Gems of South India 16 days


Uncover the diversity with this fabulous journey around South India. Explore the myths and legends of the sacred temples coupled with the laid back rural highlights. Travel from Chennai “the Gateway to South India” to the colonial city of Cochin via beaches, temples, villages, wildlife and backwaters.

Travel Period:

Valid: May 1, 2017 - March 31, 2017

High Season:

June 1, 2017 - Aug 31, 2017 surcharge $300 per person

December 20, 2017 - January 10, 2018: Call for price

DEPARTURE CITY Standard Deluxe
San Francisco/Los Angeles $2,248 $2,718
New York $2,348 $2,818
Single Supplement $678 $1075

*Price per person based on double occupancy

For departure or arrival on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday - add $100.00 weekend surcharge per person.

Includes fuel surcharge & taxes.

DAY 1: DEPARTURE

Depart from San Francisco or Los Angeles to Chennai on a major international carrier.

ARRIVE CHENNAI AND TRANSFER TO MAHABALIPURAM

Day 2: Arrive Chennai today. Upon arrival, you will be met on arrival by our representative and transferred to the hotel at Mahabalipuram , check into hotel. Rest of the time free to you. Mahabalipuram - Seventh and eighth-century reliefs, rock temples, cave temples and "chariot" temples carved into the golden stone of the Coromandel Coast have made Mahabalipuram an astonishing UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Pallavas, one of Tamil Nadu's three great dynasties, dominated from the eighth to the eleventh century, building a thriving port here and growing rich on the lucrative trade with Southeast Asia. The town has a wonderful Shore Temple to Vishnu, built by the grateful merchants, as well as rock temples, over a dozen cave temples, constructed stone temples and some fine bas-reliefs - including the world's largest, the Penance of Arjuna. Between November and March Mahabalipuram also becomes a popular beach resort. Overnight in Mahabalipuram.        

 

MAHABALIPURAM

Day 3: Morning,proceed for “History walk of Mamallapuram” is an interesting an walk that takes you to all important monuments in this area covering The Arjuna`s Penance (Bass Relief) and onward visiting monuments of Five rathas (symbolises equality of men & women) & the famous Shore temple. Apart from the monuments we also visit to a Sculpture studio. Back to hotel.
 

Evening Yoga session.

Overnight in Mahabalipuram.


MAHABALIPURAM

Day 4 : Morning proceed for village tour by Tuk – tuk which takes you to the heart of rural India. Walk through to witness the Traditional village life, day to day activities fishing operations, lush green rice fields, farming.  Stop at the Potters house for a small demo at their backyard of their house that happens to be their workshop, then on drive to a village school, Village temple followed by a small pooja. If we are lucky we could get there during a local festival. During the tour you could catch plenty of photo opportunities such as plugging, weeding, buffalos enjoying their plunge in the lake etc. Back to hotel.
 

Evening Yoga session.

Overnight in Mahabalipuram.


MAHABALIPURAM – KUMBAKONAM ( 240 KMS. / 4.5 HRS. )

Day 5: Check out from hotel after breakfast and we drive to Kumbakkonam – a small typical Indian town. Enroute visit temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram (famous Shiva temple) with its beautiful high towers full with many small sculptures depicting stories of old epics. Proceed to Kumbakkonam and check in. Later visit Darasuram temple (built in memory of the White elephant – AIRAVATH from the gods family), the temple has its original name as “Airavatheshwar temple”. Further more you will be taken for a special visit to the Silk Weaving at a nearby place (walk able distance). Untouched by regular tourist & no hassle of shop keepers/sellers, this visit will give you glimpse on weaving industry & the hard work behind it.
 

Upon arrival at Kumbakonam , check in at hotel. Rest of the time free to you.

Overnight at Kumbakonam.

KUMBAKONAM – TANJORE Via VELEANKANNI ( 175 KMS. / 4 HRS. )

Day 6: After breakfast checkout from hotel and proceed for a bullock cart ride at Kumbakonam village. Then drive to Tanjore. Enroute visit the shrine of Our Lady of Good Health at Velankanni, is renowned for miraculous healing.

 

On arrival at Tanjore check in at hotel. Overnight at Tanjore.


TANJORE – MADURAI Via KANADUKATHAN ( 190 KMS. / 4 HRS. )

Day 7: This morning checkout and visit the Brihadeeshwar temple and later drive to Madurai. En-route visit Kanadukaathan village where you can see the girls threading garlands of jasmine, and the stalls selling bangles and biscuits, women bent double sowing rice in emerald-green paddy fields. stop at a small temple built around a banyan tree, where almost life-sized clay horses are ranged in rows as offerings to the gods, the churning of butter and the drawing of water from a well,

 

Continue your drive to Madurai and check-in at your hotel. Rest of the time free to you.

