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Explore South India...

One can start the tour from Goa or Chennai, the beaches of Goa, for relax & explore ancient ruins that were constructed by the Chalukya kings in the ancient times, later we proceed to the world heritage sites of Hampi, Halebid and Hassan on a Karnataka tour with the Best of South India. Another site the Bay of Bengal to the lush coconut groves and palm-fringed shores of the Malabar Coast, South India is brimming with natural splendor of startling variety. The spice trade lured mariners from Holland, Portugal, France, and beyond across the Arabian Sea to India’s fragrant harbors, and tradesmen from China to the Coromandel Coast. Their voices joined the symphony of languages spoken here, and their unique blend of faiths collectively inspired a profusion of stunning religious the traces of another era in the ancient spice port of Cochin … relax among the cool breezes of the hill country surrounding Munnar …and marvel at the stately palaces of Mysore.

** Name of Program : Explore South India.
** Places Visit : Arrival Mumbai-Goa-Badami-Hampi-Chikmagalur-Halebid-Belur-Hassan-Sharavan Belagola-Mysore-Banglore-Cochin-House Boat- Kumarakom-Munnar.
** Duration : 22 Nights
** Best Time : Oct-April.

Day 01: Arrival Mumbai :
Upon arrival meet to our representative drive to introduce India and your tour will start. Welcome to India, as our mythology say 'atithi devo bhava' (the guest is an incarnation of God). Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you!

Day 02 : Mumbai Sightseeing :
After breakfast visit the commercial capital of India, Gateway Of India,Elephanta Caves,Victoria Terminus (Shivaji Terminus) Kamala Nehru Park, Marin Drive and Juhu Beach.Overnight at hotel.

Day 03 : Mumbai- Goa (Flight) :
Morning, after breakfast take flight to Goa, Variously known as "Pearl of the Orient" and a "Tourist Paradise", the state of Goa is located on the western coast of India in the coastal belt known as Konkan.The magnificent scenic beauty and the architectural splendors of its temples, churches and old houses have made Goa a firm favorite withtravelers around the world. But then, Goa is much more than just beaches and sea. It has a soul, which goes deep into unique history, rich culture and some of the prettiest natural scenerythat India has to offer. Assistance on arrival at the Domestic Airport in Goa followed by transfer to the resort or hotel. Overnight at hotel or Resort.

Day 04 Goa :
After breakfast drive to North Goa for full day city tour.North Goa isknown and loved as a land of golden beaches,palm trees, paddy fields and wooded hills. Its churches, temples, shrines and forts tell its history. It is associated with music, the famous Goa cuisine and most of all with a peace loving, smiling people. Return to the resort for overnight.

Day 05 Goa :
Day free to enjoy the beaches & individual activities. Overnight hotel or resort.

Day 06: Goa- Badami:
Early morning drive to Badami. Upon arrival check into your Hotel. after lunch follow a guided tour of Badami, which is well known for its rich history and ancient architecture. It was the ancient capital of the early Chalukya kingdom. A number of richly carved monuments and caves belonging to Chalukyas, dating back to the 6th and 7th centuries can be found here. The Chalukyas laid the foundation of a unique style of architecture, which is a fine blend of North Indian Nagara style and the South Indian Dravidian style of architecture. The architecture and sculptures created in Badami during the time of the Chalukyas inspired later-day architectural and sculpting traditions. A number of places of historical importance are situated near Badami. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 07: Badami- Hampi :
After breakfast breakfast drive to Hampi. Upon arrival check into Hampi Boulders. Nestled in the Yamani Hills on the banks of the majestic river Tungabhadra and 7 km from Hampi lies this resort. Swift flowing Tungabudra river crisis-crosses to create an awesome array of naturally sculpted rock formations. This network of eroded boulders, make a beautiful sight of the resort. A sight that leaves you gazed on in wonder. From the vantage points of our luxury cottage, savour this unique and unspoiled glimpse of nature's wonderment, the water and rock formations that leave you spellbound. The closest you can get to paradise on Earth.A world heritage center, Hampi- is the most beautiful of all the ruins in Karnataka. Founded in the 14th Century, this was the glorious capital city of a flourishing dynasty who were great patrons of art and architecture. The remains can still be seen in the vast ruins of Hampi, which historians have praised as 'greater than Rome'. Hampi is famous for its ruins belonging to the erstwhile medieval Hindu kingdom of Vijayanagar and it has been declared a World Heritage site. The temples of Hampi, its monolithic sculptures and monuments, attract the traveler because of their excellent workmanship. The Hindu style of architecture found at Hampi reflects the splendor of the Vijayanagar Empire. The rugged landscape adds to the historic ambiance of this site. Overnight at hotel.

