Trip Kashmir-Dal lake Shimla-Hills Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand Varanasi Sarnath Beauty of North-East of India Snake Boat Race, Kerala Hampi, Karnataka Mysore Palace, Karnataka Goa Beach Gateway of India, Mumbai Pushkar Fair, Rajasthan International Trips

Incredible South India Tour

Chennai*Thanjavur*Madurai*Periyar*Kumarakom*Cochin*Mumbai - 11Nights/12Days

Day – 01 Arrive Chennai By: International FlightChennai

On your arrival in Chennai, after baggage collection, our representative will meet you as you EXIT the ARRIVALS TERMINAL building after which you would be transferred to your Hotel. (Hotel check-in time at 1200 hrs)

The East India Company established its presence in southern India on the Bay of Bengal in 1639 with the establishment of Fort St. George. The city of Chennai, formerly known as Madras, grew up around the fort area. It now serves as the capital of Tamil Nadu and is the fourth largest city in India, with over six million inhabitants.

The city grew up around the English settlement of Fort Saint George and gradually absorbed the surrounding towns and villages. However, despite the strong British influence, Chennai has retained its traditional Tamil Hindu culture and effectively blended it with the foreign influence.

Overnight in Chennai

Day - 02 Chennai

In the morning, proceed for visit to Kalakshetra – the Intuition of performing arts.chennai temples

Kalakshetra: A vital centre of training and performance, the institution has produced and molded generations of acclaimed artists in a distinctive style. Since its establishment in the early 20th century, Kalakshetra has had stalwart musicians and dancers on its faculty. It provides a holistic education in arts amidst a serene and inspiring natural environment cultivating a spirit of reverence.

Later you will take a tour of Chennai (formerly Madras), the capital of Tamil Nadu, a state renowned for grandiose temple sculpture and architecture of the Chola, Cheran, Pallava and Pandya Dynasties. The Madras Presidency was also one of the four divisions of British India and offers travellers and enthusiasts an interesting blend of the old and the new, the artistic and the academic, the historic and the scenic. You will visit this sprawling city with its National Art Gallery and Museum, Fort St. George, Marina Beach, San Thome Cathedral and the Kapaleeswarar temple.

Overnight in Chennai

Day - 03 Chennai – Thanjavur

This morning you will be drive to Tanjore (327 kms / 7 hrs) enroute visiting world famous Mahaballipuram temples.

Mahabalipuram, built in the 7th century, is an ancient Pallava port, 64 km from Madras. Today it is the site of several antique sculptural marvels. Declared as the world heritage site by UNESCO, Mahabalipuram boasts of some of India’s most sublime rock-cut art.

Sightseeing tour in MAHABALIPURAM, visit following Temples: Shore Temple – Standing by the sea, now protected by a wall that hides its façade but saves it from the elements that are fast eroding it, this twin-spire is pure poetry wealth of sculpture, includes both Shiva and a Vishnu in repose.

Arjuna's Penance - This is a massive bas relief, 27m long and 9m high carved along the curve of the hill just behind the buss stand. It is thought to be one of the largest in the world. It is commonly known as Arjuna's penance.

The Five Rathas - Also known as the Pancha rathas, after the five Pandya brothers of the Mahabharata, these stand clustered together, about 1km south of the main village.

Later continue your drive to Tanjore. Upon arrival, proceed for check-in at your hotel.Tanjhavur

Overnight at Thanjavur

Day - 04 Thanjavur

After breakfast at the hotel take a sightseeing tour of Tanjore. The Chola kings built the majority of Tanjore's (also known as Thanjavur) 93 temples. The enormous gopurams of the Brihadeeshwara Temple built in the 10th century by Raja Chola dominate Tanjore. Fortified walls and a moat surround the temple itself, between the Grand Anicut Canal and the old town. The old town, too, used to be similarly enclosed, but most of the walls have now disappeared. What remains are winding streets and alleys and the extensive ruins of the Palace of the Nayaks of Madurai. The Raja Museum and the Art gallery house a large collection of Chola sculptures in bronze and granite. The Sarawati Mahal library contains over 40,000 rare books and palm leaf inscriptions.

