South India January 1 – January 17, 2018
with Susan Weis-Bohlen and Larry Bohlen
Nature and Nurture: A spiritual exploration of the natural world in Kerala
DAY 01 ARRIVE BANGALORE
Welcome to India! We will be met at the airport by our dedicated Royal Indian Voyages travel guide, and transported to the hotel. Since we will be arriving in the middle of the night we will take the day at leisure with some site-seeing in Bangalore the late afternoon. There are plenty of amenities at the hotel to help us ease into India! Bangalore, or Bengaluru as it is officially known since 2006, is the capital of the
state of Karnataka in Southern India. Being India’s 3rd largest city with a population of 8.4 million, it has a reputation of nightlife and green spaces.The British came in 1799 and you can still see its influence today in some of the historical buildings. Bangalore Palace has many similarities to Windsor Castle in England. Bengaluru is also known as the “Silicon Valley of India”. It is famous for information technology. The arts are also well represented through fashion, technology, film making and the museum of Modern Art. Overnight at the hotel:
DAY 02 IN BANGALORE
After breakfast, we will embark on a sightseeing tour of Bangalore - the Garden City of India - visiting La Bagh,
which has a variety of very old, amazing trees, fountains, lotus pools, terraces and an assortment of tropical and subtropical herbs. We will also visit the Maharaja’s Palace and Moodabidri with its 18
temples. The most famous among them is the Thousand Pillars temple. In the evening we will visit one of the modern shopping malls, which is a great way to see the bustling Indian middle class (and not to mention shop at some of the best stores like Fabinda, Biba and Soch!), and enjoy an optional dinner in town or back at the hotel. Overnight at the hotel, The Paul.
DAY 03 BANGALORE- SHARAVANABELGOLA- HASSAN
After breakfast, we will drive to Hassan en route visiting Sharavanabelgola,
143 km (88 miles) from Bangalore, a monolithic statue of Lord Gomatehwara, a Jain saint, which is 17 meters high and is said to be one of the tallest monolithic statues in the world. It was created in the year 983 AD by Chamundaraya during King Ramamatta’s period.
Afternoon Day 03 visit the extraordinary Belur & Halebid Temples.
Hassan is a town famous for its exquisite temples. It is also known as Dakshina Varanasi. King Vishnuvardhana built the Channakeshwara temple in 1117 AD to commemorate his conversion from Jainism to Vaishnavism
. The star-shaped architectural beauty is raised on a platform and carved in black stone with 650 charging elephants that are different from each other. Inside the temple dome, four famous figures of Shantala Devi’s
voluptuous beauty, queen of King Vishnuvardhana, are marvelous.
Halebid is 30 km (18.6 miles) from Hassan. It is also known as Dwara Samudra, the wealthy capital of Hoysalas. The Hoysaleshwara temple stands on a platform like a casket in shining black stone carved with variety of gods and goddesses, animals, birds and dancers. There is a museum on the lawns with 12th century sculptures and gold coins in use at that time. One km from Halebid is Jain
Basti hill, built in the 8th century, surrounded by gleaming carved black stone pillars. Overnight at the hotel Ashok: http://www.hassanashok.com/
DAY 04 HASSAN- MYSORE
After breakfast, depart by surface to Mysore, approx 120 Kms (75 miles). Upon arrival, check in at the hotel and we will take some time to rest and relax. Enjoy the hotel pool and amenities. In the early evening we’ll visit Vrindavan Garden.
Overnight at the Windflower Hotel: www.thewindflower.com
DAY 05 IN MYSORE
Early Morning Yoga with a local teacher in the hotel garden.
After breakfast, we will have a city tour of Mysore, visiting the bustling marketplace, and the Palace of the Maharaja built in 1911-12 which is a harmonious synthesis of the Hindu and Saracenic style of architecture with archways, dome turrets, colonnades and sculptures, which are magnificent. We’ll also visit the Art Gallery, and drive up to Chamundi Hill to see the
Chamundeshwari Temple and a panoramic view of Mysore. On your way back, see the Nandi Bull. Overnight at the hotel The Windflower
DAY 06 MYSORE- WAYANAD
After breakfast, depart by surface to Wayanad
, approx 135 Kms (83 miles). Upon arrival, check in at the hotel. Wayanad, located amidst the mesmerizing jungles of Western Ghat in the state of Kerala, is one of the best and most visited hill stations
in South India, attracting tourists from all over the country and the world. There are myriads of Wayanad tourist places, which are extremely beautiful including hiking trails, waterfalls and ancient ruins. Afternoon free at leisure to enjoy this magnificent resort, Vythiri Heaven, www.vythiriresort.com
DAY 07 IN WAYANAD
After breakfast, we’ll visit the paddy fields. The name Wayanad
comes from two Malayalam Words – VAYAL- means paddy and NAADU means Land. VAYAL NAADU means Land of Paddy Fields — Wayanad.
