Colours of South India
Tamil Nadu on the east coast of South India is a veritable living museum to both British and French colonial history, providing lots of opportunities to explore this fascinating era.
This ancient state is also home to one of the world’s oldest civilisations. Explore 2,000 year’s of language, dance, poetry and belief systems as you make your way through Madurai, Tanjore and Trichly. These towns are also renowned for their number of well-preserved temples, many of which are World Heritage-listed.
Tap into the spirituality of this region by visiting one of South India’s biggest pilgrimage sites, the Sri Meenakshi Temple which boasts over 33,000 sculptures. For those keen to see wildlife, the tranquil surrounds of Periyar Nationtional Park is just the trick. Known for its elephants, it is one of the great Parks of India.
Planning your holiday is easy,and speak to your friendly Consultant.
Day 1: Kochi
Welcome to Kochi. Upon arrival check into your beautiful colonial-era hotel for the next three nights.
Day 2: Kochi
Head down to the harbour and watch the local fishermen expertly handling the Chinese fishing nets. Discover the different colonial influences during your tour of Fort Kochi, then visit Mattancherry Palace, Jew Town and the Synagogue. In the evening, witness a traditional Kathakali performance, a highly evolved classical form of dance, drama and music.
Day 3: Kochi
Freechoice: Visit a local market and learn the secrets of South Indian cooking or enjoy a ‘Me Time’ yoga workshop. Alternatively, visit Kumbalanghi Village to experience traditional village life and activities.
Freechoice Dining: Dine at Pepper, an all-day diner, or try Rice Boat, a specialty seafood restaurant. Otherwise, try Dolphins Point barbeque and grill.
Day 4: Kochi – Kumarakom
After a relaxing morning, travel into the Kerala Backwaters to Kumarakom and your hotel for the next two nights.
Luxury Houseboat: Alternatively, take the opportunity to spend your first night in Kumarakom on board a houseboat, a converted traditional rice barge known as Kettuvallam, and cruise through the lakes and Backwaters past small villages to witness the local life. Included at no extra cost but must be pre-booked.
Day 5: Kumarakom
Freechoice: Visit Philip Kutty’s Farm and enjoy a Keralan cooking class and lunch or unwind with a traditional Ayurveda massage before lunch at the resort.
Enjoy the afternoon at leisure.
Day 6: Kumarakom – Periyar National Park
Ascend into the highlands to Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary. Located in Thekkady, this wildlife reserve is known for its elephant population. In the afternoon, take a boat cruise on Periyar Lake. Overnight stay in Periyar.
Day 7: Periyar National Park – Madurai
Freechoice: Join an early morning guided jungle walk in the reserve or take a jeep tour through the surrounding countryside, passing local spice farms and plantations, for panoramic views over Tamil Nadu.
Wander through a small family-owned spice plantation and learn how spices grow before enjoying a lunch prepared by the family.
Cross into Tamil Nadu, the ‘State of Temples’ and drive to Madurai, known as the ‘Athens of the East’. Enjoy a two night stay.
Day 8: Madurai
Rise early for a walk through the heritage section of town to witness the early morning rituals. Later, wander through the local flower and vegetable market and the weavers market. An impressive sight awaits as you visit one of South India’s biggest pilgrimage sites, the Sri Meenakshi Temple, dating from the 1500s. Dedicated to the consort of Lord Shiva, its nine towering gopurams – or monumental gates – and 12 towers rise high above the surrounding countryside. This evening return by tuk tuk to this magnificent Hindu temple to witness the rituals and celebration of the evening puja ceremony.
Day 9: Madurai – Chettinad
Drive to the small village of Karaikudi, located in the area known as ‘Chettinad’. The merchants and traders (the Chettiars) amassed fortunes from their roles as bankers, building remarkable homes. Experience a bullock cart ride through the narrow streets exploring the charm and faded elegance of colonial bungalows and merchant houses, stopping for a weaving demonstration en route. Stay at your beautifully restored Art Deco mansion, for the next two nights.
Day 10: Chettinad
Witness ‘Kolam making’, colourful designs made with dyed rice, before visiting a pottery village to watch the colourful local tiles called Athangudi being crafted by hand. This afternoon, take a heritage walk and visit Chettinad Palace.
Enjoy a traditional cooking demonstration of Chettinad’s unique cuisine before a private Bharattnatayam classical dance performance, one of the most popular classical Indian dances. Settle back and feast on a typical Chettinad wedding dinner menu.
Day 11: Chettinad – Trichy – Tanjore
Journey through the ‘rice bowl’ of Tamil Nadu and on to Trichy, the former Madurai Nayak capital.
Continue to Tanjore and stay overnight at your newly restored hotel.
Day 12: Tanjore – Puducherry
Discover the World Heritage-listed 11th century Brihadishvara Temple.
See a demonstration by master craftsmen on the ancient art of lost-wax casting. Also known as ‘precision casting’ or ‘cire perdue’ in French, it is a method of bronze casting dating back 5,700 years.
Later, drive to the pretty seaside town of Puducherry, the former capital of the French territories in India, then known as Pondicherry. Stay at your romantic hotel, a beautiful tribute to the town’s French legacy.
Day 13: Puducherry
Learn how the local Tamil population successfully assimilated French culture with their own during a heritage walking tour. Stroll past charming Tamil and colonial fusion architecture and visit the Aurobindo Ashram.
Day 14: Puducherry – Mamallapuram – Chennai
En route to Chennai stop at Mamallapuram to explore the spectacular World Heritage-listed Shore Temples. In Chennai, check into your beautiful hotel a two night Special Stay.
Day 15: Chennai
Freechoice: Walk through Georgetown and discover its markets and colonial laneways or explore the 8th century Hindu temples in Kanchipuram. Alternatively, visit a local Indian market and take part in a cooking lesson.
Later, discover the history of the Basilica of San Thome, supposedly the final resting place of St Thomas. Tonight, reminisce about your wonderful journey at your farewell dinner.
Day 16: Depart Chennai
Transfer to Chennai airport and depart South India with wonderful memories.
|20 20 Dates & Prices||Twin Share||Solo Traveller|
|2021 Dates & Prices|
|Meals:||15 breakfasts, 14 lunches, 13 dinners|
|Transport:||Airport Transfers & Luxury Coach Travel|
|Accommodation:||15 nights accommodation|
|Guide:||Expert Tour Director and knowledgeable local guides|
|Entrance Fees & Touring:||Entrance fees & activities as per itinerary|
* Tour departure dates are subject to availability at time of booking.
* Prices and itinerary are correct at time of publication and are subject to change without notice.