Fly USA to New Delhi.
You will be met and assisted at the International Airport by a representative upon arrival and transferred by private vehicle to your hotel.
Mumbairevels in its reputation as one of India's most dynamic and trendy cities. Crammed onto a narrow strip of land that curls from the coast into the Arabian Sea, Mumbai has metamorphosed from being a fishing settlement into a sprawling megalopolis of 16 million people. Mumbai has an enduring ability to create wealth. This is why; here you would find people from all backgrounds, all classes and all social strata coming together in search of economic prosperity and growth. Not to forget, the lure of fame and fortune that pulls one and all to this center of Bollywood entertainment.
Enjoy a city tour which includes the "Dhobi Ghat" a huge open air laundry, Mahatama Gandhi's House, the bustling bazaar around Crawford Market and the beautiful Jain Temple on Malabar Hill.
Today you will also witness the unusual site of Mumbai's "Dhabawallas" at work. Watch the lunch boxes being sorted for delivery from private homes to the work place. This 100 year old management system of collecting, sorting and delivery of over a million boxes is flawlessly executed on a daily basis.
This afternoon, walk to Mumbai's most famous landmark, the Gateway of India, the first sight to greet travelers to Indian shores during the British Raj. It was built to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary in 1911. A visit to a local market is also included today.
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Madurai. On arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel by private vehicle.
One of South India�s great temple towns, this ancient city on the banks of the Vaigai river has, over the centuries, been a rich repository of Tamil culture. The legend surrounding the origin of this town is that while Lord Shiva was looking down drops of nectar fell from his locks which resulted in the city being named Madurai or �The City of Nectar�. Some 2000 years ago it hosted famous gatherings of writers and poets which provide Tamil literature with some of its most enduring works. Today religion and culture remain a vibrant part of the city�s daily life.
This evening visit the Meenakshi Temple to witness the closing ceremony, where the idols of Sundareshwar (Lord Shiva) and his consort Meenakshi (Parvati), are taken in a procession and confined to the bed chamber.
Temples, Palaces and Gandhi Memorial.
This morning visit Meenakshi Temple and Thirumalai Nayak Palace. This afternoon visit Gandhi Memorial and Mariamman Tank and Thiruppurakundam.
Drive time today is around 5 hours.
The picturesque little town of Munnar lies at a height of 5905 feet. The name means "three rivers" and is derived from its location at the confluence of three mountain streams. Located in 59000 acres of sprawling tea estates, first established by the British in 1878, Munnar was once the summer resort of the British Government in South India.
After breakfast at the hotel enjoy a morning Tea Plantation walk and learn all about the process of growing and harvesting tea. Later visit the Tea Museum for some interesting history.
Following breakfast, depart Munnar for the drive to Kumarakom. Drive time today is around 5 hours.
Kumarakom is an unbelievably beautiful paradise of mangrove forests, emerald green paddy fields and coconut groves interspersed with enchanting waterways and canals. Situated on the Vembanad Lake, in this small water world you?ll come across plenty of traditional country crafts, boats and canoes that will take you into the heart of the scenic lake.
Enroute stop for lunch at Mundakkal Estate in Kothamangalam, about a 3 hour drive from Munnar. Continue to Kumarakom. On arrival, check in at the hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
This evening, enjoy dinner at the hotel.
This morning, enjoy a visit to an organic farm situated on the backwaters. The farm is set on a beautiful small island practicing organic method of farming growing coconut, toddy, nutmeg, banana, cocoa, vanilla and black pepper. On arrival a warm welcome by the family members will be followed by a walk on the beautiful farm. Enjoy a cookery class followed by lunch.
This evening, enjoy dinner at the hotel.
One of the most memorable experiences for any traveler is the opportunity to take a boat journey on the backwaters of Kerala. This bewildering labyrinth of shimmering waterways, composed of lakes and canals lined with dense vegetation, preserve the rural Keralan lifestyle that is completely cut off from the outside world. While on the cruise you will get to witness the real culture and local life style of the Kerala countryside. Enjoy lunch on board followed by tea and snacks.
Disembark at Alleppy and drive to Cochin, around a 1.5 hour drive.
Kochi, better known as Cochin, is Kerala's most cosmopolitan city and also the main trading center for spices and seafood. Built around a saltwater lagoon of the Arabian Sea, Cochin is a collection of narrow islands and peninsulas. While the mainland boasts of concrete shopping malls and fancy apartment buildings, the Fort area has an old world charm with its blend of Dutch, Portuguese and English bungalows and quaint narrow streets. The result of these cultural influences is seen in the many examples of Indo European architecture. A leisurely walk through the city is the best way to discover historic Fort Kochi.
This morning visit the Synagogue. Constructed in 1568, this is the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth. Destroyed by shelling during the Portuguese raid in 1662, it was rebuilt two years later by the Dutch. 'Jew Town' "the area around the Synagogue" is a center of spice trade and curio shops.
Afterwards, proceed to Mattancherry Palace. Built by the Portuguese in 1557 and presented to the Raja of Kochi, the palace was renovated in 1663 by the Dutch. On display here are beautiful murals depicting scenes from the epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata and some of the Puranic Hindu Legends. The Palace also houses Dutch maps of old Kochi, royal Palanquins, coronation robes of former Maharajas of Kochi as well as period furniture.
This afternoon, enjoy a Kathakali Dance Show.
At sunset, enjoy a cruise on the Cochin Harbor, passing through Wellington Island, Bolgatty Islands, fishing boats and ending up at the Chinese Fishing Nets. These huge cantilevered fishing nets are the legacy of one of the first visitors to the Malabar Coast. The best place to watch the nets being lowered into the sea and the catch being brought in is the Vasco da Gama Square, a narrow promenade that runs along the beach.
Transfer to the airport for your departure flights.
Mr Ian Swain