IA13 INDIA & SRI LANKA TOUR

SEARCH TOUR

Featuring Southern India

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

Temples at Mahabalipuram & Kanchipuram; Overnight houseboat cruise on canals of Kerala; Anuradhapura: ruined capital; Sigiriya complex: UNESCO site; Kandy: hill country town

  • DATES & PRICES
  • FULL ITINERARY
  • MAP & HOTELS
  • TRIP INFORMATION

Dates & Prices

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Prices are in US Dollars (USD), before taxes (if applicable) - All pricing reflects per-person Land Only expenses, however, we can book flights from virtually every city. Please call us for an air quote.


Start DateEnd DatePriceMore Info
Tue 17 Nov 2015Mon 30 Nov 2015 $2570$2370 Discounted
Tue 01 Mar 2016Mon 14 Mar 2016 $2570
Tue 15 Nov 2016Mon 28 Nov 2016 $2570

Optional Single Supplement: $830 (number of singles limited).


Tour Overview


Regions visited: South Asia
Countries visited: India and Sri Lanka


Full Itinerary

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Day 1 Arrive in Bangalore
Today we arrive in Bangalore. Transfer to our hotel.

Overnight in Bangalore.

Meal plan: dinner

Day 2 Bangalore: City Tour
Today we tour Bangalore, the cosmopolitan capital of Karnataka.*

Bangalore is called the Garden City for it's delicate blossoms and greenery that impart a unique beauty to this lovely city. The weather is the city's best feature, with pleasant summers and bearable winters. Bangalore, which literally means the 'town of baked beans', was founded by Kempe Gowda, a chieftain of the Vijayanagar Empire, around the 16th century. He built four towers in four directions to specify its boundaries.

We visit the Lal Bagh Botanical Gardens, which has a variety of old trees, fountains, lotus pools, terraces and an assortment of tropical herbs and subtropical herbs. We also see the government buildings and the Maharaja's Palace.

* The start time of today's tour may depend on the arrival of your Tour Leader and other group members arriving from Mysore on a longer tour option.

Overnight in Bangalore.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 3 Bangalore - Kochi: City Tour
Early this morning we fly to Kochi (Cochin).

The history of European involvement in Kochi, from the early sixteenth century onwards, is dominated by the aggression of, successively, the Portuguese, Dutch and British, competing in their desire to control the port and its lucrative spice trade. From 1800, the state of Cochin was part of the British Madras Presidency; from 1812 until Independence in 1947, its administration was made the responsibility of a series of diwans, or financial ministers. In the 1920s, the British expanded the port to make it suitable for modern ocean-going ships; extensive dredging created Willingdon Island, between Ernakulam and Fort Cochin.

On arrival we have a tour of Kochi, including: Chinese fishing Nets -- A legacy of one of the earliest visitors to the Malabar coast, these nets are unmistakable as one enters the harbour. Records show that they were first erected between AD 1350 and 1450. Constructed out of Teak wood and Bamboo poles, they work on the principle of balance. The best place to watch is from Vasco Da Gama square, a narrow promenade that parallels the beach with little stalls that serve fresh seafood, tender coconuts and so on.

Santa Cruz Basilica: Built by the Portuguese, the church was elevated to a Cathedral by the Pope Paul IV in 1558. Spared by the Dutch conqueror of Cochin who destroyed many Catholic buildings in 1663, it later fell into the hands of the British who demolished it when they took over Cochin in 1795. For almost 100 years there was no church on the site, until the Bishop Dom Gomez Vereira commissioned a new building in 1887.

Overnight in Kochi.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 4 Kochi - Allaphuza: Houseboat
We continue by road to Alappuzha (Alleppey), known as the "Venice of the East", situated on Vembanad Lake, the longest in India. A maze of canals and a network of bridges give this busy commercial town its descriptive sobriquet. Alleppey is known for its coir, the retted fibre of the coconut husk and for black pepper.

Today we board our houseboat for a very special Kerala delight -- a slow boat through its forests and palm-shaded canals. We take a leisurely cruise on the beautiful backwaters, enjoying the magnificent scenery along the waterways and stopping to admire what history and religion have left along the way.

THE HOUSEBOAT will be approx 60 feet long and 13 feet wide in the middle. There are comfortable beds, and traditional lanterns, and air-conditioning. There will be a sundeck for daytime relaxation. The boats are made of local natural fibres that truly echo the villagers harmony with the natural surroundings. As your oarsman slowly and silently propels us along the backwaters, we will enjoy the magnificent scenery along the waterways. We will stop to view working villages and witness locals fishing, swimming, crafting, and bathing (most boats will have oarsman though some will be motorized with a silencer on the motor).

