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Southern India with Nilgiri Mountain Railways - 21 Nights / 22 Days

This tour offers a chance to experience the most beautiful and lovely region of South India, while exploring the three different  states Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnatak. You will experience the World heritage monuments,  natural beauty, with a lifetime experience on the UNESCO Heritage site and the  Steam engine Traini n India 'The Nilgiri Mountain Railways of India' to the hill station tour to Ooty.

Tour Briefing

Duration : 21 Nights / 22 Days

Loction : Kerala and South India

Best Season : November to March

Category : Cultural, Heritage, and Nature Tour

Covering : Chennai > Pondicherry > Madurai > Kovalam > Trivandrum > Varkala > Alleppey > Thekkady > Munnar > Cochin > Ooty > Mysore > Bangalore

You can take it : As a private, personalised tour (tour dates would be of your choice)

Special About Tour :

This exciting, Authentic India tour starts from the state of Tamil Nadu at Chennai to Mahabalipuram famous for its rock cut monolith temples and is one of the 16 world heritage sights been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will visit the Pondicherry also known as 'The French Riviera of the East'. We will visit the exquisitely carved grand Hindu temples of Tanjore and Madurai. On the tour we continue to visit the Heritage village, with Bull cart ride and traditional Chettinad food at Kanadukathan.

Further the tour will take you to Kerala, well known as God's own country and will visit the picturesque beautiful beaches of Kovalam and Varkala which are the most beautiful beaches of Kerala and is described as the 'Paradise of the South India'. We will also visit Alleppey, known as the 'Venice of the East', famous for its backwaters full of immense natural beauty. The traditional wooden houseboats also enhance the beauty of these backwaters. Overnight experience on these houseboats will fascinate you and will provide you to see the local people from much closer.

A visit to the places like Thekkady (Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary & Tiger Reserve), boat tour to wildlife sanctuary, a visit to the elephant camp, tribal dance show

We will also visit Munnar- the breathtakingly beautiful place with magnificent mountains, lakes, flora and fauna , tea gardens and Eravikulam National Park famous for Nilgiri Tahr, we will also visit Fort Cochin – known as Queen of Arabian Sea

We will also visit Ooty in the Nilgiri Hills (Karnataka) where we will ride the World famous UNESCO Heritage - The Nilgiri Mountain Railways of India, still run with the help of steam engine, further visit to Mysore Palace and fly from Bangalore

 

Brief Itinerary : Mahabalipuram (02 Nights) > Pondicherry (02 Nights) > Tanjore (01 night) > Chettinadu Kanadukathan (01 Night) > Madurai (01 night) > Kovalam Beach (02 nights) > Varkala (01 Night) > Alleppey (Backwaters on a house boat) (01 Night) > Thekkady (02 Nights) > Munnar (02 Nights) > Cochin (02 Nights) > Ooty (02 Nights) > Mysore (02 Nights) > Bangalore (01 Night)

ou will be met from your flight to Chennai International / domestic Airport by Summit Safari’s representative and we will accompany you to your hotel at Mahabalipuram also known as Mamallapuram (50 kms from airport approximately 1 hrs). The small town of Mahabalipuram is famous for its rock cut temples which attracts thousands of connoisseurs of art from all over the world is one of the 16 world heritage sights been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site . Though ravaged by sea, wind and time these sculptural treasures speak volumes about magnificent heritage of ancient Dravidian art and temple architecture, built around 580 to 668 A.D. Overnight at Mahabalipuram. Rest of the day is free to relax your own. Overnight stay at Mahabalipuram.

After breakfast around 09:00 AM, we will drive you to Pondicherry also known as Puducherry. It is also known as “The French Riviera of the East”. Although the French influence is gradually fading, and is limited to one part near the sea, Pondicherry retains a few Gallic accents. . On the way to Pondicherry we will visit Auroville ( 15 kms before Pondicherry). Auroville was designed by the French architect Roger Anger. Auroville is meant to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realize human unity. Here we will visit Matrimandir from outside and you can have lunch in a local restaurant over here and further we will proceed for Pondicherry. Check in at the hotel in Pondicherry, evening free to relax by the pool side or have a walk around the beach.

After breakfast around 09;00 A.M, we will drive you to Pondicherry also known as Puducherry. It is also known as “The French Riviera of the East”. Although the French influence is gradually fading, and is limited to one part near the sea, Pondicherry retains a few Gallic accents. . On the way to Pondicherry we will visit Auroville ( 15 kms before Pondicherry). Auroville was designed by the French architect Roger Anger. Auroville is meant to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realize human unity. Here we will visit Matrimandir from outside and you can have lunch in a local restaurant over here and further we will proceed for Pondicherry. Check in at the hotel in Pondicherry, evening free to relax by the pool side or have a walk around the beach.

