The Backwaters of Kerala

Relaxed, soul-stirring and blessed with the palm-shaded network of glistening backwaters, Kerala is undoubtedly India's epitome for the "Slow Life". Pristine beaches, spice-inspired cuisine, aromatic tea and rejuvenating Ayuveda puts the cherry on the cake away from the frenzy of the big northern cities. This is a different India, refined and intoxicating.

HIGHLIGHTS

Stay in luxurious and boutique hotels

Local experiences including the Kathakali dance & a local homestay

Enjoy insiders' perspectives from our your local expert guide

ITINERARY

DAY 1: ARRIVE COCHIN

Arrive this evening at Cochin Intl Airport where you will be met and transferred to your private abode, the Chittoor Kottaram, an exclusive retreat where there are no other guests but you where an amazing soul-stirring stay awaits. Be welcome warmly by your hosts and as your room are prepared, we sit down for an amazing traditional Kerala cuisine prepared with love and passion. 

Overnight: Chittoor Kottaram, Cochin

Meals: Dinner

DAY 2: COCHIN

A refreshed day begins with a delightful breakfast and thereafter, enjoy a sightseeing tour of Cochin where we first head to the Mattancherry area, visiting the oldest Jewish Synagogue in India, built in 1568AD; it was destroyed by the Portuguese and rebuilt by the Dutch a century later. You will also be visiting the Dutch Palace which was built in 1555AD and its coronation hall and murals at Ramayana are noteworthy features. Thereafter, we take a look at the Chinese fishing nets. The cantilevered fishing nets line the entrance to the harbour mouth. Chinese traders are believed to have originally introduced them in the 14th Century. Finally, we visit the St Francis Church before spending some leisure time. This evening, you will meet a Kathakali dance maestro and dance performance and discover that your health is literally in your hands whilst he introduce you to the world of Mudras or ritual hand gestures. 

Overnight: Chittoor Kottaram, Cochin

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 3: COCHIN / MUNNAR

After breakfast, we bid farewell to your hosts at Chittoor Kottaram and proceed on a drive through the picturesque countryside of Munnar, surrounded by lush green tea estates. This stunning hill station is a popular getaway retreat for the British during colonial times and boasts of exotic flora and fauna. The town itself is typically Indian with the essential shops, guest houses and permeates a traditional and charming atmosphere. The town is divided into two parts, Old Munnar where the tourist information office is and 

Overnight: Suryagarh, Jaisalmer

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 4: JAISALMER 

We begin the day with a visit of the imposing UNESCO-listed Jaisalmer Fort, one of the largest forts built by Bhati Rajput ruler, Rao Jaisal. Built on the top of the Trikuta Hill, the fort has witnessed many battles with a great blend of Islamic and Rajput architectural style. Boasting 99 bastions and 4 entrance gates around its circumference, we explore in depth and learn about its defence mechanisms, history, culture as well as visiting the Jain temples and palaces in the fort. Later, we journey just outside of the city to the Royal Cenotaphs of Bada Bagh, built by Maharawal Jai Singh II who commissioned a dam with a view to solving the water issues where later after his death, his son Lunakaran built a beautiful garden next to the lake and a cenotaph in honour and beloved memory of his father. 

Overnight: Suryagarh, Jaisalmer

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 5: JAISALMER / BARMER

Enjoy a leisure morning and later, we leave Jaisalmer travelling south to explore the Kiradu Temples renowned for their Solanki style of architecture constructed between the 11th and 12th Centuries. Spend some time understanding its golden era under the Solanki Gujarat regime before continuing into the heart of less-visited Barmer where we arrive at the opulent Sanchal Fort, a heritage hotel located in the sand dunes of Magabar. 

Overnight: Sanchal Fort, Barmer

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 6: BARMER / NAKODA / JALORE / JAWAI BANDH

Awake to a refreshed day as we leave this morning to continue our our expedition of Rajasthan less travelled. En route, we make a stop at the Shri Nakoda Bhairav Temple in the village of Nakoda, one of the most important Jain temples in India. Thereafter, continue our journey southeast to the city of Jalore where we visit the impeccable Jalore Fort, constructed between the 8th and 10th Centuries perched atop a steep hill overlooking the city. Thereafter, we visit the Topkhana, a Sanskrit school built by King Bhoj between the 7th and 8th Centuries and was once used as a artillery and ammunition storage facility. Our journey then culminates in our arrival at the Sujan Jawai Leopard Camp, nestled in the untamed wilderness of rocky granite kopjes, home to the elusive leopards and the best sightings of the Indian Leopard. We spend the next 2 nights here to embrace the fascinating nature of the bush. 