NOTE: Single cabins are NOT available on the houseboat. Single supplements reflect sharing for this one night.

Overnight houseboat cruise.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 5 Allaphuza - Chennai
Today we return to Kochi and fly to Chennai (Madras).

Overnight in Chennai.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 6 Chennai & Mahabalipuram
Today we travel to 60 km (37 mi) to Mahabalipuram (also known as Mamallapuram), the seaport of the ancient Palava dynasty of Kanci. The temples and carvings here date back to the 7th century. They stand out because of their simplicity and the fact that they also depict many scenes from the every-day life of every-day people. It is now recognized as the site of some of the greatest architectural and sculptural achievements in India.

After a comprehensive tour of the site and relaxing lunch break next to the Bay of Bengal we return to Chennai.

Overnight in Chennai.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 7 Chennai, India - Colombo, Sri Lanka
Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, is, like Mumbai and Calcutta, a comparatively modern creation. It was founded by the British East India Company in 1639, on a narrow five-kilometre strip of land between the Cooum and Adyar rivers, a few kilometres north of the ancient Tamil port of Mylapore and the Portuguese settlement of San Thome, established in 1522. The British were repeatedly challenged by the French who, in 1746, destroyed much of the city. Robert Clive ("Clive of India"), then a clerk, was taken prisoner, an experience said to have inspired him to become a campaigner. Clive was among the first to re-enter Chennai when it was retaken three years alter, and continued to use it as his base. Following this, fortifications were strengthened and the British survived a year-long French siege (1759), completing the work in 1783. By this time, however, Calcutta was in the ascendancy and Madras lost its national importance.

Our city sightseeing of Chennai includes a visit to the National Art Gallery and Museum, which has a selection of ancient paintings from almost all schools of art, as well as a section entirely devoted to modern art. We will visit Fort St George, once a stronghold of the British; St Mary's Church, the oldest Anglican church in India; the San Thome Cathedral where the remains of St Thomas the Apostle are believed to have been buried; the Mylapore Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and the Light House which is the only one of its kind in the world to be located on top of a High Court. We drive along the Marina, the thirteen kilometre-long beach which, with its shining white sands, aqua blue sea and violet lights at night, is the pride of Chennai.

After dinner we board our evening flight to Colombo, Sri Lanka. Upon arrival we transfer to a point outside the city, the exact location of which depends on the time of our incoming flights. We may overnight near the airport or down the road a bit so that we are well-placed for tomorrow's journey to Muthurajawela Nature Reserve.

Overnight near Colombo.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 8 Colombo Area - Muthurajawela Nature Reserve - Anuradhapura
This morning we make the 180 km (110 mile) drive to Anuradhapura, the first capital of Sri Lanka.

En route we take a boat ride through the Muthurajawela Nature Reserve. This protected area of wetland is thriving with bird life, with 126 resident species and 40 species which migrate here. The boat ride provides a view of Sri Lankan wetlands as never seen before. Imagine listening to the chorus of feathered creatures, watching the water lilies dancing on the tropical sun, monkeys swinging on treetops and crocodiles moving stealthily in water.

We continue to Anuradhapura, arriving in the afternoon.

Overnight near Anuradhapura.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 9 Anuradhapura - Dambulla
This morning we visit a selection of the most remarkable sights of Anuradhapura. As per written records Anuradhapura was made royal capital by the king Panduk Anhaya in 380 BC. It remained residence and royal capital for 119 successive Singhalese kings till the year AD 1000 when it was abandoned and the capital moved to Polonnaruwa. You will see some of the most famous as well as the tallest dagoba of Sri Lanka, remains from palaces, temples, monasteries, ceremonial baths and the temple of the holy Bo-tree. This tree was grown from a sapling of the very tree under which more than 2500 years ago the Buddha found enlightenment.

We continue to Dambulla and have a tour of its major attractions, which are spread over 5 caves containing statues and paintings. Since it's founding in the first century BC by King Valagamba, many improvements and additions have been carried out to the collection. Hindu statues are believed to be of the 12 century AD and the latest paintings are of the late 18-century. Dambulla is a unique and important historical site because of the amalgamation of material from many eras.