Today after breakfast around 09:30 A.M we will take you for the sightseeing tour of Pondicherry. The main sights are the handmade paper factory, the Sacred Heart Church and the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, including the heritage part of Pondicherry. The ashram retreat was founded in 1926 by Sri Aurobindo after whose death the spiritual authority passed to one of his disciples, a French woman known as the Mother. The Mother was also instrumental in founding the city of Dawn Auroville, 15 km from Pondicherry. Later on after lunch in a local restaurant return back to hotel and evening free to relax your own. Second night in the same hotel in Pondicherry.

Today After breakfast around 09:00 AM, we will drive you to Tanjore (Thanjavur). On the way to Tanjore we will visit the local houses where you can see people weaving the silken sarees (Indian traditional dress) and scarf. They will show you the process of silk dyeing and weaving it further as a sarees or a scarf. If interested, you can buy the silk fabric from the local people here in their houses where it is made. Later on drive to Tanjore. Check in at your hotel and after lunch we will visit the Big Temple of Tanjore. It is an important center of South Indian art and architecture. Most of the Great Living Chola Temples which are UNESCO World Heritage Monuments are located in and around Thanjavur (Tanjore). The foremost among the Great Living Chola temples, the Brihadeeswara Temple also known as the Big temple, is located in the center of the town. Thanjavur is also the home of the Tanjore painting and handicrafts, a painting style unique to the region. The town is an important agricultural center located at the heart of the region, known as the “Rice bowl of Tamil Nadu”. The big temple (Brihadeeswara Temple) Built in the 11th century AD by the Medieval Chola king, Raja Chola I, the temple complex houses a granite shrine dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva and is surrounded by fortifications. The walls of the sanctum are covered with wall paintings from the Chola and Nayak periods. The temple was designated an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. Later on if interested we can visit the Saraswathi Mahal art gallery and Library, established around 1700AD and located in the premises of the Nayak’s palace, contains over 30,000 Indian and European manuscripts written on palm leaf and paper. Even a visit to some Tanjore handicraft and panting shops could be made if interested. Overnight in Tanjore.

Today after breakfast we will drive you to Kanadukathan, which is a small heritage village 3 hrs far from Tanjore. On the way we might meet people selling the fresh cashew nuts .We will reach Kanadukathan by afternoon and we will stay here in a heritage hotel property known as Chettinadu Mansion. After lunch at the Mansion we will take you take you for the sightseeing tour of Kanadukathan village in a bull cart and we will visit some heritage mansions like VVR House (by special arrangements), Chettinadu palace, village temples, local market to view some of the famous architecture of the building. Chettinadu is very famous for its cuisine and especially for Chicken Chettinad. By evening return back to the heritage hotel Chettinadu Mansion at Kanadukathan. Today it is day to enjoy village life in this heritage village.

After breakfast around 08;00 A.M, we will drive to Madurai, on arrival in Madurai we will visit the flower market of Madurai , and Ghandi Museum. From the Ghandi museum we will start our bicycle rickshaw ride( 2 hrs) in Madurai city which covers the interesting places like the bamboo market, local vegetable and banana market, local streets with people making metal pot making, viewing the local women working with the spinning wheel etc. Later on check at your hotel by afternoon 2:00 P.M . Have rest and in the evening around 5:00 PM we will drive you to visit the famous Meenakshi temple at Madurai. It is dedicated to Goddess Parbati who is known as” Meenakshi” and her consort, Shiva, named here as “Sundareswarar”. The temple forms the heart and lifeline of the 2500 year old city of Madurai. The “Aayiram Kaal Mandapam” or Thousand Pillar Hall contains 985(instead of 1000) carved pillars. The hall was built in 1569 and it is a structure where the engineering skill and artistic vision are blended. There is a Temple Art Museum in the hall where icons, photographs, drawings, and other exhibits of the 1200 years old history of the temple is displayed. Later on return back to hotel by 07:00 PM.

After breakfast we will drive you to Kerala—Kovalam Beach, which is a beautiful beach in Kerala. Today it is a long day of drive and we will reach Kovalam in late afternoon. Enroute we will stop for lunch and photo stops. Overnight in hotel at Kovalam.

