Enchanting South India (14 Days / 13 Nights)

As the name states the Southern Part of India comprising of Kerala, Tamilnadu and Karnataka has so much to offer to a tourist. Besides the well carved coastline with pristine beaches there are monuments that speak of rich history and culture.

Highlights

Detailed Overview

Day 01 - Arrive Chennai

Arriving Chennai, you will clear customs and immigration. Leaving the airport, you will be met by our representative, holding a placard with your name on it in the arrival lounge. Arrival transfer to hotel. Assistance for check-in will be provided. Overnight at hotel.

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Day 02 - Chennai

After breakfast enjoy full day city sightseeing of Chennai which is a gracious city that has a clear skyline, long sandy beaches, parks, historic landmarks and tourist infrastructural facilities which make it a convenient entry point.

First of all visit Fort St. George, It was built in 1640 AD, by the British East India Company under the direct supervision of Francis Day and Andrew Cogon. This bastion achieved its name from St. George, the patron saint of England. St. Mary's Church the oldest Anglican Church in India built in 1680 and the tombstones in its courtyard are the oldest British tombstones in India.

Later on visit The Fort Museum which is the repository of the exhibits of weapons, uniforms, coins, costumes, medals and some other artifacts dating back to the British period. Also visit Santhome Cathedral, at the southern end of Marina derives its name from St Thomas, the apostle of Christ who is believed to have come to Madras sometime during 52 AD.

In the afternoon visit Kapaleswarar Temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Fragmentary inscriptions date back to 1250 A.D. The majestic 37metere gopuram is profusely carved depicting Puranic legends. The present structure was renovated by the Vijayanagara Kings in the 16th century. It has some beautiful sculptures among which are the bronze idols of 63 Saivite saints or the Nayanmars. Overnight at hotel. (Breakfast)

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Day 03 - Chennai - Kanchipuram - Mahabalipuram

After breakfast check-out from the hotel and drive to Mahabalipuram. En-route visit Kanchipuram (64 kms from Chennai) is the ancient capital of the Pallavas famous as a city of 1000 Temples and still has 124 shrines.

In the afternoon continue drive to Mahabalipuram which is famous for the seven pagodas. On arrival check-in into Resort. Rest of the day free to explore Mahabalipuram. Overnight at hotel.(Breakfast)

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Day 04 - Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry – Thanjavur

After an early breakfast visit the famous shore temples of Mahabalipuram. The most notable frieze is that of Arjuna's Penance which depicts in bas relief the story of the River Ganges. Also visit Krishna Mandapam, Varaha Mandapam, Five Rathas and Shore Temples.

Later on check-out from the hotel and drive to Thanjavur. En-route visit Pondicherry - the undiscovered land. Later on continue drive to Thanjavur which was the ancient capital of the Chola kings whose origins, go back to the beginning of the Christian era.  On arrival check-in into hotel. Overnight at hotel. (Breakfast)

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Day 05 - Thanjavur - Srirangam – Trichy

After breakfast check-out from the hotel and visit Brihadeeswara Temple or the Peruvudaiyar Kovil which is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located in Thanjavur. This temple is one of the most beautiful architectural sites in India. Raja Raja Chola I had this temple constructed in 1010 AD. The Brihadeeswara Temple was built for royal ceremonies and to display the emperor’s power and vision. Later on visit the Palace, housing the Tamil University Museum, the Art Gallery and the Saraswati Mahal Library which houses palm leaf and paper manuscripts.

Then, drive to Trichy. En-route visit Srirangam which is a living example of a temple town where all life centres round the temple. Visit Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple which is a Hindu temple dedicated to Ranganatha, a reclining form of Hindu deity, Vishnu. Constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture, this temple is glorified in the Divya Prabandha, the early medieval Tamil literature canon of the Alvar saints from the 6th–9th centuries AD and is counted as the first and foremost among the 108 Divya Desams dedicated to Vishnu.

