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South India Odyssey

We will open up the world of South India with our 26 day tour from Bangalore to Kochi and enjoy the Kerala Backwaters on board a luxury houseboat.

26 Day
From (AUD)
$ 14,680
  • 2017/2018 Bangalore > Chennai

    Tour Code:

    INSO

    Duration:

    26 Days

    Departure City:

    Bangalore

    Return City:

    Chennai

  • 26 Day Itinerary

    • Day 1 - Bangalore

      Welcome to South India. Enjoy your two nights stay at your hotel in Bangalore.

    • Day 2 - Bangalore
      Highlights:
      Bangalore winery tour

      Explore Bangalore visiting the Botanical Gardens, Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace and the Bull Temple and drive past the Government Secretariat, Legislature Building and Cubbon. This afternoon, leave for Grover Zampa vineyards to learn about wine making and indulge in wine tasting. Enjoy a traditional dinner and show at the Rudraksha Farm Theatre, a setting that epitomizes India’s mystique, charm and ambience.

      Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    • Day 3 - Bangalore > Mysore
      Highlights:
      Enrich - local family dinner

      Leave for Mysore, known for its glittering royal heritage and colonial buildings. En route visit Srirangapatna Fortress, the former capital of the Tipu Sultan. Later enjoy an excursion to Somnathpur before checking in to your hotel in Mysore for two nights.

      Enrich

      Enjoy dinner with a local family in Mysore related to the former Royal Family. The host has converted most of the rooms of her home into a colourful local school for children.

      Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    • Day 4 - Mysore
      Highlights:
      Freechoice, Mysore Palace
      Freechoice

      Enjoy a morning walk through Devaraja Market or learn about the ancient, traditionally hand-painted Indian card game called Ganjifa from a Ganjifa Painter. Alternatively stretch in an Asthanga yoga class – the Mysore style of yoga.

      Later visit Mysore Palace, Chamundi Hills and St. Philomena’s Church. Tonight return to Mysore Palace to view the weekly occurrence when it is completely illuminated by approximately 97,000 lightbulbs.

      Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    • Day 5 - Mysore > Kabini
      Highlights:
      Nagharhole National Park

      Drive to Kabini, the base for exploring Nagharhole National Park and your luxurious Special Stay resort. Enjoy an afternoon boat safari along the Kabini River. At night watch a troupe of Kuruba tribal dancers or a documentary about the local wildlife.

      Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    • Day 6 - Kabini
      Highlights:
      Sundowners over Kabini River

      Rise early for a drive around the park on a game safari. Afterwards visit a nearby Kuruba tribe village with a naturalist, who will talk about local agriculture.

      Sundowners

      Gather around the infinity pool overlooking the Kabini River for a refreshing drink.

      Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    • Day 7 - Kabini > Bylekuppe > Coorg
      Highlights:
      Bylekuppe Tibetan monastery

      Leave for Coorg visiting Bylekuppe Monastery en-route, the second largest Tibetan settlement outside Tibet. This afternoon enjoy a guided walking tour of a working coffee and spice plantation. Overnight stay at Coorg.

      Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    • Day 8 - Coorg > Hassan
      Highlights:
      Enrich - Kodava village

      This morning drive to a Kodava village to interact with the locals and appreciate their age-old culture and traditional houses.

      Enrich

      After learning about their culture, enjoy a delicious home cooked Kodava lunch with the villagers.

      Drive to Hassan and check in to your resort.

      Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    • Day 9 - Hassan > Bangalore > Kochi
      Highlights:
      Belur and Halebid

      This morning drive to Belur to visit the Channakeshave Temple built in 1116 and the Hoysala Temples in Halebid. Travel to Bangalore and fly to Kochi. Upon arrival check into your hotel.

      Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    • Day 10 - Kochi > Kumarakom
      Highlights:
      Kettuvallam cruise

      After a relaxing morning, travel into the backwaters to Kumarakom and your resort, your home for the next two nights. Enjoy your afternoon cruise along the famed palm-fringed Kerala Backwaters.

      Luxury Houseboat - Alternatively, take the opportunity to spend your first night in Kumarakom on board a houseboat, known as a Kettuvallam, a traditional rice barge and cruise through the lakes and backwaters past small villages to view the local life. Included at no extra cost but must be pre-booked.

      Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    • Day 11 - Kumarakom:
      Highlights:
      Freechoice
      Freechoice

      Visit Philip Kutty’s Farm and enjoy a Keralan cooking class or unwind with a traditional Ayurveda massage. Alternatively visit Kumbhalangi Village to experience traditional village life and activities.

      FreechoiceDining

      Ettukettu, known for its Kerala dishes or Vembanad, a seafood bar.

      Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    • Day 12 - Kumarakom > Kochi
      Highlights:
      Freechoice Dining

      Travel to Kochi and visit Mattancherry Palace, Jew Town and the Synagogue. Return to your hotel in Kochi.

      FreechoiceDining

      Dine at Pepper, an all-day diner, or try Rice Boat, a seafood specialty restaurant. Otherwise try Dolphins Point multi-cuisine barbeque and grill.

      Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    • Day 13 - Kochi
      Highlights:
      Freechoice, Sunset cruise

      Head to the harbour and watch the local fishermen handling the Chinese fishing nets followed by a walking tour of the Fort Cochin area.

