To Kerala on the Konkan Railway
Embark on this incredible adventure travelling south along India's west coast by rail. Explore an array of India's most impressive sights, from bustling Mumbai and the old port of Mangaluru, as we travel on the famous Konkan Railway.
We depart from London on our flight to Mumbai, the 'Gateway to India', arriving on Day 2. Here we transfer to the ITC Grand Central Hotel for a two night stay. This afternoon we begin our explorations with a sightseeing tour, taking in Gandhi's house, Dhobi Ghat, and the UNESCO-listed Victoria Railway Station.
This morning we visit the Prince of Wales Museum, where we enjoy viewing a range of art and artefacts, housed in a magnificent 20th century colonial-style building. This afternoon we take an excursion to the Elephanta Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage site located on Elephanta Island, where two cave systems dating back to the 5th century display delicate sculptures of Shiva and Buddha.
Early this morning we leave Mumbai for the first stage of our journey along the renowned Konkan Railway, a 463-mile route that connects Mumbai to Mangalore via Goa and the Western Ghats. This coastal line takes us through some of the most scenic backdrops in the country as we travel southwards, sandwiched between unparalleled landscapes of majestic mountains and plunging waterfalls, and the crystal clear waters of the Arabian Sea. We arrive into Goa this afternoon where we check into our hotel.
On Day 5 we enjoy a guided tour of Old Goa. As a former Portuguese colony, the architecture here is notably more European in style, winning it UNESCO World Heritage status. We begin by visiting some of the palaces and religious buildings including the striking Basilica of Bom Jesus and the Church of St Francis of Assisi. Following lunch at a Goan Portuguese house, we take the short drive to Panjim and enjoy a walking tour of the state capital's heritage, as well as a visit to the local market.
Following a morning at leisure we rejoin the Konkan Railway for the last stretch of this scenic journey to Mangaluru, situated on the Malabar coast. Here we spend two nights at the Gateway Hotel. On Day 7 we enjoy a morning tour of Mangaluru, taking in the imposing Sultan Battery watchtower. We take a visit to the opulent Kadri Temple, encased on all sides by gold statues of Hindu deities. Our final trip is to St Aloysius Chapel, known as the 'Sistine of India' due to its remarkably intricate interior paintings.
We head to the railway station this morning for the journey southwards to beautiful Kerala. Our destination is Kochi, a serene coastal city that has been attracting merchants and visitors for over 600 years. Our base for two nights is the Trident Hotel. We take a guided tour on Day 9, which includes the sixteenth-century Jewish Paradesi Synagogue, home to an array of treasures, the Dutch Palace - originally built by the Portuguese and presented to the Rajah of Cochin in 1555, and the church of St. Francis, the oldest European church in India. This evening we are treated to a to a Kathakali dance show, the traditional dancedrama of Kerala, which combines vibrant costumes, ornate head-wear and ceremonial dance movements with live music.
Leaving Kochi, today we travel by coach inland to Periyar, making a visit to a local tea plantation along the way. The drive takes us through some of India's lush scenery before we check into our hotel, the Poetree Sarovar Portico - the perfect base from which to explore Periyar National Park. After settling in, tonight we are treated to a tribal dance performance nearby.
On Day 11 we enjoy a walking tour through an aromatic spice plantation. As we weave through the winding pathways of the plantation, we are greeted by mouthwatering scents of numerous spices, used for a variety of purposes. Later we head into the national park and to Lake Periyar, where we embark on a cruise of the reservoir, which acts as a watering hole for Periyar's exotic wildlife. Although tiger-spotting opportunities are incredibly rare, various species of bird as well as indigenous hogs and deer can often be seen on the lake shore.
Today we enjoy an unforgettable highlight of any trip to Kerala. After driving to Alleppey, we set out on a cruise across Kerala's peaceful lakes and backwaters aboard our very own private houseboat. As we glide serenely into the bewildering maze of canals and channels, you may see kingfishers perched attentively above the riverbank and egrets swooping low, just above the water. Following lunch on board, we stop to visit a traditional village, before spending tonight at a local backwaters resort.
This morning we enjoy an insightful walking tour with the 'Preserve Alleppey Society'. The Society is a group dedicated to the preservation of Kerala's natural, idyllic backwaters, as well as the unique character of Alleppey town. We then enjoy a traditional Keralan meal for lunch. Later, we travel by coach to Kovalam, a coastal village whose sandy beaches are lined with coconut palm trees. Here we stay for two nights at the Travancore Heritage hotel.
On today's excursion we travel by rail to Kanyakumari, the southernmost tip of the Indian subcontinent. Here we enjoy lunch, before visiting the incredible memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, where his ashes were first kept. We return to our hotel in Kovalam for dinner.
Today we transfer to the airport for our scheduled flight back to London via Mumbai, where your tour concludes.
Please note that while every departure of this tour features the same excursions, they may not necessarily be in the order listed above.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.
An escorted experience and all travel arrangements
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Fantastic rail experiences
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
Please note: This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.
Discover India's spectacular coastal resorts