Overnight in Dambulla.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 10 Dambulla - Sigiriya - Polonnaruwa - Dambulla
Taking advantage of cooler morning temperatures, we will have a tour of Sigiriya. The complex lies on the steep slopes and at the summit of a granite peak standing some 370 m (1,220 feet) high. This is the earliest surviving royal palace in Sri Lanka, with several chambers and meticulously planned water gardens, the earliest such gardens found in Asia. The Mirror Wall, which had been exposed to elements for over fifteen centuries, still carry some of the original sheen that has given it the name. This archaeological site, unparalleled in South Asia, has been declared a World Heritage Site.

We then drive to Polonnaruwa for a visit of the well-preserved remains of capital of the Singhalese kings from the 11th to the 13th century. We see the excavations: Temples, dagobas, the royal palace, the royal library. The most famous Singhalese king, Parakrama Bahu the Great (1153-1186), built in the environs of Polonnaruwa, an impressive irrigation system with many artificial tanks interconnected with irrigation channels.

Overnight in Dambulla.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 11 Dambulla - Kandy
This morning we have a tour of a local spice garden. A local guide will most likely show us custard apples, jackfruit, cocoa, cardamom, pineapples, lemon grass, wild asparagus, nutmeg, curry leaves, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla plant, coco, aloe vera, etc. We continue our travel through the interior of the island, past paddy fields, palm groves and coconut plantations.

Our journey continues via a road that begins to ascend gradually. After 92 km / 58 miles (90 minutes), we arrive at the old royal city of Kandy, situated at 500 m (1,640 feet) above sea level and beautifully nestled between green hills. In its very centre lies a small artificial lake and palace of the last Singhalese king which has become a temple and the holiest shrine in Sri Lanka and where the tooth relic of the Lord Buddha is highly venerated.

On arrival we will drive around the lake and visit the National Museum. This evening we shall pay a visit to the Temple of the Holy Tooth followed by an opportunity to attend a dance performance (subject to availability) where we will see the famous Kandyan dance as well as up-country and devil dances.

Overnight in Kandy.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 12 Kandy: Botanical Garden - Nuwara Eliya
After breakfast we will visit the world-famous Botanical Garden at Peradeniya. The park dates back to 1371 under the reign of King Vikrama Bahu III when he held court here. The English put the cornerstone of the present garden in 1821. During the Second World War the garden served as the headquarters of Earl Mountbatten, the supreme commander of the allied forces in Southeast Asia who later became the last Viceroy of India. In the garden we find an immense variety of orchids, spice trees, palms, bushes, as well as tropical plants and flowers of all types.

We then travel 77 km (48 miles) to Nuwara Eliya. The road ascends steadily and shortly before reaching Nuwara Eliya, we will have climbed 1500 m (4,920 feet). You are now in the tea-country; wherever you look, you will see tea plantations, the rich full green of thousands and thousands of tea bushes. Occasionally you can see a few rice fields and near villages, vegetable plantations or gardens. En route we visit a tea factory and plantation.

We tour the resort town of Nuwara Eliya, situated at 2070 m (6,790 feet) above sea level, lies on a little lake and is surrounded by mountains covered over and over by tea bushes. The town itself was the favourite hill station of the British who set it up to look like a misplaced British village. The charming, old, pink-brick post office, the English country house-like Hill Club with its hunting pictures, mounted hunting trophies and fish, the 18-hole golf course (said to be one of the finest in Asia), and even the well-stocked trout streams speak of the area's English past.

Overnight in Nuwara Eliya.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 13 Nuwara Eliya - Colombo
We have an early start for our drive back to Colombo to allow us time to have a panoramic tour of the city.

Colombo was probably known to Roman, Arab, and Chinese traders more than 2,000 years ago. Muslims settled there in the 8th century and controlled much of the trade between Sinhalese kingdoms and the outside world. The Portuguese arrived in the 16th century and built a fort to protect their spice trade. The Dutch captured the city in the 17th century. The British made the city the capital of their crown colony of Ceylon in 1802. The University of Sri Lanka, several colleges, an observatory, a national museum, and numerous churches, mosques, and Buddhist and Hindu temples are all located in and around Colombo; on the outskirts are two major Buddhist universities.

Overnight in Colombo.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 14 Departure
Departure from Colombo.

BON VOYAGE!

Meal plan: breakfast

Tour Map

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.


Hotel List


The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.


St Mark's Hotel

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Bengaluru
Country: India

St. Mark’s Hotel is located in the heart of Bangalore, the Garden city of India. The hotel has 95 smart
... comfortable rooms with WI-FI internet, attached bath & shower, direct dial telephones, individually controlled air-conditioning, 2 channel hi-fi music and cable color TV.


