- Welcome to southern India with its purple villages and Dravidian temples
- Visit major art sites on a private tour: Badami, Hampi, Hassan and Mysore
- Whether you want yoga, meditation or Ayurvedic treatments, a trip to the Shreyas Retreat will offer it all up
- You'll have access to all of our additional services including our local Concierge.
Contact one of our India specialists 020 3958 6120
Southern India, from Goa to Karnataka
This journey invites you to gently enter Southern India, with its abundance of sacred Hindu temples. Starting with Goa. The area has quite a diverse history from colonial Portuguese to Indian cultures. Over the years, Goa has become the capital of fashionistas and young designers of the new Indian wave, without losing its historical character, its secret corners out of sight of the crowds or its typical Goan houses. We then head to Karnataka to immerse yourself in spiritual India, and take in the beauty of the mountains, the Deccan plateau and the coastal region of Karavali. Take a step back in history. Start in the seventh century, with the Chalukya, to discover some UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Your trip to Karnataka
You can expect total comfort throughout your trip, from the air-conditioned private car with an experienced driver, to making sure that none of the journeys are ever too long. Along the way, enjoy a multitude of landscapes. And you always have that all-important free time. The hotels we have chosen for you allow you to rest in comfort every day. They vary from one leg of the journey to the next - from classic simplicity to luxurious Bollywood glamour. Along the way, enjoy private tours of major archaeological and artistic sites with a guide. We'll organise all of it for you to ensure you have an experience that's tailor-made to suit your needs. We've also included an introduction to Indian cuisine in your itinerary, with the opportunity to enjoy local delicacies in a village. When it comes to meals, hotel restaurants generally offer a few international classics alongside their Indian menu. If a problem crops up along the way, or there is something you need unexpectedly, you have the contact details of our local Concierge who has extensive field experience and in-depth cultural knowledge - they are your guardian angel. To continue your journey, we have handpicked an amazing yoga and meditation retreat for you.
Flight to Goa via Delhi
Accommodation for two nights just a few miles north of the town, next to the famous Calangute beach. Enjoy the Portuguese-style building in its tropical setting, and its azure swimming pool. Whether you're eating al fresco or in the dining room, the chef offers modern southern Indian cuisine.
In the 16th century this former Portuguese colony, on the southwest coast of the country, was the richest port in the world, with twice the riches of the Venice. Only a few beautiful colonial mansions in Fontainhas today bear witness to this grand era. Old Goa, surrounded by churches and convents dating back more than 300 years, has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. But Goa is first and foremost all about soaking up the lively atmosphere, and finding a hidden spot to enjoy. Goa is known for its dreamy beaches and you'll have plenty to choose from, but you'll also be able to talk long inland walks, and enjoy yoga and meditation.
Included in the itinerary- A bike ride to explore the Old Town of Goa, formerly the second-largest city in India, which still boasts many remnants of its occupation by the Portuguese, including its religious buildings. These include the city's historic bridge, built in 1633, Monte's Nossa Senhora Chapel, which offers stunning views of the area and many of Goa's iconic monuments.
Goa - Hubli
Drive to Hubli. Settle into your accommodation on the north shore of Unkal Lake, a large modern establishment. There's a gym, sauna, tennis court and an outdoor swimming pool. The restaurant serves Indian, Chinese and international dishes. From there, overlooking the large bay, you can see fishermen in their coracles (circular boats made of tarred wicker).
Hubli - Badami
Drive to Badami. Overnight in a small hotel at the entrance to the village.
Included in the itinerary - Private tour of the Badami caves. These are four temples cut into the red rock. One is dedicated to Shiva, two are dedicated to Vishnu, and the fourth is a Jain temple. Take in the incredible sculptures that have been here since the sixth century, such as Shiva Nataraja, whose dance symbolises the cosmic cycles of creation and destruction.
Included in the itinerary - Private visit to the temples of Aihole and Pattadakal. The Durga Temple in Aihole dates from the seventh and eighth centuries. It is rectangular in shape and bordered by a gallery with pillars which makes it possible to perform the ritual of parikrama. Vishnu and Shiva dominate the bas-reliefs. As the former capital of the Chalukya dynasty (from the sixth toeighth centuries), Pattadakal has preserved a sacred domain, predominantly Shivait, in excellent condition. The contemporary southern and northern styles of Indian architecture merge with the beauty of the artistic work.
On to Hampi and to your accommodation for the next two nights a few miles from the sacred site, in the heart of nature in an exceptional setting, a simple but comfortable cottage - the best accommodation in the region.
Included in your itinerary - The private visit to Hampi begins with the ruins. Listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the site was home to the capital of the last great Hindu kingdom of Vijayanagar, whose extremely wealthy princes built temples and palaces. Among these remains are the Krishna Temple complex, all the temples of Narasimha, Ganesa and Hemakuta, and the complexes of Achyutaraya, Vitthala, Pattabhirama and Lotus Mahal temples. You'll have plenty of free time to stroll and lunch, then a visit to Hazara Rama Temple. This small temple is decorated with bas-reliefs relating to one of the great narratives of Hindu mythology, Ramayana. During this day trip we offer you an introduction to Karnataka cooking in the form of a private lesson in the house of one of the women of the village of Anegundi.
Drive to Hassan. You'll have overnight accommodation in the hills, northwest of the city. Situated in a lush garden, the traditional buildings are made of wood and stone. To relax, you can slip into the pool or try your hand at table tennis or badminton. The house's ambience reflects the country character of the Malanad and Hassan area.
Hassan - Mysore
Included in the itinerary - Halebid, an hour's drive from Hassan, was the capital a few centuries ago; it is now a pleasant little village with gardens and well-kept lawns. Visit Hoysaleswara, a double temple dedicated to Shiva and the goddess Parvati and covered with illustrations of the life and reign of the Hoysala rulers. Belur, on the other hand, is a small, bustling city and one of the jewels of Indian architecture, among the richest in Hindu culture. Then it's on to Mysore, through the mountains of Karnataka dotted with sugar cane plantations. You'll get to enjoy two nights in a palace. The Maharajah of Mysore had it built in the early 1920s to accommodate his guests in style.
Included in the itinerary - Private visit to Mysore. Commissioned by the Maharajah, the architect built Mysore to be a work of art. Today only the Taj Mahal attracts more visitors than Mysore Palace. You'll also climb the thousand steps of Chamundi Hills, at the top of which stands the Sri Chamundeswari temple, dedicated to Shakti, consort of Shiva and guardian goddess of the local maharajahs. Halfway up the slope, you will find Shiva's vahana (vehicle), the Nandi bull, carved in the 17th century from a block granite. From up there, the views of the surrounding area are spectacular, so once you've soaked them on, enjoy a walk in the market on the way back.
Mysore - Bangalore
The last stop on this journey is Bangalore. The hotel is in the stylish neighbourhood, bordered by a large park. It is modern, comfortable and well equipped with beautiful bedding, high-end bathrooms, spa, gym, swimming pool, and restaurant.
International return flight
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Yoga retreat and meditation at the Shreyas retreat
In Nelamangala, a small town one hour from Bangalore, the Shreyas retreat is blessed with enchanting surroundings. Devoted to reflection, renewal and self-discovery, Shreyas unites the modern and the timeless, indulgence and simplicity, and you can enjoy plenty of yoga. Set in a green refuge of almost 25 acres, this hideaway of 14 cottages is an ideal place to detox, reconnect with nature and rediscover your vital senses. The itinerary offers daily sessions of meditation, sessions of Nidra yoga and Pranayama (breathing exercises) but also relaxing Ayurvedic massages with essential oils, to regenerate both body and mind. You can enjoy organic, balanced, fresh food with plenty of vegetarian choices.
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