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If kings travel… then in the "Deccan Odyssey".
The feudal blue train with the elegant golden stripes takes you on a magical trip through the country of the Marathas. The eight-day journey of the "Deccan Odyssey" criss-crosses over the far central Indian Deccan plain and to the most beautiful beaches of west India. You will have the chance to visit mighty forts, splendid palaces and legendary rock caves along your journey. On the way you will learn about the legendary warrior-king Shivaji Maharaj, whose courageous deeds strongly influenced the history of the Maharashtra. During the past 2000 years, Buddhists, Hindus and Jains left behind their influence on the architectures, artwork and more in the cities you will pass through. Exotic places such as Mumbai (formerly Bombay), Ganapatipule, Pune, Aurangabad and Goa awake aspirations and allow the past times of the Marathas to live again.
The "Deccan Odyssey" runs between Mumbai, Goa and Ajanta under the direction of Maharashtra tourism. You will be guided on board by the colleagues of the international Taj Hotel group. Similar to the "Palace on Wheels", the "Deccan Odyssey" embodies traditional hospitality in the pompous style of the 18th century. Go with this unique train on a “a trip of the senses”.
7 Nights / 8 Days
Mumbai - Jaigadh, Ganapatipule, Ratnagiri - Sindhudurg, Tarkali, Sawantwadi - Goa - Kolhapur, Pune - Aurangabad - Ajanta & Nashik - Mumbai
Months of Operation: September to April
Day 1 (Wednesday) - Mumbai
The starting point of a trip with the "Deccan Odyssey" is the Victoria station in Mumbai (since 1996 official Chhatrapati Shivaji terminus). The largest railway station of the world is filled by more than 3.5 million travelers. The famous gothic building built during 1888 has been on UNESCO’s world cultural heritage list since 2004. The station is an essential component of the Skyline of Mumbai and until today the lifeline of the city. More than 300 years ago, the former Bombay consisted of an amalgamation of seven islands. A short round trip through the "city of dreams" reveals numerous concealed beauties and sumptuous constructions.
As the luxury train starts the journey on its first day’s destination, you have the opportunity to explore your new environment and to dine in the restaurant car.
16:40 hrs Departure from the Victoria station in Mumbai. Dinner on board of the "Deccan Odyssey"
Day 2 (Thursday) - Jaigadh, Ganapatipule, Ratnagiri
Early on Thursday morning, the "Deccan Odyssey" reaches the station Bhoke. From here, you go on an air-conditioned bus to the boat anchorage Rai Bhatgaon Jetty. Accompanied by a variety of exotic birds, the boat glides leisurely through the morning calmness of the picturesque Backwater. Enjoy the unique view of the original, juicy-green landscape that is accessed neither by a street nor by a railway line. The romantic trip ends in Jaigad Jetty with its fort out of the 17th century that raises itself proudly on a rocky cliff. From here, you have a spectacular view over the sea. Your next destination will be Ganapatipule.
Ganapatipule, which looks like a storybook city, is bathed in the golden sunlight, while soft, frothy waves lick over fine sandy beaches. In the air, one smells the distinctive aroma of fruits, flowers and mangroves. And almost as if to say “welcome” the soft whispers of the coconut palm trees fill the air. Ganapatipule is not only a beach, but also rather a pilgrimage site. A temple dedicated to the elephant-headed God Ganesh attracts thousands of Hindu believers each year. After lunch, you will travel by bus to Ratnagiri, place of birth of Lokmanya Thilak, an Indian freedom fighter, and exile of the last Burmese king Thibaw. You will visit the temple, forts and untouched beaches. You will then reboard the "Deccan Odyssey" to enjoy an excellent supper.
07:40 hrs Breakfast in the train
Arrival in Bhoke
Departure with the bus to Rai Jetty
09:00 hrs Arrival in Rai Jetty. Boat trip to Jaigadh Jetty
11:30 hrs Departure to Ganapatipule along the coast street
12:30 hrs Arrival in Ganapatipule
14:30 hrs Cultural program, Lunch and free time for enjoyment
14:45 hrs Departure with the bus to Ratnagiri
15:45 hrs Arrival in Ratnagiri
16:00 hrs Return trip to train "Deccan Odyssey”. Dinner at board
Day 3 (Friday) - Sindhudurg, Tarkali, Sawantwadi
In the next morning, the "Deccan Odyssey" arrives at the station Sindhudurg at the tip of the Konkan-coast. You’ll board an air-conditioned bus, which will take you to the harbor of Malvan Jetty. By boat, you will go to the fort, which was erected in 1664 by the legendary Maratha warrior Shivaji. For three years, more than 6000 diligent hands worked around the hour to build the 30-foot-high and 30-foot-thick ring wall surrounding the building. The temples in the interior of this bulwark are dedicated to the Gods Bhayani, Mahadeo, Jarimari, Mahapurush and Shivaji. Walk on the rampart and enjoy the breathtaking view of the open sea.
