The Deccan Plateau, though largely protected from the invaders that plundered northern India, had several magnificent empires and dynasties that ruled the region. The Bahmani Sultanate, the Chalukyas of Badami, the Vijayanagara Empire and the Cholas, amongst several others, have all contributed in making the Deccan Plateau home to some of the finest architecture in India, reflected in the region’s magnificent temples, palaces and forts.

Bengaluru (Bangalore)

Bengaluru (Bangalore)

  • Garden city gateway to the region
  • Variety of luxury hotels

Like most of the major metropolises of India, Bangalore is a study in contrasts. Historical monuments sit cheek by jowl with modern day shopping malls, amusement parks, clubs and resorts. Home to India’s information technology giants, the city is fast becoming the hub for almost everything related to cutting edge science. With possibly the highest number of pubs in India, this Garden City has carried with it its rich heritage, traditional art and craft, exotic cuisine as its friendly people have embraced the modern with open arms.

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Hampi

Hampi

  • Historic ruins & palaces
  • Spectacular landscape

Hampi was once the capital of the Vijayanagar Empire, a powerful and prosperous city, with a monopoly on the spice and cotton trade of the region. Today the ruins of Hampi are a World Heritage site, the most beautiful and evocative of all in Karnataka. Built along the Tungabhadra River in the 16th century under the rule of Krishna Deva Raya, the remains of over 500 monuments dot the southern bank of the river, with fortified walls encircling its former palaces and royal apartments.

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Gulbarga

Gulbarga

  • Grand monuments
  • Gulbarga Fort
  • Jami mosque

Gulbarga was the capital of the Bahamani Kingdom in the mid-14th century, later becoming a part of the region ruled by the Nizams of Hyderabad. The Gulbarga Fort, remade by Allah-ud-din Bahami, features 15 boundary towers, a magnificent mosque spread over 38000 sq. ft. and the sprawling tomb complex of the Sufi saint Bande Nawaz who preached here from 1413. Other structures in Gulbarga are the Khandar Khan and Hirapur mosques built by Chandbibi and the imposing tombs of Sultan Hassan and Firoze Shah.

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Hyderabad

Hyderabad

  • Golconda fort & Koh-I-Noor diamond
  • Jami Masjid & Mecca Masjid mosques

Hyderabad is a city on the cusp of the north-south divide, merging several aspects of both regions. Founded in 1590 by Quli Qutub Shah, this ‘Pearl of the Deccan’ declared its independence from the Mughals under its famous Nizams, the last of whom was thought to have been India’s richest man. Famous for its Golconda diamond mines, where the Koh-i-noor diamond is said to have been discovered, the city has several landmarks of its majestic past; The Char Minar, a fine example of Qutub Shahi architecture; the Salar Jung museum and its most famous mosques, the imposing Jami Masjid and Mecca Masjid.

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Badami, Aihole & Pattadakal

Badami, Aihole & Pattadakal

  • Rock-cut cave temples
  • Range of architectural styles

Delicately perched in a ravine sits the city of Badami, the ancient and regal capital of the Chalukya kingdom. Established in 540 AD by Pulakesi I, Badami is surrounded by rugged mountainous terrain that rings the Agastya Lake. The Chalukya reign was famous for its patronage of art, craft, architecture and literature, as well as the religious tolerance of its monarchs. Badami is famed for its Buddhist, Hindu and Jain rock-cut cave temples and sculptures, a testament to the forward looking Chalukya dynasty. Similar architecture is to be found at the city of Aihole, which, with over 125 finely carved temples, is considered the birthplace of the Dravidian School of architecture. The Lad Khan temple, built in the 5th century; the Durga temple with its intricate carvings and the Meguti temple, constructed from small stone blocks, are among the finest specimens of temple architecture in the region. Pattadakal, the location used by the Chalukya kings for their coronation is another marvel of temple architecture. Built in several styles, the main attractions are the spectacular carvings of the Sanghameswara, the Papanatha, the Mallikarjuna and the Virupaksha temples, depicting the life of Krishna and scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata.

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