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Complete South India Tour

Day 01 ARRIVE CHENNAI

Arrive in Chennai late evening and meet our representative at airport, who will transfer you to your hotel. Capital of the southeastern state of Tamil Nadu, Chennai is one of the four major metropolitan cities in India. The city also has its share of forts and palaces reminding the tourists the glory of bygone eras.

Day 02 TO KANCHEEPURAM & MAHABALIPURAM (140 KMS)

After relaxing in the morning and overcoming the jetlag, enjoy a late morning tour of Chennai city.. Chennai was developed as a British trading post, and as such, most of its attractions have a distinct colonial influence. Stretched over an area of 13 km, MARINA BEACH is the second longest beach in the world. The ST. GEORGE FORT, built in 1653, is currently used as the state government/’s secretariat. SAN THOME Cathedral was built around 14th/15th century and is another colonial structure worth visiting. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the KAPALESHWAR TEMPLE is the oldest temple in Chennai. Then drive to KANCHIPURAM, the fabled city of a thousand temples. There are 650 stone inscriptions here belonging to different dynasties. The temples reflect the maturity and efflorescence of Pallava art and the ornate and often imposing embellishments were produced later by the Chola, Vijayanagar and Chalukyan kings. There is solemn grandeur, a grandiosity of vision and ornamental excess in the temples here. Continue to Mahabalipuram for overnight at your beach resort.

Day 03 IN MAHABALIPURAM

Mahabalipuram with its picturesque location on a rocky outcrop between the beach and a lagoon is a happy combination of history, good beaches, hassle-free tourism and fabulous fish and lobster. It is renowned for its series of charming RATHAS and the spectacular carved relief depicting ARJUNA’S PENANCE. The magnificent SHORE TEMPLE built by king Rajasimha in the seventh century houses the shrines of both Shiva and Vishnu while the Varaha Cave is a rock-cut mandapam with two incarnations of Vishnu—Varaha and Vamana—besides scenes of kings and queens. The KRISHNA MANADAPAM has a bas-relief of Lord Krishna lifting the Govardhan hill on his fingertips. Return to your hotel late in the afternoon for overnight stay.

Day 04 TO PONDICHERRY (140 KMS)

After breakfast drive to Pondicherry (or Puducheri) meaning ’the new settlement’. It was a French settlement comprising of Karaikal, Mahe, and Yanam besides Pondicherry. A unique thing about Pondicherry is that it spreads into several states. On arrival check in at your city hotel. During your afternoon tour visit SRI AUROBINDO ASHRAM, where Sri Aurobindo and the Mother lived for the most parts of their lives. The PONDICHERRY MUSEUM is home to some of the most exquisite collections on architecture and sculpture. Pondicherry also has a pleasant beach alongside promenade and historical monuments.

Day 05 TO TANJORE VIA CHIDAMBARAM

We drive to Tanjore. En-route visit CHIDAMBRAM, famous for its NATARAJA TEMPLE. Chidambaram is a temple town situated in Tamil Nadu around 58 km off Pondicherry. The place is famous for its temple complex where the renowned Nataraja Temple is housed. Arrive Tanjore in the afternoon to check in at your hotel. It is primarily a place for the art lovers, especially for those who love temple architecture and wonder about kings who erected these magnificent monuments. During their reign, the Cholas made significant contribution to the various fields of art and architecture. The BRIHADEESWARA TEMPLE, the wonderful PALACE, ART GALLERY and the SARASWATI MAHAL LIBRARY are some of the other things to see in Tanjore.

Day 06 TO TRICHY (55 kms)

Visit Trichy in the morning. In Trichy visit ROCK FORT, from where the view is spectacular. The VINAYAKA TEMPLE at the top is reached by climbing a tunnel in rock. Half way up is the SRI THAYUMANASWAMY TEMPLE, dedicated to Lord Siva having a 100-pillar hall and a Vimana covered with gold. Also visit TIRUVANAIKKAVAL or JAMBUKESWARA TEMPLE named after the elephant , which is believed to have worshipped Lord Siva here. Installed under an ancient Jambu tree, the lingam is partially submerged by water and meant to represent God incarnate as water. Finally visit SRIRANGAM, the most important pilgrim center in the district on an island. It is surrounded by the waters of the Cauvery on one side and its tributary Kollidam on the other. It is a 600 -acre island town enclosed within the seven walls of the gigantic SRI RANGANATHA TEMPLE. There are not less than 22 gopurams, one of which is the tallest in India. The 72m high 13-tiered Rajagopuram was built in 1987 and dominates the landscape for miles around, while the remaining 21 gopurams were built between the 14th and 17th centuries.

