picking Coconuts

Tour Itinerary                                                                                                     
SOUTH INDIAN BEAT

Trip Duration 15 days
Grade – Heritage & Nature Tour
Accommodation: 15 nights hotel stays

From GB£1760 per person – See Below

The Experience

A fascinating journey through India’s tropical south, do experience the diversity in scenery, architecture, culture and most importantly the people.

Tamil Nadu the most leading feature is the prevalence of Hinduism, which has given rise to a unique style of temple architecture found in this state alone. The most magnificent is the great temple in Madurai. This temple is not only a spectacular architectural feat, but still provides the focus for daily life.

Kerala is a tropical bliss with an idyllic coastline and lush tropical hills. Despite its relative riches, the majority of the population in Kerala life continue with agriculture, tea, coffee and spice plantations and the coir industry, which still provides the basic economic structure of the region

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  • Dravidian Temple architecture
  • Auroville visit
  • Heritage walking tours
  • Bicycle city tour with a Storyteller
  • Local Arts and crafts
  • Typical South Indian meals
  • Hills & Plantations
  • Jeep tour in Kulukumalai Tea Estate
  • Jeep Tour in Spice Plantation
  • Trek in the Periyar National Park
  • Lunch in Traditional family with a cooking session
  • Tharavadu Heritage home visit
  • Rural and Fisherman Village walks
  • Country canoe ride in canals
  • Bicycle in the Backwaters
  • Traditional art Form

TOUR ROUTE
PICK UP FROM CHENNAI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT>>>ACHENNAI 1NT>>>BMAHABALIPURAM1NT>>>CPONDICHERRY1NT>>>D TANJORE 1NT>>> E MADURAI 1NT>>>F MUNNAR 2NTS>>> G THEKKADY 1NT>>> H KUMARAKOM 1NT>>> I COCHIN 2NTS>>>DROP COCHIN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

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Day 01 Arrive Chennai
Upon arrival at Chennai International airport, meet and assistance by our office representative, followed by a transfer to your hotel for check-in. After some rest and depending on your arrival time, be introduced to the “Capital of the south” during an orientation tour. Explore the diverse neighbourhoods and sense its role as a keeper of South Indian artistic and religious traditions… Pass though the excellent British-built Government Museum, the Roman style San Thome Basilica and the majestic colonial Fort St George. Finally take a sunset walk along the long stretch of Marina Beach and barge into a cricket game or catch some families evenings gather. Later have a diner with a view seated in one of the costal beach restaurant.

Return back to your hotel for your overnight. (Half-board)

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Day 02 Chennai – Dakshina Chitra –  Mahabalipuram (60 km / 1.5 hrs)

Start your day with an easy guided tour to the impressive Kapaleeshwarar temple, with its rainbow-coloured Gopuram and Pillared Mandapas. Your journey will lead to a character full market. Proceed to Dakshina Chitra, a Cultural Living Museum of Art, Architecture, Lifestyles, Crafts and Performing Arts of South India. After the visit enjoy the Lunch at the Restaurant inside. Later drive to your next stop, the seaside town of Mahabalipuram, Port of the Pallava kings in the 5th to 8th centuries. Along the shore lies a stunning series of temples and sculptures, carved from the living rock 1,200 years ago. Unlike many Hindu temples, the rocks show scenes of everyday life. Check-in your hotel and later go visit with your guide, the magnificent Shore temple, symbolising the heights of Pallava architecture and the maritime ambitions of their kings. Go explore the masterpiece of Mahabalipuram’s Rock cut caves representing the scenes of Hindu myths and finish by the site of the Five Rathas. Each of these temples was named after one of the Pandavas, the five hero-brothers of the epic Mahabharata. Drive back to your hotel, Overnight stay.

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Day 03 Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry (100 km / 2 hrs)

After your breakfast and your check-out, head to Pondicherry.

