Jewels of India

11 Nights from R47,350 pps

From

R47350

Find your local Travel Counsellor and quote PX-18Jul for more details or to book

Departure Date: 01/12/2019

Discover the Jewels of India and visit: Bangalore - Mysore - Wayanad - Kerala - Kochi – Allepey - Kochi. Begin your tour in Bangalore. Known as the ‘garden city’, Bangalore offers a leafy backdrop from which to explore the bustling streets of India’s third largest city. Cosmopolitan restaurants line wide avenues where foodies can delight in a smorgasbord of south Indian flavours.

Tea lovers can indulge in fragrant cups of Chai and a spell of people-watching from any of the tea stalls dotted around the city. A booming IT industry coupled with a city that seeks to preserve its green and colonial heritage has created a modern and sophisticated metropolis. Recently voted the most liveable city in India, Bangalore makes a great base for travelling southern India.

Day 1: Arrive Bangalore
Upon arrival in Bangalore Airport, Travel Counsellors Representative will meet and assist for your transfer to hotel for check in. Spend rest of the day at leisure.

Overnight: Justa MG Road Hotel
The very essence of the culturally rich and diverse city of Bangalore is brought to life at Justa MG Road Hotel. Its atmosphere and look and feel captures the vibrancy and contrasts of India's garden city. Fashion designer, Deepika Govind has added flair to the hotel interiors by highlighting generous spaces with light infused rooms. Hand-picked and hand-crafted Burma-teak furniture and soothing brush strokes of contemporary Indian art are well placed and are the hallmark of Justa.

The hotel houses a combination of 14 luxury and deluxe guest rooms and 4 suites offering a wide range of luxurious options for a comfortable stay. Adding value to this hotel experience are hotel amenities such as the roof top multicuisine restaurant, a conference hall, and a board room.

Day 2: Bangalore - Mysore
Serving as the capital of the Kingdom of Mysore from 1399 until 1947, the city of Mysore is a rich cultural and historical centre renowned for its beautiful Hindu palaces. Arguably the most captivating of these is the opulent Mysore Palace or Amba Vilas, particularly during the annual Dasara Festival, when every day after sunset it turns incandescent with the light of nearly 100 000 bulbs. In the modern context, Mysore is considered one of India’s cleanest and most efficiently planned cities, and has earned a reputation for its high quality sandalwood and silk.

Day Itinerary
After breakfast, your tour will start for sightseeing tour of Bangalore with your local guide. Later drive pass through Karnataka Government High Court and Vidhan Sowdha (State Parliament).
In time you will be driven to Mysore by your private chauffeured driven car. (Approx. 150 kms / 04 hours drive). Arrive Mysore and check in at the hotel.

Activities
Bull Temple
Located in Bangalore, India, Bull Temple, also known as Nandi Temple is a religious shrine famous for its colossal image of a bull. Built in 1537 by Kempe Gowda, Bull Temple is primarily used for the worship of the sacred bull or Basava in Hinduism, Lord Shiva's vahana.

Tipu Sultan's Summer Palace
The intricately carved arches of the Tipu Sultan Fort have been built as per the Islamic style.

Another major attraction of the fort is the well-preserved Ganapati temple situated inside it. Within the fort lies Tipu Sultan palace, which dates back to year 1790. Built entirely of teakwood, the palace was constructed as the summer residence of Tipu Sultan. The two-storied palace stands adorned with pillars, arches and balconies. On either side of the Palace are beautiful gardens, which lead to its main entrance. There are beautiful floral motifs embellishing the walls as well as the ceilings of the Tipu Sultan Palace in Bangalore. Tipu Sultan used to conduct the affairs of the state from the eastern and western balconies of the upper floor. After the death of Tipu sultan, the palace was used by the British as their secretariat, till the year 1867.

