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Southern Sights & Sounds


A 16 Day Tour Itinerary of Tamil Nadu & Kerala
15 nights / 16 days
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Southern Sights & Sounds

Day 1.      Arrive Mumbai
Upon arrival meet and transfer to the hotel for overnight stay.

Gateway of India
Gateway of India

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Day 2.      Whole day in Mumbai
Day at leisure but the car will be at the disposal if they wish to visit Mumbai. Overnight in Mumbai.

Day 3.      Fly Mumbai - Cochin
Transfer to airport in time to take the flight to Cochin. Meet upon arrival and transferred to Hotel. Two days to enjoy this lovely city on the sea.

Sunset in Cochin
Sunset in Cochin

Day 4.      Cochin
Full day sightseeing including Kathakali dance. The tour should include a visit to the Jewish Synagogue, the Dutch East India buildings, St Francis Church (Portuguese) Mattancherry Palace and the Santa Cruz Basilica.

Kathakali dancer
Kathakali dancer

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Your visit to Cochin would not be complete without a visit to a performance of Kathakali. This 500 year old dance drama is performed by all male dancers, accompanied by music, who play out a story, using their eyes, face muscles, hands and feet. A must is to reach the theatre ahead of time, in order to see the performers putting on their incredible make-up and their magnificent costumes.

Day 5.      Cochin - Houseboat
Leave after breakfast for the drive down to the small town of Alleppey. Your overnight stay will be at the house boat which includes all meals. The spectacular beauty of Kerala's backwaters needs no introduction.

Houseboat or Kettuvallam
Houseboat or Kettuvallam

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Houseboat :
Traditionally, the houseboat was called Kettuvallam, which means a boat made by tying together pieces of wood. Unbelievable as it may sound, not a single nail is used in the making of a Kettuvallam. Jack wood planks are joined together with coir rope and then coated with black resin made from boiled cashew nut shells. The materials that go into the making are all local and Eco friendly bamboo poles, coconut fiber ropes, bamboo mats, coir carpets etc these traditional country boats were used as the mode of transport in the early times from the isolated interior villages to the towns. But these boat services have been laid off with the developments taken place in the transport services in the recent past. Today these giant 80-foot long crafts have been adapted into luxuriously furnished houseboats. A Kettuvallam usually has one or two bath attached rooms, an open lounge, deck, kitchenette and a crew comprising two oarsmen and a cook. Traditional lanterns are used as lights. Your holiday in this tranquil world is the comfortably furnished houseboats

Day 6.      Kumarakom
After breakfast you will be taken to the village of Kumarakom on the backwaters for a two night stay at Coconut Lagoon. From here you can take a backwater sunset cruise.

Backwaters at Kumarakom Backwaters at Kumarakom
Backwaters at Kumarakom

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Day 7.      Kumarakom
Suggest a morning visit to the bird sanctuary followed by breakfast. Would strongly suggest you take a cruise down the backwaters, the waterways of Kerala. See how people live on the ridges of land, cultivating coconuts, rice, raising ducks and of course, fishing. Over night stay at hotel.

Day 8.      Kumarakom - Thekkady
Leave after breakfast for the drive up into the hills to the village of Thekkady, just on the rim of the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. The drive is through lush green coconut groves, rubber plantations and tea plantations. Thekkady is nestled in the Nilgiri Hills at 3000 ft and famous for its spice plantations and the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Rest of the day at leisure

Periyar Wildlife Thekkady
Periyar Wildlife Thekkady

Day 9.      Thekkady
Early morning boat safari over Lake Periyar. Return to Spice Village for breakfast. Afternoon visit to a private spice plantation. Wear closed shoes - it feels like a jungle walk. Spices growing here include vanilla, black pepper, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg and mace, surrounded by coconut palms, bananas and jackfruit. Rest of the afternoon at leisure - time to try out an Ayurvedic massage. A cooking demo will be given in the evening followed by a cultural programme.

Day 10.      Thekkady - Madurai
After breakfast leave for Madurai. Today you will be entering in the state of Tamilnadu. Check in at Hotel for overnight stay. Afternoon free.

