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14 Days Best of South India Backwater Tours

14 Days Best of South India Backwater Tours

Itinerary Summary

Best of Karnataka with Backwaters tour in South India takes you to on a sojourn to ancient sculptured temples, endless beaches, virgin forests and scenic hill ranges of Karnataka. The Garden City of Bangalore is well known as the Silicon Valley of India all over the world while Madikeri is a popular eco-tourism location. Karnataka has as many as five national parks and 25 wildlife sanctuaries. The itinerary of the tour takes you to the Nagarhole National Park treasured for its biodiversity. Mysore Palace is one of the hotspots of India during Dussehra while the Yakshagana dance performance at Mangalore is certainly not the one to be missed.

The tour also covers the best of Kerala Backwaters that has a labyrinthine system of interconnected canals, rivers, lakes and inlets. Backwater cruises offer you a chance to see the unique ecosystem of the region close at hand that has sprung as a result of freshwater rivers falling into Arabian Sea. Typical aquatic, terrestrial and avian fauna found here include crabs, frogs, terns, kingfishers, otters, turtles, darters and cormorants. The intricate maze of interwoven foliage, traditional canoes used by natives, and hidden gems such as forts and palaces make backwaters even more interesting

  • Day 1:

    Mangalore Arrival

    Explore India Representative will meet and assist you upon your arrival at the Mangalore airport. Transfer to your hotel and relax for the day.

    This city is said to have been named after the famous Mangaladevi Temple. This temple, also a tourist spot, is situated 3 km away from main city area. This temple was built by the Ballal family of Attavar in memory of a princess of Kerala.

    Overnight will be at Hotel.

  • Day 2:


    Enjoy your breakfast at the hotel and then proceed for the sightseeing of the city.
    Sultan Battery is situated in Boloor 4 km away from Mangalore City. It was built in Black stones by Tipu Sultan to prevent warships to enter Gurupur river. Now the remaining part of the fort is called as Tipu's Well. It is today a deserted spot but its construction is bafflingly exquisite. Although it is a watchtower, it gives the impression of a miniature fortress with its arrangements for mounting cannons all round.

    Kadri is another ancient historic spot in Mangalore. The Kadri Temple dating back to about 1068 A.D. with its nine tanks, its square temple, nestling at the foot of the highest hill, draws to Mangalore hundreds of visitors annually. The Lokeshwara bronze statue of the Kadri Manjunatha Temple is tipped to be the best bronze statue in India. On top of the hill King Kundavarma Bhupendra built a mutt, which came to be called 'Jogimutt'. There are some stone caves on top of the hill, which are known as the caves of the Pandavas.

    St. Aloysius Church is situated 1 km away from the city's main center.

    The walls of the church are covered with the paintings of the artist Antony Moshaini of Italy. The church was built in the year 1899-1900. St. Aloysius College Chapel, an architectural gem, comparable with the Sistine chapel in Rome, is situated on lighthouse hill. The special beauty of the chapel is the wonderful series of paintings that virtually cover every inch of the interior roof and walls.

    Shri Sharavu Mahaganapathi Temple of Mangalore is known as a pilgrim center and boasts of many sacred temples like Sharavu, Kadri, Mangaladevi, and Kudroli etc. Out of these Sri Sharavu Sharabeshwara - Sri Mahaganapathi Kshetra is an outstanding, pious center of great illustrious history of marathon 800 years.

    Kudroli Gokarnath Temple is situated 3 km away from main city area. Recently, this temple has been renovated and now it is one of the tourist attraction places in Mangalore.

  • Day 3:

    Mangalore - Madikeri

    (150 km in 4 hr)

    Enjoy your breakfast at the hotel and proceed to Madikeri by road.
    Madikeri is referred to as the 'Scotland of India'. Right in the heart of Coorg, it is the most important town in the district. The moment you enter the town, you will be captivated by the aroma of fresh coffee and cardamom. Madikeri is easily among the most scenic places in Karnataka. Nestling at an altitude of 1170 m above sea level, the green carpet landscape is covered with a light mist making it a scene straight out of paradise. The pleasant climate at once will compel you to stay here for as long as possible. Talacauvery, the origin point of Sacred River Cauvery, is present here making it an important pilgrimage destination. It is visited by thousands of pilgrims throughout the year. There are lots of historical monuments in the town conveying that it is a town rich in history.
    Not only is it a sacred place and a picturesque town, it is the best place for trekkers in Karnataka. Madikeri has some mid size hills that offer some great treks for both beginners and experts. The hills are not very high, but the steep-ness of the hills make them really challenging and adventurous. For shopping, there are small street side shops where you can shop for locally made handicrafts and images.
    Overnight stay will be at Madikeri.

