morning, and after breakfast on board, you will disembark and drive to the Ajanta Caves, another World Heritage site and an architectural wonder of its time. The 30 rock-hewn Buddhist caves at Ajanta have been masterfully carved and are adorned with sculptures and paintings of representing a fusion of Buddhist and Hindu religious and artistic traditions. Lunch will be on board the Deccan Odyssey. Post lunch, you will disembark once more to visit a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, considered one of the most important philosophical leaders of not just India, but the world. One can take away much from the Gandhi Teerth, museum to the man who stated: “ My religion is based on truth and non-violence. Truth is my God. Non-violence is the means of realizing Him.” In the evening, watch the tapestry of rural India unfold as you sip a sun-downer before dinner and Deccan Odyssey pulls into its last leg of the journey to Mumbai. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner on board. Overnight on Deccan Odyssey
8
DISEMBARK IN MUMBAI
Early this morning, after breakfast, you will disembark at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai. Bid farewell to the Deccan Odyssey as your passage through the grand vistas of India comes to an end. Breakfast on board

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