I'm planning on taking a three week tour at the end of October, but it ended up having to take five weeks off work to line the dates up. I'm thinking of visiting Varanasi for the 2-3 days before the tour starts, but still have 10 days afterwards till I have to be home. Is there other places in India that I should see, or head to Sri Lanka or Maldives and relax before going home?
The tour itinerary is:
Day 1 Delhi
Arrive at any time.
Day 2 Delhi/Agra
Visit old Delhi, Jama Masjid, Gurdwara and Connaught Place. Drive to Agra in the afternoon.
Day 3 Agra
Visit Taj Mahal, Red Fort and Baby Taj.
Day 4 Bharatpur
En route to Bharatpur, visit Fatehpur Sikri, the now deserted former capital of the Mughals. In the afternoon, you can take a cycle-rickshaw in Keoladeo National Park.
Days 5-6 Jaipur
Visit to Abhaneri, an ancient village set in the desert of Rajasthan, known for its beautiful baoris (stepwells) and the famous Harshat Mata temple. In the afternoon, reach Jaipur and visit the Hawa Mahal and Amber Fort. Option to watch a Bollywood movie in Raj Mandir.
Day 7 Delhi
Return to Delhi in the afternoon for one final opportunity to shop, explore or take more photographs.
Days 8-9 Kochi (Cochin)
Fly to Kochi. Orientation walk in Fort Kochi.
Days 10-11 Wayanad (Kalpetta)
Morning train to Kozhikode. Later scenic drive to Wayanad. Explore nature trails in Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary and Eddakal prehistoric caves.
Day 12 Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary
Spend the night at the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary provides one of the most important refuges for the elephant and bison in India.
Days 13-14 Mysore
Visit to Chaumundi Temple and Somnathpur. Overnight train to Chennai on Day 14 and private bus to Mamallapuram.
Day 15-16 Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram)
Visit the Shore temples.
Day 17 Thanjavur (Tanjore)/Tiruchirapalli (Trichy)
Journey to the next destination via Pondicherry—former French territory; wander the streets of the French Quarter, learn more about Sri Aurobindo Ghose and The Mother at the ashram, enjoy French delicacies served in one of the many restaurants and cafés. Take the afternoon train to Madurai.
Day 18 Madurai
Enjoy a cycle-rickshaw tour of Madurai and Sri Meenakshi temple.
Day 19 Thekkady (D)
Guided tour of the spice plantations in Cardamom hills.
Day 20 Kerala Backwaters Homestay (L,D)
Private bus to Alleppey and riverboat to homestay. Experience local life and enjoy guided walk along the lagoon.
Day 21 Kochi (B)