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21 Days South Indian Odyssey
A Nature, Culture & Liesure Tour of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Goa.
- Kochi - historical & cultural interlude
- Back waters cruise on a rice boat
- Wilderness & Wildlife at Periyar
- Temples of Madhurai
- Tea garden homestay at Munnar
- Farm House homestay amidst nature at Sethumada
- Toy train to Ooty
- Palaces & Temples of Royal Mysore
- Beaches and churches of Goa
Day 1 – Kochi :
On arrival, we make your way to the port city of Kochi, where you can see that explorers over centuries have made Kochi their home. You are sure to feel welcomed in this city of winding lanes, colourful shops, great food, ferry boats and ships docked at the harbour. Vasco da Gama, was interred right here in Kochi in the over 400 year old St Francis Church. Walk through the old part of town called Fort Kochi where several Portuguese style houses, cobbled lanes, the St Francis Church, the Cochin Clubhouse and many other vintage sights will charm you.
Day 2 – Riceboat Cruise :
We will take a day out for a backwater cruise from the town Jetty weaves its ways through an intricate web of canals and river, the either side of which is set small villages, many of which cannot be accessed by road even today. The cruise itself will be made in the charming houseboat known as a Kettuvallam, which in the days gone by used to transport produce, and is by far the best way to sample everyday life in the backwater and soak in the amazing beauty of palm lined shores. Other interesting sights like - ducks being literally ‘shepherded’ on the quiet waters by a man on the smallest vallam (canoe) possible, children swimming and scooping out mussels for dinner or people buying their fish and vegetables from woman whose shop is her boat, Century old churches, Ambalams (temples) alit with lamps at twilight - are commonplace.
Day 4, 5 – Wilderness at Periyar :
Over 700 sq kms of thick rain forests, Periyar is home to wide variety of wildlife. From herds of Elephant to over 320 species of birds and 200 species of Butterflies. Surrounded by spice plantations, Periyar makes ideal country for forest treks, wildlife safaris and visiting indigenous tribes. Many innovative programmes make Periyar unique – encountering wildlife during a Bamboo Rafting expedition, boating on the lake or even a bullock cart ride are all arranged here.
Day 6, 7 – Temples of Madurai :
We will take the winding road down to reach the ancient temple town of Madurai. Established in the Sangam period of the pre Christian era, this bustling town in Tamil Nadu is famous for ancient temple the Meenakshi Temple. During that time the town was planned around the temple in the shape of a lotus. The beautiful architecture of some of the temples that can be seen today is attributed to this history. This is also the right place to tuck into some excellent traditional vegetarian fare. The architectural genius of the Meenakshi temple, the multi colored gopurams of the other temples, classical Carnatic music and bharatnatyam (a classical dance born in the temples of South India) and colourful local markets are some of the ‘must sees’ in Madurai
Day 8, 9, 10 – Tea Gardens of Munnar :
Munnar, part the Kannan Devan Hills set at an altitude of over 6000 feet, forms part of the Western Ghats, one of the 34 ‘biodiversity hotspots’ of the world. The unique combination of tropical and temperate climates has endowed this eco region with great many endemic species of flora and fauna. The Nilgiri Tahr are seen on the trek to Rajamalai. Bird watching enthusiasts will have a brilliant opportunity to sight endemic birds. The thrill of sighting a Nilgiri Wood Pigeon or a Black and Orange Flycatcher for some will last a life time, for many others sighting rare endemic birds, butterflies and flowers will encourage a passion for nature. Stay in a plantation Bungalow.
Day 11, 12, 13 – Farmlands at Sethumada near Top Slip :
We will make our way to Sethumada. Banyan Tree Resort is home of Prabhu and his family. Located on the foothills of the Western Ghats, near Top Slip, the Banyan Tree was built as the original home of the landlord of the 4500 acre estate.
The house is perfect for relaxing - with its marble floors, small living area and open dining area with covered tiled roof and traditional Tamilian food. We can stroll through the plantations - coconuts, groundnuts, vanilla, gooseberry, sugarcane; visit nearby villages; bath in the waterfalls; walks to the mountains; or take a guided trek at the Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary (a sanctuary with wildlife including elephant, tiger, leopard, lion tailed macaque, civet, sloth bear, gaur, nilgiri langur)
Day 17, 18 – Royal Mysore :
We will leave early to board the ‘toy’ train to Ooty – a rare experience to climb to some of the highest reaches of the western Ghats. On arrival we will make it by our car to the royal city of Mysore. Mysore is a city of palaces, as you visit them you will be enveloped in the splendor of a bygone era. Amba Vilas, the main palace in Mysore is a ‘must see’. The pavilion also houses a fine collection of Indian and European sculpture and ceremonial objects like a wooden elephant howdah (frame to carry passengers) decorated with gold. The nearby Srirangapatnam Fort (a short drive away from Mysore) which stands testimony to the rich historical legacies of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan.
Day 19, 20, 21 – Sunny Goa.
We will depart early for Bangalore & board the afternoon flight to Goa where we will spend the last few days lazing in the sun.
Day 22 : Departure from Goa