TEMPLES, ELEPHANTS & BACKWATERS (KARNATAKA & KERALA)DAY 01: Delhi: Arrive Mumbai by International Flight
On arrival at CHHATRAPATI SHIVAJI International Airport in Mumbai, please proceed for Immigration & Customs clearances. After collecting your baggage and proceed towards arrival / exit gate and look for our representative in the arrival area – carrying a Paging Board with your names. You will be met & facilitated by our representative and thereafter you will be transferred to Hotel and assisted with check-in at the hotel [Check-in Time: 2:00 PM]. Later, you will be left undisturbed to relax and retire for the day. Overnight in Mumbai
Morning after an early breakfast, you will be met by our Tour Guide in the hotel lobby at 7:00 AM and proceed for full day tour of the vibrant city of Mumbai.– B Take an excursion to Elephanta Caves [closed on Mondays] by a shared boat ride about one hour from Ferry jetty at Gateway of India.
These caves are filled with intricate sculptures of Hindu Gods, which were carved between the 5 rock carvings, the temple cave is dedicated to Lord Shiva representing his various forms. The famous sculpture signifying the trinity of the Creator, the Preserver and the Destroyer is located here.(Closed on Mondays) declared a World Heritage Monument.The Portuguese called the island Elephanta on seeing its huge gigantic statue of an Elephant at the entrance. (Please note that the visit and Boat ride to Elephanta is subject to weather conditions)
Gateway of India, an Indo-Saracenic architectural marvel, built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Mumbai in Dec 1911 – a yellow basalt arch of triumph officially ‘opened’ in the year 1924 and then swiftly made redundant. Next, visit the adjoining Hotel Taj Mahal Palace. Known as India’s first luxurious hotel, this iconic hotel is 107 year old heritage building retains its stature as the flagship property of Taj group. Visit Mani Bhavan, served as the residence of the “Father of the Nation” Mahatma Gandhi between 1917 and 1934. Mahatma Gandhi started various struggle movements while he was residing here.
Dhobi Ghat, the massive open air laundry provides an unforgettable glimpse into the inside of the city. They collect dirty clothes from all over Mumbai city and brought here and painstakingly hand washed by the dhobis [washer-men] in the seemingly endless rows of concrete troughs.The profession, handed down from generation to generation, requires incredible strength and determination. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai’s one of the major Railway Station, designed in Italian Gothic style by Architect F W Stevens. It is one of Mumbai’s most prominent buildings and architecturally one of the finest stations in the world. The building construction commenced in 1878 and was completed in 1885. Drive down and visit Chowpatty Beach, Mumbai’s famous beach and Hangout. There is NO place for sunbathe or taking a dip. In fact, there’s not much going on at Chowpatty at all during the day, but in the evening it develops a magical atmosphere as locals come to stroll among the balloon sellers, fortune tellers, magicians, nut vendors, ferries wheels and shooting galleries.Afterwards, drive past through the Marine Drive, which runs along the shore of the Arabian Sea from Nariman Point and also drive past Chowpatty Beach to the foot of Malabar Hill. Later, visit the Prince of Wales Museum [closed on Mondays], a distinctive British Raj-era building housing exquisite paintings and sculpture. After sightseeing, you will be transferred to your hotel and later, you will be left undisturbed to relax and retire for the day. Overnight at Mumbai
Morning after an early breakfast, you will be met by our representative in the hotel lobby, as per flight schedule, and assisted with transfer to Mumbai Domestic Airport to board the Flight to Mangalore.Upon arrival at Mangalore Airport, please collect your baggage, proceed towards arrival / exit lounge and look for our representative in the arrival area – carrying a Paging Board with your names. You will be met & facilitated and thereafter drive to Coorg, a spectacular area called the Scotland of India with its lush vegetation, coffee plantations and hiking trails. On arrival, Check-in at the hotel and later, you will be left undisturbed to relax and retire for the day. Overnight in Coorg
Enjoy another day at your lovely resort and participate the various activities offered by the hotel such as hiking, bird watching, yoga and cooking classes. Ask for the hotel’s activity manager and make the arrangements with him on direct payment. Some of the places that are worth visiting include Bylakuppe, the 2nd largest Tibetan Settlement outside Tibet. A large number of refugees came here in 1960 due to Chinese aggression. The area is dotted with monasteries.Overnight in Coorg – B, L & D
Morning after breakfast, drive for 3 ½ hours to Kabini and Nagarhole National Park also known as Rajiv Gandhi National Park. The park spans over 643 square kilometers this park protects the local wildlife. The main trees that can be found in the park are rosewood, teak, sandalwood and silver oak. It also has dry deciduous forests. Tiger, Indian bison or gaur and Asian elephants are the prominent species found inside the park. Other animals such as jackals, grey mongoose, sloth bear, and striped hyenas, spotted deer or chital, sambar and barking deer can also be spotted. Mammals including common palm civet, brown mongoose, striped-necked mongoose, blacknecked hare and mouse deer inhabit the park. It is also home to 270 species of birds. Overnight in Kabini – B, L & D.
