Tours Before and After the

Forest Dweller Retreat

 

South India offers the most magnificient temples in the world. Take the opportunity of being in this area to do some sightseeting both before and after the Retreat. Spiritual Journeys will arrange all details of your travel, to suit your dates and desires.

 

We have also arranged two pre-packaged tours: Chennai and the Massive Temples, and Cochin and the Smaller Temples, each available before and after the Retreat, so a total of four itineraries, details as below:

Chennai and the Massive Temples

Chennai – Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry – Tanjore – Trichy – Mysore – Coimbatore

Itinerary - BEFORE the Retreat
20 OCT: ARRIVE CHENNAI – MAHABALIPURAM

Spiritual journeys representative will meet you this morning at Chennai airport and proceed for a sightseeing tour of Chennai.

Chennai (Madras), the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu, is the most convenient point of entry for the state. Chennai has an international airport, a seaport, a rail and road network that links it to all major towns and cities of the region. Tamil Nadu is a bastion of Hinduism, whose past endures into the present. Visit The St. George Fort, built in 1653 & is currently used as the state government’s secretariat. Santhome Cathedral was built around 14th - 15th centuries built over the mortal remains of St Thomas (one of three Basilicas in the world that have been built over the tomb of an apostle - the other two are St.Peters Basilica, in Rome and Church of St.James the Great, in Santiago de Compostela, Spain) and is another colonial structure. Visit Kapaleeswara Temple; the oldest temple in Chennai dedicated to lord Shiva. Another important temple in the city is Parthasarthy Temple; dedicated to Lord Krishna. The Snake Park has a large collection of snakes and many other reptiles. Later drive to Mahabalipuram ( 1 ½ hrs). Overnight: Mahabalipuram.

21 OCT: MAHABALIPURAM – KANCHIPURAM – PONDICHERRY
Spend a part of the morning sightseeing Mahabalipuram - a sculptor's delight boasting of some of India's most sublime rock-cut art falling under the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the seven pagoda-style Shore temples, Rathas, Arjuna's Penance, Krishna Mandapa, Shore Temple, Mahishasurmardini Cave, Varaha Mandapa and Mandapams.

Mahabalipuram with its picturesque location on a rocky outcrop between the beach and a lagoon is a happy combination of history, good beaches, hassle-free tourism and fabulous fish and lobster! Despite the many visitors, drawn by the former Pallava dynasty town, the place is friendly, relaxed, and the villagers are remarkably unperturbed by their crowds of visitors. Mahabalipuram is renowned for its series of charming rathas and the spectacular carved relief depicting Arjuna's Penance.

Kanchipuram is known as one of India's Seven Sacred cities. Kanchipuram was, one of India's seven sacred cities. Kanchipuram was the historical capital of the Pallavas. It was under the Pallavas from 6th to 8th century A.D and later became the citadel of Cholas, Vijayanagar Kings, the Muslim and the British. It has been a centre of Tamil learning, cultural and religious background for centuries. Kanchi is also known centre of the finest silk sarees made in the country.

Later drive to Kanchipuram for sightseeing (All temples remains closed from 1100 hrs till 1600 hrs and non-Hindus are not allowed inside the sanctum sanctorum). Visit the most famous temple: Kailasnathar; built during 685 A.D. to 705 A.D, also visit other temples like Vaikuntaperumal, Ekambareshwara, Kamakshiamma and Sakiswarar. Go shopping at the world famous silk cloth markets. After sightseeing drive to Pondicherry (4 hrs). Overnight: Pondicherry.

Pondicherry: This attractive, former French colony exudes a Mediterranean aura with its sophisticated streets, elegant houses, ornamental gardens and the Hotel de Ville. Located along the Bay of Bengal the city didn't come under Indian rule until 1954. You can still hear a fair bit of French being spoken as you stroll along its remaining seaside villas and cobblestone streets. The city is really two towns in one: La Ville Blanche, the colonials' former playground, and La Ville Noire, the crowded inland area where the native Indian population was forced to live.

22 OCT: IN PODICHERRY
Spend the day here, in this lovely quaint town. Visit Sri Aurobindo Ashram and the Ecole Françoise d’Extreme Orient, which is nearly 100 years old and offers programs in Sanskrit, Tamil and Archaeological studies. The French Catholic influence is evident in a number of churches, notably the Jesuit Cathedral (Notre Dame de la Conception’ 16941-1765), The Church of Our Lady of Angels (1855), famous for an oil painting of our Lady of Assumption given to the Church by King Louis Napoleon III, and the 17th century Chapel of Our Sisters of Cluny. Also visit Auroville, the planned city of Dawn of the new world. In the evening take a walk at the promenade by the beach. You will find here some of the most significant landmarks like the statues of Mahatma Gandhi, Jeanne d'Arc, Duplex, the elegant War Memorial raised by the French, the heritage building "Mairie", the 27m tall old Lighthouse. Overnight: Pondicherry.

