Our tour is an interesting experience into culturally enchanting and verdant landscapes of South India that showcases varied charms of this tropical region. We explore ancient Hindu temples and lavish palaces; enjoy picturesque hill walks; see exotic wildlife in its natural habitat; and relax on a houseboat while cruising through the famous Kerala backwaters.
We begin from the modern metropolis of Bangalore, India’s technology hub, before heading west to Mysore, one of the most attractive old cities in the country. We marvel at the opulence of the Maharaja’s Palace - a highlight of an enjoyable day’s sightseeing.
From here it’s up into the verdant heights of the Western Ghats, taking in the national parks of Nagarhole and adjoining Bandipur and Mudumalai – which together form the largest protected wildlife area in southern India. During a series of game drives we seek out wild elephants, tigers, sloth bears and a variety of deer and primate species.
From Bandipur we spend a day walking and sightseeing in the picturesque hill station of Ooty – with a ride on the so-called ‘toy train’ through the hills – before crossing the state-line on our way to Munnar in Kerala. Next we visit breathtakingly beautiful wildlife sanctuaries at Eravikulam and Periyar and also take a boat-ride on the spectacular Periyar Lake to watch its colourful birdlife.
The final stage of this cultural and natural exploration of South India sees us descend to the lush Kerala coast to spend a night on a houseboat on a tour of the famous Kerala backwaters in Alleppey. We finish our tour in the romantic old spice town of Cochin, a trading post on the Arabian Sea since Roman times.
- Watching wild elephants and tigers in national parks in Bandipur, Mudumalai and Nagarhole.
- Riding the toy train through the hills.
- Exploring Munnar hill station famous for its picturesque tea gardens.
- Experiencing old seaport of Cochin.
- Riding the boat on Periyar Lake.
Day 1Welcome to the silicon valley of India
Upon arrival in Bangalore, we will be transferred to the hotel for check-in. Officially known as Bengaluru this city is the capital of Karnataka. With a population of about 8.42 million this city is known for its pleasant climate throughout the year. Its elevation is the highest among the major large cities of India. Bangalore is known as the ‘Silicon Valley of India’ because of its role as the nation's leading information technology (IT) exporter. It is also home to a large number of prominent Indian and multinational institutions apart from being the house of Kannada Film Industry.
Day 2Journey to Mysore
Bangalore (Bengaluru) - Mysore (Mysuru)
After the breakfast, we drive by surface to Mysore, famous for its alluring palaces. Enroute, we visit Srirangapatna, the historic capital of Tipu Sultan - known for his struggle against British rule. His Summer Palace is situated in scenic surroundings on an island formed by two branches of the River Cauvery with several monuments relating to the sultan’s rule scattered around it. After the visit, we resume our journey to Mysore. On arrival, check-in at Hotel.
We begin the sightseeing of Mysore by visiting 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 3 - 4Submerge in the milieu of the park
Mysore (Mysuru) - Nagarhole National Park
After the breakfast, we drive to Nagarhole National Park, stopping off at Tashi Lhumpo monastery and Tibetan settlement en route.This park is also popular as Rajiv Gandhi National Park), is situated in the vicinity of Kabini reservoir.In the year 1999, this park. This park was covered under Project Tigre.This park has rich forest cover, small streams, hills, valleys and waterfalls. The park has a healthy tiger-predator ratio, with many tigers, Indian bison and elephants.
Today in the morning, we have a Game drive into the Nagarhole jungle. Nagarhole National Park is famous for the tawny, black-striped Royal Bengal Tiger, elusive and stealthy, noble and regal. Established in the year 1955 as a wildlife sanctuary, it was designated a national park twenty years later. The park is centered on a perennial water reservoir formed in 1974 when the Kabini River was dammed. It has all the resident wildlife of the Nilgiri hills: Nilgiri Tahr, Nilgiri Langur, bison, leopard, Asian elephant, wild boar, deer, wild dog and porcupine, besides tigers. Afternoon is free.
Day 5Way to the abode of tigers
Nagarhole National Park - Bandipur National Park
After the breakfast, we drive towards Bandipur. On arrival, check-in at the hotel.
