The memorable trip to Western India
I explored the mysterious caves of Mumbai & Hyderabad and discovered the timeless beauty of the design and admired the architectural beauty of the in-built temples on this 15 days long tour to Central India . I visited the UNESCO applauded sites of world heritage-cave temples of Elephanta, Ajanta, Ellora & Hampi. I enjoyed many attractions, such as the monuments rich city of Bijapur & the churches and convents of Goa. I also caught up on shopping, fun and excitement at the happening cosmopolitan cities of Mumbai & Hyderabad.I also experienced the confluence of culture in Modern cities of Hyderabad and Mumbai.
Day 1: Arrival at Mumbai
Upon my arrival at the airport we went straight to the hotel “The Ambassador”,Mumbai to refresh ourselves as our rooms had already been booked there. After lunch I began to plan my tour and decided to start from that day only.It was already afternoon when I went for a short trip to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus ( formerly Victoria Terminus) as it is a famous World Heritage Site.
The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, formerly known as Victoria Terminus Station, in Mumbai, 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. It took 10 years to build the terminal, starting in 1878, according to a High Victorian Gothic design based on late medieval Italian models. Its remarkable stone dome, turrets, pointed arches and strange ground plan are close to traditional Indian palace architecture
Beneath the chaos and the cacophonic sounds of the city lies an inebriating mix of culture, heritage, celebration and natural beauty. Mumbai is a financial powerhouse, centre of fashion and film industry and the hub of neon-lit chambers of frolic. The city allures with its wealth of Art Deco and magnificent colonial relics, grand temples, labyrinths of vibrant bazaars, horde of brand conscious malls and a pinch of soul stirring fun.
Total amount spent :- Rs. 800( hotel tariff) + Rs. 350( travel by cab) +Rs. 270(fooding)= Rs.1420
Total distance travelled :- 35 kms
Day 2: Mumbai
The next morning I visited the Gateway of India, a 26 meters high basalt arch. Gateway of India is located on the seafront. It was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to the region in 1911. It was here at Gateway that the last British troops passed through the Gateway in a ceremony on 28th February 1948 leaving India a free country.
Then I set on a ferry boat ride from here to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Elephanta Caves in Mumbai Harbour.9 nautical miles across the sea from the Gateway of India lay Elephanta, also known as ‘Gharapuri’. The exquisite rock cut architecture of the caves date back to between 5th and 8th century. Out of these the three-faceted sculpture, Lord Shiva’s is the most striking one. The painstakingly hewn rock-cut cave temple, dedicated to Shiva. The Maheshamurti panel in which Shiva is shown as a creator, protector and destroyer, is a sight that should be enjoyed once in a lifetime.
Later I visited the renowned Prince of Wales Museum. The museum is built in the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture along with elements of Mughal, Maratha and Jain architecture. The museum is known primarily for housing 50,000 exhibits of ancient Indian and foreign art, archaeological and natural history. The museum houses artefacts such as miniatures, paintings, Mughal jades, silver, gold and artistic metal ware and more.
The day concludes back at the hotel in Mumbai.
Total money spent :- Rs. 800 (hotel tariff) +Rs 450( travel) + Rs. 200( fooding)=Rs. 1450
Total distance travelled = 40 kms
Day 3: Mumbai- Aurangabad- Ellora Caves- Aurangabad
Flying Time: 45 minutes
We took the early morning flight to Aurangabad. Then we proceeded for a half-hour’s journey on that day which brought us to the Ellora and its monumental Hindu, Jain and Buddhist temples cut from the basalt rock. An archaeological site, the caves are situated 30 km from the city of Aurangabad and are renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site. The monumental caves of Ellora built back in between 5th to 10th century contains exquisite rock cut temples and monasteries. Ellora Caves, built during 7th – 10th century AD and contain art and sculptures related to Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism religions.We also saw the formidable fortress of Deogiri at Daulatabad, intended by the Delhi Sultan Muhammad Tughlaq as his capital, a short-lived but costly experiment in Indian history. Then we returned to our hotel “Keys Hotel The Aures” at Aurangabad.
