Authentic South India
• Pondicherry • Madurai • Kovalam • Alleppey • Kochi • Muinnar
Dive into real South India! Join a gentle cruise in a converted rice barge on the backwaters of Kerala, taste the freshest of tea in plantations set in the hill country, wander colonial town centres and search for wildlife in the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Travel like a local in a tuk tuk, learn traditional cooking methods and perhaps try an Ayurvedic massage. This is indeed authentic South India.
Day 1: Arrive Chennai Namaste! Welcome to India.
Day 2: Chennai Enjoy a heritage walk in colonial Madras of the British East India Co, government headquarters at Fort St George, Madras Museum, Clive of India's wedding church, George Town bazaar and Dravidian architecture of Kapaleeshwarar Temple. Sunset walk at Marina Beach, and a South Indian dinner beachside.
Day 3: Chennai > Mahabalipuram Drive to the ancient seaport of the Pallava Kingdom travelling via DakshinaChitra to experience their unique Dravidian lifestyle. Later see the magical 7th century open air rock relief of the Descent of the Ganges and the monolithic rock architecture of Pancha Rathas.
Day 4: Mahabalipuram > Pondicherry Arrive into Indo-French Pondicherry founded in 1674 by the French East India Company.
Day 5: Pondicherry Take a walking tour through the French and Tamil colonies at Villa Noir and the Muslim Green Quarter. Explore the City of Dawn, Auroville, and Pondi Museum. Join a meditation class at the Aurobindo Ashram before a sunset walk along Beach Road. Cooking class and dinner with a local family this evening.
Day 6: Pondicherry > Trichy > Tanjore Drive to Tanjore today, travelling via Trichy, a railway hub during the British Raj.
Day 7: Tanjore > Madurai Visit the 17th century residence of Bhonsle Warriors, Maratha Palace and join a Tanjore gold painting tour, a practice exclusive to the region using 22 carat gold. Drive to Madurai.
Day 8: Madurai > Kanyakumari > Kovalam Rise early for a morning ceremony of the 6th century Meenakshi Amman before viewing the giant pillars of Tirumalai Palace, and the Gandhi Museum showcasing the struggle against the British Raj. Continue to Kovalam via Cape Comorin, the southern tip of India.
Day 9: Kovalam Beach At leisure today. Perhaps try an optional Ayurvedic massage.
Day 10: Kovalam > Alleppey Drive to Alleppey to join a converted rice barge for a backwater cruise. This scenic journey will take you through lakes and lagoons, watch local life by the water's edge and perhaps spot some wildlife. Overnight on board.
Day 11: Alleppey > Periyar Disembark and travel to Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Explore the lake and enjoy a short trek in this protected elephant and tiger reserve.
Day 12: Periyar > Munnar This morning tour the Abraham Spice Garden before driving to Munnar in the tea country.
Day 13: Munnar See how the tea is harvested and made - join a tea tasting in one of the country's finest plantations.
Day 14: Munnar > Kochi Depart Munnar and head to one of India's first European colonies, Kochi.
Day 15: Kochi Explore the British, Portuguese and Dutch influences in Old Kochi this morning. See the unusual giant Chinese fishing nets, the tomb of Vasco de Gama at Francis Church and take a tuk tuk ride to Mattancherry, the Dutch Palace and Jew Town. A south Indian cooking class and dinner with a local family rounds up your day.
Day 16: Depart Kochi Transfer to the airport.
• Fully escorted by a local expert guide • Accommodation in 4 star hotels (or best available) • Sightseeing and entrance fees • Meals as indicated • Gratuities
Pricing (per person) $NZD
7 Jan (Pongal Harvest Festival)
12 Aug (Onam Carnival of South India)
7 Jan (Pongal Harvest Festival)
Booking conditions A non-refundable deposit of $500 per person is required, with the balance due 90 days prior to departure. As cancellation fees apply, travel insurance is mandatory.
A non-refundable deposit of $500 per person is required, with the balance due 90 days prior to departure. As cancellation fees apply, travel insurance is mandatory.
Not included • International Airfares, airline and airport taxes (subject to change)
• Items of a personal nature
• Travel insurance (mandatory)
• Visas (if applicable)
• International Airfares, airline and airport taxes (subject to change) • Items of a personal nature • Travel insurance (mandatory) • Visas (if applicable)