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15 Days South India Backwaters Tour Packages

15 Days South India Backwaters Tour Packages


Itinerary Summary

Cultural South India Tour with Backwaters present the richness of temple and other architecture, the sublimity of expressions in South Indian dance performances, and ecotourism at its best at Kerala's emerald backwaters. National Geographic Traveler Magazine rightly mentions Kerala in its lists of '10 Paradises of the World' and '50 Places of Lifetime'. Beckoning beaches, classy canals, bewitching backwaters, and lovely lagoons of Kerala are all extremely fascinating.

The rock-cut monolithic Dravidian architecture of the famous temples of Mahabalipuram, Carnatic music, Bharatnatyam dance performances, and Tanjore paintings offer just a few glimpses of highly evolved arts scene of Tamil Nadu. The tour also covers Trichy once considered to be the seat of Tamil literature with Rock Fort and several temples of historic importance as its highlight, the Meenakshi Temple of Madurai, Vembanad Lake of Kumarakom - largest backwater destination in Kerala, Allepey - the rice bowl of Kerala, and Periyar National Park. An ideal tour for those who want to relish the delights of the peninsular India that is quite different from its northern relative, the Cultural South India Tour with Backwaters transports you to the time when India was at the zenith of its glory.

  • Day 1:

    Cochin Arrival

    Explore India Representative will meet and assist you upon your arrival at the Cochin airport. Transfer to your hotel. Check in at hotel in Cochin.

    The eventful history of this city began when a major flood in AD 1341 threw open the estuary at Kochi, till then a land locked region, turning it into one of the finest natural harbors in the world. Kochi thus became a haven for seafaring visitors from all over the world and became the first European town-ship in India when the Portuguese settled here in the 15th century.

    The Dutch wrested Fort Kochi from the Portuguese in AD 1663 and later in the last phase of the colonial saga, the British took over, the town in 1795. During 1660's, Fort Kochi peaked in stature as a prime commercial centre and its fame spread far and wide - variously as a rich trade centre, a major military base, a vibrant cultural hub, a great ship building centre, a centre for Christianity and so on. Today, centuries later, the city is home to nearly thirteen communities.

    In the evening proceed for KATHAKALI DANCE PRESENTATION. Over night stay at hotel.

  • Day 2:

    Cochin

    Breakfast will be at hotel.

    Proceed for a sightseeing tour of the city.

    Visit the following:

    Old Cochin area - this is one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world. The Jewish community traces its history to nearly 2000 years ago. In 1948 the community numbered 2500 and today there are fewer that 30 people. The community is still centered round JEWTOWN where you will visit its crown Jewel, the Paradesi Synagogue. Built in 1568 and reconstructed after a Portuguese bombardment in 1662, the synagogue is distinguished by its tile roof and bell tower. The small synagogue is also known for its hand-painted, willow-patterned, blue and white Chinese floor tiles, and the many brass and crystal lamps that hang from the ceiling. Later visit the interesting International Pepper Exchange, also located in Jewtown.

    Chinese fishing nets - The Chinese fishing nets erected on teak wood and bamboo poles work on the principle of balance. Records say they were first set up here between AD 1350 and 1450. Vasco Da Gama Square, the narrow promenade that parallels the beach, is the best place to watch the nets being lowered and pulled out of the sea. Learn the operation of the interesting Chinese fishing nets erected on teak wood and bamboo poles which work on the principle of balance.

    The other important places are the Vasco Da Gama Square, Santa Cruz Basilica, St. Francis Church, VOC Gate, Bastion Bungalow, Mattancherry Palace, etc. Records say they were first set up here between AD 1350 and 1450.

    In the early evening proceed for a private harbor cruise. Enjoy watching the dolphins, the fishing island and the Bolghatty Palace. Cruise till the mouth of the sea and enjoy the sunset.

    Return to the hotel and enjoy a seafood dinner. Overnight will be at Cochin.

  • Day 3:

    Cochin- Alleppey

    (85 km in 2 hr)

    Enjoy the breakfast at the hotel and proceed to Alleppey by road.