Meenakshi Temple, Madurai
Meenakshi Temple, Madurai

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Day 11.      Madurai
Full day sightseeing of Madurai including Meenakshi Temple. Madurai is famous for the Sri Meenakshi temple complex. The gopurams are covered by a coloured profusion of Hindu gods and goddesses, animals and mythical figures. A visit to Madurai shows the visitor the spiritual side of South Indian culture. The temple complex is a hive of activity from early morning until evening, attracting pilgrims and tourists alike. For 1 rupee the resident elephant will place a "tilak" on your forehead with his trunk.

Timings : The temple is usually open between 0500hrs and 1230hrs and again between 1600 hrs and 21.30 hrs.

Day 12.      Madurai - Tanjore
After breakfast leave for Tanjore for overnight stay. Rest of the day at leisure.

Brihadeshwara Temple
Brihadeshwara Temple

Day 13.      Tanjore
Whole day in Tanjore. Tanjore was the capital of the Cholas kings and the enormous Brihadeshwara Temple built around 1000 AD represents one of the fines examples of South Indian arts and architecture. Kumbakonam is also famous for its temples; the largest of these is second only to the Meenakshi temple at Madurai. Overnight stay in Tanjore

Day 14.      Tanjore - Chennai
After breakfast leave for Chennai. You will drive today through to so many places which are filled with Hindu temples. You can stop to visit if you wish. Upon arrival check in a hotel for overnight stay.

Arjuna's Penance
Arjuna's Penance

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Day 15.      Chennai
This tiny town on the shores of the Coromandel coast is famous for its 7th Century Shore Temples and Arjuna's Penance, a large relief carving on a rock twelve meters high and thirty meters long. There is also a cluster of smaller temples scattered over the main area to visit Kancheepuram & Mahabalipuram. Return to your hotel for overnight stay.

Mahabalipuram :
Located at a distance of 58-km from Chennai, Mahabalipuram has everything that makes a site memorable; tradition, Temples, history, piety, western annals, and current importance as a centre of tourism.

Shore Temple Mahabalipuram
Shore Temple Mahabalipuram

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The history of Mahabalipuram dates back to two thousand years, it contains nearly forty monuments of different types including an "open air bas relief" which is the largest in the world, for centuries it has been a centre of pilgrimage, it figures in the early annals of the British search for the picturesque in India in the 18th century, today it attracts shoals of foreigners in search of relaxation and sea bathing, and most strange of all, it has an atomic power plant for neighbour.

Mahabalipuram was already a centre of pilgrimage when, in the 7th century Mamalla made it a seaport and began to make temples fashioned of rock. It was through Mahabalipuram that many Indian colonists, who included sages and artists, migrated to Southeast Asia. Sri Lanka's national chronicle, the "Mahavamsa" testifies to this fact.

Kancheepuram :
Kanchipuram- "Golden City of Temples" was believed to be the most attractive city of ancient India. This city is one of India's seven sacred cities and is considered the second holiest place in India next to Varanasi.

Kanchipuram
Kanchipuram

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This city was the Historical Capital of the Pallavas, the Cholas and the Vijayanagar rulers. It was under the Pallavas from 6th to 8th century A.D. It later became the citadel of the Cholas, Vijayanagar kings, the Muslims and the British. During Pallava times, it was briefly occupied by the Chalukyans of Badami and by the Rastrakutas when the battle fortunes of the Pallava kings reached low ebb. Many of these temples are the beautiful work of Pallavas and later, Cholas. The remains of a few Buddhist stupas here also bear testimony that Buddhism also prevailed here for a while. One of the Acharya Peetas of Sri Adi Sankaracharya - The Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam is situated here. It has been a centre for Tamil learning and Culture for centuries and gives us a clear picture of the glorious Dravidian Heritage of the Vaishnavites and Shaivites.

Kanchipuram, the "Silken Paradise" is world renowned for the gorgeous hand-woven silk saris of myriad rich colours, noted for their shine, finish and matchless beauty. The exquisite silk saris are woven from pure mulberry silk in contrasting colours and have an enviable reputation for luster, durability and finish. They reflect a weaving and dyeing tradition hundreds of years old and whose riches the West came seeking before the industrial age began.

Day 16 Fly for next destination.      
Depending on your flight your driver will drop you at the airport for onward destination.

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Southern Sights & Sounds
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Map of Kerala, India

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