This morning you will arrive in Mumbai and will be transferred to your hotel. Mumbai earlier called "Bombay" got its new name due to the popular temple of the city, "Mumba Devi". It consists of seven islands and is the finance capital of India. It is a city of people shrouded in wealth as well as people rolling in extremely poverty. Asia's biggest slum Dharavi is in Mumbai. You will start this West India & South India holiday package with a city tour of Mumbai. This afternoon, you will be taken to the Hanging Gardens located on the beautiful slopes of the Malabar Hills as well as Kamla Nehru Park offering a marvelous and panoramic view of the Chowpatty Beach as well as the Marine Drive. You will continue with your tour and will be taken to Mani Bhawan, Prince of the Wales Museum, Gateway of India and Dhobi-Ghat and will drive through Marine Drive, Flora Fountain and Crawford market. Overnight in Mumbai.
You will be transferred to Mumbai airport in time for your Aurangabad flight. On arrival in Aurangabad, you will be transferred to your hotel. Aurangabad built in 1610 AD by Malik Ambar was named after the Emperor Aurangzeb. Some of the places of interest in Aurangabad are Bibi Ka Maqbara, Panchakki, Kali Masjid, Jumma Masjid, Quila-E-Ark, Aurangabad Caves, etc. Bibi Ka Maqbara built in 1678 is the tomb of Aurangzeb's wife Dilras Banu Begum and is called the Baby Taj as it has a similar design as Taj Mahal.
The Panchakki from the 17th-century is a water mill. The Quila-E-Ark from the 17th century is a palace. Aurangabad Caves are 12 Buddhist caves from 3 AD. Kali Masjid and Jumma Masjid are mosques built by Malik Ambar in the 17th century. Aurangabad is known as the City of Gates due to its 52 gates. Aurangabad is famous for being in the proximity of the world famous caves of Ajanta and Ellora which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Ajanta dates back to 100 B.C. while Ellora dates from 5th to 11th century AD. The Ajanta caves have been carved out of solid rock with hammers and chisels by Buddhist monks. The lost caves of Ajanta were re-discovered in the 19th century by British soldiers. Overnight in Aurangabad.
Today you will be visiting the Ajanta Caves. The Ajanta sight-seeing takes you to the Buddhist Chaityas and Viharas with carvings and fantastic wall paintings. The paintings show Buddha's life and rituals of the Mahayana Buddhism period. The Mural paintings prove that the ancient Indians had mastered a fluent style, dealing with large groups of people and were painted on top of a dry plaster surface rather than into a wet plaster. The paintings show in detail the life of a wealthy court. The ceilings are painted with detailed decorative motifs and some of them represent the Jataka tales showing the previous lives of Buddha as a ruler. Ajanta Caves are closed on Mondays. Overnight in Aurangabad.
This morning, you will be visiting the Ellora Caves dating back from 5th century to 11the century takes you to the monasteries & temples excavated out of the vertical face of a rock. These 34 caves of Ellora have Buddhist monasteries, Hindu temples and Jain temples. The amazing and wonderful Kailasa Temple is the largest monolithic structure in the world. Ellora caves are closed on Tuesdays. After the visits, you will be returning to Aurangabad. Check-out time is at 1200 hrs.
Rest of the time is at leisure in Aurangabad. An optional tour of Daulatabad is suggested. Daulatabad which means abode of wealth was a fort city. Muhammad bin Tughluq shifted his capital from Delhi to Daulatabad and moved the entire population of Delhi here but had to abandon it later due to shortage of water. The outer wall - 4.43 kms in circumference once enclosed the city and had three lines of defenses. The fort has been built quite strongly and the only means of access to the top is through a narrow bridge, with a small passage. The gallery has steep stairs and is covered by a grating. At the summit, and other areas on the slope, huge old cannons. Half way, there is a cave entrance which was to confuse the enemies. In the evening, you will be taken to the rail-station in time for Hyderabad night train. Night on board.
This morning on your arrival in Hyderabad, you will be transferred to your hotel. Hyderabad "Lion City" was established by Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah in 1591. The world famous Kohinoor diamond was mined in Golconda. A stroll in the old city through the different bazaars is quite fascinating. Hyderabad historically is a pearl and diamond trading centre and is called the City of Pearls. Its bazaars - Laad Bazaar, Begum Bazaar and Sultan Bazaar are quite busy even today. Do not forget to taste the delicious Hyderabadi biryani.
The afternoon Hyderabad tour includes visits to Char Minar, Mecca Masjid and Salarjung Museum. The Charminar (four minarets) an icon of the city is located in the olden part of Hyderabad and is a square structure with four grand arches and four minarets. The Mecca Masjid is one of the oldest and largest Mosques and is in the old part of the city. The Salarjung Museum established in 1951 is one of the largest museums of India and houses the largest one-man collection of antiques and has a good collection of sculptures, paintings, textiles, manuscripts, etc., collected from all over the world.
You have a free day in Hyderabad for discovering more of Hyderabad. One of the important tourist spots in Hyderabad is Golconda. Golkonda was the capital of Golconda Sultanate and the original fort was built by the Kakatiyas in 1143. The fort is on a granite hill and is surrounded by large ramparts. The fort was designed a perfect system by which a hand clap at the fort's main gates is heard at the top - 300 ft height. The Fort contains the tombs of the Qutub Shahi kings. Golkonda was famous for its fabled diamonds and some of the world famous diamonds mined here are Kohinoor, Darya-e Nur, The Hope, Nur-Ul-Ain, Princie, Regent, etc.
