18716
India

The Best of India: Treasures of the North and South

Dive into the vibrant culture of India, discovering its grand cities, sacred monuments and exquisite gardens on this unique academic adventure.
Rating (4.98)
Program No. 18716RJ
Length
22 days
Starts at
3,999
Flights start at
FREE
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22 days
21 nights
50 meals
18 B 18 L 14 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Enroute
In Flight

Activity note: The first program hotel ( Suryaa Hotel New Delhi) is available today for early arrivals. There are NO Road Scholar transfers today. If arriving today participants must take a taxi or arrange for a private transfer. Hotel check-in available from 2:00 p.m. on. Program officially starts tomorrow (Day 3) with evening Orientation and Welcome Dinner.

Afternoon: The first program hotel ( Suryaa Hotel New Delhi) is available today for early arrivals. There are NO Road Scholar transfers today. If arriving today participants must take a taxi or arrange for a private transfer. Hotel check-in available from 2:00 p.m. on. Program officially starts tomorrow (Day 3) with evening Orientation and Welcome Dinner.

DAY
3
Arrivals, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Delhi
D
The Suryaa Hotel New Delhi

Activity note: Hotel check-in. Evening Orientation and Welcome Dinner.

Morning: There are no activities during the day today. You may use this time to rest and relax from your long flight to India. Program Orientation does not start until the early evening.

Lunch: Free on own. The hotel has several dining options to choose from.

Afternoon: Orientation at 6:00 p.m: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: 'Welcome Dinner and a Welcome Drink' at the hotel with bottled water, coffee/tea included; additional beverages available for purchase.

DAY
4
Old Delhi, Jama Masjid, New Delhi, National Museum
Delhi
B,L
The Suryaa Hotel New Delhi

Activity note: When visiting Jama Mosque, gowns are provided to the women. Shoes and shorts are not allowed inside. To get into the mosque, there are around 30-40 steps that are steep and wide, without handrails to climb up. Walking sticks are recommended to those who have difficulty walking and climbing. The bicycle rickshaw ride in Old Delhi is through an extremely crowded market and the trip to Raj Ghat is around a quarter-mile walk.

Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at the hotel with bottled water, coffee/tea included.

Morning: We will board a private motorcoach and depart for a field trip into Old Delhi, driving past the massive sandstone walls of the Red Fort. Gain an appreciation for this symbol of Mughal power and pomp. Arriving at Jama Masjid, explore the largest Muslim mosque in India. The adventure continues as we ride bicycle rickshaws around the heart of Chandini Chowk named for the silver merchants while the drivers navigate narrow alleyways and the bustle of people. Then conclude at Raj Ghat, the cremation ground of Mahatma Gandhi.

Lunch: At a local restaurant with bottled water, coffee/tea included; additional beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: The Group Leader leads us in a private bus excursion past the Parliament House (Sansad Bhavan), the nation's supreme legislative body. We will also travel past the President's House (Rashtrapati Bhavan), a huge complex that serves as the official residence of the President of India; as well as India Gate, which is reminiscent of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, commemorating Indian soldiers who died during World War I. En route, learn about the the Indian system of government, current politics and the world's largest parliamentary democracy from our Group Leader. Next we proceed to the National Museum which comprises of some 200,000 objects representing more than 5,000 years of Indian cultural heritage. Return to the hotel. The rest of the evening is independent for you to do as you choose.

Dinner: On our own to sample local fare. The Group Leader is happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure. Continue enjoying the company of new Road Scholar friends, sharing your favorite experiences of the day.

DAY
5
Lecture, Gandhi Smiriti, Sikh Temple
Delhi
B,L,D
The Suryaa Hotel New Delhi

Activity note: At the Sikh Temple, socks are not allowed and it is obligatory for men and women to cover their heads and scarves are provided by the temple. You are welcome to bring your own full-size scarf as well.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: At the hotel, we will join a local expert who will discuss "The relevance of Gandhi in today's world." Then depart by motorcoach for a visit to Gandhi Smirti, where Mahatma Gandhi --the "Father of the Nation" -- spent his last 144 days from September 9, 1947 until he was assassinated on January 30, 1948. It has been preserved as a museum that displays Gandhi's few personal effects as well as paintings, pictures, sculptures and other relics. The memorial perpetuates Gandhi's legacy, highlights his values and ideals and offers guidance for those who wish to follow his path.

