This tour is a highly recommended itinerary for those wishing to experience the beautiful scenery and rich culture of Southern India. Explore some of India’s most important pilgrimage sites and temples, taste spices at their source, cruise waterways, and experience the multicultural harbour town of Cochin and the exciting city of Mumbai.
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Arrive at Chennai International Airport. Please clear immigration and visa formalities, collect your baggage and proceed to the arrival lounge through the green channel if you do not have goods to be declared to customs. TOTAL HOLIDAY OPTIONS Executive will page you by your group name. Thereafter you will be assisted with a transfer to the hotel. Stay overnight in Chennai.
Chennai formally known as Madras, popularly regarded as the ‘Gateway to the South'. It represents a culture that is distinctly different from that of northern India. This city encourages all forms of development, both modern technology and the traditional arts and crafts and embraces a series of paradoxes. The numerous temples, shrines, forts and palaces are a reflection of the rich and diverse historical heritage of the city. Before we proceed for the sightseeing our tour Manager will brief us about the day tour. We visit Kalakshetra, a school of art and music that encourages exponents of Bharatnatyam, Carnatic music, traditional weaving and designing. Afternoon travel to Mahabalipuram and stay two nights in hotel.
After breakfast excursion to Kanchipuram, the city of thousand temples and one of the seven sacred cities of Hindus, back in 2nd century BC the city was the capital of the early Cholas Kingdome. In this context, it is particularly known for being the seat for bearing culture and philosophy. The city is also famous for its silk weavers, settled around 400 years ago and has given it an enviable reputation. The weavers use the highest quality silk and pure gold thread. Later return back to Mahabalipuram and enjoy sightseeing tour and visit Shore Temple, one of the oldest in south dating back to 8th century is a good example of the first phase of structural temples constructed in Dravidian style. Three separate buildings make up the temple and numerous carvings can be found throughout the temple. Due to the architectural and heritage value attached to it, the UNESCO has crowned this historical city as a ‘World Heritage Site’. Later visit Krishna Mandapam, which has the world's largest bas-relief measuring 27 m x 9 m, whaleback shaped rock, contains figures of gods, men, beasts, birds and representation of the entire creation.
We travel to Pondicherry, the town ruled by the French before India got independence in 1947. This French legacy is visible in the well-planned town, neatly laid roads, wide and vibrant beaches, beautiful promenades, architecturally imposing buildings and statues of Joan of Ark and Joseph Francois colonies in India from 1742-54. The day is free to take a stroll in the street in this beautiful town. Stay Overnight at hotel.
After breakfast we enjoy the city sightseeing tour and visit to Rai Nivas, Sri Aurobindo Ashram and explore the medieval town of the French province, the town has managed to preserve its French aura. From its delectable restaurants offering French cuisine and streets bearing French names, Pondicherry's French connection is very much alive. The city’s temples and churches and imposing monuments of the colonial era are some of the sites worth visiting in this small port city. Afternoon travel to Tanjore and stay two nights in a hotel.
After breakfast sightseeing tour of Thanjavur, the "Rice bowl of Tamil Nadu" and also known as the Granary of South India, lying in the deltaic region of the famous river Cauvery and crisscrossed by a lengthy network of irrigation canals. Thanjavur rose to glory during the later Chola Reign between 11th and 14th centuries AD and became the center of learning and culture. It is also known for its exquisite handicrafts, bronzes, and South Indian Musical Instruments. Rest of the day is free to explore the town.
After breakfast drive to Chettinad, En route, we stop at Trichy, which has very historic temples & monuments. It was an important town in the days of the later Cholas, Nayaks as well as during the early days of the British East India Company. We start with Srirangam Temple, surrounded by the waters of the River Kaveri on one side & its tributary Kollidam on the other. It is a 600-acre island-town enclosed within the seven walls of the gigantic Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple. Later we visit Rockfort most famed landmark is an 83 m high rock which is the only outcrop in the otherwise flat land of the city. The most amazing fact about the rock is that it is one of the oldest in the world approximately 3,800 million years, which makes it as old as the rocks of Greenland & older than the Himalayas. After the visit continue your travel to Chettinad and stay overnight in the hotel.
Chettinad is known for its culinary delicacies. Chettinad is also rich in cultural heritage, art, and architecture, and is well known for its houses, embellished with marble and Burma teak, wide courtyards, spacious rooms, and for its 18th-century mansions. Local legend has it that their walls used to be polished with a paste made out of egg whites to give a smooth texture. After breakfast sightseeing tour of Chettinad. One of the main attractions of Chettinad is the huge country homes of the Chettiars. These ancestral houses, that were built more than 100 years ago, have massive high walled structures and were decorated with the finest of wood and craftsmanship. They are packed with imported period furniture, chandeliers, curious, and paintings. Also interesting to see is the Chettinad museum, which is housed in an old converted house. It showcases the traditional jewelry, textiles, household implements and utensils, and all other unique lifestyle products of the Chettiyars. Among temples, the must-see is the Meenakshi Sundereshwar Temple, that is famous for its unique architecture. After the visit, we travel to Madurai, the great temple town of South India. The city known as the Athens of the East and is the second largest city in Tamil Nadu. Madurai has a rich cultural heritage which is passed on from the great Tamil era more than 2500 years old. It was an important cultural and commercial center even as early as 550 AD and was the capital city for the great Pandya kings. Stay overnight in a hotel.
