The first of Nirup’s tours took place on the 5th of oct 2014. We were a group of 8 people from all walks of life, with one thing in common- love of travel. We started our tour in the bustling city of chennai and drove to mahabalipuram, heading south and passing by many quaint towns along the coast. We based ourself in this resort town, and explored the local town of mahabalipuram, and Pondicherry. After 3 days of exploring the coromandel coast, we head inland by catching a domestic flight to Bangalore and getting a coach transfer to mysore. For the next 5 days, we explored the city of mysore and the surrounding areas, which ranged from palaces and art galleries to forts and dungeons and finally a safari in the tiger reserve- Bandipur.
After witnessing the famous lighting of the mysore palace, the next day we headed to 2 blissful nights at the coffee estates of coorg. The resort itself was 300 acres, surrounded by Dubare elephant forest. Here we learnt about coffee, visitied a local village, were presented a feast of local food and were taken on a walk through the forest. On the 3rd morning, we headed north to a place called shravanabelagola, where we climbed 500 steps up a steep hill to a Jain temple on top which featured an 80 foot high monolithic statue of the naked saint bahubali. We descended, and sampled Jain food at the home of one of the locals. From here we drove further north to the ancient temples of halebeedu, which feature very unique and wonderful ornate carvings of soap stone. We spent the night in Hassan which is the major city closeby.
The next morning, we drove to the bustling tech city of Bangalore and flew to cochin on a domestic flight. We were transfered from Cochin to Kumarakom, were we spent 2 nights in a resort to wind down after the hectic travelling. Here we relaxed with yoga, massages and cultural programmes and yet more authentic food. On the 3rd day, we left for a farm stay on the famous Vembanad lake. 2 days on the fabulous home stay, where we cruised backwaters and canals, went bird watching, cruised on the rice/house boat and had a cooking demo by our hosts. Food was fabulous authentic kerala cuisine and the host were great. We then had a fitting end to our tour in total relaxation and in awe of all that we had experienced in the last 15 days. The next day was the departure day, where we were dropped off at cochin international airport, for our journey back home.