Xplore South India

20-28 Days
TYPOLOGIES

Tours

DIFFICULTY

Medium

MIN. AGE

Price: On Request

A Tour of Culture & Traditions

South India's Tamil Nadu & Kerala are popular for its lush green countryside, peaceful backwaters, beaches, practice of ayurveda and very friendly people.

Kerala has its unique way of impressing its guests with Kalari Payathu martial art form & Kathakali dance drama, snake boat races & unique sports like bull race, tiger dance (by humans!), Missapulimalai trek, etc

While Tamil Nadu, has its Matru Mandir, French architecture (in Pondicherry actually), food delicacies & cuisines, a great mixture of culture, religion & tradition.

Day by Day Itinerary

DAY 1 - ARRIVE CHENNAI (By Flight)

  • ****   Arrive Chennai and Transfer to the hotel
  • Afternoon visit the St. Thome Church, Kapaleeshwarar temple, drive past the Marina beach. Should you be interested, they also have a famous snake garden. Later visit Kalakshetra, a residential school for learning Bharatnatyam – one of famous Indian dance forms
  • Overnight at the hotel

DAY 2 - CHENNAI – KANCHEEPURAM (60 km / 1 & half hr) – CHENNAI

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Make a same day excursion by road to Kancheepuram – a treasure trove of Hindu temples and art from the Pallava, Chola and Pandiyan dynasties, visit its two most famous temples (Devarajaswami temple, Kamakshi Amman Temple, Kailasanatha Temple & Sri Ekambaranathar Temple). This place is also famous for its silk Kanjheevaram saris
  • If interested also visit Fort St. George Museum (if time permits, closed on Fridays)
  • Overnight at the hotel

DAY 3 - CHENNAI – DAKSHIN CHITRA – MAHABALIPURAM (60 km / 90 min, just drive)

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Transfer by road to Mahabalipuram. En route visit Dakshin Chitra Museum (Tuesday Closed) depicting South India in miniature form. Also, if keen, see the crocodile farm in the afternoon (and pay the entrances directly). Evening free to relax
  • Overnight at the hotel

DAY 4 - MAHABALIPURAM VISIT

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Today visit famous Krishna’s Butterball, rock cut monuments, shore temple and the Arjuna’s Penance, etc. (A World Heritage Complex)
  • Overnight at the hotel

DAY 5 - MAHABALIPURAM – PONDICHERRY (102 km / 2 hrs)

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Transfer by road to Pondicherry (new name is Puducherry) – “The erstwhile French colony”. Visit Auroville. Also go to the office of Matri Mandir (as to join the meditation, you  need to take permission in person at least 24 hours in advance, must visit in the first half)
  • Late afternoon visit the Aurobindo Ashram, walk past the French buildings and the sea front, and walk past French style buildings
  • Overnight at the hotel

DAY 6 - PONDICHERRY VISIT

  • Breakfast at the farm house
  • Full day is free to explore this erstwhile French colony on own. In you have availed passes for meditation in Matru Mandir, leave hotel at 0830 to be in time for meditation starting at 0930 Hrs
  • Overnight at the hotel

DAY 7 - PONDICHERRY – THANJAVUR (200 km / 5-6 hrs with visit en route)

  • Breakfast at the farm house
  • Transfer by road to Thanjavur – “The Rice Bowl of South India”, however, on the way visit Chidambaram (68 km / 1 hour), famous for its Nataraja Temple & the tank, one of its Gopurams is 142 feet high. Thence carry on to Thanjavur (130 km/3 hrs) & visit Brahadeeswara temple
  • Overnight at the hotel

DAY 8 - THANJAVUR – CHETTINADU (150 km / 3 hrs, Trichy visit additional 2 hours)

  • Breakfast at the farm house
  • Transfer by road to Chettinadu via Kumbakonam, Darasruam & Tanjore visit (with guide for all these places). Chettinad is the ancestral home of the Nattukottai Chettiyars, a prosperous banking community successful in the oversea business markets in South and Southeast Asia in the 19th and early 20th centuries. There are total of 76 villages and Karaikudi is the largest one. Chettinad is famous for its houses, its unique, spicy and tasty cuisine
  • Overnight at the hotel

DAY 9 - CHETTINADU VISIT

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Full day is free to relax or engage into the local activities / visit the surrounding villages / houses. If staying at Visalam, they often have a cultural evening with Indian music / instrument, sari / dhoti wearing classes and culinary programme
  • Overnight at the hotel

DAY 10 - CHETTINAD – MADURAI (90 km / 2-3 hrs)

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Transfer by road to Madurai – “The town of thousand pillared temple”
  • Evening see the Aarti ceremony at the temple
  • Overnight at the hotel

DAY 11 - MADURAI VISIT

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Visit the Minakshi temple with its thousand pillars, its museum; Gandhi Museum (open everyday) and the Tirumalai Naick Palace
  • Overnight at the hotel

