southern india-off the beaten track

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Aug 24th, 1998, 10:26 AM
  #1
janice
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southern india-off the beaten track

Dear stasha or other helpful souls, Two women are planning 1 month trip Dec/Jan landing bombay/goa/karnataka/kerala/tamil nadu/ending madras. Interests are :food & markets, tribal people, crafts, aryvedic, festivals. Can you recommend best transportation (an inexpensive driver/car?), sites not to be missed, interesting accomodations, and particular cities to include. thank you very much.
 
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Aug 27th, 1998, 01:29 PM
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Brande
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I went to Kerala last December and loved it. One not to miss hotel is called Surya Samudra, it is outside of Trivandrum at the southern tip of India. All of the rooms are in "heritage" houses--Keralan wooden structures that have been moved intact. They are located on a cliff overlooking the ocean, where you can watch the fishermen come and go. The hotel (which is small--book in advance) then cooks the catch of the day.
 
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Aug 27th, 1998, 01:29 PM
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Brande
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I went to Kerala last December and loved it. One not to miss hotel is called Surya Samudra, it is outside of Trivandrum at the southern tip of India. All of the rooms are in "heritage" houses--Keralan wooden structures that have been moved intact. They are located on a cliff overlooking the ocean, where you can watch the fishermen come and go. The hotel (which is small--book in advance) then cooks the catch of the day.
 
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Aug 27th, 1998, 04:07 PM
  #4
Bill
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Janice

I lived in Tamil Nadu for a year so I hope I can help. First Up I think getting a hire car and driver is a great idea. The buses are cheap but crowded and it really depends on how stared at you want to feel. I can't talk about Bombay other than to say a visit to the markets on Juhu Beach is worthwhile. When in kerala you must go to Cochin and see the old Jewish quarter and antique market. The chinese fishing nets are also worthwhile. Cheap cruises operate everyday to show you around the port. You should also take a canal/backwater tour of Alleppi. You'll see a great snapshot of Village life. While in Cochin also see the Katakali dancing. Kerala has the highest literacy rate in all of India so it is easy to get around. If you want to take a few giveaways take biros for the schoolkids, they're always appreciated. I lived in The Nilgiris, which is the mountain range separating Tamil Nadu and Kerala. If you're visiting you should stay at Ootacamund, and old hill station (like the Simla or Darjeeling of the South)There are good markets and plenty of things to see, it will be a little cool but no snow or anything like that. if you've got the time you could travel south to see the temples at Madurai or north (3 hours from OOTY) to Mysore. The Maharajahs palace is great, the zoo Ok(but you feel for the animals( a better option is to go to mudumalai sanctuary an hour south of Ooty, they have tours on elephant and its a great restful place to spend a few days, tigers have been seen there). There is lots to see in Mysore just use your guide book. If I was doing what youare I would train to Bangalore(great place) car to Mysore then car to Mudumalai, Ooty, Coonoor(where i lived 20km from ooty, a few westerners there who appreciate new company), Coimbatore( take the toy train down the mountain and have your driver meet you at (mettupalaiyam- only a three hour trip but one of the worlds great train trips)then car to Cochin, Alleppi, Trivandrum, nagercoil, Madurai Salem and then to Madras. You can do that reasonably comfortably in two weeks. Any questions - you have my email.

Cheers

Bill
 
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Aug 30th, 1998, 05:28 PM
  #5
fnlvr2
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Hi janice..
Been all over southern india lately. If you really want the off beaten track you should visit Bijapur & Hampi in Karnataka. The architecture and old relics are amazing. Car and driver is OK but you should look at the Indrail pass, The indian version of Eurail. it is very affordable and lets you jump the queue on reservations!

You should go Bombay - Bijapur - Hampi - goa ... etc..

If you really want to see the culture and meet the people.. you should try and stay with indian families instead of hotels.. if you need any help email me.

good luck
 
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