|South India January 2013|
18 Jan (Fri) ARRIVE MUMBAI
Welcome to India! Assistance on arrival at the airport by our representative and transfer to hotel. Overnight at the hotel.
19 Jan (Sat) IN MUMBAI
Morning excursion to Elephanta Caves by taking a motor lunch, the Elephanta Island is the site of the magnificent Elephanta caves, containing beautiful carvings, sculptures, and a temple to the Hindu God, Lord Shiva. These caves are thought to date back to the Silhara kings belonging to the period between 9th - 12th centuries. With the Brahminical resurgence during the reign of Gupta dynasty in 3rd century AD, these great cave dedicated to Lord Shiva exploded into existence at Elephanta. Legends and history suggest that the great warrior prince of Chalukya dynasty Pulkesin ll raised the shrine to celebrate his victory. Historians also suggest that the Kalchuri King Krishnaraja built these caves in 6th century AD.
Afternoon City tour of Mumbai city visiting Prince of Wales Musuem (closed on Mondays), Fish Aquarium, Jain Temples, Hanging Gardens on the slopes of Malabar Hills offering nice view of Marine Lines and Chowpatty Beach, Kamla Nehru Park and Marine drive. Overnight in Mumbai.
20 Jan (Sun) MUMBAI – CHENNAI
Morning after breakfast, departure transfer to the airport to board flight AI - 671 0940-1140 hrs to Chennai. Assistance on arrival at the airport and transfer to Hotel.
Afternoon sightseeing tour of Chennai, the Capital city of Tamil Nadu state, Chennai is India’s Southern Gateway city and one of the biggest centres of trade, and communications. Santhome Cathedral Church - Santhome Cathedral Basilica is situated on the southern tip of Marina in Chennai. It is a towering basilica built on the spot where St. Thomas (an apostle of Jesus Christ) was buried. It is the church of the Archbishop of Chennai - pastoral head of the Catholic community in the region. St. Thomas Mount - St. Thomas Mount church is located near Meenambakkam airport in Chennai. The Portuguese built it in 1523. It is a small relic-filled church, which stands at the summit of the 300 foot high St. Thomas Mount. Fort St. George Fort St. George is located on the Rajaji Salai road in Chennai. The fort was one among the first few bastions that were built by the East India Company in 1640 to protect its interests in India from rival companies. This fortification also marks the making of Madras (Chennai) as a modern city. Overnight at the hotel.
21 Jan (Mon) CHENNAI
Morning excursion to Mahabalipuram & Kanchipuram
Mahabalipuram – a quite seaside resort with a unique and glorious 7th century Shore Temple and some of the most beautiful rock-cut caves in the world. Visit the Krishna, Varaha and Mahishasura Mardhini Mandapas besides the famous stone bas-relief, Arjuna’s Penance.
Kanchipuram was under the Pallavas from the 6th to 8th century AD and later became the citadel of the Cholas, Vijayanagar Kings, the Muslim and the British. It has been a centre of Tamil learning, cultural and religious background for centuries. Kanchipuram has magnificent temples of unique architectural beauty bearing eloquent testimony to its glorious Dravidian heritage. All the religious cities in India support one of the two sects in Hinduism - Vaishnavism and Shaivism, but Kanchipuram has blended itself equally to both the sects, dividing itself into Vishnu Kanchi, surrounding the Varadaraja Temple, and Shiva Kanchi, surrounding the Ekambareshwar (also spelt as Ekambareshwa) Temple, while the Kamakshi Amman Temple stands in between as a place of Shakti worship. Overnight at the hotel.
22 Jan (Tue) CHENNAI – MADURAI
Morning after breakfast, departure transfer to the airport to board flight AI 671 1215-1305 hrs to Madurai. Assistance on arrival at the airport and transfer to Hotel. Evening take a walking tour of Madurai city through the markets and residential areas to see the life of the people in Madurai.
Evening witness the night ceremony at the Meenakshi Temple.
Overnight at the hotel.
23 Jan (Wed) IN MADURAI
Morning sightseeing tour of Madurai city. Visit the great Meenakshi Temple, an excellent example of Dravidian Architecture, dedicated to the consort of Lord Shiva with its towering Gopurams (rising high above the surrounding country side). Also Visit the Tirumala Nayak Palace – A gracious building in the Indo Saracenic style, famous for the Stucco work on its domes and arches.
Afternoon visit Alagar Hills and Tirupara Kundran Rock Temple.
Overnight at the hotel.
24 Jan (Thu) MADURAI – PERIYAR
Morning depart by surface to Periyar (137 kms/4 hrs) crossing over the Tamil Nadu-Kerala boarder to enter into the Gods own Country en route visiting the Spice Market at Kumily. Upon arrival check-in at the hotel.
