South India with Kerala Backwaters

Duration : 14 Nights / 15 Days

Destinations covered : : Chennai – Kanchipuram – Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry – Chidambram – Tanjore – Trichy – Madurai - Thekkady(Periyar) - Munnar – Kumarakom – Cochin - Alleppey – Kovalam – Kanyakumari – Trivandrum

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Tour Itinerary:

Day 01:  Chennai
Meet World Travel Experiences - {WTX} representative at Chennai airport who would assist you at the airport and accompany you till the hotel. Checkin into the hotel & relax for a while.  Overnight stay in Chennai.

Day 02: Chennai
Second day of the trip is for sightseeing of Chennai. Visit the St. Thomas Mount, the oldest church. Visit Kapaleeswarar temple which is located in Mylapore, the temple has some beautiful sculptures & it is dedicated to Lord Shiva.  Fort St. George, one of the oldest Anglican Church in India built by Britishers around 1653. One more place to visit is the Marina Beach which is the second longest beach in the world. This beach has sandy shore & it is one of the most loved  destination by tourists. It has many historical monuments built at the crossing of narrow passage stand.  You can see the Ice House which is located towards the South. At the time of British government  the ice was stored there, which was brought from the great lakes in North America. Overnight stay at Chennai.

Day 03: Chennai - Kanchipuram – Mahabalipuram
Morning drive towards Kanchipuram, known as City of Thousand Temples. Kanchipuram is one of the seven holy cities in India.  This place is not only famous for temples, but also known for its handloom industry. Kanchipuram has the best weavers of silk and cotton sarees in the country. Visit various temples like Kailasanathar Temple, which was built in 81th Century A.D.  This temple is famous for the excellent carving.  The inner walls of the temple are decorated with shade style paintings. Vaikunta Perumal Temple was built by the Nandivarma Pallava in 8th century.  The description of the bravery of the Pallavas Battle scenes  wascarved on the surroundings of the main prakaram.  Also visit the Ekambarewarar Temple and Kamakshi Amman Temple.  Later you can visit the silk city, this city is famous for its Kancheepuram silk sarees all over the country.  The weavers settled in Kanchipuram are more than 400 years old.  You can get the great experience by watching the weaver weaving the saree. Later a drive to Mahabalipuram and check in the hotel.  Later proceed for sightseeing tour of Mahabalipuram.  Mahabalipuram is well known for its stone sculptures  it is one of the major seaport of the ancient Pallava Kingdom. Mahabalipuram faces the Bay of Bengal. Visit the nine great temples found in Mahabalipuram and the famous Panch Rathas, which belongs to the five Pandava’s of Mahabhratha. You can see that the monuments are craved only out of the single rock.  Visit the shore temple at Mahabalipuram, the seven beautiful temples built near the sea share,which are known as  the seven pagodas.  This structural temple was constructed in the Dravidina style  and one one of the oldest South Indian Temples. Overnight stay in Mahabalipuram.

Day 04: Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry
Morning after breakfast in the morning drive to Pondicherry.  Pondicherry was the part of the former French colony.  Pondicherry has a rich cosmopolitan culture. One can find diversity in language, People of Pondicherry speaks French, English, Tamil and Malayalam. After taking some rest in the hotel proceed for the sightseeing tour Pondicherry, Visit  the Aurovilla near Pondicherry which is an interesting experience of the spiritual community set up with the aim of human unity. The Aurovilla  means the “City of Dawn”.  This was founded by Sri Aurobindo Society by Mirra Alfass, “The Mother”.  You can visit Mantri Mandir which is not a tourist spot, but it is a place for meditation.  Another place to visit is the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, which is situated on rue de la Marine, it is one of the most wealthiest and well known ashrams in India. The ashram was built where Sri Aurobindo and Mirra Alfassa lived till the end of their life.  Mirra Alfass got inspired by the Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy and stayed in Pondicherry till  the end of her life.  Later you can visit Pondicherry Museum, which is located on Saint Louis street.  You would find some of the great collections of rare bronze and stone sculptures from of different dynasties. You would see the Geology room, Fossil room, great collection of coins and handicrafts and great furniture of French.  Overnight stay at Hotel.

