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14 Days Nature Culture and Leisure Tour : Karnataka and Kerala
Palaces, Temples, Forts, Coffee and Spice plantations, wildlife safaris, and backwater cruising- all in the lap of nature.
- The palaces , temples, and forts of Mysore
- Coffee Estate, Angling and forest treks in Coorg
- Wildlife safaris at Nagarhole National Park
- Spice plantations and North Kerala cusine at Tellichery
- Kochi- a historical & cultural interlude
- Backwaters cruise abroad a Rice boat
Day 1, 2 - Reminiscences of Royalty :
We begin at the historical city of Mysore, with more than its share of splendid palaces. The morning sees us exploring the city - The palace with its durbar hall, golden royal elephant throne and the Jayachamarajendra art gallery with paintings of Raja Ravi Varma and Svetoslav Roerich. The nearby riverine island of Ranganatittu, home to a bird sanctuary, is a sure visual treat with Cormorants, Peacocks, and Blue jays, Blue tailed Bee-eaters, Kingfishers and Painted storks amongst a 100 odd species. The bird sanctuary along the Cauvery is near the town of Srirangapatna home of Tipu Sultan, a brave warrior king of Mysore whose models of the first missiles to be used in actual warfare and tombstone is still present to this day. Also in store is a to Chamundi hills, 13kms from Mysore to see a 2000 year old temple before retiring for the night in royal splendor.
Day 3, 4, 5 In Coffee Country
We'll make our way north to Coorg (or Kodagu) - a lush forested expanse in South West Karnataka. Coorg is often called the Kashmir of Karnataka for its cool weather and natural beauty. This small district is known for its coffee and tea estates, and the distinct culture of the people - their language, temperament and lifestyles. Kodavas, the natives of Coorg, are a Hindu warrior tribe known for their beauty and good humour. Several Kodavas have actively served in the Indian army and earned many decorations. In all their years of colonization, the British never managed to subdue the Kodavas. It was a separate state with its own police force and administration until the early 1950s after which it was made part of the southern state of Karnataka. Our stay will be at one of the gracious Estate Bungalows. During the whole time of this leg of the tour are opportunities to indulge your taste buds and also learn to cook the varied dishes from the region. We can also spend a day meeting up Elephants if the mood takes you – one on one – at the elephant rehabilitation center at Dubare set along river Cauvery. Guided treks help you explore some of the 50,000 acres of reserve forest and get intimately acquainted with this unique eco-region while you spot wild game. You will also be able to try your hand at Angling – the elusive masher is a worthy catch – or simply kayak downstream.
Day 6, 7, 8 Wander the Wilderness at Nagarhole
We will make our way to Nagarahole - a perfect getaway for wildlife enthusiasts and bird lovers alike. Nagarhole National park, set up in 1955 and occupying an area of 573 sq.km is one of the most important wildlife refuges in India. The river Kabini has been blocked to form a large reservoir that separates this park from Bandipur National Park. The climate is tropical, summers are hot. The Asiatic elephants thrive here. Along with Bandipur, it forms an enormous expanse of forest stretch that includes the Wildlife sanctuary of the neighbouring states Madumalai of Tamilnadu and Wayanad of Kerala – a biosphere reserve to enable free movement of wildlife. Tiger, bison and elephant are found here in good numbers. Our stay will be at the world renowned Kabini River Lodge once the hunting lodge of the erstwhile Maharaja of Mysore. Here we can go on jeep safaris, ride the indigenous coracle on the lake or take gentle walks into the wilderness looking for birds or wildlife in the company of expert trackers. The ‘gol ghar’ or Round House is ideal for sitting around the camp fire as we reminisce about the days events while feasting on local delicacies.
Day 9, 10, 11 - Tellicherry Spice:
Our destination today is the green magic of Kerala, arriving at Tellicherry, famed for its spices and trading since ancient times. We will check into the graceful Ayesha Manzil – a heritage villa overlooking the Arabian Sea combining elegance with luxury. The rooms are vast and filled with antique furniture, including large wooden beds, hand carved writing desks and reclining divans. You can take breakfast on the garden terrace overlooking the ocean and there's a cool, emerald-tiled pool for bathing. Faiza Mooza, your hostess is internationally renowned for her Mopla cuisine - Keralan Islamic cooking.
Day 12 – Historic Kochi
Today we will be up & early to board the 7 o’clock train to the historic city of Kochi – a city of winding lanes, colonial buildings, ancient churches, a synagogue and tree-lined avenues. This is also an opportunity to see the classical dances of Kerala - kathakali.
Day 13 – Cruise aboard a Riceboat
The highlight of the tour is a memorable cruise along the backwaters – a garland of rivers, canals, lagoons and lakes – that make up most of Central Kerala.
Day 14 – Depart from Kochi