11 nights / 12 days – BACKWATER & BEACHES

Sketched Itinerary

Chennai – Mahabalipuram – Pondichery – Tanjore – Madurai – Periyar – Kumarakom – Kochi

Highlights of tour

Stay : 1 nt Chennai,2 nts Mahabalipuram, 1 nt Pondichery, 1 nt Tanjore, 2 nts Madurai, 1 nt Periyar, 2 nts Kumarakom, 1 nt Kochi

DAY 1: ARRIVE IN CHENNAI

Arrive in Chennai, the first British settlement in India and the state capital of Tamil Nadu. On arrival meet with our executive and transfer to check in at your hotel.

Chennai - the gateway to southern India, established in 1639 by the East India Company, is one of the oldest cities of the country. The major tourist attractions are Marina Beach which is the second largest beach in the world. This stretch is filled with statues of rememberence from Tamil culture. Fort St. George which was built by the British East India Company in 1653, houses St Mary's Church, the first British Church in Chennai and has a museum with a collection of British and French historical artifacts. San Thome Cathedral is the final resting place of the apostle St. Thomas who was killed just outside the city in 78 AD. This cathedral has been built by the Portuguese in a typical neo Gothic style between 14th and 15th century A.D. Snake Park houses a variety of rare reptiles, different species, including deadly king cobras, vipers, pythons, adders, kraits, giant turtles and monitor lizards. Overnight stay at the Hotel

DAY 2: CHENNAI – MAHABALIPURAM (51kms / 1.30 hrs)

After breakfast, this morning explore the colonial city and visit Fort St. George & museum which has objects of the British era, Government museum which has an interesting archaeological collection. Later drive to Mahabalipuram (60 kms/ 1 hour 30 min approx) famous for its shore temples. Later visit Mahabalipuram temple complex - a UNESCO World heritage site, overlooking the Bay of Bengal.

Stay overnight at hotel.

DAY 3: MAHABALIPURAM

Breakfast at hotel, than proceed to enjoy an excursion to the temple town of Kanchipuram, also famous for its traditional silks. Remainder of the afternoon will be at leisure. Stay overnight at hotel.

DAY 4: MAHABALIPURAM - PONDICHERRY

Breakfast at hotel and than morning drive to Pondicherry (140 kms/ 4 hours approx) was once a charming French outpost. The French colonial legacy is still evident to this day. On arrival, check-in to your hotel. Late afternoon visit Sri Aurobindo Ashram, a large charitable institution with lots of facilities. Stay overnight at hotel.

DAY 5: PONDICHERRY - TANJORE

After breakfast today drive to Tanjore (180 kms/ 5 hours approx), it was once the capital and centre of power of the Chola dynasty. En-route, visit the famous temples at Chidambaram, Gangaikondacholapuram & Darasuram. Evening arrive in Tanjore and check-in to your hotel. Stay overnight at hotel.

DAY 6: TANJORE - TRICHY - TANJORE

Breakfast in the morning and visit the famous Sri Brihadeshwara Temple (a UNESCO World heritage site), Tanjore Palace & Museum. Afternoon leave for an excursion to Trichy (50 kms/ 1 hour approx) where you visit Rock Fort Temple standing 272 feet (83m) tall with 434 steps. Overnight at the hotel

DAY 7: TANJORE - MADURAI

Breakfast at hotel than drive to Madurai (180 kms/ 5 hours approx) which is home to the famous Meenakshi Temple, and is a vibrant example of marvelous Dravidian. The city attracts pilgrims by the thousands and is full of colour and traditional Indian life. Afternoon arrive in Madurai and check-in at your hotel.

Later visit the Meenakshi Temple, covered with hundreds of brightly painted figures, with gold finials gleaming on the top. Continue to the Palace of Tirumalai Nayak, one of the most notable rulers of Madurai during the 17th century. This evening, experience a special ‘aarti’ prayer ceremony at the Meenakshi Temple. Overnight at the hotel.

DAY 8: MADURAI - PERIYAR

Morning drive to Periyar (140 kms/4 hour’s approx) - the spice capital of Kerala. On arrival, check-in to your hotel.

Take an afternoon cruise on the Periyar Lake and explore the fascinating Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary that attracts thousands of birds, and sightings of elephants, sambar and bison. Overnight at the hotel.

DAY 9: PERIYAR - KUMARAKOM

Today morning drive to Kumarakom (130 kms/ 3 hours 30 min approx. The enchanting backwater destination, Kumarakom is located on the picturesque Vembanad Lake. It is an unbelievable beautiful paradise. The amazing shades of green of the vegetation that include mangroves, coconut palms, and paddy fields cover the verdant countryside. Remainder of the day will be at leisure for relaxation and independent activities. Overnight at the hotel

DAY 10: KUMARAKOM

Breakfast at hotel, Full day at leisure - explore the canals and backwaters of Kumarakom traveling from the comforts of Kerala houseboat. Also experience the ancient science of life - Ayurvedic massage. Overnight at the hotel.

DAY 11: KUMARAKOM - KOCHI

After breakfast, drive to Kochi (65 kms/1 hour 30 min approx), it is the oldest European settlement in India. With an amazing blend of architectural styles, Kochi is the region's most stylish and elegant city with a wealth of colonial architecture which remains as a testament to its trading past. On arrival, check-in to your hotel.

In the afternoon explore the Fort Cochin area where you visit the old Jewish quarter. This includes a synagogue, one of the oldest in the world (Closed on Friday and Saturday). It was built in year 1568. Continue further to Dutch-built Mattancherry Palace, Portuguese Church of St Francis and the Chinese fishing nets sweeping above the water in the old town of Fort Cochin. In the evening, witness a Kathakali performance, a classical dance-drama of Kerala. Overnight at the hotel

DAY 12: DEPART KOCHI

Transfer to Kochi International airport in time for home-bound flight.

TOUR ENDS

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