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DAKSHIN DELIGHTS
Chennai – Mahabalipuram (01 nt) – Pondicherry (01 nt) – Tanjore (01 nt) – Chettinad (01 nt) - Madurai (01 nt) - Periyar (01 nt) – Munnar (01 nt) – Cochin (01 nt) – Kumarakom (01 nt) – Houseboat (01 nt) – Kovalam (02 nts) – out from Trivandrum
 
Day 01 - Arrive Chennai - Drive Mahabalipuram (65 Kms)
Arrive in Chennai, meet & greet services at the airport and transfer to your hotel. Capital of the southeastern state of Tamil Nadu, Chennai is one of the four major metropolitan cities in India. Upon arrival drive to Mahabalipuram. Mahabalipuram with its picturesque location on a rocky outcrop between the beach and a lagoon is a happy combination of history, good beaches, hassle-free tourism and fabulous fish and lobster. Upon arrival check in to your resort for overnight stay.
 
Day 02 - To Pondicherry (140 Kms)
After a leisurely breakfast proceed for a tour of Mahabalipuram, renowned for its series of charming RATHAS and the spectacular carved relief depicting ARJUNA’S PENANCE. The magnificent SHORE TEMPLE built by king Rajasimha in the seventh century houses the shrines of both Shiva and Vishnu while the Varaha Cave is a rock-cut mandapam with two incarnations of Vishnu — Varaha and Vamana—besides scenes of kings and queens. The KRISHNA MANADAPAM has a bas-relief of Lord Krishna lifting the Govardhan hill on his fingertips.

After lunch drive to Pondicherry (or Puducheri) meaning ’the new settlement’. It was a French settlement comprising of Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam besides Pondicherry. A unique thing about Pondicherry is that it spreads into several states. On arrival check in at your city hotel. During your afternoon tour visit Pondicherry also has a pleasant beach alongside promenade and historical monuments.
 
Day 03 - To Tanjore via Chidambaram
After breakfast, check out from resort and proceed for a sight seeing tour of Pondicherry, visiting SRI AUROBINDO ASHRAM, where Sri Aurobindo and the Mother lived for the most parts of their lives. The PONDICHERRY MUSEUM is home to some of the most exquisite collections on architecture and sculpture.

Later we drive to Tanjore. En-route visit CHIDAMBRAM, famous for its NATARAJA TEMPLE. Chidambaram is a temple town situated in Tamil Nadu around 58 km off Pondicherry. The place is famous for its temple complex where the renowned Nataraja Temple is housed. Arrive Tanjore in the afternoon to check in at your hotel. It is primarily a place for the art lovers, especially for those who love temple architecture and wonder about kings who erected these magnificent monuments. During their reign, the Cholas made significant contribution to the various fields of art and architecture. The BRIHADEESWARA TEMPLE, the wonderful PALACE, ART GALLERY and the SARASWATI MAHAL LIBRARY are some of the other things to see in Tanjore.
 
Day 04 - To Chettinadu (100 Kms)
After breakfast check out and drive to Chettinadu
Chettinadu or the land of Nattukottai Chettiars, is famous for its fortress like homes and temples that are architectural marvels. Rural town houses many stylish heritage homes, which took years to build, and has courtyards, halls and corridors that are quiet, cool and beautifully decorated with intricate artwork, Burmese teak and Italian marble. Check in to a heritage home stay at chettiandu and ry out the local cuisine for lunch. Later proceed for a bullock cart ride through the village, visit the temples around, go on shopping of antiques at Karaikudi, visit the Chettinadu palace, etc. Overnight at Chettinadu.
 
Day 05 - To Madurai (90 Kms)
After breakfast drive to Madurai. Madurai 90 km known as the temple town of South India is the second largest city in Tamil Nadu. On arrival, check into the hotel for 01 night stay. Afternoon proceed for sightseeing tour of Madurai. Madurai is famous for the Meenakshi Temple, with its towering gopurams and rare sculptures. Here the architectural marvels of the temples and the exquisite sculptures fascinate all those who have a look at them. You can also participate in the many festivals and regale in the rich tradition of the locals. Some of the major attractions in the city are the MEENAKSHI TEMPLE, TIRUMALAI NAYAK MAHAL, GANDHI MUSEUM, KOODAL AZHAGAR TMEPLE, VANDIYUR MARIAMMAN TEPPAKULAM etc. Other important attractions include Thirumalai Naicker Palace, Koodal Azhagar Temple and the Gandhi Museum. By Evening visit Sri Meenakshi Temple and attend the Pooja ceremony. Overnight stay at Madurai.
 
Day 06 - To Periyar / Thekkady (160 Kms)
After breakfast, proceed to Periyar the land of unending chains of hills and spice scented plantations. It houses the famous wildlife sanctuary in South India and has also been declared as a Tiger Reserve. On arrival, check into the hotel for 1 night stay. By late afternoon proceed for a boatride to lake periyar for viewing the wild life. Herds of Elephants, bisons are common sights here. Return to hotel and overnight at Periyar.
 
