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Best of South India

offered by supplier M20525 (read about supplier)

Key Information:
Tour Duration: 18 day(s)
Group Size: 1 - 15 people
Destination(s): India  
Specialty Categories: Cultural Journey  
Season: January - December
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: No
Minimum Per Person Price: 2437 US Dollar (USD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 2839 US Dollar (USD)

Tour Dates:
- May 22 - June 08
- June 19 - July 06
- July 23 - August 09
- August 27 - September 13
- September 24 - October 11
- November, 12 - 29.

Tour Itinerary:

Day 1: Arrive Mumbai. We are warmly welcomed the traditional Indian way with hands clapped together. After immigration and custom formalities, we are transferred to our Hotel. Rest of the day is free for rest. Overnight: Fariyas Hotel.

Day 2: Mumbai. After breakfast, our experience of Mumbai starts with Gateway of India - Mumbai's most famous monument; this is the starting point for most tourists who want to explore the city. We continue our tour of Mumbai by visiting the Prince of Wales Museum and Victoria Terminus which is recently added to the world heritage site. This is city's most exuberant Gothic building look more like a lavishly decorated palace or cathedral than a train station. Our next stop is at Mani Bhawan, where Mahatma Gandhi stayed here during the freedom Struggle of British India. The house is now converted into a museum.

From here we leave for Jain Temple and Hanging gardens, Tower Of Silence, the bustling Crawford Market and drive past Haji Ali - the tomb of a wealthy Muslim merchant, who renounced all his worldly belongings before embarking on a pilgrimage to Mecca. The tomb itself is over eight hundred years old and linked to the mainland by a path that is annually submerged in the high monsoon tide. We end our tour at the Dhobi Ghats - a vast outdoor laundry. After the tour we return back to our hotel. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 3: Mumbai – Cochin. Today we are transferred to airport for our flight to Cochin. On arrival, we are transferred to our Hotel. Rest of the day is free for personal activities. Overnight: Casino Hotel by CGH Earth. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 4: Cochin. In the morning we tour Cochin, the commercial capital of Kerala, with one of the finest natural harbors in the world. We visit the oldest European Church in India "St. Francis Church". Today it is governed by the Church of South India (CSI). Vasco De Gama was buried here before his remains were taken back to Portugal 14 years later. Next we visit the Santa Cruz Cathedral Built by the Portuguese in around the 16th century; this Roman Catholic Church is famous for the beautiful paintings on its ceiling. We visit the Jewish Quarter with its old synagogue, and the Dutch palace built by the Portuguese and given to the Raja of Cochin.

Later we take a boat cruise to visit the Bolghatty Palace and observe the fascinating Chinese fishing nets in action. In the evening we enjoy Kathakali Dance Performance. This dramatized presentation of a play usually based on the Hindu epics of Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas, has a unique combination of literature, music, painting, acting and dance. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 5: Cochin – Thekkady. In the morning after breakfast we drive to Thekkady. The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, lying close to plantations, in the rich jungles of Periyar in Thekkady is one of the world’s most fascinating natural wildlife reserves – the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Spread across 777 sq km, of which 360 sq. km is thick evergreen forest, the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978. Noted for its geomorphology, diversity of wildlife and scenic beauty, the Reserve attracts visitors from all over the world. On arrival in Thekkady, we check in our Hotel. After lunch we visit the spice plantation. About 4000 sq. km of Idukki district is under spice plantations. Overnight at Thekkady Wild Corridor. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 6: Thekkady. Our day starts with a Jungle walk at the Periyar Wild life Sanctuary. Later we return back to our hotel for breakfast. In the afternoon we take boat ride over the Lake Periyar to watch animals in their natural habitat on the water's edge. While cruising on Lake Periyar, we are likely to see animals like Wild Boars, Sambars, Wild Dogs, Langur Monkeys, Wild Elephants and water birds; darter, grey heron, egret and kingfisher. Evening is free to explore the local bazaars at Thekkady and time to purchase some local spices grown in that area. Overnight is at hotel. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 7: Thekkady – Kumarakom. Today we drive to Kumarakom. An unbelievably beautiful paradise of mangrove forests, emerald green paddy fields and coconut groves interspersed with enchanting waterways and canals adorned with white lilies. Situated on the Vembanad Lake, in this small water world you will come across plenty of traditional country crafts, boats and canoes which will take you into the heart of the scenic lake. On arrival in Kumarakom we board our traditional houseboat (rice boats - "Ketuvallam") and begin our journey through the picturesque backwaters and small lakes relaxing in the tranquility of Kerala's beautiful scenery. Experience the way of life and activity of the local people. Overnight: A.C. Deluxe House Boat. Includes: (B), (L), (D).

