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South Indian Images

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days 14 US$ 2,450 US$ 2,327
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highlights
  • Mysore - Visit the Maharajah's Palace, one of the largest palaces in India
  • Ooty - Enjoy the cool climate of this hill station town
  • Madurai - Wind your way through 1000 ornately carved pillars in the Meenakshi Temple
  • Kochi - Explore the Portuguese influenced city by boat
The South Indian Images tour starts in Bangalore Airport and ends in Mamallapuram. The South Indian Images is a Cruises tour that takes 14 days taking you from Bangalore Airport to Mamallapuram and through other destinations in Asia.

This varied tour covers the most fascinating highlights of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. From intricately carved temple complexes and palaces to the lush scenery of the Western Ghats and Keralan backwaters, this trip covers south India in depth. Mysore - Visit the Maharajah's Palace, one of the largest palaces in India Madurai - Wind your way through 1000 ornately carved pillars in the Meenakshi Temple Kochi and surrounds - Explore the Portuguese influenced city and cruise the nearby backwaters
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Our tour begins today at Bangalore Airport. After meeting in the arrivals hall we leave the airport and drive to Mysore.
Accommodation
  • Premium hotel
Mysore offers the interested traveller a great deal including the huge Maharajah's Palace. Originally built in the 14th century, the palace has undergone two subsequent re-buildings and is today an opulent mélange of Hindu and British architecture. This morning we visit the Maharajah's Palace and also see the enormous monolithic sculpture of the sacred bull Nandi standing halfway up the Chamundi Hill. The rest of the day is left free to explore at your own pace. You may wish to visit the Srirangapatnam Palace outside the city or see the historic art gallery in Jaganmohan Palace. In spring, the scent of jasmine fills the air, making Mysore a city of true oriental splendour.
Meals
  • Breakfast
Accommodation
  • Premium hotel
Leaving the city today we drive to nearby Bandipur National Park. The park is home to a variety of animals such as the chital (spotted deer), monkeys, mongoose, panther and the gaur - the Indian bison. The park's elephant population is one of the largest in the country and we may see some of them working in the forest. We take a game drive this afternoon before spending the night at a lodge on the outskirts of the park.
Meals
  • Breakfast
Accommodation
  • Standard hotel
An early start today as we take a second game drive in to Bandipur. After returning to our lodge for breakfast and a freshen up we drive to Udhagamandalam, better known as Ooty. The most famous of all South India's hill stations, Ooty (2270m) was first adopted by the British then by wealthy Maharajas, earning itself a reputation as Snooty Ooty.
Meals
  • Breakfast
Accommodation
  • Standard hotel
We take a walking tour of the town this morning and the afternoon is left free to visit the Botanical Gardens, St Stephen's Church or Ooty Lake. You may like to play golf at the Ooty Golf Club or take a walk up to Dodabetta Peak for some stunning views, or perhaps visit a local tea factory. There may also be the option to take a guided walk with a visit to a tribal village with a local guide.
Meals
  • Breakfast
Accommodation
  • Standard hotel
After breakfast we take a ride on the famous Toy Train to Coonoor. Whilst traditionally the Toy Train was pulled by steam engines these days they are mostly pulled by diesel engines. It is not unknown for the Toy Train to be out of service due to maintenance or due to poor track conditions, if this is the case we will transfer to Coonoor by bus. We then transfer to the coastal city of Kochi.
Meals
  • Breakfast
Accommodation
  • Premium hotel
Kochi has been a gathering place of merchants since antiquity and is full of bustling traders. Fort Kochi is the oldest European settlement in India (1500), and has a mixture of English, Dutch and Portuguese influences. The Mattancherry Palace was built by the Portuguese in the 16th century, but extensive renovations by the Dutch some hundred years later earned it the name the Dutch Palace. It has some of the best murals in India, depicting scenes from the Ramayana and other great legends. We will take a harbour cruise to Fort Kochi, passing Bolgatty Island and seeing the cantilevered Chinese Fishing nets. We also visit St Francis Church before a free afternoon for personal exploration.
Meals
  • Breakfast
Accommodation
  • Premium hotel
Today we visit the Jewish synagogue in Kochi before driving to the most beautiful stretch of inland waterways in Kerala - over 80km of Malabar backwaters winding under the lush leaves of coconut palms. We board our houseboat for an exotic journey, chugging in unhurried style on waterways used by villagers commuting from village to village. The people are a colourful mix of high born Nayas, traditionally inheriting property through the mother; Brahmins, once priests but now mainly professional workers; Dravidians, speaking their own language and Christians, Jews, Muslims and Chinese - an attractive, friendly melée of different types, often looking somewhat incongruous with their black umbrellas to ward off the tropical sun. Keep an eye open for the rich variety of birdlife along the waters edge. We dock in the middle of the waterways and relax as we watch the sun go down.
