Highlights of the trip –
This journey takes one into the Dravidian Culture that dates back more than 3000 years. The Hindu temples, Dravidian and Indo-Sarcenic architectural styles, and the enigmatic Hindu culture of South India is a special entree in itself. The visit to the aromatic spice plantations, the mesmerizing hill retreats and breadth taking sights gives you an enthralling experience. The eternal rhythm of the gurgling waterfalls, wondrous wildlife & bird sanctuaries, emerald green natural habitats, artifacts, paintings & dance forms leaves you speechless with admiration.
Day 01 – 02 - Chennai -
Namaste! Welcome to India.
Arrive Chennai airport and included transfer to your hotel. You can arrive at any time on Day 1 as there are no activities planned until the important welcome meeting as per your itinerary. Your tour leader (in case of group) / Glorious India Tours representative (for Private Tours) would have a meeting with you and discuss the itinerary in detail.
Chennai is one of the four major metropolitan cities of India and is the capital of Tamil Nadu. Stretched out on the coastline where the blue waters of the Bay of Bengal mingle with golden sand beaches, its forts and palaces remind one of a bygone era.
Undertake a full day city tour of Chennai or Madras as it used to be known. Although it was the oldest settlement of the British in India, the only remnants of this period are the cathedral and the Fort of St. George, which you visit during the tour.
Day 3 Chennai / Mahabalipuram -
Today you are taken by road to the seaside village of Mahabalipuram. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it showcases several antique sculptural marvels and frescoes. On the way you visit Kanchipuram, known as the ‘Golden City of a Thousand Temples’, it is one of India’s sacred cities. In the afternoon you are taken on a tour of some of the more significant sites in the area.
Day 4 Mahabalipuram/ Pondicherry -
Your day starts with a drive to Pondicherry. In the afternoon you undertake a tour of Pondicherry which includes a visit to the Aurobindo Ashram.
Day 5 Pondicherry / Tanjore -
Today is quite a long driving day but you do stop to visit Chidambaram and Kumbakonam along the way.
Day 6 Tanjore -
Following breakfast you undertake a morning tour of Tanjore which includes a stop at the Brihadiswara Temple. The afternoon is at leisure to relax or to explore in your own time.
Day 7 Tanjore / Trichy -
You start the day with a relatively short drive to Trichy. In the afternoon you visit the town as well as the Ranganatha Temple at Srirangam. This beautifully sculpted temple is the biggest in India.
Day 8 Trichy / Madurai -
After breakfast you are taken to Madurai by road. Known as the “Athens of the East”, Madurai is more than 2,000 years old and is believed to have been built by the Pandyan King Kulasekara in the 6th Century BC. In the afternoon you visit the Meenakshi Temple. Designed in 1560 it covers an area of six hectares has four main entrances, twelve towers and 985 richly carved pillars.
Day 9 Madurai / Thekkedy -
After enjoying breakfast you are transferred by road to Thekkady during which you gain an insight into the life of the locals as you travel past rice paddies and drive through several small villages. As you climb up the escarpment to the village of Thekkady, famous for its spices, you notice a change in climate and vegetation. Kerala, the spice capital of the world, was wholly dependent, until recent times, on its spice trade and traders came from far and wide to purchase these precious commodities.
Later you visit a spice plantation for an afternoon tour.
Day 10 Thekkady / Houseboat -
This morning you are taken to the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary for a morning walk before travelling by road to Kumarakom. On arrival in Kumarakom you transfer to your houseboat for a relaxing backwaters cruise and stay on board. Fringing the coast of Kerala and winding far inland is a vast network of lagoons, lakes, rivers and canals. Floating through these placid waters, passing palm fringed canals, lakes and villages you will be able to observe the locals going about their daily lives. You have your meals aboard the boat as you leisurely meander through this fascinating area.
Day 11 Houseboat / Kumarakom -
Following breakfast you disembark and are taken to your hotel. In the afternoon you visit the Kumarakom Bird Park
Day 12 Kumarakom -
You have the full day at leisure to relax or to explore in your own time.
Day 13 Kumarakom – Cochin -
Today you are taken by road to Cochin where you undertake a sightseeing tour in the afternoon.
Cochin, with its wealth of historical associations, and its magnificent setting on a cluster of islands and narrow peninsulas, Cochin is one of the most fascinating cities of coastal South India. It is a city with indelible marks of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Jewish traditions. Of Special mention is the older parts of the Fort Cochin area which more or less exists as it used to a 1000-year ago. This part of the city reflects an unusual blend of medieval Portugal, Dutch and English country life grafted on to the tropical Malabar Coast.
A special treat awaits us this evening as we proceed to witness the strength and vigor of Kathakali dance drama. The extremely stylized gestures, the elaborate make-up, the masks and the splendid costumes of these all-male dancers, recreates an incomparable sense of pageantry.
Day 14 Depart Cochin -
Following breakfast you are taken to the airport where your tour comes to an end.
Note : Tour Cost on request.
************* TOUR ENDS ***************
Included Activities: Sightseeing Chennai – Visit Fort St George and Govt Museum,
Sightseeing Mahabalipuram – Dakshin Chitra, Five Rathas and Shore Temple,
Pondicherry – Visit Auroville and Aurbindo Ashram, Chidamaram – Natraja Temple,
Tanjore – Art Gallery, Brideeshwara Temple, Trichy – Srirangam and Rock Fort, Madurai – Meenakshi Temple + Aarti Ceremony and Museum, Thekkady – Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Boat Ride on Periyar Lake and Spice Plantation Tour, Kumarakom – Visit to Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, Cochin – Jewish Synagogue, Dutch Palace, Portuguese Museum, and Kathakali Dance Show
Route: Chennai - Mahabalipuram - Pondicherry - Tanjore - Trichy - Madurai - Thekkady - Kumarakom - Cochin