Lunch: At a local restaurant with bottled water, coffee/tea; additional beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Board the motorcoach and we set off to explore the living culture of India as we visit a Sikh temple in Old Delhi. We will spend time listening to the prayers and visit the soup kitchen that offers daily free meals for anyone in need of food. We will explore the kitchen and for those interested lend a helping hand by making some roties with the women there. The Sikh temples are special where everything is run by volunteers. It is required for all Sikhs to volunteer time at the temples. Return to the hotel and freshen up before setting out for the evening.

Dinner: We will divide into smaller groups of 6-8 participants for home hosted dinners with local, urban Indian families in their homes with bottled water, coffee/tea. Enjoy this opportunity to interact with family members and learn about their culture and traditions. We will return to the hotel after dinner for an evening at leisure.

Evening: At leisure. Pack and prepare for our trip to Agra tomorrow.

DAY
6
Drive to Agra, Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah, Taj Mahal at Sunset
Agra
B,L,D
Trident Hotel Agra

Activity note: The drive from Delhi to Agra is about 132 miles, approximately 4 hours with rest stops along the way.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Check-out of the hotel and board our private motorcoach for Agra. En-route, the Group Leader will present an overview on the Impact of British rule on India: From Empire to Independence.

Lunch: Buffet lunch at the hotel with bottled water, coffee/tea; additional beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Our field-trip this afternoon is to the mausoleum of Itmad-ud-Daulah. Popularly known as the “Baby Taj”, it was the first monument in India built entirely in marble rather than red sandstone. The tomb was built between 1622-1628 by the Queen of Jahangir, Nurjahan, as a memorial to her father, Mirza Ghiyas Beg. Its fascinating history chronicles the “rags to riches” saga of a poor merchant who rose to become chief minister of the Mughal emperor. The elaborately carved tomb in the Islamic style — like a jewel box set in a tranquil garden on the banks of the Yamuna River — was an inspiration for the Taj Mahal years later. We’ll move on to Mehtab Bagh, a garden complex aligned with the Taj Mahal on the opposite side of the Yamuna River, where a local expert will tell us about Mughal history and architecture as the sun sets over the Taj Mahal.

Dinner: Hotel buffet with bottled water, coffee/tea; additional beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Sunrise at Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Free Time
Agra
B,L
Trident Hotel Agra

Activity note: Early morning wake up call, to depart for sunrise at Taj Mahal. Both the Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal involve long periods of standing, walking and a few small steps, low and wide.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet after returning from the Taj Mahal.

Morning: We will set out pre-dawn to watch the rising sun bathe the pristine white marble of the Taj Mahal in warm hues of gold, ochre and orange (subject to weather conditions). As the UNESCO World Heritage Convention states, “An immense mausoleum of white marble, built in Agra between 1631 and 1648 by order of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife, the Taj Mahal is the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage.” The building is unique due to its perfect proportions, distinct femininity, and medium of construction and ornamentation. We will have some time to explore the exquisite grounds and view the highly decorated interior chamber before we return to the hotel for breakfast. After breakfast, our next field trip is to the Agra Fort. Originally planned as an impregnable military structure by Akbar, the Agra Fort, over a period of time, acquired all the elegance, lavishness and majesty of an imperial palace.

Lunch: At a local restaurant with bottled water, coffee/tea; additional beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Free time. Take this opportunity for personal, independent exploration to see and do what interests you most or rest and relax at the hotel. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities sent out in the First Mailing. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: On our own to sample local fare. The Group Leader will offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
Remote Villages of Rajasthan, Camel Cart Ride
Gadoli
B,L,D
The Clement Village Retreat Gadoli

Activity note: The drive from Agra to Gadoli is about 103 miles, approximately 4 hours with rest stops along the way. Walking around the retreat there are flat level paths.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will check out of the hotel, board our motorcoach and depart for Gadoli, a small Indian village in Rajasthan. En-route enjoy an overview on Changing faces of Indian villages, led by our Group Leader. Mahatma Gandhi once wrote, "If you want to experience the soul of India, then you must go to her villages." Gadoli is one of those villages. Surrounded by forests in the Aravalli Hills, we are off the standard tourist path. This is a place where old customs and traditions are maintained with festivals throughout the year that celebrate events significant to communities such as Brahmins, Rajputs, Mahajans, Jains, and Kayasthas.

Lunch: At the retreat with bottled water, coffee/tea.

