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South Indian Images - Eclipse tour
Education / Learning Educational/ learning South Indian Images - Eclipse package

South Indian Images - Eclipse

Explore! Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.6 . Excellent
93%
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
14 days
From: $ 2,700 $ 193 / day
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Overview

Highlights

  • Annular eclipse - Watch the solar eclipse from the colonial hill station of Ooty
  • Mysore - Visit the Maharajah's Palace, one of the largest and most elaborate palaces in India
  • Madurai - Wind your way through 1000 ornately carved pillars in the Meenakshi Temple
  • Kochi - Explore the Portuguese influenced city by boat
  • Mamallapuram - Relax on the tropical beaches of the Bay of Bengal

Short Description

A journey across colourful landscapes taking in the annular solar eclipse at the colonial hill station of Ooty. From intricately carved temple complexes to lush jungle backwaters and historic harbour ports, travel by train, bus and riverboat climbing to the heights of the Western Ghats and dropping down to the Bay of Bengal in the Indian Ocean. This fast-paced adventure includes a little bit of everything southern India has to offer.

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport N/A
Start City N/A
End City Mamallapuram

Travel Theme

Education / Learning

Destinations

India

Cities & Attractions

N/A

N/A
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Itinerary

Day 1 - Join trip in Bangalore

Description

Our trip begins today in Bangalore.

Included Meals : None

Day 2 - Drive to Mysore and discover its magnificent palace

Description

We have a journey of around four hours by road to reach Mysore which offers the interested traveller a great deal including the huge Maharajah's Palace. Originally built in the 14th century, the palace has undergone two subsequent re-buildings and is today an opulent mixture of Hindu and British architecture. After exploring the palace we visit the enormous monolithic sculpture of the sacred bull Nandi, standing halfway up the Chamundi Hill. There will be some free time in the afternoon to explore at your own pace and you may wish to visit the Srirangapatnam Palace just outside the city, or see the historic art gallery in Jaganmohan Palace.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 3 - Take a game drive in Bandipur National Park

Description

Leaving Mysore, we drive to nearby Bandipur National Park. The park is home to a variety of animals such as the chital (spotted deer), monkeys, mongoose, panther and the Indian bison. The park's elephant population is one of the largest in the country and we may see some of them working in the forest. We take a game drive this afternoon before spending the night at a lodge on the outskirts of the park.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 4 - Morning nature walk before driving to Ooty

Description

Waking up early on Christmas Day, we take a nature walk in the park before driving to Udhagamandalam, better known as Ooty. The most famous of all South India's hill stations, Ooty (2270m) was first adopted by the British then by wealthy Maharajas, earning the moniker 'snooty Ooty'. On arrival we enjoy Christmas Lunch at the colonial era Taj Savoy hotel.

Included Meals : Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5 - View the annular eclipse and take a walking tour in the famous hill station

Description

India is a place steeped in ancient myth and legend, and as you might expect from a culture also obsessed with the stars and planets, Hindu mythology offers us an interesting story to explain this natural phenomenon of an eclipse: The deity Rahu was beheaded by the gods for drinking Amrita, the gods' nectar. Rahu's head flies off into the sky and swallows the Sun which is what causes it to disappear for a short time.

The eclipse takes place at 09.30 and we'll be in the right spot in plenty of time to see the whole event. Our astronomer will be with us to provide an insight in to the science underpinning the eclipse, and help us make the most out of our opportunity to see it. Weather conditions cannot be guaranteed, but the chance of clear, mostly clear or partly cloudy skies is around 50%, with a 50% chance of it being cloudy.

