Multi-Day Tour | Escorted, Independent, Private

South India Connoisseurs Tour (13 days)

Banyan Tours & Travels - India

Mumbai, India To Mumbai, India

Valid for Departures Now Through: 21 Feb 2019


Day 1
Mumbai, India
The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai None

Arrive Mumbai. You are met as you exit the aircraft and you are assisted with immigration and custom formalities. You are transferred to the airport and you are assisted with checking in for your flight to Mumbai. You are met and you are transferred to your hotel


Formerly known as Bombay, it originally consisted of seven swampy islands when the Portuguese acquired it in 1554. In 1661 Bom Bahia (the Good Bay) came to the British Crown as part of the dowry of Catherine Braganza when she married Charles II. The British leased these “useless malarial islands” to the British East India Company who realized its potential as a natural harbor, and Mumbai grew to its present stature. The state capital of Maharashtra, Mumbai is India’s most dynamic, cosmopolitan and crowded city. The country’s financial capital and its busiest port, this city is home to the world’s biggest cinema industry, popularly known as “Bollywood”. Some 18 million people from billionaires’ tycoons to homeless pavement dwellers live in this teeming metropolis.

Day 2
Mumbai, India
The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai Breakfast

You will meet your guide in the lobby at 9:30 AM. You visit the historic Kala Ghoda Area, the heart of the Fort Mumbai area. A feast of architecture ranging from Gothic to art deco, the area is a lively area to explore on foot, Street vendors, cafes, galleries, local cricket matches and food stalls all find place to exist in this area. The tour will end at the soaring Victoria Station, a land mark of the area. A UNESCO world heritage site, it is a busy station for both local commuter and national rail services.

Later you drive to Churchgate Station to watch a very typical Mumbai trade – the Dabbawallahs. These are the men who are key to keeping the white collared work force of Mumbai fed, delivering over 200,000 thousand home cooked meals collected from homes in the distant suburbs and always delivered right on time to the right person. Using a system of colors and codes, the Dabbawallahs meet in front of Churchgate station, rapidly segregate the steel Tiffin carriers (which all look exactly the same) into areas and depart with their load. Their time management and operations is impeccable, resulting in a Six Sigma rating by Forbes Global and study done by Harvard.

Day 3
Mumbai, India
The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai Breakfast

After breakfast you you walk down to the Gateway of India and will you will board a speed boat for a 20 minute journey across the harbour to the cave temple at Elephanta. Carved out of solid rock, and dating to the 6th century, Elephanta is one of the remarkable 2500 cave temples in India. A gentle climb of 140 steps takes you to the caves. All along the way the path is lined by stalls selling a remarkable range of souvenirs, and the occasional monkey entertains you. If the climb is too much, sedan chairs are available to carry you up. The cave here is dedicated to the Indian deity Shiva, and the sculptures here are considered to be masterpieces of Indian art.

after lunch you will drive over the architecturally marvellous Worli Bandra sea link to reach Bandra. You will walk along Waroda Road which is a part of Ranwar Village, a charming bohemian enclave with colonial bungalows, and artistically graffitied walls. Ranwar is one of the original 24 hamlets that made up Bandra since the earliest documented history and has managed to retain its village character even as present day development has hemmed it in on all sides.

A former Portuguese enclave, the whole area has a slightly Mediterranean feel to it with paved roads, charming wooden bungalows and Catholic shrines dotting street corners. From here you continue to the Bandra Fort – The Castella De Aguada – the citadel that allowed the Portuguese to keep a watchful eye on the British to whom they had gifted the seven Islands of Bombaia as they called it. You have a wonderful view of Mumbai’s skyline from the ramparts across the Sea Link.

Day 4
Mumbai, India
Hubli, India
Hampi, India
Kamalapura Palace Breakfast, Dinner

You will transfer to the airport and you will depart by Air India 508 (3:25 PM/3:20 PM) to Hubli. From Hubli it is a three hour drive drive today to the extraordinary site of Hampi.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the fabled city of Hampi sprawls across a spectacular barren boulder strewn landscape. This city served as the capital for three generations of Hindu rulers for more than 200 years, and reached its zenith between 1510 AD and 1542 AD.

Day 5
Hampi, India
Kamalapura Palace Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

You will be exploring Hampi starting at the ruins of what was the urban core and ending at sunset at the Sacred Centre where the high point is the Vithala Temple which represents the epitome of Vijaynagar art and architecture. Throughout the area are strewn ruins of colonnaded bazaars, remains of temples and palaces, the intricate and skilful carvings still visible, and the spectacular stepwell. It is a fascinating day of exploring a rich history through some magnificent architecture.