Today we will have a relaxing day at Kovalam and you could have famous Kerala Traditional message therapies at your hotel or spend your time swimming and relaxing on the beautiful beach of Kovalam. The nearby beaches to the south and north of Kovalam also provide good places for swimming & relaxing. One can spent entire day relaxing on various beaches. If interested we can go for the water sports on Kovalam beach including the water scooter and speed boat ride or it is a day to have Ayurvedas Message at the Hotel or the message centers in Kovalam. In the evening before sunset you can climb up to the old light house to enjoy the sunset and later you have a choice to have dinner at the local restaurants in Kovalam beach where the local small restaurants cook fresh sea food of your choice as per your order. Second night in the same hotel at Kovalam.

Today after breakfast we will drive you to Varkala beach famous for its cliff’s, enroute we will cross Trivandrum city the capital town of Kerala and will visit the old Palace in the city center. Later on drive to Varkala beach, were we will reach by late afternoon and check in to your hotel. Later on in the late afternoon before the sunset have a walk on the famous cliffs of Varkala or walk down to the sea and enjoy the sunset. Today you have a choice to have dinner in a nice local restaurant on the cliff’s, where fresh sea food is cooked as per your choice and you could enjoy the beautiful views of the sunset and the beaches. Overnight in Varkala.

Today early morning around 08:00 A.M we will leave for Allepey from where we will board our house boat around 12;00 P.M, to experience the back waters of Kerala. We will reach Alleppey board the house boat which will take you on the back water canals of Vembanad Lake. Alleppey, known as the ‘Venice of the East’, is a district of immense natural beauty, with a vast network of lakes, lagoons, canals and freshwater rivers crisscrossing its terrain. Today, this backwater destination is famous for its boat races, beaches, marine products and coir industry. Enjoy a full day cruise along the scenic backwaters of Vembanad Lake. The boat travels slowly on the backwater canals, where you can enjoy the beautiful views of paddy fields, coconut trees, palm trees, local villages, and local people busy with their daily work routine. We will also take a canoe to explore the narrowest canals which feed into the lake. The boat halts on the water in the evening and you can enjoy the beautiful sunset from the house boat. All meals will be served on the house boat and overnight in house boat. We will spend entire day on the house boat experiencing the life of the local people and enjoying the nature. Meals Plan-: Lunch + evening tea/ coffee + dinner + breakfast all on house boat included.

Today after breakfast we will leave the house boat around 10:00 AM and will further drive for Thekkady famous for Periyar Wildlife and Tiger reserve. The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, spread over 777 sq. km. including 360 sq. km of dense evergreen forest tract, is one of the most fascinating wildlife reserves in Kerala. Declared a Tiger Reserve in 1978, the sanctuary is noted for its geomorphology, abundance of wildlife and abounding scenic beauty. In the evening if interested we could take you to enjoy the tribal dance show, organized and done by the tribal people of the area, otherwise evening free at leisure.

Today early morning 06:00 AM we will leave for boating (sharing boat) at Periyar Lake inside the wildlife sanctuary area, the boat trips are conducted by the forest department, depends on the availability of the tickets, mostly are organized through our associate office in Thekkady. This early morning boat trip offers us a chance to see the wildlife including, elephants, wild bores, Sambhar deers, Bision, etc including various kinds of birds. Return back to the hotel after 3 hrs and have your breakfast at your hotel. In the afternoon around 12:00 PM we will take you to the Elephant camp where one can ride the elephants and even can help with the washing and feeding of the elephants. We will also visit the small spice plantation area. Other optional activities includes Jungle walk, nature walk, easy walking (2 hrs) through the Periyaer wildlife sanctuary and all area organized by the Forest department of Kerala with proper forest guides, and these activity depends on the availability of the tickets , as tickets are available directly at the forest office counters Around 02:00 PM we will return back to the hotel and evening free at lesuire. Second night in the same hotel in Thekkady.

After breakfast (08:00 AM) we will drive to Munnar (4 Hrs drive). Enjoy the natural views, and spice plantations on the way to Munnar. Munnar used to be the summer resort of the erstwhile British administration in south India. Upon arriving Munnar, the magnificent hill-station of Kerala, check into the hotel Blackberry hills and proceed to Rajamala national park, also known as Eravikulam National Park ,located about 15 km from Munnar, this park is famous for its endangered inhabitant – the Nilgiri Tahr. Spread over an area of 97 sq. km., this park is also home to several species of rare butterflies, and birds. The park offers a magnificent view of the Anamudi peak, tea plantations and also the rolling hills caressed by blankets of mists. Anamudi peak around 2,700 metres is the highest peak of south India. The park and many hills around Munnar becomes a hot destination when the hill slopes here get covered in a carpet of blue, resulting from the flowering of Neelakurinji flower plant. It is a plant endemic to this part of the Western Ghats which blooms once in twelve years. The last time it bloomed was in 2006 and the next blooming of these flowers is expected in the year 2018. Late in the evening walk around the vegetable market at Munnar. In the evening Return back to the hotel by evening .

