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Southern Grandeur India Tour...
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Tour Summary...
Group Tour (16 days)
Departs Mid-November to mid-April, end-July to mid-September can also be considered when rainfall is minimal

London - Chennai - Mysore - (Ooty) -Coonoor - Cochin - Kumarakom - Periyar - Madurai - (Chettinadu)- Tanjore - (Trichy) - Pondicherry - (Mahabalipuram) - Chennai - London

Group Size: No more than 16
Meal Plan: Bed & breakfast; welcome dinner and lunch on days 5, 6 and 12 are included

This tour is popular with visitors who have been to India before - often North India - and now wish to see a very different part of this diverse country. Yet many first-time visitors choose to do the South first, perhaps combining it with the Delhi Option that enables them to see the Taj Mahal. There is the option of staying on at a quiet beach resort in Covelong. The tour covers some of the finest sights in the South and highlights the region's great diversity - Tamil Nadu's huge and colourful temples, the vast palace and atmospheric markets of Mysore, Coonoor's tranquil tea plantations, the cosmopolitan background of the port city of Cochin, Kerala's stunning tropical backwaters, Periyar's wild elephants and perhaps the tempting beach at Covelong.

We have used top of the range accommodation with a combination of heritage and quality period hotels along with some modern ones that are among the best in each town.

Internal travel is by coach or car (with air-conditioning when required) and a daytime train journey. International flights are on direct (non-stop) services of British Airways from Heathrow; flying time to Chennai is around 10 hours.

You travel with a small group, accompanied by one of our excellent hand-picked tour escorts.

Meenakashi Temple, MaduraiItinerary...

Day 1 London
Depart London by British Airways in the morning.

Day 2 Chennai (Madras)
Arrive Chennai just past midnight and transfer to the period Connemara Hotel for 2 nights. The room is booked from previous evening. After a relaxed morning we enjoy an afternoon city tour visiting Fort St. George, built by the East India Company in 1653 and St Mary's Church, the first English church in India. A welcome dinner has been arranged this evening.

Day 3 Mysore
We take an early morning train from the imposing Chennai Central Station to Mysore and transfer to the modern Southern Star for 2 nights. We visit Srirangapattanam and Tipu Sultan's Summer Palace in the afternoon.

Day 4 Mysore
The morning sightseeing covers the Mysore Palace, an extravagant building in the Indo-Saracenic style, Chamundi Hill and Nandi Bull. The remainder of the day is free to explore the colourful markets. Mysore offers much for shoppers, particularly silk and sandalwood products.

Day 5 Coonoor
We drive to Ooty for lunch at the Savoy. A short train ride on the "toy train" takes us to Coonoor, a pleasant town surrounded by tea gardens, and the elegant Taj Garden Retreat, set in landscaped gardens, for the night.

Day 6 Cochin
Today a long, interesting drive through rural landscape brings us to the port city of Cochin. We halt en route for a traditional lunch on banana leaves, in a manor house. We stay 2 nights at the Brunton Boat Yard, overlooking the backwaters, and enjoy a sunset cruise to see Chinese fishing nets.

Day 7 Cochin
The colonial influence of Cochin becomes evident when we visit the Jewish Synagogue, built in 1567, housing the Grand Scrolls of the Old Testament and the Dutch Palace, with its 17th century murals of the Ramayana. We also visit St Francis' Church, where the Portuguese sailor Vasco da Gama was first buried. This evening we attend a Kathakali performance, a traditional dance of Kerala.

Day 8 Kumarakom
A short drive to Alleppey where we enjoy a cruise on the famous backwaters to Kumarakom. We stay the night at the Coconut Lagoon, overlooking the Vembanad Lake. The afternoon is free to relax by the pool, take an Ayurvedic massage or explore the nearby bird sanctuary.

Day 9 Periyar
We take an afternoon drive up the "ghats" on a scenic route dotted with plantations of rubber, cardamom, cocoa, green pepper and arecanut, to the wildlife reserve at Periyar for 2 nights at the exotic Spice Village.

Day 10 Periyar
In the morning we explore the nearby plantations. We later enjoy a boat ride on Lake Periyar to spot herds of wild elephants.

Day 11 Madurai
Drive to Madurai, the 2000-year-old capital of the Pandyans, for a night at the Taj Garden Retreat, a colonial building set in acres of gardens. In the afternoon we visit Meenakshi Temple, a grand display of Dravidian architecture, with profusely carved "gopurams" or gateways, the tallest reaching 160-ft.

Day 12 Tanjore
Today we drive to Chettinadu for traditional lunch at the Chettinadu Mansion. Later a short drive takes us to Tanjore, in the rice belt of Tamil Nadu, for 2 nights at the modern Parishutham Hotel.

Day 13 Tanjore
The morning is free with the option of an excursion to Trichy to see the Rock Fort and Srirangam temples. In the afternoon we visit the serene Brihadeeshwara temple, built by the Cholas in the 10th century, now preserved as a World Heritage Monument. We also visit craftsmen making bronze idols in Swami Malai.

Day 14 Pondicherry
Today we drive to the former French colony of Pondicherry for overnight stay at the delightful Hotel De L'Orient visiting Gangaikondacholapuram en route. In the afternoon we explore the town.

Day 15 Chennai
We drive to Chennai for overnight stay at Le Royal Meridien, visiting Mahabalipuram, a major seaport of the great Pallava kings between the 8th & 10th century AD, noted for its rock carvings and the shore temple.

Day 16 London
We take the early morning flight back to London, arriving the same afternoon.

Suggested Tour Extensions

Covelong Beach (3 days) - On day 15 disembark at Covelong, on your drive from Pondicherry to Chennai, and check-in at the Fisherman's Cove for 4 nights. At leisure until day 19 when you transfer to Chennai airport to board the return flight, arriving the same afternoon. Meal Plan: Bed & Breakfast (last night room only)

Delhi Option (4 days) - On day 16 fly from Chennai to Delhi in the morning (or evening) and transfer to The Oberoi Hotel for 2 nights. Visit the sights of Delhi the next day. On day 18 travel to Agra by the morning Shatabdi Express and transfer to the Mughal Sheraton for one night. Enjoy a city sightseeing, including the Taj Mahal and an excursion to Fatehpur Sikri. On day 19 return by car to Delhi where a room for day use will be provided. Later transfer to the airport to board your London flight just past midnight. Arrive back on the morning of day 20. Meal Plan: Bed & breakfast

Hyderabad (3 days) - On day 16 morning fly from Chennai to Hyderabad and transfer to the luxury Taj Krishna for 2 nights. Visit the sights including the Salar Jung Museum and Golconda Fort. On day 18 take an evening flight to Mumbai to connect with your London flight, just after midnight, arriving back on the morning of day 19. Meal Plan: Bed & breakfast

See below for price information for this tour


Main Tour

For information on what the tour price includes, please read what is included in your booking and what is not included in your booking

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To check availability and make a booking please call us on 0845 003 2211 or 01543 258631.  


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