Day 08: Hampi :
After leisurely breakfast, proceed on a guided tour of city. Hampi holds many delightful surprises. The most famous is the King's Balance where kings were weighed against gold or money which was then distributed to the poor. Also worth a visit are the Queen's Bath with its arched corridors, projecting balconies and lotus shaped fountains, the two storeyed Lotus Mahal, the huge Elephant Stables, the splendid Vitthal Temple with its musical pillars and the Stone Chariot, the Virupaksha Temple, Ugra Narasimha, the 7 meters tall monolith, the Pushkarini Tank, the Mahanavami Dibba, etc. Temples of this city are noted for their large dimensions, florid ornamentation, bold and delicate carvings, stately pillars, magnificent pavilions and a great wealth of iconographic and traditional depictions, which include subjects from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The Pampapati temple is one of the largest temples at Hampi. The Vitthal temple is an excellent example of Vijayanagar style. Also present are some monolithic statues of Lakshmi, Narasimha and Ganesha, which are noted, for their massiveness and grace. Other temples in the surroundings are the Krishna temple, Pattabhirama temple, Hazara Ramachandra, Chandrasekhara temple and the Jaina Temple. Overnight at Hampi.

Day 09: Hampi :

Chikmagalur : After breakfast drive to Chikmagalur, is a calm, serene town full of scenic surprises hills, valleys, streams and snow-white coffee blossoms. Chikmagalur is a trekker's delight, with its rugged mountain trails. On arrival chek in hotel rest of the time leisusre. Overnight at hotel.

Day 10 : Chikmagalur- Halebid- Belur - Hassan :

After breakfast drive to Hassan en route visiting Belur and Halebid,Belur and Halebid - temple towns slightly bigger than villages. The temples in typical Dravidian style are excellent examples of traditional Hindu architecture. These temples are the cream of what remains the most artistically exuberant periods of Hindu cultural development. The wealth of sculptural details on the temples make them easily the most outstanding example of art and architecture. Every inch of the outside wall and much of the interiors are covered with an endless variety of Hindu deities, sages, scenes from wars, hunting, agriculture, music and dance and some very sensual sculptures explicitly portraying the amorous lifestyles of the dancing girls. The life outside the temples is extremely busy and colourful. Pilgrims, bare feet with horizontal or vertical sandalwood paste smearing on their foreheads and wearing traditionally coloured saffron or black pilgrim's costumes move in and out of the temple complex with flowers and other offerings in their hands. The pavement flower shops, shops selling religious Art facts, the fruit and tea stalls with pilgrims flocking around, add colour and character to the place.Overnighthotel At Hassan.

Day 11: Hassan - Sharavan Belagola - Mysore :

After breakfast drive to Shravan Belagola, which is one of the oldest and the most important pilgrimage centres for the followers of Jain religion. It is the site of the 17mtr monolithic statue of Lord Bahubali - believed to be the world's tallest monolithic statue. Later drive to Mysore. Upon arrival check into your hotel.Evening, we visit the extremely colourful Devaraja Fruit and vegetable market where tropical fruits and vegetables are arranged in fascinating heaps and shapes. Watch out for the amazing patterns in which fruits and vegetables are heaped upwards as hills. The adjoining local bazaar is also a very popular spot with local Indian shoppers where all things needed for daily use can be found. overnight at hotel.

Day 12 : Mysore :

After breakfast, full day local sightseeing, Mysore, which has been for centuries an important center for South Indian culture and learning. It is also the city of lingering aroma of Jasmine, Musk, rose, sandalwood, etc. This is so because Mysore is one of the major manufacturers of incense sticks through scores of family owned factories. The city is also a crafts center. It is an extremely friendly and easygoing city and at an altitude of 770 meters it has a wonderful climate. The Maharaja's Palace (1907) is a huge building in Indo - Saracenic style of architecture; it hosts an extravaganza of stained glass, mirrors, gilt and gaudy colors, beautifully carved wooden doors, mosaic floors and a series of historically important paintings. Of special mention are the beautifully carved mahogany ceilings, solid silver doors, white marble floors and superbly columned durbar hall (Hall Of Public Audience). Next we visit the temple of Shri Chamundeshwari, set on top of the Chamundi Hills (1602 meters.). Three quarters up the hill is the famous Nandy (Lord Shiva's Bull - His vehicle) carved out of a single solid piece of granite and 5 meters in height. The temple itself is a huge building with a 40mtr high seven-storied Gopuram (tower). Overnight at hotel Mysore.

