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Splendors of India with Sri Lanka
Sorry. There are no scheduled departures for this expedition.
Below please find the day-by-day itinerary for this expedition.
Unless otherwise noted, daily excursion options are included in the cost of the
trip. We do our best to adhere to the scheduled itinerary, but in the spirit of
our expeditionary style of travel we may deviate slightly to take full
advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, culture, and
An itinerary from a previous expedition is displayed below.
Day 1-2 Depart USADepart the USA on your independent flights to Chennai, India. Day lost due to crossing the International Date Line
Day 3 Chennai (Madras), India
Arrive in Chennai early this morning, transfer to our hotel, and enjoy the morning at leisure. 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. This afternoon our 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. We return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 4 Chennai / Madurai
After breakfast we transfer to the airport for our flight to Madurai, arriving in time to check into our hotel and enjoy lunch. This afternoon we explore the Thirumalai Nayak Palace famed for the stucco work on its domes and arches. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
Day 5 Madurai / Tuticorin / Embark Clipper Odyssey
Madurai is an ancient cultural center encircling the famous Meenakshi Temple Complex and after breakfast we visit this 16th-century masterpiece. Pilgrims from all over India come to worship at this soaring edifice of 121 towers, some over 150 feet in height. The structures are covered in dazzling multicolored carvings. The Thousand-Pillared Hall showcases the Temple Art Museum, with its friezes and exhibits devoted to Hindu deities. Nearby is the bustling marketplace, filled with brilliant flowers that are presented as offerings at the various temples. We also visit the Gandhi Museum before our drive to Tuticorin to embark the Clipper Odyssey, our home for the next 10 nights.
Day 6 Galle, Sri Lanka
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. After lunch onboard we enjoy a tour of this charming city visiting the Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Art Museum; Poorvarama Temple; 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 dinner as we sail to Sri Lanka’s largest city, Colombo.
Day 7-8 Colombo / Kandy
Today we disembark in the bustling city of Colombo for our overnight excursion into the highlands of Sri Lanka, passing through lush, rolling countryside dotted with tea plantations. In Kandy 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. We will also visit the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage and the Botanical Gardens. Overnight at our hotel in Kandy. The following day we return to Colombo where we reboard the Clipper Odyssey.
Day 9 Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum), India
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.
Day 10-11 Kochi (Cochin)Our leisurely two-day exploration of Kochi reveals this delightful community’s mélange of international influences: Portuguese houses, the Dutch Palace (Mattancherry), the Anglican St. Francis Church, and the cantilevered Chinese fishing nets that grace the beaches. 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 doing laundry or fish farming. In the evening enjoy a performance of Kathakali classical dance onboard our ship.
Day 12 Mangalore
During our morning at sea, our lecturers brief us about Jainism, a religion dating from the 6th century b.c., whose followers strive to attain purity through rituals of non-violence and an ascetic austerity. Their temples, however, are richly adorned with sculptures. This afternoon we take a countryside drive through this pleasant landscape of rolling hills dotted with tea, coffee, and cashew nut cultivation to visit Karkala’s Gomasteshwara Statue, dedicated to a Jain saint, followed by a tour of a rural pineapple farm.
Day 13-14 Marmagao (Goa)
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. We explore the distinctive churches, museum, and convent of Old Goa and savor local cuisine at lunch. Time at leisure this afternoon allows us to wander through the old Portuguese district of Fontainhas in the small capital of Panjim, and we have the rare opportunity to visit a traditional Goan home. Optional afternoon excursion to the Taj Exotica for high tea and time on the beach.
Day 15 Mumbai (Bombay) / Disembark Clipper Odyssey
Disembarking the ship this morning, 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. We check into the Taj Palace Hotel where we have dinner and overnight.