Tour Itineray

This tour can be adjusted or tailor made to suit your requirements

DAY 01: ARRIVE COCHIN Arrive Cochin late this afternoon. Meeting and assistance upon arrival at the airport and transfer to the hotel for check in. This evening you will be collected from your hotel and taken to the Kathakali Theatre in Cochin. The 17th century art form of Kathakali originated in Kerala, and it is here that you can see this dance come to life. Although traditionally the performances can last throughout the night, the theatre offers visitors a short but authentic performance that gives an insight into this traditional art. It is also possible to arrive early to see how the artists are made up (colourful face paint, costumes and wigs portray traditional characters)

DAY 02: IN COCHIN After breakfast leave the hotel for a full day city tour of Cochin. Today you will have a full day to explore colonial Cochin. In the morning you will be taken to Fort Cochin to visit St Francis’, the oldest Christian Church in India and Jew Town with its myriad of spice and antique shops. Take a tour of both the Synagogue and Mattancherry Palace before lunch. In the afternoon explore around Fort Cochin port and fish market, where you can see the Chinese fishing nets and how the ancient cantilever system is still in use today by the local fishermen

Cochin Sunset Cruise This evening you will be met and taken to your private boat for a sunset cruise around Cochin, including the three islands of Willingdon, Ernakulam and Fort Cochin as well as the surrounding villages and lagoons. The eerie and haunting Chinese fishing nets stand along the shoreline and as the sunsets provide a beautiful silhouette against the ocean beyond Overnight, stay at the hotel.

Jewish Synagogue at Cochin – open 10.00 to 12.00 hrs. and 15.00 to 17.00 hrs (Closed on all Fridays / Saturdays and Jewish holidays.)

Dress code for visitors to the Cochin Synagogue: The Synagogue is the place of worship for the entire Jewish Community of Kerala.  Visitors to the Synagogue should be modestly dressed. Admission will be denied to men and women wearing short pants/skirts, sleeveless shirts/blouses.  Bare shoulders and mid-riffs are not permitted and should be covered with shawls. Cochin – St. Francis Church – the Oldest European Church in India – open from 09.00 to 13.00 hrs. and 14.30 to 17.30 hrs. (The church is closed to visitors on Sundays from 08.00 to 11.00 hrs).

Day 03:  COCHIN ALLEPPEY After breakfast drive to Alleppey to embark houseboat (approx. 1½f hour drive).   Boat cruise in the canal by Bamboo Poles, sail through the lagoon with favourable wind, for a change swim in the water, and enjoy the scenic beauty of colourful villages. During the evening witness the sunset through coconut palms. There is a service area at the back where the cook prepares simple meals using as much fresh provisions that is plucked, caught or bought in the Backwaters. Enjoy your dinner under starry skies.  Sleep and dream with the pleasant roll of Backwaters. Overnight on the Rice Barge

Day 04:  ALLEPPEY – Thottappally- HARIPAD Morning relax on the houseboat, cruising through the narrow canals towards to Thottappally village.  The Backwaters are a network of lakes, coconut shaded canals and estuaries – tiled and thatched cottages bright with hibiscus dot the embankments. Witness local life with children swimming and playing in the water, women attending to their daily chores and men fishing from their canoes.  En-route, you can stop at Nedumudy village to visit the local market.  Proceed to Thottappally Boat jetty and disembark at 0900 hrs to re-join your driver and car.

Later drive to Haripad.  On arrival check in at Coir Village Resort is situated at Thrikunnapuzha, a small island lying along the Backwaters of Alleppey and Kollam – a haven ideal for anyone who wishes to escape from the stress and strain of the day to day life.  Nature finds her ultimate expression in this beautiful lagoon, surrounded by soft whispering lakes and greenery, the natural ingredients for a perfect holiday. Dinner and overnight at the Hotel

Day 05: HARIPAD Enjoy breakfast at the hotel.  The rest day is at leisure.  Overnight, stay at the hotel.

Option: Village walk Surroundings. Dinner and overnight at hotel The village walk is quiet interesting.  Watch village girls picking mussels or laundering clothes or pots on the small ghats in front of every house, while their men folk collect sand from the bottom of the canal.  Watch the village folk make the golden fibre called coir from coconut husk and transform it into various coir products. Rustling coconut groves abound. So stop over to drink calm fresh coconut water and watch the toddy-tapper at work. You can see birds like kingfishers; crow pheasants, cormorants, drogues, wood pecker, Bee-eater, kite etc.

