South India with Nehru Boat Race

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South India with Nehru Boat Race

The Nehru boat race is the annual water carnival held in Kerala and is considered as the biggest snake boat race in the world. It is held every year on the second Saturday of August at Punnamada Lake near Alleppey. On the day of this fiercely fought boat race, the tranquil lake front is transformed into a sea of humanity with estimated thousands of people, Including locals as well as visitors from all over the world. For the people of each village in this region, a victory at this race for their village boat is something to be celebrated for months to come. The major attraction of the boat race is the competition of snake boats - Chundan vallams. Nehru boat race will be held on 10 August in 2013

Trip Highlights :-Mumbai | Bangalore | Hassan - Belur - Halebid | Mysore | Kozhikode | Cochin | Allepey | Kovalam | Mumbai

Tour duration : 12 Nights / 13 Days

Cities visited:

Mumbai - Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay) is one of the most happening cities in India. Mumbai is known as much for its throbbing night life as it is famous for being the busiest and economically prosperous city of India. Mumbai is a busy metropolis, nevertheless, it is a tourist hot-spot because of its energy and vigour. It is a wonderful tourist destination. This erstwhile insignificant port city has now developed to become one of the foremost metropolis of the world. Other than the charms of being in a beautiful metropolis, Mumbai has monuments of historical importance. The Gateway of India is one such magnificent monument and prime tourist attraction in the city. The city also has wonderful beaches and these beaches have become wonderful leisure spots for people. As the capital city of the state of Maharashtra, Mumbai is politically one of the most important cities in western India. It also has its own culture, traditions and festivals. This busy metropolis comes to a screeching halt during the Ganesh Chaturthi. The people in this part of the country speak Maratha but like a true cosmopolitan city, Mumbai is a fine melting pot where you will find people from different parts of India living in harmony in spite of the difference in language, dress codes and food habits. The city also has a multi-million dollar film-making industry. Popularly referred to as Bollywood, Mumbai film industry is not only big but also very charismatic. Every year a number of Hindi pot-boilers are produced here. The actors and actresses enjoy a massive fan following throughout India as well as abroad.

Bangalore - Also known as Bengaluru, is designated as the capital of the state of Karnataka. The name of the city is synonymous with the IT (Information Technology) revolution in the country. The city has turned into a major commercial, industrial, and cultural hub in South India. Bangalore is one of the fastest developing metropolitan areas in India and houses many software companies, aerospace engineering and research institutes, telecommunication companies, and defense organizations. A number of nicknames are used to describe Bangalore including the 'Silicon Valley of India', 'City of Gardens', and 'Pub Capital of India'. The city houses a number of scenic parks, movie theater complexes, boulevards, and famous memorials and edifices. The city features an exciting nightlife with a host of exotic pubs. The weather of Bangalore is truly enjoyable and as a result, this city attracts thousands of travellers round the year and is a popular traveler destination.

Hassan - Hassan is the 4th largest city of Karnataka state and also the District headquarters of Hassan District. The scenic hill town of Hassan is located in the heart of Malnad. The place is called Hassan after the Goddess "Hasanamba", the goddess and presiding deity of the town. The picturesque town of Hassan is a suitable base for those who want to visit the archaeological and religious sites of Belur, Halebid and Shravanabelgola, all situated in close vicinity. And all of these form an integral part of the rich cultural heritage of Karnataka. This city was earlier named Simhasanapura and with time this name got abridged to Hassan. The most famous temple here, in the heart of the city, built in honour of the Goddess Hasanamba, this temple is opened only for a week in a year. Coffee, Black Pepper, Potato, Paddy and Sugarcane are the major agricultural crops.