After breakfast proceed for a city tour, the second largest city on the banks of the River Vigai believed to be more than 2500 years old. We visit a magnificent Meenakshi Temple and experience stunning architects as the sculpted pillars tell the story of the beautiful princess of Madurai and her marriage to Lord Shiva. The entire city is built around this temple. It attained a 26th place in the list of top nominees for the new Seven Wonders of the World. Madurai is home to many poets and artisans and houses an abundance of literary wealth of both classical and modern Tamil. Jasmine flowers are well known all over the country, they carry a special fragrance unique to Madurai. Later drive to Thekkady, famous for its wildlife sanctuary and enjoy a spice plantation tour to see crops of cardamom, cinnamon, pepper and coffee. Stay two nights in Thekkady.
After breakfast explore the Periyar wildlife sanctuary on the boat to spot various wildlife animal, reptiles and birds, the sanctuary centrepiece the man-made Periyar Lake, running through the forests of the Western Ghats in Kerala and is known to be home to Tiger , bison, wild boar, sambar, monkeys, wild elephant, antelopes and a wide variety of birds. More than 260 species of birds are found here, like the Great Indian Hornbill, Nilgiri Wood Pigeons, Black-winged Kite, Barbets, Plovers, among many others. Later visit spice plantation and evening attend a local cooking class and learn to cook Kerala dishes one of the most intriguing cuisines of the world, in a relaxing environment, the class will be held in a traditional home set in the grounds of a working bio-organic spice garden.
Today we travel to Kumarakom/Alleppey and embark the houseboat, while sailing enjoy palm fringed narrow canals winding through the vast expanse of paddy fields and the neat tiny hamlets lined up along either side of the canals are panoramic sights one can never forget. Flocks of duck swimming around the banks and tiny birds flying across the sky remain as enduring pictures reflecting the charm of this beautiful land. All meals with overnight on board Kerala houseboat.
After breakfast, we disembark the houseboat and travel to Cochin, set on a cluster of peninsulas and islands in the Indian Ocean. A city tucked in the beauty of coconut palms and endless blue waters; it is one of the important towns in South India, with a natural harbour. Cochin offers a pleasurable blend of charming sightseeing with salivating culinary delights that will surely blow your mind. Afternoon visits the Jewish Synagogue, Dutch Palace and St Francis church, the oldest church built in 1503AD by Portuguese. In the evening explore the local bazaar of Fort Cochin and finish the day by witnessing the Kathakali dance drama cultural show in the theatre. Stay overnight in the hotel.
After breakfast transfer to airport to board a flight to Mumbai. Assistance on arrival and transfer to the hotel. Touch, feel and experience the Mumbai, a bubblegum glamour of Bollywood cinema, shopping malls full of designer labels, promenading families eating Bhelpuri on the beach at Chowpatty and red double-decker buses queuing in grinding traffic jams. This pungent drama is played out against a Victorian townscape more reminiscent of a prosperous 19th-century English industrial city than anything you’d expect to find on the edge of the Arabian Sea. It’s a city with vibrant street life, India’s best nightlife, and a wealth of bazaars. Remaining evening free to explore and stay two nights in Mumbai.
Deluxe hotel accommodation with private facility (Check-in / Checkout 12:00)
Travel, transfers and sightseeing by chartered air-condition vehicle with driver
Group assistance and all transfers
Meals as specified (B=Breakfast, D=Dinner)
Overnight Kerala Backwater Cruise
Domestic airfare Cochin – Mumbai in economy class
THO Tour Manager (minimum 6 people)
Assistance and all transfers
Sightseeing as specified
Local English speaking tour guide except at Chettinad, Periyar and Pondicherry
All Entry fee to the monuments
Wildlife Safari at Periyar
Spice plantation visit
Boat ride in Periyar National park
Kathakali Dance show tickets
Cooking Demo in Thekkady
A bottle of water while travelling
All current applicable taxes
Any International or Domestic Airfare
Airport taxes and Visa fee
Early check in or late check out
Meals other than specified above
Tips & Gratuities
Travel & Medical Insurance
Camera and video permits
Expenses incurred due to flight / train cancellation or delay
Any expense of a personal nature, like drinks, laundry, telephone calls, mini bar, etc
Any optional excursion or tour
Any other expense not mentioned in the prices include column
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