Small Group Journey - Jewels of South India With Culinary Experiences

Maximum of 20 guests (Minimum of 6) | Starting from $5,999 $5,699 CAD with Air

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Whether you are slowly gliding through the backwaters of Kerala or gazing upon ancient temples in Pondicherry, visiting the southern part of India is a relaxing yet incredibly culturally stimulating experience. The tropical south naturally eases the Explore India traveler into a state of calm while at the same time you are completely alert and aware of the natural opulence of the area. South India boasts of having a varied cuisine, pleasing music, elaborate dance traditions, and stunning styles of architecture of both the Tamil Nadu and the Vesara areas, as well as being naturally beautiful with its lush scenery and incredibly inviting tranquil waters. The maestro of this intoxicating land is the breeze that conducts the hum of the gentle waters who offer a backdrop to the enchanting sounds of the birds who tirelessly sing for you all day.  A spiritual place ideal for rejuvenation and meditation, South India also offers world-class Ayurvedic treatments in many of the resorts and spas.

Tour Highlights

  • Visit the culturally rich city of Chennai
  • Be amazed at the incredible collections in The National Art Gallery in Chennia
  • See the historic ashram Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry
  • Tour through the Tanjore Palace and Museum
  • In Madurai you will see the magnificently carved Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple
  • Enjoy a scenic drive through the Palini Hills
  • In Cochin you will experience the vibrant colours and dance of the Kathakali Dance Performers
  • Enjoy the paradise of the waters of the South of India as you glide through the backwaters on a luxury houseboat.

Tour Inclusions

  • Travel Insurance Included – Cancellation and Interruption, No Age Restriction, No Medical Questionnaire, Pre-Existing Conditions Waived

Day 1: Depart Canada

Depart Canada for India. Your international flight includes meals, drinks, and in-flight entertainment.

Day 2: Arrive Chennai – Mahabalipuram

Welcome to Incredible India! Upon your, at Chennai International airport you will meet your Explore India representative and transfer to Mahabalipuram.

The rest of the day is for you to spend at your leisure.

Accommodation: Radisson Blu Temple Bay

Radisson Blu Temple Bay


Day 3: Full Day at Your Leisure

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and then spend the rest of the day at your leisure.

Overnight stay in Mahabalipuram.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Radisson Blu Temple Bay

Radisson Blu Temple Bay


Day 4: Mahabalipuram – Pondicherry

After breakfast, you will leave for Mahabalipuram for a day of sightseeing.

Mahabalipuram – It occupies a stunning position on a rocky outcrop between the beach and a lagoon. Built by the Pallava rulers in the seventh century, the complex is comprised of 14 cave temples, 9 monolithic “Rathas”, 3 stone temples and 2 relief sculptured rock panels. These two rock panels give a graphic description of Arjuna’s penance when he prayed for the powers of Shiva and forms the largest Bass Relief in the world. Particularly of interest is the shore temple built on the water’s edge with an east-facing altar designed to catch the rising Sun. This has now been declared a World Heritage Site.Later, drive to Pondicherry (or Puducheri) meaning ’the new settlement’. It was a French settlement comprising of Karaikal, Mahe, and Yanam besides Pondicherry. A unique fact about Pondicherry is that it spreads into several states. Upon arrival check in to your hotel.

Later, drive to Pondicherry (or Puducheri) meaning ’the new settlement’. It was a French settlement comprising of Karaikal, Mahe, and Yanam besides Pondicherry. A unique fact about Pondicherry is that it spreads into several states. Upon arrival check in to your hotel.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Palais De Mahe

Palais De Mahe


Day 5: Pondicherry

After breakfast, proceed for a sightseeing tour of Pondicherry. Pondicherry covers the Sri Aurobindo which grew out of a small community where Sri Aurobindo lived for the most parts of his life in the nearby Vinayagar temple which was later dedicated to Lord Ganesha

Later, take a Cycle Rickshaw Ride through the streets of Pondicherry and sign off the day with a stroll through the 1.5 Km long Promenade Beach.

EVENING EXCLUSIVE COOKING DEMONSTRATION WITH CHEF.

From local to European and even Asian flavours, this quaint town has quite a bite to offer… Spice up your Indian experience by savouring different delectable dishes with your chef who will explain you the history and culture heritage behind the plates.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Palais De Mahe

Palais De Mahe


Day 6: Pondicherry - Tanjore

After breakfast, you will transfer to Tanjore with a visit to Chidambaram on the way. Chidambaram is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. You will explore the beautiful temple prior to arriving in Thanjavur. Continue on to Thanjavur.

Thanjavur is an important center of South Indian religion, art, and architecture. Most of the great living Chola temples are UNESCO World Heritage monuments. Thanjavur is also home to a unique style of paintings which are related to the religion. You will discover this ancient city which has a history of more than 1200 years.

