Day 1 | Mumbai Arrival
Arrive at Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay) and check in at your preferred hotel. The capital of thestate of Maharashtra, Mumbai is the economic powerhouse of India today. A fast moving, affluent and industrialised city, it is at the same time a vibrant mix of cultures and communities, and the only really cosmopolitan centre in India.
Day 2 | Mumbai
Start your explorations in the morning by sailing six miles out from the Mumbai Harbour to the Elephanta Caves. These rock-cut caves from the Golden Age of the Guptas, dating back to the 6th-8th Century, display beautiful carvings inspired by the worship of Lord Shiva. The most imposing of these is the 4.5 m high three-headed bust hewn from a single rock that represents the triad of Shiva as the Creator, the Preserver and the Destroyer. In the afternoon, you will tour other historic landmarks like the Gateway of India erected to commemorate the landing of King George V and Queen Mary in 1911; the Prince of Wales Museum with its wide collection of Indian painting and sculpture, the Jehangir Art Gallery, Marine Drive, Chowpatty Beach, the Hanging Gardens of Malabar Hill, Victoria Terminus, Crawford Market and much more.
Day 3 | Mumbai - Kochi
Fly to Kochi (formerly known as Cochin) in the coastal state of Kerala, the Queen of the Arabian Sea.With a natural harbour that has always been one of the finest in the world, its historical wealth and its beautiful setting on a cluster of islands and narrow peninsulas, canals and fishing hamlets, Kochi is a perfect symbol of the eclectic charm of Kerala. In the afternoon, you will tour the town and discover that although it was built by the Portuguese in the 16th Century, trading communities from all over the world have left their mark on Kochi: the Chinese, the Dutch, the Jews and the Portuguese. Here, you will discover several landmarks: the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth, the Jewish Synagogue, the ancient Mattancherry Dutch Palace built by the Portuguese, St Francis’ Church, the oldest European built church in India, Jew town and the Fort Cochin area. Of course, all along the harbour you will see the amazing Chinese fishing nets that look their stunning best against the blazing Kerala sunset. And, you’ll have an opportunity to learn about Kerala’s fascinating art form, Kathakali, in an exclusive dance performance in the evening.
Day 4 | Kochi
Depart by surface for a very special journey around Kochi into the villages of Kerala, to weaving and coir centres. Enjoy a traditional Kerala meal at a local home.
Day 5 | Thekkady
Drive over land to the Spice Capital of India, Thekkady. As the road winds through mountains, you will descend through a carpet of tea bushes, estates of tall rubber trees and gardens of coffee, cardamom and pepper. The aroma of spices fills the pristine air as you cross the countryside to reach the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, one of the premier reserves of Southern India, and home of the wild elephant, the bison, antelopes, langurs and sambar.
Day 6 | Periyar
This day has been kept aside for you to revisit the wildlife sanctuary, and you’ll need it because the Periyar sanctuary covers 777 sq kms of tropical forest, with a 26 sq km large artificial lake, built by the British. Then you will take a Spice Tour and be treated to lunch, prepared with spices, fresh off the plantation.
Day 7 | Kochi - Goa
Drive back to Kochi and take the connecting flight to where every lover of the sun, the sea and the sand dreams of being, Goa. This former Portuguese enclave, with its palm-fringed beaches and shimmering sands offers you much more than just the chance to unwind, and get yourself a tan. You will find the place and the people intriguingly distinct from the rest of India. You will be fascinated by the landscape dotted with glistening paddy fields, coconut groves, white washed churches and crumbling forts. And then you will know why no travellers’ trip to India has ever been complete without a stop in Goa.
Day 8 | Goa
Two days to make the most of Goa, however you would like to do that. Splash in the sea, or sun yourself on the pristine beaches. Pay your respects to Goa’s patron saint, St Francis Xavier or visit the Basilica of Bom Jesus. Spend the days loitering in the fascinating city of Panaji, at the colourful covered market of Margao, or at the Fort Aguada, with its moated ruins, hilltop views and dark dungeons.
Day 9 | Goa
Spend the day loitering in the fascinating city of Panaji, at the colourful covered market of Margao, or at the Fort Aguada, with its moated ruins, hilltop views and dark dungeons.
Day 10 | Departure
Fly back to Delhi or Mumbai, from where you will take your connecting flight home.