23 OCT: PONDICHERRY – CHIDAMBARAM - KUMBAKONAM
Drive to Kumbakonam en route visit Chidambaram (driving time 4 hrs) – one of the major Hindu pilgrimage places famous for the Nataraja Temple. It is one of the oldest temples in Tamil Nadu. The temple is located in the heart of the city, and covers an area of 40 acres, towers at a height of over 40 metres with roofs covered with gold plates. The presiding deity in the temple is Akasha Lingam and is represented by air, one of the five elements of the universe. Also visit Nalladai village, Sri Agneeswarar temple, Lord Agneeswara graces facing west against the traditional direction of east. There is slope like formation around the Shivalinga filled with water to calm down the Agni feature (heat) of the Lord. Drive on to Kumbakonam. Overnight: Kumbakonam.

Chidambaram (also Thillai) literally means the sky permeated by an atmosphere of intelligence and wisdom. According to legend, it was once a forest of tillai, a mangrove species of trees. There was once a small shrine on the banks of a tank. The saints Vyagrapada and Patanjali are said to have worshipped at this shrine, now called Thirumoolanathar. It is believed that their penance attained fruition with the revelation of Shiva's cosmic dance by Lord Nataraja on the auspicious Thai Poosam day.

In Kumbakonam, visit Adi Kumbeshwara Temple, believed to have been constructed in the 7th century A.D by the Cholas, Adi Kumbeshwara Temple is one of the grandest and the oldest Shiva temple in the town. The Nageswaran temple is an important Shaivite temple. Mahamaham Tank, is a place of great reverence and religious importance for the people of South India. One of the three major shrines of Lord Vishnu and one of the Divya Desams, the Sarangapani temple is a giant temple with twelve storey high tower was constructed in its present form by the Nayak Kings in the 15th century. Kashi Viswanath Temple is an important temple and is linked with the origins of the Mahamaham Festival.

Kumbakonam is the city of divine strife of South India situated in Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu. It is a fertile area situated on the banks of river Cauvery and one of its tributaries Arasalaru. The district has an ethos that is representative of the rural aesthetic tradition that, on the whole, still marks the life there. This is the picturesque location and the lush green valleys will take you to another world of serenity.


24 OCT: KUMBAKONAM – TANJORE
After breakfast drive to Tanjore (also called Thanjavur) (1 hour). Visit Brihadeshwara temple built by Raja and is termed as the crowning glory of Chola temple architecture and falls under the World Heritage sites. Visit Thanjavur Palace, which was constructed in 1550 with huge corridors, spacious halls, observation and arsenal towers. Saraswati Mahal Library houses some of the most important oriental manuscripts collections in India. Established around 1700 AD, the library contains a collection of over 44,000 palm leaves, and paper manuscripts in Indian and European languages.

Tanjore or Thanjavur as it was earlier called was the capital of the Chola Empire from the 10th century to the 14th century A.D. and later became a part of the Vijaynagar kingdom. It is the literary and religious centre of the South. The celebrated temple Brihadeshra built by the Chola King during the 11th century is its major attraction. The Saraswati Mahal library, dating back from the time of the Marathas, contains a rare collection of books and manuscripts on paper and palm leaves.


25 OCT: TANJORE – TRICHY – MADURAI
Drive to Madurai & en route visit Trichy (driving time of 5 hrs). Trichy offers a most famous landmark in this bustling town, the Rock Fort Temple, a spectacular monument perched on a massive rocky outcrop. The Sri Ranganathanswami Temple is one of the largest and most interesting temple complexes in India, built on an island in the middle of the Cauvery River and covers a staggering 2.5 sq km. Follow this by a visit to Jambukeshwara temple. Later drive to Madurai. Overnight: Madurai.

Trichy is a city surrounded by the rock fort. On the top of the rock there is a fort and a temple. After crossing 434 rocks cut steps, there is a temple called Mathrubhutewarar temple, which is dedicated to Lord Siva. There is another temple called Ucchi Pillar temple, which is dedicated to Lord Ganesha and located at the top of the rock. The entire city can be seen from this place. Srirangam temple and Sri Jambukeswarar temple are famous in Trichy.

