Start and end in Kochi (Cochin)! With the temples tour A mix of cultural diversity and natural beauty, Kerala and Tamil Nadu., you have a 14 day tour package taking you through Kochi (Cochin), India and 8 other destinations in India. A mix of cultural diversity and natural beauty, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. includes accommodation as well as an expert guide, meals, transport and more.
Your Southern Indian adventure starts today in Kochi. On arrival you will be transferred to the hotel. Check in at the hotel. Once an important spice-trading centre, Kochi has been under Portuguese, Dutch and British rule at various times throughout history. Rest day is at leisure to explore on your own. Start point Arrival Hall Exit Gate, Cochin International Airport (COK), Nedumbassery, Alwaye, Kerala, India
This morning, explore Kochi on an orientation tour. Board a local ferry to Mattancherry and drop by the Dutch Palace, built by the Portuguese in the 16th century before it was renovated and presented to the Rajas of Cochin by the Dutch. Pay an optional visit to Paradesi Synagogue, the oldest active synagogue in the Commonwealth and home to many rare antiques. Then amble around the spice bazaars and antique stores of Fort Cochin. In the evening, experience a Kathakali performance. This Keralan dance is an ornately costumed display of storytelling, requiring complete control of the body.
In and around OotacamundMost of today is spent travelling. Catch a three-and-a-half hour train to Coimbatore, before travelling by private vehicle to Ootacamund (approximately four hours). Often referred to as ?Snooty Ooty?, it was here that the game of snooker was named and possibly invented. Stretch your legs exploring the town?s Hindu temples or stroll through what almost feels like English countryside. Ooty is pleasantly mild in the summer but can get cold in winter, so make sure you come prepared with adequate clothing.
Today board Ooty?s famous toy train for a ride along the Nilgiri Mountain Railway. Be sure to get a window seat for great views. In nearby Conoor, visit a tea plantation to learn about the history of tea production. Spend the rest of the day exploring Ooty?s Botanical Gardens, which are home to over 650 species of plants and trees. Alternatively, embrace your romantic side with a boat ride on the lake
Take a private vehicle for the short drive to Masinagudi today. Set against the backdrop of the Nilgiri mountains, Mudumalai National Park was once the Mysore Maharajas private hunting ground. In 1974 it was brought under Project Tiger and is now one of the best game sanctuaries in India to observe wildlife in close proximity. Embark on a short safari in search of tigers, leopards, elephants, sloth bears, sambars, spotted deer and much more. Theres also an amazing variety of birdlife in the park.
In and around MysoreTravel by private vehicle across the scenic Karnataka plains to Mysore. Mysore is an easy-going town with a pleasant climate, perfect for wandering around on foot. A visit to Mysore is incomplete without a look around Mysore Palace. One of the most ornate palaces in India, its interior is full of colour, mosaics and mirrors.
This morning head out of Mysore and climb Chamundi Hill to the Sri Chamundeswari Temple, dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Durga. Continue on to the Keshava Temple in the small town of Somnathpur, an excellent example of Hoysala architecture. You?ll also have some time to pay an optional visit to Tipu Sultan?s mausoleum in Srirangapatna, or to return to Mysore for a palm reading or to catch a film at the local cinema. Tonight take an eleven-hour overnight sleeper train to Chennai.
In and around MamallapuramAfter arriving in Chennai, take a private vehicle along the scenic East Coast Road to Mamallapuram. Explore this ancient seaport town by bicycle, paying a visit to the 7th-century Shore Temple and the enormous bas-relief rock carving known as Arjunas Penance. There will also be time to inspect the town?s numerous mandapams (pillared temple pavilions), watch stonemasons at work or to relax at a beachside restaurant.
In and around PuducherryTravel by private vehicle for five hours through palm trees and rice paddies to Puducherry (or Pondicherry), with a stopover at Auroville. Comprised of 80 rural settlements and home to over 1,500 residents, more than half of who are foreign nationals, the living project of Auroville is dedicated to unity and also houses the worlds largest solid crystal. On arrival in Puducherry you will see the Aurobindo Ashram, the resting place of the saint who synthesized yoga and modern science, the Matrimandir, ?the Temple of Mother?, and The Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus where the beautifully stained glass windows depict the life of Jesus. End you sightseeing with a relaxing and awe inspiring walk around the French quarters.
Take a taxi to the railway station at Villapuram and board a train to the temple city of Madurai (approximately six hours). Madurai?s Tamil roots stretch back 2,500 years, making it one of the oldest cities in India. Wander the lamp-lit labyrinth of the Sri Meenakshi Amman Temple, dedicated to the Lord Shiva and goddess Meenakshi. Visit the Gandhi Memorial Museum, which displays a detailed account of India?s struggle for independence along with the bloodstained dhoti the famous leader wore when he was assassinated.
In and around PeriyarThis morning, travel ?along a winding road to the Periyar National Park and Tiger Reserve. High in the ranges of the Western Ghats, the park is set among stunning scenery and is the most popular wildlife sanctuary in Southern India. In the evening, enjoy a tour of a local spice plantation.
Venture back into the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary today for a guided nature walk. Encounters with animals in the wild are never guaranteed, and this is more of a jungle walk than an animal spotting tour, but look out for tiger tracks, spotted deer, Indian elephants or gaur ? the worlds largest species of buffalo.
Check out from the hotel and transfer to Kochi international terminal to board your flight back home. End point Departure Hall Entrance, Cochin International Airport (COK), Nedumbassery, Alwaye, Kerala, India