The Deccan Odyssey - Maharastra Splendour
Route : Mumbai Nashik Ellora Caves Ajanta Kolhapur Goa Ratnagiri Mumbai
Date: 2017: 23 Sep
Saturday - Depart Mumbai
MUMBAI: Departure in the evening from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Mumbai.
Dinner on board
Sunday - Nashik
NASHIK: Morning arrive at the holy city of Nashik.
After breakfast alight at Nashik Road railway station to board the bus for departure to Panchawati Ghat a holy place known for Kumbh Mela. Next, visit to Kala Ram Temple built in 1794.
Continue on through the lively Wednesday market which sells everything from cow dung cakes to freshly caught catfish and many things in between.
Thereafter drive to the Grover Zampa vineyards for an exclusive tour of one of the finest Indian wine producing facilities. Walk through vines laden with Chenin, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. Be taken through the age old ‘méthode traditionnelle’ used to make one of the best known brands of sparkling wines in India. Allow the sommelier to acquaint your taste buds with their finest creations of white, red, rose and sparkling wines and experiment pairing them with your meal at the vineyards.
Lunch at the vineyard.
Return to the Deccan Odyssey and set forth for Aurangabad.
Rest of the day is at leisure on board.
Dinner on Board.
Monday - Aurangabad – Ellora Caves
AURANGABAD: Morning Arrival at Aurangabad station.
ELLORA CAVES: Proceed by road to visit the Ellora Caves, a World Heritage site, having 34 cave temples dedicated to three different religion- Hinduism, Buddhism & Jainism. The cave temples and monasteries at Ellora, excavated out of the vertical face of an escarpment, are 26 km north of Aurangabad. Extending in a linear arrangement, the 34 caves contain Buddhist Chaityas or halls of worship, and Viharas, or monasteries, Hindu and Jain temples. Spanning a period of about 600 years between the 5th and 11th century AD, the earliest excavation here is of the Dhumar Lena (Cave 29).The most imposing excavation is, without doubt, that of the magnificent Kailasa Temple (Cave 16) which is the largest monolithic structure in the world.
Return to Deccan Odyssey as it takes you to Jalgaon to visit the exquisite Ajanta Caves.
In the evening, unwind with cocktail before dinner is served.
Dinner on Board.
Tuesday - Ajanta Caves
AJANTA CAVES: Alight at the Jalgaon Railway station.
Board the bus to reach Ajanta Caves.
Renowned Buddhist caves of Ajanta are World Heritage Site. Witness some of the finest paintings and sculptures of the second century AD. 'Bodhisattva Padmapani', 'Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara', The Birth of the Buddha' & 'Thousand Buddha's are a few amongst the many fine murals & sculptures. At noon board train at Jalgaon railway station.
Proceed to Kolhapur. Lunch on-board.
Leisure Time onboard till evening.
Dinner on board.
Wednesday - Kolhapur
KOLHAPUR: Late morning arrive at Kolhapur City, a city with multifaceted persona and a mythical past. This city is a unique blend of culture, history, nature & industry. A City situated on the banks of river Panchagang, Kolhapur is also known as Karveer or Dakshin Kashi of Maharashtra.
After an early lunch, board the bus to visit New Palace, a royal palace partly converted into museum. The museum houses rare paintings and artifacts used by the royal family. Royal weapons and a tableau depicting court life of the last century create an aristocratic ambience. Next visit the Bhawani Mandap (The Town Hall). Antiques found during the excavations at Brahmagiri, old sculptures, filigree work in sandal wood and ivory, old coins and paintings of master artists of the region are all displayed here. Then move on to see an exquisitely carved Mahalaxmi Temple, a temple of goddess Ambabai visited by millions of pilgrims.
From temple proceed to Shalini Palace, a palace built of intricately carved black stone & Italian Marble standing on the west side of lake Rankala. Enjoy a cultural performance at the palace witnessing traditional Martial Art locally known as "Mardani Khel". The selected and famous items of the famous Kolhapuri textiles, jewellery & leather sandals known as Kolhapuri chappals would be displayed in the stalls at the Palace, so one can leisurely enjoy shopping as well.
Return to the Deccan Odyssey for dinner as the train depart for India’s most happening destination - Goa.
Dinner on board.
Thursday - Goa
GOA: Morning arrival at Goa, India's smallest state, with strong Portuguese influences.
Board the bus to reach Fontainhas, the Latin Quarters in Panjim. Experience the UNESCO World Heritage Walk around Fontainhas with its winding alleyways adorned by tiled-roofed houses in spectacular shades of blue and red.
Continue to Ribandar, the erstwhile capital of Goa to see the ruins of St. Augustine Church, once the largest cathedral in Goa. Also visit, Basilica of Bom Jesus, a 16th Century Church which enshrines the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, The Se Cathedral and the Church of St. Francis of Assissi that began as a mosque but now is an archaeological museum for Goan antiques.
From here proceed to one of the biggest and finest Spice Farm in the Country a "Sahakari Spice Farm" at Ponda village. Situated among the lush green surroundings of Ponda, this place is extremely popular among international tourist. Visitors are traditionally welcomed at the entrance. After a brief halt in the restaurant for welcome drink and snacks, a guided tour of the farm starts. This organic spice farm has variety of herbal and medicinal trees. The guide explains different spices and their medicinal values during the tour which is about 45 minutes.
Typical Goan lunch is served here. In free time one can also take an optional Elephant ride (at own cost).
From farm house proceed to one of the finest heritage house of 16th century know as "Menezes Braganza House". It is one of the last remaining structures that dates back to the pre-Portuguese era in Goa. This has been the traditional family home of the Braganzas for many than four centuries. Even today, the lady of the house, Mrs Braganza, an octogenarian, still lives in the house and takes the visitors to a tour of the house herself.
Return to the Deccan Odyssey for dinner as it pulls out for Ratnagiri traversing through the Konkan, one of the most scenic railway routes in the country, bound by the Arabian Sea on the West and Sahyadri hills on the East.
Breakfast on board. Lunch at the Spice Plantation and High Tea at Palacio De Deao.
Dinner on board.
Friday - Ratnagiri
RATNAGIRI: Morning arrival at Ratnagiri, a veritable jewel on the Konkan coast. A land so blessed by sun and fertile alluvial valleys that it is abundant with a bounty of cashew nuts, Alphonso mangoes, coconuts, bananas, jackfruits and rice.
After breakfast board the bus to visit the Ganpatiphule temple - called thus because of a legend about Lord Ganpati who took umbrage at a remark made by a native lady, and moved to Pulé (Marathi for a few km ahead of the town) from his original abode of Gulé. Thus the region was named Ganpati-pulé. The 400 yr old idol here is said to have sprung from the soil.
Later head towards the beach and enjoy a relaxed morning at the beach.
Return to the Deccan Odyssey for lunch & rest.
After lunch visit a mango and cashew plantation and watch the workers labour at producing the king of all fruits in India. Walk around and soak in the goodness of nature.
Post the farm, take a walk through the town exploring the 'wadas' or the local Maharashtrian neighborhood and the markets selling the lovely produce of the region.
Return to Deccan Odyssey as it makes its way back to Mumbai.
Dinner on board.
Saturday - Arrival Mumbai
MUMBAI: Morning - Arrival at CST - Mumbai. Journey Ends.