Day 1: Arrive in Chennai
Upon your arrival at Chennai Airport, you will be greeted by our representative and escorted to your hotel. Formerly called Madras, the capital of Tamil Nadu is a teeming, sprawling, bustling metropolis which established on the site of a fishing village in 1639 as the first British settlement in India. The city has a strange mix of British Raj-era monuments, Portuguese churches, Hindu temples, and one of the longest urban beaches on earth. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 2: Chennai
After breakfast embark on your city tour. Visit Fort St. George, where the city began, and St. Mary’s Church, an ancient monument tended carefully by the Archaeological Department and its congregation. St. George - the first bastion of British power in India was constructed in 1640. The cluster of gray and white colonial buildings with pillared neoclassical facades now houses the Tamil Nadu State Legislature and the Secretariat. Visit its Fort Museum to see the collection of portraiture, oil paintings, sketches, and etchings that reveal the nature of colonial life in early Madras.
In the compound is St Mary’s Church, Asia's oldest existing Anglican Church. The church has numerous 17th- and 18th-century gravestones - look for the Latin memorial to Mrs. Elizabeth Baker (1652), believed to be the oldest British inscription in India. St. Mary's Church - built in 1678-80, was the first English Church in Chennai, and is the oldest surviving British Church in India. There are reminders in the Church of Clive, who was married here in 1753, and of Elihu Yale, the early Governor of Chennai who later founded the famous American University bearing his name. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 3: Chennai To Mahabalipuram (60 Kms / 1.3 hrs)
Today we drive to Mahabalipuram (60 Kms / 1 Hour – 30 Minutes), once the principal port of the Pallavas who ruled between the 6th and 9th centuries A.D, via Kanchipuram, once the capital of Pallava and a city of a thousand temples. Kanchipuram, the Golden City of a thousand temples, is the capital of the Pallavas, the Cholas and the Rayas of Vijayanagar. During the 6th and 7th centuries, some of the best temples in the city were built by the Pallavas. The city was also a great seat of learning. Sri Sankaracharya, Appar, Siruthonder and the great Budddhist Bhikku lived, and worked here. Today, it is known not only for its temples, but also for its hand-woven silk fabrics.
Globally renowned for its shore temples, Mahabalipuram was the second capital of the Pallava kings of Kanchipuram. 58 kilometres from Madras on the Bay of Bengal, this tiny sea - side village of Mahabalipuram, is set in a boulder - strewn landscape. Tourists are drawn to this place by its miles of unspoiled beach and rock-cut art. The sculpture, here, is particularly interesting because it shows scenes of day-to- day life, in contrast with the rest of the state of Tamil Nadu, where the carvings generally depict gods and goddesses. Return to hotel. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 4: Mahabalipuram To Pondicherry (170 km / 03 Hours)
After breakfast, depart to Pondicherry, away from the hustle and bustle of big city, it’s a quiet little town on the southern coast. Situated on the Coromandel Coast, about 160 Kms south of Chennai, lies the Union Territory of Pondicherry. The French ruled this territory for 300 years, and today, it stands as a living monument of the French culture in India. It is bound on the east by the Bay of Bengal and on the other three sides by the South Arcot District of Tamil Nadu. This restored, attractive, former French colony exudes a Mediterranean aura with its chic streets, elegant houses, ornamental gardens and the Hotel de Ville. Apart fro the French culture, the main attraction of Pondicherry is the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and its offshoot, Auroville, 10 km outside town. The ashram, the spiritual tenets of which combine yoga and modern science is quite popular within India and abroad. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 5: Pondicherry To Tanjore (210 km / 04 Hours)
Morning we drive to Tanjore, the seat of the Chola Empire from the 10th to 14th centuries. On arrival, check-in at hotel and freshen up. Afternoon visit the temples at Tanjore. The Cholas built approximately 74 temples in TAnjore, the most notable among which is The Brihadeshwara Temple, which is more than 200 feet tall in the Dravidian truncated pyramid form, and has a huge lingam in its sanctorum. In the inner shrine of the temple, one sees India’s second largest stature of Nandi the bull, the mount of the god Shiva. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 6: Tanjore To Trichy (56 Kms /1.3 Kms). This morning drive to Trichy. Trichy’s historic associations stretch from chola times to the 18th century Karnataka Wars, when Britain and France supported the aspirations of rival princes. On arrival, check in at hotel and freshen up. Afternoon explore Trichy city with a visit to Rock Fort Temple, Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple and Jambukeshwar Temples. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 7: Trichy To Madurai (140 Kms / 3.3 Hrs)
After breakfast drive to Madurai, a city with a history that goes back to about 600 B.C. The Pandyan rulers made this their capital until the 14th century and the city bloomed with writers, builders, poets and academics. Later, the Nayaks ruled from the middle of the 16th century to 1743. The ten tall Gopurams of the Meenakshi Temple were raised during their dynasty. Shri Meenakshi Temple is one of South India's biggest, busiest pilgrimage sites, this sprawling temple, always undergoing renovation and repairs, is a place of intense spiritual activity almost unparalleled in India. A high wall surrounds the complex, and 12 looming goparums (pyramidal gateways) mark the various entrances.
