Meeting and transfer to the booked hotel
Morning after breakfast at the hotel at around 0830 hrs. met with your Guide at the Hotel Lobby and along with a car and driver proceed on sightseeing visit of Elephanta Caves. It dates back to the 7th century, situated 9 kms off the coast of Mumbai and an hours ride by motor launch from the Gateway of India. For rows of massive columns cut into solid rock from three magnificent avenues, lead to the outstanding three-headed sculpture representing Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the Destroyer. Dedicated to Shiva, the beauty and power of these phenomenal sculptures depicting the various manifestations of Shiva is overpowering. On return also visit GATEWAY OF INDIA - This 26 metres high stone archway is the first landmark of Mumbai a visitor sees when arriving by ship. Designed by Wittet in the 16th century Gujarat style, it was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to India in 1911. This crypto-Moresque archway welcomed numerous viceroys, governors and top civil servants as they disembarked by launch from their P & 0 steamers. An equestrian statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji and statue of Swami Vivekananda have been installed here.
Rest of the time is free to relax and enjoy the facilities available at the hotel. Perhaps reach back at the hotel before Kate arrives to welcome her at the hotel.
Morning after breakfast at the hotel proceed for full day tour of Mumbai where you will visit HIGH COURT - An attractive building built in 1878 in the early English Gothic style. The central structure rises up to 54.2 metres and is surmounted by statues representing Justice and Mercy. HUTATMA CHOWK - Formerly known as Flora Fountain. This is the business centre of Mumbai, surrounded by offices, banks, colleges and shops. KAMLA NEHRU PARK - Situated on the slopes of Malabar Hill, it is mainly a children's park named after the wife of India's first Prime Minister. Laid in 1952, the garden offers a panoramic view of Marine Drive and Chowpatty Beach. MALABAR HILL - The poshest area of Mumbai, Malabar Hill has attractive residences, including the Chief Minister's house and a palatial state guest house. Here also, are the ruins of Walkeshwar temple built sometime between 810 and 1260 AD. It is believed that Lord Ram on his way to rescue his wife Sita, stopped here and made a lingam (phallic totem) out of sand to worship Lord Shiv. MANI BHAVAN (GANDHI MEMORIAL -A memorial dedicated to the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. He used to stay at House No. 19, called Mani Bhavan, from time to time between 1917 and 1934. He was arrested here in 1932 and taken off for one of his many prison terms. The building now contains a pictorial gallery, a 20,000-volume research library, a film and recording archive and a set of diorama on the Mahatma's life. VICTORIA TERMINUS - On the northern end of Dr. D. N. Road looms the extravagant fantasy of Victoria Terminus (recently renamed as Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus - Mumbai CST), where the first train steamed out of Mumbai from here to Thane in 1853. One of the largest buildings designed by F.W. Stevens in the Gothic style, it's imposing dome is surmounted by a figure symbolising Progress. A life-size statue of Queen Victoria is placed in front of the the central facade. The clock on top is 3.19 metres in diameter. The Prince of Wales Museum - Built in the year 1914, this is one of the best museum in the country. The museum has the large collection of art, sculpture, rare coins, old firearms and a priceless miniature paintings and Dhobi Ghat (washer men's of Mumbai) which is a colourful reality sight meant for Photo opportunity.
Overnight at the hotel.
Morning after buffet breakfast at the hotel transfer to the airport to board Jet Airways flight for Trivandrum at 10.40 AM. Meeting on arrival at Trivandrum airport and transfer to the beach resort at Kovalam. Rest of the day at leisure by the beach. You have an option of an Ayurveda Massage at your hotel if interested. Overnight at hotel.
Trivandrum, the capital of beautiful Kerala lies in the southwest coast of India. The city is officially known as Thiruvananthapuram. The city gets its name from the word, Thiruvananthapuram, meaning the city of Anantha or the abode of the sacred Serpent Anantha on which Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the Hindu trinity, reclines. Trivandrum is a beautiful seaside city built on seven hills. The city of Trivandrum has a prominent history. Trade had started in the place as far back as 190 AD. It was the capital of the erstwhile Travancore state. After independence, it was made the capital of Kerala.
