India South  Lord Over the Jungle

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Lord Over the Jungle (Trivandrum – Kovalam – Arippa – Koodamkulam – Alleppey – Periyar – Munnar – Chinnar – Thattekkad – Kochi – Ooty – Bandipur – Kabini – Mysore – Bangalore)

Duration: 16 days and 15 nights

Description: Close encounters with paws, claws and feathers. The Western Ghat mountain range on the eastern boundary of Kerala is rich with unique flora and fauna. It is one of the 18 biodiversity centres in the world. According to Birdlife International, it is also one of eight ‘centres of endemism’ in the Indian sub-continent. This expedition also covers other wildlife, areas of entertainment and cultural interest. Do bring cameras and binoculars.

Day 01
Trivandrum – Kovalam
Get received at Trivandrum International airport. Transfer to an internationally acclaimed beach resort at Kovalam. Dinner with a wildlife specialist who explains the programme.

Day 02
Kovalam – Arippa – Kovalam
Drive to Arippa, an evergreen forest rich bird diversity. You may see up to 40 different species. Visit the forest hamlet of the Kani tribe, ancient forest dwellers near Bonacaud. See a way of life that has remained unchanged for a few thousand years. Return to Kovalam.

Day 03
Kovalam – Koodamkulam – Kovalam
Visit Koodamkulam, a small village in Tamilnadu, rich with many species of water birds – spot bill pelicans, painted storks, night herons, cormorants and egrets to mention a few. The villagers here protect these birds like their own children. Option to visit Cape Kanyakumari, the southern-most tip of India where Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea meet. Watch sunset and return to Kovalam.

Day 04
Trivandrum – Alleppey
Drive to Alleppey – Houseboat cruise through backwaters lined by rice paddies and coconut groves. You will get a chance to see a rich bird life and enjoy a candlelit dinner. Night on board.

Day 05
Alleppey – Periyar
Drive to Periyar Tiger reserve which is well maintained and organized. Check in at the resort. In the afternoon take a boat cruise through the Periyar Lake to see bison, elephant, sambar, Asiatic wild dogs, langur, sloth bear, otter, a variety of birds and perhaps even that elusive tiger. Overnight at resort.

Day 06
Spend the day in the evergreen forests and spot dozens of bird and butterfly species. Spend the night at resort.

Day 07
Periyar – Munnar
Through the beautiful Cardamom Hills valley, drive to Munnar, the land of tea estates nestled among the clouds at an elevation of 5000 feet. Afternoon, visit Eravikulam National Park, home to endangered Nilgiri Tahr, south India’s only mountain goat. Also home to several bird and butterfly species. Overnight at resort.

Day 08
Munnar – Chinnar – Munnar
Drive across to Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary through Kerala’s only sandalwood forest. Descend from Anamudi, which at 10000ft is the tallest peak south of Himalayas and come down to 1000 feet, winding through beautiful shoal forests, rich with birds and butterflies. Lucky ones will see the rare grizzled giant squirrel. Return to Munnar for the night.

Day 09
Munnar – Thattekkad
Drive to Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary. Check in at Forest Lodge. See tropical evergreens, semi evergreens, lowland rainforest and tropical deciduous forests. It is the only bird sanctuary in Kerala with scores of rare birds and butterflies. Overnight at forest lodge.

Day 10
Spend the whole day roaming the sanctuary, which Dr. Salim Ali once endorsed as the richest bird habitant in peninsular India. Overnight at forest lodge.

Day 11
Thattekkad – Kochi
Drive to Kochi. Sightseeing. An evening of Kathakali. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 12
Kochi – Ooty
Drive to Ooty via Coonoor, lunch at Coonoor, major hill station of Nilgiri hills, Visit Sim’s Park, The Dolphin’s Nose and Lamb’s Rock. Board the Toy Train for Ooty, known as the ‘Queen of Hill Stations’ at a height of 2240m. Visit Ooty Lake, St. Stephen’s Church and Botancial Gardens etc. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 13
Ooty – Bandipur
Orientation tour of Ooty, proceed to the Bandipur National Park. Check in at Resort. Bandipur is home to the Asiatic elephant, gaur, sambar, chital, mouse deer, four-horned antelope, wild boar, jackal, sloth bear, panther, Malabar squirrel, porcupines and the black-knapped hare. Birds like jungle fowl and green pigeon are also seen. Evening Jeep Safari with a naturalist for guidance.

Day 14
Bandipur – Kabini
Early morning drive to Kabini, Jeep safari for animal watching. Proceed to Rajiv Gandhi National Park, 800 mts from sea level on the bank of river Kabini. Evening enjoy a Jungle Safari. Dinner will be over wild-life documentaries. Overnight at Resort.

Day 15
Kabini – Mysore
Early morning will be spent in an open jeep jungle safari. Proceed to Mysore City, the old capital of Mysore state. The afternoon will be for sightseeing. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 16
Mysore – Bangalore
Return to Bangalore to catch onward flight.