The temples of Hampi
Before reaching the Spice Gardens, spend a day discovering the marvelous ruins at Hampi, one of the principal areas of the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire between 1336 and 1565. Stroll through the Bazaar, explore the scattered remains of palaces and statues and visit Vittala Temple, a World Heritage Site. You are privately guided and have the option of exploring by bicycle if you wish.
Spice gardens, rivers & waterfalls
The charming hamlet of Hulgol nestles in a wooded landscape in the Wester Ghats and enjoys the pleasant sub-tropical climate of upland Karnataka.Wander through aromatic spice gardens and rice farms, enjoy picnics by tumbling rivers and admire gushing waterfalls. Borrow one of the house cycles or walk along the shady forest paths to the Shalmala river to discover the astonishing carvings on rocks in the river. Explore 10th century temples and forts.
The magic of spice and delicious food
The local food is mouth-watering and packed with flavour. The villagers take pride in preparing tasty, traditional meals for you from local ingredients, banana, mango, jackfruit, cashew along with wild fruits and herbs. They love to teach you their art and share their many recipes. Stroll through the immaculate spice gardens with the cultivaors themselves to see how vanilla, pepper, cloves, cardamom and nutmeg are grown. Visit the co-operative market to witness the colourful scene, re-enacted in Sirsi market town for centuries.
By the shores of the Arabian Sea
Wander through the palm-shaded village of Pavinakurva to the secluded sandy beach, close to the guesthouse and over-looking Basavrajadurga island. Stroll along the beach at sunset or watch the local in-shore fishermen sort their overnight catch for market in the early morning. Watch the wonderful birdlife around the village, the mangrove swamps and along the coast. Visit the bustling off-shore fishing harbour at Honnevar, as the myriad varieties of marine life are landed and enjoy delicious vegetarian and fresh fish dishes. A wonderfully relaxing end to your holiday.
Authentic Karnataka hospitality
A warm welcome by knowledgeable, considerate and attentive village hosts are a feature in Hulgol and Pavinakurva. Our cheerful guides have intimate knowledge of the local scene, the way of life of the villagers, the wildlife, and will proudly introduce you to their families and friends. Discover a rare window into traditional family life played out in a rural village setting.
Day 1 Welcome at Mumbai airport, transfer to city centre. Overnight Mumbai guesthouse.
Day 2 A full day to explore the bustling city of Mumbai, before a transfer to the station to catch the overnight Express to Hubli.
Day 3 Arrive Hubli; lunch in Hubli before transfer to Hospet (3 hours).Overnight in Mallagi Hotel in Hospet (10km from Hampi)
Around the Ruins
Day 4 Spend the day exploring the nearby ancient site of Hampi, once flourishing city and imposing capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is an awe-inspiring and important cultural and religious site with ancient remains of palaces, forts and temples spreading over a vast area. Magnificent architecture juxtaposed with unusual, delicately-balanced boulder formations creates a surreal landscape. Stroll through Hampi Bazaar, explore the scattered remains of palaces and statues and visit Vittala Temple.
Guided tour and option to explore by bicycle. Return to Mallagi Hotel for a second night.
In the Spice Gardens
Day 5 Transfer from Hospet to Hulgol (5 ¼ hours). Lunch and relax at Spice House guesthouse; introduction to the area. Your guide will meet you to plan and help you make the most of you stay. The ‘Spice house’ village guest-house is set in seclusion at the forest edge. Built around an enclosed courtyard, the house offers three attractive twin bedrooms. It combines a traditional design with simple, modern facilities.
Day 6- Day 8 With four nights in the Spice House you will discover the magic of spice as you explore the plantations and the auction market in Sirsi, enjoy guided walk or cycle through the forests, discover the astonishing rock carvings in the river and get to know the charming community. A fort ascribed to Tipu Sultan is an easy walk from Hulgol, or travel further to the famous Banavasi temple complex.
On the Coast
Day 9 After breakfast, drive through the impressive forested slopes of the Western Ghats to visit the peaceful isolated coastal village of Pavinakurva (3hrs). The village of Pavinakurva is reached over the Badgani river, across the community-built suspension bridge. Lunch, relax and introduction to the area.
Day 10 - Day 11 With three nights in Pavinakurva, you will have time to unwind on the secluded beach, explore the Tarabagli estuary, watch the fisherman land their catch and join in a local game of cricket. Stay in simple twin rooms with breakfast, picnic lunch and dinner.
Day 12 Transfer to the coastal town of Kumta for overnight train to Mumbai.
Arrive at Mumbai station, transfer to airport for homeward flight.
Please note, your stay in Hulgol and Pavinakurva can be done in either order and will be arranged according to availability at the guesthouses. You will be notified of this at the time of booking.
We ask our guests to make their own arrangements for international travel to India. For Village Ways holidays in Karnataka we recommend Mumbai as the gateway.
For travel information to India, click here.
We look after you from the moment of your arrival at Mumbai airport. Your holiday includes transfers and rail journeys, accommodation in the village guesthouses and on the houseboat with all meals provided during your stay with communities. We have devised each of our holidays to provide a good balance between activity and relaxation; please feel free to tailor your holiday to your exact requirements.
Extra nights during your holiday
The suggested itinerary can be extended if you wish to spend more time exploring the Karnataka and Kerala, or shortened if your time in India is limited. Choose to upgrade to 1st class on the trains, add extra nights in Mumbai or the villages.
You may wish to prolong your exploration of the spice gardens and coastal villages. Extra nights can be arranged with both of the communities; there is so much to learn and appreciate about village life and the host communities would love to keep you for a day longer.
Our knowledgeable staff will be delighted to help fashion the holiday to suit you.