India South  Bandipur and Beyond

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Bandipur and Beyond (Bangalore- Mysore –Bandipur- Ooty -Munnar- Thekkady–Kumarakam-Alleppy-Varkala-Trivandrum)

Duration: 15 days and 14 nights

Description: A quintessential trip of South India where you cover the majestic states of Karnataka and Kerala. The trip includes visits to palaces, tiger reserves and bird sanctuaries, house boats and more. You will come away with several memories and numerous photos to sort through.

Day 1 Arrival Bangalore
On arrival our representative will welcome you. You will be driven to the hotel for check in.
A succession of South Indian dynasties ruled the region of Bangalore until in 1537 AD. Kempe Gowda—a feudatory ruler under the Vijayanagara Empire — established a mud fort considered to be the foundation of modern Bangalore. Following transitory occupation by Maratha and Mughal, the city remained under the Mysore kingdom. Bangalore continued to be a cantonment of the British and a major city of the Princely State of Mysore, which existed as a nominally sovereign entity of the British Raj. Following the independence of India in 1947, Bangalore became the capital of Mysore state, and later Karnataka.

Day for your own activities. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 2 Bangalore
After breakfast, Sightseeing around Bangalore

Iskcon Temple
International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) temple in Bangalore city is a huge cultural complex that was inaugurated in 1997 to carry out the vision of his divine grace, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the Founder-Acharya of ISKCON, to promote Vedic culture and spiritual learning.
ISKCON Sri Radha Krishna-chandra Mandir, in Bangalore attracts visitors from different parts of the world and it offers a truly commendable experience to visitors and devotees from a spiritual, architectural and general perspective. The ISKCON temple is more than a place of rituals.

Tipu’s Palace
The Palace was the summer residence of Tipu Sultan till his death in the year 1799 during the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War. Its construction was started by Hyder Ali within the walls of the Bangalore fort and completed during the reign of Tipu Sultan in the year 1791. This magnificent structure has been built entirely with teakwood and stands adorned with pillars, arches and balconies. This palace, an example of Indo-Islamic Architecture, is supported by a number of pillars and columns to establish a double storied flowery wooden structure. Characterized by a number of balconies and rooms, it is believed that Tipu Sultan used to conduct his durbar from the eastern and western balconies of the upper floor. There are beautiful floral motifs embellishing the walls of the palace. The rooms on the ground floor are converted into museum, showcasing various achievements of Tipu Sultan and his administration.

Bull Temple
The Bull temple of Bangalore is dedicated to Nandi Bull, the vahana (vehicle) of Lord Shiva. Situated in Basavanagudi, this temple has been built in the Dravidian style of architecture. This temple counts among the oldest temples of the city and draws devotees from all over the country.

LalBagh botanical garden
The Lalbagh Botanical Garden was started initially as a private garden in an area of 40 acres by Hyder Ali, one of the most famous rulers of old Mysore in 1760. Initially designed in Mughal style, on the model of an extensive garden at Sira in Tumkur near Bangalore, this garden was further developed by Hyder Ali’s son, Tipu Sultan, and subsequently by the British and Indian doyens of horticulture, by extension of area and addition of a number of plant species.
Evening, shopping on M.G. Road. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 3 Bangalore-Mysore
After breakfast, drive to Mysore. The city of Mysore is known as the ‘City Of Palaces’. There are number of buildings built by the Royal family and are exquisite examples of Dravidian architecture and display grandeur and lavish life lead by the Emperors while they ruled the state. Apart from the Palaces, there are number of other tourist’s attractions that one can visit in Mysore.

On arrival, check in the hotel. Half day sightseeing around Mysore.
Chamundi hills: These Hills are close to the palace city of Mysore. The hills’ average elevation is 1,000 meters. According to legend, the demon Mahishasura, king of the area that is currently Mysore, was killed by the Goddess Chamundeswari (also Chamundi) after a fierce battle. The hills are named after the goddess, and a temple honors her in the hills. The temple has a beautiful idol of the goddess.

Brindavan Gardens: It is spread across an area of 60 acres. Adjoining it is also a fruit orchard spread across 75 acres and 2 horticultural farms, Nagavana (30 acres) and Chandravana (5 acres). The garden is laid out in 3 terraces, which contain a water fountain. The garden also has topiary works, sculptures of animals created by clipping shrubs and pergolas (shaded passageway covered by creepers). The main attraction of the park is the musical fountain in which bursts of water are synchronized to music.

