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The Arc of the Sacred Symposium: Ancient Cities and Monuments of the Deccan Plateau

Mysore, Hampi, Badami
with Guest Speaker Dr. Vasudha Narayanan and WT Trip Leader Hashmat Singh

The Arc of the Sacred Symposium: Ancient Cities and Monuments of the Deccan Plateau route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $7895  
Length: 14 days
Arrive: Siem Reap, Cambodia
Depart: Mumbai, India
Lodging: 13 nights hotels
Meals: All meals included except 1 lunch and 1 dinner
Activity: Archaeology, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level: Overland travel with walking tours, cultural explorations


  • Four-day symposium at Angkor, one of the world’s most phenomenal artistic achievements, featuring five of the world’s top experts in classical Asian art and archaeology, architectural conservation, and Hindu and Buddhist cultures
  • Explore the ruins of Hampi, with its atmospheric temples and riverside setting
  • Badami, Aihole and Pattadakal, with their glorious temples and some of the finest sculptural work in India
  • Enhanced experience of traveling with expert on Hinduism and the art and sculpture of southern India, Dr. Vasudha Narayanan

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.


We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

This itinerary is part of the Arc of the Sacred Symposium & Tour Program, an extraordinary four-day symposium in Siem Reap, Cambodia, that explores the remarkable spiritual synchronicity that exists across Asian cultures.

The tour described on this page is one of six special journeys which are being offered in conjunction with the symposium. For information on the other symposium tours, click on these links: Temples & Treasures of Cambodia, Buddhist & Hindu Kingdoms, Sacred Sites of Java & Bali, Indochine, and Burma: The Golden Land.

The extraordinary layers of India’s history are revealed on this journey across India’s Deccan Plateau, a region rich in cultural and archaeological treasures. Some of India’s most remarkable empires flourished here, and with Dr. Vasudha Narayanan, an expert in Hindu traditions, we explore a wealth of fantastic archaeological sites in peaceful rural settings, including the vast temple ruins of Hampi (Vijayanagara), set in a primeval landscape of surreal water-carved boulders, and the glorious Chalukyan temples around the villages of Badami, Aihole, and Pattadakal. Dr. Narayanan has been visiting these sites since she was a teenager growing up in India, and has studied and written about the sculptures of Badami and Pattadakal. An extension to explore the extraordinary carved caves at Ajanta and Ellora is available.

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-3
The Arc of the Sacred Symposium

Presentations, excursions, and other activities with our guest speakers at the Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Resort in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Days 4-6
Bangalore / Mysore

At the conclusion of our symposium, we fly to Bangalore, then head to Mysore to explore its highlights, including the walled, fairytale-style palace of the Wadiyars, a splendid showcase of opulence from an earlier time.

Days 7-8
Sravanabelgola / Chikmagalur

A drive through an idyllic landscape of rice paddies, coconut palms, canals, and lakes brings us to the sacred Jain temple complex of Sravanabelgola, where we mingle among pilgrims and climb the hill to the statue of Lord Gomateshwara, an extraordinary 60-foot-high granite monolith carved from a single piece of rock. In Chikmagalur, we visit the Chenakeshava temple at the busy market town of Belur and the archaeological museum at Helibid, with its wood and stone sculptures, miniatures, bronzes, and palm leaf manuscripts.

Days 9-11
Hampi (Vijaynagara)

We explore the World Heritage Site of Hampi (Vijayanagara), a massive ruin that was the most powerful Hindu capital in the Deccan from the 14th to 16th centuries. With its serene setting along the river, whitewashed hilltop temples, spectacular sunsets, and giant boulders of gray, ochre, and pink dominating the landscape, Hampi is an evocative site. We have time to explore its remarkable temples in depth, and to take advantage of the expertise of Dr. Narayanan.