  • Day 4:


    Enjoy your breakfast at the hotel and proceed for the sightseeing.
    Madikeri is one of the most picturesque places in Karnataka. The attraction all are of magical beauty. Dotted with some exquisite coffee plantations and ultimate trek routes, Madikeri has captured the top spots for tourism in Karnataka.
    Madikeri is probably the best place in Karnataka to indulge in adventure trekking. There are number of trek routes that turn out to be a great fun. Some of them are apt for starters, but there are few that are good enough to test even the most experienced. Thandiyandamole and Pushpagiri, rising to a height of 5729 feet and 5626 feet respectively are the highest peaks of all in Madikeri. Though they are not very high, but it is their steepness that makes them tough to conquer. These trek routes still do not see a lot a lot of human intervention, due to which they are kept very clean and green. The picturesque surroundings only add to the allure of these trek routes.
    Overnight stay will be at Madikeri.

  • Day 5:

    Madikeri - Nagarhole

    (120 km in 4 hr)

    After your breakfast at the hotel proceed to Nagarhole by road.

    Established in 1955 as a wildlife sanctuary, Nagarhole was designated a national park twenty years later. The park today stretches in a series of gentle hills and valleys, over an expanse of 640 sq km, north of the river Kabini. The park came up around a perennial water reservoir formed in 1974, when the Kabini River was dammed.

    Overnight stay will be at Nagarhole.

  • Day 6:


    Enjoy the breakfast at the hotel and then proceed for the sightseeing.

    Nagarhole's vegetation is refreshingly different from Bandipur's dry scrub - moist deciduous forests, including bamboo, teak, eucalyptus and cassia, cover much of the sanctuary, providing a refuge for a wide range of animals and birds. Nagarhole has all the resident wildlife of the Nilgiri hills: Nilgiri tahr, Nilgiri langur, bison, leopard, Asian elephant, wild boar, deer, dhole (wild dog) and porcupine, besides tigers. A high canopy of trees- up to thirty metres tall in some places- harbours rare birds such as the endangered Malabar trogon, the Malabar pied hornbill and the crested hawk-eagle.

    Nagarhole saw some upheavals in 1992, when quarrelling between the wardens of the park and the local villagers resulted in arson which had an enormously adverse impact on the park and its wildlife. It will still take a few years for Nagarhole's forest and animal count to get back to normal but there has already been a resurrection of sorts and things get better every year.

    Overnight stay will be at Nagarhole.

  • Day 7:

    Nagarhole - Mysore

    (80 in 2 hr)

    Enjoy the breakfast at the hotel and proceed for Mysore by road.

    Mysore city was the capital of the old royal Mysore province. The word Mysore expands to "Mahishasurana Ooru" which means the town of Mahishasura. The story goes that the demon Mahishasura was killed by goddess Chamundeshwari atop the Chamundi hill near Mysore, and hence the name. Ever since, the Mysore royal family has worshipped Chamundeshwari as the palace deity. Hills dedicated to her stand at the eastern end of Mysore town today.

    To the people of India the word Mysore is synonymous with Sandalwood, silk and fine inlay-work using ivory. It is the home of incense sticks dipped in sandalwood oil perfume base and has two well known incense factories - the Aravinda Parimala and the Vasu and Cycle brand (together these two account for 70% of the incense stick export from India). Mysore is also the home of many well regarded musicians and artists. It is even today the hub of the tourist map of Karnataka. Nearby are several places of interest to visitors, some of these are Brindavan Gardens, Srirangapattana, Rangana Tittu bird sanctuary, Chamundi Hills, Nanjanagudu, Bandipur forest reserve, Shivanasamudra falls, and Talakaadu.

    Within the town are several places of interest. The grand palace with its four arched entrances stands at the centre of the town. Liberally covered with golden domes and home to the most expensive royal chair (Simhasana), made of gold and studded with diamond and precious stones, this palace rivals the best in the world. During weekends the whole palace is lit with thousands of lights, a great sight. Saint Philomina's church is a fine cathedral dating back to the 18th century. The Venkatappa art gallary has inspired many an artist and conducts courses in traditional painting, drawing and woodwork. It is also the birth-place for the Mysore wooden toys, which are exported worldwide.