Mysore Palace: This is the official residence of the Wodeyars – the erstwhile royal family of Mysore. It also houses two durbar halls (ceremonial meeting hall of the royal court). Overnight at the hotel.
Day 4 Mysore –Bandipur
After breakfast, drive to Bandipur national park. One such wonderful destination is the Bandipur Wildlife Sanctuary, which houses thousands of varieties of flora and fauna in the beautiful forests and is a truly mesmerizing experience in itself. A great vacation spot, away from the pressures of city life, Bandipur wildlife sanctuary is a wonderful place to unwind with nature by your side. 

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 kms. However, it was later increased to 800 sq kms and renamed the Venugopala Wildlife Park after the residing deity of the shrine located here at Gopalswamy Betta. The name Bandipur National Park was given in the year 1973 when the Government took over the park under the Project Tiger Scheme and it was then made into a Tiger Reserve. On arrival, check in the resort, and held out for an evening jungle Safari towards Bandipur National park.

Overnight at the resort.

Day 5 Bandipur – Ooty
After breakfast, drive to Ooty. Also called Ootacamund, Ooty is a popular hill station located in the Nilgiri Hills. Originally occupied by the Todas, the area came under the rule of the East India Company at the end of the 18th century. Today, the town’s economy is based on tourism and agriculture, with manufacturing of medicines and photographic film also present. The town is connected to the rest of India by road and rail, and its historic sites and natural beauty attract tourists. On arrival, check into the hotel. Day at leisure for your own activities. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 6 Ooty
After breakfast, sightseeing around Ooty.

Rose Garden: It is the largest rose garden in India. It is situated on the slopes of the Elk hill in Vijayanagaram of Ooty town, at an altitude of 2200 meters. The flowers are arranged in five curving terraces, covering four hectares.
Valley View Lake: This artificial lake was constructed in 1824. The lake covers an area of one and a half square miles, with a railway running along one bank. The large graveyard of St. Thomas’s church, built in 1870, overlooks the lake. Paddleboats or rowing boats are available for boating enthusiasts.

Toy train: The Nilgiri Mountain Railway toy train is the highlight of a visit to the hill settlement of Ooty. The track is 46 kilometers (28.5 miles) long, and passes over 26 viaducts, and through 16 tunnels and tall girder bridges. This railway is particularly picturesque because of the surrounding rocky terrain, tea plantations, and forested hills.
Board the train which leaves Ooty at 3 p.m. and reach Metupalayam at 6.35 p.m. On arriving to Mettupalayam you will be driven back to the hotel.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 7 Ooty – Munnar
After breakfast transfer to Munnar, one the most beautiful hill stations of Kerala where the tea plantations are spread like a green carpet. The beautiful hill station of Munnar is 1600 to 1800 meters above sea level. Munnar is still very much a British tea plantation town, its beauty further enhanced by great black roads that thrust upwards from amidst the thick vegetation. Clouds drop gently on the mountain peaks that flank the verdant shaped slender blue and red gum trees, which shoot up into the sky and the winding lanes of the town. The town is situated at the confluence of the three mountain streams Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala. On arrival, check into the hotel.
Day at leisure. Overnight at hotel.

Day 8 Munnar
After breakfast, sightseeing tour around Munnar takes one to tea gardens where picturesque colonial towns and meandering mountain streams present photo opportunities galore. Later, visit:
Rajamalai National Park: Rajamalai (Eravikulam) National Park is situated in Devikulam of Munnar with a base elevation of about 2000m above sea level. National Park is the natural habitat of highly endangered species of mountain goats called Nilgiri Tahr or Nilgiri Ibex (Hemitragus hylocrius). Tourists visiting Eravikulam (Rajamalai) National Park can find small herds of Nilgiri Tahr grazing along the grasslands. Nilakurinji plants, rare species limited to the hill ranges of Munnar, can be found along the hill sides of this national park.

Kundala Lake: It is situated at 1700m (5940 ft) above sea level; Kundala Lake is located at 28 Km away from Munnar on the way to Top Station, located amidst a dense forest. Kundala Arch Dam is Asia’s first Arch Dam. Kundala Lake and its surrounding areas offer a calm atmosphere with quiet, natural beauty.

Echo Point: This is an ideal place for adventure tourism and trekking. The fresh mountain air, the mist-clad hills and panoramic view make it worthy of a visit. This scenic place gets its name from the natural echo phenomenon here.
Mattupetty dam: It is a storage concrete gravity dam built in the mountains of Kerala, to conserve water for hydroelectricity. It has been a vital source of power, yielding along with other such dams, huge revenue to the states. The large amount of perennially available water allows wild animals and birds to flourish. However, salinity caused by irrigation and water-logging are of concern to environmentalists.