Madurai with its 2500 year old history is the oldest city in Tamilnadu both historically and as per mythology. Legend says that Madurai was originally called a forest Kadambavanam. Once a merchant saw Indra - the king of Devas (Gods) worshipping a Swayambhulingam under a kadamba tree in the forest. This incident was reported by Dhananjayan (the merchant) to the king Kulasekara Pandian. The king immediately cleared the forest and built a temple around the lingam.


26 OCT: IN MADURAI
Visit Meenakshi Sundareshwar, Thirumalainayak’s Palace, Gandhi Museum (closed on all National Holidays), and, the interesting Flower market with an experience of a rickshaw ride in the temple town. In the evening visit the famous Meenakshi Sundareshwar Temple to attend the Aarti (Prayers) and participate (when allowed) unique rituals and ceremonies. Overnight: Madurai.

27 OCT: MADURAI – COIMBATORE
After a leisurely breakfast, drive to Coimbatore (5 hrs), and arrive at Vaidyagrama Healing Village.


“End of Services Arranged by Spiritual Journeys”


Itinerary - AFTER the Retreat

2 NOV: COIMBATORE – MADURAI
After your breakfast and good byes at Vaidyagrama, your vehicle will transfer you to Madurai, a drive of 5 hours. Check-in and spend the rest of the day at your hotel. Overnight: Madurai.

Madurai with its 2500 year old history is the oldest city in Tamilnadu both historically and as per mythology. Legend says that Madurai was originally called a forest Kadambavanam. Once a merchant saw Indra - the king of Devas (Gods) worshipping a Swayambhulingam under a kadamba tree in the forest. This incident was reported by Dhananjayan (the merchant) to the king Kulasekara Pandian. The king immediately cleared the forest and built a temple around the lingam.


3 NOV: IN MADURAI
Visit Meenakshi Sundareshwar, Thirumalainayak’s Palace, Gandhi Museum (closed on all National Holidays), and, the interesting Flower market with an experience of a rickshaw ride in the temple town. In the evening visit the famous Meenakshi Sundareshwar Temple to attend the Aarti (Prayers) and participate (when allowed) unique rituals and ceremonies. Overnight: Madurai.


4 NOV: MADURAI – TRICHY – TANJORE
After breakfast drive to Tanjore en route visiting Trichy (driving time of 5 hrs). Trichy offers a most famous landmark in this bustling town, the Rock Fort Temple, a spectacular monument perched on a massive rocky outcrop. The Sri Ranganathanswami Temple is one of the largest and most interesting temple complexes in India, built on an island in the middle of the Cauvery River and covers a staggering 2.5 sq km. Follow this by a visit to Jambukeshwara temple. Later drive to Tanjore (also called Thanjavur). Overnight: Tanjore.

Trichy is a city surrounded by the rock fort. On the top of the rock there is a fort and a temple. After crossing 434 rocks cut steps, there is a temple called Mathrubhutewarar temple, which is dedicated to Lord Siva. There is another temple called Ucchi Pillar temple, which is dedicated to Lord Ganesha and located at the top of the rock. The entire city can be seen from this place. Srirangam temple and Sri Jambukeswarar temple are famous in Trichy.

5 NOV: TANJORE - KUMBAKONAM
Visit Brihadeshwara temple built by Raja and is termed as the crowning glory of Chola temple architecture and falls under the World Heritage sites. Visit Thanjavur Palace, which was constructed in 1550 with huge corridors, spacious halls, observation and arsenal towers. Saraswati Mahal Library houses some of the most important oriental manuscripts collections in India. Established around 1700 AD, the library contains a collection of over 44,000 palm leaves, and paper manuscripts in Indian and European languages. Drive to Kumbakonam (1 hr).

Tanjore or Thanjavur as it was earlier called was the capital of the Chola Empire from the 10th century to the 14th century A.D. and later became a part of the Vijaynagar kingdom. It is the literary and religious centre of the South. The celebrated temple Brihadeshra built by the Chola King during the 11th century is its major attraction. The Saraswati Mahal library, dating back from the time of the Marathas, contains a rare collection of books and manuscripts on paper and palm leaves.

