November 3, Depart from the US. I will advise the group on available flights.
November 4, Bangalore. Spiritual Journeys representatives will meet you as you arrive at dawn on November 5. We will then transfer you to your hotel. Overnight: Bangalore.
November 5, Bangalore. After breakfast, leave for Mysore, approximately three hours drive. Mysore is the City of Palaces and Oriental splendor and the principal residence of the royal family. Visit the Maharajah's Palace - a synthesis of Hindu and Muslim styles, and see the ancient temple and the 16-foot Nandi (Shiva's bull) carved out of a single huge boulder. We'll have an early evening in your hotel to recover from your jet lag. Overnight: Mysore.
November 6, Mysore. An hour east of Mysore lies the village of Somnathpur with its exquisite Hoysala Temple buil t in the second half of the 13th century. The figures carved in the Temple are beautifully detailed and intricately placed within the friezes. Scenes from the epics, dancers, musicians, warriors, nature, all are represented here with great artistry. Return to Mysore in the evening. Overnight: Mysore.
November 7, Mysore. Full day visit of the temples at Belur and Halebid. Belur flourished under the Hoysala Kings 800 years ago and the sole reminder of this grandeur is the Chennakesava Temple. It stands in a perfect state of preservation and is an outstanding testament to the skill of Hoysala craftsmen. Its polished black stone exterior is profusely carved with scenes from the epics, each figure sculpted with fine detail. A short distance away at Halebid is a sister temple, the Hoysalesvara, dedicated to Shiva. Here too, the sculptor's art is remarkable with details
endless and exquisite: frieze upon frieze of gods, goddesses, animals and humans. This temple is the best in medieval Indian sculpture. Overnight: Hassan.
November 8, Nagarhole National Park. Leave at leisure for Nagarhole National Park, a drive of two hours. Check into the Forest Rest House. Karnataka's Nagarhole National Park (now Rajiv Gandhi National Park) is part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, India's largest stretch of protected forest, which includes the neighboring sanctuaries of Bandipur, Mudumalai and Wynaad. The scenic 640 sq km park stretches over gentle hills and valleys.
Nagarhole is one of the best places in the world to find the elusive stealthy, noble and regal black-striped Royal Bengal Tiger. Besides this fearsome cat, we will find Nilgiri tahr, Nilgiri langur, bison, leopard, Asian elephant, wild boar, deer, dhole (wild dog), porcupine, sloth bear, striped hyenas, jackals, four horned antelopes, gray langurs, bonnet macaques, civets, mongoose, otters, pangolins, hare, porcupines, flying squirrels, marsh crocodiles, tortoise, chameleons and monitor lizards.We will take a safari into the forest on elephant back, and also go on the coracles on the River Kabini, a truly unique experience. Overnight: Nagarhole.
November 9, Nagarhole National Park. A dawn safari into the forest, and return for breakfast. After breakfast, leave for Calicut, a journey of two hours. After lunch in Calicut, drive to Cochin, a journey of three hours. Overnight: Cochin.
November 10, Cochin. It is believed that spices originated from Cochin were presented to King Solomon by the Queen of Sheba.
St. Thomas arrived in the first century AD. bringing Christianity to these shores and established Christian Communities here even before Rome.
The Jews, arriving here in the wake of the Diaspora, were given sanctuary and titles of land and established a flourishing trading community in Cochin.
For the next thousand years the spice trade was controlled by the Arabs who supplied these exotic wares through the Italian City State of Venice.
We'll visit Jew Town and the Paradesi Synagogue which was built in 1568. This is the first Synagogue that came into existence in the Commonwealth and is also one of the oldest in the world. This Synagogue was built by Samuel Castiel, David Belila, Ephrahim Sala and Joseph Levi. It stands on the grounds of Maharaja of Cochin's residence overlooking the Hindu Shrine demonstrating cordial relations of the Jews with the people of Kerala. In addition, we will visit some important Hindu religious sites. Overnight: Cochin.
November 11, Cochin. Drive to Alleppey (two hours). We'll board our very own House Boat. House Boats are the modern form of traditional rice boats or "kettuvallams." Historically, these boats were used to transport goods. Today, some have been completely converted into floating houses for guests to explore along Kerala's
|The Backwaters in Allepey|
backwaters. During the day, the boat will cruise through the beautiful canals lined with paddy fields and coconut groves. As the boat glides along, the gorgeous green of the fringed palms ripple in the blue waters and blend in to the little wavelets. Enjoy magnificent scenery all along the leafy waterways that meander from town to town, revealing fresh treasures and admire what history and religion have left in towns and villages along the way. We will live, cook and eat
|overnight on a houseboat |
in our very own Houseboat. During the day, the boat will cruise along Kerala's backwaters through the beautiful canals lined with paddy fields and coconut groves on eit
her side. Overnight: House Boat.
November 12, Kovalam. Our House Boat experience ends at Kumarakom. Depart by train for Trivandrum, a journey of 3 ½ hours through the back waters of this magnificent area. Arrive at our Ayurveda Resort for Ayurvedic treatment. Ayurveda is one of the world's oldest medical systems, originating in India and evolved over the last 5000-6000 years. In the West, treatments based on Ayurveda are considered complementary or alternative medicine.
At the spa, we will meet our Ayurveda physicians for Rejuvenation Therapy.
Treatments will be based on the recommendation of this doctor. Cost of all treatments will be paid by you directly to the Resort. We will also meet our Yoga instructor who will start yoga training. Overnight: Ayurvedic Resort.
November 13 - 15, Kova-
|Ayurvedic treatment, sirrodarah|
lam. Continue Ayurveda based treatment & Yoga. We'll have an Ayurvedic cooking class and cook our dinner! Overnight: Ayurvedic Resort.
November 16, Cochin/Departure. Continue Ayurveda based treatment & Yoga. In the afternoon depart for Cochin by road. Transfer directly to the International terminal for your flight home, late tonight. Overnight: On board aircraft. We'll fly home basking in the relaxed state of being we obtained at the Ayurvedic resort!