    Alappuzha is famous for its boat races, houseboats, coir products, fish and lakes. Alappuzha remains prominent on the tourist trial of Kerala as one of the major centers for backwater boat trips. "Kuttanad" in Alappuzha is one of few places in the world where farming is done below sea level. Kuttanad is a land of lush paddy fields and is called the 'Rice Bowl' of Kerala. Kuttanad stretches for 75 Km sandwiched between the sea and the hills.

    Arrive and check into the house boat.

    Overnight will be on board.

  • Day 4:

    Enjoy breakfast in the houseboat.

    The village of Kumarakom is a cluster of little islands on the Vembanad Lake, and this small water world is part of the Kuttanad region. The bird sanctuary here, which is spread across 14 acres, is a favorite haunt of migratory birds and an ornithologist's paradise. Egrets, darters, herons, teal, waterfowl, cuckoo, wild duck and migratory birds like the Siberian stork that live there in flocks are a fascination for visitors. This is an unbelievably beautiful paradise of mangrove forests, emerald green paddy fields and coconut groves interspersed with enchanting waterways and canals adorned with while lilies.

    Visit the Bird Sanctuary ,

    Bird SanctuaryLocated on the banks of the Vembanad Lake, the bird sanctuary is spread across 14 acres. The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary, an ornithologist's paradise
    is a favorite haunt of migratory birds like the siberian stork, egret,
    The rest of the day is at your leisure.

    Overnight will be at Kumarokom.

  • Day 5:

    Kumarakom - Munnar

    (160 km in 4 hr)

    In the morning drive to Munnar after the breakfast at the hotel. Reach and check into the hotel.

    Your eyes will have little time to rest while in Munnar. Everywhere you look there is another natural wonder to behold. The luscious greens of the dense mountain foliage provide the perfect backdrop for the endless wonders that can be seen in the area. Waterfalls, local plantations and European architecture provide a textured sightseeing wonderland like few others.

    Overnight stay will be at Munnar.

  • Day 6:

    Munnar

    In the morning after the breakfast proceed for the sightseeing of the city.

    Christ Church
    This curiously Western-looking building was built in 1910 by the British settlers in Munnar. The stained-glass windows are among the most interesting features, while plaques standing in memory of British tea planters offer an insight into the history of the town.

    Devikulam
    This is arguably one of the most picturesque spots in the world. This tiny hill station located only 7kms from Munnar is a paradise of flora and fauna, with spanning views of the picture perfect countryside. The crystal mineral waters of Sita Devi Lake, teeming with freshwater trout, provide the perfect spot for an idyllic countryside picnic.

    Kundale Tea Plantation
    A fascinating insight into the production of one of the world's most popular drinks can be discovered at the Kundale Tea Plantation. Watch and learn the process of how tea is made starting from the plant you see covering the landscape all the way to the tea cup. Sundays the local planters gather together, making it an ideal time to visit. The lake located on the plantation is the perfect spot for an afternoon picnic and calming rest.

    Neelakurunji flowers
    No special tour will need to be taken to see this Munnar attraction. But if you are planning a trip solely to view the spectacular blue blooms, which cover the entire mountainside, you will have to wait until 2018 as the neelakurunju only blooms every 12 years.

    Pothamedu
    This is the location from where a number of the area's plantations can be viewed from a single point. Coffee plantations, tea plants and cardamom fields are all here to behold. Trekking and hiking are also popular activities in the area, and with the surrounding views it is little wonder why.

    Overnight stay will be at Munnar.

  • Day 7:

    Munnar - Vandenmedu

    (180 km in 4 hr)

    In the morning after the breakfast at the hotel drive to Vandenmedu. Reach and check into the hotel.

    The Vandanmedu region is situated at a distance of about 25 km from Kumily. It is one of the world's largest auction centers for cardamom. A tour of the town would take you amidst the sprawling cardamom plantations, which is an exciting experience.
    The scenic beauty, the foliage and the blissful serenity of Vandanmedu take you more close to nature. Vandanmedu with its abundant supply of fruits and spices inspire your taste buds. Hotels in Vandanmedu provide with the best accommodations, keeping the natural beauty intact. The rooms at the hotels are luxuriously furnished with all modern amenities and include a swimming pool set against the backdrop of nature.
    Overnight stay will be at Vandenmedu.