Lalbagh Botanical Garden
Lalbagh, for its unique achievement in nurturing the concept of horticulture and aiding the development of horticulture, has earned a pride of place among the gardens of the world and it has come to be regarded as one of the best gardens in the East for its layout, maintenance, scientific treasure and scenic beauty. It is the place of legends and beauty, a place of rarity and wonder, a place of paradise and landmarks. It is an important genetic resource centre for introduction, acclimatization and maintenance of plants; it envisages documentation of the variations available in plants of ornamental and economic value. It is an important centre of dissemination of scientific, technical and popular information on plants including offering of regular courses. It aids the development of horticulture in the state. It is a valuable adjunct to botanic study in educational institutions, a vital lung space of Bangalore, a place of beauty that provides healthy recreation to the public and it provides a venue for people to get close to plants and nature.

The garden with well-laid out roads, paths, open spaces, shade and a good collection of many types of plant species attracts a large number of visitors. Lalbagh is well protected with stone walls as enclosures and it has four approach gates. The main gate is at the North facing towards Subbaiah circle, the West gate is towards Basavanagudi, the South gate is towards Jayanagar and the East gate is towards the Double Road.

Overnight: Sandesh The Prince
Hotel Sandesh, the Prince – a 4 star accommodation in Mysore. This luxury establishment within the city centre is distinctive in its design and interior. The hotel has a variety of dining venues from multi-cuisine restaurants to poolside barbeque restaurants and bars. Other amenities found at Hotel Sandesh the Prince include an Ayurveda massage parlour, a spa, children’s play area and a fitness centre. Some unique characteristic of the hotel are the Mysore Silk Emporium and the Handicrafts Emporium which are displays of various artefacts that can be bought as mementos.

Day 3: In Mysore
Day Itinerary
After breakfast enjoy half day sightseeing tour of Mysore.

Activities
Mysore Palace
Welcome to the Royal Splendour of Mysuru, the home of the Wodyers who ruled Mysuru for more than 500 years, known as the City of Palaces, Mysuru retains a quaint charm, that never fails to enchant. Mysuru is a popular tourist destination, offering several attractions ranging from the royal splendour of Mysuru City and its fabulous Dasara Festival to exquisite temples, pilgrimage centres and scenic spots. The royal lineage can be traced back to 1399, when Yaduraya, a royal prince of the Yadava dynasty, was on a pilgrimage visit to Chamundi Temple with his brother Vijaya. They took shelter in the Kodi Bhairava temple on the banks of Doddakere, the ‘Big Lake’. There they came to learn that the local royal family was in great danger. Their ruler had just died, and Maranayaka, a neighboring chief, was threatening the queen. He wanted her daughter’s hand in marriage. The queen and the princess were in very vulnerable position. With the help of Jangama (Wadiyar) killed Maranayaka and married the daughter of Chamaraja and succeeded to the Mysuru principality. And so the Wodyer dynasty was established – a succession of 25 kings who ruled until 1947, when Mysuru became part of the Indian Union. The Wadiyars were great patrons of the arts, and the finest craftsmen in the state were employed to work on the Palaces. Wadiyar period was a new era of prose literature as an independent literary medium and it was in other words a prose writing in the form of the
history of the Mysuru rulers. Chamaraja Wadiyar encouraged Kannada scholars like Ramachandra, author of Hayasaara Samuchchaya.

Chamundeshwari Temple
The Chamundeshwari Temple is located on the top of Chamundi Hills about 13 km from the palace city of Mysore in the state of Karnataka in India. The temple was named after Chamundeshwari or Durga, the fierce form of Shakti, a tutelary deity held in reverence for centuries by Mysore Maharajas. Chamundi Hill is named after Goddess Chamundi who is believed to be the incarnation of Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva. A large number of devotees from all over the country and even abroad visit the temple every year. Pilgrims strongly believe that the Goddess helps them to fulfill their needs. Standing as the crown jewel of Mysore, Chamundi Hills is the abode of all powerful Goddess, Chamundi or Chamundeswari. A motorable road, besides a flight of 1,000 steps, take the visitors to its top, where stands the beautiful tall Gopuram of the temple, one of the best examples of the Dravidian school of architecture. The hill rises to a height of 3,489 feet. Half-way to it, near the steps and the road, there is a beautiful 16-foot monolith statue of Nandi, carved in granite, black because of regular anointing with oil and other sacred waters. The beautiful carved statue was a gift by the Maharaja, Dodda Devaraja Wodeyar in 1659.

