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Spotlight on South India Culture

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14 Days
San Faransico
Mamallapuram
Min Age : 15+

This South India tour is brimming with variety and many extraordinary gems for you to enjoy. Relax on the beach, wander colonial streets or simply savor the historic architecture – the choice is yours!

Itinerary Summary
DAY PLACE HIGHLIGHTS HOTEL OPTIONS
1 – 3 Mamallapuram Shore Temples, Arjuna’s Penance Monument, Pancha Pandava Rathas Monument, Krishna’s Butterball Rock Ideal Beach Resort, Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay
3 – 4 Pondicherry French Town, Colonial Buildings, Aurobindo Ashram, Auroville Maison Perumal, Palais De Mahe
4 – 5 Thanjavur UNESCO World Heritage Site, Brihadeshvara Temple, Statue of Nandi The Bull Ideal River View Resort
5 – 7 Madurai Meenakshi Temple, Gandhi Museum, Vandiyur Kanmoy Tourist Complex The Gateway Hotel Pasumalai Madurai
7 – 9 Munnar Matupetty Dam, Tea Plantations, Soft Trekking, Kannan Devan Tea Museum The Windermere Estate, Spice Tree Munnar
9 – 10 Cochin Fort Kochi Harbor, Matancherry, Pardesi Synagogue, St. Francis Church Tea Bungalow, Old Harbour
10 – 11 Alleppey Houseboat Backwater, Relaxation, Houseboat, Paddy Fields, Village Life Xandari Riverscapes
11 – 14 Alleppey Backwater, Relaxation, Local Culture, Temple Visits, Houseboat Marari Beach Resort, A Beach Symphony
14 – 14 Cochin Fort Kochi Harbor, Matancherry, Pardesi Synagogue, St. Francis Church  
Itinerary Details
DAY 1 - 3
International Arrival
Mamallapuram
2 Days

Mamallapuram was once a bustling seaport that provided shelter to illustrious travelers like Ptolemy and Periplus in the first century! Today, the city’s claim to fame lies in its ancient Pallava heritage, evident in Mamallapuram’s exquisite collection of temples, caves, rathas (chariots) and monuments.

Included Activities

City Highlights of Mamallapuram

Unearth several UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Tour the stunning two-towered 8th century Shore Temples, dedicated to Lord Shiva and built in the typical architectural style of the Pallava dynasty, who ruled South India for three centuries. With the temple’s oceanic backdrop, this is especially beautiful at sunrise and sunset. Explore Arjuna’s Penance, a gigantic 7th century relief carving, depicting the legend of the holy River Ganges,or the Anantasayana Panel, which shows a reclining Vishnu, and Varaha Cave. Head to the Pancha Pandava Rathas (Five Rathas or chariots). These 7th century architectural monuments were hidden under sand until 200 years ago and are intricately carved out of a single large rock. Observe the mysteriously balancing rock of Krishna’s Butterball. Unwind with a leisurely amble along the town’s sandy shores.

Hotel Options

ROOM

MEALS

STYLE

Standard Room

Breakfast

Beach Resort

ROOM

MEALS

STYLE

Chalet Garden View

Breakfast

Beach Resort

DAY 3 - 4
Drive from Mamallapuram to Pondicherry (130 km, 2.5 hrs)
Pondicherry
1 Day

Pondicherry offers a slice of France in South India! Once a sleepy fishing village, the trading town was a French settlement since the 17th century until the Indian Independence.

Included Activities

City Highlights of Pondicherry
Revel in the fusion Indo-French culture of this quaint French town, best explored by foot. Amble leisurely through cobbled streets to discover stunning boutique shops brimming with handmade, contemporary crafts, and a proud café culture, tucked within grand colonial and Tamilian buildings. In the Tamilian side of town, you can visit the living Manakula Vinayagar Temple. Wander through the famous Aurobindo Ashram, a spiritual community that follow the teachings of Sri Aurobindo, and the resting place of The Mother, Sri Aurobindo’s spiritual collaborator. Venture to the town’s outskirts and visit Auroville, a universal community that is heavily involved in sustainable and alternative living projects. Kindly note that Auroville is closed every Sunday afternoon. En route to Pondicherry, stop off at the holy city of Kanchipuram and visit the ancient Vedapureeswarar Temple and Varadharaja Perumal Temple.

