CULTURE TOURS OF SOUTH INDIA
17 NIGHTS & 18 DAYS
CHENNAI (ARRIVAL AND TRANSFER TO MAMALLAPURAM) – MAMALLAPURAM – PONDICHERRY
– TANJORE – MADURAI – PERIYAR/THEKKADY
– ATHIRAPALLY - COCHIN – ALLEPPEY (BACKWATERS)
– KOVALAM – TRIVANDRUM – CHENNAI (DEPARTURE)

Accommodation:

LODGING INFO: 17 Nights Hotel

Accommodation is provided on twin sharing deluxe room with breakfast basis at listed hotels or equivalent. For Lunch and dinner there would be an additional supplement. A hotel list is as follows:

Place Day No. of Nights Standard Hotel Type of Room
MAMALLAPURAM 01 – 03 03 TEMPLE BAY Chalet
PONDICHERRY 03 – 04 01 THE PROMENADE Sea facing room
TANJORE 04 – 06 02 IDEAL RIVER VIEW RESORT Deluxe Cottage
MADURAI 06 – 08 02 THE HERITANCE Standard
PERIYAR 08 – 10 02 SHALIMAR SPICE GARDEN Elegant Room
ATHIRAMPALLY 10 – 12 02 RAIN FOREST Luxury room
COCHIN 12 – 13 01 TAJ GATE WAY Superior beach View
ALLEPPEY 13 – 14 01 COCONUT LAGOON Heritage Bungalow
KOVALAM 14 – 17 03 TRAVANCORE HERITAGE Premium Mansion
CHENNAI 17 Day Use RADISSON Superior room

Package Cost Includes:

  • Accommodation on and twin sharing rooms at listed hotel or equivalent with breakfast
  • Transportation/Transfers by air-conditioned Luxury car
  • Cycle tour in Mamallapuram
  • Rickshaw tour in Madurai
  • Service of English speaking on spot guide for entire tour
  • Boating in the Periyar National Park
  • Park entry in Forest on Day 9
  • Entrance fees to monuments as per the itinerary
  • Including flight ticket from Trivandrum to Chennai
  • Day cruise in House Boat on full board basis with Lunch/ Cruise: (Alleppey round trip)
  • Kathakali dance show at Cochin

Package Cost Excludes:

  • Meals other than those specified in the itinerary
  • Camera fee, & tips
  • Elephant rides, Jungle safari/Trekking any
  • Things of personal nature like laundry, telephone etc.
  • Inland/International flight charges
  • All other than those listed in above inclusions

Price Info and Validity:

  • The above quote is valid till 01st Oct to 30th Sep'2013.
  • The above quote is valid for 2 minimum paying person only

Detailed Tour Itinerary:

DAY 01: ARRIVAL CHENNAI TRANSFER TO HOTEL IN MAMALLAPURAM (65 Km / 1.5 h)

Upon arrival in Chennai, our Executive will meet you at the Airport followed by transfer from Airport to Hotel in Mamallapuram. Afternoon free to explore Mamallapuram on your own. You can go for 03hrs interesting walk starts at the The Arjuna`s Penance (Bass Relief) and onward visiting monuments of Krishnas Butterball, Five rathas (symbolizes equality of men & women) & to end with at the famous Shore temple. (Overnight at Mamallapuram)

DAY 02: MAMALLAPURAM

In the morning we take you to the heart of the rural India by bike. We start with direction to a small village called Kadumbadi. On the way you can spot the typical Tamil houses, women working on the fields and people in their daily habitat. We stop for a tender coconut drink at a farm and later pedal towards the "Potters House" for a small demonstration at the backyard of the house. If you are interested you can even try a hand on pot making. This tour gives you plenty of opportunities to take some nice photos of the village life. We stop for lunch in one of the village houses, where the traditional South Indian food is served on a banana leaf for you. (Overnight at Mamallapuram)

DAY 03: KANCHIPURAM DAY EXCURSION

After breakfast leave from the hotel at 07.30am and we will proceed to visit "Kailasanathar Temple" built in 700 AD in a typical Pallava style - pyramidal tower, a pillared hall and a vestibule, enclosed by a wall. After you proceed to visit Ekambareswarar Temple' - one of the most famous temples in South India it was in existence even before 6th century A.D. The old Temple was pulled down and the new one was built by Pallavas with some additional work by Cholas and completed by Vijayanagara King Krishnadevaraya. One characteristic feature of this temple is a 3500 - year old mango tree inside the temple which has four branches, each yielding different taste of mangoes - sweet, sour, astringent and bitter. Further you will visit "Vardharaja Temple" constructed also by pallava, Chola and Vijayanagara which has hundred pillared hall with exquisite sculptures and chains. Here you will also see a unique idol of Lord Varadaraja made of the wood of Arthi tree. After that you will proceed to visit one of the silk weaving Industries. (Overnight stay at Mamallapuram)

