The Deccan Odyssey - luxury train In Maharashtra, India
As the wind whispers
through the halo of legends crowning the land of the mighty Marathas, a lone
majestic whistle blows its salutation of honour as it gracefully traverses this
land of fantastic fantasy. Welcome to the mesmerizing Maharashtra experience
aboard the luxurious DECCAN ODYSSEY.
Day one: (Wednesday) : Mumbai
The time has come for you to undertake a journey way back in time. Welcome to Mumbai, a city of dreams that 300 years ago was an agglomeration of seven islands. Modern, yet preserving its antiquities, a short drive through the city will reveal this inherent truth. Board the train in the evening at Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus, undoubtedly one of the famous Goethic building and an integral part of Mumbai’s skyline. Wine and dine in the luxurious comforts of this train and whistle off on your royal voyage.
Day Two : (Thursday) : Jaigad, Ganapatiphule, Ratnagiri and Bhatye Beach
Alight in the morning at the Ukshi Station nestled amidst majestic mountains and scenic backwaters. Enjoy the short ride in a luxury bus to Rai Jetty. Cut through the mesmerizing silence of the scenic backwaters accompanied by an impressive number of exotic birds on the way to the historical Jaigad Fort. Relish an almost unique view of Konkan village life, impossible to get either from road or the rail. This romantic journey brings you to Jaigad Jetty, situated at the foothills of the Jaigad Fort. And at a short distance stands the legendry jaigad Fort, high and proud on a cliff with a spectacular view of the ocean and Ganapatiphule, the next destination.
After Jaigad Fort, it is time to travel to Ganapatiphule by road, an experience by itself. The vast “Konkan” stretch abounds with scenic greenery, red earth and the roofed houses with clean courtyards add a quaint touch to the panorama.
Ganapatiphule is bathed in the golden sunshine and silver moonlight. Lapped by gentle foam-flecked waves from the expense of the Arabian Sea. It’s laced with the unforgettable aroma of fruits, flowers and mangroves. And the timid whispers of swaying coconut trees carry you away into a land, that’s serene, sedate and unspoilt.
Feast your taste buds over a vast spread of “Konkan” cuisine and spend some time in the company of the locals, who are as warm and cheerful as their surrounding. Ever ready to chat with you and make you feel at home. visit the holy temple shrine dedicated to Lord Ganesh, flocked by million every year. Walk down the beach to the tune of the splashing waves. Head out towards Ratnagiri, the land of the world famous Älphonso mangoes”, in the comforts of the luxury A/C bus.
Ratnagiri is the birthplace of Lokmanya Tilak and the internment home for the last King of Burma, King Thibaw. Visit the Lokmanya Tilak Smarak, Ratnadurg Fort and then put on your swimsuits. Just a few kilometers away, lined with dense trees, lies the long-winding stretch of Bhatye beach, your next destination.
Temples, Forts and virgin beaches, you would wish you could stay a little longer. But the train whistles and you are off to yet another beautiful destination over a royal spread served on board.
Day Three : (Friday) : Sindhudurg, Tarkarli and Sawantabadi
Next day the train chugs in to the tip of the Konkan coast, Sindhudurg Nagari station. A luxury A/C bus transfers you to Malvan Jetty from the Station. Settled in a comfortable boat, arranged just for you, and enjoy the mesmerizing view of flora, birds and caressing waves on the ride to Sindhudurg Fort.
Next stop the one time naval base, stubbornly guarded, till today by the unconquered Ocean Fort of Sindhudurg. As you approach the Fort from Malvan Jetty past a rocky reef, marvel at the hard work of over 6000 skilled hands that worked round the clock for 3 years. Within its premises are temples dedicated to Bhavani, Mahadeo, Jarimari Mahapurusha and Shivaji. Walk on the two-mile long rampart walls and watch the breathtaking view of the vast open sea as it fires a volley of spray 30 ft. below. And at times even 30 feet high, an amazing experience indeed.
Head out to Tarkarli by luxury A/C bus. A virgin beach at the confluence of river Karli and Arabian Sea with Silver Soft sands and pristine clear waters. The wide river, the beautiful sailboats, the tiny islands, the hamlets at the river bank, all contribute to the picture-postcard beauty of Tarkarli. Enjoy a relaxed lunch at the well-appointed MTDC Beach Resort, complete with twenty “Konkani” style cottages. Indeed a perfect place to enjoy the mouth-watering “Malvani Cuisine” and then unwind.
