Relax your body, mind and spirit and soak up some of India’s unique culture along the way. The beauty of travel is that it brings us closer not only to our planet and its people, but also to ourselves. Our Yoga, Wellness & Culture journey to South India brings together rejuvenating treatments, cultural hotspots, stunning scenery, bespoke experiences and mindful writing workshops. Indulge yourself with spa treatments and massages, unwind with yoga, soak up the sun on the beautiful beaches, relax on a houseboat cruise along the Keralan backwaters and experience Indian culture with a local homestay.
Join long term Indophile, Sharon Thrupp, as she explores all that South India has to offer. Sharon will lead several writing sessions exploring mindfulness, memoir and travel writing.
As with all Ekno experiences, we select our hotels and locations with an eye on combining luxury and comfort into one fabulous experience. With Sharon as your guide you will not only discover hidden experiences unique to India, but you can also relax safe in the knowledge that your security is foremost in our minds.
15 October 2020
Welcome to Mumbai, India. You will be met at the airport and transferred to the hotel. Spend the rest of the day at your leisure or kick start your adventure by visiting some of the local sights. The energy and liveliness of this fascinating city is undeniable and there is plenty to discover in this diverse metropolis. You might like to check out ChhatrapatiShivaji Terminus (Victoria Terminus), the High Court, Mumbai City Museumor one of the many ancient bazaars.
Overnight: Hotel, Mumbai
16 October 2020
Today we will explore Mumbai and soak up the culture of this thriving metropolis. After breakfast, we will head to Elephanta Island by boat, leaving from the iconic Gateway of India. Elephanta is a small island in the middle of the Mumbai Harbour rich with rock cut temples. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to AD450-750.
When we return to the mainland, we will have lunch at the famous Leopold Café. The café has been immortalised in various books and films and is a great spot for people watching. In the afternoon we will wander around the Colaba area and soak up the atmosphere and shop for souvenirs in the many street markets. You can also choose from one of our bespoke experiences for a unique perspective on Mumbai.
In the evening we will enjoy a traditional welcome feast at one of Mumbai’s many Indian restaurants.
*Optional bespoke extras:
- Early morning walking tour of old Mumbai, including the original Koli fishing villages, flower markets and Mumbai’s famous outdoor laundry.
- Rub shoulders with Mumbai’s elite and enjoy a high tea at the heritage TajMahal Palace Hotel (known as the Taj).
- Mumbai is a city of contrasts – explore the lively slums of Dharavi with a walking tour.
17 October 2020
After breakfast we will transfer to Mumbai airport for a late morning/early afternoon flight to Goa. We will transfer to the hotel in Dabolim. After checking in to our accommodation you can spend the rest of the day relaxing and exploring at your leisure. You might like to check out the beaches or hire a bike for the afternoon.
18 October 2020
This morning we will take part in a unique cookery class and market tour to experience the rich and aromatic traditions of Indian cuisine. We will start by sharing an ethnic breakfast, followed by a guided local farmer’s market tour where we will have a brief introduction to the different spices, masalas and ingredients used in Indian cooking. We will then participate in a cooking workshop followed by a sumptuous lunch, allowing you to fully experience in the culture and traditions of Goa.
In the afternoon we will transfer to Mandrem Beach, where we will spend the next 3 days indulging in rest and relaxation.
Overnight: Resort, Mandrem Beach
19-21 October 2020
We will spend three days focussing on our own wellness and relaxation. Indulge yourself with morning yoga, enjoy massages and day spas, spend time at the beach and take part in guided creative writing sessions as the sun goes down. The writing workshops will focus on a range of techniques and exercises, including mindfulness, sensory writing, journaling and travel writing.
Enjoy interacting with the locals and soak up the unique culture in the Portuguese influenced state of Goa. The days are completely yours to focus on self-care, reflection and new experiences.
