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Palaces & Houseboats: Charming South India

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Price is based on double or twin hotel room occupancy and includes accommodation, transfers, car/driver, English-speaking guide, activities and entrance fees, breakfasts and some casual lunches while touring. Flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. Most personal expenses, including dinners, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments and gratuities can be paid on the spot while traveling. Prices may vary depending on season, choice of accommodation and other factors.

FROM $9,800 PER PERSON
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DURATION

12 days | 11 nights

DESTINATIONS

India

INTERESTS

Architecture

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HIGHLIGHTS

  • Relax on Goa’s white sand beaches
  • Ply the backwaters of Kerala on a traditional Kettuvallam
  • Learn the secrets behind the Indian art of silk weaving
  • Interact with local creative-types in the country’s largest artists’ commune

DETAILED DECRIPTION

Experience sunny South India at its best with this wonderful luxury 12-day itinerary. Pristine beaches in Goa, shopping in bustling local markets, charming houseboats on the backwaters of Kerala and ancient architecture in Bangalore and Mysore are all on the agenda.

DAY-TO-DAY

DAY 1: Mumbai

Arrive in India’s exciting Mumbai, capital of the country’s vibrant film and arts industry. Check in to your room at the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, favorited by India’s elite, and get settled in. Enjoy some free time at your hotel to get acquainted with your surroundings.

DAY 2: Goa

Fly to Goa today, home to some of Asia’s most stunning, pristine beaches. After checking in to your room at the Taj Exotica Goa, enjoy some relaxed beach time. Next, head to Se Cathedral, the largest church in India, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bom Jesus Basilica. Return to your hotel, where you may relax for the evening.

DAY 3: Goa

After breakfast today, head to Chapora Fort, a one-time Portuguese fortress overlooking the picturesque Chapora River. Next, pay a visit to Cabo de Rama, one of the region’s oldest forts, which also affords stunning sea panoramas, set in a mystical atmosphere. Finish your tour of Goa off with a trip to Albuquerque Mansion, a beautiful colonial structure built in the 1920s.

DAY 4: Cochin

Check out of your hotel this morning and fly to Cochin, West India’s major port city. You’ll be escorted to your luxury eco-resort, Brunton Boatyard, moored on a historic stretch of Cochin's famed harbor. Spend some time in Cochin Bay, getting familiar with your surroundings, before embarking on a colonial tour of Cochin.

DAY 5: Cochin

Today you’ll be spending some time in Cochin’s “Jew” town, where Cochin’s Jewish populace was given land by the raja, where they could build their homes. Today, it’s a bustling, charming port town. From here, you’ll visit Paradesi Synagogue, the oldest of its kind in the Commonwealth of Nations, and Dutch Palace, which was, curiously, built by the Portuguese.

DAY 6: Kerala Backwaters

One of Kerala’s most favorited features is its widespread channel of backwaters, and the most ideal way to explore them is aboard a traditional wooden houseboat, called Kettuvallams, built without a single nail. Today, you’ll board a luxury Kettuvallam for an overnight cruise.

DAY 7: Madurai

Today you’re heading for Madurai (7 hours away), one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Check in to your hotel, the Taj Garden Retreat, which has a lovely view of an ancient temple. Once settled in, venture to Thirumalai Nayak palace, a sprawling royal abode once considered one of the wonders of the South. Next, pay a visit to Meenakshi Amman Temple, said to form the heart and lifeline of this ancient city.

DAY 8: Mysore

Mysore is your destination today, an ancient Indian city 7 hours away and known for its wide array of palaces. Visit the Mysore market, and haggle for some fresh fruits or fun souvenirs. Learn the secrets behind the Indian art of silk weaving, and then get ready for the evening: tonight, you’re dining with the Prince.

DAY 9: Bangalore

Today, you’re off to Bangalore, India’s third-largest city (a 3-hour drive). Transfer to your suite at the Taj West End, which holds the title of the city’s first hotel, and get acquainted with your new surroundings. Once settled in, visit Lal Bagh, a botanical garden with India's largest collection of tropical plants; and the elegant Tipu Sultan’s Palace. Enjoy a romantic dinner out tonight, sampling some of the city’s best food.

DAY 10: Bangalore

Visit the recently-renovated Bangalore Palace today, and walk around its royal grounds. Next, head to Dodda Basavana Gudi, also known as the Bull Temple, representing a sacred Hindu demi-god. Spend the rest of your day relaxing in the palatial surroundings of your hotel, or exploring the city as you like.

DAY 11: Chennai

Fly to Chennai today, and check in to your suite at the Park Hyatt. Visit the country’s largest artists’ commune, Cholamandal Artists’ Village, followed by the Government Museum, a hub of Tamil Nadu’s art, culture, and natural heritage. Finally, end your day with a visit to the Southern Railway Terminus, the city’s oldest surviving station. Relax at your hotel this evening ahead of your departure tomorrow.

DAY 12: Departure

After breakfast today, you’ll check out of your hotel and fly to Mumbai, where you can check in for your connecting flight home or to your next destination.