After a morning enjoying this wonderful event we'll take a walking tour of Ooty taking in the Botanical Gardens, St Stephen's Church and Ooty Lake.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 6 - Travel on the Toy Train. Drive to Kochi

Description

After breakfast we take a ride of just over an hour on the famous Toy Train through the lush Nilgiri mountains to Coonoor . Traditionally the Toy Train was pulled by steam engines, but these days diesel engines are often used. It is not unknown for the train to be out of service due to maintenance or poor track conditions, if this is the case we will transfer to Coonoor by bus. We then drive to the port city of Kochi, a journey of around seven hours. There'll be plenty of stops along the way to enjoy the hill country, rural scenery and small villages and town that we pass through, before reaching sea level and the port city of Kochi.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 7 - Explore Fort Kochi on foot and by boat

Description

Kochi has been a gathering place of merchants since antiquity and is full of bustling traders. Fort Kochi is the oldest European settlement in India (1500), and has a mixture of English, Dutch and Portuguese influences. The Mattancherry Palace was built by the Portuguese in the 16th century, but extensive renovations by the Dutch some hundred years later earned it the name the Dutch Palace. It has some of the best murals in India, depicting scenes from the Ramayana and other great legends. We will take a tour by boat to Fort Kochi, passing Bolgatty Island and seeing the cantilevered Chinese Fishing nets. We also visit St Francis Church before a free afternoon for personal exploration.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 8 - Spend the night on a houseboat in the backwaters

Description

Today we visit the Jewish synagogue in Kochi before driving to the most beautiful stretch of inland waterways in Kerala - over 80km of Malabar backwaters winding under the lush leaves of coconut palms. We board our houseboat for an exotic journey, chugging in unhurried style on waterways used by villagers commuting from village to village. The traditional houseboats are simple vessels, with en suite twin rooms, and the pace is relaxed, enabling us to see riverside village life in its entirety. The people that live along the backwaters are a colourful mix of high born Nayas, traditionally inheriting property through the mother; Brahmins, once priests but now mainly professional workers; Dravidians, speaking their own language and Christians, Jews, Muslims and Chinese - an attractive, friendly melée of different types, often looking somewhat incongruous with their black umbrellas to ward off the tropical sun. Keep an eye open for the rich variety of birdlife along the water's edge. We dock in the middle of the waterways and relax as we watch the sun go down.

Included Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9 - Travel to Thekkady

Description

After spending the morning drifting through the backwaters, we disembark and drive to Thekkady. The route takes us through rolling hills where tea and spices are grown, and through small villages with colourful markets. We'll make a couple of stops in the villages and to admire the scenery, and the journey will take us around 5 hours.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 10 - Visit a spice garden en route to Madurai

Description

After breakfast we take a visit to a nearby spice garden. After learning a little about how spices such as cardamom, vanilla, Pepper and cinnamon are grown and processed we drive to Madurai. The drive will take us nearly six hours with plenty of stops along the way.

This evening we'll celebrate New Year's Eve with a gala dinner in our hotel.

Included Meals : Breakfast, Dinner

Day 11 - Discover the ornate Meenakshi Temple

Description

Today we have a morning tour of Madurai including a visit to the 16th century Meenakshi Temple with its nine imposing gopurams (monumental gates). Within the temple complex we explore the Thousand Pillared Hall, the Golden Lotus Tank and the Nandi Pavilion. Rising above the temple, above the festive pandemonium of swirling crowds of pilgrims that never seem to cease, are 12 stupendous towers. A short distance away is the Tirumalai Nayaka Palace, a blend of Hindu and Saracen architectural styles. Recent restorations include repainting the carvings and stone-work in their original colours - a startling effect. This afternoon you are free to explore this bustling temple town at leisure, taking in a trip to the Gandhi Museum, soaking up the vibrant colours and floral aromas, browsing through silver, craft and carpet shops or even ordering tailor-made outfits from one of the many bazaars.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 12 - Take a train to Chennai then drive to Mamallapuram

Description

We take the Vaigai Express train to Chennai today, arriving in the early afternoon and we drive to Mamallapuram on the shores of the Bay of Bengal, around and a half hour away. This was the chief harbour for the Pallavas Kingdom some 1200 years ago and many examples of masterful carvings from those days still exist. Mamallapuram offers us the ideal opportunity to relax after our journey. The area is well known for its many beautiful temples and miles of beaches, perfect for an evening stroll.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 13 - Explore Mamallapuram's shore temples