Day 07 TO MADURAI

Drive 4 hours today to the state of TAMIL NADU. Here one of the oldest cities in South India, Madurai has been the centre of learning and pilgrimage for centuries. Spread along the rocky banks of the river Vaigai in the state of Tamil Nadu, this modern industrial city is today famous as a temple town. The history of Madurai dates back to prehistoric times. Archaeological evidences unearthed from this region suggest the existence of settlements in the Megalithic Age and the Neolithic Age. The earliest recorded history of Madurai, available from the fourth century BC, can be found in the Tamil and Greek documents. The ancient city had links with Greece and Rome and traded primarily in spices. Madurai also finds mention in many ancient texts and especially the Puranas, where sage Agastya eulogizes the greatness and glory of the city.

In the afternoon visit the city. One of the most important places of Hindu pilgrimage, the Meenakshi- Sundareswarar temple is located at the heart of the city and is the hub of the religious and cultural life of the city. Built by Kulasekara Pandya in the pre-Christian era, the temple was in ruins before it was rebuilt by Tirumalai Nayak. Spread over six hectares, the temple is an outstanding example of Vijayanagar temple architecture. The temple has four entrances to it and its gopurams (large gateways) and mandapams (multi-pillared halls) are covered from top to bottom in a profusion of multi-coloured images of gods, goddesses, animals and mythical figures. The southern gopuram, which is about 48.4-metre-high is the most spectacular of all gopurams, and has over 1,500 sculptures. You can even climb the gopuram to get a panoramic view of the city. The sculpted pillars in the Ashta Shakti Mandapam inside the Meenakshi temple tell the story of the beautiful princess of Madurai and her marriage to Lord Shiva. Legend has it that the princess was actually an incarnation of Parvati who came to earth to honour a promise. Shiva came to Madurai as Sundareswarar to marry Meenakshi, and the two ruled over the kingdom for many years. The spot from where they left for their heavenly abode is where the temple now stands.

Day 08 TO PERIYAR (140 KMS)

After breakfast drive to PERIYAR, which is one of the finest sanctuaries for studying the Indian Elephant in its home. Since situated around a large lake, Game viewing is done by boat.

Day 09 TO KOVALAM (220 KMS)

Morning enjoy the boat ride in Lake Periyar to witness the animals in their natural habitat. What an idyllic way to start the day, an early morning boat ride on Lake Periyar! Covering an area of 300 square miles Periyar is one of the largest and most frequently visited wildlife reserves in India. It is part of the Project Tiger campaign and animals inhabiting the area include elephant, deer, pig, tiger, leopard, bison, monkeys and malabar squirrel. Whilst actually spotting an illusive tiger or leopard could prove difficult, the mix of wooded hills and valleys make it a wonderful place to enjoy the greenery. Then drive to Kovalam, near Trivandrum stopping en-route at VIZIHINIAM HARBOUR. On arrival check in at hotel

Day 10 TO ALLEPPEY (180 KMS)

Drive to Alleppey in the morning, often referred to as Venice of the East. En route stop at TRIVANDRUM city for a quick tour. Covering an area of about 2,400 sq. meters, the temple of SRI PADMANABHASWAMY is believed to be around 260 years old. The temple with its gopuram (tower) soaring majestically upwards is believed to be one of the 108 shrines sacred to the Vaishnavites in India. Dating back to 1880, the NAPIER MUSEUM building is a combination of the Kerala, Mughal, Chinese and Italian architectural styles. The building has a unique natural air-conditioning system. The SRI CHITRA ART GALLERY houses paintings from the Mughal, Rajput and Tanjore schools of art. Besides these, the gallery has a rare collection of paintings by Raja Ravi Varma, Svetoslav and Nicholas Roerich. An Oriental collection consisting of paintings from China, Japan, Tibet and Bali are a visual treat to the visitor. Later continue your drive to Quilon, also known as Kollam, having a hoary past. It was an international emporium of trade and even now it is a prosperous commercial center. The town edges with the famous ASTAMUDI LAKE. It is said that the present town of Kollam was built by the Syrian Merchant; Sapir Iso, in the 9th Century A.D. It is also the headquarters of the Kerala State Cashew Development Corporation. The 144 ft. THANGASSERY LIGHT HOUSE, built in 1902, is a center of attraction. The ANANDA VALLEESWARAM TEMPLE here attracts people on almost all days. There are several Churches and Mosques is not around Kollam. The PULLICHIRA CHURCH was established in 1700 A.D. One of the oldest and most important Mosques in the town is the CHINNAKKADA PALLI. Continue your drive to Alleppey and arrive in the evening where your houseboat is reserved for you for overnight stay for an unforgettable experience.

