The Secrets of Southern India Escorted Tour - India
No single supplements if booked early.
Punt through Kumarakom’s backwaters on a traditional barge.
Sip the freshest brew at a tea plantation in Munnar.
Trek to Munnar’s Top Station for ultimate peak views.
Explore Southern India’s star wildlife sanctuary, Periyar National Park.
Visit the iconic temple town of Madurai.
Arrive Kochi, India
Land in the coastal city of Kochi (or Cochin) where you’ll be chauffeured to your hotel. Your afternoon jaunt starts at Mattancherry Palace, gifted to the King of Kochi in the 16th century, displaying well-preserved Hindu murals. Then visit St Francis Church, India’s first European-built church. In the afternoon, take a boat ride along the harbour, stopping at the Bolgatty Palace, one of India’s oldest Dutch mansions. You’ll see fishermen tending to Chinese nets and lush islands with waterside hamlets. Return to your hotel to get ready for your welcome dinner.
Today, Design your Day® – giving you the freedom to choose the experience that is best suited to you.
This morning, visit Paradesi Synagogue, the oldest active synagogue in the Commonwealth. Peruse Chinese hand-painted tiles, a brass pulpit, and Belgian glass chandeliers. Select Option 1, which occurs prior to the synagogue visit, or Option 2 or 3 which occur afterwards:
Option 1: Bike around Kochi’s diverse landmarks.
Option 2: Visit Kumbalangi and indulge in a spot of crab fishing.
Option 3: Enjoy a kathakali performance
Kochi – Kumarakom
Leave Kochi after breakfast and head towards Kumarakom, a traditional village in Kerala’s backwater paradise. Sitting on the picturesque Vembanad Lake, your hotel is accessible only by boat. Glide through serene water dotted with hyacinths and check into your hotel. You may want to spend the rest of the afternoon unwinding with an Ayurvedic massage or sit out by the lake, cocktail in hand.
Exploring Kerala’s backwaters on a traditional houseboat is a must. The cocoon-like rice barge is one of the region’s most iconic images. Punt along sun-dappled waterways and through corridors of mangroves, coconut palms, and thick paddy fields. From the deck, you might catch glimpses of fishermen hauling their nets and an egret or two perched in the vegetation. You’ll pass sleepy fishing villages with women weaving on the shoreline and children playing in the shallows.
Kumarakom – Periyar
This morning, a driver will take you into the Western Ghats to explore an area of remarkable natural beauty. The Periyar National Park is a sanctuary for wildlife including the Indian elephant and tiger that congregate around the rolling rivers. Spend time exploring miles of tropical forest, huge dams and serene lakes. Then continue to your hotel in the Cardamom Hills where you can stroll around the spice gardens and take a dip in the pool.
Periyar – Munnar
It’s a three-hour drive to the misty mountain town of Munnar, famed for its emerald tea gardens. Sitting at the confluence of three rivers, its forested highlands are home to herds of wild elephant and vivid flora and fauna. You can visit the Tea Museum showcasing the work of British tea planters, before taking a walk through the plantations. Here you’ll see local workers clipping tea bushes and collecting the valuable leaves. There’s time to visit the nearby market before you return to your hotel.
Today, Design your Day® – giving you the freedom to choose the experience that is best suited to you. Select from the following options:
Option 1: Take a jeep ride to the world’s highest tea estate, Kolukkumalai.
Option 2: Take a hike in the Letchmi Hills.
Option 3: Trek to Chokkarmudi.
Option 4: Trek the ridges of the Western Ghats to Top Station.
Munnar – Madurai
Cross over to the temple city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu’s spiritual heart. On the banks of the River Vaigai, it’s one of the oldest cities in the world with over two millennia of complex history. Today the metropolis pulses with worshippers travelling to pray at its temples. Your hotel sits in a quiet spot in the hills where you can unwind and have lunch – Tamil Nadu is renowned for fresh ground masalas. Or take a tuk-tuk to investigate the Dravidian architecture.
Every year, thousands make the pilgrimage to the Meenakshi Temple, celebrating Lord Shiva and the Meenakshi deity. This morning you can explore its dazzling maze of courtyards, grand pillared hallways, and towers of brightly-painted stucco carvings. Take a break in the afternoon, perhaps recuperating in your hotel spa. Return to the temple at dusk for the closing ceremony, a spectacle of idols, musicians, and rituals in procession. From one celebration to another, return to your hotel for a final dinner.
Madurai – Chennai
This morning you’ll be driven to the airport for your flight to Chennai. On arrival, you’ll be taken straight to your hotel. Relax by the pool or you may want to stroll around the city’s Victorian-era buildings. There’s also the Chennai Fish Market and Fort St George, a strategic outpost during the British Empire.
Your chauffeur will drive you to Chennai airport from where you’ll depart.
Reference : A&K