THE SOUTHERN RAJ
Cultural tour of India

India is many times rightfully referred to as a subcontinent. On this tour we travel from Mumbai via Goa to Chennai, exploring the magnificent temple cities and heritage sites of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. India features many different geographical regions where diverse civilizations and cultures flourished. At Bestway Tours & Safaris we have developed several tours that focus on India’s regions. Combine these tours and gain in-depth knowledge of this vast subcontinent.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites covered in this tour
1. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) 4. Group of Monuments at Hampi
2. Churches and Convents of Goa 5. Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram
3. Elephanta Caves 6. Group of Monuments at Pattadakal

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Tour Information
Tour Duration : 14 days
Min. Tour Size : 02 persons
Max. Tour Size : 15 persons
Includes international air
Tour Price (from) : US$
Day 01: Arrive Mumbai
Day 02: Mumbai
(B)
Day 03: Mumbai/Goa (Flight)
(B)
Day 04: Goa
(B, L)
Day 05: Goa/Badami (Drive)
(B)
Day 06: Badami/Aihole/Patadakal/Hospet (Drive)
(B)
Day 07: Hospet
(B)
Day 08: Hospet/Hassan (Drive)
(B)
Day 09: Hassan/Mysore (Drive)
(B)
Day 10: Mysore
(B)
Day 11: Mysore/Bangalore (Drive)
(B)
Day 12: Bangalore/Chennai (Train)
(B)
Day 13: Chennai
(B)
Day 14: Depart Chennai
(B)
B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

Day 01: Arrive Mumbai

Arrival. Namaste! We are warmly welcomed the traditional Indian way with hands clapped together at the airport and transferred to our hotel. The remainder of the day is free to relax.
Overnight: ITC Grand Central - A Starwood Luxury Collection (2 Nights)

Day 02: Mumbai

We start our day with a visit to the Gateway of India, Mumbai's most famous monument. Here we embark on our excursion by motor launch to Elephanta Island, located on an island in the Sea of Oman. We explore the Elephanta Caves*, which contain a collection of rock art linked to the cult of Shiva. Here, Indian art has found one of its most perfect expressions, particularly the huge high reliefs in the main cave. We return to Mumbai and visit the Prince of Wales Museum and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus*, formerly known as Victoria Terminus Station. The station is an outstanding example of Victorian Gothic Revival Architecture in India, blended with themes deriving from Indian traditional architecture. The building, designed by the British Architect F. W. Stevens, became the symbol of Bombay as the ‘Gothic City’ and the major international mercantile port of India. Its remarkable stone dome, turrets, pointed arches and eccentric ground plan are close to traditional Indian palace architecture. Our next stop is at Mani Bhawan, a house converted into a museum, where Mahatma Gandhi stayed during the Freedom Struggle. We then explore the Hanging Gardens, the Zoroastrian Towers of Silence, the bustling Crawford Market and drive past Haji Ali, the tomb of a wealthy Muslim merchant. We end our tour at the Dhobi Ghat, the world's largest outdoor laundry. The washers, locally known as Dhobis, work in the open to wash the clothes from Mumbai's hotels and hospitals. The word Dhobi Ghat is used all over India to refer to any place where many washers are present. (B)

Note: Elephanta Caves and the Prince of Wales Museum are closed on Mondays.

Day 03: Mumbai/Goa (Flight)

Today we are transferred to airport for our flight to Goa. Goa is a state in western India with coastlines stretching along the Arabian Sea. Its long history as a Portuguese colony prior to 1961 is evident in its preserved 16th-century churches and the area’s tropical spice plantations. Goa is also known for its beaches, ranging from popular stretches at Baga and Palolem to laid-back fishing villages such as Agonda. On arrival in Goa we are met by our local host and transferred to our hotel. The remainder of the day is free to relax at our resort.
Overnight: Cidade De Goa Beach Resort (2 Nights) (B)