Your boat has a private balcony with comfortable chairs (perfect for that Gin & Tonic while the sun goes down!). The rooms are fully furnished with attached bathrooms. Each boat has a fully equipped kitchen and an experienced cook to prepare authentic Kerala cuisine with seafood specialities and fresh vegetables. This is your chance to pick up some fabulous cooking tips! The entire state of Kerala is blessed with plenty of rivers and the resources of many are still untapped. The waterways of Kerala play a major role in the economy of the state as they link remote villages and islands with the mainland. It is an incredibly different experience to cruise in the backwaters in country boats, absorbing the beauty of Kerala's villages. Houseboats, also known as kettuvallam or rice boats, are today one of the major tourist attractions in Kerala, but these boats were used to carry rice bags in their earlier days. These houseboats are uniquely designed using local materials like bamboo poles, coconut fiber ropes, bamboo mats, carpets etc. and are a fabulous way to enjoy exploring the fascinating beauties of backwaters. With their languid grace and quaint design adding another dimension to your cruise in the shimmering blue waters.

Day 11 TO COCHIN

You will get up early today by chirping of birds and occasional ripples in the water. Your breakfast will be cooked before your eyes by your expert boat-crew. Enjoy a sumptuous breakfast while cruising quietly on the unending stretches of these backwaters. The boat will cruise through various canals and waterways giving you an insight into the rural life. Stop at any house and ask your boatman to take you to one of the houses to interact with local people and to witness their way of living. Later check out of the houseboat and switch over to a faster boat for a 3-hour backwater cruise up to Kottayam. In Kottayam you will switch over to your car to drive down to Cochin. Being a major harbor from the times of the British and Portuguese, Cochin has a rich heritage of forts, churches and temples. A visit to these ancient marvels gives you an overview of the political, religious and commercial developments of the city. Some of the major attractions of the city are the Dutch Palace, Jewish Synagogue, Fort Kochi, St. Francis Church, Santa Cruz Basilica, Dutch Cemetery, the Chinese Nets, Wilingdon Island, and Hill Palace Museum.

Day 12 COCHIN- CONOOR (200 KMS)

A long and winding drive will bring you today to Conoor, the Conoor is the first of the three Nilgiri hill stations. Coonoor has an equable climate that makes this small town a popular hill resort. The main attraction here is the Sim’s Park, a well-maintained botanical garden & a hike to Lamb’s Rocks, if time permits. Rest of the day is at leisure in the bounty of the nature.

Day 13 TO OOTY and back to CONOOR (50 KMS)

After a very early breakfast, enjoy a spectacular train ride from Conoor to Udhaghamandlam (the rail head for Ooty). The train starts from Mettupalayam at 0745hrs and goes up to Ooty via Conoor, where you will be boarding it. Arrive Udhagamandhlam and switch back to your car for driving back to Conoor. Move around the town and revel in the scenic surroundings. The BOTANICAL GARDEN is an ideal tourist spot besides being a source of information about the region’s flora. For those who like to enjoy boat rides and fishing, a visit to the OOTY LAKE is a must. Besides these, there are various view points like Lamb’s Rock, Kodanadu and Dodabetta Peak that offer fascinating views of the surrounding plains and hills.

