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Silks & Spices by Tanya & Astrid

The sights, sounds and aromas of India await as you wend your way through the lush landscapes and colourful markets. Your tour begins in the "Garden City" of Bangalore from where you embark on a magical journey that includes the gardens, temples and waterways encompassing centuries of Indian mythology.

Tour Route: Bangalore – Chikmagalur – Mysore – Cochin – Kumarakom –Thekkady – Madurai – Chennai - Kanchipuram & Mahabalipuram – Chennai

Tour Span: 12 Days / 11 Nights

Day 1 - Arrive Bangalore

Spend your first day in Bangalore, India as garden city. Upon arrival you are met and transferred to your hotel.

Day 2 - Bangalore / Shravanabelagola / Chikmagalur

The morning tour includes a visit to Lal Bagh Botanical Gardens, the Mysore Arts and Crafts Center, the Bull Temple, and the colorful bustling markets. Later, depart for Chikmaglur, en route visiting Shravanabelagola. (B)

Day 3 - Chikmagalur / Belur / Halebidu / Mysore

Visit Belur this morning. The Chennakesaya Temple with its intricate sculptures is an outstanding example of medieval Indian art. Continue on to Halebidu, to see the Hoysaleshwara Temple, covered with a succession of friezes, the tableaus of everyday life in ancient times. This evening in Mysore, catch a glimpse of the illuminated City Palace. (B)

Day 4 - Mysore Sightseeing

Explore Mysore, visiting the City Palace, a Hindu Temple and a monolithic sculpture of the bull Nandi, the vehicle of Lord Shiva. Visit the beautiful Brindayan Gardens where you can admire the amazing topiaries and the illuminated, cascading fountains. (B)

Day 5 - Mysore / Bangalore / Cochin

Visit the island fortress and Summer Palace of Tipu Sultan in Srirangapatnam before continuing on to Bangalore. Fly to Cochin in the state of Kerala. Enjoy an evening presentation of the colorful Kathakali dance drama. (B)

Day 6 - Cochin Sightseeing / Kumarakom

In Cochin, visit the Portuguese church built by St. Francis in 1562, the Jewish Synagogue, the famed Mattancherry Palace, and learn about the Chinese fishing nets. Later, depart for Kumarakom to experience the backwaters and waterways, with the rich culture and active lifestyle of the region. (B)

Day 7 - Backwaters Cruise

Cruise along the canals and lagoons which create and maintain the ecological balance in this region. Take advantage of a free afternoon to experience an Ayurvedic therapeutic massage or enjoy a fishing expedition. (B)

Day 8 - Kumarkom/Thekkady

Depart for Thekkady this morning.This unique wildlife sanctuary is about 300 square miles and centered around an artificial lake fed by the Periyar River. Afternoon at leisure. (B)

Day 9 - Thekkady / Madurai

Enjoy the varied flora and fauna, cruising along the waterways of this tropical ecological reserve. Later drive to Madurai with itÂ?s many pilgrims who throng the narrow streets. The Puja ceremony performed nightly at the Meenakshi Temple is an interesting activity this evening. (B)

Day 10- Madurai Sightseeing / Chennai

Visit Shree Meenakshi Temple, Thirumalai Nayak Palace, the Gandhi Museum, and Mariamman Teppakkulam Tank, site of the annual Teppam, or Float Festival, held in January. Fly to Chennai this evening. (B)

Day 11 - Kanchipuram & Mahabalipuram Excursion

Journey to Kanchipuram, with its many temples and visit the three that exemplify this sacred town-Kailasantha and Ekambareshwara, dedicated to Lord Shiva, and Vaikuntaperumal dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Travel to the ancient Pallavan port of Mamallapuram and visit the last surviving shore temple, stone chariots and a basrelief depicting Hindu legends. (B)

Day 12- Chennai Sightseeing/Depart Chennai

The morning tour of Chennai includes stops at the Victoria Art Gallery, Bronze Gallery and Chennai Museum. The Fort St. George, San Thome Cathedral and Kapaleeswarar Temple complete your visit. After a relaxing afternoon, bid India farewell and board your International flight home. (B)

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