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Best of South India

Duration : 12 Nights / 13 Days.
Places covered : Mumbai -Goa - Badami - Hampi - Chikmagalur - Chikmagalur - Halebid -Belur -Hassan - Sharavan Belagola - Mysore - Cochin - Kumarakom - Trivandrum - Departure
Code : FVI-028

Day 1: Arrival - Mumbai - Mumbai / Goa (9W479 - 63/73)
Goa Beach ViewMeeting and assistance upon arrival, our representative would guide you to your luxury car, and, would introduce India and your tour to you.

Welcome to India, or as we say 'atithi devo bhava' (the guest is an incarnation of God). Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you!
Transfer to the domestic airport for your flight to Goa.

Meeting and assistance upon arrival & transfer to hotel Fort Aguada Beach Resort

Rest of the day is at leisure for independent activities.
Overnight : At Fort Aguada Beach Resort (Superior Sea View Room / Cottage)

Day 2: Goa
Day free to enjoy the beaches & your hotel

Overnight :At Fort Aguada Beach Resort (Superior Sea View Room / Cottage)

Day 3: Goa / Badami
Early morning drive to Badami.

Upon arrival check into your Hotel Badami Court
Following rest and relaxation we proceed on a guided tour of Badami, which is well known for its rich history and ancient architecture. It was the ancient capital of the early Chalukya kingdom. A number of richly carved monuments and caves belonging to Chalukyas, dating back to the 6th and 7th centuries can be found here. The Chalukyas laid the foundation of a unique style of architecture, which is a fine blend of North Indian Nagara style and the South Indian Dravidian style of architecture. The architecture and sculptures created in Badami during the time of the Chalukyas inspired later-day architectural and sculpting traditions. A number of places of historical importance are situated near Badami.

Overnight : At Hotel Badami Court

Vacation Review
StarStar

"O, I was unaware about places like Hampi and Badami in India. A window to the culture, the temples were mind bending. There are ten different kinds of dosas I tasted and the woman who served had unbelievably long braids."
»Austin Glads, Chicago

Day 4: Badami / Hampi
Following breakfast drive to Hampi. Upon arrival check into Hampi Boulders. Nestled in the Yamani Hills on the banks of the majestic river Tungabhadra and 7 km from Hampi lies this resort. Swift flowing Tungabudra river criss-crosses to create an awesome array of naturally sculpted rock formations. This network of eroded boulders, make a beautiful sight of the resort. A sight that leaves you gazed on in wonder. From the vantage points of our luxury cottage, savour this unique and unspoilt glimpse of nature's wonderment, the water and rock formations that leave you spellbound. The closest you can get to paradise on Earth.

A world heritage center, Hampi- is the most beautiful of all the ruins in Karnataka. Founded in the 14th Century, this was the glorious capital city of a flourishing dynasty who were great patrons of art and architecture. The remains can still be seen in the vast ruins of Hampi, which historians have praised as 'greater than Rome'. Hampi is famous for its ruins belonging to the erstwhile medieval Hindu kingdom of Vijayanagar and it has been declared a World Heritage site. The temples of Hampi, its monolithic sculptures and monuments, attract the traveler because of their excellent workmanship. The Hindu style of architecture found at Hampi reflects the splendor of the Vijayanagar Empire. The rugged landscape adds to the historic ambience of this site.

Overnight : At Hampi Boulders

Day 5 : Hampi
After leisurely breakfast, proceed on a guided tour of city.

Hampi holds many delightful surprises. The most famous is the King's Balance where kings were weighed against gold or money which was then distributed to the poor. Also worth a visit are the Queen's Bath with its arched corridors, projecting balconies and lotus shaped fountains, the two storeyed Lotus Mahal, the huge Elephant Stables, the splendid Vitthal Temple with its musical pillars and the Stone Chariot, the Virupaksha Temple, Ugra Narasimha, the 6.7 meters tall monolith, the Pushkarini Tank, the Mahanavami Dibba, etc.

Temples of this city are noted for their large dimensions, florid ornamentation, bold and delicate carvings, stately pillars, magnificent pavilions and a great wealth of iconographic and traditional depictions, which include subjects from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The Pampapati temple is one of the largest temples at Hampi. The Vitthal temple is an excellent example of Vijayanagar style. Also present are some monolithic statues of Lakshmi, Narasimha and Ganesha, which are noted, for their massiveness and grace. Other temples in the surroundings are the Krishna temple, Pattabhirama temple, Hazara Ramachandra, Chandrasekhara temple and the Jaina Temple.