Day 4: Mysore - Wayanad
Resting on the lush green slopes of the Western Ghats, Wayanad is the most sparsely populated region of India’s Kerala state. This spectacularly scenic area is ideal for trekking and is characterised by towering, mist-cloaked mountains, serene fresh water lakes, dense emerald green forests, breathtaking waterfalls, and paddy fields as far as the eye can see. Wayanad features a number of luxury resorts and elegant eco-hideaways where visitors can base themselves while exploring the many attractions on offer. Chief among these is the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary which was established in 1973 and is now an integral part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. This sanctuary is one of the best place in India to spot Elephant in the wild as well as a number of other large mammals such as Indian bison, deer and tiger.

Day Itinerary
After breakfast at the hotel, you will be driven to Wayanad (Approx. 131 kms / 03 hours drive)
Arrive Wayanad and check in at the hotel.

Overnight: Wayanad Wild CGH Earth
Wayanad Wild is a quaint spot amidst the rainforests of Lakkidi in the Western Ghats. Majestic landscapes, lush greenery, gurgling streams and the occasional wild encounter surrounds the property located in the heart of the woods. The spacious rooms are well-equipped with modern facilities and amenities, and a jungle peeping in from the window. The outdoor pool offers a stunning view of the forest, while the restaurant dishes out authentic cuisine made from local produce.

Day 5: In Wayanad
Day Itinerary
After breakfast, you will proceed for your Shared Jeep ride at Wildlife Sanctuary [Subject to availability] Muthanga.

Activities
Edakkal Caves
Located at about 1200 ft above the sea level, the Edakkal Caves are among the oldest human settlements ever discovered. Inside the caves are pictorial drawings and engravings that indicate the presence of ancient human settlements in the region.

Despite their name, the Edakkal Caves are not actually caves. They are part of a prehistoric rock shelter, formed naturally when one huge boulder got wedged between two bigger ones. The name Edakkal itself means “a stone in between”.

The Edakkal cave paintings are remarkable in their sheer scale and complexity, but their origins are shrouded in mystery. Ever since their discovery in 1895, they have been a source of awe and wonder for tourists and historians alike.

Day 6: In Wayanad
Day Itinerary
Breakfast at the hotel.

Spend rest of the day at leisure and enjoy home stay activities. You car and driver will be at your disposal.

Activities
Walks
You can choose from walking around the Farm amongst the various crops, walk down to the backwaters of the reservoir, or meander along the country roads above the property.

Bird Watching
A wide variety of birds can be seen within the grounds of Amaryllis, in addition to which, a number of Water Birds can be found on backwaters of the Karapuzha Dam.

Treks
For the more adventurous, a trek to Chembra Peak can be arranged.

Swimming Pool
The black and grey rectangular pool has been created to blend into the natural surroundings. Inpool seating and loungers help you relax as you take in the view in between your laps of the 45×20 ft pool.

Farm Tour
Get a firsthand experience of a day in the life of a planter. Enjoy nature and learn about the various flora and fauna of Kerala.

Banasura Sagar Dam
An hours drive takes you to the largest earth dam in India, and the second largest of its kind in Asia. In the dam’s reservoir there is a set of islands that were formed when the reservoir submerged the surrounding areas. The islands with the Banasura hills in the background provide a spectacular view. Boating facilities are available.

Jain Temple – A 9th century Jain Temple in Sultans Battery, presently under the Archeological Survey of India, is a heritage site. It is built in the Vijayanagara architectural style, and was used by Tippu Sultan as his Battery, and hence the town derived its name. (earlier called Ganapathivattam)

Chembra Peak
Chembra Peak is the highest peak in Wayanad, at 2100m above sea level. From Amaryllis, we can see Chembra in the distance. It is part of the Wayanad hill ranges in Western Ghats, adjoining the Nilgiri Hills in Tamilnadu and Velarimala in Kozhikode district in Kerala. Chembra peak is accessible by foot from Meppady. Permission from the forest office in Meppady is required for trekking up to the Chembra peak.

