Day 01: Arrive Trivandrum.
Our representatives will receive you at the airport, and drive you to your hotel. After a brief rest, we proceed to our sightseeing program of Trivandrum.
Introduction to Trivandrum: Thiruvananthapuram, formerly known as Trivandrum, is the capital city of the Indian state of Kerala. This city is characterized by its undulating terrain of low coastal hills with narrow winding lanes and busy commercial alleys. With a population of 889,191 (as of 2001) it is the second biggest cities of Kerala. The city, being the state capital houses many government offices, organizations and companies. Apart from being the political nerve center of Kerala, it is also a major academic hub and houses several premier educational institutions including the Kerala University. Trivandrum is also home to many science and technology institutions, the most prominent being the ‘Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC)’.
Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple: It is a splendid temple with amazing architectural brilliance. It houses the deity of Lord Vishnu in a reclining posture. This temple is one of the most attractive things to watch in Trivandrum especially for the pilgrimage and tourists.
Koyikkal Palace: This is another major tourist attraction in Trivandrum. It is quite ancient, and is characterized by traditional Kerala architectural style with sloping roofs and a courtyard inside. It also houses two museums namely - the Folklore museum and Numismatics museum. The former one has a rich collection of musical instruments & folk arts, and the latter has a startling collection of ancient coins that have been collected from different areas.
Napier Museum: It is a wonderful instance of the rich history of Kerala. The architecture of this museum features a rare combination of traditional Kerala, Mughal, Chinese, and Italian styles. You will come across ancient archaeological artifacts and exquisite paintings here.
Akkulam Lake: Undoubtedly one of the most attractive place to visit, also has a children’s park near the lake. Many kinds of boating facilities are available at this place, and is also an ideal venue for picnic as it forms a beautiful locale to unwind and enjoy the beauty of nature.
Neyyar Dam: It is a wonderful dam located near the ranges of Western Ghats. This dam is also an ideal spot for the picnic and for spending some quality moments with friends and family.
Day 02: Drive from Trivandrum to Kovalam (16 Km).
After breakfast at the hotel, we drive for about 20 minutes and reach Kovalam, where we proceed to the sightseeing tours of the following places.
Introduction to Kovalam: Kovalam is an evergreen and pleasant beach resort with an enchanting strip of golden sands laced with the rich greenery of coconut palms. It is also known as the "Paradise of the South". With high rock promontory and a calm bay of blue waters, this beach paradise creates a unique aquarelle on moonlit nights. Its scenic beauty and serenity is supplemented by the availability of excellent accommodation. Ayurvedic massage parlors, yoga centers and water sport facilities make Kovalam a popular haven for tourists from all over the globe.
The Kovalam Beach: It is one of the most sought after beaches of India. There are actually three adjacent crescent beaches separated by rocky promontories that together make up the Kovalam beach. The three beaches – ‘the Lighthouse beach’, ‘Eve's or Hawa beach’, and ‘the Ashoka beach’, each has its own charm and individual attractions. You can roam around lazily, uncover the past, eat at the beach stalls and spend a lot of time indulging in water sports.Samudra beach: It is yet another beautiful beach in Kovalam. However, you will not find it if you happen to visit the place during monsoons. The reason for this is that the beach gets covered by the water.
Veli Tourist Village: Located near the airport, this popular picnic spot offers landscaped gardens and water-sports facilities. Pedal boats, rowboats, motored boats, and ferry are some of the things to do here. Children in particular have a lot of fun and frolic climbing over the huge sculptures, which dot the landscape.Sankhumugham Beach: This beach is a favorite place for sunset watchers.
Varkala Beach: Varkala is a sea-side resort and also an important Hindu center of pilgrimage. High cliffs with rich mineral springs rise majestically from the coastline. The 2000 year old ‘Janardana Swamy Temple’ and ‘the Nature Center’ are the two main attractions here. High cliffs border the excellent beach.
Day 03: Explore Kovalam.
Today after breakfast, we continue on our sightseeing program of Kovalam by visiting following places.
