India : Spice, Gardens, Food & Culture

A Taste of INDIA Tour

Features spice & tea plantations, first class hotels, Kerala backwaters cruise, cooking demonstrations, Bhuratpur Bird Sanctuary, Periyer National Park, Jaipur, Delhi, Agra, Mumbai and the romantic relaxing Marari Beach Resort.

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22 November - 8 December, 2007
Price Land Only AUD$6998 (about US$5400)

Why choose this tour

If you want to see the ' must see ' attractions of India , gain access to Tea Plantations and Spice growing farms, see wildlife and cruise the canals of Kerala, as well as gain access ' Behind the Scenes' on a relaxing, all pre arranged tour ....this is it !

On this Southern and Central India tour you will discover a photogenic world of vibrant colours, aromatic spice markets, palm fringed beaches, romantic hill stations, abundant wildlife, restful canal cruising and spectacular temples.

Start in Delhi with the Red Fort , continue on to Rajastan and Agra, to see the Taj Mahal then Jaipur ' The Pink City', to see the Amber Palace and abandoned city of Fatehpur Sekri , Mumbai ( formerly Bombay) and Cochin with it`s ancient Chinese Fishing Nets are our next stops..... plus Periyar National Park, a bird watchers paradise.

Private charter coaches will be provided for your convenience whilst touring , with ample numbers of seats deliberately left vacant for you to be able to move around in comfort. Impromptu stops can be made for photography and for you to more closely observe unexpected sights of interest along the way .

Fine Food & Accommodation

Cooking demonstrations have been especially arranged for members of this tour to learn about how to use the aromatic and taste tantalising spices of India. Visit plantations and farms where spices are grown, see how spices are processed and enjoy their flavours in your meals on this tour.

Kerala is our final destination where you can immerse yourself in all that is the atmosphere of romantic India. Cruise on a luxury houseboat overnight through the network of backwater canals lined with palm trees, stay on a tea plantation, visit a spice farm, go wildlife viewing in Periyer National Park and Tiger Reserve and discover the benefits of Ayurvedic massage and food philosophy.

Special arrangements have been made for you to meet a Plantation Owner, learn about the lifestyle on one of the leading Tea Plantations of India and see how the tea that you drink is processed. All your meals are included and some fine restaurants have been chosen where you can enjoy the atmosphere as well as the cuisine.

First Class and Superior Hotels are included in this tour, in order to highlight the splendour and charms of this fascinating country. The Jai Mahal Palace Hotel offers you an insight into the realm of an ancient luxurious world, Marari Beach Resort will have you lazing on a palm fringed beach and Siena Village sets you amongst the mountainous tea plantations, with a touch of the days of the old British Raj.

Gardens & Nature

You will see the growing of cashew nuts, cardamom, pepper, tamarind, cloves, cumin, nutmeg and turmeric as well as enjoy eating the exciting cuisine of each region and learning how to prepare it.

We will visit Periyar National Park, one of the biggest Wildlife Sanctuaries in India, and Bhuratpur Bird Sanctuary, truly a haven for birding, with Ospreys, kingfishers, Racket-tailed Drongos, fish owls, kites, Great and Grey Hornbills, Blue-winged Parakeets and Orioles. Over 260 bird species that have been recorded here. Periyar is also inhabited by elephant, leopard, barking deer, mouse deer, Nilgiri langur, bonnet macaque, sambar, porcupines, squirrels, gaur (Indian bison) and the elusive sloth bear and tiger.

Monkeys can even be found playing in the cities, and the extensive landscape gardens of many of the hotels on this tour are also good for bird watching. Leisurely cruise along the peaceful backwaters of South India to Lake Vembanad where we stay in private luxury bungalows , built on what was once a huge coconut plantation. Nearby is Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary , a favourite stopover place for migrating Siberian stork, herons and teal.

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