    Near the western gate is the Jayachamaraja Art Gallery (also called Jagan Mohana palace) which houses some of the finest paintings, art works and artifacts dating to several centuries of rule by the Royal Wodeyar family. At the eastern end, near Chamundi Hills is the Lalitha Mahal Palace which is now a 5-star hotel. Visitors can enjoy the luxury of staying in what was till recently the guest house for royal visitors. Its main staircase built with white marble, and its front-end gardens, make the Lalitha Mahal a place to visit and enjoy. Close to it is the Mysore zoo, which recently celebrated its hundredth birthday. Mysore has a fine race course (horse racing) and the local "Taanga" a horse drawn carriage that is still used by some citizens. The Mysore "taanga" has a comfortable leg space making it an attractive but slower alternative to savor the beauty of Mysore.

    Overnight stay will be at Mysore

  • Day 8:

    Mysore - Bangalore

    (150 km in 4 hr)

    Breakfast will be at the hotel.

    Start for Bangalore later in the morning.

    On the way visit Srirangapatnam - 16 km before Mysore, this fort was the stronghold of Tipu Sultan, son of Haider Ali. Tipu made a last minute ditch against the British in 1799 before surrendering his kingdom. Among the many fort buildings still intact, are Tipu's airy Summer Palace and his tomb at the Darya Daulat Bagh (garden). Here, is also the celebrated Sri Ranganatha Temple.

    A major industrial and commercial center, with scientific and research activity, Bangalore is multifaceted: modern marvels, historical monuments, bustling shopping plazas, a race course and golf courses. Called the Silicon Valley of India for its growing software industry, it is also known as the city of draught beer.

  • Day 9:

    Bangalore - Madurai

    By air
    Flight : I7 403 (Paramount)
    Departure : 1110 hr
    Arrival : 1340 hr

    Enjoy your breakfast at the hotel and then proceed to the airport to take your flight to Madurai.

    One of South India's great temple towns, Madurai is synonymous with the celebrated Meenakshi Temple. Situated on the banks of river Vaigai, Madurai has a rich cultural heritage passed on from the great Tamil era more than 2500 years old. Madurai was an important cultural and commercial centre even as early as 550 AD. Madurai was the Capital city for the great Pandyas kings. Tamil & Greek documents record the existence of Madurai from the 4th Century BC. The city was known to the Greeks through Magathenes who was their ambassador to the court of Chandraguptha Mauriya. This city was popular in trade especially in spices. It was also the site the Sangam the academy of the Tamil Poets. And Madurai is the centre of all the cities and Madurai is famous for the cotton Sungudi Saris.
    Overnight stay will be at Madurai.

  • Day 10:


    After breakfast go for city tour of Madurai.

    Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam: Vandiyur Mariamman Teppakulam is a huge temple tank about 5 km east of the Meenakshi temple. The mandapam in the centre has an idol of Vigneshwara (Vinayaka). It is said to have been found when the earth was being dug out from here to build the Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal. So, the place attained sanctity and was converted into a teppakulam (tank). This enormous temple tank is fed by water brought from the Vagai through an ingenious system of underground Channels. King Thirumalai Nayak was born in 'Poosa' Star. In commemorating the birth of the king "Float Festival" is conducted in Tamil Month 'Thai' (Jan/Feb) in the tank in a colourful way, which attracts thousands of tourists.

    Gandhi Museum: The Gandhi Memorial Museum is one of the distinct places to be visited in Madurai. This Museum is one of the rare living memorials of "The Father of India". The Museum is set in relaxing grounds and has a clear historical account of India's struggle for Independence.

    Thirumalai Nayak Palace: This Palace was built in 1636 by King Thirumalai Nayak with the help of an Italian Architect. The building we see today was the main Palace where the King lived. The original Palace Complex was four times bigger than the present structure. This palace consisted mainly of two parts, namely Swargavilasa and Rangavilasa. In these two parts, there are royal residence, theatre, shrine, apartments, armoury, palanquin place, royal bandstand, quarters, pond and garden. King Thirumalai Nayak celebrated festivals like Scepter festival, Navarathri, Chithirai festival, Masi festival and the Float festival. He conducted daily dance and music performances in the palace. This palace was destroyed by his grandson Chokkanatha Nayak and the valuables were transferred to other places. During the British rule, in 1822, Lord Napier made several renovation works. Then the palace was utilized to house some officials of the judiciary and district administration. After independence, this palace was declared as a national monument and is now under the care of the Tamilnadu Archaeological Department.

    Overnight will be at Madurai.

  • Day 11:

    Madurai - Periyar

    (133 km in 4 hr)

    Proceed for Periyar after breakfast.