Day 04: Goa

Although best known for its miles of palm lined beaches along the Arabian Sea, Goa holds other, more important attractions. The Churches and Convents of Goa*, the former capital of the Portuguese Indies, illustrate the evangelization of Asia. These monuments were influential in spreading forms of Manueline, Mannerist and Baroque art in all the countries of Asia where missions were established. We will visit the Basilica of Bom Jesus, built in the 16th century, where the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier are enshrined. We then visit the Se Cathedral, which is the most imposing of Goa’s churches. Its vaulted interior overwhelms the visitors by its sheer grandeur. The cathedral has five bells of which one is the famous Golden bell, the biggest in Goa. Afterwards we are driven to Spice Farm where we are welcomed with fresh tender coconut water or lemon grass tea and some snacks. A guide will take us around the spice farm, where cardamom, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg, herbs, fruits, areca nut, betel and medicinal plants grow. Lots of butterflies and many bird species are found here. A big attraction at farm are its elephants who take can take us for rides (optional) and allow us to bathe them too. The tour ends with, a delicious buffet lunch featuring local Goan Cuisine and vegetarian curries made with the spices from the plantation. (B, L)

Day 05: Goa/Badami (Drive)

After breakfast we drive to Badami, formerly known as Vatapi, located in northern part of Karnataka. It was the regal capital of the Badami Chalukyas from 540 to 757 A.D., which ruled much of Karnataka from the 6th to the 8th century. Badami is situated on the west bank of an artificial lake ringed by an earthen wall with stone steps; it is surrounded on the north and south by forts built in later times. On arrival we check in to our hotel. Afterwards we visit the Badami cave temples, a complex of four Hindu, Jain and possibly Buddhist cave temples. The Badami cave temples represent some of the earliest known examples of Hindu temples. UNESCO has described the designs of the Badami cave temples, and those in Aihole, as having transformed the Malaprabha River valley into a cradle of temple architecture that defined the components of later Hindu temples elsewhere in India.
Overnight: Badami Court (1 Night) (B)

Day 06: Badami/Aihole/Patadakal/Hospet (Drive)

After breakfast we drive to Aihole, the cradle of ancient stone temple architecture of the southern Dravidian School. We visit the Durga temple, noted for its sculptures and the Meguti temple, built of 630 small stone blocks. We then explore the Group of Monuments at Pattadakal*, which represents the high point of an eclectic art which, in the 7th and 8th centuries under the Chalukya dynasty, achieved a harmonious blend of architectural forms from northern and southern India. An impressive series of nine Hindu temples, as well as a Jain sanctuary, can be seen there. One masterpiece from the group stands out, the Temple of Virupaksha, built c. 740 by Queen Lokamahadevi to commemorate her husband's victory over the kings from the South. Pattadakal was the second capital of the Chalukyan Empire and the ceremonial center where kings were crowned and commemorated. After our visit we drive to Hospet, where we check in to our hotel.
Overnight: Hyatt Place Hampi (2 Nights) (B)

Day 07: Hospet

Today we enjoy a full day excursion of the Group of Monuments at Hampi*. The austere, grandiose site of Hampi was the last capital of the last great Hindu Kingdom of Vijayanagar. Its fabulously rich princes built Dravidian temples and palaces which won the admiration of travellers between the 14th and 16th centuries. Conquered by the Deccan Muslim confederacy in 1565, the city was pillaged over a period of six months before being abandoned. Hampi’s spectacular setting is dominated by river Tungabhadra, craggy hill ranges and open plains, with widespread physical remains. The sophistication of the varied urban, royal and sacred systems is evident from the more than 1600 surviving structures that include forts, riverside features, royal and sacred complexes, temples, shrines, pillared halls, Mandapas, memorial structures, gateways, defense check posts, stables and water structures. We will visit the Vitthala Temple, noted for its sculpted stone chariot and carved pillars that produce musical notes when struck; the Virupaksha Temple, which is the only temple at Hampi that is still used for worship; and the Hazararama Temple, featuring intricate carvings depicts scenes from the Ramayana. We will also visit the Lotus Mahal, shaped like a lotus flower; the Elephant Stables, a remarkable example of Hindu-Muslim style of architecture; and the Noblemen's Palace, which was recently discovered. In the evening we return to Hospet. (B)