Tribal Village – A visit to a Tribal Village in the vicinity could be arranged.

Day 7: Wayanad- Thalassery
Meaning ‘God’s own country’ and named as one of National Geographic’s ‘Top 10 paradises of the world’ and ’50 destinations of a lifetime’, Kerala is set between the Western Ghats mountain range and the Arabian Sea along the famed spice route. It’s a region of abundant charms, from idyllic sandy beaches and verdant highlands, to ancient architecture, Ayurvedic retreats and pristine wildlife sanctuaries offering sightings of elephants and tigers, among dozens of other people. Highlights include the misty mountains and emerald valleys of Wayanad, the 80-feet high Athirappilly Waterfalls and the Kerala backwaters – a network of rivers and lagoons that can be explored via mellow houseboat cruises.

Day Itinerary
After breakfast you will be driven to Thalassery. [Approx. 100 kms / 03 hours drive). Arrive Thalassery and check in at the hotel.
Overnight: Ayesha Manzil

Ayisha Manzil is a hotel located in Kerala, India. The small hotel is idyllically situated on a generous piece of land amongst palm-fringed, lush greenery, close to the pristine blue shimmering waters of the beach. Accommodation consists of 4 deluxe, spacious and comfortable bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms as well as a number of modern amenities and a living area, dining room, and balconies/open terraces from which one can enjoy lovely views of the surrounding paradise. The hotel catering facilities provide delectable, traditional homemade food to guests which can be savored in the in-house dining room or in the privacy of one’s suite. There is also a large outdoor pool where one can relax with a swim.

Day 8: In Thalassery
Day Itinerary
Morning after breakfast, leave with the host to the local market. Visit the spice, vegetable, Fish market, buy the fresh produce and return to the home for a hand on experience with the host to make your choice of meal for lunch. Become a Malabar Cuisine expert before you leave! At Ayisha Manzil, the guests may eat and try to prepare the real authentic tastes of Muslim Malabar Food.

Mrs. Faiza Moosa, the hostess conducts cooking classes to add up the entertainment to the guests. As a part of the baggage, there is always the booklet of recipes given to the guests by this master cook. No Kerala meal is complete without the spicy Biryani accompanied by Chutneys and Pickles. It is made of rice, chicken or beef and spices, which is a popular dish in Kerala. The other recipes at this place which are sure to leave your taste buds longing for more, are, pathiri, neypathil, petipathiri, muttamala, alisas, unnakai, erachipathil and of course, the yummy taste of fresh seafood recipes. The mussels, fishes and prawns are marinated and fried to give a whole new taste to the seafood. Afternoon at leisure or enjoy the activities offered at the homestay.

Day 9: Thalassery - Cochin
Also known as Cochin, Kochi is a city in southwest India's coastal Kerala state. This attractive city has served as a popular port for over 600 years and is known for its eclectic architecture and its array of religious monuments, museums, galleries, cafes and antique shops. The city stretches across a number of peninsulas and islands, which can be reached by a network of water taxis and bridges. The majority of Kochi’s visitor highlights can be found on the peninsula of Fort Kochi. These highlights include the St Francis Church, the oldest European-built church in India; and Mattancherry Palace, which dates back to 1557 and contains some exceptional Kerala murals and temple art. Other must-see attractions include the Kerala Folklore Museum, displaying more than 4,000 cultural and ethnic artifacts; the 16th-century Jewish Synagogue; and the local market, where the air is filled with the aroma of exotic spices.

Day Itinerary
After breakfast at the hotel, Travel Counsellors Representative will assist for your departure transfer to Kozhikkode
Railway station to board train for Cochin. [Approx. 70 kms / 02 hrs]
Train JAN SHATABDI
Departs Kozhikkode 1340 Hrs.
Arrive Ernakulam (Cochin) 1725 Hrs.
Class Chair Car

Upon arrival in Cochin, Travel Counsellor Representative will meet and assist and transfer to hotel.

