Exotic South India

Chennai – Mahablipuram – Tiruvenamalai – Pondicherry – Kumbakonam – Tanjore – Chettinad – Madurai – Munnar – Periyar – Kumarakom – Alleppy – Kochi

22 days / 21 nights

Some of the most colourful and culturally fascinating aspects of India, with sites of ancient civilisations and kingdoms are to be found in the southern part of India. The timeless and classical treasures of the south of India are yours in this extensive coverage of south India. Combining the two states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, you get a smorgasbord of history, culture and nature. From soaring temples to expansive nature reserves, one of a kind backwaters to an outpost of French colonial history, south India beats to its own rhythm.

Your gateway to south India is Chennai, formerly called Madras. The capital of the state of Tamil Nadu, Chennai is often called the Detroit of South Asia for its automobile industry. The state’s culture, history and architecture is alive in the temple towns that are part of this tour. Pondicherry is a former French colonial outpost where policemen still wear the kepi. The natural wonders of the state of Kerala – Munnar, Periyar, Kumarakom and Allepey – are bound to keep you enthralled. You fly out of Kochi, earlier called Cochin, famous for its Chinese fishing nets and the oldest active synagogue in the Commonwealth countries.

At a glance

  • Discover the monolithic monuments of Mahablipuram dating back to the 7th century
  • Visit important temple towns of south India that cater to the wide variety of Gods and Goddesses in the Hindu pantheon
  • Enjoy the French colour to life in Pondicherry
  • Go back to nature in the wildlife sanctuaries in Kerala
  • Relax with an Ayurvedic massage
  • Take an overnight house boat cruise on the Kerala backwaters
  • Visit the tea estates and cardamom plantations of Munnar

This extensive tour encapsulates south India for you. Covering two of the five states that make up the region, you get an inside view into the languid way of life in an area of India so different from the north. With ancient temples, natural wonders, foreign imprints and a new set of languages, south India is bound to enthrall you with its riches. There’s food waiting to be discovered. Make your acquaintance with the spices that made Vasco da Gama chart his way to this part of the world from Europe in the 16th century.

Day 01

Arrive Chennai

Arrive Chennai and transfer to hotel with our representative. Overnight in Chennai.

Day 02

Chennai

Sightseeing tour of Chennai after breakfast covering Fort St Georges, St Mary’s church, Kapeeleshwar temple and Marina beach. Overnight in Chennai.

Day 03

Chennai – Kanchipuram – Mahabalipuram

Drive to Kanchipuram – the golden city – after breakfast. Visit a few of the famous temples along with local silk weaver followed by a traditional South Indian lunch in a local home. Continue to Mahabalipuram thereafter. Overnight in Mahabalipuram.

Day 04

Mahabalipuram

Post breakfast visit the five important monolithic monuments dating back to the 7th century. Rest of the day free to relax on the beach Overnight in Mahabalipuram.

Day 05

Mahabalipuram – Tiruvenamalai

After breakfast drive to Tiruvannamalai, a holy town perched on a hill. Visit the highly revered ashram of the mystic saint Sri Ramana Maharshi, Arunachala temple and Gingee Fort. Overnight in Tiruvenamalai.

Day 06

Tiruvenamalai – Pondicherry

Drive to Pondicherry after breakfast visiting Auroville en route. In the afternoon and early evening visit the Aurobindo Ashram, churches and the old streets of this French colony. Overnight in Pondicherry.

Day 07

Pondicherry – Chidambaram – Kumbakonam

Post breakafast drive to Kumbakonam. En route visit the cosmic Shiva statue and temples at Chidambaram followed by Gangai Konda Cholapuram and Darsuram temple at Kumbakonam. Overnight in Kumbakonam.

Day 08

Kumbakonam – Tanjore

Morning, post breakfast drive to Tanjore (Thanjavur). Visit Brihadishwara temple and Tanjore Palace. Overnight in Tanjore.

Day 09

Tanjore – Trichy – Karaikudi (Chettinad)

mple and Sri Jambukeshwara temple at Trichy on the way. Continue to Karaikudi. Overnight in Karaikudi.