In Kumbakonam visit Adi Kumbeshwara Temple, believed to have been constructed in the 7th century A.D by the Cholas, one of the grandest and oldest Shiva temple in town. Nageswaran temple is an important Shaivite temple. Mahamaham Tank, is a place of great reverence and religious importance for the people of South India. One of the three major shrines of Lord Vishnu and one of the Divya Desams, the Sarangapani temple is a giant temple with twelve storey high tower constructed in its present form by the Nayak Kings in the 15th century. Kashi Viswanath Temple is an important temple and is linked with the origins of the Mahamaham Festival. Evening is at leisure. Overnight: Kumbakonam.

Kumbakonam is the city of divine strife of South India situated in Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu. It is a fertile area situated on the banks of river Cauvery and one of its tributaries Arasalaru. The district has an ethos that is representative of the rural aesthetic tradition that, on the whole, still marks the life there. This is the picturesque location and the lush green valleys will take you to another world of serenity.


6 NOV: KUMBAKONAM – CHIDAMBARAM - PONDICHERRY

Drive to Pondicherry en route visit Chidambaram (driving time of 4 hours) – one of the major Hindu pilgrimage places famous for the Nataraja Temple. It is one of the oldest temples in Tamil Nadu. The temple is located in the heart of the city, and covers an area of 40 acres, towers at a height of over 40 metres with roofs covered with gold plates. The presiding deity in the temple is Akasha Lingam and is represented by air, one of the five elements of the universe. Also visit Nalladai village, Sri Agneeswarar temple, Lord Agneeswara graces facing west against the traditional direction of east. There is slope like formation around the Shivalinga filled with water to calm down the Agni feature (heat) of the Lord. Drive on to Pondicherry, with the evening at leisure. Overnight: Pondicherry.

Chidambaram (also Thillai) literally means the sky permeated by an atmosphere of intelligence and wisdom. According to legend, it was once a forest of tillai, a mangrove species of trees. There was once a small shrine on the banks of a tank. The saints Vyagrapada and Patanjali are said to have worshipped at this shrine, now called Thirumoolanathar. It is believed that their penance attained fruition with the revelation of Shiva's cosmic dance by Lord Nataraja on the auspicious Thai Poosam day.


7 NOV: IN PODICHERRY
Spend the day here, in this lovely quaint town. Visit Sri Aurobindo Ashram and the Ecole Françoise d’Extreme Orient, which is nearly 100 years old and offers programs in Sanskrit, Tamil and Archaeological studies. The French Catholic influence is evident in a number of churches, notably the Jesuit Cathedral (Notre Dame de la Conception’ 16941-1765), The Church of Our Lady of Angels (1855), famous for an oil painting of our Lady of Assumption given to the Church by King Louis Napoleon III, and the 17th century Chapel of Our Sisters of Cluny. Also visit Auroville, the planned city of Dawn of the new world. In the evening take a walk at the promenade by the beach. You will find here some of the most significant landmarks like the statues of Mahatma Gandhi, Jeanne d'Arc, Duplex, the elegant War Memorial raised by the French, the heritage building "Mairie", the 27m tall old Lighthouse. Overnight: Pondicherry.

Pondicherry: This attractive, former French colony exudes a Mediterranean aura with its sophisticated streets, elegant houses, ornamental gardens and the Hotel de Ville. Located along the Bay of Bengal the city didn't come under Indian rule until 1954. You can still hear a fair bit of French being spoken as you stroll along its remaining seaside villas and cobblestone streets. The city is really two towns in one: La Ville Blanche, the colonials' former playground, and La Ville Noire, the crowded inland area where the native Indian population was forced to live.

8 NOV: PONDICHERRY - KANCHIPURAM – MAHABALIPURAM
Drive to Mahabalipuram en route visiting Kanchipuram (driving time 5 hrs). (All temples remains closed from 1100 hrs till 1600 hrs and non-Hindus are not allowed inside the sanctum sanctorum). Visit the most famous temple: Kailasnathar; built during 685 A.D. to 705 A.D, also visit other temples like Vaikuntaperumal, Ekambareshwara, Kamakshiamma and Sakiswarar. Go shopping at the world famous silk cloth markets.

Kanchipuram is known as one of India's Seven Sacred cities. Kanchipuram was, one of India's seven sacred cities. Kanchipuram was the historical capital of the Pallavas. It was under the Pallavas from 6th to 8th century A.D and later became the citadel of Cholas, Vijayanagar Kings, the Muslim and the British. It has been a centre of Tamil learning, cultural and religious background for centuries. Kanchi is also known centre of the finest silk sarees made in the country.

