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Southern Spices

Journey Synopsis

Icon Holidays : Indian Subcontinent : India : Southern Spices
Days: 16 Days
Nights: 15 Nights
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 - 31 Mar 2017
Pricing From..
Icon Select: $3715.12
Executive: $4042.14
Classic: $5008.72
Premium: $5290.70
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Day 1:

Chennai

Arrive in Chennai today, where we will meet you and then drive you to Mahabalipuram beach area of Chennai, where you spend the night on a beautiful beach resort.

Overnight: Chennai (B)

Day 2:

Mahabalipuram

After Breakfast we will visit Mahabalipuram. World famous for their sea-side temple, and only 58 kilometres from Chennai on the Bay of Bengal, this tiny sea side village is set in a boulder strewn landscape. The famous open-air sculptures here are particularly interesting, with open air bas relief’s, structured temples and man-made caves. The famous Arjuna\\\'s Penance and the Krishna Mandapa, adorn massive rocks near the centre of the village. 

The shore temples were built in the 7th century. These beautiful and romantic temples, ravaged by wind and sea, were recently given World Heritage listing. 

Overnight: Mahabalipuram (B)

Day 3:

Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry

This morning you will drive to Pondicherry. This seaside colony retains its French élan, tempered by South Indian warmth, making it one of India\\\'s most relaxing destinations. Famous for its Ashrams, the region continues to provide a sense of peace and harmony amongst its visitors and residents. There is time to visit the wonderful Pondicherry Museum (closed on Mondays and public holidays) which shows the days of French rule. Afterwards there is plenty of time to walk on the beach, visit the ‘elephant temple’, or stroll through the French Square. 

Overnight: Pondicherry (B)

Day 4:

Pondicherry –Tranquebar 

Visit ‘the city of dawn’ – Auroville - by tuk-tuk, where people from different nationalities, faiths and beliefs have come to set up a living Utopia. We then drive to Tranquebar, once a Dutch colony, outsourced to the Danish!

It is now a small sea side village on the outskirts of Karaikal, and is known for its Shani temple. You’ll visit the distinctive Danish Fort, \\\'Dansborg\\\'. In the 1690s many Danes bought houses in the area and gradually a small Danish township took shape, with a Tamil colony beyond.

Overnight: Tranquebar (B)

Day 5:

Tranquebar

Today you can walk through the village and see the 7th century Shiva Temple in Karaikal, explore the markets and wander on the beach. The day is at your leisure.

Overnight: Tranquebar (B)

Day 6:

Tranquebar – Kumbakonam

This morning start your drive to Kumbakonam, and enroute visit Thirukandiyur temple. Later we visit Gangaikonda Chopaluram. This region has a special place in the history of India. This religious village, which served as the capital for nearly 250 years, still holds the remains of the Chola Kingdom and structures of great architectural significance. The prime attraction at this place is the great temple of Lord Shiva. After time to explore and learn about this wonderful temple, we continue our drive and check in at your hotel.

This evening, you take a bullock cart ride to the nearby village where you can learn about village life in India

Overnight: Kumbakonam (B)

Day 7:

Kumbakonam – Pudukottai - Chettinad

We make an early start today, and visit the Nava Graha temples and Tribhuvanam village where you will see the Silk weaving men. Tribhuvanam is near the Cauvery River and is known as a manufacturing hub for silk saris and clothing materials. On the way you will get the opportunity to see people making Meter-long coffee! Enjoy a cup. After lunch we continue to Chettinad.

Chettinad is the homeland of the Nattukottai Chettiars, a prosperous banking and business community. The people of Chettinad speak Tamil. Today there is a diaspora of Chettinad people, who live in the USA, Singapore and Malaysia.

Overnight: Chettinadu (B)

Day 8:

Chettinad

Today we’ll visit some famous Mansions in the area. Most are treasure troves of architectural details that mirror the passion for art and craft of this mercantile community. The most important aspect of Chettinad architecture is a mix of Indian and European styles evolved over years through the connection with trade and travel. We’ll visit a local home and enjoy some wonderful ‘Chettinadu’ cuisine with the family. 

Overnight: Chettinad (B,L)

Day 9:

Chettinadu – Madurai 

After breakfast today we’ll drive to the temple town of ‘Madurai’. On arrival you will check-in to your hotel, and after lunch visit the Shree Meenakshi Temple.

Every day, the Temple attracts pilgrims in thousands, from all over India. The multi pillared halls are covered from top to bottom in a profusion of images of gods, goddesses, animals and mythical figures. The temple occupies an area of around six hectares, and has four entrances. The museum called the Temple Art Gallery is located within the temple and contains beautiful stone and brass images, examples of South Indian scripts and friezes. 

This evening we’ll take a walk in the Bazaar. 

Overnight: Madurai (B)

Day 10:

Madurai – Munnar 

This morning we’ll visit Thirumalai Nayak Palace, which was built in 1636, by the ruler, after whom it has been named. Much of the palace has now fallen into ruins, and only the entrance gate, main hall and dance hall remain. You’ll then continue your journey up to Munnar. Set at an altitude of almost 2000m, Munnar was the favoured summer resort of the British rulers during colonial days. Seemingly unending expanses of tea plantations, pristine valleys and mountains, exotic species of flora and fauna and the aroma of spice scented cool air combine to make Munnar a wonderful destination. You’ll be able to spend the next 2 days amongst rolling mountains, craggy peaks, manicured tea estates and crisp mountain air.