Enjoy one round of Game Safari either in the morning OR in the afternoon. [Jeep safari will be conducted twice a day in a vehicle (18 Guests can be accommodated] on sharing basis] Overnight in Kabini – B, L & D
Morning after breakfast, drive to Mysore. – B On arrival, check-in at the hotel. Afternoon, proceed for excursion to Somnathpur [33 Kms. east of Mysore]. Built around 1260 AD during the heyday of the Hoysala Kings, these are beautiful temples with superb sculptures in stone, forming one part of the triangle at Belur & Halebid near Hassan. Evening, we return to Mysore for overnight stay. Overnight in Mysore
Morning after breakfast, proceed for half a day city tour of Mysore.
Visit the Mysore Palace, the beautiful profile of this walled Indo-Saracenic Palace, the seat of the Maharajas of Mysore, graces the city skyline. Since the earlier Palace was burnt down in 1897, current palace also known as the Amba Vilas Palace. Construction was commissioned in 1897 and it was completed in 1912 at a cost of 4.2 million in Indian Rupees.The former maharaja is residing at the rear of this Palace. Inside is a Kaleidoscope of stained glass mirrors gilt and colors. The Palace even has a selection of temples within its grounds. Later we drive to Chamundi Hills – overlooking Mysore from the 1026 meter summit of the Chamundi Hill. Sri Chamundeswari Temple is dominated by a towering seven storeys, 40 meters high Gopuram or tower.The Goddess is the family deity of the Maharajas and the people of Mysore. On our return from the temple, visit the famous five-meter tall Nandi [Shiva’s Bull] carved out of solid rock in 1659 AD. It is one of the largest in India and is visited by many pilgrims. Overnight in Mysore
Morning after breakfast, you are at leisure. Afternoon, drive to Bengaluru, en-route, visit Srirangapatnam, from where Tipu Sultan ruled most of the South India in the 18th century. His defeat by the British marked the beginning of British Raj era in South India. On arrival, check-in at the hotel and later, you will be left undisturbed to relax and retire for the day. Overnight in Bengaluru
Morning after breakfast, proceed for full day city tour of Bengaluru, the capital city of Karnataka and popularly known as the ‘Garden City of India’. Bengaluru is probably the most cosmopolitan and advanced city of India, famed for its latest fashion trends, pubs, nightclubs, large shopping malls etc. While in Bengaluru, visit several beautiful gardens and museums. Visit The Vidhan Soudha Assembly Building, Cubbon Park,Ulsoor Lake, Lal Baugh Gardens, Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum. Overnight in Bengaluru.
