Leisure in the South Planned Itinerary

You may know you want to visit India. You may even know where you’d like to go. The question, then, becomes how you want to spend your time. Here’s a great two-week itinerary of some southern hotspots you’re sure to love. 

Day 01 Mumbai  
 
Arrive Mumbai, meeting on arrival and transfer to hotel.  
Rest of the day free for independent activities. Overnight at the Hotel. 

Day 02 Mumbai  

In the morning visit the world famous: 
Elephanta Caves: A must for any visitor to India. Mute testimony of the Golden Age in Indian history during the Gupta period and built to honor Lord Shiva. Elephanta is a 3 kms long elongated island, consisting of two hills separated by a valley. The caves with rock-cut figures and carvings are believed to be carved by the sculptors of Ajanta or Udayagiri. 
In the afternoon enjoy sightseeing tour of city.
Overnight at the Hotel. 

Day 03 Mumbai – Banglore 
 
Transfer from hotel to airport in time to connect your flight to Bangalore. Meeting on arrival and transfer to hotel.  
In the afternoon enjoy sightseeing tour of:  
City which includes the Lal Bagh, Gole Temple, the Government Building, Vishveshwara Industrial and Technology Museum and the Ulsoor Lake.  
Overnight at the Hotel. 

Day 04  Banglore – Hasan  
 
In the morning leave Bangalore for Hassan by surface.  
In the afternoon visit : 
Belur – Halebid : Visit the Chennakeswara Temple at Belur and the Hoyasaleswara Temple at Halebid. These are some of the finest examples of temple architecture.  
Overnight at the Hotel. 

Day 05 Hasan – Mysore  
 
In the morning leave Hassan for Mysore by surface and enroute visit: 
Sravanabelagola : “White lake of Jain hermit” is the leading Jain pilgrimage centre of the Deccan. Amongst the temples is the 57 ft. colossal statue of the hermit Gomateshwara built in 985 A.D. “White lake of Jain hermit” is the leading Jain pilgrimage centre of the Deccan. Amongst the temples is the 57 ft. colossal statue of the hermit Gomateshwara built in 985 A.D.  
Srigangapatnam : 16 Kms. north of Mysore Srirangapatnam meaning “port of the Lord of the World” is an ancient religious site on an island in the river Cauvery.  
Continue you drive for Mysore. Rest of the evening at leisure.  
Overnight at the Hotel. 

Day 06 Mysore  
 
In the morning enjoy sightseeing tour of: 
Mysore: The old capital town has the magnificent Maharaja’s Palace, Chamundi Temple, and the Art Gallery with a fine collection of paintings and musical instruments. Finally you also visit the fruits and flower markets.  
Afternoon free for independent activities.  
Overnight at the Hotel. 

Day 07  Mysore – Trichy  
 
In the morning leave Mysore for Trichy by surface.  
Afternoon at leisure.  
Overnight at the Hotel. 

Day 08 Trichy  
 
In the morning enjoy sightseeing tour of:  
Trichy : Visit the Rock Fort, Srirangam, one of the largest temple of God Vishnu; and the jambkeswaram temple of Lord Shiva submerged in water.  
After sightseeing tour of Tanjore. 
Tanjore: Famous for the Classic Dravidian style temple of Brihadishwara (Shiva in his fearsome aspect), also noted for its art and crafts; pottery, silk, jewellery, beaten copper, bronzes & silver statutes.  
Overnight at hotel. 

Day 09  Trichy – Madurai  
 
Leave for Madurai by surface and check in at hotel. Rest of the day free  
Overnight at hotel 

Day 10  Maduri  
 
In the morning enjoy sightseeing tour of:  
Madurai City : You will visit Minakshi Temple- built in the 17th century the iconography makes much use of the lotus, which in Indian symbolism is a representation of the female sex and at the same time an emblem of bliss and of the abode of the gods; Palace of Nayak Tirumalai – depicting influence of Mughal art on traditional Hindu art- the beginning of the Indo-Saracenic or Indo-Mauresque Style.  
Afternoon at leisure.  
In the evening witness the “Night ceremony” at Minakshi Temple.  
Overnight at the Hotel. 

