Cochin - Ooty - Kabini - Mysore - Hassan(Belur/Halebid) - Bangalore


1. Day

In the morning flight from bombay / delhi to cochin or as an extension from our tour SOUTHERN ODYSSEY. Cochin is an ancient city . Ages ago the phoenicians came in search of spices , sandalwood and ivory , arabs also made their mark and local fishermen use chinese fishing nets until this day . In downtown cochin exists a small community of decendents of jewish settlers who fled palestine 2000 years ago . A synagogue , built in the 16th century , is the centre of cochin's "jewish town" . The the mattancherry or dutch palace with its fine frescoes was presented to the hindu raja as a gesture of good will more than 400 years ago . Cochin wouldn't be the same without its hinterland , a spiderweb of waterways and canals , the backwaters In the afternoon we take a romantic boatride before we enjoy an important part of the cultural side of kerala , a kathakali dance performance .

2. Day
Cochin - Ooty

Practically cut away from the rest of india by the western ghats or " blue mountains before easy modes Of transportation , kerala has developed its own culture , customs and ways of life . The narrow fertile strip on the malabar coast is india's most populated area and we enter from one town or settlement to the next . The dissemination of christianity is proved by numerous churches , old and new . More than 500 years ago , when vasco da gamas ships arrived , the newcomers were more than surprised to find christianity already established along the malabar coast as also annoyed that the local christians had never heard of the pope . As our vehicle climbs higher up the blue mountains the scenes of pulsating life disappear and tranquility and calm takes over . At every double bend new scenery and new breath taking views open up . Finally we reach ooty or ootaca mund , at a height of 2268 mtrs above sea level . This hillstation near the tri-junction of tamilnadu , kerala and karnataka was founded by the british to serve as the summer headquaters of the government of madras . Today the affluent return regularly to the valleys of ooty during summertime to seek refuge from the heat of the plains . The lake of ooty is surrounded by old bungalows and cosy hotels , best seen during our boatride .Anthropologists from all over the world camp for studies in the hills around ooty , since here is the home of the " todas " negroid tribals , still existing but sadly on the verge of extinction .

3. Day
Ooty - Kabini

Our route downhill brings us to the 573 sqkm nagarhole wildlife sanctuary translated as snakestream ( nagar - snake , hole - stream ) . Here you are invited to a memorable wildlife holiday at the kabini river lodge . The game viewing tour into the park is conducted by our experienced drivers and accompanied by naturalists , who strive to make your visit very rewarding and informative . The day settles with a buffet - dinner around a camp-fire - awaking feelings of romance , youth and adventure .

4. Day
Kabini - Mysore

After early morning tea ao coffee served outside the rooms we drive into the park and experience a coracle tour on the kabini river . A coracle is a round native boat , something like a big basket . Accompanied by our naturalist we view aquatic birdlife and spot crocodile (s) and other animals on the water's edge . Many of us are drawn to stay on but after a late breakfast our next interesting destination mysore awaits . We reach the palace city in the afternoon and after a short rest visit the brindavan gardens , illuminated and imaginative like a story from 1001 nights .

5. Day

The guardian and powerful deity of mysore is the godess chamundi . On top of a hill , overlooking the city , thrones a temple dedicated to the godess and visited by many pilgrims the year around . Halfway downhill stands majesti cally the monolithic statue of a nandi - bull , over 5 mtrs in height . Mysore , rightly named the city of palaces can account for 21 palaces , huge and small , gorgeous and needing repair . The main maharaja palace , where to this day the royal family resides is one part , has been built with lots of oriental fantasy and extravagance at the end of last century . Dream amidst the royal splendour of yesteryears ! The afternoon will show us srirangapatnam , the short lived capital of the muslim rulers hyder ali and tippu sultan . Here was the last bastion against the british empire and the battle fiald where the brave tippu sultan was finally defeated by the british in 1799 . While not much is left of the fort razed to the ground by the british , the summer palace and the gumbaz are an excellent example of indo - saracenic archi- tecture in south india . About an hours drive will bring us to the channakeswarara temple in somnathpur , architecturally the best among the many beautiful hoysala temples .

6. Day
Mysore - Hassan - Belur und  Halebid

After a morning through a fertile land amidst sugarcane fields , beautiful while flowering , the special green of rice fields , silver streams , rich villages and markets , we reach hassan , the starting point for our visit to the temples of belur and halebid in the afternoon . These masterpieces of the hoysala craftsmen might rival anything else in the world in their fineness , delicacy , intricacy and the beauty of the innumerable figures and ornaments carved out of stone . Every inch of the outside walls and most of the interior is covered with an endless variety of hindu gods and godesses , sages , stylished animals , scenes of war , hunting , music and dance , all more humanlike in scale than the soaring temples found elsewhere in south india.

7. Day
Hassan - Srvana Belgola - Bangalore

The 17 mtrs high statue of lord bahubali or sree gomnateshwara is visible from quite a distance o top of the indragiri hill at sravana belgola . The sweat of the climbsteps ) or the unusual transport , carried in a chair , will be immeadiately wiped out of your mind when suddenly conforted by the sight of this most conforted by the sight of this most impressive sky clad statue .the monk on top of the hill as srvana belgola literally translates , has been cut out of hard granite rock , starting with the curls of the hair and ending with the nails of the toes , more than 1000 years ago . We reach bangalore , the garden city for late lunch . Bangalore the modern capital of karnataka , is a pleasant residential city with good climate , many parks , and an astonishing night- life for indian standards . Vidhan soudha , the seat of the state legislature , has been built after independence and is the pride of the people of bangalore since most of the other state buildings have been taken over either from the british or maharajas - and it really is an impressive palatial building . A refreshing walk through lal-bagh , alive mostly with lovers and joggers , is in contrast to impressions of most other indian cities and towns .

8. Day

We continue our sightseeing of bangalore depending on the time of your departure . Transfer to the airport and goodbye to a country full of temples and majestic statues , mountains and waterways , and most of all to a warm and peaceloving people .

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