Day 8: Alleppey - Kovalam. Breakfast on board. Sail to Alleppey and disembark at Puthenagady Jetty. A scenic comfortable drive conveys us to the beautiful Kovalam Beach on the Malabar Coast near Trivandrum. The palm-fringed bays in secluded coconut groves, promise a relaxed stay. The boundless blue waters of the Arabian Sea and miles of white sands washed away by the surf at the feet of the stalwart palms and the rocky promontories make this beach an incredible paradise. Overnight: Uday Samudra Beach Hotel. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 9: Kovalam. Day is free to relax on beach. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 10: Kovalam – Kanyakumari – Madurai. After breakfast we leave for Madurai, en-route visiting Kanyakumari "Lands End" of India. Kanyakumari is the southernmost tip of peninsular India where the waters of the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea meet. We visit the Temple of Goddess Kumari, Vivekananda Rock Memorial in the sea where Swami Vivekananda mediated. Later after lunch we continue our onward journey to Madurai. On arrival, we check in our Hotel. Overnight: Fortune Pandiyan - Madurai. Includes: (B), (L), (D).

Day 11: Madurai. Madurai situated in southern Tamil Nadu is the second largest city in Tamil Nadu, is an important cultural and commercial center. Today we visit Madurai. The main city area revolves around Meenakshi Temple, with its baroque example of Dravidian architecture and the four tall gopurams (pillars) with multicolored Gods, Goddesses, demons and deities. Madurai is famous for the imposing Temple, a structure in the Dravidian style of architecture. The history of the city dates back over 2,000 years when it was the capital of the Pandyas. Other places of interest include the Tirumalai Nayaka Temple and the Temple Art Museum. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 12: Madurai – Tanjore. In the morning after breakfast we drive to Thanjavur, popularly known as Tanjore, where lies the famous Brihadishwara Temple and its sprawling palace complex. The town is famous also for its distinctive style, a combination of raised and painted surfaces. "Krishna" is the most popular deity depicted, and in the Tanjore School his skin is white, rather than the traditional blue-black. Tanjore was the ancient capital of the Chola Kings whose origins go back to the beginning of the Christian era. Our afternoon tour of World Heritage Site of Tanjore includes Shri Brihadishwara temple built by "Raja-Raja" in 1010 AD, which is the crowning glory of Chola temple architecture. We end our tour of Tanjore with a visit to the Tanjore Palace and Museum which has an eclectic collection of regal memorabilia most of it dating from the early 19th century. Overnight: Hotel Sangam. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 13: Tanjore – Pondicherry. In the morning after breakfast we drive to Pondicherry. The Union Territory of Pondicherry is situated on the Coromandel Coast of South India, about 160 kms south of Chennai. Pondicherry traces its origin to Saint Agasthya, the revered sage of the south. It was also the site of many a battle between the British and the French, and was the capital of French India, before it attained its independence. Being a small and quiet enclave of Tamil Nadu, it has imbibed Tamilian culture. Apart from the charming atmosphere, excellent restaurants, and cheap beer, what attracts most travelers to Pondicherry is the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. The ashram, founded by Sri Aurobindo in the year 1926, has brought international reputation to this coastal town. Tours of the ashram, the spiritual tenets of which combine yoga and modern science, are popular within India and abroad. Overnight: Hotel Atithi. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 14: Pondicherry – Mahabalipuram - Chennai. In the morning after breakfast we drive to Mahabalipuram. We visit the World Heritage Site of Mahabalipuram. This group of sanctuaries, founded by the Pallava kings, was carved out of rock along the Coromandel Coast in the 7th and 8th centuries. It is known especially for its rathas (temples in the form of chariots), mandapas (cave sanctuaries), giant open-air relief’s such as the famous 'Descent of the Ganges', and the temple of Rivage, with thousands of sculptures to the glory of Shiva. After lunch, we continue our journey to Chennai. On arrival we check in our Hotel. Rest of the day is free to relax. Overnight: The Pride. Includes: (B), (L), (D).

