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Undiscovered South India. {Kerala & Karnataka}

South India has a lot more to offer than mere beaches and spice plantations. It’s a melting pot of cultures, cuisines, traditions, and languages. The southern states of Kerala, and Karnataka, welcomes you with warmth and love. There’s something to do for everyone here.

Day 01. Arrive at Cochin where you will be met and transferred to your hotel in the historic area of Fort Kochi. Influenced over the centuries by the Arabs, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch, and British, this vibrant city’s strategic trading importance was underlined by its sobriquet ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’. The day is kept at leisure. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 02. Today after breakfast enjoy Kochi City. Tour starts with historic Fort Kochi. This place is steeped in the history and culture of all who have occupied it through the ages. Its roots and essence are unique in their diversity. Unique to Cochin you will be visiting Chinese fishing nets, these fishing nets serve as a testimony to the good relations between the ancient Chinese Emperors and the Cochin Kings. Outside of China, these fishing nets are only found in Cochin. Historians believe that the fishing nets were gifted by the Chinese Emperor Kubalagi to the then Cochin King in the 14th century. The fact that these nets are fixed land installations (unlike the other nets that are not fixed to the land) and use shore operated lift nets for fishing. These 10-meter high nets require up to six men to operate one fully installed net. This makes them so unique. Later visit the Dutch Palace - The Mattancherry Palace is a Portuguese Palace & popularly known as the Dutch Palace, which features Kerala murals depicting portraits and exhibits of the Rajas of Kochi. The palace was included in the "tentative list" of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Later you will be visiting The Jewish Synagogue also known as Paradesi Synagogue and Mattancherry Synagogue, the Jewish Synagogue at Cochin is the oldest existing synagogue among the Commonwealth countries. The synagogue is beautifully laid out and the interiors are decorated with Chinese tiles and Belgian chandeliers. Giant scrolls of the Old Testament can be found here. Lunch and relax at the hotel. Today evening enjoys a traditional Kathakali dance performance. Overnight in Kochi.

Day 03. After breakfast drive, 60 km - 2 hours to Alleppey, stopping en route to visit a coir (coconut fibre) factory. Continue to Alleppey jetty, where you board a houseboat. Start the cruise through the canals and lagoons around Alleppey before crossing Vembanad Lake, with traditional Kerala style lunch prepared by our crew. Disembark in the afternoon and transfer to backwater accommodation. Enjoy the lake sound at your resort or enjoy an Ayurveda Spa today evening. Dinner and overnight at Alleppey.

Day 04. There is something about the Kerala backwaters that makes you want to relax; today is a free day to sit by the pool, enjoy a walk in the local area, have a massage, and generally just take things easy.

Day 05. After early breakfast drive 200 km- 5 hours north to Cheruthuruthy via Trichur. Trichur district is the cultural capital of Kerala, with schools keeping the strong tradition of performing arts in Kerala alive. In the afternoon relax by the hotel pool or enjoy a drink at the riverside restaurant at our hotel. Stay at Cheruthuruthy.

Day 06. After early breakfast, the driver will take you to the world-famous Kerala Kalamandalam has known widely as the University of Art & Culture of Kerala. Reach the centre by 9.00 am. {Visiting Hours are from 09.30 hrs to 12.00 hrs} Entrances $ 20 per person Kerala Kalamandalam is one of those last remaining places which still hold to the traditions and culture of Kerala. This world-renowned institution has been imparting cultural education and training to interested individuals in the various art forms of Kerala. This institute is responsible for preserving the culture of Kerala in its dance forms like Kathakali, Mohiniyaattam, and Panchavaadyam. Located in the beautiful and scenic village of Cheruthuruthy, it is the perfect place for artists to practice. Even though it is located in a rather traditional place, but Kerala Kalamandalam has been pretty open about its recruitment process. It focuses more on their merit rather than their cultural background, language, or religion.

