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Wed, 20 Sep 2017      
 
GOA
SUGGESTED NUMBER OF DAYS: 4N/5D OR 12N/13D
POSSIBLE ADD ONS: BADAMI – HAMPI - HALEBID – MYSORE – BANGALORE
     
Goa India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Located on the west coast of India in the region known as the Konkan, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its western coast.

Panaji is the state's capital, while Vasco da Gama is the largest city. The historic city of Margao still exhibits the influence of Portuguese culture, who first landed in the early 16th century as merchants, and conquered it soon thereafter. The Portuguese overseas territory existed for about 450 years, until it was annexed by India in 1961.
SIGHTSEEING
 Churches of Goa
To begin with, the most visible legacy of the Portuguese are their churches, not only imposing monuments of old Goa but also more typically white- washed facades nestling among palm trees elsewhere. Old Goa contains churches affiliated to various congregations, including the Se Cathedral (the seat of the Archbishop of Goa), the church of St Francis of Assisi, the church of San.-Cajetan, and notably, the Basilica of Born Jesus which contains the incorruptible body of Saint Francais Xavier.
 Basilica of Bom Jesus
The Basilica of Bom Jesus is famous throughout the Roman Catholic world since it contains the tomb and mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier. A red laterite edifice completed in 1605.
 Church of St. Francis of Assisi
The beautiful church displays superb decorative paintwork & woodcarving & floor are inlaid with elaborately engraved tombstones depicting scenes from the life of St. Francis. The convent at the back of this church is now the Archaeological Museum
 Miramar
Miramar, an urban beach, where the Mandovi River meets the Arabian Sea, a point that offers the best location to watch enchanting sunsets.
 Dona Paula
Sprinkled with palm trees and casuarina plantations, the beach of Dona Paula in North Goa is a peaceful stretch next to the little town and fishing village of Dona Paula. It is also a popular picnic spot.
 Villages in Goa
Goa is essentially a village state with 347 villages as compared to 44 towns. Behind all the modern beaches and trance parties is that Goa which is close by yet so rural, so untouched. Goan villages by and far are better than other villages in India. They might not fit into that mental picture which comes to your mind with word 'village'.
REACHING GOA
 Goa by Air
Dabolim is the main entry point for Goa situated at a distance of around 29 km from Panaji on the coast near Vasco da Gama.
Most domestic airlines operate in Goa apart from chartered private airlines operating from UK and Germany. Indian Airlines has direct flights from Delhi and Mumbai daily. Air India also flies to Goa.
 Goa by Rail
It is not difficult to reach Goa by trains, especially after opening of the Konakan Railway that connects Margao and Vasco da Gama to major cities in India. You can take trains from Delhi 1,874 km), Mumbai (490km), and Bangalore (430 km) to reach Goa comfortably. From the railway stations, you can hire taxis and motorcycle taxis to reach the desired destinations.
 Goa by Road
Goa, Maharashtra, and Karnataka state transport corporations operate from the Kadamba bus stand at Panaji. Frank Shipping operates a boat service between Mumbai and Panaji.
Moving around in Goa is quite easy. One can find bus as well as car rental services. A unique experience is that of the motorcycle taxi. Several ferry services are also available.
MAHARASHTRA
SUGGESTED NUMBER OF DAYS: 7N/8D
POSSIBLE ADD ONS: GOA
ROUTING: MUMBAI-AURANGABAD-AJANTHA-ELLORA-GOA
     
Maharashtra is a state located on the western coast of India. It is India's third largest state by area and second largest by population.
Maharashtra is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west, Gujarat and the Union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli to the northwest, Madhya Pradesh to the northeast, Chhattisgarh to the east, Karnataka to the south, Andhra Pradesh to the southeast, and Goa to the southwest. The state covers an area of 307,731 km2 (118,816 sq mi) or 9.84% of the total geographical area of India. Mumbai, the capital city of the state, is India's largest city and the financial capital of the nation. Marathi is the official and most widely spoken language.
HISTORY
Not much is known about Maharashtra's early history, and its recorded history dates back to the 3rd century B.C.E., with the use of Maharashtri Prakrit, one of the Prakrits derived from Sanskrit. Later, Maharashtra became a part of the Magadha empire, ruled by emperor Ashoka. The port town of Sopara, north of present day Mumbai, was the centre of ancient India's commerce, with links to Eastern Africa, Mesopotamia, Aden and Cochin.
GEOGRAPHY
Maharashtra encompasses an area of 308,000 km² (119,000 mi²), and is the third largest state in India. It is bordered by the states of Madhya Pradesh to the north, Chhattisgarh to the east, Andhra Pradesh to the southeast, Karnataka to the south, and Goa to the southwest. The state of Gujarat lies to the northwest, with the Union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli sandwiched in between. The Arabian Sea makes up Maharashtra's west coast.
MUMBAI
Mumbai, formerly Bombay, is the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra. As of 2009, Mumbai is the largest city in the world in terms of population, with the city proper having a population of approximately 14 million inhabitants, and along with the neighbouring cities of Navi Mumbai and Thane, it forms an urban agglomeration with around 19 million people. Mumbai lies on the west coast of India and has a deep natural harbour. As of 2009, Mumbai was named an Alpha world city.
     