Pondicherry.  Settled by the French in the 18th century, Pondicherry retains a quiet colonial atmosphere with wide Shady streets lined with colorful stucco houses. An ongoing French presence in the town means that many local dishes are subtly fused With French ingredients and techniques. In morning after your breakfast take a visit to Auroville and understand the unique community living here based on universal harmony. You will be taken through the visitor’s center and a few of the auroville units which innovatively work on paper, textile, bamboo and stones among others. Experience the  Lunch at Solar kitchen – the community Kitchen for the inmates. See the Matri mandir (the meditation centre) from outside.  Drive to Pondicherry and check in at the hotel. Early evening take a stroll through the French boulevard with our Storyteller. Through reminiscence of almost a century old European occupation, walk through the white town (as the French quarters is popularly known as) while our Storyteller relates the history with what you see around.  .Overnight at the hotel.  (Breakfast & Lunch)

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south india tours

Day 04    Pondicherry

 Enjoy a bicycle stroll through the colonial streets of the white town with our Storyteller. Take a hint into the lifestyle shops; wander in the bohemian chic atmosphere of the French quarter. Continue through the Tamil quarter with our Storyteller. Pass by the Tamil quarter and learn the anecdotes of the distinctiveness of Franco-Tamil culture, creating a fusion of diversity in the air of Pondy… go see the Ganesha temple. Return to your hotel. Rest of the day Free to explore Pondichery on your own.     Overnight stay.  (Bed & Breakfast)

Day 05  Pondicherry –  Kumbakonam – Tanjore (180 km / 4.5 hrs)

Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Tanjore, former capital of the mighty Cholas Empire. Enroute  visit the Colony of Silk Weaver at Darasuram and discover the Art of the Saree Weaving, made out from their Traditional Wood Machinery, tracing few generations. Follow to and see its famous Airavatesvara Chola Temple, UNESCO world heritage site. (open from 06.00 A.M.-12.30 & 04 P.M. – 8.00 P.M).   Enjoy a warm lunch at the Paradise Resorts in Kumbakonam. Later drive to Tanjore Continue your visits to the Thanjavur’s Royal Palace, which preserves memories of other powerful dynasties from later centuries. Here, if time permits, explore the Saraswati Mahal Library Museum housing over 30000 Indian and European manuscripts and the Art Gallery. Visit the world Heritage-listed Brigadeswara Temple, build in the 11th century by Raja Raja I (‘King of Kings’). Enter through the Nayak gate, followed by two original Gopurams with some elaborate stucco sculptures. Inside discover several shrines, including one of India’s largest statues of Nandi (Shiva’s sacred bull).Proceed to the hotel and check-in. Indulge in the Resort activities.

(Breakfast+ Lunch)

Keralan food
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Day 06 Tanjore – Chettinad         (100kms/2.5hrs)

Breakfast at the hotel and check-out. See the Art of  Tanjore Veena making and Bronze idols by Stapathis (sculptors) as per the traditional Shilpa Sastras ( Hindu Craft System) prevailed from the Chola period. There are also a collection of New and Old Tanjore paintings worth taking a look at. Later drive through the plains to the unique area of Tamil Nadu known as Chettinadu.  On arrival Check in hotel & Lunch. Early evening drive to village outskirts to see the Ayyanar temple (Horse Temple), a place where rows of grinning and colourful terra cotta horses greet you once you enter the temple complex. Ayyanar is an ancient and regional expression of the Hindu God Shiva. These smiling horses are offerings from villagers – thanksgiving for a prayer fulfilled. Go around the village to see some of the centres making local snack called murukku. Later visit a tile factory at Athangudi. Athangudi tiles are basically cement tiles like a mosaic, but unlike the machine pressed and produced mosaics, they are handmade over glass surfaces. It is the play of base colours with typical conventional flora and line-drawing designs that sets them apart from the modern versions in the market.

Chettinad cuisine is perhaps the most renowned fare in the Tamil Nadu repertoire. It uses a Variety of spices and the dishes are made with fresh ground spices ”Masalas” like star aniseed, lichen, tamarind, chillies, fennel, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf, peppercorn, cumin and fenugreek. Chettinad cuisine offers a variety of vegetarian and nonvegetarian dishes. Chettiars also use a variety of sun dried meats and salted vegetables, reflecting the dry environment of the region. Most of the dishes are eaten with rice and rice-based accompaniments. On your Return Participate in a cooking Demo learning the intricacies of Chettinadu Cuisine followed by Dinner. Overnight. (Breakfast and Dinner)

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Day 07:   Chettinad-Madurai (100kms/2hrs)

Breakfast at the hotel.  Later Drive South to another vibrant city of Tamil Nadu, Madurai. On arrival check in at your Hotel. Later the day proceed on a Guided Tour and go deep into the real life of this Tamil rooted oldest city. Walk in the narrow streets flanked by flowers and bananas stands, interact with local people, watch people milking cows by hand and stroll down in the bazaars. Learn with your guide the 5000 years old legends of this busting city while having a south Indian Filter cofffee from the corner tea stall. Transfer by auto-rickshaw to a Roof top Dinner with views to the Gopurams of the Meenakshi temple. Later attend the Night Ceremony at the Temple when the temple bronze of Lord Shiva is carried to the bed chamber of Parvati. Return to your hotel by auto-rickshaw. Overnight stay.         (Breakfast & Dinner)