Overnight: Sujan Jawai Leopard Camp, Jawai Bandh

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 7: JAWAI BANDH

Begin an immersive experience of the nature of Jawai as we hop onto your 4x4 jeep for a safari experience on the trails of the leopards, striped hyenas through a unique landscape where man and wild animals coexist in an embrace almost unimaginable in the 21st Century and perhaps the only place in the world where a high density of big cats and humans thrive harmoniously in close proximity. You will also enjoy a walk with the Rabari herdsman, traditional nomadic shepherds to understand life in the region. As night begins to fall, a sun-downer experience to capture the rural life and landscape before a boma-styled dinner to toast and reflect on the journey thus far. 

Overnight: Sujan Jawai Leopard Camp, Jawai Bandh

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 8: JAWAI BANDH / RANAKPUR / UDAIPUR

Enjoy another morning game drive to catch the leopards and thereafter, we leave for a pleasant drive to the Ranakpur Temple - the biggest and most important Jain temple in India, beautiful and intriguing - one of the finest examples of complex and sustained levels of craftsmanship the Jains are renowned for. Thereafter, we continue to Udaipur, one of the most mesmerizing cities in Rajasthan. On arrival, enjoy a cruise on Lake Pichola admiring landmarks such as the famed Taj Lake Palace Hotel and the ghats surrounding the city and then a visit to the City Palace and the Jagdish Temple before finally arriving at the stunning Oberoi Udaivilas, one of the most photographed and luxurious hotels in India if not the world. 

Overnight: Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 9: UDAIPUR (EXCURSION TO CHITTORGARH)

Today, we travel out of Udaipur for an excursion to the UNESCO-listed Chittogarh Fort - perhaps India's most stunning fort standing atop a 180m hill spreading across 700 acres and had witnessed many fierce battles and is a standing sentinel to the courage and valour of Chittorgarh - believed to be built by the Mauryans in the 7th Century and further structures were added by the successive Mewar rulers. We will also admire Padmini's Palace of which centres a beautiful yet tragic love story which inspired the building of the palace, surrounded by water.  

Overnight: Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 10: UDAIPUR / DELHI  DEPARTURE

Today, be transferred to Udaipur Maharana Pratap Airport for a short domestic flight to Delhi where we end our journey or continue your onward adventures in India and beyond. 

Meals: Breakfast

HOTELS

Discover a fascinating past and an enchanting present at Taj Umaid Bhawan Palace, perched high above the desert capital of Jodhpur. Perched on Chittar Hill, the highest point in Jodhpur, Umaid Bhawan Palace inspires with exotic views of the historical Blue City, vast sand dunes and intimidating Mehrangarh Fort. 

Taj Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur

The Suryagarh is a passage into India's past, a haven of Rajasthani heritage. Within this colonnaded, sandstone stay, the spa offers pummelling and scrubbing with hot stones and sand and the hotel's Legend of Mewar restaurant serves tempting traditional fare amid the dunes while you watch the sun sink into the sand. 

Suryagarh, Jaisalmer

Sanchal Fort, Barmer Resort is a luxury hotel in Barmer, Rajasthan, located on the sand dunes of Magabar. The very essence of the culturally-rich state of Rajasthan is brought to life at Sanchal Fort where its atmosphere captures the vibrancy and complexities of the city that is India's largest producer of oil. 

Sanchal Fort, Barmer

At the heart of an untrammeled wilderness, where leopards roam wild and free, is Sujan's Jawai. Designed by the owners, Anjali and Jaisal Singh, Jawai represents a style that combines subtle opulence with abundant adventure advocating goals for conservation without compromising comfort. The camp has 9 luxurious tents including one royal suite, each with oodles of space and privacy in a landscape of outstanding natural beauty. 

Sujan Jawai Leopard Camp, Jawai Bandh

Located on the banks of Lake Pichola, the award-winning Oberoi Udaivilas stands on the 200 year old hunting grounds of the Maharana of Mewar boasting an expansive sanctuary for discerning travellers with refined and exquisitely-designed rooms and suites reliving the era of emperors and princely kingdoms with ornate decorations and charming Mughal style architecture.

Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur

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