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Gujarat Kerala Culture and Nature

Mumbai – Ahmedabad – Rajkot – Virpur – Porbander – Junagarh - Palitana – Ahmedabad – Bangalore – Puttaparthi - Srirangapatnam – Mysore – Ooty – Cochin – Munnar – Periyar – Alleppey – Kumarakom – Kovalam – Trivandrum - Hometown
22 Nights & 23 Days

Details of Gujarat Kerala Culture and Nature

Day 01 : Arrival Mumbai
Meeting and assistance on arrival at the International airport, our representative welcome and escort you by a private car and transfer to the hotel, whilst the room keys and check-in is organized, our representative would hand over the documents and brief the tour programme to you. Overnight at the hotel.

Mumbai is a cluster of Seven Islands and derives its name from Mumbadevi, the patron goddess of the koli fisher folk, its oldest inhabitants. Mumbai pulsates with activity. It is a city that is disciplined by no time frame neither day nor night. It is also the country's financial powerhouse, the nation's industrial heartland, and its economic nerve center. Dazzling shopping arcades, exciting sport activity, nightclubs & discotheques, theatre & music, gourmet restaurants and interesting sightseeing. It offers visitors a heady mix of all this and more.

Day 02 : Mumbai
After breakfast takes a sight seeing tour of Bombay, drive to Gateway of India and from here cruise by motorboats to Elephanta Caves. A flight of 100 steps takes you to the top of the hill where it is set. The caves houses large pillars that seem to hold the ceiling which is made of cross beams. The picturesque presentations of the 9 marvelous sculptured panels, set on the walls are awe-inspiring. The most famous of the panels is the Trimurthi, or triple-headed Shiva, where the God is depicted as the destroyer, the preserver and the creator. Later in the afternoon cruise back to Gateway of India, one can have lunch at the Taj Hotel or other several good Restaurants like Leopold & Mondegar serving continental cuisines. Later visit Prince of Wales Museum, Parliament House, Marine Drive, Jain Temple, Hanging Gardens, Return back to the hotel for overnight.

Note: Elephanta Caves and Prince of Wales Museum are closed on every Monday.

Day 03 : Mumbai - Ahmedabad (By Air)
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and drive to the airport to board the flight for Ahmedabad. On arrival, transfer to the hotel. Later day free for rest and relax in the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.

Ahmedabad, founded in the year 1411 AD is located on the banks of river Sabarmati. Ahmedabad has been named after Sultan Ahmed Shah, who was primarily responsible for building it. Today, this city is known as the 'Manchester of the East'. One of the highly industrialised cities in India, Ahmedabad is also India's Textile City. The old city of Ahmedabad is dotted with labyrinthine bylanes called 'pols'. The exquisite carved wooden mansions and havelis are in no manner less than their stone counterparts in Rajasthan. The city is full of architectural delights. Though the capital of Gujarat was shifted from Ahmedabad to Gandhinagar, it is still the second largest industrial city in western India.

Day 04 : Ahmedabad
Morning after breakfast visit Jumma Masjid – one of the most beautiful mosques in India, Rani Rupmati Masjid – The Queen’s Mosque in Mirzapur, The Shaking Minarets – when one minaret is shaken, the other minarets vibrate too, Kankaria Lake – The circular lake having an island garden in the middle, Hathi Singh Jain Temple & Gandhi Ashram. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 05 : Ahmedabad - Rajkot (218 kms: 4 ½ hrs)
After breakfast checkout and drive to Rajkot, on arrival transfer to the hotel. After rest take a sight seeing tour of Rajkot which is famous for its Bandhani Sarees, mirror-work, patch work, bead work and silk embroidery. In the evening take an excursion tour to Jamnagar –86 kms 1 ½ hours, known for its tie-&-dye work on fabrics, silken & gold embroidery.). Then return to Rajkot for overnight stay.

