Karnataka & Kerala – Through the past glory of Wodeyar Kingdom

Karnataka & Kerala – Through the past glory of Wodeyar Kingdom, wilderness, heritage living, culture, backwaters, and beaches.

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Day 01: Arrive at Bangalore
After arrival at Bangalore airport, you will be welcomed by our rep and escorted to the hotel. Overnight stay will be at Bangalore.

Day 02: Bangalore/Mysore (150 km; 4 hrs)
During your drive to Mysore, you will en route visit Sritangapattanam, which is home to the ruins of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan’s capital, from which they ruled much of southern India during the 18th century. Srirangapatnam was built on a long island in the Cauvery River. The dungeon where Tipu held a number of British officers has been preserved. Inside the fortress walls, there’s a mosque and the Sri Ranganathsway Temple.

Mysore, once the capital of the Wodeyar Kingdom, is a city of fine gardens, tree-lined boulevards, art galleries, and an intriguing palace.
Evening visit will be to the Devaraja fruit and vegetable market. Devaraja Market is an apt place to get a flavor of local people’s. With more than 100 years of history, this market is well knitted into the heritage of Mysore. It is a good sample of a traditional Indian market place that is colorful, noisy, vibrant, and a tad chaotic. Overnight stay will be at Mysore.

Day 03: Mysore
The morning tour will be to Somnathpur. The Keshava Temple stands at the edge of the tranquil village of Somnathpur – 33 km east of Mysore. Built in 1268 during the heyday of the Hoysala Kings, it’s an astonishingly beautiful, unspoilt building. The walls of this star-shaped temple are covered with superb sculptures in stone, depicting various scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata, Bhagavad Gita, and the life and times of the Hoysala Kings.
Afternoon visit will be to Maharaja’s Palace, built in 1911–1912. The palace harmoniously synthesizes the Hindu and Saracenic styles of architecture, with archways, domes, turrets, colonnades, and sculptures, which are truly magnificent. Later you will drive up to the 1062-m high Chamundi hill to see the Chamundeshwari Temple with a panoramic view of Mysore. On your way back, you will see the 5-m high Nandi Bull carved out of solid rock in 1659.
Overnight stay will be at Mysore.

Day 04: Mysore /Bandipur (80 km; 2.5 hrs)
After breakfast, you will drive to Bandipur Wildlife Sanctuary.
Located in the southern part of the beautiful state of Karnataka, Bandipur is one of the oldest wildlife sanctuaries in India. The Bandipur National Park was made by the Maharaja of Mysore in the year 1931 and was then spread over an area of 90 sq. km.
In the afternoon, you will enjoy jeep safari in the Bandipur National Park. A qualified naturalist will accompany you on every trip to help you interpret the exotic flora and fauna of the region. Overnight stay will be at Bandipur.

Day 05: Bandipur
Early morning, you will enjoy a jeep safari at Bandipur National Park.
Overnight stay will be at Bandipur.

Day 06: Bandipur/Nilambur
After breakfast, you will drive to Nilambur (80 km, 2.5 hrs).
Nilambur Kovilakams or palaces situated at the foot of the Western Ghats along the banks of the river Chaliyar are architectural marvels known for their beautiful frescoes and wood work. These residences of the local rajas were built according to traditional Kerala architecture and boast of excellent skill and craftsmanship.
The Puthiyakovilakam (New Palace), the place at which you will stay, was built by the Nilambur rajas nearly 200 years ago. The royal family, whose roots can be traced back to Nediyiruppe swaroopam or Koodamanna lineage, were once the chieftains of the Zamoodiri. They eventually emerged as the undefeated rulers of Nilambur nearly 250 years ago.
In the evening, you will visit the Kovilakom Temple and witness the deity from outside. The temple will be lighted up with lamps in the evening.
Overnight stay will be at Nilambur.

Day 07: Nilambur
Early morning, you will meet up with a Brahmin lady, who will tell you the history of Kolam drawing practiced by the Hindu women in front of their houses. Kolam is a form of drawing drawn using rice. Kolams are thought to bring prosperity to homes. You may also participate in this ritual practice.
You will also visit an astrologer, who will read your palm and predict your future and make you comprehend your past.
In the evening, you will visit the tribal colony to witness the pottery making.
Overnight stay will be at Nilambur.

Day 08: Nilambur/Cheruthuruthy (80 km, 2.5 hrs)
The morning drive will be to Cheruthuruthy.
You will stay at the erstwhile summer palace of the Cochin Maharaja. This palace turned resort overlooking the Nila River, preserves its history in every detail.
Overnight stay will be at Cheruthuruthy.

