This tour brings us to two South Indian states, a genuine India with alternating tropical exuberance, primary forests, temples, and villages. The temples of Tamil Nadu are initially discovered at Mahabalipuram, then in Trichy, before being swept away by the holy zeal of the Madurai temple. Life emerges along Kerala's waterways in the shadow of coconut trees. A full view of the most beautiful parts of South India.
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At your hotel
Assistance upon your arrival at Chennai airport and transfer to the hotel. Upon arrival check into the hotel.
We will have a sightseeing trip in Chennai after some relaxation. We'll go to Fort St. George, which was erected in 1653 during the British rule in India; St. Mary's Church (India's oldest Anglican church); and the Pallava temples of Kapaliswara and Sri Parthasarathy, which were built in the 8th century AD.
This morning you will drive to Mahabalipuram. Upon arrival check into the hotel.
Later you will enjoy the sightseeing of Mahabalipuram. Mahabalipuram is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a historic port built by the Pallava dynasty, which transported its civilization to the kingdoms of Shrivijaya (Java, Sumatra, and the Malay Peninsula), Kambuja (Cambodia), and the Champa Empire in the 7th and 8th centuries ( Annam). The Five Ratha, which depict the chariots of the five Pandava brothers, heroes of the Mahabharata epic, were cut out of the rock around this period. We also enjoy the magnificent bas-relief of the Ganges Descent, or Arjuna's Penance, a gigantic painting with a Brahmanic mythology subject.
In the morning transfer to the Gingee stronghold. Gingee, with approximately 15 kilometers of fortifications, is one of India's most powerful strongholds, formed by three hills amid a unique set of rice fields and palm palms surrounded by rocks. The majority of the structures are from the early 16th-century Vijayanagar monarchs. We climb to the top of the fort and take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Then it's on to Pondicherry, one of our old Indian shops, a little town with a bustling colonial vibe (2 hours drive). First impressions and a trip across this wonderful city.
We explore the white city with right-angle avenues and names that harken back to the colonial past. The administrations, the old Governor's Palace, the French Consulate, the French Lycée, the French School of the Far East, and so on are all located in this little neighborhood. Depending on the weather, we will visit Sri Aurobindo's ashram and the Sisters of Cluny monastery (subject to reservation, depending on opening hours and days). A small tour of the Tamil area, with its lovely colonial mansions, and a visit at the Goubert market, which has a plethora of textiles, vegetables, flowers, meats, and other items in its congested alleyways.
Take a stroll through the Muslim neighborhood, which houses the majority of the businesses as well as the enormous daily central market.
The journey to Tanjore begins. We stop along the way to see the big temple of Gangaikondacholapuram and the majestic temple of Darasuram, both of which are devoted to Shiva and have wonderful sculptures. Arrival at Tanjore and exploration of the historic capital of the Chola dynasty's formidable empire, including the Brihadeshwara temple, a Shiva shrine built about the year 1000.
In the morning drive to Trichy. We visit Srirangam, a massive temple city devoted to Vishnu on an island in the Kaveri river (non-Hindus are not permitted to approach the temple's final shrines). Take a walk up to Rock Fort for a spectacular perspective of the city. The temple is devoted to Shiva at the bottom, and there is a minor shrine dedicated to Ganesha, the elephant deity and son of Shiva and Parvati, at the top. During the pilgrimage season (December), the site is overrun with pilgrim families, and this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The journey continues to the Chettinad area (2h30 drive). The Chettiars, who were wealthy tradesmen and bankers, erected opulent palaces in the nineteenth century. Their "capital," Karaikudi, is a superb illustration of the splendor of these old dwellings since it is divided into 75 villages. Installation at our lovely hotel, which features regional architecture.
We begin the day with a kolam lesson, which is highly popular in Tamil culture. Kolams are ground patterns that are mathematically formed. To provide good luck and welcome, the ladies utilize rice powder of various colors and draw freehand at the entrances of the residences. End of visits at Chettinad or continuation of trips in the morning towards Madurai and start of visits to the city "blessed by the honey that poured from Shiva's hair." During the visits, there will be a tuk-tuk ride. We return to Meenakshi temple in the evening to see Shiva's sunset ritual. During the pilgrimage season, the devout also flock to the temple.