Total Amount spent= Rs. 3500(flight ticket)+ Rs. 400( travel) +Rs. 800( hotel) +Rs. 250( fooding)= Rs. 4950
Total distance travelled = 370 kms( by flight) + 60 kms ( travel by cab) = 430 kms
Day 4: Aurangabad- Ajanta Caves- Aurangabad
(Driving Time: 2.5 hrs)
We started early after breakfast and arrived at Ajanta Caves by lunchtime which gave us all the afternoon to view the UNESCO applauded World Heritage Sites of the rock cut caves there. These Buddhist caves of Ajanta executed between 200 B.C. and 650 A.D are known worldwide for their extraordinary murals, frescoes and sculptures. The rock-cut cave monuments of Ajanta are 100 kms from Aurangabad dating from the second century BCE contain paintings and sculpture considered to be masterpieces of both “Buddhist religious art” and “universal pictorial art.
Ajanta and Ellora are the pride of Maharashtra. The rock-cut caves of both these sites are world famous and illustrate the degree of skill and artistry that Indian craftsmen had achieved several hundred years ago. Ajanta dates from 100 B.C. while Ellora is younger by some 600 years. The village of Ajanta is in the Sahyadri hills, about 99 kms from Aurangabad. A few miles away in a mammoth horseshoe-formed rock, are 30 caves overlooking a gorge, each forming a room in the hill and some with inner rooms. All these have been carved out of solid rock with little more than a hammer and chisel and the faith and inspiration of Buddhism. Here, for the Buddhist monks, the artisans excavated Chaityas (chapels) for prayer and Viharas (monasteries) where they lived and taught. Many of the caves have the most exquisite detailed carvings on the walls, pillars and entrances as well as magnificent wall paintings.
These caves were discovered early in the 19th century quite by chance by a party of British Officers on manoeuvres. Today the paintings and sculptures on Buddha’s life, belonging to the more mellow and ritualistic Mahayana Buddhism period, are world famous. Ajanta has formed an epicentre of interest for those who appreciate and are eager to know more about Indian history and art.
Again at the Evening we returned to our luxurious hotel at Aurangabad.
Total Amount spent = Rs. 800 ( hotel) +Rs. 650( travel) +Rs. 270 (fooding)= Rs. 1620
Total distance travelled = 210kms
Day 5: Aurangabad- Mumbai- Hyderabad
(Flying Time including stopover: 5 ¼ hrs)
We left for the airport early enough to connect to Hyderabad via Mumbai. After reaching there we spent our rest of the day at leisure at the hotel “Amrutha Castle” . Popularly known as the “City of Nizams”, Hyderabad charms all with its splendid historic heritage and princely ardor. The “City of Pearls”, Hyderabad captivates all eyes for its heritage properties and sprawling bazaars ideal for souvenir hunting. Though the city today has transformed into a major hub of IT industry and capital of biotechnology, its ancient regal fervor remains in the sophistication of its people, aroma of its delicious curries and a fine blend of traditions with modernity.
Total Amount spent= 6500( flight) +Rs. 250 ( travel) + Rs. 1100( hotel) +Rs. 300( fooding) =Rs. 8150
Total Distance travelled = 1075 km ( by flight) + 15km= 1090 km
Day 6: Hyderabad
A delectable breakfast is followed by sightseeing tour of Hyderabad. The older part of the city is the historical region which constitutes of most of the historic heritage properties. We began our tour of the city from this region and first visited the Charminar. An important landmark of the city, Charminar is a structure comprising of four minarets which was built by Quli Qutub Shah to mark the elimination of a plague epidemic from the city. Built right in the middle of city, the monument represents signature style of Isalmic architecture; from the top of it one can see spectacular views of the city. Then we also saw Salarjung Museum the largest one-man collections of antiques in the world which is known worldwide for its valued possessions dating back even to the 1st century. The museum consists of 38 semicircular shaped galleries displaying a collection of above 43000 art objects and 50000 books.At Evening we drove to the historical landmark, Hussain Sagar Lake for a rejuvenating sundown.
