- See the impressive cave temples of Ajanta and Ellora, dating back to 2nd century BC
- Explore a heady mix of fascinating culture and history spanning two thousand years
- Eat the best Biriyani in India and experience Hyderbad's buzzing culinary scene
- Spend three unrushed days exploring the UNESCO site of Hampi, the Petra of India
The Deccan Plateau has seen several ancient and medieval dynasties flourish and many towns and cities created by them. This patronage has given rise to a rich and vibrant culture, which is unique for its syncretic nature. Replete with ancient cave temples, rock-cut monasteries, cave paintings, art, music and dance forms as well as fine textiles, this region is a delight to those seeking to explore the relatively lesser-known parts of India.
The journey begins in Aurangabad in the state of Maharashtra, the perfect base for exploring the city surrounds and visiting the amazing rock-cut temples of Ajanta and Ellora. From here visit Hyderabad, with emphasis on its buzzing culinary scene and the history of the Nizam’s dynasty that ruled until 1948. Visit the diverse site of Hampi, regarded as one of the most interesting and charming sites in India, partially due to its inaccessibility which keeps away large crowds. See the exceptional Islamic architecture of Bijapur and Gulbarga. Over the duration of this small group tour, you will span a historical period of over two thousand years.
Why travel with Jonty Rajagopalan?
Exceptional guides are the first essential component of a successful holiday and in Jonty, Steppes Travel is confident we have found just that. Occasionally you meet someone who is such fun and so knowledgeable and enthusiastic about their country’s history and culture that you just want to travel with them. Such an individual is Jonty. We have our chairman to thank for discovering her in Hyderabad.
This tour offers genuine experiences, some offbeat, and always full of interesting stories and people. Local cuisine and associated traditions are explored with much vigour in the company of Jonty and you can always count on her to ensure you experience the local delicacies. She delivers an insightful and personal tour for those interested in getting to know the people and city life. She is welcoming to questions and can answer most questions on India and its history and culture, however significant or trivial. She offers a personal touch that is absent from the larger group tours.
"We had a really nice couple of days with Jonty, she is absolutely first class, probably best guide on the tour" - Ken Mcfarlane
Is this group tour suitable for solo travellers?
Our group tours are perfect for solo travellers, as travelling as part of an organised group in faraway places does provide security and peace of mind. We handle all the arrangements for you and there will be a local tour guide on hand throughout to provide advice and help if needed, as well as the expertise of a Tour Expert.
If you are willing to share, we will always do our best to match you up with another solo traveller of the same sex so that you do not have to pay for a single room.
If you would prefer the privacy of your own room and would like this guaranteed, then the single room price supplement will apply.
What is the accommodation like in Central India?
During this tour, you will stay in a carefully selected range of hotels. All hotels are at least of three-star standard and all offer restaurants on site while some offer pools and leisure facilities. These hotels have been chosen for their vantage points and good access to city sightseeing. Standards of some of the hotels in Central India are generally lower than other more visited areas of India and availability and choice are limited. We believe we have confirmed the best available in Gulbarga and Bijapur and have included a high standard of hotel in Aurangabad and Hyderabad to deliver a good level of service.
How fit should I be to enjoy this tour?
General overall fitness is required. There is a lot of walking, however, at a leisurely pace with some stairs. We would suggest that you bring a comfortable pair of walking shoes, that are easy to take on and off as you may be required to remove your shoes when visiting mosques and temples.
What is the food like in Central India?
The majority of meals will be taken in fantastic locations, which make for a great dining experience. While in Aurangabad taste some typical Maharashtrian food including dishes like the multigrain flatbread Thaalipeet, the simple stir-fry Bhadra, the fiery Tamda Rassa and Kolhapuri Chicken made with dark spices. Depending on the time of the harvest season you may experience a local Hurda picnic.
The state of Karnataka has a distinct cuisine and you will taste some of the simpler dishes like Kadubus, jollada rotis, served with spicy peanut chutneys and podis made in local homes. There are many delicacies made in local cafes around Hampi. For the adventurous try a simple Khanavali meal in one of the local restaurants.
What will the weather be like?
Winter arrives at the end of November and with that comes pleasant daytime temperate hovering around 28/30 degrees, but nights are quite chilly, with the temperatures halving by nightfall. Historically, December is a very dry month in the Central Deccan Plateau with very little, if no rainfall. Pack layers and a jumper for the evenings. Air conditioning is not required in the evenings.
Do I need a visa to visit India?
All visitors need a visa to travel to India. There is now a provision for an online e-visa for citizens of certain countries, including the UK and the visa must be obtained before arrival in all circumstances. Tourist visas issued in the UK have six months’ validity from date of issue.
Can I extend my stay in India after the tour?
Yes, this can easily be arranged at the end of the tour. Private travel arrangements with a car and driver will be provided and a private guide arranged for sightseeing. From Mumbai, the internal flight network is vast. You can easily reach the beaches of southern India and Kerala. If the Golden Triangle is on your wish list, then travelling from Mumbai to Rajasthan enables you to include a short extension to visit the Taj Mahal and Jaipur.
For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.