Days 12-14
Badami / Aihole / Pattadakal

The Chalukya Empire ruled much of the Deccan between the 4th and 8th centuries, and around the villages of Badami, Aihole, and Pattadakal there are glorious temples with some of the finest sculptural work in India. We explore the pink sandstone caves and temples of Badami, walk through the narrow, ancient alleys of the town, see the temples of Aihole, the earliest of the Chalukyan capitals, and admire beautiful Chalukyan architecture at Pattadakal. Dr. Narayanan has studied the links between the sculptures at Pattadakal and the famed “Churning of the Ocean of Milk” bas-relief at Angkor Wat (which we will see during the symposium), and she will greatly enhance our visit by sharing her expertise about this fascinating relationship. Both Aihole and Pattadakal are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Fly to Mumbai and depart on Day 14, or take our optional extension to Aurangabad, our base for exploring the magnificent rock-cut chapels, temples, and monasteries at the World Heritage Sites of Ajanta and Ellora.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

The Arc of the Sacred Brochure

Download The Arc of the Sacred brochure, featuring a symposium at Angkor Wat with journeys from Nepal to Indonesia. Or request a print copy to be sent by mail.

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extensions:

What the Trip is Like

The trip is Level 1+, or Easiest. It is an overland cultural adventure, and for the most part, physical activity is light, but there will be some long drives, occasionally on rough roads. There will be extensive walking both during the symposium and during the tour, some of it up or down hill, some over uneven footing, and we will spend some time clambering around temple structures. The hotels we use are generally deluxe except for Badami Court Hotel, where we stay for two nights. It is the best available in town but is very basic, although clean. The Boulders at Hampi is beautifully situated and very charming but the rooms are also basic but clean. We encourage you to get in shape for the trip because travel to remote places does require some physical stamina. Although this is not a difficult trip, please remember that travel India can be an adventure. The essential requirements are flexibility, a sense of humor, curiosity, enthusiasm about new peoples and places, and an openness to the unexpected.

Explanation of Trip Levels


Departures & Leaders

Jan 25-Feb 7, 2015

Program Cost

Prices are for 2015
$7895 (15-16 members)
$8295 (11-14 members)
$8995 (8-10 members)
Single supplement: $1765
Internal airfare: $205 (subject to change)
more on pricing

Extension Costs
Taj Mahal and Jaipur Extension
   from: $2595
Varanasi and Khajuraho Extension
   from: $1295
Kanha National Park Extension
   from: $2095
Bangkok Extension
   from: $645
Phuket Extension
   from: $795
Chiang Mai Extension
   from: $490
Laos: Luang Prabang Extension
   from: $860
Phnom Penh Pre-Symposium Extension
   from: $795
Ajanta and Ellora Caves Extension
   from: $1095

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Program of presentations by Guest Speakers and symposium excursions
  • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader and local guides
  • Accommodations based on double occupancy, including three nights at the Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Resort during the symposium, and hotels in India
  • Welcome and farewell dinners
  • All meals included except 1 lunch and 1 dinner
  • Sightseeing and activities as noted
  • Airport transfers on scheduled arrival and departure dates
  • Land transportation in air-conditioned buses or vans
  • Entrance fees and service charges
  • Bottled water provided during symposium and during longer drives on tour
  • Baggage handling; gratuities to hotel and restaurant staff

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare from US to Siem Reap, Cambodia, from Siem Reap to Bangalore, India, and from Mumbai, India to US; internal airfare within India, transfers for independent arrival or departure; any meals not specified after each itinerary day; international airport departure taxes; hotels en route and any hotel nights that may be necessitated by airline schedule changes or other factors; optional tipping or gratuities to trip leader, and local guide and drivers; medical immunizations, travel insurance, passport and visa fees; and other items of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, drinks with meals, bottled water, internet use, laundry, etc.).

Trip Payment Schedule*

At time of reservation: $1000
Due July 29, 2014: 25% of trip cost
Due October 27, 2014: Balance

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule*

Minimum fee: $500 per person
270-181 days prior to departure: $1000 per person
180-91 days prior to departure: 100% of trip cost
90 days or less: 100% of trip cost

*Please note that this differs from our regular catalog departures.

Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Resort

Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Resort

Days 1 to 3 (3 nights), Siem Reap, Cambodia

Set among lovely gardens and ponds, the Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Resort will feel like an oasis of serenity after a full day exploring the temples ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Royal Orchid Resort

Day 4 (1 night), Bangalore, India

This chic and contemporary-style hotel, with its comfortable rooms and convenient location close to the airport, is a great choice for our overnight stay in Bangalore.

Royal Orchid Metropole

Royal Orchid Metropole

Days 5 to 6 (2 nights), Mysore, India

The Metropole was built as a royal residence in the 1920s to accommodate the British guests of the Maharaja of Mysore. Just down the road from the ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Gateway Hotel KM Road

Gateway Hotel KM Road

Days 7 to 8 (2 nights), Chikmagalur, India

This delightful hotel, set among coffee plantations on the outskirts of Chikmagalur, has cottage-style rooms and a perfect location for visiting the ...
Click here for full description and more photos

Hampi's Boulders

Days 9 to 11 (3 nights), Karnataka, India

Want to get away from the crowds? This is the place to be. Scenically set along the Tungabhadra River, the Boulders is a remote, simple hotel, offering basic but comfortable cottages with attached bathrooms and private patios.

Krishna Heritage

Days 12 to 13 (2 nights), Badami, India

This relatively new hotel offers spacious, clean, and well appointed cottages. Although there is no pool or spa, it has a resort-type ambiance and is a comfortable place to stay while we explore the environs of Badami.

Extension Accommodations

If you would like to view the accommodations offered with our extensions options:

Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Our Trip Leaders

Here are the Trip Leaders scheduled for this journey (please note that leader assignments are subject to change).

Dr. Vasudha Narayanan

Departure Dates: January 25-February 7, 2015

Dr. Vasudha Narayanan is Distinguished Professor, Department of Religion, at the University of Florida, and a past President of the American Academy of Religion (2001-2002). She was educated at the Universities of Madras and Bombay in India, and at Harvard University. Her fields of interest ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Hashmat Singh

Departure Dates: January 25-February 7, 2015

Hashmat Singh has led over 100 journeys on three continents for us since 1990. He holds a BA in History from Delhi University and is a noted photographer. His book, Trekking in the Himalaya (Roli Books), features photographic essays from Ladakh to Bhutan. Born an army brat, Hashmat traveled ...
Click here for a full bio and list of all upcoming trips

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extensions:


Phnom Penh Pre-Symposium Extension

Archaeology, Cultural Adventures, Walking
3 days  -  Level 1


Ajanta and Ellora Caves Extension

Archaeology, Cultural Adventures, Walking
4 days  -  Level 1+

Kanha National Park Extension

Gameviewing in one of India’s Great Wildlife Reserves

Wildlife & Natural History
5 days  -  Level 2

taj mahal agra india cultural tour

Taj Mahal and Jaipur Extension

Romantic Rajasthan, Land of Princes

Cultural Adventures
4 days  -  Level 1

Varanasi and Khajuraho Extension

Holy City Along the Ganges, Magnificent World-Famous Temples

Cultural Adventures
4 days  -  Level 1


Laos: Luang Prabang Extension

Gilded Temples and Traditional Buddhist Culture of Laos

Cultural Adventures
3 days  -  Level 2


wat arun bangkok thailand

Bangkok Extension

Discover the Beautiful Cultural Monuments of Bangkok

Cultural Adventures
3 days  -  Level 1

Chiang Mai Extension

Explore the Wonders of Northern Thailand

Cultural Adventures, Walking, Wildlife & Natural History
3 days  -  Level 2

Phuket Extension

Explore a Jewel Set in the Andaman Sea

Cultural Adventures, Sea Kayaking
4 days  -  Level 2