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Highlights of South India Tour

Duration:
14 days / 13 nights
Destinations:
Bangalore, Hassan, Mysore, Kabini, Wayanad, Cochin, Allepey, Mararikulam
Price Guide:

Prices from £2225 based on hotels shown in this South India tour. This small group tour departs from Bangalore on 17th February 2020.

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Overview

Choose this 14 day South India Tour and enjoy South India’s beautiful well known and hidden treasures. The tour starts with an orientation tour of the cosmopolitan city of Bangalore and then continues to the tranquil South. En-route visit the Hoysala Temples of Belur & Halebidu, Mysore – the city of palaces & silks, enjoy game drives in Nagarhole National Park to spot the Wild Cats, visit the tea & coffee plantations of Wayanad, the colonial port town of Cochin flanked by Chinese fishing nets, experience the backwaters of Kerala and finally indulge in the beautiful palm-fringed Mararikulam beach.

 Highlights of the trip include:

  • Bangalore city tour
  • A visit to the Hoysala temples world heritage site
  • Statue of Gomateshwara
  • Visit the Chamundi Hills and Nandi Bull Statue
  • Full day sightseeing in Mysore including city tour and visit to Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary
  • Game drives in Nagarhole National Park
  • Trek in Wayanad including a visit to Edakkal Caves
  • Sightseeing tour of Fort Cochin & Mattancherry
  • Traditional Kathakali dance performance
  • Overnight stay on a private houseboat cruising the Alleppey backwaters
  • Sunset cruise on Vembanad Lake
  • Day of leisure on Mararikulam Beach

Please remember all our private tours are designed to meet your exact requirements, and this tour is just an example to help inspire you.

Highlights of South India Group Tour - 14 Days / 13 Nights

For those who want to experience the diversity that India has to offer, this South India small group tour covers everything from Indian landmarks to tours with wildlife experts as well as the stunning Kerala backwaters. You will discover cosmopolitan city sights, ancient temples, national parks and magical beaches.

 

Code: GRBAN002

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Day 1 - Arrive in Bangalore

You will be met at Bangalore International Airport by your Authentic India Tours representative and transferred to the hotel.

After some relaxation it's time to enjoy a discovery tour of Bangalore, a thriving cosmopolitan city where landscaped gardens and 18th century palaces rub shoulders with glitzy malls and upmarket restaurants. You will also be offered an optional excursion to Bangalore Palace, one of the city’s top tourist destinations. This majestic structure was built for the ruling Maharaja in the late 19th century, when he was only ten years old.

As evening falls we suggest a visit to a chic rooftop bar or microbrewery, to sample a craft beer or Indian-spiced cocktail.

 

Accommodation: Fortune JP Cosmos or similar
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Day 2 - Bangalore to Hassan

Today you leave Bangalore, driving past sunflower and sugar cane fields to the city of Hassan. Located in the heart of the Malanad region, Hassan is rich in history and culture. Your afternoon will be packed with the fascinating history of the Hoysala Empire as you visit the heritage towns of Belur and Halabidu.

First, you will visit Belur, a UNESCO world heritage site where you will be amazed by the intricate carvings and statues of the Chennakeshava and Veeranrayana Temples. This is followed by a tour of Halabidu, the regal capital of the Hoysala Empire in the 12th Century where you will have the chance to admire the ornate Hoysaleswara Temple. 

 

Approximate travel time and distance: 4 hours, 190 kms

Accommodation: Hoysala Village Resort or similar
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 3 - Hassan to Mysore

After breakfast we travel to Mysore, stopping en route to visit the Gomateshwara statue at Shravanabelagola. This 17-metre-high figure gazes serenely out at the countryside spread out below him. Your tour continues with a short drive into the Chamundi Hills, where you will be able to get a panoramic view of the city and see the Nandi Bull – a huge statue carved from stone.

Any trip to India should include some shopping and Mysore is famous for its colourful silks. These can be purchased from shops around the city, including the Government Silk Factory. Centuries old Devaraja Market provides another unique shopping experience. This bustling market is a feast for the senses, with vibrant cones of coloured dyes, exotic fruits and fragrant flowers.

Approximate travel time and distance: 3 - 4 hours, 150 kms

Accommodation: Radisson Blu Plaza or similar
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 4 - Mysore

Today involves a full day of sightseeing in Mysore which is affectionately known as the ‘City of Palaces’.  We start with the city’s most spectacular palace, Amba Villas. Here you can marvel at the deep pink marble domes, ornate carved exterior and lavishly decorated chambers.

Later we driven to Sri Rangapattanam to see the Tipu Sultan’s elegant Summer Palace and the ruins of the Tipu’s Fort. In the evening we suggest taking a stroll through the famous, colourful fruit and vegtable Devaraja Market.