  • Day 8:

    Vandenmedu

    Enjoy the breakfast at the hotel and proceed for the visit to the cardamom plantation.

    A walk through the sprawling cardamom plantations of Vandanmedu is a heady experience.

    Evening would be free for leisure.

    Overnight stay will be at Vandenmedu.

  • Day 9:

    Vandenmedu- Periyar

    (25 km in 1 hr)

    In the morning drive to Periyar after the breakfast. Reach and check into the hotel.

    The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is spread across 777 sq km, of which 360 sq km is thick evergreen forest. The Periyar Wild Life Sanctuary was declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978. Noted for its geomorphology, diversity of wildlife and scenic beauty, the Reserve attracts visitors all over the world and is one of the world's most fascinating natural wildlife reserves.

    The pride of Kerala and a testimony to nature's splendor and human innovation, the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is situated on the banks of the Periyar Lake - an artificial lake, at Thekkady. Here the high ranges of the Western Ghats are clothed in dense evergreen, moist deciduous forests and savannah grass lands. Below this thick green canopy roam herds of elephants, sambars, tigers, gaurs, lion tailed macaques and Nilgiri langurs.

    In addition to elephant rides, cruises on the lake and treks to the ruined Mangala Devi temple - a beautiful old stone temple situated in the heart of the Thekkady forest, this sanctuary offers the unique opportunity to watch and photograph wild elephants at close quarters.

    The splendid artificial lake formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam across the Periyar River adds to the charm of the park. This is the only sanctuary in India where you can have the unique experience of viewing wildlife at close quarters from the safety of a boat on the lake. The greatest attraction of Periyar, however are the herds of wild elephants that come down to the play in the lake.

    Proceed for enjoying a boat cruise in Periyar Lake with lunch break. The most enjoyable part of seeing the wildlife is going around the lake in a boat. From the safety of a boat you can witness herds of wild elephants coming down to water and swim. The other prominent fauna to be seen are Tiger, Sambar, Barking deer, Mouse deer, Nilgiri Tahr, Wild Pigs, Wild dogs, Porcupine, Lion-tailed macaque, Malabar Squirrel, Flying Squirrel, Sloth Bear, Gaur and Black Langur (Monkey). Tigers and Leopards seldom come to the lakeside by day.

    Overnight stay will be at the hotel.

  • Day 10:

    Periyar - Madurai

    (136 km in 4 hr)

    Enjoy the breakfast at the hotel and proceed to Madurai by road.

    One of South India's great temple towns, Madurai is synonymous with the celebrated Meenakshi Temple. Situated on the banks of river Vaigai, Madurai has a rich cultural heritage passed on from the great Tamil era more than 2500 years old. Madurai was an important cultural and commercial centre even as early as 550 AD. Madurai was the Capital city for the great Pandyas kings. Tamil & Greek documents record the existence of Madurai from the 4th Century BC. The city was known to the Greeks through Magathenes who was their ambassador to the court of Chandraguptha Mauriya. This city was popular in trade especially in spices. It was also the site the Sangam the academy of the Tamil Poets. And Madurai is the centre of all the cities and Madurai is famous for the cotton Sungudi Saris.

    Madurai's Main attraction is the Famous Sri Meenakshi Amman temple a riotously baroque example of Dravidian architecture with Gopurams carved from top to bottom in a breathtaking profusion of multicolored images of Gods. Sri Meenakshi Amman temple dates back to 2000 Years back and designed in 1560 by Vishwanatha Nayaka and built during the reign of Tirumalai Nayaka. The Temple occupies an area of six hectares. There are 12 temple towers (Gopurams). The outer towers are the landmarks of Madurai. The enormous temple complex is dedicated to Shiva, known here as Sundareshvara and his consort Parvati or Meenakshi. Kulasekara Pandyas, but the entire credit built the original temple for making the temple as splendid as it is today goes to the Nayaks. The Nayaks ruled Madurai from the 16th to the 18th century and left a majestic imprint of their rule in the Meenakshi - Sundareswarar Temple. The temple complex is within a high-walled enclosure, at the core of which is the two sanctums for Meenakshi and Sundareswarar, surrounded by a number of smaller shrines and grand pillared halls. The impressive GOPURAMS (towers) rise from solid granite bases, and are covered with stucco figures of deities, mythical animals and monsters painted in vivid colors.