Later drive to Mahabalipuram and upon arrival check-in at the hotel. If time permits sightseeing tour of Mahabalipuram; a sculptor's delight boasting of some of India's most sublime rock-cut art falling under the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the seven pagoda-style Shore temples, Rathas, Arjuna's Penance, Krishna Mandapa, Shore Temple, Mahishasurmardini Cave, Varaha Mandapa and Mandapams. Overnight: Mahabalipuram.

Mahabalipuram with its picturesque location on a rocky outcrop between the beach and a lagoon is a happy combination of history, good beaches, hassle-free tourism and fabulous fish and lobster! Despite the many visitors, drawn by the former Pallava dynasty town, the place is friendly, relaxed, and the villagers are remarkably unperturbed by their crowds of visitors. Mahabalipuram is renowned for its series of charming rathas and the spectacular carved relief depicting Arjuna's Penance.

9 NOV: MAHABALIPURAM – CHENNAI - DEPARTURE
Depart early for Chennai (1 .5 hrs). Spend part of the day sightseeing, and then drop-off at the airport for your onward flight.

Chennai (earlier Madras) is the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu and most convenient point of entry for the state. Chennai has an international airport, a seaport, a rail and road network that links it to all major towns and cities of the region. Tamil Nadu is a bastion of Hinduism, whose past endures into the present. Visit St. George Fort, built in 1653 & is currently used as the state government’s secretariat. Santhome Cathedral was built around 14th - 15th centuries and is another colonial structure. Kapaleeswara Templeis the oldest temple in Chennai dedicated to Lord Shiva. Parthasarthy Temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna. The Snake Park has a large collection of snakes and many other reptiles. Transfer to Chennai aiprot for your onward flight this evening (or dawn on 10 Nov).


“End of Services as Arranged by Spiritual Journeys”

HOTELS ENVISAGED:

City Hotel, Room Type
No of nights
Madurai Courtyard by Marriott, Standard
2
Thanjavur Sangam Thanjavur, Executive Room
1
Kumbakonam Indeco Swamimalai, Deluxe Room
1
Pondicherry Residency Tower, Executive Room
2
Mahabalipuram Ideal Beach Resort, Garden Room
1

 

COSTS:
For either tour, minimum 2 paying guests traveling together staying in a double / twin sharing room, using a Medium Car: US$ 1,295.00 per person.

 

TOUR PRICE INCLUDES:
• Accommodation as per above itinerary in twin share/double rooms,
• Tours and transfers as specified including entry fees, on a private basis in an air-conditioned vehicle,
• Services of a local English speaking guide,
• All flights in economy class,
• Breakfasts only - no other meals, and,
• Current applicable VAT Government tax and services charge.

TOUR PRICES EXCLUDES:
• International and domestic airfares and taxes,
• Visa expenses, processing and issuance fees,
• Meals other than specified as included,
• Travel Insurance or expenses of a personal nature (mini-bar, phone call, laundry, etc.),
• Tips or gratuities to guides/drivers/porters / hotel, restaurant or boat staff, etc.,
• Drinks or personal expenses or entrance fees for any extra sightseeing or optional activities,
• Hotel early check- in and late check-out, and,
• Optional tour(s).

Cochin and the Smaller Temples

Itinerary - BEFORE the Retreat

Cochin – Alleppey – Bangalore – Hassan – Mysore – Ooty - Coimbatore

All travel will be by road except COCHIN to BANGALORE which will be by air.

https://goo.gl/maps/UWykCyM5fWg8U5j89

DAY BY DAY
22 OCT: COCHIN – ALLEPPY

Spiritual Journeys representative will meet you as you arrive into Cochin airport early this morning, and drive to Alleppey (2 hrs). Upon arrival, embark on your personal house boat. Journey begins with you having lunch as sail the backwaters world with sailing boats passing thorough tropical countryside. Enjoy the view of palm fringed narrow canals winding through the vast expanse of paddy fields, and, neat tiny hamlets lined along either side of the canals are panoramic sights. On the way see the Chinese fishing nets, the reminiscent of our past trade links, groups of duck swimming around and colourful birds flying across the sky remains as enduring pictures treasured in our memories, you can try your hands in fishing from the houseboats. In the evening enjoy beautiful sunset from the sun-deck of the houseboats. Overnight: Your Houseboat.

Alleppey: a calm backwater town is the center for backwater cruises in Kerala. It has a large network of water canals, which passes through the town, provides its lifeline & has a long sandy beach. Alleppey is also famous for Speculative Nehru Trophy Boat Race, celebrated every year- in month of August, the most colourful and exotic snake boat race in Kerala. The city is known for coir products.