Morning after an early breakfast, you will be met by our representative in the hotel lobby, as per flight schedule, and assisted with transfer to Bengaluru Airport to board the Flight to Kochi. – B. Upon arrival at Kochi Airport, please collect your baggage, proceed towards arrival / exit lounge and look for OUR representative in the arrival area – carrying a Paging Board with your names. You will be met & facilitated by OUR representative and thereafter you will be transferred to Hotel and assisted with check-in at the hotel [Check-in Time: 2:00 PM]. Later, you will be at leisure in Kochi.
Kochi is a vibrant city, on the southwest coast of the Indian peninsula and popularly known as the Gateway to Kerala. It’s also called as the Queen of the Arabian Sea. Since the time immemorial, the spice traders from Arab, Britain, China, Netherlands and Portugal have left indelible marks on the history and development of Cochin. Over the years, Cochin has emerged as the commercial and industrial capital of Kerala. In the evening, witness / attend a Kathakali Dance Show, [NO TOUR GUIDE] incorporating elements of yoga and mythology.This is one of the most developed dance drama art forms of India. Drums beckon an audience to a performance most magnificent actors depict characters from the Puranas and the Ramayana & Mahabharata, the great Indian epics – demons, super human beings and ordinary men and women. Thereafter, our chauffeur transfer to Hotel, later, you will be left undisturbed to relax and retire for the day. Overnight at Kochi
Morning after an early breakfast, you will be met by our Tour Guide in the hotel lobby at 8 AM and proceed for a full day city tour of Kochi. – B Fort Cochin area is believed to be one of the oldest settlements in Cochin, with the Portuguese flag first hoisted here in 1500 AD. On the beach, near the Church you will see the Chinese Fishing nets stung out along the tip of the peninsula. A legacy of the earliest visitors to the Malabar Coast, the Chinese fishing nets are unmistakably noticeable as one enters the harbor. Records show that they were first erected between 1350 and 1450 AD.
Visit the St Francis Church, built in 1510 AD by friars brought to India by Vasco De Gama, and is the first European,Church built in India and is the site where Vasco De Gama was buried. While the remains were later taken back to Lisbon, the gravestone can still be seen here. Visit the Jewish Synagogue that was built in 1568 and considerably embellished in the mid – 18th century by Ezekiel Rahabi, who built a clock tower and paved the floor of the synagogue with hand – painted tiles brought all the way from Canton in China. [Note that the Synagogue remains closed on Fridays, Saturdays and Jewish holidays]
Later, visit Dutch Palace, built in the 1550s by the Portuguese and taken over by the Dutch, who later presented it to the Rajas of Cochin.The Palace contains excellent mythological murals and a rare example of traditional Keralite flooring – a subtle mix of burnt coconut shells, lime, plant juices and egg whites – which gives the effect of polished marble.(Note that the Dutch Palace remains closed on Fridays) Afternoon, visit the Hill Palace Museum set on top of a hillock, this prodigious Palace – turned-museum displays 13 categories of exhibits, including paintings, carvings and other royal antiquities donated by the Cochin and Travancore Royal Families and the Paliam Devaswom. As part of the establishment of a mini zoo, a deer park is run by the Society for the Preservation of Hill Palace Premises. The museum premises have also been converted into a botanical garden with exotic tropical trees from Central America to Australia. Overnight in Kochi.