Later on continue drive to Trichy which is located on the banks of the Cauvery river and is the fourth largest city in Tamil Nadu. On arrival check-in into hotel. Overnight at hotel. (Breakfast)

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Day 06 - Trichy – Madurai

After breakfast visit Rock Fort Temple which is situated on 83 m high outcrops. Later on continue drive to Madurai, situated on the bank of river Vaigai is also referred to as the Athens of the East.  On arrival check-in into hotel.

In the evening visit Meenakshi Temple, where thousands of priests and worshippers come daily, temple elephant people are blessed and astrologists read the stars and hands. You can also get your fortune read by parrots that pick tarot cards out of a pile. All the believers bathe themselves in the temple baths. The temple also has a museum with beautiful bronze statues. In the evening sermons are held within the walls of the temple and concerts are often given in honor of the gods. The one thing that you must not miss is the evening ceremony with a fanfare, where the god Shiva is lead to the bedroom of his wife, Meenakshi. Overnight at hotel. (Breakfast)

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Day 07 - Madurai - Rameshwaram – Madurai

After breakfast full day excursion to Rameshwaram which is hallowed by the epic Ramayana. A devout Hindu who visits Varanasi is expected to visit Rameswaram also for the culmination of his quest for salvation. Rama sanctified this place by worshipping Lord Siva after the war against Ravana. Therefore, it is held sacred by Saivites and Vaishnavites as well. It is one of the major marine food centres in the south, much of its fish and prawn catch being exported.

Visit Ramanathaswamy Temple - A remarkable example of late Dravidian architecture, this temple is most noted for its excellent corridors lined with massive sculptured pillars with their elaborate design, style and rich carving. Legend has it that Rama sanctified this place by worshipping Siva here after the battle of Sri Lanka. In the evening come back to Madurai. Overnight at hotel. (Breakfast)

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Day 08 - Madurai – Kovalam

After breakfast check-out from the hotel and drive to Kovalam which is one of the loveliest beaches in the world.

After arrival you will check-in into Resort. The rest of the day is free for you to explore Kovalam beach on your own. You can also take a walk along the rustic countryside. Photograph your family with the back ground of beach and waves. Watch sun set in the Arabian sea. Overnight at hotel.(Breakfast)

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Day 09 - Kovalam - Pandmanabhapuram - Kanyakumari – Kovalam

After an early breakfast we take you to full day excursions to nearby places. Visit Padmanabhapuram Palace which was once the seat of the rulers of Travancore, a princely state for more than 400 years which included a large part of present day Kerala and the Western coast of Tamil Nadu.

visit Vivekananda Rock Memorial which is dedicated to Swami Vivekananda, a disciple of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, the founder of Ramakrishna Mission. Vivekananda Rock Memorial was built between 1963 and 1970 in red and blue granite.

Also visit Kumari Amman Temple whichis dedicated to virgin Goddess Parvathi & is located on the shore. The Diamond nose-ring of this deity is famous for its sparkling splendor, which is supposed to be visible even from the sea. Later on visit Mahatma Gandhi Memorial which is one among the frequented tourist attractions in Kanyakumari. The Mahatma Gandhi Memorial was built to honour Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation.The Memorial was built in 1956, in the Orissa temple architectural style.

In the evening watch the most beautiful Sunset of Kanyakumari.Leave Kanyakumari by dusk and back to Kovalam. Overnight at resort.(Breakfast)

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Day 10 - Kovalam – Alleppey (Kerala Houseboat)

After breakfast check-out from the resort and driver to Alleppey which is one of the most important tourist centers in the Kerala state, with a large network of inland canals earning it the sobriquet "Venice of the east"

On arrival board a houseboat for a cruise through the backwaters of Kerala. On the boat ride, enjoy magnificent scenery of these palm-shaded backwaters. Spend the evening on board the house boat enjoying the exciting night life in the lake, the outstanding food and royal service. Enjoy a good night sleep under star and moon light in the house boat. Overnight on the houseboat. (Breakfast/Lunch/dinner)

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Day 11 - Alleppey – Thekkady

After breakfast disembark and drive to one of thebest game sancturaies in India - Periyar wild life sanctuary. Your journey to Thekkady is through breathtaking, winding, dense rubber, tea and spices plantations. Do not forget your cameras.