Each day you will follow a trail following ending at one at a masterpiece. You will also take a sunset boat cruise on the Tungabhadra river taking you to the famed courtesans Bazaar

Day 6
Hampi, India
Kamalapura Palace Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

You will be exploring Hampi starting at the ruins of what was the urban core and ending at sunset at the Sacred Centre where the high point is the Vithala Temple which represents the epitome of Vijaynagar art and architecture. Throughout the area are strewn ruins of colonnaded bazaars, remains of temples and palaces, the intricate and skilful carvings still visible, and the spectacular stepwell. It is a fascinating day of exploring a rich history through some magnificent architecture.

Each day you will follow a trail following ending at one at a masterpiece. You will also take a sunset boat cruise on the Tungabhadra river taking you to the famed courtesans Bazaar

Day 7
Hampi, India
Hyderabad, India
Taj Falaknuma Palace Breakfast, Lunch

You will be drive 30 minutes to Bellary Airport and you will take the Trujet flight (4:40 PM/5:50 PM) to Hyderabad.

You will stay at the fabulous Falaknuma Palace. “mirror of the sky” was the royal guest house of the Nizam of Hyderabad, considered for many years to be the richest man in the world. This sixty room palace once the sole preserve of royalty, among them King George V and the last Russian Tsar, Nicolas II now plays host to visitors from across the world. Architecturally the palace is a blend of Italian and Tudor architecture. It is home to priceless art and artefacts, ornate inlaid furniture from Kashmir, rich handcrafted tapestries and brocades from France, and intricate frescos with English and Indian influence.

Day 8
Hyderabad, India
Taj Falaknuma Palace Breakfast, Lunch

This morning you will visit the fort at Golconda, served as the capital of the Qutb Shahi Kings who ruled over the area from 1507 to 1687. In 1724, Nizam Ul Mulk repossessed it and restored it to its former glory for a short time. The history of the fort dates back to the 12th century when it was originally built of mud by the Hindu Kakatiyas. Within the fort are the royal palaces, the harem, halls for both public and private audiences, royal baths and a temple. The huge vaults once held the famous Kohinoor and Hope diamonds.

You will also visit the extraordinarily beautiful Paigah Tombs. Intricately carved in marble, these are the tombs of the powerful Paigah Nobles who were close to the Nizam.

In the afternoon you will be explore the history of the White Mughals, the intriguing history which has been well described by William Dalrymple in the book of the same name.

This tour traces the late 18th century tragic love story of James Kirkpatrick, the British Resident and Khair-un-Nissa, a Muslim noblewoman. Walk through the gardens of the British Residency, which was one of the most impressive British buildings in the country of those times and weave your way past the old graveyard and end up next to the ruined Residency model that Kirkpatrick built for his wife. Next, we will drive down to Raymond’s Tomb and hear the story of how the French dominated this region for a few years. Hear about the Frenchman who played such a remarkable role in the history of this place and his popularity which led to him being ‘adopted’ by the Nizam and even have a locality named after him.

Day 9
Hyderabad, India
Taj Falaknuma Palace Breakfast, Lunch

The tour takes you to the old city starting with a walk around the four palaces of the Chowmahalla Complex. Hear the numerous stories about the seven Nizams of Hyderabad whose destinies and decisions shaped the history and culture of this region. Walk through the imposing Durbar Hall and the various rooms which have recreated a slice of life from the past.

Hyderabad’s charms lie beyond the monuments. The charm of the city is found wandering the through historic Lad Bazaar, listening to the stories of its grand past; in discovering the many art and crafts that developed under royal patronage and still survive. You will walk through the colorful and chaotic market where vendors sell an extraordinary variety of items ranging from mundane household goods, to the colorful bangles for which the city is so well known. It is a slice of Hyderabadi life – vibrant, chaotic and absorbing.

The afternoon is given over to exploring the crafts of the region, many of them influenced by the many cultures and traders who passed through; from ancient handloom weaving techniques or metal crafts to painting to toy making. You will visit the home of craftpeople, many of them master craftsmen in their fields. Using simple material such as wood, coconut shells and metal wires, they create masterpieces.

Day 10
Hyderabad, India
Cochin, India
Brunton (Deluxe Suite) Breakfast

You will depart by the Indigo flight 317 for Cochin (10:40 AM/12:15 PM). You are met and transferred to your hotel.