23 OCT: ALLEPPY – COCHIN – BANGALORE (by air) – HASSAN
After breakfast on board, disembark at Alleppey, and drive to Cochin airport (1 ½ hrs) to board your flight for Bangalore. Upon arrival, drive to Hassan, en route enjoy the splendour of Shravanbelgola (driving time of 4 ½ hrs) - one of most important Jain Pilgrim centre. Here is the 17m high monolith of Lord Bahubali - the world’s tallest monolithic statue. Continue your drive to Hassan. Overnight: Hassan.

Sravanabelgola is one of the most important Jain pilgrim centres & houses the world's tallest monolithic statue of Lord Bahubali standing tall at 27 meters. Thousands of devotees congregate here to perform the Mahamastakabhisheka a spectacular ceremony held once in 12 years, when the 1000 year old statue is anointed with milk, curds, ghee, saffron, and gold coins. Channarayapatna, Ramanathpur, Gorur and Manjarabad are the other places of interest around Hassan.


24 OCT: HASSAN - BELUR – HALEBID – MYSORE
Depart early for your full day of sightseeing in Belur, Halebid & Srirangapatnam, and then onto Mysore (driving time of 5 hrs). Overnight: Mysore.

Halebid is the ancient capital of Hoysala Empire. In Halebid visit the Hoysalesvara Temple of 12th century and see half-life size statues of Hindu deities, with minute details of each, all around the temple. The temples of Halebid – like those of Belur – bear mute testimony to the rich, cultural heritage of Karnataka. The Hoysaleshwara Temple, dating back to the 21st century, is astounding for its wealth of sculpture details. The walls of the temple are covered with an endless variety of Gods and Goddesses, animals, birds and dancing girls. On to Belur.

Belur is located on the banks of the river Yagachi. It was once capital of the Hoysala Empire, today made unforgettable for its exquisite temples. The Shennakeshava temple is one of the finest examples of Hoysala architecture. It took 103 years to complete this architectural marvel. Elephants, episodes from mythology & sensual dancers - you will find it all in the awe–inspiring & intricate workmanship with Hand–lathe–turned filigreed pillars supporting the temple. The group of Chennakesava Temples are famous for its architecture and sculptures. Drive to Mysore.

 

25 OCT: IN MYSORE
Visit the Palace of the Maharaja (Emperor) built in 1911 – 1912. The palace is a harmonious synthesis of the Hindu and saracenic styles of architecture with magnificent archways, domes, turrets, colonnades and sculptures. Also visit the St. Philomenas cathedral followed by a drive up to Chamundi hill to see Chamundeshwari Temple and a panoramic view of Mysore. On the way back, see the Nandi Bull. If time and interest permits, visit Brindavan gardens & spectacular musical fountains, followed by flower and sandal wood market, handicraft museum. Overnight: Mysore.

Mysore, the capital city of the Wodeyars has always enchanted its admirers with its quaint charm, rich heritage, magnificent palaces, beautifully laid-out gardens, imposing buildings, broad shady avenues and sacred temples. Mysore races its history back to the mythical past, when Goddess Chamundeshwari of Chamundi Hills killed the wicked buffalo-headed demon, Mahishasura. Mysore Dasara is the celebration of this victory of good over evil.


26 OCT: MYSORE – OOTY
Depart early for your drive to Ooty (3 ½ hrs). In Ooty visit Botanical Gardens, Ooty Lake, surrounded by green hills and huge trees. The Fern Hill Palace was the erstwhile summer residence of the Maharaja of Mysore. Ooty Golf Links, set at an altitude of 7200 feet. Dodabetta Peak is the highest point in South India. Pine Forest is a scenic canvas to the valleys and the vast landscapes of the Nilgiris. Overnight: Ooty.

Ooty: Known as the queen of hills and the most popular hill station in the South India. It is located in the Nilgiri hills at 2286 meter above sea level. With its rolling lawns and salubrious climate it became the important hill station in South India and the summer capital of the former Madras presidency. Ooty still has the touch of the Raj about it, with its cottages and pretty gardens and stone churches that stands among the groves of pine. Old summer palaces of maharajas are now hotels and set in their beautiful parks.


27 OCT: OOTY – COIMBATORE
Take the toy train from Ooty to Coonoor- this train runs between Metupalaiyam-Udagamandalam (Ooty), via Coonoor, in the Nilgiri Hills. Later drive to Coimbatore (1 ½ hrs), and check in at Vaidyagrama Healing Village.