Kovalam beach is located at a small distance of just 16 kilometres from Thiruvananthapuram. Infact, along the 600 kilometre length of the Kerala coast, there are numerous big and small beaches. But Kovalam stands apart from the others for its breathtaking beauty, sunset cruises and water sports.
Morning after relaxed breakfast at the hotel proceed for half day tour of Trivandrum city where you will visit - the Padmanabhaswami temple with its gopuram (tower) soaring majestically upwards, is believed to be one of the 108 shrines sacred to the Vaishnavites in India, Observatory, Museum, Art Gallery and the city. Afternoon relax by the beach at Kovalam. Overnight at the hotel.
Morning after buffet breakfast at the hotel proceed to Kumarakom and check in at the resort.
The village of Kumarakom is a cluster of little islands and this small water world is part of the Kuttanad region. A picturesque, clean village, Kumarakom is a tiny hamlet on the banks of a lagoon formed by the Vembanad lake. Check in to your resort where calm, emerald backwaters reflect hundreds of thousands of gently swaying palms where the primary attraction however, is its lazy ambience.
Rest of the time free to explore the bird sanctuary of Kumarakom and explore a whole new world of feathered species. For an inquisitive bird watcher it is an ideal place that echoes with the chirping of birds including a variety of migratory birds. Take a walk around the sanctuary while experiencing the sights and sounds of these birds. Kumarakom offers visitors many other leisure options. Either you are free at leisure, or enjoy the backwaters with paddleboats, canoe and Kayaks at the lagoon available at the resort.
Morning time free to relax. Late morning at around 11 AM board your waiting houseboat and sail through the back waters to reach Alleppey. Hot lunch and dinner will be served on board. Overnight at the houseboat.
Morning after breakfast at the houseboat proceed to reach Cochin. Arrive and check in at the hotel.
Afternoon proceed for sightseeing tour of Cochin, During your sightseeing trip you will visit Fort Kochi - A leisurely walk through the city is the best way to discover historic for Kochi. An obscure fishing village that became the first European township In India, Kochi has an eventful and colourful history. The town was shaped by the cultural influences, the dutch and later the british. The result of these cultural influences are seen in the many examples of indo european architecture that still exist here. Chinese Fishing Nets - These huge cantilevered fishing nets are the legacy of one of the first visitors to the Malabar coast. Erected here between 1350 and 1450 ad by Traders from the court of kublai khan, these nets are set up on teak wood and bamboo poles. The best place to watch the nets being lowered into the sea and catch being brought in is the vasco da gama square, a narrow promenade that runs along the beach. St. Francis Church - Built in 1503 by Portuguese Franciscan Friars, this is India's oldest European Church. This was initially built of timber and later reconstructed in stone masonry. It was restored in 1779 by the protestant dutch, converted To an anglican church by the british in 1795 and is at present governed by the church of south india. Vasco da gama was buried here in 1524 before his Remains were moved to Lisbon, portugal. Mattancherry Palace (Dutch Palace) - Built by the Portuguese in 1557 and presented to Raja Veera Kerala Varma of Kochi, the palace was renovated in 1663 by the Dutch. On display here are beauriful murals depicting scenes from the epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata, and some of the Puranic Hindu legends. The palace also houses dutch maps of old kochi, royal palanquins, coronation robes of former maharajas of kochi. Synagogue - Constructed in 1568, this is the oldest synagogue in the commonwealth. Destroyed in a shelling during the portuguese raid in 1662, it was rebuilt two years later by the dutch. Bolghatty Island - This island is famous for its palace of the same name. The bolghatty palace Was built in 1744 the dutch and later taken over by the british. Today it is a hotel run by the kerala tourism , with a small golf course and special honeymoon cottages. Willingdon Island - Named after Lord Willingdon, a former British viceroy of India, this man-made island is surrounded by beautiful backwaters. The island is the site of the city's best hotels and trading centres, the port trust and the headquarters of the southern naval command.