Overnight : At Hampi Boulders
Day 6: Hampi / Chikmagalur
Taj Malabar - CochinAfter breakfast, drive back to Goa. Upon arrival check into your hotel Taj Garden Retreat.

Overnight : At Taj Garden Retreat

Day 7: Chikmagalur / Halebid / Belur / Hassan
Following breakfast drive to Hassan enroute visiting Belur and Halebid
Upon arrival proceed on an excursion to Belur and Halebid - temple towns slightly bigger than villages. The temples in typical Dravidian style are excellent examples of traditional Hindu architecture. These temples are the cream of what remains the most artistically exuberant periods of Hindu cultural development. The wealth of sculptural details on the temples make them easily the most outstanding example of art and architecture. Every inch of the outside wall and much of the interiors are covered with an endless variety of Hindu deities, sages, scenes from wars, hunting, agriculture, music and dance and some very sensual sculptures explicitly portraying the amorous lifestyles of the dancing girls.

The life outside the temples is extremely busy and colourful. Pilgrims, bare feet with horizontal or vertical sandalwood paste smearing on their foreheads and wearing traditionally coloured saffron or black pilgrim's costumes move in and out of the temple complex with flowers and other offerings in their hands. The pavement flower shops, shops selling religious artefacts, the fruit and tea stalls with pilgrims flocking around, add colour and character to the place.

Following the tour we ride to Hassan, upon arrival check into your Hotel Hassan Ashok.

Overnight : At Hassan Ashok

Day 8: Hassan / Sharavan Belagola / Mysore
After breakfast drive to Shravan Belagola, which is one of the oldest and the most important pilgrimage centres for the followers of Jain religion. It is the site of the 17mtr monolithic statue of Lord Bahubali - believed to be the world's tallest monolithic statue.

Later drive to Mysore. Upon arrival check into your hotel Lalitha Mahal Palace.

Evening, we visit the extremely colourful Devaraja Fruit and vegetable market where tropical fruits and vegetables are arranged in fascinating heaps and shapes. Watch out for the amazing patterns in which fruits and vegetables are heaped upwards as hills. The adjoining local bazaar is also a very popular spot with local Indian shoppers where all things needed for daily use can be found.

Overnight : At Hotel Lalitha Mahal Palace

Day 9: Mysore / Bangalore / Cochin (9W3527 - 1745/195)
Following breakfast, we proceed on a guided tour of the city. Mysore, which has been for centuries an important center for South Indian culture and learning. It is also the city of lingering aroma of Jasmine, Musk, rose, sandalwood, etc. This is so because Mysore is one of the major manufacturers of incense sticks through scores of family owned factories. The city is also a crafts center. It is an extremely friendly and easygoing city and at an altitude of 77 meters it has a wonderful climate.

The Maharaja's Palace (197) is a huge building in Indo - Saracenic style of architecture; it hosts an extravaganza of stained glass, mirrors, gilt and gaudy colors, beautifully carved wooden doors, mosaic floors and a series of historically important paintings. Of special mention are the beautifully carved mahogany ceilings, solid silver doors, white marble floors and superbly collumned durbar hall (Hall Of Public Audience). Next we visit the temple of Shri Chamundeshwari, set on top of the Chamundi Hills (162 meters.). Three quarters up the hill is the famous Nandy (Lord Shiva's Bull - His vehicle) carved out of a single solid piece of granite and 5 meters in height. The temple itself is a huge building with a 4mtr high seven-storied Gopuram (tower).

Afternoon, drive to Bangalore airport to connect your flight to Cochin

Meeting and assistance upon arrival and check into The Brunton Boatyard - a Casino Group of Hotel in Cochin is situated right at the Fort Kochi, build on the old Portuguese architecture, Situated at the Harbour mouth overlooking the busy ship channel all rooms boast of a magnificent view of the sea and the Delta. There is never a dull moment out there for boats of every size and colour constantly ply these waters not forgetting the mammoth Ocean liners which silently glide past just outside the window. The hotel has its own private jetty, which doubles up as a 'café'. Over looking the pool garden and the sea, The History Restaurant a unique gastronomic exploration of Kerala's famous port and its rich past, the Terrace Grill adjacent to the History restaurant opens for Dinne, The Armoury offers a breath-taking view of the Delta. Serving mini meals light snacks and tall drinks is open right through the day and a major part of the night

Overnight :At Hotel Brunton Boatyard (Standard Room)

Day 10: Cochin
Hampi This morning we proceed on a guided tour of the City. The true character of the city is to be found in the older parts of the Fort Cochin area. It more or less exists as it used to be a 1 years back, when it was first built. The roads have not been widened because the old haggard buildings, through patchwork repairs over the centuries, still stand on the edges. This part of the city reflects an unusual blend of medieval Portugal, Dutch and English country life grafted on to the tropical Malabar Coast. The fishing community of Cochin is also very interesting.