Enjoy Lunch at Hotel Saradharam

Check in to Hotel at Thanjavur.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Ideal River View Resort

Ideal River View Resort


Day 7: Tanjore – Chettinad

Enjoy a morning city sightseeing tour of Tanjore which was the capital of the Chola Empire from the tenth to the fourteenth centuries. A Chola king held the throne from 985 to 1016, built the greatest of the empire’s 74 temples, the Brahadeeswarar, with its soaring tower over the inner sanctum. This tower rises more than 62 meters (200 feet) and on its dome rests a single block of granite weighing 80 tons.

Later, continue on to Chettinad. Check in to a hotel at Chettinad.In the afternoon enjoy a local tour of the famous fortress and temples that are architectural marvels in Chettinad. This 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.

Later in the afternoon see local artisans in the weaving center and experience the art of clay tile making where local ladies and men still practice the age-old weaving techniques.

EVENING EXCLUSIVE COOKING DEMONSTRATION WITH CHEF.

Chettinad is a region of Tamilnadu with its own rich culture,heritage,food and architecture. Chettinad cuisine perfectly illustrates how geography and climate influence the palate of a region and community. Cooking class usually set up in the interactive open kitchen with detailed instructions and is entertaining as well .The interactive kitchen displayed large brass vessels and neatly labelled containers of dry masalas and exotic spices.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Visalam

Visalam


Day 8: Chettinad - Madurai

After an early breakfast, proceed for a bullock cart ride, a unique experience. Time for a “selfie” with the milky white bulls and their master.

Later, continue driving to Madurai on arrival check-in at hotel

In the evening visit the Meenakshi temple to attend a ceremony where the marriage of Meenakshi ( Parvati ) and Sundareshwara (Lord Shiva) is solemnized.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Heritage Madurai

Heritage Madurai


Day 9: Madurai

After breakfast, proceed for a sightseeing tour. You will visit the  Meenakshi Temple. Evidence of the temple has been found dating back from early A.D. The temple was almost completely destroyed in the year 1310 following the invasion of the Islamic conqueror Malikkapur. As kings who were followers of Islam were noted for their intolerance towards other religions, the invaders destroyed most of the ancient sculptures of the temple.

The rest of your day at leisure.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Heritage Madurai

Heritage Madurai


Day 10: Madurai – Munnar

After breakfast, we will leave for Munnar. a breathtakingly beautiful place of peace and tranquility. A gateway to the South of India, Munnar was the favored summer resort area of British rulers in the colonial days. On the way, you will also witness the stunning waterfalls in Cheeyappara. Once we check-in at our hotel you can enjoy your room, relax, and take in the natural surroundings of the area.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Fragrant Nature Kochi

Fragrant Nature Kochi


Bazaar Rd, Mattancherry, Kochi, Kerala 682001, India
http://www.fragrantnature.com/HotelsKochi
+91 484 221 3600

Fort Kochi. Queen of the Arabian Sea. Cradle of the ancient Spice Route. Sanctuary for seafarers and adventurers. Start your day by walking down the streets of history. Explore the eateries, taste their eclectic cuisine. Survey the emporiums and antique markets. Ponder the mechanism of the Chinese Fishing nets. Blend with the dynamics of the spice markets. Listen to the multilingual rhythms of a cosmopolitan conversation. Photograph colonial-era buildings. Let your soul go supine in historic churches, synagogues and grottos.

Fragrant Nature, Kochi—a boutique 5 star hotel—features contemporary styled rooms with magnificent views of the harbour. Located in the erstwhile office of East India Company, the majestic facade with a clock tower is a landmark. The hotel features period trompe-l’œil art work by two popular English artists in the lobby—emphasising importance of art element in the boutique design. Loose yourself to the breathtaking luxury, underlined by world-class hospitality and service. Explore a range of cuisines at the famed specialty restaurant—a dining experience conjured with choicest flavours. Watch your stress and little niggles seep away with the luxuriant Ayurvedic massages at the state-of-the-art Spa—its leading highlight.

It’s more than superlatives. It’s more than what you see. It’s about you. Simply be you.

