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Essence of South India – 15 Days 14 Nights Tour : $3645 per person

Travel to India and embark on this classic southern India tour from Chennai to Kovalam Beach. Lush, tropical southern India is charming, captivating and hospitable. Discover a thousand shades of green and share smiles with the friendly local people. Experience the culture, religion and history of this region in its small rural towns, quaint fishing villages and scented spice plantations. This is a fabulous part of India includes Kerala and follows the road less travelled – without sacrificing too many creature comforts.

Day 1: Chennai (No Meals)

  • On arrival at the airport, meet your Tour Executive who will assist you to transfer to the hotel for two nights stay in Chennai.
  • Stay at: My Fourtune Chennai – Chennai

Day 2: Chennai (Breakfast)

  • Chennai, formerly Madras, is the fourth largest city in India. It was the first major settlement of the East India Company in 1639. The Government Museum is an excellent place to develop an understanding of the history of the city. Simply wandering the streets, exploring the lively local markets and beautiful temples is another lovely way to wile away the day.
  • Stay at: My Fourtune Chennai – Chennai

Day 3: Chennai – Mamallapuram (Driving Time: Approx 3 hours) (Breakfast)

  • From Chennai, you will escape the busy city and head for the sprawling, laidback beaches of Mamallapuram. You will drive along the scenic East Coast Road for two hours to reach this scenic fishing village. You might like to visit the Shore Temple, or see the abundant mandapams (carved pillars in front of temples). You can also watch stone carvers, see the fishing fleet, or just unwind and absorb the atmosphere of the town from a beachside restaurant.
  • Stay at: Indeco Mahabalipuram – Mamallapuram

Day 4: Mamallapuram – Puducherry (Driving Time: Approx 3 hours) (Breakfast)

  • You will drive on to Puducherry today, briefly stopping at Auroville to experience an incredible experiment in international living. This region is distinctively French. It is charming and romantic, replete with a Hotel de Ville, French consulate and a police force dressed in traditional red kepis hats and belts. You will wander through the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and also explore some local temples and the old French quarter.
  • Stay at: Hotel Atithi – Puducherry

Day 5: Puducherry – Madurai (Driving Time: Approx 7 hours) (Breakfast)

  • Today you will take an afternoon train to Madurai. This six-hour journey will be in air-conditioned comfort to ensure your trip is enjoyable. Overnight stay in hotel.
  • Stay at: Germanus Hotel – Madurai

Day 6: Madurai (Breakfast)

  • Today we have a morning tour of Madurai including a visit to the 16th century Meenakshi Temple with its nine imposing gopurams (monumental gates). Within the temple complex we’ll explore the Thousand Pillared Hall, the Golden Lotus Tank and the Nandi Pavilion. Rising above the temple, above the festive pandemonium of swirling crowds of pilgrims that never seem to cease, are 12 stupendous towers. A short distance away is the Thirumalai Nayaka Palace, a blend of Hindu and Saracen architectural styles. Recent restorations include repainting the carvings and stone-work in their original colours – a startling effect. This afternoon you are free to explore this bustling temple town at leisure, taking in a trip to the Gandhi Museum, soaking up the vibrant colours and floral aromas. browsing through silver, craft and carpet shops or even ordering tailor-made outfits from one of the many bazaars.
  • Stay at: Germanus Hotel – Madurai

Day 7: Madurai – Periyar (Driving Time: Approx 4 hours) (Breakfast)

  • Today you will drive to Thekkady, passing flourishing rubber and pineapple plantations. Thekkady is the gateway to Periyar National Park (Periyar Tiger Reserve), which is perched high in the ranges of the Western Ghats.
  • Stay at: Rangerwood Hotel – Thekkady

Day 8: Periyar (Breakfast)

  • After breakfast we will take a short visit to a nearby spice garden before heading back towards the coast and our homestay for the next two nights. We stay with local families within a village, and your tour leader will brief you on local customs and traditions. It is a great opportunity to spend time learning about the real life of Keralans as well as an opportunity to sample some delicious home cooking – perhaps a spicy coconut curry.
  • Stay at: Rangerwood Hotel – Periyar

Day 9: Periyar – Munnar (Driving Time: Approx 4 hours) (Breakfast)

