Kerala Tour with Blue Hills and Culture
Duration of Trip -::- 12 Days
Key Places covered -::- Bangalore, Mysore, Coonoor, Ooty, Cochin, Aleppey, Kumarokom, Periyar, Madurai, Bangalore
Day 01 : Arrival at Bangalore
Compass India Inc. Representative will meet and assist you upon your late evening arrival at the Bangalore airport.
A major industrial and commercial center, with scientific and research activity, Bangalore is multifaceted: modern marvels, historical monuments, bustling shopping plazas, a race course and golf courses. Called the Silicon Valley of India for its growing software industry, it is also known as the city of draught beer. Bangalore is capital of Karnataka which harbours a diversity of interests such as the ruins of Vijaynagar, sculptures of Belur and Halebid, mausoleum of Gol Gumbaz at Bijapur, golden sands of Karavalli, proud hills of Kodagu, forests of Bandipur, Nagarhole and Bannerghatta, and Chikmagalur with its mountains and coffee plantations, majestic Mysore and the world’s tallest freestanding monolith of Bahubali at Sravanabelagola.
Check in at hotel and overnight stay will be at Bangalore.
Day 02 : Bangalore
Breakfast will be at the beautiful hotel.
Proceed for the sightseeing of the city.
Vidhana Soubha: This splendid neo-Dravidian granite building that dominates the northern boundary of the Cubbon park, is the home of the State Legislature and the Secretariat. The massive sandalwood door of the Cabinet room is a spectacular feature of this imposing building. The Vidhana Soudha is bedecked in illuminated glory during special periods and is a sight worth viewing.
Cubbon Park: This wooded and beflowered park was laid out in the heart of the cantonment in 1864. Since then, fairy fountains, an august bandstand and a wealth of atatury have been added. But the most important aspect of Cubbon Park is its newer buildings that have added beauty and cultural wealth. Lush green lawns, shady flowering trees, vibrant flower beds, make Cubbon Park an ideal place for morning joggers and alike.
Lal Bagh: Hyder Ali laid out this famous botanical garden and his son added horticultural wealth to them by importing trees and plants from several countries. The garden today houses over 1000 species of flora which include rare and enchanting collection of tropical plants, trees and herbs. The Glass House, modelled along London's Crystal Palace, is the center of attraction in this 2400-acre park. Bi-annual flower shows attracting participants from all over India is held in the Glass House.
Tipu’s Palace & Fort: The Bangalore Fort was built by Kempe Gowda and expanded by Tipu Sultan. Within its walls is the well preserved 16th century Ganapathi Temple.
The Bangalore Palace was built by a Wodeyar king in 1887. Inspired by the Windsor castle, this palace was built in the Tudor style, complete with Gothic windows, the foiled windows, battlements and turrets resembling the Daria Daulat Palace in Srirangapatanam, this summer palace has been constructed largely of wood and is famous for it's carving and paintings.
End early and enjoy shopping or just sit in one of the numerous modern pubs in downtown area just enjoying the latest music and crowd. It will be a nice experience as the weather in this city is pleasant all through the year.
Day 03 : Bangalore - Mysore
By Road150 km in 03hr
Drive to Mysore after breakfast and check in at hotel.
Start sightseeing of the city in the afternoon.
Mysore city was the capital of the old royal Mysore province. The word Mysore expands to "Mahishasurana Ooru" which means the town of Mahishasura. The story goes that the demon Mahishasura was killed by goddess Chamundeshwari atop the Chamundi hill near Mysore, and hence the name. Ever since, the Mysore royal family has worshipped Chamundeshwari as the palace deity. Hills dedicated to her stand at the eastern end of Mysore town today.
Visit Srirangapatnam - this fort was the stronghold of Tipu Sultan, son of Haider Ali. Tipu made a last minute ditch against the British in 1799 before surrendering his kingdom. Among the many fort buildings still intact, are Tipu's airy Summer Palace and his tomb at the Darya Daulat Bagh (garden). Here, is also the celebrated Sri Ranganatha Temple.
To the people of India the word Mysore is synonymous with Sandalwood, silk and fine inlay-work using ivory. It is the home of incense sticks dipped in sandalwood oil perfume base and has two well known incense factories - the Aravinda Parimala and the Vasu and Cycle brand (together these two account for 70% of the incense stick export from India). Mysore is also the home of many well regarded musicians and artists. It is even today the hub of the tourist map of Karnataka. Nearby are several places of interest to visitors, some of these are Brindavan Gardens, Srirangapattana, Rangana Tittu bird sanctuary, Chamundi Hills, Nanjanagudu, Bandipur forest reserve, Shivanasamudra falls, and Talakaadu.
