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Kerala India Vacations Tiger Safaris Holidays Periyar Backwaters Houseboat

Bandhavgarh Safari + Kerala Backwaters + Kovalam


IPK12M
12 NIGHTS
FROM £1,995
International flights quoted separately
Renowned for some of the best tiger sightings in India, visit Bandhavgarh National Park and peaceful Kerala. Fly to the port city of Cochin and tranquil lakes & backwaters of Kumarakom, with overnight stay on traditional rice houseboat. Complete your holiday relaxing on Kovalam beach, known for its Ayurvedic treatments. English speaking city guide, private driver, jeep safaris & sightseeing included.
Tiger Safari Kerala India Bandhavgarh Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
• 
Delhi
• 
City Tour
• 
India Gate
• 
Bhandhavgarh Tiger Reserve
• 
Tigers
• 
Jeep Safari
• 
Sloth Bear
• 
Mararikulam
• 
Indian Ocean Beaches
• 
Cochin
• 
Delhi
• 
City Tour
• 
India Gate
• 
Bhandhavgarh Tiger Reserve
• 
Tigers
• 
Jeep Safari
• 
Sloth Bear
• 
Mararikulam
• 
Indian Ocean Beaches
• 
Cochin
Day 1
You will be met at Mumbai Airport by your driver and transferred to your hotel in this bustling city.
 
Formerly known as Bombay, this is the most populous city in India and its commercial capital, as well as the home of the Bollywood film industry.
Day 2
Today enjoy a full day sightseeing tour of Mumbai, starting with a 1-hour ferry ride to Elephanta Island - originally called Gharapuri ("Fortress City") but renamed by the Portuguese who found a large stone elephant here.
 
The Elephanta Caves date from between 450 to 750 AD and are now a World Heritage site, containing gigantic rock effigies of the Hindu faith. One of the most interesting of the large sculptured panels is the three-headed Shiva - shown as the Creator, the Preserver and the Destroyer. Another Shiva panel shows the God dancing the 'Tandava' and thereby causing the world to shake.
 
Afterwards your tour continues with visits to the Gateway of India, the Prince of Wales Museum, Crawford Market, Jain Temple, the beautiful Hanging Gardens, the circular Tower of Silence, Gandhi's house at Mani Bhawan and the open-air laundromat at Dhobi Ghat.
Day 3
Transfer to Mumbai Airport for your flight to Jabalpur.
  
Here you will be met and transferred 4-hours to Bandhavgarh National Park - once the hunting reserve of the royal family of Rewa and today one of the most famous tiger reserves in the world. Covering 168 sq miles (437 sq km) of bamboo, grassland and deciduous forests in the Vindhya Hills of Madhya Pradesh, this reserve is where the amazing white tigers were discovered.
Days 4 To 5
Today is devoted to the wildlife of Bandhavgarh National Park.
 
Early morning is the best time to track tigers and other wildlife, but be aware that it is extremely difficult to find tigers in the jungle and sightings are never guaranteed. Best viewings are generally at the end of the dry season (March to May, although it is extremely hot from April onwards), when the tigers search out the waterholes - but you need to take at least 4 game drives for a good chance of a sighting.
 
In the afternoon return to the park for another jeep safari before dinner. There are at least 150 bird species as well as mammals such as sloth bears, langur monkeys, wild boars, wild dogs, mongoose and three types of deer - chital, sambar and barking.
 
Note: The tiger reserve is closed every Wednesday afternoon, when only a morning game drive is offered. The park is also closed during the monsoon season (mid June to September).
 
Please note we always try to book jeep safaris, but these can only be reserved 90 days in advance and cannot be guaranteed - in which case your game drive will be in a 20-seater canter. In the winter months, morning safaris require warm clothes including woolly hats and gloves to protect you from the wind chill in your open vehicle.
Day 6
Transfer 4-hours to Jabalpur for your flight to Mumbai Airport and onward connecting flight to Cochin in the beautiful southern state of Kerala - fondly called "God's own Country". This Arabian seaport, now known as Kochi, was at the centre of the spice trade for many centuries.
 
On arrival enjoy a city tour of Cochin - known to the ancient Greeks, Romans, Jews, Arabs and Chinese as an important trading centre. The Portuguese established the first European settlement in India here and the city was later colonised by the Dutch and then the British.
 
Visit St. Francis Church built by the Portuguese, where explorer Vasco Da Game was first buried. Also visit Mattancherry Palace with its famous murals depicting scenes from Hindu legends associated with Shiva, Vishnu and Krishna (closed Fridays); the Dutch Palace and the Jewish Synagogue (closed Fridays & Saturdays). Then walk along the shore to see the old shore-operated Chinese fishing nets at Fort Kochi, each operated by a team of up to six fishermen.
 
In the evening a special treat awaits - a performance of the famous Kathakali classical dance.
Day 7
This morning your driver will collect you from your hotel in Cochin and introduce you to the beauty of rural Kerala, as you travel 2.5-hours to the small town of Kumarakom, situated on Vembanad Lake - the largest backwater in India.
 
After checking into your hotel, enjoy a visit to the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary with your guide.
Day 8
This morning board your air-conditioned Rice Houseboat set on Vembanad Lake. This network of backwaters, lakes and rivers stretches over 930 miles (1,500 km) and provides a vital waterway for transporting people and their produce, once used to transport goods from isolated interior villages to the larger towns but now largely used for pleasure.
 
As the water is level with the land here, spend the afternoon relaxing and watching the agricultural lives of the people who live along the canals and work in the rice paddy fields, as you cruise through the Kerala Backwaters.
 
In the evening see the sun setting over the tranquil backwaters and enjoy dining on delicious local Kerala cuisine prepared by your chef.
Day 9
After breakfast disembark at the merchant town of Alleppey and transfer 5-hours to Kovalam (meaning "a grove of coconut trees").
 
Check into your beach hotel and relax on the shores of the Arabian Sea.
Days 10 To 12
At leisure to relax on the beautiful beaches of Kovalam on the Arabian Sea, with its warm shallow waters that are ideal for swimming.
 
Three famous beaches separated by rocky outcrops form the crescent of Kovalam Beach - popular Lighthouse Beach, Hawah Beach (also known as Eve’s Beach) frequented by fishermen in the early mornings, and the much quieter Samudra Beach.
 
Also enjoy the wide variety of ayurvedic spa treatments for which this region is renowned and its tasty regional cuisine.
Day 13
At leisure to relax at your hotel where a very late checkout has been arranged, so that you have the use of your room all day.
 
Later you will be transferred 30-minutes to Trivandrum Airport for your flight home.
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