Day 14 Mysore-Ooty :
After breakfast drive to Ooty,is situated in Nilgiri Mountains near Tri Junction of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. Ooty is the only hill station in India which attracts visitors during all seasons. It has built up a fame as the `all-seasons -hill resort' and the `queen of hill stations'. It is one of the most popular hill resorts in southern India at an elevation of 7216 ft. above sea-level, her moods change with every season, but each of her moods is hospitable to the visitor.Nestling among the hills at a point where the Eastern Ghats meets the Western Ghats, the district headquarter town of Ooty sprawls along a beautiful plateau. The Eastern Ghats are mighty and attractive while the Western ghats have wooded loveliness. Nature unfolds itself in and around Ooty in a myriad of profiles, each one with a distinctive grandeur and individuality.

Day 15 Ooty :

After breakfast commence full day local sightseeing visit, Botanical Gardens, Established in 1848, by the Marquis of Twedale, the gardens lie on the lower slopes of Dodabetta peak, the highest point in Ooty. The gardens are formally laid out with lily ponds, and there are clipped bushes in the form of elephants, with raised trunks. Here, a thousand different species of plants including some thirty types of eucalyptus are to be found. There is a fossil tree trunk 20 million years old in the midst of the garden. The Roman Catholic Cathedral, recently enlarged, can be seen on the road from Charing Cross to the Botanical Gardens. The botanical gardens are the venue of an annual Flower Show every May. Tiger Hill (16 kms) A scenic Viewpoint 16 Kms away.Dodabetta Peak (10 kms)The highest peak (2623 metres) in the Nilgiris, it lies at the junction of Western & Eastern Ghats and offers beautiful vistas of the Nilgiri Hills ranges, Valley View Lake (1 km)This artificial lake was constructed in 1824 by Mr. John Sullivan the then Collector of Coimbatore. The lake covers an area of one and a half square miles, with a railway running along one bank. The large graveyard of St. Thomas's church, built in 1870, overlooks the lake. It has the tallest memorial of Ooty, a huge pillar surmounted by a cross, over the grave of William Patrick Adam, the Governor of Madras Presidency,Overnight at hotel.

Day 16 : Ooty-Cochin :
Morning drive to Cochin en route visit local villages and explore the un forgettable landscape. Undoubtedly the commercial hub of Kerala, the city of Cochin is where ancient civilization gracefully mingles with modern life. Right from the early years, Cochin has had cultural and trade relations with the outside world. She had also experienced pulsating episodes of European colonial rivalry. An interesting point to note is that Cochin is probably the only city in India formed from parts of three different states, viz. the two princely states of Travancore and Cochin, and the British Malabar. In 1976, the village panchayats of Edappally, Vennala, Vyttila, and Palluruthy were merged with the municipalities of Ernakulam and Mattancherry to form the Corporation of Cochin. Today with a natural, all-weather harbour, an international airport, and replete with serene backwaters, beautiful lagoons, wooded isles, and a magnificent seascape, Cochin is indeed the Queen of the Arabian Sea. On arrival check in hotel rest of the time leisure.

Day 17 : Cochin :
Morning sightseeing of Cochin, This morning we proceed on a guided tour of the City. The true character of the city is to be found in the older parts of the Fort Cochin area. It more or less exists as it used to be a 1000 years back, when it was first built. The roads have not been widened because the old haggard buildings, through patchwork repairs over the centuries, still stand on the edges. This part of the city reflects an unusual blend of medieval Portugal, Dutch and English country life grafted on to the tropical Malabar Coast. The fishing community of Cochin is also very interesting. They ancient cantilevered fishing nets called Chinese Fishing Nets. The net is fixed to a pole on the shore. While fishing, the entire net is lowered by a primitive fulcrum mechanism using long bamboo poles. By the same mechanism the pole is lifted along with the catch. We will explore the sights of Photographic as well as cultural interest. We would also visit the 16th century Mattancherry Palace, also known as the Dutch Palace since the Dutch substantially renovated the palace in the 17th century. The double storied quadrangular building surrounds a courtyard containing a Hindu temple. The Central Hall on the first floor was the coronation hall of the Rajas of Cochin; on display are their dresses, turbans and palanquins. The most important feature of this palace, however, is the astonishing murals in the bedchambers and other rooms, which depict scenes from the Ramayana and other religious legends. These murals are undoubtedly some of the most beautiful and extensive anywhere to be seen in India. The unique feature here is the unexpected and isolated Jewish community, whose origins date back to AD 52. They are self-contained and have there own Synagogue.