 
Accommodation: Radisson Blu Plaza or similar
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 5 - Mysore to Kabini

The next couple of days are a real treat for nature lovers. After breakfast we take the short drive to Nagarhole National Park, rated among the best of India’s wild spaces. It’s an area of sandalwood and teak forest, threaded by the Kabini River and its backwaters. The Kabini provides water for hundreds of different animals, such as the wild elephants, which you can spot on your trip.

Your afternoon is one of discovery. You will be taken by 4x4 vehicle on a game drive down a forest track, where your guide will point out animals hidden in the undergrowth. In conjunction with the wildlife authorities, a motor boat and canoe ride across the reservoir is also included.

 

Approximate travel time and distance: 2 hours, 90 kms

Accommodation: The Serai or similar
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
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Day 6 - Kabini

A local naturalist will take you on a full day of jungle activities today searching the forest for animals such as elephants, spotted deer, peacocks and even elusive tigers.

An early morning game drive is recommended, as the animals are most active at this time of day. You will be travelling in an open-top 4 x 4 vehicle, so make sure you bring something warm to wear. Look out for elephants, spotted deer, mongoose, peacocks, jungle fowl and if you are lucky you may even see a tiger.

Later you can go on an expedition with a local naturalist, so make sure you pack sunscreen and a hat.

 

Accommodation:The Serai or similar
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
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Day 7 - Kabini to Wayanad

This morning you have a final chance for a game drive with a local wildlife expert, looking out for the many animals that inhabit the forests of the national park.

From here it’s a short trip to Wayanad, one of the most unspoilt locations in South India, famed for its wildlife. Nestled among the craggy peaks of the Western Ghats, Wayanad is a diverse region of remote forest, emerald tea plantations and lime green paddy fields.

Your accommodation for the next two nights is a superior room at Wayanad Wild, a designer hotel with fabulous mountain views.

Approximate travel time and distance: 2 - 3 hours, 90 kms

Accommodation: Wayanad Wild or similar
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
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Day 8 - Wayanad

Your adventure continues in Wayanad where you will be taken on a visit to the nearby plantations, to learn about the production of coffee, tea and spices. There's also the chance to spot local wildlife such as birds in the forest canopy.

In the afternoon there is a choice of activity.  You can trek to Edakkal caves to marvel at the ancient writing carved into the stone walls but this excursion requires a moderate level of fitness as there is a steep climb. Alternatively you can visit some of the local markets.

 

Accommodation: Wayanad Wild or similar
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
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Day 9 - Wayanad to Cochin

After an early breakfast we leave the peace of Wayanad for the buzz of Cochin, a colonial port city steeped in history. Cochin has been an important gateway to South India for distant merchants and travellers since 1413. It’s a melting pot of cultures, first ruled by the Portuguese, and then taken over by the Dutch and the British. This multicultural heritage is reflected in the city’s diverse architecture.

In the evening, enjoy a boat trip past Cochin’s island shores. As the sun sets, you will see the famous cantilevered fishing nets. It's fascinating to watch the fishermen skilfully dip the hammock-like nets into the water, silhouetted against the orange and pink sky. 

Approximate travel time and distance: 7 hours, 260 kms

Accommodation: Fragrant Nature or similar
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 10 - Cochin

Today you get to explore Cochin a melting pot of cultures, religions and nationalities. You will see St Francis Church, which is the oldest European church in India, as well as the lavish 16th century Jewish Synagogue. Then you can explore the Mattancherry Palace, also known as the Dutch Palace due to its colonial influences. It also houses colourfully painted murals depicting the ancient Indian poem Ramayana. 

This evening you will experience a traditional Kathakali performance, a Kerala classical dance famed for its colourful costumes and athletic movements. We recommend arriving early, to see the artists apply their intricate makeup.

 

Accommodation: Fragrant Nature or similar
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 11 - Cochin to Alleppey

After a short journey from Cochin, you board your deluxe houseboat in time for a typical Keralan lunch. The houseboat will be your overnight transport to Alleppey, also known as the Venice of the East due to its network of narrow canals, as well as your accommodation for the night.

Sit back and relax as an expert crew steer you across the Kerala backwaters, catering to your every need.You will cruise down a network of coconut palm-fringed backwater canals and across the famous Vembanad Lake. As drift past traditional villages and paddy fields, keep a look out for birds such as kingfishers, snake birds and herons.

 

Accommodation: Deluxe Houseboat
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
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Day 12 - Allepey to Mararikulam

You will be met by your driver late morning and taken on a short trip to Mararikulam, a quaint little fishing village with one of the most picturesque beaches in South India.

You will be given the opportunity to relax here for the next two nights, with garden villa accommodation at the Marari Beach Resort. Alternatively if you are feeling more energetic visit the local temple, enjoy a cycle trip or pick up some tips from the hotel chef. 

