9 days Small Group Tours 28th Sep - 6th Oct 2017Register for 2018 via our enquiry form Tailor make this journey and make it yours

Price

 

Twin share $2979 AUD

Single supplement $817 AUD

Inclusions

  • Meet and assistance on arrival / departure at airports
  • 8 nights accommodation
  • Breakfast daily
  • Transportation in an air conditioned vehicle
  • English speaking local guides
  • All sightseeing as per itinerary
  • Entrances fees to sites mentioned in itinerary
  • Domestic flight Belgaum to Bangalore
  • Dasara Festival in Mysore

Exclusions

  • International flights
  • Visas
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • All services, meals other than those indicated above
  • Any changes to the proposed and confirmed program.
  • All items of a personal nature e.g. drinks, laundry, telephone calls, tips etc

Intricately woven with legends and mythology, the city of Mysore is a storehouse of history and cultural festivities. Local narratives reveal that this place was once ruled by a buffalo headed demon, Mahishasura. People prayed to the gods to free them from his reign, when Goddess Parvathi came to their rescue by taking the form of Chamundeshwari in a battle that lasted for nine days until he was vanquished. The city derives its name from this demon and celebrates this legend with the Dasara Festival, a tradition started by the Vijayanagar kings in the 19th century.

During the festivities, the Mysore Palace is adorned in lights and the streets become vibrant with processions of decked-up elephants carrying the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari in the golden howdah. The Goddess is worshipped by the royal family and masses alike, along with colourful tableaux, ecstatic dancing groups and music bands, horses and camels. Across the illuminated Mysore Palace, is the local Dasara exhibition selling clothes, kitchenware, cosmetic products, exquisite handicrafts and local eatables. The nine nights are a celebration of Goddess Durga in all her incarnations with special pujas or prayers leading up to the tenth day, i.e. Vijayadashami to celebrate the victory of good over evil, a day when the Goddess Chamundeshwari slayed Mahishasura. Experience this city in its full glory and fervour with decorated elephants, garlanded idols, folk dance performances, doll shows, food and film festival, wrestling and other sports, fireworks and much more.

Our journey will lead you to the history, fables and myths of some of the greatest dynasties in Indian history. The Deccan Plateau has seen a succession of kingdoms giving way to some of the most interesting sites of forts, palaces, and temples. You will embark upon this trail of history from the city of Bangalore, popular as the hub of information technology in India. From here you move to Mysore, with its rich past of kings and queens, extravagant durbars, pearled hallways, peasant revolts, and one of the last bastions resisting the British Raj. The old religious myths and legends intermingled during the different kingdoms of Karnataka and reveal themselves in the magnificent ruins at Hospet city, Hampi village, and Hubli city.

Let Crooked Compass take you to the surreal and earthen hues of the Deccan Plateau which hide within it the beauty of the work of artisans and crafts persons in the many temples and palaces. History and legends are told and retold, and traditions are kept alive in modern day festivities and practices.

Day 1 – Arrival in Bangalore

Welcome to India! Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is yours at leisure.

Overnight at ITC Windsor or similar

Day 2 – Drive to Mysore

This morning, explore the city of Bangalore, visiting Lal Bagh Botanical Garden, and drive past Vidhana Soudha and Cubbon Park. In the afternoon, you will drive to Mysore with a brief stop at Sri Rangpatnam. The Lalbagh Botanical Garden was built in the 18th century as a private garden of one of the most famous rulers of old Mysore, Hyder Ali. Initially modelled after the extensive garden at Sira in Tumkur near Bangalore, this garden was further developed by Hyder Ali’s son Tipu Sultan, and subsequently by the British and Indian horticulturalists. Explore many types of plant species here, at one of the best gardens in the East which has earned a place among the gardens of the world for its layout, maintenance, scientific treasure and scenic beauty.

You will also drive past the Cubbon Park and Vidhana Soudha. The Cubbon Park was established in the year 1870 by Sri John Meade, the then acting Commissioner of Mysore. It aims to promote greenery and is rich in plant wealth, many indigenous as well as exotic botanical species. While passing the Vidhana Soudha, the state legislature of Karnataka, notice the architectural blend of Indo-Saracenic and Dravidian architectural styles in this striking structure.

Continue your journey to the city of Mysore. (B)

2 nights at Royal Orchid Brindavan Garden or similar

Day 3 – Experience the Dasara Festival

Today, enjoy the Dasara celebrations and visit the Mysore Palace, the former seat of Wodeyar Maharajas.  The Palace is at its decorative best during the Dasara festivities. The Palace is a vision with a mosaic of stained glass, mirrors, beautiful carved wooden doors, and a series of paintings depicting life in Mysore during the era of Edwardian Raj. A walk through the palace boasting its fine collection of sculptures, artefacts, and armoury, with an intriguing collection of more than 700 weapons, will give a peek into Mysore’s royal past.