Day 15: Chennai. We tour of Chennai starts with visit to the National Art Gallery and Museum. The museum was established in 1857 and contains one of the best collections of bronzes in the country, including the famous icon of Natraja. Our next stop is at St. Mary's Church-built in 1680. This was first English Church in Chennai and is India's oldest surviving British church. In the church there are reminders of Clive, who was married here in 1753, and Elihu Yale, the early governor of Madras. We end our tour with a visit to People’s Park and the beautiful Marina Beach, the second longest beach in the world, and the clock towers. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 16: Chennai – Mysore. Early morning we are transferred to railway station to embark on the luxury first class train to Mysore. This is a very comfortable train journey. It offers air-conditioned "executive class airline" seating with meal services on board. On arrival, we are transferred to our Hotel. Mysore has never failed to mesmerize with its quaint charm, rich heritage, magnificent palaces, beautifully laid-out gardens, imposing buildings, broad shady avenues and sacred temples. Our afternoon tour includes the Maharajah's Palace, the Shri Chamundeswari Temple and the Nadi Shiva's Mount. The evening is free to enjoy the Vrindavan Garden and City Palace, which is beautifully lit on certain days. Overnight: Hotel Regaalis. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 17: Mysore – Srirangapatam - Bangalore. In the morning after breakfast we drive to Bangalore en-route visiting Srirangapatam, the island fortress that was once the capital of the warrior - Kings Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan, the Tiger of Mysore. On arrival in Bangalore we check in our Hotel. In the afternoon we take a city tour of Bangalore, visiting Vidhana Soudha: this imposing edifice built almost entirely of dressed Bangalore granite, is a tribute to temple architecture, housing the Legislative Chambers of the state government, this is Bangalore's best - known landmark. Cubbon Park: in 1864, Lord Cubbon, the then viceroy of India, laid out 3000 acres of verdant tranquility.

Today, it is an oasis of greenery in the heart of Modern Bangalore, Tipu Sultan's Palace: Now a museum, this two- storied ornate wooden structure is a mine of information and is one of the most remarkable Islamic buildings in the city. Also visit Lal Bagh Gardens: this 240 acre expanse of greenery forms one of India's most beautiful botanical gardens, the credit of which goes to the rulers Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan, who laid out an 18th century paradise with rare trees brought from far off Persia, Afghanistan and France. Rest of the evening is free for shopping in local bazaar. Overnight: Fortune Select J P Cosmos. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 18: Bangalore - Departure. The day is free to relax. Check out time 12:00 noon. The day is free for shopping and other personal activities. In the evening we are hosted a farewell dinner before we are transferred to airport to connect our flight back home. Includes: (B), (D).

Member discount:
10% discount for InfoHub customer.  Request a free gift certificate.

Notes:
Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Supplier Information
Location: India
Joined InfoHub: Sep 2010
Client Request Served: 6

Started with a small idea of gathering together people form different parts of the world who come from diverse cultural backgrounds and are open to meet new people on tour and want to travel as a group without paying huge amount of money, we thought of building a platform from where we can approach people around the...

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