Afternoon: To understand the life in an Indian village, we will set out on a trek in small carts pulled by camels (subject to availability) to a nearby village belonging to the colorful Meena tribal group. The Bhil (Tribal) Meena are a tribal group found in the state of Rajasthan in India. According to some traditions, they are said to be descended from those Meenas and Rajputs who, in the wars between their own tribes or with Muslims, were compelled to quit their native home and seek refuge in the vastness of Rajputana, where they formed alliances with the aboriginal families and established tribe. Visit their traditional mud huts, decorated with floral and animal designs on the walls and floors and interact with villagers as they follow daily activities in their homes.

Dinner: At the retreat, enjoy a plated meal boasting local flavor with bottled water, coffee/tea.

Evening: Enjoy authentic traditional Rajasthani folk dance and musical performance and try a few steps with the dancers. Rajasthan folk dances and accompanying music are lively and festive.

DAY
9
Abhaneri Step-Well, School Visit, Free Time, Lecture
Gadoli
B,L,D
The Clement Village Retreat Gadoli

Activity note: Walking around ½ mile today on mainly flat level surfaces.

Breakfast: At the retreat with bottled water, coffee/tea.

Morning: We will set out to explore the nearby village of Abhaneri. This small village is notable for one of Rajasthan’s least well known, but most fascinating landmarks, Chand Baori, one of India's deepest and largest stepwells. These unique steps were built in the 8th-9th century as a water supply, as cool places of resort and for ritual cleansing before visiting the adjoining Harshita Mata temple. Next, we will stop and visit with children at a local school for an interaction with the students and learn about the education system in remote villages (subject to school holidays and exams).

Lunch: At the retreat with bottled water, coffee/tea.

Afternoon: Free Time this afternoon. Participants are also welcome to join in learning how to play cricket on the retreat grounds. In the late afternoon, for the very energetic, there will be an opportunity to go on a challenging nature hike in the nearby hills. In the early evening before dinner, the Group Leader will give us an overview of the Indian caste system, its evolution, and deep roots in Indian society.

Dinner: At the retreat with bottled water, coffee/tea.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Depart for the Pink City of Jaipur, Dinner with Local Family
Jaipur
B,L,D
Trident Hotel Jaipur

Activity note: The drive from Gadoli to Jaipur is about 63 miles, approximately 3 hours with rest stops along the way. The afternoon walk through the crowded market is around a half-mile on uneven ground with some small stone steps.

Breakfast: At the retreat with bottled water, coffee/tea.

Morning: After checking out of the retreat, we will depart by motorcoach for Jaipur. Enroute, the Group Leader will discuss India's place in the world.

Lunch: At the hotel with bottled water, coffee/tea; additional beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Explore Jaipur and experience the essence of this amazing city as we take in the riot of colors and activities on a walk through the local market. After our walk we return to the hotel and rest up for our dinner with local families this evening.

Dinner: With a traditional family at their home with bottled water, coffee/tea.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Amber Fort, City Palace, Jantar Mantar
Jaipur
B,L
Trident Hotel Jaipur

Activity note: Participants will ride in Jeeps to go up and down to the main entrance of the Amber fort. The fort is set up on a hill and has several flights of stairs with uneven walkways. Walking at the fort is around a half-mile.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet with bottled water, coffee/tea.

Morning: At the hotel, join a local expert for an overview of Contemporary Woman's Issues in India. Next, board our motorcoach at the hotel and set out to discover the 11th century Amber Fort (pronounced Amer), situated about six miles north of Jaipur and established as the original capital of Rajasthan, six centuries before the construction of Jaipur. Amber Fort is an example of Rajput architecture with its terraces and ramparts reflected in the Maota Lake below. The interiors of the fort have various royal halls decorated with intricate ivory, mirror and glass work complemented by exquisite wall paintings. We continue our field trip with a photo-stop at the Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds), whose elaborate, honeycombed sandstone is a famous icon of the city.

Lunch: At a local restaurant with bottled water, coffee/tea included; additional beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Next, we will visit the City Palace, still the Maharaja's residence but largely given over to a museum containing rare manuscripts, fine specimens of Rajput and Mughal paintings, royal apparel and an armory. We will conclude the afternoon at Jantar Mantar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built by city founder Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh, between 1727-1734, the Jantar Mantar is a collection of architectural astronomical instruments. The Jaipur observatory is the largest and best preserved in India.

