Taste a Slice of Hyderabadi Life
With its rich and regal history Hyderabad has some of Islamic India’s most impressive architecture. Take a guided walking tour around the impressive fort at Golconda, built atop a 120-meter-high granite hill surrounded by mighty ramparts. There are stunning vistas across dusty Deccan foothills and the crumbling outer ramparts, over the domed tombs of Qutb Shahs and beyond. Hyderabad’s charms lie beyond the monuments, wander through historic Lad Bazaar, listening to the stories of its grand past, where vendors sell an extraordinary variety of items. It is a slice of Hyderabadi life – vibrant, hectic and absorbing.
The Mighty Empire
Fly from Hyderabad to Jindal Vijayagar airport, just 15 miles from Hampi, the capital of a mighty empire from the 14th century AD. Hampi’s grandeur is immediately evident. Roam its unearthly landscape with palaces, immense temples and ruins surrounded by vast scatterings of boulders. Experience India’s nomadic past with a tour of Sandur, now home to the nomadic Banjaras people. Stay at luxurious resort Evolve Back, where sumptuous villas are inspired by palaces and come with royal baths and private pools.
Fly from Hampi to Bangalore followed by a drive to Kabini, home to the Nagarhole national park. The gently undulating terrain is covered with thick tropical forests and grassy swamps. It has a rich diversity of plant and animal life and is a part of the country’s first biosphere reserve. Head out on a jeep or walking safari and look out for the four horned antelope, sloth bear, civet cat, elephant, jackal, langur, panther, tiger, giant and flying malabar squirrel. Cruise on a boat safari where on the banks of the Kabini, you can witness the largest congregation of Asiatic elephants, peacefully feeding and interacting with one another. Observe the marsh crocodile, smooth-coated otter and aquatic birds.
Drive three hours to Coorg, perched beautifully in the hills and valleys of the Western Ghats in Karnataka. The area is one of the most attractive spots in South India. Known as coffee country, the estates here produce some of the world’s best coffee. Experience plantation life, first hand. Join the workforce in the seasonal estate activities, from pruning coffee plants to harvesting ripe red coffee berries. Become acquainted with a whole new work culture, where human hands reign supreme. An early morning cycle or walk will allow you to discover some of the salient spots in Coorg. Stop at a quaint riverside tea shop where you can observe the rhythms of local life. With over 25 percent of India’s bird species found in Coorg it’s an ornithologist’s delight. Heading out early will charm even the most amateur birdwatcher.
A 4.5 hour drive from Coorg and you will arrive in Kerala, with its lush green landscapes, shimmering backwaters, endless deserted beaches and plantations as far as the eye can see. Spend your days relaxing with authentic Ayurveda spa treatments and afternoons on the beach.
The City of Dreams
Last stop is Mumbai. Fly from Mangalore and arrive in Mumbai a city with its intrinsically cosmopolitan culture. Nowhere reinforces your sense of Mumbai quite as emphatically as the Gateway of India, the city’s defining landmark. Stroll along the broad boulevards and teeming bazaars at their liveliest and most colourful around Crawford Market. Meet the Dabbawallas, some 5,000 men who deliver 200,000 tiffin boxes each day to offices, without any modern technology. This really is a sight to see. Admire the Victorian Gothic architecture and the oldest Sephardic synagogue of the city in the Kala Ghoda area, before flying home the next day, armed with enough memories to last a lifetime.