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South India Beaches & Heritage Tour

from
£1599/per adult
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Overview

Southern India is worlds apart from its neighbors in the north. The deep history, rich culture and unique language of this formidable region continue to both intrigue and fascinate historians across the globe. The south is home to Dravidian architecture, a notable feature of which is the Gopuram, a pyramid with intricate layers of colorful statues which sits above temple entrances and Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. The south boasts a wealth of tasty treats and kooky cuisine too, including sambar and koottu, two typical curry dishes which will put your weekly chicken tikka masala to shame. The use of coconut and seafood is also popular with the southerners and Toddy (also known as kallu) will be readily available for you to sample throughout the region of Kerala. 

Starting in Chennai, home to the shore temples of Mahabalipuram and stand in awe at the cultural and historical significance of this wonderfully green city. Next, you’ll head to Pondicherry, the capital city of the Puducherry territory, bursting at the seams with churches, temples and architecture which retain a French colonial vibe from some 2000 years ago. The huge variety of cuisines on offer, including Italian, Mexican, French, Thai, Chinese and of course, Indian, will leave you full to the brim with heavenly delights. 

Then you’ll escape to Kumbakonam, also known as “temple town” because of (yep, you guessed it) its plethora of temples, such as the Kumbeswara, the Sarangapani and the Ramadwamy. Kumbakonam is renowned for its Mahamaham festival, whose decadence draws people in from all over the globe every year. You’re also in for a treat when you head to Madurai after, an impressive city within the state of Tamil Nadu and home to the Meenakshi Amman Temple and the TirumalaiNayak Palace, which should both be on your India bucket-list. This is where the Dravidian architecture really comes to life, so have your selfie sticks ready!  

You’ll be able to feast your eyes upon the Thanjavur Maratha Palace. The Thanjavur Maratha Palace Complex, known locally as Aranmanai, is the official residence of the Bhonsle family who ruled over the Tanjore region from 1674 to 1855. The original name of Thanjavur Palace is Sivaganga Fort, which is rarely used these days.  Later you will visit Brihadeeswarar Temple which is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva located in Thanjavur and is a wonderful example of Tamil architecture.

Next up, you’ll make your way through Thekkady towards the Periyar Tiger Reserve where you’ll board an unforgettable boat cruise. The Periyar Park is a protected area of 640 square kilometers where tigers and elephants come out to play, as well as 35 species of mammals including the gaur, sambar, Indian giant squirrel, jungle cat and sloth bear. Feast your eyes upon mysterious white tigers and majestic Indian elephants as they wander their habitat freely and without restraint. Kumarakom is made up of small islands situated on the Vembanad Lake, and forms part of the Kuttanad region.  It is a lovely place to go for a picnic and has also turned into a prominent backwater destination. There are many boating, fishing and sightseeing options available in the area.

Located on the banks of the Vembanad Lake, the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, an ornithologist's paradise, is a favorite haunt of migratory birds. Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is among the most popular bird watching spots in the country. Here you will see a variety of migratory birds that flock in thousands, ranging from places like the Himalayas to Siberia.

Later kick back and relax during the last couple of days of your adventure at Marari Beach  which is flaunted as one of the excellent beach in the Kerala.

Whats Included

Transfers, Monuments Entrance Fee & Half Board Basis

  • We take care of International Flights from the UK
  • 1 night stay in unforgettable Mammallapuram with breakfast and dinner
  • 2 nights’ spent in Pondicherry with breakfast and dinner
  • 2 nights’ accommodation at the wonderful Kumbakonam with breakfast and dinner
  • 2 nights’ stay in Madurai with breakfast and dinner
  • 1 nights’ spent in mesmerizing Thekkady with breakfast and dinner
  • 2 nights accommodation in Alleppey with breakfast and dinner
  • 4 hours day cruise with Lunch in Alleppey on Day 10 
  • 3 nights’ stay at the glorious Marari Beach with breakfast and dinner 
  • Benefit from an English speaking guide at Mammallapuram, Pondicherry, Kumbakonam, Thanjore and Madurai
  • Have a blast sightseeing as per the itinerary
  • Travel around in style by car with an English speaking driver and full air conditioning
  • Cooking Demonstration in Pondicherry on Day 2
  • Visit to Grand Bazar in Pondicherry
  • 1 hour boating at Pichavaram, the second largest mangrove forest in the world.
  • An opportunity to observe the rural life in an hour country boat ride in Alleppey on Day 9
  • Take a visit to Organic Farms in the morning inside the backwater resort on day 10
  • Auto Rickshaw ride through the villages on Day 10
  • Parking toll and night halt charges
  • Boating and entrance fees at Thekkady Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Enjoy a Kathakali and Martial Arts show at Thekkady
  • Visit to  Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary on Day 11
  • Quench your thirst with a one mineral water bottle per person each day
  • Entrance fees to monuments as detailed in the itinerary
  • Applicable taxes

Highlights

Explore the vibrant, temple-filled cities!

  • Gaze at the splendid Pondicherry architecture
  • Learn about the premises of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram
  • Twist through the amazing mangrove forest of Pichavaram
  • Wander the glorious “temple town” of Kumbakonam
  • Enjoy the breathtaking Meenakshi Temple in Madurai
  • Marvel at the Dravidian architecture all around you 
  • Take an awesome boat tour within the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Behold the tigers and elephants as they play beneath the shrubbery
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