10 nights, 11 days
Bangalore, Mysore, Shravanabelagola, Hassan, Belur, Halebidu, Kabini, Nagarhole National Park, Wayanad, Kochi, Backwaters, Kumarakom
Arrival Bangalore, Departure Cochin
Day 01 Bangalore airport to Mysore.
Pick up at the airport and drive to your hotel in Mysore (3 hours).
The rest of day is free at leisure. In the evening your driver will take you on an evening car tour of the monuments of Mysore and a visit to the famous Devaraja fruit and vegetable market.
Night in Mysore
Day 02 Full day visit of Mysore.
Situated among fertile fields, and skirted by wooded hills, Mysore was the capital of the Wadiyar Hindu dynasty that ruled southern Karnataka from 1399 to 1947, except for the 38 year rule of the muslim warlord Haider Ali and his son, Tipu Sultan, in the 18th century.
Modern Mysore is the creation of Tipu Sultan who, in 1793, levelled the old city and built the present town. Today, Mysore is an important cultural centre, with the largest university in Karnataka. It is also renowned for its ivory work, silk-weaving, sandalwood incense and carvings. Several elegant public buildings, erected under the Wodeyars, enhance the wide, tree-lined streets. In the heart of the city is the Amba Vilas Palace, built in 1902 to rival with the Taj Mahal to mark the coronation ceremony of Krishnaraja Wadiyar III.
The visits will include the Amba Vilas Palace, Chamundi Hill and the enormous crouching Nandi, Krishnaraja Circle, the Cathedral of Saint Philomena, Srirangapattana, the residence of Sultan Tippu, Lalitha Mahal Palace. Depending on the season and the weather, you might like to visit the close by Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary.
Night in Mysore.
Day 03 Drive to Shravanabelagola (3 hours) and on to Hassan (2 hours).
Shravanabelagola is small town situated on its famous White Pond between two granite hills, Indragiri and Chandragiri. It is the most important Jain site in South India. It is dominated by a colossal 17.7m high monolithic statue of Gommateshvara, also known as Bahubali, son of the first Jain Tirthankara. On the summit of the very high Indragiri Hill, the statue of the naked saviour stands on an anthill, staring impassively ahead. Entwined around his legs and arms are creepers, indicating the length of time he stood immobile in meditation. An inscription at the base records its consecration in AD981 by Chamundaraya, the powerful minster of Rajamalla IV, one of the Ganga kings.
After the visit you will drive to Hussan.
Night in Hussan.
Day 04 Full day visit of Belur and Halebidu (from Hassan).
The temples of Hoysala kings (12th-13th centuries) and their powerful ministers are among the wonders of South Indian art and architecture. They embody a fusion of the curving towers (shikharas) of North India with the columned mandapas of the South. They are characterised by their unique star-shaped plan and their rich surface decoration.
Belur’s Chennakeshva Temple boasts its shrine, pillars and sculptures. It was built in 1117 by King Vishnuvardhan to commemorate the Hoysala triumph over the Cholas. The entrance to the temple is through a towered gopura, erected by the king of Vijayanagar in the 16th century.
Halebidu is the home to some of the best and most impressive examples of Hoysala architecture. Hoysaleshvara Temple is a tourist’s dream with its superb sculptures and pillars. The building was started in 1121 by King Vishnuvardhana and lasted tens of years. Its structure comprises a pair of identical temples dedicated to Shiva.
The Kedareshwara Temple in Halebidu is a lesser known attraction but is worth a quick visit depending on time available.
Night in Hassan.
Day 05 Hassan to Kabini (3-4 hours).
After a pleasant morning drive you will arrive at your accommodation in Kabini where you will be taken in charge by the wildlife experts for your 2 night stay.
The afternoon programme includes lunch, a 3 hour jeep safari with a guide to spot wild animals. Then relaxation before the evening meal followed by a wild life film.
The following day and the morning of your departure you will continue your programme which includes jeep and boat safaris into the Nagarhole National Park with the local guides. Throughout your stay, you will have breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus other surprises.
This is a wild jungle park with no enclosures. It is not a zoo and therefore it is impossible to plan the things that you will see on a safari. However most visitors observe elephants, monkeys, deer, boars, antelopes, bison, lizards, birds, butterflies, flowers, plants and trees. Lucky visitors might see a bear, a leopard or even a tiger. Do not forget your camera.
Night at Kabini.
Day 06 Full day in Kabini.
You will continue your programme of safaris into the Nagarhole National Park with the local guides.
Night in Kabini.
Day 07 Kabini to Wayanad (1-2 hours).
You will complete your morning programme in Kabini and leave for Wayanad.
On the way you will visit the famous Edakkal Caves. These are two natural caves at a remote location. They lie 1,200 metres above sea level, beside an ancient trade route connecting the high mountains of Mysore to the ports of the Malabar Coast. Inside the caves are pictorial writings believed to date to at least 6,000 BC, from the Neolithic man, indicating the presence of a prehistoric civilisation or settlement in this region. The Stone Age carvings of Edakkal are rare and are the only known examples in South India.
Night in Wayanad.
Day 08 Drive to Kochi (4-5 hours).
The drive to Kochi is picturesque passing through landscapes and villages where you will see local life. On the way you will call in at the Guruvayur Temple elephant sanctuary.
When you arrive in Kochi you will be taken to the hotel situated within the historic Fort Kochi area. You can relax in the hotel or take a stroll. In the evening you might like to go on a sunset cruise. For this you will be driven to Kochi Harbour, where you can also check out the colourful activities of the harbour and the Chinese fishing nets. You might opt to take in the evening Kathakali dance show.
Night in Kochi.
Day 09 Full day visit of Kochi.
Kochi is Kerala’s most cosmopolitan city. It is also its main trading centre for spices and seafood. Built around a salt water lagoon of the Arabian Sea, Kochi is in fact a collection of narrow islands and peninsulas. While mainland Eranakulam boasts of concrete shopping malls and glitzy apartment buildings, Mattancherry and Fort Kochi have an old-world charm, with their blend of Dutch, Portuguese and English bungalows and quaint narrow streets. The scenic location of Kochi’s natural harbour, surrounded by palm groves, green fields, inland lakes and backwaters, has enchanted visitors from across the globe for centuries.
You might choose a stroll to take in the atmosphere, to shop or to visit, for example, Jew Town and its synagogue, the Dutch Palace, Saint Francis Church and the Dutch graveyard.
Night in Kochi.
Day 10 Kochi to Kumarakom (1-2 hours).
Once you reach Kumarakom, you will board a boat and be taken through the backwater canals, sight birds and nature, as well as plantations. You will enjoy the surprises of the colourful and friendly village life that you pass along the way.
For your night stay you have two options. Either you can spend the night on a houseboat or if you prefer to be land based you can stay at a backwater resort.
Night at Kumarakom (houseboat or resort).
Day 11 Kumarakom to Cochin airport (2-3 hours).
If you have opted for the houseboat, after breakfast it will return to the boat jetty where your driver will be waiting for you. If you have opted for a resort he will pick you up there.
The activities for this day will depend on the time available before your flight. Most of our guests choose to relax or to visit more of the backwaters.
You will be driven to Cochin International Airport in time for your return flight.