“End of Services as Arranged by Spiritual Journeys”

HOTELS ENVISAGED:

City Hotel, Room Type
No of nights
Alleppey Deluxe House Boat
1
Hassan Hoysala Village Resort, Sup Cottage
1
Mysore Grand Mercure, Deluxe Room
2
Ooty Fortune Sullivan Court, Standard Room
1

 

COSTS:
For either tour, minimum 2 paying guests traveling together staying in a double / twin sharing room, using a Medium Car: US$ 1,240.00 per person.

 

TOUR PRICE INCLUDES:
• Accommodation as per above itinerary in twin share/double rooms,
• Tours and transfers as specified including entry fees, on a private basis in an air-conditioned vehicle,
• Services of a local English speaking guide,
• One-time experience of Nilgiri Express - (Joy train ride in general class (subject to operation)),
• Flight between Cochin and Bangalore in economy class,
• Breakfasts only - no other meals except on House boat where all three meals are included, and,
• Current applicable VAT Government tax and services charge.

TOUR PRICES EXCLUDES:
• International and domestic airfares and taxes,
• Visa expenses, processing and issuance fees,
• Meals other than specified as included,
• Travel Insurance or expenses of a personal nature (mini-bar, phone call, laundry, etc.),
• Tips or gratuities to guides/drivers/porters / hotel, restaurant or boat staff, etc.,
• Drinks or personal expenses or entrance fees for any extra sightseeing or optional activities,
• Hotel early check- in and late check-out, and,
• Optional tour(s).

 


Itinerary - AFTER the Retreat

Coimbatore – Ooty – Mysore – Halebid – Belur - Bangalore – Alleppey – Cochin departure

All travel will be by road except BANGALORE to COCHIN which will be by air.

https://goo.gl/maps/UWykCyM5fWg8U5j89


ITINERARY
2 NOV: COIMBATORE – OOTY

After your breakfast and your good byes at Vaidyagrama, your vehicle will transfer you to Ooty, a drive of 2 hours. In Ooty visit Botanical Gardens, Ooty Lake, surrounded by green hills and huge trees. The Fern hill Palace was the erstwhile summer residence of the Maharaja of Mysore. Ooty Golf Links, set at an altitude of 7200 feet. Dodabetta Peak is the highest point in South India. Pine Forest is a scenic canvas to the valleys and the vast landscapes of the Nilgiris. Overnight: Ooty.

Ooty: Known as the queen of hills and the most popular hill station in the South India. It is located in the Nilgiri hills at 2286 meter above sea level. With its rolling lawns and salubrious climate it became the important hill station in South India and the summer capital of the former Madras presidency. Ooty still has the touch of the Raj about it, with its cottages and pretty gardens and stone churches that stands among the groves of pine. Old summer palaces of maharajas are now hotels and set in their beautiful parks.

3 NOV: OOTY – MYSORE
After breakfast, take the toy train from Ooty to Coonoor - this train runs between Metupalaiyam-Udagamandalam (Ooty), via Coonoor, in the Nilgiri Hills. Later depart by road to Mysore (3 1/2 hrs). Overnight: Mysore.

Mysore, the capital city of the Wodeyars has always enchanted its admirers with its quaint charm, rich heritage, magnificent palaces, beautifully laid-out gardens, imposing buildings, broad shady avenues and sacred temples. Mysore races its history back to the mythical past, when Goddess Chamundeshwari of Chamundi Hills killed the wicked buffalo-headed demon, Mahishasura. Mysore Dasara is the celebration of this victory of good over evil.


4 NOV: MYSORE - HASSAN

Spend the day sightseeing in Mysore, and then drive to Hassan (3 hrs). Overnight: Hassan.

Mysore, the City of Palaces, is the sandalwood and incense capital of the world & some of India’s finest crafts, such as printed silk, inlaid, furniture and ivory carvings are also found here. Mysore retains a quaint charm that never fails to enchant. Visit the Palace of the Maharaja (Emperor) built in 1911 – 1912. The palace is a harmonious synthesis of the Hindu and saracenic styles of architecture with magnificent archways, domes, turrets, colonnades and sculptures. Also visit the St. Philomenas cathedral followed by a drive up to Chamundi hill to see Chamundeshwari Temple and a panoramic view of Mysore.

5 NOV: HALEBID – BELUR - SRAVANABELGOLA - BANGALORE
Depart early and spend the day sightseeing in Belur, Halebid and Sravanabelgola, then drive to Bangalore (driving time 5 1/2 hrs). Overnight: Bangalore.

