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ITINERARY FINDER

Best Time

January, February, March, October, November & December

Difficulty

Low

SOUTHERN SOJOURN

This exciting tour features the very best of south India – historical monuments, cultural extravaganzas and calming waterways. From the historical colonial environs of Chennai you journey through the lively temple towns of Tamil Nadu, past culturally rejuvenating cities such as Pondicherry and Auroville By the Sea, both associated with The Mother and the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Then it is on to Tanjore, present-day Thanjavur, with its stunning temple and gilded religious art, then Chidamabaram with its fabulous religious architectural marvels. 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 Thekkady wending our way into the glorious backwaters of Kerala and exploring the ancient harbour city of Cochin.

 

EXPERIENCES AVAILABLE:

Cycling

  • Explore on cycles the country side in the vicinity of Cochin 

Gastronomy

  • Cooking demonstration of the famed Chettinad cuisine at the hotel in Karaikudi
  • Cooking demonstration of Syrian Christian cooking with Nimmy Paul in Cochin 

Walking tours

  • Walking tour of the Jew Town in Cochin 

Art

  • Lecture demonstration of Bharatanatyam dance by proficient dancers in Tanjore.
  • Visit to Athangudi tile making centre in Karaikudi

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS:

  • UNESCO World heritage sites – Temples in Mahabalipuram and Tanjore
  • Land of ancient temples – Tamil Nadu
  • Little France – Pondicherry
  • Off the beaten track – Karaikudi
  • Serene and tranquil backwaters of Kerala
  • Stay in the traditional Kerala houseboats
  • Cochin – a melange of cultures centred around an ancient fort and the ocean beyond.

Hotels in this Itinerary

  • Coconut Lagoon, Kumarakom

    Hidden among the palm trees on the eastern shore of Lake Vembanad, Coconut Lagoon is set on an abandoned coconut plantation in the very heart of these fascinating backwaters and has been designed to give visitors an authentic insight into Kuttanad life. The resort can only be reached by boat. Its accommodations consist of individual cottages called tharawads, the traditional wooden house of Kerala. Coconut Lagoon offers two basic types of accommodation: Heritage Mansion and Heritage Bungalows. The former has two stories, the upstairs bedroom gallery offering particularly magnificent views of Lake Vembanad. The latter are more compact, single – level cottages. Both are furnished in aiyny and jack woods, and retain all the charm of original family homes, with thick, solid doors, intricate window carvings, and terracotta tile floors. The cottages feature ultramodern bathrooms, each located in an inner courtyard boasting its own banana (or coconut) tree, so you can shower al fresco under a starlit sky, in complete and utter privacy! The restaurant at Coconut Lagoon is renowned as much for its superb Keralan cuisine (vegetarian and no vegetarian alike) as for its authentic setting.

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  • Eighth Bastion, Cochin

    Eighth Bastion is a brand-new luxury boutique hotel managed by the CGH Earth Group in Fort Cochin, Kerala. The hotel has 19 comfortable rooms all designed in a Dutch Nautical theme including replicas of ancient Dutch war Boats and Canons. The restaurant is creole fusion with local flavors. The hotel also has a swimming pool and a tea lounge.

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  • Heritage, Madurai

    Heritage Madurai was built in 1923 as the residence for the British officers of a pioneering textile company that went on to build brands such a Louise Philippe and Van Heusen. Today, Heritage Madurai comprises 72 rooms including 35 villas. The old colonial bungalows have been refurbished maintaining that traditional South Indian flavor, only found in Madurai. Heritage Madurai rings with historic charm that echoes in every hallway and every room. Spacious, airy rooms with detailed sitting areas, luxurious bedrooms and unbelievably vast bathrooms, all decorated with understated elegance. Lounge by the Olympic-sized temple tank pool or luxuriate in a plunge pool in your own private villa. Along with 2 restaurants, this hotel has a full-service spa and an outdoor pool. Free buffet breakfast, free Wi-Fi in public areas and free valet parking are also provided. Additionally, a fitness centre, a bar/lounge and a coffee shop/café are on-site.

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  • Ideal River View Resort, Tanjore

    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. A cluster of cottage type apartments with all the facilities have been designs and devised to provide the maximum privacy and seclusion with exclusive balconies. 20 self-contained air-conditioned cottage type rooms open out into the cuisine with spectacular view. The resorts grow their own organic rice, vegetables and fruits in the garden and is a perfect blend of Indian tradition and contemporary facilities.

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  • 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. 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. The rooms, villas and suites at Kumarakom Lake Resort are a perfect blend of Kerala's traditional architectural charm with luxurious, modern comforts. The traditionally styled, luxuriously modern, open-roofed bathrooms set in small, aesthetically designed courtyards are a common feature to the 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.

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  • Maison Perumal, Pondicherry

    Maison Perumal is a 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.

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  • Palais De Mahe, Pondicherry

    Palais De Mahe is a boutique heritage property, situated in Pondicherry. Stay in airy, spacious en suite rooms that have been restored back to their classic colonial glory, while retaining a contemporary touch. Rejuvenate yourself with Ayurvedic treatments at the hotel. Book lovers will especially enjoy the vast reading selection at the library. Mahe De Malabar serves a selection of Indian and Continental cuisines. Mahe Café is a coffee shop that serves piping hot refreshing beverages. Room service is available.