Shri Dharmasastha Temple: Located close to the beach, this temple attracts a whole lot of visitors during the annual festival held in the month of January Vizhinjam Village: situated at a distance of around 2 km from Kovalam town, the village has a number of attractions stored within its area. Prominent among these are ‘the Cave Temple’ with unfinished carvings of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, and ‘the Marine Aquarium’ displaying a wide variety of marine life like squirrel fish, moon wrasse, butterfly fish, lion fish and giant turtles. The aquarium has also a unique display in form of pearl images of Christ, Virgin Mary, Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Chowara: This is another fishing village with a number of attractions in store. There is ‘the Chowara Ayyappa Temple’ that dominates a white sandy beach. ‘The Azhimalathur beach’ is the only place in Kerala where the sea water is believed to be withdrawing rather than occupying the beach area. ‘The Pulinkudi Azhimala Shiva Temple’ is located close to the beach.
Thiruvallom: This is where the Killi and Karamana rivers meet, and is a perfect place to enjoy boat rides. This is also famous because it happens to be the only place in Kerala that houses a temple dedicated to ‘Parsurama’, the creator of Kerala himself.Vellayani Lake: The modern day developments have not touched the serenity of this beautiful lake, which is almost magical during a full moon night. The lake is also a venue for boat races during the festival of Onam. Close to the lake, there is a Government Agricultural College and a Devi Temple. The temple is the only one of its kind in Kerala, since it has members of non brahmins ‘Vathi’ caste as its priests.
Day 04: Drive from Kovalam to Periyar.
We drive for about 15 minutes from Kovalam to Periyar, where we proceed to the sightseeing tours of the following locations in Periyar. Introduction to Periyar: Periyar is a popular Wildlife Sanctuary with great scenic charm and rich bio-diversity. Spread over a wide expanse of about 780 sq. km. along the river Periyar in Kerala, this sanctuary ranks as one of the major tiger reserves in India. A multitude of wild birds and animals that inhabit in the dense jungles of are the main tourist attractions in Periyar. Commonly spotted wild animals in Periyar include - Elephants, Gaur, Wild Pigs, Sambar, Barking Deer, Mouse Deer and Dole or Indian Wild Dog, Lion-tailed macaque, the Nilgiri Langur, ordinary Langur, and Bonnet Macaque. Huge number of elephants inhabit in Periyar. Herds of elephants often spotted playing with mud and water in the lake at the heart of the jungle.
Periyar sightseeing: Boat Cruises are the best way to explore the wilds of the Periyar Sanctuary. It is an amazing experience to see so many wild animals like elephants, wild boar and sambar roaming freely by the water's edge. It is better to go on to the upper deck which offers the best view of the Sanctuary. Another option is to view wildlife from the watch towers. The Forest Department also provides local tribal guides for those who are interested in trekking. It is an altogether a different experience to be one with the nature and listening to the many sounds of the forest.
Kumily: located on the outskirts of Periyar Sanctuary at a distance of just 4 km, is an important shopping center and spice trade center. The town also has many hotels to suit all budgets. The main ttractions here is the presence of the many souvenir shops dominant in silk scarves and paintings, jewellery and other trinkets.Murikkady: This would be another important place of interest with a panorama of cardamom, coffee and pepper plantations.
Pandikuzhi: It is one of the popular picnic spots of Periyar, which is situated between Chellarkovil and the TamilNadu state border.
Cardamom Hills: These beautiful hills can be viewed from either Periyar or Kumily.Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary: This is one of the richest habitats of large mammals, as it provides both excellent cover and nourishment in the form of succulent shoots and grasses. Here it is possible to see large herds of Indian Elephant with relative ease as well as Nilgiri Langur and Lion tail Macaque. The forests are tropical, a mixture of deciduous, semi-evergreen, and evergreen ‘sholas’. The forests alternate with extensive patches of grasslands. Periyar’s rich bird life includes the Giant Hornbill, Cormorant, Darter, Osprey and Racket-tailed Drongo. The Indian Python and King Cobra are among the reptilian fauna. This place is ideal for watching other animals in their natural habitat, such as elephant, wild pig, sambar, gaur, Malabar flying squirrel, stripe-necked mongoose and over 260 species of birds including blue-winged parakeet, Nilgiri wood pigeon, white-bellied tree pie, laughing thrushes and flycatchers. The reptilian population boasts of Monitor Lizards that can be spotted basking in the sun, on the rocks along the lakeshore. Visitors often see a Python and sometimes even a King Cobra.
Day 05 & 6: Drive from Periyar to Kottayam backwaters.
