Chennai – Mamallapuram – Pondicherry – Trichy – Tanjore- Madurai - Periyar – Kumarakom – Alleppey – Cochin
13 Days/12 Nights
13 Days/12 Nights
Upon arrival at Delhi International Airport, you will be met by a Go India representative and transferred to your hotel, where you will be assisted with the check in. Chennai, the gateway to southern India, established in 1639 by the East India Company, is one of the oldest cities of the country. Overnight stay at hotel.
After breakfast enjoy a sightseeing tour of Chennai city, visiting Egmore Museum, Marina Beach, the second longest beach in the world. The St. George Fort, built in 1653, is currently used as the state government’s secretariat; Santhome Cathedral was built around the 14th-15th century and is another colonial structure worth visiting. This afternoon visit the Kapaleeswarar Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva and one of the oldest temples in Chennai.
After breakfast, checkout and drive to Kanchipuram (76 Kms - 1 ½ hours) to visit a stunning set of temples, all built in the 7th and 8th centuries. With a weaving tradition dating back to the Pallava era (when silk was the royal cloth), Kanchipuram is also justly famous for its fine silk saris each embellished with stunning patterns. On arrival in Mamallapuram, transfer directly to your hotel and check-in. Later, take a sightseeing tour of this World Heritage city that boasts of some of India’s most sublime rock-cut art. The seven pagoda-style shore temples, lashed by the waves of the sea and the seven rathas or temple chariots, a group of monolithic monuments and animal figures carved out of solid rock, the earliest known examples of Dravidian architecture, deserve special mention. They were constructed in a single century-long burst of creative enthusiasm. Later, drive back to Mahabalipuram. Overnight stay at hotel.
After breakfast check out and drive to Pondicherry. The drive time is approx. a little under three hours. Pondicherry was the capital of the French colonies in India since the 17th century. Post- lunch, enjoy a tour of this former French enclave which today is an interesting mix of Gallic charm and Tamil influences. Start with a visit to Aurobindo Ashram and the city of Auroville. Spend the rest of the day strolling through both the French and Tamil quarters. Overnight stay at hotel
After breakfast, check out the hotel and drive to Trichy, approx. four and a half hours away. This afternoon take a sightseeing tour of the erstwhile capital of the mighty Chola dynasty in the medieval period. In the 18th century it witnessed the Carnatic wars fought between the French and the English. Lord Robert Clive’s house is a point of attraction as is the Danish Church. The Rock-Fort is particularly famous and the Temple on top offers stunning panoramic views. Time permitting, this evening visit the bustling bazaar before returning to the hotel. Overnight stay at hotel.
After breakfast drive to Tanjore, a short one and a half hour drive. On the sightseeing tour today is a stop at the beautiful Chola Temple of Brihadeeshwara. Using the same construction techniques used by the ancient Egyptians to construct the pyramids, this architectural masterpiece with its bronzes and handicrafts make Tanjore one of the highlights of a visit to South India. The tower of the temple is built so the shadow of the Cupola never falls on the ground. Overnight stay at hotel.
Set out by road after breakfast for the temple city of Madurai an important cultural and commercial hub as far back as 550 AD. In the afternoon you visit one of the most important and holies of all temples, Meenakshi Sundareshwar. This temple complex is one of the largest in India built between the 16th and 18th centuries. Apart from the estimated 33 million sculptures there, this is a living temple and though non-Hindus are not allowed in the inner sanctum, there is still plenty to see and absorb. The energy and devotion of the countless pilgrims who visit is remarkable. Not to be missed also is the colourful market around the temple, the opulent Nayak Palace and Thirupparan Kundram Temple. Later tonight, return to the Meenakshi temple to witness the special daily closing ceremony. Overnight stay at hotel.
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and drive to Periyar. Nestled in Cardamom Hills and centered on the glistening Lake Periyar, this nature reserve is home to an array of wildlife. This evening take a walk through spice plantations to see crops of cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, coffee and tea estates. On your way back to the hotel, you could stop at the local market and pick up some fragrant spices. Overnight stay at hotel.
After breakfast visit Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, one of India’s biggest wildlife sanctuaries covering 777 sq. km (300 sq. miles). Its centerpiece is the man-made Periyar Lake. Take a cruise on the lake and as you sail you will have the opportunity to see large herds of elephants, deer, wild boars and birds who come to the lake for water. This afternoon enjoy a hands-on cooking session with the in-house chef and in the evening sit back and relax over dinner while watching the ancient martial art performance of Kalaripayattu. Overnight stay at hotel. Day 10 - Periyar – Kumarakom (145 kms / 4 hrs) Your destination today is the lovely town of Kumarakom, nestled in the backwaters of Kerala. The drive takes approx. four hours and passes through beautiful rubber and tea plantations. On arrival at Kumarakom, first visit the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary (famous for migratory and local birds) before you check-in to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure and you have the option of indulging in some therapeutic spa appointments. Overnight stay at hotel.
Your destination today is the lovely town of Kumarakom, nestled in the backwaters of Kerala. The drive takes approx. four hours and passes through beautiful rubber and tea plantations. On arrival at Kumarakom, first visit the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary (famous for migratory and local birds) before you check-in to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure and you have the option of indulging in some therapeutic spa appointments. Overnight stay at hotel.
After breakfast, drive to Alleppey, where you exchange your vehicle for a houseboat. The rest of the day is spent cruising the tranquil backwaters with their palm fringed narrow canals, lush paddy fields and the neat tiny hamlets lined up along either side of the canals. The occasional silhouette of Chinese fishing nets are reminders of the rich trading history of the region. All meals are served onboard. Overnight stay on the houseboat.
Disembark after breakfast and transfer to your waiting vehicle. Your destination is Cochin, approx. 2 hours away. Cochin is often referred to as the Queen of the Arabian Sea and is a cluster of islands narrow peninsulas built off the mainland. After you transfer and check in at the hotel, set out on a sightseeing tour of this rich, cultural city that includes a visit to the Jewish synagogue with its beautiful Belgian glass chandeliers and is paved with hand painted tiles from China. Visit the Dutch Palace with its wonderful murals depicting the entire story of the Ramayana on its walls. Stop at the St. Francis Church, the first European church built in India and then walk around Fort Kochi, stopping to click the iconic Chinese fishing nets which are huge cantilevered fishing nets believed to have brought to Kochi by Chinese traders. End the tour with a Kathakali dance performance before returning to your hotel for a special farewell dinner. Overnight stay at hotel.
After breakfast, a Go India representative will assist you to board your flight for the onwards sector.
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