Total Money spent = Rs. 1100( travel) + Rs. 600( travel) + Rs. 300( fooding) =Rs. 2000
Total Distance travelled = 80 kms
Day 7 : Hyderabad- Gulbarga (via Bidar)
(Driving Time: 5hrs)
We planned to visit the Golconda Fort in the morning. Golconda Fort was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Golconda which flourished in the 14th to 16th century. It is situated 11 kilometers from Hyderabad. With walls ranging from 17 to 34 feet broken by 87 semi-circular bastions, some reaching 60 feet in height, and built on a granite hill that is 400 feet high, it remains one of India’s most magnificent fortress complexes.The gigantic complex of the fort consists of four distinct forts with about 10 km long outer wall with semi circular bastions some of which are still mounted with cannons
Later we drove to Gulbarga via Bidar. At Bidar we visited the prominent historic edifices such as Rangin Mahal, Sola Khamba Masjid and the Gagan Mahal.Then we continued with the journey and henceforth we reached Gulbarga by evening. We checked in to “Hotel Aditya” at Gulbarga to get refreshed for next day’s journey.
Total Amount spent = Rs. 550(travel) + Rs. 300 ( fooding) +Rs. 900( hotel) =Rs. 1750
Total Distance travelled = 250 kms
Day 8: Gulbarga- Bijapur
(Driving Time: 3.5 hrs)
We explored Gulbarga which is a good example of the integration of two cultures and then visited the Gulbarga Fort. The Gulbarga fort, originally built by Raja Gulchand was later strengthened by Ala-ud-din Bahmani. The fort contained 15 towers and 26 guns of which one was 8 metres long.Within the ramparts of the fort, there is an imposing mosque, which resembles the great mosque of Cordova in Spain.This mosque is the only one of its kind in the entire country. Several tombs of the Bahmani Sultans can be found in the eastern outskirts of the town. The imposing fort of Gulbarga has witnessed many a battle and suffered many an onslaught. A short sightseeing tour ended when we drove to our next destination, Bijapur. Then we stayed overnight at “Hotel Pearl” in Bijapur.
Total Amount spent = Rs. 400( travel) + Rs. 650( hotel) +Rs. 250 (fooding) = Rs. 1300
Total Distance spent = 180 kms
Day 9: Bijapur- Badami
(Driving Time : 3.5 hrs)
Popular for architectural splendor and historic monuments, Bijapur is the city which was established and flourished during 10th-11th century. A sightseeing tour of the region introduced us to various historical sites mainly showcasing rich Islamic architecture. Today, our tour Bijapur began first with a visit to Gol Gumbaz. Mausoleum of Mohammed Adil Shah Gol Gumbaz is one of the most famous monuments and is the second largest tomb in the world. Its individuality is in its unique architecture which comprises of a central chamber where sound echoes seven times and the Whispering Gallery where one can hear even the slightest of murmuring from 37 meters of distance. Next we visited Ibrahim Rauza the tomb of Ibrahim Adil Shah II, the monument is known for the symmetry of its features also it is believed that its design inspired the architecture of Taj Mahal. Our next halt was at an ancient mosque built by Ali Adil Shah I Juma Masjid. The gold inscriptions on the mosque which are derived from Kuran makes for the main attraction of the mosque. Later in the day we travelled to Badami and in between we visit Aihole known as the ‘cradle of ancient Hindu temple architecture’. The region is renowned for being decked with Chalukya style of architecture in more than 70 temples. We explored the prominent structures here before resuming the ride to Badami. Then we took rest after an excrucitiating day at “The Heritage Resort” at Badami.
Total Amount spent = Rs. 320(travel) + Rs. 230 (fooding) + Rs. 800( hotel) = Rs. 1350
Total Distance travelled =140 kms
Day 10: Badami- Hospet
(Driving Time: 3hrs)
In the morning we visit the main attraction of Badami which is its Cave temples. Renowned for rock cut and other structural temples, Badami showcases its treasure of sandstone cave temples to all. Grand chambers with numerous pillars and a square shaped sactum with paintings of amorous couples adorning the ceilings. These caves are exquisite establishments. Then we travelled to Hospet and en route visited Pattadakal, situated on the banks of the Malaprabha River and known for its Chalukyan architecture. Overnight we stayed at ” Hotel Malligi” at Hospet.