Overnight: Munnar (B)

Day 11:

Munnar

This morning after breakfast we’ll visit the Tea Museum (closed on Mondays) where you can learn everything about the ancient art of tea making. Later visit the local market, where you can pass through the narrow bazaar, where hectic trade in spices and teas take place throughout the day

This afternoon you’ll have tea at a tea plantation near your hotel.

Overnight: Munnar (B)

Day 12:

Munnar – Pollachi

After breakfast, we’ll drive direct to Pollachi and enjoy the village life of this small south Indian town. On arrival you will check-in at Shenbaga Vilaasam.

Shenbaga Vilaasam, is nestled in the midst of hundreds of hectares of farm land. The beautiful mountains act as a magnificent backdrop and the coconut plantations add to the beauty. One can just sit and gaze as the villagers lead a life that we only read about. In the afternoon you can walk or have a ride in a bullock cart through the narrow lanes of the local village. There are simple homes and you’ll be able to stop to visit a craftsman’s home or a village temple.

Overnight: Pollachi (B,L,D)

Day 13:

Pollachi - Pallakad – Thrissur - Nattika Beach

Today we start early for our drive to Kalamandalam where you will have “A Day with the Masters” where you can see and participate in dances, acting, song, percussion, painting and classical music. This is a wonderful experience. Later we’ll continue to Nattika Beach resort, enroute visiting Guruvayoor, home to the world famous elephant Camp. This is the largest elephant sanctuary in India. There are currently more than 60 elephants, and all are much loved and cared for. After time with the elephants, you’ll continue on to Nattika Beach. This is an amazing day.

Overnight: Nattika Beach (B) 

Day 14:

Nattika Beach

Day at leisure at Nattika Beach Resort.

Overnight: Nattika Beach (B)

Day 15:

Nattika Beach – Kochi (Cochin)

This morning we’ll drive to Kochi. On arrival you can check-in at your hotel.

After lunch, you’ll visit the Dutch Palace, the Jewish Synagogue (closed on Fridays and Saturdays), stroll through the lanes of antique stores, and visit the church where Vasco Da Gama is buried, then finally the famous Chinese fishing nets which are alongside the beach-front market

Overnight: Kochi (B)

Day 16:

Departure from Kochi

Today we’ll transfer you to the airport for your onward journey.

End of Services (B)

Accommodation

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Mahabalipuram      
Taj Vivanta Fisherman\\\'s Cove (Sea View Villa) Taj Vivanta Fisherman\\\'s Cove (Sea View Cottage) Radisson Resort Temple Bay (Sea View Chalet) Hotel Mehabs (Suite Room)
Pondicherry      
De L\\\'Orient (Suite) Le Dupleix (Deluxe Room) Maison Perumal (Standard Room) Maison Gascon (Standard Room)
Tranquebar      
Bungalow on the Beach Bungalow on the Beach Gate House Gate House
Kumbakonam      
Mantra Resort Mantra Resort Mantra Resort Mantra Resort
Chattinadu      
Visalam Visalam The Bangala (Deluxe Room) Chettinad Mansion (Heritage Room)
Madurai      
Taj Gateway Hotel (Suite) Heritage (Villa Suite) GRT Regency (Deluxe Room) GRT Regency (Deluxe Room)
Munnar      
Windamere Estate (Cottage) Ambady Estate (Cottage) Blackberry Hills Retreat and Spa (Villa Suite Cottage) Blackberry Hills Retreat and Spa (Garden Suite Cottage)
Pollachi      
Shenbaga Visalam (Standard Room) Shenbaga Visalam (Standard Room) Shenbaga Visalam (Standard Room) Shenbaga Visalam (Standard Room)
Nattika      
Nattika Beach Resort (Superior Deluxe Room) Nattika Beach Resort (Superior Deluxe Room) Nattika Beach Resort (Deluxe Room) Nattika Beach Resort (Deluxe Room)
Kochi      
Brunton Boatyard (Standard Sea View Room) Malabar House (Deluxe Room) Le Colonial (Grand Room) Tea Bungalow (Heritage Room)

Inclusions

  • All transfers, sightseeing and surface transportation as per the itinerary by an air - conditioned Toyota Innova /Tempo Traveller.
  • Assistance at all arrival & departure points.
  • Accommodation on twin share basis at all hotels
  • Meals as per the itinerary
  • Entrance fee to the monuments as per the program.
  • Services of a local English speaking guide as per the program.
  • Tuk Tuk ride in Pondicherry.
  • Bullock cart ride in and around Chettinad and  in Kumbakonam
  • Jeep safari and plantation visit in Munnar.
  • Visit of the Kalamandalam.
  • All presently applicable taxes

Exclusion

  • International flights
  • Internal flights if any
  • Any Lunch & Dinner; unless specified.
  • Expenses of personal nature like laundry, telephone call, drink etc.
  • Tips to the drivers, guides and restaurants during meals.
  • Travel Insurance etc
  • Please note: the Jewish Synagogue in Cochin remains closed on Fridays and Saturdays
enquire about this journey