Boutique small group tour to South India

A Grand Tour of South India

12th October – 2nd November 2019

Boutique Small Group Travel Costar Rica Eco-tourism Arenal Volcano (women only)

12th October – 2nd November 2019

No single supplement.

If you’ve visited the well-trodden tourist routes of the north and now looking to deepen your knowledge and experience of this fascinating country, then this boutique small group tour to South India is for you.

The tropical southern region of India offers a cornucopia of delights. From colonial hill stations, coffee and tea plantations to the Nagarhole national park where we’ll go on safari to see elephants, bison and monkeys and maybe the enigmatic tiger. Not only will we explore Hampi with its architectural marvels dating back to the 14th century we’ll also enjoy an overnight cruise on the lakes of Kerala on a unique and exotic houseboat. In addition, we’ll participate in the daily puja (rituals) performed by 50 saffron-clad priests in a 2,500 years-old Hindu temple which has been nominated as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

HIGHLIGHTS & INCLUSIONS

  • 22 days fully escorted boutique small group tour with an English- speaking guide and Australian tour director
  • 22 breakfasts, 12 lunches and 16 dinners.
  • Transfers in comfortable air-conditioned vehicles with everyone enjoying a window seat
  • Small group maximum of 10
  • The ancient village of Hampi and its architectural marvels
  • Delight in the exotic birds and large butterflies on a nature walk in Chikmagalur
  • Wildlife safari in Nagarhole National Park
  • Relax in a tranquil retreat in the heart of traditional tribal settlements in Wayanad
  • Explore the bustling markets of Calicut located on the Malabar Coast of Kerala
  • Discover Cochin with its huge Chinese fishing nets, ancient mosques, Portuguese architecture and remnants of the British Raj
  • Learn the intricacies of Keralan cuisine at a cooking class
  • Cruise Kerala’s backwaters with an overnight stay on a traditional unique and exotic barge providing all the comforts of a hotel
  • Spend time in India’s oldest city, known for its incense and chiming cymbals and dubbed the ‘Athens of the East’
  • Participate in a ceremony at a 2,500 years old temple, nominated as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World
  • Visit the exquisite collection of temples, caves, chariots and monuments of the Shore Temples of Mamallapuram
  • Group transfer to Chennai Airport
  • All entry fees, taxes and gratuities for included activities

ACCOMMODATION

Boutique small group tour to South India Itinerary

Day 1 – day 22

Day 1:   Arrive in Bangalore and check-in to the Taj Airport Hotel for an overnight stay.

Day 2:  Join the group for our flight to Hampi, a mystical place with its boulder-strewn landscape and ancient village split into two by the Tungabhadra River.  Settle into our hotel with its intoxicating smells of custard apples, wide varieties of mangoes, bananas and fresh vegetables and herbs all grown in the resort’s in-house organic farm. A tranquil location not only for relaxing in the pool but also for indulging in a spa treatment.  BD

Day 3:  Prepare to be amazed during our full day tour today by the mesmeric boulders of Hampi.  We’ll navigate through giant rock formations to witness stellar examples of Dravidian architecture constructed by the last great Hindu dynasty.  From the stunning Queen’s bath to the colossal Elephant Stables there is much to discover. BLD

Day 4: This morning we’ll take a ‘coracle’ (small lightweight boat) across the River Tungabhadra to visit the Kishkinda Trust.  Established in 1997 and located in a village with a rich cultural heritage the Trust runs programs integrating heritage conservation with Crafts, Rural Tourism and Organic Farming.  BLD

Day 5:  Checking out of the hotel for our 6 hour drive to Chikmagalur we’ll stop en-route for lunch.  Chikmagalur is one of the largest coffee producers in India and  consequently offers a welcome respite from the Indian heat with its deliciously tropical climate.  BLD

Day 6:  Today we’re on foot as we explore verdant coffee plantations and rolling hills.  Guided by experts, our nature walk offers an  inspiring insight into local life because this sleepy town’s economy exists on its natural wealth.  Easy to spot will be the exotic birds and large butterflies.  BLD

