Sankranti – Harvest Festival

Come on a journey to discover the culture, people and festivals of South India.

13–19 January 2019

per person twin share from $2270

solo traveller from $2820

Inclusions

Accommodation

  • 6 nights in a 4–star heritage hotel
  • wifi included

Transport

  • private air-conditioned vehicle for longer distances
  • autorickshaw around Mysuru

Meals

  • breakfast daily
  • drinks and light meal on first day
  • 2 lunches
  • 3 dinners
  • light meal during street food tour

Highlights

  • city tour by open top jeep
  • market and street food tour
  • artisan workshop tour or palace tour
  • visit Somanathapura or Srirangapatnam (both located an hour from Mysuru)
  • four hands on sessions with a local artisan learning about traditional handcrafts

Itinerary

You will be met at Bengaluru Airport and transferred to your accommodation in Mysuru.

During the three-hour drive you will have your first introduction to the somewhat ordered chaos that are the roads of India. You’ll be amazed as you watch bikes, scooters, cars,trucks, buses and more weave their way along the road with seemingly no lanes and no road rules. The cacophony of beeping horns as the locals communicate with each other means your road trip to Mysuru will be an experience to remember and you can expect tosee many wonderful and interesting things along the way. Welcome to India!

Catherine and Varis will meet you at your hotel around 5 pm for welcome drinks and a light Dinner.

After your welcome gathering, you will jump into the waiting autorickshaws (locally known as autos) and head straight for Mysore Palace, which is less than ten minutes away. The outline of the palace is lit with 97,000 incandescent light globes creating a dramatic sight against the backdrop of the dark night sky. It seems all of Mysuru are in the palace grounds waiting, and hearing the collective intake of breath when the lights go on is a pleasure in Itself.

Even if you are tired from travelling, we recommend you come to the palace on your first evening, as the lights are lit only on Sundays. So unless you are staying on after your tour, today is your only chance to witness this spectacle.

Your auto driver will get you back to your hotel soon after 8 pm.

After a leisurely breakfast, your auto driver will take you to your workshop or activity to meet the artisan who will be guiding you through the process of your chosen craft.

Then you will join a family for lunch in their home. A short walk through the streets of the old part of the city and you are there. As you climb the narrow staircase, the smells of home cooking will awaken your senses. A wonderful experience awaits you.

After lunch, your auto driver will be on hand to take you back to your hotel, where you have free time until around 5 pm. Then you will be off on a city tour in the back of a WW2, open-topped jeep. It is a wonderful way to get a feel for the Royal City that is Mysuru. This beautiful city has 13 palaces, countless temples, parks and statues larger than life. You will be fascinated by the mix of all that grandeur with cows wandering the streets, people everywhere you look, and more motorbikes and scooters than you can imagine weaving in and out among the cars.

You’ve taken this time out from your day-to-day life to give yourself time to be in a creative space while embracing a new culture. We’ll do everything we can to support that journey.

After breakfast, you will meet your auto driver and head to the workshop, where you will spend 3–4 hours exploring your creativity under the guidance of a local artisan. Many of the artisans come from families where the skills have been passed down through the generations.

After you finish your session, your auto driver, who is by now your friend, will be waiting to whisk you back to your hotel or to a local restaurant for lunch.

This afternoon there is a choice of walking tours, as we know not everyone has the same Interests.

  • Tour of Mysore Palace – prepare to be wowed by the opulence and the rich history that lies within the palace walls.
  • Artisan Workshop Tour – a stroll through the narrow back streets of the old part of the city to visit small workshops where you can see a variety of craftsmen at work.

By now you are getting into a bit of a rhythm, and some days may seem the same. But we promise you, in India, every day holds a surprise.

Today we take a break from the workshops and venture out of Mysuru for a glimpse of rural Life.

We offer two trips for you to choose from:

  • Srirangapatnam – located just 22 km from Mysuru, this town is of religious, cultural and historical importance. You will gain an insight into village life while exploring this lovely riverside location. We will visit the ghats (steps) on the river bank which in many ways is the centre of village life where the local people come to bathe and wash their clothes. This town which is on an island in the middle of the river was a fort and home to the Summer Palace of Tipu Sultan who fought four battles against the British here. If you are interested in the history of the British Raj, this tour is the one for you.
  • Somanathapura – located 35 km from Mysuru, the main highlight today is a visit to the Kesava Temple, built over 800 years ago. The temple is covered in stone carvings that will leave you in awe of the work of the stone carvers of the time. You will visit a small village along the way to ensure you get an insight into village life, and during the drive itself you will see many wonderful sights.

After returning to your hotel, you’ll have a few hours free before we meet again to enjoy drinks and dinner together at the Lalitha Mahal Palace. Sitting in the grand ballroom, you’ll find yourself wondering about the guests and dignitaries who dined and danced here in the early 19th century when the palace was built by the then Maharaja of Mysuru.

Back to the workshop this morning where your creative process continues.

Your auto will be waiting to whisk you away, and we’ll meet up again around 4 pm for a market and street food walking tour with our local guide. A walk through the markets is a sensory experience – you will smell the perfume of the flowers and hear the cheerful calls of the vendors. After the markets you’ll wander the streets and sample all manner of tantalising street food. We know all the best places to try the local culinary delights. You won’t need dinner tonight.

One last trip to the workshop this morning to finish the project you have been working or try your hand at something else.

You have spent time learning and experiencing local crafts. You have made a positive impact on the local artisans by providing them with the opportunity to teach you and share their knowledge giving them a new sense of pride.

You have had many amazing experiences, made new friends and learned a lot about incredible India and its people.

Your auto driver will take you back to your hotel to relax, or for some last minute shopping before meeting at 6 pm for drinks and a farewell dinner at The Green Hotel, formerly The Chittaranjan Palace, built for Mysuru’s princesses and lovingly restored.a

Sadly, it’s time to say goodbye. After breakfast today you will be transferred to Bengaluru Airport for your flight home or onward to your next destination.