All the sweetness of South India is unveiled in this journey marked by interaction with men, arts, village traditions and a flamboyant nature that we shall discover by bike, boat and on foot. The green hills follow the infinite beaches fringed with coconut palms, the counters loaded with spices.
This relaxed family trip of twelve days begins from the Mysore. It is famed for its glittering royal heritage and magnificent monuments and buildings. Taking a short transfer, we arrive Kabini. It is a must see for all nature lovers and those looking for a perfect vacation amidst the lush greenery and imposing waterfalls. The Dubare Camp is the place where elephants are trained for the famous Mysore Dasara. One could witness different procedure involved in bringing up the elephants right from feeding to training session by Mahout. After having spent the good moments in the company of elephants, we head towards Neeleshwar where hermitage is environmentally sensitive place to take a break, slow down and enjoy some distance from a busy life among humbling scenery in exotic locations. From here, we board the train to Palakkad to experience the local activities. The history of Palakkad dates back to the Paleolithic period; several megalithic relics have been found in the region. Continuing the trip with same spirit, we reach the terminal destination of Cochin where we witness such an intriguing mix: giant fishing nets from China, a 400-year-old synagogue, ancient mosques, Portuguese houses and the crumbling remains of the British Raj.
- The spectacular Maharaja’s Palace, Mysore
- Kabini mesmerizes your hearts with their serene charm
- Unique and Tranquil destinations such as Palakkad and Neeleshwar
- Fort Kochi- an amalgam of Old Portuguese, British and Dutch colonial architecture
Day 1Traditional Welcome on arrival and drive to Mysore
Bangalore (Bengaluru) - Mysore (Mysuru)
Upon arrival, we drive straight by surface to Mysore, famous for its alluring palaces. Upon late arrival in the evening in Mysore, we check-in at the hotel.
Day 2Exploration of Mysore
In the morning, we embark on a sightseeing tour of Mysore. We drive to the Srirangapatna (the historic capital of Tipu Sultan who was known for his struggle against the British rule), where we visit Daria Daulat Bagh, the Summer Palace of Tipu Sultan. It is situated in the scenic surroundings on an island formed by two branches of The River Cauvery. Several monuments relating to the sultan’s rule are scattered across the island. We then return to Mysore and visit the Palace of the Maharaja (Emperor), a harmonious synthesis of Hindu and Saracenic styles of architecture – with a plethora of magnificent archways, domes, turrets, colonnades and sculptures. We also visit Chaumundi Hill with its temple dedicated to Durga. On the road up to the Temple there is a giant monolithic Nandi bull, carved from a single piece of granite in 1659. Known for its sandalwood, Mysore is also famous for some of India’s finest crafts, such as printed silk, inlaid furniture and ivory carvings.
Day 3Mysore - Kabini
Mysore (Mysuru) - Kabini
Today, we will leave by surface to the Kabini reservoir (about 1h30), from here we mount on our mountain bikes and resume our route by this new means of locomotion for our hotel that is situated about 10 Kms from kabini Reservoir. A different perspective of the region is offered to you. After lunch, A boat safari on the Kabini reservoir, adjacent to Nagarhole Park, an opportunity to observe the wildlife, many birds, perhaps also large mammals (elephants, bison, deer).
In the morning, we leave for a safari through the nature reserve. Paradise of nature, it is the shelter for many wild animals: elephants, peacocks, deer, leopards, tigers, wild boars, gaurs (Indian buffaloes), monkeys, eagles and other cormorants.
Later, we have the occasion to attend a spectacular sunrise. Return to the hotel for breakfast. Free time to enjoy the large pool of your hotel and its splendid view of the river. In the afternoon, we will discover the region by bike, its paths and villages preserved.
Day 5Kabini - Coorg
Kabini - Coorg
After delicious breakfast, we head to Bylakuppe. After driving for almost two and half hour, we reach at Bylakupee where a large Tibetan community of about 20,000 people settled in the early 1960s. we will relish traditional Tibetan lunch. Later, we continue our journey and arrive Coorg , probably one of the most beautiful of South India with its valleys and lush forests. Upon arrival, experience the Open Jeep Safari. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 6Dubare Elephant Camp
Today, we will leave for the Dubare (about half an hour drive), Elephant camp where we see the elephants being fed and trained to follow the instructions of their Master (Mahout). The rest of the day will be dedicated to the activities such as a Coracle ride (a very light boat made of tarred buffalo skin) and this ride would allow you to explore the lake at your rhythm and walk through the Coffee and Spice plantations.
Note - Coracle Ride is subject to the water level in the lake.
Day 7Dubare Elephant Camp - Neeleshwar
Coorg - Neeleshwar
Today, we follow the route to the Malabar coast, north of the state of Kerala. We will descend from the highlands of the Coorg region to the Coastal plains, its long sandy beaches lined with coconut palms. En-route, we will stop for a visit to Fort Bekal, the most imposing of the region. In the evening, come to the Theyyam, or "Dance of the Gods", very special to this region of North Kerala. Artists dressed in traditional attire perform dances inspired by the great Indian epics before an audience of adoration. Many temples host these ceremonies daily between the month of November and February.
Day 8Neeleshwar - Cruise in the Backwaters
A Full Day Cruise, less known than the canals of Kerala in Allepey, the canals of Valiyaparamba offer an intimate cruise of 25 km. Visits of villages living from the production of coconut fiber. Used in the factory of a strong natural string, but also to make the wadding for the mattresses. The colorful houses hide in the middle of the palm trees that border the waterfront. Meals aboard our boat. Visit a small island where many monkeys play. In the middle of the forest, a sanctuary rises, dedicated to the gods of the Nagas. Return to the hotel.
Day 9Neeleshwar - Palakkad
Neeleshwar - Palakkad
Early morning, we would be transferred to the Railway station to board the train to Palakkad. Lunch on board and arrival in the early afternoon in Palakkad (14h30). Chauffeur will receive us and transfer to the hotel. Stroll through the village and meet the locals who present their way of life, their customs. We might have interaction with Namboothiris, the ruling class of Brahmins of Kerala, whose culture differs from the former.
Morning dedicated to explore the prestigious school of Kalamandalam, the first institution that teaches the traditional arts of Kerala to boarding students: the Kathakali, drama whose themes are taken from the great Indian epics and the life of Krishna, and Koodyattam. Gestures, costumes and make-up are particularly sophisticated. We attend Mohiniyaattam dance exclusively performed by women, (The center is closed on Saturdays and Sundays, during the New Year period, from 20 March to the end of May, during the Poonam festival in September). Lunch at the Cheruthuruthy River Retreat, by the river. Return to the hotel to share with our hosts the secrets of this house of another time (Exclusively vegetarian cuisine in this house, no Alcohol).
Day 11Palakkad - Cochin
Palakkad - Cochin (Kochi)
From here, we drive towards Cochin, and after checking into the hotel.
Then, we visit the Fort Kochi, founded by the Portuguese in 1503 and believed to be the earliest European settlement in India. Warehouses filled with the smell of tea and spices, lime-washed bright green, yellow and blue; rickety old bikes and hand-painted trucks piled high with goods that fill the narrow streets, and food stalls at every corner is a common sight. In the afternoon, we enjoy a sightseeing tour of Mattancherry Palace, built by the Portuguese as a gift for the Raja of Kochi, the Jewish synagogue dating from 1568 and St Francis church. We also explore the town of Kochi, its bazaars and old harbour area.