Morning after breakfast at the hotel day free to explore more of Cochin. Evening proceed to local theater to witness kathakali dance performance. Overnight at the hotel.
Morning after breakfast at the hotel proceed to Munnar, where sprawling tea plantations, picture book towns, winding lanes, trekking and holiday facilities make it a unique experience. This hill station was once the summer resort of the erstwhile British empire in south India. Check in to your hotel.
Later proceed for a trip Pothamedu for an excellent view of the tea, coffee and cardamom plantations in Munnar. The breathtaking scenery here is ideal for trekking and long mountain walks. Time permitting also visit Mattupetty famous for its highly specialized dairy farm, the Indo-Swiss live stock project. Onwards from the farm you proceed to Mattupetty lake and dam, which is a very beautiful picnic spot. You could enjoy boating in the lake and view mountains and landscapes from afar. Onwards proceed to Echo point famous for the natural echo phenomenon and then to Top Station offering marvellous views of Munnar valley below. Overnight at the hotel.
Full day free to explore more of Munnar on your own pace and relax. Overnight at the hotel.
Morning after breakfast at the hotel proceed to Pariyar National Park. The Periyar wildlife sanctuary is lying close to the plantations, in the rich jungles of periyar or thekkady is one of the world's most fascinating natural wildlife reserves - the periyar wildlife sanctuary, spread across 777 sq km, of which 360 sq.km is thick evergreen forest, the periyar wildlife sanctuary was declared a tiger reserve in 1978. The splendid artificial lake formed by the mullaperiyar dam across the periyar river adds to the charm of the park. This is the only sanctuary in india where you can have the unique experience of viewing wildlife at close quarters from the safety of a boat on the lake. The greatest attraction of periyar , however, are the herds of wild elephants that come down to play in the lake. You can also see wild Elephant, gaur, sambar deer, tiger, jungle cat, sloth bear and wild boar which can be sighted from the boats also 265 species of birds including migrants the hornbill, stork, woodpecker, kingfisher, raptor, cormorant, grackle etc.
Afternoon proceed for a nature walk and visit spice plantation. Overnight at the hotel.
Morning and evening game viewing by Bamboo raft in Periyar Lake. Overnight at the hotel.
Morning after breakfast at the hotel proceed to Madurai and check in at the hotel. Madurai is one of the important pilgrimage center for Hindus later proceed for a local tour of Madurai Visit Sri Meenakshi sundareshwara temple, the temple art museum, puthu Mandapam, Raya gopuram etc. Overnight at the hotel.
Brett & Krista will leave on their own to Kodaikanal – Pondicherry and Chennai.
Yourself, nanci and Kate - Morning after breakfast at the hotel drive to Ooty in around 6 hours time. Arrive Ooty and check into the hotel.
Rest of the day free to relax and enjoy this hill station.
Ooty, the queen of the southern hill station is poplular as Ootacamund or Udhamgamamdalam.The unique landscape was discovered by the British collector in pre independence India and later developed as a summer resort for the South Indian peoples. Enclosed in the lap of nature engulfed by four hills by the name of Doddabetta, Snowdon resort, Elk hill and club hill it forms a part of the Nilgiri range. Ooty lies at the confluence of the western and the eastern ghats, the colonial rulers or the British gave the name Ooty to the place.
Morning after breakfast at the hotel proceed for leisurely full day tour to visit Botanical Gardens.
