1/ We kick off at Panaji, the “Paradise of India” and the capital city of the State of Goa to Belgaum in the State of Karnataka that is famous for its temples. The old stone fort, built in 12th century, is an important spot, the premises of which also hosts the Sri Ramakrishna Mission Ashram. Belgaum’s Watchtower and Sunset Point are for those who like to savor the scenic beauty surrounding this small town.
2/ We set our foot next on to the City of Kolhapur, a blend of ancient tradition and modern influences. The most noteworthy attraction of Kolhapur is the New Palace or Chhatrapati Museum surrounded by a large park. It houses rare paintings and artefacts owned by the royal family. Other displays are weapons, swords and guns, including a sword belonging to Aurangzeb.
3/ The next day we move into what was once the Capital of “The Maratha Empire”, Pune, the eighth largest city in India. With a name that descends from the Sanskrit word ‘Punya’, meaning ‘Virtue’, the city leads as the ‘veritable heartland’ of cultural Maharashtra. Pune also has made its mark the educational epicenter of the country, winning itself the sobriquet, ‘The Oxford of the East’.
4/ From Pune we dwell deep into Cultural India as we enter Aurangabad which is known for its medieval monuments and cultural heritage. It was the seat of the Mughal Empire for a short period. The city boasts of Bibi-ka-Makbara, a tomb that has some resemblance to the Taj Mahal. The importance of Aurangabad is great, owing to its proximity with world heritage sites of Ajanta and Ellora.
5/ Accordingly, we will spend close to a day visiting Ellora Caves. Founded in the period between 5th century and 10th century AD, these caves were declared as one of the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, a number of years back. They serve as the epitome of rock-cut architecture in India. The total number of caves at Ellora is 34 and they represent the three different religions of the world – Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Surely been a fun and learning trip indeed, aye? But its not over yet.
6/ Step on the gas, as we get into a delightful town, Nasik, a classic mélange of the past and the present. It paves way to many fascinating forts and royally graceful temples that possess an aura of exuberance. It plays abode to most of the industries located in Maharashtra, including the Security Printing Press of the government, the nation’s currency printer.
7/ From Nasik its Cocktail time… Measure out: one part Hollywood; six parts traffic; a bunch of rich power-moguls; stir in half a dozen colonial relics (use big ones); pour in six heaped cups of poverty; add a smattering of swish bars and restaurants (don’t skimp on quality here for best results); equal parts of mayhem and order; as many ancient bazaars as you have lying around; a handful of Hinduism; a dash of Islam; fold in your mixture with equal parts India; throw it all in a blender on high (adding generous helpings of pollution to taste) and presto: “Mumbai”.
Rickshaw Challenge, Deccan Odyssey in a larger map
|Day #||Date||Start Loc||End Loc||Distance (km)|
|Day1||11-June-16||Practice in Panaji|
|Day2||12-June-16||Events in Panaji|
|Day7||17-June-16||Stay to visit Ellora caves|
|Per team of up to 3 people||€1375||€2450||€2775|