South India Spices &Sandalwood Tour ( 18 Nights / 19 Days.)
Tour Name : South India Spices &Sandalwood Tour
Duration: 18 Nights - 19 Days
Places Covered: Mumbai - Mysore - Nagarhole - Coonoor - Cochin - Periyar - Madurai - Karaikadi - Tanjore - Podicherry
¤Day 01 : Mumbai - Mysore
Morning flight to Bangalore. On arrival join your driver and proceed to the palace city of mysore. sTay three nights at the lalitha mahal palace hotel (new wing).

¤Day 02: Mysore
Over the next two days explore Mysore and the surrounding area. Places of interest include the Maharaja's places of interest include the Maharaja's palace- a giant indo- saracen wedding cake of a building - the colourful vegetable and flower markets, and chamundi hill noted for its Nandi temple. Outside Mysore visit the ruins of Tipu Sultan's capital at Srirangapatna, and somnathpur, whose star-shaped kesava teple is considered to be one of the finest examples of Hoysala architecture.

¤Day 03: Mysore
Over the next two days explore Mysore and the surrounding area. Places of interest include the Maharaja's places of interest include the Maharaja's palace- a giant indo- saracen wedding cake of a building - the colourful vegetable and flower markets, and chamundi hill noted for its Nandi temple. Outside Mysore visit the ruins of Tipu Sultan's capital at Srirangapatna, and somnathpur, whose star-shaped kesava teple is considered to be one of the finest examples of Hoysala architecture.

¤Day 04: Mysore - Nagarhole National park
90 kms southwest of Mysore lies Nagarhole National park, which claims populations of tiger, leopard and elephant as well as over 250 species of birds. Visit thepark by jeep, on elephant back and in a coracle. Stay two nights at the Kabini river Lodge or at water Woods a small six bedroom bungalow, beautifully appointed, and situated ont hebanks of the Kabini river.
As an alternative to Nagarhole National Park, anglers may wish to consider staying at the Cauvery fishing camp on the banks of the Cauvery River at Bheemeshwari which is noted for its mahseer fishing (best season November to June). The mahseer is considered to be one of the finest game fish in the world. Accommodation is in spacious, well furnished "ethnic loghuts." The Cauvery fishing Camp is situated 100 kms from Bangalore and 85 kms from Mysore.

¤Day 05: Nagarhole
A day to explore Nagarhole, with plenty of opportunities for wildlife viewing.

¤Day 06: Nagarhole - Coonoor
Morning drive to Ooty, a famous hill station in the Nilgiri Hills. Coonoor is just 13 kms from Ooty and offers a relaxing alternative to this butling town. Stay two nights at the Taj Garden retreat Hotel in Coonoor.

¤Day 07: Coonoor
Exploring the blue mountains: visit a tea estate, take in the lovely views from the "Dolphin's Nose", and see the botanical gardens in Ooty and Coonoor. From Coonoor it is possible to ride the scenic narrow gauge Nilgiri Blue Mountain train down to Mettupalayam. To do this we suggest spending the morning of Day 7 in Coonoor, and in the afternoon taking the train down to Mettupalayam, with an overnight stay at the hotel heritage Inn nearby Coimbatore. On Day 8 continue by car from Coimbatore to Cochin

¤Day 08: Coonoor - Cochin
Drive south to the Malabar Coast and to Cochin. Over the centuries the Postuguese, Dutch and British have all influenced this fascinating city. Stay at the Brunton Boatyard Hotel overlooking the sea in Fort Cochin.
Please note that you may wish to consider breaking your journey from Conoor to Cochin at Kolongode palace, in the foothills of the Western Ghats, almost the epicentre of the Palghat pass, that permitted free flow of trade and culture, since time immemorial. In these environs, is the palace and estate of the Maharaja of Kolongode.
Kolongode, and ideal place for exploring body and soul to revitalize and renew- be it through the magic of Ayurveda, the salubrious climate throughout the year. The Ayurveda Palace oriented towards personal goals of guests.the Heritage rooms with all it's ancient traditions and customs restored to it's original yet simple grandeur.
To fully experience and enjoy Kolongode Palace we would recommend a two night stay. Further details on request.

¤Day 09: Cochin
This morning visit the synagogue, dutch Palace, St Francis' Church and the spice market. In the afternoon take a harbour cruise to see some of the nearby islands and the legendary chinese fishing nets.

¤Day 10: Cochin - Periyar
After breakfast drive along the coast to Alleppey and cruise by motor boat across Vembanad Lake to Changancherry. Continue on by car to lake periyar wildlife sanctuary in the cardamom hills. Stay at spice village or taj garden retreat.
Alternatively, you may decide to take a two night rice barge cruise on the backwaters, before continuing to periyar or return from Cochin to Mumbai by air.

¤Day 11: Periyar
Early morning and afternoon wildlife viewing by boat; alternatively, take a trek through the forest with a local guide.

¤Day 12: Periyar - Madurai
Leave for Chenai by air or train. Alternatively continue by car to Chennai.

¤Day 13: Madurai - Karaikadi
Leave this morning for the region of chettinad, just 90 kms east of Madurai, and home to the Nattukottai Chettiars, a properous banking community, who ventured overseas to Ceylon, Burma and Indo-China in the 19th and 20th centuries and amassed great fortunes. Stay for two nights at The Bangala a charming 75 year old Chettinad Bungalow belonging to the Meyyappa Chettiar family that has been sensitively restored into a delightful heritage guesthouse.

¤Day 14: Karaikudi
Explore the area of Chettinad visiting some of the grand mansions that are an architectural delight. The Chettiars are renowned for their warmth and hospitality and they celebrate many local festivals throughout the year, but the days following the Pongal festival (after the 13th January) when cattle are adorned with garlands and their horns painted in bright colours is a very special time to visit Chettinad.

¤Day 15: Karaikudi - Tanjore
Leave this morning for Tanjore noted for the great Brihadisvara temple, considered to be one of the most magnificent Chola temples in India. Stay for two nights at the Ideal river View Resort, which is situated just outside the town and overlooks the Cauvery river.

¤Day 16: Tanjore
Today visit Trichy which is dominated by the Rock Fort temple.the temple can be reached bya steep flight of steps cut into a tunnel through the rock. Also visit Srirangam; this superb temple complex is spread over an island in the Cauvery River.

¤Day 17: Tanjore - Podicherry
Drive via the temple towns of Kumbakonam and Chidambaramto Pondicherry,a former french colony: the town reveals a lingering continental influence in its architecture and layout. Stay overnight at the hotel De L'Orient.

¤Day 18: Pondicherry - Fisherman's Cover
This morning visit the Aurobindo Ashram, founded by a Bengal philosopher in the early 20thcentury, and continue to Mahabalipuram to explore the stunning temples and giant rock carvings, created by the Pallava king Narasimhavarman in the 7th century. 14 cave temples have been hewn into the cliff face, but even more remarkable are the nine monolithic "Chariot" shrines, each carved from a single boulder, which stand on the seashore. Stay for two nights at the nearby Fisherman's cove Hotel (luxury sea facing cottage).

¤Day 19: Fisherman's Cove - Chennai
Conclude your journey with a visit to Kanchipuram to se the 7th century Kailasanatha and Vaikuntaperumal temples, dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu respectively. Kanchipuram is also noted for its cotton dyeing and silk weaving. This afternoon end your journey at Chennai.

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