India: Splendors of the South
Experience a 16-day journey from Mumbai to Mysore to the wildlife haven of Nagarhole National Park. Explore Calicut, "City of Spices," then enjoy a leisurely two-night cruise along Kerala's palm-fringed canals. Discover fascinating Kochi, boasting its rich mix of Arab, Portuguese and Dutch influences. Delhi and Agra pre-tour extension and Sri Lanka post-tour extension.
Upon arrival, we transfer directly to our hotel. Taj Mahal Palace
Today we encounter India’s most populous city, as well as its commercial and entertainment capital. We begin at the Gateway of India monument then visit the revered Mani Bhawan, Mahatma Gandhi’s headquarters here from 1917–1934. This afternoon we tour the acclaimed Prince of Wales Museum; tonight we enjoy a welcome dinner at a local restaurant. Taj Mahal Palace (B,L,D)
We embark on an unusual yet rewarding excursion this morning to Dharavi, Mumbai’s giant slum considered a “city within a city.” We learn about the resilience and resourcefulness of the residents here. After lunch at a local restaurant, we visit Crawford Market, the huge Raj-era arcade selling everything from produce to pets. Schedules permitting, meet with foreign service staff at the U.S. Embassy before dinner on your own tonight. Taj Mahal Palace (B,L)
Early this morning we transfer to the airport for the flight to Bangalore. Upon arrival we board a coach for the journey to Mysore, stopping en route for lunch. Then we continue on to Mysore and our hotel, where we dine tonight. Hotel Radisson Blu (B,L,D)
Today we travel to the Chamundi Hills, site of Chamundeshwari Temple with 1,008 ancient steps leading to the summit. We continue on to the key religious town of Srirangapatna. Here we visit Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, built in the 9th century to honor the Hindu god Ranganatha and an important pilgrimage site. Next we visit Mysore Palace, the Indo-Saracenic blend of Hindu, Muslim, Rajput, and Gothic styles that remains the home of the Maharajahs of Mysore. Hotel Radisson Blu (B,D)
We travel today to Coorg (also known as Kodagu) and our accommodations at the Evolve Back Estate, set on a 300-acre working coffee and spice plantation. After lunch here, we take a guided walk of the extensive grounds with the resort’s resident naturalist. Later we enjoy a cultural dance performance. Evolve Back Chikkana Halli Estate (B,L,D)
We encounter everyday life up close on this morning’s visit to a nearby village, as we wander the narrow lanes, see a traditional A common sight in Kochi: fixed “Chinese” nets operated by as many as six fishermen. coffee pour, and experience the round “coracle” boats used by local fishermen. Back at our lodgings this afternoon, we learn about the coffee grown here on a walking tour of the plantation. Evolve Back Chikkana Halli Estate (B,L,D)
After an early morning birdwatching walk, we leave Coorg for Nagarhole National Park, whose abundant wildlife, including Bengal tiger, Asian elephant, Indian bison, wild dog, deer, antelope, and hyena, make it one of India’s finest preserves. We enjoy lunch at our safari lodge, named one of National Geographic Traveler’s 25 “world’s best” eco-lodges, then set out on a boat safari. Evolve Back Kuruba Safari Lodge (B,L,D)
This morning we embark on a safari by vehicle or boat through Nagarhole in search of wildlife, including the elusive Bengal tiger. We return to the lodge for lunch and time to relax. Later we visit with a local family in their home in the village of Gundathur. Evolve Back Kuruba Safari Lodge (B,L,D)
This morning we set out on the five-hour drive to Calicut, known as the Kerala region’s “City of Spices” for its role in the spice trade, stopping for lunch along the way. Upon arrival in Calicut, we have the remainder of the afternoon at leisure. Dinner tonight is on our own. Taj Gateway Hotel (B,L)
We board an early morning train for the journey to Kerala’s backwaters then travel by coach to our well-appointed houseboat. Later today we begin our leisurely cruise along the palm-fringed canals of the Arabian Sea. Houseboat (B,L,D)
Today we see Indian life up close as we slowly cruise past small farms and villages, and old temples and churches, stopping on occasion to go ashore. Houseboat (B,L,D)
We disembark and return to Kochi, “Queen of the Arabian Sea,” where this afternoon we take a walking tour of Fort Kochi, with its mix of Portuguese, Dutch, and British colonial houses and other historic buildings. Then we attend a performance of traditional Kathakali dance. Tonight we celebrate our journey at a farewell dinner at our hotel. Taj Malabar Resort & Spa (B,D)
This morning’s walking tour reveals Kochi’s multi-layered past, a rich brew of Arab, Portuguese, British, and Dutch influences. After lunch together we are free to explore Kochi’s Old Town as we wish. Tonight we enjoy a sunset harbor cruise before dinner on our own. Taj Malabar Resort & Spa (B,L)
Very early this morning we depart for the airport and our return flight to the U.S., where we connect with our flights home.
