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South India Tour

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12 days / 11 nights

A fascinating journey through India’s tropical south, do experience the diversity in scenery, architecture, culture and most importantly the people. Visit the two southern states of India: Tamil Nadu and Kerala, both with unique cultures and different landscape. Kerala is a tropical bliss with an idyllic coastline and lush tropical hills and Tamil Nadu the most leading feature is the prevalence of Hinduism, which has given rise to a unique style of temple architecture found in this state alone.

Cost

From 1 395 $ USD per person, double occupancy

Dates

Let us know when you wish to live this amazing experience!

Highlights

  • Dravidian Temple architecture
  • French Colonial getaway
  • Traditional art Forms
  • Backwater Experience
  • Auroville visit
  • Art and local Craft visits
  • Traditional South Indian cuisine
  • Cooking demonstration
  • Bamboo Rafting in Periyar National Park
  • Hills & Plantations

Included

  • Accommodation on twin sharing basis at all hotels
  • Breakfast at all places
  • Lunch in a Local restaurant in Trichy
  • An interactive Cooking Session with a local family followed by dinner
  • Transportation as per itinerary by chauffeur driven air conditioned medium/Large car.
  • Local English Speaking Guides for the sightseeing of Cochin, Madurai, Tanjore , Trichy, Pondicherry, Mahabalipuram and Chennai
  • Tickets for the Kathakali Dance show in Cochin
  • Overnight Backwater cruise by House Boat with a country canoe ride on full board basis
  • Spice plantation visit in Thekkady
  • Full – day Bamboo rafting in Periyar National Park
  • Guided visit to Auroville
  • Guided Heritage walk in Pondicherry
  • Entrance charges at the monuments as mentioned in the Itinerary
  • Assistance on arrival and departure
  • All currently applicable taxes

Itinerary

On arrival at the Cochin International Airport, meet assistance, and then proceed to your hotel for check-in. Later, walk down to visit famous Chinese Fishing Nets of Cochin. The huge cantilevered Chinese fishing nets that droop towards the waters like over-sized hammocks, have become a hallmark that represents Fort Kochi on every postcard… Next visit is at the St. Francis CSI Church, the oldest European church in India built in 1503, where the Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama was originally buried and pass by the Santa cruz Basilica,one of the finest and imposing churches in India. Then visit the Jewish Synagogue at the heart of what is locally called the Jew Town, and finally the Dutch Palace (closing at 5 pm) with its beautiful mural paintings from the 17th century.

Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure in the streets of this colonial township. On evening discover the famous dance drama of Kerala, the “Kathakali” show. This dance can be characterized by grotesque gesticulations, amazing costumes and very extensive make-up. The stories are mostly taken from the epics Mahabharatha and Ramayana.

Meal included: Breakfeast

Breakfast at the hotel. Late morning drive to Alleppey and embark your Houseboat for a Backwaters cruise. These Houseboats are a reworked version of kettuvallams of olden times and made out of huge planks of Jack wood, joined with coir from Coconut shells. The backwaters act as a vital waterway for the transport of goods, people and their produce are often the only link between isolated villages and crowded towns. The Allepey district is one of the most popular areas where you can cruise the backwaters. It is also one of the few places in the world where farming is done below sea-level, using a system of dykes. Cruise through the palm fringed canals enjoying the beauty of rural village life. Enjoy a sumptuous Keralan Lunch on Board. On the way, take a country canoe ride, there is no better way of taking a closer look at the life and activities on the backwaters. The trip continues through a wonderful area of the lush green vegetation. Overnight stay onboard.

Distance: 75 km
Duration: About 2 hours
Meal included: Breakfeast, lunch and diner

Enjoy a breakfast at the hotel and take a beautiful drive from the plains to the green mountains of the Nilgiris. Rubber, Coffee and Cardamom plantations and tea gardens will follow. Arrive at your hotel, in Thekkady, one of the entrance door for the Periyar Wildlife Reserve. Later the day, go for a spice plantation visit where you can touch, smell and taste almost all the spices seen worldwide. Due to its location in the lower mountains around 1000 meters above sea level, Periyar is blessed with numerous types of spices.

The rest of the day is free. Later enjoy a stroll through the spice Markets of Kumily.

Distance: 150 km
Duration: About 4.5 hours
Meal included: Breakfast

After an early breakfast, go on a full – day Bamboo rafting – a community based initiative including the tribal community. This excursion takes the participants into the remote areas of the Periyar National park through a 2hrs trek and a peaceful and relaxing bamboo rafting. This is a very good opportunity to experience the Flora and Fauna of the region.

