It would be a great experience for you to start your journey from the backwaters and spice plantations of Kerala to dense forests and temples in Tamil Nadu with unique architecture. It is a 2 week program which includes both sightseeing and fun time together. The various modes of transport via bus, car, train, boat etc., would help you to enjoy the charming beauty of Kerala back waters to temples of Tamil Nadu and ensures that you are covering most of the major tourist destinations in South India.
Kochi, Kalpetta, Mudumalai, Mysore, Mamallapuram, Puducherry, Madurai, Periyar Sanctuary, Kerala Backwaters, Kochi
Day 01: Kochi
There are no planned activities for the day, as people are expected to arrive at different times and hence you can enjoy the city, if you reached morning or early afternoon.
At evening, with a welcome meeting, tour schedule starts. You can visit the Kochi Marine Drive to enjoy the sunset and Chinese fishing nets. The day concludes with an optional group dinner.
The program commences first day night and people who want to explore the city can proceed with that. But it is good to interact with the group members in the interaction session and you would be introduced to tour schedule then.
Day 02: Kochi
You would get a chance to walk along Dutch Palace, Jewish Synagogue and explore the city further. Also you can enjoy the great traditional classical dance form of Kerala, Kathakali.
During the walk you would come to know the magnificent beauty of the queen of Arabian Sea by visiting 400 year old Synagogue, Dutch Palace, spice market and St. Francis church, known as oldest church in India.
Kathakali is a classical dance in Kerala with high focus on the performance of the artist. It is a way of narrating stories with by facial expression accompanied by music. Most of these are based on stories from Ramayana and Mahabharata, the epics of Hindu tradition. Rich costume and high usage of make-up using rich colours make this art form very fascinating.
Day 03: Kochi - Kalpetta
Head towards Kalpetta in Wayanad by train and then by road. You will travel by train till Calicut and then continue in private cab by road. You can really enjoy the journey from the plains to hilly terrain via Thamarassery mountainpass, which has many hairpin curves. Also you can experience the degree of temperature coming down when you travel up.
Day 04: Kalpetta
Step out into the thick green vegetation of Wayanad. Also you are getting a chance to visit the infamous Edakkal caves, which is believed to have occupied by Neo-lithic people.
Neo-lithic people are those who lived during new stone ages starting from 10000 BCE and ending between 4500 to 2000 BCE.
Wayanad has a special place in the tourism map of India. Proximity to forest and wildlife, indigenous native people and their culture, beauty of the Western Ghats etc. are some of the important aspects which make Wayanad, an important tourist destination. Here you get a chance experience the same and get to know the indigenous life style of native people by visiting a tribal colony.
Day 05: Kalpetta - Mudumalai
You are going to experience the life of wild life sanctuary by staying at Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary at night. The sanctuary is a haven for Elephants and Bison.
Move on in the afternoon by a safari in a private vehicle through the sanctuary and witness the diversity of the wildlife without any disturbance. You should be able to see the Royal Bengal tigers, Indian leopards and other endangered species. You can also see the herds of Indian elephants, Indian bison etc.
Day 06: Mudumalai - Mysore
The day for visiting Mysore Palace and Chamundi hills
You are into another important halt for a day long tour in the cool city, Mysore. The city known for its palaces, prominent one among them is Mysore Palace. The fascinating palace which stands first in architecture and modern style in India is built by Wadiyar Kings of Mysore, who ruled the Mysore Kingdom from late fourteenth century till mid twentieth century. The Palace is known for its Indo-Saracenic architecture with blends of Gothic and Rajput styles. It has a museum which consists of old type of royal ornaments, coins, arms used by the Wadiyar kings and a collection of photographs of royal family.
Chamundi hills are a hill in the outskirts of Mysore, which can give a panoramic view of the entire Mysore city. Moreover the hill is very famous for its Chamundeeshwari temple located at atop of the hill. People who want to drive can be accessed by their vehicle and who want to climb up; there is a special pavement for them to reach the top.
Day 07: Mysore - Mamallapuram
Now you are heading towards Mamallapuram located in Coromandal coast.
You would be arranged to travel from Mysore to Chennai by train which takes almost a day, and then resume to Mamallapuram by road.
Mamallapuram which is also known as Mahabalipuram is small city south to Chennai but known for temples with excellent architecture built during the Pallava dynasty period. Among the important one is Shore temple of 7th century CE, which is also listed in UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temple is made of granite and it has many sculptures of Gods Vishnu and Shiva and shows how the Vaishnavism and Shaivism were prominent in South India in those years, which is known as Sangam Period.
