South India Discovery Private Tour:
Discover the dramatic variations in the landscape, cultures, languages and cuisines of the two southernmost states of India: Tamilnadu & Kerala. Explore Tamilnadu's temple towns of Kanchipuram, Thanjavur and Madurai. Pondicherry, a former colony still retains its French colonial architecture and language. Wonder at the Chettiar mansions in Karaikudi, the traditional home of the Nagarathar business community that became very affluent during the early period of British East India Company rule when they expended their money lending business to southeast Asia. Because of the unique architecture of their mansions in Karaikudi, the town is declared a heritage town. Cross the western ghats in to Periyar National Park and further in to spice growing region of Kerala. Kochi with its rich history of Jewish, Dutch, Portuguese and British traders is also the home of the ancient tradition of Kathakali dancedrama. The hotels chosen in the itinerary are among the best and most convenient for sightseeing but other hotels can be discussed if wished.
Please call 1-559-446-0499 or email: email@example.com for custom designing your own south India journey
Day 01 Arrive in Chennai:
Transfer to Mahabalipuram (52 Kilometers or 33 Miles) and overnight in Ideal Beach Resort.
Day 02 Mahabalipuram:
Famous for its Shore Temples (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Mahabalipuram was the second capital of the Pallava rulers of Kanchipuram. The village has revived the ancient craft of the Pallava sculptors and there are many shops selling fine sculptures chiseled out of granite by the local craftsmen. Some of the impressive sites that can be visited include the Descent of the Ganges (Arjuna’s Penance), which has intricate rock carving, small cave temples and the Five Rathas. Mahabalipuram also has a most beautiful shoreline and fine beaches.
Kanchipuram: Afternoon visit to this ancient temple town. This spectacular temple city is one of the seven sacred cities of India. The temples and Gopurams are reminders of the beauty of Dravidian architecture. The Ekambaresvara Temple covers nine hectares, has a 59 Meters high Gopuram, a 1000-pillared hall and a sacred mango tree that is said to be 3500 years old. Two temples - Kailasanatha and Vaikunta Perumal Temple - finely reflect the early Dravidian architecture. Kanchipuram is also famous for its high quality hand-woven silk fabrics and many shops offer these products at competitive prices. Overnight in Ideal Beach Resort Hotel.
Day 03 Transfer to Thanjavur:
After breakfast drive 309 Kilometers or 191 Miles to Thanjavur (Tanjore). Rest of the afternoon is free to relax. Overnight in Ideal River View Resort.
Day 04 Thanjavur
The Art Gallery in Thanjavur has a superb collection of bronze statues from the 9th to 12th centuries CE. The Brihadeeswar Temple (UNESCO World Heritage Site) is an outstanding example of the Chola architecture built by the great king, Raja Raja I in the 10th century CE. Guarding the inner shrine of the temple is the gigantic statue of Nandi, the Bull. The courtyard walls of the sanctum are covered with wall paintings from the Chola and Nayak periods, comparable to the famous Ajanta cave frescoes. Later visit the Palace of Nayak rulers and the Serforji's Saraswathi Mahal Museum and Library. Overnight in Ideal River View Resort.
Day 05 Thanjavur to Kothamangalam (Chettinad):
After breakfast drive about 2 hours to the Heritage Saratha Vilas Hotel in Kothmangalam. The Chettinad region is hidden treasure of palatial mansions of Chettiar businessmen from 19th. and 20th. centuries. The rich Chettiar traders spread all over south-east Asia with the rise of East India Company but never lost touch with their villages in Chettinad. In this semi-arid region they built huge aristocratic mansions with materials from south-east Asia as well as from Europe and in a unique architecture blending finest elements ancient Tamil and European renaissance design. Saratha Vilas Hotel is very tastefully renovated and decorated by Bernard Dragon and Michel Adment, two French architects. The building was originally built in 1905 by Tiru S.A.S. Subramanian Chettiar, a wealthy Tamil merchant and banker. Explore the architectural treasures in Kothamangalam, Karaikudi and nearby towns. Overnight in Saratha Vilas.
Day 06 Kothamangalam - Madurai
After breakfast drive about 2 hours to Tamilnadu's most famous temple town, Madurai. Madurai is a pilgrimage city and its biggest attraction is the Sri Meenakshi temple, which is an epitome of Dravidian architecture, covered from top to bottom with multi colored sculptures of Gods, animals and mythical figures.
It has huge and well-decorated entrance gateways and sprawling premises full of activity with a colourful temple elephant, flower sellers and performing temple musicians. This temple is most of the times very crowded and one can observe large crowds of visiting Indian pilgrims.
One can also visit the Thirumalai Nayak Palace, built in 1636. In the evening enjoy the Sound & Light Show in Thirumalai Nayak Palace Overnight in Heritage Madurai Hotel.
Day 07 Madurai - Thekkady:
After breakfast enjoy south India's most scenic highway through the hilly region between Tamilnadu & Kerala. The 140 Kilometers or 87 Mile journey with hair-pin curves takes about 5 hours.