Total Amout spent = Rs. 370 (travel) +Rs. 700( hotel) + Rs. 250( fooding)= Rs. 1320
Total Distance travelled = 150 kms
Day 11: Hospet- Hampi- Hospet
(Driving Time: 45 mins)
Today, we toured one of the largest empires in the history of India which is in ruins i.e. Hampi or Vijayanagar. The city is dotted with numerous fascinating relics of the 15th century city of Vijayanagar, which are applauded by UNESCO listed as a World Heritage Site.
Hampi, the seat of the famed Vijayanagara empire was the capital of the largest empire in post-mogul India, covering several states. The empire reigned supreme under Krishnadevaraya, the Emperor. The Vijayanagara empire stretched over at least three states – Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh. The destruction of Vijayanagar by marauding Moghul invaders was sudden, shocking and absolute. They reduced the city to ruins amid scenes of savage massacre and horrors beggaring description.Although in ruins today, this capital city once boasted riches known far beyond the shores of India. The ruins of Hampi of the 14th Century lies scattered in about 26 sq. km area, amidst giant boulders and vegetation. Protected by the tempestuous river Tungabhadra in the north and rocky granite ridges on the other three sides, the ruins silently narrate the story of grandeur splendor and fabulous wealth. The splendid remains of palaces and gateways of the broken city tells a tale of men infinite talent and power of creativity together with his capacity for senseless destruction.
The Virupaksha temple rises majestically at the western end of the famous Hampi Bazaar. The temple has a 120 feet tall tower on its eastern entrance. The temple contains the shrines of Shiva, Pampa and Bhuvaneswari.Parts of this temple are older than the Vijayanagar kingdom itself. The work of this style dates back to the 11th or 12th century.
Nearby is the 6.7m tall monolith of Ugra Narasimha. An inscription nearby states that it was hewn from a single boulder in 1528 during the reign of Krishnadevaraya.
Vithala Temple Complex
The most splendid monument of Hampi is undoubtedly the Vithala Temple Complex with its 56 musical pillars.
To the east of the hall is the famous Stone Chariot with stone wheels that actually revolve. In front of the shrine stands the great mantapa. Resting on a richly sculpted basement, its roof is supported by huge pillars of granite, about 15 feet in height, each consisting of a central pillar surrounded by detached shafts, all cut from one single block of stone. Several of the carved pillars were attacked with such fury that they are hardly more than shapeless blocks of stones and a large portion of the central part has been destroyed utterly.
Nearby is the ‘Purandra Dasara Mantapa’ which has been also declared a protected monument.
House of Victory
It was built when Krishnadevaraya came back from his victorious expedition against the King of Orissa. The spaces between the rows of the plinth-mouldings here are most elaborately and elegantly carved. The kings of Vijayanagar used to sit on a grand throne in the House of Victory and witness the nine-day Dasara festival.
Westwards from the House of Victory, leading through two ruined gates, the path leads to the Hazara Ramaswami temple. This temple is believed to have been the private place of worship of the royal family. The chief attraction of the temple is the series of scenes from the Ramayana carved on two of the inside walls of themantapa. The genesis of the place known today as Hampi dates back to the age of the Hindu epic Ramayana when it was the site of Kishkinda, a monkey kingdom.
After exploring the ruined kingdom we came back to Hospet.
Total Amount travelled = Rs. 700( hotel) + Rs. 150( travel) + Rs. 250( fooding) = Rs. 1100
Total Distance travelled = 30 kms
Day 12: Hospet – Goa
(Driving Time: 8 hrs)
We took an early morning drive to Goa and then Spend the rest of the day in exploring the city. Tucked in the western edge of India, Goa is a beach town; the name itself instantly evokes the images of people enjoying sunny afternoon siesta, long stretches of silvery sands, palm fringes swaying to the refreshing winds and silky froth of waves creating big splash at the shores. Its chilled out beach events, dazzling nightlife, mirthful cultural practices and vibrant carnivals and intriguing ancient cathedrals creates distinct composition admired by all. We took a stroll around to have a look and we were impressed by the mesmerising beauty of Goa.