Belur - The quaint little town is set elegantly on the banks of river Yagachi amidst lush surroundings. It was chosen as the capital of the Hoysalas, after the Sultans. The Hoysalas ruled this region between 11th and 13th centuries. They were great patrons of art and architecture and built a number of magnificent shrines during their 300 years reign. The temples and monuments at Belur are indeed the best Hoysala creations, showcasing their amazing architecture and sculptures in full glory. Belur was highly revered for its magnificent shrines and came to be known as the 'modern vaikuntha (heaven) of the earth'. The Hoysala temples are characterized by typical star shaped ground plan and are usually set on a platform. Today, this small town basking in the warmth of its luxurious greenery and glorious past is regarded as 'one of the jewels' of South Indian architecture. Its temples have become rich repositories of ancient Hindu Culture.

Halebid - The capital of the Hoysala Kingdom during the 12th century was called Halebid. It was a centre of some of the country's finest architectural structures. However in the later centuries when the Hoysala kingdom was taken over by the armies of Alauddin Khilji during the 14th century the kingdom was massacred of its structured and what was left was a ruinous end. Today's Halebid bears very little resemblance to its glorious past. It has some of the finest and ornate examples of Hoysala architecture. Two such examples would be the Hoysaleswara Temple - this temple was built by Ketamala and attributed it to Vishnuvardhana. The latter was a Hoysala King who had led many expeditions and was successful in consolidating South India. The temple complex has two temples in it each of which is rich in its sculptural attributes and ornate carvings. Kedareswara Temple - this is a Chalukyan styled temple that had two emblems of the Hoysala dynasty. It can be rightly called one of the finest examples of refined and artistic carvings where attention is given to every minute detail.

Mysore - Mysore is a city in the state of Karnataka, and the administrative seat of Mysore District, one of the largest districts. Patrons of art and culture the Wodeyars ruled Mysore kingdom and contributed significantly to the cultural growth of Mysore city. It was the former capital of the Kingdom of Mysore until 1947. Mysore is the name by which Karnataka State was known prior to 1973. It is the cultural capital of the Karnataka, has many educational, commercial, administrative centers and heritage monuments. It was the home for many great Musicians, Music composers, Dancers, Sanskrit scholars, Writers and in general intellectuals. The city with the majestic Mysore Palace, the Royal Mansions, Public buildings, Gardens, Water bodies and planned markets exhibit an indelible impression of the vision of the Maharajas, their Dewans and other talented luminaries on the City Municipality as early as 1862. The total harmony of buildings, sites, lakes, parks and open spaces of Mysore and the back drop of Chamundi hill adds to city's attraction. Mysore is called the City of Palaces as a number of palaces are situated in the city. Ambavilas Palace, the main palace of Mysore is one of the most visited monuments in India, even beating Taj Mahal. The city receives the maximum number of tourists during the Dussara festival which signifies the triumph of good over the evil and the worship of Devi Chamundeswari, is being celebrated with much pomp and glory as a State festival.

Kozhikode (Calicut) - Kozhikode or Calicut is one of the prominent trade and commerce center in Kerala. It was the capital town of the Zamorins who reigned at this region for a long period. Vasco de Gama landed here in AD1498 and since then Kozhikode became an important port in the Malabar region for the trade of Spices, Silk and other goods. Today this district is famous for its Lush Green Countryside, Beaches, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Rivers, Hillocks, Historical places etc. The friendly ambiance of the Kozhikode people is heart touching. The economy of Kozhikode mainly depends on agriculture and fisheries. The timber industry is also very powerful here. A large proportion of the population here is working in Middle East and their remittance to home plays an important part in the local economy. It is a main center for the exportation of Coconut, Coffee and Tea. The other main industries are Tile making and Saw mills. It is also famous for the variety of sweats produced in the city.