Garish stucco gods, demons, beasts, and heroes smother these towers in a writhing, fascinating mass of symbolism. The impressive 16th-century Hall of a Thousand Pillars has 985 elegantly sculpted columns, including a set of "musical pillars" that produce the seven Carnatic musical notes when tapped. At the heart of the complex are the sanctums of the goddess Meenakshi (Parvati) and of Sundareshvara (Shiva). Check in your hotel. Spend the rest of the day visiting this huge complex of temples, the Palace of King Triumalay, Gandhi Museum and the Temple at Alaghat Koli where you can see its beautifully carved stone lattice windows. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 8: Madurai To Periyar (140 Kms/4 Hours). After breakfast drive to Periyar, our first entry point into Kerala, 8,608 square feet national park, where preservation of wildlife is very sacred. Arrive and stay for two nights. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 9: Day in Periyar
Breakfast in Hotel. Spend the morning, exploring the Periyar Wildlife sanctuary, one of the finest elephant reserves of south India. Enjoy boating on the serene Periyar Lake, in the heart of the sanctuary. Periyar National Park is situated in the hills of the Western Ghats in the state of Kerala in southwest India. The centrepiece of Periyar National park is the 5,500-hectare Periyar Lake formed by the construction of a dam on the Periyar River in 1895. The dam submerged low-lying forest whose dead tree trunks still jut out of the waters. Along the fringes of the lake are marshy areas with tall grasslands.
This is one of the richest habitats of large mammals, as it provides both excellent cover and nourishment in the form of succulent shoots and grasses. Here it is possible to see large herds of Indian Elephant with relative ease as well as Nilgiri Langur near Aranya Niwas and the Liontail Macaque in higher areas. This afternoon, enjoy a spice plantation tour and learn about the mystery and history of Indian spices. Some of the spices that Kerala is famous for and which you can see in the spice plantations of Kerala are pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, and nutmeg. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 10: Periyar To Kumarakom (130 Kms / 4 Hours). After breakfast drive to Kumarakom, experiencing the rich culture and active lifestyle that has evolved over the centuries in and around the backwaters and waterways that thread this region. Your afternoon is at leisure. Perhaps take advantage of the rich waters with a bit of fishing, or just relax and soak in the rich atmosphere of your surroundings. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 11: Kumarakom To Alleppey
After breakfast start for Alleppey. Check into a traditional houseboat of Kerala Style and go on a leisurely backwater cruise along the lake on a thatched houseboat. The houseboat with all modern comforts lets you discover the countryside at your own pace. The backwater cruise in a country boat is the best way to explore the villages and rural life. Join the backwater cruise the most fascinating and enjoyable route available. Kerala backwaters consist of a complex network of lagoons, lakes, & canals and are best experienced while slowly rowing down the labyrinth of canals in a traditional thatch-roofed houseboat, known as 'Kettuvallam'.
See life on the banks, lush green rice fields, and coconut groves with occasional temple or church as you cruise through the canals. Relish the special Kerala style meals prepared by your chef on board. The menu is simple and traditional. The cook (chef) of the boat prepares the lunch from fresh materials and even you can have a peek at the recipe. Tea and snacks would be served in the evening. The boat will be anchored in the backwaters along a paddy field and you can go for a stroll into the village or relax at the deck of the boat. Dinner and Overnight at Houseboat.
Day 12: Alleppey - Cochin (85 Kms/2 Hrs)
Drive to Cochin (85 Kms / 2 Hours), known for its well balanced ecosystem. Check in at hotel. Afternoon enjoy a city tour of Kochi, visiting the Dutch Palace, Jewish Synagogue, Fort Cochin, St. Francis Church and Chinese fishing nets. A highlight is watching the fishermen working the nets as the sun sets. In the evening, watch a spectacular Kathakali performance. Kathakali is one of the oldest theatre forms in India. It is a spectacular combination of drama, dance, music and ritual. Characters with vividly painted faces and elaborate costumes re-enact stories from the Hindu epics of Mahabharata and the Ramayana. Overnight stay at hotel.
Day 13: Cochin / Depart.Today transfer to international airport to board flight for onward destination.
We hope you enjoyed your stay in our Incredible India…we look forward to serving you again!
- Check-In, Check- out time: 12.00 noon
- - Prices are subject to change with any increase in the cost.
- Rates include only those items specified in your itinerary
- In case on any currency fluctuations or amendment in local Government taxes, or any fuel hike, we reserve the right to adjust the tour price accordingly.
- 09 nights accommodation on double/twin sharing at the hotels mentioned above or similar
- Buffet breakfast in all hotels
- All meals at AC House boat
- All transfers, excursions and sightseeing tours will be by air-conditioned transportation
- Local English-speaking guide shall be provided for the sightseeing & excursion tours
- Boat Ride at Lake Periyar
- Entry fees to Monuments
- Representative for assistance on all arrival and departure transfers
- All road taxes, parking fee, fuel charges, interstate taxes
- All currently applicable taxes.
- Expense of personal nature like porterage at all hotels, railway station & airports, tipping, laundry, telephone / fax calls, alcoholic beverages, camera/video camera fee at monuments, medical expenses, airport departure tax etc.
- Domestic / International Air fare
- Single Room supplement
- Any other services not mentioned in the inclusions.
Also see tour packages in:
Asia India Local Culture Cultural Journey
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