Day 11 Madurai – Chennai  
 
Transfer from hotel to airport in time to connect your flight to Chennai.  
Meeting on arrival and transfer to hotel.  
Afternoon at leisure.  
Overnight at the Hotel. 

Day 12 Chennai  
 
Enjoy full day excursion to Kanchipuram and Mahabalipuram.  
Kancheepuram: known as the Golden city of a thousand temples. This is one of India’s sacred cities. Many early styles of temple architectural design; the Five Radhas-a group of monolithic monuments and animal figures carved out of solid rock; the Shore Temple, lashed by the waves of the Sea; and the huge frescoe; ‘The Penance of Bhagirathi’.  
Mahabalipuram: An ancient coastal port South of Madras, here you will see many sculptures and temples of typical South India architectural designs; the five Radhas – A group of Monolithic monuments of animal figures carved out of solid rock; the shore temple, lashed by the waves of the sea, and the Huge frescoes; the penance of Bhagirath.  
Overnight at hotel. 

Day 13 Chennai 
 
In the morning enjoy sightseeing tour of: 
Chennai City: A typical Indian city, its the capital of Tamil Nadu. Though it was the oldest settlement of the British, Chennai remained unaffected in spirit. Only the cathedral and the Fort of St. George are a reminder of its British past. Visit the Marina Beach- second longest beach in the world, it’s an elegant promenade; Fort St. George- the first foothold of British from where Robert Clive started the expansion of British Rule. 

Day 14 Chennai – Mumbai  
 
In time transfer to airport to connect flight for Mumbai.  
Assistance on arrival and transfer to hotel.  
Overnight at the hotel. 

Day 15 Leave Mumbai  
 
Transfer from hotel to international airport in time to connect your flight back home. 

City Spotlight: New Delhi

New Delhi, an urban district of Delhi, serves at the capital of India and the seat of all three branches of Government. The city was officially founded in 1911 by George V, Emperor of India during the Delhi Durbar, and it was designed by British architects. When Calcutta, now Kokata, became the epicenter of the Indian Independence movement, British colonizers moved the capital to New Delhi, where it has remained for more than a century. After the country gained independence in 1947, a limited autonomy was conferred to New Delhi.

 

New Delhi forms just a small part of the Delhi metropolitan area, sitting on the Indo-Gangetic Plain. As a result, there is little difference in elevation across the city—something quite rare to find in large Indian cities. While New Delhi lies on the floodplains of the Yamuna River, it is essentially landlocked. Additionally, the city falls under the seismic zone-IV, making it especially vulnerable to earthquakes. New Delhi is also known for its bad air quality and pollution. In 2014, the World Health Organization ranked New Delhi as the world’s worst polluted city among the 1,600 cities tracked. The city is doing what it can to alleviate some of the pollution, the Indian Medical Association declared a public health emergency in 2017 due to high pollution levels. If you travel to this city, especially in the winter, when pollution is at its worst, I recommend wearing some sort of face mask. You can purchase these items at most stores and pharmacies.

 

Despite the devastating pollution, New Delhi is a remarkably cosmopolitan city. This is due, in part, to the cultural presence of the vast Indian bureaucracy and political system. National events, such as Republic Day, Independence Day, and Gandhi Jayanti are celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm, and I highly recommend timing your visit with a celebration. The city is full of historic sites, museums, and gardens, making it a perfect Indian destination for lovers of art and culture.

 

When traveling to New Delhi, visitors can utilize its railways, Metro, bus system, and motorways. Getting here is remarkably easy. In fact, in 2010, Indira Gandhi International Airport was conferred the fourth best airport award in the world (within the 15-25 million category). This is a can’t-miss destination in your Indian experience.

How to Travel in India

India is a slight departure from most western travel norms. When on vacation, most Americans opt for places in Western Europe—think France, Italy, Germany, and—for the more adventurous—Portugal. Most travelers only experience the Asian continent on the Eastern end—Japan, South Korea, and China. India, however, provides the opportunity to explore an intersection—what happens when Europe collides with the east?