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Elephants in Periya National Park

Day 08:     Madurai – Munnar (185 Km / 6 hrs)

Breakfast at the hotel. Check out and leave for Munnar. Stop at the Nearby Tirumalai Nayak Palace, built in 1636 by King Thirumalai Nayak, in Indo-Saracenic style with the input of an Italian architect. Then on route enjoy the unique opportunity to make a Stop at the Madurai’s flower market, which is one of the Biggest in the southern region, and transacts as much as 10 tonnes of flowers in a day, mainly the renowned Madurai Malli and other flowers like marigolds, tuberoses and roses. On to Munnar, South India’s largest tea-growing region – en route stops for Refreshments and Lunch (Payable Locally). Passing through the rolling hills and sculpted tea gardens arrive at your next accommodation. Overnight stay. (Bed & Breakfast)

Day 09 Munnar

Early start by 7 am. proceed by jeep to the trek point. go on a Half-day trekking passing through the rolling hills and sculpted Tea gardens of Munnar (Easy trek/duration 4 hrs). Gradual trek and hike through the tea plantations. View from top of the hill is spectacular. Trek duration is around 4 hrs. (medium pace-) Savor the Picnic Hamper. Later visit the Tea factory at Lock Hard estate and enjoy the tea tasting. You will be transferred by Jeep back to the hotel. Early Evening head to Srishti TATA project for a visit. This project is a venture of Tata Global Beverages for the rehabilitation of the differently abled. Enjoy some shopping time in this community centre and get some Strawberry jam (handmade), handmade paper or clothing naturally dyed on site. Also, visit Tea Museum which explains the history of Tea in Munnar – a good opportunity to get authentic tea dust and related products. Overnight stay at your hotel. (Bed & Breakfast)

 

Day 10 Munnar – Thekkady (100 km / 3.5 hrs)

After your breakfast check-out and take a beautiful drive to Thekkady, down to the green mountains of the Nilgiris, rubber, coffee and cardamom plantations will follow. On arrival at Thekkady, take on a Spice Plantation Tour into the tropical fields of the Cardamom Hill reserve where you can touch, smell and taste almost all the spices seen worldwide. Enjoy your Plantation Meal. Check-in at your Hotel. Rest of the day Free, Overnight stay.  

Houseboat in Kerala
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Day 11 Thekaddy – Kumarakom (130 km / 4 hrs)

 

This early morning proceed on a Jungle walk to the  Periyar National Park. Enjoy the refreshing air, possibilities to see wildlife, excellent flora and Birds. Back at the hotel, Breakfast, check-out and drive down hill to Kumarakom. En route stop at the homestay Madukakunnu Bungalow to experience a typical Syrian Christian lunch, On arrival meet with the hostess who will take you around the Spice and Rubber plantations in the premises, followed by Lunch. This ancestral home was built around 400 years back and is located in the midst of a lush green estate. Continue your tropical journey towards Kumarakom, a backwaters village located on the shore of vast Vembanad Lake – Kerala’s largest lake. This town slumbers on the banks of the famous Vembanad Lake, with its majestic canals, streams and distributaries along its banks, weave an intricate and enchantingly beautiful web. The bird sanctuary close by is an ornithologist’s paradise and a favourite haunt of migratory birds.  Check-in at your hotel. Rest of the free to familiarise with the Resort and its activities. Village Walks, Country Canoe ride, sunset cruise or a rejuvenating Ayurveda Massage (Payable Locally), to name a few. Overnight stay.

(Breakfast & Lunch)

Kochi Chinese Fishing Nets
Kathakali Dancer, Kerala

Day 12 Kumarakom 

Breakfast at the hotel. This morning go into:Ayamanam Village”, home of Arundhathi Roy’s novel ‘The God of Small Things’. Start your local immersion with a ride on a traditional canoe cruise through the narrow, winding canals and catch the scenic daily life of the bordering houses. Follow with a walk in the heart of this typical Kuttanad village surrounded by paddy fields and identify the snakes abodes, sacred to earliest habitants. Be invited in a Kathakali master house who will introduce you to this traditional theatre form, which adapts styles of ancient Sanskrit with visual presentations of human expressions. Back to hotel, rest of the day is free for independent activities.  Overnight at Hotel.  (Bed and Breakfast)

