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Tour starting from 26-07-2019
( ) for 2 people in 1 Room (s)

12 Nights / 13 Days

Ultimate South India Tour

 Sri Brihadeeswarar Temple

Whether its your first, second or even third time to the Indian Subcontinent, if you havent yet been to South India, you are in for a real treat. This diverse and comprehensive trip across the cultural and historical landscapes of Tamil Nadu, the Western Ghats and Kerala encompasses some of the countrys most authentic cultural experiences, very different from that of the north. Starting in the capital city of Tamil Nadu - Chennai, our spectacular journey takes us from the shores of the Bay of Bengal across to the colourful coastline of the Arabian Sea. Often overlooked, Tamil Nadu is the cultural heartland of South India, where European grace and Tamil colour come together in a magnificent clash of architecture and ideologies. Here we will discover some of the countrys most authentic cultural experiences, as we enjoy heritage walks accompanied by expert local guides who will give us an insight into their age-old stories and legends, as well as meeting local artisans and traders who will let us into the secrets and history of their skillful professions. Following the Coromandel Coast south, well pass through the stunning World Heritage ruins at Mahabalipuram and the French colonial charms of Pondicherry, before turning west towards the majestic architectural glories of the Chola kings where we can admire the ancient splendors of Trichy and Madurai. Our final leg takes us into Kerala where we can enjoy traditional houseboat as we cruise the famous tranquil backwaters, before finishing our adventure in historic Kochi, The Queen of the Arabian Sea, home to an eclectic mix of colonial and Indian history.

Trip Highlights

  • Visit the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Mahabalipuram and the living Chola temples at Airavateswara and Bridhadeswara
  • Soak up the heritage and ancient myths on unique city walks through Chennai, Pondicherry, Madurai and Cochin
  • Discover the traditional villages of Chettinadu
  • Learn about the different handicrafts and trades of the south, including bronze making, Veenai making, Kolam making, tile making, cooking and fishing
  • Explore the Keralan Backwaters by traditional houseboat
  • Visit Kochis (Cochin) atmospheric harbor and learn about its diverse history

DESTINATION COVERED

Chennai - Mahabalipuram - Pondicherry - Tanjore - Kumbakonam - Trichy - Chettinad - Madurai - Thekkady - Alleppey - Cochin

TOUR STARTS FROM

  • Chennai

  • (End Cochin)

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26 Jul 2019 - 07 Aug 2019 *

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2 people in 1 Room (s)

YOUR TRIP INCLUDES
  • *INTERNAL FLIGHTS ONLY
  • Hotels Inclusions
  • Sight seeing Inclusions
  • Transfer Inclusions
  • Meals Inclusions
  • Tour Guide Inclusions
  • Land Transport Inclusions

DAY BY DAY TOUR PLAN

MODIFY YOUR HOTEL CHOICE BELOW
  • About: Chennai

    After completing Immigration and Customs formalities, please step out of the Customs enclosure and look for a paging board with your names on it. Please then identify yourselves to the person carrying the board as he is our IVAT representative. He will assist you with your baggage and transfer you to the hotel.

    The first British Warehouse came up in 1639 when the British acquired the sandy beach from the local Nayakas on lease. It was called Madraspatinam then. Later by 1654, the Fort St. George was built. Still later the neighboring villages were included in the city which came either as grants or gifts. Triplicane was rented from the Sultan of Golconda in 1676. In 1744 Robert Clive worked as a writer from the Fort, later to become a military man of British Army. The Fort House, which housed the Governor and his council, were added in the 17th Century, the Assembly Hall in 1910 and the Secretariat in 1925.

    All the neighboring areas were merged into the city now known as Madras or as Chennai as it is officially known. Until Independence, Madras was the capital of what in British times was called the Madras Presidency, comprising nearly the whole of South India, including the Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada speaking areas.

    Overnight will be at Chennai.

    • Meal Inclussion
    • Breakfast
  • About: Chennai

    Breakfast will be at the hotel.

    Proceed for the city sightseeing.

    Santhome Cathedral was built by the Portuguese in the 14th and 15th century and is named after St. Thomas. Historically important, it is one of the pilgrimages for the Christian community.