Rajkot was founded in the year 1610 A.D. by Chief Vibhaji Jadeja & Raju Sandhi. Rajkot was once the capital of the princely state of Saurashtra. Today it is best known as the town where Mahatma Gandhi spent the early years of his life when his father was a Diwan or Prime Minister to the king of Saurashtra. Rajkot is famous for its Bandhani Sarees, mirror-work, patchwork, beadwork and silk embroidery.

Day 06 : Rajkot - Porbander (170 kms: 3 hrs)
Today in the morning check out and drive to Porbander enroute visit Virpur –(68 kms –1 ½ hours) to visit Jalaram Temple. Then continue to proceed to Porbander (the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi, is a picturesque little seaside resort on the west coast of Gujarat) on arrival transfer to the hotel for overnight stay.

Porbander is Saurashtra's end - a picturesque seaport on the Arabian Sea. It is situated 395 Kms from Ahmedabad. It is also known as "White City" because of its white stone construction. It is the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi. Porbander has a pleasant beach with beach villas. Its ancient maritime activities - trade with Arabia, Africa and Persia have given way to a thriving industry of cement and chemical units.

Day 07 : Porbander - Junagarh/Sasan Gir (107 kms: 2 hrs)
After breakfast take a sightseeing tour visiting Kirti Mandir, Bharat Mandir, Sudama Mandir, then return to the hotel for checkout. After lunch drive to Sasan Gir. on arrival transfer to the Jungle Resort. Day free to individual activities in the jungle resort.Overnight stay at the resort.

Junagarh is situated in the western state of Gujarat at the foothills of the Girnar Hills. The city of Junagarh takes its name from the fort that encloses the old city. Junagarh was an important trade center as testified by the Ashokan edicts dating from 250 BC. The present-day city has many archeological sites and historical monuments that reflect the rich history of the place.

Sasan Gir Lion Sanctuary, which lies on the southwestern fringes of the Saurashtra Peninsula (west-central India), is the last home of some 300 Asiatic lions. It was created in 1913 to protect the largest surviving groups of the Asiatic lions. It was given a sanctuary status in 1965. The vegetation in the area consists of teak with a mixture of deciduous trees, including sal (Shorea), dhak (Butea frondosa), and thorn forests. A few springs also exist, but their flow is rather eccentric depending upon the season. Gir Forest is today the only place in the world outside Africa, where the lion can be seen in his natural habitat.

Day 08 : Sasan Gir
After breakfast, visit at the park, which is the entrance to the 1412 sq. km Gir National Park and the Wild Life Sanctuary, the last stronghold of the Lion population outside Africa. It also plays home to a large number of Panthers, Hyenas, Deer, the world's only 4-horned Antelope, Blue Bull, Wild Boar and the dangerous Marsh Crocodile. Over night at the jungle resort.

Day 09 : Junagarh / Sasan Gir – Palitana (213 kms: 4 hrs)
After breakfast check out of the hotel and drive to Palitana. Afterward on arrive transfer to the hotel. After some relaxation visit The Place of Victory, the exclusive Jain temples and the local bazaar. Home-cooked non-veg and veg dinner and o/n at the six-room Vijay Vilas Palace, the 1906 AD country house of the late Prince of Palitana now run by his grand-daughter as a heritage hotel. Return to the hotel for overnight.

Amongst all the Jain temples, Palitana temples are considered to be the most sacred. Located on Shetrunjaya hills there are 863 temples, exquisitely carved in marble. No one is allowed to sleep overnight including the priest, because the temple city has been built as an abode for the Gods. The town is considered by many Jains to be more important than the temple covered hills of Bihar, Gwalior, Mt Abu and Girnar. Palitana was the capital of a princely state of the Gohil Rajput clan. It is also one of the greatest tourist attractions in Gujarat for foreign tourists.

Day 10 : Palitana – Ahmedabad (215 kms: 4 hrs) – Bangalore (By Air)
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and drive to Ahmedabad. On arrival, transfer to the Airport to board the flight to Bangalore. On arrival transfer to the hotel for overnight stay.

