Day 01: arrival to Mumbai + sightseeing
After arrival to Mumbai, a full-day city tour of Mumbai’s city centre – walk around Indo-Victorian buildings in the Colaba quarter where you will see the Prince of Wales Museum, National Gallery, University of Mumbai or the famous Gate of India which was erected to commemorate the landing of King George in 1911. We will not miss even the unique train station Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus (UNESCO). After drive on Marina Drive Boulevard we will reach the shrine of Muslim saint and Afghan mystic Haji Ali lying on a small isle and then we will continue to the most peculiar Mumbai quarter Dhobi Ghat, which is considered to be the biggest open-air Laundromat in the world. If we have time, a visit to the local markets, shrines etc. Overnight.
Day 02: Mumbaí – Elephanta Island - Aurangabad
After breakfast, return to the Colaba quarter and a boat ride to the Elephanta Island (UNESCO) with a unique complex of temples carved in the rocks during the 8th century. Particular shrines, temples and colonnades occupy an area of almost 5000 m2. Nobody should miss the rock temple with the huge statue of Shiva Trimurti which belongs to the main attractions of the island. Return to Mumbai for a night sleeper train to Aurangabad.
Day 03: Aurangabad - Ellora
In the morning, arrival in Aurangabad. If there is time, a short sightseeing tour in the city famous for its Mughal architecture leads by Bibi Ka Maqbara Mausoleum built for Emperor Aurangzeb´s wife. The structure from the 17th century is very similar to the famous Taj Mahal. Then a transfer to Ellora (UNESCO) which is one of the vastest rock complexes in India. Hindu, Buddhist and Jain temples were carved here between the 6th and 10th centuries and creates an absolutely unique complex of 34 temples and a great example of religion harmony at that time. Overnight stay in Ellora.
Day 04: Ellora – Ajanta – Aurangabad
After breakfast, a drive to Ajanta (UNESCO) and visit to the impressive cave temple complex hidden in the canyon of the Waghora River. These marvellous Buddhist temples were carved here in the 2nd century and were decorated with many statues and paintings. It is really one of the most compact complexes of the ancient Indian art and masterly example of the Buddhist artisans at that time. Don’t miss the possibility to climb the view-point and see the whole canyon from above. In the afternoon, a return to Aurangabad to catch a night sleeper train back to Mumbai.
Day 05: Mumbai – Cochin
In the morning, arrival in Mumbai. Transfer to the airport and flight to Kochi. After arrival in Cochin, transfer to the hotel, free time at your leisure and overnight.
Day 06: Cochin sightseeing
After breakfast, a full-day city tour of Cochin. A walk inside the old quarter Fort Cochin with its colonial buildings from the Portuguese era and a walk on a seacoast promenade with its typical Chinese fishing nets. Visit to the Santa Cruz Basilica or house of Vasco da Gama, the famous navigator, who was buried in 1524 in the local St. Francis Church. You will continue to Mattancherry quarter with preserved Jewish ghetto with synagogue and you will visit also the Mattancherry Palace with unique frescoes of the Keralan school of art. Overnight.
Day 07: Cochin - Alleppey
After breakfast, a transfer to Alleppey (Allappuzha). The city which is surrounded by water channels, beaches and palm trees is often nicknamed the “Indian Venice”. In the port you will embark a houseboat and the whole afternoon and night you will sail on a local backwater. This intricate labyrinth of lakes, backwaters, rivers and streams is enclosed with lush tropical vegetation and preserves a traditional Keralan countryside life which is completely cut off from surface transportation. Watching the nature, relaxation, lunch and dinner and overnight in a houseboat.
Day 08: Alleppey - Munnar
After breakfast and disembarkation from a houseboat you will be transferred to Munnar, a hill station and centre of the main Keralan tea region. A city surrounded with beautiful hills (including the highest peak of Indian peninsula Anaimundi (2695 m)) studded with tea plantations lays at a height of 1600 m. On the way you will stop to see the Valara and Cheyapara waterfalls. Overnight in Munnar.