Afternoon Game drive into Bandipur National Park. It is one of the many reserves enclosed between Nilgiri Mountains and the Western Ghats spreading over the area of 865 square kilometers. It was given a status of National Park in 1974 and It was included in 'Project Tiger' a conservative programme adopted by Government in 1973. This afternoon safari allows us to observe the rich diversity of flora and fauna in thier natural habitat.
Day 6 - 7Drive to Queen of Hill station
Bandipur National Park - Ooty
Today, we drive to Ooty (Ootacamund). Upon arrival, we check into the hotel and spend time enjoying the beauty of this hill station. Ootacamund is fondly known as Ooty, the Queen of Hill Stations and is situated in the heart of the Nilgiri hills. An added attraction is the mountain train journey that wends its way through many hair-raising curves and fearful tunnels, and chugs along deep ravines full of verdant vegetation, gurgling streams and tea gardens.
In the morning, we enjoy a Toy-train journey. In the afternoon, we leave for the sightseeing tour of Ootacamund (Ooty). We visit the Ootacamund Botanical Garden, laid out at an elevation of 2400 meters in 1847 and spread over 22 hectares of land with some 650 species of plants and trees. We also visit the Doddabetta Peak which stands at an altitude of 2623 meters. Merely 10 kms from Ooty it is the highest point in the district, making it possibly the best vantage point around Ooty.
Day 8 - 9Drive to Munnar
Ooty - Munnar
After the breakfast, we drive to Munnar, a hill station located at the confluence of the mountain streams of Muthirappuzha, Chanduvarai and Kundala. It is surrounded by wild Jungle, the reason for it to be wet and cold for most of the season. During the British rule of India, it was developed to cultivate tea. It is sometimes referred to as the 'Switzerland' of India for its natural surroundings and Old World architecture. A picture book town, winding lanes, trekking and holiday facilities make Munnar a unique experience. Upon arrival, we check into the hotel and relax for rest of the day.
Today, we visit the Eravikulam National Park. Objectif of this park was to preserve the endangered Nilgiri Tahr. This park dwells the largest known population of Tahr existing in the world and one would spot innumerous diversity of animals such as Atlas Moths, Elephants, Sambhars, Gaurs, Nilgiri, Langurs, Tigers and Leopards.It offers awe-inspiring natural respledence of beutiful flowers and rolling grasslands.
Day 10Drive to Thekkady
Munnar - Periyar (Thekkady)
In the morning, we drive through beautiful and lush countryside across the top of the hills to Thekkady, a small town close to Periyar National Park of India’s most fascinating wildlife sanctuaries. After the arrival, we check in at the the hotel.
Thekkady is a major spice growing area and after lunch we take a short walk around a spice garden where we can see many different spices growing. There is plenty of time in the afternoon to explore the bazaar with numerous shops selling cardamoms, vanilla, peppercorns, chilies, turmeric and other spices.
Day 11Night stay in houseboat
After breakfast we drive to Alleppey. Also known as Alappuzha, the town is a principal center for backwater cruises in Kerala. We board our houseboats and begin our cruise along the backwaters of Kerala; one of the highlights of the trip. These enchanting boats have been decorated and made into comfortable cruise vessels. We meander along the waterways flanked by lush tropical vegetation, catching glimpses of dazzling tropical birds and watching idyllic villages. Our overnight stay is on the boats in the middle of the famous Vembanad Lake..
Day 12 - 13Drive to Cochin
Alappuzha (Alleppey) - Cochin (Kochi)
Today, we have breakfast on the houseboat while they move from their overnight mooring point to our Disembarkation point where we see our vehicles waiting for us. From here, we drive to Cochin and after checking into the hotel we spend the rest of the day the way we want.
Today we visit Fort Kochi, founded by the Portuguese in 1503 and it is considered to be one of the earliest site chosen by European colonial power. An odour of spice emerges from warehouses and food stalls offering different delicacy is common sight in each nook and corner of the town. 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. In the evening there is the chance for an optional visit to see a display of Kathakali, a form of classical dance unique to Kerala.