    Fort St. George, one the first few bastions built by the east India company, marks the beginning of Chennai as a modern city. It occupies a place of pride and prominence in Chennai. This bastion achieved its name from St. George, the patron saint of England. The state legislature and the secretariat are located in Fort St. George. It houses the St. Mary's church the oldest Anglican Church in India which was built in 1680 and the tombstones in its courtyard are the oldest British tombstones in India. The Fort Museum, once a building that housed Chennai's first lighthouse, first commercial bank and first 'club', is now a well-kept repository of tangible memories of early Madras.

    Kapaleeswarar Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva; Kapaleeswarar temple has inscriptions from the 13th century A.D. The temple 'Gopuram' (tower) is in the characteristic Dravidian style of architecture. The walls and pillars of temple have very delicate and intricate carvings which depict the scenes from Hindu mythology.

    Overnight will be at Chennai.

    • Meal Inclussion
    • Breakfast
  • About: Chennai, Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry

    Breakfast will be at the hotel.

    This morning we drive south along the shores of the Indian Ocean to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mahabalipuram. The once great port city of the Pallava dynasty, Mahabalipuram can trace its ancestry back to the 7th century and is home to some 40 different monuments and temples, including the magnificent Shore Temple, one of the oldest stone buildings in India.

    Later, we continue to the colourful former French colonial town of Pondicherry.

    French dreams of an Indian Empire began and ended in Pondicherry. But in the scattered territories of the Union Territory of Pondicherry there remains what little there is left of the French influence in India and that makes the territory, especially its headquarters, Pondicherry, unique, something quite different from the rest of India. The Union Territory of Pondicherry comprises of 4 coastal regions of Pondicherry, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam. Pondicherry is on the east coast about 162 km south of Chennai (Madras) located on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal. This erstwhile French colony on the east coast of South India merged with the rest of the country in 1954. Legend says that Pondicherry is the place where St. Agasthaya settled down.

    Overnight will be at Pondicherry.

    • Meal Inclussion
    • Breakfast
  • About: Pondicherry

    Breakfast will be at the hotel.

    Often referred to as the French Riviera of the East for its architecture and European ways, Pondicherry provides a fascinating contrast to the rest of the state. Today we will enjoy a guided heritage tour around the old town as well as a cycle rickshaw ride, discovering the colonial elegance of Pondicherrys architecture.

    Other highlights include the 17th century church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception and the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, founded by a Bengali revolutionary and philosopher, and today one of the most influential ashrams in all India. We will visit the citys fascinating museum, which contains a number of remarkable statues, as well as archaeological finds that link Pondicherry with ancient Rome and Greece.

    Overnight will be at Pondicherry.

    • Meal Inclussion
    • Breakfast
  • About: Pondicherry, Thanjavur, Kumbakonam

    Breakfast will be at the hotel.

    Today we will drive south along coastal roads to the ancient capital of Tanjore, one of the ancient cities of India with a long and varied history dating back to the Sangam period, and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On arrival we will visit the famous Sri Bragadeeswarar Temple built by the great Chola King, Rajaraja 1 in the 10th century AD. The city is also home to the majestic 16th century Thanjavur Palace of the Marathas and the Nayaks, a vast labyrinthine complex with an excellent collection of Chola bronzes and over 1000 manuscripts.

    In the afternoon we will visit a bronze-making unit where we will learn the process of how bronze statues are made, followed by a visit to a Veenai-making centre, giving us a fascinating insight into the history of one of South Indias most ancient and revered instruments.

    Check into the hotel and relax.

    Overnight will be at Kumbakonam.

    • Meal Inclussion
    • Breakfast
  • About: Kumbakonam, Trichy, Chettinad

    Early this morning we will test our creative skills once more and learn how to make a kolam alongside one of our local experts. This is an artistic creation of geometric designs using rice flour that is done outside the front entrance to a home, and is usually created by the females of the household early in the morning every day.

    After breakfast we depart Kumbakonam and continue south to Chettinad, stopping en route at one of the oldest inhabited cities in Tamil Nadu Trichy. Famed for its spectacular Rock Fort and its Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Trichy is blessed with a rich ancestry that includes Chola, Pallava and Nayak influences. We can also see the unusual architecture of the 19th century Georgian church of St. John while were here.

    In the afternoon we continue on to Chettinad, the land of Chettiars, where you will check into your hotel and enjoy an interactive cooking session to learn more about the incredible flavours of southern India.