Day 09: Munnar
After breakfast, a full-day programme in Munnar surroundings. A drive around the tea plantations, visit to the Tea Museum and the Spice Garden where you will learn everything about growing of various spices like pepper, cardamom or vanilla. The next programme will be dependent on time and your decision – you can visit Eravikulam National Park where one of the rarest species of hill goats in the world lives – Nilgiri Tahr which is famous for its tameness and friendliness. Or you can make a boat ride on the Kundala Lake and visit the Echo point etc. Another extraordinary option could be trip to the Top station with the highest tea plantations in India. This region is also famous for its rare flower species Neelakurunji which colour the local hills purple only once every 12 years. Overnight stay in Munnar.
Day 10: Munnar - Thekkady
After breakfast, a drive in the hill road from Munnar to Thekaddy crossing Cardamom Hills with beautiful views of cardamom, tea and rubber tree plantations. In the afternoon, arrival in Thekkady, accommodation in a hotel and overnight.
Day 11: Thekaddy – NP Periyar
After breakfast, a visit to Periyar National Park which is one of the most visited nature reserves in India. The park is filled with fun and activities including a bamboo raft trip, jeep rides, nature walks or a boat ride in evening. During the day you will have the opportunity to watch many various animal species like wild elephants, antelopes, sambar deer, Malabar flying squirrels, parrots and with bit of luck you can also spot a tiger or leopard. In the afternoon, there is an optional elephant safari or visit to the spice plantation. Overnight.
Day 12: Thekaddy - Madurai
After breakfast, a drive to Madurai which lies in the Indian state Tamil Nadu and is one of the oldest cities in the south. A walk in the city centre and visit to its biggest attraction – monumental Meenakshi-Sundareshwarar Temple which is one of the largest temple complexes in India. Its massive towers decorated with hundreds of coloured statues and religion scenes rank among the best pieces of art work in India. In this tangled labyrinth of statues, shrines and colonnades something is always happening and temple rituals and processions will surely become an unforgettable experience for you. Overnight.
Day 13: Madurai - Kodaikanal
After breakfast, a drive to Kodaikanal, a unique town lying at a height of 2000 m on the top of ridge of Palani Hills. From this place you will get a marvellous view on the end of Westerns Ghats, rocky mountains and hundreds of terraced fields. Overnight.
Day 14: Kodaikanal
Breakfast. A full day programme in Kodaikanal surroundings will starts with an easy walk around the Kodaikanal Lake. Then you will continue to see the Pine Forest and Pillarrocks followed by Coakers Walk with nice views. If there time, there are many other trekking possibilities. Overnight.
Day 15: Kodaikanal - Cochin
After breakfast, a drive back to Cochin. Completion of the city tour and overnight. In the evening you can attend the traditional Kathakali Dance show.
Day 16: Cochin – Lakshadweep cruise
After breakfast, a transfer to the port and embarkation on a cruise ship. In the afternoon you will start the cruise to the Lakshadweep Islands which lays in the Arabian Sea at a distance of 200-400 km away from Kerala. This smallest Indian Union Territory consists of lagoons, cliffs and coral islands with many nice sandy beaches. Lakshadweep Island are really a great place for water sports, snorkelling or scuba diving or just for relaxation on beaches. Lunch and dinner in the cruise ship.
Day 17 - 19: Lakshadweep cruise
The cruise ship will successively land on the beautiful tropical islands Kavaratti, Kalpeni and Minicoy. There will be a programme prepared on each island including swimming, boat rides, kayaking, snorkelling, island sightseeing with visit to the lighthouse, Marine museum and coconut oil factory (all is included). There will be also a buffet lunch on the beach every day.
Day 20: Cochin - Mumbai
In the morning arrival to Cochin, disembarkation from the cruise ship and transfer to the airport to catch a flight back to Mumbai.
Mumbai - Aurangabad - Ellora - Ajanta - Cochin - Alleppey - Munnar - NP Periyar - Madurai - Kodaikanal - Cochin - Lakshadweep Islands - Cochin