Day 14 TO MUDUMALAI (60 KMS)

One of the most important wildlife sanctuaries in South India, the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary is situated at about 67 km from Ooty. It is a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere reserve along with Bandipur National Park in Karnataka and Wynad Sanctuary in Kerala. Wildlife in Mudumalai is very similar to other sanctuaries in Nilgiris. The predominant species in this region are bonnet macaque and common langur. Tigers and leopards also reside here but are a rare sight. Other important species are giant squirrels, flying squirrels, elephants, gaurs, sambhar, chital, barking deer and mouse deer. The birds in the sanctuary include racket-tailed drongo, black woodpecker, parakeets, barbets, mynas, cuckoos, Malabar trogon, Malabar grey hornbill, crested hawk eagle, and crested serpent eagle. An elephant camp called Theppakkadu is located within the sanctuary where you can find a rest house. Overnight is at your lodge.

Day 15 TO MYSORE (200KMS)

Leave for Mysore. Thirty-five kilometers east of Mysore lies SOMNATHPUR, a town famous for the temple built by the Hoysala kings. The beautiful building of the KESHAVA TEMPLE built in 1268 is the major attraction here. The walls of this star-shaped temple are covered with sculptures in stone depicting various scenes from the Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Bhagavad-Gita and the life and times of the Hoysala Kings Also visit Sivasamudram visiting twin waterfalls. After the visit continue your drive to Mysore and arrive straight at your hotel for two nights. A half-hour’s drive from the city takes you to the terraced BRINDAVAN GARDENS. Here the well- manicured steps are bordered by water- courses. Musical fountains with soft colored lights add to the visitor’s delight. The view of the gardens during the nights is a thing to be seen.

Day 16 IN MYSORE

The city of Mysore offers a visitor an insight into the lifestyles, cultures and traditions of its erstwhile rulers. The palaces and temples around the city speak volumes about heritage and architecture of the medieval times and the kind of patronage the city received from its rulers. Forming the backdrop of the city is the 1,100-feet-high CHAMUNDI HILL. On the top of the hill stands the temple dedicated to the Goddess Chamundeshwari, the royal family’s patron deity. About 15 km from the royal city of Mysore lies the town of SRIRANGAPATNAM. There are many interesting places here of which the summer palace of Tipu Sultan is a must visit. Built in 1784 in the Indo-Saracenic style, the palace also has a small museum where Tipu’s trivia, including a gold-embroidered tunic, old paintings and a coin collection, are displayed. Built in around AD 897 in Saracenic style, THE MYSORE PALACE has both Hindu as well as Muslim influences. The palace, designed by an English architect and completed in 1912, was built in place of an earlier palace, which was burnt down in 1897. The main palace building is made of massive grey granite with a tower covered by a gilded dome.

Day 17 TO CHIKMAGLUR (160 KMS)

Drive for 4 hours to Chikmaglur. On the way visit the temples of BELUR and HALEBID. One of the three major Hoysala temples still in daily use today is the CHANNEKESHAVA TEMPLE of Belur. The construction of the temple, which took almost a century, was started in 1116 to commemorate the Hoysala’s victory over the Cholas. Enclosed in a paved compound, the temple complex includes a well and a bathing tank. It is believed that every major deity of the Hindu pantheon is represented in the temple. Also visit The HOYSALESWARA TEMPLE at Halebid, which has a history dating back to around AD 1121. Though its construction spanned 80 years, it was never completed. The temple is set in a well-tendered garden. A small museum adjacent to it houses a collection of sculptures. The KEDARESWARA TEMPLE and three small Jain temples are also located at Halebid. Arrive Chikmaglur in the evening to check in at Hotel Taj Garden Retreat for overnight stay.

Day 18 TO BANGALORE

After breakfast we drive for Bangalore. Enroute visit SRAVANBELGOLA. The Monk of the White Pond or Shravanbelagola is the oldest and the most important pilgrimage centre for the Jains in the country. The town is famous for being the home to the world’s tallest monolithic, the Gommateshwara statute. The 17-metre-high statue representing the saintly prince Bahubali was erected some time between AD 980 and 983. To reach the site of the statue, which stands on the hill, you need to climb a flight of about 700 steps carved in the steep granite slope. After the visit continue your drive to Bangalore. On arrival in the city, check in at Hotel.