After breakfast we will drive you to Cochin, also known as Kochi or Fort Cochin. Cochin, popularly known as the ‘Queen of Arabian Sea’, is the cosmopolitan commercial capital of Kerala ,Cochin is a fine natural Harbour. Cochin was the centre of Indian spice trade for many centuries, and was known to the Yavanas (Greeks and Romans) as well as Jews, Arabs, and Chinese since ancient times. Check in at your hotel and evening we will visit the the Vasco-da-Gama Square near the Fort Cochin and we will visit a number of Chinese fishing nets, alongside the sea coast. The Chinese fishing nets have become a very popular tourist attraction in fort Cochin. Legend has it that the Chinese Fishing Nets were introduced in Fort Kochi by the Chinese explorer, Zheng He. They were brought from the court of Chinese emperor, Kublai Khan and have been in operation here since that time only. Even free at leisure. If interested we can even travel through the local ferry from Ernakulum ( The new town) to fort Kochi . Overnight in hotel at Fort Cochin.

After breakfast we will leave for a sightseeing tour of Cochin with a local guide. We will visit the Chinese fishing nets, St. Francis Church : originally built in 1503, is the oldest European church in India and has great historical significance where once the Vasco Da Gama was buried ,Mattancherry Palace, also known as the Dutch Palace, in Mattancherry, which features Kerala murals depicting Hindu temple art, portraits and exhibits of the Rajas (Kings) of Kochi. It was built by the Portuguese and presented to Veera Kerala Varma (1537–65), Raja (King) of Kochi. We will also visit Jewish Synagogue- or the Paradesi Synagogue is the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth of Nations. It was built in 1568 by Cochin Jewish community. The synagogue is located in the quarter of Old Cochin known as Jew Town and is the only one of the seven synagogues in the area still in use. The complex has four buildings. It was built adjacent to the Mattancherry Palace temple on the land gifted to the Malabari Yehuden ( jewish community) by the Raja of Kochi, RamaVarma. The Mattancherry Palace temple and the Mattancherry synagogue share a common wall. We will also walk around the old Jewish town streets in Mattancherry. Return back to the hotel in late afternoon and in the evening around 05:00 PM – 07:30 PM we will take you to see the live performance of the Kathakali Dance( traditional dance of Kerala). Kathakali – Katha means story and Kali means dance , is a highly stylized classical Indian dance-drama noted for the attractive make-up of characters, elaborate costumes, detailed gestures and well-defined body movements presented in tune with the anchor playback music and complementary percussion. One of the most interesting aspects of Kathakali is its elaborate make-up code, during this performance you will get a chance to see how the artists do the make up with the natural colors and will experience the traditional dance and culture from much closer. Later on return back to your hotel, and second night in the same hotel at Cochin.

Today morning we will drive you to Mettupalayam (8 hrs). Enroute we will enjoy the views and will stop for lunch break and comfort breaks. Today we will reach the Foot Hills of the Nilgiri Mountains also famous as the Blue Mountains. Mettupalayam is a small town with the railway junction for the Nilgiri Hill Railways, to Ooty . Overnight in hotel in Mettupalayam.

Today early morning (07:10 AM)we will board the Nilgiri Hill Railways to Ooty (12:00 PM) also known as Udhagamandalam. The name was changed during the British rule from Udhagamandalam to Ootacamund, later shortened to Ooty. This steam train was built during the British period in 1908. The railway still relies on its fleet of steam locomotives between Mettupalayam and Connor , where the steam engine is changed to diesel engine for its further journey to Ooty. The NMR track is 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 3/8 in) gauge and the railway is isolated from other metre gauge lines. Between Mettupalayam and Coonoor, the line uses the Abt rack and pinion system to climb the steep gradient. It has the steepest track in Asia with a maximum gradient of 8.33%.This narrow gauge mountain train winds through 46 km of rail track(5 hrs) through forests, tea plantations, 16 tunnels and crosses more than 250 bridges, starting from Mettupalayam on the plains, to Ooty in the Nilgiri Hills. The stunning views of the Nilgiri Hills with its forest, water streams, wildlife and birds are one of the most fascinating experiences for tourists. We will reach Ooty by afternoon and will be picked up by our driver and transfer to the hotel in Ooty. Rest of the day free at leisure.