During the tour, the Kalamandalam staff at the Center will act as your guides. They will explain to you the rich and beautiful culture that is celebrated every day in the institute. As the tour proceeds, often a couple of masters join in to interact with the tourists. You can watch the students perform striking poses complemented by their vibrant expressions. Visit the art gallery, which displays the various headgears, jewellery, and costumes that form a critical part of these classical dances. Visit the old Kalamandalam campus, which is located near the banks of Nila. Experience the lush greenery, azure skies, and the smell of rain in God’s own Country, Kerala.

Today afternoon drives 3 hours to Calicut with a stop en route at a wooden shipbuilding yard. For the remainder of the afternoon free to relax by the beach at our resort in Calicut.

Day 07. After breakfast visit, Kappad is the place where Vasco da Gama set foot for the first time when he came to India on May 27, 1498. There is a small stone monument at the beach to commemorate that event. Return to your resort, Check out and later visit Pazhassirajah Museum is located on East Hill. It is run by the State Archeological Department. Ancient mural paintings, antique bronzes, old coins, models of temples, and megalithic structures are on display here. Situated next to Pazhassirajah Museum is an art gallery displaying paintings of Raja Ravi Varma.

Later visit The Science Planetarium at Jaffarkhan Colony is the best place to unravel the mysteries of the universe and enlightens about the planets and stars. Evening visit Kozhikode beach. The beach is easily accessible from the city and provides a good view of the setting sun. The place also has a Marine Life Aquarium open the whole day. Return to your resort. Dinner and overnight at the resort.

Wayanad, the green paradise is nestled among the mountains of the Western Ghats, forming the border world of the greener part of Kerala. Clean and pristine, enchanting, and hypnotizing, this land is filled with history and culture.

Day 08. After breakfast drive 3 hours to Wayanad and check into your hotel. The hilly Wayanad region of north Kerala is covered by moist forest, rice paddy, and coffee plantations. In the afternoon visit Pookot Lake and walk through the surrounding areas or remain at the hotel to enjoy the beautiful rainforest setting.

Day 09. Make an early start in time for a morning visit to Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, where there is a good – but not guaranteed! – Chances of seeing elephants, deer, and possibly sloth bears. Afterward, walk up to Edakkal Caves at Ambukutty Mala. It is a pre-historic rock shelter formed naturally out of a strange disposition of three huge boulders making one rest on the other two with its bottom jutting out in between and serving as the roof. Edakkal means a stone in between.

Edakkal rock engravings stand out distinct among the magnitude of prehistoric visual archives of paintings and graphic signs all over the world. It is the world's richest pictographic gallery of its kind. Return to your hotel and the rest of the day is at leisure. Enjoy the resort and dinner with a drink. Overnight at Wayanad.

Day 10. After breakfast, drive 4 hours to Mysore. A laid back town with wide tree-lined avenues, Mysore is the former capital of the region and was one of the first cities in the world to be electrified.

In the afternoon take a two-hour specialist heritage walk in the city which starts at the Town Hall, visits the Devaraja Market and ends at the Jagan Mohan Palace. During the walk, the guide will share various stories from Mysore's past and there will also be a chance to taste ‘Mysore Pak’, the city's famous sweet. Return to your hotel. Dinner and overnight at Hotel.

Day 11. Full day tour of Mysore. Visit Mysore Palace was once the residence of Wodeyar dynasty rulers who ruled Mysore for seven centuries. The palace is considered one of the largest in India with more than 2.7 million visitors every year. The brilliant architecture and intricate craftsmanship with which it is built makes it an incredible masterpiece. The doorways and corridors make you travel through time to stories of the past. Chamundi Hill, site of the Chamundeswari Temple and Nandi Bull as well as the vast City Palace which was re-built by Henry Irwin during 1897 in an Indo-Saracenic style. The palace contains extraordinary wall paintings, stained glass work, and inlaid doors.

(Some will be lucky enough to be in Mysore on a Sunday when the 97,000 lights of the palace are switched on!)

Day 12. Afternoon departure for 3-hour drives to Bangalore, en-route visiting Sri Rangapatanam, where Tipu Sultan was killed in battle against an East India Company army including Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington. Continue to Bangalore.

On arrival in Bangalore, transfer to the airport for your flight home or to an onward city for the next leg of your India trip.

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