Later by bus you will go to Tarkali, an untouched beach at the mouth of the Karli River. Silver shimmering sand, crystal clear water, the wide river, the pretty sailboats, the tiny islands and the small hamlet at the river bank unite themselves to a postcard scene. At noon, you dine in a simple, but very well managed beach resort that has 20 vacation cottages in the Konkani style.
After lunch you will enjoy a romantic boat trip through the bay of Tarkali before getting back on the bus to go to Sawantwadi , the gate to Goa. The colorful city is the homeland of the Chitar Ali and Jagannathrao Bhosale gardens. A further highlight is Shilpa gram, an artist village in which you can observe local artists at work and can purchase pretty souvenirs. That evening expect a traditional meal on board the "Deccan Odyssey" while you travel on to Goa.
08:25 hrs Breakfast in the train. Arrival in Sindhudurg Nagari
08:30 hrs Departure with the air-conditioned bus to Malvan Jetty
09:30 hrs Arrival in Malvan Jetty
11:00 hrs Boat trip to the Sindhudurg Fort and visit of Sindhudurg Fort
11:15 hrs Departure with the bus to Tarkali
11:45 hrs Cultural program, lunch and free time at the beach of Tarkali
15:15 hrs Boat trip in the bay of Tarkali and trip Jetty and bus trip to Sawantwadi
17:30 hrs Arrival in Sawantwadi and visit of the artist village Shilpa Gram
18:45 hrs Arrival at the train station of Sawantwadi
20:00 hrs Departure of the "Deccan Odyssey" to Goa and dinner on board
Day 4 (Saturday) - Goa
In the morning, the "Deccan Odyssey" reaches the smallest Indian state Goa. This former capital of Portugese-India is a “must see” by all visitors to India. For 450 years, Goa was a Portuguese colony and shows it in its culture. Most apparent is that 26.7% of the inhabitants of Goa are Catholics. The influence of the Portuguese is seen in the radiating white churches in the middle of profusely green parks. Here you see "Bom Jesus", the basilica of the "Good Jesus” that houses the mortal remains of the holy Francisco de Xavier. The patron saint of Goa was legend not only in his lifetime, but also rather in his death. Since his death, his corpse has not shown any traces of decay. Other sites are the cathedral Sé and the church of the holy Franz of Assisi, today an archeological museum.
After the extensive sightseeing program, you have time for a walk through Panjim, the capital of Goa. The city was established at the left bank of the Mandovi River. Worth seeing are the palace of the Archbishop, the modern harbor, the numerous churches, the remarkably well maintained houses along the twisted streets. Here you can shop and purchase souvenirs.
After lunch, a further "Highlight" waits for you: Dona Paula, a small, palm-fringed beach. After a small break, you will then visit the Fontanhas, the Latino living quarters in Panjim.
The day draws to a close. At the railway station Madgaon, you board the "Deccan Odyssey" again and leave the dreamlike beaches, antique places and shrines behind you.
07:30 hrs Arrival in Karmali. Breakfast in the train
08:00 hrs Departure with the bus into the old town of Goa and city tour
12:30 hrs Departure to the hotel
13:30 - 16:00 hrs Lunch and free time at the beach
16:15 hrs Bus trip to the train station Madgaon
17:15 hrs Departure by the "Deccan Odyssey" to Kolhapur and dinner on board
Day 5 (Sunday) - Kolhapur, Pune
A long day awaits you. After breakfast, you ride the bus to Kolhapur, also well known as a Karveer or Dakshin Kashi. Here, you visit the new palace that was partly converted into a museum, the city hall Bhawani Mandap where you will see the traditional war art (Mardani Khel), and the artistically carved Mahalaxmi temple of the Goddess Ambabai that is visited annually by millions of pilgrims. On the west side of the Rankala-lake, stands the Shalini palace made of black stone and Italian marble.
At noon, the "Deccan Odyssey" leaves Kolhapur and reaches Pune early in the evening. The city carries a multitude of surnames: "Queen of the Deccan", "Cultural capital of Maharashtra", "pensioner-paradise" and "Oxford of the East". Pune is one of the few historic cities of India that looks at a glorious past, an innovative present and a promising future. The administration territory covers over 200 square miles and is home to more than four million inhabitants. Long ago, Pune developed into a conurbation, comparable with the wider area of Mumbai. Nevertheless, Pune counts as a green city. More than 40% of the total area is covered by greenery.
Pune’s past is shining and romantic at the same time - and firmly interweaved with Shivaji Maharaj, Lokmanya Tilak and the Peshwas, the medieval feudal gentlemen. In the Lal Mahal, Shivaji fought against Shaista Khan, the uncle of emperor Aurangzeb, and won the lost territorial areas back. Later the country was reigned by the Peshwas. Peshwa Bajirao-I deputized Pune to the headquarters of the army and let the erection of Shaniwar Wada. In a stroll through Pune, you should visit unconditionally the bazaars and market places. Places of interest to visit are the temple and palaces, the Rajar Dinkar Kelkar museum and the David Sasoon synagogue.