Also see the Tanjore painting is an important form of classical South Indian painting native to the town of Tanjore in Tamil Nadu. The art form dates back to the early 9th Century, a period dominated by the Chola rulers, who encouraged art and literature.

Overnight at Thanjavur

Day - 05 Thanjavur - MaduraiMadurai

Morning you will drive towards Madurai (197 kms / 5 hrs). Upon arrival proceed for check-in at the Hotel.

In the evening, you will proceed to the Meenakshi temple complex on cycle-rickshaws to witness the evening aarti ceremony in which Lord Shiva is carried in a palanquin accompanied by musicians, temple singers and priests to the temple of his consort Parvati to spend the night.

Meenakshi is the most spectacular temple in Madurai and its boundaries include most of the city. Its bazaars sell temple offering, garlands and spices.

Note: Foreigners (Non Hindus) are not allowed inside the Inner Sanctum of the temple.

Overnight at Madurai

Day - 06 Madurai

Your day begins early today with a visit to the flower market. The markets attract up to 10,000 visitors a day. Loud and quiet negotiations hums as wholesalers examine small bags of jasmine buds, tuberoses and marigolds from farmers who plead their quality. Sold, they are thrown onto huge piles or scooped up into large jute sacks. Over these piles, the temple flower sellers negotiate their purchases while garlands are strung, calculators thumped over and weighing scales heaped with white, purple, orange and yellow blooms.

Later, you will take a sightseeing tour of Madurai City - The temple town is unique in that all its temples are living temples and it remains a major religious center attracting pilgrims the year round. Apart from Meenakshi Temple, another attraction is the Tirumalai Palace (1636) restored by Lord Napier, dance drama concerts are performed daily.

Afternoon is at leisure.

Overnight at Madurai

Day 07 Madurai- Periyar By: SurfacePeriyar

After breakfast at hotel, you will drive towards Periyar (165 Kms/ 3.5 Hrs).

Periyar, set in the heart of the Cardamom Hills of Kerala is famous for its Wildlife Sanctuary. As the road winds through mountains, you will descend through a carpet of tea bushes, estates of tall rubber trees and gardens of coffee, cardamom and pepper. Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the premier reserves of Southern India and home of the wild elephant, the bison, antelopes, langurs and sambar that can be observed from the launches that cruise the lake.

In the afternoon, take Nature tour provided on forest department run boat rides.

Overnight at Periyar

Day - 08 Periyar - Kumarakom

After breakfast at the hotel, you will be drive towards Kumarakom (120 Kms/3 hrs), which is located on the shores of the enchanting Vembanad lake. Kumarakom

Upon arrival in Kumarakom, proceed for check-in at your Hotel.

Kumarakom is a beautiful town situated on palm-fringed backwaters and is surrounded by some of the most fertile paddy fields.

Rest of the afternoon is free to unwind.

In the evening, enjoy sunset cruise on Vembanand Lake.

Overnight at Kumarakom

Day - 09 Kumarakom - Cochin

After leisurely breakfast at the hotel, you will drive towards Cochin (80 Kms/2 hrs).

Kochi or more familiarly Cochin’s history is a bright tapestry - many coloured threads woven through centuries together present the fabric of the present. Its involvement with the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British are evident in the architecture of city buildings, the old durbar hall is the spice in the dish! Modern day Kochi may be a busy port and shipping centre but it has many attractions for ordinary tourists. It is spread across islands and promontories in a stunning location between the Arabian Sea and the Backwaters.

Upon arrival in Cochin, proceed for check-in to your hotel.

Kerala owes its transnational fame to this nearly 300 years old classical dance form, which combines facets of ballet, opera, masque and the pantomime. In the evening, you will visit a local theatre to witness Kathakali Dance Performance. cochin

Overnight at Cochin

Day - 10 Cochin

Today, you will take a city tour of Cochin.

