12 DAYS & 11 NIGHTS
CHENNAI I PONDICHERRY I CHETTINAD I MADURAI I PERIYAR I ALLEPPEY I COCHIN
This is a very special tour to South India – an ‘insider’s experience’ to the beauty, splendor and romance of this ancient land coupled with a culinary passage through a variety of cuisines that differ from region to region. Our 12-day tour encompasses some of the most spectacular sights, sounds and tastes of South India.Our journey takes you on an in depth exploration of the rich traditions of South Indian cooking and to some of the most sacred temples in India as we learn about Hinduism.
Meet & assistance on arrival and transfer to hotel(Hotel check-in time would be 1400hrs)
Transfer to your Hotel.Briefing of the tour by the executive and handing over of exchange orders/vouchers
Chennai formerly known as Madras, is the capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.Chennai, popularly regarded as the Gateway to the South, is the capital city of Tamil Nadu. It is the fourth largest metropolis in India, located on a 17 km stretch of the Coromandel Coast. The city grew up around the English settlement of Fort St. George and gradually absorbed the surrounding towns and villages. However, despite the strong British influence, Chennai has retained its traditional Tamil heritage and effectively blended it to create a unique synthesis of cultures.
Overnight at hotel
Depart for half day sightseeing tour of Chennai visitingFort St. George Fort is located on the banks of Bay of Bengal. It was built by the British East India Company in 1640 AD. The fort is believed to be the first establishment of the British in India. It is a military architecture marvel, which was erected as a trading post and later evolved to be the origin of modern Indian Army. Situated in the coastal state of Tamil Nadu, this ancient monument is worth watching on your trip to Chennai. St. George Fort holds great historical importance and is looked after by the Archaeological Survey of India & also visit
The Fort St. George Museum. The Museum began with a small collection of objects of the British Raj donated by the then Madras Presidency Government, the St. Mary's Church authorities, the disbanded army units and others.Also visit The Hindu Temple and Marina Beach –the Second longest in the world, running 12 km in length.
In the afternoon visit the local marketsEnjoy Dinner an extensive Thali (traditional South India meal with a large selection of gravies, chutneys and condiments) at "Anna Lakshmi".
Overnight at hotel
Depart for Pondicherry en route visiting MahaballipuramMahabalipuram was a 7th century port city of the South Indian dynasty of the Pallavas around 60 km south from the city of Chennai. It is believed to have been named after the Pallava king Mamalla. It has various historic monuments built largely between the 7th and the 9th century, and has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The monuments are mostly rock-cut and monolithic,
Some important sculptures are The Shore Temple - a structural temple along the Bay of Bengal with the entrance from the western side away from the sea. Recent excavations have revealed new structures here. The temple was reconstructed stone by stone from the sea after being washed away in a cyclone. Pancha Rathas (Five Chariots) - five monolithic pyramidal structures named after the Pandavas (Arjuna, Bhima, Yudhishtra, Nakula and Sahadeva) and Draupadi. An interesting aspect of the Rathas is that, despite their sizes they are not assembled — each of these is carved from one single large piece of stone & other temples.Cooking demonstration at local restaurant in Mahaballipuram followed by Lunch
After Lunch drive to Pondicherry and check in at hotelPondicherry - It is a former French colony, consisting of four non-contiguous enclaves, or regions, and named after the largest region, Pondicherry. It is also known as The French Riviera of the East. Pondicherry, is also considered an educational hub of Southern India.
The Sri Aurobindo Ashram
The Sri Aurobindo Ashram was founded by Sri Aurobindo on the 24 November 1926 (Siddhi Day). At the time there were no more than 24 disciples in the Ashram. Located on rue de la Marine, is one of the most well known and wealthiest ashrams in India, with devotees from India and all over the World flocking to it for spiritual salvation. Its spiritual tenets represent a synthesis of yoga and modern science.And also visit Light House, Glass House, French Institute
Overnight at hotel
Depart for Chettinad and check in at hotelThe origin of Chettinad begins in the 13th century when the Nattukottai Chettiars migrated to Karaikudi. They left their previous area, the Cauvery Poompattinam, following a massive flood. The new settlement eventually became the Chettinad region (Land of the Chettiars) of 96 villages (in 1947) over a 600-1500 square mile area, out of which around 75 villages still exist today. Starting as traders, the Chettiar’s travels took them to various states in South East Asia, such as Sri Lanka, Singapore, Burma, Cambodia, Vietnam and Malaysia.