Bangalore: Capital of Karnataka State, Bangalore is famous as the city of gardens. It is one of the most attractive cities in India with its beautiful parks avenues and impressive buildings. Bangalore is renowned as much for its industrial plants as for its silk saris, and for the sprawling Cubbon Park, which lies at the heart of the city, as also its prestigious race course.It is now part of the great Silicone Valley, is a beautiful city filled with the tranquillity of its greenery. The Lalbagh garden is particularly beauliful and well laid out. It has one of the largest collections of exotic Indian Tropical and Sub-tropical vegetation, Lakes and Lotus-filled pools. Cubbon park, Bull temple, Mysore arts & crafts centre are worth visiting.

Day 11 : Bangalore - Puttaparthi (120 kms: 2 ½ hrs)
After breakfast, take an excursion tour visiting Puttaparthi, Day free to spend the time in the Puttaparthi. Visit at Sai Baba's Ashram at Puttaparthi is called Prashanti Nilayam. Prashanti Nilayam means "the abode of Highest Peace". This is a very big ashram with the capacity to house thousands. Here we will give you an overview of visiting Sai Baba, and some important information to get you well prepared! After visit return to Bangalore in the evening. Overnight stat at Bangalore.

Puttaparthi: 120 kms away from Bangalore. A small village in Ananthapur district of Andhra Pradesh, Puttaparthi. And the person responsible for it is "Bhagawan Sri Satya Sai Baba" considered as a loving God by millions. Prasanthi Nilayam (Adobe of peace) is an imposing edifice at Puttaparthi built by the devotees in reverence to the living God at his birthplace. People seeing peace of mind and solace make a beeline to this village from all over the world.

Day 12 : Bangalore:
After breakfast check out and drive to Bangalore. On arrival transfer to the hotel relax. Later take a sightseeing tour of the city visiting Lal Baugh - One of the many gardens in the city; it derives its name from the profusion of Red roses which are in bloom here, Cubbon Park - a garden laid down by Lord Cubbon in 1864. The ambience of the city life is broken with presence of such a large park in the center of the city. The Bull Temple - The 4.57 m high and 6.10 meters long image is carved out of single granite rock, Bangalore Palace - Built in the Tudor style and inspired by the Windsor palace, Vidhan Soudha - the Vidhan Soudha houses the state legislative assembly of state government, Tipu’s Palace - The summer palace of Tipu Sultan later followed by visit to Sri Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple - The temple is natural monolith carved cave temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. In the evening you can visit Ulsoor Lake. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 13 : Bangalore - Mysore (140 kms: 3 ½ hrs)
After breakfast check out the hotel and drive to Mysore, en route visit the Srirangapatnam ( 20 kms from Mysore) to visit Fort and Sri Ranganathaswami Temple. On arrival transfer to the hotel. Later sight seeing trip to visit the Palace of the Maharaja (Emperor) built in 1911 - 1912. The palace is of harmonious syntheses of the Hindu and saracenic styles of architecture with archways, domes, turrets, colonnades and sculptures which are magnificent followed by visit at St. Philomena’s cathedral - folklore museum - Brindavan gardens & spectacular musical fountains. Visit the Art Gallery; drive up to Chamundi hill to see Chamundeshwari Temple and a panoramic view of Mysore. On the way back, see the Nandi Bull. Overnight at the hotel.

Srirangapatna (Srirangapatnam) is an island town on the Bangalore-Mysore Highway The town obtained its name from a 1000 year old temple of Lord Sriranganatha. This history-rich town was the capital of Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan - The Tiger of Mysore. Tipu Sultan, the eldest son of Haider Ali, was born on December 10, 1750 at Devanhalli. On his father's death in 1782, Tipu Sultan assumed power in Mysore. He continued fighting the British and defeated them in 1783. Tipu Sultan was a far-sighted person who could foresee East India Company's design to get entrenched in India. He negotiated with the French for help and also sought assistance from the Amir of Afghanistan and the Sultan of Turkey. However, in the Third Anglo-Mysore war, he was defeated in his capital, Srirangapatna, and was forced to sign a humiliating treaty on March 22, 1792 as per which he had to concede half of his kingdom and pay an indemnity of 33 million rupees to the British. He died fighting during the storming of Srirangapatna on 4th May 1799 in the fourth Anglo-Mysore war.