  • You will be driven to Munnar today. Munnar is an old British hill station that is cradled in a picturesque valley. Sitting higher up at 1525 metres (4575 feet) you will notice a dramatic drop in temperature here, so be sure to pack appropriate clothing to accommodate this. You will visit a nearby tea garden, where you can bask in the luscious, green surrounds, and if the erratic scheduling of the museum allows, you will visit the tea museum.
  • Stay at: Deshadan Mountian Resort – Munnar

Day 10: Munnar (Breakfast)

  • A morning sight seeing trip of Munnar, you will visit a nearby tea garden, where you can bask in the luscious, green surrounds, and if the erratic scheduling of the museum allows, you will visit the tea museum. Next you will journey out to Mattupetti Dam, a town known for its Indo-Swiss livestock project. It is situated 13 kilometres from Munnar and sits 1700 metres above sea level.
  • Stay at: Deshadan Mountian Resort – Munnar

Day 11: Munnar – Kochi (Driving Time: Approx 4 hours) (Breakfast)

  • Drive to Kochi. Explore the major sights of Fort Cochin, visit the spice bazaars and antique shops, and be part of a Kathakali dance performance.
  • Stay at: Grand Hotel – Kochi

Day 12: Kochi (Breakfast)

  • This morning head to the harbour and watch the local fishermen manipulating the old Chinese Fishing Nets. Discover the influence of the Dutch, Portuguese, British, Arab and Chinese during your tour of Fort Kochi. Visit Jew Town and the Jewish Synagogue, the oldest in India. Enjoy a private cruise around Kochi Harbour, witness spectacular sunsets and keep an eye out for the dolphins known to be in the waters. Return to the hotel and overnight stay.
  • Stay at: Grand Hotel – Kochi

Day 13: Kochi – Alappuzha (Driving Time: Approx 2 hours) (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

  • Drive towards the backwaters of Kerala and stay overnight in a houseboat.Walk through nearby villages and experience an ayurvedic massage.
  • Stay at: Pickadly Houseboat – Alappuzha

Day 14: Alappuzha – Kovalam (Driving Time: Approx 4 hours) (Breakfast)

  • A morning drive takes you to Kovalam via the capital of Kerala, Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram). The journey takes approximately 4 hours. Kovalam used to be quiet coastal village known only for its export of fresh fish and coconuts. It was discovered 30 years ago and was transformed from obscurity to one of the most popular beaches in India.
  • Stay at: Sagara Beach Resort – Kovalam

Day 15: Kovalam- Trivandrum – Departure (Breakfast)

  • Your trip ends in Kovalam after breakfast. The nearest airport is Trivandrum. Your tour leader can assist you with arranging a transfer to the airport.

Cost Details (per person on twin sharing):

2 – 4 Passenger – $3645 per person
5 Onwards Passenger – Price On Request

* All Nett Prices are valid till 31st March 2017. Post that price will be revised.

Includes

  • The services of Prakriti expert English-speaking local tour leader throughout the tour and local guides at some sites.
  • Authentic accommodation includes: 12 nights comfortable hotels, 1 night Heritage Property, 1 night resort.
  • Arrival transfer.
  • Sightseeing and entrance fees including: UNESCO World Heritage-listed site of Mamallapuram including the rock-cut temples, giant frieze and Shore Temple, Spice farm tour & dinner in Periyar.
  • Meals: 14 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners.
  • Sightseeing and entrance fees including: Madurai including Meenakshi Temple; Kochi including Fort Cochin and St Francis Church.
  • Stroll the French colonial promenades of Puducherry.
  • Jungle walk in Periyar National Park.
  • Free time to explore Mamallapuram, Madurai, Kochi, Mysore and Chennai.
  • Gratuities are included for the essential services only that you will receive as part of your tour package.

Excludes

  • International flights.
  • Airport departure taxes.
  • Airport departure transfer.
  • Visas.
  • Insurance.
  • Other meals including lunches and dinners.
  • Any optional tours and activities during free time.
  • Excess baggage charges.
  • Gratuities for tour leader and non-essential services.
  • Items of a personal nature.
  • Camera fees (some places that we visit charge additional fees if you are entering with a camera or camcorder – your guide will advise on these and they can be paid for locally).

Contact Us: Buddha Travel & Tours NZ

Toll free number: 0800 428 334
Mobile number: 027 8428 334
Email: info@buddhatravel.co.nz

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