Within the town are several places of interest. The grand palace with its four arched entrances stands at the centre of the town. Liberally covered with golden domes and home to the most expensive royal chair (Simhasana), made of gold and studded with diamond and precious stones, this palace rivals the best in the world. During weekends the whole palace is lit with thousands of lights, a great sight. Saint Philomina's church is a fine cathedral dating back to the 18th century. The Venkatappa art gallary has inspired many an artist and conducts courses in traditional painting, drawing and woodwork. It is also the birth-place for the Mysore wooden toys, which are exported worldwide.
Enjoy the palace sightseeing.
Visit Chamundi Hills - Towering over the city, these hills are 13 km away from Mysore. Halfway-up is the Nandi Bull, a 4.8 m monolith. Right on top is the 2000-year-old Brindavan Gardens 19 km northwest of Mysore is the KRS Dam and the ornamental Brindavan Gardens. The musical fountains and colorful lights transform this palace into fairy land in the evenings.
Visit Sir Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery - Housed in the Jaganmohan Palace, this gallery has a collection of exquisite paintings dating back to 1875, the Russian Svetoslav Roerich and the traditional Mysore gold leaf style of painting.
Overnight will be at Mysore.
Day 04 : Mysore - Coonoor - Ooty
By Road80 km in 02hr
Coonoor - Ooty:By Toy train in 1 hr
Drive to Coonoor after a leisurely breakfast.
Coonoor is the second largest hill station in the Nilgiris. It stands on a lower ridge of the main plateau at an altitude of 1839 metres. Its climate is milder than Ooty. Surrounding the town are many picnic spots. In the heart of Coonoor is "Sims Park". It is a park cum botanical garden. Many species of trees and shrubs not found in Ooty are grown here. It is at an elevation of 1880 metres and occupies 12 hectares of land.
Enjoy the tea and coffee plantations around you while you drive.
Reach the hill station and enjoy sightseeing and lunch at a heritageresort.
Sim's Park The Park is situated in a deep ravine on the Northern side of Coonoor Railway Station at an elevation of 1768 to 1798 mts. The park can be divided into eight major sections. The natural shola with winding footpaths all over the higher slopes of the park is the most distinctive and picturesque feature of this park. This apart a number of individual tree specimens planted in a scattered fashion all over the place, lend a special charm to the park specially when they bloom in different seasons throughout the year.
Pomological Station This is one of the three experimental fruit gardens in the Nilgiris maintained by the Horticultural departurement. The other two are Burliar and Kallar on the Coonoor - Mettupalayam ghat road. Apples, Plums, Peaches, Lemons, Apricots and Pomegranates are grown here for the purpose of research. Surplus fruits and fruit based jams are sold to the public.
Take the TOY TRAIN in the afternoon (blue train) to OOTY - This will be one of the highlights in the tour. Enjoy the train ride with plantations on both sides and pretty villages.
Ootacamund, Ooty or more recently Udhagamandalam, call it what you like, still translates to a little town set on the stepped slopes of the Nilgiris, the oldest mountain range in India. Located 2240 meters, above sea level, the soothing clime and rustic setting gift Ooty a charm of its own. The verdant tea gardens and the rolling hills exude a pleasantness that will calm the high-strung city dweller and soothe his senses with the fragrance of eucalyptus and sandalwood that hangs in the air. What’s more, the superb 300km drive from Bangalore to the hill station takes the motorist through two dense wildlife sanctuaries. We’ve been there and done that and we’re about to tempt you to do the same.
Reach in the evening and enjoy the beautiful colonial resort.
Overnight will be in Ooty.
Day 05 : Ooty
Breakfast will be at the resort.
Visit the beautiful botanical gardens.
Drive to DODABETTA PEAK and enjoy the day among nature. Also visit the oldest tribe in the hills and it will be a nice experience.
Enjoy local shopping picking up natural oils and spices.
Overnight will be at Ooty.
Day 06 : Ooty - Cochin
By Road260 km in 06hr
Enjoy breakfast at the resort and drive to Cochin.
The eventful history of this city began when a major flood in AD 1341 threw open the estuary at Kochi, till then a land locked region, turning it into one of the finest natural harbors in the world. Kochi thus became a haven for seafaring visitors from all over the world and became the first European town-ship in India when the Portuguese settled here in the 15th century.