This day, you will be transferred in time to the airport for your Hyderabad to Chennai flight. On arrival in Chennai, you will be transferred to your hotel. The name Chennai was derived from Chennaipattanam, built by the English in 1639. The earlier name of Chennai was a short from of Chennai pattinam a fishing village. Chennai is the capital of Tamil Nadu and is the largest industrial and commercial center of South India and also an important centre for Carnatic music. The city is also famous for the Tamil movies and known as Tollywood. Chennai came into prominence because of the British who defended the town against several attacks from the French and converted it to a major naval port.
This afternoon, you will be taken around Chennai for visiting the various places of interest. The Government Museum of 1857 is one of the oldest museums of India and has 46 galleries and different sections for Archaeology, Zoology, Geology, Bronze, etc. The Museum is closed on Fridays and other public holidays. The Bronze Gallery with its beautiful statues going back to a thousand years is worth visiting. San Thome Basilica from the 16th century was built by the Portuguese and later in the 19th century was rebuilt by the British as a church. Drive through the Flower and Fruit market, High court, Marina Beach, and other places of interest. Overnight in Chennai.
This day, you will have a full day excursion to Mahabalipuram and Kanchipuram. Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and a historic town and seaport. It was an important port for the Pallavas and most of the monuments date back from the 7th to the 9th century. Kanchipuram was the ancient capital of the Pallavas and was the town of a 1000 temples. Kanchipuram sight-seeing takes you through some of the known temples such as Siva temple from the 7th century, Ekambareswara temple, Sri Kailasanathar Temple from the 8th century, the Sri Vardaraja Perumal Temple, the Sri Kamakshiamman Temple, etc.
Kanchipuram is a paradise for the shoppers as it offers the world famous Kanchipuram silk and saris. Mahabalipuram sight-seeing takes you through the cave temples and mandapams cut in the rocks showing depiction of incidents from Hindu legends, epics and mythology. The bas relief Arjuna's Penance with life size images carved on the rock wall is the largest Bas-relief in the world. The five chariots are carved out of a single rock. The twin structure of the Shore Temple is one of the oldest in South India and is worth visiting. Overnight in Chennai.
You will be transferred to Chennai rail-station in time for a Mysore train. On arrival in Mysore, you will be transferred to your hotel. Mysore is known as the city of palaces and quite famous for its Dussehra festival, was the capital of the erstwhile Mysore Kingdom. Mysore was ruled by the Wadiyars except for some time in the 18th century when Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan ruled this place. The Wadiyars were great patrons of art and culture which benefitted the cultural growth of the city, due to which Mysore is called the Cultural capital of Karnataka. Overnight in Mysore.
This day, you will be taking a full day excursion to Belur & Halebid. Belur was the capital of Hoysala Empire and has one of the finest examples of Hoysala architecture - the Chennakesava Vishnu Temple which was built by king Vishnuvardhana in celebration of his victory over the Cholas in the 12th century. It took 103 years to complete the temple and sculptures include elephants, lions, horses, stories from the Indian legends and dancers. Halebid or Halibeedu meaning the Old City was also known as Dwarasamudra and was the capital of the Hoysala Empire in the 12th century.
In front of the Hoysaleshawara and Kedareshwara temples there is a big lake - Dwara Samudhra which means entrance of the ocean and the city derives its name from this lake. The walls of the temple are covered with depictions of Hindu mythology, animals, birds and dancing damsels. The sculptures of the temple are different from each other and there is a museum in the complex. Even after 86 years of work, the Nandi Bull was incomplete. The nearby Jain temples are also quite beautiful. Return to Mysore visiting Sravanbelgola enroute. The Gommateshvara Bahubali statue of this city is renowned, popular and an important pilgrimage spot for the Jains. Overnight in Mysore.
The morning city tour of Mysore will take you to the Mysore palace that was originally built by the Maharaja of Mysore in the year 1911-1912. The palace is of harmonious synthesis of the Hindu and Saracenic styles of architecture having archways, domes, turrets, colonnades and sculptures. Visit the art gallery. Drive to the Chamundi hill to visit the Chamundeshwari Temple. From the hill itself you will get a panoramic view of the city of Mysore. On your way back to Mysore, visit the Nandi bull. Afternoon is free in Mysore or, you could visit the Krishnarajasagar dam and the Brindavan Gardens. Mysore is a good place for buying the famous "Mysore silk". Overnight in Mysore.
In the morning, you will be transferred from Mysore to Bangalore by road. The afternoon is at leisure. The tourist spots in Bangalore are Lal Bagh, Maharaja's Palace, etc. You could also include the various temples in the Bangalore sight-seeing. Bangalore the Silicon Valley of India is known as the "Garden City of India". The Lal Bagh started by Hyder Ali and finished by his son Tipu Sultan has India's largest collection of tropical plants - over a 1000 species of flora and also trees over 100 years old. The construction of the Bangalore Palace was started in 1862 and completed in 1944 and looks similar to the Windsor Castle in England. Drive past different Government buildings. Overnight in Bangalore.
You will be transferred to the airport in time for a Bangalore to Mumbai flight. On arrival in Mumbai, you will connect to your return/onward flight.As most of the flights depart after mid-night, accommodation is not included.
End of the tour.