Hotel Options

ROOM

MEALS

STYLE

Standard Room

Breakfast

Boutique

ROOM

MEALS

STYLE

Standard Room

Breakfast

Boutique

DAY 4 - 5
Drive from Pondicherry to Thanjavur via Chidambaram and Gangaikondacholapuram (190 km, 5 hrs)
Thanjavur
1 Day

Thanjavur is a fascinating cultural melting point and was once considered India’s cultural capital.

Included Activities

City Highlights of Thanjavur
Delight in the traditions and talents of Thanjavur, beginning with the famous UNESCO World Heritage Site of Brihadeeswarar Temple, a thousand year old temple dedicated to Hindu God Shiva and home to India’s largest lingam (a phallic symbol of fertility). Venture onwards to another temple in Shiva’s honour, the Panchanatheesvarar Temple. Kindly note that footwear is not permitted within the temples. Visit the home of an artisan within his community and watch how he handcrafts the incredible brass sculptures that the city is famous for. Learn how the intricate and foiled famous Tanjore paintings are crafted.

Hotel Options

ROOM

MEALS

STYLE

River View

Breakfast

Resort

DAY 5 - 7
Drive from Thanjavur to Madurai (182 km, 4 hrs)
Madurai
2 Days

Madurai, the city of incense and chiming cymbals, is one of the oldest in India! Dubbed the “Athens of the East’, the historical city was reputedly visited by learned men from Rome and Greece, including Megasthenes in the 3rd century BC! Cozily nestled amidst the towering mountains, this is an energetic city of contrasts where Hindu Gods and a growing IT industry go hand in hand.

Included Activities

City Highlights of Madurai
Discover the the magic of Madurai! Begin your full day tour at the heart of the ancient yet bustling city, where the awe-inspiring thousand pillared Meenakshi Amman Temple stands tall. Continue onwards to the grand Koodal Alagar Temple – a stellar example of 17th century architecture dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. Located nearby is the Thirumalai Nayak Mahal that once served as the royal residence of the famous Nayaka dynasty. Witness enthusiastic locals enjoy relaxing boat rides and picnics at the Vandiyur Kanmoy Tourist Complex. Madurai’s busy flower and vegetable markets provide rich insight into everyday life of Tamilians. Afterwards, direct your steps towards the Gandhi Museum, which was established after famous leader of Indian Independence, Mahatma Gandhi, was assassinated. (Full Day, Private Activity & Transfer; Fitness Level: Easy)

Hotel Options

ROOM

MEALS

STYLE

Pasumalai Superior Room

Breakfast

International

DAY 7 - 9
Drive from Madurai to Munnar (160 km, 4.5 hrs)
Munnar
2 Days

Munnar offers a haven of peace and tranquility within the verdant hills of Kerala.

Included Activities

City Highlights of Munnar
Explore this beautiful panoramic town. Drive to Matupetty Dam and Kundala Dam; visit Echo Point via sprawling tea plantations; end at Top Station to view lush mountainsides. Dine in the city; stay overnight. Next day, enjoy a drive through winding lanes, a picture-perfect town and scenic plantations; see exotic forest and grassland flora. Do a 20 min trek to the top on a paved path. Back in the city, visit the Kannan Devan Tea Museum..housing photographs and machinery depicting each turning point contributing to a flourishing tea industry; the Antiques museum exhibits antique furniture, Telephones, etc, and shows a 30 min documentary on the history of Munnar along with a tea production demonstration; take a Tea Tour in the evening.

Hotel Options

ROOM

MEALS

STYLE

Garden Room

Breakfast

Resort

ROOM

MEALS

STYLE

Spice Tree-Classic Room With Jacuzzi

Breakfast

Resort

DAY 9 - 10
Drive from Munnar to Cochin (160 km, 4.5 hrs)
Cochin
1 Day

Kochi, formerly Cochin, is considered the Queen of the Arabian Sea as it was one of the first European settlements in India, due its ideal positioning for trading.

Included Activities

City Highlights of Cochin
Kochi is an engaging city to explore, from the absorbing views of Fort Kochi harbor with its huge Chinese fishing nets to ancient mosques, Portuguese architecture and the crumbling remnants of the British Raj. Explore Mattancherry, where you can observe murals and antiquities at the Dutch Palace and Cemetery. Indulge your senses browsing traditional spice and antique markets. Encounter the fascinating 400 year old, fully-functioning Pardesi Synagogue in the Jewish quarter. Visit the original grave of Vasco da Gama in St. Francis Church, before his remains were returned to Portugal. Discover Hill Palace, the state’s largest archaeological museum, which is located in the regal and artistic suburbs of Tripunithura. Enjoy a traditional Kathakali dance performance, or the captivating display of Kalaripayattu, a 3,000 year old martial art form.