07:00 hrs Breakfast in the train
08:00 hrs Arrival in Kolhapur
08:30 hrs Start of the sightseeing program
11:30 hrs Bus trip to the train station Kolhapur
12:00 hrs Departure of the "Deccan Odyssey" to Pune
13:00 hrs Lunch and free time on board
19:30 hrs Arrival in Pune
19:45 hrs Bus trip to the Rajar Dinkar Kelkar museum
21:15 hrs Return trip to the railway station Pune
21:45 hrs Departure
Day 6 (Monday) - Aurangabad
Aurangabad was established in 1610 by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. After breakfast, you will go by bus to the majestic fort Daulatabad that stands on a 36-foot-high rocky cliff.The caves of Ellora are listed on UNESCO’s list of world cultural heritage sites. The caves are of Hindu, Jains and Buddhist origin and count among the most beautiful in India. Stone chiseled gods, demons and mythical creatures are the works of priests and pilgrims. Over centuries, the 34 caves, strucked out of volcano rock, were left and forgotten. The most of the Buddhist caves are ascribed to the Vajrayana sect. They house "Viharas" (monasteries) and "Chaityas" (chapels). The most famous Hindu cave is the Kailasanatha temple out of the 8th century and is the only construction that was chiseled from top to bottom. The Jain caves distinguish themselves through their rich decorations including lotus flowers, elephants and lions which decorate the walls and ceilings.
Lunch is served at the Taj hotel in Aurangabad. After an interesting cultural program, you go to the Shivaji museum, in which weapons and antiques of the large Maratha Empire are exhibited. Cultural highlight of Aurangabad is undoubtedly Bibi-ka-Magbara, a copy of the Taj Mahal. The mausoleum counts as that as a most beautiful building of the Mughal era on the Deccan plateau. Emperor Aurangzeb let its erection in 1679 for remembering of his deceased wife.
08:30 hrs Breakfast on board, Arrival in Aurangabad, Departure with the bus to the fort Daulatabad
10:00 hrs Departure to the caves of Ellora
10:30 hrs Sightseeing of the caves
12:30 hrs Departure to Aurangabad
13:15 hrs Lunch and Cultural program
14:15 hrs Visit of the mausoleum Bibi-ka-Magbara (optional: Return to the train)
16:15 hrs Free time
17:15 hrs Bus trip to the railway station and dinner on board
Day 7 (Tuesday) - Ajanta, Nashik
In the morning, the "Deccan Odyssey" reaches the railway station of Jalgaon. By bus you will travel to the rocky valley of Waghora. In the steep walls of a crescent valley, lie the famous caves of Ajanta. They were chiseled between 200 BC and 650 AD out of volcanic rock and are clearly older than the caves of Ellora. The caves, lying over several centuries in oblivion, were first rediscovered in 1819 by chance by two British officers, who were on the tiger hunt. The caves are purely of Buddhist origin. "Bodhisattva Padmapani", "Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara", 17 Jatakas", "the birth of Buddha" and the "thousands Buddhas" count among the most beautiful wall pictures and sculptures, ever found. The ceiling paintings fascinate tourists from around the world.
You will reboard the train for lunch, and some time to relax and rest. In the afternoon, the "Deccan Odyssey" reaches Nashik. Here you will be welcomed in the traditional manner with garland. The city lies at the bank of river Godavari, one of the holiest rivers in the region of Maharashtra. Along the bank are several bath places (ghats). The best known is Panchavati Ghat. Here, the believers perform the ritual bath that rinses the sins and cleans the Karma. Every twelve years, "Kumb Mela" is celebrated in Nashik, the largest religious festival of the world. The background of the Mela is the ritual bath at an especially holy place and at an especially favorable time. On the main bath day, so named "royal bath" (Shahi Snan), bath the Sadhus, the holy Indian monks. During the festival time, up to 30 million pilgrims bath into the Godavari River each day.
In the evening, you return to the "Deccan Odyssey". Seven exciting days lie behind you. After a princely dinner you will travel back to Mumbai, where the trip ends.
06:30 Hrs Breakfast in the train
07:00 hrs Arrival in Jalgaon
07:30 hrs Departure with the bus to the caves of Ajanta
12:45 hrs Return to the "Deccan Odyssey"
13:15 hrs Departure of the" Deccan Odyssey" to Nashik
13:30 hrs Lunch in the train and free time
17:00 hrs Arrival in Nashik and Departure to the Panchavati Ghat and the Asian temples
20:30 hrs Return to the "Deccan Odyssey", Return trip to Mumbai
Day 8 (Wednesday) - Return Journey
In early morning, the "Deccan Odyssey" reaches the Victoria station in Mumbai. Enjoy your last breakfast on board of the luxury train while the sun rises over the city. The royal trip with the "Deccan Odyssey" is over - What remains are the memories of an exciting, exotic land.
08:15 hrs Breakfast in the train. Arrival in Mumbai. End of the trip.
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