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Explore South India

South India Explored : 12 nights/13 Days
Destinations of South India Explored Chennai : Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry, Trichy, Madurai, Periyar , Kumarakom, Cochin

Day 01 - Arrive Chennai You will be met upon your arrival in Chennai and transferred to your chosen hotel. Overnight in Chennai

Santhome Cathedral Basilica, Chennai Tour TravelDay 02 - In Chennai Your guide will collect you for a half Day sightseeing that will include the San Thome Cathederal. The cathedral is built on the site of a 16th century Portuguese basilica which is said to be the tomb of the apostle Thomas, who is reputed to have brought Christianity to India in the 1st century AD. The tour also includes St Thomas Mount, the Little Mount Shrine, the Fort St George, St Mary's Church, and the Fort Museum which has a collection of objects from the tenure of the East India Company in Chennai including letters from Robert Clive. Overnight in Chennai.

Day 03 - Drive Chennai to Mahabalipuram (60 kms/1.5 hrs)Drive to Mahabalipuram which was devastated by the Tsunami waves in December 2004. In true Indian style, the city's inhabitants showed tremendous grit and courage and had the city back to its usual self very quickly. Check in to your Mahabalipuram hotel and then head out to see the remarkable monolith rathas (5 rock-carved temple chariots); various panels that depict scenes from Hindu mythology and fables from thePanchtantra, the Cave Temple and the Shore Temple. Overnight in Mahabalipuram

Bhima Ratha, Mahabalipuram Tour, Explore South IndiaDay 04 - Drive Mahabalipuram to Pondicherry (95 kms/02 hrs) Pondicherry, a former French Colony, depicts an unusual combination of European culture and Indian traditions. After checking in to your hotel, freshen up for an afternoon of sightseeing. Visit the Sri Aurobindo Ashram - not the quiet place of retreat that you may expect. Rather Aurobindo is a vibrant centre of life in a modern urban setting and its hand made paper factory is just one of the Ashram's successful commercial enterprises. Later visit Auroville and the Pondicherry Museum.

Day 05 - Drive Pondicherry to Trichy (255 kms/05 hrs)Drive to Trichy and en route visit Tanjore - famous as the "Rice bowl of Tamil Nadu" this was also the royal city of the Chola Empire which ruled from 850 to 1270. Visit the famous Brahadeeswarar Temple, listed as a World Heritage site and arriving in Trichy you will be delivered to your chosen hotel.

Day 06 - Drive Trichy to Madurai (200 kms/05 hrs) The Day starts with a sightseeing tour of Trichy visiting the Rock Fort Temple and the Ranganathswamy Temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu and comprising of a series of walled courts with 21 towers. Later drive to Madurai, an ancient and traditional town, dominated by the colourful and lively Meenakshi Temple whose thousand-pillared hall is crowded with exquisitely carved columns. Spend 2 nightsin Madurai.

Meenakshi Temple, Madurai, Explore South IndiaDay 07 - In Madurai A morning tour of the great Meenakshi Temple -a splendid example of Dravidian architecture; the Tirumala Nayak Palace - a gracious building in the Indo saracenic style; the Alagar Hills and the Tirupara Kundran Rock temple.

Day 08 - Drive Madurai - Periyar (160 kms/04 hrs.) Drive to Periyar, regarded as one of the best places to see the Asian Elephants. After checking into your Periyar hotel for a 2 night stay, take a late afternoon boat ride into the Wildlife Sanctuary. In the cool of the evening as the sun sets wildlife comes to drink at the Lake's edge.

Day 9 - In Periyar Morning visit to a Spice Plantation - the area is famous for cardamom, coffee and tea plantations and you will learn a bit about the many uses of the spices, both medicinal and culinary! Overnight in Periyar.

Day 10 - Drive Periyar to Chennai (200 kms/04) Morning drivethrough tea and then rubber plantations, interspersed with small cardamom, coffee, ginger and pepper-growing estates to the tranquility of Kumarakom. Check in to your chosen retreat and enjoy the remainder of the

Day discovering nature's beauty at your own pace.

Kumarakom Lake Resort, Explore South IndiaDay 11 - Drive Kumarakom to Cochin (85 kms/02 hrs) Drive to Cochin and check in at your chosen hotel for a 2 night stay. After free time to enjoy the facilities or head out to explore the town, you will be collected for a Kathakali Dance Show.

Day 12 - In Cochin Cochin's half Day sight seeing includes Cochin Harbour where the Chinese fishing nets present a wonderful sight; Mattancherry Dutch Palace; The Jewish Synagogue and St. Francis Church (built in 1510 Vasco Da Gama was originally buried here). Overnight in Cochin.

Day 13 - Depart Cochin You will be transferred to International Airport in time for your onward flight.

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