The Western Ghats Travel Program
Duration of South India Tour: 14 days
Group size of South India Tour: Minimum: 4, Maximum 10.
It was a whiff that launched a thousand dhows. The allure of spices, which took the first Arab merchants to the coast of India and the Western Ghats, also set a trail for ambitious Europeans to build colonial empires in far-flung lands, and triggered meanly contested, fiercely fought wars — on land and at sea.
Now, many centuries after the first dhow from Arabia sought out the spice-rich coast of known as the Malabar, Indian Expeditions invites you to join us on a travel program through the magnificent Western Ghats.
The Western Ghats are one of the world’s ten “Hottest biodiversity hotspots” with over 5000 species of flowering plants, 139 mammal species, 508 bird species and 179 amphibian species. At least 325 globally threatened species occur in the Western Ghats, along with several tribal groups whose traditional lifestyle is fast being eroded. The Nilgiri Bio-sphere is home to the largest population of Asian Elephants and forms an important Project Elephant and Project Tiger reserve. The largest population of India’s Tigers outside the Sundarbans is in the unbroken forests bordering Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. There are at least 16 species of birds endemic to the western Ghats including the endangered Rufous-breasted Laughingthrush, the vulnerable Nilgiri Wood-pigeon, White-bellied Shortwing and Broad-tailed Grassbird.
On this travel itinerary, you’ll discover one the world’s top biodiversity hotspots, safari into wild south India and hope to spot the the mighty tiger. You will bargain for spices as the Arabs did on street markets in Cochin, while you discover her Roman, Arab, Dutch, Portuguese and British connections. You will cruise the beautiful backwaters of Kerala in Alleppey. This south India tour immerses you into wild south India and you will safari on an elephant back and in 4 wheel drive vehicles through beautiful and stunning landscape in search of the elusive tiger and other big game, and go for treks and walks in pristine jungles in Indira Gandhi National Park, Mukurti National Park and Mudumalai Tiger reserve.You will sip on some of the worlds finest tea admist some breath taking landscape in Ooty , one of India’s finest hill stations. You’ll explore Mysore, the seat of famed Maharajas (kings). You will visit Malpe and Udipi and the famous 13th century Krishna temple. You’ll beach bum in Goa, wander around its gentle bird filled river banks, poke around centuries-old cathedrals party a night away and taste excellent fresh sea food.
Day 1 & 2: Port City of Kochi
Visit fragrant spice bazaars, antique shops and the Mattancherry Palace in Fort Cochin, with its fascinating mix of colonial influences. Wander amid the medieval Portuguese, Dutch and British Raj architecture by the Malabar Coast. Experience beautiful, palm-fringed network of canals, lakes and lagoons linking towns from aboard a house boat. These waterways are still used today to ferry cargoes of spices, fish and newspapers, not to mention locals propelling little dug-outs to visit friends or tend fields. Accommodation: As per your plan. Meals Included: As per your plan.
Day 3: Allepey
Hop on a House boat and cruise Kerala’s back waters at a leisurely pace. Get an ayurvedic massage. View a demonstration of Kalaripaythu, an ancient martial art and Kathakalli, an ancient dance form. Discover why National Geographic this stretch of land is one of the worlds best destinations. Accommodation: House Boat, As per your plan. Meals Included: As per your plan.
Day 4 and 5: Indira Gandhi National Park
Home to many species of Flora and Fauna, the Indira Gandhi National park is especially known for the medicinal plants and herbs that grow there. Join the Kada tribals to pick some medicinal herbs, and get a chance to spot the rare Niligiri Tahr. Stay in a British Bungalow and be treated like a Sahib. Accommodation: As per your plan. Meals Included: As per your plan.