Next stop, Tarkarli Jetty, for a romantic boat ride through the Trkarli creek up to Kalse Jetty. Move on to Sawantabadi by luxury A/C bus, situated on the southernmost point of Sindhudurg. This elite heritage destination is the entry point to Goa. The colorful town, once an estate capital, is home to the Chitar Ali and Jagannathrao Bhosle Garden. Shilpa Gram is yet another place you must visit. A craft village, where you can watch local craftsmen manufacturing handicrafts and what’s more, you can buy some mementos too.
The evening promises a traditional meals in the train. As the train heads to Goa from Sawantwadi, you will leave behind this coastal paradise rich in history and natural splendour.
DAY Four : (Saturday) : Goa
As the train pulls in to Goa, get ready to explore an exotic destination frequented by tourist fro all corners of the globe. Brilliant lush green fields surrounding village and hamlets, white washed churches standing out against occasional empty patches of starting red soil. Welcome to Goa, the land of India’s finest golden sand beaches, jungle clad hills, imposing ancient churches and elegant mansions, splashed with colour of bougainvillea. Goa is indeed a great collage of sights, experiences and history.
Once in Goa, you can start with Old Goa. Take a walk amid the ruins, ramble in the vast gardens and grounds of the old church building. Basilica of Bom Jesus, Se Cathedral and the Church of St. Francis of Assissi, that began as a mosque but now is an archaeological museum for Goa antiques.
Move on to Priol, home to one of the oldest Saraswat Temples in Goa, the Mangeshi Temple. Lord Mangesh is worshipped here in the shape of a Shiva ‘linga’. Next, get ready for a romantic boat cruise with live entertainment Goan style down the Mandovi river. It’s time for an afternoon laced with heady traditional music, dance and finger licking Goan delicacies.
Visit Fontanhas the Latin quarters at Panjim, the capital of Goa State. Next stop is DonaPauls, a small palm fringed beach with casuarina groves and tranquility.
The day has ended, but in Goa, it is just
the beginning. Non stop fun, virgin beaches, ancient sites and caves, religious
icons and shrines are set deep in your mind as you head back to the Madgaon
station. Wine and dine on board the royal train. It’s ture, no matter how much
time you have in Goa, it will always seem too little.
Next morning the royal train pulls into Pune, the restwhile capital of Marathas. Also known as the cultural capital of the state, it is hometown of famous poets, writers, singers artists. After a royal breakfirst in the train, step out to discover this early home of Shivaji,the great Maratha warrior.
First stop is Phule Mandai, the old central market, named after the great social reformer Mahatma Joytiba Phule. It consists of a large octagonal central tower with Gothic feature and arms radiating from it. A reminder of the days gone by. Move on to the Raja Kelkar Museum, a quaint Rajasthani-styled building with an interesting personal collection of artifacts and antiques belonging to the 17th , 18th and the 19th century. Next is the world famous lyergar Yoga Institute. Directed by Mr. B.K.K Iyengar, it is an institute of international reputation. People come here from all over the world with hopes and rarely ever go back disappointed.
After a quick lunch break at the Taj Blue Diamond Hotel, it is time to move on to the world famous Rajneesh Ashram, Commonly known as Osho Ashram, the lushly landscaped 24-acre commune offers numerous programmes with an emphasis on meditation. Thousands alight here every day in search of spiritual meanings. Next stop is the Tribal Museum with an impressive collection. Of nearly 2000 rare and precious articles related to the tribal life of Maharashtra. The 12 sections include domestic life, agricultural, weapons and woodcarving.
Move on to the David Synagogue, belived to be one of the largest in the world. Built by a Jewish merchant. Sir David Sassoon in 1867, it is one of the finest synagogues in India. Now, the luxury bus takes you to the Aga Khan Palace. A historical monument where Mahatma Gandhi and his wife were imprisoned along with other national leaders after he started the Quit India movement. Listen to the magic of hymns and devotional songs presented by a small group of artistes near the memorial of Smt. Kasturba Gandhi.
Before you realise it, the day has ended. And it’s time for the famous and sound show at the Shaniwarwada Palace, buile in 1732 by the Peshwas. Traditional ‘tutari,’ ‘sanai’, ‘chaughada’, garlands and ‘kumkum tilak’ welcome you at the entrance. While the daring story of the eratwhile Maratha Empire enacted by light and sound capture your imagination inside.
After sumptuous meal on board the royal train, your next destination is the 6th century.
Day Six : (Monday) : Aurangabad
Next morning, travelling along to the rolling hills and picturesque ruins of the past, you travel way back in time to Aurangabad. Founded by Aurangzeb, Aurangabad’s heritage is rich and varied.
