23 Day Heartlands of India – Goa to Kolkata

Heartlands of India Tour Goa to Kolkata

Maximum Group Size: 10

Starts in Goa on 

Finishes in Kolkata 

Entrance Fees Included for all sites visited as part of the itinerary

Fully Escorted by Deb Kindness, who has been travelling and leading tours through the Indian Subcontinent since 1993.

Cost From USD TBA per person twin share (USD TBA including Optional Single Supplement)

Tour Dates: TBA. Register your interest here.

 

Accommodation Transport Meals
20 nights Hotels Airport Transfers 22 Breakfasts
2 nights overnight train Train 2 Lunches
  Bus 1 Dinner
  Private Vehicle (4WD)  
  Cycle Rickshaw  
  Auto Rickshaw  

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A journey traversing the breadth of India, taking roads less travelled through rarely explored towns and cities of the heartlands of India.

Beginning our journey in Panjim, the Portuguese influenced capital of Goa, we travel north and east through ancient villages and world heritage sites once major cities or holy towns. We explore rock-cut temples of sculptural extravagance, grand Muslim mausoleums and the commercial capital – dazzling Mumbai. Afghani fortresses and Buddhist stupas, Hindu Palaces and the crumbling British heritage of Kolkata lead to a fascinating and exotic trip through an India which is all at once traditional, exotic, bizarre and totally unexpected.

Experience Incredible India and the the Heartlands of India on this Small Group Tour, fully escorted within India by a western tour leader with the service of local guides for various activities and sightseeing.

 

Heartlands of India Group Tour

 

Gallery


Itinerary

 

Day 1 Panjim

Arrival Day. No group activities today. In the evening there will be a welcome meeting before dinner.

Hotel: Panjim Inn

 

Day 2 Panjim

We travel to Old Goa and the spice gardens of Ponda to explore the side less travelled of Goa.

Hotel: Panjim Inn

 

Days 3-4 Hampi

We head up over the Western Ghats to the Deccan Plateau and to Hampi to explore the myriad sights and temples that make up the ruins of the Vijayanagar Empire’s 15th century capital. Time also to relax in this quiet magical little town.

Hotel: Uramma Heritage Homes or similar

 

Days 5-6 Badami

Badami was once capital of the ancient Chalukya empire. The hills surrounding the picturesque lake as well as the the nearby towns of Aihole and World Heritage Pattadakal have some of the most ancient examples of Dravidian temples and rock-cut caves.

Hotel: Badami Heritage Resort or similar

 

Days 7-8 Bijapur/Overnight Train

We hop on a morning train to Bijapur, an old Muslim stronghold with some of the finest Islamic architecture in India. Mausoleums and Citadels, Mosques and Palaces were built by the Adil Shahi kings between the 15th and 17th centuries.

Hotel: Madhuvan International or similar

 

Day 9 Mumbai

We explore the fascinating, chaotic and frantic commercial capital of India, where we visit some of the sights including the Gateway of India, Dhobi (laundry) washers and Chowpatty Beach. There is the option to visit Elephanta Island and the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, or perhaps you’d prefer to wander the markets and tree-lined avenues of downtown Mumbai, or spend the day Bollywood-star spotting at Juhu beach.

Hotel: The Fariyas or similar

 

Days 10-11 Nasik

After a free morning in Mumbai we take an afternoon train to Nasik, one of the four sites of the Khumb Mela – the largest religious gathering on the face of the planet. Situated on the holy Gadavari river, Nasik is a colourful town with exotic temples and bathing ghats where saddhus and pilgrims come to wash away their sins in the holy waters. Nasik is also home to the Sula Vineyards – one of India’s oldest and most reputed wineries. We spend an afternoon touring the vineyard before enjoying a meal in one of the fine restaurants at the winery.

Hotel: Lily Sarovar Portico or similar

 

Day 12 Ellora Caves

Travelling on to Aurangabad, we spend the afternoon at the spectacular Ellora Caves – carved monasteries, chapels and temples dating back to 600AD. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the masterpiece is the breathtaking Kailasa Temple, carved out of a cliff-face which is larger and higher than the Parthenon in Athens.

Hotel: Hotel Kailas or similar

 

Day 13 Jalgaon

We head today to Ajanta before stopping the night at Jalgaon. The Ajanta Caves date from around 200BC and comprise of around 30 rock-cut Buddhist caves. With intricate carvings and stunning frescoes, the Ajanta caves have also been proclaimed a World Heritage site.

Hotel: Royal Palace or similar

 

Days 14-15 Maheshwar

We base ourselves for two nights at the stunning Ahliya Fort in Maheshwar taking a day trip to visit the ruins of Mandu, a 10km long hilltop fort covered with erstwhile Palaces, Temples and tombs dating from the early 15th century.

Hotel: Labboos Lodge (Ahilya Fort) or similar

 

Day 16 Bhopal

We drive to Bhopal. In the afternoon visit the fascinating Museum of Mankind.

Hotel: Jehan Numa Palace Hotel or similar

 

Day 17 Sanchi-Orchha

We spend the morning visiting nearby Sanchi, with stunning Buddhist ruins. Founded by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC, many stupas and other religious structures were built here over the following centuries.  An afternoon train takes us to Jhansi and from there we transfer the 18km to Orchha.

Hotel: Orchha Resort or similar

 

Day 18 Orchha

Orchha is a town lost in time with grand deserted palaces, and a countryside strewn with temples. A friendly place with a fascinating history, get a glimpse of rural Indian life and enjoy a home-cooked meal with friends.  This evening we take an overnight train to Varanasi.

Hotel: Overnight train

 

Days 19-20 Varanasi

We arrive this morning into Varanasi. The holiest city in India for Hindu’s, Varanasi, also known as Benares and Kashi (city of light) is a city full of Saddhus, Holy men, holy cows and Hindu temples. After transferring to our riverside hotel, we take a walk along the Ghats (steps along the river) on the bank of the Ganges and explore the old city. Whilst in Varanasi, we enjoy an evening ceremonial “aarti” on the riverbanks and take a dawn boat ride on the Ganges. We visit Sarnath, the site of Buddha’s first sermon and still have plenty of free time to explore the Ghats and alleyways of ancient Varanasi.  In the evening of day 20 we take an flight to Kolkata.

Hotel: Hotel Banaras Haveli or similar

 

Days 21-22 Kolkata

Kolkata, once the capital of British India is the crowded, decaying and fascinating cultural capital of India. With a morbid, yet passionate history, modern day Kolkata is a city with soul. Ancient rituals and colourful traditions blend in a city that is like nowhere else on earth.

Hotel: Fairlawn Hotel or similar

 

Day 23 Departure Day

There are no organised activities today. You are free to depart at any time.

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