Mysore, the capital city of the Wodeyars has always enchanted its admirers with its quaint charm, rich heritage, magnificent palaces, beautifully laid-out gardens, imposing buildings, broad shady avenues and sacred temples. Mysore races its history back to the mythical past,when Goddess Chamundeshwari of Chamundi Hills killed the wicked buffalo-headed demon, Mahishasura. Mysore Dasara is the celebration of this victory of good over evil. Mysore also has associations with the Mahabharata and King Ashoka of the 3rd century B.C. During the Wodeyar rule Mysore reached the Zenith of its glory as a fabled centre of oriental splendor.

Day 14 : Mysore - Ooty (170 kms:3 ½ hrs)
After breakfast checkout and drive to Ooty, en route optionally you can visit Bandipur & Mudumalai Sanctuaries. On arrival, transfer to the hotel. After rest, day is free to enjoy the beauty of this hill station. Ooty is known as the 'Queen of Hill Stations', Ooty is snugly ensconced in the heart of the Nilgiris. Dotted with undulating hills, sparkling waterfalls, gurgling brooks and lush green tea gardens, this tranquil haven is sure to capture the hearts of every visitor. Later take a sightseeing tour of Ooty enjoy the scenic surroundings, the Botanical Garden a wealth of variety of plants that include different types of roses, imported shrubs, rare flowering plants, eucalyptus trees, several old trees and even a fossilized tree trunk that is 20 million years old, followed by boat rides and fishing, a visit to the Ooty Lake is a must. Besides these, there are various view points like Lamb’s Rock, Kodanadu and Dodabetta Peak is the highest point in the district at a height of 2623 meters. Provided the day is clear, one can see as far as the plains of Coimbatore and the Mysore plateau. Overnight at Ooty.

Ooty: Known as the queen of hills and the most popular hill station in the South India. It is located in the Nilgiri hills at 2286 meter above sea level. With its rolling lawns and salubrious climate it became the important hill station in South India and the summer capital of the former Madras presidency. Ooty still has the touch of the Raj about it, with its cottages and pretty gardens and stone churches that stands among the groves of pine. Old summer palaces of maharajas are now hotels and set in their beautiful parks.

Day 15 : Ooty – Coonor – Ooty
After breakfast drive to Coonoor, visiting Sim's Park, there are also a number of individual tree specimens planted all over the place, give a special charm to the park, Dolphin's Nose, the Nose is a unique rock of tremendous proportions which looks like a Dolphin, Lamb's Rock commands a grand view of the Coimbatore Plains, Laws Falls a paradise for Nature lovers. If you love trekking visit to The Droog, used by as an outpost by Tipu Sultan, stands 6,000 feet height overlooking the plains, it is around 3 kms trekking, later drive back to Ooty for overnight stay.

Coonoor, surrounded by the tea plantations, and at an altitude of 1850 m, Coonoor is the first of the three Nilgiri hill station-Udhagamandalam (Ooty ), Kotagiri and Coonoor - that you come to when leaving behind the southern plains. Like Ooty, it's on the toy train line from Mettupalayam. While Kotagiri had the Kotas, and Ooty the Todas, so Coonoor was home to the Coon hill tribe. ( The suffix, 'oor', means village. ) This now bustling town appears rather squashed between the hills and it's only after climbing up out of the busy market area with the bus and train terminals that you'll get a sense of what hill stations were originally all about.

Day 16 : Ooty – Cochin (300 kms: 5-6 hrs)
Early morning drive to Cochin. Arrival at Cochin at early noon. Transfer to the hotel. After rest and lunch take a half-day sightseeing tour of Cochin, visiting the Dutch Palace at Mattancherry, renowned for its wall murals depicting scenes from the Ramayana. The Jewish Synagogue at the heart of what is locally called the Jew Town. The St. Francis Church, the oldest European church in India. The Santa Cruz Basilica originally built in 1557 by the Portuguese. The Chinese fishing nets are huge cantilevered fishing nets believed to have brought to Kochi by Chinese traders. In the evening visit at Kalari center Kalari center enjoy the Kathakali, one of India's most famous Classical dances. Lavish costumes & exotic makeup & masks intensify the beauty of the dancers, intricate moments. Overnight at Cochin.

