Treasures of South India

10 Days 9 Nights
Chennai, Mahabalipuram, Madurai, Thekkady, Kumarakom, Alleppey, Kochi

Day 1:    Chennai Arrival

Arrive at Chennai airport, meet and welcomed by a representative with a “Mauli ritual”. Mauli is a symbolic cotton thread tied on the wrist and is a traditional way to start the journey at an auspicious note. Transfer to the hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.

Accommodation: The Raintree Anna Salai or similar

Day 2:    Chennai – Mahabalipuram (B)

Morning check out of the hotel, then enjoy a morning city tour. Visit, Kapaleeswarar Temple, honoring Shiva, it is the biggest temple in Chennai. Then proceed to Mylapore, which was inhabited in the 16th century by the Portuguese; visit the Saint Thomas Church, named for the Christian disciple who lived and taught here in the first century.  Later drive past the Marina Beach, the second longest in the world, stretching for several miles. Stop at Fort St. George, which is presently being used by the Tamil Nadu Government. Within the compound is a museum holding many remembrances of the East India Company and the British period. From the British hold of centre, drive to Egmore, the heart of city, and visit the State Museum.  In the afternoon, drive for Mahabalipuram. Upon arrival, check in for your stay.

Accommodation:  Welcome Hotel Kences Palm Beach or similar

Day 3:    Mahabalipuram (B)

Morning tour of Mahabalipuram starting with a visit to the Shore Temple, which symbolises the heights of the Pallava architecture and the maritime ambitions of the Pallava kings.  Its small size belies its excellent proportion and the supreme quality of the carvings, many of which have been eroded into vaguely Impressionist embellishments. Visit Arunja’s Penance, a relief carving on the face of a huge rock depicts animals, deities and other semi divine creatures as well as fables from the Hindu Panchatantra books. The panel is divided by a huge perpendicular fissure that’s skilfully encompassed into the sculpture.  Visit the Five Rathas, carved from single pieces of rock, the Five Rathas are low-laying monoliths that huddle in more ancient subtlety than grandeur. Each temple is dedicated to a Hindu god and named for one of the Pandavas, the five hero-brothers of the epic Mahabharata, plus their common wife, Draupadi. Afternoon is at leisure.

Day 4:    Mahabalipuram – Chennai – Madurai (B)

After breakfast, transfer to Chennai airport for your flight to Madurai. Upon arrival, meet and transfer to the hotel.  Your afternoon tour includes visits to the Tirumala Nayak Palace, a classic fusion of Dravidian, Islamic styles; Tamukkam Palace, which houses the Gandhi Museum and Meenakshi Temple built between the 13-16th century dedicated to the Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswarar

Accommodation: GRT Regency or similar

Day 5:  Madurai – Periyar (B)

Morning drive uphill through the western ghats for Periyar. On arrival, check in for your stay. In the afternoon, take a stroll to the neighboring pepper plantation to see traditional plantation techniques walking amidst the rows of vines creeping upwards on trellises. Try your hand at picking some peppercorn but be sure to wash up before touching your eyes or nose! Walk past the rows of mats on which the plucked peppercorns are left to dry. The scent of pepper mingles with the fresh mountain air. This is the starting point of the centuries old spice trade and that delicious flavor which makes such a difference to foods worldwide.

Accommodation: Poetree Sarovar Portico or similar

Day 6:  Periyar – Thekkady – Kumarakom (B/L)

After breakfast, enjoy a morning boat cruise on Lake Periyar to witness the wildlife in the Periyar National Park.  Later drive to Kumarakom stopping en route for lunch then continue your drive. On arrival, check in at the hotel.

Accommodation: Abad Whispering Palms Lake Resort or similar

Day 7:  Kumarakom – Alleppey (B/L/D)

Today, you will drive to Alleppey. Arrive at Alleppey and check in to a traditional Houseboat – Kettuvallam (It is a rice-boat converted into a houseboat with bedrooms and attached toilets). Originally these boats were used as ferries to carry rice from one point to another through the backwater canals. Then cruise on Vembanad Lake and through the backwaters. The backwater cruise passes typical Kerala villages, rich with green paddy fields and verdant coconut trees. Watch the village folks picking mussels, collect sand from the bottom of the canal, the golden fiber called coir from coconut husk and transform it into various coir products. Stop over to drink calm fresh coconut water and watch the toddy-tapper tap at work. Watch birds like Kingfishers, pheasant, cormorants, drongos, woodpecker, Bee-eater, kites etc.

Accommodation: Air conditioned Houseboat or similar

Day 8:  Alleppey – Kochi (B)

After breakfast, disembark from the houseboat in Alleppey to drive to Kochi. In the afternoon, visit St. Francis Church, originally named after Santo Antonio and dedicated to him as the Patron Saint of Portugal. Explore the Jew-town, which abounds with fascinating antique shops and wares. Looming protectively over the synagogue is the Mattancherry palace, formerly home to the Verma kings and today a fine museum.  In the afternoon, enjoy some time to explore Kochi’s markets and old quarters, most tourists never see. Your guide will be at hand to explain the life and activities around the market.

Accommodation: Crowne Plaza or similar

Day 9:  Kochi (B)

In the morning, begin an excursion to Kumbalanghi Village, a 16 Sq. km. lush green village surrounded by backwaters and paddy fields. Experience a variety of village activities in Kallanchery, a satellite island of Kumbalanghi. Drive back to Kochi and visit a local theatre to witness a Kathakali performance in the evening.

Day 10:   Kochi – Departure (B)

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your homebound flight to Canada

B – Breakfast     L- Lunch     D- Dinner

Tour Price per Person Double Occupancy – minimum 2 persons

DAILY DEPARTURE Land Package From Single Supp.
2020: April – September 1320 500
2020:  October – December

2021:  January – March

1430 580

HOTEL BLACKOUT DATES and FAIR/SEASONAL SURCHARGE may apply.

 ~~ ALL PRICES ARE IN CANADIAN DOLLARS AND ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE ~~

Your Tour Package Includes:

  • Domestic airfare within India.
  • Return transfer between airport and hotel.
  • Superior 4-Star hotel accommodation with daily breakfast.
  • Sightseeing tours with admission and meals as per itinerary.
  • Professional English-speaking local guide service.

 

Your Tour Package Does NOT Include:

  • International airfare from Canada to India.
  • Any applicable weekend and other surcharges imposed by airlines.
  • Any taxes, airport fees and fuel surcharge.
  • Travel insurance, travel visa and all personal expenses.
  • Tipping and gratuities to local guides, drivers and hotel staff.
  • Any items not specified as included

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