Our India expedition explores the melting pot of language, architecture, and religion that define Southern India and Sri Lanka. We navigate the region aboard the 110-passenger Clipper Odyssey, from the bustling streets of Mumbai to the serene fishing villages of the south. Our India tour takes us to the World Heritage Site of Elephanta Island; to Kochi, the “Venice of the East”; and to rubber processing plants in Trivandrum. We venture on for our Sri Lanka adventure travel tour, where we journey into the highlands to Kandy’s Buddhist temple of the tooth and meet the special residents of the Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage.
Southern India Expedition Highlights:
- Comprehensive Goa, India tour, where we visit distinctive churches, museums, and convents, and enjoy lunch at a traditional Goan home.
- Cruise aboard local houseboats in Kochi’s backwaters, where we observe the local’s daily life.
- Tour of renowned Marine Drive in Mumbai, passing Chowpatty Beach, Malabar Hill, and Hanging Gardens.
- Sri Lanka tour, with stop in Galle, where we tour the Galle Fort, a World Heritage Site dating to the 16th century.
- Favorite spot of Sri Lanka adventure travelers, the Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage, where we’ll meet young elephants being lovingly cared for.
What to Expect:
For our India tour, a relatively low level of exertion is required. We ask that you be able to walk moderate distances, unaided, on uneven paths, up and down stairs, and in crowed markets. As with any India and Sri Lanka expedition, we must be mindful of the local cultures and customs. You will be expected to remove your shoes when visiting temples and mosques; women should be prepared to wear long sleeves and long pants or skirts. Average daily temperatures on our India tour are expected to range in the low 60s to low 80s°F.
Depart the USA on your independent flights to Mumbai (Bombay), India. En route to Mumbai
Arrive early this morning and transfer to the beautiful Taj Palace Hotel. After a morning at leisure, the fascinating city of Mumbai is ours to explore. The city’s astonishing diversity reflects its myriad indigenous inhabitants, as well as its history of colonial occupation by the British. In the former British fort area, we see elegant colonial buildings such as the Gothic Victoria Terminus railway station, and the Prince of Wales Museum. We drive along famed Marine Drive, passing Chowpatty Beach, to Malabar Hill with its superb views, parks, and Hanging Gardens. Return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
Mumbai / Embark Clipper Odyssey
We board local boats at the doorstep of the India Gateway triumphal arch monument for a ride across the bay to visit Elephanta Island. This World Heritage Site has caves with elaborately carved depictions of the Hindu god Shiva in his various manifestations as destroyer, creator, and preserver. Views of Mumbai’s skyline from the bay are superb. This afternoon we embark the Clipper Odyssey.
Marmagao’s Portuguese heritage commenced with the establishment of a trading colony in 1510, led by explorer and later viceroy, Vasco da Gama. The successful spice-trading colony endured for centuries, and today its colonial remnants lend a European charm—cobblestoned lanes, whitewashed Catholic churches, and balconied, tile-roofed homes. Explore the old Portuguese district of Fontainhas in the small capital of Panjim with free time to shop in colorful markets or wander the charming streets. The next day we tour the distinctive churches, museum, and convent of Old Goa, with a rare opportunity to visit a traditional Goan home for a cooking demonstration and lunch.
This morning we take a countryside drive through a pleasant landscape of rolling hills dotted with tea and coffee plantations and enjoy a tour of a cashew processing plant. We continue on to Karkala’s monolithic 15th-century Gomasteshwara Statue, dedicated to a Jain saint. Stop for a picnic lunch at a rural farm where we learn about the cultivation of tropical fruits and spices.
Our leisurely two-day exploration of Kochi reveals this delightful community’s mélange of international influences. Drive past Portuguese houses to the Anglican St. Francis Church and the Dutch Palace (Mattancherry). Stroll through the bustling fish market to view the cantilevered Chinese fishing nets that grace the beaches and browse the colorful shops. To better explore this maze of islands and waterways, we board local houseboats for a cruise through Kochi’s backwaters where we may spot locals engaged in toddy topping and fish farming. In the evening enjoy a performance of Kathakali classical dance on board our ship.
Located near India’s southern tip, Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala is a pedestrian-friendly town spread out over seven hills. Today we visit the village of Pongumoode and its surrounding rubber plantations where we witness the various stages of rubber processing. We also enjoy a Kalari Payattu demonstration, Kerala’s ancient form of martial arts, and have time to stroll among the colorful fishing boats lining the shore.
Colombo, Sri Lanka / Kandy
This morning we disembark in the bustling city of Colombo for our excursion into the highlands of Sri Lanka, passing through lush, rolling countryside dotted with tea plantations. Visit the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage and the Botanical Gardens before we arrive in Kandy where we explore the stunning Temple of the Tooth which houses the tooth of Buddha. This World Heritage Site was originally part of the Royal Palace complex of the Kandyan Kingdom and is one of the holiest places of worship and pilgrimage for Buddhists around the world. Return to Colombo where we reboard the Clipper Odyssey for dinner and overnight.
Galle’s historic district is one of the best preserved examples of a European-built fortified city in south Asia, reflecting both colonial and South Asian architectural styles. This morning we enjoy a tour of this charming city and visit the Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Art Museum; and Galle Fort, a World Heritage Site, built by the Dutch in the 16th century. As we drive along the coast, keep an eye out for the iconic fishermen of Koggala, who perch precariously on stilts in the surf. Return to the ship for lunch as we sail for Chennai.
Enjoy a day at sea to relax and attend lectures that offer insight on our experiences.
Chennai (Madras), India / Disembark Clipper Odyssey
Chennai is an ancient city that boasts a rich cultural heritage. During the colonial period it was the capital of the Madras Presidency, one of the largest areas of India under British control. During this time the city flourished as a great metropolitan center. Our morning tour incorporates both colonial history and modern-day life as we visit the National Art Gallery and Museum, San Thome Cathedral, the South Indian Temple, Fort St. George Museum, and drive along Marina Beach. Relax at our hotel before a final dinner and overnight.
Chennai / USA
Early morning transfer to the airport for your homeward flights.
One of the finest adventure ships afloat, the Clipper Odyssey is a 110-passenger luxury expedition vessel, ideally suited for cruising in off-the-beaten-path locales. On all Clipper Odyssey expeditions, guests have access to a fleet of Zodiacs, which allows remote landings anywhere nature or curiosity dictates. All cabins on a Clipper Odyssey cruise have an ocean view, safe, minibar, individually controlled heat/air conditioner, in-room music system, and sitting area with sofa. Beds can be configured for twin or queen-size sleeping arrangements, and all cabins have an en suite bathroom complete with shower and small bathtub. In the comfort of their cabin, passengers can track the progress of their expedition on the Global Positioning System broadcast—a highlight of a Clipper Odyssey voyage for adventure-minded guests. Additional facilities include a gourmet kitchen featuring American and international cuisine, dining room, lounge, small library and gym, outdoor pool, and gift shop. An elevator services all passenger cabin decks. Ship registry: Bahamas.
All prices are in US dollars and do not include international airfare, unless otherwise noted.
Prices displayed are based on the lowest season base price and assume double occupancy. Prices are shown in U.S. dollars and may or may not include administrative fees, taxes, meals, airfare (where applicable) and Single Supplements. Cancellation penalties, blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.
Options and Extras
Flights are not included in the cost of expeditions; however, Zegrahm Expeditions has a fully-staffed air department that can assist you with flight arrangements. Since many of our expeditions embark and disembark from remote destinations, the airports that serve these areas often have limited carriers and/or daily flights. As such, our air team is well-versed in planning complex routings for our travelers.