After breakfast at the hotel, we drive for about three hours to reach Kottayam, where we continue our full day sightseeing tours of Kottayam backwaters on house boat.
Kottayam: It is famously known as "the land of lakes, latex and letters". It is interspersed with a network of canals and lakes, and astonishing backwater stretches through lush paddy fields, highlands, and vast rubber plantations. Kottayam is located in an area of great natural beauty and you're sure to cherish the scenery around Kottayam on Kerala Houseboats. The renowned Vembanad Lake constitutes Kottayam’s magnificent backwaters, a famous tourist destination, growing more popular with time, which showcases perfect sceneries formed by green pastures complementing the blue waters. The experience of serenely sailing on a houseboat, underneath a gentle blue sky, amidst the full bloom of nature, removes all fatigue of mind and soul. Day 06: Drive from Kottayam to Kumarakom backwaters. After breakfast at the hotel, we drive for a couple of minutes to reach the small town of Kumarakom, where we proceed to the full day sightseeing tours of Bird Sanctuary and the breathtaking Backwaters of Kumarakom on house boat.
Kumarakom: one of the most famous backwater destinations of Kerala, Kumarakom is a peaceful region with numerous coconut palms and shallow waterways. The most important attractions of this place is Natural Bird Sanctuary and the breathtaking Backwaters. Kumarakom houseboat takes you into the unique world of water and provides you with a wonderful opportunity to explore backwaters attractions including the famous bird sanctuary. You could also cherish the spectacular views of a cluster of small islands on the banks of Vembanadu Lake as well as enjoy the cruise to enchanting island, “Pathiramanal Island”, which is widely known as Birdwatcher's paradise. It is home to around 91 local species of birds and 50 migratory birds. One can see Pintail Ducks, Common Teal, Night Heron, Cormorant, Darter, Indian Shag, Purple Heron, gulls, terns, large egrets, Intermediate Egret, Cattle Egret, Indian Pond Heron, Little Egret, Pheasant-tailed and Bronze-winged Jacanas, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Watercock, Whistling Duck, Cotton Pygmy-Goose, Little Cormorant and Whiskered Tern to name the few.
Day 07: Drive to Cochin.
Backwaters trips ends and after breakfast on the boat, we drive for about two and half hours to reach Cochin, where we proceed to sightseeing tours of following venues.Introduction to Cochin: A cluster of islands and narrow peninsulas form the Cochin or Kochi, which is widely known as 'Queen of the Arabian Sea'. Being a seaport, many foreigners came to the place and one can clearly see the influence of Chinese, Jews, Arabs and Europeans in its culture and lifestyles of the natives. It boasts of the oldest church in India, the famous old-traditioned Chinese fishing nets, 500-year-old Portuguese houses, old tiled houses built in the Chinese pagoda style, synagogues, a Jewish community whose roots go back to the Diaspora and mosques. The harbor is still hale and hearty and the main exports of the region are pepper, seafood, rubber and coir. However, it attracts tourists because of its serene backwaters, beautiful lagoons fringed by swaying coconut palms and picturesque islands. The older parts of Fort Cochin and Mattanchery look more like a fusion of medieval Portugal, Holland and an English country village into one.
Sightseeing In & Around Cochin:
Santa Cruz Basilica: It is a monumental church dating back to 1558 and has beautiful paintings on the ceiling. St. Francis Church: Built in 1503 by Portuguese Friars, it is the India's oldest European church. Vasco da Gama's remains were buried here in 1524, and later moved to Lisbon, Portugal, but his tombstone still remains.Mattancherry Palace: On display here are beautiful murals depicting scenes from the epics - Ramayana and Mahabharata and some of the Puranic legends.Bolghatty Palace: a beautiful island built by the Dutch, once the residence of the British resident of Cochin, is now a KTDC (Kerala Tourism Development Corporation) hotel.
Cherai Beach: It is a lovely beach bordering Vypeen Island. Dolphins are occasionally seen here. A typical Kerala village with paddy fields and coconut groves nearby is an added attraction of this beach.
Day 08: Cochin Sightseeing.
After breakfast at the hotel, we continue on with our full day sightseeing tours of following prime locations of Cochin: Hill Palace Museum, Thripunithra: the official residence of the Cochin royal family consists of 49 buildings and is surrounded by 52 acres of terraced land with a Deer Park and facilities for horse riding. Displayed inside the thirteen galleries in the museum are oil paintings, murals, 19th century paintings, manuscripts, sculptures in stone, inscriptions, and coins belonging to the Cochin royal family.