Cochin - Kochi (colonial name Cochin) is a vibrant city situated on the south-west coast of the Indian peninsula in the breathtakingly scenic and prosperous state of Kerala. Its strategic importance over the centuries is underlined by the sobriquet Queen of the Arabian Sea. Informally, Cochin is also referred to as the Gateway to Kerala. From time immemorial, the Arabs, British, Chinese, Dutch, and Portuguese have left indelible marks on the history and development of Cochin. Over the years, it has emerged as the commercial and industrial capital of Kerala and is perhaps the second most important city on the west coast of India (after Mumbai). Cochin is proud of its world class port and international airport that link it to many major cities worldwide. This lovely seaside city is flanked by the Western Ghats on the east and the Arabian Sea on the west. It is situated in Ernakulam district. Ernakulam is also the name of a town - the administrative capital of Ernakulam district but, for all practical purposes Ernakulam and Cochin, generally, refer to the same place.

Alleppey - Built in the 9th century AD, Alleppey called Alappuzha lies on the edge of the great Ashtamudi Lake. With the Arabian Sea on the west and a vast labyrinth of Lakes, Lagoons and several freshwater rivers criss-crossing it, Alappuzha is a district of immense natural beauty. Related to the Venice of the East by travellers from around the world, this Backwater Country is also home to diverse range of animals and birds. It has always been honoured a unique place in the maritime history of Kerala for its proximity to the sea. Alleppey has earned fame in the commercial world as the world's premier supplier of coir. It has emerged as a Backwater Tourist Centre, beckoning thousands of foreign tourists each year. Also famous for its Boat races, Houseboat Holidays, Beaches, Marine Products and Coir Industry. Every year, during August-September, Alleppey wakes up to the pulsating Nehru Cup Snake Boat Race, a water sport unique to Kerala.

Kovalam - The town of Kovalam is situated along the Malabar Coast in the state of Kerala. It is a famous beach destination visited by Indian and international tourists all round the year. The word 'Kovalam' in Malayalam stands for 'a groove of coconut trees'. It was a cluster of small fishing villages during the pre-Independence era that belonged to the state of Travancore. The earlier history of Kovalam is very obscure. The town of Kovalam came to the lime light during the reign of the Maharaja of Travancore in the 1930s. The Maharaja of Travancore was so impressed by the beauty of the place that he spent a lot of his leisure time on the beaches of Kovalam. He also invited his European friends over to this place and they made the place popular. It shot to fame during the 1970s, during the era of the hippies. The town witnessed a heavy influx of hippies taken in by the beauty of the place. Since then, Kovalam became famous among international tourists. Some small fishing villages still exist, which are at a distance of 04 km from the beachfront. Characterised by beaches, it has a huge population of fishermen and locals whose culture is regarded as susegad. Also, tourists visiting the destination tend to relax on beaches, eat and make merry, which is why Kovalam attracts a large number of international tourists

Day 01: Arrival in Mumbai (Bombay)

Traditional welcome upon arrival in Mumbai. Transfer to the Hotel in Mumbai. Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 02: In Mumbai