Approximate travel time and distance: 45 mins, 25 kms

Accommodation: Marari Beach Resort or similar
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 13 - Mararikulam

Today is a full day of leisure, giving you time to soak up the sun and serenity at this quiet, unspoilt beach.

Relax in a hammock under a shady palm tree or enjoy a dip in the clear waters of the Arabian Sea.

You can also indulge in a rejuvenating massage at the hotel’s Ayurveda spa before retiring to your villa for the second night.

Accommodation: Marari Beach Resort or similar
Meals included: Breakfast
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Day 14 - Mararikulum - Cochin Departure

You will be picked up by your driver and transferred to Cochin Airport for your return flight.

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation

The accommodation on your South India tour is a mix of both classy city hotels and luxury Eco-friendly villas in remote villages. There's a wide range of hotels and boutiques to satisfy every traveller.

Fortune JP Cosmos, Bangalore

Situated in the heart of the city, where shopping, culture and beautiful green spaces come together, Fortune JP Cosmos is a first class hotel with 134 modern rooms and every amenity you could wish for. Offering a swimming pool, gym and beauty salon along with its great location, this hotel has it all. The various restaurants in the hotel offer a dining delight where world cuisines can be savored.

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Hoysala Village, Hassan

Hoysala Village is a superior grade ethnic resort which offers every nature lover a paradise to enjoy. Located in the town of Hassan, referred to as the ‘land of the sunflower’, it is surrounded by farmland and greenery.  The comfortable rooms have been created to retain the local flavour.  This is a truly special resort which also has the benefit of a swimming pool.

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Radisson Blu Plaza, Mysore

Offering beautiful views of the Chamundi hills but with the convenience of the city centre this hotel is considered to be one of the best in Mysore. With chic rooms offering scenic outlooks and located next to Mysore zoo, a golf complex, excellent shopping facilities and its close proximity to Mysore Palace there really is something for everyone. Spring, the hotel restaurant, offers Indian and global cuisine with poolside seating.

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Serai Kabini

Located between the popular Nagarhole National Park and the Bandipur National Park, along the banks of the Kabini River, The Serai offers the ideal setting for nature lovers who enjoy a touch of luxury. Take in river views form a private or shared patio and enjoy the sights and sounds of the array of birds and wildlife of the region. Guests can enjoy the cuisine on offer at the Wild Grass Restaurant and indulge in refreshments in The Outpost, a rustic outdoor area where you can relax and delight in everything that nature has to offer. The spacious riverbank cottages are beautifully decorated in a cosy rustic style and are equipped with modern amenities.

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Wayanad Wild, Wayanad

Situated in the rainforests of Lakkidi and a stone's throw away from nearby tea estates is Wayanad Wild, a unique destination in the heart of the woods. This location is truly immersed in nature. Spacious modern rooms decorated with natural materials complete with balconies built around the landscape mean you really are living among the trees but with modern amenities and a touch of luxury. Fresh local food, spectacular views and a pool surrounded by the wilderness add to the splendor of this amazing setting.

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Fragrant Nature Cochin

Thought of as one of the most sought after hotels in South India, Fragrant Nature is located within the offices of the East India Company, a landmark building in Fort Kochi due to its distinctive facade and clock tower. This boutique style hotel offers modern rooms with harbour views, a gym and Ayurveda treatments whilst the roof top infinity pool delivers majestic views of the surrounding landscape.

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Kerala Houseboat

Described as the 'Venice of the East', Allepey is a dreamland of interlinking canals and rivers and what better way to explore the exquisite Kerala backwaters than on a Houseboat? Offering an enchanting experience the houseboats are constructed from local and natural materials including bamboo, ropes and coconut fibre and are up to 120 feet long. With an onboard crew to cater to your needs you can sit back, relax and enjoy the cruise.

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Marari Beach Resort

Set on the white sandy shores of the Arabian Sea, the Marari Beach Resort offers an environmentally friendly, premium resort. The accommodation comprises of thatched cottages which are beautifully simple and sympathetic to the natural surroundings but feature all the mod cons that today's traveller expects. Whether you're looking to relax under a palm tree or enjoy the excellent activities programme the Marari Beach Resort hotel is an idyllic coastal hideaway.

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Destinations

If you are looking for a tour to South India, to discover South India's  culture, history and amazing landscapes look no further. This South India Tour will guide you through the 18th century palaces in Bangalore, the ancient temples in Mysore, romantic hill stations in the Western Ghats as well as the wonderful Nagarhole National Park. Below are some of the destinations you can explore on this South India tour.

Bangalore (Bengaluru)

Bangalore (Bengaluru), fondly nicknamed the Silicon Valley of India, is a lively and exciting city. Gardens and palaces dating back to the 18th Century stand proudly amidst the glittering shopping and nightlife options favored by its younger residents and visitors making it one of the most popular cities in Southern India to visit today.