The most endearing symbol of the Chettiar era has been the Chettinad homes. From cuisine, architecture, furniture and customs, the rich and well-travelled Chettiars evolved a unique style combining western and eastern sensibilities. These result in an experience found nowhere else in the world.Overnight at hotel
Depart for visit some of the ancient temples unique to this area. Tamil Nadu was once ruled by the Chola Dynasty (9-13th centuries), who constructed some of the most ornate temples in South India. Dedicated to various Hindu gods, these temples contain intricate life-size carvings, beautiful murals and are a display of master craftsmanship. Afterwards, for lunch, we drop in to a local family to enjoy a traditional Chettinad meal. You will also get the chance to interact with them and learn about Chettinad/Tamil culture. Later, visit Chettinad mansions, which are unique in their layout and design, especially the use of space and extensive space.In afternoon enjoy cooking class with the expert chefs. You will learn about Chettinad food and what makes it distinctive. Although dishes are typically very spicy, these can of course be toned down. Exciting Chettinar dishes include the fried murrell, a delicately spiced lamb dish, and robust curries with hints of fresh pepper and raw mango. Enjoy an excellent meal.
Chettinad cuisine is typically spicy and pungent, and consists of mainly non-vegetarian food. The dishes contain freshly ground masalas, and often topped with a boiled egg, which is usually considered an essential part of a meal. They also use a variety of sun-dried meats and salted vegetables, reflecting the dry environment of the region. Meat dishes are restricted to fish, prawn, lobster, crab, chicken and lamb. People from this region do not eat beef and pork.Overnight at hotel
Depart for Madurai and check in at hotelMadurai is a major city in Tamil Nadu and home to the Meenakshi Temple. It is one of the most ancient heritage sites of India truly reflective of the cultural ethos of India. It is also known as the Temple City of India. You can find temples in almost every street in Madurai. The city is called "Thoongaa Nagaram", which means Sleepless City. You can find coffee/tea shops open at almost any time of day and night.
The Temple is dedicated to the goddess Meenakshi (a form of Parvati) with a sanctum for her consort, Sundareshwarar (Shiva). The original temple was built by Kulasekara Pandya, but the entire credit for making the temple as splendid as it is today goes to the Nayaks. The Nayaks ruled Madurai from the 16th to the 18th century and left a majestic imprint of their rule in the Meenakshi - Sundareswarar Temple. The Temple complex is within a high-walled enclosure, at the core of which are the two sanctums for Meenakshi and Sundareshwara, surrounded by a number of smaller shrines and grand pillared halls. Especially impressive are the 12 Gopuras. Their soaring towers rise from solid granite bases, and are covered with stucco figures of Deities, mythical animals and monsters painted in vivid colours.
Thirumala Nayak Palace
Also visit the bustling market of Madurai outside the Meenakshi Temple.Food Safari tour tour in the evening.
Overnight at hotel
Depart for Periyar and check in at hotelThis mini-village recreated in the lush tropical forest of Thekkady is a nature lover's paradise. You will be staying in traditionally constructed cottages, with perfectly integrated modern comforts.