Total Amount spent= Rs. 550(travel) + Rs. 350( fooding) + Rs. 1100( hotel)= Rs. 2000
Total distance travelled= 330 kms
Day 13: Goa
We took a city tour. Goa is renowned for its pristine beaches and its peripheries are decked with plenty of such pictorial beaches ideal for a rejuvenating holiday. We explored these languid beaches and went for a stroll at the resplendent flea markets for the day. At Evening we enjoyed cruise on river Mandovi.
Total Amount spent = Rs. 1100( hotel) + Rs. 300( travel) + Rs. 400( fooding)= Rs. 1800
Total Distance travelled =30 kms
Day 14: Goa
This erstwhile Portuguese colony has well preserved its age old treasures of old churches and other Portuguese edifices. We explored the region’s culture and visited stunning old cathedrals of Old Goa or gorge upon delectable Goan sea food.
The most comprehensive group of churches and cathedrals built during 16th to 17th century AD at Old Goa comprise of the following:
Se’ Cathedral, Church and Convent of St. Francis of Assisi, Chapel of St. Catherine, Basilica of Bom Jesus; Church of Lady of Rosary; Church of St. Augustine.
The Church of St. Cajetan is modelled on the original design of St. Peter’s Church in Rome. The Church of Bom Jesus with its facade decorated with Ionic, Doric and Corinthian pilasters, shows the application of the Classical order. The Se’ Cathedral which was begun as a small chapel built of mud and straw under the order of Alfonso Albuquerque after his conquest of Goa is yet another example of Renaissance with its Tuscan exterior, the Corinthian columns at its portals, the raised platform with steps leading to the entrance and the barrel-vault above the nave. The principal chapel is large and ornamented with engraved pillars and pilasters. The images of Senhora d’Esperanca (Our Lady of Hope), Christ crucified and St. Catherine standing in the centre with statues of St. Peter and St. Paul on either side.
The paintings in the churches were done on wooden borders and fixed between panels having floral designs as in the chapels housing the tomb of St. Xavier, the arches above the altars in the transept of the Se’ Cathedral and in the nave on either side of the main altar in the Church of St. Francis of Assisi. Excepting a few which are in stone, the statues are mostly in wood delicately carved and painted to adorn the altars. They depict mostly the saints, Mother Mary and Jesus on the cross.
Bom Jesus is said to be one of the grandest Churches to be raised in Asia vast and magnificent with ornaments suited to its greatness. Made of black granite, it part Doric and part Corinthian façade is elaborately carved. The ceiling is highly decorated. Sarcophagi of illustrious Portuguese who were connected with the religious life of Goa are very interesting. Its high and broad altar is dedicate to the figure of infant (Bom) Jesus.
The monuments are open on all the days, i.e. throughout the year (inclusive of all public, state, national holidays
Finally the day ended with a splendid night walk on a beach after dinner.
Total Amount spent = Rs. 550( travel) +Rs. 450( fooding) + Rs. 1100( hotel)= Rs. 2100
Total Distance travelled = 45 kms
Day 15: Goa
As this was the last day of our trip we planned for an adventurous outing. We went for paragliding after a lot of discussions. Straightaway we went to the Arambol beach for our last endeavour.
Paragliding at Arambol Beach is an experience in itself.Felt like a free flying bird! First i climbed atop a small hill, strapped up my harness and thrusted myself in the air, up and away! Paragliding as an adventure sport involves a great rush, as i had a bird’s eye view of your scenic surroundings just sailing in the air without any support from external factors.
So, finally our hectic trip came to a thrilling end. We came to know a lot about the history and legacy of our forefathers which , at times, brought a sense of rejuvenation and a feeling of proud that i belong to a nation with a such deep-routed cultural ethics.
Total Amount spent = Rs. 1100( hotel) + Rs. 1000( Paragliding) +Rs. 400(fooding) +Rs. 300( travel)= Rs. 2800
Total Distance travelled= 30 kms
Thus , the whole trip summary can be put as:
Net Amount spent= Rs. 35110
Net Distance travelled = 3071 kms
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