Botanical gardens are a major tourist attraction for those who visit Ooty, one of the most popular hill stations of India. They sprawl over 50-acre and lie on the lower slopes of Doddabetta peak, which is the highest point in Ooty. Marquis of Tweeddale established these gardens in the year 1848. The gardens are formally laid out with lily ponds, and there are clipped bushes in the form of elephants, with raised trunks. One can find a thousand different species of plants including some thirty types of eucalyptus in these gardens. There is also a fossilised tree trunk, which is said to be 20 million years old. Towards the eastern part of the garden there is a wooden house made of logs known as "Toda Mund", which provides an excellent view.
Ooty Lake - About 1-km distance there is an artificial lake with a charming look, which was formed in 1824 by Mr. John Sullivan, the then Collector of Coimbatore. St Stephens Church - Situated in the hilly area on Club Road, St Stephens Church is said to be the oldest in the Nilgiris. The church was built in 1829 and consecrated in 1830. The beam of the church was taken from the palace of Tipu Sultan at Srirangapatnam. The cemetery close by houses the grave of John Sullivan, the founder of Ooty. Government Museum - The government museum, Mysore Road, Ooty has items of tribal objects, district's ecological details and representative sculptural arts and crafts of Tamil Nadu. It was set up in 1989, with a view to provide education benefits to the residing and visiting population of Nilgiris district. Deer Park - At a distance of 1-km from the Lake there is a Deer Park, which is worth visiting.
Doddabetta is the highest peak (2623 meters) in the Nilgiris, which is about 10-km from Ooty. It is a beautiful place lying between the junction of the Western and Eastern Ghats and offers a beautiful view of the Nilgiri hill ranges. It is surrounded by dense Sholas. Hindustan Photo Films - The Hindustan Photo Films, one of the major industrial units of the district, is located about 5-km away from Ooty railway station over a sprawling area of over 300 acres, near the Ooty golf-links on the Ooty- Mysore road. Overnight at the hotel.
Full day free to relax and enjoy this hill station by exploring yourself. Overnight at the hotel.
Morning after breakfast take toy train to reach Coonoor – Conoor is the second most popular hill station in the Nilgiris after Ooty. Situated on a lower ridge of the main plateau at an altitude of about1800 meters above the sea level, it is 19 kms from Ooty. However its climate is milder than Ooty.
Coonoor offers the tourists exotic panoramic view of the lush green Nilgiri hills, with its ravines, valleys, and waterfalls. Bird lovers can enjoy bird watching, as the place is full of beautiful and rare birds including black woodpecker, parakeets, barbets, mynas, cuckoos, Malabar trogon, Malabar gray hornbill, crested hawk eagle, and crested serpent eagle.
Places you may like to visit during your stay at Conoor - Lamb's Rock - Lamb's rock is situated about 8 km from Coonoor. It provides you an awesome view of Coimbatore plains. Dolphin's Nose - It is a huge rock resembling with a dolphin's nose is about 10 km from Coonoor. On a clear day, you can glimpse Catherine Falls from atop the Dolphin nose. The famous Law's Fall is another popular picnic spot, situated at a distance of 7 km from Coonoor. Pomological Station - It is an institute working as a research center of the State Agricultural Department for persimmon, pomegranates and apricots. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 19 - Conoor / Nagarhole National Park
Morning after breakfast at the hotel proceed to - Nagarhole National park derives its name from the combination of two Kannada words. 'Nagar,' meaning snake, and 'hole,' meaning streams. True to its name, quite a few serpentine streams fork through the rich tropical forests of the park. Nagarhole Park was set up in 1955. In 1975, its area was increased to include a greater expanse of forest reserve. The original forest was once an exclusive hunting ground for the erstwhile Maharajas of Mysore. The park has been recently renamed as Rajiv Gandhi National Park after the late Prime Minister of India.
Nagarhole National Park is counted among India’s best wildlife parks. It has a large elephant and bison population. It also hosts a variety of animal species along with approximately 250 species of birds. On its northern confines is the Kabini River and on its southern fringes is the Bandipur national park. A dam on the Kabini River and its picturesque reservoir demarcates the two national parks. During the dry season (February. June), this artificial lake attracts a large number of animals, making it an ideal spot for sighting wildlife.
