Arrive at any time. There are no planned activities before the evening welcome meeting, so check into the hotel and enjoy the city.
After the welcome meeting, visit the harbour to enjoy sunset over the Chinese fishing nets followed by an optional group dinner.
Take a orientation walk to the Dutch Palace, Jewish synagogue, and town. Enjoy a kathakali performance. Enjoy an early morning orientation tour of Fort Kochi. Enjoy free time to explore before an evening performance of kathakali, a form of traditional dancing from Kerala.
Take a morning train followed by a scenic drive to reach Kalpetta, in the Wayanad district.
Walk the nature trails in Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary and prehistoric Eddakal Caves. Here, we go on nature trails in Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary and visit the Edakkal Caves, which are believed to have been a shelter of neolithic people.
Spend the night at the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary provides one of the most important refuges for elephants and bison in India. We leave the hills for the plains, and stop for the night at the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary.
Spend part of the afternoon on a short safari and spot the variety of wildlife within the park.
Visit the Chamundi Temple and Mysore Palace. Imagine life as a Maharaja on a guided tour of the Mysore Palace. Later, join the throngs of pilgrims at Chamundi Hills, with its temple on top, and Nandi the Bull (ridden by the Hindu god Shiva) a short walk below.
In your free time, visit the Devaraja fruit and vegetable market or join a yoga class at one of the many local institutes.
Opt to drive to Somnathpur, home to one of the most famous Hoysala Temples in India.
Enjoy a full day of train travel to Chennai before a short bus ride to Mamallapuram. Visit the Shore Temple. Arrive by train to Chennai before continuing south for a short ride to the small village of Mamallapuram. Visit the 7th century Shore Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Free time to explore Mamallapuram.
Continue to Pondicherry (now known as Puducherry) and learn about Sri Aurobindo Ghose at the ashram. In the morning, drive to Pondicherry (now known as Puducherry), formerly the the largest French Colony in India and an important trading town. There is a strong French influence in the city's layout, with wide boulevards and French-style houses, but the city is undoubtedly Indian.
Travel inland to Madurai, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.
Hope on a cycle rickshaw for a tour of the city before visiting the famous Meenakshi Temple. After visiting the temple complex, opt to visit the handicraft shops or duck into the cool shade of the covered, stone tailor's market where, for a few rupees, rows of expert tailors will whip you up a custom shirt in minutes, all done on antique foot-pump sewing machines. In the late evening, opt to visit the Meenakshi Temple again for a glimpse of the nighttime rituals.
Drive to Thekkady. Take a guided tour of spice plantations in the Cardamom Hills. Thekkady, adjacent to Periyar National Park, is the spice capital of India. On arrival, enjoy a guided tour of the spice plantations and a tea factory.
Opt for a boat ride on the Periyar Lake.
Take a private bus to Alleppey followed by a riverboat to a homestay. Experience local life and a guided walk along the lagoon. Travel down to the backwaters from Thekkady to catch a private boat for the short journey to the village homestay.
In the afternoon, explore the island with a local person to observe the different facets of local life ?? it's a great opportunity to meet and talk with the people who live in this unique location.
Just before sunset, hop on a small country boat and journey along with the locals to enjoy sunset on the winding backwaters.
Travel back to Kochi where the trip ends upon arrival. The morning is spent enjoying the last of our host family's hospitality. Learn to cook some of the wonderful food, watch the toddy tappers at work, or wander around the village and explore more of the life on the backwaters.
Depart the homestay and travel back to Kochi. The trip ends on arrival to Kochi in the early afternoon.