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Southern India

Day 01: Early Morning arrival in Chennai

Day 02: Chennai

You will be escorted to your hotel.

Chennai is the gateway to the south of India and has a history in well known literature, philosophy and religious faith. Tamil is the language of the region and is believed to be one of the oldest in the world. In the morning after breakfast, we will meet for a group briefing before we leave to see some of the highlights of India's fourth largest city. Visit the National Art Gallery and Museum which houses temple friezes and South Indian bronze followed by a visit to the San Thomas Cathedral, the Mylapore Temple and St. Mary's Church. In the evening you will enjoy a welcome dinner.

Taj Blue Diamond (Overnight)

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner will be available.

Day 03: Chennai to Mahabalipuram

Mahabalipuram is the city of seven pagodas formerly known as Mamallapuram. It was the main harbour and naval base of the Pallava Empire. Observe the fine temples from Spartan unadorned beginnings at Mahabalipuram

Taj Blue Diamond (Overnight)

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner will be available.

Day 04: Fly from Chennai to Madurai

We will board a flight to Madurai.

Madurai was well known to the Greeks and Romans with whom the city carried out an active trade. The town has been patterned as a lotus flower, with the temple of Goddess Meenakshi at the centre. Numerous festivals are celebrated throughout the year and create a festive and colorful atmosphere. Our tour will include the superb Meenakshi Temple with its gigantic gateways (some over 49 meters high), the 1000 pillared Temple Museum which houses a large collection of icons, the Mariamman Tank and the Gandhi Museum. In the evening there will be an optional tour to witness the closing ceremony of the temple.

GRT Regency (Overnight)

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner will be available.

Day 05: Drive from Madurai to Periyar

Our drive will take us to Periyar wildlife sanctuary well known as the spice coast. The region has some of the country's finest spice plantations. In the evening we will meet the Chef for a cooking lesson titled “Learning to cook with Spices.”

Elephant Court (Overnight)

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner will be available.

Day 06: Periyar

We will go for a morning hike in the forest to explore the grassland areas and to search for some interesting birds. Great Hornbill, Small minivet, Owlet, Brown Hawk, Red-throat pipit are a few of the species of birds we will be looking out for. This reserve has an array of flycatchers, Rusty tailed, Blue Throated, Tickells Blue, Taiga and Asian Paradise. Chances are there we might see two species of Orioleare– Eurasian and Black-hooded.

We will return to our hotel for breakfast and rest till Lunch. After Lunch we leave for the Boat ride. (Comfortable boat shared by fellow wildlife Enthusiasts) Then we hope to spot Gaur, Asiatic Elephant, Sambar, Greay Headed Fish Eagle, and Tawny Eagle all of which are present here. There will be an option to visit a small family house and join them for Tea and may be buy some Tea and spices.

Elephant Court (Overnight)

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner will be available.

Day 07: Drive from Periyar to Kumarakom

Enroute to Kumarakom we will stop at a plantation. In Kumarakom we will stay at one of the resorts located at the beautiful area of backwaters.

National Geographic rated Kumarakom as one of the 10 must visit destinations!! We are free for the rest of the evening. The Resort has a famous Ayurveda center (Traditional SPA)

Abad Whispering Palms (Overnight)

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner will be available.

Day 08: Kumarakom

In the morning we will visit the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary. It has many species of wildfowl and water birds. After breakfast we will board our House Boat (Known as KETTUVALLOM). This leisurely journey provides a glimpse into the tranquil lifestyle of the people that live along the lagoons and waterways of the region. House boats are constructed with eco-friendly materials like Bamboo Mat, Coir and Areca nut trees. They are designed to give a comfortable overnight stay. We will soak in the beautiful scenery and local sights as we travel along a series of picturesque canals and lakes. Traditional Kerala lunch completes the experience.

Abad Whispering Palms (Overnight)

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner will be available.