The area around the Synagogue, known, as 'Jew Town' is one of the main centres of spice trade. Scores of small firms huddle together in old dilapidated buildings and the air is filled with the aroma of ginger, cardamom, cumin, turmeric and cloves. The area is very busy. The potters are loading gunny bags of spices on to carts, which keep running up and down the narrow lanes. We would visit Jew Town, in the Mattancherry section and a short walk from the ferry is one street long. Jews used to occupy virtually all the houses on Jew Town Road, where they sold fruits, vegetables and spices or worked as oil pressers or carpenters. The spice markets are still located on the narrow street. Evening witness the Kathakali Dance,
Kathakali Dance:
A special treat awaits us this evening as we proceed to witness the strength and vigor of Kathakali dance drama, as it enacts episodes from great Indian epics. The extremely stylized gestures, the elaborate make-up, the masks and the splendid costumes of these all-male dancers, recreate an incomparable sense of pageantry. Overnight At Hotel

Day 18: Cochin- Kumarakom :
Early breakfast, ride 45 kms to Kumarakom to experience Kerala's famous backwaters that comprise of vast lakes and a system of narrow canals and waterways linking them to one another. Not so long ago, these waterways served as the backbone of Kerala's transportation. Kumarakom is the ideal place to experience the fascinating lifestyles of the backwaters. Upon arrival check into Coconut Lagoon, which has rightly carved its place among the top 10 heritage resorts of the world. The resort is on a small island and can be reached only by boat. Overnight at Coconut Lagoon.

Day 19: Kumarakom :

Day is at leisure for independent activities. You can also enjoy the optional ayurvedic body massage at the resort. You could also choose to explore the surrounding tribal villages, visit the nearby water bird sanctuary or ride through the narrow backwater channels through back of beyond Kerala. Overnight at Coconut Lagoon.

Day 20: Kumarakom - Periyar (Thekkady) :

Morning, breakfast at hotel later drive to Periyar, en route visit the coco, banana, and annas plantation, on arrival check in hotel rest of the time visit the spice garden, rest of the time leisure for individual activities. Overngiht at hotel.

Day 21 : Periyar-Munnar :
Very early morning boat ride at the Periyar Lake, to see the wild animals, later drive to hotel for breakast, check out, drive to Munnar, On arrival check in hotel.
Munnar is a picturesque chunk of the lofty Western Ghats in the backwater country of Kerala in South India. The town of Munnar stands at the confluence of three mountain streams - Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala. Munnar is the most ideal place for the tourists looking for trekking, boating, riding, angling and much more all at the same time. The balmy climate of the Munnar will prompt you to laze about and fill your soul with peace and delight. A haven of peace and tranquillity, Munnar is amazingly beautiful, an idyllic tourist destination in God's own country. At an altitude of 6000 ft, Munnar has been the favoured summer resort since the time of the erstwhile British rulers in the colonial days.

Day 22 : Munnar :
After breakfast full day local sightseeing, Mattupetty is about 13 km from Munnar in the state of Kerala. Situated at a height of 1700 m, Mattupetty is known for its highly specialised dairy farm, the Indo-Swiss live stock project. Over 100 varieties of high yielding cattle are reared here. The Mattupetty lake and dam, just a short distance from the farm, is an amazing beautiful picnic spot. The sprawling Kundala tea plantations and the Kundala lake are other attractions in the vicinity. You can also try boating at the Mattupetty Dam,Devikulam at a distance of 7 km from Munnar, Devikulam is an idyllic hill station with its velvet lawns, exotic flora and fauna and the cool mountain air is a rare experience you can feel here. The Sita Devi Lake with its mineral waters and picturesque surroundings is a good picnic spot. The lake is also ideal for trout fishing. Rest of the time a short hiking through the tea plantation, Overnight at hotel.

Day 23 : Munnar-Cochin Dep. : Early morning drive to Munnar, after dinner in time dep. transfer to airport.


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