Morning breakfast at hotel. Start your day with an excursion to Elephanta Island an hour away from Mumbai Harbour. Motorboats ferry tourists across to the island from the jetty at the Gateway of India. The boat ride, itself, is interesting as you go past fishing boats, anchored ships, yachts and little islands. The island resembles twin hillocks rising from the sea and the caves are located halfway up the higher of the two. Hewn out of solid rock, the Elephanta Caves date between the 5th and 8th centuries, these caves were designated as World heritage site by UNESCO in 1987. The temple plan is designed in symmetry with the focal points worked out in a geometric Mandala, representing the cosmic field of energy. This complex is a collection of shrines, courtyards, inner cells, grand halls and porticos arranged in the splendid symmetry of Indian rock-cut architecture, and filled with exquisite stone sculptures of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. At the entrance to the caves is the famous Trimurti, the celebrated trinity of Elephanta : there's Lord Brahma the Creator, Lord Vishnu, the preserver and Lord Shiva the Destroyer. Unfortunately, many of the sculptures inside have been damaged by iconoclastic Portuguese rulers who took potshots at Hindu Gods with their rifles. And yet somehow, nothing has disturbed the sublime beauty of this place for centuries. Return and visit Gateway of India, It is one of the architectural marvel, located on the southern part of Mumbai on the shores of Arabian Sea. It is a combination of the "Indo-Sarcenic" architecture and was built in Yellow Basalt stone in 1924 to celebrate the arrival of King George V and Queen Mary. It was inaugurated by the Viceroy, the Earl of Reading on 4th Dec 1924. The Gateway of India became all the more symbolic when the last British Force left our country on 28th February 1948. Afterwards, proceed to Prince of Wales Museum, was set up in the early 20th century to commemorate the visit of the then Prince of Wales (King George V) to India. Designed by an eminent architect, George Wittet, the museum is an impressive heritage building of Mumbai. Built in 1905 to 1915, this museum served as a Children's Welfare Centre and a Military Hospital during the First World War. In 1922 however, it was transformed into Prince of Wales Museum. Artifacts from the Indus Valley Civilization and relics from the Gupta and Maurya periods. The rare Sculptures, Miniature Paintings, Decorative Arts, Arms and Armours, Bronze and Textile. Sections on Nepal / Tibet and Far Eastern Art lend the museum a larger perspective. Visit Jehangir Art Gallery located near Prince of Wales Museum in Kala Ghoda. Built in 1952, this mansion was founded by Sir Cowasji Jehangir on being constantly urged by K. K. Hebbarand and Dr. Homi Bhabha. This gallery is a great specimen of Indian Arts and sculpture and is a historic monument related with the renaissance of Indian arts. This gallery is a perfect place for all artists to exhibit their talent under common roof and for the art connoisseurs to take a look at their works. The gallery exhibits famous works by well-known Indian artists. There's plenty of art is displayed outside as well. It is full of artists offering their work for sale and also for commission assignments. Later drive to the Flora Fountain for a photo stop - This marvellous fountain was built in 1869, in honor of Sir Henry Bartle and Edward Frere. It is situated in the heart of the Mumbai city at a junction of five streets. The fountain has a figure of "Flora", the Roman Goddess of Flowers at the top. Proceed to visit Dhobi Ghat - The traditional open air laundry of Mumbai, where 200 dhobi families work together and continue to maintain their hereditary occupation. Overnight stay at Hotel.

Day 03: Mumbai / Bangalore (Flight)

Post Breakfast transfer to the Mumbai domestic airport to board flight for Bangalore.
On arrival transfer to the Hotel for check in. PM - Half day sightseeing tour of the "Garden City". Start by visiting the Lal Bagh Gardens laid out by Tipu Sultan and his father in the 18th century. The Lal Bagh has a variety of old trees, fountains, lotus pools, terraces and an assortment of tropical and sub-tropical herbs. Also visit the Bull Temple and drive past the Government Secretariat, Vidhan Soudha (Legislature building) and Cubbon Park. Overnight stay at Hotel.

Day 04: Bangalore / Sravanbelagola / Hassan (187 kms / 04 hrs)

Post Breakfast drive to Hassan. En route stop to visit at Sravanabelagola located 143 kms from Bangalore. Here the statue of Lord Gomteshwara is hewn out of a single rock, it is said to be the world tallest monolithic statue. Every 12 years it is bathed with milk and honey. The statue is located at the top of the Vindhyagiri hill and to reach here one has to climb up 614 rock - cut steps. Afterwards continue your drive to Hassan. Arrive and check-in at hotel. Overnight stay at Hotel.

Day 05: Hassan / Belur / Halebid / Mysore

Breakfast at hotel and later check-out, Afterwards drive to Belur 38 Kms and Halebid to visit the magnificent carved temples. The Channekeshava temple of Belur built 900 years ago is an exquisite example of Hoysala art, This Magnificent shrine is dedicated to Lord Vijayanarayan, one of the twenty four incarnations of Vishnu, was built to commemorate the victory of Hoysalas over the Cholas in the great battle of Talakkad. Later visit Halebid's 16 Kms, 12th century Hoysaleswara and Kedareswara temples, which are masterpieces of Hindu art with elaborate and ornate carving of deities and scenes from the epics. After the visit drive to Mysore 151 Kms. On arrival check in at hotel for overnight stay.

