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Essence of South India
Embark on this classic southern India tour from Chennai to Kovalam Beach. Lush, tropical southern India is charming, captivating and hospitable. Discover a thousand shades of green and share smiles with the friendly local people. Experience the culture, religion and history of this region in its small rural towns, quaint fishing villages and scented spice plantations.
- Style: Guided Small Group Adventure Tour (Adventure)
- Duration: 14 days/13 nights
- Starts in: India
Guide Price £1665
- Visit Chennai’s Kapileshwar Temple
- Explore beautiful seaside Pondicherry
- Trackwild elephants in Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
- Relax on Kovalam’s beautiful beaches
Day 1 Chennai
Arrive into Chennai and transfer to your hotel. In the evening meet your fellow travellers at a welcome meeting.
Day 2-3 Chennai to Pondicherry
This morning drive along the scenic East Coast Road to the fishing town of Mamallapuram. Visit the 8th Century Shore Temple and its mandapams and watch locals pay their respects to the deity Shiva. Later in the afternoon continue to Pondicherry where your evening is free. The next day visit Auroville, an experimental township dedicated to the concept of human unity and also home to the world’s largest solid crystal. Return to Pondicherry and take a walking tour to see local temples, the French Quarter and the spiritual community of Sri Aurobindo Ashram. The city is also a duty free zone, reputed for its quality leather and hand crafted paper products. You'll notice the French influence of the area extends to the European feel of the shopping
Days 4-5 Pondicherry to Madurai
Continue by private vehicle to Madurai which will take up most of the day. On arrival head out on a guided walking tour to see ancient temples and heritage sights of the city. Venture out in the evening for some authentic Indian food. On day five wander through the tailors markets and bazaars before visiting the National Gandhi Museum.
Days 6-7 Madurai to Periyar NP
Travel into the countryside this morning past rubber and pineapple plantations to Thekkady, gateway to Periyar National Park and Tiger Reserve. Take a guided nature walk in the acclaimed Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. If luck is on your side you may see some Indian elephants, tigers or gaur - the world's largest species of buffalo. You are more likely to see Bonnet macaques who are often found near the entrance to the reserve, or the Malabar giant squirrel, a species native to India.
Days 8-9 Periyar NP to Munnar
Today drive north to Munnar, an old British Hill Station cradled in a picturesque valley. At 1,525 metres above sea level, be sure to pack warm clothing. Take a tour of a nearby tea garden where you can soak up the luscious surroundings. On day 9 take a guided walk around the lush hills, a former favourite summer retreat of the British. In the afternoon, journey out to the scenic Mattupetty Dam where you can take an optional motorboat ride.
Days 10-11 Munnar to Kochi
In the morning drive from the tea covered hills to Kochi, spread over several islands, a melting pot of Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese and British influences. On arrival, explore the antique shops and spice bazaars, visit Fort Kochi and see the fishing nets that line the coast. Visit the Paradesi Synagogue, the oldest existing Jewish synagogue in India, built in 1568. In the evening witness a Kathakali dance performance, a dramatic dance style, one of the most vibrant theatre forms in the world.
Day 12 Kochi to Kerala
Drive to the backwaters of Kerala this morning to discover Alleppey’s sleepy, palm-shaded waterways. Once a significant trading port, the town is now famed for the long ‘snake boats’ races that take place in August every year. Tonight, you'll sleep on a traditional houseboat.
Day 13 Kerala to Kovalam
A morning drive takes you to Kovalam, once a quiet coastal village known for its export of fresh fish and coconuts, but is now one of India’s most popular beach resorts. Your evening is then free to do as you wish. Perhaps head out with the group for a farewell meal.
Day 14 Kovalam
Today, your adventure ends after breakfast and you’re free to leave at any time.
Departs:Selected departures , Oct - Apr.
- 12 nights simple accommodation and 1 night houseboat
- Experienced tour leader
- Various transport including boat and private vehicle.
- 13 breakfasts, 1 lunch & 1 dinner
- International flights
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