Day 6 & 7: Ooty and Mukurti National Park
Explore South India’s most famous hill station. Walk through quiet, wild flower shaded boulevards left over by the English and visit the Rose Garden. Enjoy the hospitality of a Home stay, trek the pristine Mukurti National Park and hope to spot the Nilgiri Thar. Accommodation:Red Hills or Destiny Farm House. As per your plan Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 8 & 9: Jungle Retreat, Mudumalai Tiger Reserve
Jungle Retreat is one of the finest wild life resorts in India, and we stay in the stunningly beautiful Nilgiris. We safari into the Mudumalai & Bandipur Tiger reserves. You will get up close to Asian Elephants at the Elephant Camp and watch Mahouts bathe & feed them. You can visit a Hero Stone or a Tribal Village. If you are interested in birding Jungle Retreat has some of the best local birding guides around. Accommodation: Jungle Retreat As per your plan. Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 10 & 11: Mysore, The City of Palaces
The inspiring profile of the Maharaja’s Palace, the seat of the erstwhile maharajas of Mysore,
graces the city’s skyline. The Mysore Zoo, set in pretty gardens on the eastern edge of the city, dates from 1892 and is worth a visit.To see how Indian royals travelled in days past, we shall visit the Rail Museum. Overlooking Mysore from the 1062m-high summit of Chamundi Hill, the Sri Chamundeswari Temple, dominated by a towering seven-storey, 40m-high gopuram, makes a fine half-day excursion. Accommodation: As per your plan. Meals Included: As per your plan.
Day 12 – Udipi and Malpe
Stay in the beautiful, laid back fishing harbor, Malpe. Visit the 13th century Krishna temple in Udupi and witness elaborate, ancient rituals. Eat some of the finest vegetarian food India has to offer. Explore the University town of Manipal. Accommodation: As per your plan. Meals Included: As per your plan.
Day 13 & 14: Beaches of North Goa
After two weeks of the Intense South India Tour, it’s time to unwind. No where else in India will you find, what in Goa is called susegad, a luxurious laid-back
languidness especially at lunchtime. Apart from the easy going people and the serene
beaches, you can a wander around bird-filled banks of the state’s gentle rivers and poke
around centuries-old cathedrals and of taste excellent fresh sea food. Accommodation: As per your plan. Meals Included: As per your plan.
If you choose to extend your vacation, we have many options as an add on, and we can tailor one to suite you best.
We can recommend excellent hotels to fit your budget. From Luxury to Budget accommodation, South India has some of the finest hotels and resorts in South Asia. We choose the most sustainable lodges and resorts to work with. You can book directly or we can book hotels for you
- Trip Lead
Chandan S. has led over 50 South India Tours so far. Born into a family of academicians, he has traveled extensively with renowned authorities on art, culture and history. A passionate traveler, he loves meeting people and showing them around fantastic South India. Chandan has worked with Greenpeace and was later involved in building sustainable game lodges and travel cafes and has spent over a year documenting birds in the Niligiris Biosphere Reserve. Chandan has worked on many travel programs in the wilderness, apart from leading many South India Tours focusing on culture and art. He is extremely affable and informative, and loves to constantly tour South India ”Being in the travel profession and being a trip lead combines several of my interests – exploring India, trekking, wildlife spotting, being on the road and meeting new people,” he says.
Prices valid through Spring 2013
749 USD for 1 person
849 USD for 2 people
1049 USD for 3 to 7 people
1279 USD for 7-10 people
Children below age 12: No Charge.
Accommodation will be arranged at cost in hotels according to your budget. We can book hotels for you or you can book directly. Accommodation expense of $ 35 USD must be handed over to trip lead daily.
Transportation. We will hire a modern SUV or a bigger vehicle equipped with bucket seats and air conditioning. Entrance to sites where ever applicable. Meals for yourself and meals for the trip lead for the duration of tour. Items personal in nature and anything else not mentioned as included in the cost.
Tour costs include:
Expert leadership of an Indian Expeditions Leader and local guides
Sightseeing as noted
Tour Cost Does Not Include:
Transport during the tour, Entrance to sites wherever applicable, fees for cameras etc., Individual airport transfers, any meals not specified after each itinerary day in the Full Trip Brochure, optional gratuities to leaders and staff, expenses such as immunizations (if any), travel insurance, and other items of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, bottled water, etc.).
Trip Payment Schedule
At time of reservation: $ 250 for tours below 5 people, $ 500 for tours above 6 people.
Upon delivery of tour: Balance
Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule
Minimum fee: None
If you cancel 45 days or more before the start of the tour: Amount paid less any non-recoverable upfront costs incurred by Indian Expeditions on your behalf. These upfront costs represent out of pocket expenses of Indian Expeditions for accommodation, transportation deposits and other tour expenses. Please send a message to Indian Expeditions to find out what, if any, these costs are.
If cancelled 44 days or less before start of tour: Deposit (less any upfront costs) will be held by Indian Expeditions as per our life long deposit policy.