Pareekshith Thampuran Museum: extensive and traditional Kerala style building earlier called the Durbar Hall, houses 19th century oil paintings, a collection of old coins, sculptures and Mughal paintings, remains open from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm and 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm.Willingdon Island: This man-made island is surrounded by beautiful backwaters. The Willingdon Island is the site of the city's best hotels, customs, trading centers, the port trust, and also the headquarters of the Southern Naval Command.
Jewish Synagogue: It is the oldest synagogue in the commonwealth countries, known for mid 18th century hand printed, willow pattern floor tiles from Canton of China. It contains Hebrew inscriptions on stone slabs, a dock tower, ancient scripts on copper plates etc, and it is a place worth seeing in Cochin.Vypeen Island: It is s a magnificent lighthouse worth visiting.
Day 09: Drive from Cochin to Ooty (Duration: 6 hours).
After breakfast we drive for about 6 hours to reach Ooty, where after lunch we proceed to our sightseeing tours of following locations of Ooty. Introduction to Ooty: It is one of the picturesque and spectacular hill stations offering respite from the dust and pollution of the city with undefiled beauty of nature. The green hills, the cascading waterfalls, and sparkling brooks, all make the hill stations a delight for the eyes of the city-weary.
Botanical Gardens: the picturesque Government Botanical gardens is maintained by the Horticulture department of the state. It covers an area of about 22 hectares and contains well over 650 species of plants and trees, including a fossil of a tree believed to be more than 20 million years old. The garden is very popular with nature lovers and to those who long to walk among greenery and see rare ferns and shrubs up close.
Ooty Lake: Visitors to this lake can go for boating on the lake or enjoy their favorite outdoor activity of fishing. Dodabetta Peak: The Dodabetta Peak stands at an altitude of 2,623 meters. It is the highest point in the district, making it possibly the best vantage point around Ooty. Many say that on a clear day, which is honestly not that often, one can see far off areas, even the unique plains of Coimbatore and the magnificent flat highlands of Mysore.
Lamb's Rock: another vantage point ideal for taking pictures and enjoying the scenery and the splendid views of picturesque tea estates of the surrounding areas. It is also a wonderful picnic spot.
Kodanadu's View Point: It is a great vantage point that offering a breathtaking view of the Moyar river and the tea estates. There is a watchtower here that offers a majestic view of the Rangasamy peak.
Kalhatty Waterfalls: They are about 100 feet in height and are located on the Kalhatty slopes. Besides, obviously looking at the waterfalls, you can explore the Kalhatty-Masinagudi slopes, that are home to many wild species, including panthers, sambhar, bison and wild buffaloes.
Sim's Park: It is believed to have more than 1000 plant species, including many flowering plants, pines, ferns and shrubs. If you are visiting in May, then you can attend the fruit and vegetable show, which is a tradition of this place and is held annually.
Dolphin's Nose: Used as a picnic spot, this is a great vantage point offering a panoramic view of the surrounding areas. In a clear day, you can even see the Catherine falls from here.
Day 10: Drive from Otty to Bandipur (Duration: 3 hours).
After breakfast at the hotel, we drive for about 3 hours to reach Bandipur, where we proceed to the sightseeing tours of the Bandipur Wildlife Sanctuary (Bandipur National Park).
The Bandipur Wildlife Sanctuary: It is regarded as one of the most beautiful and the better-managed national parks of India. In 1974, under the Wildlife Protection Act, the sanctuary attained the status of a National Park. The Park occupies a special place in India's efforts towards Eco-conservation. It supports and shelters a variety of wildlife and is considered to be one of the finest and most accessible habitats of the Asian elephants, Tigers, Bonner Macaque, Jungle Cat, Wild Boar, Indian Palm Squirrel, Golden Jackal, Indian Grey Mongoose, Bengal Fox, Ruddy Mongoose, Indian Pangolin, Langur, Chital, Grizzled Indian Squirrel, Dhole, Sloth Bear, Leopard Cat, Stripe-necked Mongoose, Gaur, Lion-tailed Macaque, Leopard and Four-horned Antelope.
