Better late than never! Chennai. A city in transition.

So far the trip has been a bit of a rush. We missed our connecting flight in Singapore so had to spend the night there.  Which meant only a day in Chennai. Now we are in Bangalore for a few days. We are working our way southwest through to Kerala via the Western Ghats.

Chennai is a big sprawl of a city. It’s very busy, with huge infrastructure projects giving the city the impression of being a huge building site. We stayed at the Taj Hotel in the city which was beautiful. The meal we had in their restaurant was spectacular. One of the best meals I’ve ever had. It’s a must if you are in the city. The service is outstanding too. The menu is very large but the waiters went out of their way to help us choose some amazing Southern Indian delights. 

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We had a quick look around parts of the older city with a guide. The flower market was heaving with people buying blooms for an upcoming festival. The colours were amazing. We love walking through the streets. It’s so vibrant with fascinating things to see all around you.

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 We’re Off To Southern India!

After our trip last March To Rajasthan we couldn’t wait to get back to explore more of India. This time we are off to the South for nearly a month. We start on the East Coast then work our way south west, up through the Western Ghats, then down to Kerala, with it’s lakes and lagoons. We will be travelling by plane, steam train and automobile. And a rice barge!

Here is our itinerary.

27th December. We arrive in Chennai . We are staying at the Taj Connemara. Just a day here looking around and a street food tour.

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29th December

Fly to Bangalore. Staying at the Taj West End. Plan is to relax and have a look around the city. 

31st December.

Express Train to Mysore.  I really wanted to experience a rail trip and this is a good one. In Mysore we are staying at the Royal Orchid, where we will celebrate the New Year.

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2nd January 2017

Drive to The Bison for a bit of glamping.

Serene and tranquil through the day while exciting and breathtaking at night; the Bison Resort is the first of its kind in India that offers rustic luxury at the very edge of adventure.

‘The Bison is situated at the confluence of the Bandipur and Nagarhole National Parks, on the shores of the Kabini River in Karnataka (West of Mysore).

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5th January. Drive to Ooty.

Stay one night then take the train to Coonoor

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Coonoor

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6th January.

Drive to Pollachi. Ewe are staying in Shebanga Vilsaasam. http://www.shenbagavilaasam.in

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7th January. Drive to Munnar.

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9th January. Drive to Idduki.

Staying at the Paradise Plantation  http://www.paradisaretreat.com

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January 11th. Drive to Kumarakom.

Staying here http://www.cghearth.com/coconut-lagoon

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19th January. Drive to Kotchi

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Staying at the Brunton Boatyard. http://www.cghearth.com/brunton-boatyard

Shahpura Villagers

One of the most delightful and heartwarming things about rural India was it’s people. Everywhere we went we were met with openness, friendliness and curiosity. Crowds were soon around us, asking for us to take their pictures, hold their babies, pose for selfies. The full rock star treatment! Huge smiles, lots of laughter and no sign of any suspicion or annoyance that we were gate crashing their remote villages for a few hours.

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Udaipurs Jewel on the Lake

The Raj Lake Palace was built by the Maharaja of Udaipur as his Summer Palace. Now a hotel, is is a heavenly place to stay. It really makes you feel like royalty. The Palace is stunning in the daytime, but as the sun rises, or sets, it is even more magnificent. I rose at dawn to take these shots and was helped by one of the hotel boatmen, who patiently manoeuvred me around to get the best angles.

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Raam Duwara temple in Shahpura Bhilwara

An annual celebration to commemorate the anniversary of the founding of the Hindu temple in the town over 2650 years ago. The current Guru was in attendance in the upper level of the temple. There were thousands of people in the gardens. Sara and I were the only foreigners in the town. She was getting the film star treatment. Locals demanding selfies with her and asking her to hold their babies for photos. I was taken upstairs and was gently pulled by worshipers to the front of a queue of hundreds to pay my respects to the Gura, who has millions of followers throughout India. Totally amazing.

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