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Hassan

Hassan is the place to be for lovers of history, heritage and old architecture in India, famed for its temples and ancient monuments. Many of the district’s temples were built between the 10th and 14th centuries, when the Hoysala dynasty ruled Karnataka, and are well known for their intricate carvings. Most of these temples are to be found in the scenic countryside of Hassan District. Hassan City itself is clean and modern, and pulls in crowds to see the Hasanamba temple, an important Hindu pilgrimage site.

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Mysore (Mysuru)

Mysore is located a short drive or train ride from Bangalore. Known as the City of Palaces, it is famed for its royal heritage and ancient monuments. The Mysore Palace is the most famous and richly decorated of these, with Lalitha Mahal, in the east of the city, coming a close second. The ancient Sri Prasanna Krishna Swamy Temple is also a must visit, providing a taste of India’s rich cultural and religious traditions. Mysore is also the birthplace of Ashtanga yoga, and the city has a plethora of different yoga classes and luxury yoga retreats to try if you’re feeling adventurous.

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Kabini & Nagarhole National Park

Nagarhole National Park is the largest protected wildlife zone in Southern India, comprised of shady forests, rivers and bamboo thickets. It’s home to hundreds of different bird species, as well as the Bengal tiger, sloth bear, giant flying squirrel and much more. The Kabini river threads its way through the park, culminating in the Kabini backwaters, a tranquil network of waterways and lakes. The Kabini is one of the best places for wildlife spotting, as you can catch sight of animals drinking and bathing at the water’s edge.

Wayanad & Western Ghats

One of the most unspoilt locations in Kerala, Wayanad district is nestled amongst the lofty ridges of the Western Ghats. It’s a hugely diverse region, comprised of mountains, remote areas of forest, emerald tea plantations and rows of spiky lime green ginger plants. If you want to experience a wildlife sanctuary in Kerala the district has many wildlife sanctuaries that are the perfect place for trekking or observing elephants and other animals, while Wayanad is also home to many different tribes, each with their own cultures and customs.

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Cochin (Kochi)

Cochin, also known as Kochi, is a port city located on an extensive network of waterways in the state of Cochin. It has been one of the primary gateways to the region for distant merchants and travellers since 1341. Cochin is a great place to start your Kerala holiday offering beautiful hotels, wonderful culture and architecture, friendly people and the opportunity for some retail therapy.

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Kerala Backwaters

Known as the ‘Venice of the East’, Alleppey is the gateway to the  Kerala backwaters, an intricate network of lakes and waterways. Here you’ll find thousands of houseboats, converted rice barges with distinctive curved roofs. Float along the backwaters on one of these luxury boats, gazing out onto the lime green paddy fields, coconut palms and tranquil villages that line the water’s edge. Watch the sun set on the water and fall asleep lulled by the gentle rocking motion of the boat.

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Mararikulam Beach

This village is known for the authentic and quiet Mararikulam beach lined by coconut trees. It’s aptly nicknamed the ‘secret beach’ and is a favorite of the Keralan beaches on offer among locals. Mararikulam also boasts the stunning Sree Mahadeva Temple, one of the oldest temples in India, and the only temple where the deities Shiva and Parvati sit facing each other.

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Dates, Pricing and Inclusions

Prices from £2225 based on hotels shown in the itinerary. This small South India group tour departs from Bangalore on 17th February 2020.

Our tour operates with a minimum number of 4 and a maximum number of 12 travellers on this Highlights of South India journey.

Prices for this tour are from £2225

Included with this tour are the following:

  • Authentic India Tours meet & greet assistance on arrival
  • All transfers and sightseeing tours using an air-conditioned vehicle
  • Accommodation for 13 nights on twin sharing basis
  • Standard category rooms at all hotels unless otherwise mentioned
  • Meal plan: Kaav safari lodge, Wayanad wild & Houseboat on full board; bed & breakfast elsewhere
  • English speaking tour escort for the entire tour
  • Tickets for Kathakali dance show in Cochin
  • Game drives in Kabini (Nagarhole National Park)
  • Entrances at all national parks, museums and monuments as per the itinerary
  • Mineral water on all days of travel

Price does not include:

  • International flight tickets
  • Travel insurance & Visas
  • Expenses of personal nature like laundry, tips, beverages etc
  • Meals other than mentioned in the above meal plan
  • Camera & video fees at national parks, museums & monuments

Prices mentioned above are per person based on two people sharing a twin room. The prices which were valid at the time of publication may be subject to change, based on your date of travel and local market fluctuations. You will be informed of any price differences prior to booking.

For a quote based on your dates of travel, any alternative accommodation or changes to this itinerary, please call us on 01792 315499 or email us at info@aitholidays.com