Day 13 Kumarakom – Alleppey houseboat  (45 Km / 1 hrs)

Breakfast at the hotel. By Mid day drive to Alleppey to board your Private Houseboat for an enchanting cruise through the Backwaters. These boats are a reworked version of kettuvallams of olden times -once used to carry tons of rice and spices, today are converted into comfortable floating accommodation. Cruise through the palm-fringed canals enjoying the beauty of rural village life. A sumptuous Keralan Meal is served on board. The trip continues through a wonderful area of the lush green vegetation of Kerala backwaters. Tea and Local snacks are served. Dinner and Overnight stay on Board (Full Board)

Day 14: Alleppey – Cochin           (75Kms/1.5Hrs)

Breakfast. Check-out and drive to Cochin , On arrival you will experience the real local life of Cochin during an Ethnic tour –Continue through the small streets of Mattanchery,  and Visit Dutch Palace – well known for its Murals and the Jewish Synagogue Known for its’ unique Tiles and Chandeliers. Stroll through the Jew town, where exotic odours of the finest ginger, cloves, cardamom, turmeric and pepper emanate from the spice warehouses lining the street. Now is the opportunity meet with a Brahmin family who is the highest of the four Hindu castes, made up of priests and scholars of Vedic literature and their traditional occupation is to concern themselves with the spiritual guidance of the people, conduct rites at marriages, births, deaths and other auspicious occasions. See the Art of KOLAM which each family does on daily basis in their front yard. Walk through the Fruit market on Palace road where locals get a variety of fresh and organic produces at bargains prices. Make a pause and have one “meter tea” at one of the tea stall.  .. Take a tuk tuk – the most popular mode of transport among the localities, go along with your local tour and stop at the Dhobi Khana (laundry station), once throbbing with activity, it is now a picture of slow extinction.. Arrive Fortkochi and check in at the hotel. Later the day start your walking tour with the finest Santa Cruz Basilica, Walk down to St.Francis CSI Church, the oldest European church in India built in 1503, where the Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama was originally buried. The tour ends with the famous Chinese Fishing Nets of Cochin. The huge cantilevered Chinese fishing nets that droop towards the waters like over-sized hammocks have become a hallmark that represents Fort Kochi on every postcard. Check-in to your hotel and rest of the day free for independent activities.      Overnight stay

Day 15:  Departure Cochin    (45Kms/1/12 Hrs)

Time to bid goodbye. After breakfast transfer to the Cochin International airport to connect your flight back home.

PLACE

NO. OF NIGHTS

PREMIUM

CHENNAI

1

Park Hyatt

MAHABALIPURAM

1

Chariot Beach Resort

PONDICHERRY

2

CGH Palai de Mahe

TANJORE

1

Svatma

CHETTINADU

MADURAI

1

1

CGH Visalam

Taj Gateway  Pasumalai

MUNNAR

2

Windermere

THEKKADY

1

CGH Spice Village

KUMARAKOM

ALLEPEY

1

1

       CGH Coconut Lagoon

       Marvel Cruises

COCHIN

2

CGH Brunton Boatyard

 

PLACE

NO. OF NIGHTS

DELUXE HOTELS

CHENNAI

1

Raintree Hotel St Mary’s road

MAHABALIPURAM

1

Ideal Beach Resort

PONDICHERRY

2

Promenade

TANJORE

1

Ideal River View

CHETTINADU

MADURAI

1

1

Taj Gateway Pasumalai

Bangala

MUNNAR

2

Blackberry Hills

THEKKADY

1

Greenwoods

KUMARAKOM

ALLEPPEY

2

1

Backwater Ripples

Marvel Cruises

COCHIN

2

CGH Eighth Bastion

DATES FOR GROUP FIXED DEPARTURES

    • TourDates 2018
      SIB1:JAN18:CPS12th-26th January
      SIB2:FEB18:CPS3rd – 17th February
      SIB3:MAR18:CPS17th – 31st March
      SIB4:APR18:CPS3rd – 17th April
      SIB5:AUG18:CPS4th – 18th August
      SIB6:SEP18:CPS4th – 18th September
      SIB7:OCT18:CPS4th – 18th October
      SIB8:NOV18:CPS3rd – 17th November
      SIB9:DEC18:CPS1st – 15th December

Group Fixed departure cost :
STANDARD HOTELS – GB£1760 per person (based on 2 persons travelling together)
Single supplement: + £855 per person

SUPERIOR HOTELS – GB£2235 per person (based on 2 persons travelling together) 
Single supplement + £1440 per person

Departure guaranteed from 2 travellers
Validity : to December 2018

Please note: Supplements apply for the period between 19/12/2018 to 10/01/2018 and February 2018 .