Day 09: Drive from Kumarakom to Thattekad wildlife Sanctuary

After breakfast we will travel by road to Tahttekad. The Eponymous Wildlife Sanctuary is also known as The DR Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary in honor of the pre-eminent Indian birder. Dr Alsi described Thattekad in the 1930's as the richest bird habitat in peninsular India. Much of the forest has now become converted to agricultural and plantation areas but the surviving areas certainly give glimpses of rich bird diversity. A trip through this sanctuary would certainly be a memorable journey with its bird list of over 270 species in 25 square kilometers. Chances are here to see the Greay-headed fly BulBul, Nilgiri wood pigeon and other species of rare and endemic birds. It also has a good diversity of mammals such as Dhole and Travancore Flying Squirrel. We will spend a day here exploring the bird sanctuary. Accommodation here is basic but comfortable and meals are delicious. (We will either stay inside the park or little away from the park)

Horn Bill Camp (Overnight)

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner will be available.

Day 10: Drive to Kochi

Morning we will explore the park once again before we proceed to Kochi. Kochi (Cochin) has the best natural harbor in the country and is set amidst lagoons and backwaters with a romantic backdrop of swaying coconut palms. Traders from the West came around the 3rd century and took back spices, ivory and teak. Much later, in the 15th century, the Portuguese, Dutch, French and British came to the region in the guise of merchants while some stayed on as colonial rulers.

Our tour includes the Dutch Palace, Jewish Synagogue built in 1568 and St. Francis' Church - the oldest church built by Europeans in India. Vasco da Gama was originally buried here.

Evening enjoy a wonderful sunset cruise on Kochi harbor.

Taj Gateway (Overnight)

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner will be available.

Day 11: Kochi

In the morning we visit a Hindu temple followed by some shopping. Rest of the day is to relax. In the evening witness one of the most spectacular dances of India called Kathakali. It has a unique combination of literature, music, painting, acting and dance. The dancers wear large headdresses and the contours of the face are extended with molded lime. It is believed that the extraordinary costumes and makeup serve to raise the dancers above the level of mere mortals so that they may transport the audience to a world of wonders.

Taj Gateway (Overnight)

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner will be available.

Day 12: Fly from Kochi to Bangalore and drive to Mysore

We take the morning flight to Bangalore. On arrival, we continue our drive to Mysore. On our way we visit Srirangapatanam, the island fortress of the legendary warrior king Tipu Sultan. Inside the fortress is Tipu's mosque with its twin minarets, the Wellesley Bridge and the dungeons where British officers were once imprisoned.

Later we will continue to Mysore, a place that has always been associated with royalty. It is a city known for its resplendent palaces and majestic buildings. A visit to the city conjures up visions of the glory, still evident of the illustrious Wodeyar Kings. This former state capital still retains its tradition in music and dance, art and literature and its time-honoured crafts. We will spend our night at a beautiful Boutique hotel located inside the Brindavan Garden.

Orchid Brindavan (Overnight)

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner will be available.

Day 13: Drive from Mysore to Kabini

Rajiv Gandhi National Park also called Nagarhole (Kabini) was the hunting retreat of the Mysore Maharajas. It is the perfect destination for wildlife lovers in South India. The excitement starts with a safari into the heart of the park, where you are sure to spot wild animals in their natural habitat.

Some of the popular sightings are elephant, gaur, sambar, chital, wild boar and the more exclusive predators like the tiger and leopard. A bird watcher's paradise, the park is home to over 300 species of birds, many of which are endemic to these jungles.

Orange County Resort (Overnight)

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner will be available.

Day 14: Kabini

Explore the environs of Nagarhole called 'Snake River.' In the local language Kannada. The Rajiv Gandhi National Park derives its name from the winding course of the river that flows through the forests. Nagarhole has an astonishing abundance of wildlife, especially the Asiatic elephant. The backdrop of the distant misty blue Brahmagiri Mountains, the natural sounds of the jungle, the gurgling of streams and rivers and the twittering of the birds make Nagarhole a memorable experience We can take part in many activities like an Elephant ride, Tribal village visit, Bird Watching, Boat safari etc. In the evening we enjoy a special cultural program followed by Barbeque Dinner.

Orange County Resort (Overnight)

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner will be available.

Day 15: Drive from Kabini to Banglaore and depart.

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