Afternoon free to take advantage of the resort amenities. Overnight at the Vythiri Resort.
DAY 08 IN WAYANAD
After breakfast, we are off for a half-day trek in
Chembra Peak (optional). Chembra is the highest peak in Wayanad, at 2,100 m (6,890 ft) above sea level. It is part of the Wayanad hill ranges in Western Ghats, adjoining the Nilgiri Hills in Tami Nadu and Vellarimala in Kozhikode
district in Kerala.
Afternoon is free with option to take a nature walk inside the Resort, which is spread across 124 acres of land. Overnight at the resort.
DAY 09 WAYANAD -KOCHI
After breakfast we drive to Kochi (approx 286 kms (177 miles). This will be one of our longest rides, so bring along an Ipod for some music, and enjoy watching the beautiful scenery of India pass by. En-route we will visit the Elephant orphanage at Guruvayoor Calicut, where a more urban street life begins. The Elephant Orphanage is under the Temple Authorities. They house elephants of various ages being well-treated, fed and looked after.
Guruvayoor has the World’s 2nd richest Lord Krishna Temple, which can be seen only from outside as foreigners are not allowed inside. We can take a walk around and learn about the riches within. Overnight at the hotel: The Casino: www.cghearth.com/casino
DAY 10 IN KOCHI
Early morning yoga with local instructor poolside at the hotel.
Our sightseeing tour
of Kochi (Cochin) begins with a walk down its winding streets and a visit to the beach to see the amazing sites. Cochin is an important port city that had a famous Portuguese Jewish settlement. We will visit the Synagogue, the Dutch Palace, the Chinese Fishing
Nets, the Church of St. Francis and the Tomb of Vasco da Gama.
In the evening we will see a Kathakali performance, an age old traditional classical dance drama based on the stories from Indian epics such as Ramayana or Mahabarata & Kalaripayittu performances.
Overnight at The Casino
DAY 11 KOCHI-THEKKADY
After breakfast, depart by surface to (approx 170 Kms/105 miles) en-route visiting the
Spice plantation. Thekkady
is famous for its rich plantations and thick jungles filled with wildlife. Evening visit the Kumily Spice and local market. Overnight at the Spice Village: www.cghearth.com/spice-village
See a video of the resort here
DAY 12 THEKKADY-KUMARAKOM
Early morning yoga at the resort.
After breakfast we will take a trip to see wildlife from a viewing boat ride on Periyar Lake,
where you can witness various wildlife, including wild elephants. Among the 62 species of mammals, many are rare, endemic and endangered. Periyar is prime elephant country and large herds are often sighted at the lake fringes. There is an estimated population of 900-1000 animals which is likely to overlap with the population in the adjoining forest areas.
DAY 13 IN KUMARAKOM
Early morning yoga at the resort.
Breakfast at the resort, an unbelievably beautiful paradise of mangrove forests,
emerald green paddy fields, and coconut groves interspersed with enchanting waterways and canals adorned with white lilies. Situated on the Vembanad Lake, in this small water world, you will come across plenty of traditional country crafts, boats and canoes. Day free with plenty of activities if you are so inclined! Overnight at the Coconut Lagoon
DAY 14 KUMARAKOM-ALLEPPEY (HOUSEBOAT)
Early morning yoga at the resort. Our last full day in India will be traveling on the gently flowing Backwaters in a beautiful houseboat – one final tribute to the beauty of South India.
After breakfast we will board a houseboat at Coconut Lagoon to embark on an overnight cruise through the Backwater of God’s own Country – Kerala, Alappuzha, a city on the Laccadive Sea. Voyaging in the narrow canals between the wide range of green rice paddies and the peaceful villages, we will be surrounded by the quiet, natural beauty of the
region, bordered by coconut trees. We will see the flashes of toddy tapping (natural soma
), traditional techniques of shellfish gathering, a
village walk, and flocks of cormorant, egret, herons, four species of moor hens, water ducks, purple herons, seagulls, teals, and the different types of king fishers. Overnight aboard The AC Deluxe Houseboat, www.lakeslagoons.com