Afternoon is free to explore the local surroundings, take a walk, or do some bird-watching. In the evening, you will watch a cooking demonstration outdoors. Your chef will unveil a few of his South Indian cooking secrets, using the freshest local spices and ingredients. You can choose to eat out in the long verandah or in the rustic wooden dining hall.Overnight at hotel
In the Morning, you will visit one of Thekkady's many spice plantations. Learn all about the spices that are grown here - pepper, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves and more. Return to your cottage.In the afternoon you will be taken into the park. The most thrilling and ideal way to move into the park is by a boat cruiser. The boat cruiser will allow you harmonize with the natural surroundings of the Periyar Sanctuary. Look out for local wildlife (elephants, deer, sloth bears) coming to the lake for water. Afterwards, go for a jungle walk (2 hours). Return to the hotel for lunch
Dinner in the local VillageOvernight at hotel
Depart to Alleppey to board the Rice Houseboat.Afternoon you would be sailing in the canales of the massive lake where you can see people doing their daily ritual
Your Chef will give you the cooking demonstration.Dinner & overnight on the houseboat
Disembark the houseboat at Alleppey boat JettyDrive to Cochin and check in at Hotel
Kochi (colonial name Cochin) is a vibrant city situated on the south-west coast of the Indian peninsula in the breathtakingly scenic and prosperous state of Kerala, hailed as 'God's Own Country'. Its strategic importance over the centuries is underlined by the sobriquet Queen of the Arabian Sea. Informally, Cochin is also referred to as the Gateway to Kerala.Rest of the day is free to relax
In the evening you will be invited to witness KATHAKALI – the ancient and traditional dance drama of Kerala. The drama shows different scenes from the epics of Maharabharata and Ramayana. To understand the entire process you must reach the place an hour before the show and see the make-up being done on the artist.Dinner is at the specialty seafood restaurant - Rice Boat. This restaurant features ultra-fresh seafood, hauled from the backwaters and displayed in a show kitchen where in the guests can interact with chefs to create customized specialties. The menu offers cuisine from regions where the original rice boats travelled. They also showcase distinct seafood styles. They include, Kerala backwater cuisine, featuring local sweet water fishes, seafood cooked in authentic Kerala curries and grills, with exotic ocean catch with Lobsters, Scampi, Mussels, and more. Internationally-renowned seafood including Norwegian Salmon, Octopus, Oysters, and Clams are also available. The restaurant’s new, extended windows offer panoramic views overlooking the water and the colonial warehouses of Fort Cochin with views towards the open ocean and beyond – truly a unique experience among restaurants in the region
Overnight at hotel
Depart for half day sightseeing tour of CochinJewish Synagogue (Closed on Fridays & Saturdays) – built in 1568 the oldest synagogue in the commonwealth stands, adorned by hundreds of exquisite hand – painted Chinese tiles in blue at the heart of what is locally called the Jew Town lies the Synagogue of the white Jews near Mattancherry palace. The Synagogue is now a fascinating mixture of shops, warehouses and spice auction rooms. The Great Scrolls of the Old Testament and the Copper Plates recording the grants of privilege made by the Cochin rulers to the Jewish community are displayed here.
Dutch Palace (closed on Fridays)
Chinese Fishing Nets
St. Francis Church
Nimmy Paul’s residence
Nimmy and Paul have been involved in 'At Home' hospitality for more than twelve years. Nimmy, a professional cooking instructor for more than twenty years, and her stockbroker husband Paul, offer food and hospitality to foreign guests. Nimmy and Paul belong to traditional Syrian Christian community in Kerala. In keeping with the tradition of their families they enjoy having guests and serving good food. Nimmy conducts cooking classes and teaches guests the nuances of traditional Kerala recipes. She is also a food consultant to writers, chefs and magazines. Articles by her and about her have appeared in magazines and newspapers. Nimmy, Paul, and their son Joseph live in KochiWe also provide take home recipes that they learn from the cooking classes. Apart from the items prepared in the menu, an elaborate lunch also awaits the travelers.Overnight at hotel
COST & INCLUSIONS
|Chennai||Taj Coromendel||ITC Grand Chola||Raintree Hotel|
|Pondicherry||Palis-de- Mahe||Mainson Perumal||The Promenade|
|Chettinad||CGH Visalam||CGH Visalam||The Bangala|
|Madurai||The Gateway Hotel||Sangam||Fortune Pandiyan|
|Periyar||Spice Village||Greenwood||Abad Copper Castle|
|Alleppey||Premium Houseboat||Deluxe Houseboat||Deluxe Houseboat|
|Cochin||Vivanta by Taj - Malabar||Crown Plaza||Holiday Inn|
Share twin accommodation with breakfast
Transfers & sightseeing by Air Conditioned vehicle
Cooking demonstration in Cochin at Nimmy Paul’s residence
Kathakali dance drama ticket
Boat cruise in Periyar with naturalist
Cooking class in Chettinad
Lunch and Dinner during stay on the houseboat
Present Applicable taxes as on 15th Oct 2017
Entrance tickets to Monuments
Visa fee & Insurance
Items of personal nature i.e. laundry, telephone, camera fee, drinks & tips etc