Day 1: Arrive Chennai
Arrive in Chennai and transfer to your hotel.
Day 2: Chennai (B)
Visit Kapaleeshwar temple, dedicated to Shiva, National Art Gallery and Government Museum which houses a fine collection of items of geology, archaeology, numismatics, anthropology, botany and zoology. Later, visit the popular Marina Beach.
Day 3: Chennai-Kanchipuram-Mahabalipuram (B)
Start your day with a tour of Kancheepuram – the ancient capital of the Pallavas, famous as a city of 1000 temples that still has 124 shrines, built in the 7th and 8th centuries and has paintings on the walls. Continue to Mahabalipuram to visit the city famous for the seven pagodas, Shore Temple and the Rathas.
Day 4: Mahabalipuram-Pondicherry (B)
Drive to Pondicherry, a charming coastal town, formerly a French colony. Afternoon tour to French Tamil quarter and famous Sri Aurobindo Ashram, a spiritual centre founded on modern sciences and yoga.
Day 5: Pondicherry-Tanjore (B)
Depart for the Tanjore (Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu). Afternoon tour includes Brihadeshwar temple with its amazing architecture.
Day 6: Tanjore-Trichy (B)
Drive to Trichy. Afternoon tour of Sriranganathaswami Temple surrounded by seven concentric walls and 21 towers. Also visit the Rock Fort Temple commanding a breath taking view of the entire town of Trichy.
Day 7: Trichy-Madurai (B)
Travel to Madurai – the old city of Tamil Nadu. Visit the famous Meenakshi Temple, Tirumalai Nayak Palace and Gandhi Museum. Late evening visit Meenakshi temple for Aarti ceremony.
Day 8: Madurai – Munnar (B)
Morning drive to Munnar, the highest town of Kerala with a cool, bracing climate exuding old-world charm and popular for extensive tea and cardamom plantations on lustrous rolling hills. Some of the plantations here lie at an altitude of 2100 m making them among the highest in the world. Visit a Tea Museum. This museum basically is a demo model of a working tea factory and show the basic processes of tea making. This museum was established by Tata Tea and features rare exhibits and photographs that trace the tea industry, right from its formative years to the modern times. Also visit a tea plantation and tea factory to see the processes involved.
Day 9: Munnar (B)
Morning visit to Pothamedu, to see the tea, coffee and cardamom plantations of Munnar. Also visit Devikulam, an idyllic hill station with its velvet lawns, exotic flora and fauna.
Day 10: Munnar – Periyar (B)
Drive to Periyar Wildlife Reserve via a scenic route dotted with plantations of rubber, cardamom, cocoa, green pepper and areca nut. In the evening, enjoy boat trip at the National Park to see wildlife including herds of elephants, bison and packs of wild boars that come to the lakeside just before sunset.
Day 11: Periyar-Backwaters (B/L/D)
Transfer from Periyar to the backwaters to board your houseboat at mid-day for an exhilarating experience. A houseboat cruise is the best way to explore the beauty of the backwaters; sit back and relax while the boat cruises through the narrow serene backwater canals that take you through nearby villages. Cruise on the backwater canals in a personal, luxurious kettuvalam (houseboat), watching the paddy fields painted rich greens, rice barges and village life along the slim canals of Kerala.Enjoy your evening on the sundeck away from polluted cities and maddening crowd. The only disturbance will be the twinkle of a shining star or the leap of a fish near you.
Day 12: Houseboat-Alleppey-Cochin (B)
Late morning, disembark at Alleppey, also known as “Venice of the East” for its narrow canals and backwaters and transfer to Cochin. A special treat awaits us this evening as we proceed to witness the strength and vigour of Kathakali dance drama, as it enacts episodes from great Indian epics. The extremely stylized gestures, the elaborate make-up, the masks and the splendid costumes of these all-male dancers, recreate an incomparable sense of pageantry.
Day 13: Cochin (B)
Take an afternoon tour of Cochin, the commercial capital of Kerala, with its wealth of historical associations and its magnificent setting on a cluster of islands and narrow peninsulas. Of special mention is the older parts of the Fort Cochin area. This part of the city reflects an unusual blend of medieval Portuguese, Dutch and English country life grafted onto the tropical Malabar Coast. The 16th century Mattancherry Palace, also known as the Dutch Palace, is a fascinating fort with elegant buildings and interesting collections from the Royal traditions of the region. The unique feature of Cochin is the unexpected and isolated Jewish community, whose origins date back to AD 52. They are self-contained in Jew Town and have their own Synagogue.
Afternoon is at leisure.
Day 14: Depart Cochin (B)
Transfer to the airport.
Included: Accommodation in Hotels, meals as shown above, transportation using Air-conditioned private vehicle, local English speaking guides, entrance fees and all taxes.
Excludes: International flights, Visa, Insurance, Meals not included above, beverages during meals included in program, gratuities and any expense of personal nature.
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