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Home  >  More Special....  >  Indian Sub-Continent   >  India  >  Mysteries of South India 13 Days

Mysteries of South India 13 Days

India - Chennai; Pondicherry; Thanjavur; Karaikudi; Madurai; Thekkady; Kumarakom; Cochin

Product Code:31681272

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  • Tour Ended
  • Travel Days
    13 Days 12 Nights
Attractions Multi Days Tour Private Activities
Quick Notes
Less 15% with 4 or more adults traveling together

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Deluxe Hotel
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    * Privately guided tours with experts on history, culture and architecture

    * Meet with locals, artisans for an insider perspective

    * Exciting cycle rickshaw ride through the bazaars of Madurai

    * Participate in the temple ceremony at the Meenakshi temple

    * Explore the abundant flora and fauna on a nature walk around the Periyar National Park

    * Set off on a guided tour of a spice garden in Periyar

    * A day cruise experience aboard a traditional house boat

    * Spend time with a local family as they give you lessons on Kerala’s culinary traditions


    Arrive Chennai


    Welcome to Chennai! Arrive at the Chennai International Airport. Once you have de-boarded the flight, you will be required to clear immigration and customs.

    Our representative (with a paging board) will greet you and escort you to your vehicle once you have cleared the immigration process. You will then be transferred to the hotel of your choice. 

    Welcome and check-in at the hotel on arrival. 

    Chennai Witness to the arrival of the Armenians, Portuguese, Dutch, and French and finally the British East India Company, Chennai has a remarkably variegated history and culture that you can see in all aspects of life here. Its wealth of Indo-Saracenic architecture and the ancient Tamil culture co-exist with larger-than-life portraits of politicians who watch over the city. 

    Overnight at hotel in Chennai




    Buffet breakfast at the hotel. 

    Post breakfast, you will meet with your guide in the lobby and set out for a sightseeing experience on the first day. 

    Your first morning visit in the morning will be to the Kapaleeshwara Temple which was built around the 7th century CE. The temple is in Dravidian architecture and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is worshiped as Kapaleeshwara and is represented by the lingam and his consort Parvati is depicted as Karpagambal. 

    Later in the day you will visit the museum to see the bronze gallery with its superb collection of Chola art. Later you will drive through the flower and fruit market, past the High Court built in Indo-Saracenic style, followed by the Fort Museum with its collection of colonial memorabilia and end with the Marina Beach. 

    Rest of the day will be at leisure. 

    Overnight at hotel in CHENNAI


    Drive to Puducherry


    After breakfast in the morning, you will drive to Puducherry (Driving time: 4 hours; Distance: 165km), en-route visiting Mahabalipuram. You will visit a collection of temples built in traditional Dravidian style located picturesquely alongside the sea, with a colossal bas relief sculpture done on a single rock face, chariots carved out of single pieces of boulders, and cave temples, and various Mandapams. All of these collectively have been inscribed in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You will also have the chance to see the gravity-defying spectacle called the Balancing Rock or Krishna’s Butter Ball. Post the tour you will continue on your drive to Puducherry. 

    Puducherry Set on the Bay of Bengal, Puducherry (formerly Pondicherry) is a must visit for its laid back vibe with a definitive French romance, charming layout, interesting history and chic environs. The former Capital of French territories in India, the town of Puducherry oozes quaint and rustic charm while showcasing a splendid mix of colonial and local flavours. 

    On arrival, welcome and check in at the hotel. 

    Later proceed to the Aurobindo Ashram which was established in 1926. Sri Aurobindo Ashram is one of the most well-known ashrams in India, with devotees from India and all over the world flocking towards it for spiritual salvation. Its spiritual tenets represent a synthesis of yoga and modern science. 

    Overnight at hotel in PUDUCHERRY


    Drive to Thanjavur


    Buffet breakfast at the hotel. 

    Post your breakfast, you will drive to Thanjavur (Driving time: 5 hours; Distance: 220km). 

    Thanjavur The Chola Dynasty developed Tanjore, also known as Thanjavur as a bastion of their Empire. Most of the Great Living Chola Temples, which are UNESCO World Heritage Monuments, are located in and around Thanjavur. It is famous for its unique style of paintings and bronze-cast statues, antiques, handicrafts, textiles, and sarees. It is also a centre of Carnatic Music and producer of traditional musical instruments. 