Kochi, better known as Cochin is Kerala’s most cosmopolitan city. It was the main trading center for spices and seafood, the town is in fact a collection of narrow islands. Whilst the more modern Ernakulam boasts restaurants, new built modern shopping smalls and commercial complexes, the Mattancherri and Fort Cochin area is still traditional and retains much of its original architecture and old world charm. The area is a blend of Dutch, Portuguese and British architecture, narrow streets crowded with spice shops, galleries and cafes’and the Jewish synagogue, the oldest in India. The architecture and cuisine reflects the influences of the many traders who came and visited and ultimately settled.

In the evening you will be taken to explore the Heritage Zone, which with its varied architectural styles highlights Cochin’s history of being occupied by various foreign rulers. In this area, which is protected, is St Francis’ Church, first established by the Portuguese in the 1500s. This is one of the earliest European churches in the country. The simple facade served as the prototype for future churches here. Vasco Da Gama was buried here in 1524 before his body was taken to Portugal 14 years later. You will also visit the Santa Cruz Cathedral which was built in the late 19th century and has impressive murals on its ceiling. The narrow streets lined with houses of varying architectural styles ranging from British to Dutch, are lovely art galleries, boutiques, and cafes. The walking tour ends at the Chinese Fishing Nets, which were first erected between 1350 and 1450 indicating trading ties with China.

Day 11
Cochin, India
Brunton Boatyard (Deluxe Suite) Breakfast

In the morning you will visit the area still referred to as Jew Town. The narrow lanes a mass of antique and souvenir shops, leading to the main attraction of the area – the Pardesi Synagogue, amongst the oldest in India, the interiors are decorated with blue tiles imported from China. You will stop at the Mattancherri Palace which was commissioned by the Portuguese for the Raja of Kochi in exchange for trading rights. The palace is two storeys high and is built in the traditional Kerala style known as “nalukattu” (four buildings around a central courtyard).

Made of wood and richly carved, the palace exhibits memorabilia from the Raja of Kochi’s collection, but it is best known for its outstanding murals painted on the walls. Fast fading, one can still see some of these excellent 16th century paintings illustrating episodes from the great Indian epic – The Ramayana.

ater you walk through the area referred to as “Jew Town”. The area is a jumble of antique and spice shops, and souvenir shop. It is a fun area to wander at leisure. You can choose to browse with your guide or on your own and can meet guide at a designated time. You will return to your hotel for lunch walking along Bazaar Street, famous for its spices.

This afternoon you have the option to go biking, exploring the old city with her guide. Later you will visit the theatre and watch a performance of Kathakali, a classical dance form that has its origins in Theyyam a ritual tribal dance of north Kerala and Kalaripayyattu the martial arts which goes back 1000 years. The dancers use dramatic costumes and exaggerated facial make up, and to accompaniment of drums and cymbals, use stylized movements to relate episodes from the Mahabharata and Ramayana.

Day 12
Cochin, India
Alleppy, India
One bedroom air condition houseboat Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

A visit to Kerala is incomplete without a tour of the backwaters. A labyrinthine maze of canals which wind their way through the state, they support a unique lifestyle, one which is dictated by the waters.

Today, you will board your houseboat mid morning, and you will have a leisurely journey through the Kuttanadu area of the backwaters. This is one of the few areas where farming is done below sea level, and as you travel through the labyrinthine maze of canals and waters ways you will pass paddy fields, banana and coconut plantations, small villages and boats commuting between villages and ferrying children to school and farmers to the markets.

Day 13
Alleppy, India
Cochin, India
Mumbai, India
The Leela Mumbai Breakfast

You will disembark and you will drive to Cochin Airport. You return to Mumbai today and will transfer to the Leela Palace near the airport. Later you will be transferred to the international airport and will be assisted with checking in for your onward flight

Tour Features


  • Culture, History & Arts
  • Family Vacations
  • Food & Wine
  • Sightseeing
  • Walking & Biking
  • Wildlife & Nature


Extraordinary privately organized tour for you.

About Us

Banyan Tours & Travels was established in 1996. The objective was to provide travellers to India the highest standard in luxury travel arrangements. Banyan is widely recognized as one of the truly specialist companies in India, with the knowledge and understanding of how to deliver the perfect holiday. Consistently. We enjoy extremely high levels of client satisfaction, especially from those who operate the most demanding programmes in India.

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By: anonymous

Reviewed on: 04 Feb 2017

We loved our tour guide, Shivraj, and everything about Banyan. They took very good care of us.
Travel Advisor:  Valerie Ann Wilson