Day 06:  HARIPAD – PERIYAR After breakfast drive to Periyar and upon arrival check into the hotel. Periyar is a game sanctuary spread over 777 sq kms in the Thekkady district. Game & water fowl viewing is best done from a boat. You can spot elephants and bison when they come to the edge for a drink.  Spotted deer and sambar also abound.  Overnight, stay at the hotel.

Day 07:  PERIYAR Periyar is one of the sixteen Project Tiger reserves in India, and one of the most picturesque and beautiful wildlife sanctuaries in the world.  With its waterways, forests and grasslands, it provides a fitting climax to our wildlife tour of southern India. Explore the Reserve by boat and on foot. The boat journeys provide unrivalled opportunities for observing mammals, particularly elephant, at close range.  A longer excursion deep into the forests on foot with local tribal guides will help to make this an intimate and unique experience.

Day 08:  PERIYAR – MUNNAR After breakfast drive to Munnar (approx. 4- 5 hrs drive check into the hotel on arrival. Munnar is a hill station on the Western Ghats.  It has lakes, reservoirs, forests and tea estates.  It is superb tea country and great for hiking and other outdoor activities. Munnar is located at 1600 metres above sea level. The forests are still rich in wildlife but the mountains are now covered in manicured slopes of tea. The little town in the valley is dedicated to growing, harvesting, curing and selling the drink that cheers but does not inebriate. The evening is free to enjoy tea plantation visit around Munnar. Overnight at the hotel

Day 09:  IN MUNNAR The vistas in and around it are breathtaking with the heady aromas of tea coffee and cardamom wafting from the nearby plantation.  Beyond lies Anaimudi and the rich tropical forest of the Anamalai Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu and the Eravikulam National Park in Kerala. The Nilgiri tahr in Eravikulam is among the rare breed of mountain goats in the world. The drives out of Munnar are pretty and visitors can trek down to a stream threaded glen where trout are bred. The green slopes and the dense forests in the folds of the hills offer varied protected habitats for birds. Nilgiri goats, Lion tailed Macaques and other monkeys abound. Tour Munnar by jeep.  Overnight, stay at the hotel.

Day 10:  MUNNAR – ATTUR VILLAGE After breakfast drive to Dindugl Attur Village (165kms-Five Hours).  On arrival check in at the Cardamom House home stay. Cardamom House is an Eco-Farm/Home stay located at Athoor Village near Dindigul in Tamil Nadu. It is located on the banks of a 400 acre lake, surrounded by the hills on all sides and is approachable by a 2 kms dirt road.  Dinner and overnight at the Home stay. Cardamom House is owned and managed by a retired Londoner who after a few trips to India decided to settle in here and after a few visits by his friends has now opened this treasure to other select guests as well.  Cardamom House has a lot of firsts to its credits. It is probably the first of its kind eco-farm. It is a kind of model for rural tourism as it employs local villages and has trained them to work wonders with meals and hospitality.  It attracts and supports responsible tourism that co-exists and thrives in harmony with local population and nature.

Day 11:  ATTUR VILLAGE Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner and overnight at Home stay Cardamom House- has already developed a reputation amongst its numerous regular visitors, for its unusual and tasty cuisine.  It has even been asked to produce a cookbook.  It includes dishes from many parts of the world both Vegetarian as well as Non-Vegetarian.  All ingredients used are completely fresh and purchased once or sometimes twice daily from local markets.