    On arrival welcome and check-in at the hotel. 

    Later in the afternoon, you will visit a factory that manufactures the Indian traditional stringed instrument called ‘Veena’. The origin of this instrument goes back many centuries and the great Gupta ruler Samudragupta who is also depicted as playing this instrument in some of his gold coins. 

    Overnight at hotel in THANJAVUR




    You will start your day with a late morning visit to the famous Brihadeeswara temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, also known as the Big Temple, the Periya Kovil, the Raja Rajeswara Temple, and also Rajarajeswaram. It is one of the largest temples in India and is an excellent example of exemplary architecture dating back to the Chola Dynasty. The temple is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the "Great Living Chola Temples". 

    During the tour, you will also visit the Tanjore Art Gallery, housed in the magnificent Thanjavur Palace, which has a rich representation of Tamil Nadu’s artistic legacy. The walls of the art gallery adorn painting and sculptures from South India, magnificent pieces that prevailed during the peak of Tamil history. 

    Later you will visit the Royal Palace and Museum. End your day with a Bronze Casting Demonstration in the company of a Master craftsman and participate in a bronze casting demonstration. The bronze sculptors of Tanjore have not only kept a millennium-old tradition alive but are also a thriving craft. 

    Overnight at hotel in THANJAVUR


    Drive to Karaikudi


    In the morning post your breakfast you will drive to the town of Karaikudi (Driving time: 2.5 hours; Distance: 110km). Karaikudi and surrounding areas are generally referred as "Chettinad.Within the span of some 80 sq km of Chettinad, there is immense architectural, cultural, and culinary heritage that will leave you spellbound from the moment you arrive. Grand mansions built with the fortunes of Chettiar business communities, beautiful temples, and bustling local bazaars give you plenty to explore. 

    On arrival, welcome and check-in at the hotel. 

    Later take a tour through the town of Chettinad marvelling at some of the most opulent mansions with exquisitely carved teak columns and beams, beautiful chequered marble floors, Athangudi tiles, ceramics, and much more. You will also see the Chettinad Palace from the outside. There are also splendidly carved temples, and colourful local bazaar to explore. Get to see local snacks being made and sample some as well! 

    Overnight at hotel in KARAIKUDI


    Drive to Madurai


    Post breakfast, continue on your journey to Madurai (Driving time: 2 hours; Distance: 100km) 

    Madurai A visit to Madurai can be equally mystifying and mesmerizing. The city is more than 2,500 years old and is one of the most ancient cities of India. Often known as the Athens of the East, the city comprises of a number of temples and historical monuments. It presents a beautiful blend of art, culture, spirituality, and technology. 

    Later in the afternoon enjoy a rickshaw ride- an auto rickshaw or a cycle rickshaw ride is a great way to discover a different aspect of Madurai and experience the energy of the city like a local. 

    Late in the evening you will visit the local temple to attend the night ceremony. This is a ceremony that takes place every evening when the temple bronze of Lord Shiva is carried to the bedchamber of Parvati. The procession is accompanied by religious prayer and temple music. 

    (Note: Non - Hindus are not allowed inside the inner sanctum of the temple.) 

    Overnight at hotel in MADURAI




    You will start a little early in the morning to visit the famous wholesale flower market in the city. 

    Just north of the Sri Meenakshi Temple, the daily flower and vegetable market is a labyrinth of bustling laneways strewn with aromatic herbs and vegetables. In the thick of it, on the first floor of a non-descript cement building is the gorgeous flower market. Vendors dexterously heap mountains of marigolds and jasmine onto scales for the temple flower sellers here. 

    You will visit the magnificent Meenakshi Temple, a historic Hindu temple located on the bank of the River Vaigai in the temple city of Madurai. It is dedicated to Parvati, known as Meenakshi and her consort, Lord Shiva. 

    You will also visit the elegant Thirumalai Nayaka Palace (built in 17th century). The Thirumalai Nayak Palace has a grand architecture and design, and is famous for its giant pillars; the Palace is a classic fusion of Dravidian and Islamic styles. The interior of the palace surpasses many of its Indian contemporaries in scale and grandeur. 