On arrival check-in into hotel. Afternoon, you will go for boating in the Periyar lake. From your motor boat, you can watch wild elephants, wild boars, bisons and dears. Overnight at hotel. (Breakfast)

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Day 12 - Thekkady - Munnar

After breakfast check-out from the hotel and drive to Munnar popularly known as the queen of the hills. The place abounds in green forests and tea estates. On arrival check-in into hotel.

After check-in visit to a tea plantation and factory. See how Assam tea is grown, hand-picked and processed and taste some of the best Assam tea there is. Rest of the day free to explore Munnar which is an important high-point on our Kerala photography tour. It's picture-book pretty, it's authentic Kerala; it has history (the British used to escape to these hills to get away from the heat of the Mysore plains just north-east of here) and it has tea - mile upon mile of dense, lush tea-bushes. Organically cultivated, too. Overnight at hotel. (Breakfast)

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Day 13 - Munnar - Cochin

After breakfast check-out from the hotel and drive to Cochin - commercial capital of Kerala. You will check-in into hotel.

In the evening enthrall yourself with a special presentation of the colorfully costumed Kathakali Dance Drama. This mask dance form is originally from Kerala and 1500 years old. This classical dance has 24 mudras expressing the nine emotions of serenity, wonder, kindness, love, valour, fear, contempt, loathing and anger. Overnight at hotel. (Breakfast)

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Day 14 - Cochin (Departure)

After breakfast full day city sightseeing of Cochin or "Kochi"- the palm green, commercial captial of Kerala is known as the "Queen of the Arabian Sea".  Visit St. Francis Church built in 1503 by Portuguese Franciscan friars where Vasco da Gama was buried for 14 years before his remains were transferred to Lisbon. Further visit Chinese fishing nets. Nearby is the Mattancherry Palace or "Dutch Palace". The central hall on the 1st floor was the coronation hall of the Rajas of Kochi.

Car with driver will be at your disposal until transfer to International airport to catch flight back to home. (Breakfast)

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All Trips Include:

  • 12 Nights hotel accommodation on twin share basis.
  • 1 night in Kerala Houseboat withall meals.
  • Double bedded room with private bath or shower & hotel taxes.
  • Daily breakfast in hotel as mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Air-conditioned Private Large Car with an expert driver as per the itinerary.
  • All transfers and sightseeing as mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Fuel, Insurance, Toll Taxes, All State Taxes, All transport related Expenses and Driver Services.
  • Assistance by our representatives at the airport on arrival as per the itinerary.
  • Services of a local English speaking guide in Mahabalipuram, Thanjavur, Trichy, Madurai, Kovalam, Munnar & Cochin for city sightseeing as mentioned in the itinerary.
  • City sightseeing in as mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Entrances to the monuments & museums as mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Evening Kathakali Dance show in Cochin as mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Half day excursion to visit Rameshwaram as mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Full day excursion to Kanyakumari & nearby places as mentioned in the itinerary.
  • All other excursions as mentioned in the itinerary.
  • All taxes and service charges.      
Note:
- International/domestic Airfare. - Meals and beverages not listed in itinerary. -Movie/video camera fee at monuments. - Tips and gratuities. -Expenses of personal nature like laundry, telephone calls, portage etc. - Any other service that has not been included into "cost inclusions".

Also Available on request:

  • This tour is ex-Chennai. If you are arriving from a different destination, we can help you arrange the flight to and from Chennai.
  • Ayurveda Treatments & Massage.
  • Early morning Yoga lesson.

Testimonial

Dear Anil,
Better late than never! I want to thank you most sincerely for the wonderful tour you arranged for us. Everything was what we expected and more. It was very special to meet you personally. We fell in love with your country and its people . Wish we could have seen even more. We are so very sad for what has happened this last week, we were glued in front of TV and could hardly believe what we saw. Our thoughts are with you and hope it does not effect tourism too much. Somehow India seems to always be able to bounce back.

Please send our very best regards to our dear Shaintan, Deepo and all the other people who assisted us. A very Happy festive season to you and your family.

Rosemarie Jeffrey
South Africa

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