 

Tucked snugly in the recesses of Tamil Nadu, on the sacred Vaigai River, Madurai - a city shaped like a lotus - is the destination of thousands of pilgrims. Madurai is the oldest and the second largest city in Tamil Nadu. The legend has that the Pandyan King, Kulasekhara, built a great temple and a lotus shaped city around it. On the day the city was to be named, Lord Shiva appeared to bless the people nectar flowed from his matted locks. So it was called ‘Madhurapuri’ and later it became ‘Madurai’.  Overnight at Madurai.

MADURAI

Day 8: This morning visit the beautiful Meenakshi Temple. Its enormous domes covered with gaily-colored statues dominate the landscape and are visible from all over Madurai. This temple is dedicated to Lord Siva and Goddess Meenakshi. Designed in 1560 by Vishwanatha Nayak, the present temple was built during the reign of Thirumalai Nayak from 1623 to 1655 AD, but its history goes back 2000 years, when Madurai was the capital of the Pandya Kings. There are 4 entrances to the temple and 12 towers ranging from 45m to 50m. The temple is famous for its 1000 pillar corridor. It has also been the centre of Tamil culture, art, dance and music over centuries.

Continue to the Palace of Tirumalai Nayak, an Indo-Saracenic building constructed in 1523. There is no other building in Madurai which can better illustrate the architectural style of the Nayaks. The most remarkable part of this palace is the Swarga Vilasam which served as the audience hall. Its dome which lies beyond a huge courtyard is a magnificent example of the engineering skill of its builders, rising as it does to a height of 20m without support of any kind.
 

Return to hotel. Afternoon we proceed for Cycle rickshaw tour around Madurai city gives you a memorable experience of this ancient city. You drive through the narrow streets and lanes of Madurai showing the typical life of local people. 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 deprived of their livelihood, as they were unable to buy the modern forms of transport like the auto rickshaw or taxi. By taking this tour, you not only support the rickshaw pullers but also encourage the locals to use this eco friendly transport.  Evening, enjoy your dinner at Park Plaza hotel with temple view. Overnight stay in Madurai.


MADURAI – PERIYAR ( 150 KMS. / 4 HRS. )

Day 9: Morning Checkout and drive to Periyar or Thekkady is located in Idukki district. The very sound of the name conjures up images of elephants, unending chains of hills and spice scented plantations. Here, in the crisp, cool air of the Western Ghats you will experience the most enchanting holiday. In the Periyar forests of Thekkady is one of the finest wildlife reserves in India, and spread across the entire district are picturesque plantations and hill towns that hold great opportunities for treks and mountain walks.

 

The Periyar Wild Life Sanctuary is one of the 16 Project Tiger Reserves in India and is amongst the most picturesque wild life sanctuaries in the world despite the tragic loss of the richly vegetated valley due to the dam and the 21 sq. mile reservoir. Since boat travel is the only way of travelling through this sanctuary, one can cover large areas in a short time and experience the wilderness like never before. There is probably no sanctuary in the world where elephant behaviour can be watched in such absolute comfort and safety.

 

On arrival check into hotel.  Afternoon enjoy a visit to Spice Plantation. See various species of spices and other aromatic plants/herbs. The guide will explain about the usage of different spices in Indian cuisine. Overnight stay in Periyar.

PERIYAR

Day 10: Morning you have an option to leave for a guided walk in the national park. This walk is very interesting and gives you the chance to see the wildlife life at a very close distance. Usually you could witness sambar deer, mouse beer, wild dog, elephants, bison, and several species of birds and butterflies and also to do boating on the lake.

 

OPTIONAL DAY OUT WITH ELEPHANTS :

 

You have option to spend your day with Elephants which will include your bathing, feeding and painting etc….

Visitors are able to touch, feed, paint, wash and get to know these animals. Enter the world of the Elephant with Elephant Back Riding. Bare-back Elephant Back Riding enables us as humans to feel the power and bulk of an elephant in contrast with the quietness, delicateness and grace of these mammoth creatures' movement as they walk/glide across the ground. Understand the height at which an elephant stands and experience their environment from an elephant's perspective.

 

 Evening enjoy the Kalaripayatu performance, a local traditional martial arts form. Overnight stay in Periyar.

PERIYAR - KOCHI ( 156 KMS. / 4 HRS. )

Day 11: Morning Checkout and drive to Kochi. Upon arrival , check in at hotel and proceed for sightseeing of Kochi - visit to the Jewish Synagogue (closed on Friday & Saturday) built in 1568. Scrolls of the Old Testament and a number of copper plates inscribed in Hebrew script are preserved here. The building was destroyed by the Portuguese in 1662 and rebuilt by the Dutch two years later. Continue you visit to St. Francis Church, the oldest church constructed by the Europeans in India. Built by the Portuguese in 1510, it housed the remains of Vasco da Gama for 14 years before it was transferred to Lisbon. His tombstone can be seen inside the church.

Also visit the Mattancherry Palace, built by the Portuguese in 1555. The Palace was presented to the Raja of Cochin as a gesture of goodwill. This was also known as the Dutch Palace (closed on Friday), resulting from substantial renovation by the Dutch after 1663. The central hall was the Coronation Hall of the Rajas. Their dresses, turbans and palanquins and murals from Hindu mythology are all beautiful and worth seeing. Culminate the tour at Fort Kochi, which is said to be the oldest European settlement in India.

