Classical South India

Daily Tour 12 day
Puducherry, India

KERALA – Witness the greenery put up by the land of the Gods. The culture and the flawless natural creations will make sure that the person, who seek for it, is gifted with an experience of a lifetime. Kerala, being very close to the equator, has a tropical climate.  Known for its backwaters, mountains, coconuts, spices and art forms like Kathakali and Mohini Attam, they bring out a lot of variety into the arena.

TAMILNADU – Tamilnadu is the homeland of one of humanity’s living classical civilizations, stretching back uninterrupted for two millennia and very much alive today in the Tamil’s language, dance, and poetry and Hindu religion.  It Is all packed into a state that remains proudly distinct from the rest of India.

 

TOUR 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

 

TOUR PACKAGE INCLUDES :

 

  • Accommodation on twin sharing basis at all hotels mentioned or similar
  • Breakfast at all places
  • Transportation as per itinerary by chauffeur driven air-conditioned medium 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
  • An interactive Cooking Session with a local family followed by dinner
  • Guided Visit to Auroville
  • Guided Heritage walk in Pondicherry
  • Lunch in a Local restaurant in Trichy
  • Entrance charges at the monuments as mentioned in the Itinerary
  • Assistance on arrival and departure

 

 

TOUR PACKAGE DOES NOT INCLUDE:

  • Camera fees & activity charges other than those listed in the itinerary inclusions
  • Expenses of personal nature such as porterage, laundry, telephones, tipping, etc.
  • International/Domestic flight charges and Visa/Insurance charges, if any
  • Any other items not covered under inclusions
  • All currently applicable taxes and handling fee as applicable.

Hotel Envisaged :

 

PLACE NO. OF NIGHTS Superior Premium
COCHIN 1 The Killians Eighth Bastion
Backwaters 1 House Boat House Boat
THEKKADY 2 Greenwoods Spice Village
MADURAI 1 Heritage Madurai Heritage Madurai
TANJORE 2 Ideal River View Resort Svatma
PONDICHERRY 1 Maison Perumal Palai De Mahe
MAHALIPURAM 2 Ideal Beach Resort Radisson Temple Bay
CHENNAI 1 Ambassador Pallava Rain Tree

 

Day 01 Arrive Cochin

 

On arrival meet and assistance at the airport, then proceed to your hotel and check-in at the hotel. Later Walk down to visit the 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. Overnight stay at hotel.

 

Day 02 Cochin – Alleppey(65 km /2 hours)

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. En route 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 (Full Board).

 

Day 03 Alleppey – Thekkady(150 km / 4.5 hours)

Enjoy 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 Greenwoods, 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. Rest of the day free. Later enjoy a stroll through the spice Markets of Kumily.

overnight stay.

 

Day 04  Thekkady

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. Return to your hotel for your overnight stay.

 

 

Day 05 Thekkady – Madurai (150 km / 4 hrs)

 

Breakfast at the hotel. This morning drive to your next stop Madurai. On arrival check in at the hotel. During the day go on a tour, start 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 witness night ceremony at the Meenakshi temple. Overnight stay. 

 

Day 06  Madurai – Trichy – Tanjore(196 Km / 5 hrs )

After breakfast drive to Tiruchirappalli, the 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 the route in a local restaurant. Later today drive to Tanjore, the former capital of the mighty Chola Empire and check-in at your hotel. Overnight stay.

 

Day 07  Tanjore

 

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/Kalamkari paintings and 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 to 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.  There are visits to the Bronze sculpture artisans and Traditional “Veena” Making – one of the most popular musical instrument in Southern India. Overnight at stay.

Day 08 Tanjore – Pondicherry (170 Km / 4.5 hrs)

Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Pondicherry. On arrival 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.  Suggest visiting Baker’s Street, a bakery run by a French man who sells the most delicious cheese baguettes, quiches, and freshly baked bread, as well as éclairs and fruit tarts. Rest of the day free. Overnight stay.

 

Day 09 Pondicherry – Mahabalipuram(120 Km / 2.5 hrs)

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 visitors 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 center) from outside. This afternoon drive to 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. Overnight stay.

Day 10 Mahalipuram

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. Suggest a lunch on the beachside restaurant (Payable locally), go explore the Rock cut caves. Mahabalipuram has become a center for stone carvers, and hundreds ply their trade in the streets and alleys of the old town. Rest of the fray at leisure. Overnight at the hotel.

 

Day 11 Mahalipuram –Chennai(60 Km / 2.5 hrs)

 

 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 visit the Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Chennai’s most active and impressive example of Dravidian Architecture. Return to your hotel. One can try the vegetarian local cuisine such as dosa, (rice and lentils crepes) accompanied by spicy and flavored sambar (vegetable stew), at Dakshan, one of the finest South Indian restaurant in town (Payable locally). Vehicle at disposal on request. Overnight stay.

 

Day 12 Chennai Departure

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

TOUR ENDS

Tour Cost: On request

 

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