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Duke of Wellington’s Trail (Tour Code: IN/023) – To the vast majority of the general public Arthur Wellesley, First Duke of Wellington, is remembered as the victor of Waterloo in 18 June 1815. Those with a little more knowledge will recall him as the man who commanded Britain’s army in the Peninsular War and who beat everything that the French could throw at him in Portugal and Spain between 1808 and 1814. Not many, however, will know that in 1796 Arthur Wellesley (Duke of Wellington) sailed for India as a 27 year old Colonel in command of the 33rd Regiment of Foot. He did not return to England until 1805, by which time he was a 36 year old Major General. The young Wellington learned his trade in India: how to deal with guerrillas operating in their own country; how to operate with allies; the importance of logistics in a fourth world country and the need to keep his men healthy and well fed. It was in India that Wellington developed from the relatively inexperienced battalion commander at the siege of Seringapatam during the 4th Mysore War, where, for perhaps the only – and certainly the last – time in his life, he panicked and lost control, into the thoroughly professional commander of the field army during the 2nd Mahratta War. Many of Wellington´s Indian battlefields are well off the beaten track; tourists do not go there and they are little changed from the day when British and Indian troops fought the armies of Tippoo Sultan, Dowlat Rao Scindhia, the Rajah of Berar, Baptiste Filoze and others. This is a rediscovery tour of 12/13 days.
Arrive in Madras this morning. We will be met assisted and transferred to our hotel. Today at just before our lunch lunch we will attend an introductory lecture and post lunch we visit Madras from the days of Arthur Wesley and his brother, Richard Wellesley, Earl of Mornington and Governor General of British India. On this tour we will visit Fort St. George, the British cemetery and St. Mary’s church (the oldest of the British churches in India). Back to hotel and overnight at the hotel in Chennai.
This morning post breakfast we will be transferred to the airport in time to connect our flight to Bangalore. Upon arrival in Bangalore, we will travel by car to Seringapatam (125 km / 3 hrs). We shall follow the young Wellesley through Mullavelley to the abortive attack on the ‘Tope’ and the village of Sultanpettah. This actually ended Wellesley’s career before it could even begin. We will continue the drive further to Mysore (35km/ 45 min). Arrive Mysore, check-in at the hotel and overnight at our hotel in Mysore.
Day 03 Mysore
Breakfast will be served at the hotel and post breakfast we explore the areas that witnessed the siege of Seringapatam (in April/May 1799). It is here that the assault was successful and the death of Tippoo Sultan brought the Fourth Mysore War to an end. Overnight at hotel in Mysore.
Today we have some time for a comfortable breakfast at our hotel. Post breakfast we may explore the city of Mysore or just relax at our hotel in Mysore. Later we will check-out and will be transferred to Bangalore airport in time to connect our flight to Poona ( now Pune) – the seat of Baje Rao, the Peshwah (ruler) of the Marathas. His deposition had then led to the 1st Maratha War. On arrival in Pune, we will be transferred to our hotel and overnight in Pune.
Day 05 Poona / Ahmednagar
After an early breakfast at the hotel, today we will check-out from our hotel in Pune and travel by road to Ahmednagar (125km / 3 hrs) and follow Wellesley on his mission to capture the walled city and how he besieged the fort. Till date it is a major military station, that was stormed by him on 8th August 1803. Check-in at our hotel in Ahmednagar. Overnight in Ahmednagar.
Day 06 Ahmednagar / Aurangabad
In the morning post breakfast we will check-out from our Ahmednagar hotel and drive to Aurangabad (125km / 3 hrs), to visit the fort of Dowlutabad, which once refused entry to Wellesley, after the Battle of Assaye, later after Indian Independence there was fierce fight between the Nizam of Hyderabad and Indian forces. Nizam of Hyderabad was actually the descendant of Wellesley’s ally then. After exploring Dowlutabad we drive to the Ellora Caves (another 20km from the fort) – a world heritage site between 2,500 and 1,000 years old and probably the finest examples of temple cave architecture. These caves were created for worship by Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains. We will then check-in at our hotel in Aurangabad and overnight in Aurangabad.
Day 07 Aurangabad / Akola
Breakfast at the hotel and post breakfast we check-out drive to Akola (265 km / 5 hrs) .We walk the Battle of Assaye (23 September 1803), the pivotal battle of the First Maratha War and the one that Wellington, in his old age, always maintained was the hardest he ever fought, and which brought the First Maratha War to an end. Overnight in Akola.
Day 08 Akola / Chikhaldara
The peace after the first Maratha Was was short-lived and just lasted for less than a month. Toady after our breakfast we follow Wellesley in the Second Maratha War, to the battle of Argaum. Later we check-out from our hotel on Akola and drive to Chikaldara (150km / 3 hrs) into the hills on to our hotel in Chikhaldara. Overnight at the hotel in Chikaldara.
Day 09 Chikhaldara
Breakfast at the hotel and post breakfast explore the fort of Gawilghur, which is truly spectacular, perched on the top of a 600 foot cliff it had never been taken by storm. Wellesley laid siege to it and on 14 December 1803 he captured it. The fort is little changed from that day; the breach is still there as are some of the Maratha cannon. Armed with a picnic lunch we shall spend the day following the battle and exploring this vast fortified enclave. Overnight at Chikhaldara.
Day 10 Chikhaldara / Nagpur
After a leisurely breakfast and spending some leisure time, post early lunch we check-out drive to Nagpur (250km /5hrs), passing through some of the most scenic and interesting parts of Southern India. Arrive Nagpur, check-in at the hotel and overnight at the hotel in Nagpur.
This morning post breakfast, check-out and transfer to airport to fly from Nagpur to Mumbai (Bombay). Upon arrival in Mumbai, transfer and check-in at the hotel. Today we visit Wellesley’s Bombay including the old fort area, the Afghan church and the ‘Gateway to India’. Overnight in Bombay.
Day 12 Bombay / Further (or back home)
We fly out from Bombay or spend another day or two here or may be take a further extension tour from our array of choices.