Payment
1. On acceptance – £200 per person, Deposit (non-refundable) payable to “S W & M Miller” by International Bank Transfer to UK Bank Account.

Your Contract for all tour arrangements is directly with our Partner Company Marvel tours, Cochin, India to whom payment for the tour is made.

Payment for flights included in the itinerary may be required at the time of flight confirmations.

Any bank charges levied by the sending bank relating to transfers to our Partner Company or Complete India & Asia must be paid by the Client and added to the amount to be transferred.

2. The balance  is payable by International Bank transfer, in GB£, direct to Marvel Tours 4 weeks BEFORE ARRIVAL

WE RECOMMEND: Payment via our Currency Payment transfer system which gives a commercial rate and NO bank charges apply –Please ask.

Cancellation Charges
Before 60 Days: Full Refund.
60 – 46 Days: 25% of the Tour Cost.
45 – 31 Days: 50% of the Tour Cost.
30 – 16 Days: 75% of the Tour Cost.
15 days to Day of Departure: 100 % of the Tour Cost or No Refund.
Flight cancellation is not included in these charges
Acceptance Payment non refundable

SPECIAL NOTE:
• Check in / check out time at the Hotels is 1200 Noon except few hotels / cities.
• For International flight check-in time is 03 hours before the departure time.
• For Domestic flight check-in time is 01 hour before the departure time.
• Flight schedule and air fare quoted is subject to change as per the airlines notice from time to time.
• Prices are subject to change with any increase in the cost.
• Any additional expense incurred due to a change in the Government of India and Reserve Bank of India regulations pertaining to taxes, fuel hikes, air-fares and transport and any force majeure situation due to political conditions, we reserve the right to change the cost.
• In case of any increase in the accommodation cost and other services by the service providers will be applicable and levied on the above advised cost.
• Any increase in rate of exchange leading to an increase in surface transportation and land arrangements, which may come into effect prior to departure.
• Please be advised that we have not blocked any accommodation for this tour at the time of quotation. Once we receive your acceptance of the same will proceed ahead with the bookings. In case of non-availability of original Hotels as envisaged will book alternate Hotels of similar standard.

TOUR PACKAGE INCLUDES :

  • Accommodation on twin sharing basis at all hotels mentioned hotels.
  • Breakfast at all Places and Meals as mentioned in itinerary
  • Transportation as per itinerary by chauffeur driven air conditioned Vehicle.
  • Services of Marvel Tour escort for the tour., (applicable from 4 persons onwards)
  • Local English Speaking Guides at places for the sightseeing as per itinerary
  • Entrance charges at the monuments as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Orientation tour of Chennai
  • Visit of Auroville with an Aurovillain
  • Pondicherry walking tour with a Storyteller
  • Visit to Bronze making center, Painting and Veena making centers in Tanjore
  • Flower market visit in Madurai
  • Evening ceremony in Meenakshi temple in Madurai by Auto-rickshaw
  • Medium paced Plantation Trek at Munnar
  • Lockhart Tea Factory visit at Munnar and tea tasting
  • Spice plantation tour & Lunch at Thekkady
  • Jungle walk in the National Park
  • Plantation lunch at Estate Bungalow
  • Musings of Ayamanam village
  • Backwater Experience on Houseboat(Overnight)
  • Ethnic tour of Fort Kochi by walk and Auto-rickshaw ride
  • Assistance on arrival and departure
  • All currently applicable taxes
  • Where US$ are quoted the UK pounds price shown is for comparison only and is subject to change

 

TOUR PACKAGE DOES NOT INCLUDE:

  • Camera fees & activity charges other than those listed in the itinerary inclusions
  • Expenses of personal nature such as porterage, laundry, telephones, tipping etc.
  • International/Domestic flight charges and Visa/Insurance charges, if any
  • No tipping is included.
  • Any other meals or services not mentioned in the itinerary or ‘includes’ list.
  • Any international airfares to India and Asia
  • Domestic economy airfares, indicated in the itinerary, are subject to change.
  • Any airport taxes where applicable in each country
  • Any subsequent increase in airfares, fuel costs, monuments/sightseeing fees.
  • Any other taxes subsequently introduced by Government, State or Tourist Ministry.
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visa Fees, if applicable, in any country
  • Any Christmas, New Year and Gala dinners