Day 07 - To Munnar (120 Kms)
By Morning proceed for a visit of the spice plantations with a naturalist. Periyar is famous for the wide variety of spices ranging from pepper, cardamom, nutmeg etc. return to hotel for breakfast, check out and drive to Munnar. Breakfast is followed by drive to MUNNAR. Surrounded by lush green-carpeted tea and coffee plantations, Munnar is a picturesque hill station situated in the eastern part of Kerala. The town is located at the confluence of three mountain streams — Mudrapuzha, Nallathanni and Kudala — and is known for its clean, neat, and brightly painted ambience. The beautiful landscapes, cosy weather, and the smell of tealeaves make Munnar one of the most sought-after destinations in South India. Precisely these were the reason why the British always retreated to Munnar when the heat and humidity was on its peak in other parts of Kerala. Munnar is situated near the Anaimudi Peak, the highest peak in the Western Ghats. The hills here are covered with a carpet of flowers in bloom. Also found here is an exotic plant called Neelakurunji that flowers just once in a 12-year period. Upon arrival.

Enroute visit the Tea Museum and Mattuppetty dam site. Later Check in to the resort and overnight at Munnar.
 
Day 08 - To Cochin / Kochi (140 Kms)
After breakfast check out from hotel and proceed to a visit of Eravikulam national park (Rajamala) which forms house to the unique Nilgiri Thars. Later drive to Cochin the financial capital and the most cosmopolitan city of Kerala. Check in to your hotel at Cochin. By evening witness the world famous Kathakali dance at a local theatre, a traditional art form of Kerala and one among the national dances of India. Overnight at hotel in Cochin.
 
Day 09 - To Kumarakom (80 Kms)
After breakfast check out from hotel and proceed for a sightseeing tour of Cochin covering - The Dutch Palace at Mattancherry is renowned for its wall murals depicting scenes from the Ramayana. The Jewish Synagogue at the heart of what is locally called the Jew Town. The St. Francis Church, the oldest European church in India. The Santa Cruz Basilica originally built in 1557 by the Portuguese. The Chinese fishing nets are huge cantilevered fishing nets believed to have brought to Kochi by Chinese trade.

Later proceed to Kumarakom the land of lakes and lagoons. Check in to the lake side resort at kumarakom and relax. Optional – ayurveda massage / sunset cruise / bird sanctuary visit. Overnight stay at the resort in kumarakom.
 
Day 10 - To Alleppey On Houseboat
After a leisurely breakfast, some free time at the resort. By noon time aboard a Kettuvallam (houseboat) to proceed for an unforgettable overnight cruise to Alleppey through the mesmerizing backwaters of Kerala, something unique to Kerala.

You will have a private, one room houseboat that travels until sunset when it then anchors for the night, at Alleppey. Your boat has a private balcony with comfortable chairs. The rooms are well furnished with attached bathrooms and air conditioning which functions during sleeping hours. The boat has a fully equipped kitchen and an experienced cook to prepare authentic Kerala cuisine with seafood specialties and fresh vegetables. This is your chance to pick up some fabulous cooking tips!

The waterways of Kerala play a major role in the economy of the state as they link remote villages and islands with the mainland. It is an incredibly different experience to cruise in the backwaters in country boats, absorbing the beauty of Kerala's villages. Houseboats, also known as kettuvallam or rice boats, are today one of the major tourist attractions in Kerala, but these boats were used to carry rice bags in their earlier days. These houseboats are uniquely designed using local materials like bamboo poles, coconut fiber ropes, bamboo mats, carpets etc. and are a fabulous way to enjoy exploring the fascinating beauties of backwaters. With their languid grace and quaint design adding another dimension to your cruise in the shimmering blue waters.

Lunch, evening tea with snacks and dinner served on board. Overnight in the Houseboat.
 
Day 11 - To Kovalam (175 Kms)
Wake up to the chatter of the water birds. A traditional kerala breakfast prepared by the boat crew awaits you. Disembark the boat after an unforgettable life time experience and drive south towards Kovalam, the world famous beach destination of kerala. Enroute stop at the snake temple at mannarasala for a short visit (Optional)

With three adjacent crescent beaches, Kovalam has been a favorite haunt of tourists, especially Europeans, since the 1930s. A massive rocky promontory on the beach has created a beautiful bay of calm waters ideal for sea bathing. The leisure options at this beach are plenty and diverse - sunbathing, swimming, herbal body toning massages, special cultural programmes, Catamaran cruising etc. The tropical sun acts so fast that one can see the faint blush of coppery tan on the skin in a matter of minutes. Life on the beach begins late in the day and carries on well into the night.

Upon arrival check in to your resort at Kovalam. Overnight at Kovalam.
 
Day 12 - At Kovalam – Day Excursion to Thiruvananthapuram (20 Kms)
After breakfast proceed for a sightseeing tour of Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala, is just a stones throw away from Kovalam and getting there is no hassle. Thiruvananthapuram has interesting places to see like the Napier Museum, the Sri Chitra Art Gallery, the Padmanabhaswamy Temple (from outside only), Puthenmalike Palace museum.

Optional – Lunch at a city restaurant and shopping of antiques and souveniers before return drive to Kovalam resort.

Overnight at Kovalam.
 
Day 13 - Departure from Kovalam to Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum)
In time departure transfer to the Thiruvananthapuram Airport (30 minutes drive) assisted by our representative.