Day 19 TO CHENNAI

Take a full day city tour visiting in and around the city. There are a number of tourist attractions to visit in and around the city. Of historical, religious and contemporary interests, these tourists spots are easily accessible and worth a visit. The VIDHAN SOUDHA makes the major attraction in Bangalore. The building is a massive neo Dravidian architecture presently functioning as the state legislative assembly. CUBBON PARK in the heart of the city, LAL BAGH, which is famous for the wonderfully bloomed red roses and the BANGALORE PALACE are some of the other must see of this garden city. In the transfer to railway ststion to board train for Chennai and on arrival in Chennai transfer to hotel.

Day 20 DEPART CHENNAI

Depart for home by your onward flight. End of our services….

RATES FOR THE ABOVE PROGRAM

HOTELS ENVISAGED

Chennai :Radha Regent
Mahabalipuram : MGM Beach Resort
Pondicherry :The Promenade
Thanjavur : Hotel Sangam
Trichy : Hotel Sangam
Madurai :Hotel Sangam
Periyar : Cardamom County
Kovalam :Travancore Heritage
Alleppey :Houseboat
Cochin :Hotel Casino
Conoor :Kurumba Village Resort
Madumalai :Monarch Safari Park
Mysore :Regaalis
Chikmanglur :Taj Gateway Hotel
Bangalore :Regaalis
Chennai :Radha Regent

THE RATES INCLUDE

- Accommodation in a twin sharing room
- Meals including breakfast & dinner at hotels on fixed menu basis and except Houseboat and Madumalai where all the meals would be provided
- Transport using Medium Car for 2 persons & Multi Utility vehicle for 4 persons
- English speaking local guide at all the destinations except in Alleppey, Kumarakom
- English speaking Naturalist in Periyar. Madumalai
- Boat ride at Lake Periyar, Periyar,
- Kathakali Dance show in Cochin
- Meeting and assistance on arrival & departure at airports & railway stations by representative
- Presently applicable taxes

THE RATES DO NOT INCLUDE

- Any Airfare, Airport tax
- Any Entrance fees to the monument, entry fees to the National Park, any cable car rides
- Any alteration or changes in the program due to climatic reason, delay in flights, trains
- Any meals not specified
- Any personal expenses viz telephone calls, table drinks, laundry etc
- Any tips and gratuities for restaurant servers, local tour directors, representatives

INCREDIBLE SOUTH INDIA

Day 01 ARRIVE CHENNAI

Arrive in Chennai late evening and meet our representative at airport, who will transfer you to your hotel. Capital of the southeastern state of Tamil Nadu, Chennai is one of the four major metropolitan cities in India. The city also has its share of forts and palaces reminding the tourists the glory of bygone eras.

Day 02 TO KANCHEEPURAM & MAHABALIPURAM (140 KMS)

After relaxing in the morning and overcoming the jetlag, enjoy a late morning tour of Chennai city. Chennai was developed as a British trading post, and as such, most of its attractions have a distinct colonial influence. Stretched over an area of 13 km, MARINA BEACH is the second longest beach in the world. The ST. GEORGE FORT, built in 1653, is currently used as the state government/’s secretariat. SAN THOME Cathedral was built around 14th/15th century and is another colonial structure worth visiting. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the KAPALESHWAR TEMPLE is the oldest temple in Chennai. Then drive to KANCHIPURAM, the fabled city of a thousand temples. There are 650 stone inscriptions here belonging to different dynasties. The temples reflect the maturity and efflorescence of Pallava art and the ornate and often imposing embellishments were produced later by the Chola, Vijayanagar and Chalukyan kings. There is solemn grandeur, a grandiosity of vision and ornamental excess in the temples here. Continue to Mahabalipuram for overnight at your beach resort.

Day 03 IN MAHABALIPURAM

Mahabalipuram with its picturesque location on a rocky outcrop between the beach and a lagoon is a happy combination of history, good beaches, hassle-free tourism and fabulous fish and lobster. It is renowned for its series of charming RATHAS and the spectacular carved relief depicting ARJUNA’S PENANCE. The magnificent SHORE TEMPLE built by king Rajasimha in the seventh century houses the shrines of both Shiva and Vishnu while the Varaha Cave is a rock-cut mandapam with two incarnations of Vishnu—Varaha and Vamana—besides scenes of kings and queens. The KRISHNA MANADAPAM has a bas-relief of Lord Krishna lifting the Govardhan hill on his fingertips. Return to your hotel late in the afternoon for overnight stay.

