Kollam

Whenever we write about a destination, we tell you about what can be done there and how to go about spending an active day doing something interesting and visiting something interest. The charm of a trip to India lies in it’s busy-ness and most places help you explore exactly this.

But Kollam is one of those towns that is exactly the opposite. A little distance from Alleppey, this old grand port has now retired and is enjoying retirement to. For you, this means a great break from your active journey to just soak in the surroundings.

A lazy cruise along the Ashtamudi Lake topped by a good book to read or doze off to, some idle splashing around and some great food, all make up Kollam. Travel with IndeBo and we’ll help you discover this hidden treasure. Stop by this town to recharge your batteries before continuing on with your Great Indian Tour.

Kozhikode

Kozhikode, is a city in the state of Kerala in southern India on the Malabar Coast. During classical antiquity and the Middle Ages, Kozhikode was dubbed the “City of Spices” for its role as the major trading point of eastern spices. It was the capital of an independent kingdom ruled by the Samoothiris in Middle Ages and later of the erstwhile Malabar district under British rule. Muslim Arab merchants traded with the region as early as 7th century, and Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama landed at Kozhikode in 1498. A Portuguese factory and fort was intact in Kozhikode for short period, the English landed in 1615, followed by the French (1698) and the Dutch (1752). In 1765, Mysore captured Kozhikode as part of its occupation of Malabar Coast. Recently, Kozhikode earned the tag of “City of Sculptures” because of the various architectural sculptures located in various parts of the city. Kozhikode, once a famous cotton-weaving center, gave name to the Calico cloth.

Mysore

Terrified by the demonic Mahishasura, the ruler of the land – the Gods & Goddesses prayed for the birth of Goddess Parvati. In her Chamundeshwari form, she killed the tormentor atop the Chamundi Hill, and it is there that she is worshipped in her idol form, till date. Mysore, thus, got its name from its slain demonic king, a corrupted version of ‘Mysooru’ which actually translates to ‘Mahishasura’.
Over the years, Mysore has had a glorious history of kingship. Be it the Cholas, the Vijaynagar Kings, the Chalukyas, the Wodeyars or the great Tipu Sultan himself; there’s none who hasn’t ruled over Mysore. This ancient 10th century town is now a modern city, famous for retaining its quaint old world charm and its sandalwood of course.
Nested in the southern part of the state of Karnataka, Mysore is often called the ‘cultural capital’ of the state, due to its cultural ambience and achievements. It is in fact very famous for the magnificent festivities that take place during the ten-day long festival of Dasara. It is also well known for its paintings (which involves gesso work), the nearby wildlife and palaces, more famously, the Mysore Palace.
A visit to Mysore would never be complete without tasting its delicious cuisine. A traditional Mysore lunch would include kosambri, huli, gujju, palyas, rasam and papad – a gastronomical delight! In addition to that, the Mysore Pak, a gram flour fudge is a must try for every sweet lover.
There are many places which provide ample opportunities for sightseeing, a typical day out in the city would include visits to the Brindavan Gardens (a beautiful botanical park), the Mysore Palace and the many museums around. A little away from Mysore, is the Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary – famous for the Streak throated-Swallows and over a hundred other birds.
There are sandalwood & rosewood carved masterpieces to buy and the charm of Silk sarees to experience…besides that, the hills, palaces, markets and temples create a treat hard to resist for travelers from all backgrounds. For all that and much more, Mysore is the place to be.

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    • “The guide in Mysore was particularly well versed in the history and the sights we took in.” – Jan & Doug McGeorge, USA
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Chennai



Chennai is the fourth largest city in India and the capital of Tamil Nadu. Retaining much of its traditional charm, this 350 year old city is the gateway to the South, providing many fascinating vignette of southern heritage.

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    • “In South India we found the early introduction to the Hindu pantheon of gods and visit to the museum in Chennai was a really good preparation for all that followed. The guide was well versed. The hotel was well equipped and a good place to get one’s bearing after 22 hours of travel.” – Jan & Doug McGeorge, USA
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Karaikkudi

Karaikudi is part of the area commonly referred to as “Chettinad”. Karaikudi is declared a heritage town on account of the palatial houses or havelis built with limestone called karai veedu. The flat plains are sparsely populated, their silence osmotic and the colour of the earth a misleading rich shade for the semi arid soil.

The town derives its name from the thorny plant Karai referred in ancient literature as Kareekudi, which in modern times became Karaikudi. The town is believed to have been formed during the 1800s. Karaikudi and surrounding areas are generally referred as “Chettinadu”.

The grand mansions of astonishing proportions are open to the public. They begin in one grid–like street to end in another and are sometimes given two postal addresses. What never ceases to fascinate enthusiasts of architecture and aesthetics is the symmetry. Their execution is stunning and functional at the same time stunning and functional. The invariably pearl white walls are hand plastered with a mixture of powdered egg and sea shells, lime and gallnut giving them a subtle sheen that simply cannot be matched by any modern technique. Terracotta roofs, pillars of polished granite & teak and extravagant facades and rooms emanating from a series of open-to-the-sky courtyards come together in a highly refined minimalism that extends from the smallest kitchen utensil to the heaviest door. Some of the havelis have been given on lease to hotel chains and have been converted into hotels.

Of all the unique aspects of Chettinad, a famous ambassador of this region has been its cuisine. Chettinad cuisine is synonymous with spicy fare even to the Indian palate and has been influenced by the nature of the region – which is a dry, arid and hot. At the same time, the Chettiars trace their history to a life near the coastline. So their cuisine also has elements like prawns and crabs.

The freshly ground spices – dried and pounded with pestles – provide an earthy flavour. This reflects the techniques used in the dry and arid region to preserve vegetables for the off season.

Travel to this exquisite part of India. Let us open the doors to the mansions for you. We will teach you how to cook a robust Chettinad Chicken. We will take you to a life of a different era.

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    • “Karaikudi was truly the highlight of our stay. The Visalam managers and staff were over the top in hospitality. They made you feel like family who had come for the Pongal Festival and included us not only in their celebration, but let us visit their family home nearby and other family member’s homes to see what they were doing for the festival. The personalized local meal prepared by the young chef just for us was again a rare treat. Learning about Chetting culture was a pleasure with such enthusiastic people there.” – Jan & Doug McGeorge, USA
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Velanganni

Velanganni is the site of the famous Roman Catholic Basilica of Our Lady of Good Health. Constructed and renovated in many phases over several centuries, this impressive white neo-Gothic structure, with its blue (symbolic of Our Lady) trimming, dates mainly from the mid-1970s to 1980s. In 1962 it was elevated to the status of basilica during a visit by Pope John XXIII. Every year for nine days leading up to 8 Seprember a festival known as the Feast of Our Lady of Good Health is held at the basilica. It draws hundreds of thousanda of people (Christians as well as non-Christians) from across India. Every evening of the festival, music and poetry are performed on an open stage, and the festival concoludes with a special mass, conducted by the Bishop of Thanjavur.