After breakfast in the train, a luxury bus takes you to the majestic fortress of Daulatabad. An impregnable defense in its day, it still stand tall and proud. Walk around the ruins, which tell you extraordinary stories of bravery and valour.
Next stop is the world famous Ellora Caves. Just 30 kms from Aurangabad the historical Ellora caves is now a World Heritage Site. The Hindu, Jain and Buddhist caves at Ellora are among the finest in India. Lying on the ancient trade route, the caves are thought to be the work of priests and pilgrims who used the route. Abandoned and forgotten for a few centuries, the 34 caves were cut out of volcanic rocks of the Deccan trap. 12 are Buddhist (600 to 700 AD), 17 Hindu (800-1000AD) anf five Jain(1000-1300 AD). The Buddhist caves belong to the Vajrayana sect of the Mahayana School. The caves include ‘Viharas’ (monasteries) and ‘Chatyas’ (chapels) where the monks worshipped. The Hindu caves lie in the centre of the group. The most famous of them being the Kailasanatha Templee (8th century). It is the most magnificent of all the rock-cut structures at Ellora. Competely open to the elements, it is the only building that was begun from the top. The Jain caves, less grand in comparison to the other are richly caved with lotus, elephants, lions and ‘tirthankaras’of Lore Mahavira. They offer an aura of peace and simplicity.
Come back to Aurangabed for lunch at the Taj Hotel with love cultural entertainment. Next stop. Is the Shivafi Museum with weapons and antiques from the great Mratha Empire. Just beyond the city, lies the Aurangabad Caves with highly ornate and strikingly detailed sculptures and architecture. Dating from the Vakataka and the succeeding Kalachuri dynasties (2nd and 6th centuries AD), these 10 caves, five in each group are also a World Heritage Site.
Move on to the Bibi-Ka-Maqbara,a tribute of the Emperor’s son to his mother. A repluca of Taj Mahal, the fairy tale Maqbara stands out as the only piece of Moghul architecture on the Deccan Plateau. Spend some time browsing through Paithani and Himroo showrooms for a perfect memorabilia.
Soon, it’s time to go the station for a mouth-watering feast in the train and then to travel even further back in time.
Day Seven : (Tuesday) : Ajanta & Nashik
Alight at Jalgaon railway station after a royal breakfast. Travel to T-Junction in a luxury A/C bus. Board the MSRTC eco-friendly bus and it’s time to travel back in time . Soon you will find yourself surrounded by dramatic views of the Waghora valley where the Ajanta caves are located. Older than the Ellora caves (200BC to 650 AD) they are also cut from the volcanic lava of the Deccan Trapin a steep crescent shaped hillside. Lost to the world after the 7th century it was discovered by accident in 1819, by a patry of British on a hunting expedition.
At Ajanta the Mahayana Group, Hinayana group and the later Mahayana group, complete the spectrum of Buddhist development in India. “Boddhisttva Padmapani”, Boddhisattva Avalokitesvara”, “17 Jatakas”, The birth of the Buddha” and “The Thousands Buddha” are amongst the finest murals and sculptures ever found. The paintings on the ceiling particularly the elephant scattering the lotus, charging bull, the black princes and the row of dancers with musicians mesmerize tourists from all over the world.
After a quick shopping break for artfacts and souvenirs, back track to Jalgaon Station in the same luxury A/C/ bus. Travel along to Nashik in the royal comforts of the train while the magnificent images of the ancient caves linger on in your mind. Enjoy the mouth-watering spread on board of the royal train.
Alight at nashik Road station with a traditional of garlands, “arti”and “Kumkum tilak”. Depart from Sula Winery at Govardhan Park in the comforts of a luxury A/C bus, enjoying the view of a bustling township that’s an interesting blend of the ancient and the modern.
Stop on the way at the grape farms of the
Winery. Walk through the green paradise as rows and rows of grapes meet your eye
in every direction. After watching the breathtaking view from the Gangapur dam
site move on to the Sula Winery. The air, heavy with the headyaroma of wine,
welcomes you to the winery. Wine and dine in royal comfort as the sun sets in
the horizon. Finally, when you head back to the Nashik Road Station, it’s time
for the Deccan Odyssey train to move from the past to the future. Get ready to
alight at the most advanced business capital of India, Mumbai.
Enjoy the breakfast on board as the sun rises over the commercial capital of India. Alight at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus in the morning enriched with the rich legacy of this land. The royal journey is over, but the memory of which, will live on forever.Facilities & Services
Any leg of minimum of 3 nights subject to
availability will be given at the above-mentioned rates.