Day 04 TO PONDICHERRY (140 KMS)

After breakfast drive to Pondicherry (or Puducheri) meaning ’the new settlement’ now also a world heritage site. It was a French settlement comprising of Karaikal, Mahe, and Yanam besides Pondicherry. A unique thing about Pondicherry is that it spreads into several states. On arrival check in- at your city hotel. During your afternoon tour visit SRI AUROBINDO ASHRAM, where Sri Aurobindo and the Mother lived for the most parts of their lives. The PONDICHERRY MUSEUM is home to some of the most exquisite collections on architecture and sculpture. Pondicherry also has a pleasant beach alongside promenade and historical monuments.

Day 05 TO TANJORE VIA CHIDAMBARAM

We drive to Tanjore. En route visit CHIDAMBRAM, famous for its NATARAJA TEMPLE. Chidambaram is a temple town situated in Tamil Nadu around 58 km off Pondicherry. The place is famous for its temple complex where the renowned Nataraja Temple is housed. Arrive Tanjore in the afternoon to check in at your hotel. It is primarily a place for the art lovers, especially for those who love temple architecture and wonder about kings who erected these magnificent monuments. During their reign, the Cholas made significant contribution to the various fields of art and architecture. The BRIHADEESWARA TEMPLE, the wonderful PALACE, ART GALLERY and the SARASWATI MAHAL LIBRARY are some of the other things to see in Tanjore.

Day 06 TO TRICHY (55 kms)

Visit Trichy in the morning. In Trichy visit ROCK FORT, from where the view is spectacular. The VINAYAKA TEMPLE at the top is reached by climbing a tunnel in rock. Half way up is the SRI THAYUMANASWAMY TEMPLE, dedicated to Lord Siva having a 100-pillar hall and a Vimana covered with gold. Also visit TIRUVANAIKKAVAL or JAMBUKESWARA TEMPLE named after the elephant , which is believed to have worshipped Lord Siva here. Installed under an ancient Jambu tree, the lingam is partially submerged by water and meant to represent God incarnate as water. Finally visit SRIRANGAM, the most important pilgrim center in the district on an island. It is surrounded by the waters of the Cauvery on one side and its tributary Kollidam on the other. It is a 600 -acre island town enclosed within the seven walls of the gigantic SRI RANGANATHA TEMPLE. There are not less than 22 gopurams, one of which is the tallest in India. The 72m high 13-tiered Rajagopuram was built in 1987 and dominates the landscape for miles around, while the remaining 21 gopurams were built between the 14th and 17th centuries.

Day 07 TO MADURAI

Drive 4 hours today to the state of TAMIL NADU. Here one of the oldest cities in South India, Madurai has been the centre of learning and pilgrimage for centuries. Spread along the rocky banks of the river Vaigai in the state of Tamil Nadu, this modern industrial city is today famous as a temple town. The history of Madurai dates back to prehistoric times. Archaeological evidences unearthed from this region suggest the existence of settlements in the Megalithic Age and the Neolithic Age. The earliest recorded history of Madurai, available from the fourth century BC, can be found in the Tamil and Greek documents. The ancient city had links with Greece and Rome and traded primarily in spices. Madurai also finds mention in many ancient texts and especially the Puranas, where sage Agastya eulogizes the greatness and glory of the city.

In the afternoon visit the city. One of the most important places of Hindu pilgrimage, the Meenakshi- Sundareswarar temple is located at the heart of the city and is the hub of the religious and cultural life of the city. Built by Kulasekara Pandya in the pre-Christian era, the temple was in ruins before it was rebuilt by Tirumalai Nayak. Spread over six hectares, the temple is an outstanding example of Vijayanagar temple architecture. The temple has four entrances to it and its gopurams (large gateways) and mandapams (multi-pillared halls) are covered from top to bottom in a profusion of multi-coloured images of gods, goddesses, animals and mythical figures. The southern gopuram, which is about 48.4-metre-high is the most spectacular of all gopurams, and has over 1,500 sculptures. You can even climb the gopuram to get a panoramic view of the city. The sculpted pillars in the Ashta Shakti Mandapam inside the Meenakshi temple tell the story of the beautiful princess of Madurai and her marriage to Lord Shiva. Legend has it that the princess was actually an incarnation of Parvati who came to earth to honour a promise. Shiva came to Madurai as Sundareswarar to marry Meenakshi, and the two ruled over the kingdom for many years. The spot from where they left for their heavenly abode is where the temple now stands.