Dinner: On our own in Jaipur to explore local fare. The Group Leader will offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
12
Fly to Bangalore and drive to Mysore
Mysore
B,L,D
Radisson Blu Hotel Mysore

Activity note: Early morning wake up call. This will be a long travel day requiring patience and stamina. We will fly from Jaipur to Bangalore and, then have a 5-hour coach transfer to Mysore. A drive of about 118 miles (190kms) approximately 5 hours with stops along the way.

Breakfast: Early morning, cold breakfast at the hotel.

Morning: After an early morning check out from the hotel, we will depart for the Jaipur airport with a packed breakfast to board our flight to Bangalore (also known as Bengaluru). Upon arrival in Bangalore, we collect our luggage and board the coach to Mysore (also known as Mysuru).

Lunch: En route.

Afternoon: During our drive to Mysore, the Group Leader will give us an introduction to India's Hi-Tech Revolution and Outsourcing.

Dinner: Hotel buffet with bottled water, coffee/tea.

Evening: At leisure. Relax after a long travel day.

DAY
13
Chamundeshwari Temple, Mysore Palace, Home Hosted Dinner
Mysore
B,L,D
Radisson Blu Hotel Mysore

Activity note: Shoes need to be removed in Chamundeshwari Temple and Mysore Palace.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will gather with our Group Leader for a presentation on and introduction to Indian mythology. We board our motorcoach and set out for our first field trip for the nearby Chamundi Hills, where Chamundeshwari Temple is situated on the top of the hill. The temple is dedicated to Sri Chamundeshwari, the titular deity of the Mysore Royal Family, also described as "Mahishasura Mardini" for having killed the buffalo-headed demon Mahishasura. Next we visit Mysore Palace, official residence of the Wodeyars--the former royal family of Mysore from 1350 to 1950. Built in 1912 in the Indo-Saracenic style, it blends Hindu, Muslim, Rajput and Gothic features.

Lunch: At the hotel.

Afternoon: In the late afternoon, we will be divided into smaller groups of 5-8 per group for a culinary experience which includes shopping at local flower, fruit and vegetable market with our guide, followed by a visit to the host’s kitchen for a cooking demonstration. This is a great opportunity to meet with the families of South India and learn about the southern cuisine.

Dinner: With a local family at their home. We will return to the hotel after dinner.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
14
Somnathpur, Srirangapatnam, Palace of Tip Sultan, Free Time
Mysore
B,L
Radisson Blu Hotel Mysore

Activity note: Shoes need to be removed at the Temple.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Today, we begin our exploration of the south of India in the towns of Somnathpur and Srirangapatnam. Somanthpur is a small village renowned for its splendid and grand Keshava temple, built on an elevated star shaped platform in Hoyasala style, with elaborate and intricate sculpturing. The sides of the raised platform are decorated with richly carved friezes, portraying rows of cavalry, elephants, and scenes from the epics. The names of the sculptors are inscribed on their works. Srirangapatnam was the island fortress of Tipu Sultan, the legendary "Tiger of Mysore" who put up a valiant fight against British domination. High stone walls and moats enclose the palaces, temples, and a great mosque. Tipu's summer palace, with its beautiful frescoes, the tombs of Tipu and Hyder Ali at Gumbaz, Royal Mosque, Wellesley Bridge, and the celebrated Sri Ranganatha Temple are other monuments from its glorious past.

Lunch: At the hotel.

Afternoon: Free time. Afternoon at leisure.

Dinner: On our own in Mysore to explore local fare. The Group Leader will provide suggestions.

DAY
15
Drive to Vythiri, Spice Plantation Visit, Tea Factory Visit
Wayanad
B,L,D
Vythiri Village

Activity note: The drive from Mysore to Vythiri is approximately 93 miles, approximately 7-8 hours with lunch and rest stops along the way. Enroute we drive through Bandipur National Park and spice plantations.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we’ll depart on a full-day drive by motorcoach to Vythiri, the Hill Station of Wayanad. En-route, travel what has been described as one of the most picturesque drives in India. As the road winds through Bandipur National Park, look out for monkeys playing along the road side and possibly a rare glimpse of the elephants that sometimes inhabit these forests. Cross from the state of Karnataka into the state of Kerala.

Lunch: We stop for lunch at a spice plantation. Enjoy a traditional Kerala lunch in banana leaves with bottled water, coffee and tea.

Afternoon: After lunch, we will take a walk with a local spice and agriculture expert who will escort us through the spice plantation and provide insight of the spices and crops that are grown in this area. We re-board our motorcoach and continue the drive to a local tea factory and learn about tea growing and production. Tea is a huge part of Indian drinks and this region is known for the tea plantations in southern India. Once finished, we continue our drive to Vythiri for a late afternoon check-in.