The Dutch wrested Fort Kochi from the Portuguese in AD 1663 and later in the last phase of the colonial saga, the British took over, the town in 1795. During 1660's, Fort Kochi peaked in stature as a prime commercial centre and its fame spread far and wide - variously as a rich trade centre, a major military base, a vibrant cultural hub, a great ship building centre, a centre for Christianity and so on. Today, centuries later, the city is home to nearly thirteen communities.
In the early evening proceed for a private harbor cruise. Enjoy watching the dolphins, the fishing island and the Bolghatty Palace. Cruise till the mouth of the sea and enjoy the sunset.
Overnight will be in hotel.
Day 07 : Cochin
Breakfast will be at hotel.
Today you will visit Cochin, one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world. The Jewish community traces its history to nearly 2000 years ago. In 1948 the community numbered 2500 and today there are fewer that 30 people. The community is still centered round JEWTOWN where you will visit its crown Jewel, the Paradesi Synagogue. Built in 1568 and reconstructed after a Portugese bombardment in 1662, the synagogue is distinguished by its tile roof and bell tower. The small synagogue is also known for its hand-painted, willow-patterned, blue and white Chinese floor tiles, and the many brass and crystal lamps that hang from the ceiling. Later visit the interesting International Pepper Exchange, also located in Jewtown.
Proceed for a sightseeing tour of FORT COCHIN. A few interesting sites included in the tour are the Chinese fishing nets along the Vasco Da Gama Square, Santa Cruz Basilica, St. Francis Church, VOC Gate, Bastion Bungalow, Jewish Synagogue, Mattancherry Palace, etc. Learn the operation of the interesting Chinese fishing nets erected on teak wood and bamboo poles which work on the principle of balance. Records say they were first set up here between AD 1350 and 1450. Vasco Da Gama Square, the narrow promenade that parallels the beach, is the best place to watch the nets being lowered and pulled out of the sea.
Iin the evening enjoy the KATHAKALI DANCE PRESENTATION.
Overnight will be at Cochin.
Day 08 : Cochin - Aleppey
By Road40 km in 01hr
Drive to Aleppey after breakfast and enjoy the short tour of the small town walking through the markets and driving on the bridges.
Alappuzha is famous for its boat races, houseboats, coir products, fish and lakes. Alappuzha remains prominent on the tourist trial of Kerala as one of the major centres for backwater boat trips. "Kuttanad" in Alappuzha is one of few places in the world where farming is done below sea level. Kuttanad is a land of lush paddy fields and is called the 'Rice Bowl' of Kerala. Kuttanad stretches for 75 Km sandwiched between the sea and the hills.
Board the traditional houseboat for your cruise in the backwaters.
Discover the countryside at your own pace. You will have lunch in the boat. A canal cruise is a fabulous way to explore the fascinating beauty of the backwaters. The backwaters of Kerala are a unique product of Kerala and are found nowhere else in the world. Backwaters are a network of lakes, canals and estuaries and deltas of forty-four rivers that drain into the Arabian Sea. The backwaters of Kerala are a self supporting Eco-system teeming with aquatic life. The canals connect the villages together and are still used for local transport. Over 900 km of this labyrinthine water world is navigable.
Lunch and dinner will be served on the boat. In the evening take a short village tour.
Overnight will be on the boat.
Day 09 : Kumarokom - Periyar
By Road175km in 04hr
Breakfast will be served on the boat.
Cruise towards Kumarakom enjoying the beauty of the traditional Kerala houses. You will also pass through rolling tea gardens and rubber plantations. Stop at a tea factory to see the tea - making process.
Reach Kumarokom and enjoy the enchanting backwater destination, Kumarokom. An unbelievably beautiful paradise of mangrove forests, emerald green paddy fields and coconut groves interspersed with enchanting waterways and canals adorned with while lilies - this is Kumarokom.
Enjoy a visit to the BIRD PARK.
Drive to Periyar and reach by early evening.