After breakfast we will take you to visit the visit Doddabetta Peak: It is the highest peak (2,623 m) in the Nilgiris, about 10 km from Ooty, which offers beautiful vistas of the Nilgiri Hill ranges. One can have a panoramic view of the landscape from here. Apart from coffee and tea plantations, trees like conifers, eucalyptus, pine and the wattle dot the hillside in Ooty. We will visit also visit Ooty Lake and the English church at Ooty. Ooty was founded by the British and was used as a weekend retreat for British colonial rulers and served as the summer headquarters of the Madras Presidency, offering a significantly cooler climate during the fiercely hot summer months. The region surrounding Ooty has been producing tea for over 100 years and is known for its dark, aromatic varieties. Later on we will drive you back to your hotel and rest of the day is free at leisure. Second night in the same hotel at Ooty.

After breakfast we will drive you to Mysore. Enroute we will drive through the Bandi Pur and Nagarhole national parks. Enroute you have chances to see the wild elephants, deers, etc. Reach Mysore by afternoon, check in to your hotel and have some time for your lunch and to relax . Later on in the evening we will take you to visit the local market in Mysore, where you can have your time to shop the famous Mysore silk items or raw silk fabric. Before dinner we will take you to see the light illumination of Mysore fort between 07:00 PM to 08:00 PM. Overnight in hotel at Mysore.

Today morning after breakfast around 09:00 A.M we will leave for a sightseeing tour of Mysore and will visit Jagmohan art gallery, Chamundi hills, The Palace of Mysore. After lunch in a local eating places where you will be offered Sambhar and vada/ idly ( south Indian food) we will drive you to Bangalore ( 5 hrs), where we will arrive in the evening around 6:00 P.M. Overnight in Hotel at Bangalore.

Today after breakfast you will be transfer to Bangalore international airport, as per your flight schedule to board your flight back home.

End of the tour and the services.......!

The tours shown on the website are which we run regularly. It can be altered & Customised and we like to discuss plans with clients and can make suggestions about special places to visit depending on our clients’ interests, and available time. You can get an idea of your holidays from the above mentioned tour itinerary.

We do not club our clients to groups. We suggest, plan and organize only tailor-made, personalised tour holidays to India for each client. Either you can make your own group, we would be happy to organize a personalise tour for your or organizing things for your private group. Our Knowledgeable tour escorts is with you throughout the trip (if required), to all the famous sights and wherever required or we provide a local knowledgeable guide on spot for your tour to make history and culture come alive through the stories that unfold throughout the journey. In case you do not require accompanying tour escort with you please tell us and we will be happy to arrange local, knowledgeable guides at all the places for your tour, as per your choice.

Arrangements

You will follow the itinerary as a private tour, accompanied by one of our excellent Guides/ tour escorts through out the trip. Internal travel chauffeur-driven luxury jeep / car.

Accomodation

These destinations are the most sought-after tourist destinations of India. Every year the state of Kerala and South Indian parts   greets thousands of people from across the globe. To serve the best, there is no problem regarding accommodation on the tour. These places have plenty of hotels which are well equipped with all modern amenities and comprises variety of luxury, deluxe, heritage and budget hotels / houseboats. One can choose the place of accommodation according to one's requirement and budget.

You stay in comfortable mid range Indian Hotels or A class star category luxury hotels which offer immaculate hospitality to guests, all as preferred by you. We would like to discuss and make suggestions about accommodation at the time of planning your holidays with us.

Meal plans: Room + Breakfast.

Cloths: Cottons

Tour Cost
The cost of the package is on Demand and based on no of Pax
Inclusions
  • All tour and sightseeing by Cab / Train / Volovo / Flight (Based on Tour & Location)
  • Hotel Accommodation Including Taxes & GST at Standard / Deluxe / Luxury hotels as per your choice of the tour package and budget
  • Daily buffet Breakfast and Dinner included during the tour stay
  • Welcome Drink & Traditional Welcome based on tour package and budget
Exclusions
  • Any kind of Lunch / Extra food, Laundry, Phone Call Charges
  • Any kind of Adventure Activity, Rides, Entry Tickets etc.
  • Any thing that not mentioned in Inculsions

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