Treasures of the Blue Hills - 10 Days

Bangalore the starting point of this journey is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city ,often referred as Asia’s Silicon Valley because of its thriving IT industry. Old Bangalore still retains vestiges of the city’s historic past reflected in its many monuments like the Palace of Tipu Sultan.

From this bustling city the trip takes you to Ooty (Udhagamandalam) , a picturesque little town amidst serene lakes, lofty mountains and sprawling grasslands .Nestled in the Nilgiris, this charming hill station is famous for its Nilgiri tea plantations.

Head to Cochin for more spectacular vistas on this specially crafted tour in the South of India.

Cochin is an interesting confluence of diverse cultural and historic influences like the Arab, Portuguese, Chinese, Dutch and the English. Visit the many iconic attractions of the city such as the Mattancherry palace and the Pardesi synagogue. Walk through the harbor of Fort Kochi to see the most prolific visual of this city-the gigantic Chinese fishing nets. Unwind and enjoy the picture perfect coconut-fringed backwaters on a houseboat meandering through the canals while enjoying Kerala cuisine cooked on-board & relaxing with traditional Ayurvedic therapies & yogic treatments. Kerala will inspire the photographer in you, with its breathtaking landscapes, lush green plantations, mangroves and serene backwaters.

Drive through tropical evergreen and deciduous forests to arrive at Thekkady to the Periyar Tiger Reserve. The best way to see the reserve is by taking a boat cruise on the Periyar Lake to do some bird spotting and perhaps catch a glimpse of the elusive tiger!

Continue your cultural soiree as you head to Madurai , one of south India’s great temple towns. Famous for its exquisitely carved Meenakshi temple this ancient city has been a rich repository of Tamil culture. This 10 day tour offers glimpses of the rich heritage and strong cultural roots of South India.



Day 01 : Bangalore

COMPASS REPRESENTATIVE will receive you on arrival at the airport and transfer to the hotel.

Legend goes that King Veeraballa of Vijayanagara once lost his way in forest. Hungry and tired, he came upon a lone hut in the thick forest where he met an old woman. When he asked for food, she gave him baked beans ('Benda Kalu' in Karnataka).The King found this humble meal taste better than his royal kitchen menu. To commemorate this incident, he called the place "Benda Kalu Ooru" (place of baked beans).

Capital of the Southern state of Karnataka, Bangalore today is Asia's fastest growing cosmopolitan city. It is home to some of the most high tech industries in India. Bangalore is also home to some of India's premier scientific establishments. Blessed with a salubrious climate, gardens & parks, natural lakes, architectural landmarks, shopping malls, the best restaurants and pubs in this part of the globe, business opportunities, Bangalore is the ideal gateway to India and beyond.

Bangalore offers something for everyone-music and dance concerts (Western and Indian), dramas, exhibitions, carnivals, conferences and more.

Overnight will be at Bangalore.

Day 02-03 : Ooty

Spend the morning being introduced to Mysore - Mysore Palace, the Jaganmohan Palace and Chamundi Hill, where the 12th century temple of Chamundershwari sits. Close by are the gigantic statues of the demon Mahishasura, St. Philomena's Church and the Brindavan Gardens - with lighting and musical fountains this place transforms itself into a fairy land in the evenings.

In the afternoon drive to Ooty, short for Ootacamund and also known as the 'Queen of Hill Stations', Ooty is dotted with undulating hills, sparkling waterfalls, gurgling brooks and lush green tea gardens. After checking in to your selected hotel for a 2 night stay, the remainder of the day is free.

Day 04-05 : Cochin

Drive to Cochin to spend 2 nights at your chosen hotel. The rest of the day is at your leisure to explore the surroundings on your own or just relax by the hotel pool.

Cochin's half day of sightseeing includes Cochin Harbour terminus where the Chinese fishing nets present a wonderful sight; Mattancherry Dutch Palace; The Jewish Synagogue and St. Francis Church (built in 1510 Vasco Da Gama was originally buried here).

Later visit the Hill Palace which was built in the 19th century by the Raja of Kochi, the Kochi province was ruled from here. Later you will be collected for a Kathakali Dance Show.

Day 06 : Houseboat

Breakfast will be at the resort.

You will pass through rolling tea gardens and rubber plantations. Stop at a tea factory to see the tea – making process. (Tea factory opens at 0930 hrs) Later proceed to Kumarakom.

The drive being through quite picturesque country side affords a lot of photo stops; also activities like tea plucking rubber tapping etc. would be arranged. By Lunch, check into a traditional houseboat of Kerala Style and go on a leisurely backwater cruise along the lake on a thatched houseboat. The houseboat with all modern comforts lets you discover the countryside at your own pace. You will have lunch, dinner and breakfast in the Houseboat. A ride on the houseboat is a fabulous way to explore the fascinating beauty of the backwaters.

You will pass through rolling tea gardens and rubber plantations. Stop at a tea factory to see the tea – making process.

Lunch will be served on the boat. The menu is simple and traditional. The cook (chef) of the boat prepares the lunch from fresh materials and even you can have a peek at the recipe.

Tea and snacks would be served in the evening. The boat will be anchored in the backwaters along a paddy field (let's make site that the boat is indeed anchored near a village and patty field!!) and you can go for a stroll into the village or relax at the deck of the boat.

Dinner will be on the boat. Overnight will be at Houseboat.