Read More.

Fort Heritage Hotel

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Kochi
Country: India

First propelled into prominence in the year 600BC,Kerala became the refuge of the Jews, a trading partner with the Egyptians
... Chinese in 300BC and a colony of the Dutch in the 15th century and the British in the 18th century. The hub of spice trade and the most convenient port of call in the southern peninsula, Kochi enjoys its sobriquet as the Queen of the Arabian Sea.
Read More.

Palm Garden Village

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Anuradhapura
Country: Sri Lanka

The hotel is situated on a 50 acre plot of land that was originally used for chena cultivation. Only 25%
... of the 50 acre estate is covered with buildings. While the rest paved with walkways and trekking trekking trails under a canopy of trees.



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Amaya Lake

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Dambulla
Country: Sri Lanka

Amaya Lake Resort is a gorgeous garden setting resort comprised of multiple building and bungalow rooms with all modern comforts.



Amaya Hills

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Kandy
Country: Sri Lanka

This stately property occupies a privileged position high on a hill overlooking the verdant tropical landscape. Service and comfort are
... with understated grace and traditional charm.


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Grand Hotel

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Nuwara Eliya
Country: Sri Lanka

An elegant High Tea on a manicured lawn; sip a stiff brandy by the blazing fire after a round of
... in the chill air. Is it England in the Days of the Raj? It may be the 21st century, but colonial splendour still reigns in all its past glory at the Grand Hotel. Built in 1891, this was the palatial residence of the former Governor of Sri Lanka, Sir Edward Barnes; today we offer the ultimate in comfort and the best of traditions from the ‘good old days’ to all who seek the charms of our famed hill country landmark.
Read More.


Trip Information

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Inclusions

Breakfast and dinner are included daily, one lunch. Evening meals on tour will be taken mostly at hotels. In some locales we endeavour to break up the buffet dinners with a meal at a local restaurant but, overall, the imperatives of hygiene and quality dictate hotel meals. All transport, accommodation, sightseeing and entrance fees are included for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary. Gratuities for drivers, restaurant staff, porters, local guides. Airport transfers for land & air customers.

Exclusions

Tour Leader gratuities, lunches, drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), domestic and international (if applicable) air taxes, visa fees, and any excursions referenced as 'optional'. Airport transfers for Land Only customers. Optional trip cancellation insurance. Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on shopping, not included meals, visas.

Seasonality and Weather

INDIA: For most of the country, late October-March is (by far) the best time to visit. During those months, temperatures range from 65-95 F/19-37 C in the south. March-June is dry and exceedingly hot (85-110 F/30-44 C), and June-October is monsoon time (20-80 in/50-200 cm of rain will fall in one season). While conditions can vary widely, you must be prepared for some sticky heat.

SRI LANKA: Upland areas are cooler and more temperate and coastal areas are cooled by sea breezes. There are 2 monsoons, which occur May-Jul & Dec/Jan. The best time to travel weather wise is between October and March.

Transport and Travel Conditions

Ground transport via private air-conditioned motor coach. Internal flights via scheduled carriers. The tour is not physically strenuous though it is busy; you must be prepared for some early starts, be steady on your feet, and be able to endure some heat and long days. We have numerous walking tours and visit several sites that are LARGE with steps and uneven surfaces. Porters are available at hotels but you must be able to manage with your baggage at airports.

Accommodation

Accommodation in air-conditioned 3-4 star hotels. Hotel properties are mostly modern and Western style. Some are older, character properties with simpler rooms and perhaps no elevators. Some properties have swimming pools. Single rooms are limited and possibly smaller than twins. Laundry services at most hotels for a modest cost. Porters are generally available (see 'Inclusions').

THE HOUSEBOAT will be approx 60 feet long and 13 feet wide in the middle. There are comfortable beds, and traditional lanterns, a sundeck for daytime relaxation. Some of the houseboats have the provision for air-conditioning, but most travellers do not care for the all-night gasoline engine noise required to run the units. Most people find that the peace and quiet, and comfort provided by a fan, are preferred. NOTE: Single cabins are NOT available on the houseboat. Single supplements reflect sharing for this one night.

Staff and Support

Tour Leader throughout, local drivers, local guides at various locations.

Group Size

10-21 plus Tour Leader

IA13 TRIP DETAILS

DURATION14 days

TOUR STARTBangalore

TOUR ENDColombo