Dinner: Hotel buffet with bottled water, coffee/tea; additional beverage available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
16
Drive to Calicut, Ayurveda, Kalaripayattu Performance
Calicut
B,L,D
The Gateway Hotel Beach Road Calicut

Activity note: The drive from Vythiri to Calicut is about 50 miles, approximately 3.5 hours with rest stops along the way.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After a restful morning, we depart for Calicut (also known as Kozhikode), near the Coast of Andaman Sea in the state of Kerala. Enroute learn about how Kerala is a prosperous progressive state while remaining a communist state. On arrival in Calicut, visit an Ayurveda center and learn about Ayurveda from an Ayurveda expert. Ayurveda was developed in India over 3,000 years ago and is based on beliefs that mind, body and spirit need to be in balance for health and wellness. Later we will check in to the hotel.

Lunch: Hotel buffet with bottled water, coffee/tea.

Afternoon: Check into the hotel and take some time relax from our long journey to southern India. The afternoon is free. Check information about Free Time activities sent out in our first program mailing. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. In the early evening at the hotel, watch a special Kalaripayattu martial arts performance traditional to Kerala. Kalaripayattu, is an integral of the Malayali culture. . Bodhidharama, a Buddist monk, who visited China during the reign of Emperor Wu of the Ling dynasty, is believed to have presented the world with a self-defense system; from which evolved almost all the present day martial are forms. Scholars believe that his philosophy was influenced by the ancient martial culture of Malabar - Kalaripayattu the mother of all martial arts.

Dinner: Hotel buffet.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
17
Calicut Discovery, City Walk, Free time
Calicut
B,L,D
The Gateway Hotel Beach Road Calicut

Activity note: Walking around Calicut is an easy walk and approximately 1 mile total.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will set out via tuk tuks with our Group Leader and explore the city to learn about its history and its importance during the spice trade. We’ll explore the beaches, light house, colonial buildings, and an ancient church built by the Portuguese. Journey to the areas occupied by the Dutch, French German, Italian, Chinese, North Indian Gujarathi settlements, Arab settlements, old trading houses and local Muslim settlements.

Lunch: Hotel buffet.

Afternoon: Free Time. Afternoon at leisure. In the early evening before dinner, our Group Leader will provide us with an overview of the Lifeline of India: Indian Railways. This will give us perspective for our journey tomorrow as we tavel by train to the Kerala backwaters region.

Dinner: Hotel buffet.

Evening: At leisure. Pack and prepare for the early morning train ride tomorrow.

DAY
18
Train to Alleppey, Drive to Kerala Backwaters Region
Kerala Backwaters
B,L,D
Adventure Resorts & Cruises

Activity note: Early morning wake up call. Train ride is in the early morning, departing around 6am and is about 6.5 hours followed by a drive of 1 hour to board the boats. Depending on the size of the group, different styles of traditional Keralan houseboats may be used for the group. All will dock and travel together.

Breakfast: Boxed for the train ride.

Morning: To full experience India, one needs to take a ride on a train. This day gives us that opportunity. Depending on the day of the week, we will depart early morning or early afternoon on a 6.5 hours train ride south to Alleppey. From there, we will continue on a one hour drive to the backwaters of Kerala.

Lunch: Enroute.

Afternoon: Arrive mid-afternoon at the riverside meeting point to board our privately-chartered, traditional Keralan houseboats and begin cruising.

Dinner: Just before sunset, our houseboats will tie up for the night with dinner served on board.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
19
Kerala Backwaters Exploration
Kerala Backwaters
B,L,D
Adventure Resorts & Cruises

Activity note: Enjoy rural India at is most idyllic.

Breakfast: Aboard the houseboats.

Morning: Enjoy a full day of cruising the backwaters into the countryside along tranquil waterways for a view into rural life. Passing skiff-fishermen in their cockleshell boats; large flotillas of ducks waddling down to the water from thatched houses on the banks; women, neck-deep in water, with their waist-length hair heaped in a crown, searching for fish with their feet and the aimless cattle who graze in lush pasture-land. We will stop in water-side villages along the way and walk the paths that front the small houses to observe daily life.

Lunch: Aboard the houseboats.

Afternoon: As we continue cruising, observe more of life on the water. We are just as much of interest to the village residents, as they are to us, waving and calling out as the boats pass by. An abundance of birdlife is found in the area. The houseboats will tie up at sunset, to overnight along the water’s edge.