Day 10

Karaikudi

Visit Chettinad Palace in the morning. In the evening you can partake the range of special Chettinad cuisine prepared in the kitchen of a Chettinad home in traditional way. Overnight in Karaikudi.

Day 11

Karaikudi – Madurai

Drive to Madurai after breakfast. One of the oldest cities of India, also known as the Benaras of South, Madurai is famous for its temples. Visit the Meenakshi Temple (a World Heritage Site) and stay back till the evening closing ceremony, also called the bed-chamber ceremony. Overnight in Madurai.

Day 12

Madurai

After a leisurely breakfast at the hotel meet your guide and visit the city temples of Madurai starting with Tirumalanayak Palace, Vanditur Mariamman Teppakulam, Thiruparankundram, etc. Overnight in Madurai.

Day 13

Madurai – Dindigul

After breakfast drive to Dindigul passing through greenery and spices, coffee and tea plantations. Experience unspoiled nature and village Indian life. Visit some of the beautiful cave temples nearby. Overnight in Dindigul.

Day 14

Dindigul – Munnar

Drive to Munnar after breakfast. This hill town combines craggy peaks, manicured tea estates and crisp mountain air. Visit cardamom and tea plantations followed by CSI Church (Christ Church) and the Tea Museum. Overnight in Munnar.

Day 15

Munnar

Post breakfast excursion to Eravikulam National park. The main attraction of this park is the Nilgiri Thar, an extremely rare mountain goat with about half the world’s population of the Thar here. In the evening visit the surrounding local area on your own or relax at the hotel. Overnight in Munnar.

Day 16

Munnar – Periyar (Thekkady)

Drive to Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary after breakfast. Upon arrival relax and later visit India’s unique and largest semi water, arid wild life sanctuary by boat to see herds of wild elephants in their natural surroundings (boat ride subject to availability). Overnight at Periyar.

Possibility to take a 2-hour Elephant Package including an elephant ride, bathing, feeding, showering, timber dragging, command and communication with elephants.

Day 17

Periyar – Kumarakom

After a leisurely breakfast drive to Kottayam. Board your boat at Kodimata Jetty to start your cruise through narrow canals amidst Kerala villages to your hotel on an island on the back waters. Explore the natural bird sanctuary of the island resort. Overnight in Kumarakom.

Day 18

Kumarakom

Relax in the hotel or take go for an authentic Ayurvedic massage under the supervision of an experienced Ayurvedic doctor. Overnight in Kumarakom.

Day 19

Kumarakom – Alleppey (Houseboat)

After breakfast, leave for Alleppey, the backwaters centre, on your houseboat. Anchor for lunch. After lunch, proceed to Mancombu for a village walk and visit Mancombu Sree Bhagavathy temple. Reach Onnam kara for overnight stay in the houseboat.

Day 20

Alleppey (Houseboat)

Cruise starts after breakfast and proceeds to Champakkulam. Visit Champkkulam Chundan, St. Mary’s Ferona Church, the oldest Syrian Church of this region dating back to 42 AD., and the village market.

Anchor for lunch. After lunch cruise through Thakazhy, Thottappally to reach Karumadi. Visit Karumadi Kuttan which has an 11th century statue of Lord Buddha. Anchor for overnight stay in the houseboat.

Day 21

Alleppey – Cochin

Disembark your houseboat after breakfast and drive to Cochin. After hotel check in leave for a sightseeing tour of Fort Cochin (St Francis Church), Chinese Fishing Nets, Mattancherry Palace and the Jewish Synagogue. Afternoon at leisure for independent activities. In the evening witness a ‘kathakali’ dance-drama performance at a city theatre. Overnight in Cochin.

Day 22

Cochin – Onward destination

Transfer to the airport after breakfast to board flight to onward destination.

Day 22

Cochin – Onward destination

Transfer to the airport after breakfast to board flight to onward destination.

This extensive tour encapsulates south India for you. Covering two of the five states that make up the region, you get an inside view into the languid way of life in an area of India so different from the north. With ancient temples, natural wonders, foreign imprints and a new set of languages, south India is bound to enthrall you with its riches. There’s food waiting to be discovered. Make your acquaintance with the spices that made Vasco da Gama chart his way to this part of the world from Europe in the 16th century.

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