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Colours of South India

Explore South India on our 14 day trip from Kochi to Chennai. Enjoy the spirituality of this region as well as the wildlife of Periyar National Park.

13 Day
From (AUD)
$ 6,690
  • 2017/2018 Kochi > Chennai

    Tour Code:

    INSI

    Duration:

    13 Days

    Departure City:

    Kochi

    Return City:

    Chennai

    Selected Itinerary

    Southern wonders

    The East coast of Southern India is a veritable living museum to both British and French colonial history. Tamil Nadu provides lots of opportunities to explore this fascinating era.

    This ancient state is also home to one of the world’s longest living civilisations. Explore 2,000 years of language, dance, poetry and belief systems as you make your way through Madurai, Tanjore and Trichy. These towns are also renowned for their number of well-preserved temples, many of which are World Heritage-listed. Tap into the spirituality of this region by visiting one of South India’s biggest pilgrimage sites, the Sri Meenakshi Temple which boasts over 33,000 sculptures. For those keen to see wildlife, the tranquil surrounds of Periyar National Park is just the trick. Known for its elephants, it is one of the great parks of India. This tour is the perfect accompaniment to the Southern India Discovery tour and is an ideal way to see the whole of this incredible region.

  • 13 Day Itinerary

    • Day 1 - Kochi
      Highlights:
      Welcome

      Welcome to South India your beautiful colonial-era home for the next two nightsis in Kochi.

    • Day 2 - Kochi
      Highlights:
      Freechoice, Kathakali dance performance

      Head down to the harbour and watch the local fishermen expertly handling the Chinese fishing nets. Discover the different colonial influences during your tour of Fort Kochi. Visit Jew Town and the Jewish synagogue.

      Freechoice

      Visit a local market before learning the secrets of South Indian cooking or indulge in a traditional Ayurveda massage. Alternatively explore Vypeen Island, a small fishing village with a number of old Portuguese churches.

      In the evening, watch a Kathakali performance, a highly evolved classical form of dance, drama and music.

      Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    • Day 3 - Kochi > Periyar National Park
      Highlights:
      Periyar Lake cruise

      Ascend into the highlands to Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary and take a private boat cruise on Periyar Lake. Overnight stay Periyar National Park.

      Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    • Day 4 - Periyar National Park > Madurai
      Highlights:
      Enrich - spice plantation lunch
      Freechoice

      Join an early morning guided jungle walk or partake in a jeep tour through local spice farms and countryside for panoramic views over Tamil Nadu.

      Enrich

      Wander through a small family-owned spice plantation and learn how spices grow before enjoying a lunch prepared by the family.

      Cross into Tamil Nadu, the ‘State of Temples’ and drive to Madurai, known as the ‘Athens of the East’. Tonight relax at your hotel in Madurai.

      Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    • Day 5 - Madurai
      Highlights:
      Sri Meenakshi temple

      Rise early for a walk through the heritage section of town to witness the early morning rituals. Later, walk through the local flower and vegetable market and weavers market. Visit one of South India’s biggest pilgrimage sites, the Sri Meenakshi Temple. This evening return by Tuk Tuk to this Hindu temple to absorb the rituals and celebration of the evening puja ceremony.

      Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    • Day 6 - Madurai > Chettinad
      Highlights:
      Chettinad city tour

      Drive to the small village of Karaikudi located in the area known as ‘Chettinad’. The merchants and traders (the Chettiars) amassed fortunes from their roles as bankers, building remarkable homes. Experience a bullock cart ride through the narrow streets exploring the charm and faded elegance of colonial bungalows and merchant houses, stopping for a weaving demonstration en-route. Stay at your beautifully restored Art Deco mansion for the next two nights.

      Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    • Day 7 - Chettinad
      Highlights:
      Enrich - wedding feast

      Witness ‘Kolam making’, colourful designs made with dyed rice, before visiting a pottery village to watch the colourful local tiles called Athangudi being crafted by hand. This afternoon take a heritage walk and visit Chettinad Palace

      Enrich

      This evening, witness the preparations for tonight’s typical Chettinad wedding feast before appreciating a private Bharattnatayam classical dance performance.

      Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    • Day 8 - Chettinad > Trichy > Tanjore
      Highlights:
      Freechoice

      Journey through the ‘rice bowl’ of Tamil Nadu and on to Trichy, the former Madurai Nayak capital.

      Freechoice

      Choose to climb the Rock Fort Temple or discover Trichy’s colleges, missions and churches. Alternatively visit the island and temples of Srirangam.

      Drive the short distance to Tanjore and your overnight stay.

      Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    • Day 9 - Tanjore > Puducherry
      Highlights:
      Enrich - meet a master craftsman

      Discover the World Heritage-listed Brihadishvara Temple.

      Enrich

      See a demonstration by master craftsmen to learn all about lost-wax casting. Also known as ‘precision casting’ or ‘cire perdue’ in French, it is a method of bronze casting dating back 5,700 years.

      Later drive to the pretty seaside town of Puducherry, the former capital of the French territories in India, then known as Pondicherry. Stay at your romantic hotel, a beautiful tribute to the town’s French legacy.

      Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    • Day 10 - Puducherry
      Highlights:
      Colonial heritage walking tour

      Journey to Auroville (City of Dawn) and see the Matrimandir, a metallic sphere covered in gold. Understand how the local Tamil population successfully assimilated French culture with their own during a heritage walking tour. Stroll past charming Tamil and colonial fusion architecture and visit the Aurobindo Ashram.

      Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    • Day 11 - Puducherry > Chennai
      Highlights:
      Freechoice Dining

      En-route to Chennai stop at Mamallapuram to explore the spectacular World Heritage-listed Shore Temples. In Chennai, check in to your beautiful hotel for a two night Special Stay.

      Freechoice Dining

      Dine on international cuisine at Spectra or China XO, featuring the flavours of China. Alternatively try Jamavar, specialising in Indian cuisine.

      Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    • Day 12 - Chennai
      Highlights:
      Freechoice
      Freechoice

      Walk through Georgetown and discover its markets and colonial laneways or explore the 8th century Hindu temples in Kanchipuram. Alternatively, visit a local Indian market and take part in a cooking lesson.

      Discover the history of the Basilica of San Thome before wandering along India’s largest urban beach, The Marina. Tonight reminisce about your wonderful tour at your farewell dinner.

      Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

    • Day 13 - Chennai

      Bid farewell to Southern India.

      Meals included: Breakfast