Meals
  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Accommodation
  • Simple boat
After spending the morning drifting through the backwaters we disembark and drive to Thekkady. En route if we have time we may stop at one of the nearby colourful markets.
Meals
  • Breakfast
Accommodation
  • Premium hotel
After breakfast we take a visit to a nearby spice garden. After learning a little about how the spices are grown and processed we drive to Madurai. The drive will take us nearly six hours but we will make plenty of stops along the way.
Meals
  • Breakfast
Accommodation
  • Standard hotel
Today we have a morning tour of Madurai including a visit to the 16th century Meenakshi Temple with its nine imposing gopurams (monumental gates). Within the temple complex we'll explore the Thousand Pillared Hall, the Golden Lotus Tank and the Nandi Pavilion. Rising above the temple, above the festive pandemonium of swirling crowds of pilgrims that never seem to cease, are 12 stupendous towers. A short distance away is the Tirumalai Nayaka Palace, a blend of Hindu and Saracen architectural styles. Recent restorations include repainting the carvings and stone-work in their original colours - a startling effect. This afternoon you are free to explore this bustling temple town at leisure, taking in a trip to the Gandhi Museum, soaking up the vibrant colours and floral aromas. browsing through silver, craft and carpet shops or even ordering tailor-made outfits from one of the many bazaars.
Meals
  • Breakfast
Accommodation
  • Standard hotel
We take the early Vaigai Express train to Chennai this morning, arriving mid-afternoon, before driving to the tropical shores of the Bay of Bengal. Our hotel is located right on the beachfront in an area known for its miles of tropical sandy beaches. It is perfect for relaxing, and only around 40 minutes from the famous shore temples of Mamallapuram.
Meals
  • Breakfast
Accommodation
  • Standard hotel
Today we will explore Mamallapuram, the chief harbour for the Pallavas Kingdom some 1200 years ago and many examples of masterful carvings from those days still exist in the so-called pagodas (actually 'rathas'). We will see the World Heritage listed Shore Temple, built in 7th century and Ajuna's Penance, the world's largest bas relief (some 27m long by 9m high) and one of the most impressive friezes in India. Although both are quite weather-beaten, a remarkable amount of detailed carving still remains. We will also see the Mandapa Cave temples with interesting reliefs and the Five Rathas, monolithic temples sculptured out of the rock in the mid-7th century.
Meals
  • Breakfast
Accommodation
  • Standard hotel
Our trip ends this morning after breakfast in Mamallapuram.
Meals
  • Breakfast
what’s included
Meals
  • 13 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Accommodation
  • 5 nights premium hotel
  • 7 nights standard hotel
  • 1 night simple boat
Transport
  • Bus, Boat, Train
Guide
  • Explore Tour Leader, Boat Crew, Driver(s), Local Guide(s)
what’s excluded
  • International Flights
  • Any international flights to Bangalore Airport and from Mamallapuram are not included in this price. We always recommend that you arrive 1 day prior to your tour starting date.
  • Travel Insurance
  • Travel insurance is not included in this South Indian Images tour. Travel insurance is mandatory to buy. We recommend purchasing it from World Nomads.
Tour details
Duration 14 days
Tour Type Group Tour - Max 17 participants
guiding method Live guide/instructor
Guide Language English
Starts/Ends Bangalore Airport, India/ Mamallapuram, India
Get a PDF file with detailed trip information: Download Trip Notes for South Indian Images
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Payment

A deposit of 233 USD is required to confirm this tour. The remaining balance will be charged 59 days before departure. For any departures within 25 July 2019 full payment is required.

Travel Insurance

The South Indian Images tour requires that you have adequate and valid travel insurance covering medical and personal accidents, including repatriation costs and emergency evacuation. We recommend using World Nomads' travel insurance.

Visa

For this South Indian Images tour getting the required visa(s) is the responsibility for each individual traveller, as visa requirements vary depending on your nationality. We recommend to check with your local embassies representing the countries that you are travelling to, as part of this itinerary.

CancellationNo additional cancellation fees apply for this South Indian Images tour. You can cancel the tour up to 60 days prior departure and avoid paying the full amount, but your deposit paid is non-refundable. No refund applies for cancellations within 59 days of departure.
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