They ancient cantilevered fishing nets called Chinese Fishing Nets. The net is fixed to a pole on the shore. While fishing, the entire net is lowered by a primitive fulcrum mechanism using long bamboo poles. By the same mechanism the pole is lifted along with the catch. We will explore the sights of Photographic as well as cultural interest.

We would also visit the 16th century Mattancherry Palace, also known as the Dutch Palace since the Dutch substantially renovated the palace in the 17th century. The double storied quadrangular building surrounds a courtyard containing a Hindu temple. The Central Hall on the first floor was the coronation hall of the Rajas of Cochin; on display are their dresses, turbans and palanquins. The most important feature of this palace, however, is the astonishing murals in the bedchambers and other rooms, which depict scenes from the Ramayana and other religious legends. These murals are undoubtedly some of the most beautiful and extensive anywhere to be seen in India. The unique feature here is the unexpected and isolated Jewish community, whose origins date back to AD 52. They are self-contained and have there own Synagogue.

The area around the Synagogue, known, as 'Jew Town' is one of the main centres of spice trade. Scores of small firms huddle together in old dilapidated buildings and the air is filled with the aroma of ginger, cardamom, cumin, turmeric and cloves. The area is very busy. The potters are loading gunny bags of spices on to carts, which keep running up and down the narrow lanes. We would visit Jew Town, in the Mattancherry section and a short walk from the ferry is one street long. Jews used to occupy virtually all the houses on Jew Town Road, where they sold fruits, vegetables and spices or worked as oil pressers or carpenters. The spice markets are still located on the narrow street.

Kathakali Dance:
A special treat awaits us this evening as we proceed to witness the strength and vigor of Kathakali dance drama, as it enacts episodes from great Indian epics. The extremely stylized gestures, the elaborate make-up, the masks and the splendid costumes of these all-male dancers, recreate an incomparable sense of pageantry.

Overnight : At Hotel Brunton Boatyard (Standard Room)

Day 11: Cochin / Kumarakom
Following breakfast, ride 45 kms to Kumarakom to experience Kerala's famous backwaters that comprise of vast lakes and a system of narrow canals and waterways linking them to one another. Not so long ago, these waterways served as the backbone of Kerala's transportation. Kumarakom is the ideal place to experience the fascinating lifestyles of the backwaters.

Upon arrival check into Coconut Lagoon, which has rightly carved its place among the top 1 heritage resorts of the world. The resort is on a small island and can be reached only by boat. The accommodation consists of individual cottages built in the traditional Kerala style, relying heavily on wood and some with private pools.

Overnight :At Coconut Lagoon (Mansion)

Day 12: Kumarakom
Kumarakom Day is at leisure for independent activities. You can also enjoy the optional ayurvedic body massage at the resort. You could also choose to explore the surrounding tribal villages, visit the nearby water bird sanctuary or ride through the narrow backwater channels through back of beyond Kerala.

Overnight : At Coconut Lagoon (Mansion)

Day 13: Kumarakom / Trivandrum / Trivandrum / Departure
A leisurely breakfast and drive to Trivandrum airport for your onward flight back home

End of Services
Thank You for Giving Us an Opportunity to Serve You!
Indicative Low Season Cost Based on 2 People Traveling Together: USD 1958 Per Person

Cost Includes
Accommodation on Twin Sharing basis at hotels as per itinerary; Daily American Breakfast; Air-conditioned Private car with driver at disposal for all journeys and tours as per itinerary; Local guides / Naturalist for city tours; Meet and greet services; Entrances fee to monuments; Airfare for Mumbai / Goa & Bangalore / Cochin sectors in coach class

HOT SPOTS
Gateway of India
Kovalam Beach
Varkala Beach
Marina Beach
Kollam Beach
Periyar Sanctuary
Mysore Palace
Seaport of Cochin
NEARBY CITIES
Goa
Kochi
Badami
Hampi
Belur
Mysore
Kumarakom
Trivandrum
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