Two-Week Heritage Tour of the Deccan

Embark on a 2-week heritage tour of the Deccan, beginning in Hyderabad with visits to iconic sites such as the Charminar, the Golconda Fort and the Qutb Shahi tombs. Journey through the historical layers of Bidar, Gulbarga, and Bijapur, exploring ancient forts, tombs, and temples. Delve into Early Chalukyan architecture in Badami, Pattadakal, and Aihole, before immersing yourself in the grandeur of Hampi’s UNESCO-listed ruins. Conclude with the Hoysala temples in Chikmagalur and a final stop in Bengaluru, including an excursion to the medieval site of Lepakshi.

Day 1: Hyderabad

  • Morning: Tour Salar Jung Museum
  • Afternoon: Visit a weaving workshop
  • Evening: Tea at the Falaknuma Palace and tour of grounds

Day 2: Hyderabad

  • Morning: Walk around Charminar and area around the Mecca Masjid. Visit Chowmahalla Palace and the Badshahi Ashurkhana
  • Afternoon: Tour the Paigah Tombs

Day 3: Hyderabad

  • Full day driving excursion to the 12th13th century Kakatiya sites of Hanamkonda (a magnificent thousand-pillared temple dedicated to Shiva) and Warangal (a striking fort built on a circular plan, with three concentric rings of walls)

Day 4: Hyderabad

  • Morning: Tour Golconda citadel and the tombs of the Qutb Shahi sultans
  • Afternoon: Visit the recently restored British period neo-classical “Residency” on the campus of Osmania Women’s College, with its great Durbar Hall

Day 5: Hyderabad — Bidar — Gulbarga

  • Drive to Bidar, capital of the Bahmani sultans in the 15th century. Visit the Madrasa of Mahmud Gawan, and the nearby fort with the Rangin Mahal (among the finest examples of Deccani architectural decoration). Explore the extraordinary tombs of the area: the Chaukhandi tomb (Sufi saint), the tomb of Ahmad Shah, and the tomb of Amir Barid
  • Afternoon: Drive to Gulbarga, via the village of Jalasangvi to visit an 11th century Late Chalukya temple, and Holkonda to see a group of fine early domed tombs

Day 6: Gulbarga — Bijapur

  • Morning: Explore Gulbarga, the first capital of the Bahmani sultans, established in 1350. Proceed to the dargah of Gesu Daraz, a celebrated Sufi pilgrimage site
  • Afternoon: Depart for Bijapur via Kumatgi to visit the 17th century Adil Shahi pleasure resort

Day 7: Bijapur – Badami

  • Morning: Tour Bijapur, capital of the 16th17th century Adil Shahi sultans, the Gol Gumbaz with its colossal dome (the largest in Asia), the Jami Masjid, the Mihtar Mahal towered gateway, the Citadel Mosque, and several palaces. See the great brass canon known as the Malik-i Maidan, mounted on the city walls, and visit the Ibrahim Rauza, the splendid funerary complex of Ibrahim II Adil Shah
  • Afternoon: Drive to Badami

Day 8: Badami

  • Morning: Visit the capital of the 6th–8th century Early Chalukya rulers of the Deccan, and the four cave-temples, exceptional for their magnificent, well preserved Vaishnava carvings. Later, visit the Archaeological Museum
  • Afternoon: Tour Pattadakal, the great 8th century complex of royal Chalukya period temples (a UNESCO World Heritage site)

Day 9: Badami — Hampi

  • Morning: Drive to Aihole to visit more Early Chalukya temples. See the 7th century Jain temple on Meguti hill, the earliest dated temple in south India; the temple complex in town, including the Durga and Lad Khan temples; and the Archaeological Museum
  • Afternoon: Drive to Hampi

Days 10 and 11: Hampi

  • Two full days exploring the Hampi site, capital of 14th16th century Vijayanagara, the largest Hindu empire of south India (a UNESCO World Heritage site); visit monuments in both the Sacred Centre and Royal Centre of the city

Day 12: Hampi — Chikmagalur

  • Full day drive to Chikmagalur, stopping en route to explore the great 16th17th century Vijayanagara fort at Chitradurga

Day 13: Chikmagalur

  • Visit the 12th century Hindu temples of the Hoysala kings at Belur and Halebid, celebrated for their profuse, intricately carved reliefs and sculpted panels. Optional tour of lesser known Hoysala temple in the village of Dodda Gadavahalli

Day 14: Chikmagalur – Bengaluru

  • Full day drive to Bengaluru (Bangalore) via the sacred Jain site of Sravanabelagola, famous for its colossal monolithic naked image of Bahubali (considered the son of the first Tirthankara), consecrated in 981. Visit nearby monastery with 18th century murals illustrating Jain rituals and festivals.

 Day 15: Bengaluru

  • Drive for a morning excursion to Lepakshi to visit the Vijayanagara period temple, famous for its 16th century ceiling paintings, the earliest and best preserved to be seen anywhere in south India