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Price
$1575
+ flight to Mumbai and from Kochi back home
Duration
17 days

What you get

India
The best of the south
Transportation
During the entire trip
Guiding
Professional tour leader - traveler
Impressions
For life
Accommodation
16 nights
Physical grade
Level 1 (easy) out of 5

South India. Elephants, tea plantations, cities and the sea

We will travel from the heart of India - Mumbai to Kochi, the legendary port of the Malabar coast, on the way visiting four vibrant southern states.

  • Explore the sophisticated British architecture of Mumbai - the stunning Indian metropolis
  • Follow the trail of the kings in Hampi - the incredible capital of the ancient empire of Vijayanagara
  • Observe the unusual traditional dances of Kathakali in Kochi
  • Enjoy the quiet beaches of Gokarna and watch the elephants and bison in the wild 
  • Take a walk around tea plantations near the Munnar mountain resort town
  • Watch unusual religious ceremonies in the main shrine of South India - the temple of Sri Meenakshi Amman.

Trip code
APDN
South India. Elephants, tea plantations, cities and the sea

The price of the trip includes:

  1. Accommodation during the entire trip
  2. All transportation, including train tickets (3АС class - with comfortable sleeping benches and air conditioning), bus tickets (overnight buses - with sleeping benches and air conditioning), public transport and rented vehicles, including rickshaws
  3. Professional guiding services.

What is NOT included:

  1. Flight to Mumbai and from Kochi back home. (Let us know if you need help finding the best deals)
  2. Entrance fees to attractions, including museums, palaces and parks ($50)
  3. Food ($7-15 per person per day)
  4. Insurance (mandatory)
  5. Visa ($25).

Departures

2020
Price
Book
25 November, Wed 11 December, Fri
$ 1575
Individual Tour
You can choose your date

Day 1 - 2

Mumbai Kolaba district Gateway of India and Taj Hotel House of Mahatma Gandhi Babulnath Shiva temple

We arrive in Mumbai, the business capital of the country, and begin our group trip to India. We check into a hotel near the famous Victoria Terminus, a Gothic-revival style central raiway station open since 1853. After a short rest, we begin to explore the historic district of Kolaba. The narrow streets here are intertwined with wide avenues between the elegant buildings of the British period. Observing the vibrant local life, we reach the Marine drive, a seafront of the Arabian Sea. This is a favorite walking place of Mumbai residents. It also boasts the Gateway of India and the famous Taj Hotel. 

We reach Sassoon docks, the oldest docks in the city to observe the daily work in full swing - ships that have seen better times mooring, men pushing wooden carts with a catch, women peeling shrimps. There are no tourists here! We leave for one of the main temples of the city - Babulnath. Here Hindu devotees come to perform their vivid ceremonies, decorating the statues of the gods with garlands of fresh flowers and dressing them in expensive silk clothes. 

By metro we reach Chowpatty Beach, and then walk to the house-museum of Mahatma Gandhi. The father of the Indian nation lived in this building from 1917 to 1934, and was arrested on this terrace on January 4, 1932. His bedroom is completely preserved - it seems that the owner went out shortly and will return any minute. 

Day 3 - 5

Hampi 12th century temples and palaces

We take a comfortable night bus to Hospet (15 hours on the way), a small city in the state of Karnataka. There we take bright rickshaws and in about half an hour arrive in the neighboring village of Hampi, and check into simple houses in a picturesque place. 

Hampi is a very beautiful village by the river. But a few centuries ago, it was the capital of the grandiose empire of Vijayanagara, which unified all of South India! Majestic times left many grand palaces and temples in Hampi and neighboring villages. They breathe history, have few visitors, and the atmosphere is very special. Did we mention the very unusual landscape of these places - boulders of various shapes and sizes scattered for tens of kilometers? The famous Indian "Ramayana" epic has a good explanation for such unusual views! 

We take a night bus (or jeeps in the daytime) to the town of Gokarna (about 9 hours on the way) where we will continue our guided tour to India.

Day 6 - 9

Beaches of Gokarna Holy Om beach Portuguese architecture Mysore Palace of rajas

We arrive in Gokarna - a small city on the coast of the Arabian Sea and check into simple houses on the beach. An ancient Indian city, then a Portuguese colony, and a favorite place of western hippies - this town has a rich history. For two days we will be enjoying the picturesque sunrises and sunsets, relaxing on the wonderful beaches, walking through the wild jungle, admiring the colonial architecture, and watching ceremonies in small temples. 