Thekkady, located in central Kerala, is a popular hill station and a wildlife centre. This town, which is an important plantation centre, conjures up images of elephants, unending chains of hills and spice scented plantations. Periyar Forest of Thekkady is one of the finest wildlife reserves of India and spread across the entire district are picturesque plantations and hill towns that hold immense opportunities for treks and mountain walks. The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary offers a fairly good chance of seeing the great Indian tiger in its natural habitat.
Afternoon take game viewing boat-ride on the Artificial Periyar Lake. Amongst the animals spotted here are wild elephants, which can be seen and photographed at close quarters, wild boar, sambar, tier, leopard, wild dog and languor monkeys. Overnight at the hotel.
25 Jan (Fri) PERIYAR – MUNNAR
Morning after breakfast, depart by surface to Munnar en route visiting a Spice Plantation and upon arrival check-in at the resort.
Munnar, is the nature-lover’s paradise. Snuggling in the green and serene Kannan Devan Hills, lies the quite and restful resort of Munnar. Panoramic views of low-flying clouds and mist filled valleys make it a pretty little heaven with a cool bracing climate. It was opened up out of virgin forests a century ago by pioneering planters. Within its remote and elderly churches - gracious, stone-structures with ancient chandeliers and rosewood pews.
The Kundale Tea Plantation - An area surrounding a lovely lake that offers some of the most stunning views of the region. It offers the best opportunity you are ever likely to have to see the tea plantations, to watch tea being picked, to learn how tea is processed, to smell the sweet scent of tea wafting through the air and to buy the tea directly from the gardens.
Overnight at the hotel.
26 Jan (Sat) IN MUNNAR
Breakfast at the hotel. Day free to explore this hill station and take a nature walk to see the beautiful landscape, tea and other plantations and lakes around.
Overnight at the Hotel.
27 Jan (Sun) MUNNAI – ALLEEPY – HOUSE BOAT
Morning after breakfast, depart by surface to Alleppey to board a House Boat stationed on the backwaters of Kerala, the Vembanad Lake, which will cruise you through the small canals to show the natural beauty, paddy fields, coconut groves, local villages, toddy tapping, fishing and local villagers on their day to day affairs. The House Boat would have an air-conditioned bath attached bed room with a sit out and a kitchenette, where they will cook typical Kerala Cuisine and serve your lunch, Dinner and breakfast. Overnight on board House Boat.
28 Jan (Mon) HOUSE BOAT – KUMARAKOM
Morning after breakfast, disembark from the House Boat at your Resort in Kumarakom.
Kumarakom an unbelievably beautiful paradise of mangrove forests, emerald green paddy fields, and coconut groves interspersed with enchanting waterways and canals adorned with white lilies. Situated on the Vembanad Lake, in this small water world, you will come across plenty of traditional country crafts, boats and canoes. Kumarakom has also a Bird Sanctuary, which is ornithologist’s paradise, with favourite haunt of migratory birds like the Siberian stork, egret, darter, heron and teal. Other common varieties like woodp0ecker, skylark, crane, water hen and parrots can also be spotted here.
Evening take an Optional sunset Cruise – there can be few better ways to adjust to the pace of backwater life than to spend the waning hours of the afternoon just watching the sun go down. Overnight at the resort.
29 Jan (Tue) IN KUMARAKOM
Day free at leisure or get an Ayurveda Rejuvenation massage at the resorts Ayurveda centre. Kerala is the originating place for Ayurveda, which is the ultimate natural way of treating and rejuvenating soul and body. Also we have professional Yoga teachers here, and can practice Yoga under his/her guidance. Overnight at the Resort.
30 Jan(Wed) KUMARAKOM – COCHIN
Morning after breakfast, depart by surface to Kochi (Cochin) and upon arrival check-in at the hotel.
Afternoon half day sightseeing tour of Kochi (Cochin) – an important port city with a famous Jewish settlement and Synagogue, the Dutch Palace, the Chinese Nets, the Church of St Francis and the Tomb of Vasco da Gama. We will also include a visit to a School in Cochin during your sightseeing tour to show you and explain how the education system prevails in India.
Evening witness a Kathakali Dance drama performance at one of the auditoriums. This is an age old traditional art form of Kerala, where the artists paint their faces with colours and narrate the story of the Indian epics such as Ramayana or Mahabarata by way of their actions. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
31 Jan (Thu) COCHIN – MUMBAI
In time departure transfer to the Cochin airport to board flight AI – 682 (0800 – 0950) to Mumbai and upon arrival transfer to the hotel. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight at the hotel.
01 Feb (Fri) DEPART MUMBAI
In time departure transfer to the airport to board flight back home.
END OF THE TOUR
CHECK-IN/OUT AT THE HOTELS IS 12 NOON
FLIGHT SCHEDULE IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE
TOUR COST $3790 (double occup)
Rate does not include:
Airfare Mumbai-Chennai-Madurai + Kochi-Mumbai US$ 333 per person