 

This crazy, beautiful, overwhelming country is a must-see destination for people worldwide, but the traveling itself can be a bit intense. I am here to help you navigate through some of the most challenging aspects of Indian travel. My name is Lukas, and I (basically) grew up in India. Though my family is originally from Vienna, we moved to Pune so my mother could take a job at UWC Mahindra College. I spent my childhood exploring the country and, after attending UWC myself, took a gap year before starting university in the United States.

 

During that year, I worked as an independent tour guide and travel consultant. Using my personal experiences, I learned to craft the perfect vacations for visitors. If they wanted to go on safari, I knew where to point them. If they wanted to explore India’s Islamic history, I drew up a list of important mosques. In addition to helping plan trips, I also, at times, traveled alongside clients, helping to translate, haggle, and book accommodations along the way.

 

Though I have since left India, my love for the country will never die. I want to turn my experience into a resource for anyone planning to travel there. That, in essence, is the mission statement for this blog. Here, you will find travel guides, tips, and must-see destinations. If you every have a personal question or want an individualized travel guide, shoot me an email!

 

Traveling in India: What You Need to Know

So: You’ve decided to visit India. You might have an idea of the places you want to visit, but—odds are—you’re agonizing over every detail of your trip. Traveling in India is an overwhelming but rewarding experience, and new travelers should seek out expert tips and advice to prevent overstimulation. Luckily, that’s what I’m here to provide. Below are my four tips for having a successful Indian vacation.

 

  1. Plan your route. Don’t show up in Mumbai expecting to visit Kerala. Think about the sites you want to see and plan your trip around that. If you want to stay in one place, by all means, this is the easiest option. However, India is such a compact, diverse country that seeing several cities in a single trip is very manageable—just choose cities that interest you rather than those you’ve only heard about in passing.

 

  1. Take a few hours each day to get away from the crowds. With over a billion locals, parts of India can feel very claustrophobic. It’s easy to reach a personal breaking point, so spend some time alone, inside, or in one of the country’s smaller towns.

 

  1. Know what you consume. Don’t drink tap water, and don’t consume food that has been washed in it. Avoid ice cream, salads, and fruit you haven’t peeled or prepared yourself, and give your stomach a few days to adjust before trying any street food ventures.

 

  1. Take it slow. It’s better to concentrate on just a few places rather than trying to tick off as many as possible. Spend a few days in a single place before moving on—you’ll gain a deeper understanding of where you are and have more time to explore.

 

Must-See Spots in India

At this point in your planning process, you’ve likely booked your flight, but you’re not completely sure what you want to see. India is a dense, highly-populated country; as a result, there is a lot packed into the space, and you won’t have the time to see it all in a single trip. While planning your vacation, think about what interests you most about the country. Is it the wildlife? Is it the religious sights? Maybe it’s the standard landmarks and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is essential to plan your trip around what you absolutely need to see, concentrating on either the North or the South. Be realistic about your time—you’ll have a more relaxing trip.

While working as a tour guide, I came to recognize four popular routes. I have the important sites listed below.

 

The Classics—This is the most popular route for travelers in India. It includes the Golden Triangle—Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur. If you don’t mind a fast-paced trip, you can squeeze it all into a week. Your can’t-miss sites include: Humayun’s Tomb, the Red Fort, the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri, and the Pink City.

 

Religious Tour—Whether you are personally religious or merely interested in religious architecture, India offers countless temples, mosques, and places of worship—especially in north and central India. Your can’t miss sites include: the Golden Temple, Khajuraho, the Sun Temple, the Jain temples in Rajasthan and Gujarat, and the temple caves at Ajanta and Ellora.

 

Beach Relaxation—The southern end of India is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. From Mumbai’s Girgaum Chowpatty beach to the Goan beaches, you can’t go wrong in choosing a destination. I personally enjoy Kerala’s black sand beaches (Kovalam and Varkala) in the north.

 

Adventure Trekking—Northern India is mountainous and beautiful—perfect for those seeking a bit of an adrenaline rush. Start in Shimla and work your way up to Manali to experience some of the best hiking, skiing, and whitewater rafting available.