Day 06: In Mysore

After breakfast, Full day sightseeing tour visiting the palace of the Maharaja built in 1911-12. The palace is a harmonious synthesis of the Hindu and Saracenic styles of architecture with archways, domes, turrets, colonnades and sculptures which are magnificent. Visit the Art Gallery. Later drive up to Chamundi hill to see Chamundeshwari Temple and have a panoramic view of Mysore from the top of the hill. On way back, pass through the impressive statue of Nandi Bull. Overnight stay at Hotel.

Day 07: Mysore / Kozhikode (206 kms/ 5.5 Hrs)

Post breakfast drive to Kozhikode (Calicut). En route you pass through small town, country side of South India. On arrival check in Hotel at Kozhikode. Kozhikode was the place where the famous sailor Vasco Da Gama landed in 1498. Historically these places have also been known for trading of spices. Evening visit the traditional bazaar here. Overnight stay at Hotel.

Day 08: Kozhikode / Cochin (205 kms/ 5.5 Hrs)

Breakfast and drive to Cochin. Presently Cochin is India's largest ports and also a bustling city. . Historically it has been associated with the Portuguese, Chinese, Dutch and Jews. It is also one of the major cultural centers of Kerala. On arrival in Cochin check in and overnight stay at Hotel.

Day 09: Cochin / Alleppey (60 Kms / 1.5 Hrs)

Breakfast at hotel and later check-out. This morning proceed for the city tour of the satellite towns of Kochi (Cochin) and Ernakulam. It comprises visits to the St. Francis Church and the Santa Cruz Basilica. While driving along the coastline, at the Harbour's mouth, one can also view the unique and still-in-use "Chinese Fishing Nets" which were introduced by the Chinese traders in the 14th century. Jewish Synagogue built in the year 1568, this magnificent synagogue is decorated with Belgian chandeliers and Chinese tiles. Mattancherry Palace even called Dutch Palace, this age old palace displays some mural paintings that depict scenes from the Ramayana as well as the Mahabharata, the two great Hindu epics. Tour ends in the Fort Kochi area where you can walk through the historical Dutch and Portuguese buildings. Some parts of this nearly 500-year-old Fort are still amazingly well preserved. Afterwards drive to Alleppey. Alleppey is a market town surrounded by coconut trees and has lots of canals. This is also the place where most of the backwaters tour takes place. Overnight stay at Hotel.

Day 10: In Alleppey (Snake Boat Race)

Post breakfast transfer to the venue of the Nehru boat race to view the race.
The guest can enjoy the colourful boat pageantry which precedes the boat race. Each snake Boat (Chundan Vallams) is rowed by 100 to 120 rowers who plough the waters to the tune of the legendry songs. The celebrations include music and folk dance performances apart from the boat race. Overnight stay at Hotel.

Day 11: Alleppey / Kovalam (160 Kms / 4.5 Hrs)

Post breakfast take the drive to Kovalam through the scenic routes of Kerala. Afternoon arrive Kovalam and check in Hotel. Kovalam is about 16 km from Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala State, is an internationally renowned beach destination. Kovalam has three crescent beaches formed by rocks projecting into the Arabian Sea. The three beaches of Kovalam – Lighthouse Beach, Samudra Beach, and Hawa Beach (Eve's beach) – are separated from each other by rocky shores Overnight stay at Hotel.

Day 12: In Kovalam

Post breakfast free time in Kovalam. The options include here to take Ayurveda massage or treatment (optional) to revitalize. Or just to take walk or relax by the beaches. Overnight stay at Hotel.

Day 13: Kovalam / Trivandrum / Mumbai

Breakfast at hotel. Morning free at leisure. In time transfer to Airport to board flight to Mumbai. Arrival Mumbai. Proceed to the International Airport for onward destination.