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Once you arrive into Chennai you will be met and transferred to your hotel. An afternoon tour of the city includes a vist to St George Fort, built in 1653 and St Mary’s Church, the oldest British church in India.
En route to Pondicherry visit Kanchipuram, one of sacred cities in India and the seaside town of Mahabalipuram, famous for its shore temple. The city is also famous for handwoven silk. In Mahabalipuram, the huge rock-cut sculptures and mandapams (pillared pavilions) date from the 5th to 8th centuries. Drive south to Pondicherry, a former French colony which exudes a Mediterranean aura - whitewashed residences, ornamental gardens and excellent French-Indian restaurants.
Start the day with a sightseeing tour of Pondicherry which includes the enormous Brihadishwara Temple before continuing south. Arrive at Tanjore, also known as Thanjavur, Tanjore is an ancient fortified town, with a glorious history dating back more than 1500 years. Thanjavur was the ancient capital of the Chola kings whose origins date back to the beginning of Christianity. Overnight Star Palace Hotel.
Spend the morning on a sightseeing tour of Tanjore before a short drive to Trichy. Our city tour includes the enormous Brihadishwara Temple. Built by Raja Raja in 1010, the World Heritage protected temple has a dome weighing an estimated 80 tonnes which was hauled into place along an earth ramp in a manner similar to that used for the Egyptian pyramids. Trichy has been ravaged by war through the centuries. A lasting legacy is the Rock Fort and its temples.
Take a morning sightseeing tour of Trichy before the journey continues south to Madurai. An important centre for worship and commerce, Madurai has been around since the dawn of civilisation in southern India. A bustling city jam-packed with rickshawallas, pilgrims and traders and resembling a seemingly continuous bazaar crammed to the gunnels with shops, markets and lodgings for tourists and pilgrims, Madurai is yours this afternoon for free time to explore. Go immerse yourself. This evening, you’ll witness a religious ceremony at a local temple your guide will take you there.
Enjoy a sightseeing tour. Highlights include the Sri Meenakshi Temple built in 1560 and the city’s busy bazaars. The afternoon is then free for you to further explore the city.
The journey continues to Periyar which has south India’s most popular wildlife sanctuary and home to sambar wild boar, elephant, bison, antelope, langur and a small tiger population. Kumily, close to the sanctuary and where you’ll stay, is a pretty town dotted with small spice and handicraft shops.
There is plenty to do in and around Periyar. Perhaps enjoy a boat ride on Lake Periyar to spot herds of wild elephants or visit the nearby tea estates and spice plantation. Afternoon at leisure.
Continue to Kumarakom. Perched sleepily amongst a tangle of lush tropical waterways known as the Keralan backwaters, Kumarakom is technically an island on Lake Vembanad. An ideal place to relax and be at one with natural surroundings
Enjoy a day to relax -- why not visit the nearby wonderful bird sanctuary.
This morning, you’ll board a traditional Keralan rice boat for a journey through the backwaters in and around Allapuzha (Alleppey). The boat will cross shallow, palm-fringed lakes and cruise along peaceful canals where copra and cashews are loaded onto local boats. The on-board cook will prepare locally-inspired food. Relax, read and catch some sun as the boat plies it’s route.
Disembarking at Allapuzha, enjoy a short drive to Kochi (Cochin). The city of Kochi perfectly reflects the eclecticism of Kerala. One can see winding streets with mosques, a 16th century Jewish synagogue and Jewish community with ancient roots and 500 year old Portuguese cottages! Enjoy the remains of the day your way.
This morning enjoy a sightseeing tour, including a walking tour of Fort Cochin. With the afternoon at leisure, perhaps watch famous Keralan dancers perform. Arrive early so you don’t miss the artists applying their awesome make-up.
We say goodbye today with a transfer to the airport for your flight home. For William and Louise Small there is a train booked today - Kanya Kuymari Express - (Depart Kochi at 1010 Hrs and arrived Varkala at 1410 Hrs in second class Air Condition Carriage).
A flamboyant showcase of Rajasthani architecture and a firm favourite on tourist itineraries as the third corner of India’s ‘Golden ...