DAY 12 - MADURAI – KANYAKUMARI (300 Km / 6-7 Hrs)

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Transfer by road to Kanyakumari – The Southern Most Tip of India! Late afternoon visit the Gandhi memorial, Rani Amman temple, Vivekanand statue and most of all, enjoy the feeling of being, where sun rises and sets in to the sea. Evening enjoy the sunset
  • Overnight at the hotel

DAY 13 - KANYAKUMARI – POOVAR / CHOWARA (approx. 40 – 50 km)

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Transfer by road to Poovar / Chowara
  • On the way also visit the Padmanabhapuram Palace (Monday Closed), little off the main road, houses famous paintings from Raja Ravi Varma
  • Overnight at the hotel

DAY 14 - CHOWARA

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Full day just to relax and chill out!
  • Overnight at the hotel

DAY 15 - CHOWARA – VARKALA (100 km approx / 2 hrs)

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Transfer by road to Varkala, a beach destination from southern Kerala. However, on the way, visit the capital city of Kerala – Thiruvananthapuram, famous for several museums too
  • Overnight at the hotel

DAY 16 - VARKALA – ALLEPPEY (120 km / 3.5 Hrs)

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Transfer by road to Alleppey – “The Gateway to the Backwaters”. En route shall show you the coir work famous from this area – Check location
  • Board the houseboat, lunch on board. Then cruise along the serene backwaters, small canals and Vembanad lake. Knock at your creative faculties and wake up the poet or painter in you! Evening enjoy the beautiful sunset and then anchor at some convenient place
  • Dinner & Overnight at the houseboat

DAY 17 - BACKWATERS

  • Breakfast at the houseboat
  • Keep cruising for most of the day enjoying the ample of incredible nature around you. Cruise would also include serene Kumarakom region famous for its bird sanctuary. Shall stop by somewhere to see the local house as to how there life is like in the backwaters
  • Lunch, Dinner and Overnight at the houseboat

DAY 18 - BACKWATERS – KUMARKOM

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Transfer by road to Kumarakom – famous for its bird sanctuary set amidst the backwaters and next to the Vembanad lake. You would be transferred to the hotel reception by boat (if staying at Coconut Lagoon
  • Rest of the day relax at the hotel. Enjoy the most scenic sunset in the lake
  • Overnight at the hotel

DAY 19 – KUMARKOM

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • This morning you can go to visit the Kumarakom bird sanctuary
  • Rest of the day relax at the hotel
  • Overnight at the hotel

DAY 20 – KUMARKOM – PERIYAR (120 Km / 3.5 Hrs)

  • Breakfast at the houseboat
  • Transfer by road to Periyar. Enjoy the scenic beauty en route and visit a spice plantation on the way
  • Sightseeing destinations in Thekkady include Periyar wild life sanctuary where you can see wild elephant, boar, deer, the great Indian tiger and more (chances of sighting tiger is very less, but seeing other animals is most likely). Late afternoon take a boat cruise in the lake and experience the wilderness
  • Evening enjoy watching martial arts of Kerala called Kalaripayattu
  • Overnight at the hotel

DAY 21 - PERIYAR

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Today avail of the excellent Ayurvedic massage facility available at the hotel or nearby
  • Evening walk into the local market with aroma of spices. Later enjoy Kathakali dance drama (walking distance from the hotel)
  • Overnight at the hotel

DAY 22 - PERIYAR – MUNNAR (115 km / 3 hrs)

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Transfer by road to Munnar, famous for its manicured tea gardens, cooler climate and the Nilgiti Tahr (endangered species of goat)
  • Overnight at the hotel

DAY 23 - MUNNAR

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Today visit Eravikulam national park (Raja Malai), Mattupetty dam, tea estates, eco point, rose garden, photo point, honey bee tree, Tata Tea Museum (closed on Mondays), Blossom park and Top Station
  • Overnight at the hotel

DAY 24 - MUNNAR – COCHIN (135 km / 4 & half hrs)

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Transfer by road to Cochin (Kochi). You will pass through some evergreen waterfalls like Cheyyara & Valara!
  • Overnight at the hotel

DAY 25 - COCHIN

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Late afternoon visit the important places including Fort Cochin, Dutch Palace (closed on Fridays), Jewish Synagogue (closed on Fri & partially on Sat), St. Francis Church and finish off at the Chinese Fishing nets. We shall also offer a local ferry ride between any two islands for a different experience
  • Today is a the day to explore by yourself, car is at disposal
  • Overnight at the hotel

DAY 26 - COCHIN – DUBAI

  • Early Breakfast at the hotel
  • Transfer by road to Airport (takes 1.5 hour approx)
  • 1030   Departure by flight **– 531

========== END OF A MEMORABLE TOUR ==========