Cost and Details
Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle: $5,674
Boston, New York, Washington DC: $5,474
Phoenix, Portland, Denver: $5,974
Please call if your city is not listed. Prices are per person based on double occupancy and include airline taxes, surcharges, and fees of $879, which are subject to change until final payment is made. All tour prices above (excluding airline taxes, surcharges, and fees) are guaranteed.
Land Only: $4,295 (transfers not included)
Single Room Supplement: $1,595
Airline upgrades on round-trip Trans-Atlantic flight:
Business Class - $4,995 per person; (upgrades are subject to availability and pricing is subject to change). Upgrade prices are in addition to the costs above.
Round-trip air transportation from listed cities; all flights within itinerary; 14 nights’ accommodations: 12 nights in Deluxe and Superior First Class hotels; 2 nights in privately chartered houseboat ;34 meals: 13 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 10 dinners; Extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees; Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director; Educational lecture program/study leader with a minimum of 15 guests; Additional Commonwealth Club representative at 20 guests; Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip; Luggage handling for one bag per person; Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers
Airfare when purchasing a Land Only package; costs of passports and visas; personal expenses such as beverages, laundry, room service, and meals not specified; airport transfers when purchasing a Land Only package; communication charges; gratuities to your Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director, which are at your discretion (suggested gratuities: $10-$15 per traveler, per day); optional sightseeing; and travel protection insurance. Additional baggage fees may apply and are subject to change at any time. You should confirm directly with your airline(s) prior to departure.
Optional Pre-Tour Extension
Cost: $1,195 per person (based on double occupancy)
Single Supplement: $345
Experience two of India’s iconic cities of the north and the magnificent Taj Mahal; Air transportation Delhi/Mumbai, inclusive of airline taxes and fees; 4 nights’ accommodations: 2 nights Delhi at ITC Sheraton (Deluxe); 2 nights Agra at ITC Mughal (Superior First Class); 9 meals: 4 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners; Extensive sightseeing: Old/New Delhi, Chandni Chowk Bazaar, Taj Mahal visits (including sunrise), Agra Fort; Services of an Odysseys Unlimited representative; Private motorcoach transportation; Gratuities for dining room servers and airport and hotel porters
Optional Post-Tour Extension
Cost: $1,145 per person (based on double occupancy)
Single Supplement: $395
Diverse cultures, ancient sites, and tropical scenery highlight Southeast Asia’s oldest democracy; Air transportation Kochi/Colombo, Sri Lanka, inclusive of airline taxes and fees; 4 nights’ accommodations: 3 nights Kandy at Cinnamon Citadel (Deluxe); 1 night Colombo at Cinnamon Grand (Deluxe); 9 meals: 4 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 4 dinners; Extensive sightseeing: UNESCO town of Kandy, tea plantation, Hindu (Embekke) and Buddhist (Tooth Relic) temples, elephant sanctuary, Peradeniya Gardens, Colombo city tour; Services of an Odysseys Unlimited representative; Private motorcoach transportation; Gratuities for dining room servers and airport and hotel porters
This trip involves considerable walking, as well as some lengthy coach rides. Participants should be in good physical condition to enjoy the tour to its fullest. There will be full days of sightseeing and significant amounts of walking on stairs and uneven surfaces, as well as some lengthy coach rides. You must be able to get on and off motor coaches on their own. Gangways are not needed to get on and off the Houseboat, so it’s particularly easy to embark and disembark. When visiting temples and shrines, guests will be expected to remove shoes and possibly their socks.
Overall, this trip to Southern India is not terribly rigorous, but it does require some stamina. The most challenging experiences will be visiting Dharavi (a giant slum) in Mumbai on day 4 and exploring Kabini (days 9-11) where Nagarhole National Park is located. There’s a good amount of walking (anywhere between 1-3 hours per activity) and it will be hot and humid. It’s very important for guests to be careful of what they eat, to drink plenty of water (always bottled) and to remember to frequently wash their hands to avoid gastric distress.