SIGHTSEEING
 Gateway of India
This graceful ceremonial archway was built to commemorate the arrival of King George V and Queen Mary for the Delhi Durbar of 1911. It has historical significance for India because after the country gained Independence, the last British troops left Indian soil, marching under this imperial archway to board their waiting ships.
 Marine Drive
Mumbai's distinctive curving seafront avenue connects the skyscrapers of Nariman Point to the green villas of Malabar Hill. It is also called the Queen's Necklace because of its appearance after dark, when the street lights sparkle around the curve of the bay.
 Prince of Wales Museum
One of the country's renowned museums, this heritage building is situated amidst green lawns, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The museum contains a priceless collection of miniature paintings as well as extensive collections of art, sculpture, china, rare coins and weaponry.
 Hanging Gardens
The Hanging Gardens, also known as Ferozeshah Mehta Gardens. They provide lovely sunset views over the Arabian Sea and feature numerous hedges carved into the shapes of animals. These beautiful gardens overlook Marine Drive and are a popular picnic spot
 Elephanta Caves
The Elephanta island is located 10 km away from the Gateway of India at Mumbai. These caves house rock cut temples dating back to the 5th century CE. It was named by the Portuguese, after the statue of an elephant near the landing area of the island. These rock cut temples dedicated to Shiva Mahadeva are rich in sculptural content.
REACHING MUMBAI
By Air - Mumbai has more flights connecting it than even the national capital New Delhi. All major airlines fly to and from Mumbai to most of the important cities of the world. The international terminal of Mumbai is known as Sahar and the domestic terminal is known as Santa Cruz. The Sahar terminal is 30 km from downtown Mumbai and Santa Cruz is at a distance of 25kms. Besides taxis, there are regular shuttle services plying between the two terminals.
By Bus - If you would like to travel by bus within India, most long distance buses leave from the State Transport Terminal located opposite Mumbai's Central Railway Station. However, this is not a good option if you do not speak Hindi or Marathi as no printed information is available in English. However most of the neighbouring states like Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh have their state bus company offices located here.
By Rail - Central Railways runs services to the east and north, the Western Railways also runs trains to North India from Churchgate and Central stations. Some of the important connections by rail and their respective distances are
AURANGABAD
     
Aurangabad "Built by the Throne", named after Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb), is a city in Aurangabad district, Maharashtra, India. The city is a tourist hub, surrounded with many historical monuments, including the Ajanta Caves and Ellora Caves, which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as well as Bibi Ka Maqbara. The administrative headquarters of the Aurangabad Division or Marathwada region, Aurangabad is said to be a 'City of Gates', as one can not miss the strong presence of these as one drives through the city. Aurangabad is also one of the fastest growing cities in the world.
SIGHTSEEING
 Ajanta Caves
Situated 99 Kms from the Aurangabad city the place is famous for its caves. The Ajanta caves dating back to Gupta period were built between the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C. The first Buddhist cave was further added by several intricately decorated caves. Ajanta caves are popular for its paintings and sculptures, which are masterpieces of Buddhist religious art. The caves are dotted with 34 monasteries and temples, which extend over 2 Kms.
 Ellora Caves
The place located 30 Kms from Aurangabad, has many uninterrupted monuments, belong to the 600 A.D- 1000 A.D. The popular Ellora caves have a collection of unique artistic pattern and a technological exploit. Around 34 caves were carved out in a curve of low hills, among them16 are of Hindus, 13 are of Buddhist and five are Jain faith.
REACHING AURANGABAD
By Air: Aurangabad airport is conveniently located 10km from the city and has direct flights to and from delhi and mumbai.
By Rail: Aurangabad is well connected to mumbai and other cities. there are two trains that depart daily from mumbai, the tapovan express and the devgiri express is an overnight train.
By Road: There are several luxury and state run bus services that ply between mumbai and aurangabad and the ajanta/ellora caves
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