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South India Cultural Tour
Covered Destination : Chennai - Pondicherry - Thanjavur - Trichy - Madurai - Rameswaram - Trivandrum - Kanyakumari - Alleppey - Kumarakom - Periyar - Munnar - Cochin
Duration : 16 Nights / 17 Days

Day 01 : Arrival Chennai
On arrival at Chennai, you will be received by our representative for assistance at the airport and transfer to your pre-booked Deluxe / Luxury hotel. Afternoon, take sightseeing tour of Chennai city. Overnight stay will be at the hotel.

Day 02 : Chennai
Today after a leisurely breakfast, you will take full day excursion to Mahabalipuram & Kanchipuram. Overnight stay will be at the hotel.

Day 03 : Pondicherry
Today in morning, you will be driven to Pondicherry after breakfast. Check-in to your pre-booked deluxe / luxury hotel on arrival and set out on a sightseeing tour around the city. Visit the famous Aurobindo Ashram and Museum besides other attractions of Pondicherry before returning for an overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 04: Thanjavur

You will be driven to Thanjavur after breakfast. Around afternoon, visit some interesting tourist attractions like the Brihadeshwara Fort and Temple, Thanjavur Palace and Museum. Return for an overnight stay at your pre-booked deluxe / luxury hotel in Thanjavur.

Day 05: Trichy

Travel to Trichy by road after breakfast. Check-in to your pre-booked deluxe / luxury hotel on arrival and rest awhile before visiting the Rock Fort Temple, Srirangam Temple and the Jambukeshwara Temple. Return for an overnight stay at your hotel in Trichy. Overnight stay will be at your hotel.

Day 06: Madurai

After a sumptuous breakfast drive to Madurai, one of the holiest cities in India. Visit the famous Meenakshi Temple, Tirumala Palace and the Gandhi Museum in the afternoon. Over night stay at Madurai hotel.

Madurai is one of the oldest cities of India, with a history dating all the way back to the Sangam period of the pre Christian era. The glory of Madurai returned in a diminished form in the earlier part of this millennium; it later on came under the rule of the Vijayanagar kingdom after its ransack by the ravaging armies of Delhi (Malik Kafur). During the 16th and 18th centuries, Madurai was ruled by the Nayak Emperors, the foremost of whom was Tirumalai Nayakar. The Sangam period poet Nakkeerar is associated with some of the Tiruvilayaadal episodes of Sundareswarar - that are enacted as a part of temple festival traditions even today.

Day 07: Madurai - Rameswaram

Explore temple city Madurai on the fifth day of your tour. Also drive to Rameswaram, town that is intimately connected to the legend of Ramayana. Visit the famous temple, nestling on the seaside. Overnight stay will be at Madurai.

Day 08: Trivandrum

Drive to Trivandrum in the morning and spent the day at your leisure. You can either explore Trivandrum, or relax at the hotel.

Day 09: Trivandrum - Kanyakumari

After a hearty breakfast, drive to Kanyakumari, the southernmost point in India. Visit the attractions of Kanyakumari including Amman Temple and the Vivekananda Rock. Later drive back to Trivandrum for overnight stay.

Day 10: Alleppey

Drive through green coastal belt and cashew plantations and reach Alleppey- the central hub of Backwater network. Stay in a traditional Kerala house opening right over the Vembanad Lake surrounded by banana plantations. Day free to relax with the option of a herbal oil massage. Also relish the wonderful Kerala cuisine in ethnic way.

Alleppey: Alappuzha, formerly named as Alleppey, in Kerala is one of the major backwater destinations. The thrilling boat race awaits you at Alleppey or Alappuzha. Imagine to just lazing on a houseboat or enjoying fishing in Alleppey Kerala. Kuttanad is also known as the 'rice bowl' of the state, Kerala India. Alleppey is a captivating destination in Kerala India that provides backwaters, traditional Kettuvallooms (house boats), beaches, boat race, swaying palms, gourmet delight and many more.

Day 11: Kumarakom

Sail through the backwater canals and reach Kumarakom- an island with a beautiful bird-sanctuary and extremely serene atmosphere. Stay at Taj Garden Retreat- a wonderful resort providing restored tharawads as idyllic rooms.

Kumarakom slumbers on the banks of the famous Vembanad Lake, which is a part of Kuttanad ('granary' of Kerala). The Vembanad Lake with its majestic canals, streams and distributaries along its banks weave an intricate and enchantingly beautiful web. The gorgeous green of the fringed palms ripple in the blue waters and blend into wavelets. 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 main role in the economy of the state links remote villages and islands with the main land. The water ways provide a cheap and economical mode of transport. The water ways of Kuttanad is now a big attraction for tourist. It is incredibly different experience to cruise in the backwaters in country boats, absorbing the beauty of Kerala villages. The scenery flashes up vivid contrasts of breath-taking greens and deep blues. Boat rides are available for tourist and others at nominal rates.