Halebid is the ancient capital of Hoysala Empire. In Halebid visit the Hoysalesvara Temple of 12th century and see half-life size statues of Hindu deities, with minute details of each, all around the temple. The temples of Halebid – like those of Belur – bear mute testimony to the rich, cultural heritage of Karnataka. The Hoysaleshwara Temple, dating back to the 21st century, is astounding for its wealth of sculpture details. The walls of the temple are covered with an endless variety of Gods and Goddesses, animals, birds and dancing girls. On to Belur.

Belur is located on the banks of the river Yagachi. It was once capital of the Hoysala Empire, today made unforgettable for its exquisite temples. The Shennakeshava temple is one of the finest examples of Hoysala architecture. It took 103 years to complete this architectural marvel. Elephants, episodes from mythology & sensual dancers - you will find it all in the awe–inspiring & intricate workmanship with Hand–lathe–turned filigreed pillars supporting the temple. The group of Chennakesava Temples are famous for its architecture and sculptures.

Sravanabelgola is one of the most important Jain pilgrim centres & houses the world's tallest monolithic statue of Lord Bahubali standing tall at 27 meters. Thousands of devotees congregate here to perform the Mahamastakabhisheka a spectacular ceremony held once in 12 years, when the 1000 year old statue is anointed with milk, curds, ghee, saffron, and gold coins.

 

6 NOV: BANGALORE – COCHIN (by air) – ALLEPPEY
Early morning transfer to Bangalore airport to board flight for Cochin. Upon arrival, drive to Alleppey (1 ½ hrs) and embark on your personal house boat. Journey begins with you having lunch as sail the backwaters world with sailing boats
passing thorough tropical countryside. Enjoy the view of palm fringed narrow canals winding through the vast expanse of paddy fields, and, neat tiny hamlets lined along either side of the canals are panoramic sights. On the way see the Chinese fishing nets, the reminiscent of our past trade links, groups of duck swimming around and colourful birds flying across the sky remains as enduring pictures treasured in our memories, you can try your hands in fishing from the houseboats. In the evening enjoy beautiful sunset from the sun-deck of the houseboats. Overnight: Your Houseboat.

Alleppey: a calm backwater town is the center for backwater cruises in Kerala. It has a large network of water canals, which passes through the town, provides its lifeline & has a long sandy beach. Alleppey is also famous for Speculative Nehru Trophy Boat Race, celebrated every year- in month of August, the most colourful and exotic snake boat race in Kerala. The city is known for coir products.


7 NOV: ALLEPPEY - COCHIN DEPARTURE

After breakfast, disembark at Alleppey, and drive to Cochin airport (1 ½ hrs) to board your onward flight.

 

“End of Services as Arranged by Spiritual Journeys”

HOTELS ENVISAGED:

City Hotel, Room Type
No of nights
Alleppey Deluxe House Boat
1
Hassan Hoysala Village Resort, Sup Cottage
1
Mysore Grand Mercure, Deluxe Room
2
Ooty Fortune Sullivan Court, Standard Room
1

 

COSTS:
For either tour, minimum 2 paying guests traveling together staying in a double / twin sharing room, using a Medium Car: US$ 1,240.00 per person.

 

TOUR PRICE INCLUDES:
• Accommodation as per above itinerary in twin share/double rooms,
• Tours and transfers as specified including entry fees, on a private basis in an air-conditioned vehicle,
• Services of a local English speaking guide,
• One-time experience of Nilgiri Express - (Joy train ride in general class (subject to operation)),
• Flight between Cochin and Bangalore in economy class,
• Breakfasts only - no other meals except on House boat where all three meals are included, and,
• Current applicable VAT Government tax and services charge.

TOUR PRICES EXCLUDES:
• International and domestic airfares and taxes,
• Visa expenses, processing and issuance fees,
• Meals other than specified as included,
• Travel Insurance or expenses of a personal nature (mini-bar, phone call, laundry, etc.),
• Tips or gratuities to guides/drivers/porters / hotel, restaurant or boat staff, etc.,
• Drinks or personal expenses or entrance fees for any extra sightseeing or optional activities,
• Hotel early check- in and late check-out, and,
• Optional tour(s).

REGISTRATION: To regiser for any of the above tours, complete and submit the Regstration Form.

Additional Information: Please e-mail Deepak Singh or telephone Deepak Singh at +1-508-358-4267.