Rating in India
$ 2649

Spirit of South India

Culture
Culture
min $ 2649
Per person
Tour details
Destinations: Chennai, Mahabalipuram, Karaikudi, Madurai, Ooty, Palakkad, Kochi
Guide language: English
Price: min $ 2649
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  • Overview & dates
  • Itinerary
  • What's included

Overview & dates

INTRO

Experience the diversity of South India on a journey from the towering temple towns of Tamil Nadu and the French colonial charm of Pondicherry through to the UNESCO-endorsed township of Auroville and the fragrant tea plantations of Ooty by toy train towards the soothing backwaters of Alleppey. En-route witness the rural towns of Kerala and Cochin`s importance in the spice trade with a fascinating walking tour. Throughout your South Indian odyssey, stay in heritage properties, cosy cottages and welcoming homestays, all the time savouring authentic South Indian cuisine and aromatic tea.


GROUP DATES

  • 29 Sep 2018 to 12 Oct 2018 - £ 2,095 - AV
  • 16 Feb 2019 to 01 Mar 2019 - £ 2,095 - AV
  • 28 Sep 2019 to 11 Oct 2019 - £ 2,095 - AV

If these dates do not suit you but you are interested in this tour, please contact us for alternative dates.

AV - Available
GD - Guaranteed
LM - Limited places left
OR - On request (contact us for status)
CL - Closed for bookings


All tours in India


HIGHLIGHTS

Intricately carved cave temples in Mahabalipuram

French colonial heritage in Pondicherry

Savour spicy Chettinad dishes

Travel by toy train in Ooty

Tea tasting experience in Coonoor

Alleppey, the "Venice of the East"

Sunset cruise on Cochin harbour


PLACES VISITED

Mahabalipuram - Kanchipuram - Pondicherry - Chettinad - Tanjore - Madurai - Ooty - Ooty toy train - Palakkad - Alleppey - Cochin Mahabalipuram
Kanchipuram
Pondicherry
Chettinad
Tanjore
Madurai
Ooty
Ooty toy train
Palakkad
Alleppey
Cochin

Itinerary

ITINERARY

Short | Detailed | PDF


Choose departure date29 Sep 2018 -- 12 Oct 201816 Feb 2019 -- 01 Mar 201928 Sep 2019 -- 11 Oct 2019

Day 1 : Arrival

Arrive into Chennai and transfer to Mahabalipuram. Enjoy an evening tour of the cave temples. Overnight in Mahabalipuram.

Arrive in Chennai, where you will be met by a Travel The Unknown representative and transferred to Mahabalipuram. In the evening enjoy a guided tour of Mahabalipuram. Overnight in Mahabalipuram.

Meal plan : n/a


Though it is no longer a port, Mahabalipuram (also known as 'Mamallapuram') has retained its fame in stone, thanks to the great contribution of Pallava artisans. It is among the most outstanding examples of Dravidian art and architecture and a jewel in the crown of Tamil Nadu. In a land that is liberally strewn with some of the best in Hindu temple art, Mahabalipuram holds its own, and stands as a silent yet eloquent witness to the glory of its creators. Unfortunately most of the work was left incomplete, and time and nature have also eroded the remains of this once great port. 

There are nine rock-cut cave temples. The Mahishasuramardhini cave, contrasting the goddess fighting a demon on one side, and Lord Vishnu's cosmic sleep on the other, is particularly remarkable. Krishna Mandapam has a big bas-relief, notable for its realistic representation. The carved panel depicts one of the stories of Lord Krishna.


Day 2 : Mahabalipuram - Kanchipuram - Mahabalipuram

Proceed on a day trip to Kanchipuram. Return to Mahabalipuram for overnight.

After a relaxed breakfast proceed to Kanchipuram for a visit of the site. Return to Mahabalipuram for overnight.

Meal plan : Breakfast


In Hindu theology, Kanchipuram is one of the seven sacred cities. Nowadays it is best known for its hand-woven silk fabrics and saris. A holy pilgrimage site for Saivites and Vaishnavites, the city is home to 14 of the country's 108 holy temples dedicated to Vishnu.

Day 3 : Mahabalipuram - Pondicherry

After breakfast, check out and drive to the French era settlement of Pondicherry. Overnight in Pondicherry.

After breakfast continue to Pondicherry. The rest of the day is yours to explore this French era settlement. Overnight in Pondicherry.

Meal plan : Breakfast


Pondicherry, recently renamed 'Puducherry', is a former colonial French town tucked away in the Southeastern seaboard of India. Among its diverse attractions are a 32km-long coastline, palm-fringed beaches, backwaters, fishing villages, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, the international city of Auroville, and the French boulevard town centre with its unique heritage.

Day 4 : Pondicherry - Tanjore - Karaikudi

Depart Pondicherry for Karaikudi, the capital of Chettinad. Stop en route for a guided tour of Tanjore. Overnight in Karaikudi.

Depart Pondicherry for Karaikudi, the capital of Chettinad. Stop en route for a guided tour of Tanjore. Overnight in Karaikudi.

Meal plan : Breakfast


Tanjore is an important centre for South Indian religion, art and architecture. Most of the Great Living Chola Temples, which are UNESCO World Heritage Monuments, are situated in and around the city.

Day 5 : Karaikudi (Chettinad)

Proceed on a tour of Chettinad Museum and a tile factory. Overnight in Karaikudi.

Proceed on a guided tour of Karaikudi, covering the Chettinad Museum and a traditional tile factory to discover how the region's famous handmade terracotta tiles are made. Overnight in Karaikudi.

