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South India Dravidian Heritage, Culture & Cuisine


Chennai - Mahabalipuram - Pondichery – Kumbakonam - Tanjore - Chettinad - Madurai – Thekkady - Backwater Cruise - Mararikulam Beach - Cochin


15 Nights / 16 Days

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Embarking on a journey from Mumbai to Delhi, with stops in Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Jaipur, and Agra, promises an immersive experience in the grandeur and diversity of India. Mumbai, the bustling financial capital, introduces the trip with its cosmopolitan energy and iconic landmarks. Udaipur, the City of Lakes, captivates with its romantic palaces and scenic water bodies. Jodhpur, the Blue City, offers a glimpse into Rajasthan’s regal history with the imposing Mehrangarh Fort. The golden hues of Jaisalmer’s desert landscape and the intricately carved havelis create a mesmerizing atmosphere. Jaipur, the Pink City, dazzles with its palaces, forts, and vibrant markets. Agra unfolds the sublime beauty of the Taj Mahal, a symbol of eternal love. Finally, Delhi, the capital city, encapsulates the journey with a blend of ancient history and modern dynamism, providing a comprehensive exploration of India’s cultural and architectural richness.

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    Day 01 : Arrive at Chennai (Madras)

    You are welcomed at the airport by our tour executive and transferred to the hotel where you are assisted with your check in. Most flights arrive either in the evening or early morning.

    Your accommodation is reserved from previous day to guarantee immediate check in.
    Chennai is found mentioned in Lonely Planet’s list of must-visit spots of 2015 and National Geographic’s top 10 food cities list. Roman traders arrived here to buy silk, cotton and spices. Mylapore a part within the city is much older than Chennai and referred by Greek geographer Ptolemy as Milarpha and Marco Polo called it a ‘little town’.
    Post lunch, proceed to explore Chennai city accompanied by local guide. Your tour begins from St. Mary’s Church, built in 1670 – 80; the first English Church in Chennai. Drive to visit
    Mylapore and visit the Kapaleeshwarar temple, an ancient Shiva temple constructed in pure Dravidian style then visit San Thome Church one of the three basilicas in the world which was built over the tomb of St. Thomas: one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. Visit the Sri Parthasarathy temple dedicated to Lord Krishna, built in the 8th century during the reign of the Pallavas. The other attractions include the Natrional Art Gallery and Museum which houses some beautiful temple friezes, the bronze gallery, and archeological sector.

    Day 02 : Chennai

    Start your day with an excursion to Kanchipuram and Mahabalipuram.
    Kanchipuram is known as the golden city of thousand temples and is one of the seven sacred cities for Hindus. Its many gopurams (temple domes) can be seen from a long way away.

    Ekambaswara, Kailasanatha, Sri Kamakshi and Varadarajaswamy are the famous temples here. Kanchipuram is also famous for its silks.
    Continue to Mahabalipuram and explore the ancient seaport, which is a World Heritage Site. Mahabalipuram was the second capital and seaport of Pallava Kings of Kanchipuram, the first Tamil dynasty after the fall of the Gupta Empire. The whole of Mahabalipuram is a fabulous open-air museum of sculptures in living rock. Monolithic shrines scooped out caverns magnificently sculptured within and the world’s biggest Bas reliefs in rock are truly wondrous examples of the sculptor’s art. The temples of the Rathas, the Penance of Bhagirath, the Shore temple and the eight Mandapams are also located at this beach.

    Day 03 : Chennai – Pondicherry (160Kms)
    Proceed on the drive to Pondicherry and check into hotel.
    arulmigu kapaleeswarar temple, chennai
    Afternoon, begin your guided tour of Poindicherry, a French colony for nearly 280years and post-independence became a part of India. The culture here presents the fusion of European and Indian. Some percentage of population still speaks French along with Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, and English. The churches, cuisine, colonial buildings, and the grid patter streets expose the existence of French influence. Visit the most famous landmark, Auroville Ashram. Conceived as a tribute to Sri Aurobindo, Auroville is an entirely new concept in education and urban living. The Aurobindo Ashram is known to the world as the Centre of Integral Yoga and was founded by Sri Aurobindo in 1926.
    Day 04 : Pondicherry – Kumbakonam
    Proceed to Kumbakonam; en-route stop to visit Chidambaram, the great temple complex of Nataraja where Shiva is presented as the Dancer of the Universe, this is a Dravidian architectural highlight. Continue to Swamimalai, after visiting Dharasuram temple and check into your heritage resort.
    Day 05 : Kumbakonam

    Visit Rajmohan’s home in the town, where he is keeping the ancient artform Kalamkari alive and thriving. Kalamkari originated in this region during Maratha’s rule; it has been passed from generation to generation in his family. Kalamkari involves intricate artwork on fabric. The color used to dye the fabric is natural and extracted from flowers, barks, roots, and seeds. Also wade through narrow lenes of Kumbakonam to watch the weaver creating designs on the silk sarees with gold and thread. It is mesmerizing to see the effect of their skills.