The small town lies surrounded by tea and spice plantations, a typical south Indian mountain landscape. It is one of the best places to buy high quality Indian spices. In a Spice Garden traditional spice varieties like cardamom, pepper, anis, and many others can be seen on a guided tour. Overnight stay at Spice Village, Thekkady.
Day 08 Thekkady - Periyar excursion:
Periyar National Park is one of the most famous Nature and Animal reserves in south India. In the 77km2 protected area lives 800 elephants and around 35 tigers. Visitors have several options. Early morning or late afternoon boat ride on the Periyar Lake running through the sanctuary provides an opportunity to watch wild animals like elephants, deer and scores of water birds. Also to be recommended is a trek with a reserve guide. The highlight is a singular program that combines the trekking and bamboo rafting which takes the visitor deep into the national park. Often on such an excursion wild elephants can be observed. Overnight in Spice Village, Thekkady.
Day 09 Periyar - Kovalam:
After breakfast drive 253 Kilometers or 157 Miles to Kovalam. Rest of the afternoon to relax on beach. An appealing beach, Kovalam lies about 12km south of Trivandrum. It consists of two palm-fringed beaches separated by rocky headlands. There are numerous bars and cafes lined up on the shore side and you can enjoy a variety of fresh seafood or continental cuisine. Overnight in Bethsaida Hermitage.
Day 10 Kovalam:
Excursion to Padmanabhapuram that is located 40 Kilometers or 25 Miles south of Trivandrum. This small town is interesting since it houses the wooden palace of the royal family of Travancore. The architecture of this palace is so fascinating and expresses a glorious era of Kerala history. Padmanabhapuram was the capital of Travancore in the 14th century, though in the second half of the 18th century Trivandrum was made the capital. Rest of the day to relax on the beach. Overnight in Bethsaida Hermitage.
Day 11 Kovalam:
Full day to relax on the beach or enjoy Ayurvedic healing treatments. Overnight in Bethsaida Hermitage.
Day 12 Kovalam - Alleppey:
After breakfast enjoy the morning on the beach. Later drive 158 Kilometers or 98 Miles to Alleppey to board the traditional air-conditioned Kerala Houseboat (former rice-boats) for a unique overnight experience. The romantic houseboats converted from former rice boats are ideal, romantic accommodation in the backwaters.
Day 13 Kumarakom - Kochi
Kumarkom is an island in the Vembanad Lake, on the backwaters of Kerala. Various rivers, lagoons, channels and lakes here form a unique scenic network of water routes. After breakfast on the houseboat drive to Kochi. Overnight in Hotel Fort Queen.
Day 14 Kochi:
After breakfast relax in the morning. Later drive 76 Kilometers or 47 Miles to Kumarakom. Late transfer to Kochi, a distance of 53 Kilometers or 33 Miles. In the afternoon sightseeing of the winding narrow lanes Kochi that are home to some Old Dutch houses, spice markets, the Dutch Palace, India’s oldest European church built in1503 and a Jewish synagogue. Huge, elegant Chinese fishing nets that line the tip of Fort Cochin are a must see and when you’re there, you can savor the fresh catch of the day at nearby restaurants. It is in Cochin that you can enjoy the spectacularKathakali dance-drama performances in one of the many studios. Overnight in Hotel Fort Queen.
Day 15 Kochi:
Full day to explore the historic Fort area of Kochi or take a boat trip to nearby islands in Arabian Sea. In the evening transfer to airport to board the flight back to USA.
- 14 overnights accommodation in the mentioned or similar hotels inclusive of taxes.
- Daily buffet breakfast at your hotels.
- AC Tata Indigo with driver for 02 Pax / Toyota Innova Car for 04 Pax on full time basis.
- Bottled water 2 per day in car
- Entrances to monuments
- English speaking local guides at each city for city tour only as per program
- Assistance at each city by our company representative.
- English language Sound & Light Show in Thirumalai Nayak Mahal in Madurai
- Boat ride in Periyar + wild life tour
- Decorated elephant ride at Kochi
- Kerala cultural night with Kathakali dance-drama performance
- Farewell dinner in Kochi
- All taxes, parking fees, interstate taxes, state taxes, driver’s allowance etc.
- Visa Fees (India visa on arrival at Indian airport can be applied for online in USA)
- International/Domestic airfare (we will inform the best available air tariff at the time of booking)
- Lunch /dinner during the tour until clearly specified.
- International Travel Insurance by Travel Guard (premium based on age & price of the tour, is payable by any credit card)
- Expenses of personal nature such as drinks, telephone, laundry bills etc.
- Tips to drivers, guides and hotel porters
- Any additional expenses incurred due to any flight delay or cancellation, weather conditions, political closures, technical faults etc.
- Any other service/s not specified above
Subsequent to our discussion to custom design your private tour, we will provide you with the price within 48 hours. After your approval the hotels and all other arrangements will be booked. After your payment by check to India Traveller, we will confirm all arrangements immediately. Travel Guard insurance premium is payable by any credit card.