    The river Periyar is the longest river in Kerala. This is the only perennial river in South India with clean water. The river occupies an important place in the history of Kerala. In the Sangam age Tamil epics such as Chilapathikaram, 'Akananuru', 'Purananuru' etc much has been said about this mighty river, formerly known as the 'Choorni Nadi' or 'Thamraparni Nadi' (Sukasandesam -stanza 66). A land route existed in the Sangam age from Mussuris (present-day Kodungalloor) to Madurai, which passed near the banks of the river Periyar. The capital of the old Chera Empire presumably existed on the banks of the river Periyar. It is believed that there was a flood in the 4th century AD that severely damaged the areas along the Periyar and the people living there had to escape to safer locations, abandoning their homes and livelihoods. The flood of AD 1341 resulted in the closing of Kodungalloor port and the opening of a new port at Kochi. The huge landslide that began in the high ranges as a result of the heavy downpours sent massive flows of mud and sand which created an Island at the 'Azhimugham' of the Periyar which is now known as the Vyppin Islands.

    Proceed for a JUNGLE WALK in the national park with your guide.

    In the evening visit the SPICE MARKETS.

    Overnight will be at hotel in Periyar.

  • Day 12:

    Periyar - Kumarokom

    (175km in 04hr)

    Breakfast will be at resort.

    Proceed towards Kumarakom enjoying the beauty of the traditional Kerala houses. You will also pass through rolling tea gardens and rubber plantations. Stop at a tea factory to see the tea - making process.

    Reach Kumarokom and check in at hotel. An enchanting backwater destination, Kumarokom offers visitors many other leisure options.

    An unbelievably beautiful paradise of mangrove forests, emerald green paddy fields and coconut groves interspersed with enchanting waterways and canals adorned with while lilies - this is Kumarokom.

    Check into a traditional houseboat of Kerala Style and go on a leisurely backwater cruise along the lake on a thatched houseboat.

    The backwaters act as a vital waterway for the transport of goods, people and their produce are often the only link between isolated villages and crowded towns. In Kerala, the total expanse of backwater stretches over 1500 km, with a network of 44 rivers, lagoons and lakes from north to south. Alleppey which forms the main part of this network has the peculiar geographical feature of having the water in level with the land. This gives the advantage of getting a closer look at the village life on shore while on a backwater ride.
    Talk to the crew and sip your tea while enjoying the backwaters and seeing life pass by. The meals and refreshments will be served on the boat.
    Overnight will be at Houseboat.

  • Day 13:

    Alleppey - Cochin

    (60 km in 01hr)

    Cruise through the villages after breakfast.

    Disembark the boat at Alleppey.

    Aleppey is one of the most important tourist centers in the state, with a large network of inland canals earning it the sobriquet "Venice of the east". These large networks of canals provide Alleppey its lifeline. Alleppey was one of the busiest centers of trade in the past with one of the best known ports along the Malabar Coast. Even today it retains its charm as the centre for Coir carpet industries and prawn farming. Alleppey the ideal headquarters for backwater tourism as well as for visits to the lovely church filled town of Kottayam, and the town of Aranmula, famous for its historic Aranmula Snake Boat Race which is an annual event.

    Drive to Cochin.

    The eventful history of this city began when a major flood in AD 1341 threw open the estuary at Kochi, till then a land locked region, turning it into one of the finest natural harbors in the world. Kochi thus became a haven for seafaring visitors from all over the world and became the first European town-ship in India when the Portuguese settled here in the 15th century.

    Enjoy the boat ride in the harbour watching the dolphins playing and enjoying the city from the water.

    Overnight will be in hotel.

  • Day 14:

    Cochin - Back Home

    Today proceed to airport as per time of the flight home. End tour with sweet memories of India.




Please note that only lunches and dinners are not included along with personal expenses and camera, etc. fees, tips, (if any) at places where applicable. All hotels and flights at the time of quotation are subject to availability.


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Guest Experiences

Guest Name: Maria Veronica Galli 
Tour Taken: Delhi - Agra - Mumbai 


Thanks for your wishes of 2017 and the same for you. Here I am sending you the photos of my trip as requested.If you want you can add my comments to your website, delighted, the truth is that whatever I contracted surpassed my expectations. Everything even the  vehicles, were excellent, just like the drivers and the friendly guides, of quality and loving .I felt at ease and was able to enjoy my trip. You never know I might return to India , the truth is  I liked it a lot and would love to know  a lot more. Many Thanks!



Maria Veronica

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