Day 1 London - In flight
Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home, for your journey to London Gatwick Airport and a scheduled Emirates flight to Bangalore via Dubai.
Day 2 Mysore
On arrival in Bangalore we have an included lunch, before travelling on to Mysore, taking a refreshment stop en route. On arrival in Mysore we check into the Southern Star Mysore (4T) or Country Inn & Suites (4T), followed by an introductory talk. The evening is free to enjoy the surroundings of the hotel.
Day 3 Mysore
For this morning we have arranged a sightseeing tour of Mysore, the city of palaces often referred to as the ‘Sandalwood City’, as it is the country’s centre for incense manufacture. The city is steeped in a thousand years of history with a mythical past to match. It became a capital city in the 16th century, before the power was shifted to Bangalore first in 1831 and again until 1947. The city’s grandeur reflects the power it had during this first period of supremacy. This afternoon take an excursion to the fascinating fort town of Srirangapatna.
Day 4 Mysore
Today we visit a vibrant flower and vegetable market. The rest of the day is free; or you may wish to join an optional half-day excursion to Somnathpur temples. The small town of Somnathpur is home to the ornate Keshava Temple, a sculptural masterpiece built in the Hoyasala style and standing on an elevated star-shaped platform.
Day 5 Mysore - Ooty
This morning we travel south-east to the state of Tamil Nadu and the town of Ootacamund (also known as Ooty), set at an altitude of 2240m in the Nilgiri Hills. En route we enjoy a leisurely drive through Gundlupet or Bandipur National Park. Founded by the British in the early 19th century as a hill station, the town grew after the construction of a narrow-gauge railway from Mettupalayam. We arrive at our hotel, the Savoy Hotel (4T), Ooty, for the next three nights. We have this afternoon at leisure and this evening there will be a garden tour and cooking demonstration at the hotel before dinner.
Day 6 Ooty
We start today with a sightseeing tour of Ooty. Nestled in the Nilgiri Hills, this agricultural town is dependent upon its surrounding tea gardens, eucalyptus trees and forest. This afternoon we travel to Doddabeth Peak, the highest of the mountains surrounding Ooty, and a visit to Charing Cross Market and Bazaar will give a greater insight into the town’s various cultures and traditions.
Day 7 Ooty
Today we take an excursion to Coonoor, a small tea garden town, by miniature train - the famous Toy Train. Opened in 1908 under the period of British rule, this is one of India’s oldest mountain railways and was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2005.
Day 8 Ooty - Cochin
We spend today wending our way farther south to Cochin, with lunch en route. One of India’s largest ports and an important naval base, it is a fascinating city on the north Kerala coast. Check into the Vivanta by Taj-Malabar Hotel (4T+), our home for the next three nights.
Day 9 Cochin
We embark on a walking tour to Fort Kochi, the most historic part of Cochin. You will see the church of St Francis and the Bishop’s Palace. Later, at the harbourside, we view the unique Chinese fishing nets; of bamboo and wood construction, this style of fishing has been practised here and in many other areas of Kerala, since their introduction by 14th century Chinese traders. This evening we take a mini-cruise on the Arabian Sea, watching the ships go by.
Day 10 Cochin
We visit Kumbalangi Island, a model fishing village. This evening we have an optional excursion to witness a superb Kathakali dance performance, based on stories from Ramayana and Mahabharata. The dancers are elaborately made up with paint and masks, accompanied by drummers and musicians.
Day 11 Cochin - Alleppey - Thekkady
After breakfast we drive to Alleppey and board a traditional houseboat and begin a cruise on the backwaters of Vembanad Lake. We journey through the intricate maze of backwaters, which mesmerise and surprise at every turn with serene beauty and charm. Enjoying the countryside of Kerala from a delightful angle, we will see an array of coconut trees and endless paddy fields. We continue towards Thekkady, stopping for lunch in Kumarakom. The drive from the backwaters is spectacular through the changing vegetation, from rubber plantations to tea to tropical forests, as we climb up the Western Ghats to Thekkady. This afternoon we arrive at the Shalimar Spice Garden (4T).
Day 12 Thekkady
Today’s itinerary starts with a boat ride on Lake Periyar. The Periyar National Park is a protected area and wildlife sanctuary, home to numerous mammals, birds, butterflies and reptiles. You may even be lucky enough to spot a tiger. Later we visit a spice garden and the traditional Connemara tea factory, to learn about the local tea industry.
Day 13 Thekkady - Madurai
We leave Thekkady and drive back down through stunning mountainous scenery as we head to Madurai. This afternoon you can take time to explore your new surroundings independently. This evening there will be an included excursion to witness the night ceremony of Aarti Darshan at Meenakshi Temple, performed at the end of all ritualistic worship accompanied by the ringing of bells. We stay at The Gateway Hotel (4T) for the next two nights.
Day 14 Madurai
We spend this morning taking in Madurai. The old city is a labyrinth of temples, bazaars and narrow bustling streets filled with stalls, rickshaws and livestock roaming freely. The tour includes Meenakshi Temple, which is resplendent with stone carvings and columns. This afternoon, we visit the Gandhi Memorial Museum and this evening an optional sound and light show at Thirumalai Nayak Palace, is available.
Day 15 Madurai - Chennai
We take a flight to Chennai (formerly known as Madras) where, on arrival, we have a sightseeing tour of the city which was India’s commercial hub at the height of the British Empire. The tour includes visits to the 8th century Kapaleeshwar Temple, Santhome Cathedral and St Mary’s Church and a drive through the old part of Chennai. We spend our final nights at the Vivanta by Taj-Connemara Hotel (4T) or Taj Coromandel (5T).
Day 16 Chennai
Today, we have a tour Mahabalipuram included - a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its 7th century rock carvings and famous shore temple on the beach.
Day 17 Chennai - London
We transfer to Chennai Airport for an Emirates flight to London Gatwick via Dubai. On arrival you will be met and guided to your Titan vehicle, for the journey home.