Day 08 TO MUNNAR

Breakfast is followed by drive to MUNNAR. Surrounded by lush green-carpeted tea and coffee plantations, Munnar is a picturesque hill station situated in the eastern part of Kerala. The town is located at the confluence of three mountain streams—Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni, and Kudala—and is known for its clean, neat, and brightly painted ambience. The beautiful landscapes, cosy weather, and the smell of tealeaves make Munnar one of the most sought-after destinations in South India. Precisely these were the reason why the British always retreated to Munnar when the heat and humidity was on its peak in other parts of Kerala. Munnar is situated near the Anaimudi Peak, the highest peak in the Western Ghats. The hills here are covered with a carpet of flowers in bloom. Also found here is an exotic plant called Neelakurunji that flowers just once in a 12-year period. Its next scheduled flowering is in 2006.

Day 09 IN MUNNAR

Depending on the time that you have available with you, you will see some of the important sites here. The places in and around Munnar abound in beautiful landscapes and cool pleasant atmosphere. Besides tea and other plantations, the old-world charm of Colonial establishments attracts visitors to this place all the year round. Pothamedu is known for its plantation business apart from trekking and hiking options amidst sylvan surroundings. Devikulam is an idyllic hill station near Munnar. Pallivasal is home to the first hydropower project in Kerala. Attukal has several panoramic waterfalls and offers trekking options. Nyayamakad is again a well-known picnic spot around Munnar. Mettupetty has an artificial lake built by a small hydroelectric project. Rajamala is known as the natural habitat of endangered Nilgiri Tahr. Chitthirapuram is a small hill station that was once the favourite of the British while Echo Point is known for the natural echo effect it produces.

Day 10 TO PERIYAR

This morning you travel approximately 4 hours by private vehicle to Thekkady, the main entrance to Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Upon arrival check-into your hotel. The name Thekkady, for those who have already visited this place, brings to mind images of elephants, unending chains of hills and spice-scented plantations. Moreover, the flora and fauna of the Periyar wildlife sanctuary is absolutely thrilling. The wildlife sanctuary here is the natural habitat of a wide variety of animal species. The Periyar Lake is a paradise for the nature lovers. It gives you an opportunity to observe the wild animals roaming in the jungle. The lake is also a birdwatcher’s delight. The greatest attraction of Periyar Lake, however, is the herds of wild elephants that come down to play in the lake. Moreover, the Sanctuary Watch Tower situated in the forest interior gives you a panoramic view of the park.

Day 11 TO KUMARAKOM

What an idyllic way to start the day, an early morning boat ride on Lake Periyar! Covering an area of 300 square miles Periyar is one of the largest and most frequently visited wildlife reserves in India. It is part of the Project Tiger campaign and animals inhabiting the area include elephant, deer, pig, tiger, leopard, bison, monkeys and malabar squirrel. Whilst actually spotting an illusive tiger or leopard could prove difficult, the mix of wooded hills and valleys make it a wonderful place to enjoy the greenery.

Return to your resort for breakfast then a local guide takes you to view spice plantations of cardamon, pepper and other local specialties. Later drive approximately 3 hours to Kumarakom. An old rubber plantation set around the Vembanad Lake has been sensitively developed by the Kerala Tourism Department into a bird sanctuary. The Vembanad Lake with its majestic canals, streams and distributories along its banks weaves an intricate and beautiful web. This area is a winter home for many migratory birds and species include the darter, little cormorant, night heron, golden-backed woodpecker, white-breasted water hen and many more wonderful birds.

After lunch you visit the bird sanctuary with a local naturalist and if possible do your wildlife viewing by boat.

Day 12 TO ALLEPPEY

After breakfast you make a short trip to the ferry point where you board your houseboat. For you we have reserved a private, one room houseboat that travels until sunset when it then anchors for the night, at Alleppey. Your boat has a private balcony with comfortable chairs (perfect for that G&T while the sun goes down!). The rooms are fully furnished with attached bathrooms. The boat has a fully equipped kitchen and an experienced cook to prepare authentic Kerala cuisine with seafood specialties and fresh vegetables. This is your chance to pick up some fabulous cooking tips!