The important predators and carnivora in the Nagarhole National Park are tiger, leopard, wild dog (dhole or Cuon alpinus), sloth bear and the hyena (Hyaena hyaena). The herbivores are spotted deer, sambar, barking deer, four-horned antelope (Tetracerus quadricornis), gaur (Bos gaurus), wild boar (Sus scrofa) and elephant. Nagarhole National Park provides an opportunity to see some of the southern population of Gaur (jungle Bison). Also, this park in Karnataka is a good place to see elephants in the luxuriant forests and bamboo thickets which they most enjoy. Their total population in southern India is now about 6500, nearly all living in the area where Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala adjoin in the shadow of the Western Ghats. Other mammalian miscallany includes the common langur (Presbytes entellus), Bonnet macaque (Macaca radiata), jungle cat, slender Loris (Loris tadigradus), leopard-cat (Felis bengalensis), civet cat (Viverricula indica and Paradoxurus hermaphroditus), mongoose (Herpestes fuscus and Herpestes vitticollis), common otter (Lutra lutra), giant flying squirrel (Petaurista petaurista), giant squirrel (Ratufa indica), porcupine, jackal, mouse-deer (Tragulus meminna), hare and pangolin (Manis crassicaudata). Over 250 species of birds are found at Nagarhole National Park. Besides the enormous variety of woodland birds, there are large congregations of water fowl in the Kabini river. Birds range from blue-bearded bee-eater, scarlet minivet and Malabar whistling thrush to the more common ospreys, herons and ducks.
Afternoon jeep drive in the park for animal viewing.
Morning elephant ride and a coracle ride. One can have good photographic opportunities. Return to the resort for breakfast & lunch. One can walk around the surroundings or bird-watch. Afternoon boat ride for bird watching and animal viewing.
Morning after breakfast depart for Nagarhole Mysore - Steeped in History Mysore, capital city of the Wodeyars. Adobe of untold grandeur and glory, where the rich heritage of the Wodeyars is carefully preserved to this day in its magnificent places, beautifully laid-out gardens, imposing buildings, board shady avenues and sacred temples.
Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight at the hotel.
Morning after breakfast at the hotel proceed for full day leisurely visit to Mysore Palace : Where the Mharajas lived… You can't miss the Palace at Mysore, for all roads lead to the Maharaja's Palace. Built in Indo-Saracenic style with domes, turrets, arches and colonnades, the Palace is a treasure house of exquisite carvings and works of art from all over the world. Intricately carved doors open on to luxuriously furnished rooms.
The majestic Durbar Hall has an ornate ceiling and many sculpted pillars. See the magnificent jewel studded golden throne, the pride of the Wodeyars and the symbol of their sovereignty, displayed here during the Dasara. The palace, illuminated on Sundays and Public Holidays, presents a spectacle of breathtaking beauty. Chamundi Hills - Presiding deity; of Mysore. A well known 335 metres high landmark, Chamundi Hill can be reached by a 13 km road or by climbing up the 1,000 steps laid out by the Mysore Maharaja in the 17th century. Half-way up long the stone steps is Nandi, Lord Shiva's bull, a majestic 4.8 metre monolith. At the top is the 12th century temple of Chamundeshwari, the patron goddess of the Wodeyars. The summit offers a panoramic view of Mysore's lakes, parks and palaces. MAHISHASURA… From whom Mysore got its name Close to the temple is the gigantic stature of the demon Mahishasura. St. Philomena's Church - Gothic art A beautiful Cathedral, reminiscent of medieval architectural style. Stained glass windows and lofty towers make it an imposing structure.