Cochin - This harbor city presents a contrast of sorts with its British, Dutch, and Portuguese, Chinese & Jewish influence. Your tour takes you to the Cochin harbor terminus where the Chinese fishing nets present a wonderful sight. Mantanacherrry Dutch palace -- built by the Portuguese & presented to The Raja of Cochin in 1555. The Jewish synagogue -- built in 1568, destroyed by the Portuguese in 1662 & rebuilt by the Dutch two years later, St Francis church -- the oldest Protestant church built in 1510, Vasco De Gama was buried over here.

Day 17 : Cochin – Munnar ( 130 kms: 3 hrs)
Morning after breakfast check out the hotel and drive to Munnar, on arrival transfer to the hotel. After relaxation explore the Munnar Hill station, "Munnar" means three rivers. 3 mountain streams (Madurapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala) are joining together here. During the British rule in India, Munnar was the summer resort of the Government officials. The natural beauty, calmness and mild cold climate throughout the year make it the favourite tourist place. There are about 30 tea plantations in and around Munnar. The tea estates, hills, lakes and forests inside Munnar range exposes it's beauty. The Munnar hills are covered by tea plants which makes the feeling of seeing a wide green carpet. Munnar also has the highest peak in south India, Anamudi, which towers over 2695 M. Anamudi is an ideal spot for trekking. Later visit Eravikulam National Park (15 km from Munnar,) The Nilgiri Tahr can be observed at close quarters here. This park is established to protect the Nilgiri Tahr (Nilgiri Ibex). The park is breathtakingly beautiful and is easily comparable to the best mountain ranges found anywhere in the world. Later return to the hotel for overnight stay.

Munnar, the erstwhile 'summer capital of the British', has become the most sought after holiday destination in South India. It is the luxuriant gift of nature to the Western Ghats, the eastern border of Kerala, 5000ft above sea level. Dense forests, wildlife sanctuaries, and major cash crop plantations cover most of this region. Munnar abounds in animals like elephants and Nilgiri Thar and rich biodiversity teeming with flora and fauna.

Day 18 : Munnar
After breakfast you can opt to visit to Mattupetty is famous for its highly specialized dairy farm, the Indo-Swiss live stock project. Over 100 varieties of high yielding cattle are reared here. Visitors are allowed into three of the eleven cattle sheds at the farm, followed by visit to Pothamedu which offers an excellent view of the tea, coffee and cardamom plantations in Munnar. The rolling hills, the lush mountain and the breathtaking scenery here is ideal for trekking and Long Mountain walks. Later visit at Devikulam (7 km from Munnar). This idyllic hill station with its velvet lawns, exotic flora and fauna and the cool mountain air is a rare experience. The Sita Devi Lake with its mineral waters and picturesque surroundings is a good picnic spot. The lake is also ideal for trout fishing. Return to the hotel for overnight stay at Munnar.

Day 19 : Munnar – Periyar (110 kms: 3 ½ hrs)
After breakfast checkout and drive to Thekkaddy, on arrival transfer to the hotel. After some relaxation visit at Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, discover the park, animals found here include elephant, sambar, gaur and wild boars and birds like ibis and grey heron. The visit is done in a boat to view animals with a bit of extra luck we may be able to see the rare tiger as well. Later in the evening take a spice plantation tour to see crops of 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. Overnight at Periyar.

Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, one of India's biggest wildlife sanctuaries covering 777 sq. Km (300 Sq.miles) is a Tiger Reserve. Its centerpiece, the man-made Periyar Lake at the height of 2000 ft. covers 26 sq.km, running through the forests of the Western Ghats in Kerala. The lake is an important source of water for the many wild animals. The Best time to visit Periyar is between OCTOBER and MAY. The best chance of watching animals is during the hot months of march, April and May, when water gets low and the grass dries out, animals especially elephants come down to the Periyar lake to bath & frolic in the water with the young ones.

Day 20 : Periyar – Alleppey (114 kms: 2 ½ hrs) Backwaters tours through sailing boat to Kumarakom.
After breakfast checkout and drive for Alleppey, on arrival embark at the houseboat. The day for the journey of backwaters in the boat, through the tropical countryside enchanting backwaters of Alleppey by regattas (snake boats) for which Kerala is very famous, while sailing enjoy palm fringed narrow canals winding through the vast expanse of paddy fields and the neat tiny hamlets lined up along either side of the canals are panoramic sights one can never forget. The Chinese fishing nets, the reminiscent of our past trade links, are also found on the way. Flocks of duck swimming around the banks and tiny birds flying across the sky remains as enduring pictures reflecting the charm of this tourist land, you also enjoy fishing from the houseboats, evening enjoy sunset from the sun-deck of the houseboats, moving towards Kumarakom. Overnight at houseboat.

Note: The Houseboats have generated electricity; sitting cum dinning area, separate bedroom with attached English toilets, sun deck and fully loaded kitchen with a Chef, and Srank (Driver)

Alleppey situated in south of Cochin, is the center for backwater cruises in Kerala. It has a large network of canals, which passes through the town, provides its lifeline & has a long sandy beach. It is also the center of the famous coir products of Kerala. Nehru Trophy Boat Race - the most colorful snake-boat race in Kerala - is held here on the second Saturday of August every year.

Alleppey A glide in a "Kettuvalam" (Houseboat) through the enchanting backwaters of Alleppey is sure to rob your heart. Palm fringed narrow canals winding through the vast expanse of paddy fields and the neat tiny hamlets lined up along either side of the canals are panoramic sights one can never forget. The Chinese fishing nets, the reminiscent of our past trade links, are also found on the way. Flocks of duck swimming around the banks and tiny birds flying across the sky remains as enduring pictures reflecting the charm of this tourist land.

Day 21 : Kumarakom
After breakfast disembark the houseboat and transfer to the hotel. After some refreshment visit at Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, located on the banks of the Vembanad Lake, to see bird viewing where numerous species of birds, including Darters, Bitterfns, Brahminy kites, Marsh Harries, Teals and several varieties of Herons roost are found. For an inquisitive bird watcher, it is always advisable to carry their binoculars at all times. Return to hotel, Make sure you do not miss out on Karimeen and fresh toddy the favourite fresh water food and the local wine. Overnight stay at Kumarakom.

The village of Kumarakom is a cluster of little islands on the Vembanad Lake, and this small water world is part of the Kuttanad region. The bird sanctuary here, which is spread across 14 acres, is a favorite haunt of migratory birds and an ornithologist's paradise. Egrets, darters, herons, teal, waterfowl, cuckoo, wild duck and migratory birds like the Siberian stork that live there in flocks is a fascination for visitors. The best way to watch the birds of the Kumarakom sanctuary is a boat trip round the islands.

Day 22 : Kumarakom – Kovalam (140 kms: 2 ½ hrs)
After breakfast drive to Kovalam, on arrival transfer to beach resort. Rest of the day is free for leisure at Resort, Ayurveda massage and beach activities. Overnight at the hotel.

Kovalam: On the Malabar Coast along the Kerala shoreline is a small village; called Kovalam is 16 kms away from Trivandrum, a sheltered bay endowed with unusual beauty. This natural bay is a safe sea-pool free from high waves and surge. The beach resort here is of international standard. Today Kovalam has become one of the most popular beach hangouts in India. Kovalam means a grove of coconut trees and truly the coconut trees along the beaches gives it a paradise of nature.

Day 23 : Kovalam - Trivandrum (16 kms: ½ hr) – Hometown
**** Back home with great memories. ****


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