In the evening, enjoy an interactive Cooking Session with a local family followed by dinner.

Meal included:  Breakfast and dine

Breakfast at the hotel. This morning drive to your next stop Madurai. On arrival, you check in at the hotel. During the day, you go on a tour, starting with the unique opportunity to make a stop at the Madurai’s flower market, which is one of the biggest in the southern region, and transacts as much as 10 tonnes of flowers in a day, mainly the renowned Madurai malli and other flowers like marigolds, tuberoses and roses. Proceed with the visit of the city known for the imposing Meenakshi Temple. Madurai is one of India’s oldest cities dating from the 6th century BC and today an important cultural, religious and commercial center of South India. Visit Meenakshi temple – complex of 15 acres, and has 4,500 pillars and 12 towers carried out during the reign of Tirumalai Nayak from 1623-55. Then stop at the nearby Tirumalai Nayak Palace , built in 1636 by king Thirumalai Nayak, in Indo-Sarcenic style with the input of an Italian architect.

Later in the evening, you witness night ceremony at the Meenakshi temple.

Distance: 150 kmDuration: About 4 hoursMeal included:  Breakfast

After breakfast drive to Tiruchirappalli, citadel of the early Chola rulers which later fell to the Pallavas kings. On arrival visit the Srirangam Temple, constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture and the Rock-Fort Temple, landmark of Trichy).Enjoy a Lunch on route in a local restaurant. Later today drive to Tanjore, former capital of the mighty Chola Empire and check-in at your hotel.

Distance: 196 km
Duration: About 5 hours
Meal included: Breakfast & Lunch

After your breakfast at the hotel, visit the Bhrideshware temple, world heritage site. This architectural masterpiece was built by King Rajaraja I in the 11th century to celebrate a military victory. The temple is a tribute as well as a reflection of the power of the Chola dynastie. The walls of the complex are adorned by beautiful belonging to the Chola and Nayak period. There is also an opportunity to visit famous Tanjore/Kalamkary paintings and the artists. Continue your journey in the Cultural capital of Tamil nadu, and explore first The Saraswati Mahal Library with its traditional ornate paintings, known as Tanjore paintings, back from the 16th century. It houses also a huge collection of about 30,000 palm leaf and paper manuscripts in Indian and European languages from the Sangam period. Then proceed with a visit of the Art Gallery, located just by the side of the library. This must see of Tanjore, capital of bronze iconography, has a rich collection of 250 Chola Bronze statues and 150 stone statues dating from the 9th to 12th century.

Meal included:  Breakfast

Breakfast at the hotel. Early morning drive to Pondicherry. On arrival you check-in at your hotel. Settled by the French in the 18th century, Pondicherry retains a quiet colonial atmosphere with wide shady streets lined with colorful stucco houses. An ongoing French presence in the town means that many local dishes are subtly fused with French ingredients and techniques.

Early evening take a stroll through the French boulevard with our Storyteller. Through reminiscence of almost a century old European occupation, walk through the white town (as the French quarters is popularly known as) while our Storyteller relates the history with what you see around.

Rest of the day free.

Distance: 170 km 
Duration: About 4.5 hours
Meal included:  Breakfast

Breakfast at the hotel. Check out and proceed to visit Auroville and understand the unique community living here based on universal harmony. You will be taken through the visitor’s center and a few of the Auroville units which innovatively works on paper, textile, bamboo and stones among others. See the Matri mandir (the meditation centre) from outside. This afternoon drive, your next stop is the small seaside town of Mahabalipuram, the port for the Pallava kings in the 5th to 8th centuries. Along the shore lies a stunning series of temples and sculptures, carved from the living rock 1,200 years ago. Unlike many Hindu temples, the rocks show scenes of everyday life.

Distance: 120 km
Duration: About 2.5 hours
Meal included:  Breakfast

Breakfast at the hotel. Today visit the stunning Shore temple set at the edge of the waves features an altar to the god Siva that is lit by the rising and setting sun.

Rest of the fray at leisure.

Meal included:  Breakfast

After your breakfast at the hotel, proceed to Chennai. Take a peek into colonial Madras though its majestic buildings such as the Government Museum, the San Thome Cathedral, the Fort St George and head onto a stroll along the 3km-long main stretch of Marina Beach where you’ll pass cricket matches, fortune-tellers and families enjoying the sea breeze. Later you will be directed for a visit of the Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Chennai’s most active and impressive example of Dravidian Architecture. Return back to your hotel for your overnight.

Distance: 60 km
Duration: About 2.5 hours
Meal included: Breakfast

After breakfast drive to Chennai International airport to connect onto your flight for home.

Repas inclus : Breakfast

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