Overnight: CGH Eighth Bastion Hotel
Eighth Bastion is a CGH Earth luxury boutique hotel in the heart of Fort Kochi in Kerala. A hotel of preference, its design is inspired by a Dutch nautical theme with scale models of Dutch ships, Batavia and Friesland decorating the interior.

Accommodation at the Eighth Bastion comprises of 19 guest rooms that blends contemporary and colonial styles. The hotel restaurant has a bold menu inspired by the East Indian Company’s ancient trading routes in Asia. Also featured at the Eighth Bastion is a swimming pool as well as a service desk to arrange rickshaw rides to explore places of interest in Fort Kochi.

Day 10: In Cochin
Day Itinerary
After breakfast enjoy Full day sightseeing tour of Cochin
Evening enjoy Kathakali Dance show

Activities
Fort Kochi
Fort Kochi takes its name from a long-gone fort which was built during its occupation by the Portuguese. The Portuguese were followed by the Dutch, who left their own legacy, and hot on their heels came the British with their own unique ways. Independent now for many years, Fort Kochi remains a colourful melting pot of diversity, retaining its colourful history in its architecture and culture. The best way to experience Fort Kochi is on foot and tour operators offer a variety of walking tours where visitors are taken to sites such as the historical Santa Cruz Basilica, Cochin Bishop House, the Dutch Cemetery, the Parade Ground, the famous St Francis Church, and the Indo-Portuguese Museum. Visitors can also buy a map and go on a self-guided tour.

Jewish Synagogue
Visitors to Fort Kochi would invariably be treated to many a cultural representation. They all have left their marks in the form of traders, asylum seekers, rulers and those who came to spread their religious faiths. What we are going to unravel is a landmark in a place called Mattancherry in Fort Kochi; a monumental one that rose from the cultural traits and religious beliefs of a community that came to Kochi seeking asylum. The Jews of Fort Kochi, who fled their homeland - Israel during the Diaspora embraced Fort Kochi as their second home. A short walk from Mattancherry bus stand or from the boat jetty nearby would take you to the Jewish Synagogue, situated at one end of the Jew Street in the Jew Town enclave of Mattancherry in Fort Kochi. This synagogue was built in 1568 by the Malabar Yehudans or Cochin Jewish community. It was built close to the Mattancherry Palace Temple on the land gifted by King Rama Varma, a former ruler of Kochi. The Mattancherry Palace Temple and the Mattancherry synagogue share a common wall. This synagogue at Mattancherry is the oldest one in the Commonwealth of Nations.

As one approaches the synagogue on Jew Street, its white facade begins to appear very prominently. A clock tower can also be seen, towering over and close to the facade. This was built in 1760 by Ezekiel Rahabi an affluent Jewish businessman. Of the four faces of the clock, the one facing the maharaja's palace showed the time in Malayalam. And among the other three, the face with etchings in Roman numerals was meant for the traders. Of the remaining two faces of the clock, one had writings in Hebrew while the other remains blank. Stepping inside the Synagogue, one's eyes would easily go to the glass chandeliers and blue willow-patterned Chinese floor tiles. The chandeliers are of Belgian origin. Also of interest are the Scrolls of the Law housed here and the several gold crowns received as gifts and the brass-railed pulpit. And for some exclusive pieces from history, the synagogue also houses the copper plates of privileges given to Joseph Rabban, the earliest known Cochin Jew, dating from the 10th century, written in Tamil, by the ruler of the Malabar Coast.

Jew Town
Jew Town is located in Mattancherry in the southern Indian city of Kochi. The history of Jew Town dates back to 1492 when a group of Sephardic Jews came to Kochi after being expelled from the Iberian Peninsula. In 1524 more Jews faced persecution and were granted refuge by the Raja of Cochin who granted them land near his own palace. In 1568 the Paradesi Synagogue, which still functions today and is the oldest in India, was built, and the Jew Town neighbourhood developed around it.

