SOUTH INDIA – THE SPICE OF LIFE

Special Tour 11 days
Kerala, India Kerala

Duration: 11 days
10 nights – Hotel Stays

SYNOPSIS – Variety is the spice of life is what we learn while traveling through the most beautiful part of India – Her southern side. The tour is set to experience the varied landscapes, distinct architecture, ancient traditions and rich heritage – not to mention its people.

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 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 .


DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION
Cochin International Airport (Google Map)

DEPARTURE TIME
Please arrive at least 2 hours before the flight.

TOUR PACKAGE INCLUDES :
  • Motor boat cruise to Andhakaranazhi beach for sunset
  • Guided Ethnic Tour of Kochi
  • Walking tour at Kondai Village
  • Visits, activities and cooking demo at Kurialcherry house
  • Country canoe ride at Night fishing at Champakulam
  • Spice plantation tour & night patrolling at Periyar wildlife sanctuary
  • Visit to Eravikilam national park
  • Halfday trekking and tea tasting in Munnar
  • Shadow Puppetry in Cheruturuthy
  • Visit to Kalamandalam
  • “Panchavadyam” Performance, interactions with the artists and Lunch
  • Interactive session with the local pottery artisans
  • Muziris Tour with interaction and cooking demo with “Kudumbasree”

TOUR PACKAGE DOES NOT INCLUDE:
  • Any items not covered under inclusions
  • Any expenses of personal nature such as Tips, Porterage, extras at hotels,,
  • Any flights. Insurance, Visa Charges
  • All currently applicable taxes and handling charges

ATTRACTIONS

  • Guided Ethnic Tour of Old Kochi
  • Walking Tour at Kondai
  • Night fishing at Champakulam
  • Night patrolling at Periyar Wild life sanctuary
  • Trekking and Tea tasting at Munnar
  • Demo on Shadow puppetry
  • Demo on “Panchavadyam”
  • Interaction and lunch with artists
  • Muziris tour with interaction with “Kudumbasree”

 

Day 1: ARRIVAL COCHIN  

Meet with our representative on arrival and Proceed to the hotel. Also Known as Kochi, Cochin is the most attractive town with a rich history and culture. It has been a trading port since at least Roman times when it was on the main trade route between Europe and China, and is still orientated around the bay whose neck is lined with the enormous cantilevered cheenavalas (Chinese fishing nets). The town has had a Jewish community since at least the 6th century, and has been occupied by the Portuguese, Dutch and British before independence. Later, after noon, enjoy a Guided walking tour of the Colonial Town. start with the visit of the famous Chinese Fishing Nets of Cochin 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. Pass by the finest Santa cruz Basilica and enjoy stroll through Princes Street and the colonial reminiscences of Fort Kochi. Overnight stay

Day 2: COCHIN

Breakfast at the hotel. Take a tuk tuk – the most popular mode of transport among the localities, go along with your story tellr and stop at the Dhobi Khana (laundry station), once throbbing with activity, it is now a picture of slow extinction. Continue through the small streets of Mattanchery, and arrive at the Fruit market on Palace road where locals get a variety of fresh and organic produces at bargains prices. Don’t miss a stop at the Spice Market, where exotic odours of the finest ginger, cloves, cardamom, turmeric and pepper emanate from the spice warehouses lining the street. Make a pause and have one “meter tea” at one of the tea stall. There is now an opportunity to interact with a Brahmin Family. The Brahmin are the highest of the four Hindu castes of priests and scholars of Vedic literature, their traditional occupation is to conduct rites at marriages, births and other auspicious occasions. The Lady of the house will demonstrate KOLAM – a geographical symmetry they draw at the courtyard on a daily basis, mostly with Rice Flour. The design is expected to bring in Peace and Prosperity to the house. Visit the Jewish Synagogue at the heart of what is locally called the Jew Town, and finally stop at the Dutch Palace with its beautiful mural paintings from the 17th century. Overnight stay.

Day 3: COCHIN – CHERUTHURUTHY    (120 kms/3 hrs)

After breakfast, proceed to Cheruthuruthy. At Ainkalam, on the way you stop at a Pottery workshop. Enjoy an interactive session with these skilled artisans. Continue your drive, arrive and check in at the hotel. Afternoon . Follow your Musical trail, known locally as “Vadya Parichayam” to the Sopanam Panchavadyam musical school, where you will Later observe an introduction of musical instruments used in temples, conducted by artists and students. This program includes a short performance demonstrating the use of these traditional instruments. enjoy a vegetarian meal with the artisans. Return to your hotel. Overnight stay.