After breakfast, check-out at 10:00 AM and drive to Kumarakom. On arrival, transfer to the jetty to embark the overnight Houseboat at 12:00 PM and enjoy the backwaters of Kerala. Houseboat locally called Kettuvallam. These are huge, tapering barges which were traditionally used to cargo rice and other goods across Kerala. Modern-day Kettuvallams called houseboats, carry finished bedrooms, modern toilets, cozy living rooms, a kitchen and even a balcony where tourists can laze on cushions. Later sail to Alleppey through backwaters. On this comfortable floating home, spend this day relaxing, letting all our worries slowly float by. As you slowly cruise along the backwater canals of the Arabian Sea, we may choose to stop and explore some of the many small villages, farmlands, old temples and churches that we come across. Cruise around the beautiful Vembanad Lake, One of Asia’s largest fresh water lakes, locally known as Vembanad Kayal, is a giant reservoir and a major ecological resource. The dense vegetation on its banks is a wonderful sight. The boats that ply on the lake vary from the large cargo carriers with mat-roofs to the houseboats.Houseboats of Kerala are a unique way to experience the beauty of kaleidoscopic Kerala. Transportation of men and material using houseboats of Kerala is nothing new. The houseboats glide on the backwaters of Kerala, with a panoramic view passing by. Enjoy the freshly prepared seafood prepared on board. Evening, witness sunset through coconut palms and enjoy Dinner under million stars Sleep and dream with the pleasant roll of backwater. Overnight at Houseboat – L & D
Morning after breakfast, disembark the Houseboat at 9:00 AM and later chauffeur drives straight to Kochi Airport to board the Flight to CHENNAI. – B. Upon arrival at Chennai Airport, please collect your baggage, proceed towards arrival / exit lounge and look for OUR representative in the arrival area – carrying a Paging Board with your names. You will be met & facilitated by OUR representative and thereafter you will be transferred to Hotel and assisted with check-in at the hotel [Check-in Time: 2:00 PM]. Afternoon, you will be met by our Tour Guide in the hotel lobby and proceed for a full day city tour of Chennai. Visit Fort St. George, built in 1640 AD, by the British East India Company under the direct supervision of Francis Day and Andrew Cogon. This bastion achieved name from St. George, the patron saint of England. The fort houses, St. Mary’s Church and Fort museum. Visit Marina Beach, the pride of Chennai as it is the second longestbeach in the World and has a wide sandy foreshore. San Thome Cathedral Basilica, San Thome at the southern – end of Marina derives its name from St Thomas, the apostle of Christ who is believed to have come to Madras sometime during 52 AD. He was killed on St Thomas Mount just outside the city in 78 AD and was interned in San Thome beach where a church was later built.
Later, visit Sri Parthasarathy Temple, dedicated to Lord Krishna. The temple was originally built by the Pallavas in the 8th century AD. Some additions were later made to this temple by the Chola and Vijayanagara Kings.Kapaleswarar Temple is not far from Triplicane in Mylapore, which is yet another 8th century Century Pallava Temple. The temple ‘Gopuram’[tower] is in the characteristic Dravidian style of architecture. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple has some of the most beautiful sculptures, along with the bronze idols of 63 Saivaite Saints [Nayanmars]. Overnight at Chennai
Morning after an early breakfast, you will proceed for an excursion tour to Mahabalipuram. – B
Mahabalipuram is a place known as ‘city of the seven pagodas’. Chiseled out of boulders into the form of temple chariots, the pagodas are simply breathtaking.The masterpiece of this site is the ‘Penance of Bhagirath’-the world’s largest bas-relief in stone. City, world famous for its shore temples, strikes a very romantic theme, and is probably one of the most photographed monuments of India, with sculptures rolling out with scenes of day-to-day lifestyle in interesting variety.
Visit Shore Temples. This charming temple located on the shore is the most famous among the tourist attractions in Mahabalipuram. It is located between two Shiva temples and is a visual delight recognized for its architectural masterpieces. You will find the attractive sculptures of Nandi – the Bull while the figure of Vishnu is present in the sanctum. These splendid structures dating back to the 7th century are located in the southern-end of Mahabalipuram. Visit Pancha Pandava Rathas, Arjuna’s Penance, Caves and Krishna’s Butterball. After sightseeing, at around 4 PM, our chauffeur drives back to CHENNAI. On arrival, check-in at the hotel and later, you will be left undisturbed to relax and retire for the day.
Overnight in Chennai
Early morning check-out [Midnight] and later, you will be met by our by a OUR representative in the hotel lobby and assisted with a Departure Transfer to CHENNAI International Airport to board your Flight for your onward destination.