South India is the perfect place to observe some of the finest ancient Indian architecture. Apart from Hindu architecture, this trip covers few landmark monuments of Islamic architecture as well. 06th century Cave temples of Badami are brightest example of rock cut Indian architecture. Many architects from the world have described Aihole and Badami Caves as cradle of temple architecture in India.
Chalukya dynasty built group of temples during 07th and 08th centuries at Pattadakal and UNESCO has classified them as world heritage sites. Hampi – the erstwhile capital of prestigious Vijayanagara Empire was one of the largest and richest cities in the world. Another prominent Empire in Karnataka was Hoysala in 12th Century and Halebidu was its regal capital.
The splendid workmanship of Hoyasala period is witnessed at the temple complex of Belur and Halebidu. And Karnataka visit is never complete without visiting its crown - Mysore Palace. It is built in Indo-Saracenic architecture and one of the largest private residences in the world.
Arrive at Hyderabad and transfer to the hotel. Hyderabad is also known as the city of pearls because it was a diamond and pearl trading centre in the past.
Today our guide will take you for Hyderabad sightseeing tour, Beginning with Charminar, the classic mark of the Hyderabad city. Situated in the centre of the city the monument was built to honour the origin of Hyderabad.
Four minarets towering almost 50ft high poises the structure. Later visit Golconda Fort – one of the imposing forts of South India. The fort houses remains of armouries, mosques, reservoirs, royal dwellings and multiple defence layers and depict the grandeur of Mughal Era.
Later in the evening, visit attractions Qutub Shahi Tombs and Mecca Masjid. Situated amidst the Ibrahim Bagh, Qutub Shahi Tombs contain several tombs and mosques constructed by the various rulers of the Qutb Shahi Dynasty. It is only one of its kinds in the world where at one place an entire dynasty has been buried.
Mecca Masjid was built in 1694 by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah of Qutub Shahi dynasty. The soil from which the bricks of the central arch were made, was brought from Islamic holy site, Mecca. Consequently, the mosque got its name Mecca Masjid.
After breakfast, drive to Bidar. On arrival check-in to the hotel and take some rest. Later take a guided tour of Bidar Fort. Built by Sultan Alla-Ud Din Bahman in the 14th century, the Bidar Fort complex houses more than 30 monuments.
Designed with Persian Style architecture this fort features excellent woodcarvings and captivating glassy tile mosaics. Also visit the Bahmani Ruler’s Tomb, which is a great example of the historical architecture of Bahmani era. The interior of these square tombs have been wonderfully carved and coloured.
In the morning take a leave from Bidar to drive for Gulbarga. On arrival check-in to the hotel and later take a sightseeing tour of enormous Gulbarga Fort.
Gulbarga Fort is one of the initial examples of Islamic architecture in Karnataka. The main attractions of the fort complex are Tomb of Khaja Bande Nawaz, Jama Masjid and the main Fort.
Today, drive further to Bijapur. Visit Gol Gumbaz- the central dome of Gol Gumbaz is the second to the dome of St Peter’s Basilica of Rome in size. This Gumbaz stands unsupported by any pillars. It serves as the crypt of King Mohammed Adil Shah (Sultan of Bijapur).
Also, take the tour of Ibrahim Roza – it is a palatial Mosque and considered as one of the forerunners of Taj Mahal and measured as one of the supreme exemplars of Islamic architecture.
Arrive at Badami and visit the superb Badami Caves Complex, which includes four ancient rock-cut cave temples. The caves complex is one of the examples of Hindu Temples of the ancient Deccan period. Later visit Badami Fort and Bhutanatha temples. Badami Fort is a well-known archaeological location that is situated on the apex of a hill.
King Pulakeshi of Chalukya Dynasty constructed this ancient fortress. The Bhutanatha temples are a group of sandstone temples dedicated to the God Bhutanatha. The architecture of the temples is an amalgamation of different architecture of different periods.
Proceed to Hampi stop en-route to visit Pattadakal, a UNESCO world heritage site located on the banks of the Malaprabha River. It is a compound of the seventh and eighth century’s Hindu and Jain temples. Pattadakal is evidence of the wealth and prosperity of Chalukyan architecture. Also stop on the way at Aihole, known as ‘the cradle of the Indian Architecture’. It houses various ancient as well as medieval era’s Hindu, Buddhist and Jain monuments. Upon arrival at Hampi hotel, complete the check-in and relax.
Take a full day trip to Hampi – a UNESCO world heritage site. Hampi was the splendid capital of the great Vijayanagara Empire. Hampi is currently a ruined city that holds over 1,600 existing remains of riverside features, forts, sacred and royal complexes, temples, pillared halls, water structures and more belonging to ancient Hindu Dynasty of South India.
Hampi is the perfect place to see the Hindu architecture.
In the morning leave for Hassan; en route take the tour of Halebid and Belur. During the 12th century, Halebid was the royal capital of the Empire of Hoysala. The city is acknowledged for its temple complexes such as Hoysaleshwara temple and Kedareshwara temple. Belur is well-known for its Chennakeshava Temple, one of the premium exemplars of Hoysala artistry that is still active.
Finally reach to Hassan and take rest at the hotel.
Today, after breakfast drive to “city of Palaces”, Mysore; en-route visit Shravanabelagola- one of the prominent Jain pilgrim centres in India. It is believed Chandragupta Maurya (founder of Maurya Reign) had died in this town in 298 BC after he turned into a Jain monk and implicated an ascetic lifestyle.
On arrival at Mysore take a guided tour of Chamundi Hills to view a huge Nandi Bull built out of a single rock-hewn. You can also visit Chamundeshwari Temple situated on the top of Chamundi hills. Later visit the Mysore Palace, which is one of the most magnificent palaces in Southern India. Mysore Palace is the bench of Kingdom of Mysore and official home of the Wadiyar dynasty.
In the morning, post breakfast take an excursion to Somnathpura (a small village located on the banks of River Kaveri) to visit Chennakesava Temple. Chennakesava Temple is one amongst the best examples of Hoysala style architecture. The ceiling and walls of the temple are beautifully carved with the Hinduism’s Theological iconography and it also depicts friezes of various Hindu Epics.
Later depart Mysore for Bangalore by road. En-route, visit Srirangapatanam – the summer capital of Tipu Sultan that holds great cultural, religious and historic importance. On arrival at Bangalore, you will be transferred to Airport for onward journey.