Day 4: CHERUTHURUTHY-KUMARAKOM (160 kms/ 31/2 hrs)

Breakfast at the hotel. Leave for Kumarakom. A lovely amalgamation of mangroves, paddy fields, coconut clusters, network of criss-cross canals, rivers and natural water bodies – all this makes Kumarakom a destination of distinction and character, indeed something very special. The vibrant community life on its banks, the flora and fauna, the indigenous methods of fishing, the handmade country boats, which are works of
art, the coir fibre production and finally the locally- sourced, delicious cuisine, adds to the uniqueness of Kerala’s backwaters.

Day 5: KUMARAKOM-HOUSE BOAT (45kms/1 hr)

Breakfast at the Hotel. By Mid day Transfer to your Private house Boat. The best way to glimpse village life and the scenery along the lush lined backwaters of Kerala is to ply the region’s intricate web of rivers, lagoons, canals, and lakes in a kettuvallam – traditional Keralan houseboat. Embark ketuvellam – these slender vessels constructed from jackfruit wood beams with thatched roof have for centuries been the primary means of transporting cargo – mainly Kerala’s staple crops of rice and coconuts. Cruise through the fabled backwaters – the undisputed highlight of the region.  You’ll pass the backwaters, as well as tiny, colourful towns that typically export coconuthusk products, and fishing villages, while being surrounded by tall coconut trees. In more recent times these traditional boats have been refurbished to provide the travelers with a comfortable bedroom, modern bathroom along with a small crew that includes a chef.

Day 6: HOUSE BOAT-THEKKADY(160 km/41/2 hrs)

Breakfast. Check-out and take a beautiful drive from the plains to the green mountains of the Nilgiris. The charms of Periyar are many – the timeless wilderness of Periyar Tiger Reserve with 925 sq. km sprawl including forests, marshes and aquatic habitats that together support 62 species of mammals, 320 species of birds, 27 species of amphibians, 45 species of reptiles, 38 species of fish. Innumerable medicinal plants and many spice plantations around the region round off this incredibly rich collection
of biodiversity. Later on go on a spice plantation tour 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. Enjoy a stroll through the spice Markets of Kumily. Tonight enjoy an interactive Cooking Session with a local family followed by dinner. Return to your hotel. overnight stay.

 

Day 7: PERIYAR 

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. Lunch and refreshment included in package. .Return to your hotel for your overnight stay

Day 8: THEKKADY-MADURAI (140 kms/4 hrs)

Breakfast at the hotel and leave for Madurai – the temple town or the ‘city of nectar’ is one of the oldest cities in South Asia.  Located on the Vaigai River, it was the once an important cultural, commercial centre and the capital city of Pandya Kings. On arrival visit the famous Meenakshi Temple – complex of 15 acres with 4,500 pillars and 12 towers carried out during the reign of Tirumalai Nayak from 1623-55. Then go visit the sprawling Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal, the 17th century palace of the emperor of the Nayak dynasty and capture its hybrid Dravidian-Islamic style. Later attend the Night Ceremony at the Temple when the temple bronze of Lord Shiva is carried to the bed chamber of Parvati. Return to your hotel by auto-rickshaw

Day 9: MADURAI-CHETTINADU (90 kms/2 hrs)

Breakfast at the hotel. Later drive through the plains to the unique area of Tamil Nadu known as Chettinadu. On route enjoy 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. Check-in at your hotel. Go on a guided tour to explore Chettinadu, the great mansions of the area. Go around the village to see some of the home cottages making local snack called murukku and a weaving centre also visit a tile factory at Athangudi. Later  drive to see  the Ayyanar temple (horse temple) where rows of grinning and colourful terra cotta horses greet you once you enter the temple complex. In the evening experience a cooking demonstration at the hotel. Every meal here is an elaborate affair running into several courses resembling a typical Chettinadu feast. With a generous dose of pepper and not chilli, making it spicy but not hot. Overnight stay.

Day 10: CHETTINAD-TANJORE (110 kms/21/2 hrs)

Later proceed to Tanjore – the capital city of Cholas during the 10th to 14th centuries. Tanjore town has a rich cultural heritage and there are fascinating temples and palaces to visit. We will see the Brihadiswara Temple, known locally as Big Temple, and the palace. The temple has World Heritage Site status, and is one of India’s finest, having a 215-foot tall vimana (tower) capped by a block of granite weighing some 80 tons. The
block was raised by means of a four-mile ramp! Also see the Artists around the Temple working on miniature Tanjore paintings. Return to your hotel, overnight stay.