Hotel Options

ROOM

MEALS

STYLE

Bungalow Heritage Deluxe

Breakfast

Boutique

ROOM

MEALS

STYLE

Superior Room

Breakfast

Boutique

DAY 10 - 11
Drive from Cochin to Alleppey / Kumarakom (65 km, 1.5 hrs)
Alleppey Houseboat
1 Day

Cruise Kerala’s backwaters and stay overnight in a traditional kettuvallom, a boat made from coconut rope and wooden blanks.

Included Activities

Overnight Houseboat Experience 
Cruise Kerala’s backwaters and stay overnight in a traditional kettuvallom, a boat made from coconut rope and wooden planks. This unique and exotic barge experience provides all the comforts of a hotel, with furnished bedrooms, a modern shower and toilet room, a living area and a shaded balcony for relaxing on as you enjoy uninterrupted views of rural Kerala. There is also a kitchen where the boat’s crew will rustle you up deliciously fresh meals and snacks, served traditionally on banana leaves. The skipper (captain), might moor up and take you to visit a backwater village, where you can meet local people and observe ancestral homes and places of worship. After a relaxing day, drop anchor and rest your head to the gentle sounds of the swishing lake waters.​

Hotel Options

ROOM

MEALS

STYLE

Xandari Riverscapes-One Bedroom

Full Board

Houseboat

DAY 11 -14
Transfer from Alleppey Houseboat to Resort
Alleppey
3 Days

Alleppey was once dubbed the Venice of the East by the visiting former Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon.

Included Activities

Complimentary Activities at Marari Beach Resort
When staying at Marari Beach Resort you can begin your blissful day with a wonderful optional open air yoga class, and by enjoying a delicious and leisurely breakfast. Observe and learn about the varied and beautiful species of butterflies at the on-site Butterfly Garden, or take an environmental tour of the property and witness the biogas and sewage plant, and solar energy systems. Venture to the Kitchen Garden to see where the fresh, native ingredients for your meals are grown, and feast on a Keralan culinary demonstration by the chef in the Farm Kitchen. Visit the Ayurveda Center for some pampering. You can also enjoy an escorted stroll through nearby villages, or learn how to attire yourself in a fun hands-on traditional Indian sari/dhoti demonstration.

Hotel Options

ROOM

MEALS

STYLE

Garden Villa

Breakfast

Beach Resort

ROOM

MEALS

STYLE

Cottage

Breakfast

Beach Resort

DAY 14 -14
Transfer from Alleppey to Cochin airport
Cochin
0 Days

Kochi, formerly Cochin, is considered the Queen of the Arabian Sea as it was one of the first European settlements in India, due its ideal positioning for trading.

International Departure
Map
Photos

Price & Inclusions

Prices are in USD and exclude international flights. This trip price is based on low season rates for accommodation and other applicable services, and may change depending on availability, currency fluctuations and number of people traveling together. For high season prices, please contact us with your exact travel dates and preferences.

Price Includes

  • Accommodation (on a twin-sharing basis) on the indicated meal plan for 13 nights.
  • All activities as listed :
    • Mamallapuram: City Highlights of Mamallapuram
    • Mamallapuram: Highlights of Dakshinachitra
    • Pondicherry: City Highlights of Pondicherry
    • Pondicherry: Chidambaram & Gangaikondacholapuram City Highlights
    • Thanjavur: City Highlights of Thanjavur
    • Madurai: City Highlights of Madurai
    • Munnar: City Highlights of Munnar
    • Cochin: City Highlights of Cochin
    • Alleppey Houseboat: Included Activities at Houseboat
    • Alleppey: Complimentary Activities at Marari Beach Resort
  • All airport and hotel transfers
  • A high-quality air conditioned vehicle with unlimited mileage and a trusted chauffeur throughout your trip, apart from during your stay at a beach/backwater resort or houseboat if applicable.
  • All activities described in the itinerary, including entrance fees wherever applicable, accompanied by our tour guide
  • Your Trip Coordinator: a 24/7 point of contact, supporting you during your trip
  • Welcome kit including all important documents and information regarding your itinerary
  • Insolvency insurance
  • Fees and taxes

This listed price is based on two people sharing a double room. The price may vary due to the time of year you travel, the size of your group, and accommodation availability.