Meal plan : Breakfast


Chettinad cuisine is typically spicy and pungent, and consists  mainly  of non-vegetarian food. The dishes contain freshly ground masalas, and are often topped with a boiled egg, which is considered an essential part of a meal. They also use a variety of sun-dried meats and salted vegetables, reflecting the dry environment of the region. Meat dishes are restricted to fish, prawn, lobster, crab, chicken and lamb. People from this region do not eat beef and pork. Exciting Chettinar dishes include the fried murrell, a delicately-spice lamb dish, as well as robust curries with hints of fresh pepper and raw mango.

Chettinad is best known for its unique ancient temples. Tamil Nadu was once ruled by the Chola Dynasty (9-13th centuries), who constructed some of the most ornate temples in South India. Dedicated to various Hindu gods, these temples contain intricate life-sized carvings, beautiful murals and are a display of master craftsmanship.

Day 6 : Karaikudi - Madurai

Drive to the great temple town of Madurai. In the evening, proceed to Meenakshi temple to witness the evening ceremony. Overnight in Madurai.

After breakfast you will be transferred to Madurai. In the evening proceed to Meenakshi temple to witness the evening ceremony. Overnight in Madurai.

Meal plan : Breakfast


Madurai is one of South India’s great temple towns. It was an important cultural and commercial centre in 550 AD. Sitting on the banks of the river Vaigai, it is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.

Day 7 : Madurai - Ooty

Drive to Ooty, also known as 'Udhagamandalam'. Check in at hotel. Rest of day free. Overnight in Ooty.

After breakfast, check out and drive to the hill station of Ooty. The rest of the day is free to enjoy at your leisure. Overnight in Ooty. 

Meal plan : Breakfast


Udhagamandalam, sometimes abbreviated to Udhagai but better known as Ooty, is a popular tourist town thanks to its natural beauty. It is particularly known for the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Day 8 : Ooty - Coonoor - Ooty

After a relaxed breakfast, proceed for a tour of Ooty. Later, board a toy train to Coonoor. On arrival, take part in a tea tasting experience. Return to Ooty for overnight.

Proceed on a guided tour of Ooty. Later, board the toy train to Coonoor. Upon arrival, you will enjoy a gourmet tea tasting experience designed to take you on a sensory journey through the myriad of aromas, flavours and colours of Nilgiri tea. Return to Ooty for overnight stay.

Meal plan : Breakfast


Also known as the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, the journey is 46 km (28 miles) long and negotiates 208 curves, 250 bridges, and 16 tunnels. The famous Toy Train which runs from Mettupalayam to Ooty,in the Nilgiri Hills passes through tea estates,  picturesque locations of forested hillsides and the Nilgiris Mountains. 
 


Day 9 : Ooty - Palakkad

Drive to Palakkad. Check in at heritage home stay. Afternoon free. Overnight in Palakkad.

Transfer to Palakkad, where you will have the rest of the day to explore and relax at your leisure. Overnight in Palakkad.

Meal plan : Breakfast


Palakkad  is a large town in the state of Kerala whose name is thought to mean both 'dry lands' and 'forest'. Incredibly scenic and surrounded by small villages, Palakkad is home to the Palakkad Fort, the intricately-carved Jain temple and charming local markets full of exotic fruits and spices. The area is known for its paddy fields, rice cultivation and running several traditional festivals each year. Palakkad boasts lush tropical countryside and mouth-watering Keralan cuisine, with dishes such as coconut and tamarind chutneys served on banana leaves.  

Day 10 : Palakkad - Alleppey

Transfer to Alleppey. In the evening witness a Kathakali performance. Overnight in Alleppey.

After breakfast depart for Alleppey. In the evening, witness a Kathakali performance under moonlight by the lake. Overnight in Alleppey.

Meal plan : Breakfast


Also known as the 'Venice of the East', Alleppey is a town with a large network of picturesque canals, backwaters, lagoons and beaches. In the past, Alleppey was one of the busiest trade centres along the Malabar coast.

Day 11 : Alleppey

Proceed on a walking tour of Alleppey. Later, board a house boat for a day cruise. Lunch will be served on board. Transfer to your homestay in the evening. Overnight in Alleppey.

In the morning you will be given a walking tour of Alleppey. Later, board a house boat for a day cruise. Lunch will be cooked and served onboard. In the evening you will disembark and transfer to your homestay. Overnight in Alleppey.

Meal plan : Breakfast


Day 12 : Alleppey - Cochin

After breakfast, continue to Cochin. Transfer to hotel. Rest of day free. Overnight in Cochin.

Depart Palakkad and transfer to Cochin. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy as you wish. Overnight in Cochin. 

Meal plan : Breakfast


Cochin, the 'Queen on the Arabian Sea', is a major port city that was once a much-prized pawn for the English, Portuguese and Dutch due to its strategic location and prominence in the lucrative spice trade. This history of foreign colonies has resulted in a diverse culture, with European influences visible in much of Cochin's architecture and overall development, aiding it to become the commercial and industrial capital of Kerala. 

Day 13 : Cochin

Proceed on a walking tour of Cochin. In the evening, enjoy a motor boat cruise at Cochin harbour. Overnight in Cochin.

After breakfast proceed on a walking tour of Cochin, which will provide you with a glimpse of the city's rich history and heritage. Witness the mix of Dutch, English, Portuguese and Jewish influences that make the city such a unique place. In the evening enjoy a motor boat cruise at Cochin harbour. Overnight in Cochin.

Meal plan : Breakfast


Day 14 : Cochin - Departure

Transfer to Cochin airport to connect to your onward flight.

Transfer to Cochin airport to connect to your onward flight.

Meal plan : Breakfast


What's included

INCLUDED Airport transfers Train ticket Ground transport with driver Accommodation Breakfasts and some meals (refer to itinerary for meal plan) English-speaking guides Activities as per itinerary
All tour descriptions and conditions are given in accordance with the information of Travel The Unknown
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