*Optional bespoke extras include:
- Day spa
- Ayurveda treatments
Overnight: Resort, Mandrem Beach
22 October 2020
Catch a morning flight to Cochin where and then transfer to the hotel. Spend the afternoon exploring Cochin and soaking up the culture of this port side city. Visit the many cosmopolitan galleries, cafes and boutiques as well as the beautiful old churches and of course the iconic Chinese fishing nets.
Overnight: Hotel, Cochin
23 October 2020
Today we will spend a full day exploring Cochin. We will start in Jew town before heading to Mattancherry and the spice warehouses.
In the afternoon you can enjoy a stroll along the harbour or take some time to relax, write and reflect by yourself.
Don’t miss the opportunity to catch a Kathakali dance performance this evening. Kathakali is a classical form of dance practiced in the state of Kerala and is a unique form of cultural storytelling.
Overnight: Hotel, Cochin
24 October 2020
After breakfast we will take a spectacular drive through the Cardamom hills (3 hours). The beautiful hills are lined with tea, cocoa, tapioca, bamboo, coconut, banana, and of course cardamom plantations. In the afternoon we will reach Thekkady, gateway to Periyar National Park.
In the afternoon you can explore the village or indulge in an Ayurvedic massage.
Overnight: Hotel, Thekkady
25 October 2020
After an early breakfast we will head to Alleppey (4 hours’ drive), where we will board our houseboat for a tranquil cruise along the backwaters. Made in the traditional Kettuvalam (rice barge) style and luxuriously fitted out, each boat has bedrooms, a dining room, open lounge and deck. A captain and cook are on hand to look after your every need. Spend the afternoon drifting along coconut lined canals, past small villages that laze on the islands that dot the backwaters.
Overnight: Houseboat, Alleppey
26-27 October 2020
After breakfast, you will be dropped at your homestay, where your charming hosts will look after you. The homestay is situated on a car-free island and the only way to get around is on foot, bicycle or by boat. Do all three or just chill in a hammock watching life pass by at a snail’s pace. Enjoy the wonderful experience of staying with a local family as you share in their culture and traditions.
There will be time to take part in some mindful writing sessions lead by Sharon. These sessions will focus on travel writing and journeys and are a wonderful way to reflect on your time spent in India.
On our last night at the homestay we will share a farewell dinner comprising of South Indian delicacies.
Overnight: Homestay, Chennamkary (Alleppey)
28 October 2020
After say goodbye to your homestay family we will head back to Cochin (2 hours’ drive), where you will be transferred to the airport for your onward flight.
Thank you for travelling with us and we look forward to seeing you on another Ekno Travels journey soon.
Met at Mumbai Airport by an Ekno representative
10 nights’ hotel & resort accommodation with breakfast
2 nights’ accommodation in a homestay
1 night accommodation in a houseboat
Welcome and farewell dinners (Mumbai & Alleppey)
Lunch & dinners during houseboat cruise and homestay
2 internal flights – Mumbai to Goa, Goa to Cochin (via Bangalore or Mumbai)
All transfers by private vehicles as follows:
- Pickup and drop off at airports in Mumbai, Goa and Kochi
- Sightseeing in Mumbai
- Sightseeing in Goa
- Transport from Cochin to Alleppey and back to Cochin
1-day cookery class and market tour in Goa
Entrance fees to all sights and monuments as per the itinerary
Local English-speaking guides for Elephanta Island (Mumbai), Goa, Cochin and Thekkady
All charges related to transport such as tolls, parking, fuel etc.
Guided writing workshops throughout the tour, led by Sharon Thrupp
Accompanied throughout tour by English speaking guide
Return airfares to India
Cost of Indian tourist visa (on arrival)
Lunches and dinners unless otherwise specified in the itinerary
Personal expenditure such as drinks (including bottled water), laundry service and souvenirs
Camera and video entry charges at local sights and monuments
Extra activities and transport not stipulated in the itinerary
Compulsory insurance of any kind
- Mumbai walking tour
- High tea at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel
- Dharavi slum tour
- Yoga classes
- Day spa
- Ayurveda treatments