  • Fragrant Nature Kochi
  • Fragrant Nature Kochi
  • Fragrant Nature Kochi
  • Fragrant Nature Kochi

Day 11: Munnar

After breakfast, discover Munnar. This hill station was once the summer resort of the British Government in South India. Visit the sprawling tea plantations, picture-book towns, winding lanes and holiday facilities make this a popular resort town. Among the exotic flora found in the forests and grasslands here is the Neelakurinji. This flower which bathes the hills in blue once in every twelve years will bloom next in 2018. Munnar also has the highest peak in South India, Anamudi, which towers over 2,695 m. Anamudi is an ideal spot for trekking.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Fragrant Nature Kochi

Fragrant Nature Kochi


Bazaar Rd, Mattancherry, Kochi, Kerala 682001, India
http://www.fragrantnature.com/HotelsKochi
+91 484 221 3600

Fort Kochi. Queen of the Arabian Sea. Cradle of the ancient Spice Route. Sanctuary for seafarers and adventurers. Start your day by walking down the streets of history. Explore the eateries, taste their eclectic cuisine. Survey the emporiums and antique markets. Ponder the mechanism of the Chinese Fishing nets. Blend with the dynamics of the spice markets. Listen to the multilingual rhythms of a cosmopolitan conversation. Photograph colonial-era buildings. Let your soul go supine in historic churches, synagogues and grottos.

Fragrant Nature, Kochi—a boutique 5 star hotel—features contemporary styled rooms with magnificent views of the harbour. Located in the erstwhile office of East India Company, the majestic facade with a clock tower is a landmark. The hotel features period trompe-l’œil art work by two popular English artists in the lobby—emphasising importance of art element in the boutique design. Loose yourself to the breathtaking luxury, underlined by world-class hospitality and service. Explore a range of cuisines at the famed specialty restaurant—a dining experience conjured with choicest flavours. Watch your stress and little niggles seep away with the luxuriant Ayurvedic massages at the state-of-the-art Spa—its leading highlight.

It’s more than superlatives. It’s more than what you see. It’s about you. Simply be you.

  • Fragrant Nature Kochi
  • Fragrant Nature Kochi
  • Fragrant Nature Kochi
  • Fragrant Nature Kochi

Day 12: Munnar – Periyar

In the morning we leave for Thekkady. Upon arrival, we check –in at the hotel.

In the afternoon you will enjoy a boat ride at Lake Periyar where you will also be able to view the wildlife.

Traveling by boat on the lake is the usual way of touring the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Situated in the Thekkady district of Tamil Nadu bordering with Kerala, Periyar Wild Life Sanctuary is one of the most important and frequently visited areas in India. It conveniently falls between journeys from different parts of Tamil Nadu to important tourist destinations in Kerala. Trips along the large artificial lake surrounded by dense forests are by itself value for money besides offering the opportunity to view wildlife especially elephants, wild boar, sambar, etc.

In the afternoon we will proceed for a spice plantation visit. A walk through the plantation opens up a vista of pristine greenery shrouded by low hanging clouds, gurgling brooks and a pale shadow of the Western Ghats in the backdrop. Later you will be taken on tour covering cardamom, pepper, rubber, vanilla, coffee and tea plantations. The most abundantly found spice in Thekkady is pepper, but you will also see a variety of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, ginger, turmeric and curry leaves on the slanting slopes of the spice plantation. You will have an opportunity to spice shop and be able to prepare delectable Indian cuisine back home.

EVENING EXCLUSIVE COOKING DEMONSTRATION WITH CHEF.

The chef at Green Woods will conduct half hour cooking demonstrations and explanations of a vegetarian and one non vegetarian dishes of Kerala’s ethnic cuisine. Guest may also take lessons in learning how to cook these dishes.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Greenwoods Resort

Greenwoods Resort


Day 13: Periyar - Alleppey

After an early breakfast, we will leave for Alleppey to board Kettuvallam (Houseboat) for cruising on backwaters.

The backwaters of Kerala is a stunning feature that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. A glide in a “Kettuvallam” (Houseboat) through the enchanting backwaters is sure to be a memorable experience. It is as though you are another world, a world so quiet and serene that you never want to step on a dry land again. You will see the swaying brush which is the backdrop of the sparkling emerald greens backwaters. The magical beauty will steal your heart and heal your mind and body.

The houseboats are finished with full bedrooms, comfortable living rooms, and modern facilities.

All meals and overnight on board

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Lakes And Lagoons

Lakes And Lagoons


Day 14: Alleppey - Cochin

Around 0900hrs disembark from the houseboat in Alleppey and proceed for Cochin, the “Queen of the Arabian Sea” is one of the most interesting cities in India and has one of the finest natural harbors in the world.

On the way visit Kumbalangi, a model Tourism Village. Kumbalangi is a village located 13 kilometers away from Cochin and is identified as the first model fisheries and tourism village in India. On arrival at the village, we will board a country boat where you get the best views of village life where you may see a local woman tend to her shop, a farmer in his paddy field, or a fisherman spreading his net. After a tour of the village, we will stop for lunch.

After lunch, we take an entertaining ‘tuk-tuk’ ride through the narrow country roads back to our transportation spot. We will head back to the hotel where you can have a leisurely afternoon of relaxing or you may want to head out to do some shopping if you so wish.

EVENING EXCLUSIVE COOKING DEMONSTRATION WITH CHEF.