One of the main attractions is the narrow street that runs between Mattancherry Palace and the synagogue. The street is lined on either side with antique shops that have anything that could remotely be described as antique on display. Visitors will find figurines, statuettes, carved wooden furniture, mirrors, wall hangings, paintings, lamps, photographs, crockery, jewellery and much more.

Kathakali
Kathakali is a highly stylized classical kerala dance performance noted for its attractive make-up of characters, their elaborate costumes, detailed gestures and well-defined body movements presented in tune with the anchor playback music and complementary percussion. Kathakali is nearly a 300 year old classical dance form, said to have evolved from other performing arts like Kootiyattam (a classical Sanskrit drama existing in Kerala), Krishnanattam and Kalarippayattu. Kathakali explicates ideas and stories from the Indian epics and Puranas.

Day 11: Cochin- Alleppey
Located in the Indian state of Kerala, the bustling city of Alappuzha, also known as Alleppey, is set along the coast of the Laccadive Sea. Dubbed the ‘Venice of the East’, it is renowned for its houseboat cruises which float along the tranquil backwater canals of Kerala. It is said to be one of the most popular tourist centres in the state. While cruising the palm-shaded canals is the main attraction, visitors can also enjoy visiting Alappuzha’s beautiful beaches, exploring the little riverside villages dotting the lush countryside and discovering an array of resplendent temples.

Don’t miss the annual Nehru Trophy Boat Race held at Punnamada Lake.

Day Itinerary
After breakfast you will be driven to Allepey. (approx 70 kms/ 02 hours drive). On arrival board the Houseboat by 12:30 Hrs. for a cruise over the backwaters of Kerala.

Note: Houseboat will be anchored in the evening till morning as per regulations. Also note that air-conditioner in the room will operate only from 9 pm till 7 am.

Overnight: Deluxe Houseboat
The houseboats or Kettuvallam as they are traditionally called were at one time the mode of transportation for man and goods. Today, these are made to cater to the discerning guests who can lay back and enjoy the gentle cruise. Cruise the backwaters from the main Vembanad Lake through the small estuaries that link small villages to the mainland. Today, these are refurbished and all modern conveniences have been added for tourists who visit this beautiful water locked region of the country. The houseboat cruise takes you through the intricate maze of backwaters, mesmerizing and surprising you at every turn with its serene beauty & simple charm. Enjoy the countryside of Kerala at its best. Soak your eyes & soul with array of coconut trees & endless paddy fields. You will also get chance to take a small stroll through the villages &
interact with the locals.


Day 12: Alleppey- Cochin Int’l departure
Day Itinerary: Breakfast at the hotel.
At an appropriate time, you will be transferred to Cochin airport (approx 60 kms/ 03 hours drive) to board the flight for onward journey. Departs Cochin TBA HRS

What's Included

Return flights ex Johannesburg via Dubai to Bangalore, approx. airport taxes, 11 nights’ accommodation sharing a Double/Twin room at the hotels indicated in the itinerary, meals indicated in the itinerary, all transfers will be by an air-conditioned AC Innova as mentioned above; services of English speaking local guide for in Bangalore, Mysore, Wayanad and Cochin, sightseeing & entrances as per itinerary, train Kozhikkode – Cochin in Aircon Chair Car Class, a Travel Counsellor representative for assistance on all arrival and departure transfers with meet and assist; a cell phone with local SIM for the length of stay in India; Mineral water and picnic hamper in the vehicle; all currently applicable taxes, including the service tax of 5% applicable on total invoice amount


11 Nights from R47,350 pps


The Small Print

These offers are brought to you by Travel Counsellors (Pty) Ltd. Valid for travel: 23 June – 11 Dec 2019. Flights based on a departure date of 1 - 13 December 2019. Offers are per person sharing. Rates for other periods are available on request. Packages are subject to availability, seasonal surcharge; high season supplements and currency fluctuations. Packages excludes: Flights, airport taxes, visas, items of a personal nature, meals and drinks not indicated and travel insurance. Supplier's terms and conditions are available on request. Additional information available on request. Valid for SA residents only. Terms and conditions apply. Prices and information correct at time of publishing. E&OE.


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