Day 08: Hospet/Hassan (Drive)

After breakfast we drive to Hassan. On arrival we check in our hotel. Afterwards we visit the Chennakesava Temple in Belur. The main structure of the temple is a star-shaped, homogenous architectural unit on a raised platform. It features an immense variety of sculptures and bas-reliefs in the shape of birds, animals, dancers and other figures on the walls, doorways and ceilings. Inside, even in the darkness, we can see shining pillars, each unique in its own splendour. We then head to Halebid also known as Dwara Samudra, the wealthy capital of the Hoysala Empire during the 12th & 13th centuries. Here we visit the beautiful Hoysala temples. The Hoysaleswara temple, dating back to 1121 is astounding for its wealth of sculptural details. The walls of the temple are covered with an endless variety of depictions from Hindu mythology, animals, birds and shilabalikas or dancing figures. No two sculptures of the temple are the same. This temple, guarded by a Nandi bull, was never completed, despite 86 years of labour.
Overnight: Hoysala Village (1 Night) (B)

Day 09: Hassan/Mysore (Drive)

After breakfast we drive to Mysore. On arrival in Mysore, we check in our hotel. In the evening we visit the Brindavan Gardens famous for its dancing musical fountains. Brindavan Gardens is one of the best gardens in South India. Spread over 150 acres, Brindavan Gardens has provided the backdrop for many Indian films.
Overnight: Hotel Regaalis (2 Nights) (B)

Day 10: Mysore

Mysore served as the capital city of Kingdom of Mysore for nearly six centuries, from 1399 until 1974. The Kingdom was ruled by the Wodeyar dynasty, except for a brief period in the late 18th century when Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan were in power. Patrons of art and culture, the Wodeyars contributed significantly to the cultural growth of the city. The cultural ambience and achievements of Mysore earned it the sobriquet Cultural capital of Karnataka. In the afternoon we visit the magnificent Maharajah's Palace, the official residence and seat of the Wodeyars, the royal family of Mysore, who ruled the princely state. The palace houses two durbar halls (ceremonial meeting halls of the royal court) and incorporates a mesmerizing and gigantic array of courtyards, gardens, and buildings. We then head to the Chamundeshwari Temple, located atop the Chamundi Hills and the Nadi Shiva's Mount. Mysore has never failed to mesmerize with its rich heritage, magnificent palaces, beautiful gardens, imposing buildings, broad shady avenues and sacred temples. We then head to Srirangapatam, and explore the town, which is enclosed by the river Kaveri, thus forming an island. Srirangapatna has since time immemorial been an urban center and place of pilgrimage. During the Vijayanagar empire, it became the seat of a major viceroyalty. (B)

Day 11: Mysore/Bangalore (Drive)

After breakfast we drive to Bangalore. Upon arrival we are welcomed and transferred to our hotel. In the afternoon we explore Bangalore, visiting the Vidhana Soudha, an imposing edifice built almost entirely of dressed Bangalore granite, that houses the Legislative Chambers of the state government. We explore the 3000 acres of verdant tranquility of Cubbon Park, visit the museum in the Tipu Sultan's Palace, one of the most remarkable Islamic buildings in the city. We conclude with a walk through Lal Bagh Garden, India's most beautiful botanical gardens, featuring rare trees brought from far off Persia, Afghanistan and France. The evening is free for some shopping in the local bazaar.
Overnight: Hyatt Bangalore M.G. Road (1 Night) (B)

Day 12: Bangalore/Chennai (Train)