The entire state of Kerala is blessed with plenty of rivers and the resources of many are still untapped. The waterways of Kerala play a major role in the economy of the state as they link remote villages and islands with the mainland. It is an incredibly different experience to cruise in the backwaters in country boats, absorbing the beauty of Kerala's villages. Houseboats, also known as kettuvallam or rice boats, are today one of the major tourist attractions in Kerala, but these boats were used to carry rice bags in their earlier days. These houseboats are uniquely designed using local materials like bamboo poles, coconut fiber ropes, bamboo mats, carpets etc. and are a fabulous way to enjoy exploring the fascinating beauties of backwaters. With their languid grace and quaint design adding another dimension to your cruise in the shimmering blue waters.

Day 13 IN COCHIN

Breakfast at houseboat. Later switch over to your car in Alleppey and drive to your hotel in Cochin. Enjoy a guided tour in the half of the day.

The city has three distinctive regions – Ernakulam, the modern region to the East, and the older districts of Mattancherry and Fort Cochin located on a peninsula in the west. The easiest way to get around is by ferry, or by walking through the narrow roads and over bridges.

Following our arrival in Cochin, we will spend today walking through the old sections. Our walking tour will take us to; Jew Town, including the Pardesi Synagogue; the Mattancherry Palace, known locally as the Dutch Palace; Fort Cochin, reminiscent of European streets and houses; the Chinese Fishing Nets on the northern shore of Fort Cochin; and St Francis Church, near to a typical English village green. A highlight is watching the fishermen working the nets (which operate on a weight system) as the sun is setting.

Day 14 COCHIN / DEPARTURE

Transfer to airport to connect your onward flight to Mumbai or to any other destination.

HOTELS ENVISAGED

Chennai :Radha Regent
Mahabalipuram : MGM Beach Resort
Pondicherry :The Promenade
Thanjavur : Hotel Sangam
Trichy : Hotel Sangam
Madurai :Hotel Sangam
Kumarakom : Cardamom County
Periyar : Coconut Lagoon
Kovalam :Travancore Heritage
Alleppey :Houseboat
Cochin :Hotel Casino

THE RATES INCLUDE

- Accommodation in a twin sharing room
- Meals including breakfast & dinner at hotels on fixed menu basis and except Houseboat and Madumalai where all the meals would be provided
- Transport using Medium Car for 2 persons & Multi Utility vehicle for 4 persons
- English speaking local guide at all the destinations except in Alleppey, Kumarakom
- English speaking Naturalist in Periyar. Madumalai
- Boat ride at Lake Periyar, Periyar,
- Kathakali Dance show in Cochin
- Meeting and assistance on arrival & departure at airports & railway stations by representative
- Presently applicable taxes

THE RATES DO NOT INCLUDE

- Any Airfare, Airport tax
- Any Entrance fees to the monument, entry fees to the National Park, any cable car rides
- Any alteration or changes in the program due to climatic reason, delay in flights, trains
- Any meals not specified
- Any personal expenses viz telephone calls, table drinks, laundry etc
- Any tips and gratuities for restaurant servers, local tour directors, representatives

Please Fill the Querry form with dates of travel and no of Guest Travelling for a special quote for hotel accommodation cost and transportation for the indicated itinerary.

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  • Golden Triangle Tour

    Duration : 07 Days

    Destination : Delhi - Agra - Jaipur - Mandawa – Delhi.
  • 5 Elements Tour

    Duration : 10 Days

    Destination : Delhi - Shivpuri – Ananda in Himalayas – Corbett National Park – Fort Unchagaon - Agra – Delhi.
  • Complete Himachal Tour

    Duration : 12 Days

    Destination : Delhi - Shimla - Manali - Kullu – Mc Leodganj - Dalhousie – Delhi.
  • Amazing Ladakh

    Duration : 08 Days

    Destination : Delhi – Leh - Delhi
  • Bike For Life Tour

    Destination : Mumbai To Goa
  • Forts of the Tiger

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Other Tours: