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India Tours

Travel to three regions of India, Rajasthan and the central and southern states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnakata and Telangana to explore India’s complex history and great monuments, from great Mughal palaces to extraordinary colourful Hindu temples of Tamil Nadu.

Delhi, Agra and Fatehpur Sikri are the Mughal Empire’s princely capitals. Agra’s Red Fort, Shah Jahan’s exquisite Taj Mahal, and Akbar the Great’s Fatehpur Sikri fuse Indian Hindu and Islamic forms. Grand Mughal mosques include Delhi’s ancient Qutub Minar. There are brilliant red or white royal tombs like Agra’s I’tmãd Ud Daulah. Rajput fortress cities and palaces – Jaipur, Bijapur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Bikaner -echo Mughal architectural opulence and grandeur.  From their powerful walls, brilliant glass-walled staterooms, exquisite garden courts and lustrous pavilions, Rajputs dominated populous cities and teeming bazaars. From Chitor, the grand deserted fortress, opium-crazed Rajput cavalry charged Muslim forces whilst their women committed ritual suicide. In Lake Pichola, Udaipur, the matchless Lake Palace’s white walls reflect in sparkling waters. Jaisalmer and Bikaner have fine merchant houses with intricately carved window screens. Ajmer has its great Sufi shrine. Vast, richly decorated Jain Temples occupy Ranakpur and Jaisalmer. Rajasthan also includes fascinating villages and famous stepped wells. Many of its luxury hotels are former palaces.

Southern and Central India’s epic history encompasses ancient small kingdoms and great Hindu, Muslim and British empires. Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, and Islamic monuments proliferate. At Mahabalipuram, ancient port of the Pallava kings is the famous Shore Temple and unique rock-carved temples, the ‘Five Rathas’. The Gangaikonda Cholapuram and the Brihadeshvara Temple of Thanjavur have brilliant Chola architecture, sculpture, painting and bronze casting. Chennai’s and Thanjavur’s museums hold priceless Chola bronzes. Thanjavur’s Saraswathi Mahal Library displays rare palm leaf manuscripts. The Hoysala Dynasty Chennakeshava Temple, Belur, and Hoysaleswara Temple, Halebid have intricate carvings of gods, celestial beings, and humans. Vijayanagara (Hampi), capital of a magnificent Hindu Kingdom, includes forts, palaces, temples, shrines, gateways and stables. In North Karnataka the finest Chalukyan art and architecture includes the Temple of Virupaksha and the rock-cut cave temples of Badami. Srirangapatna has Tipu Sultan’s fabulous palace and mosque and Mysore the Wodeyar Maharajas’ florid palace, blending Hindu, Muslim, Rajput, and Gothic elements. Cochin’s fascinating mix of East and West includes St. Francis’ Church, Fort Cochin, and the 16th-c. Portuguese Mattancherry Palace. Hyderabad and Golconda have masterpieces of Islamic architecture.