Day 11: TANJORE

Breakfast at the hotel. later proceed with your heritage journey with an introduction to bronze sculpture making, Metal statues are made here using the technique of lost wax casting practiced in the southern region during the Chola period (From 8th to 13th). Then it is time for your next enlightenment, Peep into a small house and see the art of  Tanjore Veena making. The entire instrument is carved on a single block of Jackwood. Carnatic music played on these Veenas has won the hearts of millions of music lovers. You can also find an amazing collection of New and Old Tanjore Paintings which are mindboggling.
Go to see the palace, the atmosphere of the old Durbar Hall and the courtyards is very evocative. Within the complex is the Rajaraja Museum and Art Gallery, which contains some fine examples of bronzes from the Chola and other periods. There are also a number of interesting ancient manuscripts and drawings. Return to hotel. Rest of the day Free for independent activities. Overnight stay.

Day 12: TANJORE- PONDICHERRY (170 Km / 4.5 hrs)  

Breakfast at the hotel. morning drive to Pondicherry. On route 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 centre) from outside. Refteshments at the  Bakery next door. Run by Aurovillians. 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.  Tonight you may taste some delicious French fusion cuisine at the restaurant La Villa Helena, a charming old colonial house located in one of the town’s bougainvillea-draped streets. (Payable Locally). Overnight at the hotel

Day 13: PONDICHERRY- MAHABALIPURAM (100kms/2 hrs)   

Breakfast and Leave for Pondicherry. Once the major port city for the 7th century Pallava dynasty -Mahabalipuram is now a home to over 500 stone carvers and is known for its rock-cut caves & monolithic shrines called Rathas. We will see fine examples of stone carvings at the Shore Temples and also see ‘The Ganges’, a 20 ft. high and 90 ft. long bas relief sculpture depicting the descent of India’s sacred river. afternoon, 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. Go explore the Rock cut caves. Mahabalipuram has become a centre for stone carvers, and hundreds ply their trade in the streets and alleys of the old town. Visit to the Five Rathas is a set of magnificent monolithic rock temples. These fine rock temples are located in a sandy compound. These five Rathas are the perfect examples of the evolution of Dravidian style architecture. Overnight stay.

Day 14: MAHABALIPURAM  

Breakfast at the Hotel.  Full day free to utilise the facilities at the hotel or stay on the beach.

Day 15: MAHABALIPURAM-CHENNAI (65 kms/11/2 hrs)  

After breakfast, leave for Chennai and check in at hotel on arrival. Afternoon Take a peek into colonial Madras though its majestic buildings such as the Government Museum, the San Thome Cathedral, the Fort St George and Later visit the Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Chennai’s most active and impressive example of Dravidian Architecture.  Return back to your hotel for your overnight. Those who are gourmet lovers could try the vegetarian local cuisine such as dosa, (rice and lentils crepes) accompanied by spicy and flavoured sambar (vegetable stew), at Dakshan, one of the finest South Indian restaurant in town… (Payable locally). Overnight stay.

Day 16:CHENNAI-MYSORE BY TRAIN DEPARTURE 0600 HRS;ARRIVAL 1300 HRS
Breakfast packed. Early morning transfer to Railway Station to connect Shatabdi Express at 0600 hrs. Travel by air conditioned Chair car coaches. On arrival proceed to hotel. This afternoon proceed on a sightseeing tour. Visit the Maharajah’s Palace, one of the most beautiful buildings in India. Inside, you will find a kaleidoscope of stained glass, beautiful carved wooden doors and mosaic floors.  Continue towards the colourful Devarajan Market and also visit Chamundi Temple, overlooking Mysore from the 1062 metre summit of Chamundi Hill.  At the top of the 1,001 steps up Chamundi Hill, lies a 12th century temple that houses a golden statue of Chamundi – the Hindu goddess worshipped by the Maharajas. End your tour with a good local cuppa filter coffee. Overnight stay.
Day 17: MYSORE  

Meet with our representative on arrival and Proceed to the hotel. Also Known as Kochi, Cochin is the most attractive town with a rich history and culture. It has been a trading port since at least Roman times when it was on the main trade route between Europe and China, and is still orientated around the bay whose neck is lined with the enormous cantilevered cheenavalas (Chinese fishing nets). The town has had a Jewish community since at least the 6th century, and has been occupied by the Portuguese, Dutch and British before independence. Later, after noon, enjoy a Guided walking tour of the Colonial Town. start with the visit of the famous Chinese Fishing Nets of Cochin 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. Pass by the finest Santa cruz Basilica and enjoy stroll through Princes Street and the colonial reminiscences of Fort Kochi. Overnight stay.