In the afternoon, visit the Chamundeshwari Temple, located at a height of approximately 1064m offering a spectacular view of this rustic city. Listen to the tale of Mahishasura, the demon from whom the city gets its name. He was slain by the Goddess Chamundeshwari, whose temple is perched atop the Chamundi Hill, watching over the city and its residents even as various rulers came and went. The temple was named after goddess Chamundeshwari or Durga, held in reverence for centuries by Mysore Maharajas. The temple reveres this goddess who is believed to have fought the demon king here with her fierce form of shakti (power). (B)

Day 4 - Drive to Chikmagalur via Sravanabelagola

The state of Karnataka is famed for its cultural and architectural heritage. On your way to the district of Hassan, you will visit the site of Shravanabelagola. Perched atop the Vindhyagiri hill, stands the 52-feet tall monolithic statue, the Gomateshwara or Lord Bahubali. Erected over a thousand years ago, it has led to Shravanabelagola becoming a Jain bastion of pilgrimage and meditation. Every twelve years the spectacular and colourful Mahamastabhisheka celebrations take place when the statue is bathed with pots of milk, honey, curd, rice, coconut milk, ghee, sugar, almonds, saffron, coins, turmeric powder, vermillon, dates, bananas, by priests who climb a special structure raised for this purpose.

On an afternoon excursion to Helabeedu and Belur you will see some of the most unique temples in the south which were commissioned by the Hoysala rulers as beautiful prayers to their gods to assist them on the battlefield. They are smaller in comparison to others in the South and are perched on star-shaped foundations, and studded with incredible intricacies in the unique and breathtaking ‘active’ and ‘alive’ style of sculpture employed here. At these twin architectural jewels of the Hoysala dynasty, listen to the story of nandi bull as you explore Hoysaleshwara Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, at Halebeedu.

The Chennakesava Temple in Belur is dedicated to Lord Vishnu with nearly ten thousand intricately carved sculptures from the Hindu myths is indeed the epitome of beauty.  Friezes of mythological characters, of charging elephants, musicians, dancers and warriors which lie sprawled on the exterior walls of the sanctum sanctorum will keep you enthralled for hours. Marvel at the symmetry, despite no two facets of these temples sculptural creations being the same. (B)

Overnight stay at Hoysala Village or similar

Day 5 - Drive to Hospet via Chidradurga

Today you continue on to Hospet city. Along the way, explore the Chitradurga Fort which spans over several hills and overlooks a flat valley in Karnataka. The Fort’s name Chitrakaldurga, means ‘picturesque fort’ in Kannada and it truly lives up to its name. It was built over a period between the 17th and 18th centuries by the different dynastic rulers of the region, including the Rashtrakutas, Chalukyas and Hoysalas as well as the Nayakas of Chitradurga, feudal lords in the Vijayanagar Empire. The Nayakas were defeated by Hyder Ali in 1779 and the Fort was expanded and strengthened by him and his son Tipu Sultan. Explore the history of the fort in its ruins which include concentric fortification walls with various passages, a citadel, masjid, warehouses for grains and oil, and 18 ancient temples, the oldest being the Hidimbeshwara temple. The masjid was an addition during Hyder Ali’s rule. The Fort also had many interconnecting water reservoirs which were then used to harvest rain water, and the fort is said to have never suffered from a water shortage. Enjoy this enthralling excursion amid massive rock hills, scenic valleys, and huge towering boulders before we continue our journey to Hospet. (B)

2 nights at Malligi or similar

Day 6 - Excursion to Hampi

Drive from Hospet and explore the ancient Hampi village, an open air museum, spread over 26 square kilometres, the largest of its kind. The rock cut wonders that are housed here will take you on a never before voyage across ancient south India. Let the art connoisseur in you come alive as you stroll through this complex and admire the Virupaksha temple, the Vittalatemple and the Palace of the King. The complex incorporates the styles of the Pallavas, Cholas, Hoysalas and the Indo-Sarcenic designs and the remains of these palaces, temples and other structures here are living reminders of human creativity. (B)

Day 7 - Drive from Hospet to Hubli

As you travel around the Hubli city, we will help you witness Hindu mythology come alive at the caves in Badami. The two giant sandstone hills that border the placid water of the Agastya Lake paint a stark picture of earthy reds, muddy greens and stone browns set against a sky of acrylic blue, while inside the set of four caves, beautiful murals on the walls and ceilings, await you. Be enthralled by a visual extravaganza of characters from Indian mythology, the divine union of Shiva and Parvati, idols of several Hindu deities, including the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu as well as the Jain Tirthankaras.

On the banks of the Malaprabha River, lays the picturesque temple town of Aihole, sometimes also known as the cradle of Indian rock art. With over 125 temples the site boasts of some of the most lavish temples, of which the Durga temple is significant in its unique design. A little further from the town of Aihole is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Pattadakal. This ancient coronation site is a complex of temples carved in red sand stone, each one commemorating a landmark event in the history of this region. The Malaprabha River and the beautiful and well-preserved complex of temples provide the backdrop for an annual Dance Festival that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors.

The remainder of the day is at leisure. (B)
Overnight at Cotton County Resort or similar

Day 8 - Belgaum to Bangalore

Today you fly back to Bangalore with rest of the day at leisure to explore the city. (B)

Overnight at Jayamahal Palace or similar

Day 9 - Departure

Following breakfast, it is time to say farewell as you are transferred to the airport for your onward journey. (B)