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Splendours of Southern India including Kerala House Boat Stay
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At a glance
Experience the natural and living cultures of India
Trip Highlights
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Visit Mumbai - the Gateway of India, tour the spectacular Palace of Mysore, experience traditional daily life in Coorg and spot abundant wildife on safari before cruising the awe-inspiring Kerla Backwaters on a stunning houseboat.

What's included

• Economy class International and Internal flights
• Rail journey
• All overseas transfers with assistance and porterage
• Hotel accommodation as detailed in itinerary
• 2 night cruise on the Kerala Backwaters
• Meals as detailed in the itinerary
• Sightseeing as per the itinerary with services of an English speaking guide
• All excursions, safari’s and performances as detailed in the itinerary
• All entrance fees to the Monuments and National Parks as per the itinerary
• Taxes where applicable
• Welcome and farewell dinner
• Welcome drinks party hosted by your escort
• Fully escorted by a member of our team (subject to minimum numbers)

Day 1
Depart London

Depart London for overnight flight to Mumbai

Day 2

Arrive in the morning and transfer to your hotel.

Overnight at Trident Hotel - Nariman Point

Day 3

This morning we will visit the Gateway of India, British in 1924 to serve as a ceremonial entrance to the country and Gandhi’s headquarters, the Mani Bhawan. After lunch at a local restaurant we will visit the acclaimed Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya Museum (formerly Prince of Wales Museum) with collections of art, archaeology, and natural history.

Tonight there is a welcome dinner together at a local restaurant.

Overnight at Trident Hotel - Nariman Point (B, D)

Day 4

After breakfast we will visit Dharavi, Mumbai’s giant slum considered a “city within a city” with approximately 800,000 inhabitants living in less than a square mile area. Cottage industries and small businesses thrive here, accounting for Dharavi’s estimated annual economy of more than USD $650 million.

Later in the afternoon, we visit iconic Crawford Market (ca. 1869), the huge Raj-era arcade prized for its architecture where Lockwood Kipling, Rudyard Kipling’s father, designed its friezes and stone fountains.

Overnight at Trident Hotel - Nariman Point (B)

Day 5
Mumbai - Bangalore - Mysore

This morning we fly to Bangalore, and then by coach to Mysore. En-route we visit the river island town of Srirangapatna, with its celebrated 9thcentury Hindu Ranganatha Temple. The Indian ruler Tipu Sultan made his capital here and opposed the East India Company forces in four wars until he fell in a siege in 1799; the temple and the island as a whole has become an important pilgrimage site.

Overnight at Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Mysore (B, L)

Day 6

This morning, we visit the Chamundi Hills, site of the 12th-century Chamundeshwari Temple with its 1,008 ancient steps leading to the summit.

Our next stop brings more magnificent architecture, as we visit the Palace of Mysore, the home of the Maharajahs of Mysore and one of India’s most popular attractions. We also visit to a local workshop to learn how the local sandalwood incense is made by hand.

The afternoon is free to relax or to explore the local markets, museums or art galleries.

Overnight at Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Mysore (B)

Day 7
Mysore - Coorg

After a 3 hours drive to Coorg we arrive at the Orange County Resort. Set on a 300-acre working coffee and spice plantation, it has a dramatic backdrop of virgin forest and the Kaveri River. After lunch we take a walking tour of the plantation and learn about the coffee grown on it, the difference between an Arabica and a Robusta bean, and the special “monsooning” process applied to the beans.

We enjoy a cultural dance performance before dinner.

Overnight at Orange County Resort, Coorg (B, L, D)

Day 8

Today we encounter everyday life as we wander the narrow lanes of a nearby village. Here we see a traditional coffee pour, then experience the round “coracle” boats used by local fishermen; we ride comfortably and close to water level as our boatmen expertly manoeuvre these unique vessels. After lunch there is time to explore the extensive grounds, relax at the coffee lounge, enjoy the library or spa, or join the hotel staff on a walk to discover more of Coorg’s unique geography and culture.