The Park also has a sizable population of birds. Over 200 species of birds have already been spotted and identified, and the most commonly noticed ones are Grey Jungle Fowl, Red Spur Fowl, Hawk Eagle, Serpent Eagle, Scops Owl, the yellow-legged Green Pigeon, Parakeets, Woodpeckers, Barbets, Hornbills, Drongos, Scarlet Minivets, and Warblers.
The floral vegetation of the park includes the deciduous and the evergreen forests while the woodlands are grassy and moist. The open grassy woodland with exotic sceneries of mountains, gorges and undisturbed forests filled with thick bamboos make the Bandipur National Park an interesting place for nature lovers.
Day 11: Bandipur Jeep Safari.
We proceed to the morning Jeep Safari inside the Bandipur National Park to get close and personal with the amazing wildlife and unique vegetations inside the Park.The Jeep Safari is one of the best means of moving around inside the Bandipur National Park. Thick forest greets you everywhere as you drive through the park. You can see peacocks shying away into a nearby bush or a herd of deer sprinting into the woods. You can feel the thrill of watching tigers on the prowl, lucky few may even encounter the big cats. And in summers there are mighty elephants roaming through the forest making some majestic moves, quenching their thirst in the ponds, and you could constantly hear the thrilling resonating cacophony and vibrating colors of wild birds. There will be rich diversity of flora, fauna and avifauna, and you could feel the excitement of discovering forest vegetation that was until now unknown to you. If you have a definite liking for bird watching and wildlife photography, these blissful natural surroundings will spur you to satiate your desire.
Day 12: Drive from Bandipur to Mysore (Duration: 3 hours).
After breakfast at the hotel, we drive for about three hours to reach Mysore, where we proceed to the sightseeing tours of following prime attractions of Mysore.Introduction to Mysore: Mysore has never failed to mesmerize the tourists with its quaint charm, rich heritage, magnificent palaces, beautifully laid-out gardens, imposing buildings, broad shady avenues and sacred temples. The city of Mysore is known as the 'City Of Palaces', as there are number of buildings built by the Royal family and Emperors that ruled the state. Today, Mysore is one of the major cities of Karnataka. It has emerged as a thriving market for exotic sandalwood & incense, silk sarees, and stone carved sculptures.
Maharaja's Palace: It occupies a prestigious place among the tourist attractions of Mysore. The magnificent palace is an architectural marvel featuring marvelously sculpted pillars, elaborately carved doors, and golden howdah.
St. Philomena's Church: It is a lure for the religious traveler. The church’s Gothic structure is based on the Cathedral at Cologne. You will also come across the statue of St. Philomena on the altar, who was a third century saint from Greece. This magnificent church is visited by a large number of tourists every year. Mysore Zoo: It is a magnificent zoo and houses a diverse collection of animals, including magnificent species kept in natural surroundings.
Day 13: Mysore Sightseeing.
After hearty breakfast at the hotel, we continue on with another day of sightseeing tours of Mysore.
The Mysore Palace: It is a magnificent palace and looks even more captivating on festive nights, when it is lit up with as many as 97,000 light bulbs. Influenced from Dravidian, Oriental, Roman and Indo-Saracenic architectural styles, the palace is three storeies made of grey granite. Brindavan Gardens: A little away from Mysore, the beautiful Brindavan Gardens is located just below the famous reservoir on the river Cauvery. The musical fountain in the garden is one of the most notable tourist attractions in Mysore.
The Jaganmohan Palace: It was used as the retreat for the royal family, and it features stained glass shutters and ventilators and also has a lovely garden setting that has now been transformed to an art gallery. Some of unique things this museum has on display are paintings, sculptures and musical instruments. Chamundi Hills: On top of the hills there is Chamundeshwari temple that serves as a famous landmark. Nearby to the temple, there is a statue of Mahishasura, who was a demon killed by the goddess Chamundeshwari. The Lalita Mahal Palace: It iss another palace located atop a hill and was built as a home to the Viceroy of India. Today it has been converted into a heritage property by the India Tourism Development Corporation.The Prasanna Krishnaswamy Temple: Dedicated to Lord Krishna, the temple is home to as many 40 bronze statues of gods and saints. One can also see the statue of the ruler, who built this temple.
Day 14: Drive from Mysore – Hassan - Bangalore (Duration: 8 hours).