Day 18: MYSORE-HASSAN           (130KMS/3HRS) 

Once the seat of the Hoysala Empire, Hassan is now primarily known world wide for its Hoysala architecture of its early capital – Belur and Halebidu. Upon arrival, check -in at your hotel.  Afternoon visit the two remote and beautiful temple sites of Belur and Halebid at the heart of the Hoysala Empire, dating from the 12th century and together form perhaps the richest repository of Hindu art and sculpture in the country, where Shiva and Shakti have been worshipped for centuries. Each small compact temple is lavishly decorated with sculpture and the decorations cover every inch of wall space. Prime sites in the area include Hoysaleshvara Temple in Halebid, with the Archaeological Museum, and Chennakeshava Temple in Belur.

Day 19: HASSAN-HAMPI (350 Km / 6 ½ hrs)  

After breakfast proceeds to Hampi, A UNESCO world heritage site, Hampi was the capital of the Vijayanagar Empire. It is situated on the banks of river Tungabhadra in Karnataka. The ruins of the palaces in Hampi , the temples and the royal buildings stand testimony to the wealth and grandeur of the Vijayanagar Emperors. The name Hampi is derived from the ancient name of Tungabhadra river, Pampa, the daughter of Lord Brahma. The capital of the Vijyanagar Empire from 1336 to 1565, the city was ruled by four dynasties — Sangama, Saluva, Tuluva and Aravidu dynasty. The princes of these dynasties built more than 500 monuments. As a capital of the Vijayanagar Empire, Hampi grew as a trade center for cotton, spices, horse and gem stones. Rubies and diamonds were believed to have been sold on the streets and gold and silver was used as currency. Hampi’s heydays came to an end when a combined army of Muslim kingdoms laid siege to the town in 1565. The town was looted for six months before it was abandoned

Day 20: HAMPI

After Breakfast, take a day excursion the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hampi.  Visit the ruins of the Virupaksha Temple, with its nine-storied Gopuram and ceiling of the ranga mantapa beautifully painted with scenes from the epics and puranas. Later visit Vittala, a splendid 56 musical pillars complex. To the east of the hall is the famous Stone Chariot with stone wheels that actually revolve. Continue your visit with Elephant stables, a beautiful example of Hindu-Muslim style of architecture, housing about 11 elephants in separate compartments. Observe The Queen’s  Bath  with  its  arched  corridors,  projecting  balconies  and  lotus  shaped  fountains  that  once     sprouted perfumed water or watch The two storied Lotus Mahal with its archways, etc. Lunch at Mango tree (payable locally). Dinner and overnight stay at hotel (Half-board).

Day 21: HAMPI-BANGALORE (Flight DEP: 1425- ARR 1525 hrs)  

Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to the airport to connect flight TO Banglore  at 1425 hrs. On arrival at Bangalore airport, meet assistance by our representative- Transfer to hotel. Bangalore popularly known as the Garden City owing to it’s well laid out parks and gardens, long avenues of brightly blossomed trees and salubrious climate throughout the year.  In addition Bangalore is one of the buzzling cities of India in terms Economy and lifestyle/ Check-in at your hotel.  Overnight stay.

BANGALORE DEPARTURE 

Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to airport on time to connect the flight out bound.

Tour Cost: On request

 

HOTEL ENVISAGED

Destintion Hotel #Nights
COCHIN THE DUTCH BUNGALOW 02
CHERUTHURUTHY RIVER RETREAT 01
KUMARAKOM BACKWATER RIPPLES 01
BACKWATERS DELUXE HOUSE BOAT 01
THEKKADY GREENWOODS 02
MADURAI COURTYARD BY MARIOT 01
CHETTINADU THE BANGALA 01
TANJORE SVATMA 02
MysPONDICHERRY MAISON PERUMAL 01
MAHABALIPURAM IDEAL BEACH RESORT 02
CHENNAI GRT GRAND 01
MYSORE THE GREEN HOTEL 02
HASSAN HOYSALA VILLAGE 01
HAMPI ORANGE COUNTY 02
BANGALORE FORTUNE JP COSMOS 01

OUR PACKAGE INCLUDES:

 

  • Accommodation is on Twin sharing basis at all places mentioned or Similar
  • Breakfast at all places plus the meals as per Itinerary
  • Transportation by  Chauffer driven Air Conditioned  vehicle
  • Services of Local English Speaking Guide for the sightseeing tours
  • Overnight backwater cruise by House Boat on Full Board
  • Musical Trail and a meal with the artists
  • Full day Bamboo rafting tour with Picnic Lunch
  • Cooking Demo followed by Dinner in Periyar
  • Visit to Auroville accompanied by an Aurovillain
  • Meal experience at Mysore
  • Heritage walking Tour in Mysore with our Story teller
  • Train Tickets for for travel from Chennai to Mysore
  • Entrance charges at the monuments visited as covered in the Itinerary.
  • Meet assistance on arrival & departure by our representative
  • All currently applicable taxes.

 

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 any
  • All other than those listed in above inclusions
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 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 .

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