DAY 04: PONDICHERRY

After breakfast Checkout from the hotel and drive to Pondicherry, enroute visit Auroville "the universal town". Upon arrival we proceed for the sightseeing of Pondicherry - a former French enclave that is especially famous because of the mystic Sri Aurobindo followers founded temples, Ayurvedic clinics and a number of other businesses here. Pondicherry is a former French colony on the sea with French street names, croissants and Indian policemen in French-like uniforms. Visit to Aurbindo ashram in here. (Overnight at Pondicherry)

DAY 05: PONDICHERRY TO TANJORE (Enroute Visit Darasuram)

After breakfast check out from the hotel and drive to Tanjore by enroute visit Darasuram and a small silk weaving Village .Darasuram place to visit the Airatesvara temple from 12th century of Chola architecture constructed by Raja Raja II.The row of large statues around the temple was replaced with brick in the 14th century and Columns with unique miniature sculptures suround the temple. If you have interest we will visit one of the houses to observe the silk-weaving method .Later by reaching Tanjore we will Visit the Big Temple in Tanjore called as Brihadishwara Temple, an exquisite example of the Chola architecture built by Raja Chola in 10th Century AD. It is declared as a world heritage monument with several pillared halls, shrines and 250 linga (stone pillars that represent Brahma the creator of the universe) enshrined along the outer walls. From there you head to Maratha Royal Palace which was built partly by Marathas and partly by Nayaks. At the end of the day we will visit a village, where you can see sculpting in bronze the traditional way. (Overnight at Tanjore)

DAY 06: TANJORE DAY EXCURSION TO TRICHY

After breakfast, drive to Trichy – a town situated on the banks of river Cauvery and on arrival visit the famous " Sriranganathaswami temple" at Srirangam - The most revered of the 108 pilgrimage shrines of Vishnu, and the largest temple complex in all India, it is surrounded by seven concentric walls (the outermost wall having a perimeter of over 3 kilometers) and 21 towers called "Gopurams". The most attractive among the Gopuras is the one at the entrance with lot of colors and stands one of the tallest amongst many other temple towers in Tamilnadu. Srirangam enshrines a statue of Vishnu reclining on a great serpent. Then on visit the local market (Gandhi Market) at the main town. Later drive back to hotel. (Overnight at Tanjore)

DAY 07: MADURAI / Via Karaikudi

Morning check out and drive to Madurai via Karaikudi - we will visit the Maratha royal family still lives in this Palace. It is an awe inspiring building with huge corridors, spacious halls, decorated rooms and tall observation towers. It has striking stucco works, meticulously painted walls and ceilings, intricate carvings and an underground tunnel. The Royal palace museum has a rare collection of Chola bronze statues from 9th to 18th century.Then to Karaikudi. Karaikudi is famous for this rock-cut temple which is located about 12 kms from Karaikudi on the Karaikudi Madurai road. About 1600 years old, this temple was built by the early Pandya kings. The image of Karpaga Vinayaka and that of a Siva Linga were carved out of a stone by a sculptor called Ekkattur Koon Peruparanan who put his signature on a stone inscription found even today in the sanctum. Then break for lunch at own arrangement at Vishalam (CGH). After Lunch drive to old city of Tamilnadu – Madurai. On arrival check in to hotel. (Overnight at Madurai)

DAY 08: IN MADURAI / Sightseeing

After breakfast we proceed for the sightseeing tour of Madurai visiting - Sri Meenakshi temple, where thousands of priests and worshippers come daily. It's a very lively complex and gives you the real ambience of being in Hindu temple. The temple in-houses a thousand pillared hall (actually has only 985 pillars) and is one of the major attractions of the temple. Apart from the temple the palace of king thirumalai nayak & the Gandhi museum are worth visiting. The Cycle Rickshaw tour of Madurai offers you a memorable experience of being in this old city. It takes you to the interesting narrow streets and lanes of Madurai showing the typical life of people in here. The Rickshaw pullers of Madurai were getting very unpopular with the locals, as the locals preferred the more modern mode of transport. The Cycle Rickshaw - the most eco friendly form of transport was fast being phased out, and the hundred and twenty rickshaw pullers of Madurai were being deprived of a lively hood as they were unable to buy the modern forms of transport like the auto rickshaw/taxi etc. (Overnight at Madurai)