Day 09: Cheruthuruthy/Cochin (115 km, 03 hrs)
You will visit the cultural and art school, Kerala Kalamandalam.
It is the premiere public institution in India imparting training in and conducting performances of the classical arts of Kerala, viz. Kathakali, Koodiyattam, Mohiniyaattam, Thullal, and Panchavaadyam. A visitor gets the opportunity to spend a few hours at the center witnessing the classes and interacting with the masters.
Late afternoon, you will drive to Cochin, where you will stay at a hotel in Fort Cochin.
Cochin (Kochi) is spread across islands and promontories in a stunning location between the Arabian Sea and the backwaters. The city was founded in 1341 when a flood created a natural safe port, which became the principal harbor for Malabar Coast’s spice trade. Cochin was on the main trade route between Europe and China. The rulers invited people of various religions to settle here, attracting the Jews and the Christians, who built places of worship and their own communities.
Overnight stay will be at Cochin.

Day 10: Cochin – Being local
This day will be very different. The morning will pass by exploring Cochin with your guide by being a localite. There will be no car this day. You will walk, take the TUK TUK through the narrow streets of Fort Cochin and Mattancherry, climb on a local bus in the busy hours to the city, walk along thousands of people exploring the local market, learn about the spices, visit the railway station when thousands of people return to their nearby village after the day’s work, and hop on the local ferry from the mainland to return to the island of Fort Cochin. By evening, you will have experienced everything that happens in a day at Cochin.
During the course, you will also visit the monuments at Fort Cochin and Mattancherry – the St. Francis Church – the oldest European Church in India – where Vasco de Gama, the first European traveler to India, was originally buried; Dutch Palace at Mattancherry (Friday closed), renowned for its wall murals depicting scenes from the Ramayana; and the Jewish Synagogue (Saturday closed) at the heart of what is locally called the Jew Town. Overnight stay will be at Fort Cochin.

Day 11: Cochin/Nedumudy backwaters
After breakfast, you will drive to Nedumudy, a village in the backwaters. Once at the jetty, you will be transferred in the canoe to the home stay.
At this 100-year-old wooden mansion situated on the bank of the holy river Pamba, you will feel serenity, peace, and joy, which have been long lost to the frenetic pace of the times that we live in. You will get a golden opportunity to experience closeness with nature. The home is just on the bank of the river giving a clear view of the village life across, where you will also get to sit and relax watching the fishermen, boats, and people cruising along.
Half past six when the sun will set beneath the bank, you will set off in punted canoe with your lone oarsmen, on a slower pace cruising through the darkness watching the faraway lights. Somewhere in the middle of the lake, your oarsmen will serve you a glass of wine. Under a clear sky, you will enjoy sipping the wine gazing at the stars or watching the people still on the bank, some taking a bath, some fishing, some washing their utensils, and some waving at you.
Overnight stay will be at Nedumudy.

Day 12: Nedumudy/Alleppey/Marari
After early breakfast, you will walk up to the nearby public jetty with your host, who will assist you to get into the public boat transport to Alleppey. This cruise lasts for 1.5 hours, passing through the villages and en route picking up villagers from the jetty who are on their way to Alleppey for daily work.
On arrival at the jetty, your driver will wait with your luggage and take you to the famous Mullakkal Temple.
The bazaars of Mullackal Road provide a delightful morning browsing. Here you’ll find everything from fine gold jeweler to umbrella emporiums and coir products. You will get to visit the Mullackal Temple from inside.
You will later drive to Marari Beach (30 minutes).
Marari Beach, other than being an endless vista of sand and surf, is an authentic experience of the world of Kerala’s traditional fishing villages and a recreation of an ancient, harmonious way of life. The resort sprawls across 55 acres of lawns, with far-flung lotus ponds and whispering coconut groves, all threaded through with stone-flagged pathways. A windbreak of palms runs the length of the property, a protective cover that reduces even the gustiest sea winds to mere caresses. And beyond is a milk-and-azure ocean, fringed by a beach more ochre than yellow, a sand-meets-sea combination you’re not likely to find anywhere else.
Overnight stay will be at Marari.

Day 13: Marari
You will relax the entire day at the beach.
Overnight stay will be at Marari.

Day 14: Marari/Cochin departure (90 km; 2.5 hrs)
You will in time be dropped to Cochin airport to board a flight back home.