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Ancient Art & Architecture Tour - Cultural Tours India
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16 Nights / 17 Days

Visit some of the oldest architectural marvels of southern India: the caves of Ajanta, the hillside carvings of Hubli, Badami, Hampi, ancient arts of Hassan and Mysore, and into the ancient Dravidian culture of Tamil Nadu where unique temple architecture stands out from the shores of Mamallapuram to the centrally located towns of Madurai and Tanjore.

Itinerary Route: Mumbai - Aurangabad - Ajantha - Hubli - Badami - Hampi/Hospet - Hassan - Mysore - Madurai - Tanjore - Mamallapuram - Chennai

Day 1: Arrive Mumbai

Upon arrival at Mumbai you will be met by a Tour Packages India Representative and escorted to your hotel.

Day 2: Mumbai to Aurangabad - via Air

After breakfast you'll be driven back to the airport for your flight to Aurangabad. Once again you'll be met at the airport and taken directly to your hotel. After check-in you'll have the day to explore the area. The most popular tourist destination is the Ellora Caves - a cultural mix of religious arts of Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. The caves consist of 34 monasteries and temples sculpted contiguously into rock walls of a high basalt cliff, whose length stretches more than 2 km. The caves are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most frequently visited World Heritage sites of India.

Day 3: Aurangabad

Visit the Ajanta Caves, another UNESCO World Heritage site. The caves Buddhist caves built between the 2nd and 6th centuries. The caves were discovered during the 19th century by a group of British officers who were on a tiger hunt. The caves depict richly decorated paintings and frescoes reminiscent of the Sri Lanka Sigiriya paintings and sculptures. There are a total of 31 rock-cut cave monuments which are unique representations of the religious art of Buddhism, one of the few historical and architectural marvels of India. The Ajanta group of caves, located deep within the Sahyadri hills above the Waghora, depicts the story of Buddhism that prevailed here during 200 BC to 650 AD.

Day 4: Aurangabad to Mumbai to Hubli - via Air

Travel to the airport to board your flight to Hubli where you'll be met and taken to your hotel. Check-in and relax.

Day 5: Hubli to Badami (180 km / 3 hour drive)

After breakfast and check-out you'll be driven to Badami where you'll check-in to your hotel. During the afternoon pay a visit to the spectacular Badami Caves with their intricate carvings. These ancient caves house the magnificent images and sculptures of Hindu and Jain Gods while also forming an important pilgrimage destination. The exquisite architectural work has made this one of the most popular tourist attractions in Karnataka. Also take time to explore other parts of Badami such as the Badami Fort and Agasthya Tirtha, an artificial lake.

Day 6: Badami to Hampi/Hospet (190 km / 4 hour drive)

After breakfast and check-out you'll be driven to Hampi, the medieval capital of the Hindu empire Vijayanagara (the City of Victory). With more than 500 monuments dotting the surrounding area, Hampi is declared a UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Among those included are beautiful temples, basement of palaces, remains of aquatic structures, ancient market streets, royal pavilions, bastions, royal platforms, treasury buildings plus many more. Hampi has long been known as a backpackers paradise.

Day 7: Hampi/Hospet

Spend the entire day sightseeing (Refer to "Local Attractions").

Day 8: Hampi/Hospet to Hassan (262 km / 6 hour drive)

Upon arrival check-in to your hotel. Spend the day sightseeing. (Refer to "Local Attractions").

Day 9: Hassan

Take a tour of Belur and Halebid, home to more exquisitely carved temples from the 12th and 13th centuries. Belur is famous for its Hoysala architecture - the Temple of Lord Channakeshava is embellished with carvings that have few equals in the world. The front of the temple is adorned with intricate sculptures, friezes with elephants, sensuous dancers and episodes from the epics.

Day 10: Hassan to Mysore (140 km / 4 hour drive)

After breakfast, check-out and drive down to Mysore - the capital city of Karnataka which has always enchanted with its quaint charm, rich heritage, magnificent palaces, beautifully laid-out gardens, imposing buildings, broad shady avenues and sacred temples. There's an old world charm about the city that brings tourists back year after year. Spend the afternoon sightseeing making Mysore Palace your first stop. Built in Indo-Saracenic style with domes, turrets, arches and colonnades, the palace is a treasure house of exquisite carvings and works of art from different parts of the globe. Try to arrange to be there on Sunday when the Palace lights up at night with 97,000 lightbulbs!

Day 11: Mysore to Madurai - via Train

The morning will be free for your pleasure purposes. In the evening you'll board the train to Madurai on which you'll spend the night.

Day 12: Madurai

Transfer to the hotel from the railway station. Spend the day sightseeing. (Refer to "Local Attractions").

Day 13: Madurai to Tanjore (165 km / 4 hour drive)

After breakfast check-out and drive to Tanjore. Along the way stop in Trichy to see the impressive Srirangam Temple complex. Construction on this monument started in the 10th century and the latest addition was only finalized in 1989. As opposed to the quieter Thanjavur monument, this popular temple is usually quite lively, and sees many colorfully dressed pilgrims coming to make offerings to Lord Vishnu. Later, arrive in Tanjore and check-in to your hotel.

Day 14: Tanjore

Spend the day sightseeing. (Refer to "Local Attractions")

Day 15: Tanjore to Mamallapuram (290 km / 7 hour drive)

Check-out in the morning and take the scenic route to the coastal town of Mamallapuram. Check-in to your hotel upon arrival.

Day 16: Mamallapuram

Spend the day sightseeing. By far and away, the most popular tourist attraction is Arjuna's Penance - one of the largest bas relief works of art in existence. Mamallapuram is famous as a pilgrimage town as well as being the seat of stone carving in South India. Everywhere you go you'll see evidence of stone carvers at work. And, of course, there's the beach and the Shore Temple.

Day 17: Mamallapuram to Chennai

Check-out and drive to Chennai to your point of departure.

Tour Details


We offer plenty of choice from Standard to Deluxe accommodations - you're sure to find something to fit your budget and style.

When to visit

Best Time: Mysore and Hassan are situated at altitudes that offer comfortable temps even during the summers. The plains of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu...

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Getting there

Mumbai is the jump-off point for this grand tour of India's Ancient Art & Architecture. Being one of the most well-connected cities in India, Mumbai...

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Where to eat?

Interesting cuisines accompany this tour's trail. Thaalis are the most prevalent Indian food in the south and you can taste them all the way from...

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Local Attractions

Caves caves and more caves, water parks, temples galore, shrines, museums, zoos and wildlife sanctuaries...what's not to love about this grand tour...

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Terms and Conditions

A Must Read before you book your tour... ANCIENT ART & ARCHITECTURE TOUR Terms and Conditions Important and...

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Tour Packages India also offers Incentive Tours!

We can accommodate groups of any size. Any tour package can be customized to suit your group's needs. Contact our Tour Packages India agent for details.