DAY 09: PERIYAR/THEKKADY

After breakfast we drive to Periyar also called Thekkady, is South India's most popular wildlife sanctuary spread across 777 sq km in the picturesque rainforests of the Western Ghats. The sanctuary encompasses a 26 sq km artificial lake. This is the only sanctuary in India that offers the unique opportunity of viewing wild life in their natural habitat at close quarters from the safety of a boat on the lake. It is also the center of spice plantations such as Cardamom, Cloves, Pepper, Coffee and Tea. On arrival check into hotel. Evening proceed for a boat ride where you will have the opportunity to sight elephants and other animals along the bank. (Overnight stay at Thekkady / Periyar)

DAY 10: IN PERIYAR/THEKKADY/Sight seeing

OPTIONAL: Early morning at 06.00 am you will go on a guided Jungle walk at the Periyar tiger Reserve National Park. This 03-hour-walk (not very hard) is very interesting and gives you the chance to see the wildlife life at a very close distance. Periyar Reserve is a home to herds of elephants, sambar, gaur, macaques and Nilgiri langur. If you are lucky you may even spot the rarely sighted leopards and tigers. At 16.00hrs leave for a guided plantation tour to the nearby garden where in various species of spices and other aromatic plants are cultivated. The guide explains & clarifies your doubts on this tour. Depending on the day's opportunity you will also taken to visit a tea factory nearby. (Overnight at hotel in Thekkady)

DAY 11: PERIYAR TO ATHIRAPALLY

After breakfast check out from the hotel and drive to Athirapally near Cochin followed by check in to the hotel rest of the day at leisure. (Overnight at Athirapally)

DAY 12: ATHIRAPALLY

Day at Leisure to Laze in around the infinity pool or you may go on a fishing expedition in the river or visit the tribal village or a trek to the base of the waterfall. (Overnight at Athirapally)

DAY 13: COCHIN

After breakfast check out from the hotel and drive to Cochin, upon arrival check into the hotel and proceed for the Sightseeing tour - The Jewish Synagogue at the heart of what is locally called the Jew Town, the St. Francis Church, the oldest European Church in India, the Santa Cruz Basilica originally built in 1557 by the Portuguese, the Dutch Palace, the Spice market at the narrow streets and the Chinese fishing nets which are huge cantilevered fishing nets believed to have been brought by Chinese traders. In the evening visit the famous dance drama of Kerala, the "Kathakali". This dance can be characterized by artistic gesticulations, amazing costumes and very extensive make-up. The stories are mostly taken from the epics Mahabharatha and Ramayana. (Overnight at Cochin)

DAY 14: ALLEPPEY

Drive to Alleppey and upon arrival embarks in to your private houseboat that takes you on a tour to the splendid area full of canals, lakes and coves. You can sunbathe on the deck or observe the landscape from the protection of the cabin. The population's whole life takes place on the water. The people sail, fish, swim and bathe there. They do their washing and their washing up. They are so adapted to the water that you can see people talking for an hour, while they are up to their necks in water. Canoes with huge sails still transport people and you can find vegetable sellers, fisherman and other household materials being brought door to door by small wooden boats. This whole area is surrounded with coconut palms and lush green rice fields. The major cropping here is coconut and it is said that the name KERALA comes from the old name of coconut - KERA. The late evening disembarks from the house boat and check in to the hotel (Overnight Stay at Kumarakom)

DAY 15: KOVALAM

Drive to the famous beach of South India, Kovalam. The palm-fringed bays in secluded coconut groves, promise a relaxed stay. The boundless blue waters of the Arabian Sea and miles of white sands washed away by the surf at the feet of the stalwart palms and the rocky promontories, makes this beach paradise. A sheltered natural bay with cool soothing palms and gentle waves. Where when you are tired of aquatics, swimming or sunbathing, you can explore the handicrafts, jewellery and cloth shops spread along the waterfront. Rest of the day at leisure. (Overnight at Kovalam)

DAY 16 / 17: KOVALAM LEISURE DAY

Day at Leisure in Kovalam and you can enjoy an Ayurvedic Rejuvenation massage. (Overnight at Kovalam)

DAY 18: DEPARTURE

Transfer to Trivandrum Airport to get the flight to Chennai and on arrival in Chennai transfer to hotel close to the airport for wash and change (02 pax in one room) and transfer to International airport for flight back to Europe.

END OF SERVICE

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