Day 12:ATTUR VILLAGE – MADURAI After breakfast leave Madurai (approx. 5 hr drive) and upon arrival check in at hotel. The ancient city of Madurai, some 2600 years old is laid out in the banks of river Vaigai as a lotus flower with the Meenakshi temple in the centre. This evening you can visit the Meenakshi Temple to attend the evening ceremony known as ‘Bedtime of the God’, where Sundareswarar is carried in a procession to sleep by Meenakshi. He is returned to his own shrine the next morning in another ceremony that few attend as it is so early. A colourful procession, this is worth seeing if you do not mind a late evening as the timing given by the priests are unreliable and you can wait a few hours and may have to have a very late dinner afterwards.  The entire procession takes about 45 minutes. (Open from 0500/1300 hrs and 1600/2230 hrs).  Return to the hotel for overnight stay. Day 13:  IN MADURAI After breakfast proceed for a half day city tour of Madurai. The “Temple City” was the capital of the Pandya kingdom but it was during the reign of the Nayaks (10th to the 18th century) that the magnificent Meenakshi Temple and other buildings were constructed.  Visit the Madurai Temple, believed to have 33 million sculptures. The four corner gopurams are the most striking. The Meenakshi Nayakkar mandapam hall has 110 pillars and a lamp holder with 1,008 lamps which are lit on festive occasions. Visit the Palace of Thirumalai Nayak, the most famous king of the Nayak dynasty. It has a great audience hall, a three-sided pavilion and a courtyard. Some of the original apartments still remain and there is a museum in one of the halls. Yet another Nayakar legacy is the Mariammam Teppakulam, a tank was fed from the waters of the river Vaigai, north of the city. Evening is free for independent activities. Overnight, stay at the hotel.

Day 14:  MADURAI – TANJORE After breakfast drive to Tanjore (approx. 6 hrs drive).  On the way visit Trichy. Visit the ancient temples dedicated to Lord Ganapathi, 434 steps cut out into the rock side and interspersed with shrines, lead to the temple. Visit Srirangam, a massive temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu sprawled on an Island in Cauvery River which contains within its walls a Bazaar (traditional market of India) as well. Gaze up at the twenty-one magnificent towers of the temple surrounded by seven walls. Later continue the drive to Tanjore and upon arrival check into the hotel for overnight.

Day 15:  IN TANJORE After breakfast at the hotel proceed for a sight seeing of the city of Tanjore also known as Thanjavur.  See the beautiful Chola temple of Brihadeeshwara. The temple is capped by a monolithic cupola made of a single granite block weighing 80 tons which was taken to the top with the help of a 6 km long ramp- an old technique used by the Egyptians for building pyramids. You will also visit the Palace and its Art Gallery, which contains several granite and bronze statues of the Chola period. Relax in the evening.  Return to the hotel for overnight stay.

Day 16:  TANJORE – PONDICHERRY After breakfast drive to Pondicherry (approx. 5- 6 hrs drive).  Arrive Pondicherry and check into the hotel. Rest evening is free for independent activities. Overnight, stay at the hotel. Pondicherry is a lovely town that still retains a French flavour.  While in the city you visit the Mansion Anandha Rangapillai. This is a beautiful house built in a curious mix of French and Indian architectural styles

Day 17:  IN PONDICHERRY After breakfast proceed for a half day visit of this French colony. You will take a leisurely tour of Pondicherry old town on foot with your guide. Your heritage walk takes you along the lovely seafront promenade, past the old French villas and churches, to the Muslim quarter where the Arabic architecture is prevalent and finishing your tour in the Hindu quarter where the houses are traditional Tamil design. It is a charming place to explore on foot or bicycle as it is extremely peaceful with a great Franco character and ambience as many French citizens still live in Pondicherry. Evening is free for independent activities. Overnight, stay at the hotel.

Day 18:  PONDICHERRY – MAHABALIPURAM After breakfast drive to Mahabalipuram (approx. 2hrs drive).  Upon arrival, check into the hotel. Mahabalipuram is a beautiful beach resort which consists of a the tiny village by the sea in which all else is dwarfed by a dream world of awesome Tamil art, an open air museum of sculpture in living rock. The piece de resistance is Arjuna’s Penance or the Descent of the Ganga, the world’s largest bas-relief, 764 ft. by 288 ft. (27 m by 9 m). It is a beautiful composition of hundreds of celestial beings, human and animals all hurrying to a natural rock cleft that divides the giant stone. Evening is free to relax on the beach. Overnight, stay at the hotel.

Day 19:  IN MAHABALIPURAM The best known landmark of Mahabalipuram is the Shore Temple which has stood by the sea for 12 centuries.  Its twin spires are pure poetry in granite. The other wonders of Mahabalipuram are the mandapams, each a cave scooped from a hillside of solid rock and ornamented with pillars, sculptured with panels and with rathams (monolithic rock-cut shrines) that have inspired generations of South Indian temple-builders. The five rathams, named after the Pandava brothers, the heroes of the Mahabharata, and their wife Draupadi, are part of an amphitheatre of art. Each temple, though incomplete, remains a gem. Return to the Hotel in Chennai.