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  • Spice Coast Cruises, Backwaters

    Spice Coast Cruises feature single and two-bedroom houseboats, complete with kitchens, bathrooms and your own personal cooks-cum-attendants-cum-boatmen. The boat hulls are made from seasoned Jackfruit logs that have a natural gentle curvature. Keels are flat, because the rivers here can get mighty shallow at times and, also to allow the boat to be easily punted. (They come with a quiet outboard motor too, so the boatman can get some rest). You'll see natural and local materials everywhere, products of the forest of wealth that surrounds the backwaters. The decks are laden with coir matting, and the distinctive canopy uses split bamboo, lashed together with coir and covered with palm fronds. Made from natural materials, these spice boats are powered with solar energy and vegetable oils to reduce their impact upon the lake. The service and food on board also faithfully capture a dying tradition of the backwaters for you to sample first hand. The menu on our cruise boats is sparse but distinctive. Your meals are prepared by the boatmen in local manner.

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  • Spice Village, Thekkady

    Just 3 km away from Thekkady the main entrance to the Periyar Tiger Reserve, Kumily village is home to the delightful eco-friendly Spice Village. Enhanced by four posters and footstools, the colonial elements and the modern-day comforts act as a beautiful foil to its traditional native tribal-style huts with their wraparound verandas. Centred in the village complex is a glittering swimming pool, while for those looking for that extra pampering there's Ayurvedic massage and therapies conducted under the supervision of a qualified doctor. The in-house botanist helps visitors identify the spice trees on the grounds and the chef offers demonstrations and cooking classes of Kerala cuisine with spices every evening. In addition, you can enjoy jungle excursions and leisurely tea and spice garden tours.

    Hotel Details
  • Svatma, Tanjore

    The Svatma Boutique hotel, located just one km from the Thanjavur’s centre and 75 mins from the airport, offers easy access to the city’s popular sights. Tastefully furnished in classic Tamil style, the property offers indigenous and unique cultural experiences. The Svatma has 38 luxury rooms fitted with modern amenities including free wireless internet, lockers and 24-hour security. The hotel is also equipped with a large banquet hall, spa, gym, outdoor pool, yoga centre and gift shop. There is a 24-hour front desk, babysitting service, a business centre and hairdresser at the property. You can enjoy some delicious vegetarian Tamil cuisine at any of the two restaurants, or some hand-poured filter coffee at the coffee shop.

    Hotel Details
  • Taj Connemara, Chennai

    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. It has 150 centrally air-conditioned rooms including 7 suites. Its Restaurant Rain Tree is very popular it an ethnic, open-air restaurant serving Chettinad cuisine from Tamil Nadu.

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  • TAJ FISHERMAN’S COVE, CHENNAI

    Set amidst whispering casuarina and palm trees. Fisherman's cove is a snug resort, located just 32 kms from the Chennai airport and 28 kms from city centre (a breezy hour's drive from downtown Chennai), on a stretch of powder-white beach. At Fisherman’s Cove, it is unbelievably easy to find your place in the sun; once an impressive Dutch Fort, it is now one of the finest beach resorts in Southern India with 88 luxury cottages and comfortably appointed rooms. Bask in the warm glow of our friendly service and spacious rooms with views of the white sand beach, lapped by the waters of the Bay of Bengal.

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  • The Bangala, Chettinad

    The Bangala, is a complex of quaint buildings built over the last 75 years, on the outskirts of Karaikudi, Chettinad's largest town. Recently renovated and made into a heritage hotel catering to visitors to Chettinad. It is a small family run establishment offering warm hospitality, home-cooked Chettinad cuisine, the highest standards of hygiene and cleanliness. It has eight comfortable, air-conditioned double bedrooms, with attached bathrooms.

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  • The Brunton Boatyard, Cochin

    The Brunton Boatyard is modern accolade to the early Dutch and Portuguese architecture of Fort Cochin, the hotel's lime washed walls and sloping terracotta tiled roof blend perfectly into the Cochin skyline. Situated at the harbor mouth overlooking the busy ship channel. All its rooms overlook the harbor and nearby delta and are tastefully designed and furnished - four-poster beds, spacious bathrooms and all the amenities of a first-class hotel. It has its own private jetty, which doubles as a "cafe", overlooking the pool and private garden.

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  • The Gateway Hotel, Pasumalai

    Located away for the city on top of the Pasumalai hills, with panoramic view of the Temple city and the Kodai hills. It is a century old property sprawls over 62 acres of landscaped gardens. Whitewashed period buildings are dotted across super-green gardens, with staircases winding up and down all over the place. Each room offers a unique panoramic view of the Pasumalai hills while maintaining consistent quality in service with a touch of modern amenities. The spacious rooms feature either classic or modern interiors, all equipped with a satellite TV and a minibar. Private bathrooms come with a bathtub.

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  • Visalam, Chettinad

    Visalam, in Karaikudi, is reflective of the grandeur of the Chettinad region, combined with the almost yogic simplicity of the community. It has 15 heritage rooms. A celebrated residence though it once was, Visalam has been renovated keeping in mind age-old architectural ethos and traditional customs. The rooms are large with high ceilings, gleaming floors and polished windows and doors that characterize comfort and luxury of a very warm and intimate kind. The furniture is period in style, flawlessly crafted and made from the finest Burma teak. The floors and walls are inlaid with the famous Aathangudy tiles that are handmade to this very day.

    Hotel Details

Day-wise Itinerary

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