Day 05: Pondicherry – Chidambaram – Tanjore
On the 5th day of your trip, after having the delicious breakfast you will be driving from Pondicherry to Tanjore. Enroute  visit Chidambaram, one of the major pilgrimage spot.  This ancient Shiva temple and the famous Nataraj Temple   are located in Chidambram. The temple is spread over 40 acres with a gopuram on each side. The 108 poses of Bharatanatyam are carved on the eastern gopuram. The roof is covered with gold Plates.
Later we drive to Tanjore, which is known as the Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu.  Checkin at the hotel and proceed for the sightseeing of Tanjore. Visit the Brahadeewara temple which is well known world wide. This temple is built by the Chola King in the 10 century AD and shows the excellent example of Chola architecture.  You can see the paper manuscripts of Indian and European languages and ancient palm leaves in the Saraswathi Mahal Library, beautiful Palaces near the temple is a vast building of the stonework,  In Art gallery you can see the ancient beautiful handicrafts and bronze and granite statues belonging to the period of Chola.  Return back to the hotel for overnight stay.

 Day 06: Tanjore – Trichy – Madurai 
After breakfast drive to Madurai. Enroute visit Trichy, situated on the banks of the river Cauvery.  It was ruled by the Cholas and later by  the Pallavas.  The famous rock fort is the one of the oldest  in the world.  The rock is constructed in the 273 foot high rock and it has two Hindu temples inside.  Siva and Uchchi Pillaiyar temple. The Uchchi Pillaiyar temple is on the top of the hill and it is dedicated to Lord Ganesha. From the top of the hill you can have a full view  of Trichy. The staircase leads to Thayumamaswami or Mathrubutheswarar temple. The rock projects itself like the lingam and this temple is dedicated to Lord Siva. To climb the rock fort there are 400 stone-cut steps. You can visit Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, this is the biggest temple in India and it has 49 separate shrines.  All the shrines are dedicated to Lord Vishnu.  One needs to pass through all the seven gopurams. Non-Hindus are not allowed to pass through the sixth gopuram,  where you can see the Vishnu lying on the five headed snake that is Lord Rangantha.
After the sightseeing in Trichy continue your drive to Madurai.  Madurai is the ancient southern city of India.  This city was constructed by the King Pandya on the banks of the river Vaigai.  You will see that entire Madurai city is around the Meenakshi Sundarewarar Temple. Megasthanes visited Madurai during 3rd century BC.  Later people from Greece  and Rome  had visited Madurai and established their trade with the Pandya Kings. Upon arrival checkin into the hotel.
In the evening visit the Meenakshi Sundaresarar Temple. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and this was originaly  built by the Kulasekara Pandya. The twin temples dedicated to Lord Siva as Sundareswarar and his Spouse Meenakshi, which are surrounded by the number of smaller shrines and the great pillared halls. Non-Hindus are not allowed to enter the twin temples. It has the 1000 pillars hall. It is the monument of Dravidan sculpture.  You will find historical drawings, paintings, photographs inside the art museum in Temple.Back to hotel and overnight stay in Madurai.

Day 07: Madurai to Periyar
Morning after breakfast drive towards Periyar. Arrive at the hotel and relax for a while. Later spot the beautiful plantations of cocoa, green pepper, cardamom, areca nut and rubber to the wildlife reserve at Periyar. You can have a walk through the spices and coffee plantations. This town is famous for various spices and coffee plantations. Overnight stay in Periyar.

Day 08: Periyar to Munnar.
On the 8th day of your South India tour you would enjoy a boat ride early in the morning in Periyar Lake to spot the wild elephants & other animals.  Afternoon you will proceed towards Munnar, which is the most famous hill station of Kerala. Upon arrival in Munnar checkin into the hotel and checkin. Later visit to beautiful Tea plantations of Munnar. You can relax and have a walk around and witness the scenic beauty of this hill station. Overnight stay in Munnar.