    Overnight will be at Chettinad.

    • Meal Inclussion
    • Breakfast
  • About: Chettinad, Madurai

    Breakfast will be at the hotel.

    This morning we will venture out to explore one of the many traditional villages that surround this area. Built over 200 years ago it is a treasure trove of antiques and handicrafts, and we can learn more about the Athangudi traditional handmade tile making units, as well as visit a typical Chettinadu house which displays some of the unique Chettinad architecture.

    In the afternoon we journey into the cultural heartlands of the Tamil and Dravidian cultures as we make our way towards the temple city of Madurai, a place that can trace its history back some 2,500 years.

    Experience evening prayer ceremony at Meenakshi Temple.

    Overnight will be at Madurai.

    • Meal Inclussion
    • Breakfast
  • About: Madurai

    Breakfast will be at the hotel.

    Laid out in the shape of a lotus along the flat, fertile plains of the Vaigai River valley, Madurai is built around the magnificent Sri Meenakshi Temple, a spectacular complex of towers, temples, courtyards and shrines that is considered one of Indias great cultural landmarks. Today we pay a visit to this spectacular 16th century temple, as well as the Tirumalai Nayak Palace and Theppakulam.

    Further exploration will take us into rural Madurai and along the potters trail where we can listen to more myths and legends of the area and learn about its fabulous use of mud!

    Overnight will be at Madurai.

    • Meal Inclussion
    • Breakfast
  • About: Madurai, Thekkady

    After breakfast we will drive on to Periyar, a land of unending chains of hills, spice- scented plantations and elephants.

    Check into the hotel and after lunch, proceed for a spice plantation tour where we will come across cardamom, pepper, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and a number of other spices and medicinal plants of this region. If interested, visit Kumily market to buy the best spices available.

    Enjoy KALARIPAYATTU performance in evening.

    Kalaripayattu-the oldest of martial arts-is a gift to the modern world and known as the mother of all martial arts. Legend traces the 3000-year old art form to sage Parasurama-the master of all martial art forms and credited to be the re-claimer of Kerala from the Arabian Sea. Kalaripayattu originated in ancient south India. Kung-fu, popularized by the monks of the shaoline temple traces its ancestry to Bodhi Dharma-an Indian Buddhist monk and Kalaripayattu master.

    Overnight will be at Thekkady.

    • Meal Inclussion
    • Breakfast
  • About: Thekkady, Alleppey

    Proceed for jungle walk / trek experience at Periyar National Park.

    You will visit the rare species of plants and animals. The experience will be customized as per your preference depending on how many hours you want to spend in the park.

    Come back and enjoy breakfast at the resort.

    Drive to Alleppey to take to the waters of this most beautiful and unique of landscapes. Boarding our traditional houseboats, we will spend time cruising the waterways and channels that honeycomb the coastal plains running parallel to the Arabian Sea. A unique ecosystem that is home to a rich variety of aquatic life, the backwaters present us with a time- honored image of an India long forgotten, where scattered villages survive amongst the labyrinthine channels much as they have for generations. Kettuvallams (Keralan houseboats) once negotiated these canals carrying rice, grain and even royalty through the backwaters. Today they provide us with an ideal way to appreciate the tranquility and tradition of this part of southern India. Well pass isolated communities and gardens of hibiscus and vegetables, hop off the boats to visit interesting sights en route, and spend our evening moored up besides the lapping shores of these idyllic backwaters.

    The houseboat with all modern comforts lets you discover the countryside at your own pace. You will have lunch, dinner and breakfast in the Houseboat. A ride on the houseboat is a fabulous way to explore the fascinating beauty of the backwaters.

    Lunch will be served on the boat freshly prepared by the crew.

    Overnight will be on Alleppey.

    • Meal Inclussion
    • Breakfast
  • About: Alleppey, Cochin

    Breakfast will be on board.

    Disembarking our boats this morning and proceed to visit coir making unit where you will see the manufacturing of different coir products and their export worldwide. Such products include coir mats, rubber mats, rugs, carpets, and other textiles.

    We then drive to the village of Vaikom. Here we spend some time learning about life in this rural area of Kerala and explore more of the backwaters, this time by small open country boats, followed by a delicious traditional Keralan lunch.