Evening proceed to watch the famous dance drama of Kerala, the Kathakali. This dance is characterized by some great story telling, amazing costumes and extensive make-up.  Back to hotel. Overnight in Cochin.          

KOCHI TO ALLEPPEY   [House Boat Cruise: Alleppey Round Trip]  ( 75 km / 2.5 h) 

Day 12:  After breakfast depart from hotel and drive reach the land of backwaters - Alleppey.

In Alleppey you will go for a cruise on the traditional House Boat  (Kettu Valam) of Kerala Style which brings you along the narrow, quiet, small villages over 900 km of the labyrinth water world, lined with coconut palms. On the House Boat you will experience the typical food of Kerala, sunbathing on the deck, staying away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. While this trip you can observe the daily activities of the village people, living in the Backwaters area making traditional boats, coconut oil and designing toys with coconut shells. Overnight on a House Boat.

 

ALLEPPEY TO KOVALAM   (160 km /4 h)   

Day 13:  After breakfast disembark from houseboat and drive to Kovalam. Kovalam, one of the most popular beach destinations in Kerala and check into your hotel. Kovalam consists of three adjacent crescent beaches separated by rocky headlands, of which the southernmost Lighthouse beach is the most famous. The Azure waters and favorable climate make Kovalam a favourite year-round destination for beach lovers. Day at leisure on the beach. Overnight at Kovalam.

 

KOVALAM
Day 14:  Morning enjoy a general body Ayurvedic massage ( For 45 minutes ).


Ayurveda / spa therapies: Ayurveda is the art of healthy living that enables you to create harmony in daily life by applying self-knowledge and self-care. The word comes from the Sanskrit language and literally means ‘Science of Life’. Inherent in Ayurvedic principles is the concept that you are capable of taking charge of your own life and healing.

 

**Before going in for any kind of treatment, the guests will consult the in- house expert or doctor, who will suggest the oils and treatments considering in the mind medical history of the guest**
 

Rest of the day will be at leisure.  Overnight in Kovalam. ( No use of Vehicle )
 

KOVALAM

Day 15:  Day free for own activities.  Overnight at Kovalam. ( No use of Vehicle )

 

KOVALAM TO TRIVANDRUM (20 km / 1 h)

Day 16:  Departure transfer to the Trivandrum Airport for onward Journey to your Country.

 

  • Roundtrip Airfare
  • Accommodation on twin sharing basis.
  • Daily Breakfast at all hotels.
  • All meals ( breakfast, lunch and dinner ) during stay at Air-conditioned Houseboat ( Alleppey – Alleppey round )
  • All sightseeing, transfers / tours and excursions by AC Toyota Innova.
  • Sightseeing as per package details.
  • One time monument entrance fees as per the itinerary.
  • 2 yoga session ( 01 each on Day & Day 02 ) in Mahabalipuram.
  • Tuk-Tuk ride to visit an ethnical village near Mahabalipuram on Day 03.
  • Bullock cart ride in Kumbakonam.
  • Cycle rickshaw ride in Madurai.
  • 01 Dinner at Hotel Park Plaza, Madurai ( with view of Temple from restaurant ).
  • A guided tour at Kanadukathan village enroute from  Tanjore to Madurai.
  • Spice plantation tour at  Periyar.  
  • Martial Art Show (Kalaripaytu performance ) at  Periyar.
  • Cooking demo with dinner at Periyar.
  • Kathakali dance performance visit in Cochin.
  • Farewell dinner at Kovalam.
     

 

  • Any special meal other than those specified in the itinerary and has been quoted as “OPTIONAL” 

  •  Any alcoholic/non alcoholic drinks 

  • Mineral water during meals 

  • Camera fees, Porte rage, Tips, Gratuites etc 

  • Things of personal nature like laundry, telephone, spa, drinks, room service etc. 

  •  Any kind of Insurance 

  • Any other supplement or item which is not listed in above inclusions × Any welcome/farewell gift

Accommodation is provided with daily breakfast basis at listed hotels or equivalent, except for Houseboat on full board basis. For lunch and dinner, there would be an additional supplement.

A hotel list is as follows:

CITY

NO. OF NIGHTS

STANDARD

Deluxe

Mamallapuram

03

Mamalla Heritage

Grande Bay Resort

Kumbakonam

01

Paradise Resort

Sterling Swamimalai

Tanjore

01

Laxmi Hotel

Ideal River View

Madurai

02

Astoria

Heritage

Periyar

02

Abad Green Forest

Shalimar Spice Garden

Kochi

01

Homestay

Kochin Marriot

Alleppey

01

AC Deluxe Houseboat

AC  Deluxe Houseboat

Kovalam

03

Soma Palmshore

Travancore Heritage

 

Starting $2,248.00
per person based on double occupancy

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All bookings are subject to availability

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