Sri Jayachmarajendra Art Gallery - A treasure house of masterpieces The Jaganmohan Palace was converted into an art gallery in 1875 and exhibits paintings which date back to that period. The artists of that time used natural vegetable and mineral dyes. The famous traditional Mysore 'gold leaf' paintings are also exhibited in the gallery, as are oil paintings of contemporary Svetoslav Roerich. Overnight at the hotel.
Morning after breakfast at the hotel proceed to Hassan enroute visiting Srirangapatna - The Tiger's Lair Take yourself back to another spot, another, time. 16 kms away from Mysore is the island fortress of Tipu Sultan, the legendary Tiger of Mysore who put up a valiant fight against British domination. The high stone walls and moats enclose palaces, temples and a great mosque. Tipu's summer Palace, with its beautiful frescoes, the tombs of Tipu and Hyder Ali at Gumbaz, Royal Mosque, Wellesley Bridge and the celebrated Sri Ranganatha Temple are other monuments from its chequered past.
Check into the hotel on arrival. Afternoon excursion to visit Belur - situated around 38 km from Hassan. The Channekeshava Temple at Belur is the only one of the three major Hoysala sites still in use. The construction of this temple started in AD 1116 to commemorate the victory of the Hoysalas over the Cholas at Talakad. It took around hundred years to complete the work. It is said that every Hindu deity has been represented at this temple. Guides can be hired to explain the detailed sculptural work. Other Hoysala temples at Belur are the Chennigaraya and the Viranarayana and Halebid - Situated around 33 km from Hassan is Halebid, famous for its Hoyasaleswara temple. The construction of the Hoyasaleswara Temple was started in AD 1121 and continued for around 90 years, but never completed. Nevertheless, even in its incomplete form, this temple is the most outstanding example of Hoysala art and architecture. Every part of the walls of this temple is covered by an endless variety of Hindu deities, sages, stylized animals, birds, and many other art forms. The temple is enclosed by a garden and there is a museum also nearby.
Morning after breakfast at the hotel drive to Bangalore via Sravanabelgola. Shravanbelgola is located around 48 km off Hassan and is famous for the statue of Lord Bahubali (Gomateshwar). The place is an important Jain pilgrimage center with an ancient history. The 17-m-high statue of Bahubali is said to be the tallest monolithic structure in the world. It overlooks the small town of Shravanbelgola from top of the rocky hill known as Indragiri. One can reach this hill after covering 614 rock-cut steps.
Overnight at the hotel.
Morning tour of Bangalore city. Late afternoon transfer to the Railway Station to board day train for Chennai. Meeting on arrival and transfer to the hotel for overnight stay.
Morning after breakfast at the hotel proceed for full day excursion to Mahabalipurm via visiting Kanchipuram. Kanchipuram is one of the seven sacred cities of India. It is most famous for its exquisitely woven handloom silk saris. It has some very famous temples like the Kamakshi Temple and the Ekambareshwar Temple. Mahabalipuram is famous for its shore temples. Most of the temples and rock carvings were completed around 630 - 660 AD and are notable for their folk- art origins.
Morning after breakfast at the hotel sightseeing tour of Madras city. Chenna - the capital of Tamil Nadu, popularly regarded as the 'Gateway to the South' represents a culture that is distinctly different from that of northern India. During your sightseeing tour you will vist Kalakshetra, a school of art and music that encourages exponents of Bharatnatyam, Carnatic music, traditional weaving and designing, Fort St. George - built in 1653 during British reign in India, - now houses the Secretariat and Legislative Assembly of Tamil Nadu; St. Mary's Church, the oldest Anglican Church in India with its premises, Sri Parthasarathy Temple built by Pallavas in the 8th century AD; Kapaliswara Temple, Mylapore also an eighth century Pallava Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, San Thomas Cathedral Basilica rebuilt in 1606 as a cathedral and in 1896 it was made a basilica; and Theosophical Society - the world headquarters of the Theosophical Society formed to encourage the study of comparative religion, philosophy and science.
Evening transfer to the airport to board flight for onward destination.
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