Description

Today we will take a tour of Mamallapuram visiting the UNESCO World Heritage listed Shore Temple, built in 7th century, and Ajuna's Penance, and the world's largest bas relief (some 27m long by 9m high) and one of the most impressive friezes in India. Although both are quite weather-beaten, a remarkable amount of detailed carving still remains. We will also explore the Mandapa Cave temples with interesting reliefs and the Five Rathas - monolithic temples sculptured out of the rock in the mid-7th century.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 14 - Tour ends at Mamallapuram

Description

Our tour ends this morning after breakfast.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Availability

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Price From $ 2,700
Price Per Day: $ 193 per day
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Start DateFinish DateSingle Land OnlyTwin Share Land OnlyDeparture GuaranteedAvailability 
Dec-22-2019Jan-04-2020$ 3,650$ 2,700Yes3+ spaces available Reserve

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Stride Featured in

Stride Feature In

30 Explore! Travel Reviews & Ratings

93%
4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 24
Great 3
Average 1
Disappointing 1
Terrible 1
Value
4.6
Guide
4.6
Activities
4.6
Lodging
4.5
Transportation
4.6
Meals
4.5

South Indian Images - Eclipse

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Company Reviews

Wonderful

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
I was grateful to Explore with my booking as I was forced to cancel at a late date and then was enabled to rebook which meant the difference between having no summer holiday and a wonderful one. All of the administration seemed to be very efficient, friendly and professional.
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Wonderful holiday memories

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
We have travelled all over the world with explore on their family adventure holidays. We have an only child and she benefited so much with instant friendships, and has some wonderful holiday memories. Explore has always been very helpful with the booking process, and we have found most of the tour leaders they use to be professional, committed, really good at their jobs.
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Extremely enjoyable

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
I have travelled with Explore on several occasions. Each experience has been positive and every trip extremely enjoyable. The itinerary’s are excellent ensuring a full and varied experience and the use of local guides is hugely beneficial.
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It's fantastic trip

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
It's fantastic trip for me..just not very happy for accommodation. And the trip leader .If he can make more time with us.and make more interesting and funny when he was talking. It is should be good..other way he is good..
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wonderful

5.0
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Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
Danijela, our tour guide, was wonderful. She shared plenty of facts about Croatia with us and managed all the arrangements really well. One of our group had a birthday while we were away and Danijela gave her a present and we celebrated. Transfers to and from the airport went well. Prior to going, the staff on the phones were really helpful with any questions.
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Great experiences

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
This was our third family adventure with Explore, all have been great experiences. Kids bond immediately and adults can melt into the background and relax. The size of the groups makes mixing manageable and the guides and crews have been first rate throughout.
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Details

Optional Activities

Optional Excursions

Thekkady - Spice plantation £5 (Including transport) Kochi - Traditional Kathakali Dancing £3.00. Udhagamandalam - Tea Factory £2.00; guided walk to tribal village £7.00.

Accomodations

Accommodation Notes

Accommodation in India is as varied as the country itself. On our tours we stay in a mix of hotels, heritage properties, camp sites and homestays. Standards do not equate to standards in the UK and it's best to approach each type of accommodation with an open mind. Service can be slow in places especially when travelling with a group. For the most part hotels do not have heating so in the winter months it can be chilly and if you feel the cold you may wish to ask for extra blankets. Hot water is not always available 24 hours a day in some of the smaller properties, and with a group staying you might find if you are showering last you may miss out on the hottest water.

Guides

A Tour Leader is an integral part of any Explore tour and your tour will be led by one of our experienced tour leaders who have been handpicked and expertly trained. We believe that our Tour Leaders are the key to the success of our tours; they are passionate travellers who are bursting with first-hand local knowledge which they love to share. Your tour Leader will also take care of all the planning and organisation throughout your journey. Their passionate approach will make this tour fun and inspiring, bringing the destination to life whether you're travelling alone or with others.

Tour Staff

Driver(s), Explore Tour Leader, Local Guide(s), Boat Crew

Trip ID#:

explore-DSE

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