Later, stroll about the local market. Overnight at hotel.

Day 9 Munnar-Thekkady
Early morning, drive to Thekkady. It is an area known for its undulating hills, spice plantations, and elephant sightings. Thekkady is one of the 27 tiger reserve sanctuaries in India. Here the high ranges of the Western Ghats are clothed in dense evergreen, moist deciduous forests and savannah grasslands. Below this thick green canopy roam herds of elephants, sambars, tigers, gaurs, lion tailed macaques and Nilgiri langurs.

On arrival, check into the hotel. Day at leisure for your own activities. Over night at the hotel.

Day 10 Thekkady
After breakfast, sightseeing around Thekkady with a visit to a plantation nearby. In the afternoon, you can enjoy a boat ride in the Periyar Lake. Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is situated on the banks of the Periyar Lake. The pride of Kerala and a testimony to nature’s splendor and human innovation, this is an artificial lake at Thekkady
Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary: Set high in the ranges of the Western Ghats, in God’s Own Country, Kerala, is the Periyar National Park and Tiger Reserve. Periyar wildlife sanctuary has a picturesque lake at the heart of the sanctuary.

Formed with the building of a dam in 1895, this reservoir meanders around the contours of the wooded hills, providing a permanent source of water for the local wildlife. Though it’s a Tiger Reserve, tourists come here to view the Indian elephants in the act of ablution and playfulness by the Periyar Lake.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 11 Thekkady-Kumarakam
After breakfast, drive to Kumarakam. On arrival, check in the hotel.

Kumarakom, a nice backwater village is hidden among the palm trees on the eastern shore of Lake Vembanad, at the mouth of the Kavanar River. Nature itself has set it on an abandoned coconut plantation in the very heart of these fascinating backwaters and it has been designed to give visitors an authentic insight into Kuttanad life.
Visit Kumarakam bird sanctuary.

Kumarakom bird sanctuary: Located on the banks of the Vembanad Lake, the bird sanctuary is spread across 14 acres. The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, an ornithologist’s paradise is a favorite haunt of migratory birds like the Siberian stork, egret, darter, heron and teal.

A visit to the bird sanctuary, set within the lush acres of wooded land nearby, acquaints you to the variety of migratory birds that flock in thousands, some from the Himalayas, some even from as far as Siberia. In addition, you can witness the amazing sights of the native kingfishers ablaze in psychedelic colors, experience a walk under rookeries of egrets and night herons or lone golden-backed woodpeckers and even delight in the acrobatics of the paradise fly-catchers. 

Over night at the hotel.

Day 12 Kumarakam -Alleppy
After breakfast, drive to Alleppey. Alleppey is one of the most important tourist centers in the state, with a large network of inland canals, earning it the sobriquet, “Venice of the east”. These large networks of canals provide Alleppey its lifeline. Alleppey was one of the busiest centers for trade in the past with one of the best known ports along the Malabar Coast.

Embark on your private houseboat at 12 Noon and cruise on the backwaters, a splendid area full of canals, lakes and coves. Your houseboats or ‘Kettuvalloms’ are luxurious boats. You can observe the palm fringed landscape from your cabins. Apart from the mesmerizing surroundings, it’s the life along the coast that adds a touch of exotica to this experience.

The locals’ travel in canoes and you will find vegetable sellers, fishermen and other traders bringing household goods, door to door in small wooden boats. As you cruise along the backwaters you can ask your captain to stop at villages, paddy fields and other places, en route.

Over night at the house boat.

Day 13 Alleppey – Varkala
After breakfast, check out from the house boat at 9am and drive to Varkala. On arrival. check in the hotel.
Varkala is the only place in southern Kerala where cliffs are found adjacent to the Arabian Sea. These tertiary sedimentary formation cliffs are a unique geological feature on the otherwise flat Kerala coast. They are known among geologists as Varkala Formation and a geological monument as declared by the Geological Survey of India. There are numerous water spouts and spas on the sides of these cliffs.

Varkala is also famous for the 2,000-year old Janardana Swami Temple, which is an important Vaishnavaite shrine in India and is often referred to as Dakshin Kashi (Benares of the South). The temple is located close to the Papanasam beach, which is considered to have holy waters that wash away sins. It is also an important Ayurveda treatment center. The temple has an ancient bell removed from a shipwreck, donated by the captain of the Dutch vessel, which sank near Varkala without causing any casualties.

Day at leisure for your own activities.

Overnight at the hotel.

Day 14 Varkala- Trivandrum Departure
After breakfast, transfer to Trivandrum Airport for the return journey.