Day 08: Mamallapuram
You are encouraged to explore Mamallapuram
You can actively engage in various activities such as swimming in ocean, walk around the beach, visit the monuments or proceed to shopping as the city has some unique crafts, which can offer you variety with a local blend. If you want to roam around the city in a bicycle, you are always welcomed; this may help you to understand the nerve and culture of the city.
Day 09: Mamallapuram - Puducherry
Advance to Puducherry, which is also known as Pondicherry, where you can come to know about Sri Aurobindo Ghosh and his ashram. Aurobindo Ghosh is an Indian nationalist, poet, activist and Hindu philosopher who took part in Indian freedom struggle and endorsed the importance of spirituality.
Puducherry was the French colony during colonial period and perhaps the largest French settlement in India those years. The traces of it can be clearly visible in the city with its French architecture in houses, buildings and boulevards. The city is also known for its sandy beaches and sea shores.
Since there are many things to explore in the city, you would be introduced to those during the orientation walk. It would be informed to you which are all the important landmarks in the city including shopping malls, super markets, major buildings etc., to help with the specific information and tips while proceeding to the city.
Day 10: Puducherry - Madurai
Now you are heading to Madurai, which had settlements from BCE and was the capital of the famous Pandya dynasty.
A day long travel towards Madurai by road would help you understand the geography and culture of Tamil Nadu.
Day 11: Madurai
You would be getting a chance to visit the city by a cycle rickshaw before visiting Meenakshi Temple.
Cycle rickshaw is a 3-wheeler rickshaw, which is peddled by a peddler, which helps you to enjoy the beauty of the city at a slow pace. You can pass through the city in search for fruits and vegetables market, Gandhi Museum, Palace, pressing of oil by bullocks etc.
Madurai Meenakshi temple is one of the prominent temples in India, which is known for its fine architecture. The temple is located in the shores of Vaigai River and has 14 gopurams or towers with sculptures of Gods and the social life of ancient years. The temple is dedicated to Meenakshi or Parvathi and Lord Shiva. The temple has survived many attacks and last time rebuilt in 17th century. The temple was considered for Top 7 Wonders around the world and was shortlisted in the last 30 list.
You can also visit Meenakshi temple at night by paying a nominal fees of INR 50 per person or INR 1000 per group. It starts by 9 PM and with special rituals and homages throughout the night. With the prayers and lightings of its towers, the temple transforms into a completely different one from the day time.
Day 12: Madurai - Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary
Travel to Thekkady from Madurai by road of 4 hours journey and visit the spice plantations in the cardamom hills with the help of a guide.
Thekkady is a wildlife sanctuary surrounded by Periyar, one of the major rivers in Kerala. It is part of Periyar Wildlife sanctuary, which is a thick evergreen forest. It is also known for natural spices. You can choose a boat ride around Thekkady, which is helpful for you to locate elephants, sambar, tigers, lion-tailed macaques, Nilgirilangurs etc. Apart from that you can visit tea plantations, spice plantations and tea factories which are very peculiar in South India.
Day 13: Periyar Sanctuary - Kerala Backwaters
The day starts with a private bus ride to Alleppey, proceed by a boat journey and you would be facilitated with a home stay in an island village.
You would be enthused with the walk along the lagoon, whereby you can experience the diversity of the ecosystem of backwaters. You can enjoy a walk around the island in the afternoon with the help of a local guide, which will give you great scenic view of the lake which is connected to the sea. You will also get chance to experience the local life by interacting with people and enjoying the local cuisines which are prepared in typical Kuttanadan style.
By Evening you would be arranged to go for a boat ride through the lake and get an experience of sun-set in the backwaters.
Please keep in mind that you would take the minimum luggage you wanted for this stay, and the rest of them are transported to the hotel in Kochi.
The home stay amidst of palm trees and green grass in the courtyard which is surrounded by lush green paddy field would really refresh your mind. You can also enjoy the local toddy available in the island, which is a very popular mild-alcoholic drink in Kerala.
Day 14: Kerala Backwaters - Kochi
Returning to Kochi, the last day of the program.
The last day would be spent with lot of enjoyment which helps you to remember our hospitality for long. You can learn to cook some specific Kerala as well as exotic dishes. You can also watch how toddy tappers getting the extract from the palm trees and can roam around the island again to see and understand the life deeper.
You depart the island towards Kochi and you reach the city by the afternoon. You will travel back by boat and then by private bus, you reach Kochi.
You can get ready and depart to your locations from the hotel in Kochi with sweet memories of 14 days. For any travel issues you can reach out to your representative and he would be happier to make necessary arrangements for you.
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