Day 09: Munnar      
Today morning after breakfast full day is to explore the beauty of Munnar. The highest peak in the Western Ghats is  Anaimudi peak.  Munnar is located near Anaimudi peak.  You can visit the Rajamala National Park, which is located 15km from Munnar.   The Nilgiri Tahr species are in this region.The Rajamala is the part of the Eravikulam national park.  You can view the natural sandalwood forest at Marayoor, which is 42 kms north from Munnar. Muniyara caves are  one kilometer away from Marayoor.  This place is believed to be the meditation place for ancient sages.  The Muniyaracaves  have the monuments and paintings from Stone Age Civilization. One of the most wonderful view is the children’s park, which  spread across a hectare of land under the canopy of a single Banyan tree. Overnight stay in Munnar.

 Day 10: Munnar to Kumarakom
Today morning drive to Kumarakom & checkin into the pre booked hotel. Kumarakom is situated on the banks of famous Vembanad Lake. Kumarakom is famous for its majestic canals, streams and distributaries along the banks of vembanad lake. Its lush greenery around backwaters is very beautiful. After some rest enjoy the beautiful nature & backwaters of Kumarakom.  Overnight stay in Kumarakom.

Day 11: Kumarakom – Cochin
Today morning drive to Cochin & checkin into the hotel. Later proceed for the sightseeing of Cochin, the Commercial capital city of Kerala. This city is a cosmopolitan and mixed  culture. Visit Chinese Fishing Nets, the nets were introduced a long ago by the traders from the court of the Chinese ruler Kublai Khan. The Santa Cruz Basilica church which is situated in Fort Kochi, was built by the Portuguese.  The Hill Palace Museum which is located 16 kms of Cochin. You can find the collection of archaeological and the collection of articles showing the glory and wealth of the Rajas of Kochi Jewish Synagogue, which is beautifully decorated by Chinese tiles and Belgian chandelier. Mattancherry Palace, this palace was built by the Portuguese.  Later, it was modified in the 17th century, by the Dutch and presented to the  Raja of Kochi.  You can see the beautiful scenes from the Hindu epics of Ramayan and Mahabharatha. Overnight stay in Cochin.

Day 12: Cochin - Alleppey Houseboat
Morning drive to Alleppey and board the Luxury houseboat on backwaters. Its time to explore the Nature & rural life of Kerala through backwaters. The houseboat has all the amenities which meets to your comfort. You will enjoy never ending beautiful scenic of the towering coconut trees, long canals, green paddy fields and shimmering water.  You can enjoy mouthwatering dishes prepared before you by the crew members. Enjoy the backwater cruise through  bridges, canals  and fresh fish for dinner.  Overnight stay in the floating houseboat.

Day 13: Alleppey houseboat – Kovalam
Morning after breakfast drive to Kovalam. Kovalam is the one of the best beach destination in South India which has three adjacent renowned white sand beaches of Kerala. Kovalam is full of Coconut trees. Kovalam is being loved by tourists from all over the world especially Europeans. The white sand beaches of Kovalam are perfect for sun bathing. Checkin at the hotel and relax for a while. Evening visit the exotic beaches of Kovalam. There are plenty of activities which can be enjoyed in Kovalam like sunbathing, swimming, herbal body toning massages, special cultural programs, Catamaran cruising etc.

Day 14: Kovalam – Kanyakumari – Kovalam
Morning after breakfast Explore beaches of Kovalam. Later proceed towards Kanyakumari & proceed for  & proceed for the sightseeing of Kanyakumari – visit Suchithram Temple, Devi Kanyakumari Temple, Vivekananda Rock, Gandhi Memorial and Triveni Sangam. Evening witness the most beautiful Sunset of Kanyakumari.
Evening return to Kovalam for Overnight stay.

Day 15: Departure from Trivandrum
On the last day of your tour you will be transferred to Trivandrum’s international airport to board the flight for onward destination.

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