23 Day Southern Odyssey

tour and travel agents in India

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Maximum Group Size: 10

Starts in Goa 

Finishes in Mahabalipuram (60km south of Chennai) 

Dates TBA. This tour is usually scheduled to run between December and February

Entrance Fees Included for all sites visited as part of the itinerary

Fully Escorted by Deb Kindness, who has over 20 years experience travelling and leading tours in India and Nepal.

Cost TBA

IN THEIR OWN WORDS – Some testimonials from our past travellers

 

Accommodation Transport Meal
2 nights guesthouse Airport Transfers 8 Dinners
17 nights hotels Train 21 breakfasts
1 night home stay Private minibus 5 lunches
1 night houseboat Taxis
1 night overnight train Auto Rickshaw

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Beginning our journey in fascinating Panjim, the quaint and charming capital of Goa, we travel east to explore the ruins of the Vijayanagar Empire in Hampi. Heading south, we spend time in Mysore the old capital of the Wodeyar Dynasty where we witness the spectacular Mysore Palace lights and the colourful Devaraja markets before heading into Kerala – God’s Own Country. This extraordinarily beautiful part of India offers extreme diversity. Enjoy the breathtakingly beautiful Backwaters, beaches, tea, coffee and spice plantations and wildlife reserves. Watch fishermen in Cochin pull in the nets as they have done for centuries. Experience life along the tranquil islands of the backwaters. Trek through a wildlife park and maybe catch a glimpse of wild elephants, deer, giant squirrels or wild boar. Moving on to Tamil Nadu, considered to be the last bastion of traditional Hindu culture in India, we visit ancient monuments and temple towns before finishing our tour in Mahabalipuram resplendent with World Heritage rock cut temples and charming beach resorts.

Experience Incredible India and the Complete South of India on this Small Group Tour, fully escorted within India by a western tour leader with the service of local guides for various activities and sightseeing.

ITINERARY

Day 1 Goa

Arrival Day. We have a group meeting at 6pm to discuss the tour before heading out for dinner.

Day 2 Goa
A morning walking tour of Panjim, the quaint and fascinating capital of Goa, is followed by a visit to Old Goa, home to the Basilica of Bom Jesus where the mortal remains of St Francis Xavier are housed between ‘viewings’ that take place every 10 years. A sunset cruise along the Mandovi river introduces us to the Indian side of Goa as a holiday destination.

Days 3-5 Hampi
A morning train up into the Western Ghats through spectacular gorges and rainforest brings us to Hampi where we get to explore the myriad sights and temples that make up the ruins of the Vijayanagar Empire’s 15th century capital. On the evening of day 5, we take an overnight train to Mysore.

Days 6-7 Mysore
An early arrival into Bangalore and then a 3 hour drive gets us to Mysore. We wander the vast halls of the splendid Mysore Palace and visit the amazing temples at Somnathpur, a drive that takes us by some of the most idyllic rural scenes in India. We also visit Chaumundi temple and the colourful Devaraja Market. Don’t miss the incredible evening illuminations at Mysore Palace which is lit up by more than 90,000 light bulbs. Mysore is famous for yoga, being the home of the Shri K Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute, so why not take a yoga class while we’re here.

Days 8-9 Kannur (Cannanore)

We take a 7 hour drive back to the coast to Kannur on the north coast of Kerala. Here we stay in small houses near the beautiful, secluded beach. During our stay here we hope to enjoy the traditional theyyam ritual which is performed most nights of the year somewhere around Kannur. Day 9 is a free day to relax on the beach or perhaps visit the St Angelo Fort in Kannur town.

Days 10-12 Cochin
We have a 6 1/2 hour train ride this morning to Cochin. We spend the afternoon visiting Fort Cochin and soaking up the ambience in this wonderfully laid back town. We visit Jew Town, Mattancherry palace and the quaint Jewish synagogue. Kerala is famous for Kathakali, an intricate and stylised form of dance. We have the opportunity to see a short performance as well as watch the intricate makeup application beforehand.

Day 13 Alleppey
A short 2 hour journey brings us to Alleppey where our traditional Kettuvallam (rice barge) houseboat awaits us. We spend the next day slowly drifting past idyllic tropical rural scenes in the lush palm fringed backwaters, on the way visiting villages to see local industries such as coir-making, toddy-tapping and boat building.

Day 14 Chennamkary
Our houseboat drops us off after breakfast at our Keralan Family Homestay. Our welcoming hosts will show us around the village which is situated on an vehicle-free island within the backwaters. We have the opportunity to ride cycles to neighbouring villages, row canoes around the island or just chill in a hammock.

Days 15-16 Munnar
This morning we drive up the ghats through rubber, tea, coffee and pineapple plantations on a beautiful 4 hour journey to Munnar. On day 16 we have a full day trek around the rolling verdant hills of manicured tea plantations and estates dotted amongst picturesque hamlets. A chance to enjoy the crisp fresh air and stunning scenery surrounding some the worlds largest and highest tea estates. The hills of Munnar were featured in the recent Oscar winning movie ‘Life of Pi’ and you’ll understand why this is a favourite filming location.

Days 17-18 Periyar Tiger Reserve
A spectacular 4 hour drive today through the Cardamom hills—lined with tea, cocoa, tapioca, bamboo, coconut, banana and spice plantations takes us to Kumily, our destination for the next 2 nights. We visit a spice plantation in the afternoon followed by an early morning guided walk through the jungle on day 17 which is the best way to experience the park and hopefully see Elephants, Deer, Monkeys and more up close. A free afternoon to relax or shop or perhaps have an ayurvedic massage.

Day 19  Madurai

We have a 4 hour journey this morning to Madurai.  The state of Tamil Nadu contrasts hugely with Goa and Kerala. Saddhus, holy men and holy cows abound throughout the state and Madurai, home of the spectacular Sri Meenakshi Temple is no different. Madurai is the quintessential Tamil Nadu Hindu temple town.  We have the chance to visit the temple at various times of the day – don’t miss the evening ‘putting the gods to bed ceremony’.

Days 20-21  Pondicherry

After an early visit to the Temple, we have a 6 hour train ride and a short drive to reach Pondicherry, arriving in time to enjoy a fabulous French inspired dinner. We have a full day to enjoy the wonderful charms of this erstwhile French Colony, featured in Life of Pi as Pi’s home town. We wander the streets and see some of the sites of the film. If you wish, spend some time at the Aurobindo Ashram or head out to Auroville to visit the Matrimandir.

Day 22 Mahabalipuram

After a short drive north to Mahabalipuram and checking into our beachside resort hotel, we visit to the ‘5 Rathas’ – a world heritage site as well as the ancient shore temple and rock-cut temples in Mahabalipuram. Dinner tonight is included to celebrate the completion of our incredible adventure.

Day 23 Departure Day
There are no organised activities for today. You may leave at any time.

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If you have any questions or would like more information please contact me:

Debbie Kindness

Phone: +61 (0)431 120 792

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