      Freechoice

      Visit a local market and learn the secrets of South Indian cooking or explore Vypeen Island. Alternatively enjoy a traditional Ayurveda massage or ‘Me Time’ yoga workshop.

      Enjoy a sunset cruise around Kochi Harbour before indulging in a sumptuous dinner.

      Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    • Day 14 - Kochi
      Highlights:
      Day at leisure

      Spend the day at your leisure.

      Meals included: Breakfast

    • Day 15 - Kochi
      Highlights:
      Freechoice, Kathakali dance performance

      Head down to the harbour and watch the local fishermen expertly handling the Chinese fishing nets. Discover the different colonial influences during your tour of Fort Kochi. Visit Jew Town and the Jewish synagogue.

      Freechoice

      Visit a local market before learning the secrets of South Indian cooking or indulge in a traditional Ayurveda massage. Alternatively explore Vypeen Island, a small fishing village with a number of old Portuguese churches.

      In the evening, watch a Kathakali performance, a highly evolved classical form of dance, drama and music.

      Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    • Day 16 - Kochi > Periyar National Park
      Highlights:
      Periyar Lake cruise

      Ascend into the highlands to Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary and take a private boat cruise on Periyar Lake. Overnight stay Periyar National Park.

      Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    • Day 17 - Periyar National Park > Madurai
      Highlights:
      Enrich - spice plantation lunch
      Freechoice

      Join an early morning guided jungle walk or partake in a jeep tour through local spice farms and countryside for panoramic views over Tamil Nadu.

      Enrich

      Wander through a small family-owned spice plantation and learn how spices grow before enjoying a lunch prepared by the family.

      Cross into Tamil Nadu, the ‘State of Temples’ and drive to Madurai, known as the ‘Athens of the East’. Tonight relax at your hotel in Madurai.

      Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    • Day 18 - Madurai
      Highlights:
      Sri Meenakshi temple

      Rise early for a walk through the heritage section of town to witness the early morning rituals. Later, walk through the local flower and vegetable market and weavers market. Visit one of South India’s biggest pilgrimage sites, the Sri Meenakshi Temple. This evening return by Tuk Tuk to this Hindu temple to absorb the rituals and celebration of the evening puja ceremony.

      Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    • Day 19 - Madurai > Chettinad
      Highlights:
      Chettinad city tour

      Drive to the small village of Karaikudi located in the area known as ‘Chettinad’. The merchants and traders (the Chettiars) amassed fortunes from their roles as bankers, building remarkable homes. Experience a bullock cart ride through the narrow streets exploring the charm and faded elegance of colonial bungalows and merchant houses, stopping for a weaving demonstration en-route. Stay at your beautifully restored Art Deco mansion for the next two nights.

      Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    • Day 20 - Chettinad
      Highlights:
      Enrich - wedding feast

      Witness ‘Kolam making’, colourful designs made with dyed rice, before visiting a pottery village to watch the colourful local tiles called Athangudi being crafted by hand. This afternoon take a heritage walk and visit Chettinad Palace

      Enrich

      This evening, witness the preparations for tonight’s typical Chettinad wedding feast before appreciating a private Bharattnatayam classical dance performance.

      Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    • Day 21 - Chettinad > Trichy > Tanjore
      Highlights:
      Freechoice

      Journey through the ‘rice bowl’ of Tamil Nadu and on to Trichy, the former Madurai Nayak capital.

      Freechoice

      Choose to climb the Rock Fort Temple or discover Trichy’s colleges, missions and churches. Alternatively visit the island and temples of Srirangam.

      Drive the short distance to Tanjore and your overnight stay.

      Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    • Day 22 - Tanjore > Puducherry
      Highlights:
      Enrich - meet a master craftsman

      Discover the World Heritage-listed Brihadishvara Temple.

      Enrich

      See a demonstration by master craftsmen to learn all about lost-wax casting. Also known as ‘precision casting’ or ‘cire perdue’ in French, it is a method of bronze casting dating back 5,700 years.

      Later drive to the pretty seaside town of Puducherry, the former capital of the French territories in India, then known as Pondicherry. Stay at your romantic hotel, a beautiful tribute to the town’s French legacy.

      Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    • Day 23 - Puducherry
      Highlights:
      Colonial heritage walking tour

      Journey to Auroville (City of Dawn) and see the Matrimandir, a metallic sphere covered in gold. Understand how the local Tamil population successfully assimilated French culture with their own during a heritage walking tour. Stroll past charming Tamil and colonial fusion architecture and visit the Aurobindo Ashram.

      Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    • Day 24 - Puducherry > Chennai
      Highlights:
      Freechoice Dining

      En-route to Chennai stop at Mamallapuram to explore the spectacular World Heritage-listed Shore Temples. In Chennai, check in to your beautiful hotel for a two night Special Stay.

      FreechoiceDining

      Dine on international cuisine at Spectra or China XO, featuring the flavours of China. Alternatively try Jamavar, specialising in Indian cuisine.

      Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    • Day 25 - Chennai
      Highlights:
      Freechoice
      Freechoice

      Walk through Georgetown and discover its markets and colonial laneways or explore the 8th century Hindu temples in Kanchipuram. Alternatively, visit a local Indian market and take part in a cooking lesson.

      Discover the history of the Basilica of San Thome before wandering along India’s largest urban beach, The Marina. Tonight reminisce about your wonderful tour at your farewell dinner.

      Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    • Day 26 - Chennai

      Bid farewell to Southern India.

      Meals included: Breakfast