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Itinerary:  Southern Sojourn

 

Overview

This exciting tour features the very best of the south- historical monuments- cultural extravaganzas, wildlife adventures and calming waterways.

From the historical colonial environs of Madras you journey through the lively temple towns of Tamil Nadu, past culturally rejuvenating cities such as Pondicherry and Auroville, by the sea and both associated with The Mother and the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Then its on to Tanjore, present-day Thanjavur, with its stunning temple and gilded religious art, then Chidamabaram with its fabulous religious architectural marvels. Passing through Trichy we halt at the legendary enclave of the Chettinad region. Heading out for jasmine-scented Madurai and over the Western Ghats, we slip into the forested environs of the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary before wending our way into the glorious backwaters of Kerala and exploring the ancient harbour city of Cochin.


Photo Gallery

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Day 1 - Fly

to Chennai (Madras).


Day 2 - Arrive Chennai

Meet and transfer to hotel Taj Connemara. Evening guided city tour.

Fort St. George was built in 1640 AD, by the British East India Company under the direct supervision of Francis Day and Andrew Cogon. This place achieved its name from Saint George, the patron saint of England. Marina Beach is the second longest beach in the world with a stretch of 4.5 kms (2.5 miles). This stretch is filled with statues of remembrance from Tamil culture to great leaders. San Thome Basilica: at the south end of Marina Beach was named after Saint Thomas "doubting apostle of Jesus Christ".

Overnight at Trident / Taj Connemara


Day 3 - Chennai

Excursion to Kanchipuram.

Kanchipuram was, one of India's seven sacred cities. Kanchipuram was the historical capital of the Pallavas. It was under the Pallavas from 6th to 8th century A.D and later became the citadel of Cholas, Vijayanagar Kings, the Muslim and the British. It has been a centre of Tamil learning, cultural and religious background for centuries.

Afternoon at leisure.

Overnight at Trident/Taj Connemara


Day 4 - Chennai / Pondicherry

Morning drive to Pondicherry (165 Kms, 3-4 hours) via Mahabalipuram and Auroville.

Mahabalipuram is the famous shore temple is the only one remaining, of seven magnificent temples built on the shores of the Bay of Bengal in the 7th century AD. Built in the traditional Dravidian style, it is dedicated to both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu.

Next head for the Auroville Township (open to visitors in the afternoon).Meaning the “City of Dawn”, it was intended as an ideal township in pursuit of experiments in human unity. Built in 1968 and designed in a futuristic style, its founder known as The Mother wanted this place to be a center of meditation and spiritual regeneration. Visit the Matrimandir (Temple of The Mother) designed like a sphere through its lovely gardens.

Overnight at Maison Perumal.


Day 5 - Pondicherry / Tanjore

After breakfast, drive to Tanjore (190 Kms, 4-5 hours) visiting Chidambaram temple , Gangikonda Cholapuram and the temples of Kumbakonam town built in dravidian architectural style en route.

Stay at Ideal River View.


Day 6 - Tanjore / Chettinad

Morning tour around Tanjore city visiting the various temples, outstanding among them is the Brihadeswara temple.

Later drive to Karaikkudi (150 Kms,3-4 hours) in Chettinad district en route visiting the rock fort cum temple at Tiruchirappalli.

Overnight at The Bangala / Visalam


Day 7 - Chettinad

Spend the day exploring the remarkable mansions of the local trading community or at leisure.

Overnight at The Bangala / Visalam


Day 8 - Chettinad / Thekkady

Drive to Madurai to Thekkady-Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in Cardamom Hills (230 Kms, 6-7 hours) visiting the world famous Meenakshi temple en route.


Day 9 - Thekkady

Morning visit a Spice Plantation.

Evening jungle excursion by boat on the Lake Periyar.

Overnight at hotel


Day 10 - Thekkady / Kumarakom

Visit spice plantation in the morning and later drive to Kumarakom (130 Kms,3-4 hours) in Backwaters.

Stay at Coconut Lagoon / Kumarakom Lake Resort


Day 11 - Kumarakom

Day at leisure.

Overnight at hotel


Day 12 - Kumarakom / Alleppey / Cochin

After breakfast head for the local jetty to board the boat for a day cruise. Slowly cruise for a few hours, on the meandering backwaters till we reach the Alleppey jetty. Then drive to Cochin.

Afternoon at leisure. Evening attend a spectacular performance of Kathakali –the famous and traditional dance form of Kerala.

Stay at Taj Malabar / Brunton Boatyard


Day 13 - Cochin

Morning guided city tour of Cochin.

St Francis Church is considered to be the oldest European church in India This stone structure dates back to 16th century. It’s façade with its multi curved sides became an inspiration for later churches in India. Chinese Fishing Nets are pretty nets that line the northern shores of Fort Cochin. These nets require four men to control them, and when not in use, are hung from arced poles and operated using levers. It’s widely believed that these nets were introduced to this region; by traders during the reign of Mongol king Kublai Khan. Take a walk through the local bazaar with its spice laden huge ware houses.

Overnight at hotel


Day 14 - Cochin / Departure

Transfer to airport to board flight to Mumbai or Delhi to connect to Onwards International flight


Note

Upgrade to Hotel marked with ** will be at additional cost.

Suggested Adaptations to this tour

* From Chennai - Go directly from the airport to Mahabalipuram and have three nights there on the beach. Overnight at Tiruchirapalli (Trichy) giving you more time to visit the places of interest there.

* From Pondicherry - Have an extra night at a beach resort near Pondicherry or on the houseboat in Kerala.

* From Cochin - Finish with three nights & a Kerala beach resort after Cochin, in Boutique Home stays in backwaters or in Fort Cochin.

How it Works

We can customise our tour programmes to make the journey to suit you.Our tours on the web site and e-brochure are based on a minimum of two persons travelling together by air, train and chauffeur driven cars. Throughout your tour, experienced representatives and knowledgeable local guides, will assist you where appropriate. Accommodation will be arranged in a luxury hotel or a charming heritage hotel.

September to May

 

TOFTThe Hotels covered in this Itinerary are:
Hotel Trident Chennai / Taj Connemara
Maison Perumal
Ideal River View
The Bangala / Visalam
Coconut Lagoon / Kumarakom Lake Resort
Taj Malabar / Brunton Boatyard Resort

Hotel Trident Chennai

Located conveniently close to the airport, the new business districts of Sriperumbudur, Maramalianagar, Guindy and 10 minutes from the Chennai Trade centre, the Trident, Chennai welcomes its guests for a relaxing stay. Set amongst five acres of lush, tropical gardens, the elegant low-rise hotel caters to the business community and leisure travellers with 167 rooms, business facilities, bar, restaurants, gymnasium and spa.


Taj Connemara

Colonially elegant and infused with design touches hinting to its imperial past, the Taj Connemara, is Chennai’s only heritage hotel. Modern comforts, thoughtful service, soothing views and complete privacy help make your stay comfortable and memorable.


Maison Perumal

Maison Perumal is the new CGH Earth Experience at Puducherry (Pondicherry), India. This is where french elegance meets Indian exotica. Former French Colony of Pondicherry is now a stylish getaway just 160 kms South of Chennai on the East Coast Road.

The heritage structures around the french quarters of the town have a romantic feel and Maison Perumal is an amalgamation of French and Tamil styles. Situated in the Tamil Quarter, Maison Perumal is one of the rare Tamil quarters to get restored to its original glory.


Ideal River View

Ideal River View Resort is located along the banks of Vennar a branch of river Cauvery 3 kms away from the city limit of Tanjore. The resort is situated in a secluded but a scenic spot away from the hustle, bustle; the din and dust of the urban city. It's a cool and calm place surrounded by a large landscape of semi-jungle paddy fields.

The resorts grow the organic grown rice, vegetables and fruits in the garden. The resort is a perfect blend of Indian tradition and contemporary facities. The resort provides regular shuttle service to the village, town or city.

Your leisure time you could visit our orchid farm at Mahabalipuram, Poonjeri Village. 30 different types and color of orchids are grown.


The Bangala

The Bangala Resort is located on the outskirts of Karaikudi, Chettinad's largest town (Tamilnadu - INIDA), at a distance of 90 kms from Tiruchirapalli and Madurai domestic Airport. Karaikudi is an ideal stopover between Thanjavur / Tiruchirapalli and Madurai.


Visalam

Visalam Hotel is located in Kadadu Kathan. The hotel is 90 kms away from Trichy Airport and 110 kms away from Madurai Airport. The nearest railhead is Trichy Railway Station, which is 90 kms away. It also provides sightseeing packages to the tourists.


Coconut Lagoon

There are so many facets to the Coconut Lagoon experience. The heritage of the old feudal villages of Malabar. The vast frolic of the Vembanad lake. The shimmering waters of the canals that criss-cross the property. Together, they become an experiment in ecological living that remains startlingly different.


Kumarakom Lake Resort

Kumarakom Lake Resort, acclaimed as the finest luxury heritage resort in India, nestles on the serene banks of the Lake Vembanad, the vast stretch of tranquil, emerald green backwaters, in one of India's hottest holiday spots, Kerala.

Sprawling across 25 acres of lush greenery and set in soul-stirring ambience, Kumarakom Lake Resort, a privileged member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World and awarded thrice in a row as India's Leading Resort (2006, 2007 and 2008) by the much acclaimed World Travel Awards, exudes the charm of Kerala's true heritage while offering a complete range of New Age amenities for a luxuriously comfortable stay. Luxury-laden rooms, villas and suites; Ayurmana, the Ayurveda Spa; swimming pools galore; traditionally styled houseboats; multi-cuisine and specialty restaurants; traditional Kerala teashop and countless other attractions in and around the resort offer you the simple luxuries of life, in the grandeur of the royalty of yore.


Taj Malabar

Situated on Willingdon Island with a magnificent view of Cochin harbour, the Taj Malabar combines old-world elegance with modern day convenience. In its heritage wing, built in 1935, graceful Victorian interiors aptly reflect the inherent beauty of Cochin. Its tower wing houses newly renovated guestroom suites, each a delicate mix of the classic with the contemporary.


Brunton Boatyard Resort

Hotel Brunton Boatyard is a great contribution in the city of Kochi. Representing the early Dutch and Portuguese architecture of Cochin Fort, it blends very well into the Kochi sky line. It resembles the old colonial buildings of Kochi. The simple lime washed walls, sloping tile roof and terra-cotta floors wit the Giant "Rain Tree" complete the gigantic mansion.


Map of India

Itinerary

Day 1 - Fly
Day 2 - Arrive Chennai
Day 3 - Chennai
Day 4 - Chennai / Pondicherry
Day 5 - Pondicherry / Tanjore
Day 6 - Tanjore / Chettinad
Day 7 - Chettinad
Day 8 - Chettinad / Thekkady
Day 9 - Thekkady
Day 10 - Thekkady / Kumarakom
Day 11 - Kumarakom
Day 12 - Kumarakom / Alleppey / Cochin
Day 13 - Cochin
Day 14 - Cochin / Departure

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