INDIA in 22 days
Mumbai - Matheran - Hyderabad - Hampi - Aihole - Pattadakal - Badami - Bangalore - Srirangapatna - Mysore - Chennai - Port Blair - Havelock - Mahabalipuram - Chennai
Late arrival. Chill out in the hotel.
A visit to Elephanta Island – home of the famous cave temples.
To get to the Island take a ferry from the Gateway of India (which itself is a place worth seeing). The ferries leave every 30 minutes from 9 am to 2 pm, from Tuesday to Sunday. The caves are closed on Mondays. The last boat from the Island leaves at 5:30 pm.
On our return, we had a nice stroll near the Gateway of India. Then we enjoyed the sunset and local delicacies at Chowpatty Beach.
A trip to Matheran – a popular weekend getaway for Mumbai residents, about 100 km from the city. It is a lovely mountainous place with lots of tracking trails and picturesque sceneries to enjoy.
To get there, we took a toy train from Neral Junction (2-hour-trip) (for trains to Neral from the nearest station in Mumbai check the timetable at http://go4mumbai.com/). The toy train goes at the stunning speed of 10 kilometers per hour. But it allows you to admire the surrounding panoramic landscape. At times, it also allows you to get off, take a couple of shots with the train itself in the background and then board it again.
A full day of wandering around in the city, starting with the Dhobi Ghat and finishing with the sunset at Haji Ali Dargah islet mosque.
Back to nature in Sanjay Gandhi National Park.
The best way to get to the park is by train (Borivali Station, then take a stroll or a rickshaw to the park entrance). On some days, it is possible to reach the park by bus.
In the evening, we took a night train to Hyderabad (14 -16 hour trip, depending on a train).
Check http://www.indianrail.gov.in/know_Station_Code.html for the up-to-date timetable.
The whole day of sightseeing: Salar Jung Museum, Golconda Fort, Qutab Shahi Tombs. In the evening, we went back to Golconda for the light and sound show.
We continued the sightseeing: Charminar and the surrounding bazaars, Sanjeevaiah Park, Hussain Sagar Park and Buddha Statue.
In the evening, we took a night train to Hospet (another name: Hosapet) (about 12 hours, depending on a train).
In the morning, after arrival in Hospet, we took a rickshaw to Hampi (it is possible to take a local bus as well).
According to Wikipedia, Hampi is the most searched historical place in Karnataka on Google. It dates back to the first century CE and is inscribed on UNESCO Word Heritage Site list. There are lots of interesting places to see in Hampi, as well as many cozy restaurants and cafes, so it might be a good idea to stay longer and get a nice rest in here.
The easiest way to travel in Hampi between the historical sites is by rickshaw. If you don’t feel like walking, of course.
After breakfast, we took a taxi (we agreed on a fare before the trip) and went to the Aihole temple complex, then to Pattadakal monuments and then to Badami rock temples (the taxi driver waited for us at every place). The trip took us the whole day, and at the end, we got dropped off at the train station to catch a night train to Bangalore (about 13 hours).
The whole day of sightseeing – downtown and the botanical garden.
In the morning, we took a train to Srirangapatna (3-4 hours), where we spent the rest of the day chilling out.
We took a taxi to the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary. We walked around in the park enjoying the birds and other animals. We also took a boat ride on the river, which gave us a chance to watch the nesting sites on the islands up-close and to spot a few crocodiles warming up in the sun.
We checked out from the hotel and took a taxi to Mysore.
The whole day of sightseeing – downtown, the Maharajah’s Palace, and the Devaraja fruit and vegetable market.
In the evening, we took a night train to Chennai (10-13 hours, depending on a train)
The whole day of sightseeing – the Government Museum, Fort St George and the city beach, probably the widest in the world.
We took a plane to Port Blair, a capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands union territory. In Port Blair we visited the Cellular Jail, then we took Makruzz (a fast ferry) to Havelock Island.
We ate, loved, snorkeled and read on Havelock Island. We met Rajan, the last swimming elephant of the Andaman Islands.
We took Makruzz back to Port Blair, from where we took a plane to Chennai.
In Chennai, we had 6 hours of free time before our return flight, so we decided to take a taxi to Mahabalipuram - an ancient historical town with the shore temple and stone carvings, 60 kilometers from Chennai.
In the evening, we went to the airport to catch our flight back.
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