We continue our guided tour to India and leave for Mysore by night bus and check into a hotel. We will walk around the old market to see and choose the famous local spices and incense. We also will explore the palace of the rulers of the kingdom of Mysore. Interestingly, this Indian kingdom fought against the British colonists for more than forty years and became one of the last to join the lands of the East India Company.

Day 10 - 12

Resort town of Ooty Madurai Sri Meenakshi Amman temple

In the morning we take a bus to the mountain resort of Ooty (5 hours on the way) and check into the hotel. British colonists founded this town in the mountains to escape from the heat of the Indian summer. We will explore the local botanical garden, enjoy cool air and mountain scenery.

The next day, the historic narrow gauge railway open since 1911, will take us to Mettupalayam station. In about three hours we will descend from an altitude of 2000 meters above sea level to almost zero. Jeeps take us further to Madurai (7 hours on the way) where we check into the hotel. 

We will visit one of the most famous Hindu temples - Sri Meenakshi Amman. Built before the 6th century CE, it is mentioned in ancient texts as the temple of the goddess Meenakshi, who is considered one of the avatars of the wife of the god Shiva. Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims from all over India come here to worship the ancient statue of the goddess. The temple opened to non-Hindus visitors just a few years ago.

Day 13 - 16

Chinnar wildlife sanctuary Wild animals Ancient cave paintings Munnar resort town Tea plantations

By jeep we leave to the Chinnar wildlife sanctuary on the border of the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. We might spend the night here, in the simple forest houses without amenities amid stunning nature. In this reserve, we will also take a simple walk to see wild animals and ancient cave paintings.

We leave for Munnar, a mountain resort town 1600 meters above sea level where we will continue our small group trip to India. We check into a hotel in the center and ride rickshaws to visit tea plantations where we will see how women with baskets attached to their heads pick Nilgiri tea. On the way, we can also stumble upon herds of wild elephants or bison that walk out from the jungle. We reach Top Station, the highest panoramic point in the area. If you are lucky and the peak is not shrouded in fog, then we can appreciate the wonderful views of the tea valleys. A local family that lives on this peak sells unusual fruits for India - wild tomatoes, passion fruit and huge avocados. 

On the last day we take a bus to Kochi (about 4-5 hours), and check into a hotel in the old district of Fort Kochi.

Day 17

Kochi The oldest synagogue in India Royal palace Traditional dance drama Kathakali Seafood market

In the morning we explore the fort of Kochi - the historical part of the legendary port of the Malabar coast. We ride rickshaws to the old Jewish quarter, where we will visit the oldest synagogue in India. We walk around the Rajah Palace, examining unique murals and photographs that are more than a hundred years old. Life in this city was very different until recently!

We will also visit the theater of the traditional Kerala performance of Kathakali. To begin with, let's see how the actors apply their bright makeup. Like centuries ago, they use only natural colorings from plants and berries! Next up is a very unusual show of pantomime, sign language and music. Usually these are well-known plots of the ancient Indian epics Mahabharata and Ramayana.

Finally, we will enjoy fresh seafood at one of the most colorful fish markets in India! On the last day of our trip, we go to the airport and fly home. Our group trip to India has come to an end. Thank you for discovering this amazing country with us!

Tour leader

Yevgeniy Ikhelzon
co-founder, tour leader

Is this trip for you?

This trip is of easy physical grade. It consists of visiting cities, small towns and villages. The trip includes long city walks and short easy hikes in the national park. We will also take two overnight comfortable bus (or train) rides with sleeping benches and air conditioning and several short bus trips lasting up to 6 hours. Accommodation in double/twin rooms of tourist class hotels, guesthouses and simple bungalows on the beach. All will have attached bathroom with hot water, most of them will also have wifi internet.

Visa

Citizens of almost all countries need a visa to enter India. 

Visa can be obtained online or in the embassy prior to the trip.

We provide free visa consulting for our clients. 

Additional options

3G mobile internet in India
Price: + $30
Prepaid local sim card with 3GB internet package

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