This post is a follow up to one I wrote in January describing my plans for this tour. Having now completed the trip, and had time to reflect on it, I am able to draw conclusions and make recommendations on planning a trip for yourselves.
Overall, we had a wonderful time, enjoying a wide variety of experiences, at a very reasonable cost. It was my first visit to South India which I loved.
The Itinerary Outline for my trip:
- 3 Days – Delhi
- 3 Days – Amritsar
- 3 Days – Corbett National park
- 2 Days – Agra
- 2 Days - Mysore
- 3 Days – Nagerhole National Park
- 3 Days – Thalaserry – Kerala Coast
- 3 Days – Bandapur National Park
- 2 Days – Munar hill station
- 1 Day - Periyar National Park
- 6 Days – Kochi Waterways Home stays.
Below are some very brief highlights from our tour and I have provided links to other blogs I have written to give more details where they are available. I plan to add further links as I write up my other experiences.
Delhi has a lot to offer from modern shows and markets through to ancient archaeological sites. I will provide a separate write up at a later date.
Key highlights were:
- A bicycle rickshaw tour of Chandni Chowk market, a bustling and historic spice market full of noise and colour and the aroma of spices.
- The Red Fort and the Mehrauli Archaeological Park. With archaeology dating back to the 9th
- A wonderful international craft fair (Surajkund International Crafts fair) that occurs annually in February
- A Bollywood musical show.
Agra and the Taj Mahal and Agra fort are, of course, world famous and wonderful.
Corbett Tiger Reserve is one of India’s premier nature reserves and full of wildlife of all types. I have written a separate blog of my trip there which you can read here.
In Mysore we were able to enjoy the spectacular Mysore palace as well as the Nandi hills. The town fruit, vegetable and flower market was a highlight also. Outside Mysore the Tipu Sultan’s summer palace and mausoleum gave a glimpse into the wealth and power of the Indian nobility of the past.
We visited three separate Tiger National parks whilst in the South, Nagerhole, Bandapur and Periyar. All were good but Nagarhole stood out for its wonderful sightings of tigers and leopards. Read about the visit to Nagarhole here and Bandipur here. The time in these Indian National Parks far exceeded our expectations. It was so good to see so much wildlife. Nagarhole visit blog.
We had a great time in Kerala. We stopped in Munar hill station and toured a tea plantation and museum factory. It was fascinating!
Our tour of a spice plantation showed the huge range of spices as well as fruit and vegetables that can be grown here. It is really interesting to see the spices we are so familiar with actually being grown. Read more about what Kerala has to offer here.
At the end of our trip we stayed for a week in the Kochi area, in two separate home stays, relaxing before flying home from the city’s airport. We enjoyed boat trips on the backwaters as well as tour of local crafts including the making of toddy (an alcoholic drink made from coconut sap). We even visited a toddy parlour and had a taste.
The waterways are a very beautiful way to tour the local villages in the area and to view traditional farming and fishing methods. The waterways were also good for bird watching and we also saw Otters.
Many of the local towns and cities have buildings that date back to the 16th century and the earliest European visitors to the subcontinent. In Fort Kochi, for example, it is possible to see the Church where Vasco De Gama was buried.
Conclusions from the trip:
Time of Year
February is a great time of year to visit India. In the North, particularly in Corbett Park, the nights and mornings can be cold and foggy but the day time temperature is generally very pleasant. In Kerala the daytime temperatures were getting into the mid 30s C but were still manageable. If you are staying in the North you might consider coming a bit later.
Itinerary and Travel Time
The length of the trip, four weeks, was very good if you can spare the time. We did so many different things that it was really many holidays within one so the whole time was enjoyable and engaging. Also the ratio between travel time and time in each location was about right.
For the big transfer, from New Delhi to Bangalore, we took a flight and met our driver at the airport.
Accommodation in India
There is a great range of high class accommodation available. We particularly enjoyed our time in the home stays and the wildlife lodges. Read this guide for more information.
Interested in visiting?
View sample tours of India here...