    Later proceed to the art museum situated in the thousand-pillared hall, the museum at the Sri Meenakshi Temple compound which contains a good collection of icons, photographs, drawings, etc., exhibiting 1200 years of Indian history. 

    Overnight at hotel in MADURAI


    Drive to Thekkady


    Buffet breakfast at the hotel. 

    Post breakfast you will drive to Thekkady (Driving time: 4 hours; Distance: 140km) 

    Periyar National Park located in Thekkady, is open throughout the year unlike many other parks in India, and is good for Elephant sighting; the large reservoir attracts all kinds of creatures to its shores. A paradise for nature lovers, Periyar and Thekkady offer plenty of opportunities at wildlife sightings, bird watching, boat rides, and treks and mountain walks through fragrant spice plantations. 

    In the afternoon, you will take a walk through the diverse habitats of Thekkady that gives you the opportunity to spot different species of birds, identify wildlife that roam the jungles of Thekkady and capture the primeval natural beauty of the place in your cameras. 

    Overnight at hotel in THEKKADY


    Drive to Kumarakom


    In the morning, embark on a guided visit of a spice garden to learn about variety of India spices and their scientific usage. Indian spices are being widely used in every household to cook regular dishes for centuries and the benefits of the spices for a healthy living is now acknowledged across the world. 

     Later, check-out and proceed to Kumarakom. (Driving time: 3.5 hours; Distance: 125km).

    Kumarakom Known for its languid stillness, Kumarakom is a verdant tropical paradise located on the banks of Lake Vembanad. Backwaters, birds, and boats bobbing up and down are sights that greet you here. 

    On arrival take a day cruise on a Kettuvallam (houseboat). The Kettuvallam or “boat with knots” is a traditional houseboat of Kerala that dates back to 3000 BCE. They earned the name from the knots of coir ropes that held together the wooden planks used to make them. These hardy and spacious boats masterfully navigated through the complex lattice of backwaters carrying rice and other cargo. In recent years, the boats renovated with modern amenities have become a popular way to experience the soporific surroundings of Kumarakom. You will enjoy lunch comprising of simple but delicious Keralan dishes on-board the houseboat. 

    After sunset, get down at Kumarakom boat jetty and transfer to hotel. 

    Overnight at hotel in KUMARAKOM


    Kumarakom to Cochin


    After breakfast in the morning you will drive to Cochin (Driving time: 1.5 hours; Distance: 50km). 

    Kochi is the ideal starting point to know more about Kerala’s unique global exchange, both economic and cultural that goes back to two millennia. Whist the Camel Caravans on the Silk Route plodded through the Thar Desert in India’s distant Northwest corner braving extreme conditions; in the Southern part of India, the sea traders on the Spice Routes reached Kerala facing treacherous sea voyages looking for black pepper. It was an import so prized and such was its prominence as a luxury commodity that in 410 CE when the Huns lay siege of Rome, 3000 pounds of black pepper was demanded as ransom. Just like Jaisalmer, Afghanistan, Iran, Egypt and Turkey along the Silk Route, several ports and trade centres emerged worldwide along the Spice Routes including Muzuris, Fort Kochi, Mattancherry and Kozhikode in Kerala. 

    Post your arrival, welcome and check-in at the hotel. In the afternoon you are free to explore the fort area on your own. 

    In the evening take the opportunity to learn about the Anglo-Indian cuisine of Kerala, and the traditional cooking methods with a local family in fort area. Anglo Indian cuisine embraced everything that was Indian and mixed it with all that was European. 

    Overnight at hotel in COCHIN




    In the morning proceed to visit the 16th century Mattancherry Palace or the Dutch Palace (closed on Fridays) which was built by the Portuguese with stunning murals of Hindu deities and a temple inside its premises as a gift for the King of Kochi. The Dutch later renovated it. Later you will proceed to visit the 16th century Jewish Synagogue (closed on Fridays & Saturdays) located in the heart of Mattancherry to listen to the stories of Kerala as the ancient mother of exiles. 