We go across the western ghats and the Nilgiris to Munnar, Kerala. The route passes through tea and cardamom plantations as well as woodlands. During the summer, Munnar is a highly popular mountain resort. The area is situated between 1650 and 2650 meters above sea level, on the banks of three rivers. We can see the soft and green sceneries of the tea and spice plantations that emerge from the dark forests surrounding us from the heights.
These main woods, which have a diverse flora, are also home to a diverse range of animals, including elephants, gaurs (Indian bison), deer, wild dogs, lazy bears, as well as the Nilgiri tahr (similar to the mouflon), several monkey species, and a diverse range of birds. We arrive late in the afternoon and check into our hotel, which is located in the midst of the tea fields.
A day walk through Kolukkumalai's tea farms. We arrive at the start of our climb after a brief transfer to avoid the busiest pathways. Forests and tea plantations alternate on the way. We travel for nearly four hours through the country's tallest plantations to reach Kolukkumalai's highest peak. We have a fantastic view of the surroundings and Mount Messapulimalai, South India's second tallest peak. At the summit, have a picnic meal. We return to a tea factory in the afternoon to learn about the many phases of cultivating and harvesting tea leaves.
Early morning road journey to Kerala's shores, passing through lush green landscapes and plantations with a spectacular view of the coasts below. The Indian Ocean mingles with the waves of the Arabian Sea midway down Kerala's coast, creating stunning azure hues capped with white froth. Installation along the banks of the backwaters in our guest home (basic comfort). Take a walk or a bike ride through the fishing communities, where life has stayed mostly unchanged. At the conclusion of the day, we can take a cooking lesson at a local's home to learn about Keralan cuisine. We make a variety of regional meals with a delicate spice blend.
Early in the morning, travel to the Snake Temple (approximately 1 hour 30 minutes) and then to Krishnapuram's temple-palace with magnificent paintings (30mn drive). Then, after a one-hour journey to the dock, board a "ketuwallom," a traditional boat for transporting cargo, spices, or rice, some of which have been converted for pleasure. Take a walk through the "backwaters," a maze of canals surrounded by coconut trees, rice fields, towns, and traditional homes. Discovery of communities and historic churches, traveling slowly across fields of water hyacinths plowed by massively loaded boats. A tranquil and peaceful day on the ocean.
Disembarkation and travel to Alleppey, often known as "Venice of the East." Alleppey was one of the primary spice-trading ports in the region prior to the building of the Port of Cochin. A short stroll along the major canal through the lively old town. Then we'll continue on our way to the Malabar coast. We arrive at Mararikulam, a little fishing community with a magnificent white sand beach surrounded by coconut palms and lagoons.
This morning we drive towards Cochin. Visit this old harbor, which is scattered across multiple islands and is influenced by the big traditional spice trade. We see the famed Chinese squares, Canton ceramics, the commercial district's Syriac churches, and the city's synagogue.
Later we transfer to Cochin airport for our ongoing flight back home.
At your hotel
10 nights of hotels accommodation in a shared double/twin room on a bed and breakfast basis.
01 night on Full board in Houseboat in Alleppey.
01 night on Full board in Homestay in Alleppey.
All transfers, sightseeing, and ground transportation in an air-conditioned vehicle depend on the size of the group.
Tuk-Tuk ride at Madurai.
Guided Trek in Munnar.
A professional English-speaking Indian tour leader will accompany you throughout the trip.
Entrance fees to the monument & Park.
Current government applicable service tax.
International plane ticket.
Any services which are not mentioned in the inclusions.
Tips, any type of alcoholic beverages, Laundry, Travel insurance, medical emergencies, or any other expense not mentioned in the previous inclusions.
Any personal expense.
Any fixed camera or video fee.
Indian Visa fees.
This cost is based on a minimum of a group of 08 passengers. If the number of passengers will increase or decrease then the cost will provide accordingly.
Check-in & out time at all envisaged properties is 1400 hrs & 1200 hrs respectively.
The check-in baggage allowed for all domestic flights is 15 KG and hand baggage is 07 KG. Excess baggage will be chargeable as per airline regulations.
Satellite phones and drone cameras are not allowed in India.
For air tickets, train tickets & Jungle safari booking, we required scan copies of passports on a top priority basis.
Christmas & New Year Eve mandatory room supplement and Gala Dinner will be applicable and will be decided closer to the travel date.
Please be careful about the dress code at religious places in India.