The river Periyar is the longest river in Kerala. This is the only perennial river in South India with clean water. The river occupies an important place in the history of Kerala. In the Sangam age Tamil epics such as Chilapathikaram, ‘Akananuru’, ‘Purananuru’ etc much has been said about this mighty river, formerly known as the ‘Choorni Nadi’ or ‘Thamraparni Nadi’ (Sukasandesam -stanza 66). A land route existed in the Sangam age from Mussuris (present-day Kodungalloor) to Madurai, whichpassed near the banks of the river Periyar. The capital of the old Chera Empire presumably existed on the banks of the river Periyar. It is believed that there was a flood in the 4th century AD that severely damaged the areas along the Periyar and the people living there had to escape to safer locations, abandoning their homes and livelihoods. The flood of AD 1341 resulted in the closing of Kodungalloor port and the opening of a new port at Kochi. The huge landslide that began in the high ranges as a result of the heavy downpours sent massive flows of mud and sand which created an Island at the ‘Azhimugham’ of the Periyar which is now known as the Vyppin Islands.
Proceed for a JUNGLE WALK in the national park with your guide.
In the evening visit the SPICE MARKETS.
Overnight will be at hotel in Periyar.
Day 10 : Periyar
Leave the resort early in the morning (7 AM) for a jungle trek through the National Park.
Breakfast will be during the excursion. You can witness herds of wild elephants coming down to water and swim. The other prominent fauna to be seen are, Sambar, Barking deer, Mouse deer, Nilgiri Tahr, Wild Pigs, Wild dogs, Porcupine, Lion-tailed macaque, Malabar Squirrel, Flying Squirrel, Sloth Bear, Gaur and Black Langur (Monkey).
Return in the evening and visit the Spice plantations and take a boat ride also of the park. If you have missed the elephants in the morning then you could see them in the evening.
Overnight will be at Periyar.
Day 11 : Periyar - Madurai
By Road130km in 03hr
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast and drive to Madurai.
Reach and check in at hotel.
Madurai’s Main attraction is the Famous Sri Meenakshi Amman temple a riotously baroque example of Dravidian architecture with Gopurams carved from top to bottom in a breathtaking profusion of multicolored images of Gods. Tamil & Greek documents record the existence of Madurai from the 4th Century BC the city was known to the Greeks via Magathenes their ambassador to the court of Chandraguptha Muriya this city was popular in trade especially in spices. It was also the site the Sangam the academy of the Tamil Poets. And Madurai is the centre of all the cities and Madurai is famous for the cotton Sungudi Saris.
Visit the temple in the evening.
Sri Meenakshi Amman temple: dated back to 2000 Years back and designed in 1560 by Vishwanatha Nayaka and built during the reign of Tirumalai Nayaka. The Temple occupies an area of six hectares. There are 12 temple towers (Gopurams). The outer towers are the landmarks of Madurai.
Overnight will be at Madurai.
Day 12 : Madurai - Bangalore
Breakfast will be at the resort.
Proceed for a city tour of Madurai.
Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam: Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam is a huge temple tank about 5 km east of the Meenakshi temple. The mandapam in the centre has an idol of Vigneshwara (Vinayaka). It is said to have been found when the earth was being dug out from here to build the Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal. So, the place attained sanctity and was converted into a teppakulam (tank). This enormous temple tank is fed by water brought from the Vagai through an ingenious system of underground Channels. King Thirumalai Nayak was born in 'Poosa' Star. In commemorating the birth of the king “Float Festival” is conducted in Tamil Month 'Thai' (Jan/Feb) in the tank in a colourful way, which attracts thousands of tourists.
Gandhi Museum: The Gandhi Memorial Museum is one of the distinct places to be visited in Madurai. This Museum is one of the rare living memorials of "The Father of India". The Museum is set in relaxing grounds and has a clear historical account of India’s struggle for Independence.
Thirumalai Nayak Palace: This Palace was built in 1636 by King Thirumalai Nayak with the help of an Italian Architect. The building we see today was the main Palace where the King lived. The original Palace Complex was four times bigger than the present structure. This palace consisted mainly of two parts, namely Swargavilasa and Rangavilasa. In these two parts, there are royal residence, theatre, shrine, apartments, armoury, palanquin place, royal bandstand, quarters, pond and garden. King Thirumalai Nayak celebrated festivals like Scepter festival, Navarathri, Chithirai festival, Masi festival and the Float festival. He conducted daily dance and music performances in the palace. This palace was destroyed by his grandson Chokkanatha Nayak and the valuables were transferred to other places. During the British rule, in 1822, Lord Napier made several renovation works. Then the palace was utilized to house some officials of the judiciary and district administration. After independence, this palace was declared as a national monument and is now under the care of the Tamilnadu Archaeological departurement.
Enjoy the flower market of the city and explore the town.
Take evening flight to Bangalore and connect to the international airport for late night flight home with sweet memories of India.