Dinner: Aboard the houseboats.

Evening: At leisure. Pack and prepare to disembark the boats tomorrow morning.

DAY
20
Drive to Kochi, Jewish Synagogue, St. Francis Church
Cochin
B,L,D
The Gateway Hotel Marine Drive Ernakulam

Activity note: The drive from Thottapally to Kochi is approximately 3 hours with rest stops along the way. Shoes need to be removed at Jewish Synagogue and St. Francis Church. Fort Kochi exploration around 1 mile, mainly on flat surfaces.

Breakfast: Aboard the houseboats.

Morning: Disembark the houseboats and board a coach for the drive to Kochi (also known as Cochin). On our way to Kochi, we stop at a coir factory to learn first hand about the many uses of coconut fibre. Next, we will re-board our motorcoach and continue our ride to Kochi. Once arrived, we will make a stop in the Fort Kochi area to visit the Jewish synagogue, built in 1568 and considerably embellished in the mid-18th century by Ezekiel Rahabi, who built a clock tower and paved the floor of the synagogue with hand-painted tiles brought all the way from Canton, China.

Lunch: At a local restaurant with bottled water, coffee/tea.

Afternoon: Continue to discover the Old Town of Kochi in the Fort Kochi area on a guided walk with our Group Leader. Discover the Chinese fishing nets, historical buildings and little markets along the way. The center of historic Kochi is easily walkable, with many small shops and market stalls interspersed with the colonial architecture of this coastal city. Next we will stop to explore the St. Francis Church, the original burial site of the Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama, who died in Kochi in 1524. Later we will re-board the motorcoach and depart to the hotel for check-in.

Dinner: 'Farewell Dinner and a Farewell Drink' at the hotel with bottled water, coffee/tea; additional beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Share your favorite experiences amid the camaraderie of your new Road Scholar friends. Then, prepare for departure after your closing activities tomorrow.

DAY
21
Folklore Museum, Mattancherry Palace, Free Time
Cochin
B,L
The Gateway Hotel Marine Drive Ernakulam

Activity note: Participants will leave around midnight tonight to transfer to the airport. Official Program End Date is Day 22 with departures at 12:30 a.m. to the airport for the flights home early in the morning on Day 22. Tonight is a free evening to rest up for flights home or if desired, participants can choose to leave this evening. No transfers are provided. For those leaving tomorrow, the hotel is booked for the full night; check out is not until tomorrow morning at 11am.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Depart by motorcoach for our fieldtrip to the Folklore Museum. The unique museum is the best example of traditional Kerala architecture, made of wood, stone and clay tiles and houses up to 6,000 works of Kerala art. Next, set out to the Mattancherry Palace (Dutch Palace), built in the 1550s by the Portuguese and taken over by the Dutch, who later presented it to the Rajas of Cochin (closed on Friday). The palace contains excellent mythological murals and a rare example of traditional Keralite flooring--a subtle mix of burnt, coconut shells, lime, plant juices and egg whites--that gives the effect of polished marble.

Lunch: At a local restaurant with bottled water, coffee/tea.

Afternoon: Free time this afternoon to relax, explore Kochi or prepare for our early morning flight tomorrow. Check with the Group Leader to discuss transportation to the airport early tomorrow morning and reference the program’s travel details regarding transfers. If you are an independent traveler (POP status), see “Ground Transportation from Last Location".

Dinner: On our own. The hotel has several dining options to choose from.

Evening: Late night check-out for early morning flights tomorrow. Hotel is booked for the full night for those with later departures, check-out 11am tomorrow.

DAY
22
Departures, Program Concludes
In Flight

Activity note: Departures are very early in the morning today around 12:30 a.m. for flights leaving around 4:30 a.m. Departure transfers will be grouped transfers to the airport. If leaving later on this day, hotel check out is at 11:00am. Participants can choose to leave the night prior, but there are no Road Scholar airport transfers.

Morning: Depart around 12:30 a.m.for the Kochi airport (COK) to board flights returning to the U.S. (around 4:30 am). This concludes our program. Reference the Departure Transfer section in the Final Mailing for transfer information. NOTE: Departure transfers are grouped transfers and you may have to arrive at the Cochin Airport earlier than the required time. For participants leaving later today, the hotel check-out time is 11:00am. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join us on Facebook and Instagram to share photos of your program. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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