    Enjoy the sightseeing of the temple town.

    Overnight stay will be at Madurai.

  • Day 11:

    Madurai - Trichy

    (54 km in 2hr)

    Trichy - Tanjore:
    By road 133 km in 4 hr

    After breakfast leave for Trichy, short name of Trichurapalli, situated on the banks of Kaveri River is a blend of history and tradition as well as pilgrim centre. It is famous for Ranganath temple at Srirangam.

    After lunch at local restaurant, drive to Thanjavur enroute visiting the Brass factory at Kumbakonam. Tanjore once the capital of Chola Kings, has the Brahadeswara temple(or the big temple of God).The temple tower rises to a height of 15mts from a square base of 29 mts and then tapers off, making a total of 66mts.

    Overnight will be at Tanjore.

  • Day 12:

    Tanjore - Pondicherry

    (160 km in 4 hr)

    After breakfast drive to Pondicherry which carries a strong whiff of the French presence in India. This erstwhile French colony on the east coast of South India merged with the rest of the country in 1954. Legend says that Pondicherry is the place where St. Agasthaya settled down.

    Enjoy the old world town in the afternoon.

    Overnight stay will be at Mahabalipuram.

  • Day 13:

    Pondicherry - Mahabalipuram

    (112 km in 3 hr)

    Enjoy the breakfast at the hotel and drive to Mahabalipuram.
    A few miles south of Chennai, at Mahabalipuram, on the sandy shores of the Bay of Bengal, a beautiful group of rock-cut monuments evokes the past. This ancient seaport was once the main harbor and naval base of the great Pallava Empire and is today the site of an enchanting seaside assemblage of temples and shrines. It was well known in the 1st century known to Greek traders, and was the Pallava's second city. Though their power waned nearly 1200 years ago, they left a breathtaking legacy in four distinct kinds of sculpture, rathas (temple chariots), bas-relief sculptural panels, rock-cut caves, and free standing temples.

    Seventh-century carvings of the Pallava dynasty include a series of freestanding boulders carved to resemble small temples and animals. Rock - cut caves and a masterful stone bas-relief are nearby. The 'Penance of Arjuna' relief, cut on two huge rocks, shows scores of figures of deities, people and animals including, according to one interpretation, the emaciated figure of Arjuna, the great warrior of the Mahabharata, standing on one leg and doing penance, praying to Lord Shiva for the strength to destroy his enemies. Sadhus of today perform this exact act of sacrificial devotion. On the adjacent beach stands one of South India's oldest temples, the Shore Temple, its foundations washed for twelve centuries by the frothy sea.

    Enjoy visit to the following places:

    CAVES: There are nine rock-cut temples. The Mahishasuramardhini cave, depicting the goddess fighting a demon on one side and Lord Vishnu's cosmic sleep on the other, is a particularly remarkable one.

    KRISHNA MANDAPAM: A bas-relief, notable for its realistic representation. The panel relates to one of the stories of Lord Krishna.

    ARJUNA'S PENANCE: This is the world's largest bas relief measuring 27m X 9m. This huge whale-backed rock contains figures of gods, demigods, men, beasts, birds and almost all of the entire creation. And, this is easily the pride of Mamallapuram.

    THE FIVE RATHAS: There are the five monolithic temples, each created in a different style. They are also known as the Pancha Pandava Rathas - and four out of the five rathas are supposed to have been carved out of a single rock.

    THE SHORE TEMPLE: This is one of the oldest temples. Unique about this temple is the fact that it houses shrines for both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. This belongs to the early 8th century AD and it is a classic example of the first phase of structural temples constructed in pure Dravidian style.

    Overnight stay will be at Mahabalipuram.

  • Day 14:

    Mahabalipuram - Chennai

    (76 km in 2 hr)

    After the breakfast at the hotel proceed to Chennai by road.

