Journey from Mumbai's Bollywood scene to the historic temples of Hampi via the Old Town of Hyderabad and the palaces of Bangalore. Our 11-day luxurious Central India Cultural Highlights itinerary takes you throughout the fascinating heart of this incredible, diverse country.
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Arrive in vibrant Mumbai, home of India’s exciting film and arts culture, and check into your luxury suite at the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower. You may rub shoulders with royalty and celebrities here, who are frequent guests of the palatial hotel. Settle in, adjust to your new surroundings, have a delicious dinner, and rest for your next few busy days.
Spend some time exploring Mumbai today. Begin with the Prince of Wales Museum, the city’s main museum, housing 50,000 exhibits of ancient Indian history. Next, head to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Victoria Station, and the upmarket area of Malabar Hill.
Today, you’ll take in some of Mumbai’s more modern arts, starting with the elegant National Gallery of Modern Art, and followed by a visit to the ever-flamboyant Indian take on Hollywood, Bollywood. Bollywood is the largest film producer in India, and indeed among the world’s largest as well.
Head to Hampi today, home to the ruins of the ancient Vijayanagara Empire, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll fly to Hubli Airport and then drive three hours to Hampi. Check into your room at one of our two recommended luxury hotels, Hampi Boulders or The Hyatt Place. Once settled in, take in the exotic smells and sights of Paan Supaari Street, dedicated to the Indian traditional snack of betel leaf filled with a mixture of chopped or coarsely ground areca nuts and spices. Finish off with a visit to Matanga Hill, famous for its stunning views.
Take a peek into India’s past today with a tour of Hampi’s temples, many of which are decorated in fascinating ancient motifs and elaborate frescoes. Finally, if you happen to be visiting in November, take part in the Utsav Festival, Hampi’s largest festival, featuring music, dance and puppet performances, as well as fireworks and more.
Take off for Bangalore today, well-known as the country’s information technology capital, and India’s third-largest city. Transfer to your suite at the Taj West End, which holds the title of the city’s first hotel, and become acquainted with your new surroundings.
Explore Bangalore today, on a tour that takes you to Lal Bagh, a botanical garden with India's largest collection of tropical plants; Dodda Basavana Gudi, also known as the Bull Temple, representing a sacred Hindu demi-god, and Bangalore Palace. Spend the rest of your day relaxing in the palatial surroundings of your hotel, or exploring the city as you like.
Today you’re off to Hyderabad, where you’ll check in to your historic suite at the Taj Faluknama Palace. Get acquainted with the city by paying a visit to two of the city’s most important sites: the ruins of the capital of ancient Kingdom of Golkonda and one of the city’s oldest mosques, Mecca Masjid.
After a leisurely breakfast this morning, take a stroll through Hyderabad’s historic Public Gardens, located in the heart of the city. These gardens are home to not only the State Legislature, but also an open-air theater. Wind up your time in Hyderabad with a tour of its Old City, before turning in for the night at your palatial hotel.
On your final day of your Central India itinerary, fly to Mumbai and check-in for your flight to your next destination.
For over a century, the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower has been the haunt of India's elite, and has played host to princes, kings, maharajas, presidents, CEOs and countless celebrities. Built in 1903, it is an architectural marvel, bringing together Moorish, Oriental, and Florentine styles. Inside, the hotel showcases contemporary Indian art framed by vaulted alabaster ceilings, onyx columns, graceful archways, hand-woven silk carpets, crystal chandeliers, and an eclectic collection of furniture. There are 519 rooms and 46 opulent suites with panoramic views of the Arabian Sea and the Gateway of India. The Taj's excellent dining options include Golden Dragon - voted the best Chinese restaurant in Mumbai; Masala Kraft - Indian cuisine with a contemporary twist; Souk, which has stunning views of Mumbai from its rooftop location and serves Middle Eastern cuisine; The Zodiac Grill, where a special menu is offered for each month's star sign, and the stellar Wasabi By Morimoto - Mumbai's first contemporary Japanese restaurant, helmed by the Iron Chef himself. There is also the Harbour Bar, Mumbai's first drinking establishment, and the Insomnia nightclub, filled with "Bombabes" and their millionaire boyfriends. Guests can unwind at the luxurious spa, the fitness center, equipped with cardiovascular and weight training equipment, steam shower and sauna and swimming pool, or with a game of badminton, squash, tennis or billiards. The hotel also has a private yacht available for day trips on the Arabian Sea or to nearby Elephanta Island. There is a business center with wired and wireless Internet access, secretarial services and cell phones and laptops for hire. Wi-fi available throughout the hotel. The Taj Mahal Palace is 45 minutes from Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (BOM).
Built in the 19th century as a guesthouse for visiting dignitaries, the Faluknama was once one of India's finest palaces; today, it is one of the country's most luxurious hotels. Local artifacts, Italian marble, and fixtures & fittings from around the globe make the Taj Faluknama a fascinating attraction in and of itself. Its sixty rooms and suites combine contemporary amenities, such as high-speed internet access, in-room safes, plush beds, and DVD players, with classic design features including hardwood floors and colorful, hand-painted walls. The Royal Presidential Suite, the most luxurious of these rooms, even has its own private swimming pool. The Taj’s culinary options include Adaa, which serves slow cooked, traditional Hyderabadi cuisine such as biryani, or rice slow-cooked with meat, vegetables, spices, and saffron; Celeste, an Italian and Mediterranean eatery that is open all day; Jade Verandah, a breakfast only venue; and a hookah lounge and a poolside bar. Amenities include a spa, pool, library and billiards room, as well as an in-house historian who will walk guests through the property's fascinating history.