Sites to visit include:
Dutch Palace (Closed on Fridays and Jewish Holidays), also known as Mattancherry Palace built by the Portuguese and presented to the Raja of Cochin in 16th Century AD. It acquired the present name in the 17th century when the Dutch carried out extensions and repairs in the palace. At no time did the Portuguese or Dutch stay here, its interiors are decorated with murals from the Ramayana and there are some lively displays of royal costumes and palanquins.
Jewish Synagogue (Closed on Fridays & Saturdays and Jewish Holidays), Built in late 16th century, the Great Scrolls of the Old Testament, the copper plates in which the grants of privilege made by the Cochin rulers were recorded and the exquisite Chinese hand-painted tiles are of interest

Chinese Fishing Nets, line the sea-front and exhibit a mechanical method of catching fish by local fishermen in Fort Kochi. Said to have been brought from China by traders of Kubalai Khan's Court, they are used at high tide.

St. Francis Church, was originally built by the Portuguese in 15th century and is believed to be the oldest church built by the Europeans in India. It is here the remains of the inveterate traveller, Vasco da Gamma were initially buried and 14 years later, his mortal remains were taken to Portugal.

In the afternoon, a special Kerala Cookery Session is arranged at a Kerala home, with traditional lunch. Nimmy and Paul have been involved in 'at Home' hospitality for more than twelve years. Nimmy and Paul belong to traditional Syrian Christian community in Kerala. Nimmy, a professional cookery instructor and her stockbroker husband Paul enjoy having guests and serving food. Nimmy conducts cookery classes. She teaches guests the nuances of traditional Kerala recipes. She is also a food consultant to writers, chefs and magazines.

Overnight at Cochin

Day - 11 Cochin – Mumbai By: FlightMumbai

In time, assisted transfer to airport to board your flight to Mumbai

On arrival at Mumbai airport, you will be met by our representative who will transfer you to your hotel.

Rudyard Kipling extolled Mumbai as the ‘Mother of cities’. The history of Mumbai or Mumbai as it is now known, is the story of an incredible transformation from its foundation to its present day. The British built it expressly for trade and over the years it changed hands from the fishing village of the Kolis, through the Portuguese conquest, to Catharine of Aragon who took the seven islands of Mumbai as her dowry to Charles II of England. Mumbai was and still is the Gateway to India, commemorated by a monument of that name built to mark the visit of King George and his consort, Mary.

Today, Mumbai is India’s premiere commercial and financial city and is ever on the move.

Later on, you will take a half day sightseeing tour of Mumbai.

The tour starts from the Gateway of India where the motor launch drops you back after the excursion to Elephanta caves. Gateway of India is the landmark of Bombay, which, was before the advent of air travel, the only gateway to India. It was built to commemorate the visit of King George and Queen Mary to India in 1911. You will be then driven along Marine Drive, the sea - Front Boulevard. It is also known as the Queen’s Necklace as in the evening, the breeze from the Arabian Sea comes over Marine Drive and as the streetlights on this U-shaped road light up, the view from south Bombay’s skyscrapers or from the exclusive residential area, is that of a Queen’s Necklace. Your first stop will be the Jain Temples, built of marble and dedicated to the first Jain Tirthankara. From the temples you will be driven along Malabar Hill via the Tower of Silence - a round stone construction on which Parsis place their dead to be eaten by the vultures and Hanging Gardens which is built over Bombay’s reservoir. From here one can get a panoramic view of picturesque Marine Drive.

From Malabar Hill you will be driven to the Dhobi Ghats a huge open-air laundry, which makes an interesting viewing. Continue to Mani Bhawan (Gandhi Memorial), the house where the Father of the Nation stayed on his early visits to the city. The room, in which Gandhi stayed, preserved as it was, and the scenes of Gandhi’s life in photographs and models are of special interest.

The last stop before proceeding to the hotel is the Prince of Wales Museum (closed on Mondays) – gothic and Moorish architecture in the striking confluence of styles that came to be known as Indo Saracenic. It boasts of a significant collection of Indus valley artefacts some of them dating back to more than 5000 years. Most impressive are the miniature paintings – nearly 2000 of them – from various stylistic schools of India.

Overnight in Mumbai

Day 12 Departure Mumbai By: International Flight

Early this morning in time you will be transferred to the International Airport for your flight back to home.

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