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  Tailor Made India

The Grand Tour of Northern India

  India and Nepal
  Rajasthan Palaces & Princes
  Lesser Known Palaces of Rajasthan
  Mystery of the desert
  Equestrian Rajasthan
  South & Golden Goa
  The Coromandel Coast
  The Malabar Coast of Kerala
  Islands and Beaches (Sri Lanka and India)
  Temples & Caves of Central India
  Eastern India: Orissa
  Assam: Brahmaputra River Cruise & Tribal Tour
  Mountains of the Gods
  Holy Peaks & Sun Temples
  India by Rail
  Indian Wildlife
  Sailing down the Ganges
  In the footsteps of the Raj



Ancient cities of the Deccan

2 weeks. London - Bangalore - Hyderabad -Bidar -  Bijapur - Badami - Hampi - Chik Magalour - Belurhalebid - Mysore - Bangalore

Empires rise and fall and India has seen many great empires come and go. This tour takes us into the heart of the country exploring the Deccan Plateau with its marvellous legacy of architectural masterpieces hinting at the former glory of the empires of which these World Heritage sites were once the capitals.

There are few places on earth where there has been so much conflict as India and it is one of the most inspiring experiences to speculate as to the wonder that was India both before and after the arrival of the Moslems.

Before the middle of the Eighteenth century, India was the only known source of diamonds and Golconda was the most famous of all the diamond mines in India. It made the rulers of the state of Hyderabad very rich and powerful this tour stars in Hyderabad before visiting other famous Moslem states in the Deccan, which flourished in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth centuries. We visit Bidar where the famous Bidri metalwork has its origins.

One of the great Moslem cities in the subcontinent is Bijapur, once the capital of the Adil Shah dynasty of Deccani sultans and a great centre for the visual arts. In 1689 the city was brutally sacked by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. This was a tragedy but some of the great architectural monuments remain, including the incredible Gol Gumbaz, which is the largest domed space in the world, larger even than the Pantheon in Rome. The building has an amazing telephonic, which has to be heard to be believed.

Journeying south we leave the world of the Islamic sultans and enter a marvellous world of contrasting Hindu empires. The Chalyukias are the oldest of the dynasties. We survey their capital Badami is one of the lesser-known wonders of India but is one of our favourite places. The rock-cut temples contain some outstanding sculpture, as do the temples in nearby Paddatakal and Aihole.

Next stop Vijayanagara the last of the great Hindu Kingdoms and in many ways the most incredible. In the Sixteenth century this may well have been the greatest city in the world before a confederation of Moslem states defeated the forces of Vijayanagra at the battle of Talikota in 1564. This was the end of Hindu hegemony in India until independence.

Hampi, as the site is now called is set in one of the most dramatic landscape settings, a boulder-strewn site with temples and palaces nestled in between. Hampi has a good claim to be the greatest ruined city in the world.

South of Hampi we discover yet another great civilization the Hoysalas, masters of detailed sculpture. We visit the temples at Belur, Halebid and Somnathpur. Before arriving in Mysore, we visit the great Jain monument at Sravanabelgola. A marvellous and unique sculpture depicting the Jain Saint Gomateswara who meditated for so long that roots started growing around his legs.

Finally we arrive in Mysore, a delightful city and great Hindu capital. Nearby is the fort and tomb of Tipu Sultan who allied to the French opposed the British in Southern India. His defeat in 1799 marked the end of French opposition to British ambitions in South Asia.

The tour flies in and out of Bangalore.

Click on the map above for an enlarged view


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 Equinox Travel, 54 - 58, Bolsover Street, London, W1W 5NQ, UK; Tel: +44 (0) 207 380 0050; Fax: +44 (0) 20 7375 1538; email: EQUINOX TRAVEL © 2011 
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