Terms and Conditions
Cancellations, Refunds and Changes
If you must cancel your trip, the effective date of cancellation will be upon our receipt of your written notification. Refunds for cancellations are subject to the following per person charges:
Cancel 95 days or more before departure: $200 charge
Cancel 94-65 days before departure: 25% of tour price
Cancel 64-45 days before departure: 50% of tour price
Cancel 44-30 days before departure: 75% of tour price
Cancel 29-0 days before departure: No refund.
If a guest makes any changes to their reservation within 94 and 30 days prior to departure, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. will apply a $100 per person administrative fee, in addition to any fees or penalties imposed by third parties. Changes are subject to availability and cannot be guaranteed. If your reservation changes from double occupancy to single occupancy for any reason, you will be charged the single supplement. No changes are allowed within 30 days of departure. Upon reservation you must provide your full legal name as it appears on your passport as well as your date of birth and gender. In the event an airline ticket is issued with incorrect information you have provided, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.
We require membership to the Commonwealth Club to travel with us. People who live outside of the Bay Area may purchase a worldwide membership. To learn about membership types and to purchase a membership, visit our membership page or call (415)597-6720.
We strongly recommend the purchase of trip cancellation insurance, which is available for coverage of expenses in conjunction with cancellation due to illness or accident. Baggage insurance is also recommended. In the event you must cancel your participation in the travel program, trip cancellation insurance may be the only source of reimbursement. Information will be sent upon registration and can be viewed Travel Insurance Services website
The liability of the Commonwealth Club, as sponsor, and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc., as tour operator, is strictly limited. Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. purchases transportation, hotel accommodations, restaurant and other services from independent suppliers not under our control. We serve only as agents for these suppliers in securing tour arrangements, and therefore will not accept responsibility for wrongful, negligent or arbitrary acts or omissions of these independent contractors, their employees, agents, servants or representatives. The Commonwealth Club and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. are not liable for injury, damage, loss, accident or delay that may be caused by events not within our control, including without limitation, acts of terrorism, war, strikes, the defect of any vehicle, or the negligence or default of any third party. All coupons, receipts and tickets issued are subject to the terms and conditions specified by the air carriers, cruise line and other independent suppliers. We will make every effort to operate our tours as planned, but we reserve the right to make itinerary changes as necessary. If unforeseen circumstances require us to change a hotel, we will select alternative accommodations of the same or better quality.
Health and Medical Issues
We request that you be in good health to participate in an Odysseys Unlimited tour. There is a reasonable amount of walking, and you must be able to get on and off motorcoaches on your own. We regret that we cannot offer individual assistance; in such cases you must be accompanied by a companion who will assist you. Please note that our itineraries cannot accommodate wheelchairs. We reserve the right to remove anyone whose physical or mental condition, in our opinion, compromises the operation of the tour or detracts from the enjoyment or safety of the other passengers. In that event, Odysseys Unlimited and the Commonwealth Club assume no financial responsibility for any unused portion of the tour.
Air Transportation – Important Information
Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. includes in its tour price round-trip economy air from designated gateway cities as shown and contracts with those airlines the company feels provide the level of service, routings, and value necessary for your entire trip. While another airline may offer a more direct connection, it may be at a price unavailable at the lower group rates. You will receive your preliminary air schedule approximately 2½ months prior to departure. Please note that seat assignments on your international flight are usually done at airport check-in. Odysseys Unlimited is unable to guarantee any seat assignments. Due to the nature of tour operator tickets, other restrictions apply, including, but not limited to, frequent flyer mileage accrual, stopovers, alternate travel dates, upgrades, and airline taxes and fees. If you prefer to make your own travel arrangements, Land Only is available on most tours. Since international and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time, we recommend that if you choose to make your own airline reservations, you do not purchase non-refundable tickets or those with high penalties for changes. If you choose to make your own flight arrangements for an alumni tour and not use those provided by the tour company, we recommend that you do not do so until making your final payment to the tour company confirming details of your trip’s scheduled departure. However, if you choose to make your own flight arrangements, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. shall not have any liability for any loss resulting from tour cancellations or changes to tour dates.
Commonwealth Club of California-CST# 2096889-40