    Yet another ancient skill still practiced is wax casting. The ancient town of Swami Malai near
    kumbakonam is home to group of arcticians called the Sthapathis. They settled here during the time of construction of Tanjore’s the Great Living Chola Temple. Visit their workshop and watch the master craftsmen use the “Lost Wax” technique using wax and clay from the rivr bed to make molds to elaborate bronze sculptures. Balance of the day you are at leisure.

    Day 06 : Kumbakonam - Tanjore (170Kms)

    Proceed to Tanjore and check into hotel.

    Afternoon, visit The Great Living Chola Temple, a World Heritage Site. This awe-inspiring Temple Complex is constructed solely of granite, a material so hard that no architect today, with all our current technology, would even dream of building a structure with the incredible detail and mammoth scale of the Brihadishwara. These are just a few of the reasons why this monument is one of India’s most treasured architectural achievements. The crown on the temple is a massive granite monolithic cupola weighing 80tones. Construction commenced in 1003 AD by the great King Rajaraja Chola.

    Day 07 : Tanjore – Chettinad (80Kms)
    Post breakfast enjoy a tour of the Saraswati Mahal Library and Art Gallery. The Gallery houses a large collection of ancient Chola bronzes, and the building is an architectural marvel. Later check out of your hotel and continue to Chettinad.
    Brihadeshwara temple, Tanjore

    Chettinad is famous for its mansions decorated with exquisite word works and mirror finish stone works. The word Chetti is derived from Sanskrit meaning wealth. Those who lived in this place were known as Chettiars – traders in salt, spices, and other valuables. Chettinad is famous for its spicy chicken and vegetable curry and sea food.

    Day 08 : Chettinad
    Enjoy bullock cart ride through the village; visit the mansions along with your local guide later. Attend cooking lesson on Chettinad cuisine and dinner in the evening.
    Day 09 : Chettinad – Madurai
    Proceed to Madurai, an animated city packed with pilgrims, vendors, and businesspeople. It is one of the oldest South Indian cities and has been the center of learning and pilgrimage. Afternoon, proceed for a guided city tour of the ancient Madurai. The primary interest is the Meenakshi Temple, where Dravidian temple architecture may be considered at its best. Its Hall of a thousand Pillars is fabulous and is filled with worshippers at all hours of the day. The tour also includes a visit to the Thirumalai Nayak Palace and Tiruparamkundram temple. Evening, return to temple to witness the “Palli Arai” ceremony at the Meenakshi Temple.
    Day 10 : Madurai – Thekkady (Periyar Wildlife Park)
    You are driven to Thekkady, a very popular wildlife sanctuary. This region is home to bison, sambar, and wild boar. Elephants and tigers. En-route stop to visit elephant form. You can feed, bath and if inclined ride on the massive mammal.
    Day 11 : Thekkady
    Spice Garden tour and nature walk accompanied by naturalist in the morning. Post lunch cruise on the Periyar Lake to view the wildlife, which often converge on the banks of the lake as it is the only water source in the region. Wildlife includes elephants, Indian Gaur, monkeys, spotted deer, barking deer, wild boar and birds of myriad varieties. Encompassing an area of 777sq.kms, the sanctuary lies at an elevation between 914 and 1828 meters above sea level.
    Day 12 : Thekkady – Alleppey
    You are driven to Alleppey; embark one of the beautifully designed houseboats and cruise on the backwater of Kerala. Relax and have a good time until the next morning.
    Meenakshi amman temple, Madurai
    The cook and other staff will make sure that you are well taken care of, while serving you delicious Kerala cuisine for lunch, dinner, and breakfast.
    Day 13 : Alleppey – Mararikulam

    Disembark from your boat; you are driven to Mararikulam on the Arabian Sea Cost.

    Balance of the day relax by the beach.

    Day 14 : Mararikulam

    You are at leisure on this day.

    Body rejuvenating complimentary Ayurveda massage also included on this day.

    Day 15 : Mararikulam – Cochin airport

    Check out from your resort and proceed to Fort Cochin and start your exploration of Cochin. Your tour begins from Jewish Synagogue (closed on Fridays and Saturdays). It contains beautiful Belgian glass chandeliers and paved with painted tiles from China. Later visit the Dutch Palace (closed on Fridays) with its wonderful murals depicting the entire story of the Ramayana. Then visit St. Francis Church, established by the Portuguese Franciscan friars in 1503. Vasco Da Gama was buried in the courtyard of this European church, one of the first built in India. End the tour after you visited the Chinese fishing nets, more than a century old and still in use. You are then driven to the hotel near Cochin airport for dinner and overnight stay.

    This is done to avoid long travel very early hours of the day. Most flights leave very early morning.

    Day 16 : Cochin – Onward journey

    Dropped off at airport on time to commence flight onward destination.

    We end our services in Cochin airport.

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