Early morning, we are transferred to the railway station to board the Shatabdi Express train to Chennai. The train features air-conditioning and we get a complimentary meal. Upon arrival we are transferred to our hotel. In the afternoon we take city tour of Chennai, visiting the National Art Gallery & Museum, which contains some of the best collections of bronzes in the country, including the famous icon of Natraja. We continue to India's oldest surviving British church, St. Mary's Church, built in 1680. We end our tour with a visit to People’s Park and the beautiful Marina Beach and the clock towers.
Overnight: Hyatt Regency (2 Nights) (B)

Day 13: Chennai

Today we take an excursion to visit the Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram*. This group of sanctuaries, founded by the Pallava kings, was carved out of rock along the Coromandel Coast in the 7th and 8th centuries. It is known especially for its rathas (temples in the form of chariots), mandapas (cave sanctuaries), giant open-air reliefs such as the famous 'Descent of the Ganges', and the temple of Rivage, with thousands of sculptures to the glory of Shiva. After the tour, we return back to our hotel. (B)

Day 14: Depart Chennai

After a memorable journey through Southern India, we are transferred to the airport for our departure home or to our next exciting destination. (B)

B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

Departure Dates
English Speaking Departures (Please contact us for information on French, German, Italian and Spanish speaking departures).

2017

Jan 07; Feb 04; Mar 04; Apr 01; May 06; Jun 03; Jul 01; Aug 05; Sep 02; Oct 07; Nov 04; Dec 02

Tour Price

We accept payment in US $ (US Dollars), CA $ (Canadian Dollars) or equivalent EURO (for clients outside North America). Bestway Tours & Safaris offers conversion rate protection. Once full payment has been received, and no modification has been made to the tour itinerary, we will honour that rate. For complete payment procedures, please click here

VALIDITY (Jan 01 to Dec 31, 2017 except between Dec 23 to Jan 07)
Hotel Category Per Person on Twin Sharing Single Room Supplement
Accommodation US$ 2585 US$ 930
Domestic air US$ 125

Hotels envisaged

City Hotel Name
Mumbai
(2 Nights)
ITC Grand Central – A Starwood Luxury Collection (5 Star Deluxe)
Executive Club
Goa
(2 Nights)
Cidade De Goa Beach Resort (5 Star)
Superior Room
Badami
(1 Night)
Badami Court (3 Star)
Deluxe Room
Hospet
(2 Nights)
Hyatt Place Hampi (4 Star)
(Standard Room)
Hassan
(1 Night)
Hoyasala Village (4 Star)
Superior Cottage
Mysore
(2 Nights)
Hotel Regaalis (4 Star)
Cub Room
Bangalore
(1 Night)
Hyatt Bangalore M.G. Road (5 Star)
(Standard Room)
Chennai
(2 Nights)
Hyatt Regency (5 Star)
Hyatt Guest Room

Notes

All hotels in Goa require a minimum 5 nights stay during festive period.



Inclusions


Tour Price Includes
  • Train fare in executive class from Bangalore to Chennai
  • Accommodation as mentioned or similar, including hotel taxes
  • 14 Meals as mentioned (Daily buffet breakfast) (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • All sightseeing and transfers by private transportation
  • Services of local English speaking guides cum drivers
  • Entrance fees to museums and sites included in the itinerary
Not Included
  • Any airfares
  • Insurance/visas
  • Tips/gratuities

Estimated International Airfare (International airfare is NOT included in this tour)

CANADA(West Coast)
US$ 1600

USA(West Coast)
US$ 1400

CANADA(East Coast)
US$ 1200

USA(East Coast)
US$ 1000

Participants

This tour operates on a minimum of 02 and a maximum of 15 participants

Customised Itinerary

If you would like to have a tour on dates other than the above ones or with a customised itinerary, please contact us and we will be happy to work out an exclusive program for you.

Contact Info
You may e-mail us at bestway@bestway.com or call 1-604-264-7378. Residents of U.S.A./Canada may call us toll free at 1-800-663-0844.