Classic option from £1755* PP
Trip code: SSI-C-12 |
Group size: Max 16, Avg 12
START Cochin, Thekkady, Periyar National Park, Madurai, Karaikudi, Tanjore, Pondicherry, Mahabalipuram, Chennai FINISH
Explore ancient temples, colonial history, traditional villages and quaint seaside towns. This bewitching trail unveils South India’s rich history and culture from colourful Cochin (Kochi) to the giant ancient temples of Tamil Nadu, French-influenced Pondicherry to the seaside village of Mahabalipuram. Discover a little-visited corner of India with a colour and charm that feels like another world.
DAYS 1-2: COCHIN
On arrival in Cochin, transfer to your hotel. Your journey begins in India’s great trading port with its antique streets and fascinating blend of cultures. Take a heritage walk past traders’ mansions and the colourful waterfront, and visit the spice trading streets and 400-year-old synagogue. Learn of Kerala’s rich cultures and watch as dancers transform for a performance of the renowned Kathakali dance.
Hotel: Grande Residencia
DAYS 3-4: THEKKAD Y & MADURAI
Drive to picturesque Thekkady and discover the secrets of a remarkable spice garden and a fun bullock-cart ride. Cruise Periyar National Park where you might catch sight of elephants and gaur (bison), amongst other jungle wildlife. Enjoy the scenic drive to Madurai and the vast Sri Meenakshi Temple, almost a city within a city.
Hotels: Spice Village, Heritage Madurai
DAYS 5-7: KARAIKUDI & TANJORE
On the way to Karaikudi, stop at a colourful street market in Madurai. Explore some of the ornate architecture of Chettinad before an evening cooking demonstration to learn about the famous Chettinadu cuisine of the region at your heritage hotel. . After a morning at leisure to explore the town, continue on to Tanjore, dominated by colourful ornate towers, or gopurams, of the famous Brihadishwara Temple, a huge World Heritage monument. Stay in an atmospheric village-style ecoresort and discover the culture and traditions of the Tamils at nearby temples and on a morning village walk.
Hotels: The Bangala, Anandham Swamimalai
DAYS 8-9: PONDICHERRY
Travel to the vibrant seaside town of Pondicherry, a former French colony that has retained a unique colonial atmosphere, from the charming architecture and churches to its patronage of the arts. Take a heritage walk and visit the world famous Shri Aurobindo ashram.
Hotel: Atithi Puducherry
DAYS 10-12: MAHABALIPURAM & CHENNAI
Continue along India’s lovely coastline to the beachside village of Mahabalipuram, an artisan centre and home to the iconic craftsmanship of the ancient Shore Temples and 5 Rathas. Unwind at the beach or pool before you continue on to Chennai, the former Madras. Stop at an engaging bronze museum and finish with a South Indian tradition at a renowned local coffee house. On your last day, enjoy free time before your departure transfer.
Hotels: Radisson Blu Resort Temple Bay, Residency Towers
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