    In the afternoon we will drive on to Kochi, the glittering Queen of the Arabian Sea. The oldest European settlement in India, Kochi is a vibrant mix of Arab, Chinese, European and Indian influences and home to the oldest church and the oldest synagogue in the country. Built on trade the city began to prosper with the arrival of Jewish and Arab traders. With the later arrival of the Portuguese, and then the Dutch and English, Kochi went on to become a vibrant settlement, incorporating a rare fusion of European and Asian traditions and styles.

    Overnight will be at Cochin.

    • Meal Inclussion
    • Breakfast
  • About: Cochin

    Breakfast will be at the hotel.

    Cochin comprising of a cluster of islands and towns, is a living museum. Fort Cochin is believed to be the oldest European settlement in India, with the Portuguese flag first hoisted here in 1500. St Francis Church, built in 1510 by friars brought to India by Vasco da Gama, is the first European church built in India and is the site where da Gama was buried. While the remains were later taken back to Lisbon, the gravestone can still be seen here. The Jewish Synagogue was built in 1568 and considerably embellished in the mid-18th century by Ezekiel Rahabi, who built a clock tower and paved the floor of the synagogue with hand- painted tiles brought all the way from Canton in China. The "Dutch Palace" was built in the 1550s by the Portuguese and taken over by the Dutch, who later presented it to the Rajas of Cochin. The palace contains excellent mythological murals and a rare example of traditional Keralite flooring - a subtle mix of burnt coconut shells, lime, plant juices and eggwhites - which gives the effect of polished marble.

    Chinese Fishing Nets The Chinese fishing nets erected on teak wood and bamboo poles work on the principle of balance. Records say they were first set up here between AD 1350 and 1450. Vasco Da Gama Square, the narrow promenade that parallels the beach, is the best place to watch the nets being lowered and pulled out of the sea. Learn the operation of the interesting Chinese fishing nets erected on teak wood and bamboo poles which work on the principle of balance.

    In the evening proceed for a CULTURAL EVENING Kerala's best known dance drama Kathakali, its martial art form Kalaripayattu, semi classical dance form Mohiniattam, Theyyam - a ritual dance performed as a surrealistic representation of the Gods& classical Indian music. You can also go into the green room to see how dancers dress up, do make up and get ready as per the different dance forms.

    Overnight will be at Cochin.

    • Meal Inclussion
    • Breakfast
  • About: Cochin

    Breakfast will be at the hotel.

    Spend day in leisure or else enjoy some last minute shopping.

    As per the international flight timings, you will be transferred to the airport to take flight back home with sweet memories of the tour.

    • Meal Inclussion
    • Breakfast

Inclusions

  • Based on double sharing basis at hotels mentioned above in the itinerary
  • Check-in time is 1400 hours and check-out time is 1200 hours
  • Early check-in/late check-out can be requested, wherever required, but cannot be guaranteed
  • Daily buffet Breakfast included at all the hotels
  • Breakfast, Lunch & dinners at Chettinad & Houseboat
  • Transfers, excursions and intercity drives will be provided by air-conditioned vehicle as per the itinerary
  • Paper tissue, Sanitizers, Packaged bottled water etc. will be provided in the vehicle during transfer, sightseeing and intercity drive
  • Toll taxes, driver allowances, parking charges, currently applicable taxes and service charges as per Government of India is included

Exclusions

  • Expenses of personal nature such as laundry, telephone, fax, internet, beverages, snacks etc.
  • Optional activities attract supplement charge
  • International air fare and airport taxes
  • Indian Visa Fees and medical / travel insurance
  • Meals not specified in inclusion section
  • Video / Camera fees wherever applicable
  • Any increase in entrances as per government notifications
  • Any tips, gratuities and portage for local guides, drivers, porters and restaurants (unless specified separately)
  • Additional taxes levied by the Government of India in tourism sector
  • Any other services / item not mentioned in Price Inclusions section

Terms and Conditions

We at the Company believe in serving our guests with sincerity and honesty and therefore you can contact us via telephone or write to us with your queries. We will be delighted to answer the queries and provide any clarification that you may seek.

 

The purchase of travel services offered by International Ventures & Travel constitutes a contractual arrangement between you and the Company. PLEASE CLICK & READ CAREFULLY to know in detail.

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