Day 20:  IN MAHABALIPURAM After breakfast proceed for a half day excursion to Kanchipuram. Kanchipuram,  One of the Hindu’s seven most sacred cities, ‘the Golden City of a Thousand Temples’ dates from the early 2nd century. There are seventy temples although only a few of these will be visited. The most special temple is the small 8th century sandstone building, with fabulous carvings that indicates how the artisans were influenced by both Asian and Arabic artistic styles at that time. Kanchipuram is also famous for its hand woven silk and it is fascinating to visit a silk factory and see this age old skill first hand. A unique system of weavers makes and sells Kanchi saris which are the richest saris in India. Lunch will be in a Local Restaurant and return to Mahabalipuram. Return to the hotel for overnight stay.

Day 21:  MAHABALIPURAM – CHENNAI After breakfast drive to Chennai (approx. an hour drive).  On arrival, check into the hotel. In the afternoon leave the hotel for a half day city tour of Chennai. Madras – a typical Indian city, its the capital of Tamil Nadu. Though it was the oldest settlement of the British, Madras remained unaffected in spirit.  Only the cathedral and the Fort of St. George are reminders of its British past. Visit the Marina Beach-second longest beach in the world, its an elegant promenade; Fort St. George-the first foothold of British from where Robert Clive started the expansion of British rule. Overnight, stay at the hotel.

Day 22:  DEPART CHENNAI Early this morning transfer to Chennai International Airport (approx. 45 minutes drive) to board flight for onwards destination.

Tour ends

Hotels envisaged or similar – Subject to availability 

City                              Hotel                                                    No. of nights

Cochin                          Casino                                                              02

Alleppey                       Deluxe Houseboat                                     01

Haripad                        Coir Village Resort                                       02

Periyar                         Cardamom County                                       02

Munnar                         CM Lake View                                               02

Attur Village                  Cardamom House – Home Stay         02

Madurai                        Pandiyan                                                        02

Tanjore                         Ideal River View Resort                          02

Pondicherry                  Promenade                                                02

Mahabalipuram             Ideal Beach Resort                                03

Chennai                        The Ambassador                                         01

Total number of nights 21

TOUR COST – All Tours are subject to an Acceptance Payment/Deposit of £200.

Cost per person on twin share basis as per itinerary

 On application for the current Tour Cost

Payment

1. Acceptance Payment £200 (non refundable) by bank transferv or cheque payable to “S W & M Miller”

Your Contract for all tour arrangements is directly with Creative Travel Delhi, India to whom payment for the tour is made.

2. Eight weeks prior to arrival in India (or on Acceptance) – 50% of the cost is payable in US $, by Credit Card or International Bank Transfer, direct to Creative Travel, India.

3. On arrival in India – the remaining 50% is payable, in US $, by Credit Card or Cash.

Cancellation Charges

35 days prior to arrival a cancellation fee of US$200 per person will be applicable. 30 days notice of cancellation a fee of 25% of the total amount will be applicable. 25 days notice of cancellation a fee of 50% of the total amount will be applicable Less than 25 days notice incurs the full amount.

Acceptance Payment non refundable

Included in the Cost 

  • Accommodation on a twin sharing, room and breakfast basis at the hotels specified,
  • Any single room subject to a supplement shown.
  • Alleppey on full board basis (three meals)
  • Periyar on half board basis (breakfast and dinner)
  • All transfers, sightseeing and excursions by air-conditioned car.
  • Services of an English speaking local guide at all places
  • Entrance fees at monuments (except camera fees)
  • Kathakali Dance show and sunset harbour cruise in Cochin
  • Periyar National Park – boat ride with naturalist
  • Spice plantation visit
  • Porterage at airports and hotels (not tips).
  • All currently applicable taxes.
  • Prices quoted in US$ and the UK pounds price shown is based on current exchange rates.

 Excluded from the Cost 

  • Expenses of a personal nature such as table drinks, laundry, telephone calls, Internet charges, mineral water, tips, shopping etc.
  • Any other meals or services not mentioned in the programme.
  • Any international/domestic airfare or any airport taxes.
  • Any Government or State taxes subsequently introduced.
  • Travel Insurance
  • Any Christmas or New Year Dinner