Day 12: Periyar

Today after a leisurely breakfast, you will be driven to Periyar and upon arrival, check -n at your pre-booked Deluxe / Luxury hotel. Afternoon, you will take sightseeing tour by boat over Lake Periyar to view the wild life. Overnight will be at the hotel.

Periyar: One of the well known wildlife sanctuaries in the south, Periyar sanctuary attracts a large number of nature lovers every year. Also called the Thekkady Wildlife Sanctuary, this place is ideal for watching the animals in their natural habitat.
The forest here slopes into the manmade lake at the bottom of the hill. This lake serves as the waterhole for the animals and they come here to drink or take a dip. Elephants, Gaur, Sambhar and even tigers can be spotted here.

There are boat services which takes the visitor around the lake. The best season to visit the park is between October and June. Spread over 777 sq.km of the Cardamom Hills of Western Ghats, the Periyar sanctuary is located 137 km from Madurai.

Although an excursion on the splendid artificial lake is the standard way to experience the sanctuary, you can also walk around with the local guide in a small group. Wild Elephant herds come to the lake to frolic in the water.

Other attractions of the sanctuary are the Sambhar, Bison, Spotted Deer, Tigers, Leopards, Malabar Flying Squirrels, Stripe necked Mongooses, etc. There are over 260 species of birds here; including Nilgiri Wood Pigeons, blue-winged Parakeets, and White bellied Tree Pies, laughing Thrushes and Fly Catchers.

Day 13: Periyar

Visit the National Park on boat over Periyar Lake where several wild animals congregate at different times.

Day 14: Munnar

After a picturesque drive through jungles, waterfalls and spice plantations, reach the high ranges of Munnar- the highest and the most beautiful tea growing region in the world. Visit a tea estate and factory after some leisure.
Munnar is situated at the confluence of three mountain streams namely Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kundala.
This hill station, located at an altitude of 1600 m above sea level, was once the summer resort of the erstwhile British government in South India. Sprawling tea plantations, picture book towns, winding lanes and holiday facilities make this a popular resort town. Among the exotic flora found in the forests and grasslands is the 'Neelakurinji'.
This flower which bathes the hills in blue every twelve years will bloom next in 2006 AD. Munnar also has the highest peak in south India, Anamudi, which towers over 2695 m. Anamudi is an ideal spot for trekking

Day 15: Cochin

Drive to Kochi- the cultural and commercial hub of Kerala. Watch a spectacular Kathakali performance along with its make-up process. Evening will be free to explore the vibrant markets.

Cochin set on a cluster of islands and narrow peninsulas, the port city of Cochin (Kochi) (Queen of Arabia) reflects the eclecticism of Kerala perfectly. With a rich past and a bustling present, it has been the business hub of the region from the very early days after Alleppey (Alappuzha).

Cochin consists of mainland Ernakulam, the islands of Willington, Bolgatty and Gundu in the harbor, Fort Cochin and Mattancherry on the southern peninsula, and Vypeen Island north of Fort Cochin, all was linked by ferry but now some islands have bridges. The influence of Chinese, Jews, Arabs and Europeans is evident in Cochin and its people. The oldest church in India, 500-year-old Portugese houses, old tiled houses built in the Chinese pagoda style, the famous Chinese fishing nets, a Jewish community whose roots go back to the Diaspora, synagogues and mosques all tell the fascinating story of this harbor town.

The harbor is still at the heart of the city and pepper, sea food, rubber and coir mats and matting are exported from here. Despite this, Cochin is an attractive city with serene creak & lagoons overhung with feathery coconut palms and picturesque islands. The older parts of Fort Cochin and Mattanchery are an unlikely blend of medieval Portugal, Holland and an English country village grafted onto the troppical Malabar coast. Cochin is one of India's largest ports and a major naval base.

Day 16: Cochin

You will take sightseeing at Fort Kochi. Visit the Mattancherry palace, Jewish synagogue, Jew town, old spice markets, St. Francis church, Santa Cruz Basilica and Chinese fishing nets. In the evening visit Kalari center to witness Kalaripayattu - Ancient Kerala martial art.

Day 17: Back home

In morning, after a leisurely breakfast you will be transferred to airport for flight to Mumbai / Delhi and then connecting flight home.

The tour includes:
a) Accommodation in the prescribed category of hotels on twin sharing basis with breakfast on regular basis.
b) A/c Transport of high standards with soft beverages and mineral water served during drives with compliments.
c) Entrances at all the monuments and services of an excellent personal guide at all the destinations.
d) Assistance upon arrival and departure by our skilled representatives at all destinations.
e) Meals as prescribed
f) All internal flights and Train (1st Ac).

Exclusions:

a) International Flight From Your Country to India and Back.
b) Any tips for the porters, drivers or the tour guides.
c) Any drinks and beverages during the paid meals, if not specified.


Kerala Cultural Tour Reservation Form