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Southern India Explorer (17 Days)

Chennai, Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry, Thanjavur, Thekkady, Alleppey, Kochi, Ooty, Mysore & Bangalore

This 17 day guided tour explores the wonders of Southern India. The tour begins in Chennai the gateway of the South, the city is a wonderful blend of the traditional Tamil Hindu culture and modern British architecture. The numerous temples, shrines, churches, forts and palaces are a reflection of the rich and diverse historical heritage of the city. Highlights: Palaces of Mysore, the sacred city of Kanchipuram, the shore temple of Mahabalipuram, French-inspired Pondicherry, the fascinating houses of Chettinad, wildlife viewing and a magical tour of the Keralan backwaters by houseboat. The tour ends in the captivating city of Bangalore known as the garden city.

Day 01: Depart Australia – Arrive Chennai (-/-/-)

Fly to Chennai, on arrival, meet our executive at the arrival lounge and you will be assisted with a transfer to your Hotel for check-in.

Day 02: Chennai – Mahabalipuram (B/-/D)

Enjoy your city tour including a visit to St. Mary’s Church, the oldest Church in India with its premises; Sri Parthasarathy Temple built by Pallavas; San Thomas Cathedral Basilica rebuilt in 1606 as a cathedral and converted to a basilica in 1896. End your day at Marina Beach for relaxation. Later drive to the Temple and beach town of Mahabalipuram.

Day 03: Mahabalipuram (B/-/D)

After breakfast, explore Mahabalipuram-a fabulous “open-air museum”. The majestic Mahabalipuram invokes a certain kind of mystery. In a town that is liberally strewn with some of the best in temple art, Mahabalipuram holds its own and stands as a silent yet eloquent witness to the glory of its creators.

Day 04: Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry (B/-/D)

Drive to Pondicherry, on arrival check into the hotel. The city was ruled by French for about 281 years before independence, and a profound influence of southern France is still very prominent. The grand boulevards make Pondicherry a richly cosmopolitan village. The numerous palm-fringed beaches, splendid backwaters, fabulous tiny fishing villages and hamlets make it a beautiful quaint town.

Day 05: Pondicherry – Thanjavur (B/-/D)

Travel to Chidambaram known for its beautiful temple dedicated to the Lord Nataraja – Lord Shiva in the form of a Cosmic Dancer. Drive to Thanjavur and enjoy a city tour in the afternoon. The royal city of the Cholas, Nayaks and the Mahrattas, Thanjavur has a rich and varied heritage, which is renowned across the globe.

Day 06: Thanjavur – Madurai (B/-/D)

Drive to Madurai and visit the magnificent Meenakshi Temple and experience stunning architecture as the sculpted pillars tell the story of the beautiful princess of Madurai and her marriage to Lord Shiva.

Day 07: Madurai – Thekkady (B/-/D)

After breakfast travel to Thekkady known for Periyar, south India’s most popular wildlife sanctuary. It is home to bison, wild elephant, boar, langur, the great Indian tiger and many more wildlife species. Enjoy a boat cruise on the Lake.

Day 08: Thekkady (B/-/D)

Morning visit to the plantations, home to rare species of cardamom, pepper, coffee, and tea. On the way back we stop at the local market and purchase some fragrant spices.

Day 09: Thekkady – Alleppey (Houseboat) (B/L/D)

Travel to Alleppey. Alleppey is dotted with traditional Kerala houses and bordered by rolling hills on either side. On arrival, board the “Kettuvallam”, traditional rice boats now converted into deluxe accommodation. It is no wonder that Alleppey has been called the Venice of the East. The land is lush with coconut palms and green rice fields. The houseboats are comfortably furnished with an open lounge, bedrooms, bathrooms and a kitchenette. The enchanting backwaters of Alleppey & Kerala reveal some interesting facts about the local life of local village people. Enjoy an afternoon relaxing in the lounging as we drift along, it is amazing to observe how life is lived on the water.

Day 10: Alleppey – Cochin (B/-/D)

Awake with the gentle lap of water against the hull of your Houseboat. After breakfast travel to Cochin. On arrival we check-in to the hotel.

Day 11: Cochin (B/-/D)

Visit Fort Cochin. See the Old quarter, The Dutch Cemetery before heading to Fort Kochi’s seaside promenade, and get a glimpse of daily life in Kochi. Head to the waterfront to see The Chinese Fishing Nets, undoubtedly Kochi’s most recognizable, 14th century tool, which is still used today. Also visit local fish markets nearby and Francis Church. Later drive to one of the Kochi’s spice trade centres. Visit the synagogue – the centre for the Jewish community and stop at Mattancherry Dutch Palace. This evening enjoy a Kathakali Dance Performance.

Day 12: Cochin – Ooty (B/-/-)

Known as the ‘Queen of Hill Stations’. Ooty is home to many Brit’s who have fallen in love with this hill station where they discovered a little bit of ‘home’. The area is still inhabited by the tribal people, today. On arrival check-in to the hotel.

Day 13: Ooty – Mysore (B/-/D)

Today’s city tour includes the visit to Botanical Gardens, lake, and tribal village. Later drive to Mysore. It is known the world over for its exotic sandalwood oils, rosewood carved products and saris made from silk.

Day 14: Mysore (B/-/D)

Visit Chamundi Hill to see Chamundeshwari Temple (Palace of the Maharaja) and a panoramic view of Mysore. In the evening take a walk in the Brindavan gardens and enjoy the spectacular “Musical Dancing Fountains”.

Day 15: Mysore – Bangalore (B/-/D)

Morning drive to Bangalore, the “city of gardens” check-in at the hotel on arrival. Visiting the Bull Temple, Bangalore Palace and of course the Summer Palace of Tipu Sultan, which within its walls is the well preserved 16th century Ganapathi Temple.

Day 16: Depart Bangalore (B/-/-)

Have a leisurely breakfast and enjoy your free time at leisure. Later in time transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Day 17: Arrive Australia (-/-/-)

Arrive home this evening.

Number of Days 17

Price From $5480

Departure Dates

2019:
22nd February – 10th March
22nd March – 7th April*
19th April – 5th May*
17th May – 2nd June
30th August – 15th September
27th September – 13th October***
18th October – 3rd November*
8th November – 24th November*
29th November – 15th December***

2020:
21st February – 8th March
20th March – 5th April**

*Peak season surcharges apply from $200 per person
**Peak season surcharges apply from $300 per person
***Peak season surcharges apply from $400 per person


Inclusions

Return international economy class airfares with full service airlines
4* minimum accommodation with daily breakfast
All transfers by air conditioned vehicles
Meals as specified
Evening entertainment
Professional English speaking guide
Entry fees & Monument charges
Tipping for guide & driver


Exclusions

Travel Insurance
Indian Visa
Camera and video permits may be required at some sights


Price Details

(Fully Inclusive, Twin Share)

From $5,480 per person departing Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide & Perth, flying Singapore Airlines. Adelaide may require domestic add on fare at additional cost.

Single Room Supplement from $1,650
Land Only Including Tipping from $4,480 per person (15 Nights)


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