After breakfast, we drive for about two and half hours to reach Hassan, which is a little picturesque town in the South India state of Karnataka known for its unique style of architecture. We stop here briefly, and after our refreshment, we continue to drive for about another five hours to reach ‘India’s Silicon Valley’ – Bangalore. After checking into the Hotel, we rest for the day and get ready for more sightseeing tours.
Introduction to Bangalore: Bangalore has many names - "India's Silicon Valley", "Fashion Capital of India", "The Pub City of India", and “The Garden City”. Many international visitors come to Bangalore for its excellent schools and universities, such as the Indian Institute of Science. While enjoying the warm weather year-around, tourists can also use the city as a central base for day trips to other Karnataka attractions. Bangalore doesn't only produce fine silk and software, it is also "The Fruit Market of the South", as it produces large quantities of grapes, mangoes and guavas. Last but not the least, Bangalore is even gaining the status of the "Floriculture Capital" due to the present blossoming of flower export business in the city.
Day 15: Bangalore Sightseeing, and fly to Goa (Duration: 1 hr 30 minutes).
After breakfast, we proceed to the sightseeing tours of some of the prime locations of Bangalore. In the late afternoon we fly for one and half hour to Goa. Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium: Featuring a large sky theatre, which can house audiences of more than 200, the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium is a good place to learn about astronomy and the solar system. The main attractions are the astronomy shows, which take place twice daily, when the ceiling of the sky theatre is filled with star constellations.
Tipu Sultan's Palace: It is just a short walk from the bustling City Market and is built entirely from timber, including a number of elegant teak pillars. Attractions include a small photo gallery and the adjacent Venkataraman Temple.
Aquarium: is amongst the city's most popular tourist attractions and perfect for a family day out. Housed within an imposing diamond-shaped building and located at the very entrance to Cubbon Park, you can expect to see many colorful and indigenous fishes here. ISKCON Temple Complex: Built by the affluent International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), and known for its shiny exterior and lavish decorations, the temple features both modern and traditional Indian architecture, housing a series of theatres and a stunning central shrine. The temple is used by followers of the ‘Hare Krishna’ faith.
Tipu Sultan's Fort: originally constructed as a mud-brick defense structure, Tipu Sultan's Fort features detailed carved arches and Islamic-style architecture.Bangalore tourist attraction admission: charge
Jawahar Bal Bhavan: It is popular children's amusement park, complete with playground area and filled with attractions for all ages, including tree houses. Sited within Cubbon Park, it features mini train rides, pony rides, boat rides, eateries, open-air theatres, and a popular petting zoo, where children can get up close to friendly animals.
Chowdaiah Memorial Hall: A good place to experience Indian classical music at its best, the Chowdaiah Memorial Hall regularly hosts concerts and recitals. The auditorium is known for being shaped like a violin and also features film screenings, dances and other shows.
Rabindra Kalakshetra: It is one of Bangalore's most notable entertainment venues, hosting an array of theatrical performances and concerts. Other attractions include occasional exhibitions of paintings and cultural events.
Day 16: Goa Sightseeing Tours of Beaches.
After breakfast at the hotel, we proceed to the full day sightseeing tours of some most prominent beaches of Goa Introduction to Goa: Goa is a tropical paradise that lies on the west coast of India bathed by the warm waters of the Arabian sea. It is unique in many ways but mostly due to its history and geography that have left an indelible mark on its people for generations. Having been ruled by the colonial Portuguese for over 450yrs ( as compared to the rest of India that was ruled by the British for 250yrs) there is still a distinct Portuguese / European flavor that has permeated all aspects of Goa's life including its food, religion, language, festivals, dances and of course names. This becomes apparent as soon as you cross the border to Goa from India or elsewhere. This unique blend of Indian and Portuguese culture is to a large extent what makes Goa and the "Goan" unique. The once "Rome of the East" is now the no 1 destination for both Indian and international visitors. The state's spectacular sandy beaches have long been amongst the main tourist attractions in Goa, with the coastline offering an array of popular recreational activities and water sports, such as scuba diving, snorkeling, jet-skiing, water-skiing and even para-sailing. Goa is also a great place for boat trips and many cruises. The Beaches of Goa:
The ideal combination of sun, sand, sea and surf is enough to make the beaches of Goa as the perfect destination for a relaxing vacation.Mirmar Beach: It was originally known as the "Gasper Dias Beach". From the beach across the river is an excellent view of Fort Aguada. Apart from its proximity to Panaji, it is very much commercialized and has a large number of hotels and exclusive homes of Goa's rich and famous. The beach is crowded with locals and tourists alike on most days.
