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Best of Southern India

Itinerary

Best of Southern India

Day 1 - Kochi

Arrive at any time. There are no planned activities before the evening welcome meeting, so check into the hotel and enjoy the city. After the welcome meeting, visit the harbour to enjoy sunset over the Chinese fishing nets followed by an optional group dinner.

Day 2 - Kochi/Sultan Bathery

Take a morning train followed by a scenic drive to reach Sultan Bathery, in the Wayanad district.

Day 3 - Sultan Bathery

Walk the nature trails through the farm area in Wayanad. Also take a tour of a tea factory and plantation to learn about tea production in the area from a guide. Wayanad region of the western Ghats in Kerala is renowned for its sprawling tea plantations and is known to produce some of the finest teas.

Day 4 - Sultan Bathery/Mysore

Settle in for the drive to the ancient city of Mysore. Travel to Mysore (formally Mysuru) located in the foothills of the Chamundi Hills, which was the capital of the Kingdom of Mysore from 1399 to 1947.

Day 5 - Mysore

Explore the vibrant city of Mysore including visits to Chamundi Temple and Mysore Palace. After enjoy free time and opt to visit the Devaraja market or join a yoga class. Imagine life as a Maharaja on a guided tour of the Mysore Palace. Later, join the throngs of pilgrims at Chamundi Hills, with its temple on top, and Nandi the Bull (ridden by the Hindu god Shiva) a short walk below. In your free time, visit the Devaraja fruit and vegetable market or join a yoga class at one of the many local institutes. Opt to drive to Somnathpur, home to one of the most famous Hoysala Temples in India.

Day 6 - Mysore/Mamallapuram

Enjoy a full day of train travel to Chennai before a short bus ride to Mamallapuram. Arrive by train to Chennai before continuing south for a short ride to the small village of Mamallapuram.

Day 7 - Mamallapuram

Visit the Shore Temple. In the afternoon, enjoy free time to explore Mamallapuram. In the morning, visit the 7th century Shore Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Day 8 - Mamallapuram/Puducherry

Continue to Pondicherry (now known as Puducherry) and learn about Sri Aurobindo Ghose at the ashram. In the morning, drive to Pondicherry (now known as Puducherry), formerly the the largest French Colony in India and an important trading town. There is a strong French influence in the city's layout, with wide boulevards and French-style houses, but the city is undoubtedly Indian.

Day 9 - Puducherry/Madurai

Travel inland to Madurai, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.

Day 10 - Madurai

Hop on a cycle rickshaw for a tour of the city before visiting the famous Meenakshi Temple. After visiting the temple complex, opt to visit the handicraft shops or duck into the cool shade of the covered, stone tailor's market where, for a few rupees, rows of expert tailors will whip you up a custom shirt in minutes, all done on antique foot-pump sewing machines. In the late evening, opt to visit the Meenakshi Temple again for a glimpse of the nighttime rituals.

Day 11 - Madurai/Thekkady

Drive to Thekkady. Take a guided tour of spice plantations in the Cardamom Hills. Thekkady, adjacent to Periyar National Park, is the spice capital of India. On arrival, enjoy a guided tour of the spice plantations and a tea factory. Opt for a boat ride on the Periyar Lake.

Day 12 - Thekkady/Kerala Backwaters

Travel to Alleppey for a local homestay. Experience local life and a guided walk along the lagoon. Travel down to the backwaters from Thekkady to catch a private boat for the short journey to the village homestay. In the afternoon, explore the island with a local person to observe the different facets of local life ?? it's a great opportunity to meet and talk with the people who live in this unique location. Just before sunset, hop on a small country boat and journey along with the locals to enjoy sunset on the winding backwaters.

Day 13 - Kerala Backwaters/Kochi

Spend the morning enjoying last moments with your host family. Learn to cook some local food, watch the toddy tappers at work, or wander around the village. Travel to a Planeterra project for lunch before returning to Kochi. Head out for an orientation walk, then enjoy an evening performance of kathakali, a form of traditional dancing from Kerala.

Day 14 - Kochi

Depart at any time.
Summary

What’s included?

Extra expenses at the destination
There have been changes to the Indian Visa process

Accommodation

Hotels (12 nts), homestay (1 nt, multi-share).

Local transport

Train, private vehicle, cycle-rickshaw, auto-rickshaw, ferry.

Meals

Meals Included: 1 breakfast, 2 lunches, 2 dinners
Meals Budget: Allow USD295-385 for meals not included.

Additional info

Madurai
- Meenakshi Temple Night Visit (50INR per person, 1000INR per group)

Periyār Lake
- Periyar Lake Boat Ride (500INR per group)

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