Goa and South India - Fantastic beaches and atmospheric culture
The Indian Tourism Board’s slogan ‘Incredible India’ truly describes South India! Where else can you ride a landaulet to the finest palace hotel in the world; or wander awestruck through the scattered ruins of a huge and resplendent Imperial city destroyed in a paroxysm of jealous hatred; explore the labyrinthine interiors of vast temple complexes where top-knotted priests practise arcane and ancient rituals.
The greatest palace hotel in the world in Hyderabad – Falaknuma or ‘Mirror of the Sky’ – with its legendary dining table that seats 100 guests – in a city that produced the Koh-i-noor ‘Mountain of Light’ diamond and is also home of the Charminar. Hampi – a World Heritage Site that gives its name to the ruins of one of the greatest Imperial cities of the medieval world. Great mountains corrugate the rugged edges of the peninsula sheltering a wealth of wildlife and forming some of the greatest elephant and tiger habitats in Asia, perfect for tiger safaris and fringed by idyllic beaches where the traveller can recover in sybaritic luxury whilst on luxury holiday in India.
Here are towns literally crammed with palatial mansions and thriving markets and charming heritage homes. Four hundred years of European presence have left their mark in charming and gracious Pondicherry, with its French boulevards, colonial architecture and gendarmeries!; quaint Danish Tranquebar and, of course, Goa, where one has a glimpse of the inhabitants’ languorous, laid-back lifestyle, as well as charming villages set amidst a serene and timeless countryside bounded on the west by the sea and the east by the lush wildlife-rich mountains. Goa has everything – private, remote and characterful beachside hotels and gorgeous villas, beautiful, unexplored and quiet beaches, fantastic seafood and wildlife that ranges from a wealth of birdlife to dolphins and even elephants in the moist forests of the hills.
Explore this fascinating city that first came to prominence in the 15th century when it became the capital of the Qutub Shahi Sultans. Famous as the source of the great diamonds that included the Koh-I-Noor and a major entrepot for east-west trade, Hyderabad soon attracted the attention of the Great Mughal and in the 17th century passed into Mughal control.
The magnificent ruins of Hampi that were once the Imperial City of Vijaynagar – last of the great Hindu Empires of the South.
Walking in the Periyar Reserve - excellent for elephant and Nagarhole Reserve for tigers
Trekking and camping in the buffer zone of the Periyar Tiger Reserve, high in the forests of the Cardamom Hills looking for iconic wildlife - elephant, gaur, lion-tailed macaques, Giant hornbills, Nilgiri tahr, tiger, leopard, wild dog and much more. Exhilarating and highly recommended!
Fantastic beaches that stretch all the way north from Kerala through the Konkan coast to Goa. Dotted with the most delicious resorts, the most exclusive private villas and small, simple, incredibly peaceful beach homes.
Amazing antique shopping in Tamil Nadu
Nilgiri Mountains and the charming Railway
The historic and charming Nilgiri Mountain Railway that is over 100 years old.