Palolem Beach: Goa's one of the most beautiful and idyllic beach is 1.5 km crescent shaped beach lying on the southern coastline of Goa amidst outstanding natural beauty. The sweeping crescent of white sand is fringed by a shady rim of coconut, and the whole beach is hemmed in at either end by rocky crags. Many travelers drift down from the northern beaches to spend days, weeks or even months chilling out here.
Calangute Beach: It is the busiest and very commercial one. It's filled with foreigners tanning themselves on the endless rows of side-by-side sun lounges. Baga Beach starts right where Calangute ends, although it's hard to pinpoint exactly where. A wide range of water sports are offered here, and if you feel like indulging yourself with some fine food and wine, there are many up-market restaurants in the area too.
Baga Beach: It's bordered by Calangute Beach to the south, and it’s one of the most happening beaches on the coast. You'll find everything from water sports to fine dining restaurants there, along with a pulsating nightlife.
Anjuna Beach: This beach was once home to the hippies. Most of them have now moved on but their legacy remains. The Wednesday Anjuna Beach flea market gets bigger than ever, and after the day is over, the crowds descend on the shacks along Anjuna beach to listen to psychedelic trance as the sun sets.
Day 17: Explore Goa.
Today will be another full day of sightseeing of Goa, and we will be visiting following venues.
Goa Churches: Goa is literally synonymous with churches. They are living testimonies of the rich historical past of Goa. During the early days of the Portuguese rule in India, church building was the primary concern and occupation in Goa. This was because of their zeal to spread Christianity and convert as many people as they canSe Cathedral: Built in 1562,the Se Cathedral today stands larger than any church in Goa and even Portugal. The history traces back to the time of Dominicans, who were the first missionaries to be sent to India by the Portuguese. Designed by engineers Julio Simao and Ambrosio Argueiro, the Se Cathedral is said to be "a grandiose church worthy of the wealth, power and fame of the Portuguese, who dominated the seas from the Atlantic to the Pacific".
The Church of St. Francis of Assisi: among the most outstanding churches in Old Goa, nestling beside the former palace of the Archbishop contains, perhaps, the most elegant work of religious art of the seventeenth century. Interestingly, it is amongst the few early 16th century relics of purely Portuguese architecture, which you find in the east. During the zenith of its glory and magnificence, it was applauded as the richest and most beautiful church in the world. Due to unknown reasons, the Church of St. Francis of Assisi had to be demolished in 1661 but was later rejuvenated through voluntary contributions. Today, it stands majestic with its carved gates and gorgeous columns as one of the most visited churches in Old Goa.
Old Goa: Old Goa was the erstwhile capital of the Portuguese dominions in Goa. Before the arrival of the Portuguese on the Goan shores, Old Goa was the regal capital of Sultan Adil Shah of Bijapur. After defeating the armies of the Sultan, the Portuguese led by Alfonso de Albuquerque started building their empire around Old Goa. As the epicenter of Portuguese territory, Old Goa witnessed the profusion of magnificent churches and majestic buildings befitting the stature of the city. During its halcyon days, Old Goa became famous as the "Lisbon of the East." Accorded the World heritage Site status by UNESCO, the opulent buildings and churches of Old Goa today reminds one of the grandeur of a bygone era.
Day 18: Explore more Goa.
After breakfast, we proceed to the half day morning tour on Dolphin cruise. And, after lunch, we go on to sightseeing tours of the Dandeli National Park..Dolphin Cruise: It is a half day morning tour out to the mouth of the river Mandovi and in to the Arabian Sea. We can catch Dolphins frolicking in the blue ocean, and relax in deckbeds with soothing music, while sunbathing and enjoying the delicious drinks from the bar counter.
Dandeli National Park: It is the largest wildlife sanctuary in Karnataka, and nature lovers have the opportunity to discover some very rare animal and birds as well as the untouched and unexplored landscape of Dandeli National Park. Some of the wildlife found within Dandeli includes elephant, tiger, leopard, gaur, flying squirrel, and mouse deer. Bird species here include magpie robin, golden backed woodpecker, and crested serpent eagle.