The chef at Green Woods will conduct half hour cooking demonstrations and explanations of a vegetarian and one non vegetarian dishes of Kerala’s ethnic cuisine. Guest may also take lessons in learning how to cook these dishes.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Crowne Plaza

Crowne Plaza


Day 15: Cochin

After a leisurely breakfast, we will discover Cochin. We will visit different sites today such as the Paradesi Synagogue, Dutch Palace, and the St. Francis Church. This church was built in 1510 by friars brought to India by Vasco da Gama and was the first European church built in India.

In the evening we will be entertained at the Greenix Show. The Greenix show is a kaleidoscope of Indian classical art forms and martial arts. Showcasing magnificent vignettes of Kerala’s rich cultural traditions, Kaleidoscope Kerala is an exclusive, uniquely choreographed repertoire of live classical dance and music. Performed in a heritage theatre with legendary ritualistic folk invocations as well as martial arts, you will be delighted with this entertaining performance. It is a medley of many authentic dances of Kerala, especially the magical rendezvous with the mellifluously lyrical and graceful Mohiniattam, a dance of the enchantress – exquisitely devotional for some, sublimely sensual for others. The majestic spectacle of Kathakali, Kerala’s trademark dance drama, is instantly recognizable for its dazzling regalia and trance-inducing rhythms. The stunningly totemic and surreally oracular manifestation of the divine in the folk tradition of the Theyyam is among an entertaining mélange of performing art forms which are accompanied by soul-stirring ensembles of pristine musical genres.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Crowne Plaza

Crowne Plaza


Day 16: Depart Cochin for Home

Hotel check-out by noon 1200hrs

In time transfer to airport to connect onward international flight.

Plan for your Journey

Coming from another gateway? Extending your stay? Have other travel plans? Contact us and our travel specialists would be happy to help you customize your experience to ensure your journey with us will be smooth and enjoyable.

Select a gateway:

  • Vancouver

    Vancouver International Airport

    Prices include Roundtrip Airfare from Vancouver International Airport to India.
    Date Price (with air) Availability
    Nov 19, 2018 $5,999 $5,699 CAD Sold Out
    Jan 16, 2019 $5,999 $5,699 CAD Limited Request a Quote
    Oct 24, 2019 $6,099 $5,799 CAD Available Request a Quote
    Nov 14, 2019 $6,099 $5,799 CAD Available Request a Quote
  • Toronto

    Lester B. Pearson International Airport

    Prices include Roundtrip Airfare from Lester B. Pearson International Airport to India.
    Date Price (with air) Availability
    Nov 19, 2018 $5,999 $5,699 CAD Sold Out
    Jan 16, 2019 $5,999 $5,699 CAD Limited Request a Quote
    Oct 24, 2019 $6,099 $5,799 CAD Available Request a Quote
    Nov 14, 2019 $6,099 $5,799 CAD Available Request a Quote
  • Calgary

    Calgary International Airport

    Prices include Roundtrip Airfare from Calgary International Airport to India.
    Date Price (with air) Availability
    Nov 19, 2018 $6,199 $5,899 CAD Sold Out
    Jan 16, 2019 $6,199 $5,899 CAD Limited Request a Quote
    Oct 24, 2019 $6,299 $5,999 CAD Available Request a Quote
    Nov 14, 2019 $6,299 $5,999 CAD Available Request a Quote
  • Winnipeg

    James Armstrong Richardson International Airport

    Prices include Roundtrip Airfare from James Armstrong Richardson International Airport to India.
    Date Price (with air) Availability
    Nov 19, 2018 $6,199 $5,899 CAD Sold Out
    Jan 16, 2019 $6,199 $5,899 CAD Limited Request a Quote
    Oct 24, 2019 $6,299 $5,999 CAD Available Request a Quote
    Nov 14, 2019 $6,299 $5,999 CAD Available Request a Quote
  • Montréal

    Montréal-pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport

    Prices include Roundtrip Airfare from Montréal-pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport to India.
    Date Price (with air) Availability
    Nov 19, 2018 $6,199 $5,899 CAD Sold Out
    Jan 16, 2019 $6,199 $5,899 CAD Limited Request a Quote
    Oct 24, 2019 $6,299 $5,999 CAD Available Request a Quote
    Nov 14, 2019 $6,299 $5,999 CAD Available Request a Quote
  • Ottawa

    Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport

    Prices include Roundtrip Airfare from Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport to India.
    Date Price (with air) Availability
    Nov 19, 2018 $6,199 $5,899 CAD Sold Out
    Jan 16, 2019 $6,199 $5,899 CAD Limited Request a Quote
    Oct 24, 2019 $6,299 $5,999 CAD Available Request a Quote
    Nov 14, 2019 $6,299 $5,999 CAD Available Request a Quote

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