Highlights of South India - 12 days

Chennai – Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry – Thanjavur – Madurai – Thekkady – Cochin

Enjoy nature and a refreshing experience from quiet streets to old colonial architecture with stunning beaches to lush green tea plantations and tranquil backwaters of Kerala.


Day 1: Chennai

Our representative will receive you on arrival at the airport in Chennai and will take you to your hotel.

Chennai known as Madras is the cradle of Dravidian civilization, one of the oldest cultures in the world. The metropolis has few tall buildings but we would recommend enjoying and relaxing in the provincial market instead of the bustle of a big city atmosphere.

Activities: We will visit Santhome Cathedral, constructed by the Portuguese during 14 & 15th century in the name of Saint Thomas; St. George Fort, one the first constructions of the East India Company en India; Rippon Building, with more than hundred years of life this building was named after the Governor Rippon who was the father of autonomy in India.

Day 2-3: Chennai – Mahabalipuram

By road in 1 hr. (52 Km)

En route we will visit Kanchipuram, also known as "the golden city" or "city of a thousand temples". It is one of the seven holy cities of India. Most important temples of Kanchipuram are the Kailasanatha, the Sri Kanakshi and Varadarajaswam.

Mahabalipuram: One can call it a city of Stones and Carvings! With lots of temples here and around, Mahabalipuram provides excellent sightseeing! Shore temples, Five Rathas, and the Sculpture Museum add to the beauty of this fascinating city!

Activities: We will visit the shining Shore temples dedicated to Lord Shiva; the temple of Anantasayana or ‘reclining Vishnu’; Arjuna’s Penance, Pancha Pandava Rathas, the Varaha Cave, Krishna’s Butterball and the famous Dakshinachitra Museum. In the evening relax on the beach.

Mahabalipuram

Chennai – Mahabalipuram



Day 4: Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry

By road in 3 hr. (130 Km)

Pondicherry is an ideal getaway if you want to escape the busy city lifestyle. Here in this city you can easily notice that the French heritage is still alive and palpable in its architecture, restaurants and even the name of its streets.

It is also famous for the Aurobindo Ashram, an international institution that teaches yoga.

Activities: We will visit the Aurobindo Ashram; the famous temples of Vedapureswarar, Varadaraja Nepalmal and Manakula Vinayakar.

Pondicherry

Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry



Day 5: Pondicherry – Thanjavur

By road in 5 hr. (190 Km)

En route we will visit to Chidambaram & Gangaikondacholapuram.

Thanjavur is famous for its majestic temples; among the most important temples is Temple of Brihadeshwara, also known as the Great Temple of Thanjavur. It was built by Rajaraja Cholan, the Great Chola king. This temple is an ideal example of Indian sculptural architecture.

Activities: We will visit the famous UNESCO World Heritage site of the Brihadeshvara Temple or Bull Temple – home to India’s largest lingam; later visit Saraswati Mahal library which houses one of the most vital collections of Oriental manuscripts in India and Thanjavur Palace, located on East Main Street that gives a light touch to the city.

Day 6-7: Thanjavur – Madurai

By road in 4 hr. (180 Km)

Madurai - The Athens of the East- attracts large number of tourists from worldwide. It is synonymous with the highly acclaimed Meenakshi Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Other center of attraction includes Tirumalai Nayak Palace, Thirupparankundaram Temple and Gandhi Museum.

Activities: We will visit the thousand pillared Madurai Meenakshi Temple; the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple; Koodal Alagar Temple; Thirumalai Nayak Palace; and Gandhi Museum.

In the evening we can enjoy a Light and Sound Show in temple complex.

meenakshi_temple

Meenakshi Temple



Day 8-9: Madurai – Thekkady

By road in 2.5 hr. (139 Km)

Thekkady is a true paradise for nature lovers. The Periyar National Park is located at the top of the ranges of Western Ghats in the southern state of Kerala. It is a wildlife sanctuary famous for its dense evergreen, moist deciduous forests and savanna grass lands leaf. It is home to herds of elephants, sambar, gaur etc... It also has a lake in the heart of the sanctuary, which is a veritable paradise for all wildlife lovers.

Activities: We will enjoy a boat ride in the scenic Periyar Lake amid lush, calm environs of Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. A Naturalist accompanying us on the boat will explain all about Periyar’s wildlife. Glimpse elephants frolic; see gaurs and bison’s along the lake shore bathing, drinking, resting; sight River Otters – the only lake mammal here. In the evening we will visit the tea and spice plantations.

Elephants-in-Thekkady

Elephants in Thekkady



Day 10: Thekkady – Cochin

By road in 3.5 hr. (155 Km)

Cochin officially known as Kochi is a major city in the state of Kerala. It has one of the major seaports of the country and is located in the district of Ernakulum, about 220 kilometers north of the state capital, Thiruvananthapuram. The combination of several villages on the coast of southwest created the current incarnation of Kochi (Cochin or), where walking at sunset, try fresh fish from offshore vendors and boat ride around the islands off the coast are part of the most popular activities among visitors. The art centers present traditional dance, Kathakali.

Activities: We will start our excursion with a visit to the Old Fort Area, one of the most ancient Jewish communities of the world constructed in 1568. Later we will visit the Dutch Palace & Cemetery; St. Francis Church with the grave of Vasco da Gama; will stroll through the spice and antique markets and see the Chinese fishing nets. In evening we will enjoy traditional Kathakali dance performances or even a kaleidoscope of martial arts and traditional dance forms of Kerala.

Elephant-group-in-the-river

Elephant group in the river



Day 11: Cochin – Alleppey

By road in 3hr. (145 Km)

Alleppey washed by the silvery waves of the Arabian Sea, which is nicknamed "the Venice of the East", welcomes you. The city dedicated to nature has canals, backwaters and picturesque lagoons. The "snake boat races" are the most significant traditional event in Alleppey. This city is also considered as the oldest planned city in this region and the lighthouse built on the coast of the city adds to the beauty of this place.

Activities: Cruise Kerala’s backwaters in a traditional houseboat which will give you a distinctly unique experience! These quaint slow moving exotic barges have all the creature comforts of a hotel – furnished bedrooms, modern toilets, living rooms, kitchen and a balcony for viewing/angling – shaded and with uninterrupted amazing views of an untouched, rather inaccessible rural Kerala. Your food will be prepared and served on the boat itself. The next morning we will disembark in Kumarakom.

backwaters-Kerala-India

backwaters-Kerala-India



Day 12: Kumarakom – Cochin

By road in 2 hr. (65 Km)

Cochin officially known as Kochi is a major city in the state of Kerala. It has one of the major seaports of the country and is located in the district of Ernakulum, about 220 kilometers north of the state capital, Thiruvananthapuram. The combination of several villages on the coast of southwest created the current incarnation of Kochi (Cochin or), where walking at sunset, try fresh fish from offshore vendors and boat ride around the islands off the coast are part of the most popular activities among visitors. The art centers present traditional dance, Kathakali.

Reach Cochin and, as per your international flight schedule you will be transferred to airport for flight back home.
Tour ends!!

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