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Welcome to India and the start of your holiday! Arrive Chennai, included transfer to 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. 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.
Spend the morning on a sightseeing tour of Tanjore before a short drive to Trichy. Our city tour includes the enormous Brihadishwara Temple. After your tour enjoy the evening at leisure.
A car and driver is at your disposal today to take you to your places of interest.
Morning drive to Madurai. Arrival and enjoy a sightseeing tour. Highlights include the Sri Meenakshi Temple built in 1560 and the city’s busy bazaars. This evening, you’ll witness a religious ceremony at a local temple.
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, you’ll enjoy the two nights here.
Free time today to relax there is a wonderful bird sanctuary we recommend you to visit nearby in your own time.
This morning, you’ll board a traditional Keralan rice boat for a journey through the backwaters from Kumarakom to 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 Alleppey, 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 will say goodbye with a transfer to the airport in time for your flight home.
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