Day 07-08 : Periyar - Thekkady

Drive southwards over rolling hills and coffee plantations to the PERIYAR WILDLIFE SANCTUARY, one of the major wildlife reserves in India. Indian elephants, wild boars, lion-tailed monkeys, ibex, tigers, leopards and sloth bears are on the list. The park surrounds a large, many-fingered lake and a dawn or dusk foray on one of the boats will be a thrilling experience. It is from the lake rather than vehicles that the wildlife is viewed. The sanctuary is rich in bird life. Great hornbills, kites, darters, herons, egrets, owls and kingfishers are in abundance. Surrounding the reserve are many small spice plantations and we spend an absorbing afternoon searching for pepper, cardamom, turmeric, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon and betel.

Overnight will be at Thekkady.

Next day proceed for bamboo rafting or jungle walk experience at Periyar National Park.

Bamboo Rafting and Jungle Walks are unique programs available in Periyar. These eco-friendly programs take the tourists to the thick forests on trek and then to the catchments area of the Periyar Tiger Reserve on a bamboo raft.

You will visit the rare species of plants and animals. The “experience” will be customized as per your preference depending on how many hours you want to spend in the park.

Come back and enjoy breakfast at the resort.

In the afternoon visit spice plantations like cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, coffee, tea estates etc. on your way back to the hotel, you could stop at the local market and pick up some fragrant spices. Visit Kumily market to buy the best spices available.

Overnight will be at Thekkady.

Day 09 : Madurai

Early morning breakfast will be at the hotel.

The day following the Pongal has a special festivity in the rural areas around Madurai called the - JALLIKATTU FESTIVAL. This event is a bit similar to the Spanish Festival – Basically bulls are let loose in the wet paddy fields with Currency Notes tied to their horns, Goaded by the villagers the bulls start running and the more daring villagers chase the bull to subdue it and collect the price money, Injuries to the participants does take place. In the afternoon enjoy the sightseeing of the temple town.

Thousand Pillar Museum: Located inside the temple and has a variety of collections.

The Vishnu Temple: There is a Vishnu Shrine called Kudal Algar (Kudal is the former names this town) and it is said that Lord Vishnu came down to this place to give away Meenakshi to God Sundareshvara. The vimana or the tower of the god in the temple is of a very fine workmanship and is known as the Ashtanga Vimana.

Thirumalai Nayak Palace: This Palace was built in 1636 by King Thirumalai Nayak with the help of an Italian Architect. The building we see today was the main Palace where the King lived. The original Palace Complex was four times bigger than the present structure. This palace consisted mainly of two parts, namely Swargavilasa and Rangavilasa. In these two parts, there are royal residence, theatre, shrine, apartments, armory, palanquin place, royal bandstand, quarters, pond and garden. After independence, this palace was declared as a national monument and is now under the care of the Tamilnadu Archaeological Department.

Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam: Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam is a huge temple tank about 5 km east of the Meenakshi temple. The mandapam in the centre has an idol of Vigneshwara (Vinayaka). It is said to have been found when the earth was being dug out from here to build the Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal. So, the place attained sanctity and was converted into a Teppakulam (tank). This enormous temple tank is fed by water brought from the Vagai through an ingenious system of underground Channels. King Thirumalai Nayak born in 'Poosa' Star so in commemorating the birth of the king “Float Festival” is conducted in Tamil Month 'Thai' (Jan/Feb) in the tank in a colorful way, which attracts thousands of tourists. In evening enjoy visit to the Vegetable & Flower market.

Overnight will be at Madurai.

Day 10 : Bangalore - Back Home

Breakfast will be at the hotel.

Visit Lal Bagh: Hyder Ali laid out this famous botanical garden and his son added horticultural wealth to them by importing plants and trees from several countries. The garden today houses over 1000 species of flora which include rare and enchanting collection of tropical plants, trees and herbs. The Glass House, modeled along London’s CRYSTAL PALACE, is the center of attraction in this 2400 acre park. Bi-annual flower shows attracting participants from all over India is held in the Glass House. In July, 2003 it was decided that the Department of Horticulture and Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) would jointly take up the development of Lal Bagh Botanical Gardens.

As per the international flight timings you will be transferred to the airport to take flight back home with sweet memories of the SOUTH INDIA TOUR.

SPECIAL HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDED

• Toy train ride at Ooty,
• Kathakali dance presentation in Cochin,
• Harbor cruise in Cochin,
• Day package with packed lunch at Thekkady that includes bamboo rafting, jeep safari and jungle trek,
• Overnight stay at the houseboat,
• All meals during the houseboat stay, and evening aarti ceremony at Madurai.

SPECIAL HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDED

• Accommodation at suggested hotels,
• Daily buffet breakfasts,
• Sightseeing tours as mentioned in the itinerary,
• All tours and transfers in ac private toyota innova at disposal with driver,
• English speaking company authorised guide for all mentioned tours,
• Monument entrances,
• Assistance at the airports on arrival / departure,
• Assistance at stations on departure and arrival,
• 24 hrs dedicated tour manager,
• Unlimited mineral water and tissues during drives,
• Porter charges at stations,
• Economy class airfare for the mentioned sectors,
• Kerala Tour PackagesAll applicable taxes and service charges, and
• All road taxes, government taxes and driver allowances.

EXCLUSIONS

• Lunches and dinners (except for those mentioned in inclusions),
• Personal expenses,
• Camera fees, tips etc,
• International airfare,
• Visa charges.

Hotels

City Luxury Palace & Boutique First Class & Heritage Nights
Mysore Metropole Metropole Regallis 01
Ooty Taj Savoy Fernhill Palace Taj Savoy 02
Cochin Taj Malabar Malabar House Casino 02
Backwaters Luxury Houseboat Heritage Houseboat Deluxe Houseboat 01
Periyar Spice Village Shalimar Spice Garden Cardamom County 02
Madurai Taj Garden Retreat Hermitance Sangam 01

Tour Price

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