Overnight at Orange County Resort, Coorg (B, L, D)

Day 9
Coorg - Kabini

Early this morning, we embark on a birdwatching walk to see some of the 300 species - 25% of all India’s birds are found here.

After breakfast we leave for Nagarhole National Park, established in 1955, whose abundant wildlife, including leopard, Indian bison, wild dog, deer, antelope, hyena, and more, make it one of India’s finest reserves. In the summer months, this park also hosts the world’s greatest concentration of Asian elephants, estimated at 8,000-14,000, who migrate here to feast on riverbed pastures.

We arrive in time for a late lunch at our safari lodge, which is flanked on two sides by the Kabini River and was named one of the world’s 25 best eco-lodges by National Geographic Traveller. We then set out on a boat safari that takes in some of Nagarhole’s 247 square miles.

Overnight at Orange County Resort, Kabini (B, L, D)

Day 10

This morning, before breakfast, we take a safari in an open-air 4-wheel-drive vehicle through Nagarhole in search of wildlife. Later, we visit Orange County’s Butterfly Park with its many-hued occupants, including the Southern Birdwing, India’s largest butterfly. Then we drive to Gundathur, where we visit with a local family in their home. More of the natural world is on tap tonight as we embark on an after-dinner nature walk to witness the nocturnal birds and reptiles in their natural habitats.

Overnight at Orange County Resort, Kabini (B, L, D)

Day 11
Kabini - Calicut

Today we drive to Calicut, dubbed the “City of Spices” in antiquity for its role in the thriving eastern spice trade. We enjoy lunch at a local restaurant on the way to Calicut, and check into our centrally located hotel mid-afternoon.

We have some time at leisure to walk on the nearby beach or enjoy the amenities at our hotel.

Overnight at Gateway Hotel Beach Road (B, L)

Day 12
Calicut - Kochi - Houseboat Cruise

Early this morning, we transfer to the railway station where we board a train and head south.

We then begin our leisurely cruise of the palmfringed backwater canals of the Arabian Sea, a distinctive region whose beauty and tranquillity have earned it the sobriquet “God’s own country.” A vast network of lagoons, lakes, and canals formed by the confluence of Kerala’s numerous rivers and the Arabian Sea, the Kerala backwaters run alongside the coast for more than 550 miles.

Overnight at Kerala Houseboat (B, L, D)

Day 13
Houseboat Cruise

Today we see Indian life up close as we slowly cruise past small farms and villages, old temples, and churches, stopping on occasion to go ashore. These labyrinthine waterways have served as a thoroughfare from ancient times, and the daily existence has changed little over the centuries. Along the way we may observe traditional livelihoods such as fish farming and toddy tapping.

Overnight at Kerala Houseboat (B, L, D)

Day 14

We disembark this morning and return to Kochi, “Queen of the Arabian Sea”. Upon arrival, we visit the well-preserved European quarter, with its mix of Portuguese, Dutch, and British colonial houses and other historic buildings. Here we see the Mattancherry Palace (Dutch Palace), with its rare Keralite flooring and mythological murals, followed by the Synagogue and Jewish Town, home to the oldest group of Jews in India, whose roots stretch possibly all the way back to King Solomon. Later this afternoon, we attend a performance of Kathakali dance, where facial expressions and hand gestures combine with movement to create this traditional Kerala art form.

Tonight we celebrate our splendid journey at a farewell dinner at our hotel.

Overnight at Eighth Bastion Hotel (B, D)

Day 15

This morning’s walking tour further reveals Kochi’s multi-layered past, a rich brew of Arab, Portuguese, British, and Dutch influences. We will also see the Chinese fishing nets unique to Kochi. These iconic land-based nets combine elegance and ingenuity, their massive frames balanced by counterweights manipulated by teams of up to six men. Tonight, we enjoy a sunset harbour cruise.

Overnight at Eighth Bastion Hotel (B)

Day 16
Kochi - Return flight to London

We depart for the airport for our return flight via Mumbai.

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