    CHINESE FISHING NETS: After the tour you can spend some time at the Chinese fishing nets, which make for stunning photographs during sunset. Historians believe that Admiral Zheng Hee of the Imperial Ming Navy introduced the Chinese fishing nets to Kerala. Not many know that Admiral Zheng’s fleet of 60 ships and 20,000 men landed in Kozhikode in the beginning of the 15th century, almost 100 years before the Portuguese explorer Vasco-da-Gama did and changed the course of maritime history and trade. 

    The next stop is St. Francis Church (closed on Sundays) where Vasco da Gama was originally buried followed by the Santa Cruz Basilica. Both these churches built two years apart by the Portuguese in the beginning of the 16th century has witnessed several European invasions; first by the Dutch in the later part of the 17th century who dislodged the Portuguese and then the British who drove out the Dutch from Fort Kochi towards the end of the 18th century. 

    Later in the evening, enjoy a Kathakali dance performance. In this 300-year-old classical dance tradition, scenes from Indian epics are re-enacted in the most dramatic way with brilliant costumes and a mask like face-do. It is said that an accomplished Kathakali dancers can move their eyeballs in 17 different ways, their eyebrows in 8 different ways.

    Overnight at hotel in COCHIN


    Cochin Depart


    In the morning, after a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, you will complete your check-out formalities. Later you will be dropped at the international airport for your flight back home.

    Pick Up / Drop Off / Meet Point

    Pick up - Chennai International Airport

    Drop off - Cochin International Airport

    What's Included

    - Hotel accommodation for 12 nights on twin sharing basis as per above mentioned hotels or similar

    - Daily breakfast at all the hotels

    - Inter-city overland transportation in air conditioned vehicle as under:

      02 – 03 Pax in Toyota Innova

      04 – 05 Pax in Tempo Traveller 

      06 – 14 pax in Mini Coach                                                    

    Entrance to the monuments (01 visit only) as per the itinerary

    - Services of English speaking local guide during the sightseeing tours

    - Cycle Rickshaw ride in Madurai

    - A guided walk in Periyar national park

    - A guided visit of a spice garden in Periyar

    - Kathakali dance session in Cochin

    - One cooking demo with Indian Family in Cochin

    - Day cruise in Kumarakom in a traditional houseboat

    - Packaged drinking water           

    Not Include

    - International / domestic airfare

    - Passport and Visa fees for India

    - Any gratuities / Any Insurance

    - Any meals or options not mentioned in the itinerary

    - Expense of personal nature like tipping, laundry, telephone/fax calls, alcoholic beverages, camera/video camera

      fee at monuments, medical expenses, airport departure tax etc.


    Guests travelling from the continent of North America to India can avail the E-tourist visa facility.      

    For the complete details, please visit: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html

    Standard Hotel 
    Deluxe Hotel
    ChennaiJP Hotel 
    Taj Club
    Maison Perumal
    Great Trail River View
    KaraikudiChettinad Mansion
    The Bangala
    Heritage Hotel 
    Periyar/ThekkadyAbad Green Forest
    Cardamom County
    KumarakomLake Song
    Coconut Lagoon
    Crown Plaza 

    Booking / Cancellation Policy


    Where a change requested by you to your travel arrangements is permitted and possible, NOTICE of cancellation must be made in writing with 5 working before the cancelation penalty applied. Cancellation fees, if any, will be determined with reference to the date on which notice of cancellation is received by Sita and are expressed as a percentage of the total price paid for the cancelled Tour, product or service


    Cancellation of a tour:        

    Up to 8 passengers                                            

    • Any time after  confirmation                      100% of the airfare + train fare + cost of park safari

    • 60 to 45 days prior to arrival                      25% of the tour cost  

    • 44 to 31 days prior to arrival                      50% of the tour cost              

    • 30 or less days prior to arrival                   100% of the tour cost                                      


    Group of 9 passengers or more                                            

    • Any time after confirmation                      100% of the airfare + train fare + cost of park safari

    • 90 to 45 days prior to arrival                      25% of the tour cost  

    • 44 to 31 days prior to arrival                      50% of the tour cost              

    • 30 or less days prior to arrival                   100% of the tour cost                                      


    **The above terms & conditions only applied to this tour package and supersede our general terms & conditions.

    Other terms & conditions and cancellation policy, please refer to our web site. 

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