Some of the activities to enjoy are wildlife safaris, nature walks, white-water rafting, bird watching, crocodile sighting trips, fishing, boat rides, or trekking in the jungles of Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary. The diverse landscape includes falls, monolithic granite structures amidst the thick forest, meandering rivers, beautiful valleys as well as deciduous and semi evergreen forests.
Day 19: Fly from Goa to Mumbai (Duration: 30 minutes).
We catch early morning flight to Mumbai, where after lunch, we proceed to the sightseeing tours of the following prime locations of the city.
Introduction to Mumbai: Mumbai, the capital city of Maharashtra State, formerly known as Bombay lies in the southwestern part of India. Today it is a vibrant commercial and industrial powerhouse with world’s biggest textile market. It is also the busiest port of the country, and the center of fashion and glamour of South East Asia. It is widely known as the hub of Indian film industry, which has played a pivoted role in the development of cinematography. "Bollywood", as it is called, produces the second most number of pictures in the world every year, next only to Hollywood of USA. The Gateway of India: It is a monument located on the waterfront in Mumbai, built from yellow basalt and reinforced concrete. It was opened in 1924 and the last British troops to leave India passed through the gate in a ceremony in 1948, making the gateway redundant. The Gateway is now a favorite hangout for locals, and it is the first thing visitors see upon arrival in Mumbai.
Marine Drive: Marine drive runs along a long stretch of 3 kilometers and has an “inverted C form” and the stretch is often referred to as the Queen’s Necklace, which takes its shape when lit by the street lamps at night. It is Mumbai’s most famous thoroughfare and a favorite spot for watching the sunset. Haji Ali’s Tomb: The structure spreads over an area of 4500 meters. The narrow causeway that links the city to the dargah is a 500 meter stretch without any railings on both the sides amidst the sea. The dargah is therefore accessible only during the low tides.
Crawford Market: This is where locals of central Mumbai go shopping for their fruit, vegetables and meat. The animal market at the rear sells everything from poodles to parrots in small cages. North of the market are the narrow lanes with several markets selling jewellery, textiles and leather goods. The most famous is the ‘Chor Bazaar’, Mumbai's 'thieves' market', which sells 'antiques' and miscellaneous junk.
Day 20: More of Mumbai Sightseeing Tours.
After breakfast at the hotel, we continue with our sightseeing tours of the city.
Elephanta Island: Elephanta Island is one of the most famous islands in Mumbai Harbor. The rock-cut temple caves are the main and most popular tourist destination on the island, and they are also designated an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The caves date back to the 9th through 13th century with the main cave housing numerous sculpted panels. The famous ‘Trimurti’ greets visitors at the entrance to the caves; the Trimurti includes Lord Brahma (the Creator), Lord Vishnu (the preserver) and Lord Shiva (the Destroyer). Prince of Wales Museum: It is another major attraction of Mumbai as it regarded as one of the best museums in the country. It is surrounded by a beautiful landscape forming an ideal getaway for the people of Mumbai. It houses art, sculpture, rare coins, and old firearms and a priceless collection of miniature paintings.
Juhu Beach: nicknamed as ‘the Uptown Bourgeois Paradise’, Juhu Beach is a place that attracts a large number of visitors throughout the year. Characterized by many walkers, screaming children and courting couples, the beach is attractively studded with many five star hotels offering the customers a splendid view of the coast. Moreover, the beach activities like camel rides, pony rides, acrobats, monkey-performances will keep you enthralled all the time.
Taj Mahal Palace and Tower: It is located opposite the Gateway of India in Mumbai. Built in 1903, this landmark faces the harbor and is a striking monument on the waterfront. In 1973, the Tower Wing was added and the Taj Mahal Palace is a member of the 'Leading Hotels of the World' offering many leisurely activities to the visitors.
Victoria Terminus: It was opened in 1882 as the main railway station of Mumbai. This Gothic building features carvings of peacocks, gargoyles, monkeys, and lions. Domes, turrets, spires and stained glass windows are other architectural items of note. The style of the Victoria Terminus is more like a cathedral than a railway station. Hanging Garden: Located just opposite the Kamala Nehru Park, this terraced garden is famous among the locals as well as tourists as it provides lovely sunset views over the Arabian Sea.
Day 21: Departure from Mumbai.
We thank you for being with us on this incredible journey, and after a last meal at the hotel, we drive you to the airport for your safe flight back home.