    The first British Warehouse came up in 1639 when the British acquired the sandy beach from the local Nayaks on lease. It was called Madraspatinam then. Later by 1654, the Fort St. George was built. Still later the neighboring villages were included in the city which came either as grants or gifts. Triplicane was rented from the Sultan of Golconda in 1676. In 1744 Robert Clive worked as a writer from the Fort, later to become a military man of British Army. The Fort House, which housed the Governor and his council, were added in the 17th Century, the Assembly Hall in 1910 and the Secretariat in 1925.

    All the neighboring areas were merged into the city now known as Madras or as Chennai as it is officially known. Until Independence, Madras was the capital of what in British times was called the Madras Presidency, comprising nearly the whole of South India, including the Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada speaking areas.

    Proceed for city tour of Chennai.

    Santhome Cathedral was built by the Portuguese in the 14th and 15th century and is named after St. Thomas. Historically important, it is one of the pilgrimages for the Christian community.

    Fort St. George, one the first few bastions built by the east India company, marks the beginning of Chennai as a modern city. It occupies a place of pride and prominence in Chennai. This bastion achieved its name from St. George, the patron saint of England. The state legislature and the secretariat are located in Fort St. George. It houses the St. Mary's church the oldest Anglican Church in India which was built in 1680 and the tombstones in its courtyard are the oldest British tombstones in India. The Fort Museum, once a building that housed Chennai's first lighthouse, first commercial bank and first 'club', is now a well-kept repository of tangible memories of early Madras.

    Kapaleeswarar Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, Kapaleeswarar temple has inscriptions from the 13th century A.D. The temple 'Gopuram' (tower) is in the characteristic Dravidian style of architecture. The walls and pillars of temple have very delicate and intricate carvings which depict the scenes from Hindu mythology.

    Visit the beach and the museum.

    In the evening enjoy shopping at NALLI SAREES and then proceed for an evening of CLASSICAL DANCE & DINNER at the hotel.

    Overnight will be at Hotel.

  • Day 15:

    Chennai - Back Home

    Enjoy the breakfast at the hotel and proceed to the airport at the time of your flight to Back Home with sweet memories of the tour.

    TOUR ENDS

  1. ACCOMMODATION AT SUGGESTED HOTELS,
  2. SIGHTSEEING TOURS AS MENTIONED IN THE ITINERARY,
  3. ALL TOURS AND TRANSFERS IN AIR-CONDITIONED VAN,
  4. ENGLISH SPEAKING ESCORT FOR ALL MENTIONED TOURS,
  5. ASSISTANCE AT THE AIRPORTS ON ARRIVAL / DEPARTURE,
  6. VISIT TO PLANTATION TOUR IN VANDENMEDU,
  7. NATIONAL PAR ENTRANCE AT PERIYAR,
  8. ALL MEALS IN THE HOUSEBOAT,
  9. HARBOUR CRUISE AT COCHIN,
  10. KATHAKALI DANCE PRESENTATION AT COCHIN,
  11. ALL MEALS ON HOUSEBOAT,
  12. SPICE PLANTATION TOUR IN PERIYAR,
  13. AARTI CEREMONY AT MADURAI,
  14. ALL APPLICABLE TAXES AND SERVICE CHARGES,
  15. ALL ROAD TAXES, GOVERNMENT TAXES AND DRIVER ALLOWANCES

NOTE:
Please note that only lunches and dinners are not included along with personal expenses and camera, etc. fees, tips, (if any) at places where applicable. All cruises, rides, etc. are private. All hotels and flights at the time of quotation are subject to availability.

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Guest Name: Maria Veronica Galli 
Tour Taken: Delhi - Agra - Mumbai 

Hi

Thanks for your wishes of 2017 and the same for you. Here I am sending you the photos of my trip as requested.If you want you can add my comments to your website, delighted, the truth is that whatever I contracted surpassed my expectations. Everything even the  vehicles, were excellent, just like the drivers and the friendly guides, of quality and loving .I felt at ease and was able to enjoy my trip. You never know I might return to India , the truth is  I liked it a lot and would love to know  a lot more. Many Thanks!

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