Day 7: Continuing our journey  this morning we’ll be heading to Nagarhole National Park within the foothills of the Western Ghats.   Without doubt a spectacular park and furthermore rated by British Tatler’s Travel Guide as one of the top 5 wildlife resorts in the world.  It was the former exclusive hunting reserve of the Wodeyar dynasty, the regal rulers of Mysore. BLD

Day 8:  A morning and late afternoon safari to see how many of the almost 300 species of birds, gaur, Indian bison, spotted deer and a variety of big cats we can spot. BLD

Day 9: Leaving behind the National Park we head for Wayanad, a natural mountainous paradise.  Wayanad offers tropical fresh air, rolling hills of lush green, coffee and spice plantations and vibrant paddy fields.  In addition, a chance to experience a glorious tranquil retreat away from the crowds and within the heart of traditional tribal settlements. BLD

Day 10:  Enjoy an early morning walk through Lakkidi’s lush rainforests with a trained naturalist.  The profusion of flora and fauna is a welcome find for birding and photography lovers.  Later, we’ll gather for a cooking demonstration by the resort’s famed chefs.  BLD

Day 11: Our destination today is Calicut, also called Kozhikode, located on the Malabar Coast in Kerala.  Primarily a flourishing trade and marketing centre for pepper, coconut, coffee, rubber and lemon grass oil it’s also known for its  ‘Calico’ work, a fine variety of handwoven cotton believed to have originated here.  B

Day 12: Heading further along the coast to Fort Kochi Harbour with its huge Chinese fishing nets, ancient mosques, Portuguese architecture and the crumbling remains of the British Raj with time to explore before dinner.  BD

Day 13:  This morning we’ll indulge our senses as we browse the traditional spice and antique markets.  A visit to Hill Palace, the state’s largest archaeological museum will be followed by a chance to discover some of the intricacies of Kerala cuisine.  A cooking class accompanied by the chef of Brunton Boatyard and his team. BD

Day 14: Time to board our traditional Kettu Vallom, a boat made from coconut rope and wooden planks.  This unique and exotic barge provides all the creature comforts of a hotel resulting in a perfect spot for relaxing and enjoying uninterrupted views of rural Kerala. BLD

Day 15: After a restful night we’ll disembark and drive to Mumar.  At 5,200 feet above sea level the town first came to prominence as a favoured summer resort of the British colonialists.  Verdant tea plantations, rolling valleys and the veil of mist that hangs above the area  undoubtedly offers a mystical experience.  Enjoy trekking through the nature trails or maybe just relax at a picturesque spot under the wispy clouds. BL

Day 16:  Today we’ll explore this beautiful panoramic town with its sprawling tea plantations.  We’ll visit the Kennan Devan Hills Plantation Company with its 7 vast tea gardens and enjoy the many flavours and heady aromas of different locally produced teas.  B

Day 17:  Following our drive to Madurai there will be time to check- in and relax at the hotel before this evening’s activities.  An expert guide will help us delve into the legends and mythologies of Hinduism as we participate in the daily puja (rituals) performed by 50 saffron-clad priests. The ritual is held in the 2,500 year-old thousand pillared Meenakshi Amman Temple which has been nominated for one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.  BLD

Day 18:  A full day tour of this fascinating city from temples to royal residences and the busy flower and vegetable market will provide a rich insight into the everyday life of the Tamilians.   BL

Day 19: A short flight this morning will take us to Mamallapuram, once a bustling seaport.  Today, the city’s claim to fame lies in its ancient Pallava heritage, evident in its exquisite collection of temples, caves, rathas (chariots) and monuments.  The Shore Temples of Mamallapuram coupled with its unspoiled sunny beaches, casuarina trees and local handicrafts is a destination not to be missed. BD

Day 20:  A chance to visit several of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites including the mysteriously balancing rock of Krishna’s Butterball.  There will be time for a leisurely amble along the town’s sandy shore before we meet for dinner.  BD

Day 21:  The perfect way to wind up our tour of South India is with a visit to the living museum of Dakshinachitra.  Spread over several acres the museum provides an insight into the architecture, lifestyles, craft and performing arts of South India.   BD

Day 22:  Transfer to Chennai Airport for onward or return flights to Australia.

Pricing

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